Sunday, November 16, 2008

Overcoming the Bad Within

Shorty wrote in the comments to "The Rewards of Letting Go of Anger": "Hashem granted us to power to choose - we can choose to be angry or to be happy - to seek revenge or let things go.
The second is often the most difficult one..."
Since letting go is hard for all of us, I decided to jot down a little regarding how to choose happiness over anger.
First of all, we must realize that all true change takes time. We need to be very patient with ourselves while davening and yearning for Hashem to help us truly change.
The Ba'al Shem Tov (and many earlier sources) taught that during a spiritual challenge, Hashem takes away our understanding; that's why it's so hard.
In light of this the Chidushei Harim explains that we must build the strength to withstand spiritual tests before they happen and our understanding is intact. We must recognize our weaknesses and spend as much time as we can begging Hashem to help us and learning about the importance of change.
Of course, the main element of all spiritual work is to internalize that even a single baby step of advance, especially in an area of weakness, is very precious to Hashem, as Rav Nosson of Breslov writes.
He writes further that we prepare for the next test immediately after failing a test, by our reaction. One who picks himself up without delay and starts again will be much more likely to pass the test eventually. After every spiritual fall there is a second test: will he disassociate himself from the negative effects of the sin by making a new start, or cling to the spiritual stink of his original failure.
In Breslov failing a spiritual test is compared to someone who has fallen into mud. Everyone understands that self recriminations will not avail him.Instead, he must put all his energy into doing what he can by pulling a foot out of the muck. Although this often causes the other foot to sink further down, if he keeps struggling he will eventually get out.
Hashem should help us focus on the positives and keep struggling until we get out!

6 comments:

Shorty said...

Thank you for this post and this lesson.

Every day is a choice isn't it? Whether we get out of bed or hide away.

Life experience can either teach us valuable lessons, or we can live life in a haze, never really paying attention or seeing anything clearly.

The one thing about Teshuvah, is that is is always there. So if we do fall down, we can still dust ourselves off. It isn't easy, but it can be done.

Thanks again...

Micha Golshevsky said...

B'simcha rabbah.

Anonymous said...

G-d bless you and yours. i have written to you privately recently using my yahoo id. but for comments we have to use gmail etc.
i pray that no matter how many times i slip up, that each time G-d blesses me to fall and rise in the shadows of the chosen people, spiritually or physically, i believe even in the merit of holding on to their shadows, if not them, Hashem will save me and mine as Rachav's family. The sages have taught that everything a jew possesses, whether livetstock or otherwise is Directly under Hashem's Watchful Eye. Hence since the 70 nations were created for israel's sake, and as noahides when we attach ourselves to the holy nation and their guidance, i believe G-d will protect us in their merits. Just as it has never been easy to be a jew in this world ; its not easy for noahides too.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the post, I enjoy your blog daily.
I'm very interested in this topic, could you please write where the Chidushei Harim is? And any other sources you know on this subject?

Tahnk You, NE

Micha Golshevsky said...

First anonymous: Hashem should help and protect you and your family.
Remember: The Maharal writes that the rule with gentiles is: as you turn to Him He turns to you. The more you turn to Him the more everything you do and have will be under His direct providence.

Micha Golshevsky said...

Second anonymous: The Chidushei Harim is in Vayeirah.
As for sources: There are so many sources regarding this topic especially in Breslov. The entire Meshivas Nefesh deals with this (English version is: "Restore My Soul") And this is largely the topic of most of "Alim Literufah" (Rav Nosson of Breslov's letters translated in the four volumes of "Eternally Yours".)
Besides these there are literally hundreds of sources which discuss this but often don't give it much emphasis so you need to be searching for it.
I personally have well over a hundred non-pre chasidic sources on this matter (in one context or another) as well as hundreds of Chasidish one's besides hundreds and hundreds in Breslov sources.
I will try and post on this topic again in the near future. For now if you get hold of either of two works mentioned in Hebrew or English you will definitely find what you are looking for.