Lecture of Rav Eliezer Berland, shlit"a
delivered on Tuesday, the 21st of Av 5760 in the Old City.

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       From Likutei Moharan I:101: “‘When the wicked, my enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell’ (Tehillim 27). Hashem created the world with the Torah. ‘With the [Divine Name] ‘Y-aH,’ Hashem formed worlds’ (Yeshayahu 26).” The “yud” is the intellect and represents in-depth Torah study, “b’iyun.” The “heh” represents “bekius,” superficial study to cover ground. A person must spend most of his day learning in-depth, and a portion of his day learning bekius. If he doesn’t invest the time in studying in-depth, he won’t be able to understand the bekius.
    This is the meaning of, “With the [Divine Name] ‘Y-aH,’ Hashem formed worlds.” The “yud” represents the intellect. “Then Moshe will sing (‘yashir’)” (Shemos 15:1). The “yud” of “yashir” is there to represent thought. The “yud” is the ten Divine utterances with which the world was created. Eretz Yisrael also possesses ten aspects of sanctity. Through the “yud,” through these ten types of sanctity of the Torah, it is possible to reveal Eretz Yisrael. For the “yud” represents the intellect of the Torah, and the “heh” represents the actual letters of the Torah. The five books of the Torah are the “heh.” This is the meaning of the verse, “With the [Divine Name] ‘Y-aH,’ Hashem formed worlds,” meaning that Hashem created worlds.
    This is the meaning of the statement of the verse, “You are Adam.” The sages commented, “You are called Adam, but the gentile nations are not called Adam” (Yevamos 61a). A person is called “Adam” by virtue of his Torah study. Anyone who doesn’t learn Torah is in the dark, plain and simple. This is similar to what the Rabbis learned from the verse, “This is the Torah that Moshe placed ('sam')” (Devarim 4:44). “If a person is worthy, the Torah is an elixir ('sam') of life, if not, it is a death portion” (Yoma 72b). “An elixir of life,” means a shining countenance. When a person studies Torah in-depth, he receives a shining countenance. If a person doesn’t study Torah in-depth, then his face doesn’t glow. “A death potion,” means a darkened countenance. If a person only learns Torah bekius, his face still won’t shine.
    “The wisdom of a person illuminates his face” (Koheles 8:1). “Hashem, Hashem, a G-d (“EL”) who is merciful and compassionate.” Each side of a person’s face is aligned with the Divine Name “EL.” The gematria of the Name “EL” is 185 (ALeF LaMeD). Two times 185 is 370 which are “the 370 lights (‘Shin Ayinnehorin).”  Everyone who studies the Torah in–depth possesses these 370 lights. “He placed me in dark places like those who are dead forever” (Eichah 3:6). The gentile nations derive their spiritual sustenance from these darkened faces. That is why they are able to rule over us.
    Why do the gentiles rule over us?  It is because we don’t learn Torah properly in-depth.  When we don’t learn the Torah in-depth, then the gentile nations rule over us. Until we learn Torah in-depth, the gentile nations rule over us. That is where they get their power from. The gentile nations embody all of the negative character traits. In truth, no negative character trait has any connection to any Jew. No negative trait is relevant to a Jew, just as Emanuel Pigot says in his work, “Binah Li’Ittim.” In Commentary 60 of that work, he quotes the Gemara that describes those two very “modest” women who were the cause of the grave being struck. 
    Rabbi Bana’ah saw Avraham and Sarah, he saw Yitzchak and Rivkah. He saw Yaakov and Leah, and when he was about to see Adam HaRishon, a Divine echo called out, “You have no leave to see My handiwork.” He did manage to see the two heels of Adam, and they shone like two suns. So Rabbi Bana’ah was the one who told [the children of the older woman] to go and strike their father's grave. Rabbi Bana’ah was someone who saw with the Holy Spirit. Afterward, the family informed on him to the Roman authorities. His life was endangered. Even though all the sons had loved their father, their loving and devoted father—each son loved the father with all his heart—but when the moment of challenge arrived, when it was a question of an inheritance of a billion dollars, then they were all ready to beat their father’s grave. [See the lesson from the 20th Av for the full story.]
    A Jew isn’t able to do something like that. A Jew is far from all of the seventy negative traits. He just can’t do something like that. This proves whether or not a person is Jewish, whether he is a real son of his father. He just can’t hit; he just can’t push. “The modest ones pull their hands away from the showbread.” The modest Kohanim would pull their hands away from the showbread and would never grab. Anyone who has negative traits—negative traits have nothing to do with a Jew. Whenever a Jew manifests a negative trait, it is because, “And they intermingled with the gentiles and learned from their deeds” (Tehillim 106:35). Until a person studies the Torah in-depth, he is sunk in the seventy negative traits. That is why the non-Jews rule over us. We have negative character traits, so they rule over us.
    It is written, “Anyone who removes the yoke of Torah from himself” (Avos 3:6). What is the yoke of Torah? The yoke of Torah means in-depth study. If a person removes the yoke of Torah from himself, if he does not study in-depth, then the burden of the kingdom and of “derech eretz” [worldly responsibilities] is placed upon him. Anyone who removes the yoke of Torah from himself—the seventy shining faces—has all of the seventy darkened faces overwhelm him. Then the seventy nations rule over us. The moment that we are within those seventy darkened faces, we lose the 370 spiritual lights.
    How was Avraham able to overpower the four kings, and how was Chizkiyahu able to overpower Sancheriv with his two million and six hundred thousand soldiers? The Megaleh Amukos says that Chizkiyahu possessed the 370 lights. That was why one hundred and eighty-five thousand commanders came to fight against him. The army itself consisted of two million, six hundred thousand troops. That was nearly half of the world’s population at the time. They came against Chizkiyahu, and they came against Avraham, and they will come again when it is time for the war of Gog and Magog. How did he manage to subdue these one hundred and eighty-five thousand commanding officers? One hundred and eighty-five is only one side of the face, but there are really two sides of the face. One side of the face has one hundred and eighty-five lights within it. “Hashem, Hashem, G–d (‘EL”) who is merciful and compassionate.” The Divine Name “EL” is represented by the sides of the face—the areas below the peyos, where the beginning of the beard is narrow. “EL” (ALeF LaMeD) has a gematria of 185. With one side of the face, Chizkiyahu was able to overthrow one hundred and eighty-five thousand battalion commanders (who commanded over two million, six hundred thousand troops). 
    If he had danced just one more dance, or if he had sang just one more song… Yeshayahu came to him and said, “Sing to Hashem.” But Chizkiyahu answered, “We are learning Torah right now. The Torah is an atonement.” He said to him, “Sing to Hashem.” If Chizkiyahu had sung, says the Megaleh Amukos,  then another one hundred and eighty–five thousand officers would have come with their troops, and there would have been an end to all of the enemies of the Jewish people, all of the gentile nations. It is only through the 370 lights that a person is able to subdue all of the seventy nations, which include the one hundred and eighty-five thousand commanders that exist throughout the world.
    It is impossible to get rid of them through any means other than in-depth Torah study. “Anyone who accepts upon himself the yoke of Torah…” “And the yoke shall be destroyed because of the fatness/oil” (Yeshayahu 10:27). The yoke of Sancheriv was destroyed because of the oil that Chizkiyahu would light in the synagogues and batei medrash to enable people to learn Torah. Chizkiyahu was able to subdue the nations because of the sword that he stuck into the doorway of the beis medrash, saying “Anyone who doesn’t learn Torah will be run through with the sword.” It was then that Ravshakei, the king of Ashur, offered two thousand horses to the war effort. He saw that they didn’t even have horses. Chizkiyahu hadn’t even prepared horses—nothing—not swords and not spears. As the verse says, “So it came to pass on the day of battle that not a sword or a spear was to be found” (Shmuel I:13:22). At the end of the period of the Judges, when Shaul was king, there were no swords or spears. That was when the greatest miracles occurred, the greatest miracles in the world happened then because of the 370 lights and the in-depth study of the Torah.
    This is the meaning of the Sages’ words, “Anyone who accepts upon himself the yoke of Torah, has the yoke of the kingdom and of derech eretz removed from him. “ He learns in-depth—he wants to learn in-depth—and that is why there was no sword or spear in the entire land of Israel. Shaul studied Torah in-depth, and with his Torah study, he subdued all of his enemies! There was no sword or spear, says the Midrash Rabbah in section III. “On the day of battle, no sword or spear was to be found.” The Midrash Rabbah says at the end of Parshas Kedoshim, “And it could be found only in the hands of Shaul and Yehonasan.” The Midrash asks, “Don’t we see a contradiction here? It says in Shmuel I:13, that, ‘On the day of battle, no sword or spear was to be found.’” 
    In the entire Land of Israel, there won’t be any sword or spear. Go and search throughout the five books of the Torah, look in the entire book of Devarim. Try to find the words, “Eretz Yisrael.” Anyone who finds it will get one hundred thousand dollars. Afterward, try to find it in the book of Shoftim. Instead of looking for apartments and interest-free loans, instead of flying off to the States, you would do better to search in the five books of the Torah for the words, “Eretz Yisrael.” It’s a lot easier. You’ll get one hundred thousand dollars if you find them. Anyone who finds the words, “Eretz Yisrael,” in the book of Yehoshua will receive two hundred thousand dollars. Anyone who finds them in the book of Shoftim will receive three hundred thousand dollars. All together, that’s six hundred thousand dollars. It’s more worthwhile to go through each verse carefully and patiently, and anyone who finds those words will receive six hundred thousand dollars. 
    Where is “Eretz Yisrael” written for the first time? It was when Shaul went out to war against Nachash HaAmoni and against the Pelishtim, “And it was on the day of battle that, in all of Eretz Yisrael, not a sword or spear was to be found.” It was only when there was no sword and no spear, no weapon at all, that the Land was called Eretz Yisrael. This can only happen through in–depth study of the Torah, through the 370 spiritual lights.
    The Midrash asks, “But how did Shaul have a weapon for himself?” “On the day of battle, not a sword or a spear was to be found.” Yet afterward, we find, “It was to be found only in the hands of Shaul and Yehonasan.” Rav Chagai answers, “An angel came and gave it to them.” Shaul didn’t make any sword, and Yehonasan didn’t make any spear. They didn’t manufacture swords and spears on the sly. They went with pure faith and trust in Hashem. They had complete faith and trust. Without the slightest doubt, they went out to war against the Pelishtim without any swords or spears. To preserve their honor, an angel came and gave Shaul a sword and Yehonasan a spear. That is what Rav Chagai says. But the Rabbis say that they fell from heaven, not that they were given by an angel. A sword fell to Shaul from the heavens, and a spear fell down from heaven to Yehonasan. It is only then that the Land was called Eretz Yisrael. This is what Rabbi Nachman says, that when we learn Torah in depth, only then is Eretz Yisrael called Eretz Yisrael. Only then is the “yud” revealed, the ten utterances of creation that bequeath Eretz Yisrael to us are only revealed then. This only happens through in-depth Torah study.
    The only way to subdue the gentile nations, the enemies, the wicked, is through the in-depth study of the Torah. This is when a person delves into and understands the wisdom of the Torah. This is called “having a shining countenance,” and is the aspect of, “The wisdom of a person illuminates his face.” Through this, “the burdens of the kingdom and of derech eretz” are removed from him, since all enslavement and all of their desires and negative traits become nullified. A person is stuck in the seventy negative traits, and it is only though in-depth Torah study that he escapes from them. By accepting the yoke of Torah upon himself, a person can transform his body.
    “A man is born a wild donkey” (Iyov 11:12). A person is, by nature, full of jealousy and  hatred, lacking in generosity, and inclined toward forbidden gazing and forbidden thoughts. Only in-depth Torah study can transform his body—transform the skin of the serpent—into a holy body from Gan Eden. When a person merits delving into the Torah until he comprehends the wisdom of the Torah, then all of his negative traits and desires begin to fade away. If a person would really study the Torah in depth, then he wouldn’t have  any negative traits or desires at all. A person who is really fighting against all of the negativity inside of him needs to know that only in-depth Torah study will help him to escape from his bad traits. Even if he travels to Uman ten times a year, he still won’t escape his negative traits. Only in-depth Torah study will help.
    His travelling to Uman will only serve as a channel for receiving Divine assistance. This is the aspect of, “He set up the borders of nations to correspond to the number ('mispar') of the children of Yisrael” (Devarim 32:8). Torah study needs to be “sapir venahir” —brilliantly clear and full of light. It is only Torah study that is brilliantly clear and full of light, like a brick of sapphire, that is alluded to in the words, “‘li’mispar,’ / ‘to the number’ of the children of Yisrael.”
    “He set up the borders of nations…” When does the Jewish people rule among the nations of the world? When did David rule over the nations of the world? When did Shlomo rule over the nations of the world? When the Torah learning was brilliantly clear and full of light! When David’s Torah study was brilliantly clear and full of light, when Shlomo’s Torah study was brilliantly clear and full of light, that was when he ruled among the nations of the world. The nations came to him. The queen of Shva came from a distant land to hear Shlomo, bringing vast quantities of gold and silver with her, elephants and monkeys, and many precious things. “This is the shining countenance.” It is only then that, “He set up the borders of nations to correspond with the number of the children of Yisrael.”
    “Mispar” comes from the same root as the word for the sapphire brick. When a person merits attaining the sapphire brick—to enter the heavenly chamber called “the sapphire brick” —he is able to subdue all of the nations of the world. Then he has control over all of the borders of nations, over all of the nations of the world, so that, “They will not do evil or destroy on all My holy mountain, for the earth will be filled with knowledge of Hashem like water covers the seabed” (Yeshayahu 11:9).
    This dynamic exists within each and every person. This idea is found in the Rambam in the section of the Mishneh Torah on Judges (Hilchos Melachim, 12). There is a dispute there between the Radbaz and the Ra’avad on the exact meaning of, “They will not do evil or destroy on all My holy mountain.” In the Gemara Shabbos 63a, there is a dispute between Rabbi Eliezer and the Sages as to whether certain weapons will cease to exist in the ultimate future. This is found in the Rambam at the end of the Book of Judges. There is a question here, upon which the dispute of the Ra’avad and the Rambam hinges.
    “A man should not go out [on Shabbos] with a sword or a bow, with a shield or with an ala or with a spear. If he does, he is obligated to bring a sin-offering” (Shabbos 63a ). Rabbi Eliezer says that they are ornaments—weapons are ornaments. We learned in a Beraisa, “The Sages said to Rabbi Eliezer, ‘If they are, indeed, ornaments for a man, then why will they cease to exist during the times of Moshiach? If they are ornaments, then people will continue to go around wearing them even after Moshiach comes, won’t they?’ Rabbi Eliezer answered them, ‘People won’t wear them any longer, because they won’t need them. Nowadays, we need them. Now, they are ornaments because there still are wars, but when Moshiach comes, wars will no longer exist. “Nation will not lift up sword against nation, and they will study war no more.” What good is a candle in broad daylight?’” Shmuel differed in his opinion. According to Shmuel, the Gemara implies that there will be wars after Moshiach comes. “There is no difference between this world and the days of Moshiach, except for the subjugation of the exile. As the verse says, ‘The poor will not cease from the earth.’ For Rav Chiyah bar Abba says, ‘All the prophets only prophesized about the days of Moshiach. As for the world to come, however, ‘No eye has seen it, oh G-d, but for You.’” That will only be during the period called, “the world to come.”
    Rav Chiyah bar Abba says that the verse that says, “They will not do evil or destroy…and the wolf will dwell with the lamb, and the leopard with the kid,” is referring to the days of Moshiach. As for the world to come, “No eye has seen it, oh G-d, but for You.” The Gemara says that Rabbi Eliezer reasoned that there would still be wars after Moshiach comes, and that “ornaments” will still be needed. Rabbi Eliezer says, “Since weapons are ornaments, why should they cease to be?” They asked Rabbi Eliezer, “If you say that a weapon is like jewelry, then why do they cease to be after Moshiach comes?” So he answered, “They won’t! When Moshiach comes, there will still be wars. They will not cease to exist when Moshiach comes.” Shmuel disagrees with Rav Chiyah bar Abba.
    Now, according to this, we can understand the difference of opinions between the Rambam and the Ra’avad as to whether or not there will still be war in the ultimate future. This difference of opinions is based on the two opinions presented in the Gemara. There is a lone voice of Rabbi Eliezer, who thinks that there will be wars. But the opinion of the Gemara itself is that there won’t be. Rabbi Eliezer then admits that there won’t be wars. Everyone disagrees with Shmuel, but Shmuel maintains his position that there will, indeed, continue to be wars.
    The Rambam then says that when Melech HaMoshiach comes, nothing of the natural order of the world will be altered. Everything will remain just as it is right now, except that there will not be an evil inclination. Everyone will observe the Shabbos, everyone will guard the sanctity of the Jewish people, and everyone will put on tefillin. But there will still be wars. There will still be jealousy and strife, and there will still be traffic accidents. There will be cities of refuge, and there will even be three more cities of refuge. Anyone who runs over a pedestrian will sit in the city of refuge. Today, he is sentenced to half a year of community service, but in the future, he will sit in the city of refuge until the Kohen Gadol dies.
    “The world will continue on in its regular way.” “And the wolf will dwell with the lamb, and the leopard with the kid” is an allegory and a riddle. The Rambam says that the verse, “And the wolf will dwell with the lamb” is not to be taken literally. “And the leopard with the kid” is an allegory and a riddle. Its meaning is that we will dwell in security among the gentile nations who are likened to wolves and leopards. We will dwell securely among them. They will not do evil or destroy, and they will not make war against us. Among themselves, there will be wars, but they will not fight against the Jewish people. This is called, “and the wolf will dwell with the lamb, and the leopard with the kid.” This will be when the Jewish people dwell securely with the wicked ones of the world and they don’t cause any harm. They are likened to wolves and leopards. In the ultimate future, the gentile nations will no longer fight against the Jewish people. Everyone will fulfill the seven Noachide laws and will return to the true religion. As for war, every nation will argue that one thousand years ago, a certain territory had belonged it. Don’t think that it’s theft—the country is only reclaiming that which was hers one thousand years ago. Plain old thievery will not exist anymore! All of them will return to the Jewish religion, to the true religion, and they won’t rob or destroy. “The lion will eat straw like cattle.”
    The Rambam says that everything that is written about Moshiach, all of the verses, are allegorical, yet the Rambam contradicts himself here. Before, the Rambam said that it is all an allegory and a riddle. Now there is a contradiction in the Rambam. The Rambam wants to say that it is all an allegory and a riddle—that everything is allegorical. But the truth of the matter is, says the Rambam, that when Moshiach comes, only then will we know for sure. He contradicts himself. What is the real truth? He says, “I don’t know.” It appears to be an allegory and a riddle. What the Rambam says is also an allegory and a riddle! These words, “riddle and allegory,” are themselves an allegory and a riddle. They are also some kind of an allegory and a riddle. “For the truth is,” says the Rambam, “I don’t know.” “So too, with all of these verses that refer to the times of Moshiach. They are allegorical. But the fact is, that when Moshiach comes, we will see exactly what will be. We will see what is the meaning of, ‘the wolf with the lamb, the leopard with the kid.’”
    The Rambam appears to contradict himself right in the middle of what he is saying. “When Moshiach comes, we will know exactly what elements of the verses about the period are allegorical.” We will know what is allegorical and what is not. Now, we don’t know what was meant allegorically and what was not. The Rambam contradicts himself as he speaks. He says that some of the verses are allegorical, and some of them are not. It could be that they are all allegorical, or that they are all meant literally. It will all depend on what kind of teshuva we do before Moshiach comes. Melech HaMoshiach will come. The question is, what kind of state will he find the world in when he comes? What type of teshuva will the world be doing when he comes? If it will be a genuine repentance, “a generation that is entirely innocent,” then the wars will end. The inclination to prey on others will also cease, and then the verse, “the wolf will dwell with the lamb and the leopard with the kid,” will come true in its literal sense.
    Regarding this, the Ra’avad argues on the Rambam. The Ra’avad says that the verses are meant literally. The Ra’avad says that they are all literal. “And I will remove the predators from the earth” literally. “And the wolf will dwell with the lamb, and the leopard will lie with the kid.” Now the Radbaz tries to find the middle ground between the Ra’avad and the Rambam. The Radbaz says, “Does it not say in the Torah, ‘And I will remove the predators from the earth?’” He explains himself in this way: “It is proper to believe that, in truth, the words of the Rambam are themselves an allegory and a riddle. It is all an allegory and a riddle.”
    We will be finishing in another five minutes. There is a new rule now that we must finish by 8am. There are those who have to go to work, to travel to Tel Aviv to teach. In a little while, the Kollel will start. During our last few moments, we will read the Radbaz.
    This is what the Rebbe says: “He set up borders for the nations to correspond to the number of the children of Yisrael.” If we will really repent, then there will be no war in the world at all. It all depends on what kind of repentance we do until Moshiach comes. What kind of repentance will we be doing when Moshiach comes? If we will really and truly repent, then, “I will remove the predators from the earth.”
    The Radbaz now wants to compromise between the Ra’avad and the Rambam, between Shmuel and Rav Chiyah bar Abba. For there is a difference of opinions between Shmuel and Rav Chiyah bar Abba. It is a conflict that can’t be settled. Shmuel says that the world will continue on its natural course, meaning, there will still be wars. Rav Chiyah bar Abba says that there won’t be any more wars. The verse, “And the wolf will dwell with the lamb, and the leopard with the kid,” is literal. With Shmuel and Rav Chiyah bar Abba, there is certainly a difference of opinions. Now, according to the consensus of the Gemara, Rabbi Eliezer differs with Shmuel and says that weapons will no longer exists in the ultimate future. There are those who say that he does not really argue the point. He also admits that there will be wars. The Radbaz now wants to reconcile all of the differing opinions of the Ra’avad and the Rambam, and also of the Gemara. He wants to reconcile the opinions of Rav Chiyah bar Abba and Shmuel, and also the two approaches of Rabbi Eliezer as to whether or not there will be a need for weapons in the ultimate future and why he considers them like jewelry in relation to carrying on Shabbos. If they will no longer be needed in the ultimate future, then they are only considered adornments now. And if they will still be needed in the ultimate future, then they will be adornments even then.
    The Radbaz tries to reconcile all of these opinions by positing the following approach. In Eretz Yisrael, there will no longer be wars. The gentile nations will not wage war against the Jewish people. That is the meaning of the verse, “They will not do evil or destroy on all My holy mountain, for the land will be filled with knowledge of Hashem as water covers the seabed.” “The land,” refers to Eretz Yisrael. Here in Eretz Yisrael, there won’t be any wars. The gentiles will recognize the unique value of the Jewish people. They won’t want any portion of the Land, they will respect the Jewish people. Among themselves, however, they will fight over borders. They will want to claim territory from one another. Each one will still say, “This territory is mine.” The other one will answer, “But it belonged to us one thousand years ago!” Among the nations of the world, there will still be conflicts. Moshiach will have a great deal of work to do just arbitrating the disputes of the non-Jewish nations and calming them down. “And I will remove the predators from the land” means that in Eretz Yisrael there will be no war. However, in the rest of the world, the Radbaz says, the world will continue in its natural way. There will still be wars. The verse, “Nation will not lift up sword against nation, neither will they study war any more,” only applies to Eretz Yisrael. “Nation will not lift up sword against nation” means that the gentiles will not wage war on the Jews. 
    According to the approach of the Rambam, of Shmuel, and the cited opinion of Rabbi Eliezer that says that weapons will still be used when Moshiach comes, the verse about nation not lifting sword against nation refers to the gentiles not making war against the Jews. Among themselves, however, there will still be wars.
    The truth is, the Radbaz says what the Rambam does: that we don’t really know anything. It is just as the Rambam says—it is all an allegory and a riddle. But that itself is an allegory and a riddle. The words of the Rambam are themselves an allegory and a riddle. Ultimately, we will see the truth with our own eyes. “For they will see eye to eye, Hashem returning to Tzion.” We will see with our own eyes exactly how the verses will be fulfilled. We believe that it will all be fulfilled in its literal sense. “And the wolf will dwell with the lamb, and the leopard will lie down with the kid.” And the Temple will be rebuilt, and there will be peace throughout the entire world. The complete redemption will come, speedily and in our days. Amen.

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