Torah Portion

Parashat Pinchas

There Is No Despair

Correct, your situation is lousy and you have fallen into all of the pits and bumped into all of the walls.  There is still one place that you haven’t been, in the ground. Indeed you know the ground very well and are friendly with it, you tread with your nose sunken in the ground and feel like a lump of matter lacking hope.  But from the inside- you still have not seen what it is like.אפשר לתקן

Harav Israel Asulin

Tuesday, 20th of Tammuz, 5775

In everyone one of us there exists basic emunah[1], which we received from our forefathers, Abraham Issac and Jacob; emunah that it is possible, we will succeed, we will overcome, and it will be good.

However there are things that appear to us that regarding them there is already no hope.  It is already too late and there is no chance.  We missed the boat and the moment has passed us by and from here these is only despair and helplessness.

Do you recognize the places where you have lost in them emunah– and specifically in a rational and weighted out way with reality and with the statistical data and probability…?

This child, this relationship, this craving, this addiction, and these behaviors…

We’re done.  I am already at the edge.  From here there is no way out!

This child? – I have already made all the possible mistakes.  From the time he was born, I have only acted with him in a stupid and destructive way. So that’s it.  It’s all over for the child, for us, for the child’s future.  It’s all over for our relationship.  It’s sad, but that’s the reality.

This addiction? – Maybe once, before I started to taste and to enjoy and to stoop over the alcohol or the internet like it was oxygen, maybe then there was a chance for a sane life; but now I am already hooked on them and suck from them life.  It’s hard for me, I would want to quit and start to live, but there is no chance.

This is true in all the areas of life: This marriage? – Failed and finished! My spirituality? – From the time I have become knowledgeable I have worked to disappoint Hashem.  I have sinned all the sins, I have reached the worst state.  So we’re finished, there is no chance.  Maybe once, when the situation was still reasonable, when the filth was separate from me and not welded to me and a part of me; maybe then there was a place for this discussion about repentance and service of G-d.  Now it’s too late, sorry.

***

This week’s Torah portion reveals to us that there is no such thing as too late and there is no place without a way out.

After the big plague that annihilated many of the children of Israel, Hashem commands Moshe and Elazar the Cohen to count the nation, in order to know who the remaining people are.  The verse details: “These were the families of the family of Levi: the family of the Libnites, the family of the Hebronites, the family of the Mahlites, the family of the Mushites, the family of the Korahites…” (Bamidbar[2] Chapter 26, Verse 58).

It’s not understandable, who is the family of the Korahites?  Behold, Korach and everything he had was swallowed into the ground!

Preceding this verse it is mentioned that: “Korah’s sons, however, did not die” (et al, Verse 11).  Rebbe Natan says – “Amongst the great noise of the swallowing, the sons repented… and they held steadfastly and did not enter hell, like it our Rabbis, of blessed memory, said on this verse ‘Korah’s sons, however, did not die’.  From them came the great descendants who Korach prophetically saw, which were the holy generations of Shmuel etc. who revealed G-d in this world.”  (Likutei Halachot[3], Hilchot Netilat Yediim L’seuda, Halacha 5)

The sons of Korach were partners in their father’s disagreement and were swallowed with him in the stomach of the ground.  However, at the entrance to hell, amongst the great noise of the swallowing, they repented, and due to the strength of their repentance they merited to a great miracle that ‘they held steadfastly and did not enter hell’.  They merited to leave the depths of the ground and to have lives of holiness, and to be the ones from which the prophet Shmuel was born and twenty-four guards of the priesthood!!!

Do you understand this, my dear Jew?

Our holy Rebbe, Rebbe Nachman, promised that “If you believe that you can destroy- believe that you can repair” (Likutei Mohoran Tanina, Torah 112)[4].  He was referring to all types of destruction, on one side, and the complete and eternal repair, on the other side!

When our holy Rebbe screamed that “There is not despair in the world” (Likutei Mohoran Tanina, Torah 78), he brought into account all the situations and all the worst case scenarios in the world!

Here is tangible and amazing proof from the sons of Korach.

***

Correct, your situation is lousy; you have fallen into all of the pits and bumped into all of the walls.

There is still one place that you haven’t been, in the ground.

Indeed you know the ground very well and are friendly with it, you tread with your nose sunken in the ground and feel like a lump of matter lacking hope.  However from inside- you still have not seen what it is like…

There are people who saw the ceiling and not only the floor.  There are people who were swallowed by the ground completely, hermetically.  Not in poetic phrase, not in similes or in imaginary theories; real life.

There are people whose actions brought them into the stomach of the ground, and buried them in the foam of fury and anger.

Then they repented.

In the merit of their repentance they were saved from there.

From now on, it is not worthwhile to be some shocked scarecrow, stuck in the ground like a couch potato and sigh the rest of your days about the hard trauma that you went through in the stomach of the ground…

Rather, it is worthwhile to have the prophet Shmuel come from you, who is comparable to Moshe and Aharon, the leaders of the nation!

[1] faith

[2] Numbers

[3] Rebbe Natan’s explanation of the Shulchan Aruch (Code of Jewish Law), based upon Rebbe Nachman’s teachings

[4] The main collection of Rebbe Nachman’s teachings

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