Dvar Torah for Parshat Pikudei


Based on Likutey Moharan I, 2:6

"[Moshe Rabbeinu] brought the ark ... just as God had commanded Moshe" (Exodus 40:21).
" 'Just as God had commanded Moshe' is written about every detail. This is in reward for his having said, 'Erase me.' Instead his name is mentioned over and over.

"The expressions 'just as God had commanded Moshe' and 'all that God had commanded Moshe' are repeated 18 times. This is why our Sages instituted 18 blessings [in the Shemoneh Esrei]. The 19th blessing parrallels the expression 'as God commanded so they did.'

"These expressions contain a total of 123 words, the same number of words as in the signatures of all the blessings (Barukh atah Hashem...). So, too, the word 'heart' [in its various forms] appears in the Pentateuch 123 times. For the blessings have to be said with heartfelt concentration."

(Baal HaTurim, loc. cit.)

Rebbe Nachman teaches: Before praying it is necessary for the individual to attach himself to the genuine tzaddikim of the generation for each ... is an aspect of Moshe....
Every single prayerthat a person prays is a separate component of the Shekhina (Divine Presence). They correspond to the components of the Mishkan (Tabernacle). No Jew was able to put the Mishkan together, save Moshe. This is why it is necessary to bring and bind all prayers to the tzaddikim of the generation, as it is written, "They brought the Mishkan to Moshe" (Exodus 39:33). He understands how to connect one part to the other and so erect the entire structre, as in, "Moshe erected the Mishkan" (ibid., 40:18).

You're probably wondering what this means, to "attach" yourself to the tzaddikim. You might even be wondering if this concept is found in classical Judaism. Rest assured, it is. The midrash Sifri (quoted by Rashi) to Deuteronomy 11:22 asks the following: How can we fulfill the directive of this verse, "Attach yourselves to Him"? Is it possible to attach oneself to the Shekhina?! It is not. Rather, attach yourself to Torah scholars and tzaddikim, and it will be as if you attached yourself to God.

How does one attach himself to tzaddikim? The Talmud says this is accomplished by giving them charity and otherwise letting them benefit from your possesions (Ketuvot 111b). Reb Noson says that studying the tzaddik's teachings and putting them into proper practice also attaches one to the tzaddik. (For more on this concept see Crossing the Narrow Bridge, pp. 326-334.) Rebbe Nachman himself urged his people to say before their prayers, "I am now binding myself to the tzaddikim of the generation" (Rabbi Nachman's Wisdom #296).

But the Rebbe often stressed that as much as we need the tzaddik, the tzaddik needs us. For while it's true that Moshe Rabbeinu set up the Mishkan, he was only able to do so after the Jews had contributed the materials and labor to make all the pieces.

agutn Shabbos!
Shabbat Shalom!