“It’s known from the Rebbe’s words that people pose a greater obstacle in Avodas Hashem than the evil inclination. And I’m not only referring to evil people, scoffers and naysayers. But even people who fear Hashem can many times confuse someone with their poor advice [and prevent him from] his proper path; And this has unlimited implications”. (Hilchos Geneiva 5:8)
We’re always taught to seek advice, and in fact, it is imperative to get guidance and counsel to be successful. The Talmud says (Berachos 7b),“גדולה שמושה של תורה יותר מלימודה” – “Serving Torah Scholars is even greater than sitting in their lectures”, because when we observe great people in action, we can learn so much from their every movement.
But I believe that Reb Nosson is saying something radical here. So many of us want to just be told what to do. “Give me the handbook to being a good husband” or “where can I watch the video on-line how to make a deep connection with my kids?” This need to be spoon-fed stems from a distrust in our own selves. We’re afraid to believe that we have the answers, because we don’t believe enough in our own self-worth. Many recovering addicts will testify that they used and used again because they were afraid to cope with their emotions. Once clean, they were usually pleasantly surprised how many tools they did in-fact have to manage their lives effectively. Hashem gives us the tools to be successful. It’s super-important to seek guidance and weigh the different options, but only we can lead ourselves down the right path.
Reb Nosson doesn’t mince words. Even truly God-fearing leaders can lead us astray. It’s not enough to ask and follow. Hashem doesn’t want an army of zombies. He wants us to consider every situation, with the advice of our wise ones, and act upon our faith as only we know how.
Trust your truth. You have everything it takes. Trust in yourself because you will succeed!