Excerpts from a lesson given by HaRav Eliezer Berland, shlita,
Shabbos Chol HaMoed Sukkos, 5758.

    In the story of the Prince of Gems, the princess alludes to the impure husk that chases after a person. From this comes tzora’as (a type of leprosy). The impure husk then falls into the water, and then the fact that the person is entirely made of gems is revealed.
    All the tzora’as that a person has (including all his suffering and his being relentlessly pursued by others), only comes to reveal that he is really made of gems. The Torah gives over the laws regarding the patches of tzora’as on homes, and it turns out that specifically through the fact that there was tzora’as in the house, the treasures hidden within its walls were revealed (Vayikra 14:13, see Rashi).
    There is a story about a Jew called Reb Moshe who worked in an inn that belonged to the local baron. One time the baron came to visit and asked, “Moshke, how’s business?” Moshe answered, “Thank G–d.” The baron became incensed and said, “Does G–d provide your living?” Reb Moshe answered stubbornly, “Only G–d, only G–d…” and the baron went away furious, vowing vengeance. Some time after this, the baron entered his treasure house to count his gold coins. He would test each one by biting it, to see if it was genuine. This baron had a favorite monkey, and the monkey saw its master check the coins this way. It decided to do likewise. When the baron left the room and left his coins on the table, the monkey entered and began to bite, but also to swallow the gold coins, until it dropped dead. The baron re–entered and saw his favorite monkey dead, and he couldn’t understand why. He was very upset about this, and even more so about his “missing” money, but then a “great” idea popped into his head. To send the monkey to Reb Moshe as a “gift”. He went to put his plan into action. In the meanwhile, it was Erev Pesach in Reb Moshe’s home, and there was no food, and the children were crying, and there was nothing with which to make the Seder. The turmoil filled the house. All of a sudden, the window imploded as a black object was thrown into the house. [The Rav said that when a person sees all black, he should know that salvation is at hand.] Everyone was filled with fear, who could tell what sort of blood libel someone was trying to foist on them? Just then, they heard the sound of a gold coin clinging—it had fallen out of the split–open belly of the monkey. When they opened up the belly of the monkey, they found an entire treasury of gold coins…. Seder night, the baron arrived to see how Hashem was helping Reb Moshe and, behold, he saw that light filled the house, the table was set, everyone was dressed in festive clothing. Reb Moshe brought him inside and told him about the miracle that had happened, that a monkey had been suddenly tossed into his house, etc. The baron then understood how the monkey died, and what had happened to his missing coins…
    All the trouble and suffering that a person goes through, is all designed to ultimately reveal how he is made of precious stones and pearls. Just as there were two thousand years of void, and that this was a third of the history of the world, so too, a person passes through a third of his life in a void, without any true awareness. It is only when he reaches forty or fifty years of age that true awareness of the Tzaddik begins to spark within him. An awareness of the importance of dancing, of focused prayer, etc. (Even a boy from the age of thirteen until the age of seventeen or eighteen is lacking a certain amount of intelligence. That is why that time is the most difficult and dangerous—even if he learns Gemara, it still does not entirely help…)
    The Rav reviewed the building up of “Rachel” during these twenty–two days. From Rosh Hashanah, the sefiros of Rachel are “sawed away”, etc. as was previously explained, and from Yom HaKippurim, the inner and outer  encircling Chassadim are drawn in. This is all so that one can reach the “seal within a seal”—for the fact that the tablets were broken is because they were without this “seal”. So, on Yom HaKippurim, the seal of the “legs” is made, and on Hoshanna Rabbah, the seal of the “hands” is made. And one must attempt to reach this aspect of “seal,” which is the aspect of “My sister, my bride, is a locked garden, a sealed fountain.” This was the aspect of Rivka, that, “no man knew her.” The Midrash Maor Haafela explains that no one knew that she existed. At the moment that anyone would have known of her, she would have been blemished and no longer have been a fit wife for Yitzchak. Therefore, the Rambam explains (Hilchos Issurei Biah 17:13) that a high priest could only take a wife between the ages of twelve and twelve and a half, because at that age, the young woman is still at home and no one knows about her existence. Afterward, when others already know about her, this would blemish her and she would no longer be fit to marry the high priest.
    One must be very strong and encourage himself to sing and dance, even if he has no idea why, because the fact is, that song is a very elevated thing and is, in truth, the root of all wisdoms. This is what Reb Nosson says (Likutei Halachos, Yorei Deah 2b, page 240,) that hidden within melody are all the seventy facets of Torah. And, specifically because there are no words to a melody, it is very elevated. In the world of Atzilus, there are no words, only melodies. Through melody, a person ascends to the world of Atzilus, to the aspect of Ta’amim. And one must be particular to sing and dance with all his strength, as it says about David HaMelech, “…and David leaped about with all his might….” Today there are already rules and regulations. How much one is permitted to sing, how much one may get fired–up while dancing, how much one is permitted to jump while dancing…. But the truth is that the Rambam writes (end of Hilchos Lulav,) that, during the festival of the drawing of the water, they would bring every musical instrument that was in Yerushalayim to the Temple, and there was non–stop rejoicing with singing, music, and dancing for a full eight days. This was customary in even the most Litvishe yeshivos; they would play music and dance for the full eight days of Sukkos. This is how it was in the Netziv’s yeshiva—until his death, they would start rejoicing every day after the afternoon prayers and dance until the morning (after his death they would dance only until the evening). The Rav also told about great Jewish leaders who would dance with all their might and would literally jump to the ceiling, like the Klausenberger Rebbe, among others… They would also spend much time dancing throughout the year, for instance during Lecha Dodi, which would last around forty minutes in Sanz, with great joy and powerful dancing. Nowadays, the tradition to make a festival of the drawing of the water every night of the holiday only exists among two Chassidic groups—“Reb Ahre’lach” and Karlin–Stolin. In this they certainly surpass us. When a person knows that the next person has it over on him, this itself atones for all his sins. This point is made by the Yehudi HaKadosh who says that when two people sit and drink a glass of tea together, and each one believes that the other one is greater than him, this generates an aspect of Yom HaKippurim, and all their sins are forgiven. So now, on Sukkos, when we sit together to eat and drink, each time we can merit forgiveness for all sin by virtue of each person seeing how the next person has many awesome good points that he himself lacks. Rav Elimelech [of Lizhensk] said that he doesn’t understand why it is thought that there has to be such a great effort involved in achieving humility. If a person knows how low he is, what kinds of thought race around his mind, it must be that the next person is immeasurably better than he is—what, he should assume that the next person is as bad as he is? The Yehudi HaKadosh said that this is why Hashem’s name is written with two “yuds”. This alludes to two “yidden” [two Jews] who sit together and each one feels that the other is greater than him. Then, surely, the Holy One rests between them and all their sins are forgiven. They asked the Yehudi HaKadosh, “But what if one point is under the other?” (Meaning, that one feels higher than the other.) The Yehudi HaKadosh answered that these two points are like periods at the end of a sentence, that by one feeling higher than the other, they are effectively each ending their own sentence…
    The Rambam says that a person who sees others singing and dancing and does not participate is considered a “sinner and a fool.” A sinner, because he is arrogant before Hashem, as the Midrash says (Midrash Rabbah, Shir HaShirim) regarding Chizkiyah HaMelech, “…and his heart was arrogant…”, that he didn’t want to sing and praise Hashem for the great miracle that He had performed for him. The Chiddushei HaRim gives him the benefit of the doubt, that for Chizkiyah HaMelech, a miracle and the natural course of events were the same thing. In truth, however, this was a grave error, because with praise, he would have merited to see manifold miracles, that an army the size of Sancheriv’s would have come and been afflicted, and that Chizkiyah himself would have been transformed into Moshiach…. (Sanhedrin 94a.)
    Likewise, the Rambam says that a person who glorifies himself before Hashem and doesn’t want to dance and sing just as David HaMelech did, as it says about him that, “…David leaped about with all his might…”, is considered a sinner. He transgresses many prohibitions and separates himself from the community; he scorns the community (for he thinks he is wise for not dancing, and that they are fools for dancing)…. Not only this, but his is a “fool” as well, because he loses out on all the abundance that would have been his through dancing. For dance, Rebbe Nachman says, (Likutei Moharan II:81) raises up all aspect of “legs” and also enables a person to merit physical abundance. Because money is also an aspect of “legs”, as it says, “…and all the living substance that followed their legs…” (Devarim 11:6.) All this ascends through dancing, and one merits an abundance of wealth (instead of traveling abroad all around the world in order to collect money). Dancing also elevates the aspect of “supporters of Torah”. Rather than having to go to the donors and spend whole hours convincing them, they will come here to donate. For, through dancing, the legs (which are the “supporters of Torah”) are encompassed within the encircling light of his heart and theirs, that, through this, their hearts are awakened to give charity. However, it is brought that it is really unnecessary that others should provide support at all, that through dancing, he himself becomes a channel for the flow of abundance. Also, the “legs” (which are Netzach and Hod) are included in the heart (Tiferes), and through them, he merits Chochmah (as is brought in the Zohar, that, by being incorporated into Tiferes, he merits Chochmah). Then the aspect of “…and we will bring (“navi”) a heart of wisdom.” Wisdom (Chochmah) is higher than prophecy (“navi / nevuah” which stems from Netzach and Hod), as high as light is over darkness. One merits all of this through singing and dancing, and this is what a person loses out on by not dancing—certainly he could be considered a fool, as the Rambam says. The Rambam concludes by saying that, “…it is fit to punish him.” This is similar to what Rebbe Nachman says (Likutei Moharan I:169), that the Holy One holds back the swift messengers (who are the emissaries of judgment) and waits for a person to dance so that He can mitigate the judgments on him. If, in the end, this person doesn’t dance, then Heaven forbid, he really is punished….
    Furthermore, one must enter into the entire “body form” of joy, as Rebbe Nachman says in Likutei Moharan 148. This is one of the four things that one must enter completely—mikveh, the Land of Israel (that one must, literally, walk on the land of Israel), sukkah, and the “body form” of joy. By doing this, he can know in what way he has blemished himself. The Rav said that dance is a labor unto itself, that one can contemplate on a single verse over and over again, until he becomes free of all his extraneous thoughts and begins to really penetrate the meaning of the verse that he is repeating. Slowly, slowly as he puts more and more into the verse…
    There are seven “nothingnesses” that are discussed in Koheles, the highest among them being the breath of sinless infants. All these “nothingnesses” are only to bring a person to the seventh “nothing”—the vapor of the breath of sinless infants. The Rav said that he always felt a little bit of despair when he would read the Gemara (Shabbos 119b) where Abaye said to Rav Pappa, “We no longer have the breath that is without sin.” If so, what should we do, how will we merit having a pure vapor emanating from our mouths? The Rebbe says (Likutei Moharan I:37) that there is the atmosphere of the Land of Israel, and there is the charity of the Land of Israel that allows a person to merit the atmosphere of the Land of Israel and the pure breath of sinless infants. Especially now that we have been in the sukkah for the last seven days, and we shook the four species, and we danced very much—through this we certainly can merit the pure breath of infants (through which the Patriarchs are revealed and all judgments are sweetened). In truth, learning Shas is meant to bring a person to the aspect of a child, the aspect of David HaMelech who “…danced with all his might.” This is why the last chapter in Shas is called “children”. For this is the highest level, and all the learning of Gemara is so that a person will merit this aspect of “child”, through which we will dance with all our might and sweeten all the judgments and the complete redemption will come, speedily and in our days…. (This last idea was brought from Rav Meir Shapiro of Lublin. It was said at the conclusion of the first cycle of the daf hayomi.)

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