Partial Introduction to my writings in general:
I elaborated on my approach in chidushei Torah on the shas in a different place. I short, there I explained the shortness of my reach in terms of the task at hand, in nearly every respect, yet my desire to serve Hashem Yisborach, and the gifts he implanted in me to search out understanding and depth in almost all the Torah which he merited me to learn led me to value my writings despite their deficiencies…I also wrote about my approach, and that, truly, it gained its form because of the limitations of my means…(but truly it is of most except for the very greatest.)delete?
I add here that I see that although those who became interested in hearing my chidushim (mostly baal peh) strived to carefully understand my words and had much naches from them, and through discussions, in the way of Torah, together we came to clarifying of points, Be’ezras Hashem Yisborach, may it be that we caused Him naches, nevertheless I find that those who lack any kind of introduction to me, do not receive my words as important, and it seems to me, for the reason that they say to themselves “who is he that I should consider his words?” for, it seems to me that many are used to learning only from accepted known tzadikim and scholars, and certainly this is a ma’alah. But there is a higher ma’allah and that is one who has trained himself to listen for and hear the truth where ever it is found, as it says in the Mishnah, who is wise, he who learns from every man, and brings a proof from Dovid HaMelech who said he learned from all who taught him, implying even though he did not seek them out as teachers; and he was able to do this because the adut of the Torah were before him; that is, the ways of truth, Torah, were part of him, he could discern by Torah only, by the truth alone, what to learn from every man.
Therefore I introduce my work with this statement: although I am lacking all good qualities, and have no known name or approbation behind me, nevertheless as true seeker of Torah of Hashem, of truth, therefore there is merit in my words, and one who desires the truth will find with what to nourish himself upon. Then, once he is involved with my words let him correct me to his hearts content and only leave me off when he is satisfied that he has heard the truth, for only this is our desire, Bait Yisrael, only this is our hope and salvation, that we know Hashem in truth and serve Him. May He be with us. Amen.
The name of this sefer that I am about to begin:
Until ones Last Ounce of Strength;
Serving Hashem, Yisborach in happiness and balance.
I start by paraphrasing two pieces of Torah. the first is a midrash; Clal Yisrael as is known is compared to a yonah, a dove. The Midrash tells us one of the special qualities of the yonah. When the yonah flies and tires he doesn’t stop flying, rather he rests one of his wings and flies with the other. (Then he rests the second wing and flies with the rested one. In this way he never stops going forward.) This is the quality that each one must develop. For satisfaction in life only is achieved when one serves Hashem Yisborach until ones last ounce of strength; that is, always, and with all ones effort (which is the second piece of Torah, from the commentary of Rashi,z”l, on the Talmud). With all ones strength, always, this is the key to success, and the midrash teaches us how to do this without crashing in midflight–learning to modulate, be’ezras Hashem Yisborach.
Today is the seventeenth of Tammuz. 5772. Hashem willing, I will discuss a certain approach to true happiness. I hope in this writing I will also understand and relate the way to realize this approach.
I will start with a picture from daily life. A person has a small business. He sells from his store. Some days, he considers, he sells a good amount and is happy. Other days he sells less than he would like and he is not as happy.
I ask the question. Is this what Hashem wants from us? The answer is simple, no. the mishnah says that we must be happy with the bad just as we are with the good. This is living with emunah. Living with emunah means living above time and space, above circumstance. It means living with Hashem. This is not only possible, it is mandatory. This is what Hashem expects of us. It is simple that if we leave ourselves to habit we will be happy with the good and unhappy with the bad. When we suffer to much from our unhappiness with the bad we will develop strategies for not suffering too much. It could be that our strategies will actually take us away from good, For instance one may learn to lower his expectations. By not expecting so much good he will not feel so dissapointed when it doesn’t come. It seems many people lower themselves into this kind of grave, Hashem have mercy, that they distinguish hope within themselves. Hope is one of our most important qualities. We must not only not extinguish it rather we must raise ot up always.
To live above time and space, above circumstance. Surely it takes work to get there. But since it is what is expected of us we must try.
Poem and Tefilla, begun parshas Beshallach, tav-shin-ayin. I am considering renaming this section to use as an introduction to a sefer on Emunah and Bitachon. It is very hard for me to work on this sefer for it is difficult to believe that the blessed Creator would wish my opinions to be distributed in Yisrael. I know that there is much merit to the ideas I have already transcribed here, still I have great doubts, after all, a sefer must be holy, and much of what I write are very big hiddushim, the proofs of which are impossible for me to bring in such a format.
My pure will to be good and do good is not enough to call my sefer holy. Neverthless I am not the final of judge of this, and since I see some signs that Hashgacha desires this perhaps it will be of benefit. Surely if even one idea of all the writing would help someone, even a little, the whole effort would have well been worth it. In any case I write for myself, and I believe it helps me.
I believe that all I write is proven, is true, for I work hard on developing hashkapha that has a sound basis, if only for the reason that I live and die on my hashkapha. One who understands this last point, this sefer is for him, this person is in a place where he can understand me.
[The following “poem” , in retrospect, is in some way a seed for the writing that follows so I leave it here at the beginning]
And one time when I didn’t remember anything except the light in front of my eyes I was calm.
I began to search for something. I wasn’t sure, if you asked me, if I was searching only with my eyes or if my mind was also interested.
There were many colors
all the colors.
I am already quite mature.
I seem to know words, if you ask me.
I’m certain to help you if you need me. (see note*)
*note. I realize I have been photographed.I am beginning to learn to daven because I’ve had enough time thinking life over.
Please help, Hashem, your Jewish people, they are so good and direly in need.
Please bring Mashiach
Please help me to daven only what You want.
HaKadosh Baruch Hu, I know that every Jew wants to, deep down, do Your will.
I know that we are all so hungry for your salvations.
Each one of us really wants to admit the truth that we are completely lost and empty without You.
We are only afraid to admit the truth because we are embarrassed by our spiritual nakedness.
Since you love us so completely, please give us the free gift of knowing that only You are worth fearing
Teach us to scream out to you and to know that in the merit of screaming out to you in our distress in Egypt we were redeemed then and so will be now if we would just daven to you and tell you all our needs.
HaKadosh Baruch Hu we don’t want to sleep any longer.
We don’t want to endure this galus any longer.
Please take us out.
We want You.
We want Torah.
We want the Truth.
We want Life.
We want health. Spiritual health.
Baruch Hashem, You answer every prayer. In Your way You answer every prayer. Baruch Hashem that in Your way You answer every prayer (because we only know how to ask, we don’t know how to answer.)
We believe in You.
We know you are doing everything for our good.
We know that You love us completely for You have told us and shown us in so many ways, so many times.
We don’t understand why Mashiach has not yet come but we trust You and know that any minute…
I know you are with me in everything.
I know that You are fixing me, teaching me, giving me strength to master all my trials, leading me to my ultimate good.
We see that You love us without limit and that because of Your constant abundant love for us therefore we have unlimited potential for growth, for truth, for returning Your love, for binding in harmony and peace with one another.
Our eyes are raised toward You every moment to guide us and release us from all our pain.
We see that each day, each hour, You have guided us in great compassion and mercy towards our ultimate good. We also see Your kindnesses surrounding us, encompassing our lives. We see endless salvations in this world alone, and we know that what awaits us in the future is impossible to imagine for its greatness.
I believe that the reading of the above statements, and all the more so their repetition in speech, has the power to distinctly improve one’s life.
[ The following piece of writing is somehow also a seed in the creation of the “sefer” on Emunah; originally I considered it my attempts at “my first novel.”]
Ner Rishon Hanukah 5771
There are two books recounting everyone’s life. One is Sippur Devarim, the recounting of all that one did (said and thought). He second is the Sippur Devarim of all that he didn’t do (say, allow himself to think). Both Sepharim are equal—both result from his free will. (Ponder this deeply for it is the concentration of all the Mussar I have learnt).
Dialogue with myself today: the next thought is like a subtle rising to the surface of a pond, it comes from below; that is, from the hidden depths. Its source is the A-lmighty, Blessed is He, alone. I innocently follow it. What is it telling me?
Beware—it says. You have passed countless dangerous situations, all of them life-threatening, in truth. You are still alive. Blessed is Hashem, Savior of all the living!
What is the Song that inspired this? The song is the continual march of the triumph of the good inclination. In less clinical terms, I mean to say, it is my one grasp on true hope: I have what to contribute. I can help people. I have been given with what to truly help people. I believe this. This, I think, dear reader, is the song your Creator wants you to hear; your own song that you have been given with what to truly help people. Your unique mission; to hear your unique song of triumphant spirit; its continual march.
Evil envelops us. My heart beats without being bothered by that. My lungs breathe new air again and again. It is a fortunate stretch of time when I can focus namely on my heartbeat and by breathing. These two drummers form the rhythm section of my continual anthem of success. Blessed is the One who drives me. Fortunate am I to be driven by Him.
Shema Yisrael! Screaming behind my eyes. I feel my heartbeat in my forehead. The evil that is trying to drench all my happiness is ferocious, relentless. I manage to overcome it, I don’t know how; it is my Savior, rescuing me again. He wants me to live, to succeed. Everything He wants He gets. Blessed is He. Fortunate am I.
I need to create a song in my heart like a string necklace, each bead of the necklace being another act of kindness done to me by one of B’nai Yisrael, Am Kedosha. I need to wear it in my neck always. This song will redeem the world. I remember to ask the Borei, Yisborach, to help me with this. Without Him, it is just vanity. A nice thought, perhaps, but not yet reality.
I thought to descend into the mikveh and to stay there permanently. Particularly, I will practice picturing Hashem’s Name before me always. Many images and memories constantly pass before my eyes in my mind, distracting me from focusing on the letters of His Name. I exert myself to return my vision to His Name alone. This has been going on for years. Hashem is helping me wondrously in all this. It is an awesome battle. I feel forced by my momentum to seek the deep truth and to reveal it before myself and the world in the most vivid way no matter the cost. Emunah tells me this is the path to real success. The only path.
[To complete this introduction I copy here another small writing of mine, with Hashem’s help.]
Everyone is searching for G-d
Some know they are searching for G-d, others don’t know that they are searching for G-d and imagine, often quite assuredly and affirmatively, that they are searching for other things, and definitely not for G-d. And truly at a very real level many are not searching for G-d, the opposite being the case. Only at a very deep level they truly want G-d, for everyone and everything needs G-d, and everyone and everything will return to G-d, Who is the source of all life and existence and is all there is, there is nothing else but Him.
If one wishes to travel to Jerusalem and he takes the road to Rome he will not reach his desired destination. Even if many great philosophers have posited absolutely convincing proofs that Rome is Jerusalem, even if nearly everyone is also convinced of such, even everyone, except him, still, he will not reach his desired destination , and when he realizes his mistake he will have that much longer to travel to get there.
The intensity of the thirst for true meaning, etc. varies greatly between people, and also rises and subsides within each one’s life. For some people truth is a difficulty they often prefer to avoid. Others take a more moderate stance and prefer to be truthful if it is not too painful or costly. Very few actually, are involved in a serious pursuit of making truthful choices, for it is, as it is said, real work.
I think it is also fair to describe that most people travel the train of truth through a few stations, stop and descend at a few locations, rest and recuperate, or explore the life there for a while, later on maybe ascend again the train of truth and travel onward. At a certain point most get worn out by the difficulties of travel and decide on a certain destination to settle for, to settle there. Very few continue to travel the train of truth to the very end. Does it even exist? Who really cares that much anyway? I mean, how much does it actually matter? Why work so hard, perhaps this is all there really is to life anyway? We’re all going to die soon anyway, who needs such trouble. These kinds of questions are unfortunately numerous. And true intelligent questions are unfortunately all too rare amongst people. What can I say to you my friend? There is so very much truly to say. Life is very short, and if one wants true answers he has to 1) believe that they all exist, 2) diligently search for them, 3) be willing to live by them at any cost.
Living by the truth, that is, to be in the constant business of asking for only truth, that is, being firmly committed to reaching one’s true destination, Jerusalem and not Rome, involves confirming and reinforcing with all one’s strength and many strategies just how worthwhile is the goal, just how awesome is this universe, and just how small is this universe compared to… just how exacting is the Creator with each and every creation, just how purposeful is everything He does, just how thick is the fog of falsehood and delusion that is this world, just how easily so many stumble and tumble like flies never to be heard of again, just how pleasant must be the lot of those who actually make it through all this difficulty and ride the train to the end.
It seems to me that with Hashem’s help I can teach Emunah to B’nai Yisrael. That is; I can teach a sure derech of acquiring Emunah and Bitachon. For I believe that Hashem, in his kindness, although He created us each differently, nevertheless, I believe, there is a common way in which all our minds work the same; therefore it can be taught, one to the other, the method for each one to train his mind effectively to acquire a given end; in this case the goal being the acquisition of real Emunah and Bitachon, which, I have found, is the central principle of all of Judaism, thus it is the key to our success in all facets of our life, for the sake of our life here in this world, and for our ultimate life in the next world.
Even though I, myself, am very far from perfection in the attribute of Emunah and Bitachon, nevertheless, I believe, that I am capable of teaching their acquisition for several reasons.
I myself have acquired certain Emunah and Bitachon.
It is something that I have learned from our teachers of such subjects.
Its’ principles are very simple.
I believe that it is the Creator’s will that all B’nai Yisrael, indeed the entire world, acquire these precious tools which, as in the words of one of our great teachers of blessed memory, are essential to our spiritual life like air is essential to our physical life.
Therefore, as air is readily abundant to all and in every situation and is acquired without payment, so to Emunah and Bitachon are thus easily acquired.
This is so for the Creator is good and does good and only wants our good.
He certainly can be relied upon to provide us all the good we need.
Nevertheless, unlike the air which we breathe naturally, without thought or effort, Emunah is acquired only with thought and effort, as all spiritual acquisitions.
The reason for this is because the Creator wants our ultimate and maximum good; that we acquire all true acquisition only through our own efforts, thus enabling Him to reward us the maximum reward.
This point cannot be overstressed; I believe that the Emunah can be taught to each and every person, even by one such as me, because I believe that the Creator thus desires. My belief in this is so strong that I will say that I know that He thus desires. I have no doubt about this.
The perceptive student will have already discerned that I have begun teaching Emunah and that he has thus begun learning. Those that have not yet discerned this will, Be’ezras Hashem, catch on shortly to my methodology. In simple I am teaching myself Emunah and Bitachon as I write, and I share my learning with you. I believe that this is actually the best method to teach, even though it might seem radically unorthodox. But behold, I will explain the merit of this method.
The traditional method is that the teacher masters a body of knowledge, organizes it, and then imparts it to the student. The student must gather all the information and understand the organization of the teacher. That is, if the teacher’s organization is also the clearest organization for the student: good, the student can absorb the knowledge as he received it. If not, the student must reorganize the knowledge for himself so that it is usable for him. Then the student must memorize the knowledge so that will be available for him to use, each part in its own proper time and place. As this knowledge interfaces with reality; that is, when he meets the situations in life in which he must use a facet of the knowledge, only then will he be able to discern if he organized the knowledge in the best possible way, if he has facility in using the knowledge. [Often one is impressed by what seems a beautifully organized body of knowledge in his memory, nevertheless, when it comes to using it, it is not so effective. One must not lose track of his goal: to live effectively according to proper knowledge. Our Holy Sages of blessed memory referred to this when they said “?? ????? ????? ??? ????? the learning is not the essential, rather the doing (Avos 1:17)” (see also Avos 3:12, 3:22, 6:5)] Therefore one is often forced to reorganize what he has leant. All this is clearly a lot of labor, which can, unfortunately, lead to many stumbling blocks.
What I am suggesting here is a method of learning in which one teaches oneself and others simultaneously; which enables the student to see the method that the teacher himself uses to learn the knowledge. The object is to avoid the many intermediate steps of organizing and reorganizing which is where all the labor and its pitfalls enter in. This is a simple and direct approach to gaining usable knowledge in one step. It is actually, perhaps, a most common form of teaching, that is found all over the world, all the time, when two people are faced with a new situation which demands a creative solution. Together they apply their minds to the problem and reveal to each other, step by step, each newly discovered facet to the solution. If one puts his attention to this he will see, Be’ezras Hashem, what I am saying.
Here I embark on teaching myself and others with me: practical Emunah, and Bitachon. I believe that this is the best method for learning Bitachon. With the traditional method I, myself, met many stumbling blocks until I found myself, after many years of labor, with very little to show for my work. I then began to apply the advice of our great teacher, Reb Noson of Breslov, of blessed memory, who taught that a Jew must clarify for himself in his own language all the basic principles of the Torah, and afterwards all the mitzvoth and their particulars. In this way the Torah will be a living Torah for him, a realTorah, that is, it will successfully get out of the shop—the Bais Midrash, and become his living Torah in deed; without contradiction between knowledge and action.
It is also written in Sefer haYashar, which is attributed to Rabbenu Tam, that one cannot rely upon the Sifrei Mussar that have been written by the Tzaddikim, rather one must compose his own Sefer Mussar.Torah and Emunah cannot remain, even the least part thereof, on the bookshelf. It must be in the mind and in the heart and in a form that is almost automatically accessible for use in every situation. Our Torah is called Toras Chaim, living Torah. It imbues us with the quality of true life; that is the Torah must be one with our spirit, and endow us with an ability to see and react to life as it truly is. Therefore, as much Torah as one learns, and he must learn a lot, and as great as his teachers are, and he must find the greatest teachers, nevertheless he must “rewrite” the Torah he has learnt in his own language, according to his own spirit. This is so for he must embody living Torah. His actions, words and thoughts must be true Torah. This, and this alone, is called true life. This person alone is called Adam—man.
With Hashem’s help, I hope to expand on this subject at great length in its proper place. I mention it here in the beginning of the sefer for an important reason: I am not fit to be your teacher in these subjects, you must be your own teacher. There are many reasons for this, and I don’t think it is important to state them. The important point is this: that, dear reader, you become accustomed to acquiring your learning in a very strong way. That you don’t rely on your teacher’s words alone, rather use them as stepping stones to reach your own unique understanding. Each Jew is an entire world unto himself. He must know himself extraordinarily well. Our fulfillment of the Creator’s will has everything to do with our realizing our own potentials which are absolutely unique. There is no place for us to rely on our friend’s answers for our problems. The greatness of the Jewish Nation is also dependent upon this, that each individual realize his individuality to the fullest extent. This, be’ezrasHashem, I hope to expand upon and develop in its place.
The first and most essential Mitzvah is Emunah. It is the first of the Ten Commandments, ???? ???“? ?–????, which includes all the mitzvahs. It is the fundamental principle of life; therefore one must work on acquiring it foremost, as stated above. Thus I began and I begin anew to realize this goal with this fundamental.
I will open the discussion of Emunah like this:Emunah is the laying on one’s heart the words, the messages that the Torah has taught the person, which he has learnt (I know that this is not the common definition of Emunah. I will explain 🙂 Emunah is the concept that which is attached, bound absolutely to the entire Torah. That is, we are required to learn the Torah, to know it and believe it wholly and fully. (it is true that knowing it already includes believing it for if one doesn’t believe it, then he does not know it correctly; knowing it correctly entails believing it. Nevertheless for the sake of this discussion I will separate knowing and believing into two entities.)
For example ?? ?????; a person knows that the Torah forbids him to steal. He knows the particulars of the halachot, he knows he will be punished if he steals, he knows he will be rewarded when he refrains from stealing. Yet he steals. What happened?
We say that hisyetzergot the better of him. How?
Because he didn’t mount a strong enough fight against it.
Why not? Behold, he knows he’s only going to lose badly later for not mounting the strength now?
He was weak minded. He didn’t think about it then. He says: I don’t know. I mean, I know, but I just sort of let myself not pay attention to what I know. You see in front of me was this opportunity…
Yes, well… yes, I guess.
You guess?! Tell me. Someone is about to push you off a cliff. You also might not might the strength not to let yourself be pushed around? No?
Why not that but this yes? I’ll tell you why: because there you see your downfall prepared in front of you. So you protect yourself with whatever it requires of you. But with the stealing, you don’t see the ramifications of your actions so clearly. Even though if you thought about it you could see them quite vividly.
This if simply a lack of Emunah. One doesn’t need Emunah to see the physical threat in front of him. He sees it with his eyes. That is enough to convince him that it is real. But the teachings of the Torah require Emunah, that is; the mind’s eye must see it. The stronger that one sees the precepts of the Torah in front of him, this is his strength of Emunah. The stronger his Emunah the more perfectly he fulfills the Torah. He sees the Torah’s precepts pictured vividly in front of him, each one in it proper time; when he wakes up in the morning he sees the mitzvos of Tefilla, etc. At the end of Friday he sees the mitzvos of Shabbes in front of him, etc.
Thus Emunah is attached to the entire Torah. It is the motor which moves the person to fulfill the Torah. The stronger his Emunah, the more strongly he builds and reinforces his vision of the Torah’s teaching before him always, the more he expands and expounds upon them to himself, the more he tastes them, delights in them, yearns to know their secrets, the more he lives with true awareness of Hashem, the more he lives reality, the less he lives a fantasy. He delights in his Creator, and that he has merited life and merited to be a Jew and merited to learn Torah, to internalize Torah, to perform Torah. Emunah leads to true happiness, leads to the fulfillment of one’s true purpose. Emunah is the safeguard against all evil and the promulgator of all good.
I return to what I stated above: Emunah is the laying on one’s heart the words, the messages that the Torah has taught the person, which he has learnt. A person learns a statement: for example: I am Hashem your G-d who took you out of Mitzraim, from the house of slavery. There are many, even endless, separate pieces of knowledge contained in this statement, and in every piece of Torah. Each one that you are meritorious to learn is another gem which you have been given to cherish and guard in your heart and use for good in your life.
Emunah is your weapon against the intrusion of the forces of evil that are trying to wrest from you your precious treasure. As soon as you are meritorious to learn a piece of Torah, the smallest piece, most often immediately the war begins. Thoughts enter and seek to grab the precious stone from your grasp. How so? Simply by telling you, in, most often, a clever and disguised way: “It’s not true”. Now you must defend your treasure. There are many defenses and the enemy has many rebuttals, each more clever than the last. If he cannot wrest from you your gem he will at try to at least dim its light, or chip from it a small piece, or have you concede to leave it in a somewhat vulnerable position, that is, to allow some small doubt to coexist alongside of it. If you are strong and all this doesn’t succeed you have won the battle.
Nevertheless the enemy has worn you out a bit. On the other hand you have become a more adept warrior. The next battle should be easier, except…
HaKadosh Baruch Hu in His infinite wisdom and desire to have us receive the ultimate good for ourselves gave us the enemy of enemies, the ultimate evil to face. The stronger we become the stronger he becomes. This is the truth. It cannot be avoided, only met, face to face. Even though our enemy will become stronger as we strengthen ourselves, we must constantly strive to improve. To the extent that we rely on the Creator to help us against our enemy, to that extent He will intercede for us. We must be willing to move ahead courageously with complete confidence that Hashem is with us for success. We must be willing to accept periods of time when , on the face of things, we do not see our success. We must know that this is our test from Hashem and that he always gives us the tools to manage and succeed to brave the darkness and to strengthen out trust in Him. This process of perseverance through difficulties and holding onto and reinforcing our conviction of Hashem’s continual direction of our lives for our absolute good, this is what bonds us to our Creator, and clothes us in our uniform which is particular destiny and portion of greatness which The Master in His kindness has desired for us: to become Avdei Hashem,.
In all our trials and battles in life Emunah is our biggest weapon, our atom bomb. It doesn’t actually do away with the enemy altogether because, as we learned, he is always with us relentlessly…and, actually more, we must know: he is stronger than us. Thus teach our Sages of blessed memory: that was it not that Hashem, Yisborach, Himself saves us from our enemy, our evil-inclination, we would not succeed.
Because of the importance of this statement I will repeat it:
Were it not that Hashem, Yisborach saves us from our Yetzer we could not take him.
Learn from this two main points: firstly; that we, for all our genius, skillfulness, experience, good will, etc., everything that we are and have, with all this, still we are not capable of succeeding by ourselves–at all. In fact, the greater we are, the more dangerous a situation we find ourselves in–if we rely on ourselves. A small man makes small errors; a big man makes big errors.
The second lesson is: How awesome is the Holy King of kings; how awesomely humble He is. Behold He created each and every person and sent them off into this terrible battlefield of life. He could have armed him properly to be able to win on his own. But no, His wisdom maintained that it is preferable that the man do battle on this front: Know that your Creator, in His great love for you wants to fight your battles for you, for He wins every battle, and He doesn’t want you, His precious child, to have to lose a thing any chance of failure.
These points, of course, have to be expanded and expounded upon a great deal, but the immediate message to grasp from it is that our main Avodah is Emunah and Bitachon. For if we are strong in Emunah and Bitachon then we are attaching ourselves to the path of victory in every challenge that we meet. Since we have our King before us who is a “Man of war” we are assured of victorysuccess to the degree we attach ourselves to Him in perfect Emunah.
Those who strengthen themselves in this are those who succeed in life, in reaching their true potential, in attaining the goal for which they were created.
Those who are weak in their search to discover this fundamental principle, or lazy in applying it even if they have discovered its truth, succeed much less in their lives, according to the extent of their weakness or laziness.
It can even be said in general it is the case that one suffers in his life to the degree that he is lacking Emunah and Bitachon. Conversely one enjoys and has fulfillment from his life to the degree that he masters the attainment of these qualities. May the blessed Creator continue to help us in acquiring these precious tools.
I am taught by the Torah I learn. How do I know that this particular piece of Torah is that which the Creator wants me to learn? I may assume that this is the Torah Hashem wants me to learn. He has brought this Torah in front of me now. It has been provided for me especially by Him, with Hasgachah Pratit like everything else I experience. My entire experience is tailor fit for me by Hashem Yisborach.
This is my task. To understand this. That what I experience is what the Creator wants me to experience, prepares specially for me to experience. There is no mistake with any of it. And it is totally good. These are all simple fundamentals of Emunah. But since they are often in opposition to our feelings and our understandings therefore they must be reviewed again and again even though they are very primary.
I need to believe entirely the Torah that I am being taught at any time. When I believe it entirely then I am connected to the truth of it. Our battles in life are to earn the time and place to sit and learn Torah, to hear the words that the living G-d has to speak to us. Our enemy wants to follow us into the Bais Medrash and share our shtender with us. If he cannot defeat us by having us waste our time in idle chatter he will try arrange for us some pleasant thoughts or even unpleasant thoughts or other distractions to take our minds and hearts from the Torah. If not this at least he wants to succeed in wasting our time battling his epikorsus. There is no end to his strategies and I cannot mention them all, but our strategy against all of them is one: our strength of Emunah.
Above, I stated that Emunah is our safeguard against all evil, Emunah can be compared to a fortress; we must constantly build this fortress stronger and stronger. Any weakness in its walls, all the more so in its foundation, there the yetzer will seek to penetrate. The foundations and walls of this fortress are the principles and precepts of the Torah, all of them. Anywhere that we are weak in our understanding and fulfillment of a certain precept or principle, this is the place where the yetzer will penetrate. If we are sharp we can learn from our enemy, that where we stumble, or nearly stumble, this is where we need to strengthen ourselves. This is alluded to by Dovid HaMelech:????? ?????? ????? ?? ????? ??? ?? (?????? ??“?: ?“?) I become wise from my enemies because your Mitzvoth are forever with me. Mitzvoth is written in the singular and it can by understood as referring to the mitzvah which is the basis of all the mitzvoth: Emunah. My strengthening myself continually in Emunah enables me to learn from, and become wiser than my enemy, for he attacks me where I am weak in Emunah; through my understanding of the importance of Emunah I learn constantly how to strengthen myself in the service of Hashem. If I don’t strengthen myself in Emunah I stumble again and again in the same mistakes without stop. I can easily pass my whole life this way; I walk my life in the trenches into which I have stumbled, they are carved deeper and deeper, until this “underground life” is all I know. Even though I am all day involved in Torah and Mitzvoth! If I don’t see to it that my path is ????? ?????? (???? ?“?: ?“?) the upward slope of intelligent self-improvement I have not yet seen the light of day.
Again, Emunah is the illumination within the mind and heart, indeed within the soul, of all the percepts and principles of the Torah, and their proper balance and proportion with respect to ones stable and changing nature and situation. It is pashut that the key to achieving this “living Emunah” is itself Emunah. Such a great fortress can never imagined to be built only with supplication and reliance upon the help of the Master of all spirit. By increasing one’s trust and reliance upon Him, with patience, step by step, one will see his life transform before him from darkness to light, from chaos to order, from war and pain to peace and comfort.
So we are in front of our shtender, we have already defeated the enemy outside and entered into the King’s palace. We are seated before the King prepared to hear His teaching. If this is what he are aware of in front of our shtender then we are already nearly completely victorious. If we have Hashem before us always we do not fail.
I put forth a tefilla to the Creator, Blessed is He. Ribono Shel Olam! I want, I need to understand why so many if Your children, B’nai Yisrael do not experience Your closeness to them. I don’t know why they are troubled with so many troubles and don’t seem to know that all the answers are with You. I don’t understand why we are not able to strengthen one another in this: in planting inside each other the firm knowledge that You only want to help us in all our needs and that we must help ourselves through this awesome opportunity which you have given us all, to enlist Your help in all our needs. You listen to all our tefillas. You care about us much more than we can fathom, absolutely endlessly You care for us and desire to fill all our lacks. You only ask of us to bring it up with You, to recognize that You are here for us. I don’t understand why we continue our lives in so much darkness and search so many strange avenues to rescue ourselves. We believe in You very much, apparently but somehow we’re not finding the way to reach out to You. I say this because I see so many of us in such distress in such confusion in such isolation with their own pain. I don’t understand. You help us and You will continue to help us more and more.
I would like to examine a point concerning Emunah and Tefilla. Hashem, Yisborach, we can readily understand, hears all our tefillot. Coupled with our understanding of His love for us and His compassion upon His entire creation, it is only reasonable to understand that He wishes to fulfill all our tefillot. Indeed the possuk says that He is near to all that call out to Him, all that call to Him in truth. In other words every sincere prayer He answers. It is a phenomena simply understood. A man with riches beyond measure is brought to his front door by the knock of…a poor man lacking everything. “Could you please help me?” Only a cruel person would not answer every need of the poor man that he could possibly cover. All the more so the King of kings who owns everything, who is the Master of Mercy, and who Knows the true situation of he who requests His favor: that he has no possibility whatsoever of fulfilling his own needs, every creature is entirely dependent upon Him for the very breathe in his lungs and everything else.
Since this is absolutely reasonable and clear then we must wonder why it seems to many that our tefillot our not answered. The truth is that many better than I have answered this question and their explanations should be sought out in their books and understood well. I could even summarize some of the basic responses that are fundamental but for the sake of brevity, even this I will omit. I hope to present here my small insight which the Creator inspired me to reveal.
I will try to present first an analogy. A son comes and asks his father for something he needs. The son knows that the father has what he is asking for. He also knows that it is not difficult for the father to part with it, that he will not feel it’s loss in the least. If he thinks a little deeper the son realizes, too, that the father would have pleasure in giving it to him. If he is able to think even deeper he can realize that his father will have very great pleasure in fulfilling his request. The son can understand that by giving his father the opportunity to fulfill his request in full he is actually crowning the father with the title of father. A father who has a son who doesn’t need or ask anything from him, who behaves as an independent, feels just like another man. In fact he is the child’s father but he doesn’t experience this fact. A father’s role is to give to his children what only he can provide them. If the children recognize the greatness of the father, his wisdom , his strength, capability, his love and compassion upon them and desire to see them fulfilled in every way, if the children realize and express this is the proper way, then they are truly giving to their father the crown for his head. They make him what he desires to be, a father in reality.
We are taught “there is no king without a nation.” We are taught that the ‘thing’ that was lacking, so to speak, that to fulfill this ‘lack’ the blessed Creator created all the worlds, was “the will to receive,” or in simpler terms, someone to receive, or someone for Him to have mercy upon.
The analogy is very simply understood. By expressing, in truth; that is when our hearts and minds are settled and clear about Who really is our Father in Heaven, what are His true capabilities, how wide is His understanding, etc., etc., when we approach Him in supplication with this kind of understanding we are fulfilling the purpose of creation, we are crowning our King with His glorious crown (this is the peshat for what we are taught that our tefillot make a crown for the Holy One, blessed is He.) It is really no more complicated than this. Please understand. I have written in brevity so as nor be burden you with extra words. Please reread it and understand it’s truth.He should answer all your requests for good. This is encapsulized by what we are taught “know before Whom you stand.” Understand well Who it is who you are dependent upon and Who you trust and you will increase trust and yearn for His closeness and to please Him and you will see His salvations.
A piece of unfamiliar Torah is presented to me. I don’t know the author, if he is a true Tzaddik or not. How can I believe it? I must ask also: how can I not believe it? The two possibilities, by logic, are at least equal.
One can answer: this is why we have Rebbes. To teach us the true Masoret, who we must believe, who not. This is surely the correct answer.
Nevertheless, it is not always so simple. I am not going to elaborate now, but sometimes we are in a situation comparable to that of the Benai Yisrael when they became distressed that Moshe Rabbeinu had not yet returned from Har Sinai. The Rebbe was not available to deal with their distress. That itself was their distress.
What does one do in such a case? It seems to me that one must pray to Hashem often and request that he not come to such a challenge. One can ask like this: Ribono shel Olam. It’s absolutely clear before You that Your Holy Torah is beyond our human intelligence. As smart and as learned as we may, the bottom line is that The Torah is beyond our grasp. Therefore our intelligence is not a tool by which we can fathom if the Torah we are learning is Your true and Holy Torah or not, if the teacher of the Torah we wish to learn is a true Tzaddik or not. And we cannot always simply decide to be safe and only learn from a famous Tzaddik that everyone agrees upon and there is no place for doubt whatsoever. For one, there are many disputes between Tzaddikim. Also, Your desire is that we learn from “every man” and that we learn the entire spectrum of Torah, not a limited range. There are many other difficulties which You know very well and we also know and are pained about deeply, for we are in great darkness at the very end of this last galus. We have no recourse except to beg you to have mercy upon us and prepare for us only the Torah you want us to learn. We have to believe in hasgacha pratit: that you prepare for us exactly what we need. We have to believe that by the power of our Emunah and Bitachon and Your attributes of kindness and mercy and because of Your abundant love for us and desire for our good that You will answer this Tefilla and prepare for us always pure Torah that we can absorb with perfect belief and be healed by it and return to You. May this be Your will.
That which underlies my approach here is my understanding of the limitations of our intelligence. I do not maintain the Emunah peshuta has anything to do with a relaxation of the use of our intelligence is finding our way in life and in serving the Creator. I believe the opposite–that we must exert our intelligence in every area, to clarify every doubt we encounter to the best of our abilities. But we must know that where we still remain in doubt on any matter, we are not to be troubled by this fact, at all. For we must understand that “He is the first and He is the last, and besides Him there is no g-d” He is the first—He gave us our intelligence to use and asks us to use it, He is the last—where our intelligence falls short, we have done our job and we must rely only on Him and no other; for besides Him there is no other g-d, no other authority; even when we have understood through our mind a true understanding, we must understand that this is the Creator’s gift, His will, and we have attained nothing without Him. The opposite is true, if we attribute any acquisition to ourselves or any other being except G-d, we are simply mistaken and have not understood at all.
One must work on attaining this understanding, even after he knows it. For especially for one who labors with his intelligence to understand the Holy Torah, behold he has exerted himself and he sees the fruits of his labor. He knows that without his labor he would have nothing. Still he must put in front of himself always: without Hashem’s help I would have nothing.
More than this: what am I working for, ultimately? For myself? I am working for Hashem. He is the Master of the Field. I bring my fruits to Him. He finds favor with my work, or not. All that I am still learning Torah for my own personal goals I am not yet learning L’shma. This means that I haven’t yet grasped the true purpose if what I’m doing, and in this I want to take pride?
So it is better to put the true purpose in front of myself from the beginning, that my goal is to give nachas to the Creator in all that I do, say, think, and not to lose sight of this along the way.
I still am full of many many uncorrected middos, pride, desire for honor, power, etc.
The Creator is well aware of all this and yet still asks me to stand in front of Him three times a day and pour out my heart to Him, to praise Him and to expect His speedy salvations. He obviously has a lot of patience with me. He has kept me in life and still insists that I am His eved and His beloved son.
So I should start now to put my priorities in place and try to serve the Creator l’shma.
More than this; Since I understand that this is what the Creator expects of me, I since I know that I cannot do it by myself, only with His help, His constant help, even; since this is so I can expect Him to help me as is needed. For the Creator is infinitely kind. Even were He only as kind as a human master would we expect a master to ask of his servant something that is beyond him? This would be only cruelty. All the more so, Hashem, whose kindness and mercy have no limit, does He not ask anything beyond our capabilities.
If one would ask: if so why does it seem that so many Jews have such difficulty performing the Creator’s will?
The answer lies in the fact that he question need not be asked. If you think this is an evasion, then please bear through and you will see. The question is answered by not asking it. Because, behold, what was stated, concerning the kindness of the Creator and that He would not ever ask anything too hard of us, is true. It doesn’t just make sense, and is also taught to us by our Holy Torah, it is also true, that is, we should believe it, and rely upon it, build our world-outlook upon it, run our lives according to it. This is what is meant by living according to Emunah, that we take what we know is true and live by it. We must challenge ourselves to perfect our ways according to the truths we know. This is what is meant by living according to the Torah.
What is being stated here, yes, it is very simple, but I am not insulting your intelligence. Am I not correct that we need a lot of hizuk in Emunah?
Emunah tells me that since the Creator asks me to perform this mitzvah and this…etc; since I myself alone am incapable of truly anything, it being only The Creator’s will that I make the slightest movement; therefore I can expect Him to help me in everything. He, in fact, wants me to expect Him to help me in everything. This is what He is asking from us in the mitzvah of Emunah.
He wants us to live, in the fullest sense of the word. He wants for us eternal life and goodness of the very highest quality, nothing short of this. He wants us to live in truth. To live by truth, with truth, with true understanding, nothing less. The truth is that “there is nothing besides Him” He is the Master of all the powers and all the abilities. If I start to understand this, the great power of the Creator and that I myself am nothing, then I have started grasping the truth. That I seem to have powers: to move, to speak, etc. okay, this means that I still have not fully internalized the truth.
It seems far away from me—behold since I was born I became conscious of me, then of others, and of all sorts of desires, needs, lacks in my life, ways of obtaining what I am lacking, etc.; I now I’m being told that all these very common thoughts that I know that everyone else in the whole world is also thinking—now I’m being told that it’s not true and that I’m expected to be some kind of great baal-emunah to think and behave in ways like only the greatest Tzaddikim ever did, and until I do so I am living a lie and not really living at all, and am not fulfilling the purpose for what I was created and not giving nachas to my Creator, and I am supposed to also believe that the author of what I am reading is sincerely trying to help me and only doing this for my good…
Okay, if it seems far away, so then certainly the Creator has extra compassion on you, extra patience, and certainly will help you with extra swiftness since you are so needy. The point is: He can be trusted for everything. He tells us so in many places in the Torah, and it is simply logical, and all that have ventured to trust Him in this have found it totally true.
He simply asks from us to believe this: Taste and know that G-d is good. If we don’t taste, if we don’t believe, don’t want to trust in Him, don’t want to put all our trust in Him, He’s not going to force us. He gave us free choice and He’s not going to take it away. He says: if you want to try to make it on your own, go ahead, I give you free reign. See how far you get. See if you don’t come screaming out to me when you get stuck. Even then, I won’t abandon you. You’re my beloved child after all. But wouldn’t it be a better way to spend your life if you instead chose Me now, and not have to wait till I have to pull you out of the pit, and your life is already gone. Choose life, I wrote in My Torah.
I am not fit to write about Emunah and Bitachon.
More than this: I do not see how I can make myself fit. I do not want to lie to myself about anything. This doesn’t make me fit. I am still full of lies. I am used to lying to myself and habit rules a person. Even if I have a strong will not to lie, which I am not sure that I do, nevertheless my tendencies to lie are certainly very strong and this is what I have been doing most of my life.
When I talk to myself like this I feel that I am at least approaching truth. This still doesn’t make me fit to teach Torah. Only if I would speak the truth, that would be Torah and fit to teach.
But when I admit the truth about myself I am able to ask the Creator to help me. I can sincerely ask Him for mercy, for look at myself, what have I, what am I? Far, very far from truth.
I do have something. That I know that truth and only truth is worth speaking, thinking, doing, that is truly having something. With this I can start. Without this, I am not only nothing but I am without hope.
If I admit the truth: that I want truth, then I have hope, real hope. More than hope, I can have Bitachon. Bitachon means something like security. Security is very close to certainty, if not the same thing. HaKadosh Baruch Hu is certainty. And thus He wants to impart to us. He wants us to be certain about Him, certain about His love for us, His commitment to us, and His salvation for us.
One might say: if so, that He wants so much for us and is willing to give us so much, even certainty about our salvation, that all the good we want will come; if so, then what in the world is our part in the matter, where is all the work we have to do?
We must admit the truth, that we are hopeless in ourselves; that only with His help we are anything. Once we have done this then we can escalate to the next level: not only with His help are we now something, can have something, rather, now we can have everything. Because that is what He wants for us. We are Benai Yisrael, after all. We are, so to speak, all He has down here.
This is our work. Acquiring true Emunah and Bitachon.
We have to stop lying to ourselves. Step by step. First, stop lying so much. Next, stop lying a little more, etc. We don’t have to be so afraid not to lie. We’re afraid because we glimpse the truth, that we are so naked spiritually and we don’t want others to see. So we pretend we are not naked.
But if we trusted in G-d … behold, we are taught that even the slightest movement on our parts towards Hashem and His mitzvos is rewarded and cherished by Him. So what is a little embarrassment in front of flesh and blood compared to that? And don’t we think that Hashem could even spare us that little embarrassment also if we asked?
So what’s so difficult about wanting the truth? We’re surrounded by G-d’s kindnesses everywhere and in everything. The whole world is full of His glory. He gave us His Holy Torah, to which nothing can be compared, is there something we’re lacking? Is there something good He doesn’t do for us? He ever let us down? He ever didn’t keep one of His promises?
We have one thing that separated us from the evil of the world. That is the truth. We have the true G-d, the true Torah. When we drink the waters of Torah it quenches our thirst. They have a false god, a false torah. When they drink its waters they remain thirsty, or worse.
Time to daven:
HaKadosh Baruch Hu I need your help! I have gone on like this from quite a long time. You know what I mean but my dear readers don’t know what I mean. This itself is not the whole problem. You know the whole problem. I only know that You know and I don’t know.
HaKadosh Baruch Hu, am I reaching my goal? Am I reaching out and collecting souls for You? Are they speaking more to You than they were before? Or are they just fidgeting?
Ribono Shel Olam! Ribono Shel Olam! Help! Help! Open our mouths. Open our hearts. Open us up to You. Open our minds. Wake us up. Teach us Torah. Teach us Torah. Teach us Torah. Teach us Torah. Wake us up.
Please Hashem, please don’t tire of your patience with us.
There are many people who do not know what they believe. They do not understand what they know or don’t know. It is unclear—any point. To them this is a reasonable position to take on reality. They hold, actually, that this is the preferred position; that is why they remain with it. They think something like this:
“I can’t actually deny the possibility of G-d’s existence. There is too much wondrous about existence. And I recognize that there seems to be some kind of impetus to events that seems to be generated by some kind of consistent motive behind it all. Yet no one has ever said anything on the subject that I can fully believe. Otherwise! It seems that most everyone has some partial sense of truth. Metaphorically I can speak of truth as being made up of many patches of color in various patterns, none of which exactly harmonize nicely as a whole; actually there is quite a lot of discord. Nevertheless, I am comforted by brief passages of relative order and harmony within the chaos. This is reality.
If I ever try to examine a certain strand of this matrix, to see if perhaps any one aspect of truth holds the key to some greater underlying unity and meaning, I am always able to follow its sense for a short while and then…nothing. After many trials like this, I find myself exhausted from the frustration of finding, again, only contradiction and confusion; therefore as I have aged and gained experience I no longer chase these illusionary promises of light. Preferable to relax and try to enjoy what I can of life.
As far as religion goes, to be honest, it has never been clear to me what is it’s true connection to G-d, or, in any case, any G-d that I can understand. Religious people seem to me in general to be fanatics if not altogether lunatics; I can’t possibly seriously relate to one of them. Either they quietly follow their intricate private religious procedures and are not interested in me in the least, or they’re only interested in foisting their dogmatic opinions on everyone. There’s not the least bit of normalcy to them.
And thus it must be for all the “truth’s” that are supposedly written in his holy books, though I haven’t bothered much to look at them. What’s the point? To become an academic? To be considered well-rounded? Wisdom I don’t think I’ll find there. If I wish to trouble myself for wisdom let me trouble myself to make sense of my own experience.
If I must admit the truth, some religious people some of the time appear to have a greater grasp on aspects of reality than I do. Yet I suspect that it is actually artificial, therefore I don’t pursue it. Many people are quite talented at assuming airs of intelligence or understanding. I think the religious are some of the foremost of this sort. I don’t need to be fooled by more “show-men” than I already have been.
Although, again, I must admit that they themselves seem honestly convinced of their beliefs. But to me this only testifies to man’s propensity to deceive himself. I have sympathy for them; life is certainly a puzzle and I can understand why it would be comforting to believe in something. But I, myself, don’t want to fool myself. I’m smarter than that.
Again, if I could hear from one person, or from one sect, a thorough and consistent explanation of reality that would speak to me, that I would listen to. But there’s no such person. Indeed anyone who would claim to have all the answers I would run away from him like from fire, he’s surely a scoundrel!”
It seems that the common denominator of this person’s problem is his unwillingness to exert himself too much in clarifying matters of belief. If someone could tell him…but, he himself doesn’t see to make himself into that informed person. He has already tried several times, more than enough!
Our sages, however, contradict him. They taught:. ???? ??? ???? ?? ????? One who claims that he labored and didn’t find; don’t believe him. In other words, his labor was not enough. For if he really tried he would find. One who wants the truth, in truth ,will search for it until he finds it.
In truth, it seems that there is another way to look at our poor fellow. I think, actually, that most of us resemble him, if not in degree, at least in kind. His problem can be explained as a problem of parity between his inner experience and his experience of “the world” which is apart from him. The world for him is full of all sorts of battles and contradictions of values, theories, etc. who can sort the true from the false? Inside him, this is certainly true, it is reality as I know it, I experience it, therefore I know it, it is true to me certainly and if I wish to hold onto my sanity I must hold unto this, to me. Even though my truth may not make sense to others and objectively I admit that their sense of truth is perhaps more correct, nevertheless I cannot give up my inner knowledge to any “objective” scrutiny, it is simply perilous to my very being.
Hazal teach us that every man is required to say (believe): the entire world was created for me. Thus, the world is really my world, so to speak; why then is it so foreign and threatening to me? The answer is that I do not claim responsibility for the world as I should, hardly at all. I separate myself from the world because I see it’s vast problems as too much for me. Yet Hazal is telling us in this that we are responsible for the entire existence, it is the way it is because of us, because of me. True, physically I cannot effect even the very slightest portion of existence, and if I look at myself firstly as a physical being, it’s no wonder that I get dizzy from it all and want to lay down.
But I am responsible for the world because I am firstly a holy soul which is attached to the highest source. Through my actions and speech and thoughts elevate or denigrate all of existence. In particular I have the power of Tefilla which is my principle tool to effect change. I am required to use and develop this power of Tefilla to the upmost extent.
Coincidely, I am commanded to learn Torah with every spare moment. Learning Torah teaches me what belongs in the world and what doesn’t. It imparts to me Da’as which is the knowledge to distinguish; between the holy and profane, permitted and forbidden, pure and impure, right from wrong, true from false, good from bad. The proper study of Torah will imbue me, in the words of the Mishnah (Avos 6:1) the following qualities:[the creation of] the world is worthwhile for his sake alone. He is called ‘Friend, Beloved.’ He loves the Omnipresent, he loves [His] creatures, he gladdens the Omnipresent, he gladdens [His] creatures. [The Torah] clothes him in humility and fear [of G-d]; it makes him fit to be righteous, devout, fair and faithful. It moves him away from sin and draws him near to merit. From him people enjoy counsel and wisdom, understanding and strength, as it is said: ‘Mine are counsel and wisdom, I am understanding, mine is strength (Proverbs 8:14). [The Torah] gives him kingship and dominion and analytical judgment; the secrets of the Torah are revealed to him; he becomes like a steadily strengthening fountain and like an unceasing river. He becomes modest ,patient, and forgiving of insult to himself. The Torah makes him great and exalts him above all things.
One can, and should, judge himself with regard to the above paradigm. To the degree that he does not embody all the above, to that degree he is still not learning Torah properly. Thus we know what “reality” should look like for us. A person who learns Torah properly elevates himself and the entire existence with him. He connects the entire universe in holiness to the eternal oneness of the Creator, blessed is He. No parity, no confusion.
May Hashem merit us, His people to draw nearer to Him.
I had an experience recently in which the Creator showed for me complete kindness. I was in a situation in which I needed help and I received, not help, but unexpected love in an unusual manner and degree. It was a small moment, not a monumental moment that could pivot my life in a new upward swing, rather a small kindness, but a full one; an act of pure love and giving on the part of another Jew towards me, which in its essence was an act of revealed kindness of the Creator towards me.
I relate this here because of the realization that came over me afterwards as I mulled over the instantaneous outpouring of love and generosity which I just experienced without any prior preparation or expectation. The Creator was revealing to me a lesson. How I knew that this was the lesson I don’t know that I can explain, perhaps it is between the Creator and I, but the lesson itself I can explain. I understood that the Creator was showing me that this is how He actually deals with me, even all of us, all of the time. His face is always towards me. The darkness that I often experience is only from my side. I am not often open to receive His open kindnesses. But His kindnesses, His kindness, is constant.
True, my reality is not flooded with a continual shower of delightful experiences, each one more pronounced than the last, of the Creator’s overwhelming love and pleasure with me. I do not even experience a life of a chain of pleasant events; and though I don’t want to say categorically state that one shouldn’t expect to attain a life of any of the described above, nevertheless, that this not the point I wish to bring out here. The point is, as I mentioned, that I realized that all the constriction, the din, I experience, is from my side. If I wished to see the kindness of the Creator unendingly I am able to do so. I cannot simply want such a situation for myself, I must, as everything else, set this goal firmly in mind, and then work persistently and patiently until I achieve it.
I realized as such: The Creator’s kindness is constant. Sometimes, for instance on Shabbes or Yom Tov or Purim it is relatively easy, or at least, easier to witness this. Other times, as in a time of mourning, Heaven forbid, it is not the prominent awareness. But if one trains his mind’s eye to see the true kindness of the Creator that is eternal, he will be able to focus on this aspect of His emanation at every moment he wishes and be able to delight true delight in Hashem’s goodness always. Stated slightly differently, we can say that our experience is composed of intervaried Divine compassion and Divine judgement, hesed and din. There is almost no time when only one of these attributes reigns, rather either hesed is prominent or din is prominent. What I am suggesting is that one is free to be able to focus on the hesed of Hashem at any given moment. In this way the middah of hesed is always reigning in his life. This is alluded to in the verse: ????? ??‘ ??? ???????. One who trusts in Hashem is surrounded by kindness. Our Rabbis teach that this fact applies to every person who puts his trust in Hashem, even if he is not meritorious according to din. that is, that he relies upon the Creator’s attributes of kindness and great mercy at all times (and not on his own merits.) In this way he removes the attribute of Divine judgement from himself and draws to himself that which he is asking for, Divine compassion. This is the Creator’s will, that we recognize his infinite compassion and mercy on us and that we rely upon Him always to behave in this way with us. This matter is of upmost importance and need to be treated separately at length, be’esras Hashem.
What we have been speaking of is what Dovid HaMelech referred to when he said:??? ?? ?? ???? The kindness of Hashem [is with me] all the day. (Psalms 52:3) See there, the context of this statement, as well as the following many Psalms, all of which speak of a similar theme: the constant barrage of evil surrounding him, to a degree that none of us have ever experienced, coupled with his inner joy in attachment to Hashem.
It is true that this spiritual level is not the portion of most men and certainly not attained without a kind of effort that most would consider beyond them. Nevertheless one must understand about this and all other spiritual attainments. They all begin with one’s two feet planted firmly on the ground and involve the ascent of a ladder step by step to the endless highest levels. Everyone knows how to stand on the ground and everyone is able to grasp the ladder of the attribute he wishes to acquire and to place his first step firmly on the first rung. Then he climbs, carefully, assuredly, step by step at his own pace. Thus he reaches his true potential and has the pleasure of knowing where he is holding at every moment, where he has come from, what he has thus far achieved, and where is the next step above him.
The kind of fine-tuning and sensitivity we wish to acquire in order to see the kindness of Hashem constantly is a very lofty goal indeed. We may not see this in an exemplified form in any of even our greatest mentors. Even so, we see its acquisition in a partial form in most everyone. This recognition of reality coupled with the knowledge of the ideal exemplified by Dovid HaMelech is well enough for us to begin our ascent up this ladder. I hope this point has been made understood, be’ezras Hashem Yisborach!
If I don’t try I certainly won’t succeed. There are many barriers to reaching the goal. I am waking up to the vast loss of precious life that has past. Empty of gain. Of the power of the yetzer to deter me from my goal. The goal that You Hashem ask me me achieve. You place me here. You give me sense. You listen to whatever I have to say to You. Willingly, even eagerly. You are eager, thirsty, so to speak, to help me achieve the goal You want for me. Were it possible to say such a thing,(and there is really no other way to say it for it is true) there is nothing more important to You than that I achieve this end You have chosen for me. So to speak You enlist all Your means possible to help me to reach this purpose,(thus I am required to understand—understand this) and with all this I continue to sleep. To waste away my life. Oy what embarrassment.
So I start . All beginnings are hard, we are taught. I must write words about how precious are troubles and difficulties. Even though I only have a tender grip on the truth of this subject and have barely fulfilled its known principles but only a few times…nevertheless I must try. For You send me these difficulties to teach me. And if only now I have merited to catch on, even the slightest bit that I have caught on, it is certainly worth noting, certainly worth sharing with anyone who might benefit from it. What a treasure my life is, each of our lives. An awesome treasure, unfathomable. We are each like a treasure chest filled only with the finest jewels that the Creator Himself has carefully placed inside. Even the lowest of us, is a treasure chest of these gems. And the great ones of us, vast chambers full of the riches. Wisdom, Hashem pours into us wisdom. If we open our mouths wide He pours in more. He only wants us to eat, to thrive, His nest of sucklings, to grow great wings to scale great heights. He wants.
He sends us yisurrim, trials difficulties, pains, etc. Periodically, frequently sometimes, sparingly some times. Every one.
We deserve a lot of mercy, and I ask Hashem for mercy upon us.
Yissurim are against our nature. No one wants them. No one (almost no one) asks for them. Everyone, I think, is happy when they pass.
I am not going to prove at length what I am about to state because it is as clear as day to me. Every single pain we suffer is a gift from Hashem is tailor designed for our good, given with abundant love and compassion. He knows that we are able to handle our suffering. He knows that we are able to come to the awareness to say as did Rabbi Akiva: precious are Yissurim. I feel as if many people will send me nasty looks, and worse, for saying such words. They will claim: 1) I have no right to speak about suffering of humans in general for I have not experienced even a small bit of suffering like others. 2) even if my words are correct in principle, even 100% correct, still it is wanton cruelty to speak as if great suffering can be relinquished with even sound logic, all the more so with the faulty logic that is likely to come out of such a lazy bum as me.
Even though these opponents are surely correct, I have my answer to them and I believe in my answer and I believe also that if I can merit to properly express this truth any one can benefit immeasurably from it as I can. I have already stated the answer; Hashem is good and does good. Only good. All these troubles are gifts. We are supposed to accept them as such, as if we were being given wonderful gifts. (for truly they are. Each one of them.) So good are they, that even if we don’t accept them as we are supposed to, even if for our whole life we reject all these gifts in the most unlovely ways, even still, we will have benefited greatly from them.
But the real great benefit, the awesome reward lies in accepting them with love and happiness. Then we can really truly start to enjoy life. I think that until then, until we would learn (be’ezratHashem, soon, in our days) to be happy, truly happy with everything that Hashem in His infinite love for us sends us, only then can we start to appreciate the richness of life, what it is to be a Jew, and start to live and produce, to reap for ourselves true gains. May Hashem forgive me that I pause now in this thought for there is much more I am required to write on this subject as I have barely begun, if I have begun at all. The most important idea in this is that since we have been given Torah, therefore true and sound working knowledge is available for each and every one of us to attain—Hashem makes available for us exactly what we need to know when we ask Him for this. With this knowledge, whose basis is Emunah, we have tools to accept everything that Hashem sends to us with love even though these yissurim are the opposite of what we want and are looking to see from Him and are against are most delicate aspects of our nature, against our poor swollen bodies, against our tender beaten hearts, against our most valiantly won and guarded intelligence and sense of right and good, against all that is holy and pure, nevertheless, with knowledge of G-d we can swallow it all, and smile.
May we merit speedily to return to Him with a full heart and merit all the blessed awareness of His goodness that He wants for us.
May He grant me in His mercy to put into words all that He wishes me to write (and to do all the good deeds He wants me to perform) and merit me to see my children and children’s children clinging to His Holy Torah and running joyfully to do His will, along with all Yisrael, and the whole world accepting His sovereignty speedily in our days, amen.
I will mention in passing, a continuation of the last idea and develop it, G-d willing, at a different time. Blessed is the one whose yesurim are in Torah and in Avodas Hashem.
(I’m not sure that I have something substantially new to offer on the subject and it is already public knowledge.
What I wish to approach here is the subject of speaking to the Creator and hearing His responses. We are taught that we must speak to the Creator to a very great extent in our life in order to merit all that we wish to achieve here. See sifrei Breslov in particular which are replete with this message. The Chafetz Chaim, ztz”l also spoke much of the importance of this.
One must gain an understanding of the goodness of the Creator, of His absolute goodness. That is, as in everything else, one must take his intellectual understand that the Creator is good and does only good and he must find the way to put it into his moment to moment experience of his life. Every moment of one’s life is an orchestration of the blessed Creator’s love for that person, it is a personal message to you, from G-d. Period. There is nothing else, nothing outside of this, every moment is the Creator’s gift to you. He is speaking to you in each of these moments in His very personal language that only you can understand.
This statement needs to be repeated to oneself until it is fully synthesized within one’s blood. The only way that one can come to actualize this reality and therefore have a chance to understand what the Creator is saying to him is to isolate himself a lot and speak to the Creator. There is no other way, my friend. In order to get on with your life in a good way you have to face being alone. Being alone with yourself and thinking about yourself and your ways and deeds and realizing that the Creator is with you, with you in everything, and that you have to answer to Him alone. This is very hard for many people, and therefore many people never get past this first step. All beginnings are hard, but afterwards it is unfathomably sweet.
If we reflect we will see that our mind and heart are full of answers that we are constantly creating to explain ourselves and our behavior. We feel the eyes of the world upon us and upon our actions judging us and them, accepting us, rejecting us…everyone healthy wants to be accepted, loved, etc. and therefore he constantly is trying to present him or herself in ways that will bring favor. Even though it is hard to state that this is bad, the deeper truth is that it is a mistake, that is, it is fact of our nature that must be informed by the higher knowledge of the Torah which tells us that we are not to perform acts in order to please people, rather to please Hashem. To please Hashem truly will be good for people and for oneself. To please others without having Hashem in mind, is a questionable good act.
Although many might think that I am speaking on a very esoteric level that is not relevant to most, I am compelled to insist on the central importance of this point of view . All the judgments that we sense from others are truly only judgments from Hashem. They are His way of speaking to us and pointing out what we need to look at and act upon. If we act and try to adjust ourselves according to the likings of the people which He has sent to us to speak in His name, so to speak, we have missed the main point. It is only unfortunate that this seems such a radical statement. The prophet Yeshayahu thus spoke:??, ??, ?? )
???? ???? ??? ?????? ?? ?? ????? ????? ???? ??? ?? ??? ???? ????. ????? ?‘ ??? ???? ???? ???? ??? ????? ???? ?? ???? ??? ????? ???‘
A point I write on a particular need for Emunah. We are taught (Shabbes 55) There is no suffering without sin. All suffering, small and large comes from the great kindness of the Blessed Creator to expiate sin, as is explicated without end in all the sefarim of our Holy sages of all generations, I need not to explicate further. One point , however I wish to mention: Often when we receive these small and large sufferings we are not woken easily to the fact that our own sins are the “cause” of these fortuitous visitations, and not just in the midst of our pain are we blinded by our pain to the truth, but even after the fact, and upon reflection, we often attribute our suffering to other causes, other people, nature, etc. (In the Creator’s great kindness expiation is still achieved even without our “consent”, but we miss out on the better part of these gifts, as is also explained well in all our Holy Sefarim.) We need blame ourselves too much for this, for we are ladened with the attribute of forgetfulness, whereby which we forget the multitude of our sins that have as of yet not been fully repented for, that these visitations are coming to purge. Very few are experts at Heshbon Hanefesh, repenting constantly on the lifetime sins. The Blessed Creator understands this and never removes His mercy from us. When we receive suffering we can be sure that the Creator understands that we are still able to receive benefit from it, for if we were so fast asleep as to not arouse even a little from the pain he would leave us alone, Heaven forbid, for He has no pleasure in making even the most evil human suffer. Understand this well.
Therefore since we don’t remember all our sins we must strengthen ourselves at these moments of pain and afterwards reflect upon what is happening to us and grasp Emunah that the Blessed Holy One is meting us the medicine we need and we should thank Him to the best of our abilities for this. The wise will understand.
It arose in my hear that it would be important to write the following:
There are those who are making a serious mistake in their thinking which is preventing them from the success and salvations that they desire, and if one would do himself the favor of setting aside for himself some time to ponder his life with a settled mind I believe that he would find that at least in some degree he is suffering from this mistake, and be’ezras Hashem, realizing this mistake is already half of the cure and through time one can be cured entirely with Hashem’s help.
The matter is as follows:
A person feels, imagines, murmurs to himself that HASHEM IS NOT PAYING ATTENTION TO HIM, is ignoring him, doesn’t care about him, is fed up with him, is angry with him, has had it with him, etc. This mistake is noted as the reason for the most severe sin, the sin of the Meraglim, as is mention in sefer Devarim (1:27): And you complained in your tents and said from Hashem’s hatred of us he took us out of Mitzriaim to give us into the hands of the Emori to destroy us. See Rashi there and see the Seforno there. I heard from the holy mouth of HaGaon Harav Hiam Kamil, ztz”l, that the Jewish people felt that Hakadosh Baruch Hu held a “grudge” against them for their serving foreign gods in Mitzriam and was now going to wipe them out in return. This most serious sin was a lack of Emunah and a lack of understanding of Hashem’s measure of compassion and love for His people.
Every person passes through periods called “small mindedness” and periods of “large mindedness.” By large mindedness is implied that a person is grasping hold of the awareness of the blessed Creator and His full power and control of everything, and most importantly, of the person’s life. In this state the person is happy, even if, heaven forbid, he were enduring torture, for he is keenly aware that all is being done to him for his true and absolute good by his loving Creator whose mercies know no bounds. His mind is large; that is, his knowledge is sufficiently wide to encompass all that is happening to him. [We see here that the essential basis of all knowledge is one; the understand of Hashem’s complete sovereignty, unity and goodness.] Our essential work in this world is to learn how to maximize these large-minded states, that they should reign as much as possible.
Small mindedness is when our active knowledge is not sufficient to grasp the above fact: that only Hashem is in control. The person feels subject to many forces; other people, institutions, the economy, enemies, his own thoughts and moods, his past, his health, etc,etc. The common factor in all this is the multiplicity of powers and the absence of Hashem. This is one concept. If a person understands in his heart that Hashem is One and All then there is no other power whatsoever. If this understanding is weak, then there are other factors. This weakness of understanding cause depression, confusion, lack of concentration, lack of motivation, lack of resolve, etc, everything that is not good.
The difficulty is that the attainment of this working knowledge and awareness of the constant supervision of the blessed Creator involves work to attain; I know of no other way to acquire it. One must learn to know himself very well so that this blessed light can shine brightly in all the rooms of his spiritual abode in which he resides in this life. This involves much Torah and reflection and prayer, etc. I see no other way.
What I can offer is that one simplify his outlook and focus his life in one direction. This “narrowing” is the way to enter into the wide vistas of living that he desires. The one direction is: I am alive in order to know Hashem Yisborach. Period. Everything else that is a worthy aspiration is only a branch of this single tree of life. Thus if one grasps this tree he will not suffer from a confusion of purpose or from spiritual imbalance. [ A person, out of his very good will to improve himself and his service of G-d, will often undertake different kinds of activities that promote promise of furthering his worthy goals; strengthening himself in Torah, Tefilla and Derech Eretzas he should. The problem is that his endeavors are often not in the proper balance.]
One must realize that only G-d truly understands his nature and can balance all of his activities. Therefore the person must above all act with full and utter simplicity and trust in Hashem to guide all his ways. This is grasping onto the tree of life mentioned above.
The thesis of this chapter should now be visible. If one focuses his goals in life into one, he will come to maximize his periods of large-mindedness. He will come to see that Hashem is running his life and not that he himself is running his life. When he sees this he will understand that everything that Hashem is doing with Him is through absolute love and wisdom and thus he can respond accordingly. Though I have written in brevity I think that this is sufficient for a wise person.
I will, with Hashem’s constant help, now embark upon the subject of Emunat Chachamim, Emunat Tzaddikim.
The possuk says: ??????? ???? ????? ????.
A second possuk says: ??????? ?? ?????
There is an apparently surprising element here. Be it that one must believe in Hashem. That is, since our minds cannot grasp Hashem, therefore we must rely upon Emunah. (according to the common understanding that Emunah applies where our intelligence ends. What we grasp and understand with our intelligence, we needn’t rely upon Emunah; for it is clear to us, we know it. Rather that which we do not (yet) know completely, we are asked to accept upon faith as true)
Rather, Moshe, why must we believe in Moshe? Is it not sufficient to hear his teachings and to grasp them? What element of faith is needed to receive Torah from our teacher? (and what we fail to understand we must ask our teacher to explain to us until we understand it. A true teacher of Torah will explain to us until we understand, as it is taught that we shouldn’t learn except from one who is considered a Malach Hashem, like Rav Praida who taught his talmid each lesson 400 times until he understood.)
And if we answer that the possuk is coming to fix the principle that the Torah was given only through Moshe and that we are given to believe in Moshe’s Torah and to reject any other Torah given through any other person, this is certainly true, and implied in the possuk. Nevertheless if one examines the context of the verse one sees that this is not the simple meaning, for the possuk proclaims the climax of the miracle if the splitting of the Sea, the culmination of the miracles of the Exodus, and the opening to the Song at the Sea which Yisrael sang in Hashem’s praise. It is therefore an expression of the powerful revelation at that time when Clal Yisrael reached as a whole a high level of prophecy, that is a clarity of understanding that all that has transpired was the hand of Hashem through His servant Moshe. This is expressed through the word Emunah, and this is what requires understanding, for as is said above, where there is clarity of understanding Emunah is not needed, and here Clal Yisrael reached a great apex of clarity of vision.
Rather the matter is, is that just as even what we can know of Hashem. That is, what he reveals of His providence to man, nevertheless there is always a level of understanding of His ways that one has not yet reached, so it is to with our true teachers, the Tzaddikim, that bring the Torah to us in every generation. As much as we grasp of their ways and teachings, nevertheless the is always an element that is beyond us. And just as we must accept all of Hashem’s ways, those that we understand and those that we don’t, thus too with the Tzaddikim. This is called Emunat Chachamim, Emunat Tzadikkim, that we accept the true Tzaddikkim in their entirety as we accept Hashem in His entirety.
One must understand this from several angles. One point is that if one accepts only the teachings of the Tzaddik which he understands, in essence he has not accepted the Tzaddik at all, he in essence is only relying upon his own understanding. Rather Hashem’s wisdom dictated that the Torah be transmitted through Tzaddikim that we believe in them, that all their words should be accepted by us, the full Torah be transmitted to us and not just the Torah that we are able to grasp immediately. This concept is conveyed in the words of Clal Yisrael upon the receiving of the Torah : we will do and we will understand, and stands in contrast to the other nations who rejected the Torah saying: What is written in it? Clal Yisrael accepted the Torah upon Emunah: we will do. The explanation is we will do even though we don’t yet understand. Because we understand who is giving us the Torah, therefore we needn’t accept it from the fact of our intelligent grasp of its content, for Whom we are receiving it from is entirely reliable to us.
This is what separates us from the nations and the ways of the world. This is the aspect of Yisrael as a Holy nation, This is the aspect of the Holy forefathers and the essential point of Emunah which defines Yisrael. There is no end to the length to which this point should be and has been expounded but I will not expand upon it here for it is clear to all who follow the Torah and are attached to Hashem as they should be.
The point here is that Hashem asks us the very same Emunah in the transmitters of the Torah, the true Tzaddikim. As for everything else there are many reasons for this, but I will mention one. Hashem , in his love for us, desires our full “partnership” with Him. Therefore He did not give us the Torah as a closed book: Thus do: a,b,c… Rather he gave us the Torah as an awesome code of Principles upon which the Sages of the Torah expound with their creative intelligence all the implications of the principles. The understanding of the the Torah is a creative process which engages the full capabilities of man. In this fact lies its great delight.
Therefore Hashem gave the Torah into the hands of teachers whose active engagement with the students would transmit the Torah from generation to generation. Thus the responsibility for the Torah lies with the nation in each generation. The acceptance of the Torah was not a one-time act, rather it is a continual choice. In his love for us He gave us completely the greatest treasure,
The Emunah that one is required to have for the Tzaddik is perhaps a harder test that the Emunah for Hashem Himself. For after all, he is only a man like me, and prone to mistakes, failure, faults, ups and downs, etc, etc. like me, How can I believe in him? Therefore the possuk comes and tells us And they believed in Hashem and Moshe his servant. And Hashem said to Moshe: they will forever believe in you. For we not only believe that Hashem created the world and guides the world and that He gave us His Torah. We also believe that he chose for us prophets and Tzadikim in each generations that that are to be completely relied upon in this same way that we rely completly upon Hashem. We trust Hashem that He chooses for us success in our mission, therefore the truth will reside with us always. The torah will be expounded in each generation in absolute truth and will be embodied in the Tzaddikim and Chachamim of each generation. This is expressed in the Possuk:??? ???? ???? ?? ??? ?????? ?? ????? ??? ????? the same one that makes heaven and earth, the sea and all that is in it he GAURDS TRUTH FOREVER. That is, he ensures that true Torah never leaves the earth. He ensures that There are true Tzadikkim in every generation where one is able to hear from them true Torah.
Although man is fallible but Hashem nevertheless guards those that merit in truth His closeness that they not stumble, that they can be relied upon to transmit the Torah in truth. Thus Hashem asks us , as the essential ingredient for the nation’s success, for the maintenance of Divine truth and true life to prosper in the world. First and foremost to believe in the Tzaddik, to accept him fully. One’s mental keenness is not his primary tool for the grasping of truth, rather the purity of his Emunah.
If one will ponder this he will see the great profundity and wisdom in this and how it forms the main principle of our spiritual, our true existence and Life in the real sense. Much of its depth is very hard to explain in words and is left for each one to ponder and see for himself. This is in concordance with the possuk, the secret of Hashem is with those who fear Him. I have nevertheless taken upon myself, with Hashem’s help to explain in words as much as I can. One should consider well that the Holy Torah is in our midst today, which is our life , our breathe , our only hope, the only good, our eternal reward and portion—this Torah is here for us today because of the chain of Chachamim and tzaddikikm of each generation, whose awesome pirity in the service of Hashem rendered them into fit vessels for the transmission of Hashem’s wisdom. Hashem’s wisdom from the beginning of creation was that there would rise up in each generation men who aspired to ascend his Holy mountain and conquer their natures to remain there. This is the man that Hashem created in His image, the one who would complete his divine form as man. From the seed of Avraham, Yitzhok and Yaakov there would always be those who would be inspired to ascend to the heights of holiness in oreder to serve their Master fully. Thus the pure transmission of the Torah was insured from the outset and the purpose of creation would be fulfilled in its perfection. Every man would have free choice to grasp the tree of life if he so desired. The insurance of this purpose is the work of these Tzaddikim. It is clear to one who understands that this sole possibility for true life, to learn and practice the holy precepts of the Divine Torah is only because of these Tzadikkim. With this understanding it becomes simple to believe their words and follow their teachings even if our understanding is very short to grasp them. Just as we don’t rely on our intelligence to grasp the Divine itself which is beyond any human grasp at all, rather living happily in the assurance of our faith-wrought choices, thus, too, we don’t rely upon our limited intelligence to grapple with the thought of our Holy and Pious Sages , rather warm ourselves to their glowing coals and allow their light to flow into our souls.
One who is far from truth often finds difficult the concept and reality of belief and trust in the Sages and Tzadikkim. He who has not clarified his own situation sufficiently thinks of himself, with the little knowledge that he has, as a great mind and seeks to grapple with the Torah by virtue of his keen intelligence. Therefore he finds fault and shortcoming in the words of the true Tzadikkim for he thinks himself close to their level. Since he has not mastered his own character faults his vision is distorted and he is prone to remain with these faults and distant from Hashem if he delays waking up to the truth.
There are many ways to be released from this blindness but the key to all of them is a desire to find truth. True since he lives in imaginations he considers that truth is already his portion, and thus where is there hope?
The opposite is actually more perplexing. For the realization of truth is simply recognizing that the Torah’s wisdom is not yet entirely his own, that it forever remains above him. When he fixes in his heart his own awesome smallness with respect to Hashem he can begin to grow and grasp reality. Then he can appreciate the great level of the true Tzadikkim and seek to learn from them. When afterwards, in periods of small-mindedness he might find the Tzaddik’s words as simple to him, he will remind himself that he is still far from living in truth and, being prone to deception, will judge the Tzaddik or the Sage “to the side of merit” and search for the shortness in his own thinking.
It is clear to all the Torah as a whole and in every part thereof contains two aspects: a hidden and a revealed aspect. In the same sense, each man has these two aspects, his reveled self and his hidden self. What is known of him by others and what is not known except to himself. The inner, hidden aspect of all things is always the greater aspect, both in quantity and quality. (even humanity, whose outer aspect is the nations, and inner aspect Yisrael, and Yisrael is the “smallest of the nations”, nevertheless this inner aspect is also greater in quantity for the soul of the Jew is incomparably ”larger” than that of the non-Jew, thus one Jewish life is paramount to the entire world/ Thus in true in all such instances, that the inner, spiritual aspect is “larger” than the external physical aspect even though in physical terms the spiritual take us no space. For quantity is also primarily as spiritual matter. This discussion of not in the scope of this essay)
Furthermore all inner aspect is a clothing, an outer aspect for a deeper, more hidden aspect. Thus the outermost aspect of anything, which is clear and known to all, is actually a thin veneer revealing the but a weak illumination of the depths within. If one understands this simple principle and has it before him he can ascend the levels of wisdom and come close to truth, to Hashem. If one doesn’t understand this, rather sees the external aspect of things as primary, he remains forever distant from Hashem from truth, from life.
I will try here to convey a certain reality which I merited at one point to grasp and perhaps in the writing of it I will further acquire this precious reality as a constant experience and, with Hashem’s help, this also can enter into the living experience of others. The understanding is this: Hashem’s Presence is everywhere, in everything, truly all is Hashem. Yet our perception of His Presence varies according to what we are experiencing, and many other factors. In Holy places, such as the Bait Canesset, at the Kotel, at graves of the Tzaddikim, as well as at Holy times; Shabbes, Yom tov, during tefilla, Hashem’s Presence is felt more strongly.
The true Tzaddikim are the most holy vessels for Hashem’s Presence, as is it said of the holy forefathers that they were chariots for the Divine Presence. The Divine Presence in this world is most manifest in the true Tzaddikim. (This accounts for the awesome kedusha of Kevri Tzaddikim, for the Tzaddik is even greater in his death than in his life.) The writings of the Tzaddik are, of course, unparalleled in their kedusha, only the Sefer Torah itself, the writing of The Tzaddik, Life of all the Worlds, is holier. And the sefer Torah itself is called in the name of a human Tzaddik, Toras Moshe.
The perception of the Tzaddik’s holiness is not necessarily a simple matter. Just as Hashem’s Presence in this world is largely concealed, and perception of Him is largely a matter of personal merit and effort, similarly it is with Tzaddikim, whether living in this world or living only in the world of truth. One merits to come close to Tzaddikim through one’s effort towards such, just as all spiritual attainments are gained by effort. Many Tzaddikim are hidden Tzaddikim and their righteousness and holiness is known only to a very few. It is also possible that a person’s great righteousness and holiness is not even known to himself. In truth the holiness of each Jew is so enormous that he have no grasp of it; but for most, this holiness remains in the realm of potential. Very few merit to bring their inherent holiness into a living reality in this world, to be a true Tzaddik.
Therefore it should be seen that it is extremely important to believe in the existence of Tzaddikim in each generation, for in their merit the world continues, they are the foundation of the world, its constant support, its light, its beauty, its grace. Knowledge that there are living Tzaddikim of the greatest stature are amongst us alters our life enormously. Were we to think that Moshe Rabbenu were alive and living amongst us, and, although we might not merit a personal visit with him, nevertheless, the mere knowing that he is here and leading us, praying for us, changes everything. Suddenly, with this knowledge we are living on a holy planet, with this knowledge we are no longer in a ‘bitter exile’, we are merely still in the wilderness on our way to our holy destination. Thus we should believe and know, that there are Tzaddikim of awesome stature in each generation. The Divine Presence is with us constantly, embodied within the Jewish People as a whole and within its true leaders, the Tzaddikim in particular. May we merit to experience this, amen.
Yesterday the most important and pressing concern was to enter into discussion Emunat Tzaddikim. Even though I only sketched an introduction to the matter and didn’t enter into the material which was the essence of what I wanted to reveal, nevertheless, if Hashem desires to aid me in such I will attempt to continue at another time. However since then a more pressing matter imposed itself into the center of my attention and I will attempt to pass what I can of it to the reader.
I saw written in the name of the Baal Shem Tov HaKadosh that Emunah is not as it should be until a person had no worries, whatsoever period. The implication is not only that in matters of sustenance one must wholly rely upon Hashem rather in all matters, spiritual and physical a Jew is not to worry about any situation past present or future, rather know that all is in complete control of over loving Father in Heaven and for our very best.
There are many who stumble in the simplicity of this idea and perhaps I can help in some part. Some think that not to worry implies some lack of responsibility, as to live “carefree” without a care in the world as empty people live. A person who has Emunah in the sense that the Baal Shem Tov is speaking is in full management of his affairs, is full of ambition and motivation, energy, is responsible etc. He simply does not allow worry to trouble his mind, about anything. He trusts that everythingthat is occurring to him and all his aspirations are completely in the hands of Hashem. The man certainly must act, his action is the preparation of a vessel for Hashem to fill that vessel. The preparation, the will is from the person, and all the results are from Hashem. Man is incapable of success, it is not his province. Man’s province is will, desire . Only Hashem completes any of our wishes.
A person gains a great amount of inner peace from understanding that the essential thing that is asked of him at any moment is to recognize that Hashem is in absolute control of everything. There as an awesome amount of decisions that one is confronted with through each day, and he must choose to the best of his ability. He should realize that the biggest mistake he can make is to think that somehow he is alone in his choice. The most important aspect of every choice is the understanding that he is choosing to recognize the complete providence of Hashem. Man’s arrogance is what separates him from his success. When a person sees that he is nothing and that Hashem is everything he is choosing the path of life, all wisdom and success are found there. Since there is really but one choice in life, not to worry, rather to trust, one can without too much difficulty guide his way through life, he can train Himself to look for and Find Hashem in every instance. Since Hashem is all there is and there is nothing besides Him (except falsehood, illusion) this active choosing of Emunah is actively choosing truth, life and blessing.
Even sound reason alone tells me that everything that happens to me thorough my entire life from beginning to end without any exception is the loving and guiding hand of Hashem, that it is entirely tailored for my absolute good in this world and the next. No created being can fathom even a small part of the wisdom involved in all His doings with me (myself and my loved ones included) Thus the only rational recourse in every movement of my life is Emunah, to increase Emunah, to ponder again and again, anew over and over, the course of my spirit and find strategies to strengthen myself in straightening my path, of steering and returning myself again and agin to this straight understanding, that Hashem is constantly doing me the very best.
Test with your intelligence and see that there is no fault in this reasoning.
And see that though the principle is wonderfully simple, nevertheless the challenge is ultimate. Man will be tested over and over, even once he has gained such precious understanding, in order that he strengthen himself in this until he never will be moved from it.
See how hard it is, if you have grasped the truth, to hold onto it and have it guide you. How successful are you?
Know also, that to see and hold this truth is not merely a matter of brute force of will to balance yourself, but is and awesome creative enterprise whose fruits are the opening up of the spiritual world of reality which is created for you alone by your father in Heaven who knows you.
The largest impediment to grasping onto this guide is one’s will. Man wants, without end man wants. And until one has perfected all his ways to the extent that his sole want is to give nachas to Hashem, until then he still has many many desires of his own.
Let us say that one has weaned out most of his bad desires. (would it only be!) Even if bad desires still intrude his consciousness from time to time, or often; but he succeeds in recognizing them for what they are and steers away from them. He stumbles, but he finds his way again and strengthens himself to avoid stumbling there again.
So he is guided by his good desires. He wants to perform mitzvoth. He wants to learn Torah.
However, he is not always able to succeed in this, to perform the mitzvah as it should be done, to learn as he should, etc. He wants to earn a living, and he struggles hard, very hard for this worthy goal, yet is far from it.
Hashem does not allow him to have his will as he would like, even though it is a very good will. Here the person must say: To me is seems good. But what do I know compared to Hashem? He is certainly doing what is best for me at every moment even though I do not understand.
He tries again, to choose even better. He prays, he speaks it over with Hashem. Am I not choosing what you want?
He tries and tries. He feels as if Hashem is almost constantly denying his will and pushing him in another direction. He feels like a sheep whose shepherd is forever clopping him on the side, saying no, not there, here!
Thus said David HaMelech: Tehillim 119, 176. I strayed like a lost sheep, Search out your servant for I have not forgotten your mitzvoth.
This is a level beyond what h=we have described above. We were holding at the frustrating position of having out will continually denied and being forced to remind ourselves that Hashem knows better, and that we’re better off accepting all His chastisement and trying to relent to be moved in the direction we vaguely seem to distinguish that he wants us to go. Would it only be that we pray to see how he wants us to walk clearly!
David HaMelech reached the clear recognition that his will was far from perfect, far from what it should be. Would our will be straight, for what reason would Hashem deny us to walk gladly in it? Rather he sees that he is but as a lost sheep, not knowing the way towards his own salvation, completely dependent upon the mercy of his shepherd to guide him to the goodness he needs. And he cries out to his shepherd! Search for me, please, for your lost and helpless servant, for I haven’t forgotten your mitzvoth! I’m good, that is I desire only good. All I really want is to do good, Your will. I am just completely lost. I try with all my strength, all the time, all my life, and still I don’t know the blessed way. I am far from knowing, far from salvation, so please have mercy and search for me, Your lost child!
Our Rabbis have taught that the key to the salvations of Hashem and the resolution of our problems and all our successes in the physical and spiritual realms, regarding this world and the next, is Emunah. Although the necessary actions words and thoughts involved with each matter are indispensible, nevertheless the underlying foundation of our lives must be the purifying of our Emunah, if this is present the successes with come in their time, and before their time. If this is not present the successes will delay in coming or be lost altogether.
It seems to me that this is for the reason that Emunah is the so to speak natural condition of reality, the true fabric of existence. The matter can be compared to a train which travels along its tracks towards its destination. W/o interruptions it reaches the desired end in the quickest possible way. But every stop delays the arrival. These stops are our interruptions in Emunah: doubts, worry, lack of happiness, loss of the proper perspective…
It seems that in general people think of the future as an uncertainty. Certainly from our perspective it is so, we don’t know the future, any of it.
This is a very important understanding in itself. Many, most of us think of certain aspects of the future as somehow in our hands, to manage to calculate about, etc ,etc. We make plans, very many, and also count on them happening, we bank on them, and we are disappointed when ‘something happens’ and our plans don’t come to be.
We should actually understand well, that although Hakadosh Baruch Hu allows us to ‘plan our future’ as if it already belongs to us, and to map out our life in front of us, and this is considered wisdom as it is stated in the Mishnah in Avot that an Amora held that Haroeh et hanolad, seeing the results which will happen from our actions, is the good path in life that we should attach ourselves to; nevertheless it is equally important and wise to understand the future is in no way ours it is “something that has not come into the world”(therefore I cannot sell the fruits that will grow on my tree, since how can I sell something that doesn’t exist!?)
We should therefore sense strongly that all our plans are completely conditional and depend solely upon Hashem will. The more that we work on this line of thinking and strengthen it always (for this reason, as well as others we are accustomed to say, “Hashem willing”, “if Hashem wishes”, with Hashem’s help”, “without an oath”, and the like as regards to all future situations and commitments. When we say these words it is important to meditate on their meaning for us, to fix in our hearts that truly the future is entirely dependent upon Hashem only, and we, for our part cannot make anything happen. I seems that man’s natural disposition is to consider the future, as well as his whole life, as belonging to him, to mold as he would like. Even though experience teaches to the contrary, unfortunately many people do not learn as they should from their experience. Thus our sages taught, man thinks he will live here a thousand years. That is, even though everyone knows that he will die, in actually a very short time, nevertheless his behavior entirely contradicts this fact; he lives as if he has ‘all the time in the world’ to apply himself to his obligations, direct himself towards his true purpose, etc.]
Nevertheless we must also realize that the future very much exists, is certain, exact, and fully realized already. That is, before Hashem, the future is certainly revealed, and no less verified and clear than the past or present. (though we have absolute free choice, Hashem knows what we will choose. Furthermore, all man’s choices are not only already seen by Him but exactly as He wanted, for it is impossible to do something against His will. Everything that occurs in the 6000 years of creation is exactly as Hashem desired from the start. Nevertheless man has absolute free choice to do Hashem’s will or not. This is very simple to one who had proper Emunah and straight thinking and one needn’t be confused at all by this ‘contradiction.’ This is not the place to elaborate on this subject.)
The importance of our knowing that the future is already clear and defined before Him is that it is a great source of security, peace of mind and tranquility of thought, and can lead to real and persistent joy when one learns to fix this reality into his thoughts. I will illustrate with a small example. A person is involved in developing a certain business prospect which would benefit him greatly. He wishes and prays that it should materialize for him, and of course he performs all the proper hishtadlus. Additionally he should teach himself by saying: I have done what I needed to do. I am clear of worry or to think any more of the subject. What will happen will be exactly what Hashem wants to happen and I or no one else can change this fact. The future is entirely Hashem’s and whether he does my will or not, either way this is the very best for me, this is what Hashem, in His infinite wisdom, saw to do.
Therefore we can benefit from seeing the future, not as some kind of uncertain, ambiguous or amorphous entity, that somehow we have to wait through a tense or uncertain or unclear period until we see whether what we want will come or not. We can rather understand that we are always walking into a absolutely certain and absolutely good future. We walk forward on absolutely solid ground with complete assurance, for although we know nothing of the future, it being in fact and absolute uncertainty to us, nevertheless we do not attach our minds to the utter frailty of our own condition, rather to the absolute solidity of the reality before us, that it is only Hashem’s and nothing can alter it. I believe I have sketched this idea clearly in a few words. We must elaborate upon it to ourselves, for certainly naturally we are far from possessing this, and it will require much work to attain, nevertheless once one has verified the truth of this, and seen the merit of thinking in this manner, he will apply himself to acquiring this manner of being, for there is no limit to its value, and every acquisition of even a small amount of this kind of thinking is very valuable.
It seems to me that another spiritual reality can be sketched. The physical world we live in is in every manner a testimony to the Creator, His wisdom and providence and absolute goodness and kindness to us. Every aspect of the world is a metaphor and sybol of spiritual realities, and therefore we can learn from the world which is a ‘garment’ of the Holy King which clothes His true light and essence. We can learn by examining the garment, that which lies underneath it.
Our physical existence in this world is dependent on the food we eat, which is dependent on the rain that the earth receives. Rain comes only from clouds which are formed by the accumulation of moisture. When the cloud becomes ‘heavy’ and ‘full’ with this moisture drops of rain being to seep out of it and fall to the earth. Eventually its heaviness will cause large amounts of rain to descend all together. Raindrops have become rain.
We can understand our hishtadlus for our living in the same way. We must make the steps to further our purpose. We must pray for direction and look to Hashem to see that we are walking in the way He wishes. If we realize and look only to Him, and we purify our intentions as we go that our purpose should only to be able to do His will, that we will see the signs that we need from Him to know that we are on the right path. For He understands that we are entirely dependent upon Him for our survival, that we do not possess the wisdom or means in our own right to care for ourselves, therefore, since He is kind, he shows us the way to succeed, if we look to Him. (but if rather we think that we possess the wisdom to achieve our ends, He will allow us to persist in our error. Even still, at any point that we wish to admit our mistake and look to Him for direction He is there for us, for He never abandons us. We only abandon Him.)
Therefore we can walk forward assuredly in the doing of the small steps we understand to undertake, knowing that these small true and faithful efforts are causing ‘moisture to accumulate and form into clouds’. As we proceed along in this way we can be assured that the sky is slowly being covered with our rainclouds, and a little while later we will start to feel a few drops of rain. Then one should become quite confident that it is just a matter of time (with his continued persistent effort and tefilla) and the downpour will come.
* Caterpillar… butterfly…the future which is totally good already exists in hidden form. The present, in which we experience also bad is like a clothing which will be removed and a truer inner clothing reveled. Possuk in prophets to this fact. Reality of tsheuvah, example of one who kills another and then makes complete tsheuvah. The world as we see it has not been corrected, the killed one is not here. But tin the true spiritual world the sin had been completely erased in the future world, when one’s true clothing are worn we will see this with our eyes. Therefore one must believe in the power of tshueva and in all the words of the Torah that speak of realities we create by our deeds that we don’t see with our eyes, and know that they are real and we will see them.
The ten plagues in Mitzriam were not simply a matter of punishing the Mitzriam and bringing them to release the Jews. This is evidenced by the hardening of Pharaoh’s heart. And clearly in a possuk. The plagues that we should speak to our children of the wonders of Hashem. There is to understand them as a preparation of Israel to go out of filth of Mitzriam in which they were imbedded. As they needed 49 days of purification once they were out of Mitzriam to be able to receive the torah on Sinai, also they need 10 months of plagues to escape the spiritual darkness they were immersed in. A person in darkness doesn’t know that there is light for a person doesn’t see beyond where he is at. A Jew far from Torah doesn’t know what he is lacking or even if he is lacking. Hashem works with each Jew wherever he is all his life bringing him slowly in a way a person can understand from where he is, to him. He does not know where he is going till he gets there and sees the awesome wisdom that led him closer and closer to Hashem choosing things which were disguised in clothings which his mind and heart could recognize as desirable from the distance from the pure source which he was. We are vessels which can contain only certain amount of spiritual light.
* This world is a hallway, passageway to the next world. This world, everything in it is a metaphor an allusion and symbol of higher worlds. One who sees this world for what it is, that it that all of its aspects relate essentially to their roots meanings in the spiritual world, then he realizes that all he actions, thoughts, decisions have eternal meaning, cause and fix eternal realities. Though one must make a living and sell and buy, etc. in commodities of this world, he should realize that all his decisions are actually decisions about eternal realities. This is a very important understanding which very few, it seems , are privileged to grasp. It is a state of real and constant yirat Shamayim. May we merit this.
The mitzvah of devakus to Hashem Yisborach is repeated several times in the Torah; we are explicitly commanded to cleave to him in four separate commands in sefer Devarim (10:20, 11:22, 13:5, and 30:20,), furthermore we are taught (Devarim 4:4): And you who cleave to Hashem your G-d are alive, all of you, today. It seems that many, even very learned Jews, have fallen into some confusion about his mitzvah, and as a result of their respect and awe of the great holiness of the Torah and of its teachers, and from their pure desire not to deceive themselves and consider themselves as pertinent to high spiritual levels that they do not truly possess, for these reasons and others, they consider Devekus to Hashem as the province of awesome Tzaddikim and as a spiritual level at the top of the ladder of attainments, that only perhaps, someday, they might merit to feel worthy of considering involving themselves in attaining this level. They of course draw support for this idea from many Holy sefarim, for this large group of very pious and meticulous servants of The Holy One Blessed is He, base all of their actions only upon the true holy sources of our tradition.
It has already been explicated by the Gaon of Vilna that the Torah is compared to the falling of rain upon soil from which grows all the produce of the earth. The rain is the holy Torah in its Sublime perfection and it falls on many places at once. The Jewish People are the soil and produce are the good deeds that arise from the rainwater that we thirstly drink. The Vilna Gaon teaches that the produce that grows from each Jew is dependent upon the nature of his soil. The are some soils that are so unfit for retaining rainwater that even very much rain will grow nothing. Other soils are very rich and even the slightest moisture cause beautiful fruits to sprout, etc, etc. Everything is dependent upon the soil. He says there that the quality of the soil this is the middos of the person. The same Torah that is watered on a person who have refined his traits and produced beautiful actions will sprout from a person of unrefined middos the opposite—bad actions. Thus so, we are taught that the Torah is either an elixer of life or an elixir of death.
From this we can say that the verse which teaches that those who cleave to Hashem, they are all alive today, the intention is that the Torah is an elixir of life for them, it produces from them good, blessing, etc. and not the opposite.
Surely it should be one’s foremost and persistent priority the Torah he learns, whether it be little or much, be an elixir of life and not he opposite. About this we are taught, one who does little or one who does much, (are praiseworthy) provided that their intention is for the sake of Heaven.
If the mitzvah of Devekus is repeated in the Torah 4 times certainly one cannot say that it is an attainment only pertinent to the rarest of souls, rather it is certainly a mitzvah encumbent on the most simple Jew at the very lowest level of Divine Service. Indeed the Sefer HaHinuch enumerates it as one of the 6 mitzvoth encumbent upon every Jew at all times ( see Biur Halacha on the first sief of the Shulcan Aruch–Orach Hiam)
If we understand firmly that there is nothing , nothing whatsoever that can be called life, or good, or blessed except that is what directly derives from Hashem Yisborach, that is attached securely to him: that He is called The Source of Life and Life of all the Worlds, and that there is no other life except that which is attached to the Source of Life; if we realize that this must be not be an intellectual attainment alone but rather a living reality which permeates our entire being and life, then, and only then are we considered truly alive.
This, in my humble opinion is the mitzvah of devekus, and I propose that is not an attainment that so to speak require labor to attain, rather is our natural condition of being; we are created connected to the Source of life, blessed is He. It is, as it were, our birthright to ‘perform’ this mitzvah. There is nothing else more basic and real and all-encompassing about our existence than this that all we are is attached to Hashem, Life of all the Worlds.
If we don’t let anything interfere with this attachment, we will remain attached !
In a similar vein, the mitzvah of simcha is so basic and important to the Jew in his life, this is evident to all and needs no introduction, especially in our generation which all the waking world knows well.
The certain Gaon, Shlita pointed out the there are many possukim in which simcha and yashrut are mentioned together.??? ???? ????? ?????? ?? ???? and many more. The message is that yashrut, straightness leads to simcha. Straightness implies upright and balanced thinking or more accurately balanced harmony within the whole human apparatus, mind, body and soul. Thus Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzato’s Mussar classic which is perhaps the most accepted and wide-spread text in Israel concerning proper behavior is called Mesilat Yesharim.
After one knows that yashrut leads to simcha, one could fall into dismay. Very good, but until I will become straight, how much toil and trail I must endure, and who will assure me that I’ll achieve this pristine trait called yashar?
The possuk in Kohelet (7:29) says: Only this I have seen, that E-kim made the man straight (yashar) and they searched out many inventions. King Shlomo saw and we can see also that Hashem created man straight; that is, straightness is not a acquired trait that we must labor years to attain, rather it is the natural disposition of man. Rather man, in his great pursuits of attaining his will and desires, twists and perverts his natural straightness. This is his downfall, first and foremost in that it strips him of his natural happiness that is an offshoot of his natural uprightness and yashrut. Yashrut is therefore, not acquired rather guarded from being lost. Understand this well.
Therefore the essential antidote to our sadness and despair is to restore ourselves to the state in which we were created. This is also included in the mitzvah???? ???? ?? ?“?We are commanded to be tammim with Hashem, straight and simple, without strategies and complications, inventions and crafty enterprises. ???? ?‘ ????? Yirat Hashem Tehorah, pure fear of Hashem, pure without blemish, as we were created. Rav YisraelSalanter is known to have said: A small and perfect Hallah is preferred (according to Halacha) to a large and imperfect one—the implication being that in Divine service, indeed in simple human mental and emotional health and spiritual balance the essence is whatever measure one possesses it should be pure and whole.
If perhaps it is harder to restore this simplicity once it has been lost, nevertheless Hashem in his kindness certainly hold it from us if we truly want it; as in everything else, we must ask Him for this, ask until we receive.
Another point about happiness: Although perhaps many would not agree with me about this, nevertheless, I strongly believe that it is true. One cannot achieve true happiness unless he sets it firmly as his goal in life to reach the goal of doing only Hashem’s will for him. When one sets his mind towards this, that his goal and direction and focus in life is to purify all his desires until he desires only one thing, to do only Hashem’s will. With this in the forefront of his ‘plans’ for his life, in both the short run, and in the long run, he will always be ‘on the right track’, he will always be directed towards fulfilling his true purpose in which he was born for, he will always be close to learning Torah and fulfilling the mitzvoth to the best of his ability for only this can lead to his fulfilling Hashem’s will.
There is a notion in people’s minds that the above ‘plan’ for life would only lead to depression, for immediately one would see how far he is from achieving this goal and how impossible it seems to reach such a goal and that pursuing such a path can only mean a continual process of failures and disappointments, etc. Therefore many choose an alternative of doing what mitzvahs they find most likely of succeeding in, and saving the lofty goals for others.
I present my answer to this hypothesis. Firstly, it should be understood well that fulfilling Hashem’s will means doing the best I can do at this time to do what I understand that Hashem wants from me. That is, I certainly can do His will for me now, at this moment, if I focus myself towards doing this, for at any given moment I can waken myself to consider my Creator and His will, this awakening is already a great achievement and doing His will. And He does not expect more of us, except to think of Him, to direct our thoughts towards what He wants from us, to awaken ourselves from the slumber of our accustomed desires, this is the start that already contains great progress, for if we aroused ourselves, most likely we will also find the strength to carry out the realization that we became awakened to. We see, really that this is the main thing in our entire life’s pursuit; to awaken ourselves each time to think of Hashem and our obligation to His will, from these awakenings we will both find His will and the means to do it.
Unfortunately, I feel, there are those that will still respond that to think of my obligations to Hashem all the time will leave me with no life at all: I will become a neurotic unsatisfied human being. To this I respond: Hashem knows who you are and how tied you are to your physical life and desires and how hard it is for you to separate from it and does not expect from you awesome jumps and bounds. He does not ask of you anything to hard for you, He does not ask for you to compete with anyone else or measure yourself against anyone else. He knows you much better than you know yourself; He asks you only to look at Him. This look is very very precious to Hashem, it is an awesome achievement, for all beginnings are hard, at this looking towards Him is always a new beginning.
There are those whose entire lives are, at least on the surface, entirely dedicated to Hashem’s service; they are ultra-orthodox, that is, their entire existence is focused on their religion. Nevertheless they are lacking true happiness. This unhappiness, I feel comes from a lack of inner commitment to the doing of Hashem’s will. This lack of commitment comes from a confusion about human nature.Their yetzer harah tells them: it is enough that you are in general you are committed to Hashem; that your entire heart is not given over to him, well so it is with most others. The problem is is that a human can only be happy when he has succeeded in doing Hashem’s will. The yetzer tells him: to do only Hashem’s will means to sacrifice your own will. Okay, that is good to do, and in the end you’ll be rewarded for it, but in the meantime you are only going to suffer. (because it is painful to relinquish your own will). Better to have less reward in the end, since “there” even a lttle reward is very pleasuarable, and have a happy life here in the meantime.
But the truth is that one’s happiness cannot be attained by fulfilling his own will. This is the mistake of all those who are entirely divorced from Hashem and consider themselves and the fulfillment of their own will as the most important thing in life. This could only bring happiness if one had no soul whatsoever, as these sad souls end up trying to convince themselves; but as long as one has a soul, no matter how much pleasure and happiness one attains from fulfilling his own desires and will, there will always remain the pain and emptiness of the soul which was ignored. But if ones goal is to satisfy the soul, which is only satisfied by doing the will of his Master, then one’s happiness in complete and pure, for all ‘opposition’ to this happiness will be pushed off by the truth, and nothing can stand against the truth, as all who have tasted this reality will surely testify to. Only the truth has legs to stand on.
A very good level of emunah to reach is when a person can say before Hashem with strength and certainty: “I know that if You want me to succeed, nothing can stop you.” This may sound simple initially but if one will test himself he might likely find that he doesn’t really possess this level of emunah.
This level entails, first of all, understanding Hashem’s love for us and that he wishes our success, and that he is waiting, so to speak, for us the merit that he will decree our success, such that nothing can any longer interfere with it. And even if one will say: “how can I come to say this; for always I must fear sh’yigrom hachet, that my sins will push off the success that is decreed for me”, in any case, one must realize that this level involves the absence of all other worry; that no person or event can affect, in the least, Hashem’s will to do be the good he wants; thus he removes from himself all worldly worry.
And if he will insist, in any case, in worrying that he himself will cancel Hashem’s plans, so to speak; one must realize that, in any case, one cannot remove from himself the yoke of worrying not to sin. But the higher level of emunah is not to even worry about this; that is, even though I must see to it with all my strength that I do not veer from the straight path, and continually to seek out Hashem’s will for me to fulfill; in any case, I should also trust in Him that, even if , Heaven forbid, I do stumble, nevertheless, in His great mercy, he will not cancel His decree for my good and success.
Thus to fix in one’s mind that one’s entire success is only in Hashem’s hands, he can then patiently and dilligently go about his work, his hishtadlus, with the assurance that when has fulfilled all the requirements in Hashem’s plan for him, then he will certainly receive the success he seeks, with no delay. All the time that he has not yet seen the success he needs, he knows that he has not yet finished his work towards his end; therefore there is no room for worry, only for work.
A person should not error into thinking that his success is somehow in his hands to bring about. As long as he still has these thoughts, even in part, he is still short of achieving his goal and he delays his own success. For certainly Hashem’s will is that he attain emunah, which is the real goal, and his particular success, however lofty it might be, is still secondary to the perfection of emunah which Hashem desires for each of us, for this is our essential acquisition for the next world. Thus Hashem directs our path in order that we will attain the highest level of emunah (that is, for someone who is truly seeking to serve Hashem). And when we have reached the quietness of mind and restfullness of heart to know that it is all in His hands, our job solely being only fear Heaven, then we should see that we are very close to receiving the success which we have strived so hard for.
20 (taken from ‘sefer’ Torah and art
it is not enough to know what everything isn’t, one needs desperately to know what it is!
How much explanation is needed here! Isn’t this the essential point, the bridge between there and here. There and here? I am here? Rather this is the bridge; maybe the first bridge. Or a large bridge. For sure there were bridges after, and probably bridges before.
How does one come from not knowing what it is to knowing what it is? It seems now: only through prayer. And if one doesn’t know to pray, one knows to dhout, scream, wail, moan. Express his pain. What is this? It is interesting; it seems at first appearance that it is a lack of submission; one says: it is not my fate to suffer so.
This cognition, surely it can derive easily from knowledge. Once one knows that Ha Kadosh Baruch Hu is ‘on his side’…once he know all the good advicve of the Torah and the true Tzadikkim for reversing every fall into an elevation, fine, he has help. But before he has knowledge, how does he escape from ‘submission to his fate’?
It is ture, every child screams in his pain, every being naturally seeks to escape his imprisonment. But spritual imprisonment isn’t as simple. For one screams when he doesn’t have physical comfort, but how does one awaken his soul when…
the entire world says: no. no to you. No to what you are saying. no. turn her: no. turn there: no. look up: no. look down: no.
Not just: I look, search: here, there, etc. and find nothing, find: no. Rather: ‘no’ points at me and proclaims itself: no. boxed in by no. Shot at by no. Bombarded by no.
where does the emunah to scream back at all of the world:no, no to you world, and yes to me?
And the truth is, that the knowledge spoken of above, the advice to scream out, which the Tzadikkim teach us…there is also a limit to the benefit we can attain from this, not because of the limitaion of their advice, rather from our limitations…for there is always a place where we fall into slumber, where we don’t see the advice as usable for us, ther is always places where we reach wher we must rely on emunah, for our knowledge, even if we possess it, is not operative yet in this new place.
And if emunah we have, in a general way, which anable us to ‘keep going’; nevertheless, this is not enough; for a person must catipult himself to a new level in order to live, in truth. And from wher comes this catalyst? For there is a frontier of darkness where we reach, where emunah had not yet shed light, and it is truly as if we haven’t started yet, that we are still here at this first bridge, and how do we cross over what we can’t see?
Perhaps the impetus comes from recognizing that not he, alone, is in this plight, rather that others, maybe all, are equally in such a plight, or a plight of there own, perhaps much more than he, himself. This can cause him to see the importance of his postion, that is, he is now concerned with a universal problem, and if he will succeed he will not only help himself but also others. This can give him the impetus to shout out.
Middah caneg middah. That he is awoken to have mercy on another, Hashem has mercy on him. This seems to be the way out of the box.