Our ultimate future is rooted in Adam’s refusal to fall into despair, and his persistence in starting again. And that’s true for us no less than it was for Adam — we need to believe in ourselves, in our ability to repair the world if we’ll only begin the process.
Rebbe Nachman of Breslov taught:
“If you believe that you can ruin something… believe that you can fix it!”
Rabbi Baruch Gartner, Living Aligned
The great lesson we learn from Adam is that although it seemed like it was too late, he did not give up. He did not give in to the natural human tendency to allow guilt and shame to keep him from trying to repair whatever he could.
The roots of redemption lie in refusing to despair, and believing in ourselves and in the possibility of repair.
Rabbi Baruch Gartner, Living Aligned
Don’t be afraid, go ahead and ask yourself, “Where am I?” Begin your journey on the road back to G-d. Leave your sordid past behind; clean up your act from here on in. Granted you’re full of deep shame over the promiscuous deeds of the past and you committed the worst transgressions, nonetheless, lend your ears to G-d’s pleas of, “Where are you?”
Then with a resolute heart respond to the challenge by replying, “Here I am, G-d, I’m ready to come back to You!” That’s all it takes. G-d is ready to forgive you and accept you back, because He is concerned about your welfare and seeks your return.
You may feel lost, but you can find yourself, by looking for G-d. Just take your focus off the mundane, and focus on what’s really important in life, by heeding the call of the ages of, “Where are you?”
Adapted from Where Are You: Based on the Teachings of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov and of His Student Rabbi Nossan of Breslov, by Mohorosh HaKodesh Breslov
Through humility, one merits t’shuva (repentance). For the essence of repentance is when a person hears oneself being ridiculed, and holds one’s peace and remains silent.
Rebbe Nachman, Likutei Moharan I: 6
You may fall to the lowest depths, G-d forbid. But no matter how far you have fallen, it is still forbidden to give up hope… There is absolutely no place for despair… The main lesson is that even from one’s failings and declines, one can easily return to Hashem. Nothing is beyond His power. The most important thing is to never give up, but to continue to cry out to Hashem. (Rebbe Nachman, Sichot HaRan 3)
Many people feel these words apply to all other Jews, “but not me. I have gone too far away from Hashem. With the amount and severity of my sins, for me, there is no way to repair this.” Nobody should ever fall into such despair and loss of hope.
A person should continue to daven and cry out to Hashem in personal prayer. No matter how far a person has strayed, Hashem’s loving-kindness and mercy are greater. Every person must remember these words, and can return in complete repentance to Hashem.
Based on Rebbe Nachman’s Soul
A confusing thought may enter your mind, but if you stand firm, Hashem will send you another thought to encourage you.
Similarly, you may imagine that you are no longer one of Hashem’s children. But if you do your part, Hashem will eventually send you thoughts of encouragement… Therefore you should pour out your thoughts and troubles before Hashem, just like a child complaining to his father. (Sichot HaRan 7)
Rebbe Nachman says it is a great merit if a person is able to come before Hashem and pour out one’s heart, just like a child coming before one’s father. What happens when a wayward child comes crying before his father, showing remorse and regret, and promising to improve? It is only natural for the father to have a certain amount of compassion and pity.
When we feel in our heart that we have done so much wrong, that we have turned away from Hashem, G-d forbid, how can we still feel like a child before Hashem? Rebbe Nachman says that we must seek consolation in the fact that Hashem calls us His children, “You are children of Hashem your G-d” (Deuteronomy 14:1). For good, or otherwise, we are still His children. Even a wayward child is still a parent’s child.
Based on Sichot HaRan 7 and Rebbe Nachman’s Soul
During these Three Weeks, we are mourning the destruction of the First and Second Temples, over the exile of our people from the Land, and over the empowerment of the evil kingdoms of the world, the epitome of which is the seed of Amalek. This is why there are Three Weeks, for we are mourning over these three points that were blemished on account of our sins — the three mitzvot upon entering the Land of Israel, namely, eradicating the seed of Amalek, appointing a king, and constructing the Temple.
Due to our many sins in the past, for which we have still not fully repented, we have been unable to fully eradicate the seed of Amalek. Now, the filth of Amalek spreads and intensifies every day. We have been unable to reveal the glory of Hashem in the world. Our influence has diminished to the point that we still have no king. Most importantly, the Temple, the crown of our heads, has been destroyed due to our many sins, and due to our failure to fully repent, it has still not been rebuilt.
The main tikkun (rectification) during these Three Weeks corresponds to t’shuva (repentance). We cry and mourn during these Three Weeks over our failure in the past to properly fulfill the three mitzvot Hashem commanded of us when we entered the Land of Israel. We also cry and mourn over the fact that we have still not fully repented for them.
May we, during these Three Weeks, properly and completely repent for our three failures and merit complete rectification, through which we will finally and completely eradicate Amalek, welcome the coming of our true Mashiach, and see the rebuilding of our Temple, speedily in our days! Amen.
Based on Likutei Halakhot, Orach Chaim I, Shabbat 7, by Rabbi Natan of Breslov