Monday, April 19, 2010

How Do I Know?

I wanted to respond to a comment on this post. I asked my husband's rebbe, R' Dovid Levine, how to answer this question because I see that many girls have asked the same question on this blog.

Here's the question:

*shnooky* said...
thanks, great idea. but how does a person know which aspects of their lives to let go for now and not fight against? personally i find tht one of the yetzer hara's ways of making me lazy is to say "dont bother, your not there yet- eventually youll get there". on the other hand its true that we cant be perfect. how can i tell if its something really "beyond my grasp" or if that feeling is just the yetzer hara's illusion he mekes me stall with?? thx

The truth is we DON’T know! We do our best to make intelligent decisions. We begin by figuring out what is important in life. We should create goals. Then, we aim that our actions should be in consonance with our goal. We evaluate and reevaluate. We rethink our goal once in a while, and we analyze our decisions regularly, preferably daily. Keeping a journal can be helpful. And we do our best. If we do that, we will be doing many more good and far less wrong than if we just plunged ahead blindly. The Mesilas Yesharim refers to this as the middah of Zehirus. It is the first trait – chapters 2-4.

Do we know we have the right goals? Do we know if we performed them in the best way possible? No. But if we do our best, HKB”H will nudge us in the right direction. Habo le’taher me’sayin osoh. Moshe told Hashem he could not put the Mishkan together himself. Hashem to him to do his best and Hashem will do the rest. Do your best, the rest is up to Him.

Some other basic guidelines: Be normal. Stay healthy in body and mind. Have a Rebbe. Have a good friend whom you allow to point out where you might be biased or you might be going wrong. Do your best. Don’t be to worried if you are performing flawlessly, just try to do well. Focus chiefly on active rather than passive goals (increasing Mitzvos rather than just avoiding wrongdoing). Ask for siyata dishmaya throughout the day. And be happy!

After all that, Rabbi Pohirille used to tell me:

וַאֲנַחְנוּ לֹא נֵדַע, מַה נַּעֲבֹד אֶת יְהוָה, עַד בֹּאֵנוּ, שָׁמָּה.

(Shemos 10:26) We won’t know exactly how we were to serve Hashem until we get upstairs. And that itself is part of the service of Hashem. If we knew exactly what to do, it would be so much easier. We need extra love and dedication to keep at a job even when you don’t know if you are reaching the goal. And don’t forget: We don’t run the world; we don’t even control if we will reach higher madregos. Our success in ruchniyos is also up to Hashem. If we do our best, He will direct us to our goals. When we come upstairs, we will find that even when we thought we did our best but we were not successful, Hashem knew what we needed to do and directed us in the right direction.

I hope this helps!


  1. Thankyouthankyou! that really hit home and is such a powerful message 2 remember. And prbably a person automatically becomes more happy when they understand that nobody expects them to be perfect, as opposed to chasing an unattainable goal of being flawless their whole life. so its a win-win ;)

  2. Thanks for your comment *shnooky*. It's nice when you come back to let us know that what we wrote helped. :-)


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