Pinchas 5751 — A Deeper Look at a “Pnimi”

In this sicha the Rebbe explains that we bring the Geuloh through the avoidah of “making ‘here’ Eretz Yisroel” (מאך דא ארץ ישראל).  This is associated with the avoidah of being a “Pnimi” — one who is completely involved in what he is doing.  The instruction of “making ‘here’ Eretz Yisroel” is explained by the Rebbe: “even when he is found ‘here’, in chutz la’aretz, and in the time of golus — one must make ‘Eretz Yisroel’ [while he is] ‘here’ — in this place and time…seemingly: according to Torah ‘here’ (chutz la’aretz) is not ‘Eretz Yisroel’!”

The way to make “here” (which is not “Eretz Yisroel”) into “Eretz Yisroel” is by being totally involved in the avoidah of the moment, without thinking about what it will lead to, whether it is the main thing or a preparation for something else.  “It is known the saying of the Rebbe Rashab — a Pnimi is one who is completely involved in everything he does.”  Even if what he is doing is a preparation for something else (such as singing the niggun as preparation for hearing a Chassidic discourse from the Rebbe), he is focused on what he is doing and not what it leads to.

A Yid must do his avoidah ‘here’ — in this place and time — with complete perfection (based on his abilities and potentials in his situation) in thought, speech, and action, as a ‘Pnimi’ who is completely involved in whichever avoidah he is presently doing (and he doesn’t think at the time that he’s doing it about another avoidah later)…he is making in this place (and time) a land in which Yiddishkeit (Yisroel) is openly recognizable. 

Now let’s look deeper.

The repeated references to “here” as our present “time and place” draws to mind the Maamor edited by the Rebbe and published a year earlier (found in “Meluket Daled”), beginning with the words גדול יהיה כבוד הבית הזה (“Gadol Yehiyeh Kavod haBayis Hazeh“).  In that maamor (sections 6-7-8) the Rebbe explains some very deep concepts behind the miraculous phenomenon that took place in the Kodesh haKodashim in the Beis Hamikdash: the place of the Aron [Kodesh] was immeasureable (“makom ha’Aron eino min haMida“).  First, to explain the phenomenon: The Kodesh haKodashim itself was 20 amos by 20 amos, and the Aron (containing the luchos (the tablets of the Torah) was 2½ amos by 1½ amos.  Under normal circumstances, there should be 17½ amos of space from each side of the Aron to the walls (20-2½=17½).  But in actuality the Aron measured a full 2½ amos, but there remained 10 amos from each side of the Aron to the wall — it didn’t take up any space in the room!

The explanation is best understood from looking at the maamor itself, but to briefly summarize: time and place are generally a function of the name “Elokim”, which is tzimtzum and concealment.  This is the essence of golus: G-dliness is concealed and the divisions of time and place come into being.  Higher than the name Elokim is the name YKVK, which is essentially higher than time and place.  This is not to say that they do not exist at all, as the Rebbe explains, but rather that they exist without division and separation (התחלקות), with all moments being united (the name YKVK meaning “past, present, and future as one” — היה, הווה, ויהיה כאחד).  The same is true for the spacial dimensions: they exist in a state of unity without being divided into “here” and “there”.

Having explained that, the Rebbe explains the miraculous phenomenon of the Aron in the Kodesh haKodashim: the “place” of the Aron was not a usual “place” like the rest of the world, which is created by the name Elokim concealing the oneness of YKVK.  Rather, that place is unique in that it has a revelation of YKVK within the reality created by Elokim.  In other words: all regular places in the world exist in a state of division and separation, each place separate from and distant from other places.  In a YKVK reality there would be no such thing as individual places, they would all be nullified to the Oneness.  In this unique spot there was the revelation of YKVK (Oneness and unity) within Elokim (separation and division), resulting in a place in our familiar world of Elokim which possessed fixed dimensions (20 amos) but yet revealed the unity and oneness of YKVK in that the fixed dimensions of the Aron could co-exist within the fixed dimensions of the the Kodesh haKodashim in a state of unity.  (See the maamor for the full explanation.)

From here we can appreciate a deeper dimension of “make ‘here’ Eretz Yisroel”: the very concept of “here” as opposed to “there” is function of the name Elokim, the source of Tzimtzum and golus.  From the perspective of YKVK the terms “here” and “there” are irrelevant because all places are as one.  So the very fact that we are found “here” means we are in a world of Tzimtzum, a world of division and separation created by the name Elokim.  What must we do?  We must make “here” into Eretz Yisroel — the avoidah of revealing the true underlying Oneness (as it exists by the name YKVK) through being a Pnimi “who is completely involved in whichever avoidah he is presently doing (and he doesn’t think at the time that he’s doing it about another avoidah later)” which is a YKVK reality — there is no “now” and “then” since the YKVK reality is always found in the present moment (which includes all moments).  Through this avoidah of emulating the YKVK reality …he is making in this place (and time) a land in which YKVK  is openly recognizable.  The future revelation of YKVK (within Elokim) will reveal that the Tzimtzum is not real from the perspective of YKVK, and will bring about the unity of all places and all moments (the true meaning of the ingathering of the exiles from all four corners of the world).  This is the Eretz Yisroel reality (certainly as it will be in the future when Yerushalayim will spread out to all of Eretz Yisroel…), and the way we arrive to Eretz Yisroel (the revelation of the unity and Oneness of YKVK) is through the avoidah of being a Pnimi — living the moment in a way of all moments — in our thought, speech, and action!

Pinchas 5751 — Making “Here” Eretz Yisroel

A chosid once asked the Tzemach Tzedek for a brocha to go live in the Holy Land so that he could devote his life there to Torah study and avodas Hashem; the Tzemach Tzedek replied, “R’ Hillel (Paritcher, a legendary chosid called by the Rebbeim “half a Rebbe”) doesn’t lack Eretz Yisroel. Make here Eretz Yisroel.”

In this week’s Dvar Malchus the Rebbe connects this story with the description in parashas Pinchas of the distribution of Eretz Yisroel among the 12 tribes and how it relates to our individual avodah in the last moments of exile.

The purpose of our exile (individual and collective) is to refine and elevate the world at large, transforming it into the level of the Land of Israel, our part in the words of the midrash that in the Time to Come the land of Israel will spread out to all the lands.  However, at the same time Yerushalayim will spread out to all of the land of Israel (Israel remaining on a higher level than the rest of the world) and thus Moshiach will come to gather every Jew and bring him to Eretz Yisroel.

Given this, one might think that “making here Eretz Yisroel” is only an intermediary step to bring the Geuloh, when we will leave “here” and go to Eretz Yisroel itself.  One could come to diminish the importance of “making here Eretz Yisroel” because he has his eyes on the future when he will go with Moshiach to the Geuloh in the true Eretz Yisroel.  In fact, this would be a big mistake, explains the Rebbe.  Because the preparations for something must be done with the same complete focus, energy, and desire as we feel for the final goal.

Thus, devoting ourselves totally and completely to the task of “making here Eretz Yisroel” becomes a vessel to receive the desired goal: the true and complete Geuloh!  In fact, the Rebbe refers to this as “making ourselves accustomed” to the Geuloh even while we are still in exile.  This complete effort while still in exile is in fact what brings the Geuloh.

More than this: although each one has the obligation to make “here” (where he is, physically as well as spiritually) into Eretz Yisroel (“the land which wanted to do her Creator’s will”), we find that in Eretz Yisrael each portion contains within it all the other portions.  So, too, by each individual Yid — he contains within himself the entire world, and by doing his avodah completely, he is able to rectify the entire world, including all previous incarnations.  One little Jew can bring Geuloh to all the world and all generations!

Although we must strongly feel that “we want Moshiach now” — right now! — the Rebbe guides us how to proceed when still find ourselves in golus:

Since the Geuloh still didn’t come in this moment,and by Divine Providence we are still found “here”, in this time and place — without a doubt we need to capitalize on this and fulfill the instruction to “make here Eretz Yisroel”.

Thus, it is our task to publicize the injunction to “make here Eretz Yisroel” and to fulfill it in a complete manner, and through this we will actually bring the Geuloh in revealed actuality.

Balak 5751–Preparations for Geulah, and Learn About it

The Previous Rebbe stated that all that is necessary to do is to “polish the buttons” — and even that service has been accomplished — and we need do no more than “stand together prepared” to greet Moshiach.

In particular, this is true in the present year, a year when “I will show wonders,” a year in which will be fulfilled the prophecy “As in the days of your exodus from Egypt, I will show you wonders.” We have seen wonders of the nature that indicate — as mentioned in the Yalkut Shimoni — that this is “the year when the King Moshiach will be revealed” and that it is “the hour when the King Moshiach comes… and announces to the Jewish people, ‘Humble ones. The time for your redemption has come.’ ”

We are standing at the threshold of the Era of Moshiach, at the threshold of the beginning of the Redemption, and in the immediate future, it will be brought to its completion. In such a year, there is the potential, not only for the Three Weeks to be seen as a preparation for the Redemption, but for the Redemption to actual come, even on the present Shabbos, and thus transform the Three Weeks into a positive period.

In this context, a greater emphasis has to be put on the custom of studying the laws of the structure of the Beis HaMikdash in these Three Weeks. As G‑d told the prophet Yechezkel, through this study, it is considered as if we have been involved in the actual construction of the Beis HaMikdash.

Also, the approach to studying these laws must be different than the approach in previous years. The emphasis must be on, not on mourning over the destruction of the Beis HaMikdash, but rather, on the desire and the yearning for the Third Beis HaMikdash of which it is said, “The glory of this later house will surpass the glory of the previous house.”

Thus the subject must be approached as a present reality. It is not that in the distant future these laws will be relevant, but rather that at any moment the Third Beis HaMikdash which is already built in the heavens will descend and be revealed on earth.

In this context, the study of these laws — as the study of the subjects ofMoshiach and the Redemption — should not be looked at as merely a means to hasten the coming of this future era. Rather, it is the beginning of the efforts to live with the concept of Moshiach, to “live with the times,” with the Era ofMoshiach. When these concepts are perceived intellectually, they will affect our feelings, and ultimately our deeds and our actions. Our conduct will be appropriate to the present era, a time when we are at the threshold of Moshiach’s coming.

Although our Sages declared, “Moshiach will come when our attention is diverted,” this is no contradiction to the emphasis on studying the subjects ofMoshiach and Redemption. A diversion of attention can also be interpreted as referring to a step above our ordinary conscious processes. After one has deepened his awareness of Moshiach to the extent that he appreciates that we are standing on the threshold of Moshiach, that we have completed all the service necessary for his coming, and at any moment, he will come, one can step beyond one’s ordinary thinking process and consider the Redemption in a new light.

These words are meant as a directive for action. Despite the outcry that has been made in the last months, and despite the wonders that we have seen in the present year which indicate that this is “the year when the King Moshiach will be revealed,” there is a difficulty in having this concept permeate people’s consciousness, that they should be aware that we are actually on the threshold of the Redemption, and that they should begin living with the concepts ofMoshiach and the Redemption.

Although this is a year when “I will show you wonders,” and wonders have taken place, they have not been shown to us in a complete manner. On the contrary, it has been necessary to explain and elaborate on the fact that we have seen wonders. When G‑d Himself will show the Jews the wonders in a completely manifest way, there will be no need to explain that we are on the threshold of the Redemption. But until that time, it is difficult for these concepts to make a thorough and effective impression on our thought processes.

How can this be changed? By studying about the concepts of Moshiach and Redemption. The power of the Torah, which is G‑d’s wisdom and His will, transcends the world and has the potential to change man’s character. Thus, even though someone feels on the outside when it comes to the Redemption, through studying about these matters, they can begin to live with the idea of Moshiach’s coming, and sense that he is coming in the immediate future.

Sichos in English

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 (Para Adumah), 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.

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

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

The Miracle of the Sun standing stil 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.

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 accessable 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