B’haalosecha 5751: The Flame Rises on its Own

The Rebbe many times repeats the words of Tanya, chapter 37, that all the lofty revelations of the time to come are dependent on our Divine service during the time of exile.  Although this is well known among those who learn Chassidus, there is nonetheless a common misconception that once we finish our labor in Golus, than everything else happens automatically.  In almost every Sicha of Dvar Malchus, the Rebbe drives home the point that the end of exile is not the end of our labor.  In this Sicha it is expressed as “lighting the lamps until the flame rises on its own.”

This is Rashi’s commentary on the words of  Hashem to Aharon HaCohen in our Parshah: “When you light the lamps [of the menorah]”.  Says Rashi, this literally means “when you bring up the lamps”, because Aharon “is required to kindle the lamp until the flame rises by itself.”

The object is not simply that the lamps should be illuminated (the lamps referring to neshomos Yisroel), because this occurs also while Aharon is holding the light to them.  The Torah doesn’t say “light up the lamps”, but “bring up the lamps”.  This means that even when the one who lights them removes his influence, the lamps stay lit.  The Rebbe emphasizes that this means that the  lamps burn on their own accord even without any outside influence.

Even though lighting and bringing up the lamps comes about through lamp-lighting Jews, nonetheless the lamp must be ignited in a way that afterward the light comes from itself, the flame goes “on its own”, without needing any assistance from the lamp-lighter.

This means that even though a person didn’t “light himself up” — he had a Rebbe, parents, teachers, mashpiim, friends, etc. who helped “light him up” with an enthusiasm in avoidas Hashem — nonetheless, the complete and true avoidah is when (after he is “lit up” by others) he becomes a “flame which rises on its own”.  This means his own existence alone is what drives him, and not the influence of a mashpia (not even The Mashpia).

The significance to our times, after Gimmel Tammuz, should be obvious.  We are not presently operating in an environment where we see the Rebbe giving dollars, a piece of lekach, Kos Shel brocha, or an enthusiastic wave of the hand.  But if one refers to the “good old days” when Chassidim saw and felt all of that — he is missing the point.  The “complete and true avoidah” is not when a Yid feels excited when the Rebbe is “lighting him up”, but rather after that, when he can prove that the Rebbe was truly successful in lighting him up — because he is showing that his fire for serving Hashem “rises on it’s own”, even when the “lamp-lighter” pulls away the lighter!

This may sound like a daunting challenge, to bring ourselves to Geuloh-dik avoidas Hashem without the “Mashpia” (the Rebbe) lighting us up.  Firstly, we don’t have any choice in the matter: either we do this or, chas v’sholom, cool off.  As to the “how” — how can we bring ourselves to this avoidah the Rebbe wants from us, to rise up on our own accord?  The Rebbe brings in the Sicha from the Rebbe Rashab:

The nature to rise up [to its source] that is found in fire is not like something additional to it, not because it feels the loftiness of its source; but rather, because of its bittul and its lack of a metzius…

The more bittul we achieve, the less we are concerned with our own metzius (our feelings and our experiences of the Rebbe) and instead focus on what the Rebbe wants from us, we will find that we are “lit up” to bring Moshiach (in both our personal avoidah and our avoidah with others) in a more complete and true manner than was the case in the “good old days”. We will truly rise up on our own!

Kuntres 15 Sivan: True Hiskashrus

The Rebbe brings in the name of the Rebbe Maharash a Midrash which states: “The Holy One said to man, ‘my candle is in your hand, and the candle is in my hand; My candle in your hand is Torah… Your candle in My hand is the soul… If you guarded My candle, I guard your candle; but if you extinguished My candle, I extinguish your candle.'”. Although it may sound like a case of reward and punishment, the maamor explains it in a much deeper way:

The soul is likened to a candle because of its inherent nature to desire to rise up and be nullified in its source. This is accomplished by Aharon, who has the job to light the menorah until “the flame ascends of its own accord.”. Thus, the verse says “like good oil on the head descends on the beard the beard of Aharon…”. The beard of Aharon is the inyan of the halachos of Torah. This explains our midrash: that guarding the candle of Torah guards the soul that is desire to ascend should be revealed. This is accomplished via Torah.

As Chassidim we can understand that it refers to our hiskashrus to the Rebbe: that by guarding (learning and fulfilling) the Rebbe’s Torah we insure that our desire to be mekushar to the Rebbe remains revealed and is not extinguished, chas v’sholom. (Especially applicable in the period of concealment since Gimmel Tammuz.)

The emphasis here is on “keeping” the Torah, meaning fulfilling the Mitzvos (of course Talmud Torah itself being one of the Mitzvos). Because through Mitzvos one achieves bittul, and only when there is bittul can there be the resting of the Shechina on the body (the analogy of a candle brought in Tanya). And the ultimate level of bittul is acheived through fulfilling Mitzvos. This is why Parshas B’ha’aloshcha (“lightning the candles”) follows the festival of Shavuos, because the level of bittul that became possible after Matan Torah is far greater than what was before.

Even though the natural love of the soul for Hashem — to always be connected and never be separated even to the point is self-sacrifice — existed before Matan Torah, this love is an inheritance from the Avos, who possessed a level of Bittul called מרכבה a chariot. The chariot (the horses who pull it) fulfill the will of the rider not because they want that they should have a connection to the rider (like the natural love of the soul, mentioned above), but rather because they are bottel  nullified to the rider.

This level of Bittul of a מרכבה chariot is included (hidden) in the natural love the soul possesses. It is a level of bittul where he does not want anything for himself, only that there should be a revelation of G-dliness in the world, fulfilling Hashem’s desire for a Dwelling Place down below.

But, explains the Rebbe, even this is not the ultimate state of bittul. Because as long as he wants something — even just to fulfill the Divine desire — he remains a metzius. The “true inyan of bittul” is the avoidah of Kabbolas ‘ol, that “he is like a slave who has no desires, all that he does is due to the yoke that was placed on him, which forces him to fulfill the will of the Master.”

This all has a direct relevance to Moshiach and Geulah, alluded to in the final sections of the maamor. When Yisroel said נעשה ונשמע “we will do and [only then] we will understand” — before Matan Torah — they were accepting the yoke of Kingship. By accepting the yoke of Kingship it had the effect of making the King into an actual King. (“There is no King without a people”.). But the bittul after Matan Torah is the ultimate bittul — because the mitzvos are now the decree of Hashem and they force the person to act accordingly.

The levels of Bittul explained here are:

  1. A natural desire to be attached and not be separated from G-dliness;
  2. The chariot which has no desire of it’s own, only the desire to fulfill the desire of the rider;
  3. The bittul of kabbolas ‘ol, like a slave, who has no desire of his own (but nonetheless there is still the metzius of the slave (or the people who have made the King into a King));
  4. The bittul of Mitzvos after Matan Torah — the ultimate state of bittul, when “it is impossible for there to be a metzius in the world that is in opposition the command of the Holy One.”

This seemingly would completely eliminate the metzius of the person. But, says the Rebbe, since “Yisroel and the Holy One, blessed be He, are all One” then this level of bittul does not nullify his metzius, but to the contrary this is his metzius. Thus the Midrash says that by keeping Torah and Mitzvos (the ultimate level of bittul) this guards and preserves our soul (our unique metzius).

It comes out that the Rebbe is revealing to us that although all that remains to be done is accepting the Kingship of Melech haMoshiach (as the Rebbe states in other Sichos) , this itself is not the ultimate level of bittul (the level which reveals how we are one with Hashem). Once the Kingship is accepted it must become clear that it is impossible for us to do anything opposite his will, because of our complete state of bittulBut, explains the Rebbe, this bittul is accompanied by a special joy — the simcha shel mitzvah!

Parshas Naso, 5751: The Year (in which) Moshiach is Revealed

In the sicha of Parshas Naso, the Rebbe states as follows:

There is a special quality in the Shabbos after Shavuos in this year

To preface, it has been said numerous times that according to all the signs in the words of our sages about the end of days (in addition to the general announcement in the times of the gemara that “all the end-times have passed”), this generation is the last generation of the exile and the first generation of the Geulah.  This was testified to by my father-in-law the Previous Rebbe  — in connection with his well-known proclamation of “immediately to tshuva, immediately to Geulah” — that in his days (decades ago) all the matters of avodah had been finished, and all we need is only to “polish the buttons” and to stand ready to receive Moshiach Tzidkeinu.  How much more so after all the work of spreading the wellsprings outward from then until now, especially upon the completion of 40 years (since his histalkus) it is absolutely certain that we have also finished “polishing the buttons”, and we are standing ready to receive Moshiach Tzidkeinu.

This is especially emphasized in this year — the year 5751 (1991) — [the Hebrew letters of this year, תנש”א] hinting at the verse “his kingship shall be exalted” (תנשא מלכותו) in the entire world, and it also stands for “I will show wonders”– beginning with the wonders that we already saw in actuality, revealed in the eyes of the whole world, in this year [referring to the miracles of the Gulf War].  That through [these events] the words of the Yalkut Shimoni midrash were fulfilled: “In the year that Melech Hamoshiach is revealed all the kings of the world will quarrel, the king of Persia [Iran/Iraq], the king of Arabia, and the Holy One, blessed be He, says to the Jewish people, “my children, do not be afraid, all that I have done I only did for you…the time of your Redemption has arrived.”  Since that time, we are already standing at [the closing section of the Yalkut Shimoni midrash] “in the hour that Melech Hamoshiach comes, he announces to the Jewish people and says humble ones, the time of your redemption has arrived.”

Throughout the Gulf War, the Rebbe made references to this Yalkut Shimoni midrash, but here the Rebbe says unequivocally that “it has been fulfilled”, specifically quoting the words “in the year Melech Hamoshiach is revealed”.  In other words: in 1991 Melech Hamoshiach was revealed.  But despite this, as the Rebbe points out in other sichos, the Jewish people are still fearful and require Moshiach to tell them not to be afraid and to inform them that the Geulah has arrived.  But the “breakthrough” has happened: the year Melech Hamoshiach is revealed.

To add further insight:

“The year in which Melech Hamoshiach is revealed…” (“שנה שמלך המשיח נגלה בו”). The word “year” in Hebrew is feminine, and grammatically we would expect this Midrash to read “נגלה בה“, meaning “in her [the year, feminine]”.  So we need to explain why it says “בו” instead of “בה”: “the year Melech Hamoshiach is revealed in him“[masculine].

Regarding this logical question, it will help to take a look at the Ohr Hachama, the commentary of R’ Avraham Azulai, z”l, on the Zohar:

[…]so to it will be with the Moshiach after he merits to that neshoma and recognizes himself that he is Moshiach, as it states [in the Zohar] Moshiach will be revealed but he still won’t be recognized by the rest of the people[…] (Shemos 7b, quoting R’ Chayim Vital, z”l)

This describes how the initial “revelation” of Moshiach is when the neshoma of Moshiach is revealed to the individual who has been chosen by Hashem to be Moshiach. At the time that this individual receives the neshoma of Moshiach it is a private revelation, “but the rest of humanity will not recognize him”; only later will he be revealed to the people as Moshiach—what we refer to as the “coming of Moshiach”.

We could say that the Yalkut Shimoni’s use of the word “בו” transforms the literal meaning to “the year that Melech Hamoshiach is revealed in him”, a hint to “the year that [the neshoma of] Melech Hamoshiach is revealed in him [the one who will be Moshiach].”  In 5751 there was a revelation of the “yechida of the yechida”  (the lofty soul of Moshiach) in Moshiach himself.  The delay is the recognition of this by the world.

The reason for this “delay” is found in the Ohr Hachama on Shemos 9a, where it state:

“Moshiach can’t redeem Israel from below…only from Above…there needs to be an awakening from below in order to awaken the rachamim from Above, even if the physical Moshiach wants to redeem [them].”

This describes a situation where there already exists the “physical Moshiach” (i.e., the individual to whom has been bestowed the lofty neshoma of Moshiach) who himself knows that he is Moshiach, but the revelation to all of Israel has not yet occurred. We can see this in the language of the Yalkut Shimoni itself: the Midrash begins with “the year in which the King Moshiach is revealed”, and the Midrash concludes with “the hour in which the King Moshiach comes”.

The year in which Moshiach is revealed refers to the initial revelation, when there is still a need to explain the events of the world to the Jewish people, “don’t be afraid”, etc. The hour when Moshiach comes refers to that transcendent moment when the Jews themselves are able to actually see and recognize the light of Moshiach (as stated in the continuation of the Yalkut Shimoni, brought in different sichos).

In other words, the revelation of Moshiach precedes and is distinct from the coming of Moshiach. (And it is self-understood that when there is such a situation—a situation where the tzaddik who himself is Moshiach is the only one to whom this has been revealed– then only this tzaddik himself is able to know and to inform others that “the year in which the King Moshiach is revealed” has been fulfilled, etc.) .

See 5751–The Year Moshiach Is Revealed for more insights into the relevance of this Yalkut Shimoni to the Gulf War and the present world situation.

Shavuos 5751: “The New Torah That Will Go Forth From Me”

One of the most prominent features of the Messianic era is the spreading forth of Divine knowledge.  It begins with Moshiach Tzidkeinu himself (“he will possess great wisdom greater than Shlomo Hamelech, and will be a great Prophet (Novi) close to [and exceeding] Moshe Rabbeinu”), and proceeds to the entire Jewish nation (“Yisroel will be great sages and will know the hidden things and will grasp the knowledge of their Creator according to their [individual] ablity”).  This is expressed by the verse in Yeshaya “Because Torah will go forth from Me” (“כי תורה מאתי תצא”), upon which the Midrash explains “A new Torah will come forth from Me, innovation in Torah (chiddush Torah) will go forth from Me” (תורה חדשה מאתי תצא, חידוש תורה מאתי תצא).  [As explained in many places in Chassidus, the “new Torah” refers to new and deeper understanding of the very same Torah that was given to Moshe Rabbeinu at Har Sinai: the very same Torah, the very same letters, etc.]


The Rebbe explains that there are two aspects to the chiddush Torah: the newly revealed secrets of the Torah, and chiddush in halacha (specifically the shechting of the Shor Habar with the fins of the Leviyoson, as the Rebbe will explain in depth.)

That Moshiach will reveal secrets of Torah is readily understood.  But to say that he will make innovations in halacha presents a difficulty, because (as mentioned above) Moshiach is a Novi and there is a priciple that a Novi is not permitted to make innovations in halacha (אלה המצוות, אין נביא רשאי לחדש עוד דבר מעתה).  Furthermore, what is the idea of an innovation in Torah anyway?!  The entire Torah (including the future innovations of a  sage, “talmid vosik“) was given to Moshe Rabbeinu on Har Sinai — so what room is there to “innovate”?

The answer the Rebbe gives is that the effort of the talmid vosik to find and reveal the answer (using the 13 rules through which the Torah is explained) makes it his own chiddush.  On a deeper level, such a chiddush is only revealing something that was “concealed, but existing” (העלם שישנו במציאות).  Meaning that using the tools of the 13 rules the human intellect is capable of revealing this concept.  But in the Messianic Era, the chiddush will come from the level of things which are “concealed, and not in existence” (העלם שאינו במציאות).  Meaning that human intellect could never arrive at such a conclusion, it must be revealed into human intellect from Above by the Holy One, blessed be He.  Thus the midrash tells us that this new dimension of Torah comes “from Me” (from Above) and “goes forth” — goes out into human intellect.

This also answers the difficulty of Moshiach as a Novi making innovations in halacha: the revelation of prophecy to Moshiach (revelation of Hashem from Above) does not remain “Above” (in which case it has no bearing on halacha), but rather: Moshiach draws it into the understanding of his own intellect, and proceeds to teaches it to the people, enabling the masses to understand these Divine revelations with their own human intellect.  Once it becomes understood with the human mind, it is “not in the heavens” (לא בשמים היא) and thus is valid to make halachic rulings.

Based on what was explained above, we can understand how in the Messianic Era it will be permissible to shecht the Shor Habar with the fins of the Leviyoson (a shechita which now would be forbidden because it is not kosher to shecht with a jagged edge): it will be revealed that the halachos of shechita never pertained to this shechita (of the Shor Habar).  An example of such a thing: halacha rules that shechita is forbidden on Shabbos.  In a case of saving a life there is a special heter which permits it.  But this halacha never referred to the shechting of korbanos — it is permitted to do so on Shabbos without the need for a special heter (since the halacha, from the outset, never applied to this shechita of korbonos).  Similarly, the halacha that shechting with a jagged edge is not kosher never pertained to the shechting of the Shor Habar.


What is the connection between the two dimensions of the future Chiddush Torah: the secrets and the halacha (since they are referred to together in the same posuk)?  The Rebbe explains that this can be understood by examining the difference between Beis Shamai and Beis Hillel.  As is known, Beis Shamai ruled very strictly in almost every case, whereas Beis Hillel ruled leniently.  Furthermore, the sages tell us that the halacha is (with a few specific exceptions) according to Beis Hillel.

Beis Shamai’s strictness comes from the fact that they rule in accordance with Pnimiyus Hatorah, whereas Beis Hillel rule according to Nigleh, the revealed dimension of Torah.  Beis Shamai were “sharper”, so there was a basis that halacha should go according to their opinion.  But the halacha is like Beis Hillel because they were the majority, which the Rebbe explains to mean that their reasoning could be understood by the majority.  (Similarly, we find that although Rebbi Meir was greatly praised as being unique in his generation, the halacha does not go with his opinion — because the majority of sages could not grasp the depth of his reasoning.)

The halacha like Beis Hillel is true until in the Messianic Era. But in the time of Moshiach the halacha will be like Beis Shamai, because their sharper reasoning will be grasped by the majority (ultimately everyone will grasp it).  We learn from this the crucial point that a halachic ruling must be in accordance with what the Rov understands.  A Rov must use his intellect to arrive at his decision, not his kabbolos ‘ol to the Rebbe (which hopefully he has — he can save it for other things, but not halachic rulings).  [Interesting to note that even when the Rebbe “guided” Rabbonim to certain rulings (such as ruling that those coming from Eretz Yisroel should keep two days of Yom Tov when they come to the Rebbe), the rulings still had to be halachically sound and not just because “the Rebbe said”.  And we can learn from here as regards the Psak Din on Moshiach…]

The Rebbe raises here another two questions: Since Beis Shamai is almost always more strict, why are we saying that in the Messianic Era (when his opinion will be halacha), the shechita of the Shor Habar with the fins of the Leviyoson will be permitted— this is not more strict, it is more lenient!  And even more: why do we need to be strict in the Messianic era when there will be no more evil?!


The revealed dimension of Torah, Nigleh, deals with revealed good and revealed evil.  Pnimiyus HaTorah deals with hidden good and hidden evil.

Both of these concepts are expressed in the mitzvah of establishing refuge cities for accidental murderers — Arei Miklot.  Six such cities were established in Eretz Yisroel in the times of Moshe and Yehoshua.  Three more, the Rambam rules, will be established in time of Moshiach.  Here we have the same question: will there be murderers in the times of Moshiach?!

Even after avoidas haBirurim is finished (as the Rebbe tells us, in other sichos: this has already occurred) — there will still be the existence of evil in the world (until the resurrection of the Dead, the second, miraculous stage of the Messianic Era).  This evil in the world will cause the continued existence of accidental deaths (though premeditated murder will cease).  Thus, there will be a need for the Arei Miklot also in the Messianic Era.

Looking more deeply, the Rebbe explains that the concept of a refuge city refers to words of Torah.  Learning Torah is a “refuge” which protects the person.  The three new Arei Miklot of the Messianic Era refers to the inner dimension of Torah that will be revealed at that time.  These cities are to be established in the three lands of the Keni, Kenizi, and Kadmoni (the nations of Moav, Amon, and Edom) which will be acquired at that time.  The land of Israel that was conquered in the earlier generations was only the land of the 7 Cananite nations, which correspond to the 7 midos which the Jewish people had to refine.  These three lands that will be acquired in the Messianic Era correspond to the 3 intellectual faculties (Chabad — Chochma, Bina, and Daas), reflecting the refinement of the intellect, the Moichin which occurs in the times of Moshiach.

This brings us back to Beis Shamai and Beis Hillel.  There are certain things that everyone agrees that they are permitted by Torah, and other things that everyone agrees are forbidden by Torah.  The cases of machloikes between Beis Shamai and Beis Hillel are on things where there is a doubt whether it is evil and Torah forbids it, or if it contains good and Torah wants us to elevate it.  Beis Shamai, who were stricter, who ruled in accordance with Pnimiyus HaTorah, deal with a case of doubt by forbidding it, pushing it away, due to the hidden potential evil that the thing may possesses.  Beis Hillel, on the other hand, who are based on Nigleh, the revealed Torah, only push away revealed evil.  (They each have an inherent logic: to permit something that contains evil strengthens the “other side”, but also to push away something that we could be lenient with also gives strength to the “other side”.)  The shechting of the Shor Habar with the fins of the Leviyoson is different because will be done by Hashem himself, which leaves no room for any possibility of evil (and thus even Beis Shamai will permit such a shechita).


It is explained in Chassidus that the expression of the gemara that equates shechting with pulling or drawing (אין ושחט אלא ומשך) means that the act of slaughtering an animal in a kosher manner takes something that was forbidden to eat (the live animal) and “draws” it into the the realm of the permissible.  Once it becomes permissible, a Jew can eat the flesh of this animal, internalizing and elevating it.  What as forbidden to eat becomes permissible to eat.  Eating refers to internalizing Torah, drawing it down and grasping the concepts.  The Arei Miklot of the Messianic era are the new revelations of Pnimiyus Hatorah from Moshiach, revelations so lofty that on their own they cannot be grasped and internalized — they are in the category of “forbidden (unable) to be eaten (internalized)”.  Shechita means taking that which cannot be internalized and making it able to be internalized.

The Leviyoson, who lives in the sea, the hidden world, represents serving Hashem spiritually via lofty spiritual unifications (יחודים עליונים).  The Shor Habar, which lives on dry land, the revealed world, represents the service of Hashem by refining physicality.  Each one has what the other lacks: the spiritual Leviyoson is in a way of elevation from Above, grasping lofty lights but they cannot be drawn down below; the Shor Habar is drawing everything into physicality, but it lacks the lofty revelations.

In the future there will the qualities of both of these dimensions together — that the lofty lights will be drawn down and revealed below.  How?  By shechting the Shor Habar with the fins of the Leviyoson*, meaning that great spiritual levels associated with the Leviyoson will be revealed in those matters associated with the Shor Habar type of Divine Service.  This means even the most lofty matters, things which cannot be grasped by the human intellect, will be drawn down in a way that they can indeed be grasped, that the Torah “from Me” which cannot be grasped at this time, will “go forth” to be grasped by human intellect.  The loftiest spiritual revelations will be drawn down below to into halacha that deals with physical objects.

And with this explanation in mind, let us note (and grasp) what the Rebbe says in the sicha of Parshas Vayeitzei, 5752:

The only thing lacking is — that a Jew should open his eyes properly, and should see how everything is ready for the Geulah!  There is the “set table” already, and there is already the Leviyoson and the Shor Habor and the aged wine, and Yidden are sitting at the table — “their father’s table”, together with Moshiach Tzidkeinu (as stated in seforim that in every generation there is one of the seed of Dovid who, due to his righteousness, is fitting to be Moshiach), and there is already a “heart to know and eyes to see and ears to hear”.

The table is set with the teachings of Moshiach, teaching things that we could never arrive at on our own, which enable us to grasp, in the vessels of Nigleh (Tanach, Midrashim, Mishnayos, Gemara, Halacha) great and lofty things which would otherwise be beyond human intellect.  All we need to do is to open our eyes to this reality, and proceed to “eat” — to learn and internalize these teachings, completing the refinement of the intellect, and bringing into our reality the revelations of the true and complete Geuloh!

“All the rest is commentary, now go and learn.”

* To note: the Midrash informs us that the Shor Habar will be shechted by the fins of the Leviyoson: the jagged edge of the fins tells us that this shechting will take place “step by step”, level after level.

Kuntres Shavuos 5751: “Above” is Created From Below

As explained in Chassidus, Sefiras Ha’Omer precedes Matan Torah because we must refine the 49 aspects of our Nefesh Behamis (animal soul) before we can receive the Torah. But the Torah itself was given to us to refine our animal soul (as Moshe argued to the Malochim who wanted Torah kept in the Heavens that Mitzvos like “Do Not Steal” only apply to one who has to combat an evil inclination). This raises the question: is refining the animal soul for the sake of receiving the Torah, or is receiving the Torah for the same of refining the animal soul?!

To answer this, the Rebbe points out the language pertaining to Sefiras ha’Omer: to count seven complete weeks (שבע שבתות תמימות). The Midrash asks when are the weeks “complete” תמימות? “When Yisroel are doing the will of the Omnipresent.”  This “doing the will of…” is accomplished through the love of “all your might” בכל מאודך (as we say in Shema). When we acheive this level — which is beyond our limitations — Hashem responds to us in a similar fashion, “as water reflects a face” כמים הפנים לפנים.  Meaning that what one sees in another person is the reflection of how one looks at them. This also applies Above.

The concepts here are explained at length and in much greater depth in the maamor, but the general idea is a familiar one — that our service of Hashem is what generates the “face” that is shown to us from Above.

The process by which the “face” is generated is:

  1. Hashem desires that our actions can have an effect;
  2. We generate a desire from our side, reflected in our efforts (העלאת מ”ן);
  3. From this is generated the “hidden” sefiros (עשר ספירות הגנוזות);
  4. These hidden sefiros are the source of the “revealed” sefiros (עשר ספירות הגלויות) which filter down to create the reality in our world.

To explain it more deeply, the Rebbe offers three levels of concealment: a) something which exists but it’s hidden העלם שישנו במציאות; b) something which only exists in potential נעלם שאינו במציאות; and c) a third level which doesn’t exist at all, only that there is a possibility for it (less of an existence than even “potential”, as explained in the maamor).  There is a moshol for each of these levels: the fire concealed in a coal; the (potential for) fire concealed in a flint stone; and the third level is likened to a name: without a name there is not even the possibility of calling the person, when he has a name there is a possibility that one could call him.

Regarding names, the Rebbe explains that it also refers to titles, such as “wise” and “kind” (חכם, חסיד) — that when one calls a person “wise” one awakens and reveals the latent wisdom the person possesses.

(The Rebbe is here teaching is something critical to our times: that in order to reveal the latent power of Moshiach, we need to address him with that title!  Meaning that there is practical significance to referring to the Rebbe as Melech haMoshiach.)

There are two key points to understand here.  Continue reading

Bamidbar/Shavuos 5751: Publish Your Chiddushim

…as mentioned, each individual should endeavor to develop new Torah concepts, and also, to publish them. To explain, every Jew has the potential — and according to the Zohar, it is an obligation — to develop new Torah concepts.

In the previous generations, people were very reticent to write, let alone, publish such Torah concepts, lest they not have appreciate the true intent of the law or concept with which they were concerned.

At present, however, there must be efforts in the opposite direction. It is necessary to take precautions that people do not write directives of Torah law when they are incapable of doing so. Nevertheless, simultaneously, it is necessary to do whatever is necessary to encourage people to increase their efforts in Torah study. [The widespread publication of Torah texts will, to a certain extent also insure that the ideas developed are accurate. No one will publish a Torah concept which he thinks might be in error. Thus, at the very least, for his own self-respect, he will recheck and review the Torah ideas he publishes.]

And for that reason, it is worthy to encourage all those who are trained in the proper approach to Torah study — even if they are not totally sure that the new concepts are 100% accurate — to publish and disseminate the Torah ideas that they develop. (Needless to say, however, it is proper to add that these texts should contain a statement saying that they should not be considered as works from which halachic directives for actual practice should be derived.)

We see the success of such an approach. When people compose Torah texts like these, they are inspired to dedicate more effort to Torah study. Similarly, “the envy of the scribes increases knowledge” and their efforts spur other colleagues to like endeavors.

May these activities spread the rest and tranquility associated with the giving of the Torah throughout the world and hasten the coming of “the era which is all rest and Shabbos for eternity.” Until the coming of that era, we are in a state of distress, as our Sages said, “Woe to the children who have been exiled from their Father’s table.” The exile has caused us travail in regard to our material welfare, and similarly, has prevented us from reaching our true potential in the service of G‑d. Indeed, it is impossible for us to appreciate how much the exile has hindered us, for we are all children of the exile. We have grown up in exile and it dominates our thought processes.

This, however, will be brought to an end in the near future. Through the service of teshuvah, each person will establish a connection with the essence of his soul. And this will lift us and the entire world above the limitations of the exile, into “the era which is all rest and Shabbos for eternity.”

(Translation from Sichos in English)

Kuntres Lag B’Omer: Open My Eyes

This discourse starts with the words of Tehillim “Open my eyes and I shall gaze at [hidden] wonders from Your Torah” (“גל עיני ואביטה נפלאות מתורתך”).  This should immediately grab our attention, since the Rebbe called this year “I will show wonders” (“אראנו נפלאות”) and over the year would proceed to explain that all we need to do is “open our eyes”.  In this discourse the Rebbe explains to us what this means.

The verse mentioned above has a connection with Lag B’Omer (when the maamor was originally said, and when, 14 years later, it was published in 5751).  Because the word גל (“Gal” — Open [my eyes]”) contains the same letters as “Lag” B’Omer ל”ג בעומר.

Lag B’Omer is not only the day that Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai appeared (to fleshly eyes) to pass away, but it was the day of “the main revelation” of the inner dimension of Torah.  As brought in the Zohar that Rashbi revealed “holy words that he had not revealed over the course of his life (because the things he revealed [at the time of his passing] were the highest matters, that even Rashbi had been afraid to reveal then prior to this”.   Who fails to see the bold hint here —  that the Rebbe, in the year before our fleshly eyes perceived 27 Adar and Gimmel Tammuz, is revealing the us (in Dvar Malchus) things which had not been revealed previously.

The Rebbe proceeds to address a simple question: if the inner dimension of Torah is concealed from us, then the request should be “reveal to me” the hidden matters.  But the verse requests instead “open my eyes” — implying that the concealment is due to the eyes and not to the matters being hidden from sight.

The answer is that the Torah was given in order that we will become elevated, becoming vessels in which Elokus can be revealed. And specifically in those matters which apply “down below” (such as eating, drinking, business, etc.).  In terms of “Your Torah” (to quote the posuk) this means perceiving the hidden dimension of Torah within the revealed dimension; the deep intentions (כוונות) which are enclothed in the mitzvos. In fact, the main refinement and purification of the lower beings (the main intent of the giving of the Torah, as mentioned above) takes place via the intentions of the mitzvos.

All of this is related to Rashbi and Lag B’Omer, as the other verse that contains a hint to this day is “this witness-mound of stones” (עד הגל הזה) that Yaakov Avinu built as a mechitza for Lavan that neither of them would cross.  As the Rebbe explains here, this mound of stones was never meant to be permanent (as opposed to a wall, which has permanence).  Rather, this mound of stones (“Tzimtzum” and concealment) was only constructed in order that Yisroel will do the work to remove it, and to reveal the inner dimension of the Tzimtzum itself.  This recognition — that the Tzimtzum is really for the sake of revelation (we could say by way of a moshol: like the father who hides from his son on order that the son will search for and find him) — is the accomplishment Rashbi, who refined this mechitza and brought about that the highest revelations could be perceived also in the lowest worlds.

This means that:

…the seeing of the wonders of Torah should be (not only because the wonders will be revealed, but rather)  because the Holy One, blessed be He, will open up the person’s eyes and the person will see the wonders of Torah in his own matters…that the Tzimtzum [the concealment which allows the dimension of “his own matters” to come into being] is really for the sake of revelation.”

In other words, the message of the year 5751, the year of “I will show wonders”, is that within matters that derive from the Tzimtzum itself, we should perceive the loftiest revelations of Elokus — in the  revealed world, in the revealed dimension of Torah.  And how can we possibly succeed to do that properly?  Through turning to Hashem and asking: “Open my eyes…”!