Advice on: Serving God Enthusiastically

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serving God with enthusiasm

Advice on: Serving God with Enthusiasm

Continuing our translation of Etzot HaNachal, a compendium of advice drawn from the teachings of Rav Eliezer Berland, shlita, based on the teachings of Rebbe Nachman of Breslov in Likutey Moharan.

  • All the enthusiasm that a person experiences, it’s nothing, it’s like the blooming of a flower.

All the enthusiasm that exists for person, it’s good that a person is feeling enthusiastic now, and he’s jumping and dancing, and that’s better than if he was beating himself up or reacting like a block of stone. But it’s not really going to help him at all, until he gets that inner enthusiasm, that peace of mind that comes from accepting the yoke of Heaven.

This leads to enthusiasm with da’at, (spiritual knowledge), enthusiasm with depth, and deep understanding.[1]

  • We should know, that a person comes with a lot enthusiasm, and then afterwards that enthusiasm evaporates.

Why did all my enthusiasm get vaporized? Why did all my enthusiasm fade away? Why did it all evaporate? I showed up with so much simple desire for the truth, so much enthusiasm, with so much warmth, with so much fire for Rabbenu. And now it’s all disappeared. It’s all got taken from me. And I didn’t do anything wrong, I didn’t transgress, I didn’t sin. Why was it taken from me?

Because it wasn’t really anything.

It was stam, nothing much, a figment of your imagination. It wasn’t really called ‘enthusiasm’. It was a good thing, a good point, but not more than that. If a person wants to develop some real enthusiasm and heartfelt passion, and to be passionate in his prayers, and passionate about learning, then this is deep, deep work.

  • No-one in the world can change this sentence:

This sentence can’t be changed even if all of Breslov comes, even if all the Sages of Breslov come, they still can’t change a single sentence of Likutey Moharan. Even if they know the whole Likutey Moharan by heart, it’s not going to help them here.

This sentence will still remain:

Heartfelt passion comes about from the action of the mind.

  • When a person slowly, slowly turns into a block of ice, he doesn’t feel that he’s slowly, slowly turning into ice.

He just stops dancing, then stops singing, then stops feeling excited, he stops learning with enthusiasm, and then he stops praying with passion. And then he turns into a cross. Only in this way can he became a cross.[2]

  • A person needs to know that until he reaches that stage of having real, profound inner enthusiasm – where the fire is always burning on the mizbeach (altar), and never goes out – this is going to take many years of work.

It takes years until we get to the stage of the ner tamid, the eternal flame that is never extinguished.

  • The more a person feels deep enthusiasm, and the greater his feeling of enthusiasm is, the greater his chances that at least once, he’ll feel genuine, profound enthusiasm.

But in the meantime, he shouldn’t think that something bad has happened to him, or that he’s being punished, or that Hashem has forsaken him, God forbid. God didn’t leave him! Just you didn’t even really begin yet. Yes, you got given some deep enthusiasm [which has now been taken away] – but no matter!

That was just the warm-up.

 

[1] Commentary on Likutey Moharan, Lesson 21.

[2] Please see Jeremy M’s comment, for what this might mean.

2 COMMENTS

  1. The “cross” statement is a reference to a baal shem tov (?) story about a gentile cutting a cross out of the ice on a body of water.. If the water hadn’t frozen, there’s be no cross. (and when it melts, there will be no cross, acy”r)

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