Vayeshev 5752: France is Refined, the World is Refined

The Rebbe begins this sicha by restating that we are the final generation of exile and, thus automatically, the first generation of Geulah, because “we have already finished all matters of the avodah and are already standing ready for the true and complete Geulah through Moshiach Tzidkeinu immediately.”

There is, however, a question from some quarters: the Geulah is, after all, dependent on the whole world being ready for Geulah, not just one person or a small number of people — but the entire world.  The Geulah depends on the gathering of the dispersed Jewish nation from all four corners of the world, and also the refinement of all the nations and all the lands.  So they ask: where do we see a change in the world the indicates that the world is more ready for the Geulah today than in previous generations?

The Rebbe proceeds to answer by first reminding us of the purpose of golus: the Jewish nation being scattered throughout the world is, on the outside, a descent.  But its inner purpose is that Jews, wherever they find themselves, garb themselves in the ways of that country (as our sages say: “if you go to a place, follow its customs”), thereby refining and elevating the entire land and nation in which they are exiled.

[To note: the Rebbe writes that the dispersal of Israel to different places is for the purpose of “sifting, refining, and elevating (לברר, לזכך, ולהעלות) the sparks found in that place.”  At least 7 times in the sicha the Rebbe recalls this phrase, speaking of how France and the world have been refined, however the Rebbe only mentions the “sifting” and “refining”.  “Elevation” is not mentioned (except in one place in which the Rebbe speaks of what will (future tense) bring about the true and complete Geulah).  For deeper understanding of the meaning of this distinction, see the booklet “Between Golus and Geulah” at MoshiachInDepth.wordpress.com.]

The Rebbe then focuses on the refinement of France (there were guests from France at this farbrengen), reiterating the difficult history of Yiddishkeit in France, in particular the opposition of the Alter Rebbe to Napoleon and the efforts he made to bring about his defeat.  France, and particularly the spirit of the French Revolution, was a klipa that could not be refined in the times of the Alter Rebbe and so he preferred the victory of Czarist Russia (the Czars being no friends of the Jewish nation) over Napoleon, and even risked his life to flee Napoleon’s armies in order not to be under his rule in any way.  [For the whole story, listen here.]  

However, several generations later, the Rebbe Maharash (the 4th Rebbe of Chabad) visited France, indicating the beginning of the refinement of this klipa.  This culminated in the Previous Rebbe visiting France and saying several Chassidic Discourses there, and, even more, sending his own family — his daughter, Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka, and the Rebbe MH”M — to live there for an extended period of time, contributing the “final blow” to this klipah. These efforts sowed the seeds for the tremendous flowering of Jewish life that has taken root in France since that time — to the point where France is not only a mekabel of Torah, but also a mashpia — and which continues to this very day.

Interestingly, the Rebbe points out, “Tzarfas” (צרפת, France in Hebrew) has the numerical value of 770.  The number 770 is of course the number of the Rebbe’s shul (770 Eastern Parkway) and is explained as the complete form of the number 7, reflecting the 7 midos.  The Rebbe says “we can say that this hints that with the refinement of these countries the refinement of the entire world is finished and completed down to the last detail”!  Since France is the lowest place (which could not even be refined in the times of the Alter Rebbe), when it will finally be refined (as the Rebbe says has occurred) — this indicates that everything has been refined.

The Rebbe concludes by pointing out that miracles were generally given minor importance (if at all) by the Rebbeim and the Chassidim over the generations, but despite this it is worthy that the Rebbe devotes an entire farbrengen to discuss France instead of Torah because it is in the category of “publicizing the miracle”.  Recognizing Hashem’s miracles and praising and thanking Hashem for them touches upon and contributes to the coming of Moshiach Tzidkeinu and the true and complete Geulah.  (Our sages tell us that Hashem wanted to make Hizkayahu Moshiach, but because his generation did not sing praises to Hashem over the miraculous downfall of the army of Sancheriv, He did not do so.)  The instruction for us is:

Since we have already finished everything, and the Geulah has still not come — it is most proper to be involved in ‘publicizing the miracle’, to publicize to himself and to others, and in every place, the miracles that the Holy One, Blessed be He, does for us, [and to do so] with the knowledge that the true and complete Geulah is dependent on this!

This includes, of course, the miraculous transition of the world to a place where Torah and Yiddishkeit can flourish, even places that were not long ago inherently hostile to the spirit of the Jewish faith.  Recognizing this, that the world is ready for Geulah, and publicizing it and thanking Hashem for it — this itself brings about the true and complete Geulah through Moshiach Tzidkeinu!

Yechi Adoneinu Moreinu v’Rabbeinu, Melech Hamoshiach, l’olam vo’ed!

Vayishlach 5752: The Job After the Birurim Are Completed

The sicha of Vayishlach 5752 contains several threads, each of considerable significance.

Firstly, the Rebbe explains the concept of the diminution of the moon — that the full moon on the 15th of the lunar month, when the moon fully receives and reflects the light of the sun, is followed by a decrease in the light until it completely disappears from sight. However, this period of diminution of the light of the moon is really only as far as the revelation of the moon is concerned.  But the fact that we continue to count the days up (16th, 17th, 18th, etc.) hints that in fact the moon is really reaching a higher level, coming closer to the sun (the mashpia) until it ultimately unifies with it and becomes a mashpia itself.  “The complete perfection of the moon is when the it becomes like the sun and no longer needs to receive the light of the sun.

The unification of the sun and the moon, the mashpia and the mekabel, requires the moon to be completely nullified, resulting in “the essence being revealed” (etzem b’hisgalus).  This is a metaphor for the relationship of the Jewish people to Hashem, that when Yisroel is completely nullified to Hashem they become unified and they themselves become like Him, both being equal “one crown for both of them”.  All this takes place after the process of refinement (avodas habirurim) is completed.

This brings us to the next significant thread of this sicha, where the Rebbe states that the refinement of the sparks of Tohu (related to Esav in our parsha) has been completed, and “all the matters of avodah have been finished and completed, also as regards (and in) the world.”  Although this appears in many of the sichos of Dvar Malchus, in our sicha of Vayishlach the Rebbe addresses the question: if everything has been done, what do we do now?  The answer is found in the conduct of Yaakov towards Esav in our parsha.  Returning from living with Lavan in Charan, Yaakov was ready for Moshiach and anticipated that Esav, too, was ready.  Thus, what Yaakov did is what we are doing.  The verses tell us how Yaakov sent excessive gifts to Esav, and bowed down 7 times.  In Torah Ohr, the Alter Rebbe explains  what this means spiritually, which the Rebbe summarizes as follows:

“Yaakov sent messengers before him to Esav his brother” — that Yaakov, whose source is from the world of Tikkun, sent messengers literally “before him“, to the level that is higher than him, to Esav his brother who has his source in the world of Tohu (since, due to his relationship to Yaakov, we are referring to Esav after he was refined and returned to his source, the transcendentlevel of Tohu).  This was “in order to draw down the transcendent level of Tohu to him below in Tikkun, which is the aspect of internalized light, that the transcendent will shine forth internally and they will be unified together.  This is also the meaning of the unification of the moon and the sun (Yaakov and Esav, inner light and transcendent light, memaleh kol almin and sovev kol almin), until the moon no longer receives from the sun (since the the refinement of the sparks of Tohu has already been finished and completed,  which was the reason that the moon was originally diminished to be a receiver, as explained earlier in the sicha), but rather the light of the moon becomes like the light of the sun, that both are equal.

(Footnote 89): We learn out from the avodah of Yaakov after he thought that Esav was already refined, and even after the messengers returned and informed him that Esave was not yet refined — he did not get involved in “avodas habirurim” (to refine Esav), but rather he became involved in “the elevation of the ‘lower waters’ to draw down the ‘masculine waters’ of the transcendent level of Tohu‘ [hala’as Ma”n lehamshich Ma”d d’makif d’Tohu] via his offering.  [More explanation is required, but time does not allow us to do so here and now.  See Torah Ohr on our parsha.]

The Rebbe continues and connects this with the refinement of the nation of France, in loshon kodesh “Tzorfas” which has the numerical value of 770, that this represents the completion of the process of refining the world.  “From this it is understood that literally in our times we need only to open the eyes and to see the reality b’poel mamash.”  (Footnote 112): “That is to say, not only this that the avodah of refinement has been completed and that we need to bring about a revelation of this in the world, but rather more than this, that there is already revealed [such a revelation] in actuality, and we need only to open the eyes, because already you have been given…eyes to see.'”

Yechi Adoneinu Moreinu v’Rabbeinu Melech Hamoshiach L’Olam Vo’ed!

Vayishlach 5752: The Moon Becomes Like the Sun

Our sages tell us that the Jewish people are likened to the moon and thus we count according to the moon.  The months of the Jewish calendar begin with the birth of the new moon each month.  This means that the 15th of every month is the date of the full moon.  What is a full moon?  It is the time when the moon reaches the state of maximum revelation, reflecting the light of the sun to its utmost.   This is called shleimus halevana, the moon being “full” and “complete”.  This process of the waxing of the moon until it reaches completeness is illustrated by the increasing number of the day of the month: 1, 2, 3, etc., until the 15th.  The ascending number corresponds to the ascending completeness of the moon’s revelation.

The true completeness of the moon, explains the Rebbe, is not truly found on the 15th of the month (the full moon), because then the moon is is only at maximum capacity as a mekabel, a receiver (and reflector) of light from the sun.  The true shleimus, the true completeness of the moon is when the moon becomes similar to the sun — a mashpia — and no longer needs to receive light from the sun.

By examining the astronomical properties of the movement of the moon we will understand this more deeply: the first half of the month, when the revelation of the light of the moon is increasing daily, the moon itself is actually moving further away from the sun.  The further it gets from the sun, the greater its light.  In the second half of the month it moves closer to the sun, and as it gets closer its visible light diminishes.  This is because the closer the mekabel is to the mashpia, the less he is able to “shine forth”, due to the great self-nullification, bitul, it has in order to receive.  What occurs in the second half of the month, the Rebbe explains, is that the moon comes closer to the sun in order to achieve the union of the two of them in the following month.  While the light of the moon diminishes at this time, in truth light is only a glimmer of the essence.  And as the moon approaches the sun, its essence is coming closer to revelation.  When is the essence revealed?

When the mekabel is unified with the mashpia to such a degree that it also becomes a mashpia, and there ceases to be a relationship of giver/recipient between them, that both of them are equal — then the essence is revealed.

So it turns out that as great as the revelation of the full moon may be, it is only as regards the moon as a mekabel from the sun.  But the true shliemus of the moon begins its approach in the second half of the month — as it comes closer to the sun and is transforming into a mashpia itself.  For this reason, we continue to count up (16, 17, 18, etc.) even as the moon wanes and its illumination diminishes — because on a deeper level it is still climbing to higher levels.

It is for this reason that we find that the holidays of the Torah are on the 15th of the month when the moon is full (or, in the case of Shavuos — in the 1st half of the month, when the light of the moon is increasing).  But Yud Tes Kislev, the Matan Torah of Toras haChassidus, falls out on the 19th, in the second half of the month.  This is because the revelation of Chassidus is a beginning and a taste of the Torah of Moshiach (“Torah chadasha m’iti seitzeh“) which is connected with the revelation of the essence (which is what is taking place by the moon in the second half of the month).

This is also connected with the weekly parsha, where Yaakov has finished refining the sparks of holiness that were trapped in the realm of Lovon his father-in-law and is now going to greet Esav.  This parsha is speaking about the time, at the end of golus, when the avodah of birurim will be finished.  Yaakov is ready for the days of Moshiach,to unify with Esav (representing the unification of the neshoma and the body, and also the Holy One, blessed be He and Yisroel).

Thus the difference between Yaakov as he is involved in the service of refinement and Yaakov as he is prepared for the Redemption, parallels the difference between the moon as it receives light from the sun and as it will be in the Era of the Redemption, when it will be equal to the sun.

When Yaakov confronted Eisav, although Yaakov was prepared for the Redemption Eisav was not, and the task of refining Eisav and the material worlds associated with him had to continue for centuries. In the present age, however, to borrow an expression from the Previous Rebbe, “We have already polished the buttons.” The task of refinement which was entrusted to the Jews has been completed.

Thus we are now living in a new era with a new service. Instead of concentrating on the refinement of the world, our efforts must focus on revealing the Redemption. The Era of Redemption, which is described with the analogy of a feast, is a present reality, all that is necessary is for us to open our eyes and see.

So it turns out that this week’s parsha is speaking directly about our times — the end of golus when we have completed avodas habirurim (work of refinement) and are ready to be transformed from mekabel to mashpia by revealing the unity of the Holy One, blessed be He, and Yisroel.  Furthermore:

From this it is understood that the continuation of the avodah that follows (as long as Moshiach Tzidkeinu is delayed for whatever reason (completely unknown and not understood)) is not avodas habirurim (for avodas habirurim has already been completed and finished) but rather, it is a special avodah to bring the revelation in actuality in the world.

[For those who are familiar with the terminology of Chassidus (explained in Torah Ohr on our parsha), the Rebbe notes (footnote 89) that this present avodah is similar to what Yaakov attempted to do when he went to greet Esav — dividing his camp into two camps, sending abundant gifts to Esav, and bowing before him.  “He did not involve himself in avodas habirurim (to refine Esav), but rather he involved himself in ‘hala’as ma”n to elicit ma”d of Tohu’ via his offering” which he sent to Esav.  This itself is worthy of a separate essay.  But , simply put, he made an effort from below-to-Above in way that it will awaken from the supernal source of Esav an outpouring of the lights of Tohu, recalling the Rebbe’s words of Koach Nissan: that we must drawn down the lights of Tohu into vessels of Tikkun.  All of this requires further explanation.]

The Rebbe continues and connects this with the refinement of the nation of France, in loshon kodesh “Tzorfas” which has the numerical value of 770, that this represents the completion of the process of refining the world.

From this it is understood that literally in our times we need only to open the eyes and to see the reality b’poel mamash.”  (Footnote 112): That is to say, not only this that the avodah of refinement has been completed and that we need to bring about a revelation of this in the world, but rather more than this, that there is already revealed [such a revelation] in actuality, and we need only to open the eyes, because already you have been given…eyes to see.’

Yechi Adoneinu Moreinu v’Rabbeinu Melech Hamoshiach L’Olam Vo’ed!

 

Vayishlach 5752 in English

Vayishlach 5752 in Loshon Kodesh

Vayeitzei 5752: Asleep on the Site of the Beis Hamikdash?!

Yaakov Avinu, fleeing the wrath of his brother Esav, arrived in Beis El as the sun was set ting unexpectedly.  As a result of the sudden sunset, he went to sleep there for the night.  The next morning, when he woke up, he realized where he was — Har Hamoriah, the site where the Beis Hamikdash would later be built.  He declared his shock that he had slept in such a holy spot!

In the Dvar Malchus sicha of Vayeitzei, the Rebbe examines Yaakov’s laying down to sleep “‘in that place’ — the place of the Mikdash (מקום המקדש)…”  

This expression “the place of the mikdash” (“מקום המקדש”) should grab our attention — this is the same expression the Rebbe uses in Kuntres Beis Rabbeinu Sh’b’Bavel (which was published and distributed several weeks prior to this sicha).  In that Kuntres, the Rebbe states that 770 is the “place of the Mikdash” (מקום המקדש).  Does the Rebbe want us to realize that we, too, are “sleeping” in the “place of the Mikdash” (מקום המקדש) and don’t realize it?!

Apparently so.

However, the Rebbe explains in this sicha that the seemingly disgraceful “sleeping in the place of the Mikdash” can also be interpreted in a positive fashion: at the time that one lies down to sleep there is equality between the head and the feet.  The entire body is flat, on one level, no part is higher than any other (unlike when standing, when the head is highest, the feet are lowest, etc.).  Although this position is a tremendous descent from the perspective of revealing the ability of the respective parts of the body, since these abilities (thought, speech, sight, hearing, etc.) are not revealed when one is asleep.  But, at the very same time, there is something lofty about this state: it reflects on the revelation of Atzmus — the Essence and Being of Divinity — which transcends all differences such as head and foot, higher and lower, spiritual and physical.  As much as one can display his abilities while he is awake, this display also shows the distance between the various parts of the body.  When one is asleep, and the differences are not apparent, this represents the complete unification of lower and higher — Atzmus.

If so, then maybe we should keep sleeping and not wake up?  Why shatter this revelation of Atzmus that just learned is so essential and transcendent?  Because after sleeping, this level will be drawn also into the revelations of the various abilities mentioned above:

Even when Yaakov “awakens from his slumber” (a hint to the Rebbe’s expressions in the Dvar Malchus sicha of Toldos), and the head then returns to its lofty level compared to the lowly foot, nonetheless the “equality” generated by the revelation of Atzmus — the Essence — remains.  We create a dwelling place down below: a “dira b’tachtonim

This means that our sleeping on the site of the greatest Divine revelations, the place of the Mikdash (מקום המקדש), is not a disgrace, but is actually connected with the revelation of the Divine Essence and Being itself!  And the Rebbe’s call to “open our eyes” (via learning Chassidus and especially the subjects of Geulah and Moshiach) is not a call to do away with this dimension of sleep, but rather to draw down this dimension (revelation of the Essence) into the awake, physical world, a world which is ready to be a vessel to receive and internalize these revelations!

Vayetzei 5752: We Need Only to Open the Eyes

In this sicha, which was said on Shabbos Vayeitze, which corresponded in 5752 (and also this year, 5779) to the 9th of Kislev, the birthday and hillula (day of passing) of the Mitteler Rebbe, the 2nd Rebbe of Chabad.

The Alter Rebbe, his father, represented the attribute of Chochma (wisdom), and his son the Mitteler Rebbe represents the attribute of Bina (understanding).  Just as Bina expands and reveals the breadth and depth of Chochma, so, too, the teachings of the Mitteler Rebbe are “wide as a river”, allowing one to drink deeply from the wellsprings of pnimiyus haTorah.  This is significant to bringing the Geulah, because:

At this time there needs to be…the study of pnimiyus Hatorah as it has been revealed in the teachings of Chassidus, and the fulfillment of the instructions of our Rebbeim.  This includes — learning the subjects of Moshiach and Geulah, in a way that it opens the heart and the eyes and the ears — so that they will understand, and see and feel the true and complete Geulah tangibly in the physicality of the world.

Not merely learning as some sort of intellectual exercise, but rather “in a way of seeing, that this [the true and complete Geulah] is already prepared and ready, and one only needs to open the eyes and then he will see this!

Practically speaking, this means adding in the learning of the Torah of the Mitteler Rebbe, for his teachings are specifically in a way of Bina.  It is through learning in a way of Bina, understanding, where it becomes integrated with a person, that the studies have an effect on the person.  This means an effort to express his “spirituality” and his chassidishkeit in his physical matters, until there will be no divide between his “spiritual” aspect and his physical being.

Furthermore, this can impact the world dramatically, because:

We have completed all the birurim (refinement), including the refinement of “Esav he is Edom”, and how much more so considering that even in the time of Yaakov Avinu he already thought that Esav was refined (and from Yaakov’s level in fact he was).  And all the more so after all of the avodah that has taken place since then (to refine Esav) until we are at the point where Esav is already completely refined, as we see in the conduct in our days (golus Edom) of the nations of the world who are related to “Esav he is Edom”, such as this country, a country of kindness, and such conduct is spreading to other nations, as we see lately.

We find that Yidden are ready, the world is ready, even the nations of Esav are ready.  What remains, then, to be done?

The only thing lacking is — that a Jew should open his eyes properly, and should see how everything is ready for the Geulah!  There is the “set table” already, and there is already the Leviyoson and the Shor Habor and the aged wine, and Yidden are sitting at the table — “their father’s table”, together with Moshiach Tzidkeinu (as stated in seforim that in every generation there is one of the seed of Dovid who, due to his righteousness, is fitting to be Moshiach), and there is already a “heart to know and eyes to see and ears to hear”.

Let us open up the seforim and open up our eyes and ears and hearts to know the truth of the only one who is fitting to be the redeemer, and in that way we empower him (as the Rebbe said in the sicha of Chayei Sara) to redeem the Jewish nation from golus!

 

Yechi Adoneinu Moreinu v’Rabbeinu Melech Hamoshiach L’Olam Vo’ed!

Video Shiur: Toldos 5752

What Is The Relevance Of The Moon?

 

Chabadinfo.com Exclusive: In the last Sicha we heard from the Rebbe on Parshas Toldos, in the year 5752, the Rebbe discusses the idea of Rosh Chodesh, the new moon, and the connection to Jews and Moshiach ● Learn this week’s Sicha with ChabadInfo.com’s Weekly Shiur of the “Dvar Malchus” Sicha in English, presented by Rabbi Menachem Mendel Lipskier, Mashpia of Mesivta of Melbourne, Australia ● Watch Video