A Lecture by Rav Eliezer Berland, shlit"a
delivered on Rabbi Nachman's yahrtzeit, on
 the 18th of Tishrei, Chol HaMoed Sukkos, 5761

     Once Rabbi Nachman was told a story about when Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev traveled to Yass and raised a lot of money there. Rabbeinu responded, “A melody is a very good thing. With a melody, it’s possible to draw down even more money.” 
    This relates to, “And the possessions that came with them” [literally, ‘in their legs’] (Devarim 11:6). When you dance, it is the aspect of the mystery of the dancing at the Simchas Beis HaShoevah [the water–drawing festivities of the Temple.] This dancing rectifies the sefiros of Netzach and Hod. This is why it was possible to draw down the spirit of prophecy then. Yonah received prophecy by rectifying the sefiros of Netzach and Hod [Yalkut Shimoni 550, Likutei Moharan I:3 and II:81 where Rabbi Nachman explains that prophecy comes from the sefiros of Netzach and Hod]. Through this, one can draw down a great deal of money. It is possible to receive a lot of money through dancing. The Rebbe says in Likutei Moharan II: 81 regarding “the possessions that came with them,” that even a person with the most overpowering lust for money, can have his desire for wealth nullified though a melody, especially a melody from Eretz Yisrael.
    The yahrtzeit has an incredible power. This is borne out by a story that I read just this morning in a book about European Jewry, a book about the Holocaust. It’s a book of stories of Tzaddikim that happened during the Holocaust. There is a story there about a woman who was in a camp to the West of Auschwitz. The Russians entered Auschwitz on the fifteenth of Shevat. Beforehand, the Germans had evacuated all the prisoners. They shot many of them, and the rest were led on the death marches. Any camp that was further to the West heard that the Russians were on their way. This was already after the Germans had added a section of prisoners from Auschwitz onto this camp to the West. As the Russians drew closer, the Germans took all the prisoners out of the barracks to kill them, just as they take Jews out today to kill them. The whole world wants to see the end of the Jews. They heard that the Russians were getting closer, so they took everyone out to kill them. They only left a few Jews to take care of some of the final arrangements, to help with dismantling the camp, with arranging the packages, and with taking the barracks and the machines apart. In the end, on the last night, they could already hear the Russians coming. There were eight hundred Jews left. The Germans said to them to go and dig their own graves. Everyone cried terribly as they dug. They knew that it was their last day on earth. They knew that the Russians would come within the next day or two. The retreating Germans had decided to finish off the Jews to the very last. They wanted these eight hundred Jews that remained to help them dismantle the camp before the Russians arrived. Everyone dug those graves with such terrible weeping, with such groans—it was more than you hear on Yom HaKippurim. That weeping and groaning as they dug their own graves was more heartbreaking than anything you would hear on a million Yimei Kippurim.
    One woman there suddenly began shouting to them all. This was in the middle of the night, at chatzos, and she started shouting, “Yiddelach, you forgot that today is the fifth of Shevat! It’s the yahrtzeit of the Sfas Emes! The Sfas Emes will certainly protect us! There’s nothing to worry about. These graves are for the Germans, not us! Dig with joy!” Indeed, at morning light, before the Germans had the chance to execute them, the Russians arrived. The Germans ran for their lives. The Jews went from death to life, from darkness to light, from mourning to celebrating.
    On the yahrtzeit of a Tzaddik, it is possible to accomplish anything in the world. When it is the yahrtzeit of a Tzaddik, there is nothing that can’t be accomplished. Our potential for accomplishment is completely unrestricted. This is especially true on Sukkos. Today is Chessed within Netzach. The order of the sefiros is as follows: On Sunday, we sawed away [i.e. separated] Keter, the Keter of Rachel; therefore, that is the sefirah of Keter, the Crown of Rachel. Rachel is prayer, and Rachel is faith. “And we will offer the words of our lips instead of calves” (Hoshea 14:3).
    It says in the book Imrei Yosef: “’And we will offer…instead of calves’ has the same gematria as Atzeres, which is prayer.” This is the essence of Shemini Atzeres. All of our preparation during these twenty–two days has been to reach this level of, “And we will offer the words of our lips instead of calves.” We are now making preparations during these twenty–two days that are part of the esoteric meaning of the verse, “And Hashem Elokim built the rib” (Bereishis 2:22). We reach Atzeres—Friday night will already be Shemini Atzeres— “And we will offer the words of our lips instead of calves.” “And we will offer” is equal to four hundred and thirty-one. “Calves” is equal to three hundred and thirty. Together they come to seven hundred and sixty–one, which is equal to “Atzeres” [plus one for the kollel]. All of the rectification of Rachel has to do with, “And we will offer the words of our lips instead of calves.” That is why all of the rectifications during these twenty–two days are within Rachel, to raise Rachel up from the world of Beriyah to the world of Atzilus.
    She has to be "sawed away" away at the junctures of all the eleven sefiros. Rachel has to be separated from Keter down until Malchus, because only the Keter of Rachel was separated on the first day of Rosh Hashanah. All of Leah [having already been separated], which corresponds to the [neshamos of the] complete Tzaddikim, is immediately sealed for a good life.  The complete Tzaddikim are sealed immediately. [Following is an explanatory diagram...]

    The Arizal asks in Sha’ar HaKavanos, “If the complete Tzaddikim are sealed for a good life immediately on the first day, why do the prayers say, ‘Remember us for life, King who desires life?’ The prayers should instead say, ‘Inscribe us and seal us in the book of life!’” So that the first day of Tishrei [Rosh Hashanah] would be [a single, special day] similar to the saying of “Ya’aleh VeYavo” on only the first day of the month, on Rosh Chodesh. Why don’t we say both, “Inscribe us,” and “Seal us” on Rosh Hashanah, [since there are Tzaddikim who really are inscribed for a good life on the first day of Rosh Hashanah? Then on the other nine days we would only say “Inscribe us” which is what we in fact do.] Perhaps [by saying both “Inscribe us” and “Seal us” on Rosh Hashanah] we will merit to be sealed in the book of true Tzaddikim!
    The holy Arizal answers his own question by explaining that the seal of Leah, the seal of the Tzaddikim, is still only the “seal of the hands.” It still isn’t called the true seal until there is the seal of Rachel as well. Rachel represents all of the Jewish people. The complete Tzaddikim are called Leah, and all the other Tzaddikim are called Rachel. The Beinonim are called Rachel, and [the completion of] Rachel’s sealing is on Yom HaKippurim. Afterward, there is the “seal within the seal” on Hoshanah Rabbah. 
    On Thursday night, we will have the seal of Hoshanah Rabbah, the seal within the seal. Then all of the Beinonim who didn’t manage to be sealed on Yom HaKippurim will be sealed. They are now given [until the end of] Sukkos. Sukkos is the time of, “And His right hand embraces me” (Shir HaShirim 2:6). “His left hand is beneath my head,” refers to the ten days of repentance. That is what the Arizal says. From after Yom HaKippurim, the days of Chassadim begin. “And His right hand embraces me.” We begin to receive the internal Chassadim of Imma (Binah). We receive the Chassadim, which is the right hand. We serve Hashem out of love, with dancing, with song. We shake the four species, we build booths, and we do everything out of love. We do everything with holy longing, with delight. All of the luminaries of fire are transformed into luminaries of light.
    That is why we receive Chessed within Hod, the internal lights, on the eleventh of Tishrei. Afterward, on the twelfth, we receive Chessed within Netzach. On the thirteenth, we receive Chessed within Tiferes, on the fourteen of Tishrei; we received Chessed within Gevurah—the inner lights of Imma. After that, on the first day of the festival of Sukkos which came out on Shabbos, we received Chessed within Chessed of the inner lights, which completed the structure of Zeir Anpin, of Rachel. Immediately, we also receive Chessed within Chessed—the surrounding lights. Through the sukkah, we receive the surrounding lights of Imma. This is the light of Chessed within Chessed, which we receive on the fifteenth of Tishrei. After this, on the sixteenth, it was Chessed within Gevurah. The seventeenth was today up until sunset. It was Chessed within Tiferes. Now, from sunset, from the evening prayers onward, we have already received today, the holy yahrtzeit, Chessed within Netzach. We receive the lights of Chessed within Netzach from this point onward. From now, we are in the sefirah of Chessed within Netzach. On Wednesday, the nineteenth, it will be Chessed within Hod. On Thursday, we will receive all of the Chassadim at once within the sefirah of Yesod. And on Hoshanah Rabbah, we will receive all of the Chassadim at once within the sefirah of Malchus. So we are now receiving all of the Chassadim. This is the concept, “And His right hand embraces me.” The light of Chassadim descends, and so we are able to draw down the Chassadim for the entire coming year.
    All of the work that we have to do is the building up of the structure of Rachel. We haven’t yet built the year 5761. We are building it now. We are building it with our dancing and our singing, with our lulav and esrog and the rest of the four species. This is why the word "esrog” is an acronym for the phrase, “Let not the foot of pride come against me” (Tehillim 36:12). For the entire matter of these twenty–two days is, “Let not the foot of pride come against me.” A person must know that everything he does is from Hashem. Everything he does, everything he says, and everything he thinks—it’s all a gift from above! It’s all a gift! A person has yet to do a thing in his life. Why was Moshe Rabbeinu more humble than anyone else was? Because Moshe knew that he had never done a single thing in his life. He had never done a single thing. That was what made him more humble than anyone else. Moshe saw Hashem face to face. He saw Hashem face to face, so he knew that he had yet to do anything on his own.
    This was why the first Temple was destroyed [because of pride]. The Midrash explains why—because they built the first Temple from the cedars of Chiram the king of Tzur. [The Midrash brings a parable of a slave who sews a suit of clothes for his master. Whenever he sees his master wearing the clothes he is filled with pride. So the master says to him: About this you feel pride! I do not need your clothes. And he rips them up! Similarly here, Chiram was filled with pride that it was his cedars that had been used to build the Temple, so Hashem said, “If this Temple has been built with pride, then I do not need it,” and He destroys the Temple.]  This is despite the fact that Chiram entered Gan Eden. Chiram was one of the thirteen people who never died, and he was one of the ten who entered Gan Eden with his body. Who were the thirteen people who never died? The Yalkut Shimoni, Yechezkel 28, says that there were thirteen people who never died. Who were they? Chanoch, Eliezer the servant of Avraham, Mesushelach, Chiram the king of Tzur—why? It is because he went to the Temple and sent cedars to the Temple. He made rafts that floated down to Yaffo, and all the wooden walls of the Temple were built out of Chiram’s cedars. That was what made him worthy. A person who builds the Temple—even the fruits that were dedicated to the Tabernacle by the heads of the tribes never rotted. So, because Chiram had sent cedars…If a person contributes to the Temple, to the Tzaddik, to Hashem, then he merits living forever and never dying.
    Chiram king of Tzur was one of the thirteen because he had sent cedars to the Temple. Also, there was Eved King of Cush (Ethiopia) who had saved Yirmiyahu, and Basya the daughter of Pharaoh. Eliyahu the prophet speaks about this in Tanna Di’Vei Eliyahu: “I call the heavens and earth as my witnesses, that it doesn’t matter whether a person is male or female, a slave or a handmaid, a gentile or a Jew, anyone can receive the Holy Spirit.” Anyone can enter Gan Eden with his body. It is during these twenty–two days that we transform the body into a holy body from Gan Eden. Our entire task is to transform the body into a holy body from Gan Eden.
    This is what Hashem said to Moshe, “Remove your shoe from your foot.” Moshe is mentioned seven hundred and seventy times. Count and you’ll find that in all of Tanach, Moshe is mentioned exactly seven hundred and seventy times. That is twice the gematria of “Shechinah (385).” Moshe is the upper Shechinah and the lower Shechinah. “Shechinah” is equal to three hundred and eighty–five, multiplied by two it’s seven hundred and seventy. Moshe Rabbeinu merited that the Torah mentioned his name seven hundred and seventy times, two times the word “Shechinah.” The upper Shechinah and the lower Shechinah parallel Rachel and Leah.
    The Imrei Yosef says here that Rachel and Leah are the upper and lower Shechinah. That is why Leah was buried in Ma’aras HaMachpelah. What is Ma’aras HaMachpelah? The Sefer HaTemunah says that it is where the hidden light of creation is stored away. The Sefer HaTemunah brings this in subsection 200. Anyone who has the Sefer HaTemunah at home can read incredible things in it, teachings of Rabbi Nechunia HaKanah. It is filled with amazing secrets, incredible things, and mysteries that are completely beyond us. It says in Sefer HaTemunah III:60b, subsection 200 that the hidden light of the seven days of creation is secreted away inside Ma’aras HaMachpelah. That is where the light of Gan Eden is. Adam HaRishon went for a walk and he saw a light bursting forth from the ground. He went walking in Eretz Yisrael, in the fields. Hashem had banished him from Gan Eden, so he went walking in Eretz Yisrael. He went for a walk in some field in Chevron, and suddenly he saw a light bursting out of the ground. The Zohar teaches that there was a light bursting out of the ground, and Adam realized that he had found Ma’aras HaMachpelah. He immediately wanted to be buried there. He didn’t reveal the site to anyone, only to Chanoch before he died, and Chanoch was the one to bury him there.
    This is what David HaMelech said: “I will walk before Hashem in the lands of life.” The Sefer HaTemunah says that all of David HaMelech’s desire—and all of his prayers were devoted to this—was to being buried in Ma’aras HaMachpelah. “I will walk before Hashem in the lands of life.” That is called “the lands of life.” The word “lands” is plural because the light of Ma’aras HaMachpelah is a light that is manifold. The Sefer HaTemunah says that, in truth, five couples are buried there—ten people altogether. There are Adam and Chava, the three Patriarchs together with the three Matriarchs. Who is the fifth couple? The fifth couple is Moshe and Tzippora. Heavenly angels came and carried Moshe Rabbeinu from Mount Nevo to Ma’aras HaMachpelah.
    This is the meaning of the verse that we read now [on Simchas Torah] in Parshas VeZos HaBerachah, “And no man knew his burial place.” No man knew—not even Moshe Rabbeinu himself. Moshe didn’t know where they would bury him.  He didn’t know! He knew it wouldn’t be where he was, even though Hashem had said to him, “Go up to the top of the peak.” “The peak” refers to “Reisha Di’lo Isyada.” 
    Balak took Bil’am to the top of the peak. He wanted to raise him up to the level of “Reisha Di’lo Isyada” so that, from there, Bil’am would be able to curse the Jewish people. In truth, Bil’am was the greater one. The Tanna Di’Vei Eliyahu in Chapter 28 says that Moshe Rabbeinu was greater than Bil’am in one respect, and that Bil’am was greater than Moshe Rabbeinu in another. Hashem made Bil’am so great because Bil’am’s spiritual root was from “Reisha Di’lo Isyada.” This is the implication of the verse [that Balak said to Bil’am,] “Flee to your place.” That place is “Reisha Di’lo Isyada.” 
    So the Tanna Di’Vei Eliyahu says, “When Noach and his children came into the world, Hashem spoke to Shem the son of Noach…Go and prophesize to them [the gentiles.] So Shem the son of Noach prophesized to the gentiles for four hundred years, but they wouldn’t accept his words.” He prophesized every day to them that they should accept the Torah, and afterward Hashem sent them Eliphaz the Teimani, Bildad the Shuchi, Tzofer the Na’amasi, Elihu ben Berachel the Buzi, and Iyov from the land of Utz. He was one of the prophets, we know this from the fact that the verse says about him, “There was a man in the land of Utz named Iyov. And the man was pure and straight, fearing G–d, and avoiding evil.” 
    The Midrash says that the term, “fearing G–d,” is only used to describe four people. The verse says about Avraham, “Because I know that you fear G–d.” With regards to Yosef, the verse says, “I fear G–d.” About Iyov, the verse says, “Fearing G–d, and avoiding evil.” The highest praise was given to Ovadiah. “And Ovadiah feared G–d exceedingly.” Four people were privileged to be described as people who feared of G–d. Iyov was one of them, and he was a prophet to the gentiles. That is why the verse says, “And Utz, his firstborn son” [meaning Iyov] (Bereishis 22:21, Bereishis Rabbah 57:4).
    Bil’am was the last of them. Why did Hashem send them such great prophets? So that they shouldn’t have recourse to say later on, “We never had any prophets of our own.” Bil’am was the last of them that Hashem sent, and Hashem even made him greater in certain respects than Moshe Rabbeinu. That was why Hashem gave them Bil’am who was even wiser than Moshe Rabbeinu. In one respect, Moshe was greater than Bil’am, and in another respect, Bil’am was greater than Moshe Rabbeinu. “And He called to Moshe,” “And He happened upon Bil’am.” Moshe was treated differently because he had said, “Please show me Your ways.” Bil’am “knew the knowledge of the One above,” and that was why Bil’am was privileged to know one thing that Moshe did not. 
    Bil’am’s spiritual root was from Reisha Di’lo Isyada; his spiritual source was even higher than that of Moshe Rabbeinu. That is why the Kamarner says in Heichal HaBerachah that had Bil’am repented, he would have been even greater than Moshe Rabbeinu. His spiritual root was from “the top of the peak.” He explains the verse, “And Hashem said to Moshe, ‘Ascend to the top of the peak and lift up your eyes to the west, to the north, to the south, and to the east, until the last sea.’” The person who is in Reisha Di’lo Isyada can reach until the “last sea.” Until the last sea!
    So Moshe Rabbeinu, who merited to ascend to the top of the peak, to Reisha Di’lo Isyada, also merited to be buried in Ma’aras HaMachpelah. The Sefer HaTemunah says that angels came and took him and Tzippora and removed them from their graves. That is the meaning of the phrase, “And no man knew his burial place.” Even Moshe did not know where he was to be buried. Moshe had no idea where Hashem wanted to bury him. Ultimately, the angels really did come to take him to Ma’aras HaMachpelah.
    These ten who are buried in Ma’aras HaMachpelah parallel the ten sefiros. “And Adam knew his wife.” Adam was the sefirah of Keter, Chava was the sefirah of Da’as. Avraham was the sefirah of Chochmah, and Sarah was the sefirah of Binah. Yitzchak was Gevurah, and Rivkah was Chessed. Afterward, Yaakov was Netzach, and Leah was Hod
    Now, our sefirah is Chessed within Netzach, the surrounding lights of Imma, and the inner lights of Zeir Anpin. With the lulav, we draw down the inner lights of Zeir Anpin. Through the hakafos, we draw down the surrounding lights of Zeir Anpin. All of these lights are for Rachel. All of this is drawn down to Rachel. When the lights pass by way of Zeir Anpin, they are sweetened, but when they come down straight from Imma, they lack that sweetening. Then there is some degree of severity in them. But when Rachel merits to have everything pass by way of Zeir Anpin, then they come down with amazing sweetness. They are pure manifestations of Chassadim. Then everything is Chassadim.
    This is the meaning of the fact that Ma’aras HaMachpelah is called, “I will walk before Hashem in the lands of life” [as was said by David HaMelech.] This means Ma’aras HaMachpelah. The word “HaMachpelah” means double. Why? Because Gan Eden is a garden within a garden, [i.e. the Gan and Eden]. “And a river ran out of Eden to water the garden. From there, it divided and became four headwaters.” The first is the Pishon, the second is the Gichon, the third is the Chidekel, and the fourth is the Perat. The Gemara in Bechoros 55b says that the Perat was the greatest river of them all. 
    Right now, we are in the twenty–two days. We are in Gan Eden, and the river Perat is greater than the rest of them. During these twenty–two days, everyone is in the world of Atzilus, in the chambers of Gan Eden. The holy Ari says that everyone is in the river Perat, and the river Perat was the greatest of all. “And a river ran out of Eden.” This is the river Perat. There is a greater Perat, and a lesser Perat. The river running out of Eden is the river Perat, and afterward it separates into four headwaters. So the river was given these names of Pishon, Gichon, Chidekel, perhaps the fourth was also called Perat, but the reality is that they all spun off from the original Perat. From the river that ran out of Eden, which was the river Perat. 
    These are the five fasts. Through fasting the five fasts—through the five types of suffering [on Yom HaKippurim] of the fasts which are called five fasts—all of us become worthy of entering the river Perat.  The word “fast” (“tzom”) has a gematria of 136. Five times “tzom” is equal to the gematria of the word “Perat” [680]. It [“tzom”] is also equal to the gematria of the word “voice” [“kol” = 136.] Through the five voices which is the five prayers [that we pray on Yom HaKippurim], all of us become worthy now of entering the river Perat. We are all now spending twenty–two days on the river Perat.
    This is the meaning of the similarity between the two words, “motza” and “tzoma.” We have a “tzoma rabbah” [“a great fast”], and afterward we go down to “Motza,” and we take the willow branches. The “great fast” becomes “Motza.”
    The Gemara (Sukkah 45a) explains what Motza is. Motza is the town that was exempted from the king’s taxes. This town outside of Yerushalayim was where they went to pick willow branches for the festival. Because of that, it was exempted from paying the king’s taxes. Through the great fast, one merits Motza, which implies the willows.  They would bring the willows up to the altar, and they would have to take very large willows. The altar was nine cubits high, and they needed to take willow branches that were eleven cubits tall. They were enormous willows that were over eleven cubits tall. They would stand ten cubits high with the final cubit bent over the alter. All together, they were eleven cubits tall. It was with such willows that they would surround the altar.
    They used to take the willow by virtue of the great fast [Yom HaKippurim]. For on the great fast, one enters into the Holy of Holies. “No one shall be in the Tent of Meeting when he goes in…to the holy place” (Vayikra 16:17.) Rabbi Abahu says, even the Kohen Gadol is not permitted to be in the Holy of Holies. [But we know that he was supposed to go in, so the explanation must be…] Rabbi Abahu says, “What, was the Kohen Gadol a human being? Not at all! He wasn’t a human being, he was an angel!”  That was why an elderly man dressed in white entered [into the Holy of Holies] with Shimon HaTzaddik (Menachos 109b). Rabbi Abahu says, “Who was this elderly man? It was Hashem in His glory that appeared to Shimon HaTzaddik dressed up in the form of an elderly man” (Yerushalmi, Yoma 5:2).
    On Yom HaKippurim, we enter the Holy of Holies [and, as was just explained, we literally stop being humans]. The sukkah is the Holy of Holies. The sukkah is the ten handbreadths that the Kohen Gadol removes from the Holy of Holies, from the KeruvimMetat and Sandal, the two Keruvim—from the ten handbreadths that are above the cover of the ark. That is where the sukkah comes from [i.e. we learn the laws regarding the permitted height of the sukkah from the height of the Keruvim]. 
    Right now, a person merits the upper Gan Eden and the lower Gan Eden. Everyone can merit this during these twenty–two days. Now we have the final days remaining to us—especially since we are privileged to have such a great yahrtzeit. It is possible now to ascend to the upper Gan Eden, because everyone is now in the lower Gan Eden. These twenty–two days of dancing and singing, of prayer, sanctify all the atmosphere of the world.
    It is written in the Choshen Mishpat (Likutei Halachos) that the sukkah is built after Yom HaKippurim, the time when we have sanctified the whole world’s atmosphere. The very air of this world becomes holy after the entire Jewish people sanctify the atmosphere on Yom Kippur. This includes the non-religious. The truth is that really there are no irreligious among the Jewish people. There are only people that don’t know [Hashem], that are like children who were taken captive and raised among the gentiles.
    So everyone comes [to the synagogue] on Yom HaKippurim. On Rosh Hashanah, everyone screams, everyone cries, everyone spends all day in synagogue. That sanctifies the atmosphere. Reb Nosson says that there is such a sanctification of Hashem’s Name that the very air is sanctified by it. Everyone is now accompanied by the clouds of glory. Everyone is walking surrounded by the clouds of glory. Every Jew—no bullet can harm him. Everyone is accompanied by the seven clouds of glory, and no agent of the other side can harm him. They have sanctified the atmosphere of the world with their holy breath, and they drew down holy and pure souls. For with every letter that a person pronounces, a holy soul is drawn down.
    The holy Ari says in Sha’ar HaKavanos that the labial letters (beis, vav, mem, peh) have a combined gematria of 128, which is equal to two times the gematria of the word “din” (“judgment.”) The lips represent Rachel and Leah who sweeten all judgments. The palatal letters (gimmel, yud, chof, kuf) represent Chochmah, and the guttural letters (alef, ches, heh, ayin) represent Binah. With every letter that a person pronounces, he combines Chochmah and Binah, and a soul is created. If he speaks words of Torah, the soul of a Tzaddik is created. If, G–d forbid, he speaks other things, then the soul of a wicked person is created.
    Now, though, we all merited praying, singing and dancing and only speaking words of Torah, holy words, during these twenty–two days. This has filled the entire atmosphere of the world with holy and pure souls. And all of them derive from the sound of the breath of the shofaros, from the screaming of selichos, and from the weeping. The entire world was filled with holy breath, and it lasts all through the month of Cheshvan. “Marcheshvan” has the same letters as “Sameach Ron” (“joy and song”).  It is a month of joy, and that is why the future Temple will be built during the month of Cheshvan. This month comes after the “Month of the Strong Ones” (i.e. Tishrei, Melachim I 8:2), and the atmosphere of the world is still holy with the sanctity of the month of Tishrei, so much so that it is almost impossible to sin,  to desecrate the sanctity of the world. 
    The entire globe is filled now with holy air, with pure air. And it is all because of the Tzaddik of the generation who is like the Kohen Gadol. “No man will be…” He isn’t a man at all. He raises up all of the prayers; he raises up all of the breath to sanctify the very air. This is the task of Yom HaKippurim, and this is the finalization of the sealing for life. That is why the Ari says that when Yom HaKippurim comes, Rachel ascends. This occurs on Kol Nidrei night. 
    All of the rectifications are within Rachel, so Rachel ascends to the top of Tevunah, to Keter within Tevunah. Afterward, during Ma’ariv, she ascends to Malchus within Binah. After that, during Shacharis, she ascends to ChaGa”T (Chessed, Gevurah, Tiferes) within Binah, and during the chazan’s repetition, she already ascends to Da’as within Binah. She already receives the Da’as. This way, she doesn’t have Da’as until the chazan’s repetition of Shacharis; until then, Rachel still has no Da’as. During Yom HaKippurim, she receives the Da’as for the entire year, and afterward, during the silent Mussaf, she ascends to Chochmah and Binah [of Binah]. During the repetition of Mussaf, she receives the Keter [of Binah], and that is when we recite Keter. Everyone screams, “Keter!” 
    Zeir Anpin doesn’t ascend at all yet. Zeir Anpin remains in his place. The Ari asks, “If that is the case, then why do the men have to fast? The entire issue revolves around the women, all of the rectifications are only for the women.” [Rachel is the women, Zeir Anpin is the men, and if only Rachel is ascending and Zeir Anpin is staying in his place, why do the men have to fast the whole of Yom HaKippurim, seeing that they do not even start to ascend until Mincha time?] This is what the Bnei Yissaschar says, that all of the rectifications are only for the women. Everyone must be careful to raise up his wife, to lift up the sefirah of Malchus. “With “this” (literally, “her”), Aharon will come to the Holy.” If a man doesn’t raise up his wife, none of his prayers are accepted. If a man serves Hashem on his own and leaves his wife behind…that was Adam HaRishon’s sin—that he didn’t raise his wife up. He saw that the serpent was attempting to get close to her, and he didn’t go to save her.
    A man sees that his wife doesn’t go to lectures, and he doesn’t care. She sits at home and cooks good food for him. It’s tasty. But what is she thinking? The serpent has a hold on her; the other side is out to get her. She starts to have negative thoughts. When a woman goes to lectures, then she has the strength to deal with her negative thoughts. If a man doesn’t attend the lecture, he too is unable to deal with his negative thoughts. The food is good, but the woman can be poisoning the food because her thoughts are improper. She doesn’t attend lectures. He doesn’t push her to go to lectures, and he doesn’t encourage her to go. On the contrary, he’s glad. She’s at home—she can wash the clothes for him, and she can iron the clothes for him. Everything is fine and dandy, except that, in the meanwhile, she is falling spiritually. He isn’t raising her up; he is leaving her with the serpent. When a person is at home, he or she is with the serpent. When he or she goes to hear a lecture, then he or she is getting away from the serpent. This was Adam’s sin that he left her with the serpent. He didn’t go to raise her up, to save her.
    The rectification of this is now, says the Ari. We do a great rectification for the women; we make a special section for them above the men’s section [in the Temple]. This is the great rectification. Originally, they placed the women inside, and the men outside. Afterward, they placed the women outside, and the men inside. They saw that each time, they would intermingle, and would pass by one another. So they decided to make, says the Bnei Yissaschar, a great rectification. What is this great rectification? It is modeled after the upper worlds. The Bnei Yissaschar says that this is why it is called a “great rectification.” What is this great rectification? That the plan is modeled after the upper worlds. The women with their weeping, with their spiritual arousal, raise up the prayers of the men. When the souls of the men unite with the prayers of the women, then the prayers ascend. It is accomplished with their tears, say the holy books. Women with their tears are the ones who actually raise up the prayers. This is why they made the women’s section above, and that was the great rectification.
    Now we are raising up Rachel. We are raising up prayer; we are raising up faith. We are raising her to the level of Da’as. That is why it is written that on Rosh Hashanah, Rachel still has no Da’as. Rachel still has not merited rising to the level of Da’as, but on Yom HaKippurim, Rachel already rises to Da’as. She rises to Da’as within Binah during the repetition of Shacharis. Afterward, she reaches Chochmah within Binah during Mussaf, and she rises to Keter during the repetition of Mussaf. And Zeir Anpin still doesn’t rise. So the Ari says, “If that is the case, then why do the men have to fast? All of the rectifications are within Rachel. Why do the men have to fast?” The reason is that we do not distinguish between women and men in this matter. It would be impossible for the women to fast, and for the men not to. But the truth is that the rectification is only within Rachel [i.e. the women]. The entire day [until the afternoon], the rectifications are all within Rachel, and this was the great rectification. 
    This is the great rectification that we are doing now during the Simchas Beis HaShoevah, by dancing until the morning. In the Temple, they danced until the morning, and they obligated the women to come and watch the dancing. They were obligated to come and see all the dancing, all the singing, the entire awesome spectacle—that they danced with torches. And every woman was obligated to come.
    “A woman would check grains of wheat by the light of the torches of the Simchas Beis HaShoevah” [the light was so great]. The Bnei Yissaschar (Tishrei Maamar 10:30-32] says that checking wheat alludes to the fact that she merited to rectify the sin of the Tree of Knowledge. For our entire mission is to rectify the sin of Tree of Knowledge. That is why Moshe sent the spies. 
    The Apter Rav comments on the verse, “When you come to the land, and you plant for yourselves any tree with edible fruit.” What were they, kibbutznikim? Was Moshe trying to make them into kibbutznikim? Was he telling them to found kibbutzim? To start planting trees? “You’re going to the land, know that you’re going to plant trees! They’ll be such a thing as Tu B’Shevat and you’ll start to plant trees.” “And you plant for yourselves any tree with edible fruit.” G–d forbid! Surely it says in Yehoshua 1:8 that you should be learning Torah day and night! [So when would they have time to plant trees?] The Gemara in Kesuvos says that the trees grew all by themselves. The Midrash Rabbah says that Zevulun used to support Yissaschar. The fruits that they sold were gigantic—every fruit was the size of a ship’s cabin. People would ask them, “Who are your agronomists?” “Come and see, they’re learning Torah!” Immediately, “The nations called were called to the mountain” (Devarim 33:19.) They all came and converted. Sit and learn, and everything will grow by itself. It all grew by itself! There is no need to plant, no need to cultivate, and no need to irrigate. It all grows by itself! The rains fell, the waters under the earth rose, and as soon as they learned Torah, everything grew on its own. 
    The Gemara in Kesuvos says that when a person sits and learns Torah, everything sprouts, everything grows, and everything rises higher and higher. At the end of the Gemara in Kesuvos, it says that Rabbi Chiyah bar Abba was the teacher of Reish Lakish. For three days, Reish Lakish didn’t come to the yeshiva. He was busy working for his livelihood. He saw that there had been a big crop, he saw huge clusters of grapes, he was afraid that they would rot. So he went to harvest them. That was why Reish Lakish didn’t come for three days. His Rebbe, Rabbi Chiyah bar Abba, asked him, “Why didn’t you come?” Reish Lakish answered, “You should have seen what kind of vines we had, the size of the clusters. Every day, I harvested three hundred clusters. On the first day, every cluster was the size of a se’ah. On the second day, two clusters were the size of a se’ah. They got smaller every day. By the third day, three clusters made up a se’ah.” Rabbi Chiyah bar Abba then said to him, “If you hadn’t gone to harvest, it wouldn’t have rotted. It would have grown and grown and grown. Why did you go?” You would have had a cluster that would have been big enough to take care of your needs for the entire year. And you could have been the wealthiest man in the world. 
    All wealth descends during Sukkos. It descends by virtue of Torah study. By virtue of Torah study! The Apter Rav explains this. The work Imrei Yosef brings his comment on the verse, “And you will plant for yourselves any tree with edible fruit.” Moshe Rabbeinu says to them, “You are about to enter the land. What I want of you is that you will attain the level where every tree that you plant and cultivate in the land will be on the level of the trees in Gan Eden. Hashem said about those trees, ‘Let the land send forth fruit trees that produce fruit.’ The taste of the tree was like the taste of the fruit. This is what is referred to as a ‘tree with edible fruit.’” If they hadn’t sent spies, they would have reached such high levels, that every tree that they would have planted would have had the taste of the fruit throughout its entire trunk. The tree itself would have been edible. This what the Apter Rav says.
    A person could reach such levels, where every tree that he plants is edible, that the tree itself is edible. The only reason why the tree is not edible is because we are flawed. We are full of impure husks, of negative desires. So the trees are also full of impure husks. Yet, as soon as a person is free of negative desires, when he is on fire for Hashem, his luminaries of fire are transformed into luminaries of light. He becomes just like a flaming torch. These are the torches with which we walked [during the Hachnasas Sefer Torah], the torches with which we walked throughout all of Yerushalayim. Flaming torches!
    The Torah was given amid thunder and lightning. “Fiery torch” has the same gematria as “Moshiach ben David.” Every flaming torch is a spark of Moshiach ben David. “lapid” (“torch”) is equal to 124, “eish” (“fire”) is 301. Together, they make 425. The gematria of “Moshiach ben David” is 424, plus one for the kollel is equal to 425. Every flaming torch is Moshiach ben David. Every flaming torch is a manifestation of transforming the luminaries of fire into the luminaries of light. That is why we walk with torches.
    They saw torches on Devorah’s tent. They called her, “Wife of the torches” (Shoftim 4:4.) Everyone is capable of receiving prophecy now. When we walk with the Sefer Torah, it is possible to receive prophecy. Yonah the prophet received prophecy during the Simchas Beis HaShoevah (Yalkut Shimoni, Yona 550.) When we walk with the torches and when we dance, one should try not to talk at all, to not converse at all. We are really dancing with the Torah, and a person could reach the level of Yonah the prophet. We are dancing with the torch, which is a spark of Moshiach ben David. 
    May we merit the coming of the redemption, and the building of the Temple, speedily and in our days, immediately. Amen.

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