Sunday, December 30, 2012

Parchment and Ink

הלכות ערב ד:ז

When a Jew wraps himself with a tallis and puts on tefillin he draws upon himself the holiness of the parchment and  ink of a sefer Torah.  And, when he davens and reads Krias Shema it is as if he writes and etches the letters of the Torah in ink upon the parchment.  This kedusha is then whole and complete - that is - the writing of a sefer Torah, which contains everything.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

168th Yartzheit of Reb Nosson zt"l

פרפראות לחכמה סא: ח

Reb Nosson's passing was directly connected to the three tragedies that took place in Teves.  Ezra was a scribe: he spread Torah among the Jews.  Reb Nosson was Rebbe Nachman's scribe - he was the only one of his followers who worked constantly to spread his teachings as widely as possible.  Even people who never met the Rebbe are aroused to serve Hashem through his writings all because of Reb Nosson.

With the passing of the scribe there is a reduction in the spreading of Torah, as manifested in the translation of the Torah into Greek (which obscured the deeper meaning of the Hebrew text).  This corresponds to the imposition of secular studies and atheism on the Jews in our times.

Heresy leads to the siege of Jerusalem and exile, corresponding to the infamous Russian Pale of Settlement and the mass migrations of Eastern European Jewry, which began around Reb Nosson's passing.  Not for nothing did Reb Nosson mention these three tragedies and exhort his followers to "be strong with money, willpower, and effort," and make sure to spread the Rebbe's teachings.

שיח שרפי קודש קס"ח

Before his passing, Reb Nosson spoke about the "three laws," with the Breslover Chassidim should observe.  They must:

  1. Go to Uman for Rosh Hashannah
  2. Study the Shulchan Aruch every day
  3. Practice hisbodedus every day

שיח שרפי קודש תרנ"ה

Reb Naftali, who was in Uman, already knew that Reb Nosson had passed away.  When asked how he knew, Reb Naftali answered, "I had a dream in which I saw Reb Nosson running quickly,  I said 'Reb Nosson! Where are you running?' 'Me?' he said.  'Straight to the Rebbe!' "

Sunday, December 9, 2012

The Light of the Tzaddikim

ל"ה -חלכות כבוד רבו ותלמיד חכם ג:יח

It is forbidden to derive material pleasure from the Channukah lights.  The holiday of Channukah was instituted by Chazal, and the lights of Channukah correspond to the true tzaddikim.  The implication is that one should not seek the light of the tzaddik for material benefit, as it is common in our generation.  Rather, one must attach oneself to the tzaddikim for spiritual purposes only.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

New Translation of Likutei Halachos

Work on the translation of Likutei Halachos by Breslov Research Institute to being soon. Click here for more.

Pe'er HaLikutim

פאר הליקוטים is a new sefer published by Shir Chadash (R' Yisrael Yitzchak Bezinson) located in Tel Aviv.  The layout is set up like a standard gemara daf.  Without any reservations, I think that this is the most extraordinary edition of Likutei Moharan ever published (at least in my collection).  The commentaries and excerpts are exhaustive and span the entire corpus of Torah literature including items from many different Chassidic seforim, ie Degel Machaneh Ephraim and Kedushas Levi.

If you want to learn Likutei Moharan thoroughly, b'iyun, you need this sefer.  Unfortunately, only the first 6 Torahs have been published.  The entire project may take a few years to complete, but certainly worth the wait.

The sefer can be purchased here, and comes in a large and small.  I have the "small" version, which is actually pretty big.

Here is a sample page.

A Jew Must Bind Himself To The Wisdom In Everything

הלכות פקדון ד:יט

Everything has a root up on high.   Even though the things that exist in this world are clothed in physicality and corporeality, the main components of all things are located Above.  All things are imbued with wisdom and insight - this is the aspect that is up on high Heavenward. It is a Jew's task in this world to bind the phsyical aspect of all things to their root in Heaven.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Every Moment Anew

הלכות תפילין ה:יט

Klal Yisroel is compared to the moon, which constantly waxes and wanes.  This comparison hints to the notion that we must constantly renew ourselves at all times.  We must live every single day and moment as if it is completely new - and this certainly applies to one's avodas Hashem.  We must never age, Heaven forbid, even if we live 1,000 years, because every day is considered completely new.  All of the days of the the holy Klal Yisrael are like a month.  That is, a new existence every moment, which is the crux of a long, eternal life.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

The Da'as of an Animal

הלכות תפילין ד:ה

(Painting by Lasar Segall)

When a person sees that there is crookedness in his heart, especially when there is a lot of crookedness, Heaven forbid, he must then perceive himself to be like an animal and completely remove any semblance of knowledge or awareness from his mind.  He must then rely entirely on faith and carry himself with purity and simplicity alone.  He will then merit tremendous awareness of Hashem.  This is related to the consciousness of tefillin.  

Preventing Nocturnal Emissions through the Bedtime Shema

הלכות קריאת שמע על המטה א:א

(Painting by Miriam Gair)

One way the desire for sexual immorality overcomes a person is when he is sleeping, and Heaven forbid has a nocturnal emission.  Therefore, in order to prevent this from happening a person should nullify and blot out any inappropriate thoughts from his mind before going to sleep.  One great way to accomplish this is by reading the Bedtime Shema, which is a great rectification for such thoughts and possible occurrences.  This is because when one accepts upon himself the Yoke of Heaven just before going to sleep he separates his soul from the souls of the erev rav, and includes his soul within the 12 Tribes, which correspond to the Kingship of Holiness.  By doing this he distances himself from evil thoughts.  And, then as he is sleeping he will be able to acquire a new soul and new insights into the Torah.  This is the foundation of the entire blessing of HaMapil as well as all of the verses and confessions that we are accustomed to say in the Bedtime Shema.  

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Our Eyes Should be Soft Too

הלכות ראש חודש - ה:ו

Our Sages z"l said, "And Leah's eyes were soft" that is, that she cried out to Hashem and begged that He keep her from falling and becoming bound with Esav.  They say that this hints to Knesses Yisroel.  Every Jew must cry profusely to Hashem like Leah, so as not to fall and become bound with the Evil One, Heaven forbid, which refers to Esav.

Moshe vs. Noach - Who Used the Ark More Effectively?

הלכות נשיאת כפים  ה-ט

(Painting by Wayne Potrafka)

Both the arks (תיבות) of Moshe and Noach drifted upon the face of the water.  The arks of Moshe and Noach drew down the words (תיבות) and letters of the Torah.  The waters of the flood were brought down because of the sins committed against Hashem.  The inhabitants of the world were also guilty of sexual immorality (פגמו בברית) until the point when the words and letters of the Torah could no longer sustain the world.  Even during the time of Noach before the Torah was given to Klal Yisroel the world was sustained by the words and letters of the Torah, because the Torah predates the existence of the world.  It was from the Torah that the world was created as is known. And, even so the world was commanded to fulfill the Seven Noahide Laws, which at the time, the existence of the world was dependent upon them.  The inhabitants of the world transgressed these laws.  Therefore, the words and letters of the Torah could no longer deter the waters of the sea and the depths, and because of this the waters rushed forth until the flood came.

Noach, who was a tzaddik, was saved by the ark, which literally drew down words and letters, that is through the letters and words of Torah that Noach merited to fulfill.  Through this he was worthy of entering the ark, and the ark then had the durability to drift upon the waters.  He and his family and future offspring were saved, and the world was sustained.  

These concepts are also true in regard to Moshe's ark, which saved him by drifting on the face of the water.  This is because in the future he would receive the Torah, which constricts the waters of the great sea... However, Noach wasn't worthy of receiving the letters of the Torah, because he used the תיבה - ark/words of Torah - to save himself and his family alone.  Moshe on the other hand, used the תיבה - ark/ words of Torah - to save all of Klal Yisroel, and gave them the letters and words of the Torah to all of Yisroel and the generations of the world.  

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Everything is Truth

ל"ה - הלכות גניבה ה:ט

(Painting by Dena Ackerman)

Truth for one person may not be the truth for another; what is happening to a person at a given moment is not happening to any other person.  For instance, at a set time one person may need to strengthen himself in Torah and his worship while another person may need to increase the tzedakah that he gives - that is that different people are involved in completely different mitzvos.  Similarly, each and every person is attending to many different things during the day.  At a particular moment one may be davening.  At another moment he is learning, working, eating, speaking, or an infinite number of other activities.

And, the main thing is that during every single moment - through whatever a person occupies himself at that time or whatever occurs to him - everything is complete truth as it relates to that individual.  Though it is impossible to elaborate, one who desires truth will understand on his own.

The rule is that there is never a time when a person cannot enlighten and inspire himself through the truth found in a given situation despite the darkness that may surround him, because everything is from Hashem.  And, this is exactly what Dovid HaMelech asked from Hashem, "Guide me in Your Truth and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation.  For You I wait all day." (Psalms 2:5) Specifically, all the hours of the day from the beginning until the end I wait for you to guide me in Your Truth and teach me.  There is undoubtedly truth found in every single hour of the day that can enlighten and inspire a person to escape the darkness to a very great light.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Losing Jewish Children

ל"ה - הלכות פסח ז"ו

(Illustration by Sabina Saad)

We ought to be crying and screaming day and night.  We should be banging our heads against the wall.  We should cover ourselves with sackcloth and mourn over the disaster we are hearing about... Schools to teach Jewish children how to speak, act, and dress like non-Jews... Woe to us! We have been robbed! Woe to us!... We have seen how those who have grown up with such values turn into atheists... They desecrate Shabbos... They commit evil deeds...  Worse, they make a mockery of our entire Torah... We find ourselves in the very midst of the horrendous troubles foreseen by our prophets prior to the coming of Mashiach...

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

What To Do When Things Get Crazy

הלכות קריאת שמע א:א

(Painting by Marina Povalishina

It is exactly at the moment when darkness and judgement overcome a person - whether in spiritual or material matters - that he should close his eyes and surrender himself to the fact that everything is one and that everything is for his good.  By doing this a person eliminates all of his troubles.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Overcoming Obstacles and Suffering with Tefillin

ל"ה - הלכות תפילין ה:יג

(Painting by Rivka Nehorai)

The reason for binding the tefillin shel yad on the left arm is because the left arm is the weak arm - the source of all suffering and obstacles.  The purpose of the tefillin is to counter these obstacles with patience and thereby enable a person to overcome everything.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Krias Shema and Tikkun HaBris





Rectifying a Blemish in One's Da'as Through Eating

ל:ה - הלכות נטילת ידים ב:טו

A vessel that once belonged to a non-Jew requires immersion in a mikveh before it is fit for a Jew to prepare food with it.  The akum, which corresponds to secularism and nature, are the basis of tumah.  And, a vessel will not depart from their ownership to Jewish ownership, which is kedusha, until it has been immersed in a mikveh.    The mikveh corresponds to Hashem's providence and da'as, which relates to, "The Earth will be filled with knowledge (דעה) of Hashem as the waters fill the sea." (Isaiah 11:9)  It is imperative that the food a Jew eats has tremendous kedusha.  And, the essence of a food's kedusha is through one's da'as, which reveals Hashem's providence [over the world].

Adam transgressed the prohibition of eating from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.  The Tree of Knowledge corresponds to secular wisdom, which confuses good and evil.  This is the da'as of the Other Side, which by definition is a blemish in Holy da'as.  And, the main aspect of this blemish was through the act of eating.  Now, the rectification of this blemish is specifically through faith, as in, "and cherish faithfulness" (Tehillim 37:3) like the Rebbe explains in Torah 62.  When a Jew does not eat with kedusha he has blemished his da'as, which relates to Hashem's providence, and he falls into the errors of secular wisdom, as is written, "lest you have eaten and will be satisfied and your heart will be lifted up and you will forget Hashem your God, etc.  And you will say in your heart that 'my power and the might of my hand earned this wealth." (Devarim 8)  This refers to when a person relies completely on natural occurrences, Heaven forbid, that is, for his livelihood, his strength, and the might of his own hands.  He never thinks to thank Hashem for any of these things.  This relates to a blemish of the hands - a blemish of the 28 knuckles and joints of the hands, which relate to the 28 letters in the first verse of the account of Creation.  Hashem watches and attends to everything at all times.  He gives strength (כ"ח - 28), literally 28, for Hashem watches and sustains the world through the 28 letters of Creation.  Therefore, every Jew must sanctify his food in holiness.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

BRI Shavuos Booklet

Please see the English booklet on Shavuos compiled by Breslov Research Institute.  The booklet includes excerpts from Kitzur Likutei Moharan, Chayei Moharan, Sichos HaRan, and Likutey Tefillos.

The Importance of Hisbodedus

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Distinguishing Between One's Good and Bad Points

ל"ה - הלכות השכמת הבקר א:יא

All the blessings that are said during birkas hashachar hint to the concept of finding the good points within oneself.  We praise Hashem and request that He help us find within ourselves these good points in order to awaken us from our spiritual sleep and downfall.  This corresponds to the blessing, "Who gives the rooster the ability to distinguish between night and day."  One's good points parallel the 'day', and his bad points corresponds to nighttime and darkness.  By finding the good points within oneself we separate the bad and thus distinguish between the day and the night.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Rebuilding Yerushalayim and Tefilah

ל"ה - הלכות ערלה ד:ג

(Painting by Margarita Levine)

Once a person is able to subdue his three principle inclinations for sexual immorality, food, and money, which correspond to the three years of the orlah when the fruit of such a tree is forbidden to be eaten, he then merits the concept of rebuilding Yerushalayim.  This relates to complete fear of God, which depends on one's heart.  Therefore, after the first three years of orlah one must bring the first fruits to Yerushalayim, which are a concept of complete fear that a person merits because he cast away his evil urges.    He succeeds to cast away his evil urges because he did not partake of the orlah fruit.  And, by rebuilding Yerushalayim one merits tefilah.  On the fourth year all of one's fruits "shall be holy and will give praise to Hashem." (Vayikra 19:24)  "Holy and will give praise" refers specifically to prayer, which consists of praise to Hashem.  A person merits prayer by helping to rebuild Yerushalayim and subduing his three main urges.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Chol HaMoed and Teshuva

קל"ה - הלכות חול המועד ב:א

Yom Tov is a concept of teshuva, as is known.  How is this known? - because we all go through the same motions.  The ways of teshuva are as such:  when a person first starts to repent he is uplifted and brought close to Hashem.  And, then afterward he is seemingly distanced from Hashem, and the person has a tremendous downfall.  He falls to distant places.  When this happens he needs to strengthen himself with all of his might, and should not allow himself to fall again, Heaven forbid.  If he is able to keep himself from falling, his first downfall becomes the catalyst for an ascent.  He merits to uplift holy sparks, which are an aspect of lost items veiled in lowliness.  Through teshuva he is able to return and ascend to holiness even more than before.  

This is an aspect of chol hamo'ed, which is right after the closeness and holiness of the first days of the festival.  This time is synonymous with a person's descent from holiness when a person must be cautious.  Even though a he is now in a state of "coming forth," because he fell and descended from his holiness to a state of chol, nevertheless he must sanctify himself with the holiness of mo'ed, which is a concept of the prohibition of doing labor on chol hamo'ed.  However, labor is permitted to be done on chol hamo'ed only if one will suffer a financial loss.  A person must know and strengthen himself, for doing such labor is not a complete descent from the sanctity of the mo'ed, Heaven forbid, for it is also a time of mo'ed and Yom Tov.  In such a case, a person is prohibited from falling from his place except to prevent a loss.  

Thus, when a person sanctifies his descent with the holiness of chol hamo'ed, he then returns and uplifts himself to the holiness of Yom Tov more than before.  This corresponds to "a descent is the catalyst for the ascent."  And this relates to the last days of Yom Tov, which radiate even more light than the first days of the festival, This is a concept of the splitting of the sea on the seventh day of Passover and the great feats the Jews saw at that time, as Chazal says in the Mechilta, "What the maidservant saw at the sea was more than Yechezkel ben Buzi." (Shemos 15:2) 

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Philosophy and Idol-Worship

קל"ה - הלכות קריאת התורה ד:א

The first generations that existed in the world expressed kefirah (apostasy) by practicing their idol-worship (avodah zara).  And, since the time that man's inclination for idol-worship was eliminated [during the time of Ezra HaSofer], the inclination to learn philosophy has strengthened itself.  This is the kefirah of scientists.  Through their backward wisdom they bring kefirah into the world.  The truth is that idol-worship and philosophy are one.

Replacing Ash with Glory

ל"ה - ארבע מינים א:ב

The gravity of our sins, which has made the Shechina weep, has driven the radiant light of spirituality out of the world.  So, we must repent and weep over our sins and shortcomings.  And, then Hashem has pity, and replaces the אפר (epher- during Tikkun Chatzos one puts ash on his forehead where he places the tefillin), the ashes of destruction, with פאר (pe'er - the tefillin are known as pe'er), the glory of reconstruction.


ל"ה - הלכות מנחה ז:ב

The time for mincha is when dusk falls.  It seems that everything is getting only darker, with no chance of light again.  Yet, the work of creation also began at a time when everything was dark - and then came light!  The time for mincha is a time of severe judgments, corresponding to the times in life when a person feels that there is no hope - that his evil characteristics are gaining the upper hand, and he has no chance of victory.  But, the truth is that one can always call out to Hashem even then.  The true tzaddikim, who labor constantly to reveal Godliness in the world, show that we always have the abililty to seek Hashem.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Perfect Faith In Oneself

ל"ה - הלכות נחלות ד:ג

(Painting by Marc Chagall)

One must have perfect faith in Hashem - believing that He is the Creator of everything, that He controls and watches over everything, and that He has the power to change the course of events in any way He wishes and bless us with everything good.

And, just as one must have perfect faith in Hashem, so too must one have perfect faith in oneself.  One must have perfect faith that Hashem listens and attends to every single word spoken by every single Jew - even the lowest of the low.  Every single Jew has the power to accomplish what he needs through praying to Hashem truly and sincerely, as it is written, "Hashem is close to all who call Him." (Psalms 14:18)

Friday, May 4, 2012

Today's Choshen Mishpat

ל"ה - הלכות יין נסך ג:ד

(Franklin's Printing Press built in late 1600s)

The invention of the printing press has given us the ability to publish more and more of the writings of the tzaddikim, whose teachings provide us with the guidance we need to fulfill the Torah in practice and attain true spirituality.  The printing press gives us the means of printing and distributing many, many books at a minimal price so that everyone in search of Godliness can find an antidote to his personal malaise.

(Courtesy of the Temple Institute)

The printing press bears comparison with the breastplate of the Kohen HaGadol, which was studded with twelve precious stones, each of which was engraved with the name of one of the Twelve Tribes of Yisrael.  When a Jew needed advice or an answer to a question he would sanctify himself and pray, and then draw near to the Kohen HaGadol.  The letters engraved on the stones of the breastplate would then shine to him one after the other, spelling out the answer he hoped for. (Yoma 73b)  The Twelve Tribes constitute klal Yisrael as a whole.  Each Jew requires a different approach to his problems and a unique solution.  In our times, the ideas and answers each one needs are supplied by the many books produced by the printing press, the letters of which correspond to the letters engraved on the breastplate of the Kohen HaGadol.  The letters shine and radiate when one approaches them properly for results.

Lag Ba'Omer Publication from BRI

The Breslov Research Institute has released a free English/Hebrew booklet for Lag B’Omer. The booklet called: “Lag B’Omer with Rebbe Nachman of Breslov” contains Rebbe Nachman’s prologue to Likutey Moharan called “L’chu Chazu” which deals with the uniqueness and connection between Rabbis Shimon Bar Yochai and Rebbe Nachman, as well as the special prayer written by Rebbe Nosson to be said especially on Lag B’Omer.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Out-of-Print Sifrei Breslov

There isn't much information about the seforim listed below other than the Zissil page that briefly mentions them and the brief descriptions on the bibliography page.  It's astounding how many out-of-print seforim are out there.  Most people have never seen them partly because no one ever thought they would be profitable to print and sell...
Most Breslov seforim I have seen from the early 1900s are copies of Sichos/Shivchei HaRan arranged in different orders.

Emunas Uman - A collection of about 42 letters shared between Breslov elders, and about 19 correspondences between Rabbeinu z"l and Reb Nosson not printed elsewhere.  First printed in 1966.

Neve Tzaddikim - Printed in 1969 by R' Nosson Tzvi Kenig z"l, compiler of Toras Nosson

Sha'aris Yisroel - I believe this was also published by R' Nosson Tzvi Kenig.

Renat Tzion - A commentary on Likutei Moharan published in 1975.

Sha'aris Ya'akov

Ohr Tzaddikim - A collection of letters shared between Breslov elders in Poland.  Published in 1972.

Niemos Netzach - Collection of letters from Breslov elders compiled by R' Nosson Tzvi Kenig.  

Any thoughts?

A Sefer is Your Best Friend

קל"ה - הלכות ראש חודש ז:נה

Chazal says in Pirkei Avos 1:6, "Provide for yourself a rav, and get (kaneh) yourself a friend (chaver)"  It is brought down in different seforim that the word kaneh hints to the pen that one uses to write holy books. Ideally, one should find himself a rav, but if he cannot a way to rectify this is to get (kaneh) oneself a friend.  That is, one should attach (mechaber) holy books to himself and learn them well.  And, by doing this one will know who the true rav is.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Mashiach is Born Everyday

LIkutei Halachos - Hilchos Tefillin 5:15

It is said about Mashiach, "Today I have given birth to you." (Tehillim 2:7) For, Mashiach will completely merit this concept, which relates to longevity. Every moment he will begin to live anew, as if he were born today, which is an aspect of, "Today, I have given birth to you." Mashiach will achieve the concept of being above physical time, as Rabbeinu z"l explains on the above mentioned passuk. Look inside Likutei Moharan I Torah 61.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Drawing Down the Holiness of Eretz Yisrael

קל"ה - הלכות בית כנסת ה:א

(Painting of the Galil by Lael Har)

The essence of a shul's holiness is drawn down from the holiness of Eretz Yisrael, for in Eretz Yisrael is the essence of the ascent of prayer, as it is written, "and pray to You toward their land." (Melachim I 8:48)  And the essence of the holiness of Eretz Yisrael is through, "He has declared to His people the power of His works." (Tehillim 111:6)  This corresponds to what Razal relates, "He took it [Eretz Yisrael] from them and gave it to us," (Rashi on Bereishis), for through this we have to power to sanctify every place in the word with the holiness of Eretz Yisrael.  As such, the holiness of a shul draws upon the concept of conquering Eretz Yisrael, for through, "He declared to his people the power of His works," they were able to conquer the land.  And therefore through building shuls and batei midrash for the sake of Heaven, the way one must act, walk, and return to our holy land, and to conquer it from the hand of the Sitra-Achra is drawn down to us even now.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

The Light of the Moon Will Be Like the Light of the Sun

קל"ה - הלכות ראש חודש ה:יב

(Painting by Marc Chagall)

The sun and the moon correspond to Moshe and Dovid HaMelech, which in turn relate to glory and kingship, which relate to Torah and prayer respectively.  As is known, the years are counted according to the cycles of the sun, and the months according to the cycles of the moon.  Therefore, on Rosh HaShanah, which is on Rosh Chodesh, the sun and the moon are like one, that is, both are equal in stature.  This relates to the idea that the "light of the moon is like the light of the sun."  This happens once the quality of prayer is increased by turning the Torah that one learns into prayer, and by praying that the Torah be sustained.

Rectification of the Moon and Prayer

קל"ה - הלכות ראש חודש א:א

Blemished prayer is a concept of a flaw within the moon.  On Rosh Chodesh, which is a time of rectification for the moon since it will begin to become full again, it is also a time for the rectification of prayer.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Gut Shabbos!

ליקוטי תפילות יט

Please, Hashem - You know that I don't have the power to bring the holiness of Shabbos by myself.  Have pity on me and arouse Your love for me.  You know how far I am from experiencing the true holiness of Shabbos.  Be kind to me and grant me the true holiness of Shabbos as an outright gift.  Let me add to Shabbos at its beginning and its end, and help me draw the holiness of Shabbos into the other days of the week until all the six working days will have the purity and holiness of Shabbos.  (The Fiftieth Gate)

Closeness to the Shechinah at Night

קל"ה - הלכות תפילה א:ב

The Torah that one learns at night has a greater chance of rising to the Shechina, both from man's side and from the Shechinah's side.  This is because at night a person is better able to nullify and attach himself to Hashem than during the day.  Night is a time when the world is much more still and the concerns of this physical world are not being pursued.  Also, the Shechinah comes close to the person who is learning Torah at night and listens to his voice as it is written, "Arise, cry out in the night at the beginning of the watches, pour your heart out like water before Hashem's face." (Eichah 2:19)  Specifically Hashem's face, because the Shechinah is so close, and [the person learning Torah] he is literally in front of Hashem's face.  At night the Shechinah dwells in the lower worlds, and the essence of her comfort is through being close to one who is learning Torah.

What Creates Rain and Dew?

קל"ה - הלכות תפילה א:א

Dew and rain are made from one's Torah study.  That is, when one learns Torah at night rain is made, and through one's learning during the day dew is made.  Therefore, during the winter [when the nights are very long] when one mostly learns during the night time, we say [during Shemona Esrei] He who causes the rain to fall and during the summer time we say He who causes the dew to fall.  

However, because of study that isn't befitting and doesn't rise up to the Shechinah, one causes the rains to stop, Heaven forbid.

Breslov Connect

Our friends over at Breslov Research Institute have started a new project with the goal of bringing yidden together to learn the Rebbe's seforim.  The site is called Breslov Connect, and helps facilitate chevrusas in person, on the phone, through skype, and a few other ways.  The site is still under construction, but should be fully operational very soon.  You can still sign up as I have already done!
Check it out!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Seforim for Sefiras HaOmer +Shavuos

An entire sefer dedicated to the HaKdoma of Likutei Moharan elaborating on the greatness of Rebbe Shimon Bar Yochai. Purchase the sefer here.

Breslov insights into Shavuos.  Purchase this sefer here.

A collection of practical guidance and advice on how to improve our middos during the days of Sefiras HaOmer enabling us to prepare for Kabbalas HaTorah on Shavuos.  Arranged according to the 49 days cycle and advises us about each individual day.  Purchase this sefer here.

Breslov insights into Lag BaOmer.  Purchase this sefer here.

Breslov insights into Shavuos.  Purchase this sefer here.

Stories of Rebbe Shimon Bar Yochai and his son Reb Elozor gleaned from Shas, Midrash, and the Zohar.  Purchase this sefer here.

The Importance of Netilas Yadayim

קל"ה - הלכות נטילת ידים לסעודה ג:ב

Neglecting the mitzvah of washing one's hands before a meal is a concept of the sin of eating from the Tree of Knowledge, which encompasses all the prohibitions and sins in the Torah.  From this neglect comes the grasp of the Sitra Achra/Contamination of the Snake.  It is because of this neglect that Chazal said a person deserves death, a concept of, "Because on the day that you will eat from it you will surely die."  But, through washing one's hands before a meal a person draws upon himself purity, as in, "the river comes forth from Eden," which is a concept of the Sea of Wisdom.  Then, a person's eating corresponds to 'manna that lightens within him the radiance of Hashem's Will.'

Monday, April 16, 2012

Torah from the Tzaddik

קל"ה - הלכות ברכת התורה א:ב

A person must travel to the Tzaddik to hear words of Torah directly from his lips, because then one is able to receive the light of the Torah, which is a blessing and an elixir.  But even if one does hear words of Torah from the true Tzaddik, he is unable to fully receive these words except through guarding his bris.

Kabbalas HaTorah

קל"ה - הלכות ברכת התורה א:א

By going out from the Exile of Egypt, which is the nakedness of the land and a concept of sexual immorality, and sanctifying ourselves in the 49 days of Sefiras HaOmer, which encompasses all the letters in the names of the Tribes, which is a concept of "the holiness of one's bris or covenant," one can merit to receive the Torah on Shavuos.  The whole purpose of receiving the Torah is that it [Torah] should be a blessing and an elixir.  This can only be done through  the holiness of one's bris.  

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Shiur on the Birth of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai

I highly recommend the following shiur given by R' Nasan Maimon on Lag Ba'Omer and the fascinating story behind the birth of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai zt"l.  Enjoy!

Sleep and the Desire for Money

קל"ה - הלכות שבועות א:א

When a person is able to stay awake the entire night and break his desire to sleep he is then able to break his desire for money.  As a result he is able to rely solely on Divine Providence, which is a concept of open eyes that are not threatened.  

Most of the holy sparks and sunken souls are contained within money, because the essence of the scattering of one's soul happens through the desire for money. The tzaddik who is able to completely break the desire for money is able to draw all of the sunken souls that had fallen because of money.  He is able to protect, gather, and uplift them to the highest holiness.  By doing this, the tzaddik makes a tremendous unification in Heaven, and is thereby able to draw down Torah. Through this complete Divine Providence is drawn into the world.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

How Does Food Sustain A Person?

קל"ה, הלכות פסח ג:א

Everything in the world is rooted in four essential elements: fire, air, water, and earth.  Man and the food that he eats are also rooted in these elements.  The essence of one's "life-spirit" is drawn into a person through the food that he eats as is empirically observed.  Through this a person's vitality is sustained.  But, the fact of the matter is that it is not only through bread alone that a person is sustained, that is, "through all that comes forth from Hashem's mouth," meaning, man is sustained through the "life-spirit" that Hashem draws into the food that is eaten.  The essence of this vitality is from the Torah, from where the "life-spirit" is drawn as elaborated inside [both Likutei Moharan and Likutei Halachos].

Therefore, one needs to eat according to the Torah and Halacha, which relates to the concept of, "And Your Torah is within my inner parts." (Tehilim 40:9)  No food item has strength to sustain a person unless it is bound up in Torah, which is the source of its vitality.  Again, this is a concept of, "All that which comes from Hashem's mouth gives life to man."   This corresponds to the brocha that a person must say on every food item he wishes to eat, because the brocha relates to "All that which comes from Hashem's mouth, etc," which relates to the "life-spirit" of holiness.   This is the essence of vitality.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

How To Eat Chametz in Joy and Holiness

קל"ה, הלכות פסח, ב:ב

The redemption from Egypt is a concept of joy and freedom, as in, "in joy you will go out."  And, therefore we must eat matzah, for matzah is a concept of joy.  On the other hand, chametz and sourdough (שאור) correspond to severely prohibited grief and sighing.

But all of this is only on Pesach, for at this time the Sitra-Achra has a limited grasp and control.  Therefore, Klal Yisrael needed to leave Egypt in haste, because the Sitra-Achra was subdued for only a short amount of time.  So, one must free himself from the grief and sighing that correspond to chametz and sourdough, so they do not interfere and confuse our joy.  Therefore, one must eat only matzah and no chametz [on Pesach].

The holy Zohar explains that the matzah is a remedy, [matzah is a concept of joy] because joy is a remedy for all ailments.  And, through using this remedy (matzah) a person is able to eat chametz [which is normally related to grief and sighing] after Pesach, and it will be in holiness and in joy.

But, on Shavuos when Klal Yisrael stood at Mt. Sinai and was able to control the inclination, the Sitra-Achra was completely subdued.  And, therefore on Shavuos one has to bring two loaves of bread, which are chametz, as an offering.  This is the essence of complete holy joy - to drive away one's grief and sighing and turn it into joy.

So, in the future when joy will abound, there will only be the Offering of Thanks (Todah), which includes chametz.  This is because it is the essence of complete joy.  It will only be in the future, because only then will the Sitra-Achra be completely eradicated.  And, therefore this time will be known as, "you will not go out in haste."

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Mekor Chochma Siddur

The number of Breslov seforim available today in both Hebrew and English is astounding.  I personally have a taiva to purchase Breslov seforim of all sorts - especially editions of Likutei Moharan that include various peirushim.  One particular sefer that I am extremely fond of is the Mekor Chochma siddur.  This siddur was compiled and published by Reb Shmuel Heshil Friedman, a talmid of Reb Avraham Sternhartz in Tel Aviv in 1924.  

A number of people I know including myself have wondered if there is any "Breslov Chitas" available.  This siddur is definitely it.  The siddur is divided into three volumes: weekday, Shabbos and Yom Tov, and the topic of Kedushas Eretz Yisrael.  Each volume is accompanied by all pertinent halachos from the "Derech Hachayim" and extensive excerpts from the whole corpus of Breslov serforim.  I highly recommend this siddur to anyone and everyone.  Literally every Shabbos someone asks to flip through the siddur and always appears very impressed with what they find.  I can also add that personally, any relevant passages placed beside the tefillot are very helpful in aiding with on-the-spot comprehension of what I am saying during davening.

The siddur can be purchased from Rabbi Rosen at his online seforim store,

Eating Joyfully Rectifies the Act of Eating

קל"ה, הלכות פסח, ב:א

The ten types of pulses within a person get their strength and vitality through the food that a person eats.  And, because the essence of the vitality of the ten pulses correspond to the ten types of song, which relate to happiness, the rectification for eating is by eating with joy.  It is written, "Go, and eat your bread joyfully."  The opposite is, "In sadness she will eat," which draws forth from the concept of the blemish caused by eating from the Tree of Da'as.  This relates to the ten mitzvot that one does with bread as well as the ten words in the bracha said over bread, "HaMotzi Lechem Min HaAretz."  All of this relates to the ten types of song, which are the concept of joy, which is the essence of the rectification of one's eating.
קל"ה, הלכות פסח : א

The Exodus from Egypt is related to the revelation of da'as, from which come three effects: the well, the cloud, and the mahn.  These items correspond to the acts of eating, drinking, and dress.  And, these items relate to the three mitzvos done at the seder, for matzah relates to a persons brain and da'as.  It is through da'as that one merits to wage war against Amalek.  He also merits the concept of tikkun habris and the holiness of Shabbos, which relates to the idea of completely nullifying evil.  All of these aforementioned concepts are hinted to by every aspect of the Pesach seder and the mitzvah of Counting the Omer after the first day of Pesach.