Since in this week’s Parsha, we learned about the Jewish nation’s sense of alienation from G-d (they murmured how Hashem hated them…), we will talk a bit about G-d’s love.
For some reason, sad beyond words, most in our generation have no clue they are loved. No other generation had people hate themselves so much they resorted to self-destructing behavior.
G-d gives us countless gifts each day. It is our job to recognize all those gifts so we can begin to understand the depth of His love. Count your gifts. Include the sights, the sounds, the beautiful world you encounter.
Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Vitebsk informed us that depression brings one away from G-d. Therefore, the Hebrew word for depression “Atzav” is closely related to Atzabayhem,- idols. Heartbreak and depression are two different things. Heartbreak is, Hashem, I need help. Depression is, I give up. The first is beneficial. The latter, destroys lives.
Right away at the first meeting between the Baal Shem Tov and the Toldos Yaakov Yosef, the Baal Shem Tov admonished the other Rav not to fast and not to resort to self-inflicted pain, even in a quest for greater spiritual heights. Rather, he instructed, we must find joy in serving Hashem.
Some folks hate themselves because of circumstances they’ve undergone, because of having being mistreated or abused. You have to know, if this is you I’m describing, that abuse is what happened TO you, not BY you. It’s an outside event you experienced, not a description of who you are. If you have gone through trauma, find the help to cope with the after-effects. Yet, keep reminding yourself the trauma does not define you. It was an outside event unrelated to who you are as a person. You are defined by your choices, not the events through which you’ve suffered.
Some people are self-loathing due to mistakes they’ve made. You’re a child of Hashem. He knows you’ll mess up at times. Each mess up can be made up. Just apologize. You’re still loved. You’re still precious. Will you throw out your kid for spilling milk? I think not. Then, know, Hashem is not ready to discard you, even when you slip and fall.
When we feel alone and think Hashem is not there, remember how you learned to walk. Your parents stood you up and moved slightly away. It was up to you to take those first few steps into their waiting, embracing arms. At times, to get us to take the steps we need to learn to take, Hashem, so to speak, moves a little out of our reach. Not because He is leaving us alone. He is waiting there, a few steps out of reach, waiting for us to learn to take the steps necessary to get to His waiting embrace.
The Slonimer Rebbe recounted what set him on is path. He had been a wild child, one whose parents wanted to whip him into shape. When they heard that Reb Aharon of Karlin would be coming to their town, they schlepped their child in to him, complaining of his misbehavior. Reb Aharon spoke in the same vein as the parents, with the hard-line attitude, “Bring me your child and I’ll teach him to behave.” The child was brought in, the parents left, and Reb Aharon warmly embraced the child, and let the child know how loved he was. When the parents came back in, Reb Aharon told them, “Never worry. This boy will behave from now on.” And behave the boy did. For he felt the love of the Rebbe and was reassured of the love of G-d, enabling him to shine and grow until he, too, became a Chassidic master.
Dear Friends of Belz, do you know how much Hashem loves you?! And when you realize it, you will surely realize how great you can become. There is no stopping you with that much love enveloping you.