Rebbe Nachman of Breslov tells us: “When a person realizes that everything that happens to them is for their good, they are perceiving a bit of the World to Come… But this is only possible by raising the holy Kingship from exile” (Likutey Moharan I:4).
What does it mean that the holy Kingship is in exile? Furthermore, how are we supposed to “raise” it up from its exile?
Rav Yaakov Meir Shechter explains that the holy Kingship is in exile when we – human beings – imagine ourselves to be our own creator. This is the venom that the snake injected into Chava, when he promised her that if she ate from the tree, “You shall be as gods” (Genesis 3:5).
It is up to us to “raise the holy Kingship from exile.” By constantly being conscious that we are only creations of the Creator, we return the fallen kingship to its proper source.
This brings about a “sweetening of judgments.” For when we internalize that Kingship belongs to Hashem, and all power is His, then we will also realize that everything He does to us is for our own eternal good. Thus, Rebbe Nachman said, “A person who has emunah has true life” (Sichos HaRan 57).
Elsewhere, Rebbe Nachman tells us that the main source of exile is in the mind: When we become so confused and doubt-filled that we lack clarity and forget about G-d (II:21). This is the worst exile of all, and escaping from it is the “birth pangs” of Moshiach on a personal level. Thus, our Sages taught us, “When a person has knowledge of G-d, it is as if the Holy Temple was rebuilt in his day” (Berachos 33a).
Rav Chaim Volozhiner (Nefesh HaChaim III:12-13) cites the Gemara (Chullin 7b), which teaches that if a person internalized the verse (Devarim 4:35), “Ein od milvado – Hashem, He is G-d, there is nothing else besides Him,” they will be protected from harmful forces.
This “segula” has a long history of producing incredible results. The Brisker Rav, Reb Velvel Soloveitchik, testified how as a young man he was commanded to appear before the Russian draft board to be inducted into the Czar’s army. As the date of his appearance neared, his father, Rav Chaim Brisker, instructed him to concentrate on the above passage from Nefesh HaChaim. To Reb Velevel’s great relief, his meeting with the draft board came and he was given an exemption despite being young and healthy.
Later, when the Germans occupied Poland at the beginning of World War II, Reb Velvel fled from Warsaw to Vilna. The roads were filled with German troops, and Nazis were everywhere. The danger was awesome. Yet, Reb Velvel traveled along undaunted, for he never stopped reviewing the pledge of Nefesh HaChaim. Just once, Reb Velvel was distracted and his mind wandered to another thought. Immediately, as if out of nowhere, an armed Nazi approached him threateningly. In a flash, Reb Velvel collected his thoughts and focused on “Ein od milvado.” Miraculously, the Nazi moved on without harming him.
May Hashem help us to be ever cognizant that He is our creator and we are His creations.