Monday, July 23, 2018

Breslov Shabbaton & Healing Retreat

At BRI Women’s 2nd Annual Elul Retreat
at the Spectacular Vallevue Estate, Morristown, NJ

Stay for the Entire Healing Shabbaton or Come for the Sunday Healing Retreat
Our exciting line-up of teachers includes: 
World-renowned speaker Rabbi Jonathan Rietti. BRI Women’s Chaya Rivka Zwolinski. BRI’s Yossi Katz and Fraidy Katz, and functional medicine and nutrition expert Georganne Backman Garfinkel.

Classes, Workshops and Talks: Breslov meditation, healthy eating, healing our emotions/emotional wellness, healing relationships, healing from cancer, Rebbe Nachman’s stories, preparing for Rosh Hashana and much more.

Time for You: Learn, meditate, swim, sing, and just relax, too. Join a diverse group of inspired, like-minded women and experience the healing power of Rebbe Nachman’s teachings in a beautiful natural setting.

Full Healing Shabbaton (Including Sunday Day Retreat) $450 /$499

Sunday Healing Retreat $99 if you register before Aug 15, $110 after Aug 15.
Email or call BRI Women at 347-471-1098 for more information or to register.
Last year we sold out—so make sure to reserve your spacetoday!

Shabbaton sign in starts at 2 pm on Friday, August 17. Sunday sign in starts with brunch at 9:00 am, August 19, first speaker of the day is Rabbi Rietti at 10:15. Vallevue Estate is at 33 Picatinny Rd Morristown New Jersey.

Monday, July 16, 2018

BreslovCampus Presents

The Spirit of Moshiach 
Sunday, July 15th—10:00 AM (EDT); 5:00 PM (Israel Time)
With Meir Elkabas

Every person possesses an aspect of Moshiach. Learn how to preserve that special holiness inside and draw closer to God as taught by Rebbe Nachman in the Kitzur Likutey Moharan II, Lesson 32. There will be time for questions and answers.

Choose which way you want to join the event:

1. Live Class Link:

2. Join via Phone: +1 (917) 338-1451 | See all numbers
Conference PIN: 912557#

3. Join via Mobile Application:
Room ID: 463-852-658

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He Tore His Royal Robe: The Destruction of the Holy Temple 
Sunday, July 15th—11:00 AM (EDT); 6:00 PM (Israel Time)
For women only
With Yehudis Golshevsky

Lamentations says of the destruction of the Holy Temple, “Beetza emrato”, “He executed His word.” These stark words can also be read as “He tore His royal robe.” In this class about the destruction of the Beit Hamikdash in Likutey Moharan, Lesson 219, Rebbe Nachman shows us how the degree of Godliness revealed to a person is commensurate with the degree of humility he has attained.

Choose which way you want to join the event:

1. Live Class Link:

2. Join via Phone: +1 (917) 338-1451 | See all numbers
Conference PIN: 567669#

3. Join via Mobile Application:
Room ID: 828-286-137

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The Holy Temple and You
Wednesday, July 18—8:30 PM
Women Only
With Chaya Rivka Zwolinski

Why was the destruction of the Holy Temple, so devastating for Jews and non-Jews alike? Why do Jews yearn for the rebuilding of the Temple and return from the exile? How does the exile affect each one of us? Discover insights from Rebbe Nachman of Breslov and learn how you can make a difference. There’ll be time for questions and discussion.

Choose which way you want to join the event:

1. Live Class Link:

2. Join via Phone: +1 (917) 338-1451 | See all numbers
Conference PIN: 228877#

3. Join via Mobile Application:
Room ID: 318-967-614

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A Prayer for Moshiach

By Rabbi Noson Sternhartz
Likutey Tefillos I, 142
Translated by Dovid Sears, “Entering the Light” (Breslov Research Institute)

Our God and God of our fathers: have mercy upon us, and confer merit upon us, and speedily send us our righteous Moshiach. He will fix this broken world, as well as all of the worlds from the highest to the lowest, for they all depend upon this lowest World of Action (Olam ha-Asiyah). Have pity on him and on us, and send him speedily and in peace, that he may bring everything to perfection, with the most awesome and wondrous tikkun (rectification).

Enlighten us with true perception, and open our eyes and hearts to Your Torah. Thus, may we be privileged to understand all the words of the Torah lucidly, according to their truth, so that no question or doubt will remain in our minds concerning any law or path among the laws and paths of the Torah. Rather, may everything be clarified beyond any shadow of a doubt, even those questions and doubts about which the great tzaddikim of former times declared "teiku." The Moshiach will straighten out them all, untangle them and make them understandable to us, and rectify the paradigm of "teiku" that includes all of the uncertainties in the world—both those that perplexed the great sages of Israel concerning the laws and paths of the Torah, and those that have perplexed everyone, from the greatest of the great to the smallest of the small.

So many of us yearn with all of our hearts to return to You! However, the paths of return and the paths of Torah are hidden from us, and our hearts are torn by doubts and deep uncertainties about which course of action to take. This is especially true of me, as I stand before You today. You know all that I have been through, and how many doubts and conflicts have bothered me about so many things. These confusions are greater than ever today, in so many areas of my life and in so many ways. My soul is so disturbed that sometimes it seems more than I can bear.

Master of the Universe, Master of the Universe! Almighty God of truth, "great in advice, and mighty in deed!" (Jeremiah 32:19). Have compassion on the Jewish people and upon me, and send a wondrous illumination from the World of Rectification (Olam ha-Tikkun), for which our righteous Moshiach will serve as the spiritual channel. Then "teiku" will be transformed to the most wondrous tikkun, and all questions will be resolved and all doubts clarified, even the subtlest "doubts of doubts"—and we will constantly receive perfect, good, and true advice about everything in the world.

In Your compassion, teach us the proper way to mourn and lament over the destruction of the Holy Temple at all times, particularly every night at the exact moment of chatzos, and during the three summer weeks known as "between the straits (bein ha-metzarim)." On the Ninth of Av, the bitter day when both Holy Temples were destroyed, may we recite the Book of Lamentations and kinnos (elegies) sincerely, with a broken and humble spirit, and pour out our hearts like water before You. Let us "put our mouths to the dust—perhaps there is hope" (Lamentation 3:29), and strike our heads against the walls of our hearts, due to our suffering and travail, as a nation and as individuals. How many years have passed since the devastation of our holy city and Holy Temple! How has the glory of the "House of Our Life" been removed! The trouble of each day is worse than the day before, especially now, when harsh and cruel decrees have been issued against our people, beyond our ability to endure. Our lives hang in the balance; our hearts are filled with dread at the thought of the harsh decrees that those that hate us wish to carry out against us, God forbid.

God of mercy, give us the emotional strength to empathize with the plight of the Jewish people, as well as to face our own spiritual dilemma. Give us the courage to break our hearts before You, and pour forth our supplication like water before You in complete sincerity, admitting the greatness of our sins and transgressions, and the “stiff-necked” behavior (Exodus 32:9) that has prolonged our exile and caused all of our grief.

"Let us raise our hearts to our hands unto God in heaven" (Lamentations 3:41). Let us resort to the art of our holy ancestors, and cry and wail bitterly; let us wander the streets and alleys and market places, supplicating the One Above "until He looks down upon us from heaven" (Lamentations 3:50), until He awakens His mercy upon us, and speedily consoles us, and delivers us from our afflictions and sufferings, collectively and individually.

May God enlighten us, even now, with a ray of the light of our righteous Moshiach, thus to mitigate all harsh decrees, and end all of our grief and travail. May He constantly shine upon us the light of truth, and constantly heal us with new and wondrous tikkunim, and answer and elucidate for us all doubts and questions and quandaries. May we constantly receive the right advice, according to the highest truth, so that we will return to You in truth, speedily and with a whole heart, thus to engage in Torah and prayer and the performance of commandments and good deeds, all the days of our lives. Guard us and save us from all sin and transgression, so that we never veer aside from Your will, neither to the right nor the left (cf. Deuteronomy 5:29). May Your compassion be aroused on behalf of Your children, and may You speedily bring us our righteous Moshiach, and redeem us completely, with the final and eternal redemption.

Then the paradigm of "teiku" will be transformed to "tikkun" to the ultimate degree of perfection; that is, the letter nun from the word kinnos (elegies) will be transferred to the end of the word teiku, thus to convert "teiku" to "tikkun." All lamentations will cease throughout the world, and be remade into vessels of divine perception.

O Merciful One, Master of Deliverance, Master of Consolation! We beg You, console us from all of our afflictions, and help us to accomplish our work in this world. Spread forth upon us Your "Tent of Peace"; prepare for us good advice, and save us speedily for the sake of Your Name. Grant us the knowledge of absolute truth. Save us from the many doubts and confusions and uncertainties that interfere with our ability to serve You. Confer upon us perfect and true advice at all times, so that we may return to You in truth, and become the people You want us to be, now and forever, amen sela.

Tisha BeAv

Tisha be-Av is one of the five times during the year that Breslover Chassidim daven together ki-vasikin. The Kinnos are recited with kavannah until the late morning. The recitation of Kinnos is taken seriously, as are all the laws of Tisha B’Av.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Mysteries of Memory

An excerpt from a letter by Rabbi Gedaliah Kenig, in honor of his yahrtzeit, 23 Tammuz
(Shaarey Tzaddik, Vol. I, Letter 3, sec. 1, pp. 30-31)

Translated by Dovid Sears

The truth is that memory only belongs in the category of "beyond time" and "beyond nature." For the greater the power of memory, the more time diminishes. "Go and see what people say" [Reb Gedaliah invokes a familiar phrase of the Gemara] -- when people are conversing about their memories of events that happened long ago, you will sometimes hear them say, "It seems to me as if this happened today. It is as if I see it before my eyes right now!" Even though the event took place long ago, nevertheless, due to the "sparkling" of his memory, the matter "lights up" for him as if it happened today. For the light of memory obliterates the boundaries of time.  

There are many, many aspects of memory, one higher than the next, until there is an aspect of memory where time is utterly non-existent; for [this profound memory] transcends time. This is openly discussed in Likutey Moharan I, 7 ("Vi-eileh ha-mishpatim -- emunah"), in the formerly deleted portions (hashmatos) related to what is written there: that prayer is spiritually beneficial (mesugal) for one's memory. This is because prayer is an aspect of faith and the miraculous. They are all aspects of Divine Providence and the dimension beyond nature and beyond time.

(This is also discussed in Likutey Halakhos, Laws of Washing the Hands in the Morning 2:6; see there. Study further Likutey Moharan I, 37:2 ["Dirshu Hashem vi-uzo"); and this is clearly understood from Likutey Moharan I, 54 ["Vayehi miketz -- zikaron"]; study well what is written there.)

In a similar vein, the gist of life is an aspect of drawing nearer [to Hashem], attaining unity and nullifying time, as discussed in Likutey Moharan I, 79, in the summary concepts (rashey perakim) that begin, "The voice is the voice of Yaakov." [There, the Rebbe states that] teshuvah (repentance, or return to Hashem) transcends time. And teshuvah is life, as is explained (ibid.) in Lesson 72 ("Chayim nitzchiyim"), s.v. "vi-al yeday zeh na'aseh teshuvah"; see there. For life such as this, which is in the category of "today" and "tomorrow," is not true life -- because one no longer lives in the moment that has passed. Rather, one lives constantly in a different time, and the hour and instant that has passed has "died" and departed.

Therefore, all true life -- which is eternal life, the aspect of "long life" concerning which the Blind Beggar praises himself (see Rebbe Nachman's story, "The Seven Beggars," First Day) -- is only associated with Hashem, Who transcends time (as discussed in Likutey Moharan I, 61) -- and whoever is incorporated into Divinity (as discussed in Lesson 21, "Atika temir u-setim," sec. 11).

This concept is further explained in the comment of the "gaon of our strength," our master, Rabbi Noson, of blessed memory, which begins (ibid.): "Immortality is associated with Hashem alone; for Hashem lives forever. And one who is incorporated into his Source -- that is, within the Blessed One -- lives forever, like Hashem"; see there.

And study in addition Likutey Moharan I, 179, as well as Likutey Moharan II, 4:8 ("Es ha-orvim tzivisi likalkilekha"), which further clarifies [these concepts from] Lesson 21.

Reb Gedaliah passed away in 1980 (5740), some 37 years ago. But from his words in this letter, we may understand that now, as during his physical lifetime, he lives the "true life" of the tzaddikim which is untainted by death. May Reb Gedaliah intercede above for all Klal Yisrael and all living creatures in this forgetful realm of "today and tomorrow," and in the merit of the tzaddikim, may we too come to "taste and see that Hashem is good" (Tehillim 34:9), amen. 

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Divine Wisdom: Rabbi Gedaliah Kenig on the Wisdom G-d Grants to the Preeminent Tzaddikim

Painting by Helen Frankenthaler

In honor of Rabbi Gedaliah Kenig's yahrteit, 23 Tammuz.

Excerpted from “Chayei Nefesh: An Exploration of the Role of the Tzaddik,” translated by Dovid Zeitlin and Dovid Sears (still unpublished)

Section 21.  

Our Sages state in
Sanhedrin 38b that the Holy One, blessed be He, showed Adam all future generations and their Torah exegetes, as well as all future generations and their wise men. Know and believe that implicit within this statement is that God actually showed Adam all things great and small which ever existed or ever will exist [within the categories] of World, Year and Soul, [1] corresponding to Space, Time and Man
- in general, in particular, and down to the smallest detail, as related to every individual in every generation until the last, as long as the worlds exist. This is an idea that the mouth cannot express, nor the heart conceive.

Adam decreed upon every detail of every created thing that it should be what it should be, as stated in Genesis 2:19: "And the Lord God formed all the beasts of the field and all the birds of the sky from the earth and brought [each one] to Adam to know what to call it; and whatever Adam called it, according to the living spirit within it, that was its name"; study Ramban's explanation of this passage,
ad loc.          

Moreover, it states in
Bereishis Rabbah 17:5: 

The Holy One, blessed be He, told the ministering angels that [Adam's] wisdom was superior to their own. He brought [each of] the domestic animals, wild beasts, and birds before them and asked "What is its name?" But they did not know. He caused them to pass before the man and asked, "This one, what is its name?" [Adam] answered, "This is an ox, this is an ass, this is a horse, this is a camel..." [Then God asked] "And you, what is your name?" He replied, "It is right that I should be called 'Adam,' because I was created from the '
adamah (ground).’ " [Then God asked], "And as for Me, what is My name?" He answered, "It is proper that you be called A-D-N-Y, since you are the Adone (Master) over all of Your creation."  Rabbi Acha said interpretively, "I am A-D-N-Y, that is My name, for it is the name that Adam called Me."

In addition, see what the Midrash says on the Scriptural phrase, "And this one he called 'Woman' " (Genesis

The Rabbis expound in
Berakhos 31a and Sota 46b:  "[It is written,] 'In a land which a man never traversed, nor did a man dwell' (Jeremiah 2:6). This teaches us that every land upon which Adam decreed habitation became inhabited, and every land upon which Adam did not decree habitation remained uninhabited."

With this, one may understand the words of Rabbi Chaim of Volozhin as they were transmitted by his close disciple, the great scholar and
tzaddik, Rabbi Yosef Zundel of Salant. In the biography, "Ha-Tzaddik Rabbi Yosef Zundel mi-Salant vi-Rabosav," Rabbi Eliezer Rivlin cites the first letter that Rabbi Yosef Zundel wrote to his son, Rabbi Aryeh Leib: 

Rabbi Zvi Yanniver told me that he once traveled to Vilna with our master, the illustrious Rabbi Chaim of Volozhin, and his son-in-law, Rabbi Moses Mordechai.  At noontime they stopped to rest briefly at an inn. The Rav [Rabbi Chaim] said to his companions: "Let it be known to you that Adam decreed that at this moment we all should be at this inn." He spoke further about the subject, and those present were astounded, not by [the concept of] Divine Providence, but by the fact Adam had decreed this. However, when he observed their amazement, he desisted from speaking.

It would seem that he wished to reveal more, but their amazement prompted him to leave off in the middle. However, with trepidation, I would venture to reveal some of this secret, since among us [i.e. Chassidim], thank God, these matters are not surprising at all. On the contrary, they are rooted in our very lifeblood; in fact, they are foundations of our holy faith. Therefore, I will take the liberty to tell you what seems to be the continuation of the discussion, according to my humble understanding. Based on the explanations of our Sages, it is proper to believe that many other
tzaddikim, the exceptional ones of all time, knew all this. It is explained in the Targum Yonasan ben Uziel on the weekly Torah portion Vayechi, as well as in Rashi's commentary, ad loc., and in the Midrash Rabbah; seek there, and you shall find. 

Exodus Rabbah 32:7, it states:

The Holy One, blessed be He, showed Jacob the presiding angels over each and every kingdom . . . He showed him how many kings, territorial rulers, and local overlords would arise from every nation.  And just as He showed them to Jacob during their ascent, so did He show them to Jacob during their decline.

The same text also states (ibid. 40:2):

The Holy One, blessed be He, called him.  "Moses," He said to him . . .  And what did the Holy One, blessed be He, do? He brought him the Book of Adam and showed him all the generations that would arise from the beginning [of creation] until the Resurrection of the Dead, each generation and its kings, each generation and its leaders, each generation and its prophets.

Vayikra Rabbah
26:7 [also addresses this theme]:

Rabbi Joshua of Sichnin said in the name of Rabbi Levi: [The Scriptural phrase, "Say unto the Priests..." (Leviticus 21:1)] comes to teach us that the Holy One, blessed be He, showed Moses each generation and its judges, each generation and its kings, each generation and its sages, each generation and its leaders, each generation and its viceroys, each generation and its constables, each generation and its benefactors, each generation and its thieves, each generation and its robbers, each generation and its prophets; and He showed him Saul and his sons…

Bamidbar Rabbah
23:4 teaches:

The Holy One, blessed be He, showed Moses all that ever existed and [all that] would come to pass. He showed him that Samson would arise from [the tribe of] Dan and Barak ben Avinoam from [the tribe of] Naftali; and likewise, every generation and its interpreters [of Torah], every generation and its judges, every generation and its rulers, every generation and its transgressors, every generation and its righteous ones...  It teaches that He showed him

And the holy
Zohar (Shelach 157a) states:

"And God showed him all the land"  (Deuteronomy 34:1).  Not this alone, but all those who are destined to arise in every generation, all of them did He show to Moses.

See further in the
Amaros Tehoros II, 5, of our master, Rabbi Menachem Azariah of Fano, where he writes in the discourse "Eim Kol Chai (Mother of All Life)":

And this shows the great perfection of Moses: His mind could traverse the future without influencing the course of events, as we have explained elsewhere concerning the knowledge of the Creator Himself. [Moses] saw what would be chosen in the future, not prefaced by any prophetic message whatsoever; rather, "he looked upon the form of God"
- that is, he shared in the perception of the Holy One, blessed be He, of all that exists aside from Himself, including matters of the future before they have come into being.  [All this] was Moses worthy to clearly apprehend...

The same text continues (ibid. II, 3):

In truth, all prophecies preexisted within [the revelation at]
Mount Sinai. Thus the Sages declared, "Prophecy does not rest upon anyone but one who is wise, strong and wealthy," and some add "tall in stature" [qualities that applied to Moses]. In addition to the above-mentioned qualities, [those later prophecies] must all come from Moses. In other words, if they were originally given over to Moses at Mount Sinai and subsequently to the later prophets, they are acceptable; but if not [they are not acceptable], because it is forbidden for any prophet to innovate...

[Rabbi Menachem Azariah of Fano] also states: "Divine speech does not rest upon any other prophets except by means of the channel of prophecy, the source of which is Moses"  (ibid. II, 4).

Certainly, each of the chosen
tzaddikim, the unique ones throughout the generations since Moses, peace be upon him, also knew and apprehended all this -- such as the Godly Tanna, Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai; and after him, our master, [Rabbi Isaac Luria,] the holy ARI; and after him, our master, Rabbi Israel, the Baal Shem Tov; and after him, the "tzaddik who is the foundation of the universe," the “flowing brook, source of wisdom," our master, Rabbi Nachman, the “light of lights,” may their merits shield us. [2]

To some extent this is explained in Alim Le-trufah, [
"Collected Letters"] of our teacher, Rabbi Nosson, [foremost disciple of Rabbi Nachman of Breslev]. In Letter 350, he writes to his holy disciples:

[Rabbi Nachman of Breslev] was given over entirely to the most wondrous and awesome newness and vitality, which enabled him to uplift and to renew souls that had descended and fallen for thousands of years, enduring many incarnations. I know and truly believe that our master and teacher [Rabbi Nachman] thoroughly knows, in general and detail, whatever happens to all souls throughout the generations, from the day that the Lord created man upon the earth, down to the present, and until the ultimate end of days. He knows all the ways to rectify each one; and all of these understandings are a small matter to him, for he apprehended divine perceptions that are utterly impossible to grasp intellectually, as it is written, "No thought can grasp You at all"
(Tikkunei Zohar, Second Introduction).
Indeed, all of the holy true
tzaddikim, particularly these unique ones of all generations, the select of the tzaddikim, who personify the innermost point of truth among the tzaddikim, exerted themselves all the days of their holy lives with profound and amazing self-sacrifice to rectify all worlds and all souls, both of the living and of the dead, in general and in particular, down to the most infinitesimal detail, as is known and explained in our sacred literature. And our righteous Messiah, may he come speedily in our days, will bring all these rectifications to their final and perfect conclusion, for he will be the complete embodiment of all the true tzaddikim and all the exceptional tzaddikim throughout the generations, as all of our holy books concur. This is specifically clarified in the words of our Rebbe in Likkutei Moharan I, Lesson 58, "T’las Nafkin mi-Chad," section 2; and in Likkutei Moharan II, Lesson 83, "Al Yedei Tikkun ha-Bris."   

[The Messiah] knows all that can be known; nothing is concealed from him, and nothing is hidden from his sight, as is explained in
Sichos ha-RaN, 93.  It also states in the awesome holy book, Sippurei Ma'asiyos, [3] in the remarks [the Rebbe] made after the story The Burgher and the Pauper, that the Messiah will tell the Jewish people the meaning of everything they went through each and every day, and which each individual Jew experienced in particular. Therefore, it will be within his ability and he will be fully empowered to rectify the entire universe, as it is written, "All nations shall flow toward [the Messiah]" [4] (Isaiah 2:2). All the world's inhabitants, and all who dwell upon the earth, will call upon the name of the Lord; and all the earth shall know God, and “the glory of God shall fill the world,” amen.

[1] Sefer Yetzirah, chapter 3, et passim.

[2] These five tzaddikim are designated as such in Chayei Moharan 279; cf. below, Chayei Nefesh 34.

[3] Rabbi Nachman of Breslev's thirteen mystical stories, which he told during the last years of his life.

[4] In its literal sense, the verse refers to the Holy Temple. However, in this context the author relates the   verse to the Messiah, as indicated by Likkutei Moharan I, 16.

Rabbi Gedaliah Aharon Kenig's Yahrtzeit

The 23rd of Tammuz is the yahrtzeit of Rav Gedaliah Aharon Kenig (sometimes spelled "Koenig"). Reb Gedaliah was the foremost disciple of Rabbi Avraham Sternhartz and founder of the Breslov community in Tzefat, Israel.

For a brief biography, see here:

An essay on the Breslov mesorah in general, which explains the places of leaders such as Reb Gedaliah, Reb Avraham, and others, appears here:

The kehillah that Reb Gedaliah and his sons and talmidim worked so hard to build is now led by his son, Rabbi Elazar Mordechai Kenig.

The Tzefat Breslov website is linked on the sidebar of this blog.

May Reb Gedaliah intercede above on behalf of Klal Yisrael, and may the seed he planted in the mountains of Galil HaElyon flourish and grow!

Yahrtzeit of Rabbi Levi Yitzchok Bender

The yahrtzeit of Rabbi Levi Yitzchok Bender, zal, the central figure in the Breslov Kehillah of Me'ah She'arim after WWII, will be on 22 Tammuz.

For a brief biography of Reb Levi Yitzchok, see here.

A rare video of one of his shmuessen in Yiddish is also available online here.

May Reb Levi Yitzchok intercede above on behalf of all Klal Yisrael.

A Sichah From Reb Levi Yitzchok Bender, zatzal

Translation by Rabbi Perets Auerbach

In honor of the yahrtzeit of Rabbi Levi Yitzchok Bender, zatzal, 22 Tammuz, we are posting a sichah (talk) he once gave, as published in Ish Chasidekha.

Talk 65:

No Good Desire Is Lost - How Much More So a Good Word!

One who is close to a true tsaddik for many days and years and who stands and serves him and hears his words, even though he may hear many talks and stories from which he cannot derive any personal benefit and advice – nevertheless, if he merits, in the course of time, he will understand retroactively how to take out of what he already heard tremendous advice in serving Hashem. Every single word that he heard many years ago will be of great benefit to him, and they will invigorate him.

For afterwards he will merit to understand and say, “This is what my Master hinted to me at that time!” And often wondrous hints and great advice will sprout in his mind from all that he heard previously – if he pays careful attention to the past lessons.

In the home of a certain renowned tsaddik there was a completely simple person, whom we may call a ‘prostok.’ He always stood and served this tsaddik, and he heard many words from him. He did not understand anything or benefit from these words at all. But he had great faith in the tsaddik and his holy words, even though he did not properly grasp them. He still stood and attended the tsaddik in truth.

After many years, the tsaddik passed away. Then this simple person began to remember. Whenever he came to some matter, he recalled the words of the tsaddik and said to himself, “This is something that the tsaddik had in mind and hinted to me at that time, and so many times.” He retroactively grasped the intent of the tsaddik and the allusions that he hinted to him in his words many years ago.

Thus, he understood and became a kosher, God-fearing person. He was very prominent in his city and became a head and leader for all of those good Jews who wanted to fear Hashem – all who were in the city of that tsaddik. They all submitted themselves to him.[1]

Every Word Makes an Impression!

Initially the simple man did not understand what was being said. Only as time passed did he begin to fathom what each word meant.

This also applies to each individual, relative to himself. You may speak words in hisbodedus. You may talk and talk, but not experience any benefit in speaking. Words repeat themselves without any vitality and feeling. Nevertheless, do not desist. Continue to talk. In the end, when you wake up, you will delve and see how each word made an impression.

How is the Heart of Stone Broken?

There is a well-known analogy about water dripping on a stone for many years. It was hard rock, but in the end the water made a hole in it.[2]

To the observer, it appears that the hole was made in one day. Because yesterday it was not, and today it is here. Due to this, one who is not perceptive thinks that this is a sign that the whole thing was made today.

But an intelligent person knows that a hole in a stone is not made in one day or one night. For years water dripped on this stone. And every single day it made some impression on the stone. Although it was a very slight impression that was not at all apparent to the eye, that water made some change in the stone. But when in the end the stone is opened and a hole breaks out in it, one realizes that all of the days that the water dripped on the stone combined. Only together were they successful in penetrating the stone.

The heart of a person is like a stone. It is hard like a rock. It is necessary to lift the heart to the brain and soften it. But one does not feel any movement. He talks and talks and feels nothing. The heart is left a “heart of stone,” despite all of the words that he poured forth day by day. But, as time goes on – if he does not let up, he does not get weary and does not despair, but continues to pour forth speech – it will turn into a “heart of flesh.”[3]

Certainly in one day the heart of hard stone is not transformed into a soft heart of flesh. When it does happen, one who is not smart thinks that it is made through recent words which were said with inspiration. The proof being that yesterday no change had yet happened to him and suddenly today he sees and feels that something happened. He makes it dependent upon his last words.

But it is not so – not at all! In one day a heart of stone does not become a heart of flesh. Rather, all of the words got together – no word was for naught. When the heart is opened this was only because all of the words bubbled and did their job.

Every Bit of Want and Longing Accrues!

This concept does not only apply to words – that there is no word that goes lost, and every single one makes an impression. There is also no desire and ratson that goes for naught. As it says in the holy Zohar, “There is no ratson that is lost.” Even a good desire is not for nothing.

But this needs support. Behold, one may think, I am not actually doing anything. What do I have from merely wanting? But this is not so. Even just a good ratson, some good desire for something holy, endures. No desire is hidden and gone. Rather, it make some impression. In the end, all desires and longings gather and accumulate and accomplish what they have to, when the day comes.[4]

How much more so a word brought out of the mouth. It certainly is not for naught! They gather and act for a person’s good when the time comes.

“I Believe That Hashem Hears Everything!”

But all this requires great faith. Powerful and strong faith, to know clearly that there nothing good is lost. Everything is heard on High. Everything remains forever! All of the great tsaddikim came to their level because of this faith. They believed that each word that one speaks before Hashem – no word at any time and period, whenever it may have been, is lost. No good desire that one had for holiness and spirituality is ever gone. The Rebbe once said, “Even though I have not yet been saved, this is my salvation: that at least Hashem hears my voice when I pray to Him.”

“I Held Him and Let Him Not Go”[5]

This is a great and amazing hischazkus (encouragement). A person should not let up and get tired or despair of seeking. Rather, he should continue to supplicate even if he sees no benefit. He must remain firm in his faith and not give up. He must know surely that not only no word is ever lost, but also no good desire is ever lost. However, to move this heart of stone and elevate it to the brain requires many words. And it certainly does not happen at once. Rather, much time may have to pass until the heart of stone will actually be penetrated. But every single word makes an impression.

Do Not Despair

It could also be that a person not only feels no progress, but on the contrary, he feels more estranged. His heart is cold and frozen. Why continue to speak and try to appease if he doesn’t see improvement, and even instead sees regression. And those same confusions and illusions continue to flood his brain like yesterday and the day before. At times they prevail all the more, and he falls back completely.

The Rebbe writes that it is necessary to add holiness and knowledge for the fallen days. What holiness and knowledge? What did I add today more than yesterday? Who adds today more than yesterday? Even after a year – it is better than last year?

But really, indeed it is so – there is improvement, even if I don’t notice it. In the end, at some time this will apparent to the naked eye, in a revealed, clear, shining manner. The blessed fruit of of his good yearning and words. Then it will be clear and visible that not even one was for naught, chas v’shalom. Rather, he accomplished great things.

The Test of “I Said That I Worked for Nothing”

We find in Chazal about the holy Amora Rabbi Abahu, that when he left this world, they showed him thirteen rivers of pure balsam oil.[6] Upon this huge reward he was astonished and said: “All this for Abahu? And I said that I am working for nothing?!”

There are those who are not shown what they accomplished for a whole lifetime until the end.  Even though there are those who are shown right away, for others this is there entire test: that they never see any change. But one must believe that there is nothing that goes for naught, despite the fact that he doesn’t see any progress until the last day. Even after all of the mitsvos and good deeds and good desires and words of his entire life. This is the test of his lifetime. It is a difficult test that requires mesirus nefesh to withstand.

On the contrary, sometimes the yetser hara sees that a person is sincere and serves Hashem even though he doesn’t feel anything. Then the yetser hara leaves the world aside and turns only to him. He deprives him of any taste and feeling in devotion and confuses his mind, saying that all of his words, desires, and doings are not worth anything. Through this, he is prone to make him fall completely, chas v’shalom.

Therefore, it is incumbent upon a person to know and to carve into his heart that a big part of serving Hashem is standing steadfast and constantly advancing, even if one does not feel any satisfaction, any feeling, or any vigor in his service.

A Shoe of Honey and Sugar

In the Rebbe’s story of “The Chacham and the Tam,” the Clever Son and the Simple Son, the quality of the Tam was that he always remained strong and happy in his portion. He showed signs of extraordinary joy over everything his hands made – even if it wasn’t done properly. Over the crooked shoe of three corners that he made, the Tam exclaimed, “What a sweet shoe, a shoe of honey and sugar!”

How is it possible to say such expressions about a shoe? Especially since the shoe was not made properly?

But this is understood based on what is known, that the three-cornered shoe hints to Tefilah – the three daily prayers. These exaggerated expressions of sweetness and delight were said about Tefilah.

The holy Tam enlivened himself in his prayer. Despite that it was imperfect, he was bubbling with intense delight, pleasure, and sweetness from it. He did not stop loving it until he said that it is “sweet like honey and sugar.”

Through Hischazkus There is Ascent and Uplifting

What do we need to learn from the practice of the Tam?

How is this relevent to us?

This is how one merits to attain all of the good that the holy Tam accomplished. Only so – when there is chizuk and vitality, even if our service is incomplete.

The Rebbe said that he heard from tsaddikim who testified about themselves that they did not reach their level except through hischazkus.

What comes out is that every word and good deed is important and excellent – just that it is necessary to believe this. We must know well that indeed, speech accomplishes wonders above, and there is no word that goes for naught. Even if at first it seems ineffectual, in the end all of the words gather together and accomplish great and precious things. Then a person will merit to see with his very eyes that he did not toil for nothing.

[1] Based on Chayei Moharan 544.
[2] Sichos HaRan 234; cf. Avos deRabbi Nasan 6:2 regarding Rabbi Akiva’s beginnings.
[3] Based on “I will remove form you the heart of stone and give you a lev basar [heart of flesh]” (Yechezkel). The letters of LB BSR/lev basar form BRSLB/Breslov.
[4] See Likutey Moharan II, 48.
[5] Shir HaShirim 3:4.
[6] Bereshit Rabbah 62:1.