Rebbe Nachman spoke often about the great power of yearning. He taught that obstacles are sent by G-d in order to intensify our longing for a holy goal, because it is the force of yearning that can bring a person to a level or objective to which he otherwise might not be worthy. In Likutei Moharan I:56 he explains that we are, in some sense, like little children; the more something is withheld from us, the stronger we long for it. A great goal need to be reach by a commensurate force of desire. This is certainly true of one of the greatest goals of all–to ascend to live in Eretz Yisrael, which Rebbe Nachman described as the ideal place for a Jew to develop into an “ish chayil“–a warrior–in G-d’s service.
A number of people told the Rav of Chmelnik–whose son Yoska had married Rebbe Nachman’s daughted Udel–that the Rav of Volochisk (whose son Pinchas had married another daughter, Miriam) was already longing and yearning for the last forty years to merit to move to Eretz Yisrael. When the Rav of Chmelnik heard this he said, “What is all this noise about longing and yearning for forty years to go to Eretz Yisrael? You get the money together and you go!”
When someone told this exchange over to Rebbe Nachman, he responded, “The Rav of Volochisk, who is filled with longing for Eretz Yisrael, will eventually merit to get there. And the Rav of Chmelnik, who said that one can just, ‘get the money together and go,’ will never get to Eretz Yisrael.”
And so it was; not too long after this exchange took place, the Rav of Volochisk merited to move to Eretz Yisrael together with all of his family, and he was privileged to live there for a number of years.
photo attribution: davebloggs007