Beis Iyar 5751: Lechatchila Arriber

The fundamental aspect of the Rebbe Maharash’s service is expressed in his adage Lechat’chilah aribber, “Right from the outset, you should climb over.” This is the message that should permeate our conduct throughout the entire day, beginning with our service of Torah and mitzvos, which is the essence of our being for “I was only created to serve my Creator,” and extending into every aspect of our conduct. All our efforts must be characterized by the approach of Lechat’chilah aribber.

Each person has the potential to carry out such service, and is aided in these efforts by G‑d Himself. G‑d’s help does not detract from the virtue of a person carrying out the service on his own initiative. Although G‑d offers assistance in every aspect of our service, it is man who carries the responsibility for this service from its beginning until its end.

The approach of Lechat’chilah aribber is particularly relevant this year, a year in which “I will show you wonders” and in particular, in the present days when since the 27th of Nissan, we have experienced two sets of three day periods of holiness and happiness.

This will be enhanced by the Jews uniting together in the service of “Love your neighbor as yourself.” This unity will amplify our achievements in the three services of Torah, prayer, and deeds of kindness. Similarly, it will prepare us for the ultimate of unity, the ingathering of the Jewish people in the Era of Redemption. Then it will be revealed how “My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations.” This refers to the Third Beis HaMikdash, “the Sanctuary of G‑d established by Your hands.”

This will be brought about by the completion of our service. If anywhere there is a good deed, a good thought, or a good word that has to be completed, it will be completed and — in the spirit of the seven “perfect”2 weeks of the Counting of the Omer — completed in a perfect manner.

Indeed, this perfection will be revealed before the completion of the Counting of the Omer as reflected in the prayer recited after counting each night, “May the Merciful One return to us the service of the Beis HaMikdash speedily….” The intent is that the redemption should come directly after our reciting this prayer.

This will be enhanced by the firm resolutions made by the Jewish people. Their strength and their firmness will be revealed, not only by their continuity over an extended period, but in a manner of Lechat’chilah aribber, i.e., at the very outset, their strength will be seen.3 Furthermore, that strength will be reflected even in the mundane dimensions of our conduct.

To focus on the Rebbe Maharash’s statement at greater length: The Rebbe would say, “Generally, people say, ‘If you can’t crawl under, try to climb over,’ and I say, Lechat’chilah aribber, ‘Right from the outset, you should climb over.’ ” On the surface, it was unnecessary for the Rebbe to mention what others think. By doing so, however, he emphasizes that a Jew is aware of the approach which is generally accepted. Nevertheless, as a Jew, he has a potential to reveal a new approach, Lechat’chilah aribber, and have that approach permeate even the most mundane aspects of our existence.

May this enable us to merit the redemption immediately. In the prayer recited after Counting the Omer, we state how this counting corrects our souls (on all the three levels of nefesh, ruach, and neshamah). Similarly, it spreads “correction” in the world at large, elevating every dimension of existence.

In this manner, the world at large and the Jewish people become ready to receive the revelations that will accompany the future redemption. This is enhanced by the influence of the last months: Adar, a month associated with health and strength and Nissan, a month of miracles of a truly wondrous nature. Similarly, this is amplified by the influence of the present month, Iyar, whose name (אייר) serves as an acronym for the names Avraham, Yitzchak, Yaakov, and Rachel who represent the four “legs” of the Heavenly Chariot.

(Here we see a unique connection to Jewish women. For although the fourth leg of the Chariot is also associated with King David, the connection to David is merely an allusion, while the connection to Rachel is explicit. Rachel is representative of the righteous women in whose merit came the redemption, and in whose merit will come the ultimate redemption.)

The above will also be enhanced by the Torah portion which is associated with the present days, Parshas Tazria. This Torah portion which begins, “When a woman conceives and gives birth,” refers to the Jewish people who — in their relationship with G‑d — are described as a woman. They will soon give birth, a metaphor for the coming redemption.

The Talmud also associates the above with Jewish children whom it describes with the verse “Do not touch My anointed (Mishichoi).” This points to a connection between Jewish children and Mashiach.

May we merit the coming of Mashiach when all Jews will be like children studying Torah and G‑d will be our teacher, revealing the “new [dimension of the] Torah which will emerge from Me.”

This will be enhanced by the distribution of money to be given to tzedakah4 which will bring near the redemption. Then we will merit the ultimate ingathering of the exiles when G‑d will lead each person by the hand, bringing us back toEretz Yisrael, to Jerusalem, and to the Beis HaMikdash, “the Sanctuary of G‑d established by Your hands.”



As explained on several occasions, what occurs to one particular generation effects the totality of the history of our nation. It affects the previous generations, because this is their continuity, and it affects the coming generations because it sets the tone for their service.

Based on the concept that a father transfers the essence of his being to his children, we can assume that it is not merely the superficial aspects, but rather the essence of each generation which is conveyed.

This concept also relates to the teaching of the Baal Shem Tov that G‑d cherishes every Jew like an only child born to a father in his old age.


This perfection results from the fact that the weeks of the Counting of the Omerbegin Saturday night and conclude on Shabbos.


We see a parallel to this concept in the Rebbe Maharash’s position within the Chabad Nesi’im. He was the fourth of the Rebbeim. Thus the first threeRebbeim can be considered as bringing about a chazakah, a threefold sequence associated with strength and permanence, and the Rebbe Maharash and the two Rebbeim who followed him, can be considered as bringing about a second chazakah. The Rebbe Maharash begins that secondchazakah with a strong stance at its very outset, in a manner ofLechat’chilah aribber.


Our Sages state that it is “a tzedakahthat G‑d dispersed the Jews among the nations.” The Hebrew for “dispersed them” pizran, resembles the wordperazos, “open” as in the prophecy, “Jerusalem will be open.” Although there will not be a material wall around the city, the city will be protected, “for I (G‑d) will be a wall of fire around her.”
Translation: Sichos In English

Video Shiur: Tazria-Metzora 5751

“Quickest Way to Bring Moshiach” Exclusive: In the Sicha of Parshas Tazria-Metzora 5751, the Rebbe explains what and how every Yid has to do to bring Moshiach ● Learn this week’s Sicha with’s Weekly Shiur of the “Dvar Malchus” Sicha in English, presented by Rabbi Menachem Mendel Lipskier, Mashpia of Mesivta of Melbourne, Australia ● Watch Video


25 Nissan, 5751: Smiting by the First Born in Our Times

1. The nature of the month of Nissan is reflected by the holiday of Pesach, “the season of our freedom.” This year this dimension is given additional emphasis because the Pesach holiday began on Shabbos. In regard to the days of the week, Shabbos is a day of freedom, a day when we are “freed” from work and other mundane activities and all of our needs have been prepared for previously. This allows each Jew to feel that he is free and, furthermore, that he controls his environment.

The freedom of Pesach resembles the freedom that will be experienced in the Era of Redemption. All redemptions share a common factor. In particular, the redemption from Egypt which is commemorated on Pesach was the first redemption and thus, includes within it the source for all subsequent redemptions, including the ultimate redemption.

Indeed, the redemption from Egypt was intended to lead directly to that ultimate redemption. This is reflected in the Jews’ declaration in the song of the Red Sea, “G‑d will reign forever and ever.” This declaration reflected the state of the Jewish people at that time and would have been expressed within the world at large, allowing for a redemption that would never be followed by exile had not several undesirable events occurred.

Furthermore, the connection between the exodus from Egypt and the ultimate redemption began even before the splitting of the sea as reflected in the verse, “These are the journeys of the children of Israel who left the land of Egypt.”

It took only one journey to leave Egypt. Why does the verse mention “journeys”? To intimate that all the journeys of the Jewish people, the entire progress of our people throughout the generations until they reach, “the Sanctuary of G‑d established by Your hands,” the Third Beis HaMikdash, was included in the first journey out of Egypt.

There is, however, a difference between the splitting of the sea and the exodus. Our Sages explain that even though the Jews left Egypt, they still feared the Egyptians within their hearts. It was not until the Egyptians were totally annihilated at the Red Sea did this fear depart from them.

In contrast, when the Jews left Egypt, the Egyptians were still in a position of power. Indeed, it was they who drove the Jews out of Egypt. This is reflected in the miracle associated with Shabbos HaGadol, “the smiting of Egypt with their firstborn.” This implies that although the Egyptians were “smitten” by their own sons because they refused to free the Jews, nevertheless, they remained powerful. The miraculous nature of this process is that it was their own firstborn — the power of the Egyptians — who smote them so that they would release the Jews.

At present, in this, the year when “I will show you wonders,” beginning from the days of Purim, we have seen a reenactment of the miracle of “To strike Egypt with their firstborn.” Mitzrayim, Egypt in Hebrew, is related to the wordmeitzorim which means “cause suffering,” and thus refers to “those who cause suffering to the Jews.” The firstborn of Egypt, i.e., the most powerful forces among the gentiles, struck out against the power who desired to cause suffering to the Jews, humiliating him and forcing him to carry out all the directives which they dictated to him, beginning from his acknowledgement of regret for his previous conduct.

Purim was just the beginning of his downfall; his descent has continued from day to day, until at present, in the last days of Nissan, the firstborn of the gentiles (i.e., the United Nations) has given him a detailed list of instructions including: a) the return of all captives, and that this be supervised by the U.N. to ensure that this commitment is indeed kept, and b) payment for all the damages that he caused according to a fixed timetable. Furthermore, they are compelling him to reveal and to destroy all the weaponry which he has concealed until the present.

Therefore, when a Jew asks when can we actually see miracles, revealed wonders like those which accompanied the redemptions of Pesach and Purim, we should tell him to look at what is happening before his eyes.

Indeed, the miracles we are seeing surpass those of Purim. The miracles of Purim were enclothed within the natural order, and in order to allow us to appreciate them, it is necessary for the Megillah to relate the entire chronology of Achashverosh’s reign.1 In contrast, the miracles of the present year are openly revealed and we see how the enemy of the Jewish people has been routed and humiliated, and furthermore, how that humiliation has continued and increased until the present day.

Everyone knows about all these matters because they have been published in the newspapers. For some reason, everyone feels that it’s important that he knows everything which is printed in the newspapers, and indeed, that he know all the details and be able to venture an opinion about what the generals and the ministers say.

In truth, a Jew’s direct effect on these matters is very limited. The primary manner in which he can have an effect is to recite a chapter of Tehillim or to increase his study of the Torah and his performance of its mitzvos, and to do the latter b’hiddur, in a beautiful and conscientious manner. And most important, to study Pnimiyus HaTorah which prepares the world for Mashiach’scoming. This is where a Jew should devote his energies. Nevertheless, everyone wastes a certain amount of time clarifying these current events, finding out what so and so says, and trying to prove that so and so made a mistake and the like. This is the opposite of the conduct of “a wise and understanding nation.” Indeed, even gentiles can appreciate its fruitlessness.

The above is enhanced by the fact that this year, we read Parshas Shemini,eight times. It is said Shemini Shemoneh Shemainoh, “When Parshas Sheminiis read eight times (i.e., this includes the readings on the Shabbos afternoons and on Mondays and Thursdays), it will be a plentiful year.” The year will also be plentiful with miracles and wonders, including the wonders which everyone saw in the past, sees in the present, and will see more of in the future. As we see in the last days, there was another U.N. resolution against Saddam. Surely, we will see more wonders of this nature in the future, and in the very near future.

May G‑d grant every Jew “eyes to see, ears to hear, and a knowing heart,” to appreciate these wonders. Surely, these potentials have been granted for it is already past the fortieth year. It is written, “For forty years, I quarreled with a generation;” i.e., for forty years, G‑d kept the Jews in the desert. Ultimately, however, the psalm concludes with the mention of “My resting place.” In the fullest sense, this is a reference to the Era of Redemption when we will experience true rest and rest from this, the final exile.

In addition to each person’s appreciation of these miracles, he has an obligation to make them known to a friend and to influence his friends to realize that he is seeing open miracles. His friend may have convinced himself that nothing special is happening, that everything is carrying on in an ordinary manner. It is necessary to explain to such a person that these are open miracles and that they are an expression of the miraculous nature of Nissan as our Sages said, “When a person sees a word with two nunnim in a dream, miracles of a truly wondrous nature will occur to him.” If this is true when such a word appears in a dream, surely it is true in regard to the month of Nissan.

This is also the answer which a father or a mother must give a child when the child asks at the Seder “Why do we recline?” and the child continues asking: It says in the Haggadah, “The Holy One, blessed be He, did not redeem only our ancestors from Egypt, but rather, He redeemed us with them;” “Had the Holy One, blessed be He, not redeemed our ancestors from Egypt, we, our children and our children’s children would be slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt.” The child complains: We have not seen miracles like our ancestors did?

We must answer him that we have seen such miracles: We have seen how G‑d “smote Egypt with their firstborn,” one of the miracles which accompanied the exodus from Egypt.

May the redemption come immediately so that we will not have to spend any further time explaining about the miracles G‑d works for us. There is a greater potential for this in the present year when the first day of Pesach and thus the last day of Pesach fall on Shabbos, “the days of your rejoicing.” The last day of Pesach is when it is customary to hold the Feast of Mashiach, when the concept of Mashiach is internalized to the point where it becomes part of our flesh and blood. Thus, the distribution of kos shel berachah was on Saturday night, a time associated with partaking of the Melaveh Malkah, the meal associated with King David, the anointed king.

May we proceed from the last days of Pesach to the ultimate redemption. There is a connection between the two for the first days of Pesach are associated with the redemption from Egypt and the last days, and in particular, the eighth day, are associated with the ultimate redemption.

There is another dimension to the miraculous sequence of events which is taking place at present that resembles the exodus from Egypt. The Midrash relates that when the Jews “spoiled” the Egyptians, they took even the gold and the silver which was hidden away. When the Jews asked them for gifts, the Egyptians forced them to take all their treasured property.

Similarly, today, after the enemy of the Jews was routed, he was forced to reveal all his hidden treasures and give them to other nations, including generous nations who will employ these resources for positive purposes. Among these purposes are the settlement of those Jews who have in a very real way experienced an exodus from Egypt, i.e., the Jews who are leaving Russia and coming to settle in Eretz Yisrael. These funds are being used to meet the needs of these immigrants, and indeed to allow them to settle in prosperity, in a manner in which they will acquire both material and spiritual wealth.

Even those Jews who have left Russia and for various reasons settled in the U.S., in Australia, and in other lands will also join them soon in Eretz Yisrael,and we will proceed to Jerusalem whose Hebrew name Yerushalayim, relates to the concept of yirah shaleim (“complete fear”); i.e., when we see a Jew, we will be able to point to him and say “Here is a Jew who is a perfect example of a G‑d-fearing person. Similarly, his wife and his children have all acquired this same quality.”

We will merit this by reaching complete fear — to the fullest extent possible — at present in exile. Similarly, this will be enhanced by the efforts of the entire Jewish people helping these Russian Jews settle in Eretz Yisrael. Among those offering this assistance are Jews who previously did not have — in an open and revealed way — a connection to the Torah and its mitzvos. They will begin to develop such a connection by helping other people in their observance and, then step by step, they and their families will also begin studying the Torah and observing its mitzvos, and doing so with happiness and joy.

There is a greater emphasis on this in the month of Nissan, a month when the entire Jewish people are described as Tzaddikim, “righteous.” This is reflected in the practice where Tachanun (which includes the confessional prayers) is omitted throughout the month of Nissan. In Nissan, a Jew is above the need for repentance for sin. He too will turn to G‑d in teshuvah, but with teshuvah which has no connection with sin, but rather resembles the ultimate state of teshuvah to which Mashiach will motivate the righteous in the Era of Redemption.

May we merit to have all the above revealed openly. And this will start with our appreciation of the miracles which have happened already — an appreciation so great that we will not be embarrassed to dance in celebration for we are witnessing open miracles each day. When we make an effort to explain this to others, we will see that this explanation will be readily accepted.

This together with our increase in the study of Torah, both Pnimiyus HaTorah and Nigleh, and the performance of its mitzvos b’hiddur will lead to the era when “the pleasantness of G‑d will be upon us” and “the work of our hands will establish it.”

Translation by Sichos in English

Shemini 5751: Unifying the Limited and the Unlimited

“Putting the Alef into ‘gola’ to make ‘Geulah’–Unifying the Limited and the Unlimited”

Shemini (“Eighth”)—Higher Than 7 and 8

Periodically parshas Shemini (“Eighth”, referring to the 8th day of setting up the Mishkan in the desert) is read 8 times (this occurs outside of Eretz Yisroel in a year when the Yom Tov of Pesach falls out on Shabbos).  This gives rise to the expression “Shemini Shmoneh Shmeina”, meaning “[When parshat] Shemini (“Eighth”) [is read] Shmoneh [eight times, then the year is] Shmeina [fat]”—with material and spiritual abundance.  All the more so in the year this sicha was originally said, when it coincided with beginning to learn Pirkei Avos, and also Sefiras Ha’Omer started and ended on Shabbos.  This special quality is not only present in a year when this occurs, but is drawn into all the years until the next time that it comes to be read 8 times.

The “eighth” that is mentioned in this parsha is the beginning of the indwelling of the Shechina in the Mishkan. What is the significance of 8?  The world derives from 7—this is the number of days of Creation, days of the week, the 7 midos (emotional attributes as described in Chassidus).  The number 7 represents G-dly light as it is enclothed in the Creation, the “Seder Hishtalshelus”. The number 8 represents the G-dly light above Hishtalshelus, and it is specifically on the 8th day that we find the Shechina (revelation of G-dliness Above the Creation) being revealed in the Mishkan.

Ultimate Purpose of Creation

Hashem’s intent in creating the world is that the G-dly light that is above Hishtalshelus (represented by Shemini, 8th) will not remain separate but rather will be drawn down to be revealed in the world in a way that the world, on its own terms, will be able to receive this revelation.

This is a unification of 2 things: 1) Revelation above limitation and 2) Limitation.  These two aspects when unified allow for the recipient to be a vessel to accept this revelation in an internalized way.  The order of this avodah is from below to above.  This is connected with the revelation of the Shechina in “the work of your hands”, the Mishkan.

This is exemplified in the words of the Sages that the place of the Aron Kodesh (containing the Luchos) transcended limitation (“eino min hamida”).  The Aron itself had precise measurements, but the place transcended limitation, meaning limitation and unlimited together, that the unlimited can be grasped by within the bounds of the lower (limited) entity.

[We find that the Aron (the ark which housed the tablets) possessed just such a quality [of opposites co-existing]. The Talmud states that “the position occupied by the Aron did not take up any space.” That is, the Aron had definite physical dimensions — 2½ cubits length, 1½ cubits width, 1½ cubits height. Logically then, when placed in the Holy of Holies, the Aron should have occupied this amount of space. Yet, the Talmud tells us, it took up no space at all! This is logically impossible — for it is the synthesis of two opposites: the finite and the infinite. Yet in the case of the Aron, it existed. The Rashba cites this as proof of the existence of the phenomenon of the logically impossible.  Not only did the Aron transcend the limits of nature (itself a great miracle, since the Aron was made of physical gold), but simultaneously the finite and infinite co-existed together in it: the Aron had definite physical limits, yet took up no space…Its concept is made possible from a level that transcends both of them, allowing the synthesis of these two opposites. (From sicha of 23 Elul, 5742)]

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Acharon Shel Pesach, 5751: Seven and Eight

1. This year the holiday of Pesach possesses a unique dimension because the first day of Pesach and therefore the last day (in the Diaspora) fall on Shabbos. The day on which Pesach falls also imparts a special property to Parshas Shemini, causing the portion to be read eight times (this includes the readings on the Shabbos afternoons and on Mondays and Thursdays) over a period of three weeks. There is a popular adage Shemini Shemoneh Shemainoh, “When Parshas Shemini is read eight times, it will be a plentiful year.”

Shemini means “the eighth,” while in contrast, the natural order is a cycle of seven. Even Shabbos, the seventh day, is associated with a sense of perfection and completion within the natural order as reflected in our Sages’ statement: “What was the world lacking? Rest. When Shabbos came, with it came rest;” the quality of rest which Shabbos contributes is a dimension which, when missing, creates a lack in the world. In contrast, eight refers to a quality that is totally transcendent in nature, entirely above the limits of our world.

This contrast can be further developed by focusing on the unique aspect of the Counting of the Omer this year. It is written, “And you shall count… from the day following the Shabbos… and they shall be seven perfect weeks.” When Pesach falls on Shabbos, the Counting of the Omer begins “from the day following the Shabbos” in a simple sense, and thus the weeks of the Counting of the Omer parallel the ordinary weekly cycle. Our Sages explain that this endows an added dimension of perfection to this period of time.

To explore this concept in greater depth: Pesach and the Counting of the Omerreflect two different patterns in the service of G‑d. Pesach means “leap” and refers to a leap beyond the natural order as in the redemption from Egypt when “the King of kings, the Holy One blessed be He, revealed Himself to them and redeemed them.”

In contrast, the Counting of the Omer represents a systematic sequence of development in which a person refines his seven emotional qualities. In particular, these seven qualities each include each other. Thus in the 49 (7×7) days of the Omer, we refine each particular dimension of our emotional makeup. Similarly, this service elevates the world at large which was created through the medium of these seven emotional qualities.

Thus, it appears that Pesach and the Counting of the Omer represent two different patterns of service: Why does the Torah associate the two?

This question is reinforced by the fact that, when giving the command to count the Omer, the Torah refers to Pesach as “the Shabbos.” Here also we see a similar contrast. The sanctity of the festivals is dependent on the service of the Jewish people. Thus our Sages interpret the verse “These are the festivals of G‑d which you will declare” to mean that the sanctity of the festivals are dependent on the Jewish people.

In contrast, the sanctity of Shabbos does not depend on the Jews at all. Its holiness is drawn down from above. If so, why does the Torah associate the Counting of the Omer (which as above refers to man’s service) with the term Shabbos (that reflects holiness endowed to us by G‑d)?

These difficulties can be resolved as follows: Man’s service does not involve only those elements of spirituality to which he shares a connection, i.e., those that relate to the natural order. Even those which transcend the natural order and whose revelation depends on G‑d, must be internalized and drawn down within our personalities and within the world at large through man’s service. In this manner, we can achieve a fusion of both qualities: There will be a revelation of G‑dliness which transcends the natural order, but it will be drawn down within the world through man’s service.

This concept is alluded to in the verse, “And you shall count for yourselves,… from the day following the Shabbos…” Homiletically, the expression “the day following the Shabbos” refers to a level above Shabbos, i.e., above even the level of perfection within the natural order. Furthermore, by using this term rather than the expression, “the day following the festival,” the Torah indicates that this influence surpasses not only the influence which the Jews can draw down through their own efforts (the festivals), but also surpasses the influence which is drawn down from above (Shabbos).

By telling us, “And you shall count for yourselves,” the Torah also emphasizes the intent that this influence be drawn down within the world at large. The verse continues, mentioning “seven perfect weeks,” which points to the efforts to have this influence permeate the world in a particular way. This leads to the counting of “fifty days,” the revelation of a level which transcends the world, even as it exists in a refined sense (i.e., the 49 days of the Omer, in which each of the seven attributes with which the world was created is expressed in a refined manner).

The fiftieth level which is associated with the giving of the Torah, transcends the set of worldly existence entirely. Nevertheless, since it is preceded by the service of the Counting of the Omer, this level can be drawn down within the context of material existence.

Based on the above, we can appreciate the unique dimension contributed by the fact that Pesach falls on Shabbos. Firstly, in such a year, it is clearly seen how the influence drawn down is from “the day following Shabbos,” i.e., its uniquely transcendent nature is openly revealed. Secondly, since the weeks of the Counting of the Omer parallel the weeks of the natural order, we clearly see how this transcendent influence permeates the world at large. Thus, the two dimensions which characterize the influence of the Counting of the Omer each year are more openly revealed when the first day of Pesach falls on Shabbos.

In a more particular way, these levels described above are revealed this year on the first Shabbos within the Counting of the Omer (in the Diaspora, Acharon Shel Pesach, in Eretz Yisrael, Isru Chag) when the counting of one full week of the Omer, the week associated with the quality of chessed, is completed. Furthermore, the completion of the counting of this week relates to the completion of the counting as a whole for Chessed is described as “the day (quality) which accompanies all the other days (qualities).”

In such a year, the two qualities mentioned above are revealed in microcosm. The revelation of the dimension which transcends the worldly set is reflected in Acharon Shel Pesach’s being the eighth day of the holiday. As mentioned above, the number eight points to a revelation above the natural order. The completion of the counting of the first week reflects how this influence is drawn down into the world at large, because as mentioned above, the attribute of Chessed has an effect on all the other qualities.

These qualities are further emphasized when the eighth day of Pesach falls on Shabbos for this reveals how the transcendent dimension associated with eight is fused with Shabbos, i.e., the natural order as it exists in a perfect manner.

There is also a connection to the holiday of Acharon Shel Pesach itself. The celebration of Acharon Shel Pesach was instituted in connection with the Seventh Day of Pesach, the day which commemorates the splitting of the Red Sea which was the final stage of the exodus from Egypt.

In Chassidic thought, it is explained that the splitting of the sea reflected the bonding between the transcendent worlds which are above revelation (the sea, whose creations are hidden and covered by the sea’s waters) and the lower revealed worlds (the dry land, on which the creations can be openly seen). In particular, there are two opinions regarding the nature of the bond established: a) The Zohar’s conception, that the bond was established through the elevation of the lower realms; b) The AriZal’s conception, that the bond was established through the revelation from above.

According to Chassidus, “these and these are the words of the living G‑d,” and both conceptions are true. And in this way, the fusion is complete, a revelation from above (when the revelation is initiated from above, more transcendent levels are revealed) and an elevation from below (which allows the influence received to be internalized in a more complete manner). Thus, we also have a parallel to the theme explained above, that the revelation which transcends the world will permeate the world itself.7

Herein we can also see a connection to Parshas Shemini. As mentioned above,Shemini represents a level above the natural order which revolves around a cycle of seven. Thus there is a parallel to Pesach which represents “a leap” above the natural order, and a closer parallel this year when the “the day following the Shabbos” — which reflects a level above Shabbos, the perfection of the natural order — falls on Shabbos itself. Even the transcendent levels associated with Shemini — and this year, the peaks associated with the reading of the parshah eight times (i.e., transcendence within transcendence) — are drawn down into our world through the Counting of the Omer.

* * *

2. Pesach is “the season of our freedom.” In addition to commemorating the redemption from Egypt, it also grants the potential for all future redemptions, including the ultimate redemption when “as in the days of your exodus from Egypt, I will show you wonders.” In particular, it is the eighth day of Pesach which shares a connection with Mashiach. This is expressed in the following: a) As mentioned above, the number eight is associated with the Era of Redemption; b) The Haftorah recited on the eighth day of Pesach contains many prophecies related to the coming of Mashiach, “A shoot shall emerge from the stem of Yishai…” and the state of peace which he will introduce into the world, “the wolf will dwell with the lamb.” c) The Baal Shem Tov instituted the custom of eating Mashiach’s Seudah, “the feast of Mashiach,” on the eighth day of Pesach. This custom was publicized by the Rebbe Rashab in Yeshivas Tomchei Temimim in 5666 — when he also introduced the custom of drinking four cups of wine in association with the Torah’s four expressions of redemption — and has now spread throughout the Jewish community.

There is also a connection between the Counting of the Omer on Acharon Shel Pesach and the Era of Redemption. In general, the Counting of the Omer shares a connection with the redemption. The Counting of the Omer is intended to bring about a revelation of the 50th Gate of Understanding, a level which will be revealed in a complete and permanent manner in the Era of Redemption.

There is a reflection of this revelation on the present day, for as explained above, the completion of counting the week associated with the attribute of Chessed has a connection with the completion of the Counting of the Omer as a whole. In particular, this is reflected in the counting of the Sefirah, Malchus sheb’Chesed on the night of Acharon Shel Pesach. The ultimate expression of G‑d’s Chessed (kindness) will be in the Era of Redemption when His Malchus (kingship) will be revealed throughout the world.

All of the above concepts are given greater emphasis this year due to the influence of Shabbos and Parshas Shemini. In particular, we see howMashiach’s Seudah leads to and becomes part of the Melaveh Malkah meal, the meal which is associated with King David who is the progenitor of Mashiach and is himself described as Malkah Mashichah, “the anointed king.” May Mashiach come and actually join us at this meal and may the grace be led by King David as related by our Sages.

And then, from this meal we will proceed to the era when “The Merciful One will restore the service of the Beis HaMikdash for us.” May this be in the immediate future.


Translation by Sichos in English