Attaching to a Rebbe or Tzaddik

 

Attaching to a Rebbe and Talmid Chacham Part 1

In honor of Yud Shevat, the day which we merited to receive the leadership of our Rebbe, we will discuss the Mitzvah of attaching to a Tzaddik and its Halachic dimensions.

The Mitzvah to have a Rebbe-Attaching to Talmidei Chachamim:[1]
It is a positive command in the Torah [listed as one of the 613 Mitzvos[2]] to attach to those people who have knowledge of Hashem and His Torah.[3] One is unable to properly attach to Hashem and the Shechina without the medium of the Sages, through cleaving oneself to them.[4] [The Sages state that one who cleaves to the Sages, the Torah considers him to having cleaved to the actual Shechina.[5]]
The purpose of this Mitzvah:[6] One is to cleave to the Sages and their students in order to learn from their actions. [Aside for the fact that one learns the will of G-d from spending time with the Sages, according to Kabbala, as rooted in the words of the Talmud, the purpose of this Mitzvah is to receive spiritual Divine energy from Hashem through the Tzaddik, as cleaving to the Sages helps attach one’s actual soul to Hashem, as will be explained below. This attachment draws G-dliness into one’s body and helps one achieve love and fear of G-d and assists one’s Avodas Hashem.]

The definition of a Talmid Chacham:
According to Halacha, the term Talmid Chacham refers to a G-d fearing Jew who has vast knowledge in Jewish law. In this itself there are various levels, the highest being that he contains so much knowledge that he can accurately answer without stutter the ruling of the Poskim to any question posed in Halacha.[7] It is through this form of Talmid Chacham that one learns how to fulfil the will of Hashem. However, according to Kabbalah and Chassidus the definition of a Talmid Chacham in the above regard is not just one who is a G-d fearing Jew and a scholar in Torah knowledge, but one who has attained such high spiritual levels that he feels constantly attached to Hashem, and that everything else in the world is nullified before Him. He has a constant passionate love for G-d and worldly pleasures and desires are completely negated to his personality. This is the meaning of a Talmid Chacham, one who is a student of Chochmah, which refers to Bittul, nullification.[8] It is through this form of Talmid Chacham that one accomplishes the attachment of his soul to G-d, and the influence of love and fear within his soul.[9]

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[1] Admur 156/4; Rambam Deios 6/2; M”B 156/4

[2] Rambam Deios Hakdama

[3] The source: As the verse [Eikev 10:20] states “Ubo Sidbak/And to Him you shall cleave”. This command was repeated elsewhere, as another verse [Netzavim 30:20] states “Uledavka Bo/And to cleave to Him”. Now, the Sages [Kesubos 111b] asked on this command as to how it is possible to attach to Hashem, to the Shechina [does not the verse state that Hashem is a consuming fire]? The Sages thus answered in explanation of this Mitzvah that one is to cleave to the Sages and to their students in order to learn from their actions. [Admur ibid; Kesubos 111b]

[4] Admur ibid; Kesubos 111b, as brought in source in previous footnote

[5] Tanya chapter 2; Kesubos 111b

[6] Admur ibid; Sifri Eikev 49

[7] Shabbos 1141

[8] Likkutei Torah Bracha 97b

[9] Chassidus Mevueres Tanya Chapter 2

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