In Shabbos 4a, Eruvin 36a, Chulin 12a and 112a, Rav Nachman says, “Go measure for me an amount of salt and I will tell you an answer.”
Rav Nachman asserts that the function of a teacher is not unlike that of salt. Not enough salt (or teaching) and inherent flavors remain untapped and unappreciated. Too much salt (or teaching) and the student, like the dish, becomes representative of the salt/instruction and not of itself.
Similarly, the Gemara (Kiddushin 30b) says, “I have created the yetzer hara and I have created the Torah for it as a spice.” A spice? Not a defense, an antidote or a vaccine? We typically believe that our behaviors and inclinations are not to be vanquished, but to be harnessed and manipulated for the good that they inherently possess.
Rav Nachman said, search for answers by yourself. Be confident in what you have to offer. To be sure, salt is a necessary additive and spices can and will bring out so much hidden flavor, and we must allow the input and teachings of others to highlight our natural contributions.
But too salty? Not a good thing….