Emunah Based on the Teachings of Rebbe Nachman of Breslov

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Halachos pertaining to the trip to Rebbe Nachman’s Tomb on Rosh Hashanah

By HaRav Shimon Anshin, Shlit”a – Rosh Hashana 5770

Departure Times:

1. One may leave for Uman during the night as the injunction of departing on a journey ‘b’chi tov’ (day time) does not pertain to a journey which fulfills a Torah precept.

2. One may leave after day break for the same reason.  When doing so however, it is best to recite the morning blessings first, and if leaving less than 50 minutes before sunrise, to recite Krias Shema.

Accompaniment:

1. One should make every effort to have someone accompany him at least 4 amot (~6 feet) from one’s door.  Chazal says that one who is accompanied 4 amot at the beginning of his journey, is protected from injury on that journey.  If those accompanying cannot leave the house, they can accompany him 4 amot towards the door.

2. The traveler should be wished to go TO peace and not IN peace.

3. One who has not yet davened, may only come to wish the traveler a safe journey if he intends to do the dvar mitzvah of accompaniment as well.

The Wayfarer’s Prayer:

1. If there is 4 kilometers of uninhabited area on the way to the airport, Tefilat Haderech should be recited on the way to the airport while having in mind that the recital is for the plane trip as well.

2. If there isn’t a 4 kilometer uninhabited area on the way to the airport, one should say Tefilat Haderech on the plane immediately before going down the takeoff runway.  One who recited the prayer earlier fulfilled his obligation.  If one did not say the tefillah before takeoff, one should say it as soon as possible.

3. One who recited the standard Tefilat Haderech, may recite the special prayer composed for air travel.

4. If travel lasts for more than one day and one sleeps in a bed at night, the prayer should be recited again when traveling the next day.  If one slept, but not on a bed, the prayer should be said up to but not including the blessing at the end.

5. One should learn Torah on the way or at least recite Tehillim.  As Chazal says, “One who travels and turns his heart to emptiness…

Tallit and Tefillin:

1. One should take his Tallit and Tefillin as carry-on luggage so that they are always available.  One never knows what situations can arise when traveling.

2. If the bag holding the Tallit and Tefillin has the dimensions of a square tefach, it may be placed on the floor.

3. It is forbidden to sit on a suitcase that is holding Tefillin, unless one is doing so to prevent the theft of the Tefillin.

Sleeping on the way:

When sleeping in one’s clothes, care should be taken not to use one’s clothes as a pillow, as this causes forgetfulness.  If there is something between one’s head and the clothes, then it is acceptable.

Washing hands upon waking:

1. One who inadvertently falls asleep on a chair at night, is not obligated to wash one’s hands, but it is preferable to do so.  If he intentionally fell asleep, he must wash his hands.  If there is no cup available, one may wash without one.  One may wash in the airplane bathroom.

2. If one does not have water and would like to learn, he may wipe his hands on a towel – provided he wipes the entire hand – front, back and between the fingers until the wrist.  B’dieved one may wipe only the fingers until the palm of one’s hand.  This is just for cleanliness and does not remove the ‘bad spirit’ – but one should not refrain from Torah learning due to an inability to wash one’s hands.

3. One sleeping on the top of a bunk bed is not required to have the water brought to him.  He can come down in order to wash his hands even though he is traversing 4 amot.

Eating prior to dawn:

1. It is forbidden to eat more than the size of an egg’s volume of food for half an hour prior to daybreak.  The Zohar mentions that one should not eat from midnight as well.  After daybreak it is forbidden to eat even less than an egg’s volume of food.  One who was eating before the half an hour started, can continue to eat until daybreak.

2. Special care should be taken regarding this halachah since on an airplane one is not always aware when daybreak is approaching.

3. A weak person may eat.  Everyone is allowed to drink.

4. On Tzom Gedalia, since one will not be eating the entire day, one may eat during the half an hour before the fast, but it is preferable to plan in advance to eat before the half an hour prior to daybreak.

Earliest Davening times:

1. Korbonos – preferably after daybreak but may be recited at night.

2. Parshas haKiyor and Terumas haDeshen – may be recited at night leChatchila.

3. The blessing on the Torah – If one slept in a bed at night he may recite these blessings as soon as he wakes up even if it is before midnight.  If one only fell asleep in a haphazard way, i.e. on his chair – there is no need to recite the blessings on the Torah upon waking up in the middle of the night.

4. Elokay Neshomo, blessing for washing hands and blessing on using the bathroom – It is always best to wait until morning prayers to recite these blessings.  If one did not sleep on a bed, one should not recite these blessings until he uses the bathroom.

5. Morning Blessings – From Midnight.

6. Pesukei d’Zimra – From daybreak.

7. Krias Shma and it’s blessings – 50 minutes prior to sunrise.

8. Shemona Esrei – Preferably after sunrise, but when one is under pressure they may be recited from daybreak.

9. The exact time of daybreak – this is not clear and changes from place to place.  If one is in a pressured situation he may rely on the opinion of 72 minutes prior to sunrise.

10. Halachic times on an airplane – There is much debate on this topic.  Here are some guidelines:

a. It is not considered night time until it is dark outside the plane.  (If one prayed the evening prayers earlier, he has fulfilled his obligation since one may pray evening prayers prior to nighttime.)

b. For morning times one should wait until the times as they are listed on the ground, except for Shemoneh Esrei which may be recited as soon as there is light on the plane.

c. On the fast of Tzom Gedalia one should not eat from when there is light in the plane until it is dark on the plane.

When to pray when flying at night:

1. If one knows he will have a minyan to daven with properly within the time allotted for Shacharit on the plane – even if he will need to sit down while davening – one should wait until then.

2. If not, wait until 50 minutes before sunrise. In extenuating circumstances one may start at dawn.  (It is preferable to use the calculation of 72 minutes before sunrise.)

3. It is better to pray Mincha Gedola under normal circumstances than Mincha Ketana at the airport.

4. One should try to arrange his flights in a way that disturbances to prayer are minimized as much as possible.

Davening on a plane:

1. One must sit down while davening on a plane or train.  Legs should be placed together and one should not lean back on the seat, but sit upright supporting oneself.

2. The only exception is if there exists a quiet corner where one will be able to concentrate.

3. One must take care not to pray where there are women who are not dressed properly.  If this is the case, he should turn to a different side as much as possible and shut his eyes tightly while praying.

4. Similarly, one must take care not to pray or learn Torah opposite a bathroom or a soiled area.

Sitting and walking near someone who is in the middle of prayer:

1. It is forbidden to sit within a 4 amah radius of someone who is praying, unless the one who is sitting is praying or learning himself.  In front of someone praying one may not sit as far as the person praying can see.  Even if the one sitting wishes to pray or learn, there are those who forbid sitting down in front of one who is praying.

2. One may not traverse in front of one who is praying.  If there is a partition between the one praying and the one traversing and the one praying has his eyes closed, there is room to be lenient.  Furthermore, you may traverse in front of one praying if you need to go to the bathroom.  But upon return, you should wait until he finishes praying.  To hear Shofar, one may traverse in front of someone who is in the middle of prayer.  In a pressurized situation, the Eishel Avrohom permits traversing if the one praying has his eyes closed.

3. The Benches in the Kloiz would be considered partitions for our purposes since they are 10 tefachim high and are ‘permanent’.  However, unfortunately there is an empty space of 3 tefochim at the bottom of the benches and thus they cannot be considered partitions.  The Gabbaim of the Kloiz would do us a great favor if they were to put something in that space to diminish the 3 tefach area.  Leisting or a well knotted string would suffice.

4. On a plane, one may continue to sit near one who started to pray since a plane is not a designated place of prayer.  One may possibly even be able to sit down after his neighbor started praying, since the chairs are partitions.  In either case, one may not pass in front of one praying, or push him.

Airline Meals

1. Even though the rolls are often labeled ‘mezonos’, if one is eating the food in the tray, he needs to wash, make Hamotzi and recite Birkat Hamazon. (According to the Mishna Berura and most poskim, one needs to do this even if he is not eating the entire meal.)

2. The difficulty in washing on the plane is not a valid reason not to wash.  ‘The Wise has eyes in his head’ and when he sees the crew getting ready to serve the food, he should wash when it is still easy to move around and afterwards, wait in his seat, taking care to keep his hands clean until the meal is served.

3. If it is still very difficult, there is an option to first eat whatever is in the tray, and make a ‘post blessing’ on that food, and only then to eat the roll. (According to most poskim, this too does not remove the requirement to wash.)

4. One must ensure that the hot food tray has 2 sealed coverings as the ovens in which the food is cooked is completely treif.  Without 2 coverings, any food cooked in the oven becomes treif as well.

Lighting Candles on Shabbat and Yom Tov

1. There are two requirements with regards to candle lighting:  a) the act of lighting (one fulfills this obligation through one’s wife’s lighting – provided she lights at their home and not at a neighbor, family, etc. ) b)  eating and sleeping in a place that has light.

2. If one’s wife is definitely lighting in their home and the place where one is eating and sleeping has lights, one has no obligation to light candles.  If there is no light where one is eating and sleeping, even when his wife lights at home, he must light with a blessing.

3. If his wife is not lighting at home then:

a. If he is eating and sleeping in one place he should light there with a blessing.  If eating in a public area he should light where he is sleeping and make sure the candles can stay lit until he comes back to sleep.

b. If there is light in the room he is sleeping in, but he wants to fulfill the obligation with candles lit in the dining room – he should ask someone lighting there to give him a portion in the candles (he should preferably hear the blessings from the one who is lighting.)  If candles were bought from monies given by the public for the food, there is no need to ask for a special portion in the candles.  In any case, candles lit in a dining hall should be placed in a central place where they contribute to the honor and enjoyment of Yom Tov.

4. An unmarried person has the status of someone who does not have his wife lighting for him, even if his father is with him.

5. In a room with many people – one should light and designate a portion of the candles for each person there.

6. The time to light is no earlier than ‘plag minchah’ (1 ½ seasonal hours before sunset).  If one lights before candle lighting time – one must accept the onset of Shabbat then.  If lighting at the designated time, there is no need to accept Shabbat then.

7. If one does not have access to a candle, he can use electrical lights.  If they are already on, he should turn them off and then on again having the honor of Shabbat or Yom Tov in mind.

Muktzeh:

1. Make sure that all muktzeh items are removed from your luggage before Shabbat or Yom Tov, otherwise one needs to ask a Rov how to proceed with moving the luggage.

2. Passports, tickets etc. are muktzeh.

3. Food cards are not muktzeh and are not considered ‘business documents’.

Requesting work by a non-Jew:

One should ask a Rov in all cases how and when it is permissible to ask a non-Jew to work on Shabbat or Yom Tov.

Preparing from one day of Yom Tov to the next:

It is prohibited to prepare from one day of Yom Tov to the next until nightfall.  At nightfall even before Kiddush, one can say “Boruch hamavdil bein kodesh l’kodesh” and prepare that which needs to be prepared for the second day.

Using a goy’s vessels:

Ideally one should not use anything that belongs to a goy.  However since the tables, countertops, fridge and gas range must be used if one is renting a goy’s flat, the following guidelines apply:

a. On the table, kitchen counters and fridge – some nylon or aluminum foil should be spread to completely cover the area being used.

b. Gas ranges – these must be covered completely and the grid must be covered a few times over as well.  Kashering the range is NOT an option.

c. Be sure to cut as much aluminum foil as you will need – BEFORE YOM TOV.

Meat left unsupervised:

If a Jew is ‘coming and going’ (i.e. has access and makes use of that access regularly) into and out of the place where the meat was left unsupervised, we do not suspect that the goy who came in switched the meat.

Nesech Wine:

1. If a goy touches wine with his hand or a utensil, or tastes the wine, or picks up and shakes an open bottle of wine – the wine becomes forbidden as Yayin Nesech.  If he only moved the bottle, there is room for leniency where we are speaking about a large monetary loss.

2. A closed bottle has no Yayin Nesech issues.

3. If an open bottle was left open where goyim are about – if the goy has reason to believe that the Jew can come in at any moment, there is no yayin nesech issue.

4.  ‘Cooked wine’ does not have yayin nesech issues.  Pasteurized grape juice is NOT considered cooked, although there are lenient poskim.

5. One should not consume anything produced locally based on rumor and hearsay that such and such is kosher.  A thorough investigation needs to be made into each item, especially since we are in the 10 days of Teshuva where even some things that are permitted by the strict letter of the law, are refrained from.

Placing food under the bed:

1. Ideally no food should be placed under a bed, even if it is sealed and no one is sleeping there.  If food was placed under a bed – one who eats that food has one to rely on.  Food which was sealed is easier to permit if it was left under a bed and even more so if left under a bed that was not being slept on.

2. There are poskim who permit food to be placed under the upper bed of a bunk bed.  Some poskim maintain that if someone other than the owner of the food placed the food under the bed, there is no bad spirit.

Theft of a non-Jew:

Unquestionably forbidden.  Some opinions maintain that this is a biblical prohibition.

Theft of sleep:

One must take extra care to avoid this; especially on the Yemei haDin.

Shatnez:

1. Items which are shatnez prone – MUST be checked before wearing.  All Ukrainian clothes are Shatnez prone.

2. Mattresses are not shatnez prone.  If the mattress is hard and does not bend at all – one may place linen on the mattress even in the case where it is uncertain as to whether or not shatnez exists in the mattress.  (Some poskim permit such a mattress even when it is certainly shatnez)

3. Blankets – need to be checked for shatnez.

THERE WILL BE A SHATNEZ LABORATORY NEAR THE TZIYUN.

The Blessing of Magen Avot (said Friday night)

This blessing should only be said in a place designated for davening that has a Sefer Torah as well.  Therefore, those davening on Friday night in an apartment should not say Magen Avot.  However, if the apartment is used year in and year out for davening on Rosh Hashanah – and if there is a Sefer Torah – the blessing should be said.  Even without a Sefer Torah, some poskim maintain that Magen Avot should be recited in such a place.

If one is not sure if the apartment is used year in and year out – the blessing should not be recited.

TRANSLATOR’S NOTE:

As this is a translation of the original Hebrew, if you unclear on any of the Laws outlined herein in any way whatsoever, please consult with a Posek (Halachic Authority).

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Why We Travel to Tzaddikim for Rosh Hashanah

By HaRav Shmuel Moshe Kramer, Shlit”a – Rosh Hashana 5770

We have no idea what the actual secret of the power of the Rebbe’s Tziyun is. It is something beyond our imagination. But there are a few thoughts which we can understand from the general picture which arises from the words of the Rebbe and R’ Nosson.

The Rebbe wanted to be buried specifically in Uman, between the martyrs of the Uman massacre. He receives strength that from this, and it gives him the ability to then lower himself to the lowest places, to where the worst people in the world have fallen, in order to take them out.

The Rebbe discussed this idea on the last Rosh Hashanah before he passed away, in the discourse recorded in Likutei Moharan II #8, entitled “Tiku- Rebuke”. This lesson is viewed as a sort of will that the Rebbe left us, instructions how we should conduct ourselves after he passes on.

In that lesson the Rebbe explains at length the obligation to come to him for Rosh Hashanah. He discusses how the Tzaddik must sometimes pray with an aspect of “din”, harshness. “Din”, judgment, is the underlying theme of Rosh Hashanah, it being the day the entire world is judged. The Rebbe explains that the Sitra Achara is always trying to swallow up the kedushah of Klal Yisroel, by preventing us from Avodas Hashem and doing Mitzvos properly. Throughout Rosh Hashanah, when the Tzaddik prays with the aspect of din-harshness, he is able to go into the Sitra Achara, into its neck, and to force it to vomit out all the holiness which it has swallowed up.

We can now understand, albeit from afar, what the Rebbe meant when he said, “My thing is Rosh Hashanah.” We know that the Rebbe’s main dealing was with Tikkun, rectifying souls. And we can understand a little why the Rebbe wanted to lie there; in order to pull souls out of the Sitra Achara.

The Significance of Having Many People Participate in the Kibbutz

In the aforementioned Rosh Hashanah lesson, the Rebbe also speaks about the concept of the connecting of souls who come to participate in the Tzaddik’s Kibbutz, in light of an idea discussed in the early Kabalistic classic, Sefer Yetzirah.

When putting together letters in order to form a word, every new letter added to the mix multiplies the possible combinations by incredible amounts. For example, with two letters, there are two possible combinations, i.e. AB and BA. When we would add just one more letter, we already have six possibilities, ABC, ACB, BAC, BCA, CAB, and CBA.

With a fourth letter, the potential combinations are multiplied by four to 24. With five letters, we have 120. By the time you reach 13, you already have 6,227,020,800 combinations. By 17 you have over 355 trillion!

The Rebbe explains that every individual in the Kibbutz is like a letter in a word, which the Sefer Yetzirah calls stones which build a house. All of the participants of the Kibbutz together have the potential to form words, to build buildings. The amount of word-buildings which they can build is dependent upon how many people have joined in the Kibbutz.

As we have just explained, the more people band together, the greater their potential. But if G-d forbid, the letters would not join together, the potential number of combinations is severely diminished. The same way the addition of just one letter-stone can sometimes increase the possibilities by the trillions; the subtraction of just one can decrease it the same way. If a ten-letter word would be split into two five letter words, the amount of combinations is barely a fraction (  ) of what it was before, and who can imagine bigger numbers being split.

All this teaches us an invaluable lesson, about the harmony and unity which Breslover Chassidim must feel between each other, at all times, and especially by the Kibbutz. Every one of us is another stone, and every individual who joins increases the potential of the others amazing amounts. We must therefore be extremely careful to preserve the unity between all the participants and to feel the camaraderie between all of us.

In fact, this is what we have seen by Breslover Chassidim throughout the generations. With this in mind, they had a special Avodah of trying to bring more people to the Tziyun for Rosh Hashanah. The Rebbe himself remarked before his last Rosh Hashanah, that he misses the presence of Reb Ahron, the Rav of Breslov, as well as Bereleh, a simple Chassid who couldn’t make it for Rosh Hashanah. It would seem that the Rebbe had some Tikkun which he has wished to accomplish, but was unable to because just these two were absent.

The same thing is in every generation. These Tikkunim take place every year. Not only that, they become greater and greater from year to year.

From the Weekly Class in Likutei Moharan by R’ Moshe Kramer

The Rebbe teaches in Likutei Moharan I #211, “The reason behind traveling to Tzaddikim for Rosh Hashanah is because the main way to sweeten judgment is through the holiness and purity of thought, which is their source. This is brought in the Zohar, “Everything is purified through thought”. It is impossible to come to a pure mind without attachment to Tzaddikim as we find written, “And Moshe took the bones of Yosef.” Moshe is the aspect of the mind and Yosef is the aspect of Tzaddik. This means to say that there is no way to perfect the mind without attachment to the Tzaddikim. Rosh Hashanah is the source of all the judgments for the whole year and we must then purify the mind in order to sweeten them. For this reason we travel to Tzaddikim, in order to merit holiness of thought.”

The Rebbe explains that the key method for mitigating and sweetening the judgment for the coming year is through properly watching over our thoughts and keeping them pure and holy. What is the reasoning behind this? The cause of all dinim, harsh decrees, are sparks of holiness which have been trapped by the forces of “din”. When we want to rectify them, we must lift them back up to their origin, in the world of “thought”. There, the good, holy part is separated from the dinim and are elevated. Of course, these concepts are very deep Kabalistic ideas, but this is a simple explanation of what the Zohar means, that everything is separated in the mind.

This is what the Rebbe is teaching us regarding our practical obligation. Every one of us has the ability to mitigate stern and harsh decrees, by watching our thoughts and keeping them pure. The holy books all speak about how each person is a world unto himself, and by the way he conducts himself down here in this world, he influences the supernal worlds which he is intrinsically connected to. Chazal allude to this when they exhort us, “Know what is above you”, meaning know how you are affecting the worlds above you. Tzaddikim explain that this is what is meant by, “Man is created in the image of G-d”, that we all have G-d-like capabilities to influence the higher worlds. So when a person is careful with his thoughts, he causes the separation of the holy and good from the dinim to take place in the supernal world of “thought”, and thereby mitigating the harshness.

This is particularly done on Rosh Hashanah, which, in the dimension of time, the Rebbe teaches in Likutei Moharan I #61 is the source of dinim for the whole year. This day is unique, that the dinim attempt to take hold of it more than any other day of the year, and we must sweeten them. Therefore we must be extra careful to watch our minds on Rosh Hashanah, much more than the whole year.

The Rebbe discusses this also in Sichos HaRan, #21, that on Rosh Hashanah, it’s important to be smart and think only positive thoughts, how Hashem will be good to us throughout the coming year. This concept is mentioned in Shulchan Aruch as the reason why we wear festive clothing on Rosh Hashanah even though there is a fear of the impending judgment. When fulfill our obligations, of the special prayers of the day and the blowing of the Shofar, Hashem takes care of His part, to seal us in for a year of good life, and we don’t need to think about it or worry at all. Quite the opposite, we are commanded to rejoice, with awe, through positive thoughts, that everything will undoubtedly be good.

Besides this, the Rebbe in the Likutei Moharan which we are discussing speaks about the purity and holiness of the mind, which is a subject unto itself, as the Rebbe explains that purity of thought can only be achieved through holy power of the Tzaddikim, the mind of the Tzaddik.

We in particular need wholesomeness of thought on Rosh Hashanah, the time when we are being judged for the entire coming year. For certain, we need to come onto the aspect of judgment, for without it the world wouldn’t be able to exist. We must therefore cleanse and purify our minds, so that we can be vindicated by the judgment. This means that the decrees should be sweetened through everyone purifying his thoughts.

This is why we spend the entire day praying, as the Shulchan Aruch advises, that besides the set time for davening, everybody by himself should try saying Tehillim, etc., that the point of all this is in order to keep our minds focused on holiness, Torah, prayer, etc., which is the whole point of Rosh Hashanah.

In order to merit a clear mind, we must have special divine assistance. The Rebbe says that we must travel to Tzaddikim in order to achieve this holiness of thought. This is one of the reasons which the Rebbe revealed to us why we should come to him for Rosh Hashanah. We understand from his words, that although it’s possible to be attached to the Tzaddik wherever you are, it’s still something else to travel to the Tzaddik to be by him.

We must draw attention to the Rebbe’s explanation of this idea onto the verse, “And Moshe took the bones of Yosef…” that in order to merit the aspect of “Moshe”, clarity of mind, we must attach ourselves to “Yosef”vthe Tzaddik. The Tcheriner Rav points out that the verse is talking about the bones of Yosef. This alludes to the Rebbe’s will that we come to him even after he has passed away.

R’ Avrohom b’Rav Nachman in his book, Kochvey Ohr, explains that the same way our first redemption, from Egypt, was through the bones of Yosef, so too the complete and final redemption will be in the merit of us going to the resting of place of the Tzaddik. The fact that so many people merit to go is part of the beginning of the redemption.

This is especially true about Rosh Hashanah. Reb Nosson once said, that every trip of each one of us for Rosh Hashanah, will have a portion in the final redemption, may it be speedily in our days, Amen.

“Whoever believes in me, should come to me for Rosh Hashanah”

A talk given in preparation for the journey to Uman for Rosh Hashanah

By HaRav Nosson Liebermensh, Shlit”a – Rosh Hashana 5770

In the Midrash Rabbah on Parshas Chukas, the sages discuss the mitzvah of Parah Adumah, which the Torah refers to as a “chok” – a law without explanation. They explain that “The Satan and the nations of the world agitate Klal Yisroel by asking, ‘What’s this mitzvah all about? What rationale is behind it?’ The Torah therefore calls it a ‘chok’, as if to say, I have decreed this mitzvah, and you don’t have permission to wonder about it.”

This Midrash needs clarification. Don’t we perform all the mitzvos only because Hashem so decreed? If that’s the case, what’s the novelty of the mitzvah of Parah Adumah relative to all the other mitzvos in the Torah?

It would appear than the explanation is as follows:  all the other mitzvos have at least an amount of reason and understanding which we are capable of grasping. The reasoning behind Parah Adumah, however, is totally hidden from us, and no human mind can grasp its meaning.

The nations of the world therefore harass and pain Klal Yisroel with their words, “what is this burning of the Parah and grinding of its ashes and spraying the water etc.” But we know that the answer is that Hashem has decreed it and we have no permission to wonder about it.

But it’s the Parah Adumah – about which we have no understanding – that has the ability to cleanse the most severe form of impurity, Tumaas Mes, defilement from a corpse. The only way to be purified from it is with the ashes of the Parah.

We find a similar concept in regard to the Rebbe’s Rosh Hashanah. While in the Rebbe’s general advice, although their key effectiveness comes from our faith in each of them, at the same time we see that the Rebbe presented them together with a variety of reasons and explanations, by which someone who needs them explained can be satisfied and convinced of their truth. We are actually expected to look deeply into them and to understand them. Even though, of course we must remember that with all of our understanding, however great it may be, it’s nothing in comparison to their true greatness, as the Rebbe truly grasped them.

The exception to the rule is the Rebbe’s Rosh Hashanah. It’s akin to the mitzvah of Parah Adumah. It’s as if the Rebbe also said, “I have decreed a chok, and you have no permission to ponder it.” Concerning his Rosh Hashanah, the Rebbe didn’t give any reason or explanations as he usually does. Even those lessons in Likutei Moharan where the Rebbe discusses the greatness of spending Rosh Hashanah by the Tzaddik, are lofty ideas, far from our understanding.

An expression of this idea is that we don’t find that concerning any other advice which the Rebbe gives.  An expression such as, “all who believe in me and heed my call should come to me for Rosh Hashanah.” When trying to convince somebody of an idea in a way that it should take hold of him, we don’t employ faith and belief. We try to explain the thought every possible way. But when it comes to Rosh Hashanah, the Rebbe uses this unique expression, “Whoever believes in me.” This is because we have no idea what the Rebbe’s Rosh Hashanah is. Everything depends on what the Rebbe said, “If you believe in me- come to me for Rosh Hashanah…”

In this context, we find Reb Nosson in Likutei Halachos discussing the well-known Zohar that no Teshuvah helps with the blemishing of the Holy Covenant (Pgam Habris) for which the Rebbe insisted that Teshuvah does in fact help and that no one understands that Zohar besides him. Reb Nosson explains how the rectification of that blemish, and the true repentance for the sin, is through believing in Tzaddikim. He explains this in light of Likutei Moharan 29, that all the 365 spiritual “tendons” in a person correspond to the 365 negative commandments in the Torah, and when someone does a specific sin, he causes a blemish in the tendons which corresponds to it.

Concerning this, the Rebbe says that we must always try to purify ourselves by drawing purity and “whiteness” from our minds to our “tendons”. But what should somebody who has blemished his mind through Pgam Habris do?

Reb Nosson explains that the only solution is to nullify his mind to the mind of the Tzaddik. Then the Tzaddik can give him “whiteness” from his own mind in order to purify him from all his blemishes.

In this light, we can understand the following Midrash: “Said R’ Yehoshuah D’Sachnin in the name of R’ Levi: Concerning everything which the Holy One, Blessed be He, told Moshe, he explained to him its impurity and its purification. When they reached the portion of the Kohanim being defiled by a corpse, Moshe asked, ‘Master of the World, if one is defiled is such a way, how will he be purified?’ and He did not answer him… When they reached the portion about Parah Adumah, Hashem told him, ‘At the time I told you about Tumaas Mes, and you asked me what is its purification, this is its purification.’”

The Rebbe teaches in Likutei Moharan 2 that Pgam Habris is also referred to as Tumaas Mes.

Together with what we just saw from Reb Nosson, we can understand that this is what Hashem was telling Moshe. The rectification for Tumaas Mes, which is Pgam Habris, is through a “chok”. Putting aside the mind and nullifying oneself before the Tzaddik, through belief in him, is what purifies and renews the mind.

This is what is alluded to in the Midrash that Hashem told Moshe, “To you I am revealing the reason behind Parah Adumah, and for everyone else it’s a chok.” The explanation was given to Moshe, the true Tzaddik. The same way the Rebbe said that only he understands the aforementioned Zohar. For the mind of the Tzaddik is the Tikkun. But we must approach it as a Chok, by totally giving ourselves over to the Tzaddik.

Therefore, concerning all the obstacles and doubts which we all have, there seems to be a simple solution. Let us all imagine the Rebbe alive, living in Uman, and calling out to us, “Come to me for Rosh Hashanah!” People ask the question, there are people who would rather come a different time, and the Rebbe answers them all, “Whether you eat or not, whether you sleep or not, whether you daven or not, just be by me for Rosh Hashanah, there’s nothing greater than this.”

And then he adds, “The Tikkunim which I accomplish on Rosh Hashanah, I can’t do throughout the whole year.”

Everybody should think about how much he has sacrificed himself to get close to the Rebbe and to Breslov, and to all the advice which he has given. Here we are discussing an awesome thing, such an incredible Tikkun, incomparable to anything else, something which the Rebbe himself told us that there is nothing greater than it. Of course, it’s impossible to demand sacrifice from someone else, but at least let everybody know what we’re talking about. Maybe this will help people to try harder to overcome their obstacles.

Hashem should help us all draw upon ourselves the holiness of Rosh Hashanah, and alleviate all harshness for the coming year, for the entire world.

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