Translated by Rabbi Avraham Greenbaum


If a person doesn't focus on the purpose, what is the point of his life?

Likutey Moharan I, 268

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Make a profit from this world

The profit you can gain from this world is indescribable. You don't even need to lay out money to make a profit from this world. All you need to do is reach out and take advantage of the many opportunities God constantly provides for you to make a very great profit.

Likutey Moharan II, 55

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Each mitzvah creates a lamp

Each mitzvah that a person does in this world creates a lamp with which he can explore the treasure house of the King after he dies. This is the ultimate bliss of the life to come.

Likutey Moharan I, 275

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Reward of the world to come

We call the reward in the world to come "good" because there is simply no other term to describe it. Yet even the word "good" is quite inadequate, because this reward is far beyond good. Still, the only way to explain it to people is by calling it good, although in truth, "no eye has seen it, other than God" (Isaiah 64:3) .

Sichot Haran #55

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Israel 's destiny

The Israelite man was created to have dominion over the angels, and this is Israel 's ultimate destiny. Each one must make certain that he attains his destiny and rules over the angels.

But you must guard yourself carefully to ensure that you have the strength to stand firm in this dominion and not let the ministering angels cast you down out of jealousy. The way to stand firm is by binding yourself to the souls of Israel . This is accomplished by bind ing yourself to the true leaders of Israel , the Tzaddikim.

Likutey Moharan II, 1

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From level to level

A person must long to attain the highest possible level. And he must not allow himself to fall from even the smallest level.

Siach Sarfey Kodesh 1-70

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When a person rises from level to level in this world, never ceasing to make fresh advances in serving God, so too in the world to come he will continue rising from level to level.

Siach Sarfey Kodesh 1-85

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In this world it is completely impossible for a person to know where he is holding . Not knowing where one stands is one of the main tests in life.

Likutey Halachot, Yoreh Deah, Shevuos 2:17

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Free will

Everything you see in the world - everything that exists - is there for the sake of free will, in order to test people. The entire world and all that it contains were created to give man free will.

Sichot Haran #300; Chayey Moharan #519

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For the sake of one small pleasure lasting a mere quarter of an hour, a person can lose the whole of this world together with the world to come!

Likutey Moharan II, 108

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What is free will? If you want, you do it , and if you don't want, you don't do it.

Likutey Moharan II, 110

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Man is unique in his greatness. When a person does like this with his hands, a movement like this takes place in all the worlds! And when he does like that with his hands, a movement like that takes place in all the worlds!

If you could turn a person inside out, you would see that thousands upon thousands of worlds depend on every single sinew of his body.

Chayey Moharan #504-5

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The hard part of anything one has to do for God is the part left to one's own free will. These are the things that one has to decide for oneself without being explicitly commanded or asked to do them. It is then entirely up to oneself to do as one chooses.

In all acts of devotion, something is always left for the individual to decide for himself without being instructed one way or the other. He must make his own choice. It is in the area where free will comes into play that the main work lies. There is always room for doubt about what God really wants, since He has given no instructions as to what to do.

Chayey Moharan #197

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Different kinds of life

Even if a person dies at the age of eighty, he may still have had a short life if he failed to improve himself and spent all his years on vain pursuits.

We only need to live a little - as long as we live right!

Chayey Moharan #576

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In this world many people of little substance are considered great while genuine merit is unrecognized. There are many different kinds of life. Some lead very troubled lives though this may not always be outwardly apparent. There are different degrees of troubled lives. One person's suffering is never quite like another's. Even the life of a person who does not endure actual suffering may not necessarily be comparable to that of somebody else in a similar category, because the various forms of life differ markedly from one another.

You cannot compare the life of a horse to that of a man. Just as there are enormous differences between life forms on the physical plane, so there are great differences in the quality of people's spiritual lives.

True life is to delight in God. Some people achieve this even in this world; others not at all. Spiritual life contains the same multiplicity of gradations that exist on the level of physical life.

Chayey Moharan #400

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Have you looked up at the sky today?

When you look outside, what do you see? The market, wagons, horses, people running in all directions.? Fifty years from now the market will be completely different, with different horses and wagons, different merchandise and different people. I won't be here and you won't be here.

Then let me ask you now: How come you are so busy and preoccupied that you don't even have time to look up at the sky?

Kochvey Ohr

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You do speak with people? You should ask them: What?


It is right to put this question to people who don't think about their purpose in life:


Life is full of needless friction and arguments, distractions, obstacles, complaints, claims and counterclaims... You have many reasons and excuses as to why you are far from God.

Even so, after all this, at the end of everything - what is going to be with you? What will you do at the very end?

What will you answer the One Who sent you?

You surely understand that you are but a stranger on this earth. All the days of the years of our empty vanity are "like a passing shadow and a scattered cloud".

All this a man knows very well. If so, what do you think? WHAT???

Heed these words carefully and bring them deep inside your heart. Don't throw them behind your back. "Turn them and turn them over and over again" - so that you may gain your soul as your prize.

Sichot Haran #286

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Cry out

Imagine yourself in the middle of the sea, with a storm raging to the very heart of the heavens. You are hanging by a hairsbreadth. You have no idea what to do. You don't even have time to cry out. You can only raise your eyes and lift up your heart to God.

You should constantly lift up your heart to God in exactly the same way. Go aside and cry out to God. For everyone is in great danger in this world - as you know very well deep inside your soul. Understand these words very carefully.

Sichot Haran #117

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The Prankster

The Evil Urge is like a prankster running through a crowd waving his tightly closed hand. No- one knows what's in it. He goes up to each person asking, "What do you think I have in my hand?"

Each person imagines the closed hand contains exactly what he most desires, and that is why everyone runs after this prankster, believing the hand contains exactly what they want. But afterwards he opens his hand - and it's completely empty!

The same is true of the Evil Urge. He tricks the whole world into following him. Everyone thinks his hand contains what they desire. But in the end he opens his hand - and it's empty! No desire is ever fulfilled!

Sichot Haran #6

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All the pleasures of this world are like sunbeams in a dark room. They may seem solid, but when a person tries to grasp hold of a sunbeam, he finds nothing in his hand. The same is true of all worldly desires.

Sichot Haran #6

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Something else inside you

Most of the things a person fears cannot harm him at all. But this only becomes clear to him when he is dead, lying on the ground with his feet to the door. He will then have true clarity of mind, and he will look at himself and understand the truth. He will see that his fear of the various people standing in his way was vain and foolish. All that fear was for nothing - for what could a mere mortal do to him?

The same goes for his desires and temptations. Lying there dead, he will realize that he wasted his days. He will know that his strongest desires were mere foolishness. For who really forced him? Only then will he clearly see the truth.

There is a very deep point in all this. There is something inside a person that makes him afraid of various things. The person may fully understand that the things he fears cannot harm him at all, yet he cannot help being terrified. This is because of that something within him that causes him to be afraid.

Many people have ridiculous phobias which they themselves know to be ungrounded, yet they cannot control them. For example , when a person is taken by surprise by a group of people coming at him from behind with fearful shouts, he instantly feels fear even before he is consciously aware of what it is behind him. Since the object of his fear has not yet entered his conscious mind, why should he be afraid if not because of this innate something that causes him to fear?

The same is true of desire. Even when a person knows that his desire is vain and foolish, something inside him continues to feel the desire. Here again, it is not the person who desires, but something else within him.

If you learn to understand yourself, you can easily rid yourself of all fears and desires. Once you realize that they are baseless and that only this something inside you causes the fear or desire, you will be able to overcome everything.

You have free will, and you can easily train your mind to avoid the thing inside you that causes these fears and desires.

Sichot Haran #83

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You don't need to be crazy

Even if you think you are crazy, if you want, you need not be crazy.

Likutey Halachot, Netilat Yadayim 6:37

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To taste the hidden light

One who wants to taste the taste of the hidden light - the secrets of the Torah that will be revealed in time to come - must elevate the attribute of fear to its root.

This is done through Judgment. Examine yourself and your life and carefully weigh all your various activities and interests . This will enable you to dispel all your fears of people and forces other than God. These are called "fallen fears". You will then be able to elevate your fear and attain true awe of Heaven.

When a person fails to examine and judge himself, he is examined and judged from on high. God can use any means He desires to execute His judgments: He has the power to clothe them in anything in the world. All things are His messengers

This is visible in practice. When something bad happens to a person, the precipitating cause often seems quite insignificant. One would never have expected such a tiny thing to cause such a train of illness, suffering and other dire consequences. What has happened is that the Divine decree against the person has been clothed in these mundane circumstances in order to send him what he deserves.

However, when a person takes the initiative to examine and judge himself, the heavenly decree is removed and there is no need to fear anything. Worldly objects and occurrences will no longer veil and cloak God's decree. Taking stock of oneself dispels the heavenly judgment, because the person is already sufficiently aroused and spiritually awake not to need things of this world to shake him. He has elevated fear to its root: he is not afraid of anyone or anything except God. This will enable him to attain God's hidden light.

Likutey Moharan I, 15

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Wisdom for life

This world exists only to bring about God's eternal purpose.

There is no need to be upset about whether or not you have money. Even with money, you could waste away your days. The world deceives us completely. It makes us think we are constantly gaining but we end up with nothing. People spend years working to make money, but in the end, when they come to the final reckoning, they are left with nothing in their hands. Even when someone becomes rich, in the end he is taken from his money.

Man and wealth cannot remain together. Either the money is taken from the man or the man from his money. No- one has ever stayed with his money. Where is all the money people have been making since the beginning of time? People have always been busy making money - so where is all the money? It has all become absolutely nothing!

Who can say that he serves God according to God's true greatness? Someone who has even the faintest conception of God's greatness cannot understand how anyone could claim to serve Him. Even the highest angel cannot boast that he is able to serve God.

The main thing is desire. Always long and yearn to come closer to God.

Many people would like to serve God but not all have the same desire. There are many different levels of desire. Even in one and the same person, the intensity of his desire may change from moment to moment. The main thing is to yearn constantly for God - and in between, to pray, study and keep His commandments.

Nor is there any need for sophistication. Just be sincere and simple. Even in your sincerity, you must not be foolish. But sophistication is totally unnecessary.

It is no good to be old. Whether it's an old Chassid or an old Tzaddik, being old is no good. Be new each day. Always make a fresh start. The only thing that improves with age is a pig, which becomes stronger as it grows older ( Shabbat 77b) .

Nor is there any need to be extreme. Serving God is not fanaticism. The real fanatics are those who pursue the material world without serving God. People consider it fanatical when a person completely abandons the material world to immerse himself wholly in devotion. Yet even this is unnecessary. You can serve God without going to extremes.

Take my advice and don't let the world fool you. No- one ever came to a good end by pursuing worldliness. Even those who hold the entire world in their hands end up badly, losing out both in themselves and for generations to come.

If the world is nothing, what can you do? To know what to do in this world you need help from Heaven. But as the people of Israel , we need no further help. We already know what we must do, because the Torah teaches us what to do.

People say you should not seek greatness, but I say you should seek only greatness. Look for the greatest possible Tzaddik. Choose only the greatest Tzaddik as your teacher.

The passions that wear man down do not really exist. We have to eat and drink and do what is necessary to sustain the body. Likewise, we must have children. All this is necessary, and can be accomplished in holiness and purity.

Man's mind has the power to withstand all temptations. Every person has the potential of wisdom. You must bring out this potential wisdom and make it actual. With this potential wisdom alone you can overcome all temptations.

You may have succumbed to the desires of this world and sinned in many ways. You may have damaged your mind, leaving it weak and confused. But you still have some intelligence. With this alone you can overcome all desires. One grain of intelligence can stand against the whole world and all its temptations. Wherever you are, you can be close to God. You can approach God and serve Him even in the lowest pit of hell.

It needs tremendous effort, or help from God - or both - in order to subdue the impurities in the mind until you want nothing in this world and everything is the same to you. Then, "When you walk it will lead you, when you lie down it will watch over you, and when you wake up, it will comfort you" (Proverbs 6:22 ) .

When you have purified your mind, there is no difference between this world, the grave, and the next world. When you only desire God and His Torah, all are the same. In all three you can be attached to God and his Torah.

However, if you are attached to this world, there is an agonizing difference. This world is spread before you while the grave is tight and narrow. But when you purify your mind, all will be the same.

Sichot Haran #51

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The grave

Don't say that "the pit and the grave will be your refuge" ( Avot 4:22 ) . In this world you have the burden of making a living and many other worries. You might get bitten by a flea, but you won't feel it because your thoughts are preoccupied with your livelihood and other concerns.

In the grave, however, there are no other distractions. You can then hear even the sound of the maggots crawling towards you and feel the pain of their every bite, with nothing to distract your mind from this terrible suffering. God help us!

Sichot Haran #84

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Doorway to life

For a Tzaddik, death is just like going from one room to another.

Sichot Haran #156

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What is there for you to be afraid of about dying? The world there is far more beautiful than here.

Chayey Moharan #445

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Pray and study and pray.

What should a man do in this world? He must only pray and study and pray.

Sichot Haran #287

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By Rabbi Avraham Yehoshua Greenbaum
© AZAMRA INSTITUTE 5767 - 2006-7 All rights reserved