What is the value of sacrifice? Ultimately self-sacrifice is priceless, as it is required if we are to receive the blessings we desire from Hashem. It is said if you want something you’ve never had before you are going to have to do something you’ve never done before. True growth occurs outside of our comfort zones, so the greatest rewards are received when we sacrifice ourselves and go against our nature!
God places obstacles in our lives to test our willingness to sacrifice for Him. Baal Shem Tov told the story of a woman who came to him begging for a baby boy. He asked her what she would give in exchange for this blessing, and she replied she was poor and had nothing to offer but a cheap scarf. Baal Shem Tov agreed and told the woman to fetch the scarf, but as soon as she went off to get it he left the town and continued on his journey. She followed him from town to town for weeks until she caught up to him and presented him the scarf. He accepted it and told her “Now you will have a baby boy.”
Why did the Baal Shem Tov force the woman to chase him from town to town? Because our rewards in life are determined by our effort! He created an opportunity for her to demonstrate her willingness to sacrifice for the sake of her desire to have a baby boy. It is said the tears you cry as you beg god will form the vessel by which he will deliver your blessing. Ask yourself how much you are sacrificing these days in order to reach your goals?
If it is the sacrifice which creates the vessel by which Hashem delivers your blessings, then a person who is not willing to sacrifice much in life will never receive much in life. This also means you should cast a wary eye on things which come to you in life for free, as they cannot possibly be good for you. It is important to focus on the process rather than the prize, as the process is your part in determining your reward. Rabbi Nachman teaches that miracles are only performed for those willing to sacrifice themselves to God.
What constitutes a sacrifice? Attending Soul Cycle and drinking a healthy smoothie from Jamba Juice after does not cut it - giving up your favorite restaurant in order to keep Kosher is the sort of sacrifice worthy of Hashem’s blessing. Sacrificing an hour or two of sleep each day in order to get closer to God will greatly benefit you, as you will find the best prayers and conversations with your creator occur as a result of this sacrifice. It is said that any new path in spirituality requires a person to break their nature. Laziness is a part of human nature, so rise an hour earlier each morning and sacrifice that time to you God and he will reward you for your efforts!
Rabbi Nachman says a person who rejoices in their suffering brings salvation to the world. Breaking out of negative thought patterns and embracing happiness as you anticipate the miracle which has yet to come is a sacrifice in and of itself, as our nature would have us distracted by our phones and tablets, allowing them to fill our minds and hearts with negativity and pessimism. Put down the devices and their accompanying negative energy so that you can embrace the joy of anticipating the blessings in store for you.
Before God performs a miracle for a person, he will fall on hard times. The level of difficulty the person experiences is determined by the greatness of the miracle to be performed on his behalf. In light of this, what should you do when faced with hard times? Hang in there and rejoice, for the miracle is coming! When a person finds himself being tested he need only realize that if he withstands the test God will perform a miracle on his behalf. Often the nature of the test is beyond our comprehension, so do not try to understand the test - just take it!
When we first enter the path of divine service it is impossible for us to reach a higher level of consciousness as we are automatically surrounded by negative thoughts. It is though we have awakened in a garden full of thorns which must be cut. It is up to us to cut out the thorns from our garden so we may clear the way to higher consciousness! You cannot expect to receive a beautiful rose without first cutting away the thorns. How do we cut away the thorns in our garden? By rejoicing in what we have and praising God.
The Tomer Devora is such an important book to have in your home, as it is all about becoming superhuman by emulating God. When we sin, God is patient and merciful with us because he knows we are in a bad place. We should therefore emulate him and treat others with patience and mercy as well. Ask yourself - who do you need to forgive in your life today? When you transcend your nature by emulating God a new reality is created for you. If instead you become stuck in a mindset, Heaven can only give you as much as you have.
Limiting beliefs are so terrible and constricting, you are cutting yourself off from your creator and all the blessings he has in store for you if you hold on to limiting beliefs. Your creator has no limits, so you should think big! When we let go of limiting beliefs and instead grow our emunah, the opportunities and potential in our lives are similarly limitless as they are coming from a source which has no bounds.
There are three Klipas which plague us and prevent our success in life. The first Klipa gets inside your head and confuses you, making you hesitate rather than act. The second Klipa invades your heart and causes fallen passions to reside there. The third Klipa sends you into a full-fledged retreat from life, making you drop everything and bringing you to despair. This all starts with that first Klipa and the hesitation! The Klipa of Aesop whispers to us “What is the point of praying? It’s not going to help anything.” The Klipa of Ishmael says “Why should I pray again? I prayed last week, God already heard me.” The minute you listen to these Klipas and hesitate in your actions it's game over! Self sacrifice is not hesitation, it is action.
I find that right before I am about to give a big class I feel so exhausted, and I start to question how I am going to get through the lesson when I have so little energy. In spite of my feelings, I do not hesitate, I just have faith I will get through the class and proceed. Remember that we should be judging the effort rather than the results, as the effort determines the reward. So long as I put forth the effort in teaching the lesson rather than hesitating, I will have done my part and I leave the rest to my creator.
Our greatest obstacles in life are the ones we construct inside our own minds. When we are plagued with these negative thoughts and doubts, it is helpful to speak aloud with a strong voice in prayer, crying out from our hearts to God. When we scream and shout with a loud voice it has an effect on our minds, ending our confusion and eliminating the negative thoughts. When you find yourself doubting and thinking negatively, cry out to your God for help.
Rabbi Nachman says that soul sacrifice must occur on a daily basis. Think about how much time and prayer you are investing towards your goals rather than worrying about when the miracle will come to pass. All Hashem wants is for you to serve Him with all of your heart. So long as you sacrifice yourself to your creator and transcend your nature you will be ready to receive the blessings and miracles Hashem has prepared for you!