Vayera 5752: To Really Want Divine Revelation

This sicha begins with the story of the Rebbe Rashab as a young boy.  On his 4th or 5th birthday he was brought to his grandfather, the Tzemach Tzedek, to receive a blessing.  When he entered his grandfather’s room he burst out in tears and said “In cheder, we learned that G-d revealed Himself to Avraham.  Why does He not reveal Himself to me?”  The Tzemach Tzedek responded:

When a Jew [alternatively, ‘When a tzaddik’] who is ninety-nine years old recognizes that he must undergo [the spiritual service of] circumcision, he is worthy of having G-d reveal Himself to him.”

Both the question and the answer contain clues to the process of redemption.

The mitzvah of circumcision is a unique covenant with the Creator which is brought about by removing the foreskin, the “orlah“, an impure manifestation that obscures.  Although none of us is on the level of Avraham Avinu’s Divine service, we learn from him that even if a person has reached the 99th level of perfecting himself (corresponding to his 99 years at the time), he must take the next step to realize that there is a greater level of Divine revelation which can only be revealed by circumcising himself — removing the orlah which obscures that revelation (even if it may be very subtle and barely noticeable to him).  The goal is not “self-perfection” but rather G-dly revelation.  The orlah blocks this G-dly revelation from being complete, and must be removed even at the age of 99 years (and how much more so before then).

In order to accomplish this, we must tap into the same yearning, the same sense  that something critical is lacking, which caused the young Rebbe Rashab to burst into tears that G-d had not revealed Himself to him.  The goal of all of our effort and service of Hashem is to bring about this Divine revelation.  No matter what we have accomplished, no matter how far we have come (whether as individuals or the Jewish people as a whole), until we bring about this revelation of G-dliness we have not accomplished the goal.  Even if we have finished the Divine service of golus, we still need to bring about the revelation of G-dliness in the world, to bring into actuality the true and complete Geulah.  To do this we need to feel a yearning for Hashem’s Divine revelation.

This is particularly evident in the mitzvah of milah (circumcision) which is “sealed in our flesh”, connecting the Divine command with the material body of each Jew.  Similarly, the Divine revelation of which we speak cannot remain spiritual, it must come down to the world, to the soul as it is enclothed in a material body.

The Rebbe explains that all of this is connected with the revelation of the spark of Moshiach which is contained in every Jew — that each one of us must reveal this spark of Moshiach which is within us.  Revealing it means bringing it out in our consciousness, in our actions, and in our influence on the world.  A person revealing his spark of Moshiach is a “personal redemption” and all of the “personal redemptions” come together to become the true and complete Geulah.  How do we speed this up?  By acting as a shliach, meaning an “agent”, utilizing all 10 powers of soul (3 of intellect, 3 of emotion, 4 of action) to bring about G-d’s revelation in the world, primarily by learning and spreading the teachings of Chassidus in way where they are understood and internalized.  This is a preparation for the inner bond with Hashem that will be revealed.

Furthermore, we are at a stage where there are no more obstacles to this revelation.  The Rebbe Rashab, when he founded the Yeshiva Tomchei Temimim, spoke about the two stages before the redemption which are hinted at in Psalm 89: those who are the “enemies of Hashem”, enemies of G-d and His Torah (the maskilim and reformers of his generation); and those who “scorn the footsteps of Your anointed one (Moshiach)”, meaning Torah-observant Jews who have little faith in Moshiach (complete sicha of the Rebbe Rashab).  The Rebbe Rashab noted then that the students of Tomchei Temimim are the “soldiers of the House of David” who fight these wars.  In our sicha of Parshas Vayera, the Rebbe says that even this has been completed, indicating that there are no longer any real “enemies of Hashem” among the Jewish people (only those who are like a “captured child” (תינוק שנשבה) raised by gentiles, not responsible for how he was raised), and similarly (and a greater chiddush)  — there is no longer any real opposition to Moshiach.  Rather, we have entered the stage of Psalm 90 (the Rebbe’s kapital for the year 5751-52) which concludes with the verse “May the pleasantness of G-d our L-rd be upon us, establish for us the work of our hands,” referring to the Holy Temple.

Since we have reached the completion of our Divine service, all that remains is to awaken a yearning for Divine revelation like the young Rebbe Rashab and to act like Avraham Avinu and “circumcise ourselves” — meaning to remove from ourselves anything which obscures the Divine revelation, no matter how subtle it might be.  This, together with learning and teaching Chassidus and fulfilling our shlichus with all powers of our soul, speeds up and brings about the true and complete redemption which can take place immediately!


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?

In the gemara’s discussion about burial shrouds, it is brought in the name of Rebbe Yochanan that it is permitted to bury in shrouds made out of forbidden fabric because the dead are “free from Mitzvos”.  This is fine as long he is dead, but when he will arise to Techiyas Hameisim he will find himself clothed in forbidden garments!  So, seemingly Rebbe Yochanan’s opinion applies up until Techiyas Hameisim, and has no relation to the opinion of Rav Yosef who holds that Mitzvos are nullified in the future.

Now, the Rebbe mentions a discussion in a different gemara about Techiyas Hameisim (Sanhedrin 90b).  In that gemara, Rebbe Yochanan states that we will fulfill the mitzvah of terumah with Aharon Hakohen himself (after he rises in the Techiya).  Thus, we see that Rebbe Yochanan does not hold that Mitzvos will be nullified in the time to come — as proven by Aharon receiving terumah!  So how could he permit burying a person in kilayim, and thus when he rises (and is again obligated in mitzvos) he will find himself clothed in forbidden material?!

The Rebbe then proceeds to explain beautifully how Rebbe Yochanan’s opinion (“the dead are free from Mitzvos”) is also an explanation of (and in harmony with) the opinion of Rav Yosef (“Mitzvos will be nullified in the time to come”):

When we say “Mitzvos will be nullified” we are speaking only about the aspect of the Mitzvah which is a command to the person.  That when a person dies (after he completes his avoidah in fulfilling Mitzvos) he becomes freed from Mitzvos, meaning that even when he arises in Techiyas Hameisim, he is not bound by commandments telling him what to do; rather, the Mitzvos themselves continue to exist eternally simply as Hashem’s ratzon.  The reason for this is that a commandment is only relevant when the person is a separate existence, and there is room for a Commander and the one receiving the command.  But when there is a complete unification with the Holy One, blessed be He, to the point that they become one existence (ישראל וקודשא בריך הוא כולה חד) then the concept of a “commandment” is no longer relevant — “Mitzvos” (commandments) will be nullified in the time to come;  and at the same time the halachos of those Mitzvos, which are Hashem’s ratzon, are eternal — there is no contradiction!

Thus, we can also answer our question on Rebbe Yochanan about how he could permit burial in forbidden fabric if we will indeed fulfill mitzvos after Techiyas Hameisim: because the metziyus of giving terumah will continue to exist after Techiyas Hameisim, but not as a command to the person (for he has become “freed from commandments” — in a lofty manner, since he no longer needs to be commanded for he is no longer a separate entity but rather has become one with the Holy One, blessed be He).  “Therefore, it is permissible to bury him in Kilayim because when he will arise in the future he will not have any commandment that forbids him from wearing Kilyaim, even though it is certain that he will not remain clothed in Kilayim (after the moment of the Techiya), not because of a command, but (automatically) because the ratzon of the Holy One, blessed be He, contradicts the existence of Kilyaim.

Mitzvos, Halachos, and Torah

The Rebbe at this point makes a diyuk in the apparently contradictory expressions quoted above which will assist in clarifying the matter.  As regards Mitzvos the expression is that they “will be nullified in the future”, whereas “the halachos of Torah will never be nullified.”  The concept of “Mitzvos” is that they are related to the world and the person’s own reality.  Mitzvos are practical, not theoretical.  Torah, on the other hand (“the halachos of Torah”), are above and beyond the world.  An example of this is the halachos pertaining to a Jewish city where the majority served idols (עיר הנדחת).  The gemara states that such a city “never was, and never will be in the future”, meaning that there is no practical dimension here; but the halachos of what to do with such a city (the Torah, rather than the Mitzvah) are studied and debated because they are eternal even as they are above and beyond the world.

Thus, Mitzvos will be nullified, but Torah is eternal, as the Rebbe explains:

In the future time to come mankind and the world will be elevated to a level that is higher than the world [as it is presently], and therefore the Mitzvos, which relate to the world [as it is now], will be nullified in the future.  This is not the case with the halachos of Torah which do not relate to the world and are not nullified in the time to come.

The Rebbe adds an interesting point: the “reward” for the mitzvos is said by our sages as being the mitzvah itself (“שכר מצוה מצוה”).  We can understand this to mean that the true inyan of the mitzvos will be revealed to the one performing the mitzvos — meaning how they are in Torah, which is above the world.  And this will reveal how the entire reality of the world is that in it (in the world) Hashem’s Ratzon is fulfilled in actuality.

Beis Hillel and Beis Shammai

At this point in the sicha (section 8), the Rebbe introduces a truly novel concept which builds upon the concepts explained above pertaining to the eternality of Torah: the eternality of the contradictory opinions of Beis Hillel and Beis Shammai.

As is well known, there are many disagreements (machloikes) between the schools of Beis Hillel and Beis Shammai, with the former tending to rule leniently and the latter tending to rule strictly (for more insight, see the sicha of Shavuos 5751, “The New Torah That Will Go Forth From Me”).  We are told in the Mishna that “every machloikes that is for the sake of Heaven will in the end be fulfilled…this is the machloikes of Shammai and Hillel.”  The Rebbe questions this phrasing, since the very concept of a machloikes is that there are two contradictory rulings, and the halacha upholds one opinion and rejects the other opinion (since, being contradictory, they cannot both be fulfilled).  How can we say that two opposite opinions will (both) be fulfilled?  If you will try to answer that “both these and these are divrei Elokim chayim“, meaning that neither side is “wrong”, rather they both have a source Above, and the halacha only chooses one to be fulfilled in actuality — this is insufficient to explain the phrasing “will be fulfilled” (since, according to this explanation, one opinion is fulfilled and the other is not).  In fact, even though our halacha today follows Beis Hillel, the Arizal writes that in the future in the time of Moshiach the halacha will be like Beis Shammai — “and this is ‘in the end will be fulfilled'”.

But this needs to be understood:

Even according to the Arizal that “in the future in the time of Moshiach the halacha will be like Beis Shammai…and this is ‘in the end will be fulfilled'” — this is interpreting “in the end will be fulfilled” to refer to the opinion of Beis Shammai and not on the machloikes itself between the two schools.  Because when Beis Shammai will become the halacha, it automatically nullifies the halacha of Beis Hillel.  We remain where we started: one opinion is fulfilled, the other is nullified.  And especially since this is a huge degradation for Beis Hillel, contradicting the maxim that we ascend in matters of holiness?!

The Rebbe offers an explanation that the Arizal is referring here to the first tekufa of Yemos Hamoshiach (for more on the two tekufos, see this kuntres), but that in the second tekufa of Yemos Hamoshiach (the resurrection of the dead, Techiyas Hameisim) when the Mitzvos will be nullified, then the “machloikes” will be fulfilled — that the halacha will go according to both Shammai and Hillel together.

The explanation is as follows:

The machloikes between the two schools, where “these declare impure and these declare pure, these forbid and these permit” is only as regards the halachos of Torah as commands to human beings how to conduct themselves in the world.  Since the existence of the person in the world is emphasized, and in the limitations of the world Chesed and Gevurah are opposites, thus Hashem’s Will (what the person should do) can be expressed in two ways.  “But as regards the halachos of Torah as they truly are, not coming to effect the world, but rather they are the ratzon of the Holy One, blessed be He as He is in and of Himself (כפי שהוא מצד עצמו) — even the divergent opinions that are in the halachos of Torah are ‘one Torah’,  ‘all of them given by one Shepherd’.  And being that He encompasses everything, He has two opinions of affirmative and negative, and both of them are one…”  And from Hashem’s perspective, these conflicting opinions can be revealed in the reality world the same as they co-exist in His Essence — the affirmative and the negative together — since He transcends the impossible, nimna hanimna’os.

It comes out that there are three periods: the present time (when the halacha is like Beis Hillel), the first tekufa of Yemos Hamoshiach (when the halacha is like Beis Shammai), and the time of Techiyas Hameisim (when the halacha will be like both together).  In the first two of these periods, the emphasis is on the effect on the world (פעולה בעולם), and as far as the limitations of the world are concerned only one opinion can be fulfilled in actuality and the other must remain spiritual.  This is the time of “today to fulfill them (the mitzvos)”, היום לעשותם.

But after the time of  “today to fulfill them” comes “tomorrow to receive their reward”, מחר לקבל שכרם, which refers to the time of Techiyas Hameisim when the Mitzvos will be nullified.  Meaning that what will be nullified will be the dimension of a command to the person.  What will remain will be their true inyan — that they are the Hashem’s ratzon, the dimension of “halachos of Torah are never nullified”.  At this time, the halacha will be like Beis Shammai and Beis Hillel together, since the Will of the Holy One, blessed be He, will be revealed in the world as it is in His Essence, “nimna hanimna’os“.

The Rambam and Chassidus: A Machloikes Resolved

The Rebbe concludes the sicha with a reference to the final section of the Rambam, which could seem like a minor point meant to “justify” (so to speak) the subject of the sicha being spoken in conjunction with the Siyum HaRambam.  But, upon closer examination, the Rebbe is resolving two contrary opinions in a way that they can co-exists in the world (we might say a foretaste of what our sicha describes).

To explain: the final halachos in the Rambam’s all-encompassing Mishneh Torah (containing halachos of Torah in all areas) discuss the Messianic Era, Yemos Hamoshiach.  The Rebbe quotes the halacha that “The sages and prophets did not long for the days of Moshiach for any other reason except to be free [from other obligations in order] to study Torah and it’s wisdom…in order that they will merit to the life of the World to Come.”  The Rebbe then quotes the final halacha of the Rambam that “in that time there will not be hunger nor war nor jealousy and competition, for beneficence will be broadly distributed and all the delicacies will be available like dust, and the activity of the world will only be knowing Hashem, as it says ‘the world will be filled with knowledge of Hashem like water covers the sea.'”  The Rebbe says that this final halacha hints to the second tekufa of Yemos Hamoshiach, the tekufa in which there will be a change in the conduct of the world, beginning with the primary change, the resurrection of the dead.

In light of what was explained in this sicha, the difference between Yemos Hamoshiach and Techiyas haMeisim is that Yemos Hamoshiach is the pinnacle and perfection of fulfilling Mitzvos (as a command to the person), whereas in the time of Techiyas haMeisim the aspect of command will be nullified and the true inyan of the Mitzvos will be revealed, as above.  The Rebbe finds a hint for this in these halachos of the Rambam:

The longing of the sages and prophets for Yemos Hamoshiach is for the sake of the perfection in fulfilling Torah and Mitzvos; the description in the final halacha adds “in that time”, which the Rebbe states is a reference to the second tekufa, when the world will be busy with “knowing Hashem” in and of itself, not for another goal (such as “meriting to the life of the World to Come” as in the previous halacha).

To align these halachos with what was explained in the sicha: the first tekufa of Yemos Hamoshiah is the time of “today to fulfill them” while there is a command to the person, and the emphasis is on the benefit that comes to the person through fulfilling Torah and Mitzvos — meriting the World to Come.  This is unlike the second tekufa of Yemos Hamoshiach, when there will be Techiyas Hameisim, and the aspect of “command” will be nullified, the aspect of Hashem’s Will comes revealed, and the world is busy “knowing Hashem”  — it is understood that at this time there is no other goal, but that this itself is the goal.

So far, it all fits together nicely.  But in order to understand the significance of how the Rebbe concludes the sicha, we need to understand the longstanding machloikes between the Rambam and the Ramban*.  In brief, the Rambam writes that Techiyas Hameisim is a temporary stage, to be followed by eternal life in the World to Come — a world of neshomos without bodies.  The Ramban respectfully but firmly contradicts this opinion, and declares that the ultimate World to Come is in fact the state of Techiyas Hameisim, and that eternal life is a neshoma in a body.  Chassidus, in countless places, explicitly goes according to the Ramban, that eternal life is a soul in a body after the resurrection.  Our sicha concludes as follows:

According to this we can say that also according to the opinion of the Rambam the main and ultimate reward is in the world of the Resurrection (in accordance with the ruling of Chassidus), only that he did not write this explicitly, just as he didn’t write explicitly about the second tekufa of Yemos Hamoshiach when there will be Techiyas Hameisim, since the purpose of a sefer of halachos is that “all the rulings of all the mitzvos should be clear to the small and to the great.”  This is accomplished at the end of the [first] tekufa of “today to fulfill them”; nonetheless, since the true inyan of his work is “halachos of Torah”, as they are from the perspective of Hashem’s Will — therefore, in the final halacha, which is the completion and summary of the sefer of halachos, the Rambam hints about the situation of the world of the Resurrection, when the true inyan of “halachos of Torah” will be revealed, which is not for the person (“that he should merit to the life of the World to Come”), but rather “to know their Creator”, “the knowledge of Hashem”, for this is the main and ultimate reward — that the existence of the person and the world will be completely nullified and covered over by “the knowledge of Hashem”, “like water covers the sea”. 

Through this explanation, the Rebbe has succeeded in revealing how the machloikes between the Rambam and the Ramban (a machloikes for the sake of heaven) will ultimately see both opinions fulfilled because we have revealed how in truth they are really one!

* Explained with more detail by R’ Nissan Dovid Dubov here).

Lech Lecha 5752: Pick up and Leave

Hashem’s instruction to Avraham Avinu “Lech Lecha” is a leaving (from “your land, your birth place, your father’s house”) for the sake of arriving: arriving to “the land I will show you”, Eretz Yisroel.

According to Chassidus, each of these expressions of leaving has a spiritual counterpart in the avodah of a Jew:

  • Your land (artzecha) refers to one’s will (ratzon), that one has to leave his concepts of “I want”;
  • Your birth place refers to the traits one was born with, to leave the concept of “that’s the way I am”;
  • Your father’s house refers to the education and training that one has become accustomed to.

First one must completely leave these three limiting self-conceptions (even if they are in the realm of Holiness), and having left them he can now proceed towards “the land I will show you”, the Land of Israel.  Back in parshas Pinchas the Rebbe explained that a Jew must “make here Eretz Yisroel”, make it “a place where G‑dliness, holiness, and Yiddishkeit are openly revealed”, and further: to conduct ourselves in the spirit of the Geulah.  Here the Rebbe says that we are far beyond the beginning of the process of conquering the land outside of  Israel and making it Eretz Yisroel, and thus the instruction to “go out from your land” in our case refers also to the land that has already been made into Eretz Yisrael. To not only “go out” from negative things, but to “go out” from the current, limited level we have obtained even in holy things.

This includes not only the land of the 7 nations, which correspond to the 7 midos (the 7 emotional attributes of chesed, gevurah, etc.), but the land of all 10 nations that was promised to Avraham, including the 3 nations of Keni, Kenizi and Kadmoni, which correspond to the 3 moichin (the 3 intellectual attributes of the soul: Kesser, Chochma, and Bina).  And the acquisition of this land will take place peacefully, without the war that was required to conquer the 7 lands, meaning the 7 midos.

This process of “Lech Lecha” — leaving what one is accustomed to, even good and holy things — takes place by revealing powers that one did not even know he had.  This includes adding in learning Torah and making chiddushim (novel insights), gathering people on Shabbos to teach them Torah.  This process of “Lech Lecha” is the preparation needed to reach the “Torah of Moshiach”, which is connected with the acquisition of the 3 lands, the 3 moichin, which is the “sha’ar haNun“, the 50th gate which Moshe Rabbeinu was only able to reach at the end of his life.  And through this we will reach the complete revelation of the Torah that was given at Har Sinai: the level of “a new Torah will go forth from Me” (Vayikra Rabba 13:3 on Yeshayahu 51:4).

Yechi Adoneinu Moreinu v’Rabbeinu Melech Hamoshiach L’Olam Vo’ed!

Noach 5752: Geulah is Dependent Only on Moshiach Himself

The chosid R’ Zushya Willemovsky, “The Partisan”, was told by the Rebbe in a private audience in the 1960s that there remained 20 or 21 things that needed to be accomplished in order for Moshiach to come.  From this we learn the significance of the sichos of Dvar Malchus in general, and parshas Noach in particular — that everything has been accomplished and nothing is preventing the Geulah.

In this sicha, the Rebbe speaks about the importance of periodically making a proper spiritual accounting (cheshbon tzedek) to search out a recognize the areas in ourselves which need improvement, even things that are very slight imperfections (such as causing someone to feel bad because we didn’t return their greeting(!)).  This should be done with joy, with recognition that it is easier than ever to rectify these matters because the Jewish people, who are like one body, “are found in a state of an individual who is healthy in all of his limbs and organs, both spiritually and physically, and thus anything that is lacking is likened to a weakness or a minor illness in one limb which can be healed quickly and easily”.

Furthermore, when a person takes stock of himself and recognizes that he has flaws and failings which need to be rectified, “this is not a contradiction, G-d forbid, to the testimony of the Leader of the Generation that the work has already been completed and we are standing ready to receive Moshiach Tzidkeinu.”  Yes, we need to search these things out, and upon identifying them to rectify them, but these things do not delay Moshiach’s coming.

Dependent Only on Moshiach Himself

“With absolute certainty all the ‘end times’ have passed, and [the Jewish people] have already done tshuva, and now the matter is not dependent upon anything other than Moshiach Tzidkeinu himself!  (Italics in the original.)  Towards the end of the sicha the Rebbe repeats: “…when we do a proper accounting at  the end of the first week of the year 5752, “it will be a year with wonders in it”, we come to the conclusion that the matter is not dependent upon anything other than Moshiach Tzidkeinu himself (as stated above)…”

It might seem that the implication of these words is that we have done all that we can do, now all that remains would be to wait for Moshiach to decide when to reveal himself.  However, this sicha was preceded a half a year earlier by the famous sicha of Chof-Ches Nissan, 5751, where the Rebbe told the Chassidim that he had done everything he could do, all that remains is to give it over to us to bring Moshiach.  (Several days later a woman passed by the Rebbe for dollars, crying that we were counting on the Rebbe to bring Moshiach, to which the Rebbe answers “it must be done by Klal Yisroel, you included, and this person included, and that person included…”  [View the video])  

This means that we need a different way to understand the expression “the matter is not dependent upon anything other than Moshiach Tzidkeinu himself” — since the Rebbe clearly has put in the hands of the Jewish people to “do all that you can” to bring Moshiach in actuality.  Meaning that it is clearly not the Rebbe’s intention that we stage around crying out to Moshiach: “reveal yourself!”  If so, if it is not enough to wait patiently (or, even impatiently) — then what is implied by the matter being dependent upon Moshiach himself?

We can better understand this expression in light of the words of the Rebbe in the sicha of Chayeh Sara (three weeks after this parshas Noach) in which the Rebbe describes the chiddush, the change in the shlichus which becomes the new gateway for the rest of the efforts of shlichus, namely: to accept Moshiach Tzidkeinu in the true and complete Geulah.”  (Italics in original.)

 This sheds light on the expression in our sicha, “that the matter is not dependent upon anything other than Moshiach Tzidkeinu himself ” — it is not that we are waiting for Moshiach to do something, since we already know that we are the ones who have to do (“do all that you can“).  Rather, the statement comes to tell us what it is that we need to do, that our efforts to bring Moshiach pertain to Moshiach himself: to accept this individual as Moshiach, to make him (personally my, and collectively our) King.  Everything else has been done, the road has been paved to Moshiach.  Now, all that remains is the acceptance of his Kingship by the people, and this is what “flicks the switch” to the true and complete Geulah!

Yechi Adoneinu Moreinu v’Rabbeinu Melech Hamoshiach L’Olam Vo’ed!

Noach “Saw a New World”

The opening verse in Parshas Noach says that “נֹ֗חַ אִ֥ישׁ צַדִּ֛יק תָּמִ֥ים הָיָ֖ה בְּדֹֽרֹתָ֑יו” “Noach was a righteous man, he was perfect in his generations”.  The Midrash on this posuk (Midrash Rabba Noach, 30:8) says in the name of R’ Levi: “Whoever it is said about them ‘he was’ saw a new world.”  The Midrash then enumerates five individuals, the first being Noach, citing that when he and his family exited the ark, they saw a new world.

In what sense did Noach see a new world?  Obviously, it was the same Earth, although following the waters of the flood surely the surface of the Earth looked different than it did previously.  And of course, the evildoers who populated the Earth previously were no longer around.  But can we really say that this is what it means to see a “new world”?

The Rebbe, in the sicha of Noach 5752, clues us in to what is being implied here according to pnimiyus haTorah:

In the creation of the world, the Torah refers to Hashem using two names: YKVK and Elokim.  YKVK is G-dliness that is above the world.  Elokim is the name which indicates concealment, allowing independent-feeling worlds to come into existence.  In the words of Tehillim: “The Sun and a shield [these are the names] YKVK [and] Elokim”.  The name YKVK is the emanation of worlds, the infinite “light” of the worlds, and Elokim is the “shield” or “filter” that conceals the light in order that finite worlds can come into existence.

“That in the reality of the world as it is created via the name Elokim is revealed the name YKVK, until it is recognizable in a revealed way that “YKVK is Elokim” (הוי’ הוא האלקים), that in truth the contraction and concealment (Elokim)  are really the name YKVK. הצמצום וההסתר (אלקים) הוא לאמיתתו שם הוי-ה

(Sicha Parshas Noach, 5752)

Meaning that the world is still the same world that was created via the name Elokim, only that it becomes revealed that really even this name Elokim is just a reduction of the light of YKVK, but not something independent or separate.

So the “new world” that Noach saw was not a new form of creation, but a new perception: he could now perceive how the world of Elokim is really a world of YKVK.  It was recognizable and revealed to him.  He saw the same world but in an entirely new way, thus he saw a “new world”.

We can use this to understand many things the Rebbe is trying to tell us in these Dvar Malchus sichos, giving us the tools to “open our eyes”, including the subject of last week’s sicha regarding “servitude to the nations”.  Over there the Rebbe explains how there is servitude to the nations in the time of Golus, but that this servitude does not extend to our neshomas, nor to our bodies as regards matters of Torah and mitzvos.  And even those things where we must follow the law of the land because “dina d’malchusa dina” (the law of the land is the law) is not because we are in servitude to the nations of the world, but because this is how Hashem wants it to be in the time of Golus.

In those short paragraphs, the Rebbe has opened our eyes to a “new world”: a world where there is no servitude to the nations, which is the definition of (the first period of) the Days of Moshiach!  In other words, if one is in a personal Golus and in fact believes that the Jewish people is in servitude to the nations, then in fact he is in such a state, r”l.  But when one internalizes what the Rebbe says there, he discovers that not only our neshomas and our bodies (as regards performing Torah and Mitzvos) are not in servitude to the nations, even those areas where we do go according to their decisions (monetary matters and the like) — this is not due to any form of “servitude” but rather it is Hashem’s will!  So by following civil monetary law, we are in fact fulfilling Hashem’s will no less than in other halachic matters!  Externally, it is the same Golus, but the Rebbe has given us the tools to “see through” the darkness of Golus and realize that the concealment of the name Elokim (Golus) is really coming from YKVK — a new world!

This is one example of many to be found in Chassidus in general, the Rebbe’s teachings in particular, and the Dvar Malchus sichos most especially.  By making these changes in our perception and understanding of the world, we place ourselves in a state of Geulah even while the world “continues in its natural way”.  This is the beginning of Yemos Hamoshiach, each one coming to the realization based on his own efforts to internalize these concepts.

Bereishis 5752: No Servitude to the Nations

The Rambam, in his “Laws of Kings and Their Wars and Melech HaMoshiach”, declares that the coming of Moshiach and the process of redemption are not dependent upon the miraculous.  “Do not expect that in the Days of Moshiach the  pattern of conduct of the world will change, but rather the word will conduct itself in a normal manner…”  “Our sages have taught that there is no difference between this world and the world to come is servitude to the nations.” (Chapter 12)  This means to say that even in the Messianic Era (the first stage), the world continues to go in a natural way, however the Jewish people are no longer in a state of “servitude” to the nations as they were during golus.

In this sicha, the Rebbe explains how the Jewish nation was chosen by Hashem and thus the entire Creation exists for the sake of the Jewish people and thus the truth is that the nations of the world do not truly hold sway over us (“servitude”).

Even though the Jewish people in exile are found in a state of “servitude to the nations”, and there is a command in the Torah “the law of the land is the law” (dina d’malchusa dina)…the reason is not due to fear of the nations of the world (at the time of exile) G-d-forbid, but quite the contrary: Jews are the primary thing (reishis) and the nations of the world were created for their sake….  Rather, the reason is that this is the way the Holy One, blessed be He, ordered things, that this is how things need to be in the time of exile.

Although in certain matters (monetary cases, taxes, and the like) “the law of the land is the law”, yet this does not infringe upon matters of Torah and Mitzvos, the soul, and also does infringe on the bodies and the physicality (and materiality) of a Jew, for he always remains primary (reishis) and above the nations of the world.  The command that “the law of the land is the law” is not because he is in a state of servitude to the nations of the world, but because this is what Hashem decreed to be the state of affairs in exile (“because of our sins [we were exiled from our land]”).

In other words, the Rebbe is quite clearly stating that we are not now in a state of servitude to the nations in any respect.  This is explained as having always been the case, however it is clear that the Rebbe is indicating that a new threshold has been reached: while the Jewish people have always been in essence above servitude to the nations, this was not something that was perceptible in the world (a world of persecution and suffering for the Jewish people, both materially and spiritually).  But now it is possible to recognize that although we and the world still operate in the natural way, the Jewish people are not in a state of servitude to the nations of the worlds.

This is evident in a simple sense (freedom to fulfill Torah and Mitzvos in every country where Jews live), as the Rebbe points out in the sicha.  It is also referring to something deeper (and not explained explicitly in the sicha).  According to Chassidus, the “nations of the world” (which are numbered as 70 according to Torah) refer to our midos, our natural responses to what we understand according to our human intellect which is informed by the physical world we inhabit.  Servitude to the nations of the world, according to Chassidus, means that a person cannot escape the feelings and emotions generated by his worldly outlook.  To be free of servitude to the nations means: although one still perceives the world as operating in the natural manner (according to “nature” rather than Torah) one is not bound to this perception, and in fact one is free to understand things according to Torah and to have feelings and emotions generated by Torah rather than the “way of nature”.

As an example: a person has a lack of income, the “nations of the world” tell him that he must cut down on the amount he gives to tzedaka, and work more hours, including on Shabbos, in order to generate more income.  The Torah says that he should increase the amount he gives to tzedaka and to be careful not to work on Shabbos.  Servitude to the nations of the world means that even though he knows what Torah says, nonetheless he feels forced to cut back on tzedaka and to work on Shabbos–he is enslaved to the outlook of the natural world.  To be freed from this servitude means that not only does he not feel “forced” to do these things, but on the contrary he can actually feel the need to give additional tzedaka. He has been liberated from the natural perspective, even though he continues to perceive the world as operating in a natural manner.

We still see a natural world, but we are now free to relate to that world in the way that Torah instructs — without feeling compulsion from the nations of the world (from without or from within).  This is the first stage of the Messianic Era.

Yechi Adoneinu Moreinu v’Rabbeinu Melech Hamoshiach L’Olam Vo’ed!

This sicha (translated by Sichos In English)
This sicha in Hebrew (from Otzar770)

Kuntres Rosh Hashono, 5752

Released a few days in advance of Rosh Hashono, the discourse begins with the verse from the prophet Yeshaya: “On that day a great shofar will be sounded, and the ones who are lost in the land of Ashur and the ones who are pushed away in the land of Mitzrayim, will come and prostrate themselves to Hashem on the Holy Mountain in Yerushalayim.”

The Rebbe asks a few questions on this verse: What is special about a “great shofar”? Why does it say that the shofar “will be sounded” without specifying who will be sounding it — it seems as though it will be sounded on its own?

The shofar here is explained in spiritual terms: the cry of the innermost point in the heart which is above intellect. This cry draws down the corresponding level from Above, meaning the Supernal Will which transcends the level of Chochma (usually translated as “wisdom”).

There is a different verse that describes the shofar as being sounded by Hashem, but that verse refers only to a “shofar” and not a “great shofar”.  But the “great shofar” of the future is sounded from a level higher than any of Hashem’s names!

Also at Matan Torah there was the sound of a shofar, but not a “great shofar” — the shofar of the future will be even greater.  The reason, given in the name of the Mitteler Rebbe, is that at the time of Matan Torah the entire Jewish people were in a state of closeness with G-dliness קירוב לאלקות and therefore a “regular” shofar was sufficient to awaken their hearts.  But the shofar of the future, of the true and complete Geulah, has to reach the “lost” and the “pushed away”, who are far from G-dliness, and therefore in order to reach them requires the “great shofar”. This also explains why it send that it will be sounded “by itself” — because in order to awaken those who are so far from any interest or recognition of G-dliness will require a cry from Above, by itself, without any awakening from below at all. Now, on every Rosh Hashono, we sound a regular shofar, meaning that through our effort we awaken and draw down from Above.  But the great shofar of the future is drawn down by itself without any effort from below.

However, there is a question: we find that the great shift of the future is likened to our sounding of the shofar on Rosh Hashono through our own effort — they couldn’t be more different! The Rebbe explains it by connecting it to the original Rosh Hashono, at the Creation of the world, which preceded any effort from below (since “below” did not yet exist), and what this teaches us in our avoidah:

The shofar is narrow at one end and wide at the other. This reflects our cry from the narrow side, the limitations we find ourselves in.  Just like the way that a poor man’s prayer is more potent and heartfelt and more readily accepted, so, too, the cry that comes from the “narrow” limitations that challenge us.  And there is nothing more “narrow” and limiting than to be lost in Ashur or pushed away in Mitzrayim, so the “great shofar” of the future that is sounded “by itself” in order to awaken those distant individuals is indeed similar to our shofar.

But beyond that, it turns out that this itself — the very lowly and distant state of the lost and pushed away — is the cause of such a lofty revelation as the “great shofar”! And this is in fact the reason that Hashem created such places, and caused a Jew to be exiled there.  When these places cause an awakening of the “great shofar”, not only are the Yidden in those places elevated to a higher level, but these places themselves (the lowliest places of exile) are also elevated.

How does this explanation guide us in our avoidas Hashem (since the lost and pushed away are not consciously serving Hashem)?  Says the Rebbe: even one whose avoidah is complete בשלימות can learn from this: if he contemplates the loftiness of the Ohr Ein Sof then even his “true avoidah” is lacking and considered a sin; therefore, he feels himself to be “lost” and “pushed away”, and through this the revelation of the “great shofar” is awakened and drawn down.  Since he recognizes and feels that the Revelations are drawn down not by his own avoidah, but rather by Hashem’s chesed — it is like the shofar that is sounded by itself with no awakening from below at all.

The Rebbe then adds, in the name of his father-in-law the Previous Rebbe, that this “great shofar” awakens the “innermost point” of every Yid, and every single one (including the lost and pushed away) will want to go out of golus and go to Yerushalayim and prostrate themselves to Hashem, because this is the true desire of every Yid.  Meaning, that unlike Yetzias Mitzrayim when the desire to leave came from Above, in the future Geulah it will be the desire of Yisroel to come to Yerushalayim — the awakening from Above of the “great shofar” is only the means by which the true desire of Yisroel is revealed. Thus, the avoidah will in fact be their own, only that for the truly “lost” and “pushed away” the avoidah will come after the great shofar which will awaken their true desire (which was drawn down from Above by itself).

The instruction for us is:

“… At the end of the time of golus when only a few moments remain before that day when the great shofar will be sounded [and more than this, as regards several inyonim the inyan of “the great shofar will be sounded” has already begun, as understood from the words of my father-in-law, and particularly that since the time he wrote that until now many years have passed, and how much moreso in the recent times when we saw that there are a number of individuals who were at first in a situation of lost and pushed away, r”l, had an awakening of tshuva through the sounding of the “great shofar”*] there needs to be the avoidah of Bittul. This is the awareness and feeling that everything that is accomplished through his avoidah, both as regards himself and as regards others, is not due to his own virtues, but rather it had been given from Above.  Such a feeding will not cause a weakening in his avoidah, but to the contrary, this getting will cause his avoidah to be stronger.  Because when his avoidah drives grin his own existence, it is limited — his “maximum” בכל מאודך is his own limited maximum.  But when he feels that his avoidah is not through his own power but rather from G-dliness, then he goes out from his own limited existence and his avoidah is above measurement and limitation.”

The Rebbe concludes that this has to be drawn into physicality גשמיות, and it is understood that whatever was done until now is insufficient (after all — we just learned that we can access the unlimited in our avoidah!). The awakening of the “great shofar” has to be in a way that every Yid, including the lost and pushed away, will come to prostrate himself to Hashem on the Holy Mountain in Yerushalayim, in the simple sense, through Moshiach Tzidkeinu.  Meaning: we don’t rest until every Yid is part of the Geulah, until every Yid recognizes Moshiach, until every Yid reveals and acts upon his true desire to leave golus and go to Yerushalayim!

*This maamor was originally said after the awakening that followed the Six Day War.