FROM THE TEACHINGS OF RAV ELIEZER BERLAND, SHLITA
THE IMPORTANCE OF HUMILITY
The revival of the dead will only be according to humility
The Rabbi Nachman says in Likutey Moharan II, 72 that the revival of the dead will only be for the [quality of] humility of the person. How many points of humility that a person has [will be] how much of a body he has during the revival of the dead.
If he has one point of humility, he will be a small person consisting of one point. If he has in him ten points of humility, he will have ten small points. If he has a million points of humility we’ll already see some kind of slice…it will already [be possible] to see something. Everything is according to the humility which he created throughout all of his 120 years.
A person needs to work only on humility.
“I don’t know what Breslev is. I don’t know anything. I love all the tzaddikim. I love them all without end. I love every tzaddik with true love. A Jew who keeps Torah and mitzvos, keeps Shabbos, and what’s more, he walks with sidelocks and a beard – there’s nothing higher than this, whoever he may be.”
The main greatness is only humility. The main future revival, who will rise at the revival and live eternal life, the entire eternal life, as well as the main part of [all] that has [already] been which will be revived, which is destined to rise in the future at the revival of the dead…everything is according to the humility – only this is what will remain…How many points of humility that a person has in him. Wake up and shout, ShoChNey (dwellers) of the dust! – whoever makes himself a ShaCheN (neighbor) to dust in his lifetime…he who was dust and ashes in his lifetime.
The great humility of Rabbi Avraham bar Nachman
A person only needs to work on humility.
Rabbi Avraham bar Nachman never wanted to give over halachos. He would say, “Open the Shulchan Aruch,” even though he knew the Shulchan Aruch by heart, along with the Siftey Kohen (ShaCh) and Turey Zahav (TaZ). Once, people put their ears up to his mouth and heard that he was reciting one section of ShaCh after the next, word by word – they would take books and compare. His lips would be whispering all the time. They heard Bartenura word by word, ShaCh word by word, and in [the city of] Breslev he was the most ridiculed person. In Uman he was the most ridiculed person. They called him “the mishegener (the nut).”
Therefore, in Breslev they never showed off their scholarship
They never showed off what they knew. They were happy if they could say a chapter of Psalms a bit with a few tears…they only thought about this – how after I learn eight hours, I can shed a few tears in a chapter of Psalms. But if you don’t learn eight hours, you won’t succeed in shedding tears in Psalms…this won’t help you.
It’s impossible to [just] take Psalms and begin to cry. What is there to cry about? That yesterday I ate ice cream and popsicles, and in a little while I’m going to eat chocolate? What do I have to cry about? When can we cry? When we learn several hours of Talmud, then we begin to see where our soul stands, what’s happening with me. Then we begin to cry, then you shed tears. Talmud isn’t for the sake of arrogance. It’s so that we can feel our lowliness.
If there’s no modesty and humility, a person can suddenly be crushed. [If] someone will give him some sort of insult, then he’ll already abandon the yeshiva and build a house of idolatry.
This is as the Talmud relates at the end of tractate Menachos regarding Chonyo*. This really shocks the sense of reason, this gemara: [Chonyo was] a person who never opened his eyes in his life; he doesn’t [even] know how the high priest dresses. His brother dresses him with the wrong clothes, and [now] people want to kill him. [Chonyo] says, “This is what they did to me? This sort of plot they [made against] me?” [So he] went and built a house of idolatry.
The Rebbe says that the main thing is that a person should always have self-nullification and humility, even if they drive him away. “They’ve thrown me out?” What’s the meaning of this that they’re throwing you out? Take a gemara and learn just where you are situated.
You need to love the person who humiliates and hate the person who honors
Don’t talk about any Jew, don’t talk about anyone. What difference does it make to you if someone talked about you? On the contrary, be happy! He is doing a tikkun for you. A person speaks about you and you don’t sleep well? You really should have hired out people with money to speak about you. Tzaddikim would hire out people with money to speak about them. If they’re doing this for free, you need to kiss and hug them.
This is what is written in tractate Kallah, that you need to love the person who rebukes you…[love] your enemy. He brings you to Gan Eden. And from the person who “loves” you, you need to flee out of firing range.
* In the Gemara, there are two different versions of the story of Chonyo, who was the son of Shimon HaTzaddik.