Shabbos Parshas Haazinu, 13th Day of Tishrei, 5752

1. This Shabbos is the thirteenth of Tishrei, the yahrzeit of the Rebbe Maharash. A yahrzeit is a day when “all the deeds, Torah, and service of a person are revealed,”1 and thus there is a connection with the well-known adage which characterized the service of the Rebbe MaharashLechat’chilah Aribber, “The world says, ‘If you can’t crawl under, try to climb over,’ and I say, ‘At the outset, one should climb over.’ ”

The influence of the Rebbe Maharash’s yahrzeit is enhanced by the fact that it falls on Shabbos. In general, Shabbos elevates all matters with which it is concerned to a higher level of holiness.2 In particular, there is a unique quality to the present Shabbos, for it is the first Shabbos of an individual nature in the new year. I.e., Shabbos Shuvah is the first Shabbos of the year, but Shabbos Shuvah is of a general nature, including within it all the Shabbasosof the year to come. The present Shabbos is thus the first Shabbos of the year which is comparable to all the other Shabbasos.

Thirteen, today’s date, is the numerical equivalent of the word echad (אחד). There is a thematic relationship between oneness and Shabbos,3 because Shabbos is a day of spirituality and holiness. This spirituality and holiness is not dependent on man’s service and is a reflection of the spiritual order established by G‑d.4Nevertheless, man can enhance the Shabbos-like nature of the day as reflected in the command laasos es haShabbos, literally “to make the Shabbos.”

What is the nature of man’s Shabbos activity? “And you shall call the Shabbos a delight,” to introduce the quality of pleasure into the Shabbos. This is the fundamental dimension of the Shabbos day and each Jew is obligated to bring this quality into the Shabbos through his prayers and through all his Shabbos activities.

Pleasure is the highest of our human potentials. It permeates through all our other powers and serves as the motivating force for all our behavior. Although the Shabbos is characterized by pleasure by nature, even without man’s activity, man has the potential — and the obligation — to enhance and add to the pleasure of the Shabbos day.

These efforts — introducing pleasure — reflect the totality of man’s service within the world. For although G‑d derives a dimension of pleasure from the world even without man’s efforts, man was created in order to bring about a higher degree of Divine pleasure. This relates to our Sages’ interpretation of the word laasos as “to correct” in the phrase, “all that G‑d created laasos.” I.e., G‑d created the world in a manner that it can be corrected and brought to a higher level by man’s activity. Although there is a certain dimension of completion invested in the world by nature, the Jews have the potential to add a higher degree of perfection, breaking through the natural constraints of existence.

This concept is reflected in our Sages’ statement that “the world was created in a full state,” but that Mashiach will bring the world to an even higher level of fulfillment as reflected in the verse, “These are the generations of Peretz.” The name Peretz, the progenitor of the Mashiach, means “break through.” This implies that the fulfillment invested in the world at the outset was limited in nature. In contrast, through man’s service, the world can be brought to a level of fulfillment which is unbounded in nature.

Similarly, the pleasure that a Jew infuses into the creation is infinite in nature. He does not carry out his service because he realizes that it will create pleasure for G‑d. Were that to be the case, the pleasure that man would generate would be limited by the extent of his conception. Rather, to borrow an expression from the Rambam,he is “obsessed by the love of G‑d” with no thought of self; this love relationship characterizes the totality of his existence and thus generates infinite pleasure for G‑d.

The Rambam associates such love with the service of Avraham, our Patriarch. This is significant for it implies that this love is part of the spiritual heritage which the Patriarchs impart to each one of their descendants. And thus, such love is within the potential of every Jew.

The ability to perform this service relates to the approach of Lechat’chilah Aribber mentioned above, for it involves going above the limits of our ordinary conduct, at the outset, a person sets as his goal to draw down the highest levels of pleasure into the creation.5

This approach of Lechat’chilah Aribber should be actualized by every Jew in his daily conduct, for the qualities of a Nasi are relevant to everyone of his followers.6 Furthermore, not only does the Nasi’s influence affect them in their personal lives, it affords them the opportunity to have an effect on the world at large.

The latter concept is reflected in the Rebbe Maharash’s adage which begins “The world says…” On the surface: Of what concern is it to a Nasi what the world says? The intent, however, is that the approach of Lechat’chilah Aribber should permeate the world at large.

Although a Nasi, like a king, is above all matters of the world,7 his service elevates the world at large. In particular, this is evident on a Nasi’s yahrzeit which “brings about salvation in the depths of the world.” (In microcosm, this pattern is reflected in every Jew who is veritably “a part of G‑d,” and simultaneously, his service must be carried out within the limits of our material world.)

The above concepts relate to the present year, 5752, whose equivalent in Hebrew (הי’ תהא שנת נפלאות בכל) serves as an acronym for the Hebrew words meaning, “This will be a year of wonders in all things.” Wonders, like pleasure, reflect a transcendent level and these wonders will, in a manner of Lechat’chilah Aribber, be drawn down into the world at large.

The above is particularly relevant on the Rebbe Maharash’s yahrzeit, a day when — like a birthday — “the spiritual source of his soul shines powerfully.” Since his name is Shmuel, there is also a connection to Chanah, the mother of Shmuel, the Prophet. {Herein, there is a connection to the previous Shabbos, the yahrzeit of [the Rebbetzin] Chanah8 and to Rosh HaShanah, when the Haftorah relates the story of Chanah and her prayer that G‑d “raise up the standard of His anointed (Meshicho).”}

The mention of Shmuel the Prophet has a connection with the Era of the Redemption, for at that time, “I will pour out My spirit to all flesh and your sons and your daughters will prophesy,” i.e., everyone will attain the gift of prophecy. This reflects an approach of Lechat’chilah Aribber, for generally, prophecy requires several preparatory levels. In that Era, however, prophecy will be granted indiscriminately to all. This is reflected in the expression, “I will pour out,” i.e., not pour into a vessel, but to pour out in an abundant manner where the liquid gushes over the walls of the container.

There is a greater emphasis on the above today, the Rebbe Maharash’s yahrzeit, because of the connection to Shmuel the Prophet. Everyone recognized Shmuel as a prophet and indeed, referred to him as “the seer.”9

Since the Rebbe Maharash was a Nasi, all the qualities he possessed are relevant to everyone, and in particular to those who study his teachings. In this context, it is worthy to note the maamarHaTzur Tamim Paalo, 5627. The verse which serves as the title of this maamar refers to the perfection of G‑d’s judgment. Surely this will be reflected in a positive judgment for every Jew. For a Jew is by nature totally above connection to any undesirable entities. Therefore, the judgment will only be positive. And with overwhelming joy, we will proceed to the Future Redemption. May it take place in the immediate future.

2. In connection with the maamar of the Rebbe Maharash mentioned previously, surely, everyone will study it on the Rebbe Maharash’s yahrzeit itself or at least in the days which follow as an extension of the Rebbe Maharash’s yahrzeit.

Similarly, it is appropriate to mention the importance of using the remaining days until the holiday of Sukkos to provide the needy with what they are lacking to celebrate the holiday in an appropriate manner.

This is particularly relevant since Sukkos is celebrated on the fifteenth of the month, the night on which the moon shines fully. This represents a state of completion in the service of the entire month, a month which includes Yom Kippur, a day of “pardon, atonement, and forgiveness.” These concepts surely must be considered in a positive sense, for a Jew is above sin in a simple sense; “Your nation are all righteous.” Thus in this context, teshuvah must be considered as reflecting the Zohar’s statement that, in the Era of the Redemption, Mashiach will “cause the righteous to turn in teshuvah.” This is surely true in light of tribulations our generation has endured and particularly, after the extensive efforts that have been undertaken to spread Chassidusoutward.10

In this context, it is appropriate to mention the importance of the journeys undertaken on Sukkos to spread holiday joy to those Jews living in outlying areas. These visits are used to spread the wellsprings of Chassidus and to encourage Jews to observe the Torah and its mitzvos, explaining that one’s prosperity in material things depends on such observance.

Needless to say, at this time, emphasis should be placed on the mitzvah of lulav and esrog, granting people the opportunity to fulfill the mitzvah. Indeed, if a lulav and esrog is unavailable in these places, a set should be left behind so that the people living there will continue to be able to observe the mitzvah. (In this context, it should be noted that, in addition to the three hadassim, “myrtle branches,” which are required to be included in the lulav and esrog, three others should be included, for it is the Chabad custom to add extra hadassim.)

A person should take his wife and children with him on these trips and thus involve the entire family in spreading the wellsprings outward. And these journeys should spread holiday joy, the celebra­tions of Simchas Beis HaShoeivah. That joy should be enhanced by the knowledge that in the immediate future, Mashiachwill come. For the imminence of Mashiach’s coming is already an established fact and one’s exuberant celebrations should reflect one’s awareness of this.

One might ask: If Mashiach’s coming is imminent, why is it necessary to undertake these journeys? A resolution to this question can be derived from the conduct of the Previous Rebbe who declared LeAlter LeGeulah, “We will immediately proceed to the Redemption” and yet sent out emissaries to many places and established Yeshivos. For a Jew has the potential to fuse opposite qualities together. Thus although he is awaiting Mashiach’s coming on this very day, he can use the time before Mashiach comes to do whatever is necessary to spread Yiddishkeit within the context of the immediate circumstances, including detailed plans and journeys to distant places.11

Indeed, we see a parallel to this concept in the journeys of the Jewish people in the desert. Although they knew that they would break camp shortly so that they could proceed to Eretz Yisrael,each camp was established in a permanent manner. Similarly, at present, although we are preparing to journey to Eretz Yisrael in the Redemption at any time, we must use the time we are still in exile to spread Yiddishkeit and Chassidus.

May these activities enable us to proceed from the season of our rejoicing to many festive occasions for the Jewish people, weddings, circumcisions, the naming of girls,12 and the like. And from these celebrations, we will proceed to the ultimate expression of joy, when we will proceed to our Holy Land in the Future Redemption.

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FOOTNOTES
1. Similarly, a yahrzeit represents an ascent for the soul and all its service.
2. There is an allusion to this in the verse which describes the advent of the first Shabbos, “And the heavens and the earth were completed.”
3. The Torah describes Sunday, the first day of creation as “one day,” and our Sages explain that it is a day when “the Holy One, blessed be He, was one with His world.” Nevertheless, in an open and revealed manner, this oneness is more evident on Shabbos.
4. This concept can be understood by contrasting the holiness of the Shabbos with that of the festivals. The holiness of the festivals is dependent on the holiness imparted to them by the Jewish people, while in contrast, Shabbos represents a spiritual level above the influence of man which is revealed by G‑d.
5. There is a parallel to this concept in regard to a Jew’s service at the beginning of the year. As the Tur writes, even on the eve of Rosh HaShanah, the Jews wear festive clothing and eat a festive meal, confident that they will prevail in judgment.
6. The Rebbe Maharash’s position as Nasi is significant for all of the sons of his father, the Tzemach Tzedek, were accomplished spiritual leaders. Indeed, the Previous Rebbe refers to them all with the title Admor. Nevertheless, it was the Maharash, the youngest son, who was chosen as Nasi.
7. The Tanach describes Shaul, the first king as “from the shoulders and up, above the people.” Chassidus explains that the king’s shoulders, the level which refer to the source for his emotions, are above the heads, the intellectual potential of the people at large. Surely, this applies to a king’s intellectual potentials.
8. Even though this is a personal matter, there is a connection to matters of general importance. For all women named Chanah share a connection to the first Chanah who was the one who prayed that the standard of the Mashiach be raised. This endows all connected with her with general significance.
9. Shmuel also said of himself, “I am the seer.” Anochi, “I am” in Hebrew, is also the first word of the Ten Commandments and, as explained in the works of Rav Saadia Gaon, contains within it the entire Torah. The word Roeh, “seer,” relates to the power of revelation. Thus Shmuel’s statement can figuratively be interpreted to mean that he, Shmuel, brought the entire Torah into revelation.
10. The merit for these activities is shared among those who actually performed the service of spreading Chassidus and those who support these activities. This applies if such an agreement is made before the tzedakah is given and before the activities are carried out.
11. In connection with the above, it is worthy to mention the printing of the Book of Shluchim which was completed at present. This printing was done in a luxurious manner with the intent of showing how the service of G‑d should be carried out in a beautiful manner, without lacking gold or silver.
12. In this context, it is worthy to mention the Chabad custom of naming girls at the earliest possible opportunity.

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