The secular people have lost their neshamas – we have to help them to get new ones!
Excerpted from a shiur given by Rav Eliezer Berland, shlita, before Shavuot 2016
If a man would merit listening to the Tzaddikim and believing in the chachamim who say that through each and every letter people do teshuva… if he would learn Torah not because it’s fun and not because there’s nothing better to do, nor because it’s better than going to work somewhere else or in order to pass the time…. and not simply because he is charedi and is obligated to learn Torah or because he is Chassidic with a long beard and long peyos and its ‘respectable’ to go out and learn Torah…
Nowadays, it is only a materialistic difference, being respectably religious or respectably secular.
If a man would learn Torah for the sake of Heaven
If the person would learn Torah truly for the sake of Heaven – LeShem Shamayim in order to arouse Jewish souls, through each letter of every word he recites, he intends that it should enlighten shorshei haneshamos, the root of all souls, he would shake the roots of the neshamas to their core!
He would shake up the neshamas that have abandoned the Torah altogether and bring them to doing teshuva.
Through every letter he can arouse distant and forgotten neshamas. Through each letter he can truly draw down a new neshama into those long lost neshamas and bring them to repentance.
Secular Jews have lost their neshamas
Why do the secular Jews not keep Shabbos? Why are they not doing teshuva? It is all because they lost their neshamas! They are living like non-Jews! If you were to tell them to keep Shabbos they won’t have a clue what you’re talking about!
They’ve lost their neshamas! They’ve lost their neshamas from all their abundance of pgam habris (sinning of the covenant)!
Now we have to draw down for them new neshamas; we must draw down for all the left wingers and anti-religious new neshamas!
Don’t abandon these lost souls!
This can be done by learning Torah with the intention that each and every letter we say will go and enlighten that long, lost neshama connected with its corresponding letter (from the Torah) and arouse it to do teshuva. Don’t abandon those lost souls!
This is what Rabbenu said, “Why are there talmidim chachamim whose sons are not talmidim chachamim – because they did not bless the Torah first! They are not learning with the proper kavana! They are not learning with the intention that it should enlighten the shoreshei neshamas, the root of all souls! They are not learning bidchilu urechimu, with love and awe! They don’t believe that with every letter spoken people are waking up and doing teshuva!
Passing the time, instead of really learning
Therefore the punishment is that “their sons are not talmidim chachamim.” They get sons who don’t want to learn, don’t want to daven, don’t want to go to Cheider, don’t want to go learn in yeshiva, they run away from the yeshiva! They just pass the time. The Rebbe says in Torah 14 that these sons are given sleeping neshamas, in the aspect of “I am asleep, but my heart is awake”.
The boy wants to sleep a lot, eat a lot, he’s slow to get going, can’t wake up early in the morning, thinks he’s doing a favor by even keeping shabbos, his father has to go through extensive suffering to get him married, tons of suffering! Tons of specialists! Endless suffering! All this the father must endure because he did not first make brachos of the Torah before learning; he did not have the kavanah with each and every letter that his learning should enlighten the shorshei neshamos.
Measure for measure
Particularly Talmidim Chachamim must be more careful and be sure to enlighten the shorshei neshamos. Contrarily, he who has the proper kavanah with the letters of the Torah, he who has the kavanah to enlighten the shorshei neshamos most certainly merits bringing down a pure and gentle neshama for his son and that is middah keneged middah, measure for measure!
Just as he learned the letters of the Torah with the kavanah of drawing down neshamasinto all the long lost neshamas, so does Hashem give him a gift of embedding his son with a gentle and pure neshama that will want nothing else but to learn Torah, to get up early in the morning – wake up even before his father does!
The father will wake up at 5 am and this neshama will wake up at 3 am! His son will receive such a pure neshama that is drawn only to holiness.
Torah can be the drug of death
The Rebbe says in Tora 101 that if a man doesn’t learn Torah be’iyun, in depth, and doesn’t study Gemara then the torah for him is considered “sam hamaves”, the drug of death. It is anpin chashuchin, as it says, “he has placed me in the dark like the dead ones of the world.”
He goes around with a dark face; his smile has no meaning, it’s just there, a smile of a gentile not the smile of a Yid. The smile of a Yid is one full of Torah and tefilla as it says, “The wisdom of the person lightens up his face.” He enters his house full of light and joy, he brings peace to the home; he fills his house with holy light.
His wife sees him how calm he his, his children see how happy he is, so they are also calm and happy. And once home he opens up a sefer, he takes the Gemara, learns Gemara, reads from the Rambam or the Shulchan Aruch, the Tur, etc., then his wife sees how hard he’s working, she watches him learn! She’ll stand at his side watching in awe; she won’t demand anything else of him. If she would see how holy he is, learning Torah, burning with a fire for the Torah, learning Gemara, working hard at it, his face is lit up and the Shechinadwells in him, then she’ll stand firmly at his side!
They will have peace in their home.
She’ll get her entire satisfaction from just watching him! She’ll be able to witness the Shechina Hakedosha (Divine Presence) resting upon him.