Rebbi Akiva’s Opinion on Gimmel Tammuz

Rebbi Akiva’s Opinion on Gimmel Tammuz

Everything in the life of the Rebbe’s Chassidim is governed by the Rebbe’s teachings.  But when something occurs for which we don’t have explicit instructions — such as Gimmel Tammuz — we must look in the Rebbe’s Torah for guidance.

Many Chassidim will say that the Rebbe in fact does give explicit instructions for Gimmel Tammuz, for example in 5751 the Rebbe writes that Gimmel Tammuz represents “the beginning of the Geuloh”.  Nonetheless, not every chosid today is prepared to accept that what the Rebbe said regarding the “beginning of the Geuloh” of the Rebbe Rayatz can so easily be applied to  Gimmel Tammuz, 5754.  Even so, this split — how Chassidim respond to the situation after Gimmel Tammuz 5754 — is itself addressed by the Rebbe, as we hope to show.

In Likkutei Sichos volume 19 is printed a famous sicha explaining an aggadeta at the end of Mesechta Makos.  The aggadeta describes two incidents involving Rebbi Akiva while he was travelling with three other sages.  What concerns us here is the second incident:

Rabban Gamliel, Rebbi Elazar ben Azaryah, Rebbi Yehoshua, and Rebbi Akiva were going up to Yerushalayim (after the destruction of the Beis Hamikdash).  When they reached the point where they could see the Temple Mount they all (including Rebbi Akiva) tore their garments as a sign of mourning.  As they proceeded and approached the site of the Beis Hamikdash, they saw a fox run out of the Holy of Holies.  The three sages began crying, and Rebbi Akiva laughed.

“Why are you laughing?!” they asked him.

He responded: “Why are you crying?”

They answered: “The place about which the verse states ‘a non-Kohen who approaches will die’ and now foxes are are going there and we shouldn’t cry?!”

Rebbi Akiva responded: that is why I am laughing.  The verse states (Yeshayahu 8:2) “two faithful witnesses will give testimony: Uriah haKohen and Zecharia [the prophet].”  The prophecy of one is dependent on the other.  Uriah prophesied (about the destruction of the Beis Hamikdash) that  “Zion will be plowed like a field”.  Zecharia prophesied (about the Geuloh) that “elderly men and women will yet sit in the streets of Yerushalayim.”  “Now that I see that Uriah’s prophecy was fulfilled, I’m certain that Zecharia’s will be fulfilled.”

They said to him: “Akiva, you have comforted us.  Akiva, you have comforted us.”  Thus ends the aggadeta.

The Rebbe asks a number of questions, which are answered at length in the Sicha, but for our purposes we need to understand how the Rebbe explains Rebbi Akiva’s laughter upon seeing something as drastic as a fox running out of the Holy of Holies.   The Rebbe explains Rebbe Akiva’s view as follows:

Rebbi Akiva was able to see the good, even in something that appears as not good at all.  Since the good will come out in the end, his opinion was that the future good takes precedence over anything “not good” in the present.  Thus, if one knows (according to Torah, not merely a “hergesh”) that the destruction that you see will lead to Geuloh — this demands, according to Rebbi Akiva, that one relate to the future Geuloh and not the present destruction.  In the Rebbe’s words: Rebbi Akiva only saw the future good.

And more than that: in the verse the destruction itself is likened to a “plowed field”, which is actually part of the growth process.  It is not a negative step which one must suffer in order to get to better things down the road; rather — the plowing itself is part and parcel of the sowing and reaping.

In other words, not only the future good must take precedence over the unpleasant present, but the present itself is part of the future good!  And this is why the other sages were comforted by his words: because he showed them how the future good was actually already present in the “here and now” (despite how unpleasant the “here and now” might appear).

Let us translate this as it might apply to Gimmel Tammuz in our times:

All of our four sages agree that on the face of it Gimmel Tammuz is not a happy event.  The Rebbe is not seen, the Rebbe is not heard, we don’t see the Rebbe by farbrengens or dollars or kos shel brocha.  At the same time, it is appreciated by all that we are proceeding towards Moshiach, and whatever is lacking now is only temporary.  The future is good, but the present is “not-so-pleasant”.  Why do those who follow the approach of the 3 sages cry?  Because of what is lacking in the present, even if they know that the future will be good.  Along comes Rebbi Akiva and not only does he not cry — he laughs!  He makes a leibedik farbrengen on Gimmel Tammuz, without even mentioning the word “hillula“!

What is Rebbi Akiva’s “secret”?  He learned the sources and he understands — for example, that “Moshiach is revealed and concealed” — and thus he recognizes and even sees the future good that will come from this — and that is all he sees!  Not only that, but he understands that “this one is dependent on the other” — that the revelations of the true and complete Geuloh, the revelation of Hashem’s essence, atzmus umahus, are in fact dependent on us doing the work under our own power without relying on the Rebbe’s visible presence to inspire us.  This is the “plowing” that brings to the “sowing” and the “harvesting” — the future good is already here with us, hidden within the present that is “not-so-pleasant”.  From Rebbi Akiva we learn that this knowledge is enough to transform crying to laughter, even while the future good is still hidden.

One more point:

The Rebbe in the sicha asks: why do we need be told the names of all three sages?  After all, we don’t find in this aggadeta any difference of opinion among them, nor do we learn any chiddush from them.  If it would tell us “Rebbi Akiva and three of the sages” seemingly that would be enough.  The Rebbe answers that we to know their their identities because from this we learn that they were all men of distinguished lineage: Rabban Gamliel was the Nosi Hador, a scion of the tribe of Yehuda; Rebbi Elazar ben Azarya (himself a future Nosi) was a Kohen, the tenth generation from Ezra HaKohen; Rebbi Yehoshua was a Levi, of those who sang and made music in the Beis Hamikdosh.  Due to their outstanding yichus and important positions they were overwhelmed when they saw how low things had fallen after the churban.

Rebbi Akiva, however, was the son of converts, and he himself had been an ignoramus until the age of 40 when he first began learning the basics of Torah.  Rebbi Akiva’s very existence was proof of the tremendous good that can come from “the other side”, from that which appears outwardly to be not good.  Thus, Rebbi Akiva was naturally able to see with great clarity the future good —  regardless of how it seems at present.  Rebbi Akiva possessed what the other sages in our aggadeta lacked: despite their superlative backgrounds and positions, they could not see the future good hidden in the not-so-pleasant present. That is, until Rebbi Akiva explained it to them.

If we translate that to our present situation, we see that the Rebbe is apprising us of what to expect: those with the most illustrious “gezhayichus, those who held the most visibly important positions in the Rebbe’s staff (and those learning in the mosdos they run), may find it a difficult challenge to get past the present situation which appears to be the opposite of good.  To the contrary, the baal teshuvahs and their families, the “newcomers” may find it easier to grasp the Rebbe Akiva perspective: to see that the concealment since Gimmel Tammuz is actually — as the Rebbe states in the sicha — the beginning of the Geuloh.

If there are those who, after 28 years, still haven’t adopted Rebbi Akiva’s perspective, we are forced to say that those of us who do see Gimmel Tammuz as the beginning of the Geuloh must shoulder a lion’s share of the blame:  how many years of wasted efforts spent arguing with each other?  If we, the Rebbi Akivas, will properly explain the concepts as they are found in nigleh and Chassidus, then we are assured by this aggadeta that the others (at least those who are willing to discuss the matter) will come around to see the hidden, inner good just as Rebbi Akiva sees them.  Not only that, but they themselves will tell us “Nichamtanu! Nichamtanu!” — you have consoled us after nearly 30 years of crying!

This alone will surely speed the Geuloh, and bring about the ultimate hisgalus of the Rebbe, Melech HaMoshiach!


View the sicha in Likkutei Sichos volume 19 (in Yiddish) here.

Gimmel Tammuz: What is the Moment When the Sun Stands Still?

Would you like to know at what moment the sun stood still on Gimmel Tammuz, 5754?

In the sicha of parshas Korach, Gimmel Tammuz, 5751, the Rebbe explains at length the great miracle which occurred on Gimmel Tammuz in the days of Yehoshua bin Nun: the sun and the moon (and the entire cosmic system) stood still.  “Shemesh b’Givon dom“.

This miracle doesn’t seem to have such an obvious connection to the miraculous Geuloh of the Rebbe Rayatz in 5627 (the subject of the Rebbe’s farbrengen), but mashpiim find an obvious connection to the events of Gimmel Tammuz 5754: that just as it was by Yehoshua bin Nun, that he commanded the sun and the moon (and the entire cosmos) to stand still, causing time to “freeze” in order to enable the Yidden to win the war they were waging on their own effort, so too we are in a “frozen moment” where the Rebbe wants us to finish the war to end golus with our own effort.  But there is an even greater insight, as we hope to explain with Hashem’s help.

When Gimmel Tammuz comes around, half the farbrengens are on the theme of celebrating “as’chalta d’Geuloh” (the beginning of the Geuloh), and the other half are  on the theme of Hillula.  Come and hear an amazing reconciliation of this widespread confusion:

When Eliyahu HaNovi was preparing to ascend heavenward, he asked his disciple Elisha what he could do for him “before I will be taken from you.”  Elisha responds with a puzzling request: a double-portion of Eliyahu’s prophetic spirit should rest upon him.  Eliyahu replies that this is a difficult request — meaning it is impossible to give more than one has! (Rashi)  Nonetheless, Eliyahu adds that if he (Elisha) will see him being taken from him, then he can fulfill his request.

There are various answers given to the question: how could Eliyahu HaNovi give his disciple more than what he possesses.  The answer we will present here will open our eyes to something amazing:

In the maamor for L’ag B’Omer (summarized here), the Rebbe notes that the revelations of Pnimiyus Hatorah that Rashbi revealed on the day of his passing (histalkus) were much greater than what he had revealed over the course of his life up to that point.  The Rebbe offers an explanation for this (footnote 19): that generally the aspects of Nefesh-Ruach-Neshoma are enclothed in the body, whereas the aspects of Chaya and Yechida are above being enclothed in the body.  However, at the moment of histalkus there is a revelation of the aspects of Chaya and Yechida even while the neshoma is still enclothed in the body.   Thus, in the case of Rashbi, he was still alive in the simple sense of a neshoma in the body, yet he was experiencing a revelation of the higher levels of Chaya and Yechida, and therefore he revealed greater things than he had ever revealed previously when he the ChayaYechida were not revealed to him.  Obviously, this has relevance to Elisha’s request from Eliyahu.

This matter is explained similarly, with slightly more specifics in the sefer Likkutei Mohoron (ch. 66), based on the Zohar.  It is explained there that when the time of his histalkus arrives, the higher aspect (of Chaya-Yechida) descends to this world and unites with the lower aspect (Nefesh-Ruach-Neshoma).  Once the two aspects unite, the higher level has to leave this world (because its nature is that it cannot tolerate to be here), and it ascends together with the lower level, which has united with it, and this is the Tzaddik’s histalkus.

This means that the life of every Tzaddik goes through three distinct stages:

  1. his life in this world when only his lower aspect (Nefesh-Ruach-Neshoma) is accessible;
  2. his final moments when the higher aspect (Chaya-Yechida) is revealed in this world;
  3. his departure from this world, together with both dimensions of his neshoma.

In the story of Eliyahu and Elisha, it was these “final moments” which provided the opportunity for Elisha’s request to be fulfilled: Eliyahu was still physically alive in this world, but on a higher level — with the revelation of his Chaya-Yechida.  Prior to this moment, he could not give a double portion because he himself didn’t have it;  after this moment, he was already gone from the world and couldn’t give it over; but in exactly these final moments he had both aspects, and thus he could in fact fulfill Elisha’s request for a double portion.

These final moments paradoxically combine the elements of physical life with the lofty qualities the Tzaddik attains when he is nistalek.  At that moment he is both “chai v’kayam” and at the same time “more than he was in his lifetime” (יתיר מבחיוהי, in the loshon of Igeres Hakodesh).

Now imagine that at this very moment the sun and the moon stand still.  Time freezes and the Tzaddik’s ascent is also “frozen” at the moment of opportunity: he remains “chai v’kayam“, alive as a soul in a physical body in this world, and he also has received the lofty level of revelations that are reserved for a histalkus.  But here, instead of a fleeting moment of opportunity for his disciples and mekusharim to receive a double portion, this moment of opportunity doesn’t end…

We could say that this is a deeper dimension of the Rebbe’s lengthy explanation of the sun and moon standing still: that the time will come (3 years to the day after the Rebbe spoke the sicha) when the Rebbe will make use of this Gimmel Tammuz miracle of “Shemesh b’Givon dom” to create an unprecedented situation: the Rebbe will be holding by both realities!  He will continue to be chai v’kayam without histalkus (as the Rebbe tells us in the sicha of Bo 5752 that our generation will not experience histalkus), yet at the same time “more than he was in his lifetime” (יתיר מבחיוהי), which is a lofty state which is achieved at the time of — histalkus!

This explains (and even validates) the divergent perspectives: yes, the Rebbe remains chai v’kayam b’guf gashmi, and yes, he also possesses the qualities of “more than in his lifetime”.  Practically speaking, it gives each and every one of us the opportunity to receive from the Rebbe even greater koichos than were available all the years, because the Rebbe himself is holding by greater koichos.  And it also gives us the keilim to understand how half of Lubavitch looks at Gimmel Tammuz differently from the other half!*  These feel the Rebbe lives, those feel “more than in his lifetime”, and both share the limited perception that you can’t have the two together.  But, in fact, we can, and apparently we do!

May we utilize these great koichos to bring the Geuloh b’poel mamash and truly open our eyes to the reality of the Redemption.

 

Kuntres Lag B'Omer 5751

From Kuntres Lag B’Omer, 5751


*) This recalls the explanation, attributed to the Helige R’ Yisroel of Ruzhin, of the machloikes between the Alter Rebbe (who advocated spreading the wellsprings of Chassidus) and R’ Boruch of Mezibuz (who was opposed to spreading Chassidus broadly).  He said that when Moshiach told the Baal Shem Tov that he would come when “your wellsprings will spread out”, the Baal Shem Tov’s eyes welled up with tears.  R’ Baruch, a grandson of the Baal Shem Tov, felt the pain of his grandfather’s tears that his wellsprings would have to descend to “chutza”, and therefore opposed something which caused his grandfather pain.  The Alter Rebbe, though, was a spiritual grandson of the Baal Shem Tov, and he felt the pain of the Baal Shem Tov that derived from the long time it would take to spread out the wellsprings before Moshiach would come, therefore he worked to speed it up.  We could say that the Rebbe has Chassidim that are more attuned to the reality of “chai v’kayam“, and Chassidim that are more attuned to the reality of “more than in his lifetime”, and all that is lacking for unity is to expand the vessels of understanding.

The text of the above-mentioned section of Likkutey Mohoran in Hebrew and English here.

Korach (3 Tammuz) 5751: The Sun Stood Still For a Reason

Korach (3 Tammuz) 5751: The Sun Stood Still For a Reason

The Miracle of the Sun standing still was only in order to allow Israel to defeat the enemy by their own power in a natural way.

Gimmel Tammuz is the day that the Previous Lubavitcher Rebbe was released from Soviet prison in 5687 (1927).

Prior to that, we find that it was on this day that Yehoshua bin Nun performed a tremendous miracle, causing the sun to stand still.  The story behind the miracle is that Israel were doing battle with the enemy.  Sunset was approaching, and with the setting of the sun the battle would cease and the enemy would be able to escape.  In order to enable Israel to defeat the enemy, Yehoshua instructed the sun to “be silent”, causing it to cease it’s flight in the heavens, preserving the daylight so that the battle could be won.

The Rebbe asks an obvious question: if one has the power to cause the sun (and the entire heavenly system with it) to pause, why not simply bring about the defeat of the enemy in a direct fashion?  The preceding verses in Sefer Yehoshua tell us that more of the enemy were killed by stones which fell upon them from heaven than were killed by the sword.  Is it not a simpler matter to rain down some more stones than to freeze the entire heavenly system?

The answer the Rebbe gives is that the battle is Israel’s battle, it must be won by them under their own power.  Of course Hashem is helping with miraculous assistance from above, but this is only assistance.  The war must be fought and pursued by Israel in a natural fashion, even if on top of that there is super-natural assistance.  Thus, instead of Yehoshua simply bringing about the defeat of the enemy and Israel stand by passively, he used his power to give Israel more time to overcome the enemy in a natural way.

In our day, Gimmel Tammuz is primarily associated with the transition from the years when we saw the Rebbe to the current situation where the Rebbe is not seen except in videos and dreams.  Moshe Rabbeinu is likened to the sun, and the Rebbe, Moshe Rabbeinu in our generation, is still providing all the assistance necessary to win the war against evil.  But the war must be won by us, under our own power.  While the Rebbe was visible to all, it was possible to “rely on the Rebbe” to win the war.  Today, when it seems that the sun, Moshe Rabbeinu, has “stopped moving” it is only in order to allow us to overcome the enemy using natural means.

For a more detailed explanation, with comprehensive references from Chassidus, see the Kuntres Inyonei Moshiach and Geulah for Gimmel Tammuz.

4) 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!

Mishpotim: The Roadmap from 27 Adar and 3 Tammuz to Geuloh

Mishpotim: The Roadmap from 27 Adar and 3 Tammuz to Geuloh

Towards the end of the sicha of parshas Mishpotim, the Rebbe elucidates on the meaning of the monthly dates of 25, 26, 27, 28, and erev Rosh Chodesh.  We can see how the Rebbe is in fact laying out a roadmap for the avoidah of Chassidim after 27 Adar (the medical event that occurred to the Rebbe one month after this sicha, which affected the Rebbe’s speech, etc.): 

  • 25th (כה) and 26th (כו) refer to Birkas Cohanim, giving Divine blessing (ונתינת כח) to the Yidden in the time of golus and also in the Beis Hamikdosh, when Hashem (gematria 26) is “before them” (hinting at having Hashem’s shliach, Nosi Doreinu, in front of us at the time the Sicha was said);
  • 27th (ז”ך) is associated with the verse “shemen zayis zach (ז”ך)”, which serves as the basis of the maamor the “V’Atah Tetzaveh”, which would be distributed by the Rebbe for Purim Koton.  This can be read as a hint at the avoidah in that maamor (being crushed from being in Golus, even when there is spiritual and material abundance) — the “crushing” that would begin on the 27th of the following month of Adar;
  • 28th (כח) is not only “adding strength”, but is also the gematria of “Yechi”, the declaration of Chassidim which took root after 27 Adar (with the repeated encouragement of the Rebbe);
  • 29th is erev Rosh Chodesh, the time of concealment (hinting at Gimmel Tammuz and thereafter) which precedes Rosh Chodesh (which refers to Geuloh).  In the  maamor of Beis Iyar the Rebbe explains how the concealment of the moon is actually the preparation for the unification of the Mashpia and the Mekabel on Rosh Chodesh, and in the maamor of Rosh Chodesh Kislev the Rebbe addresses the great level of the avoidah of the tachton at the time of concealment.

A roadmap of the avoidah from before and after 27 Adar, through Gimmel Tammuz, up to today: the giving of the power to succeed (25th, 26th);   the “crushing” that brings out the essence (27th); the declaration of Yechi (28th); until the complete concealment of erev Rosh Chodesh that brings about the highest avoidah and leads to the true redemption.

Although the trip has been longer than anyone expected, we have received clear directions, and know that the road leads to the true and complete Geuloh, so “step on it”!

Korach (3 Tammuz) 5751: The Sun Stood Still For a Reason

The Miracle of the Sun standing still was only in order to allow Israel to defeat the enemy by their own power in a natural way.

Gimmel Tammuz is the day that the Previous Lubavitcher Rebbe was released from Soviet prison in 5687 (1927).

Prior to that, we find that it was on this day that Yehoshua bin Nun performed a tremendous miracle, causing the sun to stand still.  The story behind the miracle is that Israel were doing battle with the enemy.  Sunset was approaching, and with the setting of the sun the battle would cease and the enemy would be able to escape.  In order to enable Israel to defeat the enemy, Yehoshua instructed the sun to “be silent”, causing it to cease it’s flight in the heavens, preserving the daylight so that the battle could be won.

The Rebbe asks an obvious question: if one has the power to cause the sun (and the entire heavenly system with it) to pause, why not simply bring about the defeat of the enemy in a direct fashion?  The preceding verses in Sefer Yehoshua tell us that more of the enemy were killed by stones which fell upon them from heaven than were killed by the sword.  Is it not a simpler matter to rain down some more stones than to freeze the entire heavenly system?

The answer the Rebbe gives is that the battle is Israel’s battle, it must be won by them under their own power.  Of course Hashem is helping with miraculous assistance from above, but this is only assistance.  The war must be fought and pursued by Israel in a natural fashion, even if on top of that there is super-natural assistance.  Thus, instead of Yehoshua simply bringing about the defeat of the enemy and Israel stand by passively, he used his power to give Israel more time to overcome the enemy in a natural way.

In our day, Gimmel Tammuz is primarily associated with the transition from the years when we saw the Rebbe to the current situation where the Rebbe is not seen except in videos and dreams.  Moshe Rabbeinu is likened to the sun, and the Rebbe, Moshe Rabbeinu in our generation, is still providing all the assistance necessary to win the war against evil.  But the war must be won by us, under our own power.  While the Rebbe was visible to all, it was possible to “rely on the Rebbe” to win the war.  Today, when it seems that the sun, Moshe Rabbeinu, has “stopped moving” it is only in order to allow us to overcome the enemy using natural means.

For a more detailed explanation, with comprehensive references from Chassidus, see the Kuntres Inyonei Moshiach and Geulah for Gimmel Tammuz.

4) 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!

Mishpotim: The Roadmap from 27 Adar and 3 Tammuz to Geuloh

Towards the end of the sicha of parshas Mishpotim, the Rebbe elucidates on the meaning of the monthly dates of 25, 26, 27, 28, and erev Rosh Chodesh.  We can see how the Rebbe is in fact laying out a roadmap for the avoidah of Chassidim after 27 Adar (the medical event that occurred to the Rebbe one month after this sicha, which affected the Rebbe’s speech, etc.): 

  • 25th (כה) and 26th (כו) refer to Birkas Cohanim, giving Divine blessing (ונתינת כח) to the Yidden in the time of golus and also in the Beis Hamikdosh, when Hashem (gematria 26) is “before them” (hinting at having Hashem’s shliach, Nosi Doreinu, in front of us at the time the Sicha was said);
  • 27th (ז”ך) is associated with the verse “shemen zayis zach (ז”ך)”, which serves as the basis of the maamor the “V’Atah Tetzaveh”, which would be distributed by the Rebbe for Purim Koton.  This can be read as a hint at the avoidah in that maamor (being crushed from being in Golus, even when there is spiritual and material abundance) — the “crushing” that would begin on the 27th of the following month of Adar;
  • 28th (כח) is not only “adding strength”, but is also the gematria of “Yechi”, the declaration of Chassidim which took root after 27 Adar (with the repeated encouragement of the Rebbe);
  • 29th is erev Rosh Chodesh, the time of concealment (hinting at Gimmel Tammuz and thereafter) which precedes Rosh Chodesh (which refers to Geuloh).  In the  maamor of Beis Iyar the Rebbe explains how the concealment of the moon is actually the preparation for the unification of the Mashpia and the Mekabel on Rosh Chodesh, and in the maamor of Rosh Chodesh Kislev the Rebbe addresses the great level of the avoidah of the tachton at the time of concealment.

A roadmap of the avoidah from before and after 27 Adar, through Gimmel Tammuz, up to today: the giving of the power to succeed (25th, 26th);   the “crushing” that brings out the essence (27th); the declaration of Yechi (28th); until the complete concealment of erev Rosh Chodesh that brings about the highest avoidah and leads to the true redemption.

Although the trip has been longer than anyone expected, we have received clear directions, and know that the road leads to the true and complete Geuloh, so “step on it”!