The self-sacrifice of the Tzaddikim
Chanukah Part III
There are souls who have fallen to these very lowest of places. While it’s true that the or haganuz, the hidden light, still shines there, this only happens in an enormously concealed and hidden way. Trying to reveal Hashem in these places is the hardest thing of all, because this light is so very hidden there.
Rav Natan asks: Nevertheless, we see in our generation, and also in the previous generations, that there were Jews who were completely submerged in these ‘impure places’ and houses of idol worship who eventually escaped from them, and who made teshuva. How did they escape from there, and draw closer to God?
The Tzaddikim constantly pray for Am Yisrael
He answers that there are very big Tzaddikim whose only purpose in this world revolves around one thing only: to rectify the neshamot (souls) of Israel. These Tzaddikim petition Hashem, and pray constantly that all of Am Yisrael should make teshuva, and they also pray on behalf of those souls who have fallen into the ‘impure places’ and houses of idol worship.
They say: Ribono Shel Olam, Master of the world, return them to You!
Hashem answers them: “I said ‘I won’t give My glory to acher!’ They fell into those places, and I’m not going to help them. I’m not going to reveal my rulership, I’m not going to reveal the light of Torah and emuna in those places!”
This is the conversation that occurs between the soul of the Tzaddik and Hashem.
The Tzaddik understands that it’s impossible to help these souls by the regular routes. According to the way the world was created to operate, which was established during the six days of creation, there is no way to help the souls who have fallen into these ‘impure places’ and houses of idol worship.
Why the Tzaddik accepts terrible suffering upon himself
At the same time, the Tzaddik also understands that there absolutely still has to be some other way of helping them, as it’s written: “that you won’t be completely pushed away from Him.” And that this alternative route involves his own mesirut Nefesh (self-sacrifice), and accepting upon himself all the disgrace, and the murderous punishments, and the torments the world contains, solely in order to help these neshamot.
And so, the Tzaddik accepts the most terrible suffering upon himself in order to help these souls. In the merit of the Tzaddik’s self-sacrifice, Hashem then shine His light down to these souls, in the places where they find themselves, and then they can also escape from there.
Only Tzaddikim and baal teshuvas see the or haganuz
Rebbe Nachman reveals something wondrous to us:
Because these ‘impure places’ and houses of idol worship are sustained in a concealed way by the or haganuz (hidden light), when a person falls into these places and then escapes from them, he will merit to see the actual or haganuz revealed to him.
The or haganuz is a very big gift, because usually the only people who can receive the or haganuz are the biggest Tzaddikim, the unique ones in their generation, who take terrible suffering upon themselves for the sake of Am Yisrael – or baal teshuvas, (returnees to Jewish observance) who escaped from the ‘impure places’ and houses of idol worship.
The or haganuz is the daat (spiritual knowledge) of the true Tzaddik, the light of Rebbe Nachman. All of the Tzaddik’s Torah lessons is pulled along by the or haganuz. This is such a spiritually lofty thing, that the yetzer hara (evil inclination) can’t touch it, or destroy it.
When you’re with Rebbe Nachman, new paths open up
So, we see a person who wants to make teshuva, and who wants to start rectifying himself, but the yetzer hara has managed to prevent him from doing this by placing all the obstacles that exist in the world around him. But when we successfully manage to associate ourselves with the Tzaddik’s daat, with Rebbe Nachman, a whole bunch of new doors – and new paths – suddenly open up for us.
So it is that we hope and pray that the light of Rebbe Nachman will be enticed more and more out into the world. Because the more that the daat and the advice of the Tzaddik are known and revealed in the world, the more people will make teshuva.
Translated from the ‘Ka’ayal Ta’arog’ newsletter for Kislev 5778.