Tuesday, May 21, 2013

...and now you know "the rest of the story"

This is awesome.

There's a classic story about how when Reb Dov Ber, the holy Maggid of Mezritch would say over Torah to his disciples, he would often begin with a verse from the Torah.

"And God spoke to Moshe..."

Upon hearing these words, Reb Zusia of Hanipoli would become ecstatic. Just think...! The mere idea that the Infinite would speak to a mortal! That there is a time and place where a human could touch the Divine and merit communion...

It was enough to "set off" Reb Zusia to the point where his d'veikut would be so effusive that he would have to be carried put by one of the other disciples.

When this happened - the first time - the other disciples found this to be humorous. Very quickly, the great Maggid put a halt to their mirth.

"The truth is," he said, "that if we were all on that level of spirituality, just such a verse would be enough. We wouldn't need to say anything more."

I always loved that story; it touched me deeply and continues to do so. But then I learned that there is more to that story.

In Mevoh haShearim, Reb Kalonymous Kalman reveals the real punch line of this story:

After the shiur, the students went out to Reb Zusia, who had returned from his experience. When they asked him about it, he proceeded to quote verbatim the Maggid's Torah, even though he couldn't possibly have heard it!

Reb Zusia explained that when the Maggid began his discourse - even before he himself knew what he was going to say - the shefa of that Torah was allowed into the world. Through Reb Zusia's own attachment to the Maggid, he was able to tap into that outpouring of Torah that was being channeled through the Maggid.

Such phenomena happens when one truly works on himself, and attaches to his teacher in the most complete way.

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