Lecture of Rav Eliezer Berland, shlit"a
Delivered on Thursday, the 16th of Av 5760 in the Old City.
Click here to listen
to the cassette of this lesson.
to download Real Player for free.
Likutei Moharan II:8 is Rebbe Nachman's
last will and testament. "Although it is a very great thing to rebuke one's
friend, and especially one's family members, it is nevertheless forbidden
to chastise." Rebbe Nachman said that it is forbidden to give rebuke if
it will spark off a defensive reaction in the one who is being chastised,
as in, "Remove the splinter from between your eyes—first remove the beam
from your own eye." This is a statement from the Gemara in Erechin
16b. This issue of rebuke is extremely serious, and it is always forbidden
to chastise. One must, instead, just make music and sing. Through song
and dance, the truth will be revealed. The truth penetrates that way. But
to chastise? Rebbe Nachman left this last will and testament saying that
it is always forbidden to chastise, and one should be especially sensative
when rebuking his children—especially in our cheder Sha'arei Torah.
No one has the right there to deride anyone else. Should one child have
the right to chastise another?
One can turn to the administrators or to me but
no one has the right to chastise the children, or allow the children to
chastise one another or point out each other's flaws. We learn this from
Rabbi Tarfon. Rabbi Tarfon remembered how his uncle used to perform the
priestly blessing in the Temple. This, therefore, was during the time when
the Temple still stood, and since that time, it is forbidden to rebuke.
Rabbi Tarfon said, "I wonder whether there is anyone alive in this generation
who can accept rebuke." It is completely forbidden for a person to give
rebuke, for only the Tzaddik can give rebuke properly.
The Tzaddik is the only one who is able to
chastise since he truly loves others He is truly interested in the welfare
of others. The whole issue of rebuke has to do with the desire for supremacy—it
isn't that a person truly seeks the welfare of the other. Rather, one person
wants to lord it over the other, and that is why it is forbidden to chastise
others. A person seeks a way to define himself, to prove that he is better
than someone else. It is hard for a person to pray and to learn, so he
wants to define himself with this commandment to rebuke. He wants to distinguish
himself by disparaging someone else. That is why even in the days of the
end of the Second Temple, it was forbidden to offer rebuke. The Gemara
poses a question about this. What is preferable, rebuke for the right reasons
or humility for the wrong reasons? And answers, better humility for the
Be humble. Don't look, and don't see. I once asked
the Steipler, "What should a person do if he sees [someone doing something
wrong]?" He answered me, "Don't see!" This is a ruling of the Steipler's
that I heard with my own ears.
So when one comes to the synagogue and sees people
are sitting around talking! "Don't look," he says. Close your eyes. A person
comes to pray—he isn't there to rebuke other people. Instead of praying,
he watches to see what everyone else is doing. Go sit in your corner and
that will have a greater effect on everyone. Through praying with the proper
concentration, you will influence everyone else to also pray with the proper
"I wonder if there is anyone in this generation
who is fit to offer rebuke. If a person says, 'Remove the splinter from
between your eyes,' then the other will answer him, 'First remove the beam
from between your own eyes.'" What the person being chastised is saying
is, "I only need to remove a splinter from between my eyes. You, on the
other hand, need to remove a beam from yours." No one has the right to
chastise anyone else and tell him what to do. Anyone who feels the inclination
to give rebuke should direct himself to Nachman Berland or to me. We will
take care of every request, and treat every comment with the utmost gravity.
We are always looking for ways to correct problems, to fix what needs fixing.
What we don't want is that the children will learn to chastise one another,
to disparage one another. Humility for the wrong reasons is better than
rebuke for the right reasons.
Rabbi Tarfon said this, and
Rebbe Nachman quotes it here. In the version that is brought in Ein
Yaakov it is Rabbi Akiva that said it. Here, in the Gemara's version,
it was Rabbi Tarfon. In either case, these were words that were already
said at the end of the second Temple period, that it is forbidden to offer
rebuke. There are people who are referred to as "the end of all flesh."
Rebbe Nachman says that they are the ones who are always looking to make
an end to all
flesh, to find the flaws of others. This is the way
that they serve G-d. They can't pray. They have no personal sanctity. They
don't guard their eyes. So, what do they do? They spend all their time
looking for other people's faults, and this is how they silence their own
guilty conscience about the fact that they don't really serve Hashem. They
don't pray with proper concentration, and they don't guard their eyes.
To quiet their conscience, they look for other people's flaws. They become
pursuers of justice and faith. So Rebbe Nachman asked in his final Rosh
Hashanah lesson, that no one should rebuke anyone else—no one should tell
anyone else what to do. One is allowed to chastise his own child, and that
is all. Even that has its limits, just as Rabbi Akiva said (or Rabbi Tarfon,
depending on the version). "I wonder if there is anyone in this generation
who is fit to offer rebuke. If one says, 'Remove the splinter from between
your eyes,' the other one can answer, 'First remove the beam that is between
yours.'" Everyone always has endless flaws, and those who are truly seeking
the welfare of the Yeshiva, of the community, of Hashem's honor, will only
make their comments with the utmost consideration and care. They will only
address those people who are responsible for the matter. Here, every request
is attended to with the utmost gravity; every request will even be received
at the house of the Rav—as long as the person who makes it is really serious.
He will be received at the house of the Rav, and will have an appointment
made for him. Just let no person take it upon himself to chastise anyone
else or to disparage anyone else, especially not in Sha'arei Torah. For
there is also a great danger involved in offering rebuke—the child could
later come to desecrate the Shabbos because of it.
Even Yaakov Avinu was afraid to chastise Reuven.
Everyone has read this. Everyone has read this in Rashi on Devarim
1:3. Even Yaakov was afraid to chastise Reuven. Even Moshe was afraid to
chastise the Jewish people. He only rebuked them before his death. He was
afraid that they would then go and serve idolatry saying, "Moshe only knows
how to rebuke and how to disparage. He only focuses on our flaws."
So even Moshe was afraid to offer rebuke. Yaakov
feared to chastise Reuven because he feared that it would drive Reuven
to go to Esav and serve idolatry—to become Esav's protégé.
When a person rebukes, he can literally cause a child to desecrate the
Shabbos. The child can feel so insulted that he will desecrate the Shabbos.
No one can make the decision to do this on his own, and no one can take
on the responsibility to offer rebuke. The possible consequences are impossible
to gauge. Many is the time that rebuke has led to people desecrating the
I heard from one of the Mashgichim in Gur
that one time, in the Gerrer shtibel in Bnei Brak, it became known
that someone had brought a television into his home. The entire shtibel
was up in arms. The head of the Gerrer yeshiva in Bnei Brak was there at
the time. Someone in the community had broken the bounds of propriety and
had brought a television into his home. A contingent of young students
came to this Rosh Yeshiva. They sat with him and told him about this terrible
audacious act, that a member of the Gerrer community had brought a television
into his home. They insisted they he should be banished from the community
immediately. The Rosh Yeshiva asked, "Who says that a television is forbidden?
Where in the Torah does it say that it is forbidden?" What did he mean?
The Beis Yisrael [one of the previous Gerrer Rebbes] had opposed the television
vehemently and even signed a ban against it. This Rosh Yeshiva then asked
the group, "Tell me, what model television did he bring home? A regular
black and white, or a color model?" They answered, "A color television."
He said, "Color? When the Beis Yisrael signed the ban against television,
color television didn't exist yet. There was only black and white." They
didn't understand what he was saying. They said to him, "Surely what you
are saying is worse than what this young man has done! Are you permitting
color televisions?" He said to them, "I'm going to explain to you what
is going on here, and then you will understand. This man wants to desecrate
the Shabbos. He wants us to throw him out of the community. He's looking
for an excuse to be thrown out of Gur. I know him. He is already setting
his eyes on another lifestyle, but he can't simply go ahead and desecrate
the Shabbos just like that, drive to the beach on Shabbos and so on. It's
hard for him to make that leap all at once. So first, he wants us to throw
him out of the community. If we throw him out of Gur, then he will already
begin to slowly 'change the seasons.' He will start to fulfill the first
blessing of Ma'ariv. He will find all kinds of ways, and
he will already have an excuse. 'Why are you doing this? Because they threw
me out of Gur, because the Gerrers threw me out. They did this to me.'
Wait a little while, and be patient. He will get rid of the television
all by himself. He will notice how everyone is looking at him askance,
how no one says hello to him properly, and how no one comes to visit him
at home. He will get rid of it all by himself. The whole reason why he
brought it in was so that we should throw him out. He doesn't need the
television, he needs other things altogether. You shouldn't know from this."
So that is what they did, they listened to this
Rosh Yeshiva—I've forgotten his name. This is exactly what they did: everyone
ignored the television. This man began to feel that they don't love him
so much anymore, that they weren't so happy with him. His whole plan had
been that they would throw him out. He did it so that they would throw
him out. And this Rosh Yeshiva understood, in his great wisdom, that this
was what was going on.
Sometimes you see that a boy is singing in order
to make another boy angry. One boy throws a towel on another, and one sings
a song in order to make another boy angry. There is so much psychology
going on with children, with teenagers, even with adults. They don't mean
to do what they do. They are trying to achieve something else altogether.
By ignoring it, by closing your eyes, you give it a chance to pass. After
half a year, or even one month, it goes away all by itself. He sees that
no one is paying any attention, and that is really how it was in this case.
After six months, the man got rid of the television on his own. This man
already has grandchildren, even great-grandchildren, today. All of them
are observant and G-d fearing and very prominent in the religious community.
They are truly holy and pure. All because the community withstood the challenge.
The community withstood a difficult challenge. One person broke the bounds
of propriety, and all of them withstood a difficult test. If it hadn't
been for this Rosh Yeshiva, they would have lost a Jewish soul. Generations
of Shabbos desecrators could have come out of this, generations of assimilated
and intermarried Jews, G-d forbid. So in the merit of the understanding
of this Rosh Yeshiva who lives in Bnei Brak, this entire family was saved.
Generations of pure Jews, who will continue until Moshiach comes, have
already descended from this man.
The Rebbe says then, that when a person decides
to offer rebuke to another, he is taking on a very serious responsibility.
Sometimes the negative behavior is really intended just to make someone
else angry. Everything has to be decided with the utmost understanding,
together with real experts and with those who are involved with communal
issues who are experienced in the field. You don't have to react to every
single provocation, and not everyone should make this calculation for himself.
What? He doesn't learn? He doesn't pray? So now he's found his opportunity
to distinguish and define himself? Now he'll go and chastise others. And
it's all just a cover up, just meant to disguise the fact that he doesn't
learn or pray. The Rebbe says, then, that if a person offers rebuke, the
results can be the opposite of what he had sought to accomplish. "For when
the one who rebukes is not fit to do so, not only does he not accomplish
anything positive with his rebuke…" Only the Tzaddik knows how to
chastise properly. Anyone else is only fit to chastise his own child, and
even that has its limits. In general, it is better to ignore the problem.
A child has a G-dly soul. He is a Divine spark,
and he will figure out on his own what he should really do. The parents
just need to make sure that they don't tell him to be impudent to the Rav
and the Rabbanit. There are parents who tell their children, "You don't
need to listen to what the Rav and the Rabbanit say. They are just throwing
out words." Let the parents be neutral, not take one side or the other.
Then the child will grow up just fine.
The Rebbe says that if a person would be left alone
in a forest or in a desert, then he would grow up properly. The problem
is that he hears what other people say. Sometimes they speak against the
Rav and sometimes against the Rabbanit. He is a child who is at home with
his parents, so he naturally draws the logical conclusions since, in any
event, the negativity inside a person just needs an opportunity to become
aroused. When people aren't fit to offer rebuke, their words can cause
the other person to desecrate Shabbos or even to create idols.
Elisha rejected a certain student. This student
then went to the two idolatrous calves that had been erected by Yeravam
ben Nevat and made them fly through the air by placing a piece of parchment
bearing the Divine Name into their mouths. And those calves said, "I am
the Lord, your G-d. Thou shall not have other gods before my face." This
student that Elisha had thrown out of the community, out of his yeshiva,
this student raised these calves up to the sky. He possessed such magic
that he could raise them up to the sky. It wasn't enough that Yeravam made
them in the first place. This one came later and suspended them between
heaven and earth, and they cried, "I am the Lord," and, "Thou shall not
Therefore, no one should be bold and rebuke others.
Those from Sha'arei Torah, who feel that this is their purpose in life,
let them rather sit and talk amongst themselves. Just let no one disparage
or defame anyone else. No one should hound anyone else. Instead, they should
put their minds into their Torah study and into their prayer. And when
one person really learns, then the others will naturally learn too. When
they see one person praying with the proper concentration, then everyone
else will follow suit.
When Reb Yitzchak Atvatzker came to Makave from
Uman, he was a sixteen-year-old boy. He arrived on the first of Iyar, and
within three months—Iyar, Sivan, and Tammuz—the entire yeshiva became Breslovers.
The administration then decided to throw out all of the Breslovers, for
it had become a Breslov yeshiva. They hadn't come there to learn about
Breslov, they had come to learn Gemara. But they all started to get up
for chatzos, says Rav Levi Yitzchak.
Rav Levi Yitzchak became a Breslover along with
Rav Yisrael Halperin and Rav Moshe Tchenschover. The entire yeshiva did
too, so they threw Moshe Tchenschover and Rav Yisrael Halperin out of the
yeshiva right away. They also wanted to expel Reb Levi Yitzchak. The Mashgiach
sent someone to expel Reb Yitzchak Atvatzker. He was sitting then in the
hall reciting Tehillim. He wept in such a way as he recited them
that this messenger went back to the Mashgiach and said that he
just couldn't bring himself to deliver the message. He was the only one
who was allowed to remain. Slowly, slowly, however, they began to remove
one after the other. Then the First World War broke out and all the yeshivos
were closed. There were no yeshivos after that.
It was because they expelled a few Breslovers from
the yeshiva in Makave that all of the yeshivos were afterward closed. Rav
Levi Yitzchak went out to the train station straight away after the yeshiva
had closed and the war had broken out. Instead of running home, he ran
to the train. He thought to himself, "Uman, Uman." The train was then clogged
with tens of thousands of passengers; people were riding on the roofs of
the trains. Everyone was fleeing from the war because the Germans were
coming. They ran toward the German front, because the Germans were known
to be very refined; they were very courteous and always said, "please"
and "thank you." Of course, it really only meant that they shot their rifles
with more refinement. They weren't then taking people out to the extermination
camps, so many people then fled to the German sector from Russia. Also,
during the Second World War, many fled from the Russian sector into German
territory. It was because, during wartime, the Russians are usually worse
than the Germans. The Russians, at least this time, did not reach to the
level of genocide. No one knew about this, no one could have imagined it
in his most wild imagination.
The mother of one of my students once told him about
this time. She said that no fantasy, no person, no book, can describe what
happened every moment there. Whoever says that he knows a little, that
he understands a little—it is not true, no one does! It can't be comprehended
by any stretch of the imagination. How much more so before it happened—it
was impossible to believe that such things would occur. Even after it happened,
no matter how many books we read, no matter how many pictures or films
we see about these things, it doesn't help. No description comes to a millionth,
a trillionth of a trillionth part of what actually went on there. So, many
people fled from Russia to Germany when they partitioned Poland. They said,
"The Germans are more refined than the Russians. Even if it's war, they
are still more refined."
This is what Hashem came to teach us, that all of
the Germans' refinement is like a cat that has been trained to walk upright.
It isn't anything more than that. When the cat spies the mouse, he pounces.
They decided that the Jews were mice. I said this to the son of the Minister
of Education in Florida (who is a convert). "He [Hitler] taught them for
seven years, from 1933 until 1940. He taught them that the Jews are nothing
more than bacteria, and if the Jews are bacteria, then one ought to spray
them with disinfectant to exterminate them. Surely it is the logical conclusion
to draw?" And he answered me, "Everyone is responsible for himself. How
can a person decide one day that someone else is a bacteria? How can he
come to such a conclusion, that the other person is a rodent? It means
that he is a cat, if he can feel that another person is a mouse. This is
the sign that he is a cat!"
All that we are speaking about right now is that
a person has no license to offer rebuke or to check into anyone else. No
one has a license to wash his conscience with the blood of someone else.
Everyone has his or her own flaws, and one must sit and consider every
decision with the utmost gravity, to weigh out what truly needs to be done.
The moment that someone, G-d forbid, causes some boy to leave the yeshiva
and desecrate the Shabbos, he has the blood of that child and the blood
of his descendants on his own conscience.
Elisha died because he banished Gechazi. This was
one of the three reasons. He became ill and then he died. He became ill
because he had banished Gechazi. If a person causes damage to a student
and brings him to leave the yeshiva, then the blood of that student and
the blood of his future descendants until the end of time are on his conscience.
Rebbe Nachman says all of this. This is his last will and testament. For
Rebbe Nachman is leading us until the end of time, us and the Jewish people
as a whole. It's a pity we didn't merit to see him, but at least he left
us his last will and testament. The first statement of it is that no one
should hound anyone else. No one should rebuke anyone else.
People use this "justified" hounding of others to
get some action into their lives. It has more to do with putting some action
into their lives than with furthering the interest of heaven. A person
should instead sit and learn, or pray. We spoke about Makave. Reb Yitzchak
Atvatzker just sat and learned. He was a sixteen-year-old boy and he learned
and prayed, and the entire yeshiva became Breslovers. When they expelled
a few Breslovers, the First World War broke out. And the whole thing was
foolishness—the entire war was over a bit of nonsense. All told, they only
shot at Franz Ferdinand. They shot at the heir apparent, the son of the
brother of Franz Joseph. Franz Joseph had no natural heir, so the heir
apparent was his brother's son who was called Franz Ferdinand. They shot
him in Serbia because they wanted independence. The Yugoslavians wanted
independence, so they shot the heir apparent, the nephew of the emperor,
and the event could have passed quietly, if there had been just one more
prayer, one more chatzos, one more hisbodedus.
You see how it really happened, how everything hung
just by a thread. After the seven years that Hitler quietly prepared, the
Second World War couldn't have been prevented. Hitler had already planned
this out after the First World War. He planned it out very well in all
its detail. Anyone who has read of his war plans knows that he did everything
precisely and very slowly. He subdued the masses. He had a few comrades
who wanted to do things quicker and he said, "No! Absolutely not! I need
the Party, so just go slowly. Be patient. We will conquer the entire world."
He had everything planned out from 1920, from only two years after the
end of the War. He planned that after Germany would start to be rebuilt,
then he would seize power. Everyone would be dejected because of the police
State, because of Bismarck, because of the form of government. He would
slowly start to work on the minds of the masses to get them to believe
that it would be possible to set up a new government, to restore Germany
to its former glory. The Third Reich would then rule over the entire world.
He planned this out in the most minute detail—they sat down to strategize
from 1920-1940. They planned out the stages for twenty years, how to take
care of the Jews and how to conquer Russia. Everything slowly slowly, to
blind the entire world.
The Pope was with them, John Paul. He fooled everyone
and became a "saint." The whole world stood up when he was beatified. He
wrote a letter to Hitler saying, "You are an agent of Divine Providence."
They manipulated the whole world—for twenty years they manipulated. Anyone
who tried to run a little too fast was thrown out of the Party altogether.
Everything went slowly, slowly. They were able to wait and wait.
Here, everyone wants everything to happen immediately.
At the very least, you should learn from Hitler, may his name be erased.
Everything should be done slowly, slowly. World War II couldn't have been
prevented; it was all in order to motivate people to move to Eretz Yisrael.
Rav Avraham b'Rav Nachman had said, "Anyone who doesn't make aliyah to
Eretz Yisrael won't leave a trace behind him. He should simply flee to
Eretz Yisrael." He said this to the Chofetz Chayim before his death, "And
on Mount Zion there will remain a remnant." People asked him, "What will
be?" This was already after Hitler had come to power. He came to power
on January 3rd, 1933, and the Chofetz Chayim passed away half a year later
in Elul, nearly nine months after he came to power. The Chofetz Chayim
saw everything in advance. His students asked him, "What will be here?"
He answered, "And on Mount Zion there will remain a remnant." He publicized
this everywhere, that anyone who flees to Eretz Yisrael will remain alive.
Way back in 1933, there were people that knew that no memory of the Jewish
people would remain. This had all been planned out in all its detail. They
planned this for twenty years, and no one could have escaped from it—only
those who have some brains, "And on Mount Zion there will remain a remnant."
The [start of the] First World War hung by a thread.
At the moment I am reading a book all about the First World War, so I am
immersed in the subject. You see that such tragedies happen literally because
of one prayer [lacking]. Austria already wanted to escape from the situation;
she had already given in. They wanted Yugoslavia to try the criminals and
the murderers and then imprison them, and eventually to extradite them
to Austria. Yugoslavia said, "No. We were the ones who caught them, we
will try them and imprison them." It was over this conflict, over this
point, that the whole thing hinged. It depended on just one more prayer,
just one more chatzos. One more hisbodedus could have canceled
all of this out entirely. Austria was looking for some way to get out of
it, to come up with some sort of a compromise, so that the Yugoslavians
would try the criminals and the Austrians would be able to send Austrian
representatives to the Yugoslavian and Serbian trial. But the Germans stood
behind the scenes and they saw their opportunity to instigate a conflict.
The author of this book on World War I, produces all the letters there,
and also brings letters from the archives, that Germany had written to
Franz Joseph and the generals. No one wanted to go to war. No one had been
ready for it, they weren't prepared at all. At every moment, they tried
to stop it, and evade the Germans. Germany simply interposed in the conflict,
because they wanted to go to war. If there had only been another few people
waking up for chatzos, another few people doing hisbodedus—if
people had only continued to get up for chatzos, continued to do
This is what mitigates judgments, and if it had
been so, then the First World War would never have happened. And then there
would have been no W.W.II, since the whole reason for the Second World
War had been Germany's defeat. Germany lost the First World War, and that
paved the way for Hitler to get up and say, "The government is at fault!
We could have won the war. Lets try again." Now they are trying a third
time—they never give up. They are the true Breslovers who never give up.
If only we would learn something from them—just a little. We should just
learn a millionth part of what we could learn from them.
We spoke about how Reb Yitzchak Atvatzker would
sit and learn, pray, and recite Tehillim passionately, weeping,
and through this his entire yeshiva became Breslovers. Within three months,
the war broke out and everyone ran home. Rav Levi Yitzchak didn't go home,
rather, he ran straight to the train station, saying to himself, "Now is
the time to travel to Uman." He had no idea what Uman was. He had first
heard of Uman only the previous month, and now he was traveling to Uman.
He saw people riding on the roofs of the trains. They were falling off
as the train was moving, and he was running with his suitcase. Suddenly,
someone shouted to him, "Pass me up your suitcase and I'll drag you in
through the window." He was traveling without a ticket and without any
money. Every few minutes, the conductors threw him off, until he got to
Suddenly, he met Reb Ben Tzion Apter who was going
around in his long underwear. Rav Levi Yitzchak saw a strange man sitting
with long underwear on his head. He said to him, "What's going on here?"
He answered, "The conductor is coming." So this strange man said to him,
"We'll put you under the benches, no problem." Someone else was also there—Reb
Yudel had also come. The Cossacks had cut off his sidelocks on the way.
Rav Levi Yitzchak asked Reb Yudel, "Have you heard of Reb Ben Tzion Apter?"
The stranger said regarding Reb Yudel, "Leave him be; he doesn't know him."
Reb Yudel said to him, "You don’t know him personally?"
Rav Levi Yitzchak answered, "No, I don’t know him at all. I heard about
him, though. I heard that he gets everyone dancing there [in Uman], that
he encourages everyone." [The stranger] said to him, "I don’t know
anyone like that at all." They entered the "Kloiz" [Breslov synagogue].
They entered together, and the stranger began jumping on the tables and
chairs in the Kloiz, getting everyone to dance. There was tremendous
joy there, and singing and dancing. It was then that Rav Levi Yitzchak
figured out that he had been talking to Reb Ben Tzion Apter all along.
Anyone who had the privilege of seeing him experienced
something very great. He used to sit in Lelov every night—from eleven o’clock
every Thursday night—and he used to breathe new life into all of them,
all of the Lelovers. He was the animating spirit of Lelov. The Beis Yisrael
loved him deeply—who didn't love him deeply? He was a genius, an incredible
genius. Yet he hid himself completely. He would only make people happy
and get them to dance, and he would laugh.
This is what Rabbeinu is saying here, that our Divine
service must be made up of joy and happiness and dancing. That no one should
chastise anyone else. Anyone who wants to can set up an appointment with
the Rav and the Rabbanit. The Rabbanit's ear is open to everyone. This
week, a couple came and we listened to them. And they will come again and
again. We gave them the privilege of keeping an eye on what is going on
here. And more couples like this will be received, and we are looking for
even more couples who, with the right kind of attitude, seek what is in
the interest of the community as a whole. Hashem plans everything so that
no soul is ever lost. He overturns worlds so that no soul will be lost
to Him. How much more so will He not actively push a person away from Him.
One just needs to know how to handle the situation. So the Rabbanit can
sit with everyone—people can come to us every day. They can sit with me
too, and we will work on bringing people closer through song and dance,
by being joyful and by reciting Tehillim. That is why no one has
the right to chastise, Rabbeinu says, no one in the world.
Rebuke has to be like Moshe’s rebuke of the Jewish
people for the sin of the golden calf. Moshe sang a song to them, even
when they sinned with the golden calf. They made a golden calf, and he
sang them some songs—his words were like a melody. "My spikenard…" [See
Rashi on Shir HaShirim 1:12; "spikenard" is an allusion to the incense
which was offered to the golden calf.] Yet spikenard is like music—it is
a sweet smelling spice. His words were like incense. "My spikenard gave
off its fragrance," was said about the sin of the golden calf—the sin of
the golden calf. It doesn't say, "lost," it says, "gave off." It gave off
its pleasant fragrance. Not only that, but Moshe even enhanced the sweetness
of their fragrance with his gentle rebuke.
Bilam had searched for the sin of the golden calf,
and he wanted to be their accuser. Hashem said to him, "How goodly are
your tents, oh Yaakov, your dwelling-places, Yisrael. They are planted
like rivers, like tents planted by Hashem. They are like gardens by the
riverbank, like cedars growing on the waterside." These are the tents;
they are like spices, like perfume. For if there had been no sin of the
golden calf, there would have been no reward. You take a person out of
slavery, out of the coalmines…They used to have to lift stones that weighed
three hundred tons, lift them up to a height of one to two hundred meters.
People would form an assembly line to transport them, but if a stone fell,
everyone would be killed.
Then someone comes and frees them all—Moshe Rabbeinu—he
frees everyone. Lets go! He surrounds them with the clouds of glory, surrounds
them with the manna and the quail. He says to them, "You know what? Don’t
light a fire on Shabbos. I'm asking you, if someone wants a cup of tea,
please wait until Shabbos is over. If you must, put it in a thermos or
leave it on a fire that was lit before Shabbos. That is what I'm asking
of you. Put on tefillin, and say 'Shema Yisrael' with tefillin
on. That is what I'm asking of you." What lunatic wouldn't agree?
Aside from what I said yesterday, those people are
literally the "forehead of the serpent." But the forehead of the serpent
wasn't around then. So would a person have deserved such a reward to come
along—to leave Egypt, the house of slavery, to sit in the clouds of glory,
to eat the manna and the quail, and to drink water from Miriam's well?
He wouldn't have deserved any reward at all.
To what is this similar? It's as if a person was
taken out of the coalmines and brought by his redeemer to a hotel. His
benefactor gives him food and drink—everything. He also gives him money—whatever
he needs. The only catch is that he asks him not to use electricity on
Shabbos. "You can leave the lights on in every room. You can leave it on
in here and off in there, if you like. You can hook up a timer if you want.
This is all I'm asking of you." It isn't always easy. Just when he wants
to sleep and it's dark, he finds that he can't fall asleep. He wants to
read a book because it's hard for him to fall asleep. Now he has to get
up to sit where the light is on. And not always does the timer turn the
light on and off exactly when it needs to go on and off. All of a sudden,
all kinds of details change during Shabbos. This is the one and only trouble
that a person has on Shabbos. He has what to eat and drink, and everything
is good. Another person goes to the beach and gets sunburn, and his food
falls in the sand or into the water. His skin gets burned, and it's all
scorched, and he screams at his wife, and his wife yells at him. On Sunday,
they are already sitting at the Rabbinate, and they get their divorce there.
This is the "Oneg Shabbos" of the secularists.
It is important to know that there is no such thing
as a secular Jew that doesn't believe in the holiness of the Shabbos. It's
just that there are these "seven city leaders" running our country who
are the "forehead of the serpent." Aside from them, all of the Jewish people
believe in the holiness of the Shabbos. Right now, everyone is stupefied,
traumatized. They chose a religious President—the radical left doesn't
understand. They [the radical left] have been working hard since the time
that Shamir fell. Everything went over to Meretz, and all of Meretz is
running the country. The "seven city leaders" of Meretz are running the
country. They slander the Rabbis, the Torah, everything, twenty-four hours
a day—pure slander. People can't even turn on their radios—they have to
turn them off right away. Even secular Jews can't listen to it. Defamation,
and defamation, and more defamation! Suddenly, the people vote for a President
who puts on tefillin, who prays three times a day. They don't know
what is going on here. They have been working on defaming religion for
the last ten years, and they don't know that the people are just spitting
at their TV screens—spitting at their TV screens! They are shutting off
the programs in the middle. It's like a cantor who came to some Rebbe and
asked, "How does one eradicate one's pride?" The Rebbe said, "Look behind
you. When you look behind you, you'll see how everyone is laughing at you."
This cantor wanted to work on his pride…!
So the radical left has been working on defaming
religion for the past ten years, and now they see that the Jewish people
have remained religious. They don't understand what is going on here. Everyone
goes to pray on Yom Kippur, and the leftists travel to Germany to play
with the murderers. Anyone who is seventy-five years old now was twenty
years old during the war. He murdered Jews. There is no such thing as a
Nazi who didn't murder Jews—that is the reality! Yet the members of Israel's
radical left go to play with them, with these fine souls. Birds of a feather
flock together; it wasn't for nothing that the "zarzir went to the raven."
They don’t understand how this religious Jew got voted in, how this person
got everyone's vote, aside from the "seven city leaders."
Everyone, then, believes in the Shabbos. It's just
that the average irreligious Jew in Israel thinks that his Shabbos delight
is to go to the beach. That is what he thinks. It is not that he is against
the idea of "Shabbos delight." And anyway, his "Shabbos delight"
is not such a great delight, either. The food always gets burned, or it
falls into the water or in the sand, and then they realize that they forgot
to bring the watermelon. Then they have a fight, "Why did you forget the
watermelon?" He gets angry at her, "Why didn't you remember the watermelon?"
She shouts, "You didn't remember! You were supposed to bring the watermelon.
I reminded you, and you forgot." The very next day, they're already at
the office of the Rabbinate, all because of this watermelon. They believe
in the Shabbos, it's just that they think that this is their Shabbos delight.
There is no Jew who doesn't believe in the Shabbos. There is no such thing.
Why is it then, that this sin of the golden calf
became the most wonderful fragrance? Because they take a person out of
the coalmines and put him in a fancy hotel, give him food and drink, and
then say to him, "Just don’t turn off the light on Shabbos. You can leave
a light on in every room; we don’t care if they're left on for a full twenty-four
hours. If you want to sleep, it can go off by itself—you can set a timer."
Afterward, it doesn't work out exactly as planned, so he gets upset. This
is all that a person has to get upset about during Shabbos. Then someone
comes and takes him out of the hotel. He says to him, "I will give you
a hotel without any Shabbos observance." This is when his free will comes
into play. Up until this point, he had no choice when it came to Shabbos.
So he'll lose five minutes of electric light, what does it matter? But
when someone comes and offers him a new hotel without Shabbos restrictions
that is when he begins to receive a reward for choosing to stay at the
hotel that observes Shabbos.
When the Jewish people escaped from the house of
slavery, they received the clouds of glory, but they still didn't deserve
any reward. When Yunus and Yombrus, the Mixed Multitude, came along, they
made a golden calf and said, "Now we can go and conquer the Land without
having to observe the Shabbos." Then Moshe Rabbeinu came, and they wanted
Moshe Rabbeinu. They wanted the Shabbos of Moshe Rabbeinu and they wanted
the six hundred and thirteen commandments. They weren't willing to have
the clouds of glory without observing the six hundred and thirteen commandments.
This is what we learned yesterday, that the golden calf had been able to
make the dew descend, to bring down the rain, to bring them water. They
wanted the six hundred and thirteen commandments, so it was then that,
"My spikenard gave off its fragrance." It was only then that the Jewish
people began to be deserving of reward.
The Rebbe says that even when Moshe Rabbeinu rebuked
them over the sin of the golden calf, his words were like a song. He told
them, "Now your reward will begin. Now your free will begins. Now you have
chosen Hashem in truth." Until that point, there was no Torah. Until that
point, they had been observing the commandments like people who do so out
of habit. "You had to observe Shabbos; you had to put on tefillin.
Now that Yunus and Yombrus, the Mixed Multitude, offered you Miriam's well,
the clouds of glory, the quail and the manna… All through the golden calf,
because the calf had been made with sorcery. It had been able to bestow
water and bread, and could even have conquered Eretz Yisrael. But now you
have decided to observe the six hundred and thirteen commandments, how
fortunate you are! Now you can begin to really observe the Torah's laws,
with your own free will. Now you should know that your reward is just beginning."
Moshe Rabbeinu transformed it all into a pleasant fragrance; he taught
them that every failure is part of the process of growth. All of this was
part of the process of growth; he transformed everything into the most
amazing perfume. This is what Bilam had said to them, "How goodly are your
tents, oh Yaakov, your dwelling places, Yisrael. Like gardens along the
riverbank, like streams planted like cedars."
Now everything was transformed into perfume, and
Bilam also saw that this [the sin of the golden calf] had changed into
perfume, that everything had been transformed into perfume. Through the
everything is changed into perfume. That is why one needs to know how to
sing and make music, how to recite Tehillim with joy and song. This
is the message that Rabbeinu left us as his last will and testament: that
all of our Divine service is about song and melody, about singing and joy—that
we should sing as much as possible and make as much music as possible.
There was a time that we used to sit here until
ten o’clock, until ten-thirty we would sit. Today we decided that we would
not stay here any later than eight-thirty, so that everyone will be able
to take care of the children and get to kollel on time. Just another
ten days and we will have reached the first day of Elul. The new session
of kollel will begin. But we used to sit a while and dance afterward
for an hour, because dancing is really the main thing. Everything has to
be accomplished through dancing and singing, with sweetness. This is the
last will and testament that Rabbeinu left us.
"Through feeding the body, the food for the soul
is diminished. That is to say, that eating and drinking magnifies the aspect
of the 'heel of the other side.' 'The one who ate my bread magnified the
heel upon me.' One should also not eat too much, as in, 'If you eat a great
deal, you can check and see how it affected your footsteps.' All of this
is through the aspect of, 'And a river ran out of Eden to water the Garden.'"
This is the voice of music that waters the garden that waters the souls,
that spreads the Torah's wisdom. Everything is accomplished through melody.
That is why the tractate Avos begins, "They said three things: Be
deliberate in judgment, raise up many students, [and make a fence for the
Torah]." A person has to be deliberate in judgment so that he will be able
to raise up many students. If he isn't deliberate, he will insult this
one, will hurt another one, and will hound someone else. Then those people
will go and desecrate the Shabbos.
Therefore, "be deliberate in judgment and raise
up many students." This is the opening statement of Avos. This is
how the tractate of Avos begins. One must be deliberate about everything
in order to raise up many students, to have many students. To find the
right approach for every student through melody and song. This is "The
voice that waters the garden." Through this, all of the spirits that are
the aspect of heavenly awe grow. This heavenly awe is the melody; this
heavenly awe is the perfume, the pleasant fragrance. This is the "food
of the soul," for through this voice, the aspect of the "heel of the other
side" is subdued. This voice is "the voice of Yaakov." These are the melodies
and songs, and that is why Yaakov always spoke in a way that was like music.
This is similar to what was said of David: "And
he knew music." The Gemara comments on this statement and says that David
knew how to ask a question as if it was a melody. You ask and you show
that everything will be accomplished through melody and song. Only Moshiach
will know how to do this, and that is why Moshaich will bring the entire
world back to G-d. He will only speak in song and melody, and all of his
words will be like melody and song. That is why Moshiach will bring the
entire world to repentance, because there will be such sweetness, and everyone
will want to repent. Moshiach won't scold anyone. It is written in Yeshayahu
11:1-5: "A branch will come forth from the trunk of Yishai, and a shoot
will blossom from its roots. The spirit of G-d will rest upon him, a spirit
of wisdom and understanding, a sprit of advice and strength, a sprit of
knowledge and the fear of G-d. And he will sense with the fear of G-d,
and not according to appearances will he judge. He will not chastise according
to what his ear hears. He will judge the poor in righteousness, and rebuke
the humble of the land in fairness. He will smite the earth with the staff
of his mouth, and the wicked will die by the breath of his lips. Righteousness
will gird his loins, and faith will gird his hips." "He will not extinguish
even flickering flax" (Yeshayahu 42:3). He won't even extinguish
a bit of flax that is nearly burnt out; he will not put out the flickering
candle of even the weakest person. Moshiach won't put out the Divine spark
that is within even the weakest person.
A person must make sure that the flickering flax
is not extinguished—the last spark that still remains in the child, within
the soul of the child. On the contrary, one must blow on that spark to
help it burst into flame. This is the melodious voice that Yaakov Avinu
had. When Yaakov lived, the Jewish people didn't yet exist, and Esav didn't
want to hear Yaakov's voice. Esav didn't want to hear, but now the Jewish
people exist who will bring the redemption. Moshiach will bring the Jewish
people closer to G-d, "He will bring in the dispersed of Yisrael." This
was said of Moshiach, and this is only accomplished through melody and
song. Everyone will want to hear Moshiach, because all of his words will
only be melodies and songs.
"And this voice is the aspect of the voice of the
person who is fit to offer rebuke. 'Raise your voice like the shofar
and tell the Jewish people their iniquity.' For the one who offers rebuke,
who wants to chastise the Jewish people and tell them their sin…" Anyone
who wants to speak has to do it only with melody, with song, only with
that kind of a pleasant voice, the kind of voice that immediately draws
others after it. A voice should not, G-d forbid, stir up the negativity
inside of any child, inside of anyone, or put out that last Divine spark.
It shouldn't make him go and desecrate Shabbos afterward, or make him go
over to Esav.
This was even true of the oldest son of Yaakov,
Reuven, who was originally the choicest of all the sons. Yaakov was afraid
that even he would one day go over to Esav. He feared that if he said one
wrong word, Reuven would go over to Esav. Yaakov feared that his son would
become Esav's protégé. If Yaakov was afraid for Reuven, who
was the forefather one of G-d's tribes, then what about us! There is a
gate in Yerushalayim that is called Reuven's gate. The Zohar says on the
parsha of Shelach Lecha that Yerushalayim has twelve gates, and
each of the twelve brothers stands at his gate. Reuven, Shimon, Levi, and
the rest are ready for the ultimate future when everyone will need to enter
the heavenly Yerushalayim. Then everyone will know to which tribe he or
she belongs. Everyone will need to pass by way of Reuven, or Shimon, or
Levi, and the heads of each tribe will check if each person did what he
was supposed to have done. They will check whether or not each person is
fit to enter. It was over this Reuven that Yaakov was worried, because
one insulting word can drive a child to desecrate the Shabbos. A single
insulting word! This voice helps all the spirits to grow, because this
voice waters the garden. "Raise your voice like a shofar." This
represents song and melody—-the simple, double, triple, and fourfold song.
And one can only water the children, the youth, the young married men,
and all the Jewish people, with these melodies and songs. "And this voice
waters the garden. 'Raise your voice like a shofar,' like a shofar,
specifically. For this is the voice that waters the garden, it is the river
that flows out of Eden. This is the aspect of the sound of the melody of
the song that will be sung in the ultimate future."
Now, we are on the way to Eretz Yisrael, we are
on the way to reveal the ten types of melody. Eretz Yisrael is the embodiment
of the ten types of melody; Eretz Yisrael is the embodiment of the harp
that has seventy-two strings. Right now, we are only on the way to Eretz
Yisrael; we haven't yet reached Eretz Yisrael. This is similar to the new
Torah concept we learned at the pidyon. I will give one hundred thousand
dollars to the person who manages to find the words "Eretz Yisrael" in
My friends, hear me out. Instead of going out looking
for interest-free loans, instead of traveling up and down the country looking
for donations, go look instead in the Torah. If you find those words, you'll
get one hundred thousand dollars. If you find it in the book of Yehoshua,
you'll get two hundred thousand dollars. If you find it in Shoftim,
you'll get three hundred thousand dollars. All together, that's six hundred
thousand dollars. With that kind of money, you could buy as many as six
apartments! But it's not there! Why not?
Someone came up with this novel interpretation.
We're only on the way to Eretz Yisrael. Correct—this is exactly what is
written in Likutei Moharan II:78. We're always only on the way to
Eretz Yisrael, and we still haven't arrived. When we actually get to Eretz
Yisrael, then there won't be any need for spears or swords; at that point,
we will only rely on Hashem. This is what we learned yesterday about the
four groups. There are four groups—when the Jewish girls used to go out
to the vineyards to dance [on the fifteenth of Av], they were divided
into four groups. One of them had absolutely nothing, nothing at all! The
Arizal says about this, "The girls from that group would say, 'Take girls
from our group purely for the sake of heaven.' They would say this because
they had nothing else to offer—not swords, not spears, not family connections,
and not money. They had nothing at all. It's then that a person raises
his eyes to heaven, and it's then that he becomes a part of the letter
'yud' that is in Hashem's Name."
The holy Ari says that this group of girls dances
and says, "Choose from our group purely for the sake of heaven," because
they have nothing physical to offer. They can only say, "for the sake of
heaven!" It is then that they ascend and become incorporated within the
"yud" of Hashem's Name. These four groups parallel the four letters
that make up Hashem's Name. They also parallel the simple, double, triple,
and fourfold song that expresses that we are still on the road to Eretz
Yisrael. When Eretz Yisrael will truly be revealed, then all of the melodies
in the world will be revealed. Then there will only be melodies; there
will only be songs. "Sing to Hashem a new song, for He has done wonders."
This "new song" is the song of the ultimate future. It is the song of Eretz
Sarah [the Matriarch] was entirely song and melodies.
Rabbeinu says that Sarah was all song and melody. That is why one needs
the "yud" of Sarah's original name [Sarai, with a yud] in
order to conquer Eretz Yisrael. Yehoshua ben Nun wanted to conquer Eretz
Yisrael, and that is why he needed the "yud" that had been a part
of Sarah's original name. [Moshe changed his name from Hoshea ben Nun to
Yehoshua, with a yud, when he sent him to spy out the Land. Bamidbar
13:16.] That "yud" was abandoned for four hundred and two years.
We calculated the dates. It was exactly four hundred years from the birth
of Yitzchak until the Exodus from Egypt. The "yud" had been taken
from her name a year before his birth, and the spies were sent a year after
the Exodus. That "yud," therefore, was abandoned for four hundred
and two years wondering which Tzaddik would merit it, until Moshe
saw that Yehoshua was the one that was worthy.
Rabbeinu says that this "yud" of Sarah's
original name represents the ten types of melody. [Yud is the tenth
letter of the aleph beis, therefore it represents the number ten.]
Sarah possessed the ten types of melody; this "yud" of her name
represented the ten types of melody. This "yud" then became attached
to Yehoshua's name to enable him to conquer Eretz Yisrael with the ten
types of melody. This is what the Midrash Tanchuma says in Acharei
Mos. When Yehoshua wanted to stop the sun, the sun asked, "Who will
sing in my stead?" Yehoshua answered, "I will." All of the songs of the
sun and moon were revealed to him. "I will sing in your stead." Only the
person who can sing the sun's song is able to say, "Sun, be silent in Givon,
and the moon in the valley of Ayalon." For Eretz Yisrael is completely
song and melody. Simply by being there one merits to reveal the holiness
of Eretz Yisrael. Then he merits that all of his words will be like songs
This is what Rabbeinu is talking about here, that
we are working to achieve these ten types of song that break up into seventy-two
strings, seventy-two individual tunes. Anyone who wishes to rebuke anyone
else must make sure that his voice only expresses song and melody. Then
he merits to have a stream of kindness drawn down upon him. Our sages said,
"Whoever rebukes his friend for the sake of heaven has a stream of kindness
drawn down upon him. As the verse says, 'Rebuke a person, afterward he
will find grace.'" This stream/string of kindness is made of seventy-two
strands wound together. This is called kindness/chessed, when
it has these seventy-two strands of song and melody. This harp is made
up of seventy-two strings, and it will be revealed to Moshiach. And Moshiach
will reveal this harp of seventy-two strings to us. The songs that come
out of this harp are the songs that will bring the entire world to repentance;
they will bring all the peoples of the world back to G-d. The nations of
the world will repent only through these songs and melodies.
This is what the Gemara says in Shabbos 63a,
in the chapter called, "BaMeh Ishah." Rabbi Eliezer says that it
is permitted to go out in public on Shabbos with certain weapons. The other
sages asked, "How can this be permitted? One cannot carry weapons on Shabbos!
They aren't ornamental!" So Rabbi Eliezer says, "No! They are ornamental;
it is an adornment for a man. In the ultimate future, weapons will be superfluous."
He says, however, that there will still be wars after Moshiach comes. The
Ridbaz explains that the Jews will experience peace right away, but the
non-Jewish nations will continue to fight amongst themselves. How, then,
will these wars among the gentiles ultimately stop? The wars will stop
through the action of the songs and melodies. The gentiles will come to
Eretz Yisrael and hear such songs and melodies, and all of their impulse
to fight wars, to conquer one another, will stop. So even when Moshiach
comes, there will still be a great deal of work to do. We go according
to Rabbi Eliezer's opinion, that these weapons of war will be adornments.
For even after Moshiach comes, these weapons will continue to exist. It
follows, then, that there will still be wars among the gentile nations.
At that point, they will respect the Jews, but they
will still fight amongst themselves. Moshiach will stop the wars; he will
sing such songs to them, such melodies that will remove all of their warring
impulses. This is similar to what Rabbeinu said when they [Reb Nosson and
Reb Naftali] went out to collect money. Rabbeinu said, "Sing them a melody
from Eretz Yisrael. With a melody from Eretz Yisrael, one could draw down
all the money in the world. With songs and dances, it is possible to draw
down all the money in the world." This is how it will be when Moshiach
comes. He will play on the harp of seventy-two strings, the strands of
kindness/chessed which has a gematria of seventy-two. This
is the melody of Eretz Yisrael. "Sing to Hashem a new song, for He has
done wonders." This is the song of the wonders that will be, completely
made up of song and melody. Now, however, we are only on the way to Eretz
Yisrael. When we achieve these songs, these melodies, then the Temple will
be built and the complete redemption will come, may it be speedily and
in our days, immediately. Amen!
Return to top of page.
© 2000 Breslov Institutions, Yeshivat "Shuvu Bonim",
All Rights Reserved.