from a lecture by HaRav Eliezer Berland, shlit"a,
delivered on Rosh Hashanah, 5760.
The Gemara in Zevachim teaches that the sacrifices
of lesser holiness, such as peace, firstborn and thanksgiving offerings,
can only be sacrificed and eaten at a time when the mizbeach, the
alter in the Temple, is in existence, even when there is no Mishkan.
other words, the mizbeach alone is sufficient to enable these sacrifices
to be brought. The fact that there was a Mishkan is enough to permit
the eating of kadoshim kalim-- sacrifices of lesser holiness--
and, according to one opinion, even kadshe kodashim (the most holy
offerings) are permitted to be eaten, as long as the mizbeach, as
stated, is extant.
The Tzion, the grave site of Rabbi Nachman
has the status of the mizbeach. Even though we have no Mishkan,
mizbeach we do have. It even has the status of the Kodesh
Kodashim-- the Holy of Holies-- the chamber in the Temple in which
was placed the
Aron, which only the Cohen Gadol-- the high
priest-- was allowed to enter once a year, on Yom Kippur. Whenever one
visits the Tzion of Rabbenu, it is as if he was entering the Kodesh
Kodoshim. Rav Nosson brings in Likutei Halachos, that the wearing
of the white
Kittel on Rosh Hashanah is the aspect of the Cohen
Gadol entering the Kodesh Kodashim on Yom Kippur, for which
he also had to wear white garments. The Beis haMikdash-- the
Temple--has the same gematria
as Rosh Hashanah. Here we are, already
meriting to enter the Kodesh Kodashim, on Rosh Hashanah, ten days
before Yom Kippur!
The Tzion of Rabbenu is the aspect of eish
tamid tukad al haMizbeach,
lo tichbe--" that a fire is to be
kept burning eternally on the alter, never to go out." The fire of Rabbenu
has not been extinguished, now already for two hundred years after his
Tzaddik is such a powerful fire that it cancels out
all other fires. It even outshines the light of the sun. The heat of the
sun is a few million watts, but the
of Rabbenu is such a fire
that even billions of kilowatts would be insignificant beside it.
The Midrash Rabbah teaches that the light that shone
from the heel of Adam, canceled out the light of the sun. As the Zohar
in Parshas Kadoshim (page 83) states, Adam had no connection to this world
whatsoever, so much so, that a yichud-- a unity-- took place in
the upper worlds and produced a body whose light was brighter than all
the angels and the heavenly bodies. Adam and Chava were created through
a yichud of
zeer anpin and nukva in the world of Briah.
Their birth was in the world of Yetzira, and that they had no connection
to this world, the world of Asiyah. The Garden of Eden was in the
world of yetzira. Adam and Chava were two luminaries in the world
of Yetzira, Adam the sun and Chava the moon, and at their creation
they blotted out the light of the sun and the moon in the world of Asiyah.
The sun and the moon were ashamed before the light of Adam and Chava, similar
to a candle in the daylight that is indiscernible against the light of
the sun, so it was as if no light shone from the sun and the moon at all.
After this, came the snake, and fooled Adam and
Chava with all kinds of cunning teachings: " if you eat from the tree you
will be just like Hashem," able to create just as He did, and you know
how all creators hate their rivals...The snake told them that they would
be able to create worlds, and they paid attention to him, and ate. If only
they had waited another three hours until Shabbos came in, they would have
been able to eat in safety, for then everything would have been allowed.
But they fell to the temptation, and their light became darkened.
Every Jew is a flame, but a person has to be so
careful not to allow his light to turn into a flame of desire-- of chasing
after the pleasures of this world-- instead of filling his life with serving
Hashem by performing the mitzvahs and thereby earning his place
in the world to come. The truth is that all the desires and lusts of this
world are just a stupidity. If a person would stop and think about what
exactly it is that he is devoting so much time to chasing after, he would
abandon it completely and not give it another thought. It happens sometimes
that a person gets tested. [The Kotsker Rebbe said that all such tests
only last for five minutes. All you have to do is to be strong, and hold
on for five minutes, and the test is over.] A person gives up because he
does not know his own strength.
When one comes to the Tzion of Rabbenu, who is
the flame that forever burns on the mizbeach, all his flames of
desire are canceled out by the flame of Rabbenu. In fact, all the tzaddikim
fire, they all shine like the sun. The Zohar Chadash in Parshas Beraishis
explains that the verse " veyiten autam elokim berakia hashamayim lehair
al haaretz,"--" and Hashem placed them in the heavens to shine on the
earth," is referring to Moshe, Aharon and Miriam, meaning that Hashem hung
their neshamos-- their souls-- in the heavens, so that they would
be able to light up the world. They see everything that is happening in
the world, and they are able to exert their influence as they see fit.
The Baal HaTurim says on Parshas Chaye Sarah "vehayu chaye sarah
life of Sarah was a hundred years"-- that the initial letters of each word
spell out the word shemesh, the sun, meaning that Sarah shone as
brightly as the sun. The Midrash Rabbah on Parshas Lech Lecha relates
that when Avraham came down to Egypt, he hid Sarah in a chest because he
was scared that the Egyptians would abduct her. When he came to the customs,
the officers asked him to open the box. He told them that he did not want
to open it, and that he was willing to pay them whatever they asked by
way of taxes, not to be forced to have to open it. They said, " perhaps
it is filled with silver?" He told them, "I will pay you as much silver
as you want." They said, "maybe it is filled with gold?" He told
them, "I will pay you as much gold as you want." They said, "maybe
it is filled with diamonds?" He said, "I will give you as many diamonds
as you want." By this time they were totally suspicious and forced
him to open the box. The Midrash relates that when he opened the chest,
the light that shone out from it, from Sarah, lit up the whole of Egypt.
They had arrived in Egypt at midnight, and the light from her shone out
like the middle of the day.
The Zohar says on Parshas Chaye Sarah (page 128,)
that when Avraham brought Sarah to bury her in the cave at Machpela, Chava
jumped up, out of her grave, and started to run away out of embarrassment,
at the light of Sarah. Then, Sarah had to run after her and convince her
to return by telling her that her light would shine also for her. In fact,
the whole cave of Machpela is a fire, Adam and Chava, Avraham and Sarah,
Itzchak and Rivka, Yaakov and Leah, all are fire.
In the same way that Sarah shone like the sun, so
also did Rivka. Eliezer had arrived at Aram Naharaim close to evening,
but when Rivka came out to fetch the water, it was as if the sun came out
again, and shone like at noontime. We see by the story of Rivka, that the
Torah explains what happened in every single detail. Yet by Tefilin,
a crucially important
mitzvah, all the Torah gives us is the one
word, "tosafos," and we are required to learn out a myriad of details
regarding the mitzvah from that. Though it teaches no halacha,
the story of Rivka is filled with secrets, hints, and examples of proper
behaviour. For example, the Hebrew word "cud," which means "jug,"
when multiplied by three, has the
gematria of 72, which
in the Hebrew numbering system is "ayin beis." This is also one
of the names of Hashem, meaning that Rivka merited to achieve the exalted
name of Hashem, "ayin beis." This is just one of the clues
hidden within the story. There are many others.
We also see here the tremendous
chessed of Rivka.
A man turns up at the well, with ten slaves and ten camels, all loaded
with food and drink enough for a ten day journey, which is what it would
have taken them, under normal circumstances, to reach Aram Naharaim. However,
Hashem did for them cvitsas haderech-- a shortening of the journey--
and instead of it taking ten days, the journey took only one As it is written
(Bereishis, 24:42), "and I came this day to the well," (Rashi
explains that means, "this day I left, and this day I arrived.") Nevertheless,
Rivka did not ask any questions, if someone asks for water, give him water!
The Arizal explains, in the book Shaar HaKavonot
(Kavanot HaAmida, Drush 2, page 213), that in the first
the Amidah, "Magen Avraham," the word "magen"
in gematria is three times "Kel," one of the names of Hashem.
It is this name of Hashem that lights up the face of a man, if he is worthy,
on both cheeks. Also, the name "Kel," when spelled out in full has
the gematria of 185. 185 multiplied by two (for both cheeks) is
370. These are the 370 lights that light up the face of a man.
The reason that we say "Magen Avraham"
is that Avraham merited to these lights. During the war against the four
Kings, from the lights of just one cheek (185), he was able to burn
all the 185 generals opposed to him. ( Sanhedrin 95b) "and
so came on Avraham," refers to the fact that the same number that had come
against Chizkia, came against Avraham. Each and every person is surrounded
by many accusers, and his job is to burn them up with the lights of his
face as Avraham did.
Avraham, because he shone like the light of the sun, like
a fire, did not get burned in the fiery furnace. He came out alive,
and went on to fight against the four Kings, one of whom was Amrafel (Nimrod),
the one who had put him into the furnace. The Midrash relates that during
this war, Avraham threw dust which turned into arrows and straw that
turned into swords. He went out, with his fire, alone, against all the
world. He was a revolutionary, behaving in a way that was unheard of--
going against all the rules of normality.
The Rav told a story here, about a Rabbi who had
been called upon to give a lecture to a university class, regarding religion.
He explained to them over and over again, in all kinds of different ways
with different examples, about faith and believing in the one G-d who created
the heaven and the earth. But all to no avail. He could see that his words
were having no impression on them whatsoever. In the end he shouted at
them, "You think that what I am talking about is old fashioned, and that
you, the young people of today are much more modern and progressive! The
truth is exactly the opposite! Your line of thought is precisely that followed
by Terach, the father of Avraham, and all those of his time, who did not
believe in a G-d at all. But we, we follow the thinking of Avraham, the
later, more modern generation. In fact it is us who are more progressive
than you! Avraham was a revolutionary, he initiated a completely new path.
But your way is the way of Terach, and even before Terach-- from the generation
of Enosh, who lead the whole world astray, away from the path of Adam,
his grandfather." After Enosh came Cainan, who was a tzaddik, whose
name contains within it the letters of the word "ken", a nest, in
that he made a nest for the shechina. After him came another tzaddik,
Mehalalel, literally "mehalel kel", praising and thanking Hashem.
However, despite the fact that they were all tzaddikim, they were
only tzaddikim for themselves. They did not succeed in bringing
the world back in tshuva, repentance. In those days, Adam was still
alive, and he saw how his grandson, Enosh, was ruining the world and all
his descendants. He saw that everyone was following after Enosh, and no
one was paying any attention to their grandfather, Adam. He was completely
broken. What was going to be in the future? Hashem saw how upset Adam was,
and so He had mercy on him, and showed him the soul of David HaMelech,
who would bring the whole world back in tshuva. (It is known that
particularly David, who is the soul of Adam himself is able to do this,
as the Rav has mentioned many times.)
This neshama, soul, David with his
violin will be able to bring the world back in tshuva, for he is
the neshama of The Revival of the Dead, as is explained by
the Vilna Gaon in his commentary on the passage in the Safra de Tzniuta,
a part of the Zohar. All revelations that come to the world are connected
to a specific neshama, that when this neshama comes to the
world, it brings with it all the revelations that are connected to it.
The Revival of the Dead is connected to the neshama of David, and
if Shaul had not chased him his whole life, it would have come in his lifetime.
The neshama of David is one of niggunim,
tunes, and he will conquer the whole world with his tunes, without ever
having to go to war. He conquered all of Israel, as far as Damascus, only
with his violin. Rav Nosson Shapira in the book Tuv Haaretz, writes,
(and Rav Nosson brings it in Likutei Halachos) that the word Canaan has
the initial letters of the words "kinor naim im navel," a beautiful
violin with a harp, meaning that the true conquering of the Land
of Israel is done only through niggunim. Precisely as happened at
the time of King Yehoshafat, King of Yehuda (Chronicles II, 20:21)
who went to war against an enemy army, much greater than his, at the Dead
Sea, and conquered them through the direct intervention of Hashem. Only
because they went to war with musical instruments, playing and singing
praises of Hashem, instead of weapons, were they successful. (The
Rav mentioned here that the Dead Sea is a very holy place, a source of
great wisdom. One who merits to swim there is swimming directly opposite
the Upper Waters.)
The most important point to grasp is that all the success
that comes to one, is only through the help of Hashem, and that the way
to draw down the assistance of Hashem in the battles one fights, whether
against his own evil inclination, or whatever, is through praising Him
constantly through tunes by singing and dancing.
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