Parshas Naso, 5751: The Year Moshiach is Revealed

In the sicha of Parshas Naso, the Rebbe states as follows:

There is a special quality in the Shabbos after Shavuos in this year

To preface, it has been said numerous times that according to all the signs in the words of our sages about the end of days (in addition to the general announcement in the times of the gemara that “all the end-times have passed”), this generation is the last generation of the exile and the first generation of the Geulah.  This was testified to by my father-in-law the Previous Rebbe  — in connection with his well-known proclamation of “immediately to tshuva, immediately to Geulah” — that in his days (decades ago) all the matters of avodah had been finished, and all we need is only to “polish the buttons” and to stand ready to receive Moshiach Tzidkeinu.  How much more so after all the work of spreading the wellsprings outward from then until now, especially upon the completion of 40 years (since his histalkus) it is absolutely certain that we have also finished “polishing the buttons”, and we are standing ready to receive Moshiach Tzidkeinu.

This is especially emphasized in this year — the year 5751 (1991) — [the Hebrew letters of this year, תנש”א] hinting at the verse “his kingship shall be exalted” (תנשא מלכותו) in the entire world, and it also stands for “I will show wonders”– beginning with the wonders that we already saw in actuality, revealed in the eyes of the whole world, in this year [referring to the miracles of the Gulf War].  That through [these events] the words of the Yalkut Shimoni midrash were fulfilled: “In the year that Melech Hamoshiach is revealed all the kings of the world will quarrel, the king of Persia [Iran/Iraq], the king of Arabia, and the Holy One, blessed be He, says to the Jewish people, “my children, do not be afraid, all that I have done I only did for you…the time of your Redemption has arrived.”  Since that time, we are already standing at [the closing section of the Yalkut Shimoni midrash] “in the hour that Melech Hamoshiach comes, he announces to the Jewish people and says humble ones, the time of your redemption has arrived.”

Throughout the Gulf War, the Rebbe made references to this Yalkut Shimoni midrash, but here the Rebbe says unequivocally that “it has been fulfilled”, specifically quoting the words “in the year Melech Hamoshiach is revealed”.  In other words: in 1991 Melech Hamoshiach was revealed.  But despite this, as the Rebbe points out in other sichos, the Jewish people are still fearful and require Moshiach to tell them not to be afraid and to inform them that the Geulah has arrived.  But the “breakthrough” has happened: the year Melech Hamoshiach is revealed.

To add further insight:

“The year in which Melech Hamoshiach is revealed…” (“shana sh’melech Hamoshiach nigla bo”). The word “year” in Hebrew is feminine, and grammatically we would expect this Midrash to read “nigla ba“, meaning “in her [the year, feminine]”.  So we need to explain why it says “bo” instead of “ba”: “shana sh’melech Hamoshiach nigla bo”, meaning “in him” [masculine].

Regarding this logical question, it will help to take a look at the Ohr Hachama, the commentary of R’ Avraham Azulai, z”l, on the Zohar:

[…]so to it will be with the Moshiach after he merits to that neshoma and recognizes himself that he is Moshiach, as it states [in the Zohar] Moshiach will be revealed but he still won’t be recognized by the rest of the people[…] (Shemos 7b, quoting R’ Chayim Vital, z”l)

This describes how the initial “revelation” of Moshiach is when the neshoma of Moshiach is revealed to the individual who has been chosen by Hashem to be Moshiach. At the time that this individual receives the neshoma of Moshiach it is a private revelation, “but the rest of humanity will not recognize him”; only later will he be revealed to the people as Moshiach—what we refer to as the “coming of Moshiach”.

We could say that the Yalkut Shimoni’s use of the word “bo” transforms the literal meaning to “the year that Melech Hamoshiach is revealed in him”, a hint to “the year that [the neshoma of] Melech Hamoshiach is revealed in him [the one who will be Moshiach].”  In 5751 there was a revelation of the “yechida of the yechida”  (the lofty soul of Moshiach) in Moshiach himself.  The delay is the recognition of this by the world.

The reason for this “delay” is found in the Ohr Hachama on Shemos 9a, where it state:

“Moshiach can’t redeem Israel from below…only from Above…there needs to be an awakening from below in order to awaken the rachamim from Above, even if the physical Moshiach wants to redeem [them].”

This describes a situation where there already exists the “physical Moshiach” (i.e., the individual to whom has been bestowed the lofty neshoma of Moshiach) who himself knows that he is Moshiach, but the revelation to all of Israel has not yet occurred. We can see this in the language of the Yalkut Shimoni itself: the Midrash begins with “the year in which the King Moshiach is revealed”, and the Midrash concludes with “the hour in which the King Moshiach comes”.

The year in which Moshiach is revealed refers to the initial revelation, when there is still a need to explain the events of the world to the Jewish people, “don’t be afraid”, etc. The hour when Moshiach comes refers to that transcendent moment when the Jews themselves are able to actually see and recognize the light of Moshiach (as stated in the continuation of the Yalkut Shimoni, brought in different sichos).

In other words, the revelation of Moshiach precedes and is distinct from the coming of Moshiach. (And it is self-understood that when there is such a situation—a situation where the tzaddik who himself is Moshiach is the only one to whom this has been revealed– then only this tzaddik himself is able to know and to inform others that “the year in which the King Moshiach is revealed” has been fulfilled, etc.) .

See 5751–The Year Moshiach Is Revealed for more insights into the relevance of this Yalkut Shimoni to the Gulf War and the present world situation.

 Yechi Adoneinu Moreinu v’Rabbeinu, Melech Hamoshiach l’Olam Vo’ed!

Behar-Bechukosai, 5751

1. Rosh Chodesh Sivan marks the day when the Bnei Yisrael came to the Sinai desert, midbar Sinai. This location was chosen by G‑d as the fitting place for the Torah to be given, and therefore, immediately upon arriving, Moshe began preparing them to receive the Torah. This same connection between the place(midbar Sinai) and the event also finds expression in the fact that Parshas Bamidbar is always read before Shavuos.

There are two reasons given to explain why Parshas Bamidbar is always read before Shavuos. First of all, a midbar (desert) has no owner. Even a public domain has owners — it’s just that everyone owns it equally. In contrast, a desert has no owner whatsoever. The Torah was therefore given in a desert, to teach us that whoever wishes to receive the Torah is free to do so.

A second reason is connected with the curses of Parshas Bechukosai. TheGemara (Megillah 31b) says that since Shavuos is considered to be like the beginning of the year, Ezra established that these curses be read before Shavuos, “to finish the year and its curses.” According to this reason, Bamidbaris read before Shavuos to provide a respite between the curses and Shavuos.

Both of these reasons need explanation. According to the first reason, the Torah was given in a midbar to stress that the Torah is ownerless and that everyone has equal access to it. However, the Torah was given exclusively to the Jewish people! It would have seemed more fitting for it to be given in a private place, or at least a public place which was in the communal possession of all Jews.

In the second reason, the main connection is between Shavuos and Parshas (Behar) Bechukosai, and the placement of Parshas Bamidbar is only incidental. Nevertheless, Parshas Behar-Bechukosai begins speaking about Mount Sinai(har Sinai) rather than midbar Sinai. Since it is relevant to know that the Torah was given in a desert, why doesn’t Bechukosai begin with mention of midbar Sinai instead of Mount Sinai?

This can be explained by first analyzing the statement in the beginning of the fifth chapter of Pirkei Avos (which we read this Shabbos), “The world was created by means of ten Divine utterances. What does this come to teach us, for indeed, it could have been created by one utterance? But it was so to bring retribution upon the wicked who destroy the world which was created by ten utterances, and to bestow ample reward upon the righteous who sustain the world which was created by ten utterances.”

The well-known question on this Mishnah is that if the world could have been created with one utterance, it is therefore only “worth,” so to speak, one utterance. Why do the wicked deserve more punishment (and the righteous more reward) if the world is in reality only “worth” one utterance?

The explanation is that there are two dimensions to the way in which G‑d created the world: one which is called “one utterance” and the other called “ten utterances.” Before there was differentiation between the various types of creations, G‑d created an unformed existence (metzius yesh). Only later was this yesh formed into the universe as we now know it. The first act of creating the yesh was done through the “one utterance.” The creative process which brought about all the particular types of creations is referred to as the “ten utterances.”

One difference between these two dimensions is that through the “ten utterances,” importance was ascribed to all of the individual creations. The emphasis was on the creation itself. On the level of the “one utterance,” however, the creation is of relatively little importance. The main revelation is that of G‑dliness.

These same two levels of revelation are reflected in the Torah, as expressed in the verse (Psalms 62:12), “G‑d spoke one, I heard two.” The “one” refers to the dimension of Torah which is united with G‑d and higher than the world, similar to the level of the “one utterance.” The “two” refers to the level of Torah which deals with worldly matters, similar to the “ten utterances.” In practical terms, the first level corresponds to the blessing we make over the Torah, which stresses how the Torah is connected to G‑d. The second level which is connected with the world finds expression in the laws of the Torah, which deals with worldly matters.

We can express this in more general terms. The first level (of the creation and of Torah) represents a revelation of G‑dliness and the consequent nullification of the universe. This is the idea of a hala’ah (elevation) “from below to Above.” The second level represents the hamshachah (drawing down) “from Above to below” to penetrate the universe with G‑dliness.

Each of these two types of revelations has an advantage over the other. Through the “ten utterances,” which is the drawing down of G‑dliness, the universe becomes imbued with G‑dliness. However it is only a low level of G‑dliness, one which the universe is able to withstand. The revelation of the “one utterance” is much higher, but — for this reason — it doesn’t affect the universe.

These two types of revelation are alluded to in the two Torah portions Beharand Bechukosai, and in particular to their names. Among the various types of inorganic matter, a mountain (har) is in a way similar to organic matter (since more earth falls upon it and it “grows,” so to speak). This represents the growth and adaptation characteristic of the universe, “ten utterances.” Bechukosai, on the other hand, comes from the word “engraved” (chakikah). Unlike letters which are written with ink on paper, engraved letters have no existence independent of the rock in which they are engraved. This nullification of the letters corresponds to the nullification of the universe which corresponds to the revelation of the “one utterance.”

The ultimate revelation is when both these advantages are present. This is the idea of the expression dirah b’tachtonim (“dwelling place in the lower worlds”). The word dirah indicates a revelation of the essence of G‑d, whereas tachtonimemphasizes the lower worlds. Having both together indicates that this highest revelation has the ability to penetrate the lower worlds.

The way to combine both these G‑dly revelations is through a revelation which is higher than them both. This third revelation corresponds to the midbar(desert). The reason for this is because a desert is unfit for human habitation. This can be taken in a negative way, i.e. because it is so low that it is not suitable for humans. It can also be seen in a positive light, i.e. that it transcends anything a human being could possibly reach.

According to this, we can answer both of the questions which we originally asked. Parshas Behar does not begin with the mention of the desert because it expresses the “ten utterances” which are on the level of the world. On the contrary; it stresses the significance of worldly existence, and therefore mentions a mountain (Mount Sinai) which is the opposite of nullifying existence.Parshas Bechukosai emphasizes the other extreme, the nullification of existence, as mentioned above. After dealing with both extremes, the Torah then has Parshas Bamidbar, which is higher than these two extremes and therefore has the ability to combine them both.

This also explains why the Torah was given in a desert rather than in a place owned by Jews. A place of communal ownership corresponds to the level of Torah which is within the grasp of the Jewish people (“ten utterances”). The Torah was given in a desert in order to allude to the higher dimension of Torah which is completely beyond human grasp. In this way we receive the dimension of Torah which is completely united with G‑d. This will be accomplished completely in the days of Mashiach, when (G‑d said), “A new Torah will come out from Me” (Isaiah 51:4). The word iti (“from Me”) refers to the Torah as it is completely united with G‑d. This level will nevertheless “come out” to the level of each individual.

* * *

2. The preparation for the giving of the Torah was the unification of the Jewish people in the Sinai desert. This is alluded to in the verse vayichan sham Yisrael(“and the Jews encamped there”), where the word vayichan is in singular tense (“and he encamped”). This indicates that the Jews became united a single person. The way to attain this level of unity and ahavas Yisrael is through self-nullification. Only through bittul is it possible to avoid strife and achieve trueahavas Yisrael.

On the other hand, we see that receiving the Torah is also connected to a certain degree with the person feeling his own existence. He must learn Torah with a full measure of understanding, bringing the Torah to the level of his own intellect. We therefore see again the two extremes similar to the “ten utterances” (connected with a feeling of the importance of individual existence), and the “one utterance” (connected with the bittul of all existence).

The same two extremes are found in Parshas Bamidbar itself. On the one hand, a midbar represents the nullification of existence, as explained above. On the other hand, Bamidbar contains the counting of the Jewish people, which stresses the importance of the existence of each individual.

These extremes also correspond to the two reasons for reading Parshas Bamidbar before Shavuos. The first reason — in order for it to be given in an ownerless location — corresponds to the idea of bittul, as explained above. The second reason — in order to intervene between the curses and the giving of the Torah — corresponds to the importance of individual existence. This is because G‑d wants us to have the full measure of blessings, primarily the blessings which enable us to fill the world with G‑dliness and bring the redemption. This stresses the importance of the G‑dly service of each individual.

This is also connected with the two practical directives which come out of this gathering. First of all, this is an auspicious time to gather more and more people together on Shabbos. If this is a vital activity every Shabbos, how much moreso on the Shabbos which blesses the month which contains Shavuos! Secondly, it should be publicized everywhere possible the necessity of bringing all Jewish children, even the smallest babies, to the reading of the Ten Commandments on Shavuos.

Here again we find the expression of these two extremes. The gathering together of Jews on Shabbos, and the inclusion of even the smallest children in the reading of the Ten Commandments emphasizes the unity and nullification of all Jews. At the same time it stresses the other extreme, since every Jew is so important that every individual must be included, and must receive the Torah on his or her own level.

May it be G‑d’s will that our good resolutions to increase in Jewish unity bring about the immediate redemption, so that we can celebrate Shavuos in the most complete manner — in the Beis HaMikdash in Jerusalem, immediately.

 

Translation: Sichos In English