Parshas Naso, 5751: The Year (in which) Moshiach is Revealed

Parshas Naso, 5751: The Year (in which) Moshiach is Revealed

In the sicha of Parshas Naso, the Rebbe states as follows:

This is especially emphasized in this year — the year 5751 (1991) which 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.”

Prior to and during the first Persian Gulf War, the Rebbe made frequent references to this Yalkut Shimoni midrash, but here, for the first time, 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], only according to what Yisroel arouses Above can the Moshiach act….”

This describes a situation where there already exists the individual to whom has been bestowed the lofty neshoma of Moshiach (“the physical Moshiach”).  He himself knows that he is Moshiach, but the revelation is not yet recognized by all of Israel.  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, two distinct stages: the revelation of Moshiach which precedes and is distinct from the coming of Moshiach.  The Rebbe is informing us that the first stage has been fulfilled, and we have transitioned to the second stage, which is dependent wholly on the efforts of Yisroel, as the Ohr Hachama writes: “only according to what Yisroel arouses Above can the Moshiach act….”

Therefore, it is understood the words of the Rebbe (28 Nissan): “I have done all that I can do, now I give it over to you to do all you can do to bring Moshiach in actuality”.  If we truthfully cry out “Ad Mosai” (“until when”), we are really asking the question on ourselves: because while Moshiach is the one who brings the Geuloh, Moshiach’s ability to act comes from us.

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.

Keep Your Eyes on the Rebbe!

In the Sicha of Parshas Emor, that Rebbe makes the following enigmatic statement:

[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…

This concept is found in the Gemara (as brought in the Sicha of Emor), and the Rebbe himself wrote (in the early years of his leadership) that a person should imagine the face of the Previous Rebbe or look at his photo, explaining the benefits that come from this.  So why mention it seemingly “out of context” in a Sicha in 5751?

It can be understood that the Rebbe is not only saying to look at the Rebbe’s visage, whether in person or via a photo, but something more than this.  The Rebbe is giving us advice how to better understand these Sichos of 5751-52, where the Rebbe is speaking openly about Moshiach in unprecedented ways: when we are learning here about Moshiach, we need to know whom we are talking about; that this is not just “learning Torah lishmah”, but has very practical ramifications. How will we properly understand what the Rebbe is trying to tell us about the identify of Moshiach, and whether we are waiting for him to come or if he has already come? Simple: Keep your eyes on the Rebbe!

Read the following words from the Sicha of Behar-Bechukosai as they are without “looking at the face of the Rebbe”, then read them again with the Rebbe in mind — you will understand very well the “enigmatic” advice “which helps one’s understanding“:

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”.


Tzoraas: The Illness Before Geuloh

Tzoraas: The Illness Before Geuloh

In the landmark Sicha of Tazria-Metzora 5751, the Rebbe explains how Tzoraas is a condition that occurs at the end of golus, after avoidas habirurim is finished (which is why it appears in the Torah after parshas Tazria, which refers to the birth of the soul of Moshiach).  As we are now holding at that time and place — the end of golus, after the birurim are finished — the condition of Tzoraas is relevant to us.

In fact, the Rebbe states clearly that each and every Yid today can be said to be on the level of one who has completed his avoidah and is holding in a state of the Metzora — all the bad is coming out, but the inside is completely refined.  (Reminiscent of chazal’s play on words that “Metzora” is from the words “moitzi ra’“, a reference to loshon hora, but according to Chassidus we can understand it literally “to put out the evil” — that all the evil has been purged from within and it’s appearance externally is really the final stage before it’s complete eradication.)

How can we understand this Tzoraas in our lives?

The maamor of the Alter Rebbe in Likkutei Torah and this Sicha of the Rebbe MH”M explain how the oirois Elyonim (“lofty Divine lights”) begin to shine in a Yid’s soul only after the inner refinement is completed.  Lacking bittul and proper vessels to receive these oiros, the lights of G-dly עונג (pleasure) are rearranged to become נגע (lesion).  This manifests itself as anger, judgmental behavior, and “spiritual arrogance”.  The powerful lights of Tohu which demand “Moshiach Now!” and “Yechi Hamelech” may be unable to tolerate those who one perceives to be “holding up the process”.  We could call it intolerance for and arrogance regarding one who appears to be a “misanaged” in these matters.

There is another form of Tzoraas that can affect their person, in the opposite manner, alluded to also in the maamor.  The Alter Rebbe explains that the lesion of Tzoraas which appears on the skin is a white patch of skin because the white color is a sign that the blood flow is interrupted.  In a healthy body the heart pumps blood to the limbs, and the limbs return the blood to the heart (see also Tanya, Igeres Hakodesh ch. 31).  The failure of the limb to return blood to the heart results in the white patch of skin, which is Tzoraas.

With this concept in mind, let us revisit the words of the Rebbe is the Sicha of Beis Nissan, 5748 (3 years and a month before the Sicha of Tazria-Metzora 5751).  There the Rebbe explains how the King is the heart of the nation (as the Rambam writes), and just as the role of the heart in the body is to pump blood, which is life, to the limbs, similarly the King gives life to the people. And just as in a healthy body the limbs must send blood — life — back to the heart, so, too, the people must give life to the King (for there is no King without a people).

The people giving life to the King, says the Rebbe, is expressed by the crowning of the King with the expression “Yechi Hamelech”, which “emphasizes that also the actions of the nation affect the life of the King”.

The crowning of the King by the people through the declaration “Yechi Hamelech” is likened to the limbs returning the blood to the heart. And the failure to return blood to the heart results in the white lesion which is Tzoraas, meaning that the inability (for whatever reason it may be) to declare “Yechi Hamelech” is itself a case of Tzoraas!

The cure for Tzoraas, as explained in our sources, is the bittul that comes from learning Torah–and in our time the Rebbe emphasizes that it must be in the subject of Moshiach and Geuloh, especially as explained in the Rebbe’s own Sichos and Maamorim.  This study provides the the vessels to heal both forms of Tzoraas — both the intolerance and judgmental form, and also the inability of the “limb” to return the blood to the “heart” by crowning the King with the declaration “Yechi Hamelech”.

Surely we will all add in this study, to bring about the realization of “the law of the Metzora on the day of his purification”, which the Rebbe says refers to the revelation of Moshiach.

Yechi Adoneinu Moreinu v’Rabbeinu Melech haMoshiach L’olam Vo’ed!

!יחי אדוננו מורנו ורבינו מלך המשיח לעולם ועד

VIDEO: The Poor Man Must Accept the Gift

Based on the Maamar in Kuntres Beis Nissan 5751: The Rebbe gives the moshol of giving to a poor man. The “initial thought” is not the giving of the tzedakah, but that the poor man should accept it and benefit from it, which is not in the power of the giver, only the recipient.

What does this mean for Dor Hashvii and the Rebbe’s assertion that “I’ve done all I can do, now I give it over to you…”

Chof Zayin Adar: Revealing the Power of Concealment

The day 27 Adar (כ”ז אדר ראשון) is not just a date in Lubavitch — it has become a title for the dramatic day that was the beginning of a new reality for Chassidim.  This is the day that the Rebbe had what the doctors call a stroke, and since then we have not heard from the Rebbe.  Gimmel Tammuz is another step, but the “silence” began on this day, Chof Zayin Adar.

The number 27 in Loshon Hakodesh is also the word “זך”, which means refined and purified.  In fact, the Rebbe connects this with the 27th day of the month, in a sicha of Parshas Pekudei 5750 (2 years to the day before the stroke).  Here the Rebbe explains that the 27th of the month possesses the special quality of:

…scouring and clarification and purification, as is written about the time of the Geuloh “many will be clarified and whitened and purified” (Daniel 12:10).  The ultimate scouring and purification is by revealing the intent in the Tzimtzum [contraction of G-dly revelation] and concealment of the Divine name Elokim itself.

This will be understood in light of what the Rebbe explained in the earlier parts of this sicha.  To summarize:

According to Torah, there are 7 names of Hashem that one is forbidden to erase due to their Holiness.  Of them, we primarily relate to two names: YKVK and Elokim, which represent the revelation of G-dliness (the name YKVK) and the concealment of that revelation (the name Elokim).  The name Elokim is the contraction and concealment of G-dly light — in other words: darkness.  We find a verse in Tehillim “the sun and its shield, YKVK Elokim”, explained to mean that Elokim (concealment) is like a shield or a filter that reduces the G-dly revelation of the name YKVK so that the worlds are not nullified out of existence.  According to this, the name Elokim, the contraction and concealment of G-dly light (the darkness), is for the sake of being able to reveal G-dliness within the limited ability of the worlds to receive.  Like smoked glass diminishes the light of the sun but this itself allows a person to be able to gaze at the sun without being blinded.  A concealment which has the intent of actually revealing that which is being concealed.

But, explains the Rebbe, there is another dimension: the quality of Tzimtzum (contraction) in and of itself — that contraction and concealment show the completeness of the unlimited Holy One, blessed be He, that He is truly unlimited: He is so “unlimited” that he can also limit Himself!  He possesses not only the power of unlimited revelation, but also the power of concealment and limitation.  Explains the Rebbe, this derives from the level of Hashem’s Essence עצמותו where the power of infinite revelation can co-exist with His power of limitation and concealment (regardless of the fact that they are opposites).  (See the maamor השם נפשנו בחיים printed for Gimmel Tammuz 5749, where it states that the inyan of Tzimtzum for its own sake will only be revealed in the Time to Come.)  Thus, Geuloh is:

…not only the nullification of the withdrawal and concealment (העלם והסתר) of the world by revealing that the intent of the contraction and concealment is for the sake of revelation.  Rather, more than this: that we reveal the intent of the withdrawal and concealment itself…not only do we nullify the inyan of golus by revealing that the concealment [of the name Elokim] is for the sake of revelation, but more than this: that the golus itself is clarified and is transformed to Geuloh, since we reveal the intent of the Tzimtzum itself, the power of concealment (which is above revelation).

These are very deep concepts, we are not attempting to do them justice in this brief article.  But we will try to bring them down to simpler words, which will help us relate to the event of Chof Zayin Adar over 27 years ago (and its continuation to the present time): This second aspect of the Divine name Elokim (the name of darkness and concealment) is it’s inherent value, not as it brings about or leads to something else.  It is not only that the darkness as a vehicle for revealing the light, and in such a case we must nullify the darkness in order to reach a greater light.  Rather, it is the lofty intent within the darkness itself — the power of Hashem’s Essence to be limited.  What does that mean?  That we identify and recognize Hashem in the darkness just as we do through His revelations!  The darkness remains darkness, but it ceases to darken because we recognize that the darkness itself is part of Hashem no less than light and revelation.  “The darkness is as light” (כחשיכה כאורה).  This is even higher than crying out over the darkness (as the Rebbe explains in the maamor (בלילה ההוא, מלוקט ד) that was edited and released for publication on Purim, 5750, two weeks earlier than this sicha).

In practical terms, we could say as follows:

Following the stroke that occurred Chof Zayin Adar, 5752, the Chassidim were worried, davening and saying Tehilim for the Rebbe’s health.  There was a great and sudden darkness over Lubavitch.  No farbrengens with the Rebbe, no Sunday dollars.  Gimmel Tammuz was another step into darkness and concealment.  Yet, in the years since then, when the concealment is seemingly greater than before, there has been revealed an even deeper connection to the Rebbe.  Previously, the connection expressed itself through the way the Rebbe revealed himself.  Then there was a concealment, and there was a response of crying out over the concealment.  But since then, the hiskashrus has evolved and come to approach the second level the Rebbe mentions: where the concealment itself does not conceal.

What does this mean in practical terms?

That the fact that we do not see or hear the Rebbe for so many years (and so we cry out to Hashem “ad mosai?!”) nonetheless does not obscure our ability to recognize the Rebbe’s presence and influence.  This comes from Atzmus, meaning our hiskashrus today is coming from Etzem Hanefesh, where the concealment and the darkness themselves are converted to Geuloh — that the present situation comes to show the power of concealment, which by the Rebbe means that we come to recognize that he is just as effective in his role of Nosi Hador and Moshiach Tzidkeinu when we don’t see as when we do see, when we don’t hear as when we do hear.  So many years have passed and yet not only is the hiskashrus of Chassidim still strong, but each year there are more and more mekushorim, many of whom were not even born before Chof-Zayin Adar!  “The darkness is as light” (כחשיכה כאורה), the power of concealment which is above revelation.

Nothing was lost on Chof-Zayin Adar.  On the contrary: we set out on a path of establishing a greater level of connection with the Rebbe, a path upon which we proceed to this very day.  We do not need to cry out over the darkness, but rather we must “remind” Hashem that just as the power of concealment has an intent of its own, so does the power of revelation!  We can now, after Chof Zayin Adar, appreciate the power of concealment (which doesn’t actually conceal, but reveals a deeper level), and therefore we beseech Hashem that we should also have complete revelation: the true and complete Geuloh with the Rebbe Melech Hamoshiach, and we will gaze upon the beauty of our King!

Yechi Adoneinu Moreinu v’Rabbeinu Melech HaMoshiach L’olam Vo’ed!

Introduction to the cycle of Dvar Malchus

Introduction to the cycle of Dvar Malchus

Introduction to the cycle of Dvar Malchus

“Rav Asi asked, ‘Why do little school children begin their Chumash learning with Vayikra and not with Bereishis? It is because little children are pure and unblemished, and the sacrifices are pure and unblemished. The pure ones begin their learning with the study of the pure.'” (Vayikra Rabbah, Tzav 7:3)

The cycle of Dvar Malchus refers to the twelve months of sichos which the Rebbe said between 5751-52 (1991-92), the latest words (“Mishna achrona”) that we have from the Rebbe.  Notably, the cycle begins with the sicha of Parashas Vayikra, 5751.  Although the Torah of Moshiach will only be revealed to us together with the revelations of the true and complete Geulah, these sichos are a “taste” of the “new Torah that will come forth from Me” (Yeshayahu 51:4; Vayikra Rabbah 13:3) and fittingly we start learning from parshas Vayikra.  Furthermore, the sicha describes a connection to Simchas Torah, which is the day when we begin reading the Torah anew (finishing with “V’zos Habrocha” and beginning with “Bereishis”).

Some background: The year 5750 (1990-91) was termed by the Rebbe “it will be a year of miracles” based on the letters that form the Hebrew year.  The year 1990 saw the beginning of the disintegration of the Soviet Union and the outbreak of the first Gulf War.  The year 5751 received the name “it will be year of ‘I will show wonders’”. 

By the time we reach Parshas Vayikra, 5751 (March 1991), the Gulf War has ended (on Purim, two weeks earlier); the events in the disintegration of the Soviet Union will lead, in June (Rosh Chodesh Tammuz), to the election of Boris Yeltsin and the end of the Communist Regime, effectively ceasing to exist upon the resignation of President Gorbachev in late August (Shabbos Ki Seitze).  This new reality—the defeat of Sadaam Hussein in Iraq (and the over miracles witnessed in Israel during that war) and the collapse of the Soviet Union (bringing an end to the Cold War and the nuclear arms race)—is the background to these sichos.

As the Rebbe often explains, events in the physical world are a consequence of what occurs spiritually, the realm of the Jewish souls.  If we see the fall of the earthly “iron curtain” it is because the spiritual “iron curtain” (“mechitza shel barzel”) which separated Israel from their Father in Heaven has fallen.  If an evil dictator who threatened to annihilate, G-d forbid, Jews young and old is defeated and rendered powerless without a Jew firing a weapon, this is because the same drama is playing out spiritually.  These sichos are to guide us in this “new world order”—a new earthly world order, reflecting a new spiritual world order. Continue reading

Pekudei 5752: The Missing Parsha

The Dvar Malchus begins with Vayikra 5751, but where does it end?  The Parshas Vayakhel sicha is unfinished, and parshas Pekudei is missing (actually, “missing” is one of the definitions of the word*, as in יפקד מושבך).  What is the message?

Firstly, we could take note that the start of our Dvar Malchus cycle is parshas Vayikra.  This hints at the division of the Chasidishe Parsha, Torah Ohr and Likkutei Torah — the former covering Bereishis to Vayakhel, the latter Vayikra through the end.  In an odd turn of hashgacha protis, parshas Pekudei is absent from Torah Ohr (which covers all of Shemos) and appears in the other volume.

But more to the point, the Rebbe generally explains these two parshiyos (Vayakhel and Pekudei, which in many years are read together) as reflecting two distinct angles:

  • Vayakhel means “gathering” and speaks of unity and generality, where the individual elements are subdued in the whole.
  • Pekudei implies making an accounting of the individual elements, and in fact it is here that we learn the details: this many talents of silver, that many hooks and boards, etc.

The fact that our Dvar Malchus has Vayakhel but lacks Pekudei (when looked at in light of the content of all the sichas) implies that from the collective side of things, everything is in a state of Geulah: the aspect of Above to below, the “Nosi is everything” (הנשיא הוא הכל) which nullifies all the elements to the greater whole. You can find this expressed many times in these sichos.

What remains to be completed is the aspect of Pekudei: the completion and perfection of the parts, not as they are nullified to the greater whole but their own intrinsic importance as unique elements. Meaning our avodah, individually.  In the Rebbe’s words: “do all that you can” — you, personally and as an individual!  (Of course, merging the individual effort with the unity of Vayakhel, which is the reason that most years the two parshiyos are read together.)

What is needed now is for each one of us to reveal his spark of Moshiach through our own efforts, and not to expect someone else, not even Melech HaMoshiach, to do it for us. Avodah b’koach atzmo“, to reveal individually what has already been accomplished collectively. To bring — each one of us — Moshiach in actuality!

(Not only will this complete the aspect of “Pekudei”, but it brings about the completion and perfection of “Vayak’hel”, because the “incomplete” Sicha of Vayak’hel hints that even the aspect of “Above to below” remains incomplete as long as the “Pekudei” is lacking.  Completing the task of the mekabel (from below) adds to the perfection of the mashpia (Above).)


* Another meaning of Pekudei is connected with childbearing and the marital union, as in “Hashem remembered Sarah” (to bless her with a child) (ה’ פקד את שרה), and “a man must be intimate with his wife [before seeing out on a lengthy journey]” (יפקוד את אשתו).  In fact, this second meaning is mentioned in the Alter Rebbe’s drush on this parsha in Likkutei Torah, strengthening the connection between the parsha and these words.  This fits as a hint that although Parshas Pekudei is “missing”, and it might seem to some that the “husband” has gone on a journey leaving his wife alone — even so he must “be intimate with his wife” before departing (these Sichos of Dvar Malchus)  and even to the point of making her “pregnant” through this intimacy: pregnant with the true an complete Geuloh.

The Decree is Nullified? But…

The Decree is Nullified? But…

What does it mean that a decree has been nullified?

In many places, including the Dvar Malchus sicha of Tetzaveh, the Rebbe uses the expression that Haman’s decree was nullified (ביטול גזירת המן).  This expression is actually quite surprising.  Where in the Megillas Esther do we see that the King’s order containing Haman’s evil decree was rescinded?  The Megillah actually tells us the opposite: Haman’s decree was sealed with the King’s ring, and “a writ that is written in the name of the king and sealed with the king’s ring cannot be rescinded.”  What actually happened was that the King issued a follow-up decree: the right of the Jews “to assemble and to protect themselves, to destroy, to slay, and to cause to perish the entire host of every people and province that oppress them.” (Esther 8:11).  The original decree of Haman remained in full force (“cannot be rescinded”), and still the Rebbe calls this the nullification of Haman’s decree?

If we examine this, we will see how it is very relevant to the Geuloh and the sichos of Dvar Malchus.

The question is: how can Haman’s decree be considered to have been nullified?  There are two aspects to the answer.

Firstly, the intention behind Haman’s decree was nullified via the issuing of the second decree.  By giving the Jews in his Kingdom the right to defend themselves and despoil their oppressors, the original intent of Haman’s decree has been nullified and replaced (even though the decree itself could not be rescinded).  The second way of explaining it is that nothing changed until the actual fighting and victory of the Jews on 13 Adar — up until that point it was all “theoretical”.  We look at the reality on the ground.

The greatness of Purim is explained by the Alter Rebbe in Torah Ohr as connected with the self-sacrifice (mesirus nefesh) of the Yidden over the course of an entire year.  Haman’s decree to “to destroy, kill, and cause to perish all the Jews” was decreed to take place “on one day, on the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar”.  From the time Haman’s decree was issued (in Nissan) until the following 13th of Adar was almost a full year.  The sword of destruction was held over their heads for full year, and yet nobody thought to deny his Jewishness in order to save himself — this mesirus nefesh is what the Alter Rebbe praises.

However, the “nullification” of Haman’s decree took place only two months after the original decree was issued.  “In the third month-that is the month of Sivan-on the twenty-third day thereof, and it was written according to all that Mordecai commanded.” (Megillah 8:9).  This means that the year of mesirus nefesh was for the most part after Haman’s decree had been “nullified”.   Yet, the Megillah itself tells us that the second decree alone was enough to cause rejoicing — Mordechai went out in royal garments, and “the Jews had light and joy, and gladness and honor.”  The ten months from 23 Sivan until 13 Adar were ten months of light and joy?  Or ten months of fear and mesirus nefesh?  Seemingly both together.

What does this have to do with Geuloh?

In the sichos of Dvar Malchus, 5751-52, the Rebbe explains to us that the Moshiach is here, Geuloh is here, we are in Yemos Hamoshiach.  Yet the Rebbe also cries out from the fact that we are still in Golus, and Moshiach and the Geuloh haven’t come in actuality (b’poal mamash).  Chassidim are still arguing whether we are living in Golus or Geuloh.  But if we use the model of the Purim story, we can understand how to manage the paradox.

On the 13th of Nissan, Haman’s decree was issued.  Mordechai dressed in sackcloth and ashes, crying in the street, gathering 22,000 Jewish children to fast and learn Torah.  Esther made the two feasts, after which Haman was hung on the gallows and the King gave his ring to Mordechai.  On 23 Sivan the new decree was sent out.  Mordechai dressed in royal garments and the Jews rejoiced.  Ten months later the date of 13 Adar approaches.  The sonei Yisroel start sharpening their weapons.  The reality looks very much like Golus at its worst.

A Jew who lives with what his eyes see can be filled with apprehension and fear, “Hashem — save us!”  But a Jew who lives on Mordechai’s dimension understands that Hashem already did His part ten months earlier!  The Geuloh is already here, but it has to be realized in actuality.  The Jews still have to take advantage of the 2nd decree, to actually “assemble and to protect themselves, to destroy, to slay, and to cause to perish the entire host of every people and province that oppress them.”  Hashem’s done His part; now it’s up to you!

The 13th of Adar looks like we’re still in a Golus world.  But Mordechai has already given us the power of Geuloh: to overcome this apparent Golus and reveal that the Geuloh became a reality back on the 23rd of Sivan.  A reality, yes, but still abstract and theoretical.  But one who holds by the “theory” will know what to do to make this Geuloh a reality — boldly take his weapons in hand and go out to face the enemies with confidence.  One who is overwhelmed by what his eyes see will want to lock himself up in his house, shut off the lights, and hope they don’t see him.  He might beg Hashem to save him, or he might think of ways to appease the enemies — either way, he remains in Golus despite the fact that Mordechai has put the Geuloh in his hands.

We are standing on the 13th of Adar!  Mordechai of our generation, the Rebbe Melech haMoshiach, has already sent out the decree of Geuloh, and has also given us the weapons: Chassidus, Mivtzoyim, Hakhkel, Shlichus.  And the Rebbe said “it must be done by you and by you and by you!”  What is required is that each one of us understand and internalize the Rebbe’s message (the “direct path”), and through this each one will realize that he can and must do his part to bring the Geuloh from abstract theory to reality, to reveal the Geuloh  b’poel mamash!

יחי אדוננו מורנו ורבינו מלך המשיח לעולם ועד

War in Ukraine and Swords Into Plowshares?

War in Ukraine and Swords Into Plowshares?

If you have learned the sicha of Mishpotim 5752 (or read our overview of the sicha), then you already know the Rebbe’s declaration from over 30 years ago that we have already entered “a new epoch in international relations — eliminating a situation of wars between states of the world, illustrated by the reduction and destruction of weaponry…”.  The Rebbe repeats several times throughout the sicha the term “nation-states of the world” (מדינות העולם).  This indicates that in the new epoch there won’t necessarily be a complete end to bloodshed or fighting, but that the conflicts will not be between one state and another (as was the case throughout history).

In fact, since this sicha was said, wars between states have become almost completely non-existent.  True, there have been many bloody conflicts: civil wars, rebel insurgencies, and wars on terror continued to claim victims.  But wars between states?  Almost completely extinct!  The Rebbe’s words have had tangible proof!  (see chart:)

However, on the 24th of Adar, 5782 (2022) something happened which seemed to disturb the fulfillment of the words of the prophet Yeshayahu about “nation not raising sword against nation”: the Russian army invaded Ukraine.  A clear war between nation-states.  A clear case of the “old world order” where a country with a grievance against another country takes matters into its own hands via military power.  Many felt a need to confront the question: How does this war in Ukraine fit with what the Rebbe says in the sicha?

On the face of it, the war in Ukraine definitely seems like a “bump in the road” that demands explanation.  But with a little background, we will see that there really isn’t a question here.  To explain:

If we return to the year 5751 (corresponding to 1990/1991) we find ourselves looking at the Persian Gulf war.  Iraq, led by Saddam Hussein, claimed that the independent state of Kuwait was not truly an independent nation but rather historic Iraqi territory.  Iraq attacked and conquered Kuwait.  In response, a coalition of some 35 countries joined together, supported by United Nations sanctions, to drive Iraq out of Kuwait and restore the Gulf nation’s sovereignty.  In effect they were saying: “the Lubavitcher Rebbe has announced that wars between states have been eliminated, therefore we won’t tolerate your invasion of Kuwait!”

The fighting — Operation Desert Storm — began on Rosh Chodesh Shvat, 5751.  A few days later, Shabbos Parshas Bo, the Rebbe spoke about the events at the farbrengen in 770.  Among other things, the Rebbe spoke about the “King of  Bovel” (seemingly a reference to Saddam Hussein) — that they destroyed his palace, he is on the run without communication with his armies, he wanders from place to place without rest, his existence is in danger.  In fact, the coalition had no plans to depose Saddam, who was at that time comfortably ordering the firing of SCUD missiles at Israel from his military command center.  What the Rebbe described at the farbrengen did not match the reality.  One of the transcribers of the Rebbe’s sichos, YY Jacobson, tells that he received a phone call that night from the Rebbe’s secretary Leibel Groner.  He was told, in the name of the Rebbe, that they should not publicize the parts of the Sicha that spoke about the war.*  The Rebbe had said  “the time will yet come” (“עוד חזון למועד” — a posuk from the Novi Chavakuk regarding the Geuloh).

As is known, the Gulf war ended after about six weeks.  Saddam Hussein’s army had been defeated, but Saddam himself remained firmly and ruthlessly in power.  A year later, 5752, the Rebbe spoke and edited the Sicha of Mishpotim, where he states that the world has entered “a new epoch in international relations — eliminating a situation of wars between states of the world.”

Eleven years later (12 years to the day (Purim) that the first Gulf War ended), the second Gulf War was launched.  This time, Saddam Hussein was the target and he was indeed forced to flee his palace, fleeing from place to place, hiding, out of contact with his military — exactly the details the Rebbe had said in the sicha of 5751!

What this means to us is that when the Rebbe edited the sicha of Mishpotim for publication in 5752, he knew full-well that the there would be another war in Iraq.  When the Rebbe publicized that the world has entered “a new epoch in international relations — eliminating a situation of wars between states of the world”, this clearly did not mean that there would never again be another war between states!

Thus, the question as to how Russia could invade Ukraine doesn’t even begin to be a question.  Especially when we find that the response of the world to the war in Ukraine is very similar to what occurred in 5751: the nations of the world refuse to accept that one state can invade another state, and are using many and various methods (military, economic, etc.) to “convince” Vladimir Putin to end his military operations and resolve his issues without warfare.

To summarize: the sicha of Mishpotim 5752 is not telling us that wars between one state and another are already extinct (since the Rebbe knew that there would be another invasion of Iraq) but rather that among the nations of the world this is no longer acceptable behavior.  They refused to accept it when Saddam Hussein did it.  They are refusing to accept it now that Vladimir Putin is doing it.  The world has truly entered a new epoch, and in fact the war in Ukraine provides proof that the Rebbe’s words are true and eternal!

* The Rebbe’s editorial staff released this “hidden sicha” at the time of the second Gulf War (5763/2003).  It was translated and published in English, but I haven’t been able to find it on the internet.  Here is a link to the “hidden sicha” in loshon hakodesh: Hidden Sicha of Bo 5751_LAHAK

Mishpotim: The Roadmap from 27 Adar and 3 Tammuz to Geuloh

Mishpotim: The Roadmap from 27 Adar and 3 Tammuz to Geuloh

Towards the end of the sicha of parshas Mishpotim, the Rebbe elucidates on the meaning of the monthly dates of 25, 26, 27, 28, and erev Rosh Chodesh.  We can see how the Rebbe is in fact laying out a roadmap for the avoidah of Chassidim after 27 Adar (the medical event that occurred to the Rebbe one month after this sicha, which affected the Rebbe’s speech, etc.): 

  • 25th (כה) and 26th (כו) refer to Birkas Cohanim, giving Divine blessing (ונתינת כח) to the Yidden in the time of golus and also in the Beis Hamikdosh, when Hashem (gematria 26) is “before them” (hinting at having Hashem’s shliach, Nosi Doreinu, in front of us at the time the Sicha was said);
  • 27th (ז”ך) is associated with the verse “shemen zayis zach (ז”ך)”, which serves as the basis of the maamor the “V’Atah Tetzaveh”, which would be distributed by the Rebbe for Purim Koton.  This can be read as a hint at the avoidah in that maamor (being crushed from being in Golus, even when there is spiritual and material abundance) — the “crushing” that would begin on the 27th of the following month of Adar;
  • 28th (כח) is not only “adding strength”, but is also the gematria of “Yechi”, the declaration of Chassidim which took root after 27 Adar (with the repeated encouragement of the Rebbe);
  • 29th is erev Rosh Chodesh, the time of concealment (hinting at Gimmel Tammuz and thereafter) which precedes Rosh Chodesh (which refers to Geuloh).  In the  maamor of Beis Iyar the Rebbe explains how the concealment of the moon is actually the preparation for the unification of the Mashpia and the Mekabel on Rosh Chodesh, and in the maamor of Rosh Chodesh Kislev the Rebbe addresses the great level of the avoidah of the tachton at the time of concealment.

A roadmap of the avoidah from before and after 27 Adar, through Gimmel Tammuz, up to today: the giving of the power to succeed (25th, 26th);   the “crushing” that brings out the essence (27th); the declaration of Yechi (28th); until the complete concealment of erev Rosh Chodesh that brings about the highest avoidah and leads to the true redemption.

Although the trip has been longer than anyone expected, we have received clear directions, and know that the road leads to the true and complete Geuloh, so “step on it”!