Thursday, December 17, 2009

Chizuk and Chanukah

[This post is a response to Theresa and Shorty in the comments]
No one is "unworthy," even though we all make mistakes at times. If we keep getting up and doing what we can we will fulfill our spiritual mission in the world.
The main thing is to beg Hashem to light up our life and show us His will. Easier said than done but Rav Nosson writes that even five minutes (or thirty seconds) a day is also very efficacious. As Rebbe Nachman explains the verse: "Hashem is close to all who call to Hashem in truth." Every sincere prayer said with as much truth as a person can muster immediately brings one close to Hashem no matter what level he is on, as implied in the verse.
Feeling unworthy is just an illusion; a tactic of the yetzer to paralyze us and prevent us from finding the way out of spiritual darkness through sincere prayer. Even if we can't say a word, we can surely cry out: "Help me!" Or at least, "Help me." Another gem of Rebbe Nachman is that if we feel distant for whatever reason we should talk out such feelings with Hashem. This often becomes a prayer truly from the heart, the precursor to many more.
We need to learn to ignore discouraging feelings and all negativity which bring on such feelings, until a time when we have a lot of joy and "merit to see the evil of our sins." This means that we finally see our importance, but we realize that such actions are not appropriate for a son or daughter of Hashem. This feeling of importance is the foundation of all divine service, as Rabeinu Yonah writes. One who feels insignificant, is not only denying the truth, he or she feels unable to make a difference and does much less. Why should we allow the negative to disable us? Although such feelings are the result of our sins which obscure the divine, we need not allow such negativity to hold us back. We can always reconnect through heartfelt prayer in truth on whatever level we are on.
As with anything precious, learning how to navigate past the negativity takes time, but every effort is worthwhile in and of itself.
Hashem should help us feel the light of Chanukah and forge a joyous connection to Hashem through prayer during this special time!

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