The following is a transcript of the Likutei Halachot webinar class given on January 26 2020.
Download the PDF here: Full transcript Likutei Halachot Hashkamat Haboker 1-1 (class 1)
Join the webinar here: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_WmBEpgLKRaSNElB2Jk7RKA
Halacha of waking up in the morning
Seeing Hashem in front of you always (sheviti)
Teaching of Azamra by Rebbe Nachman
Seeing the good in everything and everyone
What comes first, seeing good in others or yourself?
What is God?
How to find God
How to live with God consciousness
Why are prayers not answered?
How to lighten up the darkness
Likutei Halachot Hashkamat Haboker 1:1 (part 1)
Welcome everyone to the Likutei Halachot class. We’re really excited because I don’t think this was ever done in history. Having Likutei Halachot broadcasted live in an interactive webinar. This is really, really exciting, and we feel really good about it. We believe that we’re coming close to the redemption now that God allowed for this to happen. And we want to thank everyone that encouraged this to happen today. And we want to pray that this will continue, and that everyone will receive from it what they need on their level, whatever it is that they came here for. They should be able to leave with more than they would have ever imagined.
Let’s begin with little bit of a background about Likutei Halachot. Likutei Halachot is a multi-volume book written by Rebbe Natan of Breslov. He was the number one student of Rebbe Nachman who was the founder of the Breslov chassidut a little over 200 years ago. Rebbe Nachman was a grandson of the leader and founder of the Hasidic movement; the Baal Shem Tov. Rebbe Nachman had his own unique way in his own unique path. His main student was Rebbe Natan. Rebbe Nachman said about Rebbe Natan that if not for him not one word would be left over from what he said, because everything we have today from Rebbe Nachman is only due to the hard work of Rebbe Natan who wrote down, published, and distributed everything Rebbe Nachman said. And he lived in great poverty.
At a certain point Rebbe Nachman told him that he wants him to finish studying the entire code of Jewish law, every year, which is called the Shulchan Aruch. And after that he told him he wants him to also complete the works of the Kabbalah of the Arizal. And after a certain amount the years he told him “Now I want you to combine everything that you learned together, and to write a commentary on the code of Jewish law,” which is in general, a very dry, basic code of law. And I want you to connect that to the deep kabbalistic teachings and especially the Hasidic teachings that you heard for me. And I want you to write that out in a book. And Rebbe Natan spent the rest of his life, many many years, doing this. And that’s how we have a really vast amount of content from what he wrote. All this was written in this book called Likutei Halachot. And it’s a really big, fat book, this is one volume there’s like 8 of these. It covers many many different subjects in Judaism and Jewish tradition. He begins in the beginning of the Shulchan Aruch he goes from one chapter to the next until he gets to the end and then he did it again the next year and so on, he did it around five or six times. Each time writing another lesson viewing the Halacha from a different angle. Each lesson goes for many pages, and we’re not going to finish any of them in one class, it’s going to be probably between 5 to 10 classes just to finish one lesson. He covers many many different subjects in one lesson. So after he brings one part of the Shulchan Aruch (code of Jewish Law), he goes on and quotes a piece of Likutei Moharan which was the main book of Rebbe Nachman.Then he ties it all together and he explains how everything is really just one. And on the way he brings up many different concepts and connects all of it so it’s really a nice journey. Rebbe Natan himself wrote that when you’re studying a holy book of any of the holy masters that we had throughout all the generations, we have a unique opportunity to connect to the soul of the person that wrote the book. And we’ll be able to receive insight from him directly. So that’s why it’s very important when I’m giving my class I would like to read the original Hebrew text even though I know many of you won’t understand what I’m saying. But just to bring down the Ha’ara, the light of his soul, in order that he should give us some insights and help us understand. Rebbe Natan explains and really Rebbe Nachman said it, that when you’re reading a holy book it’s not that you are just reading something that someone wrote 200 years ago that was needed for his generation. Not only is it needed for our generation as well, but every single individual can find in his book, everything that he needs for his own personal life and everything that he’s going through. And maybe it’s not going to happen on the first day, but as a person toils in it, as in Amal Batorah, toiling in the Torah, and you really work hard on it, and you open your eyes and heart, open your minds, then you’ll be able to see how the Torah is really speaking to you and guiding you like a light in a dark alley. It’s guiding you in all aspects of your life. Rebbe Nachman explains this in his first teaching of Likutei Moharan. We’re going to really experience that, b’ezrat Hashem, God willing.
A new English translation of Likutei Halachot just came out, if anyone wants to purchase it they can find it at the Breslov Research Institute. It’s only the first part of the first volume, and only really has a small percentage of the original first volume but it’s nice to start with. We’re not going to be using this now, I’m going to be reading from the original Hebrew which I’m going to translate on my own, so the translation may be slightly different, but if you want you can follow along with BRI’s translation, and they did a great job. So let’s begin.
THE SHULCHAN ARUCH LAWS OF WAKING UP IN THE MORNING
Rebbe Natan begins with a quote from the very beginning of the Shulchan Aruch: “A person should wake up like a lion, he should strengthen himself like a lion to get up in the morning to serve his Creator, that he should be the one to awaken the dawn, meaning should wake up before dawn, he should wake up the dawn.” And then, the Rama says “I have placed Hashem in front of me always, this is a main concept of the Torah.” A person needs to see the name of Hashem in front of his eyes always, a person should always see the name as it’s spelled out, the name that we are not allowed to pronounce due to its awesome holiness. It’s spelled out with the letter yud, The letter hey, the letter vav, and the letter hey, this is the four letter name of Hashem that a person should try to visualize at all times. That’s the simple understanding of this, and the Mishna Brura says that he should view it with the vowels of the word Yirah (fear). Vowels in the Hebrew language are dots under the letters called nekudot. Words can take form and meaning depending on the dots or nekudot that are under or above the letter. There are other ideas of how a person can view the name of Hashem, some are for arousing hear of Heaven, others for love, or inspiration etc. But even just viewing the name itself without nekudot can give a person a tremendous feeling of holiness throughout the day. It will give him a feeling of being in God’s presence at all times and we do this, everywhere. Wherever we go, except in an unclean place such as the bathroom.
Now Rebbe Natan will begin to expound on the deeper meaning of waking up in the morning as stated in the Shulchan Aruch. These are the laws of waking up in the morning, that a person should arouse himself like a lion to wake up in the morning to serve his Creator, and he should be the one to awaken dawn.
LIKUTEI MOHARAN – AZAMRA “I WILL SING”
Now Rebbe Natan quotes a lesson from the Likutei Moharan of Rebbe Nachman. This is from lesson number 282, its one of the more famous lessons of Rebbe Nachman, the lesson is called Azamra “I will sing.” Rebbe Nachman begins by teaching that a person needs to judge everyone favorably. Now this is what we already know from the Mishna in Pirkei Avot. But here Rebbe Nachman is expounding on it in a deeper level and explains that even if a person sees someone who is completely wicked; he looks like he’s completely wicked. He needs to search and try to find within him some small point of good, because it’s impossible for a person to be fully wicked there must be some little spark of good within him. And the main thing is not to focus on the evil but to focus on the good. So, Rebbe Nachman over there goes on to explain that no matter how evil a person might be, we must only look at the good, it can’t be that he’s completely evil and completely void of good. If someone searches and focuses on the good points that he finds within the person. Even if he finds it those good points are surrounded by ulterior motives and it’s not really so pure nevertheless within that there’s for sure a small speck of something that is completely pure without any evil mixed in. So, when someone focuses on the point of the person that’s purely good, then that has the power to change the person completely and make him really be completely good and spread to every part of the person. Rebbe Nachman over there goes on to explain that not only do we need to do this when we’re looking at others and judge them favorably and look at their good points. But also, we need to do this to ourselves, because many people they feel that they’re not capable of doing much because of all the mistakes they made in their lives, and all the sins that they’ve done. That’s what’s preventing them from going on and purifying themselves. Rebbe Nachman says that it’s a very simple thing to do teshuva, which people want to translate as repentance, but really to repent as a Jew means just look at the good in yourself. Stop looking at the bad look only at the good. Even though it might be hard for you to find the good, and even when you find the good you feel it’s not 100% pure, within that is always a speck, there is always a spark, that’s purely good. And when you focus on that spark, then you’ll be able to see that everything about you will suddenly be turned into good. This is dot/speck/spark of good is called a nekuda tova.
Rebbe Nachman goes on to explain over here: Even if a person feels that they’ve been messing up and doing bad their entire lives, it’s impossible that they didn’t do one good thing in their lives, it’s impossible there’s not something good they can find in themselves. The person needs to search and find those good points and to focus on those good points. And once he finds one goos point should go on and try to find more good and try to collect as many good points as possible, to always focus on the good points, whether it’s with other people or with yourself.
WHO COMES FIRST, YOURSELF OR OTHERS?
The interesting thing is that over here in this teaching Rebbe Natan begins by saying that a person needs to find the good within themselves. And if you look in the source, we’re Rebbe Nachman brings this teaching he begins by first saying that a person needs to find the good within others and then he says that a person also in themselves should find the good points. Here, Rebbe Natan, his student switches it around and he begins by explaining that a person needs to first find in himself the good points, and afterwards he says a person should also find in others the good points, and maybe we the way we can understand that he’s telling us that a person really can’t look at other people in a good light if they don’t feel good about themselves. Because if a person feels bad about themselves, then they will be looking at the fault in everyone around them. So maybe Rebbe Natan understood that really the first thing a person should do is try to find good within himself. Try to judge yourself favorably try to find that really your not such a bad person as you thought there are really many good points within you, and focus on the good points. And when he’s feeling good about himself then suddenly he’ll be able to see the good and others. Focusing on the good in oneself is not meant to make someone egocentric and full of themselves. It is actually quite the opposite. The disease of egocentricity and narcissism actually stem from the problem that people don’t truly feel good about themselves and don’t understand their true self-worth. Either they were constantly told as children that they are good for nothing or they feel threatened by society and need to inflate their feeling of self worth as a means of protection. But if that person would follow this simple advice and come to terms with the fact that much evil surrounds him but nevertheless search for and focus on the truly good points, not imaginary good point but something good that he really did no matter how minute it may seem, if he practices that on a regular basis he will begin to understand that he’s not such a bad guy after all and there is no need to inflate his ego with unrealistic fantasies, eventually if he continues in this way he will be completely healed. It also can help tremendously if he has people around him who are also looking at him in this way. Because the problem with egocentric people is that people around them get disgusted and hurt by thier actions and words and therefore they are put down in an attempt to “shake him out of it” that just further inflames the disease and strengthen its symptoms. But if the people around him would follow Rebbe Nachmans advice and look at the true good points in the person in an honest way, to see his true self worth, he will feel better about himself and will no longer feel the need to use those detrimental defense mechanisms to do so.
NEVER GIVE UP!
Rebbe Natan goes on to say in quoting Rebbe Nachman: Even though a person might have done such terrible things that he feels like he just wants to give up. No matter what – there’s no despair in the world! Rebbe Nachman has one thing that he was the most strong about, and most strict about. Rebbe Nachman wasn’t strict about anything except for one thing; that a person should never give up. There’s no such thing as giving up, no matter how far a person could have fallen. No matter how much a person could have done and damaged his soul, damaged himself in so many different ways, there is always hope for him to turn everything around. Rebbe Nachman says, Yesh Inyan Shyithapech Hakol L’tova “There is a concept that everything will turn around for the good, like we have in the story of Purim. It looked like the Jewish people were in the worst state possible there’s no way they can possibly get out and all the sudden everything turned around. We see it in this weeks parsha and recently in the parsha about Yosef Hatzadik (Joseph) that he was sold by his brothers as a slave, and then all the tribes needed to go down to Egypt, and they almost went into jail and in a second everything got turned around and he was the king of Egypt and he helped them all survive the famine. And we see it in this weeks parsha with the plagues in Egypt and how the Jewish people were suffering from being slaves in Egypt, and the Jews could not see how they’re going to get out of it, all of a sudden everything turned around and they got out, they went into the desert for 40 years, then they went into Israel they built a Temple. We see this idea in all the stories of the Torah. So the main thing of a Jewish person, Rebbe Nachman is stressing in all of his teachings to never give up ain yiush ba’olam klall, he says there’s no such thing as giving up, despair does not exist. So here we see that also in this teaching that he says, “even if he did what he did and he damaged what he damaged,” he defiled himself spiritually in such ways that he feels there’s no turning back. Nevertheless, nothing can hold him back from turning around completely. There is always hope, and everything can turn around in the blink of an eye.
How is he going to turn around? When a person will focus on all his problems and be all depressed about everything they did wrong their whole life then they’ll never get out of it. As much as he tries to repent and change, it’s not going to help. The only way it’s going to help is to focus on the good, focus on the little bit of good that you’ve done maybe when you were a child you did something good, maybe a couple years ago you did something good, maybe recently did something good. Maybe even the bad that you did if you really look deeply into it you can find that it really comes from a pure place, you just made some mistakes along the way. So when a person focuses on the good, then he completely becomes a good person, it changes him completely. And he turns himself onto the side of merit. “Only through this can a person merit repentance.” This is the only way. So you know a lot of people nowadays, a lot of Rabbis preach that when the New Year of the Jewish people Rosh Hashanah comes around, along with it comes the Big Judgment Day and everyone should be scared of what’s going to be. They (the Heavenly Court) are going to take all your sins and put them on the scale on one side, and all your merits on the other side, and the sins are going to weigh much more and you’re going to get punished and you will have a terrible year, etc. etc. Rebbe Nachman says these are not Jewish concepts. Yes, they are quoted from true sources but deeply misunderstood. Quantity of sins are not weighed against the quantity of merit. It doesn’t matter if the side of evil, the side of sin is packed until the heavens, with sins that a person did, tremendous amount of sins, and he has barely has any crumbs of good to show on the scale for the side of merit. But if he focuses on the nekuda tova, on the points of good, and he’s going to go on to explain that those points are good are points of godliness, God is infinite, and infinite, no matter how small of a speck of it you have, it’s still infinite, and it remains infinite and it will has the power to overweight, whatever amount of evil or darkness a person brought on themselves. So the main thing just to look for those little sparks, those little points of good.
EVERYTHING WILL COMPLETELY TURN AROUND
Now Rebbe Natan brings a verse from Tehillim, pslams number 37. King David writes “In a little bit there will be no more evil person.” So maybe in the simple understanding, in the basic translation of psalms, it’s understood that David going to kill all the evil people in a little bit of time. He’s gonna wipe away all the evil people. But no, Rebbe Nachman is saying that’s not what he meant, “In a little bit” meaning, if you look at the little bit of good within him, then you’ll realize that “there will be no more evil person” there’s no more evil person anymore, because you turned them into a good person. The way to really kill Amalek… In Judaism we have this idea that there is an evil nation called Amalek and we have a commandment to wipe them out. Right. So, Amalek is really within us. The way to wipe out Amalek is to look at the little bits of good, Rebbe Nachman says Amalek means to give up. Amalek means the person feels that they have no hope, that they are good for nothing. And that’s why we’re going to see that Rebbe Natan connects this to waking up in the morning. One of the main problems when people feel like they’re out of energy and they can wake up in the morning because they’re all depressed and they feel like they’re not accomplishing anything in their life and that doesn’t mean only physically waking up in the morning it also means encouraging themselves and getting a new start, every new beginning is a waking up in the morning. So it says that the way to do this is to look at the little little points of good. This is what King David is writing about in Psalms “In the little bit where there’s no evil person, I will contemplate on his place and he won’t be there.” He’s not there anymore, because he’s already been transferred to the side of merit and is no longer an evil person by virtue of you focusing on his good points. You’re going to look at where he was and he’s not there anymore because he became a much better person. And he became a really holy individual.
GOD IS GOOD
When a person practices this teaching and looks at the good within himself, looks at the good within others, and looks at the good in his situation, within everything that happens to him… It’s not only teaching us to look at the good within people, it’s also to look at the good within things that happen to you, there is good in everything that good is God, the good is God, the torah says that “God is Good.” God is called Good one of the names of God is Good. So, when someone is always seeing the good points within everything then he’s always seeing God. Then what we saw in the Shulchan Aruch, in the code of Jewish Law that a person has to always see God in front of him, what does that mean? It means that he always has to see the good, always look at the good, if you always look at the good then you are always seeing God, then God is leading you. It’s like the little candle that leads a person in the darkness.
SING – BE HAPPY
“And this is how a person can make himself happy, and then he will be able to pray”. In the following laws that we read in the Shulchan Aruch it talks about the laws of prayer, the morning prayer, a person can’t pray if he’s all depressed, there’s no point, God doesn’t just wants to hear your kvetching and moaning. Jewish prayer has to be done through song, like we see over here in Breslov Shuvu Banim, the entire prayer just singing and singing and singing, three hours every morning of singing the morning prayers. And that’s after singing the midnight prayers and the zmirot haboker songs before dawn. There are hours and hours of singing, and then there’s the afternoon prayer which is another hour of singing, and then evening prayers another couple of hours, basically the whole day is singing. Because prayer, if we want prayer really to be answered… Why is it that people feel like their prayers aren’t being answered? Because they come all depressed and all sad and moaning. Please give me this, I feel terrible… But if you come full of joy and say Wow! God you’re Great! This is amazing! Everything you gave me is unbelievable! Rebbe Nachman says you need to force yourself to be happy. How does a person force themselves to be happy by singing and dancing. Even if you don’t feel like it. Force yourself to sing. Force yourself to dance. Soon you’ll start feeling it. At that point of joy you can ask Hashem, wouldn’t it be great to have this and that? Really, you don’t even need to ask, because Hashem sees how you’re full of joy He just wants to give you everything. You just need to praise God and you’ll have whatever it is you’re lacking. That’s what prayer is. Prayer is singing and that’s why this teaching is called Amamra. It’s a teaching of singing. If it’s not actual song it’s the root of song. The spiritual root of song is to find the good.
That’s what it says in Tehilim, Psalms number 146; “I will sing to my God with what I have.” The Hebrew word for “what I have” is “Odi”. “Odi” means the little bit of good within me. How am I going to sing to God? With what kind of instrument can I sing to God? The only way to sing is through the good points that he finds in himself, that’s the way a person comes to song. Both physical song and spiritual song are composed the same way. All levels of song. This is how real song is made. Whatever musical instrument we’re dealing with all of them share the common denominator, that in order to make good music you need to choose the right notes at the right time. If you just press all the notes together if you take a piano and you press everything or strum all the strings together on a guitar, or whatever it is, it’s not going to sound good. We have to close off the unwanted notes, and open up the wanted notes and know how to press the right buttons or strum the right strings in the right way at the right time.
This is the torah of Azamra, to constantly find in oneself, in others, and in the world the good points. And those good points are notes of the song. The song of creation. And when you’re constantly finding the right points in the right time then you’re constantly hearing the song of creation. And that’s what the verse says, “I will sing to God with Odi, with what I have” with the little points of good that are within me.
That’s the end of the first paragraph of the first part of Likutei Halachot.
Now we’re going to continue. Like we mentioned before Rebbe Natan first spoke about judging yourself favorably and now he’s going to go and speak about judging other people favorably. Because if you don’t look at yourself in a good light, you don’t feel good about yourself, you’ll only see bad in others. This is interesting because he changed around the order that he heard from Rebbe Nachman.
THE TRUE PRAYER LEADER
Now he’s going to speak about judging others favorably. “Whoever is able to do this, to see the nekuda tova the good point even in the greatest sinners of Israel, he knows how to be a prayer leader. How to stand in front of the congregation and lead the prayer. It’s called a Chazan. So Rebbe Natan here is explaining that the person who knows how to find the good in everyone he’s the one that’s fit for the job. He’s the one that is able to be the prayer leader; only him. Because to lead a congregation in prayer you need to know how to look at the good in everyone and to know how to make songs from everyone’s souls together. You need to find the unique good within every single person and know how to invoke the right note and the right time. Then that person can be the prayer leader.
You should know that every one of Tzaddikim of the generation, the spiritual leaders of the generation are building a sanctuary for Hashem, a Mishkan. They’re building a spiritual sanctuary, the Mishkan is the place where the children receive their holiness. That’s why they begin the Torah from the portion called Vayikra. Because the Tzaddik is able to gather all the good that’s found in each individual. That Tzaddik who’s able to gather and to find all the good that’s found in each individual he knows all the aspects that are involved in building the spiritual sanctuary for the Shechina. We’re trying to rebuild the temple and the way the temple is built is through finding the good points within every single person, because every single Jew has a portion in the building of the temple, as we read in the Torah that when it came time for everyone to donate to the building of the Mishkan so there were many different materials that Moshe asked for. And each person gave from their unique self what they had whether some people had gold and silver to donate other people had the skins of animals or the hair of goats, whatever material that they had they gave and it was exactly what was needed to build the Mishkan. So we see that the Mishkan, the Temple, the Sanctuary is made up of the good points of every single Jew.
That’s the end of part alef (A) of this lesson. Rebbe Natan gave us a background of the Shulchan Aruch and the teaching of Rebbe Nachman that with these two he will build his lesson which will now go on for many pages. And all this will be explaining and giving deeper layers of understanding of the practical law of waking up in the morning.
Paragraph bet (2)
“Everything we spoke about until now is the aspect of waking up in the morning”. What is sleep? Real sleep, spiritual sleep is when a person feels that he is far from anything godly, that he is far from anything holy. The Talmud says that sleep is one 60th of death when a person is sleeping he’s 1/60th dead. Because his soul goes up to heaven and many of the bodily functions are not working. It’s one 60th of death. So when a person finds himself in a spiritual sleep, but he’s searching and he finds himself some small point of good, he enlivens himself, and he makes himself happy, and he awakens himself to the service of God through this, through finding the good points in himself. This is the aspect of waking up from sleep. We’re talking now about spiritual sleep. Some people are physically awake but they’re sleeping their whole lives away. 120 years of their life they are just sleeping because they are just not connected to anything beyond their small world. They may not feel that they’re good enough to do anything holy or have any connection to Hashem. All these things are aspects of sleep. Other people, they’ve had connection to holiness in the past and whatever happened they’ve been through hardships, like everyone goes through hardships, especially those people that are seeking truth. And at a certain point, they said, you know, I don’t have strength for this anymore, and they just gave up. I can’t handle this difficult life. I’d rather just live a simple life and not have to worry about anything spiritual, anything beyond my small world. So all these are aspects of sleep.
The main point is not to sleep. We’re not meant to sleep our whole lives. We’re meant to be awake and produce, to do things in the world. So how do we wake up from the spiritual sleep? Rebbe Natan here is explaining that this is done by looking at the good in yourself and in everything.
Now he brings another verse from the Tehilim Psalms chapter 3. King David is crying out. “God my opponents are so great; My suffering is so awesome.” He’s talking about the spiritual opponents of every person which are the sins and mistakes he’s done in his life. Those are the main enemies of a person. The main opponents of a person are the things that they’ve done in their life that have caused them some kind of a spiritual blemish or pain. When they strengthen themselves against the person, God forbid, their main purpose is to completely destroy the person. All of these spiritual opponents just want to destroy a person completely that he gives up ever trying to be holy. They just want him to give up. And that’s what it’s describing in that verse in Tehilim, “Many say about my soul there’s no hope with him anymore.” When he’s feeling this that’s the spiritual aspect of sleep. And then the verse continues, “I laid down and went to sleep”. Because that [feeling of many spiritual opponents attacking you and trying to compel you to give up] is the aspect of sleep. But the truth is that it’s forbidden for a person to give up, he needs to strengthen himself to wake up from his sleep. How does a person wake up from this deep deep spiritual sleep? How does a person begin? So many people are sleeping their whole lives where do they begin? The main thing is the beginning. Once you begin, once you woke up, you go on with your day, you get things done automatically. But how does the person wake up in the first place? Through this that we’re teaching, the looking for the little bit of good in yourself, in others and in the situation. That’s how a person will start to wake up. They don’t need to seek such high spiritual levels and study high spiritual concepts that will drastically change their life and make them a new person overnight. All the person needs to do is from the situation where he is now, taking everything into account, just look at the good. Start to look at the good, because the good is Hashem. And when you start to look at the good, then you’ll start to wake up, you start to feel holiness, you’ll start to feel a connection that you never felt before. And you won’t realize where it came from; Why all of a sudden I’m feeling such amazing holiness? Why all of a sudden I’m having such a great connection with Hashem? Because you started looking at the good, because that’s Hashem, Hashem is good.
TASTE AND SEE THAT HASHEM IS GOOD – EXPERIENCE IT
The verse in Tehilim continues “I woke up because Hashem supports me”; that I’m strengthening myself and waking up from my sleep. I’m not giving up “because Hashem supports me”. Because that point of good is Hashem. Finding the good in yourself is not just about self–encouragement and positive thinking. It’s much deeper than than. The good point that you find in yourself, that’s God. That’s just pure godliness. Because God is Good. Every good in the world is God. Every Good is a spark of God. It says in the Zohar, that the Torah, the Jewish people and God, those three things, are not separate entities. They’re all one. What does that mean? That when a person finds within himself any spark of good, any good thing he’s done which is “Torah”, that spark of good is completely one with God. This good thing that he did in his life, some Torah, some mitzvah or something good that he did. What is it? It is a point which is completely unified with God, this is God. This is completely one with God. Completely one with Hashem. Because it says in another verse, another chapter Tehilim Psalms 145 it says, “Hashem is good to all,” that can be understood that Hashem is the good within everything. That means any good that exists in anything is Hashem, “Hashem is good to all” the basic understanding is that Hashem does good to everyone. Which is true. Or you can understand it simply “Hashem is good to all” Hashem is the good within everything. We have no way to describe Hashem with words. If you want to try to describe Hashem you can use the word that the Ramchal uses, he says “Hashem is Good,” he is the essence of Good, he is pure Good, anything good that we see comes from him. And it says in another verse in chapter 34, “Taste and see that Hashem is Good.” Do you want to understand that Hashem is good? It’s not something that can be intellectually understood. You can’t understand it with your mind. It’s beyond intellect. Do you want to understand? So King David says you need to taste it, you need to experience it. In Hebrew, the word for “reason” is taam, that word also means “taste–experience.” If you want to really understand you need to taste it, you need to experience it. That’s why I always tell people that want to start to come close to Torah and start to practice Halacha and Mitzvot. Like by Mount Sinai when we were asked if we wanted to receive the Torah, we said naase v’nishma “we will do and we will hear.” In Judaism, we don’t say “seeing is believing” that you need to see in order to believe, we say it exactly the opposite, “believing is seeing” if you want to see you need to believe, you need to jump in and start to do things and start to act in a way that maybe is beyond your intelligence beyond what makes sense. Why do I have to do all these crazy routines? Wake up in the morning put my right foot down before my left foot, wash my right hand and then my left and all these kinds of rituals? If I want my hands to be clean I’ll use soap to clean my hands. Why do I need to use a washing cup; right hand left hand right left hand? Why do I have to do all these crazy rituals? The halacha goes on and on and on my entire day full of rituals, first explain it to me and once I understand, if it makes sense to me, I’ll consider doing it. But it’s not going to work that way. It’s exactly the opposite “Taste and see that Hashem is Good,” you need to taste and experience it, and the only way to experience it is to get involved. Rebbe Natan brings this verse to explain to us how are we going to know that the good that you find in yourself, the good that you find in others, the good that you find in the situation is Hashem? You’re only going to know that by experiencing it. When you begin to look for the good points within yourself, when you begin to look for the good points within other, and when you begin to look for the good points in the situation, then you’ll really experience that Hashem is good and no one can convince you otherwise because once you’ve experienced it, a person can come to you with a billion proofs that you’re wrong, but that won’t mean anything to you because you know, you feel it. You experienced it. It’s like someone who never tasted an apple, and you want to go and explain to him what an apple tastes like. There are no words you can use, what are you going to use? Or if you want to explain the difference between an apple and an orange to someone who never tasted either. There’s no vocabulary if someone didn’t taste it, if he doesn’t know what it tastes like. Or if you want to describe a taste to someone who is anosmic, who doesn’t have the sense of taste and never tasted anything at all. There is absolutely no way you can describe it to him. So the same is true with God. You cannot explain it with words. No words can possibly describe it. And all these concepts that we’re teaching, this whole book, which is full of words, are teaching a concept that no words can really teach. All that they are giving really are the keys and the main work a person needs to do on their own, to open the door and go inside and get involved. And then he’ll experience something that no words can possibly give over to him. That’s what he’s saying “taste and see the Hashem is good” any good that is found in any place, everything is from Hashem, is a portion of Hashem. This is what the continuation of verse that we mentioned above says “and Hashem supports me.” What is Hashem? The point of good. That is what’s going to support you in a difficult time. People are searching for God. Why isn’t God helping me? Where is God? God is within you. You want God to help you so arouse the godliness within yourself. Tap into it. Focus on the little points of good that is God within you and then you’ll feel supported you’ll feel your whole life will be changed.
This is godliness, this is what’s going to support you, this is what’s going to help you. And this is what’s going to wake us up from sleep. Because in order to be woken up we need to arouse that spark within us, that spark of holiness, that spark of godliness. And that’s done in a very simple way. It’s not deep Kabbalah and doing meditations and all those things. Those things can also help but very simply, anyone can do it no matter who you are, what age you are, where you are, what your situation is, God can connect to everyone on their level. Everyone can connect to God on their level. All you need to do is look at the good in a very simple way just look at the good that’s why Rebbe Nachman says it very simply “it can’t be that you never did anything good in your life.” Okay, if someone wants to take it on a deeper level, you can say that even the bad that you’ve done really deep-down stems from good intentions, really deep down, everything is good. But even on a very simple level, let’s say you’re right, you’re so bad, you did so much bad in in your life. Let’s say you’re right, which really afterwards you will realize that you’re not so bad as you thought you were. But for arguments sake let’s say you’re right. Did you ever do anything good in your life? Sure, if you think about it, there was one time you do something good. Good. Focus on that thing that you’ve done good. And realize that that was purely good. And then go on and try to find other things you’ve done good. And once you start seeing good, you’ll start seeing good everywhere. Then you’ll see God everywhere. And then when someone asks you, where’s God? You’ll say, ‘Where is God not.’ There’s no place void of Him. “The entire universe is filled with His glory.”
THERE’S NOTHING TO FEAR
And then, the verse in Psalms 2 continues, “I will not fear the myriads of nations that are surrounding me that have planted a trap for me,” a person feels that all the spiritual forces are preventing him and attacking him on all sides. When a person is connected to the good, he doesn’t fear any of that, no matter how much myriads they are, you’re connected to the good which is maybe a little dot, but it’s infinite. And if you tap into it, and you focus on it, then it will spread and will completely take over anything. There’s no contest at all, infinite against billions or trillions, its not a contest at all. That is, even though I see that I started to get up, I started to try and I fell again and ended up even was worse than I was before, and I keep messing up, maybe all this is not for me… But if you connect it to the good no matter where you are then you’re not going to fear no matter how many times you fell even if you’re constantly falling and you’re never able to stand on your feet. Every single time, every day you need to wake up again, every morning you need to wake up again from your sleep. Every time a person falls it’s an aspect of sleep. He’s able to wake himself up by finding again the good points, there is always good you can find. It is a constant practice, it’s not just a one time a person did it. He found God and now he’s awakened. They had “an awakening” and that’s it. No, finding God is every moment. Every second a person has to find God again, search again. Through this I will literally turn around and be good. And I will literally merit repenting and fixing all my ways. Because all of the evil, even if it’s billions and trillions, myriads of evil, it all gets pushed away by the little dot, the little speck of good. And that’s how he’s able to wake himself up. For a little bit of light chases away a lot of darkness. Like we see if someone is in a very dark room, the whole room is dark and he lights a tiny candle. The whole room is going to get bright from that little candle. Any little speck of good is going to light up all the darkness. Now he’s bringing another verse in Tehilim Psalms number 139 “I woke up and you’re still with me [lit. Odi is with me].” Odi is with me, meaning the point of good is with me, You Hashem are with me. This is the aspect of singing to Hashem like we said before. What does it mean Hashem is with me? Meaning the little point of good that I found in myself that’s with me. Hashem is always with you, the good point is always with you, but you need to be conscious of it. You need to focus on it and need to think about it. But by focusing on the bad then your mind is on the other side. You need to focus only on the good.
Rebbe Natan finishes this second part of the first lesson; “That’s how we wake up. This is the aspect of waking up from sleep.”
We will stop here today and continue next week. There are a total of 15 parts to this lesson.
So in conclusion, what we learned here is a very simple concept of trying to find, of always looking at the good in everything and every situation and not focusing on the bad, focusing only on the good and to understand that that’s how you find Hashem. Instead of being upset that you’re suffering and your life is terrible, and you can’t accomplish anything. You have to start looking at the good, the little bit of good that you do have, then you will see that it is all good and it is all Hashem. Hashem will help you.
See you all next week, I’m very happy everyone was able to come and really this is a long journey that we shouldn’t stop here because it gets deeper and deeper, broader and broader, until we come to a point where our whole day our whole life is going to be led by these teachings that we are learning. Someone who really makes the Torah a part of his life. He realizes that it’s really helping him in every detail of his life. It’s a light that’s walking in front of him. And that’s the goal right now, the goal right now is not to learn new concepts, it’s also good to learn new concepts. But the real goal is to bring God into our lives, to bring a light into our lives, to fix ourselves, and to fix the people around us and fix the world. This is the light of the redemption. The Torah is the light of the redemption.
When Rebbe Natan finished writing this book he had a dream. Rebbe Nachman came to him in his dream, he had passed away some years before. In the dream he was with an old man. The old man said to Rebbe Natan, “you wrote a good book.” Afterwards, he asked Rebbe Nachman, who was that old man? And he said that was Moshe Rabbeinu, there was Moses, our teacher, the one that brought Torah to the whole Jewish people. And he’s giving a compliment to Rebbe Natan about the book that he wrote. Because in order for us to receive the Torah anew in this generation with all the troubles that we have, we need a teacher who is able to bring down the Torah to our level. And that was the job and mission of Rebbe Nachman. And that is the job and mission of Rebbe Natan, the student of Rebbe Nachman, who followed his path. And all the people that are following the Breslov path nowadays from generation to generation, until we have the leader of this generation, they’re all bringing down the same light but reaching us on our level and our circumstances.
So, thank you all very much for attending and we hope to be able to see you next week and you can tell all your friends. All right, bye bye.
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