By HaRav Eliezer Berland, Shlit”a – Rosh Hashana 5770
With awe and trepidation, we are now beginning our journey, thousands of people from every corner of the world. Has there ever been such a great thing? Has anything of the like ever been heard of? After roughly fifty years of the iron curtain, about three generations of true holy tzaddikim who did not merit to make it to the Rebbe’s Tziyun. And now WE, the spiritually impoverished, who are so far from the point of truth and Kedusha, are making the journey. Upon us has befallen divine mercy of levels beyond comprehension to travel to the one who possesses intelligence supreme to any other, wisdom incorporating all wisdoms, a soul inclusive of all Three Avos1 (forefathers) and all Seven Shepherds2. A raging sea of mercy has suddenly burst forth, sweeping us to the source of light, compassion and teshuva; the source of kedusha and tahara. We now stand ready to immerse ourselves in infinite waters of kedusha and tahara that will renew every part of our souls3; our nefesh, ruach, neshama, chaya and yechida4, so that we too should merit to be “exactly like me,”5 to achieve the highest level of yechida attainable (yechida she’be’yechida6), with a new spirit of kedusha and tahara to know that “there is nothing else but Him” and that the physical world is truly nothing .
Who is it that can bring us to shed rivers of tears, day and night, over the days and years that have passed by without torah and tefillah, without teshuva and regret; filled instead with brazen arrogance and terrible impurity. Even if we should live numerous years and do nothing but confess and cry day and night, we could not atone for even the slightest sin7 of a fleeting second. How much more so for all our lives, in which we have sunk to the deepest depths of the realm of evil, “save me Hashem because the waters have reached until the soul”(Tehillim 69,2), “waters flowed over my head; I said, ‘I am doomed!'”(Eicha 3,54). And there is no one to save us from all the impure thoughts, sights and other terrible transgressions that bombard us day and night, leaving us with no possibility of inner peace.
All our hope and faith is that as we draw closer to the source of teshuva8 which proceeded the very creation of the world9, that is higher than the torah itself10, we should indeed merit with this journey to true, sincere and complete teshuva; to have every part of our souls renewed11 and that we should never again return to the ways of folly.
And so if we proceed, with trembling knees and tear-filled eyes, will we truly be worthy to have our teshuva accepted? Will we truly abandon from here forth our forbidden thoughts and sights? Will we merit from today to: “Who may ascend the mountain of Hashem, and who may stand in the place of His sanctity? One with clean hands and pure heart who has not sworn in vain…”(Tehillim 24,3)”? Will we truly merit to purity of heart, that the waters of purity and sweetness should wash us clean of our illness and filth? That we should merit renewed souls, that our prayers should be received in favor and that we should be granted a fresh start in which we will begin to close our eyes to this lowly world that it should not taint us in thought, word or action with the poison of The Nachash (primordial snake) in whose belly the world has been completely consumed.
We are now coming to the place where we can be freed, in the blink of an eye, from The Nachash that has engulfed us from head to toe, not leaving even one strand of hair unconsumed. Only The Tzaddik who is called “Levyasan”12, as taught in the Zohar Ha’kadosh (Parshas Ki Tetsei pg.279)13, [The gematria (numerical value of the Hebrew letters) of ‘Levyasan’ is 496, which is a also the gematria of ‘Nachman Ben(son of) Feiga’], whose 248 limbs, internally and externally [248 × 2 =496], where transformed into spiritual torches of fire, can take us out from the stomach of The Nachash.
Our Holy Rebbe stated that even in his time he had succeeded in freeing many people from the grasp of the Samech Mem (Satan), and his strength has continued to grow from day to day and from moment to moment, so much so that he can free even us, and there is no end to the ways and means of salvation drawn from the endless “wellsprings of salvation” that are without boundaries and without limit. It is only because of our own endless arrogance that we are so far from truth and humility, sunken in all sorts of jealousy and terrible impurity and that we have still not merited to sincere teshuva with true regret from the depths of our hearts. Surely if we had truly regretted our wicked ways we would have already been saved long ago. And now, from where will come our salvation, being that we are still so far from true regret for the past and from full-fledged resolve for the future not to sin ever again?
However, we nevertheless believe with perfect faith, and will not, God forbid, allow any despair to sway us, that there is no greater sin and transgression than despair14 and belief in any lack of hope. We know, with as much clarity as we know that the sun and the moon shine in the sky, that it is within the great power of The Tzaddik who is going to arouse us to true teshuva and remorse with all the heart, and to uproot from within us, once and for all, any trace of evil in thought and in sight that are the bitter fruits of the many reincarnations spent in the deepest depths of evil and below, since the sin of the Eitz Hada’as (The tree of knowledge) until this very day.
We are traveling to the radiant heavenly light of Adam Ha’rishon15 (the first man, who until his sin had radiated a spiritual light that nullified that of the sun), to a soul that never once sinned, a soul that fled from within Adam Ha’rishon before he even entertained the thought of sin, that did not taste from the Eitz Hada’as in action, sight or thought16. A soul that never ceased it’s Dveikus (cleaving) to Hashem for even a moment17, that never saw the physicality of this world at all, that passed through this world without eyes, without ears, without a mouth, without hands and without legs18, that never took a breath from this world; the wondrous soul that cannot be comprehended, the soul before whom no gates are closed and no heart impenetrable.
We are coming closer to the flaming fire that can burn and eradicate any trace of impurity, we will soon fulfill the verse “anything that comes into fire, you shall pass through fire and it will be purified” (Bamidbar 31,23)19, we are progressing with broken hearts and rivers of tears with which to burn away all of our sins, unintentional and willful, from all our gilgulim (reincarnations), truthful cries and broken heartedness drawn from he who is the heart of the world, the root of all hearts, whose toenail was more heart-like than the very heart of any other, he is the one more compassionate than all those with compassion and it is he who promised, without compromise, that he will come to the aid of all those who travel to him simply and sincerely for the sake of teshuva alone.
The little bit of broken heartedness that we have and the few tears we will merit to shed in the coming days will suffice, through the power of the awesome Tzaddik, to create wondrous vessels to cleanse us of our sins, to refresh every part of our souls, to uplift our prayers20 and our teshuva21 until all of the gathering and all of the Jewish people are uplifted back to our root in Hashem’s Throne Of Glory, to be included in the root of all the Jewish souls, to be incorporated with all the souls of the coming awesome and holy gathering, to truly feel our lowliness, that we are truly the worst, lower than all the others who join in this holy gathering and every other Jew, wherever he may be22, to feel that all of them are closer to true teshuva and that in truth we have no hope of sincere repentance if not for the awesome and holy tzaddik who promised to come to the aid of every one of us.24
In his merit and through his power, all of our prayers and teshuva will be accepted, even those of the spiritually poor and impoverished. It is in his reliable hands that we have entrusted ourselves, to purify us of any trace of sin and iniquity until the coming of Moshiach in the blink of an eye, this very year, in the merit of our holy Rebbe, Amen.
1See Lekutei Moharan lesson 58.
2Lekutei Moharan lesson 22,3, Biur Halikutim; see Likutei Halachos Choshen Mishpat, Hilchos Nezikin 4,16: “..that we should merit to find the true Tzaddik who incorporates The Seven Shepherds, for only he can work on the rectification of our souls, to heal us of the tremendous pain and illness of our souls and to draw us to an understanding of Godliness.”
3Biur Halikutim lesson 22, key 11.
4The five levels of the soul.
5Sichos Haran #165: “Every single person can merit to come to my level, to be exactly like me”
6Every one of the five levels of the soul includes within it five levels, thereby making Yechida within Yechida the highest possible level. See Chayei Moharan #267: “he achieved the level of Yechida in highest form”
7Chayei Moharan #304: “How can you possibly repent, will your days and all your strength ever suffice to correct a single item of all the damage you have done? It is only because I rectify for you and I have the power to do so-that is, all the damage you have done up till now. From now on the main thing is not to carry on like before…” see also Sha’ar Ha’gilgulim introduction 22.
8See Likutei Halachos Orach Chayim, Hilchos Rosh Hashana 6,2:”…therefore we need to travel to true Tzaddikim for Rosh Hashana who involve themselves with this path in order to bring repentance to the world, upon which the coming of Moshiach is dependant as the sages taught and as the verse states: ‘A redeemer will come to Zion, and to those of Jacob who repent’ (Yeshaya 59,20), for the name of Moshiach preceded the world as the verse states:’ before the sun his name connotes mastery’ (Tehillim 72,17), so too did repentance precede the world, therefore it is he who knows the secret of ‘In the beginning’ (Bereishis 1,1) through which is the main path of repentance, and from him all the true Tzaddikim receive.”
9Talmud Pesachim 54,Nedarim 39, Zohar Acharei Mos pg 69.
10TzaddiK #565, Sichos Haran #3,Likutei Halachos Hilchos Ona’ah:”…for according to the laws of the torah there would be no rectification for a sinner at all, but repentance is higher than the torah and through it all is turned to good and willful sin turned to merit.” See also Zohar Chadash Parshas Chukkas pg. 50, Tomer Devorah chapter 4.
11Biur Halikutim lesson 22 key 11.
12The Levyasan is an enormous type of sea creature described in scripture, Pirkey D’Rebbi Eliezer mentions that is eats one whale a day.
13See there, that the Levyasan represents the “Tzaddik who is the foundation of the world”(Mishlei 10, 25) and parallels the attribute of Yesod (foundation) which is the paradigm of holiness and purity.
14See Shivchey Haran #2
15Sefer Hagilgulim chapter 19, Sha’ar Hagilgulim introductions 29,31,32,35,36. See also Sefer Halikutim Bereishis 4, Zohar Harakiya 58 pg 9.
16Hashmatos to Chayei Moharan #290(from R’ Alter Tepliker) regarding what is stated in Sichos Haran:”‘One thing I managed to achieve and through this I merited to what I merited’, and it was not explained what it was, I heard that he said that it is brought in the Kabbalistic teachings that when Adam Harishon ate from The Tree of Knowledge all the souls that were included in him tasted from the tree too, but his holy soul merited that it did not taste from it at all.” It is known that there were souls that left Adam before the sin (Beis Aharon of Karlin pg.99,regarding the Baal Shem Tov.) See also Sha’ar Hagilgulim introduction 32 that all souls were at that time incorporated in Adam except for the completely new souls to which Adam did not merit, and were not include within him. See also Kochvey Ohr Chochmah u’binah #41.
17See Shivchey Haran #2.
18See Rabbi Nachman’s Stories #13 The Seven Beggars, where The Rebbe tells of seven beggars, one blind, one deaf etc. Each one explains how, in truth, they have no defect all. For example the beggar with the speech defect says:” Actually I am not blind at all. But the entire duration of the world’s existence is not considered by me to be even the blink of an eye. (it was for this reason that he appeared to be blind; he did not look at the world at all.)” See also Tzaddik #272 that from this story one can understand the Rebbe’s greatness. See also Yemey Moharnat part 1 #66.
19See Likutei Moharan lessons 4 & 156.
20Likutei Moharan lesson 2.
21See note 7.
22Likutei Moharan lesson 14,5. Likutei Halachos Hilchos Orlah 5.
23Tzaddik #218,# 305.
24Sichos Haran #141, Tzaddik # 225