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Shameless Struggle

Shameless Struggle

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Do you find that there were certain things that challenged you many years ago, and feel despondent that 5, 10 or 20 years later, you are still up against the same internal struggles?

Does it bother you that while you consider yourself a moral and spiritual person, you still find yourself at home or work tempted by desires to speak or act in a manner that you are ashamed of?

You are not alone.

The nature of the human condition is to struggle. Instead of feeling downhearted that yet again you are tempted by your senses, you can feel joy, for only when you battle temptation can you fulfill an actual mitzvah in the Torah: “You shall not follow after your heart and after your eyes, by which you go astray.”

These words weren’t commanded to saints, but to “Beinonis,” the term coined to describe your average human. For reasons known only to G‑d, G‑d experiences tremendous pleasure every time you squelch a negative desire.

There is no shame in struggle. If anything, shame is rooted in a person’s ego, where he expects himself to be exempt from the struggle experienced by the rest of humanity. And while this may come as a surprise to some, our very purpose in this world is to wrestle with our compulsions and impulses, trying time and again to subdue and tame our inner demons.

Here’s the incredible part: Every time you don’t give in to a negative desire, you weaken its power over you. And that automatically weakens the power of negative energy in the world, so that each time you emerge victorious, you lessen the darkness in this world and make the struggle a bit easier for everyone else.

Tanya Bit: Internal conflict is not a letdown, but a reason to rejoice.

(Inspired from Chapter 27 of Tanya)

Sara Blau is a teacher and extracurricular director at Beth Rivkah High School. She is a wife, mother, and author of several children“s books.
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