Pesach: New Freedom
Hashem is giving us a brand new life. We become free actually right now, this year, on Passover. This gift is better than a sparkling new Mercedes...
by Rabbi Shalom Arush
Nissan is the first month of the year, a fresh start. We prepare ourselves for Passover by cleaning all the spiritual and physical "chametz" from our midst. This is the Creators greatest gift in the world to us, because He is giving us a brand new life. We become free actually right now, this year, on Passover. This gift is better than a sparkling new Mercedes.
Do you know what that means? You leave your Egypt, your past and all your spiritual debts if you just decide that you truly want to be free. It doesn't matter what happened in your life until now. It matters what you'll do from here on.
How does a person make the best new start? He spreads "freedom" to others. How?
Emuna is freedom, freedom from negativity, negative influences and negative emotions. When we help others, Hashem helps us. Therefore, the best thing a person can do from here on is to help spread emuna, for there is no greater mitzvah. No mitzvah in the Torah can compare to the power of spreading emuna. For when a person helps others to rectify themselves, by simply putting an emuna book, CD or pamphlet in their hands, he merits his own personal rectification. Furthermore, he earns dividends from all the good deeds of the people to whom he spread emuna.
By virtue of this huge merit, his own spiritual debts are more than compensated for. After his 120 years on earth, the person who spread emuna will find mountains of merit staped with his name. He'll say, "I didn't do all those good deeds I don't deserve the credit." The Heavenly Court will answer, "True, but this is the result of the emuna CD that you gave someone."
By spreading emuna, a person enjoys dividends in this world and in the next. That's why it has such a power of rectification. What's more, in addition to spreading materials that enhance a person's relationship with Hashem, it's a tremendous mitzvah to spread material that enhances interpersonal relationships. By doing so, you not only help correct the world but you correct yourself too.
Naturally, the core correction of one's entire life and all of one's previous incarnations is to have a daily, one-hour rendezvous with Hashem. This daily hour of personal prayer connects all the events of a person's life to emuna and invokes Divine blessings on a daily basis. Such a person attains a high measure of self-composure, for daily personal prayer is the best possible general advice that includes every possible advice. It is the foundation of foundation and the advice of all advice. When a person spends a daily hour with Hashem in secluded personal prayer, telling Him everything that has transpired in his life from yesterday's personal prayer session until todays, he is reaching the root of all soul corrections and the fiftieth gate of holiness.
Practically, when we encourage someone to devote time to daily personal prayer, we can say that this is the deal of a lifetime. Set aside a daily hour for your own private meeting with the Creator, for this will bring you to emuna. Your life will become sweet, even on days of bitter difficulties and challenges. You won't have the need to get angry and you certainly won't curse anyone. That is why I always say: Anyone who wants to taste paradise on earth and to live a sweet and pleasant life should accustom himself to devoting a daily hour to personal prayer.
He can then be confident about the fact that he is doing what he is supposed to do. He is investing the best and most effective effort that he can. All he has to do is to open his mouth and speak to Hashem in his own native tongue, even in his own local slang. Personal prayer is a person's prime resource for improving himself. He can shed his negative character traits and make room for good character traits. There is countless proof for this! Anyone praying, no matter what, will see a major improvement in the quality of every aspect of life.
Rabbi Shalom Arush is an Israeli Breslov rabbi and founder of the Chut Shel Chessed Institutions. He spreads the teachings of Rebbe Nachman of Breslov among Sephardic and Ashkenazic baalei teshuva around the world through his books and speaking appearances. Rabbi Arush is considered one of today's leading Hasidic spiritual guides, inspiring hundreds of thousands through his books, audio CDs and online presence.