Thinking good about ourselves – and others – is something that the Rebbe teaches is not just beneficial for ourselves, but it also actually sways people over to the good side. It is not just a helpful exercise, but a vital part of our lives! Read on to see how it works…
Know that a person must judge every person favorably. Even in someone who is a complete sinner, a person must search and find a bit of good in him, where in that little bit he isn’t a sinner. And through finding a bit of good in him and judging him favorably, he really raises him to the side of merit, and he can make him return in teshuvah.
This is the aspect of the passuk: "וְעוֹד מְעַט וְאֵין רָשָׁע וְהִתְבּוֹנַנְתָּ עַל מְקוֹמוֹ וְאֵינֶנּוּ" “Another bit and there is no rasha; you’ll look at his place and he is no more.” This passuk cautions us to judge every person favorably; and even if you see a complete sinner, you must still search, seek, and find a little bit of good where he isn’t a sinner there. This is the וְעוֹד מְעַט וְאֵין רָשָׁע - that you need to find a bit of good that he still has in him, where he isn’t a rasha. For even if he is a sinner, how is it possible that he doesn’t have some good still in him? How is it possible that he never did a single mitzvah or good deed in his life? And through your finding still a bit of good in him where he isn’t a sinner in that place and judging him favorably, you really raise him from the side of guilt to the side of merit, until he’ll return in teshuvah through this. This is the ‘another little bit and there is no rasha’, through your finding the little bit of good where he isn’t a rasha… ‘you’ll look at his place and he isn’t there’ – you’ll look at his place and level and you’ll see that he isn’t on his earlier place, for through finding a bit of good that he still has in him, some good point, and judging him favorably, one truly takes him from the side of guilt to the side of merit.
And so too, a person must find in himself, for it is known that a person must be very careful to always be happy, and to distance depression very much. And even if he starts looking at himself and he sees that there is no good in him; he’s full of aveiros, and the yetzer hora wants to throw him into depression and gloominess through this chas veshalom, even though, it is forbidden for him to fall from this. He just needs to search and find some good inside him, for it is impossible that he never did any mitzvah or good deed in his life. And even if when he starts looking into that bit of good, he sees that it’s also full of wounds… which means that he sees that even the mitzvah that he merited doing is full of egotism, extraneous intentions and many defects, with all this it isn’t possible that there shouldn’t be within that mitzvah a tiny bit of good, for at least however it is, there was some good point in the mitzvah and good deed that he did. For a person must search and seek within himself for some good, in order to enliven himself and come to simcha. And through the fact that he searches and finds still a little bit of good in himself he goes from the side of guilty to merit, and he can do teshuvah…
(ליקוטי מוהר"ן רפ"ב)
Once Reb M. of Teplik came to Reb Nosson, who asked him about a certain person in Teplik who was a bit mekurav to him. Reb M. answered him dismissively, as if there is no one to talk about. R’ Nosson answered him, ‘Listen to my words. If you want to view people in this light, you’ll invalidate the whole world! Test yourself; picture all the inhabitants of your town, starting from the one who lives at the far end of town. Look at him carefully, and you’ll surely find offense in him. Continue on house by house, until you reach your house. Are you the only erliche Yid in town?’
‘I’m also not an erliche Yid,’ replied the person.
‘You’re also not an erliche Yid?’ repeated R’ Nosson, surprised. ‘If so, who then is an erliche Yid? But if you look at other people favorably, then even if you look at the worst person, you’ll find some good in him. Even more so in people who aren’t that bad, and so in every single person and in you yourself too, you’ll find good. In this way, you can find merit in the whole world.”
(כוכבי אור י"ח)
Reb Nosson said, “I can find such merit in the worst Yid, that if I would write it down, it would take up several sheets of paper, according to what I know is done with a person in this world.
(כוכבי אור ע"ד סעיף טו)
Reb Nosson once spoke once again about this way of judging every person favorably, even the lowest of the low, and finding in everyone some little bit of good, through which one truly raises him to the side of merit until he can bring him to teshuvah through this, as it is mentioned at length in the Rebbe’s sefarim. While he was talking about it, Reb Nachman of Tulchin was sitting next to him, and out of his heart’s great yearning to hear these sweet words, he repeated every word after him in a whisper. Reb Nosson told him, “You think it’s a simple and easy matter. I’ll explain the difficulty of it: Don’t forget the Rebbe’s words that one truly rises to the side of merit through this and returns in teshuvah. If we would be able to fulfil this, we would be able to bring the whole world back in teshuvah!”
Once there was a fire in Breslov. Afterwards, Reb Nosson was walking with some other people to the site of the fire, and they saw the owner of the house crying bitterly and searching for some pieces of wood or iron that he could use when he would build his house from new. He collected piece after piece, one by one.
Reb Nosson then said to his companions, “Do you see this person whose house was burnt down, and he still isn’t giving up from building it anew; how he’s collecting all the pieces he’ll still be able to use to rebuild? So too it is in ruchniyus. Even if the yetzer hora strengthens itself so much over a person and almost burns him completely, it is forbidden for him to give up hope. He just needs to collect and search for some good points from between his many sins that he stumbled into, and through this he’ll be able to truly return to Hashem, as it says in the torah of azamrah (above).
(פרפראות לחכמה רפ"ה)
Once while Reb Nosson was talking about this Torah, he understood that it seemed repetitive to his talmid Reb Nachman of Tulchin, who had already heard it many times. Reb Nosson then told him, “To me, it’s brand new!” (שפיגל ניי!) And he took every opportunity to teach it to others.
(באש ובמים פרק ט"ז)
Reb Yehoshua, the son-in-law of Reb Shimshon Barski, once approached Reb Levi Yitzchak on Erev Rosh Hashana and complained to him that he can’t daven and do hisbodedus properly. Reb Levi Yitzchak told him, “This comes because when you start davening, you think only about your shortcomings and deficiencies in avodas Hashem. That’s not correct or right at all. Just start searching within yourself for good points and virtues, and this will shine your mind to daven properly.” And after a while, Reb Yehoshua came to thank him for the advice, which had helped him greatly.
(שיח שרפי קודש ד-תקמב)
5564. Leil Shabbos Kodesh after kiddush. I (the Rebbe) saw in a dream that I am in a city, and in my dream it seems to me that the city is very big. And a big Tzaddik arrived there, one of the old Tzaddikim, who was considered a great Tzaddik. And everyone went to him. I also went to him, and I saw that everyone was passing him at the side without greeting him. It seemed that they were doing it intentionally. I wondered how they have such audacity, because I knew that he is a great Tzaddik. And I asked, “How do you have such audacity, not to greet him intentionally?” and the answer was: Because he is truly a great Tzaddik, but his body is collected from many other places, which is an aspect of unclean places. But he himself is a great man, and he took upon himself that he’ll rectify this body. And it says that ‘one doesn’t greet a person in unclean places,’ therefore, they didn’t greet him.
(חיי מוהרן, פז)
What comes out for us from the Rebbe’s words is that a person can’t look at his friend, because every person is a world for himself; even two friends don’t have what to mix into each other’s matters…
(דיבורי אמונה, שיחה כ"ח: לא לראות בקלקלת חבירו)
Hashem’s approach is to look at the good that people do, and even though they also have bad in them, He doesn’t pay attention to it, as it says, ‘He does not see bad in Yaakov.’ A person is all the more so forbidden to look at his friend negatively and search for what isn’t good or find wrongdoings in his behavior, but on the contrary, he is obligated to look only at the good.
(ליקוטי מוהר"ן ב י"ז)
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