By HaRav Nissan Dovid Kivak, Shlit”a – Rosh Hashana 5770
- “The essence of crowning that makes us Hashem’s children”
- “Children vs. Slaves”
- “By the Kibbutz we can merit remembering Hashem with awe and sanctify our deeds.”
- “Rosh Hashanah – meriment that combines a broken heart within.”
“Remember us to life, O King who wishes Life”.
Hashem favors mercy. He wants to bestow on us good life. During the High Holidays we ask for life from a “King who wishes life.”
There is a kind of life Hashem wishes for – it is the life of Torah and service of Hashem. On Rosh Hashanah, we ask Hashem for an existence in which we can imbue our lives with the performance of his will and adhere to a life of eternal fulfillment and joy.
“Life” therefore means enthusiasm and satisfaction in keeping the Torah. This is no trivial matter. It is an incredible merit to rejoice while one is learning, keeping the Torah, and serving the King of Kings.
Depression on the other hand, is the essence of the exile of the Shechina (divine presence) and the only way to rescue her is through joy. By enhancing our joy we come closer to Hashem. Every time we experience any success in the service of Hashem, we immediately experience an influx of joy and rejuvenation. This is the source of the ability we have to withstand whatever may happen in our lives.
This is true for all times of the year, but never more so than during the time of Rosh Hashanah Hakadosh. It is the time for ushering in the Holy Yom Tov with a joy for having merited coming closer to Hashem. It is joy that will bestow holiness and a sense of rejuvenation on us. It is the time to elevate the Shechina .
Even though this is the Day of Judgment, and any rational person experiences an understandable anxiety, this should not drag us down to thoughts of despair and doubt. In fact, the main job of this day is to guard the thinking faculties and keep them focused on happy, joyful thoughts.
This is the time to keep constantly in mind Hashem’s royal authority with great joy and a broken heart (see Sichot HaRa”n, 42, on the difference between a “broken heart” and “depression”, which is akin to anger).
The reason for Joy – The merit of being the King’s son
When we are at the holy Kibbutz (gathering) of Rebbe Nachman on Rosh Hashanah we can plainly see how faith lights up the hearts of the people of Israel. We can see thousands of people who have overcome incredible obstacles to be there.
You can see the burning faith in every single word uttered by the Rebbe. We need to internalize this in our hearts enabling an indescribable joy and vigor to fill our very being. And this is because we experience something here which is beyond anything we have ever done. This is way beyond any mitzvah we have performed during the year – simply because, as great as the mitzvah is, it is still far from perfection.
Rosh Hashanah by Rebbe Nachman is an event of cosmic proportions – An event upon which the rectification of creation itself stands. To be a part of the endeavor of this profound Tzaddik is a merit beyond anything we can ever imagine.
“Be it Like Children, Be it Like Slaves”
During the Musaf prayer on Rosh Hashanah, we implore Hashem to have mercy on us any way – be it like children or be it like slaves. “Be it Like Children” means that if we have merits we will be judged as His children. This obviously makes it much easier to be judged for life as the judgment comes from the King Himself. And a father always has mercy on his child. The sole reason for judgment in such a case is to awaken the fear of judgment in us so that we return to Him.
But when we say “be it like slaves” this is when we have no merits in our favor. However even so, we will not give up. We will beg and trust in the power of prayer that Hashem will bestow mercy on us regardless.
Some interpret this verse to say, that if we find ourselves without merits to the degree that we are considered slaves, we will look up to Hashem in supplication until we will be considered like children once again.
The holy Zohar explains a few times that the profound Tzaddikim ascend to the universe of Emanation אצילות)) where they rectify and bring about the unification of Hashem and the Shechina. Only such exalted Tzaddikim merit being called “children”. At such an elevated place the negotiations are not handled by judges and court-clerks, so-to-speak. These matters transpire “before You” – the place of complete and total Presence and mercy. Only as creation trickles down into coarser manifestations are we degraded into the state of “slaves”. Hardly anyone merits a soul of the world of Atzilut. This is the rarified air of the great and profound Tzaddikim.
Now, obviously there must be someone at the Atzilut level to affect the rectifications every day. It is also obvious that each and every one of us rectifies only according to his own level and no more. If that is the case, how then, is it possible for any “regular” person to ever be called a “son”?
The answer is by connection to Tzaddikim. This is what the Zohar reveals and this is what the Baal Shem Tov made known throughout the world. Reb Nosson expounds on this topic at length explaining how everything depends on faith in Tzaddikim.
There are various ways of connecting to Tzaddikim with one’s prayer and avoda. They are affected when a person does what he can and “hands over” his work to the Tzaddik to “cleanse and sterilize” so that the intrinsic good in it can ascend and affect a supernal rectification at the level of Atzilut.
That being said, we must realize the astounding difference between the true avoda that affects real joy in front of Hashem, and our lukewarm service that is muddled with ulterior motives and stray thoughts. By realizing how far from perfection we really are, we connect to the Tzaddikim. This is what makes it possible for us to recognize the truth and do teshuvah. This is also what makes it possible for us to rejoice with every iota of goodness we find within us. It enables us to awaken ourselves to true avoda. And this, in turn, includes us in the avoda of the Tzaddikim – the ultimate regimen that has the “wings” of love and awe to ascend and affect the reconstruction of the divine presence.
This is what the Rebbe meant when he said: “You bring bricks and mortar and I build edifices.”
We have to be filled with endless joy for having merited being by the Tzaddik at this holy gathering. This is what makes us “Children” before Hashem even though we do not merit it individually. Nothing is greater. It makes it possible to connect to the Tzaddikim all year round as well.
Rosh Hashanah “One long day” – the source of drawing down joy.
“My Rosh Hashanah is greater than anything”. Rebbe Nachman declared this unequivocally.
This is an extremely important declaration for it allows us to realize how incredibly fortunate we are to be here, and draw an abundant amount of enthusiasm.
One should dedicate time at the Tziyun to pray that the astonishing significance of these words “descends” into our hearts and takes permanent root. While here, we should also beg for Emunah in the Tzaddik and his holy words so that it too, will permeate our being and infuse us with joy and rejuvenation. This will in turn strengthen our resolve when tests threaten to drive us down.
We need this reinforcement because of the distractions that the trials and tribulations of the trip to Uman can present. Frequent irritations may arise and we need to have this Emunah ingrained in our hearts so that we are able to enter the universe of thought, pray with proper intentions while pouring out our hearts at the Tziyun and awaken ourselves to the true remorse that will make our teshuvah deep and lasting.
All this will enable us to experience what the Rebbe expressed: “Anyone who comes to me for Rosh Hashanah should be exceedingly happy”. That happiness will enable us to keep our thoughts positive throughout Rosh Hashanah. It will also enable us to renew ourselves for the 2nd day of Rosh Hashanah, treating it as if it is our first, enthusiastic day.
If we accomplish this, it will enable us to treat every day of the following year as new.
Drawing down Enthusiasm for the coming year
Once we manage to internalize the incredible greatness of our merit of being in Uman for Rosh Hashanah, we can down–size our pride. We understand the difference between our avoda and that of the Tzaddik. We can begin to appreciate the merit of having come close to such a Tzaddik, one who can renew us and affect the heavenly tribunals in favor of all the people of Israel.
As far away as we are from understanding anything involved in such exalted rectifications, it is astonishing to contemplate that the Rebbe actually wants us to participate in them (which we do by traveling to him). We, as small and insignificant as we are, are standing on the shoulders of a giant, partaking in the greatest, most crucial universal rectification!
How vital is it that we introduce these words into our hearts and internalize them! The Rebbe elevates us to the place of the greatest Tzaddikim, involving us in the toil of the greatest spiritual giants that ever lived! Such an idea simply boggles the mind.
When we manage to internalize this knowledge, we can illuminate our souls with this awesome, holy imprint month after month throughout the coming year. This will enable us to actualize that which the Rebbe expressed about anyone who merited to be by him during Rosh Hashanah “should rejoice all year long”. It will enable us to connect our prayers and avoda to our Holy Rebbe at all times, infusing them with life and energy to ascend before the Master of the universe.
Coming to the Tziyun with Joy
The Rebbe’s Tziyun and the wisdom he left in this world are an incomprehensible wonder.
The light of the Rebbe is completely concealed, known only in the hearts of those who seek it relentlessly. However, we were fortunate enough that our Rebbe toiled, journeying ever so high, until a crack was opened in the concealment, giving the entire world a glimpse of previously-unimagined extraordinary light.
It is obvious that there cannot be such a profound Tzaddik in every single generation. From days of old the order always was that generations rested on the strength and power of the profound Tzaddikim of the generations that preceded them.
Every few generations however, there arrives a profound Tzaddik of this caliber who has elevated himself to the level of “Hashem’s son” whose light shines to the rest of the world and the following generations.
This Tzaddik has toiled relentlessly to find rectifications for the entire nation of Israel, especially the tikkun (correction) for the holy covenant without which people cannot even begin to find their way.
Furthermore, this Tzaddik has established a way to connect us to his truth to the point that we, too, will be labeled “Hashem’s sons”! This is done with the power of his holy Tziyun. This is the place to engage in teshuvah and confessions because the Tziyun is the ultimate place of teshuvah. There is such power of kedusha there, that it elevates the Kingdom of Hashem and draws upon one the wisdom to know that everything happens for the good. There resides a power of kedusha there that can totally extricate us from the influence of the klipot (impure husks) to sway and deceive us.
By saying the Rebbe’s prescribed 10 Psalms of “Tikkun Ha’Kalali” at the Tziyun we awaken the power of joy and stop the freefall into the lowest depths of purgatory and start to live a true Jewish life.
At the Tziyun we come to our Rebbe, the Tzaddik that descends from the upper worlds to converse and relate to each and every one of us privately. By connecting to his light we receive our insights into Torah and renew our days.
The power of the Tziyun is a well known force. The Talmud and Holy Zohar state explicitly that the world exists in the merit of the prayers of the departed Tzaddikim. The fact the we don’t see anything is, of course, no hindrance. None other than Rabbi Chiya of the Talmud came to the Tziyun of Rabbi Shimon in Meron and cried: “How can the mountain and the earth cover the holiness of Bar Yochai?” Only after he fasted was he suddenly able to see what he perceived and cried: “No! They cover nothing!”
We, of course, have not fasted, and even if we did, would still be far away from comprehending the holiness of “the bones of Yosef” – the remains of the holy Tzaddikim that are called “the true living” even after their departure.
As Reb Nosson stated, we all witnessed the traveling of Israel to Rabbi Shimon in Meron for generations, in order to seek closeness with Hashem and affect tremendous miracles and salvations.
We witnessed the same with the Rebbe’s Tziyun. Anyone who has eyes to see, understands the tremendous power of the Tzaddik to give hope and rectification to all.
No one makes the mistake of “speaking to spirits” when it comes to the Rebbe. The aim of each and every one of us is to come to the Tziyun and merit the essence of truth. We know we come there to correct our defects and renew ourselves. We come to connect to the truth and kedusha in the Rosh Hashanah of the Rebbe that is “higher than everything”.
1) By rejoicing in the incredible merit of being at the Rebbe’s holy gathering, we can sanctify our thoughts during Rosh Hashanah, think positively of the wonderful year that awaits us, and pray with great intention. By doing this we are considered “Hashem’s sons”.
2) By being happy that we are by the Kibbutz we will draw the rectification for the entire year.
3) The avodah of the feeling of the heart during the coronation of Hashem is not a simple matter. The essence of the coronation is revealed with the power of the Tzaddikim and this opens the gates for us. When we become part of the crowning process, we merit sanctifying our minds. This awakens us to study the Rebbe’s Books and receive from them the ways that are tailor-made for each and every one of us. With this we are in fact, the messengers of the entire nation of Israel.
Real teshuvah is not a simple matter either. True change never is. A deep realization shines on us at the Rebbe’s Kibbutz – one that reminds us of the simple truth of the nature of this life. This drives us to “put an end to our nonsense” and look for Hashem’s mercy and sound advice to affect the changes we need. True mercy is drawn down only with the power of the Tzaddikim.
Even though it seems as if the matter of crowning Hashem is known and understood by people at large, in point of fact such perception is only possible by coming to the Rebbe and receiving the ways of truth from him.
In the merit of being by the Kibbutz on Rosh Hashanah we acquire the insight to open our hearts and serve Hashem seriously without self-delusion. This will in turn bring us to feel Hashem’s presence near us all year long. We will constantly be careful to protect Hashem’s honor even when there’s no one around us.
With the merit of the Kibbutz we will be strengthened to rejoice with the truth at all times. This will enable us to remember that Hashem is in total control of reality and will drive away worry and stress from our lives.
The essence of crowning Hashem is the resolve to keep on strengthening and renewing ourselves at all times for the honor of Hashem because he is the King.
The essence of crowning Hashem is to search the books of Tzaddikim and draw from them the light of Torah we need. This is the significance of the sound of the Shofar which is an aspect of the drawing down of Torah. This “personalized view” will enable us to always find the way to keep the Torah and accept Hashem’s authority in our own private lives.
By traveling to the Rebbe for Rosh Hashanah we receive the power to sanctify our thoughts during Rosh Hashanah. It gives us the ways and means to win the “battle of thought” and avoid dispiriting confusions.
We need to nullify ourselves to the Tzaddik and the totality of the crowd that comes to the Tziyun. We need to keep in mind that we really have no concept as to what Rosh Hashanah really is about – the Rebbe does. We need to internalize that we must learn what the Rebbe teaches us – not what WE think is right.