Photo Credit: Jodie Maoz

In one of Rebbe Nachman’s classic teachings about overcoming obstacles in our mitzvah observance, the Rebbe assures us that whatever barriers we face can be overcome with enough resolve.

“All the barriers that a person encounters when trying to do something holy are given to them from Above in order to strengthen their desire for that holy act. This is because it is the nature of human beings that the more they are withheld from something they desire – the more they will desire it.”


Continues Rebbe Nachman, “According to how holy and important the act is, the more barriers there will be in order to ensure that the act is done with the right level of desire.”

“Therefore,” says the Rebbe, “when you need to do something important for your Yiddishkeit, you should know that you will be given the appropriate level of desire by means of obstacles and barriers. You must also know that since these barriers are given to you only to enhance your desire, there are no barriers in the world that you cannot overcome if you desire the mitzvah enough. When you reach the right level of desire (according to the importance of the act) the barriers will have served their purpose and will leave you alone so that you may do what you intended” (Likutey Moharan I, 66).

This teaching is incredibly important to keep in mind when we encounter obstacles in our Yiddishkeit. Often times people give up altogether because they think Hashem is sending them obstacles to inhibit their ability to serve Him. On the contrary, the barriers are being sent only to ensure that we truly desire to serve Him badly enough!

May Hashem help us to overcome all barriers and obstacles we face in our mitzvah observance.

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