Monday, June 18, 2007
Baki B'ratzo Baki B'Shov - R' Itchie Mayer Morgenstern
My friend Rabbi Reuven Boshnack, of כדאי To See Inside and Izbitza, introduced me to a piece in Yam Hachochma from 5767 (2007) on Rebbe Nachman's teaching that one must be Baki B'ratzo Baki B'Shov (Likutei Moharan 6), in order to walk in the path of Teshuva. In it, Rav Itchie Mayer Morgenstern says that the way you must be Baki B'shov is that you must cling to the aspect of the lower Yud of the letter Alef.
What does this mean? The letter alef is made up of three letters. There's a right-side-up Yud at the top of the letter. At the bottom is an upside-down and backwards Yud. And connecting the two is the letter Vav. What does it mean to connect one's self to the lower Yud? This means feeling the bizyonos and the humiliation of having failed a test and done an aveira. One is in his "Shov," retreating period at that time. When you feel humiliated at having failed and you realize that you're totally incapable of returning to Hashem and being the right kind of Jew without Hashem's help, then you're clingining to the lower Yud. The lower Yud is upside-down and backwards. It's messed up, just as one feels messed up when he's failed. (The idea of the liberatingly honest feeling of shame after failure is also hinted at in Oros Hateshuva by Rav Kook 14:24.)
When one feels this way, he can be connected and drawn up through the middle Vav, back up to Hashem to be a Tazdik the way he's supposed to be. This is also referenced in the letter Alef because the Vav is the letter of connection. In grammer, the Vav means "and." It's called the "Vav Hachibur," the Vav which connects one idea to the next, because it means "and." It's also called the "Vav Hahifuch," "Vav which transforms" because gramatically it transforms past tense to future tense and future tense to past tense, in the Chumash. In this context, the Vav within the letter Alef connects the person to the upper Point of existance, Hashem, and transforms him back to a place of Ratzo, running towards Hashem.