There are certain things which are wrong with us because we made so many mistakes, but then there is something deeper that is wrong with us. Because if I would be absolutely perfect, then what am I doing in this world? This world is a hospital, this world is a place where I fix my soul; that means that obviously there is something wrong.
The Holy Sukkachover was the son-in-law of the Kotzker Rebbe, and he was one of the greatest geniuses in the last thousand years, or maybe in the history of the Jewish people. When he was two years old his father would wake at 2:00 a.m. and learn with his students. The Sukkachover’s father was a great genius, and obviously the students he had were also great geniuses. The little boy in his crib would wake up and listen to the learning. His father would ask a question and he would wait until somebody answered it. If nobody would answer, he would say, “Ay, Father, come here, I want to tell you the answer.” And he would tell him the answer!
When he was a Bar Mitzva he became the son-in-law of the Kotzker Rebbe. And when he was 14 years old he fell very sick. So his father walked into the Kotzker Rebbe and asked him to pray for his son-in-law. “Rebbe, pray for my son, there is nobody in the world who has learned so much. He is 14 years old and he knows the whole Torah.”
The Kotzker Rebbe answered, “Ach, you call that learning?” Whatever the father said good about him, the Kotzker knocked it off. He tried his best to convince the Kotzker Rebbe that his son is very special, and, after all, it was the Kotzker’s own son-in-law. The father couldn’t understand what was going on.
After a few days, the greatest miracle happened; he was well again. The father said to the son, “I don’t understand your father-in-law. I asked him to pray for you and I was praising you that you really deserved that great miracles should happen to you, and your father-in-law says, “That’s called learning? That’s called knowing?”
The Sukkachover says, “Gevalt is my father-in-law holy, gevalt is he deep. Don’t you understand? I came to this world in order to learn and you were telling him that I learned everything I have to know. So I can leave the world already. So my father-in-law was yelling, “What, this is called learning? That’s called knowing? He didn’t do anything yet!”
Imagine a person says I’m perfect. It’s a bad scene, you’d better write your own eulogy, because tomorrow morning you might be leaving.
The Midrash says if you believe that you can destroy, you also have to believe that you can rebuild. But what about that one thing that is wrong with me, otherwise I wouldn’t be in this world? Something, not my actions, that is wrong with me, something which needs fixing. How do I fix that?
To be close to a person means, on one hand, to know how beautiful they are, how deep they are, and on the other hand, to have a little taste of what is wrong with that person which needs fixing – the deepest, deepest depths there is.
Now listen to this deepest depths – when G-d created the world it says “asher bara Elokim la’asot” [G-d created the world to be fixed]. Man was put into the world to fix the world. Everybody has to fix something in the world.
I want you to know the deepest depths: the Tree of Knowledge reaches only to this kind of fixing of right or wrong, which means that the fixing of the Tree of Life is that deepest fixing where right and wrong doesn’t reach.
What was wrong with Sodom? How did they get to be so bad? They were very holy people before they fell. The king of Sodom was Avraham Avinu’s greatest pupil. The Izbitzer Rebbe says they were not ordinary people. But they realized that there is a certain point of fixing which we can’t reach anyway. They realized even if I do mitzvos, I still won’t be completely fixed, so what’s the use. Yitzchak is the one who’s really fixing the world, through Yitzchak we are fixing the world. When he was born he was wiping out Sodom.
Sometimes we’re studying all our lives, we do so much and yet something is still hurting inside, something is not fixed. And then suddenly something happens to me. I can meet a person, or I can open one page of a holy book, and so much light is shining into me, something happens to me, I’m a little bit fixed.
Avraham was sitting at the opening of the tent, he was still on the level of fixing his soul, he wasn’t in the house yet. The Angels asked him where Sara is, he said “hinei ba’ohel” [she is in the tent]. She is already fixed. Because Sara obviously was mamash higher than Avraham, she was already mamash fixed, mamash fixed. You see, until I fix that certain part of me, I cannot hide with G-d yet, maybe I’m not hiding from G-d, but I cannot hide with G-d. Sara was already in the house, that means she was already on the level of hiding with G-d. She was already fixed.
This Torah is from the Izbitzer – Mei HaShiloach – parshas Vayelech – it’s a Torah from Heaven. It’s just not from this world. Noah made a covenant with G-d only on the level of fixing where his hands could reach. “Et haElokim hithalech Noah” [Noah went in the way of G-d]. I did something wrong, I’ll fix it. There was a flood because we were stealing, so we’ll stop stealing. What about that kind of fixing of the world which is deeper than all this?
The whole world is on the level of needing to be fixed; what can I do on my level, where can I reach. The fixing of the Holy Land is on that level where nothing else can reach it. Where nothing else reaches. To be in exile means that I cannot reach, I cannot fix that which is beyond me.
Avraham Avinu “Ra’ah birah doleket” [saw a lighted palace]. He was the first one who was aware that there is something wrong with the world.
“Et HaElokim hithalech Noah” [Noah went in the way of G-d]. Noah thought the way to fix the world was by being a good man, by being sweet, being G-d fearing. Avraham Avinu was the first one who knew the world needs some light. The world needs something “bivchinat hachnasat orchim” [on the level of bringing in guests]. Something has to happen to the world which was never there before.
Who was the first expert on knowing there’s something wrong with us? Yosef HaTzadik [Joseph the Righteous]. “Vayavi Yosef et dibatam ra’ah el avihem” [and Yosef spoke badly about them in front of his father].
Mashiach ben Yosef [Redeemer, descendant of Joseph] is the one who will make us aware there’s something wrong. Then comes Mashiach ben David [Redeemer, descendant of King David], the one who will fix it.
What is the deepest prayer in the world? The deepest prayer is not that I should have all I need. That’s also very deep. But you know what the deepest prayer in the world is? “Can you please, G-d, explain to me my life? Can I have just a little explanation of what’s happening to me?”