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 “good old days” when Chassidim saw and felt all of that — 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 he is showing that 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:

There is a special quality in the Shabbos after Shavuos in this year

To preface, it has been said numerous times that according to all the signs in the words of our sages about the end of days (in addition to the general announcement in the times of the gemara that “all the end-times have passed”), this generation is the last generation of the exile and the first generation of the Geulah.  This was testified to by my father-in-law the Previous Rebbe  — in connection with his well-known proclamation of “immediately to tshuva, immediately to Geulah” — that in his days (decades ago) all the matters of avodah had been finished, and all we need is only to “polish the buttons” and to stand ready to receive Moshiach Tzidkeinu.  How much more so after all the work of spreading the wellsprings outward from then until now, especially upon the completion of 40 years (since his histalkus) it is absolutely certain that we have also finished “polishing the buttons”, and we are standing ready to receive Moshiach Tzidkeinu.

This is especially emphasized in this year — the year 5751 (1991) — [the Hebrew letters of this year, תנש”א] hinting at the verse “his kingship shall be exalted” (תנשא מלכותו) in the entire world, and it also 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.”

Throughout the Gulf War, the Rebbe made references to this Yalkut Shimoni midrash, but here 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].”

This describes a situation where there already exists the “physical Moshiach” (i.e., the individual to whom has been bestowed the lofty neshoma of Moshiach) who himself knows that he is Moshiach, but the revelation to all of Israel has not yet occurred. 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, the revelation of Moshiach precedes and is distinct from the coming of Moshiach. (And it is self-understood that when there is such a situation—a situation where the tzaddik who himself is Moshiach is the only one to whom this has been revealed– then only this tzaddik himself is able to know and to inform others that “the year in which the King Moshiach is revealed” has been fulfilled, etc.) .

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 the shechting of the Shor Habar with the fins of the Leviyoson, 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 (אלה 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 Shamai and Beis Hillel.  As is known, Beis Shamai 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 Shamai’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 Shamai 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 Shamai, 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 Shamai 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 Shamai 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 Shamai 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 Shamai, 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 Shamai 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.

Bamidbar/Shavuos 5751: Publish Your Chiddushim

…as mentioned, each individual should endeavor to develop new Torah concepts, and also, to publish them. To explain, every Jew has the potential — and according to the Zohar, it is an obligation — to develop new Torah concepts.

In the previous generations, people were very reticent to write, let alone, publish such Torah concepts, lest they not have appreciate the true intent of the law or concept with which they were concerned.

At present, however, there must be efforts in the opposite direction. It is necessary to take precautions that people do not write directives of Torah law when they are incapable of doing so. Nevertheless, simultaneously, it is necessary to do whatever is necessary to encourage people to increase their efforts in Torah study. [The widespread publication of Torah texts will, to a certain extent also insure that the ideas developed are accurate. No one will publish a Torah concept which he thinks might be in error. Thus, at the very least, for his own self-respect, he will recheck and review the Torah ideas he publishes.]

And for that reason, it is worthy to encourage all those who are trained in the proper approach to Torah study — even if they are not totally sure that the new concepts are 100% accurate — to publish and disseminate the Torah ideas that they develop. (Needless to say, however, it is proper to add that these texts should contain a statement saying that they should not be considered as works from which halachic directives for actual practice should be derived.)

We see the success of such an approach. When people compose Torah texts like these, they are inspired to dedicate more effort to Torah study. Similarly, “the envy of the scribes increases knowledge” and their efforts spur other colleagues to like endeavors.

May these activities spread the rest and tranquility associated with the giving of the Torah throughout the world and hasten the coming of “the era which is all rest and Shabbos for eternity.” Until the coming of that era, we are in a state of distress, as our Sages said, “Woe to the children who have been exiled from their Father’s table.” The exile has caused us travail in regard to our material welfare, and similarly, has prevented us from reaching our true potential in the service of G‑d. Indeed, it is impossible for us to appreciate how much the exile has hindered us, for we are all children of the exile. We have grown up in exile and it dominates our thought processes.

This, however, will be brought to an end in the near future. Through the service of teshuvah, each person will establish a connection with the essence of his soul. And this will lift us and the entire world above the limitations of the exile, into “the era which is all rest and Shabbos for eternity.”

(Translation from Sichos in English)

Behar-Bechukosai: Dwelling Place — Below

Consistent with the theme that runs through almost all the Sichos of Dvar Malchus, the Rebbe address in this Sicha the split between Above and Below, “Oneness” and multiplicity. Paraphrasing the Mishna in Pirkei Avos: the dimension of “one utterance” and that of “ten utterances”.

The aspect of “one utterance” (through which the world could have been created) refers to the higher dimension, where the simple Oneness of G-dliness is the only reality, and any created entity is completely nullified to that Oneness, losing all individual importance.

The aspect of “ten utterances” (through which the world was created) refers to the lower reality where every entity has it’s own role and unique importance distinct from the greater unity and Oneness. This dimension of reality, however, can impose upon — and even conceal — the Oneness that underlies and permeates Creation.

In other words, “one utterance” brings a complete nullification of the world, whereas the “ten utterances” are what generate the reality of world (although in a way where the world is permeated with Holiness drawn down from Above).  The “problem” here is that each one cancels out the other, which is not the Divine intent.  Says the Rebbe:

..the true perfection is the combination of the two together — that also the level of G-dliness that is above the world (“one utterance”) is drawn down and revealed and permeates the multiplicity of the individual created begins (“ten utterances”).  Through this the intent of Creation is fulfilled, that the Holy One desired a dwelling place in the lower realms.

What is the true definition of the famous expression דירה בתחתונים (a “dwelling place in the lower realms”)?  It is the unification of the Upper and Lower dimensions.  Not in a way that the Higher dimension (עליונים) descends from it’s lofty level, for then it is no longer truly Higher; and not in a way where the Lower ascends from it’s own level, for then it is no longer truly Lower.  Rather: “The Upper as it is in its loftiness becomes united with the Lower as it is in its lowliness…”

In other words, Torah and G-dliness remain lofty (not sacrificing their inherent loftiness and Holiness in order to fit into the limitations of the earthly perspective); man remains earthly (physically eating, drinking, sleeping, etc.) — but these same “earthly” matters of the man down below become permeated with the loftiest dimensions of Above. When we achieve this, we have created a dwelling place (for Hashem’s essence, His “true self”, so to speak) in the lower realms (which remain earthly and lowly).

This is the purpose of the Giving of the Torah. But the Torah cannot only be “given” by Hashem, it must also be “received” by us.  In order to become a proper vessel to receive the Torah (especially that level of Torah which is above the world and man) a person must leave his reality through complete self-nullification (תכלית הביטול). This self-nullification will express itself through the impossibility of machloikes, since the reason for machloikes is one’s ישות lack of self-nullification. In this way one becomes fitting and prepared to receive the level of the Torah that is above any connection to the world, which is the level of Torah that will be revealed in the true and complete Geuloh.
That is the preparation to receive this level of the Torah; but to actually receive it means that through learning with understanding and comprehension it will permeate and become the person’s reality. And through this:

Immediately we will see that Moshiach is already found among us, and every single Jew will point with his finger and say “Behold, this one (is the Melech haMoshiach, and he already) came”.

Emor 5751: Turning Gola into Geulah

In this sicha we see how important is the concept of transforming exile (gola) to Redemption (Geuloh).  The Rebbe brings out that we are not fighting the exile (gola) but rather transforming it as it is in its essence by inserting and revealing the Alef — the recognition of G-d’s presence.  In other words, the Rebbe is explaining that the Geuloh, which is ready to occur at any moment, is dependent upon our active recognition that everything is from Hashem.

If so, what is the chiddush here?  In the times of the Mishna, the sage Nochum ish Gamzu would respond to every undesirable event by saying “this too is for the good” (“gam zu letoiva”).  And in Igeres Hakodesh (siman 11) the Alter Rebbe writes that we must believe that everything is for the good; only because some things are beyond our conception they are imagined by us to be “bad”.

The chiddush could be said to be as follows: previously this belief that everything is from Hashem and everything is truly good (whether revealed or concealed) was something that was beyond our conception.  We could only believe in it as one believes in something that cannot be seen or perceived.  However, in our generation, on the brink of (and prepared for) the revelations of the Geuloh, we are able — through this avoidah of emunah — to actually bring it into our understanding and perceive it, and thus see it transpire in actuality.

These correspond to the three levels (three different ways of explaining the “alef”) which the Rebbe speaks about in this sicha:

  • The Master of the World (Alufo shel olam): G-dliness as it is found in the world;
  • Being imbued with wisdom (a’alfa chochma): referring to the Torah, which is higher than the world but somewhat related to the world;
  • Wonder (peleh): the letters alef, lamed, pay (which spell “alef”, and can be re-arranged to spell “peleh“, meaning “wonder”) refers to the level of G-dliness which completely transcends the world.

In the Rebbe’s words:

This represents the progression of G-dly revelation leading to the days of Moshiach: 1) G-dliness within the world, 2) G-dliness higher than, but still connected with the world, and 3) the revelation of G-d’s essence. Our service of G-d in golus (which consists of bringing the Alef into golah to bring the Geuloh) must correspond to these three levels. And through this we bring about these kinds of G-dly revelation alluded to by the letter Alef.

This means that we must reveal the presence of G-dliness within the world by using all physical objects for a holy purpose — “for the sake of Heaven” (to correspond to the level of G-dliness within the world). Furthermore, we must bring down and reveal the second level through learning Torah, and reveal the third level of peleh by learning Pnimiyus HaTorah, Chassidus, which corresponds to the level of peleh in Torah.

We can extend this idea further: in addition to the revelation of the level of peleh through the study of Chassidus, it is revealed through the very exile itself. The prophet Yeshayahu said (12:1), “On that day [(of redemption] you will say, ‘I thank you G-d for having been angry with me.’ ” This verse seems somewhat puzzling. Granted that we will be thankful for G-d’s nullification of exile — but this expression of appreciation would not really be wholehearted. One would praise G-d even more completely if there had been no exile to begin with!

In light of the above this can be easily understood. Redemption comes about from and is composed of the very exile itself. We are therefore thanking Him deeply for the exile since we realize that it has brought the highest revelations, including that corresponding to the level of peleh.

This level of peleh that the Rebbe is speaking of is not only wonders taking place in our physical world (such as the Gulf War), but the Rebbe specifies that this is also (and even moreso) to be found in Torah itself — to perceive the wonders of Torah.  And beyond that: within our very selves, that we have the ability to “wondrously” transform ourselves to the level of a complete Tzaddik!  This is a tremendous Chiddush, as the Rebbe explains, because in Tanya it is explained that many souls descend to the world only to struggle and never to achieve the goal of “be a tzaddik“.  Now, asserts the Rebbe, all we need to do is to “do our part” to fulfill the oath to which the soul is sworn (“be a tzaddik“) and every one of us can in fact become a tzaddik!

This will be hastened through the study of Torah, and of Chassidus in particular. This also includes looking into the face of your Rebbe, which helps one’s understanding, as the Gemara (Eruvin 13b) quotes R. Yehuda HaNasi as saying, “This that my sharpness exceeds that of my colleagues is because I saw R. Meir from the back; and if I would have seen him from the front, I would be even sharper.”

All this will help further purify the world and reveal G-dliness within it. It must be accompanied by the additional G-dly service of each particular Jew, by keeping away from evil and, furthermore, doing the utmost to fulfill the oath administered to his soul before birth, “You shall be a tzaddik.” One might object and point out that in Tanya itself it is written that not every individual can necessarily become a tzaddik, and that one doesn’t have complete free choice in this area. However, since the Jew has the essence of G-d within him, ultimately even this is within his reach. Furthermore, after all the purification, etc. of the Jewish people over the course of time, now every Jew is able to reach the level of tzaddik — similar to the way things will be in the Messianic Age.

All this contains straightforward guidance in what all Jews should be doing to further hasten the redemption — in all three levels alluded to by the letter alef. This means first of all revealing G-d’s presence in the world through using all worldly objects for a holy purpose, etc. In addition, there must be a special increase in Torah study — and particularly the study of Chassidus — in a way that it should be clearly understood in Chochmah, Binah, and Da’as. Included in this is also influencing others to follow suit.

It follows that the work is on our shoulders: we simply have to make a true effort to “be a tzaddik” and we will be amazed at the results.  We will bring about our own personal Geuloh, leading to the true and complete Geuloh of the entire Jewish nation, and the entire world!

Emor 5751: You Can Now Be a Tzaddik

Briefly, we have a major novelty (chiddush) in this sicha, indicating that our reality is no longer limited in the way earlier generations were limited (we will see similar insights in parshas Vayigash, be”H).  Before we get to this, it is very noteworthy the Rebbe’s statement about the importance of looking at the face of the Rebbe as being included as part of learning Torah, which speeds the Geulah:

[The Geulah and building of the 3rd Beis Hamikdash] will be hastened through the study of Torah, and of Chassidus in particular. This also includes looking into the face of your Rebbe, which helps one’s understanding, as the Gemara (Eruvin 13b) quotes R. Yehudah HaNasi as saying, “This that my sharpness exceeds that of my colleagues is because I saw R. Meir from the back; and if I would have seen him from the front, I would be even sharper.”

As regards the novelty(chiddush), all students of Tanya know two things: Firstly, every single Jew must endeavor to fulfill the oath that his soul swore before coming down to the world (“Be a Tzaddik”); and secondly, as stated in Tanya, that try as one might, one may never reach this level because it is not dependent on ones merits.  Some souls are born to struggle but not to achieve the goal of being a true Tzaddik (one who has overcome and transformed his evil inclination).  Here the Rebbe informs us that there is now nothing standing in our way of achieving the objective! You and I, every Jew, if we will truly make the effort we can succeed to be victorious over our evil inclinations:

All this will help further purify the world and reveal G‑dliness within it. It must be accompanied by the additional G‑dly service of each particular Jew, by keeping away from evil and, furthermore, doing the utmost to fulfill the oath administered to his soul before birth, “You shall be a Tzaddik.” One might object and point out that in Tanya itself it is written that not every individual can necessarily become a Tzaddik, and that one doesn’t have complete free choice in this area. However, since the Jew has the essence of G‑d within him, ultimately even this is within his reach. Furthermore, after all the purification, etc. of the Jewish people over the course of time, now every Jew is able to reach the level of Tzaddik — similar to the way things will be in the Messianic Age.

The excuse that being a Tzaddik is “beyond my reach” and “halevai beinoni” (“if only I could reach the intermediate level”) is no longer valid! Today we are truly in a period of “I tried and I found” (“yagaati u-matzosi“).


Full sicha in English
Full sicha in Laha”k