When it says, "Tov haeitz l’maachol — The trees were good for eating" in Gan Eden, it meant it was good for Adam. It was his purpose in life to eat that and he thereby became elevated. If he would have remained in Gan Eden he would have achieved by means of the fruits of Gan Eden the most perfect results which Hashem had hoped to have from him.
The sweetness of the fruits and the beauty of the fruits all combined for the purpose of achieving the summit, the acme of daas Elokim (knowledge of Hashem). — Repenting in Happiness (#E-160)
The nations, exemplified by Esav, choose this world; like the creatures that follow their instincts, they live solely to gratify the body. Jacob was entirely unlike the beasts: he was smooth and without hair, to emphasize Israel’s role as the true fulfillment of the human model that lives to serve not his passions but to serve Hashem. — The Beginning
The Jews are a fiery people, created for a specific purpose, therefore they need a fiery Torah. Fire is a valuable tool, but it must be kept within bounds. The Torah was given to the people of G-d to channel their fire and utilize it. — Awake, My Glory
We must speak of Hashem’s love more than anything else. When people get together and talk about where they’ve traveled, or what kind of car or furniture they’ve bought, they’re wasting their emotions. These feelings of enthusiasm are given only for one purpose — “nagilah v’nismicha bach” (Shir Hashirim 1:4): to love Hashem and come as close as possible to Him. — Most Beautiful Nation
What greater gift could Hashem give anybody in this world that’s bigger than the Torah? But in order that they should accept the Torah they needed another gift as a prelude, and that was the gift of tzaros (suffering). And so Pharaoh was even more influential than Moshe Rabbeinu in getting them to accept the Torah. — Pesach, Matzoh and Maror (#638)
What do you need to enjoy the world? Hashem wants us to enjoy this world, but He gives us instructions how. What are the instructions? "Vayaar Elokim es kol asher asah v’hinei tov meod." The first instruction is the world is very good. If you don’t know the world is very good, you’ll never enjoy the world. — Bringing Up Children 10 (#880)
"AND YOU INTENDED HARM AGAINST ME, BUT G-D INTENDED IT FOR GOOD." (Breishis 50:20)
From this model which the Torah supplies we must learn that all harm which men or nature inflict upon die innocent is really intended by G-d for good. But, in addition, we learn that Hashem purposefully conceals His Hand so that righteous men be tested to discern by their own efforts that whatever transpired was really the benevolent plan of Hashem. G-d made the world that it should "do" in a seemingly automatic manner of cause and effect, either in cycles or in random accident, in order to supply the virtuous with opportunity to discover the truth and thereby grow great. These links in the chain of cause and effect which blind m any from recognizing the hand of G-d, are the very best and most effective means of teaching the better men to see how G-d Himself is manipulating all events for His purpose. --The Beginning
The life of Avraham became a model for millions of his posterity in every generation. His deeds are recounted in the Torah-reading year after year, and they have been enumerated and handed down from generation to generation. Throughout the millennia, his descendants have followed the example of their first father's fiery devotion to G-d, prayer, kindliness, hospitality, selfishness, humility, meditation and self-control. -- Behold , a People
As you sink your teeth in a piece of cold watermelon -- it's red and sweet and juicy and cold, ah, the pleasure! Think, "I love You Hashem for that." Now isn't that corny? It's insincere. Even when you are making a bracha you don't believe in Hashem, it's just the words in a siddur. But say it anyhow!That's how you'll start out. If you don't start out you'll never get there.... Try a little bit to love Hashem for the watermelon. -- Starting the Climb to Kedusha (#518)
People are misled by the Mishnah that says, "Don't be like servants who serve their master for the sake of receiving a reward." That really means the reward should not be the only motivation. But certainly a person should hope for a reward. When he puts a mezuzah on his door he should desire a reward for it. When he says Krias Shema or Shemoneh Esrei, he should desire a reward for his actions. -- Ohr Avigdor Shaar Avodas Elokim
"He makes salvation flourish." (Amida Prayer)
Just as a sprout emerges from the earth which was hitherto bare and where nothing was expected to grow, so does He cause salvation to appear where there had been no sign of hope. -- Praise, My Soul
If only a single leaf was found in the world, it would constitute irrefutable proof of an infinite intelligence., by reason of its amazing rib-structure, conduits which conduct the fluid bearing the various materials in thousands of roads and by-ways, and its numerous tiny but marvelously efficient chemical laboratories. Here is more engineering than a dozen George Washington bridges, and more chemistry apparatus that in all the Du Pont plants put together. -- Rejoice, O Youth
"FOR I SHALL MAKE YOU A GREAT NATION THERE" (Bereishis 46:3)
This teaches that the exile in Egypt was not a random occurence, or for chastisement. It was the "iron furnace" (Dvarim 4:20, Yirmiah 11:4) where the precious metal would become sufficiently refined to be worthy that "you should become My peculiar treasure above all the peoples" (Shmos 19:5).
Egypt was especially planned as a preface to Sinai. But the entire plan was based on the fact that the virtuous Joseph gained almost absolute power over Egypt, and under his wise leadership the "great nation" was enabled to come into existence. -- The Beginning
Most of life is happiness. Even a blind man is blessed with good fortune. After all, he can eat, he can think, he can walk, he has a good heart. He should acknowledge that, despite his problems, most of the functions of his life are successful. He shouldn't allow himself to be bitter just because one of the functions was taken away from him. -- Ohr Avigdor Shaar Habechinah
When a child learns to give part of his money to charity, he is being thereby accustomed to the awareness of the World to Come. He should be told: You are not giving away your money by putting it into the Bank of the Afterlife, where it is safest and brings the greatest returns. In proportion to whatever he gives, in that measure he gains belief in the Afterlife. -- Career of Happiness
How wondrous are the works of the Creator! We see His open miracles and His infinite wisdom. Yet all this is but one dust speck in the vast endlessness of His Creation. All that men have learned is but a drop from the ocean of wisdom. Wherever we turn, we see plan and purpose. -- Rejoice, O Youth
"AND IT WAS WHEN THE ARK JOURNEYED, AND MOSHE SAID: 'ARISE HASHEM AND YOUR ENEMIES SHOULD BE DISPERSED'" (Bamidbar 10:35)
The enemies of Israel are the enemies of Hashem.. All who oppose the people of G-d, who that are His true servants, are enemies of G-d and opponents of His glory which Israel upholds: "All who rise up against Israel, are as if they rose up against the Holy One blessed is He" (Mechilta, Shmos 15:7). This includes all opponents, whether physical or ideological, and also opponents who were born Jews. -- Journey into Greatness
If you do a mitzvah, you create a spiritual being. A mitzvah is not an act that once it's done it disappears and it no longer exists... Even physical acts have a certain permanence. But a mitzvah is an advocate that speaks for you, it's a malach (angel). Yaacov saw in his dream that fromt eh Am Yisrael (whom he represented) mitzvos would be created. These mitzvos would ascend teh ladder and go all the way up to Hashem. Then they would come down again bearing in their hands blessings, benefits of happiness, success, and prosperity for the people below... Hashem loads them with all good things, and they come down and they bring the hashpa'ah below. -- Starting the Climb to Kedusha (#518)
"AND THE FAMINE WAS HEAVY IN THE LAND." (Bereshis 43:1)
It is noteworthy that Hashem utilized the phenomenon of famine to achieve great benefits for His people. Because of this famine, Israel went down into Egypt; and because they afterwards were redeemed from Egypt by G-d's open miracles, they became sufficiently inspired to receive the Torah at Sinai. One of the lessons which we learn thereby is that the apparent calamities (such as famine) are also part of Hashem's kindness, and they can be the means of bringing very great benefit. -- The Beginning
Hashem wants us to teach ourselves not to fall in the great error of becoming infatuated with the other nations of the world...
The great lesson of Chanukah is that the people who caused us the greatest trouble were the misyavnim, the ones who fell in love with Greek culture and began to look down on their fellow Jews. They found fault with their own people. -- Chanukah and the Perpetual Test (#942)
Everything in this life is a parallel to the Afterlife. All joy that we experience is an intimation and foretaste of the great happiness to come. We sense the ecstasy of the Afterlife even now in a faint way and we yearn for it. -- Sing, You Righteous
A boy asks his parent whether he can eat a particular chocolate bar. They look at the chocolate bar and say, "I don't think it is kosher."
If the boy then takes the bar, which costs him money, and throws it away, he is showing greatness. His seichel (mind) has overcome his materialism, his money, and his desire for physical gratification.
And so we see that the Torah is a spiritual force that gives us the impetus to be able to fight back against all the urges that make us act only in accordance with own immediate desires. -- Ohr Avigdor Shaar Avodas Elokim
Two conditions must be fulfilled in order to Approach G-d:
(1) To keep away from the nations and from the Jews who imitate them, and
(2) To put ourselves to the task of gaining the Torah-mind, chiefly from the Torah study. Israel's security is conditional on its independence of non-Torah attitudes. -- Sing, You Righteous
If you do a mitzvah, you create a spiritual being. A mitzvah is not an act that once it's done it disappears and it no longer exists.... Even physical acts have a certain permanence. But a mitzvah is an advocate that speaks for you, it's a malach (angel). Yaacov saw in his dream that from the Am Yisrael (whom he represented) mitzvos would be created. These mitzvos would ascend the ladder and go all the way up to Hashem. Then they would come down again bearing in their hands blessings, benefits of happiness, success and prosperity for the people below... Hashem loads them with all good things, and they come down and they bring the hashpa'ah below. -- Starting the Climb to Kedusha (#518)
"AND HIS BROTHERS WERE ENVIOUS OF HIM." (Breishis 37;11)
This animosity of his brothers was a gift from Hashem, because thereby Joseph was enabled to bring forth the very best of his potential qualities. This is G-d's purpose of putting enemies into the lives of the righteous. When Joseph forgave his brothers wholeheartedly, he thereby gained a superlative measure of Perfection in the eyes of G-d. -- The Beginning