Our Unique Path for Serving Hashem

We each have a G-d-given and individualized path for serving Hashem. No two people are alike. Hashem doesn’t create the same thing twice. We are each unique and need to find our specific path in avodat Hashem (service of Hashem). Rabbi Natan speaks about this:

“Rebbe Nachman spoke at length about the great differences between the tzaddikim of the previous generations — the talmidim (students) of the Baal Shem Tov and the Maggid of Mezritch. One would travel across the country speaking in public. Another remained at home. One would pray before the congregation slowly and with loud cries, while another prayed in a whisper. This one devoted his time to Torah study and this one to tzedaka (charity) and saving Jewish lives. Nevertheless, they all learned from one Rebbe, and there was a great love between them. Each served Hashem according to the root of his soul and it was impossible for them to be alike. G-d’s great delight is that He has so many tzaddikim and good Jews in the world, each one giving Him special pleasure not found in the next. This is the meaning of the verse: ‘Israel, in whom I am adorned’ (Isaiah 49:3). Jews are composed of such a spectrum of colors. G-d does not make the same thing twice. Each individual has his own path according to the root of his soul in the Supernal Will.”

Rabbi Avraham Azulai writes, “Every single soul has its own unique portion in the Torah” (Baalei Bris Avraham, Introduction). We are each unique and special in Hashem’s eyes. We each have a specific path through which we will understand the Torah. Specific portions and aspects of the Torah will appeal to particular individuals, based on each person’s root soul. We each have our particular mitzva, in which we excel. May we have the merit for Hashem to help each of us find our unique path in serving Him.

Based on Likutei HalakhotChoshen Mishpat 2, Shomer S’khar 2:10, by Rabbi Natan of Breslov and In All Your Ways: Collected Discourses of  Rabbi Yaakov Meir Schechter

Accepting All with Love and Joy

We see that Hashem sometimes runs the world in ways that we find very difficult to accept. Things can happen that are hard to understand, and we have no idea where they may lead. Therefore, we must seek out advice that will help us to deal with reality when things happen that are very difficult to accept.

Rebbe Nachman (Likutei Moharan II: 5) tells us that there is advice from the true tzaddikim which is “wondrous.” When we merit to discover this advice, we receive a path and a strength to pass in peace through the stormy waters that threaten to destroy us.

Before we can understand the advice, we need to understand a fundamental rule. Every one of us has two incredible abilities to achieve, rectify, and change things for the greatest good. These two abilities exist inside each of us — the power of  thought and the power of speech. Through correct thought and correct speech we are able to turn everything around for the best.

The advice from the true tzaddikim is likened to a “seed” that causes emuna (faith in Hashem) to grow within us. Our emuna will slowly grow over time as we continue to nurture it. We need to keep three important points in mind as we begin on our path:

  • We must know that everything that happens is only from Hashem, who acts with complete Divine supervision.
  • We must believe that everything that happens to us is for our ultimate good, which allows us to accept what happens to us with love.
  • Be happy with everything that happens, regardless how it may appear. In the end, everything will turn out for the best.

Although it may not appear at first to be so good, and although we cannot initially understand what is happening, if we accept this advice from the true tzaddikim, we will be able to dance and say, “Hashem, I have no clue why this is happening! I do not understand it at all. But I believe that everything, including this, comes from You and that You always do what You know is for my best. I can’t feel Your presence now, but I know You are here with me. And I know that You are preparing something for me that is greater than I can understand. Thank You, Hashem!”

This new path of emuna will slowly grow within our heart and mind. This is the understanding which comes down to us from heaven and reveals to us the gifts that we are receiving through our pain and suffering. May we each merit to reach a level where we will feel that what we are going through is actually for our best, and to understand that good will come out of this present suffering.

This is an entirely new awareness of true reality that will open up to each of us. We must know: It is impossible to fix the world, but it is possible to fix the lenses through which we view the world.

Based on From the Depths, by Rabbi Ofer Erez

Connecting with Hashem

Many of us have more material wealth and comfort than ever before. However, we feel we are still lacking something. In spite of all of the modern luxuries available to us, we are still never truly happy. This is because all of these things are not what we actually lack.

What we are lacking is a genuine connection with Hashem. In the midst of the profound darkness of our generation, “The Guardian of Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps” (T’hillim 121:4). Hashem sends us true tzaddikim, to help guide us and illuminate our path in this long exile.

They help each of us find our proper path in order to return to where we belong, a place of emuna (faith in Hashem), where we have a true, palpable connection with Hashem. They reveal to us wonderful advice on how to have a true and personal relationship with Hashem. When we connect to them and accept their advice, we can find the source of the living waters that can quench our thirsty souls in the darkness of this long exile.

Rebbe Nachman tells each of us:

By way of the advice that is revealed in the world, emuna grows… and by way of this, we receive our remedy for the severe blows… and this is an aspect of the covenant of the world — at fist there is darkness, and then there is light. And to the extent that more light is revealed, which means advice, the darkness, which is the lack of advice, is pushed away; and so grows emuna… and through this is the main remedy” (Likutei Moharan II: 5).

When we merit to learn and understand the pathways and the advice of the true tzaddikim, we are able to slowly grow in our emuna which dwells in our hearts. Then, and only then, do we merit inner peace and harmony.

It is then that we will truly understand that everything that Hashem does is for the best, which is a taste of the World to Come (Likutei Moharan 4). There is no despair in the world at all (Likutei Moharan II: 78), and everything will turn into a salvation and redemption. When emuna grows within us, our heart will feel the security of the protection of the Guardian of Israel.

Based on From the Depths, by Rabbi Ofer Erez

Imagination and Emuna

One of our main struggles in our generation is that of imagination, m’dameh. We must realize that imagination only has power in the realm of physical action, in which it can confuse us, and this is where it must be refined. The main attachment of the forces of evil is in this World of Action, since the main attachment of these forces of evil is through the power of imagination. This corresponds to nogah, which corresponds to the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, which is attached to physical action.

The power of imagination functions as an intermediary between the physical and spiritual, between body and soul. All things in the physical world can be envisioned in the mind, and this is the power of imagination. We must understand that the main test and free choice of each of us is specifically in the power of human imagination, which can rise up with the desires of the soul or descend with those of the body.

The reason it is important to refine our imagination is because imagination is associated with emuna (faith in Hashem). In matters which our intellect comprehends, emuna does not apply. However, when we are faced with a situation in which our logical reasoning does not have an answer, there we must rely on emuna.

Emuna is rectified through Torah which has been faithfully transmitted by true tzaddikim. Perfected emuna is the gateway to intellect — to knowing and recognizing Hashem. Emuna is perfected through rectifying imagination, and it is only by means of imagination that we can approach the intellect.

When we accept the Torah which has been faithfully transmitted to us by tzaddikim, this perfects our emuna, which rectifies our power of imagination, which then protects our intellect so we can truly know and recognize Hashem. Without rectifying our power of imagination, we can easily be misled into heresy and false beliefs, as so many have done.

This explains why one of our greatest struggles in this generation is in the realm of imagination. If we do not rectify the power of imagination, we will be unable to truly know and recognize Hashem, and can be easily led into heresy and false beliefs. And the only way to rectify our imagination is by perfecting our emuna through Torah.

Likutei Moharan II, 8:7-8 by Rebbe Nachman and Likutei Halakhot, Orach Chaim, Hilkhot Bikat HaReyakh 4 by R’ Natan.