9 Tamuz 5781 / Saturday, June 19, 2021 | Torah Reading: Chukat
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The Little Things    

The Little Things

When we take a good, objective look at our daily actions, we're surprised at how many little hurtful things we did, many of which are express transgressions of Torah...


Dear Racheli,


I am a Torah-observant Jew who is working on building my emuna every day. I understand intellectually that everything Hashem does is for the best, and I’m working on internalizing it as well. However, I don’t understand why my life is so difficult lately. It seems like I’m going through one harsh judgment after another, and I don’t know why.





Hi Levi!


If I were gifted with ruach hakodesh (divine inspiration,) I would tell you exactly what is causing your problems. I would also play the lottery every week. But, alas…


Though I can’t tell you specifically what’s causing you to suffer through all these harsh judgments, I can offer you some possibilities.


1) This is just a phase. In life, we all have our ups and downs. In spirituality, though, if we’re trying to move forward, then our ups may look like downs at time. Rebbe Nachman says that when we advance spiritual levels, the bottom of the next level up appears as darkness. Therefore, we think we’re falling spiritually, when in fact, we’re moving up.


2) Someone may be holding a grudge against you. This is a very serious issue. If we have hurt someone and they don’t forgive us, this not only blocks the channels of abundance for us; it also creates loads of harsh judgments. Just like Hashem doesn’t forgive sins between man and man on Yom Kippur unless the other person has forgiven us first, we can’t expect Hashem to excuse us from having to face the consequences of our actions. If you find that this is the case, I urge you to make amends, no matter how much it hurts. According to halacha, you are allowed to make three genuine attempts at reconciliation. If the person does not forgive you after that, you can consider yourself forgiven, and that person will have to deal with his lack of forgiveness.


3) Look at the little things. Many times, we Torah-observant Jews think we’re innocent and don’t deserve any judgments because generally, we live according to Hashem’s will. You may not eat pork or drive on Shabbat, and you may pray beautifully and with deep intent. But, Levi, could there be other things that you’re doing without realizing how damaging they are?


Here are some examples that come to mind: looking at the woman walking past you a little too long; eavesdropping on a conversation you shouldn’t be hearing; making a rude comment under your breath; complaining to your wife that dinner isn’t ready on time or the house is a disaster; taking up two parking spots; ignoring the speed limit when you’re driving; cutting someone else in line; speaking negatively about others; breaking promises; not tithing 10%; doing other things besides work when you should be working; arriving to work slightly late and leaving slightly early; ignoring your wife and kids and heading straight for your computer when you come home; forgetting to return a borrowed item; judging others negatively; I could keep going all day.


I assure you, Levi, that all of us are guilty of at least one of these things. All of us except me, of course. And that’s just the way it is.


Take a good, objective look at your daily actions, and you’ll be surprised at how many little hurtful things you did. The best time to do this is during hitbodedut, or personal prayer. That’s when you make a daily accounting of all of the things you did, both good and not so good.


I hope that these three pointers help, and G-d willing, you’ll have smooth sailing from now on! At least, until the next rough patch hits. Sorry to burst your bubble, but I can’t help myself.


Warmest Regards,




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