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Hayom Yom: Tackling Life's Tasks - 26 Elul

Hayom Yom: Tackling Life's Tasks - 26 Elul

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סֵדֶר הֶכְשֵׁר בָּשָׂר לַאֲכִילָה לְהוֹצִיא מִמֶּנּוּ דַּם הָאָסוּר הוּא: שְׁרִיָּה, מְלִיחָה, הֲדָחָה. עִנְיָנָם בָּעֲבוֹדָה: שְׁרִיָּה — וֵוייקעֶן זִיךְ אִין דִּבְרֵי הָרַב, מְלִיחָה — יְחִידוּת, הֲדָחָה — נִגּוּן.

To make meat fit for consumption, the forbidden blood must be removed by the following procedure: [First the meat is] soaked, then salted, and then rinsed. The parallels in our Divine service are: Soaking — which means immersing oneself in the words of one’s Rebbe; salting — which means [meeting him at] yechidus; rinsing — which means [singing a] niggun.1

Probing Beneath the Surface

In the sichah from which the above teaching is taken, the Rebbe Rayatz explains two approaches to the study of Chassidus.

In one, a person carefully selects the subject matter he desires to study; he knows he has a particular fault and chooses those discourses that will help him rise above it and correct it. Yet though this aspiration for spiritual refinement is admirable, it is touched by self-centeredness.

A different approach is highlighted by the three steps of Divine service briefly described in the above-quoted teaching. To explain:

Immersing oneself in the words of one’s Rebbe, one is overwhelmed by the spiritual insights he has been granted. In contrast to the first approach, he is not “in control.” On the contrary, he has given himself over to his Rebbe’s teachings and is carried by their power.

Thus motivated, he seeks to enter his Rebbe’s study and receive direct personal guidance from him. Coming face to face with his Rebbe at yechidus cools his heated desire for material things. In the analogy, this stage in his avodah of self-refinement corresponds to salting, which frees the meat of blood.

The final stage is rinsing — singing a chassidic niggun, which completes the process of making the “meat” kosher, enabling one’s very physicality to become a means of revealing the soul.

Footnotes
1.
See Sefer HaSichos — Kayitz 5700 [1940], p. 175; cf. Sefer HaSichos 5707 [1947], p. 128, footnote 24; Likkutei Sichos, Vol. 4, p. 1059, footnote 23.
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