9) Kuntres 28 Sivan: I Will Show You Wonders Behind the Miracles

9) Kuntres 28 Sivan: I Will Show You Wonders Behind the Miracles

A Chassidic discourse on the verse “As in the days when you came out from Mitzrayim, I will show you wonders” was edited and distributed by the Rebbe on 28 Sivan, 5751 (50th anniversary of the Rebbe’s arrival to America together with the Rebbetzin).  The subject is the nature and varying levels of miracles and wonders in general, and particularly as they will be in the Messianic age.  This not only shares an obvious connection with the miraculous escape of the Rebbe and Rebbetzin from Europe to America 50 years earlier, but also with the year 5751 תנש”א, which the Rebbe repeatedly referred to as the year of “I will show you wonders” (the letters of the Jewish year — Nun-Alef — standing for the  Hebrew words in our verse “I will show you wonders.”)

First, we need to understand the varying levels of miracles: miracles above nature (transforming water into blood, splitting the sea), and miracles enclothed in nature.  Miracles enclothed in nature themselves divide into 3 types: where the miracle is recognizable (Purim, Chanukah); where nature conceals the miracle but there is still a recognition that something out of the ordinary occurred and one is obligated to thank Hashem (an ill person who is healed, a prisoner who is freed, etc); and the lowest level, where nature so completely obscures the miracle to the point that one doesn’t even recognize that a miracle occurred (אין בעל הנס מכיר בניסו).

The Rebbe proceeds to explain that the last type of miracle, unrecognizable from the ordinary process of nature, is actually the highest in it’s source, from the verse עושה נפלאות גדולות לבדו, the great wonders that Hashem does “alone”, no one knows about them.  It is from this level that the great wonders of the Messianic age will come, which will be wonders even compared to the wonders of Mitzrayim.  This can explain why the about the Messianic wonders it says “I will show you wonders” — because they will come from the high level which today are unrecognizable — Hashem will have to “show” us that they are wonders.

But, the Rebbe explains, this verse of “showing wonders” doesn’t only apply to miracles enclothed in nature, but also miracles above nature.  Those miracles will be wonders even in comparison to the wonders that were seen in coming out of Mitzrayim.  But we are left with a question: what need is there to “show” the wonder of a miracle so above nature that it is already a wonder?  The answer the Rebbe gives is amazing.  But to reach that answer, we have to first understand the following:

First, the difference between these miracles is the degree to which they are grasped by human intellect.  A wonder like the splitting of the sea is so beyond human comprehension that we cannot grasp it at all, we can only gaze at it speechlessly.  The more the miracle is enclothed in nature, the more we can grasp it intellectually; to understand not only what happened, but how it happened.  The Rebbe gives examples: we don’t understand how a dead person is brought back to life, we only know that before he was dead and now he is alive.  But looking at the miracle of Purim, for example, we can see exactly how the decree was abolished, or when a sick person is healed we can grasp how it was brought about through certain drugs.  From this out comes out that being enclothed in nature is really what reveals the miracle, making it accessible to the human intellect.  The ultimate form are the miracles that we don’t even recognize — they are so fully grasped by our intellect that there is no sense of wonder that would cause us to notice something unusual has happened, which would cause us to give thanks to Hashem.

Mitteler Rebbe asks a question on the miracles that are unrecognizable: since they derive from the lofty level of “Him alone” (לבדו), then how is or possible for anything to conceal them?  His answer is that, in fact, nothing can conceal them.  They are so fully and seamlessly revealed by nature that we can’t even recognize that something out of the ordinary has occurred!

But really, all miracles come from the Ohr Ein Sof; the difference of whether that are enclothed in nature or not depends on whether they are from the aspect of concealment within the Ohr Ein Sof (למעלה מעלה עד אין קץ), it the aspect of revelation (למטה מטה עד אין תכתית).  And all the wonders of the Messianic era will revealed, including those that derive from the aspect of concealment.

So, the wonders of the Messianic era will come from the highest levels, and will also be revealed even into the human intellect.  But more than that, the Rebbe explains that even the miracles of the Messianic era that will not be enclothed in nature (like the splitting of the sea and the river) will be in the following manner: not only the splitting of the sea will be seen openly, but the revelation [of Elokus] that brings about the splitting of the sea will be seen openly! (As by the splitting of the sea upon coming out of Mitzrayim, when everyone pointed with a finger and said “this is my G-d” (זה א-לי ואנוהו). While by Yetzias Mitzrayim this was a one-time event, in the Messianic era it will be the ongoing reality!)

So we find that the miracles of the Messianic era will be wonders, from a higher level than even the wonders of Yetzias Mitzrayim, and at the same time they will be able to be grasped by human intellect.  (And they will be seen in a way where the Divine revelation itself will be perceived!)  But how will nature — which derives from the Divine name Elokim which conceals G-dliness that is above world — be able to accommodate such a degree of revelation?  The Rebbe explains that  through avoidas habirurim, refining the Divine sparks that fell in physicality, the Jewish people effect a refinement of nature.  Nature itself becomes elevated  (עלית הטבע), so that instead of obscuring the level of G-dliness that is above the world, it becomes a vessel for that G-dliness to be revealed!

It will be interesting to note (for those who have learned the Sicha explaining the “New Torah That Will Go Forth From Me”) that the Rebbe references chapter 16 in Shaar HoEmuna by the Mitteler Rebbe.  There, the Mitteler Rebbe explains this same subject of miracles, and also the difference between the aspect of concealment within the Ohr Ein Sof (למעלה מעלה עד אין קץ), and the aspect of revelation (למטה מטה עד אין תכתית).  He brings out that these two aspects correspond to Halacha (revelation to the lowest levels) and Kabbala (hidden secrets above revelation). Through this reference we can tie together everything in our maamor (which seems to be speaking only about miracles and wonders in physical objects) with the concepts discussed in the Sicha explaining the “New Torah That Will Go Forth From Me” — the ability of Moshiach to draw down the loftiest secrets of Torah to the point where they become Halacha! 

But what is the connection between the secrets of Kabbala, rulings in Halacha, and miracles in the physical world?  As explained by the Rebbe elsewhere, a Halacha ruling (psak din) has an affect on the world, and thus we can understand that when Moshiach draws down the secrets of Torah into Halacha (unifying the aspect of concealment with that of revelation) that this causes the same effect in the physical world, resulting in miracles and wonders which themselves unify the levels of concealment and revelation — above nature and within nature, as explained in this maamor of 28 Sivan!

Shaar Hayichud, Mitteler Rebbe, Ch. 15

Bamidbar: How to Reach Hashem’s Essence

Bamidbar: How to Reach Hashem’s Essence

The sicha of Shabbos Parshas Bamidbar is an anomaly in the Dvar Malchus sichos, because here the Rebbe doesn’t mention the word Moshiach or Geuloh at all until the very end of the sicha.  Nonetheless, when we examine what the Rebbe does address here, we find that the Rebbe really is teaching us a vital element in actualizing the Geuloh.

There is a concept in Pnimiyus Hatorah called “ratzo v’shov“, which refers to two divergent directions in serving Hashem: “ratzo” means the desire of the neshoma to run away and escape the bonds of the world and the physical limitations of the body.  This is described in Tanya as the nature of the neshoma, like a flame that seeks to rise up and separate from the wick even at the expense of its own existence.  On the other hand, there is the direction of “shov“, which means to return to this world in order to fulfill Hashem’s Will which are Torah and Mitzvos in this world.  How does a Yid manage to unify these two opposites?  If my desire is to escape the world, then every moment in the world is against my will and therefore unpleasant.  But if my desire is to be in the world and fulfill Hashem’s Will here in the world, then I surely don’t want to escape and run away.  How are we supposed to fulfill both “ratzo” and “shov“?!

The way to do this, explains the Rebbe, is to transcend either of these two specifics of serving Hashem and to be tuned in to their underlying commonality: they are both the Will of Hashem.  Meaning, that if we want to escape the world, we won’t be enthusiastic to be here; and if we want to be here, we won’t be enthusiastic to transcend the world and its limitations.  But — if we want to fulfill Hashem’s Will, then we will want to do whatever He wants.  When His Will is “ratzo“, we will be happy with that direction; when His Will is “shov“, we will be happy also — since either way we are fulfilling His Will!  As the Alter Rebbe said: if we were instructed by Hashem to chop trees, we would also do this willingly and happily.

The Rebbe says that the mitzvah to love Hashem contains both ratzo and shov.  To illustrate: if a child likes to go out, he will be happy when his father sends him on an errand,  but he could be bored at home.  A child who loves being near his father and learning from him will prefer to stay home, and will not be enthusiastic about having to leave his father’s side to fulfill and errand.  But the child who truly loves his father and wants to do what his father wants will be happy either way, because either way he is doing what his father wants!

The key to this, explains the Rebbe, is the through self-nullification — bittul.  When a Yid has bittul to Hashem, he relates to Will of Hashem that underlies all the mitzvos regardless if they are ratzo or shov.  This bittul allows him to have a relationship with essence of the King himself — the highest level, which is the inyan of Geuloh.  If our interest is in the King’s matters themselves, we are missing the King.  When our interest and desire is the King himself, then automatically all of his matters are of equal importance to us.

The Rebbe then connects all this with the idea that a King, “Melech”, is an anacronym for “brain, heart, liver” (Moach, Lev, Kaved — Melech).  The brain is generally quiet and settled, tranquil and without movement, inner-focused.  The heart is constantly beating (representing the movements of ratzo and shov), never at rest and sending blood to the whole body.  Through bittul, we can synthesize the opposite natures of these two organs (the brain and the heart), and bring to bear the principle that the brain rules over the heart (מח שליט על הלב) and through this bring the tranquility to bear also on the lively and active heart, meaning that even our excited ratzo and shov will be permeated by an overarching tranquility in all its aspects.

We might understand this to mean that even as we should strive to acquire a heated, even fiery, interest and desire for Geuloh and to bring the Geuloh in actuality, and even to be “completely shaken up” (אינגאנצען צוטרייסלט) if there remains even one corner of the world where the Geuloh has not yet reached — yet through bittul we can permeate all of this with the settled tranquility that comes from the brain which understands that everything is with Divine purpose, and thus be able to synthesize them and do whatever is called for with similar alacrity and focus.  We will be able to fulfill all aspects of our shlichus equally: davening and fulfilling Mitzvos as we should; learning Torah (and especially the subjects of Moshiach and Geuloh) with proper effort to transcend the prior limits of our understanding; teaching alef-beis to a child; going out to the streets and putting on tefillin with another Jew; etc., etc. — all will be equal because our bittul brings us to be interested in connecting to the King’s essence, fulfilling the Will of the King, and bringing about the true and complete Geuloh.

5) Kuntres 13 Iyar: Like Which Brother?

This Chassidic discourse was printed in honor of the Yahrtzeit of the Rebbe’s brother, Yisroel Aryeh Leib.  Fittingly, it begins with the words of the posuk “Oh, that you were like a brother to me,” (Shir Hashirim, 8:1). Rashi comments that this verse refers to the way Yosef dealt kindly with his brothers even though they had mistreated him (by selling him as a slave to Egypt).  Contrasting this: there is a midrash which says that the verse refers to his beloved brother Binyomin, who, unlike his older brothers, had no hand in selling Yosef down to Egypt.

The discourse goes into depth about the nature of free choice, and the responsibility of Yosef’s brothers for selling him even though later Yosef reveals that it was divinely orchestrated for the good —  so that Yosef should rise to power in Egypt and be in a position to provide for his family when they sought respite from the famine in the land of Canaan.  However, we are now only going to focus on the part of the discourse that shows an open connection to the sichos of Dvar Malchus.

The verse “Oh, that you were like a brother to me,” is a request from the Jewish people to Hashem — to relate to us like a brother.  It is understood why we would interpret it to be referring to the brothers who sold him: the brothers did evil to Yosef but he repaid them with kindness.  Similarly, we request from Hashem that even though we have “done evil to Him” through our sins, He should repay us with kindness.  However, as we know from the story in chumash, Yosef’s kindness followed the trials and tribulations that he put the brothers through in order to bring them to do tshuva and acknowledge their sin.  By asking for Hashem to relate to us like Yosef to Binyomin, who had no hand in the sale of Yosef, we are asking for open and revealed good without any “trials and tribulations”.

The difference between the two interpretations (whether the verse is referring to Yosef’s conduct to his 10 brothers or to Binyomin) will be understood as the difference between a number of contrasting concepts, all of which contain a common thread.

On the one hand we have the lofty revelation of Yetzias Mitzrayim, which was an awakening from Above (not something Bnei Yisroel earned from their own efforts).  But, as lofty as it is, it remained essential “makif” and was not internalized.  On the other hand, we have Sefiras Ha’Omer (in the days following our going out of Mitzrayim), which is our own effort at refining ourselves.  It is not as lofty as when Hashem revealed Himself and took us out of Mitzrayim, but because it is our own avoidah it is internalized in a settled way (בפנימיות ובהתישבות).

The discourse goes on to find the same relationship between the avoidah of tshuvah (leaving one’s reality, the bittul of one who lacks all qualities) and the avoidah of Tzaddikim (having bittul that does not negate their existence, humility where one is aware of his abilities).  In short: powerful and lofty but remains “outside” the person, contrasted with a not-as-lofty revelation that is internalized.  It is specifically this aspect of being internalized that fulfills Hashem’s desire for a dwelling place down below (דירה בתחתונים).

Based on this, we can understand the two interpretations of our verse: the interpretation that “brother” refers to Yosef as he conducted himself with his brothers who sold him represents our request for the loftiest revelations (Yetzias Mitzrayim and the avoidah of Baalei Tshuva).  The other interpretation, which says that it refers to Binyomin, reflects a request for an internalized, settled revelation (Sefiras Ha’Omer and the avoidah of Tzaddikim).

Since both interpretations are going on the same verse, they are really not contradictory — they are complementary.  Meaning that our real request is for the highest revelations, but that these highest revelations should be internalized in a settled way — all of the benefits without any of the drawbacks!

This is the avoidah that the Rebbe has given us with the famous words of the Sicha of 28 Nissan: “oirois d’Tohu but in a way of keilim d’Tikkun“.  (In a later Sicha of 22 Shevat, this is described as the unification of the aspect of “10” and the aspect of “11”.)  Our avoidah to bring the Geuloh is not that of Baal Tshuvah nor that of a Tzaddik;  rather, ours is an avoidah that combines these two dimensions, demanding that we constantly transcend ourselves like a Baal Tshuvah, and then internalize it so it is as natural as the avoidah of Tzaddikim.

Beshallach/Yisro: Going From 10 to 11

Beshallach/Yisro: Going From 10 to 11

From Har Sinai (also called “Chorev”) to Eretz Yisroel is a journey of 11 days.  The 11 days journey reflects “the aspect of One which is higher than the 10 Commandments which were given at Chorev…the aspect of Hashem’s Essence and Being (מהותו ועצמותו) which is higher than the 10 sefiros.”  However, everyone knows that the Bnei Yisroel wandered in the midbar for 40 years (instead of 11 days) as a punishment for the sin of the spies.  In our sicha, however, the Rebbe speaks of this as something positive.  What is positive about the same journey being drawn out over 40 years?!

The Rebbe explains that we can say that Hashem’s intention here was in order that the aspect of 11 (Hashem’s Essence) “will be drawn down and revealed in them in an internalized manner via their travels in the midbar for 40 years, in which ‘Hashem gave to you a heart to know, eyes to see, and ears to hear’.”  If Hashem would have taken them directly on the 11 days journey, all of the refinement which was accomplished over 40 years would have been achieved in a manner of Above to below, something which does not so much affect that which is “below”.  (Like the difference between the sense of “ownership” of a King who fought for territory and invested all his wealth and resources to conquer lands for his Kingdom, as opposed to his son who received Continue reading

14) Kuntres Chof Marcheshvan, 5752: The Ohr Chodosh

14) Kuntres Chof Marcheshvan, 5752: The Ohr Chodosh

This maamor was edited and printed in honor of the birthday of the Rebbe Rashab, and it was handed out personally by the Rebbe in 770.*. It discusses deep inyonim of Chassidus, and demands attentive learning.  But here, we will focus only on one point from the maamor, which is overtly relevant to the concepts of Moshiach and Geuloh found in Dvar Malchus.

The Rebbe discusses here the concept of the Divine Light (Ohr) that preceded the tzimtzum (Tzimtzum being  the contraction of light by which it becomes possible to create limited, finite worlds).  This Ohr that existed prior to the tzimtzum possessed two dimensions: unlimited and limited.  These dimensions became the source for the two kinds of Divine revelation that exist now: Sovev (surrounding light, which cannot be grasped and thus is not revealed in the world), and Memaleh (filling light, which is limited and can this be grasped by the lower creatures).

Additionally: through the mitzvos we perform now, there will be the revelation of a new light in the time to come,  an Ohr Chodosh.  This Ohr Chodosh will bring about a new heavens and a new Earth (as stated by the novi Yeshaya).

The Rebbe clarifies: if we are referring to the revelation of the unlimited light that illumined before the tzimtzum (which is presently not revealed in the worlds), this is not truly new (אין זה חידוש אמיתי) — this Ohr was already revealed before the Tzimtzum, and afterwards was concealed from the world.   Thus, when this Ohr will return and be revealed again, it will not truly be something new.  The truly new Ohr Chodosh, which will generate a new heavens and a new Earth, is Ohr that is drawn down by our fulfilling Torah and Mitzvos now, an Ohr that didn’t exist even before the Tzimtzum!

In these words the Rebbe is giving us a small glimpse at the great significantly of the avoidah of a Yid in performing Torah and Mitzvos — it is a complete chiddush, and draws down an Ohr Chodosh that never existed previously!  Here, in the oisios of Chassidus, the Rebbe is explaining the famous words of 28 Nissan (“I’ve done all that I can do, now you must do all that you can do to bring the Geuloh…”) — because it is the avoidah of a Yid, davka, to make this lowest world a “dira b’tachtonim” that draws down the Ohr Chodosh, which is the revelation of the Geuloh.

(Note that  in the kuntres published for Rosh Chodesh Kislev of this year, the Rebbe will elaborate further on this subject, bringing out the point that the avoidah of the Yid is even greater than the Ohr Chodosh that comes from his avoidah!)

* Some want to suggest that perhaps the timing of the distribution of this maamor by the Rebbe served as a “distraction”, so to speak, from the amazing revelations found in the Sicha “Beis Rabbeinu sh’b’Bovel”, which was printed the same week.  (Chassidim had in their hands a maamor given to them personally by the Rebbe and a second kuntres dropped off unceremoniously in 770 — it is obvious which a chosid would learn first.)

Well known is the principle that the first luchos were given with a big “shturem”, but had to be shattered.  The final luchos, to the contrary, were brought down without lightning, thunder, and the sound of the Shofar — but they were not shattered, they endure.  In our case, Chassidim were so excited to learn a maamor that the Rebbe had handed to them personally, from his holy hand, that they didn’t have time to make a big deal overthe other kuntres (“Beis Rabbeinu…”)…  (But what can a goat understand from gazing at the moon…?)

9) Kuntres 28 Sivan: I Will Show You Wonders Behind the Miracles

9) Kuntres 28 Sivan: I Will Show You Wonders Behind the Miracles

A Chassidic discourse on the verse “As in the days when you came out from Mitzrayim, I will show you wonders” was edited and distributed by the Rebbe on 28 Sivan, 5751 (50th anniversary of the Rebbe’s arrival to America together with the Rebbetzin).  The subject is the nature and varying levels of miracles and wonders in general, and particularly as they will be in the Messianic age.  This not only shares an obvious connection with the miraculous escape of the Rebbe and Rebbetzin from Europe to America 50 years earlier, but also with the year 5751 תנש”א, which the Rebbe repeatedly referred to as the year of “I will show you wonders” (the letters of the Jewish year — Nun-Alef — standing for the  Hebrew words in our verse “I will show you wonders.”)

First, we need to understand the varying levels of miracles: miracles above nature (transforming water into blood, splitting the sea), and miracles enclothed in nature.  Miracles enclothed in nature themselves divide into 3 types: where the miracle is recognizable (Purim, Chanukah); where nature conceals the miracle but there is still a recognition that something out of the ordinary occurred and one is obligated to thank Hashem (an ill person who is healed, a prisoner who is freed, etc); and the lowest level, where nature so completely obscures the miracle to the point that one doesn’t even recognize that a miracle occurred (אין בעל הנס מכיר בניסו).

The Rebbe proceeds to explain that the last type of miracle, unrecognizable from the ordinary process of nature, is actually the highest in it’s source, from the verse עושה נפלאות גדולות לבדו, the great wonders that Hashem does “alone”, no one knows about them.  It is from this level that the great wonders of the Messianic age will come, which will be wonders even compared to the wonders of Mitzrayim.  This can explain why the about the Messianic wonders it says “I will show you wonders” — because they will come from the high level which today are unrecognizable — Hashem will have to “show” us that they are wonders.

But, the Rebbe explains, this verse of “showing wonders” doesn’t only apply to miracles enclothed in nature, but also miracles above nature.  Those miracles will be wonders even in comparison to the wonders that were seen in coming out of Mitzrayim.  But we are left with a question: what need is there to “show” the wonder of a miracle so above nature that it is already a wonder?  The answer the Rebbe gives is amazing.  But to reach that answer, we have to first understand the following:

First, the difference between these miracles is the degree to which they are grasped by human intellect.  A wonder like the splitting of the sea is so beyond human comprehension that we cannot grasp it at all, we can only gaze at it speechlessly.  The more the miracle is enclothed in nature, the more we can grasp it intellectually; to understand not only what happened, but how it happened.  The Rebbe gives examples: we don’t understand how a dead person is brought back to life, we only know that before he was dead and now he is alive.  But looking at the miracle of Purim, for example, we can see exactly how the decree was abolished, or when a sick person is healed we can grasp how it was brought about through certain drugs.  From this out comes out that being enclothed in nature is really what reveals the miracle, making it accessible to the human intellect.  The ultimate form are the miracles that we don’t even recognize — they are so fully grasped by our intellect that there is no sense of wonder that would cause us to notice something unusual has happened, which would cause us to give thanks to Hashem.

Mitteler Rebbe asks a question on the miracles that are unrecognizable: since they derive from the lofty level of “Him alone” (לבדו), then how is or possible for anything to conceal them?  His answer is that, in fact, nothing can conceal them.  They are so fully and seamlessly revealed by nature that we can’t even recognize that something out of the ordinary has occurred!

But really, all miracles come from the Ohr Ein Sof; the difference of whether that are enclothed in nature or not depends on whether they are from the aspect of concealment within the Ohr Ein Sof (למעלה מעלה עד אין קץ), it the aspect of revelation (למטה מטה עד אין תכתית).  And all the wonders of the Messianic era will revealed, including those that derive from the aspect of concealment.

So, the wonders of the Messianic era will come from the highest levels, and will also be revealed even into the human intellect.  But more than that, the Rebbe explains that even the miracles of the Messianic era that will not be enclothed in nature (like the splitting of the sea and the river) will be in the following manner: not only the splitting of the sea will be seen openly, but the revelation [of Elokus] that brings about the splitting of the sea will be seen openly! (As by the splitting of the sea upon coming out of Mitzrayim, when everyone pointed with a finger and said “this is my G-d” (זה א-לי ואנוהו). While by Yetzias Mitzrayim this was a one-time event, in the Messianic era it will be the ongoing reality!)

So we find that the miracles of the Messianic era will be wonders, from a higher level than even the wonders of Yetzias Mitzrayim, and at the same time they will be able to be grasped by human intellect.  (And they will be seen in a way where the Divine revelation itself will be perceived!)  But how will nature — which derives from the Divine name Elokim which conceals G-dliness that is above world — be able to accommodate such a degree of revelation?  The Rebbe explains that  through avoidas habirurim, refining the Divine sparks that fell in physicality, the Jewish people effect a refinement of nature.  Nature itself becomes elevated  (עלית הטבע), so that instead of obscuring the level of G-dliness that is above the world, it becomes a vessel for that G-dliness to be revealed!

It will be interesting to note (for those who have learned the Sicha explaining the “New Torah That Will Go Forth From Me”) that the Rebbe references chapter 16 in Shaar HoEmuna by the Mitteler Rebbe.  There, the Mitteler Rebbe explains this same subject of miracles, and also the difference between the aspect of concealment within the Ohr Ein Sof (למעלה מעלה עד אין קץ), and the aspect of revelation (למטה מטה עד אין תכתית).  He brings out that these two aspects correspond to Halacha (revelation to the lowest levels) and Kabbala (hidden secrets above revelation). Through this reference we can tie together everything in our maamor (which seems to be speaking only about miracles and wonders in physical objects) with the concepts discussed in the Sicha explaining the “New Torah That Will Go Forth From Me” — the ability of Moshiach to draw down the loftiest secrets of Torah to the point where they become Halacha! 

But what is the connection between the secrets of Kabbala, rulings in Halacha, and miracles in the physical world?  As explained by the Rebbe elsewhere, a Halacha ruling (psak din) has an affect on the world, and thus we can understand that when Moshiach draws down the secrets of Torah into Halacha (unifying the aspect of concealment with that of revelation) that this causes the same effect in the physical world, resulting in miracles and wonders which themselves unify the levels of concealment and revelation — above nature and within nature, as explained in this maamor of 28 Sivan!

Shaar Hayichud, Mitteler Rebbe, Ch. 15

5) Kuntres 13 Iyar: Like Which Brother?

This Chassidic discourse was printed in honor of the Yahrtzeit of the Rebbe’s brother, Yisroel Aryeh Leib.  Fittingly, it begins with the words of the posuk “Oh, that you were like a brother to me,” (Shir Hashirim, 8:1). Rashi comments that this verse refers to the way Yosef dealt kindly with his brothers even though they had mistreated him (by selling him as a slave to Egypt).  Contrasting this: there is a midrash which says that the verse refers to his beloved brother Binyomin, who, unlike his older brothers, had no hand in selling Yosef down to Egypt.

The discourse goes into depth about the nature of free choice, and the responsibility of Yosef’s brothers for selling him even though later Yosef reveals that it was divinely orchestrated for the good —  so that Yosef should rise to power in Egypt and be in a position to provide for his family when they sought respite from the famine in the land of Canaan.  However, we are now only going to focus on the part of the discourse that shows an open connection to the sichos of Dvar Malchus.

The verse “Oh, that you were like a brother to me,” is a request from the Jewish people to Hashem — to relate to us like a brother.  It is understood why we would interpret it to be referring to the brothers who sold him: the brothers did evil to Yosef but he repaid them with kindness.  Similarly, we request from Hashem that even though we have “done evil to Him” through our sins, He should repay us with kindness.  However, as we know from the story in chumash, Yosef’s kindness followed the trials and tribulations that he put the brothers through in order to bring them to do tshuva and acknowledge their sin.  By asking for Hashem to relate to us like Yosef to Binyomin, who had no hand in the sale of Yosef, we are asking for open and revealed good without any “trials and tribulations”.

The difference between the two interpretations (whether the verse is referring to Yosef’s conduct to his 10 brothers or to Binyomin) will be understood as the difference between a number of contrasting concepts, all of which contain a common thread.

On the one hand we have the lofty revelation of Yetzias Mitzrayim, which was an awakening from Above (not something Bnei Yisroel earned from their own efforts).  But, as lofty as it is, it remained essential “makif” and was not internalized.  On the other hand, we have Sefiras Ha’Omer (in the days following our going out of Mitzrayim), which is our own effort at refining ourselves.  It is not as lofty as when Hashem revealed Himself and took us out of Mitzrayim, but because it is our own avoidah it is internalized in a settled way (בפנימיות ובהתישבות).

The discourse goes on to find the same relationship between the avoidah of tshuvah (leaving one’s reality, the bittul of one who lacks all qualities) and the avoidah of Tzaddikim (having bittul that does not negate their existence, humility where one is aware of his abilities).  In short: powerful and lofty but remains “outside” the person, contrasted with a not-as-lofty revelation that is internalized.  It is specifically this aspect of being internalized that fulfills Hashem’s desire for a dwelling place down below (דירה בתחתונים).

Based on this, we can understand the two interpretations of our verse: the interpretation that “brother” refers to Yosef as he conducted himself with his brothers who sold him represents our request for the loftiest revelations (Yetzias Mitzrayim and the avoidah of Baalei Tshuva).  The other interpretation, which says that it refers to Binyomin, reflects a request for an internalized, settled revelation (Sefiras Ha’Omer and the avoidah of Tzaddikim).

Since both interpretations are going on the same verse, they are really not contradictory — they are complementary.  Meaning that our real request is for the highest revelations, but that these highest revelations should be internalized in a settled way — all of the benefits without any of the drawbacks!

This is the avoidah that the Rebbe has given us with the famous words of the Sicha of 28 Nissan: “oirois d’Tohu but in a way of keilim d’Tikkun“.  (In a later Sicha of 22 Shevat, this is described as the unification of the aspect of “10” and the aspect of “11”.)  Our avoidah to bring the Geuloh is not that of Baal Tshuvah nor that of a Tzaddik;  rather, ours is an avoidah that combines these two dimensions, demanding that we constantly transcend ourselves like a Baal Tshuvah, and then internalize it so it is as natural as the avoidah of Tzaddikim.

Chukas 5751 Informs Current Events (5780)!

This week in Eretz Yisroel is the week of parshas Chukas. (Outside of Israel it is parshas Shlach — due to the second day of Shavuos falling out on Shabbos the Torah readings in Israel got a “head start” and are a parsha ahead for a few weeks.)

Today (Sunday of parshas Chukas) there was a solar eclipse which was partially visible in Israel.

Take a look at the first footnote in the Dvar Malchus for parshas Chukas (presented here with quotes from the sources referenced in the footnote):

 

 

A. This day — as all days of the year on the Jewish-Torah calendar — consists of two dimensions: the day of the week, and the day of the month.1

1 From which is derived that it is also the calendar of the nations of the world (who count according to the sunSukkah 29a, Mechilta Bo 12b, Bereishis Rabba 6:3, Zohar I 236b (end)), who divide the solar year into 12 parts/months, but this division is “only by agreement and is not an inherent, natural division”…

Sukkah 29a: The Rabbonon taught: at the time when the sun is eclipsed — it is a bad sign for the idol worshippers; when the moon is eclipsed — it is a bad sign for “those who hate Israel” (the indirect way the sages refer to the Jewish nation when mentioning something undesirable), since Israel count according to the moon and idol worshippers count according to the sun.

Bereishis Rabba 6:3: Rabbi Levi in the name of Rebi Yosi bar Ilai said “it is derech eretz that the large one should count according to the large, and the small one should count according to the small one.  Esav counts according to the sun which is large, and Yaakov counts according to the moon, which is small.

(Thanks to R’ Chaim Kott of Kfar Chabad for sending me this!)

 

מכילתא יב, ב

ח. החדש הזה לכם . לא מנה בו אדם הראשון. אתה אומר לכם ולא מנה בו אדם הראשון, או אינו אלא לכם ולא לגוים? (אמור) כשהוא אומר ראשון הוא לכם (משמע) לכם ולא לגוים אמור. הא מה תלמוד לומר לכם? לא מנה בו אדם הראשון. נמצינו למדין שישראל מונין ללבנה והגוים לחמה. לא דיים לישראל א’ לל’ יום מגביהים עיניהם לאביהם שבשמים. וכשהחמה לוקה סימן רע לגוים שהם מונים לחמה, וכשהלבנה לוקה סימן רע לשונאיהם של ישראל שהם מונים ללבנה. ר’ אומר, כשחמה לוקה במזרח סימן רע ליושבי מזרח, במערב סימן רע ליושבי מערב. (רבי יוסי אומר כשהמזלות לוקים במזרח סימן רע ליושבי מזרח במערב סימן רע ליושבי מערב). ר’ יונתן אומר אלו ואלו נתנו לגוים שנאמר כה אמר ה’ אל דרך הגוים אל תלמדו ומאותות השמים אל תחתו (ירמיה י)א

זוהר חלק א רלו ב

יהודה אתה יודוך אחיך ידך בערף אויביך וגו’“.    רבי יוסי פתח, (תהלים קד יט) “עשה ירח למועדים וגו’” — “עשה ירח” בגין לקדשא ביה ריש ירחין וריש שתין, ולעלמין סיהרא לא נהיר אלא משמשא, וכד שמשא שליט סיהרא לא שלטא, כד אתכניש שמשא כדין סיהרא שלטא, ולית חושבן לסיהרא אלא כד אתכניש שמשא, ותרווייהו עבד קב”ה לאנהרא, הדא הוא דכתיב (בראשית א יז) ויתן אותם אלהי”ם ברקיע השמים להאיר על הארץ וגו’. “והיו לאותות“– אלין שבתות, דכתיב (שמות לא יג) כי אות היא, “ולמועדים“– אינון יומין טבין, “ולימים“– אלין רישי ירחין, “ולשנים“– אלין רישי שנין, דלהוון אומות העולם עבדין חושבן לשמשא, וישראל לסיהרא.

ואזלא הא, כי הא דאמר רבי אלעזר, כתיב (ישעיה ט ב) הרבית הגוי לו הגדלת השמחה, הרבית הגוי אלין ישראל, דכתיב בהו (דברים ד ז) כי מי גוי גדול, וכתיב (דה”א יז כא) גוי אחד בארץ לו בגיניה הגדלת השמחה דא סיהרא דאתרביאת בנהורא בגיניהון דישראל. אומות העולם לשמשא וישראל לסיהרא, הי מנייהו עדיף, ודאי סיהרא לעילא, ושמשא דאומות העולם תחות האי סיהרא הוא, וההוא שמשא מהאי (ס”א סיטרא) סיהרא נהיר, חמי מה בין ישראל להו, ישראל אחידו בסיהרא, ואשתלשלו בשמשא עלאה, ואתאחדו באתר (ביה) (ס”א דנהיר לשמשא) דנהירא משמשא עלאה, ומתדבקן ביה, דכתיב (דברים ד ד) ואתם הדבקים ביהו”ה אלהיכ”ם חיים כלכם היום.