Hakhel Year – a Ketz?

Hakhel Year – a Ketz?

We are presently in a year of Hakhel.  The Rebbe demands from each one of us to be a “Hakhel Yid”: to utilize every opportunity to make Hakhel gatherings of Jews which strengthen Yiras Shomayim, encourage Mitzah observance, and increase Jewish unity.  The Rebbe’s shturem about these activities is known, but why such a shturem?  With a fuller understanding of the subject, we can, with Hashem’s help, give ourselves over to the Rebbe’s inyan of Hakhel with even greater inner chayus (in addition to loyal kabbolos ‘ol).

First, let us note that Hakhel is not a time period, it is an event.  An event which occurs once every seven years in the year after a Shmitta year, the year called Motzei Shvi’is.1  Hakhel is a mitzvah which is performed in the year of Motzei Shvi’is.  By understanding more about Motzei Shvi’is, we can understand better the role of mitzvas Hakhel.

At this point, let us note some of the dramatic events that occurred in Hakhel years:

  • 5713 — all of Russian Jewry was in danger from Stalin’s “Doctor’s Plot“, nd they were miraculously saved upon the sudden death of Stalin as a result of that year’s Purim farbrengen.
  • 5727 — the Jews of Eretz Yisroel were threatened by five Arab armies, and miraculously saw the great victory of Six Day War.
  • 5734 — the deadly surprise attack of the Yom Kippur war, which turned into a miraculous victory (“bigger than the Six Day War” said the Rebbe).
  • 5741 — Eretz Yisroel was facing the threat of a nuclear reactor in Iraq, until the successful bombing of that reactor by the Israeli Air Force.

Also interesting to note that the four times that 770 Eastern Parkway, the Rebbe’s shul, was expanded took place in Hakhel years: 5720, 5727, 5733 (finished by erev Rosh Hashanah 5734, the Hakhel year), and 5748 (the laying of the cornerstone (“even hapina”) for the most recent expansion).  But what’s the connection with Hakhel? Continue reading

Erev Shabbos: Time of Techiyas Hameisim

Erev Shabbos: Time of Techiyas Hameisim

In addition to the radical chiddushim in the plain understanding of the second sicha of Parshas Va’era 5752, one can also find a number of hints and suggestions that give even deeper insight into the ground-shaking ideas the Rebbe is revealing.

In the explanation as to how the “good sign” of one who dies on Erev Shabbos applies to our era (the last quarter of the 6th millennium, “Erev Shabbos” of the entire creation), the Rebbe refers to the concept of “nesira” (“cutting”). This “nesira” describes what happened to Adam Harishon on the day of his creation: Hashem put him to sleep in order to separate Chava. From being a “back to back” entity they gained the ability to be “face to face”, and to bring into existence limitless future generations. While his sleep was one-sixtieth of death, it was completely a positive matter: in order to bring about an immeasurable improvement, specifically the ability to give birth to all future generations.

The Rebbe references the writings of the Arizal as a source for the Kabbalistic explanation of this concept of Nesira. In the writings of the Arizal (Shaar Hapsukim, p.17) one finds that the Arizal writes that “this matter is that the moichin (intellect) which is in the head of Z”A (the six sefiros) go out from it via this sleeping, and then they are given to the female (Malchus).” This brings about that Malchus grows from a point to her full development. Reading this, especially in the original language, seems to hint at the state of affairs after the events of 27 Adar and 3 Tammuz, when the Rebbe (the head — “Rosh Bnei Yisroel”) is not seen, and Malchus (the Jewish souls) receive and develop their potential via the intellectual power bestowed upon them by the head (“now I give it over to you, do all that you can to bring Moshiach in actuality” [sicha of 28 Nissan 5751]).

The Rebbe also brings (footnote 40) from “Kuntres Sfas Emes (at the end of Emes L’Yaakov)” that there is a “nesira” every Rosh Hashana which is the most difficult and requires the sounding of the shofar and a great awakening. There was also a “nesira” at the time of Purim, the 70 years of golus Bavel, and “the ‘nesira’ which will be in the future in the time when Moshiach Tzidkeinu will come…these are the birth pangs of Moshiach”. A hint that in our times there will also be a “nesira”. Note that in the first sicha (footnote 66) the Rebbe mentions that regarding Yehuda the verse states “she ceased to give birth” hinting at the future redemption regarding which it says ‘shir chadash’ in the masculine, “because while the female suffers birth pangs, the males do not give birth.” Implying that the suffering associated with birth ceases when we are in a “masculine” mode of Geuloh (as described in Torah Ohr, parshas Tazria), referring to the effort from below, fitting the avoidah of the time of Nesira and the Rebbe’s statements numerous times that there is no need to undergo more birth pangs of Moshiach.

Having established that our era is itself the “Erev Shabbos” of the entire creation, the Rebbe now explains the significance: In footnote 63 the Rebbe brings a reference that the time of Techiyas Hameisim is Erev Shabbos (the time for “shaking off the dust”, quoting the Zohar I, 127b). This is connected with Rebbi Yehuda Hanosi, who himself was an example of Techiyas Hameisim, returning to make kiddush for his family after his passing. Tzaddikim have Techiyas Hameisim at the start of Yemos Hamoshiach, “40 years before the era of Techiyas Hameisim for all of bnei Yisroel” (Zohar I, 140a). Then the Rebbe goes on to say (not for the first time) that our generation will experience eternal life (which is Techiyas Hameisim, as explained elsewhere) without the interruption of death.

We can, b’derech efesher, understand from this that the beginning of Yemos Hamoshiach was back in 5711 (the beginning of the Rebbe’s leadership), and all 40 plus years of the Rebbe’s leadership leading up to 5752 were in fact Yemos Hamoshiach! After 40 years (which the Rebbe emphasized many times as the beginning of a new epoch of having “eyes to see, a heart to know, etc;” and to be able to fully comprehend the teachings of one’s Rebbe) we have entered the period of “Techiyas Hameisim for all of bnei Yisroel.” Thus, the Rebbe states that when “the time of death is erev Shabbos his death is in a way that it is emphasized in a revealed way (only) the good…mainly through Techiyas Hameisim in proximity to the time of burial.”

We are already in the time of “erev Shabbos” of Creation; the Rebbe, after 40 years of leadership, is telling us that we will all go to eternal life (Techiyas Hameisim) without interruption, “in proximity to the time of burial.” This unique expression of “Techiyas Hameisim in proximity to the time of burial” should grab our attention. It reads as a description of fact, not as an expression of possibility. Not “if the Geuloh will come now, then this individual will be among the first to rise” (which might not come to pass if the Geuloh didn’t come), but rather: this is what is happening now, the “erev Shabbos” in proximity to the burial! It is not a Techiyas Hameisim that is visible to our physical eyes, but it is happening!

[For the Torah basis for saying this, that what looks to us as a person passing away is actually the “shaking off the dust” of klipa, see the Kuntres “The Generation that Doesn’t Die“.]

The Rebbe wrote to R’ Michoel Seligson regarding the Rebbe’s small sefer Hayom Yom, “הפוך בה והפוך בה כי כולה בה” — turn it over and over because it contains everything; how much more so the lengthy sichos of the 5751-5752, the more one “turns them over” the more he reveals the insights of the Geuloh found in the Torah of Moshiach!

Didan Notzach and Geuloh

Didan Notzach and Geuloh

The excitement surrounding the Rebbe’s victory of the seforim (5 Teives, 5747) is so intense that it begins even while we are still celebrating Chanukah. The day which the Rebbe referred to as “our side wins” (“Didan Notzach”) is a powerful dor hashvi’i celebration that rightly sweeps through Lubavitch. But beyond the farbrengens and the purchasing of seforim, the events of Didan Notzach and the sichos surrounding it deserve proper attention in order to understand at least something of the true magnitude of the victory. In particular, to recognize how 5 Teives represents the culmination in this physical world of the battle that has been going on since the times of the Alter Rebbe — the battle to bring the Geuloh.

The War of the Alter Rebbe

Hey Teives arrives a few days after the end of the month of Kislev, when everyone is still saturated with the story of the kitrug against the Alter Rebbe and against spreading Chassidus, Continue reading

Chayei Sara: The Message Beyond the Sicha

Chayei Sara: The Message Beyond the Sicha

As we learned in the Dvar Malchus sicha of parshas Chayei Sarah, this parsha contains the first shilchus in Torah and that in our times shlichus has a new element: the acceptance and “kabbalas panim” of Moshiach.  In most years, it comes out to be the time when the International Gathering of the Rebbe’s shluchim is held.  The Rebbe often brings the words of the Shelah that everything is by hasgacha protis, and thus days and events which fall out near the Parsha are connected with that Parsha.  The Rebbe also speaks about the connection between the Torah portion and the daily section of Tanya, Tehillim, and Rambam.

If we look, we see a wonderful and eye-opening hasgacha protis as regards the Kinus Hashluchim.

When the Kinus Hashluchim falls out on parshas Chayei Sarah, thousands of Shluchim find themselves at the Kinus on Shabbos listening not only to the story of Eliezer, the servant of Avraham Avinu (the first shliach in the Torah), but also, of course, to the haftorah.  The haftorah for parshas Chayei Sarah (Melachim I, 1:1-31) describes the attempt by Adoniyahu, son of Dovid Hamelech, to usurp his aged father’s throne and rule in his father’s place instead of his brother Shlomo (Solomon, whom Dovid Hamelech had chosen as his successor).  Dovid is informed what his son is doing:

[Adoniyahu] has gone down this day and has slain oxen and fatlings and sheep in abundance, and he called all the King’s sons, and the officers of the army, and Evyassar the priest, and behold they eat and drink before him, and they said, “Long live King Adoniyahu” (“Yechi Hamelech Adoniyahu“).

The culmination of his attempt to usurp the throne is the people’s acceptance of his Kingship by declaring “Yechi Hamelech”!  Dovid Hamelech swears that Shlomo shall reign after him, and the haftorah ends with the words  “Let my lord King David live forever” (“Yechi Adoni Hamelech Dovid L’olam“).

The importance of declaring “Yechi Hamelech” is explained by the Rebbe in the sicha of Beis Nissan, 5748 (1988)*, where the Rebbe brings the Rambam’s description of the king of the nation as the heart of the nation.  Just as the heart pumps blood, which is life, to all of the limbs of the body, giving life to the body, proper circulation is dependent on the limbs, which must also return the blood to the heart.  This, explains the Rebbe, is the people’s declaration of “Yechi Hamelech”the limbs (the people) returning life-blood to the heart (the king).

Now see more hashagacha protis:

In the portion of Tanya that is learned around this time (this year, Friday), the Alter Rebbe writes about the circulation of the blood in spiritual terms:

The cause of illness or health lies in the distribution and flow of the life-force from the heart to all the organs, [this life-force] being vested in the blood of life which flows from the heart to all the organs; and the spirit of life and the blood circulates all around into all the limbs, through the veins that are embedded in them, and returns to the heart.  Now, if the circulation and flow of this spirit of life is always as it should be…then the individual is perfectly healthy.  …But should there be any disorder in any place, restraining, hindering or reducing the circulation and flow of the blood with the spirit of life vested in it, then this bond — which connects all the limbs with the heart by means of this circulation — is severed (which would extinguish life), or diminished, in which case the individual will fall ill and sick (May G‑d protect us!)

To summarize: On the Shabbos day when all the Shluchim of the Rebbe are gathered together to discuss the goals and techniques of their Shlichus, Divine Providence brings about that:

  1. The “latest word” from the Rebbe on this parsha the Rebbe informs us what is the new element in shlichus in our times: that in each generation, there is an individual who is fit to be Moshiach and “when the time comes, G‑d will reveal Himself to him and send him.” The service at present is thus to be prepared to actually accept Moshiach and create a climate in which he can accomplish his mission and redeem Israel from the exile;
  2. The haftorah concludes with the declaration “Yechi Hamelech” (describing how “Yechi Adoni Hamelech Dovid L’olam” negates and prevents the crowning of the “usurper to the throne” as expressed in the undesirable declaration “Yechi Hamelech Adoniahu”); and,
  3. The daily section of Tanya teaches that spiritual health derives from proper circulation, when the limbs return the flow of blood to the heart — the exact metaphor that the Rebbe uses to explain the declaration “Yechi Hamelech”!

For those who need a hint in this matter, Hashgacha Protis has provided it.

We conclude with a brocha that every single one of the Rebbe’s shluchim (and, as the Rebbe says in the sicha, every Jew in our generation has been appointed a shliach of the [Previous] Rebbe) should be healthy in all their limbs and in their heart, both physically and spiritually, and that they should be successful in fulfilling the shlichus of the one who sent them, including and especially the “new element” that has become the “gateway” for the entire shlichusto greet Moshiach Tzidkeinu in actual reality, through the final words of the haftorah as they apply in our generation, the generation of Moshiach (a descendant of Dovid through his son Shlomo**):

Let our Master our Teacher and our Rebbe, Melech Hamoshiach, live forever!

* subtitled video

** Rambam, 13 Principles of Faith, #12 (See the original sicha and also questions and answers by Rabbi Shlomo Majeski)

Noach Saw a New World (Audio)

Noach Saw a New World (Audio)

….So the “new world” that Noach saw was not a new form of creation, but a new perception: he could now perceive how the world of Elokim is really a world of YKVK.  It was recognizable and revealed to him.  He saw the same world but in an entirely new way, thus he saw a “new world”….

RECORDED ON AUDIO: 

Noach “Saw a New World”

Noach “Saw a New World”

The opening verse in Parshas Noach says that “נֹ֗חַ אִ֥ישׁ צַדִּ֛יק תָּמִ֥ים הָיָ֖ה בְּדֹֽרֹתָ֑יו” “Noach was a righteous man, he was perfect in his generations”.  The Midrash on this posuk (Midrash Rabba Noach, 30:8) says in the name of R’ Levi: “Whoever it is said about them ‘he was’ saw a new world.”  The Midrash then enumerates five individuals, the first being Noach, citing that when he and his family exited the ark, they saw a new world.

In what sense did Noach see a new world?  Obviously, it was the same Earth, although following the waters of the flood surely the surface of the Earth looked different than it did previously.  And of course, the evildoers who populated the Earth previously were no longer around.  But can we really say that this is what it means to see a “new world”?

The Rebbe, in the sicha of Noach 5752, clues us in to what is being implied here according to pnimiyus haTorah:

In the creation of the world, the Torah refers to Hashem using two names: YKVK and Elokim.  YKVK is G-dliness that is above the world.  Elokim is the name which indicates concealment, allowing independent-feeling worlds to come into existence.  In the words of Tehillim: “The Sun and a shield [these are the names] YKVK [and] Elokim”.  The name YKVK is the emanation of worlds, the infinite “light” of the worlds, and Elokim is the “shield” or “filter” that conceals the light in order that finite worlds can come into existence.

“That in the reality of the world as it is created via the name Elokim is revealed the name YKVK, until it is recognizable in a revealed way that “YKVK is Elokim” (הוי’ הוא האלקים), that in truth the contraction and concealment (Elokim)  are really the name YKVK. הצמצום וההסתר (אלקים) הוא לאמיתתו שם הוי-ה

(Sicha Parshas Noach, 5752)

Meaning that the world is still the same world that was created via the name Elokim, only that it becomes revealed that really even this name Elokim is just a reduction of the light of YKVK, but not something independent or separate.

So the “new world” that Noach saw was not a new form of creation, but a new perception: he could now perceive how the world of Elokim is really a world of YKVK.  It was recognizable and revealed to him.  He saw the same world but in an entirely new way, thus he saw a “new world”.

We can use this to understand many things the Rebbe is trying to tell us in these Dvar Malchus sichos, giving us the tools to “open our eyes”, including the subject of last week’s sicha regarding “servitude to the nations”.  Over there the Rebbe explains how there is servitude to the nations in the time of Golus, but that this servitude does not extend to our neshomas, nor to our bodies as regards matters of Torah and mitzvos.  And even those things where we must follow the law of the land because “dina d’malchusa dina” (the law of the land is the law) is not because we are in servitude to the nations of the world, but because this is how Hashem wants it to be in the time of Golus.

In those short paragraphs, the Rebbe has opened our eyes to a “new world”: a world where there is no servitude to the nations, which is the definition of (the first period of) the Days of Moshiach!  In other words, if one is in a personal Golus and in fact believes that the Jewish people is in servitude to the nations, then in fact he is in such a state, r”l.  But when one internalizes what the Rebbe says there, he discovers that not only our neshomas and our bodies (as regards performing Torah and Mitzvos) are not in servitude to the nations, even those areas where we do go according to their decisions (monetary matters and the like) — this is not due to any form of “servitude” but rather it is Hashem’s will!  So by following civil monetary law, we are in fact fulfilling Hashem’s will no less than in other halachic matters!  Externally, it is the same Golus, but the Rebbe has given us the tools to “see through” the darkness of Golus and realize that the concealment of the name Elokim (Golus) is really coming from YKVK — a new world!

This is one example of many to be found in Chassidus in general, the Rebbe’s teachings in particular, and the Dvar Malchus sichos most especially.  By making these changes in our perception and understanding of the world, we place ourselves in a state of Geulah even while the world “continues in its natural way”.  This is the beginning of Yemos Hamoshiach, each one coming to the realization based on his own efforts to internalize these concepts.

Ki Seitze: Adding “the” Mitzvah

The statement of the Rambam is well-known: every individual should consider that the fate of the world is in his hands. By performing a single mitzvah, one person can tilt the scales of judgement and bring salvation to the entire world.

In the Sicha of Ki Seitze 5751, the Rebbe describes how the reward for Mitzvos is, metaphorically, locked in a chest. This chest is in the possession of all Jews.*

Screenshot_2018-08-22-15-46-09-1-2

“Not only that, but he has the ability and the permission to open the chest (and to reveal the reward) any time he wants — by adding “one mitzvah” more, that through this [mitzvah] ‘he will tilt the scales…'”

Those who learn the Sichos are already familiar with this Rambam (the Rebbe showed an enthusiasm for this Rambam over the years). But, in general, the Rebbe adds a new dimension in his use of sources, and especially regarding the Sichos of Nun-Alef/Nun-Beis we should be on the lookout for new dimensions of understanding.

We offer the following insight:

The Rebbe here separates the words “one mitzvah” מצוה אחת from the rest of the quote from the Rambam, and the Rebbe adds the words “by adding one more mitzvah” (עי”ז שמוסיף עוד מצוה אחת).

To say “adding one more mitzvah” (עי”ז שמוסיף עוד מצוה אחת) implies something quite different than the Rambam’s wording of “performing one mitzvah” (עשה מצוה אחת).  Adding one more (עוד) implies a mitzvah that was not already fulfilled, that there is “one more mitzvah” that we can “add” which will bring the revelations of the true and complete Geulah.

In truth, there are many Mitzvos we haven’t fulfilled in actuality, since we lack the ability to bring korbonos. But there is one mitzvah that has not been fulfilled — and is possible to fulfill today — and it is a mitzvah fulfilled by the Jewish people as a whole.*

This is the mitzvah mentioned in last week’s parsha, Parshas Shoftim: the mitzvah to appoint a King שום תשים עליך מלך. Although it was fulfilled in earlier generations, our generation has not properly fulfilled it. More than that, the shleimos of this mitzvah was not reached through the appointing of Shaul Hamelech or Dovid Hamelech; rather its shleimos is the appointing of Melech haMoshiach — which is the responsibility of our generation, specifically!

This interpretation fits perfectly with what the Rebbe says here: because the opening of the “chest” that contains the reward of our Mitzvos (the revelation of Ohr Ein Sof in the world, as explained in the Sicha) is related to Yemos haMoshiach, and it is self-understood that in order for it to be Yemos haMoshiach there must be a Moshiach, whom the Jewish nation has a mitzvah to appoint over themselves, accepting his kingship.

So look at this portion of the Sicha again, and see how the Rebbe is saying that the “one mitzvah” which we can add, which will bring the lofty revelations we are longing for, is the mitzvah of appointing a King מינוי מלך!

Of course, this is a Mitzvah that falls on the shoulders of the entire Jewish nation as a whole, so it’s not enough that you and I and the bochurim in 770 accept the Rebbe as King, Melech haMoshiach, but requires the acceptance of his kingship by the Jewish nation. This is, lechoira, also the meaning of the Rebbe’s words in Noach 5752: the Geulah doesn’t depend on anything besides Moshiach himself.

אין הדבר תלוי אלא במשיח צדקינו עצמו

All that remains is to appoint the King!


*) It is possible, though not necessary, to say that the Rebbe means here the collective body2018-08-22 20.33.38 of all Yidden rather than each individual: “The reward that until now is “closed in a chest” is already found in the possession of the “worker” (each and every Jew).”

Ki Seitze Insight: Mouths Filled with Laughter — the Future is Now!

Near the end of the sicha (ois 15) the Rebbe makes an astonishing statement that demands our attention.  The verse in Tehillim (126b) states “then our mouths will be filled with laughter” (אז ימלא שחוק פינו), upon which the gemara (Brochos 31a) comments:

Rabbi Yoḥanan said in the name of Rabbi Shimon ben Yoḥai: One is forbidden to fill his mouth with mirth in this world, [as long as we are in exile (ge’onim)], as it is stated: “then will our mouths fill with laughter and our lips with song” (Psalms 126:2). When will that joyous era arrive? When “they will say among nations, the Lord has done great things with these” (Psalms 126:2).

The emphasis is that “then” is referring to the time of the future Geuloh (and thus it is explained throughout Torah, including Toras HaChassidus of all of the Rebbeim, including the Rebbe).  The time to “fill our mouths with laughter” is at the time of the Geuloh.  Now comes the amazing chiddush of the Rebbe:

“Then (in the time to come, l’asid lavo) we will fill our mouths with laughter.”, which, in our generation, the Nossi of the generation, my father-in-law the Rebbe, whose second name is Yitzchok, from the root meaning laughter and joy, and he is the 8th Nossi from the Baal Shem Tov (8 being the gematria of “then” in our posuk אז), the inyan of “we will fill our mouths with laughter” is done (not in the future tense, “then”, but rather) in the present tense.

A verse that is universally explained to be referring to the time of the Geuloh, some time in the future, is now explained by the Rebbe to be something that is occurring (or can occur) now!  To understand better what this means (in addition to the clear implication that this aspect of Geuloh is no longer something reserved for the future) let us take the Rebbe’s own description of what it means to “fill our mouths with laughter”.

If we look at the maamor “Ani L’Dodi” printed as a Kuntres in Elul, 5750 (one year before our sicha), we will find that the Rebbe offers us the following definition of our posuk:

A smiling countenance [referring to the moshol of the King in the field] — this is the essential pleasure תענוג עצמי (which the Holy One, blessed be He, takes in Yidden), the inyan of the circus קניגיא [which Hashem will make in the times of Geuloh for the pleasure of the Tzaddikim] when we will see in a revealed way that all the war of good and evil (in this world) is only for laughter and pleasure, “then we will fill our mouths with laughter”.

This means that during Golus we are unable to properly realize that our struggle with evil is really a staged battle from which Hashem takes great pleasure and from which we ourselves will take great pleasure, and therefore we cannot “fill our mouths with laughter” because our battle against evil seems very real, the existence of the evil is an ever-present danger.  But the time of Geuloh brings with it a new revelation: that this is all part of the Divine plan for Divine pleasure, and realizing this properly allows us to “fill our mouths with laughter” despite our struggles with the evil inclination.  Evil is no longer real, but simply part of the “game” of this world (as the Rebbe explains earlier in this sicha regarding “when you go out to war ‘on’ your enemies” — higher than and above your enemies (to the point that they don’t have a real existence)).  Thus, when the Rebbe says that we can already fill our mouths with laughter, it means that we are capable of properly grasping and internalizing the true nature of our struggle with our “enemies”.  When one realizes this, he will not have any fear but rather renewed motivation to overcome these “enemies”, since he can fully recognize that this is all a Divinely ordained “circus” and not a real battle at all.

“Then” is “now”, and we can truly live Geuloh!

Dvar Malchus Shoftim: A Closer Look

Dvar Malchus Shoftim: A Closer Look

It is known that the Rebbe, in the early years of his leadership, spoke of the importance of learning the most recent sichos in a very exacting way  (“If only Anash, and particularly the Tmimim, would be exacting in my father-in-law the Rebbe’s words, especially his sichos of 5710 and the year before.”).  Let us do just that with two easily overlooked matters in the sicha of parshas Shoftim.

WHO IS THE NOVI?  WHO ARE THE STUDENTS?

In this sicha the Rebbe states clearly that the Rebbeim are the prophets (Novi) of our generation, including the Rebbe himself.  The phrasing, however, demands a closer look.  In section 11 the Rebbe states:

A Novi about whom another Novi testifies about him that he is a prophet — as this relates to the Leader of our generation, and which is continued in the generation after him via his students etc. — he is presumed to be a prophet and this second one does not require investigation [as to whether he really is a Novi or not]…

The Rebbe mentions here a Novi (who benefits from testimony about his prophetic abilities) and another Novi (an established Novi who provides the testimony).  This relates to “the Leader of our generation”, and continued in the generation after him via his students.  We could suggest the following interpretation: “a Novi (the Rebbe Rayatz) about whom another Novi (the Rebbe Rashab) testifies about him that he is a prophet…and is continued in the generation after him via his students (the Rebbe himself)….”  This seemingly fits with the Rebbe’s generally expressed view that the Rebbe Rayatz is the Leader of our generation, and the Rebbe is a continuation of the Rebbe Rayatz.

However, from our perspective the Rebbe Rayatz was the leader of the previous generation whereas the leader of our generation is the Rebbe himself.  According to this perspective, we could suggest an alternative interpretation: “a Novi (the Rebbe himself) about whom another Novi (the Rebbe Rayatz) testifies about him that he is a prophet…and is continued in the generation after him via his students (the Chassidim)….”  The first part fits well, as well as the plural “students” fitting “Chassidim” better than just the Rebbe alone.  But we can surely challenge as to how the Chassidim are to be considered continuing the prophecy — who among us Chassidim holds of himself that he is a prophet?!

To this we can answer that it is stated in Chassidus that in the ultimate future all of Israel will possess prophecy, and although it may presently be concealed from most (or all) of us, we are destined for it (as the first generation of Geuloh).  Furthermore, there might be a hint in section 12, where the Rebbe mentions the Geuloh and interjects the words “the end of the deed was first in thought” (סוף מעשה במחשבה תחילה).  These words might bring the diligent student to recall the Kuntres which the Rebbe distributed earlier this year, on Beis Nissan 5751.  In that Kuntres, the Rebbe brings a moshol of giving tzedoko to a poor man: “the end of the deed” which was “first in thought” is not the actual giving of the tzedoko, but rather that the poor man should accept the gift and use it beneficially and happily.  We might suggest that this supports our second interpretation, hinting that we have been giving tremendous spiritual gifts, including even prophecy!  But it is not enough that this is given to us — we must accept it.  And until we properly accept it, it remains concealed.

[As to the expression “the generation after him”, this is not problematic since more than once the Rebbe expressed himself that there is a 7th Nosi (counting from the Alter Rebbe, or, alternatively, the 9th Nosi counting from the Baal Shem Tov) and the 8th Nosi (or the 10th from the Baal Shem Tov) will be Moshiach.]


THE FOUNDATION STONE CANNOT BE HIDDEN AWAY

In section 12 the Rebbe addresses the eternity of prophets and the Leaders of the generation by likening them to the eternality of the “Foundation stone” (the “even ha’shesiya“) upon which the entire world stands and which is not subject to change:

“…I will provide for you a Novi, etc., like you”, the Leader of the Generation who “is everything” “Tzaddik, foundation of the world”, along the lines of the even hashesiya (Foundation Stone) — which is found in a specific place in this physical world, and exists eternally without change (not even the change of being hidden away (“geniza“), as occurred with the Aron which was hidden away, or anything similar to that), in the way that a judge and a Novi exists (eternally) in every generation….

There are those who like to see this passage as expressing the concept that the Rebbe remains alive (“chai v’kayam”) even after what appeared to happen on Gimmel Tammuz, 5754.   This would seemingly preclude being “hidden away” (even in a state of “chai v’kayam“) in a gravesite, or the like.  [There are other, even more clear, sources from the Rebbe which explain why it is necessary for the Nosi Hador to be physically alive, and the concept is not built from this passage in our sicha].

However, as we proceed to section 13, we find something that seems to challenge our initial understanding:

…the Beis Hamikdash itself (which is built and prepared Above) will descend from Above to below, together with the Kodesh Hakodashim and the Foundation Stone that is in it, from which the entire world is supported.

First the Rebbe tells us that the Foundation Stone is found in a specific place in this physical world, and is so eternal that it can’t even be hidden away.  Then the Rebbe presents us with a challenge: how would this not be a contradiction to the fact that this very Foundation Stone (which is in this physical world) is located in the Kodesh Hakodeshim Above and we need it to descend from Above to below?!  And all the more so we are challenged to understand this “contradiction” in light of the fact that this was given as an example of the eternality of the Novi, the Leader of the generation!

At this point we will not attempt to offer an explanation, only to render a conclusion that seems to be a necessary outcome of the Rebbe’s words.  The conclusion is that there is no contradiction to being “in this physical world” and being “Above”.  If the way we understand those concepts presents a contradiction, then apparently our understanding is flawed.  Because to the Rebbe there is no contradiction, and he can even express this in a single sicha!

For a possible way of “expanding our vessels” and redefining these terms to fit the Rebbe’s usage, we suggest a look at the booklet “Eternal Life of a Soul in a Body” at our sister site MoshiachInDepth.wordpress.com.  The idea is that “this physical world” has various levels, including a dimension which cannot (presently) be discerned.  When we will sufficiently refine our physical bodies and the body’s senses, we will be able to discern these higher and more refined levels of physicality — as we labor to draw down the lofty concepts of Pnimiyus Hatorah into our human intellect through diligent study, this brings about that these higher levels will “descend” into our awareness.  We will perceive that there are aspects of “this physical world” which are “Above” other aspects, which cannot presently be perceived even though nothing is concealing them.

Devarim 5751: Aquiring the Geuloh in the Closed Chest

Devarim 5751: Aquiring the Geuloh in the Closed Chest

Several times in these talks of 5751-52 the Rebbe states that the “direct way” to bringing Moshiach is through learning the subjects of Moshiach and Geuloh.  Parshas Devarim contains the instruction “do not disturb Moav” (אל תצר את מואב, Devarim 2:9), which is the nation living in one of the three lands “beyond the Yarden river” which were promised to Avraham Avinu and will be inherited in the future.  These lands are called the lands of the Keni, Kenizi,  and Kadmoni (lands of Ammon,  Moav, and Edom (Seir)–see Rashi on Devarim 2:5).

The inheritance of these lands is explained at length in Chassidus as referring to the intellectual faculties (Chochma, Bina) and the super-intellectual level of Kesser (see Lech Lecha 5752, for example), which are part of our spiritual makeup, but we have not “acquired” them yet.  In fact, the names Keni, Kenizi and Kadmoni all contain the letters of “kinyan” (the letters ק – נ – י), acquisition, hinting that these lofty levels must ultimately be “acquired” — internalized in a way where we master them.

With that in mind, note the interesting expression the Rebbe uses in the sicha for parshas Devarim, that all matters of the Geuloh have been completed and are “as if in a closed chest”:

…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.

What makes this noteworthy is the following halacha of the Rambam in chapter 21 of the laws of Mechira (“Selling”):

If, however, a person tells a colleague: "I will sell you whatever this house contains for this and this amount," "...whatever this chest contains,..." or "whatever this sack contains for this and this amount," the purchaser agrees and performs meshichah, the transaction is not binding. For the purchaser did not make a binding commitment, since he does not know what the receptacle contains, whether straw or gold. This is no more than gambling. The same applies in all analogous situations.

The Rambam rules that one cannot acquire something if he does not know what he is acquiring!  We cannot acquire the “closed chest” which contains the Geuloh until we know what is in it!  Until we know what Moshiach and Geuloh are all about, even if “the closed chest” that contains them has been handed to us along with the keys, we need to learn about it in order to “acquire” it, to internalize it as our own.

And if you will ask: but we have the keys, why not just open the chest and we’ll know exactly what’s in it and that satisfies all requirements for kinyan (acquisition)?

Yes, this is true. But the fact is that the chest and the keys have been given over to every Jew, and yet no one has yet seen fit to open the chest and reveal the Geuloh; thus, it seems that in order to arouse a Jew to do that he has to be motivated to do so by excitement over what is inside the chest that has been given to him.  How will he be motivated to open the chest?  Through fulfilling the Rebbe’s instruction to learn the subjects of Moshiach and Geuloh, to know what is in the chest, and then certainly each one of us will realize the great treasure we have been given and we will rush to open it up — and the sooner the better!