It had been a long hour of desperate struggling against the bothersome challenges that made it impossible for him to concentrate on the page of Gemorah before him.
He had opened the sefer as a last resort to escape the flood of thoughts that threatened to bring the emotions which were welling up inside him to explosion. He could not begin to imagine who it was from the community that could have been behind such a thing. How could someone as admired and valued as himself suddenly become the laughing stock of the entire community?
As the walls of the house began to seem as if they were closing in on him, he decided to go outside hoping that the cool fresh air would alleviate his pain and perhaps he would even be able to find a minyan for Mincha.
For quite some time he staggered through the streets and alleyways, his mind and heart filled with rage at the cruelty of the world around him, at the lack of justice, and also at himself.
Finally his weary feet rested upon the doorstep of a no-name beis medrash on the outskirts of the city.
He stepped inside and found them in the middle of mincha. He joined in and after the Tefillah they all sat down around a table, opened seforim and began to learn.
The large clock on the wall indicated that there was about a half an hour till Maariv and he decided to stay since he anyway had nothing to return to.
At first the words being spoken were foreign to him, yet they seemed to surround him with a feeling he had never before experienced.
At the end of the half-hour he found himself dumbfounded and yearning to hear more and more of the wellsprings of sweetness that flowed forth from the seforim and the people leaning over them.
When he left, new thoughts filled his mind and his legs seemed to dance their way along the pathways that had before seemed do gloomy. He swiftly realized how unnecessary the kavod (honor) was for him and it suddenly seemed so absurd to think about what the community thought of him.
A world of truth and reality had taken the place of the fleeting world he had been living in and he found much more in it. He had never before been acquainted with the ‘Likutey Moharan’, but that day, he has witnessed how it had flowed forth with such practical advice, encouraging and gladdening. The frustration that had until a few moments before filled his entire being had been replaced by the living ruach (spirit) of The Tzaddik…
Ahhh, how worthwhile was all that suffering, without all that emotional pain it would have never occurred to him that he was missing something; he would ever have imagined that the Tzaddik had something known to teach him. He now knew full well that not only had a treasury of chiyus (liveliness) and simcha (joy) fallen into his hands, but a treasury of Toras chaim (living Torah).
We all know the wondrous parshios of Yosef ha’tzaddik and his holy brothers. The Torah tells us of the manner in which Yosef conducted himself with his brothers and these things present us with serious questions.
All of Yosef’s actions seem to be nothing but cruelty; he arranges things in order to trap his bothers, bringing suffering not only to them but to his father Yaakov as well. It is also amazing that so many parshios were dedicated to the topic of Yosef, more so than any of the holy Avos. What is so special that makes it necessary to deal so extensively with the story of Yosef?
However, since people are not at all familiar with the concept of the Tzaddik and the whole idea is quite foreign to us, the Torah wishes, through the story of Yosef, to teach us how fundamental the concept of the Tzaddik is and how it is impossible to properly fulfill the Torah and to pass safely through this world without connection to the complete Tzaddikim.
In this way the Torah teaches, for example, that the concept of the Tzaddik is revealed in the heart specifically through suffering and distress, just like the holy brothers did come to perceive Yosef – only in such a way. And when the Gevi’a (goblet) was found by Binyamin then they came to understand that one must be a fitting vessel to receive from the Tzaddik (as is known that the entire concept of Binyamin is ‘the lower Tzaddik’ who constantly strives to receive the light of ‘the upper Tzaddik’. This is why the goblet was found by him, as the word gevi’a has the numerical value of 72 + 13, where 72 is the numerical value of the name of Hashem that represents kindness and 13 is an allusion to the thirteen attributes of mercy, both of which he receives from the Tzaddik). When the brother realized what it is that they must receive from the Tzaddik, then Yosef revealed himself to them and said – ‘I am Yosef!’(Beraishis 45,3).
When one merits revealing the concept of ‘I am Yosef’, then one must begin to search even more for the concept of the Tzaddik, just like one who is in distress and searches desperately for a way to save himself.
And when we search correctly, then we will understand what Tefillah is, what Hisboddedus is, and we will see the difference between our own honor ant that of Hashem. We will also begin to understand the necessity of hischazkus (encouragement) and how to see only the good and to be always joyous. Then we will merit seeing how much chiyus we receive from the Tzaddik and will be able to search in his holy teachings for what is relevant to us in the ways of Avodas Hashem.
If it were not for all that a person goes through, he would never understand what he is missing and why the closeness to the Tzaddik is so vital and essential. Only these experiences teach us how much chesed (kindness) and rachamim (mercy) Hashem has bestowed upon us by sending us in every generation awesome Tzaddikim to enliven our souls.
Only then do we truly understand how the entire fulfillment of the Torah and the acceptance of our avodah is dependent upon the great and awesome Tzaddik and how without him ‘no man will raise his arm or his leg’ (41,44).
Reb Nosson more than anyone reveals the concept of the Tzaddik that had once been clear but was later forgotten. He teaches how these parshios tell us all about what one who is close to the Tzaddik goes through and that we should receive from the Tzaddik the path to: ‘do not be distressed’(45,5)
During the coming days will fall out the Yartzheit of Reb Nosson (10th of Teives). He is the one who accepted upon himself the task of revealing and spreading the knowledge of the Tzaddik.
Reb Nosson revealed again this concept, which was known before, and explained its essence and how the power of the Rebbe is something tangible, real, and clear as day.
In his wondrous way he shines light on the ways of the Torah and shows how through the entire lengthy story of Yosef and the brothers, the Torah hints to us about the concept of the Tzaddik and how the way to achieve it is through constant search and request. He also reveals that all the remedies for all types of suffering and pain can be found by the Tzaddik. Even the very awareness of the Tzaddik itself brings joy to our souls and unloads from upon us the burden of sadness and heaviness.
After a person knows of the Tzaddik, it is time to approach the Tzaddik and to request: ‘may your servant speak a word in my masters ears…’(44,18).
For after the Tzaddik reveals himself and a person merits to recognize the Tzaddik and be counted among his followers, then one must approach the Tzaddik himself and search out from him advice and remedy for his ailments – that he should be able to truly change and correct what needs correction.
The Tzaddik has treasuries of eternal goodness and by him can be found the remedies for the body and the soul alike – all one need to do is begin to search for that which is relevant to him.
This is the common denominator of all the writings of Reb Nosson; he always arouses a person to search for the practical and relevant advice in the words of the Rebbe. For one who is connected to the Tzaddik must search and find by the Tzaddik what will help him practically and bring him to real growth and change. This search must be conducted by each person, through studying the books of the Tzaddik, through conversations with his friends who are searching together for the light of the Tzaddik, and mainly through tefillah, supplications and Hisboddedus.
Every person who has merited coming close to the Tzaddik must ask himself ‘do I truly find the sustenance of the Tzaddik?’ as Yosef said: ‘it is to be a provider, that Hashem sent me ahead of you’ (45’5). For even one who knows of the Tzaddik can miss the point and search out by him solutions to social problems, honor and other secondary things. But when one searches truthfully, he finds true guidance and advice in Avodas Hashem, as he reveals the path to get up form every downfall, to be happy in every situation and how to truly rectify ones middos (character traits).
This is because the Tzaddik is the manifestation of the attributes of mercy – by him can be found the compassion of The Creator, and one who makes and effort in Tefillah and supplications can arouse these awesome levels of mercy upon himself.
On the tenth of Teves the siege began. On that day the gallus (exile) and concealment began. Yet, on that same day the first rays of the light of the ge’ulah (redemption) began to shine. This is the day of the passing of Reb Nosson who drew down into the world the path of Avodas Hashem in the depths of the gallus. He revealed to us the way to search for the light of the Tzaddik and with it to enlighten the darkness of our exile. We fast on this day in order to arouse compassion on us that we should merit to find the advice and guidance to return to Hashem and to nullify the hardships of the gallus.
You can download the entire Parasha Sheet here: Vayigash 5770