Ask The Rabbi

For the week ending 3 January 2015 / 12 Tevet 5775

Astonishing Blessing

by Rabbi Yirmiyahu Ullman - www.rabbiullman.com
The Color of Heaven Artscroll

From: Michael

Dear Rabbi,

I recently got a blessing from a Chassidic Rabbi. This blessing was quite astonishing (in a good way). What is the significance of a blessing from a Chassidic Rabbi?

Dear Michael,

I am inspired that you had such a moving experience!

The blessings of the holy and pious are very powerful, both from Chasidic Rabbis and from other righteous, learned individuals as well.

In our prayers we recite “G-d does the will of those who fear Him”. And our Sages taught, “A tzaddik (righteous person) decrees, and G-d fulfills”. This includes the idea that the blessings conferred by a tzaddik are heard and fulfilled by G-d. They also taught, “Anyone who has a sick person in his household should go to a chacham (Torah scholar) to pray for him”.

The Grand Rabbi Levi Yitzchak Horowitz (the “Bostoner Rebbe”) — his memory for a blessing — said that a Chassidic Rabbi is in many respects like a spiritual plumber. G-d wants only to bestow goodness upon us, and all a person needs to do is make himself into a vessel to receive the good. But our bad deeds “clog up” the channels through which Divine goodness flows. A Chassidic Rabbi “unclogs” these channels for the person, allowing the Divine blessing to flow upon him.

A righteous person has a power of prayer more than most of us. Chasidic Masters and great Torah scholars who have refined and perfected their character and closeness to G-d are known to have such powers. Until his passing many years ago, tens of thousands flocked to Rabbi Yaakov Yisrael Kanievsky (the “Steipler”) for his blessing.

It's known that prior to their highly dangerous but successful air strike on the Iraqi nuclear reactor in 1980, the Israeli pilots appeared before the “Steipler” and asked for his blessing. He told them “go in peace and return in peace”, which they did!

Sources:

  • Bava Batra 116a
  • Ta'anit 23a

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