Best way to serve Hashem

People are often very confused as to the best way to serve Hashem. Sometimes it seems necessary to act in one manner, but later, this appears completely wrong and another method seems best. This can cause a person to become very confused and disturbed.

Rebbe Nachman said, “Why is it necessary to confuse yourself? Vie men tut, tut men. Abie me-tut nit kein schlecht, chas ve-sholom –Whatever you do, you do. As long as you do not do any evil, Heaven forbid.”

Adapted from Rebbe Nachman, Sichot HaRan #269


Hashem desires the Heart

You must have great enthusiasm in serving Hashem. Be eager to do as much as possible every hour and every day. Deeds are the main thing. Study much, keep many mitzvot, spend much time praying and pouring out your heart before Hashem. You must do as much as possible in every way.

Even so, do not feel overwhelmed. You may find many kinds of devotions in the sacred literature and ask, “When will I be able to fulfill even one of these devotions? How can I ever hope to keep them all?” Do not let this frustrate you.

Go slowly, step by step. Do not rush and try to grasp everything at once.

Proceed slowly, one step at a time. If it happens that a person cannot do anything, what can one do? A person who is under duress is exempted by G-d (Bava Kama 28b).

Even though there are many things you cannot do, you should still yearn to fulfill them. The longing itself is a great thing, for Hashem desires the heart (Sanhedrin 106b).

Rebbe Nachmen, Sichot HaRan #27, by Reb Noson of Breslov

Wisdom for life

This world exists only to bring about Hashem’s eternal purpose.

There is no need to be upset about whether or not you have money. Even with money, you could waste away your days. The world deceives us completely. It makes us think we are constantly gaining but we end up with nothing. People spend years working to make money, but in the end, when they come to the final reckoning, they are left with nothing in their hands. Even when someone becomes rich, in the end he is taken from his money.

People and wealth cannot remain together. Either the money is taken from the person or the person from his money. No one has ever stayed with his money.

Rebbe Nachman in Sichot HaRan #51


Cry out to Hashem

Imagine that you are in the middle of the sea, with a storm raging to the very height of the heavens. You are hanging on by a hairsbreadth, not knowing what to do. You do not even have time to cry out. You can only lift your eyes and heart to G-d.

You should always lift your heart to G-d like this. Seclude yourself and cry out to Hashem. The danger is more than imaginary. As you know deep down in your soul, every person is in great danger in this world. Understand these words well.

Rebbe Nachman, Sichot HaRan #117, by Reb Natan

A Broken Heart

Having a broken heart and being depressed are two quite different things.

Depression comes from the “Other Side” and is hated by G-d. But a broken heart is very dear and precious to Go-d, as in “The sacrifices of G-d are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O G-d, You will not despise” (T’hillim 51:19).

It would be very good to be brokenhearted all day. But this could easily throw most people into gloom and depression. You should therefore set aside some time each day for heartbreak. Seclude yourself with Hashem for a given time and break your heart with regret over your sins. Then be joyful for the rest of the day. (Likutei Moharan II: 24)

Rebbe Nachman, Sichot HaRan #41

True Devotion

In Likutei Moharan II: 44, Rebbe Nachman cautions us not to be overly stringent in any observance. Our Rebbe quotes the Talmudic maxims, “G-d does not rule over His creatures with tyranny” (Avodah Zarah 3a), and, “The Torah was not given to the ministering angels” (Berakhot 25b).

The Rebbe also says, “Keep one commandment strictly, but others need not be observed with any unnecessary stringency at all.”

When the Rebbe spoke about this, he continued, “True devotion consists mainly of simplicity and sincerity. Pray much, study much Torah, do many good deeds. Do not worry yourself with unnecessary restrictions. Just follow the way of our forefathers. ‘The Torah was not given to the ministering angels.'”

Our Rebbe spoke at length along these lines, concluding, “There is nothing that you absolutely must do, and if not… If you can, fine, but if not, ‘G-d exempts a person under duress.’” (Bava Kama 28b)

Adapted from Sichot HaRan #235

No Life without Emuna

Rebbe Nachman says that those without emuna (faith in Hashem) have no life, even in this world. As soon as things go against them, they are left with nothing. They think everything is determined by nature and have no place to turn. When trouble strikes, they are left without any source of hope.

A person with emuna believes in Hashem and has a very good life. When trouble strikes, this person’s emuna still inspires him. This person trusts in Hashem and knows that everything is for the best. If one must suffer, the person realizes that it will atone for sins committed, or that it will ultimately bring a much greater benefit. No matter what happens, this person realizes that Hashem does only good. Therefore the person of emuna always has a good life, both in this world and the next. (Sichot HaRan #102)