Nachal novea; makor chochma -
A flowing river; the source of wisdom (Mish. 18:4)

Parashas P'kudei

(Exodus 38:21-40:38)

“And Moses set up the Tabernacle” (Exodus 40:18)

The Shulchan Aruch (The code of the Jewish  Law) says: "Anyone who strikes his follow violates a negative commandment.  Anyone who does strike his follow is required to pay compensation in five different ways."

It is forbidden to hit any Jew, because each of the 248 limbs contained in the human body corresponds to the 248 positive commandments of the Torah. The Torah is the word of G-d and therefore the source of all wisdom.  If one strikes a Jew, it is as if he is striking G-d and His holy Torah.

Moses not only transmitted the Torah to the world, but he was also thoroughly versed in every aspect of the Torah, and through his hard work he became merged with it, far beyond what any other man has been able to achieve. He merited this great distinction because he lived and breathed the Torah. He was a man of action. He was so particular about keeping every aspect of the Torah that not only was he concerned about study and fulfilling the ritual laws of the Torah, but he was also concerned with the welfare of every human being.  For the verse says: "When Moses was grown [in importance in the Egyptian Palace despite his high rank in Egypt] he went out to his brethren, and looked on their burdensome labors" (Exodus 2:11). He tried to avoid causing any person any pain. He went so far as to be concerned about even the welfare of poor defenseless animals. As the Midrash tells us,  the reason why Moses was chosen to be the leader of the Jewish People was that he was concerned over the welfare of a lost lamb and put every effort into finding it. Only a person who is concerned about the pain and welfare of others is fitting to be a servant of G-d. It was these actions that bound Moses to the Torah. The Torah is the source of all wisdom. Therefore, Moses who was so connected to the Torah, was the epitome of wisdom. Since Moses is an integral part of the Torah, he comprises the spiritual essence of everyone one of the 248 positive commandments written in the Torah.  Each physical limb of the 248 limbs of every Jew corresponds to the 248 positive commandments.  It follows therefore that because Moshe inundates the Torah in such a fashion, the essence of Moses is found in each limb of each Jew.

When one strikes his fellow, it causes the blood to accumulate in that particular limb and the blood becomes congealed and trapped there. The characteristic of harshness, “din,” in Hebrew, is the spiritual essence that is contained in physical blood. When the limb that has ben struck has an excessive amount of blood, this causes an accumulation of excessive din or harshness to inundate the affected limb. The excessive build-up of blood is not good for the health of the body and the excessive harshness that permeates the limb is not good for the spiritual condition of the mind and the soul.

If one severs the limb of his fellow, heaven forbid, not only is this very bad on the physical level, but it is very detrimental on the spiritual level as well. As we mentioned above, every limb of the body is a mirror image of 248 positive commandments of the Torah and which also contain the essence of Moses. When a person loses a limb, he loses part of the essence of the Torah and of Moses that limb contained. Not only is that person lacking a physical limb, but he has lost part of the essence of the Torah and Moses that was contained in the limb, that he had lost. This person now suffers from a diminished influence of the Torah and of Moses on his mind and soul, as a result of losing one of his limbs. The following verse alludes to this: "Two Hebrew men were fighting together; and he [Moses] said to him that was in the wrong: Why are you beating your fellow?" (Exodus 2:13).  On the allegorical level, the verse is saying that the part of Moses that is contained in the limbs of every Jew said to the one who was about to hit him: "Why are you about to damage my limb and diminish the part of Moses that is contained within me and thus diminish my ability to perceive G-d?"

The Jews left Egypt numbering 600,000 men. Each man corresponded to one of the 600,000 letters contained in the Torah. This fact indicates to us that the Torah ca be compared to a living man in man ways. For the verse says, "This is the Torah, [which is like) a man, [the law of] when he dies in a           tent" (Numbers 19:14). In addition the Tikkunei Zohar says, "The Torah has a head, eyes, limbs, a body etc. These limbs [of the Torah] all correspond to the Jewish People." The Jews were unable to leave Egypt until they numbered 600,000 men. The deficiency in this number meant that there was a deficiency in the Torah itself. As was just mentioned, each Jew reflects part of the spiritual body of the Torah itself. If the requisite number of Jews is deficient, so is the Torah itself. The main purpose of receiving the Torah was to free the Jews from the impurity of this world, caused by Adam's sin. If there was even one Jew short of 600,000, the Torah could not impart the spiritual cleansing for which it was intended. The lack of this one Jew, even if he was on a very low level of spiritually, literally is the cause of one of the limbs of the Torah to be missing and effects the Torah's spiritual power of cleansing. Therefore, we can see the great importance of every Jew, no matter who he is. Therefore, we should keep this fact in mind when judging our fellow  Jews. We should not come to hate or look at any Jew with disdain for his actions. It is like hating the Torah and G-d Himself. The Zohar says: "G-d, the Torah, and the Jewish People are all one unit."

Before their sin, the bodies of Adam and Eve were very pure and were inclined toward the spiritual. Their bodies had no desire for any of the pleasures of this world. After their sin their bodies became more coarse and more attached to the physical. It became very difficult for them to strive for the spiritual. The coarseness of the body now stood in the way. The urges of the body became more dominant, which now made it very burdensome to strive for the spiritual. This all came about through the change in the nature of the blood. By eating the forbidden fruit, the spiritual essence of the fruit that they ate became absorbed into the bloodstream. This caused the blood become polluted with the evil powers that was contained in the forbidden fruit. Now blood was not only the item that sustained physical life, but it also contained poison, the urge to do evil.  After the sin, the only way for a person to be successful in coming close to G-d is to purify his blood. This is why G-d intentionally fashioned the Torah to correspond to the limbs of the human body. Each limb of the human body is connected to and draws nourishment from each limb of the Torah. It is the nature of blood to be absorbed into the limb that it passes through. The spiritually poisonous blood that flows through our bodies is absorbed by each limb that it passes through. Since each one of our limbs is directly connected to each limb of the Torah, the spiritual poisons of the blood become absorbed by the Torah itself, which purifies the blood. This processes weakens our desires for the harmful and forbidden pleasures of this world. The weakening of the desires for this world is all dependent on our attachment to the Torah. The more effort one makes in following the Torah, the more he is able to reflect and activate the limbs of the Torah, and the more success he has at purifying his blood.

Now we can understand what we mentioned above. If someone severs the limb of his fellow, he diminishes that person's ability to draw from the limbs of the Torah to purify his blood. This reduces that person's ability to break away from the urges of the body for this world. This causes him to have a diminished perception of understanding G-d and His ways. This is why any priest who has certain bodily blemishes or is missing a limb is disqualified from officiating in the Temple service in Jerusalem. This is why any animal who sustains certain bodily blemishes or is missing a limb is not acceptable to be brought as an sacrifice to G-d. The purpose of offering sacrifices was to elevate and purify the base animal instincts that is found in man.

Every item of value that a man owns is connected to the soul of the owner. The fragments of the owner’s soul is contained in the things he owns. When a person brings a sacrifice to G-d, since he is the owner, part of his actual self is contained in the animal that he has brought as an offering to G-d. Since part of his soul is contained in this animal, his behavior is influenced and connected to the animal's base instincts. By destroying this animal through ritual slaughter and then burning it on the altar to G-d, he is actually destroying the base animal desires that has influenced and captured his very soul. By eliminating the flesh of his animal, he has destroyed the base animal instincts that has influenced his soul. The fragments of his soul that was contained in this animal have now been released from their captivity and the influence of the base animal instincts. The soul fragments of the owner that were contained in the animal are now purified and elevated. This occurrence makes it easier for the owner of the sacrifice to strive for and seek out G-d.

As was mentioned above, Moses was strongly connected to the Torah, which is the source of all wisdom. The purpose and goal of wisdom is to elevate and purify the elements of the animal that is found in man. Therefore, the mission of Moses was to elevate all those people who had fallen into the realm of animal instinct and desire. It was Moses alone who erected the Tabernacle during the first week of its installation and inauguration. Moses knew precisely how to erect it.  Rabbi Nachman taught that the Tabernacle corresponds to limbs of the human body, just as the Torah corresponds to the human body.  Therefore, it was Moses alone who had to erect the Tabernacle. Moses knew how to build each part of the Tabernacle in such a way, that each part of the Tabernacle that corresponded to each limb of each Jew would cause each of their limbs to become purified. This would make it easier for each Jew to be able seek out G-d. Once the initial frame work of the Tabernacle had been established by Moses, the spiritual mechanism was now in place. Therefore, the task of erecting the Tabernacle was given over to the holiest tribe of all, the Levites, to continue the process that Moses ha initiated. (Lekutai Halachot: Choshen Mishpat: Hilchot Chovel Bichavaro 2)

The organ that has the most influence on one's mind and body is the heart Therefore, it is essential that this most vital organ be connected to the Torah and G-d. Therefore, Rabbi Nachman taught that one must purify his heart. I order to purify one's heart, one needs to purge his heart through fire. Just as the Torah requires that we purge the non-kosher particles of food from non-kosher utensil with fire in order to make it fit for use, so too must we purge the utensil contained in our bodies, the heart, in the same fashion. The fire comes from serving G-d with passion.  It is this passion in serving G-d that purifies the heart. It was the passion of desire for sin that caused his heart to become blemished or “non-kosher” in his outlook toward life.  A person must serve G-d with passion in order to neutralize and counteract the blemish in his heart cause by his passion for sin.
Rabbi Nachman continues and says that the two most effective ways to serve G-d with passion is to bring others closer to G-d and to judge everyone favorably. The verse says: "Those who turn the     many to righteousness are like the stars" (Daniel 12:3).  Each star gives off a certain amount of heat.  The star which is higher than its fellow star heats up the star which is below it.  By drawing people closer to G-d,  a person activates the heat and warmth which lies dormant within his heart. In this way he uses the warmth within his heart to serve G-d. He infuses others with the same passion for G- d that he himself has obtained. It is this heat that neutralizes his passion for sin and purifies his heart.

The same thing occurs when a person judges others favorably.  The power of his positive thoughts toward another spiritually cause the other person to draw closer to G-d. By judging a person favorably, one actually draws a person closer to G-d.  In this way a person who tries to bring others closer to G-d or judges others favorably is like the stars, which are referred to in the verse. He provides heat and the warmth of closeness to G-d  to those who are below him,  just as the stars do.

Rabbi Nachman said, anyone who does not receive warmth for G-d from the person who is above him, even if he brings warmth to others, will only have temporary effect on himself and others. Since he did not receive his passion for G-d from the person who is a greater light than himself, his passion for G-d and those who he had influenced will eventually become cold. This can be compared to a white-hot iron that is cast into the water: the iron itself gets cold, and even the heating of the water doesn't last. Therefore, Rabbi Nachman suggests that one should provide oneself with a spiritual mentor that will always be able to infuse him with the heat of passion for serving G-d.  We can clearly see that those people who are committed to a cause and to the leader of that cause have a higher level of passion and enthusiasm in trying to carry out the goals of their cause than those who work independently on their own. No matter what the cause, whether it is for good or bad, having a leader strengthens the people who are committed to the cause; they have a longer and stronger commitment to the goals of their cause than if they attempted to fulfill the goals on their own.  The same can be applied to serving G-d.
Therefore, Rabbi Nachman always instructed his followers that they must seek out the greatest Tzaddik (saint) of the generation and follow him. A person's entire eternity is dependent an this. No one is able to find G-d without the help of a spiritual expert, who has trail-blazed a path through the difficulties of this world and has found G-d on a higher level.  Then one should all take advantage of the invaluable experience and expertise that the Tzaddik has to offer. (1 Lekutai Moharan 156)

Rabbi Nachman once told a man who had a sick relative to rise before daylight and recite the entire Song of Songs. Rabbi Nachman said, "Every remedy in the world for any kind of illness is contained in the Song of Songs." The man did this, and his sick relative immediately took a turn for the better and regained his health. (Sichos HaRan 243)

Talking about the limbs of the body, Rabbi Nachman taught that one who was a troublemaker in a previous life is reincarnated to be left handed. This is alluded to in the Zohar: "Korach instigated a dispute against Moses and Aaron, because he wanted to make the left the right and the right the left." (The priests are connected to the right side of the realm of holiness, which is connected to kindness, while the Levites are connected to the left, which is connected to harshness. Korach who was a Levite, by desiring the priesthood, wanted to switch the left for the right.  If Korach's rebellion would have succeeded, it would have brought massive destruction to the world.  For the world to exist, the right must always be dominant. Kindness must prevail over harshness].

In addition Rabbi Nachman taught that someone who was a liar in a previous life is reincarnated to be left handed.  For the liar switched around the truth and made it into the opposite of what it was. Therefore, the liar is switched around and becomes the opposite of what is normal for a person to be, for the majority of people are right-handed.

Once Rabbi Nachman studied the deep mysteries behind left-handedness for an entire night. He said that the mystery of left-handedness includes the fact that the tribe of Benjamin is said to have contained 700 left handed men (Judges 20:16). He also taught that the spiritual essence of Benjamin was synonymous with the same spiritual power of the Tefilin, which is worn on the left hand. (Sichos HaRan 152)

Concerning influencing one's heart: Holy spiritual music has a tremendous power to draw a person close to G-d. One should get into the habit of always singing a spiritual tune.  It will give you new life and send joy into your soul. Then you will be able to bind yourself to G-d. It is especially good to sing songs on the Sabbath and an the festivals and at a wedding celebrations. (Lekutai Etzot: Neginah 11)

A holy melody strengthens the forces of holiness. Impure music damages these forces and delays the coming of the Messiah. Impure music influences people to stumble and traps them in the snare of impurity. Rabbi Nachman warned that one should be very careful not to listen to this kind of music at all. The musicians who play this type of music are mainly interested in fame and money. Listening to this type of music can seriously weaken one's devotion to G-d. The music played by truly G-d-fearing musicians can inspire and strengthen one's devotion to G-d immensely. (I Lekutai Mohoran 3)

The study of Talmud at night protects one against the negative influences from impure music. (Ibid.)

A holy melody has the power to bring one to the level of prophecy. Music is the foundation of true attachment to G-d.(Ibid.)

Music sweetens the harsh decrees that come to the world. When you sing the words of the prayers in a clear voice, the Divine Presence is robed in radiant garments. This is how the harsh decrees are sweetened. (Lekutai Etzot: Neginah 7)

There are those who become trapped in a particular form of atheism from which there is no return. But the melody of a truly great Tzaddik (saint) has the power to raise the souls that have fallen even into this. (Lekutai Etzot: Negina 9)

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