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Advice for Life from Rabbi Sholom DovBer of Lubavitch

Advice for Life from Rabbi Sholom DovBer of Lubavitch

as recorded by Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn

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The First Commandment

The first commandment recorded in the Torah is to be fruitful and multiply. In a spiritual sense this is the imperative that one needs to create, i.e., have a positive influence on another.

Destiny I

The descent of a soul into a body is for a purpose that the Essence of His Infinity has entrusted it. When the emissary, the soul, accomplishes its mission – that of disseminating Jewish teachings, divine service and love for a fellow – according to the Divine will, the might and light of G‑d is, as it were, increased.

Destiny II

Wherever you may find yourself – whether for an extended period of time, a short stay, or even a brief stopover – know that there is a divine objective waiting for you to accomplish in this place. In this location you are meant to recite a blessing or pray—and since the creation of the world this place is waiting for you to arrive and recite that blessing or pray.

Destiny III

If you find yourself in a certain place, a particular situation, know that it is by Divine providence. For G‑d orchestrates and arranges many events so to ensure that a person finds himself in the circumstance wherein he can realize his true potential.

Purpose

G‑d created the universe and all physical objects ex nihilo, something from nothing. We then must transform the "something" back into "nothing," i.e., transform the material into spiritual. The task of turning the physical into spiritual and making the physical into an instrument for the spiritual, is a personal obligation. Every single person, individually, is required to do this.

Time I

The hours must be "counted hours," then the days will be "counted days." When a day passes one should know what he has accomplished and what remains yet to be done.

Time II

One should always see to it that tomorrow should be much better than today.

Education

It is an absolute duty for every person – whether deeply learned or simple – to spend a half hour every day thinking about the Jewish-education of children, and to do everything in his power – and beyond his power – to inspire children to follow the path along which they are being guided.

Uplifting

You wish to be uplifted? Elevate yourself to a higher plane!

Truth

Truth is the middle path. An inclination to the right, to be overly stringent with oneself and find faults or sins not in accord with the truth, or an inclination to the left, to be overly indulgent, covering one's faults or being lenient in the demands of divine service out of self-love—both these ways are false.

Meditation

One needs to contemplate what he could be, what he must be... and what he actually is.

The Body

Though the hand is of an ephemeral substance, destined to decompose, it constitutes the objective of the soul's descent into a body; the soul's destiny is dependent on the behavior of this substance. When one lovingly hugs another, the soul is uplifted. When one, G‑d forbid, strikes another, then the "hands of Esau" cause the soul to be demoted.

Perfection

Chassidim do not ascribe value to anything that comes "automatically," or something that "just happened"—even if the cause [of the unintended positive result] was a good one. Perfection comes only through toil.

Coldness

Coldness and heresy are separated by so slender a barrier! It is said, "For G‑d, your G‑d, is a consuming fire."

The Wheel

Life is a constantly revolving wheel. A wealthy person who sits on top of the wheel and laughs is a fool. Why do you laugh? It is a revolving wheel, after all! Similarly, the one located on the bottom of the wheel and laughs is a fool.

On the other hand, of lasting value is doing a favor for another and learning Jewish teachings—these last forever, and produce fruit that, in turn, produce more fruit.

What is a Chassid? I

A chassid is a lamplighter. The lamplighter walks the streets carrying a flame at the end of a pole. He knows that the flame is not his. And he goes from lamp to lamp to set them alight.

What is a Chassid? II

A chassid creates an environment. If he does not, he had better carefully "check his own baggage," to see whether his own affairs are in order. The very fact that he fails to create an environment should make him as broken as a splinter. He must demand of himself: What am I doing in this world?

Love Your Fellow I

It is not enough to contemplate one's love for others; one needs to actually implement it. One needs to seek out friends and acquaintances and to have a positive influence on them.

Love Your Fellow II

It is a magnificent gift of G‑d to merit an innate sense – a "feel" – for doing kindness to another, to derive deep pleasure from it. This can develop to the point that one cherishes the other more than oneself. He may find many explanations as to why he deserves his own tribulations, G‑d forbid, but to do so [i.e., to find explanations and justifications] with regard to another's suffering—is absolutely impossible.

Adapted from the Hebrew by Dovid Zaklikowski.
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shiur beis and gimmel klurman mesivta miami March 13, 2013

powerful! if only we would take it to heart, we would live differently! Reply

Victoria Nairobi , Kenya October 29, 2010

Wonderful Very good advise. Bless you. Reply

levi October 28, 2010

whats the hebrew original called? Whats the Hebrew original called? Reply

Yocheved Jerusalem, Israel October 27, 2010

Advice for Life Thank you for sharing this. I needed it badly! Reply

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