This week the sicha examines a simple but deep concept: the distinction between “essential existence” (“etzem metzius“) and the revelation of that existence. This is illustrated by the difference between the birth of a person, the beginning of their essential existence, upon which everything they will do in the future depends, and the actual good deeds that they will do in their life.
Similarly, we find by the moon (this sicha was spoken on the Shabbos following Rosh Chodesh Kislev), that Rosh Chodesh is the “birth” of the new moon. Following its birth, the moon proceeds over the next 15 days to wax greater and greater, increasing the amount of light it shines. The greatest light that reflects from the moon is on the 15th of the month, representing the fulfillment of its ability to shine (a “full moon”). [There is also a special quality of the 2nd half of the month is explained in the sicha of Parshas Vayishlach]. Yet, even the great light of the full moon derives from the initial revelation of its essential existence on Rosh Chodesh.
In the case of a Yid: the first moment of revelation of his essential existence, etzem metziyuso, is the moment of his birth when the neshoma comes into a physical body. All of what he will proceed to do afterwards is found in this initial moment of his coming into existence, and this moment is the main thing — “the entire existence of a person over the course of all the days of his life are contained in the moment when he is born and goes out into the air of the world.”
Everything that proceeds after the birth is simply an expansion and greater revelation of that first moment. The importance of what follows (his “good deeds”) is that these good deeds bring about the revelation to the world of his essential existence as a G-dly neshoma — and this is the fulfillment of his existence.
Nonetheless, the main thing is that first moment when he comes into existence, birth. We see this in the birth of a child, which is accompanied by rejoicing and celebration even before the child has done anything. And more than this, the Rebbe explains:
“the main quality of the Jewish people in their essential existence, “Yisroel and the Holy One, blessed be He, are all one”, is intact even without the performance of Torah and Mitzvos, “pleasing ways and good deeds”. Like the metaphor of a fleshly King who has many sons, that the love he has for his sons is essential love even when they do not possess “pleasing ways and good deeds”. (And on the contrary: regarding the sons who do possess “pleasing ways and good deeds”, and it is logical to love them, the essential love is not so evident).
Of course one loves a son who’s ways are pleasing and deeds are good. But to love a son who lacks pleasing ways and good deeds? In such a case it is clear that the love derives not from the “nachas” of his behavior, but from his essential existence as the son of this father.
This shows also on the importance of the physical body of a Jew, which has no special quality in and of itself, but nonetheless Hashem chose the Jewish body. Thus, a Jew’s body expresses Hashem’s essential connection to a Jew even more than the neshoma — because a neshoma has the unique quality of being a “part of G-dliness” (like a son whose ways are pleasing and deeds are good). By being enclothed in a physical body and doing the work to refine it, the neshoma reveals that it also possess an essential connection to Hashem that is not dependent on its special qualities.
The concept of birth, and of the moon, are directly connected to the Geulah. Just as birth, and the birth of the moon, is a moment which contains the entire essential existence of the person, so, too, the moment of the Geulah is the revelation of etzem haneshoma, the essence of the neshoma, which is higher than any name which we can give it, even higher than the name “Yechida” and “chelek Eloka“. It is like when a person awakens from sleep, even before he has enough awareness to say “Modeh ani“, thanking Hashem for restoring his soul, he already has awoken to his essential existence. This is the moment of Geulah — awakening to our true essential existence.
Not only that, but it is known that every Jew contains within him a spark of Moshiach. The Geulah comes when each one reveals the spark of Moshiach within him — the revelation of the essence of the neshoma “etzem haneshoma mamash“. This is “waking up from sleep”, and this waking up brings about that he will proceed to reveal the essence in actuality, which is the true inyan of the Coming of Moshiach.
So, the question then is: how do we “wake up”?
When the chayus of every single Yid is in the inyan of Moshiach, this brings (automatically) to the state of Yemos Hamoshiach (the Days of Moshiach), that the essence of the Yidden will be revealed in actuality.
This is “breathing the air of Moshiach”, which allows us to feel the “spirit of Melech Hamoshiach” — the essence — which is more fundamental than eating and drinking, and higher than the “light” of Melech Hamoshiach.
The Rebbe concludes the sicha:
…we should have the begining of the true Geulah, via Moshiach Tzidkeinu — “a king will arise from the house of Dovid, etc.”, until “he will rectify the entire world to serve Hashem together…” And as hinted at in the end of the haftorah of the previous week…which finishes with the declaration “Yechi Adoni Hamelech Dovid l’Olam” (“Live my master the King Dovid forever”) — the eternality of the Kingship of the house of Dovid…which reaches its perfection via Melech Hamoshiach…the meaning of this declaration is the revelation of the existence of Melech Hamoshiach. And through this [declaration] comes his revelation before the eyes of all through his activities, etc.”
There is a need to wake up, to declare that there is the existence of Melech Hamoshiach (“Yechi Hamelech”), which is the essence of our own existence. It is by doing this that we are able to bring about the revelation of Melech Hamoshiach.