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The Battle of the Generation - Day 76

Our weekly excerpt from the book "The Battle of the Generation"

People who have a burning desire to accomplish are happy to hear about ramifications for not acting appropriately. They understand that at times, their desire to serve Hashem will be weaker. Thus, they are grateful that there are consequences, so they can use them to strengthen their determination to overcome their desires. They are happy that Hashem gave them an extra weapon to ensure they do the right thing.

This must be our attitude toward all prohibitions and punishments. By making these actions blatantly forbidden, Hashem grants us strength to say no. It’s so much harder to be firm when we’re not sure whether what we want to do is really forbidden. The yetzer hara has his fun in the gray area, when we have only a vague feeling that the given activity is wrong but don’t realize that it is a blatant prohibition or know its severity. It’s much harder to see that those actions are wrong, and it’s easier to rationalize following our urges. That’s why Hashem made many clear-cut rules in this area. The halachos give us the strength to overcome the great challenge even if we lose our motivation and really want to give in. Dwelling on the fact that the action is definitely forbidden will help us stop ourselves.

This is the goal of this section of the book. We will learn how to remember what is wrong and to eliminate the gray area. This will give us the insurance we need. We will have something strong enough to stop our desires from increasing so they don’t go out of control. We will increase our inner strength to stand up to our desires, and we will attain a clear state of mind for making decisions. We will train ourselves to feel that the given action is wrong and to appreciate its severity. We will leave ourselves no room to rationalize sin, knowing clearly that it is forbidden. This will give us the strength to control ourselves even when it’s tough, so we can attain the best achievements and reach greatness.

We must have the right attitude toward the mitzvos. We must realize that we gain from even the tiniest mitzvah. This will make us eager to do mitzvos. At first, we must focus on our personal gain from the mitzvos — that they give our lives meaning and significance, and that they are our opportunity to earn eternal bliss and greatness. Eventually, we will reach the level of appreciating the mitzvos because they bring us close to Hashem.

Appreciating the mitzvos is the foundation of our entire service of Hashem. It brings us to serve Him in the best way: with excitement. It makes us want to win our battles and brings great joy into our lives.

Once we love the mitzvos, we will be eager to use willpower to control our desires. We know that overcoming the most difficult challenges yields the greatest accomplishments. But the catch is that it’s so hard to win those battles — we need our strongest weapons to pull through. Thus, we are so fortunate to have this extra tactic, which will ensure that we don’t miss out on our greatest accomplishments.

Willpower is vital for success against the yetzer hara. Let’s use it with the right attitude to triumph in the greatest battle of all time, the battle of the generation.

Quick Recap:

  • By mastering the right perspective and tasting success in our battles, we will become happy to have prohibitions with consequences, because they ensure that we fulfill our dreams.