What is called holy? What is a holy word? A holy word is if with every word I utter I’m completely, completely given to that word. Not that I just utter those words. It’s like I’m giving birth to those words. Even deeper than that; I am completely one with that word.
If that word is that holy, then that word is written on me. And then I’m as holy as the holy Torah, because the holy letters are written on the parchment. And people who have those holy words written on them, they’re just so very holy.
If you are completely one with the words you utter…
This is so deep…. If I, and the word I utter, are two, it’s not holy. It may be good, and sweet, and cute, but it’s not holy. Holy words are when I’m completely one with the words. It’s written on me. That means I could say to you, “Look at me, the word is written on me.”
In a certain deep way, my body is really finite. And my soul is really infinite. Infinite. What’s infinite? When I want something, when I’m missing something, it’s infinite.
This is something very deep: In general, many times we are closer to people when we miss them than when we are in front of them, right? Because when we miss them, it’s on an infinite level. But when we’re standing next to them, it’s finite.
When I am here and you are far away there, our two infinite parts are relating ok, but the question is, are we relating on a finite level also.
But the real, real deep relationship is when the finite and the infinite are so much together that I can stand next to someone and still miss them. Or, I can miss them from very far away and still love them at the same time.
What is my soul, really?
So what is my soul? My soul is completely missing. What’s my soul? I’ll tell you something very deep. Most people, the moment they have what they need, they stop having a soul. Most people, the more they have of what they need, the less you can feel their soul. Why is a poor man so precious? Because he needs so much, and he has nebech nothing, so his soul is shining more strongly, because he misses something, he needs something. But the moment you have something and you stop missing it, then your soul isn’t working anymore.
So, sadly enough, without getting involved, many religious people, from the moment they’re a little bit religious – i.e., they keep a little bit of Shabbos, they wear a little yarmulke – their soul stops working for them, because they think they have everything. They’re not missing anything. This is not real soul service. The soul is… my soul has to be completely such that even whatever I do shouldn’t cut off the wings of my soul. Because my soul is infinite. G-d is infinite. Everything is infinite.
Listen to your soul
In order to bring forth this holiness of my soul, my real soul, what I’m missing all the time, I have to listen to my soul telling me what my soul is missing. Because the moment my soul tells me what my soul is missing, then this becomes really mamash real.
A lot of people have something in their heart, but it’s not real enough to fight against this ‘what they have,’ which is so strong.
Listen. Where do your words come from? Words come from a very deep place in your heart. Words don’t come from that place of ‘what you have,’ words come from that place where you’re missing something. And you talk out of that part of you which is missing. It’s missing something…
So when you meet people with very dirty language, you know that they mamash are only missing dirty things. Because words come from that part of ‘What are you missing in life?’ ‘What are you waiting for?’
So, therefore, with every word you utter, something really happens to you. Something happens to you at that moment that you speak. Not only does something happen when you do something, but when you say a word, something happens. When you say holy words, then suddenly my soul wants something more holy, something deeper. If you say something stupid, then, in a certain way, your soul gives up and says, ‘Forget it. Forget it.’ G-d forbid.
Holiness depends on how much you’re yearning for something. Imagine I meet a poor man and I give him a nickel. That’s a sweet act, a good act. But the thing is, while I’m giving him the nickel, how much am I yearning to give him something. That’s how holy the act is.
If, while I’m praying, I want so much to pray, that’s holy. But not if while I’m praying I say, “Alright, I’m praying already, so that’s it.”
If while I’m learning, while I’m studying something, I want so much to understand what I’m learning, I want so much to become one with it, that it should mamash become a part of me, that’s how holy the learning is.
Rebbe Nachman says that with missing something, or yearning for something, you don’t know how far you can get, you can reach the highest.
And he says, there were people who had such holy souls they could have reached the highest. But they didn’t reach it because they didn’t yearn for it enough.
What am I living from? What gives me life? My heart. What’s my heart? Even physically, my heart is yearning; it is going, beating all the time. Yearning for something. Inhaling, exhaling. What happens to my heart? You know, we always think that my heart is living from the inhaling. It’s not true. My heart is living from the in-between inhaling, exhaling, inhaling, exhaling. In between. You know how things are, you say, “I really need just a little bit of fresh air.” Then you get a little bit, and you say, “Oy, it wasn’t good enough. It wasn’t good enough. I’ve got to do something better.” Sadly enough, if the moment you do it, you just think, “I’ll do it the same way, I’ll breathe the same way as I did before.” That means you’re old. You’re dead. Can’t you imagine if we could be on the level that each time we take a breath we would think, ‘Oy, I didn’t do it….’