Holy Arrogance - Jewish Outlook

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Holy Arrogance

Using your emotions at the right time

Every emotion that G-d gave us is for a purpose. To love is for a purpose, to hate is for a purpose. We have the emotion to hate. The question is, what do you hate, and what do you love? You have emotions urging to be silent, and you have emotions that you just have to speak up. You have the emotion to be ashamed, and then you have the emotion that you are not afraid of anybody in the world. We have all this stashed away in our mind. The question is, when are you using it, and where are you using it. That is the whole question.

This is the most heart-breaking thing in the world: G-d gives us at birth, let’s say, 100 pounds of love, and, let’s say, 100 pounds of hatred. So here I am using up 50 pounds of my love, let’s say, for food, or for money. Then, when it comes to a holy thing, I have only 50 pounds of love left. Or, let’s say, I am using up 50 pounds of hate on hating my neighbor for no real reason. Then, when I see evil in the world, and I really should hate it, I should be all shook up: “Gevalt! What is going on here!?” But I already used up most of my hatred for other things. I don’t have it anymore.

Then, listen to this. Let’s say G-d gave me 100 pounds of shame to be used for a holy purpose. But I used it up on stupid things; I came into a place and I saw they are doing things that are wrong, but I was ashamed to speak up. And so I used up 50 pounds of my shame on the wrong thing. Then, when it comes do doing the most ugly thing in the world which I should be ashamed to do, and I need 100 pounds of shame in order not to do it, but by then I only have 50 pounds of shame left, so I do it, because I already used up the shame that I needed now.

Hate evil

Rebbe Nachman says, the world uses up their hate against each other, so they are not hating evil any more. They should hate evil, but they just hate each other; they are just using up the entire 100 pounds of hate, and so when it comes to really hating evil, they don’t hate it so much anymore, maybe they even like it. David HaMelech says, “The ones who love G-d really hate evil.”

If someone would tell you now, “I want you to go and put someone to shame; I will give you a million dollars for doing it,” but you just hate to do it, you really just hate the idea of doing it. You hate it to the utmost, because you know and understand what it means to put someone to shame. You say, “No. I am not going to do it, because I hate it.”

But if you hate people, if you are using up your hatred in the wrong place, on people, then, if someone says to you to put someone to shame and you know you shouldn’t put someone to shame, but if he offers to give you a few rubles to do it, you don’t hate it that much anymore.

If you use up all the love in your heart on money, you don’t have enough love left for your own children, because you used it up on money. That’s what is going on in the world today. Parents are so busy loving their Cadillacs and their new homes and their new golf clubs that there is not enough love left in their heart for loving their own children.

Your love gets stronger

Like exercising muscles, the more you feel love, the stronger your ability to love will get.

It is only if you love what you really want to love that your ability to love becomes stronger. But if you love something which, deep down, you don’t love, then the deep muscles of love are not worked on.

How much can you love money? Let’s put it on that level. Loving your child with all your heart, is different from the way that the most rotten, low creature loves money. These two different kinds of love do not really have the same effect on the heart, so the one who loves money is not really exercising his love muscles, right? You see, each time you love someone who you really want to love, your ability to love gets stronger. If you love something you shouldn’t love, and you don’t really want to love, you are just wasting your love, and not exercising your love muscles.

Each time you give money to a poor man, your muscles of giving are being exercised and strengthened.

Holy chutzpah

There is something which is very important. There is such a thing as arrogance, believing that you can do it. For instance, I know this very strongly from my musical performances. Who is a good performer? Not just someone who has a good voice. Some people have tremendous voices but they can’t perform, because they don’t believe that they can do it. When you stand before an audience, you have to believe that you can perform before them. That is really all there is to it. If you are standing there, and if you believe that you can sing a song, that is it. The vibration is tremendous.

Sometimes someone comes on stage and he doesn’t believe that he can do it, so no one pays any attention to him. There is something in the air.

But sometimes you have to know that you can’t do it, mamash. You have to have this holy shame, and know, “I can’t do it.” Then, at other times, you have to have this holy chutzpah to say, “I can do it. I know I can do it.” The question is, when are you sure that you can do it, and when do you have this holy shame that you can’t do it?

Azut d’kedusha [holy arrogance]

What happens if I want to do something very holy, very strong, and the whole world laughs at me? Everyone thinks I am completely crazy. Then I must have holy chutzpah, azut d’kdusha, holy arrogance. If the whole world says that I am crazy, how come I am not crazy? When I was born, G-d gave me the holy arrogance to do what is right.

Say for instance, I believe I should wear a yarmulke [skullcap]. I walk into a place, and all the people start laughing, “Are you crazy? A yarmulke! You’re old fashioned! You’re stupid!” So I say, “Oh, I’m sorry. Oh, you are really right. We are living in a modern, civilized world. What do I need a yarmulke for?” Rebbe Nachman then asks: What am I doing to myself? It is not that I took off the yarmulke. That is beside the point. When I do something because people told me I should or shouldn’t do it, or that it doesn’t look nice, you know what happens to me? I make a p’gam, a blemish; I destroy my holy arrogance. Have you ever seen someone who licks up to the whole world for two pennies? Why are they so low? Because they destroyed their azut d’kdusha with their own hands.

G-d says, “Look at yourself. What are you? You were My servant before. I gave you enough chutzpah to do right, yet you prefer to listen to people? Okay, be a slave to them. Make up your mind who is your master.”

If you are G-d’s servant, then you are the highest 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.

If you have azut d’kedusha, this holy arrogance, then you can really love people because you are not their slave.

If you lose your holy arrogance, then I am a slave to every shmendrik [fool]. I hate this shmendrik, because he is my master. I have no dignity, I have no spine anymore. I can’t stand people anymore.

It is very strange. We always think that if we don’t listen to people who tell us to do wrong, that means we will be pushed off to the side, and we want to be in with the crowd. Just look at the crowd – do you think they love each other? They hate each other. It is 100% true, one billion percent true. Rebbe Nachman’s holy words are mamash like gold.

Rebbe Nachman says something else. What about the relationship of people to you? If you have holy chutzpah, then people really love you. People mamash love you. If someone walks in with a yarmulke, and everyone laughs at him, and he still wears it – they can keep on laughing. You know what the person who is laughing really thinks? “Gevalt! I respect him so much.”

But if I wear a yarmulke and people say, “Take it off, this is not the place!” and I take it off, people laughingly say, “Really a strong character, this person! Who would want to be his friend?”

You know how people are? When you listen to them, they spit at you. When you don’t listen to them, they love you. It’s the craziest thing in the world!

When you listen to people, you become their slave, and so you don’t love them. Don’t tell me you listen to people because you love them. Don’t kid yourself. You listen to people because you are not standing on your own two feet. And if you don’t stand on your own two feet, then they treat you like a dog who walks on all fours. But if you are strong enough, and you stand on your own two feet, nothing can bend you. Then the world really loves you.

Rebbe Nachman says it is just heartbreaking if you destroy the holy arrogance that you have, because then you become a slave to people. Rebbe Nachman says this very strongly, he says the question is are you G-d’s servant, or people’s servant? There is no in between.

Everybody is somebody’s servant. Are you 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. The Gemara says the freest person is the one who is G-d’s servant. If you are a man’s servant, you are a slave. If you are G-d’s servant, you are free. Completely free. Really, really free.

Holy arrogance against my own self

What is teshuva? What does it mean to repent? Why basically, did I sin? Because I wasn’t strong enough, right? I didn’t have holy arrogance against my own self! To repent, to do teshuva, to return to G-d, means to correct the holy arrogance within me.


Who is Mashiach? What will Mashiach do? How will he get us out of exile? How will he get us out of slavery? He will reach the utmost level of not being a slave to people, of not listening to anybody, not even to your own self, not to one’s stupid self. He will be mamash a servant of G-d completely. He will have the holy chutzpah to get the whole world out of exile. Why don’t we have the chutzpah to get people out of exile, to get the world out of exile? Sadly enough, we are not on the level, we don’t have the holy arrogance, we really don’t. We listen to ten thousand people. Maybe we listen to ourselves at the wrong moment. We do everything wrong.

The real humble people

Rebbe Nachman says that the people who have this holy arrogance are the most humble people in the world, the real truly humble people. Their arrogance is not because of “I am,” it is because “this is right,” – and this gives them strength. If I am doing something because I think it is right, or because you think it is right, then I am not humble anymore. When I wear a yarmulke, is it because I want to, because I believe in yarmulkes? It is because G-d wants me to wear a yarmulke! I am a Jew. I want the world to know I am a Jew.

I am not drawing my strength from my stupidity nor my genius. It has nothing to do with me. It is just that I know a Jew has to wear a yarmulke, and I am a grandchild of Abraham. This is holy arrogance, to do it just because the thing has to be done.

For instance, I walk on the street and I see someone beating up someone. I walk up, and I knock him off. I am doing it because that is the right thing to do, not because of “I.” It has nothing to do with me. The holy arrogant people have no “I,” they really have no “I.” The non-holy arrogant people also have chutzpah, but it is with such a big “I” that it is so disgusting, it smells so bad that nobody can have anything to do with them.

It’s written clearly in the Torah

Rebbe Nachman says that the real tzadik is someone who says a teaching, and later, when you look in the Torah, you see that every word he said was mamash written openly in the Torah. The question is, why didn’t we see it before? Now that the tzadik said it, we notice that it was written clearly in the Torah all along.

So Rebbe Nachman says, this is mamash a passuk [verse] from the Torah, “You are leading the Jewish people with Your holy chutzpah back to the holy place.” The way King James translates it is “with your strength.” Rebbe Nachman says, it means, “with G-d giving us His holy chutzpah,” which is much deeper.

How will we get back to the Holy Temple? How will we do teshuva? What will Mashiach do to us? He will give us back this holy chutzpah.

A person without holy chutzpah cannot live

Now Rebbe Nachman says something very, very strong. Why is it considered like murder to put someone to shame? He says it is because when you put someone to shame you are killing his holy chutzpah. And a person without holy chutzpah cannot live. You are tearing out his heart. He might still be breathing, but the moment you cut off someone’s wings, you put someone to shame, you take away this holy chutzpah from the person, and you mamash kill him.

Be completely plugged in

Rebbe Nachman says, all Yiddishkeit, all service of G-d, depends on how much holy chutzpah you have within you. He says you must have holy chutzpah against your physical desires, against your spiritual desires, and you must have holy chutzpah even against the holiest dreams you have, and just do exactly what you know G-d wants you to do. You must be completely plugged in.


Rebbe Nachman asks, what is it to talk to a good friend? It is to take the little friend and instill into him the chutzpah, to give him strength to know exactly what is the right thing to do.

What is evil in the world? Imagine a person wants to learn, a person wants to do something holy. Evil doesn’t say that it’s bad. You know how the devil, so to speak, gets to you? The devil puts on himself the face of a friend, and he talks to you, and he tries to take away your holy chutzpah. Evil comes and says, “Listen to me. I’ve known you so long, I know you very well. You be holy? You be a good Jew? You be learned? Whom are you fooling? You won’t be able to do it. I know you.” Evil tells you, “Listen, you have to be realistic, and you have to know the world. And this, and that. Be sensible, see a psychiatrist…” and he gives himself the mask of your greatest friend. So Rebbe Nachman says, beware of devils who look like friends.


Can you imagine? Rebbe Nachman says you must have holy chutzpah even against Tzadikim, even against holy people. It has to be so strong that if you mamash look deep in your soul, and you know what you have to do, there is nothing in the world that can stop you, nobody in the world that can stop you. But you have to be mamash plugged in – you have to do it mamash on G-d’s account.

Chutzpah to get close to G-d

Rebbe Nachman says, not only must you have holy chutzpah against the Tzadikim, you even have to have holy chutzpah against G-d. You have to come to G-d and tell Him, “G-d, I have to be a Jew, I have got to be holy, and I have to be close to You, and You can’t push me away.” You have to tell G-d, “It is true I tried starting anew fifteen thousand times, and I always fell down again, but G-d, I am telling You the truth. I’ll never leave You, so You better let me get close.” I want to get close to G-d, and, so to speak, G-d gives me a little kick, He pushes me off. He wants to see how strong I am. By my coming back to Him, I say, “I don’t care. You can kick me, I will still come back.” It is actually chutzpah against G-d. Real chutzpah. This is because each time you come back, you come back stronger. And even if you fall again, you come back stronger. Rebbe Nachman says, this is so deep that he can’t explain it to you more, but happy is the one who has enough chutzpah to get close to G-d.

This is strong stuff. Oy oy oy oy oy oy oy oy oy oy oy oy.

Then he says that, the truth is, all the holy Tzadikim reached so high, not because they knew more, or because their souls were holier; they got there only because they had this holy chutzpah. The people who didn’t get there did not have this azut d’kdusha.

And, therefore, if someone, sadly enough, comes to you and tells you, “What are you talking about? You want to be a holy Jew? You want to be strong? What do you know? You can’t even read Hebrew! You can’t do this, you can’t do that….” They give you a long account of what you can’t do. Rebbe Nachman says, what do you care? The more someone explains to you how bad you are, that means you need more chutzpah, right? So get it.

Now listen; Rebbe Nachman says the greatest teaching in the world. What is the greatest evil in the world? The greatest evil comes to me and tells me, “Listen to me, I know the truth. You can’t do it. Who are you fooling?” That is the greatest evil in the world. Evil doesn’t tell you that this is bad. Evil just tells you, “Listen, I know you so long, I know you very well. You’ll be holy? You’ll be a good Jew? You’ll become a big lamdan [scholar]? What are you talking about? I know you all these years. Forget it.

So you have to tell your evil, “Cut it out! I am not listening to you even if it is true.” Answer back to your evil, “I am not even listening to G-d if He kicks me. I am not listening to anyone.” G-d is only testing you. G-d wants you to become strong.

Rebbe Nachman says, what was the dream Jacob had, the ladder of Jacob? The ladder is this holy chutzpah. Jacob saw that there is a ladder, and a person can go up to heaven. How do you go from one rung to the other? Just go.

You must have a good nose

But then Rebbe Nachman says, you must be very careful. You must have a good nose [sense] to know what is the arrogance of holiness and what is arrogance of non-holiness. Many people also preach this kind of chutzpah, but it is really for the destruction of the world, for your destruction. So you have to know exactly what is holiness and what is not.

Rebbe Nachman says something very strong. The most important thing is, don’t be a shlemazel. He mamash says here “Don’t be lazy.”

Imagine a person who mamash wants to begin to learn, a person who wants to do something good. So the evil inclination comes and says, “Who are you fooling? I know you. You won’t be able to do it. You are fooling yourself.” What do you do then? You tell your evil, “I have chutzpah even against G-d. Even if G-d would tell me not to come close to Him, I wouldn’t listen. I’m not listening to anybody. I won’t even listen to Tzadikim if they would tell me to give up trying to do good.” Because G-d is only testing you. G-d wants you to become strong. So when you wrestle, then you become stronger. You have to wrestle with G-d, So to speak. When Yaakov Avinu wrestled with the angel, he was really wrestling with G-d. What does it mean? G-d sends you a little evil in your heart in order to make you stronger.

You see, each time you wrestle, your soul muscles get stronger.

Don’t be a shlemazel

How can you know whether your arrogance is holy or not? The only thing I can tell you is that Rebbe Nachman says, “Don’t be a shlemazel.” That means you have to know in your heart whether you are a shlemazel or not. Ultimately it is up to your own nose [sensitivities]. You know very well, deep down.


The world is bad, not because they don’t know enough, it is just because they don’t do enough. Have you ever seen a person saying, “Thank G-d I don’t keep Shabbos, it brings so much joy to my house”? The lowest, most rotten character knows that that is not true. If someone says, “I don’t believe in Shabbos,” ok, I have nothing against you. But don’t tell me that violating the Shabbos brings joy to you, because even you know that keeping Shabbos brings joy. And don’t tell me that not keeping Shabbos brings you close to your children, because you know very well that the only thing that brings you close to your own children is Shabbos.

Restore this holy arrogance

Rebbe Nachman says, you need friends to help you restore this holy arrogance, because, in the same way that if a person puts you to shame he kills you – because he takes away your holy arrogance – so, in the same way, you need friends who not only don’t put you to shame, but who will give you new life.

Mashiach Ben Yosef and Mashiach Ben David

At the end of days, or maybe tomorrow, there will be two Mashiachs, a Mashiach who will be a descendant of Yosef, and Mashiach Ben David, who will be a descendant of Yehuda, from the tribe of Yehuda.

Yehuda was the one who did everything wrong. If you remember, Yehuda was the one who told his brothers, “Let’s sell Yosef.” According to this, in the deepest depths, the whole exile began on account of him. He should have given up then. But he didn’t. Then he gets married, and two of his children die. G-d is letting him know, mamash you are wrong. Everything goes wrong. Whatever he does is wrong. He makes a guarantee for the safety of Benjamin, and Benjamin gets caught. So what should Yehuda do? He just does not give up. Yehuda is this holy Yiddele [Jew] who doesn’t give up till the very last second. He doesn’t give up. He knows that if Benjamin doesn’t come back to Canaan with him he will lose his share in the World to Come. But what does Yehuda do? He says, “I don’t care. Even if I don’t have a share in the World to Come, you can’t knock me out.”

The Zohar HaKodesh on the Torah portion of Vayigash explains that Yehuda spoke to Yosef, but he really was talking to G-d. He was pouring out his heart. He was saying, “You know, we have an old father,” as if he was telling Yosef about Jacob, but actually he was saying to G-d, “You are my Old Father. You are my Father since I was born. I am just a little boy. I am nothing.” It is tremendous the way the Zohar HaKodesh translates every word.

So listen to this. Yosef is the one who has the holy chutzpah so that he never did wrong. You know how much strength it takes never to do wrong? And Yehuda has this holy strength, that even if he does everything wrong, he still wants to come back.

The world needs both, because we are a combination of billions of little things. Certain parts of us are on the level of Mashiach Ben Yosef, certain parts of us never did wrong. We have, thank G-d, the chutzpah, the strength needed so that we never did wrong. But other parts of us are completely destroyed, so for that we need Mashiach Ben David. Between the two, they correct the whole world.

Before the selling of Yosef, Yosef was holier than Yehuda. When did Yehuda become holy? After he sold his brother Yosef into slavery, after he started doing wrong, then he became so very strong, so holy. In Bereshit it says, “mi teref bni alisa – From tearing away my son, you became great and holy.” The meaning is, when did Yehuda really become Yehuda? When did he pull out [activate] his holy chutzpah, his holy soul, that is the holiness of Yehuda? After he sold Yosef into slavery.

That is why his father favored Yosef. On the level that the children were on initially, Yosef was really the king. There could be only one Mashiach, the son of Yosef. But after Yehuda sold Yosef, and yet Yehuda didn’t give up, then suddenly Yaakov realized; Yehuda was even stronger than Yosef. Yehuda doesn’t give up praying to the very last second. Gevalt!

So you see, we need both. We need someone who gives us the strength not to destroy the holy things we still have, and someone to teach us that even with all the things we have destroyed already, we should not give up, we should come back.

A time to love, a time to hate

Deep down we ask the question, when am I supposed to love, and when am I supposed to hate? When am I supposed to be arrogant, and when am I supposed to be bashful? When am I supposed to speak up, and when am I supposed to be silent? Rebbe Nachman says, if I would get to the roots of loving, to the roots of my soul, I would know.

The soul is all one. My body is also one body, but it is not completely one, because my head doesn’t look like my foot, right? G-d’s Oneness is not really reflected in my body, because there are still differences. Even one finger doesn’t look like another finger. My soul is more oneness, because it is one piece. My soul also hears, but for my soul, hearing, seeing, doing, thinking, and feeling are all the same. It is mamash one. A human being feels with his heart, thinks with his head, and walks with his feet. Although the body is one, it has different organs.

The soul is mamash one. And if I were on the level of my soul, that real oneness… You see, right now, because love is here, and hatred is there, I don’t know which one to use. But if I am on the level of complete oneness, then I know exactly when to love and when to hate, because if love and hate are together, then I know when to use them. It is only if love is here and hate is there, if silence is here and speaking up is there, so then I don’t know which way to go. If I am not on the level of one, then to love is one department and to hate is another department, because I have different kinds of departments in my heart. But if everything is in the same room, I don’t have so much trouble with it, because it is all right there. If I am on the level of one, then I know exactly when to love and when to hate.

If I get to the roots of loving, to the roots of my soul, if I am on the level of my soul, of that real oneness, then I’ll know when I am supposed to love, and when I am supposed to hate. When I am supposed to be arrogant, and when I am supposed to be bashful. When I am supposed to speak up, and when I am supposed to be silent.



Daily Torah Quote

Joke of the day

A young man learning in Yeshiva is engaged to a wonderful young lady from wealthy home. The father is upset. How is this guy going to make a living? So he takes him into his office to interview him while the mother and the future bride wait nervously outside. The father says, “How do you intend to make a living?” “G-d will provide,” answers the young man. “Well, my daughter’s needs are great; she was brought up that way.” “G-d will provide,” comes the reply. “How about a house? She needs a big house.” “G-d will provide.””How about clothes? She’s used to expensive, elegant dressing.” “G-d will provide.” The father comes out of the interview and the mother and daughter anxiously inquire, “So what do you think?” “Why, he’s a very fine young man. He thinks I’m G-d!”