11 Cheshvan 5781 / Thursday, October 29, 2020 | Torah Reading: Lech Lecha
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Two Sides of Coping    

Two Sides of Coping

The main test that we face is the battle against our negative thoughts. We face thoughts of bitterness, depression, feeling far from Hashem…


Translated by Aaron Yoseph


“And when a person wants to follow the path of Teshuvah, he needs to proficient in Halacha, and he needs to be proficient in two areas – namely that he needs to know how to cope when things are favorable and how to cope when things are unfavorable” (Likutei Moharan I:6).


Through teshuvah, we merit Divine honor. We stop ruminating about how much we have or have not merited on our own. We don’t get pulled after our thoughts, we just see how we’ve merited in elevating Hashem’s glory and coming close to Him. We’ve learnt that teshuvah is a journey. It isn’t something you can do and be finished with. It’s not something you succeed or fail at. It’s a journey – it’s a never-ending road that we keep on travelling down. If you want immediate results, that’s a sign that you don’t really want to walk the path of teshuvah. It’s a sign that you don’t want to cope with undesirability; when you want things your way, that's not teshuvah.


A person might say, “Why do I have to do teshuvah all the time? What am I? A Breslever?! I already know how to learn. I’m a scholar, a Kabbalist, I’m rich and successful.” But Mister Tzaddik, you know yourself that there’s at least one small thing in life that you need to do teshuvah for. Perhaps you once said some gossip or evil talk about someone? And never mind what you’ve done with your eyes and where your mind has wondered to… So do teshuvah for what you know you anyway need to do teshuvah for! Afterwards, you’ll understand more. The reason a person doesn’t want to be constantly busy with teshuvah is because he doesn’t want to cope with anything out of his comfort zone.


When we want to follow the path of teshuvah, this desire is rooted in our need to be close to Hashem. We want to know about Hashem, and know that His glory is elevated through our efforts to serve Him. We are part of the King’s glory. This is no simple thing. When we do teshuvah, we become a part of the King’s glory!


This time of the year are days when we correct things. We were in Egypt. We went down into a bitter exile. The problems we faced there were much worse than those we face today. It was all to correct the sin of Adam HaRishon. Each of us needs to know that our life is a journey. You’re always travelling down the road. Everything that happens to you, sleeping, waking up, wandering around, learning, falling, Heaven forbid, it’s all part of travelling the path of teshuvah.


The Tsaddikim reveal to us that all the thoughts that come to our minds – all the thoughts of bitterness, worries about livelihood, worries about educating our children – all of these things are simply part of the journey that Hashem wants us to travel. Hashem wants to test us. Sometimes the tests are hard. There are tests of our character, tests of adhering to halacha, of keeping kosher. But the main test that we face, sometimes thousands of times a day, is the battle against our negative thoughts. We face thoughts of bitterness, depression, feeling far from Hashem, etc. All that we go through isn’t happenstance. You’re about to make your first million - do you understand? It’s actually worth much more. You’re about to get your life back. All of this comes from Above. You’re being lead along a path which will enable you to correct all your mistakes. The first tikkun comes about like it did in Egypt – we need to cry out for help. Go ahead and don't be embarrassed.

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