Sunday, August 8, 2010

One Day at a Time

The Chasam Sofer, zt”l, learns a very practical lesson about one’s daily avodas Hashem from Sanhedrin 100. “Our sages teach that one should not worry about tomorrow since perhaps he will no longer live by then. Why worry about a world he has no part in? This is very valuable advice that shows how to overcome our yetzer hara. If one focuses on the long struggle he will have throughout his entire life, he can easily give up on himself. Just thinking about the unrelenting effort required to overcome the evil within is enough to discourage anyone, since who knows that he will be able to keep up the struggle?
“Instead, one should focus on the day he is in right now. He should act as though he only has this day to live, since he really has no guarantee that he has a moment longer. He should tell himself that just for that day he will refuse to listen to his yetzer hara. After all, one day is really not too difficult. The next day he should once again focus only on that day. In this manner he will be able to overcome his yetzer hara with relative ease.
“This is the meaning of the verse, 'ואתם הדקבים בה' אלקיכם חיים כלכם היום'—‘And you who cleave to Hashem your G-d, your are all alive this day.’ Those who wish to attain true dveikus with Hashem can do so through focusing exclusively on living and overcoming the evil within only on the day he is now living. In this manner he will truly cleave to his Creator and never need to feel overwhelmed by the task ahead of him.”
Rebbe Nachman of Breslov, zt"l, also adjures us to live only in the present. In his words, "Yesterday and tomorrow are man's downfall. Today we may be inspired to come close to Hashem but yesterday and tomorrow hold us back."
This is one of the many paths Rebbe Nachman shared with us to come to joy when things are hard. Just focus on the present, as if we were born today.

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