Highlights from Rav Avraham Chananya’s shiur:
“Rebbe Nachman says (Likutey Moharan 123), ‘The main point and foundation which everything is dependent on is for one to bind himself to the Tzaddik of the generation and to accept his words as they are, whether something small or something big, without straying, G-d forbid, from his words right or left.’ A person really does want to escape from his lusts; he understands that the truth is in Judaism and searches for an opening for his rescue, but the yetzer hara (evil inclination) fights against a person. Rebbe Nachman says, that to escape the worldly desires is only possible through truly binding oneself to the Tzaddikim — only through the power of someone who completely detached himself from worldly desires, only he can remove us from them.
“‘And they believed in Hashem and Moshe His servant’ (Shemos 14:31). Rabbi Natan says that it’s possible to believe in Hashem only if you believe in Moshe His servant. And so it’s written in the Zohar that Moshe’s spreads out in every generation. The soul of Moshe Rabbeinu is drawn and spread out in every generation until he rectifies all of us, G-d willing.
“Rabbi Natan writes (Likutey Halachot, Bircas HaRe’ach, Halachah 4), ‘The candle is the mitzvah, and the Torah is light’ — that the Torah and the Mitzvah are a light and candle which can reveal this Tzaddik who can and must draw us close to Hashem. Because regarding this search and revealing of Hashem it’s written, ‘He who finds Me finds life’ (Mishlei 8:35), but really Hashem is Ain Sof (Without End), as Rabbi Natan says (ibid. Hilchot Pesach 6), that Hashem Yisbarach is exalted and above our comprehension and it’s impossible to acquire emunah (faith) except through the Tzaddik. Like a baby who can’t understand the reality of how things are put together, so too we need the Tzaddik to contract for us G-dly concepts. The Tzaddik reveals to us and implants within us that Hashem Yisbarach is close to us and hears us.
“The Tzaddik merited closeness to G-d after he broke his [nature] through toiling and self-sacrifice in Avodas Hashem (Serving G-d). He purified his body like processed hide which has no odor of this world. Therefore he can implant emunah in [everyone] in the entire world, not just in the Jewish people. Like Rebbe Nachman writes (Likutey Moharan 188), that the Tzaddik first of all finds his own lost objects (aka. life’s mission) until, in the end, he finds the lost objects of the entire world. He knows the Avodas [Hashem] of everyone in the world, what are their previous incarnations, what they came to rectify in this world. Therefore, when we go to the Tzaddik, we receive our lost objects.
“Once I asked Rav Berland about what Rebbe Nachman says in this Torah [in Likutey Moharan], that the Tzaddik doesn’t return to a person his lost objects until he checks that he’s not a liar or a deceiver. And I asked, ‘But these are the lost objects of the person [it belongs to him]?’ Rav Berland answered, ‘If a person always works on an Ayin Tova (‘a good eye,’ that is, to view people favorably), through this he receives all of his lost objects from the Tzaddik.” Because to be a disciple of Avraham Avinu, of the Tzaddik, one needs to pray and ask to merit Ayin Tova. And the Rav said that Eliyahu HaNavi merited [his spiritual level] through his praying for every Jew that they should have only good in the world.
“Rav Tzanani said to me that also the Ayin Tova we receive from the Tzaddik, as Rabbi Natan says, that the main thing is that a person shouldn’t be stupid, and they should draw down and request from Hashem an Ayin Tova.
“In order to enter the gates of Teshuva one needs to go through many journeys – ascents and descents. Rav Berland shlit”a said that the main test is not to abandon him. Rebbe Nachman said this in Sefer HaMidos (Aleph-Bet Book in English), that we are all before the Tzaddik like a pen in the hand of the scribe, he raises us and brings us down — the main thing is not to get discouraged and abandon the Tzaddik.
“The Tzaddik is truly spiritually-channeled within our souls. This is called ‘to escape from the primordial serpent,’ to feel that I really don’t do anything [by myself]. [The Tzaddik] prays from within you, he raises you up. We only need to remember that we’re not the ones who are making this happen, to escape from the serpent, from pride. Rav Berland taught this thirty years ago in the shul [in Meah Shearim], that the Tzaddik lowers a person down like a diver to the depths of the sea, and when he brings him up, he brings up with him many precious jewels which can only be brought up through that person.
“The Tzaddik brings down a person intentionally in order to remove him from pride and the delusion of ‘my power and the strength of my hand.’ And when a person comes up again, he then merits humility and knows that he isn’t the one who makes things happen.”
See Rav Hananya’s full shiur below (in Hebrew):