Advice on: Matters between a man and his friend

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Man and his friend

Between a man and his friend

Continuing our translation of Etzot HaNahal, a compendium of advice drawn from Rav Eliezer Berland’s teachings, based on Likutey Moharan.

  • If you cause another person pain, even just a little bit, then whatever endeavor you undertake, it won’t succeed, even if it’s the most pure and holy deed.
  • Jealousy is the most awful thing. What benefit does a person really get, from being jealous?
  • When a person is full of jealousy, then guarding the eyes won’t help him, and neither will guarding the Brit.
  • A jealous person invents calumnies and publishes slanders and imaginary stories about other people, because he’s not doing the spiritual work of developing his own humility and lowliness.
  • Even if someone will be the most pure and holy person, if he should see someone else who’s doing better than he is, or who is more successful than he is, he won’t be able to stand up in the test.

It’s like Korach, who couldn’t stand up in the test. A person can lose all of his humanity because of jealousy and hatred, he can lose all of his spiritual attainments.

  • Before you start looking at other people, first, take a good look at yourself. How do you even have the time to be looking at what other people are doing?!

  • A person thinks that because he’s ‘critical’, that makes him a person of truth, who really only sees the truth about everyone else.
  • Whenever our friend had some sort of failure or setback, we need to fail pained by it. This is truly called loving our friends, when we give a part of our souls to them.
  • A person isn’t happy because he’s all the time he blaspheming and cursing. He insults everyone else, and he goes against everyone in his heart – and so, he can’t be happy.
  • If a person can talk negatively about someone after he’s just learned some Torah, then this wasn’t Torah at all. This was the Torah of the Satan.
  • According to a person’s mesirut nefesh, and self-sacrifice to show love to his friends, Hashem will then reveal to him all of the Torah’s secrets, allusions and hints.
  • The moment that the love between friends is damaged, the upper roots are also damaged, and then it’s impossible to continue bringing down the Torah and advice required, according to the root of these people’s souls.
  • Cain bought a sacrifice of pesolet (flax) because he found the pesol, the faults, in everyone, until he even ended up decreeing death upon his own brother.
  • That person who’s poking into all of the innocent spiritual avodah of every believing Jew who keeps Torah and mitzvoth – that person’s like Cain.
  • Each Jew that Hashem created, however Hashem chose to create him, this is the will of Hashem, that there would be another Jew in the world. And if we criticize and humiliate another Jew, then we are shaming and humiliating Hashem Yitbarach, we are shaming Hashem’s creations.
  • If you kill a person, even if you only insult him once, he’ll remember that insult all of his life. And whenever he’s reminded of it, it’ll feel like a dagger in his heart.

Even if another 100 years pass, he’ll still remember that affront, and every time he recalls it, he won’t be able to learn, or to pray. Whenever he’s reminded of the insult, his soul will leave him, all his blood will be spilled out, and he could even die from this a few times a day – and all from one insult!

  • When a person isn’t getting any life-giving vitality from his prayers, or from his Torah learning, that’s when he needs to start talking about other people. That’s when he’ll start to say: ‘I’m a tzaddik, and that guy’s a rasha (evildoer); I’m the chacham (wise person), and that guy’s the idiot.’

But this is not befitting behavior for us. Everyone here is wise, and everyone is understanding, and everyone loves their fellow Jew, and everyone here is straight, and everyone here is courageous, and everyone here is holy. Here, we don’t talk about any other person in the whole world. Here, we get our vitality from the Torah, and from our prayers.[1]

[1] Commentary on Likutey Moharan, Lesson 27.

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