By Dr. Nosson Chayim Leff | Series: | Level:


The Sanzer Rebbe, the Divrei Chaim of Sanz, had this comment on the 4 Sons:

A. The Chassidic Story

Once the Rebbe was standing by his window looking out, and called in a passerby. “Tell me,” he asked the hapless fellow, “if you found a bag of gold coins on the street, and you didn’t know who it belonged to, would you keep it, or try to return it to it’s owner?”

“How should I know what I would do? “exclaimed the man, clutching his head.” I pray to the Ribono Shel Olam that I would do the right thing, and not keep the money for myself, but look for the proper owner!”

“Ah”, the Divrei Chaim replied. “Now this is a fitting answer for a Jew!” …

B. What the Fellow Chabura – Member Learned From the Story

Clearly, it is not our knowing the right answer, but our recognition of our utter dependence on G-d to guide us, our need to continually ask for guidance, that is essential for Jewish spirituality …. These are also stages that progress towards Freedom. We all start out as the Chochom; we want to be good, do the right thing. Just learn all the laws, acquire all the necessary gadgets, get it all down to a mastery level, and then we can be frum. However, real life tends to set in. Those of us with the best intentions encounter hardships, setbacks, and difficulties. Disillusionment encroaches. I can be frum? What do I need it for?

However, having tested (at least intellectually), the Rasha’s perspective, we realize that this doesn’t work. A life disconnected from our source doesn’t bring us any kind of satisfaction or relief from our problems. At this point, we may merit to reach the Ba’al Tshuva stage, where we try, slowly, simply, to put our Yiddishkeit back together. The Tam phase. I thought I knew about Shabbos, I can’t live without Shabbos, what is Shabbos? Who am I, a Jew? Can I have, at the most basic level, the most simple level, a relationship with G-d?

If we move through all these phases, if we continue to build on our most fundamental experiences of Yiddishkeit, we may merit yet to reach a state of deveikus, of completion in our cleaving to Hashem, where we no longer have any questions to ask. A state of complete Emunah, of Aino l’yodeah lishol. Freedom!

Text Copyright © 2004 by Rabbi Dr. Nosson Chayim Leff and