(Transcribed by Moshe Dovid Hacohen)
Shalom again my sweetest friends. I’m sure you know this passage, it’s a passage in the prophets. We’re living in a hungry world, a very hungry world. You know, if you’re hungry for bread you become ugly, because you’re so hungry that you can’t bear it, but if you’re hungry for G-d, the more hungry you become, the more beautiful you are. People hungry for bread hate one another, they suspect each other of taking away their bread. But people hungry for G-d realize that it’s the greatest privilege to make somebody else hungry as well. When you’re hungry for bread you’re empty, but when you’re hungry for G-d you are so full, you’re so full. Basically there are only two types of people in the world: there are the empty people who are hungry for bread, and the full people who are hungry for G-d.
I’m sure that you all read the prophets, but I’m not sure if it’s known to you that the prophets were not like little shleppers standing on street corners of Jerusalem, nebech, with nothing to eat. G-d’s prophets, real prophets, especially before the destruction of the Second Temple, were the richest people in the world. They were perfect people – physically, mentally, spiritually, and divinely. Do you know, each prophet had a little school for prophecy with hundreds and thousands of young people and they all had instruments.
One can’t receive G-d’s prophecy simply by standing and looking at a red light. Rather the prophets would stand and begin singing and playing musical instruments, and then suddenly the gates of Heaven were opened and they prophesized. Hearing prophecy is not like listening to a news broadcast, because most of the time anyone listening began prophesizing as well. A true prophet is not someone who says: “I had a prophecy but who are you to be worthy of one?” Rather the prophets lifted you and me up to the highest level.
So I just want to share this with you. The prophet says, “There will be a time when there will be a hunger in the world…” So why did the prophet say this two thousand years ago? When it comes time we’ll know about it. I want you to open your hearts sweetest friends. The prophet is telling us that there will come a time when there will be such a hunger in the world. People will be so hungry that when someone will come and tell you “I’m hungry for bread,” don’t believe him – he’s ashamed to tell you that he’s really hungry for G-d. You know that when a neighbor knocks on your door and asks for some eggs to bake a cake, do you know what he really means? “Gevalt am I hungry… I’m so hungry for some holy words, so lonely, and so hungry for one friend. Could you just give me a hug?” When a person stops you on the street and asks for the time, you think that he doesn’t have a watch? He may have two watches, but he’s just telling you: “My life is just slipping by… I just don’t know what to do with it anymore.” Imagine that you’re standing on 42nd street and somebody asks you where 48th street is. You think that he can’t read? What he really means is “I don’t know where to go.”
You know, sometimes a child comes home from school and his mother says to him: “If you’re hungry I’ll give you some peanut butter.” It’s cute, right? Those mothers are the failure of our generation. Your child is not hungry for a peanut butter sandwich, he’s hungry because he was sitting in school for five hours and nobody kissed him, nobody told him how sweet he is, how beautiful he is…
And you know what, it’s strange. The people that are a little bit hungry for G-d, a little hungry for something holy, tell you that they’re hungry. However, the people who are desperately hungry are ashamed to tell you so, because they’re mamash so desperate and they don’t want you to know how desperate they are.
We are living in a world, where all of us, you and I, can do so much. You know friends that the difference between healing somebody spiritually, mentally or divinely and healing someone physically is very simple. Physical healing takes time. You know why? Because there are two levels: the level of creation and the level of beyond creation. G-d created the world in six days and our body was created as part of them. Therefore the process of healing takes time as well. Our soul however, was not created during those six days. It is beyond creation – it is part of G-d. To cure one’s soul takes no time at all. However, it takes someone else’s soul, someone else’s Divine Spark, someone else’s utmost holiness to do so. And today everyone is aware that most of the time when one’s body is very sick and weary, it’s because he just can’t find the person who will fix his soul.
You know friends, I’m sure you know better than I do what the sign is of a good doctor. Imagine, G-d forbid, that you are lying in bed sick, and one doctor after another walks in. How do you know which one is a good doctor? It’s simple. If the moment a doctor walks in you already feel better, even before he examines you, before he gives you medication, even without saying anything, then you know that he is a real doctor. He has fixed your soul; he did something to you without medication.
There is an unbelievable story about the Maggid of Mezrich, who lived around two hundred years ago and was one of our holiest Chassidic Masters. A wealthy man from Vilna, which was the capital of Lithuania at the time, came to him to ask his advice regarding business. The Maggid told him: “I just want you to know one thing. It’s not the doctor who cures, rather it’s G-d’s messenger, an angel, who goes along with the doctor. A little doctor has a little angel, and a great doctor has a great angel.” The man said to him: “You know Rabbi, I came to talk to you about my business not about healing.” The Maggid repeated the same thing and told him to remember it. The businessman thought to himself, “He’s obviously senile, I’m talking to him about business, and he’s talking to me about angels!” The man went home and told everyone that the Maggid was not a holy Master and that he was crazy.
Two weeks later this man had a heart attack and was dying. His children rushed out to find the best doctor possible. At that time, the Czar of Russia was in Vilna and since this businessman was very wealthy, the children were able to arrange for the Czar’s doctor to come to see their father. The great doctor walked in and he saw that the man had maybe a minute to live. He told the children to rush to the drugstore to buy some very strong medication. They rushed out and brought it, but since the medication was so strong he decided to examine him again before giving it to him. He checked him and said, “This medicine is too powerful. Go back and get me something less strong.” They came back with it ten minutes later, but after reexamining the patient the doctor said that this medicine was too strong as well. He then sent them back to get something even less strong.
This went on five times and the patient, without even receiving any medication, was already sitting up. The doctor said to the sick man, “This is crazy. When I walked in you were dying. I haven’t given you any medication and yet you’re already sitting up!” The man replied, “I’ll tell you something crazy. A holy man once told me that it’s not the doctor who does the curing, it’s G-d’s messenger. G-d gives the doctor the power to heal. (What is an angel? It is a certain energy that G-d gives you.) And a little doctor has a little angel and a big doctor has a big angel.” The doctor exclaimed, “I must meet this great Rabbi.” You should know that this doctor later became one of the holiest Masters. But he didn’t stop being a doctor; on the contrary, he even became a greater one, because he learned from this whole story that one has to cure the soul first.
How would the Holy Masters of the Chasidic tradition fix someone’s soul? A person would give them a piece of paper with his and his mother’s name on it, and they would fix his name. Only then would they have a look at the person himself.
Something is happening to the world. I’m sure that you realize it even more than I do. The world realizes that we have to cure each other’s soul. But you know that there is something very special in Chasidic tradition, in Kabbalistic terms. You can cure the body but you don’t cure the soul – you fix the soul. Curing takes some time. Fixing however, is something very deep. It doesn’t require an action, if you know how to do it. For example, you can walk down the street smiling to yourself or singing a song and you can fix a sad person’s soul as you walk by him without even realizing it.
If you don’t mind friends, let me tell you the story of The Great Fixer. This is a story told by our Holy Master Rebbe Nachman of Breslov, the Holy Baal Shem Tov’s grandson. It’s a very deep story so open your hearts, because this is the most important thing that I want to share with you:
What is the greatest fixing of the world? What is it that the world needs most, even deeper than love? If I tell you “I love you,” it’s very cute, but it won’t fix you. What we need is utmost joy and bliss. We mamash need joy, as simple as it is. And naturally, it goes without saying that people who hate don’t know what joy is.
According to Kabbalistic tradition, sadness has a little of the dust of paganism on it. Because if you really believe in G-d, if you really believe that G-d is doing everything, then what is there to be sad about? Why are you krechtzing (whining)? You know that G-d is taking care of you, you realize that you’re in good hands. Imagine that someone is in the hospital, G-d forbid, and he has the greatest doctor in the world, a doctor who can cure him in a second. If he keeps complaining about his illness, it’s stupid. It means that he doesn’t really believe that the doctor can cure him.
So the story is that the King of Sadness wanted to see if the world really was still in good shape, if everybody in the world was sad.
You know sweetest friends, what makes a sad person happy? If he meets somebody else who’s also sad. What a joy! Have you ever seen the way two sad people meet? They really experience joy! One says: “I want you to know that so and so died, and this one died, and the other one says: “Let me just add a few more names.” And they mamash cry with joy!
So the King of Sadness is walking around the world and he comes back to his capital overjoyed. His kingdom is so strong that the whole world is sad. He hasn’t met one happy person. This means that his empire is really everlasting. However, before he enters the capital, the most horrible thing happens to him: By a broken-down house, on a broken-down porch, by a broken table, on a broken chair, he sees a man sitting and playing, maybe a guitar or a harp. He has some leftover food on a plate, he’s singing and, worst of all, he’s happy! The king knows that this is the end of the world, because one happy person can save the whole world. One happy person can destroy his entire kingdom. He realizes that he must get rid of him.
The king walks up to the broken house, disguised as a simpleton, and says to the man, “Hey friend, who are you?” The man replies, “You don’t know who I am? I am the Great Fixer. I walk the streets of the world and yell at the top of my lungs, “I am the Great Fixer. Is anything broken? Bring me your broken hearts, your broken lives, your broken worlds – I’ll fix them.” People give me a few pennies for my work and with that money I buy myself a little feast.”
And Rebbe Nachman says that when you tell the story you have to say, “And the feast’le was a feast’le” – “הדועס א ןעוויג זיא הדועס איד ןיא” – a feast’le is a feast’le.
You think sad people know how to eat? They push the food down their throats. You have to be a Great Fixer in order to receive G-d’s light when you eat, and then “the feast’le is a feast’le.”
The King, knowing what he has to do, runs back to his palace. The next day the Great Fixer walks as usual down the streets of the world and yells “I am the Great Fixer…” People open the windows and tell him “Didn’t you hear? There’s a new decree from the king that there is to be no more fixing in his kingdom.”
It’s a bad scene, what can you do! But the Great Fixer has to have a feast’le. There has to be one feast in the world.
The Great Fixer walks down the street and sees a rich man chopping wood. He says to him “You know, it doesn’t befit a rich man to chop wood. Why don’t you let me do it?” He chops wood all day, gets a few pennies, buys a little something to eat, and as Rebbe Nachman says, “The feast’le was a feast’le.”
The Great Fixer is sitting at his house in utter bliss and singing a song when the king comes back to visit and says, “Hey brother, how are you doing today?” He answers, “Did you hear? The king is crazier than ever, he forbids fixing!” “So what did you do?” asks the king. “I chopped wood, and in fact, I have a job tomorrow as well chopping wood,” answers the Great Fixer. The king goes back to the palace and the next day when the Great Fixer goes to his job’le to chop wood, the rich man says, “I’m sorry, there’s a new decree that there is to be no more chopping wood in the country.” It’s a bad scene, but the Great Fixer thinks to himself, “I can always do something else.”
He walks down the street, looks through a window, and sees a rich woman sweeping the floor. He says to her, “What’s the matter?” She answers, “I just couldn’t find a maid today.” He tells her that he’ll gladly sweep for her. He sweeps the floor, gets a few pennies, and as Rebbe Nachman says, “The feast’le was a feast’le.”
Once again he is sitting in utter bliss singing his song when the king comes back and says, “Hey Brother, what’s going on?” The Great Fixer replies, “The king is getting crazier, he said that there is to be no more chopping wood.” “Well what did you do?” “I’m sweeping floors and in fact I’m going back tomorrow to sweep floors as well.”
It goes without saying that the king decrees the next day that there is to be no more sweeping floors. Whatever job the Great Fixer finds, the king finds a way to stop it, as he wants to cut off the feast. Finally the Great Fixer can’t find anything to do. But he has a tremendous idea.
He sees a sign that the king is looking for soldiers. However, soldiers are only paid every half a year. He walks up to the Induction Office and asks if he can become a soldier on the condition that he be paid two pennies every night. They tell him: “It’s the first time we’ve heard of such a thing, but why not?” And so, the Great Fixer becomes a soldier and gets a big sword. As he doesn’t know what to do with it, he walks up and down, smiles a little bit and pretends that he’s busy and happy.
That night he goes to the office, gets his two pennies, and has a little feast. Once again the king is back. The king says, “Hey what’s going on?” He says, “You know, I told you the king is crazy…” “So what did you do?” “I became a soldier and I’ve been promised two pennies each night for the next half a year.” The king obviously goes and decrees that soldiers should only to be paid once every half a year.
This time it was really a bad scene, because they only told him at night that he wouldn’t be paid for his day’s work. And the Great Fixer must have a feast, as Rebbe Nachman says, “A feast’le has to be a feast’le.” There must be at least one person in the world that’s keeping the world up with his joy. But leave it up to the Great Fixer.
He goes to a pawnshop and pawns his sword, and now has enough money to support himself for half a year. A soldier, however, must have a sword, so he buys himself some silver paper . And since he knows how to fix things, he takes the silver paper and makes it looks like a sword. The Great Fixer walks happily up and down and once again the feast’le is a feast’le.
I’m coming to the end now – open your hearts.
The king comes back and asks how he is. He told him that he pawned his sword and has enough money for half a year.
But you know my sweetest friends, that a soldier who pawns his sword receives the death penalty.
The king thinks to himself, “This time I don’t have to worry, for tomorrow I’m going to kill you.” He is overjoyed. The next morning he goes to the prison and he asks if there is anybody who is to be executed that day.
You know, in a sad world they always find someone to kill…
They reply that indeed there is someone. The king says, “I will personally supervise the execution and I will appoint the soldier who will kill this person.”
All the soldiers line up and the king walks around dressed royally so that the Great Fixer won’t recognize him. He sees the Great Fixer, walks over and says to him, “I, the king of the world, appoint you to kill this man with your sword.” Leave it up to the Great Fixer. He answers, “My dear king, let me tell you something. I have never killed a person and I really have no intention of killing anybody, so you’ll have to appoint somebody else.” The king starts yelling, like a wild beast, at the Great Fixer.
You know friends, only sad people are afraid of anyone. If you’re really filled with joy then you are no longer afraid.
The Fixer turns to the King, “Are you sure that this person is really guilty?” This is too much. The King screams back, “Who are you to question me? I commanded you to kill him.” The Great Fixer realizes that he can’t talk to the king, so he turns to the whole world and says, “Brothers and Sisters, let me tell you something. I want you to know that I’m the Great Fixer. I know magic. And I know one thing: When somebody is guilty then the soldier pulls out his sword and kills him. However, if the person is not guilty then the sword turns into silver paper!” The Great Fixer pulls out his sword and everyone sees that it’s silver paper.
So the little convict goes home and the Great Fixer goes home and as Rebbe Nachman says: “The feast’le was mamash a feast’le!”
Sweetest friends I just want to share one more thing with you. Imagine if the absolutely most sick and incurable person in the world would be well for one day a year. What would happen? He would make it. Because you know what happens to people when they are incurably sick, when they can’t walk or move? They think to themselves that they can’t do it anymore. But if they would see that for one day a year they can do it, then they would realize that, yes, they may need fixing, but it is possible. If you want to cure and fix a person, the first thing to do is to make them whole again for one minute.
You know, if someone comes to you broken, what’s the first aid, mentally and spiritually that you can do for him? The first aid is to show him that, sure, he may be sick and need curing, but for the moment he’s not sick at all.
And here I want to share the deepest depths with you. You know what it means to stand and pray before G-d? For one minute, when you stand before G-d, you’re not sick. And you know friends, what the difference is between meeting someone who loves you a lot and meeting someone who only loves you a little bit? When you meet someone who loves you a little you may not be as sad but you’re still broken, you’re still sick. When you meet someone who really loves you, you love him so much that you’re not sick. You’re so whole.
The same is true from a worldview. The world is always talking about peace. Imagine if we could establish peace in the whole world for one minute. We would mamash have peace the next day. But the world doesn’t believe in it, they don’t believe that there will ever be peace. Because they have been so sick, for so many thousands of years, that they can’t imagine that someday people will really love each other.
I want to tell you the utmost deepest depths. It may sound simple. G-d says in the bible, “V’ahavta l’reacha kamocha” – which is sadly enough translated as: “Love your neighbor.”
King James should live long wherever he is, but nebech, his Hebrew wasn’t so good and a few more things weren’t so good about him. It goes without saying that he completely mistranslates the bible. If I wouldn’t know the bible in Hebrew and I would look at King James translation, I wouldn’t understand it at all.
The verse doesn’t say, “Love your neighbor.” What does the word “neighbor” mean? Is it someone from the same street, from the same city, someone that has the same bank? Rather, the verse says “Reacha” which means – “the person standing next to you.”
Open your hearts friends. G-d doesn’t say that you must love the whole world forever. Rather that every person that you meet, for that one moment that you meet him, turn your whole heart to him. And you know friends, if we could only do that. You know how deep this is? G-d doesn’t ask me to love you forever. Maybe I don’t care for you so much. You may not be on the same wavelength as me. You may not be plugged into the same thing as I. Your soul and mine, as much as they are both a part of G-d, are not so connected. But for one second, when you are standing before me…
And I want you to know the deepest depths. You know, whatever you think of G-d is, sadly enough, whatever you think of yourself. If I am convinced that I am a creep, I can fool you, but the truth is that I am convinced that G-d is also a bit creepy. Because I know one thing – that I am G-d’s image. But if my G-d is so exalted then I must be exalted too. If I have one little taste that G-d is the holy of holiest, the most perfect of all perfect, that means that I have it inside of me as well. You know friends, when we stood on Mount Sinai and G-d spoke to us, the miracle wasn’t only that G-d spoke to us. At that moment we were all physically, mentally and spiritually completely perfect.
I don’t know how much you know about the Jews of Poland before the Second World War. I bought a book that just came out in Israel, which tells the following eyewitness account:
One of the holiest and greatest Rabbis opened a new school in the city of Lublin. He accepted four hundred of the most gifted children from the age of five to seventeen. Sadly enough, there were only seven children left after the war. When he opened the school his Holy Master, the Tshotkover Rebbe, came to Lublin for the opening. Listen to this unbelievable thing. You know that opening a school to study G-d’s law is really like Mount Sinai. So, the Tshotkover Rebbe arrived on Thursday and left Monday night. And during the four days that he was there nobody died in Lublin. Can you imagine, not one person died! There so much G-dliness and the spirit of perfection in the city that nobody died.
And you know sweetest friends, I don’t have to tell you that dying is not only a physical state. We die a million times a day. If we could just lift ourselves up to those few moments, to be alive for one moment a day, to love a person for one moment a day. And I just want to bless you and me that we should be holy enough to give over this “one moment” to our children, the holiness of “one moment.” You know the people who have those “one moments” will make it. They will always make it.
One of our holiest Masters, who lived around one hundred fifty years ago, was called the “Ohr HaMeir” – The Shining Light. He was one the greatest pupils of the great Seer of Lublin. One night he stopped at an inn, at a kretchmer, to sleep. As he looked like a very holy rabbi, the innkeeper told him that he had a very special room for him. He gave him this very beautiful room in which there was a big clock hanging on the wall. All night long the Ohr HaMeir couldn’t sleep. He walked up and down, up and down. And you know, in little wooden houses like those kretchmers, when you walked right the whole house bent right and when you walked left the whole house bent left. So the poor innkeeper couldn’t sleep either.
Finally at three o’clock he figured it was no use trying and that he may as well make some hot tea to bring to the holy rabbi. He knocked on the door, brought him some tea, and said: “Holy Rabbi, is something wrong with the bed, why can’t you sleep?” The Ohr HaMeir replied: “No, G-d forbid, this is a beautiful room.” “So why can’t you sleep?” asked the innkeeper. The holy rabbi looked at him and said: “Let me ask you something. This big clock hanging on the wall, is it by any chance the clock of my Holy Master, the Seer of Lublin?” The innkeeper replied: “Yes, but don’t think that I stole it. His son was here for two weeks and couldn’t pay rent, so he pawned this clock. He’ll come back in a few weeks to redeem it.” “But I don’t understand,” he continued, “what does your sleeping have to do with the clock?” The Ohr HaMeir told him: “My dear friend, let me tell you something. There are two kinds of clocks in the world. A clock says 1, 2, 3, 4. All the clocks of the world say, “One hour less, one hour less, one hour less…” When you hear this, you think, “Who needs this, let’s go to sleep and forget the whole thing.” But then there is the clock of the Seer of Lublin which says, “One hour closer, one hour closer…” So how could one fall asleep?
I want to bless you and me and all of us, we mamash need different clocks, we need a real time change. Have you ever seen the way people go to sleep? They’re so sad, because another day is gone. And I want to share something with you. G-d blessed me in his infinite mercy with two little children – one is three and one is six. Sadly enough, I’m not always home because I travel a little bit, but whenever I’m home the most important and holy function for me is putting them to sleep. You know, when children go to sleep they know exactly what level you’re putting them to sleep on. Whether you’re putting them to sleep on the level of “one day less, one day less…” or if you’re telling them, “one day closer, tomorrow you’ll be one day closer.” Then they’ll want to go to sleep so fast, so that they’ll be able to do it again the next day and do it even deeper.
And you know, basically sweetest friends, you can reach so high and so deep with joy. You know, our Holy Master, Rebbe Nachman teaches us that whatever you see is in this world, is a result of it being in Heaven as well.
If someone calls you up on the telephone crying that he really needs a hundred dollars, you’ll probably give it to him. Five minutes later he calls up again, sobbing: “I made a mistake, I need two hundred…” You’re already a little bit annoyed, you think to yourself that you won’t answer the phone anymore that day. Two hours later the same person calls up again, sobbing and crying: “You know I hate to impose upon you, but I made a mistake with my accountant and taxes, I really need five hundred dollars.” So you’re already unplugging the phone, changing the phone number…
But imagine that you call someone up with the greatest joy and say, “Listen Brother, I have something for you to do that can save my life, your life, the life of the world. Right now you could do the greatest thing in the world, you could do me a big favor.” He says: “Why not, what can I do for you?” “Can you dish me up a hundred matzos, I need it.” Two hours later I call up and say, “I’ll tell you something, this is your day, not only can you give a hundred matzos, G-d in His infinite mercy is giving you the chance to give me two hundred matzos!”
So Rebbe Nachman says that we have this kind of feeling because G-d has it as well. If you stand before G-d and krechts [whine], “G-d, I don’t know why you created me, but let me tell you something, it’s a bad scene. Anyway, I’m created now, and it’s not so good…” So G-d says: “Thank you very much, really, I’ll give you anything you want, just don’t bother me again.” And when you bother Him again, He says, “Oy vey, not again…” But when you come before G-d with great joy, all the Gates of Heaven are open.
Friends, we need Gate Openers. And let me tell you this little story. One time a person had a child who was very ill. He came to our Holy Master, the Baal Shem Tov, and told him that his child was very sick. The Baal Shem Tov was so holy that he not only knew the good people, he knew all of the thieves too. He told this man to wait. The Baal Shem Tov then went and came back with a minyan of ten thieves. They recited the Psalms and the child got well in no time. The next day the Baal Shem Tov’s holy pupils, the really holy people, asked him: “Rebbe, if you wanted to recite the Psalms, did you have to bring ten thieves? Couldn’t you have taken take ten decent people?” The Baal Shem Tov replied: “Don’t you understand? The Gates of Heaven were closed. I needed ten thieves to break them open!”
So friends, I want to bless you, me and all of us that we should all be holy thieves. Thank you so much. Shalom!
 Another version is that he replaced the sword with wood, stuck it in its’ sash and kept the sword’s handle intact.