On Wednesday evening, December 16, Chazaq, Breslov.org, and the Breslov Research Institute hosted an inspiring event sponsored by Sorelle Idels and Shimmy Idels l’ilui nishmas their beloved first cousin, Mordechai Tzvi ben Elimelech (Moti Kest), who was recently niftar at the age of 42. He was a very special person who volunteered for Hatzalah, and he was a pillar in his community.
Mr. Shimmy Idels emceed the event. First, Rabbi Jonathan Rietti, well-known speaker, shared his fiery message with his usual dramatic flair, and he even employed props. “Rebbe Nachman of Breslov’s teachings speak literally to every human being,” he stated. “Rebbe Nachman touched on G-d’s reality. He taught about being close to Hashem by being alone with oneself in the presence of G-d.”
Rabbi Rietti went on to explain. “If I don’t know myself because I’m so busy or distracted, then it’s possible to have no time for me. You need to have a relationship with yourself.” He quipped that the phone number of a therapist who can help you with anything is 1-800-Almighty.
When you write, you begin with a dot. Rebbe Nachman taught us to celebrate the small things. “A little is also good. One good thought is huge.” It is worth coming into this world for just one thought of t’shuvah. “Every word of davening counts. Every smile to one’s spouse and children makes a difference.”
Rebbe Nachman taught that the generations prior to and when Mashiach comes will need a certain emphasis so as not to be confused by the confusion they are exposed to. We need emunah. We need to trust that Hashem knows what He is doing. We are designed to handle this world. Nobody will ever get a test that is too heavy for his strengths. We are designed perfectly to handle this world. One thing that gets in the way of our being happy – and holding on to the concept that G-d is good all the time – is we overthink.
He demonstrated with a pile of blocks, piling one worry on top of the next. Overthinking is piling negative thoughts. He emphasized, “One thought makes all the difference.” He taught, “My mind is my neshamah.”
He then held up a snow globe. The sun is always shining. Clouds can get in the way, and I can stop seeing the light of my neshamah. “The neshamah can never die.” My cloudy thinking blocks out the sun. Every negative thought that brings me down stops me from seeing the good in my life.
The real peace of mind is when I pay attention to why I am in this world. Happiness is the World of Freedom. The problem is that I outsource my happiness starting when I am young. When I attach my happiness to something outside of me, this can lead to negative feelings like anxiety, fear, worry, etc. Then I can’t see the sun shining inside of me.
Rebbe Nachman of Breslov taught that it is a great mitzvah to be happy always. Being born a Jew means your DNA has built-in natural resilience. Rebbe Nachman taught that there is no such thing as giving up hope.
We are in this world to prepare for eternity and every smile makes a difference. “Breslov is not chasidus. It’s an inheritance to the Jewish people from a towering tzadik who understood who the Jewish people will be until Mashiach. G-d is in us all the time. He is with us wherever we go.”
Rabbi Rietti held up a large yellow key with a happy face on it. “G-d doesn’t want us to give our key to happiness to anyone. So it is possible to hold onto happiness.” We have to ask ourselves if we are celebrating all the gifts Hashem has given us. The real challenge is taking place in our mind.
We need to always look for the good and remember that Hashem never lets go of us. Rebbe Nachman taught that we should never say “the good old days.” G-d is making the world better all the time. We are drawing closer to Mashiach.
Following this, Rabbi Chaim Kramer, author at Breslov.org, spoke about Reb Noson, who was responsible for bringing the teachings of Rebbe Nachman to the world. Rabbi Kramer spoke about the four-legged table of emunah. You need the fourth leg, which is faith in yourself, in order for the other three legs to stand. The other legs include emunah in Hashem, emunah in the Torah, and emunah in true leaders.
He spoke of the tremendous power we all possess in our ability to recognize Hashem. “You have that power to accomplish what you set your mind to do.”
He shared that Reb Noson was born on Tu BiSh’vat in 1780. He was the chief disciple of Rebbe Nachman of Breslov, and Reb Noson spread the teaching of Rebbe Nachman that it is good to speak to Hashem every day like you speak to your best friend. “Talk about whatever is on your heart.” He was the driving force to bring Rebbe Nachman’s teachings to the world.
Rebbe Nachman taught us to think about the truth. Doing mitzvos with joy can elevate the Sh’chinah until it’s manifest over the whole world. “You are the person who makes changes in the world just by being happy.”
Everyone left inspired by this beautiful event. The neshamah of Moti Kest should have an aliyah and his family should be comforted with the mourners of Tzion.
By Susie Garber