That search for real Torah that would actually answer my real questions, and work to help me in my real life, brought me to Breslov and Rebbe Nachman, and time and again, Rabbenu’s Torah has given me answers and support when I just couldn’t seem to get it anywhere else.
Yesterday, I read something on the Shuvu Banim Hebrew website that really helped me a lot, to penetrate some of the fog I’m still stumbling around in, a little. It was a shiur by a very ‘hidden’ student of Rav Berland who is apparently an outstanding Torah scholar, called Rav Avraham Hadgbi.
Rav Hadgbi was explaining why it is we hit so many difficulties, or miniot, when we’re trying to do the right thing, make teshuva, and get closer to Hashem. He explained that if a person ‘achieved’ all this stuff all at once, immediately, his arrogance would automatically shoot up - and that is the single worst thing that can happen, because God can’t be with an arrogant person.
Rav Hadgbi also explained that when you’re following the Breslov path, Rebbe Nachman is extremely exacting about crushing any trace of pride out of his followers.
I read that and finally, I started to get an answer that ‘worked’ for me about why so much has gone ‘wrong’ for me the last decade or so, ever since I started getting into Breslov. God is crushing every last little speck of pride out of me.
But man, it’s so hard to endure. At this stage, I really don’t think I’ve got anything left to be proud of, from A-Z of things that people usually big themselves up on.
That’s where Rav Hadgbi also gave me a bit of chizzuk. He brought a conversation he had with Rav Berland, where Rav Berland explained that sometimes, the ‘waiting’ that’s required when you’re following Rebbe Nachman’s path can feel like it’s literally going to kill you. But, he says, if you continue to hang on, sooner or later you’ll get everything you hoped for, and more.
That rang such a big bell for me.
I was doing so much talking to God-teshuva about my eye the last few weeks, and as I kept peeling off more layers of the teshuva onion, including
- I’m spending too much time online…
- I’m looking at spiritually-dodgy stuff…
- I’m not looking at MYSELF with a good enough eye…
- I’m not looking at others with a good enough eye…
- I’m not focusing on the right things in life…
Etc etc - and the eye still kept playing up, despite me spritzing industrial amounts of colloidal silver into it, and other eye drops, and anything else you can think of - I realized I had to be missing something still.
Finally, a couple of days ago, Hashem clued me in to the underlying emotion that’s completely stuffing my eyeball up: it’s frustration.
Because dear reader, you should know that in my previous life in the UK, I was the furthest thing from a loser you could imagine. I had a very high-profile, well-paid job, I ran my own company, I had a nice house, I had a good circle of friends, I gave a lot of charity, I’d just had my second child after years of infertility, I had a wardrobe full of really nice looking clothes - and truthfully, I was one of the most arrogant people you could probably ever wish to NOT meet…
So yes, I completely get that God had to take it all away to humble me, and because He’s God, He’s done a really thorough, excellent job, baruch Hashem.
The only issue I have with it all is that it seems to be taking so long for me to come out the other side of it all. I mean, 12 years SOLID of being a loser is pretty hard to take for most people, and two days’ ago, I realized it’s underneath my eye issues. Hard as I’ve tried to let go, and to have emuna about everything, the fact that I’ve continued my slide towards Class A loser status - despite tons and tons of effort to make something, anything, happen different, or better - is really messing up my health.
Two days’ ago, I realized I just have to let it all go, if I want to get better again. I have to stop railing (internally…) against my fate. I have to stop pretending I’m not jealous of the people who haven’t had to go through all this stuff, and to face up to my bad middot squarely, and deal with them properly.
I’ve got to stop thinking that God - or anyone else - owes me anything at all, because really, they don’t! Everything, everything, everything is a free gift.
That people even bother to read my blog is a gift. That I can type (or see…) is a gift. I have to stop hanging out waiting for ‘more’, because that ‘more’ is causing me so much frustration, it’s nearly killing me.
And in the meantime, at least now I know Rebbe Nachman is behind it, and that it’s all purposeful, which is really reassuring, because when you start to feel like you’re ‘bad’, or ‘cursed’ for your life to be so difficult all the time, that’s a very hard place to be in.
All that’s going on is that I’m being a Breslov loser, as described by Rav Hadgbi, in order to crush every last little bit of arrogance and pride out of me.
Yet again, Breslov Torah came through for me with some real answers to my real problems. And all I - we - have to do, dear reader, is hang on a little bit longer, and we’ll get everything back again, even better than it was before.
But minus the ego problem.