Kuntres Hey Teves, 5752

Kuntres Hey Teves, 5752

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kuntres Chanukah, 5752

Kuntres Chanukah, 5752

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kuntres 19 Kislev: The Power of Chassidim

Kuntres 19 Kislev: The Power of Chassidim

This maamor, originally spoken on Yud Tes Kislev 5726, is based on the familiar posuk “Podah v’sholom nafshi“, but it provides a completely different perspective than the maamor released a week earlier (for 10-14 Kislev, 5752).  Here, the Rebbe explains according to the words of our Sages that Hashem states: “whoever labors in Torah and in acts of Kindness (Gemilus Chassodim) and davens with the community, I consider it as though he redeemed me and my children from the nations of the world.”

Firstly, the Rebbe groups them as two: Torah and Gemilus Chassodim drawing down from Above, and Tefillah rising from below to Above.  The Rebbe describes the difference between Brocha (drawn down from Above) and Tefillah (from below), based on the verse “Your Chassidim will bless you” חסידיך יברכוך as explained by the Rebbe Rashab: that specifically Chassidim have the power to draw down brocha in a way that the Divine light illuminates Malchus (the lowest level, which “possesses nothing of its own”).

The advantage of a brocha (generally given by Tzaddikim) is that it has the power of a command: that one who is standing above the hashpo’ah can command that it descend to the recipient (despite the fact that there are obstacles preventing it from descending).  Thus, a brocha is a certainty.  The disadvantage is that it only relates to hashpo’ah that is already “in the pipeline”, for which there is already a Divine Will.

The advantage of Tefillah is that is has the power of “Yehi ratzon” — to create a new Divine Will.  Where previously an individual was ill, Tefillah can bring about a new ratzon that the individual will be healthy.  The disadvantage is that it is not guaranteed — sometimes the Tefillah is answered (and drawn down into the world), sometimes not.

The power of Chassidim is that they can draw down the power of both together: the new ratzon brought about through Tefillah with the certainty of a command found in a brocha.  This is because they draw down from the level of submission, hoda’ah, which is above intellect and understanding.  This level of brocha is similar to what is drawn down by Torah.  Torah can bring about a change in the world, something new which wasn’t before, as we find by Rashbi that during a decree of drought he brought down rain by saying Torah (changing Divine Will and nullifying the decree).  All this in a way that the change occurs automatically, without effort from below, with no need for a command.

This is also related to Chesed and Tzedaka (Chassidim and Tzaddikim): Tzedaka means providing a person with what is lacking for him, “but you are not commanded to make him rich”.  Chesed goes beyond that, one can even make a person wealthy.  Similarly, the level of Chosid (one who goes “above and beyond” in his service of Hashem) is able to draw down so much that he can make Malchus “wealthy”, and even beyond wealth, taking even the one who is already wealthy (lacking nothing) to an entirely new level.  This wealth, on a completely new level, is what nullifies the opponent, the menaged (the content of the posuk Podah v’Sholom).  There is a level where there is no war, but there is still a menaged; beyond that is the level of “sholom” (of l’asid lavo) where there isn’t even a menaged (see the previous maamar) — because even the sparks of holiness that “became evil” and lost all feeling for G-dliness will be affected.

These levels reflect differing levels of bittul: in Tefillah the individual feels himself separate from Elokus; higher than this is the Brocha commanded by a Tzaddik, where the individual’s reality is G-dliness, but the world remains a separate reality; the highest level is the level of Torah, where the results are automatic, because it represents a revelation of Atzmus — the reality of Elokus is the only reality and thus there isn’t even a need for a command.  This is also the level drawn down by “Your Chassidim will bless you” חסידיך יברכוך.

Through learning Pnimiyus Hatorah this nullifies the enemy (corresponding to the third level — where there is no reality besides Elokus).  This is connected with Yud Tes Kislev and the release of the Alter Rebbe which is the vindication of spreading the wellsprings outward.  That the maayonos will reach even the “outside”, and not only the waters of the wellsprings but the wellsprings themselves.  This is the spreading of the wellsprings that brings Moshiach, for it draws down the highest levels to the lowest levels (Pnimiyus haKesser to Malchus sh’b’Malchus), and itself is like the three levels that were described above: the one who labors in Torah and in Gemilus Chassodim and davens with the community.  “And through this ‘he redeems me and my children from among the nations’, at which time will take place the promise ‘I will remove the spirit of impurity from the earth’, and Hashem will be King over all the Earth, on that day Hashem will be one and His name will be one.”

 

 

Kuntres Yud/Yud Daled Kislev, 5752: Reveal the Yechida

Kuntres Yud/Yud Daled Kislev, 5752: Reveal the Yechida

Famous are the numerous maamorim over the years explaining the posuk “Padoh v’sholom nafshi“, the verse which the Alter Rebbe was reading when he was notified of his release from Russian prison on Yud-Tes Kislev, 5559.  This verse is also relevant to the release of his son, the Mitteler Rebbe, from arrest on Yud Kislev, some  28 years later.  The maamor in this kuntres was said on Yud Kislev 5722 (the 3rd maamor of that farbrengen!) and edited and printed in 5752 in honor of that date (and also in honor of Yud-Daled Kislev, the Rebbe’s wedding anniversary).

The verse states: “He redeemed my soul with peace from the battle that came upon me, because the many were with me.”

The common thread in almost all of the maamorim, beginning with the maamor of the Mitteler Rebbe, focuses on the concept of being redeemed from battle in a way of peace, which is seemingly an oxymoron — if there is peace there is no battle!  The explanation is that in fact there is a battle, a battle between the nefesh Elokis (the G-dly soul) and the nefesh habahamis (the animal soul we possess).  One may attempt to overcome his animal soul using his intellect (the lower levels of his G-dly soul, nefesh, ruach, neshoma), or overpowering it with force of will, ratzon (from the level of Chaya), but in these cases the Animal Soul can fight back with its own intellect and force of will — a battle.  Only when one reveals his yechida, the highest level of his soul, can he nullify the struggle of the Animal Soul and thus win the battle “in peace” —  “Padoh v’sholom”.

In this maamor the Rebbe explains that there are two aspects of “sholom” (בשלום — ב’ שלום): from Above to below, and from below to Above.  When there is a revelation of Ohr from Above which overwhelms and nullifies the Animal Soul, the Animal Soul ceases to oppose the G-dly Soul, but it doesn’t change the Animal Soul itself: it nullifies its reality, but doesn’t change it.  The change occurs through the struggle of the G-dly Soul to overcome and transform the Animal Soul, bringing it to realize on its own terms that it should love Hashem.  But even so, the Animal Soul will still remain a potential adversary.  We should by now be familiar with the Rebbe’s approach: that we need both aspects, from Above to below and from below to Above; and not just independently, but a unification of the two lines of influence.

The Rebbe brings the story of the Chossid of the Tzemach Tzedek, who complained in Yechidus (private audience) that others were “trampling on him” in the Beis Midrash.  The Rebbe points our attention to the fact that this Chossid’s self-importance (yeshus) was not only manifesting itself in the “mikdash me’at” of the Beis Midrash, but even in the private chamber of the Rebbe!  Despite the manifestation of the Shechina in those places, this Chossid’s yeshus remained intact.  This illustrates the necessity for avoidah, the work from below to Above (because despite the great revelations from Above a person can remain unchanged).  As expressed elsewhere (see, for example, the sicha of Vayeira): the lofty revelations from Above only become revealed to one who makes himself into a vessel to receive them.

Nitzutzos and Hisnagdus


In the final two oisios of the maamar, the Rebbe explains the continuation of the posuk: “…because the many were with me“.  The intent behind the descent of the nitzutzos, the Divine sparks, below is in order that they will be refined and return to their source (and even higher).  Because of this:

…It is not possible (אין שייך) that there should be any resistance or opposition (from the nitzutzos) to their refinement.  The fact that it is possible for there to be resistance and opposition is only from the side of the person (who is responsible for the refinement), for he has free choice.  But as far as the nitzutzos are concerned — there is no choice involved (they must be refined).

…And more than this: the nitzutzos want and yearn to be refined.  This is the meaning of “the many were with me”, that the nitzutzos found in the aspect of “the many” (רבים — implying those elements in the world which are opposed to G-dliness) yearn for their refinement… It is only because these nitzutzos are in golus in the aspect of “the many” that this is not revealed.  To such a degree that sometimes it appears that the individual and the worldly matters (not only that they don’t assist, but rather) interfere with his avoidas Hashem.  Because the concealment of the nitzutzos is the ultimate concealment, expressed as “a concealment that is not in existence”.  But via the avoidah of “the many were with me”, the awakening of the Yechida, the essence of the soul (עצם הנפש) which is higher than our reality, this “concealment that is not in existence” of the nitzutos is awakened and is revealed, together with their yearning to be refined, and then it is seen openly that the matters of the world (not only do not interfere, but rather) assist in avoidas Hashem.

This awakening of the Yechida contains within it both of the levels that were mentioned earlier: from Above to below and from below to Above, in a way where each one contains an aspect of the other.  Since the nitzutzos have a desire to be refined (from Above) — this is the admixture of “from below” in the revelation of Ohr from Above.  And similarly the refinement from below is in a way where the opposition is nullified (an aspect of “from Above”), for the same reason: the desire of the nitzutzos to be refined. When we awaken our Yechida, we reveal that in truth there is no opposition from the world (including the nations of the world) to a Jew serving Hashem, even if this truth was completely hidden before.

All of this takes place via the revelation of the Yechida, which we can bring about “by thinking about the inyan of the Yechida [and the resolution that his conduct will be fitting with the aspect of Yechida in his nefesh], the redemption of his G-dly soul from the war with the Animal Soul in a way of peace.”  One could say that “thinking about the inyan of the Yechida” is fulfilled by thinking about Moshiach (who possesses a soul which is the “yechida klolis” of the entire Jewish people), and making the commitment to conduct himself as Moshiach desires.  (Obviously, this can be done more completely when one is aware of Moshiach’s identity and his opinion on how a Jew should conduct himself in various matters.)  The Rebbe hints at this explanation in the closing words of the maamor“then (l’asid lavo) there will be the revelation of the Yechida via Moshiach, who is the aspect of the Yechida Klolis…”, and the work is in our hands!

 

Kuntres Rosh Chodesh Kislev, 5752: Great is the Effort From Below

Kuntres Rosh Chodesh Kislev, 5752: Great is the Effort From Below

This maamor was said on Shabbos, Erev Rosh Chodesh Kislev, 5745, beginning with the words of the haftorah (“Vayomar lo Yehonoson“) recited on every Shabbos Erev Rosh Chodesh.  The attentive student will recall that a maamor on the very same verse was distributed as Kuntres Erev Rosh Chodesh Iyar, 5751 (seven months earlier), but the content differs significantly.  To recall the verse: “tomorrow is Rosh Chodesh and you will be remembered (nifkadta) because you are missing from your place (ki yipaked moshavecha).”

Erev Rosh Chodesh, when the moon completely disappears from sight, represents the bittul of Yisroel.  Through this bittul they draw down a new revelation that was never in the world before, which manifests as the birth of the new moon on Rosh Chodesh, the level of “nifkadta“.  This “Ohr chodosh” is from a level that is completely above the world, drawn down through the avoidah of bittul, whereas avoidah connected with the existence of the individual  (קשורה עם המציאות שלו) only draws down Ohr on a level that has a connection with the world.

The Rebbe now describes 3 levels of “Awakening from Above” (isarusa della’eila):

  1. The level that is given from Above without any effort from below (because the effort from below (isarusa della’satta) cannot reach it);
  2. The level that comes from Above as a result of the isarusa della’satta;
  3. The level that is given as a gift, meaning that the effort from below can’t teach this level, but it is only given after the lower entities have perfected themselves (made themselves a vessel) and have drawn down the 2nd level.

Having explained the lofty levels that are drawn down from Above in these variety of ways, the Rebbe then states that the revelation of “nifkadta” (the new “Ohr chodosh” of Rosh Chodesh) is greater even than the level that comes from Above as gift.  This demands explanation, because the level that is given as a gift is so lofty that the effort from below can’t reach it, but the level of “nifkadta” (which is higher) can and is drawn down by the bittul of Yisroel?!

To understand this, the Rebbe explains how “nifkadta” is the bestowal (hashpoah) of Z”A* to Malchus, which are represented by Yehonoson and Dovid.  This hashpoah is the inyan of “machar Chodesh”, the new moon.  But since it states “tomorrow (machar) is the new moon”, it must be connected with the previous day, which is Erev Rosh Chodesh, the disappearance of the moon, “you are missing from your place” (yipaked moshavecho).  And based on the sequence of expressions in the posuk, the Rebbe derives that there is a hashpoah (Vayomer lo Yehonoson) which gives the ability for Erev Rosh Chodesh (yipaked moshavecho) which in turn is what generates “nifkadta“.

And further (based on the verse “Yitzchok the son of Avraham, Avraham gave birth to Yitzchok”): the awakening from below (Yitzchok) reaches higher than the place from which the awakening from Above (Avraham) comes from.  Nonetheless, there must first be a bestowal from Above which enables the awakening from below — because the lower entity (the tachton) is unable to elevate itself without this bestowal from Above, which reveals the the power of the tachton to reach even higher than the bestowal from Above.  This really consists of two aspects: giving the power for “yipaked moshavecho“, the bittul and elevation; and for the “nifkadta” (the new Ohr Chodosh) that will come from this.  Both the elevation of the tachton, and the hamshacha that it brings .

Astonishingly, the Rebbe proceeds to state that the elevation of the tachton (erev Rosh Chodesh, bittul) is actually greater than what it draws down (the Ohr Chodosh of Rosh Chodesh, “nifkadta“)! This will only be revealed l’asid lavo (and thus we will say about Yitzchok “you are our father” כי אתה אבינו since the greatest level is the awakening from below itself). This corresponds to Yehonoson and Dovid, Z”A and Malchus, that in the future Malchus will receive directly from Ohr Ein Sof (rather than via Z”A).  This is what is meant by the verse that states that in the ultimate future “the light of the moon will be like the light of the sun: that the moon will illuminate by itself, like the sun (not like the present, when it simply reflects the light it received from the sun).

This elevation of Malchus begins when she nullifies her existence and thus becomes a vessel for even greater elevations, until she becomes a crown אשת חיל עטרת בעלה.  Now, it seems that the bittul of Malchus (erev Rosh Chodesh, yipaked moshavecho) is in order to bring the revelation of the Ohr Chodosh of Rosh Chodesh (nifkadta), as implied in the beginning of the maamor.  But in the future the greatest quality of “yipaked moshavecho” will be that through it is drawn down the revelation of the root of Malchus itself.  All of this also applies on a higher level to Yisroel (Malchus, the moon) and the Holy One, blessed be He (Z”A, the sun):

The bittul of Yisroel brings about that HKBH remembers them, so to speak, and redeems them… And, like the moon which will not need to receive from the sun, through the bittul of Yisroel it becomes revealed that Yisroel and the Holy One are all one ישראל וקודשא בריך הוא כולא חד, and therefore they will not need, so to speak, to receive from the Holy One, blessed be He, for they are truly one.  And more than this, Yisroel are bestowing, so to speak, to the Holy One — the crown of her husband.

All of this comes to explain, in the language of Chassidus, that although we are presently laboring to bring about the revelation of Moshiach in the world (accompanied by the great revelations of the true and complete Geuloh), these revelations (Ohr Chodosh) are not going to be the real chiddush.  The real chiddush and the highest revelation will be the avoidah itself that we are performing now — persisting to labor from below with tremendous bittul for more than 25 years since we last experienced the revealed hashpoah from Above.

Through our efforts to reveal the Rebbe in the world, we are in fact “crowning” the Rebbe with ourselves, with our avoidah, revealing that we are one; and even more: bestowing hashpoah on the Rebbe via our efforts from below.  (See the maamor ואתה תצוה 5752, where the Rebbe explains how Yisroel bring Moshe to a higher level, and other places.)


* “Zeir Anpin”, which refers to the six sefiros from Chesed through Yesod

Kuntres Chof Marcheshvan, 5752

Kuntres Chof Marcheshvan, 5752

This maamor was edited and printed in honor of the birthday of the Rebbe Rashab, and it was handed out personally by the Rebbe in 770.*. It discusses deep inyonim of Chassidus, and demands attentive learning.  But here, we will focus only on one point from the maamor, which is overtly relevant to the concepts of Moshiach and Geuloh found in Dvar Malchus.

The Rebbe discusses here the concept of the Divine Light (Ohr) that preceded the tzimtzum (Tzimtzum being  the contraction of light by which it becomes possible to create limited, finite worlds).  This Ohr that existed prior to the tzimtzum possessed two dimensions: unlimited and limited.  These dimensions became the source for the two kinds of Divine revelation that exist now: Sovev (surrounding light, which cannot be grasped and thus is not revealed in the world), and Memaleh (filling light, which is limited and can this be grasped by the lower creatures).

Additionally: through the mitzvos we perform now, there will be the revelation of a new light in the time to come,  an Ohr Chodosh.  This Ohr Chodosh will bring about a new heavens and a new Earth (as stated by the novi Yeshaya).

The Rebbe clarifies: if we are referring to the revelation of the unlimited light that illumined before the tzimtzum (which is presently not revealed in the worlds), this is not truly new (אין זה חידוש אמיתי) — this Ohr was already revealed before the Tzimtzum, and afterwards was concealed from the world.   Thus, when this Ohr will return and be revealed again, it will not truly be something new.  The truly new Ohr Chodosh, which will generate a new heavens and a new Earth, is Ohr that is drawn down by our fulfilling Torah and Mitzvos now, an Ohr that didn’t exist even before the Tzimtzum!

In these words the Rebbe is giving us a small glimpse at the great significantly of the avoidah of a Yid in performing Torah and Mitzvos — it is a complete chiddush, and draws down an Ohr Chodosh that never existed previously!  Here, in the oisios of Chassidus, the Rebbe is explaining the famous words of 28 Nissan (“I’ve done all that I can do, now you must do all that you can do to bring the Geuloh…”) — because it is the avoidah of a Yid, davka, to make this lowest world a “dira b’tachtonim” that draws down the Ohr Chodosh, which is the revelation of the Geuloh.

(Note that  in the kuntres published for Rosh Chodesh Kislev of this year, the Rebbe will elaborate further on this subject, bringing out the point that the avoidah of the Yid is even greater than the Ohr Chodosh that comes from his avoidah!)

* Some want to suggest that perhaps the personal distribution of this maamor was  (in addition to the lofty inyonim discussed in the maamor) to serve as a “distraction”, so to speak, from the amazing revelations found in the Sicha “Beis Rabbeinu sh’b’Bovel”, which was printed the same week.  Well known is the principle that the first luchos were given with a big “shturem”, but had to be shattered.  The final luchos, to the contrary, were brought down without lightning, thunder, and the sound of the Shofar — but they endured.  In our case, Chassidim were so excited to learn a maamor that the Rebbe had handed to them personally, from his holy hand, that they didn’t have time to look closely at the other kuntres (“Beis Rabbeinu…”) that was unceremoniously dropped  off in 770.  (But what can a goat understand from gazing at the moon…?)

 

Kuntres Rosh Hashono, 5752

Kuntres Rosh Hashono, 5752

Released a few days in advance of Rosh Hashono, the discourse begins with the verse from the prophet Yeshaya: “On that day a great shofar will be sounded, and the ones who are lost in the land of Ashur and the ones who are pushed away in the land of Mitzrayim, will come and prostrate themselves to Hashem on the Holy Mountain in Yerushalayim.”

The Rebbe asks a few questions on this verse: What is special about a “great shofar”? Why does it say that the shofar “will be sounded” without specifying who will be sounding it — it seems as though it will be sounded on its own?

The shofar here is explained in spiritual terms: the cry of the innermost point in the heart which is above intellect. This cry draws down the corresponding level from Above, meaning the Supernal Will which transcends the level of Chochma (usually translated as “wisdom”).

There is a different verse that describes the shofar as being sounded by Hashem, but that verse refers only to a “shofar” and not a “great shofar”.  But the “great shofar” of the future is sounded from a level higher than any of Hashem’s names!

Also at Matan Torah there was the sound of a shofar, but not a “great shofar” — the shofar of the future will be even greater.  The reason, given in the name of the Mitteler Rebbe, is that at the time of Matan Torah the entire Jewish people were in a state of closeness with G-dliness קירוב לאלקות and therefore a “regular” shofar was sufficient to awaken their hearts.  But the shofar of the future, of the true and complete Geulah, has to reach the “lost” and the “pushed away”, who are far from G-dliness, and therefore in order to reach them requires the “great shofar”. This also explains why it send that it will be sounded “by itself” — because in order to awaken those who are so far from any interest or recognition of G-dliness will require a cry from Above, by itself, without any awakening from below at all. Now, on every Rosh Hashono, we sound a regular shofar, meaning that through our effort we awaken and draw down from Above.  But the great shofar of the future is drawn down by itself without any effort from below.

However, there is a question: we find that the great shift of the future is likened to our sounding of the shofar on Rosh Hashono through our own effort — they couldn’t be more different! The Rebbe explains it by connecting it to the original Rosh Hashono, at the Creation of the world, which preceded any effort from below (since “below” did not yet exist), and what this teaches us in our avoidah:

The shofar is narrow at one end and wide at the other. This reflects our cry from the narrow side, the limitations we find ourselves in.  Just like the way that a poor man’s prayer is more potent and heartfelt and more readily accepted, so, too, the cry that comes from the “narrow” limitations that challenge us.  And there is nothing more “narrow” and limiting than to be lost in Ashur or pushed away in Mitzrayim, so the “great shofar” of the future that is sounded “by itself” in order to awaken those distant individuals is indeed similar to our shofar.

But beyond that, it turns out that this itself — the very lowly and distant state of the lost and pushed away — is the cause of such a lofty revelation as the “great shofar”! And this is in fact the reason that Hashem created such places, and caused a Jew to be exiled there.  When these places cause an awakening of the “great shofar”, not only are the Yidden in those places elevated to a higher level, but these places themselves (the lowliest places of exile) are also elevated.

How does this explanation guide us in our avoidas Hashem (since the lost and pushed away are not consciously serving Hashem)?  Says the Rebbe: even one whose avoidah is complete בשלימות can learn from this: if he contemplates the loftiness of the Ohr Ein Sof then even his “true avoidah” is lacking and considered a sin; therefore, he feels himself to be “lost” and “pushed away”, and through this the revelation of the “great shofar” is awakened and drawn down.  Since he recognizes and feels that the Revelations are drawn down not by his own avoidah, but rather by Hashem’s chesed — it is like the shofar that is sounded by itself with no awakening from below at all.

The Rebbe then adds, in the name of his father-in-law the Previous Rebbe, that this “great shofar” awakens the “innermost point” of every Yid, and every single one (including the lost and pushed away) will want to go out of golus and go to Yerushalayim and prostrate themselves to Hashem, because this is the true desire of every Yid.  Meaning, that unlike Yetzias Mitzrayim when the desire to leave came from Above, in the future Geulah it will be the desire of Yisroel to come to Yerushalayim — the awakening from Above of the “great shofar” is only the means by which the true desire of Yisroel is revealed. Thus, the avoidah will in fact be their own, only that for the truly “lost” and “pushed away” the avoidah will come after the great shofar which will awaken their true desire (which was drawn down from Above by itself).

The instruction for us is:

“… At the end of the time of golus when only a few moments remain before that day when the great shofar will be sounded [and more than this, as regards several inyonim the inyan of “the great shofar will be sounded” has already begun, as understood from the words of my father-in-law, and particularly that since the time he wrote that until now many years have passed, and how much moreso in the recent times when we saw that there are a number of individuals who were at first in a situation of lost and pushed away, r”l, had an awakening of tshuva through the sounding of the “great shofar”*] there needs to be the avoidah of Bittul. This is the awareness and feeling that everything that is accomplished through his avoidah, both as regards himself and as regards others, is not due to his own virtues, but rather it had been given from Above.  Such a feeding will not cause a weakening in his avoidah, but to the contrary, this getting will cause his avoidah to be stronger.  Because when his avoidah drives grin his own existence, it is limited — his “maximum” בכל מאודך is his own limited maximum.  But when he feels that his avoidah is not through his own power but rather from G-dliness, then he goes out from his own limited existence and his avoidah is above measurement and limitation.”

The Rebbe concludes that this has to be drawn into physicality גשמיות, and it is understood that whatever was done until now is insufficient (after all — we just learned that we can access the unlimited in our avoidah!). The awakening of the “great shofar” has to be in a way that every Yid, including the lost and pushed away, will come to prostrate himself to Hashem on the Holy Mountain in Yerushalayim, in the simple sense, through Moshiach Tzidkeinu.  Meaning: we don’t rest until every Yid is part of the Geulah, until every Yid recognizes Moshiach, until every Yid reveals and acts upon his true desire to leave golus and go to Yerushalayim!

*This maamor was originally said after the awakening that followed the Six Day War.