Translated by Aaron Yoseph
The leper has to wait a long time to be cured. Then he has to bring two living, pure birds, because he also spoke too much – he stumbled into being ‘bird-like’. What’s the idea of this bird? Rebbe Nachman says that he was punished because of his voice, because he spoke loshon hora, evil speech, and that this is the wicked singer that Rebbe Nachman talks about in Likutei Moharan I:3. Nowadays there are shiurim in laws of loshon hora, but the world is saturated with this reality of one person cutting up the next, entire communities are cut to bits, organisations, groups – they’re all cut up. There is a situation of lies. A person lives in a battle zone, attempting to find some corner to shelter in. He lives in some far off place, out of the lions mouth, but even there they drive him mad.
Loshon hora isn’t far from us – the air is saturated with it. A person’s life is saturated with fears and worries, which all stem from loshon hora. All a person’s problems, that he’s a Breslever… the greatest loshon hora in the world revolves around the Rebbe. The non-Jews don’t speak about the Yidden, but the Yidden speak about Breslev – “You don’t exist at all.” In this way a person absorbs the thought that he’s no good, and he forgets that he’s the central current of this world. We’re with the great-grandson of the Baal Shem Tov – this is the true way. Absorb this in your mind. Straighten up your back and stand tall. You’ve come close to a true Rebbe – put your strength into Torah and Tefillah and pay no attention to those who want to break you.
Above image: Breslev on the Bugg River, Ukraine, courtesy of Emuna Outreach
Once in Breslev there was no loshon hora. No-one ever told anyone else what to do. R’ Levi Yitzchok told me, “I lived in Uman for eighteen years, and no-one told anyone else what to do.” Even if everyone was different – this one was an ‘oived’, this one was a ‘mekubal’. It was simple – everyone had love and respect for one another. I don’t need to try and sell my point, or say that you have a different point. We all need to learn and to pray and to be happy with the light of the Tsaddik. In Uman they also never spoke about any other Chassidic groups at all. Just that there were a few hotheaded guys who came from Poland, but the others were strictly against them. It was a Rosh HaShanah and some people came from Poland and they spoke a bit against some of the Admorim from where they came from, because they saw that in Breslev everything was so sincere and true. So they gave them a separate table to sit on by themselves, and kept their distance from them, because in Uman you don’t talk about anyone else. This is our place – a place of tranquility and mutual respect, where we all just serve Hashem. We could achieve this atmosphere today also. We can fix, we can make ourselves into tanks, shelters, fences – we don’t recognize or acknowledge any loshon hora. We’ll do what we need to do, but only hear and see Hashem’s providence.
A leper is someone who involved himself with loshon hora. The lepracy was on the skin – the person’s most outer layer, the ‘soul of the soul.’ Skin is a cover, and there is becomes revealed that he was filled with an overabundance of light. Lepracy - T’soraas - is white, an overabundance of light. This shows that you have a mind and intelligence, just that there’s too much light. This is Tsoraas. It’s not just someone with a wound or blemish. It’s someone who has too much supernal light, as it says in the Zohar HaKadosh, and the influx of this light becomes closed off to him. The supernal light is Netzach and Hod – the spirit of prophecy, nevuah, that every Jew has. Not everyone’s a prophet, but every Jew is to some degree a prophet, because he believes in the World to Come. He knows that this world is only temporary, and that there is a purpose afterwards. He knows that even now, Hashem delights in him. Whoever sees all this is called a prophet. Netzach – conquering – because he conquers the concealment of this world, and he conquers the Hod, the false chein of this world, and acquires holy Netzach and Hod. He merits finding Hashem, who is eternal (nitzchi) in this world, and he finds the true charm of Yisroel.
Netzach and Hod are the Malchus of Emunah – these are the two holy birds, Netzach and Hod. This is what is written in the Zohar HaKadosh.
The Rebbe says, “So, whoever is kosher, his niggunim are drawn from the two pure living birds." They are called ‘birds’, which is an expression of seeing. A Yid sees that there is reward and punishment, but this light is concealed from him when he falls into heaviness. Then a person needs to seal and close himself away. “Why am I so lethargic?” And he has to fight with this until he is cured. “Hashem delights in this and sees how much I’m fighting against this. This is my Tikkun.” He sees that Hashem sees him and delights in him. Hashem delights in our pushing away negative thoughts.
When a person has these holy birds – oho! – then he has the power to believe, to have emunah, and his Emunah grows and grows. The Netzach and Hod are the two pure living birds. When he comes to purify himself he brings these two pure living birds, because he draws onto himself the holy Netzach and Hod. This is holy prophecy.
The Rebbe continues in Torah 3 and says, “Therefore one who sings is called a ‘Chazan’ from the expression of a vision, ‘Chazon,’ an expression of prophecy, because he draws the niggun from the place where the prophets draw from.”
A Chazan grasps a person’s thoughts and elevates him higher and higher. Without a Chazan the words are dry, without meaning. The Chazan puts feeling into them and makes them into a wondrous song full of fear and emotion. He draws seichel into the words, and now they have meaning. This is why he’s called a Chazan – because he draws us to a vision, a power to see the inner meaning of each thing – and then things are easy.