Rebbe Nachman talks about meditation, but meditation is not really the right word for what he describes. He speaks about being alone. And when is a person really alone with G-d? When he is praying. When I study, I’m also alone. There’s the way I understand what I study and the way you understand it differently, but this being alone in study doesn’t compare with the being alone in prayer. The real aloneness of a person is when he davens [prays], as much as the words I say are the same words.
But then Rebbe Nachman adds, that the deepest kind of aloneness is tefillin [phylacteries]. I put them on my head, and I connect myself to G-d. And I put tefillin on my arm, and no one knows what’s going on.
The only place you can go is to G-d
Sometimes you really have trouble, and you feel rejected, everybody in his own, individual way. So where do you go? You really have absolutely nowhere to go. And so then, if you reach that level where you know that the only place you can go is to G-d, then you get a little close to the Oneness of G-d.
What is the holiness of the Jewish people? That they are mamash alone in the world, historically. Why does it come out that we are alone on the world level? Because the holiness of a Jew is that he is alone with G-d. Since the whole holiness of the Jew is that he is alone with G-d, so when it reaches the world, it comes out that he is alone. The Torah says; the Jew lives alone. Six million Jews, the world didn’t help. With the state of Israel, the same thing. I’m not talking about individual people, but the world as a whole; they just don’t know how to react to us.
But it’s really good, because we don’t really need them – they need us. Yet, on the other hand, Rav Kook says we are connected to the whole world, because we have a mission to the whole world. But our mission to the world is only when we can teach the world this aloneness with G-d. Because the holiest message we have is that every person is alone with G-d. The Alter Rebbe says, “I know that one and one is two, but do I know that this is my finger? It’s a different kind of knowing. If I know G-d like I know this is my finger, then I’m mamash alone with G-d. It’s deeper than heart or soul knowing, it’s the deepest kind of knowing there is. Then we really know we’re alone with G-d.”
This means that it didn’t start with the world hating us, but with our being alone, which is very holy. Like a great fire coming down from heaven… Abraham, Isaac, Jacob… alone.
Questions and Answers asked by students in the class
Question: What if the last time I really had a feeling about G-d was a long time ago, before the university and before reading philosophy?
Rebbe Shlomo Carlebach: So that’s good, that means you’re on the way to being higher. It’s very strange, but if you have a hundred dollars, and I want you to have two hundred dollars, so I give you a hundred dollars more, right? But Chassidus says, when you have a hundred dollars and G-d wants you to have two hundred, He takes away your hundred and He gives you two hundred. So for one second you have nothing, and then He gives you two hundred. G-d never adds, He always takes away, then gives more.
Question: This is the only place where people believe in G-d; even traditional Rabbis don’t talk about G-d.
Rebbe Shlomo Carlebach: You have to learn Rebbe Nachman, that’s the only way. Rebbe Nachman really believes in G-d.
The Tallis is supposed to make you cover your face; really cover yourself completely. The way they are making tallesim today, like Band-Aids, it’s really a joke.
Rebbe Nachman says, if you’re really alone, then you’re closest to people. If people who really know what alone means get together with other people, they are really together. Why is it that when we learn we don’t need a minyan, but when we’re davening [praying] we need a minyan? Because when we are learning, we’re not that much alone, but when we are davening, and we’re mamash alone, then we really get together.
People who don’t know what alone means can’t relate to someone else on a deep level. So, on the contrary, when we daven, people can mamash get together and become like one.
Ten people mamash change the whole thing of davening; ten people can say kaddish, and nine cannot. When you’re learning, there can be five, or one or two – it doesn’t change anything. But when ten people get together to daven, something happens; they really get together.