Continued from the last posting here:
After completing the 40 day project a few days before leaving for vacation, I had the inclination that it was time to shift gears. When learning Likutey Moharan I:49 at the end of 2012, I had never taken the time to learn one of the corresponding discourses in Likutey Halachos due to its length. Over the past few months, one of my friends who learns in kollel in Eretz Yisroel has been telling me that I missed a real gem by skipping Mincha Zayin (Likutey Halachos, Mincha 7). He wrote, “That piece of Likutey Halachos really changed my life! This was the first piece of Likutey Halachos that I had ever learned and once I stared it, I took off from my afternoon seder and went down to an empty shul and learned this piece until sunset. When I left af each day, I felt as through the world was an entirely new world; that the sky was different. It gave me a real fire for avodas Hashem.”
Additionaly, Rabbi Dovid Sears told me, “I think Mincha Zayin is one of the foundational sections of Likutey Halachos and would recommend that every serious student of Breslov learn it.” With these ringing endorsements, I resolved to spend the time to slowly go through Mincha Zayin and re-review its corresponding lesson in Likutey Moharan. The need to go slowly was reinforced when I read Rabbi Avrohom Yitzchok Kletzky’s article on how to learn Likutey Halachos. In his article, Rabbi Kletzky wrote, “Someone who wants to enter into a deeper understanding of Likutey Halachos should take one Halachah and learn it slowly, without any rush to finish. Learn it piece by piece, and try to attach the ideas together, until you know one Halachah well. You will then begin to see how each word of Likutey Halachos is a diamond, and not a single word is superfluous.”
I began learning Mincha Zayin on the first day by listening to Rabbi Nasan Maimon’s audio shiur during my drive to and from work and then later by looking up the pieces that jumped out at me inside the actual sefer. This was indeed a departure from how I usually learned Likutey Halachos. After proceeding in this manner for a few days, I decided I would continue learning Mincha Zayin via the audio shiurim to maximize my time and also to give me a good dose of Breslov before work and before returning home each night.
My first real insight relating to this lesson came one morning during hisbodedus when I focused on the idea of controlling one’s thoughts; one of the lesson’s main ideas. The more I spoke to Hashem about this idea, the more I began to clearly understand why the Rebbe was so strongly opposed to philosophy. This opposition seems to be succintly articulated in a quote from Elie Wiesel who once said, “Don’t let other people’s questions become your questions.” Applied to this lesson, perhaps it means that by being involved in philosophy a person’s mind becomes clouded and slowly the questions he reads in books of philosophy become his questions; he becomes sidetracked, and the real questions in his heart get put on a shelf and never dealt with. Philosophy, thus, becomes an obstacle for a person since it does not let him properly control his thoughts and be able to get in touch with his essential self and his unique connection to Hashem.
Next week, I will tell you how I further delved into more of this lesson’s main ideas.