Positive Vision - Day 75
Rabbi Avrohom Neuberger
Our weekly excerpt from the book "Positive Vision"
Day 75 - What Is My Line? - Wherever You Struggle
To state the obvious, we are all different, sometimes, astonishingly so. Like Chazal say, "Just as people's appearances are different, so too are their personalities."
Our varying personalities manifest the idea that we were all placed on this world to accomplish a specific and unique mission. We have different personalities because we have different tasks. The problem is - and it's a pretty big problem - that not only must we succeed in our mission, but we are unsure what our mission is altogether! Where should we focus our energies?
R' Tzadok HaKohen provides a clue.
If you want to know what your unique mission is, look no further than to the very area that your yetzer hara drives you hardest to transgress.
The Gra writes similarly that we are placed in this world to repair that which we corrupted in previous lifetimes. But how do we figure out where we went wrong? He tells us to examine ourselves:Whatever aveiros we commit most often, and whichever aveiros we are most drawn to, those are the ones that we must repair.
At this point you must be thinking, "Go figure! My job is to do that which comes most unnaturally!"
But don't despair, because R' Tzadok also writes that this same area is where we have the greatest potential for growth.
This is no cruel coincidence.
Chassidus adopts a phrase from the Gemara to convey this idea. The Gemara (Chagigah 5b) relates that Rebbi was once reading Eichah. As he was reading the verse, "[Hashem] cast from heaven to earth the glory of Israel," he dropped the sefer. He commented, "From a high roof to a deep pit."
Simply, this means that just as the book fell from his hand, so did Klal Yisrael's prestige fall after the Destruction. In Chassidus, however, this is understood differently. The phrase really means that the higher they are, the lower they fall. That is, every object, or even concept, that exists here in this world is rooted in the upper world. The higher its source, the lower it can fall. Hence, the very area in which a person has the greatest potential for growth, his "high note," will inevitably be the very area in which he experiences his greatest struggle.
R' Moshe Feinstein sees a very similar idea in a Gemara that relates that Rav Yosef the son of R' Yehoshua ben Levi survived what is referred to nowadays as a NDE, a Near Death Experience. When he recovered, the Amoraim asked him to describe what he saw when he was "dead." He responded, "I saw an upside-down world: Those who were high in this world were low in that world, and those who were low in this world were high in that world."
R' Moshe Feinstein explains: Each of us struggles in some area in this world. It is the place where we most often fail, but where we also have our most meaning- ful victories. According to the Gra and R' Tzadok, it is the very place that our unique individual mission is to be found. It may seem to the outside observer that this area is our low note. But in reality, in the future we will discover that specifically for this area of struggle we will receive the most reward.
Many of us struggle with kedushah. Perhaps it is the unique and special mission of our generation. But we should take heart in the knowledge that every victory is recorded and will be well-rewarded in the World to Come.