Today’s learning is dedicated to the refuah sheleima of Simcha Nosson ben Zissel and Gedalia Getzel Eliezer ben Faiga Tzipporah.

*When one begins to attach himself to a great Tzadik and truly serve G-d, he is often filled with great confusion and evil thoughts. The evil was always there, but only now it is surfacing. A pot of water may seem perfectly clear. But when it is placed on a fire and begins to boil, all its impurities are brought to the surface. One must stand by and constantly remove these impurities. The original purity is merely an illusion. With a little heat the impurity surfaces. But when these impurities are removed, the water is truly pure and clear.*

*The same is true of a person. Before he begins serving G-d, good and evil are completely mixed together within him. The impurities are so closely united with the good that they cannot be recognized. But then this person comes close to a true Tzadik and begins to burn with great feeling toward G-d. He is touched with the heat of purification, and all the evil and impurities come to the surface. Here again one must stand by and constantly remove the dirt and impurities as they appear. In the end the person is truly pure and clear. — Sichot HaRan # 79*

In this lesson, Rebbe Nachman warns us that the Evil Inclination tries to demoralize us by making us feel unworthy and hopeless. This is especially true when we begin to work on our closeness to Hashem._

As soon as we decide to make a positive change, the Evil Inclination tries to overwhelm us with various obstacles and doubts. Suddenly, all our shortcomings and inadequacies seem to resurface.

When this happens, we must remind ourselves that the insecurities we feel are merely the Evil Inclination’s attempt to dissuade us. He tries to make us believe that we are no good; he tries to make us believe lies._

Rebbe Nachman teaches that even when a person feels distant from Hashem, this itself should bring him comfort. “We have already discussed how there is absolutely no despair in the world at all. And this itself, that he views himself as very far from G-d, as far as he can be; through this itself it is fitting that he revives himself, since at any rate, he knows that he is distant. For it would have been possible for him to be so very distant, to the extent that he did not know at all that he is distant. And since he at least knows about his great distance; despite that this is true; nevertheless, this itself is important to Hashem Yisborach, that at least he knows that he is distant. Through this itself, it befits that he revives himself and strengthen himself in every way that he can.” (Meshivas Nefesh # 40)_

It states in the introduction to Perkei Avot, “All of Israel have a share in the World to Come, as it says (Isaiah 60:21), ‘Your people are all Tzadikim; they will inherit the Land forever; they are the branch of My planting, the work of My hands in which I take pride.’ (Sanhedrin 11:1).“ The Maharal explains that regardless of our fulfillment of mitzvos of lack thereof, every Jew is considered a Tzadik._

But how can that be? Considering all our “flaws” and “failings”, can we really consider ourselves tzadikim?_

Clearly, our actions do not define us. We each have an intrinsic beauty and pureness that can never be tainted._

As Rebbe Nachman teaches, “Every single Jew is a part of G-d above. The essence of G-dliness is to be found in the heart. The G-dliness in the heart of the Jew is infinite. There is no end to the light of the flame that burns there.”_

Therefore, the verse describes our share in the World to Come as an inheritance… An inheritance does not require any action on the part of the inheritor. Similarly, all of Klal Yisrael, by virtue of their very being, are inheritors of the land forever (i.e. the World to Come and eternal life)._

(The Bartenura explains that while every Jew has a share in the World to Come, the quality of that share is dependent on one’s actions.)_

Regarding the joy Hashem derives from our nation, the verse states, “I get nachas (pride) from you and from what you do.” Rabbi Shais Taub points out that “from you” comes before “what you do”. He explains, “The action is not what gives the person value; the person is what gives the action value.” Who we are will never change, and therefore the pride Hashem gets from us will never change._

Similarly, it states in Perkei Avot (3:14), “Beloved are the people of Israel, for they are called ‘G-d’s children.’” As the Talmud states, even when they sin, Klal Yisroel is still the children of Hashem. (Kiddushin 36a)_

In closing, we may make bad decisions, but that does not make us bad people. When we strengthen our sense of self, when we conquer feelings of unworthiness, we begin to recognize Hashem’s love for us. Only then can we truly appreciate and reach our full potential.

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