Likutei Moharan Tinyono 12
Because if you are overly clever…
Keshe’adam holech achar sichlo. When a person goes after his own understanding and his own little wisdom.
Yuchal lipol bitoutim umichsholim rabim. He can fall down to the lowest depths and make a lot of mistakes.
Velavo lidei raot gedolot, And he can come to a very bad place. A lot of evil people led the world astray…
Vehakol haya al Yidei chochmatam vesichlam. And it looked like it wasn’t so bad; they had a lot of sense, but they trusted their own sense.
Veikar hayahadut hu rak leyleych bitmimut ubipshitut. Rebbe Nachman says that the most important thing in Yiddishkeit, of service of G-d, is to go with wholeness and with simplicity.
Ulehistakel bechol davar sheoseh, sheyihiyeh shom HaShem yitbarach. Vlivli lhashgiach klal al kvod atzmo. Rak im yesh bazeh kvod HaShem yitbarach yaase, veim lav – lav, vaazai bivadai lo yikoshel leolam. The most important thing is that whatever you do, you should think if G-d is there. Don’t be overly clever. And don’t think so much about your own honor. The most important thing is to think whether or not it will bring honor to G-d. And then you will never go wrong.
Veafilu keshenofel, chas veshalom, lisfekot, veyesh shenefilato Gedola meod meod, rachmana litzlon, shenofel lisfekos vhirhurim, umharher achar HaShem yitbarach. Even if you fall down into so many doubts, and even if you doubt G-d, and you think that everything of G-d is wrong, and everything which has to do with G-d is wrong,
Af al pi ken hanfila vhayirida he tachlis hoaliyah, It doesn’t matter, because if you stick to this, you can get out of there also. There is no place that you can’t get out of – if you stop thinking that the world begins and ends with your mind.
Do you know how much wisdom it takes not to be overly clever?
Let’s say I can understand everything in the world, but in order to understand that I cannot understand everything – this is even deeper than my mind. This comes from one level deeper than my own mind. A car can go so far. An airplane can go higher. But the car doesn’t know that the airplane can go higher. I, however, am not the car, so I know that the car can go far, but the plane can go higher.
Listen Yiddelach, this is one of the deepest Torahs Thoughts of Rebbe Nachman, so let me just translate it, and then we can delve into it.
The roots of the whole creation
Ki da, ki shoresh kol habriah hu hakavod… nimtza shekvodo yitbarach hu shoresh kol habriyah. You have to know that the roots of the entire creation is honor, because whatever G-d created He only created for His honor. Because it says, “since everything was created for G-d’s honor,” that means that G-d’s honor is the roots of the whole creation.
Ve’af al pi shekuko echod, al kol zeh behabriah yesh chalokim. And he says, although the whole creation is one, still, there are all kinds of parts of the creation. And in every creation, a little bit of a different kind of honor is manifest. And the honor which is manifest in that part of that creation, is the roots.
We all know that G-d created the world with Ten Sayings, and then the Gemara asks, “Why didn’t G-d create the world with one saying?” The Gemara answers, “In order to give reward to those who maintain the world, and to punish those who destroy the world.”
Every one of the Ten Sayings has its own honor. And therefore it says, “ubeheychalo kulo omer kavod [Tehillim 29] in His little palace, everything is honor.” Because it says, “melo kol haaretz kevodo [the world is filled with His glory, His honor].”
But, yet, Rebbe Nachman says, every honor has certain borders; this is how far this particular honor goes, and then, at that point, begins the next honor.
But then there has to be some place where the people who disgrace G-d are. The people who are completely against His honor are also living. So, from where do they receive their life? They must receive their life from a place that is even deeper than honor.
So then he says: “Shehu bereshis mamar sutoom [there is a hidden kind of creation] and the honor of this saying is so completely hidden, that nobody can understand it – you can’t even think of it, but I am telling you it is so.”
Even if you feel very far from G-d’s honor, the moment you start asking, “Where is G-d?”…
There are places where you feel that the world is filled with G-d’s glory. But then, if you fall down to a place where you are not on the level of G-d’s glory, of G-d’s honor, anymore, then you receive life from the place that is even deeper than the whole creation, which was not even said. And, since it wasn’t even said, it therefore has no honor, it is deeper than honor.
Wherever you are, when you start asking…
If you fall down to the lowest depths, and you doubt G-d, and you are just against the whole thing, but you then, deep down, start asking, “Where is G-d?” you then connect yourself to the hidden word which is deeper than honor. And then you bring forth this deepest depths which is beyond honor.
Sometimes you fall into a place which is like a small chain reaction. It goes round, and round, and round, and you can’t get out of it. You start doubting, and doubting even more. When you want to go back, you always run around in circles, and you never get back to the center. How do you get out from the ring, and get to the center? The only way is, you have to cry and ask, “Where is G-d?” You ask, “Ayeh mekom kvodo [Where, where is G-d]?”
When you are in the lowest depths, and there you start asking for G-d, then you make G-d manifest even in the lowest depths.
This is what it means to repent. To repent means that you begin to ask, “Where is G-d? Where is G-d’s glory?” Because you look at yourself and you know that you don’t bring any glory to G-d, you don’t bring any honor to G-d. And this is the greatest honor you can give to G-d – that you ask, wherever you are, “Where is G-d’s glory?”
And, therefore, the Gemara says, if someone asks you, “Where is G-d?” tell him, “G-d is right in Rome.” Because even there, with all the pagan worship, G-d is right there, but He is hidden. But the moment you look for Him, you can find Him even in Rome.
(OK, to tell you the truth. I don’t really understand one word.)
What is honor?
What does it mean that honor is the roots of everything in the world? What is honor? What is so deep about honor? What does honor mean?
G-d created the world with Ten Sayings. G-d said, “Let there be dry land, and the ocean, let there be animals, let there be man.” But in fact, G-d created the world in one word – bereshis – and then He said each one of the Ten Sayings in detail. So sometimes you receive life from the Ten Sayings, and sometimes, if you already lost the Ten Sayings because you destroyed your own honor, and you are full of doubts, and you don’t know where you are anymore, then you receive life from the word bereshis which is the mamar sutoom, the hidden word which is not manifest.
When I see animals, I know G-d said “Let there be animals,” so I see G-d. But yet this one word that G-d said and so created the whole world with it, this one word I don’t see. It is invisible, it is completely beyond. That means that this honor is not visible. In order to honor something, I have to see it. I may not have to see the whole thing, but I have to know it is there. But this is so deep that it is not even there. So when I lose contact with all the Ten Sayings of the world, then I receive life from that hidden mamar, from that hidden saying. And how do I receive life from that hidden saying? When I ask, “Where is G-d?”
So Rebbe Nachman says, according to this, it is something very deep. When I know where G-d is, I am receiving life on a pretty high level. But if I fall down to the lowest depths and I don’t know where G-d is, I am full of doubts, then, in a certain deep way, I am receiving life from an even higher source. That means that if the Ten Sayings didn’t get to me, I need a stronger medicine. That means I am receiving life from that thing which is hidden. And this is my chance to reach the highest level in the world.
So, therefore, Rebbe Nachman says, when you fall down, and your heart is full of doubts, on the contrary, this is mamash the time when you can search for G-d there. Then you can get to the roots of the whole world, to that kind of honor which is even deeper than the honor of the world.
This is what he says, I don’t understand it yet, but it is just a beautiful thing to know that it is so.
The only one who knows what Rebbe Nachman says is Rebbe Nosson. Rebbe Nosson says, “I hope you are listening to what Rebbe Nachman says, because you have to realize that this is the deepest depths of the world, and I don’t understand it myself.”
Don’t give up
The most important thing is, don’t give up. Because even if you are in such a place and you absolutely don’t see G-d because it is so bad where you are, and so dirty, and you are so far gone, and you think you have no way of getting back to G-d – but if, for just one split second, you ask, “Where is G-d?” and you mamash cry, “Gevalt!” then because of your asking for it, at that very instant you are reaching the very highest level in the world. You are penetrating and breaking open this hidden word which gives life to all the other words.
This is the only advice
You have to realize, Rebbe Nachman says, that this is the only advice, and this is the only straight way, not only for those who are not so holy, but even for the holiest people in the world. Because the most important thing is to realize that you are not permitted to stand on one rung. You have to keep on going and going and going. And before you go higher, you have to fall down.
At that very moment while you are falling, you have to be far from G-d, because if you were close to G-d you could not walk, as the holy Bal 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 by himself. The baby has to fall a hundred times, and then, slowly, slowly, the baby gets up and walks a step by himself. Then when it can walk one step, the mother walks back two steps. The more steps the baby can walk, the more steps the mother walks back. So with us: the more steps we can walk, the further G-d is walking away, in order to teach us to walk.
Roots of creation
Rebbe Nachman says that you cannot become a new person until you reach the roots of creation.
The root of the whole creation is this hidden word, Breishis [in the beginning], with which G-d created the entire world. You cannot reach the root until you ask, “Where is G-d?” If G-d is manifest to you, that means it is already creation, since G-d is manifest in the creation. How can you reach the roots of creation? When you ask, “Where is G-d?” – that means the whole creation doesn’t mean anything to you, it didn’t reach you. And then you can reach the roots of the roots.
In order to understand this, he says, you have to know that you have two ways of serving G-d: There is one way of serving G-d; the whole earth is filled with his glory. And this is when you are aware of G-d, and you know the Ten Sayings, and you see everything in the world.
The second way is when you ask, “Where is G-d?” Why is it when a person does wrong, suddenly he has no place in the world? It really goes hand in hand. When you are not aware of G-d’s glory, when you don’t see G-d, then you mamash have no place in the world. Because at that moment, you are really not receiving life from the Ten Sayings, so you are really not part of the creation. You really have no place until you start asking, “Where is G-d?” Then you start receiving life from the roots of creation.
Before the Great Day
Before Mashiach is coming, when we come to the end of the exile, then the hiddenness will be so strong that really everything will be hidden. This will be the last thing, when we will really have to make G-d’s glory shine into the world. So, in order to really make His glory shine, we really have to ask for Him. And we will not ask for Him until He will be completely hidden. So Rav Nachman says, as much as G-d was hidden all the time since the creation of the world, it doesn’t compare to the way He will be hidden before Mashiach is coming, before the Great Day.
And, therefore, before Mashiach is coming, we will get our biggest chance.
And, therefore, before Mashiach is coming, most of the world will seem to be so ‘clever,’ suddenly everyone will be an intellectual.
This is the final stage of this asking “Where is G-d?” Because how do you come to ask, “Where is G-d?” When you put your mind aside. If your mind is completely perverted and turned upside down fifteen thousand times, then you need to mamash forget everything you know, and ask, “Where really is G-d?” You have to ask this in really the most simple way.
We need to get out of all of this so called knowing, intellectualizing.
The greatest covering up of G-d is that I think I know.
Before Mashiach is coming, we have to go through the strongest breaking through of the greatest covering up of G-d. Suddenly the whole world will be filled with great intellectuals, and, Rebbe Nachman says, all the people will give great speeches, they will even publish books, and they will speak in all the languages of the world, but woe to them! Woe to their souls. Because a little boy who believes in G-d knows more than all of them. G-d should save us from them.
Rebbe Nachman says, if they would at least speak in the name of lies, it wouldn’t be so bad – but they speak their lies in the name of truth. What’s going on here?
So, therefore, he says that the only thing you can do at this point is ask, “Where is G-d?” And if you ask where He is, you will see that He is right there.
When did we start building the holy Tabernacle? According to our tradition, if we hadn’t made the golden calf, we would never have built the little Tabernacle in the desert. That means, in a certain way we brought G-d’s holiness closer to the world because of the golden calf. Because after we made the golden calf, we started asking, “Gevalt, where is G-d?” We were crying so much for it, until we found a place for Him.
When you ask, “Where is G-d?” – when you ask, “Where is G-d’s glory?” – that means that you don’t know where G-d’s place is. And so then G-d reveals a place. And this is the holy Beis HaMikdash, the holy tabernacle.
So it is the same before Mashiach is coming. We will ask, “Where is G-d? Where is G-d’s place? Where is the place of His glory?” It will be such a strong asking, until, so to speak, G-d will have to build the Holy Temple.
Because, obviously, we didn’t really find G-d’s place yet, because otherwise the holy Temple would not have been destroyed. It must have only been a temporary residence.
If you really fell down to the lowest, and you really think, ‘G-d can’t be there because I’m too far gone,’ then you actually have a chance to reach the highest.
Just like before Mashiach comes, when it looks like G-d is completely absent, it’s then that we have to break through – then we will really find the place of G-d in the world.
G-d revealed Himself to us in the desert, because in the desert there are no clear paths. In the desert you don’t know where to go, you don’t know where you came from. You don’t know where your place is, and you don’t know where G-d’s place is. It is completely place-less. And there you start asking where G-d is, and you get close to His revelation. Because only when you have absolutely no place in the world, and you really ask where G-d is, then G-d can talk to you again.
When G-d told Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, he didn’t tell him where to go. He didn’t tell him the place. So Abraham was walking around for three days looking for the place. Because, when do you reach the level that you are ready to sacrifice your soul to G-d? To reach that level you have to look for the place.
There is a way that I’m sitting down by myself, and talking to myself, and I can straighten myself out. I can do this if I can realize for one moment that, “I’m not as bad as I thought I was,” so that I become enough of a master of my own mind, that my mind can begin to laugh.
And then, there is another level, if I can’t do that. What do I do then? I have finished trying all the tricks. I can’t do more. Then all I can do is yell, “Where is G-d? There has to be G-d somewhere!” And then, if I cry, “G-d has to be somewhere,” then G-d will be revealing Himself to me from beyond, beyond.