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: 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 Geuloh:

[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

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!

Achrei-Kedoshim 5751: Using Out Golus to Make Geuloh

Geuloh is made from Golus (Exile)

With the heady excitement that comes when one begins to feel what the Rebbe has been expressing in the recent sichos — that we are truly on the cusp of the coming of Moshiach and the revelations of the true and complete Geuloh — it could be possible to feel the desire to throw off the responsibilities of Golus and charge head-first and full-speed into Geuloh .  For example, abandoning one’s job and devoting 24 hours a day to spreading the news of the redemption and learning the subject of Moshiach and Geuloh .  (After all, the Rebbe said in the previous sicha that this learning is the direct path to bringing the Geuloh , so why delay it by attending to earthly needs such as a job and a house?)  Such “over-the-top”  behavior, explains the Rebbe, is not the way to bring Moshiach.  Or, from the other side, one could be worried that all of one’s efforts in worldly matters will go to waste with the coming of Moshiach, and this fear is also put to rest in this sicha.

As mentioned in the previous sichos, the Geuloh (redemption) is the word exile (GOLA) with the addition of the letter “alef”, representing the revelation of Hashem in exile itself.  This is the concept of the Rambam that with the coming of Moshiach (in the first stage, at least) nothing will change in the conduct of the world — the world will conduct itself naturally — the only difference is that we will not be subjugated to physicality and the laws of nature as before.  However, this itself is no small matter!  What is means is that the miraculous will occur within the parameters of nature.  But reality is now miraculous.  In the words of the Rebbe:

 Redemption does not mean that we abandon all the activities which we carry out in the exile. On the contrary, by definition, the word implies that during the exile certain activities were carried out under subjugation to other forces, and in the Era of the Redemption, we will be freed from this subjugation.

The redemption will involve freeing all the elements of existence that have been subjugated in the exile. Nothing will be lost.  On the contrary, everything will be redeemed. Every single Jew will be redeemed. We will leave “with our youth and with our elders… with our sons and with our daughters.” And “their gold and silver will accompany them.” All the positive activities and achievements of the Jews (and also the non-Jews) in the exile will not be nullified. What will be nullified is the concealment of the world’s true inner being which is brought on by the material substance of the world and the subjugation to the rules of nature that exists at present. But all the positive aspects of the exile will remain, and indeed will be elevated.

The Rebbe continues then to speak about the need for the world–that it is by our effect on the world and the nations of the world that we bring about not only their elevation but also the elevation of our souls, the reason for which our souls were sent into this low world in the first place.  In other words, one might think “Moshiach is about to come, I need to abandon all worldly pursuits.”  Says the Rebbe: No!  On the contrary–continue these pursuits in the manner dictated by Torah and know that in this way you are inserting into them the “Alef” and they are thereby transformed from a state of Golus to a state of Geuloh.  Don’t run and hide from the world, but go out and “conquer” the world.  Don’t make a war against the world, make a war against the aspect of darkness and concealment that is in the world.  How?  By combating the darkness with the light of Torah and Mitzvos, most of which involve physical things.

This is connected with the fact that the Jews are a “Priestly Nation”.  The High Priest required 8 special garments to enter the Holy of Holies, garments which the Torah describes as “honor and splendor”, and if he is lacking any of these garments his service is invalid.  Even though these garments are only external — for “honor and splendor” — nonetheless if they are lacking his service is invalid.  It follows that each Jew, as a member of the Nation of Priests, must be garbed in garments “honor and splendor” in order to show externally his true status.  This corresponds to the previous sicha where the Rebbe speaks about our generation being on the level of Rabbeinu Hakadosh who was internally perfect and only endured suffering due to the unrefined waste on the edge of his garments.  It will be recalled that according to Chassidus, “garments” of the soul refer to our thought, speech, and action.  These must be for “honor and splendor” as we approach the Geuloh.  In the Rebbe’s words:

The priests’ service was performed wearing the priestly garments that were to be donned, “for honor and for beauty.”  This reflects how these two qualities, materialistic elements of our physical environment, are employed for the sake of the service of G‑d.

In a complete sense, this was reflected in the High Priest’s service for he wore eight priestly garments, wearing “the golden garments” in addition to the four garments worn by the common priests. A parallel to this concept is reflected in the idea that a High Priest is required to be wealthier than all the other priests. This is a clear indication of how his additional holiness must be reflected within the material elements of our world.

The nature of the world has begun to assist Jews to fulfill Torah and mitzvos, as evidenced by the changes in Russia.  Furthermore, “We see in fact that the nature of the world encourages such activities and in that context, it is worthy to mention the discovery of jewels in a far removed corner of the world. These jewels will be used for “bride’s ornaments”, to increase the merit of the Jewish people through gifts to tzedakah.”  This comes to show that the Rebbe is speaking very clearly about events in our physical world.

This extends also to the Nations of the World, that there is an imperative to teach the 7 Noahide Laws.  We see already that the Nations of the World have begun to change.  Whereas in the past they engaged in bloody wars of conquest against each other and only the Jewish nation (the smallest of all nations) was quietly busy with acts of kindness, today we see that many nations, lead by the United States, engage in acts of kindness even when there is no apparent benefit.  (The Rebbe mentions here the recent humanitarian aid given by the United States to impoverished citizens of a distant nation, perhaps a reference to protection from Saddam Hussein offered to the Kurds in mid-April, 1991, shortly before this sicha was said; or perhaps a prophecy of the relief efforts that would take place later in the year in Somalia).

We can see the thread running through the sichos: bringing G-dliness into action in this physical world, thereby elevating the world and making it a vessel for even greater revelations (miracles above nature, as in the 2nd period of the Messianic Era, including the resurrection of the dead).

Tazria-Metzora 5751: The “Geuloh Illness”

Moshiach in Exile is Called “Metzora

In many years the Torah portions of Tazria and Metzora are read together on the same Shabbos.  Parshas Tazria begins with the words “a woman who gives seed and gives birth to a male” — according to Chassidus, this hints at the birth (revelation) of the soul of Moshiach.  Giving seed refers to our deeds and effort (“avodah”) in the time of exile, followed immediately by the sprouting — the complete Geuloh.

Metzora refers to Moshiach; as our sages say: he bears our sicknesses.  The name of Moshiach in the time of exile is “Metzora” (one suffering from the spiritual skin ailment called Tzoraas).  The opening words of this parsha, “This is the Torah of the metzora on the day of his purification” — the day of his purification, the day that the nega on his skin is healed, meaning when he (Moshiach) is revealed and redeems the children of Israel in the true and complete Geuloh.

What is the connection?  Tazria is birth, meaning the eternal Geuloh; Metzora is one who needs to be brought to purification.  Seemingly, if the eternal Geuloh is “born”, it is not related in any way to the state of a metzora, who is connected with illness and exile.  However, the content of parshas Tazria is all about the various types of lesions of a metzora, which pertains to exile.  And, parshas Metzora actually teaches the laws of the purification of the metzora, the inyan of Geuloh.  Seemingly, it should be reversed?!

Tzora’as — Illness After Completing Everything

It turns out that the order is of the parshiyos and their subjects is exact.  The illness of tzora’as becomes relevant only at the very end of golus.  The verse that begins to describe the illness of tzora’as states “A man [‘Adam’] who has a on the skin of his flesh…”, and the Zohar states that “Adam is a great level, the perfection of everything”.  If so, how could he be subject to illness?!  The answer is: although he has rectified everything in his inner dimensions, nonetheless, on the skin of his flesh the evil is still not refined, there remains waste material “on the ends of his garments”; but this is only an external matter which is not connected at all to the “essence” (etzem, atzmiyus) of the person, not even to his flesh (which changes through eating and drinking); it is only related to the skin which surrounds him externally.  In truth, the nega is only on the skin (from the word “nogea”, meaning to touch — not even the skin itself is really affected).  A completely superficial state of affairs.

It turns out that, according to pnimiyus haTorah, these negoyim (lesions) are actually a result of the lofty state of the “Adam” described above.  In fact, the negoyim themselves they are not tamei (impure and imparting impurity); only when they will be observed by a Kohen who will declare them impure will they become tameiThis is because in their source they derive from lofty spiritual lights (“oirois elyoinim”).  The word “nega” itself is a reversal of the letters of the word “oneg” which is the aspect of supernal pleasure.  As a rule, it is the loftiest things which fall to the lowest levels of impurity.  Their rectification of the negoyim is via the revelation of their true nature as lofty spiritual lights (“oirois elyoinim”), and by revealing this we nullify the external forces (“yenikas hachitzonim”).

Bittul Negates the Evil and Heals the Metzora

The subject of tzara’as and negoyim is connected with the concept of the lights of Tohu, a level beyond being constrained in vessels.  These lights, when revealed, bring about a yearning of the soul to escape limitation (ratzo), abandoning the responsibilities of this world (spiritual and otherwise).  The lofty lights of Tohu do not want to return (shov) to the vessels of holiness, they only seek to rise and escape limitation, which gives nurture to the klipos.  The cure for this is bittul, self-nullification to the point of completely nullifying one’s will “until the person is like a lifeless stone…like a servant before the King.”  It is specifically through our avoidah of bittul that the powerful lights of Tohu can be drawn into many vessels down below, which is how we create Hashem’s dwelling place down below (“dira b’tachtonim”).

This bittul is specifically accomplished through learning Torah.  We see that the verse says “this is the Torah of the metzora” (instead of “the purification” or something similar) — because the rectification of the metzora comes through involvement in Torah, which is the aspect of bittul.

Through Bittul We Transform Exile to Redemption

Exile (“golus”) is darkness and concealment; yet, in its source, it is very lofty.  From these very lofty levels descend the concealment and all the undesirable things of golus.  And even after it descends — having reached the level of impure things — it is only an external manifestation, like a nega which is external even to the skin of the person.  Rectification through our deeds and avodah is not a process of adding something new; rather, it is simply revealing the truth of the golus.  In other words, we are not nullifying golus, we are transforming golus to Geuloh.  This occurs by drawing down the alef and adding the alef to gola (“exile”) to make Geuloh (discussed in Parshas Shemini and Kuntres Chof Av).  (The Rebbe points out that the letters of “alef” אלף spell פלא “peleh” (“wonder”), as in “I will show you wonders” (the acronym for the year 5751).  We can add also this year, 5781, the year of “pla’os arenu.)

Thus we understand that Geuloh is not a matter in and of itself; Geuloh is a revelation of the true nature of golus.

Similarly, Metzora is used in reference to Moshiach — in a positive sense: the metzora is sent out of the camp and “dwells alone”, and, so too, Moshiach “dwells alone” because of his lofty level (“higher than the Patriarchs, higher than Moshe”, Midrash Tanchuma, Toldos 14).   The Rebbe takes note that after the gemora tells us that Moshiach’s name is Metzora, it enumerates how the students of Rabbi Shilo, Rabbi Yanai, etc., found verses indicating that the name of their own teacher was the name of Moshiach.  The Rebbe asserts that “we (Chassidim) follow in their way (as regards Rabboseinu Nessienu, and particularly my father-in-law the Rebbe, the Nossi of our generation) — ‘Yosef Yitzchok’ is the name [of Moshiach]….”

“Direct Path” to Revelation of Moshiach — Torah

The Rebbe quotes from the Alter Rebbe’s Likkutei Torah that “Adam reflects the perfection of everything, one whose actions are proper and he has rectified all matters that pertain to him…only the waste on the ends of his garments isn’t refined…due the state of golus”.  The Rebbe then adds that in our generation, the last generation of golus, which has already finished and completed the matters of avodah that needed to be done during the time of golus, “we can say that all of the Jewish people are on this level”!

The Rebbe then provides the “direct path” for one who has finished all the avodah to bring about the revelation and coming of Moshiach: “learning Torah…which can unify opposing directions and negate the inyan of golus.  Negating golus is itself Geuloh.”  Torah is the “direct path” to the revelation and coming of the Moshiach, as it combines both bittul and unquestioning obedience with internalized understanding.

The Rebbe specifies that the learning should focus on the subjects of Moshiach and Geuloh.  The Rebbe itemizes where to find these subjects: in the prophets, in tractates Sanhedrin and Sotah, in Midrashim, and — especially — in pnimiyus haTorah, beginning with the Zohar and particularly Chassidus, and particularly the Torah (maamarim and Likkutei Sichos) of the Leader of our Generation (Nosi Hador).  (As every Chosid knows, only the Rebbe himself has a series called “Likkutei Sichos”, and from this we find the Rebbe quietly and indirectly referring to himself as the Nosi Hador, whom the Rebbe identifies as the Moshiach of the generation.)

Conclusions

This sicha, when learned in the original, is incredibly rich and ground-breaking.  Nevertheless, we can summarize the main points as follows:

  • After the initial revelation of Moshiach (Tazria) follows the potential for tzora’as and the need for its purification; golus does not contradict that Moshiach and the Geuloh are here;
  • As far from Holiness as Yid in our era may appear, this is only the waste-matter on the most superficial levels; on the inner level his soul is completely rectified and ready for Geuloh;
  • The lesions indicating Tzora’as really derive from a very lofty source, all that is needed is to reveal that source.  Similarly the darkness of golus in truth derives from the loftiest of levels, and all that is needed is to add the “alef” and reveal its source;
  • Chassidim follow the lead of the students of Yanai and Shilo, finding ways to support the claim that the Rebbe is Moshiach;
  • The direct path to bring the Geuloh is to learn (especially in groups of ten) the subjects of Moshiach and Geuloh, particularly in the Torah of Moshiach himself.

(We should note that it was at this farbrengen that the declaration “Yechi Adoneinu Moreinu v’Rabbeinu Melech Hamoshiach L’Olom Vo’ed” was declared before the Rebbe for the first time.  For details from behind-the-scenes, see “The Facts Behind the Psak”

28 Nissan: Do All You Can!

What follows comes from the “famous sicha of Koach (28) Nissan”, which the Rebbe spoke after Maariv prayers to a small crowd in 770. Although the words were –- and remain –- shocking, an attempt to shake Chassidim out of their complacency in golus, they would be followed by nearly a year of sichos containing some of the loftiest revelations, which are the subject of this website: the Dvar Malchus sichos of 5751-52.

The shliach and mashpia R’ Zalman ‘שיחי Liberow is fond of pointing out that although the Rebbe’s words are strong, disturbing, and sound almost as though the Rebbe “doesn’t know what to do with these people” (chas v’sholom), if we take a second look we find that the Rebbe says that he is doing “the only thing left to do”, which should give us tremendous encouragement! It means that literally there is nothing else that needs to be done (by the Rebbe) to bring Moshiach. If the Rebbe gives it over to us, it means that we have the power to do it! “Karov eleicha hadavar me’od.”

(Perhaps it is worth noting that 28 Nissan is the 13th day in counting the Omer, Yesod sh’b’Gevurah. It is the day that the walls of Yericho, the first city conquered by Yehoshua bin Nun and the bnei Yisroel upon entering Eretz Yisroel. It is also the day (in 5714 [1954]) that the Rebbe taught the famous niggun of “Tzema Lecha Nafshi”, a niggun of longing for G-dly revelation.)

A translation of part of the sicha:

Because of the unique stress on the Redemption in this time, an astonishing question arises: How is it possible that despite all these factors, Moshiach has not yet come? This is beyond all possible comprehension.

It is also beyond comprehension that when ten (and many times ten) Jews gather together at a time that is appropriate for the Redemption to come, they do not raise a clamor great enough to cause Moshiach to come immediately. They are, heaven forbid, able to accept the possibility that Moshiach will not arrive tonight, and even that he will not arrive tomorrow, or on the day after tomorrow, heaven forbid.

Even when people cry out “Ad mosai” — Until when will we remain in exile?’ they do so only because they were told to. If they had sincere intent and earnest desire, and cried out in truth, Moshiach would surely have come already.

What more can I do to motivate the entire Jewish people to clamor and cry out, and thus actually bring about the coming of Moshiach. All that has been done until now has been to no avail, for we are still in exile; moreover, we are in an inner exile in regard to our own service of G-d.

All that I can possibly do is to give the matter over to you. Now, do everything you can to bring Moshiach, here and now, immediately.

May it be G-d’s will that ultimately ten Jews will be found who are stubborn enough to resolve to secure G-d’s consent to actually bring about the true and ultimate Redemption, here and now immediately. Their stubborn resolve will surely evoke G-d’s favor, as reflected by the interpretation of the verse, “For they are a stiff necked people; You will pardon our sins and wrongdoings and make us Your possession.”

I have done whatever I can; from now on, you must do whatever you can. May it be G-d’s will that there will be one, two, or three among you who will appreciate what needs to be done and how it needs to be done, and may you actually be successful and bring about the true and complete Redemption. May this take place immediately, in a spirit of happiness and gladness of heart.


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Shemini 5751: Unifying the Limited and the Unlimited

Periodically parshas Shemini (“Eighth”, referring to the 8th day of setting up the Mishkan in the desert) is read 8 times (this occurs outside of Eretz Yisroel in a non-leap year when Pesach falls out on Shabbos).  This gives rise to the expression “Shemini Shmoneh Shmeina”, meaning “[When parshas] Shemini (“Eighth”) [is read] Shmoneh [eight times, then the year will be] Shmeina [fat]” — with material and spiritual abundance.  (And is drawn into all the years until the next time it will be read 8 times.)

The “eighth” that is mentioned in this parsha is the beginning of the indwelling of the Shechina in the Mishkan. The world derives from 7,  which represents G-dly light as it is enclothed in the Creation. The number 8 represents the G-dly light above Creation, and it is specifically on the 8th day that we find the Shechina being revealed in the Mishkan.

Ultimate Purpose of Creation

Hashem’s intent in creating the world is that the G-dly light that is above the world (represented by Shemini, 8th) will not remain separate but rather will be drawn down to be revealed in the world in a way that the world, on its own terms, will be able to receive this revelation.  This means the revelation above limitation being unified with limitation itself. When these two aspects are unified, the recipient beomes a vessel to accept this revelation in an internalized way — the revelation of the Shechina in “the work of your hands”, the Mishkan.

This is exemplified in the words of the Sages that the place of the Aron Kodesh (containing the Luchos) transcended limitation (“eino min hamida”).  The Aron itself had precise measurements, but the place transcended limitation, meaning limitation and unlimited together, that the unlimited can be grasped by within the bounds of the lower (limited) entity.  The Rebbe explains this in another Sicha:

The Talmud states that “the position occupied by the Aron did not take up any space.” That is, the Aron had definite physical dimensions — 2½ cubits length, 1½ cubits width, 1½ cubits height. Logically then, when placed in the Holy of Holies, the Aron should have occupied this amount of space. Yet, the Talmud tells us, it took up no space at all! This is logically impossible — for it is the synthesis of two opposites: the finite and the infinite. Yet in the case of the Aron, it existed… Not only did the Aron transcend the limits of nature (itself a great miracle, since the Aron was made of physical gold), but simultaneously the finite and infinite co-existed together in it: the Aron had definite physical limits, yet took up no space…Its concept is made possible from a level that transcends both of them, allowing the synthesis of these two opposites. (From sicha of 23 Elul, 5742)

We find this as well in the avodah of a Jew — there is his limited and measured avodah, as befits his level, to make himself into a vessel to internalize the revelations.  And additionally there is the avodah of “with all your might” (b’chol me’odecha) — a vessel to receive G-dliness above the limitations of the person.  The ultimate goal is the unification of these 2 forms of avodah.  To summarize: Shemini (8th) is the unlimited, whereas  Shmoneh (the number 8) is the unlimited as it is contained in the qualities of limitation (7): the unification of limited and unlimited, the ultimate intent of Creation.

The revelation of the level of G-dliness that is above the limitation of world is specifically via the avodah from below to above — within the limitations of the world.  As with the 8 which comes specifically from the 7 that precede it.  Thus we find that the limited and measured avodah is connected (in its source) with the highest level (above the source of the unlimited).  Similar to what we find with the Aron — the concept of “eino min hamida” (transcending limitation), comes specifically because the Aron had defined measurements.

Transforming the Exile (“gola”) Into Geuloh

Chesed and Gevurah are the spiritual root of limited and unlimited.  Chesed, is the attribute of “kindness” and giving.  Gevurah, the opposite.  The Alter Rebbe explains that it is  not tzimtzum (contraction and limitation), but rather the attribute of “might” that can overpower other forces (“hisgabrus haChayus”).  Gevurah is not the absence of Chesed, but rather a higher level of might that can conceal the ChesedGevurah brings about exile, but is itself a powerful level of Kedusha, as explained in Chassidus regarding the special quality of “the light that comes from the darkness”.

Geuloh, as explained many times in the Rebbe’s Sichos, is attained by adding to the word “gola” (exile) the letter “alef” (representing the Holy One, blessed be He “Alufo shel olam”).  This adding of the letter “alef” is accomplished via “our deeds and our avodah during the time of exile” upon which the Geuloh is dependent.  Through this, the exile itself (“gola”) becomes Geuloh.

 The main thing is that through “our deeds and our Avodah during the duration of exile” we bring the Geuloh.  It is specifically the concealments and limitations of exile which give the strength to bring Geuloh.

This is similar to statement of our Sages: “everyone who fulfills the Torah amidst poverty will in the end fulfill it amidst wealth.”  Via the poverty of exile, “there is no one who is poor except in knowledge” (“ein oni ela b’da’as”), we receive the true wealth of knowledge and wealth in the simple sense — in the true and complete Geuloh.  This is especially since we have already fulfilled any obligations to endure the limitation of “poverty” (in the previous generations) [meaning — primarily — poverty of knowledge].  Now there is freedom and abundance (“harchava”) in a simple sense from the kingship of the nations.  [For more explanation, see Inyonei Moshiach and Geulah #8.]

Thus, we can learn Torah and fulfill Mitzvos in a relaxed state of mind and body (“menuchas hanefesh and menuchas haguf”) with “wealth” in Torah — via the printing of many seforim, some of which had been hidden until now.  For this reason the Geuloh will have both the positive quality of Geuloh and the positive quality of Golus (the quality of avodah performed via compelling one’s self (“hiskafya”), limitation and constriction, “amidst poverty”…)

Geuloh Hasn’t Come — Proof That it Depends on Us

Since the Geuloh hasn’t yet come, this itself is proof that it is dependent on “our deeds and our avodah” of this generation.  It is specifically through avodah amidst boundaries and limitation and concealment (which derive from Gevuros), because amazing powers are hidden away within them — powers which can bring the Geuloh.

There is a rule that “The Holy One, blessed be He, does not demand of us more than we have the power to accomplish, so therefore we have the power to bring the Geuloh (since that is what is demanded of us).  To be a partner with Hashem in this, not just to help.  A partner implies being involved in all the details in a complete manner.  Since a Jew is a part of G-dliness (chelek Eloka) he possesses the greatest powers to bring about the greatest things — until even the command “be Holy because I am Holy”, upon which our Sages comment “Holy, like Me” — with certainty!

Shemini5751_AddInTorah

All of us have the responsibility to add in avodah to bring Moshiach in actuality.  There is no room to rely on others — each one needs to do the avodah of “to serve my Master” by himself, and he is given the powers to do this.  How so?  By adding in Torah and Mitzvos — the revealed and the Pnimiyus, and fulfilling Mitzvos in an exemplary manner and influencing others to do the same.  Spreading Torah and Yiddishkeit and the wellsprings of Chassidus outward, the latter especially brings about “the Master comes” — this is the King Moshiach.  And all of this amidst anticipation and yearning for the Geuloh.Shemini5751_AddInTorah2

Tzav 5751: Moshe “the G-dly Man” Has Power to Redeem Us

The sicha opens by mentioning that this Shabbos was Shabbos Hagadol, the Shabbos when we commemorate what the Shulchan Aruch calls “the beginning of the Geuloh and the miracles”.  This does not refer to the 10 plagues (9 of which already occurred by this time), but to the armed revolt of the first-born Egyptians who demanded from Pharoah and the elders of Mitzrayim that they let the Bnei Yisroel leave Egypt.  When Pharoah refused, the first-born took up arms and killed 600,000 Mitzriim.  The Rebbe is connecting this with the Gulf War (which ended 2 weeks before Shabbos Parshas Tzav), when the “first-born” (the strongest nations) took up arms against a tyrant who was threatening the Jewish nation.  Recall the words of the Shulchan Aruch: “the beginning of the Geuloh and the miracles”.

But the focus of this sicha is on the redeemer, on Moshe Rabbeinu.  What makes him singularly capable of redeeming the Yidden from golus Mitzrayim?  (And since “the first redeemer is the last redeemer” (Moshiach) — this applies also to the final redemption.)

The Rebbe explains that Moshe is uniquely qualified, and endowed with the ability, to bring the Geuloh.   To understand this, the Rebbe defines for us the meaning of Geuloh: “the revelation of G-dliness down below in the redemption from Egypt is in order that Yidden, as they are found in the world, can see, and recognize, and know the Eybershter.” Seeing the miracles (which began on Shabbos Hagadol) enable Yidden to have a Geuloh, “freeing them from the limitations of world, the enslavement to worldly assumptions and servitude to the various limitations of world.” The miracles Hashem shows us are not an end to themselves, but are motivating and enabling us to march out of our state of golus by ourselves.

All of this comes about through Moshe Ish HaElokim — Moshe the G-dly Man (Tehillim, kapital 90).  By referring to him as a G-dly Man (איש האלקים) the Torah is indicating that Moshe unifies two levels: power above the world (Elokim) and the level of enclothing in the world (man).  Thus Moshe, possessing both these levels (“ish” and “Elokim”), is a connecting intermediary (ממוצה המחבר) who connects G-dliness with the world (being that he is openly connected to G-dliness even as he is also enclothed in the world).

More than that, the Rebbe explains a second “unification” indicated in the expression “Moshe ish haElokim”: the level of “Moshe” and the level of “Ish HaElokim”.  Moshe is the name he received when he was pulled from the waters of the Nile by Basya bas Pharoah: “I drew him from the water” (מן המים משיתיהו).  As explained in Chassidus, this is referring to the lofty level of Moshe’s neshoma, that it derives from the highest, hidden worlds (עלמא דאתכסיא), the world of Tohu which is likened to water.  According to this explanation, the level of “Moshe” is entirely above the world, G-dliness that has no relationship with the world.  “Ish HaElokim” (here we look at it as a single title) refers to the unification of “Ish” and “Elokim”, meaning the unification of world with the level of G-dliness that has a connection to world.  Moshe Ish haElokim unifies all these levels.

Although not mentioned in this sicha, the Rebbe explains in a maamar just how lofty the aspect of “Moshe” really is — not only higher than Elokim, but also higher than YKVK.  And the various levels of YKVK:

                    Sefer Hamaamarim 5718, parshas Shemini

Moshe reaches the Essence, Atzmus (עצמות) mamash.  The verse that states “and Yisroel saw the mighty hand that Hashem had used in Mitzrayim…[and they believed in Hashem] and in Moshe His servant” goes from the lower levels to the higher levels: “That Hashem did…” this is the lower name YKVK; “and the people saw Hashem…” this is the higher name YKVK; “and they believed in Hashem” this is the name YKVK that is in Atzmus.  And after that it says “and in Moshe His servant”, from which it is understood that Moshe is higher even than the aspect of YKVK that is in Atzmus.  And therefore he has the power to unify and to draw down the aspect of YKVK that is in Atzmus [into the world] that it should shine openly.

This loftiness of Moshe generates not only miracles that are enclothed in nature (the name Elokim) but miracles completely above the way of nature.  And all of this is for us: that we will “…see, and recognize, and know the Eybershter…” and thus be freed from “the limitations of world, the enslavement to worldly assumptions and servitude to the various limitations of world”.

All of the above is meant to lead us to perform our service of Hashem in a miraculous manner.  We must reveal the “Tzaddik” within us — not only the “Tzaddi”, but the “Tzaddik” (with the addition of the letter Kuf ק).  This implies using free choice to choose the side of holiness (“Tzadi” — “My side”), which has the power to elevate even those aspects which are “below the line”, just as the letter “kuf” has a leg which reaches “below the line”.  When the Yidden, who have free choice (due to being enclothed in wordly bodies), choose the side of holiness, their choice adds the “kuf” to “Tzadi”, making “Tzaddik”; this gives the power to transform the world and it’s inhabitants, that they should also agree.

Again, the Rebbe is repeating to us that the Geuloh is not a passive fireworks show of miracles, but rather it gives us the “green light” to get to work and reveal the redemption through our own actions.  This is assisted by our recognition of the miraculous state of the world, which occurs through Moshe the G-dly man, the first redeemer and the last redeemer.

Vayikra 5751: Miraculous Conduct

The talk (sicha) of Parshas Vayikra is the first sicha of the Dvar Malchus cycle (the sichos from Vayikra 5751 until Vayakhel 5752).  The focus of this sicha is a recurring theme in all the sichos from these 12 months: drawing the miraculous (which transcends nature) into the natural order of things.

The demonstration of this in our sicha is the special occurrence that occurs once in a few years: Rosh Chodesh Nissan comes out on Shabbos.  In such a year, three Sefer Torahs are removed from the Aron Kodesh to be read: the regular Sefer for the parsha, a second sefer for Rosh Chodesh, and a third sefer for the annual reading of  “Parshas Parah” prior to Pesach. The only other times 3 sefer Torahs are taken out are Simchas Torah (every year) and Shabbos Chanukah or parshas Shekalim that fall out on Rosh Chodesh (not the case every year).

The 3 sefer Torahs of Simchas Torah are described by the Rebbe as “t’midin“, a regular offering in the consistent, fixed order of things.  The 3 sefer Torahs of Shabbos Rosh Chodesh Nissan in such a year as 5751, an infrequent occurrence, is in the category of “musafin“, something “additional” to the usual order of things. It is also implicit in the nature of the readings on those days: on Simchas Torah we read “Bereishis”, Hashem creating the world as it conducts itself according to nature; and, on Rosh Chodesh Nissan the first mitzva (counting the months) “החודש הזה לכם”, which the Rebbe refers to as the miraculous conduct of the world.  Not only that, but Nissan is called “the month of Redemption”, implying also a Redemption from conduct in accordance with nature, transcending those limitations and proceeding to miraculous conduct.

The Rebbe, as one might expect, emphasizes the unification of these two dimensions:

“the ‘miraculous conduct’ is drawn down and permeates (also) in the matters of the world in actual action… that the avoidah of actual deed in the matters of the world is not in the usual way, like natural conduct, but rather like miraculous conduct, above his nature and the manner to which he is accustomed.”

The Rebbe, before our very eyes, has shifted the meaning of “miraculous” onto us.  This year of 5751, “it will be a year that I will show wonders” (תהא שנת נפלאות אראנו), follows the “year of miracles”, 5750 (תהא שנת ניסים), in which there were the miracles of the Gulf War, the end of Communism, the breakup of the Soviet Union, and swords into plowshares — great wonders “out there” in the world. But here in this Sicha the Rebbe is letting us know that the real focus is our miraculous conduct in Torah and Mitzvos — going beyond our own nature, beyond that to which we are accustomed, that our performance of Mitzvos should be “miraculous” compared to our nature and regular conduct (comparable to 3 sefer Torahs of Shabbos Rosh Chodesh Nissan).  In the Rebbe’s words: “the addition and meaning in avoidah in a way of  ‘miraculous conduct’ in the avoidah of each and every Jew…until the perfection of the avoidah…” 

The Rebbe even provides us with a practical example: giving tzedaka in a way that transcends limitations:

… Even after he has given properly for holiday needs (צרכי החג) — he needs to make an accounting that reflects the additional blessing he will receive from Hashem in the meantime [as a result of the tzedaka he gave for holiday needs], and therefore his maaser and chomesh obligation [tithing 10% and 20%] has increased as well, and thus he needs to increase what he gives for holiday needs. And more than this: he can and must add in giving for holiday needs (beyond maaser and chomesh) even before he sees the results of the increased blessing. The more he will increase his giving for the needs of the holiday, likewise the blessing of Hashem will increase with abundant wealth

Based on what was explained previously, the miracle is not the “abundant wealth” one will receive, but rather the miraculous conduct of giving tzedaka beyond his accustomed manner (which is what draws down the abundant wealth). In other words: we are the miracle. (And if we are not, then we had better to get to work and become the miracle in our performance of Mitzvos!)

The Rebbe’s emphasis here is on doing things “not in the usual way…but rather…above his nature and the manner to which he is accustomed.” We can recognize how this is a fitting “opening statement” to the sichos of Dvar Malchus, in which the Rebbe introduces us to the concept of “living with Geuloh”, transcending the previous generations in this respect.  And even  more fitting when we contemplate that these sichos of Dvar Malchus are also a prelude to the events of Chof-Zayin Adar and Gimmel Tammuz, which brought about a dramatic “paradigm shift”: the centrality of “taking orders” becoming eclipsed by the necessity of “taking initiative” — a shift which demands going “above his nature and the manner to which he is accustomed.”