Thursday, September 11, 2014

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Disgrace and Repentence

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

Before Adam HaRishon sinned, he was in Gan Eden was treated with only heavenly “treats”. This was the way to come close to the Creator gently and with pleasure. From the time he sinned, however, the arrogance of “and you will be like G-d” [the advice of the snake] was brought into him. From that moment on it became impossible for any person to come close to Hashem while he’s in “Gan Eden”, where everything goes as he would like pleasantly and with ease. A person has to go through this world where everyone suffers every day, as is written: “All his days anger and pain”… Rebbe Nachman of Breslev said there is no “this world”, because what we see here is purgatory itself, because everyone is full of constant suffering. All of the suffering comes with the same single purpose – to bring a person down from his arrogance.

A person that doesn’t know that he needs to return in repentance won’t understand what happens with him. He has two possibilities – either he’ll run after the imagination that he can find satisfaction in this world or he’ll suffer without understanding why. When a person wants to return to Hashem in repentance, then he’ll see that all of the difficulties, the suffering and the disgrace that fall on him is all for his good, in order to release him from the heavy yoke, the harsh punishment that is called arrogance that distances him from Hashem and holds back everything good.

Therefore the main thing in all of the difficulties, particularly when he sees that he’s not able to return to Hashem in repentance and his bodily desires, confusions, and setbacks won’t leave him alone for a second is not to be broken! To be joyful always! This is the essential meaning of what Rebbe Nachman of Breslev says “Hear his disgrace and be tranquil and silent”, that when a person sees that things are not working out for him, he’s not successful, suffering, etc., to know that all of these are his disgraces. When he sees that from heaven he’s not allowed to come close to the service of the Creator and even being bogged down with all sorts of additional difficulties, he needs to remember and to know very well that this is exactly what he deserves and exactly what he needs. He needs to leave the foolish arrogance of thinking that if he wants to come close to Hashem and repent then he should have a red carpet rolled out before him. He needs to remember the unfitting things he’s done and remember the fact that his wanting to return to Hashem and all of the mitzvot that he does are themselves free gifts of kindness from the Creator. He should think in his heart “Why am I depressed? Because I’m not being allowed to learn Torah with dedication like I would like? I’m not even fit to learn Torah! Thank You so much Hashem that You brought me close, I don’t deserve anything – Thank You!” Just as with learning Torah, a person should do exactly like this for prayer and everything in his service of Hashem.

When thoughts of humility come to him, when he sees his mistakes and where he fell and then is full of joy and dances, it shows that he really wants to return in repentance and through his disgraces he’ll “circumcise the foreskin of his heart” and come back to Hashem. If, however, he gets angry and bitter and thinks that he deserves that things should work out for him and gets depressed, this shows that he’s not yet ready to really return in repentance, therefore no matter what he’ll do, he won’t be successful to return in tshuvah, because the “foreskin” that surrounds his heart won’t allow him to do Hashem’s will. He is still serving his own bodily desires. Only disgrace prepares a person to be as Hashem desires, to escape the imagination and falsehood of arrogance and know that he is a non-entity and just thank Hashem and be embarrassed before Him. A person simply needs to be embarrassed before Hashem, to be embarrassed even to bring food to his mouth. Such an embarrassment to approach Hashem’s precious mitzvot, because who am I to do such holy mitzvot as these? And before Who am I doing them? Before the King of kings the Holy One Blessed be He, High and Uplifted the Great and Awesome! Woe to such embarrassment, woe to such shame! How much should we be embarrassed and not sin before Him. As is written: “and have your fear on your faces so as not to sin” and our sages said: this is embarrassment.

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