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  • Writer's pictureReuven

Now's not the time to get sad about it

What the Rav said:

When the Rebbe (Rabbi Nachman) spoke about Shmirat Enayim (guarding one’s eyes), it was so that you would start to work on this, and not so that you would now get sad about it.

The Rebbe once spoke with Rav Natan about being happy on Shabbat. He said to him, “I didn’t tell you this so that you would now get sad about it. Rather, start to work on it. You should know that this is the main work on Shabbat, to be happy. Start to pray on this and to do hitbodedut on it” (Sichot HaRan 155).

The Rebbe said, when we speak about a matter a person can immediately fall into sadness. He doesn’t understand what’s going on here. When you speak about something, it just means that it’s the time to start working on it.

My thoughts:

We all have areas which we need to work on. Speaking about them can be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, if we don’t talk about issues we need to work on, then how are we going to improve? On the other hand, pointing out our bad middot often just leads to sadness and despair, rather than anything constructive.

The Rav is telling us the correct approach to take. Speaking about areas we need to work on is intended to bring us to action, period. It’s not the time to start getting upset or falling into despair (which is a reaction of the yetzer hara to try to keep us stuck where we are).

Rather, now is the time to work on it – primarily through prayer and hitbodedut!

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