Every day we encounter obstacles. Things that rise up and attempt to prevent us from accomplishing what we want to accomplish. When it comes to spiritual matters, we often face even greater obstacles. Whether the obstacle is the Yetzer Hara kicking from the inside, or whether it manifests on the outside, one thing is sure—we always encounter obstacles.

There are a few ways to look at obstacles. We can look at obstacles as blockages that are trying to stop us from success. We can look at obstacles as being there to challenge or test us. Or we can look at obstacles as being sent by Hashem, in order to increase and strengthen our yearning to accomplish whatever holy deed it is we’re trying to accomplish.

Rebbe Nachman tells us that when it comes to spiritual matters, especially when we’re learning the teachings of the tzaddikim and we want to learn more and achieve more in those areas, Hashem will send us obstacles. Why? For the express purpose of increasing our desire, to hone our yearning for spirituality. Because in spiritual matters, that desire, that yearning is fundamental. There’s something special about truly desiring to accomplish a mitzvah, truly yearning to come close to Hashem and the true tzaddikim. The force of our desire elevates us to the next level, the level we need to get to.

So, when something arises today (or tomorrow) and you feel frustrated or overwhelmed or annoyed, just remember—that thing that’s rising up against you may very well have been sent by Hashem specifically for the purpose of increasing your desire to come closer to holiness.

May you have a day in which you smile and are grateful for the obstacles.

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Today’s mini lesson is dedicated by Barbara Wachspress, for Binyomin Yosef ben Brachah. May he find his zivug speedily.


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Chaya Rivka Zwolinski

Chaya Rivka in her own words: What do we want? To feel less pain and more optimism. To be happy and lead meaningful lives. This all requires healthy relationships. If we learn, share, and live his teachings, Rebbe Nachman gives us real, practical tools to improve all our relationships—with G-d, with ourselves, and with each other. Chaya Rivka Zwolinski “discovered” Rebbe Nachman in her late thirties and credits his profound wisdom with helping her make a 180 degree-turn in life. She loves sharing Breslov teachings with women in her classes and workshops. Chaya Rivka has written books; writes articles for Breslov.org, BreslovWoman.org, HealthyJewishCooking.com, and numerous other publications; is a consultant to Breslov Research Institute; and is the director of curriculum and program marketing at BreslovCampus.org. She lives with her family in Brooklyn, NY.

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