Home Likutey Moharan Weekly Likutey Moharan – Reb Moshe Rubin – Lesson 6 – Kitzur (Abridged) Likutey Moharan

Weekly Likutey Moharan – Reb Moshe Rubin – Lesson 6 – Kitzur (Abridged) Likutey Moharan

by Moshe Rubin


  1. There are two types of Kavod: Kevod Malachim (or Kevod Atzmo) and Kevod Elokim. These have an inverse relationship such that as one minimizes his own honor, he merits Kevod Elokim, which is a revelation of Keter (see below). On a simple level, we can understand that Kavod represents the assignment of value to things, not necessarily on a tangible or monetary scale. To the extent that one prioritizes Kevod Elokim and ratzon Hashem, and ultimately understands one’s own value solely in the context of his role in Hashem’s Master Plan, he necessarily minimizes the ‘kavod’ of his subjective priorities. On the other hand, when one becomes his own ‘master,’ including determining what is worthy of kavod (even if it happens to align with Torah and Halacha), he is necessarily subordinating all others, including the Master of the World. Therefore, prioritizing Kevod Malachim (Kevod Atzmo) is necessarily a disgrace to Kevod Elokim. Rabbeinu also points out that one who pursues his own kavod inspires scrutiny as to whether he is worthy of such kavod. However, one who pursues only the honor of Heaven avoids this scrutiny because he is not pursuing honor on his own behalf. (In practical terms, consider a palace guard representing the honor of the king where the question of whether he is individually entitled to honor is not relevant, compared with a guard or an officer who is overreaching or acting outside his capacity).
  2. How does one go about minimizing one’s own Kavod so that he will merit Kevod Elokim? Through anavah, one merits Teshuva, thus minimizing his own kavod, specifically by enduring personal insult, ridicule, or disgrace (the opposite of Kevod Atzmo) in silence for Hashem’s sake. This is a revelation of Keter (we associate the letter “Kaf” of Kavod with Keter). Rabbeinu further explains how the name Ekyeh (lit. “I will be”) is associated with the concept of Teshuva (Keter, Kevod Elokim). When one does teshuva, he aligns himself with Hashem and true values, thereby ‘justifying’ his very existence. Thus, teshuva, returning, and (re)aligning oneself with Hashem are associated with the idea of preparing oneself “to be/exist.” We explain how silence (“dome”) is a rectification of the ‘achoraim’ of Ekyeh (“dam”), which is beyond the scope of this summary. Rabbeinu further shows how “Keter” is associated with the concept of Teshuva through a connection with the word “Katar,” meaning waiting or patience; teshuva is a step-by-step process. It is impossible to come to kedusha all at once. Rabbeinu explains that the relevant teshuva specifically relates to enduring insult in silence because he needs to rectify three negative elements: (1) having obscured the name/revelation Ekyeh; (2) disgrace to Kevod Elokim; and (3) strengthening the ‘left side of one’s heart’ where the yetzer hora resides through negative behaviors.
  3. One must perpetually embrace Teshuva (an element of patience/dwelling on Teshuva, Katar, Keter). This is because his original Teshuva was not likely fully sincere (requiring a second Teshuva); and even if his original Teshuva was sincere, one relates to his original wrongdoing in a profoundly different way as his depth of understanding increases, such that he has a new understanding of the reality of his transgression, for which he did not yet do adequate Teshuva; in fact, his first ‘wave’ of Teshuva was relatively crude; for this, he does Teshuva al haTeshuva. Rabbeinu explains that this state of a constant and consistent increasing level revelation and perception of Hashem (similar to the ongoing teshuva process described above) is a bechina of Olam haBoh and Shabbos.
  4. We have now explained that one must engage in the Teshuva process, which serves to decrease Kevod Atzmo and increase Kevod Elokim, with such Teshuva specifically in the realm of bearing disgrace in silence, including from others, and then meriting Kevod Elokim, which also results in a ‘busha’ before Hashem. Going forward with this understanding of the ‘dual purpose’ of Teshuva, Rabbeinu delves deeper into the Teshuva process and explains that one must be Baki B’Ratzo and Baki B’Shov, literally and expert at running and returning. Baki B’Ratzo and Baki B’Shov is something that is worthy of reflection and represents a profound two-track framework that opens up worlds in avodas Hashem. Without this idea, when operating on a one-track path of avodah, the natural flow of ups and downs in avodah leave one feeling entirely distant during the ‘down cycles,’ with periods where one feels that there is no avenue for meaningful growth. At best, we hope not to lose ground, and at worst, we feel isolated and feel that our relationship with avodah is becoming stale, such that we wonder how we will ever get back. These two paths to avodah involve, in part, capitalizing on momentum and never being satisfied with growth when things are going well, and never falling into yisuh/despair during the hard times when the avodah is necessarily different. Introducing the idea that there is a separate avodah, where one can develop and come close to Hashem specifically in the darkness of the down cycle, in a way that he could not possibly have achieved otherwise (albeit not yet in a state to appreciate at that time), allows one to embrace all stages of avodah and realize that he is always engaged in avodah and the teshuva process. If it helps, compare a child learning to ride a bicycle who has become an expert at training wheels only to find that without warning the wheels are taken off and he feels no support. This is actually when his Father is paying attention more than ever before with his hand inches from the bike. Only after the child reflects back after overcoming anxiety and achieving success does he realize the true significance of the process. Other analogies may include the most painful parts of an exercise routine that ultimately breaks through ceilings and can even improve one’s resting heart rate and overall health during the rest time as well. (This paragraph is the author’s reflection on this portion).

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