Translated by Rabbi Avraham Greenbaum
I tried to bring you back to God through my talks and Torah teachings, but they haven't helped. So now I must tell you stories!
Sipurey Maasiot, Introduction
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The tales and stories told by the Tzaddikim have the power to rouse those who are asleep so that their days will not be wasted. It is a great privilege to find a Tzaddik who has the power to rouse you from your sleep. Otherwise you could sleep away all your days, God forbid.
Likutey Moharan I, 60
Why does the Tzaddik tell stories? It's like when a doctor becomes sick and is forced to put himself in the hands of an outstanding expert. The sick doctor wants to be given the kinds of simple treatments he understands, but the expert knows of unique cures. Similarly a person may come to the outstanding sage and Tzaddik of the generation, who is doctor of the ailments of the soul. The person wants the Tzaddik to give him medicines - spiritual pathways of the kind he understands. However the Tzaddik has far more exalted medicines to administer.
Sometimes it is necessary to give the patient a certain medicine, but if the patient takes it as it is he will surely die. The medicine in question must therefore be mixed in with other ingredients. Similarly, there are people to whom it is impossible to reveal the inner face of the Torah teachings which they need for their healing. For healing comes from the Torah: "It will be health to your navel" (Proverbs 3:8) . However, the Torah has two powers: it can either be an elixir of life or a fatal poison. For "If a person is deserving, it becomes an elixir of life; if not, it becomes a fatal poison" ( Yoma 72b) .
For this reason, if the person is given the teaching the way it is, he will certainly die, because for him, as one who is as yet unworthy, it would be a fatal poison. It is therefore necessary to clothe the inner face of the teaching within other Torah teachings. Sometimes even this is too much for the person to bear. The Tzaddik must then clothe his Torah teachings in apparently mundane stories or conversations in order for the person to be able to receive the medicine hidden beneath the surface. For the Torah teaching itself is now clothed within stories and conversations, because it was impossible to administer it the way it really is.
Likutey Moharan I, 164
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By Rabbi Avraham Yehoshua Greenbaum
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