Stories of Tzadikim / 08 A few candles to fix a soul
Hold on to Shabbos with
Stories of Tzadikim
With Rav Yussie Zakutinsky
Gut Voch everybody, they say a Maaseh that there was was once a yid that came mamash panic stricken, completely tzebruchen to a particular Rov of his town. And he knocks on the door frantically. The Rov opens and asks What’s the problem? He says I need a tikkun. Can you help me out? So the Rov asks again What’s the problem? He says that this past Shabbos I was away, and I was traveling to a neighboring village for Shabbos. I’ll tell you the truth, maybe it was my fault, I got a late start Friday afternoon.
The weather wasn’t good, traffic or whatever and I got stuck on the road in my horse and wagon on erev Shabbos. I drove and broke Shabbos for the first time in my life, I was stuck in a position where I felt it was too dangerous to just stop in the middle of the woods. I had no choice but to move and continue riding. But I still felt like I broke Shabbos, what do I do? How do I fix myself?
The Rov looked at him and said I'll tell you the truth. It’s a big problem to desecrate Shabbos, even though you were in a position where you had no choice and your life would be in danger spending Shabbos in the woods like that. But putting yourself in a situation like that is a serious thing you know? I think you should begin to fast Monday and Thursday, say sefer Tehillim everyday, commit yourself to learn more. A whole regiment. The guy is listening to this and he’s thinking to himself, okay you know maybe a second opinion could be helpful. He says thank you very much.
Meanwhile this person is looking for a second opinion and a week or two later he finds himself in the audience by the Baal Shem. So he goes to the Baal Shem Tov and doesn’t tell him that he had this whole regiment from the Rov and just tells him the story how he was stuck in the road before Shabbos, and he feels terrible, what can he do now to fix his neshama.
The Baal Shem Tov looks at him and he says, you know Shabbos is a very serious thing, it’s a very serious aveirah of having to drive on Shabbos. This guy is thinking to himself, now he’s going to have double the regiment, to say Tehillim twice every day. So the Baal Shem says maybe this Shabbos you could donate the candles for the shul. The guy is like just that? Nothing else? The Baal Shem Tov said if you do that you'll be okay.
So this guy goes home, he tells the guy in the shul he wants to donate, he asks how much money it is and gives the money. Meanwhile before he leaves, the Baal Shem Tov says, do me a favor, when you go home tell your Rov that I want him to be my personal guest this Shabbos, he should come to me.
The Rov is happy because he’s invited to the Baal Shem Tov’s house for shabbos. The Rov gets on the horse and wagon on Friday, all of a sudden the weather turns, there’s traffic and the Rov is stuck on the road. He has no choice but to drive because it’s dangerous to be in the woods all Shabbos. When he comes to the Baal Shem Tov Friday night he’s mamash beside himself. The first time in his life to break shabbos like that?
He comes to the Baal Shem Tov and says “Rebbe, what am I going to do, I broke Shabbos, I can’t sleep, I can’t face myself. The Baal Shem Tov says, I caused you to break Shabbos, I changed the weather, I put the traffic there. Why? Because when that yid came to you a few weeks ago, complaining and bemoaning the fact that he broke Shabbos, you never tasted the bitterness and the guilt, that that jew was feeling over the fact that he broke Shabbos. So to you, you had to give him this big Avodah, davening, Tehillim, Mikvas, fasting, a whole thing. But if you appreciated what he was going through in his own mind, the guilt that he was feeling, then you would’ve realized the guilt itself that he was feeling wiped away four fifths of the aveirah. All that was left was a little inyan that he has to be mistaken, so I told him just to light candles and that will be enough. The truth is even that was really unnecessary but he needed something to make him feel like he’s doing something good.
Going forward, when a yid comes to you complaining about their tzaros, aveiros that they’ve done, they want to do Teshuva, I need you to bear in mind the guilt that they already feel. The guilt they feel, the tzebruchen feelings that they have are doing most of their job. You just have to help them get over that final hump. That’s the Avoidah.
Chazal say that even Poshei Yisroel, sinners of the jewish people they’re full of regret and we have to embrace that and appreciate that when we feel regret over the mistakes we’ve made, we should be proud of that regret. Embrace those feelings and say, you know what? Because I feel bad about it, I’m going to be able to go Vaiter and I’m going to take upon myself what I can do to fix those mistakes. But realize that the fact that I feel bad about it is already three quarters of the job and now it’s just a matter of keeping on going, finishing the tikkun, and correcting the future of my life.
Hashem should help us, it should be a week of tikkun, of fixing, of going vaiter, of overcoming obstacles, with Emunas Chachomim, Emunas Tzadikim, with Torah, Avodah, Bitachon. Hashem should bless us; it should be a lichtigeh Voch, a Blessed Voch, a Geulahdik Voch Ad bli Dai.