Parshas Ba'haloscha 5757

The Mitzvah of Emunah

The Seforim HaKedoshim, the Chassidic literature, find in our Parsha, a source for the Mitzvah of Emunah, faith in Hashem. Hashem, in defending Moshe Rabbenu from the insinuations leveled against him by his brother Aharon and sister Miriam over the incident of his separation from his wife, declares, "Not so my servant Moshe, he is the most faithful of all the people." (Num. 12:7)

The Maggid of Mezeritch comments from here that we see the greatness of Moshe Rabbenu. He was able to serve Hashem with his profound understanding of creation's mysteries and his total grasp of the root of every Mitzvah. Nevertheless he chose to serve Hashem with plain, simple, straight forward, unqualified Emunah. "Ne'eman Hoo." He is utterly faithful. (Num. 12:7)

What is this simple unqualified faith in Hashem. The sefer Nesivos Shalom (an important guide to Chassidic thought by today's Slonimer Rebbe) explains that it is a faith which is unadultered by the ego. He explains that all Mitzvos require clarity, and all the more so the Mitzvah of emunah, since it is the foundation for the performance of all the rest of the Mitzvos. The path to clarity in Emunah, is a path of putting aside all the accomplishments that one has made using his intellectual and emotional faculties. It requires one to drop the "I am a . . ." mantra. It requires ones to approach his divine service with the innocence and Emunah of a small child who believes with absolute faith that his Father can do anything. It is unqualified faith.

The Baal Shem Tov, the spiritual master of the Maggid, at his essence, embodied this idea in his life and work. Near the end of his days he said, "After all of my advances in spirituality, and achievements in knowing the ways of Hashem, I am prepared to forfeit it all. Instead, I embrace only plain simple (unqualified) faith in Hashem. It says, "ayn ode milvado", there is nothing else besides G-d. I take that literally. I'm like a fool who believes everything."

Reb Aharon of Karlin was once in Mezhibuzh, the town where the Baal ShemTov lived and is buried. He wanted to go to the gravesite of the Baal ShemTov to pray. He turned to his attendant, questioning, "Nu, was sogst du? (What do you say?) How can we go to the Baal ShemTov empty-handed? We haven't got mitzvos to our credit, nor good deeds. We can hardly learn properly, much less daven!"

For some 20 minutes Reb Aharon stalled, lost in thought, searching for a strategy that would allow him to approach the Holy resting site of the Baal ShemTov. Finally he exclaimed, "Is it not true that simple people, unlearned women and children come here to pour out their hearts? If so, then we also shall go and pour out our hearts like them."

Short Biography: Reb Aharon of Karlin (1802-1872) was the son of Rebbi Asher of Stolin and he was called after the name of his grandfather Reb Aharon the Great, a disciple of the Maggid of Mezeritch and the founder of the Karliner dynasty which still thrives today. He was known to be pure and holy from his childhood and was groomed to be a leader. When he was only 25 years old, his father passed away and the yoke of the spiritual leadership of the Karliner Chassidus was thrust upon him.

His grandfather-in-law, the Rizhner Rebbe said of him, that his desire for truth was so intense that if there were a crumb of truth under the floorboards he would rip them up with his bare hands to lay hold of it.

He followed the path of the Karliner Rebbes in prayer, that of "Splitting the Heavens". It is a style of prayer which is thunderous to the ear, a prayer which brings ones every limb into the service of Hashem.

Once, on Shabbos, when he was visiting his son-in-law, the first Sadigerer Rebbe, he was honored with leading the Mussaf service. As Reb Aharon approached the reader's stand, the Sadigerer Rebbe whispered to his Chassidim, "Listen well to this Mussaf, because this you won't hear again until the coming of the Messiah."

Z'chuso Yagen Aleynu v'al Kol Yisroel, Amen

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