What’s the problem with the world? Yes, everyone can say something else, and it all may be true, But the problem with the world is that people think that if someone is really, really happy, it’s not normal. Imagine if a person walks around, and he is absolutely blissed out [blissfully happy]. You’d begin to doubt if he was normal – and maybe he really isn’t – but who cares. Right?
The truth is, our holy master, Rebbe Nachman, says, “You cannot live without joy.” Yeah, you can exist – but live? You cannot serve G-d without joy, you can’t do anything without joy.
Listen to me, sweetest friends, this is very, very beautiful. You know, one of our holy Rabbis wrote a book called Tanya. It’s one of the deepest kabalistic books with 52 little chapters. And in those days, it was a custom that when a Rabbi comes out with a book, he asks Rabbis to give him permission to print it. So he sent his holy book to the Rebbe Reb Zusia, one of our Holy Masters, and asked him to give him permission to print it, and the Rebbe Reb Zusia said, “I can’t believe that you can take such a great G-d into such a little book.”
Now listen to this. I want you to open your hearts, friends. How can I, a little human being, take the great G-d into my heart? Well, the answer is very simple. When I’m absolutely filled with joy, I’m infinite. When I’m filled with joy, I have no boundaries. I’m infinite. When I’m infinite, I’m a vessel for the infinite G-d.
Friends, I want you to know this, and maybe I told some of you a thousand times, and I told this to myself two million times; that the world thinks we can make peace, and then we’ll be happy. But the answer is just the other way around. There’ll never be peace unless we’re happy.
A heart which is filled with joy has no place for hatred. It doesn’t belong there, it just doesn’t go in! Even if you try, it doesn’t go. It doesn’t go in.
There is one G-d Who takes care of everything
Why are we sad? Because we always walk around thinking that things are wrong. Why do I think that things are wrong? Because I have a feeling that I am running the world. And since things are not the way I think they should be, that means they’re wrong. But let’s face it, I’m not the master of the world!
If it’s clear to you there is one G-d, if it’s clear to you that there is one G-d Who takes care of everything, if it’s clear to you that one G-d is taking care of the most lonely leaf driven by the wind, so what are you kvetching [complaining] about?
There’s a midrash that says that there was a ship in a storm, and everybody was very, very, very worried. Yet there was a little boy sitting on the deck, sunning himself in the sun. And the storm is raging, tossing the ship up and down. People ask the boy, “Aren’t you afraid?” and he says, “No, because my father is the captain.”
Rebbe Nachman says, every light needs a vessel. G-d’s great light, in order to shine into us, needs a vessel. The name of that vessel is joy. There is no other vessel. G-d’s infinite light needs an infinite vessel. Now listen to this, this is the deepest depths. The truth is, there is a light which is beyond vessels. It’s even beyond a vessel.
I want you to know something very, very, very deep. You know, when you kiss somebody, you close your eyes. And this is automatic – I watched my children, and everything that children are doing without being taught – that means it comes from heaven; it wasn’t taught.
Listen to me, sweetest friends. There is a light beyond vessels. When you love somebody very much, not only do you have vessels for this great love, but it’s even deeper than that, it is beyond everything. As long as joy has vessels, I have it and you don’t have it. But if my joy is beyond vessels, I can walk on Fifth Avenue, and anybody who meets me wants to dance from joy.
To explain: first of all, when you open your heart and you are filled with joy, this means that G-d’s great light has a vessel – joy. But then afterwards, you work your way up, and that vessel itself is suddenly bursting, right?
In the story, the boy says, “G-d is my captain, G-d will take care of everything.” This means you’re still a little bit interested in vessels. This is still a little bit logical, right?
On the level of beyond vessels, I really don’t know anything. But on the level of ‘in vessels,’ if you say about someone I love, “She’s terrible,” I say, “No, she’s very beautiful.” If you say, “No, she’s ugly,” I say, “No, she’s beautiful.” If you say, “She’s terrible,” I say, “No, she’s good,” because I love her within vessels. But if I love her beyond vessels and you tell me, “She’s the most terrible girl in the world,” really, who cares? I just love her. She’s terrible? Mazal tov, she’s terrible. She’s ugly? Good. Who cares? I just love her. Who cares?
You see, the lower level is that I believe in G-d so much that everything is good. But then there is a higher level: I really don’t care. I do, and I don’t. Because if there is one G-d, what else do I need? What do I need?
And here Rebbe Nachman moves into a third subject that I want to share with you.
You know, the way I look at G-d is the way I look at people. And the way I look at people, is the way I look at G-d. If I walk around thinking the world is terrible, and that G-d is not doing such a good job, that’s the way I look at people, and, mostly, at least a little bit, at myself too. “G-d doesn’t do anything for the world, I’m not doing anything for the world, nobody’s doing anything for the world.” You know what the primary thing is? It has to be clear to me; not just that there is one G-d, but it also has to be clear to me that G-d is doing so very much for the world! I’m doing so much for the world. Every human being is making the world more beautiful!
But now Rebbe Nachman says. If I really, really, am filled with joy, then the smallest good and holy thing that I see in another human being, blows my mind [is exceptionally astounding to me]. It blows my mind… because I’m so much in tune with goodness and holiness.
It is one thing to be good, and another thing to have a taste of goodness. It’s one thing to be happy, and another thing to taste joy. A lot of people don’t mind dancing a little bit, hopping around a little, but do you taste your own joy?
Have you ever been at some weddings? There’s a little bit of happiness, but do you know where the happiness is? On their nose, on their head, on their ears… but their tongue is still bitter.
And listen to this, sweetest friends; people who never taste joy can’t help but saying bad things about other people. Because their tongues are still filled with evil. If you taste joy with your tongue, it’s good, right? If you have a decent meal, you’re not going to eat something terrible afterwards, right? Do you know how good it tastes to say good things about another human being? It tastes so good. Do you know how good it tastes to give some courage to another human being? Not just that it’s good and sweet and holy – it TASTES so good! Gevalt, does it taste good.
You know my most beautiful friends, when people get married, they drink wine under the chuppah [wedding canopy] – do you know what this means? It’s not enough just to be married – do you taste the marriage? It’s not enough to love each other. Do you taste it on your tongue? Do you taste it?
And here I want you to know the sweetest thing in the world. When you kiss somebody, do you know what it means? I have a taste in your soul. I have a taste in your holiness. I have a taste in your sweetness, in your G-dliness.
You know what one of the greatest blessings is? To be above everything. One holy Rebbe said that what we really want is not for G-d to give us everything we need. We want G-d to lift us up while He is giving it to us.
You know, friends, when you love somebody very much, and you give them the smallest thing in the world, you’re lifting their soul with it. You know, friends, when someone loves you very much and they give you a glass of apple juice, is it just apple juice? They’re lifting your soul to the highest level. Do you know that everything that G-d gives us has the power of lifting us up to the highest level? Every moment of life that G-d gives us is so uplifting! So special!
If a person wants to test himself: Am I getting closer to G-d? As simple as it is – are you getting closer to people? Are you getting closer to your wife, to your children? Do you love people more? And the holy Vorker says: If you want to know if you love G-d, it’s very simple. When you see another human being, and you can control yourself and not speak to him, then you’re very far from G-d. But if every human you meet and you see just blows your mind; “Gevalt! I can’t believe it. I can’t believe it! Another human being made in G-d’s image is walking around in the world! Master of the world, I didn’t think You would do so much. Gevalt!”
I want to bless you that you should blow your mind over your children. And above all, above all, I want you to taste the holiness of your own children. We are living in a world where… parents think their children are “good.” Some Jewish mothers think that, “My son is a genius.” But they never tasted their children. Never tasted the depths of them. Never tasted what their children are really all about.
You know, friends, what we need most? We need good parents, holy parents. We need holy fathers and holy mothers. We need holy teachers. Not only teachers who teach you what you don’t know, but teachers who blow your mind with how much you do know. Because most children know everything anyway. The holy Rizhiner says, “All children need is someone to show them the alphabet. The words they’ll get on their own.” Sometimes we are so eager to teach them words, that we take away from them all they remember from Heaven – all those holy, beautiful words.
You know, friends – I’m sure you know it anyway – we are living in such an enlightened generation. People know, without knowing, the deepest depths of G-d’s teaching. We’re living in a world of the highest Kabalists in the world. And the saddest thing is that they buy a little paperback book on ‘Kabala,’ and – forget it! It ruins your whole insides. Friends, I want to bless you and me that we should only read books which don’t destroy that inside knowledge which we have. That we should only open books which we want to kiss after we learn from them, because they’re so infinite and so deep, they give us such a deep taste of what G-d is all about. (There are some books written by people who are not even religious who claim to teach kabala. They do not compare to the books written by holy tzadikim.)
You know, friends, it’s not enough to believe in G-d. Do you know what G-d is all about? You need to know what G-d is all about! It’s not enough to be good. Do you know what good is? The Tree of Knowledge lets you know; ‘this is good and this is bad.’ But you don’t know what good is! You have no taste.