13 Tamuz 5781 / Wednesday, June 23, 2021 | Torah Reading: Balak
 
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The Right Way to Fall    

The Right Way to Fall



An athlete must learn the proper way to fall, otherwise he'll be injured. In spirituality, we also must learn how to take a fall, so we don’t damage our souls…

 



Translated by Rabbi Avraham Greenbaum

 
“The Essential Rebbe Nachman”, Part 13
 
The purpose of falling – to go higher
 
When the time comes for a person to rise from one level to the next, he must first experience a fall. The whole purpose of the fall is to prepare for the ascent. Try to understand this and you will realize how determined you must be in order to serve God. No matter how far you fall, never allow yourself to be discouraged. Remain firm and resolute and pay no attention to the fall at all, because in the end it will be transformed into a great ascent. This is its whole purpose.
 
This applies to all the different ways one can fall. Each person always thinks that his own situation is so bad that this does not apply to him. People imagine it applies only to those on very exalted levels who are continually advancing from level to level. But you should realize that it holds true even for those on the lowest of levels, because God is good to all. (Likutey Moharan I, 22 )
 
* * *
 
Each time a person emerges from one level in order to rise to the next, the unholy forces attack him again in the form of desires and fantasies, strange thoughts, mental confusion, distractions and all kinds of other obstacles. They stand in array against him, refusing to let him enter the gates of holiness.
 
Many sincere people become highly discouraged when they find themselves suddenly confronted by all these desires and obstacles. They start to think that they must have fallen from their previous level because for some time they have not experienced them with the same intensity – since they were dormant.
 
When this happens, you must understand that what you are experiencing is not a fall. The time has come for you to advance from one level to the next. This is why these same old desires and obstacles have reared their heads again. Whenever this happens, it takes great strength and courage not to lose hope but to overcome all the desires and obstacles again. (Likutey Moharan I, 25)
 
* * *
 
Starting again
 
When a person falls from his level he should know that this is sent from Heaven.
 
The purpose of the apparent rejection is to draw him closer. The reason for the fall is to spur the person to make even greater efforts to draw closer to God.
 
The thing to do is to make an entirely new start. Start serving God as if you had never started in your whole life. This is one of the most basic principles of serving God. We must literally begin all over again every day. (Likutey Moharan I, 261)
 
* * *
 
One of the great rules in serving God is: Never allow yourself to fall completely.
 
Even if you feel you have failed in some devotion or prayed without proper attention or fallen in some other way, you must still try to keep as strong as you can and make a whole new start. Act as if today you are only beginning to serve God. No matter how many times you fall, pick yourself up and start again. Do this over and over again. Otherwise you will never come close to God.
 
Pull yourself to God with all your strength, regardless of whether you go up or down. No matter how low you fall, make a determined effort to yearn and long to draw closer to God. Cry out, pray and plead with God! Keep trying to do whatever you can to serve God with joy. Without this inner determination, you will never be able truly to approach God.
 
Keep on trying and trying until you are unable to do anything but serve God at all times every day of your life, even without any guarantee of a reward. Sometimes you may think you are so far from God that you will have no reward in the world to come. Even so, you must be willing to serve Him as best as you can even without a reward.
 
Even if you think you are bound to go to hell, you must still do your part in serving God as best as you can. Grab a mitzvah! Learn some Torah! Say a prayer… and God will do what is good in His eyes.
 
It is impossible to come to true service of God without facing all these trials. Every time you fall, you must make a determined effort to pick yourself up and start all over again – even many times each day – until eventually you will advance steadily in God's ways. Amen. (Sichot Haran #48)
 
 
***
Rabbi Avraham Greenbaum is the director of Azamra. “The Essential Rebbe Nachman” is available for purchase online here.




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