We continue with our elucidation of Meshivas Nefesh 29:
It’s forbidden for a person to give up. Even if he has fallen to wherever it may be, and is lying in the deepest places, no matter what, he still should not despair of coming close to Hashem. It is possible to draw near to Hashem from everywhere, for ‘the entire world is full of His glory’.
A true Tzaddik is only worthy of his name when he has this ability to revive and lift up those who have fallen very low, to encourage and strengthen them, to inspire them and to awaken them, and to reveal to them that Hashem is still with them, by them, next to them and close to them, ‘for the entire world is full of His glory’. The Tzaddik must also be able to do the opposite – to show those who are on a high level that they still do not know anything about Hashem and serving Him.
Meshivas Nefesh 29, Based on Likutei Moharan II, 7
Sins are a Heavy Weight on a Person
In the discourse in Likutei Moharan on which this paragraph is based, it is explained at length that the most pitiful thing is when Klal Yisroel falls into sin. The most difficult suffering in the world is nothing in comparison to the heavy load of sin. When a Jew falls into sin, it’s a very heavy burden which is impossible to bear.
It is therefore necessary to draw near to a compassionate leader, someone who is able to enlighten a person’s mind with the awareness of Hashem in a manner in which he will be inspired with a longing for Him. Knowledge of Hashem is not just information. It is a level of consciousness in which a person on one hand is so aware of Hashem’s greatness that he is constantly motivated to grow in His service, and at the same time he also knows that the whole world is full of Hashem’s glory, and that He is always with him and next to him on whatever level he is standing.
Chanukah and Yom Kippur
The Rebbe explains in our discourse, “At the time of the Beis Hamikdash, we were always clean of sin. The Korban Tamid of the morning would pardon the sins of the previous night, and the Tamid of the afternoon would pardon the sins of that day. This is because the holy nation of Klal Yisroel, in their great intrinsic spirituality, is unable to bear the burden of sin even for just one day.”
There shone an awareness of Hashem and yearning for Him in the Beis Hamikdash because there was a constant forgiveness of sin there. Even today, as much as person procures forgiveness and pardon from Hashem, he merits an aspect of “inauguration of the Beis Hamikdash.” This means that he merits a revitalization of his awareness of Hashem, and of how His glory fills the world, the same way it shone in the Beis Hamikdash.
Practically speaking, this is the principal radiance of Chanukah. Chanukah is a time when the affection which Hashem has for Klal Yisroel is revealed to such a degree that the service in the Beis Hamikdash is renewed, together with awareness of Hashem’s glory. Hashem in His great mercy shines this renewal upon us anew every year through the kindling of the Chanukah lights.
But in order to truly be renewed in yearning for Hashem with the knowledge that the world is full of His glory, it’s necessary to first realize forgiveness on Yom Kippur. Chanukah is the ‘seal’ of Yom Kippur, and in accordance to the forgiveness achieved on Yom Kippur is the renewal on Chanukah.
The Root of Accepting Hischazkus
In this idea lies one of the foundations of the ways of Hischazkus. Most of the time we find that it’s difficult for a person to accept and understand the teachings of Hischazkus. Sometimes people have reached the point that they are tired of hearing that ‘His Glory fills the world’, or that ‘Hashem is with you, by you, etc.’ The reason for this is that for these teachings, and longing and yearning to know Hashem’s Greatness, are a heavenly gift. It is therefore essential to first attain forgiveness, and to relieve oneself of the heavy load of sin which is weighing down on his soul and preventing it from realizing any feeling in spirituality, in order to accept this gift.
This is done by arousing oneself with the power of Yom Kippur, by believing that Hashem is the King who forgives and pardons the sins of His nation Klal Yisroel, and that it is possible to be totally cleansed of sin. With this faith, a person can inspire within himself an immense perseverance not to ever give up, and to continue confessing his sins and begging for forgiveness. He can be enthused to serve Hashem and to do whatever is in his ability to do, with the confidence that he will achieve forgiveness. This is how he merits the heavenly gift of rejuvenation and to understand all the teachings of Hischazkus.
A person shouldn’t say that Yom Kippur has passed already and he didn’t merit its forgiveness, because although the root of Teshuvah is Yom Kippur and the power of renewal which comes about through the forgiveness is revealed mainly on Chanukah, but the light still shines throughout the whole year. It is always possible to attain pardon and mercy and to truly inspire oneself to serve Hashem according to his abilities. A person can thus merit to truly understand within his heart that His Glory fills the entire world.
The Compassionate Leader
The Rebbe explains at length that in order to be truly inspired with a longing and yearning for Hashem in order to attain forgiveness and revitalization in the knowledge that Hashem’s glory fills the world, it is required to have a compassionate leader such as Moshe Rabeinu, who begged for mercy for Klal Yisroel after the Sin of the Spies. Furthermore, friends must also engage themselves in speaking much between each other about the teachings of the Tzaddikim, to reveal the true knowledge that Hashem is Good, and that the world is truly full of His Glory.