Thursday, June 20, 2013

Rolling with the resistance

When people want to become truly religious and serve God, they seem to be overwhelmed with confusion and frustrations. They find great barriers in their path and cannot decide what to do. The more they want to serve God, the more difficulty they encounter. 
All the enthusiasm that such people have when trying to do good is very precious, even if their goal is not achieved. All their effort is counted like a sacrifice, in the category of "For Your sake, we are killed each day, we are counted like sheep for slaughter." (Psalms 44:23) The Tikkunei Zohar states that this verse speaks of both prayer and sacrifice. 
When a person wants to pray, he encounters many distractions. But still, he gives himself over entirely to the task, exerting every effort to pray properly. Even if his prayer is not perfect, his very effort is like bringing a sacrifice, in the category of [the above verse]. The same is true for everything else in religion. You may wish to perfect yourself, but find yourself unable to do so completely. Still, the effort and suffering involved in the frustrated attempt are not in vain... 
Therefore, always do your part, making every effort to serve God to the best of your ability. Whatever task lies in your hand do it with all your might (Kohelet 9:10). Keep it up, even when all your efforts seem to be frustrated and all your attempts in vain. Do everything in your ability, and God will do what is good in His eyes (I Shmuel 3:18) - Sichot HaRan, 12*
What chizuk! Just as I was setting out on an endeavor to bolster certain elements of avodah that needed a boost, I encountered the above passage while waiting during minyan.

Caution: some coarse language which has been poorly *bleeped* out.

* English translation adapted from Rabbi Nachman's Wisdom, by Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan (B.R.I.)

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