“Did you long for redemption??”
Transcribed and translated from previous recordings of
HaRav Eliezer Berland Shlit”a
“There are those for whom indeed the Holy Temple is missing”
If a person knew just what is the Holy Temple, he would weep and mourn every night at chatzos (halachic midnight), and not only during the period of the Three Weeks. However, for almost no one is this missing! Almost no one needs the Holy Temple! Everyone has a cake at home, he has good food, he has drinks at home. Why does he need the Holy Temple? Thank G-d, everyone feels good until the age of 120! However, there are those for whom the Holy Temple is missing! There are those who weep every night and say tikkun chatzos (the midnight lamentation).
“You aren’t missing the Holy Temple”
[A story] is told about Rabbi Nachman Shuster who was a simple Jew who spent a period in Uman and saw how [people] pray with fervor! – how they would say tikkun chatzos with weeping! When he came back to Israel he began to say tikkun chatzos and weep over the Holy Temple. Everyone laughed at him because they saw that he didn’t know how to say the words! He would say half-words! People came up to him and said to him, “What is this that you say tikkun chatzos – learn first to say the entire aleph-bet”…Rabbi Nachman responded to them, “You aren’t missing the Holy Temple. You are Torah scholars, geniuses, tzaddikim. You don’t need to say lamentations, tikkun chatzos. But I, a simple shoemaker, am missing the Holy Temple.” On that occasion Rabbi Mordechai Sokolov and Rabbi Shlomo Gavriel (who where phenomenal geniuses) approached him and asked him, “Where did you receive this heart?” He said to them, “I received this in Uman.” They said to him, “If so, we’re also traveling there.” And this was how they merited to come close to Breslev; and all of this was by way of a simple Jew who cried at tikkun chatzos.
“Chatzos is effective like a pidyon”
“At midnight I will rise to thank You.” A person who merits to rise every night will merit to rectify everything! Someone who rises at chatzos or, at the very least, at alos hashachar (the break of dawn) merits to get out of all his troubles! Chatzos is effective like a pidyon (money given to sweeten judgments). Chatzos redeems him from all the troubles!! The main tzedaka (charity) that people need to give is to tzaddikim who make peace, to those who rise at chatzos. Chatzos is the most important of all [ways of] serving [Hashem].
“This is what he needs to do!!”
If a person rises at alos hashachar still before there is a streak of blue in the heavens, then he can sweeten every judgment that is in heaven! Every judgment that is in the world! If a person rises early he can get out all his troubles! A person who doesn’t have livelihood; who has a child who is ill, G-d forbid; who doesn’t have a soul mate – [then] he only needs to rise at alos hashachar! He only needs to sing to Hashem! He only needs to say the zemiros haboker [traditional songs] of the morning and pray with focus! This is what he needs to do!! Rise at chatzos! Rise at alos hashachar! You’ll get everything! You’ll get healing! You’ll get your soul mate! You’ll get the apartment you wanted! Rise early and you’ll receive everything! The fact that you live now in some hovel in some basement…this is all because of your transgressions! Repent! Rise at chatzos! Rise before alos hashachar! You’ll have miracles! Don’t be lazy! Be zealous! “Go to the ant, lazy one! See their ways and grow wise.” Be zealous [and] rise early! Start to learn from the ant.
“King David singing to Hashem – who wouldn’t rise?!”
How is it possible to sleep at night!? How is it possible to sleep! How can people sleep from the hour of chatzos onward! The Midrash Shochar Tov 17 says that when King David would rise at chatzos he would play a harp! When he would play, all of Jerusalem would wake up! King David singing to Hashem, who wouldn’t rise?! They would hear the melodies of David, such melodies…such melodies…then everyone would wake up! Everyone heard the melodies of chatzos! Everyone heard the sounds of chatzos! Everyone heard the Psalms! When David would rise at chatzos and sing, everyone would wake up! They didn’t call the police! He’s king! What can be done!? To the contrary, the sleepers woke up! They already couldn’t sleep! In the entire Land of Israel, everyone was already awake at alos hashachar.
“How can a person sleep all night”
When the time of chatzos arrives, arise! Arise! You don’t hear the rooster crowing!? You don’t see that the rooster roars with seven voices! [If] you hear the first crow of the rooster, rise with the first crow! If you hear the second crow, rise with the second crow! Or the third crow! How can a person sleep all night!? How could he!? How can you not see the lights?! How can you not hear the sounds?! “I recall my [Temple] music in the night; in my heart I meditate, and my spirit searches” (psalms) – at night we receive the spirit! At night we receive the soul! The soul returns at night! You have no joy because you sleep at night.
“The problem is that they weaken others”
Fifty years ago, all of Jerusalem would rise at chatzos! This was a statute not to be broken! Now, people have become weak; it’s hard for them to say tikkun chatzos every night. However, the problem is that they weaken others that do want to rise for chatzos! This is the hard part! You are weak!? Be silent! Sit on the side! Let your children rise for chatzos! Let your students rise for chatzos! Let your friends rise for chatzos! Be silent!! Don’t tell anyone that you are weak and that you can’t rise at chatzos.
“’He roars exceedingly,’ this places fear upon all the nations of the world”
The gentiles from [ancient] times until today have sought to annihilate the Jewish people. All the time, there are [evil] decrees and there’s absolutely no counsel or understanding about how to be saved from them – except through tikkun chatzos. We need the roaring of chatzos! As it is written, “He roars exceedingly over His Dwelling.” When we say in tikkun chatzos the words “roars exceedingly,” this places fear upon all the nations of the world! This places fear upon all the wicked that they shouldn’t do us any harm! In heaven there are 370,000 lions, and those who say tikkun chatzos arouse the lions on high! Those who say “he roars exceedingly over His Dwelling” arouse these lions. There is such roaring in heaven that even the most wicked person already can’t do a thing! All the wicked tremble from sheer terror! With every single roar awesome terror falls upon everyone! With every single roar all the wicked tremble! They can’t move hand or foot from sheer terror.
“He gives power to impurity”
A person needs to start to arouse the highest mercy, to start to arouse mercy upon his higher soul and lower soul, to cry to Hashem: “What will be with my G-dly soul?” He needs to arouse mercy [to remedy] the fact that he cut himself off from the Name Havaya, Blessed is He! About the fact that his soul fell into ten crowns of impurity. He needs to cry that now his life-force comes from blemishing the covenant! People speak not nicely!…about worthless things! Now he sustains the powers of the other side! Through evil thoughts and blemishes, he gives powers to impurity! He sustains terrorists! He sustains murderers! He sustains Nazis! He causes the Shechinah (Divine presence) to be in exile! As it is written “the king is bound in tresses” – a person has no idea that he is lying in ten crowns of impurity! He has no idea that he needs to start to have mercy on his soul! It’s fine by him to be with lusts! It’s fine by him to be with evil thoughts! It’s great for him, fun for him! He doesn’t feel bad at all about this! He doesn’t at all try to break away from this.
“How I think about nonsense!?”
Then how do we begin to have mercy on the soul!? Sit on the ground, put a little ash on the head, say tikkun chatzos, cry to Hashem. When we say “the crown of our head has fallen,” we should intend that “the crown of our head” is the soul. We should cry about how the soul is captive amongst the soldiers of impurity and the other side!? How the body imprisons the soul!? How the body overwhelms the soul!? Weep for the soul which has fallen into the depths of the forces of impurity – “the crown of our head has fallen”…“Woe to us, for we have sinned.” You have no greater desecration than the fact that the G-dly soul that was quarried from the Throne of Glory – that is part of His G-dly Essence – is imprisoned inside a body with lusts, with such lowly desires. And each and every person according to his intellect and understanding should begin to feel bitterly about this – “Where am I? How I think about nonsense!” If a person says tikkun chatzos with this sort of a broken heart, with this sort of submission, then this tikkun chatzos with this intention will draw to him an influx of life-force to all his 248 organs and 365 sinews.
“Why should a Jew shortchange his life!?”
When we hear that a Jew has died, G-d forbid, we need to immediately scream!! A Jew is seriously injured!… We need to say several chapters of psalms; perhaps we’ll succeed in reviving him. Every Jew is a soul from the Throne of Glory! It’s possible for 600,000 to descend from every Jew! Why should a Jew shortchange his life!? About this you need to cry everyday, especially at chatzos; and the main thing is to know, “my sins caused this!” “I’m the one who makes a mockery of everything…who makes a mockery of the Divine service of prayer…makes a mockery of the Torah…makes a mockery of the Divine service of rising at chatzos.”
“She just wants to see who cries with her”
A person needs to know that “Rochel cries over her children.” If Ema (Mother) Rochel cries, then you need to rise at chatzos to cry together with Ema! You need to take a share in her weeping! Ema weeps over the 6 million who were killed in the Holocaust! Ema weeps over all those who are killed every day! Ema weeps over the souls that they should return in repentance! How is it possible to know that Ema Rochel weeps at chatzos and to do other things at this time?! Rochel is the Holy Shechinah!! It doesn’t fit you to involve yourself with Rochel!? It doesn’t fit you to involve yourself with her crying!? A person needs to have a little bit of a Jewish heart, a little bit of sensitivity, to say tikkun chatzos, to feel the weeping of Rochel, the suffering of all the generations, of all those killed. We have a mother who can do everything! Rochel can do everything! Everything is in her hands! Ema Rochel is living and exists!! She can pull us out of exile in a second, at this moment! She just wants to see who cries with her.
“She will watch over us all day”
At chatzos everyone cries! The entire world cries! The stars cry! The constellations cry! Everyone cries with Rochel! Everyone cries with the Shechinah! It’s told about Rabbi Zusha of Anipoli that when he was elderly, he saw that he was already weak and couldn’t rise at chatzos. Therefore, he let everyone know that he would no longer make it to the synagogue. In spite of all this, at the hour of chatzos, they once again saw him in the synagogue. They asked him, “Why did you come? You said you were weak.” He said to them, “Momma Rochel cries! What can I do! Momma Rochel cries! Ema Rochel cries! Her weeping doesn’t allow me to sleep.” At the moment that we give power to the Shechinah, cry with the Holy Shechinah, cry together with our mother Rochel, she will give us everything!! She will watch over us all day! Rochel rules over the entire world! Over all the treasuries! She just wants to see who cries with her! She just wants to see who takes a share in her suffering!
Taken from the “Tzama Nafshi” Hebrew.
Artwork: Yehoshua Wiseman joshuawiseman.com
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