Continued from last week here:
Likutey Moharan I:24 – Week 5
Reflecting on how I got to this point, I began having doubts and wondered if my mind had led me astray (as it so often does). Afterall, what is the connection between simcha – the main theme of Likutey Moharan I:24, and saying Tehillim?
I was relieved when I opened up Likutey Halachos one morning to one of the discourses Reb Noson wrote expounding on this teaching in Likutey Moharan. In Likutey Halachos, Birchas Hoda’ah 6 (6:7, 6:23, 6:47, and 6:54), Reb Noson wrote that Sefer Tehillim encapsulates the ideas of simcha and giving thanks and praise to Hashem. So, it appeared that I may be on the right track after all!
I got a pencil and began circling the verse numbers of those verses of Tehillim in which I felt addressed Hashem in the first person; where it was just me speaking directly to Him. Slowly proceeding from the first chapter, I wondered how I was going to find time to do this for all 150 chapters of Tehillim. My answer came with the weather forecast that afternoon – another snow storm was on the way. Wouldn’t you know, the snow storm came and shut down my office for a day; giving me a few hours to devote to identifying those verses in Tehillim which I felt met the first-person criteria. I now had the tool I needed to return to the office the next day.
Spending my days in the office, I often felt disconnected from my tachlis (life’s purpose). Hour after hour I would be busy attending to this task or that task; staring into my monitor as I answered all the e-mails that flooded into my inbox. Despite the fact that 10% of my income was going to tzedakah, I still always felt that work was 8 hours of time where I was only tenuously connected to Hashem with my neshoma locked aside in a desk drawer. I wanted to feel plugged-in and tried to keep a sefer next to my keyboard. As the Rebbe taught in Likutey Moharan I:284,
“One has to literally steal time from one’s business and other activities in order to study Torah. Even someone who is burdened with many obligations and duties cannot be so pressed that it is impossible for him to snatch some period each day to devote to Torah.”
Additionally, Alim L’Terufah #203 contains a letter Reb Noson wrote to his son Yitzchok who worked in a post office with these words:
“Even when you are workng, you must remember Hashem and His Torah; yes, even in the post office, and on your way there and back and at similar times.”
No matter what sefer I tried, I never felt that I got the boost that I needed. I had even tried keeping a Sefer Tehillim on my desk but found that most of the time it just sat there. And when I did open it up to say a kapitel (chapter), more than often I felt no different than when I didn’t do it. However, when I started just saying those kapitlach that were addressed directly to Hashem, I began to feel something. For those brief moments when I was able to “steal time” at my desk, I finally felt plugged in.
After continuing this practice for a few days, something in the back of my mind told me that it might be time to move on to another lesson in Likutey Moharan. I was FAR from having plummeted the true depth’s of the Rebbe’s teaching. Afterall, in Sichos HaRan #20 it says,
“The Rebbe said that true happiness is one of the most difficult things to attain in serving God.”
Nevertless, I felt that I had somewhat successfully culled the advice I needed to for my own life and understood the direction I needed to proceed. Since Reb Noson explained that the essence of simcha is emes (truth) and emuna (faith) in Likutey Halachos, Birchas Hoda’ah 6:42, I had the sense that I needed more to bolster the sincerity in which I davened Shacharis, Mincha, and Ma’ariv and began to look for another lesson on this topic by consulting the chapter on prayer in Likutey Eitzos (translated into English as Advice). The words that were excerpted from Likutey Moharan I:9 resonated with me so I asked my chavrusa if he would like to start learning this lesson. Receiving his enthusiastic agreement, I opened up to that lesson and started reading.
When we continue after Pesach, I will let you know how I proceeded.