Translation:Tales of Rabbi Nachman/Introductions

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Tales of Rabbi Nachman (Sipurei Ma'asiyot) by Nachman of Breslov, translated by Wikisource
Introductions


Foreword[edit]

Lehitvada` U'lehigalot/Let it Be Known and Revealed...
Foreword in Yiddish from the first printing, 5575/1815, Ostroh:
...that the stories in this book contain great secrets of the Torah; they contain very great things. There is not one trivial word in them and even simple folk can take great mussar [tradition; guidance and prescriptions for practical living] from the stories, for the stories have a great power to awaken all people from sleep so that one should not, Heaven forbid, sleep through his days for nothing. And whoever will look into the stories with an honest eye can see and understand a little of God’s greatness; even simple folk can also get some glimpse of hints of mussar. So one should take a good look around, what the purpose of the world is; so one should not rely only on this world. And one should pray day and night, and one should be saved from the foolishness of the world, and one should merit to be as Hashem Yitbarakh desires. And furthermore there are hidden things available in the stories that one cannot write or tell of, that it would be good if he could know [even] just a bit of them. And because we once heard from his mouth saying that he had great yearning that the stories should be printed with Hebrew above and Yiddish below, therefore we have fulfilled his holy desire and we have printed it so, because common folk also need to be acquainted with the stories; even if they understand scant little of what they mean and where the stories reach, a great benefit is derived for him toward the ultimate [life] purpose if he will look into them with an honest eye, because they have a great power to awaken [a person] to the Almighty, as mentioned, for the stories are not empty things, Heaven forbid. And the Rebbe, rest in peace, would each time after most of the stories confirm each sentence and each thing; so people should know that he did not say any wasted words, Heaven forbid. He slightly indicated only a little of where the stories reach unto, for all these stories are secrets of the Torah throughout.

Foreword in Yiddish from the second printing, 5610/1850, Lemberg (Lviv):
...that every word that stands here in this holy book is holy of holies; many secrets of the Torah. One should not think that they are simple tales, for the stories that stand in this book were told by the great tzaddik, the highest saint, the holy rabbi, Rabbi NACHMAN, memory of the Tzaddik bring blessing; may his merit stand up for us. His intention was to teach us how to serve the Almighty. And if only we would understand the great secrets and the moral teachings that are put in these stories, we would be devout Jews like we should be. And Hashem Yitbarakh should send us the Righteous Redeemer now in our times, quickly in our days, Amen.

Preface[edit]

Mah shehayah kvar nikra shemo venoda` shehu adam/[His greatness] in the past, his fame has long since been declared, and it is known that he was a [great] man[1]. Vezot torat ha'adam/And this is the Torah of a great man[2] of holiness, who merited to complete the image of man, ki-zeh kol-ha'adam/for this is the entire [purpose] of man[3]. Is it not his honor, our lord, our master, and our rabbi, crown of our glory, pride of our strength, the holy and the awesome Rav, the major luminary, the upper light, the honorable and holy light, of holy renown, our master the great NACHMAN, mention of the righteous and holy bring blessing, grandson and nephew of the holy and awesome Rav the Godly Baal Shem Tov, mention of the righteous and holy bring blessing, whose light Yisrael have already enjoyed in his holy and wonderful compositions which have already come to light. Many are they who have seen and rejoiced, and the upright who have been gladdened[4]; the truth will make itself known.

And behold, see what else is in our sack[5]: wonderful and awesome story tales, which we have been privileged to hear directly from his holy mouth, who balanced, probed and established many similes, clothing and concealing lofty and awesome perceptions in story tales in very wonderful and awesome ways. Because so was [the custom] long ago in Yisrael, regarding redemption and regarding exchanging[6], that when they wanted to speak of the hidden things of God, they would talk in the manner of riddles and similes, and they clothed the hidden things of the Torah, the treasuries of the King, in many, many different clothes and garments, as it is conveyed after the tale of the King's Son and the Maid's Son [#11 in this book], where Rabeinu z"l said then, that in the early days, when the friends would talk and speak Kabbalah, they would speak in such language, because until Rashbi they would not speak Kabbalah openly etc. And for the most part after several stories he would reveal a little bit, a drop in the sea of some clues where the things reach to, as the things and the clues which he told after each and every story are explained below in their places. And behold, until now these things were hidden with us, but only because many have said to our souls, "Mi yirenu tov/Who can show us anything good?"[7] — for they are many who are with us, fellow believers as us, whose souls have hoped and been consumed to constantly hear the words of the Living God which came out of the mouth from Rabeinu Hakadosh z"l, and particularly these stories he told, which they had not yet merited that they reach them except in handwritten copies via various copiers through which the errors multiplied greatly and the meaning was spoiled — and therefore their great desire compelled us and their strong hope pressed us, until we were forced to fulfill their wishes and bring them to the printhouse. And also because there was a disclosure from the mouth of our great Rabbi z"l, as one time he revealed his mind that he wanted to print story tales — and he declared it in these words before several people: "Beda`ati lehadpis sefer ma`asiyot, veyihyeh lema`alah katuv bilshon hakodesh ulematah bilshlon la`az/I have in mind to print a book of story tales, and it should be written above in the holy tongue [Hebrew] and below in the common tongue [Yiddish];" and he said, "Halo mah yuchlu ha`olam ledaber `al zeh, halo `al kol panim hem ma`asiyot na'im lesaper/Really, what can the world say against this, for anyways are they not nice stories to tell?!" etc. — such words were heard from his holy mouth explicitly, and this is what moved us to bring them to the printhouse.

And if we would have indeed known, and had it not been hidden from our eyes, that many had arisen against him — nevertheless the truth is witness for itself, and we are obligated to do his will, and Hashem will do what is good; the one who hears will hear and who refrains will refrain. And also because, praise God, until now His mercies have helped us, for his holy compendiums have spread out within the Holy People, in the community and congregation and Yisrael, and his words have been joy and happiness to them, and have been sweet as honey in their mouths. All will be satiated and delight from his goodness; their souls shall be satisfied as with grease and fat, and with shouting lips their mouths shall praise. And they are more who are with us than those who argue against the truth, speaking arrogantly against the Tzadik in pride and disdain, who have fabricated from their hearts things that were not on his mind; but we need not prolong and talk about this, for it is a thing of Hashem's concern. And several worlds have been turned over because of that person, because of the great controversy, which has increased in our days between the chakhamim and the tzadikim. But who can criticize the King for what has already been done?

But let this be known, that our whole intention in printing these story tales is only for anshei shlomeinu/our own people, who take refuge in his holy shade, who crave and hope and yearn to hear his holy words [Translator's note: It is clear that Rabbi Nachman wanted these tales available to everybody. Rather, there was great opposition to the printing of the stories, including the fact that some tzadikim considered the stories too high for public consumption. This comment, and others, were included so as to assuage the opposition.] And if actually the words are printed in a book, it is as if they were said before a great assembly. On the other hand, we have already seen that the words have already begun to spread in writing via many copies, and there is no difference between writing and print, and also from the start they did not speak secretly, because whoever has eyes will see, and whoever has a heart will understand, "ki lo-davar reik hu, mikem/because it is not an empty word/thing, [unless it seems empty] due to you" [Deut 32:47], because these words stand at the heights of the very heights. And we heard from his holy mouth explicitly saying that each and every utterance in these stories has astounding intentions, and whoever changes one utterance from these stories from the way he himself told them, causes much to be lacking from the story. And he said that these stories are very, very wonderful and awesome novelties, containing very extraordinarily deep ways and secrets, and they are fit to be spoken before an audience, to stand in a synagogue and tell a story from these tales, because they are very, very high and awesome novelties.

Also he whose heart is whole and who is thoroughly expert in the books of holiness, and particularly in the books of the holy Zohar and writings of the Arizal, of blessed memory, can understand and know a little bit of the hints in some stories if he puts his heart and mind to them very well.

They also have very wonderful and astounding arousal of life lessons in most places. An intelligent man will understand them on his own, because virtually all of them arouse and pull the heart very much to Hashem Yitbarakh, to return to Hashem Yitbarakh in truth for truth's sake, to delve only in Torah and devotions constantly, and to turn his face away from vanities of the world completely, as one who sees will see with the eyes of his intellect if he gaze into them in truth. However, the ultimate aim of the intentions in these stories is much too far from the knowledge of mortals. "Ve`amok `amok, mi yimtzaenu/And deep deep, who can find it out?"[8] And the praise of the splendor of greatness of these stories ought not be prolonged, because they are exalted above our knowledge, and whoever additionally speaks in praise of their greatness and depth, detracts; we have only spoken in order to somewhat alert the heart of those of our faith in order that they not forget their wonder which he showed them from afar, like one who shows with a pointer how far these things reach, via a few hints which he revealed to our eyes after telling each and every story. For although truly some of the hints were recorded which were heard from his holy mouth, nonetheless it is clear to any intelligent person that one who hears from the mouth of a chakham/sage himself is not like someone who sees the things in a book. And all the more so, regarding the ways of clues like this which are not understandable except by movement of the limbs, by nodding the head, squinting the eye, tilting the hand and so forth as these, through which specifically the understanding person can understand a little bit and be stymied at the sight and his eyes from afar see the greatness of Hashem and the greatness of His holy Torah which has been clothed in several different clothings as explained in all the books of holiness.

Up to here have reached a few words which encourage much. Our hearts shall "ponder in awe: Where is he that counted, where is he that weighed?"[9] "From where will our help come?"[10] "Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire?"[11] "Who will stand for us?" Let us lift our hearts with our hands to the Almighty who is in the heavens.[12] Into His hands let us commit our spirits.[13] To You, Hashem, let us raise our souls. Your mercies have helped us until here. Our help is none but You, our Support. And let the pleasantness of Hashem our God be upon us. Until the moreh tzedek/Teacher of Righteousness come to our congregation and build our glory the Holy Temple. "Look upon Tziyon, the city of our solemn gatherings."[14] "Your eyes shall see the king in his beauty."[15]. Soon in our days, Amen. These are the words of the writer, arranger, and copier, to be eaten to satisfaction and for lasting clothing.[16] Written by the insignificant Natan, son of my lord my father our teacher the rav Rabbi Naftali Hertz y"tzv from the capital Nemyrev, son in law of the rav, the genius the charitable the famous in all corners of the land, his holiness the rav Rabbi David Tzvi, memory of the righteous bring blessing, for life of the coming world, who was av beit din of the holy community Kreminitz and its environs and of the holy community Sharigrad and of the holy community Mahlub and its environs.


* * *


Before he told the first story in this book he spoke up and said: In the story tales that the world tells, there are many hidden things and very lofty matters — but the stories have been spoiled because much is lacking from them and they are also mixed up, and they do not tell them according to the order, telling at the end what belongs in the beginning and vice-versa and so on. But truthfully in the stories that the world tells there are very lofty concealed matters. And the Baal Shem Tov, memory of the righteous bring blessing, was able via a story tale to perform yichudim/unifications. When he would see that the upper channels were spoiled and it was not possible to repair them via prayer he would repair them and unify them via a story tale. And more did Rabbeinu of blessed memory speak of this, and afterwards he began to tell the story tale that is on the next page, saying, "On the way I told a story" etc.

And know, that the stories that Rabeinu told, virtually all of them are completely new stories that were never before heard; only he himself told them from his heart and his holy knowledge according to the lofty perceptions that he attained in his spirit of holiness, clothing that perception in that story, the story itself being an awesome sight and very lofty perception that he attained, and seeing the place that he saw. And also sometimes he told a story from the stories that the world tells but he added much to them, exchanging and repairing the order until the story was completely changed from what the world tells, as mentioned. But from those stories were not written in this book except one or two, and all the rest of the stories are completely new, never before heard.

At the time Rabbeinu of blessed memory began delving in story tales, he said explicitly in these words: "Now I'm going to start telling story tales (Ich vil shoin anheiben maisiyos dertzeilen)," and the intentions of his words were as if to say, "Since it has not been effective for you to return to Hashem Yitbarakh via my holy Torot and talks and so forth" — which he busied with in great toils all his days to return us to Hashem Yitbarakh in truth for truth's sake, and since all these have not been effective — therefore he begins to involve himself with story tales. And then at that same time he said the Torah that begins "Patach Rabbi Shim`on ve'amar `et la`asot laShem heferu Toratekha/Rabbi Shimon opened and said, 'It is time to do for Hashem's sake; they have made void Your law.'" etc. — da oraita de`atika/this is the Torah of the Ancient of Days, etc. printed in the first book [Likutei Moharan] on daf 157 [Torah #60], where he explains at the end of the essay a little of the matter of story tales, that via story tales of the true Tzadik, [we] awaken from sleep those people who have fallen into sleep and who sleep all their years etc., see there, and [that] there are tales that are within [the realm of human experience and] years, and there are stories "of ancient years" which have the character of the `Atik/the Ancient of Days etc.; take a good look there and understand and be enlightened a little from what has gone forth, how far the words of these stories reach, and what was his holy intention in them. And in truth in these stories there is very, very great arousal to Hashem Yitbarakh in most places, even according to the simple meaning, aside from the hidden things, because they are all awesome secrets and they have great power to awaken everyone to Hashem Yitbarakh. Chazak/Be strong!

Second Preface[edit]

While we were involved in the first printing of the stories, a voice of tumult we did hear, saying it is not proper to print such story tales. And to repeat their words would be only superfluous, for did we not preempt [this] in the [previous] preface with the words of Rabbeinu of blessed memory, who said that his will was to print story tales, and, "What can the world say about this, for are they anyway not wonderful story tales?" And already many, many story tales have been printed in the world, too many to count, and nobody opens his mouth chirping. Especially since most of the stories of our Admor of blessed memory tell explicitly of very wonderful arousal of mussar, for example the tale of the Prayer Leader, and the tale of the Seven Beggars. Similarly in most stories we find in them explicitly words of wisdom and mussar aside from the hidden things in them, and similarly with several stories there have already been printed remarks and small portions of wonderful and awesome clues that Rabbeinu z"l himself revealed, as explained above. On top of all this, I have decided to make a few more notes [as to] how far the stories hint, according to my frail knowledge, and whoever wishes to add, let him add.

It is known in all the books of the Zohar and the Tikunim and in all the writings of the Ari z"tzl that "the king's daughter" is an alias for the Shekhinah/Divine presence and the assembly of Yisrael, as it were, and permission to speak in these terms has already been given to us from the forerunners before us, from whose mouths we receive life. And also David haMelekh a"h and Shlomo his son used these terms very much, as it is written, "Kol kevudah bat melekh penimah/All-glorious is the King's Daughter, who is within" [Ps. 45:13], and many other such cases. And the whole book of Song of Songs which is holy of holies, that the whole world is not worthy of it, is founded on this sod [secret or hidden meaning]. And all the writings of the Ari z"l and the books of the Zohar are filled with this, as explained there, "He who slays the serpent is given the king's daughter, which is prayer." And in particular in the discourse of the Old Man of [Parashat] Mishpatim [Saba deMishpatim], where he tells of "`ulimta shapirta deleit lah `einin/the beautiful maiden who has no eyes," and many such instances, too numerous to count. And in the Yehi ratzon/May-it-be-Your-will recited before Tehilim/Psalms: "...and to join the bride of youth with her lover" etc. And likewise in the Leshem yichud/For-the-sake-of-the-unification before laying tefilin that is printed in Sha`arei Tziyon, we say "the groom" etc., see there.

And whoever looks a little in the writings of the Ari z"tzl will see there explicitly that the whole foundation of the kabbalah is in this way, to unite the aspect of the groom and bride, male and female. And all the holy names and sefirot and all the down-chain of the worlds are explained there according to the likeness and image of the male profile, etc.; and explained there in detail are all their limbs and all the matters of unification, relations, impregnation, birth, nursing, and growth of a baby [lit. "little one"] and a baby girl until they become grown etc. etc.. And this is explained in great detail throughout the `Etz Chayim and the Pri `Etz Chayim. And also the Idra Raba to [Zohar] Nasso and Ha'azinu speaks by this way of remez. And also the whole book of Shir HaShirim/Song of Songs is full of this, as it specifies all the limbs of the groom as the bride praises him, and likewise specifies the members of the bride as the groom praises her. And also our Rabbis obm in the Midrashim likened matan Torah/the giving of the Torah to a wedding, as they said, "beyom chutanto/on the day of his espousals [Song 3:11] — this is matan torah" etc., and they said regarding the verse, "Likrat ha'Elohim/to meet God [Ex. 19:17] — like a groom going out to meet his bride," since the holy Shabbat is called kalah/bride and malketa/queen, as it is written, "Lekha dodi likrat kalah... Bo'i kala/Go, my Beloved, to greet the Bride... Enter, Bride" etc. So it is evident that all our Rabbis obm aliased the entirety of and the connection of the worlds to their root via the terminology of groom and bride, because "in the image of God He made man," and all the limbs of the male and female are all the image of God, as written, "vayivra Elohim et ha'adam betzalmo, betzelem Elohim bara oto, zakhar unekevah bara otam/And God created the man in His image; in the image of God He created him, male and female He created them" [Gen. 1:27]. And as we say in the blessing at marriage, "asher bara et ha'adam betzalmo, betzelem demut tavnito, vehitkin mimenu binyan `adei `ad/Who has created the man in His image, in the image of likeness of His construction, and established from him an everlasting construction," etc. Because the man — האיש והאשה, ha'iYsh veha'ishaH/the man and the woman — are an actual piece of God on high, and in them are included the Shem Havayah [Y-H-V-H] Barukh Hu, and if they merit, the Shekhinah dwells amidst them, for he has the Yud and she has the Hei, and all these are simple things and evident to everyone, and already the early ones have used these terms to describe Yisrael's drawing near to their Father in Heaven in terms of the connection of man and wife, because all of our work, in its upper root, alludes to the joining of the supernal groom and bride which is the aspect of yichud Kudsha Brikh Hu u'Schekhinteh as all the books of the holy Zohar and the writings of the Ari z"l are full of this, and also on Tish`a be'Av in the kinot that we lament on the exile of the Shekhinah and kenesset Yisrael, we say, "Then when [Yiremiyahu] went... he found a beautiful woman, disgraced."[17] And similarly in the tikkun-prayer of the three night-watches which is from the Zohar Chadash, there similar terms are used, "like a woman keening over her husband" etc., see there.

From all this and more than this it is evident to the eyes that the exile of the Shekhinah and assembly of Yisrael is an aspect of the loss of the King's Daughter and her estrangement from her Lover etc. And look in the book of the Bahir [and] in the sections omitted from the Zohar on Bereishit for what is written there regarding, "Come my beloved, let us go out to the field," etc.: a parable of a king who was sitting in rooms within rooms etc. and she was both wed and given to him as a present, and sometimes out of love he calls her "my sister," because he is from the same place, and sometimes he calls her "my daughter," because she is his daughter, and sometimes he calls her "my mother," and thus our Rabbis obm said regarding the verse, "...upon the crown with which his mother crowned him..."[18] — he loved her to the point that he called her "my daughter" etc., and similarly throughout the book of Proverbs he calls the faith and the holy Torah by the name "good woman, woman of valor" and the deceitful beliefs and apostasy by the name "evil woman, promiscuous woman," as explained in Rashi's commentary and all the words of our Rabbis obm. And there has already been printed the story of the Baal Shem Tov obm, at the end of the book Toldot Ya`akov Yosef, of the trader and his wife who were at sea, etc., which is founded on this preface that the "woman who fears Hashem" is the assembly of Yisrael.

Now that Hashem has informed us of all this, through our early prophets and tzadikim and sages, according to these words the understanding reader who wants to gaze into these stories with the eye of truth for its own sake can easily understand and be enlightened by them, to find wonderful awesome things, and if indeed it is impossible to reach their character, to understand the story's connection from beginning to end, despite this he will understand a little bit of them and it will please his soul greatly.

And behold, the first story...[edit]

And behold, the first story, of the king's daughter who was lost — it is clear that this is the sod/secret of the Shekhinah/Divine Presence in exile. Because the exile of the Shekhinah began before the creation the world, in the secret of "the breaking of the vessels," in the secret of "and these are the kings that reigned" etc. [Gen. 36:31]. And as soon as Adam the first man was created he needed to repair this, to raise up all the worlds to their place, to reveal His blessed kingship, immediately at the time of creation of the world, just as His kingship will soon be revealed at the coming of our Mashiach; may he come speedily in our days. However he was not vigilant against eating from the Tree of Knowledge and so forth, which corresponds to what is written in this story, that the viceroy [lit. second in the kingship] did not stand up to his test and ate the apple, and through this he damaged all the worlds, and the Shekhinah again fell down and descended amongst the Sitra Achra/Other Side, as is known. And afterwards Noach came, and he wanted to repair; but he did not repair, because he drank and got drunk, in the secret of, "And he drank of the wine, and was drunken" etc. [Gen. 9:21]; as taught in the [kabbalistic] books, that this is the aspect of "what is man" etc. [Ps. 8:4], his having not withstood his trial and having drank from the wine, as it is written there. And from then onwards, all the tzadikim in all the generations have been involved in this repair, until our Mashiach comes, soon in our days, when the repair will be complete.

And this story is about every man and at all times, for even in each individual man almost this whole entire story passes over him, for each member of Yisrael needs to be involved in this repair, to raise the Shekhinah from the exile, "le'ukma shekhinta me`afra/to raise the Shekhinah out of the dirt," to take the malkhut di'kedushah/kingship of holiness out from amongst the idolaters and the Sitra Achra where it has been going around. For this is the secret of all our work and all the mitzvot, good deeds and Torah occupation that we do all the days of our lives, which are all founded on this pole, as explained in the [kabbalistic] writings. And even completely simple people and the masses who do not know their right and left, nonetheless they too if they are privileged to go on the straight path according to their determination, namely to shun evil and do good — because even a completely simple person knows that the Torah forbade, and if his eyes look straight ahead to shun evil and choose good — then all the repairs in the upper worlds are accomplished automatically through him, and he merits to establish the Shekhinah from its fall, in proportion with how much he merits to sanctify and purify himself.

Hence each member of Yisrael is involved in seeking and asking for the King's Daughter, to return her to her Father so that she may return to Him as in her youth in the secret of [Lev. 22:13], "and is returned to her father's house as in her youth; she may eat of her father's bread." For Yisrael as a whole are an aspect of the viceroy, because they rule over the world: just as He revives the dead and heals the sick, so do Yisrael; as they said, "Do not read it `ami/My people but `imi/with Me [Isa. 51:16]: 'Just as I created the heavens and earth with my speech, so do you'" etc.; and there are many more of the like. And each person, to the extent that he merits to delve into His service, whereby he delves as it were in seeking and requesting the Shekhinah and the assembly of Yisrael, to take it out from the exile, to that extent it — as it were, the Shekhinah — is revealed to him, as it were, from out of the grip of its exile, and hides and conceals itself and comes to him in secret and reveals to him its place and dwelling and what to do for it so that he be privileged to find it. [Which] this corresponds to the king's daughter's revealing to the viceroy by what means he can taker her out. And the means explained there are very explicitly clear according to their simple meaning (for so was the way of Rabeinu z"l, in most of the stories, that within the connections of the stories he tells words of mussar in the simple sense, as will be clear to one who looks into them).

For, a person must choose for himself a place, and ordain for himself repentance and fasting, and constantly yearn and constantly long for Him, Blessed-be-He, that he be privileged to recognize Him; that His kingship be revealed in the world; "and let every [man who has been] made know that it is You who have made him, and let every [man who has been] formed know that it is You who have formed him, and let all that has breath in its nose say, '...And His kingship rules over all,'" which is the main point of erecting the Shekhinah out of the exile, when people merit to recognize His kingship in complete faith in truth, and everyone knows Him, Blessed-be-He, from little to great, "and the kingship will be Hashem's" etc. And when a man begins to delve in this and chooses for himself a place to be alone [in meditation and conversation with God, hitbodedut] and delve in the service of Hashem and hope and long for Him, Blessed-be-He, and sometimes merits that it continues for some time — then however when he is very close to arrive at his request, that a revelation of His kingship, Blessed-be-He, be revealed to him according to his station — then on the last day a test is summoned for him according to his station, and then on that day upon which everything depends, then the Prosecutor with all his forces strengthens himself against him in a very great surge, and enters into discussion with him and draws him to himself, and he sees that "it is a delight to the eyes, and desirable" etc. [Gen. 3] and he takes from the fruit and eats, God forbid, and he does not withstand his test in which he is required to be tried and purified then at that time. And then sleep immediately falls upon him, and sleep is the absence of the brains, when his mind and wisdom are removed from him, which enlighten his face, in the secret of "and his face fell," and it is written, "Why is your face fallen?" [Gen. 4:5]. Look regarding this at the lesson which begins "Patach Rabbi Shim`on" [#60 in Likutei Moharan]. There it speaks of this, that through the blemish of the craving of eating, a person loses his face which is the intellect, and then he falls into the aspect of sleep; take a good look there and you will understand, for there it speaks at length concerning story tales, through which people are awakened from sleep; see there.

And at these times, when a man is in the aspect of sleep, God forbid, what happens to him happens, which corresponds to all the soldiers who passed over the viceroy when he was asleep. And later he woke up and became aware that he slept so long, and he went again to the place of the king's daughter, and she informed him how much pity there is upon him and her, that because of one day he lost what he lost, and she lightened the prohibition for him, that he need not fast, but only refrain from drinking wine, so that he should not come to sleep. And he again yearned for some long time in service of Hashem in order to take out the king's daughter, but on the last day also did not endure the easier test, for he saw a spring of wine and inclined himself and began to be drawn to it and said to the attendant, "Have you seen? This is a spring, and how does wine come here!?" — and meanwhile he went and took a little and tasted from the wine and immediately sleep fell upon him and he slept very long. For so is the way of the Prosecutor and the cravings — when he wants to incite a kosher man who wants to distance himself from the cravings, that is went he inclines him little by little so that he should wonder and be amazed in his mind at the interest of the thing that he craves after, and as soon as he enters into discussion over the object of desire the Prosecutor overcomes him until he makes him stumble in it, as explained in the Torah regarding the Tree of Knowledge, how the serpent spoke with the woman, "Did God verily say...? And she saw the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes etc." Look and you will find that this is the matter in all the cravings and trials.

And whoever is truly intelligent and has mercy on his soul in truth, to rescue his soul from destruction and wants to endure the trial — he needs to overcome will all his valor to distract himself completely and not enter into arguments and counterarguments with the cravings at all, and not speak of, contemplate, wonder at, or be amazed at them at all, and that his ideas not make him alarmed at all, as written in the Alef Bet Book [aka Sefer HaMidot], "Do not enter in to argument and counterargument with those who wish to fool you" etc., see there, but just to divert his attention from them completely and make his mind clear with words of Torah or commerce or conversation and so forth, until he escapes from what needs to escape from. And later, such thoughts and ideas return and arise to him, and he needs to again overcome them, to distract his mind from them, and to do so many, many times, and he needs to be very stubborn until he wins the war.

And behold, since the second time too he did not endure the test and tasted from the wine, again a long sleep fell on him and he slept very long, namely seventy years. And the concept of sleeping the whole seventy years is clear from the instruction-lesson Patach Rabbi Shim`on/Rabbi Shim`on in the chapter #60 mentioned above, that there are people who fall away from all the seventy faces of the Torah, which correspond to seventy years, etc. — see there — that it is impossible to arouse and awaken them except via story tales from ancient times [lit. years] etc.; take a good look there.

And the king's daughter, who is the root of this soul, when she passes by him and sees him fall into sleep many days and years, such a long time, she weeps very much, because there is great pity on him and on her, and then she let him know her place, that now she is not in the first place but in a different place, namely on a golden mountain etc. And the hint is clear, that even though he did what he did and fell how he fell such a very long time, nonetheless the Shekhinah arouses him each time, and each time hints to him new advices how he should seek and ask for the root of his holiness, which corresponds to the king's daughter.

And this viceroy, even though he did not endure the test two times and fell into so much sleep and all that passed over him passed over, and after such hard and extraordinary toils, travels, travails and afflictions that had passed upon him in order to find the king's daughter, and then because of one day lost everything — and so he stumbled two times, as mentioned — despite this he did not let himself despair altogether, God forbid, but only went to seek and request the golden mountain and the castle. And after he had many more hard toils and travels and sought the mountain and castle, he found a big man with a big tree, etc. and this man dissuaded him that surely the mountain and castle do not exist, and wanted to incite him and dissuade him so that he should go back. But the viceroy did not listen to the obstacles and discouragements and said that the mountain and castle surely exist, until the big man was forced to call and assemble all the animals etc., but they all answered that it does not exist. And then he (the big man to the viceroy) said, "Look and see with your eyes and it does not exist; and for what do you exert so much for nothing? If you will listen to my words, go back." But he did not pay attention to this and said that it surely exists, and then the big man answered him that he should go to his brother who is appointed over the birds, and he went and exerted himself and sought him until he found him. And then the second one also dissuaded him and incited him to return, that the mountain and castle surely do not exist. But he did not listen to his words of dissuasion either, and the second one was forced to call and assemble all the birds, but they all answered that the mountain and castle do not exist in the world. And then this second one told him similarly, "See with your eyes that you toil for nothing. Go back." But he did not give ear to the words of the second one either, and said that he was strong in his faith that it surely exists. And then the second one informed him that he should go to his brother who was appointed over the winds. And this one also dissuaded him very much, as before, and afterwards called and assembled all the winds and they all replied that it does not exist. And then this third one said to him, "Now look and see that you have toiled for nothing, because you will certainly no longer find it. Go back." And then he saw that all the ends had been exhausted, and he did not know whether to veer right or left, in order to find her, but in himself he was strong in his mind that the mountain and castle certainly exist, where the king's daughter was captured, and then out of his great pain and bitterness of heart he began to cry very much, and at that moment Hashem Yitbarakh had compassion on him and at the same time another wind came and informed him that it itself had carried the king's daughter to the mountain and castle. And then he gave him a vessel from which he would get money, that he would not have hindrance due to money, and then he went there and made effort with strategies until he took her out. Fortunate is he!

And whoever reads this with an eye of truth will thoroughly understand just how much a person needs to strengthen himself in service of Hashem, and how and to what extent he needs to be very stubborn in service of Hashem: without bounds, limit, and number, each and every man according to his level and his ascents and declines, and even if what has happened with him has happened. See and understand and inspect this story, how much effort the viceroy exerted and how many toils he toiled and afterwards fell very low by not enduring the easy test two times, until he fell into the aspect of sleep many, many years, until he was in the aspect of sleep of the whole seventy years, as mentioned. But despite this he did not despair, and he made these toils afterwards and did not listen to any obstacle or discouragement which they wanted to dissuade him to not seek and request her any more. And the more he strengthened himself and did not listen to the voice of dissuasions of those people, immediately it turned around, that those people were of help, for each one assembled for him the animals or the birds that he was appointed over, and if afterwards they again dissuaded him and said to him, "See, it does not exist," and despite this he did not listen to their dissuasions, then they assisted him and each one informed him of his brother, until he came to this one who was appointee over the winds, through whom he arrived at his object of request. And this one too dissuaded him extremely much, but since he was strong in his mind and never did despair in any case, then within an easy moment the thing reversed, and the obstacles were reversed to assistances and salvations, and one wind came and informed him that he had personally carried the king's daughter to the mountain and castle, and afterwards this very wind carried him there too, as mentioned.

See, understand and gaze on each detail of the story and understand clues and wonderful arousal, how much one needs to strengthen himself to seek, look for and request the service of Hashem constantly, as is written, "Bak'shu panav tamid/Seek His face always" [Ps. 105:4], etc. for if indeed the essence of the story is beyond our knowledge and we do not know at all what are the golden mountain with the castle of pearls and so forth, or the rest of the concepts whether in general or in particular — nonetheless all the clues are true and made clear to an eye of truth within the story, and more clues and wonderful arousals beyond these can each person get out of them if he desires. "The wise man will listen, and increase learning" [Prov. 1:5]. And similarly in the rest of the stories. (The concept of the golden mountain with the castle of pearls hints to a wonderful affluence on the side of holiness, which one needs for [a certain level of] contemplation of Torah etc. as explained in the lesson Patach Rabbi Shim`on, #60 in Likutei Moharan; take a very good look there, for this lesson is an explanation of this story, as we understood from him z"l).

Let us go from one topic to the next and give a little attention to the story of the Sophisticate and the Simpleton [#9]. There you will see the intention a bit clarified in that story, that the main purpose is to go in simplicity without any sophistries, so take a good look there at each and every utterance and find wonderful clues for strengthening yourself in the ways of simplicity, which is the main goodly purpose even in this world; all the more so in the coming world.

And similarly in the story of the Exchanged Sons [#11] and in the story of the Prayer Leader [#12], and beyond so and all the more so in the story of the Seven Beggars [#13], that by each and every of the seven, wonderful and awesome mussar beyond compare are elucidated, for each one glories in how superbly far he is from this world in the uttermost, for this one glories that he is completely blind to this world and does not look at this world at all, for the whole world does not count by him as much as an eyeblink and so forth; and the deaf one glories in that he is completely deaf to hearing any sounds of this world, which are all due to things that are lacking, for the whole world is not worth hearing the sounds of its lackings and so forth; and one glories that he does not speak any utterance that does not praise Hashem Yitbarakh, and therefore he was completely mute from the speech of this world; and similarly one glories that he does not want to spend any breath on this world, and similarly the rest; take a good look there and if you will look with an eye of truth you will stand still, quake and be dumfounded and see the wonderful marvel of the mussar and the awesome arousal to Hashem Yitbarakh in this story which is beyond compare.

And see our words in the book Likutei Halakhot in several places for what Hashem has shined on my eyes and various clues to several of the stories. See hilkhot tefilin/laws of tefilin in relation to the story of the Seven Beggars: The first one who was blind, etc. [corresponds to a level beyond the eight partitions of the tefilin]; see there in hilkhot birakhot hashachar/laws of morning blessings in relation to the story of the exchanged sons; and in hilkhot tefilah/laws of prayer in relation to the story of the prayer leader; and in Yoreh De`ah in hilkhot tola`yim/laws regarding worms in relation to the story of the sixth beggar who had no hands who tells the story of the king's daughter who fled to the castle of water and so forth; and in Even ha`Ezer in hilkhot ishut/laws regarding marriage in relation to that story, regarding that it is written there that the healing of the king's daughter is through ten kinds of music; and several other places. See there and find satisfaction with the help of Hashem Yitbarakh. And look in hilkhot nedarim/laws of vows in relation to the story of the fourth day regarding the two birds; and in hilkhot tzedakah/laws of charity in relation to the story of the third day regarding the mute one and the spring that is above time and the heart of the world. May Hashem Yitbarakh show us the wonders of His Torah, that we may be privileged to continue to perceive true hints in all the stories and talk which we have been privileged to hear from this light.

Zot Matzanu/This We Found[edit]

This we found in a sack of writings and its subject is an explanation of him [Rabbi Natan] — of blessed memory — having written story tales in such common language, and here it is:

[Rabbi Natan wrote:] Furthermore I saw fit to alert the hearts of the readers of this book of tales, that they should not grudge him [Rabbi Nachman] that sometimes crude expressions come from his mouth in the book of Story Tales, for instance, "and he got mad at her [lit. and he became in anger at her]" in the first story, and, "he started drinking [lit. he took himself to the drink]" in the story of the exchanged children, and more in other places. Let them just judge him favorably, for this was "like an error that proceeds from a ruler" [Eccl. 10:5] under great necessity because... (up to here is what we have found, and I have copied his words, obm, letter for letter):

And behold, it is plainly clear that his holy desire was to write a reason for this, but apparently he stopped in the middle due to some force, and we were never again privileged that Hashem Yitbarakh cause things to happen that he should write it himself. Praise God that we have been privileged in His great mercies that these words have been written, because for each and every utterance that he wanted to write so that it be revealed in the world, there were many obstacles against them, and because of this he was very, very rushed in his writing, as we saw with our eyes, for he was accustomed to always tells us that if he did not hurry himself to break the obstacles and write immediately, he did not know if more will be written, due to several reasons held secret by him. And now since I have heard an expression of intention from him z"l that his desire when they be printed again was to write a reason for this, I decided not to hide from print one of the many reasons that were hidden and held secret by him z"l, and this is what I heard from him z"l: That our lord, master and rebbe, Moharan, memory of the righteous and holy bring blessing, told the stories in the Yiddish that was customary in our country, and our master the rav Rabbi Natan z"tzl the chief of his dear disciples z"l copied them in the holy tongue [Hebrew] and brought himself down intentionally into simple language in order that the concepts not deviate, for those who read them in the holy tongue, away from what he z"l told in the Yiddish that was customary among us. And this is the reason why we hear from his holy tongue such simple language as this in several places. This reason is according to what I heard from him z"l, according to the simple meaning, aside from him having secret reasons which I was not privileged to hear from him z"l. And it is proper to believe that he had additional, secret reasons, for it is known from his holy books that he was superbly eloquent, yet here he brought himself down to simple language; therefore it is proper to believe that he had a profound intention in this; and a man of faith will abound with blessings[19], Amen, so be His will.


References[edit]

  1. This is Eccl. 6:10, but with "shehu" instead of "asher hu."
  2. II Sam. 7:19
  3. Eccl. 12:13, the end of the last verse of Kohelet
  4. ve'yismechu, ve'yesharim ya`alozu, a phrase from Yamim Nora'im prayers
  5. cf. Gen. 44
  6. Ruth 4:7
  7. Ps. 4:7
  8. Eccl. 7:24 רָחוֹק, מַה-שֶּׁהָיָה; וְעָמֹק עָמֹק, מִי יִמְצָאֶנּוּ.
  9. Isa. 33:18
  10. Ps. 121:1
  11. Isa. 33:14
  12. Lam. 3:41
  13. Ps. 31:5
  14. Isa. 33:20
  15. ibid :17
  16. Isa. 23:18
  17. from the Kinot for the Ninth of Av:אז במלאת ספק יפה כתרצה, הן אראלם צעקו חוצה, בן חלקיהו מארמון כיצא, אישה יפת תואר מנוולת מצא... ; see Jer. 15:9
  18. Eccl. 3:11
  19. Prov. 28:22