21) Kuntres Chof-Beis Shevat: the Infinite Revealed

This maamor begins with the verse of parshas Mishpotim: “These are the statues that you shall place before them: if you will acquire a Hebrew servant…”.  The Talmud Yerushalmi says that statues the verse is referring to are the secrets of Torah.  This raises a question, since the term “mishpotim” refers to the basic statutes of the Torah which the human mind can grasp (including the nations of the world), but not the Torah’s hidden secrets.  Furthermore, what is the connection with acquiring a Hebrew servant?

The defining element of a Hebrew servant is his acceptance of the yoke of servitude: his kabbolos ‘ol.  The reason this appears at the beginning of the Torah’s many “mishpotim” (statutes understood by the human mind) is to hint even when we fulfill the Torah’s laws which we understand — we must be fulfilling them [as well] out of kabbolos ‘ol, like a servant who does what he is told without understanding.  After all, the main thing about these laws is that they are the Will of Hashem, and Will is above reason and understanding.  But haven’t we defined the mishpotim as laws which our mind does understand?  In fact, it is not a contradiction: our understanding of these laws, and our fulfillment of them due to the reasons that we understand, is also Hashem’s Will.  It is Hashem’s Will that we understand these laws and fulfill them also based on this understanding.

This is also why the verse continues with the acquisition of a Hebrew servant and not a Canaanite servant.  A Canaanite servant is a more complete servitude than a Hebrew servant (both in severity and in duration), and his kabbolos ‘ol is seemingly his overriding quality.  Yet, our verse speaks of a Hebrew servant, who only serves for 6 years and is not given every type of labor.  This is to teach us that we are not meant to serve Hashem with kabbolos ‘ol alone (which means without pleasure or enthusiasm, both of which are born from understanding), but rather in conjunction with our intellect and understanding, which add pleasure and enthusiasm.

The Rebbe continues: the “acquisition” (“kinyan“) of the Hebrew slave hints at “acquiring” the Torah that one learns, which only is possible when one understands the reasoning behind the laws he studies.  It’s not enough that the laws are “placed before you”, one is also obligated to “acquire” them by understanding the reasons behind them, to such a degree that the Torah is then called by the name of the person who acquired it.  (Similarly, the Rebbe mentions the fact that the psak din of a person who is occupied with Torah needs to be according to his own understanding — hinting at what the Rebbe mentions in the Sicha of Parshas Mishpotim — that the beginning of the prophecy of transforming swords into plowshares is due to the Rabbinical psak din that “the time of the redemption has arrived”.)

For Torah, which is the Will and Wisdom of Hashem, to descend to be enclothed in a human mind is a tremendous descent.  What you and I, or even the greatest of Torah scholars can understand is immeasurably distant from Hashem’s wisdom.  But, explains the Rebbe: this is its advantage!  Because even when Hashem’s Torah descends to be enclothed in human intellect, it still remains Hashem’s Torah with all of its original loftiness.  This means that when the person acquires it, he has caused a unification of his limited intellect with Hashem’s infinite wisdom, the level of “Yisroel and the Holy One, blessed be He, are all One.”  To unify such opposites requires a revelation of the Ohr Ein Sof, higher than YKVK — which comes as a result of his laboring to acquire the Torah.

The Rebbe points out that this is not the result of simply learning Torah in depth, but that one’s Torah is learned with a feeling and awareness that even as he is understanding the Torah it is really the Torah of the world of Atzilus, which is truly beyond his comprehension.  “The learning needs to be in a manner that it will be felt by him that the Torah which he is learning (even after it has become his own wisdom) is the Torah of Hashem, ‘Your Torah’ which is in Atzilus.”  This explains why the Yerushalmi says that our verse refers to the secrets of Torah:

Because in order that in the Torah that the person learns and understands in his intellect (human intellect) there will be a feeling that this is the Torah of Hashem…this is via the revelation of the neshoma as it is in Atzilus…which occurs by learning Pnimiyus HaTorah…that through learning the inner dimension of the Torah the inner dimension of the neshoma is revealed.

All the detailed explanations of the maamor point to a common (and Geuloh-dik) theme: the unification of opposites.  To maintain kabbolos ‘ol without nullifying his existence; to acquire the Torah with his own intellect, without obscuring the feeling that this is Hashem’s Torah in Atzilus; to have pleasure in being Hashem’s servant.  This is the “secret” of Geuloh, as explained many places in Chassidus: not the simply the revelation of the unlimited Atzmus Ohr Ein Sof, but rather that this infinite revelation occurs down below in this limited world, in our limited human intellect.

From this we can understand why at this point in history, when all the avoidah has been completed, the “direct path” is learning about Moshiach and Geuloh: because the goal is in fact that the infinite level of Torah should become unified with our limited human intellect — reaching the level of “Yisroel and the Holy One, blessed be He, are all One” (which then affects the reality of the entire Creation).

As the Rebbe closes the maamor:

By learning Torah in a way where the learning is with understanding and explanation and together with this it is with the bittul of a servant (which requires learning Pnimiyus HaTorah), through this they will merit to the revelation of the Torah of Moshiach, Torah Chadosha which will come from me, in the true and complete Geuloh via Moshiach Tzidkeinu, speedily in our days mamash.

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