A lesson given by HaRav Eliezer Berland, shlit”a, on Friday
the 17th of Av, 5760.
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“Know, that it is also a very great thing
for a person to see himself with the true Tzaddik” (Likutei
Moharan II:72). Even if he doesn’t hear any Torah, just seeing the
the face of the Tzaddik—is an incredible thing, for through this,
one receives humility. One can receive the humility of Moshe Rabbeinu.
And if one is privileged to hear Torah [from the Tzaddik], then
it is an even greater thing. And to hear Torah “lishmah” [studied
for the sake of heaven alone] is that much greater, for every movement
of the Tzaddik is permeated with humility and self-effacedness.
Yet, even if he doesn’t hear Torah, the seeing alone—just seeing the Tzaddik
and meriting being with the Tzaddik—is also a very good thing. Just
seeing a Tzaddik, a true Tzaddik whose every movement is
permeated with humility and self-effacedness…When he sees himself [spends
time] with the Tzaddik, then he will certainly receive greatness
in accordance with his self-effacedness. All true greatness is directly
proportionate to a person’s humility. Through this, one receives greatness.
“And this is the aspect of, ‘And you, go look
among the entire people…captains of thousands and captains of hundreds
(Shemos 18:21). For when Moshe, who was the most humble of all men,
looked into each and every person, he was able to grant greatness to each
and every person [in accordance with his level].” And the main element
of greatness is humility. The more a person struggles to achieve humility,
the more he becomes worthy of greatness. For Moshe’s face shone because
of his intense humility and shame, which is what we find with regards to
Hashem Himself. Hashem made Himself small, as it were, in that he created
simple creatures like ourselves, ants, and grasshoppers like us, and then
He restricted Himself even down to our level. The fact that He is able
to limit Himself to that degree is itself the measure of His greatness
and His power. With regards to Hashem [it is written], “Everywhere that
You find His greatness, that is where you find His humility.” Hashem lowers
Himself to an infinite degree. Even though He sees sinning creatures, lowly
creatures, He dwells with them even in their impurity. He lowers Himself
to reach every single person, for everyone possesses a Divine spark.
Hashem penetrates and weaves Himself into a person,
into the heart of each and every human being, including the non-Jews. “In
the image of G-d he made man.” Also the non-Jews have this Divine
spark. When Moshiach comes, that spark will start to come to life. For
the main element of greatness is humility, and as much as a person is able
to lower himself, that is his greatness, and his strength. “In the place
that you find his greatness, that is where you find his humility.” The
main element of the future resurrection—that which will be brought back
to life at the time of the future resurrection—will be according to all
the points of humility that a person collected during his lifetime.
Every day, every second, a person must manifest
some point of humility. This is what the Yehudi HaKadosh meant when he
said, “When two Jews sit together to drink a cup of tea and each one is
thinking that he is less than his friend, then all their sins are forgiven.”
That is what Rebbe Nachman meant when he said to someone that he could
show him the Moshiach over a cup of tea. The Rebbe felt himself to be so
lowly that he could have been able to bring the Moshiach. The minute that
two Jews meet, they both need to be thinking, “I’m less than him.” When
they do, at that moment, all their sins are forgiven. As Rav Avraham Kalisker
said, “I don’t have to work on my humility at all, for all Jews are certainly
kosher [i.e. more kosher than me], and I know exactly where I am holding.”
So it turns out that he didn’t have any work at all to do to improve his
Humility is the only greatness that there is, [and
it is] the main element of the future resurrection—that which will get
up again at the time of the resurrection. The entire resurrection of the
dead is the [awakening] of the points of humility that a person achieved
during his lifetime. Life will be eternal and that element of us that will
be resurrected, that which will come back to life, will be this point of
humility. Only this will get up again.
The entire Torah is only meant to bring a person
to humility. Moshe merited attaining the forty-nine levels of Binah.
That was why he was more humble than any other human being. The more G-dly
consciousness (mochin) a person has, the more humble he is able
to be. If a person can’t bring himself to humility, it’s because he has
no G-dly consciousness. Just as people say, “He’s got no diskettes.” [This
is a slang expression used in Hebrew, meaning that he has no intelligence.]
With what, then, can he be humble? The more diskettes he has, the more
humble he can be. The more wisdom a person has, the more ability he has,
and the more humble he is able to be. He is able to believe that he really
is nothing. The less G-dly consciousness a person has, the less he is able
to believe that he is nothing. The fact that a person wants to be honored
only proves that his intelligence is lacking, that his awareness is faulty.
Anyone who wants honor is a fool, for glory is only due to the King of
glory (Likutei Moharan I:194).
“And who is this King of glory?” When Shlomo brought
the Ark of the Covenant into the Temple, the gates stuck together. He said,
“Lift up your heads, oh you gates, and be lifted up, you everlasting doors,
and the King of glory will come in” (Tehillim 24). The gates said,
“Who is this King of glory?” Shlomo said to them, “Hashem strong and mighty,
Hashem mighty in battle.” Even so, the gates refused to open until David
stood up out of his grave and said…“Rabbi Berachia said, ‘David got up
out of the grave and opened the gates’” (Midrash Tanchuma,
Va’eira). Shlomo was in no way able to open the gates. It was only
David, the epitome of humility, the small one, who was able to open the
gates of the Temple.
What did Shlomo HaMelech say? “Oh Hashem, G-d, do
not turn away the face of Your anointed one (Moshiach)” (Divrei HaYamim
II:6:42). He saw that the gates wouldn’t open. He said, “Raise up your
heads, O you gates, and be lifted up, you ever lasting doors; and the King
of glory will come in.” So the gates asked, “Who is this King of glory?”
Shlomo answered, “Hashem strong and mighty, Hashem mighty in battle.” They
asked again, “Who is this King of glory?” Shlomo answered, “Hashem of hosts,
He is the King of glory. Selah.” But the gates still wouldn’t open until
he prayed and said, “Oh Hashem, G-d, do not turn away the face of Your
anointed one” (Divrei HaYamim II:6:42).
“Rabbi Brechia said in the name of Rabbi Chelbo,
‘At that moment, David lived again.’” David lived—he got up from the grave
and opened the gates. David was saying about himself, “Hashem, You have
brought up my soul from the grave, You have kept me alive, that I should
not go down to the pit” (Tehillim 30:4). The gates would only open
for David, since he was the epitome of humility. And Shlomo was saying,
“Master of the Universe, do it in his merit, ‘Remember the faithful love
of David your servant.’” His prayer was immediately accepted, as it says,
“Oh Hashem, G-d, do not turn away the face of Your anointed one.”
The more intelligence a person is, the more humble
he can be. When he has no intelligence, he can’t be humble. He feels the
need, instead, to make a spectacle of himself. “For as the crackling of
thorns under a pot, so is the laughter of the fool” (Koheles 7:6).
The fruit trees asked the thorn bushes why their voice is heard. The thorn
bushes answered, “You produce fruits, so you don’t need to make your voices
heard. As for us, if only our voices could be heard!” The less G-dly consciousness
a person has, the less intelligence he has, and the more he wants to be
honored. He wants to put himself in the forefront all the more.
This is what Rabbeinu taught in Likutei Moharan
I:135, that Moshe was the most humble person because he merited attaining
the forty-nine gates of Binah. That was how he merited being the
most humble person in the world. Humility is proportionate to one’s intelligence.
One needs a great deal of intelligence in order to be humble, and it is
only this point of humility that will get up for the resurrection. Only
the point of humility will get up for the resurrection. “Arise and sing,
you who dwell in the dust” (Yeshayahu 26:19). And the Rabbis learned
out that this means “one who is like dust during his life” (Sota
5), for the main element of the resurrection is the point of humility that
a person possesses. As many points of humility that a person collected
during his lifetime, that is what will get up at the resurrection of the
dead. Each and every person’s humility is what will live again in the ultimate
future, because only a humble person can experience spiritual pleasure.
Spiritual pleasure can only be experienced by someone who nullifies the
influence of his own physical self. As long as a person still has a sense
of self—of ego—all the while that he still is commanded by his body, he
doesn’t really feel the pleasure of the spiritual.
Now it is soon going to be Shabbos. At ten to seven
we already light the candles. To feel the sweetness of the Shabbos lights,
the sweetness of Shir HaShirim, of the Shabbos itself, only someone who
has nullified himself completely—who is the epitome of humility—can really
feel it. Only once he has attained the state of “nothingness” —because
he is absolutely humble—can he enter the state of the infinite. In mathematics
it is known that “nothing” is the aspect of infinity. The pleasure of the
World to Come can’t be appreciated now; we don’t understand at all what
the World to Come is. We believe in it, but we don’t have a sense of it
at all. Our existence now is limited, and when a person is limited he can’t
experience the purely spiritual pleasure of the World to Come. This idea
extends to the pleasure of Shabbos too.
Shabbos comes, and a person feels the delight of
the Shabbos in the cholent, not in the Shabbos itself—in the prayers. He
doesn’t feel any pleasure in the prayers at all because he is a physical
being—he has a body. He has to make himself into nothing. He has to attain
humility, and then he’ll feel pleasure in prayer, in chatzos, in
getting up to pray at midnight. On Shabbos night, it’s possible to achieve
spiritually what one can on Kol Nidrei night, and anyone who delights
in the Shabbos is granted a portion without limit. He strips off his body—his
limitations. For the pleasure of Shabbos is a taste of the pleasure of
the World to Come, which is limitless. In order to experience the pleasure
of Shabbos one needs to be free of one’s limitations. One can only be free
of limitations when one is humble.
The main element of the eternal life of the ultimate
future, the pleasure of the World to Come, is only the humility that each
of us possesses. The more points of humility that a person amasses, the
more he can feel a spiritual pleasure in everything: in prayer, in the
letters of the prayers, and in Shabbos. A person only experiences the pleasure
of the World to Come to the degree that he is humble. That is why, when
a person is humbled or shamed by others, he has to accept it with such
profound joy. Such debasement strips away his body, and he remains a soul
freed of the limitations of the body. Then he can feel pleasure in spiritual
This is the pleasure of the World to Come: the humility
that each person possesses. When a person is truly humble, he becomes freed
of his limitations because he becomes literally as though he was nothing.
Little by little he humbles himself further and further, and others also
humble him, until he becomes transformed into nothingness. Once he becomes
as nothing, he actually encompasses the entire world. His soul becomes
like a “green line” that extends throughout the entire world (Chagiga
12a). This is what happened to Queen Esther. Because she was so humbled
by others, she became like a green line. [The verse says that she was “green”
This green line is Binah that surrounds the
entire world, because the soul of the Tzaddik surrounds the entire
world, which is why it is possible to bind oneself to the Tzaddik
from anywhere in the world. Because of the Tzaddik’s absolute humility
and attainment of this state of nothingness, he surrounds the entire world.
The Tzaddik becomes like the encircling light of the world as a
whole. Just like Esther who was “green,” [which refers to] this green line.
Moharan I 12:4 quotes the Zohar which says that this green line, the
green line that encircles the entire world, is the line of Binah.
When a person enters the state of nothingness, then
his soul encircles the entire world, and he is omnipresent. The more “nothing”
he is, the more omnipresent he is. The more limited he is by his physical
self, the less he is able to be in all places [because] he is limited by
space. The Tzaddik, who is literally like nothing, has no limits
at all. He embraces the ends of the earth and becomes the encircling light
of the entire globe, of all the stars, and of all of the cosmos. He can
do this because he is absolutely humble.
The main element of the eternal life of the World
to Come is this aspect of freedom from limitations. It is said [in the
prayers] of Shabbos—which is a taste of the World to Come—“Those who taste
of it merit life,” for Shabbos is the World to Come. And now is the time
that we have to start preparing for the Shabbos. In another eleven hours
it will be the time of candle-lighting. One can already feel—one can start
to prepare. There are another eleven hours to prepare for the Kabbalas
Shabbos prayers, to prepare yourself and attain this state of nothingness
so that you can feel pleasure when the Shabbos candles are lit. For when
a person lights the Shabbos candles below, the candles are lit in the Upper
Worlds as well. All of the spiritual lights of the soul are kindled in
the Upper World, and a person receives this light exactly at the moment
when the candles are lit here in this world.
The Zohar teaches that at the moment that Shabbos
is ushered in by lighting the candles, a person’s soul ascends to the world
of Atzilus, a world that has no limit or boundary to it. Shabbos
is a taste of the World to Come. “Those who taste of it merit life.” Anyone
who tastes the sweetness of Shabbos merits life, eternal life. In order
to reach humility and true greatness, one needs to first experience a flash
of G-dly consciousness. The more intelligence a person has, the more he
merits to attain humility. His soul will then, as a matter of course, spread
forth throughout the entire world like Queen Esther, whose rule ultimately
extended throughout one hundred and seven provinces. For the soul spreads
forth throughout the entire world as a matter of course. Ultimately, it
rules throughout the entire world. Such a person merits receiving true
greatness. “A king is caught in its tresses” (Shir HaShirim 7:6),
in his G-dly consciousness. For Malchus is greatness, and it is
bound and caught within the intertwined fibers of the mind, since a person
receives greatness to the degree that he has developed G-dly consciousness.
And the moment that a person’s mind is electrified with G-dly consciousness,
he becomes a partner in the construction of the Holy Temple.
If ten people would merit having their minds electrified
by G-dly consciousness, the Holy Temple would be rebuilt, for the mind
has to spark in holiness. It is forbidden for a person’s Torah study to
be something that is merely physical. “And there was darkness (‘choshech’)
which may be felt (‘va’yamesh’)” (Shemos 10:21). One can
read the verse differently: “If a person is full of self (‘mamashus’),
then he’s in darkness.” A person must learn purely for the sake of heaven,
purely for spiritual reasons, so that he should be on fire for Hashem and
become nullified before Hashem. “All my springs (yearning) are in You”
This is what Rav Shlomo of Karlin said, “All my
springs are in You.” Some Chabad Chassidim walked from Pinsk to Karlin
to see Rav Shlomo. They arrived during the third meal of Shabbos, and all
he said was, “And singers and dancers alike will say, ‘All my springs are
in You.’” “All my longing is only in You!” All the people there were so
inspired by his words that they didn’t take off their Shabbos clothes for
three whole days. They just danced and sang for three entire days. Afterward,
the Chassidim returned to the Baal HaTanya and said, “What you accomplish
by giving over Torah for eight hours, he managed to do in just two minutes.
All he said was, ‘All my springs are in You.’ Only in You! I only want
to come close to You, to cleave to You! I have no other interest in life,
all my springs, my interests are in You!” They were so overwhelmed by a
fiery enthusiasm and this experience of attachment to G-d that they couldn’t
take off their Shabbos clothes for a whole three days. They didn’t eat
Someone who merits that his mind sparks with consciousness
of G-d is building the Holy Temple. Consciousness and G-dly awareness are
the aspect of the construction of the Holy Temple. Just as the Sages said,
“Anyone who has G-dly awareness [it is as though the Temple was rebuilt
during his lifetime.]” The main thing is awareness, is Da’as, [meaning]
that a person should study Gemara for no less than eight hours a day. There
is no reason why [a person cannot do this.] None of you have ten children
yet. All of you are still young avreichim, and every woman wants
her husband to learn. She literally cries in secret that her husband isn’t
learning. And everyone is obligated to learn Gemara eight hours a day.
He has to find the best kollel that he can, the best study partners. He
has to sit and learn. There are no excuses of having to take care of communal
affairs. They can’t possibly excuse or cover up the fact that a person
isn’t learning. He should first learn for eight hours, and then he can
go and take care of all kinds of communal affairs. He can then go and help
people and families in need, children—all kinds of things. He needs to
learn for eight hours straight, with a break of an hour or two in between.
If he doesn’t, then he can hardly be called a human being. He’s a taxidermist’s
dummy that just looks like a human being.
If a person would just have G-dly awareness, if
there would be ten people with G-dly awareness, then the Holy Temple would
be rebuilt. For anyone who has awareness, it is as though the Holy Temple
was built during his lifetime. For awareness (“dei’ah”) appears
in a verse between two letters [of G-d’s Name], and so does the Holy Temple.
So as much as a person develops his mind and G-dly awareness, as much as
he immerses himself in knowledge of G–d, [the more involved he is in the
building of the Holy Temple]. This is what people say, “May it be Your
will before You, Hashem our G-d and the G-d of our ancestors, that the
Holy Temple will be rebuilt speedily and in our days.” “We want Moshiach
now!” Now. We want that Moshiach should come today—this minute.
Everyone wants the Holy Temple to be rebuilt. Everyone asks, “When will
the Holy Temple be rebuilt?” The advice to accomplish it is simple. “Grant
us our portion in Your Torah.” Learn Gemara for eight hours, and the Temple
will be rebuilt today! That’s all.
For whom will the Temple be rebuilt—for people whose
heads are filled with straw, for stuffed skins that look like human beings,
for animals in the form of people? For whom will the Holy Temple be rebuilt?
In the time of Shlomo HaMelech, “the earth was filled with knowledge of
Hashem, as water covers the seabed” (Yeshayahu 11:9). Shlomo was
wiser than any other person in the world (Melachim I 5:11). He possessed
such wisdom, more so than any other person, so he merited to build the
Holy Temple. Hashem won’t build the Holy Temple for people who lack G-dly
awareness. It won’t help them. They’ll say, “We want Moshiach now!” They’ll
pray for the Holy Temple. But a person has to fill his mind first—his mind
is empty. A person studies mathematics all day long or physics, and he
receives honor for it. There is honor to be gained by studying medicine.
But learning Gemara is only for the sake of heaven, only for the purpose
of cleaving to Hashem, of always thinking about Hashem. If not, then I
am guilty that there is no Holy Temple.
Sit and learn Gemara for eight hours straight. Start
today—Sunday—to sit and learn. We purposefully have cut the lectures short
so that everyone will be able to go and start learning at nine o’clock
in the morning. If you learn from nine to five, that’s eight hours. Assuming
that you take a break in the middle, you finish at six in the evening.
If you take another break, then you finish at seven. After that, it’s possible
to accomplish an infinite number of other things. You can be involved in
communal affairs, [or] you can help out at home with the children. But
if you don’t learn for eight hours, there’s no one to talk to—a bunch of
A person becomes filled with all kinds of questions
and doubts because he has no awareness, no intelligence. If a person wants
to build the Holy Temple, if he wants to have a portion in the building
of the Holy Temple, then he needs to start learning Gemara eight hours
a day, every day. He has to start expanding his mind, and only Gemara expands
the mind. Physics, chemistry—they don’t expand a person’s mind. Such studies
only demand that you fill your mind with facts and figures, but they don’t
expand the mind itself. The mind is only expanded through the study of
Gemara. Many scientists go crazy at a certain age because all of their
study hasn’t impacted their Da’as—it isn’t true knowledge. Their
minds have remained empty. He has a lot of figures in his head, but nothing
That which expands the mind is only the study of
Gemara, since it is a G-dly study. It is the only study that brings out
a person’s Divine intellect. And everyone must try as much as possible
to expand his mind and G-dly awareness. A person must sit in a good kollel
with good study partners. He can learn for eight hours, and he still has
sixteen hours in which to sleep, to eat, to take care of communal affairs.
He has time to go and encourage people to donate money to charity and to
sign people up for trips to Uman. Whatever he has to do, he can accomplish
it after he’s sat and learned Gemara for eight hours. After he’s sat and
learned Gemara for eight hours…
We will finish at 8:15AM, afterward we will go to
the Kotel and we are asking [everyone] not to do any pushing and shoving.
[The Rav is referring here to the custom of many of the students to accompany
him in a large group to his car when he goes home after the lesson each
day, via the Kotel.] It is also forbidden to pass in front of someone who
is praying. That’s the halacha. [Regarding sitting down,] the only leniency
is if you’ve already sat down and another person has stood up [to pray]
behind you afterward. If that’s the case, then the law doesn’t apply. But
it doesn’t mean that you can push your way in and disturb others as they
pray. That’s absolutely forbidden. Certainly, if a person has a set seat,
then the law doesn’t apply. If a person has a set place, then he is permitted
to pass among those who are praying to reach his usual place as long as
he doesn’t touch or push anyone. But if you need to get to the Kotel and
you push people who are in the middle of praying Shemonah Esrei,
you transgress thousands of negative prohibitions. For whom do people do
this? For Hashem, or so that you can show off how strong you are, that
you know how to push people around while they’re praying Shemonah Esrei?
All of us here are strong men; all of Shuvu Bonim are “fighters.” [They
see someone] in the middle of praying Shemonah Esrei, and Whack!
They send him flying. Thus, people will know that Shuvu Bonim isn’t just
another bunch of benchwarmers.
There is no halachic excuse for this, not in terms
of the obligations we have to our fellow men and not in halachic terms.
If you caught and brought in some crazy guy who feels the need to push
other people around, get rid of him. That’s all. You have to be normal.
If a person wants to approach the Kotel, he should approach it alone by
weaving his way through. Don’t push [other people] on his behalf—ten or
twenty people that are standing and praying Shemonah Esrei. It’s
only people who have simply lost any vestige of intelligence or who were
born without any to begin with [who do this]. I don’t know how to explain
this. I wouldn’t have believed it myself. If it can’t be done, then we
won’t go close to the Kotel. [Just because] there are people at the Kotel,
so now we will kill everyone, stomp on everyone, and strangle everyone.
We’ll bring benzene and pour it all over everyone too—all because the Rav
needs to get to the Kotel. People have simply lost their minds, their sense
of proportion. They’ve lost all of their G-dly consciousness, all of their
brain. They’re worse than the Arabs, than the gentiles. I don’t know how
to explain this. A small amount of brains, a small amount of intelligence...
We can stand at our ease in the square and not go
right up to the Kotel at all. We’ve already been there once in the morning
when no one was around. A person comes to the Kotel and sees that people
are praying Shemonah Esrei, so he should just find himself a place
that hasn’t been taken. [If] all the space is taken up, so he should just
stand a little further away until a place opens up for him. There is no
dispensation [for pushing one’s way in.] The halacha only permits a person
who is already sitting at the side to remain seated even when those around
him are standing. If, however, he is sitting with others behind him and
the person at his back stands for Shemonah Esrei, the one who was
seated must also stand. The person at the edge who is permitted to remain
seated is allowed to do so only because he is already within his own small
space—but I don’t have the right to break into the space of someone who
is standing and praying Shemonah Esrei.
People [here] don’t learn halacha; they don’t learn
anything. This Shuvu Bonim is the most insane yeshiva. I have to tell the
truth. When a person is praying, many halachos apply. A person who learns
should learn this halacha. A child of six already knows this halacha. If
someone is standing [and praying] behind them, they don’t budge. Five-year-old
children know that it is forbidden to move. What a five year old child
knows, our twenty or thirty year olds…Hashem should have mercy.
Probably it [the space immediately in front of the
Kotel] will already be filled up. [On the other hand] since there is no
Torah reading today, there might be more room [by the time we are finished
here and go down there]. If not, then we will stand at the back and recite
three chapters of Tehillim, and make three rounds of dancing. No one has
the right to push the people who are standing and praying Shemonah Esrei
there. Perhaps the time will come when Shuvu Bonim will set up guards [at
the Kotel] and everyone will need to show a special pass to get in. They’ll
say, “Shuvu Bonim is here.” The same as they did for the Pope. They’ll
clear out the Kotel for them. They’ll decide that they’re like the Pope.
That’s what they’ll decide.
[What we need is] a little presence of mind, a little
common courtesy—manners like the non-Jews have. We’ll come slowly to the
Kotel, and we’ll see if we can pass through. We’ll keep four cubits away
from anyone who is standing and praying Shemonah Esrei as we try
to pass. If it doesn’t work out, then we’ll stand at a distance and not
approach the Kotel at all. We’ll recite a chapter of Tehillim and that’s
The more a person works to expand his mind and his
G-dly awareness…A person must expand his mind, his G-dly awareness. Also
on Shabbos, everyone has to keep an eye out for his children on Shabbos
afternoon and make sure that his children aren’t outside wandering around.
After I spoke [about this] on Shavuos, some parents came to me who had
had to take their children to the hospital on Shabbos. I mean, for how
long can children throw stones at churches? They get sick of it after a
while. [Throwing stones at] Highway 1 also gets tiring eventually. In the
end, they throw stones at one another. If someone were to go up to the
mother of such a child to tell her that her son threw a stone, that mother
would throw him down the stairs. “My son threw a stone?! He is an angel
that descended from heaven! It’s not possible.”
Everyone has to know that his child is an angel;
however, the child is a physical creature in the meantime, and the body
is the body. As much as we might envision in our wildest imagination what
the body is, we could never really picture what the body could actually
do! A person has to refine his body for one hundred and twenty years all
with the hopes that maybe, just maybe, the soul will reveal itself in the
end. That is why a person has to constantly expand his mind and his G-dly
awareness. He must get his head into the Gemara. Little by little, Shuvu
Bonim will weed out these people. Anyone who doesn’t know Shas will not
be able to get in here. Little by little we’ll weed them out. Anyone who
doesn’t know Shas…
There are, thank G-d, so many leaders in Breslov
today. There is a new leader every month. People can go to “Az” [the name
of one of the new groups.] The group “Az”—“Az yashir,” “Az Zeh…Az Zeh…”
I have yet to know what they want; I don’t understand it. They have formed
a new group “Az” “Az.” I saw all their literature, for me it was a great
help. They’ve written out all the “Azim” [all the places in the Torah where
the word “Az” is written]. The Ten Divine utterances, and everything helped
me a lot, but what should I do practically speaking?
I don’t know what they want. Should one just say
“Az” “Az” “Az” all day long? I don’t get it. I have a small mind;
I don’t get it. I’m a little defective. I always was the worst student
in the class, so it’s hard for me to get it. They want “Az.” Fine, just
leave Shuvu Bonim alone already. There are so many groups today, every
person starts his own group. Go to “Az.” Go to “Za.” Go to “Baz.” I don’t
know. Go to “Daz.” Everyone will start his own group. Here’s a good combination:
“Gaz Baz.” The “Gaz” company. The “Baz” company. All kinds of companies.
Just leave Shuvu Bonim already. Just leave ten people here who want to
learn Shas, and that’s all, as long as you’ll at least retain your love
of one another. Here are only types who push each other around. We need
to go there where everyone hugs and kisses each other. They don’t have
anything else to do other than hug and kiss each other. So everyone should
just leave Shuvu Bonim alone, and we’ll keep on building here. They’ll
leave us ten people and let us have a little peace.
This yeshiva was opened so that people would study
Torah. That is why, and there isn’t any other reason. I’ve said it a thousand
times: Shuvu Bonim has no particular approach, no banner, and no special
mission. It is just the study of Gemara. People think that this contradicts
Breslov. So let them go somewhere else if they think that the study of
Gemara contradicts Breslov. Let them go to other teachers who will exempt
them from studying Gemara. All of my lectures are only about the study
of Gemara. Someone said to me that I’m opposed to the study of Gemara.
I nearly went out of my mind. The Rabbanit went crazy. Someone came to
me and said that he had heard that the Rav is opposed to the study of Gemara!
And this was a wise man with a good mind, not just anyone, because I’m
always screaming about [the same issue]. Learn for eight hours! Stop your
We’ve always said in all of the lectures that this
yeshiva was opened only for the study of Gemara, not for anything else.
Any word you speak to the Rav that doesn’t have to do with the study of
Gemara pierces him like a sword. You don’t need to know anything [outside
of the learning]. He is not a mover and a shaker, not a politician. He
is not a leader in Breslov. He is a simple person who just wants to make
sure that people learn Gemara. That’s all. Everyone has his own mission,
his own purpose in life. The purpose of the Rav is to bring people to learn
Gemara. That’s all. Everyone will get to Uman in his own way. You could
even make a subterranean tunnel, now that they are closing all the airports.
I spoke with Shimon Anshin yesterday, [and said]
that he should dig a tunnel all the way to Uman. He has the [drafts] and
everything. Instead of travelling by Concorde, we could travel by “Corkinette”
[scooter]. They’re already grounding the Concorde, so we’ll travel by “Corkinette.”
In any event, my purpose isn’t bringing people to Uman. Nowadays, the way
is already open and one can travel alone. My purpose is just that people
should learn a minimum of eight hours of Gemara a day, and that they should
hopefully come to learn sixteen hours a day. This is my entire goal
and purpose. Anyone who understands me or sees me differently in his imagination
should know that he’s mistaken.
I am prepared to cancel going to the Kotel. I’m
not a person who pushes people. I never pushed anyone in my life. “The
more modest [Kohanim] removed their hands from the showbread.” When the
Kohanim saw that people were pushing to get at the showbread…The showbread
is the highest thing in the world, if you eat it your descendants become
wealthy until the end of time. Yet when the Kohanim would see that people
were pushing to get at it, they wouldn’t try and get any. The Messilas
Yesharim says that this is the highest level.
This yeshiva was opened for—and anyone who is interested
in hearing the Rav’s opinion and accepts it should know that there is only
one goal here—learning Gemara for eight hours a day. After those eight
hours, one should study Rabbeinu’s works and do hisbodedus and learn
Likutei Halachos. One can spread Rabbeinu’s ideas and do good deeds. Anyone
who doesn’t learn Gemara for eight hours a day is simply requested to leave
this yeshiva. We are simply asking him to do us this favor before we have
to remove him ourselves. Everything else that people tell the Rav doesn’t
interest him at all. These stories from here and there, stories about different
people…They see people at the Kotel, so they tell them all kinds of stories.
One person tells about his daughter, that he came all the way from Australia.
Perhaps I have a match for her? He gave me the details. Why not? Maybe
I can work something out for her. Stories like this man who came from Australia,
and maybe I have some match for her.
I’m not a matchmaker. The Rebbe is a matchmaker.
He ascended to heaven and was given the job of a matchmaker. I’m not in
heaven; I’m in the deepest pits of hell. Only the Gemara can release me!
People have to get some mental composure, to sort out their minds. They
have to understand that the Rav is not an information desk; he’s not a
matchmaker’s office. He doesn’t heal the sick. He doesn’t revive the dead,
and not anything else. He doesn’t rent or sell apartments or buy them either.
People should take up a Gemara, and then they’ll get some real intelligence.
The Gemara will be like a sun for him. His intellect will shine like the
sun. The moment that a person has the Gemara, his intellect illuminates
the entire world for him. The mind is like the sun, and when a person studies
Gemara, he receives a mind. Rabbeinu says one must learn with power.
This is the first lesson of Likutei Moharan and
also the third. Regarding the study of Gemara, Rabbeinu says that the letters
of the Torah become enclothed in the letters of the prayers. All of Likutei
Moharan is about Gemara, Gemara, Gemara. I don’t know how they changed
Likutei Moharan. I don’t understand it. There are a million teachers in
Breslov, but none of them speak about Gemara. I had an argument with the
smartest young man in Breslov. It took him an hour’s arguing until he admitted
to me that they are wrong. He thought that Breslov opposes the study of
Gemara, but he admitted I was right after arguing for an hour. Until one
learns all of Shas, until one knows all of Shas clearly, there isn’t any
Chassidus; there isn’t any Chassidus. So in the meantime, they learn a
little Likutei Moharan, Likutei Halachos, they learn about humility and
modesty. It is impossible to be humble without intelligence. It can’t be.
A person has no diskettes; he hasn’t got anything. How can he be humble?
He has to show that he’s a chevraman, that he’s a mover and a shaker.
He does, he talks, and he has his own opinions, his own outlook. Outlook,
my foot. Learn Gemara, Rashi, Tosfos, and that’s it. Learn Ramban, Rashba.
Aside from that, you don’t need to know anything at all.
That’s how we’ll build the Holy Temple. We’re not
the Temple Mount Faithful, or the Temple Mount Opposition. We only build
the Holy Temple by learning Gemara. A person should expand his mind and
knowledge, to immerse himself in the knowledge. The more that he works
to expand his mind and his G-dly awareness by learning Gemara, [the more
that] he is the one who is involved in building the Holy Temple. That is
called building the Holy Temple. “For the main aspect of building the
Holy Temple is the expansion of one’s intelligence.”
You want to build the Temple? Start to learn Gemara
for eight hours a day. What’s the problem? Sit on a chair for eight hours.
Who’s preventing you? Your wife is crying day and night that you should
learn Gemara. All of the women here cry that their husbands should learn
Gemara. What gives you the right to deceive your wife, to upset your wife,
to make her and everyone around you miserable? If you don’t learn, others
won’t learn either. “If you neglect the [study of] Torah, you will find
many reasons to [continue to] neglect it” (Avos 4:12). One explanation
is that if you slack off from your learning you will find plenty to do
instead. A second explanation is that if a person suddenly starts to slack
off from his learning, other people learn from his example and everyone
starts to slack off. They say, “Hey, he’s doing nothing. I’ll also do nothing.”
“The main aspect of building the Holy Temple
is the [expansion] of one’s intelligence, as was said before. One who has
a mind that is quick and sharp…” One must expand and sharpen his mind
in order for it to be quick and sharp. One has to be always working to
expand his mind and his awareness. This is the aspect of being involved
in the building of the Holy Temple, that he always works to expand his
mind and his awareness in the aspect of building the Holy Temple.
You want to build the Holy Temple? You want to bring
people to Uman, to develop Uman? You can only do it by learning Gemara.
Everything will be built up through the study of Gemara, everything will
be developed. All of the gates will open and they will build structures
and tens of thousands of people will come, only through the study of Gemara.
Every letter of Gemara that you learn draws another person there. Only
the letters of the Gemara have the power to draw people there, not getting
involved in communal affairs, not activism, and not publicity. The more
Gemara you learn, the more you are called a person who is involved in the
building of the Holy Temple. And this has to expand your awareness, your
“In proportion to the extent to which he expands
his Da’as and mind, does he merit to receive greatness. This is
the aspect of, ‘Do you see a man diligent in his business?’ (Mishlei
22:29).” ‘A man diligent in his business’ means the study of Gemara.
will stand before kings.’ ‘A man diligent in his business’ is the aspect
of the person with a quick and sharp mind.” When a person doesn’t learn
Gemara, he simply becomes coarse. He speaks profanity, he speaks nonsense,
and he becomes jealous. He hounds others and everything he says is not
to the point. He also has no assistance from above. “Do you see a man diligent
in his business?” That is the one with a quick and sharp mind. “He will
stand before kings.” A man who is diligent in his business has a quick
and sharp mind. “‘He is diligent in his business,’ that is to say, in
the business of building the Holy Temple. For the construction of the Holy
Temple is proportionate to the [expansion] of one’s mind and awareness.
Through this, ‘He will stand before kings.’ He will merit greatness, the
aspect of Malchus, for greatness is proportionate to the flash of insight
in the mind.” All greatness comes because the mind has sparked with
insight. “‘A king is caught in its tresses,’ as was mentioned above.”
We spoke about humility. The Agra D’Kallah [HaRav
Tzvi Elimelech Shapira from Dinov, writer of the Bnei Yissaschar] explains
here. He explains the verse, “And there was people…” (Bamidbar 9:6).
It doesn’t say that “there were” people who had been ritually impure [at
the time of the Pesach offering], it says, “there was [singular].” What
does this mean, “There was?” This is because they were unable to bring
the Pesach offering. How did they merit that this revelation should
come through them, that they should be the cause of a new revelation of
a halacha that hadn’t yet been revealed? How did they merit having Hashem
reveal this halacha to Moshe through them? “And there was people.” Who
were they? They were Mishael and Elitzafan, the sons of Uziel. They were
the cousins of Aharon HaKohen, and they burned like fire with longing for
Hashem. Mishael and Elitzafan the sons of Uziel burned day and night for
Hashem just like Nadav and Avihu had. In their closeness to Hashem, they
burned day and night. They were such people, and they suddenly saw that
the privilege of bringing the Pesach offering together with the entire
nation was being denied them.
Nadav and Avihu died on the first of Nissan, and
Hashem commanded that Mishael and Elitzafan to be the ones to bear the
bodies of their brothers. Nadav and Avihu were burned on the first of Nissan.
“And a fire went out from before Hashem and consumed them. And they died
before Hashem. And Moshe said to Aharon, ‘This is the word that Hashem
has said. I will be sanctified through those who are close to Me, and I
will be glorified upon the face of the entire nation.’ And Aharon was silent.”
(Vayikra 10:2-3). “I will be sanctified through those who are close
to Me.” They are the holiest ones. In Parshas Tetzave, Hashem had already
told Moshe, “And there I will meet with the children of Yisrael, and it
will be sanctified by My glory” (Shemos 29:43).
[Later, when the bodies of Nadav and Avihu had to
be borne,] Moshe called to Mishael and Elitzafan. Why did he call to them
in particular? There are so many Jews to choose from. Why did he choose
them of all the others? “And Moshe called Mishael and Elitzafan, the sons
of Uziel the uncle of Aharon, and said to them, ‘Come near. Carry your
brothers from before the sanctuary out of the camp’” (Vayikra 10:4).
What did they understand from this? They saw what
was about to happen, that they wouldn’t be able to bring the Pesach offering.
They understood that Moshe had received a task, a command, that they in
particular should become ritually unfit by bearing Nadav and Avihu so that
they wouldn’t be able to bring the offering. They understood that Hashem
had rejected their Pesach offering, that it was all prearranged that they
should have to bear Nadav and Avihu’s bodies because Hashem didn’t want
their offering. Hashem didn’t want to grace them with the privilege of
bringing the Pesach offering.
The Agra D’Kallah explains this further: They reached
the pit of despair when they saw that Hashem was rejecting them, that Hashem
had told Moshe to pick them from all the others for this task. That Mishael
and Elitzafan in particular should bear their brothers. They were so despondent.
They felt so humbled, and they were in such a state of nullification. They
felt, “Why should we be any less?” This was their question in Parshas Naso.
“Why did Hashem reject us? Why did Hashem command us to touch Nadav and
Avihu’s bodies? Why did Hashem command us to bear them? Apparently, Hashem
wanted us to become impure. We really are impure people, more than anyone
else among the Jewish people. We are the most impure in the entire camp.
That is why we are the only ones who will not be able to bring the Pesach
offering. We really aren’t worthy.”
The moment that they reached this level of humility—that
they truly felt that they were so unworthy that they wouldn’t be able to
bring the Pesach offering—that was what brought about the revelation. The
Agra D’Kallah says that they reached a point of humility that was beyond
the humility of Moshe Rabbeinu. At the moment that they reached a level
of humility that went beyond even the humility of Moshe Rabbeinu. They
merited having this halacha revealed through them.
May we truly merit bringing the Pesach offering
and the building of the Holy Temple, speedily and in our days, immediately.
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