18 Tishrei 5782 / Friday, September 24, 2021 | Torah Reading: Sukkot
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Pinchas: Shine Your Unique Light    

Pinchas: Shine Your Unique Light

Because in every Jew there is something precious, a point which cannot be found in anyone else. A point where they too are a tzaddik.


“Hashem spoke to Moshe, saying: “Pinchas son of Elazar son of Aharon the Kohen, turned back My wrath from upon the Children of Israel, when he zealously avenged My vengeance among them…” (Chapter 25, Verses 10-11). At the end of the previous Torah portion Balak, Pinchas put an end to the plague which killed 24,000 people as a result of the immorality and idol worship some of the Jewish men were seduced into with the Moabite and Midianite women. Now, here at the beginning of our portion, Hashem declares that Pinchas committed an act that saved many lives (Artscoll commentary). 


Rabbi Natan of Breslev explains that Pinchas merited to continue the leadership of the Kohanim after his father and grandfather because he was zealous to stop the sexual immorality of Zimri and those who followed him. He helped bring back to the Jewish people the aspect of guarding their covenant with Hashem,  which  means  conducting  themselves  with  faith and holiness in relationships, especially in marriage. This is the aspect of the Kohen, and therefore Hashem blesses Pinchas in the next verse: “Behold! I give him My covenant of peace.” Pinchas act of zealousness helped to subdue the negative influence of the wicked Bilaam, who was steeped in impurity, as we discussed last week.  


Rebbe Nachman explains in Likutei Moharan in the 34th teaching in Part One, that through speaking holy words before Hashem in personal prayer or with a close friend, and by learning the teachings of the Tzaddik, we can leave our lowly, fallen state of sin and truly return to Hashem. Every person needs these three aspects in their service of Hashem. Bilaam did not want to nullify his desires with holy speech. He did exactly the opposite - he tried to use his impure speech to cause damage to the Jewish people. The Tzaddikim, on the other hand, bring out the good points of each and every Jew through their good words and they give strength to our souls (Likutei Halachot, Laws of the Priestly Blessing, 5th teaching). 


Rebbe Nachman explains this teaching that each and every Jew has a special point - a point where they too are a tzaddik. “Because in every Jew there is something precious, a point which cannot be found in anyone else… And this special point which each person has, it influences, shines and awakens their friend’s heart…”  


He explains also in this teaching that when a person’s heart in sunken in negative, false aspects of love, meaning that their heart lusts after negative desires, then a person’s heart is broken in shame and they are far from the pure love which truly exists between Hashem and each and every Jew. Therefore, we need to speak a lot of words of prayer before Hashem in personal prayer, so that our special point, the light of our soul, will begin to shine again in our heart. This will help us return to the pure love of our covenant with Hashem.  


We also need to help others by speaking words of faith and awe of Heaven with them, in order to awaken the special point in their heart as well. How do we find our special point of light and begin to share it? This process of awakening our hearts and being able to give from our special point to our loved ones and friends comes as a result of connecting to a great Tzaddik and learning their teachings and advice.   


Last year I went to the Ukraine to pray at many different tzaddikim, including Rebbe Nachman. Before the trip, I stopped by a neighbor’s house one Shabbat afternoon to pick up my daughter. When I knocked on the door, the father said “Hello and asked me if we had any plans this summer to go on a trip. I answered in the affirmative and explained that in a month we planning to go to the Ukraine. He asked me, “Do you have family there? I explained to him that I did not, but we are going to the gravesites of the tzaddikim who are buried there. He gave me kind of a surprised look and said, “Okay, enjoy.” I know it seems hard to understand for many people - why travel all the way to the Ukraine to pray by the graves of tzaddikim? We go to these true tzaddikim because they return to us all of the gifts and spiritual treasures which we’ve lost along the way - faith, happiness, yearning, knowledge, trust, renewal, comfort and hope. Their light gives us the strength and good advice we need to begin making changes in our life and to discover who we truly are, as we learned above regarding the three key points which we need to be able to return to Hashem. 


Rabbi Natan writes at the end  of  Likutei  Moharan  that  Rebbe Nachman spoke with him once about the gravesite of the holy Baal Shem Tov, and how it’s very good to go to his grave to pray there, (Rebbe Nachman would pray there a lot, even as a young child when he lived in Mezibuzh). The true tzaddikim merit that their burial site has the holiness of the Land of Israel, and Rebbe Nachman says that the Land of Israel has the power to return us to our covenant with Hashem (Likutei Moharan, Part Two, 109th teaching).  


Just as Pinchas merited the covenant of peace and shined Hashem’s love to the Jewish people, so too the great tzaddikim have this power to help us return to Hashem’s love and closeness, and enable us discover that point inside where we too are a tzaddik who has a beautiful, unique light to shine. 


(In memory of my grandfather, Berel ben Yaakov Moshe haKohen) 



Republished with permission from breslov.blog. 



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