Parshat Shemini: Secrets of the Torah with Rav Berland


“And these fowl will all be disgusting to you.”[1]

(Translated from the book Aish Moharan from the teachings of Rav Berland Shlit”a[2])

The most important clarification between impure fowl and pure fowl comes through speech since pure poultry is eaten according to tradition.  But why did Hashem (G-d) not write in the Torah which pure fowl are permissible to eat?  Why do we need to ask the sages of the generation about the tradition of which fowl is permissible as opposed to just looking for the signs as outlined in the Torah?


The Torah writes so many stories, for example the story about Eliezer who goes to search for Rivka and how he found her, as it is written, “And her bucket was on her shoulder[3]…and she filled her bucket[4]…and she brought down her bucket onto her hand[5].”  The Torah records every single movement of Eliezer’s story with Rivka, but instead of writing the story of Eliezer two times[6] it would have been better for the Torah to give us three or four pages on the complete list of which poultry are permissible to eat.  Why does the Torah need to hide and conceal things?  Why should there be an obligation to ask the sages about the tradition?

The sages explain like this, that the Tzadikim (the righteous ones) will teach you which fowl are permissible for eating.  If you eat any poultry without permission from the Tzadikim then even if the fowl is pure yet a person eats it without permission from the Tzadikim it is as if he ate non-kosher poultry.


Since a person that eats poultry without relying on the tradition even if Torah law cites this fowl to be pure, yet if one eats it without relying on the tradition from the Tzadikim he ate non-kosher poultry since what a person chooses means nothing.

Today he chooses this and tomorrow he chooses that.  Every decision comes from his own mindset and outlook.  Today one made the proper decision but tomorrow he will not make the proper decision, but rather a huge mistake.  Does a person think that he can always make the right decision?  One’s whole being is a burning fire of vices and lusts.

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This fire burns from the blemishes in one’s[7] covenant[8] with Hashem (G-d), from looking at illicit things, and from haughtiness and arrogance.  How can anyone with those character traits burning inside him think that he possess the capability to make a proper decision or even to think one clear thought?


Comes along Rebbe Nosson, and he reveals a huge secret!  A rooster is only kosher through the permission of the Tzadikim, a pigeon is only kosher through the permission of the Tzadikim, a rooster that the Tzadikim did not permit remains forbidden to eat because the evil will overcome the good.

Meaning that if you listen to the voice of the Tzadikim then you will be able to clarify and bring out the good from the evil.

However, if a person tries to serve Hashem (G-d) without connecting to the Tzadikim, even if by himself he battles with his evil inclination day and night, his evil side will stay exactly the same since the good little by little gets pushed down and squeezed by the evil.  One’s good always eventually gets weakened underneath the burden of one’s imprinted bad character traits.


Furthermore, even if a person overcomes his bad character traits then his evil inside will just come back and fight back again even stronger.  Therefore, everything has to be done under the guidance of Tzadikim.  Every movement and every thought needs to be connected to Tzadikim because only the Tzadikim possess the ability to separate good from evil.  [The Translators Note: Now we can understand why the stories of Tzadikim in the Torah are so important and we can see the significance of knowing about every movement of the Tzadikim in the story.  Since those stories allow us to connect ourselves to the Tzadikim in everything that we do.]
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A Prayer[9] to Connect to the Tzadikim:  Ribono Shel OlamMaster of the Universe, Please give us the merit in your great and immense kindness to connect and to bring ourselves close to real Tzadikim in truth.

Tzadikim that[10] “day and night do not rest,” and may the light of their Torah and their prayers illuminate all those within the darkness.  Please give me the merit to come close to the Tzadikim that are the root and source of all the souls of the Nation of Israel, and to speak with them in person and to hear from their holy mouths holy words meaning words that settle one’s heart.

And may I merit to connect my heart to the words of their holy mouths and to their holy points.  And may their holy points rule over me and may their mouths illuminate my heart.  And through this illumination, the disgraceful behaviors of my heart, all the foreskin covering my heart, and all the crookedness within my heart will be nullified.  And I will merit to have an honest heart with Hashem always.

Behold! We are stating that we have intent in our prayers and that we are connecting all of our prayers to all of the Tzadikim that are in the generation.  And now, in your great kindness Hashem, awaken the hearts of the true Tzadikim of the generation and give them strength to receive our prayers and to raise our prayers up to you.  Hashem, perhaps our prayers may not be fitting to come before you and perhaps our prayers are a mixed with a lot of garbage.

Too often there is not even in our prayers one word or even one letter that will be pure and clean.  Yet despite this Hashem (G-d) please let your abundant mercy prevail! Give strength to your true Tzadikim that will be able to raise up and bring up all of our prayers, and may these Tzadikim purify our prayers and cleanse them from every blemish.


Story 1/2: A Viznitz Chassid had learned about the importance of guarding one’s eyes.  He had been working on guarding his eyes for years yet he did not succeed.  He did not give up and continued to try to guard his eyes despite continuing to fall time after time.  After many years of battling with guarding his eyes he went to meet with Rav Berland Shlit”a.  As he walked into the room to meet the Rav, the Rav immediately turned to him and told him, “It is impossible to guard one’s eyes without being connected to the Tzadik.”


Story 2/2: One of Rav Berland Shlit”a’s dedicated students saw the Rav in his dream.  In this dream, the Rav was fixing a flashlight in the distance and this student began walking towards the Rav.  The Rav continued fixing the flashlight until the student walked right up to the Rav and stood beside him and the Rav turned his back to the student.  The Rav then turned towards this student and there was a great and powerful light emanating[11] from the Rav.  This light was strong and surrounded the Rav’s entire being and the power of this light knocked the student over.  The Rav stood over the student and said, “People think the Tzadik is a flashlight, but really the Tzadik is a PROJECTOR!”


Rebbe Nosson[12] explains, “There is a necessity to travel to the Tzadik, since it is not enough to learn books of mussar[13].  And this is explicitly written in the Torah[14], ‘And Hashem said to Moshe, Write this as a remembrance in the book, and place it into Yehoshua’s ears.’…Therefore a book does not have so much power to awaken a person the same way a person gets woken up by hearing the words from the mouth of the Tzadik.”

And the Telchiner Rav (Rav Nachman Goldstein)[15] writes, “The most important formation of the letters of the Torah, so that the letters will be a medicine giving life is only through the true Tzadik that merited being the True Tzadik because of achieving perfection overcoming his vice and lusts for illicit behavior[16].

Yet even someone that has not merited in himself to become a complete Tzadik, never the less if one humbles himself underneath the Tzadik, like a servant under his master, then all his Torah learning and all his actions get fixed by the true Tzadik.”

And Reb Nosson[17] teaches that connecting to the Tzadik is not an important element of our Judaism but rather, “the most important principle and the foundation for everything depends on this; to connect oneself to the Tzadik of the Generation and to receive his words regarding everything he will say.”

Even if we try to do the right thing, like guarding our eyes, since[18] “One’s whole being is a burning fire of vices and lusts” therefore[19], “One’s good always eventually gets weakened underneath the burden of one’s imprinted bad character traits.”

Furthermore, Rebbe Nachman[20] explains, “Know that in every generation there is a shepherd[21] which is the essence of Moshe,” and Moshe merited being the Tzadik that led the Jews out of Egypt and brought down the Torah to the Nation of Israel since he was[22], “The most extremely humble man of all mankind on the face of the Earth.”  In this generation the Rav’s powerful light cleanses all those under him and raises them up to the highest heights by ensuring that their service of Hashem (G-d) is free of any arrogance.

Since once a person’s service of Hashem is free from any arrogance, then he can begin to truly destroy his evil inclination.


Is it permissible for a woman to get a haircut during the counting of the Omer[23]?  No.  “However if there is a special circumstance it is permissible for married women and for a young [unmarried] women to get a haircut.  And for the sake of a mitzvah like for modesty that a woman’s hair comes out from underneath her head covering, then it is ideal to get a haircut.”

Why is there a special happinesS for the 33 (ל”ג) day of the Omer[24]?  “It has been passed on from generation to generation that the reason for the happienss on this day (the 33 day of the Omer) is because this is the day Rebbe Shimeon Bar Yochai’s holy soul ascended up to Heaven.”


Simchas Rabeinu successfully raised and distributed over $5,000 for “Kimcha Dipischa” this year.

We send a warm appreciation to all our donors and specifically to the Yitzchaki family for their generous donation.  Do not wait until next year! Today begin a monthly Kimcha Dipischa donation of $50 to the Simchas Rabeinu Kimcha Dipischa fund, and next year at this time you will merit to make a contribution of $600 to the Simchas Raneinu Kimcha Dipischa fund!

As Rav Barclay[25] writes, “Neglecting to give charity when one is capable is a serious transgression.” Simchas Rabeinu has a “Kimcha Dipischa” fund that helps poor Jews all over the world with their Passover needs.  Do the Mitzvah of Kimcha Dipischa through Simchas Rabeinu by visiting: TODAY!


HaRav Eliezer Ben Etyah and the Rabbaneat Shlit”a, Chaya Shaina Chana Bas Itcha, Meir Beir Ben Chanah, Rachel Malka Bas Shana Tova, Matisyahu Yisrael Ben Rachel Malka, Ester Rachel Bas Nurit, Menachem Ben Ester Rachel, Moshe Ben Ester Rachel, Sarah Bas Ester Rachel, Yosef Baruch Ben Rachel Malka, Ezra ben Avraham z”l

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[1] ויקרא פרק יא פסוק יג ~ וְאֶת־אֵ֙לֶּה֙ תְּשַׁקְּצ֣וּ מִן־הָע֔וֹף

[2] אש מוהר”ן פרשת שמיני עמוד כ

[3] בראשית פרק כד פסוק טו ~ וְכַדָּ֖הּ עַל־שִׁכְמָֽהּ:

[4] בראשית פרק כד פסוק טז ~ וַתְּמַלֵּ֥א כַדָּ֖הּ

[5] בראשית פרק כד פסוק יח ~ וַתֹּ֧רֶד כַּדָּ֛הּ עַל־יָדָ֖הּ

[6] See Parshas Chayae Sara chapter 24 (verses 1 – 48)

[7] פגמי ברית

[8] This is referring to family purity

[9] This prayer is from Reb Nosson’s book Likeutey Tefilos and Rav Berland’s prayer found in the booklet, “Leket Tefilot Noraot.”

[10] בראשית פרק ח פסוק כב ~ וְי֥וֹם וָלַ֖יְלָה לֹ֥א יִשְׁבֹּֽתוּ:

[11] glowing

[12] לקוטי עצות – פרק צדיק סעיף עא ~ מה שצריכין לנסע להצדיק ולא די בספרי מוסר, מפרש בתורה (שמות י”ז) ויאמר ה’ אל משה כתב זאת זכרון בספר ושים באזני יהושוע, כי אף שאמר לו לכתב בספר אף על פי כן לא הסתפק בזה וצוה לו ושים באזני יהושוע, שידבר עמו פה אל פה. כי העקר מה ששומעין מפה הצדיק. ועין מדרש דברים פרק ג’ על פסוק, שמע ישראל היום אתה עובר וכו’, [עין בפנים סימן ק”כ]. גם על ידי למוד בספר הוא בחינת נעשה, ושמיעה מפי הצדיק היא בחינת נשמע, וישראל אבדו את כתר הנעשה על ידי חטא העגל, ולא נשאר להם כי אם הנשמע, כמובא במדרש הנזכר לעיל. על כן אין בספר כח כל כך לעורר אותו כמו ששומע מפי הצדיק בעצמו, שזה בחינת נשמע שנשאר לישראל:

[13] Books of Jewish Ethics

[14] שמות פרק יז פסוק יד ~ וַיֹּ֨אמֶר יְקֹוָ֜ק אֶל־מֹשֶׁ֗ה כְּתֹ֨ב זֹ֤את זִכָּרוֹן֙ בַּסֵּ֔פֶר וְשִׂ֖ים בְּאָזְנֵ֣י יְהוֹשֻׁ֑עַ

[15] לקוטי עצות המשולש [עצות ישרות] פרק תלמוד תורה אות ד ~ כי עקר ציור אותיות התורה לטוב, שיהיו בבחינת סם חיים, הוא רק על ידי הצדיק האמת, שזכה לשמירת הברית בתכלית השלמות ואפלו מי שאינו זוכה לזה שיהיה הוא בעצמו בבחינת צדיק בשלמות, אף על פי כן אם הוא מכניע את עצמו על כל פנים תחת הצדיק כעבד תחת אדוניו, אזי כל תורתו ולמודו וכל מעשיו מקבלים תקון על ידי הצדיק האמת, שמציר הכל לטוב, ואזי נאמר עליו גם כן: זכה נעשית לו סם חיים, על ידי כח הצדיק. (הלכות אמנין, הלכה ד’, אות כג):

[16] שמירת הברית

[17] לקוטי עצות – פרק צדיק סעיף עב ~ העקר והיסוד שהכל תלוי בו הוא לקשר עצמו להצדיק שבדור ולקבל דבריו על כל אשר יאמר כי הוא זה. דבר קטן ודבר גדול, ולבלי לנטות מדבריו, חס ושלום ימין ושמאל. וצריך להשליך מאתו כל החכמות ולסלק דעתו כאלו אין לו שום שכל בלעדי אשר מקבל מהצדיק והרב האמת. וכל זמן שנשאר אצלו שום שכל עצמו אינו בשלמות ואינו מקושר להצדיק:

[18] See above page 1 (Simchas Rabeinu Parsha Sheet 13 p.1)

[19] See above page 2 (Simchas Rabeinu Parsha Sheet 13 p.2)

[20] לקוטי מוהר”ן – חלק א תורה רפב ~ וְדַע שֶׁיֵּשׁ בְּכָל דּוֹר וָדוֹר רוֹעֶה, וְהוּא בְּחִינוֹת משה

[21] Meaning a Tzadik

[22] במדבר פרק יב פסוק ג ~ וְהָאִ֥ישׁ מֹשֶׁ֖ה ענו [עָנָ֣יו] מְאֹ֑ד מִכֹּל֙ הָֽאָדָ֔ם אֲשֶׁ֖ר עַל־פְּנֵ֥י הָאֲדָמָֽה:

[23] פסקי תשובות סימן תצג סעיף ז

[24] פסקי תשובות סימן תצג סעיף ח

[25] Guidelines – Pesach by Rabbi Elozor Barclay, Chapter 1 question 9 page 18

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