Personal Development

Bereshit- To be upright!

By Rav Noam Sharabi

Translated by Moshe Neveloffupright

The book of Bereshit[1] is called by the Prophets “the book of integrity”, because it is all about spiritual honesty, a correct order, a healthy process…
creation and growth from nothing.

Man is also called “upright”: “God has made man simple, but they sought many intrigues.” (Kohelet[2], 7:29)

Man was created honest, the world was created straight and faithful, good and complete, beautiful and orderly…

However as time went by something went wrong with our simple integrity, people’s ways became corrupted and they lost their path…

All of us, especially today, at the end of the Jewish holidays, the beginning of the year, want to begin to build ourselves, we hope for the fulfillment of the verse[3] “bestow upon us, O Hashem, our God, the blessing of Your appointed Festivals for life”, and we’re not alone in this will!  We have accompaniment and guidance close to us- the book of Bereshit is the book of integrity, and with it we will stride and from it we will learn what integrity is.

What does it mean to be a person with integrity?!

Actually, integrity and happiness are connected to each other: “Light is sown for the righteous; and for the upright of heart, happiness.” (Psalms, 97:11)  Rebbe Nachman teaches: “And it’s impossible for the heart to be happy until he removes the crookedness in his heart, so that he’ll have honesty in his heart, and then a person will merit happiness.” (Likutei Moharan, 5th Torah)

Our integrity is in our hearts!  Every Jew has a heart, which is pure and sweet… the happiness is in our hearts, innocence and purity are hidden and waiting for us inside our souls, all that’s left for us is to reveal them and give them expression in our lives.

Just as Rebbe Nachman said to his students: “Just give me your hearts and I’ll lead you on a new path, which our forefathers already walked upon, Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov, and nevertheless it’s a new path.”

So how do we obtain an upright heart, and as a result happiness?

Rebbe Nachman explains that by a person praying with strength and concentration he creates thunder on the outside and also inside his heart, and then he will awaken his heart to integrity and happiness… as a result of this he’ll also come to recognize that the whole world was created for him![4]

We are entering a new year and we all want to experience a positive change, development and growth…

Let’s begin the year with a pure prayer, which comes out with strength, and by way of it our hearts will awaken, straighten and be filled with happiness, and all of those around us will also right themselves.

Because the happiness is here inside of us, an upright heart is inside of us…

[1] Genesis

[2] Ecclesiastes

[3] This prayer is said on Pesach, Shavuot and Succot during the Musaf prayer

[4] In the sense that each person is important and has a responsibility to help the world in his special way

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