Tuesday, November 18, 2014

“No One Loses With Me”

From Otzar Nachmani Vol. 1, sec. 75
Collected Talks of Rabbi Nachman Burstein, zatzal
Translated by Dovid Sears (unedited)
(Reb Nachman Burstein writes in the first person, as if he were speaking. Brackets are mine, quotation marks are his.)

In [Reb Noson’s collected letters] Alim le-Terufah (Warsaw ed. Letter 322), dated Erev Sukkos 5601 / 1841, Reb Noson writes: “With this [in mind], a Jew should travel, whether on a distant journey or a short one, and even when he goes about his home town conducting his business or pursuing his livelihood, such as going to the post office…” – this letter [Reb Nachman Burstein notes] was written to Reb Noson’s son Reb Yitzchak, who managed a post office, as is known – “…he should intend to make a profit in order to give tzedakah [charity]. Additionally, he should have in mind, ‘Who knows? Maybe I will encounter another person with whom I can speak about the purpose of life, and to whom I make communicate the truth of the chiddushim [new insights] of the Torah-revelations of the true tzaddikim of the generation.’ ”

I heard from the chassid Rabbi Hirsch Leib Lippel, zal, that he had heard from one of the Breslover Chassidim in Uman (whose name I have forgotten), that the words of this letter were vividly exemplified by Reb Noson’s grandson, Rabbi “Micheleh” of Tulchin (a son of Rabbi Yitzchak). He too conducted himself in similar fashion; when he walked through the streets to go to work at the post office, he remained bound to the One Above, in fullfillment of the verse, “I have placed G-d before me constantly” [Psalms 16:8]. His thoughts and his speech were constantly occupied with matters of Torah, prayer, faith, trust in G-d, the ultimate goal and “remembrance of the World to Come” [as in Likutey Moharan I, 54]. When he would encounter another Breslover chassid along the way, he would stop to speak words of faith, reverence and encouragement, and to strengthen his friend in avodas Hashem [divine service]. Sometimes this discussion would go on for more than an hour, which was not an uncommon occurrence with him.

(In the letters of his father Rabbi Yitzchak, zal, Letter 8, dated parshas Lekh Lekha, [Reb Yitzchak] writes in the name of his father Reb Noson, zal, that [Reb Noson] once told him, “The main thing is to raise your eyes above during all of your doings … Particularly at the time you walk to the post office, raise your eyes above, and may your entire desire and purpose be for the true good…”)

Reb Hirsch Leib also told how once he was walking down the street and saw in the distance Reb Micheleh on his way to the post office. He knew from past experience that were they to meet, he would have to stop and converse with him for who knows how long—and he would have been very glad to hear [Reb Micheleh’’s] sweet words, according to his holy way. But as it happened, right now he was in a bit of a rush and didn’t have time for this. Therefore, in order to prevent such an encounter, he turned down a back alley that lead to a different street. However, it seems that Reb Micheleh had already recognized him and noticed that he had taken that side-street. So he too changed his usually route and turned down a different alley that led to the same street, and thus they encountered each other. Reb Micheleh greeted him in his sweet way, “Tierer brieder, my dear brother!  Maybe you know how one can become an ehrlicher yid [a devout Jew]? Let’s speak together about what one needs to do to become an ehrlicher yid, the way the holy Rebbe taught us!”

Thus, Reb Micheleh continued to speak with him at length about matters of avodas Hashem, according to the Rebbe’s path. Reb Hirsch Leib remarked that although he was delayed for an hour, nevertheless, he suffered no loss or hardship because of their lengthy conversation. On the contrary, even greater good resulted from this. For Reb Micheleh shared with him wondrous words, truly like a tzaddik. He then saw how the verse was fulfilled in him, “No wrong shall be caused through the tzaddik…” [Proverbs 12:21—which in this context seems to mean “no harm came come about through the tzaddik”; translator].  

(It seems to me that I heard [from Reb Hirsch Leib] that he had an appointment that morning for an important meeting with a certain director of a great enterprise. And this director was greatly delayed that morning, so that all others who had appointments with him were forced to leave, due to other obligations—except for Reb Hirsch Leib who showed up just a little before the director’s arrival. He proved to be the only individual present. Therefore, the director received him right away and favored his request.)

In this vein, there is a saying, “Every delay is for the good.” Particularly since the Rebbe once said, “For my sake, no one ever lost!”  That is, whoever is engaged in something that has a connection to the Rebbe, whether materially or spiritually, doesn’t lose a thing.

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