Advice from the Rav on: Disgrace and humiliation

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Rav Berland in the Tzion

Rav Berland’s advice on: Disgrace and humiliation

Continuing our translation of the book Etzot HaNachal, which brings together some of Rav Eliezer Berland’s teachings on various subjects.

  1. The more someone is trying to disgrace another person, the higher a spiritual level he’s actually raising him up to.

The person who is on the receiving end of the humiliation, if he knows how to accept this with love, and how to withstand the test, then he will rise up to the most wondrous levels. It’s impossible to come to this by any other service of Hashem, or Torah learning, or mussar Nothing else will raise him up like when someone is talking badly about him, and he accepts this humiliation with love. And then, he will rise up to the most amazing levels.

2. A person can’t reach the next level, spiritually, until someone comes and humiliates him.

3. The biggest illumination that can be given to someone is when he is degraded, and then trampled underfoot

– and he accepts all of this with love.

4. When a Torah scholar talks about you, they disgorge onto you all the Torah they’ve learned, up until that moment.[1]

5. Being humiliated enables Hashem to ‘taste’ all the mitzvahs that you’ve done.[2]

6. There is a person who doesn’t want anyone to talk about him, but even so, they still talk about him.

This is also a tikkun (spiritual rectification). And then, there is someone that does this deliberately – who looks for all sorts of tactics to ensure that they will speak [negatively] about him. And this person achieves the biggest spiritual unifications.[3]

7.Again, the Rebbe says, there is someone who does this deliberately and with forethought, who looks for ways to ensure that he will be spoken about and disgraced.

And this is mamash called mesirut nefesh, he’s sacrificing his nefesh, his soul, to sanctify Hashem’s name. This person is sacrificing his good name – because the name is the soul. The more everyone speaks badly of him, and says that he did things that never happened, and never could happen, and never will happen, by way of this, this person saves Am Yisrael from terrible bloodshed.[4]

8. If a person accepts it with love, when he’s being humiliated, and when he and his children are being trodden underfoot and trampled on, he has no idea of how many of the harsh judgments on Am Yisrael he’s sweetening at that moment.

He’s sweetening all the harsh decrees hanging over Am Yisrael! The Rebbe explains all this, in Lesson 260 of Likutey Moharan.

So, the tzaddikim do things deliberately, so that people will shame them and scorn them, because they want to sweeten the harsh decrees upon Am Yisrael. And so they deliberately look for ways that people will disgrace and humiliate them.[5]

9.The brazen-faced people in the generation, with all their noise, who create a big fuss against a person, and who incite others against him, and get everyone excited,

and who pour more fuel on the flames, and stoke the fire up higher every second – spiritually, this is worth more to the person being insulted than if he undertook 100,000 fasts.

We should encourage them: they should build their fires higher, and they should oppose us even more, and they should continue to have the good health, strength, power and energy they need to carry on opposing us endlessly, infinitely, more and more – as much as is humanly possible.[6]

10. We should pray that this opposer should have more strength, and yet more strength and power, and more good health, and that he should come up with more plots and schemes and more machinations.

We should pray that Hashem will fill his heart with all the machinations in the world, and will all the plots in the world, and that he should succeed, and rise even higher, and soar up to the heavens, and the highest of heights, and that he should succeed as much as possible.

Because this way, the tikkunim (spiritual rectifications) will be greater and more miraculous. And this is worth thousands and thousands of fasts and penances, and worth more than being burnt in thousands of fiery ovens. Every single humiliation that a person receives is the equivalent of being burnt thousands upon thousands of times.[7]

11. Yosef HaTzaddik saw that the brothers’ feelings of hatred towards him were growing and strengthening from moment to moment.

The 10 brothers hated Yosef, and every day, their hatred for him grew even stronger. Without getting into a discussion of whether it was ok [for the brothers to hate Yosef], practically, this hatred is what catapulted Yosef from spiritual level to spiritual level.[8]

12. When a person has this understanding, and this intelligence; when he has this mindset that enables him to see all of the world from ‘above’, when he can look at other people from ‘above’, as though they were just small children, and not from a place of arrogance, must from a place of elevated understanding….

When he has this sort of elevated knowledge, and he’s merited to attain this type of elevated awe, and this sort of expanded consciousness, and true, elevated loftiness of spirit – then every time that they speak badly about him, and every time they pain him, he experiences the greatest feeling of good, and the greatest feeling of pleasure.[9]

13. Everyday, they try to make a person into ain, ‘nothing’.

There is no day where a person won’t experience some sort of humiliation, or some sort of deficiency, or some sort of degradation – and all of this is for his good! Hashem is humiliating this person deliberately, because by way of this degradation, his requests will be fulfilled, and he will be able to enact all the salvations in the world.[10]

[1] Comment on Likutey Moharan, Lesson 12

[2] Comment on Likutey Moharan, Lesson 2: 83

[3] Comment on Likutey Moharan, Lesson 260

[4] Ibid.

[5] Comment on Likutey Moharan, 2:72

[6] Comment on Likutey Moharan, Lesson 6.

[7] Ibid

[8] Comment on Likutey Moharan, Lesson 2.

[9] Comment on Likutey Moharan, Lesson 181.

[10] Comment on Likutey Moharan, Lesson 2:83