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  Breaking Free Chizuk #1465  
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Chizuk: The Secret to Happiness
Link of the Day: Video #8 - How to Lose Like a Winner
Member's Chizuk: A Tzaddik's Promise
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This Pesach, don't switch addictions, from lust to alcoholism to workaholism to gambling. Instead, switch to recovery!

The Secret to Happiness
Part 6/8
By the.guard

Said the student to his Rebbe: “I want happiness”. Replied the Rebbe: “First remove the I which is haughtiness. Then remove the want which is desire. After that, all that will be left is happiness.

Part 6: The Heights of Altruism that Jews can Reach

The Talmud in Shabbos (33:2) brings down a story where the Sages were discussing the beautiful architecture, bridges and bathhouses that the Romans had created for the benefit of the masses. Some of the Sages praised their munificence, but Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai exclaimed “כל חסד דעבדין לגרמיהו דעבדין– all the kindness that they do is really for themselves”. When the Romans heard that he had said this, they wanted to kill Rabbi Shimon and he was forced to flee with his son Elazar to a cave for 12 years. Why did it bother the Romans so much that he said this? The Baal Hasulam in the Sefer Matan Torah writes that the most significant difference between the Jews and the rest of the nations is that only the Jewish people currently have the ability to reach levels of pure unadulterated altruism through the great light of the Torah. Non-Jews are capable only of reaching a level of altruism that can be called “enlightened self-interest”. Through the giving of the Torah, the Jewish nation was tasked with being the trail blazers, as the Pasuk says (Yeshaya 49: 5) ונתתיך לאור גויים– “I have given you as a light to the nations”. Ultimately though, writes the Baal Hasulam, even the rest of the nations will achieve this ability, after the Jews have reached their full potential. But this will take place only after the Moshiach comes. Perhaps it is for this reason that Rabbi Shimon’s words bothered the Romans so much. They were loath to admit that the Jewish people have a unique Torah and unique souls, which allow them to reach a higher dimension than they are capable of reaching. Who knows, perhaps G-d even orchestrated that Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai would be forced to flee to the cave and thereby reach the awesome spiritual he reached (ultimately authoring the holy Zohar) specifically over this issue. For this was the secret of Rabbi Shimon’s greatness, as he testified about himself at the end of his life: בחד קטירא אתקטרנא ביה בקוב"ה– “I have been ONE attached to G-d” all the days of my life.

In addition to the 7 previous levels, let us explore two additional levels of altruism that the Jewish people were provided with:

Level 8 – Subjugation to Tzadikim: Ever since the Jewish people became a nation G-d sent them Tzadikim to guide them, as the Pasuk says “And they believed in G-d and in Moshe His servant”. The Tzadikim in each generation are the bridge between Klal Yisrael and their Father in Heaven, as the Yidden said to Moshe “You speak with us and we will hear, and let G-d not speak to us, lest we die”. And as Moshe told them “I stand between you and G-d”. The Torah commands us to listen to our sages “and not turn from their words right or left”. Chazal explain: Even if they tell us that our right is our left, we must listen to them. Who are the Tzadikim that we must listen to? Chazal say אם דומה הרב למלאך ה' צב'קות תבקש תורה מפיהו" – “If the Rav is similar to an angel of G-d, Lord of the hosts, you should seek Torah from his mouth”. Angels have no will of their own. They are in complete servitude to G-d and can do only his will. In other words, a human being who has risen to greatest heights of altruism through the stages listed above and through great light of the Torah and Mitzvos, he is someone who can be a true bridge between you and G-d. Through Emunas Tzadikim and the submission to the words and will of a Tzadik without question or reason, even if they tell us that our right is our left, we learn to submit ourselves to G-d’s will at a very high level of altruism.

Level 9 – Serving G-d: The service of G-d Himself is the highest level of altruism. And we humans need all the stages (above) to learn how to do this right, because G-d is abstract and it is very difficult for us to learn how to give over our will to G-d without being able to see and interact with Him directly. Chazal say that Chavakuk came and summed up the entire Torah in these words: “צדיק באמונתו יחיה” – the Tzadik lives in his faith. By serving G-d without seeing Him, through faith alone, we can achieve the most refined and altruistic level possible for humans to reach, and this indeed sums up the entire purpose of the Torah and all the levels that we described above. Serving G-d through faith doesn’t mean “blind faith”. It just means that we be ready to go beyond our understanding. This is because when we serve G-d only at the level of what we understand, it is ultimately the ‘self’ at work again. But when we are ready to go beyond our understanding, we are not just giving up our will, but also our minds to G-d. It is known that many Tzadikim are given high levels of understanding and divine light, yet they still choose to live on Emunah, as Chavakuk said above. What this means is that they are always ready to go one step ABOVE what they understand, preferring faith over understanding in all their divine service.

Ultimately, we all need to reach this high level of true altruism, giving our lives over fully to G-d. It is for this purpose that we were given all the previous levels as a training ground. Through these levels, and through the great light of the Torah and Mitzvos, we can finally become proper vessels for the hidden light that G-d wishes to bestow upon his creations.

The Rebbe of Kobrin said over 150 years ago, "How bitter and dark is the world when one is immersed in it, and how sweet and bright is the world for those who are not immersed in it". Being "immersed in the world" means being immersed in one's desires. One can only feel the great light and sweetness of G-d if they let go of the self.

Our redemption from Egypt is mentioned 50 times in the Torah and we are instructed to remember the Exodus every single day of our lives. And so many of the Mitzvos we do are זכר ליציאת מצרים - "A rememberence to the redemption from Egypt". Why is the Exodus so central to the Torah and to Judaism? The holy books explain that our slavery to Mitzrayim (which comes from the root "meitzarim" meaning "boundaries and suffering") symbolizes the slavery that humans have to the self and to their desires. G-d freed us from the bondage of Egypt and brought us to Har Sinai to give us the Torah. The purpose of all this was to free us from the bondage of the self and learn to serve G-d instead. The bondage was symbolized by painful slavery to an urelenting master who refused to let us go and asked "Who is G-d that I should listen to His voice?". This is similar to our Self-Ego-Yetzer Hara who refuses to recognize G-d and let us serve Him. After the redemption, we followed G-d blindly into the barren wilderness on faith alone, and G-d provided us with all our needs. We had to let go of the slavery mentality and became a people of G-d. That is why the Exodus is mentioned 50 times in the Torah and why it is so important for us to remember it every single day. And so many of the other mitzvos are tied to this rememberance as well, all to instill in our hearts that the underlying purpose of ALL the Mitzvos is to teach us to break free of our bondage to the Self and serve G-d instead. Yitziyas Mitzrayim is indeed the story of our lives and a parable for the entire purpose of creation.

On Pesach we are commanded not to eat or find chametz in our homes, while at the same time we are commanded to eat the Matza. Leaven symbolizes the "Self" as it is blown up. Matza symbolizes the opposite of leaven; humility and subjugation to G-d's will. The words חמץ and מצה have the same letters besides for one, the ה and ח. And the difference between those two letters is but a tiny dot. In the physical reality as well, the difference between the Matza remaining unleavened or becoming chametz is but a moment in time. This is part of the theme of Yetziyas Mitzrayim. The difference between bondage to the self - even when it is "enlightened self- interest", and between true לשמה - for G-d's sake only, is but a hair's breadth. And yet, it is that difference that makes ALL the difference; like the difference between chametz - a sin, and matza - a great mitzvah!

To be continued...
Link of the Day

These 19 short videos clips are excerpts from a series on theshmuz.com by Rabbi Ben Tzion Shafier called "The Fight - A Frank Strategy and Pan for Conquering Desire".

Gathering from the wisdom of chazal, this series presents a solid understanding of the mechanics of desire, and offers us a strategy and plan to winning The Fight of our Generation.

Video #8 - How to Lose Like a Winner



Member's Chizuk
A Tzaddik's Promise
By GYE Member

On Rosh Hashana, 18 months ago, my rebbe - Rav Shalom Arush, author of Garden of Emuna, a famous tzadik with many hundreds of Talmudim - announced: "Whoever gives me his iPhone to dispose of, I will give him any bracha he wants, and I assure him it will be fulfilled."Motzei Rosh Hashana I brought him my iPhone. While handing it over, I told him that I have filters on it and have no access to Internet other than a whitelist of Torah sites. He gave me my phone back and asked me what bracha I want. I asked for a bracha that my girls should have yiras shamayim. He said: "You haven't got boys? You should have a son." (He benched the girls, too, as requested). Anyways, my wife duly became pregnant, and I had no doubt what gender the baby would be. Meanwhile, there was one problem: I entered a bad cycle and got back into internet pornography including on my phone by virtue of my wife unwittingly unblocking the app feature. Last week, my wife gave birth to a son. On Erev Shabbat, the phone malfunctioned through water exposure, and as Shabbat came in, I resigned myself to the fact that the phone was finished. Meanwhile, over Shabbat I recalled my rebbe's blessing, the conditions under which it had been made, and how I had broken my end of the bargain. And I realised that instead of revoking His blessing, G-d in His kindness had broken my phone - just in time for the bris! But the story doesn't end here. This Motzei Shabbat, before leaving Shul, I approached my rav (who knows my challenges) and asked him if he will take on the password for my phone so that I shouldn't fall into the trap I had over the past months. I got home, did havdala and later checked my phone. It was now working perfectly.

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Porn Anonymous (PA)
If you’re compulsively acting-out with pornography and masturbation we suggest you explore joining Porn Anonymous (PA). If you need help deciding whether to join PA, call Michael at 347-699-2368, or email help@pornanonymous.org to schedule a time to talk. For more information visit pornanonymous.org (Hebrew: p-a.org.il / Yiddish: pa-yid.org).

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