Excerpts from a lecture given by HaRav Eliezer Berland, shlit"a, Parshas Noach.

     In the story by Rabbi Nachman, "The Prince of Gems"  the king, who had no children, issued a decree that the Jews should pray that he should have children. In the time of the Turkish rule in Israel, whenever the rain did not come soon enough, the Turks used to make all the Jews go to the graves of the tzaddikim in order to pray for rain. Similarly, throughout the ages, the nations always knew that there was a very good chance to make something happen by making the Jews pray for it. The story continues that the Jews searched for, and found, a hidden tzaddik, who the King then ordered to pray for him. The tzaddik promised him that he would have a child. The Queen then gave birth to a daughter. The child was exceptionally beautiful and by the age of four she knew all types of wisdom. She could play musical instruments and she knew different languages. The daughter represents the forces of evil. The force of evil always precedes the power of good. As we see, the husk grows before the fruit, Eretz Canaan before Eretz Israel, Tohu veVohu before the creation of the world, etc. The story continues that still the King yearned for a son. He told the Jews to pray for him again. They searched for the tzaddik that had succeeded last time but they could not find him because he had died. A tzaddik who is supposed to be hidden, who becomes revealed, is placed in great danger. He has to remain completely hidden. When the tzaddikim perform miracles, either they have to pray very much that they will be forgotten, or that someone will come and argue against them, and sweeten the harsh judgments against them. The story continues how the Jews found another tzaddik to pray for the King, who had a son who later turned out to be made completely of precious gems.
  It is absolutely forbidden to speak badly about another Jew. All Jews are part of the crown of Hashem, and one must search to find the precious stones hidden away inside his friend. When one is silent, and doesn't answer back when being disgraced, and still, looks for the good in his friend and judges him to the side of merit, this is what raises his friend up to become part of the crown of Hashem.
  The first Mishna in Baba Basra teaches about neighbors who wish to build a fence between their properties, HaShutafim sheratzu laasos mechitsa, the initial letters of the these words spell out the name of Shlomo HaMelech, who built the Temple in Jerusalem. By being silent when being humiliated, and not speaking badly to his friend, or even about him, it is as if you yourself are building the fences of the Temple. 
  The destruction of the Temple was because of baseless hatred between the Jews. Everyone was speaking badly about everyone else. Megillas Eicha, the Book of Lamentations, relates the story of the destruction. All four chapters of the book are written according to the order of the Aleph Bais, but the three final chapters have the verses that start with the letters Pay and Ayin switched the wrong way round, the pay preceding the ayin. This is because the people all used to put the pay (the mouth, i.e. speaking badly about the other) before the ayin (the eye, i.e. even before knowing anything about him .) It is tremendously important to endeavor never to speak badly about another Jew. One who manages to keep this rule can sweeten many harsh judgments and complete all kinds of rectifications above.
  We have up until Chanukah to pray to sweeten the judgments passed on Rosh Hashanah. Chanukah is the final sealing of the judgment. The word Chanukah contains within it the letters of the name Chana. Also the number of days between the end of Sukkot and Chanukah is the gematria of the name Chana. Chana prayed very much, until she was worthy of giving birth to the prophet Shmuel. He was on such a level that he merited to anoint two Kings. King Shaul was the aspect of Moshiach ben Yosef, and King David was the aspect of Moshiach ben David. If King Shaul had only waited, and not performed the sacrifices too early, he would have been Moshiach ben Yosef, and David HaMelech would have been able to remain completely hidden, as Moshiach ben David, and that would have been the situation up until the Revival of the Dead. David HaMelech had no connection at all to this word, he should have remained hidden, as he said about himself - Libi chalal bekirbi - my heart is empty inside me. 
  The final redemption also could have come at the time of Noach. Hashem originally wanted to give Noach the privilege of bringing the Moshiach ben David, after he had suffered so much in the Ark. The Zohar explains that the olive branch bought by the dove came directly from Gan Eden, and was the soul of the Moshiach ben David. But Noach also failed the test. He had been given a vine shoot, also from Gan Eden, but instead of first planting the vine and drinking the wine, he should have planted pear trees and apple trees, grains etc. Not to have planted first the vine, which is only for pleasure. This should have been left till last. The Vilna Gaon was asked why he never slept on Shabbos, surely it is one of the Shabbos pleasures! The Gaon answered that he tried to distance himself from all the pleasures of this world, even when it was a mitzvah, even from Gan Eden. Noach, because he fell into desire, lost the opportunity to bring Moshiach ben David, who was supposed to be his fourth son. 
  And if one has to be careful to distance oneself from pleasures that are permitted, how much more so must one distance oneself from that which is forbidden. Regarding guarding ones eyes, not to see forbidden sights, i.e.. that which is indecent and immodest, at the 'breaking of the vessels,' the holy sparks exploded out and were scattered throughout the world, and especially in the streets and all the filthy places, and became covered in terrible klippot (evil shells.) One who hermetically closes his eyes and does not look at them, through this he saves them and they return in repentance. They beg one not to look at them and thereby to free them. One who does look at them, adds even more klippot to them, and to himself also. When he does not look, he merits to see the Or HaGanuz, the hidden light with which Hashem created the world.
  The verse states, Bereishis, 48:14, that Yaakov switched his hands around, and gave Ephraim, the younger son, precedence over his brother, Menashe, the elder. Two obvious questions, why did he give precedence to the younger son, and secondly, why did he have to switch his hands around, he could simply have had them stand the other way around? The answer is that, as it says in the verse- Yaakov sikel et yadav, i.e. he deliberately acted thusly, for while Ephraim had been learning Torah with his grandfather, Yaakov, his whole life, Menashe had been fulfilling the mitzvah of honoring ones parents. He had spent his whole life at Yosef's side, as his right hand man, but since he had not been learning Torah, he did not have the vessels with which to receive the blessing, which Ephraim was capable of receiving. Nevertheless, he was the firstborn, and it would not have been proper to relegate him to stand on the left hand side, especially, as it says in the book, Bnei Issasschar, that at the root, he is on a higher level than Ephraim and  is destined to rise up to the very highest levels, through his descendants, for he is the aspect of the month of Cheshvan, during which will eventually be built the third Temple. 
  Moshe Rabbenu knew that on the 16 Tamuz  the Jews were going to build the golden calf. HaShem had said to him, (Shemos, 3:7,) You see one step ahead, but I can see two steps, and told him what would be. He could have come down a day earlier and prevented it. But no, he actually waited an extra day, before ascending the mountain, on his own initiative, and therefore came down a day later. This was because, in order for evil to be fixed, it first has to be revealed. The Jews knew that the calf was one of the animals of the heavenly Chariot, they had seen it preceding them at the crossing of the Yam Suf, and for this reason they chose it for their idol worship. Moshe Rabbenu knew all this, but he also knew that the evil has to be brought out into the open in order to be fixed. For only then can one see exactly where he is holding and repent. Only through the revealing is the fixing, and it is for precisely this reason that Hashem didn't stop Adam from eating from the Tree of Knowledge.

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