returning to the present

The most comforting thing in the world is that we aren't meant to rely on our own accomplishment. Chazal teaches that our deeds are not for ourselves but for our children. In a sense this can be scary because when our deeds aren't up to where they should be, what will our children rely on? But, in a more immediate sense, if our actions aren't what they should be, it doesn't mean we need to worry about where we are with respect to HaShem right this second.

Conversely it means we can pray to HaShem with a free and happy heart that He is merciful and will overlook our failings and continue to give us life and sustenance and all of His blessings. In fact, if we can get to that place of joy in the service of HaShem no matter how we have fallen in the past, then that is a tremendous level. Once we are truly happy in the moment because of our awareness of the infinite mercy of HaShem, then we can start to ask HaShem for forgiveness, truly sorry for our actions knowing that HaShem, a loving father, will immediately forgive us.

When we feel like children of HaShem, when we know we represent His Name in the world, then our failings will embarrass us and we will work always to improve our actions out of a desire to please and bring honor to our Father.

This is an example of Teshuvah from Ahavah. It comes from a place of tremendous love, devotion and respect. It is only possible to achieve this level through first recognizing just how much HaShem loves us. From this place of feeling HaShem's intense love in us, it awakens in us a similarly intense love for Him, which gives us faith in ourselves that our actions will succeed and we may truly bring honor to HaShem's Name.

What are the actions we can do to bring honor to HaShem's name from this place? Gemilut Hasadim. (גמילות חסדים) Tzedaka, the mitzwah (המצוה) as it is called in the Jerusalem Talmud. Ahavat Yisrael. The Tanya teaches that to truly love HaShem, is to love what He loves, and He loves Am Yisrael. When the love HaShem has for us makes us feel special, and through that feeling we elevate others to feel loved as well, by giving to them in His name, then we can begin to see how unique every one of klal Yisrael is.

Nothing they do or don't do should ever make you think about another Jew, because they, like us, are not meant to rely on their own merits, but rather on the infinite mercy of HaShem and the tremendous love He has for them.


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