Translation:Sichot Haran

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Sichot Haran
by Nathan of Breslov, translated from Hebrew by Wikisource
First printed in the 1815 first printing of Sipurei Maasiyoth ("Stories"). In that volume the stories were followed by the texts that are known today as Shivchei haRan (but with header “Sipurei Ma`asiyoth” there), Sichoth haRan (only through #110 and with header “Likutei Moharan” there), as well as omissions from and corrections to Likutei Moharan.
759129Sichot HaranNathan of Breslov

His Holy Wisdom[edit]


"Ki ani yada`ti, ki-gadol Hashem, ve'adoneinu mikol-Elohim/For only I know that Hashem is great, and our Lord [greater] than all gods" (Ps. 135:2). King David, alav hashalom, said: "Ki ani yada`ti/Only I know" — "ani yada`ti / I [i.e. specifically I] know," for the greatness of the Blessed Creator is impossible to tell to someone else, and even to oneself it is impossible to tell from day to day, according to what dawns on him and sparkles [mitnotzetz: an illumination from the Ohr haChayim/Light of Life] for him on that day. He cannot tell himself on another day the shining and the sparkling [hitnotzetzut] of the greatness of the Blessed One that he had yesterday. And therefore he said: "Ki ani yada`ti" — "ani yada`ti," for it impossible to tell at all. And he said that what is written after that, "Kol asher-chafetz Hashem, `asah; bashamayim uva'aretz/Whatsoever Hashem pleased, he has done; in heaven and on earth" etc., is a completely different matter and completely distant from the praise, "Ki ani yada`ti," for his intention in these words, "Ki ani yada`ti" is impossible to tell at all, and it is very, very high, high beyond high, impossible for the mouth to tell; only "I knew" specifically, as mentioned, and as written in the Zohar (Vol. 1, page 103): "Nod`a basha`arim ba`alah/Her husband is known at the gates (Prov. 31:23)" — each person according to what he fits in his heart, as explained in a different place [LM #73,#63].


It is very good to throw oneself upon Hashem Yitbarach, and to trust Him and His ways. And my way [of doing so] is that, when the day comes, I give up all of my dealings, and those of my children who rely on me, to Hashem - that everything should be according to His will. And this is very good. Also, then there is no need to worry at all if things will go properly or if not, since you are trusting Him. And if He wants things to go differently, He wants things to go differently; that is His will. And therefore, when Shabbat or Yom Tov come, then I give up all of the dealings, affairs and matters of that Shabbat or that Yom Tov to Hashem Yitbarach - that everything should be according to His will. Then, I no longer think about or trouble myself at all. [I do not think about] whether I will no longer fulfill my obligation with regard to the holiness of that day, since I have already given it all up to Hashem Yitbarach and I trust only Him.


He wondered at the greatness of the Creator, bless His name, and it is impossible to explain this in writing. And he said: "There is no end to the greatness of the Creator, bless His name, because there are awesome things in the world, very awesome and very awe-inspiring, and we do not know at all." That is, we still don't know anything at all, nothing at all! This also is what has been described, that "the ultimate knowledge is not knowing", that is: even having every single knowledge [one still does not know]. Meaning, that even when one arrives at ultimate knowledge &mdash that he doesn't know — even then, this is not [really] the purpose. It is only the purpose of that specific knowledge. But with regard to a knowledge higher than that, one has still not yet begun at all. An so forth higher and higher. Therefore, in truth we do not know anything at all. And even so, this is not the ultimate [knowledge]! Because we still have not begun to know any knowledge higher than that knowledge, [the knowledge] to which we have reached the purpose of "not knowing". He also wondered at the ascendancy of Teshuva. Even when we fallen far, G-d forbid, and everyone has fallen to the place to which he falls (the Merciful should save us), even so it is forbidden to despair oneself, as Teshuva is higher than Torah. As such, THERE IS NO DESPAIR IN THE WORLD [bold text], for if one merits, his sins will be made into something completely different. And this is as our Sages of Blessed Memory said [Yoma 86], that sins are turned into merits; in this concept are the most hidden of hidden [teachings]. But the general rule is that from all of the fallings and descents in the world (the Merciful should save us), one can return to Him easily, for "there is no calculation to His greatness" [Tehillim 145]. And the main point that everything relies upon is not to give up on crying out to Hashem and begging and praying to Him always.


Now, in these times, it is extremely difficult for an upright person to have money. Because he [would] require a very great descent (G-d forbid) until he obtains money. And even after the descent (G-d forbid) from serving Him, still - not everyone obtains money! For even wicked people and the lightheaded of the world; not all of them acquire money. But a truly upright person is very far from having wealth, because know: that from the day that the Bet HaMikdash was destroyed, wealth fell into the depths of the klippot [evil], in the concept of: [Eicha 1:9] "She fell astonishingly" - 'astonishing' comprises the same letters as 'thousands', meaning that the thousands of wealth fell astonishingly, meaning a great and astonishing fall. Thus, it is necessary for him to have (G-d forbid) a very great fall before coming to wealth - meaning prepared thousands - and still, it is doubtful (as mentioned earlier). But a truly upright person, it will be very difficult for him to have money; and although there are also tzaddikim and upright people to be found who have money, but it is weighty and very, very difficult [for them]. Also, the wealth that the tzaddikim have is, in truth, damaging to them, to their service [of G-d] - even though they have [only] some small wealth. But even so, they do not have great wealth, ordered out, like the lightheaded of the world - who have thousands and loads, settled and prepared - for nowadays it is very difficult and heavy for upright people to have wealth (as mentioned earlier). And this is as they say in the name of Rebbe Nachman, my elder, of blessed memory, who said: "On what did our Rabbis, of blessed memory, say: [Proverbs 3:16] "Long days on her right [riches and honour on her left]", and our Rabbis, z"l, said: '[Is that to say that] there are long days [on her right], but there are not riches and honour? And they said: [There are long days], all the more so riches and honour!'" And Rebbe Nachman, of righteous and blessed memory, said: "It is only 'all the more so', meaning that certainly -it is with greater reason and would make sense - that it is proper for them to have wealth and honour, but it is not as such." For even so, they do not have several thousands simply laid out (as mentioned above).


He greatly criticized the books of the philosophers and said that there is no complete intelligence in there at all - as opposed to a teaching of the Maharsha (R' Shmuel Eliezer HaLevi Eidels) or of the Maharam (R' Meir of Rottenburg), and the like from our holy books, which have depth and wondrous, sweet knowledge in them. But in these books [from philosophers] there is no intelligence at all to be found them; for they speak only in the way of questions, back and forth until they come to some proof. However, the intelligence that is in our holy Torah (not to compare the two) is not there [i.e. in philosophy] at all. And he said: happy is the one that does not know at all of their books, only going in wholeness and having fear of punishment. For the essence of serving G-d, at the start, is only due to fear of punishment; without fear of punishment, it is impossible to begin at all in serving G-d. Even tzaddikim also need fear, because those who serve G-d from love are very, very few, and the essence is fear of punishment. Because the 'higher fear' is "since He is master and in control..." [Zohar 11:2] - meaning, not everyone is worthy to this higher fear; rather the essence of serving G-d is only through fear of punishment, as regards most people. And someone who learns (G-d forbid) these books of philosophers - doubt and atheism enter into his heart, for every human is born with wickedness, for the nature of every human runs after wickedness (that is: after evil desires of this world, the Merciful One should save us). Only, as a result of fear of punishment, he breaks his desire and enters into the ways of G-d; but when one learns these books of philosophy (God forbid), he finds for himself doubt and atheism that aid his wickedness that he has naturally, and thus we do not find at all that anyone was made a kosher, God fearing person through these books of philosophy - even though one finds in their words some discussion of good traits, etc. - even so, it is all vapid, for their loss is greater than their gain, for they confuse the mind of a person very much. It is explained elsewhere the greatness of the prohibition to learn these books, the Merciful One should save us. And he said: we are fortunate that Moshe Rabbenu, peace be upon him, chose a very good portion for us and gave us the Torah, and it opens [Bereishit 1:1]: "In the beginning, G-d created the heavens...", without any of their questioning or signs; we are simply commanded to believe in Hashem Yitbarach with belief alone. As such, it is forbidden for us to enter into questioning at all, and although in the holy Zohar he criticizes fear of punishment, this has already been expanded upon in books of Mussar; because in truth the essence of serving G-d is only through fear of punishment, as mentioned earlier. And he said: that these ruses and inventions that the philosophers devised in their wisdom, like fearful weapons, for example, and other inventions made with ruses, in their wisdom, and other examples, the rest of their new ideas that they devised: every single one of their wisdom, all of it is invented from on high. Because it would be impossible for that wisdom to come to that scientist, were it not that it sparked upon him from above - when the period and time came for that wisdom or invention to be revealed in the world, they were sent the invention from above into their minds, in order for it to be revealed in the world. For certainly, even those earlier wise ones who were experimenting from earlier, even so: why did they not come to that invention and trick? Only, in truth everything is from above and when the time comes for that thing to be revealed, then the mind sparks to him and that scientist comes to that invention, because it was sent to him from above, from the place it arrived to him. Because certainly they do not receive the way of holiness, only the way of the Other Side, and this is obvious [and also, not to compare the two, those who say interpretations and novellae in Rashi and the Tosefot on Gemara; were they not sent it from above, from heaven, it would be totally impossible for them to come to the new idea. Only in truth everything is from above and everyone receives from where he receives, and this is explained elsewhere. For certainly within this idea there are thousands and myriad levels, from where every single person receives the illumination and the sparking in his mind, to the place where the new idea or wisdom is sent to him. But the general idea is that every one of these new concepts that the wise ones devise, in holiness - simple explanations, or drawn out teachings, etc., for example - or, not to compare the two, in matters of their wisdom, everything floats down to them and is sent to them, into their minds, from above - to everyone from the place appropriate for him, as said above.]


The Yetzer Harah (evil inclination) is compared to a person who weaves his way among human beings, his hand shut tight. Nobody knows what is inside his closed hand as he approaches each individual and asks, deceptively, "What am I holding?" Each person perceives him to be holding exactly that which he or she most needs and desires. So everyone runs after him, because each one is convinced that the he has the very thing they want. Afterwards, he opens his hand and there is nothing in it at all. The Yetzer Harah is literally the same; it fools the entire world and everyone runs after it - and it tricks each and every individual until it appears to everyone that it has what they want in its hand, each person according to his foolishness and desires. And after, at the end, he opens his hand - and there is nothing there at all, for nobody's desire is ever filled. He also compared all of the desires of the world to sunbeams in a room; as is clearly apparent, that they seem like actual beams because of the sun's illumination - but when a person tries to grasp these beams of light that are caught and enclosed within the room, there is nothing in the hand at all. So, too, are all the desires of this world.


It is very good for whoever is able to pour out conversation before Hashem Yitbarach with prayers for mercy and pleading, like a son pleading before his father - for has Hashem Yitbarach not already called us children, as it is written [Dvarim 14:1]: "You are children to Hashem your G-d". As such it is very good to give out one's conversation and agony before Him, as a son who complains before his father, attempting to reach his favour and mercy; and even if it appears to a person that as a result of his actions, he is no longer like a son before Him, even so - hasn't Hashem Yitbarach called us children, as mentioned above? (Because regardless of your sins, you are called a son). And if now He expels me, G-d forbid, from the concept of 'son', He does what is good in His eyes; it is upon me to do what is mine, to make myself a son again, as mentioned above. And how good is it that one can awaken his heart with supplications until he cries and tears fall down, like a son before his father! And I heard a story from my elder, Rabbi Nachman of Horodenko (student of the holy Baal Shem Tov and paternal grandfather of Rebbe Nachman), of blessed memory, that when he was on a ship once they did not have any bread and they did not eat for several days, until they arrived in some city. There were no Jews there, only Arabs, and one Arab took Rabbi Nachman and gave him food, and he had already not eaten for several days, and he washed his hands and blessed Hamotzi, and before he began to eat the thought came to him: "Do not dine on the bread of an evil eye [Mishlei 23:6]". And our thoughts are not empty things at all (thus said Rabbi Nachman, my elder, when telling this story), and I did not know what to do, for I had already blessed Hamotzi - but even so it was in my mind to stop myself from eating at all, due to this thought. After, the thought came to him: "I have commanded the ravens to feed you [Malachim 1, 17:4]". [The word for ravens, Orvim, can also be read Aravim, meaning Arabs.] And then he ate, and our Rebbe, of blessed memory, said while telling this story: "This is very wonderous and good in my eyes, in that he stood up on his thoughts", the thoughts that appeared to him when they came to his mind. Certainly, it truly is like this concerning all of the thoughts that come to a person to confuse him; afterwards Hashem Yitbarach helps him and sends him a different thought of coming closer [to Him], for example regarding what is said above, that sometimes it appears to a person in his thoughts that he is not appropriate to be a son before Him, etc., even so, he must do what is his (as discussed above), and afterward, Hashem Yitbarach will help him and send him thoughts of coming closer, for certainly all Jews, all of them are called children to Him. Thus, it is proper for us to speak out our conversation and our troubles before Him, like a son begging before his father.


When we learn words of tragedy, for example when we learning the halachot of mourning, etc., we should not delve into them greatly, for we do not need to deepen the mind in such places; for the mind has great validity, as explained in other places, and so we need to pass quickly over such places.


[Rabbi Nachman said] in the name of Baal Shem Tov obm: A knife should not be given as a present, that is, one should not give to his fellow a knife as a gift.

בשם הבעל שם טוב זכרונו לברכה, שסכין אין נותנין במתנה, היינו שאחד לא יתן לחברו סכין במתנה:


The wicked are filled with regrets and they do not [even] know what regret is. For this itself - that they strengthen their wickedness - this itself is regret, for since they begin to regret, they then strengthen themselves further in their wickedness. This is like two people fighting against one another: when one sees that his opponent is strengthening against him, then he strengthens himself more in response. It is literally the same when the evil sees that some good is starting to awaken within them; it then strengthens itself more - understand this. And this is a great principle in serving G-d, even to other people [who are not wicked], to each and every person according to his level: whenever he wants to further himself in serving G-d, the evil inclination rises and strengthens against him more. This has already been explained elsewhere, and we must be perceptive regarding this - and "With tactics shall you wage war" (Proverbs 24:6) to strengthen against the evil with a great strengthening, every time. Happy is he who merits to win the war.


We are fortunate that Hashem Yitbarach did good with us, that we merited to the holiness of Israel. He said that he has great joy that he merited to be in Eretz Yisroel, for he had several difficulties and confusions and difficult thoughts, frustrations and problems, on travelling to the Eretz Yisroel, as well as financial difficulties - and he jumped over them all. He finished the task in its entirety and was in Eretz Yisrael. And he said: 'This, I believe, and in fact I know, regarding this topic of all the actions and thoughts and types of service that we do for a holy task: no action and no thought is lost, at all. And when a person merits to break all of the difficulties and to complete the task - all of the actions, thoughts, and difficulties he had regarding it, before he broke and passed over all of the difficulties, in the time when he was doubting and confused and was setting up the weights, whether to do this thing [or not], and the difficulties were blocking him from all sides - after, when he merits to pass over all this and to break them all; then, from the difficulties and the thoughts and the actions and the confusions, are made supernal things Above; and all these make a large impact and tumult Above, for good - each and every movement that he made [before he passed over the difficulty]. Fortunate are we, when we merit to jump over all of the difficulties and merit to complete a holy task!


These people that want to be kosher and enter in the service of Hashem, but they have great confusions and big obstacles and they cannot give counsel to their souls how to act because of the great confusion and obstacles they have, and anything they want to do in serving Hashem is hard for them to do properly: Know that this itself that they strive and burn to do some devotion or sanctify themselves in some holiness, even though they cannot finish it properly, this itself that they strive and burn for this, is the aspect of korbanot/ offerings, as in (Ps. 44:23), "`Ki-`aleikha horagnu kol-hayom nechshavnu k'tzon tovchah/ For You we are killed all the day; we are thought of as sheep for the slaughter." And it's brought in the Tikkunim (see Midrash Ne`elam Chayey Sarah 124b) that this is the aspect of prayer, which is the aspect of korbanot That is, when someone wants to pray and they don't leave him and they bring him many kinds of confusion and he needs many exertions during prayer, then even if he doesn't manage to pray as is fitting nevertheless the effort itself that he sacrifices himself to pray properly this itself is the aspect of korbanot, the aspect of "for you we are killed." etc. So it is too in all the devotions and sanctities that a person wants to sanctify himself even though he doesn't attain it, God forbid, to sanctify himself properly, nevertheless the effort itself and the sufferings and confusions he has from this because he wants and desires to sanctify himself, only they don’t leave him to do it, this itself is the aspect of korbanot, the aspect of "for you we are killed all day, we are reckoned as sheep to the slaughter." Therefore a man always has to do his part, to make effort in serving Hashem, in whatever he can do. And whatever his hand finds to do he should do even if it is very hard for him and it seems to him they don't allow him at all and they distance him very, very far and he cannot do anything right in holiness etc., nevertheless he's responsible for doing what he can, and Hashem will do what is right in his eyes.


There are kosher people who do not have sustenance, and they have worries and enormous confusions from this. And this is a good thing for the world; know that there are precious words that come out specifically through these confusions. There are, however, differences between types of confusion - as the Midrash brings: "There is slumber of prophecy, as is written [Bereishit 15:12]: "And slumber fell upon his limbs", and there is nonsensical slumber..." Slumber - this is confusion of thought.


On Rosh Hashanah, a person must be wise so that he thinks only good thoughts that Hashem will do good to us, etc. And it is necessary to be happy on Rosh Hashanah. It is also necessary to cry on Rosh Hashanah. On the first day of Rosh Hashanah it is necessary to very greatly reduce speech. And he said that a great person must be even more careful with this. And therefore, on the first day he [Rebbe Nachman] does even not say the Piyut except that which was composed by Rabbi Elazar HaKalir. But the rest of the Piyut he does not say. Because a great person needs to be extremely careful not to speak any words that are not a necessity.


It is a very good thing for a person to merit to be close to a true Tzaddik. Because regarding the future time to come it says, (Job 38:13) "To grab the wings of the earth and shake the wicked from it." That He [Hashem] will hold on to the ends of the earth and shake the evildoers [from it], but whoever is close to the True Tzaddik he will grab on to and hold himself with the Tzaddik and he will remain standing, and won't be shaken with the wicked since he is grabbing on to and holding on to the Tzaddik.

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על המבלים זמן בשביל נקיות ומאריכין בבית הכסא הקפיד מאד מאד והתלוצץ מאותן האנשים מאד והאריך הרבה בענין זה. והכלל כי לא נתנה תורה למלאכי השרת (ברכות כה:), ואין צריך להחמיר יותר מן הדין ועל פי הדין האסור הוא רק כשנצרך לנקביו ממש כמו שכתוב בגמרא (שם כג.): הנצרך לנקביו אל יתפלל, הנצרך דיקא. ואפלו כשהוא נצרך לנקביו ממש יש גם כן דינים בזה בדיעבד ובשעת הדחק כמובא בשלחן ערוך סימן צ"ב עין שם במגן אברהם שהרי"ף מתיר לכתחלה ביכול לעמד עצמו עד פרסה וכו'. נמצא שעל כל פנים כשאינו נצרך לנקביו ממש אין צריך להחמיר ולבטל עצמו מתורה ותפלה בחנם מחמת חששות וחמרות יתרות ושגעון בעלמא. רק טוב להתפלל בבקר תכף אחר עמידתו ממטתו. אם אפשר בקל לפנות אפשר ואם לאו לאו ויתפלל כך. ואפלו אם חושש במעיו לא ישגיח ולא יסתכל על זה כלל. גם אין צריכין להאריך בבית הכסא כי הוא מזיק מאד לבריאות הגוף וכמה חלאים באים מזה בפרט בבית הכסא שלנו שצריכים להיות תולה בהם והתולה בבית הכסא מזיק מאד מאד בפרט החלי הידוע שקורין "מורידין" ד בא מזה מאד, רחמנא לצלן. על כן צריכין לזהר מאד מלהאריך בבית הכסא. ואין לחפש אחר חמרות ומרה שחורה בזה, כי לא נאמר כלל בדורות הללו. והוא עצמו היה גם כן בזאת הטעות מקדם והיה עושה דברים זרים מאד בשביל נקיות וכמעט שבא לידי סכנה על ידי זה וגם לא נמלט מחלאים רחמנא לצלן על ידי זה. ועתה הוא יודע ואומר שהכל שגעון וחלילה לבלות זמן היקר על זה. ובאמת אי אפשר בשום אפן שיהיה הגוף נקי לגמרי ולא ישאר בתוכו כלום כי הלא אפלו מי שמתענה משבת לשבת הוא צריך לנקביו גם בסוף השבוע אף על פי שלא אכל מקדם כמה ימים, כי בהכרח שישאר קצת בהגוף. ואמר שדבר גדול הוא אצלו שדבר מענין זה כי יוצא מזה דבר גדול מאד דהינו שלא לבלות זמן בשביל זה ושלא להאריך שם. ואפלו אם לפעמים הוא מכרח להאריך טוב לצאת ולחזר מלישב הרבה שם:


"They have set their mouths against Heaven and their tongue walks the earth" (Psalms 73:9) For nowadays, atheism has become widespread, and people have allowed themselves to speak evil against all the Tzaddikim and anyone who is G-d fearing. And this is like someone who releases his tongue against the entire world, for he does not care about the whole world. This kind of heresy is really against Hashem himself. But since they are ashamed to speak outright against Hashem so instead they speak out against [G-d fearing] people. And this is what it means, "They have set their mouth against Heaven etc.", because in truth what they are saying with their mouths [directed against people in this world] is really against the Heaven. Because the essence of their words is against Hashem, as explained above. But, "their tongue walks the earth," that since they are ashamed to speak against Hashem Yisborach therefore their tongue walks the earth, that is, they let out their mouths against people, but in truth "they have set their mouth against Heaven," as explained above.


A person should feel in thier heart the suffering of each individuals and certainly the suffering of the masses. Because it's possible to know about the suffering and to clearly understand the pain and suffering, G-d forbid, but not to feel it at all in your heart. At the very least, the suffering of the people as a whole should be felt in the heart. And if a person doesn't feel the pain and suffering of the people then he needs to bang his head against the wall, that is, to bang your head against the walls of your heart, as we explained elsewhere (chapter 217) about the verse "You should know today, and you should return it to heart," that you need bring the da'as, the knowledge, to the heart. UNDERSTAND THIS WELL. Afterwards, I heard in his name that this is the aspect of the verse "And Chizkiyahu turned his face to the wall" (Isaiah 38:2). That he turned and drew down is face, which is his mind and knowledge, to the walls of his heart, as explained above. For ones true face is wisdom and intelligence which is the "light of the face", as explained elsewhere.


Regarding the books of the m'chaqkrim (philosophers) it's already explained by us many times that it's forbidden to delve in them, and one needs to stay utterly far from them without looking at them at all. Even the philosophical works of gedolei Yisrael. For it's a severe prohibition to study them (and it's already explained in many holy books the great prohibition of studying them). For such things are not the portion of Jacob (Jer. 10:16, 51:19), and we have nothing at all to do with them. For we are true to His Blessedness in Emunah alone, without any probing, that His Blessedness created the whole entire world and sustains His world and will in future time renew His world, and for this we don't need philosophy. But the way of these books is to ask questions that appear very difficult, while providing very weak answers. And whoever wants to probe deeper and question that answer, he can refute the answer and render it completely useless. Therefore we may not study these works at all. So in truth all their questions themselves are nothing, and they are mere vanity and striving after wind (Eccl. 1:14).

The fact that we see there are people who are not drawn to the utterly holy and awesome books such as the Zohar and the Ari's books of blessed memory and so forth, even though they have utterly, utterly wondrous novelties that enlighten the eyes and are sweeter than honey (Ps. 19:9,11), but they are drawn specifically after other matters such as philosophy - Know that this is due to their inborn nature, for their their natural character is a bad from birth, that their were born with an evil temperament, that they cannot tolerate a truly holy thing. (B. Rabbah 28; v. Sichot Haran #32). But having been born with this bad temperament, he needs to endure great bitterness to break this evil temperament and nature. Fortunate is the person born in holiness!

In the [philosophophical] books are questions regarding the order of creation. They may ask why was a star worthy of being a star, or a constellation a constellation, while other things were consigned to lower realms, such as beasts, animals and so forth, why were they not [humans] the other way around? Or they may ask why the head is what it is and not a foot. Questions like these are discussed at length in such books. But it is all vanity and striving after wind. And there's no need to question His Blessedness, for (Lam. 1:18), "Righteous and upright is He."

In truth, know this! The whole world is a rotating wheel (B"B 16b) - like a dreidel. Everything turns around and reverses. Man becomes angel, and angel becomes man. Head becomes foot, and foot becomes head. Similarly everything else in the world reverses, alternates, and swaps, from high to low and from low to high.

For in truth at the root it's all one. For there are transcendental beings namely angels, that are entirely detached from the material, and there are celestial spheres that are the in the aspect of materiality but their "material" is extremely refined, and there is the lowest world, which is completely material. But even though all these three are from different realms, nevertheless at the root, there it's but one. Therefore the whole world is the aspect of a rotating wheel and everything turns and reverses. One moment something is in the upper aspect, the aspect of the head, and another thing is in the lower aspect, the aspect of foot. Then the situation is reversed: head becomes foot, and foot becomes head. A man changes to an angel, and an angel becomes a man. Like we find, that our Sages obm teach us that angels were cast down from Heaven to the base world, entered into physical bodies, and were subject to all worldly lusts etc. Other angels were sent on missions to our world and clothed themselves in physical bodies. Conversely we also find cases where human beings literally became angels. For the world is like a rotating wheel, like a dreidel, everything in motion. For in truth at the root it's all one, as mentioned. (We also find the foot of one is also higher than the head of another. Likewise in the spiritual worlds, the lowest level of an upper world is higher than the highest level of a lower one. But in truth everything rotates as mentioned.)

And this is the aspect of playing dreidel on Chanukkah, for Chanukkah is an aspect of the Holy Temple (see L"M II:7). The main concept of the Temple is the abovementioned, the revolving wheel. The Temple represented "the superior below and the inferior above” (Pesachim 50a; Bava Batra 10b). For H"Y lowered His Presence into the Mishkan and the Holy Temple - this is the aspect of "the superior below." Conversely the form of the Temple, it's all engraved on high and this is the aspect of "the inferior above." Which, this is the aspect of dreidel, a rotating wheel, that everything revolves and swaps levels as mentioned. For by Charika/philosophy/logic it's an inconceivable thing, that H"Y, who is above and beyond all etheriality, should constrict His Shekhina into the vessels of the Temple. "Behold, the Heaven and the Heaven of Heaven cannot contain You; how much less this Temple?" (I Kings 8:27). Nevertheless H"Y showed that he is precisely the opposite of their opinion, for in truth H"Y the root of his Shekhina is in the Mishkan. Similarly it's inconceivable according to Chakira that mortal man who is a lowly being should have an impression on high. Or how a lowly beast they sacrifice it for an offering that it should ascend "as a sweet savor" giving pleasure before His Blessedness, as He spoke and His will be done (v. Rashi Zevachim 46b). And how can desire apply to His Blessedness?! But in truth H"Y showed, opposite to their mind, for in truth H"Y placed his Shekhina below in the Mishkan and the Holy Temple, and the beast rises as a "sweet savor" etc. So this is the aspect of the superior below and the inferior above, the aspect of the revolving wheel, the aspect of dreidel.

And behold, the power/potential of Heyuli (Ether) brought in their [philosophical] books, is the aspect of the intermediate between Koach/potential and Poal/actual. For everything initially is potential and then actualitizes. And when it goes from potential before it comes to actual there is the aspect of Heyuli which is the intedaiate between potential and actual, which is the root of all creation. For they all go out from the potential of Heyuli, for they were all intitially in the aspect of the Heyuli's potential, and creations going out from there which are the three abovementioned aspects, which are: transcendental, celestial, and material - they all change places, transcendental to material and material to transcendental and so forth with all of them, for at the root it's all one as mentioned. And this is the aspect of the letters inscribed on the dreidel, which are Hei, Nun, Gimel, Shin, acrostic of Heyuli, Nivdal/transcendental, Galgal/celestial, Shafal/material, which encompass all creation as mentioned, which all turn in cycles, alternating and revolving, one thing becoming another as mentioned. Which, this is hinted in Chanukkah, which is the aspect of dedication of the Holy Temple, where "the superior is below and the inferior above," which is the aspect of dreidel, the aspect of the turning wheel where aspects interchange as mentioned.

And this is the aspect of the Redemption, for this is the essence of the Redemption, which will be in this aspect, namely the aforementioned aspect of turning, the aspect of superior below and inferior above that was in the Holy Temple. Therefore when they left Misrayim immediately at the Song at the Sea they said, "You brought them and planted them on the mount of Your inheritance... the Temple, H', which Your hands established" (Ex. 15:17). That they heralded the building of the Holy Temple, for the essence of the Redemption was that the Holy Temple be built, where would be the aforementioned aspect of the revolving wheel, the aspect of superior below and inferior above (which is the essential ultimate purpose), for in truth it's all one, for at the root everything is one, as mentioned. This is also the aspect of the aforementioned letters, which are H N G Sh - acrostic "Gaalta Shevet Nachalatekha Har Tzion - You redeemed the tribe of Your inheritance, Mount Zion" (Ps. 74:2) - the aspect of "You brought them and planted them on the mount of Your inheritance," the aspect of the Holy Temple, as in that place was the aspect of the turning wheel which this is the essence of the Redemption as mentioned.

And see the essay (LM II:7) on Chanukkah that begins, "And it came to pass at the end" (Gen. 41:1) and, "The merciful one will lead them" (Isa. 49:10). There he explains also the matter of the superior below and the inferior above, as well as the fact that Chanukah commemorates the rededication of the Temple, see there. And this is the aspect of the Maqifin/surrounding powers discussed in this lesson, namely the aspect of the turning wheel, namely the dreidel, is the aspect of surrounding and turning. Study the lesson carefully and understand. (Chokhmah is the aspect of Heyuli).

Returning to our original discussion: We have no need to enter at all into philosophy, which is anyway strongly forbidden. We just need to keep true to H"Y in Emunah alone, that His Blessedness created all the worlds entirely, sustains all of them, and will in the future renew His world.


Brokenheartedness and depression are not the same thing at all. Brokenheartedness comes from the heart but depression comes from the spleen. Depression that resides in the spleen is the Sitra Achra and Hashem hates it. Brokenheartedness, however, is very beloved before Hashem, because a broken heart is very very special in the eyes of Hashem. Ideally, it would be best to have a broken heart the entire day but people like us can easily be lead from a broken heart to depression. Therefore, you need to set aside an hour a day in order to have a broken heart. That, is to seclude yourself and break your heart before Hashem, as we explained elsewhere. But the rest of the day be only happy. Rebbe Nachman warned us about this many times to strengthen ourselves that we only have a broken heart one specific hour a day. Depression however we shouldn't have at all. And the rest of the day be only happy.


Depression is like someone who is angry and in rage. Like someone who has a complaint against Hashem, G-d forbid, that Hashem is not fulfilling the persons will. But brokenheartedness, is like a child pleading before his father, or like baby who is crying when his father distanced himself from him etc. (See elsewhere about this)


Depression can cause a person to forget his name. The Rebbe once said in a joking manner that the reason a dead person may forget his name when they ask him [in heaven] what his name is, [as explained in holy books], is because the dead person is very depressed, therefore, he doesn't know his name. The rule is that a person needs be extremely careful to be happy all the time no matter what, even if he is the way he is, if he is, G-d forbid, very far from Hashem. Nevertheless, he needs to be very happy that he wasn't born a gentile. And we already explained that with regards to his deeds, that are not according to the Will of Hashem, for that a person needs to set aside an hour a day to seclude himself, and to break his heart before Hashem as explained elsewhere. And even during that hour it is forbidden for a person to be sad, only a broken heart is allowed. But the rest of the day he should be only happy. Also, through joy a person can give life to another person. For there are people who have tremendously difficult suffering, G-d forbid, and they can't even speak about what is on their hearts. They would want to speak about it but they have no one to speak to about it, and to open up everything that's in thier heart. So they walk full of suffering and worry. But when someone approaches them with a happy face they could enliven them, and literally give them life. And to enliven someone is not a simple matter, rather it is a really great thing, as is brought in the Talmus (Taanit 22a) about the two jokers who merited what they did because they made others happy.


It takes a great privilege to set yourself alone an hour (time period) every day and have regret for whatever needs regretting. Because not every person is privileged to have the Yeshuv haDaat (a settled and clear mind for doing this) every day, because the day can go by and leave him without the opportunity to set himself alone even just once in his entire life. So you have to bolster yourself to designate an opportunity to totally settle yourself regarding all your matters that you do in this world, asking yourself if it befits you to spend your days doing such things.

And because a person doesn't settle himself, he has no Daat, and even if he occasionally has Yeshuv haDaat, the settled Daat doesn't last and it's fleeting for him. That's why people don't realize the nonsense of this world. But if a person had a settled mind that's strong and determined he would realize that it's all nonsense and vanity, especially the craving that many people have for being well known, or being a public leader, or to travel the country. It's all "vanity and vexation of spirit" and it's truly such a nonsense, because really there's no delight or satisfaction even in this world at all, for it's full of trials and humiliation. Also he already rebuked one of his followers who was like this who was craving to be a well known figure, and he told him, "Isn't it true you can't even honestly say grace after meals?! And now are you going to need all your actions to be accepted in the eyes of people, when you can't even do the easiest devotion just for the sake of Heaven?!"


Rebbe Nachman often spoke to us about physicians and medicine, denouncing them in the strongest terms. He advised us to avoid them if we had pity on our own lives and the lives of our families, even in the case of serious illness. We should cast our burden upon God (Psalms 55:23) and rely on Him alone (Isaiah 50:10). We should not place our lives in the hands of even the most outstanding of the physicians, for they are closer to death than to life(Shabbat 129b). The precise remedy depends on each individual's nature as well as the exact time, season and other variables. Doctors themselves admit that even the greatest physician cannot take all these factors into account without error. Therefore, they can very easily do irreparable damage. This is true of even the greatest physicians. The charlatans in our vicinity do not know their right from their left (Jonah 4:11) and are literally murderers, killing people with their own hands. One should flee from them as a bowshot, not putting his life on the line with them. It is a great danger even to depend on the greatest physicians, for one who falls into their hand’s distances himself from life. The Rebbe spoke at great length, but it is impossible to record everything he said regarding this. Rebbe Nachman's polemic was primarily directed against the primitive medicine of Eastern Europe in his time. Yet even in our day, physicians cannot do everything, and ultimately a person must depend on God. The title of doctor does not make one a superman, and physicians still make mistakes. Controversial and experimental treatments are still used. Modern-day followers of Breslov avoid doctors except in serious cases, and then are careful to obtain only the best possible medical care. He told us that while he was in Lemberg, home to many great physicians, one of the physicians there told him to keep as far as possible from medicines and people in his profession. This physician said that research into medicine had shown that it is impossible to fully understand the complexity of the human body and its cures. There are also many disputes in the medical field. In Lemberg, there were two groups disputing the treatment of a serious disease. One group recommended a bland diet, saying that anything spicy was highly dangerous. The other group had the exact opposite opinion. It said that only spicy foods should be eaten, because sweet and bland foods were detrimental. Each group cited cases, claiming the other's treatment was a death sentence. These were among the world's greatest experts, and even they could not determine the truth. Experimental evidence is useless, for sometimes it supports one opinion and sometimes the other. Since even physicians are not sure of the truth, they are not at all dependable. When a person's life is hanging by a hairsbreadth, how can he place it in their hands? The slightest mistake can destroy one's life, as we see in many cases. The art of healing has many fine points, and these are concealed from the physician. "Like the nature of the fetus in a pregnant stomach” (Ecclesiastes 11:5), the body has many intricacies and details that the physician cannot perceive. One who is ill, or who is caring for someone who is ill, God forbid, shouldn’t say, "On whom should I rely? Certainly, I must do something. I can't just abandon the patient and not try to save him!” (see Tzaddik #194). This is a foolish conclusion, since a doctor is far from life and closer to its opposite. In the end, one must still rely on God, so why not do so from the beginning? Why place the patient in the hands of doctors, most of whom are the messengers of the Angel of Death? A person should imagine that he is in a forest or a wilderness. He would have no other choice but to depend on God. He should do the same when doctors are available. Physicians may use many hazardous treatments and still be totally ignorant of their effect. It is not surprising that they often do more damage than good. Why depend on a worldly cure when it is most likely to cause harm? The Rebbe often spoke with many great authorities and understood the art of healing very well. Still, he warned us to keep away from doctors. He once told us of a king who killed all the physicians in his kingdom merely because of the great damage they caused. The Rebbe once said in jest that the Angel of Death oversees the entire world and therefore cannot do all the killing himself. Because he needs help, he appoints agents in each locality. These agents are physicians. Doctors are agents of death and do little more. Fortunate is the man who depends on God alone. Some of what the Rebbe said is alluded to in his published works. But beyond this, the Rebbe often told us to avoid doctors. He said that no matter what happens, we should lift our eyes to Heaven and depend on God alone. The Rebbe himself traveled to Lemberg and accepted medical treatment, but this involved deep mysteries. It was not for remedies that he made this trip, but for mystical reasons known only to him. His intentions were as hidden and mysterious as they were on his journeys to Kamenetz, Novoritch and Sharograd. All the Rebbe's travels involved awesome mysteries, hidden from all human eyes. Upon returning from one journey, he told a wondrous story that is included in his Sipurey Maasiyot.81 He said that it explained the reason for his trip, but the meaning of the story itself is very cryptic. Who can fathom the depth of his tales or unravel the mystery of his travels? Everything the Rebbe did involved impalpable secrets. The same is true of his journey to Lemberg. Once he was there, he was compelled from on high to accept medicines, for reasons known only to him. But when the Rebbe returned from Lemberg, he spoke all the more strongly against medical practice. He strongly cautioned us to avoid doctors, devoting many lessons to this. He may have spoken about this earlier, but after Lemberg, he stressed it all the more.


This world only exists to bring about [God's] eternal purpose. There is no need to be upset whether one has money or not. Because either way he could waste away his days, for this world distracts us entirely. For it keeps displaying to a man as if he'll prosper, but in the end it's nothing. As one can see tangibly, with most people who are busy and toiling days and years in wares or commerce, and in the end when they come to reckoning there's nothing in their hands at all. Even if he attains money they remove him from his money. So the rule is the both of them do not stay together, that is, the man and the money. Rather, either they take the money from the man, or the man from the money. Never is it found that a person stays together with his money; it's only as mentioned above. Also, where is all the money he has ever made? For people are always making money, and where is all this money? Rather, it's totally, really nothing.

Serving H'? I don't know anyone who can say he's serving H', considering the Blessed Creator's greatness. Who knows any bit of His Blessed Greatness? I don't know how one can say he serves the Blessed One. Nor can any angel or seraf boast of serving the Blessed One. Just the main thing is the will, that his will should be strong and powerful to constantly draw close to the Blessed One. Nevertheless not all wills are equal and there are great differences between wills. Even in one man himself, each time and moment there are great differences between wills. The rule is the main thing is the will and aspirations, to always aspire to the Blessed One, and within this he prays, learns and does mitzvot. (Really, according to the Blessed One's greatness all these devotions are all nothing but "purported," for it's all like just a joke, vis a vis His Blessed greatness. In Yiddish, kloymirsht/ purported.)

Also chokhmot (sophistications, unnecessary complexity) are nothing; just temimut [purity, wholesomeness] and simplicity [are all you need]. Even though in temimut it's forbidden to be a fool, still nonetheless chokhmot are entirely unneeded, and as brought elsewhere (see LM II #19, 44). Also it's not good to be old. An old chasid, or an old tzaddik, old is not good! Because one needs to be new every day, starting anew at all times. Only, there is something that improves with age: Namely, "the other thing" [a pig] gets stronger with age, as our Rabbis obm said (Shabbat 77b).

Also hefkerut [detachment, abandon] is unneeded, even though really I don't call it hefkerut at all, on the contrary just the opposite: when someone pursues affairs of this world and is far from His Blessed service, this is the true mufkar. Nevertheless what the world calls hefkerut, namely one who abandons all the affairs of this world, one and all, and delves only in serving H', which this is what the world calls hefkerut, this too is unneeded, for one can be a kosher man without hefkerut.

Take this from me: Don't leave yourself to the world, to get led astray. Let the world not distract you, for there's not one person who will have a good end and conclusion from the world. And all mankind who ever existed, even those who grasped with their hands this whole entire world, their end was very bad; moreover through the ages they declined and lost. And even nations of the world need to know about this: since this world is nothing, what do they need to do? For this they need Heavenly assistance, to be privileged to know what they need to do. But Yisrael don't need this, for we already know what to do, by the Torah.

The world says one needn't seek greatness. But I say one needs specifically seeking greatness — seek and look specifically for the very greatest Tzaddik. And this is already explained in the books (LM #30), that it's necessary to seek precisely the very greatest Tzaddik and Rebbe.

Standing up to all the cravings that encumber a man, is the truth that cravings don't exists at all. For eating and drinking are needed for bodily sustenance, also children must be born; all these a man must do. Consequently, there are no cravings at all, only one needs to conduct oneself with them in sanctity and purity. A man's intellect can stand up to all the cravings, for the Holy Blessed One "yehiv chokhmata lechakimin/gives wisdom to the wise" (Dan. 2:21). For everyone has potential wisdom. He just needs to bring [it] out from potential to actuality, and with this intellect alone that each person has in his wisdom's potential, namely what he has from his very creation, aside from what Hashem Yithbarakh gives in addition wisdom to the wise, with the power of his wisdom alone he can also stand up against the cravings. And even someone who is already drawn after the cravings of this world and has transgressed whatever he's transgressed and his intellect is damaged, confused and reduced, nevertheless with the little bit of intellect that remains he can also stand. Even one point of intellect can stand up to the entire world and its cravings. So in whatever place he's located he can be nigh to Hashem Yithbarakh. And see elsewhere (v. LM II:7,65) about this, that even in lowest hell God forbid one can draw close to His Blessedness and serve the Blessed One in truth.

He spoke up and said: For this, either one needs great compassion from Hashem Yithbarakh, or effort and devotions, or one needs both of them: great efforts in serving H' and also great compassion from His Blessedness, before one is privileged that his brain's yeast settles and quiets down, until he wants absolute nothing in the world and to be indifferent to it all. "Behith'hallekha tancheh othkha, beshokhbekha tishmor `aleikha, wahakitzotha hi tesichekha/ When you walk it will lead you, when you lie down it will guard you; and when you awake it will chat with you" (Prov. 6:22). Meaning, it's all the same. There is no difference between this world, the grave, and `Olam haBa. For Behith'hallekha tancheh othkha is the Torah. So too is beshokhbekha tishmor `aleikha, as there where you lie in the grave, there too is Hashem Yithbarakh and the Torah. So too Wahakitzotha / you awake to `Olam haBa etc. (Sotah 21). For since there's no craving or desire at all for anything, only Hashem Yithbarakh and the Torah, hence all is equal to him, whether in this world or in the grave or in `Olam haBa. In all of them he cleaves only to Hashem Yithbarakh and the Torah. For any person who is connected to this world, there is a difference between this world which is wider than you can stretch your hands, and the grave which is a tight space and so forth. But whoever's brain is purified and has no yeast in his brain, it's all equal to him, as mentioned above.

59 It's more beneficial (mesugal) for your children, that you be aloof from them[edit]

It's more beneficial (mesugal) for your children, that you be aloof from them. Don't cling onto them, playing with them all the time. [Do what you must to raise them] but otherwise just don't watch them at all.

מסוגל יותר לבנים, להיות רחוק מהם. לבלי היות דבוק בהם לשעשע בהם בכל פעם. רק לבלי הסתכל עליהם כלל:


The Rebbe spoke as follows: How is it possible that we leave Hashem Yisborach to make and to think about decreeing Gezeiros in the World? (At that time, there were rumours that evil decrees were being made against the Jewish People, G‑d forbid.) For we need to call Hashem from his work that he is involved in some decree or anything similar, chas v’sholom, to call Him from there so that He will throw that away and turn to us to [hear] what we wish to speak with Him, to request from Him that He draws us close to His Service. When a Jewish person wants to speak with Hashem, to talk things over with G‑d, then Hashem abandons all of His interests, all the decrees that He wanted to pronounce and all His business that He was involved in (so to speak). He abandons everything and turns Himself only to this person who wishes to speak with Hashem and to have a conversation with G‑d, to ask Him for help in coming close to Him.

76 [Schedule of Learning][edit]

I heard it said in his name that he had learned all four Shulchan Arukhs three times. First time, he got its simple meaning. Second time, he learned them in depth, and he knew about every single decision in the Shulchan `Arukh its source in the Gemara, perush Rashi and Tosafot. Third time he learned them in depth, and merited to know for every single decision the secret meaning of the decision, why it was decided that way according the sod [mystical]. And it sounded like this was in his youth, for afterwards he reviewed and finished them several more times.

His way was always that he learned an vast, vast amount throughout his life until the end, even during his severe illness [tuberculosis] he had at the end. And even though he was beset with community responsibilities, having to work with us a great deal and with all his followers to draw them in serving H' and give us advice in all our doings etc. etc., and also his mind was always wandering in high and awesome realizations always etc. etc., nevertheless, every single day he delved a great deal in Torah learning in simplicity. He was never preoccupied; just always in yeshuv hada`ath ["settled mind"]. In this regard he was quite a wondrous novelty impossible to describe at all. Because of this he was always unoccupied for anything.

Always his learning was exceptionally quick. He would learn several sheets of posek in one hour, with every one of its commentaries surrounding the Shulkhan `Arukh in the huge volumes: which are the Turei Zahav, the Magen Avraham, the B'er Hagolah, the Pri Chadash, the `Ateret Zekeinim, and so forth in the other sections. He told that whilst everyone else is preparing to pray in the morning, when they're starting to gather until they start the service, during that time he learns four sheets of posek. The same with everything he learned, Gemara, posek, and so forth — it was all in great speed.

He told us a great deal, a great deal about this, that it is good to learn quickly without too much fine detail. Just learn simple and fast, without confusing one's mind a great in his learning with interrelation of one matter to another. Just see and understand the thing simply in its place. And if sometimes he cannot understand one thing, don't stand a long time there; leave that matter and continue learning further. Usually later he'll anyway know what he didn't understand before, when he learns in sequence fast ahead.

He said that in learning, one needs no more than to just say the words; to say the words in sequence and automatically understand, and not confuse his mind at the start of learning, wanting to understand immediately, making it much harder for him immediately and he won't understand at all. Just put his mind into the learning and say it in sequence quick and automatically understand. And if he doesn't understand right away he'll understand later. And if some things remain that he despite this he can't settle on its meaning, so what? For the advantage of breadth in learning is supreme over anything else. Like our sages of blessed memory said (Shabbat 63b), "Ligmar w'hadar lisbar, w'af `al gav d'la yeda` ma k'amar, sh'ne'emar (Ps. 119:20) Garsah nafshi l'ta'avah/ Learn first, understand later, even if he doesn't know what's being said, as it says, 'My soul recites (breaks) in gusto [for Your ordinances]'" etc.

For, by learning the large quantity that he learns fast and manages to learn a great deal, thereby he'll have the privilege of going over many times these books that he learns, learning them in depth and starting over and learning them in depth one time after another, and thereby he'll automatically understand the second time and third time whatever he didn't understand initially, everything that's possible to understand and come to terms with its contents.

He said a great deal about this matter. It is impossible to clarify these matters fully in writing, but actually it's a wonderful approach to learning, because this way one can manage to learn an extraordinary amount, completing many, many books. Further, he'll be privileged to understand the things better than by learning with a lot of minutia, because that confuses away [BLBL] a great deal away from the learning. A good portion of of people desisted entirely from their learning because of their excess concern with details and they were left with zilch. But when a person accustoms himself to learn quickly as mentioned without a lot of minutia, the Torah will endure in his hand and he'll manage to learn a very great deal: Gemara and all the poskim, Tanakh, Midrash, Zohar, Kaballah and other [mystical] books, entirely. And it's already explained above (#28) Rabbeinu obm's discussion that it's good for a man in his lifetime to go through all the books of the holy Torah.

One time Rabbeinu obm reckoned what a man would need to learn every day so that the day wouldn't suffice, namely finish every year the Shas with the Rif and the Rosh; the big four volumes of the Shulchan Arukh, all Midrashim entirely; all the books of Zohar, the Tikkunim and the Zohar Chadash; and all the Kabbalistic books from the Ari obm. In addition, a part of one’s daily learning should be given over to learning with a little in-depth study.

Then he added a great number of things: People also need to say Tehilim every day, and very great deal of supplications and prayers. In the course of this talk, he talked a great deal about this idea that a person should learn very quickly, hurriedly, without fuddling up his mind with many minutia [interrelating] one matter to another. These things are are tried and tested.

[As Aryeh Kaplan has pointed out (Rabbi Nachman’s Wisdom), Rabbi Nachman’s schedule here is immense: 30,000 pages of material per year. It would be a full-time task for most people just to rush through and say the words, much less to have the most basic idea of what one is saying. YDS]

Also he did not order to immediately review one's learning, rather his wish was always to learn the book or the posek he's learning, in order, from beginning to end quickly, and then after begin again and finish it entirely, and thus time after time.

He also said no one should get anxious from his saying one needs to learn so much every day. Because even if he doesn’t manage to learn so much, he still be a truly kosher person. Also, he had previously talked about that one can be a kosher person even if he doesn’t know how to learn at all. One can even be a tzaddik even though he's not scholarly at all. However, if one is not a scholar who is well-versed in Gemara, with Rashi and Tosafot, one cannot master certain concepts. Still, a kosher man and a total tzaddik he can become even if he's a completely simple man.

"It's not [all] your responsibility to finish the work, but neither are you free to desist from it” (Avot 2:16).


The entire world is full of disputes, whether between the nations of the world, or likewise between city and city, or likewise between each household and household, between the neighbors, and between each man with his wife, or his children, or his servants and their children, and there is no one who will remark to themselves the purpose of it all, that on each and every day a person dies; for the day before will not return again, and on each day one gets closer to death. And know this, that it is all one. That the dispute that is in particular between a person and the members of his household and so on as above, is the same exact dispute that is between the kings and the nations. For each member of his household contains an aspect of a specific nation, and they taunt each other like there are wars between nations. And also it is possible to know of each one what nation is reflected through them, for the qualities of each nation are known, [for example] that one is wrathful and murderous, and so on, and similar qualities can be found among the particular members of a household.


It is proper for a man to accustom himself to be in `Olam haBa/the World to Come, that is, to be separated from cravings, as in `Olam haBa, wherein there is no eating, drinking or any of the beastly cravings which end and are lost, in this world. And like we see with a sick person, that because he is a little close to `Olam haBa, he is repulsed by eating, drinking, and relations, and has no craving; on the contrary he is tired of and repulsed by all the cravings because he is nigh to `Olam haBa where there is no eating or drinking, etc. So should a man accustom himself while still in his living life and in his health, that he be able to conduct himself without cravings as in `Olam haBa. And certainly he would not able to bear at all the life and delights of this world; so much so that because of this, forgetfulness is a lofty attribute, even though it is a not-good trait; despite this it is a level whereby it is possible for a man to live in this world. For, there is a very great angel, who has a thousand heads, and each head has a thousand tongues, and each tongue has a thousand voices, and each voice has a thousand melodies; and when this angel stands up to sing, it is certainly so very beautiful and pleasant that it is totally inestimable and inconceivable. And now, let a man himself remember his inferiority and lowliness compared to this -- so how can he endure his life? He will certainly be so disgusted with his life that he dies before his time. And so if he would remember his inferiority -- especially as be the case with many people who are very dirty and abominable with sins -- certainly if there was no forgetfulness at all it would be impossible to him to pick himself up at all to serve Hashem Yitbarakh. And because of all this, forgetfulness is a lofty trait for this reason. But the man ought to himself remember to not lose his world, God forbid. And our Sages obm said, "that haKadosh Barukh Hu will give ShaY (שַׁ"י=310) worlds in the future to each and every tzadik," etc. Now let him estimate in his mind the greatness of one world; how many, many buildings it has, and how many, many courtyards and throughways, and how many, many cities and countries; and the vast area of each world, and so many, many stars and constellations that there is no count, and wonderful and awesome celestial spheres that are in each and every world. For all these are in one world of the worlds. And now, ShaY worlds that each tzadik has, so precious is are its greatness, delights and pleasures and they are inestimable and infathomable. And behold, ShaY worlds that the Tzadik has -- he builds them from disputes. For, all the words of dispute which each person speaks are an aspect of stones, for, letters are called stones, as is brought in Sefer Yetzirah, "Two stones build" etc., and they are aspect of pieces of stone, for, the stones that come by way of the words of dispute are divided and have no connection, and the Tzadik picks up these stones and joins them, and builds houses from them, for he makes peace between them, and joins and arranges them together upon each other, until he builds a house from them. And this is the aspect of shalom bayit/peace in the house, for he makes the aspect of peace from these pieces of stone. And a city is made from the houses, until a full world is made from them, and so ShaY worlds. And this is aspect of, "le'hanchil ohavai yesh/That I may cause those that love me to inherit יֵשׁ/YeSh/substance" -- "those that love me" specifically, aspect of love and peace [for, by the peace and love that he makes between the pieces of stone are made the ShaY worlds]. And this is what Avigail said to David, when Naval disputed with him and spoke ill of him, as it says there, "Amrah lo, ve`atah yada`ti ki bayit ya`aseh lekha Hashem/She said to him, Now I know that Hashem will make you a house," that is, via the dispute "ya`aseh lekha Hashem" a house from the stones, as mentioned above. For the Tzadik leans to the side of chesed/kindness and judges all those who dispute against him favorably, that their intentions are for the sake of Heaven, for, the world would not be able to bear the light of the Tzadik whose light very great for the world to bear, and also because there are many great judgements and accusations against the true great Tzadik, therefore they dispute against him, and thereby they silence the judgements and accusations, as we see, when there is a harsh judgment against a man, and a man dons zealotry and says, "I will go and execute vengeance with him and do justice with him," and thereby he silences from him the other plaintiffs that accuse, whose judgement he would not be able to bear. Hence this one who goes and takes vengeance against him does him a very great favor, for surely it is better and more favorable for him to bear the judgement of this one, which he can bear, than to bear their judgement, God forbid, which would not be possible for him to bear; as we have found with Pinchas, with the deed of Zimri, for, if not for Pinchas, Yisrael would God forbid have been liable to destruction, but because Pinchas went out and was zealous for the zealotry of Hashem, thereby he silenced the judgement from off of Yisrael, as is written, "Bekan'o et kin'ati betokham velo kiliti/when he was zealous for my zeal within them, and I did not destroy," etc. Likewise this one who disputes against the Tzadik and says, "I will do to him and show him my strength and take vengeance against him," thereby he silences from him the remaining judgmenets, as mentioned. And he also does him a favor, when the Tzadik needs to go from level to level, then they try him, whether he has power to stand in the heikhal/hall of the King. And the hall of the King is aspect of the mouth of the Tzadik which is called heikhal which is gematria Ad-nai which is aspect of mouth, as is written, "malkhut -- peh/Kingship [is] the mouth." And the tzadik disputing against him is a trial for this Tzadik upon whom is the dispute, whether he has power to stand in the hall of the King, in the mouth of the tsadik who is disputing against him, and thereby he raises him from level to higher level. Hence he does him a favor.


The Rebbe explained many times that one needs not deep wisdoms to properly serve his Creator, rather all that is needed is Purity, Simplicity, and Faith. The Rebbe explained that Simplicity is above all else; similarly regarding God, for God is above all else, and God is the ultimate essence of Simplicity.


It's much better to be a "Fool that believes in everything", meaning, to believe even in nonsense and falsehoods in order to thereby also arrive at the truth than to be a wise man that doubts everything, meaning, someone that doubts and criticizes nonsense and falsehoods comes to judge even the truth as falsehood. "It is better that I be called a fool all my life, and not be wicked for even a moment before God."


It is [already] known that learning the Zohar is very, very mesugal [capable of bringing good effects]. Now know, that by learning the Zohar, desire is generated for all kindsa of studying the holy Torah; and the holy wording of the Zohar greatly arouses [a person] towards service of Hashem Yitbarakh. Namely, the praise with which it praises and glorifies a person who serves Hashem, that is, the common expression of the Zohar in saying, "Zaka'ah/ Fortunate!" etc. regarding any mitzvah; and vice-versa, the cry that it shouts out, "Vai!" etc., "Vai leh, Vai lenishmateh/Woe to him, Woe to his soul!" regarding one who turns away from the service of Hashem -- these expressions greatly arouse the man for the service of the Blessed One.


Rabbi Shim'on Bar Yochai so much sanctified the Lashon haTargum (Aramaic), that even other things that are written in Lashon haTargum have the power to awaken [people] for H"Y.

רבי שמעון בר יוחאי קדש כל כך את לשון התרגום עד שאפלו שאר דברים הנכתבים בלשון תרגום יש להם כח לעורר להשם יתברך:


There are many nonsenses and confusions that cling and bind in the mind, especially confusions of the emunah/faith/steadfastness. But by sleep we detach from the mind, so sleep is exceedingly beneficial for Emunah, as mentioned above (#13).

יש כמה שטותים ובלבולים המתדבקים ומתחברים בהמח ובפרט בלבולי האמונה, ועל ידי השנה נפרדים מהמח וביותר מועיל השנה לאמונה כנזכר לעיל (סעיף יג):

[Here ends the first part of Sichot haRan, first printed in the 1815 Sipurei Ma`asiyoth]

PART TWO (continuation, printed in the second edition)[edit]


"Iwweleth adam tesallef darko, we`al-H' yiz`af libbo/The foolishness of man perverts his way; and his heart frets against H'" (Prov. 19:3). Meaning: Whoever does not attach to and follow the True Tzaddik, then all his devotions are only like someone who distorts himself and imitates someone else, as a monkey does a man. So this is, "Iwweleth adam tesallef darko," namely a person via his foolishness all his devotions are only in the aspect of "tesallef darko/perverts his way," like one who perverts and distorts himself to copy someone else, as mentioned. And the cause is, "we`al-H' yiz`af libbo/and his heart frets against H'," namely he contends with the Tzaddik and does not follow him; consequently he is "tesallef darko/perverting his way," so he is only like someone imitating as mentioned. For his devotion has no mamash/reality/substance/tangibility except by the True Tzaddik, as brought elsewhere (see L"M #123).

"אולת אדם תסלף דרכו ועל ה' יזעף לבו" (משלי יט, ג). פרוש מי שאינו מקשר ומקרב לצדיק אמתי, אזי כל עבודתו הוא רק כמו מי שמעקם עצמו ומתדמה לחברו כקוף בפני אדם. וזהו אולת אדם תסלף דרכו, הינו שהאדם על ידי אולתו כל עבודתו היא רק בבחינת תסלף דרכו כמו מי שמסלף ומעקם עצמו אחר חברו כנ"ל. והטעם כי ועל ה' יזעף לבו, הינו שחולק על הצדיק ואינו מקרב אליו על ידי זה תסלף דרכו שהוא רק כמי שמעקם עצמו כנ"ל, כי אין ממש בעבודה כי אם על ידי הצדיק האמתי כמובא במקום אחר (עיין לקוטי מוהר"ן, חלק א', סעיף קכג):


It is brought [Zohar?]: If the Torah were written in order, we would know each penalty and reward of each negative and positive commandment. Now, there is a transgression, that its punishment is the person is forever in debt. Even if he does every possible ploy and effort, it won't help at all, and he'll always be in debt. And sometimes the transgression causes others as well to be dragged down into debt. It is for this reason there have been times when many people in the world fall into debt; this is precisely because of the abovementioned transgression that overwhelms the world, God forbid. And the `etzah/advice/remedy for this to perform a universal teshuvah/repentance/return, and plead before H"Y to save him from this transgression, and have remorse in generality over this transgression. Now, the time to do teshuvah for this is when he is in mochin d'gadluth [a mature, expanded state]; that's when it's good to have remorse and ask of the Blessed Creator about this and return in teshuvah. For, mochin d'katnuth [a myopic, hopeless state] is the aspect of debt, for our Rabbis obm said (Kid. 49b), "Ten measures of sleep came down to the world; slaves took nine." Sleep is the aspect of mochin d'katnut. Slaves are the aspect of "Ebed lowweh l'ish malweh/The borrower is servant to the lender" (Prob. 22:7). So when he is in mochin d'gadlut, that's the good time to Teshuvah over this and nullify the penalty of a debtor, the aspect of mochin d'katnut, as mentioned.

איתא: אם התורה היתה נכתבת כסדר היו יודעין כל ענש ושכר של כל לא תעשה ועשה. הנה יש עברה שענשה של עברה ההיא שיהא בעל חוב תמיד ואפלו יעשה כל טצדקי דאפשר והתפעלות לא יועיל כלל, ויהיה בעל חוב תמיד. ולפעמים גורם העברה שמפיל גם אחרים להיותם בעלי חובות. ולזה יש עת שנעשו כמה בעלי חובות בעולם, זהו מחמת העברה הנ"ל שנתגברה בעולם חס ושלום. ועצה לזה, לשוב בתשובה בכלליות ולהתחנן לפני השם יתברך להצילו מעברה זו ולהתחרט בכלליות על עברה זו. ועת לשוב על זה הוא כשהוא במחין דגדלות אזי טוב להתחרט ולבקש מאת הבורא יתברך על זה ולשוב בתשובה. כי מחין דקטנות הוא בחינת בעל חוב, כי אמרו רבותינו זכרונם לברכה (קדושין מט:): עשרה קבין שנה ירדו לעולם; תשעה נטלו עבדים. שנה הוא בחינת מחין דקטנות. עבדים בחינת "עבד לוה לאיש מלוה" (משלי כב, ז). ולזה כשהוא במחין דגדלות אזי העת לשוב על זה ולבטל הענש של בעל חוב בחינת מחין דקטנות כנזכר לעיל:


העולם אומרים: מי שהקדוש ברוך הוא רוצה לעשותו נער הוא לוקח אשתו ממנו. כי אשה כשרה היא בחינת "אשת חיל עטרת בעלה" (שם יב, ד). וכשמתה חס ושלום הוא בחינת "נ'פלה ע'טרת ר'אשנו" (איכה ה, טז), ראשי תבות נער:


The main test of a man in this world is sexual desire. Even financial desire, though it is a greatly damaging temptation and is even connected to idolatry, nevertheless, the main test in the world is that of sexual temptation.

And These are Additions to the Previous. Beautiful Roses and Flowers That We Have Gathered and Collected From Among The Conversations of our Great Teacher Rabbi Nachman That Are Still in Manuscript[edit]


In the town of Ossatin close to the city of Medvedevka, that's where his father in law obm lived, and that's the main place he gre up. And there flows a big river and there's an extreme growth of reeds there. ...


He applauded himself in that he knew all the teachings of the Etz Chayim and the Pri Etz haChayim and all the writings of the Ari z"l; of the book of the Zohar, the main part being the Tikkunim. Understood from his words was that this was in the days of his youth. And he lauded exceedingly, many times, praising the vast holiness of the Tikkunei haZohar; with it he was regularly involved the most, even year-round, even outside the days of Elul. And he said that in the book of the Tikkunim are included all the wisdoms in the world, etc.

Conversations, Stories and Circumstances Surrounding Various Torahs and the Story Tales[edit]




In Likutei Moharan II:92: The remedy for Mikreh Lailah (nocturnal pollution), God forbid, is to say the ten chapters of Psalms, as brought in Likutei Moharan #205 etc. - and know, these are the ten chapters etc.:

Know this, my brother, that at first when he obm said this Torah that begins "The repair for Mikreh Laila" that's printed in the first volume [of Likutei Moharan], #205 - when he first revealed it I was not present by him. But Hashem Yitbarakh made me privileged and I arrived shortly after he revealed it, and someone [R' Yoske, the husband of Rebbe Nachman's daughter Adil] told me in his name this Torah exactly as he heard from his holy mouth. As soon as I heard from that person this Torah, Hashem Yitbarakh brought me the opportunity to discuss it with him and he repeated and summarized it for me, the way it's already printed in the aforementioned Likutei Moharan #205. When he revealed that Torah he did not reveal which are the chapters to say; he only said plain, "say ten Tehillim for this repair." I heard from his holy mouth, then, saying that it would have been proper to reveal which are the ten chapters one needs to say, but whatever ten chapters a person says, they are a repair for this, because any ten Psalms at all correspond to the ten types of Neginah, song, which are the repair for this. And then when he revealed this Torah he first said the first Tikkun is that a man needs to immerse in Mikveh (and he said it in these words: das ershte iz mivke), and then he revealed this tikkun, to say ten Tehillim. Also one time he said a person needs to make sure to immerse on the same day he had an unclean event, and even if he can't immerse in the morning, still he should immerse on the same day even if it's before evening, because he has to take great care to immerse on that same day specifically (and see the parables after Sipurei Maasiyot where he said it's very good to immerse immediately etc., see there).

Afterwards, after almost four years had passed - and what happened in those years, myriads of sheets wouldn't suffice to tell - and he already had the sickness that he would pass away from - and he had already returned from Lemberg. One time in winter he was lying on his bed and we were standing before him when suddenly he started talking about the Ten Psalms that are the remedy for this, and then he ordered me to write down on paper the verses by which the ten types of Song are alluded that are this Tikkun. And I sat down to write and from his mouth and he called out to me and revealed the verses while I wrote them in the book the way they are printed (in Likutei Moharan II:92). And then he revealed his desire to reveal specifically which are the ten Psalms one needs to say on the same day, and we were standing and waiting for him to reveal it to us - but we were not privileged immediately.

We had to travel and take leave of him, then later I was by him on a Shabbat, and Hashem Yitbarakh brought it about that I saw with my eyes his holy handwriting where he already wrote for himself the ten chapters of Psalms one needs to say. But it was not proper that I take his handwriting myself without his permission, and I wanted to grab them mentally by memory but I was not able due to the fear of my Rebbi lest he mind that I had entered his room and found this handwriting of his and looked at it without his permission (for this event happened on Shabbat p. Shekalim 5570 when he obm left his room and entered his larger room for the Torah reading, and it was then that I entered his room and saw this handwriting of his). Then on Sunday when I was taking leave of him to go home I spoke with him and asked him to reveal to me these ten Psalms, because I knew he already had them written down as mentioned, but he was not willing. He said there will be time later, and I went from him.

Soon afterwards while I was home in Nemyrev, he revealed the ten Psalms before the rav of here, of Breslev (R' Aharon) and my friend Rabbi Naftali of Nemyrev, and he designated them as witnesses to it, and said to them thus: "Being that in this matter (that is, nocturnal pollution, God forbid) surely three quarters of the world's people are trapped, I take you for witnesses - now know that these ten Psalms are super, super effective for Tikkun Keri and they're a complete repair, super, super effective. And some people, it happens due to eating or drinking too much or due to weakness or exhaustion, or because he slept in the wrong position, and all this is insignificant (and it's like a child wetting its bed). And some people are protected from on High and they're saved from a Mikreh, or his Mazal protects him and he escapes. Also sometimes a person dreams he's falling and then he wakes up, and this too is from Heaven saving him. Only when it happens to him, God forbid, due to fantasies, it generates Klipot, God forbid, as explained in the Sefarim. But whoever says on the same day these ten Psalms, it will definitely be repaired by it, very, very much. And many are the great Tzaddikim who wanted to do something about this matter and strived to find a complete remedy for it, and some of them knew generally what the matter is, and some of them started to know a little about this repair but they passed on to their world in the middle of their involvement in it and didn't finish it. But I, Hashem Yitbarakh helped me that I merited to do something about it completely. This matter of this Tikkun by saying these ten chapters of Psalms is an entirely new thing, a miraculous innovation, for it's a super, super wondrous and awesome repair (see below). Whoever can go to the Mikveh and then say them, for sure it's better, but even if he's stuck and cannot immerse, for example if he's sick or traveling, nevertheless if he says them, fortunate is he, for they are a very great and awesome remedy. If he can say them with the proper concentration and meditations it's definitely good. But even the mere recital is very Mesugal."

And he said, "This has not been known since the world was created. Of course, I wanted to eliminate it entirely, but it's impossible both physically and spiritually. Physically it's impossible because it would be necessary to change the nature of all mankind permanently. And this is impossible, for even Moshe Rabbeinu a"h and others who suspended nature, it was only temporarily and in a particular spot for example the parting of the Yam Suf or splitting the Yarden etc. and it was only temporary. But eliminating the nature of all mankind - for every person's nature would have to be eliminated and changed, and also nature itself would have to be nullified and changed permanently, and that's impossible. Even in the spiritual worlds it's impossible etc. But the ten Psalms are a miraculous and precious thing and super effective."

He also designated them as witnesses and said that when his days are finished then after his passing, whenever someone comes to his grave and recites there these ten Psalms and gives a small coin to charity, "Even if his sins and mistakes are very, very great and severe, God forbid, I will do everything in my power and span the length and width of the universe to save him and help him! ... I am very bold and confident in everything that I say, but regarding this I'm even bolder, that these ten Psalms are super, super effective. And these are the Ten Psalms: 16, 32, 41, 42, 59, 77, 90, 105, 137, 150." As has already been printed several times (only in Sipurei Maasiyot it was printed the first time [in 1815] with #137 misprinted due to a printer's error, and from there the error spread to other books and siddurim that copied from there). A person should say them in the sequence they are written in the book of Psalms.

And he said: "This is Tikkun haKlali, the General Remedy. For, every sin has its particular remedy - but this tikkun is the General Remedy." He also said that this matter of the ten Psalms should be told and revealed to everybody. He said, "Even thought it's an easy thing to say ten Psalms, nevertheless this too will be hard to perform." This has now happened, nowadays due to our many sins, that due to so much controversy from the opposers, most of the world has been prevented from using it. He, obm, predicted all this. But we have done what's incumbent on us, publicizing this Tikkun for whoever wants to be repaired. Let everyone do what he thinks is right. Whoever listens listens, whoever rejects it rejects it - our own souls we have saved (Eze. 3:19).

The author of Seder Tikkun Shabbat [probably Israel b. Ḥayyim of Belgrade ר' ישראל מבלגראד] attributes [these ten psalms] to a "Sefer Asarah Hillulim." This is an error, because, dear reader, please look in the book Tikkun Moed Ternopil 5573? and you will see they are explicitly attributed to our Rebbe, Rabbi Nachman z"l; just as many other sefarim attribute them to Rabbeinu z"l. Also you may go ahead and try searching all those books that refer to them [the Ten Psalms] without attributing them to Rabbeinu and you will see they are all printed after Rabbeinu z"l's passing, as he passed away at the start of 5571 during Chol haMoed Sukkot. Perhaps that rav and the others, due to their great desire to publicize them to the greatest number of people - and as is well-known there has been [fierce] opposition and detractors against Rabbeinu z"l - therefore they took advantage of the teaching of our Sages z"l (Yebamot 65b), "It is permissible to say a different truth for the sake of peace." This is especially true in the case of something as important as this Tikkun.

So know this full well, that the aforementioned is the correct history, that they are an wholly and entirely new Tikkun and no created beings had ever known it since the beginning of time. Say them in the name of Rabbeinu z"l, so that his lips should murmur them (Sanhedrin 90b), which is something all tzaddikim desire. This is what motivated me in disclosing all this. May his merit stand up for us; may he rectify all our sins and suffering and save us. Amen, may it be God’s will.



[#147-151 are regarding the Story Tales]

I heard one of his followers say that before Rabbeinu obm told the tale of the King's Son Who Was Made Entirely of Gemstones which is printed [in Sipurei Ma`asiyot #5], he said before telling it, "I know a story that contains the entire Divine Name of 42 letters," and then he told this story. But nonetheless we do not know if this is the story of the 42-Letter Name. And I too heard from his holy mouth several years ago, saying that the Baal Shem Tov obm knew a story that contained the 42-Letter Name, and he spoke with me then regarding the 42-Letter Name. And he asked me to find an explanation in common language [i.e. Yiddish] regarding the two Letters vav and tzaddi that are in that name, and I could not find [it]. And according to [my] understanding it was because he already knew the secret of that name, but only these two letters vav and tzaddi he was still unable to insert into the matter that he wanted to clothe this Name in.


When he told the tale of the Prayer Leader that is printed in Sipurei Ma`asiyot he asked us afterwards, "Who told the story that there were factions in their chronicles?" — regarding the factions that were made at the time there was a storm wind in the world, etc. We replied to him that one of the strongmen of the Warrior told this to the Prayer Leader, as explained there. And he nodded his head that it was so, and we understood from his words that there is a very profound intention in this, why specifically one of the guards told this. And from this, learn that in each and every utterance of the stories there is a very, very profound intention, impossible for the mouth to speak or for the heart to ponder.


[Rabbi Nachman] told the Tale of the Seven Beggars printed in Sipurei Ma`asiyot [Story #13] over several days, and each time he told a matter related to what people were telling him, which caused him to start telling the story.

In the beginning, on the night of the holy Sabbath it began because of sniffing-tobacco which he received from one of his people and which was mentioned in a letter that I sent to my friend [R' Naftali], that he, of blessed memory, had received it; and I wrote to him, [telling him] to be happy. Then he commented on this; he spoke up and said, “I will tell you how once they were happy!” [I heard that he said it in these words: “What do you know about how to rejoice from out of melancholy?! I'll tell you how they once rejoiced!” — Chayei Moharan #63]. And he began to tell the story. He told the whole introduction to the story through the end of the First Day pertaining to the beggar who was blind. And all this was on the night of the holy Shabbat, and I [Rabbi Natan] was at my home in Nemyrev [while Rabbi Nachman was in Breslev].

Afterwards on Tuesday my friend [Rav Naftali] came to my house and told this story and I stood trembling and astounded, for indeed I had already heard from him many awesome stories, but a story like this I had not ever heard from his holy mouth. Afterwards I went there and I came to the house of our Rabbi of blessed memory when he was already closed in his room. In the morning, which was Wednesday, I entered and approached him and spoke with him a great deal, and I told him stories of the world that I had heard recently, and afterwards he spoke with me regarding the said story which he told on the night of the holy Shabbat, and he said that he greatly desired to know (i.e. tell) the end, that is, what happens on all the rest of the seven days of celebration; and also the whole conclusion of the ending of the story of the king's son who had received the kingdom from his father during his lifetime, with which the story began. And he told me, then, that similarly, each day of the seven days of celebration, each day one of the Seven Beggars would come and bless them and give them a wedding gift etc. And he also told me about the order of the story of the elders with the memories, which matter I did not hear in completely clear order from my friend, and he, of blessed memory, himself explained me a little of it in order. And he also spoke with me regarding the blind one who boasted that he does not remember anything at all (in Yiddish, Ich gidenk gar nisht) that the explanation of Ich gidenk gar nisht is that he remembers when he did not yet have any existence etc., and he found this a wonder.

Afterwards I greatly yearned that he should start telling about the Second Day, but I did not attain it, for meanwhile his attendant came and said, “Rabbi, it is mealtime.” And he set the table before him to eat and I had to leave from his presence. Afterwards, after he slept a little after eating, afterwards I returned and went in to him, and stood before him, telling him several things from worldly affairs, and mostly from Berdichev, where I was close to at the time. And I spoke with him regarding that everyone is full of many worries and lackings, that all the big rich people lack severely, each and every one, etc. And afterwards I spoke up and said to him this verse (Eccl. 3:11): “He has set the world in their heart, yet so that man cannot find out the work that God has done from the beginning even to the end;” see the comment of Rashi. He, of blessed memory, replied, “Isn’t this our story?” And immediately he asked where we are in the story. And I was immediately frightened due to my great yearnings I had for hearing this, and I answered him in trepidation that we are on the Second Day. He answered and said, “On the second day they again yearned” etc. And he then told on Wednesday the whole story of the Second Day, and afterwards on the night of the Holy Sabbath the story of Third and Fourth Day, and afterwards on Sunday the story of the Fifth Day, and afterwards on the following Tuesday the story of the Sixth Day. After he told the story of the Sixth Day we were standing before him, and one of his people told him some story. He answered and said, “Isn’t this exactly related to the story of the Seventh Day?” And he said it seems the world is telling his story and he very much wanted to tell it, but we did not merit it being told then, and he did not tell any more of it.


One time he said, "Whoever I get and receive money and so forth from, I give to [that person], for in my receiving I give." (And this is the concept explained in the story of the Sixth Day in The Seven Beggars, where someone boasted of the wonders of the power in his hand; see there.)


The story of the Third and Fourth Day, he told on the night of the Holy Shabbat, as mentioned above. And then at that time his baby grandson was on his sickbed, and he had great affliction from this, for his illness was very serious, specially since his daughter the righteous Mrs. Udel, may she live long, the mother of the child, had great pain in child raising; God save us. Hashem keep her now.

He, of blessed memory, went in on the night of the holy Shabbat and sat at the table in great pain and did not take his time at this meal at all. We blessed right away [reciting] the Grace After Meals before people started entering in to him as they always did. Afterwards, after the Grace After Meals he remained sitting at his holy table and opened his holy, pure and awesome mouth and then said this wonderful and awesome discussion, which had holy Torah as always in most of his holy discussions, and the whole discussion pertained to the great pain he had. To the best of our recollection, he spoke then of "the Heart that is pursued" etc.

And then during that conversation he spoke up and asked where we were in the story. Immediately we were startled and answered him in panic, awe and fear that we are on the Third Day. Immediately he replied saying, “On the third day again the couple remembered, “How can [the speech-impaired beggar be brought here]…” (as printed there) and he told the whole story of the Third Day and explained there is a little resembling what he told earlier. Then he finished the story of the Third Day, that a celebration was made there etc.; then he said in these words: “Zei haben a hilwe gitan [They had a blast].” Right afterwards he told the story of the Fourth Day, and as soon as he finished it, he immediately and right away left the table quickly.

And because I was very busy in my mind going over the two awesome stories of the Third and Fourth Days and I immediately reviewed them with the people who were there so no word would be lost from them, because of this I forgot the whole holy discussion mentioned that he spoke before it. A pity it is lost. Honor and praise to the Living God for letting us be privileged to remember and record these stories that even according to the limited inspiration in my heart I have no vessel of speech and writing to speak of the high awesomeness of their level. [See Chayei Moharan #64 regarding the inception of telling of the Fifth Day.]

Afterwards on Tuesday it was close to Pesach and he left his house because they were plastering the house for Pesach. And he went to the house of the Rav [of the city], and there we stood before him. And I do not remember what matter they spoke in is presence that had some little connection to some matter of the story of the Sixth Day, but because of it he told the story of the Sixth Day, and afterwards someone told him etc. as mentioned.

And behold, then it was close to Pesach as mentioned, and in my opinion the secret of the parting of the Sea of Reeds is hinted in the matter of the ten walls of water. And see Likutei Halakhot in Yoreh Deah hilchot tolaim (halakhah ד) and explained there is the matter that Hashem enlightened my eyes with in this.

The rule is that with each story that he told, the story came about via some conversation that he had and spoke with us regarding worldly stories, and in the midst of them he began to tell the story by means of the story having some utterances with relation to the story in his heart. And this was like it`aruta diltata [arousal from below], to draw down perceptions of Godliness that he clothed in that story. And so it was with each and every story.

And so it was with several Torot he revealed that were not at a fixed assembly time. And in all this we always saw the wonders of Hashem and the greatness of the level of the Tzaddik, that all the utterances in the world were for him Torah and revelation of Godliness. But much more did we see this with this awesome story of the Seven Beggars which is wonderful awesome high revelations without bound. As an understanding person will understand by himself if he puts his heart to them with an eye of truth to understand and perceive holy wonders of the boastings of each one mentioned there each day, and in particular the greatness of the holiness of the boasting of the seven beggars themselves who boast each day: that the blind one boasted that he doesn’t look at the world at all, therefore he is actually blind to this world; and likewise the deaf one who doesn’t hear any sound of this world etc., therefore he is deaf etc. etc. And likewise with each speech of this story which are all wonderful revelations even according to meager minds even though we do not understand them at all. And all this revelation, it is all through stories of worldly matters; through them it came about that he had pity on us in such extraordinary compassion and revealed to us all this, in order to benefit us and our children forever.

He said regarding the tales that he told, that it would be better to not reveal of them what any of the clues hint to, for when the thing is hidden, more can be accomplished with it that is needed. But he was forced occasionally to just reveal some hint, in order they should know there are hidden things in them.

Other Teachings[edit]



His Effort and Toil in Service of Hashem[edit]



His Awesome Attainments[edit]




Rabbeinu obm said he knows the roots of the Israelite souls. First he said he knows them from the Written Torah, but still doesn't know them from the Oral Torah. After some time he said he's already managed to know the roots of the Yisraelite souls even from the Oral Torah.

And he had the knowledge to give tikkunim (remedies, repairs) to each person, according to the root of his soul. And all the things he prescribed were not mystical things [like] mental concentrations and yichudim [unifications], rather all the things he prescribed for his followers were devotional things. One person he prescribed to do certain fast -- but he warned his followers to not make their own fasts at all, only on days he ordered [certain people]. Sometimes he ordered one to fast from Shabbat to Shabbat. And he prescribed several people to stay up one night a week and to not eat for a 24 hours during the week of davar min ha chai. Many peolpe he ordered to fast Erev Rosh Chodesh. Similarly he ordered most people to take care to go to the mikveh and immerse on the days Tachanun is not said; this he ordered many people. Many people he ordered to read Chai (18) chapters of Mishnah each day, and other many kinds of practices he commanded in learning, telling this one to learn this and that one to learn that.

Now this was the universal conduct he prescribed and urged everybody. Namely to learn Posek (decided halakhah) every day. Even on a day he's not free to learn he must anyway learn some Seif of Shulkhan `Arukh wherever his place there. He said it's a major requirement upon every Yisrelite. The following was also a universal practice he urged everybody: To to Hithbodeduth (private time with God) every day, opening his words to Hashem Yithbarakh and asking grace from him, and pleading to be privileged to draw close to His Blessed devotion. This talking should be done in the common Yiddish we speak [or whatever one's native tongue]. As explained in his holy books, and already printed.

And so forth the other practices..

וכיוצא בזה שאר עניני הנהגות שצוה על כל אחד ואחד בפרט כי לכל אחד ואחד צוה הנהגות אחרות (שסח). וגם באדם אחד היה שנוי בענין ההנהגות, שבתחלה צוה על אחד לנהג הנהגות אלו, כגון לומר ח"י פרקים משניות וכיוצא, ואחר כך במשך איזה זמן פטרו מהנהגה זו וצוה עליו הנהגות אחרות. ואחר כך עוד במשך איזה זמן צוה עליו הנהגות אחרות. וכן התנהג עם מקרביו תמיד. לאחד צוה לומר פסוק מיוחד בכל יום ולאחד צוה לומר איזה משנה מיוחדת בכל יום וכיוצא בזה:

והכלל שלכל אחד ואחד צוה הנהגות מיוחדות כפי מה שהיה צריך לתקן מה שפגם וכפי שרש נשמתו. ויש הנהגות כלליות שצוה לכל המקרבים שלו כנ"ל. ויש הנהגות שהיה כלליות לכמה וכמה אנשים ויש הנהגות שהיו מיוחדות לכל אחד ואחד ביחוד:

וכן בענין הזמן, יש הנהגות שצוה לנהג אותם כל ימי חייו, כגון למוד הפוסקים שעל זה הזהיר בפרוש לנהג זאת כל אחד ואחד כל ימי חייו, ויש הנהגות שהיו תלויים בזמן, שבזמן זה צוה לנהג הנהגה זו, ובזמן אחר צוה הנהגות אחרות וכנזכר לעיל. וכל ההנהגות שצוה אפלו ההנהגות שהיו נראים כדברים פשוטים, לא היתה שום הנהגה על פי פשוט כי היה לו, זכרונו לברכה, בזה כמה וכמה סודות נסתרות ונוראות מאד. אבל לנו לא גלה שום דבר. רק צוה לעשות הדבר בפשיטות והוא עשה בזה מה שעשה:

ואמר בפרוש בזה הלשון: כל הנהגה והנהגה שאני מצוה לעשות הוא סגולה, ותקון. ומועיל על מה שעבר, ועל העתיד, ולאחר ההסתלקות של האדם, ולימות המשיח, ולתחית המתים, ולעתיד לבוא:

וכל מה שצוה לעשות, אפלו היה נראה דבר קל ופשוט מאד, היה כבד מאד על האדם לעשות. והיה מונח עליו כל מיני כבדות והיו עליו כמה וכמה מניעות אף על פי שהדבר היה דבר פשוט. ואלו לא היה מצוה רבנו זכרונו לברכה לעשות אותו הדבר, רק האדם היה רוצה לעשות זאת מעצמו היה קל עליו מאד לעשות, אבל כשצוה רבנו זכרונו לברכה לעשותו היה כבד מאד. אבל אף על פי כן היו אנשים שלו מקימים דבריו תמיד. כי ידעו מזה שדבריו שהוא מצוה כבד מאד לעשותן והיו מכריחים עצמם מאד מאד לקים דבריו דיקא. והיו מתחננים ומבקשים מאד מהשם יתברך על זה שיעזר אותם לקים דברי הנהגותיו הקדושים. והשם יתברך עזרם על זה:

ושמעתי מפיו הקדוש בפרוש שאמר: כל מה שאני מצוה לעשות הוא כבד מאד לעשות וכו'. ומי שזכה להתקרב אליו היה רואה קצת מעין זה. ולא היה לרבנו זכרונו לברכה שום מנוחה כל ימיו אפלו רגע אחת. כי היה לוחם מלחמות ה' בכל עת ובכל רגע ואי אפשר להאריך ולספר בזה מכמה טעמים. וזה היה ענין המחלקת הגדולה שהיה עליו וכו', אבל אף על פי כן השם יתברך היה בעזרו תמיד וזכה לעלות על ידי זה בכל יום ובכל עת למעלות והשגות גבוהות מאד אשר לא נשמעו ולא נראו וכו':

וגם עכשו עדין מונח כל מיני כבדות ללמד ספריו הקדושים ויש עליהם כמה מניעות אפלו מי שזוכה לידע מרבנו זכרונו לברכה ורוצה ללמד אותם יש לו כבדות גדול ומניעות רבות מאד כידוע בחוש לנו. וגם עדין האור נעלם ונסתר:


[R' Nachman] said: All my Torah, is merely introductions (hakdamot).

His Opposition[edit]




Some of the Rebbe's enemies had spread a rumor that all his teachings were handed down to him by his grandfather, Rabbi Nachman Horodenker, z"l. The Rebbe thought that this was ludicrous. He made a joke of this rumor, saying, 'My grandfather was really good to me! He left me lessons fitting each occasion, no matter what happens. It all fits what people need to hear, whether for the Shabbat of Chanukah or Shabbat Nachamu or whenever I need to speak. I am able to take the lesson and include in it what every one present needs, both spiritually and materially, as well as everything that is then happening in the world.' We ourselves could see that the Rebbe's lessons contained what each of the listeners needed. It was perfectly obvious and happened many times. His lessons had everything that we needed, for both body and soul. The lesson wove this all in with our present needs and various current events that were occurring in the world. This is aside from the wondrously unique way each lesson came about. Anyone with even a little intelligence could see that it was the living word of God, revealed to the Rebbe from on high. It obviously came from the highest possible source and stood on an awesome holy plateau. For in the lessons were absolutely new concepts, never before revealed to the world. How could one even consider the ridiculous idea that these lessons had originated with the Rebbe's grandfather, Rabbi Nachman Horodenker, z"l? How could he have bequeathed so many stories, lessons and discussions, as well as all the advice the Rebbe constantly gave us? And why did these lessons only reach the Rebbe? Why is it that no one elsewhere heard of his grandfather's original teachings? Who is such a fool as to believe such absurdity? The Rebbe said that those who knew Rabbi Nachman Horodenker, z"l, knew that his grandfather was not capable of revealing such lessons. Although his grandfather was an extraordinary, holy tzaddik, he was not an outstanding innovative scholar. He would certainly not be capable of originating the unique ideas contained in the Rebbe's teachings. A very old man from Slapkovitz who knew Rabbi Nachman Horodenker, z"l personally, once came here and visited the Rebbe. The Rebbe said, 'It is rumored that my teachings originated with my grandfather Rabbi Nachman. If my grandfather himself would hear my teachings, he would also consider them uniquely original.'

Regarding Controversy that Beset Him[edit]


The Rebbe once quoted the Talmudic rule, 'The accepted opinion is that of Rabbi Nachman in litigation' (Ketuvot 13a). He was refering to his oppostion. For his opinion was certainly the one accepted on high. 'The accepted opinion is that of Rabbi Nachman in litigation.' Litigation always involves two opposing factions. The courts must decide between them. I heard this in the name of the Rebbe. The Talmud also says, 'The decision is like Rabbi Nachman, the decision is like Rabbi Nachman, the decision is like Nachmani' (Gittin 34a).


I heard in his name that the Rebbe was once speaking about strife and asked, 'Why do people worry when others speak against them? It is because opposition can cause a person to fall from his level, heaven forbid. 'The Talmud teaches us that the Great Assembly wanted to count King Shlomo among those who have no portion in the future world. The only thing that saved him was King David's intercession (Sanhedrin 104b, Rashi ad. loc. v'od). We see that they had the power to cast out King Shlomo with their words. It is written in the words of King David, 'Princes have persecuted me for nothing, but my heart trembles at Your word' (Psalms 119:161). 'Princes have persecuted me' but I know that is 'for nothing.' They can accomplish absolutely nothing with their opposition. I know this because 'my heart trembles at Your word.' I still have the fear of heaven and have not fallen from my level. This is a sign that their persecution was in vain. 'Princes have persecuted me for nothing.'


I heard in his name that the Rebbe once said, 'When you ask a tzaddik whether or not to do for God something that involves great sacrifices, it is proper for him to tell you not to do it. However, you are not bound by his advice.' This I heard in the Rebbe's name. I also heard a similar concept. You must obey whatever a tzaddik tells you. But if he tells you not to come to him on Rosh HaShanah, you should not obey him. The day before Rosh HaShanah is very suitable for presenting a pidyon {redemption}.


The Rebbe said, 'By me the most important time is Rosh Hashanah. Right after Rosh Hashanah I begin listening very carefully. I want to hear them knocking on the wall, waking people for next year's selichot {pentitenial prayers}. 'For the year passes and is gone in the wink of an eye.'

Distancing Oneself from Speculation, and Holding Strong in Emunah[edit]


In his commentary on the book of Proverbs (in particular chapter 7, derekh 3) the Alshikh writes at length about avoiding philosophical works. Writing in a wonderfully clear manner, he explains how they fool the world. At first they conceal their false belief and skepticism, only displaying the sweetness of their evil ways. It is written, 'The lips of a strange woman drip honey...but her end is as bitter as wormwood' (Proverbs 5:3). Rashi comments that this 'strange woman' is atheism. There are many other lessons in the book of Proverbs telling us to keep away from the 'strange woman.' This 'strange woman' is outside wisdom. There are two women in the Book of Proverbs. There is the 'woman of valor,' representing the Torah and the 'strange woman,' representing outside wisdom. If you know the ways of the so-called enlightened people, you know how they mislead people. Most of all, they mislead the young in teaching them their bitter ways. They are literally like a libertine woman. At first she adorns herself and speaks sweetly, not revealing the evil in her heart. She pretends to be virtuous, not revealing her true nature until she snares her prey. This is the evil way of these so-called enlightened, as is obvious to all who are familiar with them. The major portion of the Book of Proverbs warns us of this. Whenever it speaks of the fool (kesil, peti) who goes against the straight path, it is speaking against such perverted scholars. They are called fools and imbeciles. Thus it is written, 'Do you see a man who thinks himself wise? A fool has more hope than he' (Proverbs 26:12). It is likewise written, 'Woe is to them who are wise in their own eyes' (Isaiah 5:21). We cannot speak at length about this for these 'enlightened ones' claim the exact opposite to be true. They try to prove their point from all the sacred works, particularly the Book of Proverbs. For the Torah contains both life and death. It is written, 'This is the Torah that Moses placed' (Deuteronomy 4:44). 'Placed' in Hebrew is sam, which also means a potion. The Talmud says that the Torah is a potion of life for those who are worthy and a potion of death for the unworthy. It is also written, 'God's ways are straight; the righteous walk in them, but sinners stumble therein' (Hosea 14:10). If one stubbornly wants to follow an evil path, long discussions will not dissuade him. But if you desire the truth, our words will be sufficient to strengthen your resolve. You will be able to stand firm like a pillar of steel and break the jaws of unrighteousness. May God soon reveal the truth. Amen, may this be His will.


It is written, 'Know this day and consider it in your heart [that the Lord is God, in heaven above and on the earth below; there is no other' (Deuteronomy 4:39). Some philosophers try to use this verse to prove that one must know God philosophically. The Rebbe said that this is absolutely false and there is a reference that states that this interpretation was first used by Karaites. The only way to know God is through faith. This is the only path to knowledge and perception of God's true greatness. Thus it is written, 'And I will betroth you to me with faith, and you shall know God' (Hosea 2:22). In Likutey Halakhot also there is a long discussion explaining clearly that true knowledge of God comes only through faith. There are many passages that tell us to know God. It is written, 'Know this day and consider it in your heart...' (Deuteronomy 4:39). It is also written, 'Know the God of your father' (1Chronicles 28:9). There is also, 'Know that the Lord is God' (Psalms 100:3). None of these verses have anything to do with philosophy. Their lesson is that we should constantly know that God is there and not forget Him for an instant. Great kings constantly remind their subjects to know that they have a ruler. This is especially true of soldiers. They are continuously trained to know their lord and king. His fear must be on their faces in order that they serve him absolutely. A king's subjects are constantly told, 'Know that you have a lord and master.' They are not told to philosophize about it, but to keep it in mind and not forget it. They are told to always think of the king and not do anything against his will. The same is true of the Kingdom of Heaven. We are told, 'Know the God of your father! Know and do not forget! Know this day and consider it in your heart that the Lord is God! Know that the Lord is God!' We must be reminded of this many times. We might know that 'the Lord is God' but there are a host of worldly temptations and distractions working to make us forget this. Most people hardly ever think of God. The Bible therefore reminds us, 'Know that the Lord is God! Know the God of your father! Take this into your heart and mind until it is tightly bound up there every instant.' It is therefore written, 'Know this day and consider it in your heart that the Lord is God.' The main perfection of knowledge is binding your mind to your heart. You then know 'in your heart that the Lord is God.' When this enters your heart, you will certainly gain a deep awe of God and not sin. We cannot write any more about this, for every man's knowledge of God must enter the gates of his own heart. We can only present enough to open these gates. There are no Biblical verses that teach us to know God through human speculation built on confused sophistry. Heaven forbid! The only way to know God is the way taught by our holy forefathers, who struggled all their lives for Him. They divested themselves of all worldly matters, totally subjugating every desire and emotion. Above all, they achieved total mastery of their sexual drives, releasing themselves from the bondage of the universal root of evil. They were consequently about to perfect their intellect and truly recognize their Creator. This is the heritage they bequeathed us. It is our duty to accept this heritage with joy. Thus we say in our prayers, 'Happy are we! How good is our portion! How pleasant is our lot! How beautiful is our heritage' (Morning Liturgy). The main lesson of these verses is that we take this holy knowledge into our minds, bring it into our hearts and bind it there constantly,' that His fear be on our faces that we sin not' (Exodus 20:17).


There were some 'enlightened' people who claimed that the moon contained life like that on earth. They said that they could see trees and other terrestrial creatures on the moon. The Rebbe ridiculed this greatly, saying that it is absolute foolishness. The moon is like a mirror. The things people claim to see on the moon are actually reflections of things here on earth. These 'intellectuals' therefore open their mouths in vanity.


The Rebbe lived two years after returning from Lemberg. During these last years, he constantly spoke of faith. As we understood him, everything he said was to bring true faith into every Jewish heart. Many times the Rebbe would remind us of the great favor that Moshe Rabbeinu {Moses our teacher} did us by beginning the Torah with the simple words, 'In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth' (Genesis 1:1). He revealed our faith without any sophistication or philosophy. The Rebbe downgraded all philosophical works, ridiculing them in every possible way. He made it clear to us that the authors of such works knew absolutely nothing. Speaking at length about this, he revealed many wise sayings containing an awesome wondrous truth. Every word was sweeter than honey and the honeycomb, entering the depths of all our hearts. We have already written about this at length. Some has been published, but it is not even a thousandth of what he said. The way he spoke is also impossible to describe. The words were both sweet and awesome, coming from his lips with holiness, purity, trembling and awe. One could speak to the Rebbe of the most mundane affairs and still bear witness that his words contained all the world's grace. During the last two years of his life after he returned from Lemberg, he constantly dwelt on faith. We could see that every word, both holy and mundane, was only spoken to bring faith into the world. It is written, 'All your commandments are faith. This is the foundation of the entire Torah and its commandments' (Psalms 119:86).


The Rebbe once told someone, 'I will tell you a secret. Great atheism is coming to the world. Atheism will come to the world as a test from on high. I know that my followers will be strong and remain firm in their faith without this, but I am revealing this to further encourage them. Let them know that this has already been predicted.' Similar words were heard from the Rebbe's holy lips many times. With a deep groan he would say, 'Woe! How can a few men stand up against all the world?!' The Rebbe's words came true. Immediately after his death, atheism spread in the world as never before since the beginning of time. The leprous plague began to flourish in faraway lands where notorious atheists put together such works as the Meassef. This plague did not spread to our lands until after the passing of the Rebbe and other great tzaddikim. When it reached our area, the genuine tzaddikim cried out like a whooping crane, but none listened to them, for the non-believers already had the upper hand. Woe is to us! See what has happened in our generation! See the evil decrees that have resulted from their deeds! Woe, what has become of us? It all came about as the Rebbe predicted with his holy inspiration. We see that it is still spreading, even now. Woe, who knows what will be in days to come? The Rebbe told us many times that this was predicted by the prophets. It was especially predicted by the prophet Daniel, who said, 'Many will purify themselves and be refined' (Daniel 12:10) He told us that in the End of Days Jews will be refined in faith, for many will rise up to pervert it. These are the 'enlighteners' and atheists of our generations. It should be easy to withstand this test, since it has already been predicted. But the temptation will be so great that many will stumble and fall to the depths. We are writing this so that all who desire the truth of our holy faith should know that the Rebbe already predicted this. Let this restore their soul and strengthen their heart toward God and his holy Torah as taught by our sages of old.


There are many almanacs, both Jewish and otherwise, which claim to predict the weather. The Rebbe ridiculed them as having no relation to reality. The Rebbe said, 'If they really know, let them predict the different types of weather that occur in a single day. There are many kinds of weather each day. One day may bring cold and heat, rain and snow, wind and calm, and countless other variations. Who can know all this, much less predict it in advance? Thus it is written, 'How great are Your deeds O God; very deep are Your thoughts. A brutish man does not know; a fool does not understand this' (Psalms 92:6, 7). Only a fool would claim to know with non-Torah wisdom the changes that take place each day. (Scientific works also state that these almanacs are totally confused. See in particular what is brought at the end of the work, Nechmad V'Naim.)


I heard in his name that the Rebbe was once encouraging a man who was greatly confused about his beliefs. The Rebbe told him, 'It is written that all creation only came into being because of people like you. God saw that there would be people who wold cling to our Holy faith, suffering greatly because of the confusion and doubts that constantly plague them. He perceived that they would overcome these doubts and remain strong in their beliefs. It was because of this that God brought forth all creation.' This man was then greatly strengthened and unperturbed whenever he had these confusing thoughts. The Rebbe said many times that the creation was mainly for the sake of faith. Thus it is written, 'All His works are through faith' (Psalms 33:4).


A number of people were once praising Rashi's commentaries in the Rebbe's presence. The gist of the conversation was that one should use only Rashi's commentary on the Bible and not those which follow the philosophers. Some Biblical commentaries occasionally abandon the traditional Talmudic and Midrashic interpretation in favor of one agreeing with philosophical teachings. These should be avoided. The only necessary commentary is that of Rashi. The Rebbe then remarked, 'You may not realize it, but Rashi is like the Torah's brother. Every Jew, from childhood on, studies both the written and oral Torah with Rashi's commentary. Think of this and you will understand Rashi's unique greatness'.


Our sages teach us that it is forbidden to gaze at what is above and below, what is before and what is after (Chagigah 11b). The Rebbe said, 'There is a different 'above and below 'for each individual where he may not gaze. It all depends on his level. There are many whose intellect can go no further than the bounds of the physical world. They are therefore forbidden to delve any further. This is true of philosophers. Their intellect may reach up to the stars, but it cannot penetrate further. They know nothing beyond the sphere of the physical and even within it, are often confused and mistaken. This is but another reason why one should avoid their works. Every person has a place where his intellect ends. Beyond this it is forbidden for him to gaze, for this is 'what is above and below.' It is a realm where he must depend on faith alone.


A man had been told that it was impossible to understand the Kabbalah without fasting and regular immersion in a mikveh {and other ascetic practices}. He saw the Rebbe in Uman and asked him about this. The Rebbe answered, 'It is possible to know the wisdom of Kabbalah without this. For it is wisdom. 'The reason why the main Kabbalistic work, Etz Chaim, is so difficult to understand is because it is not written in order. Where science and philosophy end, that is where true wisdom, Kabbalah, begins.' Scientists and philosophers can only speculate within the limits of the physical world. They can reach up to the stars and galaxies, but beyond that, they know absolutely nothing. Even their understanding of the physical world is very incomplete, as they themselves admit. The wisdom of Kabbalah begins where their wisdom ends, beyond the physical world. The Kabbalah includes the entire physical world as part of the World of Action. Its teachings then go beyond the World of Action, to the Universes of Formation, Creation and Emanation. The World of Action also has a spiritual level beyond the realm of science and philosophy. The Kabbalah speaks only of the spiritual roots of the World of Action and above. Therefore, the Kabbalah begins where scientific knowledge ends. Once, when speaking of awesome degrees of perception, the Rebbe said that the wisdom of philosophy ends with the physical world. Beyond the stars, philosophy can only imagine God's essence. There are really many levels of worlds beyond this world. This truth is only found in the Kabbalah. It is written, 'His understanding cannot be grasped' (Isaiah 40:28). One who knows the truth of Kabbalah well perceives this. For there is level above level....The Rebbe once saw a book containing writings of the Arizal not found elsewhere. This work speaks of the levels of development before the Universe of Emanation contained in the World of the Garment. This is also discussed in the work, VaYakhel Moshe. I was very surprised when the Rebbe told me this. I had thought that there was nothing higher than the World of Emanation and was astonished to discover Kabbalistic teachings speaking of higher levels. I expressed my surprise to the Rebbe and he remained silent for a while. Then he said, 'Don't you realize that philosophers think that all knowledge ends with the stars?...' This is also the case with true knowledge. Even in the transcendental worlds there are levels above levels, high above high, without limit or bound. Thus it is written, 'There is no fathoming His greatness' (Psalms 145:3). But words cannot express this.


The Rebbe once laughed and said, 'If they would allow one dead soul to visit an assembly of philosophers, that would be the end of all their teachings.'

The Greatness of Hitbodedut, Personal Meditation and Conversation[edit]



Conversations of Our Great Teacher, Rabbi Nachman[edit]




I heard from Rav Alter of Teplik, that he [R' Nachman] told him regarding that Rabbeinu omb's wish was that he [R' Alter] not be a schoolteacher, as mentioned, and he retorted that it's better to be a schoolteacher, and he told him in the name of the Baal Shem Tov obm that say in his name that it's good to be a teacher. He [Rabbeinu] obm replied, "I don't know if the Baal Shem Tov obm said that. Even if he did, each Tzaddik haDor has the power to make boundaries to conduct the world according to those times (dorot). I say now that it's good for serving the Boreh Yitbarakh to not be a teacher.

He told me this in a different version, but regardless this is what comes out of his words: One time he was talking with one of his followers who was a teacher, and he asked him, "How much tuition do you make per time?" He replied, This amount. He computed with him the day's pay; it's definitely very little. He replied, "If so, think further, how much do you make per one hour of teaching? It will be blunderous little (davar shibush). If so, when you annul an hour from your own learning, you lose Olam Haba for a blunderous bit, a Gidul or two. But when you conduct trade (massa u'matan) you'll shortchange, God forbid, your fellow during commerce one or two Gidul due to circumstances, since it's impossible to be cautious down to a penny; he'll definitely forgive you. But the whole hour that you annul from your learning, the Baal haBayit will absolutely not forgive you at all.


The matter of Ayin haRa is: Because there's a real power in vision, for the power of looking goes out to his fellow and harms him, and when his eye is evil, because vision is real power as the force of vision goes and entangles (poge'a) with the viewed object, so when his eye is evil it really harms by its looking, as mentioned. Therefore a Niddah when she looks in a mirror there will be found an impression of blood there, as brought (in the books). Now know, the Segula for Ayin haRa is the fin of a fish, to make it smoke. The proof is SNPIR (400) is gematria R'A 'AIN (270+130) What's more mesugal is SNPIR of a fish called shlayen (tench fish aka doctor fish, tinca tinca), which sounds like "Shel Ayin." Also I heard in his name, his memory is blessed, a different wording: Hang that fin on that man or child who sometimes has Ayin haRa. Hang that fin on him and he'll be saved, as mentioned. Now he also told me more at that time. He said Ayin haRa is drawn from the 400 men going with Esau to wage war with Yaakob, as it's written, "And four hundred men with him," and it's commented (in the Zohar etc.) that they came to cast Ayin haRa, God save us, on Yaakob's camp. And SNPIR is 400, numerical to RA AIN, as we've related above. So all this is against these 400 men of Esau, from whom Ayin haRa derives as mentioned. Therefore SNPIR delivers from this, as mentioned. And he made consideration of several more things that add up to 400, that pertain to this matter.

Chapter 265

The Rebbe warned us very strongly not to eat raw onions. It made no difference whether they were mixed with oil, fat or eggs, or even if they were eaten on Shabbat. Many people had a custom of eating chopped eggs and onions on the Shabbat. The Rebbe ridiculed this practice, saying, 'How can they claim that it is a good custom to eat something as harmful as this? The Rebbe said that onions are harmful in many ways and listed numerous illnesses that can be caused by them. Although the details were not preserved, the main lesson is that they should be avoided, even mixed with something else, even on Shabbat. The only safe way to eat them is cooked. The entire conversation came about when we mentioned to the Rebbe that we had heard that the Baal Shem Tov had spoken very strongly against eating raw onions. The Rebbe agreed that this was true, and began to reckon numerous reasons for it. It was at this time that we heard the above.


The Rebbe said, 'There are tzaddikim who are great Torah experts, fully versed in many sacred works and specifically because of this cannot innovate anything in the Torah. As soon as they begin to expound and innovate, their great fund of knowledge confuses them and they weave many extraneous concepts into lengthy introductions. Their thoughts become so muddled that any new concept they may have had is irrevocably lost. The Rebbe gave as an example one of his contemporaries, who could not expound on the Torah for this reason. From what the Rebbe said, we understood that if you wish to innovate, you should concentrate on the subject and not confuse yourself with extraneous introductions. Pretend that you are totally ignorant of everything but the subject at hand. You will then be able to innovate many new ideas and bring them to light in order, step by step. The Rebbe spoke at length about this, but it cannot all be put into writing. If you are wise, you will understand.


The Rebbe said, 'You may expound the Torah and innovate in any area you wish. The only condition is that you may not use your interpretations to innovate or change any law. This is particularly true of innovations based on drush or sod {expository construction and esoteric resolution}. From what the Rebbe said, we understood that you may expound and innovate according to your intellectual attainment, even in such Kabbalistic works as those of the holy Ari z"l. The only stipulation is that you may not derive any religious practice or law in this manner {see Likutey Halakhot, Bekhor Beheima Tehora 3:7 }.


'How was the Holy Temple destroyed...? How long will we cry out in bondage...? Until when...? The son of Your maidservant....These are all part of Tikun Chatzot, the midnight service mourning the destruction of the Temple and the exile of the Shekhinah. Taking these hymns as an example, the Rebbe spoke of how much we must cry out before God. He noted how much these prayers awaken the heart, chanting them with the melody of Chatzot in his deep, beautiful voice. He also greatly praised the chorus, 'My beloved came down to His garden' as a debate between the Jewish people and God that can deeply arouse the heart.


People are often very confused as to the best way to serve God. Sometimes it seems necessary to act in one manner, but later this appears completely wrong and another method seems best. This can cause one to become very confused and disturbed. The Rebbe said, 'Why is it necessary to confuse yourself? Whatever you do, you do. As long as you do not do any evil, heaven forbid.


The Rebbe said, 'In Hodu (Psalms 107) that introduces Minchah {the afternoon service} before Shabbat, you can have a broken heart and pour out all your thoughts before God. This psalm speaks of the troubles of the soul and how one cries out because of them. This can be understood by anyone. When you say Kegavna before the Shabbat Maariv {evening service}, you should be aroused with great joy and emotion when you recite the words, and all of them are crowned in new souls.


The Rebbe said, 'A storekeeper will sell to you on credit, to be paid for at a later date. Why not do the same with spiritual goods? Say a few Psalms, learn some Torah or do a few good deeds and let them be put aside and ready when you need them. You will then be able to make use of this merit and not be like one who must ask the storekeeper for credit. I did not hear this discussion from the Rebbe himself, but from one of my colleagues. It appears that many more beautiful thoughts were expressed at that time, but this is all that I am worthy of recording.


An irreligious man came to the Rebbe in a certain city and boasted that he was an expert in languages. He had recently been in a government office and was able to interpret a word that even their scribes did not know. He was very conceited because of this knowledge. When the man left, the Rebbe ridiculed him for such foolish conceit. One of the Rebbe's disciples, an extraordinary God-fearing scholar, was sitting there. He said to the Rebbe, 'Maybe it is better to be conceited because of something foolish than to be conceited, heaven forbid, because of one's knowledge of Torah? The Rebbe was silent for a moment. He then said, 'No. The opposite is true. The Talmud tells us that when Rabbi Akiva was in prison, Papus said to him, Happy are you Rabbi Akiva, for you were imprisoned for the sake of the Torah. Woe unto Papus, for he was imprisoned for mere foolishness' (Berakhot 61b). It is brought in Likutey Moharan (II, Lesson #63) that the punishment for conceit is imprisonment. Also discussed there is the imprisonment of Rabbi Akiva. It is better to be imprisoned for the conceit of Torah, than to be conceited because of foolishness.


The Rebbe said, 'It is good to make a habit of inspiring yourself with a melody. There are great concepts included in each holy melody and they can arouse your heart and draw it toward God. Even if you cannot sing well, you can still inspire yourself with a melody sung to the best of your ability while alone at home. The loftiness of melody is beyond all measure. The Rebbe's works contain towering lessons speaking of song. The Seven Beggars {from Rabbi Nachman's Stories} also alludes to the importance of melody. The unconscious princess is cured mainly through melody, through the ten types of song. Understand the depth of this. The divine soul in every Jew is a princess, a king's daughter. She is weary and faint because of her sins. She is held captive by an evil king and is shot with ten poisonous arrows. Only a great tzaddik has the power to enter every place where the soul has fallen and remove all ten arrows from her. In order to heal her, he must be able to discern all ten types of pulse. He must know all ten categories of song, for her main cure is through melody and joy. Taking this as a clue, you can understand the entire story. Use it as a means of returning to God in truth. 'For the main thing is not study, but deeds' (Avot 1:17).


It is very good to have a special room set aside for Torah study and prayer. Such a room is especially beneficial for secluded meditation and conversation with God.


And Rabbeinu z"l said that it is very good even just to sit in such a special room. The atmosphere itself is beneficial, even if you sit there and do nothing else. Even if you do not have a special room, you can still seclude yourself and converse with God. The Rebbe also said that you can create your own special room under your tallit. Just drape your tallit over your eyes and converse with God as you desire. You can also seclude yourself with God in bed under the covers. This was the custom of King David, as it is written, 'Each night I converse from my bed' (Psalms 6:7). You can also converse with God while sitting before an open book. Let others think that you are studying. There are many other ways to accomplish this if you truly want to meditate and express your thoughts to God. Above all else, this is the root and foundation of holiness and repentance. We have discussed this many times. There are many ways of doing this, but best of all is a secluded room.


It was told to me that one time, the Rebbe was lecturing his followers, berating them for not serving God as it truly befits Him. This was the Rebbe's constant theme. This time he spoke very strongly and at length. After his tirade, the Rebbe began to make up with them. He drew them close and spoke very gently. He said, 'What do I want from them. They are still observant Jews, are they not?' The Rebbe then began speaking to their hearts. He said, 'You are certainly good people. If God were small like me, your devotion would certainly be sufficient. 'But God is very, very great! You must gird yourself with a strong desire to serve God properly, for you are serving One whose greatness cannot be fathomed.' The Rebbe then raised himself and lifted his hands over his head. He repeated the words, 'But God is so great....' He then lifted his hands, using them to express God's greatness.


The Rebbe said that he never as much as drank water before his morning prayers. He was greatly opposed to those who drank coffee and other beverages before worshiping.


The Rebbe said that many sayings in the Zohar were revealed by Rebbe Shimon bar Yochai to his disciples after his death. The Zohar speaks of a chabura kadmaah {first edition}. Many do not understand what it is. It is mentioned in the Zohar on the portion of Pinchas and several other places. Rebbe Shimon revealed many lessons after his death. The lessons revealed during his lifetime comprised the chabura kadmaah. It is therefore not surprising that the Zohar and Tikuney Zohar explain many sayings of Amoraim, {sages of the Talmud who lived many years after Rebbe Shimon passed away}. The meaning of these sayings was revealed by Rebbe Shimon after his death, during the lifetime of these Amoraim. We later found a similar concept in another work.


The Rebbe once told me, 'When things are very bad, make yourself into nothing. I asked him, 'How does one make himself into nothing?' He replied, 'You close your mouth and eyes, and you are like nothing! We can gain valuable insight from these words. Sometimes you may feel overwhelmed by the Evil Inclination. You are confused by evil thoughts and very disturbed, finding it impossible to overcome. You must then make yourself like nothing, you no longer exist, your eyes and mouth are closed. Every thought is banished. Your mind ceases to exist. You have nullified yourself completely before God.


I heard in the Rebbe's name that he once spoke about tzaddikim who always wander and move about. He said, 'There are outcast souls that cannot be elevated except through the wandering of a tzaddik. Even if the tzaddik does not want to travel, he roams and wanders in his house. He paces back and forth, and this is also in the category of wandering and roaming.


The Rebbe very strongly cautioned us to safeguard our money. He was very particular that we should take good care of our possessions. He was very opposed to being careless, and strongly ridiculed the hapless individual, the shlim mazelnik. The Rebbe said, 'A man takes time from Torah and prayer, and struggles to earn some money to support his family. After he earns the money, he becomes a hapless shlim mazelnik and does not take care of it at all. Honest Jewish money must be guarded like the eyes in one's head.' It happened occasionally that one of the Rebbe's followers would lose his money while travelling and come to the Rebbe and complain. The Rebbe would berate him and lecture him for not taking better care of his money.


The Rebbe said to someone that leaving a tzaddik is like committing idolatry. The only difference between {the Hebrew letters} dalet and reish is a small protrusion. It is written in the holy Zohar that this protrusion is the tzaddik. Leaving a tzaddik separates the protrusion from the dalet making it into a reish. The word Echad {one} expresses God's unity. Substitute a reish for the dalet in EchaD and you have EchaR–another. It is written, 'You shall not bow down to another god' (Exodus 34:14). Remove the protrusion and the dalet becomes a reish the EchaD of God's unity becomes the EchaR of idolatry and atheism. Faith in God comes through the tzaddikim, the protrusion of the dalet that expresses God's unity. In many places the Rebbe says that the root of faith can only be attained by closeness to the tzaddikim.


I heard in his name that the Rebbe once spoke about young married men who find their worship greatly disturbed by the fact that they have not sanctified themselves properly in their marital relations. They feel tainted and find prayer very difficult. The Rebbe constantly warned us not to become discouraged because of this. He said, 'What happened, happened. When you pray, you must forget everything else. No matter what happened, strengthen yourselves and pray properly.' He said that this is the meaning of Abba Benjamin's saying, 'I am concerned... that my prayer should be close to my bed' (Berakhot 5b). 'Bed is a euphemism for marital relations. 'My prayer should be close to my bed' means 'I should be able to pray without being disturbed by my bed.'


There were many youths in the community who prayed with great feeling and enthusiasm. Others would disturb them and cause them trouble. When the youths complained, their detractors had a stock answer. They said, 'If you have true feeling and are really bound up in your prayers, then you should not hear any disturbance. Your devotion should be enough to block out everything else.' The Rebbe said, 'The truth is that this is no argument. The greatest tzaddik may pray with great strength and attachment to God, but he can still be disturbed. No matter how great his enthusiasm, no matter how deeply he is bound up in prayer, he can still be greatly disturbed by one who makes fun of him and disturbs him. All his feeling and emotion will not prevent him from being disturbed and distressed.' The Rebbe once said that sometimes a person is given great wealth. Everyone else envies him. They spend days and years pursuing wealth because of this envy. But in the end they have nothing. This is all the work of Satan. He works hard to make one man rich so that many others should waste their lives envying him. 'Heaven help us against this misleading notion' (Shabbat 84b).


I heard from his holy mouth that the Rebbe was once speaking of the tremendous greatness of the Torah, and its awesome secrets. He said, 'The entire Tikuney Zohar {a work of seventy chapters} is a commentary on but one word, Bereishis, the first word of the Torah. Thousands of volumes would not suffice to explain all the secrets found in the Tikuney Zohar. Its study has no end. So great is the Tikuney Zohar that all the skins of Neviot would not be sufficient to contain its wisdom. 'All this is but a commentary on a single word, Bereishis {In the beginning}. Take the next word, bara {He created}. A volume equal to the Tikuney Zohar could also be written concerning it. It would contain an equal number of mysteries. 'Now understand the depth of our holy Torah. A Tikuney Zohar could be written on each and every word. Each one contains inconceivable depth and mystery. The Torah contains not one, but many words. Its greatness is beyond the ability of language to describe.'


The Rebbe once said to me, 'You do speak with people. You probably ask them 'What?' He emphasized the word vos {what}, stressing it in a loud voice from the depths of his heart. What?It is fitting to ask people this question. You do not think about your purpose in life. 'What? You have many vain and foolish complaints and excuses. Your life is filled with confusion and frustration. After all this: What? You say that you have reason to be far from God. What? What will become of you? What will you do in the end? What will you answer the One Who sent you? What do you think? What are you on earth, if not a stranger? What is your life, if not vanity and emptiness 'a passing shadow, a scattered cloud?' You know this well. What do you say? Take these words to heart. Bring them into the depths of your being. Do not ignore them. Turn them over and over and you will save your soul.


The Rebbe said, 'What must a man do in this world? He needs to do nothing but pray and study and pray. I heard many similar things, but they could not be recorded (literally, 'I forgot')


I heard that the Rebbe was once speaking to a man and quoted the Mishnah, 'Repent one day before your death ' (Avot 2:10). The Rebbe stressed the words 'one day', drawing them out at great length. Yesterday and tomorrow are man's downfall. Today you may be aroused toward God. But yesterday and tomorrow pull you back. No matter where a person stands, he suffers reverses. The person who dwells on yesterday and tomorrow will surely fail. The Rebbe therefore stressed, 'Repent one day before your death.' 'Before your death' is your entire life. During your entire lifetime, you may only be worthy of one day of repentance. This one day is more precious than all treasures. For what does a person gain from all his worldly effort? Nothing remains of your entire life other than this one day of repentance before God. Repent one day–even one day - before your death– during your sojourn here on earth. Forget about yesterday and tomorrow. This one day is everything. Understand this.


The Rebbe once said, 'Only a person trapped by his possessions borrows money to do business. A free man does not borrow. He engages in honest business, using only his own money. 'It is written, 'You shall love the Lord your God... with all your might' (Deuteronomy 6:5). This is fulfilled by a person who does not borrow money for his business.' The Rebbe also said that this commandment is fulfilled by one who gives a fifth of his income to charity.


I heard in his name, that the Rebbe said, 'The words spoken by a great tzaddik contain the needs of all Israel. They include what is needed by every single Jew. It is written, 'These are the words that Moshe spoke to all Israel' (Deuteronomy 1:1). The words spoken by Moshe were 'for all Israel.' They contained what every single Jew would ever need.'


(This is from an unpublished manuscript from Likutey Moharan.) It is written, 'Increase knowledge, increase pain' (Ecclesiastes 1:18). In every generation new diseases come into existence. This is a result of the increase in scientific knowledge. Every new discovery results in some new pain. These are the new diseases that have come into existence. May God protect us!


He told me a holy sichah, that a somewhat notable chassid came to see the Rebbe. He was an older man and was knowledgeable in the writings of the holy Ari z"l. Wanting to enter the Rebbe's circle, he spoke in the manner of the important chassidim, saying, 'I would like the Rebbe to teach me the way to serve God.' The Rebbe looked at him with surprise and quoted the verse, 'To know Your way in the earth' (Psalms 67:3)? The Rebbe meant that this individual was still 'in the earth'–immersed completely in earthliness and still he wanted to 'know Your way'–he wanted to know the way to come close to God. We see from this anecdote that the Rebbe was provoked because the man spoke so haughtily, saying that he was seeking the way to God. He spoke as if he had already perfected himself to the extent that he lacked nothing else but to choose the appropriate way and walk up to God. The Rebbe saw through this and wanted him to speak sincerely.


I heard in his name from a certain man that the Rebbe once spoke to one of his followers about praying with devotion. He said, 'Voice arouses feeling (Orach Chaim 61:4). The opposite is also true, for feeling can also arouse the voice. Pray with feeling. Bring every thought and emotion into each word. Your voice will automatically be awakened and you will pray out loud. You can actually test this and see that it is true.'


I heard the following from the Rebbe's holy mouth. It is customary to recite the Tikuney Zohar as well as many prayers and petitions after the regular worship during the month of Elul {the month preceding Rosh HaShanah}. It is also a custom to stay in the synagogue and study hall later than usual. The Rebbe said, 'The melody of the Tikuney Zohar and the fatigue resulting from staying up so late in the study hall are all taken on high and made into great and lofty things.'


I heard in his name that the Rebbe spoke of encouraging oneself in prayer. No matter what you are, you can strengthen yourself and stubbornly pray to God. The Rebbe said that you should think in the following vein: I may be far from God because of my many sins. Let it be. If this is so, then there can be no perfect prayer without me. The Talmud teaches us that every prayer that does not include the sinners of Israel is not a true prayer (Keritut 6b). Prayer is like an incense offering. The Torah requires that the incense contain chelbenah {galbanum}, even though it has a vile odor by itself. If I consider myself a sinner, then I am an essential ingredient of every worship service. No prayer is perfect without me. I, the sinner, must strengthen myself even more to pray to God and trust that in His mercy He will accept my prayer. I am the perfection of the prayer, 'the chelbenah' in the incense. Just like the vile smelling Chelbonah is an essential ingredient of the sweet incense, so my tainted prayer is a vital ingredient of the prayers of all Israel. Without it, prayer is deficient, like incense without the chelbenah.


In Likutey Moharan (I, Lessons ##2, 5 et. al.) it is brought that one must bind himself to the tzaddikim of his generation. The Rebbe told his followers that before they began praying, they should say, 'I am binding myself to all the tzaddikim of our generation.'


The Rebbe often told us, 'I have a great desire that you act in accordance with my revealed teachings.' Take a lesson and seek out its practical advice. Follow it for two or three months, making use of it to strengthen your devotion and fear of God. Pray to God and beg that He help you be worthy of attaining the ideal set forth in the lesson. When you have completed one lesson, work on another. Continue this way until you have completed every lesson. Happy is the one who takes this to heart.


One of the Rebbe's followers came to him on the day before Yom Kippur. The man had been very sick and told the Rebbe of his great suffering. One of his neighbors, a good friend, was standing nearby. The friend said, 'His illness has become worse because he immersed in the mikveh.' The Rebbe replied, 'You blame the illness on a good observance. It is more fitting to blame it on a sin.' This took place in Uman, on the Rebbe's last Yom Kippur.


It was my custom to see the Rebbe every year after Simchat Torah. He would always ask me if I truly rejoiced on the festival. Many times he told me how the community celebrated in his house and how much pleasure he derived from their joy.O nce the Rebbe spoke to me about Simchat Torah in the middle of the year. He asked me, 'Do you now feel joy in your heart? Do you feel this happiness at least once a year?' (Thank God, God was with me and I was able to rejoice with all my heart many times each year. This joy was often so great that words cannot express it. This is the joy of being a Jew, of believing in God and it flows through the gates of every man's heart and cannot be communicated. Within our group, when we rejoice, even the least accomplished one among us experiences a feeling of closeness to God that is beyond all description.) The Rebbe very much wanted us to be joyous all year round, particularly on Simchat Torah, Purim, Shabbat and festivals. The Rebbe told me that once on Simchat Torah he was so overjoyed that he danced all by himself in his room.


The Rebbe once told me, 'Everything you see in the world–everything that exists–is all for the sake of free will, in order to test people.'


I heard in his name that the Rebbe once said that a Jew's main devotion is, in the winter, to wake up at midnight {to pray Tikun Chatzot, the midnight lament} and, in the summer, when the (Diaspora) nights are short (when awakening at midnight is not feasible), to wake up early, at the crack of dawn.


I was once standing before the Rebbe, z"l as he lay in bed. Suddenly these words escaped his holy mouth, 'The main things is: From the belly of Hell I cried out!


The Rebbe once spoke to me about the folly of sexual desires. He said, 'One who occupies himself with lewd thoughts is a fool. Even an ordinary person would not want to be caught doing this. Even if he has no fear of sin, he still has no desire for the public humiliation of being caught with a strange woman. Why engage in lustful thoughts? Why trouble your soul for nothing? We have spoken of the fact that every man can have absolute control over his thoughts and direct them as he wishes. This is discussed in numerous places in our printed works. Accept this advice and you will be worthy of eternal pleasure.


One time, the Rebbe ridiculed the sexual desire, quoting the words of the morning prayer, 'Do not bring me to a test or to disgrace.' He said, 'Either a test or a disgrace. If you do not pass the test, you will come to disgrace'. We have discussed how the Rebbe spoke of the repulsiveness of this desire, saying that it is really no temptation at all. The Rebbe said, 'People are so bound up with their worldly desires that it does not help when one explains how repulsive this is. The more you speak of it, the more lewd thoughts they have. In most cases it is therefore best not to even begin to think of it at all. This is explained in Sefer HaMidot {The Aleph-Bet Book}. 'Do not enter into litigation with your tempter. Thinking about something for any length of time, even of its avoidance, strengthens desire, and turns the will toward it'.


Many times the Rebbe, z"l said, 'We have nothing at all to do'. (The Rebbe said this in relation to some of his awesome observations, many of which have already been printed.) We find that the disciples of Rabbi Ishmael taught, 'The words of Torah should not be viewed as an obligation, but neither are you permitted to exempt yourself from them' (Menachot 99b). This explains the Rebbe's statement and is wonderful advice for anyone who understands it even a little.


In Sefer HaMidot {The Aleph-Bet Book} it is written, 'Every universe and everything created has its own structure. For example, the lion ... and spiritual beings are all included in the forms of the letters and their combinations. One who is worthy of understanding the Torah...'. This appears to be related to a conversation we heard from the Rebbe's holy mouth before Shabbat Chanukah, 5565 (1805) regarding the creatures in the world. The Rebbe said, 'Every human likeness is included in the word adam {man} when the Torah says , 'Let us make adam in our image' (Genesis 1:26). As soon as God said the word adam, He included every human likeness in that word.' 'The same is true of such words as beheimah {animal} and chayah {beast} used in the account of creation. These words include the forms of every animal and beast.... The same is true of everything else created.' The Rebbe spoke at length regarding this. He then said, 'There are categories of wisdom, even in this world, which can sustain a person without any other nourishment. There are such awesomely wonderful categories of wisdom even in this world. A person can live without eating or drinking with this wisdom alone.' The Rebbe spoke at length about this, but we were not worthy of recording the rest.


Every year people say that previous years were better and times are not as good as they were before.... The Rebbe spoke to us about this at length. He said that people might say that things were less expensive in times gone by, but then again, people did not have as much money as they have now. An ordinary person, even someone living from charity, spends more today than the wealthy of yesterday. He said, 'The opposite is true. God now runs the world better than ever.'


These are among the many thoughts the Rebbe shared with us regarding the above. All the talk about "the good old days" is the work of the Evil Inclination. He wants people to speak like this to make us suffer and worry all the more about our livelihoods. He would like to make us feel that there is no hope at all now, heaven forbid. This is all false. God continuously sustains the world. In every generation people rise and fall financially. If you look carefully at the past, you will find that it also contained much poverty and suffering. Most people who say that times have deteriorated are those who have recently acquired wealth. Now that they have tasted wealth, they are no longer satisfied and want more all the time. They now live ostentatiously and cannot meet their expenses, so they complain that times are not as good as before. But we ourselves recall that not too many years ago most of these complainers were suffering in poverty. People cry that 'the first days were better than these.' Why pay attention to this foolishness! The wise King Solomon refuted this idea long ago when he said, 'Do not say that the first days were better than these, for it is not out of wisdom that you ask this' (Ecclesiastes 7:10). Rashi interprets this verse to teach us that everything depends on the merit of each generation. Still, 'the Torah has many faces' and 'Scripture does not depart from its simple meaning.' King Solomon was the wisest man who ever lived and wrote with divine inspiration. He said that it is great foolishness to say that 'the first days were better than these.' In every generation there are people who say this. But if you look well, you will see that the world is constantly becoming more prosperous. People constantly live better and have greater expenses. What difference does it really make? If the world is really poorer now than before, there is all the more reason to flee to God and involve yourself in Torah and devotion. If there is suffering and trouble in the world, the only place to escape to is God and His Torah. It is written, 'Man is born to struggle' (Job 5:7). The Midrash remarks, 'Man is born to struggle'–happy is he who struggles with the Torah.' Whether you are rich or poor, your life will be filled with struggle and suffering. Man's lot is suffering and pain, as it is written, 'For his days are vexation and pain' (Ecclesiastes 2:23). In the holy Sheloh we find the following poem: There is no moment without torment / There is no hour that is not sour / There is no day without dismay. Happy is the man who flees from the struggles of this troublesome world and struggles to comprehend the Torah. He will be 'Happy and prosperous,' happy in this world, and prosperous in the future world' (Avot 6:4). The man who says that 'the first days are better than these' accomplishes nothing. His attitude causes him to struggle more and more to earn a living and waste his days in worry and vexation. This foolishness keeps him from Torah and prayer. Regarding his end it is written, 'He takes away nothing for all his effort' (Ecclesiastes 5:14). It is also written, 'For in vanity he comes, and in darkness he leaves' (ibid. 6:4). If you have eyes to see and a heart to understand, you will perceive that the past had as much suffering and troubles as the present. Look in books written hundreds of years ago and you will find that their authors also suffered from poverty and had the most difficult struggles just to earn a livelihood. This did not deter them and they still wrote many holy books. It is written, 'For what was, that is what shall be… there is nothing new under the sun' (ibid. 1:9). Life was difficult even in 'the good old days.' How many years ago did King Solomon write of man, 'Also all his days are vexation and pain?' How many years ago did the book of Job say, 'Man is born to struggle…of few days and full of trouble' (Job 14:1)? The scriptures wrote about this long ago. Even then, many people thought that times were troublesome and one must only worry about his livelihood. These people departed from this world without joy or pleasure. But each generation also had God fearing men and tzaddikim. They paid no attention to this and escaped the struggles of the world to toil in Torah and devotion. They and their children were worthy… Fortunate are they. Even today you have free will. You have the power to escape from these painful discussions and worries. You can flee from them and trust in God, abandoning the struggles of this bitter world and involving yourself in the struggles of the Torah. God will certainly sustain you. Does He not sustain all the world, now as always? And now God runs the world better than ever. This world was always filled with worries and suffering. Things have not changed. It is written, 'In pain you shall eat…by the sweat of your brow you shall eat bread' (Genesis 3:17). This was decreed since the time of Adam's sin and there is no place to escape. These worries and pains destroy a person's life. The only shelter is God and His Torah. The Mishnah (Avot 6:4) teaches: This is the path of Torah: Bread with salt shall you eat; water by measure shall you drink; on the ground shall you sleep; a life of pain shall you live and in Torah shall you toil. If you do this, “You will be happy and prosperous” (Psalms 128:2). Happy—in this world, prosperous—in the World to come. People find this difficult to understand. After telling us the struggles we must endure for the Torah, “Bread with salt shall you eat…” how can the Mishnah state “‘You will be happy’…in this world”? Many writers attempt to resolve this by way of homily, but their explanations remain weak and strained. There really is no question. If you have eyes to see and a heart that truly understands the world, you know this. If you have absorbed the wisdom contained in the Rebbe's awesome teachings, you know the truth. The Mishnah means exactly what it says. The wealthiest people in the world will tell you that the world is filled with worry and suffering. The rich suffer as much as everyone else. Thus, our Sages teach us, “The more property, the more worries” (Avot 2:7). The poor may not realize this. They may think that they would no longer have problems if they were wealthy. But they are sadly mistaken, as we see with our own eyes. The truth is as our Sages have taught it. Whether you are rich or poor, you cannot avoid worries. The world is filled with pain and suffering and there is no place to escape. If you are a man, you must worry about earning a livelihood. You are concerned about your wife and children. If you are a woman, you imagine that you are troubled by your husband. No matter who you are, you will find the world abounding with real suffering and pain. How many people suffer because of sickness and accidents—God save us! There is no escape, except in the Torah. If you desire the good of this world and want to live at ease without troubles, you will be constantly frustrated. The more you seek good, the more you will find the opposite. Everything you manage to grasp will be diluted with suffering. Look with truth and you will see this yourself. It is written, “There is no wisdom, understanding, nor council against God” (Proverbs 21:30). The only way to be at ease is to will yourself to subsist on an absolute minimum. Firmly resolve to follow the dictum of the Mishnah, “Bread with salt shall you eat…a life of pain shall you live.” Accept upon yourself a life of privation and struggle in order to involve yourself in the Torah. “And in the Torah shall you toil.” Only then will you have life, even in this world. “If you do this, you will be happy…in this world.” This is certainly true. No longer will you suffer from the worldly misfortunes that affect all people. You have already accepted them upon yourself for the sake of the Torah. All your life, all your “good” is the Torah which is the true good. Then your life is a true life and you will be happy even in this world. The person who wants to live at ease in this world and enjoy its delights will only find bitterness. “Even the slightest breeze will upset him” (Sotah 5a). The smallest mishap will cause him to suffer greatly. You may be immensely rich and powerful. You may be a lord or a king. Nonetheless, in a world filled with suffering it is impossible for everything to be as you desire. The only way to escape this suffering is in the Torah. Accept the way of the Torah, eating bread with salt, etc. Then you will be happy and prosperous. Happy even in this world. Look at the truth. Understand well the troubles of the world. You will certainly see the truth of this. You will find much of this in the Rebbe's teachings, especially those printed together with the Sippurey Maasiot {i.e., through #116 above, which were initially printed with Rebbe Nachman’s Stories}. It is also most forcefully brought out in the story The Sophisticate and the Simpleton {the ninth story}. Even pagan philosophers realized that the world is filled with suffering and discussed it often in their works. They came to the conclusion that the only solution is stoic forbearance. A person must accept upon himself to endure all that happens to him. But all their words are of no avail in a world without the Torah. No person can endure this world and not be overcome by its suffering. Only the Torah which we Jews have been fortunate to receive can provide this strength. If you really think things out, you will realize that this world has absolutely no purpose. Imagine a world filled with good and riches. Imagine a world where there was no pain, no suffering and no worries. It would still be empty and devoid of all purpose. For time passes in the blink of an eye and life is over. It is written, “Our days are like a passing shadow” (Psalms 144:4). Our Sages comment, “Not like a ‘permanent’ shadow of a palm tree, but a passing one” (Bereishis Rabbah 96:3). It is also written, “The days of our life are seventy years… Their pride is travail and vanity, for it is speedily gone and flies away” (Psalms 90:10). If even a perfect world would be purposeless, what shall we say about the world we live in? It is filled with pain, sorrow and suffering without end. The life of every person, from the greatest to the smallest, from the richest of the rich to the poorest of the poor, is filled with worries and concerns. Every person is trapped by his limitations. The greatest emperors and kings are filled with worries and fears without measure. Even the pagan philosophers realized this. The only way out is to choose the Torah and its commandments. Make up your mind to be satisfied with an absolute minimum in order to immerse yourself in the Torah. Spend your days with Torah and devotion and you will be immune to the world's travail. You will shake off the toil and struggle of worldly concerns and no longer taste the bitterness of soul they have to offer. Devoted to God and His Torah you will truly be alive, for this is the root of life, both in this world and the next. You will then know that the words of the Mishnah are correct, even in their plain meaning. You will have chosen to live such a life, eating bread with salt, drinking water by measure, sleeping on the ground and living a life of pain. You must be willing to accept a life of suffering, for there are times when even bread with salt and water by measure will not be abundant. But you accept all this in order to immerse yourself in the Torah. “In the Torah you shall toil.” If you do this, you will certainly be “happy and prosperous.” “Happy in this world” for you will have accepted upon yourself all the suffering the world has to offer and you will be worthy of true life. You will then be worthy of perceiving the truth and you will know that the world was not created for ease and enjoyment. You will realize that the person who seeks the delights of this world will only find pain and vexation. The Torah is “our life and length of our days” {evening liturgy}. If you flee the struggle of the world to toil in the Torah, you will be worthy of the Future World, whose eternity reduces all of this world to the blink of an eye in comparison. But besides this, you will also have a good life in this world. The best thing in this world is submissiveness. This cannot be attained without total immersion in the Torah and its mitzvot. Open your eyes to the truth and you will see this. Ridicule these words and you only ridicule yourself. We speak the truth and it is yours to accept. But if you wish to turn your back on it and remain immersed in “the deep quicksand” (Psalms 69:3) of this world, there is no one to prevent you. “Let each person go his own way, but we will call out in God's name”. These were the Rebbe's words to a man who spoke to him at length. The Rebbe knew that this man was drowning in the endless waters and wanted to rescue him. But the man hardened his heart and turned a stubborn shoulder, not accepting the Rebbe's advice. He knew that the Rebbe spoke the truth, but refused to take his words to heart. The Rebbe said, “He is like a drowning man who is about to die. A rescuer comes along and extends a hand to lift him from the water. But the drowning man turns a stubborn shoulder and turns his back in arrogance, not wanting to grasp the helping hand. He flees from the one who comes to save him.” Heed these words! You will find pleasure both in this world and the next.

♦ ♦ ♦

Finished and completed is the book Rebbe Nachman’s Wisdom with the help of the Blessed God.


This work was published before January 1, 1929, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.

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