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Secret of Brit Book - Chapter 7: Rebbe Nachman's Teachings
Written by Michael   
Tuesday, 09 May 2006

Rabbi Nachman’s Teachings

4. Hitbodedut

As mentioned, one of the foundations of Rabbi Nachman’s teachings is the importance of Hitbodedut in serving Hashem. The essence of Hitbodedut is pouring one’s heart out in personal prayer before one’s Maker. Rabbi Nachman emphasizes that this practice should be practiced in seclusion, and that it is especially effective when conducted outdoors in a field or a forest. In his books, Likutei Tefillot, and “Torot and Tefillot,” Rabbi Natan presents many examples that can help every Jew rise to more fervent outpourings of the heart. Here is one such example:

“Please, most honored and awe-inspiring G-d, honored King, You who created the entire world for Your blessed honor, as is written, ‘Everything I created and formed and made, for my Name and My honor I created,’ help me in Your great compassion, that I merit to increase and elevate your praise and honor.
“Help me to nullify myself completely before You, and to diminish my own honor, that my own honor be as if void and non-existent. Help me that I do not raise myself up to declare my own honor in any way, but rather that I only endeavor to enhance the honor due You, and that all of my doings and thoughts and desires be directed exclusively to Your great and blessed honor alone.

“Assist me in your great mercy to shatter and remove all feelings of arrogant self-pride from my heart, that there shouldn’t rise in my heart any trace of conceit at all, and that I merit to achieve true humility.  Give me the intelligence and wisdom so that I can find the way to true humility, and to flee from false humility, from humility which is really to win honor from others. Please help me in Your great mercy and kindness that I merit to attain true and absolute humility.

“Please, G-d, in Your infinite mercy, have mercy on Your creation, and open my mouth in prayer that I be able to pour forth my speech before You in a manner that awakens Your mercy to extend over me, that You have compassion on me this very moment and that You aid me to sanctify and purify myself in the holiness of the Brit, that I may be saved from this moment onward from every transgression against the Brit in the world.

“And for all of the blemishes in which I blemished the holy Brit until now, please forgive me, please forgive me and cleanse me in Your towering mercy and kindness, in everything that I blemished by my thoughts, and my speech, and my deeds, by looking at forbidden things, and hearing unholy matters, smelling unholy smells, and in all of my feelings, whether intentionally or unintentionally, whether willfully or unwillfully. In every way that I blemished the Brit, please forgive me and have compassion on me, and shatter, and weaken, and subdue, and nullify all of the ropes and knots and chains binding me to the Sitra Achra, which were strengthened because of my numerous sins, which overcome me at every moment and seek to pull me from sin to sin, and not allow me to purify myself as I should, keeping me far from guarding the Brit in true holiness, as a Jew should, a son of Avraham, Yitzhak, and Yaacov, whom You chose.

“Master of the World, may it be Thy will that all of my transgressions be transformed into merit through my t’shuva, even though I have not even begun to return in true repentance. Even so, grant me the gift of Your forgiveness as a gratuitous gift, and have mercy on me in Your great mercy, and rescue me from the trials and tribulations that pursue me at every moment.

“And even if I myself am my worst enemy, for indeed I have free choice, and no one can force me to stray from the true path, and I confess that I am guilty, and that I myself am responsible for my transgressions, but what can I do for I am weak, and I don’t know how to escape from my pursuers, nor how to overcome all of the lusts and evil fantasies that overwhelm me at every moment. I have no hope if not for Your infinite compassion, that You help me and grant me the strength to overcome all of the lusts and fantasies, to subdue them and cast them into the dust, to shatter them and expel them from my mind, from this moment and forever after, that absolutely no evil fantasy enter my mind or thoughts at all, rather that my mind and thoughts be holy and pure at all times to the utmost measure of sanctity.

“And help me in Your great mercy to purify and sanctify myself, that I be able to sanctify myself in things that are permitted to me, and that I merit to add more and more holiness to my life until I achieve true holiness and separation from all evil things, that through me all the worlds be unified... may it be Thy will, amen.”
(Abridged from, “Torot and Tefillot,” Tefillah L’Torah, 11)

Concluding Prayer

Our Father in heaven, may it be Thy will that in the merit of the holy Zohar, and in the merit of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, and in the merit of all the Tzaddikim and their exalted teachings, that everyone who comes to purify himself from transgressions against the Brit will be granted Your never-ending kindness, and the strength and Divine assistance to discover the great light and joy of Your salvation.

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