Chukas–Balak–Pinchas–Matos/Masei–Devarim–Va’eschanan

Due to various factors we missed several weeks. To maintain continuity, here follows an brief overview of key points from the sichas, with some noteworthy quotes (from Sichos in English):

Chukas

  • 3 Shabbosos of “punishment” (moichin–intellect), 7 of “comforting” (midos–emotional attributes);
  • bringing the 10 into the 7;
  • ratzo–yearning to escape limitation, shov–fulfilling the will of Hashem here below.

 

Balak (17th of Tammuz)

  • Fast of 17 Tammuz postponed by Shabbos–only the undesirable elements are postponed;
  • Rebi Yehuda HaNosi: since a fast (Tisha B’Av) was postponed, let it be cancelled altogether;
  • Inner truth of the 3 weeks is good. This will be revealed in Messianic Era;
  • Learning about Moshiach and Geulah is “direct way” to bring the Geulah into reality.

 Although our Sages declared, “Mashiach will come when our attention is diverted,” this is no contradiction to the emphasis on studying the subjects ofMashiach and Redemption. A diversion of attention can also be interpreted as referring to a step above our ordinary conscious processes. After one has deepened his awareness of Mashiach to the extent that he appreciates that we are standing on the threshold of Mashiach, that we have completed all the service necessary for his coming, and at any moment, he will come, one can step beyond one’s ordinary thinking process and consider the Redemption in a new light.

These words are meant as a directive for action. Despite the outcry that has been made in the last months, and despite the wonders that we have seen in the present year which indicate that this is “the year when the King Mashiach will be revealed,” there is a difficulty in having this concept permeate people’s consciousness, that they should be aware that we are actually on the threshold of the Redemption, and that they should begin living with the concepts ofMashiach and the Redemption.

Although this is a year when “I will show you wonders,” and wonders have taken place, they have not been shown to us in a complete manner. On the contrary, it has been necessary to explain and elaborate on the fact that we have seen wonders. When G‑d Himself will show the Jews the wonders in a completely manifest way, there will be no need to explain that we are on the threshold of the Redemption. But until that time, it is difficult for these concepts to make a thorough and effective impression on our thought processes.

How can this be changed? By studying about the concepts of Mashiach and Redemption. The power of the Torah, which is G‑d’s wisdom and His will, transcends the world and has the potential to change man’s character. Thus, even though someone feels on the outside when it comes to the Redemption, through studying about these matters, they can begin to live with the idea ofMashiach’s coming, and sense that he is coming in the immediate future.

 

Pinchas

  • Eretz Yisroel–make where you are into Eretz Yisroel, meaning a place where Yiddishkeit and G-dliness are openly revealed (in your life, and in the environment);
  • This is making a dwelling place for G-d in the lowest world;
  • Must be pnimi, focused on the task at hand and not on what comes next;
  • Bring the spirit of Geulah into the time and place of golus.

A chossid once asked the Tzemach Tzedek whether he should settle in the Holy Land so that he could devote his life there to Torah study and the service of G‑d. The Tzemach Tzedek replied, “Make this place Eretz Yisroel.”

The Tzemach Tzedek’s response conveys more than a reply to the chossid’s question about his personal future. For us, its meaning extends far beyond the question of whether one should live in Eretz Yisroel. Instead of being seen only in that limited context, it should also be understood as alluding to the path through which all the members of our people, whether in the diaspora or in Eretz Yisroel, can come to a true and complete appreciation of our Holy Land.

What is Eretz Yisroel? — A place where G‑dliness, holiness, and Yiddishkeit are openly revealed. In an ultimate sense, this will be realized in the Era of the Redemption when the Beis HaMikdash will be rebuilt and the observance of all the mitzvos associated with the holiness of the land will be restored.  Furthermore, not only will we fulfill all of the mitzvos in that era, but we will appreciate the bond with G‑dliness that will be established through this observance.

“Make this place Eretz Yisroel.” Every individual ought to draw G‑dliness into his life and into his environment. Rather than seek to escape from worldly involvement and seclude oneself in spiritual expressions of holiness, we are asked to reveal holiness within the living reality of our contemporary experience, to give actual expression to the concept that there is nothing in this world which is apart from G‑d.

In particular, this is relevant at present as we stand at the threshold of the Redemption.  All the service required of the Jewish people has been completed; to borrow an expression used by the Previous Rebbe, we have already “polished our buttons.”  Nothing is now lacking, nor can anything now stand in the way of the Redemption. And our efforts in drawing down a consciousness of G‑d into our daily experience can hasten the realization of its promise.

Therefore, the message to “Make this place Eretz Yisroel” should be communicated to others — to the members of one’s family, to one’s students, and indeed to every Jew, man, woman, and child. Each one of us should know that “this place,” his or her place, i.e., each dimension of our environment and each moment of time we experience, can be transformed into Eretz Yisroel, into a place where G‑dliness is openly revealed.

An Individual Experience of Redemption

This message helps to resolve a question asked by many who wonder: What can I do to bring Moshiach? How can my seemingly insignificant actions have any bearing on a matter of such immense proportions?

The answer to that question is that every individual experience of redemption hastens the coming of the Redemption as a whole. “Making this place Eretz Yisroel,” living in the spirit of the Redemption and infusing that spirit into all the dimensions of our life experience, is not merely an individual matter, but rather affects the world in its totality, making the universal Redemption even more imminent.

Now is a time when we can — and we are asked to — “Make this place Eretz Yisroel,” to conduct ourselves in the spirit of redemption. The time of the Redemption is near and we must become accustomed to a new approach to our daily experience. And this will not be merely a symbolic gesture: it has the potential to actually hasten the coming of the Redemption. May this take place in the immediate future.

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