Everything in the world has a certain holiness. When I walk on the street and I give a poor man a dollar, it is holy, when I wake up in the morning and put on tefillin, it is holy. Whatever I do is holy, but it is only one certain side of holiness. But then there is something which has like the headquarters for holiness. Whatever is holy in the world is included there. This is the holy Land, this is what Eretz Yisrael [the Land of Israel] is all about. Eretz Yisrael is the klalius kol hakedushas [the Land of Israel is the inclusiveness of all the holiness]. People always say to me, “Why are you talking so much about Yerushalayim [Jerusalem]? Bombay is also holy, Amsterdam is holy.” Every city has a certain holiness, because if it would be completely void of holiness, it would not exist. There might be bad things also, but there has to be something holy, otherwise they wouldn’t be. Yeah, I am not knocking it, it is a little bit holy, but Eretz Yisrael is something else. Eretz Yisrael has the holiness of all the holiness. Meaning to say, imagine if you would take all of the holiness, whatever there is; all of the mitzvas, all the good deeds, all the cities, all the houses, and you would put it all in one pot. This is what Eretz Yisrael is all about.
The Beis Hamikdash is the center of the world
The world always thinks that since Eretz Yisrael is holy, so Yerushalayim is more holy because it is the capital, and the Beis Hamikdash [Holy Temple] is even more holy than Yerushalayim. It is the other way around. It is very clear in the Rambam and the great commentaries that the holiness begins with the Beis Hamikdash, this is the center of the world. The center of the world is the Holy Temple, and this is like kodesh kodoshim [holy of holies], and Yerushalayim is holy because it is close to the Beis Hamikdash, and Eretz Yisrael is holy because it is the land in which Yerushalayim is. So everything begins mamish in Yerushalayim, in the Holy Temple.
You know, friends, if I decide to be a comedian, do you think anybody would say anything bad about it? It would be very easy. If I decide to do anything in the world that is stupid, there is nobody against me. Nobody says something against it. The moment I want to do something holy, there are obstacles, menios. Rebbe Nachman teaches one of the deepest torahs: The more important something is, and the more holy something is – the more obstacles there are in the way. Meaning to say, if you want to do something, and there are absolutely no obstacles, don’t waste your time, because obviously it is very very unimportant.
There is this famous classic story, the heilege Reb Shalom Shachna (the father of the heilege Rizhiner) without getting involved in the depths…. In Rizhin, mamish, they had a different way…. The heilege Reb Shalom Shachna grew up in the house of Reb Nachum Chernobyler, because nebech his father passed away when he was three years old. When he was bar mitzvah, he already had a lot of Chassidim, all his age. And what do you understand about Rebbes, Rizhin is very majestic, everything has to be clean. But the streets of Chernobyl were full of mud, so one Shabbos he said, “You know, it is so bad for me, Shabbos morning I have to go to the shul [synagogue], and then my shoes and my pants get dirty from the mud. I want you to build me a shul right next to my house.” But they were all thirteen year old kids, they have no money. Most of them were married already, they had little shverele [in laws]. So word got around that they want to build their own shul. Like Young Israel youth minyan, you know, lehavdil [not to compare]. So they decided, “Why not?” So everybody gave them money. Do you know what they did? They mamish sold their tefillin, their tallis, and everybody had just one pair for the whole chevra [group of friends], and the whole city was helping them.
By Pesach time, they had just about finished the shul, and suddenly Reb Shalom Shachna says, “I don’t need the shul now because there is no more mud. Why do I need the shul? I can go to the big shul.” But they understood enough about the Rebbe to know that this was probably not the real reason.
They stopped building it and left it hanging in the air.
On Rosh Hashanah by davening, suddenly someone said, “Remember I gave you some money to build the shul. What happened to that money?” So the Yid answered, “Why, do you want to tell me that my son stole the money?” So he says, “No, I don’t want to say that he stole, but maybe he did.” Before you look around, the whole shul was mamish a fist fight, one says, “He stole it.” one says, “He didn’t steal it.” and the whole shul was turning over.
The next thing that happened was that Reb Shalom Shachna said, “OK, it is time to finish the shul.” And don’t ask, everybody was yelling and fighting like crazy.
On Simchas Torah, when the atmosphere was a bit more open, one of the kids said to Reb Shalom, “Rebbe, we don’t doubt your reason, I am sure you know what you are doing, but we can’t understand you. Before Pesach when everybody was helping us, and it was so good, you told us to stop, and now when everybody is fighting over it, you told us to continue to build it.”
He answered, “That’s what it is. Because I heard from my holy father, the heilege Malach, the ‘holy angel’ who heard from the Bal Shem Tov, who heard from Eliyahu Hanavi, that anything you do that there is no opposition, don’t do it. It is a waste of time.”
Moving to Israel
Have you ever seen, when anybody wants to move from New York to Chicago, how hard is it? So he moves to Chicago, it is not hard. Ahh, but when you want to move to Eretz Yisrael, hey, this is already heavy.
Have you ever seen, even just the checking in is so hard, you are just checking in to the airport, you just want to go there, and they drive you crazy. You know, I have flown every airline in the world. You check in, and nobody bothers you. You go in, you mind your own business, you sit down, and that’s it. El Al airline mamish… everything comes so hard; Either you are too early, or you are too late, or someone sits in your seat. Gevalt.
Do you know what a Trans World Airline stewardess told me? “We don’t know what it is. We are flying all over the world and everything is peaceful, but when we fly from New York to Tel Aviv, there is something in the air, everybody is… it drives us crazy.” One stewardess said, “I am not an anti-Semite, but I can’t take it.” I told her, it has nothing to do with being an anti-Semite, I understand, I see it with my own eyes, it is because there is something… it is so hard to get to the Holy Land. It is so hard to get to the Holy Land.
Higher than paradise
I want you to know something awesome. Rav Kook says, everyone knows that on Shabbos you have to be in a higher place than during the week. Imagine if we would not have been driven out from paradise. If Adam and Eve would not have eaten from the tree of knowledge, and they would not have been driven out from Gan Eden [paradise], where would they be Shabbos? You see, now that we were driven out from paradise, so the highest we can hope for is to be back in paradise on Shabbos, but if we would not have been driven out from paradise, where would we be on Shabbos? And only Rav Kook can say such holy torah. He says, if they would not have been driven out from paradise, they would have been in Eretz Yisrael. But not Eretz Yisrael we know now, the real Eretz Yisrael after Mashiach. Gevalt. Yerushalayim Ir Hakodesh [Jerusalem the Holy City].
Why was the snake so eager that they should eat from the Tree of Knowledge? According to Rebbe Nachman, it is not just the averah [sin], that G-d told them, “Don’t eat from the Tree of Knowledge.” and they ate it. Do you know what was at stake? Going to Eretz Yisrael. Gevalt. It was Friday afternoon, right. The snake knew; “In a few minutes, gevalt, they are going to Eretz Yisrael. No, I won’t let them.”
Everybody knows, Lavan [Laban the Aramite] is not the Nachash Kadmoni [primordial snake], Lavan is not really the snake. Lavan is just the Yetzer Hara [evil inclination] who wants to drive us crazy. But Esav… Esav [Esau] knew that Yaakov [Jacob] was sitting by Lavan for twenty years, why didn’t he come to kill him? Esav doesn’t mind if Yaakov is sitting in Padan Aram (outside of Israel), “So let him sit there.” He doesn’t mind if a Jew sits in Dallas Texas, even with fifteen Shtreimelach [traditional fur hat] and one hundred tzitzis [Jewish garment with fringes] hanging around. Ahh, Yaakov wants to go back to Eretz Yisrael – Esav doesn’t let you. Everybody knows, Esav is Amalek. When did Haman come? For seventy years we were sitting in Babel, and nobody wanted to kill all the Jews. When it was the end of the seventy years, and it is time to go back to Eretz Yisrael – hey hey hey, then Haman comes, Esav comes, Amalek comes the Nachash Kadmoni comes, “I won’t let you go to Eretz Yisrael.”
Can you imagine how much the menios [obstacles] are, that even though the Meraglim had clear ruach hakodesh and they were mamish the holiest people beforehand, but then they come back and they can’t help it, they say something bad about Eretz Yisrael. It was the same mistake, it was still the fixing of the Nachash, it was the fixing that mamish does not let you go into Eretz Yisrael. The most heartbreaking thing in the world, we see it all the time. I want to tell you something awesome. Basically the spies were Rebbes, they were all Rebbes, and you know, according to the Torah, acharei rabim lehatos [the majority decides]. Imagine there are twelve people in the Sanhedrin [Rabbinic high court], ten say he is guilty, G-d forbid, and two say that he is not. What is the halacha [law]? The halacha is like the ten. Right? Ok, here were twelve spies; ten spies say Eretz Yisrael is bad…. This is an awesome torah. Do you know that Moshe Rabenu gave Yehoshua a special bracha [blessing] that he should not listen to the Meraglim. Do you know something? It was mamish against the Torah, because the Torah says, acharei rabim lehatos, if the ten Meraglim come back and they say, “Let’s not go to Eretz Yisrael.” and two say, “We should go.” who are they not to listen. So you know what it is, I have a very strong feeling that the deepest, deepest fixing is that Israel was mamish built by non-religious people. Let’s face it, right, because sadly enough, the religious people have so much trouble even with the Rebbes. It is so true. And I want you to know, there are some so-called Rebbelach in Eretz Yisrael, I mean some are good, but some still smell from the Meraglim sometimes.
You don’t know who I am
I want you to know something awesome which is the deepest depths. Let’s say I am madly in love with this girl, her name is Maxine (it is a good name) and we are driving around in New York, and she says, “Guess where I live.” Ok, let’s assume if I love her very much, and I am class, so I drive down to Scarsdale, I see mamish super class houses, I say, “Maxine, I have a feeling you live here in this neighborhood.” She says, “Gevalt, you got it. This is where my parents live.” But imagine if I am driving down with Maxine, and I come down to the bowery, to a broken house, it smells bad, full of cockroaches, and I say, “Maxine, are you maybe living here?” So she says, “Are you crazy?!” I say, “Ok forgive me.” Will she ever marry me? No. Do you know why? I say, “Why don’t you forgive me, it says in the Torah that you have to forgive.” She says, “Yes, I forgive you, but if you can think that I am living there, then you don’t know who I am. You don’t know where I belong.” You know, G-d never forgave us for the Meraglim. So the Alexander Rebbe asks, why did G-d forgive us for all the other sins and not for this sin? G-d says, “Yeah, I forgive you, but if you think that I will give my children a bad land… that is what you think, that I am sending my children to a dirty filthy place? Who do you think I am? What do you think Yidden [Jews] are? Where do think Yidden belong?” It is awesome, such a good torah. I want you to know that whatever you think of Israel, that is what you think of Yidden.
Not part of this world
So here Rebbe Nachman says, that in this world it is so hidden, it is so full of obstacles, that you mamish can’t get through. You see what Rebbe Nachman says; That means that Eretz Yisrael is not really part of this world. You know, imagine I am an expert on Holland, I am an expert on Italy, I am an expert on Germany. I know geology, I know agriculture… yeah, you can hang yourself, but you do not know anything about Eretz Yisrael. Because Eretz Yisrael, Israel is not part of the world.
Do you know why Calev had the strength to see Eretz Yisrael in a different light? Because he went to the grave of Avraham Yitzchak and Yaakov. Avraham Yitzchak and Yaakov are also not part of this world. Why was Eretz Yisrael given to Avraham Yitzchak and Yaakov? It is not just a gift, G-d says to him, El haarets asher areka [Go to the land which I will show you]. It is mamish heavenly. Imagine if someone would show me something heavenly, you know, the level I am on, I would not even see it. I wouldn’t see anything.
I have to interrupt myself because I want to tell you something unbelievable. It is a true story, it happened a few years ago. Here on the West Side street there is a non-religious person, nebech it should never happen, he mamish had cancer. The doctors said that it is too late to operate, and nebech, he is dying from cancer, chas veshalom [G-d forbid]. His next door neighbor is a Gerrer chasid. So the Gerrer chasid says to him, “Listen, you have nothing to lose, go to Eretz Yisrael, go to the Gerrer Rebbe, maybe….”
Everybody knows, the Gerrer Rebbe is already around 92 years old, mamish very sick, I don’t mean chas veshalom sick inside, but his outside.
So he comes to the Gerrer Rebbe, and the Gerrer Rebbe says to him, “Did you bring your X-ray?” He says, “Yeah.”
I mean, the Gerrer Rebbe is not a doctor, right. So the Gerrer Rebbe, you can just picture it, the heilege Gerrer Rebbe, an alter Yid [Jewish elder], his hands are shivering a little bit. The Gerrer Rebbe looks at the X-ray, and he says, ich zei gornisht [I don’t see anything]. He opens the beis medrash [study hall] door, and he says to one of his gabaim, Yankel, ziest epes [do you see anything]? He looks, ich zei gornisht. Ich zei gornisht…
It is a true story, the next day he goes to Hadassah hospital for an X-ray, and they say, “What do you want? There is nothing there.”
Do you know what I mean to tell you, those Rebbes have different eyes. Different eyes.
So Calev mamish, went back to Avraham Yitzchak and Yaakov. What gave him the strength, why did he have different eyes? He had different eyes because he connected himself to Avraham Yitzchak and Yaakov.
Clean the air
So Rebbe Nachman says, even Calev, suddenly he realized that he mamish does not have the strength.
Remember the torah from all the Rebbes. I walk on the street and I feel very good. Suddenly I come to forty-second street and third avenue, and suddenly there is so much anger in my heart. Suddenly I think, “Oh, I always thought that this person is my friend, ach, nah, he is not my friend. And this one is disgusting, and this one is terrible.” I walk five blocks and I come to let’s say, thirty fifth street and third avenue, and is say, “Ahh, the world is so beautiful.” What is happening? Am I crazy? I might be crazy anyway, but do you know what it is, when I walk on forty-second street and third avenue, just a few minutes before I went, someone was very angry and insulted. And the whole anger is still on that street corner. So when I walk there, the whole anger comes upon me. I walk down to thirty fifth street, and there mamish two minutes before someone said something so sweet, the air is good. I want you to know, why did Moshe Rabenu send the spies, why did we send the spies? Moshe Rabenu didn’t know that Eretz Yisrael is beautiful? Everybody knows that Moshe Rabenu sent them there to clean the air. Mamish, to clean the air. They were supposed to go there and clean the air, because the most perverted people were living there.
I once had the privilege of walking with the Bobover Rebbe on Friday night from 87th street to 110th street. And suddenly the street looked so beautiful; every drunkard looked like a Rebbe, and every prostitute looked like a Rebbetzin. Because the Bobover Rebbe is so holy, mamish, it cleaned out the whole air.
So Moshe Rabenu send the twelve biggest Tzadikim [holy people], and they thought that when they come to Eretz Yisrael they will pave the way. But they weren’t strong enough, because the air was so bad that even they did not have the strength. Even they didn’t have the strength….
Don’t rely on your own holiness
And why did Calev have the strength? Calev had the strength because he mamish went to pray…. Yehoshua made it because Moshe Rabenu blessed him. Why did Calev make it, and why didn’t the ten Meraglim make it? The Meraglim were relying on their own holiness.
Let’s assume that all of Israel would tell me; “Shlomo, we want you to go to Syria and talk to Yemach Shemo [may his name be blotted out] the president, and you will pave the way for peace between us and Syria.” And the whole time I am thinking, “Let’s face it, they could have not chosen anybody else. Let’s face it, I am a gevalt.” I am going to Syria, and the whole time I am looking in the mirror, and I think, “Gevalt, baruch Hashem, finally all of Israel knows who I am.” I can charge more for concerts when I come back. Imagine I come back, and advertise; “Exclusive! I was in Syria.” You know what; I would be the most awesome failure in the world. Do you know when I will be successful? When it will be clear to me that it is not my doing. It is not, “I am holy, or unholy.” That is all stupidity. I don’t even count. I am going there with the koach [strength] of Avraham Yitzchak and Yaakov. Gevalt, G-d gave the land to Avraham Yitzchak and Yaakov, mamish because of their zechus [merit]. Bezchutam [in their merit] I am going there. The Meraglim, sadly enough, they were very holy, but they still had a little bit of an idea that it is their kedusha [holiness]. Calev knew exactly; “It is not my kedusha.” He went to the grave of Avraham Yitzchak and Yaakov, Sarah Rivka and Leah. He was mamish saying, “Rebono Shel Olam, please, I am begging you, I am begging you, let me see the holy land. Let me have the kedushas haAvos [the holiness of the forefathers].”
And I want you to open your hearts. Every person has two holinesses. Every person has the holiness of his own Torah and mitzvas [good deeds], every time you do a mitzvah you are more holy, every time you do an aveira [sin] you are less holy. But then, you have the kedusha of Avraham Yitzchak and Yaakov. The only thing is, that the kedusha of Avraham Yitzchak and Yaakov is shining into you by your good deeds. But then sometimes it is shining beyond my good deeds. Nothing to do with it. Beyond my good deeds.
So you see how deep this is. If Eretz Yisrael would have been built by religious people, that means; “Their own holiness.” That is right back to the Meraglim (who relied on their own holiness). So Eretz Yisrael was built by people who mamish don’t have any of their own holiness. They mamish are holy because of Avraham Yitzchak and Yaakov. Their holiness is because they are Yidden. Simple as it is.
You know, Rav Kook says a hundred times, sometimes you meet a big tzadik who is very holy, but the holiness which is shining out of him is not overpowering. Sometimes you meet a person who is not such a tzadik, but at a certain point in their life, just, the holiness of being a Yid shines like crazy.
I will tell you something awesome, all of the big Tzadikim, Rebbe Elimelech, and all the Rebbes who were brought over to Israel after the war to be reburied; they looked like they were alive, because they were so holy. You know something, in 1947 or 1948 whenever it was, three Israelis were killed in Cairo, they were absolutely non-religious. And now, about 40 or 50 years later, they were brought over to Israel to be reburied in Israel. How do you think they looked like? They absolutely looked like they were alive. Even their garments looked like they came out from the laundry. What is their holiness? Their holiness is that they died for the holy Land. What is shining into them is the holiness of Avraham Yitzchak and Yaakov.
The essence of all the kedushas
And here I want you to open your hearts in the deepest way. If I put on tefillin, it is very holy, but tefillin does not connect me to the kedusha of Eretz Yisrael. Because Eretz Yisrael is the essence of all the kedushas of the world. Eretz Yisrael is the headquarters of all the kedushas of the world. So what connects me to Eretz Yisrael is mamish only the kedusha of Avraham Yitzchak and Yaakov.
You see what it means when we say that G-d gave the land to Avraham Yitzchak and Yaakov, it does not mean just that when Abraham was alive, G-d says to Avraham, “Avraham, I am very thankful to you that you are my missionary. You are talking about Me to the world, so I am giving you a gift.” The kedusha of Avraham Yitzchak and Yaakov is the essence of all kedusha.
The holiness of the Land
I want you to know something deeper. It is not that G-d gave the Land to Avraham Avinu. The Land is holy because G-d gave it to Avraham Avinu.
Remember the most awesome torah in the world from the Peshischer, which is just mind blowing. The Peshischer says, G-d says to Avraham, “I will give you the Land which I will show you.” So the Peshischer says; Avraham Avinu has clear prophesy, Avraham Avinu can sit there in New York and G-d can say, “See over there, that is the Land.” Why does he have to go there? So the Peshischer says the deepest torah in the world. Eretz Yisrael without one Jew living there, doesn’t look like anything. Do you know how deep this is. Until Avraham Avinu gets there, the Land is not really holy. Ahh, one Yid is in Eretz Yisrael, Ahh, then it is kedosha.
It is a gift
The Meraglim thought that Eretz Yisrael is given to us because of Torah and mitzvas, because of our own kedusha. So they said, “Ki chazak hu mimenu [we Yidden do not have enough strength]. They are not stupid, chazak mimenu does not mean ‘too strong for G-d’ chazak mimenu means, ‘too strong for us,’ ‘We don’t have enough strength.’ They had clear prophesy, they mamish had, like, a computer in their head. They counted in heaven how much Torah and mitzvas we have and they saw that we didn’t have enough Torah and mitzvas yet to conquer the holy land.
So what is the problem?
G-d does not give the Land to us for our own Torah and mitzvas. G-d gives it to us because of the kedusha of Avraham Yitzchak and Yaakov. Ahh it is so deep.
Do you know what the Zohar Hakadosh says? Eretz Yisrael is not given to us because of the Torah and mitzvas, because we deserve it. It is a gift.
You have to want it
And do you know why G-d gives it to us? Because of tears. Gevalt. Eretz Yisrael is niknes beyisurim / Eretz Yisrael is given to us for our tears. It means that you have to want it so much. If I am putting on tefillin in the morning, and I do the mitzvah, maybe I am not crazy about tefillin, but I am just putting it on. So the mitzvah is given to me. But Eretz Yisrael is only given to us if you cry for it with all your heart. It doesn’t mean that you have to sit there and cry. But mamish you have to mamish want it. And you know something, if I don’t want something, then every little thing can stop me from doing it. Can you imagine how much G-d wants us to want Eretz Yisrael that it is so hard. It is so hard.
What gives a person strength
Ok now, this is mamish the deepest depths. What gives a person strength to stand by all the trials? I want to be a little bit of a holy Yid, but then the first test I have, I am falling through, because obviously I did not want it the most. Because if I am crazy about this, then I am not going to let anything stop me. Imagine I am on my way to make ten million dollars, and you offer me one hundred dollars, I am not falling for it. If I want to be mamish a gevalt Yid, then all the tests in the world won’t count.
Let me ask you something. What is the strongest thing a person wants? There is an unbelievable drive, in all of mankind, to want to be free. There is not such a thing as a person who does not want to be free. Everyone wants to be free. I will do anything to be free. And here I want you to open you hearts. Yosef Hatzadik…. The wife of Potifar comes and she says to him, “You do it one time and you will be free.” And I want you to know, the wife of Potifar was not even married to Potifar. She was a slave. And she was even ready to convert, she said, “I will go to the mikva.” Because in those days, you don’t need a Beis Din [Rabbinic court] to convert. Like the daughter of Pharaoh, she went to the mikva, and is mekabel ol malchus shamayim [accepts the yoke of the kingdom of heaven], and she is a Yid. Reb Tzadok Hacohen says, there was absolutely…. But do you know what Yosef Hatzadik wanted more that freedom? He wants to be a heilege Yid [holy Jew]. He wants to be a heilege Yid.
And Rebbe Nachman says, why did he have the strength to want so much to be a heilege Yid? Because nobody is connected to Eretz Yisrael more than Yosef Hatzadik. Yosef Hatzadik mamish wanted to go back to Eretz Yisrael, but he wanted to go back as a heilege Yid. He didn’t want to go back as a crippled Jew. All alone, he held out. Everybody knows, Rachel is the master of bringing us back to Eretz Yisrael. What is Rachel shining into us? What is Mashiach Ben Yosef all about? Mashiach Ben Yosef is shining into us that we should want the most, most, most to go back to Eretz Yisrael as a heilege Yid. I don’t want to go back as a shlepper, as a spiritual shlepper.
Rebbe Nachman says the deepest torah in the world. Moshe Rabenu comes to the Yidden, and he brings them a message, “You are getting free.” What else do you need? Have you seen in all the movies: I come to a little plantation, and I tell all the brothers, “I am giving you freedom.” They jump out of their skin. Rebbe Nachman says, what did Moshe Rabenu say to the Yidden? “I am taking you to Eretz Yisrael.” Hey…. Do you know what a Yid is? For a Yid, the deepest depths in the world is not to be free. Because the essence of all holiness of a Yid is Eretz Yisrael. So Moshe Rabenu comes to the slaves, and what is he telling them? Mamish, “Vehotzesi, vehitsalti, vegoalti, velakachti.” He says, “Yidden, we are going to Eretz Yisrael.” It is an awesome torah, not to be believed.
Rebbe Nachman says, imagine, G-d forbid, someone is on life support, he is breathing oxygen. How much is this person alive? He is alive, right? Even if a person is chas veshalom on life support, he is also a little bit alive, but nebech, do you want to live like this? No, chas veshalom. Then you take a person who is mamish healthy and strong like a lion. He is alive. Do you know, the life energy which is coming down in Chutz Laaretz [outside of Israel], and the life energy which is coming down in Eretz Yisrael, is like a person who is living and breathing, and the other one is on oxygen. We are not on the level to feel it. Even in Eretz Yisrael we are not strong enough to feel it. Rebbe Nachman says that the life energy which is coming down in Eretz Yisrael is something else. Something else…
Why is it that Eretz Yisrael is even more important than freedom? Listen to this; is there anything deeper than, ‘I want to be alive?’ I think that when I am breathing and I am hanging around that I am alive. No. A Yid knows that there is something available which is really meant for me: mamish, mamish, mamish to be alive. Mamish to be alive.
Receiving face to face
The Gemara says, if you are in Chutz Laarets it is like you are a little bit of a pagan. If you are in Eretz Yisrael you are mamish connected to G-d. I want you to know something, we always think ‘pagan’ means that I bow down to a tree. No. The Zohar Hakadosh says, when I love somebody very much, I give them what I want to give them face to face. How do I give something to a person that I don’t like? I throw it from my back. In the Torah, idols are called, Elokim Acherim, the way it is translated by most is ‘other gods.’ Right? Do you know, the way the Zohar Hakadosh translates it is Elokim Achorayim. That means G-d gives you life, but He throws it from his back. Unbelievable. That means, in Chutz Laaretz, you are an eved elokim acherim, you are serving G-d, but the way G-d gives you everything is that He just throws it from his back.
The air of Eretz Yisrael
And again, let it be clear to you, the truth is, Rebbe Nachman says, Tzadikim, even in Chutz Laaretz, wherever they are, is Avira d’Eretz Yisrael [the air of the Land of Israel]. You know, some Tzadikim, wherever they are is Eretz Yisrael. All the Rebbes said, when you come to the grave of the holy Bal Shem, it is mamish the air of Eretz Yisrael. Some of us have had the privilege of being by Rebbe Nachmans grave. You cannot say that by Rebbe Nachmans grave chas veshalom G-d throws from his back.
What is Yisrael? Do you know what Eretz Yisrael means? Yashar Kel / receiving strait from G-d. The land where we are receiving face to face from G-d.
Why was Yosef Hatzadik privileged to feed the whole world? Yosef Hatzadik was always connected to the deepest life. Yosef Hatzadik is giving out life, Yosef Hatzadik is giving out food, Yosef Hatzadik is connected to the highest level of life.
The truth is, he says, in Chutz Laaretz, the life level is very very shvach [weak]. Yet, he says, a Yid has to know, that whenever I say Shema Yisrael Hashem Elokenu Hashem Echad [Hear O’ Israel, the L-rd is our G-d, the L-rd is One], at that moment I receive life on the level of Eretz Yisrael.
Why is it that when we didn’t go into Eretz Yisrael, then G-d gave us the mitzvah of tzitzis? Because when you wear Tzitzis, you also receive a little bit of life on the level of Eretz Yisrael.
Why is it that when I put on Tzitzis, it says, Ureisim Oso / I can see G-d. Because when I wear Tzitzis, at that moment I am receiving life from G-d face to face.
Rebbe Nachman says, every Beis Medrash [synagogue] where you learn Torah, and you daven [pray] is a little bit Eretz Yisrael. It is mamish true, sometimes you are completely out of energy, and you walk into a Beis Medrash, and you receive a little more life.
And this is all Eretz Yisrael, but Yerushalayim, ahh, Yerushalayim is deeper than all this. Because so far we were only talking about Rachel. (Yosef Hatzadik is the son of Rachel and has the aspect of Rachel.) Rachel mevakah al baneha, Rachel brings us back to Eretz Yisrael. Ahh, but Leah, the heilege mama Leah, is Yerushalayim Ir Hakodesh. What is Mashiach all about? Building the Beis Hamikdash [Holy Temple]. The Beis Hamikdash is; Ayin lo rasa elokim zulatecha [No eye has seen it but G-d] Whatever I think life is, whatever I would like to receive life from, It’s not it. It’s not it….
Pray for Eretz Yisrael
Rebbe Nachman says, let it be clear to you that every prayer that you pray for Eretz Yisrael is mamish hastening the redemption. Because only in Heaven they know exactly…. Remember I told you before that the spies thought that you get Eretz Yisrael by Torah and Mitzvas? Eretz Yisrael is; Ki beisi beis tefila yikare lekol haamim [My house is a house of prayer for all nations], it is mamish praying and davening. Each time a Yid prays for Eretz Yisrael, not only is his prayer heard, mamish, he is hastening the redemption, mamish, he is hastening the redemption of all of Israel.
Then he says, let it be clear to you, you can only go to Eretz Yisrael if you connect yourself like Calev did. Connect yourself to Avraham Yitzchak and Yaakov, you have to connect yourself to all the Tzadikim.
It is like the house is burning
Rebbe Nachman says, imagine a father is angry at his child, and suddenly the house is on fire, will he remember that he was angry at his child? Because, when the house is burning, he says, “Gevalt, it is my child, gevalt.” I want you to know, when it comes to Chutz Laaretz, why when we are in Chutz Laaretz, humanly speaking, G-d is a little bit angry at us, we are not that close. When it comes to Eretz Yisrael, it is like the house is burning. When it has to do with Eretz Yisrael, suddenly everything is forgotten. Everything is forgotten….
When a Yid says, “Rebono Shel Olam, take me to Eretz Yisrael.” Gevalt, right. On a simple level, if I am angry at my child, and let’s say my child is in Alaska, and I talk to him on the phone, and I am a little bit angry. Suddenly my child says, “I want to come to visit you.” Gevalt is it deep. You see, the lowest Yiddele…. And therefore it had to be the non-religious Jews to pave the way for us, to pave the way for us that even if we are not so good, even if we are not so good, a Yid says, “Rebono Shel Olam, I want to go back to Your house.” The door is open.
The Vorke Rebbe says, why did Yaakov walk in to receive the blessing in the garments of Esau? He says, if Yaakov would have received the blessing in his own garments, we would not have gotten anything because we don’t have it, we don’t have these kinds of garments, we don’t have the garments of Torah and mitzvas. So he walked in with the garments of Esau. That means that even a Yid who on the outside he looks like Esau, smells like Esau, lives like Esau, gevalt, Yaakov Avinu brought down the blessings even for him.
So you see what it is, the Meraglim realized that our garments are not good enough yet for Eretz Yisrael. And here I want you to know something awesome. Every person in the world, even a Rebbe, looks at you, at your garments. There is one person in the world, or, two people who mamish don’t see your garments. It is your father and you mother. You see, the Meraglim walked in like Rebbes, and they looked at the garments of the Yidden, on the level of garments we were not on the level yet to conquer Eretz Yisrael, maybe we will never be. But Yehoshua and Calev, they walked in connecting themselves to Avraham Yitzchak and Yaakov. Do you know what we need the most, the moment we talk so much about Yidden, about how a Yid looks like, if he is frum [religious] or not, then we are again talking to G-d about garments, we are mamish stopping the redemption. What we have to do in our generation is forget about the garments.
I don’t want to say anything bad, but just a few days before the war (with Iraq in 1992), I don’t want to say anything bad, but one person got up and he says, “Do you know why there is so much danger? Because a lot of people eat ham, and some are not frum [religious].” It’s disgusting. And all of the real Rebbes in Eretz Yisrael said, “What a chutzpah! Now? Now is the time to say bad things about Yidden? Now is the time to say; mamish every Yid is the holy of holiest!” And the fact is that all the miracles happened to every Yid. Imagine if the missiles are falling and only a Yid who keeps Shabbos, his house doesn’t explode, and chas veshalom, a Yid who doesn’t keep Shabbos… And I want you to know, the missiles always fell on Friday night, were most people in those housed did not keep Shabbos, and a miracle happened that nothing happened and no one was hurt. Do you know why? Because G-d was showing us: in Eretz Yisrael, G-d looks differently at a Yid.
And I will tell you something else, if we ever want all of Israel to keep Shabbos, “Haaretz asher areka [The Land that I will show you].” If you look at a Yid like he is so holy, then he looks back at you and says, “Yeah, I really am holy, I should keep Shabbos.” But if you look at him and say, “You are dirty, you are filthy…” – Listen, if I would tell a little girl, “You know, your dress if full of stains.” So is she going to watch out for another stain? She says, “It is dirty anyway, what should I do?” Ahh, you put her in a new dress, and you say, “Ahh, you know, you look so beautiful, please watch out for a stain.” She will be very careful.
The heilege Rizhiner, had a custom that whenever one of his children got married, that he would tell the yichus [dynasty] of his family, and the other side was supposed to tell their family tree also, so here the Sadigura’s daughter is marrying the grandson of Reb Hershele Rimanover. And everybody knows that Reb Hershele Rimanover’s father was not a Rebbe, he was a Tailor. The Rizhiner begins to say, gevalt, my father was Reb Shalom Shachna, and my zeide was the Heilege Malach, and my elte zeide was the Heilege Mezritcher Magid. Then he says, Reb Hershele, now it is your turn. He said, “I want you to know, my father was a tailor, and he told me, “When you have a new suit, try not to tear it, and if you have an old suit, try to fix it.” “Ahhh, gevalt,” the Rizhiner said, “gevalt what a yichus!”
The Gemara says, Yerushalayim lo nischalka leshvatim / all of Israel was divided by the tribes, but Yerushalayim belongs to all the Yidden. Yerushalayim belongs to all the Yidden….
Do you know, the holy wall was conquered, I think, by six soldiers. Two were religious, and four where not. Four were not… gevalt. I want you to know, not that I am so sensitive, I was somewhere, and a person walked in without a Yarmulke, and I just had this feeling… I asked someone, “Who is he?” He said, “He is one of the six soldiers who conquered the holy wall.” You know the kedusha of that soldier? Awesome, right. Eretz Yisrael is something else.
The earth also has garments and insides. The garments of the land is: How much is growing, how much money you can make on it, if it is fruitful, if it is productive. That is the outside of the land. Do you know what shmita [seventh year when the land is not worked] is? The inside of the land. I don’t care if it is growing, I don’t care… the Land! Eretz Yisrael….
A special place
This is a torah from Reb Leibele Eiger, which is mind blowing. We don’t find Eretz Yisrael, only by Avraham Avinu. Why wasn’t there Eretz Yisrael before Avraham Avinu? He says the deepest depths. You know, I like all of New York, then I meet someone I love very much, I need a special place to meet. Until Avraham Avinu, G-d did not need a special place in the world where to meet this person. This is awesome. From Avraham Avinu on, the Heilege Zeise Avraham Avinu, G-d needs a special place. G-d says to Avraham Avinu, “I will meet you in Eretz Yisrael.” Do you know what the Beis Hamikdash is all about? G-d says to every Yid, “Do you know how precious you are to me? I want to meet you in a special place.” But this is deeper than garments. If you will tell me, “Oh, the Wall is broken, achh.” You don’t know what is going on. You don’t know what is going on. Because, imagine I meet this girl, and I love her very much. Then I say, meet me on 42nd street and 8th avenue. It looks to you like a stupid place. That is only because you don’t know what is going on. When I meet this girl, suddenly it looks to me like the Beis Hamikdash. Something else.
The craziest thing is that always the Shabbos of Yom Yerushalayim is always Behar, Bechukosai. And you see what it is, if you didn’t keep shmita, that means that you are interested in the garments of the Land. G-d says, “You are a garment person? I will look at your garments, you don’t deserve to be in Eretz Yisrael.” And if you are a shmita person: your connection to Eretz Yisrael is beyond garments, your connection to every Yid is beyond garments…. You know, children are born without garments, do you know why? Nebech, they are begging their parents; don’t judge my garments. Do you know when children are angry at their parents? When their parents look at their garments: Are you beautiful, are you clever, do you have good marks, will you marry a rich girl? All those garments. So one more thing. Rebbe Nachman says that brother Satan has only a hold on the outside of Eretz Yisrael, not on the inside, not on the inside of Eretz Yisrael.
How long it takes to fix
Do you know, if Chava would have not eaten from the tree of knowledge, we would have walked into Eretz Yisrael. And you know something, sometimes you make a mistake, and you want to fix it, and you know how long it takes to fix…. You know, sometimes you go to the wrong street, and you want to make a U turn, and it doesn’t go. You drive around for hours. I want you to know something, last week someone was driving me, and he missed the exit, so he says, “I am getting off at the next exit.” First of all, the next exit was twenty two miles after. Meshigene of toit [crazy]. And I was supposed to be there at a certain time, and I am already late. Twenty two miles… and then when he came to that exit, and he wants to go back, he couldn’t find it, he went wrong again. You know, it was clear to me: It is not so simple, when you make a mistake, you don’t fix it in one second. You don’t fix it in one second…. What takes the longest for us to fix? To go to Eretz Yisrael. Because, there are two sides; not eating from the Tree of Knowledge, and mamish going for Shabbos to Eretz Yisrael, or chas veshalom, we eat the Tree of Knowledge. We haven’t gotten there yet. Yeah, we go, but we still haven’t tasted the inside of Eretz Yisrael yet. Do you know what the Tree of Knowledge is? Everything is outside stuff. Everything is outside stuff….
We should have the privilege of being inside Yidden, inside, inside. Do you know what the Bal Shem Tov brought down to the world? The Heilege Bal Shem Tov brought down to the world that you look at a Yid at his inside, not the outside. You look at everything inside, inside.
And I want you to know, the outside of the Torah is always the same; you have to keep Shabbos, we have to put on tefillin. The outside is the same. But the inside gets deeper and deeper and deeper.
You know, it is unbelievable, Rebono Shel Olam gave us the Torah on Mount Sinai. How many books, how many commentaries, what have we done to the Torah… I mean, if you walk into a bookstore in Eretz Yisrael, and from one year to the other, how many books come out! You know, there is a passuk [passage] that says, Asos sforim ad ein ketz / to come out with books endlessly. Not to be believed. Mamish, we should live to see this.
Every Shabbos, the parsha [Torah portion of the week] is the same parsha as last year. But it is getting deeper and deeper and deeper.
You know what is so special? The Bible is translated into every language in the world. Without saying anything bad, do you know how many religions preach the Bible every Sunday? Have you ever seen one little minister or priest come out with one decent book of commentaries on the Bible? Why not, they have good heads, they invent missiles. Can’t they say something about the Torah? No. Because the Torah was given to us. The outside of the outside, the words, is for the world. Torah shebalpeh [the oral tradition], the inside of the inside, is just for us.
And we should be privileged to be connected to the inside of each other, the inside of Eretz Yisrael.
If someone comes back to you and says, “Israel is full of non-religious Jews.” You are right, but you are the outside. The outside of the outside. On the inside. The inside of the inside, on the inside of the inside we are getting closer every second.
Each time a Yid says when he benches [says grace after meals], Uvenei Yerushalayim Ir Hakodesh [rebuild Jerusalem the holy city], you are bringing Mashiach closer, because the Rebono Shel Olam needs so many prayers, so many tears to bring Mashiach.
And I want to tell you one more thing, a lot of people ask, what is a segula for parnossah [livelihood]? I want you to know that the heilege Ishbitzer says, “I promise you that if you bench besimcha [say grace after meals with joy], you will have parnossah. If you say grace after meals with joy, you will always have what you need.” Listen to this unbelievable thing; if Rothschild gives me a million dollars, and I say just, “thanks.” Is he going to give me another million dollars? Not over your dead body. Imagine he gives me a million dollars, and I can’t stop thanking him, and I mamish bring all of the chevre, and we are dancing like crazy. So he says, “I like it. I am ready to give you another few times.” So if the Rebono Shel Olam gives you a little piece of bread, and then I knock off a bentching like crazy, what a bentching! G-d says, “Hey, if this is the way you thank me for a piece of bread, I will give you more.”
But I want you to know, that each time in benching I say, “Uveney Yerushalayim.” It is for real. Mamish for real.
Someone says to Rebbe Nachman, “How loud do you have to yell when you pray?” He said, “You have to yell so loud that nobody can hear.” This is the specialty of us Jewish People. But sometimes I bless all the Jewish people that we should yell so loud that sometimes the world should hear us.