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

Kuntres Beis Iyar, 5751: Why Concealment

[The discourse presented here was edited by the Rebbe and printed for Beis Iyar 5751 (1991), and with retrospect we can see how it is meant to guide us and strengthen us through the present time (even more so than when it was published), as will be explained, בע”ה.

The haftorah that is read when Shabbos falls out in Erev Rosh Chodesh (the day before the new month when the moon is completely concealed) begins with the verse: “Yehonosan said to him: tomorrow is [Rosh] Chodesh and you will be remembered (נפקדת) because your place will be vacant (כי יפקד מושבך).”

The words of this verse demand explanation: why are words from the same root — נפקדת and כי יפקוד — used for completely opposite concepts? “You will be remembered” is seemingly quite the opposite from “your place will be vacant”, which implies that he will be missing?!  To explain this, the Rebbe mentions several concepts which we will touch upon here only superficially (but the wise will investigate and find deeper things…).

Firstly, the Rebbe explains that the entire “drama” in this haftorah involving Shaul Hamelech, his son Yehonosan, and Dovid Hamelech are, on a deeper level, referring to the unification of the 6 higher sefiros and the 7th (in the language of kabbalah Z”A and Malchus (ז”א ומלכות) which are likened to husband and wife) .  Thus the word נפקדת also means the union which can bring forth children, relating to the union of husband and wife.  This unification of the sefiros takes place through the intellectual attribute of Bina, which is from a higher level.  This can be read as a hint to what the Rebbe describes as the “direct way” to bring the Geuloh in actuality: by learning (the power of Bina) the subjects of Moshiach and Geuloh.

Further, the Rebbe explains how the name נתן (last three letters of Yehonosan) refer to Malchus on the level described as sea (ים, which conceals the sefiros), whereas Dovid is Malchus on the level described as dry land (ארץ, where things are revealed).  The verse “Yehonosan said to him [to Dovid]…” refers to transforming the sea to dry land (as occurred at the spitting of the sea).  Interesting to note that the gematria of the words in the verse of crossing the sea — ויבֹאו בני ישראל בתוך הים ביבשה — has the same value as the declaration יחי אדוננו מורנו ורבינו מלך המשיח לעולם ועד.  (Which was declared before the Rebbe for the first time on the Shabbos following the release of this maamor in 5751!)

All of the above is in connection with Erev Rosh Chodesh, when the moon is concealed. This reflects a state of complete self-nullification (bittul) which brings about the birth of the new moon on the following day: the unification of the sun and the moon (mashpia and mekabel).  How can the bittul of Erev Rosh Chodesh accomplish this amazing unification?  Because the bittul of the time when the moon is concealed draws down from the level of Kesser (כתר), the level which is entirely above the chain of worlds (סדר השתלשלות).

Look closely: a period of concealment which appears to be quite a negative phenomenon is actually a time when the highest levels are being drawn down!  This is in order to bring about the Divinely desired unification of mashpia and mekabel (Hashem and Yisroel, Rebbe and Chassidim) through the power of Bina (learning and understanding).  This learning and understanding brings about the internalization of the lofty levels that are drawn down at the time of concealment — an experience which is likened to the splitting of the sea, when the concealment itself is transformed to revelation (and the verse has the same gematria as the declaration of “Yechi Hamelech…”)  (Can we sense that the Rebbe is explaining for us what is happening b’pnimiyus as we live through the “Erev Rosh Chodesh” of the post Gimmel Tammuz era?)

Returning to the maamor, the verse starts with the words “And Yehonosan said” (the drawing down of the lofty lights of Atzilus) and them is followed by “tomorrow is [Rosh] Chodesh”, meaning Erev Rosh Chodesh when the moon is in a state of concealment. First the lofty lights are given, after that the concealment takes place.  (First the lofty lights of the Sichos of 5751-52, as a preparation for the concealment of 27 Adar and 3 Tammuz.)

In fact, the Rebbe explains that in the path from coming out of Mitzrayim (in Nissan) to Matan Torah (in Sivan) Erev Rosh Chodesh occurs twice, for the months of Iyar and Sivan. Erev Rosh Chodesh Sivan is a giving of power (נתינת כוח)  for the union (נפקדת) that occurs via the giving of the Torah. Erev Rosh Chodesh Iyar (when this discourse was originally said) is a נתינת כוח giving of power for ויפקד מושבך — the time of concealment, as described at length above.

Learning the discourse itself will surely help the reader to put all these concepts in their proper place, and understand how the Rebbe (in this discourse and in many of the Sichos of this period) is preparing us for the crucial avoidah that takes place in a situation of concealment — avoidah that brings about a revelation of the unification of the mashpia and the mekabel and an end to that very concealment itself!