Many of us want to serve Hashem, but we are not quite sure where to begin. Until we each merit for Hashem to help us find out exactly what our path is, we should listen to the Sages. They give us great advice, saying, “Whatever is harmonious with a person, and elicits beauty from the person” (Pirkei Avot 2:1). The Bartenura comments here, “It should be pleasant for the person, and others should be pleased… This is the middle way.”
This advice of following “the middle path” is so important for our generation. We live in a time of great spiritual darkness. Doubt and confusion are constantly at our side. Few of us know exactly what to do.
The answer is that, until Hashem enlightens us regarding our specific path, we should act simply. We should pray, study Torah with fear and awe of Hashem, work to improve our character deficiencies, and do mitzvot. We must hold our ground and not become confused, even if we still do not recognize our place or G-d-given talents in serving Him.
We should do those things which are obvious, as listed above, and by fulfilling what we know. In time and with Hashem’s help, we will merit for the rest to become clear. Until then, serving Hashem in the midst of darkness, doubts, and confusion might actually be the most pleasing form of service to Hashem.
Our Sages teach us, “Do not say, ‘I will learn when I have time,’ for perhaps you will never have time” (Pirkei Avot 2:5). On this, the Kotzker Rebbe commented: Grab whatever Torah you can, even if your mind is not as clear as possible, for perhaps your repair lies precisely in not having free time.
Based on In All Your Ways: Collected Discourses of Rabbi Yaakov Meir Schechter