1) People who make fun of the words of the Sages are punished with boiling excrements (Gittin 56a) Stinking vapors rise up to their brains, leaving them twisted and confused. No matter how much they may study Torah, they will never be able to derive true guidance from it about the way to lead their lives. Their hearts are as filthy as a privy. They never have a clear idea how to live at all. This kind of cynicism leads in the end to severe decrees being passed against the Jewish people. They are expelled from the countries they were living in, and the end result of the upheavals is that whole areas of Torah wisdom become lost to us, notably the mystery of Ibbur, which underlies the structure of the Jewish calendar with its intercalated leap-years. The loss of this wisdom causes strife and factionalism (61:1-3).

2) An enormous number of religious books are available today, and in the future even more will be written. On no account should one ever make fun of any of them. The world needs every one of them (Ibid. 5).

3) When a person makes fun of something holy, it is `the laughter of the fool' (Ecclesiastes 7:6). The remedy for mockery is tikkun haBrit, guarding the Covenant (Likutey Moharan II, 83).

4) One of the biggest obstacles in the search for truth is other people, especially those who make fun of religion with `sophisticated' jokes. They are under the spell of philosophical speculation and other current ideas. The damage they cause is quite obvious. They have the power to corrupt people completely, God forbid. What is even more insidious is the sharp wit of people who give the appearance of being respectable and well meaning, but who have a way of turning all kinds of religious matters into a joke. Many people are deterred from true religion because of this. At least where the blatant mockery of the philosophers is concerned most people have the sense to be wary and keep away, knowing as they do that philosophy has the power to deprive you of both worlds, this one and the next, and to throw you down into the lowest pit of hell, God forbid. But the `wit and wisdom' of those who give the impression of being decent and religious can be more dangerous because their words possess a certain aura of truth. Travel the path of purity and you will walk in trust. Keep well away from this crowd and pay no attention to their humor and wise ideas. Walk with simplicity and purity along the ancient path of our forefathers (Rabbi Nachman's Wisdom 81).

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