Torah Portion

Parshat Nitzavim

With the Shepherd

Have you heard that the most real thing in the world is that in whatever place you find yourself, in whatever you go through, Hashem is with you.  Close.  Connected.  Loving.  It doesn’t matter how much you are crooked and confused, Hashem is still with you?!

uman rh

Harav Israel Asulin

Wednesday, 25th of Elul, 5775

BS”D

Have you heard that the most real thing in the world is that in whatever place you find yourself, in whatever you go through, Hashem is with you.  Close.  Connected.  Loving.  It doesn’t matter how much you are crooked and confused, Hashem is still with you?!

Do you want this real truth to penetrate inside of you and give you life also in dark times, like the ones where you scratch the darkness with your fingernails, and you feel far and disconnected and guilty and disappointed?

The first verse in this week’s Torah portion says: “You are standing today, all of you, before Hashem, your God…” (Devarim[1], Chapter 29, Verse 9)  “You”, explains Rebbe Natan in Likutei Halachot[2], relates to every Jew, “are standing” this is the aspect of the place where they are standing, and “today” is the aspect of time.  Every Jew, in every place, and in every time is “before Hashem, your God”.  Every Jew, in any place and at any time, can cling to Hashem.

Does this sound unrealistic?  A little bit.

In the synagogue, at the Neilah[3] prayer for example, or when the shofar is blown on Rosh Hashanah, it is possible to try to cling to Hashem.  There are special people who went through terror attacks or some type of difficult incident, and succeeded in reaching a heavenly illumination and tremendous attachment to the Creator.

However, every Jew, in any place, at any time can reach true attachment, how?

Rebbe Natan says in Likutei Halachot, “Before Rosh Hashanah we read the Torah portion ‘You are standing today, all of you, before Hashem, your God…’, to let us know that all the souls of the Jewish people, great and small, need to gather together in love in the lofty holiness, in the aspect of the holy of holies, the foundation stone[4], the universal knowledge, who is the aspect of Moses, the aspect of the True Tsaddik, everyone needs to travel to him for Rosh Hashanah.” (Likutei Halachot, the laws of deposits and the four types of guards, 5th Halacha)

Rosh Hashanah is getting closer.  In kitchens, mothers are working diligently preparing tasty dishes and separating the pomegranate seeds; synagogues are preparing for the holiday prayers and for receiving the many prayer goers; in pre-schools children are singing about the three books which are opened and how everyone is waiting for the Day of Judgment…

In the field, tens of thousands of sheep, of all types of colors, sizes and categories, catch the signal and hear the call of the shepherd of the souls, and pack their suitcases- and take off.

Uman Rosh Hashanah.

The holy of holies.

Thousands of sounds and melodies.

The universal knowledge which includes everything.

Much has been said about the great gathering which has no rival.  Many pictures, many descriptions, many explanations.  However mainly, there is new life and renewal, which is above and beyond words.  Whoever was there understands.

“And by gathering together by the foundation stone, the universal knowledge, we merit each and every one of us to renew his intellect, until he can sweeten all kinds of strict judgments and difficult situations.  From there (from the gathering with the Tsaddik) a sweetening is brought to each and every one in his place and in his time, each person should according to his level, in his place and his home, or on the way wherever he is, according to how he is at that moment, he should know very well that at that moment he can attach himself to Hashem from his place.  From all of the blemishes and confusions and crookedness in the heart that he is going through, each person according to his place and time; everything is sweetened and nullified by the lofty universal knowledge mentioned above.”

There is a way to be truly alive.  There is a way to sweetened also the darkness.  You can live here in this world at the end of 5775- and the beginning of 5776, and succeed in smiling from amongst the emotional jungle and the technological terror surrounding us.  You can feel that there is a thick rope which is holding us also in the lowest depths.  These are not handcuffs; it is a life rope filled with hugs!

It’s possible.  There is a way.  There is a shepherd.  There is Uman Rosh Hashanah…

By way of including ourselves in the foundation stone, Rebbe Natan says, a tremendous sweetening is brought upon us!  Everyone should know, according to who he is, where he is, at whatever time- that right now, he is wanted and loved and can cling to Hashem with true attachment.

[1] Deuteronomy

[2] Rebbe Natan’s explanation of the Code of Jewish law, based upon the teachings of Rebbe Nachman

[3] The final prayer of Yom Kippur

[4] In our tradition, this is the stone that Jacob rested upon when he had a dream on the Temple Mount; in the First Temple, the Ark of the Covenant was placed upon this stone. Here, Rebbe Natan is referring to Rebbe Nachman.

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