12 Kislev 5781 / Saturday, November 28, 2020 | Torah Reading: Vayeitzei
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Pearls of Rebbe Nachman's Wisdom    

Pearls of Rebbe Nachman's Wisdom

"For in no time at all, the whole year passes by in a twinkling of an eye…"


Rosh Hashana
For Rebbe Nachman of Breslov (1772 -1810), the main holiday of the year was Rosh Hashanah.
"As soon as Rosh Hashanah is over," he would tell his chassidim, "I listen to hear if there is a knocking on the doors, if Jews are once again rousing themselves to say their penitential prayers.
"For in no time at all, the whole year passes by in a twinkling of an eye…"
Pearls of Rebbe Nachman's Wisdom
1. Anyone who hears the sounding of the Shofar on Rosh Hashana from a man of true piety can be assured that he will not be afraid of thunder the whole year.
2. The blasts of the Shofar on Rosh Hashana revitalize the soul and intelligence of every Jew. Each one receives a new soul and a new level of understanding, each according to his level. This new soul and vision are drawn from the inner countenance of God.
3. The blasts the Shofar sweeten the severity of God's judgment.
4. The purpose of sounding the Shofar is to arouse men from their sleep and prevent them from whiling away their days in slumber. When people are aroused from their sleep, the power of speech bursts forth with tremendous strength. This in turn leads to trust, and those who were barren give birth. Then men are brought to the true fear of Heaven and released from sexual lust and the futility of superficial attractions and the "charm that deceives" (cf. Mishlei 31:30). Instead, they attain "fullness of days" in holiness: they learn to lengthen every day of the rest of their lives by adding ever greater holiness and purity. This brings them true spiritual riches and the ability to reach the very heights of contemplation and perception of God. All of this is possible through hearing the blasts of the Shofar from the Tzaddikim, who understand how to accomplish these tikkunim.
5. It is customary to go to the Tzaddik to celebrate Rosh Hashana. Rosh Hashana is first and foremost the Day of Judgment. But no matter how great the severity of the judgment, and no matter where in the world it threatens, everything is sweetened when Jews gather around the Tzaddik on Rosh Hashana. With so many Jewish souls gathered together and merged in abundant love, a wonderful joy and delight comes to the world.
6. To explain more about the importance of celebrating Rosh Hashana with the Tzaddikim, you must understand that the sweetening of harsh judgments comes about when thought is purified and sanctified. This can only be achieved through being attached to the Tzaddik. Rosh Hashana is the source of the harsh judgments of the entire year. The only way to sweeten them is by purifying our thoughts. It is in order to attain sanctity in thought that we journey to the Tzaddikim.
7. God gave Rosh Hashana out of great kindness (Likutey Moharan II, 1:14).
8. Who is able to celebrate Rosh Hashana? He who is worthy of binding himself to the roots of the souls of Israel (ibib.).
9. The effect of Rosh Hashana is to strengthen faith. There are great gatherings of Jewish communities everywhere. Especially significant are the gatherings of Jews around the true Tzaddikim. Through these gatherings, all the different facets of faith expressed in all the different souls are joined together in a common whole. They are refined, unified and elevated. The sparks of new intuitions and perceptions flash forth. New levels of understanding begin to develop. The process continues during the Ten Days of Repentance, when we work on ourselves and strive to return to God. The sparks of intuition and perception are embodied in the mitzvah of tefillin, which are the "seal of holiness" and an aspect of tikkun habrit. Yom Kippur is the climax of this process. The "seal of holiness" is perfected and the flashes of intuition and perception reach their fullest development. Following this, on Succot the illumination which must be drawn into the world is that of joy. Through joy we can elevate all the food we eat to prevent it from disturbing our dreams. On Shemini Atzeret, the Eighth Day of Solemn Assembly, the spiritual work is to bring integrity to the faculty of judgment. If the judges are not honest it can cause problems. All the tikkunim which have been mentioned here are also brought about whenever the followers of a spiritual leader gather at his side. Rosh Hashana is the main time for such gatherings, because the source of the entire process of tikkun is to be found then. In fact, the very details of the Rosh Hashana ritual, and in particular the different notes blown on the Shofar, all have the power to bring about these tikkunim. Thus the first note we blow, Tekiah, has the effect of strengthening faith. The second, Teruah, causes new intuitions and perceptions to flash forth. And through the third note, Shevarim, we are protected from having disturbing dreams and being corrupt in our judgment.
10. On Rosh Hashana, you must force yourself to put all your power and strength into your prayers, and you must bind them to the true Tzaddik. The Tzaddik is the real "strong man": through his spiritual powers he is able to offer his prayer in such a way that the prayer itself is on the level of "judgment."
And this is precisely the form of prayer that is necessary on Rosh Hashana. Through this it becomes possible to extricate from the forces of the Other Side all the holy life-force which they have snatched from the Jewish people and swallowed: all the prayers, the acts of kindness and the wisdom of the Jews… The forces of the Other Side are compelled to vomit them out from their innards. This is brought about through the strength of prayers of this "strong man," the Tzaddik. Then the glory of God is revealed in its fullness through the converts who attach themselves to the faith of Israel. Prophecy and true faith enter the world and false ideologies are destroyed. This is a foretaste of the wonderful renewal of the world which is destined to come about in the future. In the new order, the force of nature will be nothing. The world will be governed through the providence of God alone, with miracles and wonders. Then we will be worthy of hearing the sound of the song and the melody which will break forth in the time to come. This will be the chief delight of the World to Come.
11. During the Days of Awe it is a good thing when you can weep profusely like a child. Throw aside all your sophistication. Just cry before God – cry for the diseases of the heart, for the pain and sores you fell in your soul. Cry like a child before his father. Then you will be worthy of a beautiful etrog. The more profusely you weep, the more beautiful the etrog you will have for Succot (Rabbi Nachman's Wisdom 87).
12. On Rosh Hashana, you must be wise. This means that you should be careful to think only good thoughts. Then God will be good to us and give us a good year. On Rosh Hashana you must be joyous, and on Rosh Hashana you must weep (ibid. 21).
13. On the first day of Rosh Hashana people should be very careful to speak as little as possible. The greater the person, the more careful he must be.
14. The day before Rosh Hashana is a good time to present a pidyon, a redemption.
(An excerpt of "Advice" by Rabbi Nathan of Breslov, translated by Avraham Greenbaum, published by the Breslov Research Institute, www.breslov.org)

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