Dvar Torah for Parshat Mishpatim


Based on Likutey Moharan I, #7

Let's say your car was broken. God forbid. What would you do? Like most people you would take it to a grease monkey. Not to the neighbor's kid who likes to tinker with his used car or to the service station where they're incompetent. You would take it to an honest, expert mechanic. And you would never dream of taking it to a plumber.

Now, just for instance, what would you do if, God forbid, your body was sick? Would you go to someone still in medical school? Or would you go to the head of the department? Certainly not to that nice guy who fixed your car.

It's unfortunate, but true, that your faith is broken, your soul ill. As great and strong as they may be, neither is 100%. So to whom do you go to fix them? A plumber? A mechanic? A doctor? You need to take it to a tzaddik. Why?

When we take a suggestion from someone and carry it out, something is "born," something results. If the suggestion was a good one, properly done, the result is a happy one. If not, not. This is just as true in the spiritual realm as it is in the physical. The tzaddik, because he knows the Torah and the soul, your soul, so thoroughly, is eminently qualified to give advice that bears happy results.

We all realize that a doctor's advice is good for medicine, but ill-suited for cars. Similarly, we understand that a plumber's suggestions don't hold water when it comes to cars. But when it comes to spiritual matters we're not so careful and almost anyone is considered an expert. We need to realize that only some people (very, very few, in fact) are qualified to give spiritual advice and most are absolutely unqualified. In fact, following their advice is harmful.

Thus Rebbe Nachman's warning to us in this lesson: Don't take advice from spiritual charlatans, or from those who are unqualified to answer questions of how to best cure and maintain your soul. If you wed yourself to someone unqualified, then no matter how well-intentioned he may be, his advice will bear unhealthy results.

The tzaddik's advice, his instructions on how best to keep the Torah are the suggestions you want to wed yourself to. For then your "offspring," your deeds, will be as perfect as possible.

"V'aleh haMishpatim..." (And these are the laws; Exodus 21:1). The laws that Moshe, the tzaddik, places before us are the suggestions that can fix our faith and cure our soul, but only to the extent that we keep them.

agutn Shabbos!
Shabbat Shalom