Friday, September 11, 2009

Rabbi Itche Meyer Morgenstern: Traveling To A Tzaddik

Rebbe Nachman writes in Likutei Moharan: “Know that one must travel to the tzaddik to seek what he has lost. Before a person enters the world, he is shown and taught everything he needs to do in his Divine serve and everything that he must grasp during his sojourn in this world. But the moment he enters the atmosphere of this world he immediately forgets everything. Now, forgetting is an aspect of a lost object, as we see from the way our sages describe a forgetful person: ‘Quick to hear and quick to lose.’ It is our task to search for what we have mislaid. The tzaddik of the generation searches for what he has lost until he finds it. He then begins to search out what others have mislaid and finds their ‘lost objects’ as well. For this reason one must go to the wise man to search for and recognize what he has lost so that he can recover it.

“However, the tzaddik does not restore lost objects to their claimant until he checks the seeker to ensure that he is not a lying trickster. As our sages learn from the verse: 'עַד דְּרֹשׁ אָחִיךָ אֹתוֹ, וַהֲשֵׁבֹתוֹ לוֹ'—“And [the object] shall be with you until your brother require it [literally, ‘until you investigate your brother’] and you shall restore it to him’—the object will remain with you until you have checked carefully to ensure that your brother is not a fraud.’”

The meaning of Rebbe Nachman’s words is that every Jew comes to the world to prepare and grasp his proper spiritual inheritance through serving Hashem. But since he lost what he was taught [in the womb, and even later; that is, his spiritual direction and deep connection, it is as though he had lost] a part of his neshamah. But he can recover it by going to the tzaddik. However, the tzaddik can only restore what each person has lost in accordance with how connected he is to the tzaddik. One can only connect to the tzaddik inasmuch as he sanctifies his limbs and sinews. When a person is not careful to sanctify himself, he is filled with doubts about the tzaddik until he [either does teshuvah or] incites controversy against the tzaddik. [Of course, this takes time and there are many levels to sanctifying oneself, but at the very least one must wish to attain holiness with his entire heart. As Rebbe Nachman writes, if one yearns to be “absorbed” by the holiness of the tzaddik he will merit this, but if not then he is not truly close to the tzaddik.


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