Video Shiur: Lech Lecha 5752

The Right Way To Conquer Israel

 

Chabadinfo.com Exclusive: In the last Sicha we heard from the Rebbe on Parshas Lech Lecha, in the year 5752, the Rebbe explained how G-d’s commandment to Avraham to go to Israel applies to every Jew, spiritually ● Learn this week’s Sicha with ChabadInfo.com’s Weekly Shiur of the “Dvar Malchus” Sicha in English, presented by Rabbi Menachem Mendel Lipskier, Mashpia of Mesivta of Melbourne, Australia ● Watch Video

 

Lech Lecha 5752: Pick up and Leave

Hashem’s instruction to Avraham Avinu “Lech Lecha” is a leaving (from “your land, your birth place, your father’s house”) for the sake of arriving: arriving to “the land I will show you”, Eretz Yisroel.

According to Chassidus, each of these expressions of leaving has a spiritual counterpart in the avodah of a Jew:

  • Your land (artzecha) refers to one’s will (ratzon), that one has to leave his concepts of “I want”;
  • Your birth place refers to the traits one was born with, to leave the concept of “that’s the way I am”;
  • Your father’s house refers to the education and training that one has become accustomed to.

First one must completely leave these three limiting self-conceptions (even if they are in the realm of Holiness), and having left them he can now proceed towards “the land I will show you”, the Land of Israel.  Back in parshas Pinchas the Rebbe explained that a Jew must “make here Eretz Yisroel”, make it “a place where G‑dliness, holiness, and Yiddishkeit are openly revealed”, and further: to conduct ourselves in the spirit of the Geulah.  Here the Rebbe says that we are far beyond the beginning of the process of conquering the land outside of  Israel and making it Eretz Yisroel, and thus the instruction to “go out from your land” in our case refers also to the land that has already been made into Eretz Yisrael. To not only “go out” from negative things, but to “go out” from the current, limited level we have obtained even in holy things.

This includes not only the land of the 7 nations, which correspond to the 7 midos (the 7 emotional attributes of chesed, gevurah, etc.), but the land of all 10 nations that was promised to Avraham, including the 3 nations of Keni, Kenizi and Kadmoni, which correspond to the 3 moichin (the 3 intellectual attributes of the soul: Kesser, Chochma, and Bina).  And the acquisition of this land will take place peacefully, without the war that was required to conquer the 7 lands, meaning the 7 midos.

This process of “Lech Lecha” — leaving what one is accustomed to, even good and holy things — takes place by revealing powers that one did not even know he had.  This includes adding in learning Torah and making chiddushim (novel insights), gathering people on Shabbos to teach them Torah.  This process of “Lech Lecha” is the preparation needed to reach the “Torah of Moshiach”, which is connected with the acquisition of the 3 lands, the 3 moichin, which is the “sha’ar haNun“, the 50th gate which Moshe Rabbeinu was only able to reach at the end of his life.  And through this we will reach the complete revelation of the Torah that was given at Har Sinai: the level of “a new Torah will go forth from Me” (Vayikra Rabba 13:3 on Yeshayahu 51:4).

Yechi Adoneinu Moreinu v’Rabbeinu Melech Hamoshiach L’Olam Vo’ed!

Noach “Saw a New World”

The opening verse in Parshas Noach says that “נֹ֗חַ אִ֥ישׁ צַדִּ֛יק תָּמִ֥ים הָיָ֖ה בְּדֹֽרֹתָ֑יו” “Noach was a righteous man, he was perfect in his generations”.  The Midrash on this posuk (Midrash Rabba Noach, 30:8) says in the name of R’ Levi: “Whoever it is said about them ‘he was’ saw a new world.”  The Midrash then enumerates five individuals, the first being Noach, citing that when he and his family exited the ark, they saw a new world.

In what sense did Noach see a new world?  Obviously, it was the same Earth, although following the waters of the flood surely the surface of the Earth looked different than it did previously.  And of course, the evildoers who populated the Earth previously were no longer around.  But can we really say that this is what it means to see a “new world”?

The Rebbe, in the sicha of Noach 5752, clues us in to what is being implied here according to pnimiyus haTorah:

In the creation of the world, the Torah refers to Hashem using two names: YKVK and Elokim.  YKVK is G-dliness that is above the world.  Elokim is the name which indicates concealment, allowing independent-feeling worlds to come into existence.  In the words of Tehillim: “The Sun and a shield [these are the names] YKVK [and] Elokim”.  The name YKVK is the emanation of worlds, the infinite “light” of the worlds, and Elokim is the “shield” or “filter” that conceals the light in order that finite worlds can come into existence.

“That in the reality of the world as it is created via the name Elokim is revealed the name YKVK, until it is recognizable in a revealed way that “YKVK is Elokim” (הוי’ הוא האלקים), that in truth the contraction and concealment (Elokim)  are really the name YKVK. הצמצום וההסתר (אלקים) הוא לאמיתתו שם הוי-ה

(Sicha Parshas Noach, 5752)

Meaning that the world is still the same world that was created via the name Elokim, only that it becomes revealed that really even this name Elokim is just a reduction of the light of YKVK, but not something independent or separate.

So the “new world” that Noach saw was not a new form of creation, but a new perception: he could now perceive how the world of Elokim is really a world of YKVK.  It was recognizable and revealed to him.  He saw the same world but in an entirely new way, thus he saw a “new world”.

We can use this to understand many things the Rebbe is trying to tell us in these Dvar Malchus sichos, giving us the tools to “open our eyes”, including the subject of last week’s sicha regarding “servitude to the nations”.  Over there the Rebbe explains how there is servitude to the nations in the time of Golus, but that this servitude does not extend to our neshomas, nor to our bodies as regards matters of Torah and mitzvos.  And even those things where we must follow the law of the land because “dina d’malchusa dina” (the law of the land is the law) is not because we are in servitude to the nations of the world, but because this is how Hashem wants it to be in the time of Golus.

In those short paragraphs, the Rebbe has opened our eyes to a “new world”: a world where there is no servitude to the nations, which is the definition of (the first period of) the Days of Moshiach!  In other words, if one is in a personal Golus and in fact believes that the Jewish people is in servitude to the nations, then in fact he is in such a state, r”l.  But when one internalizes what the Rebbe says there, he discovers that not only our neshomas and our bodies (as regards performing Torah and Mitzvos) are not in servitude to the nations, even those areas where we do go according to their decisions (monetary matters and the like) — this is not due to any form of “servitude” but rather it is Hashem’s will!  So by following civil monetary law, we are in fact fulfilling Hashem’s will no less than in other halachic matters!  Externally, it is the same Golus, but the Rebbe has given us the tools to “see through” the darkness of Golus and realize that the concealment of the name Elokim (Golus) is really coming from YKVK — a new world!

This is one example of many to be found in Chassidus in general, the Rebbe’s teachings in particular, and the Dvar Malchus sichos most especially.  By making these changes in our perception and understanding of the world, we place ourselves in a state of Geulah even while the world “continues in its natural way”.  This is the beginning of Yemos Hamoshiach, each one coming to the realization based on his own efforts to internalize these concepts.

Noach 5752

Translation by Sichos In English

1. Shabbos Parshas Noach is of general importance, for it is the first Shabbos after the week following Shabbos Bereishis, which concludes the month of Tishrei. It is in this week that the Jews begin their service within the context of mundane activities. In this context, the name of this week’s parshah, Noach is also significant. Noach in Hebrew is identified with rest and satisfaction, for this service should arouse such feelings.

In this context, we can appreciate the contrast between Shabbos Bereishis and Shabbos Parshas Noach. The Zohar states that all the days of the following week are blessed from Shabbos. Thus Shabbos Bereishis represents the blessing for the first week of ordinary mundane activity in the new year.Shabbos Parshas Noach represents the conclusion of this week, the day which infuses rest and perfection into this service. Thus Shabbos Bereishis can be considered as the source of potential, while it is on Shabbos Parshas Noach that we see how this potential is brought into actual expression.

There is another common, yet contrasting dimension to the Shabbasos of Bereishis and Noach. Both parshiyos are related to the existence of the world as a whole. Parshas Bereishis describes the creation of the world and Parshas Noach contains G‑d’s promise that the world will continue to exist forever.

There is, however, a distinct contrast between the two parshiyos. Bereishis describes the world as it exists as a complete and perfect entity, the world as G‑d conceived of it and created it. Parshas Noach, in contrast, describes the world after the descent into sin and the state of perfection that can be reached through the service of man who turns to G‑d in teshuvah. Through this service, man generates satisfaction and pleasure2 for G‑d as it were, fulfilling His desire to have a dwelling in the lower worlds.

To use different terminology, Parshas Bereishis reflects G‑d’s conception of the world — the potential. Parshas Noach, in contrast, reflects man’s service within the world as it actually exists. This can involve, as indeed is reflected in the beginning of Parshas Noach,a tremendous descent. Nevertheless, the ultimate result of this service is that the world is brought to a higher level of refinement and purity. This is reflected in the Midrash’sstatement, “Noach saw a new world.”

The service of man relates to a higher level of G‑dliness as is reflected in the contrast between the two parshiyos. In the beginning of Parshas Bereishis, when the Torah refers to G‑d, it uses the name Elokim.Elokim is numerically equal to hateva, “the nature” and is described as “the Master of potential and power,” i.e., the dimension of G‑dliness which brings our limited world into being.

In contrast, in regard to Noach, the Torah states “And Noach found favor in the eyes of Havayah,” i.e., he revealed a level of G‑dliness above the natural order within the world. Furthermore, this leads to the potential that Havayah will be fused with Elokim, that within the natural limits of the world, the name Havayah which reveals G‑dliness above those limits will be revealed.4

This fusion of Elokim and Havayah is reflected in the covenant G‑d established with Noach regarding the existence of the world, that the natural order would continue without interruption. For the maintenance of the natural order is a reflection of G‑d’s infinite power, i.e., the lack of change in the natural order is a reflection of how “I G‑d have not changed.”

And from Parshas Noach, we proceed to Parshas Lech Lecha, which begins with the command “Go out” — i.e., that a person must leave his previous spiritual level — and proceed to “the land which I will show you.” Moreover, the expression “I will show you,” arecka in Hebrew, can also be rendered “I will reveal you,” i.e., the Jew’s essential self will be revealed. For it is through the service in refining this earthly plane, that a Jew reveals his true potential. Regardless of a Jew’s position in the world, he is connected with G‑dliness and thus he can elevate the world, revealing G‑dliness within it. And in this manner, he relates to a higher level of G‑dliness and is able to draw down even this level within the world.

2. Based on the above, we can appreciate that Parshas Noach is an appropriate time to make a just account of our service in the new year, to examine our service in the days of the previous week and indeed on this Shabbos itself.5 This just account must focus on the intent described above, to draw down the transcendent aspects of G‑dliness (Havayah) into our material world.

This is reflected in the service of teshuvah of which it is said, “Return O Israel to G‑d (Havayah), your L‑rd (Elokecha),” i.e., that the transcendent dimensions of the Jewish soul become internalized and function as “your power and your life-energy.” To emphasize this, our Yom Kippur prayers, the peak of the service of teshuvah, conclude with the recitation of the phrase “Havayah hu haElokim,” (“G‑d is the L‑rd”) seven times.

To explain what is involved: Although Torah law teaches us that we can assume that every member of the Jewish people conducts himself in a proper manner, this applies when thinking about the conduct of a colleague. In regard to one’s conduct, we cannot rely on this assumption and from time to time, each person must go through a process of introspection in which he carefully examines his thought, speech, and action with the intent of correcting and perfecting his conduct. This should lead to an actual change in his behavior, for “Deed is most essential.”

These concepts are reflected in the service of teshuvah. Although “the essence of teshuvah is in the heart,”6 for teshuvah to be complete it must affect one’s deeds. In particular, this is reflected in the sphere of interpersonal relations, when in addition to feeling remorse for one’s previous deeds and resolving to conduct oneself in a proper way in the future, one must right the wrong which he committed, e.g., if one stole,7 one must return the stolen object. Furthermore, it is necessary to appease one’s colleague and arouse positive feelings.

{The focus on interpersonal relations is particularly appropriate on Shabbos, for there is a great emphasis on ahavas Yisrael and achdus Yisrael (brotherly love and Jewish unity) on Shabbos. This is reflected in the Jewish custom of inviting guests for Shabbos and spending time together at the Shabbos table.}

There are two approaches to the just account of one’s conduct mentioned above. One involves focusing one’s attention on the particular weaknesses and failings evident in one’s behavior. The other places the emphasis on involvement in positive activity, thrusting oneself into the service of Torah and mitzvos with renewed energy.8 In this way, all negative factors will be nullified for “a little light (— and how much more so, much light —) banishes much darkness.”

Ultimately, there should be a fusion of both services, that a person’s focus of attention to his past conduct be included in a process of growth and development that is intended to lift one to a higher and more elevated rung.

When one approaches this just account in this fashion, one’s feelings are not centered on bitterness or sorrow — although one is aware of problems that must be corrected. One is involved in a process of striving to ascend upward and this is the focus of one’s emotions. Furthermore, one appreciates that the reason for one’s descent is to come to the service of teshuvah, to demonstrate that regardless of the situation a Jew finds himself in, he still shares an essential connection with G‑d. For these reasons, the just account mentioned above will be accompanied by feelings of happiness and pleasure.

The above shares an intrinsic connection to Shabbos in general and to Shabbos Parshas Noach in particular. Shabbos is identified with the verse “And the seventh day will be a Shabbos unto G‑d (Havayah), your L‑rd (Elokecha).” More particularly, the passage Vayechulu which contains the Torah’s description of the Shabbos states, Vayechal Elokimwhich can be rendered “And Elokim was concluded…,” i.e., on Shabbos, the limiting influences associated with the name Elokim ceased and the unlimited light of Havayah was revealed in the world.9

Shabbos Parshas Noach emphasizes that this service must be characterized by happiness, for we are in the aftermath of the month of Tishrei, a month of festivals.10 Thus it indicates that our service of teshuvah must also be permeated with happiness.

The concept of making a just account of one’s service has a unique relevance in the present year. We are living in an era when, to borrow an expression from the Previous Rebbe, “the buttons are already polished”11 and all the service necessary to bring the Redemption has been completed. Ultimately, then, the just account we make must lead to the conclusion that Mashiach must come immediately.

Every individual may realize that his own service is lacking and, in need of correction. This, however, does not affect the status of the service required of the Jewish people as a whole over the course of the generations. In the latter context, we must be conscious, as the Previous Rebbe stated, that all the service necessary has been completed and we are “ready to receive Mashiach.” There is no explanation why his coming is being delayed.

Therefore, even if there is a particular dimension of service which is lacking and which is delaying the coming of the Redemption, this does not diminish the fact that as a whole, our service is complete and we are ready for the Redemption. Although these particular elements of service must also be completed, this does not detract from the service of the Jewish people as a whole. On the contrary, the fact that as a whole, we are prepared for the Redemption makes it easier for us to complete all the individual elements of our service and to do so with happiness.

To explain the concept in an analogy: When a person is healthy as a whole, if he has a small ailment in one of his limbs, it can easily be cured. Similarly, since as a whole, our service has been completed, teshuvah which is described as “healing” can cure all the particular difficulties of the Jewish people.12

This is particularly true when taking into consideration the influence of the present year, shnas niflaos bah, “a year imbued with wonders” and shnas niflaos bakol, “a year of wonders in all things.” Included in these wonders will surely be the wonders that will accompany the Redemption, “As in the days of your exodus from Egypt, I will show you wonders.” For all the appointed times for Mashiach’s coming have passed, and we have already turned to G‑d in teshuvah. Now the matter is dependent only on Mashiach himself.

* * *

3. In connection with making a just account of our service as mentioned above, one of the areas in which additional attention is necessary is Kiddush HaLevanah, the Sanctification of the Moon. This practice is intrinsically related to the Redemption, indeed, the renewal of the moon is used as a metaphor for the renewal of the Jewish people in this era.13

There are individuals who are not meticulous in their observance of this practice. Perhaps this is because the prayers for the Sanctification of the Moon must be recited outside and since they live among gentiles, this is uncomfortable. Needless to say, this is improper. On the contrary, the Sanctification of the Moon should be observed in public, “within the multitude of the people is the glory of the King,” and while wearing one’s finest clothing. For this reason, it is customary to recite these prayers on Saturday night.14 And through the Sanctification of the Moon, we will merit the renewal of the Jewish people and the renewal of the Davidic dynasty and then, we fulfill the command with which the Torah reading of the Minchah service begins, “Go out… to the land which I will show you,” Eretz Yisrael in its complete state, a land of ten nations in the Era of the Redemption. Then it will be revealed in a complete and perfect manner how Havayah hu haElokim, “G‑d is the L‑rd.” (The Rebbe Shlita concluded the sichah by reciting the verse Havayah hu haElokim seven times in the niggun in which this verse is recited at the conclusion of the Yom Kippur prayers.)

FOOTNOTES

1.

Our Sages also emphasize that Shabbos completes and elevates the service of the previous week. Thus Shabbos Bereishis is also associated with the service of the month of Tishrei. Because of this unique fusion of opposites, the Rebbeim would say, “The stance which we adopt on Shabbos Bereishis determines the nature of our conduct in the entire year to come.”

2.

As mentioned above, the Hebrew for these terms relate to the name Noach.

3.

Even later in the parshah when the name Havayah (v-u-v-h) is mentioned, it is a dimension of Havayah which can be enclothed within the name Elokim.

4.

Indeed, this brings about the revelation a higher dimension of Havayah.

5.

For Shabbos has the potential to elevate and enhance the service of the previous week.

6.

Thus our Sages explain that with one thought of teshuvah, a person can be transformed into a perfect tzaddik regardless of his previous level of service.

7.

This includes even a more abstract conception of theft, to cite an example given by our Sages, a person who does not return a greeting which he was given. Even if a person had no intent of hurting his colleague’s feelings and the reason he failed to return the greeting was because one was involved with the performance of a mitzvah, he is required to appease his colleague.

8.

This service has an advantage over the previous one. When a person is concerned with his own conduct, his approach is limited in nature. In contrast, in the latter approach, one is involved in the unlimited light of Torah.

9.

The association of both teshuvah and Shabbos with the fusion of Havayah and Elokim reflects the intrinsic connection shared by these two services. Indeed, the very Hebrew letters of the word Shabbos (שבת) can be rearranged to form toshev (תשב).

On Shabbos, the emphasis is on the higher level of teshuvah which as explained in Iggeres HaKodesh, is expressed through Torah study, man’s spirit clinging to G‑d’s spirit through the study of the Torah. The all-encompassing oneness achieved through such study reflects the oneness which will be experienced in the Era of the Redemption, “the era which is all Shabbos and rest for eternity,” when “the earth will be filled with the knowledge of G‑d as the waters cover up the ocean bed.”

10.

Although the Tachanun prayers were already recited in the previous week, since their recitation followed a hiatus of several weeks, it did not interrupt the atmosphere of happiness that continues after the festivals.

11.

This is all the more relevant today, over forty years after the Previous Rebbe’s passing, when we have been granted “a knowing heart, eyes that see, and ears that hear” in regard to all his teachings.

12.

Furthermore, teshuvah has the potential to “heal” in a manner in which it is as if the “ailment” never existed. In contrast, to other medical treatments which often heal the condition only in regard to the future.

13.

See the essay, “The Sanctification of the Moon; a Foretaste of the Redemption,” Sichos In English, 5752, where this theme is developed at length.

14.

Nevertheless, these prayers cannot be recited unless the moon is actually seen. If it is covered by clouds, their recitation must be postponed. There are two other factors to consider in regard to the time of the Sanctification of the Moon: a) According to Torah law, these prayers can only be recited until the middle of the month, i.e., 14 1/2 days after the rebirth of the moon. b) According to the Kabbalah, the moon should not be sanctified until seven days have passed since its rebirth.

In the winter months, when the skies are cloudy, there is a question if one should wait until Saturday night for the Sanctification of the Moon. For example, if Shabbos is the twelfth of the month, should one risk waiting until Saturday night if there is the possibility that the skies will be cloudy for the next three nights. We find indeed that because of such reasons, there were times that the Tzemach Tzedek would recite these prayers before the seventh of the month. Therefore, in these matters, it is proper to consult a Rav who is aware of the metrological conditions.

Video Shiur: Noach 5752

G-d Commands You — Leave The Exile

 

In the most recent Sicha we heard from the Rebbe on Parshas Noach, in the year 5752, the Rebbe explained how the end of the Parsha holds an urgent message for Jews, that we must leave exile immediately ● Learn this week’s Sicha with the Weekly Shiur of the “Dvar Malchus” Sicha in English, presented by Rabbi Menachem Mendel Lipskier, Mashpia of Mesivta of Melbourne, Australia ● Watch Video

 

Noach 5752: Geulah is Dependent Only on Moshiach Himself

The chosid R’ Zushya Willemovsky, “The Partisan”, was told by the Rebbe in a private audience in the 1960s that there remained 20 or 21 things that needed to be accomplished in order for Moshiach to come.  From this we learn the significance of the sichos of Dvar Malchus in general, and parshas Noach in particular — that everything has been accomplished and nothing is preventing the Geulah.

In this sicha, the Rebbe speaks about the importance of periodically making a proper spiritual accounting (cheshbon tzedek) to search out a recognize the areas in ourselves which need improvement, even things that are very slight imperfections (such as causing someone to feel bad because we didn’t return their greeting(!)).  This should be done with joy, with recognition that it is easier than ever to rectify these matters because the Jewish people, who are like one body, “are found in a state of an individual who is healthy in all of his limbs and organs, both spiritually and physically, and thus anything that is lacking is likened to a weakness or a minor illness in one limb which can be healed quickly and easily”.

Furthermore, when a person takes stock of himself and recognizes that he has flaws and failings which need to be rectified, “this is not a contradiction, G-d forbid, to the testimony of the Leader of the Generation that the work has already been completed and we are standing ready to receive Moshiach Tzidkeinu.”  Yes, we need to search these things out, and upon identifying them to rectify them, but these things do not delay Moshiach’s coming.

Dependent Only on Moshiach Himself

“With absolute certainty all the ‘end times’ have passed, and [the Jewish people] have already done tshuva, and now the matter is not dependent upon anything other than Moshiach Tzidkeinu himself!  (Italics in the original.)  Towards the end of the sicha the Rebbe repeats: “…when we do a proper accounting at  the end of the first week of the year 5752, “it will be a year with wonders in it”, we come to the conclusion that the matter is not dependent upon anything other than Moshiach Tzidkeinu himself (as stated above)…”

It might seem that the implication of these words is that we have done all that we can do, now all that remains would be to wait for Moshiach to decide when to reveal himself.  However, this sicha was preceded a half a year earlier by the famous sicha of Chof-Ches Nissan, 5751, where the Rebbe told the Chassidim that he had done everything he could do, all that remains is to give it over to us to bring Moshiach.  (Several days later a woman passed by the Rebbe for dollars, crying that we were counting on the Rebbe to bring Moshiach, to which the Rebbe answers “it must be done by Klal Yisroel, you included, and this person included, and that person included…”  [View the video])  

This means that we need a different way to understand the expression “the matter is not dependent upon anything other than Moshiach Tzidkeinu himself” — since the Rebbe clearly has put in the hands of the Jewish people to “do all that you can” to bring Moshiach in actuality.  Meaning that it is clearly not the Rebbe’s intention that we stage around crying out to Moshiach: “reveal yourself!”  If so, if it is not enough to wait patiently (or, even impatiently) — then what is implied by the matter being dependent upon Moshiach himself?

We can better understand this expression in light of the words of the Rebbe in the sicha of Chayeh Sara (three weeks after this parshas Noach) in which the Rebbe describes the chiddush, the change in the shlichus which becomes the new gateway for the rest of the efforts of shlichus, namely: to accept Moshiach Tzidkeinu in the true and complete Geulah.”  (Italics in original.)

 This sheds light on the expression in our sicha, “that the matter is not dependent upon anything other than Moshiach Tzidkeinu himself ” — it is not that we are waiting for Moshiach to do something, since we already know that we are the ones who have to do (“do all that you can“).  Rather, the statement comes to tell us what it is that we need to do, that our efforts to bring Moshiach pertain to Moshiach himself: to accept this individual as Moshiach, to make him (personally my, and collectively our) King.  Everything else has been done, the road has been paved to Moshiach.  Now, all that remains is the acceptance of his Kingship by the people, and this is what “flicks the switch” to the true and complete Geulah!

Yechi Adoneinu Moreinu v’Rabbeinu Melech Hamoshiach L’Olam Vo’ed!

Bereishis 5752: No Servitude to the Nations

The Rambam, in his “Laws of Kings and Their Wars and Melech HaMoshiach”, declares that the coming of Moshiach and the process of redemption are not dependent upon the miraculous.  “Do not expect that in the Days of Moshiach the  pattern of conduct of the world will change, but rather the word will conduct itself in a normal manner…”  “Our sages have taught that there is no difference between this world and the world to come is servitude to the nations.” (Chapter 12)  This means to say that even in the Messianic Era (the first stage), the world continues to go in a natural way, however the Jewish people are no longer in a state of “servitude” to the nations as they were during golus.

In this sicha, the Rebbe explains how the Jewish nation was chosen by Hashem and thus the entire Creation exists for the sake of the Jewish people and thus the truth is that the nations of the world do not truly hold sway over us (“servitude”).

Even though the Jewish people in exile are found in a state of “servitude to the nations”, and there is a command in the Torah “the law of the land is the law” (dina d’malchusa dina)…the reason is not due to fear of the nations of the world (at the time of exile) G-d-forbid, but quite the contrary: Jews are the primary thing (reishis) and the nations of the world were created for their sake….  Rather, the reason is that this is the way the Holy One, blessed be He, ordered things, that this is how things need to be in the time of exile.

Although in certain matters (monetary cases, taxes, and the like) “the law of the land is the law”, yet this does not infringe upon matters of Torah and Mitzvos, the soul, and also does infringe on the bodies and the physicality (and materiality) of a Jew, for he always remains primary (reishis) and above the nations of the world.  The command that “the law of the land is the law” is not because he is in a state of servitude to the nations of the world, but because this is what Hashem decreed to be the state of affairs in exile (“because of our sins [we were exiled from our land]”).

In other words, the Rebbe is quite clearly stating that we are not now in a state of servitude to the nations in any respect.  This is explained as having always been the case, however it is clear that the Rebbe is indicating that a new threshold has been reached: while the Jewish people have always been in essence above servitude to the nations, this was not something that was perceptible in the world (a world of persecution and suffering for the Jewish people, both materially and spiritually).  But now it is possible to recognize that although we and the world still operate in the natural way, the Jewish people are not in a state of servitude to the nations of the worlds.

This is evident in a simple sense (freedom to fulfill Torah and Mitzvos in every country where Jews live), as the Rebbe points out in the sicha.  It is also referring to something deeper (and not explained explicitly in the sicha).  According to Chassidus, the “nations of the world” (which are numbered as 70 according to Torah) refer to our midos, our natural responses to what we understand according to our human intellect which is informed by the physical world we inhabit.  Servitude to the nations of the world, according to Chassidus, means that a person cannot escape the feelings and emotions generated by his worldly outlook.  To be free of servitude to the nations means: although one still perceives the world as operating in the natural manner (according to “nature” rather than Torah) one is not bound to this perception, and in fact one is free to understand things according to Torah and to have feelings and emotions generated by Torah rather than the “way of nature”.

As an example: a person has a lack of income, the “nations of the world” tell him that he must cut down on the amount he gives to tzedaka, and work more hours, including on Shabbos, in order to generate more income.  The Torah says that he should increase the amount he gives to tzedaka and to be careful not to work on Shabbos.  Servitude to the nations of the world means that even though he knows what Torah says, nonetheless he feels forced to cut back on tzedaka and to work on Shabbos–he is enslaved to the outlook of the natural world.  To be freed from this servitude means that not only does he not feel “forced” to do these things, but on the contrary he can actually feel the need to give additional tzedaka. He has been liberated from the natural perspective, even though he continues to perceive the world as operating in a natural manner.

We still see a natural world, but we are now free to relate to that world in the way that Torah instructs — without feeling compulsion from the nations of the world (from without or from within).  This is the first stage of the Messianic Era.

Yechi Adoneinu Moreinu v’Rabbeinu Melech Hamoshiach L’Olam Vo’ed!


Links:
This sicha (translated by Sichos In English)
This sicha in Hebrew (from Otzar770)