Rav Berland is continuing in the Rambam introduction to Perek Helek:
Let’s bring some more ideas about what ‘Moshiach’ really is, and what are “the days of Moshiach”.
The world will continue to function as usual ‘according to its way’. We will still have to overcome the yetzer hara, the yetzer hara will still exist, but it won’t be the same yetzer hara as today which incites a person to do actual transgressions.
So, we’ll preface these ideas with the 13 attributes [of Hashem]…
I measured and sifted every word of them, I sifted and sifted, and every word is precise. These 13 attributes are 13 foundations. I will try to condense this as much as I’m able, even though really I should be expanding on what is to be said. I tried to balance this wisdom, between things that would grab the baalei chochmah (wise ones), and helping those people who haven’t received any previous Jewish education to really understand the subject.
I will begin to lay out the foundations, the 13 attributes, that it says of Moshe that Hashem speaks to him “face-to-face”… That Moshe is something Eloki (Godly), mamash (literally). The Tzaddik is something Eloki, mamash. He doesn’t have any ‘body’, and not even the illusion of a body.
He already totally ripped-up and nullified every aspect of ‘the body’ completely.
This is the seventh foundation, that the Tzaddik who is the aspect of Moshe, he’s already completely nullified everything to do with the body, it’s completely nullified. He attained the level of the angels, he’s ‘included’ in the level of the angels. This is the language of the Rambam, whose every word is extremely precise. While he described things concisely, it would have helped us if have explained things a little more.
[So the Tzaddik] Has already completely nullified his body.
This is the inyan (matter) of Moshe Rabbenu, in working on himself and exercising free-will, [he nullified his body] until he’s included in the level of the angels. And now, no ‘mask’ of the body remains, and he’s not prevented by any bodily function, and no imperfection, great or small, is mingled in service of Hashem. The body has no influence over him. All of its power over him has been nullified.
Moshe, who is this Tzaddik, has nullified all of the body’s powers, and all of its power of illusion, and the power of the senses, and the power of its observations. He doesn’t have ‘senses’ any more, and all the other ‘functions’ of the body. He’s separated himself from the [body’s] power of arousal, and all the strength of the lusts, which is the power of arousal and desire.
The Tzaddik nullified all of this.
He doesn’t possess a body, and not even anything connected to the body, he has no bodily lusts. All that’s left is the seichel, g-dly intellect. The Tzaddik, who is Moshe, is left only with his g-dly intellect. He’s nullified everything connected with the body, all the body’s needs and desires. And it’s thus said about him that he spoke to Hashem Yitbarach, and that he saw Hashem face-to-face, he spoke to Him like a person would speak to his friend, because he didn’t have a ‘body’.
He’d nullified the whole matter of the body! So, he could see and speak to God face-to-face.
My wish was to try to clarify this wonderful matter, and to open the lock surrounding all the Torah sources that speak of this matter: ‘Mouth-to-mouth, He would speak to him’, and ‘he would see Him directly’, and ‘not by way of enigmas or images.’
Mouth-to-mouth He would speak to him.
In order for this to happen, the body needs to be totally nullified….
I’d have to write hundreds of pages to really explain to you what ‘Moshe’ really was, and what the inyan of Moshe really was, this person who nullified every aspect of the body. He didn’t even have a shadow of a body.
We will try to explain what are the angels and what is the Tzaddik who is above the level of the angels… Moshe got to a level where he was closer to Hashem than even the angels.
The Tzaddikim are included in the creator yisborach shemo, the neviim (prophets) are included in the creator yisborach shemo. The Torah speaks about Moshe in ways that are fitting only for the angels and for the Creator.
Moshe reached a level which is only fitting for the angels and the Creator in every level of his being.
Everything that is written here is written as concise as possible, the shortest of the short, because you’d need to write hundreds of pages to really describe what the Tzaddik really is. He doesn’t have the glimmer of a body, not any hint of a body…
The Rambam wrote books on nevua, prophecy – how you can merit to attain prophecy. But even with all the pages that I’m going to write about how a person can obtain prophecy, this still isn’t going to explain what the Tzaddik really is….
But let’s return to trying to clarify and to explain the seventh foundation, that [the Tzaddik] doesn’t have a body, or even the hint of a body, and that he doesn’t have any physical senses.
It’s said that Moshe’s prophecy was different from that of the other prophets in four ways:
- #1: All the other prophets prophesized as though they were looking through a misty type of mirror, or window, which was called the ‘way of the medium’. But Moshe didn’t need a medium. It was said of him that he spoke to Hashem ‘mouth-to-mouth.’
- #2: All the other prophets only received prophesy while they were in the sleeping state, while Moshe prophesized while he awake. Prophecy only came to all the other prophets while they were asleep, as is brought in the sources on dreams in the night, and night visions, and other connected matters. Or alternatively, they’d [be given a vision in the daytime] but only after he’d fall into a slumber, which would nullify his senses and leave him just with his internal thoughts.
A regular prophet would have to be asleep, because at that moment his physical senses would be nullified. He’d have to be asleep, and [receive prophecy] via a dream state, and this was called ‘a vision’. “In a dream, I will speak to him.” Hashem spoke to Avraham in a vision…
But Moshe didn’t get his prophecies through a dream, while he was sleeping.
Rather, Hashem’s word would come to him in the daytime, and he would stand between the two cherubim. All the matter of the two cherubim, on whose behalf the mishkan was built, and the aron, it was all there in order for Moshe to receive prophecy. He would go and enter the Holy of Holies – every day, he’d go into the Kadosh Kadoshim, every single day, in the day, in the evening, in the afternoon, every hour – and stand between the two cherubim. As Hashem testifies, “And I conferred with You there, between the two cherubim which are atop the caporet”. Hashem says to him twice, ‘atop the caporet’, [for other prophets Hashem speaks through a vision at night and in parables] but Hashem says ‘not so for Moshe my servant rather mouth-to-mouth I speak to him’…
- #3: The third difference: Every other prophet would have his senses nullified at the time the he’d receive prophecy, so he’d tremble, and he’d fall on his face. Even though he was only seeing ‘though a mirror’, or by way of an [angelic visitation], all his strength would leave him. All of his physical senses were cancelled out, and spoiled, and his whole body would collapse… and he’d feel an awesome sense of fear, such terror that he’d almost stop breathing.
It’s like Daniel described, when the Angel Gavriel spoke to him in a vision. Daniel received all of his prophecy via the Angel Gavriel, when Gavriel spoke to him during a vision, and also like Avraham… Daniel said of this, ‘and I had no strength left, afterwards’. He had no strength left, and ‘majesty turned into destruction’, this is what Daniel said, ‘and I couldn’t retain my strength’, and he said, ‘I collapsed to the ground, and my face was on the floor.’ He lay down on the ground, and his face was turned to the earth, and ‘my vision turned into labor pangs’.
But Moshe could talk to God standing up, while all of his senses were still fully functioning.
So he didn’t say during the time he was prophesizing that ‘majesty turned into destruction’, or that he collapsed on his face and fell to the ground, or that his vision ‘turned into labor pangs’. Instead, Moshe didn’t experience any trembling or shuddering. It was forbidden for him to tremble or shudder.
It’s forbidden [to tremble] when you’re receiving a prophecy. A person is obliged to be alert and clear-minded, without any shuddering or trembling in any way at all. Everyone repeat ‘in any way at all, in any way at all, in any way at all’.
It’s as it says (in Shemot, 33), “And Hashem spoke to Moshe face-to-face, as a person would speak to their friend.” This is to say, that the person didn’t start trembling, he didn’t experience any shudders, just like when a person speaks to his friend without trembling. This is how Moshe, may peace be upon him, used to speak with Hashem, and he didn’t use to tremble during those conversations.
Even though he was talking to God mouth-to-mouth, he still didn’t experience any trembling or shuddering – and he was seeing Hashem face-to-face! And this is because of the extremely strong dveikut (cleaving to Hashem) that was occurring at the level of his seichel, or intellect, as we explained earlier.
- #4: For all of the other prophets, the ability to prophesize didn’t stay with them between their visions. But Moshe could receive prophesy whenever he wished. If Moshe wanted a prophecy, he would receive a prophecy, as he said: “Stand, and I will listen what the will of Hashem is, regarding you.” He was receiving prophesies every single day.
A [regular] prophet receives a prophecy whenever God wishes that to happen, in a sudden way…. Only according to Hashem’s will, who would then tell over the thing in a prophecy while he stood, or after days or years [of preparation].
[A person] could play on the harp, and on the drums, and still not receive a prophecy.
There are prophets who spent whole days preparing themselves to receive a prophecy, and who stood there waiting for days or even months – and it didn’t help them! He spent months preparing himself, in order to receive a prophecy, and it still didn’t help him.
It didn’t help at all.
There are writings describing how they would prepare themselves, and purify their thoughts. All the prophets would walk around and play instruments, like we see by Shaul, who was associated with prophets, who tried to make themselves prophesy – they tried, but they failed!…
They prepared themselves year after year, and played their harps, until they’d receive some sort of prophecy, sometimes after days, sometimes after months – and sometimes, not at all!… This is like Shaul, who was associated with prophets, but who tried to prophesize. They would prepare themselves, and purify their thoughts, like Elisha did, [when he said]: “Bring me a musician!”
So the first thing is niggunim, holy melodies.
Whoever plays [an instrument], will eventually merit to prophesize. So the first thing is that a person should play, that is the first thing, this is the ‘alef’, before everything else. “Take for me a musician”, and then the prophecy came to him.
But it wasn’t like that, by Moshe. By Moshe, the prophecy had to come. Every moment, Moshe Rabbenu would enter the Holy of Holies, and go every second between the cherubim, at any time that he wanted to. It’s written about the daughters of Zelophad, (who brought down the correct judgment) that they merited to the 50th gate of Binah – [now] it’s possible to receive prophecy at any time that it’s required.
“Stand” – he told the daughters of Zelophad, “Stand up, just for a second stand up, I’m going to the room, I’m just popping out, I’ll tell you what Hashem replies to you.”
The Gemara states: What?! They didn’t know that a daughter can inherit?!
Everyone knew that, that if there were no sons the daughter would inherit. Moshe didn’t know that?! Exactly! He didn’t know that, he forgot. When does a daughter inherit? When there are no sons. If there are no sons, then she gets the whole estate, and here there were no sons. So what’s going on? For 40 years, there hadn’t been anyone who only had daughters, who were going to inherit all the diamonds and all the jewelry?!
So what was Moshe’s doubt? One perush (commentary) is that it had to do with the portion for the bachura, the oldest child, whether they should be eligible for the double-portion of their father, as the oldest child, or whether that should go to his brothers. The second perush, according to Tosfot, was that the spies, and Korach and his group had lost their share in the land of Israel, so now the question was whether they would also lose their share, as their father had done a terrible thing – he’d gathered [sticks] on Shabbat.
The Gemara says: No! The fact that he gathered sticks on Shabbat didn’t denigrate Moshe, in fact it did the opposite.
[Zelophad] wanted to demonstrate that there was the din, the judgment of stoning [for breaking Shabbat]. People didn’t know that if they piled a branch upon a branch that they would be liable to be stoned. They didn’t know that, even though they learned it, they didn’t believe it. So he showed them that he was piling a branch upon a branch – because on Shabbat, it’s forbidden to stack.
If a stack of oranges falls down, it’s forbidden to put one on top of the other. Suddenly, a display of oranges gets tipped over, or a box of oranges, it’s not possible to re-stack them one on top of the other. A person needs to sweep them into the corner, and leave them there all scattered. You can’t make a ‘building’, one on top of the other. This is called stacking, it’s forbidden, it’s liable to stoning [when done on Shabbat].
So, [Zelophad] came to show them that if they pile one branch upon another, this is forbidden and is liable to the punishment of stoning, to teach them. It’s the opposite, he didn’t come at all to challenge Moshe, rather, he came to strengthen him.
But those who went against Moshe – [those who challenge] the Tzaddik don’t receive a portion in the land.
Only Calev and Yehoshua got all of these people’s share.
Here, we see that Moshe says to the daughters of Zelophad: Stand, and I will hear what the will of Hashem is, in regard to you (Vayikra 17)…
Moshe could come [to speak to Hashem] each minute.
 See Kings II, Chapter 3.
 About whether daughters could also inherit the father’s land, in Eretz Yisrael