Shiur given by Rabbi Berland on Wednesday, the week of Parshat Ki Teitza, 5779
Translated from the Shivivei Or Newsletter #111
Those who have eyes to see and an understanding heart will learn some awesome secrets…
On Thursday night, it’s the yahrtzeit of the Ben Ish Hai, today it’s 5779, and the Ben Ish Hai passed away in 5669, exactly 110 years ago. Now, it’s 110 years from the Ben Ish Hai. Each person needs to receive a holy spark from the Ben Ish Hai.
The truth is that the [True] Tzaddik encompasses all the holy sparks. The Tzaddik is Rabbenu, he’s already the last [True] Tzaddik. Rabbenu said, “From me until Moshiach comes, there won’t be anything new.”
There was the Ba’al Shem Tov (BESHT), and after 12 years, Rabbenu came, and the BESHT said, I’m coming back! There’s a conversation from the BESHT that [he said] “I’m returning after 12 years!”
Everyone who was born 12 years after [the Ba’al Shem Tov died] said I’m the BESHT! All those who were born in 1772 claimed that they were the BESHT. The BESHT died in 5520, he was born in 5458, on the 18th of Elul.
Today, we’ll finish at 7.30, and after that we’ll also do the Tikkun HaKlali, because the Tikkun HaKlali atones for everything, just that a person shouldn’t do any more aveirot (transgressions).
Shabtai Tzvi said that he was Moshiach, so in the beginning they believed him.
All the Gedolei Yisrael (Jewish leaders) believed him. In Amsterdam, they sold their houses, they simply just literally sold their houses for half the price, for a third of the value.
They believed him, because he told them that he would split the sea for them. He was in Amsterdam, or otherwise he sent someone to Amsterdam on his behalf, and he said: “I will split the sea for you! You will walk through the sea on dry land!’
So, they sold all their houses in Amsterdam. The Chacham Tzvi had to run away. The Chacham Tzvi said that it’s lies, and then he escaped to London. He was in London for two years, until he passed away in 5478. In 5426, Shabtai Tzvi converted to Islam, because 5420, because 5720 is 1980, so it comes out as 1680. In 5426 he became a Muslim.
Someone came along, Nechemia Cohen was his name, he was a student of the BACH, he went and told the Sultan wasn’t the Moshiach. The Sultan said to him, but that isn’t possible, everyone says that he’s the Moshiach. Maybe, he really is the Moshiach? The student replied: Throw him in the fire, check him out!
How did Manoach do it?
His wife said “I saw an angel.” She saw angels! He said, I want to know, why didn’t he come to me?! I learn Gemara all day long, I’m with Shuvu Banim, I wake up in the middle of the night. You, on the other hand, you really just make cookies… So what’s going on, that this should be revealed to you?!
She replied: “He’ll reveal himself [again].”
[He told her]: “Tomorrow, bring him to me, if he reveals himself to you tomorrow as well, send him to me. I know how to handle these sort of ‘tales’.”
Good, so the angels reveals himself to her again, and he tells her, don’t eat anything spiritually impure, i.e. that it was forbidden for her to knead the dough, and it was forbidden to touch the fruit, everything’s forbidden, when she wasn’t in a state of tahara (ritual purity). It’s like this in Ethiopia even today.
The traditional Jews in Ethiopia didn’t know about Chanuka and Purim, because they were cut off from the rest of the Jewish communities. But they kept all the halachot the same way as at the time of the First Temple, when it was forbidden for a woman to knead dough when she wasn’t in a state of tahara. Only up until 12, or after the age of 60, or when she was nursing. They used to eat the pitas at the apex of spiritual purity.
Nehemia Cohen went to the Sultan.
And he told him, he’s not Moshiach! Are you kidding?! Does it look to you like he’s the Moshiach?! [The Sultan replied, but] Maybe, he still is the Moshiach?
He said to him: “Check it out! Put him in the middle of a fire, and then you’ll see.”
So the Sultan said to Shabtai Tzvi, come, let’s put in you a fire, we’ll check. It’s only for two seconds. I’m not talking about a lot of time. He said, Ok, let’s say for a minute. In the end, he compromised on the minute. Good, so Shabtai Tzvi sees that he’s serious, and that they really are going to put him in a fire, so he says: “I will become a Muslim!” He took the tarbush off the servant who was there, and converted to Islam.
This is how all the Moroccans used to walk, with their tarbushim.
When a lone Ashkenazi came along, he’d also don a tarbush. It’s forbidden for an Ashkenazi to live in Jerusalem. There was a decree from 5460 to 5684 for 124 years, there was a decree that it was forbidden for Ashkenazim to live in Jerusalem.
Because Rabbi Yehuda HaChasid (lit: Rabbi Yehuda the pious one) wasn’t called ‘the chasid’ (‘the pious one’), but just Chasid – it was just his surname. We say ‘Yehuda HaChasid’, but it’s ‘Yehuda Chasid’, all of this was just his family name. And he took 500 families, 500 arrived [in Israel], first they went to Amsterdam. There, there was an enormous diary, and enormous book. Everyone signed their name there, and how many children they had, and according to this, money was sent to Eretz Yisrael.
Now, I read on Shabbat that the Admor of Shepetovka used to send his shaliach (messenger) to collect the money that was sent to the people of Eretz Yisrael, so the government was following after him. So where did he get to? To Haifa. That’s where the Interpol were waiting, and the KGB, and the Turkish FBI was waiting for him. Until, the Rebbe saved the situation. The Rebbe sent his shamash (attendant) and he got the money before the FBI showed up.
And that’s how the money got to Tiveria, and there was food.
Because there wasn’t food. At the time that the Rebbe travelled to Eretz Yisrael, everyone was dying from hunger. So the Rebbe, first thing, travelled to the Baal HaTanya. He didn’t stay at home, he went by way of Medvedevka, first he went via Uman, and after that Medvedevka. And after that, he came to Pinsk, to Karlin. That’s where the Baal HaTanya used to live.
The Rebbes of Chabad only started to live in Lubavitch after 100 years.
The Tzemach Tzedek was given a gift by the poritz. The poritz saw his prayers, and he told him you’ll get the whole village for free, the whole of Lubavitch, for free. But the Baal HaTanya used to live in Pinsk-Karlin at the beginning.
He’s buried in Haditsch, because he ran away from Napoleon.
The Rebbe told him there’s no need to run away from Napoleon, Napoleon is not going to do anything. The Rebbe didn’t run away. But the Rebbe said to him: You will not conquer Eretz Yisrael. The Rebbe said to him: Eretz Yisrael, you’re not going to conquer.
Napoleon came, and he said that if he had conquered Eretz Yisrael, then he would have conquered the whole world. From here, he would conquer the whole of Russia in one day. If Akko had been conquered, so then Moscow would have been conquered within 24 hours, because the Russians had no strength to resist Napoleon. They didn’t have an army, they didn’t have anything.
Ultimately, it’s an army that goes around with t-shirts and bare feet. This isn’t an army, at all.
So he wrote, I will conquer Akko, but the Rebbe said:
Akko, he is not going to conquer!
The Rebbe was in Akko, he said: This, you are already not going to conquer. He was conquering Yaffo (Jaffa), he was conquering Haifa – but not Akko. He wanted to enter Jerusalem, but he heard that the English were already on their way, the English were already coming. And the English entered Akko before him.
This was Smith, this was Nelson. And he was wounded in the battle. The French had 400 ships there, with 40,000 soldiers, to conquer the whole of Eretz Yisrael. So he sunk all the warships, not even a single boat remained, together with all the 40,000 soldiers.
Napoleon was left with just 10,000 soldiers, so he conquered Rafiach, and Khan Younis, Gaza.
When he got to Yaffo, he was told: This, you are not going to conquer. So he slaughtered everyone. A river of blood flowed out. So they understood that he was the cruelest person in the world.
And then from Yaffo, he advanced towards Haifa, he advanced by way of Jenin, then Afula was ‘Fula’ …. And after this, from Afula he advanced. After this he entered the seashore, and from there he advanced to Haifa. And then, he asked the Jews that they would assist him. They didn’t help him, so he slaughtered everyone, a river of blood flowed out just from the Jews, he slaughtered in Haifa.
And then, when he was approaching Akko, General Smith had already arrived. When he arrived, the English already told everyone to leave. To give their houses over to the English. And then, exactly, the Rebbe wanted to travel to the seashore, where the warships were, and then he entered a warship, instead of a regular passenger ship.
He had his tickets already, he bought the tickets on Shabbat, because they were saying that on motzae Shabbat, there would already be bloodshed, and that they would slaughter everyone, Napoleon said that he would slaughter everyone.
And there was one person, Al Jazeeri, Al Jazeeri he slashed Rabbi Chayim Perachi, he slashed his nose, and after that he took one of his eyes out, and after that, he threw him from the second floor, and pulverized him, because Al Jazeeri believed the informers.
It’s written, “Don’t bow to the authorities.”
Because you could be a minister by the non-Jewish nations, but ultimately the nations will inform against you. It will be said that you embezzled and stole money, and then the king will believe them, and he will hang him.
So, when they hung Chayim Perachi, then they took Rabbi Israel of Shklov, and Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Shklov – they took everyone to the jail house. They were there for around a month, until they were freed in exchange for a bribe.
Napoleon had already successfully entered, he found a tunnel underneath the wall. There were three walls in Akko, you can still see them, so he found an underground passage. Just as the soldiers were coming out, so Al Jazeer said [text missing] them! And chopped everyone’s heads off, i.e. those who had come out of the tunnel.
This is how they were sent packing. They fled back to Paris, and he [Napoleon] executed all the wounded. He was so cruel, that he said he wouldn’t take the wounded soldiers back with him. He gave everyone an injection of drugs, and put to death all the injured, and that way not a single Frenchman remained alive.
So then, he said that he would take children, because he already didn’t have an army left, everyone had died on him. So he said that from now on, he’d take children from the age of 16. So he enlisted all the children from age 16, and he went to conquer England. But to this day, no-one knows why that battle failed. They called it ‘The Battle for Waterloo’.
The French were already ready to cross the English Channel, and everyone ran away from London. London was already deserted, they knew that they were coming to slaughter everyone. They’d already passed, they’d already got to Waterloo, this isn’t far from the sea, this is next to Belgium.
And so, the English were left without any weapons, without ammunition, without any swords. And they were already ready to surrender, and London was ready to be conquered, when suddenly everything turned around.
Because there was a bracha (blessing).
Why did this happen? There was a blessing from Rabbi Yokel of Galuna, Yokel is Yaakov. Rabbi Yokel of Galuna, every blessing of his was realized. Rabbi Yokel of Galuna suspected his shamash (attendant). He had a shamash¸ and he suspected him, because 20,000 zlotys had disappeared, zlotot. So then it was zlotot, and zlotot were gold – gold coins. Polish zlotys were gold, and 20,000 of his had disappeared.
He didn’t remember where he’d put them, which cupboard they were in, which compartment, in which clothes he’d hidden them away. So, he suspected the shamash. The shamash was called Anshel – Amshel. We changed that into Anshel, he was called Moshe Amshel, that was his name. After this, it was turned into Moshe Anshel, but his true name is Moshe Amshel, with an ‘m’.
And he said to the shamash: Either swear [that you didn’t do it], or I’m going to fire you.
And the shamash said: I won’t swear!
There are whole stories about how it’s forbidden for people to take an oath.
After half a year, he found the money. Within half a year you’ll find the invoice. People sold their houses, only to avoid taking an oath. Swear that it wasn’t taken! I won’t swear, take the house, take everything!
They went with the nurselings 1000 km, until they found a remote village, with a kind of synagogue half-buried in the ground. Each erev Shabbat, he needed to light candles and clean it, then spill water on the ashes, so the ash wouldn’t become powder on Shabbat, and then set up sacks.
So, he found the money, so Reb Yokel of Galuna went 1000 km.
very where we he came to, he’d bang on the bima (the platform in the synagogue) and say: “I suspected my shamash, but I found the 20,000.” Maybe, it was erev Pesach.
And like this, he travelled 1000 km, until he got to some village. While he was doing bedikat chametz he found the 20,000 zlotys, it was hidden away in some deep cupboard, amidst all the clothes, he didn’t remember where he put it. Maybe, someone moved it, maybe his wife moved it, or that she also didn’t remember where she’d put it. So, she also didn’t remember where she put it, or she simply knew nothing about it.
During bedikat chametz, she finds it. Now, he goes travelling across Europe for a whole year, across the whole of Poland, across the whole of Galicia, the whole of Rossieny. He’s going, he’s going on foot from city to city, looking for the shamash. And he’s with 10 infants, he put them in the snow, barefoot. Once, there wasn’t shoes like there are today, everything was hand-made.
If a person tears [their shoes], there is no-one who will fix them.
Until he gets there, to that remote village, and he sees a few Jews, and a synagogue that’s half in the earth, it’s a sunken village, everything’s flyblown, the wood, the walls are decaying. He just lights candles, spills a bit of water on the ashes before Shabbat, so on Shabbat they can pray there.
He lights the candles, and straight away he recognizes him, Reb Yokel recognizes him, and he recognizes Reb Yokel, he had a white beard, his clothes are already all torn, with ripped shoes. He journeyed on, and he didn’t give up. For a whole year, he went by foot. He said: Until I will find him! I [falsely] suspected a Jew! What is this?!
He didn’t have a share in the world to come!!
This is the biggest transgression, to suspect a Jew.
So he found him, and he says to him: Come. Come with me, I found the money, I apologize.
But he says: I’m not returning!
You’re not returning?! So now, you’ll be the richest person in the whole word. You’re already old, so the children [will be the richest], and the grandchildren.
The sons still weren’t, but the grandchildren were already the richest people, they had all the banks in Europe. What made them so wealthy? From this story, that everyone ran away from London, and a bank that was worth a billion dollars was now worth 100,000 shekels, maybe a million.
A bank worth 100,000 was worth $1000. And Rothschild didn’t even need to pay over any money, it was enough for him to sign that he was buying this bank, and that bank. He bought all the banks in London, he sent messengers just with his seal [to conclude the transactions], because it was known that Napoleon was coming in another two hours. What does it take, to cross the Channel? Today, it’s 35 minutes, half an hour.
Today, there’s a train, there’s a tunnel, there’s a train, and you have to order two days beforehand your place on the train. You can’t just stam show up and enter, this is a train that is superior to all the cars. And within 35 minutes, we’ve arrived, it’s 50 km, it’s almost half an hour.
But then, it took two hours, within two hours, he’s conquering London, and no-one will stay alive.
There won’t be any banks. And so, he bought everything, and so the whole war changed direction. Suddenly, everything reversed, and all the French started to run away. Until this day, no-one knows why.
It’s an enigma.
There are mysteries. All the French, all the army, started to run away, suddenly, and no-one knows why. [The English commander], he was called Wellington. There are a lot of towns called Wellington, he was the top general there, in the battle. He said:
All I did was say some tehillim. I already didn’t have sword, I didn’t have anything.
There wasn’t even a sword! All the swords were broken, he was left just with the shaft, just with half the shaft. And so he started to recite shir ha’maalot.
 The father of Shimshon haGibbor.
 To recite the Tikkun Chatzot, or Midnight Lamentation.
 A type of hat commonly known as a fez in English.
 To support the community there. This was known as the haluka payment, and it continued in one form or another up until the First World War.
 The name usually given to a Polish landlord, or Polish landed gentry.
 An area currently located in modern-day Lithuania, where many Jews lived.