Yud Shevat: “Yahrzeit” of a Living Man

Yud Shevat marks the yahrzeit and Hillula (anniversary of the passing) of the Previous Rebbe in 5710 (1950), the father-in-law of the Rebbe MH”M.  His resting place is in Montefiore Cemetery in Cambria Heights, NY, commonly referred to as “the Ohel”.

The Rebbe, MH”M, oversaw all the details, wrote the text of the gravestone, and even designed the Ohel structure itself (in a way that Kohanim could enter and avoid the halachic prohibition of being in proximity to a grave).  The Rebbe visited the Ohel on a twice-weekly basis, and often more frequently than that.

At the same time, the Rebbe continued to refer to his father-in-law as “Nosi Doreinu”, the leader of the generation, and the “Moshiach of the generation“.  The Rebbe asserted that “hu bachayim” (“he is alive”), like Yaakov Avinu who did not die.  Each year on the Previous Rebbe’s birthday, the Rebbe spoke about his father-in-law’s new chapter of Tehillim, just like anyone else who has a birthday and begins a new year of life.  The Rebbe spoke sharply that his father-in-law does not have an issue of inheritance because he is “fresher and more lively” each passing year.

Yud Shevat is the yarhzeit of of a living man, the Ohel is the gravesite of a living man.

If we don’t understand, the problem is ours to ponder and to research.  When we will understand how the gemora can state the “Moshe didn’t die” and “Yaakov didn’t die” and that after his passing Rebbi Yehuda Hanosi would appear at the home of his family on Shabbos night (and made Kiddush for them) — then surely we will begin understand the meaning of Yud Shevat and how eternal life is not contradicted by a yahrzeit nor by a gravestone.

יחי אדוננו מורנו ורבינו מלך המשיח לעולם ועד

Beshallach 5752

1. 1 There are several significant dimensions to the fact that this year, YudShvat, the day of the Previous Rebbe’s yahrzeit, was commemorated on a Wednesday. Among them:

a) Wednesday is the day on which the luminaries were suspended in the heavens;

b) Wednesday begins the preparations for the coming Shabbos (on which the service associated with the previous week, and in this instance, the service associated with the Previous Rebbe’s yahrzeit, is elevated to a higher level). This is reflected in the recitation of the verses from Lechu Nerraninah (the beginning of the Kabbolas Shabbos service) in the Psalm of the Day of Wednesday.

The latter concept is particularly appropriate this Shabbos, for it is Shabbos Shirah (the Shabbos of Song), the Shabbos on which the Torah reading contains the song sung by the Jewish people after the crossing of the Red Sea.

Shabbos shares a unique connection to song as reflected in the psalm that begins, “A psalm, a song for the Shabbos day.” In Chassidic thought, it is explained that song is a medium through which one can ascend to higher spiritual levels. For that reason, the elevation of the worlds to a higher spiritual level on Shabbos comes about through song. In particular, this potential is granted on Shabbos Shirah, and from Shabbos Shirah, the potential is drawn down to the other Shabbasos of the year. Thus, it is understood that Shabbos Shirah also allows a unique potential for the elevation of the service of Yud Shvat.

This Shabbos s also significant because it generates blessing for the day of Tu BeShvat. There are two important dimensions to the latter date: It is the New Year of the Trees and it is also the fifteenth of the month, the day on which the moon shines in its fullness, i.e., the service of this month is expressed in a complete manner. Connecting points to all of the above concepts can be found in the two Torah portions associated with the present Shabbos: Beshallach which is read in the morning service and Yisro, which is read in the afternoon service.

There is a connection between these two Torah readings. Parshas Beshallach marks the completion of the redemption from Egypt which is connected with the giving of the Torah described in Parshas Yisro as it is written, “When you take the people out of the Land of Egypt, you will serve Me on this mountain.” Conversely, Parshas Yisro is connected with the splitting of the Red Sea described in Parshas Beshallach, for it was the news of the splitting of the sea that motivated Yisro to come to visit Moshe.

Both Torah portions also share a connection to the Era of the Redemption. The song sung by the Jewish people after the crossing of the Red Sea contains several references to the Era of the Redemption. For example, the verse “the Sanctuary of G‑d established by Your hands,” which refers to the Third Beis HaMikdash which will be constructed at that time, and the concluding verse, “And G‑d will reign forever and ever.” Similarly, the oath taken by G‑d against Amalek recorded at the conclusion of Parshas Beshallach will be in force until Amalek is wiped out in the Era of the Redemption.

The giving of the Torah described in Parshas Yisro is also associated with the ultimate revelation of “the new [dimensions of the] Torah which will emerge from Me,” in the Era of the Redemption.2

The connection between all of these concepts can be understood better through the analysis of the opening verse of the Torah reading, “And G‑d did not choose the way of the Philistines although it was close.” (In practice, all the subsequent events are connected with this choice. Since G‑d led the people southward, it was necessary for the sea to split, there, they encountered Amalek, and it was because of these miracles that Yisro visited them.)

The Midrash explains that “the way of the Philistines” was an eleven day journey and draws a connection to the verse “an eleven day journey from Choreb.” Instead of taking this short journey, they traveled through the desert for forty years.

The Midrash also relates that eleven has positive significance, referring to “the distinct commandment,… the first of the ten, ‘I am G‑d, your L‑rd.’ ” In Kabbalistic terminology, eleven refers to the level of “one, but not in a numerical sense,” i.e., G‑d’s essence which is above the ten Sefiros.

By not choosing to lead the Jews by this path, G‑d did not intend to remove this influence from the Jews. Instead, His intent was that this transcendent influence be drawn down and made part of their inner being. This was accomplished through the forty year journey through the desert which endowed them with “a knowing heart, eyes that see, and ears that hear.” For it was the internalization of this transcendent potential which prepared them for the entry into Eretz Yisrael.3

The above was accomplished through the forty-two4 journeys of the Jewish people through the desert. Part and parcel of the intent in this journey was to elevate the sparks of G‑dliness enclothed in the material entities with which the Jews used during this journey. These sparks had fallen to low levels, the negative dimension of the number eleven.5 Nevertheless, through the efforts of the Jewish people, these negative dimensions can be nullified, and the positive power of these transcendent potentials revealed. Indeed, this service draws down increased energy into the service of G‑d within the context of the world’s limitations, which are alluded to in the Ten Commandments.

Were G‑d to have led the Jews to Eretz Yisrael on the eleven day journey, this transcendent quality would have been revealed from above, but would not have permeated the Jewish people as they exist within their own context. By causing the journey to last forty years, the transcendent quality associated with eleven was drawn down through the service of the Jewish people in elevating the material frame of reference in which we live, thus making it an integral part of our existence.

Based on the above, we can appreciate how the events mentioned in the Torah portions of Beshallach and Yisro serve as a preparation for the ultimate revelation of the Torah in the Era of the Redemption. The Torah to be revealed in the Era of the Redemption was also conveyed in the revelation at Mount Sinai.6 Nevertheless, the concepts to be revealed at that time have remained hidden to the point that they are described as “the new [dimensions of the] Torah that will emerge from Me,” i.e., a new entity never appreciated before.7

This concept relates to the contrast between the numbers ten and eleven mentioned above. The giving of the Torah was associated with the Ten Commandments and thus reflects how the Torah enclothes itself within the limits of worldly existence. For this reason, the giving of the Torah is associated with Nigleh, the revealed dimensions of Torah law which provide us with guidelines for our conduct within this world. Conversely, the revelation of “the new [dimensions of the] Torah that will emerge from Me” is associated with the number eleven, the transcendent dimension mentioned above.

In this context, the wanderings of the Jewish people throughout the centuries can be compared to the journeys through the desert, for the purpose of those wanderings was the elevation of the sparks of G‑dliness contained within the nations in which they lived. Ultimately, this service will lead to the fulfillment of the prophecy “I will cause the spirit of impurity to depart from the land,” and this will be reflected in the wiping out of Amalek.

At that time, we will merit to take possession of Eretz Yisrael in its fullness as a land of ten nations, including not only the lands of the seven Canaanite nations, but also the lands of the Keni, Kenizi, and Kadmoni. Furthermore, Eretz Yisrael will spread out through the entire world, revealing how the world is G‑d’s dwelling.

There is a connection between the above and Shabbos Shirah, “the Shabbos of Song.” As mentioned above, song is a medium of ascent and also a medium for revelation. In this context, we can develop the ideas explained by our Sages that there were nine songs sung by the Jewish people as a whole and in the Era of the Redemption, we will sing the tenth song, “a new song.”

Our Sages continue that the previous songs are referred to as shirah, the feminine form of the word song, while the “new song” of the Era of the Redemption is referred as shir, the masculine form. All the previous songs refer to the efforts of the Jewish people (the feminine dimension, as explained by the commentaries to Shir HaShirim) to ascend to a higher spiritual level and to elevate their environment. In contrast, the song of the Era of the Redemption will be a song of revelation from above8 (the masculine dimension).

The above is particularly relevant to the month of Shvat, for Shvat is the eleventh month of the year (when counting from Nissan, the month of redemption).9 There is a special emphasis on the above on the tenth and the eleventh days of the month. The tenth of Shvat is the yahrzeit of the Previous Rebbe, the day on which “all the deeds, teaching, and service which he performed throughout his life” are elevated to a higher level.10 The positive potential generated on this day is particularly emphasized this year when Yud Shvat falls on a Wednesday, the day the luminaries were suspended in the heavens, i.e., a day associated with revelation.

The elevated state reached is reflected on the eleventh day when the quality of transcendent revelation is expressed by the monthly cycle and by the daily cycle. All the more unique is the commemoration of these dates in the present year, for this is the 42nd anniversary of the Previous Rebbe’s yahrzeit, indicating that “the journey through the desert” to elevate the Jewish people and the environment in which they live has been completed and we, the last generation of exile and the first generation of the Redemption, are prepared to enter Eretz Yisrael.

And soon we will merit the singing of the “new song,” the song of redemption, a song of unity and oneness. Indeed, a foretaste of the happiness and joy which will accompany that song can be experienced at present. The confidence that the Redemption is an immediate reality should produce joy and happiness.11

* * *

2. This Shabbos also conveys blessing upon the day of Tu BeShvat, “the New Year of the Trees,” a day which shares a connection with the seven species of produce for which Eretz Yisrael is praised, wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olive (oil), and dates (honey). This is relevant to every Jew, for every Jew is “a cherished land” which can give forth the seven species of produce, i.e., seven different modes of service of G‑d.

It is proper to mention the importance of holding farbrengens on Tu BeShvat in every place. At these farbrengens, it should be emphasized how every Jew is “a cherished land,” and possesses within himself the potential to express a mode of service appropriate to each of the seven types of produce for which Eretz Yisrael is praised.

Each Jew has a treasure store of spiritual potentials that enables him to bring out services representative of these seven services. This also includes the revelation of the secrets of Torah, the service associated with dates, as alluded to in the verse “milk and honey are under your tongue.” And it is through these efforts that we will merit that “a shoot will emerge from the stem of Yishai,” the coming of Mashiach who will take us to Eretz Yisrael together with the entire Jewish people. And then we will merit the ultimate fulfillment of the giving of the Torah, the revelation of the “the new [dimensions of the] Torah that will emerge from Me.”

 

FOOTNOTES
1. Translator’s Note: Because of the thematic connection between the Rebbe’s sichos on Shabbos and those of the preceding Thursday, the eleventh of Shvat, these talks were combined and prepared for printing as a single entity. Hence, they have also been translated in this fashion.
2. Herein we can also see a connection to Yisro. In connection with that name, our Sages comment: “Why was he called Yisro (which has a connection with the word yesser which means “increase”)? Because an extra passage was added to the Torah because of him, the passage beginning “And you shall see.” The true concept of increase will be seen in the Era of the Redemption. Similarly, in that age, Mashiach will teach through the medium of sight.

3. This also relates to the opening phrase of our Torah portion, “And it came to pass when Pharaoh sent forth the people.” The transcendent potential mentioned above relates to the conception of Pharaoh in the sphere of holiness, “the source for the revelation of all lights.”

The internalization of this potential within the Jewish people is reflected in one of the verses from the Haftorah, bifroah praos biYisrael. This indicates how the transcendent influence of Pharaoh is conveyed biYisrael, within the Jewish people.
4. As evident from the Kabbalistic explanations of the prayer, Anah B’Koach, the number 42 is associated with the process of ascent, elevating the material context in which we live.
5. This is alluded to in the statement in the verse from Devarim that the eleven day journey was “by way of Mount Seir.”
6. Similarly, we find the expression “Every new concept developed by an experienced Sage was given to Moshe on Mount Sinai.”
7. This relates to Yisro whose name means, as mentioned above, “increase” and who converted to Judaism. Conversion reflects the ultimate concept of transformation from darkness to light. As a result of this process, light is increased.
8. Nevertheless, in this song, there will also be the potential for the lower realm to be included in this revelation. (In this context, we see a connection to Shir HaShirim, the song which reveals the unity, love, and oneness shared by G‑d and the Jewish people.)
9. As mentioned above, eleven is associated with the concept of transcendent revelation that will characterize the future Redemption. From the eleventh month, we proceed to the twelfth month, the month of Adar, the month of the redemption of Purim. And then, “joining redemption to redemption,” we proceed to Nissan, “the month in which the Jews were redeemed from Egypt and the month in which they will be redeemed in the future.”
10. This also brings the entire generation to a higher spiritual plane, for “the body follows the head.”

11. This should also be reflected in our prayers, for prayer is also referred to as song. Indeed, it is related that the Alter Rebbe would pray amidst song.

Translation by: Sichos in English

Bo 5752: G-dliness Revealed Without Histalkus

CONFRONTING PHARAOH

Our parsha begins with Hashem’s instruction to Moshe Rabbeinu “Come to Pharaoh”.  The question is asked: why “come to Pharaoh” and not “go to Pharaoh” (as stated in other verses)?  Furthermore, being that the Torah is eternal, what is the relevance of going to Pharaoh, King of Egypt, when we are standing at the end of golus–long after Egypt was rendered helpless and nothing remains of Pharaoh–at a time when the birurim of the klipah of Pharaoh are finished (as mentioned many times)?

The commentaries explain that Moshe Rabbeinu was afraid to go to the inner chambers of Pharaoh, and therefore Hashem said “Come [with Me] to Pharaoh” to ease Moshe’s fear of confronting Pharaoh alone.

However, our question becomes stronger when we learn, based on the Zohar, that the evil Pharaoh that we encountered in Egypt has his source in the “Pharaoh of kedusha (holiness)”, which refers to the revelation of G-dliness.  Why was Moshe afraid to go to the Pharoah of holiness, so much so that he needed a direct command from Hashem to “come” together with Hashem?!

The answer is that the revelation of G-dliness that is represented by the Pharaoh of kedusha is a revelation of all levels of holiness, up to and including Hashem’s very essence (“atzmus“).  The Zohar calls it “the breaking out of all the lights”.  A soul enclothed in a limited physical body cannot hope to receive such a revelation without being nullified out of existence.  Thus, Moshe was afraid.  So Hashem reassures him “come” to Pharaoh, meaning Hashem Himself, Hashem’s very essence, will accompany Moshe and because Hashem is all-capable (particularly expressed in Hashem’s essence), this will make it possible for Moshe–even as a soul enclothed in a body–to receive and internalize this revelation of G-dliness.

The Rebbe explains what sort of revelation we are speaking about: it is the revelation of the unlimited within the limited vessel of the body.  To reveal the unlimited within the limited–a complete contradiction–is only with in the power of Hashem’s essence.  Only Hashem’s atzmus can put the lights of Tohu into the vessels of Tikkun.

Why is it so important that Moshe receive this revelation while enclothed soul in body?  Because this represents the fulfillment of Hashem’s intent in Creation: to make a dwelling place down below, that the highest revelations (Hashem’s atzmus) should be revealed “below”–to a soul in a body.  This occurred in the most complete manner at Matan Torah, when Hashem gave us the Torah at Har Sinai, when this revelation was experienced by the entire Jewish people (and if not for the sin of the Golden Calf, it would have been the true and complete Geulah).  Thus, by giving this revelation to Moshe Rabbeinu, it is a preparation and the beginning of the process.

UNCIRCUMCIZED LIPS: THE WORLD’S SHORTCOMING

The Torah tells us that Moshe Rabbeinu doubted his ability to take the Bnei Yisroel out of Egypt because he was “heavy of mouth and heavy of tongue” and he had “uncircumcized lips”.  The explanation of this, according to Chassidus, the inner dimension of Torah, is that the level of Moshe Rabbeinu’s soul is so lofty that it is above the level that can be revealed in speech.  The source of Moshe Rabbeinu’s soul is in the primordial world of Tohu, unlimited spiritual lights which cannot be limited into constraining vessels.  Thus, to express this in a limited world was not possible–Moshe Rabbeinu’s self-expression was hindered by the world’s own limitations.  This was not Moshe’s problem, but the world’s problem. (By way of analogy: similar to when one turns up the volume too high for the loudspeakers to handle, the music comes out distorted.  Not because there is a problem with the music, but because the loudspeakers are unable to handle such a high level.)

This was true from the beginning, and the very fact that Moshe Rabbeinu was able to communicate at all in Egypt was only due to the fact that Hashem miraculously enabled him to be understood.  But Moshe was not yet “healed” from his “problem” until Hashem revealed His Essence at Matan Torah by saying “Anochi” in the Ten Commandments.  This is because the complete revelation in speech within the entire world could only occur after the destruction of klipas Mitzrayim.  Thus, “Come to Pharaoh”, which represents the breaking of that klipa was the first step in the revelation of Hashem’s atzmus, and via Moshe Rabbeinu it could then be drawn down to the entire Jewish people (at Matan Torah).

This revelation of Hashem’s essence which can unify the limited and the unlimited is the purpose of Creation, and thus we find that the Ramban writes (and Chassidus concurs) that the ultimate reward and ultimate state of being is souls in bodies at the resurrection of the dead (and not souls without bodies, which is the Rambam’s opinion).

This is also why the Bnei Yisroel had to borrow the gold and silver vessels from the Egyptians rather than take them (as well-earned back pay for generations of slavery): because not only does Egypt need to be “nullified”, but it needs to be transformed to the point that it willingly wants to help the Jewish people leave exile.  Only in cases where this cannot be accomplished, and there is no other choice, is there a need to “break” and “nullify”; otherwise, the preferred path is that it should be done in a peaceful way where the other side itself is a willing partner.)

At the time of the Egyptian exile the birurim (refinements) were not yet finished, but now we stand at the end of golus and all the refinement has been completed and thus we will leave this exile:

in a way of spiritual and physical ease, in a state of ultimate perfection and health — souls in bodies, and passing over immediately (without any interruption at all) to eternal life of souls in bodies in the true and complete Geulah (the ultimate state of reward, as mentioned above).

YUD SHEVAT

On Yud Shevat, 5710 (1950) the Previous Lubavitcher Rebbe passed away.  Says the Rebbe: on Yud Shevat the Moshe Rabbeinu of our generation, the Previous Rebbe, experienced “Come to Pharaoh”–“the breaking out of all the lights”.   And through the fact that he received this revelation, now it can be drawn down to all the people of the generation.  Right now, however, this revelation remains in a way where the Previous Rebbe is found soul higher than the body.

The Previous Rebbe, like Moshe Rabbeinu, suffered from “speech being in exile” because later in life he was unable to speak clearly.  But we understand from what we learned about Moshe Rabbeinu that this was due to the limitation of the world, not of the Rebbe–because the birurim were not yet completed.  Thus, in the previous generation, there was a histalkus of the soul from the body, unlike in our generation when we can receive the revelation of “the breaking out of all the lights” in a way where the soul remains in the body!  This will occur through the coming of Moshiach Tzidkeinu immediately and will cause the ultimate elevation of all the generations that came before through the “awakening from the dust” (resurrection of the dead).

EVERYONE IS READY FOR GEULAH

Not only are the Jewish people standing ready for Geulah, the nations of the world are also standing ready for the Jewish people to go out of golus and to go to Eretz Yisroel in the true and complete Geulah.  This means souls in bodies without any interruption.  The Rebbe goes on to state that:

Spiritually (reaching to the highest levels) the matters are already completed up to the completion of the Geulah (spiritually).  The spiritual eyes of a Jew already see the Geulah; at present one needs only to open up the physical eyes, that they should also see the Geulah as it is revealed to eyes of flesh at this time…the chiddush of the Geulah is found in the revelation of “the breaking out of all the lights” will also be in the physicality of the world which appears to eyes of flesh, in physical time and place, making a dwelling place for Him down below.

A spiritual Geulah is not sufficient, it must be a Geulah that is visible to eyes of flesh.  First and foremost, this is to express in our own conduct a revelation of Hashem’s atzmus, Hashem’s essence, which permeates everything equally.  This means from the loftiest things (Torah, Tefillah, Chesed) to the most mundane things (eating, sleeping, working)–our entire lives must show the world that we are in a state of Geulah.  Through this even loftier things will be revealed to us, through the coming of Moshiach Tzidkeinu this very second!


For further reading:

All That Remains is to Open Up the Eyes

The Generation That Does Not Die

Va’eira 5752: Full Translation

A complete translation of the sicha of Va’eira 5752 where the Rebbe explains how one who passes away in our era is simply preparing for the Resurrection of the Dead!

Vayeira_FullTranslation.pdf

 

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Translation by R’ Eliyahu Binyominson (click here to purchase more of his publications)

Va’era 5752: The Rectification of Death

In the second sicha printed for parshas Va’era 5752, the Rebbe elaborates on the statement of the sages that “one who dies on Erev Shabbos, it is a good sign for him”.

The Gemara describes that when R’ Yehuda haNosi took ill, R’ Chiya visited him and found him crying.  He asked him why he was crying (assuming that he was afraid of death).  R’ Chiya proceeded to give him a list of signs that portend well for the fate of a person after death (and their opposite): Dying amidst laughter is a good sign, while crying is a not good; one who dies on Erev Shabbos is a good sign, after Shabbos is not good.  (And several others.)

R’ Yehuda haNosi responded that he was crying (not from a fear of his fate after death, but rather) because of the Torah and Mitzvos he would no longer be able to perform.  Seemingly, the list of good signs brought by R’ Chiya (several of which applied to R’ Yehuda haNosi and were meant to comfort him), do not help the reason given by R’ Yehuda for his crying, because seemingly being unable to perform Torah and Mitzvos after ones passing is not affected by the good signs of how a person passes away.  (The Rebbe brings a proof for this from the story in the Gemara about Dovid haMelech, who asked to pass away on Erev Shabbos (because then one is not subject to “chibut hakever“), and Hashem refused him, telling him that even one day of his Torah learning was more dear to Him.)

Furthermore, the Rebbe asks on this whole discussion a fundamental question: “How is it possible to truthfully say (in Toras Emes, the Torah of truth) that “one who dies on Erev Shabbos it is a good sign for him” — a “good sign” in relation to the occurrence of death, the opposite of life, the ultimate opposite of good according to Torah?!”  Since the Torah defines “good” as fulfilling the will of Hashem through the performance of Torah and Mitzvos as a soul in a body, then death is the opposite of Good, since it is the the departure of the soul from the body and the performance of Torah and Mitzvos ceases (thus it was the reason for R’ Yehuda haNosi’s crying).

In answer the Rebbe explains that:

The “good sign” of “one who dies on Erev Shabbos” indicates and emphasizes the rectification of the undesirable aspect in the general inyan of death, and automatically the reason for R’ Yehuda haNossi’s crying over the interruption of Torah and Mitzvos is nullified (and rectified), as we will explain.

The Rebbe proceeds to explain that already on the very first Erev Shabbos, when Adam Harishon was created, there was already something similar to death that took place, as the verse states “Hashem brought a drowsiness upon the Man and caused him to sleep”.  Sleep is called “one-sixtieth of death” by our sages, for when a person sleeps his life force (chayus) is not visible (through movement, expressing ideas, etc.).  This is seemingly an undesirable state, but in fact it is a sign that there will be an increase in the individual’s chayus (life-force) when he wakes up, an incomparable increase.  In the case of Adam Harishon this resulted in the creation of his wife, Chava, after which they could bring unlimited generations into being–an incomparable increase of chayus compared to before he slept, from the limited to the unlimited.

This model also holds in the bigger picture of the 6,000 years of this world which correspond to the days of Creation (the 7th millennium corresponding to the 7th day, Shabbos).  The 6th millennium (which we are in presently) corresponds to “Erev Shabbos”, the end of the time of golus, and there is this inyan of sleeping through which is brought about a union on a higher level (according to Kabbalah this is the union of Z”A and Malchus, the Holy One, blessed be He, and Knesses Yisroel), corresponding to the sleep of Adam Harishon that resulted in an infinitely higher state of being.

Thus, one who “dies on Erev Shabbos” also refers to one who passes away in our time, the eve of the 7th millennium; it is like the sleep we mentioned above.  So it turns out that this death (on “Erev Shabbos” at the end of golus) is for the sake of an increase and renewal of life.  This has two explanations:

a) Our sages say “Yaakov Avinu did not die…just as his descendants are alive, so, too, he is alive”, that through the continuation of the life of his descendants (true life, in accordance with Torah) this brings about that “also he is alive”.  And more than this, that this inyan of “he is alive” in its true sense, meaning eternal existence, is revealed by the continuation and eternality of “his descendants are alive” after his passing [in other words, Yaakov’s eternal life is revealed specifically after he passes away (or, at least, seemed to pass away) by the fact that his descendants continue to live the true life of Torah]that specifically then it can be seen in a revealed way the eternality (the truth) of “he is alive”.  So it turns out that through death comes about an increase and renewal of life — the revelation of the eternality and truth of life.

b) And this is the main thing: that the concealment (histalkus) of the chayus that occurs at death is for the sake of an increase and renewal of chayus as a soul in a body — at the resurrection of the dead, for then there will be life of a soul in a body in eternal life.

This enables us to answer the question of how does telling R’ Yehuda haNosi that “one who dies on Erev Shabbos it is a good sign for him”: since on Erev Shabbos it is emphasized that the concealment (histalkus) of the chayus is for the sake of an increase and renewal of the chayus.  Thus, it turns out that

…the time of death coming on Erev Shabbos is in a way that emphasizes in a revealed way the good aspect alone, the increase and renewal of chayus, both through the increase of the eternality and the truth of the life through the fact that “his descendants are alive”, and also and mainly through the Resurrection of the dead right after the time of burial.

Thus, it turns out, that this “good sign” indicates and emphasizes the rectification of the undesirable aspect in death, and automatically the reason that Rebi [Yehuda haNosi] was crying over the nullification of Torah and Mitzvos is rectified as well, because when Tzaddikim arise at the Resurrection of the dead (at the beginning of Yemos Hamoshiach, forty years before the epoch of the Resurrection of the dead of all Bnei Yisroel) there is a continuation of the fulfillment of Torah and Mitzvos (and to the contrary: in a higher degree of perfection — “as mitzvos of Your will”, כמצות רצונך)

In other words, death on Erev Shabbos is a good sign also as regards the fulfillment of Torah and Mitzvos, for following on the heals of this death is the Resurrection of the dead which enables the fulfillment of Torah and Mitzvos as a soul in a body in a perfected and unlimited way, immeasurably greater than the way it was before the “death on Erev Shabbos”!

The Rebbe then takes this even further: that the main intention of this “good sign” is not literal death, chas v’sholom, but rather the avodah of the Yid in his lifetime as a soul in a body.  This is especially after it has already occurred literally with unique individuals, and through them it is sufficient to fulfill the obligation of the rest of Bnei Yisroel (so that the rest of us do not need to literally pass away in order to attain the higher level described above). Consequently, by the rest of Bnei Yisroel there will be only the spiritual avodah of “death” (meaning self-nullification, bittul), with a seamless continuation to eternal life (without any interruption in between) in the time to come.

Death on Erev Shabbos (the 6th millennium, our times) is only a concealment as a preparation for a revelation of a higher level of life–eternal life of the soul in the body, in the ultimate state of perfection!