Spiritual strengthening: Chizzuk
Continuing our translation of Etzot HaNahal, a compendium of Rav Eliezer Berland’s advice, based on the teachings of Rebbe Nachman of Breslov.
The ikker (essence) depends on our ratzon, our will.
And if we have a very strong desire to get closer to Hashem, and to serve Him. It’s hard for him, but he still wants to serve Hashem. He wants to overcome his lusts and desires – but he’s fighting war after war.
A person doesn’t know what he’s inherited, and how many lifetimes he’s already lived through, or where his soul really comes from.
If a person starts to get angry with himself, saying “Why aren’t I learning more Torah?! Why aren’t I praying?! Why aren’t I a tzaddik?! Why aren’t I waking up for chatzot (halachic midnight)?!” – he won’t gain anything from doing this at all.
A person needs to know that things develop very slowly.
Rav Natan tells us, it’s not going to happen in a year, and not in two years – and not even in a bit more time than that. It’s only going to happen after a very long time! And then, we’ll merit to start praying with some passion, and to be enthusiastic in our prayers, and to pray with a sense of dveikut, or closeness to God. And then, we’ll merit to become much more diligent in our Torah studies.
- In the meantime, even if a person isn’t meriting to experience this, the important thing is to just know that this is the truth, and to keep wanting it, and to keep amassing his desire for it, instead of amassing more sadness, and more irritation. Rather, he should carry on chasing after this goal, happily.
He should know that he is with the Tzaddik HaEmet, the True Tzaddik, and that he is going to attain everything in the world!
It’s true, that I’m the dumbest person, and the biggest idiot, and the most evil person – but Hashem still wants someone like me.
He wants me to make teshuva, of course, but slowly, slowly. That’s how I’m going to manage to make real teshuva. And in the meantime, Hashem is happy that He made another creation.
Once a person decides that he wants to go higher, spiritually – then he can rise up to the level of ein sof (infinity).
Once he decides to rise up, there is nothing that can hold him back. He can get to the level of ein sof!
When you say ‘yes’ down here – in shemayim, they say ‘no’.
And when you say ‘no’, in heaven they say ‘yes’! Everything is the opposite of what a person thinks. A person thinks that he’s worthless, a person thinks that he’s not really doing anything, that he’s not successful at his avoda, at his work – dafka, now everything is going to start rising up! His learning is going to start going up!
- Everything that happens to a person, even his worst falls and most awful failures, as long as he doesn’t tell himself “I’m just, in my own eyes”, as long as he doesn’t distort things, and he returns to God, and he starts trying to cling on to even a sliver of kedusha (holiness) again – he will rise up!
The moment that a person is standing on the threshold of his yeshua (salvation), the moment he’s mamash a second away from being rescued from his troubles – always at that moment, he experiences the greatest yeoush (despair).
Whenever a person sees that a terrible sense of despair has overtaken him, this is a sign that he’s standing on the threshold of salvation.
The goyim are sunk in despair.
They don’t know that it’s possible to make teshuva, they don’t know that it’s possible to rectify things, they don’t know that it’s possible to nullify all the lusts – they don’t know anything about these things. But we, the Children of Israel, we know that it’s possible to nullify all the lusts.
A person needs to believe in himself, that Hashem has placed His godliness inside of him, and that he has a Divine soul inside of him. He can make teshuva! He can overcome every single one of his lusts!
This is the secret, and this is the principle foundation: If a person doesn’t have emuna in himself, if he doesn’t believe in himself, then he won’t be able to build anything.
He won’t be able to learn Torah, or to believe in Hashem, he won’t be able to do anything!
A person needs to believe that he has a very lofty soul – he has one, and his friend has one too. Each and every person has a high, lofty soul. And this is the essence of the essence: that every person from the nation of Israel possesses a good point, where at that point he’s a tzaddik. More and more, we need to strengthen ourselves, and to gird ourselves, to believe in ourselves.
This is the secret of bitachon, trust, and on this foundation, the whole building is built.
A person who was given a yetzer hara is greater than another God fearing Jew, who isn’t constantly being attacked by his evil inclination, and who doesn’t really have a yetzer hara.
Breslov doesn’t mean just being happy without any substance.
When a person is broken, then he is permitted to strengthen himself with the matter of ‘knowledge’. But we have to always proceed with the idea of ‘free choice’. We have to be greatly happy all the time, that “I’m a Jew.”
The Heichal HaBracha says that this is the rule: The more that a person is lowly, and humbles himself, the more yichudim (spiritual unions) he’s creating in shemayim.
He gets up for chatzot, he goes to do hitbodedut (personal prayer) in the field, he gets up for the vatikin (dawn) minyan – there are those who can do all these things easily. But, they aren’t achieving any yichudim at all.
The yichud only happens by way of someone who finds it hard to get up, and it’s hard for him to pray, and it’s hard for him to wake up for chatzot, and it’s hard for him to say the right words. The more lowly a person is, the bigger the tikkunim, the spiritual rectifications, he’s achieving.
A person sees that he’s got a yetzer hara, and then he says: “What can I do? I have a yetzer hara. That other guy doesn’t have a yetzer hara like me.”
But really, it’s the opposite.
The other person doesn’t have a yetzer hara – because if he did have a yetzer hara, he’d immediately go and break Shabbat. But you – you’ve got some brains! So they gave you a yetzer hara, to come and fight with you, in order for you to break it. That other guy, he’s dumb – but you, you’re intelligent, and that’s why you got given such a big yetzer hara.