I’ve been doing some more translations for Rav Berland, and the following really spoke to me, so I’m sharing it here.
One nail, two outcomes
One person knocks a nail into the wall in order to hang up a picture of some flower, while another person hangs a picture of the [the word] ‘Shiviti’, or of Kever Rachel, or of the Kotel.
It’s the same nail, just that this one is banging in a nail to hang up a picture of a flower, or some nice view, while the other is banging a nail to hang up Kever Rachel, or the Kotel, or the Tzion of the Rebbe.
On this same nail, you can hang ruach hakodesh (the holy spirit); and on this same nail, you can fall into the ten crowns of impurity – it could be that this picture is of something totally forbidden.
With that same nail, you can recieve ruach hakodesh, and with that same nail…Hashem should have mercy.
It’s the same nail.
You can even hang up a picture of a beautiful landscape, because your wife wants it. With that same nail, you made your wife happy, and your merited to fulfill the verse: “and he shall make his wife happy,” and also, “love your fellow as yourself,” and an infinite number of other mitzvahs.
And with that same nail, you can also irritate your wife, and scream at her: What are you talking about, I need to do that now?! And why is it going there, and not over here?! And so with this same nail, there’ll be an argument that lasts until the morning.
With that same nail, you can merit to get olam haba (the world to come). And with that same nail, you can also get to gehinnom, God forbid.
Act for the sake of heaven
You can fly people to Uman in order to merit ruach hakodesh, and in the merit that the Rebbe will become imbued within us, so that we’ll receive the eyes of the Rebbe, and the soul of the Rebbe.
And it’s also possible to fly people to Uman for the money, in order to profit, or for the status. It’s exactly the same action. The only difference is whether this is being done leshem shemayim.
It’s possible to fly out a billion people.
At the moment, I’m still doing a lot of soul accounting, or cheshbon hanefesh, about how I’d like to improve, and how I’d like to live my life, this coming year.
From reading the Rav, I’m starting to understand that the ikker is not so much what we do, but the intentions that lie behind what we do.
A person can spend 10 hours in the office, mamash with the intentions of supporting his family, paying lots of tzedekah, and using his money for mitzvot – like a home in Eretz Yisrael, a mehudar etrog, or to buy his wife something that will really make her heart sing.
OR…. he can spend 10 hours in the office because he’s obsessed with making money, or working his way up the firm, or to have the perfect excuse about why he doesn’t need to talk to his kids, or is always too stressed and tired to engage with his wife…..
It’s the same nail.
And our intentions make all the difference in the world.
BTW, I forgot to mention that Volume I of Rav Eliezer Berland’s Advice for Shalom Bayit – for men only – is now available on Amazon, HERE.
Alternatively if you’re in Israel, it may be easier to get it HERE on the RavBerland.com website – but they have limited copies so if you want one, move fast to get it. And also be aware that it hasn’t officially been put on the website yet, as the printed copied were delivered literally 2 days before Rosh Hashana.
BH, if there is more demand, more copies will be printed.
That’s been one of my ongoing conversations, about the point of writing books, and translating books for the Rav, that basically get ignored, while total c*ap by people like the late Jonathan Sacks, and heretical c+rap by people like Manis Friedman gets praised to the skies….
But these few small paragraphs, above, are giving me the koach to continue, because mamash, I’m doing my writing leshem shemayim, whatever else I can say about it.
And if that’s all it ever amounts to, dayenu.