[su_pullquote]“There are Tzaddikim which all of their books and teachings is only inspiration, and even though this is very good, no practical advice can be obtained from them. The main thing is Tzaddikim which we can glean advice from their Torah and books.” – Likutei Halachos, Eiruvei Techumin 5:21[/su_pullquote]
For what reason did the Rebbe sacrifice himself so much in order to reveal to us so many Torah lessons and the conversations which he had with us concerning the service of Hashem?
Why did R’ Noson endure so much suffering and persecution throughout his life, in order to spread and publicize the teachings of the Rebbe, and to write his own works, especially Likutei Halachos?
All of this was only in order to reveal to us ways how we can also come close to Hashem.
If so, from where do the negative feelings of despair and lack of interest come in?
There are those who suggest, that immediately when people begin to get involved in the study of the Rebbe’s works, a great passion for Hashem arouses within them. The Rebbe’s Torah, after all, has within it an enormous power to kindle the heart. However, as great is their passion is the fall afterwards. From such great desire and yearning for Hashem, they become totally confused. They don’t have any clarity what they even want from themselves. It’s self understood that from that point, it’s only a short path until total despair from service of Hashem.
The truth is that this situations stem from the fact that people study the Rebbe’s works only to search for “enlightenment” or a general inspiration. We therefore can find a person who tries to get himself going before davening, or before a Yom Tov, or even by the Rebbe’s Tziyun, etc., by opening a book, flipping through the pages, and searching for a “vort” that will excite him. In the end, he closes the book, bitter from being unable to find what he wanted.
With such an approach to the Rebbe’s teachings, it’s certainly possible to fall pretty quickly. The service of Hashem of such a person is dependant only upon intellectual stimulation and spiritual excitement.
Therefore, it’s important to remember that the works of the holy Rebbe are not only geared for the sake of inspiring the heart in a general sense. They are full of specific pieces of advice concerning every topic and issue in the service of Hashem.
When somebody wishes to strengthen himself in a specific area, e.g., Hisbodedus, it would certainly be recommended that his first step be to go through Hishtapchus HaNefesh (Outpouring of the Soul) in order to get a general feeling towards the importance of Hisbodedus. However, in addition, it’s proper to study each paragraph slowly. Let’s see what’s written here. What is Hisbodedus? What is the specific piece of advice being revealed over here? From there, to go on to the next paragraph, for every paragraph contains a unique idea.
So too, at a time when somebody wants to encourage himself, and he takes a Meshivas Nefesh (Restore my Soul). It’s necessary to know that these are not just a collection of encouraging words. In each paragraph there is a unique piece of advice. Sometimes it’s a practical piece of advice; sometimes it’s an idea, to change your outlook of the service of Hashem.
And so on, when someone wants to better himself in Torah study, in feeling the holiness of Shabbos, or watching his eyes, etc., he can take an Otzar HaYirah, which is arranged according to topic, and learn each paragraph under that heading. He should try to understand straightforwardly what’s written, what novel idea is being revealed here, and how to relate to that topic which he is now learning about.
Alternatively, one can study any book from beginning to end, paying attention to each portion. Somebody who’s able can study a Torah lesson in Likutei Moharan, and delve into it in search of the practical applications. Even if he doesn’t understand a specific piece, he can go on to the next.
The main thing is to learn slowly and with peace of mind, searching after the specific advice of the Rebbe. What is, after all Avodas Hashem? How should one act at a time when the heart is aflame, and how to act at times of darkness and lows?
In addition, generally it’s good to speak with other people who have already spent a lot of time studying the Rebbe’s teachings and to learn from them the proper way to approach them, exactly like in the study of Gemara where it’s important to study from a teacher.
With time, as one becomes more attached to the Rebbe’s works, one begins to feel a bit how he has a real Rebbe leading him step by step in the ways of coming close to Hashem.
However, the beginning must be with the knowledge that we are studying a book that screams “There is no despair in the world!” This is not only a book of general arousal, rather specific advice for everything in the world. With this he can approach the book with a warm heart and with a feeling of rejuvenation.
We have seen Breslover Chassidim who were full of fresh joy every time they studied the Rebbe’s teachings, since they knew that herein lays their remedy.
Originally published In Hebrew as “Bnei Haneurim” by R’ Avrohom Yitzchok Kletzky in the Breslov weekly, Aleh LeTrufah.