how i think about "azamra"

Rebbe Nachman has a teaching, colloquiually referred to as "Azamra" in which he explains that we must find the good points in ourselves and in others in order to bring us all over to the side of good. Here is a flow of thought that describes how I understand this teaching of Rebbe Nachman in the context of my learning:

1. Everything I witness was meant to be witnessed by me - to learn a personal lesson about HaShem - Baal Shem Tov [link]

2. We are told that the entire nation of Israel are tzaddikim - the Notzer Hesed says that nothing bad about them is ever true. [link]

3. We must judge everyone else favorably, but we are told not to rely on ourselves until the day we die. - This is a paraphrased teaching from the Mishnah and the Talmud.

4. Mordechai tells Esther that HaShem will save everyone else, but she holds her own fate in her hands. [link]

5. The Baal HaTanya explains that when we recognize our soul as the essence of ourselves, and the body and actions as exterior "clothing" then we can more easily love all Jews. This is because we recognize that while their clothes (ie. their actions) might be dirty, their soul is pure just as our own is. [link]

6. Rav Eliezer Berland, of Yeshivat Shuvu Banim, explains that in order to connect to HaShem we must learn/connect with the whole Torah. [link]

7. Each Jew represents a letter of the Torah, and so we must connect to and love every Jew. [link]

8. Rebbe Nachman explains that we must find the good points in even the lowest of Jews. This act, he explains, can even raise that Jew from the depths and bring them over to the side of good.

9. How does this all integrate?

10. When we are not complete with ourselves, our sins cloud our vision.

11. This clouded vision projects our failings on other people.

12. This is a kindness from HaShem to make us aware of our own flaws so that we can fix them.

13. By judging others kindly and finding their good points, we are repairing the flaws and sins within ourselves.

14. Through this process we bring ourselves over to the side of good, where, free of sin and lies, we recognize the true inherent goodness in everyone else.

15. We see that this whole process is stated simply: the removal of the foreskin from our heart, the letting go of the flaws which separate us and keep us in darkness.

16. Once our heart is rectified, we can learn the Torah from the actions of all those around us, we will know the truth in our hearts. This is the very description of the end of days, when we no longer need to ask questions about HaShem, for we know Him in our hearts.

There is so much more to this, it's barely even the chapter headings, the Roshei Perakim, but I thought perhaps it might help to share it, I am sure others can take these disparate ideas and understand them on far deeper levels than I.

[note: I waited a very long time before posting this]


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