Weekly Cycle

Monday, May 20, 2024




I grew up
Of coming 

And now 
They rise 
And fall 
From the sky.

At an age 
When looking 
Up is difficult,
Just thinking of

HAL and why.

Tuesday, May 7, 2024

Rafah's Conquest Began on Yom HaShoah & Yahrzeit of Yehoshua

This step in the war began on the yahrzeit of the Biblical figure most associated with conquering the Land of Israel, as well as on the first "new" holiday of the Omer. After this comes Yom HaZikaron and Yom Ha'Atzma'ut. Then Lag Ba'Omer, Yom Yerushalayim, the Shlosha Yemei Hagbalah, and finally Shavuot. May Hashem grant us complete victory and complete redemption.  

*Postscript: The miracle of Operation Arnon took place on the 2nd of Sivan, "Yom HaMeyuchas."  The 2nd of Sivan was also the last day of the Six Day War (June 10, 1967). https://www.chabad.org/calendar/view/day.asp?tdate=6/8.

Friday, April 12, 2024

Eliyahu on the Daf


In Bava Metzia 30b, Rabbi Yishmael ben Rabbi Yossi encounters Hahu Gavra. He asks Rabbi Yishmael to go outside of his comfort zone and help him arrange the wood on his back. He asks him two times and Rabbi Yishmael sensed he was going to ask a third time. (See Melachim I, Chapter 18, about Eliyahu HaNavi arranging the wood for the sacrifice at Mt. Carmel) 

Eliyahu was carrying all the wood on his shoulders, and was looking for volunteers that were willing to go beyond the letter of the law, to set aside their pride, to help him carry the weight, lift the Jewish people. He was looking for people to contribute a half-zuz (reminiscent of this month's half-shekel, a reminder that we only become whole when we partner with others). 

Rabbi Yishmael helped, but then made things hefker. Eliyahu HaNavi stepped in and saved the day (as on Har HaCarmel). Rabbi Yishmael helped again, but then made things hefker again, and this time he told Eliyahu HaNavi, I declared things hefker for the the Master of the entire world to come and save us, but as for you, Eliyahu, I know that you never abandoned us.

Here’s another “HahuGavra” story from last week’s Daf, that seems to hint to Eliyahu HaNavi (Daf 35a):

“Hahu Gavra” in this context is Hashem, who entrusted His “rings,” His covenant with Jewish people, to His friend, Eliyahu HaNavi. 

When Eliyahu comes to Har Sinai, after the events of HaCarmel, Hashem turns to Eliyahu and asks, “Where are the rings?” (“What are you doing here, Eliyahu?) Eliyahu says, “I don’t know” (the Jews have abandoned your covenant). 

Hashem shows Eliyahu many signs (Hashem is not in the wind, not in the earthquake, not in fire… Hashem is in the small thin voice, “Kol Demama Daka”). All the signs are done in order to indicate to Eliyahu that for him, as the prophet, to say that the covenant is lost is willful negligence, and he has to “pay,” (Shalem), ie. be at peace, have patience with them. Eliyahu refuses. 

In that case, Eliyahu “loses his palace” (his leading prophetic role is given to Elisha, and soon after Eliyahu leaves this world). Yet, as he returns to every bris, the covenant of the Jewish people is found. The rings (the covenant / the Jewish people) return to their Master, and Eliyahu HaNavi returns to his palace (he comes back to the world and announces the redemption).

Daf 42a has a whole series of HaHuGavra stories, and they pick up from where the previous one left off (these are three in a row now):

A certain man deposited money with his friend, who placed it in a willow hut (צְרִיפָא דְאוּרְבָּנֵי). This was effective against robbery but not against fire. At Har Horeb, Eliyahu had a vision that Hashem was not found in the fire (the way to approach the Jewish people was not through being too much of a Kanai, but that Hashem is found in the “still small voice,” the conscience, which, when listened to, prevents people from sinning/stealing.

A certain man deposited money with his friend, and the friend didn’t know where he placed it (this is exactly like the story in Daf 35a). Eliyahu HaNavi has to go pay/make peace. 

A certain man deposited money with his friend, who then gives it (makes peace with) his mother. Eliyahu places his mantle on Elisha, giving him already a portion in his spirituality. Elisha then tells Eliyahu he needs to kiss his father and mother good-bye first before leaving with Eliyahu. Eliyahu seems to then question whether Elisha should go with him altogether. The Halacha is that in such a case, the man is exempt. In this case, Elisha is still allowed to follow Eliyahu and become his disciple. 

A certain steward acted on behalf of orphans, who purchased an ox and transferred it to a shepherd. The Steward is Hashem, the orphans are the Jewish people (who are now being left without a leader). The ox is Elisha, the new leader (who was actually pasturing with 12 oxen (representing the 12 tribes) at the time that Eliyahu arrived. The shepherd is Eliyahu, who is to guide/mentor Elisha. When purchased, the ox did not have teeth to eat. Elisha did not want to live a physical life anymore. The ox died. Elisha slaughters the oxen with its tools, which also represents how he himself was leaving his past life behind and becoming subservient to Eliyahu.

Is anyone responsible for paying/making peace regarding Elisha’s lost (past) life? Hashem responds that He gave him an even better life now, transferring him to Eliyahu’s domain. Eliyahu responds that he gave him the option of returning, yet Elisha no longer wanted just a physical life. 

The Gemara explains that we are dealing with a situation here where there is no loss to the children, as they were able to find the Master of the ox and were compensated by Him. Through Elisha, the Jewish people would also be able to find Hashem. 

This is the case when the Master of the ox claims compensation. The trader of (who received and then gave) the ox swears that he did not know, and the shepherd pays the value of the meat for cheap. Hashem has a claim against the parents. Your son had such potential, and you did not know? The parents become satisfied with the situation, and Eliyahu allows the slaughtered oxen to become part of a celebration that takes place before Elisha leaves. 

A certain man deposits hops for the production of beer with his friend. The friend told his brewer to cast hops from a pile belonging to him, but instead the brewer cast the hops from a different pile belonging to the one that deposited them. Eliyahu deposited his portion with Elisha. Elisha had two piles, compared to Eliyahu’s one. Elisha’s servant was Gehazi. Gehazi did not properly follow Elisha’s directions. The teachings became spoiled, like the beer that became vinegar or developed thorns.

Rabbi Nissan Mindel tells of a story that describes Elisha as a “rough diamond” who could not learn Torah. Perhaps then, the ox without teeth could be a reference to Elisha’s initial inability to digest or lack of sharpness in learning. Eliyahu then shows Elisha the way. 

I couldn’t find the Midrash or any reference to the source of Rabbi Mindel’s story, but the story itself is here: 

https://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/111915/jewish/Elijah-And-Elisha.htm; I also found a similar story here: 


Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Politics and the Book of Shmuel

There are interesting dynamics playing out in politics today that parallel those in the Tanach. Some of the main characters in the Book of Shmuel are Eli, Shmuel, Shaul, and David. 

An important theme in the narrative is age. Eli is a faithful servant yet is quite old, and cannot manage his corrupt sons running the Tabernacle (Mishkan). Shmuel, who is raised in the Mishkan, is also a devoted servant, yet also faces similar problems later in life. The people therefore ask for a king.

Shaul at first has no interest in becoming king, yet when he does, he cannot let go of power. He is also very righteous, but his downfall comes from listening too much to the people and in not recognizing his own mistakes, particularly in the face of the command to destroy Amalek.

As David eclipses Shaul, both in military accomplishments and popularity, Shaul becomes more and more enraged and isolated.

David is also extremely pious and righteous, yet his life is mired in controversy almost from the moment he is born. He is persecuted around the clock. He makes mistakes, but recognizes them immediately and is quick to ask for forgiveness. David has a way of connecting to and inspiring the people that is unparalleled.

His general, Yoav, is also not without controversy, yet is too politically powerful to reject outright, and is also instrumental in accomplishing the king’s agenda.

The major political figures in American and Israeli politics today, Biden, Trump, Netanyahu, Gantz, Gallant, all have characteristics that parallel, l’Havdil, the above mentioned personalities. Right now, what we really need above all, is one who can best play the role of David.

Monday, March 11, 2024

Living Likutei Moharan (Rebbe Nachman B'Kol HaShanah)


First published L'Iluy Nishmat Avraham Yehudah ben Shmuel Eliyahu HaKohen, on his Yahrzeit, 2nd of Adar II, 5784. First draft completed L'Iluy Nishmat his beloved wife, Chanah Miriam bat Pinchas, on her yarhzeit, 18th of Adar II, 5784. 

(Explanations/translations of Likutei Moharan rely heavily on Breslov Research Institute's translation by Moshe Mykoff, also available on Sefaria.com)

Likutei Moharan, Lesson 1, for the 25th of Elul, the day in which the world was created, is, not coincidentally, one of the most fundamental teachings of Breslev Chassidism. It teaches that by means of the Torah, all of our prayers and requests are accepted. The grace and the importance of Israel is elevated before all of whom they may have need, whether spiritual or physical.

Furthermore, Rebbe Nachman explains that a Jew must always look into the intellect behind each part of Creation, and connect to the intellect of that thing, and through that connect to Hashem, because the intellect is a great light that shines for a person in all of their ways.

Intellect is the aspect of the sun and Malchut (kingship) is the aspect of the moon. By means of Torah study, the kingship of holiness overcomes the kingship of the other side.

Together, intellect (represented by the Hebrew letter Chet) and kingship (represented by the Nin) bring about grace (“Chen” in Hebrew). Grace is what makes room in others for our prayers and requests to enter and be accepted. This is also the aspect of Yosef.

This teaching, about looking into the intellect within each part of Creation, is very appropriate of the 25th of Elul, the day in which the world itself was created. (Rosh, the head, is the place of intellect)

The emphasis on elevating the Kingship of Holiness is very appropriate for this time of the year, when we crown Hashem as our King. It is a time of much praying and requesting, and it is good to know that it is through Torah that we receive Chen, and our prayers and requests are accepted. Like the prayers of Chanah that we read on Rosh Hashanah, whose name comes from the same root word, Chen.

Tishrei is also represented by the Tribe of Efrayim, Yosef’s firstborn. Yosef, along with the idea of sexual purity emphasized in the last teachings of Likutei Moharan II, also represents the idea of intellect and Torah study, and Chen. Chanah was from the land of Efraim.

Likutei Moharan, Lesson 2, for the 26th of Elul, is about how the essential weapon of Mashiach is prayer. This weapon is received through the aspect of Yosef, guarding the covenant (“Brit”), against sexual immorality. It is impossible to use prayer properly without the attribute of judgement (“Mishpat”). Mishpat is obtained through charity (“Tzedakah”). The main cause of foreign thoughts during prayer is the corruption of Mishpat. In prayer, one should therefore connect oneself with the true tzadikim of the generation, for they are each the aspect of Moshe. Each prayer is a component of the Tabernacle and the tzadik (Moshe) knows how to put each component in its place.

Prayer, Judgement, Tzedakah, connection to Tzadikim, these are all clearly connected to Rosh Hashanah. The aspect of guarding the covenant is also related to the Teshuva performed during Elul, as well as Tishrei. As previously mentioned, Tishrei is represented by the Tribe of Ephraim, Yosef’s firstborn.

Likutei Moharan, Lesson 3, for the 27th of Elul, is about how listening to a singer who is wicked is detrimental to serving the Creator, and that listening to a singer who is kosher and worthy is good for the person. The voice of song comes from “birds,” who can be pure or impure, depending on the singer. The remedy for hearing songs from the wicked is to study the Oral Torah at night. The Six Orders of the Mishna rectify the six rings of the windpipe. This is also closely connected to the aspect (kabbalistic sefirah) of Malchut (Kingship).

Because Malchut is now is exile, this leads people to say that cantors (Chazanim) are fools, lacking knowledge (Deah). Song is drawn from the intellectual levels and knowledge of Malchut of Holiness. In exile, we do not have the power to draw down song from its source in holiness. In the future, when “G-d will be King over the entire earth,” song will be uplifted and perfected, and those who sing will also have the proper knowledge (Da’at) and intelligence (Sechel).

This lesson as well is connected to Rosh Hashanah, referencing Hashem’s Kingship, the role of cantors, and even citing to specific verses emphasized in the Rosh Hashana liturgy and service.

Likutei Moharan, Lesson 4, for the 28th of Elul, is about how when a person knows that everything that happens to them is for their benefit, that is an aspect of the World to Come.

This perception is only possible if one raises the Kingship of Holiness from among the nations.

This is done through confession in the presence of a Talmid Chacham, who is an aspect of Moshe, the epitome of humility.

Knowing that both kindness and severity, mercy and judgement, come from Him, is called complete awareness. He judges us because He loves us.

This teaching also incorporates many of the themes of Rosh Hashanah: raising the Kingship of Holiness (related to crowning Hashem as King); Confession, related to Atarat Nedarim (nullification of vows performed on the Eve of Rosh Hashanah), and Hashem’s judgement, which really His hidden kindness.

Likutei Moharan, Lesson 5, for the 29th of Elul, Erev Rosh Hashanah, was delivered on Rosh Hashanah, 5563 (1802), and opens with a verse about the shofar. It teaches that because each person must say that the entire world was created only for my sake, each person must constantly look into ways of fixing the world (Tikun HaOlam), providing what it is missing, praying for them as well.

Regarding prayer, there are two paths: before a decree is issued, and after it is issued. Before the decree, one can pray in the usual manner/order, but after, prayers must be disguised within stories in order that the accusing angels not understand.

A person can know whether a decree has been issued when performing mitzvot with great joy, desiring no other reward other than the mitzvah itself (not even for the reward in the World to Come).

The essence of joy is in the heart, and the only way to (properly) rejoice is to remove the heart’s crookedness. This can be done through thunder, which corresponds to the sound of the shofar. Whoever hears the shofar from a man who is G-d fearing and pious, will certainly not worry about thunder all year.

Before doing this, a person must first remove outside wisdom and foreign thought, “chametz.” One must break the Chet into a Heh, transforming Chametz into Matzah. One must also couple severity and kindness, love and fear.

On Rosh Hashanah, we celebrate the Creation of the world, and a decree for the world (and each one of us) is issued. We rejoice, but with the proper “straightening” of the heart obtained through listening to the shofar. Through Teshuva, the decree can still be changed for the good.

Likutei Moharan, Lesson 6, for the first day of Rosh Hashanah, is very deep and contains many teachings. It starts out by teaching that a person must minimize their own honor (Kavod) and maximize G-d’s honor. When a person seeks honor for themselves, it is immediately asked, “Who is he to deserve such honor?” On the other hand, no one will (dare to) investigate when Hashem is given honor.

The only way to attain divine honor is through Teshuva. Kavod is with the letter Kaf, which represents Keter, crown. Keter is connected to the divine name, “Ehyeh” (I will be), and contains an aspect of waiting, of readying oneself to exist in the world (after previously being unworthy of existing), which is connected to Teshuva. This type of Teshuva is exemplified by those who are insulted and do not answer back.

A person should be in a constant state of Teshuva, even repenting from the previous way in which they repented, even if they were totally sincere, because now their perception of G-d is greater. That is the concept of the World to Come, a time of constant ShaBat, constant TeShuVa.

When a person wants to go in the path of Teshuva, a person must be an expert in “running” (Ratzo) and “returning” (Shov). When a person is in the aspect of “running,” feeling closeness to G-d, they must know that there is still a very long way to go. When they are in the aspect of “returning,” feeling distant, they must know that Hashem is in fact very close.

These lessons about Keter, and also references to G-d’s Throne, are all found in the intricacies of the letter Aleph, shaped by an upper and lower Yud, with a Vav in between. This also hinted in the Kabbalistic mediations for Elul.

Furthermore, the silence a person maintains after being insulted is the aspect of Keter, in that the person is judging the other favorably. It is the like the allegory of someone who is told that they are making a crown for the King. “if it’s for the King,” the person says, “add every precious stone you can find.” Every Jew is a precious stone of G-d’s crown, and we should therefore judge everyone favorably.

All the above concepts, honoring G-d instead of oneself, Keter, the crown of Hashem, Teshuva, judging others favorably… all of these are related to Rosh Hashanah and the Ten Days of Repentance.

Likutei Moharan, Lesson 7, for the 2nd of Tishrei, Second day of Rosh Hashanah, teaches that the essential reason for the Exile is only because of the lack of Emunah (faith). Miracles and prayer are above nature, and when praying, a person must believe that there is a Renewer (“Mechadesh”) and that He has the power to Renew according to His Will (as He sees fit).

The essential aspect of Emunah/miracles/prayer is only in the Land of Israel. Mashiach will come when all those that explain away miracles are gone, and the Land of Israel, which is the first to receive G-d’s blessings, has the power to amaze everyone, so that those that conceal miracles are gone and there is abundant faith in the world. When that happens, redemption will come.

It is only possible to come to Emunah through truth. Justice is Emunah bound with truth. The only way to arrive at truth is through closeness to Tzadikim and following their advice, which is an aspect of marriage and union, and also related to the kidneys.

Tzit-tzit, which protect against sexual immorality, are also a protection against the advice of the wicked, which represents the concept of “impure union,” the Serpent’s advice to Eve. The person is then able to receive the advice of the Tzadik, which is truth.

On Rosh Hashanah, Hashem renews/recreates the entire world, and we have the power of to affect how the world will be renewed and recreated.

That Emunah, when connected to the Land of Israel, where Hashem’s eyes are fixed from the beginning of the year until the end of the year (Rosh Hashanah), as well as justice and truth (respectively, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur), has the power to redeem the world and bring about the Messianic Era.

Likutei Moharan, Lesson 8, for the 3rd of Tishrei, Tzom Gedalia, is about how the preciousness of a sigh and a groan of a Jewish person. The world was created with an aspect of breath, which is the spirit (“Ruach”) of life, and the renewal of the world will also be through an aspect of spirit. Sighing is the extending of the breath, connected to Erech Apayim (mercy, one of the 13 Attributes of Mercy, but literally “long nostrils”).

The essence of the Ruach of life is received from the Tzadik and Rav of the generation. The Tzadik is “a man with whom there is Ruach.”

The location of the Ruach is in the heart, and that is why when there is a lack, it is felt specifically in the heart.

The wicked receive their Ruach from a rav of klippah, which corresponds to Eisav.

A lack a person feels is from their sins. The Tzadikim are capable of winning atonement through Hashem’s great mercy, breathing life into man’s lack, as expressed the concept of Erech Apayim in the 13 Attributes.

Rav Chesed (another of the 13 Attributes) is the antithesis of Eisav, and Emet (Truth), the attribute that follows), expresses how the Tzadik obtains atonement through the Torah, which is Truth.

Sighing draws Ruach into the area that is lacking, but one should not provoke the wicked, causing him to sigh and draw from the Ruach of impurity. Only a perfect tzadik may do so.

A wicked person in his moment of strength can overcome and “devour” a tzadik, but not a perfect tzadik. That’s because the perfect tzadik has completely separated an eliminated the bad from the good in its source, the four elements (fire, air, earth and water) tied to the four letters of the Name of Hashem. To achieve this, a person must engage in Torah and prayer. This is also closely connected to the four corners of the tzit-tzit.

On Tzom Gedaliah, we fast and mourn the murder of Gedaliah, a tzadik and leader of the generation, at the beginning stage of the Babylonian exile. He was not able to properly distinguish good from evil, and refused to believe Lashon HaRah about his enemies, that they were on the way to murder him. May our sighing on this day bring wholeness to our lack and bring upon the final redemption.

Likutei Moharan, Lesson 9, for the 4th of Tishrei, teaches that the essence of life force comes from prayer, and therefore a person should pray with all their energy, because then their energy is renewed. Emunah is Tefilah (prayer).

There are 12 tribes paralleling the 12 zodiac signs, and each tribe has its own Nusach (mode of prayer) and gate through which the prayer enters. From there, a person receives their sustenance and marriage partner.

Yaakov knew the root source of all twelve tribes and therefore was able to give a special portion to Yosef.

When an individual prays, there is much darkness and obstruction, but there is also a way out of this darkness, which one can find if connected to truth. The main light who illuminates is Hashem Himself, as we say [during these days of Elul and Tishrei], “Hashem is my light and my salvation…” The essence of Hashem is truth and the main yearning for Hashem is nothing but truth.

Furthermore, a person must connect their prayers to the Tzadik of the generation, because the Tzadik knows how to match the gates, because he is an aspect of Moshe-Mashiach.

Prayer is an aspect of miracles, and the essence of prayers and miracles is only in the Land of Israel. That is why the Land of Israel is higher than the other lands, and it “drinks first.” Through Emunah, one merits to be in the Land of Israel.

This teaching touches on many aspects of Tishrei, the Ten Days of Repentance, and Yom Kippur.

These are days in which there is a tremendous emphasis on prayer. The energy of the year is renewed and sustenance and even marriage partners are determined at this time.

For all of this, the Land of Israel receives first, being the land which Hashem’s eyes are upon it from the beginning of the year until the end of the year.

Furthermore, Hashem’s “seal” is truth, and on Yom Kippur, a day extremely tied to truth, our judgement is sealed hopefully for a good and sweet new year.

Tishrei is connected to Efrayim, son of Yosef, the Tzadik Yesod Olam, who sustained the world both spiritually and physically.

Likutei Moharan, Lesson 10, for the 5th of Tishrei, is about how clapping and dancing can sweeten the Divine judgements that are upon a person. The essence of Hashem’s greatness is when non-Jews also know that there is a G-d that rules and governs the world. That is through the aspect of Yaakov, for whom Mount Moriah, the place of the Temple, is described as a home (as opposed to a mountain or a field as described regarding the other patriarchs). Because the Temple is a House of Prayer for all nations.

This is only possible through the Tzadikim of the generation. There are haughty individuals that think that they themselves can elevate prayer do not go to Tzadikim, and become sick because of this. They seek greatness for themselves and think that because they have fasted and other mortifications make them into tzadikim, too, but that is not so, because they are filled with physical desires. The main way to get rid of haughtiness is to become close to Tzadikim, because the Tzadik corresponds to Ruach (spirit), and eliminates the spirit of haughtiness, which is also related to idolatry. Clapping and dancing also bring about this Ruach in the heart, elevating the hands and feet and eliminating idolatry and mitigating harsh judgements.

Many of the concepts here are connected to Tishrei (from Rosh Hashanah through Yom Kippur, Sukkot, and Shmini Atzeret): crowning Hashem as King over the entire world (over Jews and non-Jews); fasting; making a house for G-d (Yaakov is connected to Sukkot); clapping and dancing, mitigating judgements. Tishrei is also connected to Tzadikim: Efrayim and Yosef HaTzadik.

Likutei Moharan, Lesson 11, for the 6th of Tishrei, is about how every Jew should bring about the higher unification of “Shema Yisrael” and the lower unification of “Baruch Shem K’vod Malchuto L’Olam Va’ed.” Only through speech can one come to deep understanding of Torah, and speech enlightens a person in all the areas in which there is a need to do Teshuva.

The only way for speech to enlighten a person is through glory. In order for Hashem’s glory to be complete, a person must be lowly and repulsive in his own eyes, and must also guard the covenant (the “Brit”). He then is rewarded with the light of repentance.

When guarding the Brit, a person’s work is like that of building the Mishkan. There are also two levels of guarding the Brit. One who guards the Brit in marital relations during weekdays, and one who guards the Birt in relations that take place only on Shabat. This corresponds to the lower and upper rectifications, respectively. The lower Brit is connected to the angel Metat, whose rule is doing the six days of the week. The upper Brit is connected to Yosef HaTzadik. This also corresponds to Halacha (lower unification) and Kabbalah (the higher unification).

This teaching is very much connected to Yom Kippur, a day devoted to Teshuva (particularly Tikkun HaBrit), and the only day in which we enunciate out loud “Baruch Shem K’vod Malchuto L’Olam Va’ed.”

Likutei Moharan, Lesson 12, for the 7th of Tishrei, teaches about how certain scholars, who are like Jewish demons, attack Tzadikim. The Divine Presence/Oral Torah rests between the Upper Tzadik and Lower Tzadik. When a Tzadik studies the words of Tanna in holiness and purity, the words of the Tanna flow through him as an aspect of Neshikin (kiss).

A “Jewish demon scholar” cannot achieve this, because the Tanna cannot stand to be together with such a person. When this person attacks the Tzadik, the Tzadik accepts it with love, and is able to derive Torah lessons from the permutations of the words used but the Jewish demon scholar to attack him.

Throughout the lesson, Yaakov personifies the Tzadik, Lavan is the Jewish demon scholar, and Rachel the Oral Torah/Divine Presence.

On Yom Kippur, there is a deep and intimate bond revealed between Hashem and the Jewish people, such as when the Kohen Gadol enters into the Holy of Holies, where the Divine Presence rests between the two Keruvim.

Concurrently, there is a struggle between the forces of holiness and purity, and the forces of impurity. We must derive lessons from the attacks of the forces of impurity, in order to serve Hashem with even greater dedication.

Yosef (connected to the month of Tishrei) is also known to be the Upper Level Tzadik, while Binyamin is the Lower Level Tzadik.

Likutei Moharan, Lesson 13, for the 8th of Tishrei, teaches that full Divine providence is impossible without breaking the desire for money. The cooling of the heart towards money is connected to the incense and to the revelation of Mashiach.

As long as there is idolatry for money in the world, there is burning anger (Charon Af) in the world. Once it is nullified, kindness (Chesed) is brought down, and with it knowledge (Da’at), which is the construction of the Temple.

The above is the aspect of the revelation of Torah of the Future, of the Hidden Ancient One (Oraita d’Atika Stima). It comes about through the unification of “Kudsha Brich Hu uSchinteh,” and the elevation of Jewish souls by a Jewish wise one in the aspect of feminine waters. From this union, this Torah is born. The Tzadik takes the will (Ratzon), which is the soul (Nefesh) of everyone that comes to the wise one of the generation and ascends with them, and then comes down with the revelation of the Torah.

As the Torah is brought down, so is Divine providence, and the power of vision of that providence. This is the rectification of the Upper Chariot and Lower Chariot of Ezekiel’s vision. It fixes four aspects of the soul, corresponding to the four Chayot: Lion (Aryeh, related to bitternes), Ox (Shor, relates to hunger), Eagle (Nesher, related to Ibur, soul-pregnancy/renewal), Man (Adam, related to those that are wealthy and those that are wealthy). The Ofanim (certain types of angels also in Ezekiel’s vision) are bodies and the soul exhibits functioning through the limbs. The Kisey (Throne) is the soul of the wise one, which is more precious than pearls (Pninim) and is likened to the Kohen Gadol entering the innermost sanctum (Lifnay v’Lifnim). The soul of the wise one is concealed in the innermost sanctum and all the souls become a its garment. The man that sits on the Throne is the Da’at of the wise one. All these aspects of the soul can also be found in the Torah.

One must ask very much and seek after a wise one such as this. The wise one himself cannot perform this action with one intellect. He needs two: one to gather the souls and another to elevate them and bring down Torah. These are related to the Shin with three heads and the Shin with four heads.

This teaching is deeply related to the rectifications accomplished on Yom Kippur and specifically the experience of the Kohen Gadol upon entering the Holy of Holies.

It is also related to the three ways in which to remove the bad from a decree: Teshuva, Tefilah, and Tzedakah.

Likutei Moharan, Lesson 14, for the 9th of Tishrei, Erev Yom Kippur, states that to draw down peace in the world, it is necessary to elevate Hashem’s glory to its source, fear, and that this done when those that are outside of holiness are drawn closer through the Torah of kindness (Chesed). This applies to both converts and Baalei Teshuva.

When there is a union of souls, when souls are aroused through the words of Torah that a person recites, they shine to one another and through further union with Hashem’s thought, souls of converts are created. Similarly, this shining reaches the source of Jewish sinner’s soul, who “even though he has sinned, he is a Jew.”

A person can only merit Torah through humility and breaking one’s haughtiness; before a person who is greater all the way to the smallest of the small. A person must imagine himself lower than they really are.

Each person must return Hashem’s glory to its source. Through fear, a person merits to to have inner peace, and then merits to pray. Through prayer, one merits universal peace, perfection of the worlds.

Rebbe Nachman then explains how this is connected to the Chanukah candle, and how those who disgrace a Torah scholar do not merit peace, and instead have ailments that remain incurable. The essence of healing comes through peace. “Peace, peace, for both far and near, says G-d: and I will heal him.” [This last line is found in the Haftorah for Yom Kippur]

The message of Teshuva, of bringing closer those that are far, is very much connected to Yom Kippur. We start Kol Nidrei by accepting to pray along with sinners, based on a Heavenly decree issued by the Yeshiva above and the Yeshiva below. In our prayers, we humbly seek to glorify Hashem, drawing down both peace and healing.

Rebbe Nachman finishes the lesson by stating as well that bringing people to Teshuva (Yakar m’Zolel) is a Tikkun for wasting see (Kery).

As explained previously, Yom Kippur is also very much connected to Tikkun HaBrit, and we go through great lengths (especially the Kohen Gadol) to avoid having a nocturnal emission on that day.

Likutei Moharan, Lesson 15, for the 10th of Tishrei, Yom Kippur, is about how one who wants to experience the taste of the Or HaGanuz (the Hidden Light to be revealed in the future), one must elevate fear (Yirah) back to its source. This is done through the aspect of judgement.

When a person judges themselves there is no judgement above. All fright is removed from the person, because the person has already roused themselves.

The source of Yirah is practical knowledge (Da’at), and the main place of Da’at is in the heart, which is also the place of Yirah. Through Da’at, one acquires Torah. Through the revealed Torah (Nigleh) one merits to pray, and through prayer and self-sacrifice one can acquire the Torah that is hidden (Nistar) for the future.

Nigleh corresponds to Mount Sinai, which is humility. Humble prayer is not rejected, nor is prayer with self-sacrifice (Mesirat Nefesh), in which one nullifies their materiality and has no limitations.

As explained in the previous lesson, the theme of rectifying Yirah is very much connected to Yom Kippur, as is praying out of humility and self-sacrifice. On Yom Kippur, we nullify our materiality as much as possible, by fasting and other afflictions. We thereby merit forgiveness and revelation that is above the limitations of time and space.

Likutei Moharan, Lesson 16, for the 11th of Tishrei, is a short teaching based on a story involving a large fish. There are references to Yishmael and Eisav, as well as to the two Mashiachs, and to the concept that it is impossible for the Tzadik to be always connected to the higher wisdoms. As our sages say, sometimes by not engaging in Torah one is upholding it.

This teaching could be a reference to the story of Yonah as well as to the Sukkah that will exist in Messianic times, the Sukkah made from the body of the Leviathan (after Esau and Yishmael face off against one another). As we move away from the exalted holiness of Yom Kippur and briefly reengage in physical activities in order to prepare for Sukkot, we fulfill the concept that not engaging in Torah can be its fulfillment.

Likutei Moharan, Lesson 17, for the 12th of Tishrei, is about how it is impossible to receive fear and love if not through the Tzadikim of the generation.

The Tzadik is always looking to reveal Hashem’s will in creation, both in general and in particular. The Tzadik is able to comprehend this will based on the pride Hashem has in the Jewish people, both in general and in particular aspects of individual Jews. Even a Jewish sinner, as long as one is called a Jew, brings pride to Hashem. The revelation of this pride leads to the revelation of fear of Heaven (Yirah). Particularly on the day of the King’s coronation, when this pride is revealed, Yirah descends upon everyone. There is then a revelation of will, which is an aspect of love, and Hashem rewards each one of His subjects according to His will.

There are times when the light of the Tzadik is obscured (which prevents the revelation of this fear and love), and the rectification of this is through the aspect of the altar (Mizbe’ach), through eating. When eating is done properly, the forces of impurity tied to the Mizbe’ach are subdued, and the intellect is expanded.

The perfection of the Mizbe’ach is through converts. Converts weaken the forces of idol worship which came from parts of the Mizbe’ach being blemished. And bringing converts to Judaism is only possible through the concept of wealth - Tzedakah given to Torah scholars, whose soul encompass many Jewish souls. This brings about a purification of the air, so that one’s spirit (Ruach) is at ease with others. Then words can travel from far away can be heard. Those from other faiths find contradictions in their books, and this comes from the words of the Tzadik that travelled from far away.

This lesson encapsulates the entire month of Tishrei. With the Tzadik at the forefront (Tishrei is connected to Efrayim), it contains several themes of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur: creation and crowning Hashem as King, as well as the revelation of fear and love, and Hashem taking pride in every single Jew). It then touches on themes of Sukkot and then Shmini Atzeret: the concept of eating properly and the fixing of the Mizbe’ach, as well as using wealth for the proper purpose, connecting not only Jews to Hashem, but non-Jews as well. (Much of this is connected to King Solomon, whose connection to Sukkot and Shmini Atzeret will be explained at a later date).

Likutei Moharan, Lesson 18, for the 13th of Tishrei, teaches that everything in creation has a purpose, and that this purpose has an even higher purpose, and so on and so forth. The ultimate purpose is the delight of the World to Come, but only Tzadikim can truly relate to this beforehand.

Still, an individual can connect to this concept based on the root one has in the soul of the Tzadik, by being merciful in a moment of anger, thereby sweetening the anger. This makes a crown for Tzadikim to receive honor and authority.

When Tzadikim don’t want to receive authority, it represents a hiding of Hashem’s countenance, and it is due to the lack of faith of the Jewish people. This lack of faith, like idol worship, brings Hashem’s anger to be recognizable in the world. When mercy is shown at a time of anger, then Hashem’s anger is also sweetened, and Tzadikim accept authority out of a sense of mercy.

Some people feel mercy for the world and think that they are up for leading it. However, their faith (Emunah) is not complete and therefore they are unfit for the task.

Emunah secures kingship (Malchut), so that unworthy ones should not be made leaders. The essence of Malchut has its roots in wisdom (Chochmah), in order to know how to rule. Once a king starts to despise wisdom, he should know that he will be removed from kingship (because “a king establishes the land through judgement”); that is, unless he strengthens with such great atheism and heresy that he separates Emunah from Malchut. This is why gentile kings do not have dominion over the Jewish people like Jewish kings.

Once Tzadikim take authority, they bring the world to its true purpose, which is the perfection of the nations and the letters with which the world was created.

This teaching, like the previous one, touches on various themes of the month of Tishrei: the essential role of Tzadikim (Efrayim), kingship and authority (Rosh Hashana), sweetening judgement through mercy (Yom Kippur), and bringing the gentile nations, and the world in general, to their true purpose in Messianic times (Sukkot and Shmini Atzeret).

Likutei Moharan, Lesson 19, for the 14th of Tishrei, Erev Sukkot, teaches of the importance of traveling to the Tzadik. Learning directly from him is not the same as hearing it from someone who was there or from a book. The very purity of the face of a Tzadik helps a person recognize the own darkness in which they are immersed and do Teshuva.

The lesson then discussed the greatness of Lashon HaKodesh (the holy language of Hebrew) as compared to the other languages of the world, because the world was created with Lashon HaKodesh. The other 70 languages encompassed in the comprehensive fiery bad trait of sexual lust. By means of Lashom HaKodesh, sexual lust is controlled; the spirit of folly (Ruach Shtut) is  nullified by the spirit of holiness (Ruach HaKodesh). This is the concept of Tikkun HaBrit (the fixing of the covenant).

The foundation for Ruach HaKodesh is Yirah. We see that Yosef had in him the completion of Lashon HaKodesh and Tikkun HaBrit, and therefore had Ruach HaKodesh.

This difference between Hebrew and the languages of the nations plays out in the Aramaic translation of the Torah (Targum), which is a mix of good and evil. One must elevate the language Targum to good, as Yaakov Avinu did. Yosef, who had in him a perfection of the Hebrew language, could interpret dreams, elevating language related to Adam HaRishon’s sleep (Tardemah), Targum. Ruach HaKodesh is also connected to the concept of not falling trap to nocturnal emissions.

By elevating the good in the Targum, one perfects the letters of Lashon HaKodesh. One can then also elevate the fallen sparks when eating and drinking. Every simple sage has the capacity to know with which Hebrew letters his food was created (and with wisdom, one can know the letters that form every single thing in the world). One’s heart (Lev) then becomes connected to the 32 (gematria Lev) times Elokim appears in the Torah’s account of Creation.

It is customary to visit one’s teacher before a Festival, like Sukkot. Sukkot is a time where we elevate all 70 nations (70 sacrifices are brought on the holiday), and it was also a time, particularly during the festivities of Simchat Beit HaShoeiva, in which many of those celebrating were granted high levels of Ruach HaKodesh (building upon the holiness and forgiveness achieved during the High Holy Days).

Sukkot is also particularly connected with Yaakov Avinu (see Week 3 of Kabbalah of Time) and Shmini Atzeret with Yosef HaTzadik.

Likutei Moharan, Lesson 20, for the 15th of Tishrei, first day of Sukkot, teaches that there is a soul in the world, which through it explanations and interpretations are revealed. This soul, known as “Miriam,” is burdened with suffering; eating bread with salt and drinking measured water, and the soul’s words are like flaming coals. It is only possible to receive and to draw from the waters of Torah when one’s words are like flaming coals.

One who wants to draw true Torah lessons must first draw to himself words that are hot like flaming coals, which are drawn from the Supernal Heart. A person must pour out their words in prayer before Hashem. Then words flow from the Supernal Heart, like water from the rock.

When a person teaches in public, then he binds his soul with their souls, and pours his heart out in prayer, and his prayer is never rejected because the prayers of a group are never despised.

On Sukkot, we bind our hearts to the rest of the Jewish people: we constantly draw our lulavim to the heart, and the etrog itself represents the heart. We also constantly draw waters and pour them upon the Altar. We do so in groups and thereby our prayers are never despised.

Likutei Moharan, Lesson 21, for the 16th of Tishrei, second day of Sukkot, is about how there is a form of intellect that comes down to a person without any introduction, but rather through a divine influx (Shefa). Inspiration of the heart comes from the motion of the intellect derived from this intellect, but this is only possible with the sanctification of the eyes, ears, nose, and mouth. These are the seven candles of the Menorah.

This divine influx is an aspect of the Sukkah, related to Ruach HaKodesh. This Sukkah comes about through seven clouds, which are the seven candles. Through this a person attains the face of the Menorah, of the Sukkah. Ruach HaKodesh is also known as Chochma.

Sukkah represents the quality of the transcendent (Makkifim). This intellect encircles the mind. Choice is found at this level, before this intellect is internalized.

This is also related to the concept of Chuppah (the seven days of celebration), and also, G-d forbid, the seven days of mourning.

Rebbe Nachman also connects this concept to birth (Ibur), screaming to Hashem, and developing new concepts in Torah and prayer.

The connection to Sukkot here is quite explicit. The prior sanctification of the eyes, ears, nose, and mouth appears to parallel the four parts of the Lulav (Hadassim, Aravot, Lulav, and Etrog).

Likutei Moharan, Lesson 22, for the 17th of Tishrei, first day of Chol HaMoed Sukkot, is about the concept that there is a “seal within a seal.” The ones that rebuke the generation (corresponding to the feet) seal any harsh judgement until the Jews can repent and mitigate the judgement. These “teachers of Hashem” increase peace (Shalom) in the world by minimizing our sins to Hashem, yet magnifying them to us in order to inspire us to repent.

There is a seal above this one (corresponding to the hands), connected to those that receive the rebuke, and this is connected to faith (Emunah). One must fill the hands (Emunah) with the illumination of the Seven Shepherds. These Shepherds draw down the essence of Jewish faith.

One cannot come to these Shepherds except through holy boldness (Azut d’Kedusha). All sounds, whether from crying out or from the Shofar, all are an aspect of boldness.

One must show great compassion for the body, in order to purify it. The soul has to bring the body up and help it comprehend what the soul comprehends. For this, holy boldness is needed, in order to connect to

The Seven Shepherds. The people can become like the flesh of the body, and the Tzadik its essence (its bones).

Holy boldness is achieved through joy (Simcha), which is the concept of “We will do and we will hear” (Na’aseh veNishma), which is also the concept of Torah and prayer. Through this, Jerusalem, “a faithful city” is constructed.

The concepts discussed in this lesson are very much connected to the essence of Sukkot and Shmini Atzeret/Simchat Torah: Shalom, Emunah, Simcha… even the Seven Shepherds, who visit the Sukkah on each day of Sukkot.

The intense celebration that takes place during this Chag is also very much connected to Azzut d’Kedusha, which is an essential of Breslov Chassidim and Rebbe Nachman himself, whose yahrzeit is on the following day.

At the very end of the lesson, Rebbe Nachman explains that Azzut de K’dusha, and the concept of a seal within a seal corresponds to the month of Tishrei.

Likutei Moharan, Lesson 23, for the 18th of Tishrei, second day of Chol HaMoed Sukkot, and Rebbe Nachman Z”TZ”L’s yahrzeit, is about having a shining face of holiness, which is connected to life and joy, as opposed to a darkened face of the Other Side, connected to death and sadness.

The main culprit for causing someone to fall into the side of unholiness is the desire for money and not believing that Hashem can provide a person with livelihood in an easy way. The worry causes sadness and death, and corresponds to idolatry. All idolatry is based on money.

Those that conduct business with faith are bonded with the light of the face of holiness, which corresponds to truth. By rectifying the covenant on is saved from the face of the Other Side. The covenant is connected to salt, which sweetens the bitterness of making a living and lessens the desire for money.

Hashem causes the enemy of the tzadik to succumb to apostasy and greed.

Livelihood corresponds to a wife. It can be a cause of life (“Matzah Isha…”) or a cause of bitterness more bitter than death (“Motzeh Ani…”).

A Mezuzah can cause livelihood to fly to the person and at the same time eliminate their desire for money. It also leads to length of days, and the light of life comes from conducting business faithfully.

When a person spends money on a mitzvah, and the mitzvah is so precious to them that they do not feel the loss, that is called “faith.” Faith is mainly found in breaking the desire for money.

Nothing shortens and consumes the life of a person than this obsession with money and wealth. The money literally kills him. However, the Tzadik is not harmed by money. He is able to flee from this desire.

It is quite noteworthy that the teaching connected to Rebbe Nachman’s Yahrzeit is about life, true life, holiness, which continues even after a person passes away from this world.

The teaching also focuses on the main themes of Rebbe Nachman’s teachings as a whole: Emunah and Simchah, juxtaposed against the desire for money. We see this is also the theme behind one of Rebbe Nachman’s main tales: “The Master of Prayer.”

This teaching is also very connected to Sukkot, in which we draw down blessings directly from Hashem while dwelling in the simple confines of a Sukkah. We also joyfully spend considerable sums of money on Mitzvot, such as with the purchase of a beautiful Etrog.

Likutei Moharan, Lesson 24, for the 19th of Tishrei, third day of Chol HaMoed Sukkot, teaches that the light of the Ohr Ein Sof is higher than the levels of Nefesh, Ruach, and Neshama. Nevertheless, the mind pursues this level in an aspect of touching and not touching. Even this aspect of touching and not touching is impossible to reach except through doing Mitzvot with joy. The main joy is in the heart, and the main exile is in the heart. When one does a mitzvah with joy, one elevates the Schinah from among the forces of impurity (Klippot). Through the Mitzvot, one has the power to bring down blessing from all the worlds, from all the levels of the Sefirot, and above that, which is Keter.

Here again are the main themes of Sukkot:  doing Mitzvot with joy of the heart (lulav and etrog) bringing down blessings from each of the 7 emotional Sefirot (represented by the 7 Shepherds), as well as Keter, which is connected to the transcendent encircling light (Makif) of the Sukkah.

Likutei Moharan, Lesson 25, for the 20th of Tishrei, fourth day of Chol HaMoed Sukkot, is about the need to break the power of the imagination and instead elevate the intellect, which is the essence of what remains after a person’s passing.

There are illusions at every level and no two people on the same level. When one person is elevated, the one in the level above him is elevated as well. The inner aspect (Torah, Prayer, and Mitzvot) of a lower level becomes the outer aspect (eating, drinking, and other needs) of the higher level.

At each new level the forces of impurity reawaken (it might even appear that a person has fallen, but the truth is that they have not fallen at all) and it is only possible to subdue these forces through the greatness of the Creator, which is revealed through charity (Tzedakah).

Also, to subdue the surrounding impurity (Klippah) of every level it is necessary to arouse the joy of a mitzvah (Simcha Shel Mitzvah) and draw it one oneself.

Animal sacrifices represent subduing the power of imagination.

This lesson contains also themes of “Makkifim,” encircling forces, both in terms of levels of service as well as the forces of impurity faced at each level.

Sukkot also exemplifies the idea of each day building on the day before (each with one less bull being sacrificed, from 13 on the first day to 7 on the last). These animal sacrifices represent the 70 nations and the forces of imagination/impurity contained within them. When we reach Hoshana Rabbah and Shmini Atzeret/Simchat Torah, only a sole bull offering is brought, which represents Hashem’s love and special connection to the Jewish people alone.

As also mentioned previously, Sukkot, more than any other holiday, represents the concept of Simcha Shel Mitzvah.

Likutei Moharan, Lesson 26, for the 21st of Tishrei, Hoshanah Rabbah, is a very short teaching about how a Tzadik must elevate the fallen sparks of holiness wherever external thoughts enter into him. There is especially where he must show self-sacrifice (Mesirat Nefesh).

Hoshanah Rabbah is the last moment to repent (fixing whatever needs fixing most) and avert a negative decree. It is a day very much dedicated to Torah and prayer. It requires great self-sacrifice as people spend the whole night in Torah study and morning prayers are especially lengthy and powerful.

Likutei Moharan, Lesson 27, for the 22nd of Tishrei, Shmini Atzeret, states that the extent to which the whole world serves Hashem as one (casting off their idols of silver and gold) is commensurate with the peace of that generation. Peace leads to truth, and peace is only possible through a radiant, majestic countenance, which is the aspect of Yaakov.

Majestic countenance is also the quality of interpreting the Torah, the 13 principles of interpretation corresponding to the thirteen fixings (Tikkunim) of the beard.

The refining of these 13 attributes is commensurate with the refinement of song. When this song is heard without words it saves the person at a time of affliction. Through this voice, Hashem gives us good in all 70 languages and in all 70 nations.

Majestic countenance is also only possible with the rectification of the covenant (Tikkun HaBrit).

With the concept of voice, and with that one merits peace, but peace is enclothed in bitterness. Just as a medicine is bitter, peace is the cure for all ilnesses. Sometimes the illness is so overpowering that one cannot handle the bitterness, but Hashem gives us peace through bitterness that we can handle. A person then has peace with their wealth and with their Torah.

As mentioned previously, on Shmini Atzeret, a single bull is brought, representing Hashem’s closeness to the Jewish people. Hashem is our One G-d, and we are His one nation.

But to reach this level, we first need the peace, voice, and majestic countenance associated Sukkot (associated with Yaakov), and before this the Tikkun HaBrit associated with Yom Kippur.

Sometimes, in order to have peace, the medicine can be quite bitter. May we no longer know of such bitterness, and have only good, one peace, the everlasting peace of the Messianic Era (Yemot HaMoshiach).

Likutei Moharan, Lesson 28, for the 23rd of Tishrei, Isru Chag in Israel and Simcha Torah outside of Israel, teaches that the fact that there are those that disgrace G-d fearing people is due to their receiving Torah from Jewish demons. This Torah is from fallen alephs, and that is why it is full of logic and sophistication. This Torah wearies the people and weary G-d, so to speak, and leads people to great heresy.

The remedy for this disgrace is to be like a “worm,” which is connected to having faith, and through this one defeats their enemies. This is the aspect of Avraham, of kindness. To reach this level, one must invite righteous Torah scholars (Talmidei Chachamim Tzadikim) to one’s home. To do so is as if one brought a daily Tamid offering.

Reb Nosson writes that Rebbe Nachman taught that this teaching contains within it all the Kabbalistic intentions of the daily Tamid offering as explained in the Zohar.

Simchat Torah is the day to dance with the Torah. It is devoted to simple joy and Emunah, without delving into logical, sophisticated study. One should feel a burst of energy from this joy, leading to non-stop dancing. It is not the time to feel wearied or to weary others (much less Hashem and the Torah).

For those outside of Israel, this day is already when we begin Avraham’s work of elevating the holy sparks of Creation through consistent everyday actions (Avodat HaBeirurim). That is also what the Tamid offering represents.

Likutei Moharan, Lesson 29, for the 24th of Tishrei, Issru Chag outside of Israel, is about how speech is accepted when it has good in them, when it has Da’at. This is done through the praise of Tzadikim. Rebbe Nachman brings proof from the eagle (Nesher), which represents the spirit, the concept of the Tzadik, which arouses the nest, which represents the mind.

Rebbe Nachman also writes that one should take good care of the whiteness of one’s clothing. A person is judged Above by how they treat their clothing (whether or not it is stained). Rebbe Nachman ties this to the concept of the stain of Niddah (separation during menstruation) and the need for the “General Remedy” that fixes any blemish of the Brit (sexual purity).

Earning a livelihood without struggle, like the aspect of Manna received in the desert, also comes about through rectification of the Brit through the “General Remedy.”

A person must also be faithful when earning a living: to keep in mind that the sole purpose of every step they take and every word they utter while earning a living it to be able to give Tzedakah from their earnings. This is the concept of General Remedy as it relates to earnings. This also relates to the cleansing of one’s “garments.”

This lesson already discusses concepts related to after the festival, as well as particularly those related to the month of Cheshvan: diving into the world in order to elevate it with the holiness obtained during  Tishrei, and also being careful not to be sucked in by its materiality. Much of this lesson is dedicated to outer appearance (“clothing”), sexual purity, and the challenged of earning a living.

It also starts with the importance of being positive: using one’s Da’at to have good included in one’s speech: that encompasses some of the quintessential qualities of Rebbe Levi Yitzchak ben Sarah Sasha Z”L, whose yahrzeit is on the following day (tonight), the 25th of Tishrei. Rebbe Levi Yitzchak always went out of his way to see the good in the Jewish people, using his tremendous Da’at to always come up with tremendous arguments in their defense.

It is also worth mentioning that Rebbe Nachman had tremendous appreciation for Rebbe Levi Yitzhak.

Also, the animal for Week 4 in Kabbalah of Time is the eagle. See there for the connection between the Song of the Eagle and Rebbe Nachman’s teachings, as well as about “remembering” the nations, in order to punish the wicked.

Likutei Moharan, Lesson 30, for the 25th of Tishrei, yahrzeit of Rav Levi Yitzhak of Berditchev, is about how G-dliness can only be grasped through many contractions, like a teacher who must first introduce a subject little by little until the study can comprehend the lofty and great insight.

Every person must request very much to be provided a proper teacher like this. The “smaller” or “more distant” the person, the greater the teacher they must have. Just as the sicker the patient, the greater the doctor they must have. Therefore, a person must constantly request to be worthy to become close to a very great Rebbe.

To achieve intellectual understanding one must despise bribes/monetary gain. When there is too much focus on monetary gain or even bribes, then there cannot be intellectual attainment.

Once wisdom is obtained, one must infuse it with life. This is done through the “Light of the Face,” which is achieved through joy.

Without the “Light of the Face,” the Kingship (“Malchut”) of Holiness, which is the aspect of “lower wisdom,” can fall into the four exiles. The main way elevate to elevate Malchut out of these exiles is through kindness (Chesed). The main way this kindness is revealed is actually through rebuke of the tzadik. This is an aspect of “holy boldness.” Prayer also is the concept of boldness.

This lesson also appears related to being involved in the world, and the contractions that entails. It is also about the importance of staying happy and the great dangers of obsessing over money.

It also focuses on quintessential qualities of Rebbe Levi Yitzhak: his unparalleled kindess and Da’at, his purity and righteousness as a Rav (and Dayan, judge) of his city, as well as his “holy boldness” in defense of the Jewish people.

Likutei Moharan, Lesson 31, for the 26th of Tishrei, is about Tzedakah and how it is deeply connected to the “Galgalim” (the celestial spheres, literally “circling wheels”). That is why one that gives Tzedakah receives 6 blessings and the one who consoles the pauper receives 11 blessings. These parallel the 7 planets and the 12 constellations. It is the “path of the eagle in the heavens,” which represents compassion, namely Tzedakah.

The reason we do not receive 7 and 12 blessings is because the perfection of charity is through Shabat. That’s because the essence of the importance of Tzedakah is Emunah, and Shabat is Emunah, the belief that Hashem renews the world and in His Oneness. Emunah is the source of (all) blessings.

Furthermore, Emunah is only lasting when connected to guarding the Covenant, the “Brit.”  When a person goes on a journey, the Galgalim impact the suffering and dangers that might take place there if the person does not guard the “Brit” properly.

There is an upper “Brit” (sexual purity) and a lower “Brit” (keeping the laws of what is forbidden and permitted) associated respectively with Avraham and Eliezer. A person must possess both these levels and be both a Tzadik and a scholar.

Through this he develops kindness (“Chesed”), which allows the person to “create souls,” associated with creating vowels of the Hebrew letters, which without vowels would have no movement. The vowel points represent love and yearning. It is also not enough to have yearnings in one’s heart. They must be expressed through prayer.

When one achieves the level of “Avraham,” then G-dliness (His countenance, “panim”) is revealed in one’s food and one’s earning a livelihood, no longer masked by nature.

This lesson also incorporates many themes related to going out into the world and the challenges this involves in order to give Tzedakah and show kindness to His creations.

Also, we go out during the week with the Emunah connected to Shabat, just as in Cheshvan we go out into the world with the Emunah acquired in Tishrei. This allows us to truly give.

It is also worth noting that Cheshvan is connected with the Tribe of Menashe, son of Yosef HaTzadik. Menashe was involved in running the affairs of Egypt with his father.

Yosef represents the guarding of the Brit (sexual purity) and it is no suprise that lessons related to that would be found in the teachings for Cheshvan as well.

References to kindness seem again to draw on the qualities of Rav Levi Yitzhak if Berditchev.

Likutei Moharan, Lesson 32, for the 27th of Tishrei, is about how dancing at a wedding mitigates judgements within the bride.

In marriage, the bride’s judgements are rectified through the Sefirah of Binah. When dancing at a wedding, the joy of the heart (which represents the Sefirah of Binah) is brought to the legs (which represents the Sefirot of Netzach and Hod). Similarly, in the opening verse of the Amidah (“Hashem, open my lips and my mouth shall declare Your praise”), the lips represent Netzach and Hod, which are rectified through Binah.

The Midrash teaches that at Yaakov’s wedding, the people dancing sang, “Hay Lay,” hinting to Yaakov that “She’s Leah (not Rachel).” Leah represents the hidden world, corresponding to the heart (Binah). This rectified the bride, and pointed to the fact that, in Leah’s case, she had the power to rectify herself/sweeten the judgements in her.

One of the defining qualities of the month of Cheshvan is that it contains Rachel Immeinu’s (“our mother”) yahrzeit on the 11th of Cheshvan. Rachel sweetened the judgements against Leah by providing her at the wedding with the “signs” that Rachel and Yaakov had agreed upon beforehand, saving her from tremendous embarrassment.

In Kabbalah, Rachel represents Malchut (the “mouth,” and the world of action) and Leah represents Binah (the heart, and the “hidden world,” as Rebbe Nachman explains). Rebbe Nachman points to the deep connection between the two, and how the fixing of Rachel is through Leah, and vice-versa.

It’s also worth noting that this teaching is about dancing and that in Week 5 of Kabbalah of Time, the song of the Crane in Perek Shirah is about glorifying Hashem through musical instruments.

Also, after all of the holidays of Tishrei, this week is pretty much first available time for weddings, which often take place around this time.

Likutei Moharan, Lesson 33, for the 28th of Tishrei, starts with a general principle: the need to pursue peace. Peace between Jews and also peace within a person, among all their different attributes. This entails accepting everything that comes from G-d, whether experienced as kindness or as strictness. This can be achieved through the Torah and through the Tzadikim.

The lesson then switches to a more general point, that Hashem can be found in the entire world, and even someone constantly involved in materiality, constantly doing business with non-Jews, such a has no excuse not to serve G-d at all times. G-dliness is found in all materiality and in all 70 languages of the nations, it just may be in s more contracted form.

All of the contractions of G-dliness into physical existence are actually and expression of His love for us, because through these (as well as His Attributes, etc.) we may know Him.

All of this (and more) is expressed within the Mitzvah of Lulav.

As mentioned previously, in Cheshvan, we go out into the world in order to elevate it. That involves involving oneself in materiality and likely interacting with non-Jews.

This might feel disappointing after the spiritual highs of Tishrei, but in fact already in Tishrei, particularly during Sukkot, we already had in mind the need to elevate the 70 nations (hinted to in the 70 sacrifices brought during all of Sukkot), and the Mitzvah of Lulav, in which we shake the Lulav in all of the directions of the Earth.

Likutei Moharan, Lesson 34, for the 29th of Tishrei, Erev Rosh Chodesh Cheshvan, speaks about how “Yosef (the Tzadik) is the ruler [in Egypt]” and how it is his job to awaken the Jews to the service of Hashem, thereby removing “disgrace” (sin). The speech of tzadik (Yosef) also brings down and influx of bounty.

Each Jew has an aspect of “the Tzadik rules” within them. Each person has a different special quality in which they surpass their friend, and they must converse with Hashem to shine this light within themselves and converse with their friend to shine this quality within the friend.

Erev Rosh Chodesh in general is a time of Teshuva. As mentioned previously, Cheshvan is connected to the Tribe of Menashe, and not only was Menashe Yosef’s righthand man in ruling Egypt, he was also instrumental in bringing Yosef’s brothers to atone for the sins of the sale of Yosef and do Teshuvah.

Likutei Moharan, Lesson 35, for the 30th of Tishrei, First Day of Rosh Chodesh Cheshvan, starts out describing the aspect of Teshuva related to returning an object to the place from where it was taken. The ultimate place where every object comes from is (rooted) in Chochmah (Wisdom). Everyone must therefore guard their wisdom from external concepts, known as “Bat Paroh” (the daughter of Pharaoh, who King Solomon married).

Every Jew is holy and has a portion of Hashem, which is an aspect of wisdom. That wisdom is contracted at the time of birth and then grows through the service of Hashem. Extraneous wisdom, however, decreases a person’s (holy) wisdom.

Also, it’s not sufficient to guard one’s wisdom, but one must also renew it, which is also a renewal of the soul. This is through the concept of “sleep.” There are many different aspects of “sleep.”

There’s even a level a Torah study, learning things on a simple level, that is an aspect of sleep, which can also renew a person.

A person’s intellect gets exhausted from always clinging to Hashem, and therefore can rest from this intense connection through this aspect of sleep.

At the time of sleep the intellect goes into a state of Emunah. Therefore, conducting business faithfully (“with Emunah”) can also be an aspect of “sleep.” A person must guard their Emunah very closely in business and speak the truth.

Emunah is also closely associated with Jerusalem, and guarding one’s faith in business is like guarding Jerusalem.

This teaching’s various references to Shlomo HaMelech and Jerusalem is appropriate for Cheshvan, the month in which he completed the First Temple.

In Cheshvan, we go back on our way of serving Hashem through physical means, and interact more also with secular wisdom. The intense clinging to Hashem during Tishrei is set aside, yet our Emunah must still prevail in everything we do.

Furthermore, Cheshvan is also the month of the Mabul (Flood), and is therefore a time of Teshuva, cleansing, and renewal.

Likutei Moharan, Lesson 36, for the 1st of Cheshvan, Second Day of Rosh Chodesh, is about how every Jewish soul is rooted in the 70 souls/descendants of Yaakov that went into exile, which correlate with the “70 faces of the Torah” (interpretation). In direct parallel/opposition, are the 70 nations of the world, and the negative trait that each possess that distance that nation from the Torah. When a Jewish soul descends into exile it screams 70 screams, like a woman giving birth. Afterwards, it receives a revelation of Torah.

Moshe is the embodiment of Torah and Bilaam the embodiment of the negative traits that oppose the Torah, all of which are encompassed by the trait of sexual immorality.

Before receiving the great revelation in Egypt, Yosef HaTzadik was tested in the area of sexual immorality.

In order to fully grasp the Torah teachings of a Tzadik, one must have rectified this trait.

As previously explained, the month of Cheshvan exemplifies the notion of leaving aside the intense closeness of the month of Cheshvan and engaging with the world. This is comparable to exile, engaging with other nations. If we are able to conduct ourselves properly, exile leads to tremendous (if sometimes painful) revelations, which would have been impossible had we remained solely within our prior setting.

Likutei Moharan, Lesson 37, for the 2nd of Cheshvan, starts off with a fundamental concept: the essence of Creation is to get to know Him. The lesson continues by teaching that the contrast of body and soul contains the aspect of various other contrasts: man and animal, wisdom and foolishness, light and darkness, life and death, memory and forgetfulness.

A person must subordinate one’s physicality, and this can be accomplished through fasting. Fasting is also closely linked with Tzedakah, which in turn is associated with Torah.

Rebbe Nachman then emphasizes the importance of the Tzedakah of the Land of Israel, where the air is holy and is connected to the breath of the Torah study of young children free of sin, which supports the entire world’s existence.

The last part of the lesson speaks extensively about the importance of staying connected to Torah and to life when faced with the challenges of making a living.

This lesson continues the theme of Cheshvan and explained in the previous lesson: subordinating physicality when involved in elevating the world, in order to increase our knowledge of Hashem.

There is also a custom to fast for the first Monday-Thursday-Monday (“BaHaB”) after Rosh Chodesh Cheshvan, and the 2nd of Cheshvan is the first day of Tachanun since before Yom Kippur.

Likutei Moharan, Lesson 38, for the 3rd of Cheshvan, the yahrzeit of Rabbi Yisrael of Ruzhin, teaches about how the concept of tefilin represents one’s attachment to Hashem.

One cannot attain the level of Tefilin without elevating speech (avoiding negative speech) of the mouth, which is called “Malchut.” Speech is elevated to the “Gvurot” (severities) of the arm and to the head (the places of tefilin).

The fixing of speech is through Torah learned in poverty and distress. Speech then becomes song and praise to Hashem. Elevating speech also brings about a fire in one’s words to Hashem and an arousal to serve Him. It also brings about an embarrassment for past behavior. This embarrassment, when followed by Teshuva, can be seen on one’s forehead is called the “light of Tefilin.”

Tefillin is also connected to understanding as well as fear of G-d, which is connected to embarrassment. Tefilin are also called “glory” (“Pe’er”), encompassing all of the colors in the world.

The Ruzhiner sought to elevate the glory (Pe’er) of the Jewish people, through acting in a way of royalty (Malchut). Yet, under the vise of extreme opulence, he served G-d under extreme hardship and humility.

Tefilin represents a very close connection to Hashem, as well as the idea of elevating coarse materiality (the skin of an animal) through the mitzvot.

It is also interesting that Rebbe Nachman explains that Tefilin represents all the colors, just like the Ruzhiner glorified Hashem with all different luxurious items and garments, when the Tefilin’s color must be black.

That again is the general theme of Cheshvan: to elevate every aspect of Creation, using all means available.

Likutei Moharan, Lesson 39, for the 4th of Cheshvan, elaborates on the verse of the Shemah that states, “I will give grass in your field for your animals.”

The teaching discusses the need to break one’s hunger/urge for eating (which comes primarily from one’s animalistic side). Rebbe Nachman also teaches that there is a parallel between hunger and strife as well as between satiety and peace.

Alternatively, Rebbe Nachman teaches that the verse is also a reference for the need for sanctity in marital relations, which are to take place primarily on Shabbat, which elevates and blesses the rest of the week.

As mentioned previously, Cheshvan is a time to go out into the world and engage with it. The world embodies the idea of a “field.” Yet, even when engaging with the field, further involving our animalistic side, there must still be clear limits and ways to elevate that behavior to the side of holiness.

Likutei Moharan, Lesson 40, for the 5th of Cheshvan, references a kabbalistic teaching that states that the Children of Israel’s journeys in the desert are a result of the sin of the golden calf.

Rebbe Nachman states that all journeys (for making a living) are the result of a blemish in Emunah, because if a person had perfect Emunah, they would understand that Hashem can provide for all their needs without the need to travel.

Idol worship also prevents rain from falling (which is the basis of sustenance in general, particularly for an agricultural economy). This then leads to the need to travel further distances to obtain livelihood.

Exile is also due to the interruption of Torah study. Conversely, without livelihood there cannot be proper Torah study.

As in the previous lessons for the month of Cheshvan, the theme is how to properly engage in the world in order to make a living. We see from here that the main ingredient for success is Emunah, complete faith in the Creator’s ability to provide for all our needs. Another key ingredient is regular times for Torah study.

The word used for rain in the teaching is “Matar,” and it is in a couple of days, on the 7th of Cheshvan that in Israel one begins to add “veTen Tal uMatar l’Vracha” in the blessing for sustenance in the Amidah prayer.

Torah 41, for the 6th of Cheshvan, is about how the legs represent the Sefirot of Netzach and Hod. One expels the impurity from the legs/heels through bringing down the Gevurot of Binah to the knees (Birchaim), taking the firstborn right (Bechorah) and the blessing (Bracha) (like Yaakov took from Eisav). This is also the concept of dancing that comes from the side of purity and wine that makes one happy (as opposed to dancing from the side of impurity and wine that makes one drunk, such as Nadav and Avihu).

Similarly, in a soul redemption, the Tzadik places his hand on the money, sweetening the judgements at their roots by bringing down Gevurah of Binah, associated with the 42-letter name of Hashem (formed by six pillars/heels of seven letters) and the 370 lights.

Rebbe Nachman then connects the above teachings with the statement from the Talmud that whoever wishes to pour a libation should fill the throats of Torah scholars with wine. Torah scholars are full of counsel, for they are the pillars of the world.

Cheshvan is about going into the world and elevating it. This week in particular is about building a foundation for future generations. (See Week 6 in Kabbalah of Time, the Song of the Songbird) Rebbe Nachman teaches us how to go about elevating the lowest parts of this world, the “heels.” We do so by maintaining discipline that comes from understanding. We can then be happy and enjoy what the world has to offer, elevating the world spiritually instead of being pulled down by its physicality.

Torah 42, for the 7th of Cheshvan, teaches that through song, judgements are mitigated. The sounds of song are the three (main) colors of the rainbow; the three elements of a voice, fire, water, and wind, are the three Patriarchs. Whoever sings the words of prayer clothes the Divine Presence (the Shechinah). Believing in the sages (that all that they say is true and contain deep mysteries) also clothes the Shechina. That’s because the Tzadik also corresponds to the rainbow, like Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai. Providing nice garments to the Tzadik is yet another way to clothe the Shechina. Finally, the three sounds of the shofar also represent the concept of the rainbow.

Cheshvan is a month closely tied to the Flood. It is also closely tied to the inauguration of the Third Temple. These two concepts are strongly reflected in the above lesson: a) the rainbow - symbol of the pact between Hashem and humanity; the mitigation of judgement at the end of the Flood; b) the clothing of the Shechina, which currently in mourning due to the destruction of the Temple.

The 7th of Cheshvan was the day in which the Jews who lived in the banks of the Euphrates returned home from the Sukkot pilgrimage. It is when in Israel the prayers are switched from Morid HaTal to Mashiv haRuach uMorid HaGashem, and we start to openly ask for rain in our daily prayers.

This final return to our daily schedule and to work (providing for shelter, food and clothes) is the culmination of the prayers of Tishrei, going back to the songful Prayer for Rain on Shmini Atzeret, and even the blowing of the shofar on Rosh Hashanah.

The 7th of Cheshvan is also the yahrzeit of the Tzadik, Rav Meir Shapiro, the founder of the Daf Yomi cycle, which led countless numbers of Jews to connect to our sages and their words in the Talmud.

Torah 43, for the 8th of Cheshvan, is about how the words of a wicked person with knowledge (Da’at) engender immorality in the listener. There’s Da’at of holiness (Moshe) and Da’at of unholiness (Bila’am), and Da’at revealed through speech. When Da’at is not settled there is anger.

All of these ideas are reflected in the Children of Israel’s war against Midian, and even when they returned from battle. Moshe became angry and Elazar had to be the one to teach the people the laws of making the vessels kosher. Furthermore, the soldiers asked Moshe to bring an offering of atonement, because even though they avoided sinning, they did not avoid sinful thoughts.

This teaching continues the theme of the month of Cheshvan, which is to know how to engage with the world in order to elevate it. When “conquering” the world in order to bring it to holiness (making it “kosher”), one has to be mindful of the possible pitfalls, and learn how to avoid such unholy situations/traps.

Torah 44, for the 9th of Cheshvan, teaches about the power of clapping hands during prayer. Such clapping give rise to the 28 words uses in Creation, which allude to not only Hashem’s power to create the world, but to also distribute its land to whoever He pleases. Furthermore, this includes the power to purify the air of the land (such as the air of the Land of Israel). By clapping during prayer one purifies the air of the land in which the person finds themselves, and even removes killing and destruction from there. One becomes connected to Avraham. Clapping also removes idolatrous and extraneous thoughts, refining one’s mind, like the air of the Land of Israel.

As mentioned previously, Cheshvan is about “conquering the land” around us, bringing it to the side of purity and elevating it’s holy sparks, transforming it into “the Land of Israel.”

Torah 45, for the 10th of Cheshvan, is also about the power of clapping hands during prayer. Clapping arouses the “wings” of the lungs, and through that, speech. Additionally, the mouth is spiritually developed through clapping. Through clapping each hand five times (5*5*2=50), the aspects of the Exodus from Egyptian and jubilee are aroused (both concepts are interconnected according to the Zohar).

Similar to the teaching for the 6th of Cheshvan, this lesson is about spirituality elevating different parts of the body, as well as the concepts each part of the body represents.

Torah 46, for the 11th of Cheshvan, the Yahrzeit of Rachel Immeinu, is also about clapping hands during prayer. The lesson states that such clapping represents the positioning of one’s bed from north to south, because marital union is an aspect of/corresponds to prayer. Clapping hands also mitigates judgement. The hands also reflect the yearning of the heart, and through this memory is activated and judgements are set aside. Clapping hands also eliminates strife (Machloket), bringing right and left together and becoming one.

All of the abovementioned  ideas are closely connected to Rachel Immeinu. The union between Hashem and the Jewish people is represented in Kabbalah as the union between Z”A and Malchut (also as Kudsha Brich Hu and the Shechinah), and represented also in the relationship between Yaakov and Rachel.

Rachel Immeinu’s prayers (and cries) have the tremendous power to mitigate judgement, and through her prayers Hashem “remembered” her and granted her children. Rachel’s giving “signs” to her sister, Leah, so that she would not be embarrassed when marrying Yaakov, also shows Rachel Immeinu’s tremendous merit in eliminating strife and keeping the family united.

Torah 47, for the 12th of Cheshvan, is about how someone who is steeped in the desire for eating is far from the truth. It is also a sign of poverty and also brings ridicule and shame. On the other hand, someone who breaks the desire for food merits to see wonders performed through them.

Wealth stems mainly from truth, which is connected with Tefilin. The Land of Israel receives mainly through the aspect of Yaakov, which is truth. In the Land of Israel, one eats bread not because of poverty, but because one has broken the desire for food. When we eat the bounty of truth that comes via the Land of Israel and we praise Hashem for it, then Heaven and Earth are made anew, changing the course of the constellations, leading to miracles and wonders being performed.

Cheshvan is all about engaging with the world in order to elevate it. When earning a livelihood, one has to be careful not to be drawn into the desires of this world, lest one be drawn down by materiality instead of uplifting it. Related to this is the challenge of staying connected to the truth in a world so often suffused by lies and deception. The challenge feels particularly intense in matters related to the Land of Israel.

Torah 48, for the 13th of Cheshvan, teaches about the power of saying words of Torah and of prayer with strength, and its parallels with the Sukkah, which represents Binah (essential in the forming of the fetus), and which makes use of the 28 letters used in the Act of Creation. The essence of the Land of Israel also points to Hashem’s Creation, the strength of His deeds,” (Koach Ma’asav).

When the aspect of Sukkah is blemished, the nations of the world gain power and falsehood becomes overpowering. In the future, the nations will be tested with the Mitzvah of Sukkah, which will lead to all nations joining forces under a single language, eternal truth. Until there is truth, Rachel, our matriarch, fights with the (lies of the) exile.

This teaching feels deeply connected to current events, in which Jews in the Land of Israel were attacked right after Sukkot and the nations have since engaged in a campaign of utter falsehood. After three weeks of siege, incursions by Jewish tanks began on the 11th of Cheshvan (Rachel Immeinu’s yahrzeit) and increased dramatically on the 13th of Cheshvan, showing the strength of His deeds.

The teaching also appears to have a deep connection to the inauguration of the Third Temple, to take place in the month of Cheshvan. The First Temple was completed by King Solomon in the month of Cheshvan, but was only inaugurated almost a year later during a two-week period starting with the week preceding Sukkot and Sukkot itself, all the way to Shmini Atzeret.

King Solomon was the wisest of men, represented by his Chochma (wisdom) but also his Binah (understanding). The Book of Proverbs begins with a reference to both of these words:

1The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel, [are];               מִשְׁלֵי שְׁלֹמֹ֣ה בֶן־דָּוִ֑ד מֶ֜֗לֶךְ יִשְׂרָאֵֽל:

2To know wisdom and discipline, to comprehend words of understanding;                             לָדַ֣עַת חָכְמָ֣ה וּמוּסָ֑ר לְ֜הָבִ֗ין אִמְרֵ֥י בִינָֽה

The inauguration of the Temple, described in the Book of Kings, depicts King Solomon’s intense prayer and his blessing of the people. The building of the Temple/Mishkan also parallels the Act of Creation, as the two are juxtaposed in the Torah in the portion of Vayakhel, and we learn the 39 creative labor prohibitions from the work done to build the Tabernacle.

King Solomon also sought out contributions to the Temple from many non-Jewish nations, and the building of the Third Temple will draw parallels to King Solomon’s actions as well. Furthermore, just like the whole world recognized the greatness and wisdom of King Solomon, so too it will be with Mashiach as well.

Torah 49, for the 14th of Cheshvan, teaches about the revelation of Hashem’s Malchut (kingship). This revelation was only possible through the Middot (Attributes), which came about through the Tzimtzum, the contraction of Hashem’s light.

The creating force of the attributes is the heart, which is Chochma (wisdom) in the heart. The designs and thoughts of person can be for good or bad. A person must think good thoughts and contract the flame of their heart in order to serve Hashem in a measured way, through the Middot. Through good thoughts and actions, a person takes upon himself yoke of Heaven completely (Shleimah).

Prayer of the heart is also an aspect of revealing the Hashem’s Kingship. Also, when a person sanctifies their thoughts he brings the yud (sanctity) into the dalet (poverty), transforming it into a heh. When prayer erects the aspect of Malchut, both the upper and lower houses (Jerusalem above and below) experience an ascent. Hashem swore that he would not enter the Jerusalem above until the Jerusalem below was built.

The song of the future, a simple, double, triple, and quadruple song (which include all ten attributes) will be a revelation of Hashem’s Malchut. Sarah, rulership is an aspect of Shir, song.

This is all also the aspect of Teshuva, which is in the heart, and reaches the Throne of Glory. It is also the aspect of Tzitz Tzit, and also the aspect of the bride, and her giving the groom a Talit at the wedding, and distributing money at the wedding: the bride is transformed from a dalet to a heh.

The main teachings of this lesson all appear to be very related to King Solomon and the inauguration of the Temple: the fact that Hashem contracts Himself in order to “dwell” in the Temple; that Solomon himself is characterized primarily by his wisdom; that he prays at the time of inauguration and blesses the people; and that he is the author of the Songs of Songs (the quadruple song, according to Rav Kook) as well as the ruler. The inauguration of King Solomon and his rulership is but a foretaste of what will take place at the time of the inauguration of the Third Temple and the coming of Mashiach.

Torah 50, for the 15th of Cheshvan, is about how one who blemishes the covenant (the Brit, sexual purity), cannot pray with the aspect of “All of my bones will proclaim,” and therefore cannot feel sweetness in prayer. One who fixes the covenant can do so, because waters of sweetness are associated with waters of purity, holy seed. Then his words are sweet. The sweetness enters his bones, which is associated with the lion consuming his prayers.

However, the waters of impurity are the waters of bitterness. For one who blemishes the covenant, it is as if his prayers are consumed by a dog. This is associated with a disease that causes one’s bones to break, which is brought about by sexual desire. Rebbe Nachman also brings proof from a line of the Zohar that connects a verse from the Psalms about the silence of a mule and horse to sexual immorality and the brazenness of dogs. A person who has damaged the covenant should be afraid of dogs and swords. Furthermore, the brazen people of the generation, they are the dogs.

Rebbe Nachman then brings a teaching that when a rabbinical student fasts unnecessarily, then a dog consumes his meal. That’s because the eating of such a student is precious to Hashem, because food provides sustenance for the soul. A dog does not know how to satisfy it’s soul, and a dog is also called “Shegal,” because of lust (Ta’avat HaMishgal).

Two of the themes of Cheshvan are the inauguration of the Third Temple and the Flood. The Talmud teaches that the way that the sacrifices were consumed in the Second Temple was different from the way they were consumed in the First Temple. In the First Temple, built under King Solomon, the fire that consumed the sacrifices was in the shape of a lion; in the Second Temple, under Cyrrus (who had a female dog companion, “Shegal”) the fire was in the shape of a dog. One could not feel the holiness of Hashem’s Presence in the Second Temple in the same way it could be felt in the First.

The reference to sweet and bitter waters, as well as to prayer, appears related to the Flood and to the Teivah (Noah’s Ark, which also can be understood as prayer). One of the main reasons for the Flood was sexual immorality, in which the animals (other than the fish) also corrupted their ways and needed to be destroyed.

Torah 51, for the 16th of Cheshvan, starts out with Rabbi Akiva’s advice to those entering the spiritual realms of the Pardes. “When you approach pure marble, do not say, ‘Water, Water.’”

Falsehood is damaging to the eyes, and eyes become dimmed by (unnecessary) tears (“Water, Water”).

Falsehood is distance from oneness, which leads impurity, which is only possible because of free will. Falsehood turns away Divine Providence from a person.

This teaching again appears connected to the corrupting forces of the world around us, and how careful we must be during Cheshvan to elevate the world around us, and not be brought down by its impurity.

It also appears particularly connected to the Flood, given the several references to water, and the corruption that took place shortly after Creation.

Torah 52 for the 17th of Cheshvan, the first day the Flood (Mabul) as well as the day Shlomo HaMelech completed work on the First Temple, starts out by pointing out to a mistake made by philosophers that conclude that the world must necessarily exist, when in reality the only entity that must necessarily exist is Hashem. This mistake is due to the fact that once the souls of Israel came to the world, now the world does have an aspect of “necessary existence.” The more Israel carries out the will of Hashem, the more Israel becomes encompassed in the Source, and the more the whole world can be categorized as a “necessary reality.”

To be encompassed in Hashem requires self-nullification (Bitul), which is accomplished through Hitbodedut (secluding oneself and speaking at length with one’s Master). The best time to do this is at night in a secluded place. A person then is able to nullify everything: their bad traits and even their sense of self-importance/existence. A person then becomes nothingness (Ayn), completely encompassed in Hashem.

The Mabul is the ultimate proof that the world is not a “necessary existence.” So much so that Hashem essentially destroyed the world and started anew, with Noah (all of which happened before Avraham, the first Jew). Noah and the Ark were fully isolated and encompassed by Hashem. One of the key characteristics of Noah was that he walked with G-d. As the Baal Shem Tov explains, Ark, Teivah, which also means “word,” is deeply connected to the concept of prayer.

In Cheshvan, when dealing with the flood of challenges that the world places before us (including having to deal with possible philosophical deniers) it is good to know that one can always go back to the Teivah, to prayer.

Torah 53, for the 18th of Cheshvan, is about how the ability to have children is dependent on the letter Heh, as we see with Avraham and Sarah. Da’at (knowledge) is essential to bringing things from potential to actualization. Human Da’at, when whole, nourishes from Hashem’s Da’at, which is what gives the person the ability to give birth. To make one’s Da’at whole, a person must be involved in bringing others close to Hashem. Students sharpen a teacher’s Da’at. Rebbe Nachman mentions five ways in which Hashem’s Da’at is different from ours. Rebbe Nachman also mentions three important needed in order to expand our Da’at: a balanced corporeality (Chomer); fear (Yirah) - which must precede wisdom; and students.

This teaching seems to return us to the general themes of the month of Cheshvan: bringing down the holiness obtained in the month of Tishrei into action, conquering physicality and elevating others. Avraham and Sarah had a different approach than Noah’s - they made converts; they did not isolate themselves but instead created a movement. (This theme also coincides with this week’s Parasha)

The teaching also seems to return to attributes of King Solomon, such as his great knowledge and wisdom, which came as a gift from Hashem, as well the importance of ensuring that our fear of Heaven precedes our wisdom. The Solomonic era was also one of many converts, perhaps most famously, the Queen of Sheba.

Torah 54, for the 19th of Cheshvan, begins by speaking about the importance of guarding one’s memory, and the main thing to remember is the World to Come.

The entire world is an enclothing of lower levels of holiness, an aspect of feet holiness. Each day has a thought, speech, and deed, and Hashem enclothes these aspects of the day with hints in order to bring him close to serve Him. A person must focus their understanding on thought, speech, and action of the day to discover how to best serve Hashem.

However, a person’s service based on these hints must be limited, even if he has the capacity to understand these hints fully, because this form of holiness is relatively lowly and surrounded by impurity, and therefore surrounded by impurity. Furthermore, there is a higher form of service, not based on matters of this world, and that is service based on Torah and Mitzvot. This requires a level of contentment, which Tzadikim are known to have. Simple Jews accomplish this through their daily acts of holiness, such as saying the Shemah and putting on Tefilin.

In order to guard one’s memory one must stay away from the aspect of an evil eye and of death of the heart, which are both really one concept. The death of the heart is an aspect of “broken tablets.” A person that is able to rectify the evil eye at his source, which is the aspect of a good eye and the aspect of Moshiach and King David, should do so.

A person must also guard his eyes from the power of the imagination, which leads to serving physicality instead of serving Hashem. An this power of imagination attempts to rest in the mouth of those who study Jewish Law. New Torah insights obtained in this matter do more harm than good. These Torah insights are detrimental to making a living.

The way to subdue the power of imagination is through the aspect of the hand, the hand of the prophets, the hand of joy, of playing musical instruments. The playing of the instruments gathers the good spirit, the spirit of prophecy, separating it from the bad spirits. This is accomplished through Hitbodedut and waking up at midnight.

This teaching was said during Shabat Chanukah.

In Cheshvan, a person can get so involved in their day-to-day activities that they lose sight of the World to Come.

The Solomon’s Temple was Hashem’s footstool in this world, and Shlomo HaMelech describes it exactly in these terms, a place for Hashem to dwell even though the entire universe cannot contain Him.

Much of the rest of this teaching also seems to refer to Shlomo HaMelech - his involvement in the world, his elevation of the physical… Ultimately, his involvement in elevating physicality proved dangerous and he was led astray by his wives, including the daughter of Pharaoh. He had ruled that he could have more wives than those permitted to kings by Torah.

The emphasis of serving Hashem through Torah and Mitzvot, and not focusing on serving Hashem primarily through physicality, is one of the main themes of Chanukah. Remembering the World to Come, focusing on the spiritual, takes on an even greater relevance as we start approaching the month of Kislev.

The end of the month of Cheshvan, 23rd of Cheshvan, also contains a Hasmonean holiday, celebrating when stones made impure by the Greeks were removed from the Temple.

As Rabbi Natan noted, this teaching was given over on Shabat Chanukah. It seems to begin a transition in Likutei Moharan to the themes of the Hashmonaim and Chanukah.

Torah 55, for the 20th of Cheshvan, is about how it is only possible to see the downfall of the wicked through the aspect of the Land of Israel. This is the aspect of Benjamin who was born in the Land of Israel.

It is possible to draw down the holiness of the Land of Israel even in Exile, through the merit of the forefathers.

The wicked draw the aspect of the evil eye. The Tzadik is spared from this evil eye by finding merit in the wicked person. A shade (of the Hand of G-d) is then created that protects the Tzadik. This shade weakens the force of the evil eye of the wicked and strengthens the eye of the Tzadik, which is currently dimmed. It allows him to see Divine justice, which strengthens the Emunah of the Tzadik and allows him to pray. He believes that everything is in G-d’s dominion, even changing nature.

Rebbe Nachman then connects this teaching to the Red Heifer, and the statement of the Zohar that the cow the notion of prayer to ashes (like the ashes of the Red Heifer), in that a person’s prayer can nullify their physicality/corporeality completely.

Later, the teaching touches on, among other things, the importance of intellect but also the dangers of philosophy especially when combined with sexual immorality. A person’s prayers must rectify the hearts of the intellectuals and philosophers.

Much of this lesson is related to themes of Chanukah: fighting away the forces of impurity and the wicked in general. Like in the Chanukah story, the lesson juxtaposes Tzadikim and prayer on the one hand,  and the ways of the wicked as well secular wisdom, philosophy, and immorality on the other.

Torah 56, for the 21st of Cheshvan, is about how each person has an aspect of kingship, Malchut, both revealed and hidden, in relation to oneself as well as one’s rulership over others (both physical and spiritual).

This Malchut needs to be free, and should not be used for one’s personal gain, but only to fulfill the will of Hashem. The Malchut is used to caution and admonish others, but one must use it carefully.

The Malchut should also have an aspect of “Length of Days,” because such caution saves his soul. One must have Da’at to know about what and how to admonish people under his jurisdiction. That is accomplished through Length of Days itself, ie. Torah. That is why a king must be so dedicated to Torah learning. This vitality received from Torah must be measured, otherwise the light is extinguished. This measured amount is accomplished through the mouth, ie. speaking the words when studying.

The teaching then switches to the topic of concealment, and when there is concealment within concealment (when a person doesn’t even realize Hashem is hidden from them). Even then, Hashem is enclothed in that reality, and that Divine vitality (ie. the Torah) can be found there. This applies even when something forbidden appears permitted to the person due to the regularity in which it is done; and even when a person doesn’t even realize that something forbidden now appears permitted, and instead the forbidden act appears totally upright.

The Torah that is found in that which is doubly hidden is specifically an elevated one. Hashem hides such Torah thoughts so that the forces of impurity cannot reach them.

Just that there’s a Malchut of Holiness there is a Malchut of impurity (the impurity of Haman/Amalek. While the Malchut of Holiness (Dan) collects/joins all the Tribes, the Malchut of impurity collects money (just as Amalek attacked Dan). However, the Malchut of Holiness has the power to take back all of the money as well as the sparks of holiness found within it and to make Torah from it.

Through the increase in Da’at, making a living becomes easier. The increase in Da’at also brings peace, and nullifies anger and cruelty.

This is the attribute of Shavuot, which is a very high Da’at, reflecting a heightened mercy and kindness.

Disputes (Machloket) is the opposite of Da’at, but a Machloket that is for the sake of Heaven (Leshem Shamayim) is a very high Da’at, and is an aspect of love.

The lesson then expands on the idea of a “closed” and “open” statement and on the revelation of Da’at, which is connected to Mannah and Moshe.

Rebbe Nachman then explains that the very high level of Machloket Leshem Shamayim is reached through sighing that is pure, which cleanses the heavens and also the body - particularly the hands - from sadness/heaviness, which is the impurity or the snake). When one reaches out ones hands to Heaven, one’s words are received and the Torah received at that level one should not look down upon, even it is not the ultimate halacha.

This teaching regarding Malchus and Da’at (and riches and peace) again feels very connected to Shlomo HaMelech. The Tanach describes that Shlomo HaMelech also spread out his hands in prayer.

In Cheshvan, a person becomes so enmeshed in the physicality of the world, that they risk losing contact with Torah. Hashem’s presence becomes concealed. The spirit of the Hashmonaim comes to wake a person back up.

Torah 57, for the 22nd of Cheshvan, is about how one who blemishes their faith in the sages, there is no cure for their affliction. This is connected to the forces of the angels, which is an aspect of “hands,” and their power over natural cures. There are also afflictions of love that are unaffected by natural cures.

To raise one’s fallen faith in the sages, one must connect to the aspect of Yaakov, the aspect of a vow. One then has the light of the patriarchs shine in them. And through this one delights in the delight of Shabat, which is an aspect of eating in holiness, which can accomplish more than a fast.

Fasting leads to the downfall of one’s enemies. Because anger (linked to the liver) awakens the great accuser, which is Eisav. Anger makes accusing forces not fear him, because he is like a beast, losing his Divine image. The Divine image comes from wisdom, and fasting returns one’s wisdom, which then removes one’s enemies.

With delighting on Shabat, fasting is not needed. Anger of the liver is removed, and all is love. Also, the peace derived from delighting in Shabat is higher than that derived from fasting, because it contains the aspect of speech.

In addition to nullifying and subduing the enemy, in order to achieve great peace, one needs to increase in Tzedaka.

The lesson is about the importance of faith in the sages and the need to sometimes take radical steps, such as a vow, to reestablish that faith. This appears connected to the actions of the Chashmonaim. Similarly, the Chashmonaim used the weapon of Eisav, the “hands” (physical battle), to restore purity of the Temple (the main place of Yaakov’s weapon, the “voice,” prayer).

The lesson continues the general themes of Cheshvan: elevating the physical world, such as food (eating on Shabat) and money (Tzedakah). The ultimate goal is peace and wisdom, which are aspects of King Solomon.

Torah 58, for the 23rd of Cheshvan, is about how the Well of Miriam, the Clouds of Glory, and the Mannah were given in the merit of Moshe. Moshe’s soul was the embodiment of those of the three Patriarchs. In the future Moshe, embodying all three Patriarchs, will return.

With this strength of encompassing the three Patrirachs, Moshe fought Amalek. By subduing Amalek and fixing the covenant, Moshe merited a double portion, like Yosef. The aspect of Shabat receives this double portion from Yosef and provides to the other worlds.

Through Da’at comes eating, drinking, and clothing. Da’at is maintained through the Patriarchs, ie. Chesed, Gevurah, and Tiferet. When a person’s wisdom is maintained and complete, then they can fight Hashem’s wars.

When they subdue the Jews’ oppressors and get those Jews that were weaker to serve Hashem, the person merits a double portion of novel insights on Shabat. The person’s soul then becomes encompassed in Shabat and they give a double portion that day.

Shabat then brings repentance out of love (Teshuva m’Ahava) and healing to the worthy (“kosher”) ones of the generation, and these people then receive admiration from others, and these others can now understand.

It is very important that these worthy people understand from where this glory,  beauty and greatness is coming from, so that they not succumb to pride. They must guard their speech, because otherwise they will not be able to receive this aspect of Shabat. Their pride causes the exile of the Divine Presence; kingship (Malchut) turns into pride.

Parnassah considerations, and serving Hashem properly through elevating the physical, such as eating, drinking, clothing, etc., is very much connected to Cheshvan.

The aspect of complete wisdom (“Shleimah”), as well as the physical bounty that comes from Da’at, were very much expressed in King Solomon. The period of his reign could also be described as an aspect of Shabat, in that there was peace and harmony, as well glory, beauty, and grandeur; a time in which the whole world admired Shlomo and Israel as a whole.

The fight against Amalek (who represents doubt and denial of Hashem), as well as fixing the covenant (the “Brit,” maintaining connection to the ways of the Patriarchs) is in many ways related to the Chashmonaim. Their fight led to healing for the devout ones of the generation, and the restoring of the glory, beauty, and grandeur of the Temple.

Unfortunately, both regarding Shlomo HaMelech and the Chashmonaim, an  inability to act in a way that fully recognized the source of their blessing led to further exile.

Torah 59, for the 24th of Cheshvan, states that one that tries to bring others closer to the service of Hashem must be careful that the forces of impurity and evil of these people not attach themselves to him. The person that engages in bringing others closer is building an aspect of a “holy chamber” (Heichal Kodesh).

Holiness is the aspect of “those who remain in Yerushalayim,” who have complete Yirah (fear of Hashem). Even though many have fallen from holiness, those that remain are called “holy.”

“Heichal” is the aspect of the glory in which Hashem is glorified. This is the aspect of “relate his glory to the nations.” (Psalms 96:3). And this Heichal envelops the heart of the righteous ones bringing others to repent. This can lead to the impurity of the ones he is bringing close attaching to his heart, and in order to prevent this, he must call upon the angels and the fire in his heart.

This angelic fire comes for the aspect of judgement (Mishpat) and judging oneself. This is the aspect of Jerusalem, the faithful city, of Shabat, and also of nullifying an impure ingredient.

The wealth of a person has “walls,” and to safeguard those walls, a person must guard against anger. The teaching then mentions the Tarmodians, in the context of the kind of wicked people which are forbidden to be converted.

This teaching appears dedicated almost exclusively to the themes of Kislev and Chanukah. Chanukah has the mitzvah of “Pirsumei Nissa,” to relate the Glory of Hashem and spread knowledge of the miracles that took place far and wide.

Many other concepts seem particularly connected to Kislev: the concept of holiness of the Altar and Jerusalem, and of the angels of fire, who like the Chashmonaim, prevent impurity to be attached to it.

Even the mentioning of the Tarmodians is a clear connection to Chanukah. In Jewish law, one is allowed to light the Chanukah candles as along as the Tarmodians could remain in the market.

Torah 60, for the 25th of Cheshvan, is about how great contemplation is only possible by means of wealth. The way to attain such wealth one must have the aspect of Atik, length of days, which is the aspect of an elder (Zaken).

Length of days means extending and increasing the actual day. Serving Hashem might be difficult at the beginning of the day, but one gradually increases in holiness.

The aspect of a Zaken is obtained through fear of Hashem (Yirah). This fear also protects against poverty, which stems from deceptive grace and beauty.

Deceptive grace and beauty are related to suspended breathing, while wealth is related to extended breathing. Breathing is essential to the fixing of the intellect, which is like a burning lamp that needs oils. These oils and moisture are maintained through breathing.

The perfection of fear is connected to the fear of Heaven, of one’s rabbi/master, and of one’s parents. These are connected to the three intellectual aspects of Chochma, Binah, and Da’at. This is also related to the three times wealth is mentioned in the Torah.

Fear is revealed through the “remembering” of barren women. This is achieved through waking people who sleep away their days, and whose Divine service is incapable of elevation because of constricted consciousness. This could be due to their improper eating. When the food is not refined, the heart is marred.

One can arouse such a person by telling stories. The person, who has been in darkness, can suddenly see the light without being harmed.

When working to rouse people, one must protect oneself from unworthy students, whose evil can attach to him. One cannot write on the skin of a non-kosher animal.

This rousing from sleep is an aspect of “opening the mouth of the mute.” Unbinding muteness is connected to unbinding barrenness, and that is the aspect breaking a dish by the engagement.

All of this is also the aspect of the shofar: rousing from sleep, starting from a narrow opening and expanding.

This teaching has many many aspects of Chanukah and Kislev (25th of Cheshvan also marks 30 days before Chanukah). One of the first verses quoted in the lesson is מי כמוך באלים ה׳, the acronym ofwhich is the root of the name Maccabee. The lesson contrasts fear of Hashem (characteristic of the Maccabees) with deceptive grace and beauty, the defining quality of the Helenistic culture the Maccabees opposed. The gradual increase in holiness and light mentioned in the lesson is also related to the accepted opinion on how the Menorah is lit: adding one more candle each day. Rousing others, and comparing the light of the candle to the need to purify one’s mind are also key themes of the lesson and of Kislev.

The reference to enormous wealth and its connection to deep intellectual insight appears to extend the previous references to Shlomo HaMelech and the themes of Cheshvan. Lesson 59 also mentioned wealth and the need to safeguard it by not getting angry - perhaps that was also a reference to these themes.

Torah 61, for the 26th of Cheshvan, is about faith in the sages (Emunat Chachamim) and the importance of ordinating worthy rabbis. The lesson also mentions the Divine wisdom of the Hebrew writings and of each letter within it. This is also connected to the lands in the Diaspora that Jews settle, which then obtain an aspect of the Land of Israel, and “the Land of Israel makes wise.”

The teaching also touches on astronomy and astrology, and how that wisdom was taken from the Jews and given to the nations. This wisdom (and keeping it with the Jewish people) is connected to the Mystery of Intercalation (Sod Ha’Ibur), given over to the greatest souls of the generation. The comprehensive guiding force behind the movement of all the stars and planets is the soul.

A person who lacked faith in the sages can be cleansed by returning that faith, and from this renewed faith, books gain renewed importance for this person, and a (new) book is made from that initial dispute. This also happens from the fact that Tzadikim, after being challenged, renew their faith in their own insights. The Torah is then made whole, as it receives from the Upper Wisdom, the aspect of the Foundation Stone.

When people travel to Tzadikim on Rosh Hashanah, he is the aspect of the Holy of Holies, the Foundation Stone. Severe judgments are mitigated, all the souls join together, and joy is created in the aspect of light, in the aspect of, “the soul of man is like a candle.”

This teaching as well has many of the themes of Chanukah and the challenges faced by the Chashmonaim: faith in the sages and proper leadership vs assimilation and inadequate leaders; Divine Jewish wisdom versus “Greek”wisdom; light versus darkness.

Torah 62, for the 27th of Cheshvan, teaches that the eating of Jewish people brings about a unification with the Shechina, as long as the food has already been spiritually refined. The refinement of food is through Emunah. While it is a great mitzvah to sharpen one’s intellect to know what to respond to a heretic (Apikores), nevertheless there are questions that should not be delved into, for which one must rely on Emunah.

If a person were to fully know how Hashem fills the entire world, then the person would be much more enthusiastic in their prayer and be careful and exacting with every word. This knowledge is from the Yetzer Tov, and the hiddenness from the Yetzer HaRah, and we are commanded to serve Hashem with both.

To fix this debate at its root, one must connect to the debates of the Talmud, and then to accepted legal rulings, which find peace among the contrasting opinions.

The perfecting of Emunah is bringing close those that are far. One does that by elevating the letters of speech, which can be accomplished through fasting, which breaks one’s desires, and the main challenge is in the beginning of one’s service.

When a person’s faith is so perfected, then their eating is very precious, and the Emunah itself advocates before G-d for those that are distant. It argues that it easy to fall in the trap of believing in both Hashem and intermediaries, such believing that business is what brings money or that a medicine is what brings the cure. Everything is from Hashem.

When there is peace among Jews, that also diminishes heresy.

This teaching is also very much connected to the themes of Kislev and Chanukah: the importance of elevating the spiritual over the physical, as well as intellect informed by faith over heresy (Apikores is a Greek word). The teaching also mentions using the Talmud’s formula for clarifying differences of opinion and arrive upon clear rulings. Ptolemy, Talmai has the same gematria as Talmud, as the Talmud itself applies principles of Greek logic and contains Greek vocabulary.

Believing in intermediaries that often are the means to (but ultimately not the source of) wealth and health is also very much a Greek idea, very much prevalent in the modern world. Furthermore, internal disagreement among Jews in the time of Chanukah (as well as today) is a source of heresy and assimilation, which the Chashmonaim fought to combat.

Torah 63, for the 28th of Cheshvan, is about Brit Milah, and the deeper kabbalistic meaning behind it. It is related to the fiery angelic figures in Ezekiel’s vision, whose six wings conceal and reveal different parts of their body.

The Tzadik is also an aspect of the Brit, and is related to the concept of being sometimes revealed and sometimes concealed. That is how he relates to the world, and also how he feels in his relationship with Hashem.

Contrasting the Tzadik and the six-winged angelic figures, evil speech gives power to the concept of a flying evil serpent. And this evil serpent represents those wise for evil, who study philosophy and heretical teachings. Evil speech “gives wings” to these scholars, who spread false teachings and cause much harm.

This serpent has an ant in its mouth, and that ant represents the wise one of the generation, who is upright and righteous and fights a great war against these false beliefs.

This teaching also touches on essential aspects of Kislev and Chanukah. Brit Milah was one of the main Mitzvot opposed by Greeks, given its supra-rational quality. The whole concept of a Tzadik also flies in the face of Greek culture, given that their wisemen were not particularly righteous.

The lesson also makes quite clear that Greek wisdom and philosophy is at the root of heresy and false beliefs, and that it is the Tzadik’s job to fight against such evil forces.

Torah 64, for the 29th of Cheshvan, Erev Rosh Chodesh Kislev, is about how Hashem created the world because of (and to display) His compassion. Hashem then made a contraction (Tzim-Tzum) in order to create a “vacated space” (Chalal HaPanui), which of course, cannot be truly vacated [it just seems that way from our perspective].

The lesson then explains that there are two types of heresy: 1) regarding a question that stems from secular wisdom (rooted in extraneous energy from the breaking of the vessels (“Shvirat HaKeilim), which, with more in-depth understanding, one can answer; 2) regarding a question that stems from a wisdom that’s not a real wisdom, such as various philosophical questions for which the human mind cannot answer, but which are not real questions to begin with. Rebbe Nachman compares this with questions like from the Talmud for which there is not scholarship readily available to answer, but are in fact not real questions at all.

These non-questions for which the human mind cannot answer are rooted in the Chalal HaPanui, and it is impossible to find answers (ie. to find Hashem) in them. The Jewish people prevail over such wisdoms without any (need for) philosophical inquiries because of their complete faith (Emunah Shleimah).

A person should run away from this second type of question, except for the great Tzadik, who by looking into these questions can save Jewish souls trapped by them.

The niggun of the Tzadik elevates these souls, because every kind of wisdom has a song. In contrast, Acher (the ultimate apostate), was not only influenced by Greek wisdom, but also by Greek song.

Every level of wisdom has a comparable level of song, higher and higher, all the way to the world of Atzilut. Every level of Emunah also has a song, and idolatrous faiths also have songs. Yet, the higher the faith, the higher the song, until one reaches the level of Emunah higher than all others, of the Ohr Ein Sof, which has a comparable song higher than all others, which will be revealed at the times of Moshiach, when all nations will sing in unison. For now only a great Tzadik, like Moshe, can access through his “silence,” and through his niggun he elevates those fallen in the Chalal HaPanui.

This lesson again touches on the central theme of Kislev and Chanukah, which is the spiritual and intellectual battle against Greek culture and assimilation. Greek philosophy sees in nature a set of laws, and does not make room for a G-d that is a Merciful Judge. Judaism comes to teach that the whole point of Creation is to reveal Hashem’s mercy.

Rebbe Nachman also cautions us on what kinds of heretical questions we should know how to respond to, as well as those that we need to stay away from altogether.

Most importantly, we must remain connected to the Tzadik, and to connect not only to the wisdom of Torah, but also to its song. Ultimately, the whole world will recognize the song and sing as one. May it be today, may it be now.

Torah 65, for the 1st of Kislev, Rosh Chodesh, is about how there is a field of souls, and a master of the field that tends to the trees there. There are also naked souls wandering around the field, waiting for a rectification (Tikkun) in order to be able to go back in. Sometimes even great souls depend on such rectifications once they are outside and need to return to the field.

Someone who wants to be the master of the field must be a deliberate and firm, a mighty warrior and wise, a very great Tzadik. Some can only fulfill this role through death, and others not even with death. Only a tremendously great Tzadik can fulfill this role while staying alive, because he has to go through tremendous suffering and hardship. Yet because of his greatness, he is not intimidated by these difficulties and does the work of the field, tending to its every need.

The rest of the lesson touches on many different subjects, such as the intricacies of prayer, and the ability of the master of the field to guide a person to their ultimate purpose by looking deeply into each person’s speech. One must achieve oneness in one’s prayer/speech and this oneness ultimately leads to a messianic state in which one recognizes that everything is for the good.

Even suffering and pain becomes completely bearable if one understands G-d’s intention, which is that everything that happens is for the person’s good. Any suffering is just a conduit to get a person to do Teshuva. In fact, such suffering can lead to great joy. Everything in the world is for the ultimate good, and suffering only comes by not having this principle in mind. One must therefore close one’s eyes and focus on the ultimate good. A person must close their eyes to the desires and vanities of this world and focus on the light of the ultimate goal, which is entire good.

A person can become self-nullified to this ultimate goal, to this oneness, in which one realizes that everything is good. But one cannot stay in this state forever, and when the mind returns from this state, it feels the suffering again. But the suffering is lightened by one’s innovative Torah insights, achieved through suffering.

Rosh Chodesh Kislev is celebrated in Chabad circles as the day the Lubavitcher Rebbe recovered from a massive heart attack on Shmini Atzeret. The Rebbe showed tremendous insight and strength, and continued “tending to his field” and teaching Chassidism even more than  before.

This also leads to another important theme of Kislev and Chanukah, which is education (“Chanukah come from the word “Chinuch”).

The message of Kislev and Chanukah is also about the tremendous self-sacrifice and self/nullification for Hashem, and of the victory of spirituality over physicality, of light over darkness.

Torah 66, the longest in Part I of Likutei Moharan, for the 2nd of Kislev, teaches that just as Eliyahu blessed Elisha with a double portion of his spirit, and that Elisha would pray with even greater intention than his master, so it is possible for a student to be greater, ie. have a double portion of his teacher, but only because of his teacher’s strength.

A Tzadik possesses two spirits (one on high and one below), which come together on the day of the Tzadik’s passing. It is very beneficial to be by the Tzadik on that day, particularly for a close student whose soul is like a branch of the tree of the Tzadik’s soul, and can actually feel in his own soul the Tzadik’s ascents and descents.

The lesson then also describes the greatness of turning potential into actual, connecting this to the concept of the Aleph, the letters and vowels comprised within it, the mitigation of wrath, the unfolding of the hands, and the perfection of speech.

In the future, everyone will recognize the greatness and magnificence of the Tzadikim and the upright. The wicked will be defeated and each person judged for every detail of every action. The world will then know the difference between the righteous and the wicked.

The wicked should be defeated in this world as well, and this is done through truth. The essence of truth is when a person is not dependent on others, whether to earn a living, or for respect, or anything else. Such a person finds it difficult to pray with the community.

When there is truth, the wicked are defeated. When that happens, we instill this world with the aspect of the World to Come, and draw into this world the perfection of the letters of speech. This perfection comes from drawing the vowels into the letters, turning from potential to actual. This is accomplished through a desire to perform a mitzvah.

The extent of a person’s desire is determined by the obstacle arranged for them. The barrier is for the sake of the desire. The lesson ends enigmatically about a story in the Talmud about how there was once a righteous man whose wife sought to provoke a fight. The man spent the night in the cemetery, where he overheard two spirits conversing about livelihood.

This lesson again contains strong connections to Chassidut Chabad. Kislev is the most prominent month in Chabad, containing Rosh Chodesh Kislev (explained yesterday); the 2nd of Kislev (a continuation of Didan Netzach, as further explained below); the 10th of Kislev (the Day of Liberation of the Mitteler Rebbe), the 14th of Kislev (the Rebbe’s wedding), and culminating with the 19th of Kislev (the  Day of Liberation of the Alter Rebbe, also known as the Rosh Hashanah of Chassidut).

The Alter Rebbe’s name was Shneur Zalman, Shneur stands for Shnei-Or, two lights. The Alter Rebbe was charged with compiling both the mystical teachings of his master, the Maggid of Mezritch (and of the Chassidic movement as a whole) in the form of the Tanya and other writings, as well as compiling the revealed, practical guidance in matters of Jewish Law, in the form of the Shulchan Aruch HaRav and other responsa.

Before meeting the Maggid, Alter Rebbe was in doubt on whether he should go to Vilna (to improve his Torah study) or whether he should go to Mezritch in order to learn how to pray. He ultimately decided to go to Mezritch. The Alter Rebbe was present when his master passed away, who told him that day would be “our Yom Tov.” The Maggid passed away on the 19th of Kislev, the day of the Alter Rebbe’s liberation, many years later.

As mentioned previously, the 2nd of Kislev is the continuation of Didan Netzach, celebrated on Hey Teveth, known as the day of “the victory of the books.” The Lubavitcher Rebbe’s nephew, in need of extra income, decided to steal ancient, important Chassidic works from the Agudas Chassidei Chabad library and sell them to the highest bidder. He claimed that the books belonged to him, while the Rebbe and others that the nephew had no right to the books because they belonged to the Chabad movement as a whole. This family struggle weighed heavily on the Rebbe, and created tremendous friction with the Rebbe’s sister-in-law, even though the Rebbe’s brother-in-law remained a devoted Chassid throughout.

The matter was ultimately resolved in secular court, culminating with the testimony of Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka, who testified that both the books and her father, the Previous Rebbe, belonged to the Chassidim. The non-Jewish judge and the secular court of the United States ruled in favor of the movement, effectively acknowledging the role of a Rebbe and that, contrary to the opposing party’s arguments, the Chabad movement was alive and well.

The decision was a tremendous victory, but remained “in potential,” until, after an unsuccessful appeal, the books were finally returned approximately a year later, on the 2nd of Kislev, 5748 (1987) and coincided with the first international convention of the Shluchim of the Rebbe.

So many of the themes of the day are reflected in the latter part of Torah 66 of Likutei Moharan: 1) the importance of going from potential to actual; 2) the perfection of letters of speech (in this case, letters of books); 3) the defeat of the wicked through truth; 4) world recognition of that truth; 5) how truth cannot stem from being dependent on others; 6) how a wife can provoke a fight, and 7) its connection to matters of livelihood.

Torah 67, for the 3rd of Kislev, begins by stating that the soul is very precious and one must be careful to guard it very much. One must therefore be very careful when a new honor/glory (Kavod) comes a person’s way, because Kavod is the root of all souls, because receiving Kavod might mean it is time for the soul to be taken to its root; on the other hand, when a person receives a new soul, it comes cloaked in glory.

One must also not blemish one’s glory through gluttony. Gluttony makes one’s glory have no face, while breaking one’s desire for food brings upon the “lifting of the face,” as mentioned in the blessing of the Kohanim, and also as mentioned in Ezekiel, who was also a Kohen, about the Table opposite the Altar in the Third Temple, placed “before Hashem.”

Gluttony causes the brazenfaced to gain power, and they take the Kavod to themselves. When Malchut falls to the brazen, it is and aspect of Tzedek (justice) fixed through Tzedakah. Tzedakah elevates Malchut through kindness.

Malchut then returns to those understanding in counsel, but rule initially faces opposition in the mind, as the enemy try to derive their energy from the extraneous thoughts of the mind (the aspect of hair).

The lesson then returns to the theme of of a new soul cloaked in Kavod, and how the birth must come without hardship, otherwise the mother and/or the “child” can pass away, G-d forbid. Childbirth is accomplished with fear, but the soul must also be “raised” with love. Kavod here is also associated with kingship (Malchut) and rulership (Memshalah).

When the soul is distanced from Kavod, and prayer is distant from the heart, it must be renewed with “cool water” and “thunder,” which stems from honoring elderly sages who have forgotten their knowledge. The thunder disperses the waters of knowledge and rectifies the sages’ wisdom, which is then again revealed.

The lesson ends with a connection made between Kavod and holiness (Kedusha).

This lesson also contains many themes of Kislev and Chanukah, as well as references to the Chashmonaim.

The main dispute between Jusaism and Hellenism revolves around the concepts of spirituality and holiness, something central to Jewish thought, yet completely foreign to Greek thought.

Epicurianism in particular (the root of the Mishnaic word for heretic, Apikores), is devoted to physical pleasure, such as eating and gluttony, which as Rebbe Nachman points out, stands in direct opposition to the holiness and glory of the Temple and of the Kohanim.

The Greeks desecrated the Temple, and the Chashmonaim cleansed and rededicated it. This brought them much Kavod, which they misused by seeking kingship and rulership - this led to the end of their dynasty and the complete disappearance of their descendants.

Greece is Jewish tradition is associated with the Leopard (Namer), which represents boldness (Azut Panim). The fight against this kingdom of boldness and against assimilation to its culture was a fight for Hashem’s glory and for preserving true Jewish wisdom. It was a fight to preserve also the power of prayer and the sensitivity to it in the Jewish heart.

Torah 68, for the 4th of Kislev, is about how all souls desire and hunger money, and love people that have money. That is because the source of money is the same source as the soul.

Anger, which also comes from the same source as money, can prevent wealth that is designated to a person to materialize.

Money is the aspect of a wall, protecting the person. The Satan can change the wall (Chomah) into anger (Chemah), and a person can get so angry that they can even lose money that they already have.

At first, this lesson’s connection to Kislev and Chanukah is not an obvious one. Yet when one looks into the Chanukah story, the connection becomes more clear. The Syrian-Greek kings were completely obsessed with money (in part because of the taxes often imposed upon on them by Rome), and that appears to be the main motivation behind Antiochus attacking Jerusalem and plundering the Temple.

The Book of Maccabees l places great emphasis on how the cities at that time, such as Jerusalem, had walls as a form of protection.

Below is an excerpt from the Book of Maccabees:

“29 Two years later the king sent to the cities of Judah a chief collector of tribute, and he came to Jerusalem with a large force. 30Deceitfully he spoke peaceable words to them, and they believed him; but he suddenly fell upon the city, dealt it a severe blow, and destroyed many people of Israel. 31He plundered the city, burned it with fire, and tore down its houses and its surrounding walls. 32They took captive the women and children, and seized the livestock. 33Then they fortified the city of David with a great strong wall and strong towers, and it became their citadel.”

Antiochus was also someone prone to anger, and that apparently led directly to his losing his entire treasury:

“27 When King Antiochus heard these reports, he was greatly angered; and he sent and gathered all the forces of his kingdom, a very strong army. 28He opened his coffers and gave a year's pay to his forces, and ordered them to be ready for any need. 29Then he saw that the money in the treasury was exhausted, and that the revenues from the country were small because of the dissension and disaster that he had caused in the land by abolishing the laws that had existed from the earliest days.”

Interesting side note from the Book of Maccabees (seems out of today’s news):

  “60 Then Jonathan set out and traveled beyond the river and among the towns, and all the army of Syria gathered to him as allies. When he came to Askalon, the people of the city met him and paid him honor. 61From there he went to Gaza, but the people of Gaza shut him out. So he besieged it and burned its suburbs with fire and plundered them. 62Then the people of Gaza pleaded with Jonathan, and he made peace with them, and took the sons of their rulers as hostages and sent them to Jerusalem. And he passed through the country as far as Damascus.”

Torah 69, for the 5th of Kislev, is about how anyone who steals another’s money steals children from him. That is because the essence of a man’s wealth comes because of his wife, ie. the light of her soul, the spreading of lights from the light of her soul. A wife is also the aspect of a wall, which is a reference to wealth.

The lesson then goes into quite a bit of detail regarding the above, as well as how betrothal with money is the concept of completing the light of the wife. A man’s business activity also completes the light of the wife, which is the concept of the Ketubah, and is also related to the concept of inheritance.

Furthermore, one whose focus turns to money makes enemies, and one who marries an improper wife (for money) is a fool, and Eliyahu binds him and Hashem lashes him.

This lesson appears to expound on the same connection to the story of Chanukah (and the same excerpt) mentioned in the last teaching:

“31He plundered the city, burned it with fire, and tore down its houses and its surrounding walls. 32They took captive the women and children, and seized the livestock. 33Then they fortified the city of David with a great strong wall and strong towers, and it became their citadel.”

In the above verses, the stealing of riches from the city and tearing down its houses and walls is associated with taking captive women and children.

Furthermore, the description of the “spreading of the light [of the wife]” also seems parallel to the spreading of the light of Chanukah.

Eliyahu (who was Pinchas) was Kohen, and the zealotry of the Kohanim is also one of the main themes of the

Chanukah story and the month of Kislev.

Perhaps this connection between elevating the desire for money and Kislev/Chanukah helps explain one of the most prevalent customs of the holiday:  distributing “Chanukah Gelt.”

Torah 70, for the 6th of Kislev, draws a parallel between the forces of gravity/nature and the Tzadik, who makes himself like earth. All the world received glory and authority from this Tzadik. This is also the aspect of the Mishkan, which is an attracting force.

This is also connected to Rosh Chodesh Nissan, the day of the dedication of the Mishkan. This dedication is the way in which the Tzadik (Moshe) calls upon the heads of the people, in order to receive glory and authority.

It is interesting that Rebbe Nachman elevates a concept based on physics, which is usually considered to be in the realm of Greek wisdom.

Furthermore, Chanukah is the rededication of the Temple/Mishkan; the Mishkan had originally been completed in Kislev, yet Hashem waited until Nissan for its inauguration. The month of Kislev was “compensated” with the Chanukah celebration.

The Chanukah story also involves the figure of the Tzadik calling upon the other leaders: first Matisyahu Kohen Gadol, and later his son, Judah the Maccabi.

Torah 71, for the 7th of Kislev, is about how very difficult it is to be famous (“Mefursam”) and how it harms the person a lot, and that sometimes the person has to endure great suffering on behalf of the many. The Tzadik sometimes willingly accepts this suffering in order that others may receive the influx of (spiritual) bounty meant for him.

The main Mitzvah of Chanukah is “Pirsumei Nissa,” the publicizing (“the making famous”) of the miracle of Chanukah, in which the few overcame the many, setting aside their holy priestly pursuits in order to take on the mantle of leadership and win the war.

Torah 72, for the 8th of Kislev, begins with a description of what happens when a person has thoughts of repentance (Hirhurei Teshuva) and becomes a “kosher” person. That person then decides to act on that motivation and travel to visit the Tzadik. But then, as the person is traveling, the evil inclination rises against the person and that initial motivation dissipates, to the point even that when the person arrives, they lost their motivation altogether.

Rebbe Nachman explains that this is not an indication that the person is descending in their holiness. On the contrary, because of their Teshuva, the original evil inclination was killed, and now a stronger one has taken its place. As person becomes greater, so too does their evil inclination.

The lesson then delves into different forms of evil inclination, and that base forms of it, found in the blood itself, are considered complete foolishness and not a test at all by anyone with - minimum level of clear practical knowledge (Da’at).

However, there is also a form of evil inclination that is a holy angel, and one must flee from it - these are aspects of severities and judgments. One must sweeten these judgments, so that they be only good. This level of evil inclination is what King David and King Solomon faced.

There is also an evil inclination that it a thin husk, which is not the vulgar kind, but also not on the level of a holy angel. The level of the holy angel is the supernal root of all evil inclinations, and a person needs much strengthening and effort to defeat it.

Most people are fighting the base form of the evil inclination, which is complete stupidity and foolishness. The lesson then concludes with different examples, such as idolatrous and promiscuous thoughts as well as depression.

A person must simply disregard the thought, without engaging with it at all. However, for a permanent solution, one must purify their body.

This lesson again touches on many of the important aspects of Kislev and Chanukah. There is a debate between Hillel and Shamai regarding the lighting of the Menorah. Should one start with eight lights and decrease each day (lighting only one candle on the eighth day), or should light one on the first day and then increase (lighting eight candles on the eighth day). We follow the opinion of Hillel that we always see increase in holiness.

The war against the Greeks was a war against assimilation: a war of spirituality against physicality, as well as a war of ideas. Yes, many Jews fell into the trap of the more base forms of the evil inclination, such as idolatrous and promiscuous thoughts associated with Greek culture. However, there was also a more subtle and sophisticated evil inclination sourced in Greek philosophy, which required a much greater effort to overcome.

Ultimately, the darkness of Greece was defeated by the light of the Israel. However, as the Hashmonaim mistakenly took on the role of kings, their dynasty fell prey to an even more subtle form of evil inclination, leading directly to the ultimate and last exile: that of Edom (Rome). May we merit to see Moshiach and the final and redemption from this exile/evil inclination as well.

The battle against Edom brings to mind, first and foremost, Jacob’s wrestling with the angel of Eisav.

Torah 73, for the 9th of Kislev, states that the Torah, and so too Hashem, have aspects of hidden (inner element) and revealed (outer element). One must strive to perceive the hidden through prayer for its own sake (L’Shma), firmly affixing one’s mind to the words of prayer. One must combine three elements in prayer: the Alef (the Tzadik), the Nun (speech) and the Yud (thought).

One that receives represents the feminine aspect. When Hashem receives pleasure from our, it represents, so to speak, a feminine aspect of Hashem, and then the inner element becomes the outer element.

The 9th of Kislev is both the birthday and yahrzeit of the Mitteler Rebbe of Chabad-Lubavitch, Rabbi Dov Ber son of the Alter Rebbe, Rabbi Shneor Zalman of Liadi. The Mitteler Rebbe was named after the Maggid of Mezritch, whose connection to the Alter Rebbe was explained previously (See entry for 2nd of Kislev).

The Mitteler Rebbe’s approach was to take the Chassidic teachings (the “hidden” aspects of the Torah and Hashem) given over by the Alter Rebbe and expand on them significantly. Where the Alter Rebbe would mention a concept in a few terse lines, the Mitteler Rebbe would spend pages and pages delving into the details of the concept.

Chassidus Chabad is intellectual in nature and focuses primarily on the mind. Chabad stands for Chochma (wisdom), Bina (understanding), and Da’at (knowledge). The Mitteler Rebbe was so connected to Chassidut, that it was said that if he had a cut, instead of blood, Chassidus would pour out.

The Mitteler Rebbe’s approach to prayer was defined by firm, profound meditation. He would stand still for hours on end in deep intellectual meditation.

The Mitteler received the teachings on this subject from Alter Rebbe, who had received the teachings of the Maggid, yet each of them appeared to approach prayer in a different way. What was a hidden inner aspect by the master, became a revealed, outerward aspect by the student. (See “Communicating the Infinite,” Naftali Lowenthal)

Torah 74, for the 10th of Kislev, has two versions, the second of which has additional edits and explanations from Reb Noson. According to the expanded version, the lesson is about how, to heal one’s soul one must elevate it to its root through exerting oneself in Torah study in order to know it and understand it.

The lesson then explains that there are two kinds of judgements, one impure and one holy. This is the aspect of how being distanced (from Hashem) is an aspect of being brought closer. When a person wants to become closer to Hashem, judgements and afflictions are placed on them . Once they withstand these obstacles, they are brought even closer.

The lesson then moves to the meaning of “Avraham begot Yitzhak,” whereas Avraham represents kindness (Chesed) and Yitzhak might (Gevurah).

One must go from the constricted consciousness of a test to the expanded consciousness following it, when one prevails over the judgment.

A way of knowing the judgment is impure or holy is that holy judgment does not involve an interruption of prayer.

Yitzhak is the aspect of holy judgment. The judgment of Yitzhak is mitigated by Yaakov, who corresponds to wisdom (Chochma) and speech with knowledge (Yediah).

Hoshanah Rabbah is the aspect of speech without knowledge (the willow) and Simchat Torah is the level of speech with knowledge.

Yaakov is the aspect of the healing of the sun, expanded consciousness.

The parallels with the Chabad Chassidic holiday of Yud Kislev are quite striking. Chabad stands for wisdom, understanding, and knowledge, which, as the lesson explains, is what brings healing to the soul.

Yud Kislev celebrates the day in which the decrees and judgments against the Mitteler Rebbe were set aside and he was freed from prison.

Both the Alter Rebbe and the Mitteler Rebbe were uttering the same verse in prayer (from the Book of Psalms) when they were told of their respective releases: “Padah B’Shalom Nafshi,” my soul has been redeemed in peace.

As previously explained, the Mitteler Rebbe continued and greatly expanded and explained the teachings of his father, the founder of the Chabad movement (just like Yitzhak was a continuation of Avraham, and just like Reb Nosson edited and expanded this very teaching).

The constricted consciousness that came with the Mitteler Rebbe’s imprisonment led  to a much greater expanded consciousness once he was freed, given that, just like with his father, the positive judgment received was interpreted as a heavenly vindication of his approach and a “green light” to reveal his Torah teachings even further.

Torah 75, for the 11th of Kislev, also has two versions, the second of which has additional edits and explanations from Reb Noson. According to the expanded version, the lesson is about how the trait of Nitzachon can bring about conflict and war, from blood with which one has not served Hashem.

A person must nullify the quality of Nitzachon and conflict, and pursue peace. This is accomplished by reciting many words of Torah and prayer.

Making peace is accomplished through the aspect of elevating feminine waters, instilling love, one for the other. All words of Torah and prayer have this aspect, restoring the sparks of the initial breaking of the vessels (Shvirat HaKeilim) to their proper place.

A person must speak words of Torah and prayer until the body is completely nullified and made into nothing, making the body one with speech. This is accomplished through fear [of Heaven] (Yirah).

This lesson appears to contrast two different aspects of the month of Kislev and of the Chashmonaim in general. On the one hand, they are known primarily for their victory (Nitzachon) over the Greeks and over Greek culture also prevalent among the assimilated Helenized Jews. On the other hand, they were descendants of Aaron the Kohen, who is described in Pirkei Avot as someone “who loves peace and pursues peace…”

In the events related to the Chassidic holidays celebrated this month, the Chabad Rebbeim always went out of their way not to antagonize those against them (the Mitnagdim), and did their best to maintain peace and instill love for others, even in victory. (See the Alter Rebbe’s famous Chassidic discourse, “Katonti,” alluding to a verse from this week’s Parasha, Vayishlach, an expression of Yaakov’s humility and fear of Heaven).

The aspect of victory can nevertheless continue to be expressed in its fullness in the victory of spirituality over physicality, of light over darkness, until the powers of evil are nullified altogether. (See also Week 11 of Kabbalah of Time, Netzach shebeGevurah)

Torah 76, for the 12th of Kislev, teaches, based on the Tikkunei Zohar, that “from the right side comes a mind as white as silver,” and that this is a reference to Avraham.

The act of visual observation comprises of two aspects: direct light and reflected light. The spreading of vision over an area is direct light, while reaching the intended object of observation is the reflected light. Hashem also, so to speak, “sees,” both with direct light and reflected light.

Seeing creates a vessel (kli), which is bound by time and space. Trust is the aspect of visual observation, which also draws down blessing in time and space.

Connecting to Tzadikim also creates time and space. There are individuals that are constantly spiritually thirsty, and they are rectified by attaching themselves to Tzadikim.

A person therefore needs to renew their intellect daily, and clear understanding is like seeing. A clear mind allows a person to serve Hashem (through prayer and Torah study) without the need to focus intently. To have a clear mind, one must be engaged in repentance (Teshuva).

The 12th of Kislev is the yahrzeit of the Bat Ayin, Rabbi Avraham Dov Auerbach of Avrush. Bat Ayin, the name of his most famous work, which means the pupil of the eye. The Bay Ayin always wanted to make Aliyah, but when he finally made it to Israel, settling in Tzfat, things were very difficult and he has a hard time discerning the holiness of there. He had decided to return to Europe, but then his eyes were opened to the holiness of the place and the people there. (http://ascentofsafed.com/cgi-bin/ascent.cgi?Name=avritsch-bio)

This lesson is also very much connected to Chanukah. We light the candles, and have no benefit from the candles other than visual observation alone. We connect to this holy time and space and draw down their blessings.

The light of Chanukah is the Ohr Ganuz, the light of Creation hidden for the Tzadikim. In Chanukah, everyone can connect to this exalted light, as we become renewed and rededicated, just like the Temple itself in the times of the Chashmonaim.

Torah 77, for the 13th of Kislev, is a shortened teaching and Reb Nosson acknowledges that much of it is missing, making it difficult to comprehend.

It starts by teaching that everything we do, whether in prayer or Torah, is in order to reveal Hashem’s kingship in the world.

Breath represents the letter Heh, the voice as it is extended is the Vav, and the love and fear when praying and studying Torah is the Yud and the Heh.

When one studies Jewish law (Halacha) in this way, you create one world. When studying a whole tractate, one makes a “Matronita” (Matron) in which each Halacha is one of her worlds.

This is the eve of the 14th of Kislev, the day of the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s wedding to the Previous Rebbe’s daughter, Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka. It is a celebrated by Chassidim as the time in which the Rebbe first became connected to them, because it led directly to his eventually taking on the role of Rebbe.

This lesson is about connecting feminine and masculine aspects of Hashem’s name in order to emulate His power to create worlds and reveal His kingship in this world.

When the Lubavitcher Rebbe married Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka (connecting the male and female aspects of their Neshama), they embarked upon the mission to reveal Hashem’s kingship in this world. Through their words and directives, they set in motion a of system of Shlichut that created many “worlds” (ie. Chabad houses, shuls, schools, and centers) in the process.

The 13th of Kislev is also the Yahrzeit of Rebbe Yisrael Taub, the Divrei Yisrael, first Rebbe of Modzitz. Modzitz Rebbeim were great Torah scholars, and yet they are known primarily for their great prominence in the world of music and Niggun composition. Using one’s breath and voice, with love and fear of Hashem, appears also very applicable to to the concept of serving Hashem through song as was done in Modzitz. The Divrei Yisroel’s most famous composition, Ezkerah, evokes a vision of Yerushalayim, composed (at least in part) while the Rebbe was undergoing a leg amputation in Berlin.


Torah 78, for the 14th of Kislev, appears to be very much a continuation of the previous lesson, yet with a slightly different emphasis. The focus is on Mashiach as well as the union of Kudsha Brich Hu (Zeir Anpin, the male sefirot) Shechinah (Malchut, the female sefirah).

The initial reason of Creation was to reveal Hashem’s kingship (Malchut). There was a need for Hashem to contract Himself, so to speak, through the various worlds, and the souls of the Jewish people come from the world of speech, which is Malchut.

This is the aspect of the Shechinah, which like a mother, is always with its children, the Jewish people, even in exile. Speech has the quality of remembrance (Zechirah). Speech “remembers” constantly, even in a place of filth.

At the moment, the Schechina’s light is dimmed and her power is weakened. However, when the Schechina unites with Kudsha Brich Hu, the light and face of the Schechinah is revealed and increased. This draws vitality from Malchut.

This is also the aspect of holy spirit (Ruach HaKodesh), related to breath, which draws life. Torah and prayer protect a person from being consumed by desires (either good or bad), and this too is like breath, and is related to the concepts of Ruach HaKodesh, Mashiach, and Teshuva/resurrection of the dead. Even when a person is in a very low and difficult place, a person should keep saying words of Torah and prayer, to be “remembered” by the Schechinah.

Again, as in the previous lesson, the theme of male and female aspects of Hashem uniting is quite strong, which is very much connected to the theme of marriage. As mentioned previously, the 14th of Kislev is the date of the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s wedding to the daughter of the Previous Rebbe, Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka.

This lesson goes into much more detail as to the female sefirah of Malchut and the idea of the exile of the Schechinah. The lesson also focuses on Moshiach, which was always very much a focus of the Rebbe’s life and mission.

The lesson’s emphasis on the important role of holy speech in “remembering” (Zechira) and the exile of the Schechinah also brought to mind the Divrei Yisroel of Modzitz (whose Yahrzeit was on the 13th of Kislev) as well as his main song, mentioned previously, “Ezkera,” about Yerushalayim and its low state during exile.

Other themes of the lesson, such as the “light of the Schechinah” and how words of Torah and prayer in prevent us from being consumed by physicality and also lift us up no matter how low we have fallen, all seem very much connected to Kislev and Chanukah. 

Torah 79, for the 15th of Kislev, is about how a person should see that the delay in the coming of Mashiach is not due to them; a person must do Teshuva and fix their deeds. Every Tzadik has a manifestation of Mashiach or at least an attribute of Mashiach, which is an aspect of Moshe. Moshe, the Faithful Shepherd (Raya Mehemna), had self-sacrifice for the Jewish people because he truly knew his lowliness, and also knew the importance and great qualities of Israel. A person can recognize their lowliness on Shabbat, when they do complete Teshuvah, which is Shabbat.

This lesson’s concepts again appear related to the Rebbe’s wedding on the 14th of Kislev. Marriage represents complete Teshuvah, as the day of one’s marriage is like Yom Kippur. The bride and groom fast and all of their sins are forgiven. Furthermore, after the wedding there are seven days of celebration, Sheva Brachos, paralleling the seven days of the week. According to Chabad Chassidim, the Rebbe was the Moshe of the generation, and the thrust of his campaign was about bringing Mashiach. The final Chassidic discourse (Ma’amar) was on the topic of the Raya Mehemna, the Faithful Shepherd, who serves with faith and self-sacrifice, and “shepherds” (imbues) faith to the Jewish people, allowing them too to act on the highest levels of self-sacrifice and dedication.

Of course, Chanukah also represents the concept of self-sacrifice, as expressed by the Chashmonaim and all who followed in their path. The same can be said for the Chassidic holidays of this month, and in fact about the month of Kislev itself, associated with the tribe of Binyamin. According to at least one Midrash, it was not (only) Nachshon Ben Aminadav, but the entire tribe of Binyamin that jumped into the Sea of Reeds before it split.

Chanukah is also often a time when even those that appear most detached from either identity come forth and show their Jewishness, and it is therefore also a very opportune time for Teshuvah.


Torah 80, for the 16th of Kislev, teaches about the importance of peace (Shalom). Shalom is the uniting of opposing forces. The ability to bring together opposing forces, kindnesses and severities (Chassadim and Gevurot), is an aspect of Yosef.

This is connected to the sanctification of G-d’s name (Kiddush Hashem). First a person is inspired by flames of love (kindnesses) and then they overcome their nature and are willing to sacrifice their lives (severities) Al Kiddush Hashem.

Even Jewish sinners are therefore willing to die Al Kiddush Hashem, because when the time comes, this aspect of Yosef is aroused in them. Anyone who attempts to make a Jew, even a non-observant sinner, give up his religion (sever him from Yisrael), that Jew is immediately willing to give up their life.


Yosef has this aspect of peace, from which comes all the bounty and blessing upon Israel. Hashem’s intention with this is to have every person of Israel be able to speak words of holiness, and by holiness (Kedushah) one means wisdom (Chochmah). Through this, Hashem builds Jerusalem.


This teaching also appears related to the Rebbe and Rebbetzin’s wedding (as these days were still part of the Sheva Berachos). The one ultimately responsible for bringing these two holy individuals together was the Frierdiker Rebbe, Rebbe Yosef Yitzhak Schneersohn, the Rebbe’s father-in-law. The Frierdiker Rebbe’s name (as well as bounty and blessings) was also associated with most if not all institutions established by the Rebbe.


As mentioned regarding the previous lesson, Chanukah is a time when even Jews that appear distant from their identity come out in great number to show their Jewishness and total unwillingness to break from their Jewish identity to the point of self-sacrifice. This concept is also perhaps the central theme of the Tanya, the magnum opus of the Alter Rebbe, whose liberation is celebrated on Yud Tes Kislev.


The lesson’s association of wisdom (Chochma) with holiness (Kedusha) stands in direct opposition to Greek wisdom, which is completely dissociated with holiness. This again is the main war taking place on Chanukah. That such wisdom/holiness brings about the building of Jerusalem is also associated with Chanukah, in which the Temple in Jerusalem was rededicated and liberated from Greek oppression.


For more on this subject and also the role that Yosef plays in this struggle (Chanukah always falls during the Torah readings associated with Yosef), see Patterns in Time: Chanukah, by Rav Matis Weinberg. In short, Yosef represents beauty/wisdom that is connected to truth/holiness, just as Yosef has the same gematria as Tziyon (Jerusalem), which is the letter Tzadik plus Yavvan (Greece).


On a related note, the 16th of Kislev is also the yahrzeit of the Second Rebbe of Modzitz, Rebbe Shaul Yedidya Elazar Taub. He also embodied the above qualities, and like his father, he was a master Torah scholar and musical composer. His most famous Niggun is Kah Ribbon, a Shabat niggun that evokes Hashem’s greatness and peace, as well as aspiration for the rebuilding of Jerusalem speedily in our days.


Torah 81, for the 17th of Kislev, teaches that the words of the Tzadik are called, “the Land of Israel.” His words of ordinary conversation with the public are called, the refuse of the Land of Israel. He speaks these words of ordinary conversations in order to connect the masses to knowledge (Da’at). 


It is not possible to connect them through the Torah itself because they are far from the truth. We see this at the time that Ptolemy, the Greek king, had the sages translate the Torah. [The authors of the Septuagint all came up with the same changes separately.] The authors rearranged certain words because he was far from truth.


The Tzadik enclothes his regular conversations with Torah in order to connect the people. There are also times when the Tzadik has fallen from his level, but then he derives pleasure from his mundane conversation with the people, and this revives him and allows him to connect the people to Da’at.


This teaching again touches upon one of the main themes of Chanukah/KIslev, which is the fight against Greek oppression and assimilation, in which even people that are “distant” connect themselves to the truth of Torah.


Unlike many other holidays, the miracle of Chanukah took place in the Land of Israel.


It is also worth noting that the Second Modzitzer Rebbe, the Imrei Shaul, mentioned in the previous lesson, passed away on the day the UN adopted the Partition plan, and he was the last person to be buried in Mount Olives (Har HaZeitim) in 1947. Modzitz, unlike many other Chassidic groups, was a tremendous supporter of the Zionism and returning to our land. The Modzitz court in Israel was in Tel Aviv on Dizengoff street, and was one of the last ones to leave the city for Bnei Brak in 1995.



Torah 82, for the 18th of Kislev, Erev Yud-Tes Kislev, is based on a teaching from the Talmud that those who suffer insult but do not answer back are considered as those who Hashem loves, like the rising sun in its might. (Gittin 36b). The lesson then delves into the three main klippot, and the fourth one, which is a thin layer, Klippah Nogah. Circumcision removes these levels of impurity, represented by the foreskin.


By hearing disgrace and not responding, one can reach a level of removing the three impurities, but if the intent in remaining quiet is to embarrass the person, that is still connected to the fourth level of impurity. However, if the intent in remaining quiet is out of love, then the Klippah Nogah also becomes included in holiness.


This lesson contains many parallels with the themes of Yud-Tes Kislev. The opening chapter of Tanya discusses these three main klippot as well as klippah nogah, and their relevance to the souls of Jews and gentiles. In fact, when the Alter Rebbe was imprisoned, he was asked many questions by the government official interrogating him. He answered every one of them, except for the question related to this concept, to which he responded with silence and a smile.  


Similarly, after the Alter Rebbe was released, he was sent by mistake to the house of someone who opposed Chassidism. For three hours, this person insulted the Alter Rebbe as well as other leaders of the Chassidic movement, but the Alter Rebbe did not answer in kind. Even after the mistake was discovered and the Alter Rebbe was free to leave, he decided to remain a little longer in order to honor his host, who had prepared him tea. This was the way that the Alter Rebbe wanted his Chassidim to respond to his opponents, even after this great victory and liberation: with humility and love.




Chanukah is also very much connected to the removal of impurity and Bris Milah (one of the supranational Mitzvot prohibited by Greek decree, and rejected by Helenized/assimilated Jews)


Torah 83 for the 19th of Kislev, Yud-Tes Kislev, is about how the forces of impurity can pull energy from the spiritual forces of the six letters ending in Peh, turning the Peh (mouth/speech) into Aph (anger). 


If a man and woman are worthy [there is peace among them], the Divine Presence dwells among them. If not, there is fire (the sum of the letters ending in Peh). 


When charity is given in secret, it redeems (Podeh) the holy sparks from Klippah, and Aph is transformed back into Peh. 


Yud-Tes Kislev is the Festival of Liberation of the Alter Rebbe, known as Rosh Hashanah of Chassidut. There had been an heavenly accusation for his revealing Torah secrets in such an open manner. 


The “physical” reason given for his incarceration was a false accusation by his enemies that he had secretly sent funds to the Ottoman Empire, who was at war with Russia. In fact, he had been collecting funds for the poor in the Land of Israel.


The Alter Rebbe was liberated while reciting the verse, “Padah b’Shalom Nafshi,” my soul was redeemed in peace.


The Alter Rebbe understood his liberation to be a vindication of his work, and led to the spreading of Chassidut in an even broader fashion.


Revelation (Peh) led to anger (Aph). Then redemption transformed the Aph (anger) back to Peh (revelation).


Torah 84, for the 20th of Kislev (a continuation of Yud-Tes Kislev), starts with a question asked to Rabbi Nechunya Ben HaKanah: "With what did you earn length of days?" He responded, "I was liberal with my money." The lesson then begins with an explanation about what happens when an unworthy person attempts to know the Torah's secrets - serpents and scorpions confuse his thoughts and keep him from entering. On the other hand, for a deserving person, the accusatory forces becomes the defending ones, and the Gate of Love is opened for him, and through this gate, the Gate of Repentance. Rebbe Nachman explains that this is the quality of Avraham, who was called old, advanced in days, ("Zaken Bah baYamim").

As mentioned previously, the official reason for the Alter Rebbe's imprisonment was in light of an accusation regarding his donations to the Land of Israel. The deeper, spiritual reason was that there was an accusation on high regarding the revelation of the secrets of Chassidut. With the Alter Rebbe's liberation, the accusing forces were transformed into defending ones. As the Alter Rebbe continued to spread Chassidut in broader fashion, he did so with love and humility, without bearing any kind of grudge against his accusers. 

The Alter Rebbe's name is Hebrew is Admor HaZaken, literally the "old" Rebbe, who, like Avraham, founded a movement to bring people back to their Father in Heaven, through love and repentance.


Torah 85, for the 21st of Kislev, is a Kabbalistic explanation of verses from a Shabat song: on Shabat we take shorter steps, we have (and bless over) three meals, and our souls shine forth like the light of the seven days of the week. 


The shorter steps represent the Sefirah of Malchut; the meal is the fixing of Malchut, allowing it to serve face-to-face as a helpmate; the blessings are from the Sefirot of Netzach, Hod, Yesod; the shining forth from the Sefirot of Chochma, Bina, Chesed, and Gevurah; the light of the seven days of the week are the three-headed Shin and the four-headed shin.


The lights of the seven days appear to reference the Menorah; the heads of the two types of Shin even resemble a Menorah. The interesting way in which Rebbe Nachman breaks up the Sefirot actually add up to a total of eight, although it may be that Malchut would be represented by the Shamash, serving face-to-face.


Torah 86, for the 22nd of Kislev, provides another explanation based on the same verses of a Shabbat song. The lesson begins by stating that during the week, the external forces rule. However, between sunset and nightfall of Friday night (Bein HaShmashot), the day becomes sanctified, and the doers of iniquity are dispersed.  


The rule of the outside forces is primarily over the aspect of the feet. Once Shabbat comes in, the strength of the feet is returned, but one begins by taking small steps, like a small child that still needs support. That support (third leg) comes from the aspect of truth and from the blessing it receives from Tzedakah done on Shabbat. Such Tzedakah is a taste the World to Come, compared to the light of the sun at that time, which will be like “the light of the seven days” and which heals and gives strength to the aspect of the three legs (Shalosh Regalim).


While this teaching seems to be primarily about Shabat (which was also an observance prohibited by Greek decree), there are many elements here that are related to Chanukah, starting with the time for lighting the Chanukah Menorah (after sunset).


Greek ideals, with its focus on superficial beauty/aesthetics (Yavan/Yaffeth), represent the external forces, while Judaism stands for holiness and truth (Israel/Shem).


The light of Chanukah comes from the Or HaGanuz, the hidden light reserved for the Tzadikim, which will only be fully revealed in the World to Come. That light comes gradually, increasing with each day of the holiday, which is eight days long, paralleling the third of the Shalosh Regalim: Sukkot.


Torah 87, for the 23rd of Kislev, explains why those that wish to go on the straight path initially face judgments (Dinim), which goes against logic.


The lesson explains that there are two kinds of fear (Yirah): fear of punishment, which is called justice (Tzedek) and fear of G-d’s greatness, which is called faith (Emunah), because this latter fear is rooted in the total belief that Hashem is the Master, Ruler, and Source of all the worlds.


The fear of punishment is what brings to fear of G-d’s greatness. Tzedek, when bound with truth (Emet), becomes Emunah. Then all good and all light reside in it.


Again, this teaching involves many themes of Chanukah. Chanukah comes at a time of darkness and Gevurah (Din). (See Kabbalah of Time, Weeks 8 - 14, the cycle of Gevurah).


In the struggle of Chanukah, the main obstacle was the Greeks’ insistence that everything in Judaism had to be logical. However, there are concepts in the Torah that appear to go against logic but are actually above it. 


Chief among these concepts is the idea of Yirah: “Reishit Chochma Yirat Hashem,” as is taught in Proverbs, the very beginning of wisdom is the fear of G-d.


Also fundamental to Chanukah is the idea of progression in holiness, just as the lights of Chanukah increase with each day. A lower level of fear leads to a higher one, one based on Emunah. 


As previously explained, Emunah is also what sets us apart from the Greeks. While they believe in laws of nature and the cosmos, we believe in an ultimate Judge.


As also explained in previous lessons, Judaism is tied to inner truth, while Greek philosophy and aesthetics are external and superficial.


The lesson concludes connecting all these concepts to good and to light, which again is the main theme of Chanukah.


Torah 88, for the 24th of Kislev, Erev Chanukah, is about the power of the Tzadik, through his love and fear, to bring down positive spiritual influences and blessings. This needs to be done secretly in order to bring down all the blessings, which are comparable to rain (Matar).


When the Tzadik is very famous (Mefursam Gadol), the accusatory forces keep a close eye on him, and prevent him from brining down the influx. Then Hashem leads a different Tzadik engage him in argument/controversy (Machloket). This is a dispute for the sake of Heaven (Machloket L’Shem Shamayim), ie. for the sake of love and fear, in order to prepare rain, ie. bounty and blessing.


As mentioned previously, in the Torah readings for the time of Chanukah is always related to Yosef HaTzadik. Yosef was the source for Bnei Yisrael’s spiritual and physical blessings. The concept of the Tzadik (and Tzedek, righteousness) is another quality that differentiates Judaism from Hellenic culture.


It is also around this time that, in the Diaspora, we change our prayers in the Amidah to VeTen Tal uMatar l’Vracha (and give dew and rain for blessing) instead of simply veTen Bracha (and give blessing). We see here the connection between rain and blessings.


As also mentioned previously, Chanukah is about Pirsumei Nissa, the making the miracle of Chanukah  “famous.” That is done primarily through the lighting of the Menorah, about which there is an argument between Beis Shammai and Beis Hillel, who, as stated in Pirkei Avot, represent the quintessential example of a Machloket L’Shem Shamayim. Hillel’s lenient path is one primarily based on kindness (Chesed), which is rooted in love (Ahava), while Shammai’s strict path was one based discipline (Gevurah), which is rooted in fear (Yirah).


Torah 89, for the 25th of Kislev, First Night of Chanukah, teaches that whatever is lacking in a person, whether it be spiritual or physical, is a lack in the Schechinah. When a person knows this, that the lack is above and below, for sure that will create a great distress and sadness, and the person won’t be able to serve Hashem with joy. That is why the person needs to answer themselves: “What am I and what is my life, that the King Himself tells me of what He lacks, and is there a greater honor than this?” And from this comes a great joy, and the person’s intellect is renewed.


Chanukah is about renewal. Celebrating the rededication of the Temple should lead to a rededication of a person’s inner temple: their mind.


It is known that the Schechinah never descends lower than ten handbreadths (Tefachim) from the ground. The exception to this is the light of the Menorah. On Chanukah, every Jew, no matter how low, has the ability to connect to Hashem in a way that parallels one of the most exalted services of the Temple.


On the first day of Chanukah, however, when there is only one candle lit and seven unlit, a person has a sense that something is still lacking. When one realizes that this lack is being felt by the Schechinah itself, and one has the ability to share that feeling with Hashem, being provided that honor leads to great joy.


Torah 90, for the 26th of Kislev, Second Night of Chanukah, has a very similar theme as the previous lesson. Every lack a person experiences is from the breaking of the vessels, in which the sparks fell and created a lack in the Schechinah.


The way to fix this is by being happy with one’s G-d. That way, every lacking becomes whole and the sparks ascend.


As mentioned in the previous lesson, the Schechinah never descends lower than ten handbreadths (Tefachim) from the ground, except during lighting of the Menorah.


In the Second Night, with still six candles unlit, we still feel a certain spiritual lacking, which is experienced by the Schechinah itself. By being happy with Hashem, we also make the Schechinah happy, so to speak, and it becomes whole again, and so do we.


The sparks that had fallen from the broken vessels (below ten Tefachim from the earth) can now reconnect to the Schechinah through the lights of the Menorah, a vessel that can contain this powerful light without breaking.


Torah 91, for the 27th of Kislev, Third Night of Chanukah, is about how a person’s Emunah must be so strong that it spreads to all the limbs.


The Arizal teaches that a person must bring their hands to the level of their head in order to receive holiness.


When a person has faith, that faith leads to intellect. The greater the faith, the greater the intellect, and eventually to rational understanding.


As mentioned previously, the theme of faith versus intellect (Judaism versus Hellenism) is very much the theme of Chanukah.


The idea of raising one’s hands to the level of their head brings to mind the lighting of the Menorah by the Kohen Gadol in the Temple. He could lift his arm only as high as his head. 


We are also approaching the month of Teveth, connected to the Tribe of Dan. Dan’s strength came from simple faith without questionimg, as seen by Dan’s son Chushim, in the way he killed Esau.


Torah 92, for the 28th of Kislev, Fourth Night of Chanukah, is about how when a person goes back and forth (Nah veNad) inside their home, that can bring about the resurrection of the dead.


The lesson then explains a statement from the Zohar that the lungs fan the heart, keeping the body from being consumed. The five lobes of lung represent the Five Books of the Torah. Jacob represents the Torah/the lungs and Joseph represents the heart.


Going back and forth can cool down the fire, which are the judgments, and that can resurrect the dead.


The word for moving around, “Nah,” is also used with respect to the flame of a candle, and to the soul of a person.  (https://www.tv2000.co.il/article/26642)


As we reach the fourth night of Chanukah, with an equal number of lit and unlit candles, this halfway point hints to the potential to bring light to any place where there is still darkness, an aspect of the resurrection of the dead.


If one includes the Shamash, then we are already passed the halfway point, with five candles, like the Five Books of the Torah and the five lobes of the lungs.


As explained previously, Yosef is closely connected to Chanukah, and we always read the Parshyot about him during this time.


Torah 93, for the 29th of Kislev, Fifth Night of Chanukah and Erev Rosh Chodesh Teveth, is about how doing business faithfully (Masa uMatan b’Emunah) is fulfilling the Mitzvah of “You shall love your G-d,” which is the root of all positive commandments.


This Mitzvah is fulfilled by having the name of Hashem become beloved through the person. A learned person who is pleasant with others and faithful in business leads everyone to exclaim, “Fortunate is the one who taught them Torah.”


Through being faithful in business and achieving love, one also reaches a level of transcending time and being able to pray with a clear mind. Prayer also transcends time, and is found “at the height of the world.”


The Mitzvah of lighting the Menorah has a deep connection to doing business faithfully:


The commandment of Chanukah lights extends until the passersby have vanished from the market. Rabbah bar bar Chanah said in the name of Rabbi Yochanan: until the Tarmodians have vanished from the market.” (Shabbat 21a)


Chanukah is connected to Pirsumei Nissa, publicizing the miracle. It is necessary to do this specifically in the marketplace, so that everyone can see the great value of Torah and mitzvot, even the rebellious Tarmodians. Lighting the Chanukah candles until this time also points to the fact that we should not overemphasize the importance of work (working until the wee hours of the night), but should instead perform business with faith “B’Emunah,” leaving enough time for Torah and Mitzvot. https://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/2829718/jewish/Insights-on-Laws-of-Chanukah.htm


Teveth is also the month in which Esther was sent to the King’s palace. There, she made a very strong impression on the King’s subject, and everyone was mesmerized by her grace. The King loved Esther, and when it came time for her to pray to save the kingdom, her prayers were accepted, even though it had been a long time since she had been called to the King.


One more important concept about the light of Chanukah is specifically this idea that it is above time. As we glance at the clear, bright light of the candles, which was made and then hidden at the very beginning of Creation, we thank Hashem for the miracles done “in those days, at this time.” In other words, the light of Chanukah is above time. It is at the very pinnacle of Creation, reserved for Tzadikim in Olam HaBah, and represents the ultimate form of prayer: Thanksgiving.


Torah 94, for the 1st of Teveth, Rosh Chodesh, and the Sixth Night of Chanukah, starts with the concept that the whole world was created for Israel, and Hashem wants to dwell in us. Israel is Hashem’s glory, and Hashem created the world in order to provide it with great good. In order to give such good, Hashem must contract his light through speech and the letters of the Hebrew alphabet. Because of our many sins, speech is also in exile.


Our sages teach that every person must say, “For me the world was created.” It was created for me to fix it. A person must see that all the sparks in all things get elevated. The sparks are the letters, and once they are elevated, Israel receives great good through speech.


The lesson then gives specific advice as to how to elevate the sparks: by looking intently at an object and then believe with complete faith (Emunah) that the object is made of letters and sparks. Then connect the Emunah to wisdom (Chochmah). This faith and wisdom combined form an “eye” (Ayin) that can elevate.


This lesson contains themes of Teveth and also Chanukah.Teveth is a dark and cold month, connected to exile, specifically containing the Tenth of Teveth, one of the main fast days related to the destruction of the Temple, Hashem’s dwelling place.


There are other less known fast days on the 8th and 9th of Teveth, but one of the major themes of all these fast days is our relationship with the letters of the Torah. The 8th of Teveth is when the Torah was translated to Greek, the 9th is the day of the passing of Ezra the Scribe. The 10th of Teveth is when Nebuchadnezzar laid a siege around Jerusalem, which eventually led to the destruction of the First Temple. The First Temple was destroyed because we did not make a blessing before studying Torah.


Teveth represents the Tribe of Dan, of Shimshon. Shimshon acted alone (in the spirit of “for me the world was created,” and he elevated sparks hidden in the utmost depths, such as in the dwelling placed of the Philistines in Gaza. 


Shimshon was led astray by his eyes, and the lesson focuses on how to create a spiritual eye. The concept of focusing one’s sight intently on an object in order to elevate sparks also seems particularly connected to Chanukah. Every night, spend time looking at the Menorah’s lights. We also play with a Sevivon, in which we spin its letters.


Again, as in most of the recent lessons, one of the main themes is Emunah and Chochmah, particularly Chochmah that comes from Emunah.


Torah 95, for the 2nd of Teveth, the Seventh Night of Chanukah, states what happens when leaders of the Jewish people become prideful. Hashem sends others to criticize them, so that they do not become arrogant. 


The lesson connects the above to a Kabbalistic teaching regarding statement from our sages that, “A leader is not appointed unless a box of creeping creatures hangs behind him” (in that his past/lineage is imperfect).


As previously explained, Teveth represents the Tribe Dan, whose quintessential qualities can be found in the personality of Shimshon. Shimshon was a judge and leader, and was also heavily involved in matters that appear less than pure. There are also moments in which he appears prideful, and is involved in several disputes. These disputes ultimately humble him, and yet, at the peak of his distress and when he feels most like nothing and naught, Hashem grants him a miracle in which he kills more Philistines in his death and during his entire lifetime.


Torah 96, for the 3rd of Teveth, the Zos Chanukah, is about how Tzadikim sometimes have foreign thoughts that they need to elevate, related to fallen sparks found in each spiritual level they reach. 


Sometimes a Tzadik can have a foreign thought that he cannot elevate because the thought can be from a opposition to another Tzadik that is on a higher level than he is. In that case, even though he cannot elevate the thought, he is able to break the opposition through the strength of his desire to do so.


The concept of elevating thoughts/sparks at eqch new spiritual level is very much parallel to the lighting of an additional candle on each day of Chanukah. 


The limits in of one’s ability to elevate on their own parallels the Eighth Night of Chanukah, where we’ve reached the limits of what we are capable of doing, and now hope in Hashem to do the rest.


That is also very much the story of Chanukah. Both regarding the war and the miracle of the candles, the Chashmonaim did their part (Hishtadlut) and had faith (Bitachon) in Hashem to do the rest.


This concept (and the breaking of the opposition) is also found in Shimshon’s life. As mentioned previously, at a given moment he was faced with forces of impurity that were too much for him to handle. Yet, even after his hair was already cut and he had lost his sight, the shear strength desire to take vengeance on the Philistines led to an open miracle and a military feat accomplished in death greater than all of those accomplished in his lifetime combined.


Torah 97, for the 4th of Teveth, teaches that there is a place in the higher worlds called “Eldad and Meidad,” from which comes down a spiritual influx (Shefa). Each name is connected to the word for breast (“Dad”), and the Shefa itself is called the letter “Heh.”


When the Shefa departs, the Heh becomes a Dalet, and needs to be transformed back to a Heh. 


In order to do so, one must overcome two obstacles that prevent us from “ruling” through our prayers: 1) pride in our ancestry and past accomplishments, and 2) foreign thoughts. 


We combat these obstacles by 1) “forgetting” our past and starting to pray as if for the first time;  and 2) having holy thoughts, as the mind cannot contain two thoughts at once.


One then acquires humility, which leads to fear (Yirah), which is also rulership (Malchut).


The fourth (Dalet) of Teveth is Erev “Heh Teveth,” also known as “Didan Netzach,” a Chassidic holiday established by the Lubavitcher Rebbe, who was victorious in keeping the holy books of Chabad from being taken away from its library. 


Details of the story have already been provided, but, in short, the books had been taken from the library and sold by a nephew of the Rebbe, who claimed the books were the personal property of the Previous Rebbe and that the he therefore owned the books as a descendant. He further claimed that the Chabad organization had become inactive. 


Chabad’s position, based on a letter from the Previous Rebbe, as well as Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka’s testimony, was that “the Rebbe and his books belonged to the Chassidim,” which pointed to his great humility.


Throughout the process, the Rebbe spoke to Chassidim with great concern, and also instilling a great amount of fear. He said that the stolen books in people’s homes were like spiritual bombs that could explode at any moment.


The secular American court sided with Chabad, accepting the special role of a Rebbe and his relationship with the Chassidim, and rejecting the notion that the Chabad movement had ceased to exist, a notion completely disconnected from reality.


The books were ultimately all returned to the library, and from this moment on, Heh Teveth has always been considered a day of great blessing.


Torah 98, for the 5th of Teveth, “Heh Teveth,” is an explanation of the phrase found many times in the Talmud, “He placed his eyes on him and he became a heap of bones.” The Tzadik sees the extent of the blemish caused by that person’s sin, and when the Tzadik reveals that to the person, there is no greater punishment.


The themes of eyesight and sin are connected to Teveth, as it corresponds to the Tribe of Dan in general and to Shimshon in particular. Shimshon has his eyes taken out, which a Mida k’Neged Middah punishment for the blemishes he caused by being led astray by his eyes. Shimshon himself exacts punishment on the Philistines by making their temple, and all who were inside, literally into a heap of bones.


An even clearer connection to this lesson are the events that led to Heh Teveth, as explained regarding the previous lesson. The Lubavitcher Rebbe revealed to the Chassidim the extent of the damage caused by the stealing of holy books and objects, and referred to those books that were in the houses of those who purchased them as spiritual “bombs.”


Torah 99, for the 6th of Teveth, is about how a person should always pray with all their might whether or not they feel attachment (Dvekut) to Hashem. That is because, when the time comes that they do feel that attachment when praying, then all the previous prayers that were not at that level get elevated with this last prayer.


The month of Teveth is known as a somewhat difficult (cold, dark) month, when perhaps there are moments when we don’t feel as attached when praying. We should remain steadfast because there will be future moments, even during this month itself, which are times of goodwill (Et Ratzon). These include the 5th of Teveth (Heh Teveth), as well as the 8th, 9th, and 10th of Teveth, in the coming days.


Perhaps a similar parallel can also be drawn with Shimshon, who kept struggling against the Philistines and at the last moment was accomplish a tremendous deed that further elevated all of his previous efforts.


Torah 100, for the 7th of Teveth, explains how, even though the Tzadikim of every generation are holy, there are certain Tzadikim that are good-natured and get along well with people, while there are others that do not get along with people and get angry and upset/particular about the things. 


This is because some Tzadikim have deeds that are the same level as the light of the Torah they’ve received, while others whose light of Torah greatly surpasses their deeds, and this holy fire of Torah burns within them.


This lesson again seems very much related to Dan/Shimshon. Shimshon, whose name comes from the word “Shemesh” (son), is an example of a Tzadik whose light did not match his deeds. He was very quarrelsome, but he used this for a holy purpose: to elevate hidden sparks and exact punishment on the Phillistines.


We now also enter days known as “fasts for Tzadikim.”


Torah 101, for the 8th day of Teveth, is about how Hashem created worlds with the Torah. Yud is the wisdom of the Torah, and the Heh is its letters – the Five Books, and the five articulations of the mouth.


The Jewish people are called “Adam” but the idolaters are not called “Adam.” There are 70 shining faces related to the Torah as it relates to the Jewish people, and 70 dark faces related to Torah as it relates to the idolatrous nations. The Torah can be a potion of life, related to the shining faces, or a potion of death, related to the darkened faces, which sustain the 70 nations.


Each of the 70 nations has its own particular evil trait that stands out the most, and when anyone that has such a trait falls under this nation’s subjugation. The Torah saves us from these traits and from these nations’ subjugation.


Each and every (Jewish) person has within them an aspect of a shining face, which is the holiness of Israel. In their root, they are distant from the desires and traits of the nations. The nations have hold on the person that when they sin, the sin is etched on their bones, and the only way out of this is through Torah. A person must work diligently in Torah, and kill themselves over it. Then a person is called “Adam,” because the essence of the aspect of Adam is the aspect of intellect: wisdom (Chochmah), understanding (Binah) and knowledge (Da’at) (Chabad).


As mentioned previously, the 8th of Teveth, is considered a fast day for Tzadikim, because it was on this day that the Torah was translated to Greek. The translation is known as the Septuagint (from the word for “seventy”), as the Greek king Ptolomy placed 72 Torah sages in different rooms, and yet they each miraculously came up with the same translation. This led directly to three days of darkness:


“On the 8th of Tevet, the Torah was rendered into Greek during the days of King Ptolemy, and darkness descended upon the world for three days.’ To what may the matter be likened? To a lion captured and imprisoned. Before his imprisonment, all feared him and fled from his presence. Then, all came to gaze at him and said, ‘Where is this one’s strength?” (Megillat Ta’anit 9) https://www.ou.org/holidays/translation-seventy/


The lesson, as well as the metaphor used for the imprisonment of a lion, again brings up back to Dan/Shimshon. (Dan is one of the the tribes compared to a lion, and Shimshon also has interactions with a lion). Shimshon (and to certain extent the whole Jewish people at the time) fell prey to the evil inclination and to the subjugation of the Philistines. The subjugation impacted his very body, and it took Shimshon literally killing himself to regain his strength and holiness.


We are also still close to the days of Didan Netzach and the tremendous sacrifices made to protect the sacred texts of the Chabad movement. Later this month, on the 24th of Teveth, it is also the anniversary of the passing of the Alter Rebbe, who sacrificed his life not to be subjugated to the impure forces of Napoleon.


Finally, it is worth mentioning that the verse in which much of this lesson is based on, “… Ki B’Yah Tzur Olamim,” is the Song of Ducks in Perek Shirah (See Kabbalah of Time, Week 16, in Teveth).


Torah 102, for the 9th of Teveth, starts with the concept that Hashem created the world for the sale of His glory, in order to reveal his kingship (Malchut). Through this, the forces of evil become subservient to the Divine Presence (Schechinah).


Hashem’s kingship is revealed when Jews are provided with great good, and this spiritual influx is brought down through prayer. Every person has to pray in this way, based on the statement, “The whole world was created for me.”


To arouse the influx from Above, one requires fear (Yirah). There are two levels: one is a fear that comes from above, and is aroused out of its own volition (and no reward is associated with it); there is also a level of Yirah, in which comes from the person’s own strength and effort. With such fear, prayer is heard and Hashem’s Malchut is revealed.


The 9th of Teveth is the yahrzeit of Ezra the Scribe (HaSofer). Few people in Jewish history have done more than Ezra to reveal Hashem’s Malchut in the world. He did so with tremendous Yirah and also through prayer (Ezra, 10:1):


1And when Ezra prayed and confessed, weeping and prostrating himself before the House, a very large assemblage of Israel, men, women, and children, gathered to him, for the people wept with much weeping.

                     א וּכְהִתְפַּלֵּ֚ל עֶזְרָא֙ וּכְהִתְוַדֹּת֔וֹ בֹּכֶה֙ וּמִתְנַפֵּ֔ל לִפְנֵ֖י בֵּ֣ית הָֽאֱלֹהִ֑ים נִקְבְּצוּ֩ אֵלָ֨יו מִיִּשְׂרָאֵ֜ל קָהָ֣ל רַב־מְאֹ֗ד אֲנָשִׁ֚ים וְנָשִׁים֙ וִֽילָדִ֔ים כִּֽי־בָכ֥וּ הָעָ֖ם הַרְבֵּה־בֶֽכֶה:


Ezra accomplished all this almost single-handedly, true to the phrase, “For me the world was created,” which again brings to mind Shimshon, who also acted alone. At the end of his life, we also see that he increases Hashem’s glory through Yirah and prayer. Throughout his life, Shimshon’s strength and Yirah were somewhat automatic (he was made a Nazir even before birth), but in the end, with his hair shaven, the source of his strength was his own efforts and prayers.


Reb Nosson of Breslov, whose yahrzeit is on the 10th of Teveth, accomplished what he accomplished also in the same matter: through intense personal effort, Yirah and prayer.


Torah 103, for the 10th day of Teveth, is about how whoever withholds Jewish law (Halacha) from the mouth of a student is like robbing from the inheritance of their fathers. Rebbe Nachman draws a parallel between Torah as an inheritance and the Land of Israel as an inheritance: that the tribes of Reuven and Gad seemed to discourage the conquering of the Land was an indication to Moshe that their schoolteachers were not properly teaching Torah to the children.


The 10th of Teveth marks the date in which Nebuchadnezzar laid a siege on Jerusalem, ultimately leading to the destruction of the First Temple and exile from the Land of Israel. Reuben and Gad were among the first to be exiled, already by the Assyrians. The connection between faulty Torah study/Torah education and the exile and destruction of the First Temple is also found in the Talmud:


The Talmud in Bava Metzia 85a - 85b, based on a verse from the Prophet Jeremiah (9:11), asks why the Land had been lost and the First Temple destroyed? Hashem himself answers the prophet: “And the Lord says, ‘Because they have forsaken My Torah, which I set before them.’” (Jeremiah 9:12) The Talmud explains this to mean that the Jewish people at the time did not recite a blessing on the Torah prior to studying it.


This teaching is also found in a separate section of the Talmud, Nedarim 81a. There, the above is also given as a reason for why Torah scholars do not have children who are also Torah scholars.


Torah 103, for the 10th day of Teveth, is about how whoever withholds Jewish law (Halacha) from the mouth of a student is like robbing from the inheritance of their fathers. Rebbe Nachman draws a parallel between Torah as an inheritance and the Land of Israel as an inheritance: that the tribes of Reuven and Gad seemed to discourage the conquering of the Land was an indication to Moshe that their schoolteachers were not properly teaching Torah to the children.


The 10th of Teveth marks the date in which Nebuchadnezzar laid a siege on Jerusalem, ultimately leading to the destruction of the First Temple and exile from the Land of Israel. Reuben and Gad were among the first to be exiled, already by the Assyrians. The connection between faulty Torah study/Torah education and the exile and destruction of the First Temple is also found in the Talmud:


The Talmud in Bava Metzia 85a - 85b, based on a verse from the Prophet Jeremiah (9:11), asks why the Land had been lost and the First Temple destroyed? Hashem himself answers the prophet: “And the Lord says, ‘Because they have forsaken My Torah, which I set before them.’” (Jeremiah 9:12) The Talmud explains this to mean that the Jewish people at the time did not recite a blessing on the Torah prior to studying it.


This teaching is also found in a separate section of the Talmud, Nedarim 81a. There, the above is also given as a reason for why Torah scholars do not have children who are also Torah scholars.

Torah 104, for the 11th of Teveth, has a similar theme as the previous lesson. It analyzes the statement from our sages that because Moshe suspected those that were kosher (the tribes of Gad and Reuven), he was punished with a grandson that worshipped idols, responsible for Pesel Micha. The lesson draws on the concept that one who is outside of Israel is like someone without a G-d, to show that the specific punishment regarding Pesel Micha is related to Moshe’s suspicion that these two tribes wanted no part in the Land of Israel.

Another reason given for the exile and the destruction of the First Temple, besides from the one given in the previous lesson, is that the Jewish people committed the three major sins a person needs to allow themselves to be killed in order not to do: 1) idol worship, 2) murder, and 3) adultery or incest. Just as the previous one, further illustrates the connection between this major sin (idol worship) and exile/disconnection from the Land.

The terrible incident of Pesel Micha took place in the tribe of Dan, related to the month of Teveth. It was the first occurrence of idol worship since the Children of Israel entered the Land of Israel, and was the beginning of the downfall, similar to the Tenth of Teveth itself, which marked the siege of the Jerusalem - the beginning of the punishment that led to the Temple’s destruction.

The idea of falsely accusing others / being suspicious of kosher people (Choshed B’Ksherim) is closely tied to slander and speaking badly of others (Rechilus and Lashon Harah), the latter of which is compared to all three major sins outlined above.

Torah 105, for the 12th of Teveth, is about how the world needs great mercy, regarding both spiritual and physical matters. Yet there is no one in our generation capable of drawing down such great mercy in prayer, and therefore Hashem Himself has to pray for such mercy. In order to merit such prayers from Hashem, one must have knowledge (Da’at), performing repentance (Teshuva) based on the study of Torah.

Hashem’s prayers can be compared to a situation in where there are two people able to elicit mercy, the second much more than the first, to the point that he can affect a complete deliverance. Hashem first, simple level of mercy, leads to prayers that bring about a much greater level that brings about a complete deliverance.

Reb Nosson states that this lesson was not written down in a clear manner, and offers additional examples: 1) Like a rich man that has a connection to a much richer man, who can provide complete salvation; 2)Moshe, when praying for Miriam, he asks that Hashem Himself pray for her.

Regarding Teveth, representing the Tribe of Dan, and particularly Shimshon, we see the same theme. It tends to be a difficult time, of Mochin d’Katnut. Chushin, son of Dan, was deaf and because of this (given the technology of those days) lacked Da’at. Shimshon’s father also lacked Da’at (as we see from his interaction with an angel), and Shimshon himself also seemed to lack Da’at on many occasions (particularly in his interactions with his Philistine wives).

At the end of his life, his Teshuva leads to a tremendous deliverance, yet it was clear that he alone could not elicit the mercy necessary for it. The one who originally prayed for that deliverance was someone on a much higher level, not around in Shimshon’s generation: Yaakov Avinu himself. When blessing Dan, he specifically prayed for that delivery: “L’yishuatcha kiviti Hashem! (For Your salvation, I hope, O Lord!)”

Torah 106, for the 13th of Teveth, has a similar theme. It is about the statement of our sages that the main poverty is lack of Da’at, and that this requires compassion. This relates in general to a person lack of intellect in the service of the Creator, which requires someone with intellect to enlighten him; and also regarding any individual himself, in times of constriction known as Katnut haMochin (smallness of the mind). A person must strengthen themselves in order to reach Gadlut HaMochin (greatness/expansion of the mind). An expanded mindest leads to mercy and kindness.

Again, this appears to be a reference to Teveth/Dan/Shimshon. Yaakov (particularly in the state of “Yisrael” when he blessed the tribes) represents Gadlut HaMochin.

Torah 107, for the 14th of Teveth, is based on the first verse of Parashat Ki Tetzeh, which also introduces the section on the law regarding a beautiful female (gentile) captive. 

The lesson focuses however on the fact that the war itself is against the evil inclination (Yetzer HaRah), which can give a person the false impression that they are such a Tzadik that they already have the power to cancel decrees.

One fights such an urge with using the Yetzer HaRah’s own methods against it, using logical arguments that arrogance actually pushes away the Divine Presence, which then certainly wouldn’t listen to that person’s attempts to influence Divine decrees.

This teaching again brings to mind Shimshon, who constantly struggled with beautiful foreign women and with military battles. 

Shimshon also seemed to struggle with arrogance: often boasting to others of his accomplishments and prowess. He would also recklessly give in to his Philistine wives’ whining and complaining, which eventually led to a disaster that he was unable to avert. The Divine Presence left him, and yet, when things looked the darkest, because of his humility,

Hashem answered his request and Hashem’s spirit came to him one last time.

The 14th of Teveth is also known as “Hebron Purim,” or “Window Purim,” in which the Jewish community of Hebron was saved from destruction. The community did not rely on their own prayers to cancel the evil decree, but instead sent a pidyon prayer through a window of the Cave of Machpelah. The evil pasha had demanded from the Jews a large sum of money (50,000 piasters). The night before payment was due, the Forefathers, Avraham, Yitzhak, and Yaakov, came to the pasha and took from him 50,000 of his own money for the Jews to “pay him back.” (https://www.chabad.org/kids/article_cdo/aid/1380/jewish/Purim-Hebron.htm)

Torah 108, for the 15th of Teveth, is about how the Olah sacrifice is related to thoughts of the heart. The only thoughts that are considered like actions are those related to idolatry, to which everyone is subject to a certain degree, because even falling from one’s level during prayer is considered like having idolatrous thoughts.


Every fall is related to the ruining of one’s faith, through which one turns one’s face away from Hashem. Hashem, in turn, hides His countenance, so it is as if we are positioned back-to-back.


An Olah offering is needed for this, which is accomplished by breaking one’s spirit and feeling ashamed, thinking, “How could I have fallen and gone from Heaven to earth…” This requires tremendous mercy, feeling crushed transforms our position of back-to-back to one in which we are facing each other, which parallels how Adam and Eve were first created back-to-back and then (after being made into two), face-to-face.


As mentioned previously, Teveth requires fixing the aspect of idolatry within us. Idolatry first reappeared in Israel in the incident of Pesel Micha, in the Tribe of Dan, represented by Teveth. Idolatry was also one of the causes of the destruction of the First Temple, which began on the 10th of Teveth.


The fall described above again is reminiscent of Shimshon, who felt crushed and asked for great mercy in order to take on last revenge against the Philistines.


Teveth also contains an aspect related to sexuality and the proper relationship between Adam and Eve, and how it parallels our relationship with Hashem. Teveth is the coldest month of the year, and in our relationship with Hashem, it is a time “when the body takes pleasure in the body,” (Megillah 13a; See Love in the Ice Age https://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/2822/jewish/Love-in-the-Ice-Age.htm)

Torah 109, for the 16th of Teveth, is about groaning and sighing, which are an aspect of death/breaking of the body and the soul. A wicked person can sigh about their past and thereby break their connection to evil and do Teshuvah; however, a righteous person can sigh and break their connection to good, thereby falling with the lot of the wicked.


There are two types of rope (Chevel): one of holiness and the other of impurity. A person can bind themselves with either one depending on their actions, which are based on free choice. The breath (Hevel) of a sigh can lead to either rope, and if one makes the right choice, it can be better than many mortifications and fasts.  


Once again, this lesson contains many parallels with Shimshon, who appeared to vacillate between these two ropes, and yet whose final sighing led to great triumph. There are several occasions in which Shimshon is bound by ropes:1) when an army of Philistines demands that they surrender him, he is tied with strong ropes. Endowed with Hashem’s spirit, he easily breaks and kills a thousand Philistines (Shoftim 15:9-15); Delilah twice binds him with ropes two times, first with seven moist bowstrings, and then with seven new ropes (Ibid. at 16:7-13). After he loses his strength, he is bound with copper chains. (Ibid. at 16:21)

Torah 110, for the 17th of Teveth, is about how the Torah is spirituality. A person whose actions are pure and straight and whose mind is spiritual can grasp the entire Torah and not forget any of it. For someone whose Torah is physical, there’s a limit to how much they can absorb.

This lesson contains many of the themes of the month of Teveth, particularly the reason for the Chassidic holiday and fasts of this month. From the selling of the books of the Chabad library, to the translation of the Torah to Greek, to the reason for the destruction of the First Temple being due to not making a blessing before studying Torah, and the events of this month can be traced back to the main idea of this lesson: the Torah must be first and foremost spiritual, not material.

The 17th of Teveth is also the eve of the yahrzeit of Rebbe Tzvi Elimelech Schapira of Dinov, the Bnei Yissasschar. His teachings, based mainly on Kabbalah, is deeply spiritual, a perfect exemple of this lesson.

Torah 111, for the 18th of Teveth, is a very short lesson, listing two acronyms for the word “Rebbe:” “Rosh Bnei Yisrael” (Head of the Children of Israel) and “Reshayim B’Choshech Yidamu” (The wicked will be silent in darkness)

As mentioned previously, the 18th of Teveth is the yahrzeit of the Bnei Yissachar, who was a Rebbe and founder of a Chassidic line whose branches are still alive and well, such as Munkatch and Bluzhev. The Bnei Yissachar received this name because he was told by his teacher, the Chozeh of Lublin, that he was a direct descendant from the Tribe of Yissachar. This tribe was known for its Torah scholars, many of which were the heads of the Jewish people as part of the Sanhedrin.

The 18th of Teveth also marks the day of the execution of Huna Mori, the Resh Galuta (“Head of the Exile”), through the evil decree of the Persian emperor. This was another dark moment of this month, which will be transformed into light with the coming of Mashiach. https://www.chabad.org/calendar/view/day.asp?hdate=10/18&mode=j#:~:text=The%20Exilarch%20(%22Reish%20Galuta%22,469%20of%20the%20common%20era). 

Torah 112, for the 19th of Teveth, is based on the verse from Parashat Noach about making a “Tzohar” for the Ark. According to Rashi, some say that Tzohar was a precious stone while others say that it was a window.

The Evil Inclination surrounds holiness. This is particularly so for someone who has already been pulled after transgressions. A person’s speech/prayer remains blocked by a screen until they are able to truly repent. This repentance is accomplished by connecting to truth. Truth is the foundation of everything, it is Hashem’s seal (Chotem).

By connecting to truth, Hashem’s light shines in a person, who can then find openings (Petachim) in order to leave the darkness and the exile in which they find themselves.

There are many levels of truth. A person should pray all their days in order to be able to speak one world of truth before Hashem. 

[According to Maimonides,] there are three worlds: of the angels, of the spheres (Galgalim), and the physical world. Whoever obtains truth sustains and brings spiritual bounty to these worlds.

The words of truth bring light. The truth can be on the level of a precious stone or of a window. The precious stone shines on its own, while the window allows for another source to shine into it. 

When a person is deeply surrounded by great darkness, the solution is to speak words of truth, whatever low level it is. They can then also find openings and bring up others with him.

This is deeply related to prayer, the celestial spheres, and the different iterations of the prayers (Nuscha’ot), in accordance with their source in their respective tribes [which represent the constellations/months], based on the verse “Darach Kochav M’Yaakov…” (a star 

This lesson touches on one of the main themes of Teveth: what to do when one is surrounded by darkness (like Shimshon at the end of his life). The battle of light versus darkness, inner truth versus superficially, is also the story of Chanukah, which includes the first days of Teveth.

The 19th of Teveth (some say the 20th), is the yahrzeit of the Abir Yaakov, Rav Yaakov Abuchatzeira. Yaakov Avinu is known primarily for his quality of truth (“Titen Emet L’Yaakov”). His main work is called Pituchei Chotem, both key words in this lesson.

Pituchei Chotem is actually a reference to the Choshen Mishpat of the Kohen Gadol, which contained twelve precious stones, one for each tribe. The Choshen also served as a window into the true will of Hashem, as He would speak to the Kohen Gadol through lighting up the stones, also known as the Urim ve’Tumim. (Perhaps the connection of the Urim ve’Tumim with truth/Yaakov is also an explanation for its name, given that Yaakov was known as Ish Tam). 

The 19th of Teveth is also the Yahrzeit of the Ketzos HaChoshen. The 20th of Teveth is the Yahrzeit of the Rambam, who se teaching Rebbe Nachman references in this lesson. The Rambam wrote the Guide for the Perplexed, for those confused and lost due to the darkness of exile. Also in the beginning of his main work, the Mishneh Torah, the Rambam describes the human condition as someone walking in darkness, experiencing only brief moments of lightning, which allow him to see the truth, even if only in a limited and temporary way.

Torah 113, for the 20th of Teveth, is about how a person’s judgment is accounted against them with their knowledge (MiDa’ato) or without their knowledge (Shelo MiDa’ato). The lesson states in the name of the Baal Shem Tov that before any decree is passed against the world, the whole world is asked if it agrees, and so too regarding each individual. However, the person is not told that they are the ones that performed the action now under judgment, just as in the story with David and the Prophet Nathan. That is why it is of crucial importance to be careful not to pass judgment regarding each any word or story one hears, as there is a life-threatening danger regarding this.

The 20th of Teveth is the yahrzeit of the Rambam and this lesson is extremely reminiscent as well as complementary to the Rambam’s famous words in the Mishna Torah, Hilchot Teshuva, Chapter 3. 

There, the Rambam explains how the whole world and every individual is judged.  It further states that the exact weighing of sins and merits is performed with the knowledge of the Knowing G-d (B’Da’ato shel Kel D’eot).

The Rambam further explains that a person should always view themselves and the entire world as equally balanced between mitzvot and sins and that any sin can bring himself and the entire world to the side of sin and destruction, while any mitzvah can bring himself and the whole world to the side of merit and deliverance. 

Torah 114, for the 21st of Teveth, is about how the quality of hidden Tzadikim is very great. They can bring great influx of good (Shefah) to the world, without being accused. For a Tzadik that is well known, disputes (Machloket) cover him and he is able to draw bounty that way without accusations.

The Rambam faced tremendous opposition. This allowed him to bring much Shefah to the world, a Shefah that is still very much felt today. (This project has been completed (Baruch Hashem!) on the 18th of Adar II, at the same time that Siyumim of the Mishneh Torah are being celebrated all over the world.)

Torah 115, for the 22nd of Teveth, is about how someone who has spent all their days in physical pursuits and afterwards wants to go in the ways of Hashem, the attribute of judgement (Midat HaDin) makes accusations and does not permit it, placing an obstacle in the person’s path.

Hashem, who desires kindness, hides Himself in this obstacle. Someone with knowledge (Da’at), the quality of Moshe, looks at the obstacle and finds Hashem there.

Hashem loves justice and therefore agrees with the Midat HaDin about placing the obstacle, but He loves Israel more, and therefore hides Himself in the obstacle in order to be found.

Hashem, who desires kindness, hides Himself in this obstacle. Someone with knowledge (Da’at), the quality of Moshe, looks at the obstacle and finds Hashem there.

Hashem loves justice and therefore agrees with the Midat HaDin about placing the obstacle, but He loves Israel more, 

Similar to the previous we approach the end of Teveth, between the yahrzeits of the Rambam and the Alter Rebbe of Liadi, the lesson here is about not only opposing darkness, but elevating the sparks in it, finding Hashem there. As explained regarding the previous lesson, we see this very strongly in the Rambam’s legacy, as well as in Shimshon’s and the Alter Rebbe’s lived as well, both at the time of their imprisonment and of their passing.


Torah 116, for the 23rd of Teveth, is about how Tzedakah saves a person from transgressions. When a person is merciful towards others, Heaven shows that person mercy as well. However, mercy is shown only to those with knowledge (De’ah), so therefore that person receives knowledge as well.

The Talmud states that a person only sins because a spirit of folly enters them. However, once that person has knowledge, they do not have a spirit of knowledge and there does not transgress.

On the 23rd of Teveth, we already start making our transition to the month of Shvat, representing the Tribe of Asher. Asher was known for its abundant olive oil,  representing both economic prosperity as well as wisdom. The lesson connects the two concepts through the mitzvah of Tzedakah.

The 23rd of Teveth is the eve of the Alter Rebbe’s yahrzeit, and the Alter Rebbe himself was a great proponent of Tzedakah. It started even before his connection to the Chabad Chassidic movement. At the time of his marriage he and his wife used their dowry to buy land for Jewish settlement. He also established Collel Chabad, presently the “oldest continuously running charity for the poor in Israel.” He lived a simple life, yet raised fortunes on behalf of his fellow Jews. Also, nearly half of the letters in Iggeres HaKodesh, fourth section in his main work, the Tanya, is dedicated to Tzedakah.


One of the main themes of the Tanya is also developing the concept of how every Jew has a natural love and desire to cling to Hashem, and only fails to do so because of a spirit of folly (Ruach Shtut) as mentioned in the Talmud. In later generations, the Previous Lubavitcher Rebbe in his famous Ma’amar Basi L’Gani, would develop this concept in a different direction, focusing on the need for Shtus de Kedusha “holy folly” in the service of Hashem. The Previous Rebbe passed away on Yud Shevat, and the Rebbe would further elaborate on the teachings of Basi L’Gani every year.

Torah 117, for the 24th of Teveth explains the reason it is difficult to sleep on Motzei Shabat. It is a time of the beginning of the revelation of Eliyahu HaNavi, who will come to distance those brought close by force and bring them close those distanced by force. This means he will distance falsehood and bring close the truth.

Rebbe Nachman also brings a proof from a discussion between a Roman nonbelieving soldier and Rabbi Elazar regarding a verse about how “the lip of truth” (Sfat Emet) will be established in the future. Rebbe Nachman explains that this refers to when Eliyahu will come and “save Yehudah and Yisrael.” In the present we are still faced with falsehood.

Eliyahu will distance the power of the snake, as well as that of Canaan, both associated with sleep. Also, Motzei Shabat is the time of Havdalah, which is associated with knowledge (Da’at), while sleep represents the lack of Da’at.

The 24th of Teveth is the Yahrzeit of the Alter Rebbe of Liadi. He passed away on Motzei Shabat Parashat Shemot, right after reciting the Havdalah prayer, after being forced to flee (distanced by force) his home by the approaching Napoleon’s troops (brought close by force), who were specifically searching for him. He did not pass away in the comfort of his home, but rather in difficult exile.

Right before passing, the Alter Rebbe wrote a short discourse about how currently we are mainly involved in matters o falsehood, but in the future, truth will be established. https://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/465708/jewish/The-Passing-of-Rabbi-Schneur-Zalman-of-Liadi.htm

It is worth noting that the Alter Rebbe, demanded the trait of truth (to the extent that it cost him 50,000 chassidim - see Hayom Yom for 10th of Av). 

In the war between Russia and France, the Alter Rebbe sided with Russia, despite the Czar’s oppression. France’s ideals of liberty, equality, and brotherhood, might have led to a better situation for the Jews financially, but spiritually, the Alter Rebbe foresaw that things would be much worse. French ideals would blur the distinction (Havdalah) between Jews and gentiles and lead to great assimilation.

The Alter Rebbe is the founder of the Chabad movement, which stands for Chochma, Binah, and Da’at.

The upcoming month of Shvat also begins with two very important yahrzeits connected to the verses quoted above: Rabbi Yehudah Aryeh Leib Alter, the “Sfas Emes,” and Rabbi Yisrael Abuchatzira, the “Baba Sali.”

Torah 118 for the 25th of Teveth, is about how it is good to explain what one has learned into the language one understands. That is because the Tzadik of the generation is an aspect of Moshe. When innovates (Mechadesh) in Torah, those words are an aspect of Moshe/Mashiach.


Mashiach suffers on behalf of all of Israel (because of their sins), and so does every Tzadik of the generation. The “suffering” can be in the form of explaining a learned Torah idea in a language one understands, taking this lofty thought into the level of the mundane (Chol). It is because of our sins that most of us cannot understand these ideas in the original high level.


Shevat is a month that is closely connected with the Oral Torah. It was on Rosh Chodesh Shvat that Moshe began to teach the Book of Deuteronomy. The Chiddushei HaRim is quoted by his students that, “All the Chiddushei Torah that a person is going to develop in the course of the entire year are presented to him from Heaven during Shevat.” (Zvi Ryzman, The Wisdom of the Hebrew Months, p. 89)


In the Chassidic Discourse for the 10th of Shevat, the Previous Lubavitcher Rebbe spoke about the treasure house of the king, and the need to draw down heavenly treasures  for the sake of securing victory and defeating the enemy. As explained previously, the Lubavitcher Rebbe further expanded on this discourse on a yearly basis on that day, and explained that this treasure is a reference to the teachings of Chassidut developed over the years. These teachings were printed and disseminated to the public over more than 40 years of his leadership.

Torah 119 for the 26th of Teveth, teaches that one who comes to visit the sick on Shabat should say, “She [Shabat] is capable of engendering [Divine] compassion.” When someone is in need of compassion, Hashem sends them an opportunity to be compassionate towards others. Anyone that shows compassion is shown compassion from Heaven. Compassion is dependent on Da’at, holy knowledge. Shabat is the aspect of Da’at. The sick person receives Da’at on Shabat and is therefore able to show mercy. By informing them of this capability, the sick person can then show mercy and receive mercy from Heaven in return.


As previously mentioned, Shevat is connected to the Tribe of Asher. From Asher came (spiritually) beautiful daughters, who were sought out by the other tribes and who married Kohanim Gedolim. The daughters of Asher had the necessary characteristics to engender compassion, as part of the Kohen Gadol’s service was to atone for himself and his household (ie. his wife).


The daughter of Asher is one of the few female members of Yaakov’s family specifically mentioned in the Torah: Serach. She was the one to approach her ailing grandfather to tell him in a knowledgeable and compassionate way (some say through song and playing of the harp) that Yosef was alive. The news was given in an indirect way in a way to avoid shocking Yaakov. As a reward for her merciful act, she was granted long life and entered Gan Eden without having to pass away first.

Torah 120 for the 27th of Teveth teaches about why it is necessary to travel to the Tzadik, and that studying books on ethics (Mussar) is not sufficient. Studying from a book is the aspect of “We will do” (Na’aseh), while hearing directly from the Tzadik is the aspect of “We will hear/listen/understand” (Nishmah). The Midrash teaches that of the two crowns that were given to the Jewish people at Mount Sinai, after the sin of the golden calf, it is the crown of Nishmah that remained.


The 27th of Teveth is the yahrzeit of Rav Shimshon Refael Hirsch, who was the driving force in maintaining Torah-observant Judaism in Germany at the time of the Jewish “enlightenment” movement, at a time in Germany when assimilation and Jewish conversion to Christianity was rampant.


His major works, “Nineteen Letters” and “Chorev,” provide explanations and reasons behind keeping the Mitzvot (the Nishmah; Chorev is another name for Mount Sinai). 


Rav Hirsch was somewhat isolated in the city of Oldenburg. As a young man, the historian Graetz was so impressed with the Nineteen Letters, that he came to Oldenburg to study with the Rav for three years. (https://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/samson-raphael-hirsch-the-father-of-neo-orthodoxy/)


The lesson’s theme on the importance of traveling to the Tzadik is, to a certain extent, a continuation of yesterday’s teaching about Serach, since it is right after that Yaakov and his children travel to see Yosef HaTzadik. The lesson is also related to the general theme of the month of Shevat: Moshe’s review of the Torah found in the Book of Deuteronomy, which began on Rosh Chodesh Shevat.

Torah 121, for the 28th of Teveth, teaches that when someone always finds themselves when looking into and studying a book, deriving an ethical teaching and seeing their smallness and lowliness in every place and in any book that they delve into, that is a sign that they desire to do the will of Hashem. This is based on the verse from Psalm 40, “I then said, ‘Behold, I have come with a book scroll writing about (upon) me.”


The above teaching also appears connected to Rav Shimshon Refael Hirsch. Rashi comments that this verse from the Psalms is a reference to “Na’aseh veNishmah” and the scroll referenced is the Torah, the Five Books of Moses (Chumash). Aside from the two works mentioned yesterday, Rav Shimshon Refael Hirsch is most famous for his commentary on the Chumash, the study of which, German Jewish circles, is comparable to the study of Rashi itself. Rav Hirsch’s modern outlook was to find the will of Hashem and a connection to the Torah in all forms of wisdom and worldly pursuits, a movement known as “Torah Im Derech Eretz.”


The 28th of Teveth is also the birthdate of Rebbetzin Channah Schneerson, the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s mother. She also made great sacrifices for the sake of Torah. In her exile with her husband in in the coldest regions of Russia, she would collet berries that her husband would use as ink to write novel Kabbalistic ideas on the margins of his books. Those commentaries were later published, all in the merit of Rebbetzin Chanah’s efforts.

Torah 122, for the 29th of Teveth, Erev Rosh Chodesh Shvat, is about the attribute of victory/endurance (Netzach) and truth (Emet). In people, these attributes can be conflicting, as the desire for victory can obfuscate the truth. Hashem, on the other hand, is victorious while still maintaining truth.

If one divides the year in cycles of seven weeks in a yearly “Counting of the Omer,” this week, of Rosh Chodesh Shvat, represents the combination of Netzach shebeTiferet (See Kabbalah of Time, Week 18). Tiferet is the attribute of Yaakov Avinu, who also represents truth (“Titen Emet L’Yaakov”). Rosh Chodesh Shvat, according to Beis Shammai, is the Rosh Hashanah for the Trees. As explained in “Kabbalah of Time,” the tree exemplifies the idea of Netzach shebeTIferet. It is able to endure by being balanced.

Note: Tiferet can also be understood as Rachamim, and in fact, the lessons in Likutei Moharan for the previous week, Week 17, Tiferet shebeTiferet, have a huge focus on Rachamim. Both lessons 116 and 119 are based on the concept that “when one who shows Rachamim to others, Heaven shows mercy to him.”) The animal in Perek Shira for that week is the Ruchama (bee-eater).

Torah 123, for the 1st of Shvat, Rosh Chodesh, is about the fundamental importance of binding oneself to the Tzadik of the generation, accepting what he says without veering to the right or to the left, casting off “pseudo-wisdoms,” and setting aside one’s own knowledge in order tom receive the Torah from the Tzadik.

When the Children of Israel received the Torah, they saw the truth and cast off the pseudo-wisdoms they had learned in Egypt.

The main divine service is to be simple (Tam) and upright (Yashar), G-d fearing and separated from evil, without any “pseudo-wisdoms.” 

As mentioned previously, Rosh Chodesh Shvat is when Moshe Rabbeinu began reviewing the Torah with the Children of Israel, as captured in the Book of Deuteronomy. The whole month of Shevat is therefore related to the Oral Torah and to one’s connection to the Tzadik. 

This month is also about faith (Emunah), as we celebrate the Rosh Hashanah of the Trees in the middle of winter.

The above teaching also embodies the idea of Netzach and Emet/Tiferet. Moshe represents Netzach and Yaakov (who described as simple “Ish Tam,” and whose other name, Yisrael, is rooted in the word “Yashar”), represents Emet (truth) and Tiferet (balance/beauty).

Torah 124, for the 2nd of Shvat, is about how Hashem takes pleasure when we “win” him in arguments/supplications in our prayers. Therefore, Hashem provides the words we need to be victorious (Netzach).

The 2nd of Shvat is the yahrzeit of the Rebbe Reb Zusha of Anipoli. Reb Zusha very much embodied this quality of directing all of one’s needs directly to Hashem, who often granted Reb Zusha’s requests in miraculous ways.

We are still in the week of Netzach shebeTiferet (Rachamim), which can be understood to mean being victorious in requesting mercy (prayer).

Torah 125, for the 3rd of Shvat, starts by stating that we derive the Mitzvah of eating three meals on Shabat from the fact that it is written three times “today” (Hayom) regarding Shabat. This shows that the eating on Shabat should be for that specific day - not due to hunger from the day before or to avoid hunger from the day after. Eating on Shabat is very precious.

Shabat is the cornerstone of a Jew’s faith (Emunah). The delight (Oneg/Taanug) of Shabat, particularly that of its meals, corresponds to the Taanug of the World to Come. Similarly, in the month of Shevat, in which we celebrate the trees and eat their fruit while still in the middle of winter, we focus on these same concepts of Emunah and Taanug.

Torah 126, for the 4th of Shvat, is about how there are many times in the Zohar in which the students of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai exclaim, “Woe to the generation when you pass away.” 

The Tzadik is like Shabat, and so one starts missing the Tzadik before his passing, just as one misses the extra soul that leaves a person after Shabat. 

Every time Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai’s students would praise him after a revelation, he would then reveal more Torah.

Shevat is when Moshe Rabbeinu began reviewing the Torah, and is therefore related to the giving of the Oral Torah, particularly new insights (which are derived from the energy of the month of Shevat).

The 4th of Shvat is the yahrzeit of the Baba Sali, whose holiness, knowledge of the secrets of the Torah, and bond to the sages of his generation, in many ways are reminiscent of those of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai.

Torah 127, for the 5th of Shvat, is about how a person’s clothes serve as protection and should always be whole and without blemishes. A person should honor their clothes, otherwise the clothes themselves make claims against the person.

The concept of wearing honorable clothes is connected to Asher, represented by the month of Shvat. The Midrash teaches that Asher “will produce [wearers of] the eight [priestly] garments." Rashi also comments that "daughters of the tribe of Asher were beautiful and married to High Priests who wore eight priestly garments." https://www.chabad.org/therebbe/article_cdo/aid/72871/jewish/The-Concept-Of-Tznius-and-Its-Rewards.htm

As mentioned previously, wealth and honor (both spiritual and physical)were very much associated with the tribe of Asher, and taking care of one’s clothing is very much associated with these qualities.

Torah 128, for the 6th of Shvat, is about how the Sages blinded the eyes of the evil inclination for sexual desire and let it go. This is an aspect of what takes place with people that are only slightly “kosher.” They are able to lower their eyes not to look at other women, but then they look from the side.

The month of Shvat takes in the period between Parashyot Shemot and Mishpatim, known as “Shovavim.” It is an auspicious time to fix one’s evil inclination related to sexual desire. 

Torah 129, for the 7th of Shvat, draws a connection between a verse about how the “Land of Israel devours its inhabitants” and what happens to those who come close to the Tzadik and have faith in him. The Land is the concept of faith, and a person who has faith in the Tzadik gets transformed to be part of the Tzadik, similar to what happens when one consumes food.

Shvat is connected to the concepts of faith (Emunah) and Ta’anug (pleasure), and particularly concerning eating. Shvat as a whole, and particularly Tu B’Shvat is connected to nature and to the trees and vegetation that grow from the Land.

Torah 130, for the 8th of Shvat, teaches that humility leads to the ability  to be saved from sexual immorality and merits guarding the Covenant. The ultimate example of humility is Moshe.

Again this is the period of “Shovavim” and the fixing of any related to Shmirat HaBrit, the guarding of the Covenant.

Torah 131, for the 9th of Shvat, Erev Yud Shvat, is about how one should be afraid of honor, and how it is a potentially life-threatening danger. Glory is an aspect of kingship, which judges.

Yud Shvat js the yahrzeit of the Previous Rebbe of Chabad, and the commemoration of the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s taking on the mantle of leadership a year later. During that entire year, the Rebbe was very reluctant to take the position. 

We see that the role of honor is also quite prominent in the Tribe of Asher, whose daughters, as mentioned previously, merited to marry Kohanim Gedolim.

Torah 132, for the 10th of Shvat, Yud Shvat, teaches that there is a Tzadik that is famous in one land, then not known at all in another, and yet famous again in a different land. The lesson then draws on a teaching from the Zohar regarding a spring that goes underground and then reappears somewhere else. While underground, it waters the roots of the trees.

Yud Shevat is the yahrzeit of the Previous Lubavitcher Rebbe, the Rebbe Rayatz, who was famous in Russia, was then exiled in Poland, and then established the Chabad movement in the United States. The Rebbe Rayatz was also the one to establish the concept of Chabad “Schluchim,” who made it possible for the knowledge Chassidism (its leaders and its teachings) to reach across the globe.

The concept of trees receiving vitality in a hidden matter is also very much associated with Tu B’Shvat, in which the sap within a tree begins to melt and gives vitality to the tree in a way that is similarly hidden from sight.

Torah 133, for the 11th of Shvat, is about how the Tzadik is like the sun, constantly illuminating, it’s just that the world itself gets in the way of us seeing the greatness of the light of the Torah and the Tzadikim. We must therefore bring ourselves to a higher, more spiritual perspective.

The 11th of Shvat is a continuation of Yud Shvat, in that it was the first full day of leadership of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson. Still, as the Rebbe himself pointed out repeatedly, the Previous Rebbe remains very much alive, it is just that our physicality does not permit us to fully grasp this concept. The Zohar teaches that Tzadikim, upon their death, impact the world in an even greater way than during their lifetime.

The above lesson also seems to hint at a certain paradox contained within the month of Shvat itself. In Shvat, we celebrate nature, while at the same time keeping in mind that what is most essential, our connection to Hashem through Torah and Mitzvot, as well as through contact with His Tzadikim, is something that is completely above nature. (See Kabbalah of Time, Week 21)

Torah 134, for the 12th of Shvat, is about how it is a major spiritual endeavor to speak words of Torah to a single person, and all the more so in public. The person must weigh their words carefully, sharing only what each person needs to hear. Speaking words that are not appropriate to the listener has a similar aspect to wasting seed, and even adultery.

As mentioned previously, the month of Shvat is fundamentally connected to the Torah’s Oral Transmission. It was on the first of this month that Moshe began reviewing the Torah for the entire Jewish people.

Torah 135, for the 13th of Shvat, teaches that a good way (“Segulah”) to escape haughtiness is by honoring the holidays (“Yammim Tovim”), with happiness and delights according to one’s ability. Moshe reached 49 gates of understanding (Binah), which made him very humble, and Yom Tov is connected to Binah, and brings humility. 

Yamim Tovim are dependent on Tzadikim, and that is why there is a custom to visit one’s spiritual master before Yom Tov. Receiving Yom Tov itself can be like receiving the countenance of one’s master. This makes a person humble because it is within the nature of something smaller to become nullified to something greater.

One who is connected to the Tzadik can feel the holiness of Yom Tov. The love for the Tzadik should be greater than the love of women. The aspect of Yom Tov is to elevate (the female sefirah of) Malchut of holiness, which is represented by the letter Dalet, from among the impure forces (klippot), the four Malchuts (kingships) of the other side. 

Yom Tov is called the return of the year, and, as stated in the Mishnah, “On four occasions the world is judged.” Teshuvah brings about the redemption. The main thing is to nullify Amalek.

That is also why there is a four-part Mitzvah associated with each Chag, and why Avraham Avinu fought against four kings, in order to elevate the Malchut from them. Through this the womb of a woman who is having difficulty with childbirth.

Tu B’Shvat is one of the four occasions of judgement mentioned above. Over the years, the Rabbis enacted customs for Tu B’Shvat that parallel the other Yamim Tovim, such as a Tu B’Shvat Seder, with four cups of wine.

The 13th of Shvat is the yahrzeit of Rebbetzin Shterna Sarah, the wife of the Rebbe Rashab and the mother of the Rebbe Rayatz. She very much embodied the concepts of humility and understanding, as well as connection to the Tzadik and the battle against and the nullification of Amalek, living through the Bolshevik Revolution and the rise of Nazi Germany. https://anash.org/13-shevat-yahrzeit-of-rebbetzin-shterna-sara/#:~:text=This%20Shabbos%2C%20the%2013th%20of,mother%20of%20the%20Frierdiker%20Rebbe. Her husband’s last Chassidic discourse was “Reishit Goyim Amalek,” about the complete nullification of evil. 

Rebbetzin Shterna Sarah had difficulty with giving birth, but ultimately was successful in giving birth and raising the Rebbe Rayatz.

Torah 136, for the 14th of Shvat, Erev Tu B’Shvat, is about the need to judge one companion favorably during a dispute. One should do so either because the companion is on a higher level and one must strive to reach him, or the companion is on a lower level, and he must try to elevate him by judging him favorably.

Tu B’Shvat is the Rosh Hashanah for the trees and therefore is a time of judgement. There is a dispute between Beit Hillel and Beit Shammai regarding whether the Rosh Hashanah of the trees is actually on Rosh Chodesh Shvat. We ultimately rule like Beit Hillel because they were humble, always teaching Beit Shammai’s opinion first before their own. This illustrates the above teaching of the need to judge others favorably in matters of dispute.

Torah 137, for the 15th of Shvat, Tu B’Shvat, is one line interpreting the verse, “My portion, Hashem, I said to keep Your words.” The person’s G-dly portion tells them to keep Hashem’s words.

Tu B’Shvat is the time to give the tenth portion of one’s fruit as a tithe to the Temple, in line with Hashem’s words in the Torah.

It is interesting that the Likutei Moharan lesson for Shavuot is also one line.

Torah 138, for the 16th of Shvat, interprets the verse, “For You my heart has said, ‘Seek My countenance.’” Rashi comments, “As your emissary (B’Shlichutecha).” The essence of G-dliness is in the heart, and for someone with a pure heart, their heart tells them the words of G-d, literally.

As mentioned previously, the Previous Rebbe instituted the concept of a Chabad Shaliach, an emissary of the Rebbe. In many ways the Chabad emissary serves as the heart, fulfilling the mission given to them, and helping others seek Hashem’s countenance.

Torah 139, for the 17th of Shvat, is about how Shabat serves to return the “feet” of the Mitzvot performed during the week back to the side of holiness. This allows for the Mitzvot to ascend before Hashem, who takes tremendous delight in each Mitzvah, even the one performed by the smallest of the small, lacking the proper intention and completeness. It is like a father who receives tremendous pleasure from seeing his small son take baby steps, even if the son is not walking properly. This great pleasure creates a path of the Mitzvot.

The 17th of Shvat is known as the Purim of Saragossa. In that miraculous story, an evil advisor to the king of Aragon accused the Jews of disloyalty, based on the fact that they would always come to greet the local king with empty Torah scroll cases. On the day he was to prove his claim, Hashem made it so that the Shamash (the local beadle) of each synagogue had a dream with a stately elderly man with a grey beard ordering them to quickly place the Torah scrolls back inside the cases. When the Jews came to greet the king, the  evil advisor’s accusation was disproven. The advisor was sentenced to death and the Jewish people saved. https://www.chabad.org/kids/article_cdo/aid/1481/jewish/Purim-Saragossa.htm

Torah 140, for the 18th of Shvat, teaches that a Tzadik can only be understood through those close to him, men of action, G-d fearing and whole. This is like a seal that can only be read once it is stamped. The Tzadik himself is called a seal, because he guards the covenant (Brit).

The 18th of Shvat is also celebrated as Purim Saragossa, and the above lesson appears very much connected to the stately elderly man that appeared in the dreams of the synagogue beadles. That man was surmised to be Eliyahu HaNavi. Eliyahu HaNavi is also called the guardian of the Brit. To have a grasp of Eliyahu HaNavi himself is only for a select few, but one can relate to him by those close to him, G-d fearing, pious men of action, like the synagogue beadles in the Purim of Saragossa story.

The 18th of Shvat is also Erev Yud Tes Shvat, a very special day for the Shpoler Zeide and his descendants. The Shpoler Zeide received this name from the hidden blessing the Baal Shem Tov gave to him at his Brit. The 19th of Shvat commemorates how the Shpoler Zeide's life was saved after he was returning from a BritThe Shpoler Zeide himself was a Mohel (and a Shochet), as he was instructed to become by his teacher Rabbi Pinchas of Koretz. As the ice from a frozen river broke beneath the Shpoler Zeide's feet, he saw that there was a decree on his life. His Gabbai, Reb Yoel, a pious man of action, promptly volunteered to take the Shpoler Zeide's place. He was assured, and soon after granted an immediate place in Gan Eden for doing so. https://anash.org/shpoler-zeides-descendants-commemorate-miraculous-rescue/

It is well known that Rebbe Nachman and the Shpoler Zeide had a very strong disagreement, which the Shpoleh Zeideh did not disavow even at the precarious moments related above. We cannot understand such great Tzadikim and their disputes. In Heaven, certainly Rebbe Nachman and the Shpoleh Zeideh are dancing together in harmony, just as the Shpoler Zeide learned to do from Eliyahu HaNavi. https://ascentofsafed.com/Stories/Stories/5769/594-29.html

Torah 141, for the 19th of Shvat, is about how one must circumcise one’s heart in order to truly feel pain over one’s sins. When one feels this remorse, then one’s offspring and seed that fell into the side of unholiness feel the remorse as well.

Torah 142, for the 20th of Shvat, teaches that a person that cannot study Torah at all, but their heart very much burns within them with desire to study and serve Hashem, this is an aspect of studying from a book.

There are two Tzadikim in the world who speak to each other and yet are separated by hundreds of miles. One Tzadik raises a question from his place, and the other Tzadik answers from where he is, and sometimes the other way around. 

Only Hashem is the one that hears this conversation, and writes a “book of remembrance” from this, which has the aspect of a heart. This book provides for those that yearn and desire to study and serve Hashem but encounter obstacles. 

This is like Avraham himself, the head of all converts, who had no one to study from, and received from this supernal heart, and he is called “a rock of my heart.” Converts, who are called, “N’div Lev,” generous of heart, are named after Avraham.

These two Tzadikim appear to be a reference to Rebbe Nachman himself and the Shpoler Zeide. Many of the stories about the Shpoler Zeide are about how he saved simple devout Jews from the local feudal lords. The Shpoler Zeide’s name comes from a blessing the Baal Shem Tov,disguised as a simple Jew, gave at his bris, comparing the baby to Avraham, that he should be a grandfather to the Jewish people, just like Avraham.


Torah 143, for the 21st of Shvat, is about how accepting advice from the wise of the generation is a sweetening of judgement. A person’s mind is constricted and the wise expand it. 

Even if things do not work out, one must realize that this was from Heaven and that if the advice of the Tzadik had not been followed, the person would have brought misfortune upon himself.

As mentioned previously, Shvat represents the Tribe of Asher. Asher’s land was rich in olive oil, which represents wisdom. In moments of constricted wisdom, it is Serach, the daughter of Asher, referred to in the Tanach as simply the wise woman, who comes to sweeten the judgement. We see this in how she approaches Yaakov regarding Yosef; giving her stamp of approval that Moshe was in fact the redeemer sent by Hashem; and most prominently, in the story in which Yoav is laying siege to Avel, a city of wisemen, in pursuit of Sheva Ben Bichri. Serach is able to negotiate an agreement in which Sheva ben Bichri is killed while the city and its inhabitants are spared.

Eve of the yahrzeit of Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka, an extremely wise woman, who gave advice to those close to her on all matters, both spiritual and practical.

Torah 144, for the 22nd of Shvat, teaches that for a Tzadik, there is no difference between life and after death, as in both scenarios he is serving Hashem.

The only people that feel the difference are those drawn after eating and drinking, because after death there is no eating and drinking. 

There are days where it is permitted to eat and drink, but a Tzadik conquers his desires even on those days. Therefore, such a Tzadik does not die and is always alive, serving Hashem.

As mentioned previously, Shvat is about Taanug, pleasure. Moshe blesses Asher’s land to have “rich food” and he would provide, “royal delicacies.” One must be able to elevate one’s pleasure for the spiritual instead of the physical and material.

The 22nd of Shvat is the yahrzeit of Menachem Mendel of Kotzk. The Kotzer had such a passion and desire for truth that he abhorred materialism. He had little patience for those stuck in the mundane and egocentric traps of the physical world. It is almost as if he lived already a purely spiritual existence, in the World of Truth, while still tied to a physical body.

Torah 145, for the 23rd of Shvat, is about how a person that is able to restrain their desire for strife, it is like they do not die. Because the person is quoted in matters of Halacha, it is as if they are still alive.

Jacob blesses Asher as “pleasing to his brothers,” and here we see again a possible reference to Serach bat Asher, whose immortality and ability to avoid strife has already been previously discussed.

Furthermore, as also previously mentioned, the month of Shvat is associated with the Oral Torah, and consequently, the Halacha.

The day before this day, the 22nd of Shvat ,was the yahrzeit of Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka, and she is constantly mentioned in connection with Torah and Mitzvot, as so many daughters of Chabad chassidim are named after her and strive to emulate her ways.

Torah 146, for the 24th of Shvat, explains how the Torah uses its female quality to provide trusted testimony in places where it is not common for men to go. She enlightens the foolish that go after their lusts.

This teaching marks already a transition from Shvat to Adar (Serach to Esther). The tribe primarily associated with Adar is Naftali, the only tribe blessed as a female, specifically a “sent” gazelle (Ayalah Shlucha). From Naftali comes the Prophetess Devorah, who served as a Judge for all of the tribes of Israel. 

Furthermore, Adar is the month of Purim, and Esther is sent to places where men do not frequent, the harem of a gentile king, in order to save the entire Jewish people.

Torah 147, for the 25th of Shvat, is about brazenness/boldness (Azzut). Just as a brazen person has no portion in the Torah, on the other hand, someone with no holy boldness has no share either. This holy boldness, which we receive from Hashem, allows us to overcome our enemies that try to prevent us from our Divine service. A person must know how to temper this boldness so that it does not become brazenness.

The best example of the above are probably Mordechai and Esther. Mordechai would never bow to Haman or acquiesce in any way to his decrees. Similarly, Esther acted with boldness in approaching Achashverosh and pleading her case and that of the whole Jewish people.

Torah 148, for the 26th of Shvat, is about how the quality of fear (Yirah) of Hashem itself fears Hashem, and that fear also fears Hashem, and this pattern continues indefinitely. This is learned from a verse about how fear of Hashem is the “heel of humility” as well as the “head of wisdom” (Chochma).

Adar has a dual meaning, and in leap years it is in fact two months instead of one. As the twelfth month (counting from Nissan), Adar is associated with Naftali. When there is a thirteenth month, Adar I is Naftali and Adar II represents Levi.

Naftali, swift as an (emissary) gazelle, is connected to the foot, the heel. Levi, the priestly tribe and the tribe of Moshe Rabbeinu, is associated with the head. (See Maamar Atah Tetzaveh, the last Chassidic discourse distributed by the Lubavitcher Rebbe)

Chochma (also known as Koach-Mah) is very closely associated with humility. Moshe’s wisdom came exactly from his humility, as he said about himself and Aharon: “Nachnu Mah.” (What are we?)

Interestingly, Naftali and Levi are also both associated with the quality of alacrity (Zrizut) as well as self-sacrifice (Mesirat Nefesh). Both these qualities stem from fear of Hashem (Yirah) (and perhaps also will (Ratzon)).

Torah 149, for the 27th of Shvat, is about how Tikkun Chatzot (the midnight prayer) works as a pidyon (a redemption). It’s time is after the sixth hour from nightfall, for two hours.

Chatzot is the darkest time of the night, but also when the night starts getting lighter. It is therefore an appropriate time to mourn over the destruction of the Temple and to pray that it be restored. Similarly, the story of Purim begins by depicting a state of darkness and confusion, and yet it is exactly then that things begin to become lighter and the redemption takes place. 

Esther in the Book of Psalms is called, “Ayelet HaShachar,” the morning star - the last star in the sky before it becomes day. Psalm 22, which references Esther’s condition, begins with Esther asking Hashem why He abandoned her, and then transitions to a positive tone.

Tikkun Chatzot contains a duality that also exists in Adar: it consists of two Tikkunim:  Tikkun Rachel and Tikkun Leah (again, emphasis being on important women leaders/matriarchs). Tikkun Rachel reflects more this feeling of abandonment and is not said on days that Tachanun (penitential prayers) are not said. Tikkun Rachel then transitions to a more positive tone, and Tikkun Leah is generally more comforting and can be said on days in which Tachanun is omitted.

There is a another parallel reflected in the lesson, yet not a perfect one: Tikkun Chatzot (the twelfth hour) begins after the sixth hour from nightfall. Adar is the twelfth month (counting from Nissan) and the sixth month (counting from Tishrei). Chatzot consists of a two-hour window, similar to how Adar can consist of two months.

Torah 150, for the 28th of Shvat, states that there is something very hidden (Nistar): how is it that the appearance of Yaakov appeared to Yosef (when Yosef was tested by Potiphar’s wife) with Yaakov knowing of this at all. Furthermore, the fact that this remained a difficult test for Yosef even after his father’s appearance is something covered and hidden.

The main theme of Adar is Purim, whose protagonist’s name, Esther, comes from the same root as the word, “Nstar.” The Talmud asks for the source for Esther in the Torah and the answer is, “I will certainly hide my face (Aster, Astir Panai) on that day. It is a double hiddenness. The fact that our Father’s countenance is hidden from us makes the test very difficult. What makes the test even more difficult is that the fact that His countenance is hidden from us is also hidden.

Torah 151, for the 29th of Shvat, Erev Rosh Chodesh, teaches about reciting a a special practice (segula) in order to have children or to heal an infant: reciting the verse about Rosh Chodesh. Rebbe Nachman draws a parallel between two verses in which the letter Vav is missing from one of the words: one regarding the luminaries and the other about the completion of Moshe(‘s work; Kalat Moshe). This is related to the fixing of the moon’s blemish, which connected also to the health of infants.

The 29th of Shevat is Erev Rosh Chodesh Adar, and it is on the 7th of Adar that Moshe is born. Perhaps a deeper dimension here is that the completion being referenced here is not just that of the altar by Moshe, but the completion of Moshe himself.

Furthermore, the moon represents Malchut which is the feminine sefirah. Kalat Moshe can also be understood as “Moshe’s bride.” As mentioned previously, Adar is symbolized by two tribes: Levi (the tribe of Moshe) and Naftali (the tribe most associated with feminine qualities).

Torah 152, for the 30th of Shvat, Rosh Chodesh, is about how when a soul comes to this world, along with its branches, it is surrounded by the forces of impurity by all sides, except for the opening of faith (Emunah). If the branches are blemished they are sent away from Emunah, just as there are those sent away from the Land of Israel. The opening of Emunah is then temporarily sealed.

If the blemishes become very numerous and there is a concern that the opening will be completely sealed, a G-d fearing person is placed to guard the opening.

Through the self-sacrifice made to travel and become close to the Tzadik, it is possible to attach oneself to him. Yet it is impossible for the Tzadik to enlighten him with wisdom, ie. the mind itself. 

Rebbe Nachman ends this section of the lesson with a prayer: May Hashem speed the redemption, in general and in particular.

As mentioned regarding yesterday’s teaching, Adar is the month in which the soul of Moshe Rabbeinu comes into the world. Moshe, throughout his entire childhood, is surrounded by the forces of impurity of Egypt. The only way out is through self-sacrifice and Emunah. That is also eventually how the entire nation comes out of Egypt, through self-sacrifice qnd Emunah.

Similarly, Esther finds herself surrounded by impurity at all sides, except for where Mordechai stands, by the gate of the King. He informs her that she must have self-sacrifice and appear before the King. She does so, and is offered up to half the kingdom (but not Jerusalem itself).

We now enter a time of redemption (Geulah). From the redemption of Purim to the redemption of Passover, and then the final redemption of Moshiach, may it be speedily, in our days. May it be now.

Torah 283, for the 1st of Adar I, Rosh Chodesh, teaches that there are two Tzadikim who have the same root, but who enter into a dispute because one of them changes their root source.

Such was the dispute between King Shaul and King David. One represents good (an inward quality) and the other kindness (an outward one).

Dispute that stems from Torah is an aspect of thunder, but there is also an aspect of dispute of the wicked, which David prayed to never be part of.

In years in which there are two months of Adar, both months have the same “root,” yet one represents more internal qualities in which celebrations are more internal (such as Purim Kattan), while the other is more  external.

Mordechai also had aspects of both Shaul (he was a direct descendant) and David (Mordechai was the first one in the Torah to be called “Yehudi”).

Purim, and Adar in general, is about the current balance of internal and external qualities (Megillat Esther); Mordechai also opposition that stems from Torah, and those not all connected to Torah (such as with Haman).

Likutei Moharan, Torah 284, for the 2nd of Adar I, is about how being involved in business is not an excuse for not setting aside time for Torah study. One must “steal” time from other affairs to dedicate to Torah.

The month of Adar is represented by Naftali and Levi. Naftali was known for his speed, effectively using his time. Levi was dedicated exclusively to Torah and Divine service, to the extent that the entire tribe was not even enslaved in Egypt.

Likutei Moharan, Torah 285, for the 3rd of Adar I, teaches that once a person tastes Torah from a true Tzadik, “her light does not go out at night.” Even if the person is distant from the Tzadik, the Torah learned still shines within them.

The above lesson parallels Esther, who learned from Mordechai, and remained connected when distant, in Achashverosh’s palace. Esther is also known as “Ayelet HaShachar,” the last shining star in the sky before day.

Likutei Moharan, Torah 286, for the 4th of Adar I, is about how Gan Eden is in fact two levels of intellectual perception of Divine wisdom, “Gan” and “Eden.” One can only achieve these levels of pleasure through “gates,” (Shearim), which are hidden and sunk underground. By studying the decisors of Jewish law (Poskim), one becomes like a king and ruler and raises and establishes these gates through justice.

The duality referenced in this lesson again references the two months of Adar. These months of Purim are about the revelation of the hidden (Megillat Esther), through following the dictates and laws established by Mordechai at the time. Mordechai was not only the Jewish legal authority, but, along with Queen Esther, ruled the land as well, through justice.

The references to the gates of the Garden of Eden, both lower and upper levels, are a reference to Hebron and the Cave of Machpela, where our patriarchs and matriarchs (except Rachel Immeinu) and Adam and Eve are buried. It is a “double” cave, with upper and lower levels, and it is known to be the gate into Gan Eden. 

The reference to Hebron relates to the role of Naftali in the burial of Yaakov. Eisav was refusing to let Yaakov be buried, claiming rights to the cave. The sons of Yaakv refused to stand down and Naftali ran back to Egypt and returned with a document that proved that Eisav and sold the plot of land to Yaakov. Ultimately, Eisav was killed by Chushim, the son of Dan. 

This story also parallels Purim, the fight against Amalek, a descendant of Eisav, and particularly Mordechai’s fight against Haman. Mordechai also had a document that proved that Haman had sold himself to Mordechai as a slave. He refused to bow or stand down, and ultimately Haman and his sons are killed.

It goes without saying that the greatest authority in Jewish law is Moshe Rabbeinu, from the tribe of Levi, and whose birthday and Yahrzeit is in Adar.

Likutei Moharan Tinyana, Torah 93, for the 5th of Adar I, is a reflection on the statement of our sages that prayer is at the pinnacle of the world, and yet is treated with disdain. Rebbe Nachman’s whole endeavor was prayer, as he emphasized to his disciples numerous times: prayer and Hitbodedut, conversing with Hashem. Because this was Rebbe Nachman’s whole endeavor, people treated him with disdain.

Naftali is the last of the tribes to bring a sacrifice at the time of the inauguration of the Mishkan (therefore Adar is the last month of the year), and Naftali is deeply connected with prayer. As Rashi comments regarding Rachel’s naming of Naftali at the time of his birth: Lashon Tefilah (an expression of prayer). Rebbe Nachman also explains elsewhere that “Naftali” has the same letters as “Tefillin.”

Levi is also deeply connected to Divine service and prayer, and the tribe of Levi does not bring an inaugural sacrifice at all. Hashem comforts Aharon and tells him that the lighting of the Menorah is even greater than the inaugural sacrifices brought by the princes of each tribe.

Likutei Moharan Tinyana, Torah 94, for the 6th of Adar I, is about how one must travel to the Tzadik on Rosh Hashanah. In this way, there are three heads (Rosh). Rosh Hashana is the head of the year, the Tzadik is the head of the Jewish people (Rosh Bnei Yisrael (Rebbe)), and each person’s intellect (Rosh) becomes bound to the Tzadik.

This day is Erev Zayin Adar, the day before the birthday and yahrzeit of Moshe Rabbeinu. Moshe represents the head (Rosh) of the Jewish people.

Likutei Moharan Tinyana, Torah 95 - 102, for the 7th of Adar I, Zayin Adar Alef, contains several short teachings, all related to the concept of personal prayer, Hitbodedut, and prayer in general:

Torah 95 is about the great value of crying while conversing with Hashem. Yet one should not think of the need to cry, because that itself is a foreign thought. The main thing is to speak words of truth to Hashem, without any foreign thought. [A good friend mentioned to me that Adar itself is an acronym for “Rosh Dvarcha Emet,” "The beginning of Your words are truth"].

Torah 96 is about how much Rebbe Nachman emphasized the importance of Hitbodedut, even if no words come out when standing before Hashem. Ideally, the whole day should be entirely Hitbodedut, but a portion of the day is also very good.

Torah 97 continues to teach about the greatness of Hitbodedut, as the accusing forces already know the path of formal prayers (and can attack on the road), yet personal prayer is like forging a new path.

Torah 98 also speaks about the need to strengthen one’s Hitbodedut, how it can inspire and reveal a person’s heart, even when at times a person might feell like they have no feelings.

Torah 99 teaches that the essence of one’s complete service of Hitbodedut is that the person speaks to Hashem to such an extent that the person feels like their soul is about to leave them. When Hashem helps with one’s Hitbodedut, it feels like a conversation between friends.

Torah 100 is about how, independent of a person's stature, it is impossible to be a truly upstanding (Kosher) person without Hitbodedut (personal prayer, conversing with Hashem). Rebbe Nachman gave several examples, including a simple individual, grandson of the Baal Shem Tov, who converses with Hashem all the time, with great cries. This is an attribute of the seed of the Baal Shem Tov, which can be traced back to King David, whose whole way of being was in this manner, always very broken-hearted before Hashem, which is the essence of the Book of Psalms. 

Torah 101 explains how through the midnight prayer (Tikkun Hatzot) one can converse with Hashem regarding everything that is in one's heart, just like Hitbodedut. Similarly, when reciting psalms (Tehilim), one must find oneself within the pleas and supplications there. This can be easily done, if one approaches the Tehilim with simplicity. The battles described there, are mainly the battles against the evil inclination. 

The main way to follow Rebbe Nachman's advice is through prayer. To be strong and courageous in calling out and screaming to Hashem. If one follows this path, even if one is still very distant, in the end Hashem will answer the person and bring them close to true service of Him. Prayer itself needs encouragement and strengthening, to remain steadfast and to constantly pray, no matter what.  

Torah 102 tells a story of how Rebbe Nachman was once discussing with a Rav about how Boaz and Ruth represent the concept of connecting redemption (Boaz) to prayer (Ruth, ancestor of King David). Rebbe Nachman also told Reb Nosson that all the very high insights that he grasps do not compare to a word that he reveals to the world. 

As mentioned previously, prayer is an essential characteristic of the tribes of Naftali and Levi, both connected to the month of Adar. Intense prayer when feeling distant and broken, as well as the connection between redemption and prayer, is also very much found within the Purim story, in the personalities of Mordechai and Esther (descendants of Rachel Immeinu, who gave Naftali his name). The whole month also contains the idea of Megilat Esther,  revealing (Legalot) of the hidden (Nistar). 

The 7th of Adar I is the yahrzeit of Moshe Rabbeinu, whose closeness to Hashem is unparalleled, and who fought with every fiber of his being to redeem the Jewish people, and for them to remain close to Hashem as well. As with Rebbe Nachman, what Moshe Rabbeinu could reveal to the world paled in comparison to the knowledge he received directly from Hashem.

Likutei Moharan Tinyana, Torah 103, for the 8th of Adar I, teaches that at the time of prayer, if a person still hears or feels the presence of someone else other than Hashem, that is not good. This is as the teaching about how Abba Shaul was running after a deer (Likutei Moharan, Torah 55), which explains the level of nullification needed at the time of prayer: a person should not even feel themselves at the time of prayer, only Hashem alone. Then, the person is standing in the King's chamber. One then reaches, "Mi Hu?" (Who is that?), as the person's existence (Yeshut) has disappeared completely. 

This lesson continues the them of prayer, connected to Levi and Naftali. Levi, particularly Moshe, is connected to the idea of complete nullification, as Moshe said, "Nachnu Mah?" (What are we?). Running after a deer is connected to Naftali. Standing before the King in complete nullification is connected to Queen Esther and the Purim story as a whole. 

Likutei Moharan Tinyana, Torah 104, for the 9th of Adar I, is about how Rebbe Nachman would very much love the simple service of ordinary folk, simple and upstanding (Kosher) people. He loved very much those engaged in many entreaties and requests, praying from the large prayer books, as was the way of simple kosher masses. He would also call attention and rebuke his disciples many times about the need to sing Shabbat songs and those for right after Shabbat (Motza'ei Shabbat) or other simple services. 

The essence of Judaism is to act with simplicity and wholesomeness, without any sophistication, as was explained many times. Rebbe Nachman himself, before becoming very ill, all his life sang many songs on Shabbat and Motza'ei Shabbat.

Singing, lighting up the spark of Judaism inside of us, was essential to the service of the Levites (Levi'im) in the Temple. 

The 9th of Adar was a day in which the disagreements between Beit Hillel and Beit Shammai erupted into violence. If the Jews at the time had remained connected to the essence of Judaism, simplicity, as expressed in the harmonious singing of Shabbat songs, this would not have happened. 

The 9th of Adar (II) is also the day in which the Sixth Lubbavitcher Rebbe, the Frierdeker Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzhak Schneersohn, arrived in America. His writing also reflect a tremendous love for the simple, religious Jews of Eastern Europe. His message when coming to America was that "America is nisht andersh," America is not different. The same Torah kept in Europe and Russia, would be kept in America as well. 

Likutei Moharan Tinyana, Torah 105, for the 10th of Adar I, is about how Reb Nosson heard from one of Rebbe Nachman's disciples, that Rebbe Nachman urged him to deeply study his teachings and see to it to come up with a a new insight regarding them. He urged his disciples about this many many times. Rebbe Nachman urged them to do so even if the disciples did not manage to grasp his original intentions in the teachings. This novel Torah insights have the power to greatly rectify the past and is also a favor for the souls of one's ancestors that have already passed on.

This is the eve of the 11th of Adar, which is the yahrzeit of several sages, whose Torah innovations (and/or those of their children) literally changed the landscape of Judaism as we know it. These include the Chida (Chacham Chaim Yosef David Azulay), the Avnei Nezer (Rabbi Avraham Bornstein of Sochatchov), the Rogotchover Gaon (Rabbi Yosef Rosen); and Rabbi Eliezer Lipa Lipman (father of the Noam Elimelech and Reb Zusha of Anipoli). 

Likutei Moharan Tinyana, Torah 106, for the 11th of Adar I, is about how it is proper to think of words of Torah at the time of marital relations, and that one can still conceive children even if one's thoughts are bound with Torah ideas. It is very good to train oneself in this way.

This teaching appears tied to the yahrzeits of the giants in Torah mentioned regarding yesterday's lessons. Not only does Torah benefit past generations, but future generations as well. Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Kotsk, the father-in-law of the Avnei Nezer, stated that the reason that Rabbi Zev Nachum of Biala merited to have a son like the Avnei Nezer is because one Purim, while everyone else was partaking in the Purim meal, the Avnei Nezer alone was studying Torah, lighting up the world. Even on Purim, one can conceive very special children by having one's thoughts bound to the Torah. 

According to the first Mishna in Tractate Megillah, the 11th of Adar (II) is also the first day in which the Megillah can be read in certain smaller places. Purim is about drinking to a state where one does not know the difference between cursed is Haman and blessed is Mordechai. Even in such a state, one can still remain connected to the Torah and fulfill ones obligation.  

In many years, the 11th of Adar (II) is the Fast of Esther (Ta'anis Esther). Queen Esther made the ultimate sacrifice, willing to give up her World-to-Come and subject herself to a relationship with King Achashverosh. The Talmud discusses how her intentions mitigated the impact of this occurrence. Furthermore, from this relationship came King Darius, who permitted the Jewish people to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem.  

Likutei Moharan Tinyana, Torah 107, for the 12th of Adar I, teaches about detesting and distancing oneself from the general desire: sexual lust. While eating adds energy and vitality, lust detracts these things and weakens a person very much. There's no real need for it except for procreation.

This lesson appears is a continuation of the previous one, related to Ta'anit Esther.

Likutei Moharan Tinyana, Torah 108, for the 13th of Adar I, Erev Purim Katan, is about how, for a small pleasure of a quarter of an hour, a person can lose both this world and the World-to-Come.

In most years, it is the 13th of Adar (II) that is Ta'anit Esther. The theme is the same for the two previous days.  

Likutei Moharan Tinyana, Torah 109, for the 14th of Adar I, Purim Katan, is about how good it is to be by the grave of the Baal Shem Tov. True Tzadikim merit that the place of their burial is holy, literally like the Land of Israel.

This teaching carries a very similar message as the one for Purim itself (see Lesson 166). Purim is about gathering around the Tzadik, Mordechai. It is also about a commitment to the Land of Israel and the reconstruction of the Temple.

Likutei Moharan Tinyana, Torah 110, for the 15th of Adar I, Shushan Purim Katan, is about how someone once asked him about how free will works, and he answered simply: a person simply has a choice; if they want, they do it; if they do not want, they don't. So many people are perplexed (Nevuchim) from this and feel as if they do not have free will.

Free will is a key component of the Purim story. As explained at length in the Midrash and in the writings of the Lubavitcher Rebbe and the Previous Rebbe, it was on Purim that the Jewish people fully accepted the Torah (Kiyemu ve'Kiblu; Kiyemu Mah SheKiblu Kvar). On Shavuot, there were so many miracles and wonders, there was in fact little free choice in accepting the Torah. It was on Purim, when the city of Shushan was perplexed (Navocha) and the Jews faced oppression and a collective death sentence, that is when their acceptance of Judaism out of their own free will and self-sacrifice became apparent.

Likutei Moharan Tinyana, Torah 111, for the 16th of Adar I, teaches that everything good can be attained through prayer: Torah, Divine service, all the holiness, and all devotions, and all the good in all of the worlds. If a dead person were allowed to pray in this world, they would certainly pray very nicely.

The lesson returns to the them of prayer, related to the tribes of Naftali and Levi, particularly bringing to mind Moshe, after praying to save the Jewish people from destruction. 

Likutei Moharan Tinyana, Torah 112, for the 17th of Adar I, contains the famous line, "If you believe it is possible to ruin, believe that it is possible to repair." A person should not fall into despair due to one's past actions.

This teaching contains as well the main message of Purim. It is never too late to repair a negative decree.

Likutei Moharan Tinyana, Torah 113, for the 18th of Adar I, states that for anyone who has felt even just a spark of Hashem, if such a person does even one thing that is not proper and whole, it would be proper for the person's soul to completely expire from remorse and embarrassment.

This lesson appears to be a continuation of the previous lesson in that it helps us understand the reason for the severity of the decree against the Jewish people at the time of Purim. A decree of total annihilation due to having benefitted from Achashverosh's party at first seems overly harsh. Yet, in order to understand the strict standard to which we were held, one must take into consideration all of the G-dly revelations the Jewish people experienced throughout their history. 

Likutei Moharan Tinyana, Torah 114, for the 19th of Adar Iis about how Reb Nosson once sensed that Rebbe Nachman wanted to reveal to him a great insight, but after much silence, all he could reveal was: "It appears one must guard oneself from having an immoral thought."

This teaching again appears connected to Purim and Megillat Esther (the revelation of the hidden) and the strict standards to which we are held.

Likutei Moharan Tinyana, Torah 115, for the 20th of Adar I, teaches that Rebbe Nachman's way of service was to have a lot of encouragement and to not let himself become confused at all. He would choose a path of service and remain committed to it for some time. If after some weeks, he felt a new type of service was warranted, he would only change after a long time and not become confused.

The above lesson regarding Divine service is connected to the tribes of Levi and Naftali. The Levi'im were a source of encouragement and clarity, and as mentioned previously, Naftali's focus and speed is connected to correct use of one's time. 

The 20th of Adar is also the yahrzeit of Rabbi Yoel Sirkes, also known as the Bach, after his renowned commentary, Bayit Chadash. There is a famous story about a close disciple of the Bach who misapplied the important principle set forth in the above lesson. The Bach once asked the disciple, who was a wealthy merchant, to help an innkeeper who was at risk of losing his inn. When the innkeeper arrived, the disciple stated that he would help, but only after he returned from his trip to the fair in Leipzig, one of the main financial and commercial centers at the time. The innkeeper was distraught, but the disciple told him not to fear, and to have faith in Hashem. After the disciple returned, he did in fact help the innkeeper and everything turned out fine. However, when the disciple passed away, he informed the Bach that despite receiving a favorable Heavenly judgement, he was told to wait at the gates of Gan Eden, just as he had made the innkeeper wait before helping him. (https://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/5197170/jewish/The-Kind-Benefactor-Who-Was-Barred-From-Heaven.htm)

Likutei Moharan Tinyana, Torah 116, for the 21st of Adar I, is about the Land of Israel and Tzadikim. Given the tremendous holiness of the Land and of Tzadikim, it is hard to fathom that the Land of Israel superficially looks like any other land and that Tzadikim look like other people. Yet we know that there is a tremendous difference between the Land of Israel and others, and between Tzadikim and others. 

The 21st of Adar is the yahrzeit of the Rebbe Reb Elimelech of Lizhensk. Along with his brother, Reb Zushia, he would be "prava Galus," he wonder into self-imposed exile. These two Tzadikim would be mistaken for beggars, and would often be treated with disdain, if not physically beaten, by the local population. There is also a well known story in which a Torah scholar once asked the Rebbe Reb Elimelech, "What is the difference between you and me?" Rebbe Elimelech asked him if he said a bracha when he wanted to eat an apple, and the Torah scholar answered, "Yes." Rebbe Elimilech then continued, "When you want to eat an apple, you make a blessing. When I want to make a blessing, I eat an apple.” https://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/113005/jewish/Blessing.htm

Likutei Moharan Tinyana, Torah 117, for the 22nd of Adar I, teaches about the confusion a person might feel when going into a high level of holiness and then soon after having an impure seminal emission, G-d forbid. A person should not be upset by this, given that the higher a person achieves in holiness, the greater is his evil inclination as well. Furthermore, if the person did have immoral thoughts, then he is deserving of this, and if not, not necessarily is it a bad sign. 

A person the betters himself and enters higher levels of holiness is also judged much more strictly (Medakdekim Alav Yoter), and that is why it was such a great miracle that the Kohen Gadol never had an impure seminal emission that prevented him from performing the Yom Kippur service. Sometimes also a person has a hidden impurity that needs to be revealed in order to be rectified.  
This teaching also appears to be very much connected to the Rebbe Reb Elimelech of Lizhensk. Reb Elimelech was extremely strict on himself, sifting through every one of his actions with a fine-tooth comb in order to find faults in his behavior and repent. 

This lesson is ultimately about Divine service, which as explained, is greatly associated with Naftali and Levi.

Likutei Moharan Tinyana, Torah 118, for the 23rd of Adar I, is about novel Torah insights (Chidushei Torah). There are great individuals who were praised for the Torah discourses given without  prior thought or investigation. Rebbe Nachman stated that this is not such a high quality, because it is certainly possible for a person to connect thought and speech to Hashem, and speak Torah that way. It is better if one thinks about Torah before revealing it.

Nowadays it is easy to produce new Torah insights, given how holy writings from the Tzadikim from Rebbe Nachman's generation have become widespread. This is also related to what it is stated in the Zohar, "Rabbi Yitzhak opened..." (Patach Rabbi Yitzhak...) Rabbi Yitzhak would open his mouth and immediately he would reveal Torah. Still it is better to delve into and contemplate Torah [first].

Rabbi Yitzhak Meir Alter, known as the Chidushei HaRim, the founder of the Gerrer dynasty. The whole way of the Chassidic dynasty of Ger, one of the most populous, if not the most populous Chassidic group, is about internal work - contemplation and service - based on the ways of the Maggid of Koznitz, Rebbe Simcha Bunim of Peshischa, and the Kotzker Rebbe.

The tension in revealing what is hidden (Megillat Esther) has already been mentioned several times.

Likutei Moharan Tinyana, Torah 119, for the 24th of Adar I, describes how Rebbe Nachman stated several times that everyone in this world is full of suffering (Issurim), and everyone was born to toil. He stated that everyone believes that there is this world and the World to Come, yet it appears that this world is Gehinnom; so while there is a World to Come and Gehinnom, this world does not exist at all.  

Continuing from the lesson for the day before, the Chidushei HaRim's life was full of Issurim. Twelve of his thirteen children passed away in his lifetime. The Gerrer dynasty was likely the Chassidic group most impacted by the Holocaust, in which approximately 100,000 (!) Gerrer Chassidim were murdered in cold blood. 

Likutei Moharan Tinyana, Torah 120, for the 25th of Adar I, is about how one of the Breslov Chassidim close to Rebbe Nachman was discussing with him how to serve Hashem properly, and the Rebbe understood that he was trying to become involved in the Kabbalistic intentions of the Ari Z"L. The Rebbe was firm with him and told him no to do this anymore, and just to focus his intentions in the simple meaning of the prayers. For someone to pray with the intentions of the Ari Z"L without being fit to do so is like witchcraft. The essence of prayer is attachment to Hashem. If it were not for the established prayer books, it would be better to pray in a language the person understands, which moves the heart and therefore allows the person to attach more to Hashem. For great Tzadikim, the intentions of the Ari Z"L are the plain meaning of the words.

We return once again to the subject of prayer, and the connection to Naftali and Levi. The names Naftali (given by Rachel Immeinu) and Levi (given by Leah Immeinu) both signify attachment.  

Likutei Moharan Tinyana, Torah 121, for the 26th of Adar I, teaches that Rebbe Nachman would encourage those that felt distant from prayer and it was very difficult for them to pray. He would console them in various ways so that they would not despair from this. He would give the example of a convert (Ger), and how happy that person would be to simply know the words to the Baruch Sh'Amar prayer. How much happier a Jew should be to know more than that, and perhaps the only rectification the person needs to make in this incarnation are specific sections of the service. A small amount can be said with concentration, and then a little more and so forth.  

Most people cannot concentrate for the enitre prayer, and therefore different people are masters of different parts [and together form a full body].

Again, there is a specific connection between the subject of prayer, and the tribes of Naftali and Levi, represented by the month of Adar. Adar also contains the idea of duality, in which we complement each other in the service of Hashem. 

Likutei Moharan Tinyana, Torah 122, for the 27th of Adar I, is about foreign thoughts during prayer. By not paying attention to them at all, a person is victorious over them. Just like in a war, by ignoring foreign thoughts a person is cutting off impure forces, here an arm of one, there a leg of another, and so on with other limbs. 

In addition to being connected to prayer and Divine service, Adar is also about going to war with the evil nation and impure force of Amalek, and remembering to erase its memory.

Likutei Moharan Tinyana, Torah 123, for the 28th of Adar I, teaches that Mikveh is not at all harmful. Whatever doctor states that Mikveh is harmful is no doctor at all. One the contrary, Mikveh is very good for health, as it opens the pores. Just the water shouldn't be overly cold.

The same goes for other devotions and self-mortifications, which is not hurtful at all, except for causing pride.

Besides for the Divine service associated with Naftali and Levi, Adar is also the month of Pisces, deeply connected to water. Rebbe Nachman may be also hinting to the need to fight the coldness of Amalek, just as penitence that is difficult on the body can lead to pride and heresy, G-d forbid. 

Likutei Moharan Tinyana, Torah 124, for the 29th of Adar I, Erev Rosh Chodesh, teaches about thoughts of yearning and repentance (Hirhurei Teshuva). Sometimes these may come in places not necessarily prepared for prayer of Divine service, but nevertheless a person should not move from that place and reinforce the thought there. That is because if a person moves, that feeling might go away. Rebbe Nachman himself would act in this way on various occasions.

The 29th of the month is known as Yom Kippur Katan, a propitious time for repentance and yearning. A person should take advantage of this time, particularly during Adar, which is known as a favorable time.

Likutei Moharan Tinyana, Torah 125, for the 30th of Adar I, Rosh Chodesh, is about the reciting of Tehilim (Psalms). The first part of the teaching reflects what is written in Torah 101, about finding oneself in the Tehilim and seeing the wars mentioned there as primarily the war against the evil inclination. Someone asked him how to find oneself in the Psalms in which King David praises himself (such as, "I am pious"), and Rebbe Nachman answered that this too should apply to oneself, and a person must judge themselves favorably, and find some merit and good point, regarding which the person is considered pious, etc. (See Lesson 282)

Adar is about prayer and Divine service, and it is also about destroying evil and finding joy. Rebbe Nachman's advice is to do this is by finding good points in others and in yourself.  

Torah 153, for the 1st of Adar, Rosh Chodesh, reflects on greeting (lit. receiving the face of) a Torah scholar, which is customarily done on Rosh Chodesh and festivals. The lesson draws a comparison between the relationship between a Torah scholar and his disciple with that of the relationship between the sun and the moon. The moon is like a polished mirror, reflecting the light of the sun. If the moon were thick and dark, it would not be able to reflect this light. Similarly, a disciple has to be able to receive the light (ie. the "face") of the Torah scholar by having the aspect of a "shining face," like a polished mirror. The disciple cannot be thick and dark, such as being stuck in the lust for money, or being brazen-faced, G-d forbid. 

The connection of this teaching with Rosh Chodesh is quite evident, but it is also important to note the connection to a broader theme within the month of Adar: duality and complementary relationships, as also exemplified by the Mitzvah of the half-Shekel performed in this month. 

In the complimentary relationship between a Torah scholar and his disciple (or emissary), the comparison between the sun and moon is most well known in the case of Moshe (from the tribe of Levi) and his main disciple, Yehoshua. The Lubavitcher Rebbe, in his last discourse, Ve'Atah Tetzaveh, further compares Moshe to the "head" and the Jewish people to the "feet." The tribe of Naftali, the runner, is called an Ayalah Sheluchah, a sent (emissary) gazelle.

Torah 154, for the 2nd of Adar, is about fallen fears. All of the suffering and judgement a person experiences are all from the fallen fears that fell into that from which he is afraid and has afflictions. It is against nature for the strong to be afraid of the weak, but this is due to the upper fear that fell and is clothed in these things. It is necessary to elevate the fallen fears to their root and place. Fear must be together with knowledge (Da'at). Fear is in the heart, and therefore there must be Da'at in the heart as well. When a person judges themselves in this world below, there is no judgement above, and then fear does not need to fall and be clothed below, and then there is no reason to fear anything, only fear of Hashem's exaltedness (Yirat HaRommemut).

This lesson is crucial to understanding the month of Adar and the important mitzvah to remember to erase the memory of Amalek. King Shaul was an extremely righteous individual, but he had fallen fears. He feared upsetting the people, and therefore did not fulfill the Mitzvah to destroy Amalek as he was commanded. He also was incapable of fully judging himself in order to realize his mistake.

Queen Esther, his descendant, overcame her fear. She used Da'at in order to find the best way to approach the king. She fasted for three days, engaging in repentance and self-judgement, and our sages teach us that not only did she accuse Haman in front of Achashverosh, she also even intended to accuse Achashverosh himself for being complicit in Haman's scheme. (Megilla 16a; https://etzion.org.il/en/talmud/studies-gemara/midrash-and-aggada/accusing-achashverosh-and-nature-purim-salvation)

When eradicating Amalek, we must have no fear. We must do what needs to be done, and let the chips fall where they may.  

Torah 155, for the 3rd of Adar, teaches that sadness is a very bad quality. The reason a person does not travel to the Tzadik is because of sadness and heaviness. Similarly, the reason the person does not pray properly is because of sadness and laziness. This is due to lack of faith (Emunah) that Hashem listens to their every word. Emunah is the power to grow and sprout forth, as we see from the Purim story: Mordechai "emein" Hadassah, he raised her. 

The ability to not fear anything and to avoid interruption and confusion, that is the quality of "Slow to Anger" (Erech Apayim). Nothing can confuse such a person because nothing bothers them. This quality is dependent on Emunah. With Emunah, a person merits to be patient. He will be able to withstand any confusion or obstacle in his prayers and Divine service. The person will withstand everything and not be come sad or lazy - simply holding one's breath and not becoming bothered at all. The person will overcome everything, acting with alacrity and joy. 

 The quality of Erech Apayim depends on the Land of Israel, which is the aspect of Emunah. The main service of a Jew (Ish HaIsraeli) is merited through the Land of Israel. The great desire that Moshe had for the Land of Israel was this quality, Erech Apayim. Moshe Rabbeinu's heart burned for the Land of Israel, and every person should request from Hashem to have yearning and longing for it. This is also a way to overcome anger and sadness, as the Land of Israel stands for the opposite qualities: Emunah and Erech Apayim.

When Adar enters, we increase in joy. Essential to this joy is Emunah and Ratzon (desire). Moshe had this desire, and Naftali is called, "Sav'ah Ratzon," sated with desire. When Moshe was having trouble understanding the Mitzvah of the half-Shekel, Hashem showed him a coin of fire, representing the Jew's desire, which merited the atonement provided by this Mitzvah.

The above lesson also incorporates the message of the joy of Purim. The initial mistake of the Jews of Persia was to forget where they came from, benefiting from a party that was celebrating the mistaken understanding that the Jews would not return to their land as prophesized. Ultimately, the Jews repented and showed tremendous Emunah, and with that the quality of Erech Apayim was revealed. 

Torah 156, for the 4th of Adar, is about how the private conversation with Hashem in Hitbodedut is an aspect of holy spirit (Ruach HaKodesh). The heart becomes an emissary for the literal words of Hashem. 

A person must always renew/innovate, and request every time with supplications and new words of appeasement. For this one requires a pure heart, which becomes purified through flames and burning of the heart for Hashem. This cleanses the flames and burning lust, which impurifies the heart. Just as in the process of making vessels kosher, whatever goes through fire must be passed through fire.   

The way to come to this level of warmth and excitement is through motion. This is also accomplished by brining people close to Hashem and judging all people favorably. Inspiration of the heart expels the spirit of impurity from the heart, and the person then merits new words every time they engage in private conversation with Hashem in Hitbodedut.  

The above lesson continues the theme of desire (Ratzon), bringing to mind the qualities of Levi and Naftali, as well as that of the fiery half-Shekel. (The lesson appears to be a connected to Megillat Esther, as we know that it was written by Ruach HaKodesh because the narrative describes what was being said inside the individuals' hearts. (Megillah 7a) 

Torah 157, for the 5th of Adar, teaches that if one cleaves to the words of Torah that come out of the mouth of a Tzadik, it is a wonder how a person can bear and desire the life of this world.

The teaching is also about desire - the ultimate desire: genuine Torah from the mouth of a Tzadik.

Torah 158, for the 6th of Adar, is about temporary fires burning in the distance, caused by mists that rise from the ground. Rebbe Nachman compares these to momentary feelings of burning desire in certain people's hearts to serve Hashem. These feelings last only a short time - they come from the wicked who are full of regret. Other people receive inspiration from other sources.

This lesson, too, like the previous one, is about desire. The 6th of Adar is the eve of Moshe Rabbeinu's birthday and yahrzeit, and Rebbe Nachman seems to be contrasting the temporary almost empty regrets of the wicked with the tremendous overwhelming desire obtained from the words of Torah of a Tzadik.

Torah 159, for the 7th of Adar, Zayin Adar, teaches that there is an intermediary, so to speak, between people and Hashem, and that is the Divine Presence (the Schechinah). There are differences in Torah study: when one that merits to study for the Schechinah, the Schechinah receives the Torah study and raises it to (the level of ) Hashem. From this comes down spiritual and physical influx/blessing. Torah is composed of fire and water. The fire rises to the spiritual worlds of the angels, etc., and the water descends into physical blessing. This is the "right" and "left" of the Torah.

Not everyone merits this level, and if the Torah is not received by the Schechinah, it falls back below, scattering throughout the entire world. Everyone draws from this scattered Torah. This Torah, if drawn by an upstanding and G-d fearing person, can become the dew of Torah (Tal Torah), which revives a person with new awakening and desire for Torah. It can also be turned into new insights, by combining the scattered Torah from various different people, or simply new excitement for Torah. 

For those that are not worthy, the scattered Torah can turn into the thirty-nine labors prohibited on Shabat, and great desire for work in this world. This refers back to the "right" and "left" of the Torah - spiritual or physical influx, all dependent on the received. Physical dew also has both positive (life-giving) and negative properties regarding one's health.

Zayin Adar is both the date of the birth and the date of the passing of Moshe Rabbeinu. Moshe himself served as a kind of intermediary at the time of the giving of the Torah. Our sages also teach us that the Jewish people's souls left their body when hearing Hashem's voice at Mount Sinai, and they were revived with Tal. Layers of Tal also protected the Mannah, and our sages also teach us that the Torah was only given to those that ate the Mannah (in other words, those that were not overly worried or engaged in business/physical labor). 

Moshe himself also represented the combination of water and fire (apparent in two of the letters of his name Mem and Shin). The name Moshe was given by Batya, because "Min HaMayim Meshitihu" (I took him out of the water), and the burning bush is actually a metaphor for Moshe himself (See Nechama Leibowitz, New Studies in the Weekly Parsha).   

Furthermore, Zayin Adar itself has these life-giving and opposite qualities, as we see that Haman was happy to see that the lot of Purim fell on the month of Moshe's passing. He did not know that it was also the month of his birth, or perhaps he did not know that the passing of a Tzadik is also his birth (heard from Rav Shalom Arush).

Torah 160, for the 8th of Adar, teaches that the pulse knocks and beats in a person. Sometimes it knocks and reminds the person to the service of Hashem, and sometimes to sin, G-d forbid. This is because the pulse comes breath and breath come from the air through speech. And so, pulse goes according to speech, either for good or for the opposite.

This lesson again returns to the them of desire (Ratzon), which must be solely for good and holy endeavors.

Torah 161, for the 9th of Adar, is about how disputes (Machloket) raise and elevate a person, in the same way that a tree can only elevate itself  when water comes and raises it, carrying it away.

The 9th of Adar is a day in which the Machloket between Beit Hillel and Beit Shammai erupted into violence, in which many had the custom to fast. Perhaps if Beit Hillel and Beit Shammai had seen the positive aspect of their dispute, this tragedy could have been avioded. 

The 9th of Adar is also the day in which the Sixth Lubbavitcher Rebbe, the Frierdeker Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzhak Schneersohn, arrived in America. After tremendous suffering and antagonism from the Communist regime in Russia, the Frierdiker Rebbe was transported (by water) to America, and since then his efforts in spreading the observance of Torah and Mitzvot have known no bounds.

The imagery of a tree (Shvat) being elevated by water (Adar) appears to parallel the transition made in the year itself. We move from the weeks of Tiferet (balance, beauty) to the weeks of Netzach (victory, determination).

Torah 162, for the 10th of Adar, is a story about of a wealthy man from a distinguished lineage who opposed the men of the circle of the Maggid of Mezritch. At the Maggid's direction, they prayed for the man and he became close to the Maggid, becoming pious and righteous. However, then he began to lose his wealth. The man asked the Maggid about this, and the Maggid responded that, as the Talmud states, one leans to the south in prayer in order to become wise, and to the north in order to become wealthy. How can one become both wise and wealthy, if these were opposing directions? Only by having the utmost humility, and becoming literally nothing. Examples of this are Moshe Rabbeinu and Rabbeinu HaKadosh. 

Adar is of course very connected to Moshe. The above story also incorporates key aspects of the Purim story: prayer in the face of opposition, and the transfer of the wealth of the arrogant into the hands of the humble and wise.

Torah 163, for the 11th of Adar, is about how at times speech is ready to come out, and yet it does not come out through the mouth, but through the neck (this can be literally heard on several occasions). This is because there are forces of impurity (Klippot, particularly three main ones, the butcher, the baker, and Pharaoh)  that always want to take the speech for themselves, particularly holy speech from a great individual. This parallels how the Egyptians wanted so much to take Sarah to their king, Pharaoh. Speech is the aspect of Sarah, each according to their level: there is a national Sarah, there is Sarah over the entire world, and there are those who rule over their home (as noted in Megillat Esther 1:22). 

Even though it bothered Avraham very much that Sarah was taken, he knew that this would ultimately bring great satisfaction to G-d. Simple speech can be taken captive and become trapped in the forces of impurity, were it not for the true Tzadik, who has the power to take him out of there. 

And there is a person, whose entirety becomes speech, and he becomes the conversation on the mouth of the people, and everyone talks about him. He wanders and becomes scattered, and he has pains and various afflictions for each of these people... However when he comes to the mouth of base people and he is controlled in the nape (Oref, same letters as Pharaoh), and has no one to meet, and it is very painful and bitter, and he wanders in the wilderness, scattered in the mouths of the many, tired, hungry and thirsty, and the person has no sustenance. The soul has nothing to cover itself, and becomes so sick that it cannot tolerate any food.

Rebbe Nachman then exclaims, "And what are we to do? We brought this upon ourselves, for we have not followed the good advices Hashem gave us," turning our neck to Him, instead of our face. The person become imprisoned in jail, caught and bound there. Occasionally he is raised up to Heaven, and afterwards thrown very low. "May Hashem Blessed be He send healing for the soul, because we have trusted that it will all be right, and He will make our end good, Amen." 

Often the 11th of Adar is the Fast of Esther. This is the story of Queen Esther, which our sages state parallels that of Sarah. It is also the story of the souls of our generation, may Hashem redeem us speedily, in our days.

Torah 164, for the 12th of Adar, gives an example of a doctor that became ill and therefore needed to be under the care of the great doctor. The doctor wants a cure according to what he knows, but the great doctor knows of special important cures that the doctor needs. 

When a person comes to the Torah scholar and Tzadik of the generation, and wants specific spiritual cures (practices and ways), the Tzadik knows what kinds of cures that person needs.

There are times when a certain drug is needed, but if given by itself the sick person might die. Therefore it must be mixed with other things. 

There are also people for whom the secrets of the Torah cannot be revealed, because the Torah can be an elixir of life or the opposite. It is therefore necessary to clothe the inner Torah with other Torah teachings. Sometimes, the person cannot receive even with other Torah teachings, and so it is clothed in stories about worldly things. The Torah itself is at the moment clothed in stories, because it is impossible to transmit it as it is.

The above lesson is certainly true regarding Megillat Esther, which contains tremendous secrets and insights, and yet on the simple level appears to be only about mundane royal court drama. Rebbe Nachman is the great doctor and healer. May this project bring much healing to the Jewish people, and the ultimate healing, with the coming of Moshiach.   

Torah 165, for the 13th of Adar, is about when something bad is happening, it is because of the bad within us and therefore we need for Teshuvah.

This is connected to the Fast of Esther, and the hardships faced by the Jews ultimately led to their repentance.

Torah 166, for the 14th of Adar, Purim is about  gathering by the Tzadik in order to give him rulership (Memshala).

The background to this Torah is about how Rebbe Nachman’s chassidim came to him for Shabat without being invited, out of their own initiative, but that this ended being a positive thing and gave the Rebbe the power to annul decrees.

This is connected to Purim, as what led to our redemption was that we all gathered around Mordechai, upon the orders of Esther, giving them the strength needed to annul the decree.

Torah 167 for the 15th of Adar, Shushan Purim, teaches to know and believe that the Shabats spent with the true Torah scholar (Talmid Chacham HaEmet) are like fasts.

Just as Shushan Purim is a continuation of Purim, this teaching is a continuation of 165 and 166, referencing both the fast of Esther and gathering around Mordechai.

Torah 168, for the 16th of Adar, is about how haughtiness is an indication that trouble is coming, and in contrast, lowliness/humility is a sign that great honor is on the way. 

Haman’s haughtiness leads to his downfall, while Esther’s lowliness leads to great honor. Also, we are now within the 30 days before Pessach, and must focus on getting rid of our Chametz, our haughtiness, and becoming humble, like Matzah, like Moshe/Mashiach.

Torah 169, for the 17th of Adar, has the theme of Simcha and dancing, but also Dinim (judgements) brought by "runners" that prevent us from such activity.

Another related theme is pregnancy and birth - pregnancy is judgement (blood), and giving birth is the removal of judgement (blood) from the feet. The way to remove judgement and bring about joy is for people to judge themselves.

Adar is very much connected to joy, but as we approach Nissan and Pessach (the “birth” of the Jewish people, “גוי מקרב גוי”), it is also a time of great judgement. For example, if one does not give the half-shekel donation to the Beis HaMikdash by Rosh Chodesh Nissan, it is taken by the Beis Din by force. We also see the “dinim” in the great effort needed for the preparation for Pessach in general.

When we judge ourselves, we bring about humility, which is the most important preparation of all, and ultimately the greatest source of joy. Running/feet is closely connected to the tribe of Naftali and humility is associated with the tribe of Levi, both represented by the month of Adar.  

Torah 170, for the 18th of Adar, is about how a person suffers afflictions from those around him (his immediate family, etc.) and the greater the person, the more people he suffers afflictions from, to the extent that a great person can suffer afflictions from the entire world. These afflictions and tormentors subjugate the body and bring out the soul of the person, and he can then carry/elevate those people with him.

This lesson again brings to mind the afflictions of Mordechai and Esther (who were charged with averting a fatal decree faced by Jews in the entire world) and also  the story of Moshe, who left the comforts of the palace to see the afflictions of his fellow Jews and carried them to freedom.

The lesson here (similar to Torah 169, which was also written in the context of Rebbe Nachman trying to avert decrees faced by the Jews in exile, “punkten”), is the need to get rid of one’s “chametz” and, like matzah, connect back to one’s essence, the Neshama.

Torah 171, for the 19th of Adar, is about Daniel’s prophecy of what will happen to those that “rise from the dust of the earth.” Some use a new Torah insight to better serve Hashem (eternal life), and some to mock those that lack this insight (eternal derision, which can also be translated as derision of the world).

The lesson here again is about humility (being like dust of the earth, like chametz after it is nullified). One can be like Moshe/Mordechai, whose knowledge increases their humility, or one can be like Paroh/Haman, whose knowledge increases their ego. Only one of these paths leads to eternal life.

Torah 172, for the 20th of Adar, is again about humility, becoming nullified before Hashem, making oneself into nothing. One’s own physicality blocks Hashem’s light, and nullifying oneself (one’s “shade”) allows the light to enter. The end of the lesson speaks of Hashem’s smile and the smile of Tzadikim, both of which are good for the world.

As explained previously, the importance of humility is one of the main themes of this time of the year, as is also the importance of joy (smiling).

Torah 173, for the 21st of Adar, the Yahrzeit of the Rebbe, Reb Elimelech m’Lizhensk, is about how the Tzadik HaEmet can recognize from one’s writing (and even more so from one’s speech) the inner dimension of the person’s soul (and the root of their Emunah.

This teaching is appropriate for the 21st of Adar, given that the Noam Elimelech was such a Tzadik, a quintessential rebbe, who shaped all of Polish Jewry, having as his disciples the main Chassidic leaders of the following generation that lived there, such as the Chozeh of Lublin, the Apter Rav, the Koznitzer Maggid, Rebbe Menachem Mendel of Rimanov, Reb Naftali of Ropshitz, and many others. He also authored the Sefer Noam Elimelech, which is a reflection of his essence and primarily about the service of the Tzadik in sweetening harsh decrees. That the Sefer represents his essence is also reflected in the fact that it does not containing a section on Parasha’s Vayakhel, which is the Parasha in which the Rebbe Reb Elimelech passed away.

Perhaps one could also say that Megillat Esther contains the essential nature of Queen Esther herself, and the Megillah serves to “Legalot HaNistar,” to reveal that which was previously hidden.

Torah 174, for the 22nd of Adar, is about how in a time of judgement, such as when a person is ill, we do not evoke a person’s name. We see this concept take place when Moshe prays for Miriam, he does not mention her name. Rebbe Nachman points out that her name is hinted to in Moshe’s short prayer, which has the gematria of “Miriam Yocheved,” her name together with their mother’s name.

Connected to yesterday’s lesson, the book “Noam Elimelech,” which means “pleasant/sweet,” hints to Rebbe Elimelech’s holy brother, Reb Zusha, with whom we would travel together in self-imposed exile. Zis means sweet in Yiddish, and, as mentioned, the Sefer is about sweetening the decrees of the King. (This also points to the Kabbalistic concepts of Z”A and Malchus)

Similarly, Megillat Esther is also about Mordechai, but perhaps most importantly, it is about the King: Hashem, Who is only hinted to in the Megillah, which takes place during a time of judgement. (Also mentioned previously is how the end of the month of Adar is also potentially a time of dinim).

Torah 175, for the 23rd of Adar, is about how the essential quality of crying is when it is for (due to) joy and happiness. Even one’s feeling of remorse should due to one’s joy in Hashem.

As we’re approaching the end of the month of Adar, we return to the theme of happiness. When we keep in mind that any difficulties in anticipation of Nissan and Passover are all part of Hashem’s love for us, made abundantly clear at the Seder, then certainly we will have nothing but joy in our hearts.

(Torah 175 specifically talks about the sweetening of the cry, similar to the ideas of Noam Elimelech, Reb Zusha and Reb Elimelech, discussed previously)

Torah 176, for the 24th of Adar, depicts a process that very much resembles getting rid of our chametz. The Ruach Shtus (spirit of folly) fills our hearts up with air. When we connect to the Tzadik, whose heart is hollow, and serves as a vacuum, that air leaves our heart and pops, leaving us humble, with a broken heart.

(Also worth noting that Torah 176 starts out with speaking about the need to act quickly to remove the Ruach Shtus, just was matzah must be baked quickly in order not to rise/ferment)

Torah 177, for the 25th of Adar, is about wine, how true Tzadikim can pardon sin through occasionally drinking wine, because wine makes a person a “head” (leader), and when Hashem said to Moshe, “Salachti KiDvareicha,” Davar stands for Dishanta BaShemen Roshi, which is an aspect of Shleimut HaMochin, perfected intellect. The lesson then turns to the importance of being content and accepting of G-d’s will, which gives reign to His kingship.

This teaching represents a transition from Adar to Nissan, specifically the week of Rosh Chodesh Nissan. Adar is connected to wine, and Rosh Chodesh to the forgiveness of sin. Particularly Rosh Chodesh Nissan, not only the head of the month, but the head of the head of all the months (representing the Tribe of Yehudah), is extremely connected to letting G-d lead the way out of our limitations (Egypt), accepting His will and giving sovereignty to His kingship.

Torah 178, for the 26th of Adar, continues the theme of repentance, joy, and also the connection of the body to the head/intellect. A person must confess verbally, but there are obstacles that make it difficult to confess, and therefore a person must turn to the joy of mitzvot, and that joy should go from head to toe. A person’s many mitzvot can also overcome the worry connected to any particular limb/sin, which then make them able to confess.

The connection of these concepts to Rosh Chodesh, Adar, and Nissan, were explained in the previous lesson.

Torah 179, for the 27th of Adar, is about how strife (Machloket) can be resolved through fasting. Fasting links a person’s will to Hashem’s will, reviving and reconstructing joy. At the end of the lesson, Rebbe Nachman draws a lesson from Yom Kippur, whose essence encompasses all the days.

Erev Rosh Chodesh is known as Yom Kippur Katan, in which it is common for the pious to fast. Rosh Chodesh, as the head of the month, is a day that encompasses all the days of the month. As we transition from the joy of Adar to the joy of Nissan, we focus on humbling ourselves, making our will into Hashem’s will, so that we may freed from all constrictions and truly redeemed.


Torah 180, for the 28th of Adar, is about the special quality of Pidyon (literally “redemption” or “atonement,” is a special money given to a Tzadik for him to pray on the person’s behalf. Money corresponds to feet, Malchut, which is an aspect of judgements, dinim. The Pidyon mitigates the din, through Binah.

As mentioned previously, the time to give the Half Shekel (voluntarily) is up until Rosh Chodesh Nissan. After that, it is taken by force by the Beis Din. The Half Shekel, which went towards the upkeep of the Temple, is a redemption/atonement for the sin of the golden calf, and is also connected to atonement/redemption from Haman’s evil decree.

Torah 181, for the 29th of Adar, Erev Rosh Chodesh Nissan, reverts back to the subject of two days ago, strife (Machloket). It is about how it is possible for a group of people to band together and knock down someone more important than them, because their “glory” (Kavod) can unite against him. Wicked people have no “glory,” and Rebbe Nachman references Korach and his assembly as an example, stating how Yaakov did not want his Kavod to be with them. The teaching ends with a statement about how the words spoken against a true Tzadik and his followers are in fact a very great benefit to them. They are what stand them up.

Erev Rosh Chodesh, Yom Kippur Katan, is a time of judgement/atonement. In addition, this is a time when we are preparing ourselves for Passover, diminishing our own self-importance, realizing our own fragility, and focusing on the glory of Hashem.

Torah 182, for the 1st of Nissan, Rosh Chodesh, and Rebbe Nachman’s birthday, is about the world’s conversations during each day of the Counting of the Omer. Someone who understands can hear a conversation and know that what is being said is from the Sefirah combination of the day.

Rosh Chodesh is the head of the month, and therefore it is not so surprising that this Torah refers to an idea that comes later this month. The 1st of Nissan is connected to the Nasi of Yehuda, who symbolizes Malchut, royalty, primarily associated with the power of speech/conversation.

There is also a deeper lesson here about Rebbe Nachman himself (and perhaps also King David), someone who could see and understand the true nature of reality and the spiritual source of everything. The 1st of Nissan is also the day of the inauguration of the Mishkan, Hashem’s dwelling amongst the Jewish people, in the lowest of worlds, fulfilling the purpose of Creation.

Torah 183, for the 2nd of Nissan, is about how the seating of the sages, of the Sanhedrin was arranged, and how it expressed the love they had for one another, even when they were away. From there came the laws (Mishpatim) and the sustenance (Parnassah).

The 2nd of Nissan is connected to the Nassi of the Tribe of Issachar. Issachar was a tribe of Torah scholars, who comprised a large portion of the Sanhedrin. Issachar also represents the partnership and love among the Jewish people, particularly in his relationship with Zevulun. Issachar responsible for the Mishpatim and Zevulun for the Parnassah.

Torah 184, for the 3rd of Nissan, is about what happens when friends speak to each other about fear of Heaven. There is a direct light (Ohr Yashar) and a reflected light (Ohr Chozer). A person can therefore be inspired by one’s own words (through Ohr Chozer).

The Nassi for the 3rd of Nissan is Zevulun. As mentioned previously, Zevulun had a relationship with Issachar that benefited both sides, based on fear of Heaven. The lesson seems to focus primarily on Zevulun’s commercial travels (going and returning). They would sometimes impact the non-Jews to come to Israel and convert. Zevulun’s power to influence the other nations would also be felt by Zevulun itself.

(Zevulun is connected to the month of Sivan and the giving of the Torah, also very much connected to fear of Hashem and the concepts of Ohr Yashar and Ohr Chozer)

Torah 185, for the 4th of Nissan, first discusses how, for the name of Hashem to be complete, man’s service must be complete. The essence of completeness is fear of Hashem and there are two types: a higher fear (“Alef,” Malchut) borne out of intellectual contemplation, relates to a fear of Hashem’s greatness and loftiness; and a lower fear (“Alef Dalet”) borne out of fears for worldly things, like a wild animal or a minister. This lower level fear can do little more than bring sustenance, an aspect of feminine waters. In order to receive this sustenance, there needs to be a closed vessel (“closed Mem”) that will not allow for outside forces to be nourished from it. This forms the word Adam.

Traveling to the Tzadik, starting with the longing to travel there, already makes an impression of the vessel. Once the person comes to the Tzadik, the vessel is formed.

A person obtains fear by what he sees with his eyes. The higher level fear, however, comes from the heart (as a result of contemplation).

Rabbi Nathan provides an additional note about how Rebbe Nachman taught that when a person faces difficult obstacles and struggles when beginning to serve Hashem, in the end he receives great holiness and purity. The earlier struggles make his vessel greater in order to receive more later.

The Nassi for today in Reuven and there are many parallels here. Fear of Hashem in many ways was a challenge for him, and his leadership, based on a lower level fear, gave place to Yehuda’s leadership, based on a higher level one. We see this in his interactions with Yaakov and his brothers - his failure to save Yosef and his failure to convince Yaakov to send Binyamin to Egypt with the brothers.

Reuven is also connected to sight (Reiyah), which is the origin of his name. Reuven is also connected to the month of Tammuz, a month connected to the travel of the spies, in which we must fix their mistake of seeing the Land of Israel in the wrong way. It’s a month that represents many struggles and obstacles, but in the end will be a month of great rejoicing.

Torah 186, for the 5th of Nissan, is about how stories of Tzadikim are told in a certain region because the people there are upright and believe in Tzadikim. Through their belief in Tzadikim, miracles are revealed. When a person believes in a Tzadik, listenining to his every word, when he then retuns home, he sees understands retroactively the intention hinted in the Tzadik’s words and miracles are revealed. This happened also by the prophets, and when Mashiach comes we will understand how the redemption was hidden in their words.

One the 5th day of Nissan, the Nasi is from Shimon. Shimon is connected to Shmiah, hearing. Shimon parallels the month of Av, which requires fixing the sin of the Jewish people of improperly listening to the spies instead of listening to Calev and Yehoshua. Av is also the month most connected with Mashiach, who is born on Tisha B’Av.

Torah 187, for the 6th of Nissan, is about how it is a great kindness that Hashem uses “measure for measure” as a way to repay a person according to their deeds. This allows a person to be able to inspect their actions and repent. This takes places mainly in the Land of Israel, where most of the dwellers there undergo afflictions.

The Nassi for the 6th of Nissan is from the Tribe of Gad. Gad parallels the month of Elul, a month fully dedicated to Teshuva. The suffering that might have taken place in Av, when properly put in the perspective of Teshuva, can truly be seen as a kindness.

Torah 188, for the 7th of Nissan, is about how a person must travel to the Tzadik in order to retrieve what they have lost. Before a person comes into this world, they are shown everything they need to do and obtain in this world, but once they enter the world, they immediately forget. This forgetting is equivalent to losing an object, and the Tzadik retrieves it. The Tzadik retrieves the lost objects of the whole world. The only thing is that the Tzadik first checks whether the one that is asking for his lost object back is a liar or a fraud (as required under Jewish law).

The Nassi for the 7th of Nissan is from the Tribe of Efrayim. Efrayim parallels the month of Tishrei. Rebbe Nachman emphasized tremendously the need to travel to him on Rosh Hashanah. Furthermore, on Rosh Hashanah, the entire world is judged.

Torah 189, for the 8th of Nissan, is a short teaching about how a person must be very careful about not being sad or lazy, because that is the essencial aspect of the bite of the snake, which is connected to the element of earth. (In other places, Rebbe Nachman teaches that what the Yetzer HaRah wants most is not the sin itself, for which a person can always repent, but the depression and discouragement a person feels afterwards)

The Nassi for the 8th of Nissan is from the Tribe of Menashe. Menashe was the son of Yosef most involved in running the kingdom (as opposed to Efrayim, who was dedicated to Torah and spiritual pursuits). Menashe was more involved with physicality and work, which is also what the month of Cheshvan represents: taking the inspiration of Tishrei and using it to elevate the world, through hard work. This leaves a person more vulnerable to sin, but the main thing is to not give up and stay happy, understanding that this too os ultimately part of the process to elevate every hidden spark of Creation.

Torah 190, for the 9th of Nissan, discusses free will (for both Moshe and the Jewish people) at the time of the giving of the Torah. Even though they said, “Everything Hashem commanded we will do!” the Jewish people maintained their free will by not directly hearing all 613 commandments from Hashem Himself, and Moshe maintained his own free will by still having the power to intuit ways of serving Hashem not expressly commanded.

The Nassi for the 9th of Nissan is from Binyamin (Kislev). Binyamin is depicted in the Zohar as one of the few people in history to never have commited a sin. The tribe is defined by its Emunah and self-sacrifice, jumping into the Red Sea at the time it split. Kislev itself is also defined by these characteristics, vital in the victory of the Chashmonaim over the Greeks and their secular philosophy. The Talmud incorporates much of Greek logic and science, similar to how Rebbe Nachman himself seems to incorporate some philosophical into this lesson as well.

Torah 191, for the 10th of Nissan, covers a couple of different concepts. It’s about how two people might be in the same place in Gan Eden, and one of them might be there and not feel anything. It then discusses the unfathomable depths of the hearts of kings, containing within them each and every country, etc., and how “a little can hold a lot.”

The Nassi for the 10th of Nissan is from Dan (Teveth). Dan has a very interesting characteristic that its vast population came from a single grandson of Jacob, Chushim. “Chush” means “sense” in Hebrew, but he was actually deaf. Nonetheless, he was very powerful, and killed Eisav at the entrance of Hebron at the time of Jacob’s burial. Hebron is also the entrance to Gan Eden.

Dan is also very much defined by one individual, a judge (Shofet) specifically mentioned (and prayed for) by Jacob: Shimshon. Shimshon also was blinded towards the end of his life, and in his death, killed many of Israel’s enemies at the time, the Philistines.

Teveth is also defined by the senses. It is the coldest and darkest month of the year, but its depth and power (to be only revealed in Messianic times) is also unfathomable.

Torah 192, for the 11th of Nissan, is about the preciousness of the words of truth from the mouth of a true tzadik. Other tzadikim’s words may have a mix of truth and other elements, but the words of a true tzadik are pure truth, without any mixture.

Someone who hears the words of the true tzadik, and particularly if sees him, receives an aspect of the face of the tzadik. A person receives his intellect and his soul. Yet a person must guard against forgetting. A person should therefore picture the Tzadik teachim him the lesson. There is an aspect of “pregnancy” (Ibur) associated with this level of learning.

The 11th of Nissan is the birthday of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson. It is therefore quite appropriate that the lesson begins with describing the preciousness and purity of the words of a true tzadik, as was the Lubavitcher Rebbe.

The Nassi of the day is from Asher (Shevat). Asher was known for having many of its women marry Kohanim Gedolim. The experience of receiving the words of a true tzadik appears similar to the relationship of a wife towards her husband (including Ibur).

Also, Asher’s land was known for its olives (and olive oil), which are known for their power of forgetfulness.

It was in Shevat that Moshe Rabbeinu began reviewing the Torah given to the Jewish people in the desert. This represented the beginning of the Oral Torah (as Deuteronomy (Devarim) itself is also known as Mishnah Torah). It is also worth noting that the yahrzeit of the Rebbe’s wife, Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka is in Shevat.

Torah 193, for the 12th of Nissan, is about the power of thought, how proper focus can bring a person anything in the world, even self-sacrifice (Mesirat Nefesh), to the point that he is willing (Merutzeh) to sanctify himself to G-d through any death that may come.

The Nassi for the 12th of Nissan is from Naftali (Adar). Naftali is extremely connected to Ratzon (will) and self-sacrifice, as it is called by both Moshe and Yaakov an Ayalah Shlucha, Savah Ratzon (a sent deer, sated with will). The Torah teaches that nothing stands in the way of will.

Adar is also characterized by self-sacrifice and will, exemplified by Esther and Mordechai.

Torah 194 is for the 13th of Nissan, and the “Nassi” is about Aharon’s lighting of the Menorah: Levi (Adar II). The teaching very much parallels the story of Purim…Levi was also a representative of Hashem (to be continued)

The lesson is also about how whoever desires honor is a fool. It gives a parable of a servant to an important governor/minister (Sar), who is sent to a far-away land. The people there confuse the servant for the governor, and when the latter comes to visit, the people there give all sorts of honor to the servant and none to the governor himself. How embarrassing that must have been to the servant. Rebbe Nachman then ties this teaching to the power of speech, which is what differentiates humans from animals. Speech is the “palace of the king,” and there is no greater disgrace than to seek glory in the palace of the king.

Torah Lessons 195-204, all of which are extremely short and can be found in a single page of Likutei Moharan, appear to combine with Torah 194 to form a single unit, touching on various themes, but then returning to the main theme of the foolishness of seeking honor.

Torah 195 is about how within distress (constriction) there is relief (breadth, Harhava)

Torah 196 is about how prayer should not be stubbornly focused on a single objective, which would be considered like taking something by force.

Torah 197 is about how slander (Lashon Harah) blemishes humility (except that of someone like Moshe)

Torah 198 is about how when a person screams to G-d, they tell him to move.

Torah 199 is about how feeling the sweetness of Torah saves a person from becoming a widower.

Torah 200 explains that the Tzadikim from today are rich, as opposed to those in the past (previous incarnations of the souls of these Tzadikim) were poor.

Torah 201 is about how on Pesach one is to scream in prayer. The lesson also teaches of how the power of Tzedakah to save from death is connected to Matzot, and that it can also save from epilepsy.

Torah 202 returns to the theme of how honor is foolish, and the desire for honor is commensurate with one’s lack of knowledge (Da’at).

Torah 203 is about how one can learn about the state of the Shechina from the conversations of women, as exemplified in the Megillah by Mordechai and Esther.

Finally, Torah 204 is about how giving Tzedakah to a Talmid Chacham cannot be erased by sin. We learn this from the word “Maot” (money, as in Maot Chitin given before Passover)

The Nassi reading for the 13th of Nissan gives a tally of all the sacrifices brought by the Nessi’im, as well as Aharon’s lighting of the Menorah. Aharon was the “Nassi” for the tribe of Levi, represented by Adar II.  Adar II is a microcosm of all the other months, and to a similar extent, Levi is a microcosm of all of the other tribes.

The story in Likutei Moharan very much parallels the story of Purim, in which Haman sought honor in the palace of the king and was greatly humiliated.

Furthermore, the Tribe of Levi was totally dedicated to serving and representing Hashem, with the utmost humility, exemplified by Moshe himself.

Torah Lessons 195-204 all appear related to Pessach (195, 201, and 204), Moshe (196-200), or Purim (202 and 203).

Torah 205, for the 14th of Nissan, Erev Pessach introduces Rebbe Nachman’s famous Tikkun (spiritual correction/fixing), the Ten Psalms that constitute the Tikkun HaKlali, a general remedy to rectify a nocturnal emission. The Ten Psalms encapsulate the ten different types of song, which are the antithesis of the impurity (Kelipah) most associated with such an emission, and by reciting these Psalms we remove the drop from the clutches of Kelipah. Tehilim (Psalms) has the gematria of Hashem’s names El Elokim, which cause the drop to leave.

It is interesting that the Tikkun HaKlali is introduced after a grouping of ten short Torahs in Likkutei Moharan. There likely is a connection between each Psalm and each Torah.

Erev Pessach represents the ultimate victory of holiness (Kedushah) over impurity (Klipah), in which the god of the Egyptians is sacrificed for Hashem, for all to see. It is the beginning of the Jewish people leaving this most impure of places, Yetziat Mitzrayim.

Furthermore, Pessach itself is the only time in which we sing Hallel at night (many have the custom of doing so both at Maariv as well as at the Seder.

Torah 206, for the 15th of Nissan, the first day of Pessach, starts with a quote, “I have strayed like a lost sheep…” The lesson is about how when a person sins, at first it easy to return to the good path, but that it becomes more difficult the further a person moves from the road. There are points, however, where a person ends up very close to the starting point, but has forgotten and/or does not recognize Hashem’s call, the call of Torah and Mitzvot.

The above description is fitting for Passover (the Pessach sacrifice is a lamb after all, and Hashem led us out of Egypt like a shepherd). At the Seder Table, each of us is given the ability to return to our starting point as a people, as long as we remember where we came from, as long as we don’t behave like one of the four sons that is “evil” (Rasha), and not like the “fifth son” mentioned by the Lubavitcher Rebbe, who does not make it to the Seder in the first place.

Torah 207, for the 16th of Nissan, 2nd day of Pessach, and the 1st day of the Omer (Chesed shebeChesed), starts by teaching that all words are an aspect of severities “Gevurot” that come from the articulations of the mouth. The words must be “sweetened” through Torah study and good words. At times, harsh severities emerge that must be sweetened by the leaders of the generation, and when they do not do so properly, it must be done by the Tzadik of the generation, through accepting with love the harsh words spoken about him. Sometimes the sweetening comes about only through the Tzadik’s passing, as was the case of the Baal Shem Tov, which was due to his opponents. When the Tzadik sweetens the words, he transforms them into Torah, specifically “Torat Chesed,” the Torah of kindness.

As Rav Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev explains, the word Pessach can be understood as “Peh Sach,” the mouth converses. One must be very careful with ones words at the Seder, to speak only positively and not get angry. Even though the second night of Passover is very joyous and the Counting of the Omer starts with Chesed shebeChesed, there is nevertheless an aspect of severity (associated more generally with the mourning related to the Omer, that must be sweetened. The enemies of the Baal Shem Tov showed the same bad qualities that caused the death of 24,000 of Rabbi Akiva’s students, while the Baal Shem Tov himself, was distinguished by his tremendous Chesed, perhaps the very embodiment of “Chesed shebeChesed,” and who, like Rabbi Akiva, focused his teachings around the concept that the “great principle of the Torah is to love your fellow Jew.”

Torah 208, for the 17th of Nissan, 3d day of Pessach, and the 2nd day of the Omer (Gevurah shebeChesed), is about how the wicked, and the opposition the pose to the Tzadik is for his benefit, so that he does not become overly famous.  

This is the principle of Gevurah shebeChesed, a harshness/judgement that is actually a kindness. The teaching also brings to mind the fundamentals of Passover: humility, and how fame and exposure can be damaging to this objective.

Torah 209, for the 18th of Nissan, 4th day of Pessach, and the 3rd day of the Omer (Tiferet shebeChesed), teaches that the remedy/rectification for bad prayers is hosting a Torah scholar.

Tiferet is exemplified by Torah itself, and hosting Torah scholars therefore exemplifies the concept of Tiferet shebeChesed. This teaching also appears to show how every aspect of the Chag is interconnected - prayers, Torah learning, and the meals themselves.

Torah 210, for the 19th of Nissan, 5th day of Pessach, and the 4th day of the Omer (Netzach shebeChesed), is about how by doing business with Emunah one fulfills the mitzvah of loving Hashem. Earning a living is an aspect of the parting of the Red Sea, which was in the merit of Avraham, the aspect of “And you shall love [Hashem].”

The challenges of making a living (and being victorious in that “battle”) is linked to the Sefirah of Netzach, victory. As Rebbe Nachman essentially points out, Avraham is the aspect of Chesed. The teaching as a whole described, “Netzach shebeChesed,” and the metaphor of the parting of the Red Sea ties the teaching back to Passover, and our redemption, both when it comes to financial matters (which can be challenging given that ideally one should not work during Chol HaMoed) as well as more generally, with the coming of Mashiach.

Torah 211, for the 20th of Nissan, 6th day of Pessach, and the 5th day of the Omer (Hod shebeChesed), is a lesson on the importance of holy and purity of thought. These are the essence of “sweetening” judgements, which is why people travel to Tzadikim on Rosh Hashanah. That is why “Moshe [representing the mind] took Yosef’s [the Tzadik] bones [when leaving Egypt].”

While Moshe (Netzach) and Yosef (Yesod) are both mentioned explicitly (again, in thr context of leaving Egypt/Passover), it is actually Aharon (Hod) whose service on Yom Kippur is most connected with holiness and purity of the mind when mitigating the judgement of Rosh Hashanah. In fact, the Kohen Gadol could only have pure and holy thoughts when in the Holy of Holies, otherwise he would die. Again, sweetening judgements is associated with Chesed, thus Hod shebeChesed.

Torah 212, for the 21st of Nissan, 7th day of Pessach, and the 6th day of the Omer (Yesod shebeChesed), is about how through the aspect of clapping one is able to look into G-d’s portrait. Representations of Him were revealed by the prophets, which are the aspect of the spoken word of prayer.

Clapping is the aspect of “human hands under their wings,” as described in the vision of Ezekiel. Through it, the spoken word of prayer is encompassed by the two hands, the Written and Oral Torah.

The power of speech comes through attachment to Tzadikim.

The 7th day of Passover is the day of the Splitting of the Sea of Reeds and of the Song of the Sea. On that day, even the most simple maidservant saw a revelation of Hashem greater than the one seen by the Prophet Ezekiel. The women, led by Miriam, then danced (and clapped) with their tambourines.

The right hand represents Chesed, kindness, and Tzadikim represent Yesod. Clapping and praying are therefore based on Yesod shebeChesed.

Torah 213, for the 22nd of Nissan, 8th day of Pessach (outside of Israel) and the 7th day of the Omer (Malchut shebeChesed), describes a special Name of Hashem that serves to hide a person being pursued by the Samech-Mem. This Name conceals the person, but if the Satan is able to enter under the concealment and cover, then he is strengthened by the Name and the person can even die from this, G-d forbid.

Hashem’s name represents His attribute of Malchut, as it represents His contraction that makes possible the world’s existence. The 8th day of Passover is a day linked primarily to the future redemption, the coming of Mashiach and the slaughtering of the Yetzer HaRah, the Samech Mem. Mashiach, like Moshe, represents the ultimate humility, focusing solely on Hashem’s glory and kingship, which is the best “cover” against the attacks of Satan and other accusing forces (as explained elsewhere in Likkutei Moharan). It is only at such a high level of humility, which taps directly into Hashem’s infinite Chesed, that death can be eradicated from the world once and for all.

Torah 214, for the 23rd of Nissan, Issru Chag (outside of Israel) and the 8th day of the Omer (Chesed shebeGevurah), is about how Torah study protects against death (like in early generations, where people who knew they were about to die would study Torah constantly), but only when the study is done properly. That is why in latter generations, it was possible to die in the middle of one’s Torah study. In fact, when the study is improper, particularly the study of Talmud, it can actually increase the strength of the S”M.

The above lesson very much encompasses the idea of Chesed shebeGevurah. Hashem gave (Chesed) us the gift of Torah as a way to overcome all obstacles, even death itself. However, the gift only works when used properly, otherwise it causes damage (Gevurah).

We come to the end of Passover with a difficult question: how are we still in exile? (See the Song of the Camel, Week 30 in Kabbalah of Time). The answer is that we have not yet used our tools properly to merit redemption.

Torah 215, for the 24th of Nissan and the 9th day of the Omer (Gevurah shebeGevurah), is about how there are 24 types of redemption, sweetening judgements that occur during each hour. There is one redemption inclusive of all 24. Not all Tzadikim know this redemption - it is known only to one Tzadik, and even when that Tzadik uses it, it is not always effective. This redemption is connected to Shabat Mincha, which is connected to Moshe, who was buried in front of Baal Peor in order to mitigate idolatry and create converts.

This lesson is connected to Gevurah shebeGevurah, describing various levels of judgement, judgements for each hour within the judgement for the whole day. Fixing these judgements all at once requires tremendous power, precision, and self-sacrificeall of which are also connected to Gevurah. Baal Peor was a place that required foxing through Gevurah: the death of 24,000 through a plague (paralleling the deaths of Rabbi Akiva’s students during the Omer), the actions of Pinchas, and the burial of Moshe Rabbeinu.

Torah 216, for the 25th of Nissan and the 10th day of the Omer (Tiferet shebeGevurah), is a short teaching about how philosophers call nature the “mother of all living” [Mother Nature] and how through prayer, particularly the Amidah, we annul the power of nature over us.

Nature is a force of Gevurah, associated with the name Elokim, which has the gematria of HaTeva. Calling it “motherly,” is truly Tiferet (also known as Rachamim, mercy) within Gevurah. Through prayer, we achieve true Rachamim, by nullifying ourselves completely to G-d, as in the Amidah prayer.

Torah 217, for the 26th of Nissan and the 11th day of the Omer (Netzach shebeGevurah), is about how the initials of “Zichru Torat Moshe,” Remember the Torah of Moshe, spell out Tammuz (without the Vav). The breaking of the Tablets (Luchot HaBrit) brought forgetfulness into the world. By bringing down memory into the world, we fix the missing Vav, which represents the Luchot.

Moshe represents Netzach. The breaking of the Luchot was perhaps his greatest moment of Gevurah. Tammuz as a whole is very much tied to Gevurah. But the struggles and sacrifices we make to remember the Torah and connect to the Tzadik, will ultimately reveal the great blessings behind these challenges.

It’s also worth noting that the 26th of Nissan is the Yahrzeit of Yehoshua Bin Nun. After Moshe’s passing, 300 halachot were forgotten by Yehoshua, ultimately recovered through logic by Othniel ben Kenaz.

Torah 218, for the 27th of Nissan, Yom HaShoah and the 12th day of the Omer (Hod shebeGevurah), is about how at times a certain decree has been issued against a person, which even if he does not see, his Mazal sees, and he wants to hide himself. He might travel, but then if his identity is publicized, he can be very damaged by this. Rebbe Nachman then mentions how that had happened recently to a certain Tzadik that visited Israel.

The above lesson represents very much what happened to Aharon. In some way he knew that there was a gezeira against him and he was hesitant to inaugurate the Mishkan. While he remained “hidden,” his sons approached the Holy of Holies and died.

Yom HaShoah also represents a similar concept. Just as Nadav and Avihu, the Kedoshim of the Shoah were completely consumed, only their clothing remained behind.

Torah 219, for the 28th of Nissan and the 13th day of the Omer (Yesod shebeGevurah), is about how the Temple is certainly unable to withstand Hashem’s glory, and it was out His love for us that He contracted His glory into the Divine Presence Shechinah in order to reveal His Kingship (Malchut). When the Jewish people sinned, then He no longer contracted Himself, and the Temple could no longer withstand Hashem’s glory and was destroyed. That is how Hashem, “tore His garment,” as stated in the Midrash Eichah Rabbah.

The remainder of the lesson further explores Rebbe Nachman’s teachings on Malchut, and how it requires fear and submissiveness on our part. The more one makes himself small, the more, so to speak, Hashem makes Himself small and accessible to us.

Even though much of the teaching is about Malchut, the foundation needed in order to receive Hashem’s Malchut is Yesod. Yesod is also the ability to hold back from sinning, requiring fear of Heaven and humility, and exemplified by Yosef, in his interactions with the wife of Potiphar and with Pharaoh. The Temple, when the Jewish people behaved properly, had the ability to hold Hashem’s light and provide spiritual sustenance and blessing for the whole world. Its destruction, when Hashem’s Presence became too strong for the Temple to withstand, therefore symbolizes the concept of Yesod shebeGevurah.

Torah 220, for the 29th of Nissan, Erev Rosh Chodesh Iyar, and the 14th day of the Omer (Malchut shebeGevurah), is about how there are many valuable things in the world, such as a wise man (certainly very valuable), a rich man, a ruler, etc. Each of these have some level of authority, and a person can be saved through them by approaching them and telling their story, eliciting mercy in order to be saved from their suffering.

Eliciting mercy in order to be saved from suffering is an aspect of Malchut shebeGevurah. This is related to the qualities of the month of Iyar (see Song of the Horse, Week 31 in Kabbalah of Time)

Torah 221, for the 30th of Nissan, Rosh Chodesh Iyar, and the 15th day of the Omer (Chesed shebeTiferet), teaches that the tither (Ma’aser) can save a person from their enemies, as Hashem conceals the person in His hand. The tithe is an aspect of contentment.

Giving (Chesed) that leads to being saved (mercy, Rachamim) and feeling content, balanced (Tiferet), is very much connected to Chesed shebeTiferet.

Torah 222, for the 1st day of Iyar, Second day of Rosh Chodesh Iyar, and the 16th day of the Omer (Gevurah shebeTiferet), is about how a person needs to be always happy and serve Hashem in joy. Even if a person falls from their level, they should strengthen themselves through their earlier, happier days. This is like a blind person who holds on to someone who is not blind, or to a cane.

To strengthen oneself (Gevurah) in order to find joy and balance (Tiferet) clearly relates to Gevurah shebeTiferet; it also connects well to the ideas represented by the tribes of Issachar (Iyar) and Zevulun (Sivan). They both depended on one another - one for sustenance and the other for Torah study. The Omer is also somewhat of a sad time (given the passing of the students of Rabbi Akiva), but also a time of healing.

Torah 223, for the 2nd day of Iyyar and the 17th day of the Omer (Tiferet shebeTiferet), is about how while for some Tzadikim their requests are not always answered, there is also a Tzadik that is able to declare, “I say that it will be so.”

Tiferet shebeTiferet is a very special day. If the Sefirot are counted backwards (from Malchut shebeMalchut up), then this day would be Hod shebeHod. It is the birthday of the Rabbi Shmuel of Lubavitch (the Rebbe Maharash). The Rebbe Maharash is famous for the following saying: “The world says if  or when a person can’t get around it, [then] you go above it. And I say the initial approach should be to go above it (L’chatchilla ariber).” That was the Rebbe Maharash’s approach to everything he did, in line with Rebbe Nachman’s words about Tzadik that is able to declare, “I say that it will be so.”

Everything about the Rebbe Maharash’s lifestyle was also (outwardly) rich and ornate. His carriage, his golden objects, etc. All of this also encompasses the concept of Tiferet shebeTiferet - beauty within beauty, but also Rachamim shebeRachamim, mercy within mercy - the ability to tap into Hashem’s mercy to such a degree, that one is able to be fully confident that one’s words will be fulfilled and the mission accomplished.

Torah 224, for the 3rd day of Iyar and the 18th day of the Omer (Netzach shebeTiferet), teaches that even those that are distant from a Tzadik receive light and vitality from him through his “shading” them. Such a Tzadik is like a tree, whose branches, bark, and leaves receive vitality from it, and even the grasses below benefit from the tree’s shade.

The 3rd of Iyyar is the yahrzeit of Reb Shayale Kerestirer, renowned for his miracles and blessings, and for sustaining those in need far and wide. Today, multitudes travel from great distances to his grave on his yahrzeit.

Netzach is the middle branch of the Menorah, and is what gives light and vitality to all the branches. It the spark Moshe Rabbeinu within each one of us. The “shade from the sun,” created by the Tzadik is analogous to Tiferet/Rachamim. Thus the connection to today’s sefirah: Netzach shebeTiferet.

Torah 225, for the 4th day of Iyar and the 19th day of the Omer (Hod shebeTiferet), is about the role of the lungs: when the lungs are whole, trust is whole. The moisture of the lungs serves as oil for the wick of the mind and the light of the neshama. The intellect is dependent on the lungs, which then allows for sounds to be transformed into words, which differentiates humans from animals. (Tzedaka also is connected to words, and the essence of Tzedakah is when it is done by means of trust.) The Baal Shem Tov would hear words from the sounds of the violin.

Hod is connected to Aharon, and the service of the Kohanim. In the merit of Aharon, the Jewish people were blessed with the Clouds of Glory (paralleling the lungs). The clouds, Aharon himself, served as an intermediary, a kind of balance (Tiferet) between fire and water, Moshe and Miriam.

The Temple service of the Kohanim, backed by the music of the Levi’im and the donations of the people, elevated the animal to the human, and ultimately, to the Divine.

What is also interesting about this teaching, and perhaps the connection to Yom HaZikaron/Yom Ha’Atzmaut, is that it is the physical wholeness that allows for the spiritual wholeness and trust. The return to the Land of Israel has allowed the Jewish people to become physically strong, leading to greater spiritual strength as well.

Torah 226, for the 5th day of Iyar, Yom Ha’Atzma’ut, and the 20th day of the Omer (Yesod shebeTiferet), is a lesson about song. The wicked sing songs of lament and depression, because their are an aspect of the soul of the mixed multitude (Erev Rav), whose mother is the feminine force of impurity, who constantly whines (Meyalelet). It is connected to the aspect of dimmed sight, Leah’s “weak eyes.”

The main aspect of song is from the tribe of Levi, who represents a fixing of Leah’s eyes. Shabat elevates the songs of depression and lamentation, because light becomes whole on Shabat, and completes the rectification of sight.

Yesod is foundation - being able to hold back from the impure feminine powers. Beautiful song and beautiful sights are aspects of Tiferet (balance, beauty), hence Yesod shebeTiferet.

Relates to Yom Ha’Atzma’ut, there is a big discussion regarding whether or not to single Hallel. Does the desire to sing Hallel come from the forces of impurity (Meyalelet) or from the forces of holiness (Levi)? The answer seems to depend on how one views the 5th of Iyar. Is it the celebration of a rebellious minority that went against the sages and worshipped foreign values like the Erev Rav, or is it the recognition of events heralding a new Messianic era, a completion of the light, the light of Shabat? The answer for each of us will depend on the rectification of our own sight, of the Leah within each one of us.

Torah 227, for the 6th day of Iyar and the 21st day of the Omer (Malchut shebeTiferet), is about how one should say, “G-d will help,” when passing by harvesters. Wicked people get reincarnated as grasses that grow on rooftops, which are not harvested and therefore do not have an elevation (“Aliyah”). Regarding grass that is harvested, one says, “G-d will help,” because it does have an Aliyah.

Malchut is the Sefirah most connected to the physical world, to action. By blessing the harvest and elevating it, one is showing mercy for the G-dly sparks within it, an attribute connected to Yaakov (Rachamim, Tiferet; see Tanya, Beginning of Chapter 45).

This teaching also appears deeply connected to Yom Ha’Azma’ut: the Aliyah of the grasses connected to the Land. Those grasses, “G-d will help.”

Torah 228, for the 7th day of Iyar and the 22nd day of the Omer (Chesed shebeNetzach), is about how when Hashem sees a soul that can bring converts, then He creates opposition to him. This allows converts to convert sincerely, as they see that this person has no tranquility, and therefore they are not converting for their own physical benefit. Yaakov settled in the Land where his ancestors made converts, and he too made converts, and therefore he could not have tranquility yet.

Winning over the competition is connected to the Sefirah of Netzach. The teaching shows how having opposition is actually a kindness, allowing the Tzadik to use his Sefirah of Netzach to accomplish his mission properly.

The opposition the Jews face when returning to the Land of Israel is also a kindness. It allows us to make converts, starting with ourselves

Torah 229, for the 8th day of Iyar and the 23rd day of the Omer (Gevurah shebeNetzach), is about how certain trees have wood that is propitious for bearing children and raising them. The opposite is also true for other kinds trees/wood.

Netzach has a connection to maternal qualities of giving birth and raising children. At one point, Moshe (Netzach) turns to Hashem and says, “Did I give birth to them, that You say to me, 'Carry them in your bosom as the nurse carries the suckling…’” (Bamidbar, 11:12) Wood’s firmness is connected to Gevurah, hence “Netzach shebeGevurah.”

(See also, Week 32, the Song of the Mule in Kabbalah of Time, which is related to concepts of sterility/fertility)

Torah 230, for the 9th day of Iyar and the 24th day of the Omer (Tiferet shebeNetzach), is about how one with proper vision can recognize in the face of the student the teacher (Rav) who taught him. That is why one should look at one’s teacher at the time he is being taught.

Netzach is also connected to the concept of a Rav, just as Moshe himself is called “Moshe Rabbeinu,” Moshe our teacher. The face (Panim) reflects a person’s inner beauty (Pnimiut), which in turn is also connected to Tiferet (balance, beauty). Therefore the teaching is connected to “Tiferet shebeNetzach.”

Torah 231, for the 10th day of Iyar and the 25th day of the Omer (Netzach shebeNetzach), teaches that when one says the part of the prayer that states, “and the heavenly host bows down to You,” it is proper to pray for anything. The potency of all medicinal qualities of herbs and grasses comes from the celestial spheres. The verse describes how all the spheres come together in praise and acknowledgement of Hashem, and one should pray that at that time Hashem should put together the right combination of potencies to cure him.

Netzach, which means victory, is also connected to the power to overcome sickness. This strength comes from first humbly acknowledging that one is lacking and needs a recovery from Hashem in the first place. The lesson is also very reminiscent of Song of the Mule (See Week 32 in Kabbalah of Time: “All the kings of the earth shall acknowledge you…” Healing is also the theme of the month of Iyar, which is an acronym for “Ani Hashem Rofecha” (“I am God your healer.”)

That a person is able through prayer to get even the heavenly host to act according to his wlll (His will, really) is also an aspect of Netzach.

Torah 232, for the 11th day of Iyar and the 26th day of the Omer (Hod shebeNetzach), is somewhat of a continuation of the previous lesson, this time focusing on the verse, “Praise Hashem from the heavens, Praise Him all His angels, Praise Him all His hosts.” By stating this verse, a person is actually calling on them all and commanding them to praise Hashem. The person is calling on all the worlds to praise Hashem, and that should impact his concentration and the intention of his heart.

Netzach and Hod go hand in hand. Netzach is connected to victory, determination, overcoming odds. Hod is connected to praise, gratitude, and acknowledgement (Hallel and Hoda’ah). Hence the connection to the Sefirah combination: Hod shebeNetzach.

The connection of Torah 233 to Yesod shebeNetzach is essentially spelled out from the outset.

Torah 233, for the 12th day of Iyar and the 27th day of the Omer (Yesod shebeNetzach), describes how Hashem derives great pleasure from when good and holy thought overcome bad and impure ones that besiege a person. It is impossible to have two thoughts at the same time. Therefore, in order to overcome an unholy thought, one need not fight it at all. All that is needed is to start thinking of something holy, like Torah and Mitzvot, or simply think of something else altogether, such as business.

As mentioned already previously, Netzach is the power to overcome, and the actual Hebrew verb used in this lesson for this expression is LeNatzeach. Bad and unholy thoughts are usually related to sexual immorality, and Yesod, foundation, is defined by the ability to withstand temptation, like Yosef HaTzadik did. Therefore, it is quite fitting that the Sefirah combination for today be Yesod shebeNetzach.

Torah 234, for the 13th day of Iyar and the 28th day of the Omer (Malchut shebeNetzach), is about the greatness of telling stories about Tzadikim. One must, however, be able to differentiate between light and darkness, stories of Tzadikim and stories of wicked people.

Extraordinary things also happen to wicked people. Rebbe Nachman gives the example of how Pinchas was able to fly, but then so was Bilaam. While miraculous events of the Tzadikim come about through prayer, similar events for the wicked come about through tricks and witchcraft.

This ability to tell stories of Tzadikim can also be accomplished through faith (Emunah). Telling these stories can purify a person’s mind. A person must also know how to tell such stories, elevating his speech to the level of thought. One accomplishes all this by going beyond nature, which is associated with the Land of Israel.

The lesson ends with a teaching about how there is a special Name of Hashem used to anoint kings: Kuf Mem Heh.

The ability of having Tzadikim and holiness win against evildoers and impurity is an aspect of Netzach. Speech in general (as well as telling stories and praying) is an aspect of Malchut. Emunah is also associated with Malchut. As previously explained, the Name of Hashem, and obviously the anointing of kings, are all associated with Malchut.

Torah 235, for the 14th day of Iyar, Pessach Sheini, and the 29th day of the Omer (Chesed shebeHod), teaches that when a person slips and falls and people laugh at him, and he is embarrassed from this, it’s because this person blemished the joy of Yom Tov. He therefore gets a shaky leg (Regel Moad). The laughs represent the fallen joy. Sometimes this comes as an atonement and sometimes it comes to remind him to repent.

Festivals are called Regel; they are also called Moadim. Pessach is one of the festivals, and Pessach Sheini is an opportunity for those that were unable to partake of the holiday festivities because they were impure are too far away, to bring a sacrifice and partake in this joy as well. It’s never too late to achieve atonement and repentance. Pessach is associated primarily with humility, and being embarrassed in front of others also brings a person to high levels of humility.

The enjoyment (Chesed) we feel in the service (Hod) of Hashem represents today’s Sefirah: Chesed shebeHod.

Torah 236, for the 15th day of Iyar and the 30th day of the Omer (Gevurah shebeHod), is about how a rabbi that behaves in a “kosher” and wholesome way ends up getting rewarded with whatever is considered great in that generation. For example, if the generation considers great to be a famous tzadik, then by the end of his life, the rabbi receives such an honor, even if in truth he is not at such a level. The rabbi gets his reward in this world. Rebbe Nachman does not spell out what happens afterwards, but it is somewhat self-understood that the rabbi loses out on the reward that he otherwise would have received in the World-to-Come.

Divine service is an aspect of Hod. The strictness with which this rabbi gets judged is an aspect of Gevurah. Hence the Sefirah combination of Gevurah shebeHod. A person must be very careful not to accept any honor whatsoever for serving Hashem. Any honor whatsoever should be immediately redirected to G-d.

Torah 237, for the 16th day of Iyar and the 31st day of the Omer (Tiferet shebeHod), teaches about how the essence of melody and musical instruments came about through Levi. This is connected to Levi’s name, which means accompanying, for the attachment of two separate thing comes about through melody and musical instruments. This is the quality of musical instruments played at a wedding.

There’s also a separate note about a comment Rebbe Nachman made about feeling “persecuted by princes for no reason.” He made this comment at a wedding, in regards to a certain fee it was customary to give to the rabbi.

The service of the Lev’im is associated with Hod. The proper balance in the attachment/combination of two distinct qualities into one (such as Chesed and Gevurah) is associated with Tiferet. Therefore, the quality of today is Tiferet shebeHod.

During the Omer, musical instruments are not played as a sign of mourning for the plague suffered by the students of Rabbi Akiva, due to their lack of proper respect for one another. This all changes on Lag Ba’Omer (two days away) in which weddings and other celebrations are performed.

Torah 238, for the 17th day of Iyar and the 32nd day of the Omer (Netzach shebeHod), is a short teaching about how, if two people are divided over something, if a third person appears, he will naturally side more with one of the two, whichever one whose spiritual root is closest to his.

Netzach, victory, is connected to struggles/disputes between two sides. Peacemaking, a central characteristic of Aharon, is an aspect of Hod. However, it is important to realize that even the potential peacemaking motives of a third party, also contains a certain amount of Netzach, which could lead to inadvertently giving victory to one of the sides: Netzach shebeHod.

Torah 239, for the 18th of Iyar, Lag Ba'Omer, the 33rd day of the Omer (Hod shebeHod), is about how disputes make it impossible to talk. The essence of speech is when it comes from peace. Before praying, each person must accept upon themselves "to love your neighbor as yourself."

Someone who has the quality of peace can know all the words spoken in the whole world.

All the words come from heat, so someone who is cold and has not warmth also cannot speak. The lesson ends with a quote from the book of Tehilim: "My heart is hot within me. A fire rages in my utterances, I speak with my tongue," and Rebbe Nachman concludes, "This is the flame of fire."

As explained previously, peacemaking is an aspect of Hod (Aharon). The entire mourning that takes place during the Counting of the Omer is because the students of Rabbi Akiva had disputes with one another in a way that did now show sufficient respect for each other's positions. This was particularly problematic, given that Rabbi Akiva was the one to teach that "to love your neighbor as yourself" is the main principle of the Torah.

Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai came to fix this failing, bringing peace, love, warmth, light, and we celebrate his Yom Hillula by lighting large bonfires.

As explained earlier, Divine service (such as prayer) is also an aspect of Hod. Therefore, the connection of peacemaking and prayer can also be seen as “Hod shebeHod.”

Torah 240, for the 19th of Iyar, the 34th day of the Omer (Yesod shebeHod), is about the benefits of closeness to the True Tzadik (Tzadik HaEmet). All the blessings flow the person with ease, without exertion. Rebbe Nachman compares the receiving of bounty to the lifting of a load.

This teaching also appears to be tied to Lag Ba’Omer, and to the benefits of being attached to the Rashbi. The Tzadik also represents the Sefirah of Yesod, just as Yosef HaTzadik was responsible for the flow of spiritual and physical wealth to the Jews in Egypt. Yesod is foundation, and the lifting of a load is an apt metaphor for Yesod’s qualities of bringing down bounty.

Closeness is an aspect of Hod, just as Aharon brought others close to him and (thereby) to the Torah. Hence, Hod shebeYesod.

Torah 241, for the 20th of Iyar, the 35th day of the Omer (Malchut shebeHod), teaches that the Attribute of Judgement does not have the power to destroy a person completely, but another human being does have that power. Therefore the forces of judgement will actually depart from a person in order to allow another human to exact judgement on them.

A Tzadik may intentionally oppose another tzadik in order to remove the Attribute of Judgement from a person. We see this with Pinchas, who saved the Jewish people by enclothing himself with the attribute of zealotry (Kinah) to avenge agaisnt them. This was a great favor, and Pinchas himself was a very compassionate person that erased the judgements against the Jewish people.

This teaching also is connected to Lag Ba’Omer. Rabbi Shimon also acted with great zeal, and was very much a Kanai. His zealotry was based in compassion, like Pinchas, and like Pinchas his actions stopped a plague that had killed 24,000 of our people.

Action, particularly enclothing oneself in a Divine attribute in order to affect physical change, is a quality of Malchut. Pinchas, a descendent of Aharon and the receiver of the gift of Kehunah / Hashem’s covenant of peace, is connected to Hod. Hence, Malchut shebeHod.

Torah 242, for the 21st of Iyar, the 36th day of the Omer (Chesed shebeYesod), teaches of the dangers of interacting with women (conversing with them, or in certain cases, simply meeting certain kinds of women) because it can lead a person to have lustful thoughts. The remedy/protection for this is giving charity. “Charity saves from death.”

Yesod is primarily about maintaining sexual purity/integrity. Tzedakah is primarily about Chesed. Therefore the above teaching encapsulates Chesed shebeYesod.

Torah 243, for the 22nd of Iyar, the 37th day of the Omer (Gevurah shebeYesod), is about how there is a Tzadik that is so great that the world cannot bear his holiness. Therefore, people cannot detect any holiness in him at all. This is similar to the Song of Songs, which is so holy (the Holy of Holies), yet its words do not overtly reference any holy matters as all (as opposed to Proverbs and Ecclesiastes).

The Tzadik is associated with Yesod. Gevurah is the aspect of withholding. Therefore, the Tzadik’s withholding any semblance of holiness is an aspect of Gevurah shebeYesod.

Torah 244, for the 23rd of Iyar, the 38th day of the Omer (Tiferet shebeYesod), teaches about the dangers of being overly involved in non-Jewish culture, due to one’s business interactions with gentiles. It’s hard enough to be in this world to begin with, in which angels themselves cannot maintain their purity. The truth is that Jews are more powerful than angels in this respect, but still, if one is also involved with non-Jews one has to hold on very strongly to their kosher way of being and their Judaism.

Again, the idea of holding strong to one’s integrity is an aspect of Yesod. Overpowering angels is an aspect of Yaakov (Tiferet), but Yaakov’s interactions with non-Jews, whether with Lavan, Eisav, or the people of Shechem, required of Yaakov tremendous strength and firmness. The lesson therefore is connected to Tiferet shebeYesod.

Torah 245, for the 24th of Iyar, the 39th day of the Omer (Netzach shebeYesod), is about how someone who begins innovating in Torah is like someone who goes from treasure room to treasure room. However, this person must not fool themselves into thinking that one can easily access these treasure rooms. Many innovations can be illusions, from the Chamber of Exchanges, still far from the actual truth. The very great Tzadik, even when he attains lofty insights, he nevertheless thinks of them as nothing compared to the true understanding of Hashem’s greatness.

This teaching serves as good preparation for receiving the Torah. Furthermore, not fooling oneself - not allowing oneself to be led astray by illusions - is an aspect of foundation, Yesod. In addition, humility - thinking of oneself as nothing no matter the height of one’s spiritual greatness - is very much connected to Netzach, Moshe.

Persistence rooted in the humble yet uncompromising devotion to the truth is also a key characteristic of Moshe/Netzach.

Torah 246, for the 25th of Iyar, the 40th day of the Omer (Hod shebeYesod), teaches that acting out of a sense of greatness (Gadlut) is necessary at times. It can serve just as a fast in order to get a person from one level to the next, just like Rabbi Zeira fasted in order to forget the Talmud Bavli in order to learn the Talmud Yerushalmi. Acting with greatness also causes forgetfulness. To be truly haughty is certainly a grave sin, therefore a person must have extra skill to act with just enough greatness/pride to forget his prior wisdom, and still remain a true humble person.

As we approach Sivan, Rebbe Nachman again provides a lesson that serves as preparation for receiving the Torah. Furthermore, acting out of a sense of greatness is also very much characteristic of Yosef/Yesod. It’s also what got Yosef in big trouble early on. Ultimately, Yosef showed his true humility when Pharaoh was praising him for being a great dream interpreter and he said, “It’s not from me,” (“Biladai”), it’s from Hashem. His descent was only for an even greater ascent.

Divine service in general associated with Hod. Therefore, to make Gadlut into a service represents Hod shebeYesod.

In Torah 247, for the 26th of Iyar, the 41st day of the Omer (Yesod shebeYesod), Rebbe Nachman draws a comparison between the word “Teiku” (used in the Talmud for when there is an unresolved question) and the word Tikkun, which means rectification. There is a tradition that Teiku is an acronym for “Tishbi Yitaretz Kushyot Ubaayot” ([Elijah the] Tishbite will resolve difficulties and problems). The adding of a final Nun represents a resolution of our doubts.

Rebbe Nachman also compares the words Tikkun and Kinnot (lamentations, usually read on Tisha B’Av and in Tikkun Chatzot). Both words have the same letters, just that Kinnot has a regular “bent” Nun, while Tikkun has a “straight” final Nun. This straightening of the Nun represents a similar rectification.

This teaching is also a preparation for the receiving of the Torah. Nun has the numerical value of fifty, and represents the Fifty Gates of Understanding (Nun Shaarei Binah), which is a concept deeply connected to Shavuot.

Our sages teach us that true poverty is lack of knowledge. When our consciousness is expanded, our difficulties are resolved and we are redeemed from our oppressors, whether they be internal or external.

The figure most associated with the redemption of our consciousness is Eliyahu HaNavi. Eliyahu represents the 50th gate, Shaar HaNun. Eliyahu also is deeply connected to the Sefirah of Yesod. One of the main qualities of Yesod is Tikkun HaBrit, sexual purity. Associated with this are Eliyahu’s visits every Brit Milah. This double redemption, in mind and in body, is also connected to today’s Sefirah, Yesod shebeYesod.

Torah 248, for the 27th of Iyar, the 42nd day of the Omer (Malchut shebeYesod), is about the greatness of telling stories of actions (Sipurei Maasiot) of Tzadikim. This creates a great arousal for Hashem due to the impressions made by the Tzadik during his lifetime of service to Hashem.

The concept of a Tzadik is closely connected to Yesod. Action is an aspect of Malchut, hence Malchut shebeYesod. This teaching is also a preparation for Shavuot, given that Shavuot is the Yahrzeit of the Baal Shem Tov, whose stories have aroused the Jews to connect to Hashem for centuries.

Torah 249, for the 28th of Iyar, Yom Yerushalayim, and the 43rd day of the Omer (Chesed shebeMalchut), states that the essence of might (Gevurah) is in the heart. Someone who has a strong heart and is not afraid of anyone or anything can accomplish awesome mighty deeds and conquests of war. That’s because he has no fear and runs into the thick of battle.

The connection to Yom Yerushalayim, the day in which Israel, while greatly outnumbered, “ran” into the thick of battle, defeated all of its enemies, and tripled jts territory. Part of the territory conquered was East Jerusalem and the location of the Temple on Mount Moriah (Har HaBayit). Jerusalem represents the heart of the Jew, and the heart of Jerusalem is the Temple.

Jerusalem is also the seat of Malchut, Kingship, and while the lesson places emphasis on the Gevurah involves in victory, it is also important to remember the tremendous kindness (Chesed) that Hashem did for us on this very special day. Chesed shebeMalchut.

At the end of the lesson 249, Rebbe Nachman writes of how Hashem gave Shimshon strength with which to perform awesome military achievements.

This is parallel to the strength and courage given to Israel in 1967. GIiving is an aspect of Chesed, and Shimshon, the judge of the Jewish people at the time, represents MalchutChesed shebeMalchut.

Torah 250, for the 29th of Iyar, Erev Rosh Chodesh Sivan, and the 44th day of the Omer (Chesed shebeMalchut), is about how pain is only due to lack of knowledge. A person that knows that everything is by Divine Providence (Hashgacha Pratis) essentially has no suffering.

When the Jewish people lose this perspective and become subservient, Hashem cries two tears, and through these tears Hashem draws Hashgacha Pratis from the end of days. Kings such as Chizkiyahu and King David also cried in a way that restored Divine Providence by connecting to the end of days.

This teaching is also a preparation for Shavuot, as it acknowledges again that the main thing we lack is knowledge. Erev Rosh Chodesh in general is a time of Teshuva, and Day 44 of the Omer parallels Week 44 of the year, the week of Tisha B’Av (see Kabbalah of Time, Week 44).

King Chezekiah and King David represents Malchut. Pain and suffering are aspects of Gevurah. Hence the Sefirah combination for today, Gevurah shebeMalchut.

Torah 251, for the 1st of Sivan, Rosh Chodesh and the 45th day of the Omer (Tiferet shebeMalchut),is about what happens when there is internal conflict (Machloket). Machloket leads to heretical thoughts, and the solution is to hand over the conflict to G-d and to connect very strongly to the aspect of truth, performing mitzvot before G-d alone in the same way one would perform a mitzvah in front of others. Truth is the aspect of oneness. There is only one truth, but there are many falsehoods. G-d, the Torah, and Israel are entirely one. That is because G-d is truth, Torah is truth, and Israel is truth.

Tzedaka also has this same aspect of truth. The poor man’s faces changes into many colors, but Tzedakah is consistent/unchanging like the sun. The man of truth (Ish HaEmet), such as Jacob, draws  to himself all the Tzedakot and nullifies the Tzedakah of evildoers.

On Rosh Chodesh Sivan, the Jewish people set aside their differences and camped “as one man, with on heart” at Mt. Sinai to receive the Torah of Truth.

Giving oneself over to Hashem, nullifying oneself completely before Him, is an aspect of Malchut. Compassion, Rachamim, and the balanced approach to giving is represented by Yaakov/Tiferet.

Supporting others consistently is alsn the defining characteristic of Zevulun, represented by the month of Sivan. Zevulun supported Issachar so that Issachar could study Torah full-time.

Torah 252, for the 2nd of Sivan and the 46th day of the Omer (Netzach shebeMalchut) teaches that when there is unity among Tzadikim, Tzedaka causes no harm to the giver (ie. he loses nothing even though he gives). With such unity a person can sacrifice his very life (Mesirat Nefesh) and remain alive.

This teaching is related to how on Rosh Chodesh Sivan we encamped at Mount Sinai in complete harmony. The lesson is also related to Tzedakah, which is related to the tribe Zevulun, which represents Sivan.

Giving in a way of Mesirat Nefesh is an aspect of Netzach/Moshe. Receiving properly, in a way of unity, is an aspect of Malchut. The combination of the two is Netzach shebeMalchut.

Torah 253, for the 3rd of Sivan and the 47th day of the Omer (Hod shebeMalchut) is about how decreasing sleep can decrease one’s sexual desires, weakening the fire element inside a person. However, too little sleep (or too much sleep) harms the mind.

Today is the first day of separation (from marital relations, Shlosha Yemei Hagbalah) imposed on the Jewish people prior to receiving the Torah on Shavuot. Furthermore, on the day they were to receive the Torah, the Jews overslept (they thought they were supposed to receive the Torah in their sleep). To make up for this, the general Jewish custom on Shavuot is to stay awake all night studying Torah (as long as it will not harm your concentration in prayers on the following day).

Hod is connected to Divine service (Avodah). Sleep is a form of concealment, which is an aspect of Malchut. Marital relations is also associated with Malchut, specifically the union of Z”A (the masculine sefirot) with Malchut. Serving Hashem through abstaining from sleep, to the extent it doesn’t harm the mind and reduces one’s sexual impulses, is therefore connected to Hod shebeMalchut.

Torah 254, for the 4th of Sivan and the 48th day of the Omer (Yesod shebeMalchut) teaches about the loftiness and exaltedness of the eyes. If a person were to merit to have “kosher” eyes, they would know great things simply from what the eyes see. The lesson also discusses the interesting dynamic of how sight can (but does not necessarily) lead to conscious knowledge (Da’at). The eyes are constantly seeing great visions, but these visions are like something that’s passed before the eyes very quickly, where one does not even become aware of what was seen.

We are approaching Shavuot, when the Children of Israel at Mount Sinai “saw voices.” This is a time of revelation, a time to make ourselves into proper vessels in order to receive the Torah anew. We must open our eyes to “see” great visions (“seeing is believing”) and then commit that sight into actual knowledge and ultimately practice.

Malchut is deeply connected idea of bringing down a theoretical concept into our current reality/practice. Yesod, related to sexual purity, begins with properly guarding one’s eyes. Therefore, the combination of both concepts, as explained in this teaching, is Yesod shebeMalchut.

Torah 255, for the 5th of Sivan, Erev Shavuot, and the 49th day of the Omer (Malchut shebeMalchut), is also about knowledge, Da’at: faith in the Tzadik has to be accompanied by Da’at (conscious knowledge). Without Da’at, a person can fall from their faith in the Tzadik, yet with knowledge, it is impossible to fall.

The receiving of the Torah is characterized by both Emunah and Da’at: Na’aseh (“we will do,” even without understanding) veNishmah (“and we will listen”, seek to know and understand). Emunah alone is a good beginning, but Da’at is also important.

It is also worth remembering that on Shavuot we celebrate the giving of the First Tablets of the Law (the Second Tablets were given on Yom Kippur). The first set of tablets were broken shortly after Shavuot because the people fell from their faith in Moshe (they counted incorrectly and thought he had passed away), which led to the worship of the golden calf.

Properly receiving from the Tzadik is an aspect of Malchut. Receiving from the Tzadik both through faith (Emunah) and through knowledge (Da’at) is connected to Malchut shebeMalchut, a bond that is impossible to break.

This teaching is reminiscent of the dream Reb Natan had with Rebbe Nachman before meeting him:

“He continued crying until he fell asleep. During his sleep, he dreamt an awesome dream. He saw a huge ladder that began on the ground and went up into the sky. He begins to climb the ladder, step by step, and to his amazement, he is unable to grasp the next step, and falls to the ground. He gets up and tries to climb up again, reaches a higher step and then falls again. This happened again and again. Every time he reached a higher level, he fell even harder.

A dark cloud and opaque fog surrounded him and deep depression overcame him. He had almost reached the top and now he fell the lowest. Would he be able to recover from this great fall and try to climb up again? He stood up in the face of despair, but he couldn't try again. His body was hurt and broken from the previous hard falls.

He laid there broken. To his surprise, the image of a young man with a face full of light appeared. Reb Nosson got up, embarassed and slightly flustered, and the Man of G-d said: "Young man, young man, climb! But hold yourself!”


Now that we’ve reached the 49th day of the Omer, the “top of the ladder,” may we all merit to hold ourselves, with Emunah and Da’at, Na’aseh veNishmah.

Torah 256 for the 6th of Sivan, Shavuot, is just one line: G-d’s name, “Atah” (“You”) is appropriate for calming waves, according to the verse, “in the surge of its waves You quiet them.” (Psalm 89:10).

The word for waves is “Galaiv,” and in Hebrew גליו, it is the gematria of 33 + 16 = 49, the Counting of the Omer.

The word for “quiet them,” “Teshabchem,” can also mean “praise them.” That in fact appears to be the more common translation of the word. The verse would therefore mean that at the height of the Counting of the Omer, You praise them (the Jewish people) on Shavuot.

The word for sea, “Yam” ים has the gematria of 10+40, which is 50, like Shavuot. Perhaps it is also a reference to the “10 commandments” and the 40 days and nights spent receiving the Torah.

Torah 257, for the 7th of Sivan (2nd day of Shavuot), opens with a line from the Torah about a neighbor’s vineyard. The verse is about being allowed to pick and eat grapes to one’s content, but one is prohibited to take and store in a basket. The teaching then makes reference to story regarding someone who came to visit Rebbe Nachman that the Rebbe could not stand to be with, and how that person ended up dying by overeating unripe figs (the story is not spelled out in the teaching). The lesson itself is about the dangers of overeating, how food that is supposed to give vitality can end up taking it away due to overindulgence.

Shavuot is also known as Chag HaBikkurim, the Festival of the First Fruits. Overeating is certainly a potential problem on Jewish holidays in general, particularly on the second day of a holiday, and particularly on Shavuot, where unfortunately, G-d forbid, some people focus more on the eating of cheesecake than on the Giving of the Torah. There is a mitzvah to be happy on the holiday, and for men that is accomplished by drinking wine and eating (sacrificial) meat, but there is certainly no mitzvah to eat too much.

Torah and mitzvot are also compared to fruit, and we want to make sure that the fruit we eat and produce ourselves are truly dedicated to G-d, fully developed and used at the right moment, to give life and vitality to others and ourselves.

Torah 258, for the 8th day of Sivan, is about how opposition can knock a person down from their level, away from G-d’s path.

Unity and harmony among Jews was the theme of Rosh Chodesh Sivan, and to a great extent, the entire month. Hashem set us on a path on Shavuot. Now it is our job to stick to it.

Torah 259, for the 9th of Sivan, is about one of the main practices in Breslov: Hitbodedut, which is secluding oneself in meditation and self-reflection, speaking to G-d in your own words. When one confesses one’s shortcomings and difficulties, the Shechina (the Divine Presence) then also speaks to the person about Her woes and comforts them.

As mentioned previously, the period after the Giving of the Torah is one of challenges, where attempts are made to knock us down from the level reached at the Giving of the Torah. Rebbe Nachman here offers a solution. Hitbodedut not only offers comfort, but also a way to maintain a direct connection with Hashem.

Likutei Moharan 260, for the 10th of Sivan, is about how the name of person is (associated with) the soul of the person, which in turn is associated with the idea of giving up one’s soul (Mesirat Nefesh). Actual self-sacrifice brings upon a sanctification of G-d’s name, and the same can be accomplished through the “loss of one’s name [fame, prestige].” Someone can willingly sacrifice one’s own name, where he intentionally has (allows) people to speak badly about him and fabricate lies about things that never crossed his mind, and he has actual blood shed from this. With this, he saves the Jewish people.

The best example of this is likely what happened after the Giving of the Torah, where Moshe publicly breaks the Tablets he had just received from G-d, and by doing so saves the Jewish people from destruction.

Likutei Moharan 261, for the 11th of Sivan, is about when someone falls from their spiritual level. At that moment, a person must know that this is Divinely ordained, because becoming distant is the beginning of drawing close. It gives the person motivation, and the advice to them is to start anew. This is also a great principle in Breslov Chassidism - to always start anew, every day.

In relation to Shavuot, the sin of the golden calf was something also Divinely ordained, which showed the people their true level at that time and allowed them to ultimately reach an even higher level: that of a Baal Teshuva, as opposed to that of a complete Tzadik. In fact, the very possibility of starting anew after such a major sin was revealed at this moment.

Torah 262, for the 12th of Sivan, is about Torah revelation. How it expands in one’s mind, and how it is necessary to protect it from the “Other Side.” When one begins originating new Torah ideas, it is like forming rivers: first the spring is narrow/constricted and small, but then the water widens and all can drink from it. The problem is that forces of impurity can also drink from it, and therefore it is important to cry, in order to protect one’s original Torah thought, so that it remains holy and true.

Again, this teaching is very appropriate for Shavuot and the seven compensatory days” (Shivah Yemei Miluim) in which the Shavuot sacrificial offerings were brought in the Temple. Shavuot is about Torah revelation, but also about guarding against temptations to be led astray, such as in the sin of the golden calf, which took place shortly after the Giving of the Torah.

Torah 263, for the 13th of Sivan, is again about overeating, and how it can bring about fever. When one overeats, the food becomes “animal food” and one becomes like an animal. Instead of a person elevating the food, the food brings the person down. Fever is indication of an imbalance in the body (a descent into an animalistic state) and sweat (which comes when the fever “breaks”) comes to restore that balance. The Torah makes reference to sweat in the context of eating bread, human food.

The Rebbe explains that animal food (Ma’achal Behema) is how the Omer is described. The Omer is made of barley, which is eaten by animals. The only other time barley is brought as a sacrifice is in the Sotah’s offering, where she too is accused to have behaved as an animal. Shavuot is the only time bread, human food, is brought as a sacrifice. During the Counting of the Omer, we work on our animal side, until we reach Shavuot.

Overeating was the lesson for Shavuot, and now for the last day of the Shiva Yemei Miluim. It hints at the completion of the cycle of Pessach to Shavuot, from matzah, to animal food, to human food.

On the other hand, perhaps the lesson is also hinting at how working on our animal side, and the revelations of the Torah that come with it, is an ongoing process not limited to the period of the Counting of the Omer. We must continue our struggle, through fire and water, sweat and tears.

Torah 264, for the 14th of Sivan, is about how Tzedakah is a tikkun (rectification) of the brit (literally “covenant,” but in this context it means thought, speech, and deed connected to the location of the brit milah). Sexual impurity is to draw influence  from a place of holiness to a place where that influence does not belong. Tzedaka, when given to a deserving poor person, fixes this blemish.

As previously explained, Sivan is the month of Zevulun, a merchant tribe that provided for its sibling scholarly tribe, Issachar. Zevulun is therefore very much connected to Tzedaka. Shavuot, on the other hand, is connected to the concept of a marriage, from which the Jewish people immediately went astray with the sin of the golden calf. Therefore, the remedy for the sin is found within Sivan itself.

Torah 265, for the 15th of Sivan, is about how the reason for breaking of an earthen dish at the time of an engagement is that Above the couple’s souls are one. That bond is quickly revealed at the engagement, and then it is immediately hidden again until the time of the wedding. This idea is explained in Chassidic thought in the concept of Ratzo veShov, the running (towards Hashem) and returning (to a less revealed state) of the Chayot HaKodesh, the Holy Creatures seen in Ezekiel’s vision (the Haftorah for Shavuot).

As previously mentioned, Shavuot is symbolized as a wedding between Hashem and the Jewish people, and it is/was also a moment of great revelation that is/was then quickly concealed. We have to know how to hold on to that moment in times of less revelation as well. (See Week 37 in Kabbalah of Time)

Likutei Moharan 266, for the 16th of Sivan, is about how animals and beasts die when the mitzvah of Sukkah is not properly observed. When people behave without thinking, like animals, they take vitality from the animals. Building, particularly building a Sukkah is connected to wisdom, and Sukkot and Shavuot are one. That’s why immediately after Sukkot it is Simchat Torah. The initials of verse in the Torah that states that “Yaakov travelled to Sukkot and built” VeYaakov Nassah Sukkota Veyiven,” has in it the acronym the for “Sivan.”

Using wisdom in order not to behave like animals is one of the themes of the Counting of the Omer and Shavuot mentioned in recent days. This teaching also mentions Shavuot and Sivan specifically.

Torah 267, for the 17th of Sivan, is about how Shavuot is a cure for the lungs, as the five lobes of the lungs parallel the Five Books of Moshe.

Torah 268, for the 18th of Sivan, is about how a person needs to focus on what is the ultimate goal in life. When a person doesn’t do that, the soul starts to leave, weakening the body. When the person takes medication and the soul sees that the body can go against its will and physical desires and is able to focus on the goal instead, the soul returns more fully to the body.

This lesson appears to be a continuation of yesterday’s teaching regarding how Shavuot gives us new vitality.

On Shavuot, when the Jewish people received the Torah directly from G-d, the souls of the Jews left their bodies and they “died.” Hashem had to resuscitate them with the dew to be used in the final resurrection, bringing the soul back to the body.

It’s worth noting that Rebbe Nachman himself died from Tuberculosis, a disease of the lungs. The previous teaching was about the healing of the lungs, and this one about the effect of medication.

Shavuot is also the date of the passing of both King David and the Baal Shem Tov, Rebbe Nachman’s great grandfather. Perhaps Rebbe Nachman here was reflecting on his own mortality, and finding a spiritual source for a cure.

Torah 269, for the 19th of Sivan, is a short teaching about how the deeds of the generation are reflected in the home of the Tzadik. About Devorah, the Tanach states that she sat (and judged the people) under a date palm tree. Our sages comment that just as the date palm tree has only one heart, so to the Jewish people (at that time).

At Mount Sinai also, on Rosh Chodesh Sivan, the Jewish people sat at the foot of the mountain “as one person with one heart.” The whole of the Jewish people is reflected in the Tzadik, who is also himself/herself compared to a date palm tree.

Torah 270, for the 20th of Sivan, is about how one person’s praying can arouse feelings in another’s heart, so too a person’s words can lead to greater feeling in one’s own heart. One becomes more connected to truth in the process.

This teaching seems related to the one from the previous day and to concept of unity within the Jewish people, which is emblematic of the month of Sivan: the heart of the Jewish people is one. Our prayers and our very essence are all interconnected, and we can influence ourselves in a similar way as we can influence others.

Torah 271, for the 21st of Sivan, is about the need for Azut d’Kedusha, “holy boldness,” in the service of G-d. A person also needs holy boldness in speaking to his Rebbe. The greater the boldness, the greater the service, and vice-versa.

In the end of Sivan, as we approach the intense summer months, it is important to have that holy boldness, like Zevulun (month of Sivan) who went out to the sea like a warrior to provide for his family and for the Tribe of Issachar. (See Kabbalah of Time, Week 38, Week of the Lion)

Torah 272, for the 22nd of Sivan, is about an important principle in serving G-d: one should focus only on today, whether it be with regard to one’s livelihood (Parnassah) or personal needs. Tomorrow is a different world entirely. When one focuses on today, one can accomplish much more, there is no procrastination, and there is also much less of a sense of a burden, because the heavy load is only for that day.

The above teaching brings to mind the Mannah, providing sustenance for the Jewish people one day at a time. The Midrash Tanchuma states that the Torah could only be given to those that ate Mannah (“Ochlei HaMan”). This teaching therefore combines two essential aspects of the month of Sivan: receiving the Torah (Shavuot) and seeking out a livelihood (associated with the Tribe of Zevulun).

To look at a day individually, separate from the rest, is also a concept connected to Shavuot. When the Torah states, “Yom HaShishi, Vayechulu…” (like we say in Kiddush, “THE sixth day, [the heavens and earth] were completed,” that sixth day is a reference to the sixth of Sivan, because the whole of Creation was dependent on the Jews accepting the Torah on that day.

Torah 273, for the 23rd of Sivan, is about giving birth to souls that are beyond the 600,000 souls enclothed in this world. This is an aspect of Moshe, whose children, the Talmud says, were above 600,000. The literal meaning of the passage is that his descendants counted over 600,000 in quantity. However, the deeper significance is that those “descendants” of Moshe were loftier souls, above those of this world.

On Shavuot, we read about how 600,000 souls experienced the Giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai. After the sin of the golden calf, Hashem told Moshe that He would destroy the people and build a new one form Moshe himself. Moshe valiantly refused and said that if that were to be the case, he asks to be erased from the Torah. The Talmud teaches that even though he he refused Hashem’s offer, Hashem nevertheless rewarded Moshe with a “nation” of descendants beyond 600,000 in number.

This teaching is connected to Sivan as well as to the upcoming month of Tammuz. It hints to the tremendous power of these months, particularly when we involve ourselves with Teshuva and saving the Jewish people from sin.

Torah 274, for the 24th of Sivan, is about how there are wicked people who work all their days to uproot themselves from Hashem and His Torah. They have to fight very hard against the Jewish holiness they have inside them that urges them to do Teshuvah. There are those that succeed in completely denying Hashem - those immediately leave this world and then see the truth.

We are now moving very close to the month of Tammuz, the month in which the Meraglim (spies, also the topic of this week’s parasha) spent trying very hard to find an excuse not to follow Hashem’s command to conquer the Land of Israel. Even positive aspects of the Land (such as the size of the fruit) were used by the wicked spies as a reason not to enter. Their denials were challenged by Caleb and Joshua, but they continued to incite against Hashem. The group of ten spies were then killed and the truth was revealed.

Torah 275, for the 25th of Sivan, is about how each mitzvah a person does is a candle, and when that person passes away, if that person has a great soul, Hashem allows that soul to search (with the candles) the King’s treasury, and take for itself what it wishes, which is the ultimate pleasure of the next world. There is a tzadik who “makes himself die” (nullifies himself) and can search his Father’s treasury while still alive.

The month of Tammuz is the month entirely spent spying/searching through the Land of Israel. (The Meraglim left on Erev Rosh Chodesh Tammuz and returned on the 8th of Av). They explored the Land and brought back its fruits. They were unwilling to sacrifice their own heavenly existence and prestige in order to conquer the Land. Except for Calev and Yehoshua, they did not properly focus on the importance of all the mitzvot that would be possible to do there.

Torah 276, for the 26th of Sivan, is about how the eating on Shabat is not for the sake of feeling full, but in order to bless the six days of the week. The main perfection of sight and satiation is on Shabat (both concepts are interrelated). For Shabat itself there is no need to eat so much. We eat in order to bless.

This teaching too, has an interesting parallel to the mistake of the spies. The spies wanted to maintain their spiritual existence and did not want to enter the Land of Israel, where they would have to work the fields instead of receiving Mannah. Basically, they wanted Shabat everyday. Rebbe Nachman comes and teaches that the eating of Shabat is to bless the days of the week, just like the time in the Desert was in order to facilitate the entrance into the Land of Israel.

Tammuz is also specifically related to the sense of sight. Tribe of the month is Reuven and attribute is Re’iah, vision (Sefer Yetzirah; See Kabbalah of Time, Song of the Bear, Week 39).

Torah 277, for the 27th of Sivan, is a longer teaching encompassing quite a few different themes. Rebbe Nachman starts with a discussion about how the way to handle opposition (Machloket) is not to fight back in the same way. Opposition is compared to digging a pit, and the solution is not to also dig a pit (that would help the opposition), but instead be like the earth and let the enemy fall into the pit). The correct approach is to judge them favorably, and make oneself like the earth. Just like everyone trods on the earth, yet it provides them with all kinds of good (food, drink, gold, silver, and precious stones) so should a person behave towards those that fight with him.

Then there is a discussion about how all healing comes from the earth and the vegetation that grows from it, particularly the Land of Israel. The Land of Israel is called the Land of Canaan, a place where there is poverty, when there is opposition and disputes.

Rebbe Nachman then discusses how the main honor of Shabat is through eating. Each mitzvah done during the week has a structure and its feet is from where the Other Side can feed from it. Shabat (particularly the eating of Shabat) returns the feet of a mitzvah to holiness, and that initial faint path made during the week is made into an established, “conquered” path. The eating of Shabat also rectifies Shabat desecration.

There are certainly many parallels here with the story of the spies and the Machloket that ensued. Definitely many parallels with this week’s Parasha as read in Israel, Korach. Tammuz parallels the Tribe of Reuven, and unfortunately 250 members of that tribe ended up siding with Korach in his dispute with Moshe and perished.

The teaching also has a big focus on seeing things in a positive way - particularly the land, and particularly the Land of Israel. Rebbe Nachman describes the possibility of the Other Side to feed from the “walking” done during the week, like how the spies toured the Land in a faint manner and unfortunately came back with a bad report, saying it would be impossible to conquer it.

Torah 278, for the 28th of Sivan, teaches that on a good ritual slaughter knife one can see all the utensils of the Holy Temple. As proof, Rebbe Nachman brings the verse about how Yitzchak Avinu told Esav to inspect his knife (ie. his sword, which he calls “his utensils”) when slaughtering an animal for him. The teaching then references a Midrash from the Book of Daniel about the Temple utensils taken by Babylon, and ends with a seemingly separate concept about Pinchas and his was jealousy/zealotry for G-d.

Tammuz is connected to the destruction (and ultimately the restoration) of the Temple. It is also about the fixing of the attribute of sight, vision, and here too the teaching starts with the notion of enhancing our vision by having a kosher slaughter knife.

The concept of a perfectly sharp slaughter knife is that it kills the animal with the least amount of suffering. It is an aspect of Rachamim (mercy) within Din/Gevurah (judgement/discipline). Yitzhak represents Gevurah, and also Eisav (Rome), responsible for the destruction of the Second Temple.

We are now entering a period of Gevurah, which we must suffuse with Rachamim.

Daniel, who lived through the Babylonian exile after the destruction of the First Temple, and whose name comes from “Din” but who was also called “Ish Chamudot,” beloved man, displayed a kind of Gevurah and Don that was suffused with mercy.

Similarly, Pinchas, who acted with tremendous Gevurah, was a son of Aharon (known for his kindness, and his zealous act was also ultimately an act of kindness/mercy, done for the sake of G-d, in order to save the Jewish People.

Torah 279, for the 29th of Sivan, Erev Rosh Chodesh Tammuz, is about how there are those whose Torah insights are broad below but in fact very narrow above, but there are those whose teachings are narrow below, but above are very broad. These latter teachings begin from a place of narrowness and become greatly expanded above. The same with King David’s prayers. They started from a place of narrowness, like many Psalms that begin from a place of pressure and constriction (like David’s suffering from Avshalom or from Naval, etc.) and lead to Ruach HaKodesh (Divine inspiration).

Tammuz is a time of “narrowness.” In fact, the period between the 17th of Tammuz until the 9th of Av is called, “Bein HaMetzarim,” between the narrow (straits). This comes from the words in the beginning of the Book of Lamentations: “All her pursuers overtook her in the narrow places.” “Overtook her,” Hisigu’ah, can also be understood as “Hisigu-Hey,” comprehending the Divine Presence, the Shechina. Narrowness leads to Divine inspiration.

Chodesh Tov! Torah 280, for the 30th of Sivan, Rosh Chodesh Tammuz, is about how if a person is forced to go to a court of Torah, it is a punishment for not connecting their business matters to the Torah. The truth is that all business transactions are Torah (such as regarding the laws of buying and selling spelled out in the Torah). If a person doesn’t bind their thoughts to the Torah when initially performing these transactions, they must come to court, where there the application of the Torah to the transaction will be clearly laid out. This goes for both the losing party and the winning party (a lesser punishment).

Rebbe Nachman also explains that business activity must be done with Emunah: doing so lifts the fallen sparks (“masa u’matan,” negotiations, literally means “lifting and giving”). The Rebbe concludes with a specific teaching about Zevulun and his business endeavors  done in order to provide for Yissachar. Going out to commerce is compared with going out to war.

As mentioned previously, Tammuz is about the mistake of the spies, who did not want to go out to war or engage in business/agriculture. They just wanted to stay in the Desert learning Torah. The spies also lacked the necessary Emunah that they would be successful in their conquest and in elevating the Land.

Interestingly, Rebbe Nachman here returns to the theme of Sivan, and spells out the qualities of the month that are associated with Zevulun: going out to engage in business, in order to provide for itself and for the Tribe of Issachar, elevating the fallen sparks in the process. Failure to do so, or at least failure to do so in a way that is fully connected with the Torah, now requires the Teshuva of the month of Tammuz.

 (See also Week 40 of Kabbalah of Time, Song of the Wolf)

Torah 281, for the second day of Rosh Chodesh, the 1st of Tammuz, teaches that even a simple person that sits over a holy book and looks intently at the letters of the Torah can see new insights and wonders. The letters shine and join together, like in the Urim veTumim of the Kohen Gadol. These insights can even be ideas that the author himself did not have in mind. Even simple person can do this, and a great person can do it without much effort. However, Rebbe Nachman concludes that this should not be put to the test, because it is possible that a person not see anything at all.

This teaching again focuses on the sense of sight. It is also about simplicity. A large part of the problem of the spies is that, by being great Torah scholars, they overcomplicated matters. Moshe never asked the spies for a report regarding whether or not it was possible to conquer the Land. They decided to provide that on their own. In contrast, Calev (from the Tribe of Yehuda) and Yehoshua (from Yosef/Efraim) followed Moshe’s directions with simplicity. Perhaps one can say that Calev did innovate somewhat by visiting the Cave of the Patriarchs, but that was in line with Moshe’s objectives and also showed Calev’s humility in not wanting to rely on his own efforts/merits. Yehoshua’s simple devotion is seen in how Moshe changes Yehoshua’s name to protect him on this mission.

We see this concept in other aspects of the month of Tammuz and in Reuven himself. The Jewish people ended up despairing and thinking that Moshe had died (which led to some worshiping the golden calf), because of a miscalculation of the 40 days Moshe would spend receiving the Torah. Regarding Reuven, he was unable to prevent the sale of Joseph because he was busy doing Teshuva for an earlier sin (Yehuda is able to convince the brothers not to kill their brother); later, when Yaakov refuses to let Benjamin go with the brothers to see the Egyptian viceroy (Yosef in disguise), Reuven offers to kill his own two sons if he does not bring back Benjamin. Yaakov is unconvinced by this overcomplicated offer. After all, Reuven’s sons are his grandsons! It is Yehuda’s straightforward and simple commitment that is ultimately accepted by Yaakov.

Torah 282, for the 2nd of Tammuz, is perhaps the most fundamental of all of Rebbe Nachman’s teachings, and Rebbe Nachman himself said to very much go by (live by) this teaching, because it is a great foundation for all those that want to become close to Hashem.

The teaching is to always judge others favorably. Even regarding someone who is a completely evil person, one must search and find some aspect of good, and regarding that small aspect, the person is not wicked. It is impossible for a person not to have done some good deed in their life. By judging a person favorably, you actually elevate the person to the side of merit, until that person returns to G-d in repentance.

The same applies to oneself. A person must find some good point within themselves, even though our evil inclination makes us feel that we are totally inadequate. Even if the good we do find is full of blemishes, it is impossible that it not contain at least some good in it. A person needs to find that good in oneself in order to enliven oneself, and from this attain joy, and thereby bring oneself to the side of merit and return to G-d in repentance.

Then you search for another good point, and so on, and that it how melodies are made. Playing music is all about gathering the good points (notes), separating the good from the evil.

The evil inclination tries to bring us to sadness through self-persecution, to the point where a person becomes incapable of praying due to sadness over their sins. Fight this by singing to G-d with your good points!

Rebbe Nachman then teaches that those that can find good points in every Jew, even in sinners, can lead communal prayers. He merges everyone’s good points in his prayers.

Each generation has a shepherd, a Raya Mehemna, a faithful shepherd (a shepherd of faith), and this shepherd makes a Mishkan. He collects the breath of the mouth of young schoolchildren in prayer and Torah study, and from there buildes a Mishkan. All tzadikim of the generation have an aspect of Moshe, and applies this principle at their level.

Tonight is Gimmel Tammuz, the yahrzeit of our Raya Mehemna, our faithful shepherd. The Rebbe also, always focused on the positive in every Jew. The last Maamar he distributed was specifically about the concept of a shepherd of faith.

Instead of searching for the bad, like the spies, we search for the good! Similarly, we fight the tendency for searching only for bad in ourselves and others. Reuven’s negative interpretation of his father’s actions is what got him in trouble, and later his self-persecution got in the way of saving Yosef. Yet, it is important to point out that initially he was trying to protect his mother’s honor, and later he was the one who said not to kill Yosef, but to put him in the pit instead.

We must look at our own good points this month as well, and look forward to the day that instead of fasting one 17th of Tammuz, we celebrate with great joy with Mashiach and the rebuilding our Mishkan, the Beit HaMikdash in Yerushalayim Ir HaKodesh.

Likutei Moharan II (known as Tinyana), Torah 1, for Gimmel Tammuz, is a lengthy teaching weaving through various concepts until returning to its original theme. It begins by stating that the purpose and ultimately goal of a man of Israel is to have dominion over the angels. This them causes the angels’ envy and a person needs to guard himself from their attempts to knock him down.

The solution is to bind oneself to the root of the souls of the Jewish people. Since it is not possible to know each and every Jew, one should focus on the general souls, those of the well known leaders of the Jewish people. However, one has to be able to distinguish the general souls from the false leaders, those that achieved fame through impudence.

Rebbe Nachman then goes through a lengthy discussion about how to achieve the ability to distinguish these souls: “building Jerusalem,” ie. perfecting fear of G-d in one’s heart. This is done through fixing the craving for wealth, food, and sexual relations. Each is fixed through “Da’at,” knowledge, attained through one of the three festivals: Passover (wealth), Shavuot (sexual desires), Sukkot (food).

“Building Jerusalem” leads to prophetic inspiration, manifested in the “redemption” of prayer. As prayer becomes elevated, natural remedies lose their importance, as healing can be attained even though bread and water. Three behaviors must be avoided so that prayer not be undermined: treating anyone with contempt, idol worship (flawed Emunah), and failing to maintain sexual purity.

There are sicknesses that infect a person and show and develop inside of them, and there are genetic illnesses - both can be cured when a person achieves this “redeemed” level of prayer, which reaches the source of any healing brought about through medicine.

This corresponds to the shining of Moshiach, who receives the spirit from the source of the all the natural remedies and all the prayers, and can then identify the root of each soul. All the souls then humble themselves before him, and he can recognize and distinguish the true leaders from those that obtained their position through arrogance and impudence.

He can then truly bind himself to the souls of the Jewish people, and then possible to have a (true) Rosh Hashana.

The Lubavitcher Rebbe was certainly a general soul, and someone truly bound to the souls of the whole Jewish people. There are endless stories of miracles he performed, and someone very much focused on bringing Moshiach, redemption to the world.

Reuven, as the first born, was  someone that was supposed to have all the highest powers. He was supposed to have the right of the Firstborn (transferred to Yosef), be the Kohen Gadol (transferred to Levi), and the King (transferred to Yehuda). He is also someone very much associated with the healing power of natural remedies/vegetation. He is the one that found the Dudayim for his mother, Leah, who “sold” it to Rachel, and eventually led to the birth of Issachar. He is bound to so many of the souls of his siblings, and even after he sins, the Torah immediately “binds” him to his brothers, and still calls him Yaakov’s firstborn.

Likutei Moharan Tinyana, Torah 2, for the 4th of Tammuz, is about Chanukah and the importance of thanksgiving, which is an aspect of delight of the World to Come. By thanking and acknowledging G-d, we come closer to Him. The thanksgiving offering is the only sacrifice not to be nullified in the times of Mashiach.

Jewish Law (Halacha) requires that one must bring a thanksgiving offering when emerging from a danger/difficulty/constriction (Tzarah). The heart is the part of the body that literally feels that constriction more than any other body part due to the blood flow, and when one emerges from danger the blood flow also normalizes.

There is a similar concept by giving birth. The blood flow intensifies in order to push the baby out (leaving the legs momentarily cold).  Rebbe Nachman also draws a parallel to supporting Torah scholars and to the concept of Halacha in general.

Through thanksgiving/halacha, the light of truth becomes revealed in one’s speech. Rebbe Nachman then discusses four different types of speech, and how Hebrew, the holy tongue, is a perfection of speech, similar to how Shabbat is the perfection and illumination of the sadness associated with the six days of the week. Shabat represents simple unity, and also prevents disputes in Israel.

The end of the lesson returns to the theme of Chanukah, of the heart, and explains how the function of the lung is also affected by the heart. Oil helps moisturize the lung. It also mentions how a tzadik’s healing brings about a similar solace and joy; Psalm 100 (The Psalm of Thanksgiving) helps in situations of difficult labor.

Tammuz and “Bein HaMeitzarim” is a challenging time of constriction, and one is tempted to focus on the negative. The heart feels the constriction the most, which for the Jewish people is the Temple.

The main thing is to focus on the positive, looking for ways of getting to know Hashem through thanksgiving, which is the main focus of the times of Mashiach. This period is in fact associated with the the birth of Mashiach (on Tisha B’Av), and the birthpangs we feel now will lead to the ultimate light and joy.

Likutei Moharan Tinyana, Torah 3, for the 5th of Tammuz, starts out quoting a passage in the Talmud about how when Rabbi Eliezer the Great took ill, he said to Rabbi Akiva, “There is a fierce anger in the world.” There was no one to mitigate/“sweeten” the strict judgment. It then teaches that natural cures are good after the person has made a “pidyon,” a request to a Tzadik to mitigate the judgement upon him/her.

As mentioned previously, Tammuz and Av are a time of strict judgment. These months are also a time to connect to great Tzadikim that passed away during the time, such as the Arizal, the Ohr HaChayim HaKadosh, and the Rebbe of Lubavitch. In fact, the yahrzeit of the Arizal falls exactly in the middle of the 9 days of mourning, in order to sweeten the most intense judgement of the time of “Bein HaMeitzarim.” Also the Previous Rebbe of Lubavitch, the Rebbe Rayatz (Yosef Yitzhak Schneersohn), established the 12th of Tammuz as a Chag HaGeulah, a day of both personal and national redemption.

Likutei Moharan Tinyana, Torah 4, for the 6th of Tammuz, is about how tzedakah requires going against one’s nature. It requires breaking one’s cruelty, and the beginning of the service of Tzedaka is very difficult and heavy. It must be preceded by many cries and groans. It is compared to giving birth. All beginnings are difficult in the service of G-d, and Tzedaka is the beginning of all beginnings.

The needs of the body are very great, and our work below parallels the Act of Creation. The 39 works prohibited on Shabat parallel the work done for the Mishkan, and the Mishkan represented Creation itself and had the shape of a human body. A person’s daily work illuminates and gives vitality to Creation.

G-d could provide us with everything without the need for us to work, through kindness alone, but kindness needs to be received gradually, through fear of Heaven, which comes about when it is revealed that everything is governed through Divine Will. The revelation of the Divine Will’s rule over nature is through the Festivals (Exodus from Egypt, Giving of the Torah, the Clouds of Glory).

There are philosophers/scientists that want to insist that there is no Divine Will, and that the world is governed by nature alone. A holy sage counters their influence. Also elders, when they are constantly growing from day to day, also contribute to the revelation of Divine Will. Tzedaka also leads to this revelation. All of this follows the same pattern of the healing of a wound: opening the wound (Tzedakah), then removing the pus and infected blood so that the blood can properly circulate (Wisdom of the Sages), and then sealing the wound (Kindness).

As mentioned previously, the months of Tammuz and Av are difficult and heavy months, but are also associated with the birth of Mashiach and the rebuilding of the Temple. Tammuz is also about fixing the sin of the spies, who didn’t see the value of elevating the Land through work (and giving Tzedakah), and preferred to continue living off of the Mannah, a symbol of Hashem’s boundless kindness. When judging whether they would be able to conquer the Land, the spies also seemed to focus only on the physical strength of the Land of Israel’s inhabitants, failing to take into account the overall Divine Will. They did not have Emunah that, with Hashem’s help and guidance, any obstacles in conquering the Land of Israel would be easily overcome.

Likutei Moharan Tinyana, Torah 5, for the 7th of Tammuz, is the longest in the entire Likutei Moharan. It is about Emunah, and about how there are people the undergo tremendous suffering simply because of a fall from Emunah.

The lesson explains that all natural medicines are based on plants, whose growth is dependent on rain. When there is faith, rain falls, allowing plants to grow and medicines to exist. There is also a certain order needed for plants to be able to provide healing, based on time and location. This too, is connected to Emunah.

The revealing of the merit of the Patriarchs is also based on Emunah. Emunah is also specifically connected to the element of earth, which serves as a vessel for the other elements (fire, water, and air) to be able to bring about healing (in medication, but also in crying out to G-d).

A person must dig deep to find the “waters” of wise counsel that nurture faith. These counsels are in the depth of the heart, and when all else fails (even crying with fallen faith), a person must cry from the depths of the heart. Then the counsels of faith are revealed.

The same is true for Creation. First comes darkness then comes light. Darkness is the absence of advice. Light is counsel. The complete revelation of faith and healing is in the day.

To draw out waters of counsel, an understanding person is needed. Someone who has a soul and refines it, bringing down G-dliness into Tzimtzum (“constriction”), physical form. G-d then immediately provides livelihood for the physical form (“body”) created. This is exemplified in the eating of the Tzadik, who does so only for the sake of his soul.

Fallen faith leads to false beliefs and idolatry. Elevating fallen faith leads to making converts (either in potential or actuality). These converts can actually be harmful to the Jewish people, because they increase arrogance among them, leading to arrogant and harsh Jewish leadership.

Haughtiness of the leaders leads to greater sexual impropriety in the world. Haughtiness increases lust. There are “Guardians of the Earth” that protect us from such arrogance that leads to sexual impropriety, and a person’s intellect is rectified mainly by breaking the desire for illicit relations. This is also connected to Tefilin, which represent a form holy pride.

Moshe represents the concepts of Daat (knowledge), intellect, and Tefillin. He is a shepherd of holiness. A person’s has to stay within proper bounds, and not investigate things that are too wondrous for them. This is the concept of Tefillin (specifically of the name Sha-Dai in the Tefillin, and the Seven Shepherds of Holiness)

This is also related to the concept of wise counsel and of a dream being mediated by an angel versus a dream mediated by a demon. The latter dreams could lead to defilement (through nocturnal emission). Similarly, perverted justice (mishpat) is associated with bad Tefillin, and ultimately associated with Amalek, which is also connected to the concept of defilement at night.

There are ways to rectify such defilement in the prayers we say before going to sleep, also related to the sounds of the Shofar, as well as Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and Sukkot. Rosh Hashanah rectifies the five senses, the rectification of the intellect. On Yom Kippur, this rectification is sealed. Sukkot is the rectification of the angel (Sukkot has the same numerical value as Malach, angel) and of food. Shmini Atzeret is the rectification of justice (mishpat), through which the defilement is eliminated.

Similarly, a teacher rectifies the faith and the intellect of his students, as well as their five senses. Even at times when intellect departs, such as during sleep, and impression is left, leading to sweet sleep. This is related to the passing away of Moshe, corresponding to a dream mediated by an angel, and the rectification of the Covenant (sexual conduct).

In truth, a person should set aside the mind and serve G-d with simplicity. The main thing is action. A person can even do things that seem crazy, out of their love for G-d. A person’s love for G-d can be so strong that they serve G-d in a way that is beyond intellect, a level associated with what Moshe was able to achieve only after he passed away. It’s like a son that is willing to serve his father like a slave, rolling in mud and mire, things even a slave wouldn’t do. That leads to even greater revelation from the father.

The above is also related to the rectification of justice (there were perceived “injustices” that Moshe could not understand in his lifetime), which is also related to the healing of the lungs.

This lesson is very connected to Tammuz and the sin of the spies, as well as to Reuven, associated with this month. The sin was first and foremost one of lack of Emunah, the sense that it would be impossible to conquer the Land despite G-d’s assurances and a the miracles performed in Egypt and in the desert. Calev and Yehoshua stayed true to the Land through Emunah, with Calev relying on the merit of our Patriarchs and Yehoshua on the merit of Moshe.

Reuven is the individual in the Torah most associated with the healing power of plants. He is the one that found the mandrakes (Dudaim) and gave them to his mother, Leah. This ultimately led to the birth of Issachar.

Reuven’s lack of counsel/proper Mishpat, is what led to his sin in switching his father’s bed. His outburst is compared to water.

The tribe of Reuven also played an outsized role in the rebellion of Korach, which also involved the perversion of justice and a disconnect from Moshe.

Reuven spends the rest of his life doing Teshuva, rectifying justice and his relationship with his father.

Likutei Moharan Tinyana, Torah 6, for the 8th of Tammuz, teaches that joy depends on the state of one’s blood. “Good sweat,” such as when performing a holy act, brings joy. 

Sadness is associated with the spleen, which filters impurities in the blood. If the impurities overwhelm the spleen, that leads to illness.

Sweat also eliminates toxins, which is why, when associated with holy acts, it eliminates depression and leads one to happiness. We see that when an ill person sweats [and breaks a fever], he feels joy.

This teaching is in line with general themes of the month of Tammuz and the sin of the spies. The spies tried to deemphasize the role of action (actually conquering the Land of Israel and the subsequent agricultural work involved). Their negative assessment made people sad and depressed. Holy action saves us from such depression, particularly when our physical exertion leads to sweat, which helps cleanse our blood from impurity.

Likutei Moharan Tinyana, Torah 7, for the 9th of Tammuz, is about how someone who has compassion can be a leader. However, one has to know how to act with compassion, otherwise one’s “compassion” could actually be cruel, like giving adult food to a baby.  Moshe had genuine compassion for the Jewish people, and had no concern for himself. Moshe engaged in “settling the world” by providing the people with Da’at, knowledge. Someone without Da’at cannot be considered in the category of human being.

The main compassion is when the Jewish people fall into sin. Sin is real suffering for Jews, to the extent that any pain not associated with sin is not considered real suffering. The souls of the Jewish people are so elevated that sin is completely foreign to them - they sin only due to a “Ruach Shtut,” a spirit of folly, in other words, a lack of Da’at. Every time the Jewish people sin, Moshe would sacrifice himself on their behalf, and also instill them with Da’at.

The lesson then turns to the need for leaving behind one’s Da’at in this world, even after a person passes away. This is accomplished through either a son or a disciple (or a son who is also a disciple).

The main task of a leader is to teach those on the level of “son,” those on a high level, that there is still much more to go and whatever they know is still nothing compared to G-d’s infinite wisdom. To those that feel like they are on a lower level, that of a “disciple,” the leader has to teach them that they are also extremely close to G-d, no matter how low they may have fallen.

Rebbe Nachman also mentions who is a provider, has to gird himself with strength and accept a level of authority. The Rebbe twice mentions, that a person must be a “man of valour” (Ish Chayil) and cannot he a Shlemazel.

The lesson also twice makes reference to the sin of the spies (and the connection to the destruction of the Temple) and how Moshe sacrifices himself in order to save them.

Besides from the explicit link to the sin of the spies, much about the lesson teaches about being an Ish Chayil and not being a Shlemazel, also applies to Reuven.

In another place in Likutei Moharan, Rebbe Nachman states that Tammuz stands for the initial letters (Roshei Teivot) of Zichru Torat Moshe, “Remember the Torah of Moshe.” When fixing this month and correcting the sin of the spies, we must also remember to act like Moshe.

Likutei Moharan, Torah 8, for the 10th of Tammuz, starts out by discussing how very few can give proper rebukes. A poorly given rebuke can leave the wrong-doer in a worse situation, similar to how the smell of a bad-smelling object becomes worse when one moves it. Without moving the object, the smell could have gone unnoticed. A proper rebuke, however, can leave a person with a better “smell” than before, and that was the kind of rebuke given by Moshe.

To give such positive rebuke, one must have a voice that is bound with loving kindnesses (Chesed), which is attained through prayer. Prayer brings forth compassion, which (as discussed in the previous teaching) depends on Da’at.

The “Other Side” (the side of impurity) can feed off of one’s compassion, transforming it into cruelty and also making one’s Da’at flawed. This makes it impossible to pray properly.

What is needed then is the judgment/prayer of a “Master of Strength,“ such as the prayer of Pinchas, which is able to dig deep into the “Other Side,” the side of impurity, and make it “vomit out” any holiness it swallowed on account of others’ sin. Not only does it vomit out the holiness, the very essence of this impurity is converted to holiness.

Rebbe Nachman then connects this topic to the fight against Amalek, to the general concept of thunder and rain, and also the process of healing.

The lesson also discusses the need to find a true leader that has attained a level similar to that of prophecy (attained through prayer). Through attachment to such a leader, one can attain true Emunah (faith) and rid oneself of impurity.

In the the future, the whole world will be renewed through a concept closely linked to Emunah and associated primarily to the Land of Israel: Hashgacha Pratit. Everything that happens is by Divine Providence. Then a new song will burst forth.

The main themes of the lesson: rebuke on the one hand, and Emunah and fhe Land of Israel on the other, again are closely tied to Reuven and the sin of the spies.

It is also interesting that the teaching mentions the need to be cleansed from impurity, and the fight of Pinchas against these impure forces. These are the themes of the upcoming Parshiot HaShavua: Chukat, Balak, Pinchas.

Likutei Moharan, Torah 9, for the 11th of Tammuz, is about the concept of “Ruach,” wind/spirit. In the body, we find a deep connection between the air that we breathe through the lungs and the proper functioning of the heart.

In a candle as well, air is essential for its fire to burn, but wind is also what can extinguish the flame. Ash prevents a candle from lighting.

Leaders of the generation have a special Ruach (spirit/wind) and the Jewish people are the heart of the world. The leaders must blow a Ruach over each and every Jew in order to remove the ash, feelings of depression that fall upon them, which prevents them from burning for G-d.

Wicked individuals that influence the Jewish people also represent this concept of ash, and must be removed through the Ruach of its leaders. Then, the Jews are able to reunite and serve as the heart of the world, each of them functioning as a heart for the place in which they are needed, burning for G-d as mentioned above.

Sometimes the heart can burn out of control, as in a storm wind, and Eliyahu HaNavi was able to subdue this unbridled passion, “riding on horses of fire in a stormwind.”

Here again there appears to be many references to the theme of the spies, and the contrast between Yehoshua and Calev and the others. The lesson explicitly states the verse that connects Yehoshua with the concept of Ruach: “a man in whom there is ruach”—who knows how to deal with the ruach of each individual. (Numbers 27:18) Furthermore, Calev is closely connected to the concept of “Lev,” the heart.

The other spies created a great division and depression among the Jewish people, preventing them from serving Hashem properly.

As in the previous lesson, there are apparent references to the upcoming Parashyot, such as the ash of the Red Heifer, the special role of the Jewish people, and the unbridled passion at baal peor, as the intervention by Pinchas (“Pinchas is Eliyahu”).

Likutei Moharan, Torah 10, for Yud Beis Tammuz, is about the importance of Yishuv Ha’Da’at, having a settled mind.

The lesson states that lack of a settled mind is the main reason why people are distant from G-d. It keeps them from reflecting on the purpose of desires and worldly distractions (both physical and non-physical).

Joy is key to obtaining a settled mind. It frees the mind and allows him to direct it as he pleases. In order to obtain joy, one must focus on one’s good points, as explained in Likutei Moharan I, Torah #282. A Jewish person can find happiness in the simple fact that they are privileged to be part of Am Israel.

This teaching also brings to mind very much the story of Yud Beis Tammuz. The Rebbe Rayatz tells in his memoirs that the main focus of the Soviet prison to which he was sent, the most notorious in Russia, was to terrify its prisoners into submission. The Rebbe Rayatz tells of how he was able to bring himself to Yishuv Ha’Da’at even as a prisoner, and that is ultimately what led to his survival and liberation. The Rebbe Rayatz also taught that this liberation was not just a day to be celebrated by him individually, but by anyone called by the name, “Israel.”

This teaching also brings to mind the rashness (lack of Yishuv HaDaat) of Reuven when switching the beds of his father. There was similar rashness in the reaction of the Jewish people to the report of the spies, and also in Reuven’s participation in the rebellion of Korach.

Likutei Moharan Tinyana, Torah 11, for Yud Gimmel Tammuz, teaches that when a person prays in the field, all the grasses (vegetation in general) enter into his prayer and give him strength in his prayer. This is related to the concept of Yitzhak’s prayer in the field.

Furthermore, the words of the Shemah that state that “the land will not yield its produce” is also a reference to the fact that in harsh times, the land will not enter and assist our prayers.

The Chassidic holiday commemorated these days is actually called, “Yud Beis/Yud Gimmel Tammuz,” and it is a two-day Yom Tov. The first day is when the Rebbe Rayatz received news of his freedom, the second day is when he was actually freed.

In the Soviet prison in which the Rebbe Rayatz (Yosef YITZHAK) was placed, there was an effort to separate the Rebbe from nature. There was no way of knowing night from day from inside the cell, and the only “nature” he would be in contact with were rodents and vermin. Still, the Rebbe Rayatz remained strong in his prayers. Early on he found a bench where he was able to meditate and pray to Hashem, and even from inside his dark cell he somehow still knew when to pray and put on Tefilin, which he did meticulously.

As mentioned previously, Reuven has a special connection with the power of the plant world. He was the one that brought mandrakes (Dudaim), to his mother Leah. This led to a series of events that culminated in the birth of Issachar.

Furthermore, the idea that the land (particularly the Land of Israel) assists us in our spiritual pursuits also ties back to the sin of the spies. They saw the Land as an obstacle to their spiritualilty (a land whose physicality “consumes its inhabitants”). In fact, the exact opposite was the case: the Land serves to enhance our prayers and connection to Hashem.

Likutei Moharan Tinyana, Torah 12, for the 14th of Tammuz, teaches that when a person decides to follow his own intellect and cleverness, he can fall into many mistakes and pitfalls, and cause a lot of damage to others and to the world.

Rebbe Nachman teaches that the ESSENCE OF JUDAISM is conduct oneself with wholeheartedness (“Tmimut”) and simplicity (“Pshitut”). To make sure that Hashem is there in everything he does and not to worry at all about personal honor. Furthermore, any descent is only for the sake of the greater ascent that follows (Teshuvah).

The lesson also delves into how everything in the world was created for G-d’s glory (honor), as seen in the Temple. At the root of everything is G-d’s glory, and even filthy places, such as temples of idolatry, receive their life-force from G-d.

The Talmud (Yerushalmi, Taanit 1:1) teaches that if someone should ask, “Where is your G-d?” tell him, “In the great walled city of Rome.” Even in a place filled with graven images and idol worship, G-d is hidden there, too.

When a person falls into filthy places, they have to cry out, “Ayeh?!?” “Where is the place of G-d’s glory?!?” This Teshuva revives a person and the person merits to ascend from this place.

This teaching returns to the theme of the spies, and the tremendous damage they did by relying solely on their own intellect. The theme of Teshuva and redemption from “filthy places” also seems parallel to Yud Beis/Yud Gimmel Tammuz.

Perhaps even more apparent is the connection to the upcoming fast of the 17th of Tammuz and the Three Weeks of Mourning over the destruction of the Temple (both First and Second). The 17th of Tammuz is specifically related to the breach of Jerusalem’s wall by the Romans, leading up to the destruction of the Second Temple on Tisha B’Av.

Reuven also relied on his own intellect, which led to his falling from his stature. He engaged in constant Teshuva throughout his life.

Likutei Moharan Tinyana, Torah 13, for the 15th of Tammuz, is about how by being persecuted, a person closer to Hashem.

The 15th of Tammuz, is the yahrzeit of the Ohr HaChayim HaKadosh. He was from Salé, Morocco, where his family suffered great persecution, to the point that he had to flee with his family to a nearby town.

Later, he returned to Salé and there is a famous account that at one point the governor there ordered that he be thrown in a lions’ den, like the prophet Daniel. He was lowered while wrapped in Talit and Tefilin, reciting Tehilim. Like Daniel, the lions did not touch him.

After continued persecution he ultimately fled to the Land of Israel, stopping first in Livorno, Italy, where he stayed for two years. In Israel, he settled in Akko, where he established a famous Yeshiva.

This is also the theme of Tammuz/Reuben: using the opposition and internal struggles to do to Teshuva, to return to Hashem.

Likutei Moharan Tinyana, Torah 14, for the 16th of Tammuz, the eve of the Fast of the 17th Tammuz, is only a few lines. Rebbe Nachman expands on the words of Tehilim and teaches that just as King David had those that hated him in the world below, he had those that hated him in the world Above.

This teaching is linked to the previous one. Opposition brings one closer to Hashem, and there are spiritual reasons for the opposition as well. Ultimately, it is to bring us closer to G-d.

Likutei Moharan Tinyana, Torah 15, for the Fast of the 17th Tammuz, is about how false leaders can rise up and boast of great accomplishments and miracles, as if they are capable of anything and nothing can get in their way. Their strength comes from the power of true tzadikim.

We have now entered the Three Weeks of Mourning for the destruction of the Temple. The destruction was brought about by leaders that thought they could accomplish anything, including facing down the great empires at the time. King Josiah (who was in fact righteous) erred gravely in thinking he could take on Pharaoh Necco in Egypt. This led to his death and ultimately the destruction of the First Temple. The leaders that did not wish to compromise with Babylon made things even worse. Similarly, the zealots of the time of the destruction Second Temple sought a direct conflict with Rome. Their leader was related to Rabbi Yochanan Ben Zakai. The situation later became much worse after the Revolt of Bar Kochba. Bar Kochba, who was quite arrogant, thought he was capable of all sorts of miracles and great accomplishments, and for some time had the open support of Rabbi Akiva, a true tzadik. Nevertheless, Bar Kochba turned out to be a false Mashiach.

Likutei Moharan Tinyana, Torah 16, for the 18th of Tammuz, starts with a question: Why is sustenance (“Parnassah”) not provided to Jewish people immediately upon request, but instead through specific causes, such as through agriculture, commerce, or other types of work?

The answer is that Israel’s sustenance must come from the King (Hashem), and the essence of kingship is humility. Before honor, must come humility.

Sustenance must undergo several levels of refinement (as we see how food can be transformed from pure grain, to animal food, to human food), and eating as well continues this process of refinement until the food becomes “beautiful words,” the blessings before and after eating and the prayers recited and devotions performed with the energy of the food consumed. These “beautiful words” are like crowning the King, taking Him from a state of humility to a state of honor.

If one were to receive one’s sustenance immediately, without any struggle, one would not appreciate this process of refinement, and one would not truly see the King in a “crowned” state.

Seeing all the intricacies that go into providing for our sustenance increases our appreciation and deepens our trust and connection to Hashem.

This teaching returns to one of the main themes of the month of Tammuz: the value of working the Land and not simply relying on the Mannah, which the spies intended to do.

Likutei Moharan Tinyana, Torah 17, for the 19th of Tammuz, has many very deep teachings and fundamental concepts in Breslev Chassidut. It discusses the importance of being joyous on Shabat. During the week, a person is in a state of servitude, exile. Shabat is very holy and is freedom. A person needs to delight in that freedom in whatever way possible.

Shabat elevates the “fallen fears” of the week - all sorts of fears and insecurities a person may have when their fear of G-d is not complete (without Da’at).

Whatever it takes to be free of worry and anxiety on Shabat, a person should do (food, drink, clothing). A person must also focus on the good, even when there might be some non-good mixed in with it.

G-d does not look at one’s evil. When a person is not behaving appropriately, G-d simply “removes” his direct supervision so that the laws of nature apply to that person. Of course, “nature” is also within G-d’s supervision, but it allows good to happen to the person and gives them time to repent.

During the Three Weeks, we feel exile more intensely, and it is therefore important to not let such feelings to impact our Shabat. We keep looking at the positive (the theme of this month).

Likutei Moharan Tinyana, Torah 18, for the 20th of Tammuz, teaches about the danger of being renowned and leading people. A common person is far from major sins such as murder, but a leader or someone who originates new Torah insights, each time there is a danger that the person falls into (actions tantamount to) theft, sexual misconduct and murder.

This teaching again brings us to the themes of the spies and also of Reuven, the tribe representative of this month. The spies were leaders that erred by slandering the Land of Israel. Lashon Harah is compared the three major sins a person must allow oneself to be killed instead of committing: murder, idolatry, and sexual misconduct.

The Torah states that Reuven committed a grave sin of sleeping with one of his father’s concubines. Major commentaries, such as Rashi, state that his actions (moving the bed of his father to the tent of his mother) for him, given his high level, was tantamount to committing such a major sexual sin.

Likutei Moharan Tinyana, Torah 19, for the 21st of Tammuz, is about how the ultimate goal and perfection is to serve Hashem with absolute simplicity, without any sense of cleverness whatsoever.

The teaching then contrasts this idea with the thinking of some philosophers that believe that the ultimate goal in life is to understand every concept intellectually, and that this is in fact what the World to Come is about, intellectual understanding.

Rebbe Nachman quotes King Solomon, who states, “Ultimately, all things having been considered, fear the Lord and keep His commandments.” The ultimate goal is simplicity (fear of G-d) and the practical commandments (the physical application of them).

This is something that applies to every person, not just some elite group of philosophers. Philosophy itself can be quite dangerous, containing an aspect of negation of G-d that is rooted in Amalek.

Most people should stay away from studying such philosophy, and serve G-d mainly through Emunah, and Emunah is Tefilah (prayer). Prayer should then be encompassed in G-d’s Oneness. That is the ultimately goal, that a person’s prayer should become one with G-d.

The theme of the spies is pretty clear in this teaching as well. They wanted to maintain an idyllic existence in the desert, serving G-d intellectually, learning Torah from Moshe. The ultimate goal, however, is to enter the Land of Israel, and serve G-d through physical mitzvot and simple Emunah.

Likutei Moharan Tinyana, Torah 20, for the 22nd of Tammuz, is about how arguments and divisions can lead to a person becoming famous before the appropriate time. This can cause this person to never be able to achieve their full potential. It can even cause the path that person was meant to develop to “emerge stillborn,” and never be able to be shared with the world. The punishment for these could be poverty or even death.

Again, the lesson is connected to both the story of the spies and to Reuven. The spies were called “Anshei Shem,” men of renown, and this was part of what led to the argument with Calev and Yehoshua and the divisions this created, which led to the spies’ downfall. Similarly, Reuven was initially the most “important” of the sons of Yaakov, entitled to be the firstborn, king, and kohen gadol. Rivalry and internal dissension ultimately led to the loss of these positions.

Likutei Moharan Tinyana, Torah 21, for the 23rd of Tammuz, is a short teaching about how when one originates new Torah insights, there are those (from the side of impurity) that await (in order to feed off them and also corrupt the teachings). To protect these insights, one should study rulings in practical Jewish Law, both before and after coming up with the new insights.

This teaching appears to be a continuation of the previous one and the lessons we learn from the story of the spies and Reuven: the need to be careful in our decision making when the impact affects a broader audience, and also to focus on action instead of abstract ideas.

Likutei Moharan Tinyana, Torah 22, for the 24th of Tammuz, is another short teaching, this time about how the idea of being meek and humble is greatly misunderstood. Being humble does not mean constricting one’s intellect/consciousness. On the contrary, we are always praying for expanded consciousness. Only Moshe Rabbeinu knew how to be truly humble. Being improperly meek before others is called “flattery.”

We see this lesson being taught the Torah in regards to Reuven. His lack of assertiveness was ineffective in saving Yosef and, later, in convincing Yaakov to allow the brothers to take Binyamin down to Egypt. This teaching also appears to start the transition to the month of Av. Rosh Chodesh Av is the Yahrzeit of Aharon HaKohen. Why was he to die outside of the Land of Israel due to the episode in which Moshe hit the rock? What did Aharon do? The likely most plausible explanation is related to this teaching: Aharon was “too humble” before Moshe and did not stand up for the Jewish people.

Likutei Moharan Tinyana, Torah 23, for the 25th of Tammuz, contains a fundamental teaching in Breslov Chassidus. The topic is perhaps what Breslov is most famous for: Happiness. Rebbe Nachman teaches that just like one can take someone who is sad and bring him into a dance circle to make him happy, so too one must “pursue” our sadness and bring it into our happiness, “dancing” with the very thing that is making us sad.

We are now about to enter the month of Av. The Shulchan Aruch teaches that in this month we “decrease” in joy due to the many tragedies that happened, particularly the destruction of the Beis HaMikdash twice on Tisha B’Av. However, that doesn’t mean we’re supposed to be sad all month long. We “decrease,” but we remain joyful. When we realize that even all of these tragedies are part of Hashem’s larger plan, that brings us comfort.

This concept of pursuing our (spiritual) enemy is also found in the song of the cat in Perek Shira. This is also connected to Aharon HaKohen, who “loved peace and pursued peace,” and whose Yahrzeit is this week. (Kabbalah of Time, Week 43)

Likutei Moharan Tinyana, Torah 24, for the 26th of Tammuz, opens with what is likely the most well-known of Rebbe Nachman’s aphorisms: “Mitzvah Gedolah Lihiot B’Simcha Tamid.” What not many people know, however, is that the phrase has a second part: one must push away sadness and depression with all of one’s strength, because all sicknesses come from the damage done to one’s happiness.

The lesson then goes into the fact that there are ten types of song and also ten types of pulses. In the future, happiness will be greatly increased, and this will come with the revelation of its healing powers.

Therefore, a person must do whatever it takes it stay happy, even if that involves joking around.

Having a broken heart is also good, but only for specified times. A person sets aside a time each day to “break one’s heart” and talk about one’s concerns before Hashem, but then the rest of the day one must be happy, because a broken heart can easily lead to depression. Therefore, one must be always happy.

This again is connected to the month of Av, as explained regarding the previous lesson. In Av, we decrease; with joy.

Likutei Moharan Tinyana, Torah 25, for the 27th of Tammuz, teaches of how Hitbodedut (personal prayer) is the highest quality: to be alone for an hour each day with one's Creator, and speak to Hashem in one's mother tongue with words of grace and reconciliation, whatever is in one's heart, to become closer to Him. This is a general advice, which encompasses everything. Even if one finds it difficult to speak to Hashem in this way, to be alone with Hashem like this is already very great, and one can make a prayer out of this inability to speak as well. Many well-known great Tzadikim achieved their level only through this practice. 

The lesson is also about the greatness of turning teachings of Tzadikim into prayers, making a prayer about the need to achieve each point mentioned in the lesson. 

The 27th of Tammuz is known to be the yahrzeit of Yosef HaTzadik. Yosef spent much time in isolation, in which the only one to turn to was Hashem. Throughout his suffering, Yosef was able to maintain a positive attitude as well as an extremely high and intense connection to Hashem. He was also able to take the lessons he had learned from his father and apply them in his spiritual service. It was only in this way that he was able save himself from Potiphar's wife, survive Pharaoh's dungeon, and emerge as the viceroy of Egypt. This is also the way to survive the difficulties of the month of Av and emerge not only unscathed, but on an even higher level than before. 

Likutei Moharan Tinyana, Torah 26, for the 28th of Tammuz, warns against drunkenness. The right amount of wine can bring more Daat (knowledge) surrounded by kindness, but too much brings about additional judgment/harshness upon a person and makes them forget the Torah taught by Moshe. Each Jew has an aspect of Moshe inside of us that reminds each of our limbs to do the Mitzvot.

This teaching continues along the theme of happiness, and how wine can certainly help at times, there must be limits. Interestingly, one of the prohibitions of the first 9 days is against drinking wine (and also eating meat). The month of Av is a time of harshness and judgement. There are ways of mitigating that judgement. One common practice is to complete a tractate of Talmud and have a “Siyum” celebration meal. This Seudat Mitzvah (mitzvah meal) keeps us connected, and would then technically allow for the drinking of wine and the eating of meat even during the Nine Days.

Likutei Moharan Tinyana, Torah 27, for Erev Rosh Chodesh Av, is a lesson about the importance of having a leader (literally “Parnas Chodesh”) that weighs properly the (tax) burden each individual in the community can handle. This eliminates the four evil measures: idolatry, sexual immorality, murder, and Lashon Harah.

Rebbe Nachman then teaches that these four measures are related to the consequences of not fulfilling one’s vows in a timely manner, and that because Moshe gave each person in appropriate tasks, he was given the power to annul vows.

As mentioned previously, Av can be a particularly harsh month, and contains a power that can be radical and unbalanced. Shimon, the tribe representative of this month, exemplified this fanaticism, “judgement” (Din), and zealotry. In fact, the proof that Rebbe Nachman gives of how not fulfilling one’s vows can lead to murder is what Shimon and Levi did to Shechem after the capture of Dinah.

It is well known that the Fist Temple was destroyed due to the three main sins of idolatry, murder, and sexual immorality (such as adultery and incest). The Second Temple was destroyed due to baseless hatred, associated with Lashon Harah, which the Talmud states is “equivalent” to the other three sins.

That’s also the idea behind the power of a wise person (or a court) to annul vows: avoiding radical behavior, restoring balance. This is also exemplified in the life of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai (zealous when he first left the cave after 12 years, then balanced after he left the cave the second time after the 13th year. According to esoteric tradition, Rebbe Shimon was a reincarnation of Shimon the son of Yaakov.

Likutei Moharan Tinyana, Torah 28, for Rosh Chodesh Av, is about how there are Torah teachings that are not even supposed to be interpreted and there are Torah teachings that can be interpreted but cannot be written down.

Rebbe Nachman then teaches that this concept is connected to being able to know the difference between a Jew and a non-Jew, and that the main quality of being a Jew is connected to the Oral Torah.

Today is Rosh Chodesh Av, the beginning of the Nine Days, and the most intense period of mourning over the destruction of the Temple(s). As Rav Kook and others have taught, the destruction of the Second Temple was due to baseless hatred and what will bring about the construction of the Third Temple is baseless love.

To maintain peace in the world (and not bring about baseless hatred), there are things that should not be interpreted, analyzed, or said out loud, and there are things that can be said but should not be written down.

The Written Torah is connected to Din (judgement), and the Oral Torah connected to Rachamim (mercy). One of the defining qualities of a Jewish person is that they are merciful, to the point where if someone is seen as cruel, one is allowed investigate their lineage to see if they are actually Jewish.

Every part of creation, Jew and non-Jew, has something unique and special. Furthermore, a Jew necessarily has something spiritual and immeasurable, beyond what meets the eye, which is an aspect of the infiniteness of the Torah. The ability to recognize this, both in the Torah and in every single Jew, was the quintessential quality of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai. (See Kabbalah of Time, Week 33)

All of the above is also encapsulated in Aharon HaKohen (whose Yahrzeit is today), and the Pirkei Avot description of him:

“Hillel used to say: be of the disciples of Aaron, loving peace and pursuing peace, loving the creations and drawing them close to the Torah.”

Aharon HaKohen also knew when to be silent in the face of tremendous loss. That is what is expected of us as well at this time. Not to interpret and not to write down (and certainly not to complain!), but instead bring about the ultimate peace, the Final Redemption and the building of the Third Temple.

Likutei Moharan Tinyana, Torah 29, for the 2nd of Av, teaches that if a person encounters a halachic question at home regarding a mixture of something kosher with something not kosher, and it turns out that there is not enough of the kosher ingredient to nullify the non-kosher, that is an indication that he has blemished a supernal unification Above.

During the Nine Days, we are made painfully aware of our state of exile. We mourn over the destruction of the Temple and yearn for it to be rebuilt. We remember that the lack of a Temple below is a reflection of a blemish in a unification Above as well.

Likutei Moharan Tinyana, Torah 30, for the 3rd of Av, teaches that when a new book comes into the world, the new insights come from the tears of the author, and these tears protect the Jewish people, countering the tears of Eisav, just like the sand protects the world from the flooding power of the ocean.

These Nine Days are certainly connected to tears, as well as to the destructive power of Rome (Eisav), responsible for the fall of the Second Temple. It is also a time of renewal and new insights: Mashiach is born on Tisha B’Av. (Chol, sand, has the numerical value of 44, this week in Kabbalah of Time)

וְכָל יוֹם יֵשׁ בּוֹ מַחֲשָׁבָה דִּבּוּר וּמַעֲשֶׂה וְהַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּך הוּא מְצַמְצֵם אֱלקוּתוֹ מֵאֵין סוֹף עַד אֵין תַּכְלִית עַד נְקֻדַּת הַמֶּרְכָּז שֶׁל עוֹלָם הַגַּשְׁמִי שֶׁעוֹמֵד עָלָיו וּמַזְמִין לוֹ לְכָל אָדָם מַחֲשָׁבָה דִּבּוּר וּמַעֲשֶׂה לְפִי הַיּוֹם וּלְפִי הָאָדָם וּלְפִי הַמָּקוֹם וּמַלְבִּישׁ לוֹ בְּזאת הַמַּחֲשָׁבָה דִּבּוּר וּמַעֲשֶׂה שֶׁמַּזְמִין לוֹ רְמָזִים כְּדֵי לְקָרְבוֹ לַעֲבוֹדָתוֹ בְּכֵן צָרִיך לְהַעֲמִיק מַחֲשַׁבְתּוֹ בָּזֶה וּלְהַגְדִּיל בִּינָתוֹ וּלְהָבִין מַהוּ הָרְמִיזוֹת בִּפְרָטִיּוּת שֶׁמְּלֻבָּשׁ בְּזאת הַמַּחֲשָׁבָה דִּבּוּר וּמַעֲשֶׂה שֶׁל זֶה הַיּוֹם שֶׁהִזְמִין לוֹ הַשֵּׁם יִתְבָּרַך הֵן מְלָאכָה אוֹ מַשָּׂא וּמַתָּן וְכָל מַה שֶּׁמַּזְמִין לוֹ הַשֵּׁם יִתְבָּרַך בְּכָל יוֹם צָרִיך לְהַעֲמִיק וּלְהַגְדִּיל מַחֲשַׁבְתּוֹ בָּזֶה כְּדֵי לְהָבִין רְמִיזוֹתָיו שֶׁל הַשֵּׁם יִתְבָּרַך

(From Likutei Moharan I 54)

Likutei Moharan Tinyana, Torah 31, for the 4th of Av, states that one can recognize whether a person has accepted upon themselves the yoke of Torah based upon the song they are singing.

This teaching has a similar theme to the previous one in that it combines the two opposing aspects of the Nine Days. These days have a yoke/burden side to them, and yet they ultimately lead to renewal and song. As the Talmud teaches, “All who mourn [the destruction of] Jerusalem will merit to see it in its joy.” (Ta’anit 30b)

Likutei Moharan Tinyana, Torah 32, is for the 5th of Av, Yahrzeit of the Arizal, father of Modern Kabbalah. It is about hidden tzadikim (like in a story about the Baal Shem Tov and a preacher) that know but must hide the “face” of their Torah teachings. Sometimes they even burn the teachings books they wrote, and this is good for the world because people would otherwise corrupt their teachings and make it impossible to connect to Hashem in this world.

A book is the concept of G-d’s name, and each person has an aspect of Mashiach, which they must safeguard. The main safeguard is by protecting against sexual immorality, which protects the lower supernal unification, upon which the upper unification is dependent upon. The spirit of Mashiach, related to the concept of the nose, is a spirit of zealousness, which is jealous for the sanctity of the lower unification, which ultimately can be expressed in the passage of Sotah, where the name of G-d is written down only to be erased. A Get also is called a “book.”

The burning of holy books by great tzadikim and the concealment of their Torah teachings saves the world from this spirit of jealousy/zealousness that can destroy marital harmony.

The parallels with the Nine Days in general, and with the Arizal’s yahrzeit in particular, are many. The Arizal was a hidden tzadik who ultimately revealed himself to the world for a very short period of time. He made clear that only Rabbi Chaim Vital was to write down his teachings, because others didn’t fully grasp it and could spoil it. He knew “Chochmat HaPartzuf,” how to read someone’s face/forehead and know which sins they committed in their lifetime. The Arizal’s teachings are also based primarily on the use of the metaphor of lower marital unification to explain the upper unifications of the Sefirot and combination of Sefirot. To this day, the teachings of the Arizal, although available to the public, are still very much concealed.

The teaching also describes the need to burn holy books that reveal G-d (His name) in this world, very much like the Temple itself was burned (twice) ultimately as a way to save the Jewish people itself from punishment. The lesson also speaks about the need to protect the world from zealousness/jealousy, characteristic of Shimon and the month of Av. The lesson also has a main focus on Mashiach, and the aspect of Mashiach within each person. The Arizal himself had a very strong aspect of Mashiach, like the Baal Shem Tov after him, and, as mentioned previously, Mashiach is born on Tisha B’Av.

Likutei Moharan Tinyana, Torah 33, for the 6th of Av, returns to the theme of happiness, Simcha. All rejoicing is transient, so if one looks at the end, there is no reason in the world to rejoice, but if one looks at “the end of the end,” the ultimate purpose, it is very good, and one should be extremely joyful. (This is from the soul’s perspective, and even the body’s perspective, for tzadikim, whose body is already pure and holy).

During the Nine Days, we decrease in joy, as we keep the destruction of the Temple in the forefront. Nevertheless, when we realize that even the destruction and the ensuing exile are for the ultimate good, we can rejoice even now. We will certainly rejoice to the full extent in “the end of the end,” with Mashiach.

Likutei Moharan Tinyana, Torah 34, for the 7th of Av, is again on the theme of happiness, Simcha. Both Torah 33 and 34 are interpretations on a verse regarding Yitro, father-in-law of Moshe, the first convert: “Va’yichad (exulted, literally, “unified”) Yitro over all the good.”

Rebbe Nachman teaches that most people rejoice over individual things, one at a time, whether it is food, music, etc. The highest is to rejoice over all things at once, and in order to do so one must look higher than the joy, to its Source. Then, the joy of one thing enhances the joy of the other, and the light that shines from such joy is very great.

The Nine Days at the moment are a time of decreased joy, but these days, like Yitro, will be converted into the days of the highest possible joy. Yitro had experimented with every possible idol of every culture. He then concluded that only Hashem is the true G-d, thereby elevating all the emotions he had previously improperly invested in, truly transforming darkness into light. That is a taste of the times of Mashiach, when all the nations will join Israel in serving Hashem, adapting their culture accordingly in order to fit this Messianic vision. Furthermore, we will see the ultimate good in all the suffering, difficulties, and hardships we’ve faced during this period.

Likutei Moharan Tinyana, Torah 35, for the 8th of Av, Erev Tisha B’Av, is a short line about how it is fitting for Torah students to know the future. On Erev Tisha B’Av, the depths of the tension and darkness of Tisha B’Av, are close to their apex. And yet, when one is connected to Torah, one knows the future, “the end of the end,” as Rebbe Nachman previously wrote. One who studies knows the future, a future in which is it is already revealed that everything is from G-d, everything is light, and everything is very good.

Likutei Moharan Tinyana, Torah 36, for Tisha B’Av, is a short teaching about how as soon as very high and amazing teachings are made into a book, those ideas receive a level of cover and concealment.

The loftiness and miraculous nature of Tisha B’Av, in which Mashiach is born, is still covered and concealed. Now the focus is on the day’s sadness. The same can be said for the Book of Lamentations read on Tisha B’Av. It appears simply to be a very sad book, but it contains tremendous wonders and insights.

Likutei Moharan Tinyana, Torah 37, for the 10th of Av, is about how the purpose of life is simple: serve Hashem and to go in Hashem’s ways for His sake, in order to recognize G-d and know Him. Rebbe Nachman contrasts that with all sorts of other desires and goals: some people focus on the reward of this world, while other focus on the reward of the World to Come.

After fasting, and the humility that comes with it, one comes to the realization of what actually matters, and that we have the constant opportunity to connect to Hashem, to serve Him. Moral clarity, which often comes after a great fall such as we experience on Tisha B’Av, leads to Teshuvah. This kind of clarity is something we also saw by the Rashbi, and there is a tradition that he was a reincarnation of Shimon the son of Yaakov.

Likutei Moharan Tinyana, Torah 38, for the 11th of Av, is about how in order to receive light from a great one (a “Gadol”) sometimes a small one (a “Katan”) has to travel to him, and sometimes the Gadol has to the Katan. This is because sometimes the Gadol’s light is so great, he has to humble himself in order for the Katan to be able to receive it. Sometimes the light of the Gadol comes through a smiling face, and sometimes the light must first come through some level of suffering and embarrassment, in order to first reduce the ego of the recipient.

As in the previous lesson, this teaching contains the themes of Av. The suffering of Tisha B’Av humbles us in order to better receive G-d’s light. It puts on a path of Teshuva, for Tu B’Av and the upcoming month of Elul, where the King is in the field, receiving each one of us with a smiling face. The concept of great and small luminaries is also connected to the sun and the moon. Tu B’Av, when the moon is full, is considered the happiest day on the Jewish calendar along with Yom Kippur. That’s because the greater the fall (Tisha B’Av), the greater the ascent that comes afterwards. As Rebbe Nachman explains elsewhere, the entire purpose of the fall is for the greater ascent that immediately follows.

Likutei Moharan Tinyana, Torah 39, for the 12th of Av, also discusses the ultimate purpose of Creation. There are so many amazing things in Creation, in this world and certainly in others, and it is all for the sake of Israel. Israel itself was created for the sake of the quality of Shabat, which is the ultimate purpose. This quality of Shabat is the quality of the World of the Souls, where one can properly perceive Hashem, because there there are no barriers or obstacles.

A person should be able to perceive Hashem in every single part of the Creation. Every part of Creation has its beginning (its spiritual source) and its ultimate purpose, which is the ability to recognize the Creator through it.

Rebbe Nachman states that we are not at that level, and must pray for a leader like Moshe, who is at the level of a head compared to us who are like the feet. Yet a leader like Moshe can make it possible for the feet to perceive as much or even more than other heads.

Rebbe Nachman writes that from this world’s perspective, it would seem that it is not worth for man to be created, given all the obstacles and suffering. However, from the perspective of the World to Come, it is certainly worth it, as only through experiencing this world does one come to understand the ultimate purpose. In fact, every soul must experience this world in order to bring about the final redemption.

Again, the general theme here is, despite (or in fact because) of the suffering we experience in Av, we gain clarity of the ultimate purpose, which is to serve G-d and know him. We anxiously await the coming of Moshiach, born this month, in order to know Hashem to the fullest extent possible, and to gain the proper perspective on everything we’ve endured.

Likutei Moharan Tinyana, Torah 40, for the 13th of Av, teaches that one who knows and has truly tasted the Land of Israel can recognize whether another person has visited a Tzadik for Rosh Hashanah.

The Rebbe then explains that to truly taste the Land of Israel, one has to know the taste of intellect (having engaged in intellectual pursuit of wisdom). The Land of Israel makes one wise, and this is due to the fact that, Hashem’s eyes are upon the Land from the beginning until the end of the year. (Deuteronomy 11:12)

G-d’s watching over the Land comes about through the souls of the Jewish people, which are G-d’s “pride,” and are like His Tefilin. Tefilin is the concept of “intellects,” which come within and burst through the eyes.

This pride also comes about when a person looks at a true Tzadik, particularly when the Tzadik is gathered with his disciples and teaching Torah on Rosh Hashanah. The person then absorbs the concept of “the eyes of G-d,” and wherever such a person looks then becomes like the Land of Israel.

We are fast approaching Tu B’Av, in which Jewish maidens would dress in white and form a circle, and Jewish young men would come to choose a bride. Each woman would ask the young man to focus on what was her best quality. (Talmud, Taanit 31a) This gathering served as a Tikkun (rectification) of the baseless hatred and separation associated with Tisha B’Av, as well as of one’s sense of sight and hearing (the ability to see the good points of others and ourselves) previously tainted by the sin of the spies and the people’s acceptance of their negative report of the Land of Israel on Tisha B’Av. (See Kabbalah of Time, Week 45)

Likutei Moharan Tinyana, Torah 41, for the 14th of Av, Erev Tu B’Av, is a short lesson about how sometimes Hashem gives power to master decisors of Jewish Law to also perform miracles. Just as they decide judicial matters, so they decide how nature should behave as well.

Tu B’Av is one of the happiest days of the Jewish calendar. It is associated with miracles and also with judicial decisions that impacted the unity of the Jewish nation. These decisions removed decrees that came directly from Hashem, from among the Jewish people, and from gentile rulers. On Tu B’Av:

1. The Jews stopped dying in the desert after 40 years.

2. Members from the various Tribes of Israel could marry each other.

3. The Tribe of Benjamin was no longer excluded after the civil war, and the 600 men left from the Tribe of Benjamin found wives from other tribes.

4. The Romans allowed the Jews to bury the dead from the city of Beitar and their bodies had miraculously not decomposed.

The leniencies found in order to permit the above events appears also to be a Tikkun for the harshness and radicalism associated with Av and the Tribe of Shimon.

Likutei Moharan Tinyana, Torah 42, for Tu B’Av, is only one line:

כי אני יי רפאך (שמות טו)״

“for I, G-d, am your Healer (Exodus 15)

has the Rosh Tevot (first letters) of:

אמן כן יהי רצון

(“Amen, may it be His Will”)

There is a small parenthesis stating, “See elsewhere for an explanation of this matter.”

Reb Noson explains elsewhere that this teaching came to Rebbe Nachman in a dream, teaching him that not only is G-d the only source of healing, but that He wants (it is His Will) to heal us.

This teaching (based on chapter טו - the verse is not cited here unlike other

places in Likutei Moharan citing a verse from the Torah), encompasses an important aspect of Tu B’Av: the idea that despite the enormous suffering and punishments associated with Tisha B’Av, G-d has not abandoned us altogether and that, in fact, he wants us to return to Him so that he can heal us.

This is seen in all of the occurrences of Tu B’Av, but perhaps most clearly in the miracle of Beitar, where the bodies of those Jews killed by the Romans had miraculously not decomposed after many years. This was proof to the Jews at the time that G-d was still with them, and led the leaders of the time to compose an additional prayer in Birkat HaMazon.

The prayer, which speaks of Hashem as our benevolent Father, King, and Shepherd expresses the above idea: “He has done good for us, He does good for us, and He will do good for us; He has bestowed, He bestows, and He will bestow upon us grace, kindness, and mercy, relief, salvation, and success; blessing and deliverance, consolation, livelihood, and sustenance; compassion, life, peace, and all goodness; and from any good may He never cause us to lack.”

Likutei Moharan Tinyana, Torah 43, for the 16th of Av, is about how weakness of the heart leads to various fears, and that the main might/bravery of a person is in the heart. A strong-hearted person races into the thick of battle and is victorious on account of the strength and courage of his heart.

The month of Av has the Zodiac sign of Leo. The first law in the Code of Jewish Law is that a person must rise up like a lion.

Shimon, representative of the month of Av, had this quality of confidence and strong-heartedness. The Torah states that when he and Levi entered Shechem, “they came upon the city with confidence.” (Bereshit 34:25) Rashi quotes a Midrash that states that they came in confident in the merit of Jacob.

Likutei Moharan Tinyana, Torah 44, for the 17th of Av, is about how Emunah is dependent upon a person’s speech. A person has to stay away from speaking about words of heresy or G-dlessness, even as a joke. Rebbe Nachman also advises against reading philosophical works on the existence of G-d, even from Jewish sources. A person should also not be overly strict on themselves and exacting in the fulfillment of mitzvot, because that takes away one’s vitality and leads to sadness and depression. The main thing is simplicity, for “The Compassionate One desires the heart.” (Zohar III, 281b). Rebbe Nachman concludes by stating that the greatest wisdom is not to be wise at all (ie. to serve Hashem with simplicity).

This lesson also seems to tie into the life of Shimon, who was overly strict on himself and others, and ended up saying things to his father (about Yosef and others) that would probably have been better left unsaid.

The zeal of Shimon is also with regard with the care that is necessary to avoid the traps of G-dlessness and heresy. Here Rebbe Nachman goes above and beyond to save a person from atheism, a real “clear and present danger” in his time, and even more so in the years to come. It brings to mind the zeal of the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s father, Rav Levi Yitzchak Schneerson, in his fight against Communist Russia, and whose yahrzeit is on the 20th of Av.

Ultimately, having Emunah, and focusing on serving Hashem with simplicity, with one’s heart, is what gets us through the challenging (and potentially extremely rewarding) month of Av.

Likutei Moharan Tinyana, Torah 45, for the 18th of Av, is about the obstacles encountered by those that want to travel to the True Tzadik. Shabat is the inner point, which the six days of the week go around. The same with the Tzadik, the forces of evil lead the person round and round, but as long as the person has not gone out of the orbit completely, they have hope of getting close.

Other teachings for Av have already mentioned the idea of traveling to the Tzadik (on Rosh Hashanah). Here the idea is expressed a bit differently, emphasizing more how sin can keep a person from reaching the Tzadik, from reaching Shabat, thus beginning the process of Teshuvah that will enter into “full gear” in the month of Elul.

It’s also worth noting that Shimon, both as an individual and as a Tribe, struggled with the notion of connecting to the Tzadik. Shimon was the main source of instigation against Yosef HaTzadik, and the Tribe of Shimon (including its prince) were the main source of the rebellion against Moshe (and Hashem) at Baal Peor. Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai represented a fixing of this aspect as well, as Rashbi was utterly devoted to his master, Rabbi Akiva, and Rashbi himself was a Tzadik Yesod Olam (a Tzadik that served as a foundation of the world).

Likutei Moharan Tinyana, Torah 46, for the 19th of Av, focuses on the concept of self-sacrifice, Mesirat Nefesh. It applies to Tzedaka, when we give of our money that we sacrificed so much to acquire; it applies to prayer, where we have to struggle intensely to overcome the myriads of other thoughts that distract us from our service. Everyone has obstacles, and each person thinks theirs are the hardest, but the truth is that there are no obstacles, because Hashem Himself is enclosed in the obstacle. The main obstacle is in the mind - our intellect and heart are divided - this is the main obstacle, and for this we need to cry out to G-d. Then a person walks right through the difficulty, like the famous story of the Baal Shem Tov, where a King built a palace and set up many walls and locked gates around it, but those walls and gates were just an illusion. Many were discouraged, but the son of the King walked right in confidently. The main thing is to have a strong and courageous heart, as mentioned previously.

Here again, the lesson reflects the need to harness the power of the month of Av, of the Zodiac sign of Leo. As Pirkei Avot mentions, “be mighty as a lion” (the commentaries explain that the main might is in the heart). The Hebrew word Rebbe Nachman uses for confidently is לבטח, like in the description of Shimon and Levi in Shechem. Our goal is to overcome the obstacles that are preventing us from Teshuva amd reach the King.

It’s also worth noting that the 20th of Av is the yahrzeit of Rav Levi Yitzchak Schneerson, father of the Rebbe, who demonstrated tremendous self-sacrifice in all of his endeavors and who was not afraid to stand up to the Russian totalitarian government in order to preserve Judaism in all of its authenticity.

Likutei Moharan Tinyana, Torah 47, for the 20th of Av, is about how it is very dangerous to teach a Torah lesson. Great effort is required so that each person hears what he needs to hear. Each person in attendance comes with their Yetzer HaRah, and these impurities get sustained from the excesses of a Torah lesson, what is too high for a person to understand, such as the secrets of the Torah. When a True Tzadik teaches Torah, he has greater awe than the awe associated with Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.

Rav Levi Yitzchak Schneerson experienced firsthand the dangers of teaching Torah. He was ultimately exiled to Siberia, where he passed away. Even there, he continued to write his Torah ideas. These ideas were steeped in Kabbalah and written with tremendous awe, on the margins of his holy books, with ink that his wife would make from wild plants she collected.

20th of Av is also the date of the first publication of the Zohar in 1558.

Likutei Moharan Tinyana, Torah 48, for the 21st of Av, is one of the most fundamental teachings in Breslev, and contains within it one of the most famous of Rebbe Nachman’s words, “The whole world is a very very narrow bridge. The main principle and essence is not to be frightened at all.”

The lesson begins by explaining that when a person begins to serve G-d, they distance him. It seems like he is being pushed away and not given a chance to serve, but one should know that all the distancing is really bringing him closer.

One needs tremendous encouragement to keep going, and the truth is that this can take many years. Even after many years, one can feel like he hasn’t even begun to serve Hashem, and that the person is still filled with thickness and physicality. A person might feel completely ignored by Hashem. Still, a person should pay no attention to this and continue serving Hashem. Rebbe Nachman exclaims, “my beloved, my brother, be very strong and courageous and hold on tight to your service of G-d with all your strength!”

Even the smallest shift from physicality to holiness is extremely precious to Hashem. A person should rejoice over this, and stay away from depression.

A person has to be extremely stubborn in their service, because there are bound to be falls, descents, and confusions before entering the gates of holiness, and even True Tzadikim underwent this.

A person can even be by the gates and turn back, because as soon as the Other Side sees that a person is very close, it mounts a very powerful assault. Don’t be afraid; cross the narrow bridge. Focus on your good points and always be happy.

We are approaching the end of the month of Av, and the harshness of this month will give we to the mercy of Elul, in which we enter the gates of repentance. We must hold on tight and be strong like a lion as we approach these final days prior to the Shabat in which we bless the month of Elul.

Likutei Moharan Tinyana, Torah 49, for the 22nd of Av, starts by saying that in truth, given Hashem’s exaltedness, even the most minor transgression would warrant all kinds of consequences, G-d forbid. But Hashem is full of mercy, and very much wants the world.

A person must therefore strengthen himself in the service of G-d and rely on His mercy. The main thing is to decide not to do it again, not only in action but even in the level of thought (not dwelling on inappropriate thoughts, just ignoring them). The essence of Teshuva is to be in the same situation as before and this time turn away from sin. Having a Yetzer HaRah is actually a very good thing, because it allows a person to serve G-d with passion.

This teaching seems to really mark the transition from Av to Elul. It starts out with concepts of suffering due our misdeeds and the need to stay strong, relying on Hashem’s compassion. It then moves on to the idea complete Teshuva, focusing on thought as well as action.

Elul is a month fully dedicated to Teshuva, from start to finish. It comes right before Rosh Hashanah of the following year. Elul is represented by the Tribe of Gad. Gad was on the border. They were known as fierce warriors, and when they would strike the enemy, the blows would sever the head and arm of the enemy at the same time (this is connected to the Tefilin, also related to thought and action). Thoughts, like Gad, are in the “frontline” of our fight against the Yetzer HaRah. It’s a daily, intense fight: by protecting our thoughts, we thereby protect our speech and deed, as well as our very soul.

Likutei Moharan Tinyana, Torah 50, for the 23rd of Av, is about how a person can direct one’s thoughts similarly to how one guides a horse. If it strays off the path, you just guide it back to the right direction.

Again, the Tribe of Gad (paralleling Elul) is connected to Tefilin (thought, feeling, and action) and this teaching represents the idea of “maintaining the border,” keeping one’s thoughts holy (as thoughts lead to feeling and action).

When Gad was born, Leah enigmatically stated, “Bagad,” or “Beged.” Bagad literally means “betrayed,” while Beged means clothes. According to some of the commentaries, she said this because Gad was born from Zilpah, Leah’s servant, and even though this was done at her initiative in order that more children could be born to Jacob, she could not help but feel betrayed. There are also three “clothes” of the soul: thought, speech, and deed.

Likutei Moharan Tinyana, Torah 51, for the 24th of Av, again focuses on the power of thought and its importance during prayer. The Yetzer HaRah continuously attacks a person, but if a person stays strong then it goes on its way.

Gad is connected to Tefilin/thought as explained before, as well as to Teshuva, leaving behind evil/sinful thoughts.

Likutei Moharan Tinyana, Torah 52, for the 25th of Av, focuses on the difficulties we have understanding the ways of Tzadikim. Rebbe Nachman said that it is similar to the difficulties we have in understanding the ways of Hashem. The truth is that this is exactly as it should be, because if we were to understand all ways of G-d than that would mean that us, mere humans, would be on the same intellectual level, which is obviously far from the case.

This teaching again is about spiritual battles we face in the realm of thought, connected to the Tribe of Gad.

Likutei Moharan Tinyana, Torah 53, for the 26th of Av, starts out enigmatically by Rebbe Nachman stating, “I now know the power of thought… complete objects are made from it, that exist (and have permanence) as along as the worlds exist…” Wisdom is even greater, which are constructs of one’s intellect, but the main thing is that they be true.

Again, Rebbe Nachman’s focus is on thought, which is connected to Gad/Elul. Another aspect of the month of Elul is the idea of Cheshbon HaNefesh, a spiritual accounting, again accomplished mainly in thought. Cheshbon is also the name of one of the levitical cities given to Gad. (See Kabbalah of Time, Book 2, Week 51)

There appears to be another link of this lesson to the Tribe of Gad. Gad (along with Reuven) presented an idea to Moshe that almost caused another major crisis for the Jewish people: they offered to take an inheritance in the Eastern Bank of the Jordan, because of their extensive amount of cattle. They told Moshe that they would build fortresses for their cattle and children and go fight with the other tribes to conquer the Land before coming back.

Moshe agreed to their plan, but he switched the order of their guarantee to reflect the correct order of priorities. He stated that they would build fortresses for their children and (then) their cattle.  Ideas and wisdom (such as Reuben and Gad’s plan above) can be good, as long as they reflect the correct order of things, as long as they reflect truth.

Likutei Moharan Tinyana, Torah 54, for the 27th of Av, explains the idea of free will and states that a Jew (“Ish HaIsraeli”) has the ability to act according to his will and choice regarding everything. For others, the free will is not as all-encompassing, but for a Jew, everything he does, such as traveling to a certain place, etc., involves a service of G-d, and there is total free will.

This teaching also ties into the episode in which the Tribe of Gad (and Reuven) decide to make their inheritance on the other side of the Jordan, and then travel back and forth in order to first conquer the Land together with their brethren. Moshe does not appear to be very happy with this choice (and there were some negative consequences to it), yet nevertheless let them go through with it. Free will and choice is also tied to the concepts of spiritual accounting and Teshuva, the key attributes of the month of Elul.

Likutei Moharan Tinyana, Torah 55, for the 28th of Av, is only a few lines: “The profit of this world is beyond measure… it also does not require investing from his own funds; from only what is prepared for him by the Creator, Blessed be He, a person can open his hand and profit tremendously, ‘No eye has seen … [the world  of the World to Come]”

This teaching is precisely the Teaching of Pirkei Avot for this week, Week 47 in Kabbalah of Time: “Rabbi Yaakov would say: This world is comparable to an antechamber before the world to come. Prepare yourself in the antechamber, so that you may enter the banquet hall.

He would also say: A single moment of repentance and good deeds in this world is greater than all of the World to Come. And a single moment of bliss in the world to come is greater than all of this world.”

This is what Elul is all about, an antechamber to the next year and the month of Tishrei, as well as a time for repentance and good deeds to fix anything lacking from this past year as well. The rewards are infinite.

Likutei Moharan Tinyana, Torah 56, for the 29th of Av, Erev Rosh Chodesh Elul, states that, “When a person has a heart, place has no relevance. On the contrary, he is the place of the world,” because the G-dliness of a person is in the heart and G-d is above place (He is the “place” of the world).

Nothing (no place) can stand in the way of Teshuva, particularly for someone with a Jewish heart, and particularly during the month of Elul.

Likutei Moharan Tinyana, Torah 57, for the 30th of Av, Rosh Chodesh Elul, is about how when a great true tzadik reveals wondrous and awesome original Torah insights, a tzadik on a lesser level gains prominence, as well as one on the side of impurity. An example of this is when the Jewish people received the Torah and Bilaam gained prominence.

When Moshe acquiesced to have the Tribe of Gad and Reuven inherit a portion outside the borders of Israel proper, Moshe sent with them half of the Tribe of Menashe. This tribe had a deep love for the Land of Israel and would influence the other two tribes. Their influence, however, was based on the fact that Moshe sent them.

The side of impurity also gained greater prominence, in the sense that these tribes, now living in the land previously inhabited by Israel’s enemies such as Bilaam, and further away from the Land of Israel, would have to fight harder to stay connected and not stray from the path set forth by Moshe.

Likutei Moharan Tinyana, Torah 58, for the 1st of Elul (second day of Rosh Chodesh), is about how a tzadik that is on a high spiritual level, he nevertheless is able to connect and be fully aware of the current events taken place on the physical plane. That is possible because he makes himself into nothing, and only when one is nothing can he be facing two different directions at the same time.

Gad, with its many cattle and far from the Land of Israel, faced this challenge. How could it maintain it’s spirituality while so involved in physicality, and how could it maintain its wealth while staying spiritually connected as well. The only way to do this was to follow the instructions of Moshe, the most humble of all men.

Likutei Moharan Tinyana, Torah 59, for the 2nd of Elul, returns to the theme of Teshuva. It states that someone like Avraham, who served Hashem consistently from a very young age, should not rush from one mitzvah to the next, lest he lose out on the revelations between mitzvot. On the other hand, a Baal Teshuva should act quickly, because time is of the essence to make up for lost time and save his soul.

Elul is a time of Teshuva, yet also a time for reflection and self-assessment. The exact form of this Teshuva, whether more measured or more “rushed,” will depend on the individual.

Likutei Moharan Tinyana, Torah 60, for the 3rd of Elul, states that it prices go up during war because of the curse given to Cain: murder leads to the land losing its strength to produce. The blood of murder contaminates the rain.

The lesson then brings a similar parallel to when Torah is taught to unworthy students, which is an affront to the Torah’s glory. This leads to captivity (both for the Torah and the individual teaching it). This can be rectified by revealing a level of Torah that is connected to supernal kindness (chassadim).

Elul is a time of Teshuva connected to kindness. Great part of our Teshuva is rectifying our affront to the Torah itself. It is also a time of appeasement and of fixing our relationships with our fellows. This brings in turn brings spiritual as well as material prosperity.

The 3rd of Elul is the Yahrzeit of Rav Kook, who wrote extensively on Teshuva, and also on war. Rav Kook was a very elevated and kind soul, one deeply connected to the Land of Israel and also deeply connected to Rebbe Nachman of Breslov. Rav Kook was also deeply committed to the Jewish people as a whole, and involved in fixing the divisions and fraught relationships within its different segments.

Likutei Moharan Tinyana, Torah 61, for the 4th of Elul, introduces quite an extraordinary idea: our concept of time is due to a limitation of our intellect. Just as G-d is above time, the higher our consciousness, the more time ceases to exist. Regarding Mashiach, who endured so much since the beginning of time, Hashem will still be able to say to him: “I have given birth to you today.”

Connecting this teaching to Elul brings to mind a similar idea: Teshuva is above time. From a limited “rational” perspective it makes very little sense that any change to my behavior that I make now should impact a wrong I committed in the past. Yet, that is exactly how Teshuva works, and it only works because G-d is above time. He sees my action today and my action yesterday simultaneously, and therefore judges one action in light of thr other. This allows me to reach a level in which it is as if I am born today, completely free of sin.

Likutei Moharan Tinyana, Torah 62, for the 5th of Elul, speaks of atonement as well as G-d’s mercy. It brings the Midrash that juxtaposes the verse, “Eileh Ma’aseh…” (These are journeys [of the Children Israel], with the verse, “Eileh Eloheicha Israel” (These are your gods, Israel), which was said by the golden calf. The journeys of Israel atone for idol worship. When idol worship is atoned, then G-d’s anger is mitigated and His compassion is brought forward. The main compassion is the kind we can relate to, because the deeper truth is that everything G-d does is out of compassion.

This teaching again focuses on the quintessential aspects of the month of Elul, and was actually taught by Rebbe Nachman during this time of the year, around two weeks before Rosh Hashana. It is interesting also that the verse about the recounting of the journeys of the Jewish people in the desert, which is similar to the year’s “spiritual accounting” taken during Elul. Elul is also when Hashem’s 13 Attributes of Mercy are revealed, where Hashem is like a King who leaves His palace to visit his subjects in the field.

Likutei Moharan Tinyana, Torah 63, for the 6th of Elul, is a beautiful piece about how the Land of Israel has a song, and about how each shepherd has his own unique song, derived by the song of the grass that his cattle eats. The song of the shepherd is what permits him to rise above the level of his cattle, instead of being brought down to it.

The lesson is also about how the king has all the melodies in their complete form, and all the sustenance is drawn down through him.

In this month of Elul, “the King is in the field,” ready to hear our own individual song and embrace us with His full compassion, granting each an everyone of us, and everyone aspect of Creation, its sustenance, both spiritual and physical, allowing each us to rise above our physicality and connect to our song.

Likutei Moharan Tinyana, Torah 64, for the 7th of Elul, is about how those that are extremely wealthy are, in almost all cases, also crazy. Money makes them crazy.

This teaching is connected to the previous one in that the cattle could bring the shepherds down to their level, were it not for their song. This is very much connected to the Tribe of Gad, which had a lot of cattle, and this wealth is what led them to make the seemingly irrational decision to choose to inherit land outside of Israel’s borders.

Elul is also the month of accounting. The accounting is primarily spiritual, but it certainly has physical components as well, given that one is to increase in Tzedaka during this month as well.

Likutei Moharan Tinyana, Torah 65, for the 8th of Elul, is another short teaching, which states that being zealous for G-d is considered like bringing charity (Tzedakah).

Perhaps the connection to the previous teaching is that it is Tzedaka, using our wealth in the correct manner, which saves us from money’s potential to lead us astray.

In the month of Elul, we increase in Tzedaka, as this is one of the key aspects, along with Teshuva and Tefilah (prayer) that averts harsh decrees.

Likutei Moharan Tinyana, Torah 66, for the 9th of Elul, is a lengthier piece, focuses on Teshuva. It relates that a Tzadik must do Teshuva on behalf of those that step out of line, because if the Tzadik were to punish the person, he too would suffer. Hashem also suffers when punishing the Jewish people, because the punishment is rooted in taking away the person’s life-source, and that life-source is G-d’s name itself.

This teaching also contains important descriptions of the tzadik: how he is the foundation of the world, and that when one gazes upon a tzadik, the person can find himself within the tzadik, and this will lead to introspection. Each person contains traits from the four elements (fire, water, air, and earth), and the tzadik, as the “simple foundation,” contains the source of all four.

This teaching is very much connected to the Teshuva performed in Elul (See Kabbalah of Time, Weeks 47-50, each connected to one of the four elements). This period is also deeply connected to the great tzadikim from Iraq that passed away during this time period: Eliyahu Chaim (father of the Ben Ish Chai, on the 7th of Elul), the Ben Ishai Chai (13th of Elul), and Chacham Abdallah Somech (18th of Elul). Chacham Abdallah Somech was the teacher of the Ben Ish Chai (and also his father-in-law).

The Ben Ish Chai (Chacham Yosef Chaim son of Chacham Yosef Chaim and Grandson of Chacham Moshe Chaim) exemplified the concept of Tzadik Yesod Olam (the tzadik is the foundation of the world), someone who was extremely well-versed in all aspects of Torah, from the hidden to the revealed.

Likutei Moharan Tinyana, Torah 67, for the 10th of Elul, is extremely lengthy, capturing various different topics. The main idea, however, is again the role of the Tzadik (Yosef), who is the foundation of the world and encompasses the four foundations / main elements / emotions: water, air, fire, earth. The teaching also discusses the need to wake up at midnight and cry over the destruction of the Temple and the suffering of the Shechina (Rachel).

In these days of Elul, we (Sefardim especially) wake up in the middle of the night for Selichot (and also Tikkun Chatzot). As mentioned in the previous day, these days are tied to the Ben Ish Chai. His older sister, Rachel, was the one that saw him fall in the well, and her cry and concern is ultimately what saved his life.

The 10th of Elul is also the yahrzeit of Rabbi Pinchas of Koretz.

Likutei Moharan Tinyana, Torah 68, for the 11th of Elul, is about how a tzadik needs to attain perfection above and below. He needs to show those that are high (who feel close) that there is still much more to achieve and those that are low (who feel distant) that G-d is right there with them.

In addition, a Tzadik must have children and students (and those children should have children, and those students should have students, etc.), so that his intellect remains in this world after his passing.

This teaching is also very much connected to the Ben Ish Chai. The name, “Ben Ish Chai,” derives from the name of his most his well-known work, which was based on his Shabat lectures. The book is formulated in such a way that it presents Torah insights and Kabbalistic ideas in simple language in order to bring close those who feel distant, followed by practical explanations of Jewish law, also accessible to a very wide audience. Yet, at the same time, his scholarship and holiness was so above everyone else in the generation, that even though he never took an official position, he was the absolute halachic authority at the time.

The Ben Ish Chai also left in this world children and grandchildren that followed in his holy way. He also established yeshivot amd students that continued his teachings, including the greatest leaders, kabbalists and rabbinic authorities of the Sefardi world, such as Rav Mordechai Eliyahu and Rav Yitzhak Kaduri.

Therefore, the Ben Ish Chai (which literally means “the son of the live man”) remains alive in this world after his physical passing even more than before.

Likutei Moharan Tinyana, Torah 69, for the 12th of Elul, is explaining the deeper spiritual reason behind custom of giving a blessing to the man (“Ish”) that carries the wine (or honey) to guests or to a wedding.

The Zohar teaches that certain things are carried but also carry those that carry it in the process, like the Divine Chariot (“Mercava”), and the Holy Ark. The “Chayot” (very high angels) carried the Mercava and were carried by it, as brought out in the Book of Ezekiel the Prophet. The same is true with the one that carries the wine or honey. At the time, he carried the drink, but now the drink is carrying him.

Alternatively, this can lead to brokenness, because the strong drink can extinguish and also somewhat warm, but Rebbe Nachman did not expand on this part of the teaching.

This lesson again appears very connected to the Ben Ish Chai. He was also a master of explaining the secret teachings behind the stories of the Talmud, and authored two books on the subject: “Ben Yehoyada” and “Benayahu,” named after King David’s most famous warrior and also the head of the Sanhedrim. These secrets of the Torah are associated with the “wine” of the Torah.

Before his passing, the Ben Ish Chai had travelled to the grave of Ezekiel the Prophet, a significant (many days) journey from Baghdad. I have been told by a family member that the reason for his travel was that the Ben Ish Chai sensed that there was a very harsh decree on the Jewish people, and that the Ben Ish Chai spent a full week there in order to try to avert it through prayer. After a week, he was informed from Heaven that he was not successful. The Ben Ish Chai then offered to return his soul to his Maker, and on the 13th of Elul he passed away. The community in Baghdad caught word of the Ben Ish Chai’s passing, and buried him on the 15th of Elul, carrying him all the way back to Baghdad.

The community carried the Ben Ish Chai, but it was really the Ben Ish Chai that carried them. May the Ben Ish Chai’s merit and blessings protect us.

Likutei Moharan Tinyana, Torah 70, for the 13th of Elul, yahrzeit of the Ben Ish Chai, teaches that the greater the individual the farther away he has to go to seek what he requests. Rebbe Nachman gives the example of Moshe, who had to travel all the way to Midian (southern Jordan) to find a wife.

The 13th of Elul is the yahrzeit of the Ben Ish Chai. It is recorded that the Ben Ish Chai made a long journey as well, in from Baghdad all the way to Israel, apparently shortly before his journey to the grave of Ezekiel (see yesterday’s lesson) which led to his passing.

Gad, the Tribe of Israel connected to this month, inherited the land that is now Jordan (also the location Midian) and as part of the agreement, the men traveled to Israel in order to conquer the Land, and then traveled back.

Likutei Moharan Tinyana, Torah 71, for the 14th of Elul, is about how there is a consciousness associated with the Land of Israel and a consciousness associated with the Diaspora. The main consciousness/intellect is that of the Land of Israel, and every Jew has a portion in it. Consciousness of the Diaspora comes into play when there is a blemish to Hashem’s glory, and this kind of consciousness is what leads to disagreements, and this mentality (and discord) can even reach Israel (even though it comes from outside the Land).

The Tikkun (rectification) of the world is Hashem’s glory, because it was for this that the world was created. By begetting offspring, the concept of Yosef, Hashem’s glory is revealed.

The consciousness of the Land of Israel is the concept of pleasantness. The begetting of offspring comes primarily from the revelation of Supernal Pleasantness. The way to create a vessel to receive this Supernal Pleasantness on High is through Tzedakah. Happy is the one that merits to sense the pleasantness of the Torah, because that is the main thing.

This teaching also brings to mind the story of Gad, and of how it approached Moshe with a request to inherit land outside of the Promised Land because of their cattle. This could have been seem as an affront to Hashem’s glory and could have caused discord, but Moshe reacted with pleasantness, agreeing to their request as long as they agreed to join their brothers in conquering the Land first. Moshe’s response also emphasized the need to prioritize the children over their wealth, (which is also closely connected to the concept of Tzedakah).

Elul is also a time of revelation of Hashem’s glory and pleasantness through the 13 Attributes of Mercy.

Likutei Moharan Tinyana, Torah 72, for the 15th of Elul, is also a lengthier teaching about the greatness of exchanging gazes with a true tzadik and the even greater experience of hearing Torah from his mouth. Rebbe Nachman teaches further that “the essence of greatness is lowliness, as we find with God: Wherever you find the Blessed Holy One’s greatness, there you find His humility. (Megillah 31a).” Feeling this lowliness is also an aspect of the World to Come, and the delight there is boundless, as is this feeling of humility.

The teaching also focuses significantly on the leader of the generation, which on account of him others receive Da’at and spirit. Such leader must sanctify himself to a very great extent.

Teshuva comes from embarrassment, and exchanging gazes with the tzadik/leader gives the person insight and also embarrassment/humility, like the humility of Moshe.

This teaching is connected to the Tribe of Gad. Moshe gave it instructions and also sent half of the Tribe of Menashe to be a good influence. Gad’s interaction with Moshe led to Teshuva (setting the right priorities).

Elul’s main theme is Teshuva and the song of ant for this week is also connected to Teshuva and fixing the trait of arrogance. (See Kabbalah of Time, Week 50)

Elul stands for “Ani leDodi veDodi Li,” I am for my Beloved and my Beloved for me. It is the month in which “the King is in the field.” Hashem, in his humility, leaves His palace, so to speak, and greets each one of us in the field, with an exchange of gazes and with a smile.

Likutei Moharan Tinyana, Torah 73, for the 16th of Elul, is also about Teshuva, and specifically that whoever would like to merit Teshuva should recite Tehilim (Psalms).

There are 50 gates of repentance, 49 of which can be achieved by anyone and the 50th which is related to the concept of Hashem’s repentance.

Each gate of Teshuva is associated with one letter of the forty nine letters of the names of Tribes of Israel. Each person’s repentance is through one of these letters/gates, and it may be difficult to connect to that gate, but the Book the Psalms is an connects every person to their gate (Reb Nosson, Rebbe Nachman’s main discipline explains elsewhere that it is because King David has the soul of Mashiach, connected to the 50th gate, even though this is not spelled out in the lesson itself).

The lesson concludes with a specific reference to reciting Tehilim during Elul and the Ten Days of Repentance.

The main theme of Elul is Teshuva and this is Week 50 of the year. We are also fast approaching “Chai Elul,” the birthday of the Baal Shem Tov (whose soul was also connected to the soul of Mashiach). Chai Elul is also the Yahrzeit of the Maharal of Prague, who was a direct descendant of King David, as well as a direct ancestor of Rav Shneur Zalman of Liadi, the Alter Rebbe of Chabad, whose birthday is also on Chai Elul.

Likutei Moharan Tinyana, Torah 74, for the 17th of Elul, states that Purim is a preparation for Passover. Before all the beginnings were from Passover, but that now all the beginning are from Purim.

Purim comes a month before Pessach, just as Rosh Chodesh Elul is one month before Rosh Hashanah. Rosh Hashanah is also a beginning of the year, and Rebbe Nachman seems suggest that the beginning is actually at the time of preparation, which for Rosh Hashanah would be Elul.

Likutei Moharan Tinyana, Torah 75, for the 18th of Elul, Chai Elul, states that seeing the face of the Tzadik is a very great thing. It talks about how the light of the Tzadik returns a person to the good. Gazing at a Tzadik enhances holiness and talking to him is better still.

Today is the birthday of two great Tzadikim: the Baal Shem Tov and the Alter Rebbe, Shneur Zalman of Liadi. The name “Baal Shem Tov” means “Master of the Good Name” and Shneur means “Two Lights.” The Baal Shem Tov was very fond of light as a metaphor for G-dliness and for the secrets of the Torah. (See Hayom Yom for the 6th of Elul)

Experiencing the light of the Baal Shem Tov was like seeing the Tzadik. The Alter Rebbe, who considered himself a spiritual grandson, brought down the Baal Shem Tov’s teachings in a way that they could be understood intellectually, which is like speaking to the Tzadik.

Likutei Moharan Tinyana, Torah 76, for the 19th of Elul, states that Israel becomes masters to their masters (Sanhedrin 104). Israel elevates all the fallen places. They elevate and raise everything, and that’s why they are called “Children of the Exile,” because everything there will eventually be elevated, “amphitheater’s and [sports] arenas are destined to be places where Torah will be taught publicly” (Megillah 6).

Yesterday’s teaching places special emphasis on the words “good” and “light,” as found in the names of the Baal Shem Tov and the Alter Rebbe. The first word in today’s teaching is “Israel” followed closely by the word “Baalim” (masters), a word actually not used in the passage of Talmud referenced. “Baal Shem Tov,” means “Master of the Good Name,” and his name was “Israel.” “Israel” is also the first word in the second paragraph of the teaching as well.

Furthermore, this teaching really encompasses the role of the Baal Shem Tov, who elevated the Jewish people at a time that they had fallen and were deeply sunk in depression due to the hardship of exile. The Baal Shem Tov’s way is to elevate everything, and when his fountains are spread far and wide, Mashiach will be revealed.

Likutei Moharan Tinyana, Torah 77, for the 20th of Elul, is about how every Jew has to suffer some kind of pain each day, even a great tzadik. Furthermore, the greater the person’s Daat (knowledge), the greater their suffering. Eating with holiness and fear can mitigate this suffering so that it doesn’t become overpowering. Such eating provides an even greater ascent, so that that the person can obtain an aspect of the Shechina (Divine Presence) speak from within his throat.

The 20th of Elul is the Yahrzeit of one of the greatest rabbis of Breslov, Rabbi Avraham Steinhartz, the Kochav Lev. As an orphan, his life contained quite a bit of suffering. Below is an excerpt from the Breslov Research Institute that shows how the Kochav Lev acted with tremendous holiness and fear of Heaven, and obtained an aspect of having the Shechina speak from his throat:

It was said of Reb Avraham that he was a "living" Likutey Moharan. Just by looking at him, one could see that his every action was based on some statement in Rebbe Nachman's teachings. When giving a lesson in Likutey Moharan, he would begin by reading from the text, divert to complementary material for an hour or two, and then pick up again from the exact word where he'd left off. What was amazing about this was that it was all done entirely by memory, without Reb Avraham's ever having to look into the written text! And what's more, he did this up until he passed away at age ninety-three and a half.


Likutei Moharan Tinyana, Torah 78, for the 21st of Elul, contains one of the most famous statements of Rebbe Nachman: “There is no such thing as despair!” It is about how the Tzadik can also be like a simple person at times, as it is impossible to always be engaged in Torah at all times without any interruption. During those times, the True Tzadik draws life from the road that leads to the Land of Israel.

The Tzadik, when in a state of simplicity, receives life-force from the aspect of Hashem’s kindness that existed prior to the Giving of the Torah. This is the concept of the Treasury of Unearned Gifts, because prior to the Torah, the world existed only through this unearned kindness.

At this time, the Torah, which is encompassed in the Ten Commandments, was hidden within the Ten Utterances of Creation. In all the words and deeds of the world, whether of a woodchopper or other occupation, the Torah is hidden in all of them. This is the concept of “Derech Eretz,” which means a profession, but also literally, the path of the Land of Israel. G-d starts the Torah with the creation of the world in order to make it clear to the nations that He has the authority to give the Land of Israel to the Jewish people.

Every simple person can receive vitality through the Torah via the simplicity of the True Tzadik, and the concept of the Treasury of Unearned Gifts. Therefore, it is forbidden to despair. “The main thing is to encourage oneself in every way possible, for there is no such thing as despair!”

Yet even an ordinary person must have fear of Heaven. Sophistication is not needed at all: just wholesomeness/straightforwardness and simplicity. Sophistication can in fact be very dangerous- praiseworthy is one who follows the path of simplicity, and who is privileged to become close to the true tzadik.

This lesson speaks extensively about the Creation of the world, celebrated on Rosh Hashanah. The blessings brought down to all the lands begin with the Land of Israel, and the blessings brought down to all people begin with the True Tzadikim. Furthermore, the lesson also references this week’s Torah portion, Nitzavim, always read before Rosh Hashanah. Nitzavim begins by stating:

9You are all standing this day before the Lord, your God the leaders of your tribes, your elders and your officers, every man of Israel.

10your young children, your women, and your convert who is within your camp both your woodcutters and your water drawers.

 The simplest of the people, such as the woodcutters, stand together with the leaders of the nation. This “standing,” our sages explain, takes place on Rosh Hashana.

Likutei Moharan Tinyana, Torah 79, for the 22nd of Elul, is an elaboration by Reb Nosson upon an outline of a lesson found in one of Rebbe Nachman’s manuscripts. The teaching is about how Teshuva is connected to the concept of being beyond time / the nullification of time, and that through Teshuva one merits to hear the voice of holiness and subdue the voice of impurity. The fight against Amalek is Teshuva.

As explained previously, the main theme of the month of Elul is Teshuva, and through Teshuva, on Rosh Hashanah one merits to be inscribed in the Book of Life. The sound of the shofar is the voice of holiness, which subdues the voice of impurity, of the accuser on high.

Likutei Moharan Tinyana, Torah 80, for the 23rd of Elul, is about the appointment of leadership. Rebbe Nachman interprets a Mishna related to Temple service. At first, it was only a question of Ratzon (“desire,” “will”). In later times, it became a question of who had more knowledge of the secrets of the Torah. If they had equal knowledge, they would be asked to display their religiosity in public, which they refused to do. Earlier, people became leaders for the sake of Heaven. Later, people had an inner desire for self-aggrandizement, so potential leaders would refuse the position and had to be coaxed into it.

On Rosh Hashanah, we crown Hashem as our Leader, our King. G-d’s will is to be our King, but we also have to show Him that we desire His kingship, coaxing Him, so to speak, into accepting His position. We do so by alluding to the mysteries of the Torah and to the acts of piety of our forefathers, both of which are read before, during, and after the Shofar blasts.

Likutei Moharan Tinyana, Torah 81, for the 24th of Elul, is about how when a person makes himself happy with the joy of a mitzvah, to the point where he brings joy to his legs and dances with joy, that’s called “to a prophet a heart of wisdom.” Similarly, such joy in performing a mitzvah elevates those who support Torah study, who are like a leg (“Regel”).

Rebbe Nachman makes various other parallels to those that are like a “Regel” (leg/support): evil speech; money; a wife; a son; Emunah… all of these provide support and receive elevation through the joy over Torah and mitzvot.

As we appoint Hashem as our head on Rosh Hashanah, he elevates us, the legs, who perform His will in this world. We connect to Hashem on Rosh Hashanah in all of these ways: being careful to avoid Lashon Harah, giving Tzedakah, relating to Him as a spouse, as a child, all through the lens of Emunah and, most importantly, through joy over Torah and mitzvot.

Likutei Moharan Tinyana, Torah 82, for the 25th of Elul, the day of the creation of the world, focuses on the creation of man and the idea that there is a concept of order (Alef, Bet, Gimmel, Dalet…) and reverse order (Tav, Shin, Reish, Kuf…)

Chava, Eve, represents the concepts of Malchut (kingship), the Oral Torah, and speech. These concepts are all connected, as “there is no king without subjects,” and the king reveals his thoughts and desires through speech.

Adam is the idea of Chochma, wisdom, Koach Mah (“the power of what [am I]”humility), necessary in order to be bound to G-d and attain completion/perfection.

When Malchut (Chavah) is tied to Chochma (Wisdom), then Malchut is perfected.

However, if Malchut/Chava is disconnected from Hashem, and a person wants to rule himself, then Malchut is incomplete. When things aren’t going as planned, a person should know that they have haughtiness, and must repent and humble themselves.

The essence of Teshuva is in the month of Elul, when Moshe ascended to receive the Second Tablets. That event set the path of Teshuva for us to follow. Moshe bound himself with every single Jew, even the lowest of the lowest. Furthermore, no matter the height to which Moshe elevated himself, there he found G-dliness (sometimes the intense light of G-dliness can blind a person, and prosperity and success can actually make the person less connected to Hashem).

When a person is in a state of war (things are not going as planned), one must bring “Mah” (humility) into one’s thought. This concepts is alluded to in the Arizal’s teachings in Etz Chaim, regarding the meditations for Rosh Chodesh Elul.

The connection to Rosh Hashanah, Elul, and Tishrei (spelled Tav, Shin, Reish, in reverse order) are clear and do not need further elaboration.

Likutei Moharan Tinyana, Torah 83, for the 26th of Elul, discusses the importance of Shmirat HaBrit (“maintaining the covenant, a reference to guarding against sexual sins). The lesson, which covers many different topics (more than what can be included in this summary), teaches that Shmirat HaBrit is like a bow, which leads to the power of prayer, which is like arrows. This is Mashiach, who is encompassed in the Patriarchs, and represents the speech of prayer. This leads to Shabbat, which is the ultimate purpose of knowledge, which is to know that one does not know. Shabbat is also the ultimate purpose of physical space, and on that day a person sheds his leprous body (the “skin of the snake”) and dons Shabbat garments. Then, like the sound of the shofar that grows ever stronger, his mazal (“flesh of his flesh”) ascends and he merits wealth, and all depression and sarcasm is eliminated. He raises his lowly loves and fears to holy loves and fears, his eyes then see wonders, and the light of the eyes elevates all requests and supplications…

This lesson continues the theme of creation of Adam and Eve mentioned in the previous lesson. Their sin, instigated by the snake, took place on Friday, immediately before Shabat. The fixing of the sin, encompassed the notion of Shmirat HaBrit, will bring about the ultimate redemption, Mashiach, and eternal Shabat. That is the ultimate purpose of our prayers. We may ask for physical needs and wealth, but those are in order to bring about the ultimate purpose of space, the ultimate purpose of knowledge, which is to “not know,” to be completely nullified before the King.

Likutei Moharan Tinyana, Torah 84, for the 27th of Elul, is about how the main connecting and cleaving to Hashem is through prayer. Prayer is an aspect of Malchut (kingship), and when one prays with strength, the Shechina (Hashem’s aspect of Malchut in this world) can leave the exile of the kingship of evil. One’s main intention in prayer should be to rectify the Shechina in order to unite her with Her Husband (Hashem’s attributes that transcend this world). When the Shechina is rectified, Hashem’s oath to the Patriarchs is renewed.

The prayers during these days are intense and often out loud. As we crown Hashem as our King, His commitment to the Jewish people and to this world as a whole is renewed.

Likutei Moharan Tinyana, Torah 85, for the 28th of Elul, continues the theme of supernal union. It is about how the concept of Leah, Yaakov’s “first wife,” leads to the concept of Beit-El (the House of G-d), and Rachel, Yaakov’s beloved.

This is compared to the Luz bone (Beit-El was first called Luz), from which will come the resurrection in the End of Days. The main consolation for the body is that it will be resurrected.

This is connected to the 21 days of mourning during the Three Weeks, the 21 days it takes for an egg to form, and the 21 days it takes for an almond (also called Luz) to grow on an almond tree.

The last days of the year are also a culmination of the seven weeks of comforting that follow the three weeks of mourning/destruction. Leah represents Binah (one of the three intellectual Sefirot), while Rachel represents Malchut (the last of the seven emotional sefirot). As we complete this transition from destruction to comfort (harshness to sweetness), we have faith in our “resurrection,” our renewed bond with Hashem, inscribed in the Book of Life for a good and sweet new year.

There are also 21 days from Rosh Hashanah to the end of Sukkot (associated with Yaakov), on which we are about to embark.

Likutei Moharan Tinyana, Torah 86, for the 29th of Elul, Erev Rosh Hashanah, is about how those of little faith need (extra) fasting and difficult ways for serving Hashem. There are many levels within “those of little faith,” even tzadikim with little faith. Rebbe Nachman quotes the Talmud, which states that Hashem does not make unreasonable demands of His creations. (Tractate Avodah Zarah, 3a)

Some do have a custom to fast until the afternoon of Erev Rosh Hashanah. A more universal custom, however, is that of the annulment of vows, in which we remove from ourselves any vows, oaths, and commitments and extra stringencies that were not explicitly taken upon “bli neder,” without a vow.

Likutei Moharan Tinyana, Torah 87, for the 1st of Tishrei, First Day of Rosh Hashanah, teaches that the mystical intention behind the month of Elul is Tikkun HaBrit (the fixing of the covenant, rectifying sexual impurity). A blemish in this area can lead a person to lose their soulmate altogether, or cause her to oppose him. Therefore, before sending Eliezer to find a wife for Isaac, Avraham taught him the secret intention of the month of Elul.

Rosh Hashanah is in many ways the culmination of the month of Elul. The Torah reading is about the birth of Isaac, the sending away of Ishmael, the Sacrifice of Isaac, and the birth of Rivka. Isaac was born as a direct result of Avraham’s brit milah. Ishmael, who also underwent a brit, nevertheless represents the negative side of Chesed (sexual immorality). Isaac represents purity. He is called an “Olah Temimah” (pure offering), and the story of his sacrifice is directly linked to the birth of Rivka, also described as a pure maiden, who maintained her purity among base and immoral people. Rosh Hashanah is a day in which we ask G-d to remember the sacrifice of Isaac, and in that merit, provide us all with a pure and fresh start.

Likutei Moharan Tinyana, Torah 88, for the Second Day of Rosh Hashanah, teaches two separate lessons.

The first teaching is that a person should not eat a fruit before it is ripe, otherwise the fruit can draw out vitality to itself instead of providing it to the one eating the fruit. In the second teaching, Rebbe Nachman explains that there is an angel with many deputy angels, all of them holding shofars, and as they blow they find many things that have been lost. People lose things because of their desires, but even tzadikim lose things. He also said that it is extremely difficult to be a receiver.

On the second night of Rosh Hashanah, we eat a new fruit.

The sound of the shofar, and the judgement and self-reflection of Rosh Hashanah can be a wake-up call to remind us of the year’s past mistakes, and the Teshuva assists us in recovering those losses.

Likutei Moharan Tinyana, Torah 89, for the Tzom Gedalia, is about how Da’at is the maker of all matches, the mediator of opposites. When someone is having trouble finding a mate, that may mean that the two sides are far apart, and the solution is to go hear Torah from the one (Tzadik) who has Da’at.

Tzom Gedalia commemorates a tragedy im which extremists murdered the leader of the Jews in Israel after the Babylonian conquest. Had the people listened to Gedaliah (the one with Da’at), they could have maintained a positive relationship with the Babylonians, and the further devastation and exile would have been avoided.

We are also fast approaching Yom Kippur, which is like a wedding between us and Hashem. We may feel very far from Hashem, but through listening to our tzadikim, we can bridge the gap.

Likutei Moharan Tinyana, Torah 90, for the 4th of Tishrei, continues the theme of a wedding and is about how at the engagement we break a plate in order to remind the groom of Gehenom. The reminder is twofold. Our sages state that a “bad” wife saves a man from Gehenom and if she turns out to be “bad” he should therefore accept it with love and certainly not divorce here. If she turns out to be “good,” it is still important to remind him of Gehenom so that if sanctifies himself and is not pulled (improperly) by his desires.

The connection to Tishrei here has already been pointed out in previous lessons. Yom Kippur is like a wedding with Hashem, where we ask Him to accept us as we are and forgive us for our sins. It is also a time to repent from previously being led astray by our desires.

Likutei Moharan Tinyana, Torah 91, for the 5th of Tishrei, is about how the connection to true tzadikim is very very beneficial, and brings a person to complete teshuva and atonement of sin. Judgements against a person are eliminated entirely. There are two aspects of wisdom, one higher (what the teacher gives) and one lower (what the student receives). The Torah represents the upper wisdom and wisdoms of this world represent lower wisdom. Every person must bind himself to the upper wisdom. The Tzadik binds the lower wisdom with the upper one through enclothing Torah knowledge in his day-to-day conversations.

The theme of teshuva and atonement are certainly connected to Yom Kippur. The month of Tishrei as a whole is represented by the tribe of Efrayim, who represents the upper wisdom and full dedication to Torah and spiritual matters as we experience in this month of Tishrei. Menashe (Cheshvan) represents worldly involvement, the lower wisdom. Efrayim and Menashe are nevertheless one unit, and the work of Tzadikim (such as Yaakov and Yosef) is to bind the two.

Likutei Moharan Tinyana, Torah 92, for the 6th of Tishrei (last day of Week 52), is the last chapter of Likutei Moharan Part II. It’s teaching is one of the most famous of all of Rebbe Nachman’s revelations: the Tikkun HaKlali (the “General Remedy”). Rebbe Nachman lists Ten Psalms that incorporate the ten types of song included in the Book of Psalms. This General Remedy opposes and rectifies the very strong impurity resulting from a male nocturnal emission. Rebbe Nachman states that in the merit of rectifying this sin, our righteous Mashiach will come and gather our dispersed, and concludes with a prayer: “May it happen speedily in our days, Amen.”

Yom Kippur represents the atonement of our sin. It is a day of pure spirituality, where any physicality, and certainly sexual desires, are set aside. Avraham Avinu’s brit was performed on Yom Kippur and this day’s main rectification is forgiveness for sexual sins. The Talmud discusses and the Shulchan Aruch ultimately rules that if one has a nocturnal emission on that day, that it is not a good sign for the person and additional repentance is necessary. (See Likutei Halachot, Laws of Yom Kippur) Rebbe Nachman provides a clear and simple remedy that can elevate even this impurity.


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