In the biography of Rabbi Asher Freund written by his grandson, the author retells a story about Rabbi Asher Freund. The reason that I share it is because of how it demonstrates the difference between the image that our nature wishes to project upon us that dominates us versus our true identity, which we must constantly choose so that we free ourselves from the image projected.
It seems logical to question why freeing ourselves from what dominates us, our nature, is preferable. Perhaps there are only individually ascribed responses to this. Perhaps it does not resonate with the reader at all. Yet the story below shares that resisting being dominated by our nature was a constant choice of Rabbi Asher Freund. It is for this reason that the story is shared, for anyone interested in that pathway.
Rabbi Asher Freund visited a cemetery where the Sadigguer Rebbe was buried and when he found out, he made sure to go to the kever. The reason was because one time, Rabbi Asher Freund was invited to a wedding of the son and the daughter of two tzaddikim, and there were many guests there, including the Saddiggur Rebbe, whom Reb Asher had not met and to whom Reb Asher was not known. As Rabbi Asher Freund walked towards his seat, he passed by where the Saddiggur Rebbe was seated and all of a sudden the Saddiggur looked up and called to him. Young man Young man come here, come here.
Reb Asher realized that the Saddiggur had felt Reb Asher’s light, that the Saddiggur detected it and looked up. Reb Asher ran out of the wedding hall and did not return.
He wanted to go to the kever of the Saddiggur to daven now and to talk to him, as the Saddiggur had requested.
The scene at the wedding, where it would have brought attention and honor upon Reb Asher, was detestable to Reb Asher, because it would have disrupted his awareness, knowledge and recognition of Hashem by bringing up natural emowe tions that dominate.
While not everyone may make this same choice obviously, the story is worthwhile to mention because of how it demonstrates the extent to which Reb Asher did battle to remain conscious of Hashem.
May we comprehend deeply how when all of us reach that place within us of “it should not be this way” we have merely reached the point where Judaism and emunah begin. It is up to us to realize that every moment is an encounter with nature, Elokim. Hashem is knocking at our door, hoping that we make the choice to remove “it should not be this way” in favor of purging all of what we think we know in order that we serve as a channel across which the kedusha hidden in Elokim may enter this world in the form of Havayah, compassion and mercy. Hashem does it. We open the door with real free will, prayerful speech, and emunah.
Every ounce of power in the world is Hashem’s Alone. When we speak, we are experiencing Elokim and utilizing His Power to move our lips, breathe, think and feel. Let us recognize our Creator and realize how best to utilize our mortal lives and resources.
And may we each grow in our ability to serve as a channel for revealed light to flow, through our recognition of Hashem, through our growing knowledge of Him, and through our love, our will, our awe, and our trust, no matter what. May the example of how to choose and form our eternal identity as one with Him inspire us.