In the second teaching of his book, Likutei Moharan, Rebbe Nachman brings the first verse of this week’s Torah portion at the beginning of his teaching about prayer and redemption. “Hashem said to Moshe: Say to the Kohanim, the sons of Aaron, and tell them: Each of you shall not contaminate himself to a (dead) person among his people…” (Chapter 21, Verse 1) Many times in his teachings Rebbe Nachman brings a verse from the Bible or a teaching from the Sages and then shows you later on in his teaching how everything he just talked about is alluded to in the verse he brought at the beginning. In this verse the word ‘say’, “Say to the Kohanim”, is referring to prayer. Rebbe Nachman teaches in this lesson that the main weapon which a Jewish person has is prayer. All of the battles which they need to conquer, whether they are with the evil inclination or with others who are trying to prevent them from doing something good; all of these battles can (only) be conquered through prayer. Therefore, Rebbe Nachman says that someone who wants to truly merit to reveal the holiness of being a Jew- they need to pray a lot and speak with Hashem. This is the main weapon which they have to win the battle of overcoming the evil forces which try to prevent them from revealing their light. (Likutei Moharan & the Abridged Likutei Moharan, 2nd teaching, Part One)
Rebbe Nachman also teaches in the 7th teaching in the first part of Likutei Moharan that the main aspect of bringing the redemption depends upon prayer, because the main reason for the exile is due to a lack of faith. Prayer is the aspect of faith, which means that a person believes that Hashem can create and renew anything in His will, and therefore he prays to Hashem to fulfill his request. Things in our lives which might seem unrealistic or impossible can become a reality through the power of our prayers. Through having strong faith, and faith that our prayers are heard by God, we can merit to see miracles in our lives. Rebbe Nachman also teaches in this lesson that the main revelation of faith is in the Land of Israel. (The Abridged Likutei Moharan, 7th teaching, Part One)
This week in Israel we observe Remembrance Day for the fallen soldiers and terror victims and then the following day celebrate Independence Day. For me personally, I have connected the past few years to this day of celebrating our independence as a day to thank Hashem for gift of living in the land of Israel. Thanking Hashem for the amazing positive changes which have happened in my life since moving to Israel, and for the merit to live here. When it becomes your daily life to live here, like anything which becomes routine, we tend to take it for granted. Naturally we become focused on other things in our lives. Therefore, I think that these special days of Remembrance Day and Independence Day help us to reflect on the meaning of living here in the land of Israel during these special and turbulent times in our history.
My wife and I spoke the other day about how it’s really a miracle that we merited to be part of all of the thousands and hundreds of thousands of Jews from around the world who have returned to the land of Israel. By what merit where we able to make Aliyah and live here? I didn’t grow up praying and wanting to make Aliyah to Israel. It just wasn’t in my consciousness. We really feel in our hearts and believe that it’s due to the merit of our ancestors, who prayed for the redemption and prayed for the re-building of Jerusalem and the ingathering of the exiles for so many hundreds and thousands of years. Also for us today, we need to know and believe that our prayers are helping to bring the redemption. Rebbe Nachman says further on in the first teaching that I brought above, “When we see the length of the exile, and (that) every day we scream out to Hashem and still we are not redeemed; there are those amongst our people who mistakenly think in their hearts that all of our prayers are for nothing. However in truth, all of the prayers are lifted up to Heaven by the Tzaddikim of each generation, as it is written, ‘and Moshe established the Tabernacle.’ (Our prayers are part of re-building the Temple) The Tzaddikm raise up each prayer to its proper place and this is what helps to bring the return of G-d’s presence (the shechinah) amongst us. Then the Messiah will come and complete the rebuilding of the Temple.” Amen.
(The image is courteous of Chabad.org)