Translated by Aaron Yoseph
Ashrei Tmimei Derech (Psalm 119:1), Happy are the ones who follow the straight path...
Happy is the one who knows how sweet it is to be a Yid, to be truthful. Happy is the person who stands up to his tests and merits holiness; happy is the one who merits tasting the light of Shabbos; happy is the one who prays with kavono; happy is the one who truly cleaves to Hashem. They truly are happy. “What about me?” we ask. “He’s happy, he merited all these great things. But what about me? Where do I fit in to all this? I’m going through so much.”
This verse comes down to each one of us. It’s teaching us something. Those people were happy, even though they also went through a lot. They also had tests and problems, but they remained ‘Ashrei’. How? They knew how to “go with the Torah of Hashem,” wherever they found themselves. There are times when we are in Noah’s Ark, which the Zohar says was like Yom Kippur - times when everything is holy and pure. And there are times when we have to leave the Ark and go out into the world – the chaos of people, mobile phones, parnosso. People don’t want to, and get confused when they find themselves ‘outside’. But there is a way to navigate this world cleaving to Hashem’s Torah, even when you aren’t sitting in the Beis HaMedrash learning. You can learn to bring the Torah into everything you do, into every everyday action. This is what the Tsaddikim teach us - how to go with Hashem’s Torah in every situation. Find Hashem where you are, remember that He’s there with you, and that He put you there for a reason. There can be perfection in all situations, inside the ark and out. You’re jealous of the happy people? You can have it too. Just go with the advice the Rebbe gives us here.
The closer a person is to Hashem, the more he’s aroused to fear and love Him, and to nullify himself to Him. This is man’s main task – to find the deeper dimension of life.
Without the deeper dimension of this world, it’s an empty space. The inner dimension is the Beis HaMedrash and the Beis HaMikdash. The time that a person learns – at those times he connects to something true.
Without the Tsaddikim and the Rebbe we don’t know how to seek out the deeper dimension and purpose in what we’re doing. Without this, our Torah and Tefillah are lacking, and aren’t as they should be. The Tsaddikim teach us exactly what to do. The purpose of Torah is teshuvah and good deeds. The Rebbe gives us here the key, the essence of the whole Likutei Moharan.
This is the ‘general principle’ of serving Hashem – to do Hashem’s will with a connection to the inner dimension of what we’re doing. These are just a few words, but they contain everything. A person’s nature is to think about himself, and to get insulted and confused. His torah and Tefillah – it’s very hard for him to concentrate on them properly and be close to Hashem. For sure it’s hard to learn lishmah with enthusiasm and simcha. This is why we have to look to the deeper aspect of everything we do – eating, sleeping, so that they shouldn’t be ‘empty’ acts, but rather a portion of Hashem’s glory. This is avoidas Hashem.
The Rebbe makes everything very clear for us – this is what you need to get to. This is a high level, but in simpler terms it means to find joy, enthusiasm, Bitachon and Emunah in Hashem wherever you are. This is what you need to get to. How do we get to it? Through Torah and Tefillah.
In short, we have three pillars of Judaism, and this is all we have to do in the world. Every day – Torah, Tefillah and to build our Emunah and knowledge, to look for the deeper meaning and purpose of what we’re doing. This is avoidas Hashem – our Divine service - and in the very first Torah of Likutei Moharan, Rebbe Nachman tells us exactly what Yiddishkeit is. From this we can each understand where we are in the world. How does my Torah and Tefillah look? How is it that I’m not looking to the p’nimius? Our task now is to arouse ourselves to all this – to be joyous and close to Hashem, sanctify His Name with holiness and purity.