Excerpts 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. In 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, still, the 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 passing. The 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 Tzion 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 are 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 meah shana"--"the 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 bracha of 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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Home Lessons given by  the Rav HaRav Levi Itzchak Bender, zt"l.