Tikkunim - Fixings.
Rebbe Nachman said that on Rosh HaShanah, he could make tikkunim for someone in a way that wouldn’t be possible for that person at any other time of year.” (Chayei Moharan #406).
I don't know how many of you have been to Uman, for Rosh Hashana, or any other time, but, contrary to popular belief, it's not an easy avoda. There are definitely high moments and it is certainly celebratory but together with that is a real personal avoda of tikkunim. Rebbe Nachman, (and I imagine any other real tzaddik) makes you work hard, not only there but when you get back home. People (like Professor Gamzu) think that Uman is a party but it's no party. Part of me sometimes wishes I wasn't there.
The Wednesday before Rosh Hashana I had a moment in the tziyun (the place of his marked grave). Until then I had been all caught up in the police presence and barriers in the building where the Rebbe is laid to rest and I couldn't relax. As yet, my prayers proved to be forced - a frustrating experience. I spoke with someone I met there who I respect and he told me that that "it's all, as the Rebbe says, achizas einayim" (imagined obstacles). "Close your eyes and access the light. The light that you know is shining bright from that space to the whole of the world". I went in late at night and I wouldn't give in. I closed my eyes for a very very long time and I was stubborn to breakthrough. It happened. I had sharp, sharp clarity of what I need to work on and implement in the coming year. Crystal clear clarity. It was truly amazing. But when I left the building, I was overcome with a superconsciousness of confusion. It was laughable how messed up and bewildered I felt. It was like the Rebbe gave me a candle to light up the room and then blew it out and I was in the pitch black. I paced outside the tzyiun in the cold for more than an hour trying to figure myself out. I was lost. I caved and I made a big mistake right there. I knew it was a mistake but I just felt hopeless to the pain and I felt that I needed to let myself fail,, so I can move on. But I definitely made a mistake. It was maybe 2:30 or 3am and I was walking back to my lodgings all tingly and dazed from the emotional roller-coaster. Walking towards me was a friend who I knew from back home. "Whats up?" he says. Here I was in Uman, a few days before Rosh Hashana at 3am, after getting so high and so low. I remembered Torah 34, where the Rebbe says one of the ways to find your "nekuda" ("point" [terrible translation]) is to speak about fear of Heaven with a friend. I told him what happened. I told him about the breakthrough and the huge bilbul (confusion) right after. He told me I can fix it. I didn't believe him. He told me how. I told him I was too embarrassed. He told me I can do it and it won't be a big deal. I believed him, I fixed it and we hugged. It was an epic Uman moment.
Part 2 - Yom Kippur
I woke up Yom Kippur morning angry. Really angry and numb. It was 6:50 and services started at 7:30am. I was so fuming at Hashem. I felt like He should do teshuva, not me. We say in the liturgy prayers "He is full of compassion and we are full of sin". I was feeling "We are super super loyal and He just slap us down again and again". I couldn't bear to go through those lousy un-relatable confessions again. I couldn't bring myself to get out of bed. I finally shlepped myself to the makeshift minyan of 15 friends by 8:45, when they were about to step into the silent shacharis prayer. I like to get to services early, so this setback - on Yom Kippur none the less - was a hard pill to swallow. I just decided to skip everything and jump into the silent prayer with them. I had a really deep introspection. I didn't even bang my heart with the suggested liturgy. I couldn't be fake but I went through so much baggage. I released so much pain and ego. It was super powerful and it took every bit of energy I had. I couldn't move after I finished. It wasn't physical exhaustion. I didn't shuckle or squeeze my eyes tightly, none of that. I barely moved, but I felt like the lowest piece of garbage on earth. I sat down after and I was super-depressed. I couldn't move. I didn't get up when they opened the ark, I barely joined the singing or prayers. My friends were massaging my back and neck, trying to bring me back to life but I was just dead. Then came time for the mussaf prayer - the longer second prayer. They all were pushing me to lead it. I said I'm too angry and broken. We had a mini discussion about my feelings and some were impressed with my vulnerability and honesty. Turns out many of them had similar feelings. They said they're not letting anyone else do it. So I got up there. I started the prayer leader's confession and even though I related to the humility of it, I kept on judging myself. I was going back and forth from the experience to the analysis of the experience and right then - right then - I remembered the clarity I had at the tziyun that Wednesday night. It hit me. IT HIT ME HARD. It wasn't available yet for me to access, but I remembered it and I knew that it was 100% the antidote to my judgmental feelings. I felt so hopeless that I cried. I accessed it. It sank right in. It was there for me. I was able to forget everything, move on and lead the prayers.