Shemos 5752: To Bring to the Days of Moshiach

This parsha, following the passing of Yaakov, Yosef, and the brothers, is the beginning of a new era in the history of Bnei Yisroel–the beginning of the Egyptian exile.  “These are the names of Bnei Yisroel who came to Egypt”–the first exile.

The midrash states that the reason for the subsequent redemption from Egypt was “due to the fact that [Bnei Yisroel] did not change their names…they went down as Reuvain and Shimon and they came up as Reuvain and Shimon.”  This is a comment on the name (and initial verse) of our parsha: Shemos (meaning, “names”), which refers to the beginning of the exile in Egypt, as mentioned.

The Rebbe derives from this that the verse “these are the names of Bnei Yisroel who came to Egypt” is also emphasizing the merit for which they were ultimately redeemed from Egypt (“that they didn’t change their names”).  In other words–it is referring both to the beginning of the golus and also to the future Geulah from that golus.

The whole idea of “coming to Egypt” is in truth the “Geulah of Yisroel”.  The descent which occurs in the meantime [until the Geulah comes] is on the superficial level (בחיצוניות), but on a deeper level (בפנימיות), the descent itself is (not only for the sake that through it will come the ascent that occurs through the redemption from Egypt, but more than that–) a part of the ascent and the Geulah itself, until we reach the ascent of the true and complete Geulah…the future Geulah.

In other words, not only is there a “descent for the sake of an ascent”, which makes the descent worthwhile in the end; here the Rebbe is saying something much greater: the descent itself is already part of the ultimate ascent!

At this point, the Rebbe turns to explain the familiar statement:

Rabbi Elazar ben Azariah said: I am like a person seventy years old and yet I did not merit (to understand the source for the obligation) to recall the exodus from Egypt at night until Ben Zoma explained: “It is written, ‘so that you recall the day you left Egypt all the days of your life.’ ‘The days of your life,’ this refers to the actual days. ‘All the days of your life,’ includes the nights as well.” Our Sages say: “ ’The days of your life,’ this refers to the present era. ‘All the days of your life,’ includes the Era of the Redemption.”

There are three levels: Day (when the light of Hashem is shining); Night (the darkness of exile); and the Days of Moshiach (Yemos Hamoshiach, which we will explain).

The Rebbe refers here to Yemos Hamoshiach as a time of “a state of Geulah”, which seemingly is not the same thing as Geulah.  Rather, it is a unification of Geulah (which completely transcends all limitations) and golus, where the unlimited aspect of the Geulah is “drawn down into the limitations of the reality of olam hazeh”.

How can such a thing happen, the unlimited being drawn into the limited?  This is the unique power of the Nosi, the leader of the generation (as was Rabbi Elazar ben Azaria, mentioned above):

The chiddush of the leader of Yisroel (“Nosi b’Yisroel”–the world “Nosi” coming from the word “exalted” התנשאות) is that he connects and unifies “all the days of your life” of every single Jew and of all of Israel — “all the days of your life” the physical days in olam hazeh and particularly in the time of golus (“nights”) — with the Geulah in general and with Yemos Hamoshiach in particular…specifically the Nosi has the power to connect and unify the golus with the Geulah.

For us, this means that “all the days of your life”–as a soul in a body in this physical and material world and in the time of golus, we can go out from the limitations of this world and, more than this: put ourselves in a state of Yemos Hamoshiach!  It is true that the complete Geulah depends on everything being “as it should be” (תוכו כברו).  Nonetheless, even in a personal state of golus (when one is not “as he should be”) he is given special help from the Holy One, blessed be He, and he is given the ability to bring about the true and complete Geulah.  This is why Rabbi Elazar ben Azaria changed the policy and opened up the doors to the study halls to allow students who were not “as they should be”–because he gives them the power to transform things even while in a state of golus!

Thus, even in the “night” of golus, having descending into Egypt, surrounded by 70 nations, he can bring himself to a state of Geulah–“all the days of your life, to bring Yemos Hamoshiach”.

How realistic is this for us?  The Rebbe states:

The instruction from this is understood in simple terms, especially in our generation and our time: as has been said numerous times the words of my father-in-law the leader of our generation (“Nosi Doreinu”), that in addition to the fact that already “all of the end-times have passed”, and Bnei Yisroel have already done tshuva, and finished everything, including polishing the buttons, and all that is needed is that the Holy One, blessed be He, will open up the eyes of Bnei Yisroel so they will see that the true and complete Geulah exists already, and we are already sitting at the set table, at the feast of the Levyoson and the Shor Habar, etc., etc….

This includes transitioning seamlessly from “the days of your life” into “Yemos Hamoshiach”:

and from “the days of your life” at this time and in this place, without any delay in between, chas v’sholom, every single Jew passes immediately with the ultimate perfection in a continuation of “all the days of your life” in Yemos Hamoshiach, and the eternal life that will be then.

What is our job?  Our job is to actually to bring to “Yemos Hamoshiach”, with an emphasis to recognize the one who accomplishes all this:

As regards actual action, the intent is that the avodah of Bnei Yisroel now must be “to bring to Yemos Hamoshiach”, to reveal already in actuality that the state of “coming to Egypt” in golus is in truth a state of “the Geulah of Yisroel”, through this that they prepare themselves and prepare others for the state of “Yemos Hamoshiach”…and since there is already the “king from the house of Dovid who is involved in Torah and busy with Mitzvos like his father Dovid…and he will force all of Israel to go in it and to rectify its breaches and fight the wars of Hashem” — for then “we can assume that he is Moshiach” (בחזקת משיח) — that already immediately he will be “certainly Moshiach” (משיח בודאי), through this that “he did all this and succeeded and built the Beis Hamikdash in his place and gathered in the dispersed of Israel…and rectified the entire world to serve Hashem together, etc.”

Sicha in English

Sicha in Hebrew

Sicha in original Yiddish

After the Minchah Service, Asara b’Teves, 5752

Translation by Sichos In English:

1. The term divrei k’vushin (דברי כבושים) can be interpreted as a reference to “Suppress our iniquities (יכבוש עונותינו); cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.” I.e., we can rest assured that when Jews are reminded to turn to G‑d in teshuvah, they will respond. Their teshuvah will in turn cause that G‑d “cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.”

This is particularly relevant at the present time, for as the Previous Rebbe has announced, “Everything is prepared for the feast.” Not only are we prepared for the Redemption, the Redemption will come as a feast of meat (the Wild Ox), fish (the Leviathan), and aged wine.1

To the above is added the positive influence of the Tenth of Teves, the tenth day of the tenth2 month.3 And “the tenth shall be holy.” In particular, this is appropriate in the present age, when “all the appropriate times for the Redemption have passed,” all the preparations have been completed, and we are ready for a redemption which will not be followed by exile.

This is enhanced by the influence of the present year, “a year imbued with wonders,” and “a year of wonders in all things.” Moreover, the Hebrew for “in all things,” bakol relates to the threefold expression of blessing associated with our Patriarchs, bakol mikol kol. This is also relevant at present, for we are nearing the time of the fulfillment of the prophecy “those who lie in the dust will arise and sing,” when we will witness the resurrection of the three Patriarchs.

They together with the four Matriarchs are seven personages,4thus representing the seven branches of the Menorah, a symbol of the seven categories of the Jewish people which reflect our seven emotional characteristics.5 (For the service of G‑d is essentially “the service of the heart,” and that service must be carried out “with all your heart.”)

More particularly, the number four is also found in regard to Yaakov’s wives, the mothers of the 12 tribes, from whom the Jewish people descended. The names of Yaakov’s wives, BilhahRachelZilpah, and Leah can be grouped together as an acronym to form the Hebrew word barzel6 (ברזל) meaning “iron.” Herein, we see a connection to Eretz Yisrael which is described as “a land whose stones are iron and from whose mountains brass can be quarried.” The Hebrew for stone אבם, relates to the word בם meaning “son.” Thus this verse can also be interpreted as a reference to the power of the Jewish people, the descendents of the women whose names form the acronym barzel.

There is also a connection between barzel, “iron,” and the Beis HaMikdash. Although “the sound of any iron utensil should not be heard within the House of our G‑d,” i.e., an iron tool could not be used within the area of the Beis HaMikdash, that restriction applied only within the confines of Mount Moriah. In practice, iron was used for preparing all the stones for the Beis HaMikdash; it is merely that this work was performed outside Mount Moriah.

Similarly, there is a connection between our times and brass, nechoshes (נחשת) in Hebrew. Our Sages explain that nechoshes is an acronym for the Hebrew words meaning, “The gift of a sick person who says ‘give.’ ” Thus it is a far lower level than gold, whose Hebrew name zahav (זהב) serves as an acronym for the Hebrew words meaning “the gift of a healthy person,” and silver, whose Hebrew name kessef (כסף) serves as an acronym for the Hebrew words meaning, “One who redeems [himself] when he sees danger.” For a sick person experiences, not only sees, danger.

This can be connected to the present era, when the Jews see the dangers of the exile, they tell G‑d, “Give,” bring the Redemption now, in this time, the time of “brass” when compared to the “gold” and “silver” of the previous generations. When Jews on this level demand the Redemption, G‑d will respond to them.

For we are in the last moment of exile, and on the eve of the first moment of the Redemption, when we will proceed “on the clouds of heaven” with the entire Jewish people to Eretz Yisrael, the “land whose stones are iron.” This will be hastened by the distribution of a double portion of money to be given to tzedakah at the conclusion of this gathering.

The above also relates to this week’s Torah reading which begins “And Yaakov lived in the land of Egypt…,” i.e., in Egypt, the limitations of exile, Yaakov appreciated true life.7 Similarly, at present, through the refinement of the exile, we will cause that the synagogues, houses of study, houses of good deeds, and indeed, every Jewish home in the exile be brought to Eretz Yisrael, for within these structures, G‑d’s presence rests.

And with the above, and together with all the holy texts and manuscripts being held in captivity, and together with the entire Jewish people, we will proceed to Eretz Yisrael, and to the Beis HaMikdash, “the Sanctuary of G‑d established by Your hands.”

FOOTNOTES

1.

The expression for “aged wine,” yayin hamishumar, can also be translated as “watched wine.” For if wine is not supervised, there is the possibility of a prohibition being involved in its consumption. (Indeed, the prohibition is even stricter than that which applies to meat that disappears from sight.)

2.

This is true both in a leap year and an ordinary year.

3.

This applies when the reckoning of the months begins from the month of Nissan, the month of Redemption.

4.

In particular, the Patriarchs and the Matriarchs had different paths in the service of G‑d as reflected in the Kabbalistic explanation that the wedding of Yitzchak and Rivkah represented the union of Mah and Ban. See Sichos Shabbos Parshas Toldos, 5752, in Sichos In English Vol. 50 pp. 222-231.

5.

These seven qualities are also reflected in the seven species of produce with which Eretz Yisrael is blessed.

6.

In this acronym, the names of the maid-servants Bilhah and Zilpah precede those of the wives Rachel and Leah, and Rachel, the younger daughter, precedes Leah. This is an allusion to the Era of the Redemption when the advantage of the mekabel will be revealed.

7.

This is expressed in the Hebrew phrase eretz Mitzrayim. Mitzrayim refers to Egypt, the boundaries and limitations of exile. Eretz, “the land” is interpreted by our Sages as referring to a desire to fulfill G‑d’s will. Thus the term eretz Mitzrayim refers to a process of transformation.

Erev Asara b’Teves, 5752

Translated by Sichos in English:

1. Tonight is the eve of the Tenth of Teves, one of the four fasts instituted by the Rabbis in connection with the destruction of the Beis HaMikdash. The Tenth of Teves possesses a dimension which makes it more severe than the other Rabbinical fasts, even Tishah BeAv.1 For all the other fasts are postponed if they fall on Shabbos. In contrast, were the Tenth of Teves to fall on Shabbos, it would be necessary to fast on that day, for in regard to this fast it is written, “On the essence of this day….”

(According to the fixed calendar we follow at present, this is impossible. When, however, the calendar was established through the testimony of witnesses,2 it was possible for the Tenth of Teves to fall on the Sabbath.)

This concept is also relevant to us at present. For a fast day is, as the Alter Rebbe explains in Iggeres HaTeshuvah, “a day of will.” Since the obligation to fast on the Tenth of Teves is stronger than on other fasts, it can be understood that the element of being “a day of will” is also stronger than other fasts, even than Tishah BeAv which, as explained on previous occasions, is significant because it is the birthday of the Mashiach.3

The strength — both of the obligation to fast and the positive influences — of the Tenth of Teves stems from the fact that it commemorates the first of the tragedies associated with the destruction of the Beis HaMikdash. On this day, Nebuchadnezzarlaid siege to Jerusalem.

Thus this date begins the process of destruction. It is well known that the beginning of any process contains more power than the subsequent stages and for this reason, there is added power to the Tenth of Teves.

The connection between the Tenth of Teves and fasting is also reflected in the very event which transpired on that day. Since the Babylonians laid siege to Jerusalem, its inhabitants were unable to go out and procure food supplies. Although the Babylonians did not enter the city on this day, they merely camped around its wall, this was serious enough to cause hunger. The ultimate intent, however, was that this would motivate the Jews to teshuvah, and thus ward off the subsequent tragedies which culminated in the Beis HaMikdash’s destruction.

Just as the Tenth of Teves began the process leading to the Beis HaMikdash’s destruction, it is also appropriate that this “day of will” be used to hasten the coming of the Redemption. This is particularly true since, as the Zohar explains, the Jews are on the level of tzaddikim. As such they are prepared to turn to G‑d in teshuvah.

Teshuvah is an instantaneous process. For at every moment, a person can turn to G‑d. We see an expression of this concept in Torah law: If a man consecrates a woman as his wife on the condition that he is totally righteous, the act is valid even if he was known to be utterly wicked beforehand. Why? We assume that he repented at that moment.

This process of turning to G‑d in teshuvah will speed the Redemption, for as the Zohar writes: Were a single tzaddik to turn to G‑d in teshuvah, the Redemption would come. Similarly, the Redemption will be hastened by the distribution of money to be given to tzedakah.

And in the immediate future, we will proceed “with our youth and with our elders… with our sons and with our daughters,” “on the clouds of heaven” to the city of Jerusalem. There will be no siege around the city’s walls. On the contrary, the city will expand and grow as will all matters associated with Jerusalem, including and in particular, the Beis HaMikdash, “the Sanctuary of G‑d established by Your hands.”

 FOOTNOTES

1.

In other ways, Tishah BeAv is more severe. For on Tishah BeAv, the fast begins from the eve of the day, while on the Tenth of Teves and the other Rabbinic fasts, the fast begins only in the morning.

Indeed, it would have been appropriate that all the fasts last for a full day. Nevertheless out of G‑d’s compassion for His people, He takes their health into consideration and limits the fasts other than Tishah BeAv to the daytime hours.

2.

This practice continued for many years after the destruction of the Beis HaMikdash. See התוועדיות 5745, Vol. 1, p. 466.

3.

See the essay entitled “The Birthday of Mashiach,” in Sichos In English Vol. 49, pp. 116-121.

Video Shiur: Vayechi 5752

The Meal is Ready, Are You Ready?

Chabadinfo.com Exclusive: In the last Sicha we heard from the Rebbe on Parshas Vayechi, in the year 5752, the Rebbe states that our work has been done, and the Royal Meal of the Livyasan, and Shor Habar is ready ● Learn this week’s Sicha with ChabadInfo.com’s Weekly Shiur of the “Dvar Malchus” Sicha in English, presented by Rabbi Menachem Mendel Lipskier, Mashpia of Mesivta of Melbourne, Australia ● Watch Video

 

Vayechi 5752: Eternal Life for Every Jew via Yaakov Avinu

Our parsha begins with the words “Vayechi Yaakov” (“Yaakov lived”).  And although in the parsha we read about Yaakov’s passing, nonetheless our sages teach us that “Yaakov Avinu didn’t die–just as his children are alive, so too he is alive”.  Explains the Rebbe:

The life of Yaakov is eternal life through this that it is drawn to to his children and their descendents until the end of all of the generations.  “His children are alive” meaning true life through learning and fulfilling the Torah.  [Although we mention his children], nonetheless the name of the parsha is named after the life of Yaakov (“Vayechi Yaakov”) — since the truth of the life of Yaakov, eternal life, is expressed in the life of his children.

This means that Yaakov himself lives eternally (soul in a body, as explained elsewhere), and since the material eyes see that”they embalmed him and buried him, etc” his eternal life is expressed through the life of his children–they are alive because he is alive (and similarly, he is alive because they are alive–he is the reason they are alive, and they are the revelation that he is alive).

This parsha is in proximity to the fast of the Tenth of Teves, the day when the walls of Yerushalayim were besieged–the first step in the process which led, eventually, to the destruction of the Beis Hamikdash.  In the prophecy of Yechezkiel about the destruction, Hashem instructs him to take a “pan of iron” and to erect a “wall of iron”, symbolizing the seige of Yerushalayim.  Our sages speak of barzel, iron, as the element which actually destroyed the Beis Hamikdash, and for this reason it was not used in its construction.  In the words of the Midrash: “This is the gift…gold, silver, and copper…but iron is not written here, neither by the Mishkan nor by the Mikdash.  Why?  Because Edom is likened to it, and they are the ones who destroyed the Beis Hamikdash.”

Here the Rebbe introduces the concept of “barzel d’kedusha“–iron of the side of holiness.  This refers to being “stiff-necked” for holiness, for Torah and Mitzvos:

This is the inyan of “stiff-necked” in a positive sense, the strength and fortitude (iron) of the etzem haneshoma, the essence of the neshoma.  For it is through this that we nullify the iron of the opposite of holiness which is the “stiff-neck” of the evil inclination.  [Practically, this means] keeping the complete Torah, in a way of strength and fortitude of the “iron” of holiness.

For this reason, the third Beis Hamikdash will be constructed also with iron, because after the iron of the opposite of holiness (which destroyed) is nullified and refined, then the Beis Hamikdash is rebuilt through the iron of holiness (as mentioned above).  I turns out, explains the Rebbe, that the Tenth of Teves, the seige of Yerushalayim, is not only the beginning of the exile and the destruction of the Beis Hamikdash, but it is in fact the beginning of the construction of the 3rd Beis Hamikdash and the future Geulah!  The destruction of the (previous) Beis Hamikdash was for the sake of the construction of the third, eternal Beis Hamikdash–“the beginning of the destruction and the exile is the beginning of the Geulah, similar to sowing seeds in the ground as the first step towards (and which brings about) the beginning of the sprouting.”

Parshas Vayechi is also Shabbos “Chazak” (being the final parsha in Sefer Bereishis we say “Chazak Chazak V’nischazek” (“Be strong, be strong, and may we be strengthened!”) upon completion of the reading of the parsha). This “strengthening” (chizuk) for the whole time of golus is “Vayechi Yaakov”–Yaakov lives.  Yaakov’s inyan is Torah, and Yaakov’s eternal life is revealed through Torah, specifically “the expounding of our sages, that from this we learn that Yaakov Avinu did not die”).  A strengthening (chizuk) to stand with the strength and fortitude of iron for matters of holiness, for in this way we transform the iron of the opposite of holiness, which destroyed the Beis Hamikdash, into the iron of holiness and the building of the Beis Hamikdash of the future.  (And this occurs through Moshiach, who will conquer these klipos.).

Yaakov Avinu is one of the patriarchs who merited to “taste the eternal life of the world to come in their life in this world”.  In the future, this will be experienced by every single Jew (their descendants) together with all the Jews of all the generations who will arise in the resurrection of the dead.

And how much more so all of Bnei Yisroel in our generation ([for we are presently alive] living neshomos in living bodies without any interruption, chas v’sholom, at all in life [of this world and the life of the world to come–a seamless transition], and Nosi Doreinu at our head…for then every single Jew will be alive, living eternally in the simple sense, beginning with the Bnei Yisroel of our generation, souls in bodies, for long and good years…eternal life.

 How do we bring about that our generation and every generation will experience the eternal life in this world which awaits them?

…the resolution alone to increase in “one mitzvah” in a way of sowing (even before one has fulfilled it) should bring the “sprouting” of the Geulah in actuality, and immediately…we should already have the “coming up” from the exile to the Geulah…and Nosi Doreinu — the Yosef of our generation [a reference to the Previous Rebbe] — who “did not die”, like Yaakov Avinu, as is known that “Nosi” (נשיא) stands for “a spark of Yaakov Avinu” (ניצוצו של יעקב אבינו), and it is through the hiskashrus and the bittul to the Nosi Hador that this [that he “did not die”] is drawn into each and every one of the people of this generation.

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

Kuntres Hey Teves, 5752

The Kuntres printed for Hey Teves (ה’ טבת) in the year 5752 is a Chassidic Discourse the Rebbe said on parshas Vayigash, 5732, edited for publication under the supervision of the Rebbe himself.

The discourse explains some deep concepts in Chassidus, which we will not attempt to explain here; rather, we will take one point in the discourse.

The parsha begins with Yehuda approaching Yosef.  As is known, Yosef was dressed as an Egyptian, his brothers had no idea that this was their brother that they had sold into slavery so many years earlier.  This “Egyptian” was demanding that their brother Binyomin remain with him as a slave, because of the “theft”  of his goblet (which Yosef himself orchestrated).  Yehuda fearlessly approaches Yosef and asks — and even demands —  that the “Egyptian” let Binyomin return to his father (of whom he says “his soul is bound up with his soul”) and enslave one of the other brothers in his place.

This act of selflessness on the part of Yehuda represents the rectification of the original sale of Yosef, as is known.  But as explained according to Chassidus, there are even loftier things occurring here.

To summarize these loftier things, without elaboration: Yosef represents the level of Z”A and Yesod, the mashpia who gives spiritual influence; Yehuda represents the level of Malchus, the mekabel who receives from the mashpia.  Yehuda is requesting from Yosef to give over to him the spiritual influence.  And more than that, he is asking to receive this, reflecting the active participation of the mekabel.

Obviously, the mashpia (giver) is higher than the mekabel (receiver).  But in their source, it is reversed: the source of the mekabel (receiver) is on the level of Kesser (the “crown”) which is far above the source of the mashpia (giver).

Chassidus explains that when the mashpia gives over to the mekabel (who actually has a higher source in Kesser) then the mashpia also receives this level of Kesser.  That by giving, the mashpia also receives something even greater from the mekabel.

That said, the Rebbe explains the words of Yehuda “בי אדני” which are usually translated as “please, my lord” or “please, my master”.  But the word בי is unusual, it means “in me”, and there the verse would make perfect sense without it.  So why is it there?  The Rebbe explains as follows:

This that Z”A wants to desires to give over to Malchus (because any bestowal of spiritual influence is only through a desire for such) is because it feels the lofty level of the source of Malchus, which is mainly that by giving over to Malchus the result will be the perfection of that which is drawn down into Z”A.  Thus, Yehuda said to Yosef “in me, my lord” בי אדוני, that the spiritual influence drawn down from Z”A to Malchus should be (not for the perfection of Z”A, but rather) in order that this spiritual influence should be drawn down to Malchus, “in me, my lord”.

In other words: one who is in a position to give/teach to others can do it with the consideration of how this is part of his own rectification and perfection, and he is correct.  “Helping others is good for you”.  But an even higher level is reached when — and this is the Supernal desire — that it should be done without that consideration, but rather only for the sake of and the benefit of the mekabel, the receiver!

After this, Yosef could no longer hold himself back and he revealed himself to his brothers, which is the model for Hashem revealing Himself to us in the true and complete Geuloh!

Video Shiur: Vayigash 5752

Taking a Tough Stand Against the King

Chabadinfo.com Exclusive: In the last Sicha we heard from the Rebbe on Parshas Vayigash, in the year 5752, the Rebbe explains how Yehuda’s tough stance against the unrecognizable Yosef gives us Jews the power for all generations to demand Moshiach ● Learn this week’s Sicha with ChabadInfo.com’s Weekly Shiur of the “Dvar Malchus” Sicha in English, presented by Rabbi Menachem Mendel Lipskier, Mashpia of Mesivta of Melbourne, Australia ● Watch Video