Principle 10: Redirecting the power in our souls

by GYE (See all authors)

Principle 10: Redirecting the power in our souls

We have often discovered that we were trying to fight only the Yetzer Hara, rather than building and changing ourselves. For true long term success, we must learn to fight the cause of the bad behaviors and not just the symptoms.

The Medrash says that if you did many chavilos (bundles) of sins, do chavilos of Mitzvos instead of them. The Beis Aharon of Karlin explains that chavilos is a language of hiskashrus - connection (as it says “Yaakov Chevel Nachalaso”), and he explains that in order to fix what we did in the past and break free from the “other side,” we need to use the same hiskashrus and enthusiasm that filled our mind and limbs during the times we sinned, and instead do the Mitzvos in the same all-consuming and enthusiastic manner.

In general, those who struggle a lot with these issues, have a great deal of emotional and spiritual energy inside them. It is they who actually have the capacity and potential for the most intense spiritual connection with Hashem. We just need to learn how to channel the energy of our souls in the proper ways.

It is also known that people with particular character traits, such as creativity, love for people and spiritual sensitivity, are more prone to seeking alternate expression for their inner strengths through a stronger than usual lust drive. That is why it is so important to learn how to channel the strengths we have in the proper ways. Heightened lust is actually a symptom of a deep subconscious need that, for some reason, has still not reached fulfillment.


Our Sages have said (Sukkah 52a, discussing the desire for lust): "Whoever is greater than his friend, his Yetzer is greater as well". It is important to understand that, in a psychological sense, the Yetzer Tov and the Yetzer Hara are really the same inner force. The greater a person is, the more his soul's strengths require expression, and these strengths will ultimately burst forth and find expression in either a positive or negative way.

As Rav Tzadok (in Tzidkas Hatzadik #44) writes, if a person has major temptations, he should not be saddened about blemishes in his soul; on the contrary, he should be glad to realize that he has special strengths that need to be properly channeled. This, he explains, is what Chazal meant by "One who is greater than his friend, his Yetzer is greater as well."

Later on, Rav Tzadok explains (based on the Zohar) that the Dor Hamabul and the Dor Hamidbar who received the Torah, shared the same souls. And he explains that the reason is based on the above principle. The Dor Hamabul's major sin was spilling seed, as is well known from all the kabalistic oriented seforim, and the Dor Hamidbar were Zoche to receive the Torah. Rav Tzadok explains that the spiritual energy is one and the same. The fake desire for lust is the flip side of the same coin of a true desire for Torah and spirituality. And he explains further, that this generation will appear once again in the days before Moshiach, where the spiritual Kochos will once again succeed in overpowering the koach of lust.

So let us direct our spiritual vigor into our prayers. We will be amazed at how uplifting they can become! And let us start doing the mitzvos with enthusiasm and learn Torah with passion! We were given a gift by Hashem because the struggles we experience are really just the vibes of our souls, striving for genuine expression and a true connection with the Almighty.

Our Divine service can be so much more than average if we use the struggle in the way it was intended by Hashem, as a spring-board for growth. Spiritual progress that might take other people many years of intense Divine service to achieve, we can attain through this struggle in a very short time if we use it right!

It can also be very helpful to seek alternative ways of connecting to Hashem to find inner fulfillment. We can seek out Chesed projects, Torah projects or study new areas or techniques in Divine service. For that is what our souls are really yearning for: a meaningful connection with Hashem, and to fulfill that which we came down to the world to accomplish.

It is also important to point out that instead of running frantically away from the Yetzer Hara in fear, we can learn to run instead towards Hashem with joy. If we do this, the Yetzer Hara falls away by himself. As the Sefarim say: “Sur merah.” How? Through “Aseh Tov!”

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