The Ropshitzer Rebbe was famous for his sense of humor.
Once one of his followers asked him, “What is the reason for your custom to dress in only white cotton clothes?”
The Ropshitzer Rebbe said, “I cannot reveal this to you now. You must first prepare yourself. Immerse yourself in the ritual bath eighteen times every day. After three weeks come to me and I will reveal the reason to you.”
The follower did exactly as the Rebbe ordered, and after three weeks time he proudly went to the Rebbe.
“I did all that you asked,” said the follower. “Please reveal to me the secret.”
The Rebbe said, “Because it is cheaper.”
The follower was confounded: “What? Because it’s cheaper? Why did I have to immerse eighteen times a day for three weeks? Why couldn’t you just tell me?”
The Rebbe answered, “If I would have just told you, then you would have just told someone else, and he would have told someone else, and so on…. And before you know it the price would go up.”
If I want to do something very holy, and the whole world laughs at me, then I must have holy arrogance to do what I know is right.
Rebbe Nachman says: to talk to a good friend is to instill into him the holy arrogance that gives him the strength to do what is right.
The people who have this holy arrogance are the most humble people in the world. They are the really humble people. Their arrogance is not because of “I am,” it is because “This is right.”
A slave hates his master. If you listen to what everyone tells you to do, then you become their slave, and so you hate them. If you have enough holy arrogance to stand up to people, then you can really love them.
If you are G-d’s servant, then you are the freest person in the world, because you know exactly what is right. If you know what is right, then you don’t listen to anybody, just to what the soul of your soul tells you is right.
Are you a servant of G-d, or are you a slave to other people? There is no in–between.
If you are strong enough to stand on your own two feet, and nothing can bend you, then the world will really love you. People will really love you.
When I want to get close to G-d, and He gives me a little kick and pushes me away, He just wants to see how strong I am. I come back and say, “I don’t care, You can kick me, but I will still come back.” This is actually holy arrogance against G-d.
Rebbe Nachman says: all service of G-d depends on how much holy arrogance you have within you. All the holy masters reached so high, not because they knew more, and not because their souls were holier, but only because they had this holy arrogance.
You must have holy arrogance against your physical desires, against your spiritual desires, and even against the holiest dreams you have. Just do exactly what you know G-d wants you to do at this moment.
The soul is all one. If I am not on the level of one, then to love is in one department, to hate is in another department, and I don’t know which one to use.
If I am on the level of my soul, of complete oneness, then I know exactly when to love, and when to hate, when to be humble, and when to use my holy arrogance.
How can I know whether my arrogance is holy or not? Rebbe Nachman says, “Don’t be a schlimazel” [someone who messes up everything]. That means you have to know in your heart whether you are a schlimazel or not. You really know very well deep down inside.
At the end of days, or maybe tomorrow, there will be two Mashiachs, a Mashiach who will be the son of Yosef, and a Mashiach the son of David, from the tribe of Yehuda. Yosef is the one who has so much holy arrogance that he never did wrong. Yehuda has the holy strength to do everything wrong, and to still want to come back. He doesn’t give up. Between the two they will correct the entire world.
We need someone to give us the strength not to destroy the holy things that we still have left, and someone to teach us that even though we have already destroyed so much, we should not give up. We should come back. We should never give up.