The Story of the Seven Beggars, by Rabbi Nachman of Breslov.
| It once happened that there was a king that
had an only son. The king decided to hand over the kingdom to his son,
during his lifetime. The king held a huge feast, in order to celebrate
the transfer of the monarchy. For sure, anytime that a king holds a feast,
it is a time of great rejoicing, and especially on such an occasion, to
celebrate such an important event. All the ministers of the kingdom and
all the nobility of the land were invited, and there was tremendous joy
at the feast. Also the people of the land were very excited that the king
was handing over the monarchy, for this was also a very great honor for
the king himself. There were all kinds of entertainment at the ball, orchestras
and comedians, and so on, and an atmosphere of complete happiness.
In the midst of the celebration, the king stood up and
spoke to his son, "Since I am an astrologer, I can see from the stars that
in the future you are going to lose the monarchy, and when that happens,
I want you to be very careful not to fall into depression. Rather, you
must force yourself to remain happy. And if you do succeed in remaining
happy, then I will also be happy. In fact, even if you become depressed,
I will still be happy. I will be happy that you are no longer king. For
if you can not remain happy despite losing the kingship, that will be a
sign that you were not worthy of being king. But if you do manage to remain
happy, then I will be very happy indeed."
The prince took complete control over the kingdom. He
appointed new ministers and officers of state. The prince was extremely
wise. He loved wisdom very much, and he surrounded himself with wise men.
Anyone who was a master of any particular type of wisdom found great favor
in his eyes, and was given much importance, and either money or honor,
whichever he preferred. And since wisdom was so important, all the people,
also, started to dedicate themselves to learning all kinds of wisdom, in
order to receive either wealth or honor. However, because the whole nation
was completely immersed in their learning, they forgot all the strategies
of war. This continued until they reached such a level, that even the simple
people of that land, in any other country, would be considered extremely
wise. And the wise men were very wise indeed. But because of their wisdom
they all became atheists, and they drew the king after them, into their
atheism. However this did not affect the simple people, the highest levels
of wisdom were too abstract for them to grasp, so they were not damaged.
But the very wisest men and the king, they all became complete atheists.
The king, because he still had some good inside him, for
he had been born with good qualities, would think to himself, from time
to time, "Where have I got to, how can it be that I should conduct myself
in such a way...," and he would moan and sigh that he had fallen into such
twisted and mistaken ways. But immediately he would return to his wisdoms,
and in doing so, return to his atheistic beliefs. This would happen to
| It once happened that there was a flight from
a certain country, the whole country fled. During the flight they passed
through a forest, and a little boy and a little girl, about four or five
years old, got lost. They started crying, because they had nothing to eat.
Suddenly a beggar appeared, with his sack on his shoulder. The children
went over to him, and started to follow him. He gave them some bread, which
they ate. He asked them, "How did you get here?" They answered that they
did not know, for they were very young children. He started to walk away,
so they asked him if he would take them with him. He answered that he did
not want to take them with him. During this conversation they suddenly
realized that he was blind, and they could not understand how he was able
to find his way. (It is interesting that they were able to appreciate the
problem, for they were still very young, however they were very intelligent.)
The beggar blessed them that they should become like him, that they should
be old like him, and then he left them some more bread to eat, and he went
on his way. The children realized that Hashem was watching over them, and
that He had sent the beggar to bring them food.
When they had finished the bread, they started to cry
out for more food. Later night fell, and they went to sleep. In the morning
they woke up, and again cried for more food. Suddenly a deaf beggar appeared.
They tried to speak to him, but he signaled to them with his hands that
he was unable to hear. He also gave them bread to eat, and started to go
on his way. They wanted him to take them with him, but he did not agree.
However, he did bless them that they should be like him, and then he also
left them some bread, and went on his way.
Again, the bread finished and they cried out for more
food. Suddenly a beggar appeared, who stammered. They tried to speak to
him, but they were unable to understand his answers. He understood them,
but they could not understand him. He also gave them bread to eat, blessed
them that they should be like him, and went on his way.
Then came a beggar with a crooked neck, and exactly the
same story as before. Then a hunch-backed beggar. Then a beggar with no
hands, and finally a beggar with no feet, each one gave them bread, and
blessed them that they should be like him, as above.
Again they finished the bread, and so they decided to
walk and see if they could find some kind of a settlement. They walked
until they found a path, and followed the path until they came to a village.
They walked up to a house, where the people had mercy on them and gave
them bread. Similarly at the second house, and so on. They realized that
things were going well for them, and made a pact between them that they
should always stay together. They made for themselves large sacks, with
which they went begging from door to door, and to all the celebrations,
to the special meals served for a Bris Mila and to Weddings and so on.
They then moved on to the next town. And from town to town, begging from
door to door, and at the markets they used to sit amongst the other beggars,
holding out their begging bowls. Until they became well known amongst the
beggars. They all knew them, that they were the children that had got lost
in the forest.
One time there was a huge market in a certain town. The
beggars went there, and so too did the children. The beggars hit upon the
idea of marrying the two children together. Everyone agreed, and the matter
was decided. The only question was how to make for them a marriage feast.
Then they remembered that soon it was going to be the king's birthday,
and they decided that all the beggars should go to the feast, and whatever
they managed to beg for themselves there, meat and bread, with that they
would make the wedding. So that is what they did, they collected whatever
bread and meat that they could, also anything left over, and they went
and dug a huge pit in the ground, big enough to hold a hundred people,
and they covered it over with sticks and earth and refuse. And they all
went inside and held a wedding for the children. It was a tremendously
happy occasion, and the children themselves were also very happy.
The children remembered the great kindness that
Hashem had done for them, in sustaining them while they were in the forest,
and they started to cry out and yearn for the first beggar, the blind one,
that had given them bread while they were in the forest. And as they were
yearning for him to come to the celebration, he suddenly spoke up and said,
"Here I am. I have come to your wedding. And now I will give you as a wedding
present that which I blessed you before, that you should be old like me.
When I first met you, I only gave it to you as a blessing, but now I am
giving it to you as a wedding present, that you should have a long life,
like mine. You think that I am blind, but in fact I am not blind at all.
It is just that all the time that the world has been in existence is no
longer for me than the wink of an eye. (Which is why it seemed as if he
was blind, for he simply did not look at the world at all, since all the
time that had passed in the world was to him just the time it takes to
blink the eye.) For I am very very old, and yet I am like a suckling child,
that has not even started to live. Nevertheless, I am still very old. And
not only I myself say this, I also have the approbation of the Great Eagle.
I will relate to you the story.... Once there were many people traveling
in ships on the sea. A storm wind blew up and destroyed all the ships,
but the people were saved. They came to a tower, and went inside, and found
there sufficient food and drink and clothes to cover all their needs. They
had there everything that they could possibly need. They decided that each
one of them should tell an old story, that they should each relate their
very earliest memory. There were both young and old people there. They
decided to honor the oldest person there by letting him tell his story
first. He said, "What can I tell you, I can remember as far back as the
apple being cut from the branch." And no one there understood what he meant.
However, there were some very wise men there, and they said that that was
certainly a very old story indeed. And it was the turn of the next oldest.
The next eldest said, "You call that an old story? I myself remember that,
and not only that, but I also remember the candle when it was lit." Everyone
agreed that that was certainly an older story than the first. But still,
it was a wonder to them, how the second, who was younger than the first,
could actually remember further back. And then it was the turn of the third
oldest. He spoke up and said, "I remember when the fruit first started
to be formed." They all agreed that this was an even older story than the
first two. The fourth eldest related, "I remember when the seed was taken
to be planted." The fifth eldest related, "I even remember the wise men
planning and inventing the seed." The sixth related that he could remember
the taste of the fruit, even before it had entered into the fruit. The
seventh related that he could remember the fragrance of the fruit, even
before it entered into the fruit. The eighth remembered the look of the
fruit, even before it became a fruit. I, (the blind beggar telling the
story,) also was there, I was a very young child, and I told them how I
could remember all their stories, and furthermore, I could remember when
there was absolutely nothing at all. They all agreed that this was the
oldest story of all, and they could not understand how the youngest could
actually tell the oldest story, that he could remember more than those
older than him. Following this, the Great Eagle came and knocked on the
tower, and said to them, "Stop being so poverty stricken. Return to your
treasures, and use them." He told them that they should leave the tower
in descending order, eldest first, and he took them all out of the tower.
First of all, he took the very youngest, who was in fact, older than them
all. Then the next youngest, and so on, the eldest of all leaving last
of all. Because whoever was the younger, was actually the older, and the
oldest was the youngest of all.
The Eagle said to them, "I will explain to you the stories
that each of you told. The one who told how he could remember the apple
being cut from the branch. He was able to remember only as far back as
the cutting of his umbilical cord. The one who remembered the lit candle,
he could remember as far back as when he was an embryo, and a candle was
alight above his head. The one who remembered the forming of the fruit,
was remembering the actual forming of his body, at the time of the creation
of the embryo. The one who remembered the seed being taken to be planted,
was remembering the transferring of the seed at the time of conception.
The one who remembered the wise men inventing the seed, was remembering
the time that the seed was still in the brain, (for the creation of the
seed starts in the brain.) The one who remembers the taste, that is the
soul, (the nefesh.) The smell, that is the spirit, (the ruach.)
The sight, that is the inner most point, (the neshama.) And the
child that remembered nothing at all, his is the earliest memory of all,
for he remembers even that which came before the nefesh, ruach
and neshama, which is the aspect of absolutely nothing."
The Eagle then said to them, "Return to your ships, which
are your broken bodies which have been rebuilt. Now you will be able to
return to them." And he blessed them. And as for me, (the blind beggar
telling the story,) the Great Eagle said to me, "You come with me, because
you are like me. For you are very old, and yet very young, and still, you
have hardly even started to exist. Even so, you are very very old. I am
also that way, for I am also very old, and yet very young." So you see,
I have the approbation of the Great Eagle, (that I have lived a very long
life,) and now I give you a long life, like mine, as a wedding present."
And there was tremendous happiness and rejoicing, there at the feast.
| On the second of the seven days of the
wedding feast the young couple remembered the second beggar, the deaf one,
that had sustained them and given them bread. They were yearning and longing
for him to come to the feast, and suddenly he appeared and said, "Here
I am." And he embraced them and kissed them and said, "Now I will give
you a present, that you will be like me. That you should have a very good
life, like mine. Originally I gave it to you as a blessing, but now I am
giving you the good life that I lead, as a present. You think that I am
deaf. But really I am not deaf at all. It is simply that the whole world
has no value in my eyes whatsoever, that I should listen to all its lackings.
Because all the sounds that are heard in the world are only due to something
that is lacking. Every single person crying out over what he is missing.
And even all the sounds of happiness in the world, even they are only due
to a lack of something, that the person was lacking something, which he
has now received. Therefore, all the sounds of the world are of no importance
to me, that I should allow to enter into my ears all the cries of the people
crying out for what they are missing. For I live such a good life that
I do not lack for anything. And I have the approbation regarding this,
that I live such a good life, from the Land of Riches." And the good life
that he lead was that he had bread to eat and water to drink. (And he related
to them the story...)
"For there is a country that is tremendously rich, that
has unbelievable treasures. One time a group of people got together, and
each one was boasting about the good life that he lead, how he was able
to live such a good life. I stood up and said to them, "The good life that
I lead is far better than the good life that any of you lead. And the proof
is... if you lead such a good life, let us see if you can save a certain
country. For there is a country that used to have a garden, and the fruit
that grew in the garden had all the tastes in the world. The fruit also
contained all the smells and sights in the world. It also grew all the
flowers in the world, everything possible grew in the garden.
There was a gardener there who watched over the garden.
The people of that country used to live such a good life, because of that
garden. But then they lost the gardener, and everything in the garden went
to ruin, for there was no one to watch over it. Still, they were able to
continue to live from the under growth that still remained. Then a cruel
king attacked their country, but he had no success against them. So he
went and damaged the good life that they still had from the garden. Not
that he was able to damage the garden itself. Rather, what he did was to
place in the country three groups of slaves, and he commanded them to do
exactly according to his instructions. And through this they damaged the
sense of taste. For through whatever it was that they did, all the food
that every one ate had the taste of rotting flesh. They also damaged the
sense of smell, so that all the smells had a smell of bitterness. Similarly
they damaged the sense of sight, so that it seemed to people that they
were looking at everything through clouds and darkness." (This is all through
what the slaves of the cruel king achieved, through following his instructions.)
"And now, if you are really able to live the good life, let us see if you
are able to save them. Furthermore, (all this is being said by the deaf
beggar,) if you do not save them, all the suffering that this particular
country is going through, you could find yourselves facing exactly the
So all the rich people traveled to that country, and I
went with them. And on the journey, each one of them continued to live
his own particular good life, for they still had all their treasures, etc.
But when they started to come close to the country, also their sense of
taste, etc. began to be damaged. I said to them, "If you have not even
reached there yet, and already you are starting to be affected, what is
going to be when you get there? And furthermore, how on earth are you going
to be able to save them?" So I took from my bread and water and gave some
to them, and they were able to taste in my bread and water all the tastes
in the world, and their sense of taste, etc. was restored.
Meanwhile, in the country with the garden, the people
started looking into how they would be able to rectify the damage that
they were suffering. They said to themselves..."What about the Land of
Riches, (the one mentioned previously,) surely the gardener who used to
work here, (through whom they received their good life,) is from the same
root as the people there, for they also have a good life." They decided
to send for help to that country, for surely they would be able to save
them. And we happened upon the messengers that they had sent, as they traveled
towards us, in the direction that we had come from. They asked the messengers..."Where
are you going?" They answered, "We are going to the Land of Riches, to
ask them for help, that they should come and save us." The people from
the Land of Riches said..."We are from that land, and we are on our way
to you." I, (the deaf beggar telling the story,) said to them, "You are
going to need my help, because you alone will not be able to save them,
(as previously explained.) In fact, you had better wait here, while I go
with the messengers to save the country."
So I went with them, and entered into one of the cities.
and I heard how one person would tell a joke, and a few people would gather
around, and they would all laugh together. I listened more closely, and
heard that they were telling obscene jokes. One would tell a dirty joke,
and a second would continue it, another would laugh, and a fourth would
listen in enjoyment, etc. I then went to a different city. I saw two people
arguing over a business deal. They went to court and the case was decided.
But when they left the court, they started arguing again, because they
were not happy with the judgment. They then decided to go to a different
court, for judgment. After leaving the court, one of them started arguing
with somebody else, and they then went to a yet another court for judgment.
The whole city was full of arguments, and people taking each other to court,
so the whole city had to be full of courts. I realized that all this was
because there was no truth there. The judge would favor one side, and then
he would do the other a favor in return, and ultimately the whole city
was full of bribery, and not the slightest trace of justice.
I later noticed that in fact, all their behaviour was
completely immoral, so much so that it had become totally permitted to
them. And I said to them that this is the reason that their taste, smell
and sight had been damaged. For the cruel king had left his three groups
of slaves there, in order to damage their way of life. And they went around
making obscene jokes, which introduced obscenity into the land, which is
what ruined the sense of taste, that all foods tasted like rotting flesh.
They also introduced bribery into the land, which affected their eyes and
ruined their sight, as it is written, "bribery blinds the eyes of the wise."
They also introduced immoral behaviour into the land, which ruined the
sense of smell, (as we have said elsewhere, that immoral behaviour damages
the sense of smell.) "Therefore, purge the land of these three sins, and
hunt out these three groups of slaves, and throw them out. And if you do
all this, not only will you repair the senses of taste, sight and smell,
you may even be able to find your lost gardener."
They did this, and started to cleanse the country of these
three sins. Also they searched after the cruel king's slaves, and each
time they would catch someone, they would ask him, "Where are you from?"
Until they identified all the slaves, and threw them out, and purified
the country from all the sins. Suddenly a commotion was heard, "Could this
crazy person who is wandering around saying that he is the gardener, the
one that everyone throws stones at and runs him away, could it really be
that this is our old gardener?" And they bought him before the leaders,
who were rectifying the country, (and the deaf beggar was also amongst
them,) and I said to them, "Absolutely, this is your true gardener." (So
it turns out that through him, the country was rectified.)
So you see, I have the approbation of the Land of Riches
that I really do lead the good life, for I was able to fix that country.
And now, I give you as a gift my good life." And the happiness and rejoicing
was overwhelming, there at the feast. (And so it is with each of the beggars,
they each come to the feast, and give as a present, that which was originally
given as a gift, that the couple should be like them, etc.) The first one
gave them a present of a long life, and the second gave them a present
of a good life.
| On the third day, the couple remembered the
third beggar, the one who stammered, and longed and yearned for him to
come to the feast. As they were yearning for him, suddenly he appeared,
and said, "Here I am." He embraced and kissed them, and said, "Previously
I only blessed you, that you should be like me, but now I give it to you
as a wedding present. You think that I am unable to speak properly, but
that is incorrect, it is just that all the speech of the world, which is
not praise of Hashem, is incomplete. I, however, am a fabulous orator,
and I can tell over the most wondrous poetry and prose. So much so, that
no being in the world would not want to listen to me. And everything that
I say is filled with the most wondrous wisdom. And I have the approbation
regarding this from a great man, who is known as the Man of True Kindness.
And about this there is a whole story.
Once, all the wise men were sitting together, and each
one was boasting about his particular wisdom. One boasted that, with his
wisdom, he had been able to invent iron. Another had invented a different
metal. Yet another said that he had invented silver, which was even more
valuable. And another said that he had invented gold. One said that he
had invented weapons, and one said that he had invented the making of metals
out of other metals. Another boasted about a different wisdom. For there
are many things in the world that have been created through wisdom, for
instance gun powder, and the like. Each one boasted about his particular
One of the people there said, "I am wiser than all of
you, for I am as wise as the day." No one understood what he meant. He
explained, "All your wisdoms could be collected together, and it would
not amount to more than one hour. Despite the fact that they have all been
drawn from different days, according to whatever was created on that particular
day, still they are only combinations, that could be combined into one
hour. But my wisdom is that of a complete day." I, (the beggar with the
stammer,) asked him, "Like which day are you as wise as?" He answered,
"This man is wiser than me, since he has the intelligence to ask such a
question. The answer to your question is that I am as wise as any day that
you choose." Now you could ask, how come the one who asked, "like which
day," is wiser than the one who is as wise as any day, and regarding this
there is a complete story....
For this Man of True Kindness is indeed a very great man,
and the beggar with the stammer goes around collecting all the acts of
true kindness that are done, and brings them to the Man of True Kindness.
For the main existence of time, (for time itself is a creation,) is through
all the true acts of kindness that are done. And the beggar with the stammer,
he collects them all up, and brings them to the Man of True Kindness.
For there is a mountain, and on this mountain stands a
rock, and from the rock flows a Spring. Everything that exists has a heart.
Also the world itself has a heart. And the Heart of the world is a complete
structure, with a face, and arms, and legs etc. But the toenail of the
Heart of the world has more heart in it than any other heart in the world.
And this mountain with its rock and its Spring, stands at one end of the
world, and the Heart of the world stands at the other end. And the Heart
stands opposite the Spring, and is filled with a mighty yearning to come
to the Spring, crying out constantly, that it should be able to come to
the Spring. And the Spring, similarly, is constantly yearning for the Heart.
But the Heart has two things that weaken it, one is that the sun concentrates
its rays on it and burns it, (because it is longing so much to go to the
Spring.) And the second is that it is terribly weak, precisely because
of its tremendous yearning to go to the Spring. And when it needs to rest
a little, that it needs to have a break from such a powerful desire, a
huge bird comes and flaps its wings on it, and shields it from the sun.
But even while it is resting, still it is constantly looking at the Spring,
and yearning to come to it. So if it is yearning so much to come to the
Spring, why does it not just get up and go to it? The reason is, that when
it comes close to the mountain, it can no longer see the summit, and therefore
it can not see the Spring. And were it to stop looking at the Spring, it
would die, because its whole existence comes from the Spring. As long as
it stands at a distance, it can see the summit of the mountain, and the
Spring, but as soon as it gets close to the mountain, it looses sight of
the summit, (as can be easily demonstrated,) and therefore of the Spring,
and then it starts to die, G-D forbid. For were the Heart to die, G-D forbid,
the whole world would cease to exist. For the Heart is the life of everything
in existence, and obviously, there is no life without a heart. This is
the reason that it cannot go to the Spring. All it can do is to stand opposite
it, and yearn and cry out for it.
And as for the Spring, it has no time of its own, because
it does not exist within the parameters of time. However, the Heart gives
it time as a present, one day at a time. And when it comes to the end of
each day, at which point the Spring has no more time, and is about to die,
G-D forbid, which would thereby cause the Heart to die also, G-D forbid,
which would cause the whole world to cease to exist, G-D forbid. At the
very end of the day, the two take leave of each other, with the most wonderful
poems and verse, filled as they are with such a love and longing for each
other. That is when the Man of True Kindness, who is watching over them,
at the very last possible minute, gives a present of one day to the Heart,
and the Heart gives it to the Spring. And the Spring thereby has another
day to exist. And this day, where it comes from, its source, it also comes
with the most wonderful poetry and verse, (which is made up of all the
wisdoms.) And all the days are completely different, for there is sunday
and monday etc. also the first day of each month, and also the holidays,
and so on.
And all the time that the True Man of Kindness has, it
all comes from me, (the beggar that stammers.) For I go and collect all
the acts of true kindness, from which time is created. (Which is why he
is wiser even than the wise man mentioned earlier, because he is as wise
as any of the days. For all the existence of the time, and of the days,
it is all because of him. Because he collects all the acts of true kindness,
from which the time is created, and brings them to the True Man of Kindness,
who gives it as a day to the Heart, who gives it in turn to the Spring.
And through this does the whole world remain in existence. So it turns
out that the very existence of time, with all its songs and prose, which
have in them all the wisdom of the world, it is all because of the beggar
That is why I have the approbation of the True Man of Kindness,
that I am able to speak the most wonderful poetry and verse, which contains
within it all the wisdom of the world. And now I give it to you as a wedding
present, that you should be like me." And the happiness and rejoicing continued,
there at the feast.
| As the day's celebrating came to an end, the
couple retired for the night. In the morning they once again yearned for
the beggar who had sustained them in the forest, the one with the crooked
neck. Suddenly he appeared, and said, "Here I am. Previously I blessed
you that you should be like me, but now I give it to you as a wedding present.
You think that I have a crooked neck, but in truth, my neck is not crooked
at all. Quite the opposite, my neck is completely straight. It is just
that there are all kinds of vapors in the world, and I do not want to have
any part of them. (Which is why his neck seemed crooked. He made it so
in order to not be any part of the vapors of the world.) Really, I have
a very beautiful and wonderful neck. For I have a very beautiful voice,
and all the sounds of the world, that are not actual speaking, I can make
with my voice. For I have a truly wonderful neck and voice, and regarding
this, I have the approbation of a certain land. For there is a land, where
the people are very expert at playing music. And all the people there are
occupied with this, even young children. There is no such thing as a child
there that does not know how to play an instrument. And the youngest child
there, would be considered a great expert in any other country. And the
experts, and the king there, and all the musicians, they are talented beyond
One time a group of these expert musicians were sitting
together, and each was boasting about his particular expertise. One boasted
that he was able to play a certain instrument, and another a different
instrument. One boasted that he was able to play a number of different
instruments, and one boasted that he was able to play all the instruments.
One boasted that with his voice he was able to make the sound of a certain
instrument, and one that he could make the sound of a number of different
instruments. One boasted that he was able to make the exact sound of drums,
as if he was actually drumming, and another said that he could make the
sounds of gunfire. I also was there, and I said to them, "My voice is better
than all of yours. And the proof is, that if you are such musical experts,
you should be able to save a certain two countries. These two countries
are a thousand miles apart, and in both of them, when night falls, no one
is able to sleep. Because at night, all the people there, men, women and
children, they all wail. The sound of their wailing is enough to melt a
stone. Because at night, they hear a sound of such great wailing, and then
they start wailing themselves. (It is the same in both countries.) These
two countries are a thousand miles apart. And if you are all such musical
experts, let us see if you can save them, or if you are even able to copy
the sound of the wailing that is heard there." They said to him, (the musical
experts to the beggar with the crooked neck,) "Can you take us there?"
I said that I could, and we all got up and traveled there.
We got to one of the countries, and as it became night,
everyone there started wailing. The wise men that had traveled with me
also started wailing. (So obviously they would be unable to save the two
countries.) I said to them, "At least, can you tell me from where the wailing
is coming from?" They said to me, "Do you know?" I answered, "Of course.
For there are two birds, a male and a female, the only two of their kind
in the world. The female got lost. They both went looking for each other.
They both searched for a long time, until they were both completely lost,
and realized that neither of them would be able to find the other.
So they remained where they were, and built nests. Each one close to one
of the two countries mentioned. Not too close, but close enough to hear
their calls. And when night falls, they both start to wail at the top of
their voices, calling for their partner. This is the sound that is heard
in the two countries." (And it is because of their wailing, that all the
people in the two countries wail also, and no one is able to sleep.) They
did not believe that this was the true cause. They said to me, "Can you
take us to see them?" I said , "Yes, but you cannot go there. For if you
get too close, you will not be able to stand the wailing. For you can not
even stand it from here, where you are now, and already you are wailing
with them. If I were to take you there, you would not be able to stand
it at all. Also by day, it is impossible to come close to them, because
it is impossible to stand the happiness that there is there. Because by
day, all the other birds gather around them, and comfort them and raise
up their spirits, and speak to them words of consolation telling them that
they should not give up hope, for surely it is still possible that they
will each find the other, until it is impossible to approach close to them,
due to the tremendous happiness there. However the sound of the happiness
can not be heard at a distance, only close by. Only the sound of the wailing
at night can be heard at a distance. And that it why it is not possible
to come close to them." They asked me, "Can you help them?" I answered
them, "Yes, because I can make all the sounds in the world, and also throw
my voice, so that here, where I am making the sound, no sound will be heard.
It will only be heard at a distance. Therefore I can make the sound of
the male bird, and it will be heard close to the female. And also the opposite,
and that way bring them closer and closer to each other, until they meet."
But who could believe such a claim? So I took them into
a forest, and they heard a sound of someone opening a door, and then closing
it again, and locking it with a bolt. They heard the sound of the bolt,
and then the sound of gunfire, and the sending of the dog after whatever
had been shot. And the dog was rummaging and searching in the snow. All
these sounds they heard, but when they looked, they could not see anything.
Also they did not hear the slightest sound coming from me. (The beggar
with the crooked neck was making all these sounds which they heard, and
they had to admit that he was certainly capable of making any sound in
the world, and sending them wherever he wanted. So he would also be able
to help the two birds, as he had related to them. Rabbi Nachman did not
explain any further, specifically regarding the birds, and it was obvious
that he was deliberately leaving out this part of the story.) So it turns
out that I have the approbation of that land that I have a truly wonderful
voice. And that I am able to make all the sounds in the world. And now
I am giving that to you as a wedding gift, that you should be like me."
And there was great happiness and rejoicing there at the feast.
| On the fifth day, there was also tremendous
rejoicing. They remembered the beggar with the hunch-back, and longed for
him to come to their celebration. How could they get him to come to the
feast, for if he were to come, their happiness would know no bounds. Suddenly
he appeared and said, "Here I am. I have come to your wedding." And he
hugged them and kissed them and said, "Originally I blessed you that you
should be like me, but now I give it to you as a wedding present. In truth,
I am not a hunch-back at all, in fact, I have such shoulders that I am
the aspect of the 'little that can hold a lot,' and I have an approbation
For one time, there was a group of people, each boasting
that he has this quality of being the 'little that holds a lot.' One of
them, they just made a joke of him, but the rest, their words were accepted,
that they had this aspect of the 'little that holds a lot.' But the aspect
of the 'little that holds a lot' that I have, is greater than all of theirs.
One of them claimed that his brain was this aspect of the 'little that
holds a lot,' for he sustained with his brain myriads of people, with all
their needs and behaviors, all their lives and movements, he held them
all in his brain, which meant that he had an aspect of the 'little that
holds a lot.' They all laughed at him and said, "The people are nothing
and you are nothing." One of them said, "I once saw a 'little holding a
lot' similar to you. Once I saw a mountain that was completely covered
in garbage and filth, and I could not understand how so much filth and
garbage could have got there. There was a man living there, on the mountain,
and he told me, "All this is from me." For that was were he lived, and
that was where he threw his garbage from his food and drink, and relieved
himself, until he had raised up an unbelievable pile of filth. So he certainly
has this aspect of the 'little that holds a lot,' for only from him comes
this huge pile of filth." (And similar to this was the aspect of the 'little
that holds a lot' of the one who boasted that he held so many people in
Another boasted that he was the aspect of the 'little that holds
a lot,' for he was the owner of a small estate that gave forth a huge amount
of fruit. And when they measured the fruit produced, there was no way that
so much fruit could have come from that size estate. There simply was not
enough space to grow so much fruit. So it turns out that it is the aspect
of the 'little that holds a lot.'.
One related that he had a wonderful orchard, filled with
fruit, and many many people used to visit there, it was so beautiful. And
there was no way that such a small orchard could hold so many people. So
he certainly had the aspect of the 'little that holds a lot,' and his claim
was also accepted.
One of them said that his speech was the aspect of the
'little that held a lot,' for he was the secretary to a king. Many people
used to come to him, one with praises of the king, another with petitions
for the king, and so on. Obviously the king did not have time to listen
to all of them, so the secretary had to condense all their words into a
small amount, and present it before the king, yet his words had to contain
all their praises and claims etc. So he certainly had this aspect of the
'little that holds a lot.'
Another one said that his silence had the aspect of the
'little that holds a lot.' For he had many accusers and much hostile criticism
of him. And his answer to all their accusations was complete silence. (In
other words, his silence was his only reply to all their accusations.)
So his silence was the aspect of the 'little that held a lot.'
Another one said that he was this aspect of the 'little
that held a lot,' for there is a poor, blind person who is very great.
And the one telling the story was very small, and he leads the blind person.
So he has this aspect of the 'little that holds a lot,' because the blind
person could slip and fall, so he protects him by leading him. So he is
the aspect of the 'little that holds a lot,' because he is very small,
and he holds up the blind person who is very great. And I, (the hunch-back
beggar who is telling the story,) I was also there, and I said to them,
"In truth, you all have this aspect of the 'little that holds a lot.' And
I understood all that you intended with each of your stories. And the last
one to speak, the one that leads the blind person, he is the greatest of
all of you. But I am on a level much much higher even than that. For the
one that told how he leads the blind person who is very great, his meaning
is that he leads the moon, which has this aspect of blindness. For the
moon has no light, or anything else of her own. And the one telling the
story leads the moon, even though he is very small, and the moon is very
large. He is sustaining the whole world, for the world needs the moon.
So he really is the aspect of the 'little that holds a lot,' but the aspect
of the 'little that holds a lot' that I possess is greater than all of
And the proof is, that once there was a group of people
arguing about the type of shade preferred by each animal. Because every
animal has a certain shade under which it prefers to rest. There is a special
shade for every type of animal. For each animal chooses its own shade,
and in that particular shade it always rests. Also each bird has its favorite
branch, and on that branch in particular it likes to sit. Their argument
was whether it is possible to find such a tree that all the animals would
like to rest underneath, and that all the birds would choose to sit in
its branches. And they decided that there must be such a tree, and they
wanted to go and see it. For the euphoria there, by such a tree must be
very great indeed. For all the animals and birds are to found there, basking
in happiness, with none of them damaging another. All of them resting and
playing together, and just to be able to be there would have to be the
most tremendous pleasure. They were arguing as to which direction they
would have to go to get to this tree. They argued and argued, but could
not come to a decision. One said that they should go north, and one south,
etc. but they were unable to come to an agreement.
Then a wise man came, and said to them, "Why are you arguing
about which direction to go in? You should first of all argue about who
will be able to go there, to the tree. Because not everyone is able to
go to such a tree, only one who has the particular aspects of that tree.
For the tree has three roots: the first is faith, the second is fear of
heaven, and the third is humility, and the trunk of the tree is truth,
from which fan out all the branches. Therefore it is only possible to come
to the tree if you have all these qualities." And this group of people
had a tremendous love and unity between them, and they did not want to
be separated, one from the other, that some of them should be able to go
to the tree, and some not. For not all of them were able to go to the tree,
because only a few of them had all the necessary qualities. So they decided
to wait while those who were lacking some of the necessary qualities would
struggle and work on themselves, and raise themselves up, until also they
had all the qualities needed, so that they could all go to the tree together.
So that is what they did, all of them struggled and worked until they were
all on the same level. And when they had all reached that level, they also
discovered that they were all in agreement as to which direction they had
to go in to get to the tree, and they set off to go there.
They traveled for some time, until they were able to see
the tree in the distance. And they looked and saw that the tree did not
stand in space, for it occupied no place at all. And if it does not exist
in space, how can one possibly get to it? And I, (the hunch-backed beggar,)
I was also there with them. And I said to them, "I can take you to the
tree. For this tree does not exist in space at all, for it is completely
above space, whereas the concept of the 'little that holds a lot' only
exists within space. In other words, the tree certainly must occupy the
slightest amount of space, and it is precisely there, that minuscule amount
of space, that has the aspect of the 'little that holds a lot.' And the
aspect of the 'little that holds a lot' that I possess is at the very end
of space, above which there is no further space. Therefore I can take all
of you to the tree, which is completely above space." (I.e. the beggar's
aspect of the 'little that holds a lot' enabled him to be both in space
and above space. For he possessed the highest possible perfection of the
'little that holds a lot,' which is the aspect of the final limit
of space, above which there is no more space, for there, it is already
the aspect of completely above space.) And I took them, and carried them
all to the tree.
So I have the approbation of those people that I have
the highest possible aspect of the 'little that holds a lot.' (And this
is why he seemed to be a hunch-back, because he was able to carry so much,
which was the aspect of the 'little holding a lot.') And now I give it
to you as a wedding present, that you should be like me." And the happiness
and rejoicing continued there at the feast.
| On the sixth day there was also great rejoicing.
And the young couple yearned for the beggar with no hands to come to the
feast. Suddenly he appeared and said, "Here I am. I have come to join your
wedding celebration." And he kissed and hugged them. And he also said to
them, "You think that I have a defect in my hands, but this is not the
case. In fact, my hands are tremendously powerful, but I do not use the
power in my hands in this world. Because I need to use them for a different
matter. And I have the approbation regarding this from the Water Castle.
Once, there were some people sitting together, and each
one was boasting about the power in his hands, each with a different power.
One boasted that his hands were so powerful that even after he had shot
an arrow, he could retrieve it and bring it back to himself. I asked him,
"Which arrow can you bring back?" For there are ten different types of
arrows, depending on which of the ten different types of poisons the arrow
is dipped in, each poison more powerful than the last. The arrows all being
identical, just which poison used being the difference. Which is why I
asked him which type of arrow was he able to bring back. I also asked him
whether he was able to retrieve the arrow even after it had hit the target,
or only before it hit. To that, he answered that he was able to retrieve
it even after it had hit the target, but as to which arrow he was referring
to, he specified only one type. I, (the beggar with no hands,) said to
him, "If so, you will not be able to heal the Princess, if you are only
able to retrieve the one type of arrow."
One boasted that the power in his hands was such that
any time he received anything from anyone, he was actually giving to them.
(His actual taking was an act of giving.) Therefore he was a master at
giving charity. I asked him which charity he was able to give. (For there
are ten different types of charity.) He answered that he was able to give
a tithe. I said to him, "If so, you will not be able to heal the Princess,
because you will not be able to get to her. For you are only able to go
through the first wall."
Another described the power in his hands, saying that
there are ministers throughout the world, who each need a certain wisdom,
and through the power of his hands, he is able to give them that wisdom
through placing his hands upon them. I asked him, "Which wisdom are you
able to give with your hands?" For there are ten types of wisdom. He told
me which type. I said to him, "In that case, you will not be able to heal
the Princess. Because you will not be able to read her pulse, because you
only know one type of pulse. For there are ten types of pulse, and if you
are only able to bestow one type of wisdom with your hands, you will only
be able to know one of the types of pulse."
One boasted that he was able to quench a storm wind with
his hands, and turn it into a gentle breeze. I asked him, "Over which wind
do you have control?" For there are ten different types of wind. He told
me which particular one. I said to him, "In that case you will not be able
to heal the Princess. Because you will only be able to play one particular
tune for her. For there are ten types of tunes, and through music she can
be healed, but you will only be able to play for her one of the tunes."
They then asked me, "So what are you able to do?" I answered, "I can do
all that all of you are unable to do. I can do all that you can do, and
also the other nine that you can not.
And regarding this there is a story. Once there was a
king that wanted to capture a certain Princess. He tried all kinds of schemes
until he finally succeeded. One time he had a dream that she was standing
over him and killing him. When he awoke, he could not get the dream out
of his mind. So he called all his dream interpreters, and they explained
the dream to him in its simple sense, that she really was going to kill
him. The king could not decide what to do about it. To kill her would upset
him very much. To expel her would be even worse, because then somebody
else would take her. And he had had to work so hard to capture her in the
first place, and now she would belong to someone else. And also, if she
had someone else to help her, it would be even more likely that the dream
would come true, and that she would kill him. Yet he was scared to
keep her by him, because of the dream. He could not decide what to do.
Meanwhile, his love for her gradually died, because of the dream. And her
love for him also gradually died, until she came to hate him, and she ran
away from him.
The king sent out people to find out where she is. And
the word came back that she was at the Water Castle. For there is a Water
Castle, which has ten walls, each inside the other, all of them made of
water. Also the grounds within the Castle were made of water. There were
also trees and fruit, all made of water. There is no need to add how wonderful
that Castle was. For such a thing is completely unheard of, that a whole
castle should be made of water. To enter the Castle was impossible, for
one would drown in the water.
The Princess, when she ran away, came to this Castle,
and was wandering around the outside of it. They told the king where she
was, and he went, with his soldiers to capture her. When she saw them,
she decided to run into the Castle, for it was preferable to her to drown
in the water, than that she should be captured again by the king. And who
knows, perhaps she would survive, and be able to enter the Castle. When
the king saw her running into the Castle, he said, "So be it," and he ordered
his soldiers to shoot at her, and if she were to die, too bad. So they
shot at her, and hit her with all the ten types of arrows, coated with
the ten different poisons. She ran away into the Castle, and went through
the gates in each of the ten walls made of water. For there were gates
in each wall. And she went right through them all, into the inside of the
Castle, and fell down and fainted there. And I, (the beggar with no hands,)
For one who does not have in his hands the ten types of
charity, (mentioned previously,) can not enter through the ten walls, for
he would drown in the water. And the king and his soldiers chased after
her, and did indeed drown. But I am able to enter through all the ten walls,
which are made like waves of the sea, standing as walls, and held up by
the winds. And these waves, which are the ten walls, they stand there permanently,
and I am able to enter into them, and remove the ten arrows from the Princess.
I also know all the ten types of pulse, which can be felt through the ten
fingers. Because each of the ten fingers can register one of the ten types
of pulse. And I can heal her through the ten types of tunes. And I go ahead
and heal her. So it is clear that I have all the aforementioned powers
in my hands. And this I now give to you as a gift." And the happiness and
rejoicing was overwhelming, there at the wedding feast.
|[This story has not one single redundant word, and anyone well versed
in the sacred literature, will be able to find a number of clues there,
as to things mentioned in the story. For instance, regarding the arrows,
that is what is written in Devarim, 32:41, "My hand will take hold of judgment,"
and Rashi explains there, a human fires an arrow, but can not retrieve
it, Hashem, however, can both fire an arrow and retrieve it after He has
Regarding the ability to give charity, which was needed to pass through
the walls of water, that is what is written, Isaiah, 48:18, "and thy righteousness
(charity) as the waves of the sea."
Regarding the one who could control the wind with his hands, it is
written, Proverbs, 30:4, "Who has gathered the wind in his fists?" Which
is the aspect of music, see Likutei Moharan, I:54.
Regarding the ten types of tune, connected to the ten types of pulse,
see Likutei Moharan, II:24.
The stories also mention some of the earlier Tzaddikim, for instance
King David, who stood at the edge of the world and cried to the spring
that flowed from the rock on the top of the mountain, as he says in Tehillim
61. All the above we heard from Rabbi Nachman himself. In fact the
whole Psalm there is referred to in the story of the third day, as it says,
"Add days to the life of the King," i.e. add a new day each day.
"Appoint loving kindness and truth that they may preserve him," here we
see the Man of True Kindness. For all the days are created by him, and
he continually gives and adds on to the days of the King, which is the
Heart, which is the aspect of King David. And as it says there, "that they
may preserve him," for as it comes to the final minutes of each day,
at which point the Spring is soon to die, and therefore the Heart, and
therefore all the world, G-D forbid, the Man of True Kindness is watching
over all this, and he comes and gives another day to the Heart, etc. Which
is, "Thus will I praise your name for ever, as I pay my vows, day by day."
For each day that he gives to the Heart, comes with its songs and melodies,
as above. And when the Heart needs to rest, a bird comes and shelters it
from the sun, as it says, "I will trust in the shelter of your wings for
In the story of the first day, with each of the elders remembering
their earliest memory, where the youngest of all can only remember as far
back as his umbilical cord being cut, Rabbi Nachman said that this is referred
to in the Yerushalmi, (Kesuvos, 36b,) where Shmuel boasts that he can remember
the pain of the Milah, and etc. see there.
But as to the story itself, who were the beggars, when did this all
happen, what are all the stories about, these things Rabbi Nachman did
not explain. The story of the seventh day, about the beggar with no feet,
and the conclusion of the introduction, about the king's son that took
over the kingdom, these he said that he would not tell. Who can fathom
even a fraction of the many clues and wondrous secrets contained in this
(We have been forced to sacrifice a literal translation in favor of
readability, nevertheless, we have kept as close as we could to the original.)]
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