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Avot 3:5: Likuttei Moharan Print E-mail

Pirkei AvotRabbi Chanina ben Chachinai says: One who stays awake at night or who travels alone on the road, but turns his heart to idleness; indeed, he bears guilt for his soul. (Avot 3:5)


We merit reabsorption into our spiritual roots, once again becoming part of the Unity of God, whose existence is necessary, only by means of self annihilation. It is impossible to attain self-knowledge vacation without solitude. Only in solitary talk with our Creator can we abolish all our lust and evil traits to the point that we completely negate our material existence and are reabsorbed into our roots.

The best time for such solitude is at night, when the world is free of worldly occupations. Daytime, the time of worldly pursuits, is distracting and confusing, preventing us from becoming attached and reunited with God. Even if you are not personally occupied, it is hard to achieve self notification when the rest of the world is busy pursuing this worldly vanities.

The solitude should take place in a secluded area, outside the city limits, where there are no people milling about. A place where there is usually traffic during the day, with people pursuing their worldly affairs, is not conducive to solitude and reabsorption in God, even if there is no one around at the moment. Therefore, both nighttime and a lonely road or place are needed. (Likkutei Moharan 1:52)

This discourse revolves around the Mishnah quoted above. The Breslaver deduces that to secure the eternal life of one's soul by rejoining its route and source, one should do the things mentioned in the Mishnah, namely, be awake at night and go on a road alone, but instead of turning one's heart to vanity, one should utilize the solitude of night and the lonely road for the kind of meditation that leads to spiritual self annihilation.

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