Online Community of the "Friends of Breslov"
Joined: 11 Jul 2007
|Posted: Sun Apr 25, 2010 8:00 am Post subject: Breslov Foundation of South Africa -The Baal Shem Tov Shul
|Breslov Foundation of South Africa -The Baal Shem Tov Shul
The Message of Breslov Chassidus is one of Simcha-Happiness, Discovering the good points in yourself and others, and Finding how to serve G-d with every aspect of your being: Your mind, Your talents, Your emotions. It is a great Mitzvah to be Joyous always!
Thursday, April 22, 2010
The Light That Changed a Life
The wife of the great Chassidic master the Chozeh (Seer) of Lublin looked at the tall gleaming candlesticks that sat on the table and began to cry.
All Friday morning, as she baked the challah and prepared the chulent stew, she had forced herself to stay cheerful. All afternoon, as she scrubbed and polished until the entire house sparkled, she had done battle with her yetzer hara (evil inclination) and remained in an optimistic frame of mind. But now, as the shadows began to lengthen in the room and there was no more work to take her thoughts off the problem at hand, she could feel her spirits sinking.
The beautiful candlesticks, which usually brought her much joy, seemed to be pointing an accusing finger in her direction every time she looked at them. Where are our Shabbos candles, she could almost hear them ask. Why don't we have candles to greet the Shabbos Queen?
What could she answer? Despite her many prayers, help had not come. There had been no money in the drawer that morning to buy candles for Shabbos and now, just a few minutes before it was time to light the candles, there was still no money - and no candles to light.
The Chozeh's wife's gaze shifted anxiously from the candlesticks to the darkening sky. Soon the sun would finish its slow descent and disappear beyond the horizon. Soon the Shabbos lights would begin to flicker in the windows of all the Jewish homes in Lublin. All, that is, except one.
The thought of her home being in darkness on Shabbos pierced her heart like a dagger. As the minutes passed, her distress became so great that the house could no longer contain her pain. She flung the door open and rushed out into the street and began to cry.
"Ribbono Shel Olam, Master of the Universe," she pleaded, "if I have done something to deserve punishment, I accept Your rebuke with love. But please don't make my husband and our distinguished guests sit in darkness because of my transgression. Please hear my prayer and let there be light in my house on Shabbos."
Just at that moment a fine carriage drawn by four black horses turned on to the little street. Inside the carriage sat a man - a Jew who had long ago drifted away from a life of Torah observance. For him the setting sun did not herald the approach of the holy day. Instead, he was on his way to a house of entertainment, where he would squander the precious hours in drinking and playing cards and other frivolous amusements.
Yet despite the fact that the man didn't observance the mitzvos, he did have a good heart. When he saw a poor woman crying in the street, he ordered his driver to stop so he could see what was the matter.
"I can see by your fine carriage and clothes that you are a wealthy man," said the wife of the Chozeh. "If you could spare two pennies..."
The man did not even wait for her to finish her request. He quickly reached into his coat pocket and placed the two pennies in her hand.
"Thank you," she said with deep gratitude. "You have just now done a tremendous deed, and I bless you that the light of Heaven should shine into your heart forever."
The Jew rode off in his fine carriage, while the Chozeh's wife rushed to the candle maker to make her purchase. Then she raced back to her home and, with just a few minutes to spare, she lit her candles for Shabbos. As she watched the gaily dancing flames fill her home with light, she brushed away a tear - one of the tears of joy that were now flowing freely from her eyes.
In the meantime, her husband, the Chozeh, was in shul, where his soul was also gaily dancing in expectation of greeting the Shabbos Queen. As he uttered the beloved words of the Kabbalos Shabbos prayer service, his soul soared higher and higher. Then, much to his amazement, he saw something he had never seen before on Shabbos.
The Heavenly Tribunal was in an uproar, and when the Chozeh's soul entered the courtroom all turned and pointed an accusing finger in his direction.
"Isn't it bad enough," one of the judges demanded, "that you bless all sorts of unworthy people and we have to fulfill your words? Now your wife is following in your footsteps and doing the same! Just look at who she wants us to give the light of Heaven to!"
The Chozeh looked down and saw the Jew seated in his carriage. The Chozeh could also see that the man's thoughts were far away from holy matters. It certainly appeared to be true that this particular Jew was an inappropriate vessel to receive such a precious gift. On the other hand, if his wife had seen some hidden spark within the man, who was he to argue?
"You are right," the Chozeh told the Heavenly Tribunal. "At this moment, the man is unworthy. But can't we give him a chance? Shine the light of Heaven into his heart for one half hour, and let's see what happens. If he continues with his present way of life, you may take the light away. If he changes, however, you will do as my wife requested and shine this light into his heart forever."
The Heavenly Tribunal agreed to the Chozeh's suggestion, and the light began to shine into the Jew's heart.
At first the man just felt a quick twinge of discomfort, which was just as quickly dispelled by settling back into his cushioned seat. Then the feeling came back and he was beginning to feel positively strange. He tried to keep his thoughts on cards and dice, but his mind kept drifting back to the strange encounter that had occurred earlier in the evening.
As he recalled the narrow street and the woman who had stood crying outside, the whole scene now seemed to be infused with a bright mysterious light. And what was more, that light was also shining in his carriage. The light was even filling up his mind and overpowering his vision, until he could see nothing but this pure, white light.
He put his hands over his eyes to try to block out the light, but the light was inside him. He pulled aside the curtain in his carriage, but the light was outside, too, and it was illuminating the night sky. Everywhere he looked, it was the same. The whole world was filled with light - and so was he.
"I must be going crazy," he said to himself.
And then it struck him.
"No, now I'm not crazy," he continued. "Before, I was crazy! Wasting my life with gambling and drinking - that was crazy. But now…"
But now, what? The Jew was filled with a tremendous longing to change. But how to do it? He was so far away that he knew no one who could help him. Then the memory of that strange encounter came back, and he knew what he had to do.
The man called out to his driver to turn the horses around. The horses seemed to be guided by some inner light, because they flew over the cobblestone streets. When the carriage arrived at the spot where he had stopped to give the woman the two pennies, the man quickly jumped down and strode up to the house.
Before he knocked on the door, however, the man looked through the window. Inside he could see the Chozeh and his guests - all dressed in their special Shabbos clothes - seated around the Shabbos table.
The last of the thirty minutes were ticking away, and the light that had been shining inside him so brightly was beginning to fade. The man felt a queer sensation, as if he was slowly awakening from a dream.
"What am I doing?" the man whispered to himself. "I can't be like them. This is crazy."
He stood outside not knowing what to do. Should he go inside or return to his carriage?
He was just about to go back into the night when the beautiful candlesticks of the Chozeh's wife caught his eye. As the Jew looked at the two lights glowing from the Shabbos candles, he knew that what he had just experienced wasn't a dream. Here, standing in front of him, was the source of the light that had shined so brightly inside him.
Without further hesitation, the man entered the Chozeh's home. He became a devoted chassid of the Chozeh, and with time he became a leading light of his generation.
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum
This forum was established by "Friends of Breslov"
Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2005 phpBB Group
Copyright © 1997-2012, All rights reserved, Benyamin Pilant. firstname.lastname@example.org