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Seeing clearly again


Rebbe Nachman taught a lesson in 1809, the first Friday night after Simchas Torah (Tinyana 67). Two days prior the famous and beloved Chassidic master, Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev passed away. Today is his yahrtzeit. The news of his passing didn’t reach Breslov until the following Monday, but it was later obvious to all that the Rebbe’s lesson was said with רוח הקודש (divine spirit), including such themes as eulogizing the Tzaddik. The lesson is known in Breslov lore as a eulogy for “the Berditchever“, as he was fondly known.

The Rebbe taught, as do our Sages (Genesis 28:10 – Rashi) that the Tzaddik is the beauty, the splendor and the grace of the world. This beauty is something that is seen with the eyes. “Joseph was beautiful in appearance and beautiful to look at” (Genesis 39:6). Also, Zion is “a most beautiful sight, joy of all the earth” (Psalms 48:3). Joseph (יוסף) has the same numerical value (156) as Zion (ציון), because the Tzaddik and the Holy Temple are one and the same. As the Rebbe writes, “whoever is encompassed in the genuine grace of that tzaddik (or the Temple), the grace and the beauty of the world – i.e., he gets closer to him and becomes included in him – his eyes are opened and he can see“.

What can he see? “He can see himself”.

By seeing the great tzaddikim, and learning from them, our eyes become spiritual eyes. Everything becomes clearer. We recognize how preoccupied we are with things that waste our time, confuse us, or worse, distance us from Hashem.

It is not uncommon for chassidim to come back from Uman and have clear direction in their lives. I, myself, woke up on the second day of Rosh Hashana this year and felt certain of what I needed to do and where are needed to be that day, abort whatever plan I had the night before. (To clarify, there are many options where to daven and eat in Uman, so its not always so simple). The tzaddikim are called “the eyes of the nation” (Numbers 15:24).

The Rebbe goes on to teach in the lesson about crying (from the eyes), about the four colors of the eye and the pupil, about the the building of the temple and shabbos, which both have the aspect of seeing. That’s all too much for now, but what we see from here is how the tzaddikim give us vision, to see past our smallness and they also help us to be seen in the eyes of Hashem as even more beautiful.

The eyes of the Tzaddik! The eyes of a Tzaddik!

!לעילוי נשמת רבי לוי יצחק בן שרה סאשא זכותו יגן עלינו ועל כל ישראל אמן

Berditchiver Niggin

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