8) 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!

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 decades when Chassidim saw and felt all of that as “the good old days” — 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 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!

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

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

This is especially emphasized in this year — the year 5751 (1991) which 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.”

Prior to and during the first Persian Gulf War, the Rebbe made frequent references to this Yalkut Shimoni midrash, but here, for the first time, 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], only according to what Yisroel arouses Above can the Moshiach act….”

This describes a situation where there already exists the individual to whom has been bestowed the lofty neshoma of Moshiach (“the physical Moshiach”).  He himself knows that he is Moshiach, but the revelation is not yet recognized by all of Israel.  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, two distinct stages: the revelation of Moshiach which precedes and is distinct from the coming of Moshiach.  The Rebbe is informing us that the first stage has been fulfilled, and we have transitioned to the second stage, which is dependent wholly on the efforts of Yisroel, as the Ohr Hachama writes: “only according to what Yisroel arouses Above can the Moshiach act….”

Therefore, it is understood the words of the Rebbe (28 Nissan): “I have done all that I can do, now I give it over to you to do all you can do to bring Moshiach in actuality”.  If we truthfully cry out “Ad Mosai” (“until when”), we are really asking the question on ourselves: because while Moshiach is the one who brings the Geuloh, Moshiach’s ability to act comes from us.

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.]

PROPHECY AND HALACHA

The Rebbe explains that there are two aspects to the chiddush Torah: the newly revealed secrets of the Torah, and chiddush in halacha (specifically: using the fins of the Leviyoson to shecht the Shor Habar, 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 (אילה 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.

BEIS SHAMMAI and BEIS HILLEL

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 Shammai and Beis Hillel.  As is known, Beis Shammai 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 Shammai’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 Shammai 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 Shammai, 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 Shammai 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 FUTURE REFUGE CITIES (AREI MIKLOT)

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 Shammai 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 Shammai 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 Shammai, 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 Shammai will permit such a shechita).

THE SHOR HABAR: A DEEPER DIMENSION

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.

7) 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 sake 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 achieve 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:

  • Something which exists but it’s hidden העלם שישנו במציאות;
  • Something which only exists in potential נעלם שאינו במציאות; and
  • The 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 which is concealed in a coal;
  • the (potential for) fire concealed in a flint stone;
  • 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

Matos-Masei 5751: The Reason For Golus is Rectified!

These parshiyos (read together in many years), contain the 42 journeys of Bnei Yisroel in the midbar prior to entering Eretz Yisroel.  These 42 journeys represent our sojourn in golus (both collectively, and individually).  Upon completing these journeys, the birurim of exile, we find ourselves holding at “Yarden Yericho” prepared to enter the land.

This is also the final reading from sefer Bamidbar, upon which the custom is to say “Chazak! Chazak! V’Nischazek!” (a declaration something along the lines of “be strong”).  The Rebbe connects “chazak” (strength) with the concept of “chazaka” — something which, after three times, has permanence and is unchanging.  This is connected with the 3rd Beis Hamikdosh which has the ultimate “chazakah” of being eternal.  In fact, “the intent and purpose of the churban and the golus (the purpose of the days “bein hameitzarim“) is in order to come to the level and perfection of the building of the future Beis Hamikdosh and the future Geuloh…emphasizing the inyan of “chazakah” — the 3rd Beis Hamikdosh and the 3rd Geuloh.”

The journeys in the midbar, the birurim of exile, represent the avoidah from below to Above.  As expressed in the earlier sichos, the process from Above to below is instantaneous but ephemeral (it does not last), whereas the process from below to Above can take time (according to the pace of those below), but it has permanence.  Our sages tell us that already, at the splitting of the sea, it was possible (if Bnei Yisroel would have merited) they would have gone straight into Eretz Yisroel and achieved the true and complete Geuloh, which has no golus after it.  From this the Rebbe derives that “there exists also now (after the churban and the exile) the inyan of the eternal Geuloh and the eternal Beis Hamikdosh in a way of strength and permanence (חוזק ותוקף), except that their strength and permanence are only from Above, and thus in the world of below (there can be and) there is a situation of churban and golus.”  Again the Rebbe is telling us how all the elements and revelations from Above are already in place, all that is needed is for us to become suitable recipients.

Fitting with this the Rebbe makes a dramatic statement.  During the prior years of the Rebbe’s leadership, the Rebbe would frequently repeat the statement of our Sages that the cause of the golus was senseless hatred (שינת חינם) and therefore the way to rectify this and end the golus is through “senseless love” of our fellow Jew (אהבת חינם).  In this sicha the Rebbe, astoundingly, states:

It should be added and emphasized the connection between Ahavas Yisroel and the future Geuloh — not (only) that the nullification of the golus is by nullifying the cause of golus (which came about due to the opposite of Ahavas Yisroel), for our situation after the completion of our deeds and our avoidah over the course of golus, and after completing all the 42 journeys in “the desert of the nations”, we find ourselves already “at Yarden Yericho” (the level of Moshiach, who judges by sense of smell [the word “to smell” shares the same root as the name Yericho]), on the threshold of the Geuloh.  Certainly the reason for the golus has already been rectified[emphasis added], and therefore, the emphasis on Ahavas Yisroel is — as a foretaste and beginning of the true and complete Geuloh which is connected with the point of unity [shared by all Yisroel] which is above differentiation, which is the same by every Yid, for it is a spark from the soul of Moshiach, the Yechida Klolis.

This “blockbuster” statement is one of many in these sichos where the Rebbe says “straight out” that a state of reality that existed for thousands of years no longer exists!  To be sure, the Rebbe is not saying that we are released, chas v’sholom, from acting with Ahavas Yisroel.  The Rebbe is telling us that our Ahavas Yisroel is no longer a corrective measure (to fix the cause of golus), but rather and expression of our current (but hidden) and future (to be revealed) state of oneness with every Yid!  Learning this should make it virtually impossible for us to demand anything less from ourselves than complete “Geuloh-dik” Ahavas Yisroel for every Jew — after all, we have already rectified the problem of “senseless hatred”, so why should it be difficult now to show “senseless love”?

The Rebbe closes the sicha by saying:

Simply — that in addition to the fact that we have already finished all the details of the 42 journeys in the desert of the nations during the time of golus, and that we are standing already at “Yarden Yericho”, “on the other side of Yarden Yericho to the East” [verse 34:15], we are crossing the [river] Yarden westward and entering Eretz Yisroel.  And in Eretz Yisroel itself we are going westward — to Yerushalayim the Holy city, and to the 3rd Beis Hamikdosh, until the Holy of Holies (on the west side of the Beis Hamikdosh) in which are found the Aron and the Luchos.

We can make no mistake where the Rebbe is placing us: on the gateway to Geuloh, with no turning back!

Siyum HoRambam: Halachos of Torah sh’b’al Peh Will Never Be Nullified

What follows was compiled and edited by the Rebbe, “in conjunction with the completion of the sefer HaRambam”, from sichos spoken over the course of Rosh Hashono, Shabbos Chol Hamoed Sukkos, and Simchas Torah 5752.

In the Mishna Torah, the Rambam gives us an orderly presentation of the entire Torah sh’b’al Peh, a sefer of “halachos halachos”.  It possesses a special importance, comparable to the importance of the Torah sh’bichsav, which we learn out from the saying of our sages: “all the seforim of the Neviim and  Kesuvim will in the future be nullified to the Days of Moshiach,” which is not the case with halachos: “Halachos of the Torah sh’b’al Peh will never be nullified.”  (Which leads to the statement of the Rebbe [footnote 17 in the printed sicha] that the study of Rambam speeds up and accelerates [ממהרים ומזרזים] the time of Yemos Hamoshiach, at which time it will be revealed that the halachos are never nullified.)

The Rebbe then raises a question (based on something explained at length in Torah Chadasha, Shavuos 5751): there us a principle of Torah that the halacha goes according to Beis Hillel, but this is only in the time of golus; in the future, when the Beis Din Hagadol will return to Yerushalayim, the halacha will be like Beis Shammai (for Beis Shammai will be the majority in the future, and we rule according to the majority).  If so, we find that the present halachos (which are in accordance with Beis Hillel) will in fact be nullified in the future?!

More than this: it is known that according to several opinions “mitzvos will be nullified in the time to come” — at Techiyas Hameisim, which is in the second stage (2nd tekufah) of Yemos Hamoshiach.  This is learned out from a debate in the gemara about permitting burial shrouds to be woven out of “kilayim” (material made from a forbidden mixture of threads).  This is permitted, according to Rav Yosef, because “mitzvos will be nullified in the time to come”.  If so, then all of the halachos of the Torah sh’b’al Peh will be nullified in the future (in the second tekufah, Techiyas Hameisim) — if the mitzvos will be nullified, then it should follow that the halachos (the ruling of how to perform the mitzvos) will be nullified?

Mitzvos Will Be Nullified or Torah is Eternal?


To say that Mitzvos will be nullified is, apparently, a contradiction to the eternality of Torah.  And if one will say that Mitzvos are an inyan of “today to fulfill them” to be followed by “tomorrow to receive their reward” when they will be nullified — this is not a sufficient answer.  Why?  Because (as explained in Chassidus) Mitzvos represent Hashem’s ratzon, His Will, which is independent of any other purpose (such as refining the person or the world and bringing them to perfection).  Based on this, we have a strong question as to how Mitzvos, which “stand eternally”, could be said to be nullified in the time to come? Continue reading

Pinchas 5751 — A Deeper Look at a “Pnimi”

In this sicha the Rebbe explains that we bring the Geuloh through the avoidah of “making ‘here’ Eretz Yisroel” (מאך דא ארץ ישראל).  This is associated with the avoidah of being a “Pnimi” — one who is completely involved in what he is doing.  The instruction of “making ‘here’ Eretz Yisroel” is explained by the Rebbe: “even when he is found ‘here’, in chutz la’aretz, and in the time of golus — one must make ‘Eretz Yisroel’ [while he is] ‘here’ — in this place and time…seemingly: according to Torah ‘here’ (chutz la’aretz) is not ‘Eretz Yisroel’!”

The way to make “here” (which is not “Eretz Yisroel”) into “Eretz Yisroel” is by being totally involved in the avoidah of the moment, without thinking about what it will lead to, whether it is the main thing or a preparation for something else.  “It is known the saying of the Rebbe Rashab — a Pnimi is one who is completely involved in everything he does.”  Even if what he is doing is a preparation for something else (such as singing the niggun as preparation for hearing a Chassidic discourse from the Rebbe), he is focused on what he is doing and not what it leads to.

A Yid must do his avoidah ‘here’ — in this place and time — with complete perfection (based on his abilities and potentials in his situation) in thought, speech, and action, as a ‘Pnimi’ who is completely involved in whichever avoidah he is presently doing (and he doesn’t think at the time that he’s doing it about another avoidah later)…he is making in this place (and time) a land in which Yiddishkeit (Yisroel) is openly recognizable. 

Now let’s look deeper.

The repeated references to “here” as our present “time and place” draws to mind the Maamor edited by the Rebbe and published a year earlier (found in “Meluket Daled”), beginning with the words גדול יהיה כבוד הבית הזה (“Gadol Yehiyeh Kavod haBayis Hazeh“).  In that maamor (sections 6-7-8) the Rebbe explains some very deep concepts behind the miraculous phenomenon that took place in the Kodesh haKodashim in the Beis Hamikdash: the place of the Aron [Kodesh] was immeasureable (“makom ha’Aron eino min haMida“).

First, let us explain the phenomenon: The Kodesh haKodashim itself was 20 amos by 20 amos, and the Aron (containing the luchos (the tablets of the Torah) was 2½ amos by 1½ amos.  Under normal circumstances, there should be 17½ amos of space from each side of the Aron to the walls (20-2½=17½).  But in actuality the Aron measured a full 2½ amos, but there remained 10 amos from each side of the Aron to the wall — it didn’t take up any space in the room!

The explanation is best understood from looking at the maamor itself, but to briefly summarize: time and place are generally a function of the name “Elokim”, which is tzimtzum and concealment.  This is the essence of golus: G-dliness is concealed and the divisions of time and place come into being.  Higher than the name Elokim is the name YKVK, which is essentially higher than time and place.  This is not to say that they do not exist at all, as the Rebbe explains, but rather that they exist without division and separation (התחלקות), with all moments being united (the name YKVK meaning “past, present, and future as one” — היה, הווה, ויהיה כאחד).  The same is true for the spacial dimensions: they exist in a state of unity without being divided into “here” and “there”.

Having explained that, the Rebbe explains the miraculous phenomenon of the Aron in the Kodesh haKodashim: the “place” of the Aron was not a usual “place” like the rest of the world, which is created by the name Elokim concealing the oneness of YKVK.  Rather, that place is unique in that it has a revelation of YKVK within the reality created by Elokim.  In other words: all regular places in the world exist in a state of division and separation, each place separate from and distant from other places.  In a YKVK reality there would be no such thing as individual places, they would all be nullified to the Oneness.  In this unique spot there was the revelation of YKVK (Oneness and unity) within Elokim (separation and division), resulting in a place in our familiar world of Elokim which possessed fixed dimensions (20 amos) but yet revealed the unity and oneness of YKVK in that the fixed dimensions of the Aron could co-exist within the fixed dimensions of the Kodesh haKodashim in a state of unity.  (See the maamor for the full explanation.)

From here we can appreciate a deeper dimension of “make ‘here’ Eretz Yisroel”: the very concept of “here” as opposed to “there” is function of the name Elokim, the source of Tzimtzum and golus.  From the perspective of YKVK the terms “here” and “there” are irrelevant because all places are as one.  So the very fact that we are found “here” means we are in a world of Tzimtzum, a world of division and separation created by the name Elokim.  What must we do?  We must make “here” into Eretz Yisroel — the avoidah of revealing the true underlying Oneness (as it exists by the name YKVK) through being a Pnimi “who is completely involved in whichever avoidah he is presently doing (and he doesn’t think at the time that he’s doing it about another avoidah later)” which is a YKVK reality — there is no “now” and “then” since the YKVK reality is always found in the present moment (which includes all moments).  Through this avoidah of emulating the YKVK reality …he is making in this place (and time) a land in which YKVK  is openly recognizable.  The future revelation of YKVK (within Elokim) will reveal that the Tzimtzum is not real from the perspective of YKVK, and will bring about the unity of all places and all moments (the true meaning of the ingathering of the exiles from all four corners of the world).  This is the Eretz Yisroel reality (certainly as it will be in the future when Yerushalayim will spread out to all of Eretz Yisroel…), and the way we arrive to Eretz Yisroel (the revelation of the unity and Oneness of YKVK) is through the avoidah of being a Pnimi — living the moment in a way of all moments — in our thought, speech, and action!

Balak 5751: To Recognize the Inner Good

In the year 5751 the fast of 17th Tammuz fell out on Shabbos parshas Balak.  In this sicha the Rebbe addresses the special quality of a fast that falls out on Shabbos, which causes the fast itself to be pushed off until the next day.

First, we must understand that although the fast itself is a matter of “discomfort which is the opposite of desire and pleasure, but its inner dimension (b’pnimiyus) it is a good thing, as stated in the verse ‘a day of Will to Hashem’.”  More specifically, the fast of the 17th of Tammuz is on the day of the month which has the numeric value (gematria) of “good” (טוב = 17).  The Rebbe finds this completely natural, “since the intent and ultimate purpose of the churban and the golus is only in order to come to the elevation and perfection of the (true and complete) Geuloh, meaning that the golus is an external matter, and it’s inner dimension is the Geuloh.”  From this, we understand that since the time of the churban itself, everything is for the purpose of the Geuloh.

Interesting to note that the Rebbe mentions four times in this sicha that there is an aspect of Geuloh which is to rectify the churban and golus, but additionally there is a higher level: “the level and perfection of the Geuloh in and of itself, pure Geuloh גאולה לטהרתה (even if prior to [the Geuloh] there is not a situation of churban and golus).”  (And the Rebbe adds that the chiddush here is that even in a state of churban and golus we can feel this aspect of “pure Geuloh”.)  This is mainly relevant to a fast which falls out on Shabbos (when the negative aspects are not felt), but also is relevant to our generation in particular: “the more we come closer to the true and complete Geuloh, the feeling of churban and golus in these days is diminished, and the feeling of preparation for Geuloh grows and increases, the “tov” that is in the 17th of Tammuz and the 3 weeks.”

The sicha now turns to the main point: the importance of learning the subjects of Moshiach and Geuloh, which enable us to “live with the times”.  Which times?  “The times of Yemos Hamoshiach, through this that the intellect becomes full and permeated with understanding and comprehension of the subject of Moshiach and Geuloh that is in Torah.  And from the intellect it spreads and imbues the feeling in the heart, until it reaches one’s thought, speech, and action in a way that suits this special time, when we are standing on the threshold of the Geuloh, and we point with our finger that ‘behold, this (the Melech Moshiach) comes.”  (And if someone will protest that our sages say that Moshiach only comes when we are distracted from the subject (בהסח הדעת), the Rebbe clarifies that the meaning of this expression is “above da’as, meaning that after this subject permeates his da’as (through thought and contemplation, etc.), it goes beyond (higher than) his da’as.”  We can explain this to mean that no matter how much we learn about Moshiach and Geuloh, even filling and permeating our understanding with these subjects, the Moshiach reality will always be far beyond our understanding, until it actually materializes.

The Rebbe specifically addresses those for whom it is difficult to internalize the idea that we are really on the threshold of the Geuloh, and that the way to deal with this is by learning the subjects of Moshiach and Geuloh — this enables a person to internalize the reality that the Rebbe is speaking about.  We see this in actuality, that those who learn the subject of Moshiach and Geuloh — regardless of where they were holding before — are much more sensitive to and aware of the unfolding Geuloh.

The importance of learning the subjects of Moshiach and Geuloh cannot be over-emphasized, and we will end with the words of the Rebbe’s secretary, R’ Leibel Groner, z”l:

The Rebbe told me to send a fax to R’ Chaim Gutnick in Australia who wrote a letter to the Rebbe (the Rebbe showed me the letter) saying, “Rebbe, have pity on us and tell us clearly what to do.” The Rebbe said to send him the last sicha that he said that Shabbos (Tazria-Metzora) in which he mentioned the steps that need to be taken.

“I am surprised,” said the Rebbe, “why he is asking what to do when I said it clearly.”  [In the sicha which the Rebbe instructed to be sent to R’ Gutnik, the Rebbe explains that the “direct way” to bring about the revelation and coming of Moshiach is by learning the subjects of Moshiach and Geuloh in Torah, especially by learning the maamorim and Likkutei Sichos of the leader of the generation.]

Since we still haven’t merited the hisgalus of Moshiach, each of us needs to make a spiritual accounting: have I made enough set times for learning Torah? Am I mehader in mitzvos? How can I add in my Ahavas Yisroel and tz’daka? Do I learn inyonei Moshiach and Geula?

We are not being asked to climb ladders to shomayim — the Geuloh is in fact “korov aleicha” (close to us); if we will only push ourselves to fulfill the instructions that Moshiach has given us, then “suddenly the Master will come”!

 

Pinchas 5751 — Making “Here” Eretz Yisroel

A chosid once asked the Tzemach Tzedek for a brocha to go live in the Holy Land so that he could devote his life there to Torah study and avodas Hashem; the Tzemach Tzedek replied, “R’ Hillel (Paritcher, a legendary chosid called by the Rebbeim “half a Rebbe”) doesn’t lack Eretz Yisroel. Make here Eretz Yisroel.”

In this week’s Dvar Malchus the Rebbe connects this story with the description in parashas Pinchas of the distribution of Eretz Yisroel among the 12 tribes and how it relates to our individual avodah in the last moments of exile.

The purpose of our exile (individual and collective) is to refine and elevate the world at large, transforming it into the level of the Land of Israel, our part in the words of the midrash that in the Time to Come the land of Israel will spread out to all the lands.  However, at the same time Yerushalayim will spread out to all of the land of Israel (Israel remaining on a higher level than the rest of the world) and thus Moshiach will come to gather every Jew and bring him to Eretz Yisroel.

Given this, one might think that “making here Eretz Yisroel” is only an intermediary step to bring the Geuloh, when we will leave “here” and go to Eretz Yisroel itself.  One could come to diminish the importance of “making here Eretz Yisroel” because he has his eyes on the future when he will go with Moshiach to the Geuloh in the true Eretz Yisroel.  In fact, this would be a big mistake, explains the Rebbe.  Because the preparations for something must be done with the same complete focus, energy, and desire as we feel for the final goal.

Thus, devoting ourselves totally and completely to the task of “making here Eretz Yisroel” becomes a vessel to receive the desired goal: the true and complete Geuloh!  In fact, the Rebbe refers to this as “making ourselves accustomed” to the Geuloh even while we are still in exile.  This complete effort while still in exile is in fact what brings the Geuloh.

More than this: although each one has the obligation to make “here” (where he is, physically as well as spiritually) into Eretz Yisroel (“the land which wanted to do her Creator’s will”), we find that in Eretz Yisrael each portion contains within it all the other portions.  So, too, by each individual Yid — he contains within himself the entire world, and by doing his avodah completely, he is able to rectify the entire world, including all previous incarnations.  One little Jew can bring Geuloh to all the world and all generations!

Although we must strongly feel that “we want Moshiach now” — right now! — the Rebbe guides us how to proceed when still find ourselves in golus:

Since the Geuloh still didn’t come in this moment,and by Divine Providence we are still found “here”, in this time and place — without a doubt we need to capitalize on this and fulfill the instruction to “make here Eretz Yisroel”.

Thus, it is our task to publicize the injunction to “make here Eretz Yisroel” and to fulfill it in a complete manner, and through this we will actually bring the Geuloh in revealed actuality.