Tuesday, September 16, 2014

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Desire and Thanksgiving

Some Torah from Rav Shalom Arush, shlita, is being made available to us to share.  We’ll be publishing, with some edits as appropriate for our audience.

on Mystical Paths, Torah by Rav Shalom Arush, shlita

We find the two paths of service, the service of desire and the service of thanksgiving, this hinted to in the words of Rebbe Nachman of Breslev in Likketei Mohoran Torah 6. The service of desire parallels the “running” to want to progress without letting down. Like we learned that the word for desire ratzon comes from the word for running ritza. The service of thanksgiving parallels “returning”, to give thanks to Hashem and be joyful in our falls which is the aspect of being silent to Hashem. As is explained at length in Likketei Mohoran Torah 6, the aspect of returning is to “hear one’s own disgrace and be tranquil and silent”. The verse Rebbe Nachman brings to describe the service of being tranquil and silent is “Offering a Todah (thanksgiving offering) brings Me honor”. From here we learn that the main way of accepting disgrace and downfalls is give thanks on them to Hashem. So too, we see this from the Targum (the translation) of the verse “and Aharon was silent” which translates this verse as “and Aharon gave praise”. After his two sons died on the day of the initiation of the Mishkan, Aharon HaCohen gave thanks and praise.

When a person has these two fields of expertise, then he is on the right path towards tikun ha brit (rectification of brit). He can increase his desires and prayers and every day pray at least half an hour on tikun ha brit. So too, he won’t fall or get confused by his failures that must come along the way. They won’t weaken him at all. He sees Hashem in everything and how He is guiding him and doing everything for his good and thanks Hashem for everything.

Since really getting to these two fields of expertise takes very deep thinking, we’ll explain here practically how to do it. When a person is aroused to desire after a fall, he in essence shows that what happened to him was ‘not good’ and he doesn’t receive the fall with emunah. Even though it’s very subtle, there is a big denial of emunah here and every denial of emunah separates a person from Hashem. Therefore before a person strengthens himself in the work of desire, he needs to make sure that his first response is giving thanks to Hashem. Giving thanks means having complete emunah that this is what Hashem desires and is certainly for good, it means having total emunah that whatever happens to you is the best that could possibly be, and this is the purpose of the creation.

A person needs to be really strong, to work to strengthen himself, to prepare himself and to bring himself to very strong mental composure to completely ignore his mind and just hold to emunah. Whatever will be with him, no matter what, even if things look absolutely terrible, before he thinks what to do or what does Hashem want from him, even before praying, the first thing is to give thanks! Emunah is not something we can abandon, even for a second. Giving thanks is complete emunah, that I believe that this is from Hashem and it is for good! If a person doesn’t say thank You, even if he prays, he prays because he thinks that what is happening to him isn’t good and this type of prayer is not accepted, because prayer is received only according to emunah. When a person strengthens in desire without giving thanks on his situation, he strengthens his desires while feeling that something is not good and this is a denial of emunah.

We see from this something awesome, that it’s possible that two people pray. One prays with complete emunah, because he says thank You on whatever happens with him. The second prays out of “atheism” because he has arguments with Hashem on what is happening with him. This is a difference of Heaven and earth.

The work of giving thanks is the purpose man in this world. A person comes to this world in order to know Hashem while amidst darkness and concealment. The main darkness is the existence of evil, because Hashem is totally good. When a person says thank You this means that he doesn’t see the bad, he just cleaves to Hashem, lives Hashem, sees Hashem in whatever happens to him and he will get to complete emunah.

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