This week’s parsha begins with Moshe mentioning the blessing and curse that would be given later on Mount Gerizim and Mount Ebal, near Shechem. Moshe begins his recitation in this parsha of most of the mitzvoth found in the book of Devarim by putting the commandments into perspective, saying that the choice of whether or not to accept the Torah is the choice between blessing and curse. (Artscroll commentary)
Rebbe Nachman explains in Likutei Moharan, Teaching 36 (Part 1) that the blessing and the curse come to a person according to the vessel, which he has to receive them. What does this mean? The blessing and the curse are before you, Rebbe Nachman explains, because from Hashem there is only emanating simple (spiritual) light. The letters of the Torah contain in them God’s light. According to each person’s actions, whether he is trying to choose good and do good or the opposite, the letters are joined together to receive a blessing or a curse. This is why the verse says I place the blessing and the curse before you specifically, because the light coming from Hashem does not have a specific form yet. Spiritual light and blessing are always coming down from above, but our ability to receive this light depends upon the vessel we are able to create. Are there other ways that we can enlarge our vessel to receive all of the blessings that Hashem wants to bestow upon us?
Rebbe Nachman explains in another powerful lesson in Likutei Moharan, Teaching 34 (Part 1), why we need to pray and what happens when we pray before God. Before discussing prayer, he explains that when our hearts are sunken in shame, when false forms of love, bad desires, consume our hearts; this causes our hearts to become broken. Great tsaddikim, like Moshe, Yosef, and other tsaddikim who came after them have the power, the governance so to speak, to heal our broken hearts. They received this power from Hashem. This is the meaning of the verse in the prophet Shmuel (Samuel), “…A righteous one, who rules through the fear of God.” (Shmuel II, Chapter 23, Verse 3) The main aspect of this power is to illuminate and to awaken the hearts of the Jewish people to serve Hashem. Rebbe Nachman asks in this teaching, it seems like a difficulty: why do we need to pray, behold Hashem knows our thoughts? He answers that speech creates the vessel that allows us to receive God’s abundance. Through prayer we build our receptacle in order to receive all of the good Hashem wants to give us. If our speech is rectified and purified by Torah, prayer and good speech, then we have a vessel that is able to receive Hashem’s blessings. How is this connected to a Tsaddik who has the power to heal our broken hearts? The words and the prayers of the Tsaddik are rectified and complete, and therefore he is able to help others too receive Hashem’s abundance of good.
Prayer increases our ability to receive blessing. It increases our faith. The more that we are able to deepen our prayers and connect to being in a state of prayer, our faith that our prayers are heard also deepens. Our connection to Hashem deepens. Rebbe Nachman also reveals in this lesson that every person has in them something precious, an aspect of a Tsaddik, which is completely unique to them. A beautiful part of their soul that they need to reveal in the world. When we speak and share with family and friends, we need to know that we have something unique and special that only we can share with them. The opposite is also true, they have something very special and unique to share with us. Our precious, unique point can awaken and illuminate our friend’s heart, just as the Tsaddik has the ability to do this for everyone. How can I discover and know what is special and unique about me? Rebbe Nachman says further that each person needs to speak with God in personal prayer in order to discover his or her special point and allow it to shine. This unique point of their soul has the power to heal their broken heart. When we know and feel that we too are special, and when we discover the deep connection and love that exists between us and Hashem, then all of the false imitations of true love fade away.
The faith that we merit to reveal and increase inside ourselves by discovering our special light needs to be shared with those around us. We can help others in a deep way by connecting to our unique point of light and sharing it with others!
(The image is courteous of chabad.org)