22 Av 5781 / Saturday, July 31, 2021 | Torah Reading: Eikev
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HomeSpirituality and FaithSpiritual GrowthDon't Skip Steps - Part 3 - Get the Point
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Don't Skip Steps - Part 3 - Get the Point    

Don't Skip Steps - Part 3 - Get the Point

Find out what is real success in life, and how to achieve it, step by step.


This article continues my mini-series called Don’t Skip StepsIn Part One I explained that there are three levels of emuna and a person must strengthen their emuna step by step. In Part Two, I emphasized that just as you cannot rush ahead and skip stepsnor should you stop before you have strengthened yourself in all three steps. Now, let’s dig into the mitzvah of teshuva even more... 



Sure to Fail 


I am always laughing at those who say to me, “Honorable Rabbi, my business failed, someone gave me an evil eye...” As if they are the Holy of Holies and some other power was out to get them. If I see that they are open, I ask them gently: “Do you keep Shabbat? Do you keep family purity? Do you guard your eyes? Why do you think that the business failed because of the evil eye?! There is no suffering without sin. 



The truth really is that their business was sure to fail! How can a business not fail when you kick Hashem’s presence out the door? Shabbat is the “source of blessing” - how can you hold blessings without it? What income do you expect to have when you lust after everything that walks down the street, which Rebbe Nachman teaches is the cause of debt and poverty?  



Get the Point 


Recognize that Hashem sent you the suffering for a purpose – in the example above, to make the business owner realize that Hashem wants him to change his life. To say thank you and receive the miracle you need, only to revert to your old ways and not learn from the sufferingis sheer foolishness! The point of the suffering is to force you to wake up and fix what you are doing wrongThis is the real “thank you” of our suffering: That through it, we merit to fix our mistakes and come closer to Hashem. That the suffering pushes us to strengthen our emuna, and begin to live in Paradise already in this world. Those are some of the best things Hashem could ever give you. Don't push them aside, and as you acquire them, say thank you! 



Therefore, don’t say “thank you” in order to succeed in business – rather, say “thank you” that your business failed, and it saved your life! Now you are being given an opportunity to change yourself and really succeed in life. 



You Need Emuna to Do Teshuva 


Now you know that in order to succeed in life, you need to change. What happens when you want to do that mitzvahor you want to stop committing that sin, but you just can’t manage to do it? 



Here also, we must be strong to put each step in its place. First, you must be happy and live with emuna. After that, anything you want to achieve – want it, and want it, and want it! Be strong with your prayers to acquire it – you will certainly receive it at the right time!  



You Need a Visa 


Let’s clarify this further. There is a famous Mishnah. The first part of it says, “Cancel your will before His will.” This is the essence of emuna! This is Your Will, God? Thank You! You must do this every moment of your life. Moreover, this rule holds not just with physicality, but also with spirituality. You aren’t able to fulfill all the mitzvot you want, the way you want? Say “Thank you! 



In order to fulfill a mitzvah, you need a visa from Hashem. He has to give you permission! Now, Hashem loves us and wants us to succeed in our spiritual lives. So why wouldn’t He give us a visa right away? 



The answer is that just like there is Divine Guidance for everything that happens to us in this physical world, so too there is Divine Guidance for everything spiritual. Hashem decides when you will be able to go to the next level, and keep another mitzvah, or stop doing that sin. Sometimes it isn’t good for you to get that visa right away. It’s better for you to increase your desire and yearning to fulfill the mitzvah, and for Hashem to give you that visa laterOnly Hashem knows when you can receive this mitzvah and it won’t damage youand especially when it won’t harm you by increasing your arrogance. 



Emuna is the Basis of Real Teshuva 


People say all sorts of thingsTo do teshuva, you need to learn more Torah, to do teshuva, you need to pray more... Comes Rabbe Nachman and explains, “To do teshuva, you need to accept your humiliation, and be quiet.” 



Here’s the secret: The biggest humiliation there is - are your sins! Don’t complain about your spiritual level. All of your spiritual reality - that is your humiliation. You sinned here, you made that mistake, and didn't manage to do that mitzvah like you wanted. Be happy with your level and accept it with emuna. Know that this is the very best for you at this moment. 



Therefore, the prerequisite to positive change is the emuna to be happy with your level right nowIf you aren’t happy, you don’t believe! You don’t have emuna! And if you don’t have emuna – you can’t do teshuva! 



Thank Hashem that you haven’t gotten the visas you want yet. Then, thank Hashem for all the visas that you have received. You wear a kippah? Tzitzit? You’ve got some visas in that passport, and they are taking you to fantastic places! 



Don’t Stop Wanting to Change 


Now that you are happy, now you can do teshuva. Now you can admit what you did, ask for forgiveness, ask for help to do better in the future. Now you can come to Hashem with your will and desire to change.  



This is the second part of the Mishnah: And He will make your will, His will - this is the essence of desire. Now, you come to Hashem with what you want: Hashem, help me. Give me the strength to overcome this Evil Inclination. You can want everything, but first emuna. Don’t skip steps! 


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