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Failures in the past are the foundation of our future growth

GYE Corp. Wednesday, 16 May 2012

In Parshas Vayeitzei when Yaakov Avinu came to the well and met the shepherds there, he asked them "From where do you come?" and they replied "from Charan". Explains the the Holy Noam Elimelech that Charan mean "wrath", and that the Pasuk is alluding to our spiritual growth. When a person wants to attain a higher level of spirituality he must always remember "from where did he come?" from "wrath", from angering G-d. This will bring him to a feeling of shame and humility which will then allow him to truly achieve a higher spiritual level. And the Noam Elimelech goes on to explain how this is especially true in our state of great sins today, where so many people stumble in the sexual transgression of spilling seed. And he says that precisely because we have fallen in the past, this allows us to truly grow closer to G-d through our humility and our great trembling, when we remember how many sins and anger we once caused G-d. And this is the meaning as well, of the words of our holy sages in Avos; "Remember three things and you won't come to sin - from where did you come? from a putrid drop"... Again, says the Noam Elimelech, this is hinting to the same idea, that when a person remembers the sins of the seed he spilled in the past, he will tremble before G-d and no longer come to sin, and through his humility and shame he will be able to ultimately reach the level where he is truly able to feel the words; "...and where are you going to stand? before the king of kings, the Almighty blessed be he" (ibid.)

In short, the Noam Elimelech is telling us how we need to recognize that our failures in the past are the foundation of our future growth. The sins of our youth, and the shame and humility that we feel before G-d as a result, will ultimately allow us to grow much closer to G-d than we would have been able to otherwise.