Photo Credit: Jodie Maoz

“On a good day, be good, and on a bad day, reflect…” (Koheles 7:14)

 

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Rebbe Nachman of Breslov explained this verse as follows: “On a good day,” when everything is going well for you, then “be good” – use the goodness you have received for the purpose of serving G-d. Study Torah, pray, and perform the mitzvos in a way that expresses the spiritual light that is shining on you. But “on a bad day,” when you are on a low level, spiritually or physically, then “reflect” – think carefully to figure out what you can accomplish in such a situation.

On a day when we are experiencing weakness and frustration, we must try, nevertheless, to acknowledge G-d’s presence. Use whatever strength we have to perform some small act of goodness, even if it seems insignificant. Guard ourselves diligently to prevent our negative character traits from gaining the upper hand. In this way, we will reveal the light within the darkness, and will rectify not only the particular situation, but our own souls as well.

By serving G-d even when we are on a low level, even when we are surrounded by difficulties, we accomplish something wonderful, something that could not be accomplished in any other way. The important thing is to ask Hashem, to plead with Him to be with us and give us the strength to serve Him properly, even in such a low place.

This idea of revealing the light within the darkness is especially apropos on Chanukah. We take the darkest time of the year, when the nights are at their longest, and shine forth a little bit of light through the menorah. May Hashem help us to serve Him throughout all the days of our lives no matter what difficulties we may be enduring. Amen.

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