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Rabbi Nachman M'Breslov in Likutei Moharan (2:6) writes:

(Source from Sefaria.org)

(Partial Quote)

וְצָרִיךְ כָּל אֶחָד לְכַוֵּן בִּתְפִלָּתוֹ, שֶׁיְּקַשֵּׁר עַצְמוֹ לַצַּדִּיקִים שֶׁבַּדּוֹר, כִּי כָּל צַדִּיק שֶׁבַּדּוֹר הוּא בְּחִינַת מֹשֶׁה מָשִׁיחַ, כְּמוֹ שֶׁמָּצִינוּ שֶׁהַצַּדִּיקִים קוֹרִין זֶה לָזֶה מֹשֶׁה, כְּמוֹ: מֹשֶׁה שַׁפִּיר קָאֲמַרְתְּ

And everyone must aim in his prayer, that he should tie himself to the Tzaddikei Hador/righteous saints of the Age, because every Tzaddik Hador is an aspect of Moshe Mashiach (Moses-Messiah), as we have found, that the tzaddikim call each other "Moshe," as in [the saying of the sages]: "Moshe, you have said well."

What does it mean that one should aim his prayer so that he should attach himself to the Tzaddikim of the Generation? Shouldn't one try to attach himself to G-d?

  • See here and here. – ezra Jul 10 '17 at 16:33
  • Related: judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/51366/… – Loewian Jul 10 '17 at 18:23
  • Likely this idea relates to a/the major reason Chassidus, at its founding, was so vehemently fought by traditional Jewry. – Loewian Jul 10 '17 at 19:37
  • Are you only asking about those who agree, or those who disagree as well. Obviously it isnt the traditional Jewish idea, and is more typical of mysticism in general, hassidut in particular, and most particularly, Breslov. Rabbi Mazuz, for example curtly dismisses the idea and states that one should focus on God. – mevaqesh Jul 11 '17 at 1:07
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Yes, one attaches oneself to G-d, but that is not in conflict with the comment of Rabbi Nachman.

A better translation would be: Everyone needs to intend during their prayer, that he will bind himself to the Saints of the generation, because every Saint that is in the generation is the aspect of Moshe/Moshiach, like we find that the Saints call each other Moshe, like: Moshe, you have spoken well...

There are two aspects to the Jewish people, that of the individual (היחיד) and that of the whole (הצבור). The Moshe/Moshiach aspect mentioned by Rabbi Nachman is the צבור.

This is part of the sentiment expressed in Avot 2:4 said in the name of Hillel, "אל תפרוש מן הצבור" (Do not separate from the Tzibbur.

We learn that this aspect of Tzibbur pertains to Moshe from BeMidbar 11:21 which says:

ויאמר משה שש-מאות אלף רגלי העם אשר אנכי בקרבו כו׳

That at the innermost point of every individual from the Jewish people, they are considered as one through the inclusive, comprehensive aspect of soul, commonly called the pintele Yid which is the aspect we emphasize in the long Tachanun:

שומר גוי אחד, שומר שארית עם אחד ואל יאבד גוי אחד המיחדים שמך כו׳

This same idea is understood in connection to Moshiach from the prayer said before bringing out the Sefer Torah for the three festivals which includes the words from Isaiah 11:2:

ויתקים בנו מקרא שכתוב, ונחה עליו רוח הוי׳, רוח חכמה ובינה, רוח עצה וגבורה, רוח דעת ויראת הוי׳ כו׳

That posuk is referring specifically to Moshiach in Isaiah and so we are focusing on that aspect of Moshiach that exists within each and every individual.

And so, in the part of Likkeutei Moharan which you quoted, it is emphasizing that all of the saints in a given generation share this quality of Moshe. To put this in context, the saints of the generation are equated with the Eyes of the Congregation, the Princes of the tribes. In Aramaic they are given the title, אמרכל which means literally All say. That they speak for the whole group which they represent.

But Moshe is the one who unifies them (the Saints of the generation). He is the leader of all and is referred to in Aramaic as נשיא. That there is one individual who is the manifestation of this Moshe quality in each generation.This is what is described by Chazal as אתפשטותא דמשה שבכל דרא ודרא.

All of these ideas are emphasized in the continuation of the paragraph in Likkutei Moharan, which you left out and the paragraph which follows it.

Rebbe Nachman brings out that the gematria of Moshe (משה, 345) is also the gematria of Shilo (שילה, 345), the name used in the Prophets for Moshiach. He is explaining that this is talking about the underlying concept shared by Moshe Rabbeinu and Moshiach.

In the paragraph which follows, he goes on to say that each prayer is equated with a piece of the Mishkan. That the sum total of all the prayers from all the individuals corresponds to all the individual parts for a complete Mishkan. But the Torah explains in Shemot 40:17-34, that only Moshe, distinct among all the Jewish people, has been given the unique ability to assemble all the parts together as one single unified structure.

This uniqueness is based on the description of Moshe from the Torah (BeMidbar 12:7) which says, "בכל ביתי נאמן הוא", (In my whole house, he is faithful.)

All the individual contributors to the Mishkan must bring their specific parts to Moshe for assembly in order to reveal G-d's presence below.

And so, the intention to attach ones prayers to the Saints of the generation, and in turn to Moshe who is equated with Moshiach, is to follow that same procedure described in the written Torah.

  • Thank you! Do you have any sources for this answer or its just your understanding? – TrustMeI'mARabbi Jul 10 '17 at 18:00
  • @TrustMeI'mARabbi You're welcome. Written in one neat little package, not off the top of my head. Each of these points are discussed in different places in sources that I am familiar with. It is all following the teachings from the Ba'al Shem Tov. If you look at commentaries to Likkutei Moharan, you might find them said right on the page. – Yaacov Deane Jul 10 '17 at 18:05
  • The idea of connecting to a tzadik isn't unique to breslov but what is specific to davening that acheives this? Normally this is spoken of in relation to learning torah from the tzadik and follow his directives – Laser123 Jul 11 '17 at 15:36
  • @Laser123 You are correct that this concept isn't unique to Breslov. As can be seen, most of the sources in the answer are straight from Tanach. That's an excellent question about contrasting davening to learning Torah but is really a side issue that deserves a separate question. – Yaacov Deane Jul 11 '17 at 15:45
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Though having a different understanding of what a Tzaddik is the Noam Elimelech on Parshas Eikev provides an interesting insight on this concept.

(Source from Sefaria.org)

(Partial quote)

או יאמר "והיה עקב תשמעון כו'", "עקב" הוא רמז לאנשים כאלה שאין להם שכל ובינה להשיג גדולת הבורא ועבודתו שלימה לעבדו באמת ובשלימות, רק שהם מחברים עצמם אל אנשי צדק ואמת היודעים ומכירים גדולת הבורא ב"ה ועובדים באמת, אזי נחשב גם להם כאילו גם הם עשו עבודתם שלימה כהצדיקים השלימים

"And it will be (EIKEV) because of your listening etc." (Deut 7:12), "EIKEV" alludes to those who do not have the intelligence and understanding to perceive the greatness of the Creator and His complete task so as to serve him with honesty and perfection. Only because they attach themselves to righteous, truthful individuals who know and recognize the greatness of the Creator, blessed be He, and serve Him truthfully. It is then considered that they too have also done their service perfectly like the completely righteous.

Hope this is insightful for others also!

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