20 Tamuz 5779 / Tuesday, July 23, 2019 | Torah Reading: mattot
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People work all day, do and buy all sorts of things just to have a bit of vitality. They go on holiday, they sacrifice everything, just for a bit of vitality. They worry all day…


Translated by Aaron Yoseph


Vitality is something we all need. What people won’t do for a bit of vitality. They work all day, buy all sorts of things, just to have a bit of vitality. They go on holiday, they sacrifice everything, just for a bit of vitality. They spend all day worrying, without any vitality, so that someday they’ll have some vitality!


Rebbe Nachman tells us that the place we get real vitality from is Tefillah - prayer.


Vitality is serving Hashem. What else is there to do in this world? What will be left behind from anything else? The greatest vitality is to succeed in Torah and Tefillah and doing teshuvah. Sins are what rob us of our vitality. When a person hasn’t yet done teshuvah, he loses his place, and he has no vitality.


The true source of vitality is the Torah – daas, true knowledge, Emunah. But where do we get this from?


When a person can’t focus himself and do things with the right measure, he gets confused. He spreads himself out in all directions, wanting things that he can’t attain right now, and that leaves him worn out and stressed. If he would focus himself, he would have set shiurim and do some hisbodedus each day, and he’d feel good. He’d have vitality. Living simply brings us vitality.


It’s very hard to change a person. You can lecture him all day long, but it won’t change him. “Stop sinning, stop stealing, start to pray, start to learn.” He won’t know why he should change, he doesn’t feel like he can change, and he may not even be aware that he’s doing anything wrong. But give him a taste of vitality… and then everything changes. “Sins – I don’t want them anymore. Give me some more of that vitality!” Vitality is addictive.


What’s the greatest pleasure in the world? It’s breaking our servitude to pursuing pleasures. This is the truth, and the truth enlivens us. The Rebbe wants to connect us to the truth. When we’re connected to the truth, we know what Emunah is, we know the value of our every thought and action. “Hashem gets such pleasure every time I think of Him. How much more so when I turn to Him with my problems and speak to Him.” When we know the truth, our learning becomes a completely different experience. Every mishna, every page of Gemarah – we see how with each one, we’ve won the Lotto. We’re as rich as can be. Why? Because we kept Shabbos, enjoyed our chulent and kugel, and sang songs praising Hashem.


Pharaoh enslaves us, robbing us of our vitality. He thrives on falsehood, like lust. He tells us that there’s lots to be worried about, so we spend our days slaving under the hot sun when we could be free. Even if we’re financially settled, we can worry about our children, or our grandchildren. How will they get by?


It used to be the minhag to just worry about today, but nowadays the minhag has become to worry about at least three generations time! Am I progressing in serving Hashem, or am I regressing? I didn’t feel so good this morning, I had a funny feeling – perhaps I’ve come down with something terrible?! What should I do? When Pharaoh succeeds, we get caught up in slaveryto him instead of being subservient to Hashem.


The Rebbe wants us to have vitality now, to be free. Pesach is just as good a time to come back to Hashem as Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are. Serving Pharaoh is so bitter, but nothing is so sweet as serving Hashem. Happy Pesach!

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