10 Tishrei 5781 / Monday, September 28, 2020 | Torah Reading: Ha'azinu
 
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The Guiding Light    

The Guiding Light



How should we mourn the passing of a tzaddik? By being sad and depressed? Rebbe Natan shows us how to observe the 18th of Tishrei, Rebbe Nachman’s Yahrtzeit…

 



Translated by Rabbi Lazer Brody

 
This coming Motzaei Shabbat and Sunday, 18 Tishrei, 5772, marks the 201st anniversary of our holy Rebbe Nachman’s departure from the flesh.
 
Nothing could extinguish the fire in Rebbe Natan of Breslev's heart or his yearning for Hashem. Only two things made him cry his eyes out: the destruction of the Holy Temple and the loss of the generation's Tzaddik, the righteous spiritual leader and guide.
 
On Tisha B'Av, Rebbe Natan would go down to the cellar following the evening prayers, and wouldn't re-emerge until the following afternoon. He would cry incessantly over the destruction of the Temple all night and half the next day.
 
When Rebbe Nachman passed from this world, Rebbe Natan, his prime disciple, felt the loss of Rebbe Nachman deep in his heart. For him, the death of the tzaddik was comparable to the destruction of the Holy Temple.
 
It is vital to come close to the tzaddik, whose light is so crucial. The tzaddik of the generation is tantamount to the Moses of the generation; losing the tzaddik is therefore akin to losing Moses.
 
Nonetheless, Rebbe Natan’s tears were not the acid tears of sadness and depression, Heaven forbid.
 
Rebbe Natan knew the depth of the loss – firsthand - when the tzaddik's light was extinguished. But after he cried and mourned, he moved into a positive, happy and productive mode, devoting his life to spreading the tzaddik's teachings. It is never permissible for a person to be sad, for sadness stems from the "dark side" of spirituality – the antithesis of holiness. Even on Tisha B'Av and during mourning, Heaven forbid, we have no license to align ourselves with the dark side. Sure, we have prescribed times for mourning and weeping, but we shed our tears as an expression of our pain, and not as a result of sadness, G-d forbid.
 
There are situations in life that cause us pain. We are certainly allowed – even encouraged – to express our pain, especially in personal prayer. But with emuna, we know that Hashem does everything for the best, so we not only accept our pain without sadness, we even thank Hashem for it. We'll elaborate much more on this concept later in this book, G-d willing.
 
There is no place in Judaism for sadness. A person should not be sad for even one second of his entire life. Sadness is heresy, and a denial of one of the main principles of emuna – the pure and simple belief in Hashem - that everything is for the best and that there is no evil in the world. For in the final accounting, there are no exceptions.
 
The sin of baseless crying is so terrible that it causes a desecration of Hashem's name and delays the revelation of G-d's monarchy over the world. The spiritual force of impurity known as Amalek conceals G-d's monarchy. Hashem, therefore, commands us to remember this evil influence and eradicate anything that is associated with Amalek. Our sages teach that G-d's throne and G-d's name seemingly lack completion until the memory of Amalek is obliterated.
 
Any Jew would be delighted to find Amalek and wipe out his name so that G-d's throne and name could be complete. But we must know that in order to obliterate any semblance of Amalek we must first wipe out the ungratefulness within our hearts, because a lack of gratitude stems from Amalek's dark-side spiritual influence!
 
Ask yourself: How is G-d's monarchy over the world discernable if the Nation of Israel – G-d's nation – is crying and complaining? A king whose nation is dissatisfied with his leadership and despondent – is that the monarchy of G-d, the Almighty and Omniscient? Is that a manifestation of Divine perfection? Of course not! There can be no greater disgrace for the monarchy of Hashem than a sad person. Sadness desecrates His name, Heaven forbid.
 
When a person is blue, it’s as if he does not accept G-d's reign over the world and doesn't agree with His decrees and supremacy. It’s as if G-d does not rule the world with justice, for His subjects have complaints. They are not satisfied with their King and disagree with His divine justice.
 
Let’s never forget the greatest gifts Hashem has given us – our spiritual leaders, particularly Rebbe Nachman of saintly and blessed memory, whose teachings are our guiding light that illuminate our path to the full redemption of our people, speedily and in our time, amen!





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