Excerpts from a lesson given by HaRav Eliezer Berland, shlita,
18 Tishrei, Rebbe Nachman’s Yahrtzeit, 5758

    The Rav read from Chayei Moharan 340 of the praises of the holy teachings of the Rebbe, that anyone who heard his teaching with its unique melody and dance would become egoless out of ecstasy. The Rav said that this is the main thing—to hear the melody that emanates from every single letter, because there is nothing higher than melody, than the “World of Ta’amim” [i.e. the melody that accompanies the reading of the Torah]. A person in [a state of] melody ascends to the world of Atzilus, where there are no words, just melody. This is the aspect of desire and longing for Hashem, an aspect of “My heart and my flesh will sing to the living G–d” (Tehillim 84:13.)
    The Rav said that in Breslov, today, people ask, “How much may one get excited? How many degrees of heat must one burn for Hashem?” This is what someone asked the Tcheriner Rav, “What is the meaning of that which the Rebbe says in lesson forty–nine, that the heart of a Jew burns endlessly [literally, “to the Ein Sof”] for Hashem?” The Tcheriner Rav rebuked him, saying, “There was a time that when people read this line, they would immediately run out to the field to cry to Hashem. Today they ask what it means? How many degrees?” The Rav said that, today, the entire teaching of Rebbe Nachman is turned upside–down. The main thing is the practice, to do hisbodedus, to get up at midnight and go to the field and, in so doing, meaning, by following the Rebbe’s guidance with simplicity, which is the main thing, one then merits to hear the awesome melody of each and every lesson. Today, everything is turned into sophistry, into hair–splitting questions and solutions. And even though this also is very good, because there is incredible wisdom in every lesson, the truth is that the main point of learning in–depth is to go deeper into hearing the melody that permeates every single lesson. 
    This also applies to the actual letters of the prayers, that one needs to hear the wondrous melodies that permeate every single letter. Rabbi Nachman said in lesson sixty-five that every single letter speaks to a person, "how can you bear to part from me..." It is possible to actually hear how each letter speaks to a person. When one begins to pray, he is like someone who enters a garden filled with wondrous flowers—anemones, cyclamens—and when he swallows the words quickly it’s as though he tramples all the flowers and destroys the garden. It then becomes a “field of weepers” from which come all a person’s crying and all his troubles, because he trampled on the letters of the prayer. For the letters are awesome chambers (as Rav Pinchas of Koritz said), and a person thinks that the letter is such a little thing… but, in truth, when he says the letter, he is like a person who presses a button and enters awesome chambers. This is why praying is so difficult, because one really is so far from these chambers. Therefore, the words should be said very slowly…. If a person starts to pray and he doesn’t immediately feel inspired, he just gives up completely on concentrating and praying slowly. About this, the Kamarner wrote very harshly that there is no such thing as instant enthusiasm, even among Tzaddikim there is no such thing, but the task is to say the words slowly until one merits to focus properly and feel enthusiastic.
    In Likutei Moharan I:178 the Rebbe speaks about dancing, that one must pass through the entire “body form” of joy. Although enthusiastic dancing is a very great thing (The Rav said, joking, how today there are already all sorts of rules and regulations how much one can jump while dancing, how fired–up one is permitted to get…), this is just one issue. There is another issue, much deeper, which is the complete focused labor of dancing, which can take years until a person enters it. The task is, as Rebbe Nachman said, that one must go through the entire “body form” of joy and, through this, he can tell which of his limbs are blemished. He then has to repent and confess about this particular limb. Because, in the limb that he blemished, joy cannot spread. (Which is why, sometimes a person’s feet are light but his mind is preoccupied and heavy. At times, it is the opposite; it is all in accordance with the blemish.) By passing through the entire upright structure of joy, and the joy spreads through every limb, he can confess and repent and, through this, come to complete self–nullification. This is what the Rebbe said to Reb Nosson in that same conversation, that by hearing the melody that emerges from the Rebbe’s lesson, his limbs would start to dance. (The Rav added that, as much as a person hears the melody of the Tzaddik, to that degree can he dance.) He then merits complete self–nullification, not just him, but the entire world as well…. The Rav said about this, that everything is contingent on each single person. If one person would merit to come to true self–nullification, the entire world would also. Moshe Rabbeinu, when he came to the burning bush, didn’t eat or drink for forty days, and neither did his sheep…. (Midrash Tanchuma, Parshas Shemos.] Everything depends on a single person who achieves true self–nullification.
    In Likutei Moharan I:52 the Rebbe speaks about hisbodedus, that the main thing is to come to self–nullification, that is, that a person should see his own lowliness during his hisbodedus, his true baseness and be an aspect of the “Mount Tabor of four parsangs,” (Likutei Moharan I:14.) That he should break [TaBoR = ShaBaR / “break”] his arrogance [“Mount”] in four ways. He should feel that he is less than the righteous, the mediocre, and the wicked [and also less than the level that he himself is on.] This is what we see by Devorah, she merited to sing on Mount Tabor  because she had completely achieved this self–nullification. The Rav said that only this is called hisbodedus. If a person feels some self–importance after his hisbodedus, that he feels more important that anybody else, he immediately will get angry at his wife or his friends since he feels that they don’t honor him sufficiently (Sefer HaMiddos, Hisbodedus.)
    The Rav was very encouraging about dancing for the “festival of the water drawing.” He said that in the Netziv’s yeshiva, they would dance from the afternoon prayers until the morning. (After the death of the Netziv, they danced only until the evening prayers.) In the yeshiva of the Alter of Kelm, which was known as the most polished of the yeshivos, they would jump on the tables during Simchas Torah. When someone expressed his confusion about this, the Alter said that this is the way it ought to be done every single day. Since this is impossible, at the very least, they do it on Simchas Torah. The Rav then said that it isn’t any wonder since, if one is full of Shas, halachic decisions, and the letters of the holy Gemara, so the letters themselves jump. He also spoke about Rav Meir Shapiro of Lublin who, after the meal during the two days of Rosh Hashanah, would go down to the Beis Medrash and stand in the middle with his arms raised. In a state of spiritual arousal, he would sing, “To make known and have it be known that Hashem is the King over the entire earth,” [Kedusha of Mussaf, Rosh Hashanah.] All the students who had remained there would awaken to his voice and would stream to him from all corners of the yeshiva. They would sing this together until the evening for both days of Rosh Hashanah. This melody stayed in Breslov and it was brought over [to Israel] by the older Chassidim. (The Rav then started to sing the melody and said that everyone should learn it. He repeated it many times together with those assembled.) In the merit of the songs and melodies of Sukkos, may we merit the complete redemption, speedily and in our days. 
    Regarding eating in holiness, a person causes concealment by eating improperly or in a vulgar manner. Through this, he causes the brazen–faced people in the generation to be appointed to positions of authority (Likutei Moharan I:67.) The Rebbe said, “See what “dogs” rule over us…” In truth, one must always endeavor to eat as though a prominent person was sitting with him at the table. In other words very slowly (Chaye Moharan 515). The Rav said further, that a person needs to know what he is eating, and how much he should eat…. So, too, regarding sleep. A person can sleep his life away; from this the “forehead of the serpent” draws its life–force. The “forehead of the serpent” draws its life–force from the elders who don’t continuously add holiness and holy awareness to their lives, but, instead, sleep their lives away (Likutei Moharan II:4.) He said jokingly, that when the Rav said to the young men to sleep eight to ten hours a night, this they uphold to the utmost. The Rav said that a person must first remove all the concealment caused by his own eating and sleeping…
    The Rav spoke further about the matter of self–nullification, as Rebbe Nachman says in lesson fifty–two, that by “…being awake at night and turning his heart to nothingness, he takes responsibility for his own life.” The numerical equivalent of  “and turning” (186) is “The Place” (including the kollel), which is, itself, Hashem’s name [Yud Key Vav Key] “squared,” [(10 * 10) + (5 * 5) + (6 * 6) + (5 * 5) = 186.] When one achieves complete self–nullification, then Hashem’s ineffable Name, the Holy Shechinah, immediately rests upon him.

      Return to top of page.

      Copyright © 2000  Breslov Institutions, Yeshivat "Shuvu Bonim",
All Rights Reserved.

Home Lessons given by  the Rav HaRav Levi Itzchak Bender, zt"l.