When Rav Shalom Arush’s latest book, Britti Shalom, came out in Hebrew, Rav Chaim Dovid Stern commented that merely by publishing the book, Rav Arush had wiped out a huge chunk of that particular yetzer hara (evil inclination).
(For those of you who don’t already know, Rav Chaim Dovid Stern is a hugely respected kabalist and Rosh Yeshiva, who lives in Bnei Brak. He’s an immensely holy individual, and is one of the people the ‘big’ rabbis go to for blessings and advice.)
So anyway, if Rav Stern said that about Rav Arush’s book, you can believe it.
In the year or so since I first heard that idea, I’ve thought about it a lot in terms of my own life, and my own efforts to make a difference, and to build the world in some small way.
It’s a very comforting thought to believe that the mere fact of trying to do something is enough to potentially tip the balance towards God and good, even if no-one is actually reading it, buying it or seeing it.
That thought got Emunaroma off the ground, just over a year ago. It got www.spiritualselfhelp.org up and running, around four months ago. And it got the ‘Talk to God and Fix Your Health‘ manuscript finished, and sent for page layout last week.
Sure, it’s very possible no-one is going to see this stuff, much less read it or share it with their 5,000 peers, but the outcome isn’t what’s making it meaningful. It’s meaningful just because I’m putting my effort into it, and I’m trying to do what God wants.
And the same applies to all your stuff, too.
Yes, like that blog you started doing last year, but gave up on because ‘only’ three people were reading it. If you enjoyed doing it, if it was meaningful to you, carry on doing it! Don’t give up! Every word you write could really be changing the spiritual dimensions of the world for the good.
Or, those songs you started working on, but never quite got around to doing anything with. Take the plunge and book some studio time! Who cares if it’s not so professional, or if the quality isn’t Rolling Stone good? As a believing Jew, everything you do in the world is meaningful.
And this also applies to the smaller things that none of us get any kudos or Nobel prizes for, like making our kids supper; or cleaning our toilets for Shabbat; or biting our tongue when we really want to let some jerk have it; or grabbing five minutes of our precious time to talk to God.
Rav Stern’s comments showed me that for all Rav Arush is achieving huge things with his teachings and books, the real spiritual action happens before anyone’s even bought the first copy, or listened to the first CD.
It all comes back to the idea of ratzon, or free will. Rav Arush teaches that ratzon is really where it’s all at. What we WANT makes all the spiritual difference in the world, regardless of the outcome. Why? Because the ratzon is down to us, while the outcome is 100% up to Hashem.
If you internalise this idea, it can change your life. It can inject meaning into even the most mundane, mind-numbing chore in the world. It can encourage you to keep writing, keep teaching, keep singing, keep learning, keep sharing, keep inspiring, keep loving even when there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of kudos coming back from it all.
Keep going, dear reader, because every single thing you do is meaningful, spiritually, and it really could be bringing Moshiach and Geula a huge step closer.
And that applies even if no-one else knows about it, even if no-one else applauds it, and even if your Google Analytic stats completely suck.