In our Parsha the Jewish people receive the first mitzvah which they were given as a nation, Rosh Chodesh, sanctifying the New Moon. “Hashem said to Moshe and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying, ‘This month shall be for you the beginning of the months, it shall be for you the first of the months of the year’.” (Chapter 12, Verses 1-2) Rebbe Noson explains that the main aspect of the redemption from Egypt was that Hashem focused on the Jewish people’s good points. The Midrash (Psalms 114) says that they didn’t change their names, their language, they didn’t speak loshon hara (slander), and they didn’t intermarry. Even though the Jewish people where dirty spiritually, sunken in the lowest levels of impurity, and broken physically, nevertheless Hashem had mercy on them and found in them good points, despite the fact that the impurity of the land of Egypt had overcome them so much. This is what the verse means in the prophet Ezekiel, “Then I passed you and saw you wallowing in your blood…” (Chapter 16, Verse 6), even when a person is bloody and dirty, nevertheless, “In your blood you shall live”, even in this situation somebody can find good points in themselves and in their situation. Therefore, this is the first mitzvah which the Jewish people were commanded as a nation. The new month could be sanctified even by seeing a small sliver (point) of the new moon. The witnesses who saw the new moon would come before the court in Jerusalem to testify as to what they saw. This is also the case spiritually. When a person finds in himself good points and judges himself favorably he truly raises his standing to a favorable judgement. This was how the redemption from Egypt came about and also how the final redemption will come.
This teaching about finding the good points, Torah 282 in the first part of Likutei Moharan, known as Azamra, is considered one of Rebbe Nachman’s most fundamental and essential teachings. In the middle of the teaching in Likutei Moharan Rebbe Noson adds in parenthesis: Rebbe Nachman cautioned us greatly to walk with this teaching (meaning to learn it and to live by it), because it is a great foundation for anyone who wants to come closer to Hashem and to not lose his spiritual world completely, G-d forbid. Most people who are far from Hashem, the main reason for them being far is due to depression and sadness. They fall down in their minds, they fall into negativity because they see how many mistakes and sins they’ve made and because of this many of them cause themselves to completely despair from returning to G-d… Therefore a person needs to strengthen himself to walk with this teaching, to search for and to seek in himself each time a little bit of good, and by way of this he can be happy, give himself vitality and maintain hope…
Why did Rebbe Nachman warn his students to walk with this teaching and stress how important it is? A current Breslov Rabbi from Jerusalem, Rabbi Noson Maimon, explained based on Rebbe Noson’s teaching that the good point which I find in myself is actually the Hashem inside of me, so to speak. The good inside of me is one with Hashem. The minute that a person recognizes this and appreciates it it’s like flicking a switch, he activates the good by recognizing it, and this can pull the whole person out of his state of spiritual sleep. I am revealing my Godly soul, who I truly am, by finding and focusing on my good points.
If we really want to grow in life, reveal who we truly are and return to Hashem, it’s essential that we focus on our small good points, even if it’s a hair’s breadth of progress. We should not only value and be happy with every mitzvah and good deed which we are able to do; we should even be happy and encourage ourselves every time that we are able to turn away from something bad, every time we are able to overcome expressing anger at someone else or any other negative character trait or sin. We need to work on being happy and finding strength in every little point of progress. Making this the main focus of our day when we work, and when we learn and when we speak with others will really change our perspective and how we experience life. This is the path of returning to ourselves and to Hashem which Rebbe Nachman is teaching us.
To read more about this subject of the good points, click on the following link for translations of selected chapters from Ron Weber’s book, The Secret of the Good Point: https://torahandfood.wordpress.com/category/the-secret-of-the-good-point/
(The image is courteous of Chabad.org)