Question & Answer With Yossi Katz - The Rebbe-Chassid Relationship
A Simple Jew asks:
What has Reb Nosson of Breslov taught you about the dynamics of the Rebbe-Chassid relationship and how to be a true chassid?
Yossi Katz answers:
To me the first thing that comes to mind when discussing Reb Noson was his total and absolute bittul to Rebbe Nachman. Reb Noson who was not brought up in a chassidic home and only later decided that Chassidus was the correct path for him. He went from rebbe to rebbe searching for where he would find what he believed to be the ultimate truth. Along the journey he met and learned from many of the greats becoming a student of Reb Levi Yitzchok of Berditchev, of whom he would always continue to hold of in the highest esteem. However, later upon becoming the main disciple of Rebbe Nachman of Breslov he "forgot" everything he had known until then and so to speak asked Rebbe Nachman to teach him everything anew starting from the aleph bais.
Just as light of the moon is only a reflection of the sun, so too Reb Noson's Torah light was only a reflection of what he received from his rebbe. Rebbe Nachman had many great students, some in certain ways were even greater (and older) then Reb Noson, notably Reb Yudel and Reb Shmuel Isaac. The question can therefore be asked, why have Breslover Chassidim unanimously accepted Reb Noson to be the one who truly understood Rebbe Nachman's message. It is said that when Reb Yudel, who was already a famous talmid chacham, came to Rebbe Nachman he asked to be taught a "derech in Avodas HaShem", however Reb Noson didn't even stipulate that. Reb Noson was a total reflection of his rebbe, not someone who in even the smallest way used his rebbe's teachings to fulfill what he thought was important. This is also why Reb Nosson refused to be considered a rebbe himself, for he would always be the talmid.
This lesson is simple and fundamental, the more room we make in our minds to accept the tzaddik's teachings, the more we are able to gain. If we limit ourselves and only accept what we think fits nicely, then we will never completely understand the tzaddik's true message. Although it is wonderful and possible to gather advice from many tzadikim, without picking one to be our rebbe will limit our ability to ever grasp one derech to the best of our ability.
May we all be Zoche to truly be mekabel from the true tzaddik.