WHO ARE WE SERVING
We all know that one of the Yetzer Hara’s greatest tools is to convince us that we anyway did so many aveiros and we’re surely going to gehenom anyway, so why bother working hard.
I’d like to show how this way of thinking is not only wrong, but it’s actually selfish.
First of all, let’s say it’s true that I actually will be thrown into Gehenom. But if I want to serve Hashem, why am I so concerned about myself? You see, the fact that I don’t want to serve Him now because of my past, means that I’m only serving Him when I believe I’ll be greatly rewarded. But as soon as I mistakenly decide that I’m anyway destined to suffer Hashem's wrath, the Yetzer Hara tells me that it’s no longer worth doing Hashem’s will. But what does that show? It shows that I’m just serving myself, not Hashem!
But if I can put myself aside and say, “Hashem, the heck with me, what can I do for YOU?” then I am showing that I want to serve Hashem, not myself. And when we show that, Hashem opens His arms to bring us close, in spite of our sinful past. Because if I show Hashem that my past is irrelevant because now I want to serve you, then Midah Kineged Midah Hashem will also treat my past as irrelevant, in terms of His relationship with me!
And I’d like to take this even a step further…
Let’s say I was a perfect tzadik my whole life, but suddenly it occurs to me that there are thousands of Jews who openly disregard Hashem’s will and they’re mechalel Shabbos, eat treif, etc. Will I also stop serving Hashem and say to myself that these people are anyway going to Gehenom so why should I bother? Of course I won’t say that! Because what do they have to do with me, right? But let’s think about this for a minute. In Hashem’s eyes, is there really a difference between my sins and the sins of others? The only difference is as far as I'm concerned. And that’s why when I feel that it’s no longer worth it for me to serve Hashem since I’ve messed up so badly anyway, I want to stop serving Him altogether. But what does that say about my avodas Hashem, my divine service? Who am I really serving here?
So if we think for a second that there’s really no difference in Hashem’s eyes between my sins and anyone else’s, and in the same way that other people’s sins don’t stop me from serving Hashem, my own past sins should also not disturb me the slightest bit from serving Hashem right now!
So I think this perspective can be great for helping us fight the Yetzer Hara’s lies when he tries to get us to feel like we’re anyway lost so what’s the use? That’s just plain wrong and selfish!
Now you might say that this perspective requires a high level of tzidkus (righteousness), to not care about myself? But in reality, the moment we want to be mischezek and tell ourselves that we want to do teshuvah and serve Hashem, by definition that means we don’t want to serve ourselves. And if that’s the case, then the heck with me. My past has absolutely no connection to my present, in the same way that other people’s sins have nothing to do with me.
May we all be zoche to give Hashem a nachas ruach in every moment anew!