Translated by Rabbi Avraham Greenbaum
Be very eager to serve God. Do as much as you can every day and every moment. The main thing is practical action. Study as much as you can. Carry out many mitzvot. Spend a lot of time praying and pouring out your heart to God. Do as much as you possibly can.
Even so, do not allow yourself to be rushed on account of the many devotions you may encounter in Torah literature. Maybe you wonder, "When will I be able to practice even one of these devotions, let alone all of them?"
Don't allow such thoughts to frustrate you. It is no good to rush and try to achieve everything at once. Go forward steadily, step by step.
If you are overhasty, trying to grasp everything at once, you may become totally confused, like when a house burns down and people snatch the most worthless items in their panic.
Go forward steadily, one step at a time. If you are unable to do everything, that is not your fault. God exempts those under duress.
There may be many things that you cannot do. Even so, you should long and yearn to fulfill them. The longing itself is a great thing - for God desires the heart.
Sichot Haran #27
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People are often very confused as to the best way to serve God. Sometimes it seems necessary to follow one practice, but later this appears to have been wrong and another way seems better. This can cause a person to become very confused and disturbed.
But why do you need to confuse yourself? Whatever you do, you do! As long as you don' t do anything bad, heaven forbid.
Sichot Haran #269
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Everything depends on a person's work and effort, nothing else. With work and effort, everyone can reach great levels.
Chayey Moharan #230
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A little is also good.
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A storekeeper will sell on credit, allowing the buyer to pay later.
Why not do the same with spiritual goods? Say a few Psalms, learn some Torah or carry out some other mitzvot so that they are put aside ready for some time of need.
The time will indeed come when you will need them. You will then be able to make use of your reward without having to ask the storekeeper for credit.
Sichot Haran #271
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"Abraham was one, and he inherited the land" (Ezekiel 33:24) .
Why does Ezekiel stress that Abraham was one? Because Abraham based his whole service of God on the fact that he was alone. He looked on himself as the only person in the world - as if everything was up to him - and paid no attention whatever to all the other people who had turned away from God and who were putting obstacles in his way. Abraham paid no attention to his father or any of the other people who tried to stop him. He carried on as if he was alone in the world. That is the meaning of Ezekiel's statement: "Abraham was one."
In the same way, anyone who wants to begin serving God can do so only if he thinks of himself as being alone in the world so that everything is up to him. He must pay no attention whatever to anyone who tries to hold him back - not even if it is his own father and mother or in-laws, wife and children. He should pay no attention to any others who try to mock him or entice him to give up or otherwise stand in his way. Just as "Abraham was one", so too he must look on himself as if he is alone in the world and everything depends on him.
Likutey Moharan II, beginning
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One who wants to turn aside from evil but sees that there is no truth in the world must act as if he is crazy.
Sefer HaMiddot, Emet #31
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A person should be so honest that when he performs the mitzvot in all their fine points, he does it for God's sake and not merely to impress others. Even if he is completely alone with no- one watching, he should still carry them all out with the same care.
Likutey Moharan I, 251
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The key to everything is the way you start. All beginnings are hard, because you need to swing things around from one direction to the very opposite. But once you have made a start, you will soon become accustomed to your new direction and it will no longer be so difficult.
Therefore you must marshal all your strength and steel yourself to make an energetic start. You must begin each time with ever-renewed fire and passion for God. Start as if you had never begun before at all.
Likutey Moharan I, 62
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See that you make your days very long. With every new day and moment, make sure that your time is longer, fuller and richer with added holiness. You must continually extend your days, filling them with greater holiness and purity. This is the secret of long life.
When you start each new day, at first the day is very short. What you need to accomplish spiritually today may weigh heavily upon you. It takes great determination not to be discouraged as you feel the weight of the devotions you have to undertake today.
Be courageous! Don't lose heart. Make a start even if at first things seem heavy, forced and difficult. If you are determined enough, you will find that they will become easier and that you can accomplish what you must in God's service.
Every hour of the day, see that you extend and enrich that hour by filling it with extra holiness. Do the same every day of your life. Let each day be filled with more holiness than the day before. You will then be blessed with length of days.
Likutey Moharan I, 60
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Strive to nullify every one of your negative traits until you become absolute ly nothing before God.
Start with one trait until you nullify it completely. Then work on your other traits, one by one, until they are totally non-existent.
The more you nullify your negative traits, the more God's glory will shine and be revealed in you, until "The earth radiates with His glory" (Ezekiel 43:2) .
God's glory is like light. The larger an object standing in front of a source of light, the greater the shadow it casts. When you set up a thin rod in front of the sun, it throws only a small shadow. A larger object throws a bigger shadow, while a great structure throws an even larger shadow. The shadow is caused by the obstruction of the light.
The same is true of God's glory. When something material stands in front of something spiritual, it casts a shadow. The denser the material, the more shadow it casts.
The deeper you are sunk in some negative trait or worldly desire, the greater the shadow it casts over God's glory, causing His light to be hidden from you. But as you nullify these traits and desires, you also remove this shadow and the light of God's glory is revealed.
When you succeed in nullifying the shadow completely, turning everything into absolute nothingness, then God's glory is revealed in all the world . There is nothing to hide the light and cause a shadow. And then, "The whole earth is filled with His glory" (Isaiah 6:3) .
Sichot Haran #136
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Every person must minimize his own honor and maximize God's honor. One who pursues worldly honor will not be worthy of experiencing God's glory. Even if he attains some worldly status, people will constantly look at him askance and want to know who he is that he should be accorded such respect. But one who flees from honor - minimizing his own honor and maximizing that of God - will attain God's glory.
The test of true repentance is when a person remains silent in the face of ridicule and abuse, patiently accepting all the insults thrown at him. This is how he slaughters his evil inclination, and then he will be worthy of God's glory.
Likutey Moharan I, 6
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By Rabbi Avraham Yehoshua Greenbaum
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