The Power of Imagination



By Yossi Zilber

Translated by Moshe Neveloff

Do you feel most of the time a feeling of heaviness and lack of will?

Do you hear words of strength, feel strengthened for two minutes or two hours, and then feel a sinking feeling?

You surely believe that you have an amazing soul and that G-d is crazy about you, but do you actually feel that most of the time?

All of us have an inclination, sometimes hidden and sometimes revealed, to feel that the words of faith we hear are beautiful and give us strength, but they are not really connected to me! I really have problems. For example: It’s true that everyone is going through difficulties, but my story is ‘truly sad’. It’s true that I can achieve wonderful things, but I just don’t dedicate myself enough. I really want to actualize myself, but I’m busy all the time putting out fires at home. The minute that I can be free of all of these obstacles I can truly grow.

And there are many, many more viewpoints that tell me I’m not exactly part of this amazing world of serving G-d, making progress, going through ups and downs.

I’m not a 100 percent sure that I’m actually going to heal my life. I’m not a 100 percent sure that my wife or husband and my children can receive from me everything they need with no exceptions, and that there is truly no obstacle that’s preventing me from giving this to them.

Rebbe Natan says, “Every person who has fallen to the low place he’s fallen, it seems to him that these words (of faith and strength) were not said to him, because it seems to him that these words were only said to those who are on a high level. However, he should know and believe that all of these words are intended also for the smallest and lowest person, because G-d is good to everyone always.”

What does he mean when he says ‘to the (low) place he’s fallen’? Rebbe Natan repeats these words many times in his writings. Rebbe Nachman spoke to each and everyone one of us, from the greatest tzaddik to the person on the lowest level, and even if you feel that these words were not said to you- nevertheless believe that he’s also speaking to you! Yes, to you!

What is meant by the word “fall”? Do they mean only a person who’s fallen into sins, someone who’s been tempted by bad desires?

To tell you the truth- I always understood that to be the intention. Every time that Rebbe Nachman and Rebbe Natan speak about decline and falling, they are talking about someone who’s not so successful in serving G-d, and sometimes he even falls into sin G-d forbid.

But if that is the case then where are we stuck? Somebody who keeps the Torah and stays within the boundaries of Jewish law, and even learns Torah every day and does personal prayer- what is causing him to be stuck? Why does he feel so disconnected, so lonely, so lacking inspiration? Why does he feel that his life is not really going anywhere?

Rebbe Nachman says in Likutei Moharan that we need to change the name of the evil inclination to “the power of imagination.” That is to say the evil inclination is not something that pushes you to do sins or convinces you not to fulfill mitzvoth. Rather the evil inclination is all the imaginations and thoughts in your head that cause you to give up, that cause you to think you have no chance.

The evil inclination is the collection of all the difficult experiences that we interpreted in a way that caused us to feel stuck for many years.

In simple words- the challenge of our times is in our emotions. The world of our emotions is the main battlefield in our service of G-d. Even when we are dealing with failings in sins and bad desires, when we look deeper at the situation we see that the true subject is actually a (difficult) emotion which needs our attention.

Therefore, when Rebbe Natan writes that even if you’ve fallen to the place you’ve fallen you should know that Rebbe Nachman is also speaking to you- he’s actually saying to us: even inside of your difficult feelings, even inside the life crisis you find yourself in, G-d is with you and near you, you’re not alone, you have a chance to leave the difficulty at any moment.

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