The sicha of parshas Ki Sisa, 5752 is the last fully-edited sicha we received from the Rebbe until now. The Rebbe also farbrenged on Shabbos Veyakhel, the following week, but due to the stroke that sicha was not edited by the Rebbe (although the Rebbe did read and, uncharacteristically, comment on the “rashei dvorim” (overview) that was written up Motzie Shabbos).*
In this sicha the Rebbe perhaps hints at the events of 27 Adar I, and later Gimmel Tammuz by speaking of the descent for the sake of ascent and mentioning the verse “for a fleeting moment I abandoned you”:
Since this descent is merely a means to lead to a greater ascent, it is brief — to borrow a phrase “for a fleeting moment I abandoned you.” The ascent which follows it, by contrast, is eternal. This pattern will be expressed in the ultimate Redemption. It has been preceded by an awesome descent, this present exile, but it will lead to a great and eternal ascent, “a redemption never to be followed by exile.”
The sicha, as the Parsha, speaks of the sin of the Golden Calf, and although the Rebbe doesn’t mention this we know that the sin came about because Moshe Rabbeinu failed to come back down from the mountain at the time the Bnei Yisroel thought he had said. Because they lost faith in Moshe they sinned with the Golden Calf. As mentioned in various sources, the period when Moshiach is concealed is, among other things, an opportunity to rectify this failure–by waiting for Moshiach and not losing faith.
There is also a reference to the bodily refinement that Moshe underwent on the mountain, and that once there is no need for further refining of the world (“avodas habirurim is finished”), then Moshe can “drop the mask” which he wore and reveal his true essence. A strong hint, perhaps, to how we relate to the Rebbe in this period of, apparent, concealment:
…this revelation [of the 2nd tablets which Moshe himself carved] reflects a fusion of materiality and spirituality which brought about an elevation within the physical person of Moshe himself causing his face to shine. Indeed, this revelation was so great that it was necessary for Moshe to place a veil over his face. This veil was necessary, however, only when Moshe and the Jewish people were involved with worldly matters, the refinement of the world at large. When Moshe communicated G‑d’s word to the people, he would remove this veil.
Moreover, even in regard to the world at large, this concealment is not a permanent factor. Ultimately, through the Jews’ service in refining and elevating the world, they make it possible for there to be a revelation of G‑dliness within the context of our worldly environment. This process will be consummated in the Era of the Redemption when “Your Master will no longer conceal Himself and your eyes will behold your Master,” “the glory of G‑d will be revealed and all flesh will see.”
Furthermore, the verse reads “Ki Sisa es rosh bnei Yisroel”, which is translated as a command to “elevate the heads of bnei Yisroel”. But “rosh bnei Yisroel” (as the Rebbe states elsewhere, but not in this sicha) is an acronym for “Rebbe”, meaning that the verse can be read “elevate the Rebbe…“!
The sicha also refers several times to the final verse of the Torah (“in the eyes of all of Israel”). The simple reason is because Rashi on that verse mentions the breaking of the first tablets, which occurs in our parsha. But, on a deeper level, we see two hints:
- A hint to this being the “final sicha” of the Dvar Malchus cycle, which is itself a taste of the “new Torah of Moshiach”, as discussed in this post, that the “first sicha” of the cycle begins with a discussion of Bereishis.
- A hint to the idea that all of the revelations of the Geulah, which the Rebbe says have already come into the world, are not in a state of completion until they are visible and revealed “in the eyes of all of Israel”. The Torah as a whole, and this “Torah of Moshiach” of Dvar Malchus, concludes when the Jewish people, with their own effort, bring about that the Geulah, which is already here, becomes revealed to their eyes. In other words: “all that remains is to open up the eyes”.
* Interesting to note that there were two times the Rebbe was concealed from Chassidim. The first occurred in 5738 due to the heart attack, the second on 27 Adar I, 5752 due to a stroke. A fourteen year difference (gematria “Chabad”), and (in simple, physical terms as they appear to us) a progression from a “heart-related” issue (cardiac arrest) to a “brain-related” issue (stroke).