This is how it is, or is it?

imagination

Although the intellect of a child is typically much weaker than that of an adult, the opposite is true when it comes to his imagination. We’ve all seen how powerful a child’s imagination can be. They literally believe their thoughts to be an alternate reality.

In Tinyana 8, Rebbe Nachman says that the key ingredient to true faith is a clear imagination. The intellect is limited by its knowledge. Faith only starts where the intellect can no longer go. By means of a pure imagination we can soar to heights of faith and come close to our Creator.

So often in our life we’re faced with trying situations where we feel stuck. We don’t believe that we can ever break out of the cycle that we find ourselves in. Whether it’s a financial hole, a substance addiction or a bad job, we rack our brains exploring all the options to free ourselves, but we’re left with that dejected feeling of “the same old me”. I think this despondence comes from the opposite of imagination; cynicism. When we see a child lost is his imagination, it’s comical to us. We think it’s ridiculous that the child can believe in something that we can’t understand. We’re too limited by our intellect. Our ego doesn’t allow us to entertain something we don’t know exists. But the sweet child is in touch with a force that catapults him to another world. He imagines. He believes.

The Rebbe goes on to say that the role of the true tzaddik is to refine our imagination. With his ruach hakodesh (Divine Spirit), he teaches us about faith and cultivates our imaginative faculty.

Says Reb Nosson (Hilchos K’vod Rabo 3:6), this is what’s so bitter about the destruction of our Holy Temple. When the temple stood, there was a great spirit of prophecy. The tzaddikim drew down that Divine spirit and blew into our souls words of optimism that refined our imagination and enhanced our faith.

How sad that with so few true tzaddikim left, we feel stuck in a one dimensional world of repetition. Our only hope is to soak up their holy words and open our minds to another reality – The space of imagination, the world of faith.

 

Whether you know it or not

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“In every Jew there is an aspect of malchut, (rule, authority or influence). Everyone [rules] according to how much they possesses this influence. There [can be] one who rules over his household, another whose rule is even broader and even one who rules over the entire world…This aspect of malchut can be manifest in the revealed or in the hidden”. (Torah 56)

What does Rebbe Nachman mean, that a person’s malchut can be manifest in the revealed or in the hidden? Sometimes we clearly see that a person has overt authority. For example, the president of a country, in many ways, rules over its citizens. But other times, it may seem that a person has no authority over anyone at all, but in the most concealed way he rules over many. In fact, after delivering this lesson, the Rebbe said, “You think the only influence I have is over you. But the truth is that I have power over all the tzaddikim of the generation, only it’s hidden” (Tzaddik #150).

How does a person exercise his malchut? In Torah 49 the Rebbe taught that prayer is the way to lift up one’s malchut. When we pray with full belief in our prayers, we can certainly increase our affect on people and the world at large.

But why does Hashem allow one person to rule over many others? And why does Hashem have this unique relationship with the tzaddik and, in a certain sense, leaves us in the tzaddik’s jurisdiction?

Let’s take a step back. Hashem Himself also maintains this hidden influence over everything. In fact through the prophet Malachi, Hashem said “In every place, offerings are burned and presented to My Name”. This is referring even to idol worship. As Rebbe Nachman elaborates later in the lesson, in the most covert way, Hashem exists even in the greatest sins. There is no space in which Hashem doesn’t exist, but in sin He is greatly concealed. He made it that way, so that we can have free choice. If we were fully aware of His presence, we would be coerced to obey His will. The same is true with the tzaddik. If we were aware of his influence, we would be forced to follow his lessons, thereby losing our free choice. So, because of Hashem’s kindness and desire to reward us, he conceals Himself and allows free choice.

Now back to the original question. Why are we under the tzaddik’s jurisdiction? Can’t we have a direct line to Hashem?

Hashem created such a big world with millions of different organisms in it, ranging from rocks and leaves, to animals and mankind. But who did He create it for? He created it for mankind. But let’s be even more specific. Did he create it for all of mankind? Well, as Rashi tells us, in the first word of the Torah בְּרֵאשִׁ֖ית, Hashem created the world for the Jewish people (בשביל ישראל שנקראו ראשית). But He didn’t just give us this world as a present that we don’t earn. בְּרֵאשִׁ֖ית also is referring to the Torah (בשביל התורה שנקראת ראשית). He created the world for us to learn the Torah and follow His perfect instructions how to live in the world. Unfortunately, not all of us are living up to this task at every moment. Because of our shortcomings, and our lack of connection to the Torah, there are moments when it seems that Hashem, if you could say this, made the world for nothing. But Hashem is the best CEO. He doesn’t make a business plan and not carry it out. In His amazing kindness, he chooses to deal directly with the most righteous people, who justify the world’s creation at every moment. (For how the world can exist when the tzaddik is not learning Torah, see Tinyana 78). The word tzaddik, of course, means to justify. The tzaddikim justify the world’s creation, as we clearly see with the first person the Torah calls a tzaddik, Noach.

So, it’s because Hashem loves the Jewish people and desires the continuation of the world that He allows us to attach ourselves to the tzaddikim and relate to Him. Because the tzaddikim are so awesomely humble, our relationship to Hashem through them is totally unadulterated. It’s the cleanest pipe possible. In fact, they want nothing more, and they sacrifice everything they have just so that we can connect with Him, which is why He chooses to interact with us through them. If we attach ourselves to the tzaddikim, then we will have a more intentional connection to Hashem. If we don’t, He will interact with us through them without our knowledge.

But don’t forget how we started this article. We all have the capability of lifting up our own malchut and affecting others too. That comes from a real desire to affect the world outside us, peeling away the concealment, believing in our prayers and praying for the good of the world. So let’s get to work…

 

 

Only you

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The Talmud (Taanis 21b) tells of a certain surgeon named Abba, who was on such a lofty spiritual level that he received daily greetings from the Heavenly Academy. The great amora Abaye, who only received weekly greetings, felt dejected because of the great honor given to Abba the Surgeon. Others told Abaye that the honor is given to this blood-letter and not you, because you can’t do what he does.

The Talmud offers a few examples: Abba the Surgeon designed a special garment for women to wear during their procedures with him, so he wouldn’t see their exposed bodies. He also kept a box out of public gaze where the patients deposited their fees. Those that could afford it put their fees there, and those who couldn’t pay were not embarrassed. Not only did he not charge young Torah scholars, but he would also give them some of his own money, telling them to go regain their strength.

One day Abaye decided to test him, sending him two scholars. Abba the Surgeon received them warmly, giving them food and drink and in the evening, he prepared fine woolen mattresses for them to sleep on. In the morning the scholars stole the precious bedding and took them to the market to sell. While in the market, they met up with the kind surgeon and asked him, “how much are these linens worth”? He replied, “Such and such”. They said to him, “Perhaps they’re worth more”? He replied, “that’s what I paid for them”. They said to him, “They’re yours and we took them from you. Tell us, please, what did you suspect when you saw us with your linens”? He replied, “I said to myself, maybe the Rabbis needed money to redeem captives and they were ashamed to tell me”. They replied, “Please take them back” and he answered, “from the moment I saw they were gone, I dismissed them from my mind and I devoted them to charity”.

In Torah 34, Rebbe Nachman briefly mentions this story to show how every Jew has something precious, a nekuda (unique point), that no one else has. Even the great Abaye, one of the most often quoted Talmudists, in some way couldn’t reach this simple surgeon’s level. And as we see from Abaye, we are too often comparing ourselves with others and feeling unimportant because of how we perceive ourselves in comparison. “וְעַמֵּךְ כֻּלָּם צַדִּיקִים; Every Jew is a tzaddik” (Isaiah 60:21). This means, says the Rebbe, that just like the world is sustained because of the tzaddikim, so too, at least, in a small way every single Jew has something that the world must have, and could only attain through him. We need to stop comparing ourselves to the perceived perfect people we dream of our neighbors. Instead we must use those powers of imagination to examine the mysteries of our own minds and souls and find that point we must share with the world.

The funnel

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:בת קול יוצאת מהר חורב ואומרת”

“כל העולם כולו ניזון בשביל חנינא בני, וחנינא בני דיו בקב חרובין מערב שבת לערב שבת

(ברכות יז)

“A heavenly voice leaves Sinai and says: ‘The whole world is sustained because of my son Chanina, and my son Chanina is sustained the entire week by a small measure of Carobs’”.

The Talmud’s statement is referring to the great tzaddik Rabbi Chanina Ben Dosa.

My friend, Yehuda Raice, pointed out that the whole world was getting its nutrition in merit of this great tzaddik, whereas the tzadik himself was exceedingly poor, as we know from other stories about him. Because there are two types of prayer: The first is with the hands up to the sky, begging Hashem for sustenance. This relationship (at least momentarily) ceases when Hashem provides the sustenance.

But the other type of prayer of the true tzaddik, symbolized by the attribute of Yesod, has his hands out, because the flow is coming through him to others. But he himself doesn’t necessarily have a lot. Jacob said to Esau “I have all I need”. He meant that he had all he needed and not more. Esau said “I have much”, meaning much more than he needed, and he was right, because Hashem pays evil people for their deeds, so that the relationship isn’t an ongoing one. But the tzaddik gets only what he needs and has to constantly re-approach Hashem for more. This makes the relationship much deeper and one built on immense trust.

“The adulteress traps the haughty soul (Proverbs 6)”. The arrogant ones get caught in the net of promiscuity. This is why the tzaddik, who embodies the attribute of Yesod, is represented by the reproductive organ. By means of his humility, he avoids promiscuity at all costs. Because the tzaddik is so reliant on Hashem, he has so little ego, and the flow goes right through him to others, as the Baal Shem Tov points out on the words, בשביל חנינא בני the word שביל means a path. The whole world was sustained through the pathway of Rabbi Chanina. The Divine flow comes down through the tzaddikim because they’re ego doesn’t obstruct the flow.

וְעַמֵּךְ כֻּלָּם צַדִּיקִים

 

 

The tzaddik and me

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This time of year we read about the Jewish people’s exile in Egypt. Of course, the Torah is a living Torah, which is also addressing our current national and personal exile. Although Hashem ultimately brought us out of Egypt, he appointed a leader to effect our redemption. This is always the way it’s done, as the holy Zohar says, the soul of Moshe (Moses) exists in every generation. This means that there are always true tzaddikim who redeem their generations as Moshe saved his.

Moshe’s name was given to him by the daughter of Pharaoh. It means that he was drawn from the water, (referring to the waters of the Nile).  Reb Nosson (Birchas Hashachar 3) says that these waters also symbolize something much deeper. The Arizal taught that the Egyptian exile was in a sense a fixing for the sins of an earlier generation. After the flood, Hashem said that he won’t allow man to live past 120 (which was Moshe’s final age) because “בְּשַׁגַּם הוּא בָשָׂר” [“he is also flesh”]. The word בְּשַׁגַּם has the same numerical value (345) as משֶׁ֔ה.  This is why all the boys were sentenced to be drowned, and Moshe himself was even placed in the water, because there was still retribution necessary from the times of the flood. But the name Moshe means that the tzaddik will lower himself to the deepest, darkest waters in order to pull out the lost souls that are drowning in the floods.

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“טָבַעְתִּי בִּיוֵן מְצוּלָה וְאֵין מָעֳמָד, בָּאתִי בְמַעֲמַקֵּי מַיִם וְשִׁבֹּלֶת שְׁטָפָתְנִי”.           “I have sunk in muddy depths and there is no place to stand; I have come into the deep water, and the current has swept me away” (Psalms 69:3).

This is the power of the true tzaddikim. They prevent our ultimate destruction and give us hope to live again. Rebbe Nachman teaches (Torah 215) that the name Moshe stands in-between destruction and favor, because the word for destruction שמד is numerically 344, the name משה is 345 and the word for favor, רצון, is 346. So Moshe, and all the true tzaddikim of each generation, put themselves on the front lines to help lift us out of the mud.

I think one of the biggest obstacles we face nowadays is our low self confidence. With the whole world sharing information, we now see people who seem so much better than us in every way possible. If you have talent, there’s surely many out there who have more. If you’re making money, there’s definitely others who are making more. It can be disheartening.  And you don’t have to even look on the web. People are just not trying anymore, out of fear they won’t be successful.

I find so much solace by believing in the true tzaddik. I believe in Rebbe Nachman with every fiber of my being. I believe in his Year 2019 ability to help me and all those who cling to him, by representing us favorably to Hashem. This kesher (knot) that I have with the tzaddik makes me believe in myself so much more. I’m not limited by my own shortcomings. I can reach places I never even imagined because I believe strongly in my tzaddik’s ability to help me shine.

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The most devout

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Tonight is Reb Nosson’s yahrzeit. Reb Nosson was the closest student and scribe of Rebbe Nachman. The following story epitomizes in my mind the life mission that Reb Nosson sought to accomplish:

In 1807, Rebbe Nachman suddenly left on a most mysterious journey to Lemberg. His health was declining, and while in Lemberg he nearly died. He was so sick that in order to save his life, he was forced to send back to Breslov his trusted gabbai, Reb Shimon, to burn one of his precious manuscripts (later known as the Sefer Hanisraf). He was crying and crying to Reb Shimon that he lost his wife and children over this book, and now he knew that if he would reveal it, he would have to die as well.

Before he left to Lemberg, Reb Nosson describes in his diary the fear he had of losing his Rebbe, and his urgency to catch up with the Rebbe’s coach and see him one last time.

Early in the morning, Rebbe Nachman left without warning. Reb Nosson literally ran after the coach, even though it was silly to think he could catch it on foot. He ran and ran to the end of the village. The Rebbe’s coach was forced to slow down while ascending a little mountain and then finally, Reb Nosson caught up with the carriage.

He was standing before the Rebbe for what could have been the last time. The Rebbe asked him, “Tell me what you want. Should I bless you or should I say Torah?”

Reb Nosson answered him, “You’ll bless us when you come back home, אי״ה, but the Torah tell us now”.

Reb Nosson understood that if he didn’t hear the Torah now, he would never hear it again. It was there, in the wagon that the Rebbe taught him the conclusion of “Azamra”, the famous lesson about Nekudos Tovos (finding ones good points), one of the most indispensable lessons Rebbe Nachman left us with.

Clearly, Reb Nosson felt a responsibility to the world to learn as much Torah from Rebbe Nachman as he possibly could. It wasn’t nearly as important to him to get a bracha, or for that matter have any amount of serenity is his life. His dedication to his holy Rebbe caused him scorn, humiliation and great suffering. But the most important thing for him was to spread Rebbe Nachman’s fire, no matter what. He single-handedly kept the chassidus going against tremendous odds and everything Breslov we have today is in his merit.

May his soul keep rising and rising until Moshiach comes, speedily in our days, Amen!

 

לעילוי נשמת ר’ נתן בן ר’ נפתלי הרץ זצ״ל

 

You can do it!

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In Reb Nosson‘s dairy, he describes the scene of his meeting some emissaries from Vilna,  while on his way to the Land of Israel (April 1822 in Odessa):

“And I began to speak with them about emunas chachomim (believing in the sages), being that I was convinced that surely they at least have some faith in the Gaon of Vilna, for it is by his name that they are called and associated. But they immediately retorted, especially one of them who was the main speaker with whom they all agreed, saying such and such, ‘I should have faith in a person?’ and they said so with a tone of incredulity. He spoke in this manner with me, and they all agreed with him. And I began to argue with him, saying, ‘If so, what is emunas chachamim?’ But they would not lend their ears to hear me at all, and they answered words of foolishness and vanity, which were related somewhat to heresy. For truly one who lacks emunas chachomim – even their faith in G-d is incomplete, as is explained in our teachings at length.

It was then that I clearly saw the difference between the Hassidim and the Misnagdim, for I saw  that even in their own sage, whom they know was exceedingly learned and exceedingly pious, even in he they have no faith. And later on I said so to them explicitly: ‘I thought that [even] if you don’t have faith in the great Hassidic tzaddikim, at least you would believe in your own sage. But now I see that you actually have no faith at all“.

(Yemei Moharnat 242).

In this week’s Torah portion Judah approaches Joseph and pleas with him to release Benjamin from impending slavery. Reb Nosson (Hilchos Taanis 4) writes that this episode symbolizes the Jewish people (who are called Jews after Judah) approaching the true tzaddik (symbolized by Joseph) and begging his forgiveness for selling him, which represents our lack of emunas chachamim.

Many people have a hard time believing in the Sages. They’re ok with the Divinity and perfection of the Torah but why should we heed the words of the sages, especially later sages, with the same regard? Why must we believe in the tzaddik? Maybe he’s a great person but he’s only human and he makes mistakes, so not everything he says should be followed.

The answer is that this belief is critical to our own development. The reason why people don’t believe in the near perfection of the tzaddikim is because they look at themselves, see their own shortcomings, and they can’t imagine that there is a person in the world who overcame every obstacle, step by step, and achieved true greatness. They think if I can’t do it, and pretty much everyone I know is struggling with this too, then it’s impossible. We must see things from the exact opposite perspective. We must believe that true greatness is attainable, and has been attained by these near-angels, so that we can fully believe in our own ability to become great. If we are always skeptical of everyone else, never believing that someone can be superior to most people, then how can we ever believe in ourselves, and reach the levels that we are destined to reach? Believing in the tzaddikim is believing in man’s ability (and our own ability) to soar to unimaginable heights. This is a critical part of Avodas Hashem.

 

Cry Baby Cry

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Did you ever notice how much Joseph cries in the story of his descent to Egypt? More than once, when the brothers stood before him, he’s forced to excuse himself and cry from his emotions.  He cries when he sees Benjamin for the first time. After revealing himself, he cries on the shoulders of all of the brothers. Then he cries on Benjamin’s neck. When he sees his father after 22 years, he cries. I once counted (correct me if I’m wrong) that the Torah mentions Joseph’s crying 8 times, (and we all know how connected Joseph is to Chanukah, so it’s no coincidence).

Why does Joseph cry more than any other character in Tanach? There were others who experienced pain and suffering too, but why is he always crying?

If I would have to find Joseph’s one defining quality, I would say it is his clear recognition of Divine Providence. After twelve years in prison, he is whisked out of the dungeon and pushed before Pharaoh, who says to him, “I hear you know how to interpret dreams”. He answers, “It’s not me! The Lord will provide Pharaoh with peace”. This is how he rose to the top of every place he found himself, as Rashi (Genesis 39:3) points out “the name of Heaven was frequently in his mouth”. The most stark example of his oneness with the Divine plan is what he says to brothers right after he reveals himself to them. “But now don’t be sad, and let it not trouble you that you sold me here, for it was to preserve life that God sent me before you”. His ability to see Divine Providence is truly amazing!

So why is he alway crying?

In Torah 250 Rebbe Nachman explains the meaning of tears. He says that all the pain and suffering of this world stems from lacking the knowledge of Divine providence. If we truly appreciated that Hashem is running things behind the scenes, we wouldn’t experience any suffering. The problem is that we feel like nature is running it’s course, which causes us great anguish. When somebody cries from pain he’s lacking that understanding of Divine Providence. The tears that come out of his eyes are infused with awareness of Hashem and a clearer vision of His providence. In a certain sense, he loses his own vision and is imbued with God’s vision. This is why after we cry, we feel better. Because crying is transformative. It’s not only an expression of the pain, but it’s also a remedy of that feeling.

I can only imagine those dark years that Joseph was alone in the dungeon. Here is a kid who knew how great he was and believed in his destiny to rule and yet he finds himself all alone, incarcerated in the most corrupt place on earth. I’m sure he shed an innumerable amount of bitter tears to Hashem in that dark place. I bet he cried and cried, but I think that every time he cried he felt somewhat better and he was able to see a little more light at the end of the tunnel.  All of his crying gave him the eyes of God, as the Rebbe says. After all those tears, he became absolutely one with the hand of God. This is why he was crying more than anybody else and this is why every where he went he was successful, because his pain toughened him up so much that when he saw something, he saw it exactly as Hashem saw it. His struggles didn’t drown him. In the end, they aligned him.

Maybe this is another meaning of the verse about Joseph (Psalms 105:19) “אִמְרַ֖ת יְהֹוָ֣ה צְרָפָֽתְהוּ”. “The word of God purified him”. The fact that he always spoke of God, and spoke to God in his pain, purified him.

Believe it!

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Reb Nosson recorded in Torah 25 that after Rebbe Nachman taught the lesson, he said “now we need to call the Evil One by a new name. It’s time to call it the כּחַ הַמְדַמֶּה (the power of imagination)”. Reb Nosson writes that even though the Rebbe said it jokingly, he understood that there was a serious intention there, which Reb Nosson admits he didn’t know.

In the book Kochvei Ohr (p.129), Rav Avraham Chazan brings from the Talmud (Sukkah 52a) that the Yetzer Hara (the evil inclination) has seven names. These seven attributes of the Evil One contend with the seven attributes of of the seven shepherds, (Chessed, Gevurah, Tiferes etc. known as Z’er Anpin). Until the birth of Rebbe Nachman, says Rav Chazan, there were only these seven attributes. But with the revelation of Rebbe Nachman there is now an eighth attribute called Binah Ila’ah (higher understanding), so the opposing force has to fight back with a new name, the כּחַ הַמְדַמֶּה.

I’m sure if you’re not the fabrente Breslover that I am, you’re probably rolling your eyes. Rebbe Nachman, the 19th century chassidic master from the Ukraine is the eighth attribute? So, hold on a minute and let me explain something.

Everything the Rebbe taught can be summarized in two words – simple faith. He foresaw the atheism that was starting to spread and he taught like no other to believe in ones self, believe in the tzaddikim and believe in Hashem.

By renaming the yetzer hara I think Rebbe Nachman taught us something amazingly unique about faith. We must use our imagination to believe. We have to paint pictures in our minds and hearts and dream with certainty. Believing in Moshiach, in world peace, and in our personal salvation seems impossible. And you know what? With mere cerebral faith it is. It’s incumbent upon us to see past what we can understand and believe in our imagination as if it is reality. Because once we do, it will be the reality.

This is the faith of Rebbe Nachman and the belief in miracles, which he spoke about often. Chanukah is all about miracles. How did the maccabees go out and fight with the Greeks? Are they nuts? Why were they relying on a miracle? They must have imagined they could win. They weren’t relying on miracles, they were living in a different reality, the eighth reality, the eight candles, the higher understanding of the Rebbe.

Why now? Why did Rebbe Nachman appear on the scene now? Because we all feel so stuck. We’re stuck in our jobs, in our bad behaviors, in our unhealthy relationships and in our poverty. But we’re really only stuck in our limited minds. We’re so pessimistic that even the optimists have to cover up their enthusiasm with negativity, in fear that they’ll be wrote off as irrational.

Miracles. Believe in the miracles of your imagination. Strongly believe in it and that changes everything. With that belief, the fire will burn for eight days against all odds. That’s just one example. These miracles are happening all the time. Let go of your hangups, start dreaming and begin living in the eight dimension.

 

נחמן = ימי חנוכה

 

 

 

Under the veil

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How does someone attain true greatness? The Zohar Hakadosh says that someone who guards his brit can be called a tzaddik. That’s the one and only criteria. The Jewish people’s covenant with God is centered on sexual purity. The few people left in the world who still guard their brit live on a different plane than the ones who don’t. It’s understood how easy, available and addicting it is to blemish our brit these days, so maybe our generation shouldn’t be so accountable for this deterioration of kedusha? But the damage of our actions is simply a reality we have to live with, whether we can stop it or not. The purity of someone who fights off all the lure and remains steadfast in the face of all those temptations allows him access to levels of closeness to His creator that are unavailable to those who let their guard down.

What’s the big deal? Why is it so essential? Why is it so important to Hashem that we avoid sexual impurity? Put simply, the one act that makes us most similar to Hashem is procreation. (The Talmud even says that we are partners with Him in reproduction). So the tools that make us most similar to Hashem are our sexual tools. If we mess with them, we’re turning away from Him. We’re saying we don’t want to be like You. We like these tools you gave us, but we don’t like the use You intended for these tools. In essence, we don’t like You. (Sounds pretty harsh, I know, and we’re all familiar with the difficulty in this area and the many levels of success and failure, but the result of the blemish is a reality we can’t deny). This alienation of Hashem is a result of haughtiness, the desire to exist on ones own, whether Hashem wants it or not. Guarding the brit, on the other hand is an act of humility.

This humility says Rebbe Nachman (Torah 11) can be expressed in two forms, corresponding to the lower and upper unifications. The  lower unification, בָּרוּךְ שֵׁם כְּבוֹד מַלְכוּתוֹ לְעוֹלָם וָעֶד, is the humility of seeing ones actions to be a revelation of Hashem’s glory. This is still a great level of humility, but the person himself does exist in his own mind. The upper unification, שְׁמַע יִשְׂרָאֵל ה’ אֱלֹהֵינוּ ה’ אֶחָד, is complete humility. It’s declaring there is none other than Hashem. These are the two levels of guarding ones brit. The lower unification level is likened to someone whose relations are during the week. He guards his brit as the Torah requires and thereby reveals the glory of Hashem in his actions, especially in the crucial procreative action of intimacy. But then, as the Talmud teaches, the Torah scholar only has marital relations on Shabbos. This is likened to the upper unification, because even his intimacy is in complete holiness. Even in such a physical act, there is still no other force but Hashem, symbolized by Shabbos, when Hashem doesn’t enclothe Himself in any garments or veils.

These two levels of kedusha are both righteous. The lower unification level is symbolic of הלכה, (Halacha), the code of Jewish Law. The upper unification level is symbolic of קבלה, (Kabbala), Jewish mysticism. The letters of the word הלכה are found in the first letters of the verse הָרִיעוּ לַיהוָה כָּל הָאָרֶץ, (shout out to Hashem, the entire earth) because Jewish law is something that all Jews must relate to. Additionally, Jewish law is structured by everyday activities. So too, the lower unification is revealing Hashem, with all of our actions, in the world. The letters of the word קבלה are found in the first letters of the verse, הִשְׁתַּחֲווּ לַיהוָה בְּהַדְרַת קֹדֶשׁ, (Bow down to Hashem in the grandeur of holiness), suggesting that mysticism is for the select few who are bowing down to Hashem; a complete act of humility.

Joseph, the personification of one who guarded his brit, attained this complete humility. I always marvel at how Joseph was released from jail and placed before Pharaoh, who says, “They say you interpret dreams”. He answers, “It is not me, the Lord will bring Pharaoh’s tranquility”. And of course, when someone perpetuates the glory of God to such a degree, he is the garment of that glory, as it says, “Joseph’s brothers came and bowed themselves before him (Genesis 42:6)”.

 

Master of the world! Help us keep our eyes on You! Help us mimic you and procreate. Help us focus on revealing Your amazingness throughout the land by learning Halacha. Let all of our actions, whether mundane or religious, be filled with the scent of your Holiness! Let us rise above all the nations in purity and grace. You know and we know that all defilement and filth has no place with us. We are pure as angels! We only want purity. You placed us in a sewage hole and we try our best to close our noses and eyes. Help us connect to the real tzaddikim who bow down to You in holiness. Let them inspire us with fear of heaven to come back to Your house, a safe house, of quiet and serenity, where we can finally hear our own thoughts and realign our will with Yours. Let us bring the song of shabbos into the week and talk of Your uniquess all day long. We can do it. We really can, but we need Your help!