The eternal search for leisure time and activities, the perking up at distractions, the ever increasing opportunities for instant gratification in any area…
Funnily, I became frum partly BECAUSE I rejected a life void of meaning.
And I’m still frum because I really believe in this.
I know this is what Hashem wants.
But I can’t deny the double–whammy of both my cultural indoctrination and certain aspects of my personality.
Not everyone suffers from this issue because they have other issues. But this is definitely mine and it’s an issue for a lot of people.
Discover the Purpose of Each World
“This World is for milchama;
Or as she emphasized it: “This world is for milchama; the Next World is for menucha.”
And Rebbetzin Heller has proven herself to be quite the spiritual soldier, what with her dedication to teaching, her hospitality, her large family, and more.
So this statement resonated with me because I sensed it was exactly the antidote I needed.
Everything I’d encountered in my upbringing pointed to finding menucha in this world.
Even “Live for today!” and “Follow your dreams!” and “Work hard, play hard!” were about achieving some kind of nachas in this world, even if it was a stress-filled kavod-seeking nachas. I still remember a song whose chorus was: “Fight for your right…to paaaarty!”
So even the fights and riots seen in America in recent years are often just a way to feel strong and superior, to let off steam, and to steal beer, electronics, and toys.
Angry Americans today aren’t fighting against their yetzer hara, they’re fighting FOR their yetzer hara.
Nonetheless, the proper mindset is:
“This World is for milchama; the Next World is for menucha.”
And I’ve been wrestling with it ever since.
Introducing the World of Tikkun
She told the story of a female baalat teshuvah in her late thirties who got engaged to a thirtysomething chassidish businessman (whose Chassidic group marries off its young men and women by the age of 20).
After determining that he was indeed a decent guy who simply hadn’t met his zivug until now, they got engaged.
But when they discussed their favorite places in the world, he said he loved San Francisco because of its beautiful bridge.
“Gay people?” he said. “I didn’t think the people there looked so much happier than anywhere else.”
Dread speared into the heart of the kallah. She realized that despite her chassan's wide travels and business savvies, he’d guarded his innocence so well, he could have no idea of her own past. And she dreaded him finding out because she knew she’d feel cheap and repulsive (her words, not mine) when he’d invariably make this discovery.
So Rebbetzin Heller bravely rang up the chassan’s Rebbe and very delicately explained the kallah’s concerns.
“I know exactly what you’re talking about,” the Rebbe said. “I spoke with him about this before he even went out with her. Of course she has a past. How could she not have a past?”
For the kallah's sake, Rebbetzin Heller wanted to know how the chassan felt about it.
“I’ll tell you what I told him,” the Rebbe continued. “This is Olam Hatikkun.” (The World of Fixing/Repair/Rectification.) “Nothing in This World is perfect. Not me. Not him. Not her. Not you. It’s the World of Tikkun. It’s the world where we all have to select where we want to be and who we want to be by rejecting who we don’t want to be and what we aren’t.”
And the chassan accepted it.
Then the Rebbe asserted that if the kallah ever wanted to contact him directly, she could feel free to do so.
So again, the Rebbe's definition of This World as the World of Tikkun:
- Reject who you don't want to be.
- Reject what you aren't.
- Select who you want to be.
- Select where you want to be.
Tikkun: It's the Real Thing
Healthy shame, yes.
Toxic shame, no.
Many people comment on how exasperated, frustrated, exhausted, and angry they feel about the constant struggle with a nisayon. (And I can feel this way as much as anyone else.)
In a particularly challenging nisayon, a person can fail many more times than she succeeds. The struggle can feel so worthless and meaningless.
But it’s NOT.
That struggle is exactly what we’re here for: It’s Olam Hatikkun.
It’s a world of stitching, then ripping out stitches, then starting the stitch over again.
It’s sculpting, then mashing everything back into a mound of clay, then starting over again.
It’s painting, then getting nicks, scratches, and holes, then plastering, scraping, and repainting again.
If at all possible, rather than feeling defeated and down on yourself when struggling, you can also feel good and happy (at least a tiny bit) about that feeling of struggle, even as you feel fed up with it.
The 2 Ultimate Questions
- Who am I not?
- Who am I?
She explains that according to Chovot Halevovot, the answer to “Who am I?” is:
“I am a person of transcendence.”
And the Chovot Halevavot details 4 qualities regarding this (i.e. that define our portion in the World to Come).
- my emuna." (i.e., knowing that God is behind everything)
- my willingness to give to the other and to affect the other."
- my ability to suffer and meet challenges."
- my ability to want to know Torah and to live it."
These are the goals.
Your unique path is to find your way to actualize these goals within you.
Our Purpose in This World
What is the Main Purpose of Your Existence?