Above is the Breslov Research Institute's video of Rav Weinberger speaking at their dinner. It was very nice. My wife and I were very uplifted by it and there were great people there. They are very close to finishing the last volume of their annotated Likutei Moharan in English. So please go to their website to help make a sponsorship of it, large or small!
One of my holy brothers at Aish Kodesh in Woodmere is Dr. Ephraim Nudman. He wrote up the following summary of what Rav Weinberger said at the dinner. Enjoy!
The Ness (miracle) of R. Nachaman it's really mamash the Ness of Chanukkah.
The Sforno in parashas Ki Tissah explains that before the Egel there was no need for ONE place to serve Hashem, or that just one shevet should be in charge of the service. At that time Hashem could be served anywhere and all Jews could do it. But after the Chet, Hashem decided that we needed a special place the, Bais Hamikdash, and a select group within the Jewish peoplea, the kohanim, to be in charge of the service.
The Ramban in parashas B'haaloscha says that with the Neros (lights) of Chanukkah we can bring down the light of the Bais hamikdash (symbolized by its Menorah) even after the churban (destruction) even today, and until the end of times. We can bring down mamash the fire of the Bais hamikdash into our homes. And there is no greater ness then that. In our simple Jewish homes, even with all their problems and distance from kedusha, we can serve Hashem in the original way, just like before the Chet Ha Egel. Any simple Jew and in any corner of the world Hashem brings the Bais Hamikdash to us.
Despite the Churban (destruction) in our own lives, and despite all our sins and our lackings, when Chanukkah comes around, we all become Kohanim in the Bais Hamikdash anywhere in the world we might be. Even in the Warsaw Getto or the concentration camps if a Jew managed to light a Chanukkah candle, we could access that light. And there is no greater ness.
In Likutey Halachos 4, in the section discusing Hashkamas Haboker (getting up in the morning) R. Nosson talks about Chanukkah and he goes into a discussion about Bikur Cholim (visiting the sick). When you're sitting at home healthy and doing well, and you make a decision to leave that comfort and go visit a sick person it's a big thing. Because when someone is sick, and he feels alone and frightened nothing would help more then the face of a friend who cares. You go visit him and you help him anyway you can, or say some warm words of chizuk, then you draw chiyus (life force) into a life that is in a state of churban.
And that's how R. Nosson explains Chanukkah. The Jews were not well. The Bais Hamikdash was ending. Galus (exile) was coming. When all of that would happen they would be like a sick person that can't do mitzvos and serve Hashem normally.
When a person is well and wants to see the King he has to make many hachanos (preparations) to make himself worthy. But if you are sick and you happen to be close to the king, or even more so if you are His child, then there is a hisorerus (awakening) of rachmanus (compassion) in the King and He leaves His palace to bring chiyus to the one He loves.
This is why the Schinah is always by the bed of a choleh (sick person).
And Chanukkah is the Yom Tov of knowing that in our galus, in our churban, in our distance, Hashem is still with us.
R. Nachman's name has the same letters as "Nachal Noveah Mekor Chochma," a "Flowing River, the Source of Wisdom." The word for river, Nachal has the same letters as "Nafsheinu Chiksa L'Hashem" (Tehillim 33): "Our souls are waiting/longing for Hashem". Chanukkah is the Yom Tov for the sick Jewish people that brings the Shchina into our lives.
What is special about R. Nachman? What separates him from other Tzaddikim? Some Tzaddikim are different: R. Shimon bar Yochai, the Baal Shem Tov, R. Nachman. The fact that this gathering can happen today shows there is something different about R. Nachman.
When a person is not well he is alone, like the passuk said in the parsha we just read "Vayvaser Yaakov levado" "and Yaakov was left alone".
The Tzaddik that descends from his loftiness to meet the people at their level is in the secret of Yosef HaTzaddik. R. Nosson says in Likutey Halachos that a Tzaddik is driven and compelled to spend his life finding the best, the Tov in every Jew.
In next week's parsha the passuk says about Yosef "Ve hu naar et bnei Bilha v'et bnei Zilpah" "and Yosef behaved youthfully with the children of Bilha and the children of Zilpah". The children of the shfachos (maidservants) Zilpah and Bilah represent Jews who are at a lower level, confussed. And Yosef acted like a naar with them. The Tzaddik has to go down and enclose himself in stories and simple things to come down to the level of the people. Like R. Nachman with the story of the Prince and the Turkey, going under the table and behaving in a seemingly foolish way to rectify someone who is sick and broken.
Yosef brothers didn't understand him or what he was trying to do. Like all the followers of R. Nachman. They were misunderstood and suffered tremendous opposition at the beginning for going down to the "Bnei Hashfachos" the simple Jews. They were making themselves into Chanukkah candles to illuminate the Jewish people.
This teaching of R. Nosson is based on the 30th Torah in Likutey Moharan. In seif Beis (2) R. Nachman says we all need a Rebbe that can bring Hasagas Elokus (grasping of Godliness) to our level so that even people like us can understand it. The smaller and farther away we are the greater the Rebbe we need. Like the sicker a person is the bigger the doctor he needs.
And this is why after so many years we are drawn to R. Nachman. We are lonely and sick, struggling with the Saro Shel Eisav (Angel of Eisav) in the darkness. And R. Nachman says "you're not alone, the Shchinah is with you, I'm with you". And he tells us that just as we are seeking Hashem He is seeking us.
There's a story about a lone chassid in a village. Not only was he the only chassid but he was the only Jew. And he had a daughter that, being lonely, ended up getting involved with a goy, that not only was a goy but also an abusive shiker (drunk). Finally she was living in the convent getting ready to convert and marry this man. The father in his desperation decided to make the long journey to visit his Rebbe, the Rav Shimon Skernovitzer, to seek his advice. The Rebbe hears the story and decides to make the trip back to the village. There he makes his way to the convent and manages to smuggle in a letter to the girl just asking her to come meet him at the corner. The girl didn't answer but the Skernovitzer stood there in the corner for three days. He davened and davened until that night she came to him asking him to save her and take her away. Rav Shimon Skernovitzer stops and asks her what made her change her mind. And the girl said "I knew you would never leave without me".
The true Tzaddik never leaves without any of us. No matter how far we are or were we are stuck. We know R. Nachman is not leaving without us.