Thursday, May 21, 2015

Shavuos - Discourse given to Kollel students by Rav Eliezer Berland Shlit"a

A discourse given to Kollel students in preparation for the Holiday of Shavuos
Transcribed and translated from previous recordings of
HaRav Eliezer Berland Shlit”a

Matan Torah is coming; on Shavuos we are all going to hear the Aseres Hadibros (The Ten Commandments)! We’re going to hear the sounds! There were Tzaddikim who heard the Aseres Hadibros every minute, especially on Matan Torah, on Shavuos. The Rebbe (Rebbe Nachman) heard all of the sounds of Matan Torah! On the morning of Shavuos, the Rebbe went to immerse in the mikvah and he heard all of the Aseres Hadibros! He heard all of the sounds! He was certain that everyone else heard them too! He was sure they also heard the Aseres Hadibros, the sounds, the thunder of Matan Torah. He kept asking the man accompanying him, “Do you hear that? You hear the sounds? Do you hear sounds? What, you don’t hear it?! How can you not hear? What do you mean, you can’t hear? Here, listen! The Ten Commandments! Sounds! Thunder! The worlds are exploding! Listen to those explosive sounds and thunder throughout the worlds! You don’t hear it?” The Rebbe held himself so humbly and lowly, lower than any other Jew in the world! He was sure that if he himself hears the sounds of Matan Torah, certainly everyone else does as well!
We are now right before Matan Torah and we must prepare the tools with which to enter this holy day and receive the holy Torah. A person must prepare himself for attaining Chochma ilaeh, Chochmah, tataeh, Eden ilaeh, Eden tataeh - supernal wisdom and lower wisdom, supernal paradise and lower paradise. Man must prepare himself to start understanding the holy Gemara and to knowing the fact that aside from the Gemara and aside from the Torah and Sifrei Hakodesh he needs to know nothing else at all in the world. An ear that heard the Ten Commandments at Har Sinai, an ear that is going to listen to the reading of the Ten Commandments on Shavuos in shul, an ear that hears the words, “I am Hashem your G-d… Who took you out from slavery,” – from slavery! Such an ear is now going to become a slave of slaves?! Going to be occupied with radio and media?! He will listen to nonsense?! A person does not need to be occupied with anything besides Gemara and the holy seforim – all of the greatest Tzaddikim never looked up from their Gemaras. They never stopped learning! They never straightened up and raised their heads! That is “naaseh venishma! (We will do and we will hear)” That is Matan Torah!
Learning Torah is greater than serving in the Beis Hamikdash, as it says, “It is more precious than pearls (Mishlei 3;15); greater than the Kohen Gadol (High Priest) who enters the Holy of Holies.” It is taught that a talmid chacham that is a mamzer is greater that a Kohen Gadol am haaretz who knows nothing, even though he is a mamzer he is greater! Even though he was born unlawfully! He was born from terrible sins! Yet, if he learns Torah day and night, he is greater than a Kohen Gadol! For, one cannot escape his Yetzer hara (evil inclination) if he does not study properly. A person must work at this till death! He must work so hard to learn Torah to the point that he would willingly die for it! The verse “A man that passes away in the (study) tent” is taught to mean that a person must die for the Torah. One must toil and work hard for the Torah! He shouldn’t just learn Torah in a daze, out of comfort and pleasure; Studying Torah is not comfort! People have so many worldly desires including a desire for comfort and leisure. All of the lusts and desires are hinted to from the alufim (soldiers in command) of Esav and one of them is called, “aluf nachas - of leisure.” People like to walk leisurely, to be comfortable, to learn with leisure. Yet the true comfort and rest is only the Torah! About Yissochar is says, “He saw a resting place, that it was good, and the land, that it was pleasant, and he bent his shoulder to bear [burdens].” Rashi says these burdens refer to the yoke of Torah.
The real leisure – menucha, is menuchas hanefesh, leisure of the soul. Through studying Torah, one polishes up his soul and cleans it, scraping away all the pollution and then he merits menuchas hanefesh – that his soul is at peace.
Man must understand that he is responsible for the maasei breishis (creation); every day we must recreate the world. The world runs according to those who study Torah. Torah learning creates the world, as it says, “all of the innovations of creation which are recreated daily by Hashem Yisborach, is all through Torah… that sometimes there is a lot of rain and sometimes a lot of land and here it is cold and damp, etc. and so on regarding all the changes.” Reb Nosson explains (Likutei Halachos, Yibum 3) that all of the changes that happen throughout the world concur to your Torah study. When a Jew learns Torah, the whole world turns favorable to the Jewish Nation. That’s why with the nations of the world; sometimes they like us and sometimes they hate us. Whoever studies history knows that one year they liked us and another year they hated us and wanted to annihilate us. Everything has always been dependent upon our Torah study; not on the politicians or anything else.
The Gemara says in Nedarim, 1, “Why are there Talmidim chachamim whose sons are not talmidim chachamim… because they did not first bless the Torah.” Sometimes, a man goes to learn Torah and says, “Why not? Why shouldn’t I go learn Torah? It’s fun! What have I got to lose? The Kollel pays me $500! So, what’ve I got to lose? I earn $500, learn a bit, pass the time, what’s wrong with that? What, I should go work in some print shop or woodshop?” Such thoughts and intentions will lead to nothing! Man must study Torah with kavonah (deep intention) and holiness, LeShem Shamyim, for the sake of Heaven. He must believe that every word he studies affects thousands of souls. Every word he says causes people to wake up and do teshuva!
The Rebbe said, in Tora 14, “Why do talmidei chachamim have sons that are not talmidim chachamim? Because they did not bless the Torah first. Every man, particularly a talmid chacham needs to bless and enlighten the shoresh - root of the souls with his Torah learning, because that is where our shoresh is… but when he does not make brachos and enlighten with his learning…. Because of this, his son will not become a talmid chacham.” The person must know that all of the letters he recites correspond to neshamas (souls). Through his learning he must enlighten the shoresh of the neshamas and have the intention in mind of doing so when he’s learning Torah. Before he even opens up his Gemara, his Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah, he must say the following: “I have in mind that with every single letter that will come out of my mouth, each letter will correspond to the specific soul it is connected to and will arouse it to do teshuva. The neshama that is connected to that letter will shine!” That is the meaning of “blessing the Torah first”; the person has the intention that his learning will bless and enlighten all of the neshamas of the Jewish people.
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 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.
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! 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!
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 Tora 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. 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 neshamas into 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.
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 Shechina dwells in him, then she’ll stand firmly at his side! They will have peace in 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.
Some people mistakenly think that it is hard for them to learn Torah and they prefer to go drive big trucks all over, schlepping heavy boxes from place to place, travelling from one end of the country to the other; from Metulah to Eilat. They’re prepared to spend hours in traveling, just so they don’t have to learn! If a man would sit and learn he would receive all of the abundance in the world! For, every letter is a goldmine! Every letter is wells filled with oil from millions of barrels! Sit and learn and you’ll see what abundance you will have! You won’t even need to go out and work! However, the Yetzer Hara is so strong he literally drives the person to madness. The person becomes a madman like one who constantly bangs his head against the wall. Why do you insist on banging your head against the wall? Schlepping truckloads of merchandise; why are you torturing yourself? Why schlep anything? Sit in Kollel, learn Torah and enjoy life. When the man learns Torah b’iyun, learns Gemara, focusing his mind completely on the Torah, he is creating new worlds! He is creating a new reality! All of a sudden he has made new laws! Suddenly he has abundance in ruchnius and even abundance in gashmius (materialistic needs). Why does he have all this? Through his learning he has created a new world! Until now he was in a world that lacks abundance and money but now he is in a new world where now he has money! It became a whole new world! Every moment man is creating new worlds. If a person is learning Torah he is creating new worlds by the second.
Man has apikorsus (heresy) in his heart; he doesn’t believe that Hashem is right in front of him every second. When a person does not have kavanah in Tefilla, pure intention in prayer, when he doesn’t sense that Hashem is right in front of him it is because he has apikorsus in his heart. He doesn’t believe that Hashem is here. When a person speaks to his friends he is very careful about every word that leaves his mouth. If he speaks to a king he’s even more careful! He is constantly on guard making sure not to say the wrong thing or something that makes no sense. When he talks with a friend he doesn’t talk pointlessly. He can talk for 10 hours straight because he sees the person in front of him; he sees a person with a face, hands and feet. Hashem is chay vekayam (alive)! He’s right in front of us! Yet we don’t feel that He is here. That just proves that we have no sechel! When a person does not sense Hashem’s presence and does not daven with kavanah it is only because he has no sechel! Just as there are illnesses that cause the person to lose his mind and suddenly he doesn’t even recognize his own parents, so it is with the person who doesn’t have Torah and doesn’t have sechel; he doesn’t recognize his mother and father who is Hakadosh Baruch Hu, The Blessed Holy One. If the person could, he would implant a new sechel into his head but no one has yet discovered how to transplant a new sechel. Rabbenu Hakadosh says that in order to gain sechel, man must learn Sha”s; he must learn Torah. A person cannot pray with pure intentions, feeling Hashem right in front of him, if he doesn’t learn Torah.  
A person must realize that Breslov and Gemara are one! The essence of the Breslov chassidus is that you do everything that is written in the Torah! You don’t just go according to your own feelings and opinions or whatever’s comfortable. “Go out in the footsteps of the cattle and herd your goats by the dwellings of the shepherds.” We must heed the shepherds! We must heed the Tzaddikim! We must heed the Likutei Moharan! In the first Tora of Likutei Moharan it says that a person needs sechel! A man must study Gemara! That alone is called temimus (wholeheartedness). You must know that the Breslov Chassidus does not nullify even the tiniest little detail (in the Torah) chas vehsalom, G-d forbid! No minhag of Am Yisrael! It only comes to add! It comes to add more Yiras Shamayim, more tefilla with kavanah and more shmiras einayim, etc.
The Rebbe said “I want my ideas to spread into litvish hearts” (siach sarfei kodesh 2:257). The Rebbe said ‘Be Litvaks’! Start to learn! With the Rebbe there is nothing new! The Rebbe says “My way is the old way yet it is completely new”. In Tora 101 the Rebbe explains “Whoever accepts upon himself the yolk of Torah” – that is the study of torah in depth, b’iyun. The “yolk of Torah” is in depth study - torah b’iyun, gemara and poskim. We have nothing other than what the Rebbe tells us. If a person wants something new let him compose a new Likutei Moharan! Let him create a new Breslov! We go, however, according to the original Breslov – what is written! The original Breslov is to learn torah in depth, to learn gemara and poskim. The Rebbe says “the yolk of Torah is torah b’iyun”. If a person comes and says that he has a new Likutei Moharan, has created a new system, then he may have certainly received some kind of new revelation. But the Rebbe says “there are no new revelations!” The Rebbes way is the completely old way while simultaneously it is completely new! People come and distribute segulot charms and coins with “spiritual powers”, or blessed Matza. So many new ideas. May the new ideas continue! But it has nothing to do with Breslov! The Rebbe says, by me there is nothing new! My way is the old way, the original way. We need to follow the herd. Look at how the Chazon Ish studied Torah! Look at how the Steipler studied Torah! Be a Breslover! There is nothing new here!

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Thursday, May 14, 2015

Watch what the Kabbalist says about Rabbi Berlands journeys

Rabbi Berland Kook Moshiach

Purim night 2015. A few students of Rabbi Eliezer Berland after returning from Holland were walking with the Mekubal Rabbi Dov Kook from Tveria in Ramat on at midnight. They related to him a little bit about what the people are going through there how they have to travel from village to village, and also mentioned how Rabbi Berland attracts a following wherever he goes and many people help them including non-jews. The kabbalist smiles and says "There will be tremendous Divine Providence, he will return and redeem us, his return will usher in the redemption."

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Arriving at the new village!

In preparation for the great holiday of Shavuot we have arrived at a new upgraded location. Holiday resort in Holland.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Bris with Rav Berland now broadcasting live

+972583287777 ext 11

Watch the video documentary: Lag BaOmer 2015 - Shuvu Banim with Rabbi Berland in Holland and in Meron

Lag BaOmer 2015 with Rabbi Eliezer Berland in Holland! Shuvu  Banim in Holland and Meron. Watch the shiur that was broadcast worldwide during the traditional shooting of the bow and arrow.

Rav Eliezer Berland

Watch Rabbi Berland today giving a shiur in Amsterdam while walking to the car.

Rabbi Berland giving a shiur while walking from the Mikvah to the car on the way to the village to be sandak at a bris.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Parshas Behar – Trust and Faith by Rav Eliezer Berland Shlit"a

Joshua Wiseman

Parshas Behar – Trust and Faith

Transcribed and translated from previous recorded shiurim of
Rav Eliezer Berland Shlit”a

“And if you will say: What will we eat in the seventh year?” (25:20)

The questions, “What will we eat?” and “What will we drink?” are always in the back of a person’s mind. “And if you will say: What will we eat in the seventh year?” You want to know what will there be to eat? Hashem said, “You will have the best of everything. You will have abundance. You will lack nothing.” Hashem said you will have the best of everything. Hashem promised that you would have the best of everything! And you ask, “What will we eat?” Is this called having faith in Hashem? The holy Zohar expounds the verse in Parshas Behar, “If you will say: What will we eat…,” with a story: Rebbe Chiya and Rebbe Yosi were standing on a high mountain and they had an abundance of food with them. They had taken with them several donkeys full of food, and they stood on the mountain and witnessed a horrifying scene: two people were walking in the middle of the desert, and they came across a man who had gotten lost who had been sitting in the same spot for two days without food. He was dying of heatstroke, just seconds from death. And this man said to them, “It’s been two days and I haven’t had anything to eat or drink.” So one of the men gave him something to eat and drink. The other man shouted at the first, “What are you doing? Don’t give him anything. It’s forbidden! ‘You should guard your souls!’ This is a matter of life and death. I don’t allow you to do this. Let him die! What do you care if he dies? Your life comes first!” So the first man answered him, “What do you care if I give him?” And the other responded, “If you give him all your food, in the end you will ask me to give you from mine. You will want me to give you food, but I won’t give you anything at all!” Rebbe Chiya and Rebbe Yosi witnessed this whole scene from afar. They could understand from their movements what was going on, how one man shouted at the other not to give the man any food, and how the other man kept on feeding the weakened man, giving him to drink, strengthening and reviving him, until he recovered. He ended up giving him all his water and food and he was left with nothing at all for himself, not even a drop of water. As soon as the two men started back on their way, after only a few minutes, the one who had given away all his food and water started getting sunstroke. There they are in the middle of the desert at noon and the sun is beating down, and it’s 120 degrees out, and he collapses and passes out under a tree. His friend screams at him, “You see! I told you that you would pass out. I told you that you would die without food and water. And now, I am going to leave you here. I couldn’t care less about you. I am going to abandon you here in the middle of the desert.” When Rebbe Chiya and Rebbe Yosi saw how he lay there under the tree too weak to move, Rebbe Chiya said to Rebbe Yosi, “We have plenty of food. Let’s give him from ours. Let’s run over there quickly: we have to save him! Rebbe Yosi answered him, “Wait a while, let’s sit and see what happens. Certainly HaKodosh Baruch Hu is going to do a miracle for him. Certainly there will be a great miracle. We have an ongoing story here. Don’t’ jump in in the middle of it. Don’t run to give him the food. The world is not hefker! A person gives away all his food and now he is going to die? It’s impossible! A great miracle is about to take place!” They stood there and watched how he was lying there weakened, when suddenly a giant snake appears and starts slithering towards him—a huge snake that could swallow him whole. Rebbe Chiya said, “That’s it! He’s going to die now for sure! This poor man has to die such a terrible death?” Rebbe Yosi responded, “Don’t despair. He gave away all his food and water. He trusted completely in Hashem, for sure Hashem won’t abandon him now. Wait and see what a great miracle is about to take place.” Suddenly, they see an even bigger snake come slithering down the tree—much bigger than the first snake. He kills and swallows the first snake, and the man remains unharmed, under the tree, fast asleep in the middle of the desert. Immediately Rebbe Chiya and Rebbe Yosi ran quickly to him, woke him up from his slumber and gave him to eat and drink. And then they told him the story of the great miracle that had just happened to him.

A person must believe that before he comes to this world, Hashem prepares for each and every person all the help he will need, people to save him, and people to strengthen him. Wherever a person goes, with each and every move there stands a person to help him. Whether you are in the middle of the desert or the middle of the sea, there will always be someone there beside you. You are never lost. Hashem is found in every place—in every situation He is there with you. Every moment, the salvation is ready for a person. He just needs to cry out to Hashem one time—one real cry—and salvation is at hand. If you will only cry out “Shema Yisrael Hashem Elokeinu Hashem Echad!” or “Ana Hashem, Hoshiah Na!”, “b’zchut Rabeinu”, then Hashem will immediately save you.

A person must have faith, trust in Hashem. He needs to sing a little, to pray with kavanah and not worry about where he is going to get money from. For He who created you also created money and everything else. He created you even before He created money. All the money in the world is ready for you. Hashem wants only that you should learn Torah. A person transgresses, so the money doesn’t come pouring into his pockets—it doesn’t just descend from the ceiling.

But what are you so worried about? Everything has already been announced in Heaven! 40 days before a person is formed, it is decreed in Heaven that on such and such day he will acquire a home, on such and such day he will buy a field. What a person’s income will be—everything—has already been decreed in Heaven, even before he was born. The salvation can only come when a person really trusts in Hashem. His eyes should be turned to Hashem: “The eyes of all look expectantly to You, and You give them their food in its proper time” (Tehillim 145:17). In its proper time! Everything in its time. Everything that a person deserves comes to him at its determined time: an apartment, furniture, etc. Everything happens at its specified time, because the essence of physical existence is dependent on money, but worrying about money will distance a person from salvation, from an apartment—it will push away his income. A person thinks his whole life long about money, but he doesn’t realize that the moment that he will stop thinking about money, then the money will come to him—it will race towards him. What is income—“parnasa?” It is “par” (a cow) “nosea” (goes). You run after the cow, and the cow goes, it runs away. “Nosea” spelt with an ayin! The more you run after money the more it will run away from you.

The Rebbe said in Torah 225 that trusting in Hashem is infinite. There is no limit to trusting. “Trust in Hashem infinitely” (Yeshaya 26:4). Trust is an unlimited thing—there are no boundaries to faith and trust. The essence of perfect trust is when the mind is bound to Torah. Trust comes from intelligence! If you don’t have any intelligence, you don’t have any trust or faith. If you learn Torah then you have faith, but if you don’t learn Torah then you don’t. The Rebbe said that if you would just learned Torah, then you would have the intelligence to know that everything is from Hashem. So a person needs to learn a lot of Gemara in order to straighten out his mind, because according to the level of intelligence, so is a person’s faith. The more intelligence a person has, the greater mind he has, the more faith and trust he has.

   Master of the Universe, please help me to be courageous and resolute in my belief in You. I shouldn’t be reluctant or hesitant to give away all my money in tzeddakah if needed, worrying about what I will have for tomorrow. Help me not to put my trust in other people, in order that I shouldn’t be in the category of “accursed,” as it says, (Yirmiah 17:5), “Accursed is the man who trusts in people and makes flesh [and blood] his strength, and turns his heart away from Hashem.” Please help me to have complete trust in You my whole life long, to believe and have faith in You alone and not to anticipate any kind of salvation from anyone, as it is written, (Tehillim 60:13) “human salvation is futile.” Please strengthen me in my belief that all my sustenance comes from You alone, not from any person or through any other path. Fulfill in me the verses, (Tehillim 60:13) “Help us against the oppressor; human salvation is futile. Through Hashem we shall act valiantly, and He will trample our oppressors.” And also, (Tehillim 61:7) “May You add days onto the days of the king, may his years be like all generations. May he sit forever before Hashem; appoint kindness and truth, that they may preserve him. Thus shall I praise Your name eternally, to daily fulfill my vows.

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Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Live shiur tonight at 2am Israel time by Rav Eliezer Berland Shlit"a

In honor of Lag BaOmer the Rav will be giving a shiur by telephone which will heard through loudspeakers in Meron at the Shuvu Banim section behind the kever of Rabi Shimon Bar Yochai. All are requested to come early as traffic delays are expected. The traditional bonfire will be lit immediately following the shiur. Dancing will be through the night. Shachris vasikim. Refreshments will be served.

For those who can't make it, the shiur can be heard on the information line +972583287777 ext 11.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

The Holiness of Lag BaOmer - By Rav Eliezer Berland Shlit"a

Rav Eliezer Berland
The holiness of Lag BaOmer
Transcribed and translated from previous recordings of
HaRav Eliezer Berland Shlit”a

On the yahrtzeit of Rebbe Shimon Bar Yochai fire comes down from Heaven. 33 days after the Seder night, after Pesach, we merit a tremendous, awesome occurrence; the revelation of the Shechina (Divine Providence), fiery revelation. All of the mountains surrounding the gravesite of Rashbi are ablaze. When the Kohen Gadol would enter the Holy of Holies on Yom Kippur, even the Angels and Seraphim would flee, they would get burnt from the fire [of holiness]. Likewise, in the case of Rebbe Shimon Bar Yochai, who is the aspect of chesed I’la’ah (Supreme Chessed), the aspect of the Kohen Gadol of all the generations from who’s fire all the angels burn. No sooner would Rebbe Shimon open his mouth to speak words of Torah than he would become surrounded with fire. Everything around him would suddenly be set with fire (as is told in the Idra). If while he was alive everything around him was burning with fire, you can only imagine how fierce the fire around him has become since his passing, as it says, “Greater are the righteous after they pass away than they were in their lifetime.”

Lag BaOmer is literally Yom Kippur; it is a day when all of our sins are forgiven. It is truly like “Kol Nidrei”. Everything is forgiven. All the judgments become sweetened, the highest and most glorious chassadim are revealed on this day. On Lag BaOmer one can draw down all of the “mochin”, all of the healing and salvations for the entire year. On this day every illnesses can be healed; there is no type of healing that cannot be drawn down on this day. This day can heal every type of Cancer. All who are barren can merit having children, all who are single can merit finding their match. This is the day of hataras nedarim, [lit. nullification of vows], everything is mitigated and everything is forgiven, all of the sins the person has committed, the millions of aveiras that the person has done from the day he was born until this holy day. Even the sins from all previous generations are forgiven.

A person travels for three hours to Meron, gets pushed in the crowds suffering between the thousands upon thousands of people; through this his sins are all forgiven! All of his pgamei habris (flaws of the covenant), all the sins he did throughout his entire life are now forgiven. This is the meaning of what it says: “Chadi Rebbe Shimon”: Rebbe Shimon is delighted when he sees hundreds of thousands of people, all of Am Yisrael, traveling to his gravesite. Every year more and more people go. Truthfully, no one has any idea what’s going on here, no one can understand it – the meaning behind this trip to Meron. People don’t know why they are going, don’t know what they are celebrating on Lag BaOmer, however “even though he doesn’t see his mazal sees”. The whole country is celebrating and no one knows exactly why.

People must realize that the Tzaddik is the root of all souls, he is the “even shtiyah” (the foundation rock from which the world was created); he is the root of everyone, of every single soul. Every neshama is a tiny spark of the Tzaddik. The spark of Rebbe Shimon can be found within every Jew; the soul of Rashbi is found in every Jew. It is a neshama that includes all of Am Yisrael, surrounds the entire world, embraces all of the worlds and all of the sefiros. That is why everyone goes up to the gravesite of Rebbe Shimon, in order to be included within the neshama that includes all of Am Yisrael.

Traveling to Rashbi must be done with messirus nefesh (self-sacrifice). Rebbe Shimon calls to us: “Come to me, just travel for two-three hours and you’re already with me!” All of the abundance in the world, all the blessings in the world, prayer, Torah, holiness, everything a person needs, he can get it all, just come! Travel! You must first travel! The Tzaddik is chai v’kayam (alive and well). You are not traveling to see a human being! So travel with fear and awe! When you travel by car or by bus for two to three hours, make your journey with holy awe, with sefarim to learn from, with prayer and hisbodedus. Don’t act silly, joke around and talk nonsense. Travel leShem Shamayim (for the sake of Heaven) in order to be purified and become holy. Then Rebbe Shimon will be able to draw down for you endless salvations, endless holiness and purity. He can give you a new soul; nothing is limited for him. He has no limitations and can give you everything you need and everything you think. Whatever you want he’ll give you, just make sure you go with sincerity, with a true sense of awe and holiness.
The “Beis Aharon” says that the highest level of all of the verses in Psalms is “Tzamaa lecha nafshi, kamhah lecha besari” – my soul thirsts for You, my flesh yearns for You. This means that even the body, the flesh, turns into soul. Even the flesh ceases to feel materialism or earthly desires. It burns out of abundant love for Hashem. This level of “my flesh yearns for you” can be attained through Rebbe Shimon, through the fire of Rashbi, the fire that burns all around him day and night, for RAShBi is the letters of “Besari” (flesh). When a person comes to Rebbe Shimon with sincere intentions, dances whenever they are dancing, he merits that his whole body (flesh), and all of his worldly desires and connections burn away and he reaches the highest level of “My flesh yearns for You.”

Whoever merits on Lag BaOmer traveling with sincerity to Rebbe Shimon Bar Yochay, whoever weeps on Lag BaOmer (with repentance and joy), whoever dances with sincerity on Lag BaOmer – doesn’t just stand off to the side daydreaming, but rather dances wholeheartedly and believes that Rebbe Shimon is ‘chai v’kayam’ (alive and well)… He shouldn’t just travel because of peer pressure or just because others are going, but because he truly believes that Rebbe Shimon is alive. He should pray with great passion, dance with passion and not just stand about on the side while everyone else is dancing, as the Rambam says that whoever sees that everyone is dancing but he just stands on the side is a complete fool and apikorus (heretic), for he does not believe in the power of the Tzaddikim, he does not believe in the power of dancing. He doesn’t believe that the Tzaddikim can mitaber (enter and indwell) in him, for on his Yahrtzeit, Rebbe Shimon needs to come down even lower and enter the bodies of all those that come to him. Through this he nullifies all of the harsh decrees. So whoever goes to Rebbe Shimon with sincerity, with his head in the holy books, in Tehillim, in Gemaras, etc. keeping himself together and strengthening his heart, truly yearning for Rebbe Shimon – he will merit that Rebbe Shimon will plant himself inside of him and through that he will merit all of the salvations. And through this may we all merit the complete redemption, speedily in our days, amen.

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Friday, May 1, 2015

Parshas Emor

In praise of the Jewish woman

Parshas Emor Weekly Parshah transcribed and translated from shiurim of HaRav Eliezer Berland Shlit"a

"Emor – and you shall say, to warn the great about the small (Rashi 21;1)" "A woman who fears Hashem – she shall be praised" – The woman has fear (of Heaven), she has more fear than the man since the women did not participate in the sin of the Golden Calf nor did they take part in the sin of the spies. As soon as the women took upon themselves the Ten Commandments, as soon as they took upon themselves the yoke of Torah and mitzvos, nothing in the world could affect them (to go against), nothing could deter them or entice them – no claims or persuasions could convince them otherwise. This is because the woman's emunah is much stronger than the man's. That is the woman's nature. If she hears some sort of Torah lesson or law, nothing in the world can deter her from what she just learned. When the men had approached the women to demand their jewelry [for the Golden Calf], they tried persuading their wives by saying, "What?! You don't believe Aharon HaKohen? You don't have faith in tzaddikim?" Aharon HaKohen said to build a calf but the women simply replied: What do you mean 'he said to build a calf'? What, Aharon is changing the Ten Commandments? The Zohar Hakadosh said, "And they fell apart upon the people" – What does this mean, "And they fell apart"? The Zohar explains that the women refused to remove their earrings, no matter what! The grabbed their ears with their hands and would not remove them for the world. That's why it says, "And they fell apart," as in "he takes apart mountains and breaks rocks"; they simply took the matter into their hands forcefully. When the men suffered this attack of madness and wanted to create a Golden Calf, Hashem have mercy, the women, nevertheless, remained wholehearted and pure, faithful and modest, and nothing at all could convince them to change their minds. Nothing! The Zohar Hakadosh says that there are great halls in Shamayim, into which the righteous women merit entrance. There is one hall called, "Basya, Bas-Paroh". Thousands of women come up with chidushim (innovations) of the Torah, every day. There are thousands of women there who left their homes, their wealth, their careers, etc. Basya was a bas-Melech (daughter of a king) who left everything in order to become a simple Jewish woman. So every woman who could have become a big manager of a company but left everything behind in order to stay home and raise her children to Torah and sends her husband out to learn Torah, says Tehillim and prays at the kosel, etc., by merit of her actions she grows to such high spiritual levels unmatched to those any other woman can reach, even to the levels of Basya Bas Paro who entered alive into Gan Eden. Women are the aspect of a mizbeach (altar), because they sacrifice themselves for the sake of Hashem Yisborach, they make sacrifices, they raise the children, sometimes caring for ten kids at once… Mothers do everything; they devote all their time to the children, feed them and give them to drink, bathe them, and they do it all with messirus nefesh (self sacrifice). They sacrifice themselves to Hashem Yisborach therefore they can become prophets, like Devorah Hanevi'ah and Miriam Hanevi'ah. What is a house? A house is a Mishkan. The Hebrew letters stand for "bed, table, chair and light" in Hebrew. The wife cleans the house, educates the children, the home is filled with Torah books because the children learn Torah and the husband can sit and learn Torah. When the wife washes dishes and lights candles, cooks and sets the table, she is building the mishkan. If she fulfills her purpose and mission in this world, she can certainly come to nevu'ah (prophesy). Although a woman is exempt from studying Gemora, she is not exempt from clinging to Hashem. From that there is no exemption; she can cling to Hashem while cleaning the house, cooking and washing dishes. There is a story told about the wife of Rabbi Yitzchak Drohovitcher, the mother of Reb Michel of Zlotochov. While sweeping the floors of her house she said, "holy, holy holy!" Reb Yitzchak, her husband said, "Why are you saying, "kadosh, kadosh, kadosh"? She replied, "I hear the malachim singing; they are now saying "kedusha". Rebbe Moshe Leib of Sasov had become blind. When asked the reason behind his blindness, he said, "Because of my wife I became blind. With everything she does, she says, "lichvod Shabbos, lichvod Shabbos". She kneads the dough and cooks and says, "lichvod Shabbos". With every "lichvod Shabbos" an angel is born. Angels are created out of every word said in honor of Shabbos, until the entire house was filled with a burning fire. The house was so filled with malachim that I became blinded from all the bright light." If the woman does her job properly and loyally with joy and mercy, for the sake of Hashem, then from the simplest things she can come to nevu'ah.  

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The buses arrived!

About 60 families are moving with the Tzaddik Hador to a new village in Holland. There they will spend the week of Lag B'omer. Hundreds of guests are expected to join them.