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Hishtadlut vs Bitachon (making decisions)- cont.


Rabbi Ari Shvat

Thank you. So here's the issue I have with option 3 - trying my best: 1) you mention most rabbis and authorities will suggest option 3. But I have been told before that option 1 or at least 2 suffices. When I think of "make me effort the size of the opening of a needle and I will show you banquet halls of power" etc, trying my best does not fit. A needle or opening of a door a crack (another way Ive heard it) is making an effort - even one could argue a reasonable effort. Trying my best goes way beyond that and in my experience, becomes anxiety provoking, never knowing when to stop cause theoretically I can ALWAYS do more than the "reasonable" effort I am making. And always questioning myself if I coulda woulda shoulda done more, would the outcome have been different? Its actually a very delicate balance when we get to the stage of doing our best on a constant basis in all areas of life - often draining energy and diminishing mental health (this does not include taking on a particular task where I will need to exert extra focus on temporarily which of course is understandable and sometimes necessary). 2. While I am not a breslover, I do happen to read quite a lot of breslover material, and their ideas, as you mentioned, differ from what you say is not the popular thought process nowadays. If I disregard that part of their message, I might as well stop reading them as that is a central theme of their materials. Thank you.
The sages' teaching that you mentioned (Shir HaShirim Rabba 5, 2) of "Open for me one opening of teshuva like a needle-point and I will open for you entrances that [even] wagons and carriages can enter", is in the context of Teshuva (repentance): That God wants us to take even a small step in the right direction and then He'll help us significantly. Accordingly, this has nothing to do with your question. The main issue is priorities: how important is the issue in question, both halachically and to your general life. One cannot "go crazy" over every small topic, and that's when you, and the halacha, must decide what are your main concerns. No one can or should make your decisions for you, for free-will is what life and Torah are all about, how to destine your fate. Yes, as I wrote, there are halachic guidelines and limits for certain issues, but what vocation to choose, and how much time to invest etc. are explicitly mentioned by the first Lubavicher Rebbe as examples of things you must decide for yourself, and don't ask a rebbe, and even if your parents want to decide for you, you don't have to listen to them. Yes, the adult world is complex and challenging, but that's why it's also full of pleasure. If Breslav and their approach speak to you, maybe try it out and it may bring you happiness and simplify your life.
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