Tuesday, February 01, 2005

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Time in a Story

The Lubavitcher Rebbe told the following story from the book Derek Mitzvotecha...

The Baal Shem Tov once sent a letter to his brother-in-law, Reb Gershon Kutaver, reproaching him for having excommunicated a Torah scholar living in Eretz Yisroel (the land of Israel) without ample justification. In his letter, the Baal Shem Tov revealed further that he envisioned a Heavenly decree leveled against Reb Gershon as punishment for this rash behavior.

Reb Gershon later wrote back to the Baal Shem Tov. He admitted to the incident, but explained that he excommunicated the scholar much after the letter was written! "True," the Baal Shem Tov later replied, "but you do not realize how things are perceived in Heaven. There, even in the lower supernal world of Yetzirah, ten or fifteen years can be viewed in a split second."


The Lubavitcher Rebbe added...

Why did the Baal Shem Tov not specify that this event was destined to occur int he future? Reading this letter, Reb Gershon naturally assumed the Baal Shem Tov was relating an event in the past. Did the Baal Shem Tov not realize that the excommunication had yet to transpire?

As explained in the Zohar and Chassidic works, tzaddikim (the fully righteous) are inherently bound with G-dliness, united as a single essence. This explains the above story: the Baal Shem Tov - a true tzaddik - was totally united with G-dliness, and could view the past, present, and future as a single entity. Hence, when composing his letter, the Baal Shem Tov wrote about the future in the past tense, as though it already occurred.

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