9 Cheshvan 5781 / Tuesday, October 27, 2020 | Torah Reading: Lech Lecha
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The Egypt of the Soul    

The Egypt of the Soul

Exile is a place where you can’t see Divine providence, Hashgacha Pratis. It’s a place where nature is so strong, that you can see miracles, but they don't register in your mind…


Rebbe Nachman can help us get us out of exile. The Tsaddikim open up a gateway to a new life for us – a life of Emuna. We’re trying to get in through this gateway. The Rebbe tells us that Eretz Yisroel, prayer and miracles, are all one thing. It’s true that we need to live and work within nature, simply. But it’s also true that that Hashem is here, He is in charge and He can alter nature if He wants to.


Emuna needs to bring us to Eretz Yisroel – to living in this world – Eretz – but as a Yisroel – with emuna and trust. We live in this world, we engage in this world, but all with a connection to Hashem, with peace of mind, with the firm knowledge that Hashem’s loving Divine providence is guiding us. There’s nothing to worry about or be afraid of. The only way to live in Eretz Yisroel is with emuna.


Avrohom Avinu asked, "How will I know?" after he had been promised Eretz Yisroel. He did something in a way that he should have done differently. He asked how it would be, and because of this, the exile was decreed. Just because he asked a question.

He himself didn’t go down into exile. Neither did Yitzchak Avinu, although the years are counted from his birth. It was only Yaakov Avinu and his sons who actually went down into exile. Why them? Because they represented spiritual awareness and prayer. Yaakov Avinu represented daas, and his sons, the twelve tribes, were the ones who connected this world back to Hashem through prayer.


Rebbe Nachman writes (Likutei Moharan I:7), “And when we blemish emuna, Prayer and Eretz Yisroel, we go down into exile.” These three things are connected together. What sin is this? This blemish? How do we blemish Emuna? It would seem that every moment that we aren’t greatly aroused by our sense of Hashem’s presence, we’re blemishing emuna. So the Rebbe says that going down into exile only happens when we blemish all three.


The Rebbe explains that "Egypt", which in Hebrew is Mitzrayim is the opposite of miracles. It’s a place where you can’t see Divine providence, Hashgacha Pratis. It’s a place where nature is so strong, that you can see miracles, but not register it in your mind. You can see the Sun, the stars, or even see the sea split before your very eyes, and you attribute it all to “nature” – there was an unusually strong wind. This is the mindset of Egypt, Mitzrayim – "Metzarim", with different vowels, things that constrict and torment the Children of Israel. It’s a place and a mindset that causes Jews to suffer. It’s a place of darkness and slavery. It brings us to feel darkness all around. We feel that we can’t do anything, we can’t learn or pray. We feel broken and get caught up in illusions. The biggest illusion is when we tell ourselves and believe that “I can’t…” This is Mitzrayim.


What does this situation lead to? It causes something. It leads to us not praying with intent - with any concentration or focus. We give up on prayer, and just go through the motions. We give up on feeling close to Hashem with our blessings and don’t even try to say them with sincerity or feeling. We don’t feel close to Hashem. When we’re in this state, we haven’t received the Torah. The Torah brings us to joy, but we don’t have the head to learn, and see everything we do as insufficient and lacking. Emuna is hidden from us because we’re exiled in Mitzrayim.


These three go together. Emuna is simply the truth of this world. The truth that Hashem created the world. The truth that we are Jews. The truth that there was Torah given on Mount Sinai. The truth that Hashem loves us, needs us, and is with us. These truths bring us to prayer. And prayer is that we believe that we can change nature. “I’ll pray to Hashem, and He’ll help me.” Prayer brings us to Eretz Yisroel – to live with Emuna, peace of mind and joy.

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