Let everyone talk to their friends about the awe of Heaven, until together we become merged in unity, love, sisterhood and friendship…we’ll all receive from one another and inspire each other in our spiritual service…—*Likutey Tefillos, prayer 34, Reb Nosson
You can’t stay in your corner of the Forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes. —Winnie the Pooh (A.A. Milne)
While it’s true that Rebbe Nachman of Breslov emphasized hisbodedus, prayerful meditation, during which we reflect deeply on our lives and speak to God in solitude, he also encouraged friendship and solidarity. The Rebbe didn’t live in complete seclusion and he didn’t want us to, either.
Seclusion may take many forms. It might beliteral isolation, where we go inward, and find it so much easier than dealing with others, that we get stuck in aloneness. Far more commonly, our seclusion is embedded in the way we have of relating on a shallow level, talking with others about things that will most likely be forgotten tomorrow.
The Rebbe showed us how to reach out. He was able to speak people in a way that touched their deepest selves; it didn’t matter if they were his followers or even if they were people who opposed him.
And, his relationship with Reb Nosson, who transformed the the Rebbe’s lessons into the beautiful prayers in Likutey Tefillos, was everything a friendship can be—uplifting, challenging, heartwarming, exciting, loving, and more.
Imagine a world in which each of us had a friendship as powerful.
But we don’t have to have the perfect friendship or be the perfect friend to uplift ourselves and others. All we have to do is reach out with genuine acceptance, kindness, and a willingness to give of ourselves, as well as to accept what others are able to give.
It actually requires some bravery; not only does much of the world not value such sincerity, but many are actually embarrassed or puzzled by it. But when we reveal an insight from the Rebbe, share a word of Chassidus, bond with inspiration we become merged in unity, love, sisterhood and friendship.
*a loose translation