Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Burning Down the House

It seems that the yetzer has decided to mobilize in a full out assault this year. It is doing its best to reinforce all my bad habits, completely distract me, during davening and learning time, with the most inappropriate thoughts and ideas, and generally make my life miserable. It reminds me of a story:

A Rebbe and his followers are walking through a town when they see a man sifting through the ashes of his house. The man is picking through the debris trying to salvage anything he can use to rebuild. The Rebbe exclaims to his followers, “See how holy this man is, he grabs what he can to make a new start, and is not stopped by what has happened to him, he is only looking ahead. The yetzer hara is like this, it will oppose you to the point of burning you down almost completely in an attempt to destroy you. You must cling to the good points that you still have and not be deterred.”

Man. I can smell the smoke and feel the flames.

Thursday, August 13, 2009


"All your downheartedness and depression too is all just another barrier setting itself in your way. It has to be broken. For above all, you must work to break depression, which is more harmful, G-d forbid, than anything else! Gevalt! Do not be afraid, my beloved son! Do not be afraid! G-d really is with you! Remember what our master, teacher and Rebbe, of blessed memory, said, "G-d is great and we know nothing of it at all. Even when it comes to you people and to wherever each one of you has fallen. But there is a phenomenon whereby everything turns into good, for His greatness is unfathomable." You must really believe and know that these words of the Rebbe's are also directed at you, the way you are right now! Even someone thousands and tens of thousands of levels worse, G-d forbid, is also included in these words. And were this worst person to hear these words, he too would inspire himself with eternal life forever, and would not throw his life away."

From: Eternally Yours, Collected Letters of Reb Noson of Breslov, Vol. II, pg. 198.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Waiting for Elul

I am counting down the days until the beginning of Elul. I know that a person can do teshuvah at any time but Elul is like the moving sidewalks in the airport. You can walk all the way out to the departure gate, but if you walk on the moving sidewalk you can just fly through the airport. For me Elul is like that.
Last year I had let things really slip, my observance and learning level dropped way down and then Elul came and jolted me awake. I spent all of this year clawing my way up just trying to get back to my previous level and I still have a ways to go. So, I am looking towards Elul, waiting for that spiritual push to help me on my way.