An Introduction to Breslev
Rabbi Nachman of Breslev (1772-1810), although physically departed these two centuries, remains one of the most "alive" figures in the annals of Judaism, and, for that matter, in the annals of World religions. The Rebbe, or Rabbenu as he is lovingly known, speaks to the full spectrum of the human experience. He teaches that those who feel very great, must know that they are, in fact, very far from G-d. At the same time, he tells us that no matter how low we think we are, we are in fact very close to G-d. In fact, he informs us that both aspects can apply to the same person on the same day! Whereas most great teachers speak of rising from level to level throughout our lives, Rabbenu relates to the fact that we may rise for a long time, and then suddenly find ourselves lying on the ground. The main thing at that point, is not how did we get there and why did it happen, but rather what we do next. Do we give up, or rise where we have fallen? Whereas most speak of a linear progression in our spiritual lives, Rabbenu deals with the reality that we must start anew every day; in fact, many times in a day.
Most speak of Sin as coming either from within us or from a destructive spiritual force. While Rabbenu grants these possibilities, he asserts that the ultimate cause of Sin is sadness and depression! In fact, the demonic power Lillith, is explained as meaning "yelalah" wailing in despair. When we are sad, we feel that what we do no longer matters, least of all to G-d. When we are happy, we are close to G-d. "Strength and Joy are in His place" (Chronicles I 16:27 ). When happy, we are in G-d's presence. Rabbenu says :"It is a great Mitzvah to always be happy!"
Although formal prayer has its place, Rabbenu tells us to speak to G-d in our own words, in our own language, just as we speak to a good friend! This is the way our forefathers and the great tzadikim reached their levels and accomplished what they accomplished.
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- [Likutei Moharan] #4 et al.