Monday, March 21, 2016

"Go and gather all the Jews" huge prayer rally this Tuesday night erev taanis esther at ma'aras hamachpela in Chevron

Tuesday night Taanis Esther March 22
At Ma’aras Hamachpeila in Chevron
Starting at midnight and lasting till the morning
Refreshments will be served
Women section will be open
Subsidized buses from all across the country
Tens of thousands are expected
Find out about buses in your area

Call 077-229-2222

Thursday, March 17, 2016

The correct mindset going into Purim by Rabbi Eliezer Berland

Tzama Nafshi in English  - Purim 5775 פורים תשע"ה
Transcribed and translated from previous recordings of
HaRav Eliezer Berland Shlit”a

Preparation for Purim

On Purim we must make a great effort to ‘keep our wits together’ more than on Yom HaKippurim, because on Yom HaKippurim we sit in shul 24 hours, glued to our chairs but on Purim we have to drink wine, be happy, sing and dance while maintaining Yishuv hadaas (peace of mind) and clinging to Hashem.

Everyone knows that we must strike Amalek, annihilate them, kill them, etc. Yet, who is Amalek? Amalek is us! Each and every person has Amalek in their hearts. So long as Amalek is inside of us, nothing will help. Even if we physically kill Haman, Sisra will come in his stead, or Titus, Asfinus, Hitler and so on. As long as the person is flawed with “p’gam Habris” (not guarding the covenant), and with arrogance, then Haman is still alive. That Satan will simply reincarnate into another person. When Haman was killed, that specific generation was saved, but with every generation that follows, a new “Haman” is born.
Haman is created out of sins! From every sin “Haman” is created, a terrorist is born, a Nazi is born with every sin we commit. When a Nazi comes to kill a Jew – I created that Nazi! I’m the one who created that terrorist! However, if I repent, that terrorist will burn. He’ll be wiped out. So, who is Haman? Who is Amalek? Amalek is me. As long as I am in the world, as long as I am living, the Redemption will never come – until I reverse my deeds, until I change myself for the better. Nothing else will help. That is Purim – “venahafoch hu” [“and the situation was reversed” (Esther 9)], that every person must reverse and change his ways completely.
On Purim, the sweetness of the river of Eden is revealed. Everyone goes up to Gan Eden on Purim. Everything you eat and drink on Purim is the “preserved wine, the wild ox and the whale”; it is the poultry of Gan Eden, the whale of Gan Eden, the wild ox from Gan Eden, etc. The “Kedushas Yom Tov” says that the light of Purim reveals the ‘real me’. This is revealed specifically on Purim, since that is the time that the person is able to see his life with clarity. He merits finding all of his flaws, all of his sins; he discovers that he himself is Haman.
The “Kedushas Levi” says that as soon as a person realizes his lowliness, he can fall to such despair. On Purim more than any other time, he is in danger because everything becomes revealed to him! He sees his flaws, the flaw of not guarding his eyes properly, of not having enough emunah, etc., and this realization can cause him great despair. That is why we are told to drink wine on Purim, as it says, “give ale to the worker and wine to the embittered”, in order to elevate the person’s spirit and cause him to sing and dance. Once a person discovers that “I myself am Haman”, I am the biggest criminal - he can fall into such a terrible depression. That is the reason that Chazal declared that “the men must become ‘merry’ (intoxicated) on Purim…”, since by “becoming merry” the person will come to “venahafoch hu” - “and the situation was reversed.” The person will discover that, on the contrary, even a wicked Haman such as myself is doing good things; I’m praying, I heard the Megilla reading on Purim, I even went to the mikveh, I donned Tefillin… I merited doing such wonderful mitzvos! There is no greater Kiddush Hashem (Sanctification of Hashem’s name) than that, because the farther the person is (from serving Hashem) the greater the Kiddush Hashem, the greater will be his joy. “Arur Haman” (Cursed is Haman) turns into “Baruch Mordechai” (blessed is Mordechai). Specifically one who knows he is “Haman” has a chance to merit becoming “Baruch Mordechai” [meaning, he can turn from a sinner such as Haman into a righteous man such as Mordechai].
The saintly Arizal said that the light of “Yesod Abba” enlightens us every Purim, it does not shed its light at any other time. This enlightenment called “Yesod Abba” is always covered up, it is always hidden. Then, when we read the Megilla, the enlightenment of “Yesod Abba” becomes revealed. Such a luminous light comes down upon us that every person can come to complete teshuva. Mordechai, who is “Yesod Abba” is revealed in all his glory on Purim, since the enlightenment of Mordechai – the enlightenment of “Yesod Abba” draws upon us wonders and miracles. This enlightenment is the emunah (faith) that “there is none other than Him”, that there is nothing besides Hashem. There can be an Achashverosh, there can be a Haman and they can make all the decrees they want. However, they do not really exist, they are just fog, and the purpose of everything they say and do is in order to arouse us to repent. Purim is all about repentance. It is not about going wild or popping loud explosives and breaking things or throwing up or hurting others. Purim is all about doing real and complete teshuva, just as the Breslovers did throughout the years. Rivers upon rivers of tears they shed, while reading the Megilla and in the midst of dancing. That is the aspect of “chayav inish levesumei” - “the men must become intoxicated (merry) on Purim.” The (Aramaic) word “Livesumei” does not refer to total drunkenness but rather like “tipsy”; it means having a red face full of hislahavus (enthusiasm) which comes from [the fire of] d’veikus (completely clinging to Hashem).
Reb Nosson said that on Purim we must make a great effort to ‘keep our wits together’ more than on Yom HaKippurim because on Yom HaKippurim we sit in shul 24 hours, glued to our chairs, but on Purim we have to drink wine, be happy, sing and dance while maintaining Yishuv hadaas (peace of mind) and dveikus - clinging to Hashem. The essential purpose of drinking wine (on Purim) is to come to dveikus, to see Hashem face to face. It says in Shulchan Aruch that, chas veshalom, that a man should think that just because he drank he does not need to bentch, or daven Maariv, or that he doesn’t need to daven with kavanah (intention). “Livesumei” does not mean to become light headed. It means you should drink on condition that you do not make light of any bracha or any minhag (custom). The essence of this mitzvah is that the person must be happy, as it says, “wine makes the heart merry”. Wine makes the blood rush and when a person’s blood rushes, it’s easier for him to dance and be happy and it’s easier for the person to sing. It helps the person to truly feel happy and elevates his level of happiness.
The day of Purim is a day of thanksgiving for the whole year because a person must be happy all year round. Yet, throughout the rest of the year, the person cannot become unusually happy; he must remain sane and keep his wits together. He must pay attention to the barriers of his sechel (mind) because the sechel limits and protects the person, whereas the wine numbs the wisdom and barriers of the sechel, rachmana litzlan. That’s why Rabbenu warned us not to drink wine or alcoholic beverages throughout the year. On Purim, however, we want the opposite. We want to burn all the barriers of the sechel through the wine we drink. Purim has a special power that even though we drink and become intoxicated, the wine we drink does us no harm, so long as the person drinks properly. It is said about Purim that “wine goes in and secrets came out”, which means that the person discovers the love he has for Hashem and the Yiras Shamayim (Fear of Heaven), because if throughout the year the person fills himself up with love for Hashem and dveikus to Hashem, then, when Purim comes, all of those feelings explode! The person then merits dancing out of his tremendous love for Hashem and dveikus. Contrarily, if a person is far from dveikus and instead he ‘clings’ to bad middos such as mocking others, speaking lashon hara, etc., then on Purim his bad middos explode outwardly and he becomes lightheaded and foolish and mocks others [mercilessly], because on Purim, the barriers of our sechel wear away and burn down by the wine. On Purim, we want to bring down the barriers of the sechel through drinking wine so that our love for Hashem will surface, and nothing else. A person, in whom the love for Hashem burns all year round, but he has no chance to express his love, when Purim comes around he can spend 24 hours straight expressing that love of Hashem.
Good Shabbos and happy Purim! J

To advertise, dedicate an issue, or to receive a blessing from the Rav please call:
(Israel) 052-718-6265 
(US) 917-284-1118 
(UK) +44-(0)23-8228-0223
(Belgium) +32-(0)26-810-158
(Netherlands) +31-(0)20-217-0893

Purim Torah by Rav Eliezer Berland shlit"a

Purim - פורים

"Remember what Amalek did to you

On Purim a person needs to restrain himself more than on Yom Kippur, because on Yom Kippur we are in shul for 24 hours, stuck to our seats, but on Purim we have to drink wine and to be happy and to sing and dance, and yet all the while retain our senses and cling to Hashem
   Everyone knows that we are obliged to wipe out Amalek—we have to kill Amalek and annihilate him—but who is Amalek? Amalek is us. Amalek is to be found inside each and every person. As long as Amalek is inside us, nothing will help. Even if we kill Haman, then we’ll get a Sisera, a Titus, a Vespasian, or a Hitler. As long as a person doesn’t pull himself out of p’gam habris and from arrogance, then Haman is still alive. The Satan will just take another form and appear in another person. When Haman was killed, that generation was saved, but with each new generation new Hamans arise.
   Haman is created from sins. Every sin gives birth to a Haman, a terrorist, a Nazi. When a Nazi comes to kill a Jew, a person should say, “I created that Nazi!” “I created that terrorist!” If I will do teshuva that terrorist will be burned up—he’ll disappear. So who is Haman? Who is Amalek? I am Amalek. As long as I am still in this world, as long as I am still alive, there will be no geula until I turn myself around, until I change. Nothing else will help. This is the “na’afoch hu” of Purim—that each person needs to turn himself around from one extreme to the other.
   On Purim, the sweetness of the river that flows out of Eden is revealed. On Purim, everyone goes up to Gan Eden. Everything that a person eats or drinks is the aspect of “the guarded wine,” “the wild ox,” and the Leviathan. They are all birds from Gan Eden. The Leviathan is from Gan Eden. The “wild ox” is from Gan Eden. The Kedushas Yom Tov says that through the light of Purim it is revealed who a person truly is. It is revealed specifically on Purim when a person sees where he is truly holding. He merits seeing all his flaws, all his sins, and he sees that, really, he is Haman.
   The Kedushas Levi says that the moment that a person sees his own lowliness—where he is really holding—he can fall into utter despair. And specifically on Purim, he is in terrible danger because it is all revealed to him. He sees all his flaws, his forbidden gazing, how far he is from true faith, and he can fall into utter despair because of this. So, a person must drink wine on Purim, as it is written, “Give strong drink to the woebegone and wine to those of embittered soul” (Mishlei 31:6) to lift up his mind so that he can sing and be happy. After a person comes to the realization that he is Haman, that he is the biggest sinner there is, then he can become very distressed. Therefore, Chazal made it an obligation to drink wine on Purim, because through wine he will be able to “na’afoch hu”—turn everything around. Then he sees that really it’s exactly the opposite: even a Haman like me, a rasha like me, can pray, can go and hear the Megillah read. I even went to the mikveh. I even put on tefillin. I merited to such wondrous mitzvos—there’s no greater kiddush Hashem than this. The farther away a person is, the greater the kiddush Hashem and the happiness, because “Cursed is Haman” becomes “Blessed is Mordechai.” Only someone who knows he is Haman can merit becoming “Blessed is Mordechai.”
   The holy Arizal said that every Purim we are enlightened with the Yesod of Abba, which does not occur at any other time. The Yesod of Abba is always concealed, always hidden. When we read the Megillah, a revelation takes place and the Yesod of Abba is revealed. Such great lights descend that at that time anyone can return in real teshuva. Mordechai, who is the Yesod of Abba, is revealed in all his glory on Purim, because the revelation of Mordechai—the revelation of the Yesod of Abba—draws down miracles and wonders for us. This revelation is the faith that “there is nothing but Hashem”—“Ain Od Milvado.” There can be an Achashverosh and a Haman, and they can make terrible decrees, but they really don’t exist. They are only an illusion. And all of these things are only to awaken us to teshuva. The main point of Purim is to make teshuva. Purim is not for messing around. It’s not for setting of firecrackers. It’s not about breaking things—not about throwing up—not about doing damage to anyone. Purim is about making real teshuva. Just as we saw on Purim over the generations, that Breslovers would cry rivers of tears during the Megillah reading. They would shed rivers of tears during the dancing. This is “a person is obligated to drink wine on Purim” (Megillah 7b). This drinking doesn’t mean becoming completely drunk—it is a red face from excitement. It is deveikus.
   Rav Nosson says that on Purim a person needs to restrain himself even more than on Yom Kippur, because on Yom Kippur we are in shul 24 hours, stuck to our seats, but on Purim we need to drink wine and to sing and dance and be happy and at the same time to retain our senses and cling to Hashem. The whole reason for drinking wine is to come to deveikus and to see Hashem face to face. The Shulchan Aruch says that a person must not think that he can get so drunk that he can’t say Birkas HaMazon or pray Ma’ariv or not pray with kavannah. The drinking is not in order to become light-headed. The drinking is only on the condition that he not take even a single bracha or minhag lightly. The essence of the mitzvah is to be happy: “Wine gladdens a person’s heart.” Wine has the power to incite the blood, and when a person’s blood is flowing, then it is easier for him to dance, to be happy, and to sing. It makes it easier to be happy and elevates the joy
   Purim is an indicator for the whole year, because a person needs to be happy all year long. But a person cannot be happy all the time in a way that deviates from the norm, because he needs to remain rational with his senses intact, not going out of his mind in any way, because the mind defines reality and keeps the person in line, whereas wine breaks down one’s mental controls. That is why Rabbeinu warned us that that all year long we should not drink any wine or intoxicating beverages, but on Purim we want to do the opposite, and burn all our mental barriers. And this is the special power of Purim. On Purim the wine does not damage a person if he drinks properly. We say on Purim, “The wine goes in and the secrets come out.” And then a person’s love for Hashem and his fear of Hashem is revealed, because if a person is filled with love of Hashem deveikus all year long, then on Purim it all comes out and he merits dancing from love of Hashem and deveikus. But if the opposite is true, if he is far from deveikus and he is stuck in his bad middos, in cutting down other people, in speaking lashon hara, then on Purim, he is light-headed and he attacks other people, because on Purim his mental barriers are removed by the wine. On Purim, we want to burn the mental barriers of the mind through wine, and to truly reveal our love of Hashem and not love for other things, because a person who all year long is burning with love for Hashem has no other time to show it, so when Purim comes, he can fully express his love for Hashem for 24 hours.   

   Please, compassionate and merciful G-d, help us to merit through the joy, the meal and the drinking of Purim, to reach the mochin of Arich which is drawn from the 50th gate, from the “Reisha d’lo Isyada, ” (the Head that is Unknown), until we merit to achieve the Upper Will, to know nothing at all, which is the aspect of “mah.” And we should be included in the upper surrounding lights of “What did you see, what did you understand?” (Zohar I:Ib, see Likutei Moharan II, 7:6) until we don’t know the difference between “Cursed is Haman” and “Blessed is Mordechai” Through the power of the light of “Blessed is Mordechai” may we be worthy of repairing the sin of Shaul who was supposed to illuminate all the sparks from the depths of the klippot, and specifically the klippa of Haman-Amalek.”

(taken with permission from Tzama'a Nafshi)