Its the journey not the destination

The Noam Elimelech on parashath Shemot says something very cool: Why does the parashah start with Bnei Yisrael coming down to Egypt and continue about Bnei Yaacov who arrived in Egypt? He explains: The Tzaddik who is starting out on his journey is called 'Yaacov', and often this Tzaddik feels like he has already attained righteousness, he's already arrived. But the true Tzaddik is called 'Yisrael' and he knows that his accomplishments are forever dwarfed by what he has yet to achieve, and so he is always "on his way," never actually getting there.

I think one thing we can learn from this teaching of the Noam Elimelech is that in order to attain holiness, we need to first think we've arrived, that we already made it, so that all the depression and self doubt don't trip us up. Only after we've achieved some level of holiness, we need to start recognizing how far we still have to go.

In order to get anywhere, we need to arrive first.


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