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Binding yourself to a Tzaddik

Question:

With the Rav kindly assist with the following;

When some chassidim pray, they begin by being mekasher themselves to a Rebbe or a Tzadik with the following lashon: “I am now connecting and binding myself to this and this Rebbe son of ……”. They then proceed to pray. The belief is that by binding yourself to the Tzaddik, he will bring your tefillas up to shamayim.

This concept makes me feel uncomfortable given that we are taught that we all have a direct pipeline to HKB”H. The tefillas of every yid no matter how great or how small are precious to Hashem. Indeed the gemorah brings in certain circumstances a person must go to a Tzaddik for guidance and tefillah e.g. If ch”v someone is sick you should go to the Tzaddik of the town etc, but I havent seen it mentioned about binding or connecting to a Tzaddik every time one prays. The Tzaddik is being used in every tefillah as an intermediary between the chassid and HKB”H.

I have not seen this concept brought in the gemorah or the Rishonim. Is there a source for binding yourself to a Tzaddik before prayer in the gemorah or rishonim? And is there any halachic issue with this practice according to some poskim? Please provide sources.

Thank you in advance.

Answer:

It is true that there is a certain group in Klal Yisroel that says something similar to what you are describing. My understanding of it is not that they are binding their neshoma to the tzaddik in order that through him their tefilloh can go up, as you say, we daven directly to Hashem, and we speak directly to Him without any intermediaries. Rather, what they mean is that they want their tefilloh to be accepted, as if they had all the kavanos that the tzaddikim had when they davened. Alternatively, it means that they are davening and that the zechus of the tzaddik should help that their tefilloh should be accepted.

Needless to say, that most of Klal Yisroel does not do this, and daven without saying this.

Best wishes

Sources:

See Nefesh Hachayim 3 chap. 9 that we may not bind ourselves to a tzaddik to serve as an intermediary for our tefillos, that that is avoda zara.

Orchos Rabeinu (new edition) 4 pg. 196 (That it means that or tefiloh should be accepted in the in the zechus of the tzaddik), Hanhogos Tzaddikim pg. 528 (that it means to daven on their level of emuna), Osrei Lagefen 12(1) pg. 551.

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