Introduction to the cycle of Dvar Malchus
“Rav Asi asked, ‘Why do little school children begin their Chumash learning with Vayikra and not with Bereishis? It is because little children are pure and unblemished, and the sacrifices are pure and unblemished. The pure ones begin their learning with the study of the pure.'” (Vayikra Rabbah, Tzav 7:3)
The cycle of Dvar Malchus refers to the twelve months of sichos which the Rebbe said between 5751-52 (1991-92), the latest words (“Mishna achrona”) that we have from the Rebbe. Notably, the cycle begins with the sicha of Parashas Vayikra, 5751. Although the Torah of Moshiach will only be revealed to us together with the revelations of the true and complete Geulah, these sichos are a “taste” of the “new Torah that will come forth from Me” (Yeshayahu 51:4; Vayikra Rabbah 13:3) and fittingly we start learning from parshas Vayikra. Furthermore, the sicha describes a connection to Simchas Torah, which is the day when we begin reading the Torah anew (finishing with “V’zos Habrocha” and beginning with “Bereishis”).
Some background: The year 5750 (1990-91) was termed by the Rebbe “it will be a year of miracles” based on the letters that form the Hebrew year. The year 1990 saw the beginning of the disintegration of the Soviet Union and the outbreak of the first Gulf War. The year 5751 received the name “it will be year of ‘I will show wonders’”.
By the time we reach Parshas Vayikra, 5751 (March 1991), the Gulf War has ended (on Purim, two weeks earlier); the events in the disintegration of the Soviet Union will lead, in June (Rosh Chodesh Tammuz), to the election of Boris Yeltsin and the end of the Communist Regime, effectively ceasing to exist upon the resignation of President Gorbachev in late August (Shabbos Ki Seitze). This new reality—the defeat of Sadaam Hussein in Iraq (and the over miracles witnessed in Israel during that war) and the collapse of the Soviet Union (bringing an end to the Cold War and the nuclear arms race)—is the background to these sichos.
As the Rebbe often explains, events in the physical world are a consequence of what occurs spiritually, the realm of the Jewish souls. If we see the fall of the earthly “iron curtain” it is because the spiritual “iron curtain” (“mechitza shel barzel”) which separated Israel from their Father in Heaven has fallen. If an evil dictator who threatened to annihilate, G-d forbid, Jews young and old is defeated and rendered powerless without a Jew firing a weapon, this is because the same drama is playing out spiritually. These sichos are to guide us in this “new world order”—a new earthly world order, reflecting a new spiritual world order.
This year not only represents “the most recent” sichos (“Mishna achrona”) of the Rebbe (which alone would make them the most important in our eyes), but they also express a higher level of revelations than the previous years. The Rebbe states—among other “bombshells”—that we are presently found in the Era of Moshiach (“Yemos Hamoshiach”—sicha of 19-20 Kislev 5752), that the words of the Midrash in Yalkut Shimoni which describes “the year in which Melech Hamoshiach is revealed” have been fulfilled (parshas Naso, 5751); “The appointing of David, King Moshiach has already taken place[…]The only thing that is necessary is the acceptance of his kingship by the people.” (Mishpatim 5752); “Moshiach himself is literally present, existing now in the world.” (Vayera 5752)
Such explicit statements are in themselves enough to recognize that these Sichos are unprecedented. But more than this, we see that the Rebbe almost stopped saying Chassidic Discourses (Maamorim) in the year 5750, and the last Maamor was said in Cheshvan 5751, several months before our cycle of Dvar Malchus begins. Although this seems superficially to represent a reduction in the Divine revelations emanating from 770 Eastern Parkway, in fact we know that the Rebbe explains that such superficial “descents” always conceal an inner “ascent”.
It is known that once, one of the Chassidim wrote to the Rebbe expressing his longing for the days when people could enter the Rebbe’s room for a private audience (Yechidus) (which ended in 1981 (5741)). The Rebbe answered him that these private audiences had been supplanted by the “Communal Yechidus” (the Rebbe holding an audience with groups) which, the Rebbe explained, is in fact greater than the private Yechidus. So, too, we can advance the idea in this case—that the level of these Sichos is conveying also the level of Divine revelation of a Chassidic Discourse, and even higher than what went before. (Note that during this period the Rebbe also edited and distributed Maamorim from previous years for Yom Tov and special days, another dimension of the year 5751-52 which deserves closer examination.) There is even a hint for this in Parshas Vayikra—
The Rebbe explains in numerous places that there is a relationship between a parsha in the Torah and an event which falls out near that Parsha, such as Zayin Adar (birthday and passing of Moshe Rabbeinu) falling out near parshas Tetzaveh (the parsha where Moshe’s name is not explicitly mentioned). In our case, Dvar Malchus always begins with parshas Vayikra, and we are not surprised to find a hint to the new level of revelation that these Sichos contain hinted to in the parsha.
On the first verse of Vaykira—“Hashem called to Moshe and spoke to him from the Tent of Meeting saying”—Rashi explains that “Vayikra” is used here as a term of affection. He comments that during the 38 years in the desert, following the sin of the Spies (Meraglim), the children of Israel were punished and as a consequence Hashem’s Divine speech was not completely unified with Moshe Rabbeinu, until the generation that was condemned not to enter the Land of Israel died out. When the ceased dying the Divine speech was directed personally to Moshe Rabbeinu in a way of complete unification—this is Rashi’s commentary on the very first verse in “Vayikra”. In other words, sefer “Vayikra” in the chumash expresses a new level of closeness between Hashem and Moshe Rabbeinu, a new depth to the Divine Speech that Moshe transmitted to the nation (“the Shechina speaks through Moshe’s throat”). The sensitive student understands this hint and recognizes this in these Sichos, and thus the custom amongst Chassidim to learn the Dvar Malchus each week.
(When R’ Y. Goldin asked if a certain practice of Chassidim was proper, the Rebbe responded: “No doubt if Chassidim do so, there is a source for it.”)