20 Menachem Av: How to Add the “Alef”

The Rebbe mentions numerous times in these talks that everything that is necessary for the Geulah is already here, we simply need to add the letter “alef” to the word gola (which means exile), thereby transforming it to Geulah.  But what exactly does it mean to add an “alef” to the exile that we are in?

There are many levels to answering this question, the most basic of which is that it means revealing Hashem (the ruler of the world, “alufo shel olam“) in the world through Torah and Mitzvos.  Additionally, it means recognizing Hashem’s Divine Providence that is behind everything, even those things which appear to us as the opposite of good.

We find an even deeper and more comprehensive explanation in the Chassidic Discourse that was edited by the Rebbe and published in 1991 in honor of the Hillula (anniversary of the passing) of the Rebbe’s father, Levi Yitzchak Schneersohn.

The discourse discusses the source for the statement of our sages that a Jew must make 100 blessings every day.  The sages find scriptural support for this in a verse from parshas Ekev: “Now, Yisroel, what (“mah”) does Hashem your G-d want from you” (Devarim 10:12).  The sages say “don’t read mah (“what”) rather me’ah (“one hundred’)”.  This familiar technique of the sages doesn’t change the original meaning, of course, but adds another level.  In this case, they are adding the letter “alef” to the “mah” (which means “what”) and the result is the one hundred blessings (“me’ah”) that a Jew must say.

In chapter 3 of the discourse, the Rebbe explains the deeper significance of inserting an “alef”, which is surely applicable as well to the Rebbe’s instruction to add an “alef” to exile to transform gola into Geulah.  To briefly summarize the Rebbe’s words:

“Mah symbolizes Malchus, which is the level where G-dly revelation can be internalized (in Chassidic terminology, the level of memaleh kol almin and the soul levels of Nefesh, Ruach, Neshoma).  In the  avodah of a Yid, this is the avodah of “you shall love Hashem your G-d with all of your heart” (b’chol levovecha) which derives from the external dimension of the soul’s intellect (chitzoniyus ha’seichel).  As implied by the term “all of your heart” it generates a feeling of love in the emotional attributes of the heart’s emotional attributes, but only there.

“Me’ah” is the level of Arich, a level that transcends us and can only be revealed in a transcendent, encompassing manner (sovev kol almin and the transcendent soul level of Chaya).  In our avodah this is the love “with all of your soul” (b’chol nafshecha) which derives from the internal dimension of the soul’s intellect (pnimiyus ha’seichel).  This love is felt in the intellect, and then automatically spreads out to affect all the soul’s powers and limbs.

How do we go from one level to the next, from “with all of your heart” (limited to the heart) to “with all of your soul” (which spreads to all the powers of the soul)?  It is through the avoda of “all of your might” (b’chol me’odecha), which reaches the “alef“, the supernal level of Atik which completely transcends the world (higher than both memaleh kol almin and sovev kol almin, the soul level of Yechida).  In avodah this is mesirus nefesh, to give one’s soul (either literally, or, in the way applicable in our generation: giving away one’s personal desires, mesirus haratzon, in order to fulfill the will of Hashem).  Because it transcends the other two levels, it is able to unite them and to draw down (the meaning of brocha, a blessing) the level of “me’ah” into the level of “mah“, that they should both be revealed in the person.

Clearly, this is understandable as regards the “alef” which we must insert into gola in order to make Geulah: to awaken the level of Yechida, through serving Hashem “with all of your might”, having true mesirus nefesh to fulfill Hashem’s will, especially as it is revealed through “your servants, the prophets” and most especially the Novi of our generation.  This puts in the Alef and results in Geulah!  Let’s not be lazy about this, because we have to bring Moshiach now!

Ekev 5751: To Awaken Hashem to Bring the Geulah

This Shabbos blesses the upcoming month of Elul.  Elul is an acronym (rashei teivos) for “Ani leDodi v’Dodi Li“, which means “I am for my beloved, and my beloved is for me”.  First comes “I am for my beloved”, the effort that comes from below (from us towards Hashem), using our own powers (avodah b’koach atzmo).

This is related to the fundamental concept of creation: Hashem wants to give us the opportunity to earn our reward, to avoid the embarrassment of receiving “free bread” (nahma d’kisufa).  This requires not only that we do what we are supposed to do, but that we do it in a way of yegia, exertion, using our own powers.  And more than that, to go beyond what we are accustomed to do and serve Hashem with exceptional effort.  Through this (the effort of “Ani leDodi“) we cause the response: “v’Dodi li“, an awakening from Above and a drawing down from Above to below.

Not only is this a fundamental aspect of our task in life, it also applies even when a Yid has arrived at the end of his avodah (represented by Elul, the last of the months of the year).  Because in Elul we have both the “below to Above” and the resulting “Above to below”, and it is specifically when the Jew does the avodah from his own powers that it draws down from Above in a way that it is internalized (b’pnimiyus).  This is also hinted at in the final letter of the alef-beis, the letter Tav, which has a numerical value of 400 which alludes to the “400 shekel kesef” with which Avraham Avinu purchased the cave of Machpela to bury his wife Sara.  These 400 shekel represent, according to Chassidus, a powerful longing (“kesef”, silver, related to “kisufim”, longing) for Divine revelation.

Although the emphasis here is on our avodah from below, which is the avodah of the body, we really must have as well the avodah from Above which is the avodah of the neshoma.  The difference between them is that the avodah from below takes place in a measured way, an orderly progression from level to level.  In fact, even the revelation of the neshoma from Above must be according to the limitations of the body.  We cannot “overload the circuit” in our intense desire to reveal the neshoma, but rather the revelation of the neshoma occurs in accordance with the body’s ability to contain it.

Having said all that, the Rebbe proceeds to state that all which we have needed to do has been done.

The only thing which remains is – that the Holy One, blessed be He, will take out Bnei Yisroel from the golus and bring them to the Holy Land… and therefore Yidden request and shout again and again – and now even more powerfully than before – “Ad Mosai”?!  How much longer?!

The ultimate goal being the true and complete Geulah (from Above to below) which will arrive at a unification of both aspects, that the lowest thing – golus – will become Geulah – “gola” with the addition of an “alef”.  Even though the ultimate level comes from Above, and is dependent on Hashem, nonetheless the Geulah is in our hands:

A Yid has the power to awaken himself, and to awaken other Yidden, and mainly to awaken, so to speak, the Holy One, blessed be He….  A Yid receives (in this place [770] and in this time [the Rebbe’s farbrengen]) the greatest potential, and thus he has both the greatest merit and obligation to request and to shout to the Almighty: Ad Mosai”?!  How much longer?!…Since we have already finished all the matters of “our deeds and our work”, and consequently we are shouting and demanding  “Ad Mosai”.  Immediately the question is asked: since all the matters have already been accomplished – how could it be that Moshiach still didn’t come?!…

The Rebbe proceeds to answer his own question by saying that since Moshiach still hasn’t come, then there might be one more thing that needs to be done, possibly in the area of spreading Chassidus, since Moshiach told the Baal Shem Tov that he will come when the wellsprings of the Baal Shem Tov spread forth.  Perhaps there is one more thing left to do, to reach those who are blind.  And this has been accomplished by the publication of the Tanya in Braille.  So since we did the last thing, Moshiach must come immediately.

Here we see clearly the Rebbe’s approach: everything has been done.  But if Moshiach still hasn’t been revealed, we have to try one more thing because maybe this will arouse Hashem to bring the Geulah.  And surely this final thing will bring Moshiach, for if not– Ad Mosai”?!  How much longer?!


Va’Eschanon 5751: To See That Moshiach Was Born on Tisha B’Av

Shabbos Parshas Va’Eschanon is also “Shabbos Nachamu”, the first of the “seven [Sabbaths] of comforting”, named after the haftorah which begins with the words “Nachamu Nachamu ami” (Be comforted, be comforted, My people).

The double expression of “Nachamu” (double-comforting following the destruction of the Beis Hamikdosh (twice) on Tisha B’Av) implies a true, unlimited comforting after the destruction of Tisha B’Av.  (The Rebbe points out that: “Since the comforting is (not only words of comfort and the like, but rather) through the rebuilding of the Beis Hamikdash.” — (one of the jobs of Moshiach.))

The first Beis Hamikdosh was primarily due to revelations from Above to below; the second was primarily an effort from below to Above.  The third Beis Hamikdosh, which is eternal, (because it) will be a union of those two qualities.  In other words (explained in footnote 52 in the original), the revelation of G-dliness that occurred in the first Beis Hamikdosh was so powerful that it nullified the worldly reality of those in this world; the second Beis Hamikdosh emphasized the integration of G-dly revelation into the worldly reality of those in this world.  These will be unified in the third.

This primary difference between these two directions is that the integration of G-dly revelation into the worldly reality of those in this world (in a way which does not “shatter” their reality) takes a long time.  Similar to the process of conquering and dividing Eretz Yisroel under Yehoshua, which took 14 years.

This is similar to the process of going from Tisha B’Av to the 15th of Av, of which our sages say “there were never Yomim Tovim for Yisroel like the 15th of Av….”  What happened to cause the 15th of Av to receive such a description?  The first, and main, event to happen on the 15th of Av is that those who were decreed to die in the desert ceased dying on that day.  To explain:

Those who accepted the testimony of the meraglim about the land of Israel and didn’t want to enter were condemned to die in the desert on that same day, Tisha B’Av, during the next 38 years.  Each year, on Tisha B’Av, those who reached 60 years old would dig graves, lie down, and would not wake up in the morning.  In the final year, the last group followed the same procedure only they were surprised to wake up the next morning!  They surmised that they had made a mistake in calculating the day of the month, so the next night they again lay down to die in their graves.  But the next morning they also awoke!  Thinking that they had erred in calculating the date, they did this again the next night, continuing until the night of the 15th when the full moon indicated that they had not erred in the date but, rather, the decree had been annulled by Hashem!

In other words: the decree had been annulled on Tisha B’Av itself, but it took until the 15th of Av for them to realize this, to internalize it and integrate it.  Similarly, the “birth of Moshiach” on Tisha B’Av is not recognized immediately, but takes a long time to be realized, internalized, and integrated.  The Rebbe expresses it that “when the moon is full it is known with certainty that Moshiach was already born on Tisha B’Av (similar to what we find regarding the establishment of the 15th of Av as a Yom Tov, even though the decree had been nullified on Tisha B’Av)”.  The moon hints at the Jewish people, and the full moon means to receive the light of the sun [Moshe Rabbeinu is likened to the sun] in a complete and perfect manner.

Saying that Moshiach is “born” on Tisha B’Av means a dimension of his revelation (not his physical birth, see the Maharal* and Abarbanel).  But even after Moshiach himself becomes spiritually “large”, the exile is drawn out in so that it will be in a complete and perfect manner also as regards its integration by those in this world.

So we understand from the Rebbe’s words that as far as the revelations from Above are concerned, Moshiach is here and nothing is lacking.  But nonetheless the state of golus continues because the process of our accepting and integrating this new reality is a time-consuming process (which, of course, is up to us!).

Thus, the instruction of the Rebbe here is to emphasize again the need to learn matters of Geulah, especially in Pnimiyus Hatorah, in a way of “laboring” in Torah, “and may it be Hashem’s will that through contemplating these matters we should merit immediately to see the true and complete Geulah–Immediately, mamash”!

* Footnote 93 refers to Netzach Yisroel by the Maharal of Prague, page 132 which speaks of the birth of Moshiach.  Towards the end of that page, the Maharal writes how Moshiach’s name is “Menachem”, the comforter, because just as the “comforter” must be distant and removed from the mourning of the one he is comforting, similarly Moshiach (Menachem) is distant and removed from the rest of the people due to his lofty and elevated spiritual level.

Parshas Vaeschanan, Shabbos Nachamu, 5751

1. The Haftoros of the seven Shabbasos of Consolation were instituted to express that purpose. Thus, they contrast with the Haftoros read throughout the year which are directly related to the content of the Torah readings with which they are associated. Nevertheless, even on these Shabbasos, there is a connection to the weekly Torah reading. For as the Shaloh explains, the events of the calendar year share a connection to the Torah portions which are read at that time.

This week’s Haftorah begins Nachamu, Nachamu (“Take comfort, take comfort”) and reflects a twofold comforting for a twofold loss (the destruction of the First and Second Batei HaMikdash). This will come through the construction of the Third Beis HaMikdash in the Era of the Redemption. Herein lies the connection to this week’s Torah reading which begins with Moshe’s prayer to enter Eretz Yisrael. Had Moshe been granted permission to lead the Jews intoEretz Yisrael and build the Beis HaMikdash, the Era of the Redemption would have begun at that time.

There is, however, a difficulty. Outwardly, the emphasis in Parshas Vaeschananis that Moshe’s prayer was not fulfilled and hence there was the possibility for exile and destruction.1 If so, the question arises: What is the connection between this Torah reading and the Haftorah’s promise of comfort for the Jewish people.

This question can be resolved on the basis of the concept that the consolation offered by Shabbos Nachamu is twofold, and the concept of repetition is connected with the redemption. Thus the Midrash comments “There are five letters that are repeated (i.e., they have two forms, one used when they appear at the beginning or in the middle of a word and one used at the end of a word), each of them is associated with the redemption.” Indeed, the concept of repetition is associated with the phrase kiflayim l’toshiah, “a twofold salvation,” which can be taken as an allusion to the ultimate salvation, the Future Redemption.

The connection between repetition and the redemption is that repetition does not imply simply a single repetition of a concept but a manifold and even unlimited repetition. Thus when commenting on the repetition of a command in the Torah, e.g., נתון תתן, “you shall surely give him,” our Sages frequently state that the repetition does not mean that the command must be fulfilled merely twice, but rather even “one hundred times.” Furthermore, one hundred is also not a limit, but rather an allusion to an unlimited amount.2 Herein lies the connection to the redemption, for in the Era of the Redemption, the infinite dimensions of G‑dliness will be revealed.3

In particular, the repetition of the promise Nachamu, Nachamu has a uniquely positive connotation. To explain: In regard to G‑d’s command to Avraham, Lech Lecha, Rashi explains that the repetition of the phrase indicates that the journey will be “for your benefit and for your good.” Furthermore, in regard to his personal future, it represented a redemption from Ur Kasdim. Similarly, we find a repetitive phrase pakod pakoditi (Shmos 3:16) being communicated to the Jews by Moshe as a sign that they would be redeemed from the Egyptian exile. And in the works of the prophets (Zechariah 6:12), the repetitive phraseTzemach… yitzmach is used to foretell the Future Redemption.

In these instances, however, the repeated phrase, though sharing the same root, is not exactly the same. In contrast, the phrase Nachamu, Nachamu is an exact repetition. This is a true expression of the connection between repetition and infinity. When there is a difference between the repeated words, the intent is obviously to convey another message in addition to the concept of repetition, and to express that concept, the words are slightly different. In contrast, when as in the instance at hand, the repetition is exact, it is clear that the only purpose is to express the infinite dimension associated with redemption.

The uniqueness of the message of comfort conveyed by the prophecyNachamu, Nachamu is emphasized by the Rabbis who interpret the repetition as referring to a comfort for the First Beis HaMikdash and a comfort for the Second Beis HaMikdash. Each one of these structures possessed an advantage lacking in the other. Thus the Third Beis HaMikdash will represent a complete comfort for their loss. Hence, it will be a threefold structure, possessing its own unique qualities and the positive qualities of each of the two previous Batei HaMikdash.

To explain: The First Beis HaMikdash was characterized by a unique dimension of revelation from Above, a higher degree of G‑dliness than was manifest in the Second Beis HaMikdash. This is reflected in the fact that five elements of holiness including the Ark were present in the First Beis HaMikdash and were not present in the Second.

On the other hand, the Second Beis HaMikdash possessed an advantage over the First. It was larger and endured for a longer time; i.e., in time and space, the qualities which characterize our material world, it surpassed the First Beis HaMikdash. The Third Beis HaMikdash will possess both these advantages, plus a unique dimension reflected in the fusion of these two.

Based on the above, we can explain the connection between the Haftorah, “Nachamu, Nachamu” and Parshas Vaeschanan. One of the fundamental aspects of Parshas Vaeschanan is the repetition of the Ten Commandments. Although the Ten Commandments are mentioned in Parshas Yisro, they are repeated together with all their details in Parshas Vaeschanan.

The nature of the context in which the Ten Commandments is mentioned inParshas Vaeschanan differs, however, from that of Parshas Yisro. In Parshas Yisro, the Jews were on the level of tzaddikim, and thus that narrative reflects the dimension of revelation from Above. In contrast, the narrative in Parshas Vaeschanan is part of Moshe’s rebuke of the Jewish people and thus it is associated with teshuvah and the service of elevating the worldly plane.4

Beyond this contrast, however, the very fact that the Ten Commandments are repeated points to, as do all repetitions as mentioned previously, the concept of infinity. And this represents an allusion to the infinite aspect of the Torah that will be revealed in the Era of the Redemption, “the new [dimensions of the] Torah which will emerge from Me.”

More particularly, the two thrusts — revelation from Above, the service of thetzaddikim and elevation of the worldly plane, the service of the baalei teshuvah— will be included in this revelation. For “the [dimension of the] Torah will emerge” — i.e., it will go out from the realm of G‑dliness and enter the realm of human understanding and thus relate to the elevation of the worldly plane. Simultaneously, it will come “from Me,” i.e., it will be a revelation from Above. Furthermore, these two thrusts will be fused together as a single movement.

Based on the above, we can also appreciate another connection to this week’s Torah reading, G‑d’s reply to Moshe that it would be Yehoshua who would lead the conquest of Eretz Yisrael. Although had Moshe led the people into the land, their entry would have been on a higher level, there was also an advantage to them being led by Yehoshua, for this represented an elevation of the earthly plane. This is reflected in the fact that the conquest of Eretz Yisrael was prolonged, taking seven years to conquer the land and seven years to divide it.5Since elevating the material plane within the context of its own perspective requires sustained effort, this amount of time was necessary.

As mentioned, had the entry to Eretz Yisrael been led by Moshe, there never would have been an exile. The potential for exile, however, and even the exile itself, must also be seen within a positive light. It is the exile which allows for the elevation of the world at large within its own context. In every land to which the Jewish people have been dispersed, they have elevated the material substance of the land, refining the sparks of G‑dliness enclothed therein.6 Thus through this service, the world itself has become elevated and prepared for the ultimate redemption.

Thus the entry into Eretz Yisrael described in Parshas Vaeschanan must be seen within a context of a greater scope. Since it prepares the world for the Future Redemption, it must be viewed as containing the potential for the ultimate fulfillment to be reached in that era.

* * *

2. Our Sages stated, “Whoever labors in preparation (i.e., not only prepares, but labors in preparation) on Friday, will eat on Shabbos.” This applies in a spiritual sense as well and thus there is a connection between the present Shabbos and Friday which was the Fifteenth of Av.

The uniqueness of the Fifteenth of Av is reflected in that it is a day when the moon is full. This reflects a fullness and completeness within the Jewish people who “fix their calendar according to the moon, resemble the moon, and ultimately will be renewed as [the moon] is renewed.”7

Each month, the fullness of the moon reflects a state of completion in the fundamental service connected with that month. In regard to the present month, its very name Menachem Av, points to a connection with Moshiach, who will be named Menachem, “the comforter.” Similarly, our Sages describe Tishah B’Av as the day on which Moshiach was born, i.e., the day on which his spiritual source is endowed with additional power.8 Thus the Fifteenth of Av is a time when the potential for redemption reaches a state of completeness.

The connection to the redemption is also reflected by the fact that the Fifteenth of Av falls on Friday. Friday is the day of man’s creation. Our Sages explain that man was created on this day, the final day of creation “so that he would find everything prepared for the feast.” This is an allusion to the ultimate feast, the feast of the Leviathan and the Wild Ox, which we will enjoy in the Era of the Redemption.

Similarly, it was on the day of his creation that Adam called to all the created beings “Come let us bow and prostate ourselves before G‑d,” i.e., he brought the entire world to an acceptance of G‑d’s Kingship. And it is in the Era of the Redemption that G‑d’s Kingship will be revealed in a complete and manifest manner.

Our Sages associated the Fifteenth of Av with an increase in Torah study. “From the Fifteenth of Av onward, whoever adds the nights to the days in Torah study will have years added to his life.” Since “all Jews can be assumed to conduct themselves in a kosher manner,” we can presume that they have fixed times for Torah study and therefore, the increase desired is not merely limited in nature, but rather an increase which goes beyond the person’s ordinary limits. And it is through tapping the infinite potential in a Jew’s soul, each individual according to his nature,9 that we can reveal G‑d’s infinity. This will be reflected in the revelation of “the new [dimensions of the] Torah which will emerge from Me” in the Era of the Redemption, for this will be an infinite dimension of the Torah. Similarly, it is connected with a true “increase in life,” the eternal life of the second period of the Era of the Redemption.

3. The above concepts are ever more relevant in the present year, a year when “I will show you wonders.” And we are constantly seeing newer and ever-increasing wonders. For example, during these very days, a Convention ofShluchim is being held in Russia with sessions being held in Lubavitch (where prayers will be said at the gravesites of the Rebbeim), in Alma Atta (where prayers will be said at the gravesite of my father on his yahrzeit, the 20th of Av), and in the capital of that country.

The purpose of this convention is to take on new resolutions to spread Torah and Yiddishkeit both in Russia and throughout the entire world. This is truly wondrous in nature. The country that fought so strongly against the activities of the Previous Rebbe is now paying host to and honoring his shluchim.

These wonders arouse our thirst for the ultimate wonder, the coming of Moshiach, when “as in the days of your exodus from Egypt, I will show you wonders.”

This is particularly true as this year is drawing to its close. Nissan, “the month of redemption,” has already passed, and we are in the midst of Av, the fifth10month when counting from Nissan, which is connected with the redemption. Surely, this is a most appropriate time for the coming of the redemption.

Our conduct can hasten the coming of the redemption. Since we are “on the threshold of the redemption,” it is possible to appreciate a foretaste of the unlimited approach to the Torah and its mitzvos which will characterize the Era of the Redemption. And tasting such a foretaste of the Redemption will bring it closer.

The above implies making an increase in our study of the Torah as mentioned previously in connection with the Fifteenth of Av. This increase should be made both in the realm of Nigleh, the revealed dimension of Torah law, and Pnimiyus HaTorah, Torah’s mystic realm. (In the latter realm is also included the study of Ein Yaakov, the Aggados from the Talmud, for “most of the secrets of the Torah are hidden within it.”) For as the AriZal emphasizes, it is a mitzvah to reveal the secrets of Pnimiyus HaTorah in the present age. This is particularly true since these teachings have been explained and made more accessible through the approach of Chassidus.

There should be a special emphasis on the study of those subjects associated with the Redemption, in particular a study of the portion of the Rambam’s Mishneh Torah, Hilchos Melachim which describes the Redemption. Similarly, emphasis should be placed — as in the period of the Three Weeks — on the study of Hilchos Beis HaBechirah, the laws of the Construction of the Beis HaMikdash.

Also, attention should be paid to the explanation of these subjects in Pnimiyus HaTorah. In general, the study of Pnimiyus HaTorah is associated with the Redemption and thus Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai was told, “With this text of yours, Israel will be redeemed from exile with mercy.” In particular, however, the function of this study as a catalyst for the redemption is more powerful when the subject studied concerns that matter itself. To further enhance the influence of this study, it is desirable that it be conducted in groups of ten, for “when ten people sit and occupy themselves in Torah study, the Divine Presence is manifest among them.”

* * *

4. This week we study the third chapter of Pirkei Avos. Similarly, the opening teaching of the chapter focuses on the number three, stating, “Reflect upon three things and you will not come close to sin.” Herein lies a connection to the Redemption for it is in the Era of the Redemption that the Third Beis HaMikdash will be revealed. Furthermore, as explained above, the Third Beis HaMikdash will be threefold in nature, expressing a unique quality of its own and combining the positive qualities of the two previous Batei HaMikdash.

We are told to “reflect upon three things,” alluding to the idea that our concern with the Third Beis HaMikdash and the Redemption associated with it should not be casual, but rather involve sustained concentration. And this should awaken an yearning and a desire to await Moshiach’s coming. How much more so is this true at present, when we are “at the threshold of the redemption.”

And in this way, “reflecting upon three things” will add a dimension of perfection to the three services upon which “the world stands, Torah, Divine service, and deeds of kindness.” For this will allow them to be carried out in an unlimited manner as will be in the Era of the Redemption.

Similarly, there is also a connection with the increase in Torah study mentioned above, for the Torah is described as “a threefold light.” And this increase will prepare us to appreciate “the new [dimensions of the] Torah which will emerge from Me” in the Era of the Redemption. Then, together with the entire Jewish people, with great happiness and celebration, we will proceed to Eretz Yisrael,to Jerusalem, and to the Beis HaMikdash.

1. Indeed, this Torah reading contains a passage, ki solead bonim, which directly foretells the exile.
2. One hundred is mentioned in this context, because one hundred represents the perfection in numbers. Ten is a complete set and one hundred is ten times ten. In recognition of this dimension of fullness, our Sages required us to recite one hundred blessings every day.
3. This will be reflected in the concept that the Third Beis HaMikdash will be an eternal structure, unlike the previous two which were destroyed after the passage of a certain amount of time.
4. The difference between these two narratives thus parallels the difference between the first set of Tablets received by Moshe and the second set. The first set reflected the service of tzaddikim,while the second set expressed the uniqueness of baalei teshuvah.
5. Furthermore, the conquest continued for an even longer period as evidenced by the fact that, as reflected in the opening passages of the Book ofShoftim, there were portions of Eretz Yisrael which remained unconquered.

6. This is alluded to in our Sages’ statement, “The Holy One, blessed be He, exiled Israel among the nations for the sole purpose that converts would be added to them.” This does not only refer to converts in a literal sense, but also to the sparks of G‑dliness whose inner G‑dly nature could not be revealed in exile.

This service of revealing the G‑dliness in the material substance of the word is reflected in the Tzemach Tzedek’s statement, “Make this place Eretz Yisrael,” i.e., elevate every place in the world so that G‑dliness is revealed within it as in Eretz Yisrael.
7. That renewal will take place in the ultimate redemption which will be led by Mashiach. Herein, there is a further connection to the moon for Mashiachwill be a descendant of King David who represented the personification of theSefirah of Malchus for which the moon is used as an analogy.
8. See the essay, “The Birthday ofMashiach.”
9. This is seen in the Chassidicinterpretation of the phrase בכל מאדך which is understood to refer to an infinite commitment to G‑dliness which takes a person beyond his individual self. Nevertheless, meodechoh is broken into two words meod sheloch,your meod. I.e., we are speaking about a person going beyond his own individual limits, the transcendence required of each individual is determined by his own nature and service which is considered transcendent for one person may be considered limited for another. Nevertheless, even such transcendence is capable of calling forth G‑d’s ultimate transcendence.

10. We find the phrase, “and the fifth part will be Pharaoh’s,” and in this context, a positive concept of Pharaoh, referring to “the source of the revelation of all lights.”

Translation: Sichos In English

Video Shiur: V’Eschanon, 5751

‘Nachamu Nachamu’

 In the Sicha of Parshas V’Eschanon, the Rebbe explains the significance of the haftorah ‘Nachamu Nachamu’ ● Learn this week’s Sicha with Weekly Shiur of the “Dvar Malchus” Sicha in English, presented by Rabbi Menachem Mendel Lipskier, Mashpia of Mesivta of Melbourne, Australia ● Watch Video


Shabbos Nachamu, 5751: Why Golus is So Long

The name of this first Shabbos after the fast of Tisha b’Av is called “Shabbos Nachamu”, named after the haftora in which we read the words “Nachamu, nachamu ami” (“nachmu” meaning “be comforted”).  It is the comforting that follows the  mourning period over the destruction of the first and second Beis Hamikdash.  The true comfort,  says the Rebbe, is the rebuilding of the Third, eternal, Beis Hamikdash.

The reason the haftora says “nachamu” twice is to emphasize that this comforting, meaning the Geulah, is coming in two directions: from Above to below and from below to Above, each of which corresponds to the destruction of one of the Beis HaMikdash.  The first Beis Hamikdash was characterized by great, miraculous revelations from Above, but it was not eternal because these great revelations were not internalized in the world; the second Beis Hamikdash showed the emphasis on the effort from below, and thus it stood longer, but lacking the lofty miracles and G-dly revelation of the first, it, too, was unable to endure.  The third Beis Hamikdash is eternal because it fuses both of these directions into one.  Not only both of them, but a unification of the two into one reality.

An example of this, the Rebbe writes, is the unification of the “new Torah that will come forth from Me” (תורה חדשה מאתי תיצא), the Torah of Moshiach, the highest (unlimited) level of Hashem’s Torah, will be completely integrated with and grasped by human understanding, to the point that the two aspects will be unified.  Unlike today, when our sages say that Hashem says the Torah and when we learn we are repeating after Him, or, conversely “anyone who reads and reviews [Torah], the Holy One reads and reviews after him”, in the future they will be as one.

The Geulah is a revelation of the unlimited, and thus it will occur an in instant.  But that is the revelation from Above.  The other side of the coin, the integration into the world, takes time, just as entering Eretz Yisroel under the leadership of Yehoshua took 14 years to conquer, divide, and settle.  The world must be refined in order to make it into Eretz Yisroel (see the sicha of Parshas Pinchas), and this refinement takes place in golus and thus golus takes a long time.  However,  when the refinement and the golus are finished, and the world integrates the lofty revelations of the Geulah, then the Geulah comes instantly: we enter Eretz Yisroel in its most perfect form, consisting of the land of Ten Nations (for more on this, see Kuntres Between Golus to Geulah) in a complete and instantaneous way, as we see in Parshas Ki Savo that there is no break between “When you will come into the land” and (immediately) “and you will inherit and settle it”, until even the bringing of Bikkurim (first fruits) is immediate, since there will be the fulfillment of the Prophetic promise that “the plowman shall meet the reaper and the treader of the grapes, etc.” (Amos 9:13)

All of this is the idea of the instantaneous revelation of that which is already complete, including the work “from below to above”.  The Rebbe offers an example from the Fifteenth of Av, which was Erev Shabbos in the year the Sicha was said (and also this year, 5778): the Gemara says that there were never such Festivals for the Jewish people as the Fifteenth of Av and Yom Hakippurim.  What happened on the 15th of Av?

It is explained that as a result of the sin of the Meraglim (on Tisha B’Av) and the refusal of the Jewish People to enter the Land of Israel, Hashem decreed that all those between the ages of 20-60 would die in the desert over the course of 40 years.  Each year on Tisha B’Av those who reached the age of 60 would dig graves for themselves, lay down in the graves, and pass away overnight.  In the 40th year the youngest of those who were included in the decree (having reached age 60) did the same.  However, Hashem had nullified the decree, so in the morning they awoke and found themselves alive.Not realizing they had been redeemed, they concluded that they had erred in the date, that it wasn’t yet Tisha B’Av, so the next night they also lay down in their graves, only to wake up the following morning, also.  This repeated itself night after night until the night of the 15th when the moon is full and they realized that they did not make a mistake with the date but rather the decree had been nullified.  Their joy at this realization makes the 15th of Av into a Yom Tov.

The Rebbe asks: We understand that the first year they celebrated on the 15th of Av because only then did they become aware that the decree had been nullified.  But in fact the decree had been nullified six days before on Tisha B’Av, so why do we continue to celebrate every year on the 15th?  The answer is that the joy is due not to the nullification of the decree, but rather to when it became revealed to them, and this revelation occurred on the 15th. (sources)

…the birth of Moshiach is specifically in the moment following the destruction…and not only that, but after he becomes big…the destruction and the golus continue for some time, until even the longest time — as the purpose in this is that there should be the complete perfection of the Geulah both from the side of the “Above” and from the side of “below”, and from both of them together.

The Rebbe points out that our sages say that Moshiach is born on Tisha B’Av, the “nullification of the decree of death” took place on Tisha B’Av, but the Geulah is at that point when Moshiach is revealed to the people, when they themselves grasp what has already happened.  And when they do, there is no need to wait for anything to develop–it is all fully developed.  Thus the day that represents this is the 15th of Av, when the moon is at full revelation (for more on this concept, see the sicha of Parshas Vayishlach, 5752)

From this we understand why the golus continues even after all the revelations from Above have been drawn down: because there must still be “the perfection of the Geulah from the side of ‘below’ and from both [‘Above’ and ‘below’] together”.

If so, what is the way to speed up this process?  What is the “practical directive” from all of this?

The Rebbe says clearly (and not for the first time) that:

There is a special emphasis on adding in the learning of Torah on the subject of the Geulah — both in the revealed aspect of Torah, and especially in the sefer of the Rambam…and also in Pnimiyus Hatorah.  In addition to the fact that in general the study of Pnimiyus Hatorah brings closer the Geulah…there is a special quality in studying those parts of Pnimiyus Hatorah that explain matters of the Geulah.

Through the learning and contemplation of these subjects, we should merit immediately to see the third Geulah and the third Beis Hamikdash in actuality, and really immediately!

Devarim 5751: One More Request for Moshiach

This year, Tisha B’Av falls out on Shabbos.  The fast, together with all other aspects of mourning the destruction of the Beis Hamikdash, are pushed off until the 10th (Sunday).  But the positive aspects of Tisha B’Av remain, which include it being an “auspicious time” (like every fast day) and also the birth of Moshiach.  Therefore, on Shabbos Tisha B’Av we are eating a feast!  Halacha permits one to sit and enjoy a repast as rich as Shlomo Hamelech’s even to the last moment before shkia (sunset) [unlike regular years, when we eat a mourner’s meal before the fast].

This itself is a taste of the Messianic Age, when all the fast days will be transformed to days of rejoicing, and as such our Shabbos meals on Tisha B’Av assume a Moshiach-like dimension of the feast of the Levyoson and Shor Habar (the Leviathan and Wild Bull).  On a deeper level: every year we re-experience the churban, the destruction of the Beis Hamikdash, and the mourning, and then in the afternoon, at Mincha-time, comes the comforting–the birth of Moshiach.  This year we have the birth of Moshiach (who builds the 3rd Beis Hamikdash which will never be destroyed) without the churban!  This hints that b’pnimiyus the destruction of the 1st and 2nd Beis Hamikdash were really only for the sake of the building of the 3rd, eternal Beis Hamikdash.

All of this was in fact present at the time of the churban, but it was concealed.  The inner positive aspects of Tisha B’Av, the birth of Moshiach, does not become revealed until the 15th of Av, which is when the moon is full, the moon being the aspect of Dovid Malka Mashicha. (This also hints at the Jewish people, when they reach full potential to receive the light (as the moon receives and reflects from the sun), reveal that Moshiach was actually born on Tisha B’Av.

The three weeks leading up to Tisha B’Av hint at the “three moichin” (3 aspects of Supernal Intellect) which themselves correspond to the lands of the three nations–Keni, Kenizi, Kadmoni–which were promised to Avraham Avinu (along with the land of 7 nations conquered by Yehoshua).  The Torah forbids us to have anything to do with these lands during the time of until Moshiach comes, but the fact that part of these lands were conquered by other nations (Sichon and Og) and then conquered and settled by the tribes of Gad, Reuven, and Menashe, is itself a hint that these three dimensions of the Supernal Intellect come together with the land of 7 nations, which refers to the seven midos.

Sefer Devarim is Moshe Rabbeinu addressing the Jewish nation before they will enter the land of Israel.  Moshe knew that Hashem had decreed upon him not to enter the land, but still he did not cease to beseech Hashem in prayer asking Him to allow him to enter the land, reaching 515 prayers (the numerical value of “Va’eschanon”, the parsha we read at Mincha).

From here there is also something for all generations to learn from…that without looking at all the prayers and requests that were until now, we need again and again to daven and request from the Eybershter “Ad Mosai”–“until when”.

…and as was said,  immediately mamash, today mamash, since all the matters have been completed, and the Beis Hamikdash stands ready Above, and similarly all the matters–“everything is ready for the feast”, everything is ready as if in a closed chest and they have given the chest and its key to every single Jew.  The only thing that we are waiting for–that a Jew will shout another shout, with another request and demand and another reminder: “Ad Mosai“?!…