I look so small against those tall trees, don’t I?
Let me paraphrase a lesson from Reb Nosson (Pikadon 5:7) “If a person would believe that their soul is very, very high, surely they would never commit a single sin. You see there are three parts of Emunas Chachamim (faith in the sages) that are inseparable. First, we must have faith in the true Tzaddikim. Second, we must believe in our friends and speak to them about the awe of Heaven. And, most importantly, we must strengthen ourselves and overcome every obstacle to believe in oneself. That is, to believe that even one’s small achievements in his Divine service, and one’s study of Torah are very precious to Hashem. And particularly, believing that coming close to the Tzaddikim and believing in them, is in and of itself very, very precious to Hashem. Because even if one has faith in Hashem and in the Tzaddikim and in one’s friends but he doesn’t believe in himself, meaning he doesn’t believe that his faith in the Tzaddikim is very, very valuable, this too is a flaw in one’s Emunas Chachamim, and in a certain way, it is the most severe blemish of all. This spiritual disease is found today among many who have begun the path of Divine service, connecting with true Sages. They believe that their contemporaries are righteous, but they say, ‘how does that help me? I’m not on their level. I am full of sins’. And through this thinking, they fall, becoming completely estranged from observance…until many of them become outspoken opponents”.
You know, what impresses me most about the stories told of Tzaddikim is their unusually developed sensitivities and how much significance they place on what seems like small things. But, ironically, I have a hard time giving myself credit for the small things I do. Reb Nosson says here that simply believing in Tzaddikim is a tremendously great feat in the eyes of Hashem. Just believing in the greatness of other people is enormously precious to Him.
So I have to admit, I really do have faith in Tzaddikim. So now, when I see how tall the trees are, I think maybe I’m not so small in that pic after all?!