13 Sivan 5779 / Sunday, June 16, 2019 | Torah Reading: Shelach Lecho
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A Deeper Awareness    

A Deeper Awareness

Rebbe Nachman says that a person should do teshuva on his first teshuva; paradise is a deeper awareness, knowing that Hashem is with you, no matter what…


Translated by Aaron Yoseph

It wasn’t Rebbe Nachman’s custom to give personal advice. The Rebbe didn’t do this. Nowadays, if someone has the strength, he tries to help out people who are all confused, but it doesn’t really help. What helps is patience and prayer, to know what paradise is, to run to Hashem. When a person does this, suddenly he doesn’t have any problems.
All a person’s problems are due to him not doing what he’s meant to be doing – Torah, Tefillah and serving Hashem. The main problem is “Why are you worrying?” Our greatest challenge is to get into having consistent shiurim every day, and to pray Shacharis, Mincha and Maariv. Everything else  - what difference does it make? It will work out. Hashem will help.
This is the deeper awareness that we want to get to.
In Olam Haba we come to a deeper awareness. A guy thinks, “I thought that I was a big Mekubal and that I knew Likutei Moharan. I thought that I was really cleaving to Hashem. Now I’m completely embarrassed. I see now that I never once thought about Hashem’s greatness!” That's what happens when you get to Olam haba - the world to come. It’s like showing someone that he doesn’t even know how to say a brocho. This is Olam Haba – embarrassments. Being embarrassed before Hashem.
The Rebbe wants to teach us that we have the same thing as this right here, in this world, Olam Hazeh. Our comprehension and awareness of Hashem in this world is of a very low quality.
Sins give strength to the Sitra Achra, the dark side. One person’s evil inclination makes him all confused, another person’s makes him throw off the yoke of Heaven. Whoever slaughters his Yetzer Hora, and makes a new start, and then confesses about it. Why does he confess about it? This is what we’re talking about here. We have a Rebbe who takes us by the hand – like a loving father holding the hand of his young child, and he tells us, “It’s not hard to come back to Hashem, and merit Gan Eden. It all depends on what you do this moment, and it’s as easy as could be. It’s simple. Do teshuvah right now. Slaughter your Yetzer Hora this moment. The Yetzer Hora is pulling you to the side of darkness, misery – fight back against him, even if you “can’t” and don’t get anywhere – that’s not your business. Teshuvah is a pathway, it’s not about getting somewhere particular - it’s about keeping on travelling down the path. If you want the path to be sweet, then do what you can right now. Then you’ll see that you still haven’t arrived yet – so do teshuvah again. There’s no place for despair. Everything can be fixed. All the falls that you’ve had, all the things that hold a person back from having parnosso and joy – it can all be fixed.”
“In the meanwhile, keep going on the path. Keep yourself up. Otherwise, you’ll never get anywhere.” How do we finally “arrive”? By lovingly holding fast to doing teshuvah. We start again, and then regret how we’ve been, we even regret the way we just started again. Just like in Olam Haba where a person reaches a certain awareness, but then moves up and experiences an even deeper awareness. For us here, it’s exactly the same thing, even if a person thinks that he doesn’t have any awareness or comprehension of Hashem. The Rebbe says that this is the main teaching here, and we have to be careful to work on this a lot. This is the way we walk the path of teshuvah – we need to know that with every new start to serve Hashem, even if it’s just a crumb, one small desire in our hearts, one word of confession and teshuvah, with every word of thanks and acknowledgment of Hashem, with every drop of arousal to Hashem – this should feel to us as if we’re in Olam Haba. Even if we’re still stuck in our bitterness, and don’t see any results, and we feel like we haven’t moved a millimeter, nothing at all – we need to know that we have honored Hashem. “I’m trying, and I know that I could be much worse. If I’m trying, then I have honored Hashem!”
We need to know that with every drop we do for serving Hashem we should feel “Ashrei Chelki! I have a wonderful lot in life! Hashem is with me, and delights in all that I do for Him.” Pray to Hashem about this, “Ribono Shel Olam, I know that this is the truth, but help me to really believe it and feel it.” At first you’ll be banging away with a small hammer. Keep going and you’ll get a tractor. Keep going more, and you’ll get a bulldozer. Keep digging away at the iron wall, the stony wall of your heart. “Abba, I know that You are with me, because I made a new start.”
Why does the Rebbe repeat this whole idea of doing teshuvah on our first teshuvah? He wants to emphasize to us, “Perhaps you didn’t grasp the first time. I’m talking about something that you can easily do.” It’s like lighting a candle. It isn’t difficult – just light it, and you’ll light up your neshomo. One, “Ribono Shel Olam,” one sigh, one word – and you’ve lit the light.
The main teshuvah is to know that Hashem is with you. And the chaos in your life – the complete lack of order – know that this is precisely the order that’s been custom-made for you. It couldn’t be better. Like the Rebbe says in Torah 82, that the disorder that a person has in his life – in his feelings, spiritually, materially – he should know that this is the order that Hashem has orchestrated for him. “Hashem is in charge and is organizing everything, not me.” When you know that, you can live in Olam Haba.

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