When it came time to check up on his son in yeshiva, Rav Simcha Zissel Ziv, the Alter of Kelm, would sometimes simply go into his son’s dorm room to see if everything was in an orderly fashion. If everything was in its place, he knew his son was excelling in the yeshiva.
I never know what to get from this story. Like it seems like it’s a story about how well the rav knows his son. It’s not necessarily a story that would make me want to be orderly if I wasn’t. Or is the point of the story to let us know that if we are not orderly, there is something wrong with our lives?
To truly understand the greatness of this story is to understand (and I’m only basing this on what I’ve read and heard from people) the greatness of the Alter of Kelm and his part in the Mussar movement. Kelm was all about seder, or order, in regard to serving Hashem and relating to others. Chessed and respect towards the individual were also main elements of Kelmer chinuch, but order seemed to be key.
Just by looking into his son’s room, the Alter was able to detect the level and direction of his son’s Avodas Hashem.
I’m not saying that everyone who keeps their bedroom clean a “tzaddik”, but for the Alter and his derech, that was how things seemed to be.
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