Saturday, 4 February 2012

Mussar: Anyone can criticize, Uplifting Others takes effort

A Regular Dose of Hope, Meaning and Courage
Further information below

Rebbe Nachman of Breslov taught...
It's easy to criticize others and. make them feel unwanted. Anyone can do it. What takes effort and skill is
picking them up and making them feel good.
(The Empty Chair, p. 31*)

What does this mean to me?
It's easy to break something down; it's hard work to build. I try to remember these words of Rebbe Nachman whenever my deep-seated tendency to offer "constructive" criticism comes to the fore. I always need to think it over: will my words help? Are they the kinds of words that will make my child, my spouse, my relative, my friend, neighbor, co-worker or student feel their goodness more powerfully so that they will want to build on that good, or will they just feel judged? It's not a question of, "If you don't have anything good to say, don't say anything at all." That's too simplistic; sometimes what's called for is not praise or a comforting word, but something with a little more direction. I need to remember that while it may be harder to find the words that will build, they are the only ones that will serve.
A prayer:
Save me from all strife and conflict. May I harbor not even the slightest trace of negativity toward anything holy or toward any good person. Let me become a true vehicle for goodness and holiness. May I love and feel true affinity for every good person, every true tzaddik and all worthy beings in the world...


The Flame of the Heart P. 82

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*"The Empty Chair: Finding Hope and Joy – Timeless Wisdom from a Hasidic Master, Rebbe Nachman of Breslov" by Rebbe Nachman of Breslov, Adapted by Moshe Mykoff and The Breslov Research Institute, 1994. Permission granted by Jewish Lights Publishing, Woodstock, VT, <> .


1 comment:

Avraham said...

rebbi nachman's opinion about rebuke seems to have changed from LM vol 1 24 to LM vol 2 chapter 8. Same for science and same for the guide for the perplexed.