Shavuos 5751: “The New Torah That Will Go Forth From Me”

One of the most prominent features of the Messianic era is the spreading forth of Divine knowledge.  It begins with Moshiach Tzidkeinu himself (“he will possess great wisdom greater than Shlomo Hamelech, and will be a great Prophet (Novi) close to [and exceeding] Moshe Rabbeinu”), and proceeds to the entire Jewish nation (“Yisroel will be great sages and will know the hidden things and will grasp the knowledge of their Creator according to their [individual] ablity”).  This is expressed by the verse in Yeshaya “Because Torah will go forth from Me” (“כי תורה מאתי תצא”), upon which the Midrash explains “A new Torah will come forth from Me, innovation in Torah (chiddush Torah) will go forth from Me” (תורה חדשה מאתי תצא, חידוש תורה מאתי תצא).  [As explained in many places in Chassidus, the “new Torah” refers to new and deeper understanding of the very same Torah that was given to Moshe Rabbeinu at Har Sinai: the very same Torah, the very same letters, etc.]

PROPHECY AND HALACHA

The Rebbe explains that there are two aspects to the chiddush Torah: the newly revealed secrets of the Torah, and chiddush in halacha (specifically the shechting of the Shor Habar with the fins of the Leviyoson, as the Rebbe will explain in depth.)

That Moshiach will reveal secrets of Torah is readily understood.  But to say that he will make innovations in halacha presents a difficulty, because (as mentioned above) Moshiach is a Novi and there is a priciple that a Novi is not permitted to make innovations in halacha (אלה המצוות, אין נביא רשאי לחדש עוד דבר מעתה).  Furthermore, what is the idea of an innovation in Torah anyway?!  The entire Torah (including the future innovations of a  sage, “talmid vosik“) was given to Moshe Rabbeinu on Har Sinai — so what room is there to “innovate”?

The answer the Rebbe gives is that the effort of the talmid vosik to find and reveal the answer (using the 13 rules through which the Torah is explained) makes it his own chiddush.  On a deeper level, such a chiddush is only revealing something that was “concealed, but existing” (העלם שישנו במציאות).  Meaning that using the tools of the 13 rules the human intellect is capable of revealing this concept.  But in the Messianic Era, the chiddush will come from the level of things which are “concealed, and not in existence” (העלם שאינו במציאות).  Meaning that human intellect could never arrive at such a conclusion, it must be revealed into human intellect from Above by the Holy One, blessed be He.  Thus the midrash tells us that this new dimension of Torah comes “from Me” (from Above) and “goes forth” — goes out into human intellect.

This also answers the difficulty of Moshiach as a Novi making innovations in halacha: the revelation of prophecy to Moshiach (revelation of Hashem from Above) does not remain “Above” (in which case it has no bearing on halacha), but rather: Moshiach draws it into the understanding of his own intellect, and proceeds to teaches it to the people, enabling the masses to understand these Divine revelations with their own human intellect.  Once it becomes understood with the human mind, it is “not in the heavens” (לא בשמים היא) and thus is valid to make halachic rulings.

Based on what was explained above, we can understand how in the Messianic Era it will be permissible to shecht the Shor Habar with the fins of the Leviyoson (a shechita which now would be forbidden because it is not kosher to shecht with a jagged edge): it will be revealed that the halachos of shechita never pertained to this shechita (of the Shor Habar).  An example of such a thing: halacha rules that shechita is forbidden on Shabbos.  In a case of saving a life there is a special heter which permits it.  But this halacha never referred to the shechting of korbanos — it is permitted to do so on Shabbos without the need for a special heter (since the halacha, from the outset, never applied to this shechita of korbonos).  Similarly, the halacha that shechting with a jagged edge is not kosher never pertained to the shechting of the Shor Habar.

BEIS SHAMMAI and BEIS HILLEL

What is the connection between the two dimensions of the future Chiddush Torah: the secrets and the halacha (since they are referred to together in the same posuk)?  The Rebbe explains that this can be understood by examining the difference between Beis Shamai and Beis Hillel.  As is known, Beis Shamai ruled very strictly in almost every case, whereas Beis Hillel ruled leniently.  Furthermore, the sages tell us that the halacha is (with a few specific exceptions) according to Beis Hillel.

Beis Shamai’s strictness comes from the fact that they rule in accordance with Pnimiyus Hatorah, whereas Beis Hillel rule according to Nigleh, the revealed dimension of Torah.  Beis Shamai were “sharper”, so there was a basis that halacha should go according to their opinion.  But the halacha is like Beis Hillel because they were the majority, which the Rebbe explains to mean that their reasoning could be understood by the majority.  (Similarly, we find that although Rebbi Meir was greatly praised as being unique in his generation, the halacha does not go with his opinion — because the majority of sages could not grasp the depth of his reasoning.)

The halacha like Beis Hillel is true until in the Messianic Era. But in the time of Moshiach the halacha will be like Beis Shamai, because their sharper reasoning will be grasped by the majority (ultimately everyone will grasp it).  We learn from this the crucial point that a halachic ruling must be in accordance with what the Rov understands.  A Rov must use his intellect to arrive at his decision, not his kabbolos ‘ol to the Rebbe (which hopefully he has — he can save it for other things, but not halachic rulings).  [Interesting to note that even when the Rebbe “guided” Rabbonim to certain rulings (such as ruling that those coming from Eretz Yisroel should keep two days of Yom Tov when they come to the Rebbe), the rulings still had to be halachically sound and not just because “the Rebbe said”.  And we can learn from here as regards the Psak Din on Moshiach…]

The Rebbe raises here another two questions: Since Beis Shamai is almost always more strict, why are we saying that in the Messianic Era (when his opinion will be halacha), the shechita of the Shor Habar with the fins of the Leviyoson will be permitted— this is not more strict, it is more lenient!  And even more: why do we need to be strict in the Messianic era when there will be no more evil?!

THE FUTURE REFUGE CITIES (AREI MIKLOT)

The revealed dimension of Torah, Nigleh, deals with revealed good and revealed evil.  Pnimiyus HaTorah deals with hidden good and hidden evil.

Both of these concepts are expressed in the mitzvah of establishing refuge cities for accidental murderers — Arei Miklot.  Six such cities were established in Eretz Yisroel in the times of Moshe and Yehoshua.  Three more, the Rambam rules, will be established in time of Moshiach.  Here we have the same question: will there be murderers in the times of Moshiach?!

Even after avoidas haBirurim is finished (as the Rebbe tells us, in other sichos: this has already occurred) — there will still be the existence of evil in the world (until the resurrection of the Dead, the second, miraculous stage of the Messianic Era).  This evil in the world will cause the continued existence of accidental deaths (though premeditated murder will cease).  Thus, there will be a need for the Arei Miklot also in the Messianic Era.

Looking more deeply, the Rebbe explains that the concept of a refuge city refers to words of Torah.  Learning Torah is a “refuge” which protects the person.  The three new Arei Miklot of the Messianic Era refers to the inner dimension of Torah that will be revealed at that time.  These cities are to be established in the three lands of the Keni, Kenizi, and Kadmoni (the nations of Moav, Amon, and Edom) which will be acquired at that time.  The land of Israel that was conquered in the earlier generations was only the land of the 7 Cananite nations, which correspond to the 7 midos which the Jewish people had to refine.  These three lands that will be acquired in the Messianic Era correspond to the 3 intellectual faculties (Chabad — Chochma, Bina, and Daas), reflecting the refinement of the intellect, the Moichin which occurs in the times of Moshiach.

This brings us back to Beis Shamai and Beis Hillel.  There are certain things that everyone agrees that they are permitted by Torah, and other things that everyone agrees are forbidden by Torah.  The cases of machloikes between Beis Shamai and Beis Hillel are on things where there is a doubt whether it is evil and Torah forbids it, or if it contains good and Torah wants us to elevate it.  Beis Shamai, who were stricter, who ruled in accordance with Pnimiyus HaTorah, deal with a case of doubt by forbidding it, pushing it away, due to the hidden potential evil that the thing may possesses.  Beis Hillel, on the other hand, who are based on Nigleh, the revealed Torah, only push away revealed evil.  (They each have an inherent logic: to permit something that contains evil strengthens the “other side”, but also to push away something that we could be lenient with also gives strength to the “other side”.)  The shechting of the Shor Habar with the fins of the Leviyoson is different because will be done by Hashem himself, which leaves no room for any possibility of evil (and thus even Beis Shamai will permit such a shechita).

THE SHOR HABAR: A DEEPER DIMENSION

It is explained in Chassidus that the expression of the gemara that equates shechting with pulling or drawing (אין ושחט אלא ומשך) means that the act of slaughtering an animal in a kosher manner takes something that was forbidden to eat (the live animal) and “draws” it into the the realm of the permissible.  Once it becomes permissible, a Jew can eat the flesh of this animal, internalizing and elevating it.  What as forbidden to eat becomes permissible to eat.  Eating refers to internalizing Torah, drawing it down and grasping the concepts.  The Arei Miklot of the Messianic era are the new revelations of Pnimiyus Hatorah from Moshiach, revelations so lofty that on their own they cannot be grasped and internalized — they are in the category of “forbidden (unable) to be eaten (internalized)”.  Shechita means taking that which cannot be internalized and making it able to be internalized.

The Leviyoson, who lives in the sea, the hidden world, represents serving Hashem spiritually via lofty spiritual unifications (יחודים עליונים).  The Shor Habar, which lives on dry land, the revealed world, represents the service of Hashem by refining physicality.  Each one has what the other lacks: the spiritual Leviyoson is in a way of elevation from Above, grasping lofty lights but they cannot be drawn down below; the Shor Habar is drawing everything into physicality, but it lacks the lofty revelations.

In the future there will the qualities of both of these dimensions together — that the lofty lights will be drawn down and revealed below.  How?  By shechting the Shor Habar with the fins of the Leviyoson*, meaning that great spiritual levels associated with the Leviyoson will be revealed in those matters associated with the Shor Habar type of Divine Service.  This means even the most lofty matters, things which cannot be grasped by the human intellect, will be drawn down in a way that they can indeed be grasped, that the Torah “from Me” which cannot be grasped at this time, will “go forth” to be grasped by human intellect.  The loftiest spiritual revelations will be drawn down below to into halacha that deals with physical objects.

And with this explanation in mind, let us note (and grasp) what the Rebbe says in the sicha of Parshas Vayeitzei, 5752:

The only thing lacking is — that a Jew should open his eyes properly, and should see how everything is ready for the Geulah!  There is the “set table” already, and there is already the Leviyoson and the Shor Habor and the aged wine, and Yidden are sitting at the table — “their father’s table”, together with Moshiach Tzidkeinu (as stated in seforim that in every generation there is one of the seed of Dovid who, due to his righteousness, is fitting to be Moshiach), and there is already a “heart to know and eyes to see and ears to hear”.

The table is set with the teachings of Moshiach, teaching things that we could never arrive at on our own, which enable us to grasp, in the vessels of Nigleh (Tanach, Midrashim, Mishnayos, Gemara, Halacha) great and lofty things which would otherwise be beyond human intellect.  All we need to do is to open our eyes to this reality, and proceed to “eat” — to learn and internalize these teachings, completing the refinement of the intellect, and bringing into our reality the revelations of the true and complete Geuloh!

“All the rest is commentary, now go and learn.”


* To note: the Midrash informs us that the Shor Habar will be shechted by the fins of the Leviyoson: the jagged edge of the fins tells us that this shechting will take place “step by step”, level after level.

Kuntres Shavuos 5751: “Above” is Created From Below

As explained in Chassidus, Sefiras Ha’Omer precedes Matan Torah because we must refine the 49 aspects of our Nefesh Behamis (animal soul) before we can receive the Torah. But the Torah itself was given to us to refine our animal soul (as Moshe argued to the Malochim who wanted Torah kept in the Heavens that Mitzvos like “Do Not Steal” only apply to one who has to combat an evil inclination). This raises the question: is refining the animal soul for the sake of receiving the Torah, or is receiving the Torah for the same of refining the animal soul?!

To answer this, the Rebbe points out the language pertaining to Sefiras ha’Omer: to count seven complete weeks (שבע שבתות תמימות). The Midrash asks when are the weeks “complete” תמימות? “When Yisroel are doing the will of the Omnipresent.”  This “doing the will of…” is accomplished through the love of “all your might” בכל מאודך (as we say in Shema). When we acheive this level — which is beyond our limitations — Hashem responds to us in a similar fashion, “as water reflects a face” כמים הפנים לפנים.  Meaning that what one sees in another person is the reflection of how one looks at them. This also applies Above.

The concepts here are explained at length and in much greater depth in the maamor, but the general idea is a familiar one — that our service of Hashem is what generates the “face” that is shown to us from Above.

The process by which the “face” is generated is:

  1. Hashem desires that our actions can have an effect;
  2. We generate a desire from our side, reflected in our efforts (העלאת מ”ן);
  3. From this is generated the “hidden” sefiros (עשר ספירות הגנוזות);
  4. These hidden sefiros are the source of the “revealed” sefiros (עשר ספירות הגלויות) which filter down to create the reality in our world.

To explain it more deeply, the Rebbe offers three levels of concealment: a) something which exists but it’s hidden העלם שישנו במציאות; b) something which only exists in potential נעלם שאינו במציאות; and c) a third level which doesn’t exist at all, only that there is a possibility for it (less of an existence than even “potential”, as explained in the maamor).  There is a moshol for each of these levels: the fire concealed in a coal; the (potential for) fire concealed in a flint stone; and the third level is likened to a name: without a name there is not even the possibility of calling the person, when he has a name there is a possibility that one could call him.

Regarding names, the Rebbe explains that it also refers to titles, such as “wise” and “kind” (חכם, חסיד) — that when one calls a person “wise” one awakens and reveals the latent wisdom the person possesses.

(The Rebbe is here teaching is something critical to our times: that in order to reveal the latent power of Moshiach, we need to address him with that title!  Meaning that there is practical significance to referring to the Rebbe as Melech haMoshiach.)

There are two key points to understand here.  Continue reading

Bamidbar/Shavuos 5751: Publish Your Chiddushim

…as mentioned, each individual should endeavor to develop new Torah concepts, and also, to publish them. To explain, every Jew has the potential — and according to the Zohar, it is an obligation — to develop new Torah concepts.

In the previous generations, people were very reticent to write, let alone, publish such Torah concepts, lest they not have appreciate the true intent of the law or concept with which they were concerned.

At present, however, there must be efforts in the opposite direction. It is necessary to take precautions that people do not write directives of Torah law when they are incapable of doing so. Nevertheless, simultaneously, it is necessary to do whatever is necessary to encourage people to increase their efforts in Torah study. [The widespread publication of Torah texts will, to a certain extent also insure that the ideas developed are accurate. No one will publish a Torah concept which he thinks might be in error. Thus, at the very least, for his own self-respect, he will recheck and review the Torah ideas he publishes.]

And for that reason, it is worthy to encourage all those who are trained in the proper approach to Torah study — even if they are not totally sure that the new concepts are 100% accurate — to publish and disseminate the Torah ideas that they develop. (Needless to say, however, it is proper to add that these texts should contain a statement saying that they should not be considered as works from which halachic directives for actual practice should be derived.)

We see the success of such an approach. When people compose Torah texts like these, they are inspired to dedicate more effort to Torah study. Similarly, “the envy of the scribes increases knowledge” and their efforts spur other colleagues to like endeavors.

May these activities spread the rest and tranquility associated with the giving of the Torah throughout the world and hasten the coming of “the era which is all rest and Shabbos for eternity.” Until the coming of that era, we are in a state of distress, as our Sages said, “Woe to the children who have been exiled from their Father’s table.” The exile has caused us travail in regard to our material welfare, and similarly, has prevented us from reaching our true potential in the service of G‑d. Indeed, it is impossible for us to appreciate how much the exile has hindered us, for we are all children of the exile. We have grown up in exile and it dominates our thought processes.

This, however, will be brought to an end in the near future. Through the service of teshuvah, each person will establish a connection with the essence of his soul. And this will lift us and the entire world above the limitations of the exile, into “the era which is all rest and Shabbos for eternity.”

(Translation from Sichos in English)

Bamidbar/Shavuos 5751: Publish Your Chiddushim

…as mentioned, each individual should endeavor to develop new Torah concepts, and also, to publish them. To explain, every Jew has the potential — and according to the Zohar, it is an obligation — to develop new Torah concepts.

In the previous generations, people were very reticent to write, let alone, publish such Torah concepts, lest they not have appreciate the true intent of the law or concept with which they were concerned.

At present, however, there must be efforts in the opposite direction. It is necessary to take precautions that people do not write directives of Torah law when they are incapable of doing so. Nevertheless, simultaneously, it is necessary to do whatever is necessary to encourage people to increase their efforts in Torah study. [The widespread publication of Torah texts will, to a certain extent also insure that the ideas developed are accurate. No one will publish a Torah concept which he thinks might be in error. Thus, at the very least, for his own self-respect, he will recheck and review the Torah ideas he publishes.]

And for that reason, it is worthy to encourage all those who are trained in the proper approach to Torah study — even if they are not totally sure that the new concepts are 100% accurate — to publish and disseminate the Torah ideas that they develop. (Needless to say, however, it is proper to add that these texts should contain a statement saying that they should not be considered as works from which halachic directives for actual practice should be derived.)

We see the success of such an approach. When people compose Torah texts like these, they are inspired to dedicate more effort to Torah study. Similarly, “the envy of the scribes increases knowledge” and their efforts spur other colleagues to like endeavors.

May these activities spread the rest and tranquility associated with the giving of the Torah throughout the world and hasten the coming of “the era which is all rest and Shabbos for eternity.” Until the coming of that era, we are in a state of distress, as our Sages said, “Woe to the children who have been exiled from their Father’s table.” The exile has caused us travail in regard to our material welfare, and similarly, has prevented us from reaching our true potential in the service of G‑d. Indeed, it is impossible for us to appreciate how much the exile has hindered us, for we are all children of the exile. We have grown up in exile and it dominates our thought processes.

This, however, will be brought to an end in the near future. Through the service of teshuvah, each person will establish a connection with the essence of his soul. And this will lift us and the entire world above the limitations of the exile, into “the era which is all rest and Shabbos for eternity.”

(Translation from Sichos in English)

Video Shiur: Bamidbar-Shavuos 5751

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Torah, the Way to Serenity

Chabadinfo.com Exclusive: In the Sicha of Parshas Bamidbar-Shavuos 5751, the Rebbe explains the significance of the Torah and how it brings to serenity ● Learn this week’s Sicha with ChabadInfo.com’s Weekly Shiur of the “Dvar Malchus” Sicha in English, presented by Rabbi Menachem Mendel Lipskier, Mashpia of Mesivta of Melbourne, Australia ● Watch Video