“The ultimate purpose and perfection is nothing other than to serve Hashem in complete simplicity, without any cleverness at all.” (Likutei Moharan II: 19)
Simplicity is one of the basic topics in Rebbe Nachman’s teachings. The Rebbe teaches, “When a person follows his own intellect and cleverness, he can fall into many mistakes and pitfalls, and come to great evil, G-d forbid” (Likutei Moharan II: 12).
The essence of Judaism is to conduct oneself at all times with simplicity, which entails studying Torah and fulfilling it, as described in the Talmud and Shulchan Aruck, without adding or subtracting from the Jewish Law. The Rebbe teaches that “one should see to it that everything that one does is for the sake of heaven … If an act brings glory to G-d, one should do it, and if not, not. Then one will never stumble” (Likutei Moharan II: 12).
Enhancing Hashem’s glory must become the intended goal of all of our actions. If a particular action will enhance G-d’s glory, we should do it; if not, it must be avoided. This is what the Rebbe means when he says that we must “serve Hashem in complete simplicity.”
Although chokhma means “wisdom,” Rebbe Nachman occasionally uses the plural form chokhmot as referring to the misuse of intellect in serving Hashem, of being too clever for one’s own good. If paths of wisdom in serving Hashem involve sophisticated reasoning, they are not true paths to Him.
We must always remember that it is only by serving Hashem in complete simplicity and without any cleverness that we merit, with Hashem’s help, to reach our ultimate purpose and perfection.
Based on Likutei Moharan.