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This column includes small doses of Rebbe Nachman’s wisdom, helping us to get through the week in a more spiritual way.



Rebbe Nachman tells us in Likkutei Moharan I (Lesson #56) something truly remarkable:

“Hidden in the lowliest places is a very high life force which relates to the secrets of Torah. Therefore, even if one fell (spirituality) very much, that person must know that even from where they are, they can come especially close to Hashem, because it is specifically there (on that low spiritual level) that a very high life force exists.”

He continues, “When one does succeed in returning (through repentance) from such a place, that person causes a very high level of Torah to be revealed; namely, the secrets of the Torah.”

This is truly an incredible concept! In chasidic thought this idea is known as yeridah l’tzorich aliyah, which means “a decent for the sake of an ascent.” Simply put, this means that it’s possible for a person to achieve deeper spiritual insights by first falling to a low level than if they had never fallen from the level they were previously on.

It goes without saying that a person is never allowed to use this idea as a premeditated excuse to engage in sinful behavior. It is only after the fact, once the sin has already been committed, that a person can encourage themselves by realizing that there are spiritual insights and perceptions to be gained by returning to Hashem and turning away from that lowly sinful behavior.

With this encouraging idea in mind, we are now better equipped to prevent ourselves from becoming depressed due to our spiritual shortcomings. The yetzer hara (evil inclination) would like nothing more than to see us become so guilt-ridden over our sins that we become despondent and give up hope of ever changing.

By recognizing that higher spiritual perceptions are in store for us once we do return to Hashem, we are now armed with the joy and optimism needed to pull ourselves up (with Hashem’s help) once we’ve had a fall.

May Hashem help us to truly return to Him and to acquire priceless new insights and perceptions from every spiritual fall we’ve ever had. Amen.


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Rabbi Nosson Rossman is a rabbinic field representative for the Orthodox Union. He can be reached at