13 Tishrei 5781 / Thursday, October 01, 2020 | Torah Reading: Sukkot
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Yitro - The Power of Desire    

Yitro - The Power of Desire

Our only choice is either to want or to despair. The pain of wanting without realizing our goal fuels us to pray and work even harder. There is no despair!


In this week’s Torah portion, the Jewish people receive the Torah at Mount Sinai. “In the third month from the Exodus of the Children of Israel from Egypt, on this day, they arrived at the Wilderness of Sinai” (Chapter 19, Verse 1). Rabbi Natan of Breslev explains that the main revelation of the Torah was through love, kindness, and a strong desire and longing for holiness.  


All of the earlier Tzaddikim who lived before the Torah was given at Mount Sinai were only involved in wanting and longing to come closer to Hashem and to know Hashem - this was their main service of Hashem. Avraham, who is called the first of the believers and the first to be circumcised, merited even more than the other Tzaddikim this aspect of will and longing, and especially, longing to reveal Hashem’s kindness and love in the world, which was the main attribute of our patriarch Avraham. From the time of Avraham the light of the Torah began to be revealed more and more in the world. After him, Yitzchak and Yaakov and Yaakov’s sons also continued this path of longing to reveal Godliness in the world until the time of Moshe Rabbenu (our teacher), who merited to receive the Torah on behalf of the Jewish people at Mount Sinai (Likutei Halachot, Laws of Blood, 1st Teaching). 


The power and importance of our will is a major subject in Rebbe Nachman’s teachings, and a critical aspect of serving Hashem,  which he strongly emphasized. He teaches in  Rebbe  Nachman’s  Wisdom  that the main thing in serving Hashem is a person’s  desire  and  longing, and even if he is not able to actualize his desire to fulfill the mitzvah or good deed, the will itself is very good (14th teaching). 


The power of desire is the main thing upon which everything depends. Our only real choice is either to continue to want, or to despair.  Rebbe  Nachman  famously screamed as he was giving over once a teaching, “There is no despair in the world!” Despair is an imaginary solution that we let ourselves fall into, but really, Rebbe Nachman teaches, there is no reason to despair, as bleak as the situation might seem.  


What do we need to do? Only to ask ourselves, “How much do I really want this? Where am I with my will? Am I staying strong or am I allowing myself to give up? Why am I giving up? What am I afraid of? The results are not up to us, but there is nothing in the world which can stop us from wanting something.  


We also need to ask ourselves every day, “What do I want? What good things do I want for myself, my family?” Expressing our good desires, and speaking them out, helps us to actualize them, as Rebbe Nachman teaches: “In order for the will to be actualized, one needs to speak his desire and longing, and by way of this a person is able to actualize his request and he will reach the goal which he desires” (Rebbe Nachman’s Advice, Ratzon1, 2nd teaching). 


This week after reviewing this teaching, I asked myself, “Where am I giving up, and in what areas of my life do I feel despair?” Whatever came to me at the time, I spoke about it with Hashem and prayed for the strength to help me start over and keep wanting.  


Letting ourselves feel the pain of how far we are from something we want or how hard it is to realize that goal, is actually what fuels our will. The pain awakens us to want and pray even more to reach our goal. My wife helped me to notice an area in my life where I don’t try to grow because of fear and despair this week - in my work and career. After going through some difficult conversations on the subject, today, as I write these words, was a different day. Something new opened up; we discussed new ideas about how to try to find new opportunities and how to expand. The pain of my opposition to her asking me to discuss the subject, turned into a positive feeling and sense of partnership between us. Finding the strength to face our fears and turn the pain into willpower is an important part of actualizing the good desires and goals which we have. 


(Inspired by a recent class from Gidi Dabush, the teacher at the Breslov Workshop which I learned at- Shakuf)  


This week’s learning is dedicated to a complete healing for my friend’s father-in-law - Mordechai Avigdor Ben Frumit. 



Republished with permission from breslov.blog.  




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