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 tasting 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.
Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach