Thursday, April 26, 2007

Guest Posting By Rabbi Tal Zwecker - Kings and Princes

(Illustration by Rabbi Dovid Sears)

The Toldos Yaakov Yosef teaches in the name of the Holy Baal Shem Tov:

Bezos Yavo Aharon el Hakodesh - The tzazdik represented by the High Priest Aharon haKohen must bring "zos" into "kodesh" - Zos represents the lower levels of teshuva - repentance even that must be brought into kodesh - sanctity and holiness. Therefore we always have to remember that whenever we find ourselves on a lower level, if we have fallen and need to rise up, Hashem is down there with us. His glory is everywhere and the holy sparks that are there down below with us need to be uplifted back to their source.

The Baal Shem Tov told a story to illustrate this:

Once upon a time there was a king who sent his son the prince far away into exile. The king wanted his son to learn to appreciate his father, since distance makes the heart grow fonder he rationalized that the further his son was from him, and the longer time he spent away the greater his son's yearning and desire for his father the king would grow. Unfortunately once in exile the prince began to slowly forget his royal ways. He forgot how to act and speak like royalty. He began to dress like a common peasant and eventually he began to associate himself with common criminals and people of ill repute. Soon he was dressed and acting like them claiming that life was meant for dancing, merry making and frivolity.

His father the king was greatly distressed to hear of this and he sent many great dignitaries and officers to convince his son the prince to return. The prince laughed at them all and they returned sadly empty-handed. Then one wise dignitary had a plan. He disrobed himself and dressed in the clothing of a common man. Dressed like the prince he began to dance and make merry and slowly befriended the wayward prince. Once they were friends the dignitary slowly helped the prince mend his ways and eventually brought him back up to his former level and returned him home to his father the king.

We are the prince, our Father in heaven, Avinu SheBashamayim, is the King. He exiled us to bring us closer to Him. We have strayed off the path and dressed like the gentile nations and learned from their ways.

The parable teaches us that when we someone falls from their level, no one from a higher level can just bring them back up. No one except a tzaddik who is willing to first disrobe and remove the garments of royalty and dignity. Only a tzaddik who lowers himself to our level, who associates with us on our level, he has to talk the talk and walk the walk of the common folk to befriend us. Once he does that we too can be brought back to repentance back to the King our Father.

Rabbi Nachman of Breslov told a similar story of the Turkey Prince:

Once there was a prince who went insane and thought he was a turkey. He sat naked under the table picking at crusts of bread and bones. All the kings physicians could not cure him. One doctor disrobed and sat naked under the table with the prince. The prince asked him who he was. "I am a turkey like you!" They sat together under the table picking at bones and bread. One day the Doctor signaled and they threw him shirts. "Do you think turkeys cant wear shirts? you can still be a turkey and wear a shirt." And they put shirts on. The next day he signaled and they threw them pants. "Do you think turkeys cant wear pants? you can still be a turkey and wear pants." And they put pants on. The next day he signaled and they threw them real food. "Do you think turkeys cant eat real food? you can still be a turkey and eat real food." And they ate real food. The next day he sat at the table. "Do you think turkeys cant sit at the table? You can still be a turkey and sit at the table." The doctor continued until he was cured.

We are like the turkey prince too. In the first story, the prince was still human and went off the derech and associated with common criminals. However, in Rebbe Nachman's story he went insane and became like an animal! Some people in our generation have fallen even lower, and still Hashem sends us doctors of the soul, tzaddikim, to heal us and teach us step by step how to return to our father the King!

1 Comments:

At April 26, 2007 at 9:12:00 AM EDT, Blogger Neil Harris said...

Insightful postings.
On of my Rebbeim in E"Y use to tell us on a weekly basis that the biggest Yetzer Hara is to forget that we are the sons if the King of Kings.

 

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