What do the Ben Ish Chai and the holy Ari say about the significance of Peyot?
What angered the wicked Haman about Mordechai HaYehudi?
One who believes in Rabbeinu Nachman conquers the entire world!
These are the holy words of Moreinu HaRav Eliezer Berland shlit”a:
The Ben Ish Chai says that a person needs to have Peot (sidelocks). The Ben Ish Chai brings a story about how Peot are what distinguish between us and the Arabs, because all the Arabs [also] go with beards.
The Ben Ish Hai brings the story of Christian Arabs who were captured [a convoy of Arabs with a Jew amongst them]. One amongst them said: I have Peot, I am a Jew!
They answered him: Ah, you are a Jew? They put on his Peot two golden rings. Therefore, it is forbidden to ever remove the Peot, because during that period, the Christians fought with the Arabs; they killed each other. [About this, the Ben Ish Chai says in] “Ben Ish Chayil” in the commentary for Shabbat Zachor: “Mordechai was crowned with his religion” (Megilah 12b).
The Ben Ish Chai asks: Why did Haman become angry at Mordechai? He answers: Because of his Peot!
Mordechai was crowned with his religion. The Peot should be thick and noticeable so that it will be recognizable that we are Jews. Because this shows that one is a Jew, because also Hamas have beards, also they have kippahs, they do not smoke, do not drink champagne. Because it’s forbidden for Arabs to drink wine. So what’s the distinction between us and the Arabs [in appearance]? Only the Peot!
[The Ben Ish Chai says:] He [Mordechai] intended to have noticeable and thick Peot. A person needs to have such Peot that are seen at a distance — long and thick. “And he brought there an incident where a Jew was saved from amongst Christians, when he fled together with Arabs.” Now the Ben Ish Chai brings the story where the Muslims fought the Christians and killed many Christian Arabs. And a certain Jew was there, and they also wanted to kill him, because they all had beards – Christian and Muslim Arabs. Then he screamed: I have Peot! I have Peot!
The Rav continues reading from “Ben Ish Chayil”: The Muslims made war with the uncircumcised Philistines [Christians], and said to slaughter anyone who was uncircumcised. The Arabs captured all of them and he [the Arab leader] decreed that anyone who sees someone on the way should undress him, and if he is uncircumcised, to slaughter him.
And this Jew who saw the Arab leader came before him, grabbed his Peot and said: “I have Peot! I have Peot!” He screamed to the leader: “I go with Peot! I go with Peot!”
This was mamash sweeter to him [the Arab leader] than honey, this was sweeter than honey. He said to hang on the Jew’s Peot two golden rings. If a person goes with Peot, it is like tanks. If he goes with Peot, no one can harm him.
[The Ben Ish Chai says:] Therefore, I need for you to have thick and long Peot like our brothers, the Ashkenazim. The Ben Ish Chai says to learn from the Ashkenazim, to go with long and thick Peot, because how much one needs to be careful to go with long and thick Peot, one on the right and one on the left.
The Zohar says that Peot are the holy name M-Tz-P-Tz. M-Tz-P-Tz is the name Havayah in At-Bash [a cipher which reverses the first letters with the last letters of the Alef-Bet]. Yud of Havayah is switched with Mem; Heh is switched with Tzadi; Vav is switched with Peh; and Heh is switched with Tzadi — M-Tz-P-Tz. The two Tzadi’s of the name M-Tz-P-Tz equal 180. Mem (40) and Peh (80) is 120 [together 300]. Together we reach the Name Elokim, because Elokim is 86.
The question is how do we make 300 from 86.
The Ari explains that 86 is Elokim. ALeF [when spelled out] of the Name Elokim is 111. ALeF LaMeD is 185. Another HeY is 15; together this is 200. Another 100 remains. So YUD MeM is 100. YUD is 20, MeM is 80. We accomplish that together the Name M-Tz-P-Tz, which is the Havayah in At-Bash, is the Name Elokim, numerical value 300, the [same] numerical value as M-Tz-P-Tz – “and undermine [KaRKaR] all the children of Seth” (Bamidbar 24:17) – every KaR is 300.
“And pierce [MaChaTz] the nobles of Moab”; “YiMChaTz” is the numerical value of Nachman (148), because really anyone who believes in Rabbeinu Nachman conquers the whole world.
Anyone who believes in Rabbeinu can conquer the whole world. The Rebbe says, “I can return the entire world in repentance.”
So it comes out two times 300 (KaRKaR) – “and undermine all the children of Seth.” Every “KaR” is 300. We need to undermine all the children of Seth, because they say that the Jews want to conquer the whole world, “And pierce the nobles of Moab.” So what was Balak afraid of?
Balak was afraid that Moab would be stopped! Don’t go to war with Moab. Go to war with Sichon, with Og, with the seven nations of Canaan, but in no manner whatsoever go to war with Moab. Balak was afraid that in the future there would be no remnant left of Moab. Bilam said to Balak: Know, you are the king of Moab…and his [Balak’s] grandson was Eglon (Ruth Rabbah 2:9), and from Eglon came Ruth.
Ruth was the granddaughter of Balak, and this granddaughter was a wayward and rebellious girl, a terrible girl who went against her father and grandfather. She will bring Jews and will convert; she will be a Jew in the end. Then all the Jews will come and cut off Moab – because it’s impossible to stand against the Jews!
Germany said: We have lost the war because we left over a few Jews. We left over 20,000 Jews, and they brought the Russians, the British, and the Americans. The Germans said this, that one Jew can conquer the whole world, especially if he goes with Peot – then it’s over, the whole world is lost. These are the words of Hitler, may his name be obliterated. These are the words of the great hangman of Warsaw.
In Warsaw, 80,000 Jews were murdered. They burned their houses. They were burned inside the houses, they jumped out of the houses. Six million Jews were murdered, and Hitler says we lost the war — those Jews are doing to us all the terror.