We’re lucky to have the priceless gifts of a Jewish neshama (soul), the Torah, Chasidus and our Rebbe. And we’re blessed to know we have it. But how do we access it? How do we mine these treasures so that they illuminate our lives and provide the fundamental strength, guidance and solutions that makes life doable and worthwhile?
Most of the following suggestions won’t be new to you, there aren’t really any magic solutions, but this means that you already know what to do. Good luck!
Daven: Daven so that you can connect to Hashem, and daven to Hashem that you will feel your connection. Daven formally, twice daily if you’re a woman, or three times daily if you’re a man. And continue praying all day: “Hashem, please help me find the right words to reach this person.” “Hashem, we both know today’s schedule is too dificult for me and I trust that you’ll make it work for me somehow.” (In the past, after I have given over my scheduling worries to Hashem, planned events were cancelled or rescheduled by the other party.) “Thank you, Hashem, for making the bus come right now so I have a chance of getting there on time!” The more we involve Hashem in our lives, the more we see Him.
Learn Torah: There is so much to say on this topic that I’m saving it for another post. In the meantime, learn Torah!
Connect to the Rebbe: Of course, this means to learn the Rebbe’s Torah; say the Rebbe’s kapitel (chapter) of Tehilim every day; do what the Rebbe asks of us, especially in spreading Chasidus; and make sure to regularly write pidyonei nefesh and du”chim. More than this, though, the Rebbe should be alive in your regular life. This is especially important when raising young children, who need to learn that the Rebbe is always with them. Listen to the Rebbe’s voice (look here, here or here), even if you don’t understand Yiddish; watch videos of the Rebbe, even if it’s just to see the Rebbe in action; sing the Rebbe’s nigunim; and go to 770 and the Ohel, on special days and on regular days. On very special chasidishe days my high school principal would play a recording of the Rebbe davening shacharis (the morning prayer) while we davened so that we could daven with the Rebbe.
Keep in touch with your mashpia: This is one of the Rebbe’s greatest gifts to us! Asking someone to be your mashpia is in itself a tremendous accomplishment. But to get the full benefits, keep in touch with your mashpia; be honest about what is (or isn’t) happening in your life; and do your best to follow your mashpia’s advice, which is, ultimately, the channel for the Rebbe’s advice.
Teach: Officially or unofficially, long-term or short-term, for an hour or for a minute, we all have countless opportunities to share with others. I constantly try to look around and notice who can use a friendly smile, some quick explanation of what’s going on, or a story about the power of the day. I’m often surprised when an idea that seems simple to me generates such enthusiasm, especially when I’m speaking to someone whom I had assumed already knows it all. On a bigger scale, schedule a study session with someone or a few someones. When you teach something, you sharpen your understanding of the concept; you feel grateful to have something to offer, and you are implicitly challenged to believe and live by your own words. Often, the feedback you receive ignites a few new sparks in your own mind and heart.
And, as the Rebbe’s chasidim, by fulfilling the Rebbe’s constant demand to positively influence another person we strengthen our personal bond with the Rebbe.
Maintain your physical wellbeing: Torah commands us to care for our health, including body and mind. Do what it takes to achieve and maintain your health for Torah, for the purpose of following this mitzvah and in order to be able to further serve Hashem. Do it with Torah, consulting with a mashpia or rabbi as necessary; improving your spiritual health (such as checking your tefilin and mezuzas), and implementing all kosher medical directives. And always remember that your true and best medical Provider is Hashem.
Personally, I’ve spent many years trying to achieve optimal health in a certain area. At this point, boruch Hashem, I truly think I’ve done everything I can, and my challenge going forward is to maintain my health at this level. In theory, it would be nice to up my health even more so that I can do more, but I’m working to accept that I can’t and I don’t need to; this is where I need to be in order to be in order to best serve Hashem.
Eliminate or at least minimize interference: How can you upgrade the music you listen to? The clothing you wear? The kashrus (kosher standard) of the food you eat? Every change for the better, no matter how small it may seem, means less shmutz (dirt) in your life and more space for goodness and G-dliness.