When I first learned to prepare for Passover, I was literally depressed by the time this most beautiful of holidays came around.
I followed a bunch of stringencies as I had been taught; secretly I likened the experience to being a slave in a modern version of Egypt, with no way out…until Passover had passed!
Yet, in my heart I knew: This is not the way Judaism was supposed to be.
Then I began to learn the teachings of Rebbe Nachman of Breslov. And everything changed.
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There was a castle made of water.
It had ten walls, one inside the other, all made of water. The floors inside the castle were also made of water. This castle also had trees and fruit, all made of water.
It goes without saying how beautiful this castle was, and how unusual. A castle of water is certainly something wonderful and unusual.
The Seven Beggars, The Stories of Rebbe Nachman of Breslov
The Water Castle: An in-depth look at Rebbe Nachman’s classic story within a story, translated by Dovid Sears, is a thoughtful, in places lyrical, translation of the commentary of Reb Noson, Rebbe Nachman’s leading student. Reb Nosson gives soul-stirring insights into The Water Castle, which is part of a larger story, The Seven Beggars.
The days pass and are gone, and one finds that he never once had time to really think.
You must therefore make sure to set aside a specific time each day to calmly review your life. Consider what you are doing and ponder whether it is worthy that you devote your life to it.
One who does not meditate cannot have wisdom. —Rebbe Nachman of Breslov
Rabbi Nachman’s Wisdom, BRI
Photo-Spring in Italy by Isaac Levitan
Purim Spiel by Esther Pam Zibell, 2003 (oil on canvas)
Talking in a derogatory way about other people reinforces the power of fantasy and illusion within us. When people use bad language and speak derogatorily about others, their da’as (knowledge), is taken from them and they fall into animalistic cravings and desires. —The Advice Book, Speech (9)
Our imagination is an incredible force—it can build bridges or pitch battles, birth wonders or carnage.
Rebbe Nachman of Breslov teaches that bad speech, especially negative talk about others
(even if true), stimulates the negative energies of our imagination and robs us of our intelligence. The Rebbe reminds us that “…someone who speaks loshon hara is a fool.” (Proverbs 10:18)
So why do we do it?
If God knows the future, how can free will exist?
How are we able to make truly autonomous decisions if God already knows what we’ll choose?
If God is intimately involved in guiding our lives, then how can our personal free will co-exist with his Providence?
For Rebbe Nachman’s Answer continue reading at Breslov.org and be sure to check out the rest of the site!
Photo by AirBete, Wikipedia
We’re warming up for Purim with some Joy-filled Chassidic teachings* from Rebbe Nachman of Breslov—and a smattering of Chassidic teachings from Chabad-Lubavitch, too!
Joy is the Radiant Countenance! Joy is Truth! Joy is Emuna (Faith)!
Try to be as happy as you possibly can.
Search for your good points in order to make yourself happy.
Hearing the music of one who is truly in awe of God, can help you be happy.
Music and joy can help you pour out your words like water before God. (Creating within yourself a state of constant happiness is the key to achieving true meditation and true prayer.)
person who is always happy, succeeds. Continue reading
The Rebbe told his followers how he had worked on overcoming his negative traits. When he was young he had a hot temper, and became angry at the “slightest provocation.”
But he yearned to be a good and kind person, as God also desires each of us to be.