Excerpts from a lesson given by HaRav Eliezer Berland, shlit"a, Parshas BaMidbar.

      The Rav quoted from the story of The Exchanged Children,  “And he saw that he would have to lift up the rose and place it on the throne. Then the throne would be able to play melodies, similar to the instrument that he had received from the man in the forest…” The ultimate goal of all of creation is melody. As it says in the Zohar Chadash (Hasulam, Bereishes, 717,)  that as soon as Shabbos begins, Hashem enters into Gan Eden and all the angels sing before Him, and all of Shabbos is spent in song. The Zohar also says (Hasulam, Balak, 351) that the angels burst forth in song just before the dawn; all the angels that comprise the third watch of the night begin to sing before Hashem. That is why a person must force himself to wake up before the dawn to sing and praise Hashem. That way, he becomes a partner with all of the heavenly hosts. Hashem then sends the angel Refael to fulfill all of his requests for healing, to heal everyone that he asks to be healed. 
   At that time, during the singing of the morning songs, it is possible to succeed in healing even those afflicted with fatal diseases like cancer, to heal those who are infertile, etc. Even spiritually, it is possible at that time to bring the whole world to repentance, even the most wicked people, for all the  “King’s prisoners” go free then. That is why all those imprisoned by illness and trouble, and those who are spiritually imprisoned and distant from Hashem, can be set free at that time. Everyone can pray for his mother, his father, his brothers…they can all repent, even the most wicked people in the world. One has to know how to speak to the wicked, how to touch them at their innermost point of self. And only those who wake up early to sing to Hashem can know this. For, in reality, there are no wicked people at all. Just as the Ben Ish Chai says on the Mishnah, “There is no man without his moment in time…” There is no person, even the most wicked person, who doesn’t have thoughts of repentance every single day. Everyone has at least one thought of repentance every day. 
   That is what the Midrash says on the verse, “And he smelled the fragrance of his garments…,” that Yitzchak smelled the garments of Yaakov who had come into him. The Midrash then points out the similarity between the words “his garments” and “his betrayers.” Meaning, even those who will ultimately betray Hashem—Yitzchak Avinu caught the scent of Gan Eden coming from them. Because even the most wicked people ultimately repent their misdeeds.
    Even someone like Yakum the man from Tzrurot, when they brought his uncle, Yosi ben Yoezer, out to be hanged on a cross, on Shabbos. The custom of the Romans was when they took someone out to be hanged, he was forced to carry the cross to the town square, where he would be hung. First, they would make him carry it around the town for a few hours, till they brought him to the square. If he was too old or weak to carry it, they would coerce other people to carry it in front of him. This is what they were doing to Yosi ben Yoezer, carrying the cross in front of him, just as Yakum rode up on a beautiful horse and mocked his uncle, “See what a beautiful horse Hashem has given me!” His uncle answered, “If this is what Hashem gives to those who transgress His Will,” (meaning, that you who transgressed the entire Torah find yourself graced with a fine steed to ride), “then how much more will He give to those who fulfill His Will?” Yakum of Tzrurot answered derisively, “Look at your horse,” (pointing to the cross,) “in a short while they are going to hang you on it!” His uncle retorted, “If this is what happens to those who fulfill His Will, then what is going to happen to those who transgress His Will? I am being punished for some subtle transgression, like opening my eyes for an instant, or having had a trace of an improper thought. But what is your end going to be?” The Midrash says that at that moment, Rabbi Yosi ben Yoezer’s words penetrated his nephew’s heart like a serpent’s venom.
   We see, then, that even though he mocked his uncle who was in the most extreme state possible, on the verge of death, even so he came to feel remorse and repented. Yakum of Tzrurot immediately inflicted the four types of capital punishment on himself. He took a rope and bound it to the ceiling, and stuck a sword hilt–first into the ground beneath it. He surrounded the sword with a pyre of branches, and surrounded those with a huge heap of stones. He set the branches on fire as he hung himself, so that his body burned until the rope broke. He then fell on the sword, which triggered the stones to fall upon him in a heap. In this way, he executed all the four capital punishments on himself, in the space of time it took for the Romans to prepare the gallows for Rabbi Yosi ben Yoezer.
   The Romans were as cruel as the Nazis—and the Nazis were terribly cruel. It is said that they would drive nails into the skulls of Jews to attach them to the ceiling, G–d have mercy! There are endless stories like this, anyone who even reads a little on the subject could have trouble sleeping for weeks. The Romans were like the Nazis, they tortured Jews. That was why they took their time preparing the gallows, it took several hours for them to dig the pit and raise up the beam.
   In the meantime, Rabbi Yosi ben Yoezer went into a light trance and saw the bed of his nephew being carried up to heaven, to Gan Eden. He said, “Yakum of Tzrurot has beaten me to Gan Eden by an hour. He is about to receive eternal life.”
   The Midrash also relates the story of Yosef of Shita, a Jew who had transgressed the entire Torah. He was a friend of the Romans, helping them to kill Jews and steal property, just like one of them. When they finally reached to the Temple, they wanted to go in and remove all the gold that was there. The Temple was full of the wealth of nations—all the nations knew that if they wanted to guarantee success in any of their wars, all they had to do was send a gift to the Temple. Josephus writes that after the destruction of the Temple, the price of a kikar of gold went as low as the price of a kikar of butter in Antioch, the market was so glutted with gold that had come from all over the world.
   But when the Romans first came to the Temple, they were afraid to enter in. That was why they summoned Yosef of Shita; he was, by then, a highly ranked officer in the army and also a Jew. They said to him, “If you go in first, you can bring out and keep anything that you want.” He went in and brought out a golden menorah, (candelabra,) one of the ones that the Kohanim used to light. Not the one made by Moshe Rabenu, nor one of the ten donated by King Solomon, (Melachim I, 7:49). Those, and the rest of the important artifacts, like the Ark of the Covenant etc., were hidden many hundreds of meters below the surface of the Temple Mount. What Yosef of Shita removed was just an ordinary candelabra, one of many, that had been donated to the Temple. That is why the form of the menorah that can be seen on the fresco of the Arch of Titus is not proof of what the original menorah looked like, the one which they took to Rome was also only an ordinary candelabra that had been used in the Temple.
   Be that as it may, Yosef of Shita took out a candelabra. When the Romans saw it, they said, “That isn’t what we meant. A common person like you isn’t fit to use such a candelabra. Go in again, take out small things like spoons and basins, those can be yours. Not anything so grand…”
   At that very moment, Yosef of Shita felt a pang of remorse. Despite the fact that he was so wicked—he had already transgressed the entire Torah and had even tried to steal from the Temple. And what were they asking of him, anyway? To go in just one more time to take out something different. Even so, a wave of repentance overwhelmed him. He began to shout, “That’s it! I’ve had enough! I absolutely refuse to transgress the words of the Torah one minute longer! It isn’t bad enough that I angered my Creator once? I have to do it again?! You are not going to take this menorah from me, I don’t care what you do!”
   They tried to make him change his mind, “What, have you gone crazy?” But he refused to comply with their wishes. So they took him and laid him out on a carpenter’s sawing table. They sawed him into tiny pieces—but in his great attachment to Hashem, he didn’t feel any pain at all. He only cried out, “Oy that I wasted so many years, Oy that I angered my Creator!”
   That is what Rebbe Nachman says, that there aren’t really any wicked people at all. There is no such thing as a wicked person—just people with handicaps. One person is missing a part of his mind, another one lacks a heart, someone else has no kidneys… They are just diseased, they need transplants. It’s like a person who has suddenly lapsed into a vegetative coma, G–d forbid, and can’t recognize his parents and his brothers. That is exactly the way it is with heretics—they are simply lacking parts of their minds and so they don’t recognize Hashem, their own Father.
   And this is exactly what we are witnessing today, a bio–technological revolution with all kinds of tissue and organ transplants. Similarly, as Rav Nosson says in Likutei Halachos, as much as the world progresses regarding the physical achievements, the same is so regarding the spiritual, it is all so that we can have some understanding of spiritual transplanting. The wicked need organ transplants because they really aren’t wicked at all, just handicapped in some way. The songs of the morning that are sung at the dawn, they can create such transplants, to give others the heart, mind, etc. whatever they are lacking.
   According to Rebbe Nachman, there is no such thing as wicked people; just people who are handicapped in some way. And, really, every organ teaches a person what to do… The eyes scream out all the time, “Don’t look!” Every organ and limb cries out to a person precisely how he should behave. 
   That is how the Kedushas Levi explains the statement in the Haggadah, “If He had brought us close to Mount Sinai and not given us the Torah, it would have been sufficient.” What benefit could we possibly have gotten from standing at Mount Sinai without receiving the Torah? Really, one must ask questions about every single detail in the Haggadah, not just the four questions. So too, that which it says, “If He had split the sea for us without bringing us through over dry land, it would have been sufficient,” is also difficult to understand. What on earth would we have done at the sea if Hashem hadn’t brought us through? We would have either drowned or been killed by the Egyptians. No. It means that He would have passed us over the sea on wings of eagles, just not by passing us through the waters over dry ground. We wouldn’t have seen the revelations that we saw at the sea; when the sea was split, all the heavens were split open as well. That was when everyone, even the lowliest handmaiden, saw visions that surpassed the visions of Yechezkel the prophet. 
   So the Kedushas Levi asks the question about  Mount Sinai. And he answers that standing at Mount Sinai cleansed us of the defilement of the primeval snake—every organ and limb of our bodies themselves taught us what to do, what is permitted and what is forbidden. For there is such an inner voice within every person that cries out what he should do. When a person wants to plunge his hand into a fire, a voice within him cries out, “Don’t touch that!” Likewise, every limb and organ has its own voice—just as it is said of Avraham that wisdom flowed from his two kidneys and they taught him G–d’s ways. He merited this by guarding his eyes, for the eye shouts, “Don’t look!” 
   That is why the Arizal says in the Sha’ar HaPesukim on the verse, “Because (ekev) Avraham heeded My voice…”—that Avraham guarded his eyes. One could ask, though, what is the connection between the heels (ekevim) and the eyes? So the Arizal explains that the “heels” of Binah enter into the skull of Zeir Anpin; that is, Netzach and Hod of Imma are connected with Chochmah and Binah of Zeir Anpin. That is why the two heels are precisely parallel to the two eyes. The two heels of Binah parallel the two eyes of Zeir Anpin. That is why opening one’s eyes can, G–d forbid, make a person lose all his wisdom. 
   And that is why there is a particular verse to describe Avraham’s “looking up” in each case. Because Avraham never would look up—that is what the holy books say. When he went to bind Yitzchak as a sacrifice, he went for three days without looking up. Hashem only told him in which direction to walk, and he went three days northward. Only after those three days did, “…Avraham raise his eyes…”—he looked up to see where he was. Also, with the ram, it says, “And Avraham raised his eyes…”—each time he opened his eyes, a verse mentions it particularly. 
This is what the Kedushas Levi explains, that the Jewish people reached this level at Mount Sinai even before the Torah was given to them. They reached this level where their limbs and organs themselves taught them how to act in accordance with the Torah.
   That was why Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi merited to convert even the Roman emperor—his personal sanctity was so great, he never allowed his hand to go below the level of his navel. When a person conducts himself with purity and holiness, then his words can be heard and accepted throughout the world, even by gentiles. Everyone converts, even the Roman emperor.
   The Gemara (Avoda Zara 10b) relates how Antoninus the Roman emperor would come every day to learn Torah from Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi. He had a special tunnel through which he traveled each day, with two slaves accompanying him, which ran between Tiberias and Tzippori. For the sake of secrecy, Antoninus would kill the servants who accompanied him both on the way there, and upon his return. The Tosfos actually asks, how could it be that he killed his servants? Surely it is forbidden to kill, a non Jew the same as a Jew! But the Ba’alei Tosfos answered that these servants had already been sentenced to death, that they were murderers and bandits, and therefore it was permitted to kill them. When the emperor lived in Israel, he apparently would stay in Tzippori. Every day, Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi would send all of his students away at the appointed time of the emperor’s arrival. But once, Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi miscalculated so that his best student, Rabbi Chanina bar Chama, was still in the room when Antoninus emerged through the door of the tunnel. He asked Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi, “Didn’t we agree that there would be no other human being here aside from us when I come?” Rabbi Yehuda, however, retained his composure. He said to Antoninus, “This one is no human being—he is an angel!” So Antoninus said to Rabbi Chanina bar Chama, “Very well, then, go and bring me my servant from the tunnel.”
   Fine. So Rabbi Chanina bar Chama went into the tunnel and saw the dead servant, what should he do? If he goes to the emperor and says that the servant is dead, the emperor will be very angry—doesn’t he already know that he is dead? It must be that the emperor wants him to bring him in alive to prove that he really is an angel. And to flee would be disrespectful to the crown. So Rabbi Chanina bar Chama simply said to the dead slave, “Get up!” And the servant got up and walked with him. When they came to Antoninus, he said to Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi, “Now I know that even the least of your students can resurrect the dead—but next time, make sure that no one is here when I come, not even an angel!”
   The Roman emperor was so self–effacing before Rebbe. When Rebbe would want to rest a little after learning with him, the emperor would lie on the ground and beg Rebbe to use him as a step stool as he climbed into his bed. “I want to be your footstool,” he would say. Rebbe answered, “How can I step all over the king?” Antoninus responded, “I even want to be the bedspread beneath you in the next world.”
   Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi was so pure, so holy, that the Talmud Yerushalmi says that when he died, Rabbi Yanai announced that the laws of Kehuna did not apply that day. This is further explained by Rabbeinu Bachaye (Parshas Emor), that because the Tzaddikim pass away through the kiss of contact with the Shechina and not a regular death like everyone else, no impurity affects their bodies. Even Kohanim can come to them, can go to their gravesites, because there is no impurity there. How much more so with Rebbe—it says about him, (Kesuvos 103,) that for some years after his death he continued to appear, to make Kiddush in his home every Friday night. After they die, the Tzaddikim are really still alive. 
   And the Tosfos there in Kesuvos says, everyone is familiar with it, that Rabbi Chayim HaKohen said that if he had lived during the days of Rabbeinu Tam, he would have gone to his funeral. There is no impurity surrounding the bodies of Tzaddikim like him. Rabbi Chayim was, at that point, the leader of the generation following the Rashbam (who had been the student of Rashi). And Rabbeinu Tam was truly “tam”—complete—and no impurity had the slightest grip on him. (The Ri, Rabbi Itzchak came afterward; he was the son of Rabbeinu Tam’s sister who had married Rabbi Meir.)
   It is written in the Pirkei D’Rabbi Eliezer 53: Six were created after a heavenly pattern—Shimshon, Shaul, Avshalom, Tzidkiyahu, Yoshiah, and Asael. Each of them merited to be born with the “heavenly shine” of Adam HaRishon. The rest of the Jewish people were not worthy of retaining this shine, even though they all possessed it at Mount Sinai. 
   When the Torah was given, the whole world rejoiced. As it says in the Gemara, in Zevachim 116, that even the gentile nations rejoiced—there was no thievery, no banditry and murder, etc. And when Hashem said, “Thou shall not commit adultery,” they rejoiced at that too. Because also the gentiles are ashamed of this. But, immediately afterward, the gentiles began to say, “What will be? How can we get by without thieving and robbing? Don’t we have to eat?” 
During that time, there lived a certain man named Bil’am—he knew all sorts of magic and incantations. He was the very best in his field—he was famous even in Delhi and Bombay for knowing all kinds of sorcery. So all the world’s kings decided to send messengers to him to ask him, “How will we survive? What will we live on?” So everyone flew to Bil’am—they said some magic spell and flew off to him. As Rashi says, (Bereishis 14:2,) on the name, “Shemever”, that he was called by this name because he had a limb, (ever,) with which he could fly from one place to another. Not like the primitive people of today who need planes and so on. Every day, another one of those planes crashes; every month a jumbo jet crashes and three hundred people are killed. Hundreds of planes go down every year. But, long ago, people would say the magic word and would immediately jump from one country to another, from one place to another, just as they flew to Bil’am. 
   They said to him, “What will we do? How can we steal…rob…? The earth will just open up and swallow us!” So Bil’am calmed them down and said, “Don’t worry. You can keep on doing just as you’ve been doing all along. Everything you heard, the ten commandments, was meant just for the Jews—they steal and rob, so that was why they had to hear that. But you? You’re all Tzaddikim! No one said that to you! What, it’s forbidden to steal a bit of bread to eat?” From that time onward, Bil’am was regarded as a true prophet, and the gentiles rejoiced that just as the Jews have their own prophet, so did they. 
   But we still see that even the gentiles who heard the ten commandments rejoiced at first, they also don’t want all that foolishness, they also want to live in a clean world. Their whole error was that they went to Bil’am to ask what would be, and the only reason they did that was because they waited a day. Instead of running to Moshe as soon as they heard the ten commandments, when they still felt inspired, instead they waited a day. All their enthusiasm cooled off, and all their base desires came back in full force. So they asked, “What will be? From now on it will be forbidden to murder, to steal, etc.” That is exactly the way it is with every lecture—people don’t know what will be tomorrow, what will be in five minutes! A person feels inspired as he hears the lecture, but afterward, all his faults and all his base desires return to him.
   When the Torah was given and everyone heard the ten commandments, the Jewish people stripped off their defilement completely. Angels came and placed two crowns on each person’s head—but after the sin of the golden calf, those adornments were lost. Even so, there were six people who merited them, as we said before, like Asael who was born with this “heavenly shine.” Asael was the son of Tzruya who was the sister of King David. Her father, Yishai, was one of the few people who died without ever having committed a sin. So, in the merit of his holy grandfather and his holy parents, Asael merited to be born with this shine of Adam HaRishon. He literally had no body at all, as the Yalkut Shimoni relates in its comments on Yirmiyahu 9, on the verse, “Let not the wise man praise himself for his wisdom…” Truthfully, this ought to be in Kohelet, but it appears here in Yirmiyahu 9. “…The race is not to the swift…”—that is Asael, who was so energetic and swift that he could run along the tops of the sheaves without bending them. And this is no exaggeration. The Arizal explains in his Sha’ar HaGilgulim that there is an “inner light” and a “encircling light”. The encircling light comes from the mother and the inner light comes from the father. Asael had such a powerful encircling light that it actually lifted him up and propelled him over the sheaves so that they did not bend beneath his feet.
   The Yalkut Shimoni relates that the verse, “…the war is not to the strong…” applies to Avner. He was so mighty that it was said of him that if he could have been given a firm enough handhold—on some immovable and unbreakable stone or cliff—he could have lifted up the whole world. In the end, however, after Avner had killed Asael, Yoav’s brother, by wounding him in the fifth rib, Yoav killed Avner. Even after he had already struck Avner and almost killed him, Avner still was able to grab Yoav and hold him in his hands as though he were as flimsy as a piece of thread. Avner could have torn him in two in an instant, but the Jewish people begged him not to do it. They said, “We had two army chiefs of staff and one has already been killed. If this one is killed, we will fall into the hands of the Plishtim.” So Avner let Yoav live.
   So when a person purifies and sanctifies himself, he can draw such holiness upon himself…he can actually draw this heavenly shine upon himself. Avshalom erred because of this. Since he was born with this shine, he thought that the kingship was meant to be his. That was why he pursued his own father, King David.
   So this heavenly shine that the Jewish people received at the giving of the Torah can be received each and every year at this time. And so, tonight which is Rosh Chodesh Sivan, is already the beginning of this opportunity. According to Rabbi Yosi, (Shabbos 86b,) Rosh Chodesh Sivan came out on Sunday (just as it does this year), and it was on Rosh Chodesh that they camped at Mount Sinai. They stripped off the defilement that was entrenched in their bodies and all their limbs and organs taught them the entire Torah. So we are already on the verge of receiving the Torah. Tonight will be the forty–fifth day of the Omer; during every day of the Omer we must raise up forty–five holy sparks. The seven weeks of counting rectify the seven kings mentioned at the end of Parshas Vayishlach. Today is Gevurah within Malchut (we rectify the five gevurot of Chusham, whose name has the same letters as Moshe). Tonight will be just like Yom Kippur and one can receive the holy Name MaH. And all this happens when we merit to sanctify all our limbs and organs so they, themselves, shout the Torah out to us. 
   The Gemara in Sotah 10a relates that Shimshon received all his power because he never cut his hair. The hair is an extension of the eyes; that is why we don’t cut our hair during Sefirah. The days of Sefirah are the holiest days of the year, (so that the holiness of Netzach, Hod, and Yesod of Binah can come down upon us). The Gemara there in Sotah also mentions that there were five people who merited to be born with a form that followed a heavenly pattern. It leaves out Asael and Yoshiah from the list we mentioned previously, and inserts Asah in their place, which is not according to the text in the Pirkei D’Rabbi Eliezer.
   Shimshon merited to shine like two suns, (Shimshon contains the letters of the word for the sun, shemesh.) The heavenly shine of Adam HaRishon was on him, and he was also a reincarnation of Yefet, the son of Noach, (Yalkut Ruveini, Parshas Noach.) The Zohar Chadash, (Parshas Noach, Hasulam 108,) explains that Yefet learned in his brother Shem’s Yeshiva, and that Shem was supposed to rectify him. But because he was unable to do this, even though Yefet was completely self–effacing before him, even so, Shem was unable to completely repair him spiritually, (because the Torah had not yet been given.) Therefore, Yefet had to be reincarnated as Shimshon. Which was why Shimshon limped, because also he failed to rectify Yefet. 
   Until a person manages to repair his own soul, he first must have other souls incarnate within him. Everything that a person does is because of the souls that incarnate within him. If for the good, then good. And if for the opposite… Just as it is written, “G–d does all these things twice or three times with a man…” Sometimes a single soul incarnates within a person, other times it is two or three souls. Afterward, Shimshon was meant to rectify the soul of Nadav.
   Nadav and Avihu brought down a strange fire, and Shimshon, within whom the soul of Nadav had reincarnated, was meant to repair this by bringing down a fire from heaven. However, he did not merit to do this; he burned the fields of the Plishtim by setting fire to the foxes’ tails instead. All because he said that she (his first Plishti wife) was “right in his eyes.” That was why he fell from all his lofty levels. That is what the Arizal says in his Sefer HaLikutim, (Sefer Shoftim,) that even when a person falls to wherever he falls to, he must never say, “it is right in my eyes”—this is my path. He must, instead, say and know that he doesn’t know why Hashem did this to him, he doesn’t know why he fell. If he says, “it is right in my eyes,” then he falls completely. That was why they cut off Shimshon’s hair, because the hair is an extension of the eyes’ vision. When he blemished his eyes, his strength was compromised and they were able to cut his hair.
   This is what Yaakov Avinu meant when he said, “Dan is a snake on the path, he bites the heels of the horse.” Shimshon was from the tribe of Dan, and Yaakov Avinu prophesied that Shimshon would fall from his level because of his sin (sin=126=horse). Shimshon could have been Moshiach, he was meant to bring down a fire from heaven just like Eliyahu the prophet, but he did not merit to do this.
   Eliyahu the prophet, however, did merit to bring down a heavenly fire. Anyone who came to harm him was instantly burned by this heavenly fire. The only reason why he feared Izevel, (so says the Chiddushei HaRim,) was because she used to go out to dance for brides and grooms, she would dance for them at the entrance to her house. Eliyahu the prophet knew that if a person dances before the groom, it is a sign that he still has a spark of holiness within him. Some people say that it isn’t proper, it isn’t honorable to dance. But if a person does dance, it is a sign that he still has a holy spark inside of him. That was why Eliyahu the prophet did not want to kill her, he thought that he could still bring her to repent.
   He took advantage of the opportunity of her wanting to kill him so that he could flee to Mount Sinai. Hashem should only bring us to strip off the defilement entrenched in our bodies so that we can merit the complete redemption, speedily and in our days, Amen. 

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