Parshat Vayeira – Happiness: Lesson & Prayer

Rav Eliezer Berland, shlita, shares some of the secrets from Parshat Vayeira

“And they did not hear Moshe from their shortness of breath and back breaking work.”

(Vaaerah chapter 6 verse 9)

When Moshe Rabenu (Our teacher) arrived in Egypt and said, “My holy friends, Hashem (G-d) revealed himself to me! The redemption is going happen soon. Start being happy start to sing start to play melodies, the time to dance and sing has arrived, bring a band, bring a violin, bring a flute start to sing about the wonderful news that the redemption is near.

“And they did not hear Moshe from their shortness of breath and back breaking work.”

Rabeinu (Rebbe Nachman of Breslov) says, in Torah 86[1] “They were in a state of shortness of breath due their lack in emunah (faith, belief), and because of this it was necessary to place upon them back breaking work and fasts.”  Those who are in a state of lacking emunah, since they do not have complete emunah they turn to penance[2] and fasts.

The Noam Elimelach says this was the argument between Moshe and the Tzadikim (the Righteous Ones) of his generation.  Moshe said, “Stop with the fasts and the penance, stop doing the back breaking work.  Start being happy, start singing and dancing.  The truth is that in the beginning of the Jewish servitude to the Egyptians, the Nation of Israel was not silent, the Tzadikim were not quiet, the Tzadikim fasted and cried, they sat on the floor.

They saw that every day Jewish children are being thrown into the Nile, every day the Egyptians are slaughtering Jewish children and placing them into the walls of the buildings, Pharaoh washes himself in babies’ blood, no one was silent, everyone fasted and cried, they fasted to bring the redemption.  Moshe comes and says to them, “My holy friends, this is not the way! This is a mistake! You all want to fast, so you all should fast but this is not going to bring the redemption.  With fasts and penance we are not bringing the redemption.

“The redemption will ONLY COME WITH HAPPINESS!!!” 

They said to him (the Tzadikim of the generation said to Moshe), “WHAT!?!? You are placing before us a new way of serving G-d! You want to take away our fasting and penance after we have already been fasting for years, fasts and penance year after year.” So, “they did not hear Moshe from their shortness of breath and back breaking work.”

Due to all their hopelessness from their shortness of breath from all their back breaking work, they were not able to shake off their despair and to believe that there is hope.  They were not able to believe in the redemption.  Moshe said, “The time has come to serve G-d from a place of Happiness, from a place of powerful happiness,” only happiness is going to conquer the evil forces (klipos), only happiness is going to bring the redemption.

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The Noam Elimelach says that the Tzadikim search for back breaking work and fasts since they have precious Neshamas (souls) and not regular Neshamas.  But they do not see what the Tzadikim possessing the essence of Moshe see, because the True Tzadik (meaning the Tzadik possesing the essence of Moshe) nullifies all the harsh judgments and decrees with complete ease, he does not need to exert any effort, he does not need any penance or fasts, since he nullifies all the harsh judgments with happiness, with playing melodies, and with singing.

The World is mistaken since a person thinks that in order to merit salvation, to mitigate all the harsh judgments one needs back breaking work and fasts.  Practically speaking the Baal Shem Tov already completely nullified the concept of fasts and back breaking work, and this is what Rabeinu (Rebbe Nachman of Breslov) is saying, that the Jews of World do not believe that through HAPPINESS it is possible to merit salvation and to mitigate all the harsh judgments that ever have been and that ever will be.

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A Prayer for Happiness: Ribono Shel Olam (Master of the Universe), Master greater than all oneness, please send me the merit to enter the realm of those who are always bringing up their happiness and they never stop for a moment.  Please send me the merit to have happiness without borders and without an end.  Please shine upon me non-stop happiness every day of the year.  Happiness in you and happiness in your True Tzadikim, and I should merit to always be happy as it is written, “You gave happiness in my heart.”

My father, my creator, my redeemer, the one who wants what is best for me; help me in your great kindness that I should always merit to be happy.  Strengthen me to overcome any feelings of sadness and build me up with all different types of happiness.

Make my soul happy in every path of happiness which our holy Sages taught us about, and I should not allow sadness to come close to me in any way, and there should be no power for sadness and for depression to deaden my heart Heaven Forbid and to confuse my mindset.  Rather I should merit to overcome every moment with great happiness and abundant joy! Amen, may it be your will Hashem (G-d).


Someone had taken a loan for the bank which turned into an extremely large debt.  He had not taken care to pay back this loan for many years and eventually the interest became so large that was much larger than the initial loan.  After many years the bank began threatening him if he did not pay back the loan with the interest and he did not know what to do.

He called Rav Berland to ask him for advice and the Rav told him, “Come to my Torah class [this evening].”  He made every effort to get there on time but he ended up arriving late.  As soon as he sat down the Rav said [within the words of the Torah class in front of everyone], “The bank has billions of dollars! What! Do they need your thousands of shekels too?  So you owe the bank thousands of shekels, so write them a letter asking them to pardon your debt, for the bank is this such a big deal?” And the Rav continued with the Torah class.

The man with the debt heard this and went to a lawyer and explained to him the situation.   Then he asked the lawyer to compose a formal letter asking the bank to pardon his debt.  The lawyer exclaimed, “Are you crazy! That will never work!” He replied, “What do you care, I am paying you for this so write the letter.”  The lawyer agreed and the letter was sent.

The bank sent a response that they pardoned half of the interest that had accumulated.  However, the loan and the remaining interest was still too sizeable for this man to pay.  Again he called the Rav who told him, “Come to my Torah class [this evening].”  This time the man arrived on time and in the middle of the Torah class the Rav said, “The letter worked! So send another letter asking the bank to pardon the other half.”

So he sent another letter to the bank asking that they pardon the remaining interest.  The bank responded that they pardoned the remaining interest, yet they wanted him to pay back the initial loan.  This amount was easier for him to pay back and after a few payments the loan was fully paid back.


Rav Tznani[3] said if we listen there are always two radios playing.  One is the radio of the evil side telling us to do the wrong thing and the other is the radio of the Tzadik giving us the true advice for each moment.

One of the best ways to get personal advice from the Tzadik is to listen to his Torah classes however, this requires a lot of preparation. Meaning that before attending the Torah class a person needs to prepare themselves with an abundance of prayer and personal prayer[4] asking that he receive the advice of the Tzadik. These prayers make a vessel for true yearning to receive true advice from the Tzadik and then during the Rav’s Torah class, when one hears the Tzadik speak he will hear and understand the true advice meant for his Neshama (soul).


Is it permissible to take something from someone as a joke even if you have the intent to give it back? No that is forbidden! The Kitzur Shulchan Aruch[5] writes, “To steal with the intent to return, even if he [the thief] is stealing to cause the owner a little anguish or as a joke it is also forbidden.”

How does one honor the Shabbos and have a special seudah (meal) for Rosh Chodesh (the new month) when Rosh Chodesh falls on Shabbos?  The Kitzur Shulchan Aruch[6] writes, “If Rosh Chodesh falls on Shabbos a person should make one more dish than his regular Shabbos meal.”  Rav Yadler explains this to mean on Shabbos-Rosh Chodesh the seudah has something special for Rosh Chodesh, and ideally it should be a cooked dish but it can also be a dessert or an extra salad or the like.  Ideally[7] this addition to the seudah should be during the Shabbos day meal however, it can be added during the night meal[8] or even during the Malavah Malcah[9] seudah Motzei Shabbos.

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Dedications for Health and Haztlacha for:

הרב והרבנית שליט”א, הרב אלהו בן אדל רות, הרב מיכל בן אסתר, עזרה בן , יוסף ברוך בן רחל מלכה, רחל מלכה בת שנה טובה,  בוריס בן עדינה, יעקוב ישראל בן שרה, יוסף בן רחל

[1] Likeutey Moharan part 2,Torah 86

[2] The Hebrew word translated here is סיגופים.  It means to achieve atonement through breaking one’s body and mortification.

[3] Torah class given over at Shuvu Bonim on 27 Tevas 5777

[4] The word here being translated is התבודדות.

[5] קצור שלחן ערוך סימן קפב סעיף ג

[6]  קצור שלחן ערוך סימן צז סעיף ב

[7] משנה ברורה סימן תיט סעיף א סעיף קטן ב

[8] שם דרשו מספר 4

[9] שם שער הציון אות קטן ה

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