12 Shvat 5781 / Monday, January 25, 2021 | Torah Reading: Beshalah
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Learning Leads to Action - A New Light    

Learning Leads to Action - A New Light

We all want to change, but too often we ultimately fail and give up. Rabbi Arush reveals the simple strategy we must follow to succeed, quickly and easily!


Rabbi Arush explains that learning Torah is  the  key  to  generating a strong will. We should learn everything we can about the area we’ve selected for self-improvement. We must review this material continuously. Most importantly, we should pray about the Torah that we learned, asking Hashem to help us fulfill it. This gives Hashem immense gratification. Moreover, when we appeal to Him, He will be happy to help us remember, internalize and apply the key principles. 
The only thing we lack in order to change is the work of the will. Therefore, we need to learn how to build and arouse our will. The way to arouse our will is by learning Torah. This kind of learning is relevant and accessible to every person without exception.  Rabbi Arush brings down from Gemara Kiddushin page 40b: Great is learning for it leads to action. 


In order to work in the most focused way possible, and get the best results faster – we must focus on one topic at a time. We should read books and articles, and listen to classes on that subject. An excellent way to organize material for review is to annotate and highlight key sentences and paragraphs. This facilitates review, enables you to recite the teachings regularly and also makes it easier to bring them into your prayers. 
As an example of a personal improvement goal, Rabbi Arush cites the importance of increasing our happiness. He shows us how to organize teachings and information so that we can review, pray, and master the topic. By studying a variety of books and articles, we can find many pearls that we can study over and over. He advises us to develop a summary and read it every day. We should continue to gather more material from other sources. In this way, we can receive continuous information and inspiration to distance ourselves from negative traits while working to acquire positive traits. 
Our goal must be to bring the knowledge that we learn into our hearts. As the verse states: “You shall know today and shall place it upon your heart” (Deuteronomy 4:39). That which aids a person during the time he is being tested is not the knowledge in his mind, but rather the knowledge in his heart. The way to bring knowledge into the heart is through prayer, which our Sages call the service of the heart. 
Superficial general learning will not suffice. Rather, a person must gather the relevant material, summarize it and study it deeply until he realizes that without obtaining his desired trait he is not truly alive. 
When you realize the tremendous costs of continued dysfunctional behavior and contrast it with the wonderful benefits gained by acquiring good traits, it will arouse your will. It will create a great sense of urgency to learn all you can about the topic, try your very best, and cry out to Hashem with all your heart. Prayer that is built upon Torah learning and sincere self-improvement efforts are favorably received by Hashem. 
Rabbi Arush instructs us to set regular times for learning and review. Without regular review, we forget what we've learned and undermine our efforts. He quotes the Mesilat Yesharim (Path of the Just) who teaches that consistent review enables the reader to remember matters that people naturally forget, and really take to heart obligations that he had been ignoring. Rabbi Arush then quotes the  Chofetz  Chaim,  who  says no matter how much a person is inspired to change his conduct, the routine of life and its habits dampen his enthusiasm and make him forget his resolve. If you learn and remind yourself of basic matters every day then eventually your efforts will bear fruit. 
Our learning, reinforced and amplified by prayer, provides the resources we need when the going gets tough. If you train yourself and repeatedly review the relevant principles, then when you are under pressure you function properly. As a result of your extensive practice your actions become automatic and natural. 
Everything depends on learning. Therefore, we need to pray to Hashem to help us learn, clarify the topic, and attain complete and clear awareness. Torah and prayer are mutually reinforcing and bolster each other. Therefore, Rebbe Nachman said “What must a person do in this world? You need only pray, learn, and pray” (Sichos Haran 287). 
To sum it all up, we have learned an ironclad principal: Unclear awareness, and a lack of understanding all the ins and outs of the subject, is equivalent to a weak will and clear awareness and mastery of the subject is equivalent to a strong will! Learning strengthened by prayer is the template for achieving success in overcoming negative character traits and habits. This will enable us to fulfill our vast potential and attain our life mission and soul correction.


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