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Sukkat Shalom B'nei Noach



Rabbi Nachman teaches,

We should pray for our friends when they are in trouble. Why our prayers for friends are effective can be understood from the story of a certain king who was angry with his son and sent him away. The prince came and placated his father, who agreed to have him back, but afterwards the prince again offended his father, who sent him away again. The prince again placated his father and the same thing happened several times.

Once the prince did something that made his father extremely angry. The king thought to himself: “What point is there in sending him away if later on, when my anger subsides, he comes and placates me again? This time when I send him away, I will so arrange things that he will not even have access to me so as not to be able to placate me.”

The king appointed one of his ministers as an intermediary between himself and the prince, instructing the minister that when the prince came seeking to placate him, he was not to allow him entry. The prince came several times asking to be admitted to his father in order to placate him. However, the minister would not let him enter, for those were the instructions the king had given him. This happened again and again.

Eventually the minister saw the prince’s great longing for his father and saw how much he was suffering because of not being able to gain entry to his father in order to placate him. The minister thought to himself: “If this is how much the prince misses his father, presumably the king is also suffering a great deal because his son cannot come to him. For the greater the desire of he who desires, the greater the desire aroused in the object of his desire.” The minister felt extremely sorry for both the king and his son, and he himself also suffered, because he said to himself: “Surely I am the cause of all this, since I am the barrier that keeps them apart: I am the one causing both the king and the prince to suffer.”

The minister thought to himself: “There must be some way to bring about a reconciliation. Surely the king does not want his son to suffer forever without being able to reach him, and the king himself must be suffering as a result.” The minister realized that it was all up to him. “I myself will go to the king to plead for the prince. I will ask the king to forgive him and allow him back.”

This is exactly what the minister did. He went to the king and told him how much the prince was longing for him, begging the king to forgive him. The king immediately agreed and restored the prince to his place.

The meaning of the story is obvious. Whenever one of our friends is suffering, physically, mentally or spiritually, we should say, “Without doubt I am the cause of this. Because of my sins, I myself am the barrier between the King of kings, the Holy One, blessed be He, and the world. For the Holy One, blessed be He, constantly desires to bestow blessings of goodness upon His children. But because of my sins, I am the barrier that is holding all this back. The solution is for me myself to plead with the King on behalf of my friend.”

When a person does this, he will certainly not succumb to arrogance. The root of arrogance is when a person prides himself on having qualities which his friend lacks. But when a person believes that the only cause of his friend’s deficiency, spiritual or material, is the barrier that he himself has erected between his friend and the Holy One, blessed be He, Who wants to bestow blessings at all times, he will certainly not become arrogant. On the contrary, his pride will be broken and he will achieve genuine humility.

Chayey Moharan #447

With permission taken over from: Daily Dose Of Rabbi Nachman

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