Yud Shevat: “Yahrzeit” of a Living Man

Yud Shevat marks the yahrzeit and Hillula (anniversary of the passing) of the Previous Rebbe in 5710 (1950), the father-in-law of the Rebbe MH”M.  His resting place is in Montefiore Cemetery in Cambria Heights, NY, commonly referred to as “the Ohel”.

The Rebbe, MH”M, oversaw all the details, wrote the text of the gravestone, and even designed the Ohel structure itself (in a way that Kohanim could enter and avoid the halachic prohibition of being in proximity to a grave).  The Rebbe visited the Ohel on a twice-weekly basis, and often more frequently than that.

At the same time, the Rebbe continued to refer to his father-in-law as “Nosi Doreinu”, the leader of the generation, and the “Moshiach of the generation“.  The Rebbe asserted that “hu bachayim” (“he is alive”), like Yaakov Avinu who did not die.  Each year on the Previous Rebbe’s birthday, the Rebbe spoke about his father-in-law’s new chapter of Tehillim, just like anyone else who has a birthday and begins a new year of life.  The Rebbe spoke sharply that his father-in-law does not have an issue of inheritance because he is “fresher and more lively” each passing year.

Yud Shevat is the yahrzeit of a living man, the Ohel is the gravesite of a living man.

If we don’t understand, the problem is ours to ponder and to research.  When we will understand how the gemora can state the “Moshe didn’t die” and “Yaakov didn’t die” and that after his passing Rebbi Yehuda Hanosi would appear at the home of his family on Shabbos night (and made Kiddush for them) — then surely we will begin understand the meaning of Yud Shevat and how eternal life is not contradicted by a yahrzeit nor by a gravestone.

יחי אדוננו מורנו ורבינו מלך המשיח לעולם ועד

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!

Vayechi 5752: Where Eternal Life is Drawn From

ונשיא דורנו – יוסף שבדורנו – ש”לא מת”, כמו יעקב אבינו (“אלה תולדות יעקב יוסף”), כידוע ש”נשיא” ר”ת “ניצוצו של יעקב אבינו”, וע”י ההתקשרות והביטול לנשיא הדור ה”ז נמשך בכל אחד ואחת מאנשי הדור…

“The Nosi of our generation — the Yosef in our generation — who “did not die”, like Yaakov Avinu (“these are the descendants of Yaakov, Yosef”), as is known that “Nosi” is composed of the initial letters of the phrase “A spark of Yaakov Avinu”, and through the hiskashrus (connection) and the bittul (self-nullification) to the Nosi of the generation, this [aspect of Yaakov Avinu who did not die] is drawn down into every single member of our generation…”

Q: Should I understand that the Rebbe is telling me that my own personal hiskashrus and bittul to the Nosi is what draws down his eternal life (חיים נצחיים) to every single Yid in the generation?!

Hard to support such an understanding.

Perhaps the intention that each one, through his own hiskashrus and bittul to the Nosi draws down eternal life (חיים נצחיים) to himself.

Maybe.

Perhaps a more correct reading is that the hiskashrus and bittul of the Rebbe himself to his Nossi (the Frierdicker Rebbe, who “did not die”) is what is drawing down eternal life (חיים נצחיים) to every single Yid in the generation!

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 was learned on this same Shabbos, 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 shlichus–to 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!

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

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 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!

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).”

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 have control over 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 tjhat 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!

 

Pinchas 5751 — A Deeper Look at a “Pnimi”

In this sicha the Rebbe explains that we bring the Geuloh through the avoidah of “making ‘here’ Eretz Yisroel” (מאך דא ארץ ישראל).  This is associated with the avoidah of being a “Pnimi” — one who is completely involved in what he is doing.  The instruction of “making ‘here’ Eretz Yisroel” is explained by the Rebbe: “even when he is found ‘here’, in chutz la’aretz, and in the time of golus — one must make ‘Eretz Yisroel’ [while he is] ‘here’ — in this place and time…seemingly: according to Torah ‘here’ (chutz la’aretz) is not ‘Eretz Yisroel’!”

The way to make “here” (which is not “Eretz Yisroel”) into “Eretz Yisroel” is by being totally involved in the avoidah of the moment, without thinking about what it will lead to, whether it is the main thing or a preparation for something else.  “It is known the saying of the Rebbe Rashab — a Pnimi is one who is completely involved in everything he does.”  Even if what he is doing is a preparation for something else (such as singing the niggun as preparation for hearing a Chassidic discourse from the Rebbe), he is focused on what he is doing and not what it leads to.

A Yid must do his avoidah ‘here’ — in this place and time — with complete perfection (based on his abilities and potentials in his situation) in thought, speech, and action, as a ‘Pnimi’ who is completely involved in whichever avoidah he is presently doing (and he doesn’t think at the time that he’s doing it about another avoidah later)…he is making in this place (and time) a land in which Yiddishkeit (Yisroel) is openly recognizable. 

Now let’s look deeper.

The repeated references to “here” as our present “time and place” draws to mind the Maamor edited by the Rebbe and published a year earlier (found in “Meluket Daled”), beginning with the words גדול יהיה כבוד הבית הזה (“Gadol Yehiyeh Kavod haBayis Hazeh“).  In that maamor (sections 6-7-8) the Rebbe explains some very deep concepts behind the miraculous phenomenon that took place in the Kodesh haKodashim in the Beis Hamikdash: the place of the Aron [Kodesh] was immeasureable (“makom ha’Aron eino min haMida“).

First, let us explain the phenomenon: The Kodesh haKodashim itself was 20 amos by 20 amos, and the Aron (containing the luchos (the tablets of the Torah) was 2½ amos by 1½ amos.  Under normal circumstances, there should be 17½ amos of space from each side of the Aron to the walls (20-2½=17½).  But in actuality the Aron measured a full 2½ amos, but there remained 10 amos from each side of the Aron to the wall — it didn’t take up any space in the room!

The explanation is best understood from looking at the maamor itself, but to briefly summarize: time and place are generally a function of the name “Elokim”, which is tzimtzum and concealment.  This is the essence of golus: G-dliness is concealed and the divisions of time and place come into being.  Higher than the name Elokim is the name YKVK, which is essentially higher than time and place.  This is not to say that they do not exist at all, as the Rebbe explains, but rather that they exist without division and separation (התחלקות), with all moments being united (the name YKVK meaning “past, present, and future as one” — היה, הווה, ויהיה כאחד).  The same is true for the spacial dimensions: they exist in a state of unity without being divided into “here” and “there”.

Having explained that, the Rebbe explains the miraculous phenomenon of the Aron in the Kodesh haKodashim: the “place” of the Aron was not a usual “place” like the rest of the world, which is created by the name Elokim concealing the oneness of YKVK.  Rather, that place is unique in that it has a revelation of YKVK within the reality created by Elokim.  In other words: all regular places in the world exist in a state of division and separation, each place separate from and distant from other places.  In a YKVK reality there would be no such thing as individual places, they would all be nullified to the Oneness.  In this unique spot there was the revelation of YKVK (Oneness and unity) within Elokim (separation and division), resulting in a place in our familiar world of Elokim which possessed fixed dimensions (20 amos) but yet revealed the unity and oneness of YKVK in that the fixed dimensions of the Aron could co-exist within the fixed dimensions of the Kodesh haKodashim in a state of unity.  (See the maamor for the full explanation.)

From here we can appreciate a deeper dimension of “make ‘here’ Eretz Yisroel”: the very concept of “here” as opposed to “there” is function of the name Elokim, the source of Tzimtzum and golus.  From the perspective of YKVK the terms “here” and “there” are irrelevant because all places are as one.  So the very fact that we are found “here” means we are in a world of Tzimtzum, a world of division and separation created by the name Elokim.  What must we do?  We must make “here” into Eretz Yisroel — the avoidah of revealing the true underlying Oneness (as it exists by the name YKVK) through being a Pnimi “who is completely involved in whichever avoidah he is presently doing (and he doesn’t think at the time that he’s doing it about another avoidah later)” which is a YKVK reality — there is no “now” and “then” since the YKVK reality is always found in the present moment (which includes all moments).  Through this avoidah of emulating the YKVK reality …he is making in this place (and time) a land in which YKVK  is openly recognizable.  The future revelation of YKVK (within Elokim) will reveal that the Tzimtzum is not real from the perspective of YKVK, and will bring about the unity of all places and all moments (the true meaning of the ingathering of the exiles from all four corners of the world).  This is the Eretz Yisroel reality (certainly as it will be in the future when Yerushalayim will spread out to all of Eretz Yisroel…), and the way we arrive to Eretz Yisroel (the revelation of the unity and Oneness of YKVK) is through the avoidah of being a Pnimi — living the moment in a way of all moments — in our thought, speech, and action!

Gimmel Tammuz: What is the Moment When the Sun Stands Still?

Would you like to know at what moment the sun stood still on Gimmel Tammuz, 5754?

In the sicha of parshas Korach, Gimmel Tammuz, 5751, the Rebbe explains at length the great miracle which occurred on Gimmel Tammuz in the days of Yehoshua bin Nun: the sun and the moon (and the entire cosmic system) stood still.  “Shemesh b’Givon dom“.

This miracle doesn’t seem to have such an obvious connection to the miraculous Geuloh of the Rebbe Rayatz in 5627 (the subject of the Rebbe’s farbrengen), but mashpiim find an obvious connection to the events of Gimmel Tammuz 5754: that just as it was by Yehoshua bin Nun, that he commanded the sun and the moon (and the entire cosmos) to stand still, causing time to “freeze” in order to enable the Yidden to win the war they were waging on their own effort, so too we are in a “frozen moment” where the Rebbe wants us to finish the war to end golus with our own effort.  But there is an even greater insight, as we hope to explain with Hashem’s help.

When Gimmel Tammuz comes around, half the farbrengens are on the theme of celebrating “as’chalta d’Geuloh” (the beginning of the Geuloh), and the other half are  on the theme of hillula.  Come and hear an amazing reconciliation of this widespread confusion:

When Eliyahu HaNovi was preparing to ascend heavenward, he asked his disciple Elisha what he could do for him “before I will be taken from you.”  Elisha responds with a puzzling request: a double-portion of Eliyahu’s prophetic spirit should rest upon him.  Eliyahu replies that this is a difficult request, meaning it is impossible to give more than one has (Rashi)!  Nonetheless, Eliyahu adds that if he (Elisha) will see him being taken from him, then he can fulfill his request.

There are various answers given to the question: how could Eliyahu HaNovi give his disciple more than what he possesses.  The answer we will present here is explained in depth in Likutey Mohoron (Breslov), and will open our eyes to something amazing.

In Likutei Mohoron (ch. 66) it explains, based on the Zohar, that every Tzaddik possesses two dimensions of ruach — his supernal ruach, and his lower ruach.  He lives his life in this world with his lower ruach, but when the time of his histalkus arrives, the supernal ruach descends to this world and unites with the lower ruach (compare with Igeres Hakodesh, siman 27).  This means that the Tzaddik, in his final moments in this world, has a lofty revelation that far exceeds what he experienced in his lifetime.  Continues Likutey Mohoron: once the two aspects of ruach unite, the supernal ruach has to leave this world (because its nature is that it cannot tolerate to be here), and it ascends together with the lower ruach, which has united with it, and this is the Tzaddik’s histalkus.  Thus we find that by Rashbi, for example, he revealed the loftiest things in his final moments.

It comes out that every Tzaddik has three distinct stages:

  1. his life in this world when only his lower ruach is accessible;
  2. his final moments when his supernal ruach is revealed in this world;
  3. his departure from this world, together with both dimensions of his ruach.

In the story of Eliyahu and Elisha, it was these “final moments” which provided the opportunity for Elisha’s request to be fulfilled: Eliyahu was still alive in this world, but with the revelation of his supernal ruach.  Prior to this moment, he could not give a double portion because he himself didn’t have it;  after this moment, he was already gone from the world and couldn’t give it over; but in exactly these final moments he had both aspects, and thus he could in fact fulfill Elisha’s request for a double portion.

These final moments paradoxically combine the elements of physical life together with the lofty qualities the Tzaddik attains when he is nistalek.  At that moment he is both “chai v’kayam” and at the same time “more than he was in his lifetime” (יתיר מבחיוהי, in the loshon of Igeres Hakodesh).

Now imagine that at this very moment the sun and the moon stand still.  Time freezes and the Tzaddik’s ascent is also “frozen” —  he remains “chai v’kayam”, alive as a soul in a body in this world, together with supernal revelations that are reserved for a histalkus.  Instead of a fleeting moment of opportunity for his disciples and mekusharim to receive a double portion, this moment of opportunity doesn’t end…

We could say that this is a deeper dimension of the Rebbe’s lengthy explanation of the sun and moon standing still: that the time will come (3 years to the day after the Rebbe spoke the sicha) when the Rebbe will make use of this gimmel Tammuz miracle of “Shemesh b’Givon dom” to create an unprecedented situation: the Rebbe will be holding by both realities!  He will continue to be chai v’kayam without histalkus (as the Rebbe tells us in the sicha of Bo 5752 that our generation will not experience histalkus), yet at the same time “more than he was in his lifetime” (יתיר מבחיוהי), which is a lofty state which is achieved at the time of — histalkus?!

This explains (and even validates) the divergent perspectives: yes, the Rebbe remains chai v’kayam b’guf gashmi, and yes, he also possesses the qualities of “more than in his lifetime”.  Practically speaking, it gives each and every one of us the opportunity to receive from the Rebbe even greater koichos than were available all the years, because the Rebbe himself is holding by greater koichos.  And it also gives us the keilim to understand how half of Lubavitch looks at Gimmel Tammuz differently from the other half!*  These feel the Rebbe lives, those feel “more than in his lifetime”, and both think that you can’t have the two together.  But, in fact, we can, and apparently we do!

May we utilize these great koichos to bring the Geuloh b’poel mamash and truly open our eyes to the reality of the Redemption.


*) This recalls the explanation, attributed to the Helige R’ Yisroel of Ruzhin, of the machloikes between the Alter Rebbe (who advocated spreading the wellsprings of Chassidus) and R’ Boruch of Mezibuz (who was opposed to spreading Chassidus broadly).  He said that when Moshiach told the Baal Shem Tov that he would come when “your wellsprings will spread out”, the Baal Shem Tov’s eyes welled up with tears.  R’ Baruch, a grandson of the Baal Shem Tov, felt the pain of his grandfather’s tears that his wellsprings would have to descend to “chutza”, and therefore opposed something which caused his grandfather pain.  The Alter Rebbe, though, was a spiritual grandson of the Baal Shem Tov, and he felt the pain of the Baal Shem Tov that derived from the long time it would take to spread out the wellsprings before Moshiach would come, therefore he worked to speed it up.  We could say that the Rebbe has Chassidim that are more attuned to the reality of “chai v’kayam“, and Chassidim that are more attuned to the reality of “more than in his lifetime”, and all that is lacking for achdus is to expand the keilim.

The text of Likutey Mohoran in Hebrew and English here.