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Can I Be Truly Happy?

The movie Rabbi Nachman’s stories, is based on four well known stories. Director Tzvi Fishman says that each episode can stand alone and be a springboard for further discussion on the Torah topics found in each episode.

Fishman explains that in “The story from Faith” the king claims he has less worries than anyone else. He is wealthy, powerful and famous. In spite of all this he feels empty inside and unhappy. So we see that he actually does have worries. He has all of life’s trappings but he doesn’t have happiness, the greatest treasure of all. Through the things that happen in the story, Rabbi Nachman teaches us financial security and honor are not the sources of happiness.

The king’s feeling of emptiness forces him to leave the palace to seek what he is lacking in his life. He is looking for the key that will fill his hollowness inside his heart. Through meeting the simple repairman he discovers the secret of attaining happiness. He discovers that happiness and true wholesomeness come with faith and trust in G-d.

The repairman unlike the king lives a simple life. He lives in a cave and not a palace. (In Rabbi Nachman’s original story he lives in a shack that is about to collapse) He works only to satisfy his basic needs. He is happy with his lot; he trusts in G-d and is not at all worried about the future. The king has great wealth, honor and fame but the repairman in humble. He has no grandiose ambitions. If a problem comes up that needs to be solved, like when the king takes away his livelihood, the repairman doesn’t fall into despair. He adapts himself and optimistically looks for another solution. He doesn’t chase after honor and money, just for a few coins with which to buy his evening meal. In this manner he succeeds in staying happy and serves G-d with happiness.

In this story we again find the idea that in order to get out of personal troubles (like the king’s emptiness) a person should seek the counsel of a leader or mentor to help walk him through it. Rabbi Nachman says this is the purpose of a Tzaddik- a saintly person.


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