Rabbi Nachman from breslov says that the highest thing we
have is our hands, because they can reach higher than our
heads. The way we should do God's will is that our hands should
be uplifted higher than "I". Anything higher than
my head is my crown.
We have 613 mitzvoth, 613 laws. I don't
like the word "laws," because they are not laws.
The word law reminds you of police, some "straight"
character sitting there telling you what to do. Very bad translation.
Mitzvah means that God gave us 613 ways to come close to Him.
The ways are divided into two parts, 248 ways of reaching
God by doing certain things, and 365 ways of reaching Him
by not doing certain things. If there is a red light and I
don't go, nothing happens, right? I just don't cross the street.
However, if God's red light flashed and I stop when I have
a chance to do wrong, then something happens inside me. Something
happened to me; I walked a few steps higher.
Thoughts, words and actions are the
three revelations of my soul. On the "reality" level,
action is the strongest. On the soul level, action is the
furthest away. Speech is a little closer. Thought is really
it, because a person is what he thinks. I am not what I am
doing, because sometimes people or circumstances can force
me to do things. The most private thing in the world is thought;
so nobody can say, "I was forced to think this way."
Who forced you? If I want to know who I am I don't have to
look in a mirror. I just close my eyes and check what I am
Every mitzvah should be done on all
three levels. If I give a poor man a dollar I fulfill the
mitzvah of giving charity with my hands. If I I'm more of
a mentch, if I am more real, I say, "How are you, my
friend? Is there anything else I can do for you?" Talking
to him fulfills the mitzvah of charity on a speech level.
I can also fulfill it on a thought level. Believe me, the
poor man will know whether you thought of him while you gave
him the dollar, or if you were thinking of something else.
He will feel it.
When I do a mitzvah I am drawing life
upon myself. I am actually opening a gate in Heaven and life
is flowing into me. If I do a mitzvah only on the level, then
the life that flows into me is on an action level, far away
from my soul. If I also use speech, I get a little closer
and my spirit also receives life. A mitzvah on the thought
level is complete, and life reaches me in a deep way. Even
this is not the deepest depths. The deepest depths is doing
something so heartbreakingly hard that all of me has to struggle.
Then not only my actions, speech and thought receive life;
all of me, even my skin, receives life.
Sometimes someone asks a favor which
is very hard. We don't have the faintest idea what a favor
the person is doing us by asking. At that very moment God
is opening gates for us, giving us a chance to have the image
of God on our face again.