What Is a Rebbe?

A fundamental principle of the Jewish faith is that there are no intermediaries between G‑d and His world; our relationship with Him is not facilitated by any third party. In light of this, there are a number of statements by our sages that require explanation. When the Torah speaks of Israel’s faith in G‑d in the wake of the miracles of the Exodus, it says, “They believed in G‑d and in MosesHis servant” (Exodus 14:31). Noting that the Torah uses the very same verb (vayaaminu, “and they believed”) to refer to Israel’s belief in Moses and in the Almighty, the Mechilta declares: “One who believes in Moses believes in G‑d.” Accordingly, the Zohar refers to Moses as the raaya meheimna of Israel—a phrase that translates both as “faithful shepherd” and “shepherd of faith.” The latter sense implies that Moses is Israel’s faith provider—a source of, and conduit for, their faith in G‑d. The Talmud goes even further, applying the same to the sages and Torah scholars of all generations. Citing the verse (Deuteronomy 30:20), “To love the L‑rd your G‑d and to cleave to Him,” it asks, “Is it then possible to cleave to the divine?” and replies: “But whoever attaches himself to a Torah scholar, the Torah considers it as if he had attached himself to G‑d.”1

The Awareness Factor

The explanation, says Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi in his Tanya, lies in understanding the father/child metaphor employed by the Torah to describe our relationship with G‑d. “You are children to the L‑rd your G‑d,” says Moses (Deuteronomy 14:1). While we were still in Egypt, G‑d speaks of us as “My firstborn child, Israel” (Exodus 4:22).   To Continue reading this article please click HERE:  

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