I want to study the Rebbe’s sefarim, but it seems to me that the topics which they discuss pertain to a much higher spiritual level than my own.
The Rebbe teaches in Likutei Moharan I 61 that everything that a person studies he must see to it to find proper and just guidance as to how to conduct oneself. The way to achieve this is through faith and trust in Chachamim, the sages of Torah. When a person doesn’t have proper belief in Chachamim, then he doesn’t have respect for sefarim, and he deems the many sefarim which exist as superfluous and ridicules them.
There are certainly people who don’t have Emunas Chachamim, and scorn the sefarim of the Tzaddikim. But most of Klal Yisroel believe in Tzaddikim and respect their sefarim. But the Yezter Hara ambushes us from a different angle. He tells us, “Look, the sefarim of the Tzaddikim are too high for you, they are not for your level.” He thereby keeps a person away from ever truly uplifting himself.
We must therefore strengthen ourselves very much in our belief and trust in Chachamim. This doesn’t just mean to believe that a certain individual is a Tzaddik and serves Hashem. To trust the Chachamim means that the whole essence of the revelation of the Tzaddikim in the world is in order to bring ‘all of us’ close to Hashem and His Avodah, from the highest Tzaddik to the lowest Rasha, and everyone in between.
As a person becomes stronger in his Emunas Chachamim, he begins to understand that if the Tzaddik devoted his whole life to teaching us these Torahs, and spoke to us many times and in many different ways about their exaltedness, and how they are meant for every level, then we must certainly dedicate ourselves to setting aside time to study his sefarim, and to search within them for guidance in Avodas Hashem. And if one looks, he will definitely find.
We must keep in mind what the Rebbe said, that every talk which he had with us, a person can use it to become a proper Oved Hashem, if we will want to follow his word and put into practice.
Reb Noson explains further, that by every Torah the main thing is not the study, but the practical application thereof. Pay good attention to each Torah, to understand the practical advice and guidance and inspiration which are derived from them. Even in those few places which seem at first glance to be not understandable, and you don’t see their practical relevance to your level, in reality contains wonderful advice and inspiration for you to come close to Hashem from your situation where you are holding now. If you will put your heart into it to look very well, you will definitely find advice according to your level.
Everything the Rebbe taught was in a very general sense, in a way in which it pertains to every person in the world on every single level. With every Torah of the Rebbe, every person can serve Hashem, from the person standing on a high level to person on the lowest level. Everyone can return to Hashem and find guidance for himself through each Torah, as they include everything within them in a wondrous way. (See Chayei Moharan, Ma’alas Toraso 19, Sichos Haran 131)
Everything depends on Emunas Chachamim – to know that the Tzaddikim are speaking to us. They were not trying to tell us vortim or ideas on the Parsha; they were trying to teach us practical ideas how we can come close to Hashem. We see ourselves that those who have a strong Emunah and studied the sefarim to look for guidance and advice, merited to become true, proper Ovdei Hashem.
We must also apply our Emunas Chachamim in a practical way. Sometimes a person has such strong Emunah in the Torah of the Tzaddik, that he ceases to study the sefarim to search for practical guidance, and instead just looks for the hidden spiritual energy which is found in them, because of his strong belief that the words of the Tzaddik sanctifies and purifies us, or just knowing the ideas which they teach helps. Even though this is all true, the true greatness of the Tzaddikim is that throughout all of their wonderful revelations, they also revealed to us simple practical advice which is fitting for every one of us.
Are all of the concepts really relevant to everyone?
As we said, every idea discussed in the sefarim, are made up of many, many levels. Every person must learn according to his level, and not to go too high. We must always pray that we find the level which pertains to us in the Torahs which we learn. If a person searches with sincerity, he will always find what is related to him.
But it’s important not to skip or “cut out” what seems to you to be irrelevant to you. You must believe very much that every piece really is applicable to you, also.
Question: Even if I understand something which is applicable to me, there are so many other simple things in which I am weak. If only I would strengthen myself in those things first before I enter into the lofty concepts of the Rebbe.
Answer: This is what we have said already, that everything depends on Emunas Chachamim. We must understand that these Torahs are my medicine. We must pray about this itself, ‘Why do I feel so far from what the Tzaddik reveals to be applicable to me, and that my entire salvation depends upon?’
When the Rebbe exhorted us to make prayers out of his Torah, to speak to Hashem and ask Him that we merit applying whatever we have studied, he brought as an example Likutei Moharan I 5. There, he discusses how every person must say that the whole world was created only for him. The Rebbe said that we must simply talk to Hashem about how far we are from this concept.
The Chassidim asked him then, this doesn’t seem to be something which we are missing according to our level. We are too far from this concept to be praying about it.
The Rebbe responded, ‘Listen to what you are saying! I just said that a person has to say that the whole world was created just for him, meaning that every person must do so, and nobody can absolve himself from this.’ (See Intro. To Likutei Teffilos)
The Tzaddikim revealed to us Torah through which we can come close to Hashem. If it still seems to us that it would have been better to first strengthen ourselves in simpler things, on the contrary, through entering into Avodas Hashem according to the guidance of the Tzaddik, we will also become strengthened in the simple things.
Let’s not be like the ill person who comes to the specialist and instead of taking his medication, starts arguing with the doctor how he needs other medications… (See Likutei Moharan I 164)