Yud Shevat: “Yahrzeit” of a Living Man

Yud Shevat marks the yahrzeit and Hillula (anniversary of the passing) of the Previous Rebbe in 5710 (1950), the father-in-law of the Rebbe MH”M.  His resting place is in Montefiore Cemetery in Cambria Heights, NY, commonly referred to as “the Ohel”.

The Rebbe, MH”M, oversaw all the details, wrote the text of the gravestone, and even designed the Ohel structure itself (in a way that Kohanim could enter and avoid the halachic prohibition of being in proximity to a grave).  The Rebbe visited the Ohel on a twice-weekly basis, and often more frequently than that.

At the same time, the Rebbe continued to refer to his father-in-law as “Nosi Doreinu”, the leader of the generation, and the “Moshiach of the generation“.  The Rebbe asserted that “hu bachayim” (“he is alive”), like Yaakov Avinu who did not die.  Each year on the Previous Rebbe’s birthday, the Rebbe spoke about his father-in-law’s new chapter of Tehillim, just like anyone else who has a birthday and begins a new year of life.  The Rebbe spoke sharply that his father-in-law does not have an issue of inheritance because he is “fresher and more lively” each passing year.

Yud Shevat is the yahrzeit of a living man, the Ohel is the gravesite of a living man.

If we don’t understand, the problem is ours to ponder and to research.  When we will understand how the gemora can state the “Moshe didn’t die” and “Yaakov didn’t die” and that after his passing Rebbi Yehuda Hanosi would appear at the home of his family on Shabbos night (and made Kiddush for them) — then surely we will begin understand the meaning of Yud Shevat and how eternal life is not contradicted by a yahrzeit nor by a gravestone.

יחי אדוננו מורנו ורבינו מלך המשיח לעולם ועד

20) Kuntres Yud Shevat 5752: Avoidah, Stage 2

20) Kuntres Yud Shevat 5752: Avoidah, Stage 2

Note: This Maamor is NOT based on the chapter of Bosi Legani that we learn this year.  (Unless you are reading this in the year תשצ”ב)

For 40 years the Rebbe would say a Chassidic discourse on one of the 20 chapters of the last maamor (Chassidic discourse) written by the Frierdicker Rebbe, entitled Bosi LeGani.  Every year at the Yud Shevat farbrengen, the Rebbe would say a maamor (sometimes more than one) on that year’s chapter.  Beginning from 5749 the Rebbe did not say a new maamor, instead an edited version of a maamor on that year’s chapter was printed.  The cycle started again in 5751 (addressing chapter 1) and the maamor printed in 5752 can be expected to have added significance, as it was released during the year of Dvar Malchus sichos.  In fact, when looked at in this light one indeed finds a message that fits with the unique chiddushim of 5751-52.

A general point: the edited version of a maamor is often significantly different from the way the Rebbe originally said the maamor.  In some instances, the edited maamor is so different from the original that it presents a completely opposite perspective.  (For example: the Rebbe once said a maamor in which the he spoke about the superiority of Torah over Mitzvos; when edited and published, the maamor addresses the superiority of Mitzvos over Torah!)  In the maamor published for Yud Shevat 5752, it is noteworthy to point out that the relevant “chiddush” is not explicitly stated in the original, unedited version of the maamor which the Rebbe said in 5732 (which can be viewed here), but when edited in 5752 the Rebbe saw fit to state it clearly.  The matter is as follows:

One who has been following Dvar Malchus, or has learned the Rebbe’s sichos and maamorim from all the years, is likely familiar with the concepts of the revelation from Above as opposed to the effort we make from below.  In this maamor, this is associated with Matan Torah (from Above to below) and the Mishkan (the vessel for receiving the revelation of Elokus).  The Rebbe explains that “this that Hashem desired to have a dwelling place down below (“dira b’tachtonim”) is that there will be a revelation of Elokus below via the avoidoh of human beings.”  Thus, the main element is the Mishkan (and Mikdash), where the avoidah of korbanos takes place.

The Mishkan (and by extension, the Mikdash) has two distinct stages.  The first is the making of the Mishkan (עשיית המשכן), the second is the avoidah which takes place in the mikdash — the avoidah of iskafiya and is’hap’cha (“breaking” the evil inclination, and “elevating” the inclination).  There is an aspect of “ikkar Shechina” that is drawn down through the making of the Mishkan (ועשו לי מקדש) , and after this is a higher level (נעלית יותר) that is drawn down by the two aspects of avoidah.  States the Rebbe: “therefore, the main avoidah that took place in the Mishkan and Mikdash was the avoidah of sacrifices (korbanos), iskafiya and is’hap’cha.”

From here we see the first point: the main thing is not the making of the Mishkan, but rather the avoidah that follows.  The original maamar of Bosi Legani can leave one with the impression that the main thing is the making of the Mishkan and the gilui Shechina that comes with it (the work of Moshe Rabbeinu, the 7th generation, as quoted in the maamar).  Similarly, after hearing the Rebbe’s revelation that 770 is the actual place of the 3rd Beis Hamikdash (“Beis Rabbeinu sh’b’Bovel“), and that “all Jews will find themselves standing (איבערגעשטעלט) in our Holy Land together with the third Beis Hamikdosh WHICH WE HAVE HERE (וואס מ’האט דא)…” (Sicha of 28 Sivan, 5751), we might become so excited we might lose sight of the fact that this is only the first stage; the Rebbe is clarifying for us that only after the first stage does the work really begin!*

The second point involves the distinction between “breaking” and “transforming” the evil inclination (the avoidah of iskafiya and is’hap’cha).  In general, Chassidus explains that “breaking” the evil inclination is the challenge of the average Jew, the Beinoni, as he stands up to its challenges.  Tzaddikim, who are not tempted by evil, don’t have those nisyonos, and their avoidah is that of transforming evil.  This would lead one to imagine that the Beinoni graduates to the avoidah of transforming evil when his avoidas haBirurim is completed.  This would seemingly be supported by the shift in focus from iskafiya in the previous generations (exemplified by the conduct of great Chassidim like Itche der Masmid), to the avoidah of transforming and elevating the world around us.  In this maamar, the Rebbe clarifies that in fact the avoidah of transforming evil is primarily associated with the making of the Mishkan (the first stage, mentioned above), whereas the avoidah of korbanos (the second stage) is essentially breaking (nullifiying) evil, just as the korban itself is completely nullified in the fire of the mizbe’ach.  In other words: after the revelation of “ikkar shechina” that is drawn down by the making of the mishkan, the higher level revelation is drawn down by our avoidah of iskafiya.  Not only is iskafiya still relevant — it is the main avoidah(Not to say that the iskafiya of today is the same as the iskafiya of previous generations, ואין כאן המקום לאריך).

It comes out that while the every Bosi LeGani maamar since the original Yud Shevat begins with the greatness of the drawing down of the Shechina through the making of the Mishkan, here in the latest (as of now) maamar the Rebbe brings out clearly that there is a higher level achieved through the avoidah that is performed after the Mishkan is built.  Once could say that here the Rebbe is connecting the beginning of his leadership (“…Moshe, he is the 7th, and all 7ths are beloved, drew down the Shechina into this world…mainly in the Beis Hamikdash, as is stated ‘make for me a Mikdash’…”) with the completion of more than 40 years of that leadership (when we have “a heart to know, eyes to see, ears to hear, etc.”), and clarifying for us that we aren’t finished yet!

* Well-known is the comment of the Rebbe to J.J. Hecht, after the latter was working very hard on a particular project and expressed to the Rebbe that at least when Moshiach comes we’ll be able to relax.  The Rebbe responded that when Moshiach comes we will start to work several times harder!

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?!

The answer is that the revelation of G-dliness that is represented by the Pharaoh of kedusha is a revelation of all levels of holiness, up to and including Hashem’s very essence (“atzmus“).  The Zohar calls it “the breaking out of all the lights”.  A soul enclothed in a limited physical body cannot hope to receive such a revelation without being nullified out of existence.  Thus, Moshe was afraid.  So Hashem reassures him “come” to Pharaoh, meaning Hashem Himself, Hashem’s very essence, will accompany Moshe and because Hashem is all-capable (particularly expressed in Hashem’s essence), this will make it possible for Moshe–even as a soul enclothed in a body–to receive and internalize this revelation of G-dliness.

The Rebbe explains what sort of revelation we are speaking about: it is the revelation of the unlimited within the limited vessel of the body.  To reveal the unlimited within the limited–a complete contradiction–is only with in the power of Hashem’s essence.  Only Hashem’s atzmus can put the lights of Tohu into the vessels of Tikkun.

Why is it so important that Moshe receive this revelation while enclothed soul in body?  Because this represents the fulfillment of Hashem’s intent in Creation: to make a dwelling place down below, that the highest revelations (Hashem’s atzmus) should be revealed “below”–to a soul in a body.  This occurred in the most complete manner at Matan Torah, when Hashem gave us the Torah at Har Sinai, when this revelation was experienced by the entire Jewish people (and if not for the sin of the Golden Calf, it would have been the true and complete Geuloh).  Thus, by giving this revelation to Moshe Rabbeinu, it is a preparation and the beginning of the process.


The Torah tells us that Moshe Rabbeinu doubted his ability to take the Bnei Yisroel out of Egypt because he was “heavy of mouth and heavy of tongue” and he had “uncircumcized lips”.  The explanation of this, according to Chassidus, the inner dimension of Torah, is that the level of Moshe Rabbeinu’s soul is so lofty that it is above the level that can be revealed in speech.  The source of Moshe Rabbeinu’s soul is in the primordial world of Tohu, unlimited spiritual lights which cannot be limited into constraining vessels.  Thus, to express this in a limited world was not possible–Moshe Rabbeinu’s self-expression was hindered by the world’s own limitations.  This was not Moshe’s problem, but the world’s problem. (By way of analogy: similar to when one turns up the volume too high for the loudspeakers to handle, the music comes out distorted.  Not because there is a problem with the music, but because the loudspeakers are unable to handle such a high level.)

This was true from the beginning, and the very fact that Moshe Rabbeinu was able to communicate at all in Egypt was only due to the fact that Hashem miraculously enabled him to be understood.  But Moshe was not yet “healed” from his “problem” until Hashem revealed His Essence at Matan Torah by saying “Anochi” in the Ten Commandments.  This is because the complete revelation in speech within the entire world could only occur after the destruction of klipas Mitzrayim.  Thus, “Come to Pharaoh”, which represents the breaking of that klipa was the first step in the revelation of Hashem’s atzmus, and via Moshe Rabbeinu it could then be drawn down to the entire Jewish people (at Matan Torah).

This revelation of Hashem’s essence which can unify the limited and the unlimited is the purpose of Creation, and thus we find that the Ramban writes (and Chassidus concurs) that the ultimate reward and ultimate state of being is souls in bodies at the resurrection of the dead (and not souls without bodies, which is the Rambam’s opinion).

This is also why the Bnei Yisroel had to borrow the gold and silver vessels from the Egyptians rather than take them (as well-earned back pay for generations of slavery): because not only does Egypt need to be “nullified”, but it needs to be transformed to the point that it willingly wants to help the Jewish people leave exile.  Only in cases where this cannot be accomplished, and there is no other choice, is there a need to “break” and “nullify”; otherwise, the preferred path is that it should be done in a peaceful way where the other side itself is a willing partner.)

At the time of the Egyptian exile the birurim (refinements) were not yet finished, but now we stand at the end of golus and all the refinement has been completed and thus we will leave this exile:

in a way of spiritual and physical ease, in a state of ultimate perfection and health — souls in bodies, and passing over immediately (without any interruption at all) to eternal life of souls in bodies in the true and complete Geuloh (the ultimate state of reward, as mentioned above).


On Yud Shevat, 5710 (1950) the Previous Lubavitcher Rebbe passed away.  Says the Rebbe: on Yud Shevat the Moshe Rabbeinu of our generation, the Previous Rebbe, experienced “Come to Pharaoh”–“the breaking out of all the lights”.   And through the fact that he received this revelation, now it can be drawn down to all the people of the generation.  Right now, however, this revelation remains in a way where the Previous Rebbe is found soul higher than the body.

The Previous Rebbe, like Moshe Rabbeinu, suffered from “speech being in exile” because later in life he was unable to speak clearly.  But we understand from what we learned about Moshe Rabbeinu that this was due to the limitation of the world, not of the Rebbe–because the birurim were not yet completed.  Thus, in the previous generation, there was a histalkus of the soul from the body, unlike in our generation when we can receive the revelation of “the breaking out of all the lights” in a way where the soul remains in the body!  This will occur through the coming of Moshiach Tzidkeinu immediately and will cause the ultimate elevation of all the generations that came before through the “awakening from the dust” (resurrection of the dead).


Not only are the Jewish people standing ready for Geuoh, the nations of the world are also standing ready for the Jewish people to go out of golus and to go to Eretz Yisroel in the true and complete Geuloh.  This means souls in bodies without any interruption.  The Rebbe goes on to state that:

Spiritually (reaching to the highest levels) the matters are already completed up to the completion of the Geuloh (spiritually).  The spiritual eyes of a Jew already see the Geuloh; at present one needs only to open up the physical eyes, that they should also see the Geuloh as it is revealed to eyes of flesh at this time…the chiddush of the Geuloh is found in the revelation of “the breaking out of all the lights” will also be in the physicality of the world which appears to eyes of flesh, in physical time and place, making a dwelling place for Him down below.

A spiritual Geuloh is not sufficient, it must be a Geuloh that is visible to eyes of flesh.  First and foremost, this is to express in our own conduct a revelation of Hashem’s atzmus, Hashem’s essence, which permeates everything equally.  This means from the loftiest things (Torah, Tefillah, Chesed) to the most mundane things (eating, sleeping, working)–our entire lives must show the world that we are in a state of Geuloh.  Through this even loftier things will be revealed to us, through the coming of Moshiach Tzidkeinu this very second!

For further reading:

All That Remains is to Open Up the Eyes

The Generation That Does Not Die

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

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

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:

Rabbi Elazar ben Azariah said: I am like a person seventy years old and yet I did not merit (to understand the source for the obligation) to recall the exodus from Egypt at night until Ben Zoma explained: “It is written, ‘so that you recall the day you left Egypt all the days of your life.’ ‘The days of your life,’ this refers to the actual days. ‘All the days of your life,’ includes the nights as well.” Our Sages say: “ ’The days of your life,’ this refers to the present era. ‘All the days of your life,’ includes the Era of the Redemption.”

There are three levels: Day (when the light of Hashem is shining); Night (the darkness of exile); and the Days of Moshiach (Yemos Hamoshiach, which we will explain).

The Rebbe refers here to Yemos Hamoshiach as a time of “a state of Geulah”, which seemingly is not the same thing as Geulah.  Rather, it is a unification of Geulah (completely transcending all limitations) with golus — where the unlimited aspect of the Geulah is “drawn down into the limitations of the reality of olam hazeh”.

How can such a thing happen, the unlimited being drawn into the limited?  This is the unique power of the Nosi, the leader of the generation (as was Rabbi Elazar ben Azaria, mentioned above):

The chiddush of the leader of Yisroel (“Nosi b’Yisroel” — the word “Nosi” coming from the word “exalted” התנשאות) is that he connects and unifies “all the days of your life” of every single Jew and of all of Israel — “all the days of your life” the physical days in olam hazeh and particularly in the time of golus (“nights”) — with the Geulah in general and with Yemos Hamoshiach in particular… specifically the Nosi has the power to connect and unify the golus with the Geulah.

For us, this means that “all the days of your life” — as a soul in a body in this physical and material world and in the time of golus, we can go out from the limitations of this world and, more than this: put ourselves in a state of Yemos Hamoshiach!  It is true that the complete Geulah depends on everything being “as it should be” (תוכו כברו).  Nonetheless, even in a personal state of golus (when one is not “as he should be”) he is given special help from the Holy One, blessed be He, and he is given the ability to bring about the true and complete Geuloh.  This is why Rabbi Elazar ben Azaria changed the policy and opened up the doors to the study halls to allow students who were not “as they should be” — because he gives them the power to transform things even while in a state of golus!

Thus, even in the “night” of golus, having descending into Egypt, surrounded by 70 nations, he can bring himself to a state of Geuloh — “all the days of your life, to bring Yemos Hamoshiach”.

How realistic is this for us?  The Rebbe states:

The instruction from this is understood in simple terms, especially in our generation and our time: as has been said numerous times the words of my father-in-law the leader of our generation (“Nosi Doreinu”), that in addition to the fact that already “all of the end-times have passed”, and Bnei Yisroel have already done tshuva, and finished everything, including polishing the buttons, and all that is needed is that the Holy One, blessed be He, will open up the eyes of Bnei Yisroel so they will see that the true and complete Geuloh exists already, and we are already sitting at the set table, at the feast of the Levyoson and the Shor Habar, etc., etc….

This includes transitioning seamlessly from “the days of your life” into “Yemos Hamoshiach”:

and from “the days of your life” at this time and in this place, without any delay in between, chas v’sholom, every single Jew passes immediately with the ultimate perfection in a continuation of “all the days of your life” in Yemos Hamoshiach, and the eternal life that will be then.

What is our job?  Our job is to actually to bring to “Yemos Hamoshiach”, with an emphasis to recognize the one who accomplishes all this:

As regards actual action, the intent is that the avodah of Bnei Yisroel now must be “to bring to Yemos Hamoshiach”, to reveal already in actuality that the state of “coming to Egypt” in golus is in truth a state of “the Geuloh of Yisroel”, through this that they prepare themselves and prepare others for the state of “Yemos Hamoshiach”…and since there is already the “king from the house of Dovid who is involved in Torah and busy with Mitzvos like his father Dovid…and he will force all of Israel to go in it and to rectify its breaches and fight the wars of Hashem” — for then “we can assume that he is Moshiach” (בחזקת משיח) — that already immediately he will be “certainly Moshiach” (משיח בודאי), through this that “he did all this and succeeded and built the Beis Hamikdash in his place and gathered-in the dispersed of Israel… and rectified the entire world to serve Hashem together, etc.”

Chof Zayin Adar: Nothing Was Lost

The day 27 Adar (כ”ז אדר ראשון) is not just a date in Lubavitch — it has become a title for the dramatic day that was the beginning of a new reality for Chassidim.  This is the day that the Rebbe had what the doctors call a stroke, and since then we have not heard from the Rebbe.  Gimmel Tammuz is another step, but the “silence” began on this day, Chof Zayin Adar.

The number 27 in Loshon Hakodesh is also the word “זך”, which means refined and purified.  In fact, the Rebbe connects this with the 27th day of the month, in a sicha of Parshas Pekudei 5750 (2 years to the day before the stroke).  Here the Rebbe explains that the 27th of the month possesses the special quality of:

…scouring and clarification and purification, as is written about the time of the Geuloh “many will be clarified and whitened and purified” (Daniel 12:10).  The ultimate scouring and purification is by revealing the intent in the Tzimtzum [contraction of G-dly revelation] and concealment of the Divine name Elokim itself.

This will be understood in light of what the Rebbe explained in the earlier parts of this sicha.  To summarize:

According to Torah, there are 7 names of Hashem that one is forbidden to erase due to their Holiness.  Of them, we primarily relate to two names: YKVK and Elokim, which represent the revelation of G-dliness (the name YKVK) and the concealment of that revelation (the name Elokim).  The name Elokim is the contraction and concealment of G-dly light — in other words: darkness.  We find a verse in Tehillim “the sun and its shield, YKVK Elokim”, explained to mean that Elokim (concealment) is like a shield or a filter that reduces the G-dly revelation of the name YKVK so that the worlds are not nullified out of existence.  According to this, the name Elokim, the contraction and concealment of G-dly light (the darkness), is for the sake of being able to reveal G-dliness within the limited ability of the worlds to receive.  Like smoked glass diminishes the light of the sun but this itself allows a person to be able to gaze at the sun without being blinded.  A concealment which has the intent of actually revealing that which is being concealed.

But, explains the Rebbe, there is another dimension: the quality of Tzimtzum (contraction) in and of itself — that contraction and concealment show the completeness of the unlimited Holy One, blessed be He, that He is truly unlimited: He is so “unlimited” that he can also limit Himself!  He possesses not only the power of unlimited revelation, but also the power of concealment and limitation.  Explains the Rebbe, this derives from the level of Hashem’s Essence עצמותו where the power of infinite revelation can co-exist with His power of limitation and concealment (regardless of the fact that they are opposites).  (See the maamor השם נפשנו בחיים printed for Gimmel Tammuz 5749, where it states that the inyan of Tzimtzum for its own sake will only be revealed in the Time to Come.)  Thus, Geuloh is:

…not only the nullification of the withdrawal and concealment (העלם והסתר) and of the world by revealing that the intent of the contraction and concealment is for the sake of revelation.  Rather, more than this: that we reveal the intent of the withdrawal and concealment itself…not only do we nullify the inyan of golus by revealing that the concealment [of the name Elokim] is for the sake of revelation, but more than this: that the golus itself is clarified and is transformed to Geuloh, since we reveal the intent of the Tzimtzum itself, the power of concealment (which is above revelation).

These are very deep concepts, we are not attempting to do them justice in this brief article.  But we will try to bring them down to simpler words, which will help us relate to the event of Chof Zayin Adar over 27 years ago (and its continuation to the present time): This second aspect of the Divine name Elokim (the name of darkness and concealment) is it’s inherent value, not as it brings about or leads to something else.  It is not only that the darkness as a vehicle for revealing the light, and in such a case we must nullify the darkness in order to reach a greater light.  Rather, it is the lofty intent within the darkness itself — the power of Hashem’s Essence to be limited.  What does that mean?  That we identify and recognize Hashem in the darkness just as we do through His revelations!  The darkness remains darkness, but it ceases to darken because we recognize that the darkness itself is part of Hashem no less than light and revelation.  “The darkness is as light” (כחשיכה כאורה).  This is even higher than crying out over the darkness (as the Rebbe explains in the maamor (בלילה ההוא, מלוקט ד) that was edited and released for publication on Purim, 5750, two weeks earlier than this sicha).

In practical terms, we could say as follows:

Following the stroke that occurred Chof Zayin Adar, 5752, the Chassidim were worried, davening and saying Tehilim for the Rebbe’s health.  There was a great and sudden darkness over Lubavitch.  No farbrengens with the Rebbe, no Sunday dollars.  Gimmel Tammuz was another step into darkness and concealment.  Yet, in the years since then, when the concealment is seemingly greater than before, there has been revealed an even deeper connection to the Rebbe.  Previously, the connection expressed itself through the way the Rebbe revealed himself.  Then there was a concealment, and there was a response of crying out over the concealment.  But since then, the hiskashrus has evolved and come to approach the second level the Rebbe mentions: where the concealment itself does not conceal.

What does this mean in practical terms?

That the fact that we do not see or hear the Rebbe for so many years (and so we cry out to Hashem “ad mosai?!”) nonetheless does not obscure our ability to recognize the Rebbe’s presence and influence.  This comes from Atzmus, meaning our hiskashrus today is coming from Etzem Hanefesh, where the concealment and the darkness themselves are converted to Geuloh — that the present situation comes to show the power of concealment, which by the Rebbe means that we come to recognize that he is just as effective in his role of Nosi Hador and Moshiach Tzidkeinu when we don’t see as when we do see, when we don’t hear as when we do hear.  So many years have passed and yet not only is the hiskashrus of Chassidim still strong, but each year there are more and more mekushorim, many of whom were not even born before Chof-Zayin Adar!  “The darkness is as light” (כחשיכה כאורה), the power of concealment which is above revelation.

Nothing was lost on Chof-Zayin Adar.  On the contrary: we set out on a path of establishing a greater level of connection with the Rebbe, a path upon which we proceed to this very day.  We do not need to cry out over the darkness, but rather we must “remind” Hashem that just as the power of concealment has an intent of its own, so does the power of revelation!  We can now, after Chof Zayin Adar, appreciate the power of concealment (which doesn’t actually conceal, but reveals a deeper level), and therefore we beseech Hashem that we should also have complete revelation: the true and complete Geuloh with the Rebbe Melech Hamoshiach, and we will gaze upon the beauty of our King!


Yechi Adoneinu Moreinu v’Rabbeinu Melech HaMoshiach L’olam Vo’ed!

23) Kuntres 25 Adar: Giving Over the Etzem

23) Kuntres 25 Adar: Giving Over the Etzem

Kuntres 25 Adar was published in honor of the birthday of the Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka, which in a regular year (not a leap year) comes out around parshas Pekudei.

The discourse is based on the posuk “these are the  accounts (pekudei) of the Mishkan, the Mishkan of testimony, which was counted at the command of Moshe”.  The discourse discusses the difference between midos, which are essentially for another person (the mida of Chesed, for example, involves giving to someone else), and the intellect, which is essentially for the individual alone.  Midos are inherently revealed (even when they are still hidden in the heart), whereas intellect is inherently concealed (even when it is being given over to another).

This distinction is related to the difference between the two times “Mishkan” is mentioned in the verse, which also corresponds to Torah and Mitzvos as compared to Tshuva, which find expression in two levels of Tshuva (lower and higher). In addition, the verse mentions Moshe, who is the aspect of self-nullification (bittul) which unifies the two levels.  Worthwhile to see the maamor inside.

Most noteworthy to us is probably the following section of the maamor:


… We can explain what is stated in Likkutei Torah [about this verse], that “pekudei” also has a meaning of “to be impregnated” and “seclusion”, as the sages say “a man is obligated to be with his wife [before departing on a journey]”.  It is explained elsewhere in Chassidus the [three marital obligations of providing] “her food, her wardrobe, and her marital relations (onasah): her food (nourishment) is giving over something that enclothes itself in the vessel of the recipient; her wardrobe (clothing) surrounds, which is a higher level; and onasah is giving over the essence, which is higher than the surrounding level of garments.

And we can add that the special quality of onasah is not only as regards a bestowal from above (that onasah is the giving over of the essence), but also as regards Yisroel, that they receive this bestowal not through a garment.  And we can say that this is what is meant by or sages when they said that “one who says ‘I [make a condition that our relations will take place with me] in my garment and she in her garment’ has to divorce and pay the kesuba”: that the negation of “I in my garment” is because the bestowal from Above is without a garment, and the negation of “she in her garment” is because receiving the revelation is not through a garment.

Here, as the Rebbe begins the year-long series of revelations of the year 5751-52, right at the beginning of the year-long cycle of Dvar Malchus, there is a clear statement about what is and will happen.  The “husband” (the Rebbe) is about to “go overseas” (at least visibly and audibly) and therefore he is going to fulfill his halachic obligation to “be with his wife” (the Chassidim) and give over the essence, the atzmus which is higher than either Sovev or Memaleh, and transcends intellect and emotion. How must this be done? “Without garments”, which in Chassidus refers to thought, speech, and action — without the familiar reference points, a completely different manner than the way the husband and wife relate the rest of the time.

The hint should be clear now (though surely it was not clear in 5751): the Rebbe in these Sichos and maamorim is giving over Atzmus — the essence of everything — before “going away for a while”* (at least in a revealed way).  And this creates a state of pregnancy, which leads to birth: a moshol for the true and complete Geuloh!

* There are those who tell of being at a Simcha with the Rebbe’s mazkir R’ Binyomin Klein in 5754 (1994), when after a few lechayims R’ Klein revealed that the Rebbe had told him, shortly before Chof-Zayin Adar that he will be “going away for a while.” (“איך גיי אוועק פאר א וויילע”) [heard from Mrs. Klar, who heard it from that mother of one of the bachurim who was there.]

Pekudei 5752: The Missing Parsha

The Dvar Malchus begins with Vayikra 5751, but where does it end?  The Parshas Vayakhel sicha is unfinished, and parshas Pekudei is missing (actually, “missing” is one of the definitions of the word*, as in יפקד מושבך).  What is the message?

Firstly, we could take note that the start of our Dvar Malchus cycle is parshas Vayikra.  This hints at the division of the Chasidishe Parsha, Torah Ohr and Likkutei Torah — the former covering Bereishis to Vayakhel, the latter Vayikra through the end.  In an odd turn of hashgacha protis, parshas Pekudei is absent from Torah Ohr (which covers all of Shemos) and appears in the other volume.

But more to the point, the Rebbe generally explains these two parshiyos (Vayakhel and Pekudei, which in many years are read together) as reflecting two distinct angles:

  • Vayakhel means “gathering” and speaks of unity and generality, where the individual elements are subdued in the whole.
  • Pekudei implies making an accounting of the individual elements, and in fact it is here that we learn the details: this many talents of silver, that many hooks and boards, etc.

The fact that our Dvar Malchus has Vayakhel but lacks Pekudei (when looked at in light of the content of all the sichas) implies that from the collective side of things, everything is in a state of Geulah: the aspect of Above to below, the “Nosi is everything” (הנשיא הוא הכל) which nullifies all the elements to the greater whole. You can find this expressed many times in these sichos.

What remains to be completed is the aspect of Pekudei: the completion and perfection of the parts, not as they are nullified to the greater whole but their own intrinsic importance as unique elements. Meaning our avodah, individually.  In the Rebbe’s words: “do all that you can” — you, personally and as an individual!  (Of course, merging the individual effort with the unity of Vayakhel, which is the reason that most years the two parshiyos are read together.)

What is needed now is for each one of us to reveal his spark of Moshiach through our own efforts, and not to expect someone else, not even Melech HaMoshiach, to do it for us. Avodah b’koach atzmo“, to reveal individually what has already been accomplished collectively. To bring — each one of us — Moshiach in actuality!

(Not only will this complete the aspect of “Pekudei”, but it brings about the completion and perfection of “Vayak’hel”, because the “incomplete” Sicha of Vayak’hel hints that even the aspect of “Above to below” remains incomplete as long as the “Pekudei” is lacking.  Completing the task of the mekabel (from below) adds to the perfection of the mashpia (Above).)


* Another meaning of Pekudei is connected with childbearing and the marital union, as in “Hashem remembered Sarah” (to bless her with a child) (ה’ פקד את שרה), and “a man must be intimate with his wife [before seeing out on a lengthy journey]” (יפקוד את אשתו).  In fact, this second meaning is mentioned in the Alter Rebbe’s drush on this parsha in Likkutei Torah, strengthening the connection between the parsha and these words.  This fits as a hint that although Parshas Pekudei is “missing”, and it might seem to some that the “husband” has gone on a journey leaving his wife alone — even so he must “be intimate with his wife” before departing (these Sichos of Dvar Malchus)  and even to the point of making her “pregnant” through this intimacy: pregnant with the true an complete Geuloh.

Vayakhel 5752: Ingathering of the Exiles Has Begun

The sicha that was said on Parshas Vayakhel, 5752 was never properly edited, due to the event of the following Monday,  27 Adar.  (On 27 Adar the Rebbe had a stroke while visiting the Ohel of his father-in-law, the Previous Rebbe).  Nevertheless, the brief overview (“rashei dvorim“) that was written up and presented to the Rebbe after Shabbos was (uncharacteristically) marked up by the Rebbe.  Thus, it passed before the Rebbe, and what needed correction was corrected.

In this overview of the sicha, it says:

…we see in recent years how there has been a “vayakhel” (gathering) in the simple meaning of the word — the ingathering of the exiles (“kibbutz goliyos”) of bnei Yisroel from the entire world, who are going up to Eretz Hakodesh.  This aliyah is incomparable to those that once were in the previous generations.  [To point out that Rabboseinu Nessienu were not in the Holy Land, not even for a visit, and even the trip taken by the Friedicker Rebbe was because he was unable to visit the resting places of his predecessors in Rostov, Lubavitch, and the like].

For all the prior years of the Rebbe’s leadership, the Rebbe was adamant in saying that Jews going to Israel is not the ingathering of the exiles (“kibbutz goliyos”), because the ingathering of the exiles must be done by Moshiach.  But here the Rebbe in fact calls it “kibbutz Goliyos”!?

We can say that what has changed is that now the aliyah — the Jews who were leaving the former Soviet Union, in particular — was coming about through Moshiach himself, and thus it does fulfill the requirement of Kibbutz Goliyos!

It should be noted that this expression, “Kibbutz Goliyos”, is of monumental significance.  One of the requirements of Moshiach to be identified as “certainly Moshiach” is that he gathers in the exiles.  As the Rambam says: “if he builds the Mikdash in its place and ingathers the exiles we know with certainty that he is Moshiach.”

In addition to this, the Rebbe explains in the Kuntreis Rabbeinu sh’b’Bavel that the Rambam rules that Moshiach “builds the Mikdash in its place”, a phrasing which allows itself to be read as “in his place”, referring to the small mikdash (מקדש מעט) in the time of golus, before the Geulah.  How “literally” to understand the Rebbe’s explanation there is strengthened by our sicha about Kibbutz Goliyos, because the Rebbe explains elsewhere (the Chassidic discourse “Gadol Yehiyeh Kavod Habayis Hazeh…”):

the Redemption, (the ingathering of the exiles,) will take place after building the Beis HaMikdash…this dimension comes about through the Third Beis HaMikdash…For the Third Beis HaMikdash, includes all the influences and qualities that will later be revealed.

Meaning that the Ingathering of the Exiles is fueled by the 3rd Beis Hamikdash, and if the Rebbe can say that it has begun then there must be a Mikdash built that is bringing it about.   Thus, we realize that 770 Eastern Parkway is not only the place where the Mikdash will be revealed in the future, but in fact it is presently — now — the Beis Hamidash in his place (the place of Moshiach before the Geuloh, in accordance with the halachic ruling of the Rambam)!  Because if the 3rd Beis Hamikdash was not present, there could not be Kibbutz Goliyos (as explained in the maamar quoted above).