Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Likutei Moharan I #3, Point-by-Point Summary

All the following points are explained and proven in the full text of Likutei Moharan from the Tanakh, the statements of Hazal, the Midrashim, the Holy Zohar, the writings of the Arizal, and more.

1. Through holy melody/song/music, one raises the kingdom of holiness, merits kingship/preeminence, and the melody benefits the service of HaShem.

2. The singers and musicians of the side of evil blemish the kingdom of holiness and lengthen the exile. Their music harms the service of HaShem.

3. Through learning 'Gemara'* at night one is spared from the damage that the bad music of the above-mentioned singers has on the service of HaShem.

*(Note: this includes literally the Gemara, as well as the Zohar, writings of the Arizal, and the Torah of Rebbe Nahman - what we're learning right now)

4. Through song in holiness, it's possible to come to an aspect of prophecy, because it causes the person to cling to HaShem.

5. Through learning 'Gemara'* at night, a cord of mercy is drawn over a person, and he is saved from learning Torah for ulterior motives. Additionally, he merits holy song, kingship/preeminence, he is able to rule over that which he desires, and he is able to merit prophecy.

6. One who learns 'Gemara'* at night and merits all of the above in point #5 is able to cause another to die and cause another to live. Therefore, he must judge every person favorably, in order that he not destroy the world; for HaShem desires mercy and the existence of the world.

7. Through learning 'Gemara'* at night, it is possible to hear the song of unfit singers and musicians who make music from the side of evil and not only not be damaged by it, but he can raise the music and attach himself to HaShem through it.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Likutei Etzot, Knowledge 36-42

Knowledge (Continued)

36. One must really look upon his ways, to see and contemplate well all of the matters and reasons that HaShem sets and brings to him every single day. Each day holds different thoughts, words, and actions from one's acquaintances, and he must know that HaShem contracts His Godliness from infinity unto finitude, to the very center point of the physical world which the person stands in.

And He sets for each person thoughts, words, and actions according to the day, according to the person, and according to the place. And He dresses up hints [within those thoughts, words, and actions] in order to draw one closer to serving Him. Therefore, a person must look at all of this and expand his mind and intellect, to look upon and contemplate every thought, word, and action that HaShem orders him each day; to understand from them the hints that HaShem hints to him, and to draw closer to Him each time from whatever place he is at.

In all matters, in business, and in all the things in the world that HaShem sets for a person each day - in all of them there are specific hints that HaShem hints to him each time, to draw closer to Him. One must expand one's awareness and look upon this well. (From Likutei Moharan I, 54)

37. However, one must be careful to contract his mind so as not to delve his thought too much into this; not to exit the bounds of holiness. That is, that one's thought shouldn't shoot out as a result of this, into philosophical inquisition and confusions, God forbid. Rather, [one should think] according to [normal] human intellect, thus should he expand his thought in this. And also, one shouldn't look beyond his level, for "that which is beyond you, don't inquire". (There^)

38. 'Big shots' are usually fools. (From Likutei Moharan I, 55)

39. One must be careful of the proliferation of wisdom, that his wisdom should not be greater than his deeds. For the main strengthening of the heart, to draw closer to the truth, to HaShem and His holy Torah, is only through good deeds. However, one whose intellect is greater than his good deeds, his heart has no strength to properly prepare the intellect in holiness. Then, through this, his intellect causes to sin more. Therefore, one must distance himself from the proliferation of vain wisdom, which is the wisdom of the world. Greater yet should one distance himself from the 'wisdom' of philosophy, [instead he should] only annul his intellect to the men of truth who walk in the path of truth, according to what we received from our Sages of blessed memory (see sec. Inquisition, #6). (There^)

40. All must know that HaShem is hidden (so-to-speak) within all the concealments that are in the world. For there are two kinds of concealments. There is a concealment and a concealment within a concealment. When HaShem is hidden within [only] one concealment, it's still hard to find him. However, even so, it's possible to weary and strive until finding Him, since one knows HaShem is hidden from him.

However, when HaShem is hidden in a concealment within a concealment; that is, that the concealment itself is concealed from one, to the point that he doesn't know HaShem is concealed from him - then it is very hard to find Him. This is drawn from a multitude of sins, God forbid.

When one sins and repeats it, and it is made to seem as if permissible [to the person] - this is one concealment. However, when one who sins more, God forbid, he falls into the aspect of concealment within a concealment. But truly, even there in the concealment within a concealment, He is hidden. For without His vitality, nothing in the world could exist.

Therefore, via the power of learning Torah, it's possible to change the concealments to awareness. To know that HaShem is even hidden there - even in the force of a concealment within a concealment. [This one becomes aware of] until he hears, wherever he is, the proclaiming voice of the Torah, which proclaims and cries out: "Until when, fools, will you love foolishness?" (Proverbs 1). (From Likutei Moharan I, 56)

41. According to the expansion of [divine] awareness/knowledge, is how easy one's livelihood is. Everyone who lacks knowledge more, he wearies and toils after a livelihood more. (There^)

42. According to the expansion of [divine] awareness/knowledge is how much peace increases. For dispute, anger, and cruelty is from a lack of knowledge. All the more knowledge increases, mercy, kindness, and peace increase. Through this, one merits healing. (There^)

Monday, October 26, 2015

Likutei Moharan I #2, Point-by-Point Summary

All the following points are explained and proven in the full text of Likutei Moharan from the Tanakh, the statements of Hazal, the Midrashim, the Holy Zohar, the writings of the Arizal, and more.

1. Prayer is the essential weapon of the Messiah and the man of Israel, that through it one can win all wars, both physically and spiritually.

(Note: be aware that this does not mean, as is too commonly misunderstood, that in a time of war one can rely on a miracle from HaShem. Instead, one must pray and also take all necessary action to wage war, as R' Nahman states in Sefer HaMidot, Meriva #101 that in a time of war one must prepare weapons and fight, and not rely on a miracle. Point #1 simply means that prayer is the backbone of physical and spiritual wars.)

2. One who guards himself from sexually impure thoughts, words, and actions, merits prayer; and one who does not guard himself has true prayer taken away from him.

3. Giving tzedaka (charity) before praying makes the prayer fluent in the mouth.

4. A person is saved from foreign thoughts that come during prayer via tzedaka.

5. Through whole prayer, which does not veer to the right or left, one "manages his affairs with mishpat (justice)"; mishpat is the Middle Pillar.

6. Complete prayer comes through completely guarding oneself from sexually impure thoughts, words, and actions.

7. The true Tzadik of the generation (note: this is R' Nahman for all the generations between him and the Messiah) knows how to elevate prayers to the proper place. Therefore, all must attach their prayers to him.

8. From the above-stated prayers in #7, the Tzadik builds up the stature of the Shekhina (Divine Presence), drawing closer the coming of the Messiah.

9. Torah learning and prayer strengthen each other, and the letters of the Torah that one learns for the sake of keeping and doing it are sparks of souls that enclothe within the prayer and are renewed there in the aspect of a pregnancy.

10. If a person prays and does hitbodedut (secluded and personal conversation with HaShem) daily for a long time, and it seems to him that it isn't benefiting him, he should only continue because the of the Shekhina (see #8 above) simple has not been built up yet [to the level needed for him to see his prayers come to fruition].

11. It isn't proper to expect reward for anything or to think that one's successes are from his prayers and Torah learning - because everything is from HaShem and His mercy (meaning He is both the cause and the effect).

12. The evil inclination is mainly for sexual promiscuity, and the main testing of a person in this world is in this lust.

13. The true Tzadik of the generation is the 'great luminary' and he shines and enlightens prayer, which is the aspect of the 'small luminary'.

Likutei Etzot, Knowledge 31-35

Knowledge (Continuned)

31. There are several aspects of sleep. There is physical sleep which is rest for the mind. There is also the aspect of learning which is an aspect of sleep in terms of devekut to the Creator - and this is learning the plain meaning of Torah. There is also sleep which is the aspect of faithful business dealings, and when a person deals faithfully in business, then the mind, which is the soul, enters the aspect of faith and is renewed there and strengthened from its tiredness, and it draws new intellect from the Light of the Face [of HaShem].

The main thing here is faith, that one must guard faith well. Then, when one's mind is weary, he renews it within the faith, through the aspect of sleep; whether by simply physical sleep, that then the mind is renewed, as is apparent in reality. However, the main thing is faith, and that is the recitation of Shema in bed which is read before sleeping. And it must be said with intent, in order to attach and place one's soul within faith at the time of sleeping. There, it will be renewed in the aspect of "new things of the mornings, great is Your faithfulness" (Lamentations 3). Through this sleep, one will merit receiving a new intellect and soul from the Light of the Face.

And thus, one who has the aspect devekut [to HaShem], and his mind wearies by this, he then needs to learn the plain meaning of Torah and also to enter into faith at that time. That is, after his mind begins to become confused and he is unable to cling to HaShem anymore in the aspect of mind and knowledge, then he needs to "remove" his knowledge and mind completely and attach himself to faith in simplicity and learn the plain meaning of Torah in innocence and complete faith.

For truly, at the time the mind exists in attachment [to HaShem] or whatever level it is at (meaning, when it is not in the aspect of sleep), even then the main sustenance of the knowledge and mind is via faith - for there is no relying on the intellect alone, as is clarified above, in #15. However, when knowledge departs, then one must place it into faith alone, through one of the aspects of sleep as stated above. And there, the main thing is also faith. When one does business with faith, then his soul, which is his intellect, comes within the faith and is renewed there. (From Likutei Moharan I, 35)

32. Guarding faith is through fulfilling, "he speaks truth in his heart" (Psalm 15) while doing business (see also sec. Money, #21). (There^)

33. Before it has a revelation in Torah and serving [HaShem], every soul from among Israel is tested and refined in the exile of [all] 70 [prototype] nations; that is, in their [specific] lusts. For each of the 70 nations has its own bad trait of its own, which another doesn't have. And as a result of these traits, they (the 70 nations) are distanced from the 70 interfaces of the Torah.

And the shell/peel precedes the fruit. One who wants to eat the fruit needs to first break the shell/peel (Translator's note: the Hebrew term for "shell" also refers to the spiritual forces of evil and impurity). Therefore, before [a soul receives] a revelation of [divine] knowledge, which is a revelation of Torah, which is the essence of knowledge, wisdom, and truth - the soul must go through an 'exile'. That is, through the traits and lusts of the nations, in order to break them and to afterwards come to a revelation in Torah and serving [HaShem].

The main thing is to break the lust for promiscuity which is the summation/all-encompassment of all bad lusts and bad traits, and it is the main test and refinement. And when a person's soul comes into this test, exile, and refinement, which is essentially the lust for promiscuity, then he needs to raise his voice and cry out many cries that include at least 70. Just as the woman giving birth actually cries out 70 cries (Translator's note: these 70 cries are alluding to something spiritual, the number of physical cries is not necessarily important; it may be more or less than 70). Through this, one merits breaking this lust [along] with all the other lusts, and will merit a great revelation. And according to his rectification [of this lust], thus will be [the amount or which of] the revelation of the 70 interfaces of the Torah. (From Likutei Moharan I, 36)

34. A person must put forth effort to come to a wholeness of [divine] knowledge. That is, he'll merit holy knowledge as much as possible for a person to know and attain [until the amount that] it is impossible for a person to know more. It is impossible to come to this except through engaging in drawing people closer to serving HaShem. Through this, his mind becomes complete. [Also,] through this, he merits children and is able to heal barren women. (From Likutei Moharan I, 53)

35. This is the reason tzadikim weary themselves to go after people [in order] to draw them closer to serving HaShem. It isn't to increase their honor, God forbid, rather it's in order to complete their [divine] knowledge. (There^)

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Likutei Etzot, Knowledge 21-30

Knowledge (continued)

21. You also must know, that even if you are sunken in the realm of the klipot, and you're on a very low level to the point that it seems to you that you're no longer able to draw closer to HaShem since you became so distanced from him - even so, know that even in the place you are, you can also find His Godliness there; and you can attach yourself to Him from there and turn in complete repentance. It is not far from you, rather, in your place the clothing (the concealment) [of Godliness] is great. (From Likutei Moharan I, 33)

22. The one who overpowers his inclination and forces his evil inclination [to subside and conform to his good inclination] is very much comparable to an angel of HaShem of Legions, and even in worldly things he can collect letters of the Torah. Even when he speaks with gentiles or sees their traits, he knows [their] vitality [from] Godliness; that is, the [Hebrew] letters of the Torah en-clothed there. And he merits that they (the Hebrew letters) will reveal secrets of the Torah to him. That is, the Hidden and Ancient Torah, and he merits to taste a taste of the light of love within [divine] knowledge. This 'love' is above time and above dimensions. And he will see and attain this good and hidden light, that being the Hidden Torah and the hidden tzadikim. (There^)

23. The more one goes from level to level the more he draws closer to HaShem, and he is able to know HaShem with an exceeding understanding. He is able to love himself with HaShem with exceeding love. (There^)

24. Everyone must attach his heart to his [divine] knowledge; for every one among Israel knows that there is a God, in general, and according to this knowledge, it would definitely be proper to annul all his bad desires and traits. However, the wicked are under the authority of their heart, and all desires and traits are in the heart. Therefore, everyone must see to it to attach their hearts to their [divine] knowledge; that the heart will be under the authority of their knowledge and that he will force his heart and desires to [conform to] this general knowledge of HaShem, that the whole earth is filled with His glory, until he breaks and annuls all his desires via this awareness.
Through this, one merits the light of the love of [divine] awareness, which is the hidden light, the Hidden Torah and the hidden tzadikim. (There^)

25. Wisdom is the source of all things. Therefore, all must guard their intellects from foreign intellects. For essentially, the wisdom to acquire wholeness is only Godly wisdom, and the other wisdom is only null wisdom and not wisdom at all. (From Likutei Moharan I, 35)

26. At the time of birth, everyone's intellect is contracted; and when one begins to use it in contemplating serving HaShem, then his intellect grows greater. However, when one puts foreign thoughts into his mind, which are foreign wisdoms, then the holiness of his intellect decreases according to the place [that] the foreign wisdom [takes up]. Upon this foreign intellect, all the bad and obscene traits come together and connect. (There^)

27. Therefore, one must guard his intellect and thought very well, that no foreign thought or foreign wisdom will enter into his mind. This is mainly what repentance and rectification for all sins is - when one overcomes, casting all foreign thoughts out of his mind and intellect. For the intellect is the soul (translator's note: "the neshama", which is the specific aspect of a person's soul correlating to the realm of thought), and when he sanctifies his intellect, his soul, through this he elevates and returns everything to its source. That is essentially what repentance is. (There^)

28. When a person guards himself from foreign intellects, he furthermore must renew his intellect all the time. By this, his soul is renewed; for the intellect is the soul.

29. The overpowering of the evil inclination, which is the original snake, is mainly upon the Torah scholars and learners who have especially great knowledge. For he (the original snake) is always coiled against them because they have a higher intellect/soul. The main thing is to guard one's mind against bad thoughts very well, for upon them is the whole construct of the evil inclination, God forbid. (There^)

30. The renewal of the intellect, which is renewal of the soul, is through sleep. For when the mind wearies, then through sleep it is renewed. And at the time of sleep, the mind, which is the soul, comes into faith; in the aspect of, "new things of the mornings, great is Your faithfulness" (Lamentations 3). (There^)

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Likutei Moharan I #1, Point-by-Point Summary

All the following points are explained and proven in the full text of Likutei Moharan from the Tanakh, the statements of Hazal, the Midrashim, the Holy Zohar, the writings of the Arizal, and more.

1. Prayers and requests are received via Torah learning.

2. Torah learning elevates the charm and importance of Israel.

3. Learning Torah with might strengthens the Kingdom of Holiness and the good inclination.

4. Torah learning is able to illuminate for a person the wisdom that is in Creation, and a person is able to understand the hints among everything in the world (that is, as to why HaShem created a thing in such a way).

5. Learning Torah is the remedy for the insanity of the spirit of folly by which a person comes to sin.

6. Learning Torah saves a person from the slyness of the evil inclination, particularly when the evil inclination clothes itself in a mitzva (that is, when it tries to make a sin appear like a mitzva).

7. A person must make an effort that his words to HaShem have charm. He merits it through learning Torah.

8. A person must look upon the wisdom and intellect that exists in everything, and to attach himself to the wisdom in order that it enlighten him to draw closer to HaShem.

9. One merits the light of the wisdom and intellect behind all created thing through receiving the Kingdom of Holiness. To do that, he must remove from himself all foreign "wisdoms".

10. The battle between the good inclination and the evil inclination is mainly the battle between true wisdom and foreign "wisdom".

11. Foreign wisdom = the evil inclination = the spirit of folly = insanity = the disregard of the birthright by Esau = the kingdom of the "other side" (the forces of evil/impurity).

12. When Israel eventually merits to subjugate the above in point 11, the light of the moon (Kingdom) is made as the light of the sun (Wisdom), combining ח (Wisdom) with נ (Kingdom), creating חן (charm), and making a mark in the heart of HaShem (figuratively speaking) which is the letter ת (a symbol of a marking), creating the word נחת (content/satisfaction) between HaShem and Israel and thereby Israel's prayers are accepted.

13. For the combination of true wisdom that comes via Torah learning, the Torah learning must be done with innocence and might.

Likutei Etzot (Compilations of Advice), Knowledge 15-20

Knowledge (continued)

15. When a person does some commandment (or good deed), there is power in the commandment to go out and awaken all the worlds for the service of HaShem, and [then] blessing is drawn to all the worlds through this. The blessing that is effected from above essentially is intellect. And when it comes below it is made for each and every one according to his will.
Therefore, one who is cares about his soul must direct his will, that he'll draw the blessing of the intellect, and he must draw faith into the blessing of the intellect, for there is no relying on the intellect itself, as is known.
Also, through the inner workings of the blessings which are drawn through the commandments, the one who settles and orders the mind is blessed.
Through all of this, one merits to attain the light which is above [the three levels of the soul which are] nefesh, ruah, and neshama; [that light] which is the light of Ein Sof which is impossible to attain with any intellect, except through doing the commandments with joy, one merits it in the aspect of "there but not there". (From Likutei Moharan I, 24)

16. Everyone must see to it to take oneself out of the medame and to go up to the intellect; to not walk after the lusts of the instinctive nature (lit. of the medame), [which are] the animalistic lust (or urge) - only to walk after the intellect. The intellect pushes away all lusts, entirely. All lusts are the opposite of the intellect and are only by the force of the medame which is the animalistic force. For, also an animal has this force and it also lusts after these things.
When one is drawn after the medame in the heart, this is the aspect of the arbitrariness of the heart which goes after the medame in the heart, and does an act of an animal exactly. One [therefore] must get out of the arbitrariness of the heart, and to break his heart of stone, going after the intellect. (From Likutei Moharan I, 25).

17. Even if one already broke the medame and by this raised the attribute of the intellect, [even] with all this, the intellect is still in potentiality. One must use his intellect, meaning to investigate and think of serving HaShem. And then, when one researches with his intellect and uses it, then he brings out the intellect from potential into actual. Then afterwards, when he attains with his intellect all that is in the capability of a man to attain, this is what remains for him after death.
The main existence of a person after his death is only this intellect of holiness that he acquired and reached in Torah and serving [HaShem]. (There*)

18. When speech is without knowledge, then there is no good in it. And then, the speech is not heard or received. And then, it is not called speech at all, because speech which is not heard or received is not called speech. (From Likutei Moharan I, 29)

19. The correction of speech is through praise of the tzadikim, for through praise of the tzadikim, knowledge is elevated. Then, speech is received from knowledge and it [thereby] has good in it; thus, the speech is heard and received - and this is the overall rectification for speech. (There^)

20. One must know that the whole earth is filled with His glory, and there is no place void of Him, and He fills all the universes and surrounds all the universes. Even one who does business among the nations cannot apologize and say that it is impossible to serve HaShem because of the density and worldliness that always falls upon him as a result of the business that he always does among them. For in all worldly things and in all the languages of the nations, one can find Godliness in them. For without Godliness, they have no source of life and existence at all, rather, that which is on a lower level has its [source of] Godliness in greater contraction and it (the Godliness) is en-clothed in many more garments. (From Likutei Moharan I, 33)