From Rebbe Nachman we learn a valuable lesson in life, namely, that anyone who does not spend an hour a day in serious self-assessment and personal prayer will most likely make mistakes and lead others astray. Without an hour a day in self-assessment and prayer, we won’t be able to identify our shortcomings. Rebbe Nachman warns us (Likutei Moharan I:18) that we often consider ourselves to be a worthy leader, concerned for the welfare of others, while in reality we are only interested in worldly fame and honor.
Especially in this most superficial of generations, we can make serious mistakes in life by placing more emphasis on external show than on internal development and refinement. It is pretty easy to look externally like a Chassid by buying an expensive shtreimel or fancy sheitel (wig), but this, by itself, does nothing to refine our negative character traits or bad habits. We can even grow out our peyot and beard and spend all day and night in yeshiva or kollel, but without daily self-assessment and prayer, we can still be driven by every unseemly type of lust or desire.
This is why we need to cry out to Hashem daily, saying, “Lead me in your truth and teach me” (Tehillim 25:5). We must ask Hashem to show us how to correct our negative character traits and bad habits, and how to overcome bodily lusts, and to not be led astray by our own subjective opinions of ourselves.
The objective of Torah is to bring us to humility, so we can truly see how others are better than us, at least, in certain areas. The Torah testifies that Moshe reached this lofty level (Numbers 12:3) through being constantly attached with Hashem. King David said, “I have set Hashem before me always” (Tehillim 16:8). May we merit to spend at least an hour a day in self-assessment and prayer, so that Hashem can begin to help us correct the things we are here to correct…
Based on The Garden of Knowledge, by Shalom Arush.