Shabbos Parshas Haazinu, 13th Day of Tishrei, 5752

1. This Shabbos is the thirteenth of Tishrei, the yahrzeit of the Rebbe Maharash. A yahrzeit is a day when “all the deeds, Torah, and service of a person are revealed,”1 and thus there is a connection with the well-known adage which characterized the service of the Rebbe MaharashLechat’chilah Aribber, “The world says, ‘If you can’t crawl under, try to climb over,’ and I say, ‘At the outset, one should climb over.’ ”

The influence of the Rebbe Maharash’s yahrzeit is enhanced by the fact that it falls on Shabbos. In general, Shabbos elevates all matters with which it is concerned to a higher level of holiness.2 In particular, there is a unique quality to the present Shabbos, for it is the first Shabbos of an individual nature in the new year. I.e., Shabbos Shuvah is the first Shabbos of the year, but Shabbos Shuvah is of a general nature, including within it all the Shabbasosof the year to come. The present Shabbos is thus the first Shabbos of the year which is comparable to all the other Shabbasos.

Thirteen, today’s date, is the numerical equivalent of the word echad (אחד). There is a thematic relationship between oneness and Shabbos,3 because Shabbos is a day of spirituality and holiness. This spirituality and holiness is not dependent on man’s service and is a reflection of the spiritual order established by G‑d.4Nevertheless, man can enhance the Shabbos-like nature of the day as reflected in the command laasos es haShabbos, literally “to make the Shabbos.”

What is the nature of man’s Shabbos activity? “And you shall call the Shabbos a delight,” to introduce the quality of pleasure into the Shabbos. This is the fundamental dimension of the Shabbos day and each Jew is obligated to bring this quality into the Shabbos through his prayers and through all his Shabbos activities.

Pleasure is the highest of our human potentials. It permeates through all our other powers and serves as the motivating force for all our behavior. Although the Shabbos is characterized by pleasure by nature, even without man’s activity, man has the potential — and the obligation — to enhance and add to the pleasure of the Shabbos day.

These efforts — introducing pleasure — reflect the totality of man’s service within the world. For although G‑d derives a dimension of pleasure from the world even without man’s efforts, man was created in order to bring about a higher degree of Divine pleasure. This relates to our Sages’ interpretation of the word laasos as “to correct” in the phrase, “all that G‑d created laasos.” I.e., G‑d created the world in a manner that it can be corrected and brought to a higher level by man’s activity. Although there is a certain dimension of completion invested in the world by nature, the Jews have the potential to add a higher degree of perfection, breaking through the natural constraints of existence.

This concept is reflected in our Sages’ statement that “the world was created in a full state,” but that Mashiach will bring the world to an even higher level of fulfillment as reflected in the verse, “These are the generations of Peretz.” The name Peretz, the progenitor of the Mashiach, means “break through.” This implies that the fulfillment invested in the world at the outset was limited in nature. In contrast, through man’s service, the world can be brought to a level of fulfillment which is unbounded in nature.

Similarly, the pleasure that a Jew infuses into the creation is infinite in nature. He does not carry out his service because he realizes that it will create pleasure for G‑d. Were that to be the case, the pleasure that man would generate would be limited by the extent of his conception. Rather, to borrow an expression from the Rambam,he is “obsessed by the love of G‑d” with no thought of self; this love relationship characterizes the totality of his existence and thus generates infinite pleasure for G‑d.

The Rambam associates such love with the service of Avraham, our Patriarch. This is significant for it implies that this love is part of the spiritual heritage which the Patriarchs impart to each one of their descendants. And thus, such love is within the potential of every Jew.

The ability to perform this service relates to the approach of Lechat’chilah Aribber mentioned above, for it involves going above the limits of our ordinary conduct, at the outset, a person sets as his goal to draw down the highest levels of pleasure into the creation.5

This approach of Lechat’chilah Aribber should be actualized by every Jew in his daily conduct, for the qualities of a Nasi are relevant to everyone of his followers.6 Furthermore, not only does the Nasi’s influence affect them in their personal lives, it affords them the opportunity to have an effect on the world at large.

The latter concept is reflected in the Rebbe Maharash’s adage which begins “The world says…” On the surface: Of what concern is it to a Nasi what the world says? The intent, however, is that the approach of Lechat’chilah Aribber should permeate the world at large.

Although a Nasi, like a king, is above all matters of the world,7 his service elevates the world at large. In particular, this is evident on a Nasi’s yahrzeit which “brings about salvation in the depths of the world.” (In microcosm, this pattern is reflected in every Jew who is veritably “a part of G‑d,” and simultaneously, his service must be carried out within the limits of our material world.)

The above concepts relate to the present year, 5752, whose equivalent in Hebrew (הי’ תהא שנת נפלאות בכל) serves as an acronym for the Hebrew words meaning, “This will be a year of wonders in all things.” Wonders, like pleasure, reflect a transcendent level and these wonders will, in a manner of Lechat’chilah Aribber, be drawn down into the world at large.

The above is particularly relevant on the Rebbe Maharash’s yahrzeit, a day when — like a birthday — “the spiritual source of his soul shines powerfully.” Since his name is Shmuel, there is also a connection to Chanah, the mother of Shmuel, the Prophet. {Herein, there is a connection to the previous Shabbos, the yahrzeit of [the Rebbetzin] Chanah8 and to Rosh HaShanah, when the Haftorah relates the story of Chanah and her prayer that G‑d “raise up the standard of His anointed (Meshicho).”}

The mention of Shmuel the Prophet has a connection with the Era of the Redemption, for at that time, “I will pour out My spirit to all flesh and your sons and your daughters will prophesy,” i.e., everyone will attain the gift of prophecy. This reflects an approach of Lechat’chilah Aribber, for generally, prophecy requires several preparatory levels. In that Era, however, prophecy will be granted indiscriminately to all. This is reflected in the expression, “I will pour out,” i.e., not pour into a vessel, but to pour out in an abundant manner where the liquid gushes over the walls of the container.

There is a greater emphasis on the above today, the Rebbe Maharash’s yahrzeit, because of the connection to Shmuel the Prophet. Everyone recognized Shmuel as a prophet and indeed, referred to him as “the seer.”9

Since the Rebbe Maharash was a Nasi, all the qualities he possessed are relevant to everyone, and in particular to those who study his teachings. In this context, it is worthy to note the maamarHaTzur Tamim Paalo, 5627. The verse which serves as the title of this maamar refers to the perfection of G‑d’s judgment. Surely this will be reflected in a positive judgment for every Jew. For a Jew is by nature totally above connection to any undesirable entities. Therefore, the judgment will only be positive. And with overwhelming joy, we will proceed to the Future Redemption. May it take place in the immediate future.

2. In connection with the maamar of the Rebbe Maharash mentioned previously, surely, everyone will study it on the Rebbe Maharash’s yahrzeit itself or at least in the days which follow as an extension of the Rebbe Maharash’s yahrzeit.

Similarly, it is appropriate to mention the importance of using the remaining days until the holiday of Sukkos to provide the needy with what they are lacking to celebrate the holiday in an appropriate manner.

This is particularly relevant since Sukkos is celebrated on the fifteenth of the month, the night on which the moon shines fully. This represents a state of completion in the service of the entire month, a month which includes Yom Kippur, a day of “pardon, atonement, and forgiveness.” These concepts surely must be considered in a positive sense, for a Jew is above sin in a simple sense; “Your nation are all righteous.” Thus in this context, teshuvah must be considered as reflecting the Zohar’s statement that, in the Era of the Redemption, Mashiach will “cause the righteous to turn in teshuvah.” This is surely true in light of tribulations our generation has endured and particularly, after the extensive efforts that have been undertaken to spread Chassidusoutward.10

In this context, it is appropriate to mention the importance of the journeys undertaken on Sukkos to spread holiday joy to those Jews living in outlying areas. These visits are used to spread the wellsprings of Chassidus and to encourage Jews to observe the Torah and its mitzvos, explaining that one’s prosperity in material things depends on such observance.

Needless to say, at this time, emphasis should be placed on the mitzvah of lulav and esrog, granting people the opportunity to fulfill the mitzvah. Indeed, if a lulav and esrog is unavailable in these places, a set should be left behind so that the people living there will continue to be able to observe the mitzvah. (In this context, it should be noted that, in addition to the three hadassim, “myrtle branches,” which are required to be included in the lulav and esrog, three others should be included, for it is the Chabad custom to add extra hadassim.)

A person should take his wife and children with him on these trips and thus involve the entire family in spreading the wellsprings outward. And these journeys should spread holiday joy, the celebra­tions of Simchas Beis HaShoeivah. That joy should be enhanced by the knowledge that in the immediate future, Mashiachwill come. For the imminence of Mashiach’s coming is already an established fact and one’s exuberant celebrations should reflect one’s awareness of this.

One might ask: If Mashiach’s coming is imminent, why is it necessary to undertake these journeys? A resolution to this question can be derived from the conduct of the Previous Rebbe who declared LeAlter LeGeulah, “We will immediately proceed to the Redemption” and yet sent out emissaries to many places and established Yeshivos. For a Jew has the potential to fuse opposite qualities together. Thus although he is awaiting Mashiach’s coming on this very day, he can use the time before Mashiach comes to do whatever is necessary to spread Yiddishkeit within the context of the immediate circumstances, including detailed plans and journeys to distant places.11

Indeed, we see a parallel to this concept in the journeys of the Jewish people in the desert. Although they knew that they would break camp shortly so that they could proceed to Eretz Yisrael,each camp was established in a permanent manner. Similarly, at present, although we are preparing to journey to Eretz Yisrael in the Redemption at any time, we must use the time we are still in exile to spread Yiddishkeit and Chassidus.

May these activities enable us to proceed from the season of our rejoicing to many festive occasions for the Jewish people, weddings, circumcisions, the naming of girls,12 and the like. And from these celebrations, we will proceed to the ultimate expression of joy, when we will proceed to our Holy Land in the Future Redemption.


1. Similarly, a yahrzeit represents an ascent for the soul and all its service.
2. There is an allusion to this in the verse which describes the advent of the first Shabbos, “And the heavens and the earth were completed.”
3. The Torah describes Sunday, the first day of creation as “one day,” and our Sages explain that it is a day when “the Holy One, blessed be He, was one with His world.” Nevertheless, in an open and revealed manner, this oneness is more evident on Shabbos.
4. This concept can be understood by contrasting the holiness of the Shabbos with that of the festivals. The holiness of the festivals is dependent on the holiness imparted to them by the Jewish people, while in contrast, Shabbos represents a spiritual level above the influence of man which is revealed by G‑d.
5. There is a parallel to this concept in regard to a Jew’s service at the beginning of the year. As the Tur writes, even on the eve of Rosh HaShanah, the Jews wear festive clothing and eat a festive meal, confident that they will prevail in judgment.
6. The Rebbe Maharash’s position as Nasi is significant for all of the sons of his father, the Tzemach Tzedek, were accomplished spiritual leaders. Indeed, the Previous Rebbe refers to them all with the title Admor. Nevertheless, it was the Maharash, the youngest son, who was chosen as Nasi.
7. The Tanach describes Shaul, the first king as “from the shoulders and up, above the people.” Chassidus explains that the king’s shoulders, the level which refer to the source for his emotions, are above the heads, the intellectual potential of the people at large. Surely, this applies to a king’s intellectual potentials.
8. Even though this is a personal matter, there is a connection to matters of general importance. For all women named Chanah share a connection to the first Chanah who was the one who prayed that the standard of the Mashiach be raised. This endows all connected with her with general significance.
9. Shmuel also said of himself, “I am the seer.” Anochi, “I am” in Hebrew, is also the first word of the Ten Commandments and, as explained in the works of Rav Saadia Gaon, contains within it the entire Torah. The word Roeh, “seer,” relates to the power of revelation. Thus Shmuel’s statement can figuratively be interpreted to mean that he, Shmuel, brought the entire Torah into revelation.
10. The merit for these activities is shared among those who actually performed the service of spreading Chassidus and those who support these activities. This applies if such an agreement is made before the tzedakah is given and before the activities are carried out.
11. In connection with the above, it is worthy to mention the printing of the Book of Shluchim which was completed at present. This printing was done in a luxurious manner with the intent of showing how the service of G‑d should be carried out in a beautiful manner, without lacking gold or silver.
12. In this context, it is worthy to mention the Chabad custom of naming girls at the earliest possible opportunity.

Erev 27 Elul, 5752

Translation by Sichos in English

1. It is customary to “Open with blessing.” This principle applies throughout the year and particularly so in the month of Elul when it is customary to exchange blessings. It applies to a greater extent in the final twelve days of the month of Elul when each of these days corresponds to one of the months of the year and has the potential to elevate our conduct of that month. Similarly, these twelve days serve as a preparation for the twelve months of the coming year.1

We have, moreover, already past the first Shabbos after which Selichos is recited and we are approaching the second Shabbos. For this year is unique in that Selichos are recited in two weeks. This reflects the uniquely positive nature of the present year, a year when “I will show you wonders,”2 i.e., not only did wonders take place, but they were openly perceived.

There is also a unique significance to the present day, the sixth day of Selichos.3 Six is two times three. As mentioned our atonement is threefold including “pardon, forgiveness, and atonement.” Six represents a twofold portion of this threefold atonement. Furthermore, the sixth day of the week is significant for it commemorates the creation of man.

This comes in addition to the uniqueness of our present period within the scope of Jewish history. It is after the time when the AriZal stated that “it is a mitzvah to reveal this wisdom” and after the time when the Alter Rebbe brought these teachings down into a form in which they could be understood by an ordinary person. In particular, we are fortunate to have been born in the era of the Previous Rebbe, an era which began from the moment of his birth. Even those individuals who were born previously can consider themselves to have been born in his era, for it is customary among Chassidim to consider the day when they came to Lubavitch as their birthday.

There is a connection between the above and the portion of this week’s Torah reading connected with the present day, the sixth aliyah of Parshas Nitzavim.4 This reading contains the verse “For this mitzvah which I am commanding you today… is not in the heavens… nor is it across the sea.”

This verse is problematic. Seemingly, the concept it is communicating is self-evident.5 At the time Moshe made this statement, the Jews had been observing the Torah for almost forty years. Moshe himself stated that it was not until the present time that they had acquired “eyes that see, ears that hear, and a knowing heart,”6 i.e., only then was their sensitivity to the Torah fully developed. Nevertheless, their previous experience should have been sufficient to show them that the Torah was not merely a spiritual service reserved for the “heavens,” or deeds only to be observed in a far-off place in the world — “across the sea.” Instead, their forty years of Torah observance in the desert7 should have shown them that the Torah is meant to be lived and applied in our lives in this material world.

This difficulty can be explained as follows: Indeed, the Torah is “in the heavens” and indeed, the Torah is “across the sea,” a reference to the ultimate state of fulfillment when “the knowledge of G‑d will fill up the world as the water covers up the ocean bed.” And indeed, the true state of Torah is above even the heavens and the sea. Nevertheless, the Torah — as it includes these spiritual peaks — has descended into our material world. And, as the portion from the Torah reading concludes, “The matter is very close to you, in your hands and in your mouth, so that you may perform it.”

And this lesson is amplified by the message of the present day which is associated with the service of teshuvah.Teshuvah has the potential to atone for all matters, even deficiencies in Torah, for Teshuvah establishes an internal bond with G‑d. And therefore, when G‑d was asked what should a person whose conduct has been lacking do, He replied, “He should turn in teshuvah and he will be granted atonement.”

In this context, the intent is the higher rung of teshuvah and therefore, the atonement is also on a more complete level. Not only are no traces of one’s sin mentioned in judgment — at this time, after much of the month of Elul and five days of Selichos have passed, this is self-understood, but also one’s sins are transformed into merits.

This is particularly true in the present age, when we have completed all the service required of us, and all our efforts should be concentrated on the study of Pnimiyus HaTorah.Needless to say, at this time, a Jew stands above judgment entirely and his connection to teshuvah is only to the higher rung of teshuvah, the teshuvah directly related to G‑d.

A Jew need not be concerned about his judgment for the coming year. From Rosh ChodeshElul on, and even previously, from the Fifteenth of Av,9 he was assured for a kesivah vachasimah tovah, that he be inscribed for a good and sweet year. And thus our service in the present days involves atonement and the higher rung of teshuvah. This causes the service to be permeated by happiness, and indeed, unbounded happiness, ad d’lo yoda.This happiness should be even greater than the celebrations of Purim, even the Purim of this year, whose celebrations were greater than those of Purim of the previous year.10

A Jew is a master of time. And he has the power to bring about a good inscription (chasimah tovah), a good final inscription (gmar chasimah tovah) and a good note (a guten kvitel) in the present days. And thus he can immediately proceed to the unbounded celebrations of Simchas Beis HaShoeivah and Simchas Torah.

And through the above, we will merit a fusion of the material and the spiritual. All the spiritual peaks of the Torah which are “in the heavens” and “across the sea,” will be revealed in our thought, speech, and action. For “The matter is very close to you, in your hands and in your mouth, so that you may perform it.”11


Preparation is significant for as the Previous Rebbe explained, before a Jew does anything (or even thinks or speaks anything), he should prepare himself.

As explained on a number of occasions, niflaos, “wonders,” represent a higher revelation of G‑dliness than “nissim,” miracles.

Although we have just recited the evening service, the preparations for the recitation of Selichos should start at this time. Indeed, despite the fact that Selichos should be recited in the early morning, we find certain communities who followed the custom of reciting Selichos at night, after midnight.

This portion shares an intrinsic connection to Rosh HaShanah as explained in many sources.

Although the hypothesis that the Torah is “in the heavens…” is immediately negated by the verse, the fact that they are mentioned at all is also significant. To explain this by referring to concepts in the Oral Law: Even ideas which the Talmud later rejects are still part of the Torah and were given to Moshe on Mount Sinai.

Here we see a sequence of three. However, these three qualities should be fused in a single approach.

The desert was an intermediary between Eretz Yisrael, the Jews’ destination, and Egypt, the place in which their journey originated. This process of transition is repeated every day in a Jew’s life. He begins his day in Egypt, in the boundaries and limitations of this world. And he must leave Egypt, experience the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai and proceed to Eretz Yisrael.

Teshuvah brings an unlimited dimension to the service of Torah which is otherwise, characterized by limitation. And yet this unlimited dimension should be drawn down into our observance of the Torah and mitzvos as they exist within our limitations.

There is, however, an aspect of service with mesirus nefesh which surpasses the service of observing Torah within the limits of this world. Thus Rav Yosef Karo was informed that he was to die Al Kiddush Hashem, in Sanctification of G‑d’s Name. Afterwards, he was punished — and he himself writes that it was a punishment — and he was not privileged to carry out that elevated service. In his subsequent years, he authored his classic Torah texts, the Beis Yosef and the Shulchan Aruch. Nevertheless, it would have been considered a higher personal level of personal service to die Al Kiddush Hashem.

Our Sages associate this date with Yom Kippur, the day associated with the highest and most innerfelt experience of teshuvah. We recite five different prayer services on Yom Kippur and each represents teshuvah for one of the five different levels of the soul.

There is a unique dimension of eternality associated with the celebrations of Purim as reflected in our Sages’ interpretation of the verse, “And the memory [of these days of Purim] will never cease from among their descendants.”

Significantly, the Alter Rebbe cites this verse as the basis for the entire Tanya and quotes it on the title page.

Erev 26 Elul, 5751

Translation by Sichos in English

1. In regard to every new concept, one must “open with blessing.” Indeed, in Pnimiyus HaTorah, the word “opening” refers to the development of a totally new concept. This represents one of the differences between the manner in which Sages are quoted in the Talmud and the manner in which they are quoted in Pnimiyus HaTorah. In Pnimiyus HaTorah, when a Sages makes a statement, the expression used is “Rabbi — opened,” i.e., he opened up a new means of Torah expression. In a larger sense, this applies in all realms of Torah study, for every Torah concept should constantly be regarded as “new,” as our Sages said, “Each day the words of Torah should be new in your eyes.” Nevertheless, this newness is particularly evident in regard to Pnimiyus HaTorah.

The above is particularly relevant at the present time, the conclusion of the 25th of Elul, the anniversary of the creation of the world. The Baal Shem Tov relates that the world is recreated at every moment1 from absolute nothingness. Although the existence of the world appears to be maintained in a continuous manner, in truth every entity is brought into being from absolute nothingness. This concept receives even greater emphasis on the anniversary of the world’s creation.2

2. There is a famous analogy used by the Alter Rebbe to explain the importance of spreading the wellsprings of Chassidus outward to Rabbi Pinchas of Koritz,3 which describes the crushing of the center jewel of a king’s crown to form an elixir that served as a remedy for the king’s son who had fainted and was critically ill.

This analogy refers to the Jews as they exist in exile. Any exile represents the very opposite of a Jew’s nature, which is to live in connection with G‑d, to be as a son at his father’s table, as it were.

In particular, the concept of exile is more acute, because every Jew can be likened to an only son of G‑d, King of Kings. Therefore, when he lives in exile, it is much more severe than an exile which a common person must suffer. For him, the exile is a drastic descent of the most serious order.

(In this context, we can understand the expression “the true and ultimate redemption.” The redemption is referred to as true, because it represents a revelation of a Jew’s true nature.)

There is a connection to the above and the portion of this week’s Torah reading connected with the present day, which describes the ingathering of the exiles. As it states, “And G‑d your L‑rd will return your captivity and He will again gather you in from all the nations.” Kibbutz, the Hebrew for “gathering in,” has the connotation, not only of collecting different entities, but of establishing unity among them.

Kibbutz (קבץ) is also numerically equivalent to the expressions of blessing used for each of the Patriarchs בכל מכל כל. In regard to Avraham, it is written, “And G‑d blessed Avraham with everything” (בכל; Genesis 24:1). In regard to Yitzchak, it is written, “I have eaten of all” (מכל; ibid., 27:33). And regarding Yaakov it is written, “I have everything” (כל; ibid., 33:11).” Since these are the Patriarchs of the Jewish people, it is understood that these qualities are communicated to each of their descendants and every Jew will have this threefold quality of blessing in the fullest possible manner. We can be certain that every Jew has turned to G‑d in teshuvah4 and gathered in his thought, speech, and deed which were “in exile,” and thus become worthy of these blessings.

To focus on the verse “And G‑d your L‑rd will return your captivity”: This implies that there is an exile, “captivity,” and there is “G‑d.” Furthermore, G‑d becomes “your L‑rd,” i.e., E‑lokecha(translated as “your L‑rd”) can also be interpreted to mean “your strength and your nature.” And when a Jew makes G‑d his strength and his nature — and this is accomplished for Torah study, for Torah, Israel, and G‑d are one — he steps beyond the exile and experiences redemption.

This relates to the concept that it is in the Era of the Redemption when the wedding bond between G‑d and the Jewish people will be consummated.5 (This is particularly relevant in the month of Elul for in this month, the love relationship between G‑d and the Jews is stressed as reflected in the connection with the verse, “I am my Beloved’s and my Beloved is mine.”)

To explain: The concept of union is reflected in the Rambam’s conclusion of his description of the Era of the Redemption, “And the earth will be filled with the knowledge of G‑d as the waters cover up the ocean bed.”6 The ocean is unique in that it covers up all the living beings that inhabit it to the extent that all one sees is the ocean. Similarly, through Torah study, a Jew enters into an all-encompassing bond of unity with G‑d to the extent that he loses his self-concern entirely. He is totally at one with G‑d and this oneness encompasses every aspect of his being.

* * *

3. The Torah reading of the previous week mentions the concept of bringing bikkurim, the first fruits offered in the Beis HaMikdash. The most choice fruits from the seven species of fruit for which Eretz Yisrael was blessed were brought. (Among these seven species is also a pomegranate. This relates to the first day of Rosh HaShanah when it is customary to eat pomegranates as a sign of blessing.7 ) Each Jew has the potential to make every entity in this world bikkurim. And these bikkurim must include every aspect of our experience to the extent that everything which a Jew does can be seen as a thanksgiving offering brought to G‑d in the Beis HaMikdash.

And this will lead to the fulfillment, in a simple and literal way, of the verse “And G‑d will return your captivity.” “A verse never departs from its simple meaning.” And the meaning of this verse is clear, that G‑d will gather in the Jews from all four corners of the world to Eretz Yisrael and there they will be able to bring bikkurim, the offerings of the first fruit, in Jerusalem with joyous song and a proud declaration of thanks.

And this will lead to an extended meaning of the verse, “And this is the blessing with which Moshe blessed them,” that every Jew will receive a blessing from Moshe who will arise in the Resurrection.8 And the Jews will stand in regal garments as the Megillah relates in regard to Mordechai9 and — to continue the reference to Mordechai — “will seek peace for all his people.”

And when the Jews gather together their thought, speech, and action and direct it toward G‑d, it will evoke a response from Him.10 And “G‑d your L‑rd will return your captivity,” bringing the Jews to Eretz Yisrael from the four corners of the world. May this take place in the immediate future.



1. And indeed, the entire concept of time is also brought into being anew for, time itself is also a creation.


2. There is another point of connection to the beginning of the creation at this time, for the first day of Selichos is always a Sunday, the day on which the creation began.


It is seemingly difficult to understand why the Alter Rebbe communicated the concept in the form of an analogy. Both he and Rabbi Pinchas of Koritz could have grasped the concept equally well had he explained the idea itself.


This is reflected in our Sages’ statement that if one sees a Torah scholar commit a transgression, one should not look askance at him, for he has surely repented. Although our Sages made this statement about a Torah scholar, there is a point of relevance to all Jews, because “all your children shall be students of G‑d.”

(Our Sages comment on that verse, a Torah scholar “increases peace in the world,” for the word baneich, “your children,” should be read as boneich, “your builders.” This does not, however, change the relevance of the verse’s simple meaning. Whenever our Sages offer an alternative expanded reading for a verse, the intent is not the simple meaning is not applicable, but rather, that both the simple meaning and the expanded meaning of the verse are applicable.


The wedding relationship between G‑d and the Jews also relates to Shabbos as reflected in the phrase, “Come my beloved to greet the bride. Let us welcome the Shabbos.” And the Shabbos is associated with the Era of the Redemption, the “era which is all Shabbos and rest for eternity.”


This relates to the very beginning of the creation, for on the verse “And the spirit of G‑d hovered over the waters,” Rashi comments, “This refers to the spirit of Mashiach.”


The pomegranates are eaten at the beginning of the meal. As the Previous Rebbe explained in regard to the apple dipped in honey, since the Alter Rebbe states that it should be eaten at the beginning of the meal, this means after eating of the HaMotzi. In this manner, there is no question regarding reciting a blessing after these fruits, for they are included in the Grace after Meals.


This blessing will be of a higher quality than those which Moshe gave previously, for this blessing will be given after Moshe has gained the level of perfection associated with the service of “And to earth, you shall return.”


The words the Megillah uses as a preface to the mention of Mordechai’s regal garments, “And Mordechai went out before the king,” also relates to every Jew. Each Jew “goes out” to perform the service of G‑d, the King of the world, to transform this world into a dwelling for Him.


We see this in our Sages’ statement that when a Jew studies, “the Holy One, blessed be He studies opposite him.” Furthermore, when the Jews make a decision in Torah law, e.g., choosing to follow the School of Hillel or the School of Shamai, the halachah is decided accordingly in the heavenly realms.

Parshas Nitzovim: The Intrinsic Connection

The Rebbe brings out from a year where Rosh Hashana falls out on Monday and Tuesday (as it did in 5752 and as it will this coming year, 5779) an emphasis on the special value of the avodah of Yidden.  The world was created perfect, but it was a limited level of perfection, and it is only through the avodah of Yidden — an infinite neshoma enclothed in a limited physical body — that the world can transcend itself and achieve a higher level of perfection.  This is the idea, discussed in other sichos, of 10 and 11, where 10 is perfection and 11 transcends that original perfection.

The Rebbe also returns to the concept mentioned in last weeks sicha, that a Jew’s connection to Hashem is intrinsic and not dependent on his performance of Torah and Mitzvos.  Torah and Mitzvos simply serve to reveal  his intrinsic connection.  The Rebbe says that by emphasizing a Jew’s essential connection to Hashem this serves to in turn bring out a greater commitment to Torah and Mitzvos–because in truth a Jew really only does Torah and Mitzvos because this is an expression of his true nature.  In other words, we remove all aspects of fear of punishment and we find that he will do mitzvos even more enthusiastically!

And, as the Alter Rebbe said, that Moshiach’s arrival would be publicized in the newspapers, the Rebbe states:

May the Redemption come immediately, indeed, may it be that it has already come. For the newspapers have already written about Moshiach’s coming — may they continue to write more and may these articles be in the past tense for Moshiach’s coming will already be a reality.

Nitzovim and Vayeilech, 5751-52

Translation by Sichos in English

1. The unique qualities of the present year are reflected in the signs mentioned by the Sages of our people in regard to the days on which Rosh HaShanah is celebrated. Among them:

a) פתבג המלך — This phrase quoted from Daniel 1:5 and meaning, “the king’s food” is interpreted as follows: When HaMelech (המלך), i.e., Rosh HaShanah,1 falls on either of ב or ג, the second or the third day of the week,2 then pas (פת) — the parshiyos, Nitzavim and Vayeilech are divided. Nitzavim is read on the Shabbos before Rosh HaShanah and Vayeilech, on the Shabbos afterwards.

b) בשז — This means that if Rosh HaShanah falls on the second day (c) as it does this year, then the year will be shleimah, “full,” (a), i.e., both the months of MarCheshvan and Kislevwill have thirty days. Also, in such a year, Pesach falls on Shabbos, the seventh day of the week (z).

Thus the present year contains three different states of perfection:

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[Ki] Savo 5751: Yisroel, “First Fruits” of the World

The midrash says that there are two “firsts”, Yisroel and the Torah, and we don’t know which came first.  Until we see that in the Torah it states “command bnei Yisroel”, “say to Bnei Yisroel” , now we know that Yisroel came first.  This is the concept of Bikkurim.

The Torah commands us that upon entering and settling Eretz Yisroel, we are to offer Bikkurim, the “first fruits” of the 7 species of which Eretz Yisroel is praised.  These first fruits, the initial blossoming of the seven species, are brought to the Beis Hamikdash in Yerushalayim, placed in a basket, presented to the Cohen and given to Hashem.

It turns out, then, that these first fruits achieve the highest purpose that is attainable — to be offered to Hashem in the Beis Hamikdash.  The purpose of having fruits in the world, of the world itself, is represented by the these fruits being offered to Hashem.  Eating them, enjoying them — all this is secondary.  That a Yid gives of his finest to Hashem — this is the real purpose.

The Yidden, the Torah tells us, are the Bikkurim of the world.  They are the purpose and ultimate reason for the world’s existence.  Not only did Hashem consult with the souls of the Yidden before creating the world, but the world was (and is) created for the Yidden.  The world is created by Hashem through the Torah, but for the sake of the Yidden.  The connection of Yidden to Hashem is direct, with actually no need for the Torah at all (because the Yid is also one with the Torah).  Then why is the Torah so critical?

The role of the Torah is that through keeping the Torah a Jew reveals that he is connected with Hashem in his very essence.  The Torah does not exist without Yidden to keep it, but a Yid exists even before he encounters the Torah.  And even if he is not keeping the Torah, chas v’sholom, he is still connected in his very essence with Hashem Himself.

The Rebbe elaborates at length in this sicha on the importance of each and every Yid, that a Jew’s true reality is that he is one with the Holy One, blessed be He, which is concealed until it is revealed by his becoming Bikkurim.  And the Torah says that the Bikkurim need to be in a container — this is the body which contains the neshoma.  One who has sufficient finacial means brings a container made of precious materials.  But one who does not have the means brings a simple container and this simple container is kept by the Cohen.  This shows that even the lowly material of which his container is made is elevated to be “before Hashem”.

The container [טנא] hints at the letters of Torah (טעמים, נקודות, אותיות), meaning that the neshoma’s “container” — the body — is really the letters of Torah which become the thought, speech and action of a Jew.  Even if this relates to “lowly things” (he only understands Torah in a physical way), this body is still a container for his Bikkurim and is elevated to be “before Hashem”.  Thus, every thought, every word of speech, and every action of a Yid is important and is in fact the very purpose of the existence of the world!  As regards this importance, the Rebbe says:

The preciousness of every Jew before the Holy One, blessed be He is unconditional, he does not need to be a Torah scholar, one who learns Torah or one who fulfills the Mitzvos or the like, but rather “anyone who wants [can approach the King when he is in the field (Elul)]” is able to greet the King, who “greets everyone with a pleasant countenance”.

This closeness to Hashem should cause one, especially in Elul, to take an accounting of his thought, speech, and action, because:

…even one thought, speech, or action which seems of little importance compared to the rest of his thoughts, speech, or actions–but even this thought, speech, or action is a part of his Bikkurim which are brought to the Beis Hamikdash, before Hashem your G-d — and the Cohen who will be in those days  is careful with his every movement — certainly [the Jew] will make every effort that even the smallest things, every detail of his conduct, will be done with the complete attention and carefulness.

In conjunction with this: being that we are in essence one with Hashem, when we have an awakening from below, we cause an awakening from Above–and in this way we are able to bring the Geulah!  In the Rebbe’s words:

Since a Jew is “one” with the Holy One, blessed be He…he has no private will, but rather in the words of the Mishnah (Pirkei Avos) — “make your will like His will in order that He will make His will like your will” — the will of the Holy One, blessed be He is the will of a Yid and the will of a Yid is the will of the Holy One, blessed be He.  Thus, it is in the power of every Jew to (influence the Holy One, blessed be He and to) nullify the golus and to bring the Geulah immediately!

If we want Hashem to bring an end to this Golus, who brings it about? Yidden, since we are one with Him!  And if we will have a true will to end Golus רצון אמיתי — then at that same moment Hashem will automatically bring an end to the Golus!