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Avot 3:13: Komarna Print E-mail

Chassidic TeachingsThe 10th of Iyar is the Yahrtzeit of Rav Yitzchak Aizik Yehuda Yechiel Eizik of Komarna, author of Shulchan Hatahor (1806-1874): He used to say: If the spirit of one's fellows is pleased with him, the spirit of the spirit of the Omnipresent is pleased with him; but if the spirit of one's fellows is not pleased with him, the spirit of the the spirit of the Omnipresent is not pleased with him. (Avot 3:13)


Man is a microcosm, a “small world.” One is the head; another one, a foot. The heads of the generation are called “The eyes of the assembly (Vayikra 4:13).” When the head of the generation finds himself in wonderful d'veikut and great illumination and he becomes a vehicle, a Merkava, for the Divine Presence, meaning, he has reached a state when his study of Torah, prayer, and the performance of the Commandments are fulfilled with Divine Illumination and marvelous d'veikut, which in turn, brings down upon him Divine Grace, light, and vitality, then these same qualities expand to include the people of his generation who are attached to him. They too become part of his chariot and his intellectual concentration on divinity, mochin. The same may apply to those who, although not attached to him, at least are not his adversaries.

This is the meaning of the statement in the Mishnah, “He with whom the spirit of the Omnipresent is pleased.” The words should not be understood as “is pleased with,” but as, “are pleased because of him.” Hence the Mishnah tells us: “when the people's spirit is pleased and inspired, it is surely from him, the scholar, the righteous person. It is from his light that all people are illuminated. For he is the channel through which Divine Grace and good will descend upon all the world and extend to all people of his generation.

The Mishnah proceeds to explain why this is so because the spirit of God, the divine light which emanates to all of his generation, is brought on by him and through him.

As a general rule, however, the spirit and illuminating power of the righteous person affect and inspire only those of his generation who are favorably disposed toward him. They have no complaint against him, and his deeds are sweet to them. Which brings us back to the original meaning of the Mishnah: Anyone, namely any righteous person of whom it is the case that the people are pleased with him, and hence become attached to him lovingly, with heart and soul, the Spirit of God too is pleased with him, causing divine grace and light to rest on all those who cleave to him. (Rabbi Yitzchak Isaac Yechiel of Komarna, Notzer Chesed, Avot 3:13)

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