Faith and truth are a shining face. They are joy and life. They are the gateway to length of days.
But, falsehood shortens the days of a person’s life. Falsehood is death and idolatry, a dark face.
—Likutey Eitzos, Collection of Rebbe Nachman’s Advice Compiled by Reb Nosson
Immersing yourself in the deeply-true teachings of Breslov Chassidus is life-changing. Want more? Have a conversation* with Hashem about the particular lesson you’re learning—it can bring you to a higher level of awareness and joy.
But, in order to really apply what you are learning to your life, you must be honest about the truths you are learning. It also helps to be honest about yourself.
Is it worth it?
Yes, real joy is built from such truths. Real joy requires honesty in many forms.
The bold recognition of your good points and the brave awareness your not-so-good points.
The strength to be gentle with others and the strength to never compromise where truth or honor of Hashem is involved.
The ability to discern Truth from falsehood.
And so on.
Esau’s “Yes Man”
In this week’s Torah portion, Vayishlach, Esav says to his brother Yaacov: I have plenty.
In Hebrew, Yesh li rav. I have plenty, can also mean, I have a rav. A rav is a rabbi who is able to discern the law in particular cases because he is a scholar who learns Truth. A Rav’s job is to guide others on the path of Truth.
In Likutey Halachos*, Reb Nosson explains that Esav is really saying: I have a rav, an advisor, who is good from my perspective. I’ve got a “yes-man”, one who pleases me and agrees with my thoughts and my desires, rather than one who challenges me. My rav never takes me beyond my comfort level, never requires anything much of me, and never, ever leads me on the path of Truth.
Esav eschews Truth for comfort, wealth, desires, power, the material world. etc.
The sages teach us that Esav not only embodies falseness, he also embodies anger. Anger is an aspect of depression, and anger and depression are both opposites of Joy.
Yaacov represents Truth. True Joy requires Truth. Rebbe Nachman teaches that one of the meanings of Joy is, in fact, Truth.
If you honestly want to be joyful, avoid Esav’s yes-man—instead, seek the Truth.
This post is sponsored by Efrat bat Malka.
*This is based on Rebbe Nachman’s Torah by Rabbi Chaim Kramer.