Parshas Devarim

The Kotel

   The Beis HaMikdash was twice destroyed. Two times the Sitra Achra was able to overpower and destroy the Beis HaMikdash. But Hashem never abandoned the Foundation Stone. Hashem never abandoned the Kotel. The presence of the Shechina has never departed from the Western Wall.
   A person should feel a yearning for the Foundation Stone, a yearning to go to the Kotel, as it is written, “My soul yearns, indeed it pines, for the courtyards of Hashem” (Tehillim 84:3).  If a person loves someone, then he’ll make every effort to be around him. The same thing holds true for a person who loves the Kotel and feels that this is his root source: he’ll try to go to the Kotel as often as possible. Why don’t people feel the holiness of the Foundation Stone? Why don’t people feel the holiness of the Kotel? There are people who don’t go to the Kotel year after year. There are a half a million Jews living in Jerusalem—you hardly see them at the Kotel. The Chatam Sofer says that by not visiting the Western Wall, the Foundation Stone, we are in fact insulting the Kotel! This is the place of the Shechina. This is an unforgivable offense. When Hashem sees that we are neglecting Jerusalem and the Kotel and are not making the effort to get there, this awakens His anger and wrath. As it is written, “The stone that the builders scorned has become the cornerstone” (Tehillim 118:23). The stone that was scorned is the Foundation Stone. The greater the thing, the more exalted it is, the more despised it is, the more hidden it is. The Satan knows what is good for a person—he knows exactly what is the very best for him, so he works to distance him as much as he can from this thing. Everyone despised the Foundation Stone, all the tzaddikim who are called “builders” (“The stone that the builders scorned”), except for David HaMelech, who is the only one who merited knowing the secret of this stone. He merited knowing that without this Stone, without its holiness, it is impossible to achieve any real spiritual advancement—no spiritual endeavor will be completely accepted. All of David’s efforts were only concerning this Stone. All of his searches, all of his yearnings—“My soul years, indeed it pines, for the courtyards of Hashem.” All this was for the Foundation Stone, for the place of the Beis HaMikdash.
   Before Hashem created the physical world (the world of Asiyah - action), He created the Foundation Stone and the Temple Mount and the Kotel. Reb Nasan explains that the Foundation Stone is the root of the creation. The world was created from this Stone (Yoma 54b,) and it is the source of our free choice. Just from going to the Kotel alone, a person can overcome his inclinations and choose the good path. The Kotel is the crown of creation, the 10th level of holiness, the level of Keter, which is why free will is completely annulled there, and the only choice is choosing good.
   When a person goes to the Kotel he is not standing in this world. He isn’t in this world at all. The Kotel is the Holy of Holies—it’s another world altogether. Even if you imagine that you’re still in this world, that you’re here in the world, know: that no matter how you got to the Temple Mount, to the Kotel, you are now in the world of Atzilus! You rose up straight to the world of Atzilus. It just seems to you that you are still in this world because you are in such a state of uncertainty and illusion, but really you’re in the world of Atzilus. Every time you touch the Kotel and give it a kiss then you immediately enter the world of Atzilus. It’s a change in nature! Even a person’s body changes—everything changes. A person gets a new nature and new body. Every time a person comes to the Kotel, he immediately merits having all the lights of the world of Atzilus shining down on him.
   The Kotel is really the Holy of Holies. It is the Foundation Stone. A person goes to the Kotel and he literally walks in Gan Eden, especially at night at chatzos and in the early morning, because the “river that flows out of Eden” (Bereishis 2:10) flows under the Temple Mount, under the Kotel, and so a person comes to the Kotel and literally tastes Gan Eden. He sees Gan Eden and can detect the fragrance of Gan Eden. He feels that he is now in Gan Eden, just like Adam and Chava.
   Reb Nasan says (Likutei Halachos, Hodaah 6:50), “so when they came out from Egypt with miracles and wonders and the sea split for them with a wondrous and awesome miracle, they sang, ‘You will bring them and plant them at the mountain of Your inheritance’ (Song of the Sea, Shemos 15:17). This is the Beis HaMikdash which is the main reason for all the miracles of the Exodus from Egypt and the Splitting of the Red Sea. The whole purpose was to bring them there, as it is written, ‘And he took us out of there in order to bring us…’ (Devarim 6:23).” We need to know that the Kotel is the source of all the miracles in the world. All the miracles since ancient days were drawn from the Western Wall. Avraham did miracles. Moshe did miracles. Even the miracles of the Exodus from Egypt were drawn from the Kotel. All of the miracles that happened in Egypt, the ten plagues, the Splitting of the Sea—all the miracles were drawn from the Holy of Holies. Everything came from the Kotel. This is Reb Nasan’s chiddush. “You will bring them and plant them at the mountain of Your inheritance.” Moshe Rabbeinu connected himself to the Holy of Holies, attached himself to the Kotel and the Foundation Stone, and this is how he drew down the miracles and wonders.
   So how can a person not go to the Kotel? All the miracles come from there! The miracle of the Splitting of the Sea, the miracles of the Ten Plagues, the miracle of the clouds of Glory, the miracle of the Pillar of Fire, the miracle of flying through the air—the Kotel is the source of all the miracles, the source of all the wonders, the source of all the salvations, all the healing and deliverance, all the income. Everything comes from the Kotel. A person comes to the Kotel and he can bring miracles to the world.

   Master of the World, who is awesome and amazing, draw me close to the Foundation Stone, to the holy of holies, to the resting place of the Shechina. I am completely gripped with trembling, fear, shuddering and dread. Please, Merciful and Compassionate Father, raise my body to the level of soul and my soul to the level of yechida (the highest level of soul). And I will see only You and will not hear any voice or speech other than Yours, and I will not see any sight other than You. And fulfill in me the verse in my standing here before you in prayer, “At the image of Hashem does he gaze” (Bamidbar 12:8). And I should merit to having “the heavens open and seeing visions of Hashem.”

B’Ohr Pnei HaMelech
   Having a “good eye” is what guides our lives so that we will have good, happy lives. And every time that something bad happens, then we will understand that it was a result of our own “bad eye”—that we looked critically with our eyes. Then we need to step aside to think and consider what happened here, until we come to the realization that everything depends on our own self-contemplation. And we will succeed in awakening our “good eye” and in this way we can progress until the coming of Moshiach Tzidkeinu, who has “beautiful eyes and a pleasing appearance” (Shmuel 1, 16:12).  He, in the merit of his “good eye,” achieved that which he achieved. We need to learn to recognize that when something undesirable happens to us, chas v’shalom, that it came from a “bad eye.” We need to learn to look upwards (“know what is above you”) and downwards (“and where you are going”), and not to the sides. Then a person will suddenly begin seeing life in a completely new way. HaKadosh Baruch Hu takes pride in us—He has a “good eye.” The whole world which He created is for Israel in whom He takes pride. Everything that Hashem created is for Am Yisrael, which is the only nation that Hashem can take pride in. About everything in the creation, it is written, “and it was good.” Only regarding the yetzer hara does it say, “and He saw that it was very good.” Why very good? Is the yetzer hara very good? If there is a yetzer hara, then there is what to take pride in: over every good point of every Jew when he strengthens himself against the yetzer hara. I take pride in this point. Having a “good eye” means loving ourselves with HaKadosh Baruch Hu, with the tzaddikim. A person must love the point of the tzaddik within himself, the point that wants truth and which despises external appearances. It wants something true and knows that coming close to Hashem is good—it is the only thing that is good, and not anything else at all. A “good eye” looks for the good points which are hidden within, in the depths of the soul of a person. Because we don’t see it, we can think that he is not so positive or accomplished—not so good. But by HaKadosh Baruch Hu thinks that he is good and the tzaddikim think he is good, so we also need to learn how to find the merit in every person: how to love everyone. This is called having a “good eye.” No one who is attached to Hashem has a “bad eye.” A person has a “bad eye” when he thinks that another person took what was destined for him or took his success or his honor away from him. But if he knows that there is a G-d in the world, then no one can take anything away from him. Hashem takes pride in us and we take pride in Hashem. In the tefillin of HaKadosh Baruch Hu it is written, “Who is like you Israel, a lone nation in the land.” And in our tefillin it is written, “Hear O Israel, Hashem is our G-d, Hashem is One.”  We say that there is nothing in the world, only Hashem and Hashem says that He has nothing in the world other than Am Yisrael. Every single person is in the image of Hashem, is G-dly. He is something great and in this we can take pride very, very much. And thus Hashem takes pride in us.


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