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5.01 Baal HaSulam,

“A Speech for the Completion of The Zohar”

Our sages said, “Make for yourself a rav and buy yourself a friend.” This means that one can make a new environment for oneself. This environment will help him obtain the greatness of his rav through love of friends who appreciate his rav. Through the friends’ discussing the greatness of the rav, each of them receives the sensation of his greatness. Thus, bestowal upon his rav becomes reception and sufficient motivation to an extent that will bring one to engage in Torah and Mitzvot Lishma.

It was said about this, “The Torah is acquired by forty-eight virtues, by serving of sages, and by meticulousness of friends.” This is so because besides serving the rav, one needs the meticulousness of friends, as well, meaning the friends’ influence, so they will influence him so he obtains the greatness of his rav. This is so because obtaining the greatness depends entirely on the environment, and a single person cannot do a thing about it whatsoever.

Yet, there are two conditions to obtaining the greatness:

  1. Always listen and accept the appreciation of the environment to the extent of their greatness.
  2. The environment should be great, as it is written, “In the multitude of people is the king’s glory.”

To receive the first condition, each student must feel that he is the smallest among all the friends. In that state, he will be able to receive the appreciation of the greatness from everyone, since the great cannot receive from a smaller one, much less be impressed by his words. Rather, only the small is impressed by the appreciation of the great.

For the second condition, each student must extol the virtues of each friend and cherish him as though he were the greatest in the generation. Then the environment will influence him as though it were a great environment, as it should be, since quality is more important than quantity.

5.02 Baal HaSulam,

“A Speech for the Completion of The Zohar”

An environment that does not properly appreciate Him weakens the individual and prevents him from obtaining His greatness. This is certainly true concerning one’s rav, as well. An environment that does not properly appreciate the rav prevents the student from being able to properly obtain the greatness of his rav.

 5.03 Baal HaSulam,

“The Freedom”

As far as spiritual life is concerned, there is no natural obligation on the individual to abide by society in any way. On the contrary, here applies a natural law over the collective, to subjugate itself to the individual.

5.04 Baal HaSulam,

Letter No. 19

Even though one has a soul, he is not ready to know Him of his own “Until the spirit be poured upon him from on high.” However, one must lend an ear and listen to the words of the sages and believe in them wholeheartedly.

 5.05 Baal HaSulam,

Shamati, Article No. 105, “A Bastard Wise Disciple Precedes a Commoner High Priest”

Through adhering to wise disciples, it is possible to receive some support.

In other words, only a wise disciple can help him, and nothing else. Even if he is great in the Torah, he will still be called “a commoner,” if he has not been rewarded with learning from the Creator’s mouth.

Hence, one must surrender before a wise disciple and accept what the wise disciple places on him without any arguments, but by way of above reason.

5.06 Baal HaSulam,

Shamati, Article No. 99, “He Did Not Say Wicked or Righteous”

A person has the choice of going to a place where there are righteous. One can accept their authority, and then he will receive all the powers that he lacks by the nature of his own qualities. He will receive it from the righteous. This is the benefit in “planted them in each generation,” so that each generation would have someone to turn to, adhere to, and from whom to receive the strength required to rise to the degree of a righteous. Thus, they, too, subsequently become righteous.

5.07 Baal HaSulam,

“A Speech for the Completion of The Zohar”

Our sages advised us: “Make for yourself a rav [teacher/great person] and buy yourself a friend.” This means that one should choose for oneself an important and renowned person to be his rav, and from him he will be able to come to engaging in Torah and Mitzvot in order to bring contentment to his Maker. This is so because there are two extenuations concerning one’s rav:

  1. Since he is an important person, the student can bestow contentment upon him, based on the sublimity of his rav, since bestowal becomes as reception for him. This is a natural fuel, so one can always increase his acts of bestowal. Once a person grows accustomed to engaging in bestowal upon the rav, he can transfer it to engaging in Torah and Mitzvot Lishma toward the Creator, too, since habit becomes a second nature.
  2. Equivalence of form with the Creator does not help if it is not forever, “Until He who knows the mysteries will testify that he will not return to folly.” This is not so with equivalence of form with his rav. Since the rav is in this world, within time, equivalence of form with him helps even if it is only temporary and he later turns sour again.

Thus, every time one equalizes one’s form with one’s rav, he adheres to him for a time. As a result, he obtains the knowledge and thoughts of the rav, according to his measure of Dvekut, as we explained in the allegory about the organ that has been cut off from the body and was reunited with it. For this reason, the student can use his rav’s attainment of the Creator’s greatness, which inverts bestowal into reception and sufficient fuel to give one’s heart and soul. At that time, the student, too, will be able to engage in Torah and Mitzvot Lishma with his very heart and soul, which is the remedy that yields eternal Dvekut with the Creator.

5.08 Baal HaSulam,

Shamati, Article No. 187, “Choosing Labor”

The matter of the lower Hey in the Eynaim [eyes] means that there was a Masach [screen] and a cover over the eyes. The eyes mean Providence, when one sees hidden Providence.

A trial means that a person cannot decide either way, when one cannot determine the Creator’s will and the will of his teacher. Although one can work devotedly, he is unable to determine if this devoted work is appropriate or not, that this hard work would be against his teacher’s view, and the view of the Creator.

To determine, one chooses that which adds labor. This means that one should act according to one’s teacher. Only labor is for man to do, and nothing else. Hence, there is no place for doubt in one’s actions and thoughts and words. Instead, he should always increase labor.

5.09 Baal HaSulam,

Shamati, Article No. 40, “What Is the Measure of Faith in the Rav?”

Only one who is already in the singular authority can discern and know the truth. Hence, one must trust the opinion of his rav and believe what his rav tells him. It means that one should go as his rav told him to do.

And although he sees many arguments and many teachings that do not go hand in hand with the opinion of his rav, he should nevertheless trust the opinion of his rav and say that what he understands and what he sees in other books that do not coincide with his rav’s opinion, he should say that as long as he is in multiple authorities, he cannot understand the truth, and he cannot see what is written in other books, the truth that they say.

It is known that when one is still not rewarded, his Torah becomes to him a potion of death.

5.10 Baal HaSulam,

“Introduction to the Book Panim Meirot uMasbirot,” Item 8

Come and see how grateful we should be to our teachers, who impart us their sacred lights and dedicate their souls to do good to our souls. They stand in the middle between the path of harsh torments and the path of repentance. They save us from the netherworld, which is harder than death, and accustom us to reach the heavenly pleasures, the sublime gentleness and the pleasantness that is our share, ready and waiting for us from the very beginning, as we have said above. Each of them operates in his generation, according to the power of the light of his teaching and sanctity.

Our sages have already said, “You have not a generation without such as Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”

5.11 Baal HaSulam,

Talmud Eser Sefirot, “Histaklut Pnimit,” Part 1, Chapter 2

Those whose eyes have not been opened to the sights of heaven, and have not acquired the profi- ciency in the connections of the branches of this world with their roots in the Upper Worlds are like the blind scraping the walls. They will not understand the true meaning of even a single word, for each word is a branch that relates to its Shoresh.

Only if they receive an interpretation from a genuine sage who makes himself available to explain it in the spoken language, which is necessarily like translating from one language to another, mean- ing from the language of the branches to the spoken language, only then he will be able to explain the spiritual term as it is.

5.12 Baal HaSulam,

“The Teaching of the Kabbalah and Its Essence”

The most successful way for one who wishes to learn the wisdom is to search for a genuine Kabbalist and follow all his instructions, until one is rewarded with understanding the wisdom in one’s own mind, meaning the first discernment. Afterward, one will be rewarded with its conveyance mouth to mouth, which is the second discernment, and after that, understand in writing, which is the third discernment. Then, one will have inherited all the wisdom and its instruments from his teacher with ease and will be left with all his time to develop and expand.

However, in reality there is a second way: Through one’s great yearning, the sights of heaven will open before him and he will attain all the origins by himself. This is the first discernment. Yet, afterward, one must still labor and exert extensively until he finds a Kabbalist sage before whom he can bow and obey, and from whom to receive the wisdom by way of conveyance face to face, which is the second discernment.

Then comes the third discernment. Since he is not attached to a Kabbalist sage from the outset, the attainments come with great efforts and consume much time, leaving little time to develop in it. Also, sometimes the knowledge comes after the fact, as it is written, “and they shall die without wisdom.” These are ninety-nine percent and what we call “entering but not exiting.” They are as fools and ignorant in this world, who see the world set before them but do not understand any of it, except for the bread in their mouths.

Indeed, in the first way, too, not everyone succeeds, since after being rewarded with attainment, the majority of them become complacent and cannot subjugate themselves to their teacher suffi- ciently, as they are not worthy of the conveyance of the wisdom. In this case, the sage must hide the essence of the wisdom from them, and “they shall die without wisdom,” “entering but not exiting.” This is so because there are harsh and strict conditions in conveying the wisdom, which stem from necessary reasons. Hence, very few are regarded highly enough by their teachers for them to find them worthy of this thing, and happy are the rewarded.

 5.13 Baal HaSulam,

Letter No. 45

You should believe that your teacher’s bodily matters are truly engagements of the soul. This is why our sages said, “It did not say, ‘learned,’ but ‘poured,’ implying that serving is greater than learning.” A student should be in true annulment before the teacher, in the full sense of the word, for then he unites with him and he can perform salvations in his favor. A student cannot adhere to his teacher’s soul, as it is above his attainment.

5.14 Baal HaSulam,

Shamati, Article No. 25, “Things that Come from the Heart”

Regarding things that come from the heart, enter the heart. Hence, why do we see that even if things have already entered the heart, one still falls from his degree?

The thing is that when one hears the words of Torah from his teacher, he immediately agrees with his teacher and resolves to observe the words of his teacher with his heart and soul. But after- ward, when he comes out to the world, he sees, covets, and is infected by the multitude of desires roaming the world. Then, he and his mind, his heart, and his will are annulled before the majority. As long as he has no power to sentence the world to the side of merit, they subdue him, he min- gles with their desires, and he is led like sheep to the slaughter. He has no choice; he is compelled to think, want, crave, and demand everything that the majority demands. Then he chooses their foreign thoughts and their loathsome lusts and desires, which are alien to the spirit of the Torah. In that state, he has no strength to subdue the majority.

Instead, there is only one counsel then: to cling to his teacher and to the books. This is called “From the mouth of books and from the mouth of authors.” Only by clinging to them can he change his mind and will for the better. However, witty arguments will not help him change his mind, but only the remedy of Dvekut [adhesion], for this is a wondrous cure, as the Dvekut reforms him.

 5.15 Baal HaSulam,

“Introduction to The Book of Zohar,” Item 57

The aridity and the darkness that have befallen us in this generation, such as we have never seen in all the generations preceding us. It is so because even the servants of the Creator have abandoned the engagement in the secrets of the Torah.

Maimonides has already given a true allegory about that. He said that if a line of a thousand blind people walks along the way and there is at least one leader amongst them who can see, they are guaranteed to walk on the right path and not fall in pits and obstacles since they follow the sighted one who leads them. But if that person is missing, they are certain to stumble over every hurdle on the way and will all fall into the pit.

So is the matter before us. If the servants of the Creator had, at least, engaged in the internality of the Torah and extended a complete light from Ein Sof, the whole generation would have followed them, and everyone would be certain of their way, that they would not fall. But if even the servants of the Creator have distanced themselves from this wisdom, it is no wonder the whole generation is failing because of them. And because of my great sorrow, I cannot elaborate on that!

 5.16 Baal HaSulam,

“The Freedom”

Since the more developed in the generation is certainly the individual, it follows that when the public wants to relieve themselves of the terrible agony and assume conscious and voluntary develop- ment, which is the path of Torah, they have no choice but to subjugate themselves and their physical freedom to the discipline of the individual, and obey the orders and remedies that he will offer them.

 5.17 Baal HaSulam,

Letter No. 43

Our sages have already said, “The fear of your teacher is as the fear of heaven.” This, therefore, will be the measure of exaltedness that such a man obtains by his sanctity, for his exaltedness will by no means exceed the exaltedness of his teacher.

What the Rijnaar boasted about—that he was awarded a higher degree than all the sages in his generation because he acquired more faith in the sages than all of his contemporaries—we need to understand that faith does not come by lending. Such faith can be acquired by six-year-old children, too, but as a feeling of the exaltedness and the inspiration to his soul from the wisdom of the sages who have shared from His wisdom to those who fear Him.

I have already said and elaborated that the biggest Masach [screen] is in the work in the children of the land of Israel, since the domination of the Canaan Klipa [shell/peel] is in this place, and each one is as low as the ground, his friend is even lower than the ground, and his rav [teacher] is like him. Allegorically, you can say the words of our sages about the verse, “Leave Me and keep My law”—”I wish they would leave Me” means that they were proud of the exaltedness. And although “he and I cannot dwell in the same place,” still, “Keep My law,” be attached to a genuine righteous with proper faith in the sages. Then there is hope that the righteous will reform them and will sen- tence them to the side of merit as is appropriate for the presence of the Creator. What could come out of their humbleness and lowliness so the Creator does not move His abode from them, if they have no genuine righteous [person] to guide them in His law and prayer, and lead them to a place of Torah and wisdom?

 5.18 Baal HaSulam,

Shamati, Article No. 40, “What Is the Measure of Faith in the Rav?”

It is known that there is a right path and a left path. Right comes from the words “to the right,” referring to the verse, “And he believed in the Lord.” The Targum says, “To the right, when the rav says to the disciple to take the right path.”

Right is normally called “wholeness,” and left, “incompleteness,” that corrections are missing there. In that state the disciple must believe the words of his rav, who tells him to walk in the right line, called “wholeness.”

And what is the “wholeness” by which the disciple should walk? It is that one should depict to oneself as if he has already been rewarded with whole faith in the Creator, and already feels in his organs that the Creator leads the whole world in the form of “The Good Who Does Good,” meaning that the whole world receives only good from Him.

Yet, when one looks at oneself, he sees that he is poor and indigent. In addition, when he observes the world, he sees that the entire world is tormented, each according to his degree.

One should say about that, “They have eyes but they see not.” “They” means that as long as one is in multiple authorities, called “they,” they do not see the truth. What are the multiple authorities? As long as one has two desires, even though he believes that the entire world belongs to the Creator, but something belongs to man, too.

But in truth, one must annul one’s authority before the authority of the Creator and say that one does not want to live for oneself, and the only reason that he wants to exist is in order to bring contentment to the Creator. Thus, by this one annuls his own authority completely, and then he is in the singular authority, the authority of the Creator. Only then can he see the truth, how the Creator leads the world by the quality of good and doing good.

As long as he is in multiple authorities, meaning when he still has two desires in both mind and heart, he is unable to see the truth. Instead, he must go above reason and say, “they have eyes,” but they do not see the truth.

5.19 RABASH,

Article No. 424, “The Dispute between Korah and Moses”

We must be strong in faith in the sages and submit ourselves, and be lowly in our eyes compared to the righteous.

5.20 RABASH,

Article No. 1 (1990), “What Does ‘May We Be the Head and Not the Tail’ Mean in the Work?”

All the work of the created beings, that they must work above reason. It is impossible to do anything without faith in the sages, who arranged for us the order of the work. Once a person has accepted his work as “a tail to the lions,” he follows the sages, to walk only as they had arranged for us.

This is as our sages said (Avot, Chapter 1:4), “Be dusted by the dust of their feet (of the sages).” The Bartenura interprets that you should follow them, for one who walks kicks up dust with his feet, and one who follows him fills up with the dust that they raise with their feet.

We should understand what our sages imply to us with this allegory. We should interpret that one who goes after faith in the sages looks at their way, and they say that we must go above reason. Then, a person begins to be as spies, to see if it is truly worthwhile to follow their path. This is regarded as the feet of the sages kicking up dust, which goes into the eyes of their followers. That is, when a person wants to understand the path of the sages, they tell us that we must follow them with our eyes shut, or dust will enter. Something unimportant is called “dust,” meaning that there cannot be greater lowliness than this. Since man was given the reason and intellect in order to understand everything according to the intellect, and here we are told to walk by accepting faith in the sages, and a person wants to understand this path, and since as long as one is placed under the governance of the will to receive for himself, he cannot know what is good and what is bad, but must accept everything the way the sages determined for us, or dust and dirt will enter his eyes and he will not be able to move forward, but when we do not criticize the words of the sages and do not want to accept their words within reason, specifically by this we are rewarded with knowledge [reason] of Kedusha [holiness].

This is so because the whole reason why we need to go above reason is that we are immersed in self-love. Hence, through faith above reason, we are rewarded with vessels of bestowal, and then the delight and pleasure in vessels of bestowal is revealed. In the words of The Zohar, this is called “Reason spreads and fills rooms and corridors.” That is, when the Kelim [vessels] are proper, reason spreads both in the inner Kelim and in the outer Kelim.

5.21 RABASH,

Article No. 10 (1989), “What Does It Mean that the Ladder Is Diagonal, in the Work?”

Is written (Moed Katan 17a), “If the Rav is similar to an angel of the Creator, let them seek to learn from him. If he is not, let them not seek to learn from him. They ask about it, Must one who wants to learn from a rav first see the angel of the Creator and then, after he has seen the form of the angel of the Creator, this is the time to go seek a rav who is similar to an angel of the Creator?”

According to the above, we should interpret that if the rav teaches the disciples the work that must be done in order to bestow, meaning why a person comes into this world, to do God’s mission, to work for the sake of the Creator, that person is a messenger of the Creator and not a landlord in this world, but is a servant of the Creator. The meaning of “messenger of the Creator” is “angel of the Creator.” This is the meaning of “If the rav is similar to an angel of the Creator, let them seek to learn from him.”

 5.22 RABASH,

Article No. 4 (1989), “What Is a Flood of Water in the Work?”

There is the matter of above reason. This is regarded as wanting to walk with his eyes shut, meaning that although reason and the senses do not understand what our sages tell us, they assume upon them faith in the sages and say that we must take upon ourselves faith in the sages, as it is written, “And they believed in the Lord and in His servant, Moses.” Without faith, nothing can be achieved in spirituality.

5.23 RABASH,

Article No. 38 (1990), “What Is, ‘A Cup of Blessing Must Be Full,’ in the Work?”

Before the Yenika there is Ibur, meaning that the upper one corrects him. This can be when a person is like an embryo in its mother’s womb, where the embryo annuls before the mother and has no view of its own, but as our sages said, “An embryo is its mother’s thigh, eats what its mother eats,” and has no authority of its own to ask any questions. Rather, it does not merit a name. This is called “mute,” when he has no mouth to ask questions.

This is so when a person can go with his eyes shut, above reason, and believe in the sages and go all the way. This is called Ibur, when he has no mouth. Ibur means as it is written (The Study of the Ten Sefirot, Part 8, Item 17), “The level of Malchut, which is the most restricted Katnut [smallness/ infancy] possible, is called Ibur. It comes from the words Evra [anger] and Dinin [Aramaic: judg- ments], as it is written, ‘And the Lord was impregnated in me for your sake.’”

We should interpret the meaning of “anger and judgments.” When a person must go with his eyes shut, above reason, the body resists this work. Hence, the fact that a person always has to overcome, this is called “anger, wrath, and trouble,” since it is hard work to always overcome and annul before the upper one, for the upper one to do with him what the upper one wants. This is called Ibur, which is the most restricted Katnut possible.

5.24 RABASH,

Article No. 438, “Save Your Servant, You, My God”

First, one must believe in the Creator above reason and praise his rav, meaning feel completely and utterly whole, for it is known that to the extent that a person feels that his friend is giving him gifts, to that extent he praises him. Also, to the extent that he feels his friend’s greatness, to that extent he can praise. In other words, if he feels that he is lacking something and his friend can satisfy it, he immediately loses the power to praise and glorify his friend.

Therefore, when a person begins his work, he must go with faith above reason that he is not lacking anything, and that his rav has satisfied all his wishes. At that time, he is called “whole,” and then the whole can connect to the whole. Conversely, when he is deficient, the deficient does not connect to the whole.

Afterward, he can establish deficiencies like a slave seeking a gift from his rav, when he asks for his needs, meaning that the judge has only what his eyes see and he must not ignore any deficiency that he has. On the contrary, to the extent that he feels his deficiency, so he can pray that his rav will satisfy his wishes. And then, the more the student asks, the better.

Finally, he must not stay deficient. He must go again on the path of faith above reason, that he is utterly and completely whole. This is the meaning of the words, “as a servant thanking his rav for the gift he has received from him, and he walks away.” He should believe above reason that he has already received all his wishes, called a “gift.”

He thanks his rav for this, for one must not live in separation, meaning that he has complaints against his rav that he is not giving him what he asks. For this reason, it is forbidden for man to be deficient and he must always be in joy. However, in order to have Kelim [vessels] to receive, he must evoke the deficiencies. In the offering, this is regarded as ascending and descending, “Knowing in the beginning and knowing in the end, and concealment in between.” That is, between knowing and knowing it is permitted to see the concealment, meaning that he has no revelation with respect to the truth, to feel that his work is desirable to his rav.

It follows that one must not disclose any lack in Torah and work for himself. Rather, he must always go above rhyme and reason that he is utterly and completely whole. In between, he can ask his wishes as his eyes see, that he has only faults. But afterward, he must believe as though he has already received all his wishes and he thanks his rav for this.

At that time, he can be happy that he is whole. It follows that all his wholeness is built on faith, and his deficiencies are built on knowledge, since “the judge has only what his eyes see.”

5.25 RABASH,

Article No. 680, “Annulment—the Baal Shem Tov Way “

The way to annul the body used to be through abstention. But there is another way, which is annul- ment before the rav [great one, teacher]. This is the meaning of “Make for yourself a rav.” “Making” is clarified by force, without any intellect.

As abstention revokes the body only through action and not through the mind. Likewise, annul- ment before the rav is by force and not through intellect. That is, even in a place where one does not understand the view of one’s rav, he annuls himself and the Torah and the work, and comes to the rav so he will guide him.

There is guidance in the manner of the general public, called Ohr Makif [surrounding light], which is light that shines only from outside, and is without words, but only by coming to the rav and sitting in front of him, sitting at his table during the meal or during the service. Yet, there is another way, which is internal, and this is specifically through “mouth-to-mouth.”

 5.26 Zohar for All, Yitro [Jethro],

“You Shall Not Make for Yourself,” Item 428

One should be so careful with words of Torah, and one should be so careful not to err in them and utter a word of Torah that he does not know, and which he did not receive from his teacher. Anyone who says words of Torah that he does not know or did not receive from his teacher, it is written about him, “You shall not make for yourself an idol or any likeness.”

5.27 GRA (Vilna Gaon),

Aderet Eliyahu

It is a grave warning not to learn the wisdom of Kabbalah by yourself from the books, for it is impos- sible to attain the depth of the intention of the Godly matters, which highly prevail over the human intellect, but rather through much sanctity and purity through a giver, an honest, faithful Kabbalist who had received from a renown Kabbalist.

5.28 Martin Buber,

Ohr HaGanuz

Rabbi David Leykas, a disciple of the Baal Shem Tov, asked followers of his father-in-law, Rabbi Motel of Chernobyl: “Do you have complete faith in your Rav?” They kept silent, for who would dare to say that he has complete faith? “In that case,” said Rabbi David, “I’d like to tell you what faith is. One Shabbat [Sabbath], the third meal [closing Sabbath meal] with the Baal Shem Tov stretched on until late in the evening, as would often happen. Afterwards, we said grace for the food and immediately proceeded to the evening service, did Havdala [marking the end of Shabbat and beginning of the week], and sat down for the Melave Malka [post Shabbat] meal. We were all very poor and did not have a penny, certainly not on Shabbat [when it’s forbidden to carry money]. Even so, when the Baal Shem Tov told me after the Melave Malka meal, ‘David, give money for mead [alcoholic beverage made of fermented honey and water],’ I placed my hand in my pocket, although I knew I had nothing, and took out a Zahuv [coin]. I gave the coin to buy mead.”

5.29 Rabbi Shmuel Di Ozida,

Midrash Shmuel, Avot 1, 16

It is written “Make for yourself a Rav,” meaning accept him as your Rav. In order to benefit from the Rav, the student must believe in him and trust his words, as was said, “Depart from doubt,” namely do not doubt your Rav’s words, but rather trust him, for without it, he will not help you.

5.30 Maimonides,

Mishneh Torah

Who is the one who disputes his teacher? One who establishes a seminary and sits, explains, and teaches without his teacher’s permission while his teacher lives, even if one’s teacher is in another country. It is forbidden to ever teach in the presence of one’s teacher, and whoever teaches a law in the presence of one’s teacher must be put to death.

5.31 Rabbi Simcha Mordechai Ziskind,

Wisdom and Ethics

It is known what educators said—that one who learns should know two things about his tutor, which will give him the courage to accept the teaching from his tutor gladly and willingly: 1) His tutor is wiser than him and knows what is best for him better than him. 2) His teacher truly seeks his benefit and not his own benefit or any other intention, but only to place the student on the ladder as he wants his son’s best with success and wealth. When this is thoroughly clarified to him, that the tutor seeks his benefit and knows what is best for him better than himself, he will truly give himself over to his teacher to be his possession, and he will do anything that he commands him very gladly.

5.32 Rabbi Eliyahu Eliezer Desler,

A Letter from Eliyahu

Rabbi Shlomo Elkabetz asked in the book Brit HaLevi why the disciples of Rabbi Akiva died specif- ically in the days of the [Omer] count. He explained that any rav who learns with the disciples gives them of his soul, meaning of his very spiritual essence. This is why disciples were called “sons.” If the disciples unite properly, his bestowal achieves its goal, since only when all come together does all his bestowal illuminate in all of them. It is known that each disciple takes only one spark of the giving of his rav, the spark that pertains to the essence of the soul of the disciple. Naturally, only when they are all included together is his giving complete.

However, if the disciples part from one another in their conduct, they lose the bestowal of their rav and there remains a lone giving without achieving its goal. This is a dangerous situation. The disciples of Rabbi Akiva, for all their greatness, did not treat each other with respect, and by that they parted from each other. Naturally, they did not let the bestowal of Rabbi Akiva, their teacher, achieve its goal. When the days of the count arrived, in which the lights of the preparation for the giving of the Torah sparkle, they were put at risk and died, for one who sees the light of Kedusha [holiness] sparkles and does not exert to be rewarded with it and ascend by it, but rejects it and remains in his Katnut [smallness/infancy], it is certainly a great complaint that puts one in harm’s way.

5.33 Rabbi Abraham Ben Rabbi Nachman of Toltshin,

Stars of Light

“When I approached my Rav,” said Rabbi Natan, “I abandoned my whole intellect as though I had no intellect, and when I heard from him some words, I received a little bit of intellect, a few more words—a little more intellect.” It was said that this was the difference between our teacher Rabbi Natan and the rest of the disciples of Rabbi Nachman—that they knew that the rav was the most important, but they, too, had some merit, that they had some opinion. However, Rabbi Natan knew about himself that without the rav, he is nothing, nobody, truly null.

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