spreading the wealth

In the parable of the Baal Shem Tov, [see: parable of the baal shem tov] the son of the King is described as distributing everything in his posession for it is without value. The only thing of value to him is the presence of his Father, the King.

Classically, the midah of freely distributing one's wealth, a practice generally reserved for tzaddikim, usually deals with material wealth.

I'm going to, with the aid of a Torah of Rebbe Nachman, reexamine this midah in the realm of spiritual wealth as well.

Rebbe Nachman taught that in order to really reach fulfillment, every day we must start from scratch. We must be infinitely young, in that we start with a blank slate, knowing nothing. This in turn makes us infinitely old, since we connect to the root of Wisdom (Hochmah) which is the power of not knowing, the power of knowing to ask questions.

It seems to me, in my place of limited knowledge, that there is a grounds to practice this midah of giving all of your possessions away spiritually as well. A midah of not holding back or hoarding Torah, but rather sharing it freely so that when you get to tomorrow, you've got nothing left and you must begin again.

There are clearly some issues with this: The most obvious is Rebbe Nachman's own warning to teachers of Torah not to give over Torah which you haven't fully digested and internalized first. The second would be a teaching I heard from Rav Akiva Tatz that a Jew must always be much deeper than whatever part of himself he exposes. This plays nicely with a third Torah given over by Reb Shlomo Carlebach who said something along the lines of when anything is really true, it's too deep to be shared publicly.

But to all of these I would answer that the midah of giving away all of your possessions only applies to those things you truly possess. If you haven't internalized it yet, it isn't yours to give away. If it is so deep within you, perhaps it possesses you and not the other way around, and if it is not something disparate from you or your relationship with HaSHem, then there's nothing to reveal or give away. It's your essence.

Any Torah that you've obtained however, that can be said to be in your possession, it is yours to freely give away, as the Lubavitcher Rebbe taught, If you know Aleph, teach Aleph.

And if you want to freely give all your possessions away in order to be with your Father, the King, then who can stand in the way of the true son of the King?


Related posts

Blog Widget by LinkWithin