Rabbi Nachman on simplicity in serving G-d

The Essential Rabbi Nachman is online here. What follows is a selection of his thoughts on serving G-d simply (words are from the Rabbi Nachman website):

  • No sophistication is needed in serving God – only simplicity, sincerity and faith. (Sichot Haran #101)
  • Simplicity is higher than all else. For God is certainly higher than everything else, and God is ultimately simple! (Sichot Haran #101)
  • Even if you possess true wisdom – you must cast aside all wisdom and sophistication and serve God with complete innocence and simplicity, with no sophistication whatever....The main thing God wants is the heart. (Likutey Moharan II, 44)
  • When a person follows his own mind and clever ideas, he can fall into many pitfalls and errors and come to great evil.(Likutey Moharan II, 12)
  • The essence of Judaism is to conduct oneself in pure innocence and simplicity, with no sophistication whatever....If it enhances God's glory, do it. If not, then don't. This way, you can be certain you will never stumble. (Likutey Moharan II, 12)
  • Be careful to act with true innocence and simplicity but not foolishly. Sophistication, however, is quite unnecessary. Simplicity, innocence and faith can bring you to the highest level of joy. (Likutey Moharan II, 12)
  • Don't follow excessive stringencies in your practice of the Torah. “God does not rule over His creatures with tyranny” (Avodah Zarah 3a) – “The Torah was not given to ministering angels” (Berachot 25b) .(Sichot Haran #235)
  • There is no need to look for extra stringencies: this is foolish and confusing. The essence of serving God is simplicity and sincerity. Pray much, study much Torah and carry out many good deeds without seeking out or inventing unnecessary restrictions. Simply follow the path of our forefathers. “The Torah was not given to ministering angels.” (Sichot Haran #235)