Va’Eschanon 5751: To See That Moshiach Was Born on Tisha B’Av

Va’Eschanon 5751: To See That Moshiach Was Born on Tisha B’Av

Shabbos Parshas Va’Eschanon is also “Shabbos Nachamu”, the first of the “seven [Sabbaths] of comforting”, named after the haftorah which begins with the words “Nachamu Nachamu ami” (Be comforted, be comforted, My people).

The double expression of “Nachamu” (double-comforting following the destruction of the Beis Hamikdosh (twice) on Tisha B’Av) implies a true, unlimited comforting after the destruction of Tisha B’Av.  (The Rebbe points out that: “Since the comforting is (not only words of comfort and the like, but rather) through the rebuilding of the Beis Hamikdash.” — (one of the jobs of Moshiach.))

The first Beis Hamikdosh was primarily due to revelations from Above to below; the second was primarily an effort from below to Above.  The third Beis Hamikdosh, which is eternal, (because it) will be a union of those two qualities.  In other words (explained in footnote 52 in the original), the revelation of G-dliness that occurred in the first Beis Hamikdosh was so powerful that it nullified the worldly reality of those in this world; the second Beis Hamikdosh emphasized the integration of G-dly revelation into the worldly reality of those in this world.  These will be unified in the third.

This primary difference between these two directions is that the integration of G-dly revelation into the worldly reality of those in this world (in a way which does not “shatter” their reality) takes a long time.  Similar to the process of conquering and dividing Eretz Yisroel under Yehoshua, which took 14 years.

This is similar to the process of going from Tisha B’Av to the 15th of Av, of which our sages say “there were never Yomim Tovim for Yisroel like the 15th of Av….”  What happened to cause the 15th of Av to receive such a description?  The first, and main, event to happen on the 15th of Av is that those who were decreed to die in the desert ceased dying on that day.  To explain:

Those who accepted the testimony of the meraglim about the land of Israel and didn’t want to enter were condemned to die in the desert on that same day, Tisha B’Av, during the next 38 years.  Each year, on Tisha B’Av, those who reached 60 years old would dig graves, lie down, and would not wake up in the morning.  In the final year, the last group followed the same procedure only they were surprised to wake up the next morning!  They surmised that they had made a mistake in calculating the day of the month, so the next night they again lay down to die in their graves.  But the next morning they also awoke!  Thinking that they had erred in calculating the date, they did this again the next night, continuing until the night of the 15th when the full moon indicated that they had not erred in the date but, rather, the decree had been annulled by Hashem!

In other words: the decree had been annulled on Tisha B’Av itself, but it took until the 15th of Av for them to realize this, to internalize it and integrate it.  Similarly, the “birth of Moshiach” on Tisha B’Av is not recognized immediately, but takes a long time to be realized, internalized, and integrated.  The Rebbe expresses it that “when the moon is full it is known with certainty that Moshiach was already born on Tisha B’Av (similar to what we find regarding the establishment of the 15th of Av as a Yom Tov, even though the decree had been nullified on Tisha B’Av)”.  The moon hints at the Jewish people, and the full moon means to receive the light of the sun [Moshe Rabbeinu is likened to the sun] in a complete and perfect manner.

Saying that Moshiach is “born” on Tisha B’Av means a dimension of his revelation (not his physical birth, see the Maharal* and Abarbanel).  But even after Moshiach himself becomes spiritually “large”, the exile is drawn out in so that it will be in a complete and perfect manner also as regards its integration by those in this world.

So we understand from the Rebbe’s words that as far as the revelations from Above are concerned, Moshiach is here and nothing is lacking.  But nonetheless the state of golus continues because the process of our accepting and integrating this new reality is a time-consuming process (which, of course, is up to us!).

Thus, the instruction of the Rebbe here is to emphasize again the need to learn matters of Geuloh, especially in Pnimiyus Hatorah, in a way of “laboring” in Torah, “and may it be Hashem’s will that through contemplating these matters we should merit immediately to see the true and complete Geuloh — Immediately, mamash”!


* Footnote 93 refers to Netzach Yisroel by the Maharal of Prague, page 132 which speaks of the birth of Moshiach.  Towards the end of that page, the Maharal writes how Moshiach’s name is “Menachem”, the comforter, because just as the “comforter” must be distant and removed from the mourning of the one he is comforting, similarly Moshiach (Menachem) is distant and removed from the rest of the people due to his lofty and elevated spiritual level.

Devarim 5751: One More Request for Moshiach

Devarim 5751: One More Request for Moshiach

In the year 5751, Tisha B’Av fell out on Shabbos (as it does this year, 5782).  In such a year, the fast, together with all other aspects of mourning the destruction of the Beis Hamikdash, are pushed off until the 10th (Sunday).  But the positive aspects of Tisha B’Av remain, which include it being an “auspicious time” (like every fast day) and also the birth of Moshiach.  Therefore, on Shabbos Tisha B’Av we are eating a feast!  Halacha permits one to sit and enjoy a repast as rich as Shlomo Hamelech’s even to the last moment before shkia (sunset) [unlike regular years, when we eat a mourner’s meal before the fast].

This itself is a taste of the Messianic Age, when all the fast days will be transformed to days of rejoicing, and as such our Shabbos meals on Tisha B’Av assume a Moshiach-like dimension of the feast of the Levyoson and Shor Habar (the Leviathan and Wild Bull).  On a deeper level: every year we re-experience the churban, the destruction of the Beis Hamikdash, and the mourning, and then in the afternoon, at Mincha-time, comes the comforting — the birth of Moshiach.  This year we have the birth of Moshiach (who builds the 3rd Beis Hamikdash which will never be destroyed) without the churban!  This hints that b’pnimiyus the destruction of the 1st and 2nd Beis Hamikdash were really only for the sake of the building of the 3rd, eternal Beis Hamikdash.

All of this was in fact present at the time of the churban, but it was concealed.  The inner positive aspects of Tisha B’Av, the birth of Moshiach, does not become revealed until the 15th of Av, which is when the moon is full, the moon being the aspect of Dovid Malka Mashicha. (This also hints at the Jewish people, when they reach full potential to receive the light (as the moon receives and reflects from the sun), reveal that Moshiach was actually born on Tisha B’Av.

The three weeks leading up to Tisha B’Av hint at the “three moichin” (3 aspects of Supernal Intellect) which themselves correspond to the lands of the three nations — Keni, Kenizi, Kadmoni — which were promised to Avraham Avinu (along with the land of 7 nations conquered by Yehoshua).  The Torah forbids us to have anything to do with these lands during the time of until Moshiach comes, but the fact that part of these lands were conquered by other nations (Sichon and Og) and then conquered and settled by the tribes of Gad, Reuven, and Menashe, is itself a hint that these three dimensions of the Supernal Intellect come together with the land of 7 nations, which refers to the seven midos.

Sefer Devarim is Moshe Rabbeinu addressing the Jewish nation before they will enter the land of Israel.  Moshe knew that Hashem had decreed upon him not to enter the land, but still he did not cease to beseech Hashem in prayer asking Him to allow him to enter the land, reaching 515 prayers (the numerical value of “Va’eschanon”, the parsha we read at Mincha).

From here there is also something for all generations to learn from… that without looking at all the prayers and requests that were until now, we need again and again to daven and request from the Eybershter “Ad Mosai” — “until when”.

…and as was said,  immediately mamash, today mamash, since all the matters have been completed, and the Beis Hamikdash stands ready Above, and similarly all the matters — “everything is ready for the feast”, everything is ready as if in a closed chest and they have given the chest and its key to every single Jew.  The only thing that we are waiting for — that a Jew will shout another shout, with another request and demand and another reminder: “Ad Mosai“?!…

How long are we prepared to wait?  Ad mosai?!

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

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!

Pinchas 5751 — A Deeper Look at a “Pnimi”

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 space in the Beis Hamikdash: in that space the size of the holy ark (the aron kodesh) took up no space (“makom ha’Aron eino min haMida“).

First, let us examine the phenomenon: The Kodesh haKodashim itself was 20 amos wide, and the aron was 2½ amos wide.  Under normal circumstances, if one would measure the distance from the wall to the edge of the aron one would find a distance of 8¾ amos in each direction.  But in actuality the distance measured was a full 10 amos from each side of the aron to the wall!  Although the aron measured a full 2½ amos, 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”.

[In the world of Tzimtzum created by the Divine name Elokim, there is a division of place, I can be here and you can be there.  But really, “here” and “there” are not different places but rather concepts.  Wherever I am found is “here” and wherever I am not found is “there”.  Thus, the concept of going to Eretz Yisroel is a concept of Tzimtzum and golus.  In the Geuloh, when there will be a revelation of YKVK in our present reality.  In the Geuloh we will discover that “here” includes everywhere, and thus we will find ourselves in Eretz Yisroel (and more: in the Kodesh haKodashim, where all places are unified in that one place — everywhere is “here”).  So, in actuality, we are not working “here” in order to go “there”; we are working “here” to bring about the revelation that “here” really includes “there”.]

Based on the above, we can understand 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 Pnimiwho 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, a Yid …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!

Pinchas 5751 — Making “Here” Eretz Yisroel

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.

Chukas 5751: Revealing the Hidden

Chukas 5751: Revealing the Hidden

There is a common thread running through almost all of the Dvar Malchus sichos of 5751-52: the concepts of “ratzo v’shov” (ascending and returning) and the influence from Above contrasted with the effort from below. These concepts are explained at great length in the teachings of Chassidus, and they receive added emphasis in Dvar Malchus.

The year this sicha was said (5751) Shabbos parshas Chukas was the 10th of the month of Tammuz. This means it carries the influence of the number seven (Shabbos) and the number ten (10th of the month). The Rebbe explains that seven represents the complete perfection of the world as it is created from Above, exemplified by the Written Torah which was given from Above, the revealed aspect of Torah. The number ten represents the perfection that is attained (and added to) via our effort from below, which finds expression in the Oral Torah, including Pnimiyus Hatorah.  The added quality of ten, deriving from our effort, is that it brings to revelation the “concealed good” which is not openly revealed in the revealed Torah.

The difference between 7 and 10 is 3, which refers to the “moichin“, the three intellectual dimensions of Chochma, Bina and Da’as (Chaba”d).  It is our effort to use our intellectual abilities which brings out the hidden good.  Says the Rebbe here:

To point out that last Shabbos was 3 Tammuz, the beginning of the Geulah. This Shabbos. the 10th of Tammuz, comes after 7 days of the week have passed — the avodah of refining the 7 midos.  Together with this is the avodah of the 3 moichin (of 3 Tammuz) — and this brings about the revelation of the aspect of 10 (of Tammuz)…  

This is the special quality of our effort (3 [moichin]) which adds to the completeness from Above (7 [midos]) and brings to the ultimate completeness and perfection of revealing the hidden good (10).  [This is also connected with our parsha which speaks of the Red Heifer (Pora Adumoh), in which the Torah instructs that the sprinkling of the purifying waters take place on the third day and the seventh day.]

The Rebbe explains further: “through understanding Pnimiyus Hatorah and the soul of the matter, one is able to see there also the hidden good, even though one does not see this revealed, or one even sees the opposite (the opposite of good).”  According to Torah (and emphasized in Chassidus), everything  is really good because nothing evil descends from Above.  But in order to see this we need the aspect of “3” — our effort in using our 3 intellectual faculties to understand Pnimiyus Hatorah. The revelation of Pnimiyus Hatorah is the inyan of the three lands of Eretz Yisroel that will be inherited in the future: the lands of the Keni Kenizi and Kadmoni.

All of this is assisted by seeing the Rebbe’s face:

The revelation of Pnimiyus Hatorah is drawn down in an ongoing, perpetual way (since the time of the geulah [of the Previous Rebbe in 5687-1927]) — via the Previous Rebbe’s students and the students of his students, as he is the Nosi of our generation, and “the Nosi is everything” — he gives the ability to every Jew in this generation, and particularly via his students who merited to see him with eyes of flesh, face to face…and seeing the face of the Tzaddik and the Nosi of our generation has an effect on those who see him, until it becomes firmly recognizable in them that they saw him, including first and foremost — in their avoda in “your wellsprings will spread outward”.

Since the period of time in which we find ourselves is characterized by things which appear to be the opposite of good (most strikingly the event of 3 Tammuz, which marks an interruption of seeing the Rebbe “with eyes of flesh, face to face”), we must implement the Rebbe’s instruction to make an effort to understand these things according to Pnimiyus Hatorah and in that way reveal the hidden good, which itself brings about open and revealed good in the world.

Korach (3 Tammuz) 5751: The Sun Stood Still For a Reason

Korach (3 Tammuz) 5751: The Sun Stood Still For a Reason

The Miracle of the Sun standing still was only in order to allow Israel to defeat the enemy by their own power in a natural way.

Gimmel Tammuz is the day that the Previous Lubavitcher Rebbe was released from Soviet prison in 5687 (1927).

Prior to that, we find that it was on this day that Yehoshua bin Nun performed a tremendous miracle, causing the sun to stand still.  The story behind the miracle is that Israel were doing battle with the enemy.  Sunset was approaching, and with the setting of the sun the battle would cease and the enemy would be able to escape.  In order to enable Israel to defeat the enemy, Yehoshua instructed the sun to “be silent”, causing it to cease it’s flight in the heavens, preserving the daylight so that the battle could be won.

The Rebbe asks an obvious question: if one has the power to cause the sun (and the entire heavenly system with it) to pause, why not simply bring about the defeat of the enemy in a direct fashion?  The preceding verses in Sefer Yehoshua tell us that more of the enemy were killed by stones which fell upon them from heaven than were killed by the sword.  Is it not a simpler matter to rain down some more stones than to freeze the entire heavenly system?

The answer the Rebbe gives is that the battle is Israel’s battle, it must be won by them under their own power.  Of course Hashem is helping with miraculous assistance from above, but this is only assistance.  The war must be fought and pursued by Israel in a natural fashion, even if on top of that there is super-natural assistance.  Thus, instead of Yehoshua simply bringing about the defeat of the enemy and Israel stand by passively, he used his power to give Israel more time to overcome the enemy in a natural way.

In our day, Gimmel Tammuz is primarily associated with the transition from the years when we saw the Rebbe to the current situation where the Rebbe is not seen except in videos and dreams.  Moshe Rabbeinu is likened to the sun, and the Rebbe, Moshe Rabbeinu in our generation, is still providing all the assistance necessary to win the war against evil.  But the war must be won by us, under our own power.  While the Rebbe was visible to all, it was possible to “rely on the Rebbe” to win the war.  Today, when it seems that the sun, Moshe Rabbeinu, has “stopped moving” it is only in order to allow us to overcome the enemy using natural means.

For a more detailed explanation, with comprehensive references from Chassidus, see the Kuntres Inyonei Moshiach and Geulah for Gimmel Tammuz.

Shlach 5751: How to Conquer and Settle the Land

Shlach 5751: How to Conquer and Settle the Land

In the sicha of Parshas Shlach the Rebbe contrasts the spies who were sent by Moshe Rabbeinu in the parsha, and the spies sent by Yehoshua in the haftorah.  By contrasting the differences, the Rebbe identifies for us two differing paths in our service of Hashem (and in “entering the land” — bringing the Geuloh) “which complement each other and complete each other for the sake of a singular goal, the conquest of and the entering into the land.”

The spies sent by Yehoshua were for the sake of conquering the land, whereas those sent by Moshe were supposed to aid and encourage entering the land (which includes settling the land after it is conquered).  Moshe’s spies were assigned the task of scouting out the goodness of the land, to give Bnei Yisroel a tangible idea of the special land that awaits them (by bringing back the enormous fruits of the land), and through this to arouse in the Yidden a desire and excitement to enter Eretz Yisroel.

As we know, the spies contradicted their mission and tried to scare Bnei Yisroel away from entering the land as a result of “mixing in” to Moshe Rabbeinu’s instructions.  But, explains the Rebbe, in truth they did accomplish their mission: when Bnei Yisroel entered the land after 40 years wandering in the desert (the consequence of the spies “mixing in”), they did so with excitement that came from what they learned from those same spies.  “If only they hadn’t caused damage by what they added to the shlichus (regarding [the doubting the success of] conquering the land)…then all of Bnei Yisroel would have entered the land of Israel immediately with joy and great desire.”

The Rebbe proceeds to identify the points of difference between the two groups of spies:

  • 12 spies (Moshe) / 2 spies (Yehoshua);
  • Tribal leaders (Moshe) / unidentified men (Yehoshua);
  • Sent “in your opinion” (Moshe) / sent by command of Hashem (Yehoshua);
  • To “scout” the entire land (Moshe) / to “spy out” Yericho only (Yehoshua);
  • Travel openly (Moshe) / travel secretly (Yehoshua);
  • Identify the nature of the land and the people (Moshe) / identify the morale of the population (Yehoshua).

Seemingly, these are completely different kinds of shlichus, deriving from the fact that under Moshe they would have entered the land miraculously, whereas in the times of Yehoshua they needed to conquer the land in a natural manner.  But, as mentioned above, the Rebbe says that they complement and even complete each other, and this is also true in our avoidas Hashem to “enter the land” (bring the Geuloh).  The spies of Moshe represent the inyan of “differentiation” (התחלקות), the unique and special qualities that different elements possess (to be explained momentarily).  The spies of Yehoshua represent the inyan of “unity” (אחדות), where all differences are subsumed and nullified in the common underlying unity.

These differing aspects and approaches manifest themselves in the following areas:

  • Torah is the aspect of unity, the wisdom of Hashem — just as He is One, so too His wisdom is One.  Mitzvos are the aspect of differentiation, each mitzvah involving different limbs, different objects, having different effects.
  • Within Torah itself there are these same two dimensions: Nigleh which is Torah as it differentiates to explain the various mitzvos, etc., and Pnimiyus Hatorah, which explains Elokus and reveals the unity of Hashem in all creation.
  • The Neshoma possesses unique and differentiated “soul powers” (כוחות הפרטים) (intellect, midos) which are applied in different situations, and also it possesses Bittul, which shows on the unity of all aspects of Divine service.

The Rebbe says that the avoidah of refining the world is primarily accomplished through the aspect of differentiation (where one can be better than another, etc.) because the aspect of unity is above the world (and, thus, cannot affect it so much).  Nonetheless, there is also a need for the dimension of unity which brings the avoidah of refining the world to its perfection — that G-dliness which is above the world is drawn down and revealed in the world to make true unity.

This is reflected in two groups of spies.  Moshe’s spies were sent “in accordance with your opinion” (Moshe Rabbeinu’s opinion), which itself reflects on the “differentiation” in Torah as it becomes enclothed in the person’s own intellect.  Yehoshua’s spies, however, were sent upon command of Hashem, the aspect of bittul and kabbolos ‘ol.  The 12 spies represent the different types of Divine service of the 12 tribes, each tribe being different in its strengths and weaknesses.  The 2 spies of Yehoshua show on bittul of all of the powers of the neshoma to the two primary directions of Divine service: positive mitzvos and negative mitzvos.

Each one of us needs to utilize both forms of “spying out the land” in order to properly conquer and settle it.  The actual conquering is best accomplished through the simplicity and bittul of Yehoshua’s spies.  But arousing a desire to enter the land, and to settle it properly demands the approach of Moshe’s spies who utilize their unique abilities and capabilities to accomplish their shlichus.

It is possible to say that when the two dimensions are combined, the bittul of Yehoshua’s spies will keep us away from the mistake of Moshe Rabbeinu’s spies (who “mixed in” and “added” something undesirable to their shlichus) — that even when we make use of our personal strengths and uniqueness we will remain true to the shlichus and succeed to both conquer the land and to settle the land (with joy and desire) and to bring the true and complete Geuloh!

B’haalosecha 5751: The Flame Rises on its Own

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!

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

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 Levyoson 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 teach 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 Levyoson (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 Levyoson 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 Levyoson 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 Levyoson, 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 Levyoson 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 Levyoson*, 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 Levyoson 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 Levyoson: the jagged edge of the fins tells us that this shechting will take place “step by step”, level after level.