1) It is a good thing to pour out your heart and confess all your sins before a Torah scholar. Sin is in essence a denial of Godliness. Therefore when a person confesses his sins it is an acknowledgement of the sovereignty of God. God's sovereignty is then exalted and restored to its root, and the power of the forces denying Godliness is broken. Through confessing in this way and expressing what is in your heart you will eventually come to understand how everything that happens is for your own good. You will acknowledge that `God is good and does good.' This is the formula of the blessing we make on hearing good news. Today, we still have a separate blessing for news that is not good. But our Sages said that in time to come there will only be one blessing -- the one for good news (Pesachim 50a).

This will be when we will realize that everything is for the best. To achieve this realization is to have a taste of the World to Come (Likutey Moharan I, 4:3).

2) The sins a person commits are engraved upon his very bones (Ezekiel 32:27) But when he confesses them before a Torah scholar, the entire accumulation of evil engraved on his bones is lifted. All his sins are forgiven and atonement is granted (Ibid. 5).

3) A person may come to visit a great scholar and even contribute money to him. But until he comes before him and confesses his sins and pours out his heart, he still does not know the path he should travel. For `there is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the ways of death' (Proverbs 14:12). Through his confession, the scholar is able to set him straight on the path which accords with the root of his soul (Ibid. 8).

4) Each time a person visits the scholar, he should pour out his heart before him. Through this he will come to be merged with the En Sof. (Ibid. 9).

5) It is necessary to specify exactly what the sin was, and the confession must be put into words. Thought is not enough. Whatever you may have done, you must verbally articulate what you did. There are many obstacles to doing this. Sometimes the sin passes out of your mind and you forget it. In certain cases people find it very difficult to bring out the words and confess. There are many other obstacles. The way to conquer them is with joy, the joy of a mitzvah, such as a wedding celebration and so on. You should work yourself up until you literally dance for joy. Then you will be able to confess what you must and right the wrongs caused by your sins (178).

Online English translation of Likutey Etzot
A compendium of Rabbi Nachman's practical teachings on spiritual growth and devotion.
© AZAMRA INSTITUTE 5766 / 2006