Excerpts from a lesson given by HaRav Eliezer Berland, shlit”a,
Erev Simchas Torah, 5758.
Rabbi Nachman says in Likutei Moharan I:74, that
there is an aspect of “Yitzchak dina kadisha” (“Yitzchak, Holy judgments”)
from which emerge Yaakov and Esav. Yaakov, who is Chochmah, is the
sweetening of Yitzchak. In truth, Yitzchak was not in any way fooled by
Esav. Hashem said to Yitzchak, “There is no choice. This wicked soul must
be born from you, and through this, all the spiritual chaff of Terach will
be exhausted.” Yitzchak searched for any possible way by which he could
raise up Esav’s level. At the time of Esav’s conception, he performed all
kinds of mystical intentions and unifications in order to raise his soul,
that, come what may, it would be somewhat within the realm of holiness.
And, in truth, the Zohar says that he was in some way successful—at least
Esav’s head was in the world of Atzilus (this is why his head is
buried in the Cave of the Patriarchs, Pirkei d’Rabbi Eliezer 39).
In as much as a person sanctifies himself during
conception, so does he merit drawing down elevated souls, even the souls
of Tanaim and Amoraim. This parallels that which Rebbe Nachman
says, that when he was in Istanbul, he saw souls of the Tanaim and
in the merit of the great holiness that the people living there possessed.
Therefore, Yitzchak wanted to raise up Esav’s soul with the mystical unifications
he made during his conception, and with the blessing with which he had
wanted to bless him…
The sweetening of Yitzchak, who is still the aspect
of judgment, is through Chochmah / wisdom, that is, learning Gemara
intensively and with understanding. As much as a person merits entering
into Gemara study, through this, he sweetens the judgments that are on
him. Even if a person works as a fundraiser, he should still learn six
hours. Afterwards, he will see with his own eyes how all the gates open
for him, and how the abundance comes down easily. For, in truth, the abundance
that we receive is not at all contingent on the this–worldly effort that
we make…. There is a story about two men who went out to raise funds. They
made the rounds of the entire city without raising a penny, and afterward,
before they finished, they saw a house that looked as if it was about to
collapse. They decided to go in, “What can we lose?” A widow who lived
there with her daughter opened the door for them, and when they explained
why they had come, she signed, and signed, and signed. From this, they
had enough of an abundance that made their entire journey worthwhile.
Hoshanah Rabba is the aspect of “speech without
knowledge” about which it says, “Without knowledge, the soul is not good.”
A man’s wife is a part of his very soul, and he is the aspect of knowledge,
it is he who creates her “screen”—he projects expanded awareness for her,
wisdom. When he doesn’t learn, she becomes ill, nervous and irritable,
because he hasn’t given her any illumination. Simchas Torah, however, is
the illumination of wisdom, and then everything is sweetened. In truth,
the first three sefiros all give their light then (Keter,
and Binah, that are all considered a single sefirah).
Song and dance are the aspect of Keter, of
the “World of Ta’amim”… The Ari revealed that through dancing the
entire night, one can nullify all the decrees, because the edicts are not
given to the “swift messengers” until after Simchas Torah. He said, that
even if a person was inscribed for the good on Yom HaKippurim (for instance
those who were in Uman, on Erev Rosh Hashanah), there is still an aspect
of Yitzchak, from whom comes Esav as well as Yaakov. That is to say, that
there are still judgments going on every day, one can know this from the
previous year… Through dancing on Simchas Torah, one can sweeten all the
judgments of the entire year that arise every day. That he won’t need [to
take the children to] the emergency room, etc. etc… Furthermore,
the judgments and decrees on a person are freshly checked daily before
sunrise, when the sky is the color of techeiles. (The string of
sweetens these judgments.) This alludes to the hour of judgment, and if
a person gets up at dawn, he sweetens these judgments and all the day’s
decrees are torn up. This is similar to when a person appears in court,
and simply because of the fact that he appeared, the court is prepared
to acquit him…
The Rambam said with regards to dancing, that a
person who doesn’t participate is a “sinner and a fool”. A sinner, because
it is a mitzvah to love Hashem… When can one fulfill this mitzvah?
While he’s learning, he is immersed in his learning. Even while praying,
he isn’t always focused on fulfilling this mitzvah. While he is
dancing, however, he is able to fulfill the mitzvah of loving Hashem,
because, during every moment of dancing, he is performing this mitzvah.
Certainly, he is a sinner for scorning thousands of opportunities to love
Hashem that he could take advantage of on a day that is entirely song and
dance. He is also a fool, for relinquishing all the abundance and mental
expansiveness that one merits through dance… Rav Meir Shapiro of Lublin
was accustomed to dance for everything he would do. When he went to raise
money for the yeshiva and it wasn’t going so well, he would dance constantly
and hum, “If I said my leg has faltered…Your Kindness, Hashem, will support
me.” So he would do every day of his life until his last. Before his death,
all his students were gathered around him groaning and crying over the
approaching death of their beloved Rebbe. He then commanded them to dance
[around his bed], for he wanted his soul to ascend to Heaven with song
and dance. In this way, he encouraged and inspired them during his last
moments to dance, all of them, fiery dances in honor of the great moment.
That is how his soul departed. His last words were, “Only with joy…” This
is really the way a Jew should die… With Hashem’s help, through the singing
and dancing of Simchas Torah, may we merit a good year of life and length
of days, and the complete redemption, speedily and in our days, amen.
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