HOW TIKKUN CHATZOT CAN BRING THE GEULA
Rav Eliezer Berland, shlita, explains the importance of getting up to recite Tikkun Chatzot, the midnight lament, and how it’s connected to attaining our personal and national geula (redemption):
During these days of bein hamatzarim (between the difficult times) in the three weeks, everyone should sit on the ground, and say the Tikkun Chatzot (midnight lamentation), and to cry. And it’s even allowed to cry in the middle of the day, too, to sit on the ground and to say the Tikkun Chatzot.
When the three weeks comes, everyone should sit on the ground, put dust on their heads, and cry and cry, like babies.
If a person knew what the Beit HaMikdash (Temple) really was, he would cry and lament the whole night, at midnight, and not only during the days of bein hamatzarim. But almost no-one feels the lack [of the Temple]. Almost no-one feels that they need the Beit HaMikdash. Everyone has a cake at home, they have some nice food, they have drinks in the house – they don’t need the Temple.
Baruch Hashem, everyone feels good until they reach the age of 120…
But, there are still a few for whom the Beit HaMikdash is lacking, and who cry all night, and who say the Tikkun Chatzot. 50 years’ ago, all of Jerusalem used to get up for Chatzot. It used to be a rule that everyone respected.
PEOPLE ARE WEAK TODAY
Today, people are weak, it’s hard for them to say the Tikkun Chatzot [at midnight] every night. But the real problem is that they also go and weaken others, who do want to get up for Chatzot, and this is a great shame! You’re weak? So keep quiet! Sit on the side! Let your sons still wake up for Chatzot, let your students still wake up for Chatzot, keep quiet! Don’t tell other people that you’re weak, and that you can’t get up yourself for Chatzot at midnight.
The goyim (non-Jews) since that time, and right up until today have been seeking to annihilate Am Yisrael, and all the time there are more [harsh] decrees. And there’s no advice, and no wisdom that will enable us to be rescued from them, except the Tikkun Chatzot. We need the ‘roaring’ of Chatzot, as it’s written: ‘roar, He will surely roar over His dwelling place’.
TIKKUN CHATZOT SAVES US FROM EVILDOERS
When we say the words in the Tikkun Chatzot ‘roar, He will surely roar’ that projects fear onto all of the nations of the world, onto all the evil-doers, so that they won’t then do any harm to us. There are 370,000 lions in shemayim (heaven), and those who say Tikkun Chatzot, so they wake these heavenly lions up, and then there is a such a roar in heaven that even the biggest rasha (evildoer) in the world can’t do anything.
All the evildoers start to shake from the terrible fear that they feel. Each and every roar causes another deep feeling of fear to fall on them. Every single roar shakes the evildoers to their core, so that they can’t even move a muscle from the terrible fear that they feel.
A person needs to start arousing this heavenly mercy, and to start arousing mercy on his neshama (higher, Divine soul) and on his Nefesh (basic, ‘bodily’ soul) and to cry out to Hashem: “What’s going to be with my Divine neshama?” He needs to arouse mercy about the fact that he’s disconnected himself from Hashem’s ineffable name [YKVK], and that his neshama has fallen into the realm of the 10 crowns of impurity.
Right now, his life force is coming from pagam habrit (sins related to personal holiness), and from saying unpleasant things, and from spiritually meaningless conversations. Right now, he’s being sustained by the force of the Sitra Achra (the side of evil), which gives a person a strength that comes from the koach hatumah (forces of spiritual impurity) via evil thoughts and spiritual blemishes.
This [force] also sustains all the terrorists, and the murderers, and the Nazis, and it causes the Shechina (Hashem’s Divine presence) to be exiled, as it’s written…
HAVE SOME COMPASSION ON YOUR SOUL!
And this person needs to start having some compassion on his neshama. He feels it’s good for him to keep all his lusts, and to stay with all his evil speculations. It’s fabulous for him, it’s so much fun! He doesn’t feel bad about it at all, he doesn’t feel the slightest need to leave these things behind.
If so, how is he meant to start having compassion, mercy on his soul? Sit on the floor, put some dust on your head, and say the Tikkun Chatzot and cry out to Hashem!
And when we say that the crown of our head has fallen, we should have in mind that the ‘crown’ that we’re really talking about is our neshama. How did our neshama come to be held prisoner in the fortress of spiritual impurity of the Sitra Achra? How did our body come to be more important than our neshama? How did our body manage to defeat our soul? We need to cry that our soul has fallen into the depths of the klipot (realm of evil) – “the crown of our head has fallen.”
“Woe to us that we have sinned!” There is no bigger insult than this, that the Divine neshama that was hewn from the kisay Hakavod (heavenly throne), that is really a part of Hashem mamash, is imprisoned inside a body, with all its lusts, with all its lowly desires. According to the true measure and true intelligence of a person, each of us needs to start to have some mercy on ourselves. “Where am I really holding? How is it really possible for me to be thinking such stupid thoughts?”
If a person recites the Tikkun Chatzot with this sort of broken heart, and with this sort of humility, then his Tikkun Chatzot, said with these intentions, will bring down a shefa (bounty) of ‘aliveness’ to all his 248 limbs and 365 sinews.
WE NEED TO CRY EVERY DAY
When we come across a spiritually ‘dead’ Jew, G-d forbid, we need to immediately start crying out! “There’s a seriously-wounded Jew here, we need to say a few chapters of tehillim (psalms) for him, maybe we’ll manage to revive him!” Every Jew is a neshama from the kisay Hakavod. 600,000 can come out of each Jew. Why should a Jew lose his life?
We need to be crying about this every single day, and especially at the time of the evening Chatzot. And the ikker, the most important thing to remember, is that it’s my sins that’s caused this. I’m the one who laughed at everything, who made light about things like praying, who made light of waking up for Chatzot.
A person needs to know that “Rachel cries for her children.” If Ima (mother) Rachel is crying, so we need to get up for Chatzot, and to cry along with our Ima, we need to join in with her tears. Our Ima is crying about the six million who were killed in the holocaust. She’s crying about all the people who are being killed every day, about the souls that need to make teshuva.
How is it possible that a person can know that Rachel is crying at Chatzot, but still go and do other things at this time?!
Rachel is the holy Shechina! Don’t you think its befitting to join in with Rachel? Don’t you think it’s worthwhile, to join in with her weeping? A person needs to have a little bit of a Jewish heart, a little bit of feeling. They need to say the Tikkun Chatzot, and to feel Rachel’s tears, to feel the sorrow of all the generations, of all the people who were murdered.
We have an Ima who can do anything, Rachel can do anything, everything is in her hands. She exists in the world, she can rescue us in an instant, this second, from exile. She just wants to see who is crying along with her.
Translated from the Tzama Nafshi newsletter.
PLEASE CLICK HERE FOR AN ENGLISH TRANSLATION OF THE TIKKUN CHATZOT.
 Bein HaMatzarim is a Hebrew term referring to the three weeks between the Fast of the 17th of Tammuz, and the fast of Tisha B’Av on the 9th of Av, the date when the first and second Temples were destroyed.
 A prayer lamenting the destruction of the temple, which many Breslov chassidim (and others) are careful to say at midnight.
 The Gemara mentions in a few places that Hashem Himself ‘roars’ over the destruction of the Beit HaMikdash at midnight.
 A reference to a kabbalistic idea that just as good created 10 holy Sefirot, each with its own keter (crown), this is paralleled by the 10 ‘crowns’ belonging to the side of evil.