As If G-d Actually Cares?!
MyLife Essay Contest 2017
My essay will address the two following obstacles I had recently experienced, and to the best of my ability I will explain how I overcame them. I was at a farbrengen in my yeshiva, the topic being discussed by myself and another student “why am I doing G-D’s will, as if an infinite being cares?” The reason this topic was brought up, my friend and I had both lost all motivation to get out of bed in the morning, let alone serve G-D. So as we sat at the table we started firing away questions, (which I will address later on) the mashpia brought up concepts from the Lubavitcher Rebbe, but in that state of mind we wouldn’t hear it. Now a short while later after not wanting misery any longer I decided to give the following all of my best. Here is my story on how I overcame my dry spell and how the the Rebbe’s teachings guided me through the darkness.
A little background about me. I grew up in observant traditional Jewish family. At the age of 12 I had stopped observing most of the jewish laws and by age 13 was living a completely secular life, no my family didn’t approve I had started dangerous habits which included destructive substance abuse and found myself in a very dark space. The journey had begun. After many soul searching experiences, rehab four times, hitchhiking across America to a beautiful town in southern california, enrolling myself in public school and having a 4.0 GPA. I wasn’t satisfied. The local Chabad shliach of my town peaked my interest and I started attending his beautiful Shabbos meal, donning the tefillin, and even at the end of my stay, Purim, I started keeping kosher. This passed Pesach, we decided it’s time for me to go to yeshiva. I was really excited and the torch was lit. I was a massive search light in a dark night, searching only for more G-Dliness. The summer came, I spent it in a chabad program in Israel followed by a 2 week backpacking trip in the colorado rockies; where I had a lot of time to think, some might say too much time. I started pondering on a few questions I had come up with. “Why did hashem create the world?” “Does G-D even care about my deeds? G-D is infinite why would he care?” which lead to, “What am I doing with my life?”
I did well at pushing these questions aside, yet every so often, I found myself unmotivated to get out of bed, “what’s the point?” Then came Elul, the spirit of the high holidays was in the air. My mentor suggested I go on shlichus for the high holidays, next thing I know I find myself sitting in a sukkah on the other side of the country, with the shliach of the town and two shluchim from my yeshiva. We got to business. They validated all my questions and showed me that the Alter Rebbe addressed these questions m ultiple times. Between Torah Or and Luktuei Torah the alter Rebbe discusses the purpose of the soul coming down to this world approximately thirty locations. (Tachlis Hayrida Litzorech Aliyah) They showed me answers. However, I was to closed minded t oo listen to anyone. I texted a spiel to my mentor saying “I want to leave yeshiva”, I have lost the fire I had and I am ready to give up. I was willing to just give up everything and live a carefree life feeding off quick fixes and adrenaline. He responded,“when you get back to yeshiva, learn the maamar Lo Tiye Meshakela, it will answer your questions.”
I came back to ye shiva and decided to give it a go. In the discourse, the Rebbe brings up a contradiction in Cha zal, the Midrash says the commandments are only to refine man. The verse says “If we sinned what do we give to G-D, if we are righteous what do we give to G-D? (Job 35:6-7) But in a different verse “And now I beseech you, let the power of heaven be great” (Numbers 14:17) “You have weakened the rock that gave birth to you” (Deuteronomy 32:18), seemingly a contradiction. On the one hand it states that our deeds don’t affect G-D and are just to refine us. Yet we have another verse stating that are deeds affect G-D, that we add strength to G-D. Do are deeds affect G-D or not? The Rebbe then answers, when it says “For what does hashem care?” it’s referring to the work itself, which G-D’s quintessence actually doesn’t care. But only the outcome of the deed which refines man does he care. This the purpose of this world and it’s rooted in G-D’s quintessential essence. When we refine ourselves we are fulfilling G-D’s desire.
So that answered one of the questions, G-D does care, but that’s only after he created the world, but why did he create the world? If G-D is infinite, lacks nothing and is everything, where does the desire to create come from? After contemplating this question over and over, again ready to give up on judaism I finally stomped along the answer. There is a concept known as “Chafetz Chesed”. G-D is compiled of emotions titled sefiros. Among those emotions is love. What is love without something to love? So G-D created us simply to love us! Love is a two way street, hence Dira Betachtonim or otherwise known as A Dwelling Place Below on this earth. Through welcoming G-D into this world we are the receiving end of G-D’s love! Having all my answers I was finally on fire again… for about a week. Back to sleeping in, missing classes for a jog, ice skating and distractions of the like. I felt empty, burnt out. One day I built up the courage to go to the morning chassidus class. With divine providence they were learning the discourse of “ Isha Achas” from the Rebbe which specifically addresses my dilemma! The Rebbe quotes a story from “Book of kings”. In summary, A widow comes to Elisha the prophet, the debt collectors are after her children for slaves due to the debt her late husband has left behind. All the she had was one jug of oil. The prophet instructed her to go home and pour the oil into empty vessels. She did by the prophets words, Hashem performed a miracle and the oil filled up every last vessel; which she sold and paid off all the debt!
Our soul is the woman crying to Hashem. The word man in Hebrew can also mean fire. the creditors being the animal soul. The children represent love and awe for G-D. While the oil refers to deeds performed without motivation. My soul is crying to G-D! My fire, my powerful searchlight, has died! Now my animal soul is coming to take away my love and awe as slaves and redirect it to physicality and mundane activities! All I have left are deeds that I have no motivation for! I decided to challenge this concept. I took upon myself to keep adding more vessels. The daily study of Psalms, Chumash and Tanya. Additionally a few resolutions, mikvah daily and bedtime Shma, and the fire turned on stronger then ever! I follow the Rebbe’s principle of always adding. Although my day is packed I still have room for one more and another. Just like a fire, the more fuel a fire has, the more it consume. As opposed to rust. Rust has fewer atoms and barely consumes. We can derive from this (which the Rebbe already had done) the more fuel or busier you are the more you can consume/accomplish.
Now as I sit writing this essay I feel motivated and inspired to serve G-D! I hope my story and Chassidus principles can inspire and help motivate you to go out and fill your vessels. Hashem really does care about you! By taking on additional resolutions you create the vessels to receive the light. Even though you may not be motivated now, you need to put in the effort . When you do your part G-D will do his part. You need to create the vessels and G-D will do his part. I wish you much success.
Thank you for reading.