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

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

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

This is especially emphasized in this year — the year 5751 (1991) which stands for “I will show wonders”– beginning with the wonders that we already saw in actuality, revealed in the eyes of the whole world, in this year [referring to the miracles of the Gulf War].  That through [these events] the words of the Yalkut Shimoni midrash were fulfilled: “In the year that Melech Hamoshiach is revealed all the kings of the world will quarrel, the king of Persia [Iran/Iraq], the king of Arabia, and the Holy One, blessed be He, says to the Jewish people, “my children, do not be afraid, all that I have done I only did for you…the time of your Redemption has arrived.”  Since that time, we are already standing at [the closing section of the Yalkut Shimoni midrash] “in the hour that Melech Hamoshiach comes, he announces to the Jewish people and says humble ones, the time of your redemption has arrived.”

Prior to and during the first Persian Gulf War, the Rebbe made frequent references to this Yalkut Shimoni midrash, but here, for the first time, the Rebbe says unequivocally that “it has been fulfilled”, specifically quoting the words “in the year Melech Hamoshiach is revealed”.  In other words: in 1991 Melech Hamoshiach was revealed.  But despite this, as the Rebbe points out in other sichos, the Jewish people are still fearful and require Moshiach to tell them not to be afraid and to inform them that the Geulah has arrived.  But the “breakthrough” has happened: the year Melech Hamoshiach is revealed.

To add further insight:

“The year in which Melech Hamoshiach is revealed…” (“שנה שמלך המשיח נגלה בו”). The word “year” in Hebrew is feminine, and grammatically we would expect this Midrash to read “נגלה בה“, meaning “in her [the year, feminine]”.  So we need to explain why it says “בו” instead of “בה”: “the year Melech Hamoshiach is revealed in him“[masculine].

Regarding this logical question, it will help to take a look at the Ohr Hachama, the commentary of R’ Avraham Azulai, z”l, on the Zohar:

[…]so to it will be with the Moshiach after he merits to that neshoma and recognizes himself that he is Moshiach, as it states [in the Zohar] Moshiach will be revealed but he still won’t be recognized by the rest of the people[…] (Shemos 7b, quoting R’ Chayim Vital, z”l)

This describes how the initial “revelation” of Moshiach is when the neshoma of Moshiach is revealed to the individual who has been chosen by Hashem to be Moshiach. At the time that this individual receives the neshoma of Moshiach it is a private revelation, “but the rest of humanity will not recognize him”; only later will he be revealed to the people as Moshiach—what we refer to as the “coming of Moshiach”.

We could say that the Yalkut Shimoni’s use of the word “בו” transforms the literal meaning to “the year that Melech Hamoshiach is revealed in him”, a hint to “the year that [the neshoma of] Melech Hamoshiach is revealed in him [the one who will be Moshiach].”  In 5751 there was a revelation of the “yechida of the yechida”  (the lofty soul of Moshiach) in Moshiach himself.  The delay is the recognition of this by the world.

The reason for this “delay” is found in the Ohr Hachama on Shemos 9a, where it state:

“Moshiach can’t redeem Israel from below…only from Above…there needs to be an awakening from below in order to awaken the rachamim from Above, even if the physical Moshiach wants to redeem [them], only according to what Yisroel arouses Above can the Moshiach act….”

This describes a situation where there already exists the individual to whom has been bestowed the lofty neshoma of Moshiach (“the physical Moshiach”).  He himself knows that he is Moshiach, but the revelation is not yet recognized by all of Israel.  We can see this in the language of the Yalkut Shimoni itself: the Midrash begins with “the year in which the King Moshiach is revealed”, and the Midrash concludes with “the hour in which the King Moshiach comes”.

The year in which Moshiach is revealed refers to the initial revelation, when there is still a need to explain the events of the world to the Jewish people, “don’t be afraid”, etc. The hour when Moshiach comes refers to that transcendent moment when the Jews themselves are able to actually see and recognize the light of Moshiach (as stated in the continuation of the Yalkut Shimoni, brought in different sichos).

In other words, two distinct stages: the revelation of Moshiach which precedes and is distinct from the coming of Moshiach.  The Rebbe is informing us that the first stage has been fulfilled, and we have transitioned to the second stage, which is dependent wholly on the efforts of Yisroel, as the Ohr Hachama writes: “only according to what Yisroel arouses Above can the Moshiach act….”

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

See 5751–The Year Moshiach Is Revealed for more insights into the relevance of this Yalkut Shimoni to the Gulf War and the present world situation.

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.

7) Kuntres Shavuos 5751: “Above” is Created From Below

7) Kuntres Shavuos 5751: “Above” is Created From Below

As explained in Chassidus, Sefiras Ha’Omer precedes Matan Torah because we must refine the 49 aspects of our Nefesh Behamis (animal soul) before we can receive the Torah. But the Torah itself was given to us to refine our animal soul (as Moshe argued to the Malochim who wanted Torah kept in the Heavens that Mitzvos like “Do Not Steal” only apply to one who has to combat an evil inclination). This raises the question: is refining the animal soul for the sake of receiving the Torah, or is receiving the Torah for the sake of refining the animal soul?!

To answer this, the Rebbe points out the language pertaining to Sefiras ha’Omer: to count seven complete weeks (שבע שבתות תמימות). The Midrash asks when are the weeks “complete” תמימות? “When Yisroel are doing the will of the Omnipresent.”  This “doing the will of…” is accomplished through the love of “all your might” בכל מאודך (as we say in Shema). When we achieve this level — which is beyond our limitations — Hashem responds to us in a similar fashion, “as water reflects a face” כמים הפנים לפנים.  Meaning that what one sees in another person is the reflection of how one looks at them. This also applies Above.

The concepts here are explained at length and in much greater depth in the maamor, but the general idea is a familiar one — that our service of Hashem is what generates the “face” that is shown to us from Above.

The process by which the “face” is generated is:

  1. Hashem desires that our actions can have an effect;
  2. We generate a desire from our side, reflected in our efforts (העלאת מ”ן);
  3. From this is generated the “hidden” sefiros (עשר ספירות הגנוזות);
  4. These hidden sefiros are the source of the “revealed” sefiros (עשר ספירות הגלויות) which filter down to create the reality in our world.

To explain it more deeply, the Rebbe offers three levels of concealment:

  • Something which exists but it’s hidden העלם שישנו במציאות;
  • Something which only exists in potential העלם שאינו במציאות; and
  • The third level which doesn’t exist at all, only that there is a possibility for it (less of an existence than even “potential”, as explained in the maamor).

There is a moshol for each of these levels:

  • the fire which is concealed in a coal;
  • the (potential for) fire concealed in a flint stone;
  • the third level is likened to a name: without a name there is not even the possibility of calling the person, when he has a name there is a possibility that one could call him.

Regarding names, the Rebbe explains that it also refers to titles, such as “wise” and “kind” (חכם, חסיד) — that when one calls a person “wise” one awakens and reveals the latent wisdom the person possesses.

(The Rebbe is here teaching is something critical to our times: that in order to reveal the latent power of Moshiach, we need to address him with that title!  Meaning that there is practical significance to referring to the Rebbe as Melech haMoshiach.)

There are two key points to understand here.  Continue reading

Siyum Rambam: Halachos of Torah sh’b’al Peh Will Never Be Nullified

Siyum Rambam: Halachos of Torah sh’b’al Peh Will Never Be Nullified

What follows was compiled and edited by the Rebbe, “in conjunction with the completion of the sefer of the Rambam”, from sichos spoken over the course of Rosh Hashono, Shabbos Chol Hamoed Sukkos, and Simchas Torah 5752.

In the Mishna Torah, the Rambam gives us an orderly presentation of the entire Torah sh’b’al Peh, a sefer of “halachos halachos”.  It possesses a special importance, comparable to the importance of the Torah sh’bichsav, which we learn out from the saying of our sages: “all the seforim of the Neviim and  Kesuvim will in the future be nullified to the Days of Moshiach,” which is not the case with halachos: “Halachos of the Torah sh’b’al Peh will never be nullified.”  (Which leads to the statement of the Rebbe [footnote 17 in the printed sicha] that the study of Rambam speeds up and accelerates [ממהרים ומזרזים] the time of Yemos Hamoshiach, at which time it will be revealed that the halachos are never nullified.)

The Rebbe then raises a question (based on something explained at length in Torah Chadasha, Shavuos 5751): there us a principle of Torah that the halacha goes according to Beis Hillel, but this is only in the time of golus; in the future, when the Beis Din Hagadol will return to Yerushalayim, the halacha will be like Beis Shammai (for Beis Shammai will be the majority in the future, and we rule according to the majority).  If so, we find that the present halachos (which are in accordance with Beis Hillel) will in fact be nullified in the future?!

More than this: it is known that according to several opinions “mitzvos will be nullified in the time to come” — at Techiyas Hameisim, which is in the second stage (2nd tekufah) of Yemos Hamoshiach.  This is learned out from a debate in the gemara about permitting burial shrouds to be woven out of “kilayim” (material made from a forbidden mixture of threads).  This is permitted, according to Rav Yosef, because “mitzvos will be nullified in the time to come”.  If so, then all of the halachos of the Torah sh’b’al Peh will be nullified in the future (in the second tekufah, Techiyas Hameisim) — if the mitzvos will be nullified, then it should follow that the halachos (the ruling of how to perform the mitzvos) will be nullified?

Mitzvos Will Be Nullified or Torah is Eternal?

To say that Mitzvos will be nullified is, apparently, a contradiction to the eternality of Torah.  And if one will say that Mitzvos are an inyan of “today to fulfill them” to be followed by “tomorrow to receive their reward” when they will be nullified — this is not a sufficient answer.  Why?  Because (as explained in Chassidus) Mitzvos represent Hashem’s ratzon, His Will, which is independent of any other purpose (such as refining the person or the world and bringing them to perfection).  Based on this, we have a strong question as to how Mitzvos, which “stand eternally”, could be said to be nullified in the time to come? Continue reading

6) Kuntres Lag B’Omer: Open My Eyes

This discourse starts with the words of Tehillim “Open my eyes and I shall gaze at [hidden] wonders from Your Torah” (“גל עיני ואביטה נפלאות מתורתך”).  This should immediately grab our attention, since the Rebbe called this year “I will show wonders” (“אראנו נפלאות”) and over the year would proceed to explain that all we need to do is “open our eyes”.  In this discourse the Rebbe explains to us what this means.

The verse mentioned above has a connection with Lag B’Omer (when the maamor was originally said, and when, 14 years later, it was published in 5751).  Because the word גל (“Gal” — Open [my eyes]”) contains the same letters as “Lag” B’Omer ל”ג בעומר.

Lag B’Omer is not only the day that Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai appeared (to fleshly eyes) to pass away, but it was the day of “the main revelation” of the inner dimension of Torah.  As brought in the Zohar that Rashbi revealed “holy words that he had not revealed over the course of his life (because the things he revealed [at the time of his passing] were the highest matters, that even Rashbi had been afraid to reveal then prior to this.)”.   Who fails to see the bold hint here —  that the Rebbe, in the year before our fleshly eyes perceived 27 Adar and Gimmel Tammuz, is revealing the us (in Dvar Malchus) things which had not been revealed previously.

The Rebbe proceeds to address a simple question: if the inner dimension of Torah is concealed from us, then the request should be “reveal to me” the hidden matters.  But the verse requests instead “open my eyes” — implying that the concealment is due to the eyes and not to the matters being hidden from sight.

The answer is that the Torah was given in order that we will become elevated, becoming vessels in which Elokus can be revealed. And specifically in those matters which apply “down below” (such as eating, drinking, business, etc.).  In terms of “Your Torah” (to quote the posuk) this means perceiving the hidden dimension of Torah within the revealed dimension; the deep intentions (כוונות) which are enclothed in the mitzvos. In fact, the main refinement and purification of the lower beings (the main intent of the giving of the Torah, as mentioned above) takes place via the intentions of the mitzvos.

All of this is related to Rashbi and Lag B’Omer, as the other verse that contains a hint to this day is “this witness-mound of stones” (עד הגל הזה) that Yaakov Avinu built as a mechitza for Lavan that neither of them would cross.  As the Rebbe explains here, this mound of stones was never meant to be permanent (as opposed to a wall, which has permanence).  Rather, this mound of stones (“Tzimtzum” and concealment) was only constructed in order that Yisroel will do the work to remove it, and to reveal the inner dimension of the Tzimtzum itself.  This recognition — that the Tzimtzum is really for the sake of revelation (we could say by way of a moshol: like the father who hides from his son on order that the son will search for and find him) — is the accomplishment of Rashbi, who refined this mechitza and brought about that the highest revelations could be perceived also in the lowest worlds.

This means that:

…the seeing of the wonders of Torah should be (not only because the wonders will be revealed, but rather)  because the Holy One, blessed be He, will open up the person’s eyes and the person will see the wonders of Torah in his own matters…that the Tzimtzum [the concealment which allows the dimension of “his own matters” to come into being] is really for the sake of revelation.”

In other words, the message of the year 5751, the year of “I will show wonders”, is that within matters that derive from the Tzimtzum itself, we should perceive the loftiest revelations of Elokus — in the  revealed world, in the revealed dimension of Torah.  And how can we possibly succeed to do that properly?  By diligently laboring to understand this dimension of Torah, and asking Hashem to please “Open my eyes…”!

Behar-Bechukosai: Dwelling Place — Below

Behar-Bechukosai: Dwelling Place — Below

Consistent with the theme that runs through almost all the Sichos of Dvar Malchus, the Rebbe address in this Sicha the split between Above and Below, “Oneness” and multiplicity. Paraphrasing the Mishna in Pirkei Avos: the dimension of “one utterance” and that of “ten utterances”.

The aspect of “one utterance” (through which the world could have been created) refers to the higher dimension, where the simple Oneness of G-dliness is the only reality, and any created entity is completely nullified to that Oneness, losing all individual importance.

The aspect of “ten utterances” (through which the world was created) refers to the lower reality where every entity has it’s own role and unique importance distinct from the greater unity and Oneness. This dimension of reality, however, can impose upon — and even conceal — the Oneness that underlies and permeates Creation.

In other words, “one utterance” brings a complete nullification of the world, whereas the “ten utterances” are what generate the reality of world (although in a way where the world is permeated with Holiness drawn down from Above).  The “problem” here is that each one cancels out the other, which is not the Divine intent.  Says the Rebbe:

..the true perfection is the combination of the two together — that also the level of G-dliness that is above the world (“one utterance”) is drawn down and revealed and permeates the multiplicity of the individual created begins (“ten utterances”).  Through this the intent of Creation is fulfilled, that the Holy One desired a dwelling place in the lower realms.

What is the true definition of the famous expression דירה בתחתונים (a “dwelling place in the lower realms”)?  It is the unification of the Upper and Lower dimensions.  Not in a way that the Higher dimension (עליונים) descends from it’s lofty level, for then it is no longer truly Higher; and not in a way where the Lower ascends from it’s own level, for then it is no longer truly Lower.  Rather: “The Upper as it is in its loftiness becomes united with the Lower as it is in its lowliness…”

In other words, Torah and G-dliness remain lofty (not sacrificing their inherent loftiness and Holiness in order to fit into the limitations of the earthly perspective); man remains earthly (physically eating, drinking, sleeping, etc.) — but these same “earthly” matters of the man down below become permeated with the loftiest dimensions of Above. When we achieve this, we have created a dwelling place (for Hashem’s essence, His “true self”, so to speak) in the lower realms (which remain earthly and lowly).

This is the purpose of the Giving of the Torah. But the Torah cannot only be “given” by Hashem, it must also be “received” by us.  In order to become a proper vessel to receive the Torah (especially that level of Torah which is above the world and man) a person must leave his reality through complete self-nullification (תכלית הביטול). This self-nullification will express itself through the impossibility of machloikes, since the reason for machloikes is one’s ישות lack of self-nullification. In this way one becomes fitting and prepared to receive the level of the Torah that is above any connection to the world, which is the level of Torah that will be revealed in the true and complete Geuloh.

That is the preparation to receive this level of the Torah; but to actually receive it means that through learning with understanding and comprehension it will permeate and become the person’s reality. And through this:

Immediately we will see that Moshiach is already found among us, and every single Jew will point with his finger and say “Behold, this one (is the Melech haMoshiach, and he already) came”.

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.

Emor: Understanding “Above Intellect”

The sages tell us that there is no joy like the joy of resolving a doubt (Zevachim 90a).  Simply put: we don’t enjoy the state of uncertainty, of not understanding.  There is one level of inability to understand that comes from us: we are capable of understanding the matter in question, but we haven’t yet implemented our intellect sufficiently and haven’t understood the matter properly.  By putting in the requisite effort, we will understand.

Additionally, there are things which we don’t understand because these things are simply not comprehensible.  This is called, in the language of Chassidus, “above the intellect”.  This is the level of Kesser, the crown which is above the brain (the place of the intellect) which is in the head.  This is also the level of “peleh” (פלא), which means “wonder” — something beyond understanding, which we can only gaze at with wonder.  Clearly, the level of Kesser, the crown, is connected with Moshiach (the King) and Geuloh (“I will show you wonders”).

In English, the word “wonder” carries a totally positive connotation, as in “wonderful”.  We find that the word “peleh” in loshon hakodesh relates to the fact that the matter is incomprehensible, regardless if we find it to be “wonderful” or not.  The dimension of “peleh” (the 3rd aspect of the letter “alef” which the Rebbe tells us we must insert into Gola to make Geuloh) refers to those things which are not understood, but in the Geuloh we will say about them “thank You Hashem because You were angry with me”.  How do reach the level where the “peleh“, which appeared to us as Hashem’s anger, is revealed as something that we are actually thankful for?!  Explains the Rebbe: this is accomplished through learning Chassidus, Pnimiyus Hatorah (the inner dimension of Torah):

It is not enough to reveal in “Gola” the aspect of “the Master of the World” [the recognition that all is from Hashem]…we need to also reveal the aspect of “learning” via learning Torah, and even further — the aspect of “peleh“, via learning Pnimiyus Hatorah (the wonders that are in Torah)…

Through revealing the “peleh” in Torah by learning the inner dimension of Torah, we reveal to ourselves that those experiences in our lives that were incomprehensibly difficult (to the point that a sensitive person would think that Hashem is angry with him) were (and are) actually the highest level of G-dly revelation.  Higher than the G-dliness revealed in Creation, higher even than the G-dliness revealed in (the revealed dimension of) Torah!

In other words: it is during these difficult challenges and sufferings, may Hashem protect us, that we draw down from the level of Kesser, higher even that the G-dliness that is in (the revealed dimension of) Torah.  What we have to do next is to reveal these lofty levels.  We accomplish this by learning Pnimiyus Hatorah, which explains why the coming of Moshiach is dependent on spreading the wellsprings of Chassidus.  (This also explains what the Rebbe says in several sichos (such as 28 Sivan): that the Geuloh is already here and our job now is simply to reveal it!)

The Rebbe explains in our sicha that not only is there no Geuloh without first descending into a Golus that contains painful experiences (“You were angry with me”), but that the Geuloh itself comes when we reveal that these experiences are in truth the loftiest revelations (beyond our capacity to grasp, and thus painful).  Our “thanks” goes on these incomprehensible “wonders” which (at the time of golus) were so painful:

Specifically via the descent into Golus in a way of “You were angry with me” comes the ascent of the Geuloh, until even its loftiest matters — the revelation of the aspect of alef which are the letters of “peleh“: that when we reveal in “Gola” the alef (of “peleh“)  — [meaning] the inner intent in [the golus] — then the “thank You Hashem” is revealed in the “You were angry with me”, the aspect of thanks (hoda’a) specifically on the thing which is a wonder, above intellect and wisdom (of the human).   

Additionally, the Rebbe in this sicha provides us the way to understand what was said in the dramatic sicha of 28 Nissan.   In that address, the Rebbe expressed wonder at the fact that the Jewish people are still in Golus, calling it “absolutely the most incomprehensible thing” (“הדבר הכי אינו מובן כלל וכלל“).  The Rebbe explains the matter as follows:

Similarly the verse “I will give thanks to Your Name because you performed wonder” (“אודה שמך כי עשית פלא”, Yeshayahu 25:1), which refers to the length of the Golus which is a matter of wonder (דבר פלא), “and it is not comprehensible to the intellect at all…” and this itself is drawn down afterwards in a revealed way… in intellect and wisdom.

The extraordinary length of this golus is a matter of wonder (דבר פלא), meaning something that cannot be understood by human intellect.  The paradoxical challenge is that this lengthy golus, a matter of wonder which is incomprehensible to human intellect, should in fact be understood by our same human intellect — to the point that we will appreciate why we had to go through it and we will actually thank Hashem for it!  How can something that is incomprehensible to human intellect be made understandable?!  This the Rebbe already answered: by learning Pnimiyus Hatorah.

After we read these words we can understand the challenge of the sicha of 28 Nissan in entirely different way (and also the challenges of Chof-Zayin Adar and Gimmel Tammuz): the fact that we cannot understand why we are still in Golus is not something frightening and worrisome, and to the contrary: only now that we find ourselves “inexplicably” in Golus (not for understandable reasons such as to pay off our sins, or to perform avoidas habirurim), only then can we properly bring the Geuloh — by learning Pnimiyus Hatorah to the extent that our human intellect can understand the true inner intent of Golus, of the suffering, and we will truly say “Thank You Hashem” for all of this*, and this itself will be the Geuloh that brings an end to all suffering!**

* The emotional sicha of Hoshanna Rabba 5744 (can be viewed here) is seemingly in contradiction to our sicha.  One possible answer is that reaching the understanding of the “peleh” that brings us to thank Hashem for Golus is itself the very moment of Geuloh.  Or, perhaps there is room to say that in our sicha the Rebbe is revealing a new avoidah that was not relevant in 5744 before avoidas habirurim was finished.  The matter demands further contemplation.

** We can note that the verse in question states that “I” will thank Hashem because He was angry “with me“, in the singular — that our task is to come to understand that these experiences which were painful for me were actually lofty things, etc.  But we are not tasked with understanding the reason for the pain of our fellow Jew.  True, he also needs to come to his own understanding and reach the point of “I will thank You, etc.”.  However, when we see the suffering of our fellow Jew our response should be to beseech Hashem, as Moshe Rabbeinu pleaded to Hashem on behalf of the Bnei Yisroel: “Why have You harmed this nation?!”

Emor 5751: You Can Now Be a Tzaddik

Emor 5751: You Can Now Be a Tzaddik

Briefly, we have a major novelty (chiddush) in this sicha, indicating that our reality is no longer limited in the way earlier generations were limited (we will see similar insights in parshas Vayigash, be”H).  Before we get to this, it is very noteworthy the Rebbe’s statement about the importance of looking at the face of the Rebbe as being included as part of learning Torah, which speeds the Geuloh:

[The Geulah and building of the 3rd Beis Hamikdash] will be hastened through the study of Torah, and of Chassidus in particular. This also includes looking into the face of your Rebbe, which helps one’s understanding, as the Gemara (Eruvin 13b) quotes R. Yehudah HaNasi as saying, “This that my sharpness exceeds that of my colleagues is because I saw R. Meir from the back; and if I would have seen him from the front, I would be even sharper.”

As regards the novelty (chiddush), all students of Tanya know two things: Firstly, every single Jew must endeavor to fulfill the oath that his soul swore before coming down to the world (“Be a Tzaddik”); and secondly, as stated in Tanya, that try as one might, one may never reach this level because it is not dependent on ones merits.  Some souls are born to struggle but not to achieve the goal of being a true Tzaddik (one who has overcome and transformed his evil inclination).  Here the Rebbe informs us that there is now nothing standing in our way of achieving the objective! You and I, every Jew, if we will truly make the effort we can succeed to be victorious over our evil inclinations:

All this will help further purify the world and reveal G‑dliness within it. It must be accompanied by the additional G‑dly service of each particular Jew, by keeping away from evil and, furthermore, doing the utmost to fulfill the oath administered to his soul before birth, “You shall be a Tzaddik.” One might object and point out that in Tanya itself it is written that not every individual can necessarily become a Tzaddik, and that one doesn’t have complete free choice in this area. However, since the Jew has the essence of G‑d within him, ultimately even this is within his reach. Furthermore, after all the purification, etc. of the Jewish people over the course of time, now every Jew is able to reach the level of Tzaddik — similar to the way things will be in the Messianic Age.

The excuse that being a Tzaddik is “beyond my reach” and “halevai beinoni” (“if only I could reach the intermediate level”) is no longer valid! Today we are truly in a period of “I tried and I found” (“yagaati u-matzosi“).

Full sicha in English
Full sicha in Laha”k