Lessons of a Story from My Yeshiva Days

Author
Michael
Published
2011, Jul 08, 08:40 pm
Category
Religion
Tags

At the time, the point of the story seemed to be that not everything the Rebbe does has a spiritual reason, and that we as chassidim shouldn't behave as those in the story. With minimal consideration, I can learn exactly the opposite lesson.


Many years ago I was told the following story:

Once upon a time in Europe there was a Rebbe whose chassidim were very devoted and emulated him in all ways. It happened that they observed him each week cutting his nails after mikvah on erev Shabbos, and so they all did the same. Because they also wanted to understand, one of the elder chassidim was elected to ask the Rebbe why this was his custom. Upon hearing this inquiry the Rebbe responded with some degree of surprise, "the nails are softest after the water of the mikvah and thus easier to cut."

At the time, the point of the story seemed to be that not everything the Rebbe does has a spiritual reason, and that we as chassidim shouldn't behave as those in the story. With minimal consideration, I can learn exactly the opposite lesson.

Mikvah is about bitul (nullifying your sense of self) and nails represent unclean klipah (negative energies). Therefore what clearer lesson could the Rebbe have explained. Impure desires can best be destroyed after we are willing to forgo our givah (self centered attitude) and accept the will of Hashem.



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