One of the very deep teachings of Rebbe Nachman is, though I am sure you know it. Everybody knows it and feels it, but maybe we are not so careful with it.
What happens to me if I make a mistake? And I don’t mean, “By mistake, instead of buying apples, I bought peaches.” Sometimes I really make strong mistakes. Do you know what happens to me then? Deep, deep, deep inside, I begin to hate somebody.
And it’s not that I make a mistake, and then I hate Moishele, or I hate Chanele. The way my hatred starts is that somewhere deep, deep, deep inside, I become so angry at myself. I am so angry….
You need a big soul to love people
Let’s say, in my life I have to meet thirty people. So G-d gives me a soul, my soul is so big, that I have enough in my soul to love thirty people for real. This is besides loving the whole world in general. A lot of people love the whole world, and yet they can’t stand their own wives. I am not talking about that, but for real.
I have seen it a lot of times. Imagine somebody has two children, and then they say, “Let’s have another child.” And the husband, or the wife, just doesn’t want to. It is not that they are bad. Deep, deep inside they know, “My neshama, my soul, is big enough for two children, but my soul isn’t big enough for three.”
I know a couple, and she absolutely wants to have ten children. Not that he is bad, but he says, “I can have three, I can have four. I can’t have ten.” This doesn’t come from your consciousness. It comes from this deepest, deepest unconsciousness.
I am not a mechanic. If someone says to me, listen, “Can you fix a car?” I don’t know how to fix a car. I don’t know the first thing about it.
“Can you lift up ten thousand tons?” I can’t.
Let’s say I am supposed to love and be close to thirty people. So my soul is, let’s say, thirty thousand feet wide. The first time I make a mistake, something happens to me inside; I am a little bit angry at myself. I am angry, and bitter. A little bit of hatred creeps in, and suddenly, my soul is too small now. I cannot love thirty people anymore. And only G-d in heaven knows how this operates, this depends upon closeness of the soul. But suddenly I hate somebody. I am angry at somebody. I am angry at myself.
I want you to know something. It is crazy, but I am sure it is clear to you. All the people who are yelling at other people, do you know what their problem is? Not that they are angry at other people; they do something wrong so much, their heart is full with anger… they can’t… they can’t.
The test of Joseph
Our holy Rabbis teach us that Joseph had such a big test with the wife of Potifar, (without getting involved in the depths) and then he was in prison for twelve years. First of all, she threw him into prison because he didn’t want to do anything. Then, for twelve years he was in prison, and she came three times a day. And you know that from prison in Egypt, you don’t get out alive. You don’t get out…. So she says to him, “One time – and I let you out of prison. A half a time, and I will let you out.” He says, “No.”
And then, he wasn’t even angry at his brothers. And here I want you to open your hearts. How deep this is… If Joseph would have done something wrong with the wife of Potifar, he would have been so angry at himself, that he would never have had the strength to forgive his brothers. Because in order not to be angry at your brothers, your soul has to be complete.
You see, if my soul is absolutely complete, if I am whole inside with myself, between me and myself, then I am not angry. So if someone says to me, “Hey, listen, I did you wrong,” I say, “Forget it.”
You know, Joseph never said to his brothers, “I forgive you for selling me as a slave.” He said, “Forget it. If you wouldn’t have sold me as a slave, the whole world would have died from hunger. It is a miracle. Thank you so much for selling me as a slave.” And this was not stupid Sunday morning Hebrew school teaching. It was for real. “Ve’ata, al te’atzvu. [Don’t be downhearted.]”
Rebbe Nachman begins to say. Sometimes my mistake was caused by my body. Then my soul is angry at my body.
Imagine I do something just for my pleasure. In the meantime everything goes wrong, and my soul is angry at my body, “How could you do this?”
Sometimes my sin doesn’t come from my body, it comes from my head. It was not physical pleasure, it was something else. Then my body is angry at my soul, “Why don’t you have your act together?”
And the moment there is fighting inside of me. The moment I have inside fighting, there is one person that I hate each time I make a mistake. I may not ever know who this person is, but it always is someone who is close to me. The moment you make a mistake, you are angry at somebody. And, obviously, you are mostly angry at yourself.
My soul is crying inside
One more thing. This is deep, deep, deep. Imagine I would hear a voice crying for help. Imagine I am sitting here, and deep, deep inside myself I would hear a voice of someone drowning in the ocean, crying for help, but there is nothing I can do. You know, imagine I would have ears that could hear what is going on in Venice, Italy, and someone is drowning there. I can hear them yelling for their lives. The only thing is, I am sitting here, and there is nothing I can do. What would my reaction be? I would be nervous. I would just blow my mind.
The truth is, whenever I make a mistake, my soul is crying so much inside. My soul is crying inside. And, even if I don’t fix it… Let’s say I am the president of General Motors, I am sitting here talking about a new car, and inside my soul is crying, and I don’t do anything. So I don’t know how to handle it; and the first time my secretary makes a mistake and instead of writing, “My dear friend,” she writes, “My dearest friend,” I want to kill her. Because I am beside myself. I am besides myself…
Rebbe Nachman says, I want you to know that all the people who start those big fights in the world, those big wars, it is because they do so much wrong, and they are so much besides themselves. How do you fight with yourself? They don’t know how to do it. So they direct all this fighting to the outside. Towards others.
A spiritually dead person
Now he says that there is an unbelievable Zohar that says, (we should all live long), my soul lives forever, and G-d forbid, at a certain point, my body dies, but the soul lives forever. But then, the Zohar HaKadosh says, there are some people whose soul died a long time ago, but heir body is still alive. Unbelievable. You know, sometimes you meet people, and they look like a carcass.
There is an unbelievable story about Eliahu HaNavi, Elijah the prophet, who came into a city, and he, with the wise man of the city, took a walk. They passed by the carcass of a dead cow, and the wise man of the city said, “Uchhh, it smells so bad.” Elijah the prophet says to him, “I don’t think it is smelling so bad. A cute little cow died, I am sorry that the cow died.” Then, one of those people who is dead while he is alive, the real carcass, he is walking down the street, and the wise man of the city, said, “Oh, good morning, Mr. Max Cohen, who donated ten thousand dollars for the new temple.” Gevalt, it’s a living carcass!
First of all, a person has to know what a spiritually dead person is: when he can’t even hear his own soul crying. You know what that means? The crying inside was so strong, that he couldn’t bear it, he couldn’t bear it. You know, physical suicide, is that I cut my veins, chas veshalom [G-d forbid]. Spiritual suicide is that I cut myself off from my soul. I don’t want to hear it.
Get up and dance like crazy
Rebbe Nachman says, imagine I hear my own soul crying. What am I supposed to do? Rebbe Nachman says, the first thing is to get up and dance like crazy. “Thank G-d I am still alive. Unbelievable. I thought I was gone forever.” Imagine somebody commits suicide and he thinks he is dead. Then he wakes up, “Hey, it didn’t work.” Gevalt, he says, ‘mazal tov,’ he is still alive. Oh, good, there is hope.
I don’t want to live like a cow
I want you to know one more thing. A lot of people, one side of them just wants to have a good time. Eat, drink, have a little money, have a good time, have a lot of power.
And on the other side, there is their soul; “I don’t want to live like a cow.” And what most people do is, they push it into a little closet, and lock it up; “I don’t want to hear it.”
What is my first step? My first step is that I take my soul out of my closet.
Everybody is talking about meditation. According to Rebbe Nachman, the deepest meditation… (I am not knocking other meditations, G-d forbid. I am just telling you one side.) Rebbe Nachman says that you cannot be a servant of G-d unless you do hisbodedut. Just to sit somewhere and just mamash listen to your own soul cry. Because the truth is, the soul is so connected to G-d, and your own soul always knows best. Your own soul always knows best.
Remember, we were learning that the soul has clear prophesy.
Today, everyone makes money on ‘prophesy,’ I just saw an ad somewhere in New York, “Sister Toba, from New York. Clear Prophesy.” You don’t have to go to her and pay five dollars for clear prophesy. You see, the great prophets had prophesy for the world. You are not a prophet for the world; there are just a few who have prophesy for the world. But You are a prophet for yourself. And a prophet doesn’t mean, “I know the future and the past.” This is just a little side-kick of prophesy. The real prophesy is that your soul is telling you how to fix your life. How to fix your life.
My own soul tells me what to do
A person came to the heilege grandson of the seer of Lublin, and he said, “Rebbe, I am broke. I am in such bad shape. I want you to know, I have nothing.”
So the Rebbe says to him, “It is not true; every person has something. What do you have?”
In the book of Lamentations, there is a passage that says, “Im yesh machov kemachovi / is there pain like my pain?” “Machov” in Hebrew means pain.
The person answers, “Rebbe, do you want to know what I have? I have machov” – meaning pain.
But it also just so happened that there was a village right next to the Rebbe’s city, where he was, with the name Machov.
“Oh,” says the Rebbe, “Thank G-d, you have something. What are you kvetching [complaining about]? You are ok. Go to the city of Machov, and G-d will help you.”
You know what I say; What do you do when you walk into a restaurant, and you order coffee, and you cannot pay? You have got to order another one, because you can’t walk out, because you have no money to pay.
Ok, so he is sitting there in this restaurant in Machov, drinking one cup of coffee after the other. He cannot run out. Most probably it is the one hundred and seventy fifth cup of coffee, and they think he is not normal. He is waiting. The Rebbe said, “Go to Machov.” Waiting.
Suddenly the door opens, and a very high officer from the Polish army walks in, and he says, “Moishele?”
He answers, “Yeah.”
The Polish officer says, “Don’t you remember me? Ivan, your neighbor?” Unbelievable. So this was a little Polish boy, Ivan, who was the neighbor of his father. His father, at one point, was a rich person, and the next door neighbors were poor people. His father paid for the education for this little boy Ivan. And, because of his father, Ivan hit it big in the Polish army.
He says, “Ivan, you are such a high officer?”
Ivan says, “Moishe, what happened to you? You were so rich!”
He says, “Oy, I went bankrupt.”
Ivan says, “Moishele, you know something? I know you are good with numbers, and I need a good accountant in the army. Do you want to work for me?”
“How could I not?” he answers.
So, right there…
He goes back to the Rebbe to thank him, “Thank you so much for sending me to Machov. And my old bodyguard Ivan came…” Then he says, “Rebbe, what a miracle!”
The Rebbe said, “You don’t understand, it was not a miracle. It was not even that I told you what to do. The truth is, whenever we don’t know what to do, our own soul tells us what to do. Your own soul tells you what to do. The only thing is, you never took the time to listen to yourself. So I got it out of you. I said, ‘What do you have?’ And you said, ‘Machov.’ Ah, good.”
So what do you do?
Ok, so Rebbe Nachman says, what do I do, what do I do if I am completely torn apart?
Or, G-d forbid, I already reached the level that my own soul cries and I shut the door so that I shouldn’t hear it.
Or, thank G-d, I am still hearing it, but I just don’t want to hear it, it drives me crazy. It drives me crazy.
Or, maybe, G-d forbid I am mamash dead, dead inside.
You know, as long as I feel bad about it… as long as I know I did wrong, you are still ok. You are still ok. And I don’t mean feeling guilty. Guilty means I walk around like… dejected.
So what do you do? The truth is, when your soul is crying that you did wrong, the soul also always cries into you what you have to do.
G-d wants me to be a whole person
We always think, “G-d wants me to do this, and He wants me to do that.” G-d wants me to be whole. G-d wants me to be a whole person. It is not a question of whether I did right or wrong; the moment I start doing wrong and make mistakes, I am just half myself. I am just half of myself.
Gevalt, if you could only tell this to the world: I want you to know, when parents come home, and they yell at their children, and they are looking for an excuse to yell at their children. The sad truth is, they did something wrong, and they are dead, and they are just yelling.
If a husband and wife yell at each other, it was not the woman it was not the man; it is not the other one: One of them, or both of them, did something wrong. Chhhh.
This is so deep. You see, the world always thinks, “I have to repent for what I did wrong.” This is a very cute kind of repentance. Sure, we did something wrong, we will fix it.
We are talking about something so much deeper. How do I make my soul whole again?
People who hate, you know what their problem is? They did so much wrong already, and their soul has become so small, that they really can’t love anymore. They are running out of soul. Right? They are running out of soul. They just don’t have the capacity anymore.
Real holy people
And who are all those real, real holy people in the world? Their souls are so whole.
Maybe, when they were born, G-d gave them the capacity of loving twenty people. And they worked their way up to forty, fifty, one hundred. And maybe, eventually, eventually, mamash, they have the capacity of really turning to every human being in the world.
I want you to know, the holy Bal Shem, the special thing about him – besides the holiness – was that towards every human being, he was not just giving him honor, he had this awesome, awesome, closeness. This awesome closeness.
I want you to know, I had the privilege of walking down the street with the Bobover Rebbe, one of the first Friday nights when he arrived from Europe. He moved into the neighborhood of Eighty-Fifth Street, on the West Side. And I don’t have to tell you, the West Side, especially when he moved in, was all filled with drunkards, prostitutes, and dope pushers. Really heavy stuff. You know the way they look. I mean, I have nothing to do with them. It’s another world.
That Friday night, someone had a baby, and the Rebbe wanted to visit them, and it was one o’clock at night. He went from Eighty-Seventh Street, to One Hundred and Tenth Street. Do you know what happened? We just walked along the street, and suddenly, all the drunkards, all the dope pushers, they waved at us, and we waved back at them. It was like after the Messiah had come.
Do you know how shy, without sounding coarse, how shy prostitutes are? They think very little of themselves. They don’t think of themselves as the highest in the world. And they see a Rabbi with a streimel walking down the street, they should crawl back into their hole, right? There were two little prostitutes standing on the corner, and they waved at the Rebbe, and the Rebbe smiled. They suddenly looked so big, they looked holy. For one moment their soul was whole.
When you love somebody very much, it is not enough that you love them; the most important thing is to make their soul whole again. To make their soul whole.
When the soul is whole, there is no problem, you can deal with anything.
Imagine, G-d forbid, that yesterday I did something terrible. My soul is now half the size. What happens to me this morning when I wake up?
Friends, I want you to pay attention to this, it’s awesome: There is a passage in the Bible [Torah] that says, ‘Vayashkem Lavan baboker.’ Laban was the father-in-law of Jacob. Lavan was called ‘white.’ It has millions of meanings, but in Kabalistic teachings, it is the story, but it is also beyond the story. So Lavan is white. Vayashkem Lavan baboker. The white stuff, so to speak, wakes you up in the morning.
You know what white is? Untouched. So the Zohar says that, every morning, something completely white and pure comes down from Heaven, and if I only know how to take it, my soul is whole again. If you could only hold on to that first second when you wake up.
My soul just came down from heaven, and I have a choice, I can put it right back in the box broken in half, the way I was yesterday. Or I can hold on to the way my soul is coming down.
I will bring a very strong example.
A few years ago, it was in all the newspapers, all the psychologists were talking about it. There was a dispute between two very outstanding psychologists. One of them said: all the people in the bowery in New York, the drunkards, the downhearted, the broken, if you would only help them, they would be good. The other psychologist said: they like it there.
So, those two psychologists went down to the bowery, and they pick up two people. One is an ex-professor at Hunter College, and the other one is an ex-concert pianist. Unbelievable.
They pick them up, and they say, “Listen brothers, you have a suite at the most expensive hotel for two nights. And tonight, at twelve o’clock, we will take you out for dinner. All of your old friends from Hunter, and all your old musician friends will be there.”
They take them to the plush hotel, and they are given a new suit, a new shirt, and new shoes. Absolutely new. And they hadn’t had a decent meal for years.
The saddest thing in the world is that, the next morning, they were gone. They left those new suits on the chair, and they took their old disgusting, smelling, pants and shirt, and they left a note, “We don’t like it.”
Do you know what that means? They were already so broken… they were already so broken, that they couldn’t take normal life.
You know what the Zohar says? What is the greatest sickness in the world? The greatest sickness in the world is if someone puts something sweet in my mouth, and I say, “Gevalt is that sour.” Someone puts something sour in my mouth, and I say, “Ohh, it is so sweet.” Absolutely perverted, it’s the end! Not that I am not whole – I’m gone!
You see what it is, every morning G-d takes me out from the bowery. He says, “Hey brother, I give you a new pair of pants, new shoes…” White stuff is coming down from heaven. What are you doing with it?
Rebbe Nachman says, all the holy Rabbis, they made it in their life because they held on to that one moment. They held on to that first moment in the morning.
How did our father Abraham operate? If you remember, the morning prayer was initiated by our father Abraham. And I’m sure you understand, when I say, “Abraham initiated the morning prayer,” it does not only mean that we take out a prayer book at a certain point and we pray in the morning. Waking up in the morning; this is Abraham. Because, what do you do when you live in a pagan world? What do you do when everything is broken? Hold on to that drop which is coming down from heaven. White.
You know what that means? Imagine if you could bring the world to the place that one morning every human being in the world would decide: “From now on I am something else.” There would be peace in no time.
The holy Tsanser
The holy Tsanser, one of our holy masters, when he woke up…. He slept only an hour and a half in twenty-four hours. But you know, the waking up sometimes took six hours. You know what he did when he woke up? He would wash his hands, and sit up in his bed, and he would say, “Master of the world, today I want to serve You.” He would mamash, yell, “MASTER OF THE WORLD, TODAY I WANT TO SERVE YOU.”
Then he said, “Oy, you don’t mean it yet. Oy vey, you are faking all around.” He would yell at himself, “Are you for real?”
“Yeah, I’m for real! Gevalt, today I want….”
I’m sure that it did not take six hours every day, but there were days, obviously, that, he felt he needed it.
But sometimes I don’t have time to wait for the morning, right? I want you to know something; physically there is a morning, and there is a night. But the morning doesn’t have to be the clock morning.
Imagine I am mamash in darkness, into everything wrong. So Rebbe Nachman says, what is my morning? My morning is that I decide suddenly to look at myself and realize, “Gevalt am I holy. Gevalt am I good.” Sure I made a few mistakes… You know, imagine Miss America needs a manicure, does she stop being Miss America? So I need a little manicure, maybe a pedicure too, maybe I need a shower. It is all outside stuff.
The first step
The first step is that I have to, I really have to, sit down and listen to the crying of my own soul. Because, in my own soul, I have this holy prophesy.
The second step
The second thing is, where do I begin? I begin in the morning. And it doesn’t mean it has to be in the clock morning. In the morning it is easier, because it is morning and this holy white untouched energy is coming down from heaven.
Imagine you walk through a city early in the morning, just as the sun is coming out. There is something so pure in the air. I am sure you are aware of it. Something like… completely untouched by the world. Mamash heavenly.
I want you to know, the worst, worst, worst, time to yell at your husband, your wife, your children, friends, is early in the morning. It is unforgivable. It is unforgivable. Because right in the morning, my soul receives this white stuff from Heaven, untouched.
I don’t want to say anything bad, but I have been in the house of some so called holy people. ‘So called.’ I heard the way they wake up their kids, “GET UP!” and they would say, “I didn’t do anything wrong. On the contrary, I did it out of ‘love’.” What is their problem? Do you know what they destroy? Do you know what they destroy for their kids? Maybe their whole life. In the morning you have to be so soft. Very, very soft.
Guard your tongue
Rebbe Elimelech says. Obviously you have to guard your tongue. You don’t wiggle your tongue like a dog wiggles his tail, right? You want to say everything you think? Watch your tongue. But the most, most important time to watch your tongue is in the morning. In the morning….
Imagine, I wake up in the morning, and I say to my wife, to my children, “Did I tell you what my neighbor did? Ha, ha, ha.” Do you know what I am doing, G-d forbid? Destroying the world. G-d is giving you a new suit – like the drunkard on the bowery – G-d says, “Ok, I am giving you a new suit, I am taking you to a plush hotel.”
You can make your own morning
So then Rebbe Nachman says, you can make your own morning. Mamash, sit down, and you start thinking; “One time in my life I must have done something good.” Suddenly you remember, “Gevalt, ten years ago, I did one good thing.” And you start working on it. Then you realize, “This was unbelievable, I really did it! Unheard of. And if I did it, that means I am ok. If I did it, that means, inside of me there is something very holy, something untouched. Because the way I act, I could be a murderer. Right? G-d forbid. So how come I did this? Ah, maybe I am not so bad.”
I am sending a message to my soul, “Hey, I know you are angry at me for what I did, but I want you to know, one time in my life I did something good.” And then there is already, like, this meeting between my body and my soul. Imagine I walk up to my friend and I say, “You are not a good friend, you are disgusting.” So my friend says, “Yeah, it’s true, yesterday I was disgusting, but last week I saved your life.” Ah, it is already a little better.
Holding on to my roots
One more thing, and this is very important. When I am angry at myself, do you know what happens to me? I lose my grip on my roots. I lose touch with my own soul. Only when my soul is whole, am I really holding on to my roots. When my soul is half, my soul is a quarter, yes, I am hanging on to my roots with one finger, I am just hanging on. You know, a lot of times I meet people, they are completely uprooted.
Only when my soul is whole, am I really holding on to my roots.