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“The name of the one is Eliezer”
Knishta Chada Rosh Hashanah Edition 5777-2017
From what is happening surrounding
the Gaon and Tzaddik HaRav Eliezer Berland Shlit”a
“I have brought you a gift – Opposition!”
The gift which is impossible to relent on
Rabbeinu Hakadosh (Rabbi Nachman) said: “All the great tzaddikim reached extraordinary levels. But having reached their level, they stayed there. As for me, thank G-d, I become a different person with every new moment.” He cited the opposition he endured as proof of this. For the tzaddik is called a tree (Psalms 92:13), and he has roots and branches. Now every tzaddik, before he can attain a new level, must endure opposition, for the Rabbis said: “Strife is like the inroad made by a burst of water…” (Sanhedrin 7a) – i.e. strife and opposition are the category of “water.” It is the water – the opposition – which elevates the tzaddik. “But as for me,” the Rebbe continued, “I need constant opposition, because I am constantly moving from level to level at every moment. If I knew I am now standing where I was previously, I would reject myself completely in this world” (Tzaddik 401).
Fortunate are we that we merit to be followers of the true tzaddik and his true disciples, for which it is worthwhile for a person to go through all the suffering in the world, through countless reincarnations, in order to get close to the tzaddik who promised us countless times that he would ultimately bring us to our true purpose in this world, saying: “You have nothing to worry about, being that I am going before you.” And furthermore, he promised us that anyone who is bound to him will not leave this world without receiving his complete tikkun (soul rectification). And not only in the World to Come, but also in this life now the person who is a follower of the tzaddik merits to truly experience the Divine pleasantness of serving Hashem (G-d), hisbodedus (secluded meditation), nigunim (holy melodies), joy, clinging to Hashem, the midnight lamentation, the sweetness of the holy Torah and all the other benefits one merits by being a follower of the tzaddik.
Despite this, we need to remember that we don’t hurriedly experience the Divine pleasantness and the sweetness in the great and precious gifts that we received from Rabbeinu. Not only that, it can sometimes feel very bitter and painful, only we need to know that this too is a gift like all the other precious gifts of the tzaddik; and so too with the greatest gift of all that we received from Rabbeinu – opposition. When Rabbeinu returned from the Holy Land he said, “I have brought you a gift – opposition.” It’s impossible to truly be a Breslever Chasid or a follower of the tzaddik without receiving this gift.
“Once some of his followers were complaining to him that they found it hard to bear the opposition and persecution they suffered. The Rebbe said to them: “Believe me, I have the power to make peace with the whole world, and then I would not have a single opponent. But what can I do? There are levels and spiritual palaces which it is impossible to reach except through the opposition one encounters.” (ibid. 402). Therefore, it can’t be that a person receives the rest of the benefits from the tzaddik and skips this benefit, because everything involving Rabbeinu is [also] relevant to all his followers in every generation until the last generation. Also here, the follower of the tzaddik who doesn’t go through persecution, disgrace and opposition as is fitting for any Chasid Breslev, needs to check himself to see if he is truly a follower of the tzaddik.
What the Baal Shem Tov didn’t merit to
Rabbeinu used opposition in order to make it to the Holy Land and to save his life, as is brought in the story of his trip in “The Wisdom of Rabbi Nachman.” At the time that Rabbeinu was in Istanbul, he used strategies to cause everyone to disgrace and oppress him, saying that in the merit of this he would make it to the Holy Land and not die in Istanbul. He said: “Before one can come to greatness he must first fall into smallness. The Holy Land is the greatness of greatness, so a person must first fall to smallness of smallness. This is the reason why the Baal Shem Tov failed to reach the Holy Land was because he was unable to descend to this degree of smallness” (Tzaddik 37 (140)).
The more the tzaddik descends into smallness, the more he can ascend to greatness. Therefore, Rabbeinu merited to levels that not even the Baal Shem Tov reached, all in the merit of the humiliations and disgrace that he accepted onto himself. “A person needs to roll himself in all types of mud and dirt in order find favor and give pleasure to Hashem. Then he merits to reach even what Moshe in his lifetime didn’t merit to” (Likutey Moharan II, 5).
Rabbeinu said: “Moshe certainly had the power to draw all of Israel to him, as is written, ‘And Moshe gathered together the entire congregation of Israel’ (Exodus 35), because he himself was the da’as (consciousness) of all Israel, and it was in his power to gather and draw everyone to him. Even so, it is written, ‘And they gazed after Moshe’ (ibid. 33), which our sages interpreted as they did [that the entire congregation suspected him of adultery, etc]. All of this is because there are things which can only be reached by way of people arousing strife against him, etc. Our sages said (Sanhedrin 7a): ‘Strife is like the inroad made by a burst of water…’ as it says ‘The beginning of quarrel is like releasing water…’ and it’s written, ‘Man is a tree of the field’ (Deuteronomy 20). The more one pours water around a tree of the field, the more it grows.”
Therefore, Rabbi Nosson took pride in the fact that he attained things which even Rabbeinu didn’t merit to. In the book “Siach Sarfey Kodesh,” it is related: “Once, Rabbeinu said as if lamenting: ‘Even though you are upright people, it wasn’t this that I intended. I intended that I should have people who roar to Hashem entire nights like animals in the jungle.’” It’s brought there that many years after the passing of Rabbeinu, Rabbi Nosson said: “I have by me disciples who are such servants of Hashem that Rabbeinu didn’t have,” because he had disciples who were such servants of Hashem that they would spend entire nights outside the city roaring in prayer like lions, as Rabbeinu wished for.”
All of this was in the merit of the insults and persecution which Rabbi Nosson went through, an aspect of a “double portion” of his teacher, as Rebbe Nachman explains in chapter 67 that a student can reach a double level of his teacher, though it is all in the merit of his teacher. Therefore, the Baal Shem Tom reached smallness and greatness, Rabbeinu reached smallness of smallness and greatness of greatness, and Rabbi Nosson reached smallness of smallness of smallness and greatness of greatness of greatness. And so too, every follower who receives Rabbeinu’s blessing [that he should be] “exactly like me,” and merits to “a double of portion of your spirit upon me,” also reaches to even more greatness by way of even more smallness. And all of this is through the power of Rabbeinu – this is the gift which he bequeathed to us.
This is also the reason why the Baal Shem Tov suffered persecution and disgrace from the Lithuanian Misnagdim (anti-Chasidic opposition movement). Despite the fact that a portion of them were phenomenal Torah scholars, they opposed Chasiddus entirely, therefore it was still possible to shake them off and continue on one’s way. With Rabbeinu it went up a level. Rabbeinu suffered both from Misnagdim and also from Chasidim and from great Chasidic Rebbes like the “Shpoler Zeida” who tried to incite all the leaders of the generation against him, in the midst of taking such aggression action in order to inflict a complete Herem (Rabbinic censure) against him. With Rabbi Nosson, it went up another level. Rabbi Nosson merited to persecution also from the leaders of Breslev themselves! Rabbeinu’s greatest disciples!
Rabbi Aharon Farkash shlit”a arrived at the protest tent across from Tzalmon Prison and related that he had in his hand a manuscript of the book “Yemey Hat’la’os.” There it’s described all the persecution and insults that Rabbi Nosson suffered at the hands of Rabbeinu’s greatest disciples and everything they spoke about him. These passages were edited out before publication. The printed version is terrifying enough to read how Rabbi Nosson’s opposition managed to convince such important rabbis as the Rebbe of Savran, through fabricating such falsehoods that Rabbi Nosson carried out the worst sins in the area of kedushah (holiness) and more. One “chassid” swore to the Rebbe of Savran that he saw Reb Nosson with a female in his lap, another swore that he saw Reb Nosson eat meat on the fast of Tisha B’av (it was only years after Reb Nosson left the world that they admitted, the female was his 1 ½ month old granddaughter, and it was a year that Tisha B’av fell on a Shabbos).
Things reached such a point that the leaders of the generation decreed that there was a mitzvah to persecute Rabbi Nosson and all Breslev Chasidim, and that it was even permitted to kill him or hand him over to legal authorities using false testimony. How many times they mercilessly singled out Rabbi Nosson and how many times they almost killed him! When they didn’t succeed in their wicked schemes, they invented empty libels and handed him over to the authorities, who then imprisoned him in the worst possible conditions. It reached a point that the other prisoners almost killed him. Only the prison guard who heard his screams saved him in the end. All of this wasn’t caused by the simple or ignorant people. Rather, it was at the hands of some of the greatest rabbis and Torah scholars of the generation. They justified their actions and claimed that Rabbi Nosson makes himself into a false prophet and messiah, deceiving the populace. Therefore, he strays and leads the masses astray and is liable to death. In order to get him arrested by the authorities, they decreed that it was permissible to testify false witness against him. Therefore, they stood twelve false witnesses against him with empty oaths, handing out enormous bribes until they succeeded in their design. All this was at the hands of people with sidelocks and beards who spend their days and nights in the study halls.
After the prison authorities saw that Rabbi Nosson’s life was in imminent danger, they isolated him from the rest of the prisoners. There, it was possible to bring him some books, paper, and a pen. There, he wrote one of his most wondrous Torah discourses in “Likutey Halachos” (Hilchos Yaiin Nesech 4). In it, he relates to his imprisonment and explains in a profound way how there could be a situation such as this where Torah and mitzvah observant Jews, even Chasidim, could error in such a serious matter to the point of permitting the spilling of another Jew’s blood and saying that there’s a mitzvah to pursue him. How specifically about the true tzaddik, who brings the light of the Messiah to the world, they say such things and expound all types of false reasoning that according to the way of Torah there is a mitzvah to pursue him to the point of death. Rabbi Nosson warns there that, G-d forbid, every person is in danger of falling into their net if he’s not careful enough in guarding the holy bris (covenant), because all confusions come from not guarding the bris. This includes even people who keep the entire Torah and only in this matter are lax. On the contrary, they say that guarding the bris isn’t such an important thing and that there is no need to observe an extra level of kedusha. They let them themselves off with all types of excuses of peace at home and the like, and that it’s permissible to do forbidden things. Because of this, all the lights of Torah are exchanged and they declare the impure pure, the pure impure and that there’s a mitzvah to pursue the greatest tzaddikim of the generation, as we have seen throughout all generations. This is the fundamental reason for the lengthening of the exile, because if they had believed in the true tzaddik, everything would have reached perfection. Rabbi Nosson goes on to explain the secret reason that the tzaddik is put into prison, saying, “This is as if they apprehend and imprison the Shekhinah (Divine Presence) in actual detention, in prison, as if Hashem himself sits in prison, as it says, ‘And he is bound in chains’ and as it says many times in “Tikkuney Zohar” regarding this: ‘an imprisoned person can’t free himself from jail.’” See there at length in Likutey Halachos.
For the benefit of the readers, we have brought in a seperate newsletter a summary of what is written in the book “Yemey Hat’la’os,” authored by Rabbi Avraham ben Rabbi Nachman, author of the books “Cochavey Or” and “Biur Likutim.” There it is described all the hardship and terrible persecutions which Rabbi Nosson went through. It’s related how they incited all the leaders of the generation against him with empty libels and said that he committed the worst sins whose law is that it’s preferable to be killed rather than transgress them, to the point that they permitted spilling his blood and that of every Breslev Chasid. It’s hard to believe how from everything that Rabbi Nosson built over the years in Breslev there only remained five disciples in his synagogue. What we call today “Breslev Chasidim,” the original followers of Rabbeinu and Rabbi Nosson in the city of Breslev, were in Rabbi Nosson’s time afraid to tell anyone that they were a “Breslev Chasid,” even in the city of Breslev itself, for fear of being killed. Yet, all the multitude of Breslev Chasidim that there are today are only in the merit of Rabbi Nosson, of whom Rabbeinu said, “In his merit, not a single one of my conversations will be lost.”
Passing on the debt to the debtor
When we were travelling back from Tzalmon (the prison far up North where Rav Berland is being), we went to visit a very well-known big kabbalist from Tiberius who currently prefers to remain anonymous (although all his comments were recorded).
This Tzaddik said: “We need to participate in the suffering of the Tzaddik [referring to Rav Berland]. Yimach Shemam (may the names be erased) of the people who put him there [i.e. in prison], they are erev rav, Amalek, and they are preventing this Moshiach [from coming].”
We asked this famous kabbalist: “Ad matai? (How long will this terrible situation continue?) We don’t have any more strength!”
The Kabbalist replied: “I also don’t have any more strength! This situation is driving me crazy. All of these erev rav, these Amalekites, should die already, and then the redemption will come.”
On many other occasions, we have been told the same thing by many other big Tzaddikim, kabbalists and rabbis who are scared to go public with their opinions on the matter of what is occurring with Rav Berland, for fear of being that next one to have to deal with all the slanderous lies, lashon hara and persecution.
On a second occasion, we went to visit another big Tzaddik in Bnei Brak, who told us that he knows for certain that the Rav, shlita, had voluntarily accepted all this shame and humiliation upon himself, and had even paid people to slander him.
The Tzaddik continued: “The person who accepted this money, and who is doing this, is a fool. All those who are continuing the war against this Tzaddik, if they don’t make Teshuva [for what they’ve done to him], [within a particular time frame that the Tzaddik didn’t want to specify publicly] they will die all manner of strange deaths.”
It’s interesting that the Rav made reference to that date in one of his recent Torah lessons.
Likewise, we saw in the book “Yemey Hat’la’os” that after Rabbi Nosson accepted the terrible disgrace and persecution, his opposition started to fall one by one—some by sudden death, some by terrible and unusual deaths, and in some cases their entire family died. In the end, the portion that was left came to him, kissed his feet, and in the midst of terrible weeping requested that he forgive them.
When Rabbi Nachman was passing through Istanbul, on the way to the Holy Land, he engaged in a number of bizarre, childish activities in order to cause other people to humiliate him and shame him in public. Rabbi Nachman’s main persecutor died very shortly afterwards, and his attendant asked how that could be ‘just’, given that the Rebbe had voluntarily taken it upon himself to be abused and humiliated by others?
The Rebbe replied with the following story: (This appears in Shivchey HaRan in Hebrew, and can be found in ‘Rebbe Nachman’s Wisdom’ in English, published by the Breslov Research Institute):
“There was once a king who was very fond of his young prince. He showed a lot of affection to the prince, and did everything in his power to keep him close to him. The child grew up into a young man, and one day he did something that was very disrespectful to the king [he nullified the kings decree].
The king told him: “Even though I love you so much, it’s impossible to go against the law of the land. The judgment has been passed and you have been sentenced to death!”
The king commanded that the prince be chained-up and imprisoned.
This young prince started to think about his imminent death. In his mind, he could already experience the great pain he would suffer the moment he’d be killed, but he realised that this agony would only last for a moment, and then he’d be dead.
But then, he started to think about the anguish of the king. He knew that the king loved him very much, and was missing his company very much. He understood that his death would cause the king tremendous pain, and that his anguish would last forever.
The prince was more worried about the king’s suffering than his own, so he spent a long time thinking things through, trying to find a way to spare the king from this pain. Finally, he came up with an idea: shame is considered equal to death.
He asked the prison guard to bring him to the king. When he was standing in front of the king, he said: “In truth, I know that your suffering is greater than mine. I also know that it’s impossible for you to ignore the kingdom’s laws. But I think I’ve found a way out. If you can arrange for someone to shame me in public, the sentence will be fulfilled, because ‘shame is equal to death’.
“Bring me a prisoner who’s already been condemned to die, and I will provoke him until he becomes angry, and starts publicly insulting me and beating me up. I will be bitterly humiliated, and this will be the same as death.
“Then, take this condemned prisoner and execute him, according to his judgment. The people will think he was killed because he insulted one of the king’s favorite servants, and consequently, neither the king’s honor nor the servants’ honor will be impugned.”
[Rebbe Nachman continued that] Sometimes, a person could insult a big Tzaddik and be doing him a big favour, without even realising it. The Tzaddik could have been condemned to death for some misdeed, but the shame he now experiences cancels out his death sentence.
Nevertheless, this Tzaddik is a beloved servant of the King, and it’s not right that these insults should go unpunished. But it’s also not a good thing to punish a person just for insulting a Tzaddik, because ‘for the righteous to punish is not good’ (Proverbs, 17:26).
So God arranges matters so that the person who insults the Tzaddik is someone who has already been condemned to death. They could both happen to be at the same hotel, and this person insults the Tzaddik. The humiliation saves the Tzaddik from a more permanent judgment, but in order to protect the Tzaddik’s honour, this other person is then punished.
“The name of Heaven is consequently sanctified, but it was really a dead man who was killed, for he was condemned beforehand, anyway.
“Therefore, we see that ‘all of God’s ways are just, and that there is no unjustice in Him‘. (Tehillim, 92:16).”
“It’s inevitable that there will be opposition to someone who returns people in repentance”
Rabbeinu says that there’s no other way! Anyone who is involved in drawing people who are distant back to Torah will inevitably have opposition!:
“Know! When the Holy One takes notes of a soul that is capable of getting people to repent and of making converts, then He Himself, as it were, seeks and arranges for that [soul] to have opposition. This is because converts are not accepted in the messianic era or in the days of Shlomo (Yevamot 24b). Under such circumstances they do not convert out of love, but rather because they witness the eminence of the Jews. [Sincere] GeRim (converts) are mainly those who convert at a time the Jews are suffering from poverty and oppression, as it is written (Isaiah 54:15) ‘who GoR (dwelled) with you’—in your poverty (Yevamot, ibid.).
“It is therefore a necessity that someone who gets people to repent and makes converts suffer opposition, in order that he have no tranquility. For then, anyone who draws close to him is sincere; then he can make bona fide converts, not [converts who are] motivated by peace and contentment, as explained above.
“This is the explanation of ‘Yaakov settled in the area of his father’s meGuRay (dwelling)’ (Genesis 37:1). The Midrash states: ‘his father’s meGuRaY’—he made converts, as his father had (Bereishit Rabbah 84:4); as if is were written ‘miGiyuRaY (of the converts) of his father.’
“This is the explanation of what our Sages, of blessed memory, said: ‘Yaakov settled’—Yaakov sought to dwell in tranquility, but he was beset immediately by aggravation regarding Yosef. That is, because Yaakov made converts, the aspect of ‘his father’s meguray,’ he was unable to settle in tranquility—in order that the converts should be sincere. Had he had tranquility, he would not have been able to make converts, for converts are not accepted in the messianic era, as explained above” (Likutey Moharan 228).
Also see “Likutey Moharan 114”: “through opposition that the tzaddik has, all the bounty can come to the world without being held back. “This is the meaning of ‘The wicked man tzopheh (watches) for the tzaddik.’ The wicked man who opposed the tzaddik is only TzoPheh. That is, [the wicked man makes] a TziPuy [coating] and a cover for the tzaddik, so that the tzaddik be able to draw an influx of bounty, as above. However, ‘he seeks to kill him.’ The wicked man seeks to uproot and kill the tzaddik, G-d forbid. ‘But Hashem does not forsake him.’” See the whole lesson there and also lesson 208.
The Kamarna Rebbe said in “Nesiv Mitzvosecha” (Nesiv HaTorah 1:13-14) that the soul of the Baal Shem Tov didn’t want to descend to this world because of the enormous opposition which stood against him. However, in his life the Baal Shem Tov revealed that the opposition are in reality the husk which guards the fruit, “and when the fruit is finished, the husk will be burned to nothing and eliminated. Thus, the Baal Shem Tov sought and chased after people who would disgrace and curse him, and he would love them.” The Kamarna adds: “Most of the opposition that were against tzaddikim from the time of the Baal Shem Tov until today were in order to protect them.” See there.
Rabbeinu explains: (Rabbi Nachman’s Wisdom 96) “The tzaddik inclines to the side of kindness. He even presumes the merit of those who oppose him. The world cannot endure the light of a tzaddik. Those who oppose the tzaddik obscure his light enough so that the world can bear it. A truly great tzaddik must also face many judgments and accusations on high. Those who oppose him silence these judgments and accusations. For example when a man is on trial for a serious offense. Suddenly another person becomes filled with zeal and says, ‘I will judge him myself and take vengeance on him.’ The others who wanted to bring the defendant to judgment are then silenced. There are times when the defendant would find it impossible to endure the judgment of his original adversaries. The one who wishes to take personal vengeance is then actually doing him a favor. It is better for him to endure the judgment of the individual than that of the many. He can bear the former, but the latter would be too much for him.”
Every word is a stone in a house!
We are all familiar with what Rabbeinu said (Tzaddik 169 (43)) about those who merit to come to him for the holy assembly of Rosh Hashanah. Everyone who makes it to him for Rosh Hashanah is like another stone in the house. It’s brought in “Sefer Yetzirah”: “Two stones build two houses, three stones build six houses, four – twenty-four houses, five – one hundred and twenty, and so on.” It comes out that every single soul that joins multiples the total number of houses built. Likewise, Rabbeinu says (Rabbi Nachman’s Wisdom 96) that every word with which they insult, speak badly about and oppose him adds another stone to the house in the same manner. It is written, “In the future, Hashem will grant 310 worlds to each tzaddik.” Imagine how many houses there are in a single city, how many houses there are in a single nation, how many houses there are in the entire world. Likewise, the Holy One builds for the tzaddik 310 worlds through the multiplication of stones, which are the words with which people curse the tzaddik in this world! Therefore, the tzaddik loves every word that is spoken about him. “How precious is their greatness and immeasurable delight.” See there.
Rabbeinu reveals for us a secret, that not only every word that is spoken about the tzaddik is of great benefit, but also what they speak about his followers. “All the words spoken against the tzaddik and his followers are [really] very great favors, physically and spiritually. As we find in the Midrash (Tanchuma) on the verse, ‘You are standing upright’ (Deuteronomy 29:9): It is juxtaposed to the portion of The Curses to teach that all these curses are the very things that stand you upright” (Likutey Moharan 181). Fortunate are we that we merit to this.
When Rabbeinu returned from the Holy Land he said, “I have brought you a gift – opposition.” When he returned from the exile, HaRav Berland shlit”a said, I have brought you a gift – opposition, and we immediately merited to all types of letters, articles, and harsh words – 310 worlds’ worth! What merit! What gifts! We have merited!
Once the Rav shlit”a said: “The time will come when everyone will be against us, a time when anyone who remains a student of mine will be ashamed to go out into the street, like it was during the times of Rabbi Nosson.” After the persecution of the Shpoler Zeida, Rabbeinu said to his remaining students, “No, my children! That wasn’t my intention! My intention was that even on a Jewish bench they will not allow me to sit!” (from the letters of Rabbi Avraham Rechtman). When they transferred the Rav shlit”a from the prison in the south to Tzalmon prison in the north, the Rav recalled what Rabbeinu said: “a prizba! a prizba!” – that with every single step there has to be opposition against us (Siach Sarfey Kodesh).
However, the pursuit we have today has never been seen before.
Rabbeinu said: “’There are people who do not know me at all, yet they are still opposed to me.’ He went on to quote the passage in the Zohar (II, 17a): ‘Come, let us deal wisely with them’ (Exodus 1:10). ‘How could you imagine,’ the Zohar asks, ‘that Pharaoh went up to each person and said, ‘Come, let us deal wisely with them?’ But he put it into their hearts, etc” (Tzaddik 394). We’ve reached a situation where throughout the world there are people who oppose the tzaddik, including those who don’t even know him.
Rabbeinu explains in Likutey Moharan 170 that the more people that oppose the tzaddik, the more people he is able to elevate to their root on high. “Every person, depending on his soul and his service [of Hashem], such is the suffering he experiences. One person experiences suffering from his children, or from his father, or a neighbor. Another person is on a greater level then he; he experiences suffering from distant neighbors. Another is still greater; he experiences suffering from the entire city. And there is one who is very great; he experiences suffering from the entire world. Now, each person, by virtue of the suffering, carries on his shoulders those people from whom he suffers. For when he experiences suffering from them, he carries them on shoulders. But how is it possible for something physical to carry on himself so many people? However, as a result of the suffering, the body is subjugated, etc. Hence, by virtue of the suffering and distress, the form—the soul—radiates. Thus, the soul is capable of carrying upon itself numerous people. This is [the explanation of]: ‘O Hashem, how numerous are my tormentors’ – The more my tormentors increase: ‘many rise up on me’ – As a result, I carry, raise up and elevate many to their source.”
The tzaddik not only elevates and rectifies all those who oppose him, he also rectifies the blemish itself of not believing in Sages and opposing them.
Does it sound bizarre?
This is what Rabbeinu says:
“There are tzaddikim of the generation whose faith is certainly complete. Even so, they have opposition. This is an aspect of (Isaiah 53), ‘And he bore the sin of the many, etc.,’ and ‘their transgressions he suffered’; that is, he has opposition for the world’s sake. And by way of the opposition he has, he rectifies the faith in the Sages of the masses” (Likutey Moharan 61).
As the prophet Hosea said: “I shall then redeem them, [even though] they have spoken lies against me.” (Hosea 7:13). The tzaddik even redeems those who speak lies against him.
“In Uman he spoke about his opposition and the lies they had told about him. He said as if complaining: ’I shall then redeem them…’ He was quoting from the verse in Hosea where the prophet complains that he wanted to act only for the good of Israel, but they told lies about him. ‘I shall then redeem them, [even though] they have spoken lies against me.’ However, the Rebbe only quoted the first words of the verse – ‘I shall then redeem them…’ He sang the words in a sweet voice, in the traditional chant of the books of the prophets” (Tzaddik 396).
Therefore, we see that by the tzaddik accepting upon himself disgrace from the entire world, he can thus rectify the entire world. And the more people who oppose him, the greater the tikkun will be.
We thus see that Rabbeinu merited to come to the Holy Land against all odds through his accepting onto himself disgrace, smallness of smallness. Likewise, Rabbi Nosson, by accepting upon himself smallness of smallness of smallness, merited to bring to all of us the teachings of Rabbeinu – his conversations, our connection to Rabbeinu and to his grave in Uman, etc. And the Rav shlit”a, who merited to smallness of smallness of smallness of smallness, brought us the Breslev that we have today, as Rav Arush shlit”a bears witness to, saying: “All Breslev would be nothing without the Rav. Nothing!! Without the Rav, there would be nothing in Breslev. I know that he does everything. I know very well what he does.” He also said, “How is it possible to even think something bad about a Jew who opened the way to Uman?” As is known, all the 100,000’s of Jews who have come to Uman over the last several decades is all in the merit of the Rav shlit”a, who opened the way. And with Hashem’s help, in the merit of the disgrace he’s suffering, the Rav shlit”a will open up for us the way to the complete redemption.
Rabbeinu says (Likutey Moharan 30) that the more ill a patient is, the greater doctor he needs. Similarly, the more distant a person is from holiness, the greater tzaddik he needs to elevate him. Therefore, as the generations decline more and more, the patient is more and more ill, and so need a greater and greater doctor – a greater and greater tzaddik. However, the decline of each generation from one to the next is only relevant to the masses. The opposite is the case with the true tzaddik. The more the generations decline, the more the tzaddik is obligated to ascend, because “there is no orphaned generation”. Every generation, according to its decline, has an even greater tzaddik who can rectify them. It follows from this that just as Rabbeinu descended to smallness of smallness to arrive at greatness of greatness, and Rabbi Nosson to smallness of smallness of smallness to arrive at greatness of greatness of greatness, so too onwards until this generation where the tzaddik has to descend to endless smallness in order to arrive at endless greatness, until he succeeds in rectifying the entire world – everything is according to the disgrace.
The Rav shlit”a spoke recently in a recorded talk regarding the falsehood which is spreading throughout the world, in our many sins, and especially in the midst of Breslev Chasidim. The Rav read from Likutey Halachos (“Chaya Behema Tehorah” 4:34), saying: “They still haven’t spoken all the falsehood. This is only the beginning. The falsehood needs to be victorious. There still isn’t enough falsehood, because as long as there are tzaddikim, it’s a sign that falsehood still hasn’t gained control so much. Until the falsehood wins over everyone there can’t be a redemption. For, specifically by the dissemination of falsehood, until falsehood is completely and totally victorious, that there already won’t be even so much as a speck of truth, and only a handful of people will hold onto truth, the falsehood will take hold of everyone, and everyone will error in his own lies – Only then will the truth be revealed and then the Messiah will come. We need to encourage the liars and not be impatient with them – that they should invent more and more lies, write more and more articles in Germany, in Holland; throughout the world, they need to write articles. Do they write articles only in Germany, Holland, and America?! [This isn’t enough], this isn’t worth anything! Rabbi Nosson asks what is the significance of ‘A tongue of falsehood will reach maRGoA (serenity).’ He says: Even if aRGiA (I calm) a tongue of falsehood, in the end the truth will be victorious. Only that we should have ‘I calm a tongue of falsehood’; only that the falsehood should increase and increase without end, without measure, without limit [to a level] that hasn’t been seen since the creation of the world, until falsehood is complete calm, serene and satisfied. Then, whoever [succeeds in] holding onto the truth, will merit to see the King Messiah. The Messiah will come when he sees that there are some people who are not enticed, who know that this is falsehood and nothing is capable of confusing them. He will reveal himself to them and from them it will spread to the rest of the world.”
The Rectification of the World
Why does the Messiah need to be revealed specifically in this fashion? Why does the entire world need to descend to such lowly levels before the redemption can come? Why does the tzaddik need to be disgraced in such a manner that there should be such an enormous desecration of Hashem’s name in this world? Why do holy and G-d-fearing people need to sin in such a serious transgression of disgracing a Torah scholar, something which has no atonement for all time – which not even Yom Kippur, death, or purgatory atone for? Why? Why? Why? Why?
Rabbeinu explains (Likutey Moharan 71): “There are certain tzaddikim who accept suffering upon themselves of their own accord, for the sake of the Jewish people. By doing so, they exchange the spiritual influx.” Elsewhere he says (ibid 63), “At times, the tzaddik accepts suffering upon himself for the sake of the world. It is like an exchange; he exchanges the influx of bounty and providence with Hashem. Not wanting this particular influx of bounty and providence, he conceals the face of this providence and accepts suffering upon himself, for he prefers an influx of spiritual bounty and providence. And that influx which goes elsewhere is dispersed in the world. This is the aspect of revealing a handbreadth and concealing etc. —at times he reveals the face of favor and providence, and conceals the face of anger, while other times he conceals the face of favor and providence.” Because of the endless mercy of these tzaddikim, they accept upon themselves to be disgraced and to suffer the most terrible anguish in the world, all in order to draw an influx of good to the entire world, including to the very people oppressing them.
And this is how willful sins turn into merits:
“When the Holy One wants to taste the positive mitzvos of a Jew who is a tzaddik, at the moment he is [still] an aspect of a ‘limb from a living [creature],’ which is forbidden for consumption, and requires kosher slaughter to make it permissible. Therefore, it’s necessary that humiliation, [an aspect of] spilling of blood, an aspect of kosher slaughter, should come upon him. This purifies the limb from a living creature [and makes it permissible]. Then Hashem can taste his positive mitzvos, whether one mitzvah or several mitzvos… And concerning the spilling of blood of a Jew, there are many lofty and hidden things, whether it involves the spilling of blood through humiliation, or the actual spilling of blood. Because there are countless fallen souls which have no ascent except through the spilling of blood of a great Jew. And sometimes they don’t have an ascent except through the actual spilling of blood. This is an aspect of (Yoma 86b) ‘deliberate sins are turned into merits.’ That is, through the humiliation and spilling of blood, the Divine presence covers their blood with love, as above. And this is the aspect of: ‘Love covers all willful transgressions,’ and the deliberate sins are turned into merits, and the fallen souls, who are an aspect of ‘willful sins,’ are elevated. Thus, they are elevated and are turned into merits through the ‘covering of blood with love’” (Likutey Moharan II 83).
And this is how the tzaddik saves the world from total destruction:
Rebbe Nachman teaches: “The name is the soul. This is the aspect of ‘a living soul is its name.’ Self-sacrifice is in this category, as in the case of the Ten Martyrs who sacrificed their souls sanctifying Hashem’s Name in order to unite the Holy One and His Shekhinah. As is known, the main unification is by means of self-sacrifice. And in those generations they saw that is was impossible to rectify and perform unifications Above except by means of their souls. They therefore sacrificed their souls, sanctifying Hashem’s Name. The reason is that when the souls ascend above by means of self-sacrifice, they return to the Shekhinah whence they came. This is because Israel is literally ‘a portion of G-d above,’ for they are literally portions of the Shekhinah, in the aspect of ‘who have been carried since the belly’ (Isaiah 46:3). And when they return to the Shekhinah, the Shekhinah then takes pride [in them, saying]: ‘See what a child I have come to You with’ (Zohar III, 13a). Then, supernal yearning is aroused and a unification transpires, as is known. Occasionally, this necessitates that people die, G-d forbid; a considerable number of Jewish souls are killed, G-d forbid, so that there can be a unification by means of their souls ascending above. For, occasionally, very many souls are required, G-d forbid, and as a result it happens that people die, G-d forbid.
The same is accomplished as a result of losing one’s name—i.e., prestige. In other words, there is a person who is prestigious and not prestigious—i.e., he is well known by everyone and everyone talks about him, and even so he in not a prestigious personage, because he is not considered important. And there is another person who has no desire for this, yet has lost prestige—i.e., a loss of the name, which is the soul. This is, even though he has no desire not to be prestigious, he still loses it, like someone who loses something against his will. In other words, he loses the name, the aspect of prestige, which is his name in the world. Yet, there is one who does this willingly and knowingly. To sanctify Hashem’s Name, he sacrifices his own name—i.e., his prestige, which is the aspect of name/soul, as explained above. As a result of this, even though he is prestigious, he is still not at all prestigious. On the contrary, he is quite the reverse. Everyone speaks about him and fabricates lies about him [of things] that never crossed his mind, so that, quite literally, his blood is shed by this. Yet he does this intentionally, because it is an aspect of bona fide self-sacrifice—for the name is the soul, as explained above—and from this too his blood is shed, as explained above. With this, he saves the Jewish people from what they deserved to have happen to them, G-d forbid, for the purpose of a unification, as explained above. However by sacrificing his name, which is his soul, he saves them, as explained above” (Likutey Moharan 260).
Rabbeinu says above: “There is one who does this willingly and knowingly,” [in Hebrew: Yesh Echad She’oseh Zot], the initial letters of which: Y”E”Sh”Z, have the numerical value 318, which is the same value as the name “Eliezer.” This is the one alluded to in the words of Rabbeinu, “There is one who does this willingly and knowingly.” Eliezer is the one, as in the verse, “The name of one was Eliezer, because the G-d of my father was my help” (Shemos 18:4).
The situation reached the point that it was clear to everyone that the Rav shlit”a accepted upon himself the disgrace and persecution with love – and, on the contrary, the more that people pursued and insulted him, the more people came close to him who had no connection at all to Breslev, as was described on the information hotline. The Rav at the time hired out the services of expensive media consultants and went on a public relations trip. Everyone looked on and thought: “The Rav doesn’t want the insults, it’s impossible to claim otherwise. See, the Rav himself pays media consultants to defend himself.” And this was exactly what the Rav shlit”a wanted! In this way, the tzaddik caused the insults to continue with even greater power and strength. By hiring out media consultants, many think that the Rav didn’t want the insults. On the contrary, in this way, the insults only increased, and it became fulfilled through the Rav the words of Rabbeinu, “But as for me, I need constant opposition, because I am constantly moving from level to level at every moment.”
Throughout the 45 years the Rav’s yeshiva has existed, the Rav has continuously repeated, “There will be a storm wind here and only five students will remain in the end, as it was by Rabbi Nosson.” When the Rav opened the yeshiva, he said to his wife, “I agree to the opening of the yeshiva on the condition that only five students will remain like the students of Rabbi Akiva.” However, the yeshiva only grew and grew, and from tens and then hundreds of families, reached upwards to thousands and then tens of thousands, and even more, reaching over 100,000 people throughout the world who receive strength from the Rav shlit”a. The Yeshiva received support from all the leading Rabbis of the generation, to a point that it was almost impossible for anything to stop it. However, the Rav continued to say: “Only five students will remain in the end”—people would laugh at his words and try to explain them away in all types of ways. However, when the Rav accepted upon himself the insults three and a half years ago and exiled himself from the Holy Land, one of the Rav’s most senior and righteous students wrote a letter of encouragement to one of the youths, and in the letter mentioned the words of Rabbi Nosson in Likutey Halachos (Y”D A, p. 56). This is a bit of what Reb Nosson said: “Even though the evil forces and falsehood are ganging up on him, more and more than [was the case] with all the [other] tzaddikim, and they heap on him and fabricate about him all types of falsehood and lies and libels that never entered his mind. The first was Avraham Avinu, about whom they said he was a heretic, as in brought in the Midrash, that they said that because of this “heretic” famine came. And so too with Moshe Rabbeinu, about whom they suspected of adultery, [leading to] every man banning his wife from being alone with Moshe, as our Sages said. And so too with Jeremiah, about whom they suspected of adultery. And like this [they spoke] about the greatest tzaddikim specifically, speaking these types of things about [the tzaddikim] who were unique in their generation, etc.”
Then the student wrote: “Behold, the movie replays itself in every generation, just as Rabbi Nosson wrote, ‘And so too with Jeremiah, about whom they suspected of adultery. And like this [they spoke] about the greatest tzaddikim specifically, speaking these types of things about [the tzaddikim] who were One amongst the generations (a unique soul that comes down only one in a few generations).’ Just as it was written in Pirkey D’Rabbi Eliezer (ch. 33) about Elijah the prophet, and as it’s written in ‘Rabbi Nachman’s Stories’ (‘The Rabbi’s Son’) about Rabbeinu, and also in ‘Yemey HaT’la’os,’ and many other places.”
The letter continues: “In truth, as long as they hadn’t said such things about the Rav, something was missing, so to speak, in completing the picture of his greatness. [As if to say], if he truly is amongst the unique greats throughout the generations, then why aren’t they saying about him similar things that they said about other tzaddikim, as Rabbi Nosson mentioned? Where is ‘our dear friend’ the evil one? Did he fall asleep on duty? Alas, thank G-d, also that “question” was resolved!”