A treasury of sayings, teachings, parables and stories by the outstanding Chassidic sage, mystic and visionary, Rabbi Nachman of Breslov (1772-1810), whose message of faith, hope, courage, simplicity and joy is essential to each one of us and essential to the whole world.
Translated by Rabbi Avraham Greenbaum
THE ESSENTIAL RABBI NACHMAN
Faith in every limb
There are various kinds of faith. There is faith that is only in the heart. But a person must have so much faith that it spreads to all his limbs. Thus the Kabalistic writings mention that when washing one’s hands to eat bread, one should raise them towards the head in order to receive holiness. Your faith must extend into your hands in order to believe that by raising them towards your head you receive holiness. Without faith, it is a meaningless gesture, for “All your commandments are faith” (Psalms 119:86).
If you are strong in your faith, you will eventually come to understand what you believe in. The stronger your faith, the greater your understanding will become. At the outset you have no option but to have faith, because you cannot understand the matter, but through faith you will come to understand it.
There will then be new, more exalted levels that will still be hidden from you and beyond your ability to understand. Here again you will have to make the effort to believe. You must always start with faith regarding the levels that are as yet hidden from you, but eventually you will understand them as well. This is an ongoing process. Your faith must be so strong that it spreads to every one of your limbs. This faith will bring you to true wisdom.
Likutey Moharan I, 91
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“And the way to sing the song of joy is by seeking the good in all people, especially in ourselves. Each good point is one more note in the song of life!”
Rabbi Nachman of Breslov