Reb Shlomo Carlebach zt"l on Parshas Matos Masei
(Via Stuie Wax)
What's the difference between a Rabbi and a Rebbe? A Rabbi is someone who knows the law, he knows what you're supposed to do and what you are not supposed to do. When you ask him something it's like he's a little book. It's like when you need directions on a journey, you drive into a gas station and they give you a map. But what happens to you if your car is broken? Does a map help?
So the person working at the gas station says, “I’m sorry, I can give you a map, I can show you how to get there but I cannot fix your car.” A rebbe is a soul master, a soul master is someone who fixes your car. Not only that, it's much deeper than all this. When I come into this gas station and my car is broken, a real true soul master says to me, “You know something, your car wasn't broken. You just didn't push the right buttons, but I'll teach you how to do it. “ If its a super soul master he says, “Obviously you don't know how to get there, I’ll go with you.”
This is actually what the holy Baal Shem Tov did, he brought down high souls into the world, soul masters. A soul master is somebody who loves you so much that he's so desperate he wants you to make it. I’ll tell you something, it's very strange; I’ve seen parents who act like they know everything. They're good people, sweet people but their children didn't make it in life. I don't mean that their children did not succeed and become lawyers and doctors, I’m talking about not making it on a neshama (soul)level. I see little people, water carriers, shoemakers, tailors and bakers whose children make it because of their parents, because their parents were really so desperate. They really wanted it with all their hearts.
So in this week's parsha, Matos, we read that when you make a neder (vow) and you didnt keep your vow, you can still fix it. A person takes upon himself so many different things in a lifetime. Some I keep, and some nebach I don't. What happens if Chas Veshalom ( G-d forbid) I don’t keep my neder? Gevalt am I in bad shape.
So you see what the beauty of this parsha is? The Ribbono Shel Olam (Master Of The World) promises us there will always be Rashei Matos, heads of tribes, soul masters. There will always be Rebbe’s in the world who are mamesh so desperate that you get back into shape, and you should be blessed to find them.