A Free Gift from G-d - Jewish Outlook

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A Free Gift from G-d

Likutei Moharan Tinyono 78

Rebbe Nachman says, there are two sources of life that a person can draw life from:
One source is from ‘getting it.’ With every word of Torah I am learning, I am filling my soul with life. Every good deed I am doing, I am getting life. It means; I deserve it, so I am getting it. It is as if I go to a bank, and have an account there. I write down on a piece of paper; “Give me ten dollars. Give me one hundred dollars.” If I have it in the bank, I will get it. I don’t need special pull.

Then, there is another source of life in heaven: you have nothing in the bank, you have nothing… and even whatever you do have has no meaning. It doesn’t ‘get there.’ Imagine if I have one hundred dollars in the bank, but I go to the bank, and what I need to withdraw is two billion dollars. They say, “How much do you have in the account?” I say, “One hundred.” It doesn’t reach. It’s not this kind of thing. They are talking about billions, and you talk about a few rubbles? It doesn’t reach.

And you have to realize one more deep thing: on a material level, regardless of the magnitude of the amount, a billion dollars is still made up of one hundred dollars, but just so, so, so many more. On a spiritual level, however, the life level of ‘getting it’ without deserving it is from a completely different source. It is not even included in it. A hundred dollars has some connection to a billion dollars. A billion dollars is more, but it is made out of many many hundred dollars. But the life level which I can draw from, not by deserving it… just G-d gives it to you….

G-d wants to create the world

When G-d created the world, there was nobody there to deserve it. There was nobody there. You cannot say, “G-d created the world because we deserve it. We were so good and so sweet, so G-d said, ‘Ok let’s create a world for them’.” There was nobody there. So the very, very source of creation is not from deserving it. Not deserving it… G-d wants to create the world.

Since I created the world, I am giving you the holy Land

And now Rebbe Nachman says the deepest depths in the world; the Gemara [Talmud] says, “Why did G-d tell us the story of the creation? The Torah is actually a book of laws. It should begin with the first law, so why does the Torah begin with the story of the creation?” So the Gemara and Rashi says, “Because someday the world will say to us, ‘What are you doing in the holy Land? Why did you steal the holy Land from the other people?’ So, therefore, G-d told us, ‘I created the world, and since I created the world, I am giving you the holy Land’.”
If you think of it in a very deep, deep, deep way, this means millions of things in the deepest depths.

Meaning to say that from the same source where G-d created the world, from that tremendous deep source where nobody can reach… Because my actions can’t reach the creation of the world, because I wasn’t even there yet. And the world was not created because we deserve it, but just because G-d wants it. It is much deeper than anything I can do to get there. And from that very same source, He gave us the holy Land. On that level.

The real Torah is only in Israel

But now, why did G-d give us the holy Land? G-d gave us the holy land because the truth is that the real Torah is only in Israel. Because there are so many laws which cannot even be fulfilled in chuts laarets [outside of Israel], like all the laws of truma and maser [tithes], all the laws that have to do with the holy Land. And in fact there is an opinion, according to the Ramban, that even all those laws, for example, putting on tefillin, which I have to put on anywhere, but it is not the same. Putting on tefillin in Israel is on a different level.
That means that the real Torah was given in Israel.

He wants us to deserve it

Now listen to this, this tremendous contrast, the deepest depths of the world:
On the one hand, G-d gave us Israel on the level that it has nothing to do with deserving it or not deserving it. But He gave it to us because He wants us to deserve it. He gave it to us because He wants us to do something, and to deserve it.

It is not just a matter of deserving

You have to know that also in dealing with G-d, there is the level of buying from G-d, and there is the level of receiving a gift. Because, you have to realize, if there is such a thing as ‘giving a gift’ and ‘buying’ in this world, that means that such a thing also goes on in heaven. Because if there wouldn’t be such a thing in heaven, it wouldn’t exist here in this world either. Because the physical world is only like a little mirror of the spiritual world.

That means that also in G-d’s dealing with the world, there are two levels:
One level is on the level of buying.
And one level is the level of getting a gift.

Buying means; I am learning, so I deserve it. I am doing a good deed, I deserve it. I am getting something as “payment” for what I did.

And then there is another level; giving you a gift. Giving you a gift… And this is every second.

The sources of those two levels

Which are the sources of those two levels, of ‘buying’ and of ‘receiving a gift?’ It’s very simple: it is ‘Mount Sinai,’ and ‘the creation of the world.’

On Mount Sinai, when G-d spoke to us and He gave us the Torah, He told us what to do, and what not to do. This is on the level of buying. It says so in the Torah, “If you don’t deserve it, you won’t get this. If you deserve it, I will give you this.” Everything is on the level of deserving. You know, it is like G-d is dealing with us, judging us.

And the creation of the world… the level of creation of the world is that G-d wants to give to us: “I want to give it to you. Not because you are good, not because you are sweet, nor because you deserve it. But just because I want to.”

G-d’s word is Torah

And now Rebbe Nachman says one sweet little thing: you have to realize one thing, that every word G-d utters, is Torah.

What is Torah? What is the Torah? Is Torah only when G-d says you shouldn’t eat milk and meat together? This is Torah? When G-d says, “Let there be light,” this is also Torah! G-d says, “Let there be animals.” This is also Torah. G-d says, “Let there be trees.” This is also Torah. Everything. G-d’s word is Torah.

But the truth is, that when G-d says, “Don’t eat milk and meat together.” this Torah is an open Torah. Everybody knows G-d says so, and so I am doing it. G-d’s word is open to me. Revealed.

But when G-d says, “Let there be animals,” “Let there be trees,” this is the hidden Torah. It is the hidden Torah. Why is this hidden? Because it comes from a deeper source. Because this comes from the source of a gift.

How deep does it reach into my soul

If I sell something, how deep does it reach into my soul? It doesn’t reach that deep. I can do business with my biggest enemy, right? It’s nothing personal. Gifts, however, I only give to someone I love very much. And the greater the gift is, the deeper it reaches.
So the truth is, the strangest thing in the world, is that the Torah of creation is on a deeper level than the Torah from Mount Sinai. Because the ‘Torah of the gift’ is greater than the ‘Torah of the buying.’

Mount Sinai is the ‘marketplace,’ where you buy, and the creation of the world is where you receive gifts.

Even on the level of giving gifts, there are also two levels. Sometimes I am giving you a gift which you need. But then that gift, which is also a very deep gift, but it is not so very deep. But imagine if I am giving you a gift, and it is actually nothing, you don’t see anything. Imagine I would come up to someone, and I would say, “I am giving you a gift.” And she doesn’t see anything. And nobody saw anything. What a gift! It is so deep, it is so holy. It is from such a deep source that you can’t see anything.

It is just a gift

Our religion is really a ‘non deserving’ religion. We do not come to G-d and tell Him, “We deserve.” For example, the way we want to pray on Rosh HaShanah, and the way the older generations davened [prayed] on Rosh HaShanah…. Some people today say, “There are a few sins I did, but in the meantime I did this good, and I did that good.” They are not ready mamash to just receive without deserving.

You see, if you are on the level that you know that you are not deserving, then you are the most deserving. Because this is the way it is; G-d’s wealth is for those who don’t deserve it. And the moment you really know that you are not deserving, this is when you deserve it.

Question: You know you deserve it when you know you don’t deserve it?

Rebbe Shlomo answers: You mean, you know already before? This is what Rebbe Nachman says: Don’t think about it. Don’t intellectualize it, because the moment you think about it, you are already diluting it, and it is not pure anymore. You have to know one thing: “I don’t deserve it.” You have to receive a gift. It is just a gift.

When you have a taste of the world, and you think you deserve it, then you cannot taste the world, because the world is a gift. It is a very deep thing.

The whole world is a gift from G-d. Nobody can say they deserve it.

The world is only a gift.

The world is only destroyed by this whole attitude of deserving and not deserving. It is destroyed by people saying, “I am more deserving.” What is going on between all the religions? “I am more deserving, I am better.” All this is the destruction of the world. The world is only a gift!

But if you lift it back up to the level of knowing completely that, “I am not deserving.” then you can put the world straight again. Then the world can be ‘given’ to us again.

When the Mashiach is coming, the world will really be here.

Israel

The holiness of Israel… the holiness of the Land of Israel, is that it can only be received by our prayers.

Rebbe Nachman says something very deep. Where does our claim to Israel come from? The Gemara and Rashi says; Why did G-d tell us the story of the creation? The Torah is actually a book of laws, why did G-d tell us the story of the creation? Because someday, the world will say, “What are you doing in Israel?” And we answer them; “G-d created the world, He gave it to us.” Meaning to say that our claim on Israel is on the level of creation: Just the goodness of G-d. Not because of deserving.

You can receive life from that goodness

Mount Sinai is already on the level of deserving, because the whole basis of teaching is telling you what to do and what not to do. I am on a ‘deserving or non-deserving’ level. But the holy Land is given to us on the level of just, ‘G-d wants to give it to us.’

And therefore when Moshe Rabbenu wanted to come to the holy Land, how did he argue with G-d? He didn’t say, “I deserve it.” He was begging G-d. He prayed several hundred prayers. And it says, “Meotzar matnas chinam [from the treasury of free gifts].” He was begging G-d, “Just from Your goodness… I know I don’t deserve it, but I just want You to give it to me.”

Don’t give up!

What did Rebbe Nachman start yelling at this point? He started yelling, “Don’t give up!”
Because if your life depends on deserving and not deserving, then you can give up, because you know you are not deserving. But, on the contrary, if you are really not deserving, then you are the best customer for this holy G-d goodness of G-d’s wealth, which is only for non-deserving. So therefore, on the contrary, you now should be filled with joy that now you can receive life from the goodness of G-d.

And, therefore, Rebbe Nachman says; what is the holiness of Israel, of the holy Land? The holiness of the Land of Israel is the holy thing that you don’t give up. This is the secret of the holy Land. Because the holy Land is not giving up. I never give up, because G-d wants to give it to me. It has nothing to do with deserving or not deserving.

Taste the holiness of the world

If someone wants to taste the holiness of the world… because, what is the goodness of G-d? The ‘goodness of G-d’ is also Torah. This is very very deep: it is also Torah. Because whatever G-d says, is Torah, “G-d created the world,” is also Torah. When G-d says, “Let there be light,” this is also Torah! G-d says, “Let there be animals.” This is also Torah. But there is a revealed Torah, which was revealed to us on Mount Sinai, and there is a non revealed Torah, which is so very deep. This is the creation. This is the non-revealed Torah, which is even deeper. It is completely a gift.

So if someone wants to understand the secrets of the world, he has to receive that from G-d’s goodness. Can you imagine, if you are learning the secrets of the world… because, what really is Torah? The Torah is: to learn the secrets of the world! That means you are learning on a deserving level, the secrets of the non-deserving.

We really have vessels for this great light of non deserving

The highest level a person can be, the highest life level a person can be, is mamash to know that I am not deserving. That is the highest level a person can reach. This was the level of Moshe Rabbenu [Moses]. He reached the level of completely non-deserving.

And this is the level of the tzadik, of the holy person – that he knows he is not deserving. He mamash received it because he is really Torah, because he is learning all the time. Everything he is doing is good, yet he is on the level that he receives ‘Mount Sinai’ life on the level of ‘creation.’ This is the deepest depths there is.

Prayer

What is the level of prayer? When I study, I receive life from Mount Sinai. When I pray… what am I praying for? I am praying for what I do not deserve. I am just praying because this is on the level of creation. You see, when I pray, I am not praying for things which can happen, and which are already in the world, I am praying for new things. Like, G-d should change the whole world. Why not? Because when I pray, I am praying on that level of before creation. So why not? Why not?

If you learn and you know you don’t deserve it

The moment you are learning, you already have this whole thing and you have this ‘full stomach.’ Like the Kotzker Rebbe says; some Yiddelach, with every page, their belly gets bigger, because they put the pages in their belly instead of in their heads. You know, there are some people who just look like pregnant women because their belly is full with pages. What kind of learning is that? If you would learn with your head, and with your soul….

Why was Moses the giver of the Torah? Because he received life on Mount Sinai on the level of not deserving. In other words, he was really the one, because the most deserving is non-deserving. Non-deserving is deserving. The creation is also just a secret… The non-revealed Torah is the secret of the revealed. You know, it is just all together.

If you are not deserving

If you are just not deserving, so you receive life like a pistol in the back; “Keep on living, keep on living, keep on living.” You see, G-d can give you life, and so you live, but G-d wants us to receive life on a Mount Sinai level, on a free choice level. That is the highest level there is; not only do I have free choice of my actions, I even have free choice of my life level, of what level I receive life. Because I am begging to receive this life of the non-deserving by free choice. This is mamash Torah. This is the deepest depths of life. It means I am really receiving it consciously, I am living this kind of life. Not just that I am just receiving, I am living it. You can have life but you are not living that life. And then you can have life and you are mamash living it.

The holiness of a synagogue

Why are people together while they daven [pray], and why aren’t they as much together when they are learning? Because when they are learning, they are on a deserving level. When you are praying, you are on the level of not deserving.

When we are davening, we are on the level of creation, on a completely not deserving level. Everybody is non-deserving, so they are all together. The moment I am studying, I am already saying; “I know more, you know less,” or, “You know more, I know less.”

(It is very strong. The truth is, this is one of the deepest Torah teachings of Rebbe Nachman, this is one of the deepest depths. We have to learn it a lot of times. It is just good to know this holy Torah. It is from Likutei Tinyono ayin ches. If you want to make a copies of it, it will be the strongest thing so some kids can walk around and learn it all the time.)


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How do you know which part of the service the congregation has reached? It’s very simple – if one third of the congregation is outside then they are davening (praying); if half the congregation is outside then they’re reading the Torah (Bible). Ah, but if everyone is outside then the Rabbi must be giving a speech!


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