Bo 5752: G-dliness Revealed Without Histalkus

Bo 5752: G-dliness Revealed Without Histalkus

Our parsha begins with Hashem’s instruction to Moshe Rabbeinu “Come to Pharaoh”.  The question is asked: why “come to Pharaoh” and not “go to Pharaoh” (as stated in other verses)?  Furthermore, being that the Torah is eternal, what is the relevance of going to Pharaoh, King of Egypt, when we are standing at the end of golus — long after Egypt was rendered helpless and nothing remains of Pharaoh — at a time when the birurim of the klipah of Pharaoh are finished (as mentioned many times)?


The commentaries explain that Moshe Rabbeinu was afraid to go to the inner chambers of Pharaoh, and therefore Hashem said “Come [with Me] to Pharaoh” to ease Moshe’s fear of confronting Pharaoh alone.

However, our question becomes stronger when we learn, based on the Zohar, that the evil Pharaoh that we encountered in Egypt has his source in the “Pharaoh of kedusha (holiness)”, which refers to the revelation of G-dliness.  Why was Moshe afraid to go to the Pharoah of holiness, so much so that he needed a direct command from Hashem to “come” together with Hashem?! Continue reading

Hakhel Year – a Ketz?

Hakhel Year – a Ketz?

We are presently in a year of Hakhel.  The Rebbe demands from each one of us to be a “Hakhel Yid”: to utilize every opportunity to make Hakhel gatherings of Jews which strengthen Yiras Shomayim, encourage Mitzah observance, and increase Jewish unity.  The Rebbe’s shturem about these activities is known, but why such a shturem?  With a fuller understanding of the subject, we can, with Hashem’s help, give ourselves over to the Rebbe’s inyan of Hakhel with even greater inner chayus (in addition to loyal kabbolos ‘ol).

First, let us note that Hakhel is not a time period, it is an event.  An event which occurs once every seven years in the year after a Shmitta year, the year called Motzei Shvi’is.1  Hakhel is a mitzvah which is performed in the year of Motzei Shvi’is.  By understanding more about Motzei Shvi’is, we can understand better the role of mitzvas Hakhel.

At this point, let us note some of the dramatic events that occurred in Hakhel years:

  • 5713 — all of Russian Jewry was in danger from Stalin’s “Doctor’s Plot“, nd they were miraculously saved upon the sudden death of Stalin as a result of that year’s Purim farbrengen.
  • 5727 — the Jews of Eretz Yisroel were threatened by five Arab armies, and miraculously saw the great victory of Six Day War.
  • 5734 — the deadly surprise attack of the Yom Kippur war, which turned into a miraculous victory (“bigger than the Six Day War” said the Rebbe).
  • 5741 — Eretz Yisroel was facing the threat of a nuclear reactor in Iraq, until the successful bombing of that reactor by the Israeli Air Force.

Also interesting to note that the four times that 770 Eastern Parkway, the Rebbe’s shul, was expanded took place in Hakhel years: 5720, 5727, 5733 (finished by erev Rosh Hashanah 5734, the Hakhel year), and 5748 (the laying of the cornerstone (“even hapina”) for the most recent expansion).  But what’s the connection with Hakhel? Continue reading

Erev Shabbos: Time of Techiyas Hameisim

Erev Shabbos: Time of Techiyas Hameisim

In addition to the radical chiddushim in the plain understanding of the second sicha of Parshas Va’era 5752, one can also find a number of hints and suggestions that give even deeper insight into the ground-shaking ideas the Rebbe is revealing.

In the explanation as to how the “good sign” of one who dies on Erev Shabbos applies to our era (the last quarter of the 6th millennium, “Erev Shabbos” of the entire creation), the Rebbe refers to the concept of “nesira” (“cutting”). This “nesira” describes what happened to Adam Harishon on the day of his creation: Hashem put him to sleep in order to separate Chava. From being a “back to back” entity they gained the ability to be “face to face”, and to bring into existence limitless future generations. While his sleep was one-sixtieth of death, it was completely a positive matter: in order to bring about an immeasurable improvement, specifically the ability to give birth to all future generations.

The Rebbe references the writings of the Arizal as a source for the Kabbalistic explanation of this concept of Nesira. In the writings of the Arizal (Shaar Hapsukim, p.17) one finds that the Arizal writes that “this matter is that the moichin (intellect) which is in the head of Z”A (the six sefiros) go out from it via this sleeping, and then they are given to the female (Malchus).” This brings about that Malchus grows from a point to her full development. Reading this, especially in the original language, seems to hint at the state of affairs after the events of 27 Adar and 3 Tammuz, when the Rebbe (the head — “Rosh Bnei Yisroel”) is not seen, and Malchus (the Jewish souls) receive and develop their potential via the intellectual power bestowed upon them by the head (“now I give it over to you, do all that you can to bring Moshiach in actuality” [sicha of 28 Nissan 5751]).

The Rebbe also brings (footnote 40) from “Kuntres Sfas Emes (at the end of Emes L’Yaakov)” that there is a “nesira” every Rosh Hashana which is the most difficult and requires the sounding of the shofar and a great awakening. There was also a “nesira” at the time of Purim, the 70 years of golus Bavel, and “the ‘nesira’ which will be in the future in the time when Moshiach Tzidkeinu will come…these are the birth pangs of Moshiach”. A hint that in our times there will also be a “nesira”. Note that in the first sicha (footnote 66) the Rebbe mentions that regarding Yehuda the verse states “she ceased to give birth” hinting at the future redemption regarding which it says ‘shir chadash’ in the masculine, “because while the female suffers birth pangs, the males do not give birth.” Implying that the suffering associated with birth ceases when we are in a “masculine” mode of Geuloh (as described in Torah Ohr, parshas Tazria), referring to the effort from below, fitting the avoidah of the time of Nesira and the Rebbe’s statements numerous times that there is no need to undergo more birth pangs of Moshiach.

Having established that our era is itself the “Erev Shabbos” of the entire creation, the Rebbe now explains the significance: In footnote 63 the Rebbe brings a reference that the time of Techiyas Hameisim is Erev Shabbos (the time for “shaking off the dust”, quoting the Zohar I, 127b). This is connected with Rebbi Yehuda Hanosi, who himself was an example of Techiyas Hameisim, returning to make kiddush for his family after his passing. Tzaddikim have Techiyas Hameisim at the start of Yemos Hamoshiach, “40 years before the era of Techiyas Hameisim for all of bnei Yisroel” (Zohar I, 140a). Then the Rebbe goes on to say (not for the first time) that our generation will experience eternal life (which is Techiyas Hameisim, as explained elsewhere) without the interruption of death.

We can, b’derech efesher, understand from this that the beginning of Yemos Hamoshiach was back in 5711 (the beginning of the Rebbe’s leadership), and all 40 plus years of the Rebbe’s leadership leading up to 5752 were in fact Yemos Hamoshiach! After 40 years (which the Rebbe emphasized many times as the beginning of a new epoch of having “eyes to see, a heart to know, etc;” and to be able to fully comprehend the teachings of one’s Rebbe) we have entered the period of “Techiyas Hameisim for all of bnei Yisroel.” Thus, the Rebbe states that when “the time of death is erev Shabbos his death is in a way that it is emphasized in a revealed way (only) the good…mainly through Techiyas Hameisim in proximity to the time of burial.”

We are already in the time of “erev Shabbos” of Creation; the Rebbe, after 40 years of leadership, is telling us that we will all go to eternal life (Techiyas Hameisim) without interruption, “in proximity to the time of burial.” This unique expression of “Techiyas Hameisim in proximity to the time of burial” should grab our attention. It reads as a description of fact, not as an expression of possibility. Not “if the Geuloh will come now, then this individual will be among the first to rise” (which might not come to pass if the Geuloh didn’t come), but rather: this is what is happening now, the “erev Shabbos” in proximity to the burial! It is not a Techiyas Hameisim that is visible to our physical eyes, but it is happening!

[For the Torah basis for saying this, that what looks to us as a person passing away is actually the “shaking off the dust” of klipa, see the Kuntres “The Generation that Doesn’t Die“.]

The Rebbe wrote to R’ Michoel Seligson regarding the Rebbe’s small sefer Hayom Yom, “הפוך בה והפוך בה כי כולה בה” — turn it over and over because it contains everything; how much more so the lengthy sichos of the 5751-5752, the more one “turns them over” the more he reveals the insights of the Geuloh found in the Torah of Moshiach!

Va’era 5752: The Rectification of Death

Va’era 5752: The Rectification of Death

In the second sicha printed for parshas Va’era 5752, the Rebbe elaborates on the statement of the sages that “one who dies on Erev Shabbos, it is a good sign for him”.

The Gemara describes that when R’ Yehuda haNosi took ill, R’ Chiya visited him and found him crying.  He asked him why he was crying (assuming that he was afraid of death).  R’ Chiya proceeded to give him a list of signs that portend well for the fate of a person after death (and their opposite): Dying amidst laughter is a good sign, while crying is a not good; one who dies on Erev Shabbos is a good sign, after Shabbos is not good.  (And several others.)

R’ Yehuda haNosi responded that he was crying (not from a fear of his fate after death, but rather) because of the Torah and Mitzvos he would no longer be able to perform.  Seemingly, the list of good signs brought by R’ Chiya (several of which applied to R’ Yehuda haNosi and were meant to comfort him), do not help the reason given by R’ Yehuda for his crying, because seemingly being unable to perform Torah and Mitzvos after ones passing is not affected by the good signs of how a person passes away.  (The Rebbe brings a proof for this from the story in the Gemara about Dovid haMelech, who asked to pass away on Erev Shabbos (because then one is not subject to “chibut hakever“), and Hashem refused him, telling him that even one day of his Torah learning was more dear to Him.)

Furthermore, the Rebbe asks on this whole discussion a fundamental question:

“How is it possible to truthfully say (in Toras Emes, the Torah of truth) that “one who dies on Erev Shabbos it is a good sign for him” — a “good sign” in relation to the occurrence of death, the opposite of life, the ultimate opposite of good according to Torah?!”  

Sincethe Torah defines “good” as fulfilling the will of Hashem through the performance of Torah and Mitzvos as a soul in a body, then death is the opposite of Good, since it is the the departure of the soul from the body and the performance of Torah and Mitzvos ceases (thus it was the reason for R’ Yehuda haNosi’s crying).

In answer the Rebbe explains that:

The “good sign” of “one who dies on Erev Shabbos” indicates and emphasizes the rectification of the undesirable aspect in the general inyan of death, and automatically the reason for R’ Yehuda haNossi’s crying over the interruption of Torah and Mitzvos is nullified (and rectified), as we will explain.

The Rebbe proceeds to explain that already on the very first Erev Shabbos, when Adam Harishon was created, there was already something similar to death that took place, as the verse states “Hashem brought a drowsiness upon the Man and caused him to sleep”.  Sleep is called “one-sixtieth of death” by our sages, for when a person sleeps his life force (chayus) is not visible (through movement, expressing ideas, etc.).  This is seemingly an undesirable state, but in fact it is a sign that there will be an increase in the individual’s chayus (life-force) when he wakes up, an incomparable increase.  In the case of Adam Harishon this resulted in the creation of his wife, Chava, after which they could bring unlimited generations into being — an incomparable increase of chayus compared to before he slept, from the limited to the unlimited.

This model also holds in the bigger picture of the 6,000 years of this world which correspond to the days of Creation (the 7th millennium corresponding to the 7th day, Shabbos).  The 6th millennium (which we are in presently) corresponds to “Erev Shabbos”, the end of the time of golus, and there is this inyan of sleeping through which is brought about a union on a higher level (according to Kabbalah this is the union of Z”A and Malchus, the Holy One, blessed be He, and Knesses Yisroel), corresponding to the sleep of Adam Harishon that resulted in an infinitely higher state of being.

Thus, one who “dies on Erev Shabbos” also refers to one who passes away in our time, the eve of the 7th millennium; it is like the sleep we mentioned above.  So it turns out that this death (on “Erev Shabbos” at the end of golus) is for the sake of an increase and renewal of life.  This has two explanations:

a) Our sages say “Yaakov Avinu did not die…just as his descendants are alive, so, too, he is alive”, that through the continuation of the life of his descendants (true life, in accordance with Torah) this brings about that “also he is alive”.  And more than this, that this inyan of “he is alive” in its true sense, meaning eternal existence, is revealed by the continuation and eternality of “his descendants are alive” after his passing [in other words, Yaakov’s eternal life is revealed specifically after he passes away (or, at least, seemed to pass away) by the fact that his descendants continue to live the true life of Torah]that specifically then it can be seen in a revealed way the eternality (the truth) of “he is alive”.  So it turns out that through death comes about an increase and renewal of life — the revelation of the eternality and truth of life.

b) And this is the main thing: that the concealment (histalkus) of the chayus that occurs at death is for the sake of an increase and renewal of chayus as a soul in a body — at the resurrection of the dead, for then there will be life of a soul in a body in eternal life.

This enables us to answer the question of how does telling R’ Yehuda haNosi that “one who dies on Erev Shabbos it is a good sign for him”: since on Erev Shabbos it is emphasized that the concealment (histalkus) of the chayus is for the sake of an increase and renewal of the chayus.  Thus, it turns out that

…the time of death coming on Erev Shabbos is in a way that emphasizes in a revealed way the good aspect alone, the increase and renewal of chayus, both through the increase of the eternality and the truth of the life through the fact that “his descendants are alive”, and also and mainly through the Resurrection of the dead right after the time of burial.

Thus, it turns out, that this “good sign” indicates and emphasizes the rectification of the undesirable aspect in death, and automatically the reason that Rebi [Yehuda haNosi] was crying over the nullification of Torah and Mitzvos is rectified as well, because when Tzaddikim arise at the Resurrection of the dead (at the beginning of Yemos Hamoshiach, forty years before the epoch of the Resurrection of the dead of all Bnei Yisroel) there is a continuation of the fulfillment of Torah and Mitzvos (and to the contrary: in a higher degree of perfection — “as mitzvos of Your will”, כמצות רצונך)

In other words, death on Erev Shabbos is a good sign also as regards the fulfillment of Torah and Mitzvos, for following on the heels of this death is the Resurrection of the dead which enables the fulfillment of Torah and Mitzvos as a soul in a body in a perfected and unlimited way, immeasurably greater than the way it was before the “death on Erev Shabbos”!

The Rebbe then takes this even further: that the main intention of this “good sign” is not literal death, chas v’sholom, but rather the avodah of the Yid in his lifetime as a soul in a body.  This is especially after it has already occurred literally with unique individuals, and through them it is sufficient to fulfill the obligation of the rest of Bnei Yisroel (so that the rest of us do not need to literally pass away in order to attain the higher level described above). Consequently, by the rest of Bnei Yisroel there will be only the spiritual avodah of “death” (meaning self-nullification, bittul), with a seamless continuation to eternal life (without any interruption in between) in the time to come.

Death on Erev Shabbos (the 6th millennium, our times) is only a concealment as a preparation for a revelation of a higher level of life — eternal life of the soul in the body, in the ultimate state of perfection!

Shemos 5752: To Bring to the Days of Moshiach

Shemos 5752: To Bring to the Days of Moshiach

This parsha, following the passing of Yaakov, Yosef, and the brothers, is the beginning of a new era in the history of Bnei Yisroel — the beginning of the Egyptian exile.  “These are the names of Bnei Yisroel who came to Egypt” — the first exile.

The midrash states that the reason for the subsequent redemption from Egypt was “due to the fact that [Bnei Yisroel] did not change their names…they went down as Reuvain and Shimon and they came up as Reuvain and Shimon.”  This is a comment on the name (and initial verse) of our parsha: Shemos (meaning, “names”), which refers to the beginning of the exile in Egypt, as mentioned.

The Rebbe derives from this that the verse “these are the names of Bnei Yisroel who came to Egypt” is also emphasizing the merit for which they were ultimately redeemed from Egypt (“that they didn’t change their names”).  In other words — it is referring both to the beginning of the golus and also to the future Geuloh from that golus.

The whole idea of “coming to Egypt” is in truth the “Geuloh of Yisroel”.  The descent which occurs in the meantime [until the Geuloh comes] is on the superficial level (בחיצוניות), but on a deeper level (בפנימיות), the descent itself is (not only for the sake that through it will come the ascent that occurs through the redemption from Egypt, but more than that–) a part of the ascent and the Geuloh itself, until we reach the ascent of the true and complete Geuloh…the future Geuloh.

In other words, not only is there a “descent for the sake of an ascent”, which makes the descent worthwhile in the end; here the Rebbe is saying something much greater: the descent itself is already part of the ultimate ascent!

At this point, the Rebbe turns to explain the familiar statement: Continue reading

Vayechi 5752: Using Iron for Holiness

Vayechi 5752: Using Iron for Holiness

Our parsha begins with the words “Vayechi Yaakov” (“Yaakov lived”).  And although in the parsha we read about Yaakov’s passing, nonetheless our sages teach us that “Yaakov Avinu didn’t die — just as his children are alive, so too he is alive”.  Explains the Rebbe:

The life of Yaakov is eternal life through this that it is drawn to to his children and their descendants until the end of all of the generations.  “His children are alive” meaning true life through learning and fulfilling the Torah.  [Although we mention his children], nonetheless the name of the parsha is named after the life of Yaakov (“Vayechi Yaakov”) — since the truth of the life of Yaakov, eternal life, is expressed in the life of his children.

This means that Yaakov himself lives eternally (soul in a body, as explained elsewhere), and since the material eyes see that “they embalmed him and buried him, etc” his eternal life must therefore be expressed through the life of his children: they are alive because he is alive. (Similarly, he is alive because they are alive — he is the reason Continue reading

19) Kuntres Hey Teves, 5752: How to Give

19) Kuntres Hey Teves, 5752: How to Give

The Kuntres printed for Hey Teves (ה’ טבת) in the year 5752 is a Chassidic Discourse the Rebbe said on parshas Vayigash, 5732, edited for publication under the supervision of the Rebbe himself.  The discourse explains some deep concepts in Chassidus, which we will not attempt to explain here; rather, we will take one point in the discourse.

The parsha begins with Yehuda approaching Yosef.  As is known, Yosef was dressed as an Egyptian, his brothers had no idea that this was their brother that they had sold into slavery so many years earlier.  This “Egyptian” was demanding that their brother Binyomin remain with him as a slave, because of the “theft”  of his goblet (which Yosef himself orchestrated).  Yehuda fearlessly approaches Yosef and asks — and even demands —  that the “Egyptian” let Binyomin return to his father (of whom he says “his soul is bound up with his soul”) and enslave one of the other brothers in his place.

This act of selflessness on the part of Yehuda represents the rectification of the original sale of Yosef, as is known.  But as explained according to Chassidus, there are even loftier things occurring here.

To summarize these loftier things, without elaboration: Yosef represents the level of Z”A and Yesod, the mashpia who gives spiritual influence; Yehuda represents the level of Malchus, the mekabel who receives from the mashpia.  Yehuda is requesting from Yosef to give over to him the spiritual influence.  And more than that, he is asking to receive this, reflecting the active participation of the mekabel.

Obviously, the mashpia (giver) is higher than the mekabel (receiver).  But in their source, it is reversed: the source of the mekabel (receiver) is on the level of Kesser (the “crown”) which is far above the source of the mashpia (giver).

Chassidus explains that when the mashpia gives over to the mekabel (who actually has a higher source in Kesser) then the mashpia also receives this level of Kesser.  That by giving, the mashpia also receives something even greater from the mekabel.

That said, the Rebbe explains the words of Yehuda “בי אדני” which are usually translated as “please, my lord” or “please, my master”.  But the word בי is unusual, it means “in me”, and there the verse would make perfect sense without it.  So why is it there?  The Rebbe explains as follows:

This that Z”A wants to desires to give over to Malchus (because any bestowal of spiritual influence is only through a desire for such) is because it feels the lofty level of the source of Malchus, which is mainly that by giving over to Malchus the result will be the perfection of that which is drawn down into Z”A.  Thus, Yehuda said to Yosef “in me, my lord” בי אדוני, that the spiritual influence drawn down from Z”A to Malchus should be (not for the perfection of Z”A, but rather) in order that this spiritual influence should be drawn down to Malchus, “in me, my lord”.

In other words: one who is in a position to give/teach to others can do it with the consideration of how this is part of his own rectification and perfection, and he is correct.  “Helping others is good for you”.  But an even higher level is reached when — and this is the Supernal desire — that it should be done without that consideration, but rather only for the sake of and the benefit of the mekabel, the receiver!

After this, Yosef could no longer hold himself back and he revealed himself to his brothers, which is the model for Hashem revealing Himself to us in the true and complete Geuloh!

Didan Notzach and Geuloh

Didan Notzach and Geuloh

The excitement surrounding the Rebbe’s victory of the seforim (5 Teives, 5747) is so intense that it begins even while we are still celebrating Chanukah. The day which the Rebbe referred to as “our side wins” (“Didan Notzach”) is a powerful dor hashvi’i celebration that rightly sweeps through Lubavitch. But beyond the farbrengens and the purchasing of seforim, the events of Didan Notzach and the sichos surrounding it deserve proper attention in order to understand at least something of the true magnitude of the victory. In particular, to recognize how 5 Teives represents the culmination in this physical world of the battle that has been going on since the times of the Alter Rebbe — the battle to bring the Geuloh.

The War of the Alter Rebbe

Hey Teives arrives a few days after the end of the month of Kislev, when everyone is still saturated with the story of the kitrug against the Alter Rebbe and against spreading Chassidus, Continue reading

Vayigash 5752: The World’s Limitations Are No Obstacle

Vayigash 5752: The World’s Limitations Are No Obstacle

In our parsha we read about Yehuda approaching Yosef (whom he did not know was really his brother), despite the fact that he was second in command to Pharaoh.  Yehuda fearlessly, but respectfully, demands that Binyomin be freed.  Although he spoke respectfully, he did not ask permission to approach (as is customary) and was prepared to fight if necessary.  All this in order to free his youngest brother, Binyomin.

Who was mightier — Yosef, or Yehuda?  Yosef was second only to Pharaoh, and everyone had to do exactly what he commanded.  Yehuda, on the other hand, was a visitor with no rights, and in previously he had bowed in deference to Yosef.  However, Yehuda “broke protocol” and, seeing that the life of Binyomin was at stake, confronted this Egyptian viceroy with mesirus nefesh (hardly imagining that this was really his brother who loves him) .

To understand this, the Rebbe explains two approaches to dealing with the world:

a) to be limited by the world and its limitations (of physicality, of customs and “protocol”), to go “in the way of the world”; and

b) to be completely above the world and its limitations, not reckoning with it.

The Rebbe then makes an analogy to the feast of Achashverosh (in the times of the Purim story), which was conducted according to “the desire of each and every person”.  The Midrash says “each and every person” means Mordechai and Haman, and asks how can one fulfill their completely opposite desires simultaneously?  The answer: to a flesh and blood king this is impossible, but in the future Hashem will do exactly that.

How so?  Mordechai’s desire, as the name “Mordechai HaYehudi” suggests, is not to bow down to any idolatry, any aspect of worldly life which is not fulfilling the will of Hashem (even if it is permitted according to Torah) — he desires that everything be for the sake of Heaven, lesheim shomayim.  Haman, on the other hand, claims that since one is found in the world, in golus, then one must reckon with its limitations.  These are completely opposite desires!  But, explains the Rebbe, when you are connected with the Eybershter, you are above the conduct of the world and thus you have the ability to unify opposites: to be in the world and in golus, and yet “not to bow down” and to stand entirely higher than it all.

The question, however, remains: how can one (even if he has the “power” to do so) do two opposite things (practically speaking)?  To “not bow down” to golus, and at the same time to in fact conduct himself in accordance with the limitations of golus?

The answer is that now, in our generation — the final generation of golus and the first generation of Geuloh — it is possible to do so, because the world is a different world.  In previous generations there were various limitations placed on the Jewish people from the outside: decrees, r”l, which impacted Yiddishkeit and did not leave room for a Yid to stand above golus.  Today, however “in our generation this is entirely dependent on a Jew’s will.

From the above we can understand that the might of Yehuda is in fact greater than that of Yosef.  Because Yosef’s might is connected with and the kingdom of Egypt and its limitations, including the conduct of a state.  Yehuda, on the other hand, “did not ask permission” and represents a higher level of “might”, the level of breaking boundaries.  It is specifically Yehuda’s actions that bring to the Jewish people settling in Mitzrayim in a way where they flourish.  When a Jew stands with “forthrightness” (breitkeit), he brings about that even the King of Egypt assists him.

We find that in all the generations there were limitations from the outside, coming from the nations of the world and their decrees against Yidden, r”l, which did not always leave Yidden to conduct themselves with full forthrightness and balabatishkeit.

This is not the case in our generation and in our time, as we see in actuality that we do not have the confusions of the past, and the nations of the world leave Jews to conduct themselves as they please, and the matter is dependent only on the desire of the Yidden to conduct themselves with full forthrightness and balabatishkeit.

Today, the nations of the world not only are not imposing restrictions on Yidden and Yiddishkeit, they even assist, enabling Jews to spread Yiddishkeit and Torah and Mitzvos, and also to that which pertains to the nations of the world themselves, the 7 Noahide laws.  Today a Jew can “go in the way of the world” and still conduct himself as a Jew with full forthrightness and balabatishkeit: fulfilling the desire of both Mordechai (above limitations of the world) and Haman (within the way of the world)!

The Rebbe continues and states that the Frierdicker Rebbe has already informed us that:

all preparations for Geuloh have been completed, and now we must draw down the Geuloh into actuality in the physicality and materiality of the world (materiality which is transformed into physicality*), in a revealed way in the eyes of all flesh…the entire world demands that every Yid should already be standing in the state of the true and complete Geuloh …and the matter is not dependent on anything other than their desire”

Thus, each one of us must conduct himself and herself with forthrightness and balabatishkeit that “the world was created for me” to fulfill Torah and Mitzvos.  There is no need to hide or outsmart the system (“kuntzen“) because today the world enables a Jew to fulfill Torah and Mitzvos, and to bring Geuloh — if he wants, if he stands firm about it.  The Geuloh is here, waiting for us to reveal it in our actions — without asking permission!

* Chassidus defines “physicality” as that which conceals G-dliness, whereas “materiality” not only conceals but asserts a contrary reality.

18) Kuntres Chanukah, 5752

18) Kuntres Chanukah, 5752

The lofty level of the Chanukah lights, as explained in the teachings of Chassidus, is connected with the self-sacrifice of the Maccabees, and through this they succeeded to impact and “light up” the public domain (reshus harabim).  We see this in the mitzvah of Chanukah candles, which are intended to publicize the miracle specifically in the public domain.  (The reason that the custom is to light inside the home, not in the public domain, is beyond the scope of this post.)

But why is this only by Chanukah, and not by Purim?  The miracle of Purim, also, was brought about by self-sacrifice; and not only by a small group (Mattisyahu and his children), but by the entire Jewish people.  So why don’t the mitzvas of Purim impact the public domain?

In order to explain this, the Rebbe first explains the three levels stated in Chassidus: Tzaddik, Yoshar, and Chossid, each one on a higher level than the previous.  A Tzaddik has the power to “overrule” the Holy One, blessed be He, as our sages say “The Holy One decrees, and the Tzaddik nullifies the decree”, or “the Tzaddik decrees, and the Holy One fulfills it”.  Yet, the level of Chassidim is even higher, as the verse in Tehillim states: “All your handiwork will thank You, and Your Chassidim will bless you” (Tehillim 145:10), meaning that the blessing of Chassidim draws down from a level which the “your handiwork will thank you” cannot reach.

The level of Chassidim is the level of serving Hashem with bittul (self-nullification) which is from the aspect of etzem (the essence), a level higher than one’s own existence.  In the words of our sages: “Who is a Chosid? One who performs Chesed (giving) with his owner.”  Explains the Rebbe:

Among the reasons that one whose Divine service is (not for himself, but rather) for the sake of Above is called by the name Chosid (from the word chesed, giving) is that since his avodah is with the ultimate self-nullification (bittul), above his own existence, it follows that what he draws down through this avodah is from the [highest of levels, the] level of “Pnimiyus Atik”.

Correspondingly, this level is also reached through the teachings of Chassidus:

The teachings of Chassidus are the aspect of Pnimiyus Atik.  Thus, through the study of teachings of Chassidus and following the ways of Chassidus, the natural powers of the soul (of the one who is involved in Chassidus) become G-dly powers.  Because via what comes down and is revealed from Pnimiyus Atik, he feels (at least in a concealed way) that the true [Divine] existence is his existence.

This revelation which is higher than the limitations of the world (למעלה מהשתלשלות) therefore transcends the boundaries of the world and is found in every place equally.  This is the concept of the lights of Chanukah illuminating the public domain, because they draw down from “Pnimiyus Atik” which is present in all places.

And from this we can understand why the self-sacrifice of Purim did not reach the public domain but on Chanukah it did:

Because the self-sacrifice of Matisyahu and his sons was that despite that they were weak and few; nevertheless, they battled against the mighty and the numerous.  The fact that they performed actions in the natural way (a war) in order to defeat the Greeks, even though according to the natural order there is no chance for the weak and the few to defeat the might and numerous, is because it was taken for granted by them that even nature (of this lowly world where klipos are powerful) is G-dliness.  This deeply ingrained premise derives from the feeling that His Divine True Existence is the existence of all entities.  And because of this, they drew down from the level of Pnimiyus Atik.

What is the lesson here for us?  To serve Hashem as Chassidim, not for our own benefit (whether it be material or spiritual benefit, including the pleasure of “slaking ones thirst for G-dliness”), but rather in a state of self-nullification to do what is needed of us; in a way where we realize that all of existence is, inherently, G-dliness, and therefore we can accomplish our mission even in the “public domain” because it does not really have any separate existence from G-dliness.  Like the Chanukah lights, we can even reveal G-dliness in the public domain that seemingly has an independent existence, for in fact it does not!

This itself is the state of “the time to come”, the true and complete Geuloh!