A lesson given by HaRav Eliezer Berland, shlit”a,
Parshas VaYeshev, the third night of Chanukah, 5761.
“As your Creator made you joyful
in Gan Eden of old…” He [the groom] is the aspect of Zeir Anpin,
and she [the bride] is the aspect of the holy Shechinah. He has
the option now of living the rest of his life with the holy Shechinah.
It’s his choice until Wednesday night. On Wednesday, at sundown, they [the
Brachos] will be over. On Thursday, he’ll begin to learn regularly
like any other kollel man, provided that he’ll merit starting out
on the right foot. He now has a wife to support him and to help him. She’ll
make the best food for him; she’ll take care of everything for him. He
used to be a castaway, sleeping on mattresses…
He can now rise higher and higher. The wife is called
the Shechinah—the bride is the Shechinah. That is why we
bless him with G-d’s Name and we invoke His Kingship with “As your Creator
made you joyful in Gan Eden of old.” Each and every wife, says Rav Levi
Yitzchak [Bender], is an aspect of the Shechinah. The Shechinah
protects; she uplifts him. The function of the Shechinah is to uplift,
to protect, and to shield. She is the outer encircling light, and
with this light she protects her husband from all harm, from all negative
thoughts, and from all forbidden sights. That is how he can now rise higher
This is the meaning of what Rabbi Nachman said (Chayei
Moharan 563), that during Avraham’s time, the Shechinah was
called “Sarah.” Sarah was the Shechinah. Avraham married the Shechinah.
Sarah was not a human being at all, but was a manifestation of the Shechinah.
During Yitzchak’s time, the Shechinah was called “Rivka.” She, too,
was not a human being. Rivka was the Shechinah. During Yaakov’s
time, the Shechinah was called “Rachel and Leah.”
Eliezer didn’t understand. Eliezer’s dense mind
didn’t get it. The name Eliezer always indicates a closed mind. Wherever
you find an Eliezer, make sure to get a million kilometers away from him.
If you find someone called Eliezer, run a billion kilometers away, a billion
light years away. Eliezer didn’t get anything; he didn’t understand. He
had such an amazing daughter—she was born in the house of Avraham Avinu.
Avraham was her sandak. She was born on his knees, and Avraham raised
her. She listened to cassettes by Avraham Avinu day and night, and they
were the only cassettes that she ever heard. He had such high hopes that
his only daughter would marry Yitzchak, Avraham’s only son. Could there
be any match that was more suitable? A wunderkind that listens only to
cassettes of Avraham Avinu, twenty-four hours a day, who doesn’t sleep,
and who doesn’t eat. She gets up for chatzos, she does hisbodedus,
and she follows all of the guidelines laid down in Likutei Moharan. And
in the end Avraham wants to take a wife “from my family and from my father’s
Eliezer was sure that Avraham had become senile.
When a person gets to be one hundred and forty years old, he starts to
lose his grip. It’s no dishonor, and it’s no slight. When a person gets
to be one hundred and forty years old…Nowadays, a person doesn’t live to
even one hundred years of age—not to ninety years or even eighty years.
“The days of our years are seventy, or if by reason of special strength,
eighty years” (Tehillim 90:10). With difficulty, a person makes
it to eighty years of age. If, then, a person gets to be one hundred and
forty years old—two times a lifetime of seventy years—then he deserves
a pat on the back. Thank G-d, but it’s certainly possible that he’ll get
somewhat senile. Maybe he should take some sort of a vitamin to decrease
the senility. We will have to look into it, if there is such a pill.
Eliezer was pulling out his hair—he was pulling
out his hair. Everyone knew that Avraham had received the prophecy, “Go
forth from your land, and from your birthplace, and from your father’s
house” (Bereishis 12:1). After receiving such a prophecy, Avraham
said to him, “Go only to my land, to my birthplace. Go only to my family,
to my father’s house.” How is this possible? How could he transgress so
many positive commandments? “Go forth from your land,” that’s one. “And
from your birthplace,” that’s two. “And from your father’s house,” that’s
three. And he just blithely transgresses all of them, intentionally, and
he emphasizes that he wants Eliezer to go to his family, to his father’s
house. “You’ll only find him a match if you go to Besuel. I want you to
go to the land of Nachor.” Nachor who used to pierce ["nocher,"
meaning to kill] people. “To Nachor” [without the vav] has the gematria
of two hundred and eighty-eight. All of the two hundred and eighty-eight
sparks of impurity were within him. That was where Eliezer was told to
go search! Eliezer thought, “What happened to my Rebbe? My Rebbe is definitely
making a mistake. He is certainly making a mistake here—he has gone over
the edge. This is an absolute error! He is violating all of the Shulchan
Aruch, all of the commandments that Hashem commanded him. He is violating
the entire Torah! Look what can happen to a person at the age of one hundred
What, is he guilty of something because he reached
the age of one hundred and forty? “Do not cast me off in my old age”—that
is what we are praying about. A man reaches the age of one hundred and
forty! People get senile by the age of sixty. At forty, there is ten percent
deterioration, at sixty there is twenty percent deterioration, at eighty
there is already thirty percent deterioration. If a person isn’t immersed
in the study of Gemara…Only the Gemara has the power to quicken the blood.
It literally quickens the blood and the blood vessels so that the blood
flows properly and cleanses the arteries. If a person doesn’t learn Gemara,
he starts to go senile. From the age of twenty, fifty percent of people
manifest some degree of mental deterioration with the passing years. It
is very well known that even the greatest scientists are somewhat senile.
They don’t know what they’re talking about, and they don’t speak to the
point. At the age of forty, it’s only ten percent, at the age of sixty
it’s twenty percent, and by the age of eight it’s thirty percent.
Only a person who learns Gemara…That is why elderly
Torah scholars retain their presence of mind while other elderly people’s
minds become disoriented. Their minds simply deteriorate. They lose thirty
percent of their intelligence. At eighty, a person already doesn’t speak
to the point, he angers easily, and he can’t express himself. Elderly Torah
scholars, however, are the very opposite: they retain their presence of
mind. If a person studies Gemara, if he invests all of his life force into
the Gemara, into the Halacha and Shulchan Aruch…
We have here a groom with such an incredible mind,
he has the best head in all of Sha’arei Torah [the Yeshiva Gedola]. If
he will start his life on the right foot, then he could be the greatest
of the Torah giants. He could even become like the Chazon Ish. It’s his
choice. If not, then a person starts to deteriorate. Already from the age
of twenty, you begin to go senile if you don’t devote yourself to the study
of Gemara. At forty, you’ll fail to speak to the point, and at sixty you’ll
start to say “to my family and my father’s house, to Beit Alfa.” By the
age of eighty…Yet Avraham Avinu found the Shechinah there in Beit
I traveled to Beit Alfa. I met your grandfather
[the Rav was speaking to the groom at this point]. There is a song that
we used to sing when we were children: “Beit Alfa, we will praise.” I fulfilled
the words of that song. Every word that comes out of your mouth in song…
“Emek Yisrael” was their favorite song. “Watchman, what’s the word? Watchman,
what’s the word? Emek Yisrael, we will praise.” It was their favorite song.
In the end, you’ll get to Beit Alfa. That will be the end.
Even Avraham Avinu said, “to my family and to my
father’s house,” only to the family of my father’s house in Beit Alfa.
At the age of eighty, it’s impossible to know what state a person will
be in. By the age of one hundred and forty, he must already be one hundred
percent senile. If you follow the pattern there is forty percent senility
at the age of one hundred, sixty percent at the age of one hundred and
twenty, and eighty percent at the age of one hundred and forty. Eliezer
judged his Rebbe favorably—it couldn’t have been avoided.
You can now start life on the right foot. On Thursday,
you will start the regular learning schedule, and you will learn regularly
until Pesach. You can just sit and learn, sit and learn. You can truly
start life on the right foot, and rise higher and higher.
Eliezer was pulling out his hair. What happened
to his Rebbe? Here you already have a serious error. Fine, I’ve caught
him before in plenty of mistakes, but here we have a serious error. I must
protest. I must take a stand. I have to do something to save my Rebbe!
I have to do something. “Perhaps” (in Hebrew, “oulai”), he spoke
with only half of his mouth. He doesn’t even understand his own slip, that
he meant to say, “to me” (in Hebrew, “eilai”). Avraham understood
the hint, and he said to him, “The cursed cannot cleave to the blessed.
You can’t marry into my family. You are cursed, you are [descended] from
Canaan.” There is even an opinion that he, himself, was Canaan. “You can’t.”
Eliezer was pulling out his hair, and he went on
his mission with a broken heart. He was full of doubts and questions. What
did he see when he arrived? He saw Esav [“vekada al shichma,” initial
letters of Esav]. As soon as he arrived, he saw Esav. He looked a little
further, says the Ramak, and he saw the kadkod stones. He looked
a little further and he saw that it was the Shechinah. It wasn’t
a person at all. She was a soul without any body at all. “No man knew her.”
No man ever saw her. When she would go out into the street, she would pray
that no man would see her. She had something special, some kind of special
screen that surrounded her. It is similar to what we spoke about previously
regarding “Commando 17.” These are rays that paralyze soldiers even at
distance, from a kilometer away. They call this Commando 17, and they immobilize
soldiers at a distance of kilometers.
Rivka was one of these Commando 17’s, no one saw
her. No one saw her at all. She would walk with a kind of screen around
her, a kind of ray that would immobilize everyone. She would pray that
no one should see her. Everyone was preoccupied and busy with other thoughts—this
one was running here, and that one was running there. No one ever knew
her. The Midrash says that no one even knew that a daughter had been born
Besuel. A man doesn’t need to know when a daughter is born. He doesn’t
need to know anything. It doesn’t have anything to do with you. You don’t
know anyone except for your own wife.
Why does the Torah say “And her pitcher, and her
pitcher, and her pitcher, and her pitcher?” “Her pitcher” (“kadah”)
alludes to the Shechinah. The Shechinah is called “her pitcher.”
Eliezer saw the Shechinah upon her. He didn’t understand why he
had to go to such a place all of a sudden. “And behold Rivka came out,
who had been born to Besuel.” She had been born to Besuel—she was born
in Besuel’s house—but she wasn’t really his daughter at all. She was the
daughter of Avraham Avinu, but it was just that she had to “smite the corners
of Moav, and destroy all the children of Shes” (Bamidbar 24:17).
She had to destroy all of the children of Shes and smite the corners of
Moav. She had to uplift all of the forces of impurity; she had to destroy.
With the power of Rivka—the power of the woman—all of the forces of impurity
“Consume them in wrath, consume them that they may
be no more” (Tehillim 59:14). It consumes all and destroys all.
The bride consumes everything; the bride destroys all of the forces of
impurity. She has the power to destroy and consume all of the forces of
impurity and raise her husband up higher and higher. She has the power
to purify him and sanctify him. That is why Rivka was literally the Shechinah,
just as the Ramak (Rav Moshe Cordovero) says in Chapter 11 (Pardes Rimonim,
Shaar 23, Perek 11). “Pitcher” (“kad”—gematria twenty-four) represents
the twenty-four books of the Tanach. This pitcher showed that she knew
all of the twenty-four books—all of the prophecies of Yeshayahu and of
Zechariah. She knew all of the prophecies of comfort—she knew all of the
prophecies. She knew all of the twenty-four books of Tanach.
This is the spiritual unification aligned with the
feminine, with Rachel, and with the twenty-four letters in the phrase,
“Blessed is the name of the glory of His Kingdom forever and ever.” The
is called “her pitcher.” “Kad hei” is the Shechinah and the
(ruby) stones that burst forth from the Shechinah. “And I will make
your windows of rubies and your gates of beryl, and all your borders of
choicest stones” (Yeshayahu 54:12). “And I will make your windows
of rubies (kadkod).” The Ramak says that this refers to Rivka, about
whom the verses say, “And her pitcher…and her pitcher…and her pitcher.”
One time would have been enough. She drew the water, and she gave them
to drink. Obviously, she did it with the pitcher.
This is also the case with “Tosafos.” Tefillin
aren’t mentioned in the Torah at all. It doesn’t say how many parshios
are to be included or the form of the housings. It doesn’t say where they
are to be put on exactly. The Torah says, “between your eyes,” but we place
them on the head, on the hairline and not literally between the eyes. The
word “tosafos” is a conjunction. “Tat” in the Katfi tongue
means two and “fos” in the Afriki tongue means two. Altogether we
have four to signify the four parshios, but the word is a composite
of two foreign words! The fact is that tefillin have the power to
extract all of the holy sparks and all of the lights from the nations of
the world, and the Torah doesn’t even tell us how to make them.
Shabbos isn’t written about. “These are the words…”
(Shemos 35:1). There is a difference of opinions about from which
verse it is learned out that there are thirty–nine categories of labor
that are forbidden on Shabbos. It is found in the Gemara, Shabbos 70a.
From where do we derive it? The verse says, “These are the words…”
Yet the Torah repeats every action of Rivka’s twice.
every movement was for the sake of heaven. Her every movement involved
mystical unifications. Her every movement was the holy of holies. All of
Rivka’s movements involved the highest mystical unifications. She unified
the ineffable Name; she joined Divine Names together: YHVH EHYH,
ADNY, and YHVH ELoKIM. Her every movement involved awesome
mystical unifications, and that is why we review her every movement over
and over again.
And all of Shabbos and the
thirty-nine categories of forbidden labor aren’t mentioned at all—the thirty-nine
categories of labor, Shabbos, stoning—none of it is mentioned. What is
mentioned? The Torah says, “Do not kindle any fire throughout your habitations
on the Shabbos day” (Shemos 35:3). “Remain every man in his place”
(Shemos 16:29). “In plowing and in harvest you shall rest” (Shemos
34:21). There is a difference of opinions between Rabbi Shmuel and Rabbi
Akiva, and the thirty-nine categories of work aren’t recorded in the Torah
at all. Go and search! Guess! Look and make deductions based on juxtapositions.
“It is taught: Rabbi Nosson says, ‘Do not kindle any fire throughout your
habitations on the Shabbos day.’” What does the Talmud say? Because the
verse says, “And Moshe gathered together the entire congregation of the
children of Yisrael and said to them, ‘These are the words…Six days shall
work be done’” (Shabbos 70a). The opening words of Parshas VaYakhel
include these two words—“these are the words” (“eyleh ha’devarim”).
The word “eyleh” has a gematria of thirty-six. The word “devarim”
is plural and implies two. The definite article before the word “devarim”
[the heh] implies another one. Thirty-six, plus two, plus one is
equal to thirty-nine.
The Gemara continues, “How do we know that he is
only guilty of a single infraction? The verse says: ‘In plowing and harvest
you shall rest.’” So perhaps we should says that he is guilty of two distinct
infractions—one for plowing and another for harvesting?” We still know
nothing from the verse alone! The Gemara continues, “For all of the forbidden
labors, he is only guilty of a single infraction.” So what if we say that
he is guilty of all of them all at once—meaning, if a person did all of
the thirty–nine types of forbidden work on Shabbos, could it be that he
is only guilty of a single infraction even if he performed every act of
forbidden labor knowing that it was forbidden? “The verse says, ‘Do not
kindle any fire in all of your habitations.’” The verse, “Do not kindle
any fire,” teaches us that each category of labor involves a distinct infraction
of the law when it is performed on Shabbos. The prohibition of lighting
a fire on Shabbos is part of the general grouping of the thirty-nine categories
of forbidden labor. Why was it mentioned on its own in a separate verse?
It is to teach us that just as kindling a fire is a super-category (Avos)
of forbidden labor and anyone who lights a fire on Shabbos is guilty of
a distinct infraction of the law, so too do each of the super-categories
of forbidden labor involve a distinct infraction of the law when they are
performed on Shabbos. That is one thing that we learn.”
The Gemara continues, “Rabbi Shmuel’s reasoning
followed the line of Rabbi Yossi’s who said that the mention of the prohibition
of kindling a flame was meant to teach us that it is a negative prohibition
in and of itself [for which the punishment is not kareis and stoning,
like the other forms of forbidden labor.] As it is taught, ‘Kindling was
mentioned separately from the other forms of work to distinguish it as
a [simple] negative prohibition. These are the words of Rabbi Yossi.’ Rabbi
Nosson says, ‘It was mentioned separately to distinguish it from the others.’
In what way is it distinct according to the opinion of Rabbi Yossi? It
is taught that Rabbi Yossi says on the verse, ‘and shall do from one of
any of them’ (Vayikra 4:2), that there are times when one is obligated
to bring one sin-offering for all of them, and other times when one must
bring a separate sin-offering for each forbidden labor that was performed
on the Shabbos. Rabbi Yossi the son of Rabbi Chaninah said, ‘What is Rabbi
Yossi’s reasoning? It is based on the verse itself. [The two additional
letter “mem”s in the phrase “me’achas me’heina” (“from any
one of any of them”) invite a homiletic interpretation of the phrase.]
There sometimes is ‘one’ that is ‘them’ [i.e. when the Shabbos, which is
one, is desecrated and there are many separate sin-offerings that must
be brought.] And sometimes there is ‘them’ that is ‘one’” [i.e. when a
person has performed many acts of forbidden labor and he is only obligated
to bring a single sin offering.]
There are all kinds of interpretations, hidden teachings
that are only given in the subtlest of hints. Go and learn out from the
phrase, “from one of any of them,” that sometimes a person is obligated
to bring a single sin–offering for having performed all of the forbidden
labors, and sometimes he is obligated to bring a separate sin–offering
for each forbidden labor that was performed on Shabbos. “‘One’ refers to
a forbidden act that was done completely, like writing the name Shimon
in full on the Shabbos. ‘From one’ refers to a forbidden act that was done
incompletely, like intending to write the name Shimon but only writing
the word ‘Shem.’ ‘Them’ refers to super-categories of forbidden labor (Avos).
‘Of them’ refers to sub-categories of forbidden labor (Toldos).
‘One’ that is ‘them’ would be when a person willfully violates the Shabbos,
but didn’t know that the act that he performed was forbidden on Shabbos.”
This is in the section called “Klal Gadol” (Shabbos 70a–b).
After this, we find in the chapter called “HaZorek”
that “the number of super-categories of forbidden work are forty minus
one. We find that they are forty minus one.” According to Rabbi Akiva,
we derive this number from techumin [boundaries beyond which one
cannot walk on Shabbos]. That is the opinion of Rabbi Akiva. Rebbe says
that it is derived from the words “eileh ha’devarim.” Two plus one
plus the gematria of eileh which is thirty-six. Altogether
they are thirty–nine categories of work that were told to Moshe at Sinai.
“Rabbi Yosef said to him, ‘We learn this from Rabbi Yehudah. We learn everything
from Rabbi Yehudah.’”
Yet the subject of Rivka is reviewed many times—an
infinite number of times.
One derives this from the words “his labor” and
“the labor of.” Go and search for the word “melacha” (“labor”) for
a statement in the Torah that labor is forbidden on Shabbos. “His labor”
is written about in reference to Yosef. “His labor”  has the same
as the word “leviathan” [496 + one for the kollel]. Yosef rose to
the level of the leviathan. “On that day Hashem with His sore and great
and strong sword will punish leviathan the flying serpent, and leviathan
that crooked serpent” (Yeshayahu 27:1). The flying serpent is the
masculine element; the crooked serpent is the feminine element. Yosef went
to destroy the two leviathans. These are the leviathan that is aligned
with the feminine aspect of the other side and the leviathan that is aligned
with the masculine aspect of the other side. That is why “his labor” is
the leviathan. “On that day Hashem with his sore and great and strong sword
will punish leviathan the flying serpent.” Yosef went to subdue all of
the serpents. He knew that he was going to subdue all of this impurity—he
was going to subdue the wife of Potiphar, to place her under the dust beneath
the soles of his feet, to subdue her absolutely. In that way, he would
nullify this type of impurity so that the Jewish people could enter Egypt.
The Jewish people had to come down to Egypt then, and he would nullify
this impurity completely from the world. This is called “his labor” that
he was going to subdue.
“Hashem with his sore and great and strong sword
will punish.” What exactly is this thing that he would destroy completely?
The verse in Yeshayahu 27:1 says, “On that day Hashem…will punish.”
The author of the Mayim Adirim says in the name of the Gaon of Vilna, “What
is the flying serpent? And what is the crooked serpent?” The Mayim Adirim,
Rabbi Menachem of Shklov, answers, “On that day Hashem with His sore and
great and strong sword will punish leviathan the flying serpent and leviathan
that crooked serpent. And He will slay the crocodile that is in the sea.”
In the ultimate future, that desire [physical lust] will be nullified completely.
That desire will be nullified completely! Hashem will nullify it completely,
and then the resurrection of the dead will take place. We will then get
up in completely new bodies, in bodies that will be like Adam’s was before
the sin. “As you Creator made you rejoice in Gan Eden of old.” And Hashem
will nullify the leviathan the flying serpent.
Rabbi Menachem of Shklov says in the name of the
Gaon that the leviathan, the flying serpent, is the leviathan that is aligned
with the masculine aspect of the other side. It is called the flying serpent
because it comes all the way from the ends of the ocean and mostly swims
over the sea. The crooked serpent is the line that surrounds; it is the
serpent that lies along the coast of the ocean, and it surrounds the entire
ocean with terrible impurity. The most awful forms of impurity tend to
be found in [and around] the oceans. This is the meaning of “leviathan,
the crooked serpent,” and this is called “his work” that he went to subdue.
“His work” is “leviathan” plus one for the kollel, which comes from
the power of the One. Hashem is One. [The “kollel number,” the added
one, is reflective of Hashem’s Oneness.] Yosef went to utterly subdue these
leviathans, all of the various forms of impurity that exist in the world.
He went to subdue them utterly so that there would ultimately be not even
a remembrance of them left.
We deduce from this, from these thirty-nine categories
of labor, that there are thirty-nine categories of forbidden work on Shabbos.
They are written about in the five books of the Torah. Yet the story of
Rivka—her every motion—is reviewed in every verse. Why? Because she was
literally the manifestation of the Shechinah! Rivka was literally
the manifestation of the Shechinah! And her every movement involved
incredible mystical unifications. This is what the Ramak says. “And I will
make your windows of rubies (kadkod).” “Kadkod” is a conjunction
of two “kads” (pitchers), pitchers in a state of being filled with
a Divine bestowal of abundance. At that time, Rivka was drawing down Divine
bounty for the entire generation! With those pitchers, she drew down Divine
bounty to all of the generations. They were pitchers filled with abundance,
and it was at that moment that Eliezer thought that she wasn’t such a Tzaddekes.
Eliezer saw it all of a sudden; he perceived it from her words.
He had set for himself a sign. “And let it come
to pass, that the girl to whom I will say, ‘Let down your pitcher, I pray
you, that I may drink,’ will say, ‘Drink, and I will give your camels drink
also.’ Let her be the one that You have appointed for Your servant Yitzchak,
and that is how I will know that You have shown kindness to my master”
(Bereishis 24:14). Suddenly he heard that she said to him, “I’ll
only draw the water.” Drawing water isn’t the same as giving to drink.
Drawing the water is only a partial effort—it means that she really isn’t
such a giving person. She just wants to fulfill the minimum obligation
of doing an act of kindness. The camels would have to be given enough to
tide them over for a total of thirty days. Ten camels means giving them
enough water for thirty days altogether. When this thought came to him—when
she said that she would only draw the water—he said to himself, “I’m going
home. What she said isn’t in alignment with the signs that I requested.
She feels that she has to give me to drink, but really she doesn’t want
to. She just wants to draw some water and leave. She’ll only draw a drop
of water, enough to fulfill her minimum obligation, just for courtesy’s
sake, and then run off. Then I’ll be stuck here with the camels all by
myself.” And these thoughts entered his mind again about Rivka.
When a person has doubts about his Rebbe, then they
plague him nonstop. Every second he has a new doubt—a new one every instant.
He hears that one person said that he said one thing, and someone else
said that he said a different thing, and then someone else again tells
him a different story. The stories never happened at all. Someone just
made them up, but the true facts don’t interest him. He’s already heard
the real truth; he prefers to believe the made-up story. He no longer believes
in his Rebbe; he believes everyone else instead.
Eliezer had fresh doubts plaguing him every second,
awful confusions. He wanted to return home already. She said, “I will draw”
and he said to himself, “I said that she should give “to drink.” I said
in the signs that she has to give to drink. ‘Drink and I will give your
camels drink also.’ She had to say, ‘And I will give your camels drink
also.’ And she only said, ‘I will draw.’” Then what does he see all of
a sudden? The Midrash says that he saw the pitcher jump down of its own
accord [to draw the water]. She only said, “I will draw,” because she didn’t
want to lie. “I won’t give to drink, I can’t. I’m a little girl. How can
I draw enough water for thirty days for ten camels? But the pitcher will
jump to do it all by itself. You’ll see in a little while. I’ll just draw
the water; I’ll just put the pitcher into the water, and you’ll see that
the pitcher will leap up by itself.” Within a few seconds, the pitcher
jumped back and forth a million times and drew as much water as was needed.
It filled them up with enough water for thirty days, and then he saw one
wonder after another.
Lavan suddenly came and said, “Come in, blessed
one of Hashem.” That was when Eliezer heard the Divine echo [saying that
he had changed over from being cursed to being blessed]. The moment that
you receive a blessing from a non-Jew you should know that it is a true
blessing. Any blessing given by a non-Jew is a true blessing—any blessing
from a non-Jew. We live among the non-Jews. Here in the Moslem Quarter,
there are ten thousand Moslems, and ninety-nine percent of them are people
who aren’t interested in wars. They don’t want to beat up Jews. There are,
maybe, ten or twenty hoodlums here who make all the trouble. Ninety-nine
percent of the people who live here aren’t at all interested in having
the PA take over here. Two hundred families have already fled from their
homes; two hundred families have already run away from here. The apartments
are standing empty; they can be purchased. They heard that the government
wants to give the Moslem Quarter to the PA, so they fled. They don’t want
to be under the authority of those murderers. All of the people of the
Moslem Quarter are people who work. They work in the yeshivos and they
make their entire living from the Jews. They are treated well by the Jews,
and they have no interest in disturbing their status or in disturbing the
good relations that they have with the Jews. They have no interest in this.
It is an awful error that people make when they think that if they see
an Arab, they have to curse him and throw stones at him and harm him. This
is a terrible and awful mistake, and it is behavior that doesn’t befit
a ben Torah at all.
At the moment when Lavan said, “Come in, blessed
one of Hashem,” Eliezer understood right away that a blessing had come
out of his mouth. The Shechinah had spoken from out of his throat.
He was no longer cursed, but rather had become blessed. The Chiddushei
HaRim says that hearing the Divine echo made a new doubt crop up in his
mind. When he heard that he was blessed he thought, “Well, if I’m already
blessed, then I can go home. What do we need the daughter of Besuel for?
I know what will come forth from her, from the daughter of Besuel. My daughter
will be a proper wife; she listens to the cassettes of Avraham Avinu’s
lectures twenty-four hours a day. There is no daughter like her.” All of
a sudden he had a vision of the giving of the Torah [which would come through
Rivka’s descendants], but since he had these doubts about Avraham Avinu,
he also had a vision of the sin of the golden calf. He saw them worshipping
the calf, and he saw the breaking of the Tablets. “If he’ll marry my daughter,
there won’t be any breaking of the Tablets. With my daughter, the giving
of the Torah will last forever and ever. The first Tablets will remain;
they won’t be broken.”
Despite the fact that he had these thoughts, he
drove them out of his mind with all of his power. He took the two bracelets
and prayed that the Jewish people would merit receiving a second set of
Tablets. Rashi says that the two bracelets were meant to put the shattered
tablets back together. They paralleled the two Tablets, and were to put
the broken pieces back together. The Kli Yakar says that Eliezer had a
vision of the giving of the Torah, and he saw the entire spectacle of the
standing before Mount Sinai. Then he saw the golden calf, and it was that
vision of sin that made him have doubts all over again. When a person has
doubts, he can see a vision of the standing before Mount Sinai, the giving
of the Ten Commandments, and he can still be left with his doubts.
This is similar to what happened to Korach. He saw
what happened at Mount Sinai, and he said to himself, “It was in my merit.
I made what happened at Mount Sinai. The entire congregation is holy.”
Dasan and Aviram crossed the Reed Sea alone so they said, “It was in our
merit.” They didn’t understand that the sea had split for them a second
time in Moshe’s merit.
So the blessing of a regular person shouldn’t be
something light in your eyes, as the Sages said. If a non-Jew blesses you
and says, “Have a good day. Have a good life. You should live a long life,”
you are obligated to answer “Amen” to everything he says. You have to say
There is a Shulchan Aruch, and there are laws. No
one has permission to make up his own laws, to make up his own Shulchan
Aruch. Every situation is dealt with in Midrashim and in Halacha. They
teach us how to act with regard to the non-Jews. No one has the right to
incite the non-Jews or harm them. This is especially so in this area where
the vast majority are quiet people. A few hoodlums can come and plot or
whatever, but the main element of the community here isn’t like that.
When a person goes among the non-Jews, he has to
honor them, he has to value them, and he has to help them. This is what
Rabbeinu says in Sefer HaMiddos from the Midrash Rabbah in his section
on blessings. Anyone can see this for himself. You think that I’m making
things up? I’m not making anything up! Maybe you all have other books—I
don’t know. Maybe you all have other books. Is it still allowed to learn
Sefer HaMiddos? I spoke to Rav Schick, and he told me that everyone there
[in Yavniel] already knows the entire Sefer HaMiddos by heart by the age
of seven. The girls there know Sefer HaMiddos by heart. We should, at the
very least, be ashamed that the same can’t be said of us.
“Bracha: The one who is blessed must give
the one who blessed him some gift.” “May the blessing of a non-Jew not
be something light in your eyes.” If a non-Jew blesses you, say “Amen.”
A non-Jew also has a Divine spark. The Shechinah can also speak
through him. When he says something positive, then it is a blessing. This
is written explicitly in Midrash Rabbah, Bereishis 66. The source
is cited here in Sefer HaMiddos by the Tcheriner Rav. “Those who bless
you are blessed.” Yitzchak blessed Yaakov that all those who bless him
should have their blessings come true. In those days, there were only non-Jews
in the world! To anyone who blesses you, may his blessing come true. If
a non-Jew blesses you, may it come true!
Yitzchak blessed Yaakov, “When non-Jews bless you,
may their blessings come true.” “Those who bless you are blessed.” If an
idolater blesses Hashem, you answer “Amen.” Rabbi Tanchuma says that if
an idolater blesses you—if an idolater blesses you, you answer “Amen!”
Say “Amen!” If you are riding with a taxi driver and he blesses you, answer
“Amen!” Answer “Amen” after him!
Just now I received a letter from Shimon. He was
travelling with an [Arab] taxi driver, who was cursing all of the Palestinians,
all of the terrorists. He cursed them with such passionate curses.
When they regained the Kotel and everything else
in 5726 (1967), I straightaway started to travel to Yerushalayim. Beforehand,
I hadn’t ever visited Yerushalayim. But if the Kotel is there, then everything
is there. We traveled by taxi until Tel Aviv, and afterward traveled back
from Yerushalayim until Tel Aviv. There were two Arabs sitting in front
of me. There were seven seats in the taxi, and I sat in the seventh seat.
In the first two were two Arabs. They spent the entire ride cursing the
Arabs [Jordanians]. They spent the entire time cursing the Arabs! “Thank
G–d, we’ve come under the authority of the Jews. Thank G-d, now our lives
will have some order—they’ll be some pleasantness. We’ll have normal lives…”
They didn’t stop the entire trip. They spent an hour’s journey cursing
the Arabs non-stop. “Who can stand them, you can’t live with them, you
can’t do anything.” That is how they talked, and they were so happy to
be under Jewish authority. “Thank G-d, now we’ll have normal lives. We’ll
have normal jobs. The Jews will take care of everything.”
So no one has leave to hurt any Arab. Kids come
here, especially now that the yeshiva is practically empty [because of
Chanukah.] Maybe we’ll try to come here for vasikin at least. So
people—all kinds of young men who are not learning in any yeshiva—find
their way here. This is not good! Anyone who sees any young men hanging
around here should say to them, “Don’t you have a yeshiva [to go to]? Get
out of here! [Sometimes they say,] “The Rav should take care of finding
a yeshiva for me!” There was a time when I used to go with young men and
take care of finding yeshivos for them. Nowadays, what can I do? I’m already
getting senile; I’ve already lost twenty percent of my mental faculties.
I can’t see the streets. I don’t see the traffic lights. I don’t see anything.
I don’t see anything at all. I don’t know whether it is a yeshiva or a
café. I don’t know. “Find me a yeshiva!” I could bring him to a
cafeteria by mistake.
“The Rav should find me a yeshiva!”
If a person wants to find a yeshiva, he has to go
from one yeshiva to the next. Today, they’re always opening up new yeshivos.
Let him sit and learn seriously. A young man has nothing to do but learn.
Until he has ten children in the house, there is nothing else that he ought
to be doing. When you have ten children, then you can go out to work a
little bit to make a small livelihood. If, before then, you want to make
some money I won’t stand in your way. Maybe you’ll be a millionaire. Maybe
you’ll support Shuvu Bonim. And maybe it will be worth it to me in the
end. But I’m willing to forego all of this payback. I want you to sit and
learn, and that you shouldn’t think about making a living.
Don’t waste time thinking about how to become wealthy. Eat some bread
and water like you’re eating right now—bread and water. At the fourth meal
(Melaveh Malka) people only eat bread and water, and it’s from this
that a person gets up at the resurrection of the dead—from this bread and
water. This is a meal that is entirely for the sake of heaven. A person
has eaten so many meals over Shabbos, and now he’s only eating for the
sake of heaven. The luz bone [in the back of the neck, from which
the body will be resurrected] benefits only from this meal. This is the
only meal that people eat completely for the sake of heaven. A person can
eat bread and water for decades and survive. One should not think about
making a living and saving up money. You are a motivated young man, you
could become a millionaire in a day, but it isn’t worth it. Maybe it will
be worth it, I don’t know. Maybe if you’ll become a millionaire in a day
it will be worth my while, I don't know. I'll think it over; I have to
think about it. As for you, don’t do me any favors. I’ll do you a favor
instead—just sit and learn!
Then, “Come in, blessed one of Hashem.” The Chiddushei
HaRim says that when Eliezer heard the words, “Come in, blessed one of
Hashem,” a new doubt arose within him. “Come in, blessed one of Hashem.”
“I’m already blessed. That means that I can go home.” The Chiddushei HaRim
in Parshas Chayei Sarah says this. The words “Come in, blessed one of Hashem”
teach us that a person is full of ulterior motives. A person doesn’t even
know how full of ulterior motives he is. That is why the word “ulai”
(“maybe”) isn’t written as “eilai” (“to me”) until later on. The
story is repeated twice, but the word is only written properly the first
time. Later, during the repetition, it is written without the vav.
One would think that it should have been the other way around—that the
word should have had the double meaning at first, when it was actually
spoken. It was then that Avraham perceived the hint and said, “Know that
someone who is cursed cannot join together with someone who is blessed.”
Now he had already heard a heavenly voice proclaiming
that he had become blessed through the mouth of this non-Jew, Lavan, who
was the most wicked person in the world. Even so, he too could say a blessing.
Even if he says a blessing, you have to answer “Amen.” When Lavan told
Eliezer that he was blessed— “Come in, blessed one of Hashem”—then Eliezer
left the state of being cursed and actually became blessed. He had such
hidden motivations that he immediately wanted Rivka to refuse to come along
with him. But he was already involved in the negotiations—he had already
given her the bracelets and the nose-ring—but he was praying, “If only
she won’t come! If only there will be a miracle and she will say, ‘I’m
not willing to go.’” He had already given her the nose-ring and the bracelets.
“A nose-ring on her nose, and the bracelets on her hands” (Bereishis
Now, says the Chiddushei HaRim, Eliezer started to pray, “Master of
the Universe, if I’m blessed then I will go home. I’ll tell Avraham that
I heard a Divine voice out of Lavan’s mouth saying that I’m already blessed
and that the girl didn’t agree to leave her father and mother. A little
girl, only three years old, why on earth would she agree?” The Ben Ish
Chai says that when they asked her…
Is there a Gemara Bava Kama here? The Gemara says
that if an employer’s dog bit a worker who came to be paid his wages…The
worker knocked at the employer’s door and asked if he could enter and the
employer said, “Yes.” The Mishnah says that this “yes” means “stay where
you are,” as in, “Yes, okay, stay where you are. I heard you.” It doesn’t
mean, “Come in.” So if the homeowner’s dog bit the worker, he is under
no obligation to pay damages, even if he was a worker coming to claim his
wages and the employer said “yes.” “Yes” doesn’t always mean “yes”—it can
mean “okay.” Just like you might say to someone at the door, “Stand there
and wait.” There are a billion different ways to understand the word “yes.”
The Ben Ish Chai says that Lavan and Rivka’s mother
already had planned out what they would do whether she would answer “yes”
or “no.” If she would say “no”—excellent! Then they could say, “She said
no, what do you want to do—take her by force? What do you want to do, kidnap
her? ‘He that steals a man and sells him…will surely be put to death’ (Shemos
21:16.) Do you want to be liable to the death penalty?” If she was to say
“yes” then they’d say that she meant to confirm whatever her mother’s opinion
is. The mother asked, “Do you want to go with him?” and they would explain
that her “yes” really meant, “Yes, mother. Whatever you think is best.”
Rivka understood what they intended—that even if she was to answer “yes,”
Lavan and her mother would interpret it the way that they wanted to, insisting
that she was really only assenting to her mother’s and Lavan’s opinion.
That was why she cried out, “I will go! I will go!” She didn’t say “yes”
because they would have interpreted it immediately to mean whatever they
wanted it to mean. “Yes” has a million possible meanings. She immediately
said, “I will go.” That is a clear statement that can’t be twisted to mean
Eliezer was praying the entire time that she would
say, “I won’t go.” Eliezer said to himself, “Since I’m already blessed,
maybe she will say that she isn’t willing to go.” He got into such a terrible
vested interest that he actually prayed, “If only she won’t go…Maybe she’ll
say, ‘I won’t go!’ She’ll say ‘no.’ Then Avraham will want to make a shidduch
with me, with my daughter. I’m already blessed.” This went on until he
finally realized the depths of his terrible vested interest in the matter,
and then he suddenly saw that she was the manifestation of the Shechinah.
He saw that she shone with the light of the Shechinah, that the
light of kadkod stones surrounded her. “And I will make your windows
of kadkod.” “And her pitcher (kad) was on her shoulder.”
When a person has a vested
interest in something, it is clear to him that the other person is making
a mistake. He hears some slander or he hears some story…You heard? Did
you check into it? Did you make inquiries whether or not it’s correct?
“A covenant is cut with the lips.” Just as Adam HaRishon believed the serpent,
so too does a person believe everything that he hears about everyone else.
Even if the story is about his own Rav, he’ll believe it right away. Believing
the story is easier—then he’s under no obligation to the Rav. The Rav tells
him to do this, to do that, but now he’s free of him. The Rav tells him
to get up early, to get up in time for vasikin, to get up for chatzos.
Then he heard some slander about the Rav, so now the Rav is not a Tzaddik
anymore. Naturally, he’s free of any obligation to the Rav, and
he’ll do whatever he wants. He’ll keep coming though—perhaps because he
has good friends here or because he makes a good livelihood here. He gets
his livelihood here, so he’ll keep on coming. He isn’t so stupid that he’ll
throw away his livelihood to be a zealot for the real truth. He doesn’t
hold with running after the real truth and neither does the Rav. The Rav
is just doing what fits with his own personal calculations.
The Kotzker Rebbe says that when a person has a
vested interest, he is sure that his Rav is wrong. Eliezer had no doubt
that Avraham was mistaken—not a doubt! Not the slightest doubt! That was
clear to him. However, what should he do now? Go find a new master? This
is his livelihood; he has a position here, and he’s already the head servant.
He “ruled over all that [Avraham] had” (Bereishis 24:2). He wasn’t
just another servant—he was the head servant who was in charge of all of
Avraham Avinu’s affairs. He should now go looking for another master?
Even so, it was clear to him without any doubt that
Avraham was mistaken, says the Kotzker Rebbe. He didn’t have the slightest
shadow of a doubt, but he wasn’t about to go messing up his livelihood
over it. He was a practical person, a balanced person. He had presence
of mind and he wasn’t about to throw his livelihood away over the real
truth, that Avraham was mistaken and that he was more in the right than
Avraham. For the sake of this “real truth” he was about to…Even Avraham
wasn’t at this level of the real truth, so what? The bottom line is that
he’s no more than a disciple of Avraham Avinu, who himself wasn’t out for
the total truth.
The Kotzker Rebbe says that when a person has a
vested interest, he only sees flaws in his Rav, in his every movement,
his every footstep. And if everyone is talking against this Rav, then he
will certainly find an infinite number of proofs to support him, and he
doesn’t even sense that he has this vested interest. On the contrary, he’s
seeking the truth and he’s just burning with the desire to find it. The
truth burns within him every moment. And he’s a modest man. He’s a refined
man, but he doesn’t show it. He doesn’t sense that he has any ulterior
motives at all. It seems to him that he is the innocent one and that his
Rav is the one who is corrupt. That is what the Kotzker Rebbe says. He
is sure that he is the innocent one, the man of truth. He’s only seeking
the truth. He wants the truth, and he’s innocent. But in the end, Eliezer
saw that Rivka was literally the manifestation of the Shechinah,
because she was only born “to” Besuel. She descended to this world to destroy
all of the forces of impurity. She descended in Aram Naharayim to destroy
all of the forces of impurity; she descended now to annihilate all impurity.
She doesn’t have any relationship with all that surrounds her, not a drop,
not a point of relationship. [He had these doubts] until these things became
clear to Eliezer—the issue of why she was in the house of Besuel and why
she was in Aram Naharayim, in the city of Nachor. She was the bride, the
one who destroys everything.
The Rebbe says that there is a certain kind of bride
who can destroy all of the impurity in the world. During the seven days
of celebration after the wedding, she can destroy all of the impurity in
the world. “‘Consume them in wrath, consume them that they may be no
more’ (Tehillim 59:14). ‘In them He has set a tent for the sun,
which is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber’ (Tehillim
19:5-6). This is the aspect of tzitzis, the aspect of techeiles.
The bride (‘kallah’) is the techeiles; she is the tzitzis.
This is why she is called the kallah, because she is the aspect
of techeiles that “consumes (‘achlei’) everything and destroys
everything” (Likutei Moharan 49:7). During the seven days of
celebration, the bride can consume all of the forces of impurity. “It
consumes all and destroys all.” The bride is the Shechinah.
is the aspect of holy Kingship (Malchus), and she nullifies the
Kingship of the other side.”
“But you that cleave to Hashem your G–d are alive—every
one of you—this day” (Devarim 4:4). This is because the bride
truly rises higher and higher. The bride doesn’t have the same problems
that a man has. She is much more able to rise; she is much more able to
cleave to Hashem. Just as Chana said to Eli, “No, my lord.” In other words,
“You are not my lord. I’m much greater than you are. You don’t have ruach
hakodesh; you don’t see anything. You don’t see anything at all.” “It
consumes everything.” The worthy bride consumes everything; she
destroys all of the klippot, all of the impurity. “‘It consumes
everything and destroys everything.’ Even so, ‘Every one of you is alive
this day.’ For the worthy bride ‘is an aspect of David the king of Yisrael
who lives and continues.’”
Now is the Melaveh Malka meal, the meal of
David HaMelech. The worthy bride is an aspect of David the king of Yisrael
who lives and continues. This is the aspect of the bride. David is the
aspect of the bride, and the bride is the aspect of David. Every single
bride is an aspect of David the king of Yisrael who lives and continues.
She can destroy all of the klippot, all impurity. “And even so,
‘Every one of you is alive this day.’ For the main element of life-force
comes from there.” Vitality is drawn down to all of the worlds from
the worthy groom and bride—to all of the worlds!
“And this is the aspect of the bride, of techeiles,
that ‘consumes everything and destroys everything.’ But the Jewish people
who cleave to her are alive and well.” Are alive and well! The Jewish
people are the aspect of David the king of Yisrael who is alive and well.
this is an aspect of, ‘For I will make an end (‘kallah’) among all
the nations’ (Yirmiyahu 30).” By virtue of the worthy bride,
Hashem will say, “I will make an end among all the nations.”
The Jewish people are in such a terrible situation
right now, but by virtue of the worthy groom and bride, Hashem will make
an end among all the nations.
“And this is the meaning of the verse, ‘And David’s
soul longed (‘va’tichal’)’ (Shmuel II:13). David is the aspect
of the techeiles.” He is the aspect of the bride. “My flesh
and heart fail (‘kallah’)” (Tehillim 73:26). They fail because
of their yearning for Hashem. All my flesh and all my heart—every bit of
flesh on me—are in a state of yearning and longing for Hashem.
“‘For I will make an end among all the nations.’
This is the meaning of the verse, ‘And David’s soul longed.’” It is
the soul’s longing for Hashem that brings about an end among all the nations.
The groom and bride are now longing for Hashem. Hashem brought them together
and united the two parts into a single whole that is dedicated to the one
G-d, the one Unity. Therefore, “David’s soul longed.” They yearn so strongly
now for Hashem, for their source, for their true place. And David is the
aspect of Malchus which “consumes everything and destroys everything.”
“And this is the aspect of the north wind.”
For the groom and bride, especially the bride, are like the north wind
since the bride is called the north / hidden (“tzafon” / “tzafun”),
and the groom is called the south. So the bride is the north wind that
blows across David’s harp, which would make music.
The bride destroys all of the dinim and all
of the gevurot, and then one can hear the melody. All of the music
that we hear during the Sheva Brachos is so that the sound of music
will accompany them the rest of their lives. “‘From the end (lit. corner)
of the earth we heard melodies’ (Yeshayahu 24:16). ‘From the corner’
specifically, for the corner is the aspect of techeiles [since it
is attached to the corner of the garment]. And the corner is the aspect
of ‘the sweet singer of Israel.’ This is the aspect of the letter hei,
which is made up of a dalet and a yud. Dalet alludes
to the four corners.” By virtue of the worthy groom and bride, “we
heard music from the end of the earth—glory to the righteous.”
In the Zohar in Parshas Vayelech, in the commentary
of the Sulam, we find an explanation of this verse from Yeshayahu. “From
the end of the earth we hear melodies—glory to the righteous.” When the
Jewish people entered the Land, everywhere they walked they heard music
and praise of G-d bursting forth from every stone, from every corner. “Glory
to the righteous.” The truth is that, “The barren will surely rejoice and
exult when her children are gathered within her in joy.” By virtue of the
worthy groom and bride, we merit having her children gathered within her
in joy. We become worthy of such light that the entire world begins to
return to Eretz Yisrael by virtue of the worthy groom and bride.
“Glory to the righteous.” Zohar Vayelech, paragraph
20 of the Sulam’s commentary says: “‘From the end of the earth we heard
melodies—glory to the righteous.’ When the Jewish people went up to the
Land and the holy Ark went before them, they heard songs and praises bursting
forth from every stone and every corner.” If a person is worthy of having
a pure ear, [then he can hear it]. It had to be an ear that is truly pure.
For the groom and bride have had all of their sins forgiven, now they have
ascended to “Gan Eden of old.” And in their merit, all of the sins of the
entire congregation that accompany them, and participate in their happiness,
“The praise of Moshe [was heard] at that time.”
Then it is possible to hear melodies from every stone, from every corner.
What are the melodies? “From the end of the earth we heard melodies—glory
to the righteous.” For the truth is, who brings all couples together?
Who brings the groom and the bride together? The seven beggars who they
[the little boy and girl] longed for. At the moment when a person longs
for them, they come. They come right away. They are the seven beggars who
are incorporated within the true Tzaddik, Rabbi Nachman of Breslov.
Only he is the Tzaddik—there isn’t anyone else! There is no other!
There is no one who comes close to him! “And all your people are tzaddikim—all
are beloved, all are pure, all are holy.” Yet only Rabbi Nachman of Breslov
is the Tzaddik, only him! He is the one who uplifts all of the souls;
he arranges all of the couples. And when you connect yourselves to him
in truth, then this is the true match. This is the match that was ordained
during the first six days of creation that the Divine echo announced. According
to Shmuel, the Divine echo announces the match every single day.
“And they heard a voice.” They heard that everything
is the Tzaddik, that there is a Tzaddik who does everything.
He takes care of everything, and he arranges everything. Every move you
make is from him, every thought is from him, and every prayer is from him.
“They heard a voice that said, ‘And this is the Torah that Moshe placed
before the children of Yisrael’ (Devarim 4:44.)” All of a sudden
they heard, “Woe is me, that betrayers have betrayed” (Yeshayahu
24:16). They heard that since Moshe didn’t enter the land, they would only
stay there for eight hundred and fifty years. The period up until the destruction
of the first Temple lasted eight hundred and fifty years. The period
of the Judges lasted four hundred and forty years, including the Temple
itself, which stood for four hundred and ten years. The second Temple stood
for four hundred and twenty years. They suddenly heard that they hadn’t
yet merited to feel true longing, that their souls should be filled with
yearning for Hashem.
Let’s go back to the subject we were speaking about
before, since there are people who don’t know that it is forbidden to harm
an Arab—any Arab. It isn’t the will of Hashem. This is what the Kedushas
Levi says. He says in his commentary on Parshas Tetzave with regards to
obliterating the memory of Amalek, that Hashem doesn’t want anyone to harm
any non-Jew. “My handiwork is drowning in the sea, and you’re singing shirah?”
Hashem doesn’t want anyone to harm any non-Jew. The Ramban explains the
verse in Parshas Vayishlach, “You have brought trouble on me to make me
odious among the inhabitants of the land” (Bereishis 34:30). The
Ramban says that Yaakov meant, “I wanted to bring all of them to repent,
to bring all of the gentiles to repentance. It is shameful because, just
as any generation that doesn’t see the rebuilding of the Temple it is as
though the Temple was destroyed in their time, similar is the generation
when all of the world hasn’t been brought to repentance.”
“And all of humanity will call in Your Name, to
turn all of the inhabitants of the earth to You, that all the people of
the world will recognize and know You. For to You every knee will bend,
and every tongue will swear to You.” Why do we say these words in Aleinu?
“For to You every knee will bend, and every tongue will swear to You. Before
Hashem our G-d they will bow and fall prostrate. They will give glory to
the honor of Your Name. And they will all accept the yoke of Your Kingdom,
and You will speedily rule over them forever and ever. For Kingship is
Yours, and You will rule in glory forever and ever.” Why do we say these
words? Anyone living in a generation when the world hasn’t returned to
Hashem in repentance is considered as if he had caused everyone to sin,
just as anyone who hasn’t merited building the Temple is considered guilty
of destroying it. For the Temple can be built at any time, and the entire
world—including all of the Arabs—could be brought back to Hashem in repentance
at any moment.
“My handiwork is drowning in the sea and you are
singing shirah?” The Ramban explains Yaakov’s anger in his commentary
on Parshas Vayishlach. “Cursed be their anger for it was fierce, and their
wrath for it was cruel. I will divide them in Yaakov, and scatter them
in Yisrael” (Bereishis 49:7). How is it possible to live with a
few less Arabs in the world? What happened here? A few less Arabs—what
is the big deal? Why did Yaakov react so strongly? “Cursed is their anger
for it was fierce, and their wrath for it was cruel.” You won’t have a
portion in the Land. The Levi’im will be like strangers; they’ll have to
go to the barns, just as I had to go through that awful suffering. Now
they'll be like strangers; they'll go from house to house collecting handouts.
They won’t ever have a steady livelihood. “All scribes come from the tribe
of Shimon.” They won’t have a steady livelihood, and the Levi’im will have
to go collecting at every barn and threshing floor. Yaakov cursed them
harshly within his blessings. Yaakov wasn’t able to hold himself back.
He couldn’t restrain himself. He cursed them terribly, right in the middle
of the blessings. “Cursed is their anger for it was fierce, and their wrath
for it was cruel.” I won’t forgive them for what they did. I will divide
them and scatter them and exile them. “I will divide them in Yaakov, and
scatter them in Yisrael.” What happened here? What happened? It only meant
a few less Arabs?
The Ramban explains what happened. “You have brought
trouble on me.” You ruined everything that I had done. All of my hope—all
of the hope of the redemption—all of my hope was that I would convert the
whole world and bring everyone back to Hashem in repentance. That was my
goal! The mission of Shuvu Bonim is to bring the entire world back to Hashem
in repentance! We travel from Dan to Be’er Sheva, we travel to Kiryat Shemonah,
and we leave our families behind. The goal of Shuvu Bonim is to bring the
entire world back to Hashem in repentance! To beat up Arabs—no, that isn’t
our goal. Anyone who doesn’t understand this goal should leave here. Let
him be holy and pure; let him be a Tzaddik, a Rav who is a Tzaddik.
Let him be like Shimon and Levi, “I will divide them in Yaakov and scatter
them in Yisrael.”
Anyone who doesn’t know that the purpose of Shuvu
Bonim is to learn Torah, to pray with concentration, and to travel from
Dan to Be’er Sheva bringing the Jewish people back to Hashem...That is
the goal of Shuvu Bonim! There is no other goal—not to bother the Arabs,
not to tease them, not to do anything. There is nothing to justify here.
I’m saying here publicly, before everyone, that there is nothing to justify.
It was right what happened, it wasn’t right what happened—it makes no difference!
“I will divide them in Yaakov, I will scatter them in Yisrael.” There is
no judging favorably here. Anyone who doesn’t understand the mission of
this yeshiva, who doesn’t understand why he came into this world, should
not set foot in this place!
The Ramban says, “You have brought trouble on me.”
My entire goal, all of my aspirations that have been ripening for one hundred
years, you destroyed with a flick of your hand. It is ruined forever and
can’t be repaired until Melech HaMoshiach comes! “And Yaakov said to Shimon
and Levi, ‘You have brought trouble on me to make me odious among the inhabitants
of the land, among the Cana'ani and the Perizi. You have brought trouble
I’m not afraid of them! A Jew is always the mighty
one. Were the Jewish people conquered by Titus? [No,] he was the fulfillment
of the verse, “From above, He sent fire into my bones” (Eichah 1:13).
Fire descended from the heavens; it wasn’t the Romans who subdued us. The
whole world knows that the Jews are the mightiest people in the world.
When we lose a war, it is because we are being punished from heaven. Our
power is not might. Our power is, “For you are the least of all the nations”
(Devarim 7:7). A Jew always knows how to humble himself, lower himself.
It is through this power of humility and modesty that he is able to draw
the entire world to Hashem. “Beloved is man, for he was created in the
Divine image. As the verse says, ‘For He made man in the image of G-d’
(Bereishis 9)” (Avos 3:14). Hashem is waiting for the one
who will bring the entire world back to Him in repentance! This person
will be Moshiach, who is absolutely humble.
Yet every person, in accordance with the aspect
of humility that he manifests, is able to bring people back to Hashem.
So, “You have brought trouble on me.” You don’t know what you did, the
infinite damage that you caused me, explains the Ramban. The Ramban explains
why Yaakov was so angry that they had taken care of a few Arabs. What was
he so angry about? The Rambam in Sefer Shoftim explains why the men of
Shechem were liable to the death penalty. Shechem stole [kidnapped], and
they witnessed it and didn’t bring him to justice. The Rambam says that
everyone is obligated to bring others to justice. Every non-Jew is obligated
to bring other non-Jews to justice if they sin. All the men of Shechem
saw what had happened, and they didn’t protest or bring the criminal to
justice, so they were all liable to the death penalty.
A gentile woman [like a Jewish woman] is not able
to give testimony or act as a judge, but it is sufficient that every gentile
man is able to take one other person, and that person is obligated to act
as a judge. Every individual gentile is obligated to carry out the sentence.
If a non-Jew sees another gentile drinking water without leave of the owner,
if the other person did something and the one he harmed isn’t willing to
forgive him the loss, then the witness is immediately obligated to carry
out the law against him. He has to take another person and immediately
carry out the law. This is what the Rambam says in Sefer Shoftim. But here
this is something else entirely. Anger is something else entirely.
The Rambam says that they, Bnei Noach, are commanded
to uphold the law to set up judges in every town to judge the matter of
the six other laws in which they were commanded. Any ben Noach who transgressed
any of them is executed by the sword. Anyone who sees a ben Noach doing
a serious sin that will not be forgiven by the victim is immediately obligated
to bring the sinner to justice. If he saw someone transgressing one of
the commandments, like eating the limb of a live animal, and didn’t bring
him to justice, then he himself is liable to be executed by the sword.
This is exactly what the brothers feared about Yosef—that he would kill
them for eating the limb of a live animal. Because of this, all of the
men of Shechem were liable to the death penalty, for Shechem stole [kidnapped],
and they saw and knew what he had done, but didn’t bring him to justice.
So the Ramban says, “In my opinion, these words
are not correct.” This wasn’t the reason. What, every gentile is obligated
to kill every other gentile? True, they must set up a court, but not every
gentile is obligated to kill every other one. If that was the case, Yaakov
Avinu ought to have been the very first person to go and judge them, if
you follow the approach of the Rambam. If so, Yaakov Avinu would have been
obligated to be the very first one to merit to kill them. And if he didn’t
do it because he was afraid of them, then why was he angry at his sons
who did? If they had acted in accordance with the Halacha in the Rambam,
then why did he get angry with them? And why did he say, “Cursed is their
anger…and their wrath for it was cruel. I will divide them in Yaakov, scatter
them in Yisrael.” What’s more, why did he say these words and get angry
at them while he was giving the blessings? He got angry at them in the
middle of the blessings and divided them and scattered them. But didn’t
they merit doing a mitzvah? They trusted in Hashem and He saved
However, the Ramban has a different way of looking
at what happened in Shechem. Yaakov said to them, “You don’t know what
damage you caused me.” Yaakov had always hoped and looked forward to them
returning to Hashem. He was waiting for the people of Shechem to repent.
Maybe they would repent, and you killed them for no reason! They didn’t
do any evil to you. There was one Arab who did you wrong, but the rest
of them were all right, says the Ramban. They didn’t do anything wrong.
On the contrary, they were all about to repent. They had already all been
circumcised. He says, “Shimon and Levi are brothers, instruments of cruelty
are their swords” (Bereishis 49:5). “Instruments of cruelty” refers
to their killing people for no reason, says the Ramban. They were people
who were about to repent. They had even been willing to have themselves
This is what Rabbeinu says in Likutei Moharan
I:23 where he describes the greatness of Yaakov. “And he pitched his tent
before the city [lit. graced the face of the city]” (Bereishis 33:18).
“He minted a coin for them.” What does this mean? He removed from them
their lust for money.
When a person gets married, he is gripped by a lust
for money that has no end. Now he’ll become a billionaire; he’ll be a billionaire.
I’m telling you, for me personally it’s worth it. (The Rav now turned to
someone.) You’re going tomorrow, Thursday, to travel to the States, to
Los Angeles. Open a business—a factory—and make some money for the yeshiva.
Fine. But, for you, it doesn’t pay. For me, it pays. I’m a businessman
today. I’m only making business calculations. But you have to sit and learn
until you have ten children. You shouldn’t take your head out of the Gemara.
Then you’ll be a great Rosh Yeshiva. We’ll already have branches in Kiryat
Shemonah and everywhere else. You’ll already have yeshivos with thousands
of students, and then you’ll go and live with your wife in Kiryat Shemonah
together with your ten children. You’ll bring everyone back to Jewish observance.
We’ll get there, I promise you.
I asked my mashgiach, Rav Dov Yaffa, when I got
engaged to my wife, how long one ought to learn after the wedding. I had
planned to learn for a year and then go out for a year. He said, “Anything
less than ten years…” I remember until today how I felt when he said to
me, “You must know, anything less than ten years…Nothing comes from them
in the end.” He said, “They leave the yeshiva at a young age. They leave
the kollels and they become askanim, counselors, branch managers.”
He said, “Anything less than ten years…” And I had thought one year. I
thought that one year was the absolute peak. “Until ten years pass, you
shouldn’t have the nerve to leave learning, to leave the Gemara. If you
do, nothing will come of you in the end. You shouldn’t entertain even a
thought about spending less than ten years in kollel. You’ll eat
bread and drink water. You have a father and a mother who will give you
If you’re traveling now to the States, they’ll send
you by boat. You have nothing to worry about. They’ll send you parcels
full of food. So don’t think about learning for anything less than ten
The first thing is to drive the lust for money out
of a person. This is the first thing. The lust for money is worse than
everything, because it is possible to extract a person from all of the
other lusts. [Unlike the lust for money], every other lust is obviously
despicable—they bring shame on a person. Yitzchak Mordechai is literally
the holy of holies. This means Yitzchak and also Mordechai—Mordechai the
Tzaddik and Yitzchak Avinu—all of the holy souls. And someone decided to
take revenge against him and bring him down. What they’re doing to him,
poor guy, it’s a shame for him. [This is true] even for Clinton, the holy
of holies, the Tzaddik of the generation—I don’t know, the Achashverosh
of our time, the Haman of our time, poor guy. He never did a thing in his
life. They want to bring him down, so they shame him with these accusations.
But the lust for money is the very opposite. If you have a million dollars,
two million dollars, three million dollars, a billion, thirty-five billion…The
more you have, the more people praise you. That is why Reb Nosson says,
“‘We have been doubly afflicted’ (Yeshayahu 40:2) with the lust
for money.” It isn’t enough that you lust after money, but people even
praise you for it! They give you honor. You’re a chevreman; you
know how to make money!
We have been doubly afflicted! We have been doubly
afflicted! We have been doubly afflicted! The lust for money is a double
plague. It isn’t bad enough that a person is stuck in this desire—he ought
to be ashamed of it. For Hashem could send him an infinite amount of food.
He doesn’t have to lift a finger. Let him just learn Gemara and not wander
around without reason. He doesn’t have to lift a finger. It isn’t enough
that he is swallowed up in the lust for money, people also extol him for
it and he’s proud of that fact. He boasts in front of his friends, and
everyone praises him and is jealous of him and chases after him. They want
to compete with him. They’re upset that he’s been successful and they haven’t
been. All in all, the Satan swallowed him, and the Satan has yet to swallow
you. That’s all!
That is what the Rebbe says, that it is completely
impossible to escape from the lust for money. Because every other lust
is shameful, but this particular one is the most terrible one of all. It
can only be done with the sword. You can only extract a person from the
lust for money with the sword, literally. You only escape from this lust
with swords! [See the story of the Master of Prayer.]
And Yaakov had extracted them. Yaakov arrived in
Shechem and released all of the people from the lust for money. “He minted
[lit. rectified] a coin for them.” The plain sense of the verse is that
he minted coins for them. They did business with gold ingots, but Yaakov
came and minted coins for them. He set up a coining machine. All coinage
has to do with Jews. “Avudraham” means “coiners.” All of the Avudrahams
were part of the same royal family that minted coins. The coining industry
was always run by Jews. There were great generals who were murderers; all
of the kings were like that, but when they conquered any new territory,
the Jews would run the country for them. The Jews would set up the currency,
they would make order: Interior Ministers, Exterior Ministers. Every territory
had its Jews, and all of the conquerors were just murderers. That’s all.
The entire Avudraham clan…“Avu D’raham” means the
chief coiner. D’raham (drachma) means coin. A drachma is a shekel, half
a shekel. How much is it worth? The Rambam and others all do the math to
show how much a drachma is worth. The Avudraham was the chief coiner. The
great posek, the Avudraham who was one of the early poskim, was a coiner.
He worked eight hours a day at the mint. All of the coins all over the
world were minted by Jews—in Rome, in Spain, in France. Until today, Jews
are experts in this.
The simple meaning of the verse is that Yaakov began
to mint the coins. Until then, the merchants would trade using gold and
silver ingots. They would weigh out how much the ingots were worth, but
Yaakov began to make coins for them. The simple meaning was that he said,
“Come, let’s make a machine to mint coins.” That’s the simple meaning.
The Rebbe says, no, that he released them from their lust for money. The
Rebbe said that Yaakov released all of the Shechem’nikim, all of these
Arabs, from the lust for money. The Tzaddik arrives and they start
to throw all their money away. Their desire for the money dissipates; —they
throw it away. The desire goes out of the money.
This is what you call coming close to the Tzaddik. When you
come close to the Tzaddik, you throw the money away. You don’t want
the money. You begin to hate the money, to hate it passionately. You have
to hate it. Without that, it is impossible to come close to the Tzaddik!
You have to hate it more than anything else in the world.
A person has no choice when it comes to worldly
things—he has to eat, and he has to sleep, but money? What do you need
it for? There were people who never wanted to look at a coin. What do you
need it for? Your wife will take care of things—you don’t need anything.
You’ll get paid by the yeshiva. Give the money to your wife, and an end
to it! You take off the ma’aser or the chomesh [ten or twenty
percent tithe]—whatever you take off—and you’re finished. She’ll take care
of the rest. You don’t even need to know what the money looks like.
There were people who didn’t know what the money
looked like, for example, Rabbi Menachem bar Simai, Benan shel Kedoshim
(Pesachim 104a). Like Reb Shlomo Veksler who had [whose wife used to prepare
for him] two bags of money—one [small one] to get him to Beis Lechem, and
the other [a larger one] to get him [from Beis Lechem] to Chevron. One
time he gave the larger one to the taxi driver to Beis Lechem [by mistake],
and he was left with only the small one to cover the cost of the trip to
When a man gets married, he develops an endless
lust for money. Now he can be a millionaire, a billionaire. He can travel
to Los Angeles and open a huge factory there. He’ll be the richest man
in the world. The primary thing when drawing close to the Tzaddik
is to hate money.
Now you meet with people, with brothers-in-law,
with all kinds of people. Before, you were an innocent young man, a simple
man who learned all day in yeshiva. You didn’t know anything—maybe you
looked around a bit. Now, though, you’ve become a wise and clever young
man. You’re a chevreman: make money and you’ll be rich. You’ll be
a billionaire. And if you let thoughts like this take root in your mind,
you’re finished. Now it goes in, and then it starts to blow up like a soap
bubble. The soap bubble says, “You’ll be a billionaire.” It’s like the
well-known story that people tell of the old woman that put an egg on her
head. She said to herself, “A chick will come out of this egg, and that
chick will make another one, and soon enough I’ll have a whole flock of
roosters. Then I’ll get a flock of goats, and a herd of cows, and I’ll
buy buildings and I’ll buy…Then she bent over all of a sudden, and the
egg dropped and broke!” Likewise, a young man marries and he starts to
fall into fantasies. “I’m going to be a multi-millionaire; I’m going to
be a billionaire.”
The first thing is that he removed them from their
lust for money, says the Rebbe. Yaakov Avinu released these Arabs from
the lust for money and set up bathhouses for them. He cleansed them from
their idolatry. He even taught them about Shabbos. He said, “Don’t work
on Shabbos; rest on Shabbos.” And he began to really bring them back to
Hashem. As Yaakov brought them back to Hashem in repentance, they accepted
everything that he told them. Everything that Yaakov told them was the
holy of holies for them.
“And he camped (lit. graced) facing the city.” They
saw Yaakov’s face, and they saw Yaakov’s truth. “And Yaakov came to Shalem,
a city of Shechem” (Bereishis 33:18). He did this with his glowing
countenance. He came to Shechem to bring everyone to serve Hashem “shechem
echad” (shoulder to shoulder). He did this with peace. There has to
be such peace that the entire world will be made peaceful. The Jews were
in Egypt and they should have brought the Egyptians back to Hashem. Why
did they drown in the sea in the end? They should have brought them back
to Hashem in repentance! That is why we don’t say a full Hallel
[during Pesach], only half Hallel. And even that is only a custom;
it isn’t even a Rabbinical commandment.
Through peace which is the aspect of Yaakov, the
shining of the face…“The beauty of Yaakov was like the beauty of Adam”
(Bava Basra 58). Yaakov’s face was like Adam’s face; he looked like
Adam HaRishon. People only had to look at him and they repented right away.
Even the Arabs who were most removed from G-d would just look at him and
repent. He shone with Adam HaRishon’s light. He had the light that Adam
HaRishon had before the sin, which shone from one end of the earth to the
other. They would just look at Yaakov, and they would all repent. Rabbeinu
says that when Yaakov fixed coins for them, he released them from the lust
A groom receives an endless lust for money. He now
has friends, brothers-in-law, and all kinds of bad influences around who
entice him and say, “Be a chevreman. Learn a little; it’s no big
deal, just a few hours. Then you can spend the rest of the time doing business.
You’ll get rich and be a billionaire, a multi-billionaire.” They have an
infinite number of ways to entice him, but all of it is just the spiritual
work of clarification that has to be done before a person develops faith
in the Torah alone. They test him to see if he believes in the holy Torah,
or if he believes in money. The Rebbe says that escaping from the lust
for money is the most difficult challenge. That is why you have to hate
money absolutely. You have to hate it absolutely!
This is what is written here in Likutei Moharan
I:30. “To achieve the lower intellect,” the revealed intellect…Attaining
even an iota of intelligence, even in revealed wisdom, “can’t be done
without first despising money absolutely!” You have to be a person
who “despises gain” (Shemos 18:21). You have to hate money absolutely!
If a person doesn’t completely and absolutely despise money, then he can’t
achieve any level, not even the first step in spirituality. “For [black]
hair is the aspect of the lower intellect; it comes from the side of Malchus.”
Only someone who hates gain can begin to reach the lower intellect, “which
is the aspect of chochmah tata’ah (lower wisdom) in each
and every world.” Hashem runs each world with this wisdom. “This
intelligence of providential conduct and Malchus is the aspect of
lower wisdom and intellect, as compared with the intelligence of grasping
the Divine. That is why, during Shmuel’s days…” This is the secret
of Chana, Chana-ku, Chanukah. Shmuel [her son] truly merited despising
gain, but his children were already inclined after gain. How do we see
this? They didn’t want to travel from city to city, which meant that they
were inclined towards monetary gain. A person has to travel to Kiryat Shemonah,
throughout the entire world, to bring people back to Hashem.
The Kedushas Levi in Parshas Tetzave says that Hashem
had said to Moshe, “Go and I will send you to Pharaoh” (Shemos 3:10).
The Kedushas Levi says that Hashem doesn’t want harm to come to any non-Jew,
not even to the Egyptians. His intention was that we should bring the Egyptians
to repent. That was the intention. If we didn’t merit doing it, then we
don’t say Hallel. We only say full Hallel on the first day
of Pesach, and only because of the custom. That is why Hashem said, “Go
and I will send you to Pharaoh.” This is because Hashem doesn’t want to
do evil to any Jew or any gentile, to anyone in the world. Even the Egyptians,
who oppressed the Jewish people in every possible way, Hashem didn’t want
to kill them. He wanted them to repent, and afterward, slowly throughout
the generations, they would have the opportunity to rectify what they had
done. They would go through everything themselves, and they would rectify
their sins. But the fact that they were drowned in the sea—that was no
rectification at all. It was only vengeance taken on the gentiles, but
it wasn’t a rectification. Hashem is good and does good, and doesn’t join
His Name with evil. No evil comes from His mouth, only good.
Even the gentile nations, even when they’ve oppressed
the Jewish people, even when He has to punish them…The Kedushas Levi says
that the matter is harsh in His eyes, and very hard for Him. Even when
He has to bring evil upon the gentiles, it is difficult for Him. Hashem
wanted that the Jewish people would bring them to repentance, that the
Jewish people would be a light to the nations. “And nations will walk at
your light, and kings at the shine of your rising” (Yeshayahu 60:3).
[Hashem wanted] that there should be such a light, that a person should
have such a light from learning the Torah, that the light would shine from
one end of the earth to the other. The whole world would repent. Therefore,
when he wanted to smite Pharaoh, He told Moshe to go [instead of Hashem
himself], because it is hard on Him when He has to bring evil upon even
the gentile nations.
This is what the Midrash Rabbah says in the second
section of Eichah Rabbah. “When were the decrees of the destruction decreed?”
When was it first decreed that Yerushalayim should be destroyed? The decree
was renewed every few years [and cancelled], but when was it originally
decreed? When did it actually begin? The Midrash Eichah says something
frightening. It is written in Pesichasa D’Eichah 14, “‘And anger
and grinding and there is no rest’ (Mishlei 29). ‘For my people
has been foolish.’ ‘And anger and grinding [shachak / sachak
also implies laughing].’” I laughed at them during the days of Amatzyahu.
I allowed Amatzyahu to conquer Edom; he conquered all of the land of Edom.
Edom extends from south of the Dead Sea until Eilat. The area is called
Pat—Petra. All of it belongs to Edom. From south of Yerushalayim down to
Eilat is the land of Edom. The desert begins right after Yerushalayim,
and all of it is called the Desert of Edom.
At that time, all that land was settled with fortified
cities. “And I will make its cities desolate.” It will all be desolate,
just as we see today, that it is an absolute wasteland. Once upon a time,
though, it was filled with cities, enormous fortified cities that reached
to the heavens. Petra was the largest of these fortresses—an entire city
hewn into the rock. It was an entire city carved out of the mountain—a
whole city! It was the strongest fortress, and it was all built in Rekem
(Gittin 2a), in the East. Ashkelon was to the South, and Hegar to
the North. Rekem is Petra; it is the city of Petra. Jews lived there once
upon a time, and Jews conquered it.
Amatzyahu was the first one to conquer Petra. Amatzyahu
was the first king to conquer the entire land of Edom. Petra was the strongest
fortress—an entire city hewn into the mountain. Amatzyahu was the son of
Yoash. “Amatzyahu was twenty-five years old when he began to reign, and
reigned twenty-nine years in Yerushalayim. His mother’s name was Yehoaddan
of Yerushalayim” (Divrei HaYamim II:25:1). You have to read a chapter
or two of Tanach every day just so you can understand the Midrashim and
So Amatzyahu was the son of Yoash. The people eventually
made Yoash into an object of idolatry. He ruled for forty years, but in
the end they made an idol out of him. They made him into an idol, and they
bowed down to him. They started to say to him, “You’re a god. You were
in the holy of holies for seven years.” They turned him into an idol, and
it was then that the legion of Aram came and caught him and tortured him
terribly. They cut him into little pieces. They tortured him in the worst
possible ways after he had made himself out to be a god, and then they
left him for dead. Ultimately, his servants, the sons of Yehoyada the Kohen,
killed him. He was responsible for killing the prophet Zechariah. The same
Zechariah that we always read about—Yoash had him killed. Zechariah had
prophesied about the destruction of the Temple, “And they slew him [Yoash]
in his bed, and he died. And they buried him in the city of David, but
they did not bury him in the tombs of the kings” (Divrei HaYamim
II:24:25). Zechariah had exhorted the people to repent, and told them that
if they did, then there wouldn’t have been a destruction. “Those who conspired
against him [Yoash] were Zavad ben Shimat the Amonite and Yehozavad ben
Shimrit the Moavite.” The ones who carried out this awful murder were specifically
these converts who came from Amon and Moav.
“Now concerning his [Yoash’s] sons and the greatness
of the burdens laid upon him and the repairing of the house of Hashem,
behold, they are written in the commentary of the book of the kings. And
Amatzyahu his son reigned in his stead. Amatzyahu was twenty-five years
old when he began to reign, and he reigned twenty-nine years in Yerushalayim”
(Divrei HaYamim II:24-5:25-1). All told, it comes to fifty-four.
He ruled until he was fifty-four years old. “And he did that which was
right in the sight of Hashem, but not with a perfect heart” (Ibid. II:25:2).
He didn’t have a perfect heart, and when a person’s heart isn’t whole,
then he fights with Arabs. If a person doesn’t serve Hashem completely,
then he looks to make trouble with the Arabs. Real Divine service isn’t
like that—there’s no such thing.
“Now it came to pass, when the kingdom was established
for him that he slew the servants who had killed the king his father. He
did not slay their children, but did as it is written in the Torah, in
the book of Moshe, where Hashem commanded, saying, “Fathers shall not die
for their children, nor shall children die for fathers, but every man shall
die for his own sin.” Moreover, Amatzyahu gathered Yehudah together and
made them captains over thousands, and captains over hundreds, according
to the houses of their fathers, throughout all Yehudah and Binyamin. And
he numbered them from twenty years old and upwards, and found them three
hundred thousand choice men, able to go out to war, that could handle spear
and shield” (Ibid. II:25:3-5). He had three hundred thousand soldiers who
could handle spear and shield. “He hired also a hundred thousand mighty
men at arms out of Yisrael for a hundred talents of silver” (Ibid. II:25:6).
Then he took another hundred thousand mighty men from the ten tribes. He
was so rich that he was even able to hire one hundred thousand men from
among the ten tribes. All together, he had four hundred thousand soldiers.
“But there came a man of G–d to him, saying, ‘Oh
king, let not the army of Yisrael go with you, for Hashem is not with Yisrael,
with all these children of Efrayim’” (Ibid. II:25:7). This was after he
hired them out for one hundred talents of silver. Every talent of silver
is like a million dollars. He hired them for something like one hundred
million dollars, he hired one hundred thousand men from the ten tribes;
he was at peace with the king of Yisrael. The prophet came to him and said,
“We don’t want them. They’re idolaters.” So the king answered, “But I already
paid them money.” The prophet said, “Forget about the money.” And Amatzyahu
was such a Tzaddik that he was willing to forego the money. That
was at the beginning. The prophet came to him and said, “I’m asking you
to send them back. I can’t incorporate them into your people. Your people
don’t serve idols, and they do. Three hundred thousand soldiers is enough—we
don’t need the other hundred thousand from the ten tribes.” So the king
sent them all home. “But I spent one hundred talents of silver for them!
That’s one hundred million dollars!” The prophet said, “If you’ll do what
I say, then you’ll be victorious over everyone. If you’ll take them with
you, you won’t win. If you send them away, you will win.” “But if you will
go, and even if you engage valiantly in the battle, Hashem will make you
fall before the enemy. For Hashem has power to help, and to cast down”
(Ibid. II:25:8.) If you take them along, Hashem will cast you down. “And
Amatzyahu said to the man of G–d: But what will we do for the hundred talents
which I have given to the army of Yisrael? And the man of G–d answered,
‘Hashem is able to give you much more than this’” (Ibid. II:25:9). Hashem
will give you many times that much money. If you will forego the hundred
talents, the hundred million, Hashem will multiply it for you infinitely.
If you will forego it, you’ll see what kind of bounty comes to you. Withstand
Amatzyahu was such a Tzaddik that he conquered
his lust for money. He was willing to forego the money. “Then Amatzyahu
separated them, namely that army that had come to him out of Efrayim, and
bade them go home again, so that their anger burned strongly against Yehudah.
And they returned home in great anger” (Ibid. II:25:10). They were so irritated
and angry with him, that he had sent them home, that they smote the cities
that they passed through on their way back home. They fell upon every town
in Yehudah that they passed on their way home (may such a thing never happen
to us). “And they returned home in great anger.”
And now Amatzyahu was going to conquer the land
of Edom. Edom was the kingdom that had done the most damage to Yisrael.
She had presented the greatest threat to Yisrael, having besieged Yisrael.
They had ruled from the southern edge of Yerushalayim. All of Ein Gedi
was part of the land of Edom—from the Dead Sea down to Eilat. They ruled
from the eastern bank of the Jordan to Midbar Paran to Mount Sinai in the
west. They ruled without any constraint in all that area. And Amatzyahu
was the one who subdued them. After Shlomo HaMelech, he was the one who
“And Amatzyahu strengthened himself and led his
people, and went to the Valley of Salt and smote ten thousand of the children
of Se’ir” (Ibid. II:25:11). He destroyed ten thousand men at a single blow
and took ten thousand captive. “And another ten thousand did the children
of Yehudah carry away captive, alive, and brought them to the top of the
rock. And they cast them down from the top of the rock so that they all
were broken in pieces” (Ibid. II:25:12). He killed the ten thousand captives
in a bizarre way, by throwing them down from the top of the rock—a height
of several hundred meters—and they all were broken to pieces and suffered
horribly. So Hashem said, “This, I don’t need. Up until now, everything
was just fine. You escaped from the lust for money. You gave up on the
money itself. But to do something so cruel, to do such a thing to these
gentiles, the Edomites—this isn’t how the Jewish people is supposed to
act! This isn’t the way of the Jewish people!”
At that moment, Hashem said, “What are these people
doing here? I don’t want these Jews. I don’t want this nation. I don’t
want any of Yerushalayim. I don’t want the entire Jewish people. I don’t
want Yehudah and Binyamin. I don’t want them! If they can stand to see
people act this way, if they can see such a thing and not protest, if they
didn’t rise up in protest against the king, then let them go into exile!
They’ll all be exiled. ”
“And he sent them away from his presence.” I don’t
want this nation here anymore. That was when the awful decree went out
the first time, that the Jewish people would be exiled from Eretz Yisrael.
After doing something so cruel, they would be exiled. Because they sinned,
they were exiled. The truth is that after this, after Amatzyahu had done
such a cruel deed, his heart became like a stone and he began to serve
idolatry. After a person acts cruelly, his heart turns to stone. He receives
an impure heart, and he begins to serve idolatry. There are all kinds of
idolatry. He gets involved in the lust for money—all kinds of idolatry.
“But the soldiers of the army which Amatzyahu sent
back, so that they should not go with him to battle, fell upon the cities
of Yehudah, from Shomron as far as Beis Choron, and smote three thousand
of them, and took much spoil” (Ibid. II:25:13). He now returns to the story
of those who he sent back, the hundred thousand . They killed three thousand
of the children of Yehudah for revenge. They didn’t want to let them take
part in Amatzyahu’s wars. They killed three thousand Jews—how terrible!
It’s impossible to believe it at all, that they wreaked destruction and
Afterward, after he did this cruel act of throwing
ten thousand people off of the top of the rock and they were all smashed
to pieces in the most torturous and bizarre way, “It came to pass, after
Amatzyahu was come from the slaughter of the Edomites, that he brought
the gods of the children of Se’ir and set them up to be his gods. He prostrated
himself before them, and burned incense to them” (Ibid. II:25:14). After
he had been victorious over the Edomites and saw the hand of Hashem, his
heart was turned to stone by this cruel deed. It put out the fire in his
heart, and then he bowed down to the gods that he had vanquished. The gods
of Se’ir, of Edom, that he himself had vanquished!
This is what the Gemara in Chulin brings: a person
is forbidden to harm Arabs. To just grab any Arab and beat him—that’s absolutely
forbidden! On the contrary, says the Gemara in Chullin, you have to help
every Arab. Every non-Jew that you meet on the street, who is carrying
a burden that is heavy for him, you have to help him out. The Gemara Chullin
7a says that it isn’t only that a person is forbidden to harm Arabs but
he also has to help every Arab.
This is brought out in the story of Rabbi Pinchas ben Ya’ir who went
to redeem Jewish captives and was joined on the way by a man who was carrying
wheat for Pesach. With this wheat, one has to take care that not a drop
of water comes into contact with it. Afterward, an Arab tagged along with
their caravan. The Arab saw two men travelling, so he decided to tag along.
It used to be that people would travel through the deserts—the entire journey
would be through the deserts—and this Arab saw two men travelling. So he
tagged along with them, some unknown Arab.
On the way, they reached the river Ginai. Rabbi Pinchas ben Ya’ir said,
“River Ginai, split!” The river said, “You are going to do the will of
Your Master, and so am I. There is some doubt as to whether you’ll succeed,
but I’m certain to succeed.” Rabbi Pinchas ben Ya’ir said, “If you don’t
split, I will decree on you that water will never flow in your channel
again.” You think that you can argue with me, I’ll give you an ultimatum.
If you don’t split for me in two seconds, I’ll decree that no water will
ever flow in your channel again. The Gemara goes on, “It split for him.”
It only had to hear the ultimatum, and it split right away. The river went
back to its normal state and Rabbi Pinchas ben Ya’ir had already crossed
when the man who was carrying the wheat saw that he was stranded on the
other side of the River. He was afraid to cross because the wheat could
become chometz, so Rabbi Pinchas ben Ya’ir told the river to split
so that the wheat wouldn’t get wet. After he crossed, the river began to
flow again as it had before. Rabbi Pinchas ben Ya’ir was already standing
on the far bank with his travelling companion when they saw the Arab. They
had forgotten about him. You also have to have pity on him; he wants to
cross. Rabbi Pinchas ben Ya’ir said, “Split for this Arab too.” He saw
that the Arab was stranded on the other side so he said, “Split for this
Arab too.” Is that a way to treat your travelling companions [to just abandon
them]? It split for him too.
Rabbi Yosef asks, “How much greater was he than
Moshe Rabbeinu? Moshe crossed with six hundred thousand people. Rabbi Pinchas
ben Ya’ir did three times what Moshe had done with the sixty myriad, because
he caused the river to split three times. So let’s say that he is equal
to Moshe and the sixty myriad. However, Moshe did it together with six
hundred thousand, but he did it alone. From all this we see how much a
person has to be careful about the honor of every Arab and every non-Jew.
Let’s get back to the subject of the selling of
Yosef HaTzaddik. All of the conflict between Yosef and his brothers was
regarding the approach of the Rambam (Mishneh Torah, Hilchos Maachalos
Asuros 9:4). The brothers followed the opinion of the Rambam. The Rambam
holds that game and poultry can be cooked in any kind of milk [either from
cattle or wild animals] and also that deer meat can be cooked in milk.
His opinion is that deer and hinds—all the seven kosher game animals—can
be eaten [after being cooked] together with milk. It isn’t forbidden by
the Torah, and it is only forbidden by the Sages, because of appearances
[people might think that it is beef] and also so that people will not get
confused and not know which is forbidden and which permitted. This is an
argument between Rabbi Akiva and Rabbi Yossi the Galilean (Chullin
104a, 113a and 116a). Rabbi Yossi says that game [cooked in milk] is prohibited
by the Torah [but not poultry]. The Radbaz says that the conflict between
Yosef and the brothers is contingent on this conflict, which we find in
the Gemara in Nedarim.
The Mishna in Nedarim 54a says that a person
who vows not to eat vegetables is permitted to eat gourds. There is a difference
of opinions between Rabbi Akiva and Rabbi Shimon ben Gamliel. The Radbaz
(Mishneh Torah, Hilchos Melachim, 9:11) says that they, the brothers,
decided in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Shimon ben Gamliel. The
Gemara (Nedarim 54b) deals with the case of “One who swears not
to eat meat.” If a person takes a vow that he won’t eat meat, Rabbi Shimon
ben Gamliel says that he is permitted to eat the flesh of fowl, fish, and
kosher grasshoppers. Fowl is in the same category as fish and grasshoppers.
“If a person swore off of meat…” Here, Rabbi Shimon ben Gamliel differs
with Rabbi Akiva who says that meat includes the flesh of fowl. The Radbaz
says that the issue of not eating the limb of a live animal also depends
on this difference of opinions. Does the prohibition apply to fowl or not?
According to Rabbi Akiva who says that meat includes
fowl, the prohibition would also apply to fowl, says the Radbaz. Yosef’s
halachic decision was according to Rabbi Akiva. But the brothers decided
like Rabbi Shimon ben Gamliel that one may eat from the limb of a live
animal [the Radbaz says there that Bnei Noach may choose which opinion
they wish to follow]. Not only that, but Rabbi Meir says that the prohibition
[against eating a limb torn from a live animal] only applies to the meat
of domesticated cattle, not to wild game [i.e. that deer are permitted].
Rabbi Meir says (Chullin 102a) that the prohibition only applies
to the meat of kosher domesticated cattle. It is permitted to eat the limb
of a live game animal, and the brothers held the same halachic opinion
as Rabbi Meir. They decided that it was permitted for them to eat the limb
of even a live game animal. If a limb was severed, or a surgeon came and
amputated a limb, it would be permitted to eat that limb.
They argued that it was permitted for them to eat
immediately after shechitah [ritual slaughtering]. Also for Jews,
it is permitted to eat parts of a properly slaughtered animal since it
is no longer considered in any way alive, even if it is still twitching
with residual nerve activity. [I.e. the shechitah permits the eating
of the animal, even though the animal is still, in some respect, alive.
However, for Bnei Noach it would be forbidden to eat, since it is forbidden
for them to eat from an animal that is still in any way alive. Up until
now they were arguing on Yosef on everything apart from kosher animals,
which they agreed with him were forbidden. Now we see that they are also
arguing regarding the still twitching animal, after shechitah, which
is allowed to Jews and forbidden to Bnei Noach, which they were. They were
holding that also this is permitted to them.] There is one Torah sage who
says that that had been their whole argument [meaning, that the entire
dispute between Yosef and the brothers revolved around the issue of whether
or not they could eat of the limb that had been severed from an animal
while in its death throes after shechitah. Yosef held that it was
forbidden since he reasoned that he and his brothers still had to keep
the Noachide laws. The brothers held that it was permitted, since they
reasoned that as sons of Yaakov, they already had the halachic status of
full Jews. This is explained in the Re’em, and in the Sifsei Chachamim].
In any case, the difference of opinions focuses
on whether or not these laws are Torah prohibitions or not. Accordingly,
in Yosef’s opinion [prohibited from the Torah], the brothers were liable
to the death penalty. Therefore, according to halacha, he could bring one
other person to carry out the judgement, since Bnei Noach can be put to
death through the testimony of a single witness heard by a single judge.
They could judge them guilty and sentence them to death—gather a few thugs
and attack them while they are on the road or sleeping. This was their
argument: that Yosef had come to Dosan to look for them and find evidence
for his accusations so that he could bring them to justice. Then he could
judge them even if they weren’t present. The laws of Bnei Noach aren’t
the same as Jewish laws, where a person can’t be judged in absentia.
He could declare them liable to the death penalty, and could bring a few
thugs who would finish them off. Out of their great hatred of him, they
made such accusations against him.
If a person hates someone else, he can make an infinite
number of accusations against him. Like the brothers, who accused Yosef
of wanting to kill them, of hunting them down. “He who comes to kill you,
get up earlier and kill him first.”
The Rambam says in Hilchos Ma’achalos Asuros 5:1
that, “They learned it from a tradition that was handed down.” The Rambam’s
opinion truly is that they learned it from a tradition that was handed
down—that the Torah says not to eat the soul together with the flesh, not
to eat the limb severed from a live animal. He brings the verse, “But flesh
with its life, which is its blood, you shall not eat” (Bereishis
8:4). This prohibition only applies to kosher cattle, game, and fowl, but
not to species that are impure. There was a difference of opinions about
this last statement as well. The Rambam says that the prohibition doesn’t
apply to impure species. So, even if they, the brothers, already could
be considered Jews halachically and could say that it was permitted to
them to eat the limb of an animal that had been properly slaughtered but
was still twitching, with regards to an impure species, this wouldn’t have
been the case. With regards to impure animals, they could only have eaten
of them if they were legally considered to be Bnei Noach. That is why,
according to Rabbi Yehudah, they were allowed to eat impure animals. Rabbi
Yehudah says that they were permitted to eat impure animals, and Yosef
was arguing with the brothers about this point too. Rabbi Yehudah says
that the children of Yaakov were not allowed to eat of the sciatic vein,
but that they were allowed to eat of impure animals.
The Rambam also says (Maachalos Asuros 8:1) that
the prohibition of the sciatic vein doesn’t apply to impure species at
all. This is another element of the conflict between Yosef and the brothers.
They differed over this point as well. According to Rabbi Yehudah and Rabbi
Eliezer (Chullin 101,102), it was permitted for them [as Bnei Noach]
to eat impure animals, but they could not eat the limb of a living animal
[meaning, showing any sign of movement or life at all]. According to the
Sages, the prohibition of eating the limb of a live animal doesn’t apply
to impure species. They [Yosef and the brothers] argued over this point
as well. [This means that they either ate from an impure animal and disputed
over the same points that Rabbi Yehudah and Rabbi Eliezer did with the
Sages—saying that the brothers held that “ever min hachai” doesn’t
apply to impure animals. In that case, Yosef would have taken the opposite
view as the Sages did, that the prohibition of ever min hachai applies
to impure species as well. Or, they disputed over the issue of the sciatic
vein. Yosef held like Rabbi Yehudah and Rabbi Eliezer that it is prohibited,
and the brothers held like the Sages who argued that it was permitted.]
The Midrash Rabbah, in the first section of Parshas
Toldos comments on the verse, “And the first emerged red all over like
a hairy garment” (Bereishis 25:25). The Midrash says there that
there are two people whom the Tanach describes as “red.” This Midrash is
brought in Likutei Halachos, Choshen Mishpat vol. 2, in the teaching where
he says that there are two “reds” in relation to Chanukah. During Chanukah,
we spiritually clarify all of the types of “reds”—all of the seven kings
who died. [See Bereishis 36:31.]
On this particular sixth day, it was Chanan ben
Achbor. On Shabbos, it was Shaul from Rechovot HaNahar. The Arizal says
that this alludes to the sefirah of Yesod—Yesod within
for it is then that Yesod within Imma is rectified. This
is accomplished only through song and dance. Shaul didn’t know how to rectify
this sefirah. He didn’t know that this sefirah could only
be rectified through song and dance. The secret of Imma, who is
called “Rechovot HaNahar,” was Shaul’s job, and it can be rectified on
the second day of Chanukah. He was to rectify “Rechovot HaNahar,” for all
bounty comes from there. All bounty comes from Rechovot HaNahar. Shaul
had to draw down all of the bounty to the Jewish people, just as we find
in Shmuel I:13. Shmuel told Shaul to wait. One has to know how to
wait. All of the work of this world is about waiting.
A person wants money; he wants to be a millionaire,
a multi-billionaire. You’ll support all of Shuvu Bonim. You have ideals,
high ideals. I’m happy with idealism, but better you should remain here
as one of my students. You have to do what’s the best for you. It’s best
that you sit and learn Torah. Don’t be an idealist. Just be a simple Jew
who learns Torah. In the end, you’ll experience such enlightenment. You
could be a Chazon Ish! You have tremendous ability, and your wife will
help you. You could rise and rise endlessly.
“As your Creator gladdened you in Gan Eden
of old.” A person has to wait. His blood is boiling—he has energy and enthusiasm.
He wants to be a warrior, so “Be a warrior in Efrata” (Ruth 4:11).
Do it in Efrata. “Efrata” is equal to the word “porat,” as in “ben
porat Yosef.” In the word Efrata, the aleph and hei together
equal the vav of “porat.” “Ben porat”—these are the seven
Names. [See Likutei Moharan I:2, paragraph 2.] Rachel was made complete
with seven Divine Names: A”B S”G M”H B”N KS”A KN”A KM”G. Four of
these gematrios are permutations of the Name YHVH, and three
are expansions of the Name EHYH. Rachel was made complete with all
of these Names.
“And Rachel died, and was buried in the way to Efrat, which is Beis
Lechem” (Bereishis 32:18). “In the way to Efrat”—“the way” (derech)
is the sum of two more Names, KS”A and S”G. “In the way to
Efrat.” KS”A plus A”B has the same gematria as the
word “foot”—“until no more feet pass through the marketplace.” [Ideally,
that is the latest hour for lighting the Chanukah candles.] During Chanukah,
we merit to complete these two Names KS”A and A”B.
Shaul just had to wait—he had only to wait. Despite
the fact that his blood was boiling and he saw that he was about to be
victorious over the Pelishtim. In just a little while, he would cleanse
the land of the Pelishtim. “And Yonasan smote the garrison of the Pelishtim
that was in Geva” (Shmuel I:13:3). He girded himself with might
and smote the greatest captain in the land of Binyamin, who was in Geva.
And all of the Pelishtim gathered together, thirty thousand Pelishtim gathered
together. “And the Pelishtim gathered themselves together to fight with
Yisrael, thirty thousand chariots” (Ibid. I:13:5). All he did was smite
the garrison of the Pelishtim in Geva. He was the appointed ruler over
the tribe of Binyamin. So they [the Pelishtim] gathered together thirty
thousand chariots and six thousand horsemen, and people like the sand on
the sea shore for multitude. There were thirty thousand tanks, and six
thousand horsemen, six thousand armored troop vehicles, and regular infantry
that were as numerous as the sand on the seashore. And the Jewish people
were standing there with stones and sand—stones and dust. They had nothing
at all [no weapons].
“So it came to pass on the day of battle, that there
was neither sword nor spear to be found in the hand of any of the people
that were with Shaul and Yonasan. But with Shaul and with Yonasan his son
there were found” (Ibid. I:13:22). The Midrash asks, “Isn’t this a contradiction?
Here it says that no one had a sword or a spear.” Thirty thousand tanks
came, with six thousand horsemen and infantry as numerous as the sand on
the seashore—as the sand on the seashore! You couldn’t see the terrain,
everything was covered with soldiers. All of the Pelishtim from all of
the lands around them. All of the gentiles gathered together—Syria, Lebanon,
Iraq, Saddam Hussein, all of them came. There were fifty, one hundred thousand,
soldiers standing at the border. He saw an infinite number of soldiers
like the sand on the seashore, and his men had nothing. No swords, no spears,
nothing! This is the Commando 17 of Rebbe Nachman—no sword, no spear, no
guns, no automatic weapons, and no grenades. But Shaul and Yonasan did
have weapons. What, did they have a secret cache? They had a cache? They
had cellars for holding weapons?
Just like at Shuvu Bonim—everyone knows that they
have tunnels where they keep the atom bomb, there is an airport here, etc.
Anyone who wants a good salary can work in [our] Mossad. I’ll tell you
where we’ve hidden the planes—all underground, the MIG jets…everything
that we need for Uman. There’s a few MIGs. The biggest airfield in the
world for MIGs is in the Ukraine. Whenever they lose a MIG and they don’t
know where it disappeared to…we take it apart and put it away down below.
There are endless tunnels, several levels of tunnels one below the other.
We can dig down here without end. We’ll get down to the strata of Yerushalayim
during the time of Yevus, during the time of Kadarl’omer. We’ll even get
down to the strata of Yerushalayim of old, and that’s where we’ll hide
everything. As deep down as possible.
So how can it be that he suddenly has swords and
spears. What did he have, a secret cache? Was he producing swords underground?
The Midrash Rabbah in the second section asks how did Shaul have a sword
and a spear? Surely the verse says, “So it came to pass on the day of battle,
that there was neither sword nor spear to be found in the hand of any of
the people?” No one had a sword or a spear, so how could it be that Shaul
and Yonasan did have them?
The Midrash Rabbah says at the end of Parshas Kedoshim,
“‘So it came to pass on the day of battle, that there was neither sword
nor spear to be found.’ So who made it for him? Rabbi Chagai says that
an angel came and gave it to him. He gave a sword to Shaul and a spear
to Yonasan.” An angel came, an angel with wings descended and brought a
sword and a spear for them. He gave a sword to Shaul and a spear to Yonasan.
At any rate, they’re kings. The Pelishtim should at least see that the
king has a sword in his hand.
Who made it for them? Rabbi Chagai says that an
angel made it for him. The Sages said that the sword and spear simply fell
from the heavens. A sword and spear fell from the heavens. Shaul took the
sword, and Yonasan took the spear.
The enemy was like the sand at the seashore, and
Shaul stood there with a handful of soldiers. The Pelishtim had gathered
together to fight against the Jewish people—thirty thousand chariots, and
six thousand horsemen, and people as numerous as the sand at the seashore.
“And the Pelishtim camped at Michmash, eastward from Beis Aven. When the
men of Yisrael saw that they were in straits, for the people were hard
pressed, then the people hid themselves in caves and in thickets and in
rocks and in strongholds and in pits” (Ibid. 13:5-6). So the Pelishtim
understood that Shaul was afraid. [The Jews asked themselves,] “Why isn’t
Shaul going out to war? Maybe he was given instructions by Shmuel the prophet?
What kind of ‘instructions’ were they? How long can we wait? Let’s go out
to war already!”
In the meanwhile, people started coming to join the battle from Gil’ad,
from the Golan, and from the Bashan. They heard that there was a rebellion,
so Jews started to come from all over. “And some of the Jews crossed the
Yarden to the land of Gad and Gil’ad. As for Shaul, he was still in Gilgal,
and all the people followed him trembling” (Ibid. 13:7). They came from
the land of Gil’ad, from Gil’ad, and he’s standing there not doing anything.
He’s just saying Tehillim. He did nothing but say Tehillim all day long.
He just said Tehillim all day long, learned Gemara, and said Tehillim.
He didn’t do anything.
You have to wait ten years. He had to wait seven
days, and you have to wait ten years. After ten years, you’ll be a multi-millionaire,
a multi-billionaire. You’ll be whatever you’ll be.
“Wait, that’s all, wait until I come. Wait seven
days. Don’t begin to shoot. Don’t start anything until I come. Don’t bring
any burnt offering, no sacrifice, nothing.” And more and more soldiers
were coming, from the Gil’ad, from the Golan, from the Bashan, and he’s
not doing a thing. He’s just learning Gemara and saying Tehillim all day
long. “Fine. Let’s leave him. It’s all over.” They had chosen a crazy man
to lead them, and all of them were about to abandon him, to leave him on
his own. They were all about to head back to their homes. And he [Shaul]
didn’t know what was going on. In a little while, he’d be left alone facing
a multitude of Pelishtim, as numerous as the sand at the seashore.
“And he tarried seven days, according to the set
time that Shmuel had appointed, but Shmuel came not to Gilgal” (Ibid. 13:8).
Shmuel didn’t come, “and the people were scattering from him.” The whole
nation was abandoning him. Everyone was returning home and he was about
to be left alone. It would be sunset in just a little while, and Shmuel
still hadn’t come. So Shaul said, “There’s no choice. We’ll make war, and
we’ll bring up the burnt offering. We can’t go out to war without bringing
up the burnt offering.”
“And Shaul said, ‘Bring me here the burnt offering
and the peace offerings.’ And he offered the burnt offering. And it came
to pass, that as soon as he had made an end of offering the burnt offering,
behold, Shmuel came. And Shaul went out to meet him, that he might greet
him” (Ibid. 13:9-10). As soon as he finished bringing up the burnt offering—how
long did it take? Half an hour, twenty minutes? You slaughter the animal,
offer it up, and put it on the fire. He had just put in on the fire when
Shmuel came. Shaul started to greet him, and Shmuel got angry with him.
“Now everything is ruined, all of the hopes, all of the hope.”
Yaakov had hoped to bring the people of Shechem
to repentance. All of them were already observing the Shabbos. All of them
had already escaped from their lust for money. He had built bathhouses
for them. They had already dropped their idolatry, and they were ready
to repent. They were even willing to be circumcised—everything. In just
one more day, they would have been complete Jews, and it was just then
that what happened, happened. And Yaakov didn’t forgive them for it.
Similarly, at the last second, a few minutes before
sunset…in just another moment, Shmuel would have arrived. It was then that
his patience wore out. He offered up the burnt offering. Suddenly Shmuel
appeared and said to him, “What have you done? What have you done?” “And
Shaul said, ‘Because I saw that the people were scattering from me’” (Ibid.
I:13:11). Everyone was abandoning me; everyone was running away from me.
In just a little while, I would have been left alone. “Because the people
were scattering from me, and you didn’t come within the days appointed,
and that the Pelishtim gathered themselves together at Michmash. Therefore
I said, ‘The Pelishtim will come down now upon me to Gilgal, and I have
not made supplication to Hashem. I forced myself therefore, and offered
the burnt offering’” (Ibid. I:13:11-12). I saw that I had no choice. In
a little while, they would have finished me off. They were about to finish
me off. And all the people were as numerous as the sand at the seashore:
thirty thousand tanks, six thousand armored troop carriers. And Shmuel
said, “You lost everything. You have no idea what Hashem had wanted to
make of you.” “And Shmuel said to Shaul, ‘You have done foolishly. You
have not kept the commandment of Hashem your G–d, which He commanded you,
for Hashem would have established your kingdom upon Yisrael forever’” (Ibid.
I:13:13). If you would have held out for those few minutes, for those twenty
minutes, you and your sons would have merited to be kings forever. Moshiach
would have been your descendant.
David was something altogether
hidden, just like Rabbeinu is completely hidden. They’re all Tzaddikim,
and you have to have faith in all of the Tzaddikim, in all of the
Jewish people, in the beinonim (average people), and the wicked
too. They’ll also repent. And I’m worse than all of them! David was
supposed to be absolutely hidden. There is a Tzaddik who is absolutely
hidden, and he conducts the world. Shaul was supposed to be the revealed
forever, and Melech HaMoshiach was supposed to come from him. He and his
children would have ruled until the end of time. David didn’t need to be
revealed at all. He should have remained absolutely hidden.
Now, there’s no choice. David
has to be revealed; there’s no other way. David has to come out of obscurity
and be revealed. Until now, you were standing in his stead. “But now your
kingdom will not endure. Hashem has sought him a man after His own heart,
and Hashem has commanded him to be a prince over his people, because you
have not kept that which Hashem commanded you” (Ibid. I:13:14).
There was still a plan that he and Yonasan would
remain kings—not for all time, but for another generation or two, or three,
or four. Just as there were four generations by Yehu (Melachim II
10:30) and three by Omri. But when Shaul failed to completely destroy Amalek,
Shmuel said to him, “Because you have rejected the word of Hashem, He has
also rejected you from being king…Hashem has torn the kingdom of Yisrael
from you this day, and has given it to a neighbor of yours, who is better
than you. And also the Eternal One (Netzach) of Yisrael will not
lie nor change His mind, for He is not a man, that He should change His
mind” (Ibid. I:15:23,28). You didn’t merit rectifying the sefirah
The sefirah of Netzach: “And Yaakov’s
thigh was dislocated” (Bereishis 32:26). That is the sefirah
of Netzach. The Pri Eitz Chayim says that after David rectified
the sefirah of Netzach, what remained to be rectified is
the sefirah of Hod. Shaul didn’t merit rectifying the sefirah
of Netzach—only David did. Now we have to rectify the sefirah
of Hod. “And faint (da’vah / same letters as Hod)
all the day” (Eichah 1:13). This is Chanukah.
The inner meaning of these eight days of Chanukah
is that she [Malchus] receives light from the sefirah of
directly, without being channeled through Zeir Anpin. For during
the week, Yaakov is in Netzach, and Rachel is in Hod.
has not been rectified, as in, “For my comely appearance (Hod) was
horribly changed” (Daniel 10:8), but Netzach has been rectified,
as in, “The Eternal One (Netzach) of Yisrael will not lie.” She
therefore receives light from Hod through him by way of
Now, [during Chanukah] Nukvah, Malchus, ascends alone.
This is the inner meaning of the verse, “And Chana prayed to (lit. ‘on’)
Hashem.” “On Hashem” means that she rose above the first Name, and merited
the second Name.
But Matisyahu the son of Yochanan Kohen Gadol rectified
during these eight days alone. That is why she receives light from Hod
itself alone. Now she receives the light alone. She rises to Binah
and receives the light of Hod now through him. That is why we say
“Al HaNissim” during the blessing of Modim. Why do we say
in Modim and not in Re’tzei like we do Ya’aleh VeYavoh?
It is because Modim is Hod. There are three mystical unifications.
YHVH, EHYH—KeSeR/CHaBa”D. After this is YHVH,
ELHIM—CHaGa”T. After that is YHVH, ADNoY, which
is NeH”Y. The Chanukah candle parallels Netzach,
and Yesod, which illuminate Malchus alone.
A person’s task is to illuminate Malchus.
He must always illuminate Malchus. When a man gets married, he then
has to elevate Malchus. The woman represents Malchus,
and he has to always illuminate Malchus through his Torah study.
Then we draw light down for her from the three lofty mystical unifications,
and he makes her into a candle. The mystical intention of the lighting
is that when he lowers his hand to light the candle, he lowers it down
to Malchus, to illuminate Malchus, for she is above three
from the ground. He represents Netzach, Hod, and Yesod,
which are the three tefachim that are less than ten tefachim
from the ground, which is below the level of a person’s head. And we draw
light down to her from the head. That is why a person has fulfilled his
obligation if he placed the candle within the space of ten tefachim
from the ground, for that is called her [Malchus’] place, since
she draws light from all the ten. But one should not place her above the
height of ten tefachim. On the Shabbos however, she rises up to
the level of his [Zeir Anpin’s] crown / Keter, and then her
place is anywhere within the ten tefachim, and she is called the
complete Shabbos candle. That is why, if he was unable to afford oil for
both the Shabbos candle and the Chanukah candle, the Shabbos candle takes
precedence. It is better that he raise her up above all ten tefachim,
than to light the Chanukah candle which is below them, despite the fact
the light that comes to the Chanukah candle is from all the ten. That is
also why it is proper to light the Chanukah candle Erev Shabbos before
the Shabbos candle. For it is proper to raise her [Malchus] up gradually
from below to above, from level to level. But if he already lit the Shabbos
candle before she has had a chance to rise up to the level of the head,
then how can he go back and light the Chanukah candle and thereby bring
her [Malchus] back down again into the realm of Netzach,
and Yesod, G–d forbid?
Know that we light the candle with the setting of
the sun for exactly half an hour, because it is such a great light that
one can’t stand the light for more than half an hour. For after that point,
it is the attribute of night. And she descends into the worlds of Beriyah,
and Asiyah to give “food to her household and a daily portion to
her maidens” (Mishlei 31:15). It is then that we draw down to her
those lights that she received above. The main element of the drawing down
is that we draw from the same light that was drawn to her from the head,
which is YHVH EHYH, for when they are filled out with yuds,
they equal the gematria of the word “regel” (“foot”). “Regel”
is equal to KS”A and A”B. It is only a short while. The main
time for lighting the Chanukah candle is just half an hour, “until the
foot has ceased to pass through the marketplace.” The word “regel”
is equal to the gematria of the permutations called KS”A
and A”B. The marketplace alludes to the lower worlds. The marketplace
alludes to the worlds of Beriyah, Yetzirah, and Asiyah.
“The foot has ceased.” The light shines from Atzilus—the Chanukah
candle is really in the world of Atzilus—and it illuminates the
worlds of Beriyah, Yetzirah, and Asiyah. That is called
the marketplace. “Until it ceases” means until that trace of the light
that is drawn down after her reaches her place. That is why the lighting
is the fulfillment of the mitzvah, and not the placing of the candle
in its place.
If a person lights the candle and then puts it in
its place afterward, he hasn’t performed the mitzvah. The candle
has to be in its place, and then you light it. For we don’t raise her up
from her place at all; rather, we light down to her from above, to her
place alone, meaning, the actual lighting of the candle. This is why it
is forbidden to make any use of the light. Since the holy supernal light
descends down to her place, the place where there are chitzonim
[forces of impurity], we worry that the chitzonim might grab hold
of the supernal light. That is why we are not permitted to make any use
of it whatsoever.
This is the inner meaning of Chanukah—Chana / Chaf
Vav (26). Chana was the first to reveal the light of Chanukah. Chana
prayed for a son for close to one hundred and thirty years and never gave
up (Midrash HaGadol, Shemos). That is why she was the first to reveal the
light of Chanukah. She prayed “on / for Hashem,” meaning only for Hashem,
not for herself. She prayed that he would sanctify Hashem’s Name, that
he would bring the entire Jewish people back to Hashem in repentance. This
is the entire mission of Shuvu Bonim: to bring the Jewish people back to
Hashem in repentance to the supernal mother [Binah, the
associated with repentance] by going out to every place in Israel, to all
of the settlements.
The name Chana has the same gematria as the
Divine Name in the permutation known as S”G (63). For Chana is in
and that is the place of the Name S”G, and its root is yud yud
aleph yud. This is the meaning of the Chana (26) of the verse, “For
he loved Chana, but Hashem had shut up her womb” (Shmuel I:1:5).
Elkanah is the aspect of Abba [Chochmah], and Chana is the
aspect of Imma [Binah], just as we said earlier today, on
Shabbos, that the true unification—the chuppah—is Chanukah. The
unification of Chana and Elkanah is Chanukah. Elkanah is Abba. The
of his name is one hundred and eighty-five. This is the same gematria
as the Divine Name written out in achorayim, with yuds filling
in [yud, yud hei, yud hei vav…]. This is
Yesod of Abba,
and this is alluded to in the name Elkanah (185) without the aleph,
which equals the name KP”D including the kollel number. So,
Elkanah is Abba.
And all of the days from Simchas Torah until Chanukah
are like the period from the time of the engagement up until the wedding.
The marriage is completed on the last day of Chanukah, and that is when
the unification of Chana and Elkanah takes place. It is the unification
of Abba and Imma that never stops—that is the source of true
bounty. For Chana merited to be the supernal mother [Binah], and
Elkanah merited to be the supernal father [Chochmah] because they
went and brought the entire Jewish people to repentance. They went out
for the sake of heaven.
It says in the Sifra Di’Tzniusa, “Ati Maftecha DeKalil
Shita” [and we are not going to even attempt to translate this] (Pri Etz
Chaim, Chanukah). This is what Reb Nosson explains here in Choshen Mishpat,
Hilchos Matanah. Chanukah is the light of Chana. The light of Chana shines
[The word Chanukah] incorporates the letters Chana
/ Chaf Vav (26) [which is the gematria of Hashem’s Name].
Chana prayed “on” Hashem. Her prayer reached so high, “on Hashem,” the
Name YHVH. There are two Names YHVH [listed in the thirteen
attributes of mercy]. And Chana prayed “on” the first Name YHVH,
and reached up to the second Name YHVH, and that is the source of
all thirteen attributes of mercy. “Hashem, Hashem, G–d of Compassion and
Mercy…” They embody such a surpassingly complete level of mercy, one that
can liberate the holy Temple from the grip of other side completely.
Shmuel revealed David through the power of Chana’s
prayer. “And He will raise the horn of His anointed one…” David subdued
all of the gevurot, for during Chanukah, one can subdue all of the
Yitzchak thought that Esav was David, and Shmuel thought that David was
Esav. The truth is, though, that David was able to subdue all of the gevurot
because he was ruddy like Esav. He transformed all of the gevurot
into sanctity. A person is full of gevurot. David was the epitome
of gevurot, and he transformed it all into holiness.
This is what Reb Nosson explains, that this is why
we read Chana’s prayer during the Haftarah of Rosh HaShana. “And He will
give strength to His king, and exalt the horn of His anointed” (Shmuel
I:2:10). That was Chana’s prayer. Chanukah, which shines with Chana’s light,
will bring Melech HaMoshiach and the holy Temple, speedily in our days,
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