Tuesday, October 23, 2012

An Observation

(Painting by Moreen Greenberg of Tsfat)

An Observation
Dovid Sears

In Rebbe Nachman's story of "The Seven Beggars," the wedding couple yearns for each of the holy beggars who fed them while they were lost in the forest, and in the midst of their yearning each beggar appears, one by one. Typically, the beggar hugs and kisses them, announcing that the blessing he gave long ago is now his wedding gift to them -- that they too will possess the beggar's special quality. 

However, the first and fourth beggars do not "hug and kiss" the chosson and kallah like the rest. Why?

If the seven beggars parallel the seven lower sefiros, the first beggar corresponds to Chesed, while the fourth corresponds to Netzach. In kabbalistic tradition (as in the Chassidic custom for counting the Ushpizin on Sukkos), Chesed is personified by Avraham Avinu and Netzach by Moshe Rabbeinu -- neither of whom had human teachers. 

Perhaps the Rebbe alludes to this fact with this detail of his story. Because these two tzaddikim did not have the same physical link as the other preeminent tzaddikim with their mentors, the first and fourth beggars refrain from hugging and kissing the wedding couple, who are their disciples.  

It is also noteworthy that neither did the Baal Shem Tov, who was the founder and thus the "first" of the modern Chassidic movement -- a modern "Avraham Avinu," if we may draw the comparison. Nor did Rebbe Nachman, whose name is gematria "Netzach," the fourth sefirah, and who always was accustomed to be called to the Torah for the fourth aliyah... 

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