Just Grab Onto the Rope
Translated and adapted from the lessons of Rabbi Nissan Dovid Kivak shlit”a
An “Ish Yisraeli”, a true Jewish person has to constantly look to find the deeper dimension, the innate wisdom of each thing, it’s “innate wisdom”, and attach himself to this innate wisdom. What does it mean to be a Jew? To go from one level to another, to live like a Jew. We’ve mentioned this already – that a Jew is someone who is continuously progressing, someone who is constantly battling forward. You have a person who climbs up a rickety ladder, but gets scared and comes back down again. An “Ish Yisraeli” is someone who keeps moving forward. He may not always feel that he’s progressing, but he is constantly moving forward. Someone who’s living a life of holiness – he needs this, so that there won’t be any break – that there shouldn’t be anything that holds him up or brings him down, whatever he goes through.
He has to constantly look for the innate wisdom and inner dimension of each thing, and attach himself to the innate wisdom and wisdom inherent in each thing. Then he can progress in life, and the innate wisdom of each thing will shine to him and show him how to come close to Hashem through that thing.
Even if we would talk about this for a hundred years, we wouldn’t finish. In these few words the Rebbe encapsulates the entire Torah of the Baal Shem Tov and all the light of the Zohar. All theeitzahs that the Rebbe himself revealed are all contained in these few words. How can we absorb this and really take it in? Soon the Rebbe himself says that it’s impossible to constantly live with innate wisdom. If that’s the case, why did he tell us that we have to, and that we can’t live without it? Soon the Rebbe will say that the innate wisdom is such a great spiritual light that we aren’t able to grasp hold of it properly. The answer is that what we need to do is firmly implant in everyone’s heart and soul that “This is what I want, this is what I’m yearning for – to know this thing and understand what it means for me.”
What are we living for? Where do we need to get to? The Rebbe reveals a way for us to grasp hold of this, even when we’re very far from it. The Rebbe opens up for us a gateway of Teshuvah. He throws us a rope, that stretches to the furthest reaches of the earth. Wherever you are, just grab hold of this – an “Ish Yisraeli” always has to look for the innate wisdom in each thing, and attach himself to the innate wisdom, this Divinely innate wisdom instilled in that thing. This is the source of truth. When a Jew merits believing in Hashem in his heart – he knows about Hashem – then he lives with holiness, and he starts to look at each thing with a more penetrating eye – he looks for its deeper aspect. Not like a person in the street, a businessman, who looks at everything superficially. The man of the world is always on the lookout for another opportunity to make money. He notices that he’s hungry, and searches for something to satisfy his appetite. He sees other things that he’d like, and he goes after them. He also notices when he’s uncomfortable, when something is paining him. That’s his whole life.
A Jew who has Emunah, on the other hand – he’s a deeper person. It’s easy for him to come to shul, to learn something, to feel inner peace and closeness to Hashem. He can pray. This is the simple thing that the Rebbe is coming to teach us – to raise up the true charm of Israel. With a bit of innate wisdom we can feel the true charm, the charm of being Hashem’s people, the charm of being close to Hashem – of being something eternal.
Every Jew already knows what this is to some extent, but how to do we hold onto it at all times? To look for the deeper dimension – this is something engrained in every soul, to look a bit deeper, to see the Emunah that Hashem created the world, to try and understand what it says in our prayers. But here the story starts – that we can’t do this all day long. How long is a person in shul or in the Beis HaMedrash? Most of our time is spent dealing with other things – it seems that we are bound to fall off this ‘looking for the deeper dimension’?
This is what is written between the lines here – that we have to look for the innate wisdom instilled in every creation and in every event to come close to Hashem. We have to find the way to overcome the problem we have, that whenever we have to be involved in this world, it shouldn’t pull us down. Not just things of this world, but even the problems we face, whether at home or in the street – all the things that aren’t as we’d want them to be. We very much need to find a way to believe that everything is Divine Providence. “Even if I really am so far away right now, still – how can I look for the deeper truth of my situation?” There are also the problems of the serious attractions and physical appetites that pull us, which are the main problem, which we’ll discuss in our next lesson, G-d willing.