In this week’s parsha the Jewish people receive the Torah at Mount Sinai. “In the third month from the Exodus of the Children of Israel from Egypt, on this day, they arrived at the Wilderness of Sinai.” (Chapter 19, Verse 1) Rebbe Noson explains that the main revelation of the Torah was by way of love, kindness, and strong will and longing for holiness. All of the earlier Tzaddikim who lived before the Torah was given at Mount Sinai were only involved in wanting and longing to come closer to Hashem and to know Hashem, this was their main service of Hashem. Avraham, who is called the first of the believers and the first to be circumcised, merited even more than the other Tsaddikim this aspect of will and longing; longing to reveal Hashem’s kindness and love in the world, which was the main attribute of our patriarch Avraham. From the time of Avraham the light of the Torah began to be revealed more in the world. After him, Yitzhak and Ya’akov and Ya’akov’s sons also continued this path of longing to reveal Godliness in the world until the time of Moshe Rabenu (our teacher), who merited to receive the Torah on behalf of the Jewish people at Mount Sinai. The Patriachs and the Tsaddikim who came after them wanted so deeply to reveal Godliness in the world, to reveal the Torah. (Likutei Halachot, Laws of Blood, 1st Teaching)
The power and importance of our will is a major subject in Rebbe Nachman’s teachings, a critical aspect of serving Hashem which he strongly emphasized. He teaches in Rebbe Nachman’s Wisdom that the main thing in serving Hashem is a person’s will and longing, and even if he is not able to actualize his desire to fulfill the mitzvah or good deed, the will itself is very good. (14th teaching)
The power of will is the main thing which everything depends on. Our only real choice is to continue wanting or to despair. Rebbe Nachman famously screamed as he was giving over once a teaching, ‘There is no despair in the world!’ Despair is an imaginary solution that we let ourselves fall into, but really, Rebbe Nachman teaches, there is no reason to despair, as bleak as the situation might seem. What is upon us? To ask ourselves, ‘how much do I really want this? Where am I with my will? Am I staying strong or am I allowing myself to give up? Why am I giving up? What am I afraid of?’ The results are not up to us, but there is nothing in the world which can stop us from wanting something. We need to also ask ourselves every day, ‘what do I want? What good things do I want for myself, my family…?’ Expressing our good desires, speaking them out, helps us to actualize them. “In order for the will to be actualized, one needs to speak his desire and longing, and by way of this a person is able to actualize his request and he will reach the goal which he desires.” (Rebbe Nachman’s Advice, Ratzon, 2nd teaching)
This week after thinking about this teaching, I asked myself, ‘where am I giving up, in what areas of my life do I feel despair?’ Whatever came to me at the time, I spoke about it before Hashem and prayed for the strength to help me start over and keep wanting. Letting ourselves feel the pain of how far we are from something or how hard it is to realize, is actually what fuels our will. The pain awakens us to want and to pray even more to reach our goal. My wife helped me this week see an area in my life where I don’t try to grow because of fear and despair- in my work and career. After going through some difficult conversations on the subject, today, as I write these words, was a different day. Something new opened up; we discussed new ideas about how to try to find new opportunities and how to expand. The pain of my opposition to her asking me to discuss the subject, turned into a positive feeling and sense of partnership between us. Finding the strength to face our fears and turn the pain into willpower is an important part of actualizing the good desires and goals which we have.
(Inspired by a recent class from Gidi Dabush, the teacher at the Breslov Workshop which I learned at- Shakuf)
This week’s learning is for the healing of my friend’s father-in-law- Mordechai Avigdor Ben Frumit
The image is courteous of Chabad.org
 Will, Desire