The test is not for discovering the soul of a man. It is rather a gift from Heaven. The potential greatness of a man is transformed into a higher form of greatness by the physical accomplishment of the virtuous intent. Thus, Abraham became greater by the act than he was before he had bound Isaac as a sacrifice. — Rejoice, O Youth
Sometimes Hashem decides that despite all of a man’s efforts, they will be useless and his desires will be frustrated. Then the desired result will not be carried out...
The degree to which a man’s efforts succeed depends only on the decree of Hashem. But the efforts themselves are the tests by which a man shows whether or not he succeeds as a servant of Hashem. — Ohr Avigdor Shaar Bitachon
We have to realize what a great opportunity parents are for children. You know there are not many mitzvos for us to do... The mitzvah of bringing a parah adumah (red heifer) you’ll probably never do until Mashiach comes. Many other mitzvos you’re not able to do... But when your mother tells you Chaim, carry the garbage outside in the street, it’s a mitzvah d’oraisa (Torah commandment), not less than tefillin. — The Fifth Commandment (#999)
The mitzvah of kibud av v’aim (honoring father and mother) is not a matter of Torah. It’s in the Torah, oh yes. But it’s a matter of human nature. It’s based in sefara (logic). It’s the common sense reaction of all human beings. — The Fifth Commandment (#999)
Walk out to a fruit store [and behold] many hundreds of different products, all produced without the aid of a man. It’s marvelous! Your soul thirsts for this glory. What you’re seeing is kvod Hashem, the glory of the Creator. That’s the purpose of it.
When we wish to utilize our lives in this world, keep in mind one of the details that are of very great benefit in utilizing the beauty of the fruits. — Wine of Prayer (#555)
If you have a frum (religious) father and a frum mother, then you have a lot of homework to do, a great deal of work. Look at them and admire them and think all these thoughts about them...:
Even though they’re not as learned as I am, maybe they’re not even bnei Torah, but still, they’re my parents, they’re shomrei mitzvos (keep the mitzvos) and therefore I appreciate to no end the tzelem Elokim, the nobility in their faces. — The Fifth Commandment (#999)
Look at the design of an orange, colored on the outside and white on the inside. It only takes on the orange color after it is ripe. Then it is sweet and tasty. But before ripening the fruit is green outside and sour inside… If the atheists stood on their heads they couldn’t give a satisfactory answer. Everything is a miracle. Everything serves a purpose. -- Ohr Avigdor Shaar Habechinah
As you sink your teeth in a piece of cold watermelon and 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, because you don’t believe in Hashem; even though you’re making a bracha (blessing), you don’t believe in Hashem, it’s just the words in a siddur (prayer book). But say it anyhow.. That’s how you’ll start out. If you don’t start out you’ll never get there. — Starting the Climb to Kedushah (#518)
Once [orange seeds] fall on the ground they know what to do. The seeds are bitter to discourage you from eating them together with the rest of the fruit. These thoughts about the orange are but an indication of the elaborate planning and design underlying the whole world.
The intent in the creation of the orange is not only that you should enjoy the orange but that you should learn from it the greatness of the Creator. — Ohr Avigdor Hakdama
Inside of each one of us is a deep fountain of inspiration. Every man possesses greatness within him, but he needs something that will draw it forth and cause him to begin producing that which he is capable of becoming. Therefore when we say certain words and do certain acts, it’s an incentive for our mind. It stirs our mind to begin thinking and produce the emotions and attitudes that these acts symbolize. — Asking Hashem
The angels were created in multitudes, and all animals were created in multitudes; but Man was created single, to fill the earth with his posterity. The purpose of this exceptional procedure is manifold, but it mainly is intended to demonstrate that even for a single man the entire Universe is worth being created. All Creation is but the opportunity for Man’s exercise of Free-Will. — Rejoice, O Youth
[To the unworthy], Hashem says, "I brought you into this world and I gave you a steering wheel: bechira, free *will. You could have continued on the path of greatness and become greater and greater and greater. You didn’t become a wicked man, but you didn’t turn out what I expected you to do."
It’s held against you.. Hakadosh Baruch Hu says, I gave you free will to climb the ladder of perfection higher and higher. — Principles of the Torah (#E-20)
Hashem put into a man certain middos of character like kavod (honor) or kinah (jealousy), or gaava (pride)...
Like an arm — You see somebody in the street with only one arm, we can imagine how difficult his life is. Yet when a person has two arms and he uses them to hit people, he’s misusing these wonderful gifts of Hashem.
Therefore all the middos must be utilized properly in order to fulfill their true function. — Gaining Glory by Giving Glory (#836)
The fact that a great man has envy is like saying a great man has teeth and he has a stomach. He has all the organs that are necessary for a human being, and among these organs of the mind are envy, ambition, and all the other qualities or character.
That’s human, and if a person didn’t possess them he wouldn’t be human. The difference is how he is able to cope with his "stomach." — The Grudge (#126)
Learn to be satisfied with what you have, and to rejoice in what Hashem gave you. Even if other people have better homes or have better cars.
Only be jealous of good things. Be jealous if he stands a longer Shemone Esrei. Be jealous of him. if he learns more be jealous of him. if he’s a bigger tzadik. Be jealous of him. but don’t be jealous of other things. — Ten Commandments of Derech Eretz 2 (#E-004)
The whole world is planned for the purpose of this ordeal: that we should conquer our selfishness, our envy. We should conquer the desire that we should win, we should be the leaders in every argument. That’s why we constantly meet people who have other minds, and their ideas seem crooked to us... — Perfection in Marriage
There’s no place in the mind for seichel (logic) and for shtus (foolishness) to be together. When you fill your mind with chachma (wisdom), then the foolish attitudes of the world, sinah and kinah (hatred and jealousy), will go out.
Of course there’s always some kinah... No matter if you’re a tzaddik, you see another tzaddik standing a longer Shemoneh Esrei, it hurts you. You’d like to do the same thing too. That’s good, very good. — Nachas From Children (#E-120)
There is a way, and that is to study the right kind of sefarim (books). We have, baruch Hashem (thank G-d), books that deal with these subjects. But these books have to be studied sincerely...
In order to work on middos, a person must first know which qualities of character are most important for him. It’s not the same in everybody. For this you have to go for an expert and there are very few experts... — Prayer in Prosperity (#60)
Kibud av v’aim (honoring parents) is a mitzvah from the Torah no less than any other mitzvah. There are many opportunities for kibud av v’aim in the house. Not only they shouldn’t be refused chas v’shalom, they should be asked for.
You should ask your father, "Sit down! I’ll bring you the glass of water!" Ask your mother, "Sit down, I’ll serve you!" ... The father and the mother are a tremendous opportunity, a source of mitzvos. — The Holy Family (Bringing Up Children) (#E-171)
"Kol hazoveiach es yitzro u’misvadeh alav — If a person slaughters his yetzer hara and says vidui..." He says, "Hashem, I am wrong, I didn’t do right and I’m asking You to forgive me," then "Zoveich toda yichabdeni — He honors Me."
The greatest honor a man could do for Hashem is to yield his own desires for Hashem... We are in this world to overcome our passions. — Building the Nation and Building One’s Self (#E-051)
A person’s purpose in life is to mold his character. How does he mold his character? By going against the passions, the instincts, that motivate all men, and making his reason, his seichel, in control.
Of course when we talk about seichel ... it means the seichel of the Torah. Seichel without Torah is only the result of your own middos, it’s yielding to your passion. Seichel with Torah means you’re going against your passions. — Ideal Marriage, Tikun Olam (#684)
We have to be tested, otherwise you can ask why do you need this world at all, we should all be in Gan Eden (Garden of Eden), together with the Shechina (Divine Presence).
We see this is a world where difficulties are erected as barriers, as hurdles for us and that's our success: despite the difficulties, to succeed in making out of ourselves the best that we can. — Waiting for Moshiach (#795)
Middos are considered a permanent, unending form of bechira, of free will. Just as we have free will to choose to do certain things, our character traits are [also] our free will; that’s what you want to do, whether you express it or not.
And therefore it’s of the utmost importance for a person to work on his middos, to change his inner traits of character. — Working on the Middos (#658)
By doing mitzvos we become better. In general when a person doesn’t yield to his inclinations, to his passions, to his yetzer hara, but his seichel, his reason overcomes everything and he does only according to the command of Hashem, it’s a great perfection.
When you gain control over your character and over your desires, then you’re a superior personality. — The Axis of the Torah (#839)
Some people think there’s no use trying: "That’s what I am! I am a moody fellow, I am a hot tempered fellow, I am this, I am that."
No, you have free will. You have the ability to control yourself. You can change yourself. And Hakadosh Baruch Hu is not merely telling you you have the choice, but He’s commanding you u’vacharta bachaim, choose life. — Principles of the Torah (#E-20)