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The Simple Meaning

by Yehudis Golshevsky

BRI’s NarrowBridge.Org sends out twice weekly inspiration providing a regular dose of hope, meaning and courage. These emails include small doses of Rebbe Nachman’s wisdom, enabling us to get through the week in a more spiritual way. 

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Rebbe Nachman of Breslov taught…


Someone once asked Rebbe Nachman, “When I’m praying and I mention G-d’s holy Name, what profound thoughts, what deep intentions, should I have in mind?”
“Isn’t the simple meaning—G-d—enough for you?!” the Rebbe answered.

(Crossing the Narrow Bridge, p. 7)


What does this mean to me?


In this case, Rebbe Nachman’s student was asking about focusing his mind on deep mystical meditations during prayer. Rebbe Nachman’s overall view of praying with such kavanot was that it did not suit the essential purpose of prayer for pretty much everyone—the establishment of a vital, visceral and emotional link between the supplicant and the Creator. (There are rare individuals for whom mystical kavanot are the simple meaning of the words. Rebbe Nachman permitted such people to pray with the mystical meditations. But those people are few indeed.) When we overcomplicate matters we run the risk of missing the point entirely. Instead of filling my head with “concepts” for prayer, my entire being needs to be focused on the fact that I am in the presence of the Creator and am addressing Him directly. “Isn’t ‘G-d’ enough for you?!”

A prayer:


O G-d, teach me the ways of wholeheartedness and simplicity.
May I be “wholehearted with my G-d” and perform Your will with devotion,
with a a faith that is simple and straightforward,
without cleverness or sophistication.
For You know that there is no way to approach You
except through absolute simplicity,
through sincerity and complete faith.

(The Flame of the Heart, p. 40)

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