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Friday, May 27, 2011

Bridging Breslov and Przysucha


Now, each and every Jew possesses an aspect of “a tzaddik rules,” corresponding to (Isaiah 60:21)), “Your people, all of them are tzaddikim … For, in every Jew there is something precious, an aspect of a nekudah which his friend does not have. (Likutei Moharan 34)
There are two important ideas that can be understood from this passage of Likutei Moharan. Firstly, the idea that everyone must develop his own traits.. Reb Nosson explains that each person is unique in his own right and must develop according to his ability and capabilities. One should therefore not attempt to mimic another's devotions and service of God, for that path may not be suitable for him. Each person must develop and utilize his own strengths (Torat Natan #11). Reb Simcha of Przysucha also asserted that this is the correct approach. Reb Simcha was recorded to have said in Kol Simcha,
Also, with regard to commandments, service, and perfection, a person should clothe himself in something that is designated for himself (Masei 103).
In this passage, Reb Simcha stresses the importance of being authentic and knowing oneself. In order to develop his own nekudah as Rebbe Nachman would have it, one has to have a sense of himself, and must do what is fitting for his own worship and not that of another. Someone who knows himself doesn't need to be anyone else, because God created each person to be distinctive. The tzaddik is simply a guide for one to use as a reference. As a person works on himself, it is befitting to look to the tzaddik and ask oneself if he's doing the right thing. So too in Breslov, the tzaddik is essentially a crutch for the individual. He looks to the tzaddik for guidance and sees him as a model. But, one must ultimately look to himself is he wishes to grow.
The second point that one can cull from Rebbe Nachman's words is of critical importance for both understanding Breslov Chassidus as well as understanding how Breslov and Przysucha work hand in hand. Rebbe Nachman quotes the book of Isaiah with the intention of emphasizing the potential of every single Jew. The verse reads that every Jew is a tzaddik. Every Jew has the capability of reaching the level of “tzaddik.” Rather than think that every time Rebbe Nachman mentions the word tzaddik he is referring to an unattainable state one can surmise that he is speaking about the individual. When this idea is considered, the independence and potential afforded to every Jew and his Godly service is streamlined. Reb Nosson records a corresponding idea in Sichos HaRan,
I [Reb Nosson] always thought of myself as having faith, and could not understand his implication. When I mentioned this to the Rebbe he answered me with some impatience, “You may have faith, but you have no faith in yourself.” The Rebbe told me this: It is written (Zechariah 4:10), “Who has despised the day of small things.” The Talmud comments on this saying, “Why are the tables of the tzaddikim despised in the Future World? Because of their own smallness.” That is, because they do not believe in themselves. (140)
The message expressed here is clear. Although Rebbe Nachman stresses the importance of the tzaddik and clinging to him throughout his writings, belief in the tzaddik can only go so far. For one to truly be successful in life, he must cast aside his reliance on others and first and foremost believe in himself. As has been mentioned many times, Przysucha holds this value to be dear. In the book Niflaot Hadashot Reb Simcha Bunim reflects on this very belief,
When a Jew goes to the tzaddik, his heart becomes broken within him, for he sees the difference between himself and the tzaddik. (22)
This is what Przysucha meant by tzaddik. Here, tzaddikism means the service of human greatness that obligated the Chassid himself to strive for greatness. The role of the tzaddik is not to supplant one's own efforts, traits, and uniqueness. Rather, for both Breslov and Przysucha, the tzaddik is supposed to help the individual realize and materialize his inherent greatness. The tzaddik is supposed to help his Jewish brother become a tzaddik. IY"H, learning the teachings of Rebbe Nachman and applying them to our lives will bring us closer to becoming tzaddikim

6 comments:

NaaNaach said...

Nicely written, except the Tzadik is not just a crutch C"V, this is a big mistake of the litvaks. The Tzadik is the main figure of all creation, and our job is to attach ourselves and support the Tzadik. The thing is, that the only way we can actually support the Tzadik is by being real ourselves (understand this because I'm writing very short) if we just parot the Tzadik or imitate him that is worthless. But the main thing is the Tzadik, and if you would understand this you would understand that there's where the bridge ends, Rabbi Nachman is THE TZADIK and there's nothing even remotely close to him. Especially today our only hope is to focus completely on Rabbainu and not to get enticed by things that appeal to our senses. This is the greatness of Rabbi Nussun and Saba, who saw all types of very holy people and systems and were just strengthened in their conviction that Rabbainu was something else completely, above and beyond. There's a lot more to be said, but hopefully this is enough to direct to the ultimate truth of Rabbainu.

Admin said...

Chezi, if you use images from other sites you have to first check their terms and conditions to see if they allow it.

chezi said...

Thanks, Simcha. I just want to say that I believe 100% that Rabbeinu is the tzaddik ha'emes. I didn't intend "crutch" to mean a mere ingredient to one's growth or that the tzaddik is dispensable, c"v. I guess it was a poor word choice.

And, admin - the photo i used of a Monet painting. I don't know if it's subject to copyright, but I would suspect that it's not.

shimonnachmanshilo said...

Saba said that Mashiach would reveal the greatness of all the Tzaddikim, but the main thing is Rabbeinu. There's nothing wrong with appreciating other Tzaddikim..especially our own inner Tzaddik, often lost in our excessive focus on others.

chezi said...

well said, shimon.

The villager said...

We are all MOSHIAH's of THE MOSHIAH. The difference is that there are many of us and only one of him, since even two heads cannot exist on the same body.
He is the root, the trunk, the foundation and we are branches and fruits of his. Even the trunk has a right to be proud of some tasty produce and can claim ownership!