Kuntres Rosh Chodesh Kislev, 5752: Great is the Effort From Below

Kuntres Rosh Chodesh Kislev, 5752: Great is the Effort From Below

This maamor was said on Shabbos, Erev Rosh Chodesh Kislev, 5745, beginning with the words of the haftorah (“Vayomar lo Yehonoson“) recited on every Shabbos Erev Rosh Chodesh.  The attentive student will recall that a maamor on the very same verse was distributed as Kuntres Erev Rosh Chodesh Iyar, 5751 (seven months earlier), but the content differs significantly.  To recall the verse: “tomorrow is Rosh Chodesh and you will be remembered (nifkadta) because you are missing from your place (ki yipaked moshavecha).”

Erev Rosh Chodesh, when the moon completely disappears from sight, represents the bittul of Yisroel.  Through this bittul they draw down a new revelation that was never in the world before, which manifests as the birth of the new moon on Rosh Chodesh, the level of “nifkadta“.  This “Ohr chodosh” is from a level that is completely above the world, drawn down through the avoidah of bittul, whereas avoidah connected with the existence of the individual  (קשורה עם המציאות שלו) only draws down Ohr on a level that has a connection with the world.

The Rebbe now describes 3 levels of “Awakening from Above” (isarusa della’eila):

  1. The level that is given from Above without any effort from below (because the effort from below (isarusa della’satta) cannot reach it);
  2. The level that comes from Above as a result of the isarusa della’satta;
  3. The level that is given as a gift, meaning that the effort from below can’t teach this level, but it is only given after the lower entities have perfected themselves (made themselves a vessel) and have drawn down the 2nd level.

Having explained the lofty levels that are drawn down from Above in these variety of ways, the Rebbe then states that the revelation of “nifkadta” (the new “Ohr chodosh” of Rosh Chodesh) is greater even than the level that comes from Above as gift.  This demands explanation, because the level that is given as a gift is so lofty that the effort from below can’t reach it, but the level of “nifkadta” (which is higher) can and is drawn down by the bittul of Yisroel?!

To understand this, the Rebbe explains how “nifkadta” is the bestowal (hashpoah) of Z”A* to Malchus, which are represented by Yehonoson and Dovid.  This hashpoah is the inyan of “machar Chodesh”, the new moon.  But since it states “tomorrow (machar) is the new moon”, it must be connected with the previous day, which is Erev Rosh Chodesh, the disappearance of the moon, “you are missing from your place” (yipaked moshavecho).  And based on the sequence of expressions in the posuk, the Rebbe derives that there is a hashpoah (Vayomer lo Yehonoson) which gives the ability for Erev Rosh Chodesh (yipaked moshavecho) which in turn is what generates “nifkadta“.

And further (based on the verse “Yitzchok the son of Avraham, Avraham gave birth to Yitzchok”): the awakening from below (Yitzchok) reaches higher than the place from which the awakening from Above (Avraham) comes from.  Nonetheless, there must first be a bestowal from Above which enables the awakening from below — because the lower entity (the tachton) is unable to elevate itself without this bestowal from Above, which reveals the the power of the tachton to reach even higher than the bestowal from Above.  This really consists of two aspects: giving the power for “yipaked moshavecho“, the bittul and elevation; and for the “nifkadta” (the new Ohr Chodosh) that will come from this.  Both the elevation of the tachton, and the hamshacha that it brings .

Astonishingly, the Rebbe proceeds to state that the elevation of the tachton (erev Rosh Chodesh, bittul) is actually greater than what it draws down (the Ohr Chodosh of Rosh Chodesh, “nifkadta“)! This will only be revealed l’asid lavo (and thus we will say about Yitzchok “you are our father” כי אתה אבינו since the greatest level is the awakening from below itself). This corresponds to Yehonoson and Dovid, Z”A and Malchus, that in the future Malchus will receive directly from Ohr Ein Sof (rather than via Z”A).  This is what is meant by the verse that states that in the ultimate future “the light of the moon will be like the light of the sun: that the moon will illuminate by itself, like the sun (not like the present, when it simply reflects the light it received from the sun).

This elevation of Malchus begins when she nullifies her existence and thus becomes a vessel for even greater elevations, until she becomes a crown אשת חיל עטרת בעלה.  Now, it seems that the bittul of Malchus (erev Rosh Chodesh, yipaked moshavecho) is in order to bring the revelation of the Ohr Chodosh of Rosh Chodesh (nifkadta), as implied in the beginning of the maamor.  But in the future the greatest quality of “yipaked moshavecho” will be that through it is drawn down the revelation of the root of Malchus itself.  All of this also applies on a higher level to Yisroel (Malchus, the moon) and the Holy One, blessed be He (Z”A, the sun):

The bittul of Yisroel brings about that HKBH remembers them, so to speak, and redeems them… And, like the moon which will not need to receive from the sun, through the bittul of Yisroel it becomes revealed that Yisroel and the Holy One are all one ישראל וקודשא בריך הוא כולא חד, and therefore they will not need, so to speak, to receive from the Holy One, blessed be He, for they are truly one.  And more than this, Yisroel are bestowing, so to speak, to the Holy One — the crown of her husband.

All of this comes to explain, in the language of Chassidus, that although we are presently laboring to bring about the revelation of Moshiach in the world (accompanied by the great revelations of the true and complete Geuloh), these revelations (Ohr Chodosh) are not going to be the real chiddush.  The real chiddush and the highest revelation will be the avoidah itself that we are performing now — persisting to labor from below with tremendous bittul for more than 25 years since we last experienced the revealed hashpoah from Above.

Through our efforts to reveal the Rebbe in the world, we are in fact “crowning” the Rebbe with ourselves, with our avoidah, revealing that we are one; and even more: bestowing hashpoah on the Rebbe via our efforts from below.  (See the maamor ואתה תצוה 5752, where the Rebbe explains how Yisroel bring Moshe to a higher level, and other places.)


* “Zeir Anpin”, which refers to the six sefiros from Chesed through Yesod

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!