Four o'clock in the afternoon...
What the Rav said:
[One of the students of the Rav explains:] When I was going through a difficult period and had a lot of tests, I once woke up late and it was already the afternoon. I went in to see the Rav and it was 4 o’clock in the afternoon.
The Rav, looked at me and, of course, he knows very well what going on with every person, and he said to me, “What do you think? That Hashem is angry with you?”
“Even if you get up at 4 o’clock in the afternoon, start singing the morning hymns and daven in a relaxed manner.”
“Hashem loves you, even as you are.”
“Don’t get stressed about it, Hashem loves you, even at 4 o’clock in the afternoon.”
The Rav has a beautiful way of approaching avodat Hashem (serving G-d), which is also an
expression of the teachings of Rabbi Nachman on this point.
He is very demanding of all his students in terms of what he wants them to achieve.
But, there’s a big difference between ‘before the fact’, and ‘after it happens’.
Before the fact, we have to try our hardest to do what Hashem wants (to get up early, daven properly, do what we need to do etc).
But, after the fact, if we didn’t manage to do what we wanted to do, then we don’t beat ourselves up. We take a deep breath, accept that it’s G-d’s will that it didn’t work out this time, pick ourselves up, and start afresh.