4 Cheshvan 5781 / Thursday, October 22, 2020 | Torah Reading: Noach
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The Way Back to Gan Eden    

The Way Back to Gan Eden

There are people who do teshuva and confess, but get to very great levels of - depression. This isn’t the point. Real teshuva is teshuva that makes you happy inside...


Translated by Aaron Yoseph
Rebbe Nachman wants us to be living Torah scrolls. How? By learning Torah all day. If you can’t do that, then live your life the way the Torah tells you to. Deal with situations in the way the Torah teaches you to. “I don’t get wrapped up in what I’m going through. I know that it’s all illusions and falsehood. I know that Hashem is behind it all and that it’s all for my good, it will all be good.” Be straight with Hashem. “Why should I worry? I feel like I’m empty? Okay, even if that’s really how I am, I’ll pray to Hashem to help me change. I’ll tell Him that I don’t want to be empty. Then I can be full of life and energy and joy.” Tishrei teaches us how to live, to straighten ourselves out for Hashem and to be straight with Hashem.
The Rebbe says that we have to internalize the emuna that there is nothing but Hashem. There is learning Torah, but the Torah itself is emuna. To rejoice in each day, with our emuna that we have what to do. Come to pray with a renewed sense of wanting to thank Hashem and be close to Him. Sometimes it’s hard to do everything like this, but Hashem knows our situation. Rejoice with whatever we’re able to do and don’t let anything pull you away from your emuna. Rosh Hashana was a new beginning, so now we have to approach Yom Kippur with joy, for there's no real teshuva without joy.
The tzaddikim teach us that the goal of our serving Hashem is to elevate and build up our emuna, to trust in Hashem. He hasn’t gone anywhere. He is here. You’re the one who’s gone off somewhere. The sin of the Tree of Knowledge meant that man was thrown out of Gan Eden – but Gan Eden remains. Our task is to get back in, from wherever we are. But there’s a problem – there’s a revolving sword barring our way back in. The revolving sword represents all the obstacles and tests we face, the put-downs and embarrassments that we have to go through. We are pulled this way and that, and it’s so hard to get back in.
During creation Hashem shone a great light, which he then concealed away for the tzaddikim in Gan Eden. The tzaddikim give us back this hidden light. This light shows us the way back into Gan Eden. With this light we realize that Gan Eden is right here in our homes. What about Kollel, making a living, the two hundred shekels I just lost, and my shalom bayis problems? So cry out to Hashem for an hour every day and believe that Hashem hears your prayers. Learn the sifrei tzaddikim, the books of tazddikim, for this elevates and purifies us.
The Rebbe takes us back to nursery. We’re sitting around on small chairs, happily singing “Modeh Ani” and “Torah Tsivah Lanu.” We can bring this into our real everyday grown up lives too. Hashem is here, He is the one who orchestrates exactly what you’re going to go through every day, and every day He wants something from you – to not get angry, and to respond appropriately. Learn something, open up the sifrei tzaddikim. Come back to the Rebbe’s books, strengthen ourselves again with emuna that Hashem’s glory fills the whole world. Come back to the Baal Shem Tov’s teachings, that Hashem hasn’t changed. Come back to Rebbe Nosson’s encouragement, that Hashem is right by our sides in every situation.
The Rebbe teaches us that we need to be living with emuna, rejoicing with Hashem. That if and when we encounter a challenging situation, we remember that dealing with this situation correctly is also part of serving Hashem. Matters of shalom bayis, dealings with other people, etc. These things throw us off course. So we need to clean ourselves, to do teshuva.
There are people who do teshuva and confess, and through their hard work they come to very great levels of… depression. This isn’t the point. Real teshuva is teshuva that makes you happy inside. The Torah tells us about Yom Kippur, a day of Atonement. Rosh Hashana is written about only very briefly – blast the Shofar for Hashem and don’t think about yourself. The Torah tells us clearly about Yom Kippur – that it atones for us. The tzaddikim say to us, “Confess, but don’t do it by yourself.” They tell us to confess together with them, which means with emuna that Hashem heard our confession and accepted it. That's joy!
When we know that Hashem is running everything and that there’s a great plan, we don’t need to go and lie on a psychiatrists’ couch telling him all about our depression and paying 900 shekels per hour.
Now is when we return to simple emuna – that Hashem is here. That's Gan Eden. Hashem is running the world, and our job is to elevate holiness. Hashem is here, and He wants just one thing – to bless His people Israel with shalom, that the world should have emuna, and be at peace with Hashem. Gmar Chasima Tova!

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