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Sukkat Shalom B'nei Noach



Rabbi Nachman teaches,

“I have strayed like a lost sheep: seek out Your servant” (Psalms 119:176).

When a person sins, it makes a big difference if he comes to his senses at once and repents, in which case it is easy for him to return to his place because he has not yet strayed too far from the good path. For when a person sins, he turns from the straight path and enters a different, twisting pathway. A multitude of wrong turns branch off into ever deeper error and corruption. The person may stray so far and become so entangled that it is very hard for him to turn back and get off the wrong track.

G-d’s way is to call a person the moment He sees him straying from the path of good sense, asking him to turn back. He calls each person in the way most suited to him. To some, He beckons with a hint. To others, the summons is literally a cry. Some people kick, and He must strike them in order to call them. For “the Torah cries out before them: ‘Fools! How long will you love foolishness?'” (Proverbs 1:22, Zohar Shemini 36a). The Torah is G-d’s voice calling and begging those who sin to return to Him.

As long as a person has not strayed too far from the right path, it is easy for him to return because he still recognizes the voice. This is because only a short time has passed since he was close to G-d and heeded His voice, the voice of the Torah. He has not yet forgotten it or strayed too far along those other devious paths. Similarly, when a sheep strays from the path and the shepherd immediately calls it, as long as the sheep has not yet strayed too far, it still recognizes the shepherd’s voice and immediately responds.

But once the sheep strays far from the path, it forgets the shepherd’s voice and no longer recognizes his call. The shepherd also gives up searching because the sheep has been lost for such a long time. Similarly, when a person has been going in the wrong direction for a long time, having strayed far from the true path into all those corrupt, devious and confusing pathways, it is hard for him to repent.

But know that sometimes a person journeys so far along those corrupt and devious paths that his very wandering brings him close to his original place and it only needs an easy test to bring him back to his starting point. But when G-d calls him and arranges the test, the person does not recognize the voice and feels no need to return. That is the difference between young and old people. One who is still young and has not grown old in his sins can return more easily, because he is still closer and has not forgotten the voice that calls.

This is the meaning of the verse, “I have strayed like a lost sheep: seek out Your servant” (Psalms 119, 176). “I have strayed like a lost sheep”: I have strayed from the good path like a lost sheep that has strayed from the road. This is why I beg of You: “Seek out Your servant because I have not forgotten Your commandments”. Hurry and search for me as long as I still remember the voice of the Torah and mitzvot. Hurry and search for me immediately, because I have not yet forgotten Your mitzvot: I still recognize the call of the mitzvot of the Torah. That is why I beg You to take pity on me and search me out quickly, as long as “I have not forgotten Your mitzvot” and still recognize the voice of the call of the Torah and the mitzvot.

For when a person grows old in his sins, it is very hard to seek him out as he has already forgotten and no longer recognizes the voice of the Torah and the mitzvot. We must therefore beg G-d to hurry and bring us back to Him before we completely forget the call of the Torah and mitzvot. This was King David’s prayer: “Search out Your servant, for I have not forgotten Your mitzvot.”

Likutey Moharan I, 206

May it be a successful and blessed day!

With permission taken from: Daily Dose Of Rabbi Nachman

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