When we fall into hard times, many of us make the mistake of thinking that when we experience darkness, it’s because of our sins, mistakes, and failures. But the truth is that when people are experiencing darkness, it is because the Creator turned off the light. If the Creator would want to turn on the light, even the darkest hour will shine like the brightest day.
For that, you need faith. Because it is very, very easy for a person to fall into sadness and depression, to self-blame, to self-hatred, and to not recognize the hand of the Creator in what one is going through.
It is very easy to praise the Creator (Hashem), and to recognize His G-dliness when we experience miracles and wonders, and happy things in life. But when something hard is happening in our life, the natural thing to do is to blame ourselves instead of recognizing the G-dly Supervision of the Creator in our life – making the hours even darker…
Even a drop of good is never lost! Never! Our Sages teach, “If you’ve searched and succeeded in finding, believe it” (Megillah 6b). Why, believe it? If I’ve found, then I know it. What’s the point in believing? But, this is the point. No matter how much you seek the good, you may think you haven’t yet achieved or attained any. You might feel yourself even more distant from your goal than you were before you started. With this in mind, our Sages specifically taught, “believe it!” Believe that you’ve found some good, even if you can’t see it! (Likutei Halakhot, Birkhot HaPeirot 5:1,2).
What is free will? It is the ability to choose to do whatever you wish to do, whenever you wish to do so, in any kind of situation. Knowing that you have this power, you can take any idea or suggestion that you hear and apply it for your benefit. As Reb Natan explains, free will is the most amazing power in the entire world. The overall rule is that the entire world was created only for the sake of free will. (Likutei Halakhot, Birkhot HaShachar 5:74).
Adapted from Rebbe Nachman and YOU, by Chaim Kramer
Many people stumble and fall just as they are about to reach their final perfection. Some were already at the gates of holiness and could have easily entered completely in the realm of holiness, but retreated because obstacles and confusions arose against them with such intensity that they felt it was impossible to withstand them. The main means of rectifying this situation is Torah study. One must be very strong never to neglect Torah study, no matter what one must endure. One will then be able to overcome anything through the Torah, for all rectifications and purifications — from the first to the last — all are only through the Torah.
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 Halakhot, Choshen Mishpat 2, Shomer S’khar 2:10, by Rabbi Natan of Breslov and In All Your Ways: Collected Discourses of Rabbi Yaakov Meir Schechter