Compiled and edited by Ziv Ritchie
This is an awesome teaching: Reb Nachman asks, "You know why people are not b’simcha [happy]? Because really, let’s face it, they have never done one thing in their lives which gave them joy." So Reb Nachman says, what do you do? You should do one mitzva with so much joy, that you think to yourself, ‘Even if I never ever do anything else, it’s worth it to live 100 years, just for this alone’.
You know, Reb Nachman says, that the Baal Shem Tov makes it clear. When you do somebody else a favor, the joy should be so gevalt, you know. When you do somebody else a favor, it should be clear to you, ‘It’s worth it to suffer 100 years of this world, just for the privilege of doing somebody else a favor’.
But then Reb Nachman says, if you do one mitzva, one good deed, with so much heart, then you mamash reach the level of prophecy.
Remember I told you before, prophecy, the spirit of prophecy, is only on you when you’re filled with joy.
I’m sure you remember, the Gemara says, that there is no prophecy outside Israel. It’s only because, after the destruction of the Temple, we never reached the level of enough joy to have real prophecy.
Sometimes you can feel it; in heaven, there’s something going on, but it’s not decreed yet. And sometimes (G-d forbid) it’s already written in a decree.
You know, even in heaven, when they’re still dealing with the decree, you can still change it.
You know, after the Germans came into Poland, people asked the Belzer Rebbe, “Can’t you do something? Can’t you pray?” He said, “It’s all over, the decree is closed. I can’t do anything any more.”
But it’s also not true. Because, everybody knows, by praying, you can change everything in the world. The only thing is, the way you pray before the decree comes out, and the way you pray after the decree comes out - I mean, you better pray about 2 billion times stronger.
So he says, G-d forbid, when the decree is already out in heaven, then you cannot even pray any more, because the gates are closed. You have to go through the back door. And the back door is; that you tell stories.
Stories open the gates
“Someone who attains this degree of joy will be able to know what decrees have been passed against the world, whether the decree has been sealed yet or not, and against whom judgment has been passed. And through this he will know how to pray for the world, because after the decree has been sealed the Tzadikim have to clothe their prayers in story form.”(Likutei Moharan torah number 5)
And the stories open the gates.
You know, there’s one of the deep torahs. You know, imagine this girl loves someone very much, and she gave them the door to her house. Later, she gets very angry, she takes the key away. The only thing is, she never takes away the key to the back door.
Reb Nachman says, the key to the back door is always open, it’s never closed.
With all your heart
So Reb Nachman says, this is so important, imagine I’m so sad, and I can’t get out of it. So I say to myself, ‘Is there one mitzva, is there one thing that I can do?’ So I decide, ‘I want mamash to do this one mitzva, this one good deed with all my heart.’
And you see how deep this is. Reb Nachman says, what is called, ‘with all your heart’? ‘With all your heart’ means; that even if I never ever do anything else, I bless G-d that I was alive to do this.
So Reb Nachman says, whenever you’re sad, think; ‘Is there one thing in the world you did, or you want to do, that can mamash keep you alive forever?’
But then Reb Nachman says, if you do something b’simcha [with joy], then mamash you’re so full of prophecy, that you know how much you have to pray for something. You know if the decree is out already or if the decree is not out. If the decree is out, it means you don’t just pray, you have to go through the back door.
How do you know how happy you are, how much you are b’simcha? If you can mamash daven [pray] with all your heart, that means you’re mamash b’simcha. Because when you’re half sad, you cannot put your whole heart into praying. Because when you’re sad, you give up. Sadness is: ‘I don’t believe in prayer’. The minute you don’t believe in prayer any more…
The heilege Baal Shem Tov says: I was only privileged to reach such a high level because I daven with all my heart.
Rememeber Reb Nachman says, You know what ‘with all our heart’ means? It means, with every ounce of energy I have.
Praying is not an act, it’s a state. Mamash, I am mamash praying.
* * *
Excerpt from “Rebbe Nachman Says”, The Teachings of Rabbi Nachman of Breslev as Taught by Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach z”tl
Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach’s books are available onlineat the Breslev Israel store.