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.

Night of 7 Adar, 5752

Translation by Sichos in English

1. As is renown, the seventh of Adar is the birthday of Moshe our teacher. On a person’s birthday, “his mazal (source of influence) shines powerfully.” If this concept applies to the birthday of any Jew, surely, it applies in regard to the birthday of a Nasi of the Jewish people. Nor is this relevant merely as an event of the past. Instead, each year, the positive influence associated with the seventh of Adar is increased, reaching a level immeasurably higher than in previous years.

The birthday of a Nasi affects every member of the Jewish people, for the Nasi is a source of influence through whom G‑d’s blessing are drawn down for the entire people.1 The positive nature of this influence is further enhanced in the month of Adar, a month whose mazal is associated with health and strength.

This is particularly true in the present year when the influence of Adar is twofold and especially so since Rosh Chodesh Adar fell on the third and fourth days of the week. The letters used to symbolize those days ג and ד combine to form the word גד which means mazal, “good fortune.”

In a leap year, the yearning for the month of Nissan, the month of redemption, is heightened, because there are twice as many days of Adar. “In Nissan, our people were redeemed and in Nissan, they will be redeemed in the future.” This does not, however, mean that we will have to wait until Nissan for the Redemption to come. Rather, the Redemption will come in the immediate future, and thus, in Nissan, we will already “be redeemed.”

The potential for Redemption is heightened by the fact that this is the seventh of Adar and “all sevenths are dear.” This concept is intrinsically related to Moshe. For the Midrash states this concept in regard to Moshe’s unique achievement, i.e., it was through his influence that the Divine Presence which had withdrawn from the world was drawn down and revealed within this world again as explained in the maamar, Basi LeGani.

This leads to a practical directive. Seven is connected with a complete cycle. Thus, the seventh of Adar should inspire every Jew to carry out his service in a complete manner. And as mentioned, the positive influence of the month of Adar and the proximity to the month of Nissan will facilitate the performance of this service.

Similarly, these positive influences will hasten the coming of the Redemption. It is of utmost importance that the Redemption come sooner, even a moment sooner, for the Divine Presence and every member of the Jewish people are in exile. Therefore, it is important to hasten the coming of the Redemption; every single moment that its coming can be speeded is significant. And the potential for this exists. The very next moment can be the last moment of the exile and the moment that follows, the first moment of Redemption.

The Redemption is intrinsically related to Moshe as reflected in his wish “Send by the hand of he whom You will send,” which our Sages interpret as a request that the person sent to redeem the Jews from the Egyptian exile be the ultimate Redeemer.

This matter is slightly problematic. On one hand, we can assume that G‑d fulfilled the request of a tzaddik. On the other hand, Moshe was the one chosen to redeem the Jews from Egypt. This difficulty can be resolved on the basis of the concept, “he was the first redeemer and he will be the ultimate redeemer.” Just as Moshe redeemed the Jews from Egypt, he will be the ultimate Redeemer. For the Redeemer will be the Moshe of the generation, in our generation, the Previous Rebbe.

And this influence will spread to every Jew, for every Jew has a spark of Moshe within his soul and this spark affects the daily conduct of every Jewish man, woman, and child. Surely this applies in the month of Adar and on the seventh of Adar.

The connection to the Redemption is also emphasized by this week’s Torah reading which mentions the preparation of pure2 oil for the kindling of the menorah in the Sanctuary. Similarly, in the Era of the Redemption, we will see Aharon light the menorah in the Third Beis HaMikdash.

All the above will be hastened by the distribution of money to be given to tzedakah. This will cause the mazal of every Jew to shine powerfully. And thus we will merit that the coming moment be the first moment of the Redemption, when we will proceed “with our youth and with our elders,… with our sons and with our daughters” “on the clouds of heaven,” to our Holy Land, to Jerusalem, and to the Third (and threefold) Beis HaMikdash. May this take place in the immediate future.

Translation by Sichos in English

Erev 7 Adar, 5752

Translation by Sichos in English

1. Our Rabbis taught, “Open with blessing.” This is particularly relevant in the month of Adar, a month whose mazal (“source of influence”) is associated with health and strength. There is special relevance in the present year when there are sixty days in Adar, for sixty nullifies all negative influences.

And from the month of Adar, we will proceed to the month of Nissan. “In Nissan, our ancestors were redeemed, and in Nissan, our people will be redeemed.” The intent is not, however, that we must wait until Nissan for the Redemption. Rather, the redemption will come immediately1 and thus, in Nissan, we will already “be redeemed.”

The Redemption shares a connection with Parshas Terumah,2 the Torah portion read last Shabbos as explained on previous occasions and also with this week’s Torah portion, Parshas Tetzaveh. As the Rabbis comment, Parshas Tetzaveh is unique in that it is the only Torah portion from Parshas Shmos onward in which Moshe’s name is not mentioned.

This came about because, “the curse of a wise man is fulfilled even when made on condition.” Since Moshe asked that G‑d “wipe me out from Your book,” there is at least one portion of the Torah in which Moshe’s name is not mentioned. Nevertheless, this also reflects a positive influence. For although Moshe’s name is omitted, the Torah reading begins, “And you shall command,” referring to Moshe’s essence which transcends his name. A person’s name is given at his bris, while the essence of his being exists beforehand.

This is connected with the present date, the seventh of Adar, Moshe’s birthday (when he had not yet been given his name), and also the day on which “my days and years were completed,” the day on which he passed away. (In this context, there are opinions which debate whether the seventh of Adar should be commemorated in the first month of Adar this year or in the second month of Adar. Since “these and these are the words of the living G‑d,” it is proper to commemorate the date in both months.)

In Chassidic thought, the command V’atah tetzaveh is interpreted to mean “And you shall connect yourself to,” i.e., Moshe was commanded to establish a connection between his essence and the Jewish people.3 In an extended sense, this command can be understood as having been directed to every member of the Jewish people, for every Jew has a spark of Moshe within him. As mentioned, Atah, “you,” refers to the essence of the soul, the fundamental core of every Jew’s being. This is revealed by the establishment of a bond with G‑d’s essence.

This will lead to the Jew’s bringing “pure oil, crushed for the light,” for the kindling of the menorah in the Third Beis HaMikdash.4 And from the menorah, light will emerge which will illuminate the entire world and, in particular, the souls of each and every individual Jew.

When a Jew carries out his service in this world according to this thrust, he reveals his essence. This can apply even to an individual who has just been born. The revelation of his essence is accomplished through the Shir HaMaalos hanging in the room, and through the blessings which others give him.5

In this manner, every Jew will illuminate the world and reveal how this world is a dwelling for G‑d. This, in turn, will lead to the construction of the Third Beis HaMikdash. And then we will see how Aharon will kindle the menorah.6 We will also merit to see Moshe perform the priestly service (for since he served as a priest in the dedication of the Sanctuary,7 that positive quality was never taken from him). This will also be reflected within the spark of Moshe possessed by every Jew.

And this will be hastened by the distribution of money to be given to tzedakah, which will speed the coming of the time when we will proceed “on the clouds of heaven,” to Eretz Yisrael, to Jerusalem, and to the Beis HaMikdash. May this take place in the immediate future.

[Afterwards, the Rebbe Shlita paused, descended to distribute money to tzedakah, and continued:] Today is also the yahrzeit of the previous director of Yeshivas Tomchei Temimim and all its branches (even those called by other names). His name Shemaryahu implies that all that he accomplished during his lifetime is protected [from the root shomer] and continues.

Since “his descendants,” the many students of the different branches of Yeshivas Tomchei Temimim, “are alive, he is also alive.” And he will join us soon, for the Redemption will come in the immediate future and the righteous will arise in the first period of the Redemption. And together, we will proceed to Eretz Yisrael, to Jerusalem, and to the Beis HaMikdash. May this take place in the immediate future.

Translation by Sichos in English