Deep down, everyone wants to attain glory. But, their evil inclination wears them down, telling them that they're losers. So many people are depressed and forlorn because they believe their evil inclination's poisonous propaganda. Since they don't believe that they'll ever be great, they do things that are far from befitting their real selves.
In Judaism, glory doesn't mean material or "this world" glory. Indeed, all the opulence and amenities of this world are sorely finite, ending up in dust and ashes. Glory to us means becoming a tzaddik, a righteous person and a worthy vessel for Divine light. Glory is Moses or Rebbe Shimon Bar Yochai, whose countenance reflects Divine illumination.
Becoming a tzaddik is easier than you think. The Gemara says that even if a person is the worst criminal in town, if he merely contemplates doing teshuva and says to himself, "It's time for me to rectify my behavior and return to Hashem", then he's considered a tzaddik on the spot. This concept is even codified in religious law.
"Slow down!" you're thinking. "Can a person who merely contemplates teshuva compare to a Baba Sali or a Chafetz Chaim, a tzaddik who has labored all his life in Torah, prayer and character refinement?"
You're right. Yesterday's gang leader or criminal who contemplates teshuva cannot be compared to a Baba Sali or Chafetz Chaim. He now has seventy years of hard work ahead of him. But here's the nuance: once a person merely desires to be a tzaddik, and never lets go of that desire, he's considered in Heaven a perfect tzaddik even if he falls down dozens of times. The critically important thing is that he never relinquishes his desire.
Most people fall prey to their yetzer, their evil inclination at this point. Sure, during the High Holidays they were inspired and they decided to change for the better. But, as soon as they tripped up on some point of their New Year's resolution, the yetzer tells them, "Forget it, pal! What's this garbage about guarding your eyes. Who do you think you are, the Ben Ish Chai? The Klausenberger Rebbe? You'll never succeed! Go back to Facebook and have a good time." They go back to Facebook, and only waste their time, becaused they're just as depressed as ever.
So what if you fall? King Solomon said that even a tzaddik falls seven times, but he gets back on his feet. Don't listen to the yetzer. Cling to your desire! As long as you still desire to be a tzaddik, you are a tzaddik! OK, we all have our seventy years of hard work to become real tzaddikim. But until we do, we should never give up on our desire.
Glory means overcoming the toughest obstacles of this lowly world and attaining emuna and personal holiness. That's our entire task on this earth, to attain emuna and personal holiness. The reason we learn Torah is to attain emuna and personal holiness. Many people - even Torah learners themselves - are unaware of this. Fact - the reason that all the Yeshiva boys in Israel have lost their military deferments is because they fail to guard their eyes. The reason Israel has the existential threat from Iran is because of all the promiscuity in the Holy Land.
The Torah says not to stray after your heart and after your eyes. Rashi explains that straying after the heart is heresy and straying after the eyes is promiscuity. Emuna and personal holiness are the opposite of heresy and promiscuity. In the old days, the tzaddikim would look at a woman as if she were a telephone pole. People are so full of debauchery today that they look at telephone poles as if they are women.
You can't be a kosher person if you don't guard your eyes. King Solomon says that the eyes sees and the heart desires. We learn the opposite too - what the eye doesn't see, the heart doesn't desire.
Men make themselves insane by looking at women. They're full of lust and fantasies; there's no room in their hearts for Torah and holiness. That's why a person who does not guard his eyes cannot possibly taste the holiness of Torah or of Shabbat. He can't pray either, because if he doesn't guard his eyes, he can't possibly attain real emuna. How can one have emuna if his heart is full of lust and coveting? How canhe have emuna if he tramples the Ten Commandments? That's why even if rabbis or Rosh Yeshivas don't guard their eyes, they can't be kosher Jews.
The Children of Israel in the desert learned Torah from Moses. They saw phenomenal miracles every day. They ate manna, Heaven-sent bread. Their shoes grew with them and never wore out. The Clouds of Glory washed and ironed their clothes as they wore them. Yet, 24,000 of them fouled up with the daughters of Midian. Were it not for Pinchas, the entire Jewish People would have been punished. How did they possibly succumb to such base evil? How did our holy people defile themselves with the daughters of idolators?
Simple - they lacked personal prayer. One can't possibly guard one's eyes without daily personal prayer. You know what that means? One can't be a kosher Jew without an hour daily of personal prayer, with no exceptions. Even if someone's a rabbi of a city or a big Rosh Yeshiva, without an hour daily of personal prayer, he can't be a kosher Jew.
Our urgent task is to take thirty minutes a day of that daily hour and to beg Hashem to help us guard our eyes. We must ask His mercy in attaining personal holiness in mind, speech and deed. Personal holiness starts with the eyes.
These thirty minutes a day will bring a person to glory - he'll correct his soul and he'll successfully fulfill the mission that he was sent to this earth to do. It all begins with a desire to get close to Hashem. Let's make emuna and personal holiness our key words for this year. May we all succeed, amen!