7 Shvat 5781 / Wednesday, January 20, 2021 | Torah Reading: Bo
 
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Holy Chutzpa    

Holy Chutzpa



You listen to people because you are not standing on your own two feet. And if you don’t stand on your own two feet, then they treat you like a dog...

 



Compiled and edited by Ziv Ritchie
 
 
There is something which is very important. There is such a thing as holy good arrogance, believing that you can do it. For instance, I know this very strongly from my musical performances.  Who is a good performer?  Not just someone who has a good voice. Some people have tremendous voices but they can’t perform, because they don’t believe that they can do it.  When you stand before an audience, you have to believe that you can perform before them. That is really all there is to it.  If you are standing there, and if you believe that you can sing a song, that is it.  The vibration is tremendous. 
 
Sometimes someone comes on stage and he doesn’t believe that he can do it, so no one pays any attention to him. There is something in the air. 
 
But sometimes you have to know that you can’t do it, mamash. You have to have this holy shame, and know, “I can’t do it.”  Then, at other times, you have to have this holy chutzpa to say, “I can do it.  I know I can do it.”  The question is, when are you sure that you can do it, and when do you have this holy shame that you can’t do it? 
 
Azut d’kdusha [holy arrogance]
 
What happens if I want to do something very holy, very strong, and the whole world laughs at me? Everyone thinks I am completelycrazy. Then I must have holy chutzpa, azut d’kdusha, holy arrogance. If the whole world says that I am crazy, how come I am not crazy? When I was born, G-d gave me the holy arrogance to do what is right.
 
Say for instance, I believe I should wear a yarmulke [skullcap]. I walk into a place, and all the people start laughing, “Are you crazy? A yarmulke! You’re old fashioned! You’re stupid!” So I say, “Oh, I’m sorry. Oh, you are really right. We are living in a modern, civilized world. What do I need a yarmulke for?” Reb Nachman then asks: What am I doing to myself? It is not that I took off the yarmulke. That is beside the point. When I do something because people told me I should or shouldn’t do it, or that it doesn’t look nice, you know what happens to me? I make a p’gam, a blemish; I destroy my holy arrogance. Have you ever seen someone who licks up to the whole world for two pennies? Why are they so low? Because they destroyed their azut d’kdusha with their own hands.
 
G-d says, “Look at yourself. What are you? You were My servant before.  I gave you enough chutzpa to do right, yet you prefer to listen to people? Okay, be a slave to them. Make up your mind who is your master.”
 
If you are G-d’s servant, then you are the highest person in the world because you know exactly what is right. If you know what is right, then you don’t listen to anybody - just to what the soul of your soul tells you is right.
 
If you have azut d’kedusha, this holy arrogance, then you can really love people because you are not their slave.
 
If you lose your holy arrogance, then I am a slave to every shmendrik [fool]. I hate this shmendrik, because he is my master. I have no dignity, I have no spine anymore. I can’t stand people anymore.
 
It is very strange. We always think that if we don’t listen to people who tell us to do wrong, that means we will be pushed off to the side, and we want to be in with the crowd. Just look at the crowd - do you think they love each other? They hate each other. It is 100% true, one billion percent true.  Reb Nachman’s holy words are mamash like gold.
   
Reb Nachman says something else. What about the relationship of people to you? If you have holy chutzpa, then people really love you. People mamash love you. If someone walks in with a yarmulke, and everyone laughs at him, and he still wears it - they can keep on laughing. You know what the person who is laughing really thinks? “Gevalt! I respect him so much.”
 
But if I wear a yarmulke and people say, “Take it off, this is not the place!” and I take it off, people laughingly say, “Really a strong character, this person! Who would want to be his friend?”
 
You know how people are? When you listen to them, they spit at you. When you don’t listen to them, they love you. It’s the craziest thing in the world!
 
When you listen to people, you become their slave, and so you don’t love them. Don’t tell me you listen to people because you love them. Don’t kid yourself. You listen to people because you are not standing on your own two feet. And if you don’t stand on your own two feet, then they treat you like a dog who walks on all fours. But if you are strong enough, and you stand on your own two feet, nothing can bend you. Then the world really loves you.
 
Reb Nachman says it is just heartbreaking if you destroy the holy arrogance that you have, because then you become a slave to people. Reb Nachman says this very strongly, he says the question is are you G-d’s servant, or people’s servant? There is no in between.
 
Everybody is somebody’s servant.  Are you G-d’s servant?  Then you are the freest person in the world.  Because you know exactly what is right.  If you know what is right, then you don’t listen to anybody - just to what the soul of your soul tells you is right.  The Gemara says the freest person is the one who is G-d’s servant. If you are a man’s servant, you are a slave.  If you are G-d’s servant, you are free. Completely free.  Really, really free.
 
Holy arrogance against my own self
 
What is teshuva? What does it mean to repent? Why basically, did I sin? Because I wasn’t strong enough, right? I didn’t have holy arrogance against my own self! To repent, to do teshuva, to return to G-d, means to correct the holy arrogance within me.
 
 
* * *
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 online at the Breslev Israel store.





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