28 Av 5781 / Friday, August 06, 2021 | Torah Reading: Re'eh
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HomeHolidays and Fast DaysMenachem Av and ElulTu B'Av: The Color of the Sky
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Tu B'Av: The Color of the Sky    

Tu B'Av: The Color of the Sky

The 15th of Av is really a preparation for Elul. When you truly love someone, you think about them all the time. How often do we think about Hashem?


Rebbe Nachman wasn't stubborn about anything other than serving Hashem. He flowed optimistically with whatever Hashem sent his way.
One day, riding in a wagon with Chaikel, one of his students, they were on the outskirts of a village on the way to a larger city. Chaikel asked the Rebbe, "May we do a quick detour into the village? I have a poor relative there whom I want to say hello to."
Rebbe Nachman nodded in assent, but he didn't say a word.
Chaikel directed the wagon-master to a dilapidated shack on the edge of the village. There were holes in the walls so big that a cat could jump right it. Inside, there was barely nothing. A dual purpose stove and fireplace, both idle, a dirt floor and two broken chairs. Everything reeked of poverty, especially the soot-faced man, his rag-attired wife, and their three barefoot children.
Chaikel pleaded to his Rebbe, "For the sake of Heaven, Rebbe, please bless my cousin! The poor soul has nothing! When have you ever seen such poverty?"
This time, Rebbe Nachman gestured in refusal. "I have no blessing for your cousin. I'm not a parnassa (income) Rebbe."
Chaikel was aghast. He knew how much his revered Rebbe loved every human being. But how could he not have compassion for this destitute Jew and family? Chaikel was bewildered but he dared not question his Rebbe. "Rebbe, do you mind if I bless him?" Many of Rebbe Nachman's pupils, Chaikel included, were righteous Torah scholars in their own right. Their word too had weight Above.
Rebbe Nachman agreed. "Go ahead and bless him, if you so wish."
Chaikel jumped off the wagon and grabbed a bottle of water. He ran into the shack and sprinkled water in all four corners of the ever-so-shabby dwelling. "Abundance in the north!" he said, sprinkling water in the north corner of the shack. "Abundance in the south!" he called out, running to the opposite corner and sprinkling there too. He turned to the right, sprinkled more water and declared, "Abundance in the east!" Then, turning around once more, he darted to the opposite corner, sprinkled the last few drops that remained in the bottle and called out, "Abundance in the west." As soon as he finished, he bade farewell to his cousin, jumped back on the wagon and was on his way.
Several years transpired. Chaikel's blessing must have moved mountains, for his cousin's life changed dramatically. He had obtained a few kopecks, which he used to buy and sell needles, buttons and other such sundries. What ever he touched virtually turned into gold. In a short time, he became a fabulously wealthy merchant. His wife was now a Lady in a big mansion and his children were dressed like little noblemen.
One morning, Rebbe Nachman was standing by the open window of his study, enjoying a deep breath of the Ukraine-summer morning air. A wealthy merchant in an obvious hurry ran by. "Young man, young man," the Rebbe called.
Perturbed and impatient, the man stopped in his tracks.
"Don't you even have the time to look at the color of the sky?" Rebbe Nachman asked.
Without answering, the young man continued on his way. Now as a rich merchant, he didn't have a moment to spare. At first, when he started making money, he stopped praying with the local quorum in the synagogue. Now, as a wealthy owner of factories and ships, he didn't even have time to put on tefillin.
According to Breslever tradition, Rebbe Nachman knew that the young man's soul correction was to be poor. At least, then, he was an upright Jew. That's why Rebbe Nachman didn't want to bless him with wealth, for he knew that it would be detrimental.
Rebbe Nachman's question to the young man, "Don't you even have the time to look at the color of the sky?", is a metaphor based on a passage in the Gemara, tractate Menachot. The color of the sky is the color of the Heavenly Throne; one who therefore looks at the color of the sky is reminded about Hashem. Without embarrassing the young man, Rebbe Nachman was asking, "Don't you even have the time to think about Hashem?"
Baruch Hashem, now that the Three Weeks are over, we prepare ourselves for the joy of the latter half of Av and the wonderful month of Elul. Getting carried away during the month of Elul, people make all types of lofty resolutions, many of which dissipate like dewdrops in the morning sun as soon as the High Holidays are over. But first and foremost, Hashem wants our hearts. That's why the 15th of Av - "Tu B'Av" or "Love Day" as people call it - is really a preparation for Elul. When you truly love someone, you think about them all the time. So let's ask ourselves, how often do we think about Hashem? Are we so wrapped up in the chinchilla wheel of modern fast-lane life that we don't have time to look at the color of the sky? Simply by pondering this question, we are making  a sincere giant step in getting closer to Hashem. Have a great month of Elul!

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Dassie7/28/2015 11:40:10 AM

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