by Reb Akiva at Mystical Paths
In honor of Gimmel Tammuz, the hilulah, the ascension of the Lubavitcher Rebbe. Parts of this story and Ma'amar (chassidic teaching) were heard directly from the Rebbe by the Mashpia (chassidic mentor/teacher) Rabbi Farrow, from whom I heard it recently...
The Tanya teaches that at the moment one does an aveyra (a sin), one is considered a rasha (a completely bad person). For at that exact moment, one is in direct rebellion against the King of kings. Though in the complete scheme of ones life, one may be judged for the good on balance, still at the moment of rebellion one is a rasha - evil.
Further, the Tanya teaches that at the moment one does a mitzvah (a positive commandment), one is considered a tzaddik (a saint, a completely good person). For at that exact moment, one is a demonstrated loyal subject of the King of kings who has put his own will aside for the Will of the King.
The communists had just passed one of what was to become many severe decrees against Judaism in the new Soviet Union. The Rebbe HaRayatz, the previous Lubavitcher Rebbe, prepared to travel to S. Petersburg (renamed Lenningrad at the time) to attempt to annul the harsh decree. Possibly the fate of Russian Jewry stood in the balance.
30 minutes before he was to catch the train, the future 7th Rebbe came to visit the Rebbe HaRayatz. He entered the Rebbe's office and found him sitting at his desk completely focused upon writing a chassidic ma'amar (a deep esoteric chassidic Torah teaching, which requires intense focus and concentration to create). After the Rebbe stopped the future 7th Rebbe asked him, "in a few moments you are about to travel for the sake of Jewry, yet at such a dangerous time you were able to sit and write a ma'amar (which takes complete focus). How were you able to do so with all the worry of what will be?"
The Rebbe HaRayatz replied, "I will teach you a secret. We have a lesson from the Rashba [Akiva, I think it was the Rashba, I don't remember the rav referred to clearly]. During his lifetime he wrote over 6,000 halachic tshuvot (responses to serious Jewish law queries, often many many pages long following significant research). Further, he was a practicing physician who saw patients daily. In addition, he was known to talk a shpatzeer (a stroll) daily. How could he have possibly accomplished all that in one lifetime?"
The Rebbe brought his point, "With complete focus. He gave his full attention, his full focus, his full energy to everything he did. He did not allow himself to be distracted but applied himself completely to everything he did."
What is the power of tzadik? The tzadik has the ability to destroy the evil of this world. The tzadik gamur, the complete tzadik, besides having the power to destroy evil has the power to harness the power of the negative drives and transform this high negative potential to good!
How many such tzaddikim are there in the world? One, maybe two? Maybe you'd say Lammed Vav, 36 tzaddikim...
In a ma'amar, deep esoteric chassidic teaching, the Rebbe wrote an unbelievable insight. He taught, as the Tanya teaches that as at the moment one does a mitzvah one is a tzadik, if one focuses upon the mitzvah with 100%, with 1000% of his focus, energy, effort, with his whole being, at that moment he is performing a mitzvah as a tzadik gamur (a complete tzadik) and has has the koach of the tzadik!!! At that moment, a person can invoke the power of a tzadik, destroy the evil and harness the animal for the good!!!
While even with the lessons of Tanya we may feel being a tzadik or even a beynoni (an intermediate man who does no aveyrot but still has negative drives to struggle with) is out of reach, the Rebbe has taught us that it can be in reach if only for a moment.
And in that moment, we, little plain ole' us, can change the world. As the Rebbe cried out to us, 'he has done all that he could. Now it's up to us.'
And now we know how.
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
// 6/24/2009 //