The Sixties Radical-Azriel

Depression leads to transgression.  Sadness leads to pro-activity and Joy.  This is the litmus test. If one is thinking about not davening thirty years ago, while working this is problem. This is from the evil inclination.

The time for repentance is not in the middle of the business day. The time for repentance is not in the middle of prayer. The time for repentance is not during in the middle of the day when we are working or studying Torah and praying. This is the act of the evil inclination.

We must tell ourselves this is not the time for true sin.  In the middle of work is not a good time. A good time would be Yom Kippur.

Nothing is more complete than a broken heart.

The Tanya states: “It is man’s nature to seek pleasure and not to remain depressed. If his feeling of spiritual failure distresses him, he will seek his pleasure in physical gratification. The Evil Inclination therefore wishes that one be depressed, be it even over spiritual matters, so that he will later succumb to temptation.

Since a genuine sadness is an expression of love or fear of G‑d, it should express itself at a time when these emotions are active — during prayer, Torah study and the like, but not during one’s business. Clearly, then, the sadness is artificial, created by the Yetzer Hara for its own purposes, and one must therefore rid himself of it. The next paragraph provides the means:

Whether the depression settles upon him during his service of G‑d in Torah study or prayer, or when he is not engaged thus, but with his material affairs, this is what he should consider:

“Now is not the proper time for genuine sadness, nor even for worry over grave sins, G‑d forbid.” See Iggeret HaTeshuvah, chs. 7, 11.

The Sixties Radical-Azriel

The hard part is how to view difficulties and challenges.

We should view it as an opportunity to grow.

G‑d knew that the Jewish people would not feel totally free of Pharaoh’s clutches as long as he remained alive, and that the potential threat of his pursuit would prevent them from receiving the Torah fully. So G‑d again made Pharaoh stubborn, inspiring him to pursue the Jews to the shore of the Sea of Reeds (the Gulf of Suez). Seeing him approaching, the Jews panicked.

Pharaoh drew near. Exodus 14:10

The Midrash offers another interpretation: By chasing them, Pharaoh drew the Jews nearer to G‑d, as evidenced by their crying out to Him when they saw the Egyptian army approaching. Indeed, it is often opposition that awakens our deepest reserves of energy.

When we are confronted with a challenge, we should view it as an opportunity for spiritual growth rather than try to avoid it. Comfort and contentment can cause us to lose sight of priorities, weakening our sense of urgency in our Divine mission. Physical or spiritual adversity can shock us out of this indifference, undermining our self-assurance and affording us the opportunity to advance in our relationship with G‑d by breaking through the obstacle.1 Torah Or 61c; Sefer HaMa’amarim 5721, pp. 257–8; Sichot Kodesh 5721, pp. 62–3. 5726, pp. 209–210.

The Sixties Radical-Azriel

There are three approaches to dealing with this world:

One is to remain aloof as the sun. The world will benefit from your light, but you will remain distant and removed. You will invest little in this world and so have little to lose.

Another approach is to wane and wax as the moon—to suffer the scars and bruises of life, delight in its offerings, thirst for its rewards, and tremble at its horrors—to invest everything and risk losing it all.

Or you could be both the sun and the moon at once. You could feel meaning and purpose in every episode of life, no matter how small. And, at the same time. remain above it all.

What is the secret? It is memory.

Even as you invest yourself in this world, remember you are not the body, but the soul.

The Sixties Radical-Azriel

There are times when moving forward step by step is not enough.

There are times when you can’t just change what you do, how you speak and how you think about things.

Sometimes, you have to change who you are. You need to pick both feet off the ground and leap.

Sometimes, you need to change at your very core of being.

Public Letter for Passover, Rosh Chodesh Nissan 5736

The Sixties Radical-Azriel

I must participate in a miracle so it becomes a part of me. This is a must. G-d demands action. Moshe prayed and G-d told him to lift the staff. And thus, the Sea of Reeds were parted. And we were set free from the hordes of Egyptians who wanted to kill us.

Or as my teacher Pastor Steve Gray told us G-d wants to hire you to do HIS work. To quote Pastor Steve Gray: “Nothing can exceed the divine fullness of G-d except the greater fullness of G-d”

Moses tried to calm the Jews and started to pray to G‑d for deliverance. But G‑d told Moses that there was no need to pray; all that was necessary was that he lift his staff over the sea and it would split, enabling the Jews to pass through it to safety.

[G‑d told Moses,] “Take up your staff and raise your arm over the sea.” Exodus 14:15

The splitting of the Sea of Reeds was a miraculous and supernatural event. Yet there had to be a natural action to “ignite” the miracle: G‑d instructed the people to journey forward and Moses to lift his staff over the water. G‑d always demands some human act first and only then does He perform miracles.

This is because events that occur without our involvement do not truly affect us. Only when we expend some effort do we appreciate G‑d’s miracle. The same applies in all areas of life. Asking for G‑d’s blessings is not sufficient; we must make some effort that can serve as a conduit for the blessing.1 Hitva’aduyot 5742, vol. 2, pp. 561–562.

The Sixties Radical-Azriel

Now we Jews are getting ready for a journey of a lifetime in our service to G-d. This is where G-d gives us Torah our instruction manual on how to drive G-d’s car.

“Joseph had left instructions for the Jews to take his remains out of Egypt when they would leave. Moses therefore took Joseph’s remains along when the Jews left Egypt. Joseph’s remains were eventually interred in Shechem.

Moses took the bones of Joseph with him. Exodus 13:19

The Hebrew word for “bone” (etzem) also means “essence.” The Jewish people were about to embark on a journey through a desert whose barrenness and perils were a reflection of its spiritual desolation. In order to be able to survive this journey, Moses ensured that the Jewish people were accompanied by the essence and spirit of Joseph.

Joseph’s essence is expressed in his name, which means “May He add,” for when he was born, his mother Rachel prayed, “May G‑d add for me another son.”1

This wish includes the desire to welcome the estranged Jew back into the fold. In a more general sense, it includes the desire to transform all mundane reality into the vehicle for holiness it was originally intended to be.

The odyssey of exile is likened to a journey through a barren, perilous desert.2 In order for us to persevere through periods of spiritual desolation, we must take our cue from Joseph’s essence. We must strive to bring even the most distant and rebellious individuals back to the fold, showing them that they are truly G‑d’s beloved children. When we remain true to this objective, we are assured that in the end, no Jew will be left behind.3 Genesis 30:24. See Ezekiel 20:35; Rabbeinu Bachaye and Or HaChaim on Numbers 33:1 ff. Likutei Sichot, vol. 26, pp. 85–89

The Sixties Radical