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התיקון הכללי של רבי נחמן | The Tikkun Haklali according to Rebbe Naḥman of Bratslav

14 comments to התיקון הכללי של רבי נחמן | The Tikkun Haklali according to Rebbe Naḥman of Bratslav

  • Tiferet

    The Hebrew for Psalm 32 is actually Psalm 33! Thanks for posting this! I’ve always wonder what Tikkun Klali was!

  • Isn’t the praiseworthiness of one who would take an infant and dash it against a rock (psalm 137) rather barbaric? With all due respect, this isn’t something I personally could subscribe to or advocate, and for others to do so, in my opinion, is anything but praiseworthy. Maybe this was considered just fine back in the day (when it was written; and when Rebbe Nachman included it in his Tikkun?), but surely by contemporary standards, and really by any standards, of humane and compassionate conduct, it could not be considered so. Rather reminds one of something a Nazi might easily do, doesn’t it?

    • Hi Matthew. I agree that Tehillim 137:9, taken alone is deeply disturbing. But it’s also not the only verse in Psalms that invokes a horrible curse. If the verse reminds of the Nazis and barbarism in general, then the verse probably has succeeded in communicating the horror the Psalmist is responding to. In this case, the Psalmist is calling for vengeance in kind with the suffering endured in the destruction of their people. I think it’s fair to say this is verse is more than simply a statement of catharsis.

      In the following midrash, the subject of the verse is redirected from Babylon, the empire responsible for laying waste to Judah, Jerusalem, and the First Temple in the 5th century BCE, to “Edom” (aka Rome) the empire responsible for laying waste to Jerusalem, Judah, and the Second Temple in the 1st and 2nd century CE. As unpalatable as the verse may read today, it’s important to at least understand it in the context of the experience of oppression in which it was read. Here’s one rabbinic interpretation from the Midrash Tehillim on Psalm 138 (translated from Hebrew by William G. Braude):

      I. A Psalm of David. I will give You thanks with my whole heart (Ps. 138:1). Isaiah said: The grass withers, the flower fades (Isa. 40:7). When these things occur, what should you do? Then, O you that tells good tidings to Zion, get you up into the high mountain (ibid. 40:9). When the children of Israel say, “We are afraid of them that hate us,” the Holy One, blessed be He, will answer: “They that hate you are become like grass”— that is, as long as they were standing, you had reason to fear them, but now that they have withered—the breath of the Lord blows upon it (ibid. 40:7)—what have you to fear? Therefore O you that tells good tidings to Jerusalem, lift up your voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid (ibid. 40:9). The children of Israel say: When will we offer praise? When God requites the wicked/lawless for their dealing, as it is said As you have done, it will be done unto you; your dealing will return upon your own head (Ob. 1:15). What was Edom’s dealing? Edom dashed the little ones of Israel against the rock. For this reason it is said, O Edom, Happy will he be, that takes and dashes your little ones against the rock (Ps. 137:9). In that hour the children of Israel will give thanks with all their heart to the Holy One, blessed be He, as it is said I will give Thee thanks with my whole heart. Thus you learn that as long as the wicked/lawless are in the world, they enslave the children of Israel and oppress them, so that the children of Israel cannot take breath to thank God with all their heart. But when the wicked/lawless wither away, then I will give You thanks with my whole heart. Before the gods will I sing praise unto You (Ps. 138:1)— that is, before the judges of the Sanhedrin, concerning whom it is said “You will not revile the gods, nor curse the ruler of your people” (Ex. 22:27). Or, the phrase before the gods may refer to the Prophets who are called gods, as it is said “Moses, the man, the god” (I Chron. 23:14), and as it is also said “There came a man, a god, unto Eli” (I Sam. 2:27). Even after death, the Prophets are called gods, as you find it said of Samuel, I saw gods ascending out of the earth (ibid. 28:13). Accordingly, Before the gods will I sing praises unto You means that even under the weight of the judgments upon us, we will sing praise unto You.

    • Yehuda

      Matthew you need to understand.He is not referring to a human being to do it but to God. God gives and takes. A little earthquake and it can easily happen. the War in syria is another example. + He is also talking about the time when Pharaoh smashed our infants on the walls and bathed in their bath. Remember the Torah has 70 faces and one verse can also mean a 1000 things. Torah can either become death or life depending on the person’s pure heart. I choose life. It also means the children of Lilit who are actually demons that we can’t see. In shmuel (1) God told them to leave no one alive and shaul had compassion and left them alive. This compassion eventually resulted in the mass killing of Jews.

      • Shaul also chose life. Do you really feel that the nimshal of the story of Shaul’s compassion for the remnants of Amalek is to circumscribe our ḥesed“ and raḥamim?
        I think that many will legitimately ask, if this is what God demands, then this God isn’t worthy of being worshipped. And if this God is the creator of our world, then our world is hateful and our existence is in the hands of an arbitrary and capricious deity. No. We must choose another of the 70 faces of meaning.

  • Aharonium, thanks for your reply. I suppose that for me the bottom line is that revenge in general is characteristic of a rather immature stage of moral development. I don’t mean to sound arrogant. Pushed against the wall, maybe I would regress to the same behavior. I would hope not though. I would consider it a regression however, and not a noble or in any way morally desirable response. I’m realistic enough to recognize that humanity as a whole has not perhaps developed beyond this stage. Nevertheless, it seems to me that those of us who may be able to recognize, or aspire to a more mature level of morality have some obligation to speak to it, at least, and not to accept as desirable something less, despite the fact that it may be sanctioned in scripture. On a strictly practical level, it is not rocket science to see that a culture dedicated to revenge and violence (including emotional, environmental and spiritual violence) – these cultures are everywhere, easily recognizable, numerous, deeply rooted in societies world wide, historically normal- is a culture doomed to creating and sustaining the kind of world we live in, ie. one that is unjust, unsustainable, corrupt, destructive in all imaginable ways. Of course, all too often religion is used to justify these cultures. My understanding of Judaism suggests that it at least has the potential to speak out against such culture, and in fact does so, if one looks in the right places. One can find whatever one wishes to find in scripture. Including all manner of contradiction. In the end, each of us is responsible for the choices we make, whether to God on judgement day, or to ourselves and to others now. I prefer to advocate for compassion, love, kindness, forgiveness, insight and humility. If someone else wishes to use scripture to justify barbarism, God bless them.

    • Yorin

      I am sorry, but I have to say this: It does not matter what our preferences are, or how we “feel”. These are the words of G-d, not man. So let’s not be so arrogant as to sit in judgement on the words of the True Judge. He is full of compassion and while it is difficult to understand the words of Tehillah 137, we should bow to His wisdom, righteousness and love. Let G-d be true and every man a liar. That is true humility.

  • Ya'akov Love

    Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi recently published an English translation of Tikkun HaKlali. In an appendix he included Psalm 139 as an alternative for those not comfortable with Psalm 137. Although he was careful to state that he was not recommending it as an efficacious replacement for the purposes of this tikkun.

  • Rinah

    “According to Pesaḥim 117a there are ten kinds of songs in the Tehillim: Ashrei, Beracha, Maskil, Nitzuach, Shir, Niggun, Mizmor, Tefilla, Hoda’ah, and Halleluyah.”

    Is it possible to tell us what each of these words mean and which one pertains to which Psalm please? (My Hebrew is very poor!) It will be very much appreciated!

    Thank you for providing this article, it is very helpful!

    Shalom aleichem!

  • In Psalm 139 can the rock be the Almighty Himself? I know that the same word for rock is used in Bamidbar 20. Moses struck the rock. A way for the child of a evil person can change is to be struck in the heart by G-D. Blessed is the person who would facilitate this.

  • Ari

    Thank you very much for posting this!!!!

  • […] That’s why so many people, from all walks of life, flock to his gravesite in Uman to say the ten chapters of psalms that he revealed as the complete remedy.  (Why we go on Rosh Hashana is a discussion for another […]

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