Tzaddik: Rabbi Nachman
Tzadik/Zadik/Sadiq [tsaˈdik] (Hebrew: צדיק “righteous one”, pl. Tzadikim [tsadiˈkim] צדיקים ṣadiqim) is a title given to personalities in Jewish tradition considered righteous, such as Biblical figures and later spiritual masters. Rabbi Nachman enlightens the reader on righteousness in his “Advice”.
1) Whenever you pray you should have in mind that you bind yourself to the Tzaddikim of the generation. They alone know how to elevate each prayer to its proper place (Likutey Moharan I, 2:6).
2) In order to travel the path of holiness it is necessary to break all your bad characteristics. All the different character traits in a person stem from the four basic elements. You must speak out your heart before a Torah scholar and confess all your sins. The Sage will explain and clarify the way you need to go in accordance with the root of y our soul (4:8).
3) There are three different stages involved in drawing closer to the Tzaddikim. By working through each stage it is possible to achieve the perfect tikkun. The first stage is seeing the Tzaddik, which negates the bad characteristics stemming from the mineral and vegetable elements: laziness and its related characteristics on the one hand and evil passions and desires on the other (Ibid).
4) The second stage is when one gives charity to the Sage. This releases him from the bad characteristics stemming from the animal and human elements: idle pursuits and malicious gossip on the one hand, and pride and its ramifications on the other (Ibid.).
5) The third stage is verbal confession before the Sage. It is through this that the Sage can direct you on the path of righteousness in accordance with the root of your soul. This is the most important stage, because through verbal confession you can be saved from everything (Ibid.).
6) Each time you are with the Sage you should talk out everything in your heart. It is through this that you will come to be merged with the Ein Sof, and attain the knowledge that everything that happens to you is for your own ultimate good. Before we attain this knowledge, life gives the appearance of being a mixture: some experiences seem good and others bad, and we bless God accordingly. For the good we bless Him as `He who is good and does good.’ For the bad we bless Him as `the true Judge’ But in time to come, when we will understand that all our experiences are only for good, we will no longer make this distinction. We will bless God for everything as `He who is good and does good’ (Pesachim 50a). To attain this level is to have a foretaste of the World to Come (Ibid. 9).
7) When a person confesses before a Sage, all his sins are forgiven (Ibid. 3).
8) If you care about yourself, pay no attention whatsoever to the various disagreements between the great Tzaddikim. The fact that the Tzaddikim argue with one another should not be a reason for raising doubts about fundamental matters of faith. You must have faith in all the Tzaddikim. If you find their arguments cause you to have doubts, you sho uld take the very arguments themselves as a personal mesSage directed at you to prompt you to examine yourself and see what you are doing with your life. The doubts you have stem not from their disputes but from something you have done to your own mind. Their arguments are a way of alerting you to the fact that you yourself have harmed your mind w ith impure thoughts and actions. If you hadn’t, you would never have found their arguments problematic in the first place, and you would have had no doubts or questions about the Tzaddikim at all. The purpose of their disputes is to benefit you and to help you remember where you are holding in the world. If you allow yourself to succumb to doubts, they will drive a wedge between you and your own stake in the true life of the spirit, which the Tzaddikim themselves embody. You will be the loser, because this is the penalty for abusing the precious drops of your divine intelligence with impure thoughts and deeds, and `None that go with her return, neither do they attain to the paths of life’ (Proverbs 2:19). If you are foolish and fail to understand this you run the risk of becoming completely alienated from the Tzaddikim and you will end up losing your reward in the World to Come. But if you care about yourself you will take these arguments and the doubts they arouse in your mind as a warning to bring you to your senses. You will ref lect on your true situation in the world, and you will realize that these arguments have been sent as a test, which you must withstand by paying no attention whatsoever. Use this very test as a way of drawing closer to the Tzaddikim, because any hopes you have of finding fulfillment in life depend upon their guidance. You should understand that th e main purpose of all the arguments between the Tzaddikim is only to create a trial for the benefit of those who according to the dictates of strict justice should really be rejected for having abused the drops of their divine intelligence. If they stand up to the trial and ignore the disputes, acknowledging the gravity of their previous wrongdoin g, they will be able to draw closer instead of being rejected. Because of their wrongdoing, the only way they can now be drawn closer is by being tested. The truth is that God loves mercy and desires that those who are distant from Him should be drawn closer in spite of their being unworthy. But the only way they can be drawn closer is through bei ng subjected to this test (5:4).
9) Draw close to the Tzaddikim and walk in the paths they guide you along. Follow their teachings, and then the truth will be inscribed within you and you will attain true faith and prayer and be worthy of coming to the Land of Israel and seeing miracles. This is how the redemption will come (7:3).
10) `Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they, seeing with their eyes and hearing with their ears and understanding with their heart, return and be healed’ (Isaiah 6:10). Before a person draws close to the Tzaddik, his heart is fat, his ears are heavy, etc. This means that his heart and ears are shut and his eyes are blind to the truth. He is unable to come to his senses and return to God. But when he binds himself to the Tzaddikim and follows their guidance, his heart, his eyes and his ears are opened. He sees, hears and understands the truth and becomes worthy of returning to God (Ibid. 5).
11) No matter what a person needs or is lacking in life, whether livelihood, health or anything else, it can only be provided through the help of the true Tzaddik and Teacher he is attached to. The reason is that the fulfillment of what we are lacking is through sighing and groaning. The sighs of a Jew are very precious, because through them he dr aws down the spirit of life and this alone has the power to make up for the deficiency and provide what is necessary. The source of the spirit of life is the Torah, and therefore it can be received only from the Tzaddik, who is totally bound to the Torah (8:2).
12) The enemies of the Tzaddik draw their life-spirit from the prince of the side of the kelipot, the husks. Because the kelipot and the forces of the Other Side have their own leader whose role is a kind of mirror-image of that of the Teacher on the side of holiness. For `God made the one corresponding to the other’ (Ecclesiastes 7:14). The forces of the Other Side have their moment of greatness, because the life-spirit they draw from their leader, the so-called `raging stormwind’ (Ezekiel 1:3) is very powerful when at full force. But this is only for a short time. In the end it is totally spent and exhausted and ravages the body and soul of all who are caught in its hold. That is why they are called `dead’ even in their lifetime, because they do not possess the true life-spirit of holiness which is drawn into the world by the Tzaddikim alone (Ibid. 3).
13) The Tzaddik hears the sighs of all who are attached to him, for he is the source of the life of each one (Ibid. 8).
14) The true Tzaddikim atone for sins, as it is written: `but the wise man will bring atonement’ (Proverbs 16:14) (Ibid. 4).
15) It is vital for a person’s prayer to rise through the gate of his tribe. But it takes great merit to be worthy of this. That is why one must bind one’s prayer to the Tzaddik of the generation. He alone understands how to direct each prayer to the appropriate gate and elevate it (9:2).
16) The Tzaddikim have the power to elevate prayer so that the power and kingship of God is revealed to all the inhabitants of the universe, even to those who are very distant, the wicked and the heathens. The true greatness of the Holy One, blessed-be-He, is revealed when even those who were very distant, even the heathens, come to recognize that there is one God who controls and rules the entire universe. Whenever a person has a problem — for example if someone at home is sick — he should go to the Tzaddikim and ask them to plead for mercy on his behalf. God receives great satisfaction from this, because He yearns for the prayers of the Tzaddikim. The secret of true prayer is known onl y to the Tzaddikim (10:2-4).
17) Pride is a form of idolatry. But closeness to the Tzaddikim undermines the pride within us and brings us to perfect faith and ruach hakodesh, holy inspiration. We can then experience a wonderful joy. We literally clap our hands and dance for joy. The harsh judgements are sweetened and we can attain wisdom, life, length of days and understandin g of both the revealed and hidden Torah (Ibid. 5).
18) There are people who are very learned in Torah but speak very disparagingly about the Tzaddik. Yet this is also a part of God’s plan. He throws a great Tzaddik down into the mouth of this scholar in order that the Tzaddik should be able to release the Shechinah — that is, the Torah sheb’al peh, the oral Torah — from its exile in the scholar’s mouth. The Tzaddik forms laws out of his words and brings about great and awesome unifications (12).
19) You should search after a Tzaddik who has the power to gather in the souls and elevate them. Then your soul will be elevated with the others and renewed, and through this Torah will be brought down into the world and revealed. You must plead with God again and again to make you worthy of finding such a Tzaddik. He has the power to cleanse you of the blemishes caused by your desires and impulses and actually elevate them. When a person has a certain lust, the desire itself is a blemish which embitters the soul, as it is written, `she was bitter in her soul’ (Samuel I, 1:10) and `her soul was bitter’ (Kings II, 4:27). The soul becomes dissipated and does not radiate. It is a `hungry soul ‘ (Psalms 107:9). But by coming to the Tzaddik, a complete tikkun can be achieved. The Tzaddik has the power to purify and elevate even a person’s negative desires together with his positive, holy yearning, as it is written, `The hungry person He fills with good’ (Psalms Ibid.). `He will satisfy your soul in drought’ (Isaiah 58:10) and `He will renew your youth like the eagle’s’ — which is to say that all the days of your youth, which were passed in darkness, will be renewed. The wrongs will be corrected and you will be worthy of the name Man. One’s body is also elevated and renewed when he comes to the Tzaddik (13:5,6).
20) Each of the different people who come to the Sage of the generation has a certain yearning for good within him. The Tzaddik elevates all these good intentions and renews the souls of those who come to him. It is this that makes it possible for the Tzaddik to reveal the Torah which he teaches when they are all assembled. Every single one of the m thus has a share in this Torah, each in accordance with his yearning, and through this his soul is renewed. Each individual must see to it that he works on himself and comes to the Tzaddik with the best intentions and a powerful yearning for God. Then his soul will be renewed with even greater strength. We also heard from the Rebbe that the most important moment is when the Sage is preparing himself to deliver his lesson. This is the time for those who are present to look into themselves and examine their lives and search for the yearning for God which is within them. The Tzaddik will then be able to take each one by the hand and raise him from his present level and renew him for good (I bid.).
21) From this you can understand the tremendous difference between being physically present to hear the Tzaddik teaching and merely hearing about his lesson at second hand. When a person is physically present he actually has a share in the lesson and his soul is renewed. There are also many other differences, as explained elsewhere (Ibid.).
22) Through going to the Tzaddik God’s providence is drawn into the world (Ibid. 4).
23) The greater the number of souls gathered about the Tzaddik to hear his lesson and receive Torah, the more the breath of wickedness which blows over the earth is curtailed and nullified. The `breath of wickedness’ is made up of all the arguments put forward by the atheists when they see that the just suffer and the wicked prosper (Ibid. 6).
24) It is a good thing when those who went to the Tzaddik to hear his teachings subsequently give each other encouragement in their spiritual growth and deepen their love for one another. This is a sign that they went to the Tzaddik in the right spirit and their new vitality is for good (Ibid.).
25) There are people whose souls are severely damaged. Even when they come to the Tzaddik they are still sunk in all their bodily desires and have not moved away from the profane and closer to the sacred by even a single hair’s breadth. It might seem an impossible task to elevate these souls and renew them like an unborn child in the womb. But the re is a Tzaddik who has reached the most awesome of levels and who does have the power to elevate even souls which are as severely damaged as these. He can renew them like a newly-formed child growing in the womb. A person who is aware of what he has done to his soul and who wants to take himself in hand and return to God should plead and beg of G od to take pity upon him and make him worthy of drawing close to such a Tzaddik. Happy is he who finds such a Tzaddik (Ibid.).
26) Only through the Tzaddik of the generation is it possible to attain true awe and love of God. When a person is unable to experience true awe and love, it is because the light of the Tzaddik is hidden from him. It is true that the light of the Tzaddik radiates in all the worlds — and especially in this world. But for this individual there is n o light at all because of the intensity of his own darkness. He could be in the same place as the Tzaddik and even sitting right next to him and still not taste or understand or see the great light which radiates from the Tzaddik and could bring him to attain the true and enduring goal (17:1,2).
27) This is because of his wrongdoing. As a result his divine intelligence has become clouded over with foolishness and bankrupt ideas. He looks at himself as a sophisticated person who needs to raise various questions and entertain doubts about the Tzaddik. All these doubts and questions are completely senseless. His wrongdoing has left his mind clouded and dull and the light of the Tzaddik is hidden from h im. This is why he does not have genuine awe and love of God (Ibid.).
28) When a person gives charity to the Tzaddikim and to poor people who genuinely deserve it, it restores and clarifies his mind and enables him to see the light of the Tzaddik and thus attain true awe and love (Ibid. 5).
29) Everything has a purpose, and this purpose itself serves another purpose, which is even higher. The most important thing of all is the ultimate goal to which everything leads: the joy of the World to Come. This is the final goal of the entire Creation. But no one except the Tzaddikim can in any way conceive of this ultimate purpose. To the ext ent that a Jew is rooted in the soul of the Tzaddik he too can attain some conception of this goal — depending on how far he has succeeded in breaking his anger with love. If he succeeds, he will come to a level where he can use everything in this world as a means of attaining this goal (18:1,2).
30) There are times when the Tzaddikim refuse all positions of authority and leadership and they are unwilling to guide the world. They attribute their unwillingness to their own smallness, saying they are not fitted to guide the world. But in reality their reluctance is an expression of God’s anger and the hiding of His countenance, which comes a bout as a result of people’s lack of faith. But by breaking the force of one’s own anger, God’s anger itself is sweetened and the Tzaddikim accept positions of authority. The world then finds a true leader who will guide it with love (Ibid.).
31) People ask why it is necessary to travel to the Tzaddik and hear what he has to say directly. Is it not enough to study the mussar literature, which deals with spiritual development? In fact there is a very big difference, because someone who hears the Tzaddik himself receives the words of the Holy Tongue in all their fullness, and through the awe which is aroused within him he can subjugate and nullify the basis of all evil, which is the sexual impulse. Then he can achieve purity and observe the Covenant completely. Tikkun habri t is the tikkun for everything. But one who only hears at second hand, and especially one who merely reads a book, remains far from all this (19:1,9).
32) There is a great difference between one who learns from a book and one who hears from the lips of the Tzaddik himself. In the case of a person who was present to hear the Tzaddik in person, his soul was bound with the Tzaddik when the Tzaddik offered his prayers immediately before beginning the Torah lesson. This person therefore has a share i n the Torah that was then revealed. Because the prayer of the Tzaddik brings about a great concentration of holiness in the worlds above, and every prayer which stems from many souls brings about even greater holiness and stirs the Supreme Heart so as to draw an even greater illumination of Torah into the world. Everything depends on the numbers o f people present. The evil in those who were present at the time of the lesson is subdued through the goodness in the Sage giving the lesson. He releases them from the power of the forces of the Other Side and brings them into the sphere of holiness (20:4).
33) A person who is present when the Tzaddik teaches Torah in public will be worthy of coming to the Land of Israel and overcoming all opposition and obstacles (Ibid.).
34) The Holy One, blessed-be-He, is strict with the Tzaddikim to a hair breadth. If the Tzaddik makes the slightest false move — even no more than a hair breadth — he has no power to draw Torah into the world (Ibid. 5).
35) It is not possible to attain perfect faith, which is the basis of everything and the summit of holiness, except through being close to the Tzaddikim. It is the Tzaddikim who foster the authentic faith of Israel among the people of their generation. But the only way to draw close to them is with boldness and determination. There are certain typ es of people who put up all kinds of obstacles and barriers so as to prevent others from drawing closer to the point of truth. The source of their power is in the arrogant selfassertiveness of the forces of the Other Side. This is why it is essential for whoever wants to overcome these barriers to be bold and forceful in pursuit of holiness. Thi s is the only way to attain holiness. The way to acquire forcefulness is through joy. It is this that gives one the confidence not to feel ashamed and deterred because of other people’s mockery and contempt. He must be `bold as a leopard’ (Ethics of the Fathers 5:24) against them (22:4).
36) When a person is bound to the Tzaddik he can free himself of the desire for wealth, which is a form of idolatry and death, and then he will be free of the bitterness of the world, all the worries and struggles involved in earning a living and making money. Most people’s lives are consumed with such troubles. But the one who is bound to the Tza ddik will have joy. He will be content with his portion, and the light of the countenance of the King of Life will radiate upon him. But the opposite is also true. One who opposes the Tzaddik will fall ever deeper into the desire for wealth, and he will constantly be sunk in all the bitterness which goes with it. His days will be spent in the race for profit. Only through the strength of the true Tzaddik who observes the Covenant perfectly is it possible to be released from anxiety about money (23:2).
37) Man’s whole purpose is to gain a perception of God. This is only possible through the help of a truly great Tzaddik. The Tzaddik must be on the highest of levels in order to be able to communicate such perceptions at a level where people can have some grasp of them. One should search hard to find a Tzaddik like this and pray to God earnestly t o be worthy of drawing close to him. The only way to gain any perception of God at all is by means of `contractions,’ through which the subject is brought down to the level where the mind of man can have some grasp of it. The Tzaddik knows how to present such perceptions in a way that makes this possible. He has the insight to understand how best to introduce the subject and explain all the different things that must be explained in order to enable the individual to grasp it, regardless of his level. Only through the guidance of the true teacher is it possible to reach a perception of Godliness (30:1,2).
38) You must look for the greatest possible teacher. Only a teacher who is on the highest of levels can convey to you a true perception of God in all its radiance. The lesser the person and the lower his level, the greater the teacher he needs. What he needs is a kind of master craftsman who has the skill to clothe the Highest Wisdom, the percepti on of Godliness, in a form communicable to one as low down and far away as he is. The sicker the invalid, the greater the doctor he needs. So don’t delude yourself and say: `It will be sufficient if I find someone simple and upright, respectable and known to be God-fearing. Why do I need to set my sights high and attach myself to such a great Tzaddik? Let me at least make a start by emulating this person here.’ Many people make this mistake. Don’t you. On the con trary, the more you realize how low you are and how far you are from God, the more you need to draw closer to the true teacher. Do not be content until you aspire to the highest of levels (Ibid.).
39) We should accept the criticisms of the Tzaddikim submissively, even if they sometimes speak to us in a way that seems abusive. We should realize the great pain they endure because of us. It is obvious that all our wordly activities and everyday talk are evil from their point of view. But even the part of our lives that we would consider the mo st holy and precious — our prayers and devotions — are also evil as far as they are concerned, mixed up as they are with improper thoughts and other distractions. They are a great strain for the Tzaddikim, which is why at times they are very abusive in the way they criticize us. We must take their criticisms to heart. Then we will be worthy of G od’s love, and through this we will have the power to overcome false ideologies and heathen domination and elevate true wisdom and understanding to their proper place so as to attain the perception of Godliness (Ibid. 7).
40) The Talmud (Chagiga 14b) tells us about the four sages who entered the Pardes, the hidden wisdom of the Torah. There are also four corresponding types among those who draw close to the true Tzaddik. Rabbi Akiva entered the Pardes in peace and departed in peace. Similarly there is the follower of the Tzaddik who succeeds in learning the true pa th and follows it to attain perfect righteousness. Ben Azai `gazed and went mad,’ and Ben Zoma `gazed and died.’ Similarly there are those who become over-excited in their devotion to the Tzaddik and they can even die or go out of their minds as a result. Nevertheless, even people like this still come into the category of the righteous, of whom it is written, `the righteous will walk in them’ (Hosea 14:10). But there is a fourth kind corresponding to `Acher’ (R. Elisha ben Abuyah) who ended up an atheist. So it is with one who becomes alienated from the Tzaddik and leaves him, and ends up as an enemy maliciously slandering the Tzaddik. `Acher’, says the Gemara, `uprooted the saplings’ — h e influenced others to follow his own ideas. The true Tzaddik necessarily has the same powers that the Torah itself possesses: `It is an elixir of life and an elixir of death’ (Kiddushin 30b). It is in the hands of those who follow the Tzaddik to draw from him what they wish, as it is written, `The righteous will walk in its paths and the sinners will stumble’ (Hosea Ibid.). One who follows the Tzaddik can receive guidance about the right path to follow and the way to return to God, so long as he truly desires it. But if not, he will find himself on a tortuous path, because there is a basic impurity in his heart. To be sure, he will find in the Tzaddik what he wants — namely an excuse to turn to total atheism and be completely separated from God. For `sinners will stumble in them.’ (31:9).
41) Your devotion to the Tzaddikim and Torah will bring you to love God in all places and all situations, not only when things are good but even when they are bad. You will be at peace with yourself and at peace with the world. Within, you will have perfect harmony. And whatever is sent to you from the outside world, whether it is good or bad it w ill make no difference to you, you will always find God in it. Love and peace will reign between you and your friends, and in all Israel (33:1).
42) The true Tzaddik is the common `point’ that includes all the individual points to be found among the whole Jewish people. This is why it is of fundamental importance to be attached to the Tzaddikim and to talk to them about serving God. The holy point contained within them — which includes and comprehends all the other good points — gives th em the power to arouse your heart and send light into your soul. You should also discuss religious matters with your friend. Because every single Jew possesses a unique good point which is not found in any other, and from which his friend can receive inspiration. Each person must receive from every other, as it is written: `and receiving one from the other’ (Targum on Isaiah 6:3). It is also necessary for each individual to talk directly with his Maker in order for the good point within his own self to be revealed and radiate from his mouth to his heart. This is to destroy the `foreskin of the heart’ — the physical lusts and desires. They are called the `shame of the heart,’ which break the heart of man (34:4) .
43) Power is in the hands of the Tzaddik. He can achieve whatever he wants. As our Sages said: `God asks, ‘Who rules over Me? The Tzaddik does’ ‘ (Moed Katan 16b). The power of the Tzaddik is devoted to sending light into the hearts of the Jewish people and arousing them to serve God (Ibid. 2).
44) The light of the face of the Tzaddik can give you new intelligence and understanding, and create a new soul in you. Intelligence and understanding are the soul. What is the `face’ of the Tzaddik? It is the new face of the Torah which the Tzaddik reveals, and this is the source of the new soul and intelligence one receives from the light of the face of the saintly (35:5).
45) When the Tzaddik reveals Torah he creates new souls in his listeners, each one according to his level and grasp (36:5).
46) It is a very good practice always to give money to Tzaddikim and other pious people for a redemption. This is the way to sweeten the power of harsh judgements at all times and be saved from them. Even when one has no specific problem, God forbid, it is still always good to give money for a redemption in order to sweeten the harsh judgements an d avoid the onset of any problem (Chayey Moharan, Avodat Hashem 92).
47) When one `fills the throats of the learned with wine’ it is the equivalent to presenting a redemption, and the harsh judgements are sweetened (Ibid.).
48) When a person has faith in the Torah Sages and believes that everything they say and do is far from being simple and straightforward but contains deep secrets, this brings about the sweetening of harsh judgements (42).
49) When a person makes a beautiful garment for a Tzaddik, it sweetens the harsh judgements (Ibid.).
50) It is a fundamental principle that one should have faith in the Sages and be punctilious in showing them the honour and reverence due to them. Even if he has the impression that they are acting contrary to the Torah, he should still have absolute faith that they are really acting in complete accordance with the Torah. Because the Torah was ent rusted to the Sages of each generation to interpret in accordance with their wisdom. That is why one must cast aside one’s own pretensions to intelligence and understanding and rely on the Sages alone (57:1).
51) The cure for every disease is dependent upon the Torah. Now the Torah has been entrusted to the Sages, and we have been commanded to listen to them and not to turn aside from their words either to the right or the left. Anyone who derides the words of the Sages and refuses to believe in them because he thinks they are in conflict with the writ ten Torah will be afflicted with a disease which has no cure, and he will die from it (Ibid.).
52) The remedy for someone who has lost his faith in the Sages is to make a vow and fulfill it immediately. Through this his faith in the Sages will be restored and he will be healed, and the light of our forefathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob will radiate within him. He will be able to experience the true delight of the Shabbat, which is to eat the Shabbat food in holiness. This is the way to break the force of one’s anger and humble and overthrow all one’s enemies and opponents. The stronghold of the forces of the Other Side will fall, the Mashiac h will come and the stronghold of holiness will be rebuilt (Ibid. 2).
53) The true Tzaddik is `Moses,’ who was himself the embodiment of the three forefathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The Tzaddik is thus the channel for the influx of the three kinds of blessing which come into the world: `the well,’ `the cloud of glory’ and `the manna’: drink, clothing and food, respectively. The Tzaddik constantly fights God’s wars, because he struggles against the husk of Amalek, the negation of the Holy Covenant and the source of all impurity. It is the Tzaddik who humbles Amalek and all the other enemies who pursue those who are weak among the Jews. The Tzaddik gives these Jews streng th and helps them to start serving God and purify themselves. The Tzaddik himself receives a double share of blessing, the two loaves (lechem mishneh) of Shabbat, which means the double share of original Torah teachings (mishneh Torah) which the Tzaddik gives over on Shabbat, `two for every one.’ This brings healing to all in both body and soul, a nd the world is aroused to return to God out of love. Healing comes to the pious, and people begin to respect them. Then there is a share for everyone in the original Torah teachings — the hidden Torah — which the Tzaddik reveals on Shabbat (58).
54) When you have faith in the Sages, your mind will be purified and your intellect clear. You will be able to derive a personal lesson for yourself from everything you learn in the Torah and develop the right habits and practices in serving God. You will know how to act in every situation, and you will be able to guide all who come under your inf luence. But those who lack faith in the Sages must suffer ther torments of the flesh, the `superfluities.’ Stinking vapors rise up to their brains and distort and confuse all their thoughts. Far from being able to learn the right way to live, all their Torah studies give them the exact opposite of the truth. They never have a clear idea about anyt hing. They are constantly afflicted with doubts and pulled in all directions at once. When a person has no faith in the Sages, his heart becomes as filthy as a privy, all his thinking is warped, and he never knows how he should act in any situation (61:1).
55) The obstacles and difficulties which a person encounters from others are sent to him because his faith in the Sages is weak. It may be that he does not fully accept that the great Tzaddikim were the true Sages, and he regards their holy words and writings as being at best of merely incidental interest. He may even go as far as to make fun of t hem and scoff. The weaker his faith, the greater the obstacles and difficulties he will have to encounter. Their purpose is to rouse him to reflect. One should realize that one’s problems and difficulties are in exact proportion to one’s lack of faith in the Sages. Accordingly he can learn from them to what extent he needs to strengthen his faith. Then he will see the true significance of their writings and understand that all of them are necessary. He will be cleansed of the filth in his heart and learn the right way to lead his life. The bitterness of his life, with its pressures and problems, will be sweetened, and all the harsh judgements will be softened (Ibid. 5).
56) Every time you visit the Tzaddik, see to it that you come to him afresh. It is no good if this visit is exactly the same as the last — as if it were merely the second visit in a series. When you come to him now it must be a unique occasion. Always begin everything afresh. The main thing is the beginning (62) \
57) You should understand that the Tzaddikim have different ways of relating to their followers at different times. Sometimes the Tzaddik may draw very close to people, but to others he conceals himself and makes himself very distant. He may not merely keep himself apart and remain way above them, making it impossible for them to draw closer. At t imes it can even happen that questions and doubts are raised about him, and his followers become confused and uncertain about the way he treats them. But this is all for their benefit. Don’t be put off by it: it is all for your own good (63).
58) There is a certain meadow in the worlds above in which all the souls are nurtured. These souls depend upon the master of the field to labor in order to restore them. One who wants to take pity on his soul should pray and plead with God all his life to be worthy of drawing close to this Tzaddik, the master of the field, who watches over each on e in order to bring him to the ultimate goal, which is absolute unity and perfection (65).
59) To be present at the moment when a Tzaddik leaves this world is a very great thing even for someone who is not one of his pupils. At such a moment there is a great and powerful revelation, which is for the good of all who are present, making them worthy of long life. But the pupils of the Tzaddik themselves receive a supremely powerful revelation — so much so that at this moment they can receive a double share in the soul of their teacher, as long as they are as closely bound up with him as branches on a tree. The bond must be so strong that even when they are distant from him they can still sense when he is making progress and when he is having setbacks. With his double share in the spirit of the Tzaddik, it can happen that the pupil has an even greater power to pray with intensity and work wonders than his teacher. Even so, all his power comes from the soul of his master (66:1).
60) One should try very hard to be with his teacher at all times. This will make it possible for him to receive a double share in his teacher’s spirit (Ibid.).
61) The true greatness of the Tzaddikim and their followers will only be revealed in the future, on the great and awesome day of judgement. The whole world will then see their greatness and radiance: happy are they and happy is their lot. How great is the good stored up for them. The whole world will then witness the fall of the wicked, for this will be the great Day of Judgement, when each individual will be brought to judgement for every detail of every action in his life. Nothing will be passed over, because God forgets nothing. Then the world will see the difference between the righteous and the wicked — between those who were worthy of drawing close and binding themselves to the true Tzaddikim and those who fought and opposed them. The whole world will then turn to God, even the nations of the world, and all will call upon the name of God. When a person prays truthfully to God alone with no ulterior motives (for example to impress men w ith his intense religiosity) then he can have a foretaste of the World to Come even in this life. He will witness the fall of the wicked even in this world, and all will be forced to return to God. Through this the holiness of speech becomes perfected, which makes it possible to bring things from potentiality to actuality: that is, to achieve all the holy tasks one yearns to accomplish (Ibid. 3).
62) It is through the Tzaddik that we draw `cool waters’ to revive the soul when it is weary. Then we can be worthy of praying with all our heart, as it is written, `All my bones will say, Lord, who is like unto Thee?’ (Psalms 34:10). This is true prayer. The difference between hearing Torah from the Tzaddik himself and merely learning from a book is that one who hears the Tzaddik himself receives from him the `cool waters’ which revive the soul. But one who merely learns from a book does not always know how to restore his soul when it is weary (67:8).
63) The true Tzaddik has a kind of gravitational power to draw the whole world closer to God and His Torah. Why is it then that people are far from the Tzaddik instead of being drawn to him? The reason is because there is a counter force which works against the pull of the Tzaddikim. For there is a class of men whose words and deeds create a barri er which keeps people far from the Tzaddik. The main strength of this counter force lies in people’s pride and pretensions. They believe it will bring them to indignity and disparagement if they draw closer to the truth. One who desires the truth has to lower himself and remember his own insignificance. He has to consider everything that has happe ned to him since he came into the world and think of his failures and shortcomings. When a person genuinely feels his own smallness the truth will be revealed to him. The gravitational draw of the Tzaddik will prevail over the countervailing force, and he will be drawn to the Tzaddik with tremendous enthusiasm (70).
64) The smaller a person makes himself, the greater his `drawing power’ — his power to draw the Indwelling Presence of God down into the world until He dwells with us. The same applies if he wants to draw blessings down upon Israel. And similarly, the smaller a person makes himself, the closer he is to the drawing power of the true Tzaddik (Ibid. ).
65) One who gives charity to a truly humble Tzaddik is blessed immediately (Ibid.).
66) It is very hard to be famous (71).
67) There are certain Tzaddikim who take afflictions upon themselves of their own accord for the sake of the Jewish people. Because of this they receive a very exalted spiritual blessing (Ibid.).
68) Even one who prays and studies constantly can never know how to serve God except if he is close to the Tzaddik (76).
69) There are times when the Tzaddik talks to people about secular topics, and this is very beneficial for them, because the secular conversation of the Tzaddik has the power to give them a connection with true Wisdom, namely Torah. There are certain people who are so far from Torah that it is not possible to draw them closer with words of Torah a s such. The only way is through worldly conversations. The Tzaddik uses them as a garment in which to clothe and veil his Torah teachings. And at times the Tzaddik himself can sharpen his mind and freshen himself with this kind of conversation (81).
70) The opposition which the great Tzaddikim endure enables them to draw down blessings without stirring up the Accuser (88).
71) The fact that it is necessary to visit the Tzaddik in person and that learning from books is insufficient is actually mentioned explicitly in the Torah (Exodus 17:14ff.) `And the Lord said to Moses: Write this as a memorial in the book and place it in the ears of Joshua.’ Moses was to speak with Joshua face to face, because the important thing is to hear the words from the lips of the Tzaddik himself. The Midrash comments on Moses’ words to the Children of Israel, (Deut. 9:1) `Hear O Israel, you are to pass over the Jordan this day.’ What made him say to them ‘Hear O Israel’ now? The Rabbis explained it with a parable about a king who gave his bride two pearls. When one of them got lost the king said to her, `You ha ve lost the one. Make sure that you guard the other.’ God’s `marriage’ with Israel was sealed with Israel’s declaration of `We shall do, then we shall hear.’ When the Children of Israel made the golden calf they lost the `we shall do.’ Therefore Moses said to them, `You have lost the ‘we shall do.’ Take care that you guard the `we shall hear’ — `Hear O Israel.’ No book has the power to move a person like the words he hears from the mouth of the Tzaddik himself. This hearing is the `we shall hear’ which Israel still has (120).
72) The basis of everything is to be bound to the Tzaddik of the generation completely and to accept everything he says as correct, whether it is a major or a minor thing. One must turn neither right nor left from what he says, but simply abandon his own ideas as if he knows nothing except what he receives from the Tzxadik. So long as a person ret ains even a residue of his own independent way of thinking he has not attained fulfillment and he is not truly bound to the Tzaddik (123).
73) When a person simply believes in the Tzaddik and draws closer without even receiving anything from him, this in itself is very good because his very faith and closeness have the power to consume the evil within him and convert it to the very substance of the Tzaddik himself. The one condition is that his intention should be for the sake of Hea ven. Somebody who goes to the Tzaddik for some other reason will never gain anything from the relationship (129).
75) One who is bound to the Tzaddik can experience the true sanctity of the festivals, and through this the dominion of holiness is elevated from the husks and the forces of evil thrown down (Ibid.).
76) You should love the Tzaddik with a perfect love until your soul is bound up with his and your love for him will replace the love of women: `Wonderful was thy love to me, passing the love of women’ (II Samuel, 1:26) (Ibid.).
77) The Shabbat one spends with a Tzaddik is like a fast (167).
78) A man’s task in life is to rid himself of the spirit of folly which clings to him and fills his heart. When he is bound to the true Tzaddik and loves him with a spiritual love, he will soon rid himself of the spirit of folly and break the stubbornness of his heart (177).
79) One who has genuine faith in the Tzaddikim will constantly witness great wonders from them, because the true Tzaddikim are full of wonders. Someone who believes in them and pays attention to their words will find that everything that happens subsequently was already hinted at in what they said (186).
80) Before a person emerges into the air of this world he is taught and shown everything he will have to accomplish in this life. But as soon as he enters the air of the world, he immediately forgets it and everything is lost. That is why he must journey to the Tzaddik — to search for what he has lost. Because everything that all the inhabitants of the world have lost is to be found with the Tzaddik (188).
81) All the words which are spoken against the true Tzaddik and his followers are actually beneficial both materially and spiritually (181).
82) When a person hears something said by the true Tzaddik, and especially when he sees him at the moment he says it, he receives something of the inner life and wisdom and soul of the Tzaddik. But he must beware of forgetfulness, because if he is not careful he will forget it all. If he tries to remember the words of the Tzaddik exactly as he said them and then repeats the lesson one hundred and one times in order to fix it in his mind, and if when he tells anyone what the Tzaddik said he tells them in the name of the Tzaddik and sees the image of his face before him, then it is as if the Tzaddik himself were saying the words. But this is true only when the memory of the experience is genuinely very strong (192).
83) When a person hears an original Torah teaching at the moment the teacher reveals it for the first time, he will remember it well. But if he does not hear it from the teacher himself, or even if he hears it from him later and not when it was first said, he can easily forget it (Ibid.).
84) The righteous are persecuted by the wicked and suffer pain and anguish as a result. But this is something brought about by God in order to bring the righteous man to reflect on himself and examine his deeds. The wicked turn out to be guardians preventing the righteous from falling into materialism (208).
85) The opposition which confronts the Tzaddikim is really an advantage because it acts as a cloak against their being revealed and avoids unnecessary attention. The opponents of the Tzaddikim themselves would dearly like to cover them up completely and get rid of them altogether, God forbid. But God does not abandon them or deliver them into thei r hands (Ibid.).
86) It is impossible to achieve a clear mind and pure thoughts except through being bound to the Tzaddikim. This is the main way in which harsh judgements are sweetened. This is why it is essential to be with the Tzaddikim on Rosh Hashanah (211).
87) The ability to speak derives from one’s bond with the Tzaddikim (212).
88) Even those who are far from the Tzaddik receive vitality and radiance from him (224).
89) Stories about the Tzaddikim, their lives and achievements have a wonderful power to purify a person’s thoughts and sweeten the harsh judgements, releasing him from all his troubles. But the only people who can really tell stories about the Tzaddikim are those who know how to distinguish between light and darkness: that is, between stories abou t the genuine Tzaddikim and those about wicked men and liars. The way to achieve this is through the Land of Israel (234).
90) The true Tzaddik is the source of all blessings. Therefore whenever a person is far from the Tzaddik, his own blessing comes to him only with great difficulty. There are even cases where a person can die because of money that comes to him, and the money itself may still be lost instead of being inherited by his children. All this is because of his distance from the Tzaddik (240).
91) Stories about the great Tzaddikim have the power to move a person in his very heart and kindle a flame of passion for God. Many of the greatest Tzaddikim have said that their main awakening came through stories about the Tzaddikim, which made their hearts burn for God and gave them the encouragement to struggle with their devotions until they achieved what they did. Happy are they (248).
92) It is impossible to gain any true conception of what the Tzaddik is in himself. He is totally beyond our grasp. It is only through seeing his followers that one can gain some understanding of his awesome greatness. When one sees that they are men who have achieved great things and who follow God’s path in truth, then one can understand the greatness of the Tzaddik himself (140).
93) Whenever you need guidance you should turn to the true Tzaddik. The harsh judgements will be sweetened and the help you need will come in the end (143).
94) The Tzaddik has total control over his inclination. Even in what is permitted to him he holds his desires in his hand. He lives for ever, even after death. For him there is no difference between death and life (144).
95) Only with the help of the true teacher is it possible to attain perfect faith and observe the Covenant completely, guarding one’s mind in holiness and purity. This will bring protection against impure experiences at night, and one’s sleep will be pure and holy. The only way to purify the five senses is by coming to the Tzaddik. By seeing the T zaddik, the sense of sight is purified, because simply to see the Tzaddik with one’s own eyes is a great thing. The sense of hearing is purified when one listens to the guidance of the Tzaddik. One may have to go through many difficulties before reaching the Tzaddik, and without them it would be impossible to come and draw from his holy wisdom. Al l the difficulties have the effect of purifying the sense of smell. One’s sense of taste is purified when one tastes the pleasantness of the Tzaddik’s words. And his sense of touch is purified through all the expenses he has to meet from his own pocket out of the fruits of the labor of his hands in order to reach the Tzaddik. The main time for the followers of the Tzaddik to gather at his side is on Rosh Hashanah, and it is then especially that the five senses are purified (Likutey Moharan 5:15).
96) How great is the love that the true Tzaddik shows to Israel. His love is true love, because his mission is to bring them to acquire holy wisdom and attain a perception of God. Then they will understand that `The Lord, He is God’ (I Kings, 18:39) and emerge from sin. There is no love greater than this, because Israel is the Holy People, and they are unable to bear the burden of sin for even a single day. The Tzaddik understands the true greatness of Israel’s holiness an d the subtle spirituality of their essence. He understands how totally distant they are from sin. Indeed, the Jew has no connection with sin whatsoever. That is why the Tzaddik is willing to sacrifice himself completely in order to release the Jewish people from sin, pleading with God to forgive them. The Tzaddik kows how to show love without in a ny way harming the person who receives it and without giving love to those upon whom it is forbidden to take pity. The Tzaddik must also strive to leave a legacy of his wisdom for all the generations to come. His ultimate perfection after he leaves the world depends upon this. For even if the Tzaddik were to ascend to the highest realms after his passing, he would be short of perfection if he only dwelled above. It is necessary for the Tzaddik to radiate even in the lowest realms. He must see to it that he leaves behind him a son and a pupil who have received his holy wisdom and who will radiate it to the world in each generation until eternity.
The Tzaddik understands the best way to talk to each person individually. He knows how to make a fence to his words — to be silent where silence is called for — in order to prevent his listeners raising questions and seeking answers in areas where it is forbidden to enter. The Tzaddik has the power to send light to those who `dwell above’ and al so to those who `dwell below.’ To those who `dwell above’ and have achieved high levels, the Tzaddik shows that they really know nothing about the Holy One, blessed-be-He, for `What knowest thou? What have thy searchings achieved?’ (Zohar Bereshith 1b). It is different with those who `dwell below’ and who are sunk in the very earth itself, in degradation and despair. The task of the Tza ddik with them is to show them that God is still with them at their very side. The Tzaddik must fortify them and save them from despair.
The Tzaddik brings all the worlds together, causing the highest to merge with the lowest and the lowest with the highest. He sustains them all through the greatness of his strength, and thus draws down blessings from the source of Desire. Any `man of strength’ can receive these blessings through the Tzaddik, and then, when he is eating, he will receive an illumination of Desire, a longing and yearning for God which is so powerful that he doesn’t even know what it is he desires.
The only way to achieve anything spiritually is with the help of the Tzaddik and his followers, who draw from his holy wisdom. Think carefully about your life and your purpose and see to it that you take care of your own best interests. You must beg and plead before God with `threefold tears’ to let you be worthy of finding the truth and finding a true guide who has genuine love and who will release you from your sins and lead you to the spiritual goals we have mentioned (Likutey Moharan II, 7).
97) There are things which the true teacher only hints at to his pupils with his hands. Because certain things cannot be explained directly, they can only be conveyed with hints. It is through these gestures with his hands that the Tzaddik draws down the influx of blessing (Ibid. 10).
98) The true leader of each generation always possesses the spirit of prophecy. Even in our times, when prophecy has ceased, the Tzaddik necessarily possesses a form of holy spirit which the rest of the people do not have and which is equivalent to ruach hakodesh and the prophetic spirit. It is this prophetic spirit of the Tzaddik which makes it possible to purify the image-making faculty, which is the source of imagination and illusion, in order to distinguish what is imaginary from what is true and attain perfect faith. Everyone must do his utmost to search after such a leader and draw close to him in or der to attain this faith. Because faith is only complete to the extent that one has cleansed oneself of illusion and falsehood. Genuine faith is the belief that God perpetually renews the work of Creation and that He created the world and brought it into existence out of absolute nothingness. The secret of the world’s renewal can never be understo od intellectually. It can only be grasped through faith — the faith we receive from the true Tzaddik. Do not deceive yourself and think it is easy to find such a guide. You have to hunt and search and pray to God and beg Him to make you worthy of discovering a guide who will help you attain perfect faith. Because there are false leaders too, and when people follow their guidance they absorb false ideologies and mistaken beliefs. When a person finds a true guide and attains perfect faith, he will be worthy of experiencing the renewal of the world that is destined to take place in time to come, and he will hear the melody and song which will be sung in the future when God renews His world. This is the melody which will be played on seventy-two strings. It is the source of all the goodly scents in the world, and of true awe. This melody is the essence of the reward of the Tzaddikim in time to come. Happy is the one who is worthy of this (8:7, 8, 10).
99) Being close to the Tzaddik thwarts the power of the corrupt serpent. But false leaders strengthen it, God forbid (Ibid. 8).
100) The true Tzaddikim have the power to lift depression and heaviness from the hearts of the Jewish people. Only then can their hearts burn with passion for God. But at times a person’s heart can burn too strongly for God. This is also not good. This is caused by the `raging stormwind’ (Ezekiel 1:3) which is also called `Destruction.’ The Tzaddikim have to watch over this and subjugate the `raging stormwind,’ in order to ensure that the intensity of passion is not excessive and that each Jew tempers his passion for God and keeps it within bounds (9).
101) There is a paradox which arises from the very fact that there are Tzaddikim who have reached the most awesome levels and who at times make extraordinary statements and even appear to boast. And indeed they are capable of formidable feats: they have the power to serve God with everything in the world, even when they eat and drink and so on. There are Tzaddikim who can achieve a redemption through their eating alone. The paradox is that just because there are Tzaddikim like these, there are also false Tzaddikim who vaunt themselves and push themselves forward as if they were able to achieve simila r feats. Some of them are even leaders and they deceive people into thinking there is nothing they cannot do. Because of the fact that there really are true Tzaddikim who do have these powers, the false Tzaddikim seem to bear some resemblance to them, just as the ape bears a certain resemblance to a human. These false Tzaddikim are the `false prop hets.’ But in reality they are a benefit to the genuine Tzaddikim. The reason is that there are people who make charitable donations and yet they are thoroughly wicked and adulterous. Their charity would harm the true Tzaddik. So it is good for him that there are false Tzaddikim to whom people like this can give their charity. God tricks these peo ple into making their donations to the false Tzaddikim and thus the true Tzaddik is saved from their charity (15).
102) The true Tzaddik receives the speech of his holy lips from those who give charity (Ibid.).
103) Don’t be worried or disturbed if you find you have various doubts and questions concerning the true Tzaddikim. The Tzaddikim resemble their Creator. Just as there are necessarily questions and problems concerning the Creator, and none of them can in any way detract from His greatness, similarly there are also necessarily questions and problem s concerning the Tzaddikim (52).
104) The higher the level of the Tzaddik the greater his ability to keep in touch with the world, to watch over it and understand it. This is the opposite of what people suppose. They imagine that because the Tzaddik is so great he must be remote from the world (58).
105) The Tzaddik repents on behalf of Israel. Therefore the closer people are to him the easier it is for them to repent and return to God. Because the Tzaddik repents for them (66).
106) The true Tzaddik is the pride and glory and delight of the whole world. He is, as it were, the `Master of the House’ over the whole world, and the `Master of the House’ over the House of God, which is the Holy Temple. The Tzaddik sends light into the Holy Temple and the whole world, because he is the light and splendor and glory of the world. When the Tzaddik becomes revealed and magnified throughout the world, the Name of God is thereby glorified. The greater the name of the Tzaddik the greater the glory of God. Whoever is truly merged with this name, which is the glory and spendor and true delight of the whole world — whoever draws close to the Tzaddik and is sub sumed under his name — through this, his eyes are opened and he can begin to examine himself and see where he stands in the various facets of his character. Then he can return to God and cleanse himself of all his evil characteristics. He will be worthy of perceiving the greatness of the Creator and of looking at the whole world with clear vision , because his eyes and his mind are opened by the true Tzaddik, who sends light to the whole world (67).
107) On the other hand, when the name of the true Tzaddik becomes concealed and removed from the world and fame and prestige go to a false leader who does not have the Name of God within him at all, then God Himself is diminished and concealed, as it were, because of this. All kinds of occult religions spring up as a result, cults which depend upo n the forces of darkness. The world is visited with terrible afflictions and conflagrations, and the very light of our eyes is withdrawn. It is as if the Holy Temple were in ruins and ashes and the precious Children of Israel were tossed out into the street. This was the lament of Jeremiah: `How is the gold become dim. The hallowed stones are pour ed out at the head of every street. The precious sons of Zion, comparable to fine gold. How are they esteemed as earthen pitchers, the work of the hands of the potter?’ (Lamentations 4:1,2).
The remedy is to rise every night at midnight to mourn over the destruction of the Holy Temple. The main thing is for each person to weep and mourn over his own sins, because they are the obstacle holding up the rebuilding of the Holy Temple, and because of them he is regarded as if he himself had destroyed it. Perhaps in his first incarnation he was indeed one of those who was responsible for the destruction of the Holy Temple. When a person rises every night at midnight to mourn over this, he will be regarded as if he was one of those who are making every effort to rebuild the Holy Temple, and this will bring a remedy for all the ills we mentioned above (Ibid.).
108) The true leader of the generation must be a Tzaddik on the highest of levels. He must be separated from sexual desire to the utmost degree and in absolute holiness. Then he is worthy of being the leader of Israel, and he merely has to look into the soul of each Jew for it to radiate and shine. This is how the Tzaddik can give every Jew a share of true greatness, each in accordance with the radiance of his soul, and then each one is able to innovate and create new and original concepts of Torah. He too can sanctify himself and separate himself from sexual desire. Then it is possible to attain a genuine sense of shame and thereby repent and return to God. This will bring true humility, which is the enduring life of the World to Come. But when Israel is without such a leader, God forbid, then the whole world falls into confusion. Anyone who wants to can push himself forward and as sume the leadership which is what we are seeing today because of our many sins (72).
109) The sign of a person who has been to the Tzaddik is that he has a sense of shame and humility. This comes from having heard words of Torah from the lips of the Tzaddik. For the Torah which a true Tzaddik teaches inspires a sense of shame which is the source of genuine repentance, and it is through this that one attains true humility (Ibid.).
110) Simply to look at the face of Tzaddikim is a very great thing. How much more so when one is worthy of speaking to him, and even more than this, when one hears Torah from his lips. But simply seeing him is very good in itself (75).
111) Happy is the one who is worthy of drawing close to a true Tzaddik in his lifetime happy is he and happy is his lot! Because afterwards, when he is dead, it will be hard indeed to draw close. The Evil One has made it his mission to confuse the world. Today’s young people have an unparalleled yearning for God the like of which was never seen in earlier times. But they do not know who they should follow. You must plead with God to be worthy of drawing near to the true Tzaddik (78).
112) The only reason why a person is sent into this world is to reach the true goal. The soul is unable to achieve this goal, namely to know and acknowledge the Creator, except by coming into this world. And in this world it is impossible to attain that goal except through the help of the true Tzaddik, the Moses of the generation. This Tzaddik has the power to use every creature in the world in order to enlighten us and give us an understanding of the ultimate goal. In our time we are fully aware that our level is very low and that none of us has attained spiritual beauty. But even we can still find enlightenment through the strength of the true leader, and he has the power to bring us to our goal. You must plead with God and beg him with `threefold tears’ t o take pity on us and send us a true leader and a faithful shepherd who will give us true wisdom and perception using everything in the world to do so. In the end we will be able to attain the goal for which we were sent into the world (39).
113) There is chametz leaven in a person’s heart which induces him to have doubts about the leading Sages of his time, deciding that `This one is all right, that one is no good,’ etc. But through tikkun habrit this leaven is expelled from the heart (83).
114) Everything in the entire world every object and every idea has to be bound to God. Whoever fails to do so is the `whisperer’ who `separates familiar friends’ (Proverbs 16:28), because he separates the Leader of the world from His creation. This is the cause of the blemish of the moon and the exile of the Shechinah. No matter where a person is or what position he finds himself in he must bind his mind to the Torah and to God from that very place. It is possible to achieve this through the true Tzaddikim, because when they talk about worldly matters they do so in a way that binds everything to God. The everyday conversation of the Tzaddik is very precious. It has the power to bind every thing to God, even those who are very far. The harsh judgements are annulled, guilt is transformed into merit, and all is light and perfection (91).
115) It is written of the future: `To grasp the ends of the earth and shake the wicked from it’ (Job 38:13). But somebody who is close to a true Tzaddik will hold onto him firmly, and he will be left in his place without being cast off with the wicked (Rabbi Nachman’s Wisdom 22).
116) The pity one should have for the souls in the World to Come is unimaginable. Because there are souls which are left literally naked. They cry out bitterly but there is no one to take pity for pity will not help them. But one who is close to the Tzaddik can run to him and receive clothing for his soul (Ibid. 23).
117) It is impossible to imagine the greatness of one who is worthy of giving charity to a true Tzaddik (Ibid. 24).
118) One who speaks against the Tzaddik is actually speaking against God and is called an `atheist’ (Ibid. 38).
119) One who ignores the words of the Sages can go mad because of it (Ibid. 67).
120) If a person is not bound to a true Tzaddik, all his devotions are nothing but twisting and turning and pretending to be something he isn’t as if an ape were pretending to be a man. Service of God is nothing without the true Tzaddik (Ibid. 111).
ADVICE from RABBI NACHMAN
Online English translation of Likutey Etzot
A compendium of Rabbi Nachman’s practical teachings on spiritual growth and devotion.
© AZAMRA INSTITUTE 5766 / 2006