Emunah Based on the Teachings of Rebbe Nachman of Breslov

Archive for the ‘Purim’ Category

Who is Victorious? …

The war against Amalek, which represents the war against the Evil Inclination, is an extremely long battle. The main way in which Amalek is subdued is through encouragement – that no matter what a person endures during his entire life, he be extremely determined to not allow himself to become discouraged. “And if I make my bed in hell, behold there You are” (Tehillim 139; 8). Even from there, one should call out and scream to Hashem from the depths of one’s heart, as the verse says: “From the belly of Hell I cried out” (Iyov 2;3).This is the main path of teshuva that we work to draw upon ourselves during the awesomely holy days of Rosh Hashanah, The Ten Days of Repentance and Yom Kippur. This is the main victory in the battle that we are fighting during these days.

As long as a person does not despair, and strengthens himself to begin each time anew no matter what, he is already called victorious. This is because it is impossible for a person to defeat the Evil Inclination on his own, as our sages taught: “Without Hashem’s help, he could not overcome him” (Sukkah 52a), and as the verse states: “Hashem does battle with Amalek…” (Shemos 17;16). A person’s obligation is to strengthen himself anew each time and not to allow himself to retreat from this battle in despair no matter what. This is alluded to in the words of the Holy Zohar: “Who is Victorious? He who holds the weapons of battle in his hands” (Tikkun 13).  In this battle we certainly do not yet see who has won, for the war is still greatly prolonged, the exile is strengthening and each person is experiencing his own difficulties. However, as long as we hold our weapons in our hands – and our main weapon is prayer, as we have explained elsewhere (Likutey Moharan, lesson 2) – we are certainly being victorious. For as long as one does not despair and strengthens himself in prayer and screaming out to Hashem, he is called triumphant, for this itself is victory. (Likutey Halachos, Shabbos 7, section 54)

During this time of year when the days of Purim are approaching it is our obligation to adhere to the teaching of our sages: “When [the month] of Adar arrives, we increase our joy”. The simple reason for this added level of joy is that we merited to do battle with Amalek and to fulfill the commandment of: “You must eradicate the memory of Amalek”. Indeed, in these days we escalate in joy, in a manner far supreme to the rest of the year, to the extent that on Purim we express this great joy in an unusual way. All this is in celebration of the wondrous victory against Amalek.

This is seemingly hard to understand, for after all is said and done we are still in exile and the klippah (evil force) of Amalek still assaults us every day in many different forms. Who amongst us can say that we have truly merited eradicating the name of Amalek? How then can we be so quick to rejoice?

The truth is that this itself is the very answer. This is because the war with Amalek is unlike all other battles in which one destroys the enemy and simply celebrates victory. This war is an ongoing battle and as long as the physical world as we know it exists, Amalek remains. Amalek is the existence of the concealment of G-dliness that rests upon the world. It is a brazen and defiant force that attempts to discourage and subdue our uprising against it. Even if we merited defeating him a number of times, he immediately returns to battle in a renewed effort to overcome us. His aim is to cause us constant confusion and to ensure that we remain with many failures – this is the kilppah of Haman Amalek.

His entire ambition is to remove every last drop of holy desire from inside us, to crush us completely. Now we can understand the ‘extreme’ way in which the Torah relates to Amalek, commanding us to remember that we must annihilate him, “Do not forget!”

What this practically means is that  our victory in this battle is gauged by how much desire we still have to continue fighting, to get up after a stumble and to keep yearning to come close to Hashem – This is victory.

This is what the Zohar teaches about the Lulav and Esrog we hold in our hands on Sukkos – it is the symbol of our victory against the Klippah of Eisav that threatened us on Yom Kippur.  “Who is Victorious? He who holds the weapons of battle in his hands” (Tikkun 13). At first glance we would have thought the exact opposite, surely when the battle is over one would resign his weapons and not continue to grasp them? Is the holding of these weapons not the greatest sign that the war is NOT over! However, as we have explained, Amalek’s entire aim is for us to surrender and as long as we clasp the weapons of war in our hands we are truly victorious.

In light of this it is truly fitting that we renew ourselves with ecstatic joy and celebrate Hashem’s wondrous miracles, that we are still fighting, that we want nothing more than closeness to Hashem, and most of all – that He wants nothing more than us …

 

 

Preparing for Purim

The great and holy day of Purim is approaching, and now is the time to prepare for this enormous day, especially since the awesome light of Purim shines upon us for just a short time of two days. We therefore have prepared a short summary of some of the Rebbe’s teachings concerning Purim, as they flow forth from the discourses in Likutei Moharan and Likutei Halachos.

It helps a lot to have a synopsis of what the battle with Amalek is in light of the teachings of the Rebbe and Reb Noson.  And those who desire to study those discourses which deal with Purim and don’t know which ones to learn, can use these summaries to find the discourse which they want to use to prepare for Purim.  But the main thing is to make prayers out of these lessons and teachings, to know what to request when asking to be saved from Haman-Amalek.

Likutei Moharan:

Torah 10

This lesson was taught in the town of Tirovitza on Shabbos Parshas Mishpatim-Shekalim, 5563

It discusses how the Klippah of Haman uses his arrogance and haughtiness to bring the world to heresy. The Tzaddik, Mordechai, stands up to him, by blowing a spirit of holiness into our hearts, which breaks the haughty spirit of heresy. This spirit of Mordechai brings about a revelation of Emunah into the aspect of “hands”, and into the aspect of “feet”, which refers to the “lower places”, in order that even those who are far from Hashem will be able to appreciate and recognize Him. All this leads to dancing and hand clapping, and a sweetening of harsh judgments, and we merit accepting the Torah anew.

After Reb Noson transcribed this discourse, the Rebbe told him, “This is what I said: Now we are hearing that the governments want to pass harsh decrees against Klal Yisroel. Purim is approaching, and Klal Yisroel will be dancing and clapping hands, and this will cause a mitigation of these harsh decrees.”  And he repeated himself and said, “This is what I said”, because he wanted us to follow his words and guidance with simplicity. (Sichos HaRan 131)

Torah 33

This Torah discusses the need to pursue peace, which means that a person should find peace in whatever happens to him, and always find Hashem, both in good days and in bad days, A person should never say that there are places and situations in which it is impossible to find Hashem, for ‘the whole world is full of His glory.’ He can’t find Hashem in the place where he’s in only because there are many layers of concealment there. Someone who subdues his Yetzer Hara will be able to find Hashem everywhere, because he has overpowered the ‘evil’ which had been hiding Him. This person can now see how everything in the world actually reveals Hashem, through the holy letters which they contain.

This is the Avodah of drinking wine on Purim until one doesn’t know the difference between cursing Haman and blessing Mordechai, to bring forth a divine flow to the Godly spark inside the concealment, and to find Hashem in every place.

Torah 56

This lesson was taught on Shavuos, 5565, and it mentions Mordechai and Haman.

Haman attempts to overpower us with the desire for money, and thereby to throw a person into concealment within concealment. This is a situation in which a person doesn’t even know that there is holiness hidden from him, which leads to feelings of despair. Mordechai is the light which helps us to realize Hashem and His life-force even in the materialism of the concealment. The Torah and Divine Providence are everywhere, and every person has an aspect of ‘malchus’ – the ability to always reveal Hashem.

Torah 29 II

Amalek wants to uproot the point of simplicity on which all of Yiddishkeit hangs, and he is therefore the essence of evil. He tries to do this through sophistication and skepticism. He doesn’t believe in the power of prayer and practicing Mitzvos. It is therefore understood, that the opportunity which we have on Purim is to uproot Amalek, and to strengthen ourselves in Emunah, Tefillah, and performing Mitzvos.

Torah 74 II

Discusses how all beginnings are from Purim, which is a preparation for Pesach by meriting true freedom of mind. “Now” that Haman is standing on top of us and attacking, we need the wondrous light of Purim, to start redeeming the six supernal attributes from the “280 dinim (judgments)”.

The Rebbe also alluded then that “now”, all beginnings are from him, because immediately afterwards he revealed the 10 psalms of the Tikkun HaKlali, and the story of The Seven Beggars, and immediately after that Pesach, he moved to Uman. It is through these concepts which he revealed that he brought about redemption for the souls of Klal Yisroel for all generations.

Likutei Halachos:

Hilchos Hashkomas HaBoker 1 (based on Likutei Moharan 282)

Amalek especially tries to overpower and throw people down with the feeling that they have no hope. It’s necessary to stand up against him by finding the good points which one still has (para. 15). Understandably, the days of Purim have a special time in which to strengthen ourselves in living with the inner good which we have within us.

Hilchos Tzitzis 3 (based on Likutei Moharan II 8 )

Amalek is the core and essence of evil, which confuses us in our faith in Creation. This brings a person into small-mindedness and weakens the Neshama with faulty rebuke until one can’t feel inspired to serve Hashem with joy and vigor, and one is unable to pray properly.

On Purim we work on overcoming Amalek and to reveal the song of Emunah which will be sung when Moshiach comes; to add vigor to the Neshama, and to rejoice with the joy of Purim; to drink wine, and to cause Amalek to vomit all the holiness which he’s swallowed. This is the secret behind Esther being taken to Achashverosh’s palace – the necessity to descend into “smallness” (“katnus”) in order to overcome the Klippah there. (para. 8-9)

Hilchos Tefillin 5 (based on Sippurei Maasiyos 13)

The Klippah of Haman – Amalek tries to deny Creation, and to throw Klal Yisroel into ‘oldness’ and lack of strength which is the source of all types of Yetzer Hara (para.30- 32).

The main battle is to break the sleep, and constantly renew oneself. Because Hashem is constantly renewing the world in His Goodness, and at every instance changes the entire order of the worlds. When a person realizes this, he then has patience in the face of all the obstacles and confusions which he encounters, and is always fresh and full of vigor. The main point being, not to be ‘old’.

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