7 Shvat 5781 / Wednesday, January 20, 2021 | Torah Reading: Bo
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The Double Profit -A New Light    

The Double Profit -A New Light

You can reap a double profit in the business of life if you just know this one trade secret…


In the first part of this Chapter entitled A Billion Dollar Business,” Rabbi  Arush  writes about the awesome power and benefits of hitbodedut (personal prayer). On page 150, he abruptly shifts gears and tells us about a student who did an hour of hitbodedut every day, yet was unable to overcome his addictions. Challenged to understand why, Rabbi Arush reached a shocking conclusion: Even hitbodedut, which is the highest and greatest spiritual practice possible, cannot change a person in and of itself. Only a persistent discipline that is serious and focused on increasing our desire to change, actually creates the positive change we want.  


To find this  answer,  Rabbi  Arush t urned to  Likutei  Moharan.  Rebbe Nachman states that the proper way to nullify all of our cravings and evil traits is first to focus on one evil trait or craving that has dominated you and work at length until you nullify it. He directs us not to diffuse our prayers by addressing a number of topics simultaneously.  Rather, each time you should take one topic and invest all of your will and prayers in dealing with it until it is effective and you see results, and the problem goes away. Only afterwards should you move on to another topic. 


Basing his teaching on the holy Zohar, Rabbi Arush explains that no prayer or good intent is ever lost. A minute of prayer or a word of prayer, even just raising our eyes to Heaven, are very important and precious. However, in order for a person to transform himself, he must engage in focused prayer for a half hour every day. 


The problem is that we think we want to change, but really, we also want other things. For instance, maybe we want to lose weight, but in the moment, we also want to eat that piece of cake. Oftentimes, the desire to eat overcomes the more latent desire to lose weight. But when day in and day out, we pray and learn about the importance of being healthy and fit, both for our physical and spiritual lives – eventually, we’ll get to a place where we want to lose weight MORE than we want that cake. That’s when the real change happens. 


Someone who spends an hour doing hitbodedut every day has time for both a daily personal accounting and for devoting half an hour to the work of the will. He has Rebbe Nachman’s awesome assurance that he will obtain a complete rectification. He engages in personal accounting and attains absolute atonement every day, and he also possesses the strongest tool for true change which is the work of the will. In other words, you can reap a double profit in the business of life.  


Recognize that when you invest a half hour every day working on one goal, even if you still remain far from perfection and many more matters remain to be rectified, this half-hour completely sweetens all the judgements against you. Hashem knows you have a great deal to rectify and you can't do everything at once. You are doing your best, and therefore, He has patience. 


No normal father expects his children to do things that are beyond their capabilities. Similarly, G-d, the most compassionate Father, does not unfairly demand that we must work on all of our issues immediately, because this is not in our power. 


Many people find it hard to pray at length about a single issue. They say they're able to pray for just a few minutes and then they run out of words. How can I speak for half an hour straight, and not only that, but every day? 


Rabbi Arush says you can repeat the same phrase over and over for the entire half hour. Hashem is our loving father and He won't get bored! Every word you say is another vessel. Hashem is not interested in wordsmithing or flowery phrases. He is interested in a sincere desire and commitment. He wants words from your heart. 


Additionally, later in the book Rabbi Arush advises us to read everything we can about the topic we are tackling. Read books and articles, and listen to classes, on the topic. Jot down teachings and statements that uplift or inspire you, and motivate you to change. Now, bring these notes into your prayer sessions, and use them as a base for your prayers! Ask Hashem to help you remember, internalize and apply these insights. Nothing gives Hashem as much pleasure as when we bring our Torah learning into our prayers.  


How do you know which area you should begin to address? Rabbi Arush advises us to pray a great deal asking Hashem to open our eyes and show us what we should address first. He also says that it’s a good idea to consult your rabbi and ask for guidance. Rabbi Arush gives special counsel to men saying that guarding the eyes and personal holiness is an ideal place to focus first because it is the principal rectification of every male in the world. 


I might add that another great source is to ask one’s spouse. A message to my fellow husbands: Besides Hashem, no one loves us as much as our wives. Except for Hashem, no one knows our strengths and weaknesses better than our wives. Fortunately, they are usually not bashful about telling us where we need to improve! This is actually a good thing. If you are like me your first reaction is to feel defensive or indignant when hearing criticism that’s up close and personal. We need to remember that Hashem often uses our wives to convey important messages and it behooves us to listen.