FAQ – Ancestral Merit and Connecting to Hashem
Is everyone really holding by connecting to Hashem with dveykus?
A] The entire purpose of the world is only in order that we recognize Hashem and cling to Him. If so, of course no one can say that it’s not for him. It’s self understood that there are many levels involved, but everyone is obligated to start according to his level to think about Hashem, to keep Him in mind and to yearn for Him.
Of course, we need great merit in order to realize this. It’s almost impossible to start thinking holy thoughts about love of Hashem and His awe because of the physicality of a person combined with the additional materialism a person brings upon himself day after day by strengthening his body over his soul.
The Bnei Yisroel stood in just such a situation when they were in danger by the Yam Suf. The Mitzrim were chasing them below, and in heaven the prosecuting angels were claiming that there is no reason to save the Israelites any more than to help the Egyptians, since they are both idol worshippers. On their own, they were almost undeserving of the sea being split for them. Only just before daybreak did the merit of their ancestors awaken upon them and they merited the miracle of Kriyas Yam Suf. Hashem’s G-dliness was then revealed to such an extent that even maidservants who were present saw things that the great prophet Yechezkel did not see.
We see from here the great power of the Tzaddikim, of Moshe and the Patriarchs that were able to bring recognition and realization of Hashem even to the lowest in the nation.
So too, each of us needs a miracle that our minds and hearts should also ‘split’ open in order that we can enter into the ‘sea’ of knowledge – that we should realize Hashem according to our level. In reality, we don’t deserve such a thing. It’s only in the merit of our closeness to Tzaddikim who toiled their entire lives and even more after they passed on, to find merit in Klal Yisroel and to arouse Hashem’s compassion and mercy upon us that we should also start feeling and realizing Hashem even if we aren’t yet deserving of it.
B] This is the idea behind ‘ancestral merit’, and what Chazal are referring to in so many Midrashim about Zchus Avos and how our existence is only in their merit, and we mention them at the beginning of every prayer.
Zchus Avos isn’t only in order to merit a livelihood or health, etc., even if we need much heavenly compassion for these things also. The Baal Shem Tov didn’t intend just that when he encouraged being close to Tzaddikim. The main compassion which the Tzaddikim have on us is to give us a taste of the spiritual delight of being close to Hashem.