Parshas Ki Teitzei
Arousing Mercy Through Torah Study
Transcribed and translated from previous recordings of
HaRav Eliezer Berland Shlit”a
“And with great mercy I shall gather you” (from the Haftorah,Yeshaya 54)
“The world needs great mercy, both spiritually and physically” (Likutei Moharan 105)
The world needs great mercy! Spiritually and physically, everyone needs mercy. Everyone needs salvation, miracles, shidduchim, and healing for their families and children. Everyone asks for mercy. Everyone is asking for mercy, but they don’t know where the mercy is. They ask, “Why don’t I have any money? Why aren’t we healthy? Why is this one sick and that one sick? Where is the mercy?” People don’t even know how to ask for this great mercy. In truth, Rebbe Nachman says, the mercy is within our reach—it is not so far away. The mercy is nearby. It is for all to see, as it is written (Devarim 30:11), “It is not far away, it is not in heaven…” Everyone asks for mercy, but they don’t know where the mercy is. The Rebbe reveals that mercy is something which everyone can see—it is right in front of your eyes! Hashem wants to have mercy on you. Hashem wants to help you, to have mercy on you. Hashem loves you. Hashem wants to give you all the mercy in the world—to give you a good income, miracles, children, healing, Torah. He wants to give you everything! Why did Hashem create you? He didn’t create you to suffer. He wants to give you everything! Just be a “good boy”—listen to your Father. Hashem isn’t so far away from you.
“There are two types of ‘mercy.’ One is the simple mercy (rachamim pshutim of Zeir Anpin), and the other is the great hidden mercy (rachamim gedolim of Atika Stima’ah). As it is written, “With great mercy I will gather you” (Yeshaya 54). In truth, we desperately need Hashem to have mercy on us—however, in this generation, because of our many sins, there is no one who is able to pray in such a way as to draw down the mercy. In fact, HaKadosh Baruch Hu Himself has to pray about this. And what is it that is going to cause Him to pray? Through the Torah.” The Rebbe says that we need to awaken the mercy in the world, the great mercy of Atika Stimaah, as it is written “with great mercy I will gather you.” And there isn’t anyone who prays so well that he can draw down this great mercy, because no one knows how great Hashem is, or how infinite He is, or how good Hashem is, due to our distress and affliction. HaKadosh Baruch Hu Himself needs to pray about this. The best thing is that Hashem Himself should pray and draw down the great mercy, because how well are we really able to pray? And even if we should go to the Kotel and pray there—say the whole book of Tehillim/psalms—that is certainly wonderful! But this is not yet true, complete prayer. We need that Hashem Himself will pray! But how can we cause Hashem to pray for us? It is only by studying Torah. The Rebbe is saying here a wondrous idea. If we will only learn Torah then Hashem Himself will pray for us, and take upon Himself to worry about us, and He Himself will give us everything: income, healing, children, miracles, and salvation. If we want to awaken Hashem to pray for us and to draw upon us great mercy, then we must learn Torah, for who is able to sweeten the harsh judgments other than Hashem Himself! Hashem wants to give us everything! Hashem only asks that we help him to pray. Hashem wants us to give Him the strength to pray, so to speak, as in “I will gladden them in My house of prayer” (Yeshaya 56:7). Hashem says, “I also pray! Help Me to pray.” The moment that a person takes upon himself to learn Torah, then he will already receive mercy. Hashem Himself will pray for him. A person thinks that he can run the world without learning Torah—this is impossible! People just don’t have any idea—they don’t really believe that by learning Torah they will draw down mercy.
The Rebbe says that the world needs great mercy but one cannot awaken the mercy other than by studying Torah—learning b’iyun. Even if a person cries out, prays—if he doesn’t learn Torah then he cannot awaken Hashem’s mercy, because Hashem asks, “What are you shouting about? Why are you praying? Do you want to live? What are you living for? To eat even more cholent, even more kugel, even more pizza? Is this the reason you are alive?” You need to live to study Hashem’s Torah, so that you can activate your mind. A person builds himself by learning Torah. Without Torah, there is no person — you don’t have the Tzelem Elokim. You can only build yourself up thought the letters of the Torah, through another letter and another Rashi, and another Gemara—another Ritba. This is how you build yourself bit by bit. This is how you build your mind. You are actually creating yourself through the letters of the Torah. As long as you don’t have all of Shas in your head, you are not called a human being at all.
The Rebbe says in Torah 105 that teshuva (repentance) is learning Gemara. If you want to do teshuva, then start learning Gemara. A person is full of resentment and bad thoughts—if he will learn Gemara he won’t have any resentment or bad thoughts. Hold a Gemara in your hand and everything will work out. Your thoughts will fix themselves. Everything will work out fine! A person is scatterbrained—his mind flies in every direction. This is why he needs to bind the parts of his mind together, which, according to the Rebbe, can only happen by learning Torah.
When a person learns Torah b’iyun, he puts his mind into the Torah. This is how he creates new worlds. Then he creates a new reality! Suddenly a different set of laws applies to him! He has wealth he has health! Suddenly, he has spiritual and material influx! This is because he created a new world. Previously he was in the world in which he didn’t have money, and now, he is in the world where he does have money! Now he is in a completely new world, because every moment a person builds new worlds. If a person learns Torah b’iyun, then he creates new worlds every second.
(Tza’ama Nafshi Hebrew editor 052-763-9126)