On Purim, suddenly the whole world is filled with the way the world was before G-d created the world. On Purim, a great light is shining from such a high place, higher and deeper than all the other holidays in the world.
Rebbe Nachman says something very deep. The world knows of either humility or pride. The truth is you need both, but you have to know when to use them.
Even anger is a very holy thing if you know when to use it. All the emotions in the world are very holy, because G-d gave them to you. You just have to know when to use them.
So the world thinks, “Either you’ll be a shmendrik – you are always humble – or you are always arrogant.” But both are wrong.
On Purim we get so high that we don’t know the difference between Haman and Mordechai. This means we don’t know the difference between arrogance and humility, because both are holy. On Purim we are on the level that we know exactly when to be humble and when to be proud.
The truth is, to be a servant of G-d, you need a lot of pride.
Rebbe Nachman says, even to pray to G-d takes a lot of pride. That means I am standing before G-d and I am demanding, “Please G-d, listen to me!” This takes a lot of pride, but this is holy pride.
Then you must have holy humility. Not shmendrik humility. Not stupid, senseless humility, which is what we mostly have. You must have holy humility.
The people who have holy humility are the strongest people in the world.
If you know exactly where to use your humility, then you know exactly where to use your pride.
Rebbe Nachman says, you have 50 units of humility and 50 units of pride. If you use up your pride in the wrong place, then it is used up. You have a certain amount of soul strength to be proud, and a certain amount of soul strength to be humble. For example, if I have 50 cents, if I use it up on the wrong thing, then when it comes time to buy the real thing, I won’t have it.
On Purim, this great thing is shining so that we know exactly when pride stops being evil, and when humility stops being out of reach. Everything is holy on Purim, because I know exactly when to be humble and when to be proud.
The greatest evil in the world is sadness.
Why is the world not becoming better? Or, why am I, as an individual, not becoming better? Because I am filled with sadness.
Maybe I am sad because of something I did yesterday, or maybe I am sad because of what I want to do tomorrow. It doesn’t really matter. In the meantime, I am filled with sadness, and this is the greatest evil in the world.
All the secular teachings of the world, do they fill you with joy or with sadness? Do you ever see kids walking out of secular school saying, “Gevalt, what I’m learning!” It doesn’t turn them on. Secular learning doesn’t put joy into your heart. All the teachings of Amalek, all the teachings of evil, fill you with sadness.
Rebbe Nachman teaches very strongly that just as there are holy good manners, there is also such a thing as good manners that have their roots in the evil of the world: Good manners with absolutely no meaning. The Germans, when they sent the Jews to the gas chambers, would say “bitte, please.” So they think these are good manners? It has absolutely no meaning. A murderer says, “Please step over here, I want to knock your head off.” Why does he pretend to be civilized? So there are good manners whose roots are in the evil of the world, and then there are real, holy manners. When someone walks through the door I might say, “I’m glad to see you” because of good manners, but it has no meaning, or I can say it because I really mean it.
On Purim, we get drunk. According to good manners you shouldn’t get drunk, but what kind of manners are they?
It depends on what level we are when drunk… On Purim we are holy drunk, really holy. On Purim, if you are not on the highest level, you really have no right to drink, but… I have really been privileged to see people really high, holy high, on Purim. In Bobov, the Rebbe sits there and he drinks mamash one glass of wine after the other. Mamash high. I mean, not drunk, but so high! Gevalt!
On Purim we break down all the good manners of the world. We are real. And if you are real, you can be drunk and still be real, still be holy. And if you are on the level of evil manners, you can be sober, not drunk at all, and give a speech in Madison Square Gardens and say the most obnoxious things in the world. So therefore, on Purim we are breaking down all the levels of manners, and we are drunk, but we are just on the highest level.
A holy drunkard sees only One
What is the difference between non-holy drunk and holy drunk? A non-holy drunkard, if he sees ten people, he says he sees a hundred; if he sees a million, he says he sees ten million. A holy drunkard sees only One; nothing else.
The war between good and evil
There is a great war going on, the war between good and evil. One day a year we don’t fight evil. One day a year there is no evil in the world. One day a year we reach the level of after the war. This is on Purim.
You have to know that only the people who are taking part in the war all year long can know what Purim is. If you don’t fight evil all year long, but then on Purim you suddenly say, “I want to jump into Purim,” what do you understand? If evil looks good to you, you have nothing to celebrate. On Purim we celebrate that there is no evil. But if you like evil, then you have no part in it.
So how do you fight evil? It says, “Remember what Amalek did to you….” You have to remember that there is evil in the world. You have to remember. So the question is, do you remember or do you forget. Imagine, yesterday I was bad, so I mamash promised myself that I’ll be good. The next morning it is already forgotten; I forgot my promise, I forgot how bad I felt when I did wrong. If I would only remember a little bit. Purim is the great holiday of the people who remember. They are the ones who are fighting this great war against evil. They really do remember.
G-d’s love is beyond our minds
There are two kinds of love that G-d has for us. One kind of love is kind of contracted. Let’s say, for example, that I like someone because he does everything I tell him to do. Or, on the other hand, I can like someone not because he does everything I want him to do, but, even if he doesn’t do everything I want, I just love him anyway.
On Yom Kippur, G-d is loving us because we say, “G-d, we did wrong, we want to be better, we confess, we promise we’ll be good, we’ll do everything you tell us to do.” This is very sweet and holy, but it is not the ultimate.
On Purim, G-d is shining His great love into us, His great love that has nothing to do with our doing His will. He just loves us. Like, “I don’t care what you do, I still love you. I do care, what you do, but My love is beyond that.” And this is beyond our minds.
Therefore we have to be drunk on Purim, because we have to reach that thing which is beyond our minds. We have to be beyond our own mind.
G-d’s great love that is flowing down on Purim is not because we did right. It is just because He loves us. This is beyond… beyond every understanding.
Evil can only reach the level of love where we talk about doing G-d’s will, so evil can make us not do G-d’s will. That light comes from a place where evil can reach. But evil cannot reach that great love that is above and beyond that level, His love that has nothing to do with doing G-d’s will.
On Purim this greater love is becoming so strong in the world that there is no evil. There is nothing between us and G-d. Nothing. I can be a drunkard, I can be the most obnoxious person in the world, but who cares? Gevalt.
Why is it that when you are drunk you can’t stand on your feet, you can’t walk? There is a level that your service of G-d is standing before G-d, and walking in G-d’s ways. But then there is another level, that even if you are not walking, and even if you can’t stand, you’re still serving G-d in a crazy way that is even deeper. On Purim we reach that high level that we can’t stand, we can’t walk, but we are still the greatest servants of G-d.
What happens when you are drunk? You get a strange kind of imagination. What is really the greatest thing in the world? The holiest faculty that G-d has given us is imagination. Holy imagination. It depends where your imagination is. On Purim we get drunk and we mamash imagine the holiest things in the world. You know what we imagine? We imagine that there is no evil in the world. This is the holiest level a drunkard can reach.
If I am completely drunk and someone tells me, “You know, there is evil in the world,” I say, “Evil? I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Not only do I imagine it, the feeling is so strong that I mamash believe it. This is the holiest imagination anybody can reach.
This is the way I see it.
In former good days, on Purim everybody got dressed up like somebody else. Boys would get dressed up like girls, girls like men. Jews would get dressed up like Indians, like Eskimos, like anything. Rebbe Nachman says something very deep. He says, “Why is there no peace in the world? Because I always think that I am the only one in the world. Only the way I am is right. Men think the only way to be is a man, women think the only way to be is a woman. A Jew thinks the only way to be is a Jew. So on Purim we get dressed up like somebody else. Because I say, ‘Maybe this is also good. This is really very beautiful.’ So, therefore, Purim is the holiest because there is no evil in the world, so why not get dressed up like someone else?
Aware of G-d
The hardest time to be aware of G-d is when you eat. Usually, when people eat, they are so much aware of themselves because they are feeding their bodies. It is hard to be aware of G-d when you pray, but it is not that hard. It is really hard when you eat and drink. It’s the hardest thing in the world. The more you eat, the less you are aware of G-d. The more you drink, the less you are aware of G-d. On Purim we reach that high level where we eat all day long, we drink all day long, and the way we understand G-d on that day is like never, never before. We understand G-d on the deepest, deepest, highest level. On Purim, the way we understand that there is one G-d is like we don’t understand it all year long: It comes from such a high place. And the way we know what we are doing in this world comes from such a high place. The highest place in the world. And this is not by studying, not even by talking, But by eating, by drinking, and by giving gifts to one another.
We have to give gifts to one another, we have to give charity on Purim.
And maybe we also get dressed up like someone else, because it is from a completely different place.
On no other day is the great light shining that we mamash so much want to get close to G-d again. Not only do we want to do G-d’s will, not only do we want to do what is right, not only do we want to fulfill our mission in life – one day a year, mamash we just want to be so very close to G-d. And if we want to be close to G-d, we can eat and drink too. We can be half drunk, and eat all day long – it doesn’t matter. If mamash our heart is burning up, that we just want to be close to G-d, then whatever we do is on the holiest level in the world.
Tremendous light is coming down when I want to be close, when people want to be close to each other, when I want to be close to G-d.
The greatest evil in the world is that we keep away from each other. But on Purim, the great light is shining so that everything is close.
Evil is always new. Imagine, if you do something wrong, you swear to yourself you’ll never do it again, right? So how come evil comes to you again the next day? The answer is very simple. Evil is really new all the time. Evil has a newness. How do we fight evil? With even more newness! With the utmost newness in the world. On Purim, G-d gives us this tremendous holy newness, mamash the ability to really start all over again. On Yom Kippur, holy as we are, we still talk about what we did yesterday. So it’s still not completely new. On Purim, we don’t talk about what happened yesterday. We don’t even talk about what will happen tomorrow. We are just here.
Why aren’t we the kind of Yiddelach [Jews] that we ought to be? Because we have this evil that comes to us and says, “It is another world now. Okay, when Moses stood on Mt. Sinai it was very sweet, but now it’s another world.” So evil wants to cut us off from G-d, because of the newness of the world.
The greatest miracle is that everything is new [that there are constantly new inventions], that so many new things are happening. Evil wants to utilize this holy newness against G-d. The most beautiful thing in the world is that the world is always new, that new things are always happening. Evil wants to take this newness and use it to tear us away from G-d. Purim is the day when we take all this newness and we say, “Because of this newness, I want to be a servant of G-d.”
Hold on just a little bit longer
Why am I a little bit bad? Because, nebech, I wanted to be good at one time or another. So I started praying so hard, and it looked to me as if G-d didn’t care; He didn’t answer my prayer. I had tried so hard. For years, I try to be better and it does not work. The greatest thing is that, on Purim, I suddenly realize it isn’t true; I was becoming better. G-d heard every prayer. On Purim I realize that I am so close to G-d, I know He was listening all the time. Imagine, I talk to someone on the telephone and I think the other person hung up. Then I realize I wasn’t even talking on the telephone, I was talking to him in person. He was actually standing right next to me the entire time.
We were supposed to be in exile for seventy years after the destruction of the First Temple. Crazily enough, we didn’t know when the seventy years began. We thought that the seventy years began with the year when we didn’t have a king anymore, the year when our king was taken into captivity – and so we thought that the seventy years were supposed to be over. So Achashverosh comes and tells us, “The prophecies aren’t true; you were supposed to leave after seventy years, and the seventy years are over.” But the truth was, the seventy years only began with the destruction of the Holy Temple. The story of Purim only took place in the sixty-ninth year. So this is the story – Amalek always comes to you and says to you, “Don’t you see, the prophets told you something, G-d told you something, and He didn’t keep His promise.” But on Purim we realize, “It’s not true. G-d keeps his promise, all the prophesies are true, G-d hears me, G-d knows me. I am on the way, I just have to hold out a little bit longer.’ So Purim gives me the strength to hold on just a little bit longer.”
Maybe this is the way G-d is talking to you
Purim was initiated by Mordechai and Esther. Two people. A lot of people say, “If I would hear this directly from G-d, I would believe in it, but if I hear it from somebody else, I don’t want to believe in it.” This is an evil trick. Because how do you want G-d to talk to you? Maybe this is the way G-d is talking to you. You can walk on the street and someone says something to you. Don’t say, “No, I want to hear it directly from G-d.” This is G-d telling it to you!
Remember the story about Elijah the Prophet? A man is waiting for Elijah the Prophet, and a beggar knocks on his door. The man says, “No, I can’t talk to you now. I don’t have time for any beggars, I am waiting for Elijah the Prophet.” And so he sends the poor man away. This poor man was actually Elijah the Prophet in disguise.
The evil of the world is that we always say, “If G-d would tell me to make peace in the world, I would do it, but if only people talk to me about doing it, I won’t.” This is G-d’s word – G-d is talking to you!
The holiness of Purim is that this is the first holiday that was initiated by two little Yiddelach [Jew] – Mordechai and Esther. We believe them. We know this is G-d talking to us. The moment we listen to other people, and we know that G-d is talking to us through them, then there is so much love in the air.
There is so much fighting in the air because I always think that when someone is talking to me, he is the one talking to me, and I don’t want to listen to him. If I would mamash believe that in every word I hear, everybody is just giving me a message from G-d, then there would be no evil anymore. So Purim is the great holiday when mamash we listen to each other, we give gifts to each other, we drink, and we know that everything we hear is a little message from G-d.
What are the roots of peace in the world? Are they on the level of consciousness, or are they beyond consciousness? It is even much, much deeper than unconscious, beyond subconscious. This is what Purim is about. We celebrate one day on which there is no evil in the world.
You have to know one thing; real peace doesn’t come from anything which you can understand with your mind. If it is this kind of peace, then, if you can make peace, you can make war. If I can love you, then I can hate you. I can be good, I can be bad. Purim is the one day when I am consciously unconscious. I am consciously so high that I know that everything is beyond, beyond the whole thing.
On Purim, when I give you a gift it is because I love you, but I also love you beyond consciousness. I am giving charity to a poor man not because I understand I have to give charity; I am just giving. Everything has to be beyond my intellectual understanding. This is the day when there is no evil in the world.
Can you imagine if you would be consciously unconscious! What a strong consciousness and what a strong unconsciousness. If I am unconsciously unconscious it is not so good. If I am consciously conscious it is also not so good, because I don’t reach. I have to be consciously unconscious, or unconsciously conscious.
Where is all the newness of the world coming from? Why was my grandfather riding on a donkey, and I am in a 747 jet? Because people consciously invented all kinds of things; they were working with their minds. The whole newness of the world is always with the mind, right? On the unconscious level there is no newness happening in the world. Purim is the great holiday when all the newness in the world is happening on the unconscious level. This is where the newness is really coming from. It is not the 747 which makes the world new, it is something much deeper than that. Maybe it is coming out in a 747, which is OK, but the real newness of the world is coming from that which is beyond conscious. Tremendous things are happening every minute to the world. I can’t pick them up with my consciousness, but I need to know where they are coming from. I have to know the marketplace. The marketplace from which they are coming is much, much deeper than anything. The great thing which happens to me after Purim is that my consciousness is so strong, that my consciousness becomes a vessel for everything that was unconscious before, that was beyond my consciousness before, deeper.
The Kotzker Rebbe was the greatest mind in the world. So the Pshischer Rebbe called on the Kotzker on Purim, and he gave him a cup of wine, which, the story goes, was from here up to the ceiling. The Pshischer Rebbe says, “For you, to get rid of your consciousness, wow, you really have to drink a lot!” It is the people who have strong minds who really have to struggle a lot to get out of [beyond] their minds.
With your mind, you have to, annihilate your mind. Don’t annihilate your mind with something which is beyond your mind. The great thing about Purim is that your mind knows that your mind becomes a vessel for that which is beyond your mind.
Just one more sweet little thing. Everything we understand comes from our conscious, right? Where do stories originate? From the imagination. The truth is, a story comes from beyond, beyond our consciousness, but then it flows into my consciousness. Rebbe Nachman says that when you dream, you always dream stories, not theories. Your imagination is completely free when you dream. You only dream stories. On Purim we read the story of the Megilla, the story of Queen Esther. The whole thing of Purim is the story. You have to listen to the story.
Rebbe Nachman says, G-d created man because He loves stories. The whole world is G-d telling a story. It is not, ‘He created the world and then something happened.’ G-d is telling stories, creating the world, creating people, telling long stories.
People are only friends when they tell each other stories. People have big conventions and they tell each other theories. They are not becoming friends by this. But when people sit and tell each other stories, they really become friends.
Tell G-d your story
There is such a thing as praying, which is very deep, but Rebbe Nachman says this is not the deepest depths of closeness to G-d. The deepest depths of closeness to G-d is when you can tell G-d your story. Rebbe Nachman would tell G-d stories all the time. He would tell Him, “Listen G-d, this morning I woke up at five o’clock…” and he would tell Him everything he did. A story.
The difference between Yom Kippur and Purim is that on Yom Kippur we tell G-d what we did wrong, but we tell it to Him not in a way of stories, rather, we say, “I did this wrong, I did that wrong.” On Purim everything is on the level of stories. Even while I am drunk and I am telling G-d in my heart everything that I did wrong, I am telling it in the way of a story.
The Tree of Knowledge is theories, and the Tree of Life is stories.
Purim is the great holiday of stories, you have to be real good, and high, and drunk, to be able to tell your own story to G-d.
G-d is telling us stories, creating the world, creating people, telling long stories.
The Tree of Knowledge is theories and the Tree of Life is stories.
No time to wait
When we left Egypt, it was in the middle. In the middle of the night G-d killed the Egyptian firstborn. That means we also have to get out of Egypt in the middle of the night.
Rebbe Nachman says, when do you have to get out of your evil? Let’s say right now mamash my heart is filled with evil. Do you say, “It is a bad day, I’ll wait till a little bit later, soon the evil will wear off.” No, you have to get out of Egypt in the middle of the night, right when the darkness is the strongest. In the middle, you have to break loose, right there on the spot. Midnight is a split second. That means something happens at that very moment and you’d better be there. You have to know exactly when. That means there are split seconds in our lives when we have a chance to get out of Egypt – and when that moment comes, we’d better get out.
The prophet said, “We went out of Egypt quickly, and on the Great Day we will go slowly.” The meaning is: Until the Great Day is coming, while there is still evil in the world, how do you get out from evil? You can’t go slowly. You cannot afford to go slowly. You have to go fast, run! A little bell is ringing in my head, “I have to be better, I have to do this, I have to…” OK, so fast, jump! You have no time to wait. When Mashiach is coming and there will be no evil in the world anymore, then you can take it slow, play it cool. Right now we cannot afford to.
The greatest slave driver is your mind
The greatest exile is to be enslaved to your own mind. The greatest slave driver is your mind. Your mind always tells you fifteen thousand excuses. Your mind tells you, “Are you crazy? You’ll never make it. You’re telling me suddenly you’ll be another person, you’ll be a better person? You’ll be free? What are you talking about? In a world like this? Pharaoh is the king of the world, and you, a little shmendrik, you, a little slave, how can you fight the whole world, how can you fight Pharaoh?” Your mind tells you this, not your soul, not your unconscious.
So in Chassidus it says that the last preparation for the exodus from Egypt is Purim. How do you get out of Egypt? You have to get drunk beforehand. How do you know that at this very moment, when your little voice is talking to you, you have got to jump out right away. You have to be drunk to do that.