Based on Likutey Moharan I, 14 (“Lehamshikh shalom”)
SUMMARY of main points of the lesson, as presented in the commentary “Orach Mishor,” vol. 2 (end of lesson)
By Rabbi Yitzchak Meir Bar-Lev
Translated and annotated by Dovid Sears
Le-zekher nishmas: Dov Ber ben Yitzchak Yaakov, a”h (yahrtzeit: 29 Shevat)
Avi mori Leib ben Yitzchak Yaakov, a”h (yahrtzeit: 30 Shevat, R”CH)
The first part of this posting may be read here.
Text of Orach Mishor in bold, with explanatory remarks in brackets [DS].
7. By accomplishing the tikkun of yirah / awe, one merits to attain “shalom bayis” (“peace in the home”) in one’s “bones”—i.e., one’s body and soul will achieve harmony and peace.
For there are those who engage in lashon hara (evil speech) and fomenting strife, who go about speaking words of slander and defamation, thus creating conflict between a person and his friends and between a man and his wife.
[Perhaps the Rebbe stresses the harm caused by lashon hara specifically because it is through holy speech—in particular, “sheleimus ha-tefillah,” the perfection of prayer—that universal peace is brought about; see below. Speech has great power, whether to unite or to divide.]
Also in a spiritual sense, the Evil Urge arises, along with its “side,” [i.e., what the Zohar calls the “Sitra Achara,” or Other Side] and they try to beguile a person to follow after them. This creates tremendous conflict between the body and soul, to the point that “there is no peace in my bones because of my sin” (Psalms 38:3). [Hence, the Rebbe’s use of the term “peace in one’s bones” in this lesson for inner peace, or peace between body and soul.] However, through the tikkun of yirah / awe, all strife is nullified, and peace is made, both physically and spiritually. [The experience of yirah / awe is so intense that it puts everything in a different context; conflict exists on the lower level, but not when Godliness is intuitively perceived—through yiras ha-romemus.] That is, the body nullifies its will and desires entirely before the will of the soul, to such a degree that it does not want to engage in any worldly endeavor except for the sake of the soul.
[The Rebbe (sec. 9) relates this to the Talmudic story of Rabbah Bar Bar Chanah and the merchant who showed him “the place where earth and heaven kiss” (Bava Basra 74a). “Heaven” denotes the soul, while “earth” denotes the body. Through yirah / awe, these two seemingly opposite tendencies come to a state of harmony and peace.]
Even during prayer, one should not seek after the body’s needs, but the needs of the soul. Although the explicit prayer texts [in the siddur] concern the body’s needs, such as [the supplications in the Shemoneh Esreh] “heal us,” “bless us [concerning agriculture],” and other physical necessities, one’s intent should not be for the body as an end in itself, but rather the sustenance of one’s soul and its healing. For when one rectifies the spiritual aspect, automatically the physical will also be rectified; Hashem will confer upon one all that he needs, amply and abundantly. However, one’s intent should be only for the sake of his soul.
And as for what we sometimes see, that there are tzaddikim who surely rectified everything completely in the spiritual sense, yet they lack material abundance—this is only due to their previous incarnations, as mentioned in the holy Zohar and in the Gemara [according to the mystical understanding of the kabbalists]; the “mazal” [“destiny”; in this context, meaning the past spiritual debt] of their souls reincarnates, so that they lack material abundance. However, when one is privy to this peace, such that the body becomes incorporated into the soul, accordingly, the body too can “taste” and experience the light of the soul, and one will be filled with her light.
The category of “peace in one’s bones” also means that one will attain health of body and soul. For what primarily underlies sickness, God forbid, is the aspect of conflict—i.e., the four elements [in kabbalistic and medieval medicine: aish (fire), ruach (wind), mayim (water) and afar (earth); see Likutuey Moharan I, 4; ibid. II, 67] clash with one another and do not interact harmoniously; while healing comes through the aspect of peace. As a result of all this, a person becomes whole.
8. Through being worthy of “peace in one’s bones,” one merits to attain prayer. For when a person becomes whole, without any defect or blemish, he is fit to approach the King and to cleave [i.e., to experience deveykus, a profound spiritual bonding] to the Blessed One at the time of prayer. This is the essence of prayer [and not petitional prayer].
9. Through the perfection of prayer, there is elicited “universal peace” (shalom ha-klalli) throughout all of the worlds—all worlds will be drawn near to the Blessed One [i.e., the “four worlds” that encompass creation on all levels will be brought into a state of unity and harmony with the Creator, and all diversity with the Divine Unity]. They will become incorporated within one another, the lower world into the world above it, until all worlds ascend to their source, where they will be absorbed into the Divine Oneness. This is the “universal peace” that will prevail throughout the universe in the ultimate future: all worlds will be incorporated into God.
10. Therefore, one must accustom himself to pray for everything one lacks, whether livelihood or children or healing, etc. For all of these matters, the main advice is to pray to Hashem, and to rely upon Hashem alone. One should believe that Hashem is good and helps in everything, and He is available at all times and to every person. As it is written, “Who is like unto Hashem, our God, whenever we all upon Him?” (Deuteronomy 4:7).
We should not pursue various mundane strategies, most of which in any case do not help. And as for the small minority that do help, one doesn’t know which of them is efficacious, or where to find them. However, by believing in God and praying to Him, the Blessed One will send one deliverance and healing, even through other things, which are always available. In this manner, one will come to universal peace.
[For a previous posting that presents this section of the present teaching at greater length, click here.]
11. Through universal peace, conflict will be utterly nullified, and all divergent views of humanity will attain equanimity and complete unity—until even business transactions will be rendered obsolete. Thus, in the future, business will cease from the world, as it is written, “The Canaanite (which also can mean ‘merchant’) will no longer be…” (Zechariah 14:21). For business depends on the discrepancy between the desire of the buyer and that of the seller; one wishes to buy, and one wishes to sell. If their desires were the same, no transaction could take place.
[The Rebbe does not merely allude to the haggling that typically goes on in business, by which the buyer wishes to pay less and the seller wishes to charge more. Rather, he addresses the fundamental mentalities of the divergent desires to buy or sell. These desires are based on a mentality of need, rather than of fulfillment. Thus, they reflect a deficiency of equanimity and peace. We may not be able to imagine a world such as the Rebbe describes, but ultimately that’s what characterizes the future world.]
12. Through the mitzvah of lighting the Chanukah candle, the light of Hashem’s kavod shines, and Hashem’s kavod is elevated and increased in the world. [This] awakens those who are distant to return to God, and to merit to attain yirah / awe and “shalom bayis” in one’s bones; to prayer [in the fullest sense of deveykus]; and the nullification of lashon hara and strife. Then universal peace is elicited throughout all of the worlds.
[The Rebbe sees Chanukah as a glimpse of the future, and indeed, of the “delight of the World to Come” (as he discusses in Likutey Moharan II, 2, “Yemei Chanukah”). Accordingly, we shows how all of the key ideas in this lesson about the attainment of ultimate peace and unity are encoded in the observances of Chanukah; see section 13 in the original teaching at greater length.]
To review this teaching, which is Rebbe Nachman’s “peace plan”:
The Rebbe’s “roadmap” proceeds from inner to outer, from the spiritual condition of the individual to that of the world—and thence to all of the “worlds.”
At the most practical level, the lesson stresses: Torah study in a spirit of humility and holiness; binding oneself (hiskashrus) to the tzaddikim; religious awe and the perfection of prayer; and the cultivation of compassion and peace.
Just as Likutey Moharan I, 1, begins by describing how the chein (grace) of holiness is “fallen” and out of place, this lesson begins with the need to rectify Hashem’s fallen kavod / honor. Kavod must be elevated to its “source,” which is yirah / awe. “That is, one merits to feel Hashem’s glory with a whole heart, until one comes to experience religious awe (yiras ha-romemus).”
This is brought about by the return of geirim / converts and baalei teshuvah / non-religious Jews who return to Jewish practice—a kiruv effort in which everyone should engage, in one way or another.
The return of geirim and baalei teshuvah comes about only through the Torah. “Every person, and a talmid chakhom in particular, must engage in Torah study with great sanctity—to the point that one’s Torah study illuminates the spiritual root of the souls of all Israel.” Through this, both baalei teshuvah and geirim will be awakened to return to Hashem, “even if one has never set eyes on them, and they are miles away from him.”
Such Torah study requires both profound humility and hiskashrus le-tzaddikim, binding oneself to the tzaddikim who have attained yiras ha-romemus, the highest awe.
The tikkun of yirah / awe enables one to attain the perfection of prayer, which is deveykus / cleaving to Hashem and reliance upon Hashem (bitachon). “One should believe that Hashem is good and helps in everything, and He is available at all times and to every person.” This leads to inner peace.
Inner peace requires the harmony of body and soul. This requires the subjugation of ego-driven desires of the body to the will (ratzon) of the soul. Attaining inner peace also accomplishes the healing of body and soul.
Inner peace leads to “universal peace”: peace among all creatures in this world, and throughout all “four worlds” described by the kabbalists, which ascend level after level into the Divine Unity, which the Source—and Essence—of all.
“Thus there will be peace and completeness throughout all the worlds, such that predatory animals, which are by nature angry and cruel, will also be perfected and show compassion toward one another. As it is written, ‘The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall recline with the goat … they shall neither harm nor destroy…’ ” (Isaiah 11:6-9).
Amen, ken yehi ratzon!
If anyone would like to inquire about sponsorship of the remaining unpublished volumes of Rabbi Bar-Lev’s commentary on Likutey Moharan, they may write to the author, c/o Rechov Ezra 4, Bnei Brak, E. Israel, or phone: (972) 03-579-0876
Rabbi Yitzchak Meir Bar-Lev is the son of Rabbi Simcha Bar-Lev, a prominent Breslov teacher and disciple of Rabbi Gedaliah Kenig, zatzal. Reb Yitzchak Meir’s uncle is Rabbi Yechiel Bar-Lev, author of Yedid Nefesh series on the Zohar, various kabbalistic works, and Talmud Yerushalmi.