3 Teves 5782 / Tuesday, December 07, 2021 | Torah Reading: Vayigash
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Where There is a Will, There is a Way    

Where There is a Will, There is a Way

A person can have many excuses for why he did not succeed in life, but he cannot have any excuse for why he did not want to succeed...


A New Light by Rabbi Shalom Arush is a book that has changed my life. I hope to provide summaries of individual chapters  to  highlight  major  teachings  and  encourage others to read the book in detail. 


In chapter 2 the Rav discusses the concept of the bread of embarrassment. Before coming into this world, our souls are very close to Hashem and bask in the light of His radiance. However, our souls are uncomfortable because this supreme delight has not been earned. 
Therefore, Hashem sends us into this world where His presence is concealed. This concealment is the basis of free will. By working to discover and come close to Hashem in this world of darkness, confusion and temptation, we earn our reward and make it infinitely more satisfying. 


We must be aware that everything we have as well as everything that we lack is part of a perfectly calibrated package aimed at giving us free will in accordance with our individual mission and soul correction. The Creator knows that choosing Him in these circumstances is difficult, but this is exactly what makes it meritorious. 
Hashem does not receive gratification from angels. They serve him with great reverence and trepidation but they lack free choice. Rather, G-d receives gratification from human beings who must struggle with an evil inclination and serve him despite great obstacles. 
Everyone has a challenging issue where he struggles greatly. Don’t be discouraged! This is precisely the reason you were sent into this world and it is the core of your soul correction. 
A key principle is that even if a person is unable to succeed to do something good in practice, in Heaven it is considered as if he did succeed to do it, as long as he yearns to do so and makes a sincere attempt. Rabbi Arush cites Gemara Berachos 6B that if a person intends to perform a mitzvah but was thwarted, Hashem considers it as if he did it. 


Another fundamental principle stressed by Rabbi Arush citing Makkos 10B is that in the way a person wishes to go, he is led. He explains that if there are matters in serving Hashem that you cannot accomplish, you must first of all want to accomplish them. As a result, you will attain two things. First, your true desire will be considered like action. Second, you will eventually be able to accomplish everything that you want to, because you will be led in the way that you wish to go. This is the case even if you do not presently see how this is possible. G-d is all-powerful - He can help you attain everything that you truly want. 
Rabbi Arush cites multiple sources to highlight these fundamental concepts. For example, our Sages say that someone who learns about the sacrifices receives reward because he wants to perform them properly, even though he is unable since the Holy Temple is still not rebuilt. Learning in order to do means that a person learns with the intention or desire to fulfill. Learning Torah is meant to arouse our desire to fulfill it, and perfect our character in the process 

By this time you may be thinking: Maybe all I need to do is want to do something worthwhile and then sit back and relax. Rabbi Arush quashes this notion. We have to do our best and try to fulfill our will. The most important thing we must do it pray for it! And we must also strive to do it. However, once we increase our desire and really give it our best shot, then we are rewarded for that desire whatever the final results.  
A person can have many excuses for why he did not succeed in life, but he cannot have any excuse for why he did not want to succeed, because the power of will is always free. In a nutshell, our job is to have rock-hard will and a desire to succeed in everything holy, and then do as much as we can. 
A person must strive to know what Hashem wants and want it himself. Similarly, he must learn what Hashem does not want and not want it himself. 

The principle question to a person is: Why didn't you want it? Wanting is something that is up to you. Who can stop you? Therefore, the  key  element  of  Heavenly  judgement  concerns a person’s will. 
This reminds me of an uplifting teaching that Rabbi Arush conveys in The Garden of Purity. He explains that Hashem doesn't judge us according to where we are but rather where we want to be. This should give each of us great joy and encouragement. 

God knows that it takes time for a person to rectify his deeds. But He tells the person although you have not yet completely rectified your deeds, you want to! Therefore, the person is judged favorably in accordance with his intent. 
Rabbi Arush explains that we can accomplish great things if we really want to. This means that in many instances when a person says he cannot do something, the truth is that he does truly not want to do it enough. He cites a great phrase that he learned in the army: I can't is the first cousin of I don't want to. A person who doesn't even try is really deceiving himself, because if you really want to do something – you do it! 
Rabbi Arush discusses this principle at length in order to inspire us to believe in, and utilize, our abilities. In most cases, when a person applies even a little bit of will, he can find solutions to every obstacle and difficulty, and he receives the strength and energy to do everything he needs to do. 
Judgments do not only affect us when we go to the next world. A person is judged every day and every moment in this world. Therefore, our intent determines what kind of life we live; a life of comfort or suffering, a life of frustration and bitterness or of joy, a life of feeling bad or feeling good. The most extraordinary tool to sweeten any judgement is simply our WILL. 
Rabbi Arush ends the chapter with an amazing quote from Shem Mishuel l in the name of his father the Avnei