“Let me tell you what I saw and you can tell it to your children:
A man was lying on the ground and people were sitting around him in a circle. Around that circle were many other circles of people. Even beyond those circles were many other people sitting in no particular order. The man in the middle was moving his lips and all the people around him were moving their lips too. And then I looked and he was gone. And everyone in the circles stopped moving their lips. I asked, ‘what’s going on?’ They answered me that he cooled down and passed away. When he stopped talking, they stopped talking.
Afterwards everybody began to run and I ran after them. I saw two palaces; beautiful structures. In front were sitting two very powerful men and everyone ran over and argued with them saying, ‘why did you trick us?’ The people wanted to kill the men. The men managed to escape. I saw their essence and I was very impressed with them. I ran after them and I saw from afar a beautiful tent. They were calling out from the tent to the two men, ‘Turn around, ask for all your merits and take them. Then go to the candle that’s hanging there. From there you can do everything you need’! So they turned around and took all their merits. There were bundles and bundles of merits. They ran to the candle and I ran after them. I saw a flame burning in midair. These two powerhouses came to the candle and threw their merits at the candle. Sparks fell out of the candle into their mouths and the candle became a river and they drank from the river. The river-water became creatures inside of them and when they started to speak the creatures came out of them. I saw the creatures going back and forth. They weren’t human or animal-like. They were just creatures.
Afterwards the creatures decided to go back to their place. But they said, ‘How could we go back to our place?’ One of them answered, ‘Let’s ask the one who stands there (in our place) with a outstretched sword from heaven to earth’. But they said, ‘Who should we send?’ It was decided to send the creatures. The creatures went there and I ran after them. I saw him standing there instilling fear with a sword that reached from the heavens to the earth. The sword had many sides. One side was designated for death, one was for poverty and one was for weakness. As well, there were many other mouths of the sword with other retribution.
The creatures asked him, ‘It’s been so long that you’re punishing us. Please help us and bring us back to our place’. And he said, ‘I can’t help you’. They implored of him, ‘Give us the blade of death and we’ll kill the powerful men’, but he didn’t agree. They asked for another blade and he refused. So they returned. While they were returning, a decree was passed to kill the two men and their heads were removed.
Then it was exactly as before. Someone was lying on the ground surrounded by circles of people etc. Again they ran to the powerful men, exactly as before. But this time the men didn’t throw their merits at the candle. Instead they took their merits and came to the candle, pouring out their hearts in supplication before it. Sparks fell from the candle into their mouths. They cried out more and the candle became a river, which became creatures. I was told that these two men would live. The earlier men were sentenced to death because they threw their merits at the candle and didn’t appeal to it in prayer.
I didn’t understand what I was seeing. They said to me, ‘Go to so-and-so room and they will explain it to you’. I went there and saw an old man and asked him about it. He took his beard in his hand and said ‘my beard is the explanation of the story’. I said, ‘I still don’t understand’. He said to me, ‘Go to so-and-so room and there you will find the answer’. I went there and I saw an infinitely long and wide room that was completely filled with scrolls. With every scroll that I opened I saw the expression of this story.”
Rebbe Nachman described this awesome vision to his students before he taught them Torah 20 on Rosh Hashana of 1805. He said that the lesson was an explanation of the dream and that, indeed, all his lessons are related to the dream. Every word of the Rebbe’s vision is layered with the holiest of holy meaning. I just want to give a glimpse of how this vision was alluded to in his lesson that amazing Rosh Hashana.
In Torah 20 the Rebbe taught that the downfall of Moses and Aaron was that they didn’t bond themselves in prayer with the people at the time Moses hit the rock. Instead they used their merits to bring forth the water. This is hinted to in the vision by the powerful men who threw their merits at the candle. The lesson stresses that the teacher must strip his ego and pray in allegiance to his students before teaching them Torah. If not, then the Torah he teaches is weak, the soul that explains all of Torah in the world is removed and all teachers are inundated with argument and strife, God forbid.
This dream appears in Chaye Moharan 83. I also was told this dream in Uman this past Rosh Hashana. I was very moved by its other-worldliness and I strongly wanted to understand it and internalize it. Maybe some of us were lucky enough over the past holiday-filled month to have some super-natural spiritual feelings? Those feelings are real. Life isn’t just a day of work, a couple of bathrooms runs and some traffic on the way home! We might not have these shake-ups often but they’re some of the most authentic experiences we have. We aren’t Rebbe Nachman from Breslov, whose every breath was flowing with holiness and meaning, but we have vision too. We have vision too…
לעילוי נשמת רבי לוי יצחק בן שרה סאשא זי״עא