Thursday, June 07, 2018


The Face That You Show G-d

by Reb Gutman Locks at Mystical Paths

-The Alter Rebbe said to be very careful when we pray. He warned us not
to do one specific thing when we pray, and he told us why we should not do it.



  1. It sounds like the Alter Rebbe interprets the Sages' saying "the gates of tears were never locked" differently than the common, simple meaning.
    Do you know by any chance what his interpretation is?

  2. To Dan G:

    "We were like grasshoppers in our eyes, and so we were in their eyes...the people wept that night." (Bamidbar 13:33, 14:1)

    The Kotzker Rebbe, z.l., explains that this was one of their sins. It is one thing to be bothered by their own lake of self-image, but why should they care what the pagans thought of them?

    This criticism remains with us to this very day. We are bothered by what others think of us. Why? We have a mission to accomplish in this world - to serve Hashem and be His emissaries to the world community. This position demands that we act in a manner becoming Hashem's People. Why would we be concerned with what others think of us - unless we are so wrapped up in ourselves that we determine our success or failure by the yardstick of public opinion. The only opinion that counts is Hashem's. Those who cannot see beyond themselves have a serious problem. Evidently, the meraglim suffered from this myopia.

    The self-centered feelings evinced by the spies ostensibly also characterized Klal Yisrael. Their response to the lander of the spies was fear and depression - unfounded and unwarranted fear and depression. They wept that night. Oh, how they wept. It was bechiyah shel chinam, crying for nothing. It is foolish to cry when there is no reason to cry.

    Chazal tells us that "shaarei damaos lo ninalu," the gates of tears are never closed. This means that through tears one can penetrate the Heavens and implore Hashem's mercy. One may ask: if the gates are always open, why are tears necessary? A door is placed to lock something out; why is a door necessary if it is always open?

    Harav Bunim, M'Peshischa, z.l., explains that these gates exist to prevent tears of fools, tears that are for naught, from entering. When people cry for no justifiable reason, they are taking a special gift from the Almighty and abusing it. Klal Yisrael's over-reaction on that fateful night lives with us to this very day. That night, which happened to be Tishah B'Av. The Talmud (Taanit 28a) states that Hashem said to Benei Yisrael, "You wept without reason, I will provide you with a weeping for generations." This refers to Tishah B'Av when both Betei Mikdash were destroyed. The ninth of Av became a time of national mourning, for it was the precursor to the exile that continues to this day.

    Hashem repays unreasonable, unjustified weeping and all overactive expressions of grief and worry by giving us a reason for crying, by creating situations in which our worry will be justified.

    - Peninim on the Torah by Rabbi A. L. Sheinbaum

  3. What made me curious was that Reb Gutman seems to imply that the Alter Rebbe didn't object only to unjustified weeping, but to any weeping at all. Well, maybe I got him wrong.

  4. You Are Affected By Your Actions In a letter from the Tzemach Tzedek discussing fear, it says:
    “A person should always display happiness in his body movements, because the heart is drawn according to one’s actions… and then Hashem will draw down a spirit from Above of joy and gladness of heart.

    “I heard from the Alter Rebbe in Piena that this is what the Maggid said on the verse, ‘Like the appearance of a sapphire, and on the image of the chair was the image of a person..’ - according to how a person acts down here is what he will be shown from Above.

    That is why (the Alter Rebbe) stopped me from singing a niggun that was mara sh’chora (gloomy). I davened Ma’ariv before his death with a niggun of mara sh’chora, and he waited until I finished and told me this.”
    The Rebbe related this on Shabbos Parshas Shemos 5719, 22 Shevat, and then said, “Zol men zein b’simcha, vet men milmaaleh oich vizen aza tenua”

    (Be happy , for then from Above there will be a similar response).

    “Push an undesirable thought away with both hands.” the Alter Rebbe, first Rebbe of Chabad

    "Know that everything above" - all that transpires in the spiritual realm - is "from you," [dependent on your conduct].” The Maggid of Mezeritch

    “When man below is of a “radiant countenance” and filled with joy and gladness, he then draws down upon himself the same qualities from Above.” Zohar (II, p. 184b)

  5. “Joy breaks through barriers.” The Rebbe

    “Joy breaks through all the boundaries of golus (exile). “The Rebbe

    “Blessed is he who puts his trust in G-d, for G-d will be his security.” (Jeremiah 17:7)

    “Nothing stands in the way of a person’s will.” -- The Talmud

    "In the sixth century of the sixth millennium, the gates of supernal wisdom will be opened, as will the springs of earthly wisdom, preparing the world to be elevated in the seventh millennium." Zohar

    “And the world will be filled with the knowledge of G-d like water covers the ocean bed.” (Isaiah 11:9)

    Serve G-d with joy; come before him in celebration (Psalm 100)

    “Prophecy cannot rest on a person when he is sad and languid, but only when he is happy.” Rambam, Mishneh Torah

  6. Thanks for all the beautiful quotes.
    Though my question still feels unanswered - what is the Alter Rebbe's attitude towards the Sages' saying about the gates of tears. Especially when those tears come from the bottom of a longing, yearning heart.

  7. There are two kinds of tears. Tears of sadness and tears of recognition. The first lead one on a downward spiral to depression, G-d forbid. The second leaves one in action to correct the situation and one's own perceived shortfalling, a kind of Responsible bitterness that spurs one to do what it takes to not have this outcome again. I like to think of the latter as tears of Teshuvah. and the return to HaShem has 4 R's and an A: Recognition, Remorse, Regret, Resolve (for the future), Action.

  8. You can tell which one has by the outcome, inaction or action. The gate of tears from the bottom of a longing, yearning heart is a gate to action and a new beginning and a new future.


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