A disciple of Rebbe Shlomo Carlebach related: I was in Synagogue praying the afternoon service, swaying in prayer religiously. All of a sudden, I remembered that I hadn’t prayed the morning service or put on Tefillin [phylacteries] that morning. I couldn’t stand myself. I’m the biggest fake, the biggest hypocrite. All the people in the Synagogue give me so many honors, and I’m a phony. When I’m done, I’m leaving the Synagogue and I’m not coming back until I’m real.
Just as I was finishing, Rebbe Shlomo passed me, and, sensing something, he stopped and asked, “Moishele, what’s going on?” I told him the story. I told him I felt like a hypocrite and that I couldn’t stand myself.
Rebbe Shlomo, in his own way, got angry with me. He said, “What are you talking about!” (Not a question, but a challenge.) “Who cares what you did five minutes ago? What are you doing right now!? Right now!
Rebbe Nachman says: Falling down is the beginning of rising up.
G-d says: “I am with you in your defilement.” Wherever you are, G-d is with you.
Rebbe Nachman says that doing something wrong is bad, but to feel guilty is evil, because when you feel guilty, you’re dead.
The Baal Shem Tov says: How does a mother teach a baby to walk? If the mother would hold the baby’s hand all the time, the baby would never learn to walk. The baby has to fall a hundred times until the baby learns to walk one step. When it can walk one step, the mother walks back two steps. The more steps the baby can walk, the more the mother steps back. Similarly, the more steps we can walk, the further back G-d stands, in order to teach us how to walk.
You know my beautiful friends, our religion has four wheels. One wheel is our father Abraham who taught us how to love, and to love the world. Our father Isaac taught us that our life has to be so deep that whatever we believe in, we have to be ready to die for it a thousand times. The third wheel is our father Jacob, who taught us how beautiful it is to be a servant of G-d. He taught us how beautiful the world is. King David taught us, “Don’t ever stop singing! Don’t ever, ever, ever give up.”
According to our holy tradition, whenever you are about to give up, a messenger comes from Heaven to tell you, “Don’t give up!” The name of this holy messenger is Eliyahu HaNavi, Elijah the Prophet. He comes to everyone and whispers to us, “Don’t give up!”
You are not permitted to stop doing what you have to do. A Jew never stops! Don’t ever let anything keep you from doing what you know you were meant to do in this world.
From the teachings of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach