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    There was a bachur who was having difficulty controlling his anger, so he asked the
    mashgiach of his yeshiva for counsel. The
    mashgiach told him the following mashal:
    A band of robbers boarded a ship, pretending to be regular passengers. When the ship
    was deep at sea, they eavesdropped on
    the captain’s cabin, to determine whether
    it was a good time to hijack the ship. The
    ship’s officers were debating whether they
    should make a short stop at a nearby island
    or continue on to their primary destination.
    They disagreed noisily and even angrily, as
    some sailors desired the stopover, while others were in a hurry to get back home. The
    thieves considered this a good time to take
    over the ship. They entered the office, and
    within moments the captain and his crew
    were handcuffed, their mouths sealed. The
    mashgiach asked the bachur, “In your opinion, were the sailors still angry with each
    other?” The bachur said that they weren’t
    angry with each other anymore. “What
    changed?” The bachur couldn’t pinpoint the
    reason, so the mashgiach explained: At first,
    they thought they run the ship, and each one
    felt that he should have the final word. But
    now, they understood that the ship isn’t in
    their hands, and there opinions aren’t significant anymore… The mashgiach concluded,
    “Similarly, when you know that Hashem is
    running the world and not you, there’s never
    a reason to be angry. Perhaps you wish matters were different, but you aren’t in charge.
    You are not running the world; Hashem is.
    He made the situation, so why should you
    be upset and angry?
    The Yismach Yisrael zt’l considered himself
    the worst Yid in Alexander. “So why did
    they choose me to be the Rebbe?” he asked.
    “It’s because they knew that I wouldn’t become a baal gaavah, for what do I have to be
    a baal gaavah about? I don’t have even one
    good middah. Therefore,” he told his chassidim, “please, don’t learn from my ways,
    because there is nothing to learn from. But
    one thing you can learn from me: Although
    I lack Torah and mitzvos, I keep myself
    happy, all the time. You can learn that from
    me, for if the lowest person can be happy,
    you can surely be happy, too!”
    There’s a parable of someone who was
    throwing coins and bills off a high building
    because he wanted attention. But everyone
    was looking down to collect the money,
    and no one was looking up at him. So he
    began throwing stones, and finally everyone looked up to see who was throwing the
    stones. This is people’s nature to recognize
    Hashem when there are hardships, but not
    when everything is good.
    The Baal HaTurim writes, “[Moshe] said
    shirah, praises to Hashem, so his prayer
    would be answered.” How does shirah help
    prayer to be answered? The Imrei Shaul of
    Modzitz zt’l explains that the praises imply
    that he is certain that Hashem will help him.
    So he sings and he praises Hashem even before the salvation actually occurs. That trust
    and attitude is mesugal for his prayers to be
    answered. As it states (Tehillim 106:44),
    Hashem checks to see whether when people
    are going through hard times, they are already praising Hashem, and thanking Him
    for the salvation that will certainly come.
    There was a man who lived in one the
    southern cities of Eretz Yisrael who was
    having a hard time marrying off his children. His oldest child was twenty-eight,
    and there were another four children over
    twenty. For some reason, they weren’t finding their bashert, and the father was very
    heartbroken about it. He also had financial
    problems. He mortgaged his house to help
    his chavrusah marry off his children, but his
    chavrusah didn’t pay the monthly dues, and
    the bank put up the house for foreclosure.
    Once, this man came to Yerushalayim for
    a wedding, and a relative asked him why
    he looks so down. He told him about his
    older children and his financial problems.
    The relative replied, “There’s a great tzaddik here, in Yerushalayim. He’s called the
    Rebbe of Gur. Tell him your problems, he
    will certainly help you.” This man wasn’t
    a chassid, and he didn’t want to go to the
    chassidic Rebbe, but his relative convinced
    him to go. So he went and poured his bitter
    heart out before the Rebbe. The Beis Yisrael
    asked him, “Do you ever praise Hashem?
    Praise should be 60% and requests should
    be 40%.” This man told his relative the
    counsel he received. The relative said, “You
    have a lot to thank Hashem for. You have
    health, a wife and children. You always have
    food on your table… Focus on the good.
    Get into the practice of praising Hashem as
    the Rebbe recommended: 60% praise and
    40% prayer.” Two months later, the oldest
    daughter was engaged. Within a half year,
    three of his children were married and two
    more were engaged to be married shortly.
    Thinking about the wonders and praising
    Hashem had brought him, he realized that in
    Hallel, we say Hodu laHashem Ki Tov six
    times (the final verse is repeated twice…)
    while Ana Hashem is said four times. It is
    as the Beis Yisrael advised: sixty percent
    praise and forty percent requests. That ratio
    brings salvations.
    The Rebbe of Ruzhin zt’l once heard his
    daughter complaining about something.
    The Rebbe told her, “One groan brings on
    more suffering, and one praise brings more
    goodness.” The Rebbe told his daughter the
    following story: There was once a wealthy
    man who was always complaining about his
    lot. Heaven said, “If you think your situation
    is bad, you will be shown what’s truly bad,”
    and he lost all his money. He complained
    even more. Heaven said, “If you think your
    situation is bad, you will be shown what’s
    truly bad,” and he became a metzora. Now
    he wasn’t even able to go to people’s homes
    to ask for handouts, because people were
    afraid to catch his disease. He complained
    some more, and once again, Heaven showed
    him that matters could be even worse. He
    became hunchbacked, and it was hard for
    him to eat. When he hit this very low level,
    he said, “At least I’m alive. Baruch Hashem,
    I’m alive!” Heaven said, “If you think this is
    good, you will be shown what’s truly good,”
    and his hunched back straightened out. He
    praised Hashem for this, and he was healed
    from his leprosy. Now he could speak with
    people, and ask them for help. He praised
    Hashem for Hashem’s kindness. Heaven
    said, “If you think this is good, you will
    be shown what’s truly good,” and someone loaned him money so he could restart
    his business again, and he became wealthy
    again. Because a moan brings on sufffering,
    and praise brings on goodness.
    “And you who are attached with Hashem
    your G-d you are all alive today” (4:4). The
    Rebbe of Bohush zt’l said people have three
    misconceptions when it comes to deveikus.
    (1) They think that this takes place after one
    leaves this world, and not while still living
    in this world. (2) If it is possible to have
    deveikus in this world, it is only the tzaddikim that reach that level. (3) And even if
    you will claim that deveikus is for everyone,
    it will only be when one is already old, but
    not when one is young. To disprove these
    thoughts the verse says ‘you can connect
    with Hashem even today, when you are
    alive. All of you, and not only the tzaddikim. And you reach this level “today.” You
    don’t have to wait until you are older. Rebbe
    Henoch of Alexander zt’l explained the
    verse in the following way: you can become
    attached to Hashem, today, by focusing on
    “today.” When one thinks that he must be
    attached to Hashem always, the feat seems
    impossible, even daunting, and it scares
    people. Instead, one should think, “I only
    have to be connected to Hashem today.”
    With this mindset, the objective doesn’t
    seem daunting, and one can achieve it.
    Notice that a bar mitzvah bachur isn’t called
    bar mitzvot, although when he turns thirteen
    he is obligated in doing many mitzvos. This
    is because if he will think about the many
    mitzvos he must do, he may give up before
    he begins. We tell the thirteen-year-old bachur, you are a bar mitzvah, you are obligated in one mitzvah. With this mindset, you
    will keep the entire Torah.
    Emunah should be spoken about constantly.
    It should always be on our lips. As it states,
    “You shall know today, and you shall review it to your heart that Hashem is G-d in
    heaven above and on the earth below…”
    The Zohar (Shmos 26:) states, “Why is it
    necessary to [constantly] review emunah?
    Moshe told them, if you want to know
    clearly that Hashem is G-d, then you must
    review it. The heart is a mixture of the yetzer
    hara and the yetzer tov. You can therefore
    forget Hashem, since the yetzer hara is so
    intertwined with the yetzer tov. The solution
    is emunah.
    The Chidushei HaRim writes, “Chassidim
    know a lot of concepts, but they must review them. As it states, ìà úåáùäå êááì…
    One must review that there is none other
    than Hashem. It seems that everyone knows
    this; however, the truth is that acquiring
    emunah isn’t so simple. One should repeat
    ten times, twenty times… a thousand times,
    until he knows there’s no one other than
    When reviewing emunah, do so with words,
    because speech is very powerful and influential. Emunah gets engraved onto one’s
    heart by speech. The Yesod HaAvodah
    zt’l (letter 16) writes, “One should say the
    Ani Maamins every day. Even if he still
    doesn’t believe them, it is important to recite
    them… Saying the Ani Maamins will surely
    make him a believer, because holy speech is
    a great segulah for this.”
    Why do we say the Ani Maamins after
    Shacharis? The Shefa Chaim of Klausenberg zt’l explains that one has to pray
    for emunah. Therefore, we say the Ani
    Maamins after the tefilah, because that’s
    when we can attain emunah.
    Moshe Rabbeinu prayed 515 prayers to
    enter Eretz Yisrael. Had Moshe Rabbeinu
    prayed just one more prayer, Hashem would
    have let him go into Eretz Yisrael. But
    Hashem warned him, “Don’t speak to Me
    about this matter anymore.” Had the nation prayed for Moshe’s sake, it would have
    been counted as that one extra prayer, and
    Moshe would be permitted to enter Eretz
    Yisrael. Indeed, the Midrash (Devarim
    Rabba:10) teaches that Moshe complained
    to the nation that they should have helped
    him go into Eretz Yisrael. The Midrash
    states, “Before Moshe’s demise he gathered the nation and he rebuked them. He
    said, ‘One person redeemed six hundred
    thousand [because Moshe’s prayers saved
    the entire nation from the egel] and sixhundred-thousand people can’t redeem one
    person…? Don’t you remember how I led
    you [for forty years] in the desert…?’” But
    they didn’t consider praying for Moshe. The
    Sfas Emes explains that they thought, “If
    Moshe Rabbeinu prayed so many prayers,
    and his prayers weren’t effective, what can
    our prayers accomplish?” They didn’t realize that they also have the power of prayer,
    and if they would pray just one more prayer,
    Moshe would have been allowed entry
    to Eretz Yisrael, and the course of history
    would have been changed.