Tzav 5751: Moshe ish HaElokim has the Power to bring Geulah

“Moshe the ish HaElokim has the Power to bring Geulah and he is Moshiach”

Last week’s opening sicha in Dvar Malchus, parshas Vayikra, spoke of the special quality of the month of Nissan.  This week’s sicha continues this concept, connecting it with special emphasis to Shabbos Hagadol, the Shabbos before Pesach.  Shabbos Hagadol commemorates the uprising made by the first born in Egypt after Moshe Rabbeinu announced the plague of the firstborn.  (The firstborn killed 600,000 of their fathers, see commentaries on Tehillim 136:10).  As stated in Shulchan Aruch, and emphasized in our sicha, “Shabbos Hagadol was the beginning of the Geulah and the miracles” [Alter Rebbe’s S.A.].

The central concept of our sicha is that “the Geulah occurred through Moshe Rabbeinu”, who was chosen by Hashem despite his own objections (“shlach na b’yad tishlach“).  Moshe Rabbeinu is the first Redeemer and the last Redeemer, who has the power to redeem the Jewish people.  As stated in the Arizal (brought in footnote #20) that “Moshiach ben Dovid will merit the aspect of neshoma l’neshoma, which even Moshe did not merit.  We find that the first shepherd, who is Moshe himself, he himself is the final shepherd…only that Moshiach is the neshoma l’neshoma of Moshe” [Arizal, Sha’ar Hapesukim, parshas Vayechi].  Since all students of the Rebbe know that the Nosi of the generation is the Moshe Rabbeinu of the generation, and Moshe is Moshiach, we can recognize this as an open hint to the identity of Moshiach.

The sicha now proceeds to define the ultimate purpose, the tachlis, of the Redemption from Egypt (which is “the head and root of all the redemptions, including the future redemption): “the tachlis of the redemption from Egypt is that the revelation of G-dliness down below is for the sake that Jewish People in this world will see this and recognize and know Hashem and take upon themselves (afterwards, at Matan Torah) the Holy One’s Torah and Mitzvos.  And that through their avodah — to reveal G-dliness as was done in the Mishkan and the Beis Hamikdash, until all the world and all the people in it will recognize and see G-dliness in a revealed and complete way — ‘the glory of Hashem will be revealed and all flesh will see together that the mouth of Hashem has spoken’.”  The revelations of the Geulah are not entertainment for a comfortable retirement (at least not at first), but rather a liberation from limitation in our avodah, enabling the Jewish people, via their own effort, to literally fill the world with G-dliness.

Miracles above nature reveal to fleshly eyes the unlimited power of the Hashem, enabling us to recognize that Hashem is the master of the nature of the world and thus has the power to do a miracle that transcends (or changes) the natural conduct of the world, to reveal the Divine power that animates everything in this world.  “This power was given and is given to bnei Yisroel so that they will have a Geulah…from the limitation of the world and the ‘enslavement’ to worldly assumptions…freedom from all limitations of the garments of nature (including the miracles enclothed in nature, like the miracles of Purim).”  The reference to “miracles enclothed in nature” alludes also to the miraculous events of the Gulf War, which ended on Purim one month before this sicha.  The Rebbe wants us to know that as much as these miracles were part of the year of “I will show you miracles”, they themselves were not the wonders of the true and complete redemption.  The true wonders are above nature, even more wondrous than what occurred in the Geulah from Egypt, for these will be miracles where “everything is revealed, both that which is relevant to being revealed and that which is concealed”.  [In “Shaar Ho’Emuna” the Mitteler Rebbe describes this at length — it means seeing not only the miracle as it manifests in the physical world, but also its spiritual source.]

Moshe Ish HaElokim, the G-dly man

We now begin to examine Tehillim 90 (“Tzaddik”), which Chassidim will begin to say on the Rebbe’s 89th birthday on 11 Nissan, the week following this sicha.  This chapter (“kapital”) of Tehillim begins “A prayer for Moshe”, composed by him upon the drawing down and revelation of the Shechina in the Mishkan — which occurred through Moshe Rabbeinu himself.  This drawing down and revelation of G-dliness requires two things: 1) a power higher than regular worldly conduct, which can transform the world into a vessel for G-dliness, and 2) this power must descend and garb itself until it is on the level of the world, making that which is being refined into a vessel to receive this revelation in an internalized manner (otherwise the revelation will not last).  Both of these things take place through Moshe because he is the “connecting intermediary” (“memutza hamechaber”) between the Jewish people and the Holy One, blessed be He, as is stated in the verse “I stand between Hashem and you” (Va’eschanan 5:5), because a connecting intermediary must possess both the elements which he connects; in our case — the elements of “Above the world” and also “within the world”.

This is expressed in the words of this Kapital, “Moshe ish haElokim”, a “G-dly man”.  On the expressions “ish haElokim” the Sages say — if “G-dly” then why “a man”?  If “a man” then why “G-dly”?  The answer: the lower half is “a man”, the higher half is “G-dly” (Midrash Tehillim).  For this reason, Moshe is the one who can connect these two elements.  The Rebbe explains the uniqueness of Moshe, that it is not that he was composed of two opposite dimensions (a G-dly dimension and also a human dimension), but rather he was one person with one reality of being an “ish haElokim”, unlike every other Jew who is a G-dly neshoma garbed in a body which is a physical creation. [Implying that Moshe’s body itself was on a higher level than a physical creation.]  As lofty as this may sound, the name “Elokim” refers to the level of G-dliness that is enclothed in the nature of the world, unlike the “essential name” YKVK, which is a revelation of G-dliness that is above the world.

Thus, we find that the name “Moshe” means “from the water he was drawn”, referring to the name YKVK which is higher than “ish haElokim” — “Moshe” is G-dliness above Creation.  He was taken from the “concealed world” (“alma d’iskasya”) which is entirely above our reality to be revealed in the revealed worlds until this physical world.  Meaning that even while he is a soul in a body here below, it is openly revealed that he is “from the water”, always openly connected to his source (G-dliness that is above the world and its limitations).

Thus, “Moshe, ish haElokim” hints at both of the levels we mentioned above, “Moshe” being the connection to the higher dimension entirely above the world, and “ish haElokim” representing his connection with G-dliness that relates to the Creation.  Thus, he has the power to draw down G-dliness to the Jewish people as souls in bodies in way that they will permanently become vessels for the revelation of G-dliness that relates to the world, ultimately reaching the level of “I will dwell among them” — a revelation of G-dliness that is above the Creation.

Moshe Did Not Die

Because “Moshe” is eternal (being connected to the level of G-dliness above the world) and this is drawn into time by “Moshe ish haElokim”, his level of self-nullification to G-dliness (“bittul”) results in [the words of our Sages] “Moshe did not die”.  The footnotes that the Rebbe provides here are enlightening:

  • “Moshe didn’t die, and although the verse says that ‘he died there’ it says that he will be there with Hashem, that just as previously he was stood and served, now, too, he stands and serves”. (Sotah 13b)
  • “Moshe did not die and leave the world, he shines to the moon like the sun, that even though it is hidden from the world [after the sun sets, we do not see it] it doesn’t die but instead it sets and shines to the moon [which reflects the sun’s light after the sun sets], so, too, Moshe”. (Zohar I, 37b)
  • Moshe, unlike other Tzaddikim who are ‘called alive’, but Moshe ‘did not die’, meaning that he remains in physicality.  There must be a ‘Moshe’ in every generation in whom the neshoma of Moshe is enclothed. Even though this is not Moshe’s body — but since ‘the life of a Tzaddik is not fleshly life but spiritual life’, therefore the life of Moshe is not the fleshly life of his body, rather the spiritual life of his neshoma; and his spiritual life remains eternal within this physical world through him being enclothed in the Nosi of each generation. (Likutei Sichos 26:5)

Although not mentioned in the sicha, we will bring the words of the Rambam in the introduction to his Pirush Hamishnayos (Seder Zroyim): “[Moshe] ascended the mountain at midday on the 7th of Adar as our tradition specifies.  Then that event occurred which in our eyes they call death, because we felt that he was missing and absent.  However, he has life in virtue of the level which he attained, and thus our Sages, peace be upon them, taught: “Moshe Rabbeinu did not die” but rather he ascended and serves Above.  These matters require very lengthy explanation and this is not their place.”

Transforming the World From Above and From Below — Shabbos

So, too, with Shabbos, which is the level of Elokim and the level of YKVK coming together.  Thus Shabbos, like Moshe, is connected to eternality.  As explained in Chassidus there are two levels of Shabbos (“If the Jewish people keep two Shabbos properly the will be redeemed”), the unification of the transcendent (“sovev kol almin”) and the immanent (“memalei kol almin”), which is the unification of the Holy One, blessed be He and His Shechina, “and this is the matter of the Geulah” (Sefer Maamarim 5630).  The Shabbos evening is the elevation of Malchus which is the avodah of the person to refine and elevate the body and animal soul, the lower half of a person, and Shabbos day is the drawing down of Zeir Anpin, the drawing down of the revelation of the G-dly soul, the higher half of a person.”  The Geulah comes from keeping both these levels of Shabbos properly.

This world consists of 2 sides — the side of holiness (“my side” of every Jew) and “the other side” to which a Jew has no connection.  Our task is to transform the “other side”, which feels no obligation to follow Torah, to bring it to “agree” from its own perspective to the instructions and rulings of the Torah. Specifically through this does the Torah become firmly planted in the lower world.  In order to accomplish this, Hashem created the Jew in a way that his inherent connection to Torah and Mitzvos doesn’t obligate him nor incline him at all (in a revealed way) to conduct himself in this way — he has free choice in the matter.  Hashem wants him to “choose life” on the side of Torah and Mitzvos, to choose to be a Tzaddik.  Because of this — that he is similar to the nations of the world in that he doesn’t feel his inherent connection to “my side” — a Jew has the power to transform the world and the residents of the world that they will also “agree” to comply with the instructions of the Torah, in a way that it is firmly internalized, since it is on their level, in a way that G-dliness can be drawn into the world in a revealed way with permanence.  This applies not only to “permissible” things, but also to places that oppose Torah, so that there won’t remain any corner that opposes G-dliness.  This is the “long leg” of the letter “kuf” that is written below the line, hinting that through Moshe ish haElokim even the lowest levels can be reached).

Moshe was “drawn from the water” — from the Nile, the avodah zora of Egypt!  And it was none other than Pharoah’s daughter (“Bas Pharoah”) who took Moshe from the water and gave him the name “Moshe” (even though he had 10 names).  This is because the higher something is, the lower it falls, meaning that to reach the level of G-dliness that is above Creation, we davka have to reach “Bas Pharoah”, that she will remove Moshe from the place of avodah zora.  And growing up the royal palace of Pharoah gave Moshe the power to later break the power of the klipa and avodah zora of Egypt and to rescue the Jewish people.

Thus, we understand why Moshe has the power to draw down the Geulah — the revelation of the power of the unlimited — in the world and redeem the Jewish people from all limitations, even klipa and avodah zora of Egypt.  Not only through miracles enclothed in nature (Elokim) but also revealed miracles entirely above the natural order, until the level of “wonders”.

This is the miracle of Shabbos Hagadol, that the mightiest aspect of Egypt is what hit them, via the loftiest revelation of G-dliness — a revelation above the miracles that happened to the Jewish people themselves, which can reach even this place.  Thus, it is called “the great miracle” and it was “the beginning of the Geulah and the miracles” of the redemption from Egypt.

Miracles in the World, Miracles in Our Divine Service

The year of “I will show you wonders” regarding what happened this year close to the holiday of Purim, victory that caused that the enemy will release, in a good way, some of the war prisoners, etc.  Surely the Holy One will continue to show wonders. The wars in that part of the world are among the signs that the Geulah is coming soon via our righteous Moshiach, as stated in the Yalkut Shimoni: “Bnei Yisroel, don’t be afraid…the time of your Redemption has arrived” and “the King Moshiach stands on the roof of the Beis Hamikdash and announces to Yisroel: Humble ones, the time of your Redemption has arrived”!

[The Rebbe mentions in footnote 143 that in the Rambam’s Laws of Moshiach there are two distinct periods in the Messianic era (Yemos Hamoshiach): the first, where there will not be any change in nature other than subjugation to the nations alone (the revelation of Elokim, whose numeric value equals “the nature”), and the second period miracles above nature (YKVK).  This is explained at length in the Hadaran on the Rambam of 5751, and also Inyonei Moshiach and Geulah #8.

All this should awaken a Jew to perform his Divine Service in a way of miracle, and many miracles. It is not enough to simply improve in the realm of Torah and Mitzvos, he must continue growing until he reaches the true “great miracle”.  Moshe gives the power to every Jew to reveal in himself the Tzaddik within him, and to be completely given over to the side of Torah, until there is no thought of anything else as regards himself and as regards his influence on other Jews in spreading Torah and Judaism and spreading the wellsprings [of Chassidus] outwards, and also — to influence the nations of the world as regards their 7 mitzvos.

Points of the Sicha:
  • Moshe Ish Elokim combines two levels of G-dly revelation: Above the conduct of the world, and also being enclothed in the world.  Thus, he is eternal and did not die, and he is Moshiach–the Geulah comes through him.
  • The miracles of the Geulah are not merely miracles enclothed in nature, but miracles that transcend nature entirely.
  • Moshe gives the power to evey Jew to be able to transcend the world while still being enclothed within the world, enabling a Jew to serve Hashem in a way that is above his own natural limitations.  This is combining the aspects of G-dly revelation that comes from above–very lofty, but such a revealtion doesn’t last unless it is met by a revelation within the world, on the world’s own terms.  A Jew receives from Moshe the power to draw down revelation from above and also elevate the lower things, enabling him to transform even those things which are opposed to Torah.

View the sicha as translated by Sichos In English:

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