Finding the Good Points to Awaken from “Sleep”

“One should strengthen oneself like a lion to rise up in the early morning in the service of one’s Creator, awakening the dawn.” (Beit Yosef)

“I shall place Hashem before me always” is a fundamental principle in Torah.” (Rema)

Chazal teach us that “sleep” is one-sixtieth of death (Berakhot 57b). When we are spiritually “asleep,” when we feel distant from Hashem, believing that our sins and spiritual blemishes have separated us from Him, this is the time for us to search for some good points within. We must ask ourselves “How is it possible that I have never done any good in my life?” Even though the “good points” we find within ourselves still contain some “not so good,” there is at least some good in them. In this manner, we must continue to seek out the good points within us.

By judging ourselves favorably and finding that we still have some good points, we leave the category of sinfulness, enabling us to do t’shuva (repentance). This corresponds to an arousal from “sleep.” Similarly, we must search for the good points in others, arousing them to do t’shuva.

“A little bit more and there is no wicked one…” (Tehillim 37:10). By finding the “little bit more” of good within ourselves and others, “you shall look closely at his place, and he is not there.” This is alluded to in, “I will sing praise to Hashem with my little bit,” (ibid, 146:2). Through finding the “little bit” of good points within ourselves, we are able to sing and praise Hashem.

Based on Likutei Moharan I:282, English Edition, Breslov Research Institute and Likutei Halakhot, Orach Chaim IPart 1, Hilkhot Hashkamat HaBoker 1, English Edition.

Getting to Know Hashem

Hashem essentially has one simple request from each of us, namely, to get to know Him. According to the Zohar, Hashem created us for the sole purpose of getting to know Him. Every event in our lives actually contains concealed and personal messages from Hashem, designed to stimulate our emuna, faith in Him, and to encourage us to speak to Him, which helps us to get closer to Him. The closer we each get to Hashem, the better we get to know Him.

Achieving closeness to Hashem and getting to know Him is our primary tikkun, soul correction — our primary mission in life. Hashem, in His limitless love for each of us, directs our lives in such a way for us to successfully achieve this goal. Understanding that everything in our lives is for our own ultimate good, to help us achieve our tikkun, enables us to cope with all types of situations in our lives — both the good and what appears to us as “not so good” — happily and without stress, worry, or anxiety.

When we ignore Hashem’s personal messages, He is compelled to send us “louder” messages — situations of greater difficulty. Those who fail to get to know Hashem in good times risk being placed in more difficult situations, devoid of any natural or logical solutions. At this point, the only possible solution is to cry out to Hashem. Through His infinite loving-kindness, Hashem does this to help us reach our tikkun of drawing close to Him and getting to know Him better. The more we cooperate, the easier our lives will become…

Based on The Garden of Emuna, by Shalom Arush.

Hashem Forms Light and Creates Darkness (Isaiah 45:7)

During this time before the world has completed it’s tikkun, spiritual correction, the grey areas prevail and the majority of people are easily misled. While society looks up to those who pursue their bodily desires, spiritual leaders are mocked and scorned. Most people see darkness and call it light, then see light and call it darkness.

Only Hashem can make the perfect separation between light and darkness. King Solomon said, “The righteous and the wicked God will judge” (Ecclesiastes 3:17). Only Hashem can define good and evil. Only in Olam Haba, the World to Come, will we find a clear differentiation between truth and lies, good and evil. Our bodies, if driven by lust, appetites, and the Yetzer Hara, Evil Inclination, can easily mislead us. Our Sages warn us not to trust ourselves until our last day on earth (Avot 2:4). Hashem delineates between light and darkness, but we can still succumb to the chaos in the grey areas…

Based on The Garden of Knowledge, by Shalom Arush


Those Pesky Grey Zones (Part 1)

“And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness” (Breishit 1:4). Just as Hashem separated light from darkness, He wants us to identify and differentiate between good and evil, between mitzvah (commandment) and transgression.

The Yetzer Hara, the Evil Inclination, is constantly trying to erase the distinction in our minds. He attempts to trick us into thinking that a certain transgression is actually a mitzva, a righteous act.

Once a person, through Torah study, knows how to recognize evil, one can more easily refrain from doing a Torah prohibition. However, the danger zone is in a place where good and bad are mixed — the grey areas. Here a person can easily being tricked, and much of life can fall within those pesky grey zones… (To be continued, bsd)

Based on The Garden of Knowledge, by Rabbi Shalom Arush