Sicha, B’haaloscha, 5751

1. Parshas Behaaloscha contains an aspect that does not exist in regard to all the other parshiyos of the Torah. The two verses beginning “And it came to pass when the ark would set out…” are set aside by upside down nunnim. Our Sages explain that these verses can be considered as a separate book of the Torah. According to this reckoning, there are seven books of the Torah, i.e., the Book of Bamidbar which is divided into three books, and the other four books. Thus, this week’s Torah portion includes portions of three of the Torah’s seven books.

Several difficulties are raised by this matter: a) According to this division, the sixth book of the Torah begins, “And it came to pass that the people complained.” This unfavorable occurrence is hardly an appropriate beginning for one of the books of the Torah.1 b) Similarly, we do not find a name for this sixth book in the works of our Sages. c) There are extensive explanations regarding the significance of the division of the Torah into five books. What is the significance of the seven books? d) What is the reason that this division is made in Parshas Behaaloscha?

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Sicha, Tuesday of B’haaloscha (15 Sivan), 5751

1. Today is the third day of the week Parshas Behaaloscha, and is thus connected with the two verses beginning, “Whenever the ark set out..” According to several commentaries, these two verses are considered as a separate book of the Torah. Thus, the Book of Bamidbar is divided into three books, and the entire Torah into seven.

The number seven also features in the beginning of this week’s Torah portion which mentions the seven branches of the Menorah. Although the Menorah had many different component parts, it was fashioned from a single block of metal.

The Menorah can be interpreted as a symbol for the Torah. Thus, its oneness can be interpreted as an allusion to the unity which pervades the Torah as a whole; the entire Torah, from the Ten Commandments to a seemingly inconsequential point as “Lotan’s sister was Timna,” possesses one unique level of holiness.

Three dollars will be given to each person to distribute to tzedakah. May this draw down the three-fold [priestly] blessing mentioned in last week’s Torah reading. This relates to Parshas Behaaloscha for it is the third parshah in the Book of Bamidbar. May this lead to the lifting up of the heads (Naso) of the Jewish people, until the flame of each Jew’s soul rises up on its own accord (see Rashi at the beginning of Parshas Behaaloscha).

And may attaining these qualities lead to the true and complete redemption, led by Mashiach.

Tranlsation: Sichos In English

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 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 works that is opposite 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 bittul.  (But this bittul, explains the Rebbe, is accompanied by joy — the simcha shel mitzvah.)

Sicha, B’haaloscha, 5751

1. Parshas Behaaloscha contains an aspect that does not exist in regard to all the other parshiyos of the Torah. The two verses beginning “And it came to pass when the ark would set out…” are set aside by upside down nunnim. Our Sages explain that these verses can be considered as a separate book of the Torah. According to this reckoning, there are seven books of the Torah, i.e., the Book of Bamidbar which is divided into three books, and the other four books. Thus, this week’s Torah portion includes portions of three of the Torah’s seven books.

Several difficulties are raised by this matter: a) According to this division, the sixth book of the Torah begins, “And it came to pass that the people complained.” This unfavorable occurrence is hardly an appropriate beginning for one of the books of the Torah.1 b) Similarly, we do not find a name for this sixth book in the works of our Sages. c) There are extensive explanations regarding the significance of the division of the Torah into five books. What is the significance of the seven books? d) What is the reason that this division is made in Parshas Behaaloscha?

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Yechidus, Eve of the Tenth of Sivan, 5751 (1991)

1. We will open with the traditional blessing offered by Jews when they meet each other, Shalom Aleichem. Even when a person meets children who are not necessarily able to respond Aleichem Shalom, one should train them to greet each other in a manner of peace. Indeed, in the case of children, the concept of peace is more prominent. They are less involved in worldly matters than adults. Since the world is characterized by difference and separation, children’s personalities are less tainted by these traits.1

There is an intrinsic connection between unity and peace and the giving of the Torah. Before the giving of the Torah, “Yisrael2 camped before the mountain.” Although there were a multitude of people present — 600,000 men and many women and children — the Torah uses the singular form of the verb “camped” to teach us that they camped “as one man, with one heart.”3

The Torah mentions that this encampment took place “in the third month.” There is an intrinsic connection between three and the giving of the Torah as our Sages relate “[G‑d gave] a threefold light to a threefold people,” associating the giving of the Torah with the concept of chazakah, a sequence of three reflecting strength and continuity.

The above concepts are enhanced by the present date, the tenth of Sivan. “The tenth will be holy.” Surely, this applies to the tenth of “the third month.”4 Ten is also intrinsically connected to the giving of the Torah as reflected in the Ten Commandments5 which were given to the Jewish people who are divided into ten different categories.6 Continue reading