Ki Seitze Insight: Mouths Filled with Laughter — the Future is Now!

Near the end of the sicha (ois 15) the Rebbe makes an astonishing statement that demands our attention.  The verse in Tehillim (126b) states “then our mouths will be filled with laughter” (אז ימלא שחוק פינו), upon which the gemara (Brochos 31a) comments:

Rabbi Yoḥanan said in the name of Rabbi Shimon ben Yoḥai: One is forbidden to fill his mouth with mirth in this world, [as long as we are in exile (ge’onim)], as it is stated: “then will our mouths fill with laughter and our lips with song” (Psalms 126:2). When will that joyous era arrive? When “they will say among nations, the Lord has done great things with these” (Psalms 126:2).

The emphasis is that “then” is referring to the time of the future Geuloh (and thus it is explained throughout Torah, including Toras HaChassidus of all of the Rebbeim, including the Rebbe).  The time to “fill our mouths with laughter” is at the time of the Geuloh.  Now comes the amazing chiddush of the Rebbe:

“Then (in the time to come, l’asid lavo) we will fill our mouths with laughter.”, which, in our generation, the Nossi of the generation, my father-in-law the Rebbe, whose second name is Yitzchok, from the root meaning laughter and joy, and he is the 8th Nossi from the Baal Shem Tov (8 being the gematria of “then” in our posuk אז), the inyan of “we will fill our mouths with laughter” is done (not in the future tense, “then”, but rather) in the present tense.

A verse that is universally explained to be referring to the time of the Geuloh, some time in the future, is now explained by the Rebbe to be something that is occurring (or can occur) now!  To understand better what this means (in addition to the clear implication that this aspect of Geuloh is no longer something reserved for the future) let us take the Rebbe’s own description of what it means to “fill our mouths with laughter”.

If we look at the maamor “Ani L’Dodi” printed as a Kuntres in Elul, 5750 (one year before our sicha), we will find that the Rebbe offers us the following definition of our posuk:

A smiling countenance [referring to the moshol of the King in the field] — this is the essential pleasure תענוג עצמי (which the Holy One, blessed be He, takes in Yidden), the inyan of the circus קניגיא [which Hashem will make in the times of Geuloh for the pleasure of the Tzaddikim] when we will see in a revealed way that all the war of good and evil (in this world) is only for laughter and pleasure, “then we will fill our mouths with laughter”.

This means that during Golus we are unable to properly realize that our struggle with evil is really a staged battle from which Hashem takes great pleasure and from which we ourselves will take great pleasure, and therefore we cannot “fill our mouths with laughter” because our battle against evil seems very real, the existence of the evil is an ever-present danger.  But the time of Geuloh brings with it a new revelation: that this is all part of the Divine plan for Divine pleasure, and realizing this properly allows us to “fill our mouths with laughter” despite our struggles with the evil inclination.  Evil is no longer real, but simply part of the “game” of this world (as the Rebbe explains earlier in this sicha regarding “when you go out to war ‘on’ your enemies” — higher than and above your enemies (to the point that they don’t have a real existence)).  Thus, when the Rebbe says that we can already fill our mouths with laughter, it means that we are capable of properly grasping and internalizing the true nature of our struggle with our “enemies”.  When one realizes this, he will not have any fear but rather renewed motivation to overcome these “enemies”, since he can fully recognize that this is all a Divinely ordained “circus” and not a real battle at all.

“Then” is “now”, and we can truly live Geuloh!

Gimmel Tammuz: What is the Moment When the Sun Stands Still?

Would you like to know at what moment the sun stood still on Gimmel Tammuz, 5754?

In the sicha of parshas Korach, Gimmel Tammuz, 5751, the Rebbe explains at length the great miracle which occurred on Gimmel Tammuz in the days of Yehoshua bin Nun: the sun and the moon (and the entire cosmic system) stood still.  “Shemesh b’Givon dom“.

This miracle doesn’t seem to have such an obvious connection to the miraculous Geuloh of the Rebbe Rayatz in 5627 (the subject of the Rebbe’s farbrengen), but mashpiim find an obvious connection to the events of Gimmel Tammuz 5754: that just as it was by Yehoshua bin Nun, that he commanded the sun and the moon (and the entire cosmos) to stand still, causing time to “freeze” in order to enable the Yidden to win the war they were waging on their own effort, so too we are in a “frozen moment” where the Rebbe wants us to finish the war to end golus with our own effort.  But there is an even greater insight, as we hope to explain with Hashem’s help.

When Gimmel Tammuz comes around, half the farbrengens are on the theme of celebrating “as’chalta d’Geuloh” (the beginning of the Geuloh), and the other half are  on the theme of hillula.  Come and hear an amazing reconciliation of this widespread confusion:

When Eliyahu HaNovi was preparing to ascend heavenward, he asked his disciple Elisha what he could do for him “before I will be taken from you.”  Elisha responds with a puzzling request: a double-portion of Eliyahu’s prophetic spirit should rest upon him.  Eliyahu replies that this is a difficult request, meaning it is impossible to give more than one has (Rashi)!  Nonetheless, Eliyahu adds that if he (Elisha) will see him being taken from him, then he can fulfill his request.

There are various answers given to the question: how could Eliyahu HaNovi give his disciple more than what he possesses.  The answer we will present here is explained in depth in Likutey Mohoron (Breslov), and will open our eyes to something amazing.

In Likutei Mohoron (ch. 66) it explains, based on the Zohar, that every Tzaddik possesses two dimensions of ruach — his supernal ruach, and his lower ruach.  He lives his life in this world with his lower ruach, but when the time of his histalkus arrives, the supernal ruach descends to this world and unites with the lower ruach (compare with Igeres Hakodesh, siman 27).  This means that the Tzaddik, in his final moments in this world, has a lofty revelation that far exceeds what he experienced in his lifetime.  Continues Likutey Mohoron: once the two aspects of ruach unite, the supernal ruach has to leave this world (because its nature is that it cannot tolerate to be here), and it ascends together with the lower ruach, which has united with it, and this is the Tzaddik’s histalkus.  Thus we find that by Rashbi, for example, he revealed the loftiest things in his final moments.

It comes out that every Tzaddik has three distinct stages:

  1. his life in this world when only his lower ruach is accessible;
  2. his final moments when his supernal ruach is revealed in this world;
  3. his departure from this world, together with both dimensions of his ruach.

In the story of Eliyahu and Elisha, it was these “final moments” which provided the opportunity for Elisha’s request to be fulfilled: Eliyahu was still alive in this world, but with the revelation of his supernal ruach.  Prior to this moment, he could not give a double portion because he himself didn’t have it;  after this moment, he was already gone from the world and couldn’t give it over; but in exactly these final moments he had both aspects, and thus he could in fact fulfill Elisha’s request for a double portion.

These final moments paradoxically combine the elements of physical life together with the lofty qualities the Tzaddik attains when he is nistalek.  At that moment he is both “chai v’kayam” and at the same time “more than he was in his lifetime” (יתיר מבחיוהי, in the loshon of Igeres Hakodesh).

Now imagine that at this very moment the sun and the moon stand still.  Time freezes and the Tzaddik’s ascent is also “frozen” —  he remains “chai v’kayam”, alive as a soul in a body in this world, together with supernal revelations that are reserved for a histalkus.  Instead of a fleeting moment of opportunity for his disciples and mekusharim to receive a double portion, this moment of opportunity doesn’t end…

We could say that this is a deeper dimension of the Rebbe’s lengthy explanation of the sun and moon standing still: that the time will come (3 years to the day after the Rebbe spoke the sicha) when the Rebbe will make use of this gimmel Tammuz miracle of “Shemesh b’Givon dom” to create an unprecedented situation: the Rebbe will be holding by both realities!  He will continue to be chai v’kayam without histalkus (as the Rebbe tells us in the sicha of Bo 5752 that our generation will not experience histalkus), yet at the same time “more than he was in his lifetime” (יתיר מבחיוהי), which is a lofty state which is achieved at the time of — histalkus?!

This explains (and even validates) the divergent perspectives: yes, the Rebbe remains chai v’kayam b’guf gashmi, and yes, he also possesses the qualities of “more than in his lifetime”.  Practically speaking, it gives each and every one of us the opportunity to receive from the Rebbe even greater koichos than were available all the years, because the Rebbe himself is holding by greater koichos.  And it also gives us the keilim to understand how half of Lubavitch looks at Gimmel Tammuz differently from the other half!*  These feel the Rebbe lives, those feel “more than in his lifetime”, and both think that you can’t have the two together.  But, in fact, we can, and apparently we do!

May we utilize these great koichos to bring the Geuloh b’poel mamash and truly open our eyes to the reality of the Redemption.


*) This recalls the explanation, attributed to the Helige R’ Yisroel of Ruzhin, of the machloikes between the Alter Rebbe (who advocated spreading the wellsprings of Chassidus) and R’ Boruch of Mezibuz (who was opposed to spreading Chassidus broadly).  He said that when Moshiach told the Baal Shem Tov that he would come when “your wellsprings will spread out”, the Baal Shem Tov’s eyes welled up with tears.  R’ Baruch, a grandson of the Baal Shem Tov, felt the pain of his grandfather’s tears that his wellsprings would have to descend to “chutza”, and therefore opposed something which caused his grandfather pain.  The Alter Rebbe, though, was a spiritual grandson of the Baal Shem Tov, and he felt the pain of the Baal Shem Tov that derived from the long time it would take to spread out the wellsprings before Moshiach would come, therefore he worked to speed it up.  We could say that the Rebbe has Chassidim that are more attuned to the reality of “chai v’kayam“, and Chassidim that are more attuned to the reality of “more than in his lifetime”, and all that is lacking for achdus is to expand the keilim.

The text of Likutey Mohoran in Hebrew and English here.

Chukas 5751 Informs Current Events (5780)!

This week in Eretz Yisroel is the week of parshas Chukas. (Outside of Israel it is parshas Shlach — due to the second day of Shavuos falling out on Shabbos the Torah readings in Israel got a “head start” and are a parsha ahead for a few weeks.)

Today (Sunday of parshas Chukas) there was a solar eclipse which was partially visible in Israel.

Take a look at the first footnote in the Dvar Malchus for parshas Chukas (presented here with quotes from the sources referenced in the footnote):

 

 

A. This day — as all days of the year on the Jewish-Torah calendar — consists of two dimensions: the day of the week, and the day of the month.1

1 From which is derived that it is also the calendar of the nations of the world (who count according to the sunSukkah 29a, Mechilta Bo 12b, Bereishis Rabba 6:3, Zohar I 236b (end)), who divide the solar year into 12 parts/months, but this division is “only by agreement and is not an inherent, natural division”…

Sukkah 29a: The Rabbonon taught: at the time when the sun is eclipsed — it is a bad sign for the idol worshippers; when the moon is eclipsed — it is a bad sign for “those who hate Israel” (the indirect way the sages refer to the Jewish nation when mentioning something undesirable), since Israel count according to the moon and idol worshippers count according to the sun.

Bereishis Rabba 6:3: Rabbi Levi in the name of Rebi Yosi bar Ilai said “it is derech eretz that the large one should count according to the large, and the small one should count according to the small one.  Esav counts according to the sun which is large, and Yaakov counts according to the moon, which is small.

(Thanks to R’ Chaim Kott of Kfar Chabad for sending me this!)

 

מכילתא יב, ב

ח. החדש הזה לכם . לא מנה בו אדם הראשון. אתה אומר לכם ולא מנה בו אדם הראשון, או אינו אלא לכם ולא לגוים? (אמור) כשהוא אומר ראשון הוא לכם (משמע) לכם ולא לגוים אמור. הא מה תלמוד לומר לכם? לא מנה בו אדם הראשון. נמצינו למדין שישראל מונין ללבנה והגוים לחמה. לא דיים לישראל א’ לל’ יום מגביהים עיניהם לאביהם שבשמים. וכשהחמה לוקה סימן רע לגוים שהם מונים לחמה, וכשהלבנה לוקה סימן רע לשונאיהם של ישראל שהם מונים ללבנה. ר’ אומר, כשחמה לוקה במזרח סימן רע ליושבי מזרח, במערב סימן רע ליושבי מערב. (רבי יוסי אומר כשהמזלות לוקים במזרח סימן רע ליושבי מזרח במערב סימן רע ליושבי מערב). ר’ יונתן אומר אלו ואלו נתנו לגוים שנאמר כה אמר ה’ אל דרך הגוים אל תלמדו ומאותות השמים אל תחתו (ירמיה י)א

זוהר חלק א רלו ב

יהודה אתה יודוך אחיך ידך בערף אויביך וגו’“.    רבי יוסי פתח, (תהלים קד יט) “עשה ירח למועדים וגו’” — “עשה ירח” בגין לקדשא ביה ריש ירחין וריש שתין, ולעלמין סיהרא לא נהיר אלא משמשא, וכד שמשא שליט סיהרא לא שלטא, כד אתכניש שמשא כדין סיהרא שלטא, ולית חושבן לסיהרא אלא כד אתכניש שמשא, ותרווייהו עבד קב”ה לאנהרא, הדא הוא דכתיב (בראשית א יז) ויתן אותם אלהי”ם ברקיע השמים להאיר על הארץ וגו’. “והיו לאותות“– אלין שבתות, דכתיב (שמות לא יג) כי אות היא, “ולמועדים“– אינון יומין טבין, “ולימים“– אלין רישי ירחין, “ולשנים“– אלין רישי שנין, דלהוון אומות העולם עבדין חושבן לשמשא, וישראל לסיהרא.

ואזלא הא, כי הא דאמר רבי אלעזר, כתיב (ישעיה ט ב) הרבית הגוי לו הגדלת השמחה, הרבית הגוי אלין ישראל, דכתיב בהו (דברים ד ז) כי מי גוי גדול, וכתיב (דה”א יז כא) גוי אחד בארץ לו בגיניה הגדלת השמחה דא סיהרא דאתרביאת בנהורא בגיניהון דישראל. אומות העולם לשמשא וישראל לסיהרא, הי מנייהו עדיף, ודאי סיהרא לעילא, ושמשא דאומות העולם תחות האי סיהרא הוא, וההוא שמשא מהאי (ס”א סיטרא) סיהרא נהיר, חמי מה בין ישראל להו, ישראל אחידו בסיהרא, ואשתלשלו בשמשא עלאה, ואתאחדו באתר (ביה) (ס”א דנהיר לשמשא) דנהירא משמשא עלאה, ומתדבקן ביה, דכתיב (דברים ד ד) ואתם הדבקים ביהו”ה אלהיכ”ם חיים כלכם היום.

 

Keep Your Eyes on the Rebbe!

In the Sicha of Parshas Emor, that Rebbe made the following enigmatic statement:

[The Geulah and building of the 3rd Beis Hamikdash] will be hastened through the study of Torah, and of Chassidus in particular. This also includes looking into the face of your Rebbe, which helps one’s understanding…

This concept is found in the Gemara (as brought in the Sicha of Emor), and the Rebbe himself wrote (in the early years of his leadership) that a person should imagine the face of the Previous Rebbe or look at his photo, explaining the benefits that come from this.  So why mention it seemingly “out of context” in a Sicha in 5751?

It can be understood that the Rebbe is not only saying to look at the Rebbe’s visage, whether in person or via a photo, but something more than this.  The Rebbe is giving us advice how to better understand these Sichos of 5751-52, where the Rebbe is speaking openly about Moshiach in unprecedented ways: when we are learning here about Moshiach, we need to know whom we are talking about; that this is not just “learning Torah lishmah”, but has very practical ramifications. How will we properly understand what the Rebbe is trying to tell us about the identify of Moshiach, and whether we are waiting for him to come or if he has already come? Simple: Keep your eyes on the Rebbe!

Read the following words from the Sicha of Behar-Bechukosai as they are without “looking at the face of the Rebbe”, then read them again with the Rebbe in mind — you will understand very well the “enigmatic” advice “which helps one’s understanding“:

Immediately we will see that Moshiach is already found among us, and every single Jew will point with his finger and say “Behold, this one (is the Melech haMoshiach, and he already) came”.

20180511_005203-1

Vayechi 5752: Where Eternal Life is Drawn From

ונשיא דורנו – יוסף שבדורנו – ש”לא מת”, כמו יעקב אבינו (“אלה תולדות יעקב יוסף”), כידוע ש”נשיא” ר”ת “ניצוצו של יעקב אבינו”, וע”י ההתקשרות והביטול לנשיא הדור ה”ז נמשך בכל אחד ואחת מאנשי הדור…

“The Nosi of our generation — the Yosef in our generation — who “did not die”, like Yaakov Avinu (“these are the descendants of Yaakov, Yosef”), as is known that “Nosi” is composed of the initial letters of the phrase “A spark of Yaakov Avinu”, and through the hiskashrus (connection) and the bittul (self-nullification) to the Nosi of the generation, this [aspect of Yaakov Avinu who did not die] is drawn down into every single member of our generation…”

Q: Should I understand that the Rebbe is telling me that my own personal hiskashrus and bittul to the Nosi is what draws down his eternal life (חיים נצחיים) to every single Yid in the generation?!

Hard to support such an understanding.

Perhaps the intention that each one, through his own hiskashrus and bittul to the Nosi draws down eternal life (חיים נצחיים) to himself.

Maybe.

Perhaps a more correct reading is that the hiskashrus and bittul of the Rebbe himself to his Nossi (the Frierdicker Rebbe, who “did not die”) is what is drawing down eternal life (חיים נצחיים) to every single Yid in the generation!

Keep Your Eyes on the Rebbe!

In the Sicha of Parshas Emor, that Rebbe made the following enigmatic statement:

[The Geulah and building of the 3rd Beis Hamikdash] will be hastened through the study of Torah, and of Chassidus in particular. This also includes looking into the face of your Rebbe, which helps one’s understanding…

This concept is found in the Gemara (as brought in the Sicha of Emor), and the Rebbe himself wrote (in the early years of his leadership) that a person should imagine the face of the Previous Rebbe or look at his photo, explaining the benefits that come from this.  So why mention it seemingly “out of context” in a Sicha in 5751?

It can be understood that the Rebbe is not only saying to look at the Rebbe’s visage, whether in person or via a photo, but something more than this.  The Rebbe is giving us advice how to better understand these Sichos of 5751-52, where the Rebbe is speaking openly about Moshiach in unprecedented ways: when we are learning here about Moshiach, we need to know whom we are talking about; that this is not just “learning Torah lishmah”, but has very practical ramifications. How will we properly understand what the Rebbe is trying to tell us about the identify of Moshiach, and whether we are waiting for him to come or if he has already come? Simple: Keep your eyes on the Rebbe!

Read the following words from the Sicha of Behar-Bechukosai as they are without “looking at the face of the Rebbe”, then read them again with the Rebbe in mind — you will understand very well the “enigmatic” advice “which helps one’s understanding“:

Immediately we will see that Moshiach is already found among us, and every single Jew will point with his finger and say “Behold, this one (is the Melech haMoshiach, and he already) came”.

20180511_005203-1

Vayechi 5752: Where Eternal Life is Drawn From

ונשיא דורנו – יוסף שבדורנו – ש”לא מת”, כמו יעקב אבינו (“אלה תולדות יעקב יוסף”), כידוע ש”נשיא” ר”ת “ניצוצו של יעקב אבינו”, וע”י ההתקשרות והביטול לנשיא הדור ה”ז נמשך בכל אחד ואחת מאנשי הדור…

“The Nosi of our generation — the Yosef in our generation — who “did not die”, like Yaakov Avinu (“these are the descendants of Yaakov, Yosef”), as is known that “Nosi” is composed of the initial letters of the phrase “A spark of Yaakov Avinu”, and through the hiskashrus (connection) and the bittul (self-nullification) to the Nosi of the generation, this [aspect of Yaakov Avinu who did not die] is drawn down into every single member of our generation…”

Q: Should I understand that the Rebbe is telling me that my own personal hiskashrus and bittul to the Nosi is what draws down his eternal life (חיים נצחיים) to every single Yid in the generation?!

Hard to support such an understanding.

Perhaps the intention that each one, through his own hiskashrus and bittul to the Nosi draws down eternal life (חיים נצחיים) to himself.

Maybe.

Perhaps a more correct reading is that the hiskashrus and bittul of the Rebbe himself to his Nossi (the Frierdicker Rebbe, who “did not die”) is what is drawing down eternal life (חיים נצחיים) to every single Yid in the generation!