Filed under: 7 laws of Noah, evil inclination, Jewish IQ, Sawdeek, yetzer tov | Tags: evil inclination, natural traits, nefesh., selfish motives, sparks of light
Updated August 2nd 2016
Wicked people everything they do is from their “yetzer hara”.(evil inclination)
When they learn Torah their main desire is to to show off or find mistakes in other people’s teachings. When they give tzedakah, they do it only to become known as righteous and generous people, average people are “ruled” by both their “yetzer tov” (Good inclination) and their “yetzer hara”. Indeed we need to strive to love and serve Hashem with all our hearts and with all our desires both the good and evil need to serve Hashem..
The evil inclination wants to destroy our pride and dignity to transform Holy people into dispirited crass beggars who see for themselves no future or purpose.
Last week we learned about three types of souls defined. One is a complete sadeek, he never sins, all he wants is Holiness. A incomplete sadeek who faces temptations but does not sin and there is the “Beinoni” (middle man) he falls to sin, but always immediately repents for it. He does “teshuva”. We learned of 2 opposing powers of the soul, the evil inclination and the good inclination and how, are influenced by the 4 elements.
Now lets continue with the text of the Tanya :
Every Jew, has a soul of kelipah (shells) derived from the kelipah (forces that conceal light from the other side) called “nogah” (shinning), as this kelipah also contains good; and this good within one’s nefesh gives rise to one’s positive natural traits, good inclination. This kelipah is from the “Tree of Knowledge” which is comprised of good and evil.
There is good, sparks of light that are trapped in the klipa (shells), in the soul of every Jew. It is his God given mission to by the ways of Holiness, as directed by the Torah, to free these sparks from their entrapment in the Klipa. As while these sparks are in the klipa they have power to enhance work of ones evil inclination.
The souls of Idolators and non Jews who do not observe the laws of Noah, emanate from the other, unclean kelipot which contain no good whatever, as is written in Etz Chayim, Portal 49, ch. 3, that all the good that the nations do, is done out of selfish motives.
Since their nefesh emanates from kelipot which contain no good. No good which can be elevated. There is no place where God is not even in these 3 unclean klipot of “tuma” (impurity). All the good done by Idolators and non Jews who do not observe the laws of Noah is for selfish motives. Doing things “selflessly” they are incapable of, it is very high level for any man.
The Gemara comments on the verse, “The kindness of the nations is sin” — that all the charity and kindness done by the nations of the world is only for their self-glorification…
Idolators and non Jews who do not observe the laws of Noah do charity and kindness with a self-serving motive — the desire for self-glorification, a feeling of gratification, and the like. Such a one obviously cannot attain the levels mentioned before like the complete sadeek, one who never sins. A incomplete sadeek who faces temptations but does not sin and there is the “Beinoni” (middle man) he falls to sin, but always immediately repents for it. Most Jews also fail to reach these levels.
This all must be understood
Unlike what is taught by Christians and Moslems :
It was revealed to Moses at Mount Sinai that Judaism is not the only true way to God. It is not for every person. The God has revealed different ways to other people. You can have “your own path”
Gentiles are not responsible to observe the commandments of the Sinai covenant, as are the Jews.
Universal commandments were given by God to all mankind through Adam and Noah, and are included within the Bible. These universal commandments and the details of their observance all comes from the Torah Revealed at Sinai. These universal commandments are known as the “the seven laws of Noah”.
These 7 laws include :
1.Do not worship Idols
2.Do not use the Name of God in Vain
3.Do not kill
4.Do not act in a sexually immoral manner
5.Do not steal
6.Do not eat the limb of a living animal-no animal cruelty
7.Establish courts of Justice
These seven laws of the Righteous Gentile are similar to the 613 laws of the Torah for the Jew.
It should be noted that non Jews who observe the laws of Noah have souls that are derived from kelipat nogah. These are called “the pious ones of the nations of the world,” these righteous individuals are benevolent not out of selfish motives but out of a genuine concern for their fellow.
Elijah the Prophet teaches in Tana D’vei Eliyahu, (Eliyahu Rabbah 9)
that a Gentile like a Jew can receive Ruach HaKodesh
(The Holy Spirit) in accordance to his/her actions.
He or she can cultivate and thus acquire Ruach HaKodesh if one so chooses,
The sages say :
“a Gentile who studies Torah is like a High Priest.”
(Sanhedrin 59a) THIS SEEMS RELATED
According to a study performed by Cambridge University Ashkenazi Jews rank smartest in world. Ashkenazi Jews have a median IQ of 117. That’s 10 points higher than the “accepted” IQ of their biggest competition, Northeast Asia, and 20% higher than the global average.
Filed under: Sawdeek
Last week we learned about a An oath made by men before they are born to be righteous and not wicked. We are also told by the angel who gives us the oath to think of our selves not as righteous but wicked but we must not be sad over this but “serve God in joy”.
We also discussed a complete Sadeek and one who is incomplete and how these correspond to the sadeek who prospers and the one who suffers.
Now lets continue with the text of the Tanya :
In Ra‘aya Mehemna (Parshat Mishpatim of the zohar) it is explained that “the righteous man who suffers” is one whose evil nature is subservient to his good nature.
He is a tzaddik who’s evil inclination still works to temp him much, even with this he is subservient to his good nature. He turns away from his evil inclination and does not transgress God’s will. A “righteous man who prospers” is a Sadeek in whom there is only good, since he has totally transformed his evil nature to the desire to serve God. This is a very high level of development.
The “complete Sadeek” is one who has attained perfection in his love of God in a manner of “love of delights” (Song of songs). The Sadeek whose love of delights is not yet complete is called the “incomplete Sadeek.” The “complete Sadeek” the “Sadeek who prospers” by his efforts transformed his animal soul, his evil inclination to holiness through his “love of delights” in the things of his Divine service. It is in these things this sadeek delights, even more than most men find delight in physical things. This is the transformation of the evil within him into holiness and good. The “complete sadeek” has no evil that manifests in “his” thought or speech, and certainly not in expressions of action. He wants only Holiness.
In the Gemara (end of ch. 9 of Berachot) it is stated that the righteous are “judged” according to their good inclination, the wicked are judged according to their evil nature. The “Beinoni”. (intermediate man) is “judged” according to both. Rabbah declared: “I am a ‘Beinoni’.” Said Abbaye to him, “Master, you make it impossible for any creature to live.”
Abbaye is thus saying: “If you are a Beinoni, all on a lower level than you are in the category of the wicked, concerning whom our Sages say: ‘The wicked, even while alive, are considered dead.’ By calling yourself a Beinoni you thus make it impossible for anyone to live.”
To understand all that has been said clearly thus far and also to understand the statement of Job :
“Lord of the Universe! You have created righteous men, You have created wicked men,….”
For God does not decree which persons will be righteous and wicked.
The Gemara explains that God decrees that a child about to be born whether the child has potential to be wise or foolish, strong or weak, and so on. These are things we find in astrology. However, whether the child will be righteous or wicked God does not decree this: this is not predetermined; rather, it is left to the individual’s free choice.
So how, then, are we to understand Job’s statement, “You have created righteous men, You have created wicked men”?
We must also understand the essential nature of the “Beinoni”. He is certainly not one whose deeds are half virtuous and half sinful; for if this were so, how could Rabbah err in classifying himself as a “Beinoni” ? When it is known that his mouth never ceased studying the Torah, so much so that even the Angel of Death had no dominion over him. How, then, could he err in considering that half his deeds were sinful, God forbid? Furthermore, when can a person be considered a Beinoni? For at the time one sins until he repents he is deemed completely wicked, and if he was sinful and then repented, thus ceasing to be wicked, he is deemed completely righteous. Even he who violates a minor prohibition of the Rabbis is termed wicked, as is stated in Yevamot, and in Niddah, .. Moreover, even he who himself does not sin, but has the opportunity to forewarn another against sinning and fails to do so is termed wicked [Shevuot]. All the more so he who neglects any positive law which he is able to fulfill, for instance, whoever is able to study Torah and does not do so, to him our Sages have applied the verse, “Because he has despised the word of the L rd (i.e., the Torah),.[that soul] shall be utterly cut off….” It is thus plain that such a person is called wicked, more so than he who violates a prohibition of the Sages.
This being so, we must conclude that the Beinoni is not guilty even of the sin of neglecting to study Torah;
This is why Rabbah mistook himself for a Beinoni.
Since a Beinoni is innocent even of neglecting Torah study, Rabbah could [mistakenly] consider himself a Beinoni, even though he scrupulously observed even the most minor commandments and never ceased from his studies. To clarify this understand as said before the perfect sadeek is the Sadeek who has completed his lacking for which he came into the world. This man does not sin. His evil inclination has been turned, changed to find “love of delights” in doing God’s will. The incomplete Sadeek, has not fixed the lacking for which he came to this world. He has to struggle against his evil inclination, as unlike with the “complete sadeek” his evil inclination has not been transformed to desire Holiness, it still temps him to sin, though he is a sadeek and does not. The “Beinoni” is not a wicked man. As there is also a wicked man who prospers and a wicked man who suffers. These things we have not come to discuss. The “Beinoni” is not wicked, though he is no Saddeek as he sins and regrets what he has done and repents. He may even be a man as described above “is not guilty even of the sin of neglecting to study Torah”. His lackings may be in other areas. In conclusion Rabba called himself a “Beinoni” out of extreme humility, in line with the injunction we saw earlier “regard yourself as wicked”
Updated April 9, 2016
The souls of “Saddekeem”; are sealed and shaped in the Malchut (Kingship) of the firmament. “Like stars that shine in the heaven” . And this is “shining like the shining of the firmament.” What is “firmament”? It is the soul of “Saddekeem”, they shine like stars in the sky, so too the souls shine in the throne.
The masters of Torah are from the middle pillar. When midnight came David would get up to unite with the Shechinah which is called night. And this is, “Watchman, what about the night” (Isa. 21:11) Like the words “The night of guarding is for God” (Exo. 12:42)18. And for Her it says, “anyone who learns Torah at night The Holy Blessed One draws upon him a thread of kindness during the day,” as it says, “During the day God commands kindness, and at night the singing of his nation” (Psalms 42:9).
“Sadeekeem” know how to serve their master, how to bring forth names from the names of The Holy Blessed One and the Shechinah through mystical intention, and to unify them through the voice of the “Sma” and prayer, which are the two names י–א–ה–ד–ו– נ–ה–י. Within them is contained all the Havayot, “Kenoyim” (appelations”, and the 10 sefirot.
Almost all the spiritual things here I have written myself.
I bring this next from another Blog as it expresses a what a Holy man is very well.
by Tzvi Fishman
Published February 21, 2006 on IsraelNationalNews
It is eleven o’clock, Thursday night in Bat Yam, and the Rebbe Meir Baal HaNess Synagogue is already packed with five hundred people awaiting the arrival of the righteous Tzaddik (holy man).. Upstairs, the women’s section is full. It is the middle of Shovavim (special prayer period), and there is a tangible electricity in the air. At exactly eleven-thirty, the kabbalist, Rabbi Eliahu Leon Levi, arrives with a surrounding wall of students. With his head lowered humbly toward the ground and his hands clasped before him, the Rabbi makes his way through the crowd to the stage set up in front of the ark, where rabbis and other elderly kabbalists stand waiting to greet him. I rise along with the others, not as a curious journalist, but as a student of Rabbi Leon.
The Rabbi motions for the crowd to sit down. The music stops. “Please make room,” his powerful voice calls out over the loudspeaker. In his youth, he served as cantor in the Great Synagogue in Tel Aviv, yet the strength and beauty of his voice hasn’t waned. “More people will be coming from Judea, Samaria and Hevron. Hurry. There isn’t time to waste.”
With the holy cry of the nighttime Shema Yisrael, the all-night tikun (rectification) is underway. The letters of Shovavim are the initial letters of the weekly Torah portions in the book of Exodus from Shmot to Mishpatim. Ever since Mount Sinai, the period of the year has been considered a special time for Tikun HaBrit – a time to attain forgiveness for sexual sins.
In the book, “Orot HaKodesh,” (Part 3, Pg. 296) Rabbi Avraham Yitzkah HaCohen Kook writes that all of the world’s most moral treasures are hidden in the exalted aspiration toward sexual purity contained in the prayers of Shovavim. During the evening, Rabbi Leon will explain the profound esoteric significance of sexual holiness to each individual Jew, and to the Jewish People at this important stage of redemption. The gathering will continue all night.
Rabbi Leon announces that it is time for Tikun Hatzot – (the Midnight rectification). Everyone somehow manages to find a place on the floor. After a few moving words from the Rabbi on the destruction of the Temple and the pain of the exiled Shekinah (Divine Presence), he cries out the opening verses of the first part of the Midnight rectification – Tikun Rachel. His piercing lament stirs the hearts of everyone present, and a unified cry rises from the congregation like a column of incense, shattering the barrier between the Jewish People and Heaven. For an hour, the tears and lamentations continue. Then comes part two of the Midnight prayer – Tikun Leah. Reaching the verse, “Open the gates…” the Rabbi rises to his feet, and everyone with him, to sing and dance with a thundering roar in honor of the Shekinah. The singing goes on for half an hour. Hitherto strangers now sway arm-in-arm like the closest of friends. At that indescribable moment, all of the Jewish people are one.
And the evening is only beginning. There will be more Torah learning, plenty of food, a trip to the mikvah (ritual bath) at three in the morning, and the climaxing Tikun HaYesod authored by the Ben Eish Chai with the Ark open, shofars blaring, and all of the congregation on its feet. It is a spiritual experience not to be forgotten. And in the morning, after the vatikin prayer, one’s head is crystal clear, like the burst of the first sunlight after a long winter’s rain.
Rabbi Leon has led similar all-night vigils for the past five weeks. This coming Thursday night, February 23, 2006 the final Shovavim prayers will be held at the Kotel, where thousands will gather to rise to the supreme heights of tshuva and to bathe in its cleansing light.
AN UNEXPECTED GUEST
Four years ago during the Sukkot [Feast of Tabernacles] holiday, I was in my house getting things ready to set off on a family outing, when my son telephoned from our sukkah downstairs in the parking lot.
“There is a rabbi here with 30 students,” he said. “They want to know if they can use our sukkah.”
That’s interesting, I thought. Out of the tens of thousands of sukkot in Jerusalem, a rabbi and 30 students suddenly appear out of the sky like a spaceship and land in our parking lot. Ever since becoming a baal tshuva (returnee to being religious) in Hollywood in a rather miraculous way, I always kept an eye out for heavenly signs and wonders.
“Invite them,” I told my son, wondering what HaKodesh Baruch Hu [G-d, literally, The Holy One, Blessed Be He] had in mind for me now.
“The rabbi wants to talk with you,” he said.
After a moment, a rich sefardic accent sounded over the cell phone, followed by a river of blessings. The truth is, the Hebrew came out so fast, I had trouble understanding every word. The startling thing was that each blessing was like a ballistic missile targeted for precisely my life, my problems, and my ups and downs in serving Hashem [G-d], as if the rabbi was looking through a window into our house.
After packing a few final things for our holiday trip, I hurried downstairs to our sukkah. The seventy-year old rabbi was standing in the parking lot of the building, slicing up tomatoes on a fold-up table that his students had brought. The first thing I noticed was the big white kippah [skullcap] which completely covered his head. The next thing was the glow of holiness which radiated from his face and white beard. Draped over his white shirt was a large tallit katan [biblical fringed garment]. While he sliced the tomatoes, he gave orders to his obviously well-trained team of students, like an army officer commanding his troops. They had removed my table and chairs from the sukkah and had set up tables and benches of their own. Already laid out on the table were a wide assortment of salads, juices, pita bread, and fruits.
My thirteen-year old son came over to me with an amazed expression on his face. As the son of a baal tshuva from Hollywood, he was used to all kinds of people showing up at our house for a visit, but this surrealistic scene was a first.
“Maybe it’s the prophet, Elijah HaNavi,” he said.
Seeing me, the rabbi repeated his blessings and continued on with his work, adding a variety of spices to the large bowl of salad before him. Many of the students, Jews of Mideastern descent in their thirties and forties, wore large white kippahs like the rabbi. Here and there, an Ashkenazi face stood out in the crowd. One of them, the driver of their mini-bus, dressed in the holiday garb of a Hasid, came over to me and told me the rabbi’s name, Rabbi Eliahu Leon Levi, shlita, from Bnei Brak. I remembered having seen him a few times at the Kotel, always surrounded by followers and fervently engaged in prayer.
Earlier that morning, they had been at the Kotel for the priestly blessing of the kohanim. Their plan had been to eat a festive breakfast in our Kiryat Moshe neighborhood before returning to Bnei Brak. But when they arrived, the synagogue sukkah they had intended to use proved to be much too small for the group. Scouting the area, they came upon our parking lot and our ample size sukkah.
A verse of the Hallel prayer rang in my ears, “This is Hashem’s doing; it is wondrous in our eyes.”
That year, I had brought my parents on Aliyah to Israel from Florida when my mother was stricken with the first symptoms of Alzheimers Disease. My father, who had several serious medical problems of his own, could not cope with her alone in America, so, with my wife’s permission, they moved in with us in Shilo. Because of their frequent medical needs, and the Melabev, English-speaking Alzheimers group which met 3 times a week in Jerusalem, we decided to move to Kiriat Moshe, where we were fortunate to find a building with two vacant apartments.
Without a second thought, I hurried upstairs to bring my parents down for a blessing from the rabbi.
By the time I could get them organized, the rabbi was sitting in the sukkah with his students. Slowly, I led my parents over. We stood outside the sukkah about ten meters away. The rabbi looked up and immediately, without even studying them, stated their medical problems, as if reading straight from a detailed medical report.
“Your mother’s head is not working as it should,” he said. “She is very confused, forgets things, becomes suddenly irritated and has frequent bursts of uncontrollable anger. Her overall blood circulation is poor and she suffers from pains in her upper back.”
My son stared at me in amazement. I too was dumbfounded. The rabbi had described her situation exactly.
“Your father is depressed and extremely nervous,” he continued. “He worries over every small thing. The arteries in his neck are clogging, but he needn’t worry about that. He needs to get more fresh air, that’s all, and take him to the shopping mall where he can see lots of people in order to cheer him up.”
According to his latest ultrasound, one artery in Dad’s neck was already blocked, and the other closure was 75%. I asked if there was something more I could do to help them.
“Bring your mother to me in Bnei Brak,” he said. “Once the problem has reached the head, it is hard to influence the Heavenly Court, but perhaps it is possible with G-d’s help to ease the pains in her back.”
Years before, major surgery had left my mother with constant pain in her back. Plus, she had terrible arthritis. I had taken her to a gamut of doctors, chiropractors, reflexologists, and the like, but nothing had eased her suffering.
A VISIT TO BNEI BRAK
One of the students gave me a phone number to call to reserve a slot for Mom on the rabbi’s day of visiting hours in Bnei Brak. Like a dutiful son, I made the appointment. But because of my father’s nervousness, he rejected the idea out of hand. So as not to waste the opportunity, I suggested to my wife that we go instead with one of our children who made hyperactive children look like they were standing still. If G-d hadn’t sent the rabbi to us to help with my parents, then surely it was to help with our son.
Rabbi Leon sees people on Thurdays at his synagogue in Bnei Brak. By the time we arrived, the waiting room was already full. Each week, scores of people call for appointments, but only 12 are accepted, so that the rabbi can spend the time needed with each person in order to help raise him up out of his dilemma, spiritual darkness, or pain. Sometimes a one-on-one meeting with the rabbi is a half hour, sometimes an hour, often even two.
When our turn came, we sat down facing the rabbi who was absorbed in a book of Psalms. Beyond his study, the synagogue was stunningly lit with brilliant chandeliers. After several minutes, the rabbi looked up and nodded with a very serious expression, not with the radiant smile that had warmed my heart on the sukkot holiday. I explained that since my father was apprehensive about coming, we had come with our son. Being the father of 14, including five Torah scholars, the rabbi certainly had experience with children.
The rabbi told the boy to take a book and go study in the synagogue. When he was out of hearing range, he said, “The problem isn’t with the boy – it is with the parents. A child is merely the extension of the parents. When the parents fix themselves, the problem of the child will vanish.”
“Uh oh,” I thought, certain that the rabbi was going to turn his x-ray vision on me. But instead, he started speaking about problems of the circulation system. Gently, without mentioning any wrongdoing, he led us to understand that transgressions, and improper character traits like anger and depression, affect the nefesh (soul), and the nefesh effects the blood, and the blood circulates to all of the organs of the body, eventually causing a disorder in the region that corresponds to the transgression or faulty attribute. I remembered studying about this relationship in the book Shaare Kedusha, but I never had the knowledge to apply it in a practical way. In a similar fashion, the Rabbi said, emotions like anger and nervousness in the home can have a devastating effect on the children.
“There have been mistakes,” he inferred in a general way.
He gave us a diet that would revitalize our blood and suggested some other very down-to-earth advice. Then for the next fifteen minutes he spoke about pride, about how poisonous it was in serving G-d, causing the Divine Presence to flee from a person and leave him in spiritual darkness.
“Wow, did you get it on the head,” I said to my wife when we left.
“Me?” she responded. “Everything he said about pride, he was talking about you!”
“Me?” I responded in amazement.
How ridiculous could you get? Everyone knew that I was the famous baal tshuva from Hollywood who had rejected fame and riches for G-d. Who was more humble than me?
True, I had learned a lot of things in yeshiva, but very little about making a married life work and bringing up children. And like every new immigrant, I had my share of frustrations in beginning a new life in Israel. The arrival of my parents had exacerbated things a hundred times over. Often I felt like an actor in a movie about a man who had two wives, running back and forth between my sick mother and wife, trying to keep everyone happy. Add my father’s nervousness, and a super hyper son. Under the emotional burden, one of my vertebrae moved out of place, and I was paralyzed with pain. It wasn’t long before I had sunk into a period of depression and despair.
But it wasn’t until reading the booklet that Rabbi Leon gave me, that it hit me. There was an essay on anger, an essay on the sanctity of marriage relations, an essay on repentance. The main part of the booklet was the “Tikun HaYesod Yeshuat Eliahu,” an arrangement of 13 Psalms chosen by the rabbi, followed by a long confession designed to inspire a person to a new level of sexual purity, known as shmirat habrit. Along with many insights based on the secrets of Torah, the essence of the tikun [rectification] was “Sanctify yourself in what is permitted to you.”
“AND HE REPENTED AND WAS HEALED”
The following Thursday morning, I returned to Bnei Brak with a list of questions for the rabbi. Once again the waiting room was filled with people. The rabbi nodded when I entered the synagogue, and continued on with his prayers. I sat down near his desk, waiting for an opportunity to ask my questions. After a while I realized that without an official place on the list, I wouldn’t be permitted to talk with the rabbi. But no one asked to me leave, so I sat there as inconspicuously as possible, happy to be in his presence and the special atmosphere of holiness that surrounds him.
Suddenly, a man burst into the study area followed by a woman in what I guessed was her ninth month of pregnancy. The hysterical husband held up an x-ray and shouted, “They want to operate! They want to operate!”
“Of course they want to operate,” the rabbi said calmly. “Your wife has a massive growth in her stomach.”
She wasn’t pregnant, I realized. Her over-swollen belly was the result of a malignancy.
“They want to operate on Tuesday,” the husband shouted. “Here’s the x-ray. Here’s the x-ray!”
“What do you expect?” the rabbi told him. “You don’t keep the the laws of family purity.”
Suddenly, the husband was silent.
“And you are violent with your wife, demanding your way, without thinking about what she wants, or maybe I am wrong?”
The man looked as if he wanted to disappear under the table.
“Those are very big sins,” the rabbi said. “Do you regret them?”
“Yes,” the man said meekly.
“Do you promise that from now on you will keep the laws of family purity and be considerate of your wife?”
“Yes,” the man repeated.
Rabbi Leon turned to the woman. “The growth in your belly is your anger at your husband. But you have to realize that he never learned otherwise. He doesn’t mean wrong. He’s a high tempered person. He doesn’t know any better. But now he will change. Can you forgive him?”
The woman nodded, yes.
“Give your belly a hit,” the rabbi told her.
Gently, she tapped on her stomach.
“Harder!” the rabbi said.
Again, she tapped on her belly.
“Harder!” the rabbi commanded.
This time she gave her belly a punch. Like a punctured beach ball that loses its air, the big round swelling in her stomach simply disappeared. I was sitting no more than a few feet away. Right before my eyes, the swelling shrunk and vanished. The woman burst into tears. Once again, the husband started shouting in utter disbelief, “But I have the x-ray! I have the x-ray!”
“You can throw the x-ray in the garbage,” the rabbi told him. “It’s over. It’s gone. Your wife is healthy again.”
“But the operation. The appointment is next week,” the dazed husband muttered. “What will I tell the doctor?”
“You won’t have to tell him. He will see for himself.”
Then Rabbi Leon turned to the woman, who was still weeping in shock. “Why are you crying?” he asked. “You should be happy. The Holy One, Blessed Be He has done a miracle for you.”
When I started on the road of repentance in Hollywood, The Holy One, Blessed Be Hehad done a similar miracle for me. Through lots of tshuva [penitence] and prayer, without any medicine, an illness that had plagued me for years disappeared. So I wasn’t surprised by what I had witnessed. As Rabbi Leon teaches, the verse says, “Return in penitence and be healed.” The Holy One, Blessed Be Hecan do everything. The secret is tshuva.
THE POWER OF PRAYER
I left that day without being able to ask the rabbi my questions. On the way out, I overheard his secretary telling someone on the telephone that the rabbi had decided to travel up north with his students in order to pray for rain. Seizing the opportunity, I asked him if I could come. He told me that he would ask the rabbi and call me with his answer.
To remind the reader, four years ago there was a very serious drought in Israel. The water level of the Sea of Galillee was dangerously low. There was serious talk of purchasing water from Turkey. So I was very excited when later that evening I received a call saying that the rabbi agreed that I come along
The following week a long caravan of cars set out from the yeshiva. The rabbi had requested that everyone recite the entire Book of Psalms on the drive up north, so there was no time for small talk. Our destination was a secluded wooded glade called “Maayan Baruch,” just outside the city of Kiryat Shemonah.
At the end of the long drive, a bumpy dirt road led us to a picnic area in a forest of towering eucalyptus trees. The rabbi had arrived ahead of the group to organize the makeshift camp. It was a beautiful sunny day at the beginning of November. Like my first view of the rabbi outside of my sukkah, he had taken off his hat and black overcoat, and with his big white kippah and flowing tallit katan, he looked like the Baal Shem Tov himself. Just as before, he was preparing a gigantic salad. When the minibus arrived with crates of food and tables, the rabbi took charge of the operation, where to put the tables, where to wash the fruit, who would study the Zohar [The basic work of the Kabbalah] and who would recite psalms.
One of the things which characterizes Rabbi Leon is his energy. For his age, he moves about with extraordinary quickness, far surpassing his students. In years past, they would leave the yeshiva in Bnei Brak at least once a week to travel to a different location throughout the country to do a tikun in a large tent that the rabbi had specially designed for their outings. Even today, Rabbi Leon makes the trip to the Kotel at least three times a week. His students say that he sleeps no more than two hours a night, if at all. His nights are filled with study and prayer, like in the days of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai and his disciples.
In a short time, tables were laden with a kingly feast for the seventy people present. The rabbi told us to make our blessings over the food out loud so that everyone could answer “Amen.” After completing the Tehillim and the readings from the Zohar, the rabbi told everyone to wash hands for the meal from the nearby water pipe, whose source was from the rivers of the Garden of Eden. During the meal, the rabbi gave a dvar Torah, saying that rains are held back because of transgressions to the Covenant-Brit, as explained in the Zohar, regarding the Shema:
“Those who do not guard the sign of the holy Brit [Covenant of sexual purity] cause a separation between Israel and their Father in Heaven, as is written, And you turn aside and worship other gods, and bow down to them. And afterward, it says, He shut up the heaven, so that there be no rain. For to be false to the holy Covenant is considered like bowing down to another god. But when the holy Covenant is properly guarded by mankind, The Holy One, Blessed Be Heshowers blessings from above down to this world.” (Zohar, Bereshit 189b)
Immediately after the meal, the rabbi had everyone stand in four lines, facing all four directions while he stood in the middle. In unison, in loud, fervent voices, everyone recited a kabbalistic prayer based on the incense service. Even before we had finished, there was the sound of distant thunder over the peaks of the Hermon. At first, we thought it might be tank fire on the Lebanon border. The sun was still bright in the afternoon sky. The thundering grew louder as we continued to pray. The first drops of rain fell while we were packing the tables back into the minibus at the end of the tikun. On the drive back to Bnei Brak, the sky darkened, and rain poured down in gushes. Hailstones bigger than marbles rumbled atop of car roofs, shattering windshields. Four students collected insurance to compensate for the damage. To be sure, we were not the only people in Israel praying for rain at that time. But it is hard to say that the sudden rainstorm was a mere coincidence after our prayers. Plus, it wasn’t the first time that rain fell after a tikun by Rabbi Leon and his students.
ZOHAR BY HEART
In “Orot HaTechiyah,” (Ch. 57) Rabbi Avraham Yitzhak HaCohen Kook writes that the study of the Zohar is destined to open the road to redemption. By the time he reached twenty, Eliahu Leon Levi knew large portions of the Zohar by heart.
Rabbi Leon’s grandfather, the kabbalist, Rabbi Avraham Levi, grew up in the Old City near the Damascus Gate. Due to economic hardship, the family relocated to Turkey in the town of Marash. Every night, even in the ice-cold winters, Rabbi Avraham would rise from sleep at 2 o’clock, immerse in an outdoor pool, go to the synagogue to recite the Midnight Prayer (Tikun Hatzot) and learn Mishna and secrets of Torah until dawn.
At the age of 98, he left this world, passing on the crown of the inner Torah to his son, Yeshua Levi. Under his spiritual leadership, all of the Jews in the area returned to the Torah. He knew all of the Bible, the Mishna, and Tehillim by heart. He taught the children of the community in the morning, tended to his rabbinic duties during the day, slept a few hours in the evening, and studied kabbalah all through the night. Inspired by their devoted shepherd, most of the town’s inhabitants would rise at midnight and go the synagogue to recite Tikun Hatzot together. Very often, Rabbi Yeshua would drag young Eliahu along, even when the boy begged to stay in bed, in order to accustom him to the attribute of saintliness in the service of G-d.
With a contingent of families from Marash, the Levis returned to Israel in 1950 and settled in Tel Aviv. As if inspired by the air of Eretz Yisrael, the twelve year old Eliahu Leon started to read from the Zohar when his father wasn’t around. The energetic Torah prodigy had plenty of opportunity since his father left the house in the middle of the night to immerse in a mikveh 151 times before reciting Tikun Hatzot. Then he would continue on until midday with his learning, teaching, and prayers. As time went on, Rabbi Yeshua noticed that his volumes of Zohar were missing. Discovering them with his son, he would take them away, only to find them missing again. As the boy grew older, other books began to disappear from the bookshelf, including the teachings of the Arizal and other classics of Kabbalah. In his teenage years, the budding mystic learned at the Porat Yosef Yeshiva and later at Kfar Chabad, but he states that most of his learning came from his father.
“He taught me secrets that I haven’t revealed to this day. You can take the knowledge of all of the scientists, professors, and doctors in the world, and the Torah contains more wisdom than them all.”
For a period of six years, Eliyahu secluded himself in the house, studying Kabbalah, fasting, and reciting yichudim day and night. Finally, his father told him, “Enough. You may make an angel out of yourself, but what about Am Yisrael? Go out and teach. Go out and pray. Take the gifts G-d has given you and lift people up.”
MIRACLES BY THE KILO
Ever since the prayer for rain in the north, I have seen many miracles with Rabbi Leon. One time, at the end of a nightlong tikun, a young soldier pushed his way forward through the crowd around the rabbi. One arm dangled loosely at his side. He said it had been paralyzed for half a year, and that no doctor had been able to help.
“Why did you pick up that statue of idol worship?” Rabbi Leon asked him.
The soldier seemed stunned. As if he were dreaming, he shook his head to wake himself up.
“That was seven years ago,” he admitted. “I was on a group tour to Spain. They took us into a church, and I picked up one of the statues.”
“The Holy One, Blessed Be Hegave you seven years to do tshuva,” the rabbi said. “Now you received the penalty in your arm. Are you sorry?”
“Of course,” the young man answered. “I had no idea.”
“Good,” the rabbi told him. “With your bad arm, pick up a pretzel, say a blessing, and eat it.”
The soldier looked down at the pretzels on the table. Sadly, he shook his head. “I can’t move it,” he said.
“Yes you can. You’ve got a new arm now. You can pick up the front end of a car.”
As if concentrating his strength, the soldier looked down at his arm. When it made a move forward, he let out a sound of surprise. He reached out toward the table. A smile broke over his face. Then he grabbed a pretzel, made a loud happy blessing and ate it. Everyone clapped.
“People sometimes think that Divine Inspiration (ruach hakodesh) doesn’t exist anymore,” Rabbi Leon explains. “That it was something only in the past. But that isn’t the case. Ruach hakodesh is always here waiting. Has The Holy One, Blessed Be Hechanged, G-d forbid? He is always ready to give. The problem is that people don’t prepare the proper vessel in order to receive the light.”
One time, an Ashkenazic rabbi showed up among the people during visiting hours. He sat quietly in the synagogue, watching everything that went on in the Rabbi’s study. When a woman stood up from a wheelchair and started to walk, he burst into the study and raced over to Rabbi Leon, peering under his desk and behind his chair as if to discover some secret hidden button or magic box.
“Where is it?” he said. “Where is it? How do you do it? What do you do?”
Students tell hundreds of Rabbi Leon stories of sterile women having babies, lame people walking, and mute people speaking. When the wife of the Baba Sali needed someone to talk to, she would come to Rabbi Leon. Every Thursday, the yeshiva on HaShomer Street is crowded with people, but because of his great humility, many people have never heard of Rabbi Leon. Another reason is that he has never aligned himself with any political party. While Knesset members and leading public figures often come to confer with him privately, he shies away from the public eye.
One time, when I suggested making a video of visiting hours, so that people could see all the miracles, he said, “If word got out what happens here, gangsters would show up with machine guns threatening to kill me if I don’t heal their mothers and brother-in-laws.”
I don’t profess to say that a miracle occurs with every blessing. Sometimes, nothing seems to happen at all. When I asked Rabbi Leon about this, he explained. “Hashem decides not me. Everything comes from Hashem. If a person has merit, feels sincere repentance, and Hashem decides to intervene, then a miracle occurs. If a person is closed down to tshuva, then he first has to work on himself to reopen the channels of blessing that he’s damaged. Everything depends on tshuva, hard work, and merit. My blessings are nothing. Hashem does it all.”
Of course, Hashem does it all. Nevertheless, there have been many cases when visiting a comatized patient in a hospital that during the Rabbi’s blessing, the person has awoken from his sleep. Such a dramatic case occurred last month in the Shaare Tzedek Hospital intensive care unit. Lately, Rabbi Leon has been working around the clock to put out a series of books on Tikun HaBrit [rectifying one’s sexual purity] and does not make hospital calls like he used to. But when the two sons of a head of a certain Yeshiva appealed to the Rabbi, he immediately drove with them and a student to Jerusalem to pray at his bedside.
“He was attached to eighteen tubs and wires,” the student relates. “It was like pushing your way through the vines in a jungle to get to him. The Rabbi asked the doctors to lessen the anesthesia so that he could work on raising his levels. After the Rabbi prayed for three hours, all of the man’s vital signs were on the rise. We left with one of the sons to go to the Kotel where the Rabbi continued to request mercy from Heaven. While we were there, the son at the hospital called and said that all of the levels were back to normal and that his father was breathing on his own. He called in the evening to tell me that the doctors had removed all of the tubes, and that his father was sitting up in bed talking about going home for Shabbat.”
THE DREAM OF THE “KARIN A”
The rabbi’s unending efforts to help the Jewish People are not limited to medical problems alone. A few years ago, the Rabbi dreamt that a ship dangerous to Israel was heading our way. The dreams of the Rabbi are no simple matter. Tzaddik (holy man).im like Rebbe Nachman of Breslov, the Orh HaChaim HaKadosh, the Ben Eish Chai, and others have appeared to him with important messages. So when he awoke from the dream of the ship, he immediately alerted a high-ranking army officer whom he knew, and asked that the information be passed to the proper security channels. The Air Force sent out a reconnaissance plane. It reported back that the only naval activity was a joint Egyptian-American war exercise that Israel already knew about. The Rabbi responded that they were mistaken – there was a boat dangerous to Israel approaching from the South. Once again, the plane made a reconnaissance sweep, and sure enough, there was an unidentified ship in the Red Sea approaching the Gulf of Eilat. It was the “Karin A” on its way to smuggle a huge quantity of weapons and ammunition into Gaza.
Students and people who are fortunate to enter his inner circle also benefit from Rabbi Leon’s unique talents in the most incredible ways. One of the Rabbi’s students, Yigal Vanazi, works in Tel Aviv for a computer software firm. One time, the company was attacked by a virus, and 180 computers shut down. For two days they struggled in vain on their own to find a solution. When a company specializing in computer viruses asked for $400,000 to fix the problem, Yigal thought of the Rabbi.
“I don’t know why it didn’t occur to me immediately,” he relates. “I called up the Rabbi and told him the problem. He instructed me to put my hand on one of the computers. After a minute, he said he saw the virus, and described it to me. Later he showed me the sketch he made in the yeshiva. It looked just like diagrams of computer viruses that I had seen with a long curving tail. Then, over the phone, he told me that he had caught the virus and locked it up in a spiritual safe. He told me to hit the “enter” key on the keyboard. Immediately, the computer lit up, along with all of the 180 computers in the building. It was amazing!”
Enemy ships, computers, cars, you name it. Once, Yankela Levine stopped by the Yeshiva to say hello to the Rabbi. He had just bought a used car from the sexton of a synagogue in Bnei Brak.
“Did he tell you that the car was in an accident and that the axle connecting the two front wheels is bent out of shape?” the Rabbi asked him.
Yankela couldn’t believe it. The sexton was as honest as could be, he said.
“Maybe so,” the Rabbi answered, “But he should reduce the sales price by three thousand shekels.”
Having known the Rabbi for many years, Yankela brought the car to a garage and put it up on a lift. Sure enough, the axle connected the tires was bent. In great embarrassment, the sexton gave him back the money he had overpaid.
And, as for me, ever since my father allowed me to bring Mom to Bnei Brak, she no longer has pains in her back.
GUARDING SEXUAL PURITY – GUARDING THE LAND
Every Saturday night, Rabbi Leon comes to the Kotel to recite psalms. Two years ago, at a Malave Malka celebration with students, before the Disengagement Plan from Gush Katif was announced, the Rabbi said that there was a decree in Heaven that would be every hard to cancel. “The Holy One, Blessed Be Heis very displeased with the lack of sexual modesty in the Holy Land.”
“There is nothing in the world that so arouses the anger of The Holy One, Blessed Be Heas the sin of transgressing the Covenant. Our hold on the Holy Land is in danger if we don’t live our lives in a holy fashion. Sexual purity is the essence of the Covenant between Abraham and G-d. Remember what I am saying.”
A student asked what we could do. The Rabbi was solemn and pensive. “If rabbis begin to speak more about guarding the Brit, about guarding one’s eyes from gazing at forbidden things, and about the laws concerning sexual modesty, then maybe The Holy One, Blessed Be Hewill have mercy. It isn’t enough just to live in the Holy Land. We have to live here in all the holiness that the Torah prescribes. That’s the whole meaning of the Brit. That message has to get out.”
This Thursday night (Feb. 23, 2006) at the Kotel, thousands will gather for the last tikun of Shovavim. But Rabbi Leon dreams of a tikun far greater than that.
“I should be on the Internet leading a Tikun HaYesod to all of the Jews in the world,” he says. “If I could do that, then Mashiach would come tomorrow.”