Hasidic Wisdom

February 11, 2014

As appeared in Torah Tidbits, From Hasidic Wisdom by Simcha Raz (Elkins/Elkins)

A constant delight becomes habitual and loses its pleasure.
That is why worship has its high points and its lows — so that it always remains a pleasure.
— Baal Shem Tov

Speech is the dress of thought.
When one speaks, one’s thoughts are revealed.
— Rabbi Dov Ber of Mezritch

If I knew for sure that I said AMEN properly even once, then I would never worry again.
— Rabbi Moshe of Kobrin

What is the Oral Law?
The law handed down by those who were rulers over their own mouths (Play on words – BA’AL PEH)
— Rabbi Yitzchak Meir of Ger

Heroes are seldom also wise.
— Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav

Money that has not been sancified by removing the proper amount for charity, can be compared to meat that is unsalted: IT STINKS!
— Rabbi Nachum of Chernobyl

“Silence is a fence for wisdom.” (Avot 3:17)Silence is indeed a fence for wisdom, but it is not the whole matter. No one has become wise through silence alone.
— Rabbi Izel of Slonim

One who does not fear lightning and thunder is either completely righteous or completely wicked.
— Rabbi Moshe of Razvadov

So-and-so does not labor to seek a livelihood.
He says that he has great trust in G-d, but in truth, he is merely lazy.
— Rabbi Yitzchak Meir of Ger

No one ever tires of silence.
— Rabbi Avraham Yaakov of Sadigora

There are those who keep [observe] the pleasant and easy parts of the Torah for themselves, and leave the difficult parts for others [to observe].
– Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Kotzk

Old age is not always a result of years. There are those who are born old. After all, I have seen stale dough baked with my own eyes.
– Rabbi Tzvi Hirsch of Tomashov

A perpetual pleasure is no pleasure at all.
– Rabbi Moshe Leib of Sassov

I have a high regard for the speech of the wise. But even more for the silence of the fool.
— Rabbi Gershon Hanokh of Radzin

Sugar, which disappears completely in water — still sweetens.
Likewise, people who pay no heed to themselves are still able to help others.
— Rabbi Yitzchak of Vorki

A secret is something that you say in a way that everyone hears but no one understands
— Rabbi Simcha Bunam of Pshis’cha

“You shall not make molten gods for yourselves.” (Sh’mot 34:17)
This means: Do not have an overly rigid image of G-d.
That is, do not make G-d into an idol.
— Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Kotzk

When you go through the furrows of a field, you must go up and down from one flower bed to the next.
This is true as well when you worship G-d.
At times you ascend and at times you descend. At times you overcome your base impulses, and at times they strike back at you.
Just make sure that you strike the final blow.
— Rabbi Moshe of Kobrin

Everything in this world can be imitated except for the truth.
Because an artificial, counterfeit truth is not the truth at all.
— Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Kotzk

How easy and simple this world of ours can be if only we do not give in to idleness.
And how dark and difficult it can be if we do.
— Rabbi Baruch of Medzibuz

Pretending to be amused when a fool (or anyone – Ed. addition) tells a joke is also a kind of charity.
— Rabbi Yechiel Michal of Alexander

“You shall be My treasured possession.” (Sh’mot 19:5)
What does “treasured possession” mean? When people get hold of a remedy to cure ills and pains, they do not know exactly what it is or how it goes about healing. That is how you should be “a treasured possession” – with complete and utter belief – without trying to be overly inquisitive – but rather, with a plain and simple faith.
— Rabbi Yaakov Yitzchak of Pshis’cha

“G-d will battle for you, and you shall remain still.” (Sh’mot 14:14)
Indeed, it is G-d Who provides everyone with bread (play on words: YILACHEM and LECHEM, battle and bread), but one still must go out and plow (TACHARISHUN and LACHA- ROSH, be silent and to plow).
— Rabbi Meir of Premishlan

The Torah neither forbids stinginess nor condemns it.
That is because stinginess is a disgrace and there is no need to condemn something that is already contemptible.
– Rabbi Simcha Bunam of Pshis’cha

The mind changes directions like the flight of a bird, and it takes a great deal of strength and wisdom to hunt that bird down.
— Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav

People are very careful not to swallow an insect, but they are not careful about devouring a person.
— Rabbi Barch of Medzibuz

If one does not recognize one’s own worth, how can one appreciate the worth of others?
— Rabbi yaakov Yosef of Polnoye

One who lets out even a quiet sigh that does not come from the depths of the heart has committed fraud.
— Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Kotzk

“[If someone says to you] I struggled but still did not discover, do not believe him.” (Talmud, Megila 6b)
Because the struggle in and of itself is a great discovery, a great find indeed.
— Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Kotzk

Everyone was created to right some- thing in this world.
Either they owe it to the world, or the world owes it to them.
— Rabbi Dov Ber of Mezritch

All of the desires of this world are like rays of light.
You try to catch them in your hand only to find there is nothing in your grasp.— Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav

“Seven times the righteous person stumbles and yet he rises again.” (Mishlei 24:16)
It is important for a righteous person to fall down seven times, because after each fall, the righteous person discovers some sparks of insight on the way up.
— Rabbi Dov Ber of Mezritch

This is how one must rule over one’s moral qualities:
To learn how to be proud — and not be proud.
To learn how to be angry — and not be angry.
To learn how to speak — and to remain quiet.
To learn how to be quiet — and to speak.
— Rabbi Dov Ber of Mezritch (This one appeared in the past, but it is well worth repeating.

“And Yaakov sent messengers ahead to Esav his brother.” (B’reishit 32:4)
Rashi says, “Literally, Angels.”

When a Jew is being chased by an “Esav” — that is, in their hour of need — they may even trouble the heavenly messengers on high for help.
— Rabbi Simcha Bunam of Pshischa

When you stand on the bottom rung of a ladder, you check to see if it is sturdy and strong, and only then do you proceed to climb to the next rung.
Such is the way of the worshiper. You must proceed step by step, rung by rung.
— Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Kotzk

It is better that I should perform the will of G-d than that G-d should per- form my will.
– Rabbi Yitzchak Meir of Ger

How easy and simple this world of ours can be if only we do not give in to idleness.
And how dark and difficult it can be if we do.
– Rabbi Naftali of Ropshitz

Rivka knew that it would be difficult for Yaakov to tell a lie, because Yaakov was honest by nature — thus the verse, “Be true to Yaakov”. (Micha 7:20)
That is why she dressed him in the clothing of Eisav.
Because when one dresses like Eisav, one assimilates a small measure of his disposition.
– Rabbi Naftali of Ropshitz

Wholesomeness is greater than wisdom. But much wisdom is needed until we reach the level described in the Torah (D’varim 18:13): “You must be wholehearted (TAMIM) with HaShem your G-d.”
— Rabbi Naftali of Ropshitz

Rather than worrying about tomorrow, you are better off fixing what you did yesterday.
— Rabbi Ze’ev Wolf of Zhitomir

Rather than tearing one’s clothes to arouse the sympathy of other human beings, it is better to rend one’s heart and win the mercy of G-d.
— Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Vorka

A simple wagon driver kissing the fringes of his talit is dearer to the Ruler of the Universe than the praise of the angel Micha’el.
— Baal Shem Tov

“Go into the ark (TEIVA), you and all your household…” (B’reishit 7:1)
You must put your whole heart and mind into every word (also TEIVA) you speak.
– Baal Shem Tov

Wealth is like salt: It makes our food savory — but the more one drinks salty water, the thirstier one gets.
– Rabbi Simcha Bunim of P’shis’cha

It is written (Mishlei 27:19): “As a face reflects its face in water, so does one’s heart to another.”
Why in water? Why not in a mirror? Because to see one’s own face in the water, one has to bend down (a sign of humility). Not so with a mirror. With a mirror, one can remain upright and erect (symbolic of arrogance).
– Rabbi Simcha Bunam of Pshis’cha

G-d hides so that we will seek.
– Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav

When people grow tall [in spirit], they do no harm to their fellows. But when they grow wide [with ego] – they butt up against their neighbors.

If you believe it can be broken, then know it can also be fixed.
— Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav

People are not to blame for the fact that they sin. Indeed, they withstand great temptation though their strength is negligible.
They are, however, to blame for the fact that they do not repent their evil ways, because they always have the ability to do so.
– Rabbi Simcha Bunim of Pshischa

When I return from a fair, my children ask: What did you bring back for us.
When I return from the fair of life, they will ask me on High: What did you bring back for us? What shall I answer?
– Rabbi David of Mikoleib

Just as the Evil Impulse tries to entice humans to sin, so does it try to entice them to be overly righteous.
– Rabbi Yechiel Michal of Zlotchov

People are very careful not to swallow an insect, but they are not careful about devouring a person.
– Rabbi Baruch of Medzibuz

“When you were tired and weary and you did not fear G-d…” (D’varim 25:18, Ki Tavo)
A Jew can engage in so much fasting and penance that he becomes tired and weary – and still be far from G-d-fearing.
— Baal Shem Tov

“There is nothing which does not have its place.” (Pirkei Avot 4:3)
If that is so, then everyone has a place as well. So why does it often seem that our space is so limited?
Because everyone is scrambling to take someone else’s spot.
— Rabbi Avraham Yaakov of Sadigora

“They stood crowded together, yet they bow comfortably.” (Pirkei Avot 5:5)
When they stand haughtily, with their backs erect — it seems crowded. Yet when they bow humbly — it becomes spacious.
— Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Kotzk

Jews who do not dance with joy over the fact that they are Jews lack gratitude to Heaven. They evidently have never heard the blessing: “Thank you, G-d, for not making me a heathen.”
– Rabbi Chanoch Henich of Alexander

One can tell whether a person has accepted the yoke of Heaven by the sound of their song.
– Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav

Pride and Modesty must be like garments: Sometimes you put them on and sometimes you take them off.
But you should never have them simply for the sake of having them.
— Rabbi Yisrael of Plotsk

“Judges and officials you shall appoint yourself…” D’varim 16:18 (Parshat SHO’F’TIM)
“You shall appoint yourself” means “for you, yourself”.
Scrutinize your own deeds and pass judgment on yourself, before you judge others.
– Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Kotzk

“Justice, justice shall you pursue.” D’varim 16:20 (Parshat SHO’F’TIM)
Even your pursuit of justice must be with justice and nor with fraud.
– The Holy Jew

“You are children of HaShem your G-d” D’varim 14:1 (Parshat R’EI)
The greatest sin of all is when Jews forget that they are the children of Royalty
— Rabbi Shlomo of Karlin

“…Wrap up the money in your hand…” D’varim 14:25 (Parshat R’EI)
Keep your money under wraps, in your hand, so that you can keep control over it, and so that it does not, Heaven forbid, take control over you.
— Rabbi Shlomo of Karlin

Before I begin to recite my prayers, I pray to be able to pray.
— Rabbi Chaim Halberstam of Tzanz

“…if G-d gives me bread to eat and clothes to wear….” B’reishit 28:20
Ruler of the Universe, give the children of Israel bread so that they can eat cheerfully. Because when people are ill or miserable they have no appetite.
And give them clothes to wear without the misery of needing to pawn it because of poverty.
— Rabbi Shlomo Leib of Lentschno

“And he trusted in G-d, and G-d merited him for it.” B’reishit 15:6
The strength and ability to believe in G-d was planted in Avraham Avinu, and Avraham considered it an act of G-d’s lovingkindness, which G-d bestowed upon him.
— Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Kotzk

Our Sages teach us to judge everyone favorably. Pirkei Avot 1:6
If this applies to humans, how much more so must it apply to the Omnipresent!
— Rabbi Aharon of Karlin

“And he trusted in G-d, and G-d merited him for it.” B’reishit 15:6
The strength and ability to believe in G-d was planted in Avraham Avinu, and Avraham considered it an act of G-d’s lovingkindness, which G-d bestowed upon him.
— Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Kotzk

Our Sages teach us to judge everyone favorably. Pirkei Avot 1:6
If this applies to humans, how much more so must it apply to the Omnipresent!
— Rabbi Aharon of Karlin

You do not need to speak to yourself, just thinking to yourself is enough. So why speak at all? For the benefit of others? Perhaps they are not in need of this great service either.
– Rabbi Avraham of Trisk

The source of exile is lack of faith.
– Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav

“Turn from evil and do good…” T’hilim 34:15
This means: Turn Evil into Good, because Evil is the raw material of Good.
– Baal Shem Tov

Every pleasure comes directly from Heaven — even jokes and quips — but only if they are told out of honest joy.
— Rabbi Pinchas of Koretz

One must dance each and every day — whether in thought or in action.
— Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav

It is easy for me to understand how a person without income is able to survive. For such a one survives by Faith and Trust in G-d.
But what I do not understand is: How does a person who has ample income survive?
— Rabbi Simcha Bunam of Pshis’cha

“And these things which I command you today shall be upon your heart”; (D’varim 6:6)
Let them always rest upon your heart so that when the right moment comes, and your heart opens, they can penetrate immediately.
– Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Kotzk

I have no idea how I am better than a worm. I do not know if I am even as good as one.
Case in point: The worm goes about its way without destroying a thing.
– Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Vitebsk

I have high regard for the speech of the wise. But even more for the silence of the fool.
– Rabbi Gershon Hanokh of Radzin

One who prays without feeling is like one who piles up heaps of sand, plaster, and bricks, but has no water.
How does one expect to cement them together?
— Rabbi Aryeh Leib, the Grandfather of Shpoli

A teacher of the young is greater even than his master, because his master teaches things that he interprets one way — and then others come along and contradict him, interpreting them another way.

But the teacher of the young says nothing but the plain and simple truth.
After all, everyone agrees that an ALEF is an ALEF and a BET is a BET.
— Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Kotzk

Angels have no evil inclination (Yeitzer HaRa). Humans do.
Nevertheless, by overcoming their Yeitzer HaRa, humans can rise to a greatness beyond that of angels.
— Rabbi Leibele Eger

All the comforts of exile are nothing but a diversion to make us forget that we are indeed exiled.
— Rabbi David of Sochatchov

Those who do not commiserate with the sorrows of their friends can be sure that their ancestors were not present at Har Sinai
— Rabbi Mendel of Zlotchov

One can learn a great deal from the Evil Impulse (YEITZER HARA) – for example, the great lengths it will go to achieve its purpose.
Now humans, on the other hand, do only the absolute minimum.
— Baal Shem Tov

A broken heart is not the same as sadness.
Sadness occurs when the heart is stone-cold and lifeless.
On the contrary, there is an unbeliev- able amount of vitality in a broken heart.
— Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi

Just as we accept that our neighbor’s face does not resemble ours, so must we accept that our neighbor’s views do not resemble ours.
– Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Kotzk

People are always scrutinizing their deeds to find out why they have been chosen to suffer so.
I have yet to see someone who contemplates why they merited such weath and happiness.
– Rabbi Eliyahu of Viskut

Our Sages instructed us then “when judging each and every individual we must give them the benefit of the doubt” (Avot 1:6).
How much more so, then, must you give the entire People of Israel the benefit of the doubt.
– Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev

“As wisdom grows, torment grows.” – (Kohelet 1:18)
And what is this? Perhaps it is worthwhile to increase one’s torment provided that one increases one’s wisdom as well. –
– Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Kotzk

Millions of people are born like mice, live like mice, and die like mice.
Make sure you are not one of them.
– Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav

“May all who seek G-d rejoice.” (Divrei HaYamim Alef 16:10)
Human nature dictates that all who search for a lost object are troubled, and only after they find it do they rejoice.
But those who seek G-d are steeped in joy, even during the search.
– Rabbi Simcha Bunam of Pshis’cha

Shavuot, the Festival of Weeks, is called “The Time of the Giving of our Torah”. Why is it not called, “The Time of the Receiving of the Torah”?

Because the Torah was given to everyone in equal measure, but everyone chooses to receive it according to their wisdom and their capacity to understand.
— Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Kotzk

One does not need idle disputes to straighten out matters in the Torah. They were not bent in the first place. The truth is not a wooden board whose knots need straightening. After all, one who straightens a ladder, only bends it. And one who bends a bow, only straightens it.
— Rabbi Yehoshua of Ostrovtsa

If you desire to be loved — then love others.
— The Baal Shem Tov

One can scream with a still, small voice.
— Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav

“I will establish My dwelling place among you, and My soul will not treat you with scorn.” (Vayikra 26:11)

So that the soul will not scorn the body (the dwelling place of the soul).
— Rabbi Shmelke of Nikolsburg

This is one of the reasons that we consider G-d’s returning our souls to our bodies each day as an act of CHEMLA RABBA.

“His (G-d’s) Greatness cannot be fathomed.” (T’hilim 145:3)

Meaning: G-d’s Greatness cannot be determined though scientific inquiry, but only through faith.
— Rabbi Moshe of Kobrin

“Do not render an unjust decision.” (VaYikra 19:15)

Do not grant injustice legitimacy by way of a trial
— Rabbi Simcha Bunim of Pshis’cha

“Do not be a talebearer AMONG your people.” (VaYikra 19:16)

Do not spread gossip ABOUT your people
— The Ba’al Shem Tov

G-d hides so that we will seek.
— Rabbi Nacham of Bratzav

“And G-d had blessed Avraham in all things.” (B’reishit 24:1)

Avraham our father was blessed with an abundance of ALL things.

Which ones? As it is written, “With ALL your heart and ALL your soul and ALL your might.” (D’varim 6:5)
— The Seer of Lublin

How easy it is for the poor to trust in G-d, for who else can such a person trust?

And how difficult it is for a rich person to trust in G-d, since one’s possessions cry out, “Trust in us!”
— Rabbi Moshe Leib of Sassov

Woe is us! The world is full of light and mysteries both wonderful and awesome, but our tiny little hand shades our eyes and prevents them from seeing.
— Rabbi Nachman of Bratzlav

“This is the ritual of the guilt offering. It is most holy.”
(Vayikra 7:1, Parshat Tzav)
Even the most guilty sinner of Israel is most holy.
– Rabbi Yehoshua of Kutnah

Those who fail always lay blame on the obstacles in their path: On the potholes in the road, on the shoes on their feet.

But they themselves… well, they have always behaved impeccably, and are completely blameless.
– Rabbi Leib of Kovel

“To be for you your G-d.”

(Vayikra 11:45, Sh’mini)

Even the material acts that you perform “for you”, should be performed for the sake of G-d.
— Baal Shem Tov

Is it really such a big deal to be a great person? Anyone, no matter what their standing, can mix heaven and earth! But to be a good person… that is a great deed indeed!
— The Seer of Lublin

When our ancestors were wandering in the desert, eating manna from Heaven, everyone received an equal portion of food: one measure per head. So how were they able to fulfill the mitzva of giving charity?

Our ancestors contributed know- ledge for charity. The learned gave charity to those less knowledgeable.
— Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Kotzk

Even the pouch that holds the T’filin is holy. If it falls to the ground, even by mistake, you must pick it up immediately and kiss it.

And a Jew who puts on those T’filin – how much more is that person holy!
– Rabbi Avraham Mordechai of Gur

Every person should have two pockets. In one should be a piece of paper on which is written: “I am but dust and ashes.”

In the other: “For my sake was the world created.”
– Rabbi Simcha Bunim of Pshish’cha

There is a spark of holiness even in heresy. One who sees others stumble and fall must strive to help them, and not say: “They are on the brink of falling – that is the will of G-d.”
– “The Holy Jew” of Pshis’cha

A sigh will make you a whole new person, in body and soul.
– Rabbi Nachman of Bratzlav

I ask only three things of you: Do not be a flatterer by nature. Do not flatter or fawn upon your neighbor. And do not think only of yourself.
– Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Kotzk

One must strive to live as a good Jew (and not just die as one).

Even Bil’am the Wicked wanted to die a Jew, saying, “May I die the death of the upright”.

Meaning, he wanted to live as a heathen, but die as a Jew.
– Rabbi Noah of Lechovitz

All worrying is forbidden, except to worry that one is worried.
– Rabbi Mordechai of Lechovitz

One can learn a useful lesson from everything.

What can one learn from a taxi? Humility. When you get in, you have to lower your head and bend your knees.
– Rabbi Aharon Rokeach of Belz

The Sages say: Each person is like “a world in miniature”.

This means that if people are a “world” in their own eyes, then they can be considered as “miniature”.

And if they are “miniature” in their own eyes, then they can be considered to be a whole “world”.
– Rabbi Noah of Lechovitz

Two pious people in one town are too many. One pious person in a town is not enough.

It is best to have one-and-a-half pious people.

How so? Everyone should see himself as half of a pious person, as see his neighbor as a complete pious person.

Then each will defer to the other.
– The Seer of Lublin

If I am who I am because I am who I am, and you are who you are because you are who you are, then I am who I am and you are who you are. But if I am who I am because you are who you are and you are who you are because I am who I am, then I am not I nor are you, you.
– Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Kotzk

When I exhort and admonish my congregation it is not directed towards anyone specifically. Yet, if some think that I am directing my words towards them, then indeed, I am.
– Rabbi Noah of Lechovitz

None of us serves our generation alone. For example, David continues to inspire the downcast with his fiery passion, generation after generation. And Shimshon’s heroics continue to give courage to the meek ’til this day.
– Rabbi Uri of Strelisk

One who is never ashamed of oneself has no shame whatsoever.
– Rabbi Tzvi Elimelech of Dinov

“And you shall be a holy people unto Me.” (Sh’mot 22:30) Let your holiness be humane, reasonable, and acceptable to others.
– Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Kotzk

The Land of Israel is the same as the Divine Presence itself.
– Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Vitebsk

All the world’s crowns are destined to fall by the wayside except for the Crown of Truth, which will last forever.
– Rabbi Yisrael of Rizhin

You shall not steal. (Sh’mot 20:13) You shall not steal your self. Meaning: Do not deceive yourself.
– Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Kotzk

G-d said: “You shall be for Me a treasured possession (segula) Sh’mot 19:5

They shall be like the SEGOL (the triangluar Hebrew vowel), which no matter how you turn it, always remains a triangle. Such is the nature of Jews: No matter how you twist or turn them, they always remain Jews.
– Rabbi David of Lelov

When we open our eyes each morning and recite MODEH ANI, I acknowledge before You… – it is good to reflect for a while: Who am “I” and Who are “You”?
– Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Kotzk

One can snuff out a candle’s flame, but the essence of that light cannot be extinguished.
– Rabbi Arieh Leib Alter of Ger

When suffering, one should not say, “It is bad”. Because nothing that G-d does is bad.

Rather one should say, “It is bitter”. Because bitter pills are among the best cures.
– Rabbi Moshe of Kobrin

Solitude is good for the soul; indeed, it is good for everything. But the key to solitude is to be alone while still in the company of others. Those who are completely alone and silent cannot claim that they have conquered their appetite for speech.
– Rabbi Yitzchak of Vorki

Just as it is difficult for the wicked to appreciate the needs of their friends, likewise it is difficult for the good to appreciate their own needs.
– Rabbi Aharon of Karlin

One cannot drive away darkness with a rod.
– Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak of Lubavitch

There are those who try to ascend to the Heavens to reach the Blessed One. But I know that no matter where I am – G-d will be there as well.
– Rabbi Shalom Shachne of Prohobitch

Love is hidden in the recesses of everyone’s heart. There is no one who has not had at least an hour of love and yearning.
– Rabbi Aharon of Karlin

The law stipulates: “One should not wrong one’s neighbor.” (Vayikra 25:14) But one must go beyond the letter of the Law, and not wrong oneself.
– Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Vorki

G-d calls upon all people according to their nature:
G-d calls some with a whisper,
And G-d calls some with a shout.
It all depends on how far away they are from their Creator.
– Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav

Just as people look into a mirror see their own blemishes, so those who see faults in others (should) know that they share some of the same faults.
– Baal Shem Tov

The Land of Israel is the same as the Divine Presence Itself.
– Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Vitebsk

My place is in the Land of Israel. Whenever I travel, that is the only place I go.
Though for now, I am merely a shepherd sojourning in Bratslav.
– Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav

Even after one has achieved the spirituality of an angel, one must still abide by the commandments like a simple Jew.
– Baal Shem Tov

Love is the most reliable cure for wounds of the soul.
– Rabbi Naftali of Ropshitz

Everyone knows the price of things but few know their true value.
Everyone knows that there is a Creator, but few know G-d’s true value.
– Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev

Too much oil puts out the lamp.
– Rabbi Yaakov of Polnoye

“Make an opening for light in the ark (teiva).” (B’reishit 6:16)
The biblical word for ark also means word. If we read the text in this way we learn that when people speak, their thoughts should enlighten their speech.
– Baal Shem Tov

Love may not be bread to eat, but it is the wine of life.
– Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Kotzk

There is a thin line between sadness and bitterness.
– Rabbi Aharon of Karlin

It is better that we look inside of ourselves and see what is going on in here, than to look to the Heavens to see what is going on up there.
– Rabbi Shalom Shachne of Prohobitch

Whoever does not see G-d in every place does not see G-d in any place.
– Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Kotzk

Let the heart and the mind always be congruent.
– Rabbi Simcha Bunam of Pshis’cha

Learn to be silent – so that you may learn to speak.
– Rabbi Mendel of Vorki

People in this world are like those walking on ice:
Running is out of the question – lest they slip. Dancing, by the same token, is even less advisable. Taking small steps is also unwise – lest the ice melt before they make it across. The only rule is: Just go ahead and cross!
– Rabbi Yechezkel of Kozmir

The source of all sadness is pride. The proud person thinks he is entitled to everything.
– Baal Shem Tov

Giving in to those greater than you is easy. Giving in to those beneath you is also easy. That is what is called being humble. But it is very hard to give in to a colleague who is your equal.
– Rabbi Avraham of Slonim

“…who in great mercy revives the dead.” (from the Amida prayer)
One must emulate G-d in this respect. That is why every Jew must strive to “revive the dead” = that is, to instill liveliness and vitality in every Jew’s life. It is like resuscitating a dead body with living spirit.
– Rabbi Menachem Mendle Schneerson

“Every person who is wise of heart” (Shmot 36:1)
Wisdom without heart is vain and empty.
– Rabbi Aharon of Karlin

One who steers us clear of treacherous paths does us no less good than one who shows us the right way.
– Rabbi Chaim Halberstam of Tzanz

I was taught the trade of a tailor – and I learned to put it to good use – careful to fix what was old – and not to ruin what was new
.- Rabbi Tzvi Hersch of Romanov

Wrath is one of the greatest sins – so much so that even if one finds it necessary to get angry, one must still seek permission…
– Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Lubavitch Jewish Law

Since every person’s soul is in part Divine, we must pity the Godly spark that is imprisoned inside of an evil person, and offer it our love.
– Rabbi Shmuel Horovitz

One must sweeten anger with compassion.
– Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav

Utterly righteous people who have never tasted sin are also worthy of mercy – lest they grow proud of their righteousness and become arrogant, which is the severest of sins.
– Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Kotzk

Every positive command in the Torah can be summed up thus: Act wisely. And every negative command in the Torah can be summed up thus: Don’t be a fool.
– Rabbi Simcha Buman of Pshis’cha

Being a teacher is a worthwhile endeavor. That way, you may find a good student and learn a few things yourself.
– Rabbi Yitzchak Meir of Ger

A song is like a parable. One has to understand its deeper spiritual meaning to fathom its application.
– Rabbi Moshe of Kobrin

The Heavens belong to G-d, but the Earth G-d gave to humankind.
The Heavens are heavenly in any event. G-d gave the Earth to humans so that they could make that which is worldly, heavenly.
– Rabbi Chanoch Henich of Alexander

A parent is more devoted to his child than child to parent. Why? Because this trait is passed from parent to child, dating back to Adam HaRishon. He was the first to bestow it upon his children, but he couldn’t transmit parental devotion.
– Rabbi Meir Yechiel Levi of Ostrovtsa

I can tell you what should not be done – but as for what should be done… that is something we all must figure out for ourselves.
– Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Kotzk

The golden rule: Give and Take. That is the way the world was created. So that everyone should influence others and be influenced in kind. Anyone who does not embody both of these qualities is nothing but a fruitless tree.
– Rabbi Yitzchak Eizik of Ziditzov

Sinners are better than misers. When sinners sin, they regret it. But misers sin and enjoy it – because they get to keep their money.
– Rabbi Yitzchak Meir of Ger

Someone who does not reserve one hour every day for oneself, is not human.
– Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav

You shall not steal (Shmot 20:13)
I heard ten different interpretations and analyses of this pasuk from the Torah, until I almost forgot that there was one additional interpretation: and that is, Do not steal!
– Rabbi Naftali of Ropshitz

My father used to say to me that in addition to the four sections of the code of behavior, the Shulchan Aruch, there is also a fifth section that teaches one how to behave with others.
I think there should be a 6th section as well: How to behave with those who do not merit good treatment.
– Rabbi Moshe of Kobrin

Beasts fill up their bellies. Humans must fill up their heads.
– Rabbi Izel Charif

The plain and simple meaning of the Torah is the secret of the Torah.
– Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Kotzk

Good deeds done in self-interest and not for their own sake are better off not being done at all. Except for charity. The poor gain benefit from charity regardless of the intention of the giver.
– Baal Shem Tov

A Jew is like a golden coin. If at times it gets rusty or mired, all you have to do is wash and scour it and its luster will return.
– Rabbi Mordechai of Lechovitz

One must constantly renew oneself.
– Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav

One must uphold the commandment to be fruitful and multiply (P’RU U’R’VU), with regard to Torah study as well, so that the mind does not become sterile and barren.
– Rabbi Shabtai of Roshkov

Even in sin there are sparks of light, which repentance can cause to shoot forth.
– Baal Shem Tov

Instead of adding severity to the law, it would be better to add the fear of G-d to its performance.
– Rabbi Shabtai of Roshkov

Ruler of the Universe:
Is it really necessary to suppress Your people until they are utterly dejected, and then ask them to atone for their ways?
Allow them some leeway, and some peace of mind, and then ask them to repent.
Then their repentance will be sincere!
– Rabbi Baruch of Medzibuz

People are not to blame for the fact that they sin. Indeed, they withstand great temptation though their strength is negligible.
They are, however, to blame for the fact that they do not repent their evil ways, because they always have the ability to do so.
– Rabbi Simcha Bunam of Pshis’cha

Faith and security were given hand in hand. The faithful are secure. And those who are insecure – it is surely a sign that they lack faith.
– Rabbi Aharon of Starosoli

I wish that people would avoid sin not because it is forbidden, but because they do not have the free time to waste on sin.
– Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Kotzk

King David, of blessed memory, was able to compose beautiful Psalms. And what am I able to do? I am able to recite the Psalms.
– Rabbi Uri of Strelisk

I have seen a wise person get tripped up by foolishness, but I have yet to see a fool get tripped up by wisdom.
– Rabbi Izel Charif

Haste is a positive and precious trait for all one’s limbs, except the mouth and the tongue.
– Rabbi Dov Ber of Mezritch

Just as we accept that our neighbor’s face does not resemble ours, so must we accept that our neighbor’s views do not resemble ours.
– Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Vitebsk

A broken heart is a whole heart. A leaning ladder is a straight ladder.
– Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Kotzk

We humans chase over the world to find things: We climb high mountains; we descend to the nethermost depths of the sea; we trek to the wilderness and to the desert. There is one place where we neglect to search — our heart. But it is there we will find G-d.
– Rabbi Tzadok HaKohen of Lublin

Whoever loves the Land of Israel is likewise loved by the Land.
– Rabbi Yechezkiel Halberstam

The Land of Israel is the same as the Divine Presence Itself.
– Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Vitebsk

Every generation must find new methods to fight the Evil Impulse, because he becomes familiar with the old methods, and he knows how to defeat them.

– R. Aryeh Leib, the Grandfather of Shpoli

There is light that is blinding and light that is dazzling and light that shines only faintly.

Not so darkness. It always darkens in the same measure.

There are wise people who are brilliant and there are those who take a long while to discover very little.

Not so fools. They are always just plain foolish.

– Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev

It is easier for one to come up with five new insights into the Torah than it is to recite one prayer with deep feeling.
– Rabbi Yaakov Yosef of Polnoye

The Torah was handed down to us in fire, so that we would know to uphold it with burning passion and commitment.
– Rabbi Elimelech of Lizhensk

If I could, I would cancel all of the fast days save the Day of Atonement and Tish’a b’Av which commemorates the destruction of the Temple.
After all, on Yom Kippur, who needs to eat? And on Tish’a b’Av, who can eat?
– R. Avraham Yehoshua Heschel of Apta

I would never want to worship a God whose ways are comprehensible to every simple mortal.
– Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Kotzk

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I bind myself to the entire Jewish People: To those who are greater than I – to be uplifted; to those who are less than I – so they can raise themselves along with me
– Rabbi Yechiel Michel of Zlotchov

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G-d commanded the Israelite people to borrow golden and silver objects from the Egyptians (Shmot 12:35) so that they would always be afraid to return to Egypt because of their debts.
– Rabbi Moshe of Kobrin

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Giving in to those greater than you is easy. Giving in to those beneath you is also easy. That is what is called being humble. But it is very hard to give in to a colleague who is your equal.
– Rabbi Avraham of Slonim

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You can learn something from everything:
From the railways we learn that one moment’s delay can throw everything off schedule.
From the telegraph we learn that every word counts.
And from the telephone, that what we say here, they hear there.
– Rabbi Avraham Yaakov of Sadigora

P.S. Imagine what can be learned from the television, video, and computer
The essence of wisdom is the fear of G-d. All who practice it gain sound understanding. (T’hilim 11:10)

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From this verse we learn that gaining sound understanding is not dependent upon a person’s wisdom, but on one’s practice (deeds).
– Rabbi Moshe of Kobrin

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Every sin requires some sort of action: Raising your hand, moving your feet, curling your lip. Except for PRIDE. A person needs only lie back, yawn, and say to himself: I am great.
– Rabbi Chaim of Karsenah

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Ever since the day that Eisav duped his father Yitzchak, not a single father may find fault in his son.
– Baal Shem Tov

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G-d does not lack for angels. What is needed are health and wholehearted Jews who can carry out G-d’s will.
– Rabbi Moshe of Kobrin

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Usually, persons asking for advice have already solved their own problem without knowing it.
– Rabbi Pinchas of Koretz

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It is easy for me to understand how a person without income is able to survive. For such a one survives by Faith and Trust in G-d. But what I do not understand is: How does a person who has ample income survive?
– Baal Shem Tov

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The urge to be righteous is an urge like all other urges. But in order to fulfill it, you must first get rid of all urges.
– Rabbi Chaim of Tzanz

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Conventional Wisdom considers it a sin to give disreputable people even a few measly coins of charity, and a praiseworthy act to grind them into dirt.
I prefer to commit such a “sin”, and to forgo the “reward” of that praiseworthy act.
– Rabbi Tzvi Elimelech of Dinov

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Sorrow locks the gates of Heaven. Prayer opens locked gates. Joy has the power to tear down the walls.
– Baal Shem Tov

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This world is the least of all worlds. And yet, at the same time, it is greater than any other.
– Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi

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The clock is the king of modesty and humility. Indeed, it declares: Another hour has gone by and what have I fixed in this world?
– Rabbi Tzadok HaKohen of Lublin

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Why does the Torah begin with the second letter of the Alef-Bet, rather than the first letter?

To show you that you don’t even know the first thing about it.
– Baal Shem Tov

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The Torah was handed down to us in fire, so that we would know to uphold it with a burning passion and commitment.
– Rabbi Elimelech of Lizhensk

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True fear of sin: To be afraid of the sin itself, even more than of the punishment that comes in its wake.
– Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Vitebsk

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Just as the wicked will stand trial for ruining the world with their evil, there are those who will stand trial for ruining the world with their righteousness.
– Rabbi Tzadok HaKohen of Lublin

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Sometimes one hears of another person’s sin, and has more pleasure in knowing about it than the one who did the sin. In such a case, what difference does it make who committed the sin, since both of them take pleasure from it.

– Rabbi Moshe HaKohen of Razvadov

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Speech is the pen of the heart. Music is the pen of the soul.

– Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi

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Are you so sure that the wicked are delaying the Redemption? Heaven forbid! The “good Jews” are the ones delaying it.

A nail hanging on a wall will not disturb a thing. But a needle left in a shirt will prick you!
– Rabbi Pinchas of Koretz

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“Some day I will do it” – is self-deceptive. “I want to do it” – is weak. “I am doing it” – that is the right way.
– Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Kotzk

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I learned this wisdom from my ancestors:
There are two things it is forbidden to worry about:
That which it is possible to fix, and that which it is impossible to fix.
What is possible to fix – fix it, and why worry?
What is impossible to fix – how will worrying help?
– Rabbi Yechiel Michel of Zlotchov

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Stalking sin and pursuing good are admirable quests.
But be sure to look for sin in yourself and for good in others.
– Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev

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If only hedonists knew about the great pleasure that good deeds bring, they would dedicate themselves to the fulfillment of Torah and mitzvot.
– Rabbi Mordechai of Lechovitz

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There is nothing that restores the soul, purifies the heart, deepens the mind, and brings one closer to our Father in Heaven, than a story of heroic deeds.
Come and see: The Blessed Holy One relates the stories of B’reishit first, before spelling out all the laws of the Torah.
– Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav

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Why did the rabbi cry when he said: “Are there those among us who can acquire their world in a single hour (Avoda Zara 6b)

Because something that can be acquired in a single hour can be lost in half an hour.
– Rabbi Zeleg of Sharansk

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There is nothing more purifying than a stream of water. However, when such a stream is frozen, you can carve an idolatrous image upon it.
– Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Kotzk

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All moral qualities require a certain degree of intent – except for humility. Because intentional humility cannot qualify as humility
– Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Kotzk

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If you want to pull someone out of the mire, it is not enough to stand above them with an outstretched hand. You yourself have to climb into the muck, immersing yourself fully in the mud. Only then can you grasp them with both hands and pull them out with you.
– Rabbi Shlomo of Karlin

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You should always be honest and fair, but should never act self-righteously or be overly pious, because that is the material of arrogance, which itself is sewn from threads of sorrow and indifference.
– Rabbi Yitzchak Eisik of Komarna

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Are you so sure that the wicked are delaying the Redemption? Heaven forbid! The “good Jews” are the ones delaying it.

A nail hanging on a wall will not disturb a thing. But a needle left in a shirt will prick you!
– Rabbi Pinchas of Koretz

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“Some day I will do it” – is self-deceptive. “I want to do it” – is weak. “I am doing it” – that is the right way.
– Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Kotzk

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“You shall eat dust all the days of your life.” (B’reishit 3:14) What kind of curse is this? Indeed, this curse guarantees that the snake will be well fed wherever it goes, without having to worry the least bit about it. But perhaps that is exactly what makes this curse so poignant. It is as if G-d were saying: I do not want to have anything to do with you. I do not even want to feed you.
– Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Kotzk

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Those who devote their life to the Household of Israel are greater than those who devote their life to the Ruler of the Universe alone. Just as those who devote their life to a prince prove that their devotion to the Ruler is so great that not only do they devote their life to the Ruler, but to the Ruler’s child as well.
– Rabbi Elimelech of Grodzisk

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I wish that I could love the most righteous person in Israel as much as the Blessed Holy One loves the most evil person in Israel.
– Rabbi Shlomo of Karlin

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Silence without substance is also worthy. But speech without substance is but idle blather.
– Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Vorki

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“We beseech from You, grant us knowledge and understanding.” (from the weekday Amida) We beseech, that we may know that our knowledge and understanding are from You
– Rabbi Chanoch Henich HaKohen of Alexander

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There are three different levels of people with secrets: The first: You can tell they have a secret, but they still do not reveal it. The second: You cannot even tell that they have a secret. The third: Even if you tell them their own secret, they still act as if they do not know a thing about it.
– Rabbi Shmuel Schneerson

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You need to be smart to know how to tell a story properly. But you need to be even smarter to know who to listen to a story properly.
– Rabbi Shalom Dov Ber of Lubavitch

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From chess we learn several things: People must always act with great caution. They must weigh their every step. And they must think seventy-seven times before making a move.
– Rabbi Simcha Bunam of Pshis’cha

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An abundance of awe towards G-d is hidden in every Jew’s intuition.
– Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi

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When suffering, one should not say, “It is bad”. Because nothing that G-d does is bad. Rather one should say, “It is bitter”. Because bitter pills are among the best cures.
– Rabbi Moshe of Kobrin

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“The Heavens belong to G-d, and the earth He gave to humans.” (T’hilim 115:16) The Heavens are heavenly in any event. G-d gave the earth to humans so that they could make that which is worldly, heavenly.
– Rabbi Chanoch Henich of Alexander

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There are two levels of wisdom and two levels of foolishness: There are those who are born wise and those who acquire wisdom. Likewise, there are those who are born fools and those who become foolish.
– Rabbi Shalom Dov Ber of Lubavitch

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Every person possesses one valuable trait that cannot be found in any other.
– Rabbi Pinchas of Koretz

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If pride were not mentioned in the Torah, I would not believe that you could find such a trait among human beings. Constructed entirely from clay, I cannot imagine how they can boast so. And they – their whole lives a passing shadow – like potsherd that shatters one day alive, the next dead.
– Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev

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Loving the people of Israel is the equivalent of loving G-d. When you love the parents, you also love their children.
– The Baal Shem Tov

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The Land of Israel is the same as the Divine Presence Itself.
– Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Vitebsk

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One should never despair of any Jew. Even the most wicked Jew retains some grasp of Judaism. After all, a bucket that tumbles into a well can still be pulled from the depths if it is attached to a rope – whether a thick one or a thin one.
– Rabbi Yisrael of Rizhin

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You cannot really love money, because money cannot love you back. It just goes from one pocket to the next. People simply covet money, and that is why they are never satisfied.
– Rabbi Meir of Apta

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Tears open gates. Music demolishes walls.
– Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav

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There is no organ more cumbersome than the tongue. It is always in need of someone else to hear its words. Yet there is nothing so adroit as silence, which has no need of any outside support.
– The “Holy Jew” of Pshis’cha

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Who can be called pious? One who does not make what is primary, secondary, or does not make what is secondary, primary.
– Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Kotzk

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Both Yaakov and Eisav can be found in all people.
– Rabbi Nachum of Chernobyl

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“And you shall live by them (G-d’s Laws)” – Vayikra 18:5
The phrase “live by them” means Perform them with liveliness and enthusiasm
– Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Kotzk

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When I hear a Jew chanting a melody, I can tell how deep runs this Jew’s fear of G-d.
– Rabbi Yisrael Taub of Modzhitz

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Worship begins with the words – “I thank You”.
– Rabbi Shalom Dov Ber of Lubavitch

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A man must learn to use his ruts for footholds.
– from A Candle by Day by Shraga Silverstein

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There is no organ more cumbersome than the tongue. It is always in need of someone else to hear its words. Yet there is nothing so adroit as silence, which has no need of any outside support.
– The “Holy Jew” of Pshis’cha

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Who can be called pious? One who does not make what is primary, secondary, or does not make what is secondary, primary.
– Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Kotzk

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Both Yaakov and Eisav can be found in all people.
– Rabbi Nachum of Chernobyl

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A quiet person is not one who holds his tongue when he has nothing to say. That person simply shows that he is not a fool.

One who holds his tongue is quiet despite the fact that he has something to say.
– Rabbi Ze’ev of Strikov

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I have learned, “The gates of tears shall not be locked”. Then why have gates at all? For those fools who cry but have no idea what they are crying about
– Rabbi Simcha Bunam of Pshis’cha

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Being alone has special value, but only when one is among others.
– Rabbi Yitzchak of Vorki

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Two pious people in one town are too many.
One pious person in a town is not enough.
It is best to have one-and-a-half pious people.
How so? Everyone should see oneself as half of a pious person, and see one’s neighbor as a complete pious person. Then each will defer to the other.
– The Seer of Lublin

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One who is never ashamed of oneself, has no shame whatsoever.
– Rabbi Tzvi Elimelech of Dinov

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Every person should have two pockets.
In one should be a piece of paper on which is written, “I am but dust and ashes”.
In the other, “For my sake was the world created”.
– Rabbi Simcha Bunam of Pshis’cha

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The Creator cannot be deceived. Nor can a wise person be deceived. The community cannot be deceived – they are not fools. It is thus possible to deceive only oneself, and what wisdom is there in deceiving such a fool?
– Rabbi No’ach of Lechovitz

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The essence of faith lies in the power of the imagination. Because what the mind can comprehend can no longer be a matter of faith.
– Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav

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“Educate a youth the right way, And he will not turn from it, even in old age.” (Mishlei 22:6) Only if he continues to educate himself in his old age.
– Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Kotzk

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In the materialistic world, where there is awe, there is no happiness and where there is happiness, there is no awe. In the spiritual world, where there is awe, there is love and happiness as well.
– Baal Shem Tov

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The Evil Impulse (Yeitzer HaRa) looms large among scholars, to induce them to invent whole new sets of restrictions.
– Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav

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The love of Israel is greater even than the love of G-d, because even G-d loves Israel. Therefore, whoever loves Israel loves G-d’s beloved.
– Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi

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When you look upon the world, you are looking at its Creator.
– Baal Shem Tov

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Nature itself is the Sh’china (Divine Presence).
– Rabbi Yaakov Yosef of Polnoye

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Whoever doubts that each grain of sand should be nowhere else but exactly where it is, is indeed a heretic who doubts G-d’s personal Providence.
– Rabbi Simcha Bunam of Pshis’cha

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There are moments in the life of the worst reprobate of being closer to the Blessed One than a perfect tzadik. When? During moments of T’shuva.
– Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Vitebsk

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Those who devote their life to the Household of Israel are greater than those who devote their life to the Ruler of the Universe alone. Just as those who devote their life to a prince prove that their devotion to the Ruler is so great that not only do they devote their life to the Ruler, but to the Ruler’s child as well.
– Rabbi Elimelech of Grodzisk

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I wish that I could love the most righteous person in Israel as much as the Blessed Holy One loves the most evil person in Israel.
– Rabbi Shlomo of Karlin

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As children, we learn to speak. As elders, we learn silence. And this is the great flaw we have to learn to speak before we learn to be quiet.
– Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav

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The sounds of silence are more elevated than the sounds of speech.
– Baal Shem Tov

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For redemption to arrive, two things must happen: The Israelite people must be taken out of exile. And the exile must be taken out of the Israelite people. The latter is more difficult than the former.
– Rabbi Mordechai of Ger

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Songs and hymns are the work of lyricists and poets. But only after they have been drenched with Jewish tears, do they become prayers and petitions.
– Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev

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For many years I wrestled with my Anger, until finally I conquered him and placed him in my pocket. Now I take him out only when I need him. But I amso angry with him, that I do not ever want to take him out again!
– Rabbi Pinchas of Koretz

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I am very suspicious of minor transgressions, which are considered less severe. When you stick a needle into the flesh of living beings, it will pierce them and cause great pain. But if you prod them with a thicker rod, it does not hurt as much.
– Rabbi Elimelech of Lizhensk

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I accustomed myself not to want that which I do not want.
– Rabbi Pinchas of Koretz

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There are two types of Evil Impulses (YEITZER HARA): One that incites people to sin, and the second that convinces them afterwards that what they have done was a good deed.
– Rabbi Mendel of Romanov

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I learned three things in Kotzk: That humans are humans, and angels are angels; that if one wants, one can be even greater than an angel; and, “In the beginning, G-d created…” means that G-d created just the beginning – and left the rest for us to complete.
– Rabbi Leibele Eger

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The Evil Impulse (Yeitzer HaRa) must be viewed as a murderer, standing before you with an ax, ready at any moment to cut off your head.

If it is hard to envision him thus, it is a sign that he has already cut off your head!
– Rabbi Simcha Bunam of Pshis’cha

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By the power of my prayer, I can transform this wooden table into gold. But I would be embarrassed to pray to the Holy One for such a trivial thing.
– Baal Shem Tov

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“Go forth… to the land that I will show you.” (B’reishit 12:1) The commandment to settle the Land of Israel is a great one – so much so that it is the first commandment ever decreed upon a Jew.
– Rabbi Meir Yechiel of Ostrovtsa

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Shabbat is greater than the World-to-Come. Indeed, Shabbat is the spring from which the World-to-Come was drawn.
– Rabbi Baruch of Medzibuz

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People who are worthless, but who are aware of their worthlessness, are better than virtuous people who are aware of their virtue.
– The Seer of Lublin

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Some people recite words of Torah to reach the seventh Heaven. I think one should recite the Torah to reach the center of the listener.
– Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Kotzk

From Hasidic Wisdom by Simcha Raz (Elkins/Elkins)