Spiritual Inspiration by the Bucketful!

With God's help, Chambers of the Palace: Teachings of R. Nachman of Breslov will soon be available as a printed book. If you want to be notified when it comes out, please email me, at yacovdavid@gmail.com.

In addition, God willing, this blog will post other teachings of R. Nachman on a regular basis. Please visit often.

Here is what some reviewers have said of Chambers of the Palace.

“I thoroughly enjoyed The Chambers of the Palace. The editing and translations are superb – kol hakavod!”—R. Lazer Brody

"For those seeking an entrance into the realm of Jewish spiritual and mystical teachings, there is no better guide than Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav. Nor is there a better introduction to Rabbi Nachman's teachings than The Chambers of the Palace. In this beautifully translated work, Shulman has selected the essential teachings from a vast library of writings and organized them into 42 primary categories”—Howard Schwartz (Gabriel's Palace, Elijah's Violin, et al.), St. Louis-Post Dispatch.

"A scholarly, well-researched, well-written contribution to Judaic studies”—Wisconsin Bookwatch.

Again, send me an email and I'll let you know when the book becomes available.

Friday, September 19, 2008

The Water in Which Faith Grows

by R. Nachman of Breslov

It is important to dig and find the water in which faith grows.

And that “water” corresponds to solution-oriented ideas, out of which faith grows.

This is related to the verse, “I will praise Your name, for You have done something that comes out of nowhere; solutions from afar, deeply faithful” (Isaiah 25).

Such solutions correspond to the depth of the heart.

In other words, when a person’s faith is damaged and it falls, when even crying out does not help him—i.e., not even a simply outcry without words—then a person has to cry out from his heart only, as in the verse, “Their heart cried out to Hashem” (Lamentations 2). In that case, only the heart cries out, without a sound, as in the verse, “From the depths have I called out to You, Hashem” (Psalms 130)—from the depths of the heart.

And the depth of the heart corresponds to solution-oriented ideas, as in the verse, “Deep waters are solutions in the heart of a person” (Proverbs 20).

And so, when crying out does not help because one’s faith has fallen, then one has to cry out from the heart alone, without a sound, only from the depth of the heart.

And as a result, the solutions are revealed, which correspond to “deep waters are solutions….”

And when such solutions are revealed in the world—i.e., when people know how to solve their problems—then faith grows. “Solutions from afar, deeply faithful.”
Likutei Moharan II 5:2

Saturday, August 30, 2008

The Sabbath is a Time of Joy

by R. Nachman of Breslov

When a person’s communication is complete, that corresponds to the Holy Tongue.

All human languages are incomplete and lack perfection, and are called “barbarous speech” (Isaiah 32:4).

Only the Holy Tongue possesses perfection. And the Holy Tongue is connected to the Sabbath. Thus, our Sages comment on the verse that includes the phrase, “and speak a word” (ibid.), which speaks of the Sabbath, “that a person’s speech on the Sabbath should not be the same as his weekday speech” (Shabbat 113).

Similarly, our sages state that the phrase “Thus shall you bless” (Numbers 6:23) means, “in the Holy Tongue” (Sotah 38). The Holy Tongue incorporates blessing and holiness, due to the fact that it is associated with the Sabbath, which is described as possessing blessing and holiness, as in the verse, “and He blessed … and He sanctified” (Genesis 2:3).

And so by means of the Holy Tongue a person is connected to the Sabbath.

Therefore, by means of perfecting one’s speech, which corresponds to the Holy Tongue, a person draws the joy of the Sabbath to the six days of the week.

The six weekdays are associated with depression, for “the angel Metat rules in the weekdays” (Tikunei Zohar 18, p. 33b), and Metat is a servant, which corresponds to depression.

But the Sabbath corresponds to a son, when “there is rest for those in heaven and those upon the earth.” Then joy is awoken. At that point, all of the commandments that a person performed during the six days of the week are raised and elevated from depression; instead, rest and joy are drawn onto them. This is alluded to by the verse, “A son was born and his name was called Noah, for it was said, ‘This one will comfort us from our deeds and from the weariness of our hands” (Genesis 5:28-29).

That corresponds to the Sabbath, which corresponds to the son, corresponding to Noach, “Rest (i) for those in heaven and those upon the earth” (see Tikun 70 at the end and Zohar Bereishit 58, 59), which comforts and gives joy to everyone instead of depression—thus, “this one will comfort us….”

When a person attains the level of the Holy Tongue, which is connected to the Sabbath, he draws down the holiness and joy of the Sabbath into the six days of the week.

Since the Holy Tongue is connected to the Sabbath, through it the joy of the Sabbath is drawn to the six days of the week. Thus, the verse states, “The Mighty One, God, Hashem, spoke.” The numerical value of this phrase in Hebrew (plus the number of words of which it is composed) is equal to that of the word, simchah, joy. By means of a perfect speech, which is the Holy Tongue, joy is drawn down.

Likutei Moharan II 2:5

Friday, August 29, 2008

We and God Together Seek Atonement on Rosh Hashanah

by R. Nachman of Breslov

When a person sits down to talk with someone else, that can be said to correspond to Rosh Hashanah.

This is because Rosh Hashanah is a day of judgment; and when a person sits down to talk with someone else, he has a tendency to judge him.

A person must be very careful in this regard and look at himself well, to see if he is competent to judge someone else.

The verse states that “judgment belongs to God” (Deuteronomy 1:7)—meaning that only God is competent to judge someone.

Also, our Sages state, “Do not judge someone until you come to his place” (Pirkei Avot 2). But who can know and come to someone else’s place except for God? “He is the Place of the world, and the world is not His place” (Bereishit Rabbah, Veyeitzei 68, cited by Rashi on the verse hinei makom iti—Tisa). Each individual has a place with God. And so, only God can judge someone.


He is the Master of compassion, Who certainly “judges every individual favorably” (Avot 1).
We can see His compassion in the fact that He set the date for Rosh Hashanah, which is a day of judgment, on rosh chodesh—the new month. That is a great kindness—for how else would we dare lift up our faces to seek atonement from God? He did us the great kindness of setting the Day of Judgment, Rosh Hashanah, on rosh chodesh, for at that time God Himself (as it were) seeks atonement. We learn that God says in regard to rosh chodesh, “Bring an atonement on My behalf” (Shavuot 9a, Chullin 60b).

We learn that from the following Talmudic passage.

R. Shimon ben Pazi contrasted two verses. One states that “God made the two great lights”—the sun and moon—implying that they were of equal size (Genesis 1); and the other describes the sun and moon as “the large light and the small light.”

The solution to this contradiction is as follows.

Originally, the sun and moon were of equal size, but the moon complained to the Holy One, blessed be He, “Master of the universe, is it possible for two kings to make use of the same crown?”

God replied to the moon, “Then make yourself smaller.”

She said to Him, “Master of the universe, because I raised a reasonable point to You, should I then make myself smaller?”

God attempted to appease the moon in various ways, but she refused to be reconciled. Seeing this, He said, “Bring an atonement on My behalf for having made the moon smaller.”

And so on the Day of Judgment we are not ashamed to seek atonement, since God Himself seeks atonement at that time.

Also, when God Himself must, as it were, state, “Bring an atonement on My behalf”—i.e., because He did something that He must regret—we are not ashamed to come before Him with our sins in order to seek atonement for them and regret them, since He Himself has done something that He needs to regret.

And so we see the greatness of God’s compassion—i.e., that He set the date for Rosh Hashanah on rosh chodesh.

Only He is fit to judge the world, for only He knows the place of each individual. This is because all places are with Him, since “He is the Place of the world, and the world is not His place.”


We find that God’s Presence rested in certain sites, such as the Temple. But that is not to say (heaven forbid) that God constricted His Divinity (heaven forbid). As Solomon stated, “Behold, the heavens and the heavens of heavens cannot contain You—certainly not this house” (Kings I 8:26).

But there were felicitous matters there—e.g., we learn that the Temple was in the form of the Work of Creation and in the form of the Garden of Eden (see Introduction to the Tikunim). Therefore, God drew His holiness into it.

But as for God Himself, the world is not His place—rather, He is the Place of the world.
God can make Rosh Hashanah, which is the Day of Judgment, because He represents the concept, “Do not judge someone else until you come to his place,” because God is the Place of the world.

The verse states that “holiness is felicitous in Your House, Hashem, for length of days” (Psalms 93:5).

That is to say, God drew His holiness into the Temple, since it had felicitous things there. But as for God Himself, the world is not His place—rather, He is the Place of the world.

And so the verse ends, “Hashem, for length of days.” That is to say, since God is the Place of the world, He can make Rosh Hashanah, the day of judgment, which is called for halachic reasons a “lengthy day” (Beitzah 4 and 6; Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 393).


A person who grasps the level of the Throne of Glory—which is the level of the roots of souls—corresponds to the Place of the world. That corresponds to the verse, “He endows [such people] with a seat of honor as an inheritance, for Hashem’s are the pillars of the earth, upon which He set up the world” (Samuel I 2:8).

That is to say, by coming to the level of the Throne of Glory, the roots of souls, such people function as the place of the world, the level of “upon them He set up the world.”

And thus such a person can make Rosh Hashanah.

Likutei Moharan Tinyana

Friday, August 15, 2008

The Flow of Abundance

By R. Nosson of Nemirov

The lust for money is the result of a lack of faith that God can bring a person an income via an easy means, without toil. Lacking this faith, a person constantly chases after his income. He is filled with depression, worry and bitterness, and borrows a great deal of money because he does not believe that God can provide him with his income in its proper time without toil, via a simple means.

And all of this is drawn from and connected to time. God transcends time and place, “Israel rose first in the [divine] thought,” and “the Holy One, blessed be He, the Torah and Israel are all one.” And so Israel also transcends time.

And all the service of Israel in this physical world, which rests within time and space, is solely to raise and connect the reality of time and space to the reality that transcends time and space—i.e., to raise, connect and incorporate all of creation into that which preceded creation.

And the essential thing is faith. As the verse states, “All of Your commandments are faith.”

This is because via faith, via believing that God created everything with His will, and that all time and space come from Him, from the reality that transcends time and space, we raise and connect time and space to the level that transcends time and space. And then all of creation is on the level that transcends time and space—on the level of providence.

And that is the aspect of trust in God. And in truth, essentially a person grows depressed and worries over earning a living because he fails to trust in God.

In essence, this blemish and lack of trust in God derive solely from the level of time and space.

God causes His good abundance to flow constantly, without interruption for even a moment. But that flow of abundance enters this physical world, which is within time and space, and so it must be clothed in time and space.

And so the flow of income and abundance comes down only within a specific time and space.

In essence, worry over earning a living comes from the fact that at times the flow of a person’s income is interrupted. Then the worry over making a living rises in his heart and he grows concerned over what he will eat tomorrow.

As a result, he invests a great deal of toil in earning a living. But in the end he does not attain an income until its proper time arrives.

But if this person possessed a true intelligence and believed that everything is from God but that it is necessary to wait until its time comes, he would not chase after his income so much, knowing that God will give him his income in its time, via an easy means.

It is necessary for a person engage in some slight action for the sake of earning a living, as our sages state regarding the verse, “I will bless you in all that you do”--for it can be drawn down into this world only via vessels. Thus, it is necessary to engage in some industry and business, for in this way one makes vessels and conduits to receive the abundance.

But in truth, the work is not the main thing at all. Rather, the essential income comes from God, from His providence alone, for no person knows how he will earn a living.

And so a person should not urgently pursue his income with great toil--as though, heaven forbid, his income depends on that alone. To the contrary, as a result his income will decrease, because “whenever a person forces the moment, the moment forces him back.” A person needs to engage in business and industry only to fulfill the commandment of engaging in business faithfully, in order to make a vessel and conduit to receive the abundance--and whatever he does in this will suffice.

And thus, “I will bless you in all that you do”— in whatever a person does, even something slight and small, Hashem will bless him. Most people pursue an income repeatedly and with great effort yet do not succeed in earning a profit, and achieve nothing in their toil--yet then God has pity on them and brings them an income--sometimes even great wealth—via a very simple means, in an almost supernatural fashion. The world is filled with stories of this kind, which are very common among those who engage in business.

So if a person had intelligence and from the beginning relied on God and did not worry at all, he would have no need whatsoever for unnecessary toil. When the time came, God would give him his income via a simple means.

Not only does a person not earn anything as a result of his worry, depression and exaggerated toil and overwhelming efforts, but to the contrary, he loses the abundant flow of great income.

This is because the essence of the flow of income comes from above, from that which transcends time and space--except that in this world, income has to clothe itself in time and space, and so a person must engage in some activity and business for the sake of income, in order to make a vessel in which abundance can clothe itself in this world.

When a person believes that time and space are connected to that which transcends time and space, he has abundant income because he is connected to the source of abundance that flows from above by means of his faith and trust in Hashem.

But when a person runs after his income with great toil, he is drawn after and powerfully connected to the level of time and space. He disconnects time and space from the level that transcends time and space. As a result, he is distanced from the root of flowing abundance, and so it is difficult for him to earn a living. And even when he receives a little income, it necessarily comes with a great and overwhelming toil.

As a result of his income coming with excessive toil, he is drawn even more to into constriction, into time and space.

And so his income comes with excessive toil, which is drawn from the level of time and space.

Our sages state that “when a person forces the moment, the moment will force him back, but when a person allows himself to be forced back by the moment, the moment will be forced back by him.”

That is to say, a person who is excessively drawn after time and tries to force the moment is connected in an excessive manner to time and space, and is greatly distanced from the aspect that transcends time and space. As a result, he is distanced from the source of the flow of abundance.

As a result, “the moment will force him back,” since he is so greatly connected to the aspect of time.

And so this person suffers even greater pressure, because his income is pushed off to a further time and place. Because he has put so much effort into time and space, his income is pushed off in time and space.

But when a person allows himself to be “forced back by the moment,” when he believes that everything is from God and that when his time comes his income will come of itself, via a simple means, he is tied strongly to that which transcends time and space.

And so “the moment will be forced back by him,” because in this way he reduces time and space, and God sends him his income in a short period of time and in close proximity to himself.

This is because he is close to and connected to the aspect that transcends time and space.

As a result, he does not need to engage in great exertion for the sake of his income.

This is because the essence of exertion is drawn from the aspect of time and space.

If a person had very strong trust, he would not even have to engage in any means at all in order to earn an income.

In essence, it is necessary to engage in some simple means to earn an income in order to make a conduit and vessel to receive the abundance that flows down from above. But if a person had strong trust, he would make the vessel and the conduit with that trust itself.

This is because by means of the trust he makes a vessel to receive the flow of abundance.

Likutei Halachot, Yoreh Deah, Ribit 3:1

Sunday, May 18, 2008

We Raise in Holiness, and We Do Not Bring Down

by R. Nosson of Nemirov

“We raise up in holiness and we do not bring down” (Berachot 28).

Would it occur to anyone to bring holiness down, heaven forbid?

But the following is the meaning of this statement.

There are some holy people who are so truly great that because of their essential holiness they cannot bear people, and because they are so incredibly holy, they push away and push down people whom they are angry at, because they cannot tolerate their corrupt actions.

But this is not what God wants, for “He desires kindness,” and he wants those who are righteous to have compassion on the Jewish people constantly and bring them close, however they may be.

And even if He Himself is very angry at them because of their wicked deeds, He wants the righteous people to pray for them and bring them close.

Thus, when Moshe removed his tent from the camp (Exodus 33) because the Jews had sinned so much, our sages teach that God said, “If I am angry and you are angry, they who will bring them back?”

So do we find regarding a number of prophets and saintly men to whom God Himself complained about His great suffering, as it were, because of the many sins of the Jews—yet when they ratified His worlds and did not defend the Jews, He grew very stern with them.

That was the case with Hosea (Pesachim 87) and Elijah, who said, “I have been exceedingly zealous Kings 19), to which God responded, “Anoint Elisha son of Shefat as prophet in your place”—meaning, state our sages, that God told him, “I do not want your prophecy, because you accuse the Jews” (Yalkut Shimoni).

This is because God wants us only to defend the Jews and have compassion on them, even the lowest, bringing them all to God, like Moses, who was entirely dedicated to help the Jews, and who said, “And if not, then wipe me out” (Exodus 32).

And so “we raise in holiness”—the more we toil and reach holiness and come closer to understanding the divine, the more souls must we raise up, and not bring down—i.e., we must take care not to lower other souls due to our own holiness—i.e., we should not grow unforgiving of the Jews even if we attain great holiness and awareness of God, which makes it impossible for us to tolerate lowly people, until we might grow angry at them and might lower them, heaven forbid

Rather, we must “Raise in holiness and not lower,” for when a person comes to a higher level and achieves greater understanding, he must shrewdly make new constrictions, utilizing wondrous strategies, so that he will be able to bring many people ever closer, and heal even the lowest and the very ill.

Likutei Halachot, Orach Chaim, Hashkamat Haboker 4

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Vision of the Man in the Circle

I will tell you what I saw. And you tell your children.

Someone was lying on the ground, and people were sitting around him in a circle. There was a second circle around the first, a third circle, and so on.

Around these circles sat some other people in no particular order.

The man who was sitting in the middle on his side was moving his lips, and everyone around him moved his lips like him.

Then I saw that the man in the middle was no longer there, and all the people sitting around him stopped moving their lips.

“What is going on?” I asked.

I was told that the man had grown cold and died. Since he had ceased to speak, the others had ceased to speak as well.

Afterwards, everyone began running.

I ran after them. I saw two beautiful palaces.

Two ministers sat there.

The people ran to the ministers and began to complain to them, “Why did you fool us?” They wanted to kill these ministers. Finally, the ministers ran out.

When I saw the ministers, I liked them very much. I ran after them.

From afar, I saw a beautiful tent.

People shouted from the tent to the ministers, “Go back! Find all your merits. Take them in your hand and go to the candle hanging there. There you will be able to accomplish everything that you want.”

The ministers went back and took their merits. There were bundles of merits. They ran to the candle, and I ran after them.

A lit candle was hanging in the air. The ministers came and threw the merits at the candle, and sparks fell from the candle into their mouths.

The candle [HaNeiR] turned into a river [NaHaR], and they all drank from it.

Creatures were formed within them. When they opened their mouths to speak, the creatures emerged.

I saw them running back and forth. They were neither human nor animal--just creatures.
Afterwards, the ministers decided to return to their place. They said, “How can we get back to our place?”

One of them said, “Let us send a message to the person standing there who is holding a sword from the heavens to the earth.”

They said, “Whom shall we send?”

They decided to send the creatures. The creatures went there, and I ran after them.

I saw a frightening being standing from heaven to earth with a sword in his hand that reached from heaven to earth, which had many blades.

One blade was sharp for killing; another blade was for poverty; another blade was for weakness. And there were other blades for other punishments.

They began, “It is a long time that we have been suffering because of you. Now help us and bring us to our place.”

He said, “I cannot help you.”

They asked, “Give us the blade of death and we will kill the people.”

But he did not agree.

They asked for another blade, but he did not want to give them any blade. So they left.

Meanwhile, an order was given to kill the ministers, and their heads were cut off.

Then things went back to what they had been before.

A person lay on the ground and there were circles of people about him, and they ran to the ministers, and so forth, all over again.

But this time, I saw that the ministers did not throw their merits at the candle. Instead, they took the merits, went to the candle and broke their hearts and began to beg before the candle. Sparks fell from the candle into their mouths.

They pleaded more and the candle turned into a river, and so on, and the creatures were formed. And I was told, “These will live. The first ones were guilty of death because they threw the merits at the candle and did not plead, as these had.”

I didn’t understand this.

I was told, “Go to such-and-such a room and you will be told what it all means.”

I went there, and an old man was sitting there. I asked him about this.

He grasped his beard and told me, “This beard is the explanation of the story.”

I answered him, “I still don't understand.”

He told me, “Go to such-and-such a room, and there you will find the explanation.”

I went there, and I saw a long, broad, endless room, full of writings. And wherever I opened up [a book], I saw an explanation of the story.

Chayei Moharan p. 36, #2

Saturday, February 16, 2008

A Movement

Sometimes an ordinary Jew just makes a movement with his sidelock, and God takes great pride even in that.
Likutei Moharan

Thursday, February 14, 2008


It is possible to draw God’s complete providence only when we break our lust for money.

We do that by giving charity.

“A spirit descends to cool the heat of the heart. When that spirit descends, the heart receives it with the joy of the song of the Levites” (Zohar Pinchas 244a).

This “spirit” is charity, which is “a voluntary spirit” (Psalms 51:14). With this, we cool of the heat of the lust for money. The verse “He cuts off the spirit of the princes” (Psalms 76:13) can be read, “The spirit cuts off the princes.” The spirit diminishes the lust for princeliness and wealth.

“The song of the Levites” is dealing faithfully in business—in other words, being happy in one’s portion and not rushing to grow wealthy. Song refers to business. In Hebrew, “business” is literally “lifting and giving.” This corresponds to the verse, “Lift up a tune and give the tambourine” (Psalms 81:32).

“The joy” is the fact that one is happy with one’s portion.

And this is the incense [that was offered in the Temple]. This incense connects the heat of the heart to the spirit. “Incense rejoices the heart” (Proverbs 27:9).

“They will bring incense for Your nostrils” (Deuteronomy. 33:10). That incense nullifies the curse, “by the sweat of your brow shall you eat” (Genesis 3:19). The words for “nostril” and “brow” in the above two verses are similar.

And this is the revelation of the messiah. At that time, there will be no lust for money. “On that day, a person will cast aside his gods of silver and his gods of gold” (Isaiah 2:20).

The messiah is “the spirit of our nostrils, the anointed of Hashem” (Lamentations 4:20).

As long as the idolatry of money exists in the world, there is anger in the world (see Sanhedrin 113; Sifri Re’eh).

But when this idolatry is nullified, so is the anger nullified. “The spirit of our nostrils, the anointed of Hashem.”

Then love is drawn into the world: “He performs love for His anointed one” (Psalms 18:51).

When this love will be revealed, consciousness will be drawn down. And that is the building of the Temple: “In the greatness of Your love will come to Your house.” (Psalms 5:8). And: “His right hand [which indicates love] will build the Temple” (Zohar Pinchas 220b).

Consciousness is a house. “If a person has consciousness, it is as though the Temple was built in his time” (Berachot 33a).

Likutei Moharan I 13:1

Friday, February 8, 2008

From the Conversation of Women

From the conversation of women, one can know the status of God=s Presence.

Mordechai would Awalk before the courtyard of the house of the women to know the welfare of Esther@ (Esther 2:11).

Esther represents God=s Presence (cf. Me=orei Or, Devash; and Netzutzei Orot Zohar I 240a; and Shaar Hakavanot, Derush 4 of Pesach with notes of Maharshu).

Mordechai understood and was able to know the welfare of God=s Presence from Athe courtyard of the house of the women@--from their conversation.

Likutei Moharan 203

Sunday, February 3, 2008

The Cessation of Being

Each one of us has to see to it that we become assimilated into the root of who we are, to return and be assimilated into the oneness of God, Who is the One Reality.

This can be achieved only when we make ourselves totally stop, when we cease our being. And we can only come to this cessation through hisbodedus. When we are in seclusion with God, we can cause all desires and bad traits to cease. We can cling to God and be drawn into the root of who we are.

Likutei Moharan 52

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Enveloped in God

There are some people who do not have a proper belief. They say that the world has to exist. What a poor and confused consciousness they have. They think that they have proofs for this from the way the world works—heaven forbid!

But really “their mouths say empty things” (cf. Job 34:16). Really, the whole world and everything in it don't necessarily have to exist.

God is the only Necessary Being. All the universes, however, with everything in them don’t necessarily have to be. God created them out of nothing. It was totally up to Him whether or not to create them. So the whole world and everything in it didn’t have to exist.

So why do people think that the world must necessarily be—heaven forbid, heaven forfend! This is why: because really, now that the souls of Israel have been emanated and drawn down, the world must necessarily be.

Why? Because the whole world and everything in it were only created for Israel (as is well-known; see Vayikra Rabbah 36; also Rashi at the beginning of Breishit). “Israel rules the world.”

Now, after the souls of Israel have been emanated and created, there is no doubt that (if you could say such a thing) God has to create and maintain the world. That is why He emanated the souls of Israel: to create all the universes for them.

But when the souls of Israel themselves were being emanated, they themselves together with all the worlds that depend on them didn’t necessarily have to exist. God could have either emanated and created them or not created them. But once the Holy One, blessed be He, decided to emanate the souls of Israel, then the entire world became something that has to be. Once the souls of Israel were emanated, then God (so to speak) had to make the world—that was why He had emanated their souls: so that all the universes would be created for them and they would rule over everything.

Understand this well.

This is the source of the error of the non-believers, who say that the world has to be (heaven forbid). Really, however, only God has to be. All things don=t necessarily have to exist.

The main reason that God created the entire universe for Israel was so that Israel would do His will, and come back and cling to their root—meaning, that they would come back and be enveloped in God, who is the Necessary Being. That’s why everything was created.

So when Israel does God's will and are enveloped into their source—the Necessary Being—then the entire world (which was created for them) is enveloped into the Necessary Being too. That is the reason it was created. Only because of that does God have to (in a manner of speaking) create and maintain all the worlds: for Israel, so that they will do His will.

So when they do God’s will, that the world is enveloped into the plane of being necessary. The more they do God's will, the more are they enveloped with all the universes that depend on them into the Necessary Being. By doing God's will, they come back and are enveloped into Him, Who is a Necessary Being. Then all the worlds, which are dependent on their spirit, are absorbed into the One whose Being must be.

How can you reach this? How can you be absorbed into your root? How can you go back and be enveloped in God’s Oneness (Whose Being must be)?

You can only do that by becoming as nothing, by wiping your own being away until you are enveloped in God’s Oneness.

And so how do you become as nothing? You can achieve that only through hitbodedut: you separate mitboded yourself and talk things out to God, you wipe away all bad desires and traits. Finally, you wipe away all of your physical being and are enveloped in your root.

The essence of hitbodedut is in the night, when everyone is at rest from the trammel of this world. During the day, people’s running after this world prevent and disturb a person from clinging to and from being absorbed into God. Even if you yourself aren’t taken up with this, since other people are pursuing empty things of this world, it is difficult to come to such a state of self-dissolving.

Also, this hitbodedut has to be in set-aside place—which is to say, outside town, where a person is all alone, where there are no passers-by, because a place where people travel during the day, people who are pursuing this world (even though right now they aren’t there) also disturbs the hitbodedut, so that a person can’t dissolve himself and be enveloped into God.

So: you have to go out by yourself at night to a lone place, a place that people don't traverse, isolate yourself there and turn your heart and mind away from all the dealings of this world, and make everything as nothing, until you really comes to becoming as nothing.

That is to say, at first pray a great deal and speak out a great deal in hitbodedut at night in an isolated spot until you dissolve away one thing—i.e., you dissolve away a particular trait and desire. Then engage in a great deal more hitbodedut, until you wipe away another trait and desire.

Practice this hitbodedut for a long time, at that time of night, at that place, until you wipe away everything.

And then, something will still remain of you. So wipe that away too—until nothing at all remains of you.

Likutei Moharan 42

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

The Hints That God Sends

There can be someone who knows and understands the hints that God sends him in everything. And so he might want to be involved in that alone—i.e., involve himself in the things of this world, since he understands the hints that God is sending him.

But that is not the way it should be. A person has to restrain himself—he has to restrain himself from this world, but only take what he needs form this world.

And there are two reasons for that.

The first is that this holiness that is clothed in the things of this world is on the level of “feet.” It is a low level of holiness—“the sinfulness [of my enemies] surrounds me” (Psalms 49:6). The “husk” of evil surround that holiness always and want to draw vitality from it. And so that is a dangerous place to be. And so one must only make use of what one needs in the world.

And in addition, there is a higher way of serving God, a higher level of holiness, and so a person has to serve God with those that are more holy and higher than looking for divine hints in the world.

Likutei Moharan I 54

Thursday, December 27, 2007

A Great Mountain of Fire

Once, Rabbi Nachman came into the house.

He said, "What can you do when there is a great mountain of fire right in front of you? On the other side of the mountain is a wonderful, precious treasure. But you can only get to that treasure by passing through the mountain of fire--and it is absolutely necessary that you get to that lovely, wonderful treasure."

A few days later, Rabbi Nachman spoke about this again. He laughed and said, "I already have learned what to do about this."

Sichot Haran #191

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Do Not Seek That Which is Hidden from You

When you expand your mind to see divine messages in everything in the world, do so in a measured way, so that you don’t go out of the boundaries of holiness. Just expand your thought in this way on the level of your human intellect,

And also, don’t look into this on a level higher than where you are—“do not seek that which is hidden from you” (Chagigah 13).

“You Have been very great, You have clothed Yourself in glory and beauty.”

In other words, when you want to take something from the world, which is the garment in which God clothed His glory and beauty--i.e., the “feet” [of divinity] that are clothed in this world--that should be done “You have been very great”—the word “very” is a kabbalistic allusion to the “left” side, which is the source of constriction.

That is to say, constrict and limit the expansion [of your attempt to see divine messages in everything].

Likutei Moharan 54

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Remember the World to Come Always

Remember the world to come always. Cause your mind to cling to that future world—both in general and in particular.

In general, for anyone who feels the awe of God, as soon as you get up in the morning, before you begin anything else, think right away of the world to come.

Then go into detail

You see, this whole world is a disguise for the low levels of holiness. Our world is the feet of holiness. That is why the verse says, “and the earth is My footstool” (Isaiah 66:1).

All of the levels of holiness, even the highest levels, reveal themselves in this world. But really, their essence doesn’t come out in this world. All that comes out is the light shining on that plane that we call “the feet.”

But that plane of “the feet” actually reveals itself in this world.

Every day has three things in it: your thoughts, your words and your actions.

And the Holy One, blessed be He, constricts His divinity from the most Infinite to the most intimate, to the most core of the physical world that His entire Being is standing on.

And God sends every person thought, speech and deeds that are just right for that day and for that person and for that spot.

And in those thoughts, and words and actions that God brings to a person, He hides hints in them to bring that person close to God.

So you have to think about this profoundly, you have to expand your understanding, you have to understand what those hints are in detail, hidden in your thought or words or deeds every day that Hashem, be He blessed, has sent you.

Whether it is in your work, in your business—whatever Hashem, be He blessed, sends you every day, you have to go into it deeply and expand your thought on it, until you understand the hints that Hashem, be He blessed, is sending you.

Likutei Moharan I 54