Reb Nosson writes (‘הלכות מנחה ז’ אות ח) that every Jew, without exception, wants to come back to Hashem. At some point in our lives we all feel divine inspiration and even make an effort to take a step closer to Him, but we are pushed back fiercely by the difficulties and obstacles that immediately surface and steer us away from getting closer to Him.
That rejection is usually something we don’t expect. Whatever scenario led us to be more honest with ourselves appeared so clear to us at the moment. It almost seemed as if the move forward would be natural and easy. But it couldn’t be further from the truth. We will always experience a huge rebuff when we try to connect to God. It could come from anywhere! Maybe our spouses, neighbors, parents, colleagues or children will try to stop us? There are many messengers of God in the world and no shortage of instances that will deter us from Divine intimacy. For many people that first rejection is all it takes to knock them off their horse. So they give up on their good intentions…sometimes forever.
Rebbe Nachman encourages us in Torah 155 to exercise firm patience (ארך אפיים). No matter what happens, we can’t let it bother us. We have to see past the rejection and believe that it’s just a test. It’s really hard to do. We tend to ruminate on how we sacrificed ourselves to take a step forward and instead of a little appreciation from God, we got slapped in the face! For most people this sequence of events is just too much to handle.
But the truth is that nobody said it was gonna be easy. It’s not easy and that’s why so many of us stop trying. But there’s one thing that’s extremely important to know before we give up: We can do it!