Emunah Based on the Teachings of Rebbe Nachman of Breslov

Posts tagged ‘Megilah’

Preparing for Purim – Part II

Question:

Purim is coming up, a day of which the Zohar teaches is holier even than Yom Kippur. Yom Kippur is only ‘like’ Purim, Ki-Purim. But I ask myself, how do I fit into this holiness?

Answer:

The Rebbe reveals in Likutei Moharan II 74, “Now, all beginnings are from Purim.” For this reason the holiday of Purim takes up such an important position in the internal Avodah of Breslover Chassidim.  No matter if the whole year has passed in such a way that today we don’t feel any connection with Purim, still, on Purim there’s a special opportunity to catch a glimpse of what’s going on inside the holiness and to enter inside. We have witnessed many people who became close to holiness through seeing the wonderful light which shines by Breslover Chassidim on Purim.

Tzaddikim would say about the Halachah, “Whoever stretches out his hand [for charity on Purim,] is given.”  That on this day Hashem sends down immense spiritual gifts for every individual without looking to see if they deserve it or not.  On Purim, prayer is elevated to the level of “a home” (see Likutei Moharan I 10), to be a perfect prayer through which anything can be accomplished, especially the main, eternal victory which we are all so much hoping for- to merit closeness to Hashem, to attach ourselves with Him.

The Ariza”l revealed that there is no revelation of holiness throughout the year as much as there is on Purim, not on any Shabbos or other holiday. On Purim the highest level of spiritual light, the revelation of the Tzaddik’s great light comes down into our material world.  Certainly, whoever is connected to the Tree of Life, and the whole year awaits and longs to come close to Hashem, will use this awesome day to its fullest. This day is the opening, the beginning.

Question:

I want to understand why we need to fast on Taanis Esther if it’s only in commemoration of the miracle?

Answer:

It is understood from Likutei Halachos as well as other holy books that a great part of Purim’s light depends on Taanis Esther.  Now is the main war with Amalek and Haman.

We have to realize that the battle with Amalek is the beginning of the war with the Yetzer Hara. Amalek is not just another materialistic desire or spiritual trial. Amalek wants to uproot the point of holiness within every Jew’s heart.  He will then be more dead than alive, without any desire to serve Hashem. The way he worked is by throwing us down in the issue of the desire for food by Achashverosh’s feast. Through unholy eating a person’s heart cools off and he loses all of his good desires, as the Rebbe teaches in many places

Therefore, on Taanis Esther, which is a day of battle, there is special divine assistance to be victorious through the following two ways:

First of all, through not eating, and strengthening one’s longing and desire for Hashem, that his entire internal wish is only to be attached to Hashem and do His will, and he doesn’t want to be drawn after food. Through this he can rectify all that he’s blemished through his desire for food, which is the aspect of Achashverosh’s feast (Likutei Halachos Purim 2).

Secondly, through prayer and calling out to Hashem with all your heart.  Taanis Esther was established in order that we remember that Hashem sees and hears every person at his time of pain.  Therefore, now is the time to uproot Amalek which is trying to sow doubt in our hearts as if Hashem isn’t listening to our prayers. We have to wake ourselves up with fresh enthusiasm to set aside time every day to speak to Hashem and to tell Him all the difficulties which we have in Avodas Hashem, to say a lot of Tehillim and Likutei Teffilos, with a strong faith that Hashem is certainly listening to every word and that no Tefillah goes to waste. This is the great joy of Purim which is in the revelation of the fact that Hashem listens to all of our prayers. (Likutei Halachos 4)

Question:

What is the Avodah of the night of Purim?

Answer:

1] Maariv and the reading of the Megillah:

You should know that from the moment that Maariv starts, the awesome and wonderful light of Purim begins to shine in the world. This is a light which can give everyone a taste of the pleasantness of Hashem’s light.  It is therefore appropriate to put extra effort into concentrating during Maariv and to think about the wonderful kindness of Hashem.  You will thereby prepare yourself for the first Mitzvah of Purim – the reading of the Megillah.

The Ariza”l says that Megillah comes from the root of “giluy” – “to reveal”. Meaning that through it there is a revelation of such an understanding that brings awe of Hashem into our hearts with a wonderful perfectness. This light is now shining down below in places where it is not revealed throughout the year. We therefore spread the Megillah out like a letter. This is the miracle of Purim which renews itself every year.

Pay attention to the story of the Megillah as it’s being read. The story has the ability to wake us up from our sleep (Likutei Halachos Purim 1). Try standing by the Megillah as if by Matan Torah, with awe and trepidation (Likutei Halachos Bechor Behema Tehora).

When we read the Megillah, and publicize the miracle which was done through Mordechai and Esther who acted with great wisdom and holiness, we show and shine their ‘faces’ from within the Megillah, and it is as if we see them and look at their faces (Tefillin 6, Otzar HaYirah Purim 5).

2] Chatzos:

If the whole year the time of Chatzos is a special time, of course on Purim it’s even greater. The main Avodas is to wake up properly, to strengthen yourself with faith that Hashem is taking pleasure now with the souls of Klal Yisroel and is sending down limitless spiritual bounty. Try connecting with it through prayer.

Even if it seems as if you are distant from all this, know and remember that now is a time that you can go before the King even improperly, and to put yourself into davening with Mesirus Nefesh: whatever will happen, I will try no matter what.  Strengthen your belief that Hashem loves you no matter what you are, and the King will put out his scepter…

It is therefore advisable to go to sleep early in order to have the strength to get up in middle of the night or at least before dawn, to speak to Hashem.

Can We Dream Of Miracles?

There are times when a popular rebellion that threatens to take down an entire kingdom starts by external forces.  A band of infiltrators settles down and, over time, undermines the stability of the country.  They inject silent venom of mutiny and bitterness that easily sways the people’s emotions.  Their toxic speech wreck a delicate structure of trust and admiration.  At those times, the dispute between the people and the leaders isn’t the real problem at the heart of the nation; rather, it is a foreign affliction, virulent and deadly as cancer, that needs to be removed.  The way to return the trust and rebuild the relationships is to separate the people from the foreign influence and unite them around a kernel of true trust and appreciation of the sublime honor of the kingdom.

♦♦♦

Last week the Torah told us just of such an event.  The people of Israel, the crown of creation, the beloved children of Hashem, pure souls for whom the entire universe and beyond was created – fall, in one instant, from utter perfection to the depth of unimaginable sacrilege.

But the horrendous transgression wasn’t the deed of the Jewish souls.  The devastating breakdown of trust and faith was the deed of Egyptian infiltrators, the “Erev Rav”.

As long as the Jewish nation was secluded, they basked in the closeness to G-d and the sublime privilege of His unparalleled love for them.  The nature of this intimate relationship cannot be described with words.  The people of Israel were immersed in a divine glow that is beyond description of being picked out of billions of identical people and made incomparably unique.  When one feels that way, the legs lift themselves up all on their own and run to serve Hashem.  When the heart is overflowing with love for Hashem, it pulls the entire body with unbreakable ropes of love.  But somebody really didn’t like that special connection.

The Infiltrators’ Rebellion

There are always those who take a very jaundice view of the special relationship Israel has with Hashem.  During the failing of the golden calf, it was the Erev Rav who introduced the bane of rebelliousness into the hearts of the people of Israel.  They killed the very living spirit that pulsates in the Jewish heart, replacing it with doubt and suspicion.  This is the way of Amalek, he who jumped into the fire to put out the flame of Jewish faith.  Like the Erev Rav, Amalek introduced the notion of עם קל, a rearrangement of the letters of its name עמלק, inferring that Israel is ‘just another nation’, nothing special.  A nation like any other.  From there to downfall, the way is short and easy.

The golden calf wrecked the Jewish heart, yes, yet in parshas VaYakhel the Torah tells us how this damage was rectified.

ויקהל משה – “And Moshe has gathered the congregation of Israel”.  The Holy Zohar explains “The congregation of Israel” – excluding the Erev Rav.  This gathering came to rectify the crime of the golden calf by separating the nation of Israel from the Egyptian lecherous plague.  This is the secret.

The sin of the golden calf is the direct result of intermingling; it’s as simple as that.  This is what Amalek and the Erev Rav are after: the dimming of the divine radiance of our Jewish identity.

Erev Rav, Get Out!

The way to disrobe the heavy, soiled garments of heresy is to hold an exclusive gathering that rejects everything that doesn’t belong in the inner Jewish point.  The Erev Rav ‘gave us’ many things; opinions … emotions … doubt … calling them by fancy names to camouflage the fact they are a rancid fruit of foreign spirit.  The results of that ‘enlightenment’ are the feelings of distance and fatigue that led to the sin of the golden calf, as well as the confusions of emunah people experience today.

If we want to renew our connection to Hashem we must first get rid of that which comes from the outside and gather around the points of goodness, good thoughts and the true wisdom of the Torah of Moshe Rabbeinu.

Moshe reveals that even though we’ve sinned, Hashem’s affection is still with us, a love of a Father to His children which we will never be able to imagine.  During this gathering Moshe connected himself to every single Jew, from the greatest to the lowliest.  Even the lowest Jew received the astonishing gift of connecting to Moshe.  This is possible because Tzaddikim see the G-dliness in everything, even when it’s deeply concealed in the very dwelling of defilement itself.  When Moshe looks at the smallest Jew he sees only the Jewish point in him.  This is what enables Moshe to connect himself with everyone.

To Gather So We Can Pray

Purim is right ahead of us.  The story of the Megila eerily reflects the present times we live in.  The people of Israel need mercy and pardon like never before.  We are all stuck deep to our necks in the mud of trouble and difficulties.

We watch over millenniums at the marvels of the Megila and wordlessly wonder if ניסים can happen today as well.  Can we dream of miracles?  The answer is that it is not only possible, but essential.  What we need to do now is gather.

Gathering creates unity and unity brings the essential faith to the heart of the nation.  A Jewish heart must be nourished with emunah.  To pray and achieve deliverance, we have to be glowing with the pride of belonging to the Kingdom of Hashem.  When the people of Israel can cast off the filth that became mixed in with the life of emunah and gather around our points of goodness, emunah, and hope, the gates of prayer will be flung wide open.

VaYakhel renews the living remembrance of the love of a merciful Father.  Getting together and expelling the external influences kindle the Jewish fire in our hearts again.  It is what allows us to know that no matter how low we might have sunk; His love is still with us.  At anytime and anyplace we can get together and evoke new compassion upon us all.

All we have to do, is do it.

 

 

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