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ALL BEGINNINGS ARE DIFFICULT

Rabbi Nachman teaches,

When we give charity, our main task is to break our innate cruelty, turning it into kindness in order to give generously. This is the main service involved in the act of charity. When one who is kind by nature gives charity purely out of instinct, this cannot be called an act of service because even certain animals are kind by nature. The main task is to break one’s innate cruelty and turn it into kindness in order to give charity.

Starting to give charity is very difficult and onerous. For all acts of true repentance and service of G-d require many cries and groans and strenuous contortions before one can succeed. The hardest part is starting, because “all beginnings are difficult” ( Mechilta , Yitro ) . Many cries and groans are needed before one can begin. Even after beginning, devotion never comes easily. It takes many strenuous efforts before one can achieve something of true worth. But starting is the hardest part of all.

For the main offspring of the Tzaddikim are their good deeds, and thus all mitzvot, good deeds and acts of devotion are like giving birth. How many shrieks and cries a woman emits when giving birth! How many pangs she endures before the baby is born, especially when it is her firstborn, which is particularly hard.

And charity is always a beginning, as it is written, “Open! Open up your hand!” (Deuteronomy 15:8) . Even when there is already an entrance and a beginning, giving charity opens and widens the entrance even further. Whenever a person wants to enter any pathway of devotion and service of G-d, it is necessary to make an opening in order to enter that pathway. “All beginnings are difficult” because it is first necessary to break through and open up the entrance all over again, which is very difficult. However, charity has the unique power of being able to open and widen the entrance further.

When you make an opening in some pathway of service and with it give some charity, this charity opens and widens the entrance even further. For charity is the beginning of all beginnings and opens and widens all the gates.

Likutey Moharan II, 4

With permission taken over from: Daily Dose Of Rabbi Nachman

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