Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Likutei Etzot (Compilations of Advice), Introduction


Translator's Introduction:
Likutei Etzot is a book of compiled advice extracted mainly from Likutei Moharan, Rebbe Nahman's main work, and from Sihot HaRan which is a book of conversations that Rebbe Nahman had with his students. Likutei Etzot extracts the key advice from the words of Rebbe Nahman. If one goes to the place in Likutei Moharan that the advice is derived from, one can see the wondrous way in which each advice is proven and derived from the Tanakh, Talmud, Midrash, Zohar, writings of the Arizal, and more. The main point of these amazing teachings is the practical action involved in serving HaShem. The following is Rebbe Natan's introduction to this most important book, Likutei Etzot.

Who is the man who desires life? Who chooses eternal life? Who has mercy on his soul, truly? Who is for HaShem? He should place his heart to this small book, small in quantity but great in quality. Gaze and see, you will be very amazed, for he has done great deeds in their time. The awesome and amazing ways and advice, both old and new, are founded upon ledges of fine gold, planted by streams of water, flowing from the wellspring that comes out of the House of HaShem. Deep waters are the advice in the heart of a man, which the man of understanding has increased.

Go and see the works of HaShem. Place your hearts to these words, for they are things that stand at the pinnacle of the universe. Words of the Living God, the Eternal King. Words that liven all the souls from small to great. From the highest of all levels to the end of the lowest level. There is no holy advice that is hidden from you that you won't find in this book, and all that your soul will ask of you this small volume will not withhold from you.

Turn your ear and hear. Open your eyes and see. Understand and see the absolute truth. Remove from yourself a stubborn heart and the ways of jest and lies. And vain wisdom distance from yourself! Spare your soul and place your mind and your thoughts toward the absolute truth! For if, God forbid, you avert from the truth - who will you mislead? Won't you mislead only yourself? Scan this book and look in it: is there any injustice in it's language, God forbid? Does it sway from the straight and true path which our Forefathers traveled down from immemorial?

In HaShem I have trusted, I won't be ashamed by these words - not in this world and neither in the world to come! I will thank HaShem very much with my mouth and among the masses I will praise him. He who stood to the right of a pauper like me and strengthened me and encouraged me to collect wondrous roses like these - precious charms and eternal remedies like these. The vitality of souls like this, from the well of living water, from the wellsprings of salvation that all from which flows from them is founded upon the words of our Fathers and Sages of blessed memory in the written Torah and the oral. From the Torah, Prophets, and Writings, the Babylonian and Jerusalem Talmuds, the Midrashim, the books of the holy Zohar, and the books of the Arizal. Upon them are based and founded the words of this amazing volume.

To expand the praise of their level is to decrease it manyfold. Only the one who looks at them with a truthful eye will see for himself the precious glory of their greatness. And the truth will testify for itself. May HaShem, the God of Truth, give truth to Jacob and send his light and his truth and place us in the path of truth always. May he turn our shoulder to serve him truly all the days of our lives, to love peace and truth until he will establish David's throne in mercy and sit upon it in truth - quickly in our days, amen.

(Continue to the first section, Truth and Faith)