November 10, 2023


A Jewish Means To Vanquish Darkness, Lighting Shabbas Candles: A Conversation With Torah Scholar Rabbi Heschel Greenberg

Hosted by

Joel David Lesses
A Jewish Means To Vanquish Darkness,  Lighting Shabbas Candles: A Conversation With Torah Scholar Rabbi Heschel Greenberg
Unraveling Religion
A Jewish Means To Vanquish Darkness, Lighting Shabbas Candles: A Conversation With Torah Scholar Rabbi Heschel Greenberg

Nov 10 2023 | 00:41:45


Show Notes

From The Lubavitcher Rebbe, Menachem Mendel Schneerson, to the Ba'al Shem Tov, to Maimonides and Moses this discussion includes topics of the security of the Jewish people and the Land of Israel and how the Jewish people can fortify their existence and safety. Rabbi Greenberg and Joel examine the best Jewish responses to the terror attack October 7th, 2023. The journey of this conversation addresses Jewish Unity, and the exiles and returns to Israel of the Jewish people, Family Purity (i.e., Niddah), Shabbas, and Kashrut (law of keeping Kosher), Gematria, examining the teaching of G-d's name and the Tetragrammatron, reducing the ego as a step in giving Tzdekah (i.e., Charity), the mind of the Teacher toward their students, the Kabbalistic teaching of the masculine and feminine energies as refined through discipline, the influence of Torah on marriage, the 613 mitvot and the Talmudic teaching of 248 postive mitzvot correlating to the 248 bones of the human body, and the 365 'negative' (i.e., 'don't do') correlating to the 365 days of the year. Also examined are the Zohar, Mishnah, Talmud, and Kabbalah and lighting Shabbas candles as a weapon to dispel darkness (i.e., Neshek). Please join us to engage in this fascinating dialogue exploring aspects of our humanity and Judaism's role in illuminating the triumph of 'Good' and creating the World as it was meant to be from the beginning


Rabbi Heschel Greenberg is one of the world’s preeminent Jewish thinkers, scholars, teachers, inspirations, and inspirers. With a sublime blend of incredible intellectual prowess, vast encyclopedic knowledge, beautifully articulated language, and resounding resonant relatability, Rabbi Greenberg has brought the highest ideas to the broadest audiences. Across half a century, Rabbi Greenberg has elevated the way people live and feel by elevating the way they think. In a world of new media, where digital waves move oceans of information across continents, Rabbi Greenberg stands out as a voice of clarity. In the fathomless sea of information, often overwhelming and confusing, Rabbi Greenberg serves as a calming conveyer of eternal ideas—an expert lighthouse directing the ships of humanity through the possibilities of life by the light of the divine.

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Episode Transcript

[00:00:00] Speaker A: So. Rabbi Greenberg, welcome to another installment of Unraveling Religion. I'm your host, Joel Lessies, and I want to welcome our audience today. I'm sitting with renowned international Torah scholar Rabbi Heschel Grinberg. Welcome, Rabbi Grinberg. How are you? [00:00:18] Speaker B: I'm doing fine, thank God. And thank you for inviting me. My pleasure and honor. [00:00:24] Speaker A: It felt a very relevant time to have a conversation concerning world events and Judaism. And I just was wondering, with everything that's transpired lately in Israel, what are some things that you might like to offer about the situation currently? [00:00:42] Speaker B: Well, it's a time that we can only talk about it with a lot of emotion, because if your brothers and sisters are massacred on a Jewish holiday, holiday of joy, and if you are human, you can't just be cerebral about it. You have to be moved, emotionally, shocked, dismayed, troubled, grieving. And then we work very hard on trying to transform the sorrow into some positive energy because we believe very strongly that everything that happens means that it's challenging us to do something. If it's a negative thing to change it, if it's a positive thing to embrace it. And we can't just let life go by us and ignore it. The Balshemtov, founder of the Hasidic Movement, said that everything that we see or hear has to serve us with a lesson in the way we serve God. There are millions of things going on around us that we don't hear or see. They're not relevant to us. But if something happens that you see, you see an accident, your eyes beheld something that was unusual, you can't just say, well, it's not my family that was involved. It wasn't me involved. I didn't cause the accident. I wasn't the victim of it. I could ignore it. No, God wants you to pause for a moment and say, why did God want me to see this? What's the lesson? And could be many lessons, and every person has to find the lesson that strengthens his or her commitment to being servant of God. [00:02:23] Speaker A: One of the things that we share, and it's been very important to me the influence of the Rebbe Manacha Mandel Schneersen and his influence on the visionary leadership for our generation of just the infusion of new energies, new life, new vision about what Judaism is, can be, and where it's headed. And I'm just wondering, from your own perspective, what you feel the rabbit may have felt or said about the events that just have transpired. [00:02:55] Speaker B: Well, I can only go by what he said in the past when we were able to hear him speak. And there are several things here. Number one, how to respond to a tragedy of this magnitude, especially what we can do to prevent a tragedy like this from happening again. What are our vulnerabilities and what is the positive side of this? The Rebbe was the most positive person I have ever heard from or seen. Always looking for the positive in everything, but not ignoring the negative, not ignoring the sad things. So I'll start with a negative and then go over to the positive. The Rebbe was very strongly, spoke very strongly about Israel's security. This developed in a way that proved the Rebbe's point that if you give up your defense of the land, they will come in there and they will just wreak havoc. The Rebbe was also very strong about belief that Israel belongs to the Jewish people. Not because of the Balfour Declaration, not because of the UN partition plan, not because the UN gave or America or the other countries of the world said you can have some of the land. Those are all arguments that are not going to sway anyone. The Rebbe was very much in favor of telling the truth. The truth is that Judaism believes that the land of Israel was created by God. He gave it to the Canaanites and he took it from them and gave it to the Jewish people. The Jewish people were not always excited about conquering the land. They were commanded to do it because God wanted them. And history proves the point that Israel is not a land for anyone else, because in the 3000 years plus that we've had the land of Israel, no other nation was able to colonize it. The Romans destroyed the temple and they took over Israel. What do they do with it? They didn't do anything with it. The Arabs didn't do anything with it either. It was a wasteland. Maimonides visited Israel in the twelveTH century. He thought of living there and he said it's impossible to live there. The land was overrun with all sorts of bandits and wild animals. It was a jungle. So the Rebbe was very strong in telling the truth that the land of Israel is ours. It was given to us. Not because we took it or we wanted it, because we have no other choice. It's our obligation. But then the Rebbe would talk about these tragic events, because there are many tragic events that they're all harbingers of the messianic age, they're all preparations for the time when the world will become a world of peace and unity and holiness and goodness, and the miracles that we witnessed in the Six Day War. For example, the Rebbe says that was what the Bible refers to as God is going to sound the chauffeur, the ram's horn, to herald the coming of Mashiach and the final redemption. Well, the Rebbe took that metaphorically. Chauffeur makes a lot of noise, it awakens people. The Six Day War was a miracle that awakened people. And so I guess he would say the same thing about this tragedy as well. This was a wake up call for the Jewish people. But I think the Rebbe would say another thing, and this is only, I can only speculate what the Rebbe would say because he didn't speak about this period specifically but if you look at what happened before the attack, israel was split into two factions. Israel was never as disunited, as split into two as it did before. And the enemies of Israel took note of that, and they said it openly. They said it, israel is at its weakest point in history, and that they attacked because they knew that we were vulnerable. So what's the antidote for that? The antidote for that is unity. And that's exactly what happened. Israel has never been as united as it is now. Maybe in the Six Day War, maybe that was I remember the Six Day War, I remember the unity. But I think this is just as united, if not more. The challenge, the Rebbe would say, is, don't only be united in the times of crisis, take it to the next level. But even when the crisis is over, and I hope it's over very soon, you have to maintain that unity. Does that mean you have to agree with everyone? No, of course not. Jews don't have never agreed with one another. Sometimes we disagree with ourselves. We're always going back and forth arguing, and we're always looking at all angles. And some differences are illegitimate, of course, but some differences are legitimate differences that reasonable people could disagree and disagree stridently, but you don't become an enemy of the other person. You don't call them names that they're evil or this just because you have a strong disagreement. [00:07:48] Speaker A: Right. [00:07:48] Speaker B: That type of unity is the challenge, really, that I think this event has put in our in our lap. [00:07:57] Speaker A: And so, during the course of unraveling religion, which began in about November 2007, I've interviewed a few rabbis. One was Rabbi Gadiah Gerfine from Israel, from Jerusalem, and he taught me in one of our we did three different conversations, and one of them, he taught me about the four rivers and the four exiles. And I'm just wondering, I know that we're in the time of returning from what number? Exile? That's the fourth. [00:08:26] Speaker B: This is the last ways of counting it. If you leave Egypt out of the exile, egypt is the mother of all exiles, so it's sometimes not counted. After Egypt, we go through four exiles. The four exiles are usually the way they're counted are the Babylonian exile that destroyed the First Temple. Then the Persians took over. Under their auspices, we built the Second Temple, but under Persian domination. And during that period, Haman, the prime minister of Persia, launched this plot to have all Jews annihilated. And then you had the Greek empire. That's why we have the holiday of Chanukah. They tried to impose Greek values on Israel. And then with the destruction of the Second Temple, that's called the Roman exile. And even though the Romans are no longer in control, jewish literature, Talmud, and others, consider everything that happened after Rome to be an extension of the Roman Empire. [00:09:22] Speaker A: Okay. [00:09:22] Speaker B: And the Roman exile. So we're in this exile? Close to 2000 years. Yeah, these are the four exiles. [00:09:29] Speaker A: Four exiles. But Rabbi Gadalia Gerfon correlated those were foreshadowed by the four rivers. [00:09:39] Speaker B: The four rivers. There's a lot of discussion of a lot of fours that we find in different places that correspond to the four exiles. [00:09:47] Speaker A: And so just so for the audience, because of maybe Gamatria and the association with every character having both a sound and utterance and a numeric value. Could you talk a little bit about the number four and what its significance is in Judaism? [00:10:05] Speaker B: Okay. Judaism, especially in Jewish mysticism, numbers are very significant. If we were told that we're not allowed to communicate with words, we have to use numbers. We can do it. It might have a hard time because sometimes numbers can have different meanings. But if I give you a number 613, you know, I'm talking about the number of commandments in the Torah. If I say seven, well, seven emotional traits. And there are so many other things we could communicate with numbers. So four is not just a nice number. We refer to the four matriarchs. But four is also representative of every process from biological to intellectual to spiritual. Goes through four stages, leaving, giving, sadaka. Giving charity is referred to as something that happens in four stages. So I'll use that as an example to illustrate the point when a person gives charity. The traditional concept of charity is taking a coin out of your wallet and giving it to the poor person. So the coin is a small item that represents the letter yud, the letter yud of God's name. Now, you put it in your hand. Your hand has five fingers. The letter Hay, which is the second letter of God's name. Hay is five. Now, when you stretch out your hand and you create one long stretched arm that looks like the letter Vove, the third letter of God's name. And then when the poor person takes the coin in his hand, there's another five. That's the second letter hey. Of God's name. So the process of giving charity, you go through these four stages, but it goes deeper than that. The first thing that happens when you want to help someone, you're into your own existence, that's humans are they're self absorbed. In order to give something to someone else, you have to reduce your own footstep. You have to limit yourself, contract yourself. That's what I was concerned with, Timson, which is the letter yud. Yud is the smallest letter in the alphabet, like the coin is the yud. Well, psychologically, when you reduce your own identity, your own ego, because if you're just absorbed with yourself, why would I want to give you something if it's my money, why would I part with it? So you have to first reduce your own ego, withdraw your own presence from your mind. But you can't do anything just because you have no ego. You then have to develop a plan of what you want to do. Now, for the other person, it doesn't have to be just giving money. It could be helping someone. You have to develop a plan. First of all, you have to develop an idea who you're helping, how you're helping, when you're helping. And that's the second stage. That's the letter hay. The letter Hay has expansion. It's one wide horizontal line with a vertical line on one side and another vertical line on the other side. So the hay is representative of developing a model, a system. But then that's all in theory. You have to then translate it into an actual plan. You have to actually give it, do it, execute the plan. That's the vove. The vove is a line that stretches. That means you're extending the plan that you have in your mind to the outside. And then there is the fourth stage, which is the recipient. If the recipient is not ready to accept your help, you can't help them. If an alcoholic is not willing to change, then you can do all the good work that you're doing. But they have to be ready. That's the second hay. Second letter hay, the expansion of the recipient. [00:14:06] Speaker A: Yes. [00:14:07] Speaker B: And if you just have three, it's an incomplete name of God. It's an incomplete process. [00:14:13] Speaker A: Yeah. You need each one of the four. [00:14:15] Speaker B: Also, intellectually, when you're giving a class, you're a professor, and you're trying to educate students who don't know the subject. The first thing you have to do is take away your own understanding of the subject because it's too deep for the students if you're going to just tell them what you have in your mind. If Einstein is just going to talk to his college students the way he have it in his own mind, he would overwhelm them. So you have to have first symptom. You have to contract your own knowledge and develop a blank in your own mind. Get rid of what you know. Then you have to bring it back in a level that can relate to the student. Then you have to transmit it, and the student has to then absorb it. So you have four levels in every process. Biological, the fetus starts off as a zygote. It's a small entity. It has no form and no shape. Then it develops into something larger in the first 40 days. The Talmud says that's when the fetus becomes a more substantive you'll find a heartbeat. Then the rest of the nine months of gestation, it becomes fully developed. And then there's birth. There are four stages. I once gave a talk on this four stages, and the gastroenterologist said, wow, this is what we teach in gastroenterology. So everything why is everything in the wherever you find patterns of four, it's because that's how it is with God and creation of the world. It also goes through those four stages. That's why the Kabbalah talks about four worlds, four spiritual worlds corresponding to the four letters of God's name. So everything is divided into four. Now, if you want to divide it further, then of course the Kabbalah is divided into ten, but those ten could also be divided into four parts more generally. [00:16:06] Speaker A: So a couple of things that came to mind as you were describing the process of four and the notion of I guess that that's an aspect of seductive. Correct. [00:16:14] Speaker B: It's one manifestation of the four stages. [00:16:17] Speaker A: But what came to my mind as you were describing this was the vast act of creation of Hashem himself. For us, that the coin, the hand, the extension, and the receipt is the physical realm that we are in. Is this not correct that God has Himself given us this, and we are the recipients of what he has given? And what ties this together for me is in 1994, I did a summer program at Par Days Yeshiva in Jerusalem. A summer program. And we studied the tractate on Shabbat. [00:16:58] Speaker B: Which starts off with there's two or four two forms of carrying that are really yeah, yeah. [00:17:07] Speaker A: The receipt or offering of an exchange from inside the home to outside the home, and vice versa, how the owner of the house gives to the poor person outside the home. And so I just was wondering if. [00:17:22] Speaker B: That also said the Kabbal. Kabbalists say that that Mishnah, which talks about two that are four are referring corresponds to God's name that has four letters. And the two that name of God, referred to as the Tetragrammaton, actually has another name of God embedded in it. That's two letters. [00:17:47] Speaker A: Sure. [00:17:47] Speaker B: The yud. And the he is also an independent name of God. And then there's the four letters. So there's two that are four. [00:17:53] Speaker A: Yeah. Which corresponds to ishanisha right. I mean, in a certain kind of way, I would guess. [00:18:00] Speaker B: Well, no, ishanisha is the yud, and the first two letters. [00:18:04] Speaker A: Okay. And just ishanisha the love, and the. [00:18:08] Speaker B: Hay refers to the offspring. [00:18:10] Speaker A: Oh, okay. And just for the audience, ish. And Isha. [00:18:15] Speaker B: Okay. In Hebrew, the word for man is ish word for woman is isha, and each one has a letter in it. One of the letters of God's name, the word Ish has a yud in it, and the word Isha has a hay. Now, if you take those two letters out of those words, the word spells h, fire, energy. There's masculine energy and there's feminine energy, and they can be very destructive. [00:18:45] Speaker A: Yes. [00:18:45] Speaker B: That's why marriages I don't know the statistics, but I think a good percentage of murders happen between the people who. [00:18:53] Speaker A: Are the closest unbridled passions. [00:18:55] Speaker B: Ish and isha right. So the Talmud says you don't even have to go to Kabbalah. The Talmud says this, that if the marriage, if the man and the woman have the yud and the hay, God's name in them, then you have a beautiful marriage. You have a very holy marriage and the two energies complement each other instead of clashing with one another. But if you take the Yuda Behe out of the marriage, if you take God out of it, then they become two very powerful energies that can only destroy one another. [00:19:26] Speaker A: And so brings to mind a couple of things. Now, prior to the creation of the physical world, there were two kinds of competing energies, whether or not I don't remember the name of it, but there was sort of the very forceful energy and the Godly energy. [00:19:43] Speaker B: They're both godly energies. They're called the world of tohu chaos and the World of correction. Yeah, the World of Tohu is a higher world, actually. It's with very powerful energy. Yes, but with very limited vessels. That means that the energy could not be channeled. Yes, it's like plugging an appliance into a 220. [00:20:11] Speaker A: Right. [00:20:12] Speaker B: When it's not made for that, it's a twelve volt. What? [00:20:15] Speaker A: When it's a twelve volt, you plug. [00:20:17] Speaker B: The 220 in, you're going to it's not good. Have an explosion. That's what happened to the World of Tohu. That's a spiritual world where the energy was more than the receptacle, the instrument. Then there's the World of Tycoon, where the energy is not as strong, it's not as potent, but the vessels are very ample vessels. They can adequately transmit and channel the energy. We are products of the world of tikun. Humanity is tikun, but physical matter around us comes from the World of Tohu. [00:20:57] Speaker A: Oh, interesting. [00:20:58] Speaker B: So we get why do we eat, for example, if you think about it, why do we eat? Because if we wouldn't eat, we wouldn't survive. But why did God create a system where why would a human being have to depend on food which has no mind, has no soul? It's just food. And the answer is no, it's not true. The food that we eat comes from a higher source, from the world of chaos, very powerful energy. And when we eat, it energizes our soul. But that's why Judaism food has to be kosher. We have to recite a blessing to thank God before we eat. We have to eat with the intention that we're going to use the energy to do good. And that way we're able to capture that superior power of Tohu and internalize it in a safe and peaceful way. Internalizing it without it wreaking havoc on us. So in other words, that's why we have a craving for food. Where does hunger come from? God created a system that we are hungry, otherwise we wouldn't survive. But there's a deeper reason for it, because the soul of the human being recognizes the spark of holiness in the food and therefore it develops a sense of craving of hunger for the food. What are we really hungry about? The Balshem Tov once said we're not hungry for the food, we're hungry for the spark of the world of chaos that the food has, that we want to capture that spark. [00:22:34] Speaker A: Yeah, that's so so in reading about those two worlds, hashem wanted the blending of those two worlds. Is that not correct? [00:22:44] Speaker B: The ultimate goal is that the world of see, each world has a deficiency. The world of tohu chaos has very, very limited vessels, not very good wires to conduct the very powerful, very powerful energy, but not very powerful instruments. The world of Tikun has very good instruments, very safe and secure, but the energy is limited. The ultimate goal, and that's what will happen in the Messianic Age. The two worlds will fuse, and we're working at that. Every time we do a mitzvah, we're actually creating that mechanism for it to. [00:23:23] Speaker A: Happen for a moment. Rabbi Greenberg, if we may return to this notion. I wanted to talk about this at greater length when we spoke about the yud and the hay of the Ishanisha and how without the yud and the hay of Ishanisha, or man and woman without the divine element, as we said, it's sort of an unbridled passion that is uncontrolled. But I was wondering if you could speak about maybe a little bit about the influence of Torah, about how we draw the yud and the hei into a marriage so that we elevate the union of man and woman or ishanisha to a level of sanctity. [00:24:14] Speaker B: Voltora is the philosophy and the guidance book. When we follow the teachings of the Torah, number one, it gives us a discipline. So if someone asks, well, what exactly is Torah? One would answer simply, it's a discipline. And when you're disciplined, your energy is safe. A little child doesn't have discipline, so when it gets upset, it throws a tantrum. Adults also throw tantrums, maybe in a different way, but people commit crimes because of tantrums that they have they can't handle when things don't go their way. [00:25:01] Speaker A: Yes. [00:25:02] Speaker B: So if we just viewed Torah exclusively as a if Torah would just be viewed as a discipline that would have tremendous power to channel the energy that we have in our lives, and especially when we have two competing energies, husband and wife, one person and another. Relationships are the most important aspect of humanity. [00:25:28] Speaker A: Yes. [00:25:28] Speaker B: If we don't have relationships, then our humanity is deficient. But relationships have tremendous amount of potential conflicts that can destroy the relationship and destroy others and part of the world along with it. [00:25:46] Speaker A: So you and I have been you've been teaching there. I've been studying with you a long time. And one of the kernels or core takeaways for me from our time of intermittent teaching is that there are essentially three foundational elements to family, marriage, which is the foundation of humanity. Judaism, Israel is the foundation of the home. Those three things, as I understand it, are nida. You're talking about Shabbat and kashrut. [00:26:19] Speaker B: Yeah. Well, three of the most fundamental practices that a Jewish home would be sufficient if it didn't have those intact, those are observing of the Sabbath. Shabbat keeping up kosher and family purity. What those three things do is family purity obviously brings purity into a relationship. The relationship is not just a sexual, sensual, materialistic existence. There's some holiness in a relationship. Judaism believes that sexuality is a very holy thing. It's like use an analogy. It would be like a jewel that you would want to put it in a beautiful setting. You're not going to just leave the jewel around to get soiled in the dirt. Same thing with sexuality. It's considered to be very holy. It's God's most powerful force that he put into humanity. So family purity regulates sexuality in the marriage. [00:27:20] Speaker A: What else does family purity include? [00:27:23] Speaker B: Well, family purity means simply that during a woman's period and seven days beyond that, there is separation, physical separation, which has the byproduct and benefit that couples learn to communicate without physical intimacy. You can develop spiritual intimacy if your whole existence is only physical and intimate, physically intimate, then you don't develop a communication style and an ability to relate on a non physical level. So then there's a separation for seven days after the woman's period. And at that point the woman goes to immerse herself in a mikvah, in a ritual bath that symbolizes purification. Some people look at it as she's going back into amniotic fluid, a rebirth of sorts. There are different ways of explaining it, but that's essentially the family purity. And shabbat is simple. We don't work on the Saturday from Friday night to Saturday night. It's a day that we are devoted to something that is holy. We rise above the mundane. We eat. Yes, we have. We enjoy ourselves. But we're disconnected from the physical world to a great extent. And I think today, more than any time in history, six days of the week, god says, you're my partners in creation. I want you to work. I want you to change the world one day. Recognize you're not in control. I'm in control. And on a higher, deeper level. It's a day when the whole world is elevated into God's thought. During the week, God creates the world through speech. He's projecting out of himself. Shabbos god creates the world through his thought. The whole world is in God's thought. That's one way of looking at it that hasidic thought, uses. Then we have kosher food. Kosher food makes the mundane holy. Nothing more mundane than food. We depend on it. We engage in it constantly more than any other thing, any other exercise. And by making food kosher, we're able to elevate it. We make the world around us holy. Most people think there are Ten Commandments. There is no such thing as Ten Commandments. [00:29:50] Speaker A: Right? [00:29:51] Speaker B: But please don't hang up, don't tune out because I have to explain what I mean. There is a body of ten in Exodus and Deuteronomy which are referred to in the Torah as ten statements. But those ten statements have more than ten commandments in them. There are ten categories of commandments, but those are not the totality of commandments either. In the Torah, the Talmud says there are 613 commandments. Now, if you start counting them, the bad news is there's more than 613. So where do they get the number 613? So, obviously, sometimes some commandments are consolidated within others. So the total number is 613, and if you add six plus one plus three, it gives you ten. So the basis of the 613 are the ten statements. [00:30:43] Speaker A: How many bones are there in the human body? [00:30:47] Speaker B: Well, the Mishnah says there are 248 of the 613 commandments. They're divided into two categories 248 positive, do this, do this, and 365 negative. The ones the things that we're not allowed to you're not allowed to steal, you're not allowed to murder, and so on. So the Talmud says the 248 correspond to the bones in the body, and the mission actually enumerates all the bones in the body. And then the Talmud says the 365 corresponds to the 365 days of the year, of the solar year. The Zohar says the 365 correspond to what it calls giddim. Giddim is usually translated as sinews. Maybe it's blood vessels, maybe it'sinews but there's something it's not clear what it refers to, but there's some part of the body that corresponds to the number 365. So it's understood that when we fulfill all the 615 commandments, it energizes our entire body, our entire being. [00:31:48] Speaker A: I mean, it's practical. You can trace it rationally, but there's an intuitive element that is very validating. Curious if we could talk about Torah and the three Shabbos family purity and Kashrut his means or ways of responding to what happened with the territory. [00:32:13] Speaker B: Okay, if you asked me in the beginning of our conversation what the Rebbe would say and I didn't mention everything, but the Rebbe would respond by saying it's a time to strengthen Jewish unity, of course, but also a Jewish observance by doing as many mitzvahs that we can do. But the Rebbe would single out specific mitzvahs. Number one, putting on fillin. Putting on Tefillin, it says in the Talmud, creates an atmosphere, an aura of respect for the person who wears the tfillin. So the Talmud says, Where do we have the name of God on us? It refers to the tfillin because the tfillin contains scriptures that contain God's name many times over. So that wearing Tefillin creates an aura of respect and fear, if need be, to start up with the Jewish people. And the Rebbe started right before the Six Day War, a Tefillin campaign to get all Jewish boys over 13 to put on Tefillin. The Rebbe also spoke other occasions about having a mazuza on your doorposts, because the Torah tells us the mazuza is a protection giving, sadaka giving. Charity is considered to be a powerful force that protects people prayer. Of course, saying psalms in particular, is a powerful. Force lighting Shabbos candles. Women are required to light a candle or two candles or any number of candles before sunset Friday, before the onset of the Sabbath. And it's interesting that the Hebrew phrase for Shabbos candles are nerot shabbat kodesh, the candles of the Holy Sabbath. The initials of those three words spells the word neshek. Neshek means weapons that our weapons are lighting of the Shabbat skins. Why are they a weapon? Because all evil in this world is darkness, the absence of light. How do you get rid of darkness? You can't take a broom light. You have to turn on the light. So when you have a mitzvah that involves actually lighting candles, physical light, that represents the spiritual idea of light more so than any other particular mitzvah, and that dispels the darkness in the world. So these are things that the Rebbe would recommend doing in order to get protection for the people and strengthen their spiritual power to vanquish the darkness and the evil. What's going on is that terrorism works. That's why it still exists. Because Noman was talking about two states until Arafat started to attack hijack planes and other things, and then the world starts talking about two state solution. Now, if there wouldn't have been terrorism, people wouldn't be talking about a two state solution. But even with terrorism, why is it Israel's burden? [00:35:26] Speaker A: I mean, and if you want even just to interject this quickly, not only are you talking about providing a population with land and support, israel's supposed to do that, but they're surrounding nations that won't even absorb the population itself. [00:35:44] Speaker B: What they want, we can't give them. Well, let's compromise. That's what america says. Okay, so Israel compromised, it withdrew from Gaza and it destroyed the lives of 10,000 Jews. What did we get? Tens of thousands of rockets. And now this massacre. They destroyed whatever we left them. We left them with agricultural sources that would be very good for their economy. What do they do with it? They destroyed it right away. We let them bring in tons and tons of concrete. What do they do with it? They didn't build homes and hospitals and schools. They build tunnels, terror tunnels. [00:36:22] Speaker A: There's no one leading that community towards constructive outcomes and toward building towards something and toward raising things up. I'm wondering if we could talk a little bit in framing all of this with divine providence, what that is in Judaism and why it would be important for people to learn and understand. [00:36:45] Speaker B: Well, the Tov taught, and this is a departure, one could say from Maimonides, although Maimonides has some people try to reconcile Maimonides with Tov, that God is watching over every little detail of creation. If a leaf flutters in the wind and lands in a different place, that was all part of God's plan, and it's connected to the whole overall plan of the whole universe. The universe is pretty big. It's a vast universe and yet a little leaf moving on Earth is not even a speck of dust compared to the Earth, and certainly not even a speck of dust compared to the universe. Yet God is in control of it and he's watching over it, and it affects the whole universe. That's the basis for the Tov's teaching that I mentioned at the beginning, that everything that we hear or see has to teach us a lesson because the fact that you heard it or saw it means that God put it in your consciousness. There's a reason for everything. So everything that happens now, it doesn't mean that we know the reason for everything. So we sometimes have to be creative in thinking of what lessons we can learn. I remember the Rebbe would take every event that happened when they reached the Moon. First they orbited the Moon, and then the Rebbe will teach lessons from that. And every major thing that happens in the world, you have to look at it and say, what is this going to teach me? Because God is presenting it to you. There are no coincidences. [00:38:26] Speaker A: And so this is for my own curiosity, but that I assume was pretty revolutionary considering before the Balsham Tov influenced Judaism and hasidus afterward hasidus to me, has not just a tremendous level of observance, but a profound mystical component. [00:38:50] Speaker B: Before the Tov, people understood that there is Divine Providence, but not pratit, not on every detail. There's Divine Providence on humanity, but not on everything else in creation. There's only a very general providence. That was the understanding before the Tov that's at least some looked at it that way. Today there's not a Jew in the world that is steeped in Judaism. Even if they're not identified as follower of the Tob, there's not a Jew in the world who doesn't accept that. That's now the accepted thing that God watches over everything, every little detail. So that's a very fundamental teaching because it brings meaning into everything that happens in our lives. Nothing is haphazard, nothing is just coincidental. [00:39:43] Speaker A: I think in my own spiritual explorations I've come to my curiosity has led me to an understanding of for myself intuitively how true that is. That if you can take time to meditate, reflect, ask why, for any event long enough if one really reflects very deeply introspects, reflects contemplates praise about any event. Eventually I look at it from my own understanding, which is not refined, but I look at it as sort of like the light of the event is husked. You husk the event, the light is freed. And the wisdom that that light offers is embedded in our experience that we can offer to community. And I feel like that's kind of the whole point of why one is able to understand that the world is there is Divine Providence and that there is an event, a lesson, a meaning in everything that happens, right? [00:40:58] Speaker B: Everything has the ability to teach us something. Ethics of the Father says that a wise person is someone who learns from everyone. The Balshem tov took that to mean not just learns from everyone, but to learn from everything. Every experience is a teacher. So while we contribute to the world, the world contributes to us is a reciprocal relationship. [00:41:30] Speaker A: Bye bye. Greenberg, thank you so much for taking time with me. [00:41:32] Speaker B: Thank you for inviting me. [00:41:34] Speaker A: It was a wonderful talk. I hope maybe we can do it again sometime in the future. [00:41:37] Speaker B: God willing. Yes. Better times. [00:41:41] Speaker A: Better times. I'm sure they're coming.

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