The Mitzvah to have a Rebbe-Attaching to Talmidei Chachamim

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] One who transgresses this command receives very great punishment, as on this command is dependent the fulfillment of the Torah, and it is a great foundation for the salvation of the souls.[6]]

To whom the Mitzvah applies: [This Mitzvah applies to both men and women and applies at all times and in all areas.[7]]

The purpose of this Mitzvah:[8] One is to cleave to the Sages and their students in order to learn from their actions [and receive spiritual direction, and knowledge of the Mitzvos and of Hashem[9]]. [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 in his Avodas Hashem.]

How to attach to the Sage/Rebbe:[10] The Sages[11] commanded and said that one is to attach to the dust of their feet and drink their words with thirst. [Women are also commanded to listen to the words of the Sages in order so they learn knowledge of G-d.[12]] Aside for this, one is to join them into all one’s activities and perform all forms of attachment. Therefore, every man is to try to marry the daughter of a Talmid Chacham, and to marry off his daughter to a Talmid Chacham, and to eat and drink with Talmidei Chachamim. One is to also do business with Talmidei Chachamim. This fulfills the command of “And to Him you shall attach”. [True attachment to the Sage is accomplished by learning his Torah and following his directives.[13] One also attaches to the Tzaddik through arousing feelings of love towards him[14], similar to the love one has for a parent. This love serves as the string of attachment between oneself and his Rebbe and the Rebbe with oneself.[15]]

Eating with a Torah sage:[16] Whoever benefits from a meal in which a Torah Sage is involved in is considered to benefit from a ray of the Shechina.

 

Summary:

  • Study their teachings.
  • Follow their directives.
  • Join them into all your activities.
  • Try to marry the daughter of a Talmid Chacham, and to marry off his daughter to a Talmid Chacham.
  • Eat and drink with Talmidei Chachamim.
  • Do business with Talmidei Chachamim.
  • Arouse feelings of love towards the Tzaddik/Sage similar to the love one has for a parent.

 

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.[17] 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.[18] 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.[19]

Sparks of Chassidus

Attaching one’s soul to Hashem through the Tzaddik:[20]

Every Jew contains a G-dly soul, which a portion of Hashem from above. Nonetheless, upon the soul descending into the body of a particular Jew, the soul goes through various changes and modifications which dilute and compromise its original level of G-dliness that it had prior to its descent. The soul as it is attached in the body no longer feels the actual connection to Hashem that it had originally prior to its descent. Hashem commanded that one reattach His soul to Him similar to the attachment that it experienced previously, and this is the meaning of the command “And to Him you shall cleave.” How is this accomplished? This is precisely the question asked by the Sages in the Talmud, to which they replied that it is accomplished through cleaving to the Torah scholars, which are the Tzaddikim and Sages of the generation. The Tzaddikim enjoy an attachment of their G-dly soul to Hashem in the same state that it was originally prior to the descent. The G-dly soul of the Tzaddik remains in its full capacity of Holiness despite its descent into his body, and remains attached to Hashem constantly even in this world. When one attaches himself to the Tzaddik he attaches his soul to the soul of the Tzaddik, which is itself attached to Hashem, thus accomplishing the reattachment of one’s own soul with G-d. 

Setting times to arouse love for the Rebbe:[21]

True Hiskashrus/connection is accomplished through learning the Mamarim and Kuntreisim, participating in Chassidic gatherings, and arousing love [for the Rebbe]. It is the custom of Chassidim that are connected [to the Rebbe], in each generation, to set designated times to arouse feelings of love for their master and teacher. Some would set a designated time of one hour per day, others one time a week or every two weeks, or once a month. They would arouse a real and true love in their heart similar to the physical love one has for his wife and children.

Wearing the same clothing as the Rebbe:

A noted Rabbi had come to the Rebbe for yechidus before his eldest daughter was to be married. “Forgive me for mixing into your personal life,” the Rebbe told him at the conclusion of their meeting, “but I have a request of you. Let your beard grow. It’s appropriate for a man of your position. “And,” the Rebbe added with a smile, “it’s appropriate for the new phase that will begin in your personal life. After all, soon you’re going to become a zeide (a grandfather), and you should look like a zeide!” The Rabbi happily agreed to the Rebbe’s request, and asked: “Perhaps I should also change my style of hat (the Rabbi would wear a round hat) to that worn by the Rebbe?” “No,” the Rebbe

replied with a wave of his hand, “that’s a superficial matter. I have followers who think that by putting on the same hat I do, and having it dented exactly as I do, they’ll establish a connection with me. That isn’t the way. “The way to establish a connection is to invest energy in the same areas in which I invest my energy.” (From: To Know and to Care – Vol. 2)

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[1] Admur 156:4; Rambam Deios 6:2; Chinuch Mitzvah 434; M”B 156:4

[2] Rambam Deios Hakdama; Chinuch Mitzvah 434

[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 the previous footnote

[5] Tanya chapter 2; Kesubos 111b

[6] Chinuch ibid

[7] Chinuch ibid

[8] Admur ibid; Sifri Eikev 49; Chinuch ibid “In order to learn from them the Mitzvos , and that they direct us in the proper perspectives”

[9] Chinuch ibid

[10] Admur ibid; Rambam Deios 6:2; Kesubos ibid

[11] Mishneh Avos 1:4

[12] Chinuch ibid

[13] Hayom Yom 9th Adar Sheiyni; 24th Sivan

[14] Chinuch ibid “One transgresses this command if he does not set love for them in his heart.”

[15] Hayom Yom 26th Shevat

[16] Admur ibid; Brachos 64a

[17] Shabbos 1141

[18] Likkutei Torah Bracha 97b

[19] Chassidus Mevueres Tanya Chapter 2

[20] Tanya chapter 2

[21] Igros Kodesh Admur Rayatz letter 1805 p. 353

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