Traveling to Tzaddikim for Rosh Hashanah

The Rebbe teaches us in Likutey Moharan I: 211:

The reason behind traveling to Tzaddikim for Rosh Hashanah is because the main way to sweeten judgment is through the holiness and purity of thought, which is their source. This is brought in the Zohar, “Everything is purified through thought”. It is impossible to come to a pure mind without attachment to Tzaddikim as we find written, “And Moshe took the bones of Yosef.” Moshe is the aspect of the mind and Yosef is the aspect of Tzaddik. This means to say that there is no way to perfect the mind without attachment to the Tzaddikim. Rosh Hashanah is the source of all the judgments for the whole year and we must then purify the mind in order to sweeten them. For this reason we travel to Tzaddikim, in order to merit holiness of thought

Although the Rebbe never actually revealed what is really behind his request that we come to him for Rosh Hashanah, we do find several lessons which he taught on the subject. One of them is Torah 211.

In order to understand the deeper meaning of this Torah, let us see Sichos Haran 21. We find there that the Rebbe taught that on Rosh Hashanah it is necessary to be wise and to think only good thoughts, that G-d should be good to us, etc. And it’s necessary to be joyful on Rosh Hashanah, etc.

Even though G-d knows exactly what our actions are, the judgment which is placed on us is based on the way we ourselves look at reality. If someone is overly harsh and critical, then he is dealt with such a way. This is what the Rebbe is trying to show us from the Zohar. All judgment actually takes place in the courtroom of our own minds. Therefore, in order to merit a sweeter year, we must make sure that the thoughts which occupy our minds are positive ones. We must be wise and think only how G-d will be good to us, etc.

However, Rosh Hashanah is a Yom Hadin, a day of strict judgment. The deliberations which are going on in heaven have an effect on us down below; the accusations of the Satan echo in our thoughts. How can we purify our minds of all this negativity?

This is especially important in light of Likutey Moharan 72, where the Rebbe teaches that the root of our negative inclinations is the actually the heavenly accusations, and our positive inclination from heavenly mercy. From this we understand that our entire spiritual well being for the coming year is dependent on attitudes.
Those of us who are fortunate to study the works of Rebbe Nachman know that the core of his teachings is the message of everlasting hope. No matter what situation one might find himself in, there is always a way for him to find G-d there and come close to Him. Through studying Rebbe Nachman’s writings and especially those of his main disciple, Reb Noson, we come closer and closer to removing the critical and negative attitudes which have contaminated our souls, and to replace them with the correct and positive awareness of the world.

The most important time for this is on Rosh Hashanah. It is therefore very important to come to the Tzaddik for Rosh Hashanah, because then is the most opportune time to internalize all that we have learnt throughout the year, and to renew ourselves for the coming year.

Based on Likutey Halachos, Matana 5

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