22 Sivan 5779 / Tuesday, June 25, 2019 | Torah Reading: Korach
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The World of Confusion    

The World of Confusion

While we’re obsessively checking our phones, plugging along at our jobs and counting the seconds until the weekend, most of us have no idea what we’re doing on Earth...


Rebbe Nachman tells an interesting story about a rabbi who unknowingly found himself in the World of Confusion. I think that the movie, “Vanilla Sky,” was based on the world of confusion. If you haven’t seen the movie, don’t worry - you didn’t miss anything. The only cool thing about it was that in the end, the guy who died didn’t know that he had died, and then he found out he was being sustained on some type of artificial life support until some greedy multi-national corporation would come up with a way to revive the dead.


Until then, Tom Cruise was fooled into thinking that he was still alive after his fatal car crash. They did this by creating a type of virtual reality that his mind could experience, and he would feel as if he were still alive. This was great for Tommy boy, until everything started going wrong. I don’t remember the ending. After my incredible synopsis, you’d think I would. Sorry.


Well, friends, guess what: there is actually a world of confusion that exists in a spiritual plane. The story goes like this: a rabbi and his businessman friend made a pact that whoever died first would come back and report to the one who was still alive all that had happened to him after death. The businessman waited ten years, and since he was sick and tired of waiting, he decided to die as well because he just couldn’t take the suspense any more. Okay, that’s not really what happened, but the businessman did end up dying ten years later. I couldn’t resist giving it my own Hollywood twist.


Before the businessman died, he passed on the pact to his son. Eight years passed, and the son didn’t hear anything from either man. So he passed on the pact to his son. Finally, 28 years later, the grandson of the businessman got a surprise visit from the rabbi. Here’s what the rabbi told him:


When they went to bury him, he was quite angry, as he felt very alive and healthy. Why would they bury a healthy man? He waited until everyone left the cemetery and dug himself out. Then he realized he couldn’t walk into town with burial shrouds on, so he waited for someone to pass along the road where he was standing. Eventually, a man came by with a cart loaded with all types of different clothes, and he spotted rabbi clothing on top of the pile. Perfect! He traded his shrouds for the rabbi clothes and walked into town.


Strangely enough, the town he walked into wasn’t his town. He wandered and wandered, and then realized that he hadn’t eaten since before he was buried. So he found a tavern and ordered food. Just as he was about to begin eating, they wanted him to pay up front. Since the rabbi clothes he was wearing were defective, meaning they didn’t have gold coins lining their pockets, he couldn’t pay. Next thing he knew, he was back on the street. After wandering again, he came across two men in an argument. He decided to judge their case, and was awarded two gold coins for his judgment. After heading back to the tavern and ordering again, he was grabbed by some mystery people and taken to court.


 “How could you issue a true judgment?! You are not a judge here! Do you know how long we have been waiting to issue a true judgment? Maybe you have been bribed!” the chief judge screamed at him. Sure enough, they searched his pockets and found two gold coins. And so they took off his rabbi clothes and threw him out.


Finally, the rabbi became fed up and decided that it was better to return to the grave than to deal with living in the Twilight Zone. But, how could he return to the grave without his white shrouds? So for many years, he wandered from place to place. Finally, Hashem had mercy on him and decreed that he should be brought to the Heavenly Court for a final verdict. But, before they could give him a verdict, he was told to go to the grandson and fulfill his end of the pact.


Rebbe Nachman gave this story with the promise that anyone who came to him for Rosh Hashana, Shavuot, and Chanukah, would be spared from ending up in the world of confusion.


Luckily for us, we don’t have to wait until we’re dead to visit the world of confusion. It’s right here! People are confused, society is confused, even the animals are confused! We wander through life like the dead rabbi, having no idea where we’re going and for what purpose. Many of us really behave like the living dead, repeating the same mindless actions day after day. Wake up, check phone. Brush teeth, check phone. Grab coffee, check phone.  Watch morning news, check phone. All throughout the day…


While we’re obsessively checking our phones, plugging along at our jobs and counting the seconds until the weekend, most of us have no idea what we’re doing on Earth.


We’re confused about our missions in life. We’re confused about our gender roles. We’re confused about our parental duties. We’re confused about the conflicting health information we receive. We’re confused about which career choice is best for us. We’re confused about if certain friends and/or family members are healthy or harmful for us.  We’re confused about right and wrong. We’re even confused about the existence of God.


With our lives drowning in confusion, how can we ever dare make a decision based on our own limited intellects? It is clear that we can’t predict the future, and we don’t know if and how a seemingly good decision now can lead to terrible consequences later. So how in the world can we trust ourselves at all??


I would like to propose an addition to Rebbe Nachman’s promise - if you take his advice and speak to Hashem for an hour a day, you will be saved from the world of confusion! Guaranteed!


Rebbe Nachman understood that without Divine wisdom, we are doomed to a life of confusion, which leads to wrong decisions, regret, anger, and frustration. Therefore, he advises us to turn to Hashem for help, for only He knows what’s best for us.


Save yourself the stress of having to make decisions on your own. I promise you from personal experience- if you involve Hashem in any area of your life that confuses you (which is every area,) you will end up reaching your potential with much less heartache and frustration. Read Six Days to the Top and stop confusing yourself!



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Feel free to send Racheli your questions, particularly in the areas of marriage, dating, child-rearing and women's role; write her at racheli@breslev.co.il

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