Inspired by Reb Kalonymos Kalman's ideal of a group of people coming together with the common goal of enhancing their service of God, increasing their sensitivity to all things spiritual, strengthening their love of acheinu kol beis Yisrael, and unlocking the enormous potential that we all have to cleave to the Almighty.

Interaction and discussion of practical ideas and concepts toward this end, culled from any Torah true source is welcome and appreciated.

Observations and personal experiences are also welcome; the point is to grow!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Tzetel Katan

[T]here is another remarkable document, which Rabbi Elimelekh distributed to his followers as a devotional handbook. It is called the Tzetel Katan, literally the "Small Note," and it consists of a seventeen point program on how to be a good Jew. Highly popular even among contemporary Hasidim, it is still reviewed every day by many Hasidic yeshiva students. Although it seems to describe an almost impossible discipline, for many, it serves as a goal for which to strive... 
While the Ba'al Shem Tov preached the imminence and constant availability of God, Rabbi Elimelekh reminds us that even to achieve this, a constant state of vigilance must be maintained. God is everywhere, but sin separates man from God...In order to relate to God absolutely, one must be ready to renounce everything, whether it be his attachment to human relationships or to temporal matters...
Rabbi Elimelkh presents us with an exalted picture of human potential. Standing at its apex is the Tzaddik, who is as much a denizen of the spiritual worlds as he is of the physical universe. But through the program of the Tzetel Katan, every person can strive to attain an absolute relationship to God. - Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan, The Chasidic Masters, (pg. 56-57; 1984)
Many contemporary siddurim do print the Tzetel Katan, either following Shacharis or in the back of the siddur as an appendix. Either way, it's certainly a laudable and useful tool for growth in avodah, even to just learn it daily. Of course, the ideal would be to incorporate the exercises into the daily routine...

For an English translation of the Tzetel, click here.

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