Monday, June 04, 2007

Question & Answer With Yoni Lipshutz Of Simply Tsfat - Im Atah Ma'amin

(Picture courtesy of

A Simple Jew asks:

During the days of Sefira, I found myself singing only one niggun in hisbodedus or just walking on the street. Like Rabbeinu's Niggun, I have found the niggun Im Atah Ma'amin on your CD "Be Happy" to be incredibly inspiring and it has the power to uplift me during times when I struggle to maintain a positive outlook. The words to this niggun come from Likutey Moharan II, 112 and contains Rebbe Nachman of Breslov's famous teaching, אם אתה מאמין שיכולים לקלקל תאמין שיכולים לתקן (If you believe that you can destroy, believe that you can repair.)

What do these words mean to you and how have you found application of this teaching in your life?

Yoni Lipshutz of Simply Tsfat responds:

Being a baal teshuva, or chozer b'teshuva, coming from a place so very far from HaShem and His Torah, I have left a path of destruction in my wake. Maybe it was not all intentional, but maybe some of it was, regardless, the spiritual damage was done, whether they concerned the mitzvot between man and my fellow man (friends from my past, family, and parents....) or between HaShem and myself. Whether inadvertently eating non-kosher food, knowing not to drive on Shabbos but driving anyway, taking candy (or worse) without purchasing it, the serious disrespect I showed my parents, or the sum I did not return when receiving too much change. No matter, what it was, the first step is to recognize that I did it regardless of whether it was intentional or not. This recognition, these feelings of guilt, the tinges of remorse, I believe are innate and a confirmation that the mistakes I have made are in fact rectifiable, for it not, why reflect on them at all? Why waste the time and effort?

They say that experience is the best teacher. Well, how can one learn not to play with fire without first getting burned at least once? And so the difference between a tzaddik (a perfected individual) and a rasha (a broken vessel) is that the rasha falls once and only once, never to get up again after failing a test. He is doomed to repeat the failure for years. The Talmud compares a person who repeats his misdeeds to a dog who eats his own vomit. A tzaddik, on the other hand, fails and learns from his mistakes, corrects his ways and never learns the same lesson twice. The rasha runs away from trials and tribulations, fearing failure, and therefore never succeeding. The tzaddik goes into the clouds, to the heart of the problem and if he fails, he learns not to repeat the mistake again, but then again, maybe he'll succeed!

Now if I would think for one moment that I could not rectify it all somehow, I could not help but to be totally despondent, in a complete state of despair, or I would become an atheist!

This song and it's words "If you believe that you can destroy, believe that you can repair." are closely related to the song "Asur l'hitya'aish", translation: Never Give Up! They go hand in hand, two sides of the same coin. The underlying message is to wake up EVERY day and say TODAY I have been created anew. I am not who I was yesterday, and I will not be the same tomorrow. I have a G-d given mission in life, I might fail, but if I do, it will not be for a lack of trying but rather for a desire to learn and rise higher!

A Simple Jew & Simply Tsfat - 2007


At June 4, 2007 at 6:32:00 AM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please inform Yoni that the part of the tune that they DON'T sing, I've heard to the words, "Ein Shum Yiush b'Olam Klal" - there's no giving up in the world, at all. I don't remember the name of those who recorded that, I don't think they're well known [it's not Karduner or Solomon or Bienenstock, etc.].

kol tuv, best regards, welcome back!

At June 4, 2007 at 3:26:00 PM EDT, Blogger torontopearl said...

Hope you enjoyed your time off.

Simply Tsfat is performing in a Toronto shul this coming Wednesday night. If I can manage it, I'll be there to "experience" them.

At June 4, 2007 at 8:40:00 PM EDT, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

Yitz: Thanks. I will pass your comment along to him.

Pearl: I hope you get the chance to see them. You won't regret it!

At June 5, 2007 at 11:39:00 AM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i saw simply tsfat in a small shul in los angeles a year ago and still remember their delightful light energy, what a treat!

reb nachman is so good, bH, even his quotes from yitz and the article give a chizuk.

the last paragraph in the piece is worth putting on one's wall.


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