10) Kuntres 12-13 Tammuz: How We Can Burn Down Golus!

10) Kuntres 12-13 Tammuz: How We Can Burn Down Golus!

The maamor released for 12-13 Tammuz 5751 was originally said on 12 Tammuz 5729, a day before the maamor that was released on Yud Alef Nissan, 5751 (three months earlier).  Both maamorim speak about the “prayer of the rich man”.  Here, the Rebbe stresses the the connection between Yisroel and Moshe Rabbeinu, and adds the distinction that Moshe’s connection with Yisroel is his inward dimension (pnimiyus),  and everything else is secondary and external (chitzoniyus).  “All of his levels, including that he was also wealthy in ruchniyus, they are secondary, the external [chitzoniyus] dimension, relative to the fact that he is the shepherd of Yisroel…”  This, of course, is true also of the extension of Moshe in every generation — the Rebbeim — and now the Rebbe explains how this applies to the Geuloh of 12-13 Tammuz (and 19 Kislev):

Through the imprisonments that preceded the Geuloh of 19 Kislev and the Geuloh of 12 Tammuz came a great elevation, which is like the additional light that comes from the darkness.  Seemingly, since as regards the Nessiim it’s not possible to say that even while they were imprisoned there was a state of darkness by them [as the [Rebbe Rayatz] said about the imprisonment of the Alter Rebbe, that it was with his agreement, from which it is understood that by them all the concealments of imprisonment were only in chitzoniyus], then how could there come about an “additional light from darkness”?  We can say that since the main inyan of the Nessiim is that they are the shepherds of Yisroel, therefore, the concealments of the imprisonment as it was experienced by Yisroel is also found by the Nessiim.

This reveals to us how Moshiach can be holding by all the giluyim we can imagine and more, and yet he “bears our sufferings” and himself endures terrible suffering (as stated in Midrashim) — because of his identification with Yisroel who have not yet come out of Golus!  This means that our effort to bring an end to Golus is a great rachmones on the Rebbe!

The maamor begins with the verse from parshas Chukas about the Pora Adumoh (red heifer), and the Rebbe explains that the burning of the Pora Adumoh is also a metaphor for burning down golus.  What’s the connection?  How do we “burn down” the golus?

The Rebbe explains that the mitzvah of Pora Adumoh is “the” mitzvah, which is not understood and therefore must be performed with the most complete level of kabolos ‘ol.  But since Moshe Rabbeinu himself did understand the mitzvah, where does kabolos ‘ol come in for him, and how can he, through this mitzvah, draw it down to all of Israel?  The Rebbe explains that this is the concept of bittul and kabolos ‘ol in seichel.  

The inyan of seichel derives from the level of memaleh kol almin, which is the inyan of nature.

Emunah, belief in things that are above seichel, derives from the level of sovev, which is the inyan of miracles.

Generally speaking, seichel obscures emunah, nature obscures miracles.  The way to overcome this is through the revelation of Atzmus, which is truly unlimited and has the power to unify opposites.  The imprisonment and Geuloh  of 12 Tammuz drew down the level of Atzmus, which in fact brought about a unification of opposites, to such an extent that those who hated and imprisoned the Rebbe Rayatz were forced to release him, even as they remained in power, a miracle enclothed in nature.  How does this connect with burning down golus and the burning of the Pora Adumoh?

As regards the Pora Adumoh, we find that the closeness between Moshe and Yisroel goes in both directions: the mitzvah being a “chok“, the reason for it not being understood, is primarily by Yisroel and is drawn from Yisroel to Moshe (“take for you” in our posuk), so that also for Moshe it is a “chok” (even though he in fact knows the reason).  But as regards fulfilling the mitzvah with bittul and kabolos ‘ol, this is something Yisroel receives from Moshe.  The Rebbe adds that “We could say that via the fact that Moshe knew the reason for Pora Adumoh, and that the bittul of kabolos ‘ol is drawn into his comprehension (הסגה) this gives the power to every single Yid that emunah and kabolos ‘ol can exist also in his seichel.”  In other words, this mitzvah is what enables us to unify the opposites of seichel and emunah, nature and miracles, as the Rebbe explains:

His kabolos ‘ol is in a way that not only does he fulfill Hashem’s command (even when he doesn’t understand), but also he doesn’t question it at all (אינו מהרהר כלל), because the inyan of kabolos ‘ol is settled in his mind.  And we can connect this with the Midrash that that the Pora Adumoh hints at the exiles…because through this that kabolos ‘ol above intellect is settled in his seichel, this is a preparation for the Geuloh and the revelation of G-dliness that will occur… and through this that he doesn’t question…this is the burning of (the Pora Adumoh which hints at) the golus….

Meaning that when we utilize the power of this mitzvah — to have bittul and kabolos ‘ol settled in our intellect, to such an extent that our lack of understanding doesn’t bring us to question at all (and surely not to insist that we do understand things which are not fully understood) — we succeed in unifying seichel with emunah above seichel, unifiying nature and miracles (in our avoidas Hashem and in the world), thereby burning down the golus!  In this way we have the power to bring the true and complete Geuloh, and to finally redeem the Rebbe himself from our sufferings, in a way of “additional light from the darkness”!

Balak 5751: To Recognize the Inner Good

In the year 5751 the fast of 17th Tammuz fell out on Shabbos parshas Balak.  In this sicha the Rebbe addresses the special quality of a fast that falls out on Shabbos, which causes the fast itself to be pushed off until the next day.

First, we must understand that although the fast itself is a matter of “discomfort which is the opposite of desire and pleasure, but its inner dimension (b’pnimiyus) it is a good thing, as stated in the verse ‘a day of Will to Hashem’.”  More specifically, the fast of the 17th of Tammuz is on the day of the month which has the numeric value (gematria) of “good” (טוב = 17).  The Rebbe finds this completely natural, “since the intent and ultimate purpose of the churban and the golus is only in order to come to the elevation and perfection of the (true and complete) Geuloh, meaning that the golus is an external matter, and it’s inner dimension is the Geuloh.”  From this, we understand that since the time of the churban itself, everything is for the purpose of the Geuloh.

Interesting to note that the Rebbe mentions four times in this sicha that there is an aspect of Geuloh which is to rectify the churban and golus, but additionally there is a higher level: “the level and perfection of the Geuloh in and of itself, pure Geuloh גאולה לטהרתה (even if prior to [the Geuloh] there is not a situation of churban and golus).”  (And the Rebbe adds that the chiddush here is that even in a state of churban and golus we can feel this aspect of “pure Geuloh”.)  This is mainly relevant to a fast which falls out on Shabbos (when the negative aspects are not felt), but also is relevant to our generation in particular: “the more we come closer to the true and complete Geuloh, the feeling of churban and golus in these days is diminished, and the feeling of preparation for Geuloh grows and increases, the “tov” that is in the 17th of Tammuz and the 3 weeks.”

The sicha now turns to the main point: the importance of learning the subjects of Moshiach and Geuloh, which enable us to “live with the times”.  Which times?  “The times of Yemos Hamoshiach, through this that the intellect becomes full and permeated with understanding and comprehension of the subject of Moshiach and Geuloh that is in Torah.  And from the intellect it spreads and imbues the feeling in the heart, until it reaches one’s thought, speech, and action in a way that suits this special time, when we are standing on the threshold of the Geuloh, and we point with our finger that ‘behold, this (the Melech Moshiach) comes.”  (And if someone will protest that our sages say that Moshiach only comes when we are distracted from the subject (בהסח הדעת), the Rebbe clarifies that the meaning of this expression is “above da’as, meaning that after this subject permeates his da’as (through thought and contemplation, etc.), it goes beyond (higher than) his da’as.”  We can explain this to mean that no matter how much we learn about Moshiach and Geuloh, even filling and permeating our understanding with these subjects, the Moshiach reality will always be far beyond our understanding, until it actually materializes.

The Rebbe specifically addresses those for whom it is difficult to internalize the idea that we are really on the threshold of the Geuloh, and that the way to deal with this is by learning the subjects of Moshiach and Geuloh — this enables a person to internalize the reality that the Rebbe is speaking about.  We see this in actuality, that those who learn the subject of Moshiach and Geuloh — regardless of where they were holding before — are much more sensitive to and aware of the unfolding Geuloh.

The importance of learning the subjects of Moshiach and Geuloh cannot be over-emphasized, and we will end with the words of the Rebbe’s secretary, R’ Leibel Groner, z”l:

The Rebbe told me to send a fax to R’ Chaim Gutnick in Australia who wrote a letter to the Rebbe (the Rebbe showed me the letter) saying, “Rebbe, have pity on us and tell us clearly what to do.” The Rebbe said to send him the last sicha that he said that Shabbos (Tazria-Metzora) in which he mentioned the steps that need to be taken.

“I am surprised,” said the Rebbe, “why he is asking what to do when I said it clearly.”  [In the sicha which the Rebbe instructed to be sent to R’ Gutnik, the Rebbe explains that the “direct way” to bring about the revelation and coming of Moshiach is by learning the subjects of Moshiach and Geuloh in Torah, especially by learning the maamorim and Likkutei Sichos of the leader of the generation.]

Since we still haven’t merited the hisgalus of Moshiach, each of us needs to make a spiritual accounting: have I made enough set times for learning Torah? Am I mehader in mitzvos? How can I add in my Ahavas Yisroel and tz’daka? Do I learn inyonei Moshiach and Geula?

We are not being asked to climb ladders to shomayim — the Geuloh is in fact “korov aleicha” (close to us); if we will only push ourselves to fulfill the instructions that Moshiach has given us, then “suddenly the Master will come”!


Dvar Malchus: Revelations from Above!

Reb Menachem Zev Halevi Gringlass wrote to an acquaintance in Tammuz 5751, referring to the sichos and maamorim of “Dvar Malchus”:

Photo of Rabbis Gerlitsky, Hendel, Gringlass

Photo of Chabad Rabbonim of Montreal: R’ E. Gerlitsky, a”h; R’ Y. Hendel, a”h; R’ M.Z. Gringlass, a”h.

We stand now b’ezras Hashem, in the most serious period. The holy sichos and the discourses that are coming out (with the footnotes and sources) are truly revelations from Above. In truth we are not worthy of this at all, it is only by Divine Providence that we have merited to be the last generation of golus and the first of Geulah, and therefore, as the Baal Shem Tov explained on the verse “V’hu yechalkeluchoh” that Hashem Himself will make us vessels…

We must literally learn every single discourse 3-4 times at least and then think through its contents 7-10 times, at least half an hour every time, and only then maybe we can hope that something will stick, and the vessel will become a little bit clean….

source: Moshiach Weekly, expanded edition for Yud Shevat 5775, p. 18

Siyum HoRambam: Halachos of Torah sh’b’al Peh Will Never Be Nullified

What follows was compiled and edited by the Rebbe, “in conjunction with the completion of the sefer HaRambam”, from sichos spoken over the course of Rosh Hashono, Shabbos Chol Hamoed Sukkos, and Simchas Torah 5752.

In the Mishna Torah, the Rambam gives us an orderly presentation of the entire Torah sh’b’al Peh, a sefer of “halachos halachos”.  It possesses a special importance, comparable to the importance of the Torah sh’bichsav, which we learn out from the saying of our sages: “all the seforim of the Neviim and  Kesuvim will in the future be nullified to the Days of Moshiach,” which is not the case with halachos: “Halachos of the Torah sh’b’al Peh will never be nullified.”  (Which leads to the statement of the Rebbe [footnote 17 in the printed sicha] that the study of Rambam speeds up and accelerates [ממהרים ומזרזים] the time of Yemos Hamoshiach, at which time it will be revealed that the halachos are never nullified.)

The Rebbe then raises a question (based on something explained at length in Torah Chadasha, Shavuos 5751): there us a principle of Torah that the halacha goes according to Beis Hillel, but this is only in the time of golus; in the future, when the Beis Din Hagadol will return to Yerushalayim, the halacha will be like Beis Shammai (for Beis Shammai will be the majority in the future, and we rule according to the majority).  If so, we find that the present halachos (which are in accordance with Beis Hillel) will in fact be nullified in the future?!

More than this: it is known that according to several opinions “mitzvos will be nullified in the time to come” — at Techiyas Hameisim, which is in the second stage (2nd tekufah) of Yemos Hamoshiach.  This is learned out from a debate in the gemara about permitting burial shrouds to be woven out of “kilayim” (material made from a forbidden mixture of threads).  This is permitted, according to Rav Yosef, because “mitzvos will be nullified in the time to come”.  If so, then all of the halachos of the Torah sh’b’al Peh will be nullified in the future (in the second tekufah, Techiyas Hameisim) — if the mitzvos will be nullified, then it should follow that the halachos (the ruling of how to perform the mitzvos) will be nullified?

Mitzvos Will Be Nullified or Torah is Eternal?

To say that Mitzvos will be nullified is, apparently, a contradiction to the eternality of Torah.  And if one will say that Mitzvos are an inyan of “today to fulfill them” to be followed by “tomorrow to receive their reward” when they will be nullified — this is not a sufficient answer.  Why?  Because (as explained in Chassidus) Mitzvos represent Hashem’s ratzon, His Will, which is independent of any other purpose (such as refining the person or the world and bringing them to perfection).  Based on this, we have a strong question as to how Mitzvos, which “stand eternally”, could be said to be nullified in the time to come? Continue reading

Chukas 5751: Revealing the Hidden

There is a common thread running through almost all of the Dvar Malchus sichos of 5751-52: the concepts of “ratzo v’shov” (ascending and returning) and the influence from Above contrasted with the effort from below. These concepts are explained at great length in the teachings of Chassidus, and they receive added emphasis in Dvar Malchus.

The year this sicha was said (5751) Shabbos parshas Chukas was the 10th of the month of Tammuz. This means it carries the influence of the number seven (Shabbos) and the number ten (10th of the month). The Rebbe explains that seven represents the complete perfection of the world as it is created from Above, exemplified by the Written Torah which was given from Above, the revealed aspect of Torah. The number ten represents the perfection that is attained (and added to) via our effort from below, which finds expression in the Oral Torah, including Pnimiyus Hatorah.  The added quality of ten, deriving from our effort, is that it brings to revelation the “concealed good” which is not openly revealed in the revealed Torah.

The difference between 7 and 10 is 3, which refers to the “moichin“, the three intellectual dimensions of Chochma, Bina and Da’as (Chaba”d).  It is our effort to use our intellectual abilities which brings out the hidden good.  Says the Rebbe here:

To point out that last Shabbos was 3 Tammuz, the beginning of the Geulah. This Shabbos. the 10th of Tammuz, comes after 7 days of the week have passed — the avodah of refining the 7 midos.  Together with this is the avodah of the 3 moichin (of 3 Tammuz) — and this brings about the revelation of the aspect of 10 (of Tammuz)…  

This is the special quality of our effort (3 [moichin]) which adds to the completeness from Above (7 [midos]) and brings to the ultimate completeness and perfection of revealing the hidden good (10).  [This is also connected with our parsha which speaks of the Red Heifer (Pora Adumoh), in which the Torah instructs that the sprinkling of the purifying waters take place on the third day and the seventh day.]

The Rebbe explains further: “through understanding Pnimiyus Hatorah and the soul of the matter, one is able to see there also the hidden good, even though one does not see this revealed, or one even sees the opposite (the opposite of good).”  According to Torah (and emphasized in Chassidus), everything  is really good because nothing evil descends from Above.  But in order to see this we need the aspect of “3” — our effort in using our 3 intellectual faculties to understand Pnimiyus Hatorah. The revelation of Pnimiyus Hatorah is the inyan of the three lands of Eretz Yisroel that will be inherited in the future: the lands of the Keni Kenizi and Kadmoni.

All of this is assisted by seeing the Rebbe’s face:

The revelation of Pnimiyus Hatorah is drawn down in an ongoing, perpetual way (since the time of the geulah [of the Previous Rebbe in 5687-1927]) — via the Previous Rebbe’s students and the students of his students, as he is the Nosi of our generation, and “the Nosi is everything” — he gives the ability to every Jew in this generation, and particularly via his students who merited to see him with eyes of flesh, face to face…and seeing the face of the Tzaddik and the Nosi of our generation has an effect on those who see him, until it becomes firmly recognizable in them that they saw him, including first and foremost — in their avoda in “your wellsprings will spread outward”.

Since the period of time in which we find ourselves is characterized by things which appear to be the opposite of good (most strikingly the event of 3 Tammuz, which marks an interruption of seeing the Rebbe “with eyes of flesh, face to face”), we must implement the Rebbe’s instruction to make an effort to understand these things according to Pnimiyus Hatorah and in that way reveal the hidden good, which itself brings about open and revealed good in the world.

Gimmel Tammuz: What is the Moment When the Sun Stands Still?

Would you like to know at what moment the sun stood still on Gimmel Tammuz, 5754?

In the sicha of parshas Korach, Gimmel Tammuz, 5751, the Rebbe explains at length the great miracle which occurred on Gimmel Tammuz in the days of Yehoshua bin Nun: the sun and the moon (and the entire cosmic system) stood still.  “Shemesh b’Givon dom“.

This miracle doesn’t seem to have such an obvious connection to the miraculous Geuloh of the Rebbe Rayatz in 5627 (the subject of the Rebbe’s farbrengen), but mashpiim find an obvious connection to the events of Gimmel Tammuz 5754: that just as it was by Yehoshua bin Nun, that he commanded the sun and the moon (and the entire cosmos) to stand still, causing time to “freeze” in order to enable the Yidden to win the war they were waging on their own effort, so too we are in a “frozen moment” where the Rebbe wants us to finish the war to end golus with our own effort.  But there is an even greater insight, as we hope to explain with Hashem’s help.

When Gimmel Tammuz comes around, half the farbrengens are on the theme of celebrating “as’chalta d’Geuloh” (the beginning of the Geuloh), and the other half are  on the theme of Hillula.  Come and hear an amazing reconciliation of this widespread confusion:

When Eliyahu HaNovi was preparing to ascend heavenward, he asked his disciple Elisha what he could do for him “before I will be taken from you.”  Elisha responds with a puzzling request: a double-portion of Eliyahu’s prophetic spirit should rest upon him.  Eliyahu replies that this is a difficult request, meaning it is impossible to give more than one has (Rashi)!  Nonetheless, Eliyahu adds that if he (Elisha) will see him being taken from him, then he can fulfill his request.

There are various answers given to the question: how could Eliyahu HaNovi give his disciple more than what he possesses.  The answer we will present here will open our eyes to something amazing:

Based on the Zohar, the sefer Likkutei Mohoron (ch. 66) explains that every Tzaddik possesses two dimensions of ruach — his supernal ruach, and his lower ruach.  He lives his life in this world with his lower ruach, but when the time of his histalkus arrives, the supernal ruach descends to this world and unites with the lower ruach (compare with Igeres Hakodesh, siman 27).  This means that the Tzaddik, in his final moments in this world, has a lofty revelation that far exceeds what he experienced in his lifetime.  Once the two aspects of ruach unite, the supernal ruach has to leave this world (because its nature is that it cannot tolerate to be here), and it ascends together with the lower ruach, which has united with it, and this is the Tzaddik’s histalkus.  Thus we find that by Rashbi, for example, he revealed the loftiest things in his final moments.

This means that the life of every Tzaddik goes through three distinct stages:

  1. his life in this world when only his lower ruach is accessible;
  2. his final moments when his supernal ruach is revealed in this world;
  3. his departure from this world, together with both dimensions of his ruach.

In the story of Eliyahu and Elisha, it was these “final moments” which provided the opportunity for Elisha’s request to be fulfilled: Eliyahu was still physically alive in this world, but on a higher level — with the revelation of his supernal ruach.  Prior to this moment, he could not give a double portion because he himself didn’t have it;  after this moment, he was already gone from the world and couldn’t give it over; but in exactly these final moments he had both aspects, and thus he could in fact fulfill Elisha’s request for a double portion.

These final moments paradoxically combine the elements of physical life with the lofty qualities the Tzaddik attains when he is nistalek.  At that moment he is both “chai v’kayam” and at the same time “more than he was in his lifetime” (יתיר מבחיוהי, in the loshon of Igeres Hakodesh).

Now imagine that at this very moment the sun and the moon stand still.  Time freezes and the Tzaddik’s ascent is also “frozen” at the moment of opportunity: he remains “chai v’kayam“, alive as a soul in a physical body in this world, and he also has received the lofty level of revelations that are reserved for a histalkus.  But here, instead of a fleeting moment of opportunity for his disciples and mekusharim to receive a double portion, this moment of opportunity doesn’t end…

We could say that this is a deeper dimension of the Rebbe’s lengthy explanation of the sun and moon standing still: that the time will come (3 years to the day after the Rebbe spoke the sicha) when the Rebbe will make use of this Gimmel Tammuz miracle of “Shemesh b’Givon dom” to create an unprecedented situation: the Rebbe will be holding by both realities!  He will continue to be chai v’kayam without histalkus (as the Rebbe tells us in the sicha of Bo 5752 that our generation will not experience histalkus), yet at the same time “more than he was in his lifetime” (יתיר מבחיוהי), which is a lofty state which is achieved at the time of — histalkus!

This explains (and even validates) the divergent perspectives: yes, the Rebbe remains chai v’kayam b’guf gashmi, and yes, he also possesses the qualities of “more than in his lifetime”.  Practically speaking, it gives each and every one of us the opportunity to receive from the Rebbe even greater koichos than were available all the years, because the Rebbe himself is holding by greater koichos.  And it also gives us the keilim to understand how half of Lubavitch looks at Gimmel Tammuz differently from the other half!*  These feel the Rebbe lives, those feel “more than in his lifetime”, and both share the limited perception that you can’t have the two together.  But, in fact, we can, and apparently we do!

May we utilize these great koichos to bring the Geuloh b’poel mamash and truly open our eyes to the reality of the Redemption.

*) This recalls the explanation, attributed to the Helige R’ Yisroel of Ruzhin, of the machloikes between the Alter Rebbe (who advocated spreading the wellsprings of Chassidus) and R’ Boruch of Mezibuz (who was opposed to spreading Chassidus broadly).  He said that when Moshiach told the Baal Shem Tov that he would come when “your wellsprings will spread out”, the Baal Shem Tov’s eyes welled up with tears.  R’ Baruch, a grandson of the Baal Shem Tov, felt the pain of his grandfather’s tears that his wellsprings would have to descend to “chutza”, and therefore opposed something which caused his grandfather pain.  The Alter Rebbe, though, was a spiritual grandson of the Baal Shem Tov, and he felt the pain of the Baal Shem Tov that derived from the long time it would take to spread out the wellsprings before Moshiach would come, therefore he worked to speed it up.  We could say that the Rebbe has Chassidim that are more attuned to the reality of “chai v’kayam“, and Chassidim that are more attuned to the reality of “more than in his lifetime”, and all that is lacking for unity is to expand the vessels of understanding.

The text of this section of Likkutey Mohoran in Hebrew and English here.

28 Sivan, 5751: Where is the Beis Hamikdash Now?

The Rebbe spoke this sicha on the 50th anniversary of his arriving safely to the shores of America (together with the Rebbetzin) from war-torn Europe in 5701 (1941).  America is identified in Chassidus as a place where Matan Torah did not take place (in a revealed way), and is referred to as the “lower half of the world” (חצי כדור התחתון).  It is, in this regard, the lowliest place.  But specifically from the lowest place one can elevate everything (like a lever  positioned under a building, which can lift up the entire building).

Here, in the lower half of the world, the Previous Rebbe settled in 5700 (1940), joined by the Rebbe and the Rebbetzin a year later.  The (now-famous) building at 770 Eastern Parkway was acquired as the home, shul, and study-hall of the Previous Rebbe, and the Rebbe explains the significance of this number.  (This sicha is one of the talks that would be compiled into the unprecedented sicha of “Beis Rabbeinu sh’b’Bavel“.)

As is know, there are 7 sefiros, from Chesed to Malchus.  The state of perfection is represented by 10, so the ultimate perfection of 70 is 700, and of 7 is 70, both of which combine to make 770.  The completion of the task of refining the sefiros.  This is not just number-play, as the Rebbe goes on to explain:

And from this place the Geuloh begins, and the building of the Beis Hamikdosh, “the Sanctuary of G-d, which Your hands established” (מקדש אדנ”י כוננו ידיך)… Even though its place is in the Holy Land, in Yerushalayim, on the Holy Mountain, [but the work of achieving this] is done via our avoidah in the time of golus, so we have in this place, specifically in this place, the entire preparation for the “Sanctuary of G-d”…until in this place will be the revelation of “the Sanctuary of G-d”, in this place (770).

The Rebbe continues to say that this refers to the entire building (of the Beis Hamikdosh), including the roof, as the Midrash states “Melech Hamoshiach stands on the roof of the Beis Hamikdosh and announces to Yisroel: the time of your redemption has arrived”.

Immediately, all Jews will find themselves standing (איבערגעשטעלט) in our Holy Land together with the third Beis Hamikdosh WHICH WE HAVE HERE (וואס מ’האט דא)…

Those words have been translated in capital letters to draw attention to their significance.  In this and other sichos, one could arrive at the mistaken understanding that 770 is merely the “small sanctuary in the time of golus” where, “at some point in the future”, the 3rd Beis Hamikdosh will be revealed first (see Kuntres “Beis Rabbeinu sh’b’Bavel”).

It is correct that 770 is that place where the 3rd Beis Hamikdosh will be revealed first.  But only the revelation to you and me is in the future; because the essential presence of the 3rd Beis Hamikdosh we have here מ’האט דא (present tense)!  This is a critical point to grasp, which enables many things to be understood.  For example: the Rebbe’s assertion (parshas Vayakhel) that the ingathering of the Exiles has begun.  This is something which comes about, as the Rebbe himself explains elsewhere, through the 3rd Beis Hamikdosh (and not merely the “small sanctuary in the time of golus”)!  We have it here!

The Rebbe continues and says that Eybershter agrees to the words and requests of Yidden, revealing His love for them down below in this low world, that everything in the world is working for Geuloh.  And further: the 28th of Sivan leads into the 29th, which is Erev Rosh Chodesh, when the moon is not visible.  This aspect of “your place will be empty” (יפקד מושבך) brings to “you are remembered” (see Kuntres Beis Iyar for more explanation), a term which also refers to the intimacy of husband and wife — the unification with the Eybershter, becoming “one reality”, “one flesh”.

Finally, the Rebbe makes a statement that, if understood, resolves all of the difficulties as to whether the Rebbe is really saying (here and elsewhere) that the Geuloh is here, which is contrary to what we see, or if we have to bring it.  The Rebbe states that:

The Eybershter “needs” (so to speak) the partnership of every Yid, specifically as soul in a body; and through our deeds and avoidah comes the Geuloh.  The Yid must come to agree that not only the time of your redemption has arrived, but more than that: the Geuloh b’pashtus is already here…Geuloh from the root that means revelation (through the avoidah of a Yid in Golus)…

Reading this closely, we note that the Rebbe is saying that what is needed in order to BRING the redemption (in the future, even if only the next moment) is that a Jew who is still in GOLUS (present tense, meaning that he has not yet experienced the Geuloh) nonetheless will AGREE and PROCLAIM that the Geuloh is ALREADY here “b’pashtus”!  To agree, and to go so far as to proclaim, that the Geuloh is already here while you yourself are still in golus — this what brings the Geuloh.

Furthermore, we can note the Rebbe’s exacting choice of words: “agree” (מסכים), which has a different meaning than “acknowledge” (מודה).  Agree means that the Yid, with his own level of understanding, comes to the same conclusion — agrees — with what the Rebbe is saying.  This is the “partnership” with the Eybershter the Rebbe is speaking about.  Because if we did not need to reach this through our own intellect and understanding, if it would be sufficient to simply to believe what the Rebbe is saying (that the Geuloh is already here b’pashtus), or to accept it unconditionally as a loyal Chosid, then the Rebbe would not have chosen the word “agree” (מסכים).  To reach the level of “agreement”, one has to learn and understand and on his level reach the same conclusion — much like a Rov who must rule according to his own understanding and not because he has unconditional acceptance of one who is greater than him.  (As the Gemara* tells about Rebbe Meir — that in his generation he was acknowledged as being uniquely great, but the sages did not rule the halacha according to his opinion because they could not understand the depth of his reasoning.)

We can readily grasp how the direct path to our “agreement” is learning about the subject of Moshiach and Geuloh, especially in the Rebbe’s teachings.  Only in this way can we do more than merely acknowledge the Rebbe’s words — we will be able to truly agree!

* Eruvin 13b:

גלוי וידוע לפני מי שאמר והיה העולם שאין בדורו כמותו. ומפני מה לא קבעו הלכה כמוהו? שלא יכלו חבריו לעמוד על סוף דעתו

9) Kuntres 28 Sivan: I Will Show You Wonders Behind the Miracles

9) Kuntres 28 Sivan: I Will Show You Wonders Behind the Miracles

A Chassidic discourse on the verse “As in the days when you came out from Mitzrayim, I will show you wonders” was edited and distributed by the Rebbe on 28 Sivan, 5751 (50th anniversary of the Rebbe’s arrival to America together with the Rebbetzin).  The subject is the nature and varying levels of miracles and wonders in general, and particularly as they will be in the Messianic age.  This not only shares an obvious connection with the miraculous escape of the Rebbe and Rebbetzin from Europe to America 50 years earlier, but also with the year 5751 תנש”א, which the Rebbe repeatedly referred to as the year of “I will show you wonders” (the letters of the Jewish year — Nun-Alef — standing for the  Hebrew words in our verse “I will show you wonders.”)

First, we need to understand the varying levels of miracles: miracles above nature (transforming water into blood, splitting the sea), and miracles enclothed in nature.  Miracles enclothed in nature themselves divide into 3 types: where the miracle is recognizable (Purim, Chanukah); where nature conceals the miracle but there is still a recognition that something out of the ordinary occurred and one is obligated to thank Hashem (an ill person who is healed, a prisoner who is freed, etc); and the lowest level, where nature so completely obscures the miracle to the point that one doesn’t even recognize that a miracle occurred (אין בעל הנס מכיר בניסו).

The Rebbe proceeds to explain that the last type of miracle, unrecognizable from the ordinary process of nature, is actually the highest in it’s source, from the verse עושה נפלאות גדולות לבדו, the great wonders that Hashem does “alone”, no one knows about them.  It is from this level that the great wonders of the Messianic age will come, which will be wonders even compared to the wonders of Mitzrayim.  This can explain why the about the Messianic wonders it says “I will show you wonders” — because they will come from the high level which today are unrecognizable — Hashem will have to “show” us that they are wonders.

But, the Rebbe explains, this verse of “showing wonders” doesn’t only apply to miracles enclothed in nature, but also miracles above nature.  Those miracles will be wonders even in comparison to the wonders that were seen in coming out of Mitzrayim.  But we are left with a question: what need is there to “show” the wonder of a miracle so above nature that it is already a wonder?  The answer the Rebbe gives is amazing.  But to reach that answer, we have to first understand the following:

First, the difference between these miracles is the degree to which they are grasped by human intellect.  A wonder like the splitting of the sea is so beyond human comprehension that we cannot grasp it at all, we can only gaze at it speechlessly.  The more the miracle is enclothed in nature, the more we can grasp it intellectually; to understand not only what happened, but how it happened.  The Rebbe gives examples: we don’t understand how a dead person is brought back to life, we only know that before he was dead and now he is alive.  But looking at the miracle of Purim, for example, we can see exactly how the decree was abolished, or when a sick person is healed we can grasp how it was brought about through certain drugs.  From this out comes out that being enclothed in nature is really what reveals the miracle, making it accessible to the human intellect.  The ultimate form are the miracles that we don’t even recognize — they are so fully grasped by our intellect that there is no sense of wonder that would cause us to notice something unusual has happened, which would cause us to give thanks to Hashem.

Mitteler Rebbe asks a question on the miracles that are unrecognizable: since they derive from the lofty level of “Him alone” (לבדו), then how is or possible for anything to conceal them?  His answer is that, in fact, nothing can conceal them.  They are so fully and seamlessly revealed by nature that we can’t even recognize that something out of the ordinary has occurred!

But really, all miracles come from the Ohr Ein Sof; the difference of whether that are enclothed in nature or not depends on whether they are from the aspect of concealment within the Ohr Ein Sof (למעלה מעלה עד אין קץ), it the aspect of revelation (למטה מטה עד אין תכתית).  And all the wonders of the Messianic era will revealed, including those that derive from the aspect of concealment.

So, the wonders of the Messianic era will come from the highest levels, and will also be revealed even into the human intellect.  But more than that, the Rebbe explains that even the miracles of the Messianic era that will not be enclothed in nature (like the splitting of the sea and the river) will be in the following manner: not only the splitting of the sea will be seen openly, but the revelation [of Elokus] that brings about the splitting of the sea will be seen openly! (As by the splitting of the sea upon coming out of Mitzrayim, when everyone pointed with a finger and said “this is my G-d” (זה א-לי ואנוהו). While by Yetzias Mitzrayim this was a one-time event, in the Messianic era it will be the ongoing reality!)

So we find that the miracles of the Messianic era will be wonders, from a higher level than even the wonders of Yetzias Mitzrayim, and at the same time they will be able to be grasped by human intellect.  (And they will be seen in a way where the Divine revelation itself will be perceived!)  But how will nature — which derives from the Divine name Elokim which conceals G-dliness that is above world — be able to accommodate such a degree of revelation?  The Rebbe explains that  through avoidas habirurim, refining the Divine sparks that fell in physicality, the Jewish people effect a refinement of nature.  Nature itself becomes elevated  (עלית הטבע), so that instead of obscuring the level of G-dliness that is above the world, it becomes a vessel for that G-dliness to be revealed!

It will be interesting to note (for those who have learned the Sicha explaining the “New Torah That Will Go Forth From Me”) that the Rebbe references chapter 16 in Shaar HoEmuna by the Mitteler Rebbe.  There, the Mitteler Rebbe explains this same subject of miracles, and also the difference between the aspect of concealment within the Ohr Ein Sof (למעלה מעלה עד אין קץ), and the aspect of revelation (למטה מטה עד אין תכתית).  He brings out that these two aspects correspond to Halacha (revelation to the lowest levels) and Kabbala (hidden secrets above revelation). Through this reference we can tie together everything in our maamor (which seems to be speaking only about miracles and wonders in physical objects) with the concepts discussed in the Sicha explaining the “New Torah That Will Go Forth From Me” — the ability of Moshiach to draw down the loftiest secrets of Torah to the point where they become Halacha! 

But what is the connection between the secrets of Kabbala, rulings in Halacha, and miracles in the physical world?  As explained by the Rebbe elsewhere, a Halacha ruling (psak din) has an affect on the world, and thus we can understand that when Moshiach draws down the secrets of Torah into Halacha (unifying the aspect of concealment with that of revelation) that this causes the same effect in the physical world, resulting in miracles and wonders which themselves unify the levels of concealment and revelation — above nature and within nature, as explained in this maamor of 28 Sivan!

Shaar Hayichud, Mitteler Rebbe, Ch. 15

Korach (3 Tammuz) 5751: The Sun Stood Still For a Reason

The Miracle of the Sun standing still was only in order to allow Israel to defeat the enemy by their own power in a natural way.

Gimmel Tammuz is the day that the Previous Lubavitcher Rebbe was released from Soviet prison in 5687 (1927).

Prior to that, we find that it was on this day that Yehoshua bin Nun performed a tremendous miracle, causing the sun to stand still.  The story behind the miracle is that Israel were doing battle with the enemy.  Sunset was approaching, and with the setting of the sun the battle would cease and the enemy would be able to escape.  In order to enable Israel to defeat the enemy, Yehoshua instructed the sun to “be silent”, causing it to cease it’s flight in the heavens, preserving the daylight so that the battle could be won.

The Rebbe asks an obvious question: if one has the power to cause the sun (and the entire heavenly system with it) to pause, why not simply bring about the defeat of the enemy in a direct fashion?  The preceding verses in Sefer Yehoshua tell us that more of the enemy were killed by stones which fell upon them from heaven than were killed by the sword.  Is it not a simpler matter to rain down some more stones than to freeze the entire heavenly system?

The answer the Rebbe gives is that the battle is Israel’s battle, it must be won by them under their own power.  Of course Hashem is helping with miraculous assistance from above, but this is only assistance.  The war must be fought and pursued by Israel in a natural fashion, even if on top of that there is super-natural assistance.  Thus, instead of Yehoshua simply bringing about the defeat of the enemy and Israel stand by passively, he used his power to give Israel more time to overcome the enemy in a natural way.

In our day, Gimmel Tammuz is primarily associated with the transition from the years when we saw the Rebbe to the current situation where the Rebbe is not seen except in videos and dreams.  Moshe Rabbeinu is likened to the sun, and the Rebbe, Moshe Rabbeinu in our generation, is still providing all the assistance necessary to win the war against evil.  But the war must be won by us, under our own power.  While the Rebbe was visible to all, it was possible to “rely on the Rebbe” to win the war.  Today, when it seems that the sun, Moshe Rabbeinu, has “stopped moving” it is only in order to allow us to overcome the enemy using natural means.

For a more detailed explanation, with comprehensive references from Chassidus, see the Kuntres Inyonei Moshiach and Geulah for Gimmel Tammuz.

Shlach 5751: To Conquer and Settle the Land

In the sicha of Parshas Shlach the Rebbe contrasts the spies who were sent by Moshe Rabbeinu in the parsha, and the spies sent by Yehoshua in the haftorah.  By contrasting the differences, the Rebbe identifies for us two differing paths in our service of Hashem (and in “entering the land” — bringing the Geuloh) “which complement each other and complete each other for the sake of a singular goal, the conquest of and the entering into the land.”

The spies sent by Yehoshua were for the sake on conquering the land, whereas those sent by Moshe were supposed to aid and encourage entering the land (which includes settling the land after it is conquered).  Moshe’s spies were assigned the task of scouting out the goodness of the land, to give Bnei Yisroel a tangible idea of the special land that awaits them (by bringing back the enormous fruits of the land), and through this to arouse in the Yidden a desire and excitement to enter Eretz Yisroel.  As we know, the spies contradicted their mission and tried to scare Bnei Yisroel away from entering the land as a result of “mixing in” to Moshe Rabbeinu’s instructions.  But, explains the Rebbe, in truth they did accomplish their mission: when Bnei Yisroel entered the land after 40 years wandering in the desert (the consequence of the spies “mixing in”), they did so with excitement that came from what they learned from those same spies.  “If only they hadn’t caused damage by what they added to the shlichus (regarding [the doubting the success of] conquering the land)…then all of Bnei Yisroel would have entered the land of Israel immediately with joy and great desire.”

The Rebbe proceeds to identify the points of difference between the two groups of spies:

  • 12 spies (Moshe), 2 spies (Yehoshua);
  • Tribal leaders (Moshe), unidentified men (Yehoshua);
  • Sent “in your opinion” (Moshe), sent by command of Hashem (Yehoshua);
  • To “scout” the entire land (Moshe), to “spy out” Yericho only (Yehoshua);
  • Travel openly (Moshe), travel secretly (Yehoshua);
  • Identify the nature of the land and the people (Moshe), identify the morale of the population (Yehoshua).

Seemingly, these are completely different kinds of shlichus, deriving from the fact that under Moshe they would have entered the land miraculously, whereas in the times of Yehoshua they needed to conquer the land in a natural manner.  But, as mentioned above, the Rebbe says that they complement and even complete each other, and this is also true in our avoidas Hashem to “enter the land” (bring the Geuloh).  The spies of Moshe represent the inyan of “differentiation” (התחלקות), the unique and special qualities that different elements possess (to be explained momentarily).  The spies of Yehoshua represent the inyan of “unity” (אחדות), where all differences are subsumed and nullified in the common underlying unity.

These differing aspects and approaches manifest themselves in the following areas:

  • Torah is the aspect of unity, the wisdom of Hashem — just as He is One, so too His wisdom is One.  Mitzvos are the aspect of differentiation, each mitzvah involving different limbs, different objects, having different effects.
  • Within Torah itself there are these same two dimensions: Nigleh which is Torah as it differentiates to explain the various mitzvos, etc., and Pnimiyus Hatorah, which explains Elokus and reveals the unity of Hashem in all creation.
  • The Neshoma possesses unique and differentiated “soul powers” (כוחות הפרטים) (intellect, midos) which are applied in different situations, and also it possesses Bittul, which shows on the unity of all aspects of Divine service.

The Rebbe says that the avoidah of refining the world is primarily accomplished through the aspect of differentiation (where one can be better than another, etc.) because the aspect of unity is above the world (and, thus, cannot affect it so much).  Nonetheless, there is also a need for the dimension of unity which brings the avoidah of refining the world to its perfection — that G-dliness which is above the world is drawn down and revealed in the world to make true unity.

This is reflected in two groups of spies.  Moshe’s spies were sent “in accordance with your opinion” (Moshe Rabbeinu’s opinion), which itself reflects on the “differentiation” in Torah as it becomes enclothed in the person’s own intellect.  Yehoshua’s spies, however, were sent upon command of Hashem, the aspect of bittul and kabbolos ‘ol.  The 12 spies represent the different types of Divine service of the 12 tribes, each tribe being different in its strengths and weaknesses.  The 2 spies of Yehoshua show on bittul of all of the powers of the neshoma to the two primary directions of Divine service: positive mitzvos and negative mitzvos.

Each one of us needs to utilize both forms of “spying out the land” in order to properly conquer and settle it.  The actual conquering is best accomplished through the simplicity and bittul of Yehoshua’s spies.  But arousing a desire to enter the land, and to settle it properly demands the approach of Moshe’s spies who utilize their unique abilities and capabilities to accomplish their shlichus.

It is possible to say that when the two dimensions are combined, the bittul of Yehoshua’s spies will keep us away from the mistake of Moshe Rabbeinu’s spies (who “mixed in” and “added” something undesirable to their shlichus) — that even when we make use of our personal strengths and uniqueness we will remain true to the shlichus and succeed to both conquer the land and to settle the land (with joy and desire) and to bring the true and complete Geuloh!