Shlach 5751: To Conquer and Settle the Land

In the sicha of Parshas Shlach the Rebbe contrasts the spies who were sent by Moshe Rabbeinu in the parsha, and the spies sent by Yehoshua in the haftorah.  By contrasting the differences, the Rebbe identifies for us two differing paths in our service of Hashem (and in “entering the land” — bringing the Geuloh) “which complement each other and complete each other for the sake of a singular goal, the conquest of and the entering into the land.”

The spies sent by Yehoshua were for the sake on conquering the land, whereas those sent by Moshe were supposed to aid and encourage entering the land (which includes settling the land after it is conquered).  Moshe’s spies were assigned the task of scouting out the goodness of the land, to give Bnei Yisroel a tangible idea of the special land that awaits them (by bringing back the enormous fruits of the land), and through this to arouse in the Yidden a desire and excitement to enter Eretz Yisroel.  As we know, the spies contradicted their mission and tried to scare Bnei Yisroel away from entering the land as a result of “mixing in” to Moshe Rabbeinu’s instructions.  But, explains the Rebbe, in truth they did accomplish their mission: when Bnei Yisroel entered the land after 40 years wandering in the desert (the consequence of the spies “mixing in”), they did so with excitement that came from what they learned from those same spies.  “If only they hadn’t caused damage by what they added to the shlichus (regarding [the doubting the success of] conquering the land)…then all of Bnei Yisroel would have entered the land of Israel immediately with joy and great desire.”

The Rebbe proceeds to identify the points of difference between the two groups of spies:

  • 12 spies (Moshe), 2 spies (Yehoshua);
  • Tribal leaders (Moshe), unidentified men (Yehoshua);
  • Sent “in your opinion” (Moshe), sent by command of Hashem (Yehoshua);
  • To “scout” the entire land (Moshe), to “spy out” Yericho only (Yehoshua);
  • Travel openly (Moshe), travel secretly (Yehoshua);
  • Identify the nature of the land and the people (Moshe), identify the morale of the population (Yehoshua).

Seemingly, these are completely different kinds of shlichus, deriving from the fact that under Moshe they would have entered the land miraculously, whereas in the times of Yehoshua they needed to conquer the land in a natural manner.  But, as mentioned above, the Rebbe says that they complement and even complete each other, and this is also true in our avoidas Hashem to “enter the land” (bring the Geuloh).  The spies of Moshe represent the inyan of “differentiation” (התחלקות), the unique and special qualities that different elements possess (to be explained momentarily).  The spies of Yehoshua represent the inyan of “unity” (אחדות), where all differences are subsumed and nullified in the common underlying unity.

These differing aspects and approaches manifest themselves in the following areas:

  • Torah is the aspect of unity, the wisdom of Hashem — just as He is One, so too His wisdom is One.  Mitzvos are the aspect of differentiation, each mitzvah involving different limbs, different objects, having different effects.
  • Within Torah itself there are these same two dimensions: Nigleh which is Torah as it differentiates to explain the various mitzvos, etc., and Pnimiyus Hatorah, which explains Elokus and reveals the unity of Hashem in all creation.
  • The Neshoma possesses unique and differentiated “soul powers” (כוחות הפרטים) (intellect, midos) which are applied in different situations, and also it possesses Bittul, which shows on the unity of all aspects of Divine service.

The Rebbe says that the avoidah of refining the world is primarily accomplished through the aspect of differentiation (where one can be better than another, etc.) because the aspect of unity is above the world (and, thus, cannot affect it so much).  Nonetheless, there is also a need for the dimension of unity which brings the avoidah of refining the world to its perfection — that G-dliness which is above the world is drawn down and revealed in the world to make true unity.

This is reflected in two groups of spies.  Moshe’s spies were sent “in accordance with your opinion” (Moshe Rabbeinu’s opinion), which itself reflects on the “differentiation” in Torah as it becomes enclothed in the person’s own intellect.  Yehoshua’s spies, however, were sent upon command of Hashem, the aspect of bittul and kabbolos ‘ol.  The 12 spies represent the different types of Divine service of the 12 tribes, each tribe being different in its strengths and weaknesses.  The 2 spies of Yehoshua show on bittul of all of the powers of the neshoma to the two primary directions of Divine service: positive mitzvos and negative mitzvos.

Each one of us needs to utilize both forms of “spying out the land” in order to properly conquer and settle it.  The actual conquering is best accomplished through the simplicity and bittul of Yehoshua’s spies.  But arousing a desire to enter the land, and to settle it properly demands the approach of Moshe’s spies who utilize their unique abilities and capabilities to accomplish their shlichus.

It is possible to say that when the two dimensions are combined, the bittul of Yehoshua’s spies will keep us away from the mistake of Moshe Rabbeinu’s spies (who “mixed in” and “added” something undesirable to their shlichus) — that even when we make use of our personal strengths and uniqueness we will remain true to the shlichus and succeed to both conquer the land and to settle the land (with joy and desire) and to bring the true and complete Geuloh!

Kuntres 15 Sivan: True Hiskashrus

The Rebbe brings in the name of the Rebbe Maharash a Midrash which states: “The Holy One said to man, ‘my candle is in your hand, and the candle is in my hand; My candle in your hand is Torah… Your candle in My hand is the soul… If you guarded My candle, I guard your candle; but if you extinguished My candle, I extinguish your candle.'”. Although it may sound like a case of reward and punishment, the maamor explains it in a much deeper way:

The soul is likened to a candle because of its inherent nature to desire to rise up and be nullified in its source. This is accomplished by Aharon, who has the job to light the menorah until “the flame ascends of its own accord.”. Thus, the verse says “like good oil on the head descends on the beard the beard of Aharon…”. The beard of Aharon is the inyan of the halachos of Torah. This explains our midrash: that guarding the candle of Torah guards the soul that is desire to ascend should be revealed. This is accomplished via Torah.

As Chassidim we can understand that it refers to our hiskashrus to the Rebbe: that by guarding (learning and fulfilling) the Rebbe’s Torah we insure that our desire to be mekushar to the Rebbe remains revealed and is not extinguished, chas v’sholom. (Especially applicable in the period of concealment since Gimmel Tammuz.)

The emphasis here is on “keeping” the Torah, meaning fulfilling the Mitzvos (of course Talmud Torah itself being one of the Mitzvos). Because through Mitzvos one achieves bittul, and only when there is bittul can there be the resting of the Shechina on the body (the analogy of a candle brought in Tanya). And the ultimate level of bittul is acheived through fulfilling Mitzvos. This is why Parshas B’ha’aloshcha (“lightning the candles”) follows the festival of Shavuos, because the level of bittul that became possible after Matan Torah is far greater than what was before.

Even though the natural love of the soul for Hashem — to always be connected and never be separated even to the point is self-sacrifice — existed before Matan Torah, this love is an inheritance from the Avos, who possessed a level of Bittul called מרכבה a chariot. The chariot (the horses who pull it) fulfill the will of the rider not because they want that they should have a connection to the rider (like the natural love of the soul, mentioned above), but rather because they are bottel  nullified to the rider.

This level of Bittul of a מרכבה chariot is included (hidden) in the natural love the soul possesses. It is a level of bittul where he does not want anything for himself, only that there should be a revelation of G-dliness in the world, fulfilling Hashem’s desire for a Dwelling Place down below.

But, explains the Rebbe, even this is not the ultimate state of bittul. Because as long as he wants something — even just to fulfill the Divine desire — he remains a metzius. The “true inyan of bittul” is the avoidah of Kabbolas ‘ol, that “he is like a slave who has no desires, all that he does is due to the yoke that was placed on him, which forces him to fulfill the will of the Master.”

This all has a direct relevance to Moshiach and Geulah, alluded to in the final sections of the maamor. When Yisroel said נעשה ונשמע “we will do and [only then] we will understand” — before Matan Torah — they were accepting the yoke of Kingship. By accepting the yoke of Kingship it had the effect of making the King into an actual King. (“There is no King without a people”.). But the bittul after Matan Torah is the ultimate bittul — because the mitzvos are now the decree of Hashem and they force the person to act accordingly.

The levels of Bittul explained here are:

  1. A natural desire to be attached and not be separated from G-dliness;
  2. The chariot which has no desire of it’s own, only the desire to fulfill the desire of the rider;
  3. The bittul of kabbolas ‘ol, like a slave, who has no desire of his own (but nonetheless there is still the metzius of the slave (or the people who have made the King into a King));
  4. The bittul of Mitzvos after Matan Torah — the ultimate state of bittul, when “it is impossible for there to be a metzius in the world that is in opposition the command of the Holy One.”

This seemingly would completely eliminate the metzius of the person. But, says the Rebbe, since “Yisroel and the Holy One, blessed be He, are all One” then this level of bittul does not nullify his metzius, but to the contrary this is his metzius. Thus the Midrash says that by keeping Torah and Mitzvos (the ultimate level of bittul) this guards and preserves our soul (our unique metzius).

It comes out that the Rebbe is revealing to us that although all that remains to be done is accepting the Kingship of Melech haMoshiach (as the Rebbe states in other Sichos) , this itself is not the ultimate level of bittul (the level which reveals how we are one with Hashem). Once the Kingship is accepted it must become clear that it is impossible for us to do anything opposite his will, because of our complete state of bittulBut, explains the Rebbe, this bittul is accompanied by a special joy — the simcha shel mitzvah!