The Secret of the Good Point

In Short

By Ron Webersod

Translated by Moshe Neveloff

Edited by Gershon Weissman

One of the most annoying things about books in which the word “secret” appears in the name, is that you’re always waiting for the secret to be revealed, and in the end you feel that you exited from the back door of a maze with empty hands.  They promised to reveal to you something incredible and amazing, but you feel that you haven’t received anything.

In order not to make the same mistake, we’ll start by revealing the secret which Rebbe Nachman revealed to us.  Afterwards we’ll see, slowly, how it connects to us, to our lives.  What are the places where we are blocking ourselves, and how is it possible to actualize these concepts in different areas of our lives.

Note: This chapter, naturally, is written briefly and very concise.  Further on in the book we’ll try to explain the ideas in a much slower and deeper way.

Rebbe Nachman’s secret is very simple:

In everything there is good.  Even in a person who seems completely wicked, and even if it seems to you that he is 99.9% evil and 0.1% good- there is still good there.  There is something.

The small percentage of good that you found in the person- that’s his “true self.”  All of the negative features are just superficial layers which are not true.  They are hiding his true self.

You choose what happens.  You create your reality by way of your choices.  If you’ll choose bad- you’ll increase it; if you’ll choose good- you yourself will increase the degree of goodness.

In other people there is endless good, and so too in yourself.  Even if you feel bad about yourself because of your behavior, you have so much good inside.  The very fact that you choose to see the good inside yourself will increase it, and this will give you the strength to choose to improve.

If you agree to believe that you are good- you can choose goodness.  It seems to you that you are far from the good (but really you are actually inside it).  Even a little bit of good is good! (Further on we’ll learn that too much good all at once can extinguish the light).  As long as we are not connected to the good inside of us, we are in a state of spiritual sleep.

Not only do you do good deeds and want that which is good- you yourself are good.  You have a point of Godliness.  Deep inside yourself you are always connected to the eternal good which is the source which gives life to creation without end, without separation and without any connection to actions.

The reality which we see around us is a dynamic reality, and we have in our hands the possibility of how to interpret it.

The Sages said: “Anyone who disqualifies- he’s disqualifying his own blemish.”  Their intention is to say that when I see the negative aspects of someone else, it’s actually a reflection of my negative aspects, and I’m seeing them in order to correct them inside myself.

If I’ll change the way that I see another person, or the way that I see myself, I’ll be able to begin with rectification.  In the end, both of these aspects will influence each other.  If I’ll begin to look at myself with a good and more forgiving eye, as a result of this I will look this way also at the other person.

In short, the secret of the good point is that in everything in the universe, also in what seems to us to be really bad and negative, there is a good point.  This good point, even if it is almost hidden from the eye, can increase and become stronger and add goodness without the external reality changing whatsoever.  The choice is in our hands.

“Because the Sages, of blessed memory, already revealed to us that in all material objects and in all the languages of the nations of the world, you can find in them Godliness.  Because without Godliness they have no vitality nor existence at all.”[1]

Everything in our world receives its vitality from God.  The Kabbalists explain that everything has a specific character trait of the soul, even a stone.  Something which has no vitality simply can’t exist in the world.  Rebbe Nachman explains how far reaching this matter is: the revelation of God’s light in the world spreads and gives life to everything in creation.  However, there are places which are so lowly that it’s not appropriate for His light to dwell in them- and specifically in them an even higher light dwells!  A light which is beyond creation, a light which comes from the Creator’s endless mercy.

Therefore, everything in the world has its source in holiness.  There are no mistakes in creation.  “Everything God does is for the good.”[2]  We don’t always understand this (and maybe even usually we don’t understand this…) but everything which happens in our world and in our lives is in the end for a good purpose.  Our deepest goal is to connect things in return, while we are still alive, as much as possible to their holy source, and to understand as much as possible the good which is concealed even in what seems to us to be bad and difficult.

Therefore when a Jew finds in himself a good point… this good is completely one with God… because all of the goodness we find in every place is all from Him… that is to say the good point which I find in myself, which is the aspect of Godliness, the aspect of ‘God is good to all’, it supports me and awakens me from my slumber…[3]

Rebbe Natan was Rebbe Nachman’s disciple.  Rebbe Nachman read the writings of his student, supported them and approved of them as if they were his own writings.  Here Rebbe Natan reveals to us another very important point: “The good point which I find in myself, which is the aspect of Godliness, is the aspect of good.”

Rebbe Natan teaches, we have inside of us a Godly soul.  This is our true essence.  Beyond the fact that I can find good in what I’m doing (even if in general I think that I’m a failure), beyond the fact that I’m able to understand that my desires are good (even if I completely “mess up” in my life) – Rebbe Natan says that it doesn’t matter what I think about myself, what I’ve done or where I’ve fallen to- I still have inside of me a Godly, pure soul which will never become tainted.

The Godly soul cannot be spoiled.  It can only become distant from us.  The soul sees what the body is doing (and in the concept of the body it’s possible to include also the lower parts of our soul) and it distances itself.  “Because the soul of every person sees and always understands very lofty concepts, even if the body doesn’t know of them, therefore every person needs to have a lot of compassion on his body, to see to it that he purifies his body, so that his soul can let it know of all the lofty concepts which it sees and obtains.[4]

I remember that when I began to learn the teaching of ‘Azamra’ I didn’t understand why Rebbe Nachman relates all the time to our actions, to the fact that there’s no doubt that we’ve done something good, even if it’s something small- and he sees in this something that points to our goodness.  I didn’t understand why he doesn’t relate to the eternal soul which is inside of us, the endless point which his student, Rebbe Natan, alluded to in Likutei Halachot.  Of course, Rebbe Nachman has a different teaching in the name of “Ayeh” where he reveals that even in the complete darkness, in the place where it’s impossible to find goodness or holiness, there is a lofty, eternal light which shines, a light which comes from the Creator’s endless mercy.  A light which penetrates any darkness and strengthens us even in the most difficult moments.  It is written in the teaching of ‘Ayeh’: “And even in the most impure places or the houses of idolatry, they also need to receive vitality from Him.  However you must know, that they receive this vitality from the aspect of the hidden teaching, which is concealed in the portion of Bereshit.”[5][6]

Slowly, slowly the understanding penetrated into me that Rebbe Nachman wants to connect everything, all of the different parts of our being: the action with the thought, the heart with the intellect and with the body.  Rebbe Nachman wants the lofty goodness to spread in the world and be tangible and felt in all of our experience.

And this is essentially the secret of the good point: the secret is that it seems to you that you’re just adding a little bit of good, but really you are connecting to a deep fabric of good, a fabric of an influence of goodness on all levels, of fixing myself and fixing the world.  You connect to boundless mercy.

In everything in the universe, and even in something which seems to be the most negative, there is a good point.

[1] Likutei Moharan, Torah 33, Part One

[2] Talmud, Tractate Brachot, 60b

[3] Likutei Halachot, The Laws of awakening in the morning, first teaching

[4] Likutei Moharan, Torah 22, Part One

[5] Likutei Moharan, Torah 12, Part Two

[6] The Talmud, in Tractate Rosh Hashana, answers a difficulty with the teaching of the Sages, in the Ethics of the Fathers (5:1), that the world was created by way of ten statements of God.  The Talmud asks, behold it is only written nine times the words “God said”?  The Talmud answers that the first words of the portion, “In the beginning” are also a statement of Hashem, however they are called a hidden or closed statement, because they don’t include the words “God said”.

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