Today is the yahrtzeit of Reb Nosson. As Rebbe Nachman himself admitted, there would be nothing left of his memory after he died, if not for Reb Nosson’s personal sacrifice on behalf of Breslover Chassidus.
It’s no coincidence that Reb Nosson left this world on Asara Bteves. (First of all, it’s so Breslov to be able to party on a fast day). But seriously, on this day we commemorate the sieging of Jerusalem. Another name for Jerusalem is ציון (Zion). ציון has the same numerical value as יוסף (Joseph), who represents the power of tzaddik in the world. In fact, the Talmud (Rosh Hashana 18b) equates the death of tzaddikim to the burning of our Holy Temple. Why? What’s the connection? Because a tzaddik is a human embodiment of the Temple. The Temple is the geographical place of holiness in this world, and the tzaddik is the anthropomorphic place of holiness in this world.
What’s interesting to note about Reb Nosson’s life is that before he met Rebbe Nachman, he was searching to fill a personal spiritual void that he felt. He was a genius in learning and seemingly on his way to greatness, but he felt empty. After he met Rebbe Nachman, although he obviously continued growing in his own service of Hashem, he primarily began to concern himself with other people’s service of Hashem. He became the Rebbe’s scribe and went to great lengths to bring everything the Rebbe ever said into writing for posterity. He would write up his personal prayers and distribute them to others to say. And then after our holy Rebbe left the world, his entire essence was devoted to promulgating the lessons of Rebbe Nachman so others can grow in fear of Heaven. Reb Nosson became a different person after he met Rebbe Nachman. He became the quintessential giver. That’s what the Temple is too. There are countless sayings in the Talmud about the bounties of the Temple. It brought peace to the entire world. It smelled so good throughout the city that no one needed perfume, and the lights lit up the entire city. These phenomenons were physical as well as metaphysical. Holiness is something that gives. It envelops the receiver. We even find that halachically it changes the status of that which it enters. That’s what happens when you enter the Temple and that’s what happens when you bind yourself to the tzaddikim. You get a big hug of holiness!
Unfortunately we no longer have a Temple and we no longer have the holy tzaddikim like Rebbe Nachman and Reb Nosson. We are truly orphaned! אין לנו שיעור רק התורה הזאת. The only thing we have left is our holy Torah. It should be Hashem’s will that we should merit to see the rebuilding of the Temple soon and join in the dancing and singing of the true tzaddikim who will bask in the glory of Hashem.
לעילוי נשמת רבינו נתן בן נפתלי הירץ זצ״ל