Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Pittsburgher Rebbe Reveals the Loftiest Kavana of the Mikva

10 Teves is the 18th yartzeit of Reb Avrohom Abba Leifer ZY"A, the Pittsburgher Rebbe. His father, Reb Yosef, was a grandson, ben acher ben, of the legendary R' Mordechai of Nadvorna. R' Yosef lived in Pittsburgh for some time, hence the Pittsburgher Chassidus. Reb Avrohom Abba was Rebbe in Pittsburgh and New York before making aliyah to Eretz Yisroel and settling in Ashdod, where the chassidus is currently led by his son, Reb Mordechai Yissachor Ber shlita. Reb Avrohom Abba authored sefer Emunas Avrohom. I don't know a whole lot about him, but from one thing I heard in his name, I believe we can see the greatness of this tzadik.

In Uman, I heard Reb Lazer Brody speak and he said he heard from the Pittsburgher Rebbe the following: As is known, there are many different kabalistic meditations that one can have in the mikvah. The Pittsburgher Rebbe said that the greatest "kavana" one can have in the mikva, better then all the kabalistic meditations, is to think about the person standing outside the mikva because there is no room for him, waiting to go in. That is the greatest "kavana" of the mikva. Rav Brody added that the same applies by Reb Nachman's tzion. In the days around Rosh Hashona, there is a mob of people around the tzion of Reb Nachman 24 hours a day. It is relatively easy to get within a few feet of the tzion, but to actually get right up against it can take along time. Everyone wants an opportunity to be "mishtateiach" on the tzion. There is much pushing and jockeying for position, but once someone leans against the tzion, no one touches him. So, Rav Brody said, when you get to the tzion, spend a short amount of time and let the next one go. Even if you're not directly at the tzion, it's just as good, and by letting someone else have a turn, that is the best "kavana".

For someone who understood the loftiness of kabalistic meditations to make such a statement shows the great Ahavas Yisroel that the Pittsburgher Rebbe had. This is along the lines of what the Mesilas Yesharim speaks about in the chapter of "Mishkal Hachasidus" (chapter 20), which basically says not to be a "tzadik" on account of someone else. The Ramchal says that if "not doing" will do more to sanctify the Name of Hashem than "doing", then you must refrain from "doing". Don't mistake this with actual obligations which must be done no matter what. But, to try to better ourselves, by going beyond the law, on account of someone else is not "Chassidus". This small statement of the Pittsburgher Rebbe, speaks volumes about the tzadik, and is a lesson that can teach us all volumes. Zchuso Yogen Aleinu!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This reminded me of the time when my father and I were at the mikvah of the Ari in Sfat. There was a line of people waiting to use the mikvah, while we stood there listening to lots of splashing noises coming from the mikvah room. The splashing went on and on and on. Finally someone came out of the mikvah. My father asked him, “What were you doing in there?” He answered, “I was immersing 72 times—three times the Name of Hashem. It’s a big mitzvah!” My father remarked, “It would have been a bigger mitzvah to let someone else use the mikvah!”

That made a big impression on me.