Wednesday, April 14, 2010


Why Is It So Hard???

by Reb Akiva at Mystical Paths

A commentor wrote, "I'm not sure why HaShem gives people wings and then clips them, so they can't fly. I suppose there's some greater lesson to be learned in that, but it sure is frustrating to have dreams and ZERO means and wherewithal to make them come true."

The Lubavticher Rebbe speaks of this extensively in the sicha of yud-alef Nissan, 5732. I cannot do justice to a 10 page talk in a brief blog post, but maybe I can get a bit of the point across...

We want to give our children everything. With full parental goodness, we want to fill their lives with everything wonderful. A beautiful place to live, toys and games, experts to care for them, places to go and things to do, wonderful food to eat, money in their pockets to buy what they wish. And friends, friends to fill their lives. And purpose, important meaning to fill their lives. And a sense of self and value.

But wait, we can't give those last three. We can't buy them, we can't gift them. Not only that, to give them we must take away much of the other things!

To stand before Hashem without burning in shame for having no value - for having been given everything we have no independent value of our own. We were created and given life. How can we 'bask in the presence of the Shechina' in the next world and receive any benefit rather than just shame???

Hashem gives us a way, a path to be a partner in the dynamic of creation...

We must struggle. Struggle to survive, struggle to earn resources by the sweat of our brow. And then, we're expected to give some of it away! To help others! To give, as Hashem gives. But if we give what we haven't earned, there's no value! No effort! No, we must give what we worked hard for. Money, time, Torah.

To stand in the next world we must struggle to earn it, then give it away. Then we are partners with Hashem.

Why is it so hard? Because then it's truly of value. We truly earn it, and truly feel it when we give it.

Further, many capabilities and attributes are only developed through pressure. As they say in the gym, no pain no gain. Skills take time and effort to develop. The paths, or rather the blockages in life, give us the reason to develop them. Sometimes intense events, really hard life events, lead us to develop abilities, traits, and skills that we never would have developed otherwise. These HARD WON and HARD WORKED skills take us much farther that we would ever have developed under normal circumstances.

For a bird, clipped wings are the end - never to be a whole bird again. For a person, it can be a wall blocking the way or a wall to be struggled to climb over and pass beyond.

Very hard, yes. But ZERO possibility, no. And further, in struggling to do so we may also be lead by the Divine hand in new and better directions for us as well.

There may be no Breslev shtetl garden community, but there are pockets of Breslevers throughout Israel spreading the tools of Rebbe Nachman in reaching towards Hashem. Similarly the Lubavitcher Rebbe send his chassidim out from their shtetl to reach out and bring every Jewish community throughout the world closer to Hashem and Torah.

As an individual (chossid), a shtetl is more supportive for personal development. But spreading out is much better for the Jewish people.

Do I focus only on my personal development, or do I give and become a (very very minor) partner with the Creator?

(The Lubavitcher Rebbe giving the talk of Yud-Alef Nissan, 5732, starting by announcing that with turning 70 instead of considering retiring he intends to do even more, starting by demanding the chassidim build 71 new Chabad centers!)


Anonymous said...

excellent post. we all need to see that challenges can lead to valuable, important developments we otherwise wouldn't have undertaken. it's not an easy topic as people suffer in life, but this was handled well.

crazy smade said...

Agreed.... Reb Akiva hit a homerun with this one as did Reb Meir with the previous post. These were exactly the words that I needed to hear and listen to. Now begins the process of taking them to heart and internalizing them. Thank you again for your thought-filled words and for taking the time to respond to my comments. Your efforts are making a genuine difference in the world. Thank you....

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