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?
While learning Rebbe Nachman of Breslov’s most famous lesson, Azamra (LM 1, 282), we came across the section which says when a person begins to take a good hard look at herself, she is liable to find that she has so many flaws, and such an absence of good deeds, that the forces of negativity hijack her self-condemnation and use it to push her into a bleak depression (God forbid).
And in fact, depression is a real pitfall of examining oneself with too much harshness. But, we still must examine ourselves if we want to grow.
My current favorite Breslov tale is The Sophisticate and the Simpleton.(My favorite tale of Rebbe Nachman’s is always the one I’m reading at the moment.)
It’s easy to find parallel themes in the lessons in Likutey Moharan and the Rebbe’s stories. In class and b’chavrusa, we’ve been discussing how to have authentic, positive relationships. Especially with one’s self. The discussions are based on the quintessential Breslov teaching, lesson 282 in Likutey Moharan, known as Azamra.
At the end of the Azamra talk, we’ve been reading aloud from The Sophisticate and the Simpleton. This important yet humorous story offers a fascinating counterpoint and commentary on some of the themes of Azamra.
The Sophisticate is an expert in business, philosophy, and medicine.
Whenever the Jews traveled, they dismantled the Mishkan (the Tabernacle) for the trip and reassembled it at their new encampment. No matter where the Mishkan was reassembled, it retained all the sanctity of the original Mishkan that Moshe initially assembled. From this we learn that when we travel we can take our holiness with us and reestablish it wherever we go.–Likutey Halachos, Reb Nosson
In this week’s Torah portion, Bamidbar, we learn of the journey of the children of Israel through the midbar (the desert-wilderness). (This journey is possibly the root of the generally non-Jewish expression, “the wandering Jew.”)
Wandering connotes seeking but not quite finding, approaching but always turning.