Friday, June 14, 2019

Fight Fire with Water

Shaarey Tzaddik, Vol. 2
By Rabbi Gedaliah Aharon Kenig, zatzal
Excerpt from Letter 54
Translated by Dovid Sears
L’ilui nishmas Shlomo ben Binyamin Ze’ev Cheshin, zal

At the time when opposition [toward the early Breslever Chasidim] was raging, and the dreadful persecutions of our master, Reb Noson, may his merits shield us, and his righteous followers, reached their peak, many [Breslever chasidim] complained and wept before Reb Noson, because what they were going through was beyond endurance. They begged him: “Our master and teacher! We know that it is surely within your holy power to do something so that our adversaries will receive the heavenly punishment that is coming to them. Why does our master remain silent, while the holy is devoured [by the unholy], G-d forbid? Please do whatever you can with your holy power, and put an end to the strife against you and against us!”

Our master Reb Noson replied, “Listen to me, my children and my disciples, and know, my friends: it is not our way to afflict anyone, whoever he may be! This is not [the path] we received from our holy Rebbe [Rabbi Nachman], may his merits shield us. Rather, this is what we received from him: to conquer the whole world through prayer, and Hashem will do what is good in His sight.

“On the contrary, we need to exert ourselves with the greatest effort to create sanctified vessels that can contain holiness and wisdom for the sake of our adversaries and opponents, as well. We must concern ourselves with them, so that in the end, they too will come to their proper tikkun (healing of the soul). For they are our fellow Jews, [who are called] ‘holy seed,’ a ‘beloved nation,’ a ‘nation faithful to G-d,’ children of those He has tested, children of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.”

Even if this [conflict] has persisted for so long, due to the power of free choice, which has cast aside and uprooted so many from their proper places, which is the cause of all our hardships and sufferings and persecutions, and the confusions that threaten to disturb our relationship to Hashem, G-d forbid—we will not lose our strong faith and hope, with the help of Hashem. We have no recourse but to the words of our forefathers and holy rabbis, who urged us to raise our eyes above always, and to supplicate constantly before Hashem, that He have mercy upon on his people Israel, a holy nation, and pray and pray again. As it is written, “Hope unto Hashem (kavei el Hashem)…” and go back again and hope, [as the verse continues, “…be resolute and strengthen your heart, and hope unto Hashem” (Psalms 27:14)], as our Sages state (Rabbi Chama son of Rabbi Chanina in Berakhos 32b), and as we received from our master, King Chizkiyahu, peace be upon him.

King Chizkiyahu declared that he possessed a tradition from his ancestor King David that “even is a sharp sword is against one’s neck, he should not desist from praying for mercy,” Berakhos 10a.).

[We must persist] until Hashem’s mercy prevails upon us and upon all Israel, “and again you pity us and suppress our transgressions, and according to the days You afflicted us, you cause us to rejoice,” speedily in our days, amen!

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