Thoughts on the 22 Shevat Sicha

In the Sicha of 22 Shevat (which we summarize in the article 22 Shevat: The Ultimate Unification) the Rebbe explains the 3 stages that correspond to the dates 10, 11 and 22 Shevat.  Briefly, they are the stages of:

a) Preparing the recipient (“10”) to receive the great revelation;

b) The initial revelation of “11” itself.  It is in a way where the recipient is elevated up to the level of “11” (rather than integrating it into is own reality). It remains separate from the “11”, but also loses its importance as it is subsumed into the matters of the “11”; and,

c) The ultimate unity, when the “11” is fully revealed in the reality of and in the inyonim of the “10”; they become as one, yet the “10” is neither nullified out of existence nor does it lose its importance.

One can learn these deep concepts and be left wondering what they mean practically.  We will attempt to bring these ideas down, and illustrate what they mean (בדרך אפשר) in the relationship of Chassidim to the Rebbe.

3 Stages in the Avoidah of Chassidim

  1. Until Yud Shevat the Chassidim had the avoidah to work on themselves, seichel and Midos, to prepare themselves for the Geuloh (עמדו הכן כולכם).  This was the avoidah of the 6th generation, where the difference in the roles of the Chassidim and the Rebbe was emphasized. This avoidah, the preparation of the recipient (“10”),  was was completed upon the histalkus of the Previous Rebbe on Yud Shevat.
  2. Beginning with 11 Shevat, the Nesius of the Rebbe מה”מ, the avoidah of the 7th generation begins: the emphasis is not on one’s avoidah with himself, but on one’s task to influence the world around.  This is most pronounced in the inyan of Shlichus, where the Shliach puts aside the shleimos of his personal avoidah in order to become an emissary and representative of the Rebbe מה”מ.  This matches what the Rebbe says about the “10” being subsumed into the “11”: the Shliach’s personal life and interests are subsumed into the Rebbe’s concerns. The Shliach and the one who sent him now share a common avoidah, moreso than in the previous generation, but it is really the avoidah of the Rebbe into which the Shliach is subsumed and thus they remain 2 separate entities;
  3. After 22 Shevat the emphasis on Moshiach shifts into high gear, ascending from year to year, with an increasing emphasis on the avoidah being “from their own effort” (בכֹח עצמם), and amazing explanations of the revelation of Atzmus and the unification of the mashpia and the mekabel.  Of course, all this takes on a new dimension after Gimmel Tammuz, when Chassidim are “forced” to proceed without “giluyim” and the Rebbe’s inyonim are now their own inyonim.  The border between Rebbe and Chosid becomes increasingly obscured as the Rebbe becomes more and more revealed in the actions of the Chosid, yet the reality of the Chosid is not nullified.

These thoughts are for your consideration, your own comments are welcome!

22 Shevat: The Ultimate Unification

In the sicha related to the 4th yahrtzeit of the Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka (22 Shevat, 5752), the Rebbe reveals amazing things about this event, the date it took place, and what these mean for us.

The date of the Rebbetzin’s passing is found in the same month two other epochal events: Yud Shevat, the Hilulla of the Previous Rebbe, and Yud-Alef Shevat, the day when the Rebbe MHM officially accepted leadership and inaugurated the 7th generation — Dor Hashvii.  The Rebbe explains the deeper significance of these events on these dates, and how they relate to the Geuloh.

First of all, while we generally view the Rebbetzin as the Rebbe’s wife, the Rebbe in this sicha identifies her primarily as the daughter of the Previous Rebbe.  Her passing comes as a continuation of, and an addition to, the great elevation that occurred on her father’s Hilulla, Yud Shevat.

To give us insight as to what is going on “behind the curtains”, the Rebbe explains that there are two dimensions of a “dwelling place in the lower realms” (דירה בתחתונים):

a) a revelation of Hashem’s essence (עצמותו יתברך), and

b) this revelation drawn down below.

More specifically:

1) A dwelling place for Him (but not Him Himself, so to speak);

2) the revelation of His Essence itself (עצמותו יתברך).

These correspond to what was explained in the sicha of Parshas Yisro, describing the first and last Aseres haDibros (first from Hashem, later via Moshe), which are reflected in the numbers 10 (the world) and 11 (transcending world).

As explained there, the Aseres haDibros were given twice in order that they could be internalized by Bnei Yisroel without the recipients being overwhelmed by the great revelation from Above.  In the Rebbe’s words:

The ultimate [Divine] intent is that Bnei Yisroel, by their own effort and with their own power (עבודתם בכח עצמם)…will draw down the revelation of 11 by making the 10 (tachton) a fitting vessel for receiving this revelation of 11…

This is the basis to explain the significance of the 3 periods which the Rebbe identifies in the sicha: the 10th, 11th, and 22nd of Shevat.

  1. The 10th day of the 11th month (Shevat), meaning the “chiddush” (from “chodesh”, month) of 11 being drawn down and revealed in the world (10).  The avoidah until Yud Shevat was focused on preparing the world (10) to be fitting to receive the revelation of 11 (transcending world) without being nullified out of existence.  The emphasis is on the 10, the receiver, and there is an emphasis on the difference between the level of 10 and the level of 11.
  2. The 11th day of the 11th month, which implies a revelation of the 11 itself, which in turn elevates the 10, but in a way where the 10 loses its importance in the place of the 11.
  3. The ultimate goal, the perfect unity and connection — when the “dwelling place” is united with “the One Who dwells” (Hashem’s Essence), referred to in Chassidus as “the created sense of reality is one thing with the true reality” (היש הנברא הוא דבר אחד עם היש האמיתי).  The Yidden (the “dwelling place”) fully unified with Hashem’s Essence.

Interestingly, the Rebbe then repeats this explanation in a slightly different way:

  1. 10th — Finishing the last remnants of golus, drawing down 11 into 10 but where they remain two separate things (from the view of the tachton), the 11 not being completely invested into the world;
  2. 11th — the elevation of the tachton to the level of the 11, the revelation (only) of the aspect of 11 that is shayach to 10;
  3. 22nd — the perfect shleimus of 10 and 11 (reflected in the number 22, which is two times 11).  This is the unification of both the level of 11 which is shayach to the world, and a second time via the effort of Bnei Yisroel (on their own) to draw it down — which is a higher level, even higher than the Aseres haDibros.  Meaning that through the 22 letters of the Torah that a Yid studies, he becomes unified with Hashem’s Essence.

“After 22 Shevat it brought about (פעל) the last stage in preparing the world for Geuloh”.  This last stage is our Avoidah now.  The task is not to prepare the tachton (ourselves and the world), since this has already been completed.  Nor is it to elevate the tachton (while it remains separate and subsumed in the revelation of 11), since this has also been done.  Rather, the Avoidah now depends on the effort of the Yidden themselves: that by our own effort we bring about the unification of these levels, to where the mekabel becomes unified with the mashpia (see Parshas Vayishlach).  (Which is emphasized in this sicha as pertaining to Torah study.)

The last stage has already begun, it only depends on our effort!


(For some insights on how to understand the stages that the Rebbe describes here, visit this post: Thoughts on the 22 Shevat Sicha)