Based on the teachings of Rebbe Nachman of Breslov
“How did you know that he was the one?” my friend asked me, shortly after I decided to marry this guy whom I had only known for two and half months. “It’s a totally unprecedented knowledge,” I told her. “Though I can tell you that he lines up perfectly with everything on my must-have list of crucial traits that I was looking for in a husband, I really can’t explain it to you.”
“Come on,” She urged, “tell me, what was it?”
“Well that’s the thing!” I responded, “if I could totally explain to you why he must be my soul-mate, then you could just as easily convince me out of it. It is precisely because I cannot completely explain it, yet I know it more blaringly then I know my own name- that’s why I’m sure that I can trust it.”
We live in a cultural paradigm that is based on the ancient Greek method of ascertaining truth: If you can prove it to me, then it is true, (think Aristotle, Pythagoras.) That’s why scientists and researching firms will spend 20 years and millions of dollars just to prove that laughter is healthy. “Laughter decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, thus improving your resistance to disease.” We didn’t already know that laughter is so incredibly healthy?! Of course we did. But according to our current truth-lens, if it can’t be proven, you can’t trust it.
I closed the door, and said, “Hey G-d, what’s up?”
One of the most major pieces of advice that Rebbe Nachman of Breslov gave his followers is to talk to G-d in your own words. I “happened” to hear this suggestion of his when I was at a major crossroads in my life, a time when I was really searching for some guidance and perspective, so I was willing to try.
I went into a tiny room in an attic of our grassroots Shul in Montreal, with the goal to really fulfill Rebbe Nachman’s words- to talk to G-d for a whole hour. I closed the door, and said, “Hey G-d, what’s up?” Immediately, I’m thinking, “How am I possibly going to do this absurd practice for an hour?” But, I began talking, and slowly my mind humbly softened, and I engaged in a heart-to-heart conversation with the Infinite One, the Creator of the world, like I was talking to my best friend.
Can I prove to you that I was talking to, not just something, but to the Only Thing that really exists? Of course not. My experience far transcends the reaches of my small mind, let alone my vocabulary to describe it. But, was it real? Was it true? It was the paradigm of truth- the revelation that my soul is a flame of eternity, flickering, yearning, reaching to re-connect with her Source.
What does this have to do with Chanukah? Well, about two-thousand years ago, the Greeks forcefully sought to contaminate the oils of our minds, by forbidding us to learn Torah and practice the soul-quenching Mitzvot of our ancestors. You see, Rebbe Nachman explains that the fire of my soul-flame burns on the oils of my mind. So, if the oils are pure, then the light of the soul can shine truth, peace, joy and holiness to her surroundings. But if the oils in my mind are polluted, then the emission of my soul-light becomes murky. I can no longer hear the whisperings of my pure essence who just knows with a surety that far outshines the deliberations of my logic.
In Breslov, imagination is crucial for spiritual awareness and growth. If my mind-oils are sullied, then my imagination loses its crowned position as sacred and pulls me down into dark thought-patterns, jealousy, competition, sadness and self-doubt.
My soul will wake up to her ancient memory of knowing best
Is it possible, you may ask? Can I really undo years of pollution from Greek influence which infuses doubt into the most radiant pure aspect of my being? Yes! That was the miracle of Chanukah! A small group of incredibly righteous Jews were victorious over the Greek army. After the gruesome battle, they rushed back into the Bet Hamikdash, the holy Temple, the zenith of pure consciousness and prophecy, and found a jar of oil that was still sealed- oils which had not been infected by the Greek mentality that so tragically white-washes our vibrant, breathtakingly wondrous existence, making it something understandably bland and predictable. This jar was still pure! Still alive! They filled the Menorah, and kindled the flame. This holy light burned for eight days, defying all laws of nature and theorems of chemistry.
In just a few days, when I light my Chanukah candles in my living room, I will stare into those flickering flames, and allow that Bet Hamikdash light of prophecy to purify the oils of my mind. My soul will wake up to her ancient memory of knowing best. Her truth is not based on predictability, as is science today. Rather her knowledge comes from intimate relationship with the spiritual giants that came before her, and her utterly unique reception and refraction of G-d’s Great Infinite light.
“How do you know that He is the One?” I just know.
This article is based on Likutei Halachot, Hilchot K’vod Rabo, Halcha 3& likutei moharan 2, torah 25
Please note: We spent much time and effort to bring the inspirational teachings of Rebbe Nachman of Breslov as accurately as possible in this article. If you find any mistakes in translation or have trouble understanding the article, please let us know! Feel free to comment below.We bless the viewers to be connected to Rebbe Nachman and to his teachings, and to always be happy and inspired…
Na Nach Nachma Nachman Me’Uman 🙂