Secrets of the Torah with Rav Berland: Parshat Vayikra, 5777

Secrets of the Torah with Rav Berland: Parshat Vayikra, 5777

Everything is a gift from Heaven
Secrets of the Torah with Rav Berland: Parshat Vayikra, 5777



(Translated from the book Aish Moharan from the teachings of Rav Berland Shlit”a[2])

The Midrash Raba[3] teaches, “‘And Hashem called out to Moshe and spoke to him,’ from here the sages said, ‘every Torah Scholar[4] that is not mindful[5], a decaying animal is better than him.’ Where do you learn this? Go and learn this from Moshe the father of wisdom and the father of prophesy who took the Nation of Israel out of Egypt.

By his hand were done many miracles in Egypt and incredible miracles during the splitting of the sea, and he went up to the highest heights in Heaven and brought down the Torah.  Furthermore, Moshe dealt in constructing the Mishkan (the Holy Tabernacle).  And despite all of this, he did not go into the holiest place until Hashem (G-d) called out to him and spoke to him.”


Moshe did not understand why Hashem would want to speak with him.  Moshe sees himself as such a lowly person that he does not understand, why Hashem would want to speak with him.  Moshe is building the Mishkan (the Holy Tabernacle) yet he tries to stay on the side and let others do it.

Who really built the Mishkan (the Holy Tabernacle)?  Moshe built it, and he did everything for it yet when the time comes to go inside the Mishkan (the Holy Tabernacle) and perform the holy service to Hashem Moshe is the only one in the whole Nation of Israel that does not want to go into Mishkan (the Holy Tabernacle).

Moshe says, “I am not fitting to enter the Mishkan.  Who am I to set foot in the Mishkan, who am I to enter the Mishkan?  I am not suitable at all to go into the Mishkan.  I am a person with a lot of flaws and imperfections.  Really, I am just a simple woodworker, and everyone else in the Nation of Israel used great wisdom and skill to build the different parts of the Mishkan and all I did was set and connect a few things.”

From here the Midrash teaches, “‘every Torah Scholar that is not mindful, a decaying animal is better than him,’ since a person needs to understand that he does not deserve anything and therefore he should be happy with anything Hashem (G-d) gives him!


Moshe Rabeinu[6] is the father of all the prophets, and he took the Nation of Israel out of Egypt!  He brought upon the Egyptians the 10 plagues and upon the crossing of the Red Sea Moshe brought the clouds of glory. Moshe brought the manna[7] and all the fowl[8] and Miriam’s well from heaven for the Nation of Israel to eat and drink.  Moshe went up to the highest Heavens and was there for 40 days and 40 nights again, and again, and again until he successfully brought the Torah down to the nation of Israel.

And after all this Moshe built the whole Mishkan and then in the end when it is time to go inside and do the service of the Mishkan, Moshe does not want to step foot inside it, he is not ready to go inside it.  Moshe says, “There is no way I am going to go inside the Mishkan, the holy service of the Mishkan is not for me, it is too holy for me.”  In the whole Nation of Israel, Moshe is the only one that does not want to go into the Mishkan.


‘Every Torah Scholar[9] that is not mindful[10], a decaying animal is better than him.’  What does it mean to be ‘mindful?’  Being mindful is possessing humility and lowliness.  Practically, being mindful means knowing that I do not deserve anything.  Imagine a person that brings down Torah from the heavens for 40 days and then for another 40 days and then for another 40 days without eating and drinking for 120 days.

A person is up in the heavens without food and drink, he performs the ten plagues, he splits the sea, he vanquishes[11] the entire Egyptian army in the Red Sea, he takes 600,000 slaves out of Egypt on clouds of Glory with fowl and mana to eat, and he brings Miriam’s well for everyone to drink.  Yet in the end he says, “What did I really do?  What is the big deal? I am an extremely lowly person that did not do anything.  The truth is Hashem (G-d) did all this since everything comes from Hashem. I did not do anything.”

If a person does not have this mindset, that everything comes from Hashem then he does not really have any mindset at all and therefore the Midrash explains, “A decaying animal is better than him.”


This was the mindset of Moshe as well as the mindset of the Primordial Man[12] before his sin.  If the Primordial Man would not have sinned, then all mankind would know that everything is a gift from Heaven.  A person can speak this is a gift from Heaven.  A person can learn Torah this is a gift from Heaven.  He should know it is not from him.  A person goes up to Heaven and brought down the Torah, he should know this is a gift from Hashem (G-d).  He should know that he did not do anything.  And this was Moshe! Since he would always be thinking, “I did something?  No way, I did not do anything because everything is from Hashem.”


make a prayer

A PRAYER[13] FOR HUMILITY:  Ribono Shel Olam – Master of the Universe, the all powerful, please give me the merit to be humble and lowly to live with humility and patience.  Please give me the merit to forgive all those who insult me and to be the one that is made fun of and not to mock or make fun of others.  That I should make my difficulties loved and be happy about them.

Please Hashem (G-d), listen to my prayers, have pity and mercy on me. Give me the merit to guard my eyes and to not get angry at any thing in the whole world. Especially not to be angry at my father or my mother, and may I merit to achieve true lowliness that will allow me to merit to reveal the Primordial Rock, which is the place where the prayers go up to Heaven from Yerushalim.

Hashem, help me and give me the merit to run away from honor entirely!  Hashem, draw upon us holy honor for the sake of your name in truth.  Honor that comes from the true Tzadik that has the power to draw everything to him which gives him the ability to build the Mishkan (the Holy Tabernacle) always.  By this Tzadik rests all the true holy honor and all the elders of the Nation of Israel as well as the Rosh Yeshiva’s and the judges, and the Rabbis, from the smallest to the biggest all receive their honor and greatness from this Tzadik.

Please give us the merit to have a place in your holy honor Hashem and by possessing your holy honor, may we reveal and sanctify your great honor in this World and all the worlds always.


A young woman from a family of Gur Chassidim suffered from an intense flu, and was in a coma in the hospital in intensive care, Heaven Forbid.  Her single sister had become Breslov and was learning in Rav Stern’s seminary and she went to the Rabbaneat, Rav Berland Shlit”a’s wife, and asked her how to get in touch with the Rav to get a blessing for her sister’s health.

The Rabbaneat told her to pass the message onto the Rav’s Gabai since he can be trusted to pass the message onto the Rav.  She called the Rav’s Gabai and told him about her sister’s coma due to the intense flu and a day later the Rav’s Gabai brought her a recording of the Rav saying that this woman needs to bring a pidyon[14] of 10,000 shekels to the Rav to be saved from her flu.  Her sister began calling friends and family to raise the money for the pidyon.

This woman and her sister were from a strong family of Gur Chassidim and while Gur Chassidim strongly believe in pidyons, it was not easy to convince them to give the pidyon to the Rav, a Breslov Chassid. However, she reminded them that the Beis Yisrael, the former Gur Rebbe, would bring his pidyons to Shmuel Shapira, a simple Breslov Chassid[15] and then the whole family began pitching in to bring what they could for the pidyon.

Quickly, after three or four days the sister had collected 7,000 shekels and passed it onto the Rav’s Gabai.  Yet the last 3,000 shekels was extremely difficult, and several days passed and she could not bring anything.  On the 21 of Adar (2) 5776 the woman’s flu took a drastic turn for the worst!  The percent of oxygen getting to her lungs was rapidly falling and if it reached 0 percent then the doctors said they had no solutions to keep her alive.

The sister called the Rav’s Gabai and asked him to ask the Rav what to do about the last 3,000 shekels.  The Rav sent a recording back saying, “The situation is serious, bring the money to my Gabai and it will be with me within 5 minutes.”  Rav’s Gabai was not in Jerusalem that day but instructed her to drop the money off at a certain moneychanger and to call him immediately afterwards.

The sister ran to the ATM and took out her last 500 shekels and then all her friends from her seminary pitched in and gave her 2,500 shekels.  The sister sprinted to the moneychanger and dropped off the final portion of the pidyon. Then she jumped into a cab[16] and sped off to the hospital to be with her hospitalized sister.

On the way she called the Rav’s Gabai and said the last 3,000 shekels was dropped off by the moneychanger.  The Rav’s Gabai told her to wait a minute, and hung up.  He called back and asked, “How much money did you leave by the moneychanger?”  She said, 3,000 shekels.  He told her to hold on again, and then he got back on the line and said, “Yes, everything arrived and it is by me.  I will let the Rav know you finished the pidyon.”

After exactly 5 minutes, the Rav’s Gabai called her back with a message from the Rav.  The Rav’s Gabai began explaining that the Rav said, something about an experimental medicine, the Noam Elimelach, and Tikkun Haklali, but the sister did not understand what he was saying at all.

He played her the Rav’s message and she heard the Rav say, “tell [the name of her sister] to take the experimental medicine which will work in the merit of the Noam Elimelach since today is his Yortzeit, and I am going to say 10 Tikkun Haklalis for her that have not been said from the beginning of time.”  The sister was all confused, “What experimental medicine?”

When she arrived at the hospital, the situation was grim.  She saw her parents and told them, “The Rav said to give her the experimental medicine and that in the merit of the Noam Elimelach she will be okay.”  Her parents looked uneasily at one another and said, the doctors mentioned some kind of experimental medicine but it is completely unknown and seems extremely dangerous.  Her parents consulted with the doctor again about the medicine and the doctor simply informed them that they needed to sign a waiver before using it since it is so experimental.

However, her parents believed in the advice of Tzadikim and said, “Let’s do it in the merit of the Noam Elimelach!”  Her mother and father signed on the waiver and the doctor began administering the experimental medicine, and within moments, the percent of oxygen reaching her sister’s lungs increased.


The sister left the hospital and returned back to her dormitory about two hours later (around 4:00 PM) since her sister’s condition was now stable.  That night (at around 6:45 PM) she got a call from her parents that, 60% of the oxygen was now reaching her sister’s lungs!

As the situation continued to improve, the doctors said that it looks like this woman should be out of her coma in a few days and that she should be able to leave the hospital in a week or so.  Yet, within a day and a half, this woman left the hospital on her feet and within a week she was already back to her normal schedule.


Reb Nosson[17] writes, “The most important healing for a sick person is only through a pidyon.  Furthermore, the Torah did not give permission for doctors to heal people except after the giving of a pidyon.  Meaning, after a pidyon is given on behalf of a sick person the harsh judgments on that person are mitigated and removed from him, and then the doctor can heal through medicinal treatments.”

But why does a pidyon have to be with money?  What is the significance of giving a pidyon to the Tzadik as opposed to just getting a blessing from him?  Reb Nosson[18] explains, “When one gives Tzadaka to the extremely humble Tzadik, then he receives the Tzadik’s blessings immediately.”  Also, Rav Gad[19] said over, “When the Tzadik goes up to mitigate someone’s judgment and to plead for their mercy, the first thing the Heavenly Courts ask the Tzadik is, ‘What business do you have to get involved with this person’s judgment?’

And the Tzadik answers, ‘They gave me money so our souls are connected.’”  On a simple level, this is like when a person pays for groceries and as they are leaving the clerk says, “Hey, get back here with those groceries!” and the person responds, “No, these are my groceries.  I paid for them.”  He forms a connection to these groceries from the fact he gave his own hard-earned money for them.  So too by the Tzadik, by giving the Tzadik a pidyon or Tzadaka one forms a clear physical connection to him, and this connection to the Tzadik immediately[20] brings a person to a connection with Hashem (G-d)[21].

“Since everything was created for mankind so that mankind would raise everything up and connect everything to its spiritual source which is Hashem (G-d)…And if a person is a Tzadik, then his intention in everything he does is for the sake of Hashem.”  Therefore, when one connects to that Tzadik living in complete humility, meaning he only thinks of serving Hashem and not his own vices, he immediately connects to Hashem (G-d)[22] who is “the trusted and merciful healer,” and “the healer of all flesh,” and the one that “heals the sick.”


Are men obligated to immerse in a mikve (ritual bath) the day before Passover[23]?  “Today, it is not an obligation but a widespread custom [to immerse in the mikve before Passover].  Even if a man does not immerse on erev (the day before) Shabbos, he should make an effort to do so on erev Yom Tov.”

Erev Passover, the first-borns fast[24] “to remember the miracle that they were saved during the tenth plague in Egypt – the slaying of the first-born.”  Is a first-born convert required to fast?  “Since there is a doubt regarding this case, it is recommended that he attend a siyum with the other first-borns.”  But what if he is unable to attend a siyum?  “If he is unable to attend a siyum he does not have to fast.”


Families need donations for “Kimcha Dipischa” and Rav Barclay[25] writes, “Neglecting to give charity when one is capable is a serious transgression.” Simchas Rabeinu has a “Kimcha Dipischa” fund that helps poor Jews all over the world with their Passover needs.  Do the Mitzvah of Kimcha Dipischa through Simchas Rabeinu by visiting: TODAY! 


 HaRav Eliezer Ben Etyah and the Rabbaneat Shlit”a, Chaya Shaina Chana Bas Itcha, Matisyahu Yisrael Ben Rachel Malka, Ester Rachel Bas Nurit, Menachem Ben Ester Rachel, Moshe Ben Ester Rachel, Sarah Bas Ester Rachel, Yosef Ben Rachel Malka Ezra ben Avraham z”l

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10-Vayikra 5777

[1] ויקרא פרק א פסוק א ~ ויקרא אל משה וידבר יקוק אליו מאהל מועד לאמר:

[2] אש מוהר”ן פרשת ויקרא עמוד ג

[3] ויקרא רבה פרשת ויקרא פרשה א סימן טו ~ ד”א ויקרא אל משה וידבר ה’ מיכן אמרו כל ת”ח שאין בו דעת נבלה טובה הימנו תדע לך שכן צא ולמד ממשה אבי החכמה אבי הנביאים שהוציא ישראל ממצרים ועל ידו נעשו כמה נסים במצרים ונוראות על ים סוף ועלה לשמי מרום והוריד תורה מן השמים ונתעסק במלאכת המשכן ולא נכנס לפני ולפנים עד שקרא לו שנאמר (ויקרא א) ויקרא אל משה וידבר

[4] תלמיד חכם

[5] שאין בו דעת

[6] (our teacher)

[7] Heavenly bread

[8] Different types of kosher chickens

[9] תלמיד חכם

[10] שאין בו דעת

[11] Meaning; annihilates defeats

[12] The first human created, called אדם הראשון

[13] This prayer is from Reb Nosson’s book Likeutey Tefilos and Rav Berland’s book Tefilah Liani

[14] Pidyon is a translation for the Hebrew word פדיון.  This word literally means to redeem.  The concept of a pidyon comes from giving money to a Tzadik who in return will redeem a person from their difficult situation.

[15] This I heard from Rav Succot and Rav Yadler.  Also, in a Torah class given by the Rav in the year 5756 (1996) the Rav told over that, “The Beis Yisrael said, ‘The whole world exists in the merit of Shmuel Shapira.’”

[16] Her parents paid for the cab when she arrived at the hospital.

[17] לקוטי עצות רפואה אות ח

[18] קיצור לקוטי מוהר”ן תורה ע אות א

[19] I heard this from Rav Gad in Bat Ayin in Beit Rabeinu on Shabbos in the year 5771 (2010) during a Torah class on Shichos HaRan before mincha.

[20] Also see Simchas Rabeinu Parsha Sheet 8 footnote 14 (לקוטי הלכות הלכות חושן משפט הלכות מתנה ג אות קטן ד עמוד ד)

[21] לקוטי הלכות אורח חיים הלכות יום טוב ה אות ז עמוד 356

[22] הסידור

[23] Guidelines – Pesach by Rabbi Elozor Barclay, Chapter 11 question 250 page 88

[24] Guidelines – Pesach by Rabbi Elozor Barclay, Chapter 12 questions 252 and 256 page 89-90

[25] Guidelines – Pesach by Rabbi Elozor Barclay, Chapter 1 question 9 page 18


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