11 Cheshvan 5781 / Thursday, October 29, 2020 | Torah Reading: Lech Lecha
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The Coronation    

The Coronation

Once a person has hears thousands in unison calling out HaMelech in Uman, he doesn’t care anymore about Chinese restaurants or the New York Knicks…


Uman, Ashrenu!, Part 3

Rabbenu Nachman writes in Likutei Moharan, first section, Torah 4, that a person who comes to the realization that everything that happens in his or her life is for the very best reaches the level of paradise on earth. In other words, when a person is fortunate enough to attain the level of emuna that enables him to know that everything is for the best, then he tastes paradise in this world – his life becomes a Garden of Eden. We have to ask ourselves, how do we attain such a spiritual level? Rebbe Nachman answers that we do this by crowning Hashem as our King.
In anticipation of The King’s Coronation, Uman
This sounds funny. What, Hashem isn’t King if we don’t crown him? He certainly is not. Look who we fear – the boss, the bank manager, the IRS. Do we fear Hashem? If we did, we’d be serious about observing His commandments. A woman would be deathly afraid to take two steps without her hair covered. A man would shudder at the thought not keeping his word in business. People would shut their mouths and stand in awe in the synagogue. So if men chatter all during the prayers as if they were in a bowling alley, or women come to High Holiday services dressed contrary to Hashem’s laws of modesty, then how can we call Hashem “Avinu Malkenu,” our Father our King? Any chatterbox man or any woman with a short skirt is lying anytime he or she says “Avinu Malkenu,” because they don’t even give Hashem the respect of a father, much less a king! Instead of being forgiven for the sins, such people come home on Judgment Day with hundreds of new sins. Think about it, this is no joke.
Only The King can wipe our slates clean. For our teshuva to be real, we have to make Hashem our King. Rebbe Nachman tells us how to crown Hashem: we do it by confessing our sins to the tzaddik of the generation.
Rebbe Nachman of Breslev was the only tzaddik that ordered his pupils and disciples to confess in front of him. When the Chassidim would come to him before Rosh Hashana, he’d tell each one individually, “Now tell me what Hashem, you, and I already know.” One by one, the Chassidim would pass in single file by the Rebbe and confess. This happened on Erev Rosh Hashana, the day before Rosh Hashana. If they didn’t remember what they did wrong, the Rebbe would remind them. Then, they’d spend the whole rest of the day doing teshuva with tears streaming down their eyes. The town of Breslev, and later Uman, was one big teshuva factory on Erev Rosh Hashana. One would go in to the Rebbe then come out crying. This went on all day long.
The Rebbe taught us that anyone who does his best to do teshuva and comes to him for Rosh Hashana has nothing to worry about all year long. “What are you worried about, since I’m leading the way for all of you,” declared Rabbenu.
Here’s news: the Rebbe is still very much alive and with us. Not in the corporal sense, but spiritually. Without the limitations of a physical body, the Rebbe’s power is ever so greater. Rebbe Nachman’s daughter Sarki once asked him, “Tatty (father in Yiddish), what will be when you are no longer with us in the flesh?” Rabbenu promised his daughter that if she came to his gravesite, it would be just like talking to him from an adjacent room.
I’m at a total loss of words to describe what a gift Uman is, that we can still go and speak to the true tzaddik of our generation. Who can describe the holiness or the privilege of being able to come close to the Tzaddik? We just have to yell out our gratitude to Hashem. When we contemplate our good fortune, we can more readily appreciate what Rebbe Natan said, that he was willing to crawl on his hand and feet over a road of knife blades to get to Uman on Rosh Hashana. One cannot describe what a person merits in Uman. A person is so uplifted in Uman that he transcends his own spiritual level. Spiritually speaking, he ascends a million miles upward. How can this be? The Rebbe pulls him up. The Rebbe takes you higher and higher and shows you what you can attain in this world.
The Rebbe gives you a glimpse of what is truly valuable in this world. Once a person has hear one “amen, y’hei shmay raba” in Uman, he doesn’t care anymore about Chinese restaurants or the New York Knicks. All he wants is another taste of true prayer, another tikkun klali, and another page of Gemara. The Rebbe brings out the best in each of us.
But be careful – the first time you see “the Coronation” ceremony with your own eyes, you’ll feel that your soul wants to leave you and fly upward. Hearing thousands of people cry out HaMelech in unison, then greet Hashem The King with a lengthy rounded applause is an experience one can never forget. The King’s Coronation is in Uman on Rosh Hashana; Rebbe Nachman wants us all to attend, for no one goes away from The King’s coronation empty-handed…
Rebbe Nachman? The skeptics here the tzaddik’s name and protest - they think that they don’t need the help of the true tzaddik of the generation. The Gemara proves them dead wrong. In tractate Sota 7b, the Gemara tells that Yehuda’s bones were rolling around in his coffin, in other words that he had no eternal rest. Yehuda was the ancestor of King David and Moshiach, the patriarch of Israel’s most important tribe and a perfect tzaddik. The Gemara tells us that he still needed the prayers of Moshe Rabbenu, the tzaddik of the generation, so that he could have his eternal rest.
If Yehuda the son of Yaakov Avinu needed the prayers of the generation’s true tzaddik, then we certainly do. Yehuda during his lifetime confessed to Hashem, but it didn’t do any good until Moshe Rabbinu prayed for him. We have to confess in front of the generation’s true tzaddik to attain real teshuva and our genuine soul correction.
People have other claims: They say that they’re already connected to a big tzaddik in this generation. Even the biggest tzaddik in this generation needs Rebbe Nachman for his soul correction. Without Rabbenu, even the biggest tzaddik is in big trouble. Even more so, the bigger a person is in stature, the more he needs Rabbenu. The big-name rabbis need Rabbenu much more than the simple man on the street does, because the transgressions of the big rabbis are a hundred times more serious that the sins of a simple Jew. Big rabbis are much more prone to arrogance, to taking advantage of their status, for giving people wrong advice, or for using the religion for their own personal gain. They can’t correct their own souls much less correct other people’s souls. The big-name rabbis should be the first ones on the plane to Uman every year. They need Rabbenu.
We come close to Rabbenu by learning his teachings and applying them to our daily lives. We learn the Rebbe’s teachings, and glean his advice from them. This is how we express our belief in the Rebbe. The doubters raise a brow and ask, “Belief in the Rebbe? Belief in flesh and blood?” Apparently they don’t know what the Torah says in Parshat Beshalach, in Shirat HaYam, a section that we say every single day of the year:
“And they believed in Hashem and in His servant Moses” (Shmot 14:31). The belief in the true tzaddik, the Moshe Rabbenu of our generation, is right out of the Torah.
There’s no difference between Rosh Hashana with Rabbenu and Rosh Hashana with Moshe Rabbenu. In fact, the Rebbe revealed to us that Hashem gave him Rosh Hashana as a gift. All of creation depends on Rosh Hashana in Uman. That’s why the Rebbe ordered us to declare, “No one shall be missing.”
(We invite you to visit Rabbi Lazer Brody’s award-winning daily web journal Lazer Beams)

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