Parshat Vayetzei 5778: Yaakov when to the root of harsh judgment
Secrets of the Torah with Rav Eliezer Berland, shlita. Translated from the Tzama Nafshi newsletter.
‘And Yaakov departed’ – when Yaakov departed from Beer Sheva (‘7’), he already completed all sheva (7) levels of holiness, and the sheva Sefirot! Malchut, Yesod, Hod, Netzach, Tiferet, Gevurah, Chesed- these are the seven gevurot (strengths, powers), ‘and went towards Haran’ – Yaakov went to Haran. He went to the root of din (harsh judgment), to the sephira of Binah.
He went to sweeten the judgments of Binah, to sweeten the root of din. He went to continue the flow of chesed (loving kindness) to the world, and to continue the flow of shefa (bounty) to the world. Because all of the tzaddikim’s work is bound up with continuing the flow of loving kindness and bounty to the world.
Rebbe Nachman sweetened all the judgments
At the moment that Rebbe Nachman of Breslov came to the world, he sweetened all of the judgments until the very end of the generations. He continued the flow of bounty to the world, he continued the flow of loving kindness to the world, and he announced that there aren’t any reshaim (evildoers) any more. The era of the evildoers was finished!
At the moment that Rebbe Nachman was born, the epoch of the evildoers was over. There are no evildoers in the nation of Israel. He revealed Lesson 282 in Likutey Moharan [otherwise known as ‘Azamra’] that: “In a little while longer, there will be no evildoer”. Just a little while longer, today, tomorrow, in two days from now, there won’t be any more evildoers in Am Yisrael. Everyone will be making teshuva.
Everyone is going to be a tzaddik
This one made teshuva yesterday, that one is making teshuva today, another one is going to make teshuva tomorrow – everyone’s in the process of making teshuva! Everyone is going to be a tzaddik, everyone is going to get to the stage of ‘Your people, all of them are tzaddikim’!
This one is going to become a tzaddik today, another one will turn into a tzaddik tomorrow, another one in two days time. And the one who turns into a tzaddik the day after tomorrow is going to overtake everyone else. The smallest one [spiritually] is going to rise up higher and higher, because the bigger the neshama, the greater it truly is, the more refined it really is – the more difficulties and barriers they will face, in order to do teshuva.
Rabbenu tells us in Lesson 282 that there is no such thing as reshaim, evildoers, in Am Yisrael. This reality simply doesn’t exist. Even if you see a total sinner, who doesn’t have a spiritually-sound bone in his body, from the top of his head to the soul of his foot, he doesn’t have a single point of Yiddishkeit, every fibre of his being is ‘anti’ [religious], G-d forbid…
Every Jew is on fire for Hashem
Even if it seems to you that there has never being a sinner like this in all the generations – know that the whole problem is simply that he lacks da’at (spiritual awareness / knowledge of G-d). Inside, there’s a raging holy fire. Inside every Jew there burns a flame for Hashem Yitbarach, it’s just that mountains of dirt are covering it over, obscuring the neshama, there’s so much dust covering the fire.
It’s like a volcano that has burning lava deep within it, the mountain is obscuring the fire. The second that the fire breaks through, that the lava erupts, it’s going to consume the whole mountain.
Every Jew is covered by mountains of dust and boulders. But the day will come when the fire will erupt, and it will destroy all these mountains of earth and dust.
“And we need to search for, and to find within him some small point of good, where in that point, he’s not a rasha (evildoer).” (Likutey Moharan I:282).
Even in the biggest evildoer, you’ll find a lot of good
It simply can’t be, that he’s an evildoer from the top of his head to the sole of his foot, it just looks that way to you! It’s just your imagination! Your imagination is making you think that he’s a rasha. Always search for some good thing that he’s done, some kindness that he did for someone else. Always search for this, even in the biggest rasha, and you’ll find an awful lot of good.
“And by doing this, by finding within him some small point of good, and by judging him favorably, by doing this, this really will tip him into the scale of merit, and he can return and make teshuva….” (Likutey Moharan I:282).
If you look at every Jew with a good eye, and don’t thing to yourself: ‘Well, I made teshuva, and I keep Shabbat, and I learn Torah, so why isn’t he making teshuva like me? Why isn’t he keeping Shabbat, like me? He should be doing the same thing! I also did all those bad things, why isn’t he doing all these good things, now?’
Rabbenu tells us: “In a little while longer, there will be no evildoer”. Just a little while longer! He’s going to do it tomorrow, or in two days time. You can’t start interfering with Hashem’s order of creation, with the process of teshuva that has to occur.
Teshuva is a process
This process of teshuva – when is everyone going to make teshuva? How is everyone going to make teshuva? – this process is hidden from the eye of all creation. This process has to occur for every single Jew. One day, every single Jew will have to make teshuva! It’s possible to speed this process up, and to catalyze it – but only by way of having a good eye!
It’s only when a person merits to look at every single Jew with a good eye that you will “look at his place, and he won’t be there.” [I.e. he won’t be a rasha anymore].
If everyone would know this, and would know to judge every person favorably in this way, and not to look at them with an ayin hara (negative, evil eye), then there would be no more rashaim (evildoers) in Israel. Everyone can come back to Hashem and make teshuva in the blink of an eye.
The Jewish souls that appear to be the most wicked, they’re really the most ‘tzaddik-like’, or saintly of souls. Everything is backwards: the more they look like an evildoer, the more holy they really are. It’s precisely because this soul is so holy that it’s so filled up with fear! It has a secret fear, and an internal fear, about starting to keep mitzvot.
These big souls want to go the whole way
This soul knows that if it starts to keep mitzvot, it’s going to go the whole way! There are so many Jews who are distant from Yiddishkeit because they say to themselves “If I start keeping mitzvot, I’m going to end up going the whole way…. I can’t do it! If I start doing everything, then I’m going to end up learning Torah day and night, and I’m going to start living a holy, sanctified, spiritually-pure lifestyle – I’m going to go the whole way!”
And going the whole way appears to be something that’s very hard to do… So we say to them: “Just keep half!” – but they’re not prepared to do that. They want to go the whole way. And truly, if we would show them how to do it, and explain things to them, and show them how to sanctify themselves, and how it’s actually not so hard to do – everyone would make teshuva.
Every Jew contains a spark of Hashem
Every Jew is a part of Hashem Himself, every Jew contains a spark of Hashem… Every Jew, even the biggest sinner, his heart is on fire for Hashem Yitbarach. There is no Jew whose heart is not on fire for Hashem, because a Jew is not a cow, and is not a sheep – the soul of every single Jew was hewn out from the kisey Hakavod (Hashem’s heavenly throne).
Every Jew is really ‘there’ still, even if there are mountains of earth, billions of tons of earth, covering over his neshama, the glowing embers are still there in his heart…and Rabbenu is telling is: ‘come, let us blow all these mountains of earth of him, because there is no such thing as an evildoer in Israel.
There’s no such thing as a chiloni (secular Jew) – it simply doesn’t exist! There’s one person who’s able to keep 80% of the Torah, there’s another who’s keeping 70%, another person is keeping 20%, another is keeping 10%. Every Jew fasts on Yom Kippur, eats matzah on Pesach – there’s no such thing as a chiloni Jew! Everyone is keeping [some aspect of] the Torah.
Every Jew is holy
Every Jew is a holy Jew, is a pure Jew. And this is the foundation of Rabbenu’s statement that there are no evildoers in Am Yisrael. It’s forbidden to call any Jew a rasha. It’s forbidden to say so-and-so is a rasha. We have to fix this way of speaking, because there is no such thing as a rasha.
How can you believe that so-and-so is a rasha? Do you stand in his shoes? Do you know where he was born? Do you know who is his parents were and what he had to go through? How can you decide to call a Jew a rasha? How is it possible to call another Jew a chiloni? How’s it even possible to express these things? How can you decide who’s a rasha and who’s a tzaddik?!
Do you really know who’s really a rasha and who’s really a tzaddik? You need to know that everyone is really a tzaddik – ‘Your nation is a nation of tzaddikim’ – and that there are no evildoers in Israel.