A lesson given last year on Erev Purim by HaRav Eliezer Berland, phoned in to a conference concerning the dangers of the new technologies
{The Rav refers here to the iPhone, but actually he is talking about any device that has an internet connection}



1.    With the help of Hashem, from today, everyone is going to throw away all their iPhones, which are an absolute poison! Anyone who has an iPhone will never get out of Gehinnom; he will be in Gehinnom until the Resurrection of the Dead: anyone who keeps his iPhone will never get out of Gehinnom! He is incinerating his own brain! He is watching the most disgusting things imaginable, his whole brain is being exploded! His children will be permanently damaged; brain damaged! Right now, in Columbia, 5,000 children have been born brain damaged from the multitude of forbidden sights watched by their parents! The parents are brain damaged from the abundance of forbidden sights they have seen! Their children are born autistic, mongols, brain damaged, if they are born with a brain at all; deformed–without fingers, deformed hands and feet!

2.    Anyone who keeps an iPhone in his possession is cursed, the most terrible curses–in this world and in the next! The Beis Din in this world and also the Beis Din in heaven curse him! The fetuses in their mothers' womb curse him! The children that are born deformed–autistic and mongol, they all curse him! "One who withholds 'produce' will be cursed by the nation," (Mishle 11:26). The Gemara, (Sanhedrin 93:), says that the fetuses curse their fathers that bought them to the world with a damaged brain, autistic. Anyone who retains possession of an iPhone will never escape from Gehinnom, until the Resurrection of the Dead! The Messiah will not take him out, Moshe Rabbeinu will not take him out, Rebbe Nachman will not take him out! Rabbeinu is not going to help anyone who has an iPhone; one who sins on purpose, contemptuously, intentionally. Even a person who sins {other sins} deliberately will be forgiven if he ceases to sin and regrets his transgression, {but not the iPhone owner}.

3.    However, these people who retain their iPhones have no regret, quite the contrary, they delve more and more into the impurity. Every day, every second they are sinking further and further into the impurity. They themselves are cursed, their children are cursed, their sons and daughters until the final generations: this curse will never be absolved, never exonerated! Anyone holding onto his iPhone will be cursed with all the 98 curses in Parshas Ci Savo, and also all the 49 curses in Parshas Bechukosai. They deprive themselves of all the Holy Lights. All the arrows that we fire on Lag B'Omer are in order to save us from the 98 curses. These arrows {continue}, "...until the arrow splits his liver," (Mishle 7:23). These are the arrows they fire at those who spend their time gazing into their iPhones, who refuse to give up on their iPhones. All the arrows that we fire on Lag B'Omer are to enable us to escape from the 98 curses, which is why Lag B'Omer always falls on Parshas Bechukosai, because the arrows come and cancel out the curses, twice 49 equals 98, which is why we offer up 98 sheep on Sukkos, to cancel out the curses in Parshas Ci Savo.

4.    It would seem to make more sense if the holiday of Sukkos were to take place on Pesach, this is what it says in Mishna L'Melech (6: Chometz UMatzah), also the Sifri. The book Mishna L'Melech brings the Sifri: Why are we celebrating Sukkos in Tishrei? This is the sort of thing only Shuvu Bonim get up to! They have no understanding, no knowledge, they don't even know that we started building the Sukkas, that the Clouds of Glory came down on 15th Nissan! The Sifri says explicitly that we should really celebrate Sukkos in Nissan; so why do we do it in Tishrei, and only after Yom Kippur? The Zohar says in Parshas Emor that anyone that doesn't live in the Sukka is descended from the Mixed Multitude: anyone who doesn't eat and sleep in the Sukka his neshama is from the Mixed Multitude, who were kept outside of the Camp, outside of the Clouds of Glory.

5.    One has to be careful that his Sukka is built of sufficient Scach, curtains, boards etc. to enable him to sleep in the Sukka. One who doesn't sleep in the Sukka shows that he wasn't one of the Children of Israel that left Egypt, since it was only the Mixed Multitude that remained outside the Clouds of Glory. However, it is impossible to be worthy of fulfilling the mitzvah of Sukka unless one has been forgiven all of his sins; which is why the Torah commanded to keep the Chag of Sukkos in Tishrei. The Gemara says it is because this is the time of rain, when it is still cold outside, whereas Nissan is already after the winter. {Since it makes no sense to move into the Sukka in the winter, this is a much greater demonstration that we are doing it because we are commanded, because of love of Hashem}.

6.    The true reason {that we make the Chag of Sukkos in Tishrei} is because one cannot keep the Chag of Sukkos unless he has been forbidden all his sins. As long as one is guilty of sinning he is unable to fulfill the mitzvah of Sukka. The Sukka spits him out. Anyone who doesn't keep Shabbos, the Shabbos doesn't protect him! Quite the contrary! Even Bialik, may his name and memory be blotted out, said that more than Israel keep the Shabbos, the Shabbos keeps them. When one doesn't keep Shabbos, not only is he not keeping Shabbos, but also the Shabbos doesn't protect him. The Shabbos spits him out. His sin is so great that the Shabbos spits him out!

7.    Also a child that doesn't keep Shabbos, the Shabbos spits him out. His parents failed to educate him; they committed {sexual} sins, they spent their time ogling their iPhones: the result is that the child doesn't keep Shabbos. The parents are completely responsible, since they did not repent for all their sins. This is the real reason why it is imperative to have Sukkos after Yom Kippur, since it is impossible to enter the Sukka until after being forgiven. We even learn the laws of Sukka from Yom HaKippurim, that to be a kosher Sukka there must be a minimum height of 10 tefachim. This is learned out by the Gemara from Yom Kippur, (Sukka 5.). We also learned there about the Keruvim, that Moshe Rabbeinu would hear the voice of Hashem from between the Keruvim. {In the Gemara there, Sukka 5., it mentions 10 tefachim in a number of aspects regarding the Keruvim}. The Rambam says, (Yesod HaShvii, Perek Chelek), that every day Moshe Rabbeinu would enter the Kodesh Kodoshim and would hear the voice of Hashem speaking to him from between the Keruvim; he would hear the Commandments, the mitzvos, for Moshe was able to see into the future until the final generations.

8.    From here we see that all the mitzvos MiDeRabbanan were actually Halacha l'Moshe MiSinai. The Maharshal writes that from here we learn out that all the laws that are decreed by the Rabbis {in each generation}, they are all Halacha l'Moshe MiSinai. Every law that they decree until the final generation, they are all Halacha l'Moshe MiSinai. Either the law had been handed down through the generations and it is only now that the Rabbis decided it was applicable, or, it is a law that the Rabbis of this particular generation have decided to initiate, it is all Halacha l'Moshe MiSinai.

9.    The Chatam Sofer writes that all the niggunim that we sing, all the Chiddushim, they are all Halacha l'Moshe MiSinai. Each year in Chodesh Elul, the Chatam Sofer used to write new songs praising Hashem. There was a book printed of his songs {that was lost to us}, but all we have left is a thousandth part of the songs he wrote. Each Chodesh Elul he used to seclude himself and write and sing songs in honour of Hashem.
This is the ultimate 'repentance.' The Rebbe writes that the most propitious time for making teshuva is at a wedding; at a simcha shel mitzvah. A person can cry 24 hours straight, he will not be able to atone for the sins that he has done. This can only be done when he is happy and dancing with his whole physical body.

10.    One has to dance with his whole body filled with happiness. So that the simcha will enter into all his limbs, his heart, his head, ושמחת עולם על ראשם [Isaiah 25:10, ...with eternal gladness on their heads], והיה עקב תשמעון [Devarim 7:12, This shall be the reward when you hearken to these ordinances...]. The Rebbe innovates that the simcha has to enter into you right down to your heels. This is not written in any other book in the world. והיה זה שם הויה; how does the Name הויה enter right down into the heels? This only happens through happiness. When a person is happy, singing and dancing, only then does the Name הויה enter right down into his heels. Then even his heels are included in the Name הויה. All of a persons' limbs correspond to the Name הויה, expansions of the Name הויה. Meaning והיה עקב is also 'even right down to the heels,' is also included in the expansion of הויה. The Rebbe writes that a person must raise his feet up high {when dancing}, to literally bounce high up in the air.

11.    That is when the Name הויה enters into the heels, and from there to the rest of the body. And for each limb that you feel is not happy, for that limb you have to do teshuva. Go to weddings and make teshuva! A wedding is a place for making teshuva: one is forgiven all his sins at the Chupah. The Degel Machanei Ephraim writes in his 4th explanation of ולכל בני ישראל היה אור במושבתם (Shemos 10:23), that at a wedding one is forgiven all his sins. A person should find a wedding to go to each and every day, and sing and dance there. One who goes to a wedding and doesn't sing and dance, refuses to involve himself in helping the bride and groom to celebrate, transgresses five קולות, {the Gemara says in Berachos 6: Whoever does not gladden the groom transgresses the 5 'sounds' mentioned in the verse in Jeremiah 33:11}. However, one who does throw himself heart and soul into the celebration, he can literally hear the Ten Commandments. Reb Chaim from Sanz used to say that he could actually hear the Ten Commandments being given at Sinai each time he went to a wedding. Each and every wedding is the aspect of the Revelation on Mount Sinai. We even have a wedding right here and now, by us, here in Guatemala, {I'm just translating what the Rav said, no-one actually knew where he was–Ed.}.

12.    We have a wedding here on Thursday, and after that we travel to Ecuador. The wedding will be on the evening before Taanis Esther, and please G-d, we hope to celebrate Purim in Chile, in the capital–Santiago. But no-one should come there; it is a completely hidden place. The general rule is that one should be willing to travel to the ends of the earth in order to take part in a wedding, which is why people are prepared to come to a wedding from so far away! I once asked the Rabbanite's nephew who lives in New Zealand: Is the reason you came to the Rabbanite's brother's wedding because you were anyway in London on business? He answered me: No, I came specifically for the wedding directly from New Zealand; a 48 hour journey! The farther a person travels to come to the wedding the greater the simcha {he causes the happy couple}. A person goes through 48 hours of suffering, five different flights, all the more so if he himself is not feeling well, it is impossible to estimate how much he adds to the rejoicing!

13.    Through rejoicing with the bride and groom one can even be worthy of bringing the dead back to life. That is why we dance at a wedding the dance of the Resurrection of the Dead!
Rabbeinu explains, wherever it says "That is why people say...", that all the customs have their root in the Halacha l'Moshe MiSinai. At every wedding one can literally bring the dead back to life. Similarly on Purim–the whole issue of Purim is about bringing the dead back to life. For Rabbi Zeira was able to enter into the fire. Becanson recently discovered that there are two Rabbi Zeiras. The Tosafos in Menachos 43: says that there were two Rabbi Zeiras, one that was the associate of Rabbi Nachman: he was the one that laughed at Rabbi Shmuel bar Rabbi Itzchok who used to dance at weddings (Kesubos 17.), and that is why he wasn't worthy of having the Pillar of Fire {rise up from his grave after his death}. He was the one who could enter into a fire, but he wasn't worthy of the Pillar of Fire. Only Rabbi Shmuel bar Rabbi Itzchok, who used to dance at weddings, was worthy of the Pillar of Fire. He used to rejoice with and gladden the hearts of the couple, he used to juggle myrtle branches, and through this he was worthy of the Pillar of Fire. So we see, dancing at weddings is a greater level than being able to enter into the fire. Rabbi Zeira used to enter into a fire every thirty days {in order to examine himself to see if the fire had power over him}, but despite being on such a high level he wasn't worthy of the Pillar of Fire at his death. Whereas Rabbi Shmuel bar Rabbi Itzchok who used to dance at all the weddings, he was worthy of the Pillar of Fire. That is going on the first Rabbi Zeira.

14.    The second Rabbi Zeira was the student of Rabbah, and Rabbah slaughtered him. One could ask: Why didn't he bury him? Surely if you slaughter someone you should bury him straight away! This question is asked by the Tur (Choshen Mishpat 425): What is the sentence if you slaughter someone on Purim? Should he receive lashes, {surely this is impossible since we do not have the Sanhedrin!}. If there were witnesses and he was warned within the required time, this cannot come about, since it has to take place while he is holding the knife to the neck: if he already walked three paces it is no longer possible to kill him. If he fired a bullet at him, that only takes half a second, since a bullet travels at five hundred metres a second. So if, say, he stands 100 metres away from the victim and fires at him, that would take one fifth of a second for the bullet to reach him, while תוך כדי דיבור is the time it takes to say שלום עליך רבי ומורי, which is one and a third seconds at three words a second.

15.    The Chafetz Chaim says that a person speaks 200 words a minute, which is about 800 letters {taking an average of four letters a word}, times 60 {minutes an hour}, comes to 48,000, times 10 hours equals 480,000, plus another two and a half hours is another 120,000. In twelve and a half hours a person can say 60,000 letters. If one gets used to not abandoning the book, to continue to say Tehillim or to persevere in his hisbodedus, from 7.00 in the morning till 7.30 at night he will have said 600,000 letters, and with this he will introduce thoughts of teshuva into 600,000 people!

16.    Rabbeinu teaches that no-one is going to make teshuva from listening to lectures, nor from putting tefillin on people on Dizengoff street, only by guarding his eyes is a man going to bring people back in teshuva. He has to insert his head into the letters; with each letter he says to intend to awaken someone to teshuva; to believe with a complete belief that the souls of every Jew have their root in the letters of the Torah, the letters of the Gemara, the letters of the Tosafos, Rashi, the Chidushei HaRim, Likutei Moharan, in all the holy books that have been written, that is the true source of all the souls of Israel. All the 600,000 letters that a person succeeds in saying throughout the day, from 7.00 in the morning till 7.30 in the evening, or from 9.00 in the morning until 9.30 at night, twelve and a half hours, that adds up exactly to 600,000 letters.

17.    This is the calculation as done by the Chafetz Chaim. A person sins with each letter that comes out of his mouth, he transgresses 17 negative commandments and 14 positive commandments; together that comes to 31. A person can speak lashon hara for 12 hours, slander and controversy. If we multiply 600,000 times 31 we get 18,600,000! If a person speaks words of controversy, lashon hara and gossip for twelve and a half hours then he is over on 18,600,000 sins of both positive and negative commandments.

18.    And if he does the opposite, 'מידה טובה מרובה', The measure of good is always greater {than the measure of punishment} (Sotah 11.). If he is worthy of filling his mouth with saying Psalms, saying the names of tzaddikim, reading Likutei Moharan, Likutei Tefillos; then he will bring back 18,000,000 people in teshuva. The letter 'א' is divided into three different letters, a 'י' a 'ו' and a 'י', for otherwise, how could there be 600,000 letters in the Torah? Behold, it is written in the Concordantziot, and also brought at the end of Sefer Devarim that there are only 304,000 letters. There are words written 'חסירות' and words written 'יתירות', words written out in full and words missing letters, 'בנימין' without the 'י' etc. However, the accepted number is 304,808, so how do we get to 600,000? It must be that each letter is composed of several other letters, 'א' is made up of two 'י's and a 'ו', the 'צ' is made up of a 'ו' and 'י'. Most of the letters are made up of other letters. If we add up the letters according to the letters that each one is made out of, that come out at slightly more than 600,000. If a person would spend his whole day learning he would bring back millions of people in teshuva!

19.    Rabbeinu explains (Likutei Moharan 14), {Why are the children of Talmidei Chachamim not Talmidei Chachamim? Because they do not recite the blessings on the Torah first} the words שלא בירכו בתורה תחילה, the father sees his son not learning, not going to the yeshiva, not keeping Shabbos G-d forbid, he goes crazy! Now you are going crazy, when the child is already 14? You should have gone crazy even before you bought him to the world! You should have buried your head in the Gemara, the Chumash, Parshas HaShavuah, in the book of Psalms. Did you waste time, curse anyone, spoke lashon hara? And now, do you expect your child to be a tzaddik? According to your own behavior you have bought down a child that the Shabbos spits him out, the Torah spits him out! A person has to be raised from birth to bury his head in the Torah, tefilla, Psalms, reciting the lists of the names of tzaddikim, hisbodedus, to pour out the love in his heart for Hashem: he should be on fire with love of Hashem, like Rabbi Zeira, who would enter the fire, so that even when he was slaughtered it was possible to bring him back to life. He {Rabbah} was able to bring him back to life {the next day} on Shushan Purim. He waited till the next day.

20.    It is asked: Why didn't he bury him immediately? The answer is, because he knew that he was going to bring him back to life the next day. He was waiting for Shushan Purim to bring him back to life. On Purim it is possible to bring the dead back to life! This is why the Rebbe says that all beginnings are from Purim. I was just now learning with the Rabbanite, Matan Torah was at Shavuos but the Accepting of the Torah, this was at Purim. We learned a Tosafos that asked: If so, {that we accepted the Torah at Shavuos under compulsion, and only at Purim did we accept of our own volition}, so then why were we obligated {punishment for transgressing}? Why should we be obligated banishment {from Eretz Yisrael for transgressing}? Behold, if it was under compulsion, then we have a principle: A person is released from punishment if he acts under compulsion! Rather, the Tosafos answers that we were punished because we involved ourselves with idol worship. As Bnei Noach we worshipped idols, as Bnei Yisrael it was all under compulsion. Although it was impossible to punish us, at least we should receive no reward.

21.    If a person is not Shomer Torah his children will be transgressors, thieves, murderers; he will have no benefit from them if he is not Shomer Torah! But banishment, and such a punishment! We were left with only 440, 000 alive from millions, and from this remnant Am Yisrael developed anew. So how come, Tosafos asks on Shabbos 88.: For what were we punished, behold, it was all done under compulsion? He answers: Because of the idol worship; they were already due a punishment for the idol worship they did as Bnei Noach.

22.    So, at any rate, Purim is the time to bring the dead back to life. The Rebbe says: Purim is the beginning of all the beginnings. Purim is the aspect of כאשר אבדתי אבדתי {...and if I perish, I perish. Esther 4:16}. A person should be willing to commit suicide {rather than commit idol worship?}. He should go out to the fields and scream out to Hashem {to save him}. He should be unable to spend the night sleeping, surfing the internet, playing with his Phone. He shouldn't even hold an iPhone in his hand! He should smash his iPhone, smash all the iPhones of his brothers and sisters! If he doesn't, they will become non-religious! They will go to the army! Become transgressors, thieves, robbers! This whole intifada is because of the iPhones! They are stabbing Jews in the streets! Right now, two holy and precious little girls went out with knives and stabbed a number of Jews! Shot them! All the newspapers here in Guatemala are talking about it: how two holy pure little nine year old girls, thirteen years old, how can they commit such a wickedness?

23.    What I am saying is, if Mordechai HaYehudi was here today...behold, he was responsible for the death of 75,000 people! "And in Shushan, 500 were killed, plus..." {another 300}, together that makes 800! Now, he would have been sentenced to 75,000 different deaths! If the High Court at The Hague had been in operation in those days; what they would have done to Mordechai and Esther? How could you have been responsible for the deaths of 75,000 people, innocent of all iniquity? What did they ever do to you? They didn't do the slightest thing to you! What right did you have to slaughter them? In Shushan you killed 500, and after that another 300, what sort of misbehavior is this? Not for nothing did the nazis say that the Jews are a nation of murderers!

24.    Hitler left a will before his suicide, saying: One thing I leave up to you–to wipe out the Jews completely. They are responsible for all the bad in the world, all the murders! This is exactly what Haman said, Hitler was a reincarnation of Haman. He said: ויאמר המן למלך אחשורוש ישנו עם אחד מפוזר ומפרד בין העמים בכל מדינות מלכותך ודתיהם שנות מכל עם ואת דתי המלך אינם עשים ולמלך אין שוי להניחם (Esther 3:8). Haman was not only claiming that they are different to all the other peoples, but also that they undermine all the other peoples.

25.    When we came to live in the Rova HaYehudi, in the year תשכ״ז, whoever was born then, we are now in תשע״ז, whoever is now 50 years old was born then, he was born in the year that Rabbeinu liberated the Rova. Rabbeinu was the one who liberated the Rova. It is written: לעת ערב יהיה אור (...towards evening time there will be light. Zecharia 14:7), 'Towards evening,' is תשכ״ח, (without the word 'ערב'), {we don't quite understand the gematria here}. So in תשכ״ח there will already be 'light'. We will already have thrown off the enslavement of the Pharaohs and the Mamelukes, this is the Turks, they are the ones that took it from us, that conquered Jerusalem.

26.    The arabs requested that they be given Jerusalem. That is what is written in the Zohar (Vayeira page 32), The minister of Ishmael said before Hashem: Hashem, Ishmael also does circumcision! Hashem said: He doesn't do Periah! He said: Well if so, give him half! Because he doesn't do Periah, does that mean Am Yisrael should rule over it for ever! Perhaps give them {Am Yisrael} just 1,000 years! {Hashem said:} Alright, I will give {Ishmael} 400 years. So that was the 400 years they ruled over Jerusalem, 1517–1917. The Zohar says Hashem promised them 400 years of rule, and then לעת ערב יהיה אור, that is until תשכ״ח, (without the word 'ערב'), and 'ערב', is 272 years before the end of the 6,000.

27.    That is when Rabbeinu liberated the Rova for us, liberated the Kotel. So it is written in the Zohar (Vayeira page 32), that he {Ishmael} requested rulership, and Hashem granted him 400 years. That works out exactly from 1517, when Suleiman the Great conquered Jerusalem, and then in 1917 {the English general} Allenby conquered the land from the Turks. {Here the Rav brings the extract from the Zohar}. Hashem says to the minister of Ishmael: You get 400 rule over the land. Since you also do circumcision your merit 400 years. And following the 400 that Ishmael ruled here, Rabbeinu traveled to Eretz Yisrael and pronounced that we would take over here without firing a shot!

28.   I was born in Haifa, it was a Thursday, Erev Pesach, and all the arabs had disappeared, all of them! The Mufti had told them: Now we are going to get planes from Saudi and Iraq and we are going to destroy the whole of Haifa. {Leave now} and come back tomorrow and we will rebuild it anew. They are still waiting till today, till this very day they are still waiting. They didn't receive any planes, not from Saudi and not from Iraq, no-one gave them a single plane! This was the same Amin al-Husseini who told Hitler to release the Tigers on the Jews also in Israel: he was the one who told the arabs to flee!

29.    The Rebbe said that Moshiach will conquer the whole world without firing a single shot, and that's how it was in Tiberias, that's how it was in Sfas, they told all the arabs to run away and they all ran away! {All the arabs ran to the port and were waiting to board the ships, until the Zionists begged them to stay, they promised them they would rule the country together}. I have pictures of all the arabs standing in the port, until the Zionists persuaded them to stay, promising them they would have equal rule in the country! {And then they all returned}.

30.    So this is what it says in the Zohar, Vayeira page 32, and it was Rabbeinu who said, when he arrived in Haifa, that this city will be the first to be liberated and return to Jewish hands, and after that, Jerusalem and the Kotel. So they have had their 400 years of rule over the land, total rule. The Mamelukes were here previously, but the Turks had exactly 400 years of rule. The Rebbe says that the Turks are the true arabs, that was the minister of Ishmael, that is why the Turks don't hate the Jews.

31.    I was recently in Turkey. We passed through Turkey on the way to Guatemala. I was wandering around there at 2:00 in the morning holding onto a Ketzos HaChoshen. I stopped an arab taxi there, in the middle of Ramadan. Some Ishmaeli, may his name be blotted out, asked me what was the book I was carrying. I told him it was a Tanach. I asked him where was his copy of the Koran? He told me he didn't carry it around with him because it was too holy, may his name be blotted out. So, that was Turkey, by Rabbeinu.

32.    We went through a lot of tikkunim in Turkey. From there we took Yaron Yamin's yacht to Guatemala. From there to Ecuador, from there to Chile, to Peru. We were three days in the Antarctic. We were looking for a factory where they produced ice. But we didn't have a mashgiach. We intended to supply subsidized ice to the whole world. We found a hotel made of ice. We are looking for anyone without an income to be the manager. It cost thousands of dollars a night. All the {ice hotels?} in Canada, Switzerland and Norway are melting because of Pesach. On the first of April they will all melt. Then only ours will be left...

33.    "As ice they will dissolve...", if a person is 'כקרח בלילה', then he will be like a fire during the day. If he is on fire at night, then he will be like ice during the day. Every one has to be this aspect of "ביום אכלני חורב וקרח בלילה" {By day scorching heat consumed me and frost by night. Bereishis 31:39}. So how did Yaakov merit to be 'חורב', to be a fire during the day? Through being freezing cold at night. The mikvehs used to be freezing cold, and through that they used to give birth to 'hot' children. There is a fire within the water. The Rambam says that there is a fire within the water. We have now got hold of a machine that creates fire within the water. {I myself took it to South Africa, to the Rav. Ed.}. So we see, actually within the water there is fire. A person gets out of a freezing cold mikveh he feels hot, he gets out of a hot mikveh he feels cold.

34.  If the mikvehs are hot the children are born cold; they don't want to learn. When all the mikvehs used to be cold, when the women had to break the ice...Chaim Binyamin told me about one woman who went to an ice mikveh, she broke through the ice on the river. She was already a few hours on the train on her way home when she suddenly started having doubts about whether the tevillah was kosher. She got on the train back, broke the ice and toiveled again! We cannot even imagine the strength of the Jews that lived in Russia in those days. It is only in their merit that we are alive today. They literally used to break the ice to toivel!

35.    So, Rabbi Zeira used to go into the fire, he broke the ice, "ביום אכלני חורב וקרח בלילה," when a person breaks the ice and is toivel in a cold mikveh, that is when he will have spirited children, children that burn to serve Hashem, on fire to serve Hashem. Everything depends on the brain of the father, as explained by the Rebbe in Torah 14. The Rav now started singing לפני מה ועל מה ירדה נשמה לעולם, ירידה לצורך עליה ירדה נשמה לעולם...

36.    A person hears a lesson starting and immediately he runs away, he hears someone start to say kaddish and he is already not paying attention, he runs away. I keep on finding myself saying kaddish without a minyan! Everyone runs away. It must be some kind of automatic reflexive action. This results in their children being born retarded. This is exactly how it goes–I am surrounded by a minyan, I start to say kaddish and I end up on my own. What happened to my minyan? It must be some element of prophesy, exactly as I am about to start kaddish he has to go and caress his child. Why does he have a child born retarded? Because before kaddish he had to run away and go and caress him.

37.    Rabbeinu says that it is forbidden to caress the children during the tefilla. In fact, it is forbidden to caress them period! This is the Halacha. The Rebbe says to keep your hands off them. You caress the child he will grow up retarded. A person doesn't understand how it happened that his child grew up retarded; it is because you are forever caressing him! Instead of concentrating on the prayer you are caressing your child. People prefer to caress their children during the prayers instead of praying, they think that is called 'looking after the child'. The truth is, you are destroying the child. Stop caressing your child! Don't smack him and don't caress him. He doesn't need your caresses. If you caress him he will be born retarded. A person has to insert this strongly into his brain–don't caress the child! Otherwise he will have retarded children, sinners, children who are looking to transgress!

38.    This is all based on 'שלא בירכו בתורה תחילה'. The Rebbe says in Torah 14: why are children born retarded? The answer is that at the time that a person is learning Torah he is not taking into account that every single letter he says has a neshama bound up with it–he simply doesn't take this into consideration. He is learning because that is what he does, mumbling the words. What else is there to do? Go out to work? Do you want to bring home an income? A person who is really learning gets taken care of. Many people sit in yeshiva simply because they have nothing else they can do. What should they do; make shoes, become a carpenter? Should he learn how to be a pilot? What else is there to do?

39.    Elisha ben Avuyah found an answer to the problem. It says in the Yerushalmi that he used to tell everyone which profession to follow. A person can simply make tissues, and become a billionaire. All he has to do is spill a drop of perfume on it. He just takes a ton of tissues and pours a small bottle of perfume on it, and everyone runs to buy it. They don't even know why they are buying it! People have actually experimented with this. They pour some kind of scent on whatever merchandise, and everyone rushes to buy it...nobody knows why! They have certain textiles, they pour a little perfume on them and more people buy them...it's not even enough to leave a scent! Do this and you will become the richest man in the world! You can become a billionaire from tissue. On the other hand, you can become a diamond cutter and live in poverty your whole life, barely make a living. While a mere tissue maker can become a multi-billionaire! And this is what would happen with Elisha ben Avuyah. He would walk into the yeshiva and say to people: You, go and make tissue, you become a shoemaker, you sell shoes, you sell clothes, you sell children's clothes. This is the way he would empty out everyone from the yeshiva!

40.    The bottom line is: Everyone wants to run away from the yeshiva!. No-one wants to sit and learn. Do you want to go to the army? Go to the yeshiva instead! You want to be a hero and join the army? Do the opposite, run to the yeshiva! Everyone else you advise to go to the yeshiva, while you join the army! Let's see if you can do the reverse and sit in the yeshiva all day learning Gemara! To hold a gun in your hand, what's the problem? Then you can have your picture taken holding the rifle. You want to pull a trigger–leave that for Purim! Only the children play with guns on Purim. The army is nothing but a Purim game for children!

41.    It's true, going to the army is certainly putting your life on the line. A person gets caught up in a war, chasing after terrorists–for sure he is going to be forgiven all his sins! Catching terrorists, murderers, putting his life in danger, he will be forgiven all his sins. The question is, what will you do afterwards? You are 20 years old, you will still have another hundred years to live: what are you going to do during those hundred years. If a person goes out to catch terrorists and murderers, he is saving Am Yisrael, undoubtedly he will be forgiven all his sins, after all, he is putting his own life in danger! We see, a slave goes free if his master knocks out his tooth or eye (Shemos 21:26,27), then if he literally puts his own life in danger, then all the more so should he go free {from all his sins}! The question is only what is he going to do next? What will he do after the army: curse the religious; put them in prison, force them to leave the yeshivas? A person puts his life on the line to save Am Yisrael, according to all the opinions, at that very minute, all his sins are forgiven. But after that, if all he follows it up with is cursing the religious, he persuades people to leave the yeshiva–puts them in prison, then נפל פתא בבירא {your bread has fallen into a pit, Berachos 56. The Rav brings it here in the opposite sense to that of the Gemara}, I.e. you will not have amounted to anything!

{That is all of the lesson that has been transcribed so far; we are trying to persuade them to do the rest}.                 


 

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