A lesson given by Rabbi Eliezer Berland, shlita, to the 
Shadarim, the evening of Rosh Chodesh Adar.
(Click here to find out who the Shadari”m are.)

       “And now you will see and understand wonders—such wonders!” (Likutei Halachos, Hilchos Pikadon 5:21). The Rabbis said that the verse, “And it came to pass when the ark set forward” (Bamidbar 10:35), is considered a book of the Torah in and of itself. This is truly a wonder. Such a short parsha: just 85 letters strung together, and it is considered like one of the books of the Torah, more so than any other parsha in the Torah. “And it came to pass, when the ark set forward, that Moshe said, ‘Rise up, Hashem, and let Your enemies be scattered. And let those who hate You flee before You.’” This is even greater than the Ten Commandments, because the Ten Commandments aren’t considered a book of the Torah in and of themselves.
    Everyone must travel, must travel as much as possible, for Rabbeinu said that as soon as an opportunity to travel comes, one should travel right away. Whether it means going abroad, one person goes to America, another to Eilat, yet another to Metullah, one should travel right away. Why does an opportunity to travel present itself to a person? Because one can do spiritual rectifications on a trip that can in no way be done when one stays at home. That is why there is no letter “nun” [in Ashrei], for it is impossible to uplift the “nun” [other than by travelling]. It is impossible to merit reaching the fifty gates of Binah. [The letter nun is gematria fifty.]
    This parsha is a book of the Torah in and of itself, which isn’t the case with any of the other parshios in the Torah. The other parshios are filled with many mitzvos—with the Ten Commandments. The Ten Commandments were given at Mount Sinai. Everyone was at the giving of the Torah—Shechakim. The Megaleh Amukos (by Rav Nosson Shapira, the Rav of Krakow, p. 99) says that the giving of the Torah came from the heavenly realm called “Shechakim.” And yet, the Ten Commandments aren’t considered a book of the Torah in and of themselves. This is why the Megaleh Amukos asks where the giving of the Torah came from, for everyone was at the giving of the Torah—all of the souls were at the giving of the Torah. Everyone saw the giving of the Torah—everyone knew what was going on, says the Megaleh Amukos. Where did the giving of the Torah come from? The Megaleh Amukos says that Hashem imparted a mystery to Moshe in the Sinai desert; he revealed the secret of Shechakim. It was from there that Hashem revealed Himself to Avraham, Yitzchak, and Yaakov. This is why we say, “G-d of Avraham, G-d of Yitzchak, and G-d of Yaakov,” because Avraham called himself “dust and ashes” (Bereishis 18:27), and Yitzchak’s ashes are always heaped upon the Temple’s altar [i.e. those of the sheep that was sacrificed in his place].
    Every Chatzos one must put on ashes [on his forehead]. After the lesson, everyone will travel to Chevron. Everyone without exception will travel to Avraham, Yitzchak, and Yaakov. All of the cars will go: five cars and five buses. Everyone will travel to Avraham, Yitzchak, and Yaakov after such a lesson, after such an amazing teaching, such a Divinely elevating teaching about why we say, “G-d of Avraham, G-d of Yitzchak, and G-d of Yaakov.” So we need to travel, to actually go there. A week shouldn’t go by without visiting Avraham, Yitzchak, and Yaakov—especially now, Erev Rosh Chodesh, Erev Rosh Chodesh Adar. “From when Adar comes in, we increase our joy.” Adar is an acronym for “Alfei Rivevos Dolarim” (“thousands upon tens of thousands of dollars”). This is similar to what is written about Elkanah: “And everyone cried...” since the month of weeping had come. It is the month when Esther proclaimed a fast, everyone fasted, and everyone cried. That is why when the month of Adar comes, the month of “thousands upon tens of thousands of dollars,” everyone has to start to cry, just like Elkanah and Chana did. Everyone cried and went together with them. [The Tanna D’Vei Eliyahu 8:4 relates that people were on their way to worship idols when Elkanah and Chana called to them to join them and come and worship Hashem. They all repented, wept, and went with them.]
    “Now there was a certain man of Ramasayaim-Tzofim in Mount Efrayim, and his name was Elkanah” (Shmuel I:1:1). Why did they call him Elkanah? Because his name alludes to the Divine Name KP”D, and Chana’s name alludes to the Divine Name S”G. Their marriage was the unification of Chana (S”G) and Elkanah (KP”D), and when there is a unification of Chana and Elkanah, then everyone returns to Hashem in repentance.
    Right now, the task of the Shadari”m is to bring all of the Jewish people back to Hashem in repentance. Everyone can bring thousands of people back to Hashem. It is forbidden to be lazy, just as it says in Mishle 19:24, “A lazy man hides his hand in the dish and will not even bring it to his mouth.” A person has to go from city to city, from village to village, from settlement to settlement, to bring the entire Jewish people back to Hashem in repentance just like Chana and Elkanah did.
    Elkanah used to go up to Shilo four times a year (Tanna D’Vei Eliyahu, as above) three times from the Torah, and one extra time. If one is going up three times, so why not go up four!
    Therefore, it says “to Hashem Tzevakos in Shilo” (Shmuel I:1:3). Where was the Tabernacle? Where was the ark? Where were the Tablets? In Shilo! And the Jewish people had already forgotten about going up on pilgrimage to Shilo for three hundred and sixty-nine years. That’s the “three hundred and seventy lights” minus one. The Jewish people had forgotten. We go up to Yerushalayim; we go up to the foot of the Temple Mount; we go up to the Kotel, thank G-d. We ought to dance in the streets with joy that the Kotel is in our hands. At that time, they had Shilo. They didn’t know anymore about Mount Moriah; they forgot about Mount Moriah, and they forgot about Shilo too.
    That was why Elkanah, his wife, his children, and all the members of his household… What did Elkanah, who represents the Divine Name KP”D, do? What did Chana, who represents the Divine Name S”G, do? How do you achieve a mystical unification of the two Names, S”G and KP”D? Elkanah, his wife and children, and the members of his household went. They took their brothers and sisters—everyone took his brother and sisters with him, his children with him, his nieces and nephews with him—and they went to Yerushalayim. They went from city to city. “They girded themselves with iron belts.” [Tanna D’Vei Eliyahu 11:3 condemns Pinchas as being partly responsible for the 70,000 killed over the Pilegesh of Giv’ah (Shoftim II 21:17) in that he did not “gird his loins with an iron belt” and travel the length and breadth of the country to bring the people back in repentance, as will be explained further.] They went from city to city and from settlement to settlement in order to bring the entire Jewish people back in repentance.
    All Jews are true Tzaddikim. There is no such thing as a wicked person among the Jewish people. Rabbeinu says that there is no wicked person among the Jewish people; they’re all truly righteous! Their only problem is that they forget to go up on pilgrimage to Yerushalayim. They forget to go up to Shilo.
    So Elkanah, his wife, his children and grandchildren, and all of their families—the nephews and nieces, the aunts and uncles, the grandfathers and grandmothers—all of them went together with Elkanah and his wife. All of Elkanah and Chana’s extended family went together with them from city to city, from settlement to settlement, and said to the Jewish people, “You must go up to Yerushalayim! You must go up to the Temple Mount!” “The Temple Mount is in our hands.” It’s forbidden to abandon the Temple Mount. It’s forbidden to abandon the Kotel.
    Elkanah and his wife went out with all of their extended family, and each member of the family brought the rest of his family. Everyone had ten brothers and ten sisters, so Elkanah could draw all of the Jewish people close to Hashem. They went with him from town to town, and the brothers brought the men back to Hashem, and the sisters brought back the women. That was how the Jewish people were brought to repentance. They took the brothers and the sisters, the sons and the daughters, the grandchildren and the great-grandchildren. They started to walk from city to city, from settlement to settlement, and all his nieces and relatives walked with Elkanah. They went up with him, and they cried together with him. All of them began to cry because the Jewish people wanted to repent. 
    The Jewish people are a nation that repents. The Jewish people are all so holy and pure. All of them are children of Avraham, Yitzchak, and Yaakov. All of their souls are hewn out of Hashem’s Throne of Glory. All of them are derived from Hashem’s very essence.
    All of the relatives went along with him; he didn’t leave a single relative behind. Not a single niece, nephew, or grandchild did he leave at home. He took all of them along, the grandchildren, the great-grandchildren, the nieces and the nephews. All of them spoke to the people on the roads, in the settlements, and on the kibbutzim. They spoke with everyone. “Why don’t you come to Yerushalayim? Why not come to pray at the Kotel?” All of them went from town to town, from house to house, knocking on doors and getting people out of their houses: “Come on! Let’s go up to Yerushalayim! Come with us to pray at the Kotel. Come, let’s go do Pesach in Yerushalayim—Purim in Yerushalayim!” The people would join up with Elkanah, and he would say, “We have to learn derech eretz (how to behave properly) from the Canaanites.” Let’s learn from the Russians who used to walk four or five or even six thousand kilometers on foot to get to Yerushalayim. 
    What is the Russian Compound? This was the very first lot purchased from the Ottoman Turks, because before then, no one wanted to sell land in Yerushalayim. The Turks didn’t want to give any foreign country a foothold in Yerushalayim. So the Russians said to them, “Look. People are walking all the way here—four or five thousand kilometers on foot—and they need a place to sleep!” Today it is a Police Station; everyone knows where it is. We have all spent time there! Anyone who has not sat in the police station in the Russian Compound isn’t a Jew. But in those days, the entire compound was filled with hostels to house the Russian pilgrims. They would sleep there, and they would eat there. 
    Now they’ve turned the whole thing into prison cells—Hashem have mercy. Today, anyone who keeps Shabbos and puts on tefillin, is put in jail—Hashem have mercy. Why is this? It is because we don’t go from city to city. We don’t go from settlement to settlement. We don’t go from house to house to bring the Jewish people back in repentance. This is our punishment: being sent to prison. There’s no one today who hasn’t sat in prison, because they invent reasons for anyone who puts on tefillin, to find him guilty and put him in prison! Even so, the power of holiness is stronger, and everyone will manage to bring the entire Jewish people back to Hashem in repentance through the power of the holiness that he possesses.
    They learned, then, from the Canaanites. Elkanah said to them, “Take a lesson from the Canaanites. The Canaanites go from city to city and from settlement to settlement, and they go by foot. They go to Mecca; they go here; they go there. They’ll even walk ten thousand kilometers, so why don’t we walk the two kilometers…the sixty kilometers…the hundred kilometers?” He said to them, “Let’s learn from the Canaanites and all the gentile nations. All of them go on foot tens of thousands of kilometers from city to city for the sake of some little idol, some sheik, or some animal. They walk from city to city, from town to town. Let’s learn from the gentile nations. They’ll walk thousands of kilometers for an utter nonsense, so why can’t we walk the hundred kilometers to Yerushalayim?”
How far is it from Tel Aviv to Yerushalayim? Sixty kilometers! Why don’t we do it? Why don’t we bring all of Tel Aviv—all six hundred thousand Jews of Tel Aviv—to Yerushalayim the holy city? We’ll go from house to house; we’ll get people out of their houses, and we’ll bring them all to Yerushalayim, to pray in Yerushalayim.
    If the idol worshippers worship nothingness and emptiness [and are prepared to walk so far for it], then how much more so should we be willing to walk to Yerushalayim and go up to the Ark of the Covenant. When a person goes out on the road, the entire Heavenly Chariot goes along with him: the lion goes, the ox goes, and the whole Heavenly Chariot goes too. When a person goes out on the road, all the ways are opened for him and all of the seas split for him. “To Him who divided the Sea of Reeds asunder, for His steadfast love endures forever” (Tehillim 136:13). Everyone has to break the road open and to split the sea—to split the sea the way that Nachshon ben Aminadav did when he dove right in.
    In a little while, it will be Shevi’i shel Pesach, and everyone will sing the Song of the Sea. The tribe of Binyamin jumped into the sea first (Sota 37a). “There is Binyamin, the youngest, ruling them” (Tehillim 68:28). The tribe of Yehudah then stoned them; they threw stones at them for jumping into the sea. [The tribe of] Yehudah didn’t know the secret of jumping into the sea. [The tribe of] Yehudah thought that they would cross the sea in a natural way. It was then that Yehudah merited having Nachshon, who was from their tribe, jump in first. That was why they were worthy of kingship. The one who leaps first merits kingship. The one who leaps first into the sea merits kingship, for the one who splits the sea merits kingship. He jumped in first, so he merited kingship, and anyone can be like Nachshon who jumped first into the sea. He splits the sea—he goes from city to city throughout the land to bring the entire Jewish people back to Hashem, the living and everlasting G-d. And the faith of the Jewish people is in the living and everlasting G-d!
    This is similar to what the Rebbe said to someone who told him that he wanted to travel to Eretz Yisrael, but only on the condition that he would go with the Rebbe (Yemei Moharnat II:49.) “Why don’t you go [i.e. by yourself]? One should be willing to even walk there!” 
    “Blessed be His Name forever, and for all eternity. He [Elkanah] said that everyone should go up with him” (Tanna D’Vei Eliyahu). You sleep in the city streets, and you don’t need to go into people’s houses. You bring along sleeping bags—everyone can take along a sleeping bag—and you camp out in the middle of the city, in the middle of the street, just like Elkanah and Chana. They also went with their sleeping bags and ran from city to city, from house to house, and took people out of their homes. “Let’s go up to Shilo! Let’s go up to the mountain of Hashem!” “Oh, house of Yaakov, come, let us walk in the light of Hashem” (Yeshayahu 2:5). The gematria of the phrase, “house of Yaakov, come, let us walk,” is equal to 5761 [the calendar year]. Now is the time for, “Oh house of Yaakov, come, let us walk.” Everyone is going to go from city to city, from house to house, and bring the people out of their homes. 
Now, everyone is going to travel to Chevron. Tonight, we won’t go home. We’re going now to Avraham, Yitzchak, and Yaakov. We’re going to wake up the ones who are sleeping in Chevron; we will wake them up in Ma’aras HaMachpelah. The moment you travel there, you can bring the resurrection of the dead. If we’ll wake Avraham, Yitzchak, and Yaakov from their sleep, the resurrection of the dead will happen right then.
    This is what the Gemara says in Bava Metzia (85b). Eliyahu the prophet would learn with Rebbe every day. He would come to learn with Rebbe Yehudah HaNasi every single day. 
    After this lesson, everyone will travel to Uman. After this lesson, everyone will travel to Uman for Rosh Chodesh Nissan. Four jumbo jets are going to be flying to Uman, and everyone should sign up to go to Uman immediately after the lesson. After tonight, everyone should sign up for Uman. Four hundred people will sign up now for Uman. There will be an entire jumbo jet going to Uman. The moment that we will be in Uman—that’s when the redemption will come. Rosh Chodesh Nissan is the month of the redemption, so everyone should go to sign up to go to Rabbeinu HaKadosh. After we travel to Ma’aras HaMachpelah, the way is opened to all other roads. Rabbeinu can revive the dead and the ill. There is no sickness that Rabbeinu can’t heal. There is no sickness that Rabbeinu doesn’t heal if we’ll only travel to Rabbeinu for Erev Rosh Chodesh Nissan, for the month of the redemption. We were originally redeemed in Nissan, and so we will be redeemed in the future in Nissan. Everyone should sign up now also for Uman, and immediately afterward, he should go out and sign everyone else up for Uman. Everyone will go right away—with money or without money. There will be planes going for nothing. You don’t have to worry about anything. The main thing is to sign up, and the minute you do, everyone will see miracles and wonders. Everyone will sign up—with or without money. There are planes going for nothing. There is nothing to worry about regarding the fare. The planes are just lying around—no one wants to fly today. Everyone will see the resurrection of the dead; they’ll see the resurrection immediately.
    This is what the Gemara relates in Bava Metzia 85b. Rebbe Yehudah HaNasi merited to have Eliyahu the prophet come to learn with him every single day. That is why Rebbe merited after his death to return in the flesh. After his death, he would reappear in the flesh [every Shabbos] and make Kiddush for his wife and eat the fish and the meat and so on. And everyone can merit this if he’ll be in Uman. He’ll merit the resurrection of the dead, just like Rabbi Chiyah who used to go from city to city. He would go from city to city and bring others to repentance. He would take little children and teach them Torah. 
    Today, children don’t know that there is such a thing as the Tanach; they don’t know that there is such a thing as the Torah. They don’t know anything. We have regressed to the days of Terach. It’s just like what happened in [the city of] Ironit. Someone from the yeshiva in Ramat Gan went to Ironit to give a lecture, and they didn’t understand what he was talking about. He was speaking in Ironit—in Ramat Gan—and the people were completely closed. Suddenly he shouted at them, “If you don’t want to be an Avraham, at least don’t be a Terach!” You’re regressing! You’re more goyish than Terach. At least stop being Terach! Travel to Avraham, Yitzchak, and Yaakov.
    “Great are the deeds of Rabbi Chiyah.” Rabbi Chiyah merited that his body [even after his death] was able to revive the dead. Anyone who goes to the burial cave of Rabbi Chiyah can revive the dead. 
    “Rabbi Chanina and Rabbi Chiyah fought each another.” They would fight all day long. They would exchange blows all days long. Rabbi Chiyah said to Rabbi Chanina, “You’re fighting with me? You’re coming at me with blows? I’ll show you. I’ll put you down in a minute. What do you think? You don’t know who I am at all.”
    So Rabbi Chanina said to Rabbi Chiyah, “You want to fence with me? What do you think? You’ll challenge me to a duel? With one blow, I could take care of you.” Rabbi Chiyah said, “No, no, no. You couldn’t beat me with even a million blows. My body is on the level of the resurrection of the dead. Even a thousand swords—you could stab me with a million swords and you wouldn’t be able to cut me, with this body that I have. My body is already resurrected; it is a holy body from Gan Eden. It is a spiritual body—my body has no physicality to it at all.”
    If a person goes from city to city, then his body will cease to be a physical thing. The swords will break—the swords will be turned back. “You could bring all of the swords in the world and try to stick them in me, but you’ll find that not a single one of them can cut me. None can penetrate.”
    How did Rabbi Chiyah merit to have a body that no sword could pierce? One that no sword could cut the head off of? Rabbi Chiyah said to him, “Come on, you want to see who can knock whom down? I’ll show you who will knock whom down!” Rabbi Chanina said to Rabbi Chiyah, “You want to fight with me? With one pilpul, I could restore the entire Torah. Even if everyone would forget the Torah, I could restore it right now.” Rabbi Chiyah answered, “No, no, no! You think that if you’ll bring all of the swords in the world that you’ll cut my head off, that you’ll be able to carve into me. I can stand against all of your swords, and I’m not afraid of your swords. Come duel with me. Whatever you want—try to slice me. My body can’t be carved; my body is already spiritual. Any sword that you bring will pass right through my body, but my body won’t be cut at all. My body won’t be cut, not a drop of blood will be spilled. You could slice away at me, but nothing will happen to this body of mine.”
    So how did Rabbi Chiyah merit having such a holy body from Gan Eden? How did he merit having his body already be something completely spiritual? Rabbi Chiyah said to Rabbi Chanina, “I go on foot from city to city.” Once upon a time, they had no wagons, and they had no donkeys. They had nothing! People were poor. They didn’t have a penny to their names. They would go on foot from city to city, on foot literally, from Metullah down to Eilat they would go on foot. They would knock at the houses; they would knock on doors and they would take little children who knew nothing at all and would teach them Torah. They would teach them Mishna, and they would teach them Chumash. This is what Rabbi Chiyah did. He would go and plow the fields.
    Rabbosai, we have to start to plow the fields! What did Rabbi Chiyah do? He would go and plow the fields; he would plow all alone and would grow flaxseed. What is flaxseed? Cain brought a sacrifice of flaxseed. Cain planted flax. What is flax? It subdues the dinim expressed by ten times the Divine Name ELoHIM, which has a total gematria of eight hundred and sixty. One must subdue these ten times ELoHIM, subdue all of the harsh judgements (dinim) in the world. Whoever brings people to repentance can subdue all of the harsh judgements in the world.
Rabbi Chiyah would go and plow the fields and sow flaxseed all alone; he didn’t rely on anyone else to sow the seeds. He rectified Cain’s sin—Cain who had brought a sacrifice of flaxseed. He merited to plant flaxseed. Rabbosai, whoever merits to plant flaxseed will merit rectifying the sin of Cain, who brought a sacrifice of flaxseed. Why did Cain bring flaxseed as a sacrifice? Was he stingy? Was he short of money? Surely he and his brother Hevel were alone in the world—they owned the whole world. Flaxseed represents the vacated space (chalal ha’panui)! The meaning of the vacated space is that Hashem is found everywhere! If people don’t serve Hashem, it’s because they’re blind. Who doesn’t see Hashem? From the day a person is born, he already sees Hashem. [The next section of the lesson is unclear, following which the Rav broke out in song. Click here to listen to the song.]
    So Rabbi Chiyah would go and sow flaxseed. He would go from city to city to bring all of the Jewish people back to Hashem in repentance. That is why no sword could cut him. No sword in the world! 
    Whoever goes from city to city in order to bring people to repentance, encouraging people to give tzedaka by going from house to house, no sword will be able to cut him. No sword will be able to cut into him—no sword in the world! Those who go from city to city bringing the entire Jewish people to repentance and encouraging them to give tzedaka, their level is higher than all the other levels.
    This is the meaning of the fight between Rabbi Chiyah and Rabbi Chanina. Rabbi Chanina was an incredible scholar. He said, “In one minute, I could restore the entire Torah.” Rabbi Chiyah said to him, “But I went and sowed flaxseed. With the flax I made nets, and with the nets I trapped deer.” Rabbi Chiyah would trap deer all by himself. He was a hunter! He would go to trap deer in the fields. He would hunt all by himself! “I would go to trap deer in the fields. I would give the meat away to the poor and to the orphaned, and I would make parchment out of the skins. On them, I would write the five books of the Torah and the six orders of the Mishna, and I would go from town to town distributing them.” That is how Rabbi Chiyah reached the level where he could revive the dead.
    Those who go from city to city and from house to house are able to revive the dead. They can reach the level of resurrecting the dead. This was Rabbi Chiyah and his sons. “And I will make your windows of ‘kadkod’ (rubies)” (Yeshayahu 54:12). He merited the kadkod stones. One opinion is that “kadkod” is shoham (onyx—which is black); another opinion is that it is yashpei (jasper—which has a white color). The shoham is Yosef’s stone, and [its name] is made up of the letters of the name Moshe. Yashpei represents Binyamin who possessed all of the levels in the world. Binyamin includes all of the precious stones; he is made up of all of the precious stones, of all of the supernal colors. The sefirah of Malchus is Yerushalayim and includes all of the colors. This is why, if a person merits being in Yerushalayim, he merits including all of the supernal colors, because, “everyone goes up to Yerushalayim.” A person must see to it that he moves to Yerushalayim. As soon as a person lives in Yerushalayim, Yerushalayim with all its holiness is expanded. They expand the precinct of the foundation stone and merit an apartment in Yerushalayim, the holy city, near the foundation stone. The closer you get to the foundation stone, the more you expand the borders of the holiness. Then Hashem can cause holiness to descend to those who live in Yerushalayim the holy city. That is why everyone goes up to Yerushalayim. A wife can force her husband to go up to Yerushalayim. Everyone can go up to Yerushalayim. Everyone has to be in Yerushalayim. You can’t even force a slave to live outside of Yerushalayim. [Kesuvos 110b, Tosafos-Ve’ain.]
    Anyone who merits to go up to Yerushalayim and hear a lesson in Yerushalayim, and afterwards he goes to the Kotel, and then travels to Chevron—to Ma’aras HaMachpelah, if he then flies straight to Uman from there, then we will certainly, certainly, merit the resurrection of the dead and the building of the Temple.
    That is what is written here—that Rabbi Chiyah took five little children. The keruvim are called little children. He took five little children and five Chumashim, and he taught them the six orders of the Mishna. He taught these children the six orders of the Mishna and he said to them, “Do as I did, so that the Torah should not be forgotten from among the Jewish people.”
    Rebbe said, “How great are the deeds of Rabbi Chiyah! How great are Rabbi Chiyah’s deeds!”  “Rabbi Yishmael son of Rabbi Yossi said to Rebbe, ‘Are his deeds even greater than yours, master?’ ‘Yes.’” 
    Rabbi Zeira merited entering the fire with his body every thirty days. Whoever goes out to spread Torah will merit entering the fire with his body [and remaining unharmed]. “Rabbi Zeira said, ‘I saw Rabbi Yossi bar Chanina, in a dream. I asked him, “Next to whom is your assigned seat in heaven?” [Literally, “Where are you firmly placed (taku’ah)?”]’” Taku’ah recalls “a wise woman from Teko’ah” (Shmuel II:14:2). The wise woman from Teko’ah who brought Avshalom back. So where are you placed (taku’ah)? Where are you placed (taku’ah)? “The woman who stands with you” (Shmuel I:1:26). What does “stands” (nitzeves) mean? Nitzeves was the name of David HaMelech’s mother (Baba Basra 91a). This is what Chana said to Eli, “I am the woman who stands with you.” Nitzeves will merit giving birth to David; I want to merit to give birth to Shmuel. Just as Nitzeves would merit later, so did Chana then. Shmuel lived to the age of fifty-two, and he was fifty when David became king. David was twenty–eight years old at that point, so it comes out that there was a twenty–two year difference between them. He was twenty–two years old when Nitzeves, the daughter of Adael, merited giving birth to David.
    David’s birth is the deepest mystery. David was of the deepest mysteries. Yishai was untouched by sin, and he was terrified. He was so scared—how could he merit bringing down this soul that had only been granted three hours of life? Adam HaRishon then came and gave him seventy of his own years, but he originally only had three hours of life in this world granted to him. David was supposed to sing shirah, and afterward leave the world.
    This is why Shmuel said to Shaul, “You have to wait seven days for me.” [If Shaul had only waited for Shmuel he would have continued to be king, and David would have remained hidden, playing his harp and singing the praises of Hashem.] At the very last moment, Shaul brought up the burnt offering. David played the harp; it was the deepest mystery that he played the harp.
    This is what Rabbi Zeira said: “Rabbi Yossi bar Chanina appeared to me the other day. He asked me, ‘Next to whom are you placed?’” The Sages said that “placed” (taku’ah) has the same letters as the name of the town Teko’ah. The fact is that it was the wise woman of Teko’ah that saved Avshalom. “’Next to whom are you placed?’ He answered, ‘Next to Rabbi Yochanan.’ ‘And Rabbi Yochanan is seated next to whom?’ ‘Next to Rabbi Yannai.’ And Rabbi Yannai is seated next to whom?’ ‘Next to Rabbi Chanina.’ ‘And next to whom is Rabbi Chanina seated?’ ‘Next to Rabbi Chiyah.’ He said to me, ‘How can it be that Rabbi Yochanan isn’t seated next to Rabbi Chiyah?’ He said to me, ‘In the place where the sparks are…’”
    A person has to be like a fire, like a burning fire! [The Rav broke out in song once again at this point. Click here to listen.] Rabbi Zeira was a fire! Rabbi Zeira was a fire! Every thirty days, he would enter the fire. What is a Jew? A Jew is someone who can enter the fire! Rabbi Zeira would enter the fire every thirty days!
    A ship once sailed on the sea. The sea was raging and the ship was fighting the rolling waves. It was a ship filled with babies and little children. There were three ships sailing on the Mediterranean, struggling to stay afloat among the mighty waves.
    Just recently, an American submarine hit a Japanese fishing vessel. They let some civilian play with the steering. These stupid sailors put a civilian in charge of the submarine and let him play with the steering. And a Japanese fishing vessel sank seven hundred meters under the sea. So they passed a new law. These wise men—the idiots—they decided that from now it’s forbidden for civilians to control the steering in a submarine. This story illustrates their  mentality. They brought down a simple Japanese fishing vessel. The poor thing—it sank together with all the people on board.
    Back to our story…three ships were sailing in the Mediterranean. They were sailing and looking for a safe harbor so they could come to shore. They had fled from Titus—from Vespasian—from the evil Romans. They took the babies and the little children—all of them were crying and screaming in the ship. They had already finished all of their bread and water, and they had to find some beach to land on. They came ashore somewhere, these three ships filled with several hundred babies, several hundred little children together with their parents and grandparents. They landed on the beach and suddenly the local ruler, some evil descendant of Esav, came along. “Who are you? What? Did you come to live here? Are you trying to trespass on our land?” “We’re miserable Jews who have come now from the exile of Yerushalayim the holy city. We fled from Titus.” “You want to stay here on our beach? Who are you? You’re Jews?” “Yes, we’re Jews!” “Oh, you’re Jews, are you!”
    The Kol Bo (Hilchos Tefilla, 9:4, Din Vi’Hu Rachum) says that he went on. “We have heard that Jews can enter fire,” that they can go through bullets—through the Arab market. Every Jew can go through fire. If he is a Jew, he can walk through bullets, through live fire, and he doesn’t need any other protection. He just has to say, “in the merit of Rabbi Nachman,” and he can pass through all of the artillery and all the atom bombs in the world.
    [The evil local ruler on the island continued,] “Good! In another thirty days, we’ll take one of you and throw him into the furnace. If he comes out alive, you can stay here.” The people started to cry—thirty days of crying and fasting. What cries!
    Today is Erev Rosh Chodesh. We have to fast, cry, and raise our voices to the very heavens.
    They cried for thirty days, and on the last of the thirty days, one of them had a dream. He came to the Sage of the community, to the greatest sage, and said, “I dreamed a dream but I don’t remember anything about it. I only remember that I heard the word ‘ki’ (‘when’) twice, and the word ‘lo’ (‘not’) twice.” [The Rav means three times for the ‘lo’]. The sage said, “If you hear the word ‘ki’ twice, and the word ‘lo’ twice, then that’s a good sign!” “Your dream was about the verse, ‘When you pass through the waters, I will be with you, and through the rivers, they will not drown you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned, neither will the flame kindle upon you’ (Yeshayahu 43:2). You’re going to be the one that they put in the fire!” They put him into the fire and they saw that three old men appeared within the fire. They prayed to Hashem and protected him. The Rabbi of the community cried and fasted for several days so these three old men would reveal to him what they had been saying. They were revealed to him and told him that they had been saying, “vi’hu rachum.” The same ‘vi’hu rachum’ that we recite every Monday and Thursday. That is the ‘vi’hu rachum’ that the three old men were saying.” Anyone who says, ‘vi’hu rachum’ can enter into the fire.
    Rabbi Zeira used to enter the fire every thirty days. And anyone who is privileged to know something of Rabbeinu HaKadosh must know that he also can enter into the fire.
    Rabbi Zeira said, “Rabbi Yossi bar Chanina appeared to me the other day, “I said to him, Where are you seated in heaven? He said to me, ‘Next to Rabbi Yochanan.’ ‘And next to whom is Rabbi Yochanan seated?’ ‘Next to Rabbi Yannai.’ ‘And next to whom is Rabbi Yannai seated?’ ‘Next to Rabbi Chanina.’ ‘And next to whom is Rabbi Chanina seated?’ ‘Next to Rabbi Chiyah.’ I said to him, ‘Isn’t Rabbi Yochanan seated next to Rabbi Chiyah?’ He said to me, ‘In the place of the fiery sparks…’”
    Rabbi Chiyah was completely a fiery flame. Rabbi Chiyah was completely a fiery flame! He was a burning fire for Hashem!
    If a person draws close to Rabbeinu HaKadosh, he has to become a fiery flame for Hashem! He has to go from city to city, from house to house, and set a burning flame alight. He has to be the match that starts the fire, that sets whole forests alight. Everyone is a match and he can set whole forests alight—he can set hearts aflame. Everyone has the ability to set the heart of another Jew aflame.
    There is no such thing as a wicked Jew. All Jews are complete Tzaddikim. They are holy and pure. The only problem is that they are covered with veils and masks, but these veils, with a single match, can all be burnt to nothingness.
    Who was Rabbi Chiyah? Rabbi Chiyah was called a fiery spark. Rabbi Chiyah was a fiery spark and a burning flame. He was a burning flame. “And in the place where you have fiery sparks and a flame, what do you need a bellows for?” With Rabbi Chiyah, everything was fire. His grave is all fire. After you visit the grave of Rabbi Akiva, you go down to Rabbi Chiyah, and everything there is fire. Everything there is a burning fire. “He said: In the place where you have fiery sparks and a flame, what do you need a bellows for?” “Rav Chaviva said, ‘I saw one of the Rabbis to whom Eliyahu the prophet would come to learn every day...’” 
    If we would be worthy of true humility and self-effacement, Eliyahu the prophet would come to learn with us. 
    There was a person who lived during the time of the Ram”a. There was a plague in some town, so they investigated to find out who had done a sin, who was the wicked one. They found that there was one man who had a hut in the forest. “What is going on? Did he go to live in the forest?” They told the Rabbi of the town and he went to check up on him. What was a man doing all by himself in a hut in the forest? From outside, he heard the sound of two men learning. He went back a second night, and again heard the sound of two men learning, and then again on the third night. He didn’t understand what was going on, for he knew for a fact that the man was in there alone. 
    So the Rabbi called for the man the next day and said, “Tell me who you learn with all night long.” The man said, “I learn with Eliyahu the prophet.” The Rabbi said to him, “Who will testify that it’s really Eliyahu the prophet, that what you are saying is true?” The man answered, “I used to be the study partner of the Ram”a.” So they went to speak with the Ram”a in Krakow, the Rav of all Israel, and he said, “Yes, he was my chavrusa, and if he says that he learns with Eliyahu the prophet, then it’s the truth.” The Ram”a then said, “Tell Eliyahu the prophet to come and learn with me too.” The man asked Eliyahu the prophet that very night and the Ram”a waited until the morning for a response—maybe Eliyahu the prophet would agree to learn with the Ram”a also. The prophet said, “No! He is too famous! If a person is famous, he loses out on the privilege of learning with Eliyahu the prophet.” A person has to be like dust and ashes. After all, he belongs to Rabbeinu HaKadosh. Everyone travels to the one who is like dust and ashes, and then they merit a revelation of Eliyahu the prophet. They can learn with Eliyahu the prophet.
    It was with Rabbi Chaviva that Eliyahu the prophet used to come to learn every day, every single day. One day, he asked the prophet to show him Rabbi Chiyah. He asked the prophet, “How will I know which one is Rabbi Chiyah?” Eliyahu the prophet answered, “All of the others ascend through the agency of angels, but Rabbi Chiyah ascends alone [through Hashem’s direct intervention].” So Rabbi Chaviva looked. The prophet warned him, “Know that if you look, your eyes will get burned up.”
    Eliyahu used to go to him. “In the morning, his eyes were fine, and in the evening they appeared as if they had been damaged by fire. I asked him, ‘What happened to you?’ He said to me, [I had asked Eliyahu to] show me the Sages as they ascend to the heavenly academy.’ [Eliyahu] said to me, ‘You can look at all of them, but Rabbi Chiyah…” Rabbi Chiyah is a fire, a burning fire. He is completely surrounded by fire. If you look at him, the fire will burn up your eyes. “By what sign will I know him?” “Angels go up with each chariot, but when he goes up there won’t be any angels. His chariot has no angels, because it ascends alone. I saw a chariot ascending by itself, and I couldn’t hold myself back. I looked at it, and two sparks shot out and blinded my eyes.” They struck me in the eyes. “The next day, I went to pray at his burial cave…and I was healed.”
    “Eliyahu went to Rebbe’s beis midrash every day. One Rosh Chodesh came, and he was late.” 
    Tomorrow we will already say “ya’aleh vi’yavoh.” Friday is Rosh Chodesh. We’ll say Hallel and Mussaf.
    Eliyahu the prophet never comes late. He never, ever, comes late. The people saw that Moshe was late in returning, so they went and made the golden calf. But Eliyahu never comes late. If he hasn’t come yet, does it mean that he won’t come? Eliyahu was late then. He asked the prophet, “How could you be late?”
    What does the Ba’al Shem Tov say? “How much does a person have to work until he is able to see Eliyahu the prophet in a dream? How much does he have to toil until he’s worthy of having Eliyahu the prophet greet him in a dream? How much does he have to work so that Eliyahu will answer his own greeting in a dream? And how much work does he have to do until he sees Eliyahu the prophet while he’s awake? How much does a person have to work until Eliyahu will learn with him, until Eliyahu the prophet will wait for him, for Eliyahu the prophet would wait for the Ba’al Shem Tov.” [The Rabbi of the Ba’al Shem Tov was Achiyah HaShiloni, and he was also the Rabbi of Eliyahu. So when Eliyahu came to the Ba’al Shem Tov, and he was learning with his Rabbi, he would wait outside, afraid to enter. The Rav here is explaining the greatness of the Ba’al Shem Tov.] “And a single prideful thought can destroy all of a person’s efforts.”
    Rebbe was completely humble, he was the epitome of humility. That is why Rebbe was worthy of having Eliyahu the prophet come to learn with him. [As it says in Sota 49a, “When Rebbe died there was no more humility in the world.”] Only someone who has the humility and self-effacedness of Rebbe Yehudah HaNasi can become worthy of having Eliyahu the prophet come to him. Rav Yosef said, “Do not say that there is no longer such a thing as a truly humble person in the world, because I am still here” (Sota 49b). The Z’viler Rebbe explains the apparent contradiction: Rav Yosef was blind, and it is not so difficult being humble when you are blind. Even so, that too was a very great level.
    But to be like Rebbe…Antoninus used to come to Rebbe. He was the ancient equivalent of Clinton. People used to come to him and bow down to his feet. They would say, “Step on us! Step on us!” Rebbe remained humble even in such a situation.  How? By knowing that he is dust and ashes. Only Rebbe could do that. That was why he was privileged to see a revelation of Eliyahu the prophet. So why did Eliyahu come late? “Why did you come late?” asked Rebbe. Why did you come late? Is it proper to come late to class? Eliyahu answered him, “You know why I was late? I had to wake Avraham Avinu.”
    Those who will travel tonight to Avraham, Yitzchak, and Yaakov, are the ones who wake them from their sleep. You will be the ones to bring the redemption. Eliyahu used to go to wake up the Avos for Shacharis (morning prayers). Today, those who go to their burial cave are the ones who are privileged to wake them. There was a time when it was impossible to get to the burial cave. They didn’t even know where it was.
    Eliyahu the prophet went to wake the holy Avos from their rest. Rebbe asked the prophet then, “Why were you late?” Eliyahu answered, “I had to wake them.” “Fine,” said Rebbe. “Wake them for vasikin (sunrise prayers), and you can still make it to the shiur at 9:00am.”
    Sunrise today was at 6:15am. The prayers are already over at 7:15am. By 9:00am, you can already start your regular morning’s learning schedule.
    Eliyahu the prophet answered, “No. I first had to wake Avraham. I waited until he finished praying Shacharis with Hallel and Mussaf at 7:15am. After that, I woke Yitzchak. He prayed from 7:30am until 8:30am—even for two hours—until 9:30am. After that was Yaakov. That’s why I only came at 10:30am for the lesson, for our learning session. Rebbe asked him, “Couldn’t you have woken Avraham, Yitzchak, and Yaakov all at the same time?” Eliyahu answered, “If I had woken them all at once, the resurrection of the dead would have taken place!”
    The moment that you travel to Avraham, Yitzchak, and Yaakov, it is possible to bring about the resurrection and to heal the sick. Everyone has someone sick at home—some brother or sister, some father or mother, some grandfather or grandmother. Everyone could revive his brothers and sisters, his uncles and aunts, his grandparents, and his parents by traveling to the Ma’aras HaMachpelah.
    Today is Erev Rosh Chodesh Adar. “Once Adar comes in, we increase our joy.” It’s a month of salvation, everyone will be healed. It is written that on Purim everyone is healed of all his or her illness, just like we were before we received the Torah at Sinai.
    So Rebbe asked Eliyahu the prophet, “Is there anyone in the world, among us in our yeshiva, who is on the level of Avraham, Yitzchak, and Yaakov? Is there anyone here who can bring the world to the resurrection?” For if a person is in such a state of self-effacedness and humility, he can bring about the resurrection. Eliyahu the prophet answered, “Yes! Of course there are! There is Rabbi Chiyah, and there is Rabbi Yehudah and Rabbi Chizkiyahu [his two sons].” They are the ones who had a difference of opinion about the nature of the kadkod stones, just like the angels Gavriel and Michael. They argued as to whether they are shoham or yashpei. Rebbe said, “If that is so…” and he immediately declared a public fast and made the three pray at the bimah together. They said, “Who causes the wind to blow,” and the wind began to blow! The said, “Who causes the rain to fall,” and it began to rain! It always starts to rain during Shevat, because Shevat is the month of Shovavim. People fast, so the rain starts to fall right away. They were about to say, “Who revives the dead,” and the resurrection would have happened in a second’s time, when Eliyahu was suddenly taken and given sixty lashes of fire. He received sixty lashes of fire. “Who revealed this secret to My children [in the world]?” At that moment, a bear of fire came and gave Eliyahu sixty lashes of fire. The heavenly agent of chastisement appeared to them in the likeness of a bear made of fire. All of a sudden, in the middle of the prayers, they saw a bear of fire. They saw a bear of fire in the middle of the prayers. 
    This is similar to what is written about Rabbi Achah bar Yaakov. The Gemara in Kiddushin 29b says about Rabbi Achah bar Yaakov that in Abaye’s yeshiva…Rabbi Achah bar Yaakov was the greatest scholar of the generation. Rav Yaakov, the son of Rabbi Achah bar Yaakov was sent by his father to learn in Abaye’s yeshiva. Rav Yaakov didn’t understand the lectures well [in his father’s beis midrash] so he said, “Fine. I’ll go.” What happened in Abaye’s yeshiva? Every day, a serpent with seven heads would come, just as we see that Eliyahu the prophet was chastised by a spiritual agent that appeared in the form of a bear of fire. Every day, it came to Abaye’s yeshiva. This serpent with seven heads would enter Abaye’s yeshiva every day. What would happen then in Abaye’s yeshiva? Achah bar Yaakov was supposed to do the big miracle. Abaye heard that Achah bar Yaakov was coming, and there was a serpent with seven heads in Abaye’s yeshiva threatening the students. Whenever it would come, they would run away. It would appear a few times a day and everyone would run away. Everyone would run from this terrible serpent.
    A person can be inside the yeshiva and a serpent is there. There’s a serpent inside the yeshiva with seven heads that causes the students to sin with all the sins in the world. A serpent with seven heads is right there in the yeshiva. One must know how to subdue the serpent, not to flee from it. One must instead subdue it, fell it, and cut off its heads. What did Abaye do? He searched for a way to cut off the serpent’s heads, this serpent with seven heads that causes the students to sin in every way possible.
    Nowadays, all of the yeshivos have students who don’t know what to do. They don’t know how to deal with the seven-headed serpent. It’s not their fault. There are terrible things that happen today in every yeshiva. A serpent with seven heads! How does one subdue a serpent with seven heads? Abaye said, “Today, no one should offer a guest hospitality!”
    “If you want to subdue the serpent with seven heads, the first thing that I tell you is that when Rav Achah bar Yaakov comes here today, no one should offer him a glass of tea. No one should invite him for a meal, not for dinner and not to sleep over. Let him sleep here on the benches—on the floor. That’s how we will subdue the serpent with seven heads. ‘That is the way of Torah: eat bread with salt and drink water by measure, sleep on the floor, and toil in Torah. If you do this, then fortunate are you and good is yours. Fortunate are you in this world, and good is yours in the life of the world to come’ (Avos 6:4).”
    You want to subdue the serpent with seven heads? Sleep on a bench, and then you’ll be able to subdue the serpent with seven heads. They arranged it that he would sleep on a bench—on the floor—and Achah bar Yaakov woke up at midnight, since the main thing is the point of Chatzos
    Tonight, the precise point of Chatzos is at 12:52am. That will be the point of Chatzos. Then it will be possible to effect all of the salvation in the world. In exactly another fifty-five minutes, it will be the point of Chatzos and it will then be possible to effect all of the salvation in the world, all of the miracles in the world.
    The point of midnight came, and Rav Achah bar Yaakov woke up from his sleep. He got up from his bench—from the ground. He had been sleeping on the ground, and he washed his hands. He began to recite the morning blessings. If a person is going to stay awake from Chatzos until the morning, he says the morning blessings right away. Then he saw a huge serpent with seven heads that was a few dozen meters long. Every head was enormous. Each head was the size of a barrel, and each tongue shot out flames of fire. It had seven tongues that burned like fire—that were as red as a fire.
    What did Rav Achah bar Yaakov do then? He bowed down once, and one head fell off. He bowed down a second time, and the second head fell off. He bowed down a third time, and the third head fell off. He bowed down a fourth time, and the fourth head fell off. He bowed down a fifth time, and the fifth head fell off. He bowed down a sixth time, and the sixth head fell off. He bowed down a seventh time, and the seventh head fell off. Seven heads the size of barrels were lying there on the floor of the beis midrash. In the morning, the students came in all afraid. “Who knows if the serpent didn’t swallow him from top to toe?” They then saw the seven enormous heads scattered around on the floor. Abaye then asked, “How did you merit to do it?”
    Who was Rav Achah bar Yaakov? The Gemara in Bava Basra 14a says that he merited writing a Sefer Torah on a calf’s skin exactly as proscribed by halacha, at his very first attempt. Something that Rav Huna only managed to do after 70 tries. He was able to subdue the sin of the golden calf. This is the mystery of the leviathan.
    We find the mystery of the leviathan mentioned in Bava Basra 75. “His work” has the gematria of the word “leviathan.” Leviathan is exactly four hundred and ninety-six, and “his work” is four hundred and ninety-seven. So Yosef went to subdue the leviathan—to subdue what leviathan? The verse in Yeshayahu 27:1 says that we are talking here about two awful and terrible leviathans. “On that day, Hashem with His sore and great and strong sword will punish Leviathan the flying serpent, and Leviathan the crooked serpent. And He will slay the crocodile that is in the sea.”
    The Gaon of Vilna says that there are two types of leviathan—two types of serpent—that try to ambush a person. One is called “the flying serpent,” and it goes from one end of the earth to the other in a straight line. The other is called “the crooked serpent,” and it surrounds the entire world. One needs to know how to cut off the heads of these two leviathans. One is called masculine, and the other is called feminine. The masculine is straight, but the feminine is a force that surrounds. “A woman will surround a man” (Yirmiyahu 31:21). She tries to bring him to stumble with all kinds of negative thoughts on every road that he walks. In the streets, he sees some Lilith (demoness), G-d have mercy. So how do you kill this Lilith?  How are you supposed to take care of all of these Liliths?
    Here we find the secret of Yosef who went to “do his work” (Bereishis 39:11), for only the Tzaddik who is called Yosef—Rabbeinu HaKadosh—is able to subdue the leviathan the flying serpent and leviathan the crooked serpent. “On that day, Hashem with His sore and great and strong sword will punish Leviathan the flying serpent, and Leviathan the crooked serpent. And He will slay the crocodile that is in the sea. On that day sing to her—a vineyard of foaming wine” (Yeshayahu 27:1-2).
    Now we want to subdue the two leviathans, and this is what Rav Achah bar Yaakov merited to do. He subdued the serpent with seven heads. Now we have a serpent with seven heads in every yeshiva. Now, in every place, there is a seven-headed serpent that attacks a person with seven types of plotting. This is what the Gemara in Bava Basra is revealing to us. The Gemara in Bava Basra reveals all of the secrets of subduing this leviathan to us. The Gemara in Bava Basra 74b says, “’On that day, Hashem with His sore and great and strong sword will punish Leviathan the flying serpent, and Leviathan the crooked serpent.’” Everyone must subdue these two serpents. 
    The battle is with these two serpents that pursue a person everywhere that he goes. Everywhere he goes he sees some woman—but he isn’t seeing a woman, he’s seeing a spirit of impurity. He’s seeing the spirit of impurity that is hovering over her and surrounding her. He sees impure spirits. Only Moshiach will reveal the Divine spark beneath those shells to us. Even when Melech HaMoshiach comes, it will still be forbidden to look at a woman. This prohibition will remain in place until the resurrection, when all physical bodies will be exchanged with the bodies of the resurrection. Those who travel from city to city merit having bodies from the resurrection. By virtue of their traveling from city to city and from house to house, they subdue every part of their bodies.
    This is what is meant by what is written in the Tanna D’Vei Eliyahu. Who killed the seventy thousand? Seventy thousand Jews were killed! Jews are getting killed every day. Who is killing them? I am killing them! All of the Jews who have been killed—who killed them? It was I who killed them! Why? Because we don’t go from city to city to teach Torah.
    “And Devorah and Barak ben Avinoam sang” (Shoftim 5:1). What did Devorah sing/prophesize? Devorah said, “Hashem wants to perform miracles for the Jewish people. If a person will study Torah, then he will vanquish all the gentile nations.” That is why Tanna D’Vei Eliyahu 11:3 says, “Lest you say that those seventy thousand who were killed...” There were forty-five thousand from Yisrael and twenty-five thousand from Binyamin, and only six hundred remained from Binyamin. Who killed them? Who killed them? Who killed those seventy thousand in the hills of Binyamin?
    Today, if a person burns down a bus stop [because of lewd advertising], he gets put in jail for life. Shimshon burned down all of the camps of the Pelishtim. Shimshon burned them down from the shocks of grain until the olive yards. There wasn’t a field or a place that Shimshon didn’t set aflame. Shimshon set all of the vineyards of the Pelishtim on fire, all of their fields. He set everything on fire. So what did the Pelishtim do? What did the Pelishtim do? They heard that a single Jew had taken three hundred foxes and tied torches to their tails before driving them into the fields of the Pelishtim. He went and set the fields of the Pelishtim on fire! What did the Pelishtim do then? “And Shimshon went and caught three hundred foxes, and took torches, and turned tail to tail, and put a torch in the midst between two tails. And when he had set the torches on fire, he let them go into the standing grain of the Pelishtim, and burnt up both the shock, and also the standing grain, together with the olive yards” (Shoftim 15:4). He burned up all of the vineyards, all of the shocks, and all of the standing grain. He burned down everything: tents, houses, and huts. He set everything on fire. 
    Who did this? “Shimshon, the son-in-law of the Timni!” Why? Because they took his wife! He went to learn Torah after the sheva berachos were over; he went to learn for three months. There was a time when a man would go to learn immediately after his sheva berachos were over, not like today, when after the sheva berachos are over, a man goes and sequesters himself in his house for a year so that you don’t see him in the yeshiva at all. The Gemara says that after the sheva berachos, people would go to learn for twelve years or twenty-four years, like Rabbi Akiva. When a man gets married he should go and learn Torah; he should go and learn Torah in the yeshiva. What is he doing sitting at home? Is he spending his day eating cake? He could be learning. The Gemara in Kesubos (62b) says that people used to go to learn for twenty-four years, or they would go to learn for twelve years. The Gemara says elsewhere that the students would go for three years without a break. That is what Rabbi Adda bar Ahava says. Because he never got angry in his home, therefore he was able to go and learn for two or three years without a break. 
    And Yehudah—Yehudah would come home every Shabbos. Yehudah! Who was Yehudah! The son of Rabbi Chiyah! Who was like a fire! We’ve said that anyone can be like a fire. If a person will learn Torah, he will be a fire. So Yehudah, the son of Rabbi Chiyah, was a fire. He would come home, and they would see a fire. They wouldn’t see a man; they would see a fire. They would see a pillar of flame that extended from the heavens to the earth. He was out of the house the entire day—he wasn’t home all day long—so he was transformed into a fire. If a man won’t stay home all week long, if he travels to bring people back to Hashem all week long, then he is transformed into fire. If he stays home, on the other hand, he is transformed into a cat, into an animal. He has to leave the house, so that he shouldn’t become a cat. A cat sits at home all day long. You’re not a cat; you’re a human being! Get out of the house! Go and bring people back to Hashem in repentance! Travel from city to city teaching the Torah! Rabbi Yehudah never sat at home. He only came home Erev Shabbos, and then they would see a pillar of fire. Rabbi Yannai saw a pillar of fire. That is why he was able to revive the dead.
    “Rebbe wanted to marry his son to the daughter of Rabbi Chiyah. When it came time to write the kesubah, the bride died. Rebbe said: There must be some kind of blemish in their family, G-d forbid!” (Kesubos 62b). Rebbe was from the house of David, and Rabbi Chiyah was descended from Shimi, one of David’s brothers. This was a blemish since Rebbe came from the house of David. It was improper for a girl who descended from Shimi to marry Rebbe’s son. She wasn’t a daughter of kings. “So Rebbe’s son was married instead to the daughter of Rabbi Yossi ben Zimrah on the condition that he would go and learn Torah for twelve years [before going home to her].” When a man gets married, he should sit and learn for twelve years.
    “[After the engagement] she passed by in front of him and he said, ‘Perhaps I will wait just six years,’ [before conducting the wedding ceremony.] She passed by in front of him a second time, and he decided to marry her immediately [and then go and learn for the twelve years.] His father said to him, ‘You share the same opinion as your Creator [in that you had originally pushed off the time for going home to her, but later changed your mind because of love for your bride.] The verse says of Hashem, ‘You will bring them in and plant them in the mountain of your inheritance, in the place Hashem which You have made for You to dwell in [later on, in the Land]’. But in the end, the Torah says, ‘Make me a Sanctuary, and I will dwell among you (Shemos 25:8) [even sooner, in the desert.]’ He went and sat for twelve years in the beis midrash, until his wife became infertile [because she hadn’t been with him for over ten years]. He wondered what he should do—should he divorce her? People will say, ‘He kept this poor woman on one side for nothing.’ [Why marry her and then ignore her for twelve years?] If I go and take another wife [without divorcing], people will say, ‘That’s his wife, and the other is his mistress.’ He prayed for her, and Hashem’s mercy was aroused, and she was healed.
    Then there was Rabbi Chananiah ben Chachinai. “He planned to go to the beis midrash on the last days of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai’s sheva berachos. Rabbi Shimon said, ‘Wait for me until my sheva berachos are over and I can come and learn with you.’ He didn’t wait for him.” He didn’t want to wait for Rabbi Shimon. “He went and sat in the beis midrash for twelve years until the streets of his town had been changed because of construction.” He couldn’t find his house. “He didn’t know the way home until he heard a group of people calling some girl ‘the daughter of Chachinai.’” He followed her home and his wife spotted him and she had a fit of apoplexy. “Her heart saw that it was her husband.” He prayed for her, and revived her.
    There was a time when everyone could revive the dead.
    “Rabbi Chamah bar Bissa went and sat in the beis midrash for twelve years. When he returned home, he said, ‘I won’t do what ben Chachinai did.’ He went and sat in the local beis midrash and sent a messenger to his home. Rav Oshaya, his son, appeared before him. Rabbi Chamah bar Bissa didn’t recognize his own son. He began to talk with him in learning and [when he saw how wise he was,] he felt weak. He said to himself, ‘If I had only been here with my child to teach him Torah all the time that I was gone, he could have been a scholar like this one here!’” When he discovered that this was his own son, he said, “The three-fold rope is not easily broken” (Koheles 4:12). “Rabbi Rami bar Chamah said about this verse that it refers to Rabbi Oshaya, the son of Rabbi Chamah bar Bissa.” After this is the story Rabbi Akiva [who left home for twenty-four years.]
    So who is at fault that they [the 70,000 referred to earlier] all got killed? The Tanna D’Vei Eliyahu says it is “because they had a great Sanhedrin that was left by Moshe and Yehoshua, and Pinchas ben Elazar was one of them. They should have all gone and girded themselves with belts of iron and gone from city to city,” from settlement to settlement, from kibbutz to kibbutz. “Let them gird themselves with iron belts and lift their skirts so their legs are free to walk through all the cities in Yisrael.”
    From this point onward, let everyone buy a belt of iron and pick up the hem of his robe to walk throughout all of the cities in Yisrael. “One day, they’ll go to Lachish, to the Lachish strip to bring everyone in the Lachish strip back to Jewish observance. Another day, they’ll go to Beit El, and on a different day to Chevron.” Tonight, everyone will travel to Chevron. When we leave here, there will be twenty buses, and everyone will travel right away to Chevron. “One day in Chevron, one day in Yerushalayim. So too, to all of the places in Yisrael. They’ll teach Torah and proper conduct to the Jewish people, and within two or three years the Jewish people  will be settled in their Land, so that Hashem’s Name will be exalted and sanctified throughout the entire world that He created.”
    This is what happened with Shimshon. After learning Torah for three months, he wasn’t able to find his wife anymore. They took his wife from him, so he set fire to all of the shocks of grain. 
    Those who travel to bring people to repentance and encourage them to give tzedaka are the ones who sanctify Hashem’s Name from one end of the earth to the other. But at that time [the time of the war against Binyamin], they didn’t do that. If a person goes from city to city, from settlement to settlement…
    This is what the Chasam Sofer (in the book Chasam Sofer, Parshas Beshalach,) says: Why did Yehoshua merit to have a letter yud added to his original name? Yehoshua decided to enter Eretz Yisrael. Everyone wanted to remain in the desert, but he decided to enter Eretz Yisrael. That is why he was able to say, “Sun, stand still upon Givon; and moon, in the valley of Ayalon” (Yehoshua 10:12). [The Rabbis teach that the yud that was added to Yehoshua’s name was the one that was taken from Sarah’s name. Sarah shone like the sun, see Baal HaTurim to Bereishis 23:1, “The life of Sarah was one hundred years...” initial letters shemesh/sun. The connection to the lesson was that the Rabbis teach that going on a long journey always leaves it’s mark on a person’s face, a certain amount of damage, yet when Avraham came to Mitzraim he noticed that Sara’s face was completely undamaged, and he understood from that that she had escaped from the sin of Adam HaRishon, that she had shed her physical body completely, and that was why she shone like the sun, the way Adam HaRishon had done before the sin.]  This is what Eliyahu the prophet did when he made the sun stand still until he finished bringing up the burnt offering. Avraham had said to Nimrod, “Can you make the sun stand still, or turn it back?” And this is what the Tzaddikim do when they make the sun stand still. “Sun, stand still upon Givon; and moon, in the valley of Ayalon.”
    May we merit bringing the entire Jewish people back to Hashem in repentance, and may the Temple be built speedily and in our days, immediately. Amen!

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