A Tzaddik lives by his emuna
Everything depends on the foundation of emuna.
Our holy books talk about the idea that ‘a Tzaddik lives by his emuna’ a great deal, and explain that ‘a Tzaddik’ is really only called a Tzaddik in the first place because of his emuna. It’s only when he manages to reveal the emuna in his heart that he is called a Tzaddik.
The holy Arizal tells us a very big secret: people are connected. The Arizal says that as well as there being obvious connections between human beings, there is another dimension that is hidden from view, called the ‘connection between souls’. This is sometimes also referred to as the ‘upper connection’ and the ‘lower connection’.
Wherever the heart of a person leads him, wherever he wants to go, whoever he really wants to connect to – ultimately, he will connect with them. The holy Arizal told his student, Rabbi Chaim Vital, that everything that Rabbi Chaim had attained, all his achievements they were all because Rav Chaim had been connected to the Arizal in the past. That’s why the Arizal’s soul revealed all the Torah to him.
When we say that ‘we bind ourselves to all the Tzaddikim of the generation’, what we really want is for our souls to become connected to those Tzaddikim who are really going on the path of emuna, and on the path of Torah. When we connect to the Tzaddikim in this way, they influence us spiritually.
Rav Natan writes in Likutey Halachot that the more that a person tries to connect to the true Tzaddikim, the more certain it becomes that this person will rectify everything spiritually, and merit to make complete teshuva. Why is this? Because the more we try to connect to the true Tzaddikim, then even if there is a big war or some other tikkun or spiritual rectification we have to endure – because all of us have to go through a great many things in this world, – the Tzaddik’s soul won’t disconnect from us, and won’t leave us. And then ultimately, everything will be turned around for the good.
We should know that this isn’t some new idea from chassidut, it’s actually the foundation of the whole Torah. It’s written: and they believed in Hashem, and in Moshe His servant. From this we can see that believing in Hashem depends on our connection to, and belief in, the Tzaddik.
When we are bound to the Tzaddik, that connection with his soul influences ours, and his soul then illuminates ours with the powerful light of emuna.
 It’s a standard practice amongst Breslov chassidim to begin their personal prayer, or hitbodedut, sessions with the following statement: “I hereby bind myself to the Tzaddikim of the generation, those living and those dead, the holy ones interred in the ground. And in particular, I bind myself to Rabbi Nachman ben Faige, may his merit protect me, and all of Am Yisrael. I also bind myself to the mitzvah to love my fellow Jew as myself.”