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Humble Service to Hashem

We find that all our meritorious actions and prayers come from [Hashem], and we thus shouldn’t consider ourselves worthy of receiving reward for anything. Even though it may appear that the Redemption approaches as a result of our prayers and Torah study, in truth we rely on His Mercy, for only in His Mercy shall we be redeemed. (Rebbe Nachman, Likutei Moharan I: 2)

We have to stay balanced here. On the one hand, in order to continue serving Hashem and growing in spirituality, we must take some pride our spiritual accomplishments. On the other hand, we must never take credit for the rewards that our prayers and mitzvot earn by realizing that were it not for Hashem’s kindness, we would not be able to do anything. When we humble ourselves in service to Hashem, we become the perfect vessel to further receive Hashem’s blessings.

Based on Sparks from Berditchov, by Yaakov Klein, Parshat Bereishit

Knowing and Not Knowing

We may speak of Hashem, but we know absolutely nothing. It is said that the goal of all knowledge [of Hashem] is to realize that one knows nothing. But even this cannot be attained… A person knows nothing, and still cannot perceive one’s ignorance. For there is always a degree of “not-knowing” on a level that lies beyond one’s perception… (Rebbe Nachman, Sichot HaRan 3)

There is something called takhlit hayedia, the greatest point in knowledge achievable by a person. This is the point where a person reaches “asher lo neida,” that one does not know. This is when a person realizes truthfully that one has no knowledge whatsoever. Only then has one reached the apex of knowledge.

Now, we are not speaking of people who truly know nothing. We are speaking about those who have gotten to such a high degree of knowledge in kedusha (holiness) that they go higher in heavenly knowledge. At this point, they understand that all this heavenly knowledge and all of creation are nothing compared to Hashem. At this point, they realize they are literally nothing. They have gotten to the upper point of zero.

Based on Rebbe Nachman’s Soul