It’s human nature to look for an external cause when something goes wrong. People often blame their personal problems and communal struggles on the government’s policies…on local and foreign anti-Semites…sometimes even on other “confused and self-hating Jews.” After all, whatever is bothering me is probably someone else’s fault, right?
Reb Noson dismissed that attitude. “Don’t ‘blamers’ realize that whatever the Jewish people suffer is decreed from Above?” he asked. “Why do they spend time talking about politics and ignore that the spiritual is at the root of our troubles? Rebbe Nachman teaches that one should appreciate that the difficulties in every person’s life are much gentler than we deserve. The same is true regarding the Jewish people’s many trials and tribulations.”
Many people feel that Rebbe Nachman’s teachings resonate with them and yearn to live accordingly. Breslover chassidim would say that the first sign that they’re starting to integrate the Rebbe’s words is that they stop speaking against other people. They don’t take any pleasure in discovering and describing other people’s flaws. Instead, they develop a stronger awareness of their own flaws, and this leads them to be more forgiving of the foibles of others.
The long years of Communist oppression were marked by periods of intense turmoil and overnight changes. There were hot wars and cold peacetimes, periods of harsh policy followed by sudden relaxation of regulations. Naturally, there was always so much to talk about.
Yet the Breslover Chasidim didn’t speak about any of this. They understood that one who is immersed in such matters will have a hard time focusing on Divine service. The outward conditions are always so nuanced and in flux; they tend to fill one’s attention to the exception of anything else. Another matter that Breslovers never discussed was the claims of their detractors. One could potentially spend the entire day chewing over every bit of news and rumor. What a great way to ensure that we accomplish as little as possible in serving God!
Instead, they made it a practice to focus only on the spiritual demands of the day. We are here on a journey with a mission. Why allow ourselves to be distracted from our primary purpose?
Based on Siach Sarfey Kodesh I:442, V:438, VIII:33