Tuesday, May 25, 2010


While this a saying of Rabbi Nachman, it does talk about one of his major teachings, and I think it is something to think about when we realize just how far we are from Hashem.

There was a time when we believed.  We're nostalgic for that time.  We yearn for it but can't quite accept it in the past wholeheartedly anymore.  And today?  Today belief is simply crazy.  Gevald are we far way.

When the prophets, and there were thousands of prophets (only the major prophecies of the distant future were recorded for that future), no one doubted they were connected with heaven.  (And if you did they proved it.)  But we're really not so sure anymore.

When the Kohein Gadol could pronounce the name of Hashem and ascend (in soul) to heaven and ascertain the will of Hashem (Yom Kippur - the Avodah), we believed and fell on our faces as we heard the name of Hashem.  Today it's a good story on a fast day, but ascents to heaven?

When the four ascended to "the garden", of which only one returned in peace (Yom Kippur - the Avodah), we knew the holy ones of Israel could reach beyond.  We don't know anymore.

When the gedolim of the generations learned with Eliyahu HaNavi or acted with Ruach HaKodesh, we had no doubts. Now these are warm stories that give us longing for something lost.

When the Baal Shem Tov ascended (in soul) to Moshiach's palace to ask "when?", we cried that the answer wasn't "today, mamash!".  Today we SCOFF that someone might communicate beyond this earthly realm.

When we learn from the Gemora, from historical stories, from chassidic stories, from non-chassidic stories, that our ancestors - distant and more recent - would pray and CRY OUT to Hashem, we sigh and say "yes, that's how a Jew acts"...

But if we hear a Jew crying out to Hashem, in shul, on the street, even in the field, WE THINK HE'S CRAZY.  Who in their right mind actually requests their needs - right here right now, in this day and age - to G-d???

If we see someone walking down the street talking without a companion, we check his ear for a bluetooth wireless headset.  If found, he's normal.  If he's talking without one, we change sides of the street because SOMETHING MUST BE WRONG.

Gevald.  A Jew talking to G-d nowadays MUST BE CRAZY.  It's not normal.  Avoid.  Turn away.  Watch out, strangeness to be avoided.


We can learn Torah and never say "G-d, help me understand".  We can do a mitzvah and never (really) direct it to G-d.  We can be a Jew, non-religious or even religious, and never actually be involved with G-d!

We've gotten very far away.  So far that even to see or hear someone interacting with G-d makes us uncomfortable.  Stories, ok.  History, alright.  Right now in front of us, weird.

We are so far away we can't even relate to being close anymore.


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