18 Tishrei 5782 / Friday, September 24, 2021 | Torah Reading: Sukkot
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Lightening the Load    

Lightening the Load

Translated by Rabbi Lazer Brody - Rebbe Nachman of Breslev teaches that that one should not look at anything other than the day at hand, and even the particular hour…


At every moment, a person has the free choice of clinging to Hashem and to emuna, for there's no place in the world where a person can't reach out for Hashem. Hashem is everywhere, even in the lowest and most desolate places on earth.
Therefore, when a person clings to the simple faith that everything comes from Hashem, then he's not in concealment at all. No matter how he falls or fails, if he believes that his setback comes from Hashem and continues to serve Hashem with joy, then Hashem has no sorrow. Hashem's only sorrow is when people don't believe that everything is from Him and for the very best – failures, setbacks, ups, downs, everything!
"If you had only come on the prescribed day, you would have taken me out of here. And because of one day, you lost…"
Here, Rebbe Nachman of Breslov is alluding to a passage in Psalm 95, "Today, if you heed His voice," which he elaborates in Likutei Moharan I:272, as follows:
"'Today, if you heed His voice,' is an important guideline in the service of Hashem, that one should not look at anything other than the day at hand. Both in the business of making a living and seeking ones needs, one shouldn't think from one day to the next, as our holy books say. The same goes for the service of Hashem. One should not regard anything other than that particular day and that particular hour. For when a person desires to enter in the service of Hashem, it seems to be a heavy weight that's impossible to carry. But, when one thinks only of the day at hand, he doesn't have a heavy load at all, and also won't push things off from today until tomorrow, saying: Tomorrow I'll begin, tomorrow I'll pray earnestly, and so forth with other tasks. A person has nothing in his world other than the particular day and hour at hand, for tomorrow is an entirely different world. 'Today, if you heed His voice,' – 'today' specifically, and understand."
When a person is occupied with something, whether a mundane task or a spiritual one, he should concentrate on the present task and not think about anything else. Rebbe Nathan of Breslov instructed his son Yitzchak, who worked as a postal clerk and was confused about the best way of meeting all his obligations, the best way to serve Hashem. He said: "When you work at the post office, concentrate on your work, to prevent mistakes. But, the minute you leave the post office, forget completely about your work and focus all your thoughts on Hashem and on His Divine service."
Rebbe Nathan also wrote that this advice was the only way that Rebbe Nachman succeeded in accomplishing what he accomplished (see Shivchei Haran, 14):
"His daily workload was enormous and very difficult. It was so difficult that he could barely withstand the heaviness of the yoke of his responsibilities. Only by this advice could he continue with his work, namely, that each day, he'd think that he had no other concerns other than that particular day, and that way, he could carry the weight of that day's responsibilities. For a person is capable of doing anything in the world on one particular day, since it's only a single day; then, on the morrow, he would only look at that day.
"He acted this way always, never thinking about anything but that particular day, and that way, he could carry the load that was so heavy. Without this, he couldn't have withstood the strain of his many activities in the service of Hashem, each done with tremendous strain and effort, which would have added up to an impossible load. The only way he succeeded was with this advice – not to think of anything other than that particular day."
Why carry a bigger load than you have to? When you only think of the day at hand, the load is a lot lighter.
This is what the princess says to the viceroy: "And because of one day, you lost." Since your service of Hashem wasn't "one day," in other words, since you didn't focus exclusively on the day at hand, you failed. You only have today – nothing else – so concentrate on your present task. If you'd have focused on what you were supposed to do, you wouldn't have strayed aside to eat a forbidden apple, and you would have redeemed me.
To be continued.

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