9 Kislev 5781 / Wednesday, November 25, 2020 | Torah Reading: Vayeitzei
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Don’t Be Fooled    

Don’t Be Fooled

The Rebbe says that there is no Olam HaZeh. People want a Rebbe who’ll give them a blessing for success in this world…


Translated by Aaron Yoseph
In this world people think that the main thing is to make a living and have a ‘good life’. For some, this means nothing more than getting to the next bottle of beer. Amongst us there is a sense that it’s important to have a nice home, to achieve something. This creates a feeling that our status in this world carries a lot of weight. Everyone is so busy with this world. We have to remember that a person doesn’t live forever – that we’re headed for Olam Haba (the world to come) and we need to prepare for it - so people learn and pray a bit. But still there is this sense that this world is also important – as if it’s on a par with Olam Haba.
The Rebbe says that there is no Olam HaZeh (the material world). Whoever isn’t a Breslever runs a mile when he hears this. People want a Rebbe who’ll give them a blessing for success in this world – they certainly don’t want to hear that this world doesn’t even exist! What is the point of telling us this, that there’s no Olam HaZeh? There are some people who need to thank Hashem because they aren’t full of suffering.
People think that this doesn’t apply to them and they don’t understand what the Rebbe wants by telling us that the world is full of suffering and doesn’t even exist. Really the Rebbe wants to open up for us something that we do understand and can relate to. The Rebbe wants us to understand two things:
The first is how much we have to arouse and encourage ourselves to serve Hashem, because this world tricks us so much. The Rebbe told us how much we trick ourselves and told us to follow him and connect to the truth.
The second thing is about the suffering that we do go through. Even someone who seems okay, if you talk to him, you find he has at least one thing, one illusion, that pains him so much. Deep down inside, his heart is broken, because something dear to him didn’t work out. There’s a need to understand that this is how this world works. The dream you have that everything can be smooth and perfect in this world is, in truth, a childish illusion. We have to beware of this, so that the reality of this world doesn’t bring us to deny Hashem or break us. Our task is to accept it with love, and then we can be close to Hashem, always. We can serve Him and love Him and constantly grow in our emunah and closeness to Him.

There’s a Rebbe who calls out to us, “Why are you running after this world so much? Come! Let’s run towards the true goal and purpose of life, the true tachlis! Let’s learn Torah and serve Hashem!” This is the message of this Torah, and we need Hashem’s loving grace to help us accept this message in the right way.

The Rebbe says that when the Beis HaMikdash stood, there was such closeness to Hashem. People’s hearts and minds were so open. Now we don’t have the eyes to see it. You can tell me a thousand times that this world is nothing, and I’ll still only see this world. Tell a person about Olam Haba and he doesn’t see it. The way he’s living, he can’t imagine that he’s going to get any Olam Haba.
What can we do practically with this? We believe in Olam Haba – we believe that for sure there is Olam Haba. And what we need to know is that when we run to Hashem with emunah in all that we go through, when we think thoughts of emunah and strengthen our faith, when we busy ourselves learning Torah and davening and doing hisbodedus and saying Tehillim – that’s when we really get Olam HaZeh, because in truth this world is Olam Haba. When our eyes are opened we can see how we can be close to Hashem, “Hashem really does need me, and loves me, He’s watching over me always.”
We’ve been in exile for 2,000 years. Isn’t this a question? No. It’s no question. We’re the chosen people. We have been through so much. On the contrary, though – we’re still here after all this. The goyim know that we’re the chosen people. We need to jump up like a lion every morning – there’s so much we can achieve each day. Hashem loves us so much and delights in us. But we don’t have the eyes to see it. The concealment makes a person not see that there’s Olam Haba. To not see that the world is filled with Hashem’s glory, that He guards over all of us, that everything that happens to us is with Divine Providence.  But this is what the Tsaddikim teach us.
Why do people give up learning? It’s due to the suffering they go through. The Tsaddikim give us back the power to see, they give us back our eyes. But it’s hard. There are so many tests, and a person asks “Until when?” This is where a person really grows. We need to learn that we work on believing, on our emunah in Hashem and Olam Haba. Realise how much you’ve gained today. Believe in Hashem, belive that this is how it has to be in this world. The Rebbe teaches us many ways to get through all this.
Understand – this is just how Hashem runs the world, and it’s all for our good. Start again every day. But something is hurting you. Why are you making a big deal about it, why are you thinking about it? Reb Levi Yitzchok Binder told me how he ran away in WWI and came to Uman. There was such poverty. There was nothing, literally. But people learned – they finished Shas every year. People learned Shulchan Aruch with such depth. There were bullets flying, a war, and abject poverty. Every night they got up for Chatzos, they went to the Tsion. We look at this as a story of times gone by, but we can take inspiration and strength from this. To know that there is such a Rebbe who can bring people to live like this.
Why is this happening? Because this is your portion in this world. Despite it, you can still achieve so much. But what happens? A person gets discourages and gives up. He stops doing anything. A bochur gets to seventeen and doesn’t see his learning going so well, so he decides that making money is the main thing in life.
The Rebbe comes and says, “Listen here – you think that you’ll have good in this world. You can, but only with emunah and by giving your life over to Hashem. That’s the only way to have a good life in this world. Otherwise, don’t expect anything.”
Judgment Day reminds us of the true perspective on life. The main thing is to not get discouraged or disheartened by it. Understand that you’re main success each day is to not give up, but to start again. Another page of Gemara, or maybe it’s your first page of Gemoro. Each person where he’s holding. The main thing is to grab hold of it, because this is what Hashem created you for. If you can’t do anything – so cry out from the depths of your heart – “Ribono Shel Olam! They’re confusing me! They’re telling me that I should be doing something, or that I’m not capable of doing anything. Help me!” People fall off from doing what they can and get bored. Boredom is the plague of our generation. Young, old – they’re all bored of life. “What will it help me to learn? I’ll anyway never become a Rosh Yeshiva.”
True life is when a person believes what a page of Gemara is, what a page of Zohar is worth, the joy of learning the seforim of Tsaddikim. We need to fight against the kaltkeit, the coldness and indifference. Start again. “But I remember how it used to be…” Today can also be good. There is Olam Haba, we have to do things l’shem shomayim and live with emunah. Do things for Hashem with enthusiasm and energy and joy – for His glory.

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