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Monday
Apr092018

IT’S ALL IN THE MIND

Beis Moshiach presents a recent talk by Rabbi Reuven Wolf, shliach in Los Angeles, delivered to the students of B’nos Menachem in Crown Heights – Part 2.

IT’S HARD, BUT IT GETS EASIER

It’s hard to make a reality shift and start living differently. R’ Chaim HaKohen Gutnick once gave a talk in 770 and told the following story:

Once on Shavuos night, he had the privilege of eating the Yom Tov seuda with the Rebbe. He was very hungry, and after he made Kiddush, he made HaMotzi and ate a k’zayis of challa. However, when they served the fish, as hungry as he was, he held his fork but he couldn’t bring himself to eat in front of the Rebbe. He sat there picking at his food when he noticed that the Rebbe was looking at him with a smile. He could see in the Rebbe’s facial expression that he was questioning him, “Nu, eat something, it’s Simchas Yom Tov.” R’ Chaim then said to the Rebbe, “It disturbs me when I think about the Kohanim, standing in the Beis HaMikdash in the presence of the Sh’china and eating meat. True, they worked very hard in the Beis HaMikdash and they were hungry. But, as hungry as they were, how could they stand in front of the Eibeshter and eat fleish?”

The Rebbe smiled and said, “The first time is very hard, but the second and third time it gets easier.” What does the Rebbe mean? They only had G-dly awareness when they ate the meat the first time, but after that they could eat like animals? You’re in the Beis HaMikdash! No, the Rebbe is saying that when you practice and get involved in something bit by bit, your mind and reality acclimate to the point that you can eat the way a Kohen is supposed to eat when he’s in the Beis HaMikdash…

THIS IS NOT THE TIME TO DIE “AL KIDDUSH HASHEM”!

We are now standing at a very interesting stage where it’s important for us to “acclimate” ourselves and change. On the concept of opening our eyes, we learn in Chumash that just before Krias Yam Suf, G-d told Moshe Rabbeinu to speak to the Jewish People and tell them to travel forward. How could they do that? There was a sea in front of them, they’ll drown… Suddenly, Nachshon ben Aminadav jumped into the water, and as a result the sea split. It took a Nachshon to take the plunge.

What exactly was Nachshon ben Aminadav doing? Was this an act of self-sacrifice? Was he going Al Kiddush Hashem? In the annals of Jewish history, there were definitely times for Kiddush Hashem. In the days of Rabbi Akiva and the Ten Martyrs, it called for whatever kind of purification the world required, including dying Al Kiddush Hashem. There were other times in history: Inquisition, Crusades, etc., when Jews cried out “Shma Yisroel” by the thousands, achieving an unbelievable tikkun which we could never possibly fathom. On the other hand, the Exodus from Egypt was not the time for dying; it was a time for Redemption! So why did Nachshon jump into the crashing waves?

Rashi comments on the aforementioned pasuk that “the Jewish People have nothing to do but to travel forward, for the sea will not stand in their way”, i.e., the sea is not there. Not there? Of course it’s there! I see it with my own eyes! Rashi says no, it’s not there. What does this mean? If there is a physical sea in this world, it’s because there’s also a sea in the spiritual world of Asiya. And if there’s a sea in Asiya, there must be a sea in Yetzira, in Beria, and eventually in Atzilus, where Malchus is called the strength of the sea. In other words, G-d is telling Moshe Rabbeinu: You should know that Krias Yam Suf already happened in all the worlds, even this physical world. The sea parted; there is no sea.

This begs the question: If it already took place in this physical world, then why do we still see and hear the crashing waves? The answer: Since we walked along the same beach yesterday and the day before and the year before, and we’re accustomed to seeing things this way, our eyes continue to see it that way. Thus, we aren’t ready to see the new reality that the sea split. What did Nachshon ben Aminadav do? He didn’t go Al Kiddush Hashem; he opened his eyes and perceived that in fact there was no sea. He showed the Jewish People that the sea was merely a product of their imagination because that’s what they saw yesterday and the day before.

TRUST IN THE WORDS OF THE NASI

It is a very sad reality when ch”v a person needs to have one of his limbs amputated. In such a case, for weeks following the procedure, the person suffers phantom pains; he still experiences the feeling of having the missing limb. If he previously had an itch or athlete’s foot there, he still feels it afterwards for a time. According to the natural tendency of things, his mind still imagines the need to scratch the afflicted area when there’s actually nothing to scratch. Sometimes we become so stuck in certain realities that don’t exist anymore and we hold on to them as if they’re so real.

And here’s the challenge of our generation: the realization that things have changed. We can stubbornly hold on to the previous view of the world that the galus is so overpowering, everyone hates Lubavitch, no one is ready or willing to hear about Moshiach, and our children are a lost cause and they’re not prepared to start living Moshiach. We think that we’re wild animals with uncontrollable physical desires. Well, guess what? It’s all just your imagination. It’s not here anymore.

How do I know? Chassidus teaches us that we have been learning Torah and doing mitzvos for thousands of years to purify the coarseness of our animal soul and the world at-large (klipas noga). Thus, when Moshiach is about to come, the aspect of klipas noga becomes elevated and refined – it’s not there. Ah, I still feel my animal soul and my physical desires? The Rebbe told us that we’re living in a different reality today than what we felt yesterday, we can live a much more G-dly life. However, the problem is that we’re stuck because we don’t have enough trust in the Rebbe’s words, and therefore, it’s as if the Rebbe is asking us to test him.

Let me put this into more practical terms: First of all, to make the transition and start living in the reality of Moshiach, we have to know what to look for. The Rebbe said that the most direct way to do this is through learning about Moshiach and the Redemption. This means actually living the concept, not just with slogans. This is something that has to permeate our whole being. We have to learn the sichos, the maamarim, Rambam – all in order that we should know it when we see it. Once you perceive Moshiach everywhere you look, you automatically adapt to this new environment.

Here’s a simple example: I can guarantee you that if you move to Argentina, you’ll be speaking Spanish within two years, even if you’re not good at languages. And if you live there for five years, you’ll speak Spanish really well. Thus, if we have a reality change, we can begin to adapt and start living Moshiach – and this comes through learning about Moshiach and the Redemption.

IT’S TIME TO LOVE THE EIBESHTER

What’s going to happen when Moshiach comes? The Eibeshter will be revealed, we’re going to serve Him very deeply, and our bodies and animal souls will not distract us. Furthermore, as the Rambam says, our entire occupation will be to know G-d. Why are we going to be so busy knowing G-d, being obsessed with the Eibeshter? Because we’re going to love G-d. This will be the ultimate time of loving G-d “with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might,” madly in love with G-d.

Therefore, when you come to someone today and say, “Love the Eibeshter,” he’ll look at you and say, “Are you crazy? Love the Eibeshter? I love lokshen kugel; I love sushi. What are you talking about? Granted, Chassidim daven and think about it all the time, but what connection do I have to all that?”

The Rebbe says: Why not? It says that in the days of Moshiach, we’re going to have this type of connection to G-d. Did you ever try it? It’s so foreign for us even to try. How do we try? Open a siddur, daven slow, and let the words sink into your consciousness. When you say “Hallelu Es Hashem Min HaShamayim,” think about how the heavens and the stars are praising G-d, how all of the world’s existence sings to the Eibeshter, and then feel yourself singing along with all of Creation. When you say “Baruch SheAmar,” think about how G-d spoke and the world came into existence. Then, allow this thought of how you, the chair you are sitting in, your family, etc., everything exists because G-d spoke all of you into existence and you owe everything to Him. Who knows? You might feel a little juice in your heart; you might suddenly discover that you have a Jewish heart that really loves the Eibeshter. You can’t know if you don’t try.

MAKING PARNASA WITH VERY LITTLE EFFORT

Why aren’t we trying? Because we’re still living in yesterday and buying into yesterday’s concepts about our coarse existence. True, we should be spending more time davening, but the problem is: Who has time to daven? We’re so rushed and we have so many things to do. The first thing you have to do is turn off the cell phone, remove the distraction. Try to daven with a minyan whenever you can. The main thing is to do this as if Moshiach came already.

What about the need to hustle out there and make a parnasa? The Alter Rebbe says that Shacharis is supposed to take an hour and a half. Who has time to do that? We really have to work hard to make a living. And why does parnasa take a lot of time? That’s part of galus. The natural garments for parnasa in this world are very strong and it’s hard for a Jew to make a living. However, when Moshiach comes, it won’t be that way – “all delights will be [as common] as dust.” Parnasa will come to us with very little work and Jews will be wealthy.

Therefore, it’s up to you to decide whether you’re going to be a Moshiach Yid. That means that you’re going to have to make a little effort and the Eibeshter is going to do the rest – and maybe big miracles are going to happen. I can guarantee you that if you’re going to start living this way and put yourself in this consciousness, big miracles will happen! Without a shadow of doubt, you will have far greater success in your parnasa. This is the new time we are entering, a time when G-d is openly feeding and taking care of us. Moshiach’s energy is here already, but the galus is also still here. Thus, a person can choose to sit longer in galus and feel that he still has to control everything.

While you can do that if you want, why go through such pain and anguish? If the Rebbe says that you should start living in the times of Moshiach, you can be a rich man already while doing very little work. Therefore, test Moshiach out. Take the time once or twice a week; don’t rush out to work and daven slowly. Since I gave that Moshiach speech in 770, I’ve been constantly talking about Moshiach. As a result, I’m seeing miracles, as if G-d is saying to me: “Relax, I’ll take care of things. You do what you need to do, and I’ll do what I have to do.” I see it in my own life. If you put yourself into the Rebbe’s zone, into a Moshiach reality, the miracles are unbelievable. I’m sure that any Chassid who decides that now is the time already that Jews have to be comfortable – stress and discomfort is in the past – it’s because we’re living in the days of Moshiach. There will be plenty for everyone as we enter Moshiach’s world.

LEARNING TORAH WITH A TRUE GESHMAK

What else are we going to do when Moshiach comes? We’re going to learn Torah with a sense of true appreciation and enjoyment. Yet, there are those who look at themselves and say: “I have ADD; I experience no real pleasure in my learning; I can’t sit still for two minutes.” I have a good friend who arranged for me to speak at another venue. The lecture lasted for about an hour; the people in attendance were mainly non-Torah observant. This friend of mine is a classic example of ADD; he can’t sit still for anything. Yet, he sat and enjoyed the entire talk. Who says you can’t learn with a geshmak? Who says that you’re the one who has to rubber-lip Rambam, saying the words without thinking? Start learning Rambam or a Chassidic maamer and you’ll find that it’s very enjoyable. This is what the Rebbe is saying: It’s a new day, learn and daven like a mentch and you’ll see that everything in the world around you is falling into place.

And how about our animal soul? When Moshiach comes, the animal soul is going to be something completely different. It won’t be an animal that gets excited about worldly things; it will be an assistant to matters of holiness. This means that our G-dly soul is accustomed to Yiddishkait and doing mitzvos, while our animal soul possesses the fervor and excitement of a baal t’shuva. It’s encountering something new since it hasn’t known about G-d for years and years; it has the passion that comes from learning Torah and Chassidus for the first time. This is our new animal soul.

On the other hand, there’s the old animal soul. This poses the question: Is this old animal soul for real? When I say this to people, they look at me as if I’m crazy. “What are you trying to tell me? My animal soul is just a figment of my imagination?” The Rebbe himself says that the world is just getting more and more G-dly, yet for some reason when it comes to our issues, we don’t buy it. We insist that nothing has changed. The Rebbe spoke about France, noting that in the time of the Alter Rebbe, France was impenetrable. The klipa was so dark and so powerful that even someone like the Alter Rebbe had to run away. Yet, after seven generations of extra Torah and mitzvos, we have already made an impact and now we have been able to take France and transform it into a place of Chassidus, Torah, yeshivos, and cheiders, conveying so much spiritual energy.

THE HOLINESS OF EATING PIZZA

Another example comes from the children: The Rebbe states in the name of the Rambam that when it comes to little children, the way to educate them is by giving them candies. Then, when they get older, you have to give better candies – toys, etc., and when they finally reach an age of maturity, the child will hopefully appreciate wisdom and knowledge for its own sake. The Rebbe says that times have changed and a new channel has opened for us. We can now educate our children to cry out that they want the revelation of G-dliness to the point, as in the famous story with the Tzemach Tzedek, that they are upset that G-d has not revealed Himself to them. Yet, the problem is that while children are actually G-dlier today, as parents, we are afraid to try because we feel imprisoned due to our own perceived limitations of what we think we are.

A simple example comes in the case of food. Since we have both a G-dly and an animal soul, we have to be very careful in matters pertaining to food. Chassidus always demands iskafia: food makes you unrefined and you should subdue your natural inclination and not give in to your physical desires. This is the avoda of Chassidus and it’s a valid avoda.

Let’s now take this a little further: What’s going to be with eating on Shabbos when Moshiach comes? It’s a mitzvah to enjoy food on Shabbos because there’s an elevation of the world and the food is no longer a coarsening entity that prevents you from feeling Hashem. Quite to the contrary, the food on Shabbos gives you a connection to the Eibeshter. This means that you can eat on Shabbos and feel more G-dly, more connected. However, Chassidim have always said that our weekday animal soul is still there and might get into it, and therefore, we still have to be careful on Shabbos.

Therefore, we have to ask the question: If we don’t accept the idea that our animal soul is ultimately becoming more luminous and filled with holiness, how do we explain everything we learned in Tanya and all the Torah and mitzvos we have done to purify and transform the world? To me, it’s clear that when Moshiach comes, all the stores and restaurants are not going to shut down. “All delights will be [as common] as dust” – and they’re going to be available in abundance. However, when a Jew will sit down to eat when Moshiach comes, he will sense the G-dliness of the food. And what’s going to happen? He’s going to have a physical sensation of the food, giving him a greater admiration for the Eibeshter, because he’ll be feeling G-d in that sensation. Look how beautiful the Eibeshter is that He created such a taste and we’re going to feel more inclined to do a mitzvah.

Today, our food comes from klipa, which blocks G-d. Therefore, when you let yourself get into physical desires, the Alter Rebbe says that it creates a distance, making you coarser and less connected to Hashem. But when Moshiach comes, food will be elevated. It will be completely different and you’ll sense the G-dliness in the food. Today, there are so many restaurants in Eretz Yisroel in general and Yerushalayim in particular; are they all going to shut down? Of course not, but there won’t be a koch, a fervor and an excitement, rather an understanding. The food won’t rule over me, but when I come and eat something and it tastes good, I’ll feel Elokus and I’m allowed to do that. We have to know that Moshiach’s world means a beautiful world where G-dliness is revealed, including in the physical sensations, and it is very important for children to realize this.

For instance, imagine when you take your children to a pizza shop and you sit down with them and speak about the pleasure that G-d has put into food such as pizza, one of the delightful things that He has made so that you can connect to Him and feel His love. Then, when you make a bracha on the pizza together after this introduction, it’s a whole different experience for the children – they feel G-dliness.

Every physical sensation has a spiritual content. On Shabbos Parshas VaYigash, I had a guest for the evening seuda and he came with two fine bottles of expensive wine. One was from Shilo and the other was from Judean Hills. As I looked at the bottles, I realized something unbelievable: Shilo is Yosef and Judean Hills is Yehuda, the approach of Yehuda to Yosef. I was so excited; the connection between Yehuda and Yosef had materialized in an actual sense. Someone might say: “Why are you going crazy making more of this than it really is?” No! This is Moshiach! Moshiach is when all spiritual matters are translated into physical terms and connect to the spiritual.

Whether I really experience this when I drink the wine is not the point, the main idea is the recognition and the understanding that life in the world is shifting. It’s okay on special occasions to enjoy something b’gashmius and to know that I’m making a bracha, as long as I know that the thing doesn’t rule over me. I’m not a slave to it, and I’m approaching it from a G-dly place in Moshiach’s world. This is going to happen because the physical will be totally unified with the spiritual.

A NEW LOOK AT TZNIUS

Similarly, we find on the issue of tznius. We tend to have a hard time with our daughters in this matter. First, there is the old time galus view of tznius, a battle not to provoke the yetzer ha’ra. But there’s another view. First of all, the Rebbe took Jewish women out of the closet and elevated them. Then, he wanted women to wear sheitels, not just because they cover the hair better, but because women need to be beautiful. The beauty of women is the beauty of the Sh’china, and the Eibeshter loves the Jewish People. The truth of the matter is when our material world is fully attached to its spiritual source, and when a husband is attracted to his wife and she looks beautiful, it evokes G-d’s love for Knesset Yisroel. However, to put it more profoundly, it doesn’t evoke that; it is that.

Using the example of a chassan and kalla going under the chuppa, we can see that all worlds are aligning together. We know that the chassan is G-d and the kalla is the Sh’china, and at this moment, when they’re getting together, it’s the unity of G-d and the Jewish People. However, it doesn’t have to end under the chuppa, and this is what their continued marriage is all about. In that sense, there’s no yetzer ha’ra here; it’s pure, holy, and G-dly. Thus, the woman is only reflecting the beauty of the Sh’china if she’s allowing the beauty of her soul to show. The Rebbe once wrote in a letter that the problem of dressing immodestly is that you’re not allowing the other person to see you as a person. It merely attracts the person to see a part of you.

What does this mean B’p’nimius? The beauty of Jewish women is absolutely important; the whole purpose of Creation was because G-d wants to have “a dwelling place in the lower worlds.” The Rebbe explains in one of his sichos that this really means that G-d wants to live among the souls of Jews. Why? Because Jews are beautiful and He’s in love with us, as is reflected in the physical beauty of Jewish women. However, what happens when people dress immodestly? They’re emphasizing their physical body, not the bodies’ subservience to the soul, which allows that spiritual beauty of the essence of the Jewish People to come through. This is comparable to the serpent in Gan Eden: The serpent saw Chava, and based on how it looked at a woman, it saw body not soul. Thus, the serpent took its venom and inserted it into mankind, and for the last five thousand years, man is dealing with the yetzer ha’ra, in which he has the wrong attraction and sees chitzonius not p’nimius.

When Moshiach comes, everything in the material world is going to click and reconnect to its spiritual source. Then, the beauty will be a spiritual beauty. The body is a vessel to express the soul, and the soul is an expression of the Sh’china. Imagine if you would educate your daughters about tznius from that perspective, being the beauty of the Eibeshter. However, that requires dressing in a way that will reflect that, not block it. Then, a person feels that his appreciation of his wife looking good is a G-dly thing. He wants her to look good, but for a G-dly and spiritual reason, in a holy way.

THE YETZER HA’RA AFTER MOSHIACH COMES IS LEAH

Here’s an interesting concept to consider: It says in the Zohar that there is the ancient yetzer ha’ra and the new yetzer ha’ra. The old yetzer ha’ra is referred to as Lot, but after Moshiach comes, the yetzer ha’ra is going to have a makeover. He then becomes Lavan, meaning that he will be white, refined, and rectified – not a drunk like Lot. Each of them – Lot and Lavan – had two daughters. The difference is that Lot’s two daughters, the mothers of the wicked nations of Moab and Ammon, acted in a highly immodest fashion. True, Moshiach descends from Moab, but in general, what they did was something very dark and klipa’dik. Thus, Lot’s daughters represent the yetzer ha’ra of z’nus (harlotry).

In contrast, Lavan is already the yetzer ha’ra after Moshiach comes, as it was intended to be, a power of incitement but only where it belongs. The two daughters of Lavan are called Leah, which means weary. The ancient yetzer ha’ra (Lot’s daughters) is a bulvan, firing us up all day long and misplacing our desire for holy and sacred things. After Moshiach comes, Leah is weary, not fully ablaze with fire for the wrong things, rather only where it’s necessary. This applies to Rochel as well: silent, more refined, etc. The Zohar then adds that Avraham and Sara represent the body and the soul in this world, while Yitzchak and Rivka are the new soul and body after Moshiach comes. For this reason, the pasuk says, “And Yitzchak prayed to Hashem opposite his wife because she was barren.” Why was she barren? According to the Zohar, this was because there is no fiery physical delight after Moshiach comes; instead it’s on the level of Leah, having lost all its power. Therefore, a Jew needs to daven to arouse the fire within his holy yetzer ha’ra to be able to have children.

In such a case, the yetzer ha’ra has become completely transformed into holiness. Just imagine if we tell ourselves that everything we learned yesterday about tznius, etc. worked fine during the time of galus. Now, we’re in a whole new reality: My identity is my neshama, while my animal soul is only an assistant.

PLAYING OUR TRUMP CARD ON YERUSHALAYIM

One final point: Up until now, it has been an absolutely accepted principle of American foreign policy that there needs to be a “two state solution.” If anybody dared to suggest some other way to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict, he was the world’s biggest bigot. Suddenly, the President of the United States comes along and says that he has made the negotiations on a permanent solution to the conflict in the Middle East much easier by taking Yerushalayim off the table. It’s no longer subject to discussion. The change that this has created is simply beyond belief.

As this pertains to our own avoda, Yerushalayim is your heart. The animal soul (the PLO) comes along and says, “Your heart is mine.” That’s the way it’s always been for thousands of years: We can’t mess with the status quo of klipa. Now, G-d shows us how President Donald Trump says before the world: Yerushalayim is off the table! You have no claim on it any longer! You don’t belong here! Imagine if the old animal soul appeared before us and we had that attitude. The Lot yetzer ha’ra with its passion for going all over the place would no longer exist. I have a holy and rectified animal soul; not because I’m a tzaddik, rather because we are now in the days of Moshiach.

This will be the reality for all of humanity. So let’s start living that way, starting right now! It’s going to be the happiest life ever. And when we start living that way, our children will automatically catch on so quickly. Why aren’t children responding to the old approach? Because they’re already new souls and they belong to the days of Moshiach. It doesn’t speak to them anymore. We have to start speaking the new language of Moshiach and the Redemption and live in that consciousness. Think about how life is going to be after Moshiach comes and live that way. You enter a different zone, a place of light, holiness, and truth, and goodbye galus. The sooner more of us do that, the greater and more unbelievable the power it will have upon the world. May we merit seeing this very soon, mamash now!

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