The Maggid of Mezeritch: Collecting Sparks
The 19th of Kislev is the Yahrtzeit of Rav Dov Ber, the Maggid of Mezritch (1704-1772). Born in Lukatch to Reb Avraham, he descended from Rav Hai Gaon and Rav Yochanan Hasandler, a descendent of Dovid Hamelech.
Rav Dov Ber learned with the Pnei Yehoshua in Lemberg early in his life.
In 1752, he became the Baal Shem Tov’s closest disciple. Among his students were the Rebbe Reb Shmuel Shmelke HaLevi Horowitz and his brother, Reb Pinchas HaLevi Horowitz, the Baal Hafloah, the Rebbe Reb Zushia and his brother, Reb Elimelech of Lizhensk, Rav Levi Yitzchak of Berditchiv, Rav Nachum of Chernobyl, Rav Shneur Zalman of Liadi. His son was Rav Avraham HaMalach (1740-1776).
The classic anthologies of his teachings are Likutei Amarim, Torah Ohr, and Ohr HaEmmes.
When Israel prays and attaches to God, Blessed is He, a voice emanates: “Go out and see the Daughters of Zion!” This means to say, that whoever does not merit this unification with God should remove themselves, but those who desire this unity should see that all is accessible.
When the external forces hear this voice they run to disturb the concentration of each person who is praying with thoughts of physical pleasures, needs and demands.
They do not know that even in desire there are sparks of holiness, for the core desire of a soul is to attach to its Source. The soul rejoices in pleasures for it recalls it highest pleasure.
Therefore a person can transform every desire into holiness and attachment. Rejoice in the sparks of desire, as reflections of the flame burning in your soul, and you will successfully dress in the Light of Godliness and shine with love and awe and burn away any barriers between you and your Creator. (Maggid Devarav L’Yaakov)