THE LAND OF ISRAEL -- Eretz Israel:

1) With true faith, prayer comes into its own. Prayer is bound up with the concept of bringing about miracles. To attain this level of faith is only possible in the Land of Israel, for it is there that prayer ascends to the worlds above. With faith such as this one can accomplish with one's prayer whatever is necessary: one can work real miracles and wonders in the world (Likutey Moharan 7:1).

2) The very essence of Eretz Yisrael as a spiritual concept is bound up with faith and prayer. If we abuse Eretz Yisrael we go down into exile. Prayer goes into its own exile, and then it is impossible to pray and bring about miracles in the world (Ibid.).

3) To be a true member of the people of Israel is to move always to higher and higher levels. To do this is impossible except through the sanctity of the Land of Israel. Every upward movement which we have to make towards holiness can only be accomplished through the Land of Israel. The same is true of prayer. The ascent of prayer comes about only in the Land of Israel (20).

4) It is through the power of the Torah that we draw into ourselves that we can attain to the level of the Land of Israel. Likewise when we are present at the time that the Tzaddik draws Torah into the world and teaches in public, we ourselves have a share in the Torah that is revealed then by the Tzaddik. This also gives us the strength to come to the Land of Israel (Ibid. 6).

5) It is impossible to come to the Land of Israel without difficulties and suffering. The root of all the difficulties and suffering lies in the slanderous image of the Land which is put about by the wicked. They are the source of all the obstacles. But the power of the Torah which we draw into ourselves enables us to overcome all the obstacles, the difficulties and suffering. The more profound a person's grasp of the Torah and the greater the tikkun he brings about through his attainment, the greater his victory over the obstacles, and he will succeed in reaching the Land of Israel (Ibid.).

6) When a person attains to the level of the Land of Israel, he is worthy of being called a `man of strength and valor'. Before he attains this level, `Let not him that girdeth on his armor boast himself as he that putteth it off' (I Kings, 20:11). But when he has gone through the battle successfully he is worthy of the name `man of war' (Ibid. 10).

7) When people give charity to causes in the Land of Israel, they become merged in the air of the Land of Israel, which is holy breath that has no taint of sin (Shabbath 119b). Through this breath the forces of severity and darkness are banished from the world. This is also how it is possible to escape from the distracting, alien thoughts which come during prayer. The mind and the thoughts become clear and refined. This is a tikkun habrit -- a remedy for abuse of the Holy Covenant (37:4).

8) The Land of Israel possesses a mystical power to stimulate procreation and also to bring relief from the divisiveness and hostility which exist between people. Through the sanctity of the Land of Israel, the true guide and leader of our age will be revealed. Truth will spread throughout the world and even the heathen nations will return to the Holy One, blessed-be-He, and serve him `with one consent' (Zephania 3:9) (48).

8) The mitzvah of the Succah is a segulah for coming to the Land of Israel (Ibid.).

9) Praying with intense devotion reveals sparks of the radiance of our fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (see Tefilah 51-56). The Patriarchs laid the foundations of our faith. This faith is embodied in the prayers we recite. The lives of the patriarchs were completely bound up with the Land of Israel, as is our faith. Through genuine prayer, therefore, it is possible for us to feel the sanctity of the Land of Israel even today, when we are in exile and the Land itself is under the dominion of the Sitra Achra, the forces of the Other Side. Thus it is written in the Torah that even when the Jews are `in the land of their enemies, if then...their uncircumcised heart be humbled... then will I remember My covenant with Jacob and also My covenant with Isaac and also My covenant with Abraham will I remember; and I will remember the Land' (Leviticus 26:41-42). Through the revelation of the sanctity of the Land of Israel we will witness the destruction of the wicked. Not only will we be delivered from their hand; we will see them suffer the very evil they sought to inflict upon us (55:2,3).

10) The mitzvah of challah -- separating the priestly portion of the dough -- is also bound up with the Land of Israel, and the effect of the mitzva is likewise to reveal the radiance of the fathers and the holiness of the Land (Ibid. 8).

11) The motive for making the journey to the Land of Israel should be purely spiritual: to draw closer to God. A person who goes there with this as his aim will certainly benefit. Merely by stepping foot on the Land he will become merged with it and transformed by its sacred character. That is why even `one who walks four cubits in the Land of Israel will assuredly inherit the World to Come' (Ketuboth 111). On the other hand, if a person's motive has nothing to do with devotion to God and cleansing himself of his evil, then what help will the Land be to him? The Land will vomit him out `as it vomited out the nation that was before you' (Leviticus 18:28) (29).

12) Through the holiness of the Land of Israel one can attain pure faith. This is the gateway to that long, deep, patient breath which is the remedy for anger and depression (155).

13) Pray to God to give you desire and yearning for the Land of Israel. Then you will succeed in reaching there. And pray also that He should plant yearning for the Land in the hearts of all the Tzaddikim (Ibid.).

14) God repays man `measure for measure'. Nowhere is the repayment more exacting than in the Land of Israel. But this is really a great kindness. If we know that God repays us according to our deeds, then by thinking about the situations God sends us we can gain an insight into our own behavior and learn how to improve (187).

15) The holiness of the Land of Israel is the epitome of holiness, encompassing all other levels of holiness. It is there that we can free ourselves completely of the materialistic viewpoint which claims that events take place naturally. We can come to know and believe that everything comes about only through the Hand of God. When man knows this he becomes like God in his power to divide the light from the darkness. The Midrash (Bereishith Rabbah 2) comments that light refers to the deeds of the righteous while darkness refers to those of the wicked. It is very good to recount the deeds of the righteous. Such stories help to cleanse and purify the mind. But for every episode in the life of a Tzaddik we find that a corresponding story is told about one of the wicked -- because the realm of evil is a mirror-image of the domain of holiness. For example we are told that Pinchas flew in the air. It is also related that the wicked Bilaam flew in the air -- except that he used the forces of witchcraft to do so. The power to divide the light from the darkness gives us the skill to distinguish stories about the Tzaddikim from those which are not. To be able to divide the light from the darkness requires that ultimate level of faith which can only be achieved in the Land of Israel (234).

16) Genuine enlightenment and wisdom come only in the Land of Israel. But even the People of Israel outside the Land have the power to draw enlightenment and wisdom from there. Every single Jew has his share in the Land. According to his share, so is the wisdom he draws from the Land. But those who insult the honor of the Almighty, God forbid, are cut off from the radiance of the Land of Israel and they fall into the mentality of `outside the Land', which is one of conflict and divisiveness. This is the source of all the conflicts and divisions which have become so rampant (II, 71).

17) The enlightenment which can be achieved in the Land of Israel possesses the quality of `pleasantness' -- the pleasantness of Torah, all of whose ways are peace. Giving charity, and especially charity for the Land, forges a vessel with which to receive this pleasantness. Then one can rise above the mentality of `outside the Land.' But the more deeply people sink into this mentality because of irreverence, the more difficult it becomes to extricate them from it, and this alien mentality can even begin to infect the Land of Israel itself. Instead of peace there is conflict even in the Land of Israel. This is the reason why today the divisions in the Land of Israel are as deep as they are outside it (Ibid.).

18) The graves of the Tzaddikim literally have the holiness of the Land of Israel, as it is written: `The righteous shall inherit the land' (Psalms 37:29). The Land of Israel is a tikkun for abuse of the Holy Covenant. That is why one should make every effort to visit the graves of the Tzaddikim. The sanctity of their burial place is a tikkun for the Covenant (109).

Online English translation of Likutey Etzot
A compendium of Rabbi Nachman's practical teachings on spiritual growth and devotion.
© AZAMRA INSTITUTE 5766 / 2006