Dr. Benzion Sorotzkin, Psy. D.

The Pursuit of Perfection: Vice or Virtue in Judaism?

Jun 28, 2020 | Articles, Perfectionism

Chazal exhort us to strive for ever higher goals. It says in ( כג : א )
תנא דבי אליהו רבה לפיכך יהיו אומרים כל אחד ואחד , מתי יגיעו מעשיי למעשה אברהם יצחק ויעקב
– ( When will my deeds equal those of my forefathers)? Likewise, the concept of shleimus ( ” שלימות ” ), which can be translated as perfection, is also an honored goal in chazal. On the other hand, clinical experience and research indicates that perfectionism is often associated with serious emotional disorders (Blatt, 1995; Flett & Hewitt, 2002; Sorotzkin, 1985, 1998) which, in turn, eventually results in lower levels of achievement.

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