By Rabbi Avrohom Yitzchok Kletzky
How do we awaken the power and merit of the Tzaddikim to help us?
1] Everything depends on faith in Tzaddikim. The more we believe in their merit and connect ourselves to them through our thoughts and feelings, the more we will truly attach to them and awaken them to bring Divine Mercy upon us. (See Likutei Moharan I 135, II 5)
2] The Zohar teaches that just as during the first exodus from Egypt the sea was split through Moshe’s staff, so too in this final exile the ‘sea of wisdom’ will be split through the ‘staff’, the pen which has written the Torah which the Tzaddikim have taught. The Tzaddikim toiled to arouse Heavenly Compassion upon us, until they were able to fashion ‘garments’ and tools, Torah which bring a person to truly keep Hashem in mind at all times, and through which we are always able, in every situation, to enter into the ways of coming close to Hashem, awakening our hearts and minds, with joy and liveliness. This is discussed a lot throughout Likutei Halachos, especially in Hilchos Rosh Chodesh 6.
A large part of the connection to a Tzaddik is through putting his mind and heart into contemplating what his Rav has taught him, to thereby come to complete Teshuvah and purification from sin. When a talmid doesn’t want to understand what his Rav is saying, the Rebbe in Likutei Moharan II 91 calls it ‘exile of the divine presence’.
3] Although we need the great merit of the Tzaddikim even after their Torah has already been written to properly understand and grasp their message, still, the Tzaddikim are waiting for us to take initiative, to wake up and start working to try to understand their teachings, and to try to think over their Torah. This is how we connect with them, and truly grasp their words.
4] Every time a person studies the Tzaddik’s teachings, even if he doesn’t understand it in its entirety, after studying he should try to take out at least one idea which can give him a new look on Avodas Hashem. It may be in Avodas Hashem in general, or a specific point of Avodah, e.g., how to perform a specific Mitzvah properly. Or it may be a new way of viewing what’s going on in the world or in his own life, or how to understand the worries or wants which are bothering him at this time.
The same way that when we study Halachah the point of our learning is to come out with a practical understanding of what to do in the cases being described, so too in our study of Chassidus, we should be looking to understand how to conduct ourselves in each situation.
5] Throughout the day, try to think about whatever we come across, what is the Tzaddik’s teaching in this situation? How can I keep Hashem in mind here? Through trying to think about the Tzaddik’s teachings according to his level, even just a bit, the power of the Tzaddikim is awakened to bring him in to this Avodah, even if he does not yet deserve enter.
This is the greatest encouragement a person can have, that a person should never worry that at this moment he can’t connect to Hashem. At any moment a person can completely renew himself by reminding himself of Torah from the Tzaddik and thinking about it, thereby arousing the power and merit of the Tzaddikim to help him attach himself to Hashem.
6] An additional point is that when a person lives in such a fashion, he doesn’t have to worry about pride when he comes to any inspiration in Avodas Hashem, because he knows that he didn’t get to it by himself since he himself is full of sin and isn’t deserving of feeling any connection to Hashem. It’s only in merit of the Tzaddikim that he has any enlightenment.
So too when he falls away from those feelings of inspiration, he doesn’t become dejected because he knows that he was anyways undeserving. On the contrary, he can now look forward to starting anew in coming close to Hashem.