From Loneliness to Oneness: The Endless Expansion of Self

By Shmuel Reichman

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Hi there, friends! In our previous lesson, our hero had a major breakthrough. After experiencing intense birth pangs of discouragement from the three giants who didn’t believe in his ability to find the lost princess, the viceroy was finally vindicated by a tardy wind which related that it had been held up carrying a princess to a palace of pearls atop a golden mountain.

The giant asked the wind: “What is precious there?” (Meaning, which items are valuable there and held in esteem?) The wind responded, “Everything there is tremendously valuable and expensive.”

As we have learned in previous lessons, the golden mountain is the metaphorical headquarters for the level of truth in which the journey toward holiness can itself be seen as a destination. Not only is gold to be found buried in the mud of our mistakes; here, the dirt itself is golden – the mistakes themselves are seen as having been part of the growth process. Writing about the elevated level of teshuvah which brings a person to this awareness, Rav Kook z”l writes: “This level of teshuvah, which includes those previously mentioned, is filled with endless light. It comes to transform all sins into merits. From within all error, wonderful lessons are derived; from within failure, awesome progression.” (Oros HaTeshuvah, Chapter 1) As a corollary, everything is valuable here; every drop of yearning, every regretful tear, each act of holy defiance – it is all “tremendously valuable.”

While, on the one hand, this fact hints at the glorious nature of this amazing place, it also presents a challenge. Because, here in the desert, holy desire isn’t seen as valuable, it isn’t so hard to come by. However, the viceroy can rest assured that in the process he will yet need to undergo to finally free the lost princess in this wonderous place, it is will be that much more difficult to obtain the inner strength to overcome the final hurdles in this glorious journey – “everything there is tremendously valuable”, and therefore everything is “expensive”, requiring that much more of him.

The one appointed over the winds said to the viceroy: “Because you have been searching for her for such a great amount of time and you had so many struggles, it is possible that you will now have a further obstacle because of money. Therefore, I will give you a vessel. Whenever you reach inside, you will take money from there.”

Originally representing the greatest obstacle the viceroy had ever encountered along his journey, the third giant, a tzaddik who has a connection to “ruach“, the world of spiritual depth, becomes his greatest aid. This is the mark of a true tzaddik. While the viceroy’s path to avodas Hashem differs from the one that he has taken on his own journey, the moment he recognizes its validity and truth, this tzaddik is ready to assist the viceroy in any way he can. Perhaps this is another reason this giant is appointed over the “ruchos“, the winds of the world. Referring to Yehoshua Bin Nun, the Torah states Ish asher ruach bo, “He is an inspired man.” (Bamidbar 27:18) Commenting on this verse, Rashi writes Sheyuchal l’haloch k’neged rucho shel kol echad v’echad, “He knows how to relate to the varied dispositions of each and every individual.” With this gesture, the giant appointed over the winds, “Memuneh al haRuchos, demonstrates that indeed, he is an Ish asher ruach bo, driven not by his own considerations and feelings but rather by an all-consuming love for the Master of the world and the desire for every Jew to serve Him – each in a manner appropriate to his or her unique disposition.

As with each detail in the story, there are many interpretations given by the tzaddikim to explain the endless money-pouch, consistent with the varying interpretations of the story as a whole. Sticking to the path of interpretation we have together explored, it is possible to suggest that this money-pouch represents this true tzaddik’s encouragement as found in his Torah teachings. Just as it was the teachings of tzaddikim symbolized by the headscarf left behind by the lost princess as she passed the place where the viceroy lay sleeping that enabled him to reach this point, he will need a new source of strength going forward, a new treasure chest of inner strength with which to face any obstacles on he journey ahead. To this end, the third giant gives the viceroy his teachings of “ruach“, words of Torah suited to each and every individual, filled with the most wonderful strength and encouragement. Armed with this endless fountain of chizzuk, the viceroy will be able to overcome whatever hurdles are yet to come.

The giant commanded the spirit to bring the viceroy to this place.

Demonstrative of the incredible bond shared by the viceroy and the lost princess, of all the winds gathered there (“rucho shel kol echad v’echad”), it is the very same ruach-wind that carries them both to the palace of pearls on the mountain of gold.

The strong wind came and carried him there, bringing him to the gate. There were many troops there who did not let him enter the city.

Unlike the soldiers at the gates of the beautiful and orderly palace of evil where the princess was originally held who did nothing to stop the viceroy from entering, representing the mere illusion of an obstacle, here the guards do indeed move to prevent him from entering the city. This is in accordance with when we learned above – as it is more valuable in this place, inner strength is far more “expensive”.

He reached his hand into the vessel and took out money. He bribed them and entered the city.

Faced with the first obstacle on this final leg of his arduous journey, the viceroy makes use of the tzaddik’s gift of encouragement which grants him the strength to overcome.

It was a beautiful city.

The viceroy has arrived, at long last, in this elusive place of retrospective clarity. From this vantage point he is able to look back over the past decades, seeing how every detail of his journey – both the progressions and the failures, was necessary to bring him to this point. And it is beautiful. Oh, is it beautiful.

He went to a wealthy man and rented sustenance, for he would need to stay there a while. He would need to devote much thought and contemplation to free her.

Earlier in the story, the viceroy had abandoned his horse and then his servant which respectively represent his physical concerns and the powers of intellect. In this sentence, Rebbe Nachman teaches that these two elements rejoin him here, at this stage. Having spent many years penetrating into his essence in the deepest way, the viceroy is ready to emerge from this place of intense introspection and complete his mission as an adam hashaleim, a complete person.

(Reb Nosson writes:) The manner in which he freed her was not told. But in the end, he freed her.

With these words, our epic tale reaches its conclusion. Being as it is “the story of our lives”, the ending of this glorious tale varies from person to person, dependant on “rucho shel kol echad v’echad“, the particular circumstances of each and every individual Jew. Nevertheless, one thing is certain: In the end, the viceroy shall free the lost princess. Rebbe Nachman makes this very clear. If we follow the viceroy’s lead and embark on a mission to discover the princess of youthful passion, wonder, innocence, and excitement in our avodas Hashem with boundless yearning and unshakable resolve, we will free her, in the end. Bon voyage!

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Friends, it has been an absolute joy to explore this wonderful story with you over the course of the past year. I hope that you have gained as much by reading these articles as I did in writing them! I would like to thank Mrs. Amy Snow, the senior editor at CJH and Dr. Dov Snow, the publisher, for coordinating this wonderful project and enabling Rebbe Nachman’s life-giving teaching to reach the Chicago community in this manner.

With Hashem’s help, I have plans to turn this series of articles into a book in the near future. To that end, I would absolutely love any feedback that my readers may have! You can contact me at yskstudios@gmail.com. I am looking forward to hearing from you!

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