Vayikra 5751: Miraculous Conduct

The sicha of Parshas Vayikra is the first sicha of the Dvar Malchus cycle (the sichos from Vayikra 5751 until Vayakhel 5752).  The focus of this sicha is a recurring theme in all the sichos from these 12 months: drawing the miraculous (which transcends nature) into the natural order of things.

The demonstration of this in our sicha is the special occurrence that occurs once in a few years: Rosh Chodesh Nissan comes out on Shabbos.  In such a year, three Sefer Torahs are removed from the Aron Kodesh to be read: the regular Sefer for the parsha, a second sefer for Rosh Chodesh, and a third sefer for the annual reading of  “Parshas Parah” prior to Pesach. The only other times 3 sefer Torahs are taken out are Simchas Torah (every year) and Shabbos Chanukah on Rosh Chodesh (not the case every year).

The 3 sefer Torahs of Simchas Torah are described by the Rebbe as “t’midin“, a regular offering in the consistent, fixed order of things.  The 3 sefer Torahs of Shabbos Rosh Chodesh Nissan in such a year as 5751, an infrequent occurrence, is in the category of “musafin“, something “additional” to the usual order of things. It is also implicit in the nature of the readings on those days: on Simchas Torah we read “Bereishis”, Hashem creating the world as it conducts itself according to nature; and, on Rosh Chodesh Nissan the first mitzva (counting the months) “החודש הזה לכם”, which the Rebbe refers to as the miraculous conduct of the world.  Not only that, but Nissan is called “the month of Redemption”, implying also a Redemption from conduct in accordance with nature, transcending those limitations and proceeding to miraculous conduct.

The Rebbe, as one might expect, emphasizes the unification of these two dimensions:

“the ‘miraculous conduct’ is drawn down and permeates (also) in the matters of the world in actual action… that the avoidah of actual deed in the matters of the world is not in the usual way, like natural conduct, but rather like miraculous conduct, above his nature and the manner to which he is accustomed.”

The Rebbe, before our very eyes, has shifted the meaning of “miraculous” onto us.  This year of 5751, “it will be a year that I will show wonders” (תהא שנת נפלאות אראנו), follows the “year of miracles”, 5750 (תהא שנת ניסים), in which there were the miracles of the Gulf War, the end of Communism, the breakup of the Soviet Union, and swords into plowshares — great wonders “out there” in the world. But here in this Sicha the Rebbe is letting us know that the real focus is our miraculous conduct in Torah and Mitzvos — going beyond our own nature, beyond that to which we are accustomed, that our performance of Mitzvos should be “miraculous” compared to our nature and regular conduct (comparable to 3 sefer Torahs of Shabbos Rosh Chodesh Nissan).  In the Rebbe’s words: “the addition and meaning in avoidah in a way of  ‘miraculous conduct’ in the avoidah of each and every Jew…until the perfection of the avoidah…” 

The Rebbe even provides us with a practical example: giving tzedaka in a way that transcends limitations:

… Even after he has given properly for holiday needs (צרכי החג) — he needs to make an accounting that reflects the additional blessing he will receive from Hashem in the meantime [as a result of the tzedaka he gave for holiday needs], and therefore his maaser and chomesh obligation [tithing 10% and 20%] has increased as well, and thus he needs to increase what he gives for holiday needs. And more than this: he can and must add in giving for holiday needs (beyond maaser and chomesh) even before he sees the results of the increased blessing. The more he will increase his giving for the needs of the holiday, likewise the blessing of Hashem will increase with abundant wealth

Based on what was explained previously, the miracle is not the “abundant wealth” one will receive, but rather the miraculous conduct of giving tzedaka beyond his accustomed manner (which is what draws down the abundant wealth). In other words: we are the miracle. (And if we are not, then we had better to get to work and become the miracle in our performance of Mitzvos!)

The Rebbe’s emphasis here is on doing things “not in the usual way…but rather…above his nature and the manner to which he is accustomed.” We can recognize how this is a fitting “opening statement” to the sichos of Dvar Malchus, in which the Rebbe introduces us to the concept of “living with Geuloh”, transcending the previous generations in this respect.  And even  more fitting when we contemplate that these sichos of Dvar Malchus are also a prelude to the events of Chof-Zayin Adar and Gimmel Tammuz, which brought about a dramatic “paradigm shift”: the centrality of “taking orders” becoming eclipsed by the necessity of “taking initiative” — a shift which demands going “above his nature and the manner to which he is accustomed.”

Introduction to the cycle of Dvar Malchus

Introduction to the cycle of Dvar Malchus

“Rav Asi asked, ‘Why do little school children begin their Chumash learning with Vayikra and not with Bereishis? It is because little children are pure and unblemished, and the sacrifices are pure and unblemished. The pure ones begin their learning with the study of the pure.'” (Vayikra Rabbah, Tzav 7:3)

The cycle of Dvar Malchus refers to the twelve months of sichos which the Rebbe said between 5751-52 (1991-92), the latest words (“Mishna achrona”) that we have from the Rebbe.  Notably, the cycle begins with the sicha of Parashas Vayikra, 5751.  Although the Torah of Moshiach will only be revealed to us together with the revelations of the true and complete Geulah, these sichos are a “taste” of the “new Torah that will come forth from Me” (Yeshayahu 51:4; Vayikra Rabbah 13:3) and fittingly we start learning from parshas Vayikra.  Furthermore, the sicha describes a connection to Simchas Torah, which is the day when we begin reading the Torah anew (finishing with “V’zos Habrocha” and beginning with “Bereishis”).

Some background: The year 5750 (1990-91) was termed by the Rebbe “it will be a year of miracles” based on the letters that form the Hebrew year.  The year 1990 saw the beginning of the disintegration of the Soviet Union and the outbreak of the first Gulf War.  The year 5751 received the name “it will be year of ‘I will show wonders’”. 

By the time we reach Parshas Vayikra, 5751 (March 1991), the Gulf War has ended (on Purim, two weeks earlier); the events in the disintegration of the Soviet Union will lead, in June (Rosh Chodesh Tammuz), to the election of Boris Yeltsin and the end of the Communist Regime, effectively ceasing to exist upon the resignation of President Gorbachev in late August (Shabbos Ki Seitze).  This new reality—the defeat of Sadaam Hussein in Iraq (and the over miracles witnessed in Israel during that war) and the collapse of the Soviet Union (bringing an end to the Cold War and the nuclear arms race)—is the background to these sichos.

As the Rebbe often explains, events in the physical world are a consequence of what occurs spiritually, the realm of the Jewish souls.  If we see the fall of the earthly “iron curtain” it is because the spiritual “iron curtain” (“mechitza shel barzel”) which separated Israel from their Father in Heaven has fallen.  If an evil dictator who threatened to annihilate, G-d forbid, Jews young and old is defeated and rendered powerless without a Jew firing a weapon, this is because the same drama is playing out spiritually.  These sichos are to guide us in this “new world order”—a new earthly world order, reflecting a new spiritual world order. Continue reading

Vayikra 5751: Uniting the Miraculous with the Natural

Dvar Malchus Vayikra 5751

1-3) On rare occasions three sifrei Torah are taken out from the aron kodesh on Shabbos.  Every year on Simchas Torah, and on years when Rosh Chodesh Nissan falls on Shabbos (because it is also Parashas Hachodesh) [as it did in 5751 when this sicha was given, and also this year 5778].

Taking out three sifrei Torah on Simchas Torah (and also Rosh Chodesh Nissan) affects the entire year, even those years in which Rosh Chodesh Nissan does not fall out on Shabbos.  Taking the sefer Torah from the aron Kodesh corresponds to aron Habris that went out before the bnei Yisroel in the desert, destroying the enemies (for this reason we recite the verse “vayehi binso’a ha’aron” upon removing the sefer Torah from the aron).  This gives power for both “turn away from evil” as well as giving additional power in serving Hashem in general.
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