the rewards of stubborn pursuit

This past Shabbath I reviewed Likkutei Moharan I:115, in which Rebbe Nachman explains that all barriers between us and HaShem are nothing more than a revelation of HaShem meant to at the same time, (1) placate those who call for justice and claim we aren't worthy, (2) while still enabling us to receive a vast awareness of HaShem.

How does this work? HaShem, because He loves justice, agrees with the accusers that perhaps we shouldn't receive HaShem's closeness, so He places a barrier before us. However, HaShem loves us even more than He loves justice, and so He Himself descends to hide within that barrier. Those who know to seek out HaShem don't run away from difficulty, instead they know to head right into it, because within it is a greater revelation of HaShem than we are otherwise able to receive.

This squares perfectly with the teaching of the Ba'al Shem Tov brought down in the Tzava'ath HaRivash, (towards the end) about how when HaShem wants to give us good but we aren't deserving of it, he clothes the blessing in a hardship and if we accept the hardship with love and sweetness, (founded on emunah: pure faith in HaShem's desire and constant attempt to do good with and to us) then we gain access to the blessing hidden within.

The implications of Rebbe Nachman are really amazing if you stop to think about what exactly is the greatest barrier to being close to HaShem in this world, namely the yetzer hara, the evil urge. One could draw the following conclusion based on Rebbe Nachman's teaching: that HaShem dwells within the yetzer hara, that the yetzer hara is actually a greater revelation of Godliness than we could otherwise receive. Those who recognize the yetzer hara and master it attain this Godly revelation and those who flee it or allow it to master them are so close and yet feel so far.


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