Monday, November 17, 2008

The foot soldier and the king

Some find it difficult to grasp the concept of absolute obedience to a Tzaddik and a Rebbe. Based on a public address of the Previous Rebbe, the Rebbe explains that this obedience is necessary because the Rebbe/Chossid relationship is comparable to the relationship of a foot soldier and his king:

Obviously, in order to resurrect to others, one must be alive oneself. Here the evil inclination finds an opportunity to entice the person with the claim: “Who are you, and how do you have the power to resurrect others? You would do well to save yourself!”

However, the [Previous] Rebbe, my father-in-law, of blessed memory  explains, “Although it is true ... it is out of place ... what does a soldier know—he can only shoot, and he goes with self-sacrifice ... with joy, and this makes him a victor.”

The soldier does not design his rifle, nor is he able to. He does not intellectually grasp how the rifle shoots, or tactics of war in general. However, he devotes his life and his power of resolve to the general, and he does so joyfully, and only then is he the victor.

We see tangibly that the foundation of all of this is faith—faith in the head of all the generals, the king and the Nasi. As far as the spiritual war is concerned, this is the Nasi and the leader of the generation. In our generation this is the [Previous] Rebbe, my father-in-law, of blessed memory, who instructed and assigned every man and woman among us a specific role in the battlefield against the forces of evil.

Faith needs to be strengthened from time to time as well, so that it not remain in a manner of Makif (superficial), but rather, that it rule over all one’s faculties, and over one’s thought, speech, and action in actual day-to-day life.

May Hashem grant us full faith, and may we merit the fulfillment of the prophecy, “As in the days of your departure from Egypt”—when in the merit of faith, our forefathers were redeemed from Egypt—“I will show you miracles” (Micha 7:15).

Igros Kodesh, Vol. 3, pp. 265-266.

In my own words: Just as the foot soldier’s victory in war depends upon faith in the king and total devotion to him, so does victory in the war against the forces of evil depend upon cultivating one’s faith in the Rebbe and devotion to his directives, until one brings this faith to permeate one’s personality and inspire every aspect of one’s life.

Comment: This teaching, which compares the Tzaddik to the general/king who runs the war, and the disciple to the foot soldier who follows orders even without understanding them, fits nicely with the earlier post here comparing the Tzaddik to the head, and the disciple to the foot.


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