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On The Repetitiveness of Outpouring of the Soul

by Ephraim Portnoy

We have to have the proper appreciation for Outpouring of the Soul / Meshivas Nefesh.

We tend to think of it as just a collection of encouraging ideas. We might even think that after a couple of pages it tends to get repetitive. “Don’t give up.” “Look at the good.” “Don’t give up” again.

But when we keep in mind that the entire book is based on Likutei Halachos…And Likutei Halachos is based on Likutei Moharan…And Likutei Moharan is a work which the Rebbe told us is based on the deepest understanding of Torah and Godliness…

Then we realize that Meshivas Nefesh is not repetitious at all. Each idea presented in it is another deep revelation of Torah. It’s not just “don’t give up.” It’s “don’t give up because the Rebbe understood with his deep spiritual perception that you shouldn’t give up for these reasons…”

The Rebbe’s encouragement isn’t just to make us feel better. This is the absolute truth as the Rebbe saw it.

On this note, let’s look into Meshivas Nefesh I 37, which runs parallel to Likutei Eitzos, Hischazkus 37. Reb Nosson notes that this paragraph is based on LKM II 48. However, it doesn’t appear in LKM, but seems to be something which Reb Nosson heard from the Rebbe orally which pertains to that lesson:

If a person doesn’t have a Yetzer Hara, his service of God isn’t worth anything at all.

This is why Hashem lets the Yetzer Hara take over a person, especially someone who truly wants to come close to Him, even though this brings a person to whatever it does, to many sins and great spiritual blemishes. Even so, it’s still worth it for Hashem for a small move towards good that a person makes with the Yetzer Hara overwhelming him and he still overcomes it with a small move to run away from it. This is more precious by Hashem than if he would have served Him for a thousand years without a Yetzer Hara.

The entire world was only created for a person, whose greatness is in that he has a Yetzer Hara and he strengthens himself against it. So the more the Yetzer spreads over him, all the more valued is every move which a person makes in opposition to it, and Hashem Himself helps him.

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