Chof Zayin Adar: Nothing Was Lost

The day 27 Adar (כ”ז אדר ראשון) is not just a date in Lubavitch — it has become a title for the dramatic day that was the beginning of a new reality for Chassidim.  This is the day that the Rebbe had what the doctors call a stroke, and since then we have not heard from the Rebbe.  Gimmel Tammuz is another step, but the “silence” began on this day, Chof Zayin Adar.

The number 27 in Loshon Hakodesh is also the word “זך”, which means refined and purified.  In fact, the Rebbe connects this with the 27th day of the month, in a sicha of Parshas Pekudei 5750 (2 years to the day before the stroke).  Here the Rebbe explains that the 27th of the month possesses the special quality of:

…scouring and clarification and purification, as is written about the time of the Geuloh “many will be clarified and whitened and purified” (Daniel 12:10).  The ultimate scouring and purification is by revealing the intent in the Tzimtzum [contraction of G-dly revelation] and concealment of the Divine name Elokim itself.

This will be understood in light of what the Rebbe explained in the earlier parts of this sicha.  To summarize:

According to Torah, there are 7 names of Hashem that one is forbidden to erase due to their Holiness.  Of them, we primarily relate to two names: YKVK and Elokim, which represent the revelation of G-dliness (the name YKVK) and the concealment of that revelation (the name Elokim).  The name Elokim is the contraction and concealment of G-dly light — in other words: darkness.  We find a verse in Tehillim “the sun and its shield, YKVK Elokim”, explained to mean that Elokim (concealment) is like a shield or a filter that reduces the G-dly revelation of the name YKVK so that the worlds are not nullified out of existence.  According to this, the name Elokim, the contraction and concealment of G-dly light (the darkness), is for the sake of being able to reveal G-dliness within the limited ability of the worlds to receive.  Like smoked glass diminishes the light of the sun but this itself allows a person to be able to gaze at the sun without being blinded.  A concealment which has the intent of actually revealing that which is being concealed.

But, explains the Rebbe, there is another dimension: the quality of Tzimtzum (contraction) in and of itself — that contraction and concealment show the completeness of the unlimited Holy One, blessed be He, that He is truly unlimited: He is so “unlimited” that he can also limit Himself!  He possesses not only the power of unlimited revelation, but also the power of concealment and limitation.  Explains the Rebbe, this derives from the level of Hashem’s Essence עצמותו where the power of infinite revelation can co-exist with His power of limitation and concealment (regardless of the fact that they are opposites).  (See the maamor השם נפשנו בחיים printed for Gimmel Tammuz 5749, where it states that the inyan of Tzimtzum for its own sake will only be revealed in the Time to Come.)  Thus, Geuloh is:

…not only the nullification of the withdrawal and concealment (העלם והסתר) and of the world by revealing that the intent of the contraction and concealment is for the sake of revelation.  Rather, more than this: that we reveal the intent of the withdrawal and concealment itself…not only do we nullify the inyan of golus by revealing that the concealment [of the name Elokim] is for the sake of revelation, but more than this: that the golus itself is clarified and is transformed to Geuloh, since we reveal the intent of the Tzimtzum itself, the power of concealment (which is above revelation).

These are very deep concepts, we are not attempting to do them justice in this brief article.  But we will try to bring them down to simpler words, which will help us relate to the event of Chof Zayin Adar over 27 years ago (and its continuation to the present time): This second aspect of the Divine name Elokim (the name of darkness and concealment) is it’s inherent value, not as it brings about or leads to something else.  It is not only that the darkness as a vehicle for revealing the light, and in such a case we must nullify the darkness in order to reach a greater light.  Rather, it is the lofty intent within the darkness itself — the power of Hashem’s Essence to be limited.  What does that mean?  That we identify and recognize Hashem in the darkness just as we do through His revelations!  The darkness remains darkness, but it ceases to darken because we recognize that the darkness itself is part of Hashem no less than light and revelation.  “The darkness is as light” (כחשיכה כאורה).  This is even higher than crying out over the darkness (as the Rebbe explains in the maamor (בלילה ההוא, מלוקט ד) that was edited and released for publication on Purim, 5750, two weeks earlier than this sicha).

In practical terms, we could say as follows:

Following the stroke that occurred Chof Zayin Adar, 5752, the Chassidim were worried, davening and saying Tehilim for the Rebbe’s health.  There was a great and sudden darkness over Lubavitch.  No farbrengens with the Rebbe, no Sunday dollars.  Gimmel Tammuz was another step into darkness and concealment.  Yet, in the years since then, when the concealment is seemingly greater than before, there has been revealed an even deeper connection to the Rebbe.  Previously, the connection expressed itself through the way the Rebbe revealed himself.  Then there was a concealment, and there was a response of crying out over the concealment.  But since then, the hiskashrus has evolved and come to approach the second level the Rebbe mentions: where the concealment itself does not conceal.

What does this mean in practical terms?

That the fact that we do not see or hear the Rebbe for so many years (and so we cry out to Hashem “ad mosai?!”) nonetheless does not obscure our ability to recognize the Rebbe’s presence and influence.  This comes from Atzmus, meaning our hiskashrus today is coming from Etzem Hanefesh, where the concealment and the darkness themselves are converted to Geuloh — that the present situation comes to show the power of concealment, which by the Rebbe means that we come to recognize that he is just as effective in his role of Nosi Hador and Moshiach Tzidkeinu when we don’t see as when we do see, when we don’t hear as when we do hear.  So many years have passed and yet not only is the hiskashrus of Chassidim still strong, but each year there are more and more mekushorim, many of whom were not even born before Chof-Zayin Adar!  “The darkness is as light” (כחשיכה כאורה), the power of concealment which is above revelation.

Nothing was lost on Chof-Zayin Adar.  On the contrary: we set out on a path of establishing a greater level of connection with the Rebbe, a path upon which we proceed to this very day.  We do not need to cry out over the darkness, but rather we must “remind” Hashem that just as the power of concealment has an intent of its own, so does the power of revelation!  We can now, after Chof Zayin Adar, appreciate the power of concealment (which doesn’t actually conceal, but reveals a deeper level), and therefore we beseech Hashem that we should also have complete revelation: the true and complete Geuloh with the Rebbe Melech Hamoshiach, and we will gaze upon the beauty of our King!

 

Yechi Adoneinu Moreinu v’Rabbeinu Melech HaMoshiach L’olam Vo’ed!

Pekudei 5752: The Missing Parsha

The Dvar Malchus begins with Vayikra 5751, but where does it end?  The Parshas Vayakhel sicha is unfinished, and parshas Pekudei is missing (actually, “missing” is one of the definitions of the word*, as in יפקד מושבך).  What is the message?

Firstly, we could take note that the start of our Dvar Malchus cycle is parshas Vayikra.  This hints at the division of the Chasidishe Parsha, Torah Ohr and Likkutei Torah — the former covering Bereishis to Vayakhel, the latter Vayikra through the end.  In an odd turn of hashgacha protis, parshas Pekudei is absent from Torah Ohr (which covers all of Shemos) and appears in the other volume.

But more to the point, the Rebbe generally explains these two parshiyos (Vayakhel and Pekudei, which in many years are read together) as reflecting two distinct angles:

  • Vayakhel means “gathering” and speaks of unity and generality, where the individual elements are subdued in the whole.
  • Pekudei implies making an accounting of the individual elements, and in fact it is here that we learn the details: this many talents of silver, that many hooks and boards, etc.

The fact that our Dvar Malchus has Vayakhel but lacks Pekudei (when looked at in light of the content of all the sichas) implies that from the collective side of things, everything is in a state of Geulah: the aspect of Above to below, the “Nosi is everything” (הנשיא הוא הכל) which nullifies all the elements to the greater whole. You can find this expressed many times in these sichos.

What remains to be completed is the aspect of Pekudei: the completion and perfection of the parts, not as they are nullified to the greater whole but their own intrinsic importance as unique elements. Meaning our avodah, individually.  In the Rebbe’s words: “do all that you can” — you, personally and as an individual!  (Of course, merging the individual effort with the unity of Vayakhel, which is the reason that most years the two parshiyos are read together.)

What is needed now is for each one of us to reveal his spark of Moshiach through our own efforts, and not to expect someone else, not even Melech HaMoshiach, to do it for us. Avodah b’koach atzmo“, to reveal individually what has already been accomplished collectively. To bring — each one of us — Moshiach in actuality!

(Not only will this complete the aspect of “Pekudei”, but it brings about the completion and perfection of “Vayak’hel”, because the “incomplete” Sicha of Vayak’hel hints that even the aspect of “Above to below” remains incomplete as long as the “Pekudei” is lacking.  Completing the task of the mekabel (from below) adds to the perfection of the mashpia (Above).)

 

* Another meaning of Pekudei is connected with childbearing and the marital union, as in “Hashem remembered Sarah” (to bless her with a child) (ה’ פקד את שרה), and “a man must be intimate with his wife [before seeing out on a lengthy journey]” (יפקוד את אשתו).  In fact, this second meaning is mentioned in the Alter Rebbe’s drush on this parsha in Likkutei Torah, strengthening the connection between the parsha and these words.  This fits as a hint that although Parshas Pekudei is “missing”, and it might seem to some that the “husband” has gone on a journey leaving his wife alone — even so he must “be intimate with his wife” before departing (these Sichos of Dvar Malchus)  and even to the point of making her “pregnant” through this intimacy: pregnant with the true an complete Geuloh.

Vayakhel 5752: Ingathering of the Exiles Has Begun

The sicha that was said on Parshas Vayakhel, 5752 was never properly edited, due to the event of the following Monday,  27 Adar.  (On 27 Adar the Rebbe had a stroke while visiting the Ohel of his father-in-law, the Previous Rebbe).  Nevertheless, the brief overview (“rashei dvorim“) that was written up and presented to the Rebbe after Shabbos was (uncharacteristically) marked up by the Rebbe.  Thus, it passed before the Rebbe, and what needed correction was corrected.

In this overview of the sicha, it says:

…we see in recent years how there has been a “vayakhel” (gathering) in the simple meaning of the word — the ingathering of the exiles (“kibbutz goliyos”) of bnei Yisroel from the entire world, who are going up to Eretz Hakodesh.  This aliyah is incomparable to those that once were in the previous generations.  [To point out that Rabboseinu Nessienu were not in the Holy Land, not even for a visit, and even the trip taken by the Friedicker Rebbe was because he was unable to visit the resting places of his predecessors in Rostov, Lubavitch, and the like].

For all the prior years of the Rebbe’s leadership, the Rebbe was adamant in saying that Jews going to Israel is not the ingathering of the exiles (“kibbutz goliyos”), because the ingathering of the exiles must be done by Moshiach.  But here the Rebbe in fact calls it “kibbutz Goliyos”!?

We can say that what has changed is that now the aliyah — the Jews who were leaving the former Soviet Union, in particular — was coming about through Moshiach himself, and thus it does fulfill the requirement of Kibbutz Goliyos!

It should be noted that this expression, “Kibbutz Goliyos”, is of monumental significance.  One of the requirements of Moshiach to be identified as “certainly Moshiach” is that he gathers in the exiles.  As the Rambam says: “if he builds the Mikdash in its place and ingathers the exiles we know with certainty that he is Moshiach.”

In addition to this, the Rebbe explains in the Kuntreis Rabbeinu sh’b’Bavel that the Rambam rules that Moshiach “builds the Mikdash in its place”, a phrasing which allows itself to be read as “in his place”, referring to the small mikdash (מקדש מעט) in the time of golus, before the Geulah.  How “literally” to understand the Rebbe’s explanation there is strengthened by our sicha about Kibbutz Goliyos, because the Rebbe explains elsewhere (the Chassidic discourse “Gadol Yehiyeh Kavod Habayis Hazeh…”):

the Redemption, (the ingathering of the exiles,) will take place after building the Beis HaMikdash…this dimension comes about through the Third Beis HaMikdash…For the Third Beis HaMikdash, includes all the influences and qualities that will later be revealed.

Meaning that the Ingathering of the Exiles is fueled by the 3rd Beis Hamikdash, and if the Rebbe can say that it has begun then there must be a Mikdash built that is bringing it about.   Thus, we realize that 770 Eastern Parkway is not only the place where the Mikdash will be revealed in the future, but in fact it is presently — now — the Beis Hamidash in his place (the place of Moshiach before the Geuloh, in accordance with the halachic ruling of the Rambam)!  Because if the 3rd Beis Hamikdash was not present, there could not be Kibbutz Goliyos (as explained in the maamar quoted above).

 

Ki Sisa, 5752: Lift Up the Head of Bnei Yisroel

The sicha of parshas Ki Sisa, 5752 is the last fully-edited sicha we received from the Rebbe until now.  The Rebbe also farbrenged on Shabbos Veyakhel, the following week, but due to the stroke that sicha was not edited by the Rebbe (although the Rebbe did read and, uncharacteristically, comment on the “rashei dvorim” (overview) that was written up Motzie Shabbos).*

In this sicha the Rebbe perhaps hints at the events of 27 Adar I, and later Gimmel Tammuz by speaking of the descent for the sake of ascent and mentioning the verse “for a fleeting moment I abandoned you”:

Since this descent is merely a means to lead to a greater ascent, it is brief — to borrow a phrase “for a fleeting moment I abandoned you.” The ascent which follows it, by contrast, is eternal. This pattern will be expressed in the ultimate Redemption. It has been preceded by an awesome descent, this present exile, but it will lead to a great and eternal ascent, “a redemption never to be followed by exile.”

The sicha, as the Parsha, speaks of the sin of the Golden Calf, and although the Rebbe doesn’t mention this we know that the sin came about because Moshe Rabbeinu failed to come back down from the mountain at the time the Bnei Yisroel thought he had said.  Because they lost faith in Moshe they sinned with the Golden Calf.  As mentioned in various sources, the period when Moshiach is concealed is, among other things, an opportunity to rectify this failure–by waiting for Moshiach and not losing faith.

There is also a reference to the bodily refinement that Moshe underwent on the mountain, and that once there is no need for further refining of the world (“avodas habirurim is finished”), then Moshe can “drop the mask” which he wore and reveal his true essence.  A strong hint, perhaps, to how we relate to the Rebbe in this period of, apparent, concealment:

…this revelation [of the 2nd tablets which Moshe himself carved] reflects a fusion of materiality and spirituality which brought about an elevation within the physical person of Moshe himself causing his face to shine.  Indeed, this revelation was so great that it was necessary for Moshe to place a veil over his face. This veil was necessary, however, only when Moshe and the Jewish people were involved with worldly matters, the refinement of the world at large. When Moshe communicated G‑d’s word to the people, he would remove this veil.

Moreover, even in regard to the world at large, this concealment is not a permanent factor. Ultimately, through the Jews’ service in refining and elevating the world, they make it possible for there to be a revelation of G‑dliness within the context of our worldly environment. This process will be consummated in the Era of the Redemption when “Your Master will no longer conceal Himself and your eyes will behold your Master,” “the glory of G‑d will be revealed and all flesh will see.”

Furthermore, the verse reads “Ki Sisa es rosh bnei Yisroel”, which is translated as a command to “elevate the heads of bnei Yisroel”.  But “rosh bnei Yisroel” (as the Rebbe states elsewhere, but not in this sicha) is an acronym for “Rebbe”, meaning that the verse can be read “elevate the Rebbe…“!

The sicha also refers several times to the final verse of the Torah (“in the eyes of all of Israel”).  The simple reason is because Rashi on that verse mentions the breaking of the first tablets, which occurs in our parsha.  But, on a deeper level, we see two hints:

  1. A hint to this being the “final sicha” of the Dvar Malchus cycle, which is itself a taste of the “new Torah of Moshiach”, as discussed in this post, that the “first sicha” of the cycle begins with a discussion of Bereishis.
  2. A hint to the idea that all of the revelations of the Geulah, which the Rebbe says have already come into the world, are not in a state of completion until they are visible and revealed “in the eyes of all of Israel”.  The Torah as a whole, and this “Torah of Moshiach” of Dvar Malchus, concludes when the Jewish people, with their own effort, bring about that the Geulah, which is already here, becomes revealed to their eyes.  In other words: “all that remains is to open up the eyes”.

* Interesting to note that there were two times the Rebbe was concealed from Chassidim.  The first occurred in 5738 due to the heart attack, the second on 27 Adar I, 5752 due to a stroke.  A fourteen year difference (gematria “Chabad”), and (in simple, physical terms as they appear to us) a progression from a “heart-related” issue (cardiac arrest) to a “brain-related” issue (stroke).

Tetzave 5752: The Day the Essence is Revealed

There are two edited Sichos for Parshas Tetzave 5752.  The first combines several talks given on the days leading up to (and including) Shabbos, whereas the second was said entirely on Shabbos.  They are very different in subject and style, but bound together by a common theme: the Essence of the soul and it’s connection to Hashem’s Essence.

The first Sicha opens with the famous fact that Moshe Rabbeinu’s name does not appear even once in our parsha.  Among the answers given by commentators are that a) it always falls it close to 7 Adar, the day Moshe passed away; and, b) it is in some way a fulfillment of Moshe’s bold statement to Hashem “erase me from Your book” (מחני נא מספרך) if He will not forgive Bnei Yisroel.  More on this later.

The Rebbe then addresses 7 Adar, which is not only the day Moshe passed away; it is also his birthday.  As the Sages tell us: when Haman’s lottery fell out in Adar he was very happy, since this was the month when the Rebbe of the Jews passed away, but he didn’t know that on 7 Adar he [Moshe] died, and on 7 Adar he was born — and the day of his birth is sufficient to rectify the day of his death (כדאי הלידה שתכפר על המיתה).  The Rebbe questions, then, using the proximity of Moshe’s passing as a reason for his name not appearing in our parsha: why should the parsha near 7 Adar contain a hint to Moshe’s passing? Why not his birth (which rectifies his death)?  The other reason (“erase me from Your book”) is also questioned: it is recorded in another parsha altogether!  But, reasons the Rebbe, since they are both given as a reason for the same event, they must be connected. And the Rebbe patiently reveals to us how.

The birth of Moshe in the month of Adar causes the cancellation of Haman’s decree.  Haman was happy with this month for an additional reason: every other month has a special merit (Nissan has Pesach, for example) or a powerful mazal.  But Adar has neither merit not mazal (אדר אין לו זכות ואין לו מזל).  The Rebbe explains that Adar doesn’t have merit or mazal because it doesn’t need them — on Moshe’s birthday his mazal is powerful (מזלו גובר), and since “Moshe is Yisroel and Yisroel is Moshe” the mazal of all of Yisroel is powerful in this month.

What is the mazal of Yisroel? “Mazal” refers to the root of the neshoma Above.  So when we learn that “there is no mazal for Yisroel” (unlike the other nations who have a particular astrological force as their mazal), it means that the Jewish people is higher than these constellations.  The word “ein” אין means “is not” but can also be read as “ayin” — nothingness, a level above the grasp of human intellect.  The Mazal of Yisroel is “ayin”, above the mazalos of the Nations, above the grasp of the intellect, the level of “Above name” (the level where Hashem does not need a name, since nothing else exists there).

The birth of Moshe Rabbeinu (7 Adar) hints at the revelation of the essence of the neshoma, which takes place at birth (when the child does not yet have a name).  It is the revelation of the essence of his existence, and also of Yisroel, which reaches above Hashem’s name (or need for a name): where they are one with His essence (עצמותו יתברך).

So the absence of Moshe’s name in our parsha is connected with it’s proximity to his birth — meaning the revelation of the Essence of his being which is higher than and beyond his need for a name (thus, it doesn’t appear).

And what about the other reason given for Moshe’s name not appearing: his bold declaration of “erase me from Your book”?  Explains the Rebbe, this, too, is connected with the same nekuda.  The day Moshe was born refers to the revelation of his essence (התגלות העצם), which is connected with the essence of Yisroel, and it is the reason for his mesirus nefesh (“erase my name…”) on behalf of the Yidden.  Thus, his birth on 7 Adar — the revelation of his essence and the essence of Yisroel — is what brought him to say “erase my name…”, and thus it is the most fitting time for its symbolic fulfillment: his name not appearing in the parsha.  When? Close to the same revelation of the essence that caused it!

All of this connects to the second Sicha through the same nekudah: the essence of the soul.  The Rebbe examines the Ketores, the 11 spices that were burnt on the golden altar inside the Beis haMikdosh.  The offering of the Ketores is “the main intent of the Mishkan”, and until this avoidah was performed the Shechina did not dwell in the Mishkan.

“Ketores” is from the root meaning “connection”, which the Rebbe explains as the connection of the essence of the soul (עצם הנשמה) with Hashem.

When are the Ketores offered? According to the Rambam, the Seder is that after the sprinkling of the blood of the Tamid sacrifice: 5 of the 7 lamps of the menorah are kindled*, then the Ketores is offered, then the last 2 lamps of the menorah are lit.  The lighting of the lamps of the menorah, explains the Rebbe, refers to neshomos Yisroel in keeping Torah and Mitzvos.

We are left with a question: why is there a need for a “break” in the middle of kindlng the lamps of the Menorah for the offering of Ketores?  Why is there a break for the connection of the essence of the soul (Ketores) in the midst of lighting up Jewish souls through Torah and Mitzvos?  Says the Rebbe: this “break” is to accomplish the main purpose of the Mishkan, which is the indwelling of the Shechina in the world, reflecting complete hiskashrus with Hashem (Ketores) being revealed in the world (the lamps, Torah and Mitzvos).

We might also find a hint here for the situation that would begin two weeks later in Adar 5752, continuing through Gimmel Tammuz, and into our present moment: the “break” that occurs in the middle of lighting up the world (the lamps), at which time the Kohen “disappears” from sight to perform the avoidah of “hiskashrus of the Essence” (ketores, which is performed alone — no one is allowed to see him [“there will not be any man in the Tent of Meeting”]).  Then, while the Kohen who is bringing the Ketores is still out of sight, the last two lamps are kindled (assisted, the Rebbe says, by the avoidah of the Ketores). This could be hinting at our avodah of “hiskashrus of the essence of the neshoma” during the time the Rebbe is out of sight, and our job to imbue this into our lighting up the world through Torah and Mitzvos. And then, “after the completion of kindling the lamps the two of them go out together…that through the lamps will also be drawn down and revealed the level of hiskashrus and connection which occurs via the Ketores.”

(For greater elaboration on the reason for Moshiach bring concealed, see the kuntres “Between Golus and Geuloh”)

* The Rambam holds that הטבת הנרות includes lighting them, see footnote 11 in the Sicha.

Terumah 5752: Every Jew Is — And Needs To Be — Wealthy

Upon leaving Mitzrayim, the Jewish people became wealthy. First, they asked for the valuables of the Egyptians (who, as we know, were happy to give them away as long as the Bnei Yisroel would leave and the plagues would end), and afterwards the wealth of the Egyptians who were drowned at the sea was gathered. The result: “there wasn’t a single member of Yisroel that didn’t have with him 90 Libyan donkeys laden with the silver and gold of Mitzrayim”.1

When we arrive to our parsha, the contributions to the building of the Mishkan, we find that the Torah tells us that Yisroel gave “gold, silver, and copper”. The question the Rebbe asks is: why begin with gold? More copper and silver were given, so why not go in order of quantity of donations? If in order of rarity, then precious stones should come first, but in fact they follow after the precious metals. Why start with gold, then proceed to lesser materials — silver and copper — and then list materials that are even more rare (which not every member of Bnei Yisroel possessed).

The Rebbe proceeds to answer that gold, silver and copper appear first because everyone had these materials to contribute and gold, being the most precious of these, appears first. More than that, we find a lesson that every Jew possesses the “gold-standard” of serving Hashem. A Jew is supposed to serve Hashem for His own sake (lishma), not for personal benefit. Nonetheless, our sages say that even if one is not holding on the level of lishma he should at least serve Hashem lo lishma (“not for His own sake” — for reward, or to avoid punishment) because this will lead him to eventually reach the level of lishma.

…the Rambam explains “therefore when one is teaching children and women and those lacking spiritual refinement (כלל עמי הארץ) one teaches them to serve out of fear, etc., until their knowledge will increase and they will become wiser…until they will grasp [the proper way] and [begin to] serve Hashem from love.” The reason is that from within “lo lishma“, meaning what is inside the (service of Hashem in a way of) “lo lishma” is “lishma“.

The level of serving Hashem “lishma“, the level of gold, is really found by every Jew.  Some of us have it revealed, while in others it is still concealed.  But every Jew is “wealthy in his essence”, meaning it is inherently his, not received from another source2.  Furthermore, one’s material wealth comes from the spiritual wealth a Jew inherently possesses.  Why is this so?  Because “even on the lowest levels, in the world that in its external aspect appears as a concealment on G-dliness, he is connected to the Holy One, blessed be He.”  This inherent connection is what makes every Jew rich, both spiritually and materially.  The implications for us are that:

Every single member of Yisroel needs to be in a state of wealth, both spiritually and materially — wealth in the simple sense!  More than that: not only that he needs this — but every single member of Yisroel has wealth in actuality.  Even if it is not found in a revealed state in physicality–this is not because it doesn’t exist, G-d forbid, but rather because the Jew needs to reveal it through his own effort…  It is certain that the Holy One, blessed be He, blesses every single member of Yisroel with wealth of gold materially and spiritually…

From this we immediately see an instruction–that a Jew needs to make an effort to be wealthy in actuality in all of his matters, beginning with spiritual wealth, “there is no rich person except in knowledge”, to be wealthy in Torah and Mitzvos, until even material wealth, so that he can fulfill Torah and Mitzvos with peace of mind and comfortably, and so that he can give abundant tzedaka and fulfill Mitzvos in the most preferred manner (b’hiddur), to take advantage of this wealth in order to make his private home a dwelling place and mikdash for Hashem.

terumah5752

Since every Jew is in essence spiritually wealthy, and since material wealth derives from spiritual wealth, then if he will reveal his spiritual wealth through Torah and Mitzvos, it will follow that he will become materially wealthy as well!3


1) Bechoros 5b.

2) See Kuntres Yud-Alef Nissan 5751, Tefilla L’Moshe, ois 3.

3) See Likutei Sichos volume I, p. 289: “The miraculous event [performed by Rashbi] of ‘valley, valley, fill with golden dinars’ is that it occurred for Rashbi’s students who were still on a level of golus.  The proof–they were troubled by material matters (a colleague who went abroad and returned wealthy).  Whereas in the future it will be completely irrelevant to be troubled by such things, as the Rambam states that the longing of the sages for the days of Moshiach is not because of material abundance, since at that time they will be satisfied with a little.”

Thoughts on the 22 Shevat Sicha

In the Sicha of 22 Shevat (which we summarize in the article 22 Shevat: The Ultimate Unification) the Rebbe explains the 3 stages that correspond to the dates 10, 11 and 22 Shevat.  Briefly, they are the stages of:

a) Preparing the recipient (“10”) to receive the great revelation;

b) The initial revelation of “11” itself.  It is in a way where the recipient is elevated up to the level of “11” (rather than integrating it into is own reality). It remains separate from the “11”, but also loses its importance as it is subsumed into the matters of the “11”; and,

c) The ultimate unity, when the “11” is fully revealed in the reality of and in the inyonim of the “10”; they become as one, yet the “10” is neither nullified out of existence nor does it lose its importance.

One can learn these deep concepts and be left wondering what they mean practically.  We will attempt to bring these ideas down, and illustrate what they mean (בדרך אפשר) in the relationship of Chassidim to the Rebbe.

3 Stages in the Avoidah of Chassidim

1)Until Yud Shevat the Chassidim had the avoidah to work on themselves, seichel and Midos, to prepare themselves for the Geuloh (עמדו הכן כולכם).  This was the avoidah of the 6th generation, where the difference in the roles of the Chassidim and the Rebbe was emphasized. This avoidah, the preparation of the recipient (“10”),  was was completed upon the histalkus of the Previous Rebbe on Yud Shevat.

2) Beginning with 11 Shevat, the Nesius of the Rebbe מה”מ, the avoidah of the 7th generation begins: the emphasis is not on one’s avoidah with himself, but on one’s task to influence the world around.  This is most pronounced in the inyan of Shlichus, where the Shliach puts aside the shleimos of his personal avoidah in order to become an emissary and representative of the Rebbe מה”מ.  This matches what the Rebbe says about the “10” being subsumed into the “11”: the Shliach’s personal life and interests are subsumed into the Rebbe’s concerns. The Shliach and the one who sent him now share a common avoidah, moreso than in the previous generation, but it is really the avoidah of the Rebbe into which the Shliach is subsumed and thus they remain 2 separate entities;

3) After 22 Shevat the emphasis on Moshiach shifts into high gear, ascending from year to year, with an increasing emphasis on the avoidah being “from their own effort” (בכֹח עצמם), and amazing explanations of the revelation of Atzmus and the unification of the mashpia and the mekabel.  Of course, all this takes on a new dimension after Gimmel Tammuz, when Chassidim are “forced” to proceed without “giluyim” and the Rebbe’s inyonim are now their own inyonim.  The border between Rebbe and Chosid becomes increasingly obscured as the Rebbe becomes more and more revealed in the actions of the Chosid, yet the reality of the Chosid is not nullified.

These thoughts are for your consideration, your own comments are welcome!

22 Shevat: The Ultimate Unification

In the sicha related to the 4th yahrtzeit of the Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka (22 Shevat, 5752), the Rebbe reveals amazing things about this event, the date it took place, and what these mean for us.

The date of the Rebbetzin’s passing is found in the same month two other epochal events: Yud Shevat, the Hilulla of the Previous Rebbe, and Yud-Alef Shevat, the day when the Rebbe MHM officially accepted leadership and inaugurated the 7th generation — Dor Hashvii.  The Rebbe explains the deeper significance of these events on these dates, and how they relate to the Geuloh.

First of all, while we generally view the Rebbetzin as the Rebbe’s wife, the Rebbe in this sicha identifies her primarily as the daughter of the Previous Rebbe.  Her passing comes as a continuation of, and an addition to, the great elevation that occurred on her father’s Hilulla, Yud Shevat.

To give us insight as to what is going on “behind the curtains”, the Rebbe explains that there are two dimensions of a “dwelling place in the lower realms” (דירה בתחתונים):

a) a revelation of Hashem’s essence (עצמותו יתברך), and

b) this revelation drawn down below.

More specifically:

1) A dwelling place for Him (but not Him Himself, so to speak);

2) the revelation of His Essence itself (עצמותו יתברך).

These correspond to what was explained in the sicha of Parshas Yisro, describing the first and last Aseres haDibros (first from Hashem, later via Moshe), which are reflected in the numbers 10 (the world) and 11 (transcending world).

As explained there, the Aseres haDibros were given twice in order that they could be internalized by Bnei Yisroel without the recipients being overwhelmed by the great revelation from Above.  In the Rebbe’s words:

The ultimate [Divine] intent is that Bnei Yisroel, by their own effort and with their own power (עבודתם בכח עצמם)…will draw down the revelation of 11 by making the 10 (tachton) a fitting vessel for receiving this revelation of 11…

This is the basis to explain the significance of the 3 periods which the Rebbe identifies in the sicha: the 10th, 11th, and 22nd of Shevat.

  1. The 10th day of the 11th month (Shevat), meaning the “chiddush” (from “chodesh”, month) of 11 being drawn down and revealed in the world (10).  The avoidah until Yud Shevat was focused on preparing the world (10) to be fitting to receive the revelation of 11 (transcending world) without being nullified out of existence.  The emphasis is on the 10, the receiver, and there is an emphasis on the difference between the level of 10 and the level of 11.
  2. The 11th day of the 11th month, which implies a revelation of the 11 itself, which in turn elevates the 10, but in a way where the 10 loses its importance in the place of the 11.
  3. The ultimate goal, the perfect unity and connection — when the “dwelling place” is united with “the One Who dwells” (Hashem’s Essence), referred to in Chassidus as “the created sense of reality is one thing with the true reality” (היש הנברא הוא דבר אחד עם היש האמיתי).  The Yidden (the “dwelling place”) fully unified with Hashem’s Essence.

Interestingly, the Rebbe then repeats this explanation in a slightly different way:

  1. 10th — Finishing the last remnants of golus, drawing down 11 into 10 but where they remain two separate things (from the view of the tachton), the 11 not being completely invested into the world;
  2. 11th — the elevation of the tachton to the level of the 11, the revelation (only) of the aspect of 11 that is shayach to 10;
  3. 22nd — the perfect shleimus of 10 and 11 (reflected in the number 22, which is two times 11).  This is the unification of both the level of 11 which is shayach to the world, and a second time via the effort of Bnei Yisroel (on their own) to draw it down — which is a higher level, even higher than the Aseres haDibros.  Meaning that through the 22 letters of the Torah that a Yid studies, he becomes unified with Hashem’s Essence.

“After 22 Shevat it brought about (פעל) the last stage in preparing the world for Geuloh”.  This last stage is our Avoidah now.  The task is not to prepare the tachton (ourselves and the world), since this has already been completed.  Nor is it to elevate the tachton (while it remains separate and subsumed in the revelation of 11), since this has also been done.  Rather, the Avoidah now depends on the effort of the Yidden themselves: that by our own effort we bring about the unification of these levels, to where the mekabel becomes unified with the mashpia (see Parshas Vayishlach).  (Which is emphasized in this sicha as pertaining to Torah study.)

The last stage has already begun, it only depends on our effort!

 

(For some insights on how to understand the stages that the Rebbe describes here, visit this post: Thoughts on the 22 Shevat Sicha)

Mishpotim 5752: Moshiach is Affecting the Nations of the World

On Erev Shabbos Mishpatim, 5752 (January 31, 1992) something was announced in the world that had no historic precedent: a decision by world leaders, in particular the leaders of the United States and of Russia, to reduce their weapons stockpiles.  The Rebbe speaks of this in the sicha, calling it a “new epoch in international relations — eliminating a state of wars between the countries of the world, illustrated by the reduction and destruction of weaponry…”  

We see a promise of such things in the prophecies of Geulah, such as “They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore”, which “is a matter which will be through the actions of Melech Hamoshiach himself.”  That Moshiach himself, the Rebbe explains, is the one who brings about peace between the nations, until the point of converting weapons into means for supporting the population.

While one could mistakenly view this as merely a political development, the Rebbe points out that this is “a clear sign of the beginning of the fulfillment of this promise in the true and complete Geulah via Moshiach Tzidkeinu…we already see (a taste) and the beginning of the actions of Melech Hamoshiach on the nations(!).  The prophet’s Messianic vision of peace between nations is beginning to be fulfilled, something which does not happen until the time of the true and complete Geulah, and which is brought about by Moshiach himself.  And it is happening in our times, in the eyes of the world!

The Rebbe further connects this with the Nosi of our generation, the Previous Rebbe, the Moshiach of our generation, because this development is connected with the United Nations, which was established in the same city in which the Previous Rebbe chose to settle.  [Note that the location of the United Nations building, United Nations Plaza on First Avenue in New York, was previously known by its street address: 770 First Avenue.]  That through the Rebbe’s efforts the task of refining the world has been completed “until the completion and finishing of all the avodah of our generation over 42 years…”, and we see it manifest in this decision of the nations of the world to reduce armaments, that “the entire world is fitting and prepared for the beginning of the actions of Melech Hamoshiach.”

There has to be, though, a recognition that it is not sufficient that such things as making peace and reducing arms make sense to the human mind, but that these are part of the promises of the Torah about the Messianic era.

The Rebbe drops another bombshell:

We could say that the decision and announcement by leaders of the nations of the world about the state of “beating swords into plowshares”, is a result of the decision and announcement of “the kings, the Rabbis” that “behold this one (Melech Hamoshiach) comes”, which begins with the halachic ruling (psak din) of my father-in-law Nosi Doreinu that we have long completed our deeds and avodah over the time of golus and we are already prepared to greet Moshiach Tzidkeinu, and also the psak din of the Rabbonim of the Jewish nation [who have ruled] that the time of the Geulah has arrived, “a king will stand up from the house of Dovid…we assume that he is Moshiach” until the state of “behold this is with certainty Moshiach” [Rambam, hilchos Melachim, ch. 11] — a ruling “from Sinai” which is drawn down and permeates the worldy dimension, to such an extent that the leaders of the nations of the world decide and announce in their own opinion about “beating their swords into plowshares”.

mishpotim5752

The leaders of the nations of the world came to their own conclusion that they should reduce armaments because a) the work of refining the world has been completed; and b) “as a result of the psak din* of Torah regarding the coming of Moshiach Tzidkeinu.”

We are witnessing the beginning of the fulfillment of a prophecy pertaining to the Geulah, which is being brought about by Moshiach himself through the instrument of the halachic ruling of Rabbonim. Because a halachic ruling is binding and creates the reality of the world, and a Rov must rule according to his own understanding and not “blind faith”, thus the psak din that Moshiach draws this down into the world with the power of Torah, creating a reality whereby the leaders of the nations of the world themselves begin to act in accordance with the prophecies of the Messianic era!


* The Rebbe is referring to a halachic ruling (psak din) signed in 5751 (1991) by a number of Rabbonim that Moshiach should be revealed.  Read the details in the booklet “The Facts Behind the Psak”.  In addition, there is a more recent Psak Din that the Rebbe is Moshiach, signed by over 100 Rabbinic figures, among them R’ Yoram Abergel, z”l, and the Biala Rebbe.]

 Text of the Psak Din referred to by the Rebbe:
We, the undersigned, have already issued a clear p’sak din that in accordance with the Torah of Truth, the coming of Moshiach and the building of the Third Beis HaMikdash must happen immediately mamash. All the appointed times have passed, the Jewish people have already done t’shuva, and all the other required conditions for the coming of Moshiach have been fulfilled, as explained in the aforementioned p’sak din. Many of the great poskim of our generation in Jewish communities from every corner of the world have joined [this effort] and have signed this p’sak din.
Furthermore, according to the Rambam’s clear p’sak din in “Hilchos Melachim” 11:4, “If there should arise a king from the House of Dovid, who is expert in Torah, involved in mitzvos as Dovid his father, in accordance with the Written and Oral Torah, compels all of Israel to go in its path and strengthen it, and fights the battles of G-d, he is presumed to be Moshiach. If he succeeds and builds the Beis HaMikdash in its place and gathers Jews from afar, he is certainly Moshiach.”
According to the law of the Torah of Truth, it is clear that this halacha of “presumed to be Moshiach” applies to the Rebbe shlita, as all the aforementioned conditions listed in Rambam have been fulfilled in the Rebbe shlita.
According to the law of our Holy Torah, the time of the Redemption  has already arrived, as declared in piskei din by the great poskim of as already arrived, as declared in piskei din by the great poskim of our generation mentioned above (and the Rebbe shlita accepted these piskei din as halacha, as he said publicly on numerous occasions during farbrengens). This means that the stage of “presumed to be Moshiach” has already been completed. If so, it is clear that according to the law of our Holy Torah in practical halacha, the time for the fulfillment of the continuation of this halacha has arrived: the process of the Redemption of Israel in actual deed, which will be completed with the building of the Third Beis HaMikdash and the gathering of Jews from the Exile.

Yisro 5752: Dwelling-Place and the One Who Dwells There

This sicha focuses on the 10 Commandments (“Aseres Hadibros“) and their connection with Hashem’s desire for a “dwelling place down below” דירה בתחתונים.

There are two versions of the Dibros: those spoken by Hashem (in parshas Yisro), and those repeated by Moshe Rabbeinu in parshas V’eschanon.  The Rebbe refers to them as the “first Dibros” and the “last Dibros”.  Each version expresses something different: the first Dibros coming from Hashem Himself on Har Sinai, and the second spoken by Moshe “with slight changes”.

The goal of creation is to create a dwelling place in the lower worlds.  This means that just as a person’s essence is truly “at home” in his own dwelling place, we find the same by Hashem.  Explains the Rebbe: the true “dwelling place” for Hashem’s essence (“Atzmus“) is the Yidden themselves.  Why?  Because the Yidden are (“so to speak”) one thing with Atzmus (as is stated in the Zohar “Yisroel and the Holy One, Blessed be He, are all One”).  Furthermore, this enables them to make the world itself into a dwelling place down below — a “dira b’tachtonim”.

This is reflected in our two versions of the Aseres Hadibros: The first Dibros, which were heard from Hashem, give the power to make a “dwelling place for Him, may He be blessed  His — Essence” (דירה לו, יתברך — לו לעצמותו).  The last Dibros, spoken by Moshe Rabbeinu, give the power to the Yidden to affect the world on its own terms, since Moshe himself is found below.

We find here two concepts: a dwelling-place, and that it should be “down below”.  The special quality of the first Dibros (“G-d spoke all these things…”) is that they are a revelation drawn down from Hashem’s very essence (עצמוצתו ומהותו) without any intermediary at all, not even the “ish Elokim”, the G-dly man Moshe.  Even though Moshe is an “intermediary who connects“, and the Shechina is speaking from his throat, nonetheless there is some measure of change that occurs through him.  The special quality of the first Dibros is that they come direct, straight from Hashem Himself.  The drawback is that they nullified our existence and “with each speaking, their souls flew out” (פרחה נשמתן).  The special quality of the last Dibros is that the Yidden can receive them and internalize them without being nullified out of existence.

In the “dwelling place down below” itself there are two dimensions: a) the dwelling place itself (which must be “down below”), and b) the one who dwells there.  The dwelling place is not part of the dweller himself, it is separate from him and remains “tachton” — “down below”.  The last Dibros which we received from Moshe Rabbeinu are more the aspect of “down below”: we can internalize them better (as mentioned above), but they are not a revelation of “the One who dwells” in the dwelling place.  In contrast, the first Dibros are the dimension of a dwelling place for a revelation of the essence (“Atzmuso u-mehuso“) — Hashem Himself.

We could say that the last Dibros allow us to better understand and grasp what Hashem is telling us, but it’s not Hashem Himself.  Like one who hears a translation and explanation of the Rebbe’s sicha: he can understand the subject quite well, he can even ask questions and receive clear answers; but the experience doesn’t compare to hearing it directly from the Rebbe himself.

As emphasized in most of the Dvar Malchus sichos, the Rebbe asserts that neither one of these dimensions is by itself complete.  Rather, the ultimate perfection is through the unity of both of them: the revelation of Hashem’s essence without a need for Moshe Rabbeinu (like the first Dibros), but in a way where the tachton is not nullified out of existence and the message can be internalized.  In such a unity, the “tachton” becomes a “channel” for Hashem’s speech, speech which comes from “Atzmuso u-mehuso” (“the One who dwells”), until it reaches the point that a Yid is, so to speak, one with the Eybershter.

This is also expressed in the numbers 10 and 11 (relevant to the luminescent days of Yud Shevat (the passing and Hillula of the Previous Rebbe in 5710) and Yud-Alef Shevat (the next day the following year when the Rebbe מה”מ accepted the position of Rebbe)).  The 10 Dibros given at Chorev (referring to Har Sinai) correspond to the 10 sefiros.  The number 11 (as stated in the posuk “eleven days journey to Chorev”) refers to the level of Kesser (the “Crown”) which is above all the sefiros in our Seder Hishtalshelus.  Their unification means drawing down the 11 (“Kesser“), the “transcending powers” (כוחות המקיפין) into our familiar world of 10 sefiros (“tachtonim“) down below.

Yud Shevat (the 10th of Shevat, the passing of the Previous Rebbe) is connected with the completion of the dimension of the last Dibros: making the world into a dwelling place.  The day of 11 Shevat (the acceptance of leadership by the Rebbe מה”מ) is the aspect of the first Dibros: drawing down Hashem’s essence (עצמותו יתברך) — the One who dwells — into the dwelling.  The Rebbe adds:

“And we could say, that this is like the special quality and chiddush ofyisro5752_yiddish the speaking of the first Dibros by G-d (the aspect of 11), after the last Dibros were also said [already] by Moshe (the aspect of 10).

This amazing insight implies that the previous generation could only hear the word of Hashem through the holy intermediary of Moshe, ish haElokim; whereas, in our generation we hear it directly from Hashem’s Essence!

 

 

 

 


The Rebbe also explains that when we say that Moshiach should come immediately, the word in the Holy Tongue (“מיד“) is also an acronym (“rashei teivos”) for:

מ — Moshiach (footnote 96 here: “to point out that ‘his name is Menachem’ (Sanhedrin 98b)” [להעיר שמנחם שמו]),

י — both names of the Previous Rebbe [“Yosef Yitzchok”], and

ד — their generation (דורם) [meaning that they lived in the same generation].