“In the years before Gimmel Tammuz, when the Rebbe began telling us over and over to whom to turn to for guidance when the Rebbe will not physically respond.” Part 2 of a letter by Rabbi Mendel Itzinger.
By Rabbi Mendel Itzinger, director of Igud Yeshivos
In the first installment we discussed whom to lean on for guidance in our personal avodas Hashem.
Today we will address whom we should ask for advice on personal matters.
Just to review and sum up the three klolim we discussed last time:
Whilst we are responsible for ourselves – relying on others for guidance and advice is a part of life and we must have who to ask.
Today I want to discuss
Klal Number 4: We must work within the laws of nature.
All of nature is there for a reason. And it is our job to reveal Elokus in nature as it is.
Therefore we must live within its confines, because disassociating ourselves from nature, removes our ability to elevate it.
We can daven and hope for a ‘nes’ – a supernatural occurrence – but we must make our choices following the laws of nature.
That said, we cannot emphasize enough
Klal Number 5: סייעתא דשמעיא – Heavenly Support to give the best advice.
When we asked the Rebbe – we relied solely on ruach hakodesh. But remember the first klal – We are not rebbes and we must work within our physical limitations.
In the years before Gimmel Tamuz, when the Rebbe began telling us over and over to whom to turn to for guidance when the Rebbe will not physically respond.
The Rebbe taught us this contrast:
Follow the method of advice b’gashmiyus – and those people we ask will have סייעתא דשמעיא to put us on the right path.
This is how to go about it:
On questions regarding physical matters
(e.g., baalei batim requiring business advice, buying a house, etc.)
Ask yedidim mevinim – knowledgeable friends.
People who know you. Know the field you are asking about. And have your best interest at heard.
Whether to buy a certain house, what mortgage to take, if one should do a certain business deal, etc. these are not questions for a mashpia (unless there is a spiritual component to it). To get advice on this, one needs to speak to local people, who understand the situation b’gashmiyus and know you. They can best advise you.
By the way, this hora’a was given by the Rabbeim throughout the generations to various people. But whilst generally, the hora’a of the Rabbeim was to ask the advice of three people, it does seem that the Rebbe did not insist on that number.
For Medical Issues:
Following those same two klolim: When you have a medical question –
Ask your doctor.
This, the Rebbe called asking a rofeh yedid.
We saw during the pandemic, that some doctors carry the responsibility of the ‘public’. It is their job to worry about the majority – and give advice based on what is best for the klal.
Your doctor however, carries a different responsibility. He cares about you specifically. He knows your medical history, knows you, and knows what the best answer is for you.
So, if you are unwell, or have a general concern about your health, speak to your doctor.
To be clear – he is not only the person to advise because he studied medicine – studying medicine has now given him the סייעתא דשמעיא to give you the correct advice.
But at times our rofeh yedid is not enough. Because there are times when someone may need a specialist r”l, and b’derech hateva – to that extent your GP cannot help you.
In that case, the Rebbe’s hora’a was to
Go to a specialist, and follow that up with a second opinion.
And in the case that the second doctor disagrees with the assessment or treatment plan of the first doctor, one should ask a third doctor and follow the majority opinion.
If it all sounds too physical, if it bothers you that we can’t just wait for a phone call from mazkirus, I empathize, and like the rest of us, I miss the Rebbe all day.
But just know –
The advice we get from those yedidim mevinim, the advice we get from the doctors – that is the Rebbe’s advice.
The Rebbe speaks through them.
This isn’t my hergesh. The Rebbe said so Himself.
Next week, we IYH get closer to what your original question was, and we will address communal leadership.
For part 1 of the letter, click here.
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The mashpiya system is the most important feature of the topic of personal matters as well. A mashpiya will remind someone to consult a rofeh yedid etc.