Lesson Three – Torah Gimel (revised)

June 29, 2009

Music is so so powerful, it can lift a person out of the pits and raise him to the highest heights. Back in the day, all the prophets used to reach their high levels only through song and music. However a person must be very careful, because according to the level of the singer or musician will be the level imparted to the listeners. If a person sings and plays out of purity with pure love for Hashem and for mankind, his songs will purify its listeners and uplift them, bringing them to awesome levels of attachment to holiness. But if a person sings or plays music out of anger or depression, or even for wealth and honor, his or her songs are detrimental to the spiritual growth of its listeners. Even those prayer leaders who sing for honor and self-glorification can make it almost impossible for those in his congregation to attain any spiritual attachment while praying. It can completely cut off their ability to pray with purity, without even knowing why, a person will feel an inability to uplift himself in prayer. When back in the day, prayer leaders used to lift up the congregation to awesome levels of prophecy, now in exile, for the most part, they only accomplish the opposite. But there is a way…

A spiritual seeker must make it a habit to stay up late at night in solitude studying the secrets of the holy Torah, especially the hidden secrets of the Talmud. Doing this will surround him with a holy aura at all times, and he will not only be protected from outside influence, he will by merely “staying connected,” absorb all negative influences that come to him and transform them into holiness, thereby transforming the world step by step. Wow, what a strength! Anyone who reaches a high spiritual level like this, must be extra careful to love everyone with all their heart, because just as he has the power to fix the world, he has the power, by looking negatively down on others, to god forbid, destroy the world.

So this “connected” person who stays up late at night learning and connecting, who deeply loves every human being with all his heart until he doesn’t even know how to see bad in others, when he walks into a congregation where the prayer leader is not singing out of purity, he can, due to the aura of holiness which surrounds him, uplift himself even higher through the songs of this impure prayer leader, by doing this, not only does he uplift himself, he uplifts the song, uplifts the singer and uplifts the congregation, and anyone else who will in the future hear this persons songs. What a gift!

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Lesson Two – Torah Bet

June 28, 2009

The purer your soul, the more in touch you are with the spiritual and emotional aspects of the world, the more difficult it is for you to face the world in its exiled state and the people who constantly shoot arrows of negativity at anything and anyone trying to be true. Some of us beg for numbness, a spiritual painkiller, for we feel as if we can’t go on much longer. We are waiting for the redeemer, but how long must we suffer? How long must we live with this hatred and disunity? When can we finally be One in the ultimate sense of the word, one with ourselves, one with each other, and one with The One, for all three are One and the same only in different dimensions. Where is the Redeemer to be found? The answer is inside us. We are not waiting for Moshiach, Moshiach is waiting for us! You’ve given up on prayer, because of the countless times You’ve cried your heart out and felt, “finally, my prayers will be answered,” it uplifts you for a time only to bring you back to the same place that you started, if not a little darker. But please remember my dear searcher, be a warrior, continue swinging the sword of prayer, for it is in those very words the redeemer comes alive, every letter, every sigh of yours and of everyone like you in all generations are being gathered together, not one breath is wasted, and it is creating new worlds, oh, how awesome it must be, all these prayers, all those yearnings joining together, building a universe, if you would be shown it now you would be blown away with delight, you would feel nothing left to yearn for, for this reason it is hidden, so you can keep on praying, just one more sigh, just one more ooooooooooooooooy! It’s coming, faster than you can ever imagine, the longer it takes the deeper the prayers must become, the harder it is to come by the more effective it is, every effort counts, before we know it the veil will be lifted, each person will point and say, “that was my prayer on that and that day,” it was a much needed stone, without it the building would collapse, I’m glad I went through all those difficulties, in order to bring it out of me. Thank You for the light, thank You for the darkness, thank You for the pain, now it’s clear to me, it’s all You, even my prayers are completely Yours, thank You for living through us, and thank you for this amazing gift, which seemed to have been earned by our hard work, but now its clear to me, it’s You, and always was only You.  

So you who are reading this, when you pray, try to pray with all your heart, but don’t try to control where your prayers go, when and how it will be effective, it will be effective in more ways than you can possibly imagine, when the time comes you will be shown how good it was for you, as of now, when you pray, let go, give it up to the One, give it up to the Redeemer, who knows the best how, when, and what to do with it, as of now, the world depends on you, don’t stop praying, don’t stop believing!

Lesson One – Torah Aleph

June 28, 2009

You must focus on the wisdom of everything. Each thing is a lesson, learn from it, Hashem is talking to you through it. Each davar is a dibur of Hashem, listen carefully and you will hear, you will be astonished, you will be uplifted, you will no longer be lonely, lost, and confused, for in each situation you will discover yourself in deeper ways. Your paths will be enlightened, you will be guided step by step. Everything will light up for you, your darkened surroundings will suddenly shine, the world will glow with warm emotion, lovingly welcoming you in, to be a part of it, to become one with all its aspects. But sometimes there are fighters from within and without, trying to create conflict to separate truth from feeling. They enclothe themselves with good intentions, but beware, the tip of the wave seems pure but it only wants to drown you. Dig deeper and persist in finding the hidden truth, in making it all make sense to you. Don’t ever diminish the meaning of anything, no matter how insignificant it seems. In the smallest places the greatest things are hidden. When you focus deeply even the dead becomes alive, for you’ve brought out the life-force in it. The harder it is to find, the greater it is to behold. Don’t give up!

Intro

June 28, 2009

The teachings of Rebbe Nachman of Breslov are timeless, as Reb Nosson, the closest disciple of Rebbe Nachman who was appointed by Rebbe Nachman to be the main disseminator of his teachings, writes in his introduction to Likutei Moharan, “Any advice which is needed by any person whatever level he is on, at any point in time, can be found in this holy book.” Rebbe Nachman himself said many times, that his teachings are not strictly for his generation, rather their true glory will be seen in future generations, and he instructed all of his students to relate everything that was said to the generations to come.

While his teachings are very very deep and only a person well versed in Torah and Kabbalah can come close to truly understanding, Rebbe Nachmans main intent is the simple meaning of each teaching and the practical lessons which each person according to their level is able to extract from them, as Reb Nosson writes, “All of the writings of the Arizal, and the passages the Zohar Hakadosh, and all the other works of Kabbalah, are included in the words of this holy book, whether in revealed or hidden ways, nevertheless, his main intent is the simple explanation of each of his teachings, for, ‘Study is not of essence rather action is’ (avos 1,17), as he spoke about many times. His entire intention was only that we try to understand the practical lessons and the advice which can be derived from each one of his teachings, and that we ask from Hashem and plead before Him for help fulfilling everything that is written with simplicity.

Reb Nosson himself wrote a concise version of Likutei Moharan entitled,  Kitzur Likutei Moharan, after being instructed to do so by Rebbe Nachman, in it he brings down only the practical advice which he derived from the teachings, advice which can be applied by every person. When he brought it to Rebbe Nachman for approval before bringing it to print, Rebbe Nachman was extremely pleased by it, and he exclaimed, “It’s a beautiful tzitel (note)!”, indeed Reb Nosson in his introduction to the kitzur instructs “anyone who wants to add to come and add,” because “just as no two faces are the same, no two minds are the same,”  and each person, and each generation needs their specific path with which to connect to Hashem. Certainly in this generation, where the lack of true spiritual leaders, and the masses of people searching far and near for something to fill their spiritual thirsts, calls for a responsibility for anyone who has found something, for anyone who was uplifted and transformed, not to keep it only for themselves but to try in any way possible to impart it to others.

It is for this reason that I decided to write, and even if I am only writing for myself, it will uplift me, as Rebbe Nachman says, “Just as a blind person uses a stick to help him walk, someone who has fell spiritually must use the memories he has from better times to help him go on.” But if even one person can be uplifted by something I say, how great.

These short pieces are not intended in any way to be a substitute for the original teachings of Rebbe Nachman, besides for the fact that there is infinite more in each and every teaching which if a person delves into can get out of it, but even on a simple level alot of things I simply left out, because at that given time I related more in my personal life to other points in the teaching.

Rebbe Nachman says a person should study Likutei Moharan in two ways, b’iyun and b’kius. B’iyun is an in depth study in which a person would delve into a certain teaching for months and longer, until it goes into him. The best way to do this is to read the lesson again and again, while looking up all the sources, until one completely understands the simple meaning and how all the parts are interrelated with each other. Then he would pray about it for at least an hour, for help understanding it, understanding it on a deeper level, and how it is all related to him, then he would read the kitzur and see what Reb Nosson extracted from it, then he would read Reb Nossons prayer which he composed on that specific lesson, this greatly helps the lesson become more practical, then he would read what all the commentators have to say about it, including the relative chapters of Likutei Halachot that Reb Nosson wrote on that teaching. Every day a person should look for ways to fulfill what he learnt, he should do this for at least a few months, all the while including it in his hisbodedus, until the lessons he learned become second nature to him. Then he can move on to the next one.

The second way Rebbe Nachman says one should study his teaching is b’kius, which should be done simultaneously with b’iyun, is that a person should quickly read from the first lesson to the last getting himself a familiarization with it and when he finishes start over again. This way he can quickly derive the simple practical lessons he gets out of it.

These writings should help you with the bekius part. As far as b’iyun, Reb Nosson already wrote “not everyone is able to do it [in the way we described]”, nevertheless, the power of the words of Rebbe Nachman themselves for all those who understand Hebrew and the effort a person puts into understanding it, have the power to truly transform a person. Even reading the words themselves without understanding it, Rebbe Nachman says, can have a strong effect on a person.

When a person reads these short clips and then looks inside the original text he will not see everything clearly written there, usually if you just look at the kitzur of Reb Nosson and read the corresponding prayer of Reb Nosson you will see it, otherwise it could be taken from other commentators or other parts of Likutei Moharan, in certain instances an idea was written as my own chiddush or a chiddush I heard elsewhere, Rebbe Nachman already gave permission to and encouraged his students to make any chiddushim on his teachings that might come to them as long as they don’t contradict with halachah. He says, doing this is a great rectification of the soul.

It is my hope that we will all see the light of the redeemer, and may Hashem “remove the heart of stone from inside us and give us a heart of flesh,” lev basar, in the blink of an eye. Amen.