from a lesson given by HaRav Eliezer Berland, shlit"a, Parshas Beshalach.
The Rav began by reading from the introduction
to the story of The Seven Beggars: “There was once a king who had
an only son. He decided to give over to his son the kingship during his
lifetime, and when he did this he made a great celebration, and there was
great rejoicing there. There were all sorts of entertainment (literally,
at the ball, such as bands, comedians, and the like; everything was there
at the ball. When the rejoicing reached its peak, the king stood up and
said to his son, ‘I am an expert in astrology, and I see that you are destined
to lose your kingdom. When you lose power, be careful not to become depressed;
you must remain joyful.’” Notwithstanding all the rough passages and failures,
it is still forbidden to be depressed. “If you are happy, then I will also
be happy. But if you become sad, then I will still be happy—because you
are no longer king. If you are not able to remain happy when you lose your
royal power, then you are not fit to be a king. But if you do manage to
remain happy, then I will be extremely happy.” If you will remain happy
even when you lose your kingdom, you will cause me to feel such deep satisfaction
(nachas ruach) that I will be extremely happy.
Everything that happens in the world comes from joy. Always,
in any situation, one must just be joyful, just to sing to Hashem. The
entire creation of the universe was only because Hashem saw that, in the
future, Israel would sing to Him at the splitting of the sea. “The king’s
son took over the kingdom… The king’s son was very wise, and he loved wisdom
very much.” With wisdom there is always a great danger. “He surrounded
himself with great sages…And since everyone was immersed only in theoretical
studies, that land forgot the art of war.” The art of war is prayer; they
abandoned the service of prayer. The more people immerse themselves in
mental gymnastics, the more likely they are to forget about prayer. A person
who is involved in science is in danger of losing his ability to pray.
For this, one needs the special tools of humility and self-abnegation,
in order that such study shouldn’t damage his prayer. “The people of that
land all became great sages… but the very wisest men and the king himself
eventually became atheists. Nevertheless, the king’s son had a spark of
good in him. He had been born with a spark of good, and he had a good nature.
Whenever he contemplated his situation, and realized what he was doing…he
would moan and sigh because he had fallen into such confused beliefs, into
such error. He would moan and sigh very much.”
Becoming an atheist didn’t help him. Every Jew has an
inner point of faith that continually re–awakens, and doesn’t let him rest.
Even the most wicked person has this point; Esav also had thoughts of repentance.
“He even considered converting to Judaism,” as it says in Midrash Rabbah
(Parshas Toldos 67:13). What, in his case, does conversion mean? Surely
he was the son of Yitzchak Avinu! Rather, it means that he had decided
to go and learn in the yeshiva of Shem and Ever, to learn Torah there.
Why, then, did this not come to be? Only because he kept pushing it off
until the next day, “I’ll go tomorrow.” So his re-awakening came to nothing.
The three biggest heretics who lived in Uman, at the time
Rabbi Nachman lived there, and who were very attached to him, had pledged
never to mention G-d’s Name out loud, so that they shouldn’t become confused
and fall into doubts that perhaps G-d really does exist. [It appears as
though the Rav is meaning to show here that heretics don’t feel entirely
at ease with their heresy, since they fear that perhaps they will change
their minds. He goes on to discuss this at length, as he says here that
one of the three, Hirsch Ber, eventually did admit the existence of G-d,
and ultimately repented completely.] Hirsch Ber said, Every time I go into
the Rebbe, I feel as though I’m being pulled by my coat-tails and being
told, “Hirsch Ber, there is a G-d in the world.” He was one of the advisors
of the Czar of Russia, and one time received a golden sword from him as
a gift. He was so moved by Rebbe Nachman’s wisdom that he said to him,
"If the previous Czar, Peter the Great, who was very wise, were still alive,
he would have removed his crown from his own head and placed it on his
(Rebbe Nachman’s.) But this present Czar is a fool." Ultimately, a letter
from the present Czar reached Rebbe Nachman, inviting him for an audience,
but the letter arrived after the Rebbe had already passed away.
In the end, this same Hirsch Ber repented completely and
became a complete Tzaddik. He traveled to London and died there.
Recently, his grave was discovered. I have a book at home from someone
who collected the words of all the Zionist leaders, all sorts of expressions
of their regret at the end of their lives, and how they admitted the truth.
This isn’t mere rumor; he brings things that are official, with accreditation
and photographs. He brings there a letter that Bialik had sent to Achad
HaAm. He wrote to him, "I’m already sick of this false secularism. I feel
a desire for some truth, to go to a synagogue and put on a tallis
and tefillin." Achad HaAm answered him that he, too, was thinking
along the same lines. “If you really want to do it, you should go ahead
and do it.” Achad HaAm was already old by then; he was twenty years older
than Bialik. He was the comrade of the founders and leaders of Zionism.
He had been together with Hertzl until they parted ways after a disagreement.
Because of it, Achad HaAm left Israel and went to be an administrator of
Wisotzky (Tea company). The manager of the tea factory was a gentile by
the name of Wisotzky who was childless. After his death, the ownership
of the factory passed to Achad HaAm; he inherited it. From the profits
that remained from it, he built a school in Haifa which he named Wisotzky,
after that man.
I once traveled with my father-in-law, and on the way
he told me a story about Moshe Sneh, the head of Mapam. When Moshe Sneh
died, he requested in his will that during the first year they should say
Tehillim and learn Mishnayos for him. His family and friends were in shock—it
was a real blow for them that Moshe Sneh should make such a request. Also
Meir Vilner, the founder and head of the Communist Party--Shimon Bergstein,
who went to meet him in my stead, told me this--he wanted to meet with
me about the trips to Uman, and I sent Shimon Bergstein on my behalf. During
the meeting, in the middle of the conversation, he complained to him about
Adin Steinsaltz. Why hadn’t Steinsaltz invited him to the opening of the
first yeshiva in Moscow? “He couldn’t invite me? I’m also a Jew. I also
learned in yeshiva. I know what a yeshiva bochur is.”
They know what a yeshiva bachur is, what kind of
intelligence a yeshiva bachur has. Once, a yeshiva bachur
wrote a beautiful poem in rhyming verse to Czar Nikolai. This poem appealed
to Nikolai very much and he wanted to see the young man who had composed
it. He sent a letter inviting him to the palace so that he could meet him.
The “Enlighteners” met together about this—it bothered them that the Czar
should meet with a yeshiva bachur. They knew that any yeshiva bachur
is ten times smarter than the most learned professor of theirs. Only a
yeshiva bochur has the intellectual facility to delve into things
and pick them apart. They feared that if the Czar would see a yeshiva bochur,
that he would toss them out and take yeshiva bochurim instead. So
they laid in wait for him, and when he came to the city, they grabbed him
and began to subvert him to their way. They explained to him that it is
inappropriate to go to the imperial palace as he was dressed, to meet with
the Czar in a hat and long coat and long peyos. He listened to them
and cut his peyos a bit. In this way, they slowly convinced him
until he cut his peyos off completely, threw away his hat, and shortened
his jacket until he looked just like one of them. At that point, they sent
him to the Czar. Nikolai took one look at him and said, “What? This is
a yeshiva bochur? You are just an ignoramus, you can go. I have
enough gadabouts like you—I wanted to see a yeshiva bochur for once.”
Meir Vilner said to him, “I know what a yeshiva bochur
is, I too learned in yeshiva.” He told him that what had driven him away
from Judaism was that once, in his town, a poor man had died and there
was no one to pay for the burial. The Burial Society didn’t want to bury
him because of this, and this had broken him so much that he fled from
completely. One must sometimes know what drives a person away. A yeshiva
like Leibele Trotsky—if his cheder Rebbe hadn’t beaten him half
to death, we might have prevented a Trotsky, and the world wouldn’t have
lost a Chazon Ish. He had such a mind, he could have reached the level
of the Chazon Ish.
When I was thirteen years old, my mother decided to give
me a room of my own. We lived in a house with only two rooms. So my parents
and two of the children squeezed into one room, and they gave me the second
room. It is tremendously important for every child to have his own room,
his own corner. It aids so much his development. I had that room for three
and a half years, until I was sixteen years old when I decided to go and
learn in yeshiva. When my parents heard this, they didn’t know what to
do. Naturally, they sat shiva over me and followed all the laws
of mourning. In the street, people spoke about me, how I had killed the
mother who had done so much for me. It was only after some years that she
thanked me. So when I left for yeshiva, this room remained empty, and they
started to rent out the room. It was set up in such a way so that it was
possible to rent it out, it was separate from the house. They rented it
to a French couple, and whenever I would come home from the yeshiva, the
husband would speak to me. He would tell me stories, and show an interest
in what I had learned in yeshiva. Once he told me about himself, that he
had grown up in Nice where there was a college. A special university for
robbery. They gave special courses there, all the tricks of the trade—how
to rob, how to break into banks, postgraduate courses in that field. One
could receive a degree and a diploma there. Someone who had passed the
courses successfully would receive a doctorate in robbery—all in accordance
with how successful he had been, BA, CM… So he told about himself, “I was
a spoiled child, I was bored, I didn’t have anything to do. So I also went
to learn in that college. Once, the Zionists from the Jewish Agency came
to the city and they propagandized to get people to make aliyah.
I was a young boy at the time, and I was very inspired by the idea of traveling
to Israel.” At least they had one thing going for them: they convinced
people to immigrate to Israel. “They were leftists from a leftist kibbutz.
I dropped everything and immigrated with them to Israel. They took me with
them to a kibbutz near Nahariya, it is an HaShomer HaTzair kibbutz.
Every day, I would go out to work with the counselor. One day, he went
out with me as usual, and the entire way I felt such a silence, everything
was quiet—no bird flew, no bird chirped—total silence. Just like at the
giving of the Torah—no bird flew, no bird chirped. I didn’t understand.
‘What is this?’ I asked the counselor. ‘Tell me what today is, that it
is so silent.’ The counselor then answered me, ‘You don’t know? Today is
Yom Kippur.’ When I heard the words Yom Kippur, a shudder went through
me. I turned around right away and I began to run back to my room. I went
into the room and I started to cry. How did I desecrate Yom Kippur? I cried
and cried until sunset.” A Jew hears the words Yom Kippur and he shudders,
even if he knows nothing about it.
Some years after this, there actually was a robbery in
Nice. It was one of the greatest robberies of the last century. They dug
a tunnel underneath a bank. They began to dig two hundred meters away from
the bank, in the guise of telephone workers, with the special clothes and
insignia of the telephone company. You pass in the street and see that
Bezek is digging—who checks to see who sent them? Nowadays, there are already
cellular phones that transmit via satellite, from above. Once upon a time,
two thousand years ago, they were primitive. They spoke through the telephone
and had to lay wires under the ground. So they dug a tunnel, and within
a few hours, they were already under the bank. The floor is made out of
cement panels that are flush against one another. They brought a special
machine with them that moves the panels. It doesn’t do anything, everything
remains the way it was—the ceiling, the walls—just the panels move a little
bit. In this way, they passed through into the bank and emptied all the
safes without setting off any alarms and without any noise. The next day,
in the morning, the managers and workers of the bank came in and just fainted.
The entire bank was empty. There were savings there of fifty years, and
nothing was left. Everything was gone.
Every Jew is a believer. There is no such thing as a Jew
that has no faith. And if you see someone who talks as though he has no
faith, it is, at most, that he is trying to keep up an appearance of not
having any faith. He is trying to convince us that we should believe that
he has no faith, but at his core, he knows that he does indeed have faith.
All his efforts to convince himself that he has no faith won’t help him,
because it is impossible to uproot the point of faith. Rebbe Nachman said
(Likutei Moharan 274) that were a person to succeed in uprooting
the point of faith within himself, he will die on the same day. Rebbe Nachman
explains that, when the wicked try to uproot the point of faith from themselves,
it is because they have a great evil inclination, and the point of faith
is getting in their way. They don’t fully enjoy sinning, it always awakens
doubts in their minds over and over again. As much as they try to think
that they have managed to uproot their faith, doubts that they might still
have faith return to them every time. This afflicts their conscience and
causes them fear.
The difference between us and them is not the point of
faith, for all of us have faith. On the contrary, they have
an even greater point of faith, it is just that they also have a greater
evil inclination and that is the difference. They have a greater evil inclination,
and instead of fighting against this evil inclination, they try to uproot
the point of faith that frustrates the will of the evil inclination. That
is why they fight against it, and speak heretically. They think that this
will help them. Rebbe Nachman says that if, Heaven forbid, someone actually
does manage to uproot the point of faith from himself, on that very day
he will die. Then he will again see the truth and uncover the point of
Every Jew has faith, everyone fasts on Yom Kippur, and
a wedding is like Yom Kippur. In fact, it is even higher than Yom Kippur.
As the Degel Machane Efrayim says in Parshas Bo, the sins of the groom
and all those who accompany him are forgiven. And this is also the giving
of the Torah, as the Gemara says in Brachos. And this already begins from
this Shabbos, at the calling up to the Torah. When the groom is called
up to the Torah, he ascends Mount Sinai. Reb Nosson says this in Likutei
Halachos (Mincha 7:93) and the Klausenberger says it in Parshas Bo. This
is also in Parshas Bo—everyone is talking about weddings in Parshas Bo.
He explains the idea that Hashem held the mountain over Israel like a barrel
at the giving of the Torah. This is the concept of a Chuppah, that
the Chuppah is the means of legal acquisition, and the Jewish people
were then acquired by Hashem. This is one of the five acquisitions that
Hashem acquired—the Jewish people are one of them (Avos 6:10). This
is why Hashem uprooted a mountain whose perimeter was as broad as the camp
of Israel and raised it above their heads. All of the Jewish people, the
entire six hundred thousand, stood beneath that wedding canopy.
The Chasam Sofer says that on the day of the wedding,
the groom is the Tzaddik of the generation. In the book, Kol
Rina Vi’Yeshua Bi’Ohalei Tzaddikim, the compiler gathers together many
pieces on the subject of weddings. He brings there in the name of the Beis
Yisrael, that on the day of the wedding, the groom receives super-human
powers, and with these powers he is able to overcome all of his base desires.
That is why the time of the Chuppah is the most auspicious time
for prayer for anyone who stands there. The entire duration of the ceremony,
including the time that the bride circles the groom, and all the other
delays that are part of the ceremony, are particularly auspicious for prayer.
One can take advantage at this time to bring about miraculous salvation
by praying then for all that one needs. It is possible to achieve everything—to
cause the infertile to conceive, to heal the sick--the Chuppah is
such a moment that even the wicked Esav received a thought of repentance
and wanted to convert. At his own Chuppa, Esav considered converting,
but because he pushed off the thought of repentance for the following day,
he lost it. By the next day, everything was already gone.
The Heichal HaBracha says (Toldos 145b) that, at his root,
Esav was a thousand times greater than Yaakov, and if he had been worthy,
he would have risen even higher than Moshe Rabbenu and David HaMelech.
He would have merited the level of Moshiach, of Yechida of Atzilut.
He could have merited to have been the Moshiach if he had repented at that
time. As the Zohar says in Parshas Chayei Sara (p.129), one who repents
merits in one moment what Avraham Avinu spent one hundred and seventy-five
years achieving, and David HaMelech seventy years. One who repents does
this in a single moment. If Esav would have truly repented, in that very
moment he would have surpassed David HaMelech, for both of them were from
the same root. It isn’t for nothing that Esav’s head is buried in Ma’aras
HaMachpela. We find the term “admoni” (red) referring to only two
people in all of scripture—David and Esav. The word “admoni” actually
appears three times; once in reference to Esav, and twice in reference
to David. Aside from this, you won’t find the word “admoni” again
in all of scripture, only in reference to these two. This is because the
two of them were from the same root, which is why Yitzchak misjudged him
and wanted to bless him. He thought that Esav was David HaMelech. Both
Yitzchak Avinu and Shmuel the Prophet made the same mistake. Each thought
about the one, that he was the other. Yitzchak thought that Esav is David,
and Shmuel the prophet thought that David is Esav. He didn’t want to anoint
him as king until Hashem told him, get up and anoint him, for this is he.
Shmuel the Prophet said, this one even spills blood like Esav.
And what really is the difference between David and Esav?
The Midrash says (Bereshis Rabbah, Parshas Toldos 63:8) that, in
truth, both did kill. It was just that Esav did it on his own authority,
and David at the behest of the Sanhedrin. David did nothing without
consulting with the Sanhedrin. [See also in the Heichal HaBeracha
mentioned before, at the beginning, where he brings this difference between
them.] Esav was satisfied that taking along one other person would make
it all right. This is because a gentile can be put to death through the
agency of a single witness and a single judge. One witness and one judge
is sufficient. Hashem made it this way for a particular reason, that they
should require both a witness and a judge, so that people should not kill
on their own authority. Esav really killed wicked people, but he would
go out alone. He didn’t want to take anyone else with him, because when
two go together, the matter becomes clarified and perhaps it will become
clear through the presence of the second one, that the person really didn't
have to be killed. In any case, if he were to have taken someone else with
him, Esav would have then had to split the booty with him, for he would
kill them and rob them of their money. Esav didn’t want partners, he wanted
all the loot for himself. Therefore, he would go alone, quietly, so that
no one should bother him.
When Esav killed Nimrod, he said that he was taking vengeance
for his grandfather, Avraham, who Nimrod had thrown into the fiery furnace—he
posed as being "zealous for the sake of Hashem." Yitzchak Avinu was pleased
with this, but Avraham Avinu didn’t want to see it—he left this world an
hour before the murder. [See Rashi on Toldos 25:30 on the words, “from
this red”, and Rashi preceding it on verse 29 on the words, “and he was
tired.”] He knew that this was not truly zealousness for Hashem’s sake,
as the way in which Pinchas was zealous for the sake of Heaven. By Esav,
it was murder for the sake of murdering, robbing and stealing. He murdered
Nimrod to steal the “desirable garments” from him, but in the end, they
were stolen from him.
And the children struggled together within her.” (Bereishis
25:22) This one was trying to crush the brain of the other, and the other
was trying to crush the brain of the first. There is another interpretation
of the word as “running,” that when she passed by a synagogue, Yaakov kicked
to come out, and when she passed by a place of idol worship, Esav kicked
to get out (Rashi). Rav Yehonason Eibeshitz says about this, that if Esav
really wanted to get out, why didn’t he? [This question doesn’t apply to
Yaakov. Either because Esav was situated so that he would emerge first,
thereby blocking Yaakov’s exit, or because Yaakov did not want to harm
his mother by emerging prematurely, something with which Esav was unconcerned.
No one, though, was preventing Esav from emerging straight away. He did,
in fact, do this even though he was born at term, as the Midrash Tanchuma,
Parshas Ki Teitzei 6 relates.] Though he potentially could have emerged,
Esav remained inside, because hounding Yaakov was more preferable to him
even than to going to worship idols.
Another interpretation is that they were fighting over
the inheritance of two worlds. Esav wanted this world, and Yaakov wanted
the next world—so what was their argument? Esav should take this world,
and Yaakov the next. This was, however, an ideological argument, “fighting
over the inheritance of two worlds.” Each one claimed that he would merit
both worlds. Esav claimed, “You’ll see. I’ll have both this world, and
the next. I’ll have this world because I’ll murder and rob other murderers
and robbers, those who are liable to the death penalty. So certainly I’ll
have this world. And I’ll also have the next world, because I will be able
to argue that, all in all, I murdered those who were anyway liable to the
death penalty. But you won’t have this world or the next world. You won’t
have this world because, if you won’t murder and rob, what kind of a this-worldly
existence will you have? And you won’t have the next world either because,
in any case, you won’t manage to hold fast, to sit and learn and serve
Hashem.” Esav said to him, “I have much” (Bereishis 33:9). The Arizal
says that “have” (“yesh”) is the numerical equivalent of three times
the numerical value of the word “calf” (“egel”). Esav meant to say
to him, “I see that your children are going to make three calves.” They
saw everything, even that which would occur generations later. Yaakov,
however, argued, “On the contrary. I will have both the next world and
this world. Because I sit and learn, I will have the next world, notwithstanding
all that I will go through and the falls that will come. And the fact that
I serve Hashem will make me worthy of having this world too.” As he says,
“I have everything” (Bereishis 33:11).
In truth, this came to pass with Yaakov. As it says, “And
the man increased exceedingly" (Bereishis 30:43). It says in reference
to Iyov, “and his cattle is increased in the land” (Iyov 1:10).
What was the case with Iyov also was the case with Yaakov, that the rams
[were so large that they] brought bears home on their horns. (Bereshis
Rabbah 73:11, and Bava Basra 15b.) Ultimately, he gave all of
his possessions to Esav in exchange for Ma’aras HaMachpela. So, with his,
“for I have everything” he answered him, “The calves that my children will
make in the future will only be because of your influence. But you, Esav,
won’t have this world or the next. Obviously, you won’t have the next world,
but you won’t even have this world. They’ll also steal everything from
you.” Esav didn’t have anywhere to hide his “desirable garments,” other
than at his mother’s house. He was afraid to keep them in his own house
because his wives would steal them. His wives were twice the thieves that
he was. In the end, his hiding place was not safe anyway, and his mother
also stole them from him.
So the groom, now, with his aliyah to the Torah,
has ascended to Mount Sinai. And this is precisely on Shabbos Shira, that
we read in the song the verse, “You will bring them in and plant them in
the mountain of Your inheritance. In the place, Hashem, which You have
made for Yourself to dwell in; in the sanctuary, Hashem, which Your hands
have established” (Shemos 15:17). This verse speaks about the building
of the Temple, and a wedding is both the giving of the Torah and the building
of the Temple. Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi says (Brachos 6b) that someone
who takes part in the wedding feast, and gladdens the groom, merits the
Torah which was given with five “voices.” This is the giving of the Torah.
Rabbi Nachman bar Yitzchak says, it is as though he built up one of the
ruins of Yerushalayim. The Midrash Moshe explains that “one of the ruins
of Yerushalayim” means the Temple. The wedding is the building of the Temple.
The Zohar (Pinchas 221a) explains that this verse refers
to the two Temples. “The place, Hashem, which You have made for Yourself
to dwell in” alludes to the first Temple, and “the sanctuary, Hashem, which
Your hands have established” alludes to the second Temple. The Zohar relates
that once, a gentile philosopher came to Rabbi Eliezer and said to him,
“I want to ask you three questions. First, why do you say that a third
Temple will be built? Behold, the prophet Chaggai calls the second Temple
'This Last House.' As he says, 'The glory of this last House will be greater
than that of the former' (Chaggai 2:9)."
The Second Temple was much less glorious than the First.
The First Temple was entirely of gold, and the second was made of wood.
At the building of the Second Temple, there were still elders alive from
the previous generation who had seen the first Temple seventy years earlier.
Someone who is ninety years old when the Second Temple was built was twenty
years old when the First Temple was destroyed. And someone who was eighty
years old, was then a child of ten years. They still remembered the first
Temple and they cried over the great decline of the Second Temple in relation
to the first. As it is described in the book of Ezra (3:13), they
cried so much that from the noise of their crying, they were unable to
hear the joyful shouts of those who had never seen the first Temple and
who rejoiced over the building of the second. All this was at the beginning,
but during the final days of the Second Temple, it was already plated with
gold. Even the ceiling was made of gold. If they had been worthy, this
Temple would have remained to be the final Temple. It was only because
of all the sins that were done then that they did not merit this. There
were factions of zealots that were killing one another, as Josephus describes
at length, and it was because of this that the second Temple was destroyed.
So that was the first question. How can you say that there
will be a third Temple? The second question that the gentile philosopher
asked Rabbi Eliezer was, “How can you say that you are the closest ones
to Hashem, and that Hashem loves you? What do we see—the very opposite!
You are the most hounded and persecuted people of all. And we, on the other
hand, live the good life. This is a sign that we are, in fact, close to
Hashem and that He loves us. That is why He gives us all manner of good.”
The third question he asked was, “You say that you don’t eat carcasses
and carrion for reasons of health. On the contrary, we who do eat carcasses
and carrion are healthy and have strong constitutions. You who do not are
weak and sickly.” This gentile ended off by saying, “I don’t want to hear
an answer from you to any of these questions, for you have no answers.
You will start to tell me now all kinds of farfetched excuses. I don’t
want to hear it.” Rabbi Eliezer saw that this was indeed the case. He raised
his eyes to him, he looked at him, and reduced him to a heap of bones.
Not one heap, but three heaps—one for each question. Apparently, he had
laser beams for eyes, and with them, he finished him off.
After his anger cooled off and he calmed down from this
gentile, he started to think, what really are the answers to these questions?
Then he began to cry, because he wanted to know what the answers were.
While he was crying, Eliyahu the prophet appeared to him. He said, “Why
are you crying over these questions? At this very moment, in Heaven, these
questions were asked, in the Heavenly Academy to Hashem Himself. Because
it was asked in Heaven, the questions arose in the mind of that gentile,
and he asked the questions here. Apparently, he had some sort of a receiver
that he could hear what was going on in Heaven. And Hashem answered that
we can learn from this verse, “The glory of this last House will be greater
than that of the former,” that the former can mean either the first or
the second, but the last is the eternal Temple. Also, the verse, “You will
bring them in and plant them in the mountain of Your inheritance. In the
place, Hashem, which You have made for Yourself to dwell in; in the sanctuary,
Hashem, which Your hands have established” refers to neither the first
nor the second Temples. The entire verse refers to the eternal Temple that
will last forever.
The Zohar says that the original plan was that as soon
as the Jewish people left Egypt and crossed the sea, that they should immediately
enter into the Land of Israel and build the Temple. That very day should
have seen the prophecy of “You will bring them in and plant them
in the mountain of Your inheritance” fulfilled. The clouds of glory were
waiting for them on the other side of the sea, and as soon as they crossed,
they were to travel with the clouds “on the wings of eagles” to the
Land of Israel. This idea is in accordance with the words of the holy Sifri.
[Sifri Devarim, piska 2: As soon as the soles of their feet would have
come up from the sea, they would have entered into the Land. As it says,
“Go up and possess it, as the G-d of your fathers has told you” (Devarim
1:21).] They had already merited a similar aspect, “Eleven days from Chorev”
(Devarim 1:2), that they had experienced a miraculous shortening
of their journey (Rashi).
At the splitting of the sea, the Jewish people reached
a higher level than the prophets. “This is my G–d and I will exalt him”
(Shemos 15:2, see Rashi). They merited to see Hashem face to face,
as we say when the Torah scroll is taken out, “for they will see eye to
eye, Hashem returning to Tzion” (Yeshayahu 52:8). Eye to eye. A
handmaid at the sea saw that which Yechezkel ben Buzi never saw. As the
Pelach HaRimon says, Yechezkel saw the world of Yetzira, and Yeshayahu
saw the world of Briya, but the Jewish people at the splitting of
the sea saw into the world of Atzilut. All sixty myriad with the
women and the children, all of them ascended to the world of Atzilut.
This is the song that they sang: it was a prophecy. Everyone said the same
words—they weren’t reading from a script that had been printed out for
them. They didn’t have any computers to print things out. Everyone received
the prophecy of the song, and because they were at such an exalted level,
they would have been fit to enter into the Land of Israel immediately.
If not for their doubts and their worries about Moshe, as they said, “Just
as we are coming up on this side, so too the Egyptians are coming up on
the other side,“ they would have been worthy of entering into the Land
together with Moshe Rabbenu. (Rashi, Shemos 14:30, Pesachim
118b). This was still before the sin of the golden calf, and the sin of
the spies. Moshe would then have built the Temple that would never have
been destroyed, and brought the immediate Resurrection of the Dead, and
the world would have been completely rectified.
But because Moshe did not enter into the Land, Shlomo
HaMelech was the one to build the Temple. He managed to bring Rachel together
with Zeir Anpin at the level of Keter facing Chochmah;
that the Keter of Rachel was already at the level of Chochmah
of Zeir Anpin. If he had only raised Rachel another little bit,
that her Keter would be facing his Keter, he would have merited
the complete rectification. But because he married the daughter of Pharoh,
he lost this. At that point, Gavriel descended and drove a reed into the
sea, around which developed the great city of Rome. (Shabbos 56b;
Rashi, Melachim 3:3 and Yirmiyahu 32:31). On the day that
the Temple was built, he married the daughter of Pharoh. Scripture says
about this, “For this has been to Me a provocation of My anger and My fury
from the day they built it” (Yirmiyahu 32:31). [This was said as
part of Yirmiyahu’s prophecy of the destruction of the Jerusalem and the
Temple.] The Romans caused the Kasdim to destroy the first Temple, and
they themselves destroyed the second. In the second Temple, five things
were already missing, as the Gemara in Yoma 21b describes. This
shows us about the state of Rachel during the period of the second Temple,
that she was missing five sefirot from that which she had during
the first Temple period. She was then at the point of Keter opposite
that her Keter only reached to face Tiferet of Zeir Anpin,
and she was missing the five sefirot of Chochmah,
Da’at, Chessed, and Gevurah. Shlomo’s mistake was
that he attempted reach out beyond his level. He thought that he already
had the strength to bring people who were from outside closer, and that
he would succeed at bringing even the daughter of Pharoh close. He was
not satisfied with working within his own milieu.
This is what the Zohar says—that which they said in the
song “You will bring them in and plant them in the mountain of Your inheritance.
In the place, Hashem, which You have made for Yourself to dwell in; in
the sanctuary, Hashem, which Your hands have established” that the two
Temples were planned along the lines of the final Temple. It alone will
incorporate two structures. There will be a Temple of stone which everyone
will be able to see, and surrounding the Temple of stone will be a Temple
of fire (which only the Tzaddikim will be worthy of seeing). It
was regarding this Temple that they spoke, and about it was written, “The
glory of this last house will be greater than that of the former.” This
has not yet come to be. This Temple has not yet been (for the two Temples
that stood until now were only of stone and not of fire), and when this
Temple will be built, it will never be destroyed. The Zohar says (Parshas
Pikudei 240b) that nothing was destroyed of the first two Temples either.
No stone was burnt, everything still stands in its place. Anyone who places
something called "foch" into his eyes, that the Kabbalists know
of, can see the Temple; they see how everything is standing in its place.
In the ultimate future, everyone will merit to see this, and the prophecy
of “for they will see eye to eye, Hashem returning to Tzion” will be fulfilled.
This is the concept of the bride and groom. She is the
structure of stone, and he is the structure of fire that surrounds the
structure of stone. Just as the Zohar says, the wife is the altar, and
the husband is the flame that burns on the altar. [The altar is made of
stone. See Rashi, Shemos 20:22 on the verse, “And if you will make
Me an altar of stone."] The groom must make himself worthy of such a flame,
as it said of Rabbi Chiya, “In the place where there is a burning fire,
what do you need with the one who bears a bellows?” (Bava Metzia
85b). When Reish Lakish wanted to prostrate himself at the grave of Rabbi
Chiya in Tiberias, which is near the grave of Rabbi Akiva, he was unable
to find the gravesite. He was told from Heaven, that he wasn’t worthy to
go to the grave of Rabbi Chiya. The Gemara relates, “Rabbi Chaviva said…
I once saw one of the Rabbis to whom Eliyahu would come. I saw him one
morning and his eyes looked fine, but that evening, they looked as though
they had been burned by a fire. I said to him, ‘What is this?’ And he said
to me, ‘I said to Eliyahu: Show me the Rabbis as they ascend to the Heavenly
Academy.” Show me the souls of the Tzaddikim when they ascend from
the yeshiva of Metat to the yeshiva of Hashem. Hashem has a yeshiva
where they merit to hear Torah from the mouth of Hashem Himself. “He said
to me: You can look at all of them except for the chariot of Rabbi Chiya.”
So he then asked him, “By what sign do you know them?” How will I know
which is the chariot of Rabbi Chiya so that I shouldn’t look at it? Tell
me the signs. So he answered him, "When you see a chariot that ascends
by itself, without any accompanying angels, you will know that it is the
chariot of Rabbi Chiya and you should not look at it…With all of them went
angels when they ascended and descended, except for the chariot of Rabbi
Chiya, that ascended and descended by itself.” This student relates, “‘I
wasn’t able to hold myself back, and I peeked at the chariot of Rabbi Chiya.’
Two sparks of fire came and burned the eyes of that man. ‘The next day,
I went to pray at his grave.’” He cried before him, “Have mercy on me in
the merit of my learning your teachings.” He was then healed.
The Eitz Chayim (Gate 28, chapters 1 and 4) explains that
this is the esoteric meaning of the verse, “Behold the mighty ones will
cry outside; ambassadors of peace will weep bitterly” (Yeshayahu
33:7). The angels are permitted to be in the proximity of regular Tzaddikim,
for the angels serve them and through this become worthy of ascent. But
there are certain Tzaddikim like Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai and Rabbi
Chiya who embody such a fire that even the angels do not have the strength
to stand in their presence. The angels cry over this, that they are unable
to be close to them, and this is, “Behold the mighty ones will cry outside;
ambassadors of peace will weep bitterly.” The mighty ones and the ambassadors
of peace also cry over this.
Thank G-d, we merited to have such a groom, like a real
burning flame. His heart is totally on fire for Hashem, a Temple of fire.
As Rebbe Nachman says in Likutei Moharan 49, the light of the burning
of the groom’s heart burns endlessly. So too, does the bride's. Rebbe Nachman
says that she is the techeiles that finishes everything and destroys
everything—the proper bride destroys the Sitra Achra. Rebbe Nachman
says in this lesson, that the groom ascends to Atika, where there
is no left side. Atika is the single merciful eye. Eye to eye. “for
they will see eye to eye, Hashem returning to Tzion.” There, everything
is the right side, there is no left. When the groom is worthy of having
no left side to him, it means that he doesn’t want anything but Hashem.
Rebbe Nachman says that this is why they throw money at
the wedding. To show that they are throwing away the money, throwing away
all the lusts. The groom will now enter the kollel to learn. In
the meantime, checks are not being given out in the yeshiva, there are
no salaries. The groom doesn’t need money. What does he need money for?
He needs, all in all, to eat a piece of bread and to drink water. This
will be enough for you. Your father-in-law, also your own father, will
be ready to give this to you. Every time, you can go to eat either by my
son, or by your father. What do you need more than this? I also lived in
a little house, on Rashbam street. There wasn’t room for anything there;
that house was a mess. Nachman Galinski once said to me, "I don’t come
to your house, because it is impossible to enter such a house." Now that,
at last, I have a house that it is possible to enter, the only people that
come to visit me are the police and investigators.
Only trouble comes from having money. The Tanna Di’Bei
Eliyahu Rabbah 5:12 says about Yaakov that he blamed all of his troubles
on the fact that he had enjoyed a benefit from the wealth of Lavan. People
work to make a profit, but if the money is even a little bit not kosher,
it only brings trouble. Yaakov Avinu didn’t work for Lavan for the money.
“In the day the drought consumed me, and the frost by night” (Bereishis
31:40). He did not do that for the money—he did it to serve Hashem (Midrash
Rabbah, VaYeitzei 74:11). On the contrary, Lavan would steal everything
from him. It was only the angels who worked for him who would bring the
sheep back to him (Rashi, Bereishis 31:10). Even so, when Yosef
was lost, “Yaakov suspected, ‘Perhaps I enjoyed a benefit from the money
of Lavan and of Shechem, and so Hashem nullified the covenant He had made
with me, and all these troubles came upon me because of that?’” In the
end, he gave all this money to Esav; he did not want to enjoy a benefit
from it (Rashi Bereishis 50:5)
Money from a non–kosher source also causes spiritual trouble,
not only physical trouble. As Rebbe Nachman says in Likutei Moharan
II:15, about non-kosher money, that it can damage unification, blessing,
and holiness. It ruins the unifications, ruins blessing, and ruins holiness.
Rebbe Nachman says there that false spiritual leaders are Heaven-sent,
so that all the non-kosher charity money will go to them, in order that
it should not, Heaven forbid, reach, [and thereby damage] the Tzaddik.
This is why we see that there are benefactors for all sorts of yeshivas;
some big donor comes and gives a hundred thousand dollars at one shot,
half a million dollars. Here, in this yeshiva, where they get up every
night for chatzos, and do hisbodedus in the fields, they
have to fight to collect every penny. No big donor comes forward, because
only kosher money is allowed to come here.
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