Tazria-Metzora 5751: Spiritually Complete But Still Suffering Exile

Dvar Malchus Tzaria-Metzora 5751

This Generation is Completely Rectified; Remaining External Signs of Disease Can Be Rectified Through Torah—Learning About Moshiach Speeds Geulah.

For this sicha it is necessary to define the following terms: Tzora’as—a supernatural illness where certain types of lesions appear on the skin (not the physical disease of “leprosy”); Metzora—One who suffers from this illness (sometimes called a ‘leper’); Nega (plural: Negoyim)—the general name of the lesions associated with the disease.


Moshiach in Exile is Called “Metzora

With the completion of the month of Nissan of the year 5751 [when the sicha was spoken] “all the end times have passed” (“kolu kol hakitzin”): both ketz hayamim and keitz hayemin, in a simple sense (”kipshuto mamash”).   [Ketz Hayamim=the end of the “left side” of klipa; Ketz Hayemin=the end (meaning: the starting point) of the “right side” of holiness.]  This is in addition to the fact that the statement “kolu kol hakitzin” was said in the times of the Gemara. [The Rebbe is making clear that he is not merely quoting the gemara, but that something new has taken place that was not included in the intent of the sages.  The “Ketz HaYemin” is a most noteworthy expression, indicating more than the just end of exile, but also the beginning (although still concealed) of Geulah.]  The parsha Tazria begins with the words “a woman who gives seed and gives birth to a male”—this hints at the birth (revelation) of the soul of Moshiach.  Giving seed, this refers to our deeds and effort (“avodah”) in the time of exile, followed immediately by the sprouting—the complete Geulah.

Metzora refers to Moshiach; as our sages say: he bears our sicknesses.  The name of Moshiach in the time of exile is “Metzora”.  The opening words of this parsha, “This is the Torah of the metzora on the day of his purification”—the day of his purification, the day that his nega (skin lesion associated with tzora’as) is healed, meaning his condition when he is revealed and redeems the children of Israel in the true Geulah.

What is the connection?  Tazria is birth, meaning Geulah; metzora is one who needs to be brought to purification.  Seemingly, if the eternal Geulah is born, it is not related in any way to the state of a metzora, who is connected with exile.  However, the content of parshas Tazria is all about the various types of lesions of a metzora, a matter of exile.  And parshas Metzora teaches the laws of the purification of the metzora—the matter of Geulah.  Seemingly, it should be reversed.

Tzora’as—Illness After Completing Everything

The verse that begins to describe the illness of tzora’as states “A man who has a on the skin of his flesh…”  The word for man here is “Adam”, “Adam is a great level, the perfection of everything” (Zohar Tazria, 48a).  Although he has rectified everything, nonetheless, on the skin of his flesh the evil is still not refined, the waste material remains.  He has refined his nefesh and his body, only the ends of his garments are still not refined; but this is only an external matter.  [Let us recall that according to Chassidus the garments of the soul are thought, speech, and action.] This condition is not connected at all to the “essence” (etzem, atzmiyus) of the person, not even to his flesh which changes through eating and drinking.  It is only related to the skin which surrounds him externally.  And even this—there is a nega present on the skin (from the word “nogea”, meaning to touch—not even the skin itself is really affected).

These negoyim (lesions) are physical manifestations of the lofty state described above.  They themselves are not tamei (impure and able to impart impurity) until they are viewed by a Kohen who declares that the person is impureThis is because they are essentially lofty lights (“oirois elyoinim”).  The word “nega” itself is a reversal of the letters of the word “oneg” which is the aspect of supernal pleasure.  Due to their lofty source, the negoyim are described in Chassidus as “harsh judgments of Holiness” (“dina kashya d’kedusha”).  Since these are, in their source, the loftiest things, thus they fall to the lowest.  Their rectification is via the revelation of the true nature of the negoyim, that they are lofty lights (“oirois elyoinim”)—and through this the nurture that can be grabbed by the external forces (“yenikas hachitzonim”) is nullified.

Bittul Negates the Evil and Heals the Metzora

The subject of Tzara’as and Negoyim is connected with the concept of lights of Tohu which are unable to enter into vessels (the unlimited cannot be contained in limited vessels).  These lights, when revealed, bring about ratzo, which is the yearning of the soul to escape limitation to the point of expiring (“klois hanefesh”).  The opposite direction is shov, meaning return.  These lofty lights of Tohu do not return to the vessels and letters of holiness (shov), they only seek to rise and escape limitation (ratzo).  Only from ratzo can the external forces take sustenance (“yenikas hachitzonim”).  After ratzo must come shov, which is self-nullification (“bittul”) to the point of complete nullification of one’s will (“bittul b’metzius”)…until the person is like a lifeless stone…like a servant before the King.  Specifically through bittul can the powerful lights can spread out into many vessels down below.   [Meaning that if there is only movement in the direction of escaping limitation (ratzo) without being followed up by the self-nullification which allows drawing this energy into the “vessels” of Torah and Mitzvos (shov), the result can be undesirable—Tzara’as and Negoyim.]

Through this [the system of reaching to escape limitation and then drawing that energy (through bittul) into Torah and Mitzvos]comes about [Hashem’s ultimate intent of Creation]: a dwelling place down below (“dira baTachtonim”).  The intent is that the lofty lights, which are inherently above being able to enter limited vessels, should in act be enclothed in vessels.  To accomplish this requires a level that is above both: the level of Tiferes, the source of which is in Kesser (the supernal “crown”), which isabovethe order of Creation (“hishtalshelus”).  Having such a lofty source gives the aspect of Tiferes the power to unify opposites (just as Tiferes can bring together the opposite sefiros of Chesed (giving) and Gevurah (restraining)).  This is the function of bittul.

Thus we see that the verse says “the Torah of the metzora” (instead of “the purification” or something similar)—because the rectification of the metzora is through involvement in Torah, because Torah is the aspect of bittul.  Through bittul, one’s heart is opened to Torah (as in the prayers we first ask “let my soul be like dust to all” and only following this do we request “open my heart to Your Torah”).

Through Bittul We Transform Exile to Redemption

Exile (“golus”) is darkness and concealment; yet, in its source, it is very lofty.  From these very lofty levels descend the concealment and all the undesirable things of golus.  And even after it descends—even reaching the level of impure things—this is only an external manifestation, like a nega which is external even to the skin of the person.  Rectification through our deeds and avodah is not a process of adding something new; rather, it is simply revealing the truth of the golus.  In other words, we are not nullifying golus, we are transforming golus to Geulah.  This occurs by drawing down the Alef (the letters of which spell “peleh” (“wonder”), as in “areinu nifla’os” (“I will show you wonders”—the year 5751) and adding the Alef to gola (“exile”) to make Geulah.

The transformation of golus to Geulah is through self-nullification and self-sacrifice (bittul and mesirus Nefesh)—the aspect of Yechida (the highest level of the soul).  The Yechida is connected with Yochid (Hashem’s absolute unity where nothing else exists besides Him) which is above the hishtalshelus of created worlds, connecting Ratzo and Shov—as discussed above regarding oirois elyonim (“lofty lights”) being revealed down below.  [Footnote 54: Ohr Hatorah Shir HaShirim p. 686—Areinu Niflaos, the meaning of niflaos (wonders) is the revelation down below of those things which are lofty and concealed (and thus wondrous).  This means that the matter of the Geulah (hinted at with “Areinu Niflaos” is a revelation of the true nature of golus being drawn down and revealed below.  [In simpler terms: revealing the purpose of Hashem being concealed (exile) is in order to bring a greater revelation.]]

Thus we understand that Geulah is not a matter in and of itself; Geulah is a revelation of the true nature of golusMetzora (in reference to Moshiach) is used in a positive sense—the metzora is sent out of the camp and “dwells alone”, and similarly Moshiach “dwells alone” because of his lofty level—higher than the Patriarchs, higher than Moshe (Midrash Tanchuma, Toldos 14).  The gemara says that Moshiach’s name is Metzora.  The gemara there continues: if Moshiach is from those who are alive now (in accordance with the ruling of the Rambam “if a King will arise from the house of David…”—meaning that he already ruled) then he is like Rabbeinu Hakadosh.  The gemara then enumerates how the students of Rabbi Shilo, Rabbi Yanai, etc., found verses to support the name of their teacher was the name of Moshiach.  “And we (Chassidim) follow in their way (as regards Rabboseinu Nessienu, and particularly my father-in-law the Rebbe, the Nossi of our generation)—“Yosef Yitzchok” is the name [of Moshiach]….”

Also in the parsha that follows, Acharei Mois, which is about Ratzo and Shov, neshomas in bodies (until eternal life in the time to come, and as regards our generation—without any interruption between them).  This, soul in body, is the concept of connecting Ratzo and Shov, lofty lights and vessels. [Footnotes 58 and 61: The elevation of “to the dust you shall return” is (spiritually) via bittul* of “and let my soul be as dust to all” through first having the bittul of Shov, as discussed above.  *) To point out that the elevation of “to the dust you shall return” is also the complete refinement from the physical, which is accomplished through the bittul of the body (see Discourses of 5679, p. 515).]

“Direct Path” to Revelation of Moshiach—Torah

In today’s chapter of Pirkei Avos [which was read on the Shabbos when the sicha was spoken], the Mishnah asks “what is the ‘straight way’ (“Derech Hayeshara”) that a man should go?  Rebbi says: That which is Tiferes to his Maker and Tiferes to very person.” [Tiferes, as explained above, unites opposites and is often translated as “beauty” or “splendor”]  The Mishnah uses the word “Adam”, which explained above is the term which implies the perfection of everything.  And it gives the answer in the name of “Rebbi” rather than using his name—Rebbi Yehuda Hanosi.  About Rebbi they said about him (in his time) “if Moshiach is from those who are living now, certainly it is Rabbeinu Hakadosh, who suffers illnesses and is a complete Chosid.”  Even though he was a “complete Chosid”—implying that he finished the avodah—nonetheless, he endured the sufferings of golus, like Moshiach (whom the gemara states is the “metzora of the House of Rebbi”).

It is written in Likkutei Torah (Sukkos 81a): “Adam reflects the perfection of everything, one whose actions are proper and he has rectified all matters that pertain to him…only the waste on the ends of his garments isn’t refined…due the state of golus”—like Rebbi.  And in our generation—the last generation of golus, the heels of Moshiach (“ikvesa d’Meshicha”), which has already finished and completed the matters of avodah that needed to be done during the time of golus—we can say that all of the Jewish people are on this level.  [Read these lines again: the Rebbe is saying that every Jew in our generation is on the level of one who has completely rectified himself spiritually(!), like Rebbi Yehuda Hanosi, and the continuing suffering is only due to the fact of golus—the concealment of G-dliness and the Divine intent in the exile, as explained above.]

The question “what is the direct path” for one who has finished all the avodah (an “Adam”, the collectivity of the Jewish people) to bring about the revelation and coming of Moshiach?  [Footnote 74: Beginning with the revelation and coming of the Moshiach in each and every Jew…since he has a spark of the soul of Moshiach (Me’or Eynayim, Pinchas).] The answer: “That which is Tiferes”—this is Torah…which can unify opposing directions and negate the inyan of Golus.  Negating Golus is itself Geulah.  Torah is the “direct path” to the revelation and coming of the Moshiach.

This concept of unification of opposites is exemplified in Moshiach, who himself is both a king and a teacher (Melech and Rav), which represent the concepts of the transcendent and imminent (makif and pnimiyus).  The connection to the aspect of Melech (king) is through bittul and kabbalos ‘ol (accepting a yoke without questions), whereas the aspect of Rav is fulfilled through the process of learning and internalization of what Moshiach teaches (pnimiyus haTorah).  This draws down the lofty lights into the vessels [of our thought and speech] in an internalized way.  These opposites—unquestioning obedience and internalized understanding—are together Tiferes, the “direct way” to bring about the revelation of Moshiach.

What has been explained above also is reflected in the sequence of the months of the year.  The quality of the month of Iyar is the avodah from below to above.  Nissan is miracles from Above to below—thus Nissan is Chodesh Hageulah for all matters of limitation and boundary.  Nissan is lofty revelations from Above (“oirois elyonim”), followed by Iyar, which is drawing them down into vessels and internalizing them (“keilim”) in a way of below to Above.  [This is to say that being redeemed from limitations is not the end of the story; the golus continues as we labor to draw these revelations into vessels and internalize them.  We are in a state of Geulah, yet we still experience golus.]  Drawing down these revelations of Geulah via the avodah of the person nullifies the possibility of the concept of golus because the Geulah comes.

(Since the unification of opposites is the sefira of Tiferes, the unification of these two directions of unification is Tiferes sh’b’Tiferes, the sefira which is counted on Beis Iyar, the birthday of the Rebbe Maharash.)

Tiferes is Torah; Malchus is Moshiach

The counting of the Omer culminates with Malchus sh’b’Malchus, which contains within it all the different aspects of avodahMalchus (connected to Geulah) is the idea of Melech HaMoshiach (as a King)—the strength and might of the subject of the Geulah.  The might of the king is expressed by our sages that “the King said—uproot the mountain” (B.B. 3b, end).  [Footnote 97: The mountain is not nullified out of existence, rather it remains an existence but is moved to a new place—this is transforming darkness to light.]  The opposition’s firmness is uprooted (to another place) via the King.

The truth of the matter is that all the king’s subjects receive their life-force from the king, so, really, it is impossible for there to be opposition to the king.  So, too, the world—which is dependent upon Malchus (Geulah), as our sages said “the world was only created for Moshiach” (Sanhedrin 98b).  The apparent resistance of the world (golus) is only external, and is nullified by revealing its true purpose—Malchus.

Proceeding through the sefiros we encounter 7 forms of MalchusMalchus sh’b’Chesed, Malchus sh’b’Gevurah, etc.  Rebbi says: the direct path to the revelation and coming of the Moshiach is Tiferes.  This is the greatness of Malchus d’Tiferes, for through this level we draw down and reveal all the levels of Malchus into all the worlds: Netzach (victory over obstacles), Hod (the beauty of the King), Yesod (firm establishment of his Kingship), Malchus sh’b’Malchus—the revelation of Malchus (of Ein Sof before the tzimtzum).

Bring Moshiach Faster: Learn Moshiach & Geulah

Moshiach is coming at any moment; but, since he still has not come, then what is demanded of each and every one is the last effort (the ends of his garments [thought, speech and action]) to bring Moshiach.  This must be via actions that are not by Malchus sh’b’Malchus (Melech HaMoshiach himself), but via Malchus sh’b’Tiferes—the subject of Moshiach (Malchus) as it is in Torah (Tiferes).  This brings Moshiach in an internal manner.  [In other words, Moshiach will not “bring himself”; he has to be “brought” through our effort to finish the last remaining avodah by learning about Moshiach in Torah.  As the Rebbe writes in HaYom Yom for 9 Adar II—about the need to learn from (and not only gaze upon) the Rebbe: “The intense longing to be bound closely (to a Rebbe) can be satisfied only by learning ma’amarim of Chassidus which the Rebbe delivers as oral discourses and writes down; simply seeing him (lit. “beholding his face”) is not enough.”]

This means learning the Torah on the subjects of Melech HaMoshiach and the matters of the Geulah—in the prophets, tractates Sanhedrin and Sotah (at the end), Midrashim, and—especially—pnimiyus haTorah, beginning with the Zohar and particularly Chassidus, and particularly the Torah (maamarim and Likkutei Sichos) of the Leader of our Generation.  These are a sampling and foretaste and preparation for learning the Torah of Moshiach—the “new Torah” [“that will come forth from me”–Yeshaya 51:4, Vayikra Rabba 13:3].

Adding in the learning of the subject of Moshiach and Geulah is the “Direct Path” to bring about the revelation and coming of the Moshiach and Geulah in tangible reality.  Everyone should add in learning Torah, especially in the subject of Moshiach and Geulah.  How much better if the learning is in groups of 10, which increases the yearning and anticipation for the coming of Moshiach.  Additionally, fulfillment of Mitzvos b’hiddur, especially the mitzvah of Tzedaka—which (as our sages say) brings closer the Geulah.  This intent itself [“Tzedaka brings closer the Geulah”] is part of learning the subject of Moshiach and Geulah.

May it be Hashem’s will that a decision to fulfill what was mentioned above will immediately bring the ultimate intent—the revelation and coming of Moshiach in tangible reality, immediately.  That this Shabbos will be the “Torah of the metzora on the day of his purification”, that before we read it there will be birth and revelation of our righteous Moshiach.  We should point a finger and hear “Behold this, Melech HaMoshiach comes and behold this, my father-in-law the Leader of the Generation comes (since “awaken and sing those who dwell in the dust”, and “Tzaddikim arise immediately”) and all of our Rebbes and Leaders, and all the Tzaddikim and Leaders of the Jewish people, and Moshe and Aharon with them.  And together with all bnei Yisroel gathered from all places come “with clouds of Heaven” to our holy land, to Yerushalayim the Holy city, to the Beis Hamikdosh, to the Holy of Holies.  For in the Time to Come not only Aharon, but every Jew will be on the level of Kohen Gadol (“a kingdom of priests”—Kohen Gadol, see Baal HaTurim on Yisro 19:6) not only on Yom Kippur but “any time he wants to enter” (Vayikra Rabba 21:6, Rada”l).

The main thing is that it should be done in tangible reality, here below, so we can give thanks and make a blessing on the birth and revelation of the Moshiach: “who has given us life, and established us, and brought us to arrive at this time.” [Footnote 135: higiyanu from the word negia (touching), that one can not only point it out, but also feel it.]

Points of the Sicha:

  •          Every end-time (“ketz”) for the exile has passed, including the “ketz hayemin” which is not only the end of exile, but it is the starting point of holiness and redemption.
  •          The disease Tzora’as affects one who has completely refined himself spiritually, only the remains of evil cling to the “ends of his garments” and these are the cause of his suffering.  Thus Moshiach is called a Metzora because he is completely refined yet continues to exist in exile.  In our generation, every Jew is on this level.
  •          The cause of Tzora’as is the absence of the light of Chochma, which is self-nullification (bittul).  Learning Torah brings bittul and thus rectifies the illness of exile, bringing Geulah.  This bittul of Torah is the way we bring in the “Alef” into “gola” (exile) to make it Geulah.
  •          The “Direct Path” to bringing the revelation and coming of Moshiach is by an increase in learning Torah in general, specifically Chassidus, and specifically the subjects of Moshiach and Geulah, especially as found in the teachings of the Rebbe (his maamarim and Likkutei Sichos).

2 thoughts on “Tazria-Metzora 5751: Spiritually Complete But Still Suffering Exile

  1. Pingback: Miketz (Chanukah) 5752: Oil and the Annointed One | Dvar Malchus in English

  2. Pingback: Devarim 5751: Aquiring the Geulah in the Closed Chest – Dvar Malchus in English

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