179 years since the passing of the greatest student of Rabbeinu Nachman of Breslov, but his spirit and soul are still within us! His books, advice, and writings which he gathered and wrote with the blood of his heart, from his great Rebbe, the Flowing Stream Source of Wisdom, dwell eternally in our hearts and are preserved in writing forever.
Also this year, we merited to the greatest Hilulah on earth for our mighty and glorious Gaon Moreinu Rabbi Natan of Breslov zy”a (may his merit protect us), the faithful talmid of Rabbeinu Nachman of Breslov zy”a, with the participation and guidance of the light of our generation Moreinu HaRav Eliezer Berland shlit”a. Like last year, the Hilulah also included a meal of gratitude in commemoration of the second anniversary of the miraculous release of Moreinu HaRav Berland shlit”a.
The Hilulah began with Ma’ariv in the courtyard of our Beit Midrash with the participation of the Rav shlit”a like every evening, with singing, dancing and niggunim (melodies). After Ma’ariv, the Rav shlit”a gave a number of words of chizzuk (strengthening and encouragement) about the importance of modesty and holiness through which soldiers fighting in the terrible inferno of Gaza are saved.
“For Everything, We Thank You, Hashem our God” – The Hilulah Meal Together with the Meal of Gratitude
After Ma’ariv, the crowds proceeded to the enormous line of buses which filled all Rechov Shivtei Yisrael, and the procession went out to the Pavilion events hall – thousands upon thousands, from all sectors, men, women, and children. Everyone gathered and came, flowing in their masses to the entrance of the events hall. For the thousands of people awaited a meal of gratitude in celebration of the tremendous miracle which we merited to some two years ago on the day following the Hilulah of Rabbi Natan, with the return of Moreinu HaRav Berland shlit”a to his holy dwelling after two years of the concealment of the light of the Tzaddik, who was captive in the hands of the evil empire. It is essential to mention the dedication of Rav Binyamin Dafan, who took care of the meal for members of our community, with delicacies in royal quantities.
“And It was That When the Musician Played” – Top Hasidic Musicians in Unprecedented Musical Production
With Heavenly assistance, we merited in this Hilulah to an unprecedented musical production, the likes of which are only seen at major events in the Torah world. The evening was accompanied by the “Malchut Choir” and children’s choir “Chasidimalech,” alongside the pleasant voice of Rav Ahrele Samet. Above all was the child wonder whose voice moves the heart of every Jew, Bentzi Kletzkin. Alongside them were the best musicians in the world of music, renowned names who appeared on the stage of the central Hilulah of Rabbi Natan of “United Chasidei Breslov – Shuvu Banim”: Rav Avraham Balti on the clarinet, Rav Nachman Tzuker on the saxophone, on the violin Rav David Frank, on the drums stood Rav Nachman Porat. With the guitar was Rav Levi Yitzchak Maurer and Rav Dani Maman. These giants of Hasidic music accompanied the event with amazing, stirring, and emotional singing.
“He is the Rabbi and the Talmid” – Words of the Rabbis of Shuvu Banim
During the event, long-standing talmidim of Rav Berland shlit”a spoke words of chizzuk about the significance of the Hilulah day and about the greatness of Rabbi Natan. Among other things, they spoke about the distribution, the toil, and the money which Rabbi Natan expended so that Breslevers would be strengthened even further.
“My Soul is Love-Sick for You” – Songs of Feeling and Arousal
In the moments before the entrance of the Rav shlit”a, the musicians aroused the hearts of the thousands of participants of the Hilulah. Mainly, these were Shabbat songs, because according to Rabbeinu (as brought by Rabbi Natan in Likutey Halachot), Shabbat is the aspect of the true Tzaddik. During these exalted moments, the band broke out with the song “Tzaddik Tzaddik K’Tamar Yifrach…” The thousands rose onto their feet in honor of Moreinu HaRav shlit”a, who appeared and ascended the stage and sat is his holy seat. Afterwards, he lit the candle in honor of the soul of Moreinu Rabbi Natan of Breslov zy”a. Additional minutes of singing in honor of the Tzaddik and emotional melodies gripped the place as the Rav shlit”a sat on his throne, swaying in devekut (holy devotion) to the sounds of the melodies of the heart which emerged from the pure lips of Bentzi Kletzkin and the Chasidimalech children’s choir. Ahhh…There’s no describing these awesome exalted moments.
“Rabbi Natan Lives and Endures. He Does Not Depart. He Creates a New World” – The Holy Address of Moreinu HaRav Berland Shlit”a
Silence took hold of the gathered thousands. The Rav shlit”a, in his pure voice, begins with the prayer before learning, and while saying the order of Hitkashrut, mentions Rabbi Natan.
“On the Tenth of Tevet, we receive the tablets anew. This year, it falls on Parshat Vayigash. This is the secret of ‘for the brow (Kadkod) of the elect of his brothers,’ that the Tzaddik is the Kadkod!” With these words, the Rav shlit”a began his holy shiur, which was like a flowing stream source of wisdom, a spring which has no end. For close to an hour, his holy words reverberated throughout the auditorium full of thousands. As is his holy way, during the shiur, he “jumped upon mountains and skipped upon the hills,” between Mishnah to Agadah, etc. No intellect in the world could fathom the depths of his words, however we bring a small fraction of the subjects of chizzuk and novelties which the Rav said in the shiur:
After these words, the Rav discussed Parshat Vayigash, that this is the Parashah of the revelation of the Tzaddik, who screams, “I am Yosef,” and he said that the month of Tevet is the month of song and niggun, a month in which the worlds are renewed and created anew. For in the year 5784, the world is created anew, as brought in the holy book “Or L’Meir,” because this year is propitious for redemption as hinted in the verse “Koach Ma’asav Higid L’Amo – The strength of His deeds He declared to His people,” that when we multiple Koach (28) by Koach, it comes out as 784 [an allusion to 5784]. He said that in prayer, new heavens and earth are created, and that this is especifically when praying Vatikin (at sunrise). He added that also when one merits to pray Ma’ariv with the Tzaddik, he creates the sun and the moon and opens the gates. Afterwards, he returned to subject of 10 Tevet, in which a Temple of fire was supposed to descend, and it was overturned, and Nebuchadnezzar laid siege to Jerusalem instead. He said that if a person believes in the Tzaddik, he can revive the dead. He spoke about the secret of the mandrakes which Reuven brought, and that in the merit of this, Yissachar came to the world.
Later, he gave chizzuk to the study of Gemara and said that to sing and dance are good, but only if one learns Gemara. If not, the dancing isn’t true – in a matter of days, a person will stop dancing. Only Torah, Gemara are what build the vessels to dance and sing. He also spoke about Shabbat songs.
After these things, he spoke of how before the destruction of the Temple, all the women were prophetesses, and also Yael was a prophetess and knew how to extract the soul of Rabbi Akiva from Sisra through the secret of the Yated (peg).
The Rav said that a man needs an intelligent woman, as is written “House and wealth are the inheritance from fathers, but from Hashem is an intelligent woman.” If the woman is intelligent, then also the child will come out smart. He said that a man needs to check three things in a woman: modesty, intelligence, and kindness; and these are what Eliezer found in Rivka.
The Rav began to talk about Shimon and Levi, and brought the question of the Ramban, why Yaakov cursed Shimon and Levi in his saying, “You have discomposed me, making me odious”; after all, they freed his daughter from captivity. He answered that since the people of Shechem were already on their way to convert, it was forbidden to kill them, because in truth, every gentile wants in the hidden recesses of his heart to be a Jew. The Rav returned to the subject of the Hilulah day, in which it is forbidden to sleep, and through this, Rabbi Natan comes in ibur (spiritual impregnation) into each person.
In the last part of the shiur, the Rav shlit”a discussed the song of the cows and the trip from Gaza to Beit Shemesh, and went back to the fact that Tevet is the month of song and niggun. Likewise, he spoke about the significance of receiving disparagement, and brought the Gemara that they threw rocks at the tribe of Binyamin for having jumped into the water first. Therefore, when the goblet was found in his sack, he took blows from his brothers, who suspected him of stealing and bringing upon them a disaster. In the merit of the blows that he received, he merited to receive the portion that the Temple was built in, except for a cubit of foundation, and if he had received one more blow joyfully, he would have merited to the entire Temple. Likewise, he spoke about the rain which Eliyahu HaNavi caused to stop during the time of Achav, saying that the Tzaddik controls all nature.
Here, the Rav shlit”a spoke with fiery enthusiasm about the greatness of Rabbi Natan, saying that he never departed. The Tzaddik does not pass away; he lives and endures! He creates the sun and moon anew every day! He brought the insight of Maayanah Shel Torah on Parshat Vayigash, on why Yosef speaks with Pharaoh about bad or good stalks since, after all, the world is judged about crops on Passover. He brought the answer, that on Rosh Hashanah, the world is judged about the ascent of a person to greatness, and this is what Yosef said about the stalks, that this is not relevant to the subject of corps, rather to the subject of the ascent of a person to greatness – “See to appointing a wise and understanding man.” The Rav concluded the shiur about the burial of Rachel Emeiu, that she was buried by Divine command, and today we see that this is the border of Jerusalem. If she had been buried inside the city of Bethlehem, the Jewish masses would be unable to reach her, like what happens today when graves of Tzaddikim are buried in cities under the “Palestinian Authority.” He said that now everyone should go to the grave of Rachel and to the Cave of the Patriarchs, and through this to merit to the complete redemption speedily in our days, Amen!
“Forever We Will Walk in his Light, Through Rabbi Natan his Talmid” – Shir Yididut
After the uplifting shiur, the Rav shlit”a began the niggun of the Shir Yididut of the Hasid Rabbi Yitzchak Breiter hy”d (may his blood be avenged). At length, it was sung with a stirring niggun. The orchestra brought an innovation: with the conclusion of each section “Flowing stream source of wisdom,” they played a jumping and joyful chord.
“For to You, It is Good to Thank” – Singing and Dancing, Joy which Splits the Heavens
After the conclusion of Shir Yididot, they began to sing “Haveita Otanu Ad Kan.” Then, as if by itself, the joy broke through the heavens, and heels were raised up as by themselves. Thousands of people rose from their places, and in the power of the great joy, they danced, skipped, and jumped in honor of the Tzaddik, to thank and praise Hashem for the day of the miraculous release. There’s no describing the joy, song after song, over a period of more than twenty minutes of phenomenal joy. The hearts erupted as the Rav himself rose from his holy seat and also began to dance and clap his hands at length together with all the Rabbis of the community. There’s no describing the awesome flame of joy during these moments of dancing. After some twenty minutes, the Rav shlit”a concluded with Kaddish, and repeated his instruction for everyone to travel to Rachel’s tomb and Hebron. He then left to the sound of the song of thousands, “Or Zarua L’Tzaddik!”