Photo Credit: Jewish Press

A major pillar of Rebbe Nachman’s teachings is the importance of hisbodedus, pouring out our hearts before Hashem like we would to a good and trusted friend. He advises us to speak to Hashem alone, each day, in the language we’re most comfortable in – expressing our private, personal prayers, including our thanks, needs, and requests, together with a daily review of all our thoughts and deeds.

This practice is especially helpful when a person wishes to accomplish something holy but finds themselves unable to achieve their goal due to various obstacles. Let’s say, for example, that you haven’t been able to consistently daven with a minyan three times a day. You have the desire to do it but you just can’t seem to make it happen on a consistent basis. One morning you decided to indulge in a little extra sleep, another day you decided the football game was too exciting to miss. Or perhaps you were just feeling too lazy to go out at night during the winter.

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Is there anything you can do in order to not give up on your holy goal of praying consistently with a minyan? The answer is “Yes!” Rebbe Nachman tells us to articulate our thoughts and feelings to Hashem. Tell Him that you want very badly to pray with a minyan. Tell Him about the obstacles you have to achieving your goal. Explain to Him how it’s so hard to go out to shul in the frigid winter weather. And then – and this is perhaps the most important part – plead with Hashem to help you!

I can honestly say that Rebbe Nachman’s advice has personally helped me in this regard. Many years ago I had a very difficult time getting out of bed early enough during the winter to daven at shul. The warm blankets and extra sleep were too enticing! After doing some honest hisbodedus about this particular challenge over many days, I suddenly found myself with the strength and willpower needed to get myself out of bed on time. A miracle!

This idea can be applied to any particular challenge you may be having. Perhaps you get angry more often than you should, or maybe you wish you were less selfish. Maybe it’s wasting too much time on your smartphone. Whatever the challenge may be, hisbodedus is an extremely necessary and important tool in our spiritual toolbox!

May Hashem help us to follow Rebbe Nachman’s practical advice and to engage in hisbodedus each day so that we can be the best possible versions of ourselves. 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.