Friday, March 26, 2010

A Tzaddik's Advice

A certain businessman purchased a large quantity of esrogim. He had two options for importing them but was unsure which was best. Although he didn’t know much about his options, he figured he would consult with Rav Simchah Bunim of Otbotzek, zt”l, regarding this question. After all, surely the tzaddik would steer him right. But when he did so, he received a very surprising reply. “Our sages recount that when Dovid HaMelech would go to war, he would first ask Doeg and Achitofel and consult with the Sanhedrin. The third step was for them to consult with the Urim V’Tumim. But why not circumvent the first two steps? Wouldn’t it be easier just to ask the Urim V’Tumim?
“The answer is that one must first do his utmost to check out a proposal through the light of his own understanding. He can consult with the Urim V’Tumim only after careful consideration. The same is true regarding your question. It is incumbent upon you to do your utmost to clarify which way is best. If, after all your efforts, you are still uncertain, then you can consult with me and I will do my utmost to help you make the best choice possible.”
Rav Yitzchak Moshe Ehrlenger, shlit”a, once pointed out, that people often make such mistakes regarding the place of a rebbe. “Some feel that the job of a tzaddik is to somehow remove their free will. These people will ask the strangest questions, like, ‘Should I go do my banking today?’ They fail to understand that that while a rebbe can often advise one and put him on a good path, he cannot—and should not—circumvent the need for his chassidim to think for themselves.”

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