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!

Nshei uBnos Chabad Convention, 28th of Iyar, 5751

1. In preparation for the commemoration of the giving of the Torah, it is customary each year to hold this Convention of Jewish women.

The Torah was given to the entire Jewish people. Furthermore, as obvious from the verse “The Torah which Moshe commanded us is the inheritance of the congregation of Yaakov,” the Torah is given as an inheritance to every member of the Jewish people, i.e., to all the descendants of the Patriarchs, Avraham,Yitzchak, and Yaakov, and the Matriarchs, Sarah, Rivkah, Rachel, Leah, Bilhah, and Zilpah. These are the ancestors of the entire Jewish people, including those of the generation of the Redemption who will serve in “the Sanctuary ofG‑d established by Your hands.”

It is our service in the era of exile which prepares for this revelation. We see a parallel in the Jew’s preparations for the giving of the Torah. Our Sages explain that before the redemption, the Jews had been informed that they would be given the Torah as Moshe was promised, “When you take the people out of Egypt, you will serve G‑d on this mountain.” When they left Egypt, they yearned to receive the Torah and with anxious expectation, counted the days until the giving of the Torah.

Similarly, each year, this pattern repeats itself. On Pesach, G‑d chooses the Jews as His nation. Afterwards, we count the Omer, and on the holiday ofShavuos, we relive the experience of the giving of the Torah.

There is an interesting concept in regard to the Counting of the Omer:Generally, one counts when there is a possibility of an increase or a decrease and one needs to know the exact number of days. In regard to the Counting of the Omer, however, the number of days is fixed and there is no possibility for change.

In contrast, seemingly there may be changes in regard to the content of these days, i.e., our conduct may be desirable or the opposite, but this is not what is being counted.

Nevertheless, in truth there is no genuine possibility of change regarding our conduct as well. The giving of the Torah represented the full expression of G‑d’s choice of Israel as His nation. At that time, His true desire and will for the Jews was expressed. This choice makes it certain that a Jew will fill his days and weeks with G‑dliness, conducting himself in his day-to-day life as G‑d desires. This is a clear and certain reality.

This applies to every Jew men, women, and children. Indeed, in this regard, women are given prominence over the men for, before giving the Torah, G‑d approached the women first. Although the Ten Commandments were directed to each member of the Jewish people, before the giving of the Torah G‑d gave precedence to the women. This is because the women are akeres habayis, a term which can be interpreted to mean ikro shel bayis, “the essence of the home.” It is women who have the unique emotional nature necessary for them to shape the personalities of the members of their household, particularly, the young children. A woman teaches with all her heart, with life and energy, and also with the softness and sensitivity which make her listeners more receptive. And thus, it is through Jewish women that the Torah has been communicated to the entire Jewish people throughout the generations, including the generation of the redemption.

And it was for this reason that G‑d told Moshe to approach the women first and tell them — in a pleasant and happy manner — that G‑d is prepared to grant the Torah (His wisdom and His will) to the Jewish people, to the people as a whole and to each person individually.1

This is the role and the mission which has been granted to Jewish women, to educate their children. It is a holy obligation incumbent on each woman to do what she can in the field of education. (This also includes increasing one’s own education, for doing so will inevitably allow one to educate others more effectively.)

In particular, this should be expressed in training one’s daughters to light candles before the Shabbos and before the festivals, and in doing so, to increase the light of their homes.

There is a connection between the above concepts and the Counting of theOmer2 for the Counting of the Omer is a preparation for the giving of the Torah. The seven weeks of the Counting of the Omer have an effect on the entire year, making it a year of Torah and mitzvos, and thus a year of financial success. This is reflected in Parshas Bechukosai where G‑d promises that “If you walk in My statutes,” He will grant us an abundance of material blessings, including the blessing “And I will have you proceed upright” — i.e., our subjugance to the gentile nations will be nullified and we will be able to proceed with pride to the redemption.

Herein, there is also a connection to Jewish women for the AriZal relates that just as “in the merit of righteous women, our ancestors were redeemed from Egypt,” the coming of the ultimate redemption is dependent on Jewish women.

This will be accomplished by fulfilling the mitzvah of lighting candles on the eve of Sabbaths and festivals, an activity which brings light into the home and particularly, into the room in which the festive meal is being served. That meal surely consists only of those foods and beverages which are kosher, i.e., fit to become assimilated into the system of a Jew and to become part of his flesh and blood.

This will surely hasten the coming of Mashiach. And may his coming take place directly after the conclusion of these words. Then we will proceed, behind the Patriarchs and the Matriarchs, and behind the Previous Rebbe who will be at the head of the procession, together with the entire Jewish people of all the generations, to Eretz Yisrael, to Jerusalem, and to the Beis HaMikdash.3

May you convey the message which was communicated here to all other Jewish women wherever they are located in the present exile, whether in places where Jewish observance is common or in places where there are few synagogues and houses of study. There the people are waiting for other Jews to come and erect such buildings, or to come and take the Jews out from these places as Mashiach will do.

Mashiach’s coming will be hastened by our gifts to tzedakah and by makingtzedakah a fundamental part of our being. In this context, it is worthy to mention the importance of having a tzedakah pushka placed in the kitchen and for a woman to give to tzedakah4 before she begins to cook. Needless to say, this is in addition to giving a portion, and indeed a choice portion, of the food she prepares to the poor.

The decision to do this will lead to wealth, in a figurative sense, for the wealthiest people are those who have the willingness to help others, and also, in a simple physical sense, an abundance of material wealth.

Here we see a connection to the parshiyos, Behar (“On the mountain”) andBechukosai (which relates to the word chok, “engrave”). G‑d will grant the Jews a mountain of material blessings so that the desire to give tzedakah will be engraved in the Jews’ hearts. Simply put, when a Jewish girl will enter her neighbors’ home and see that they are lacking some of the good that her own family possesses, she will come with a demand to her mother to help them.

The significant role played by Jewish women is particular evident in these days before the celebration of the holiday of Shavuos. This year, that holiday is preceded by Shabbos and so we have a three day continuum of holiness.5 And this continuum of holiness is introduced to the home through the candles lit by Jewish women and girls.

This in turn will lead to the ultimate Redemption when we will merit the construction of the Third Beis HaMikdash.6 May the merit of the righteous women of our generation hasten the advent of this era. And may this be in the immediate future.

(After giving tzedakah to be distributed to the women in attendance, the RebbeShlita said:) May you have a happy Shabbos, a happy holiday. And may you receive the Torah with joy and inner feeling.

 

Translation: 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)

Parshas Bamidbar and Motzaei Shavuos, 5751

1. 1 There is a general message conveyed by the holidays every year, and then each individual year provides us with an individual message that can be derived from considering the days on which the holiday is celebrated in a particular year. Paying attention to this particular message heightens our potential to fulfill the general message of the holiday.

This year is unique in that the holiday of Shavuos follows directly after Shabbosand thus our service of Shavuos is affected by the unique influence of the Shabbos. Indeed, there is no interruption between the two and no gap to be filled with mundane matters. Furthermore, this three day continuum of holiness established a chazakah, a sequence associated with strength and permanence.2

Shabbos is intrinsically connected with the holiday of Shavuos as reflected in our Sages’ statement, “Everyone agrees that the Torah was given on Shabbos.” Shabbos is characterized by the quality of rest as our Sages commented: “What was the world lacking? Rest. When the Shabbos came, rest came.” Similarly, when reciting Grace on Shabbos, we add the prayer, “May the Merciful One let us inherit the day which will be all Shabbos and rest for eternal life.” And in ourMinchah prayers we speak of “a day of rest… a rest of peace… a perfect restwith which You find favor.”

This dimension of rest was brought to a complete state by the giving of the Torah. Thus our Sages connected the concept of tranquility with the giving of the Torah explaining that G‑d made a condition with the creation that if the Jews accepted the Torah, the creation would stand, and if not, He would return the entire world to a state of nothingness. Thus, our Sages relate, the world was in a state of uneasiness until the giving of the Torah, and only when the Torah was given, did it reach a state of tranquility. Thus, the concepts of rest and tranquility represent an intrinsic connection between Shabbos and the giving of the Torah.

To explain this concept in depth: The natural state of the world is one of change and activity, the very opposite of rest. Indeed, the very concept of time, the fundamental framework in which the entire creation operates, is characterized by change. Shabbos, in contrast, brings about rest and unity, revealing the fundamental G‑dly oneness that lies at the core of the entire creation. Thus, Shabbos takes us above the entire framework of time and therefore on Sunday, we say “This is the first day of the week,” i.e., the cycle of time is begun anew.3

In a full sense, this rest and oneness was introduced by the giving of the Torah. For it is through the Torah, that the purpose for the entire creation can be realized. This concept can be understood through a parallel to our personal state.

When a person does not realize the purpose for his existence — which is “to serve His Creator” — he can never experience true tranquility and calm. On the contrary, the changes and multiplicity in the world at large disrupt and disturb him. When, however, a person is aware of the purpose for his existence and for each aspect of his life, he rises above all this treadmill of activity. This, in turn, allows a person to reach a state of fulfillment and development.

Furthermore, the awareness of one’s purpose generates tranquility, not only for the person himself, but for the activities which he carries out in the world at large. This allows them to be carried out with added perfection and success; and thus spreads rest and tranquility throughout the world.4

Similarly, in regard to the giving of the Torah: When the Jews received the Torah, the purpose of the entire creation — that it was brought into being for the sake of the Torah and for the sake of the Jewish people — was revealed. When the Jews observe the Torah and its mitzvos, and influence the gentiles to observe their seven mitzvos, they transform the world into a dwelling for G‑d, and in this way, spread rest and tranquility throughout the world, encompassing every particular dimension of existence.

There are various different mitzvos and every mitzvah has a specific intention. Nevertheless, there is a single fundamental thrust present in all the mitzvos, the commitment to fulfill G‑d’s will. This is reflected in our Sages’ statement (quoted in the beginning of the Shulchan Aruch), “Be as fierce as a lion… to fulfill the will of your Father in Heaven.” The emphasis is not on G‑d’s commandments as they exist as separate entities, but rather on “His will,” the single inner desire that is expressed by all the mitzvos. In each particular mitzvah, one must be conscious of the fundamental intent that pervades all the mitzvos.5 This brings about a complete and single-minded commitment to the Torah; to quote the familiar expression, “Were we commanded to chop trees, [we would do so eagerly].”

In particular, this concept is reflected in the mitzvah of the love of G‑d which is the source for all the positive commandments.6 Love is connected with activity, an inner dynamic characterized by the two thrusts of ratzu (yearning) and shuv(return). Significantly, however, when describing this dynamic, the SeferYetzirah states, “If your heart will run (rotz in Hebrew), return (shuv) to one.”

On the surface, the expression “return to one” is problematic. That a movement of ratzu should be followed by one of shuv is understandable. (Indeed, the very physical movement of the heart reflects such a pattern.) But what is the intent of the word “one”? On the contrary, the dynamic is by nature twofold.

On the basis of the above, however, this difficulty can be resolved. The intent should be not merely the development of harmony between the two movements of ratzu and shuv, that each shuv leads to a higher and more complete ratzu,but that one sense the fundamental G‑dly intent that permeates both the ratzuand the shuv. Rather than being aware of the differences between these two movements, one should sense the fundamental oneness which permeates the totality of our service.

The above is brought about through the approach of bittul. A person’s self-image should be as G‑d’s servant — aware that “I was created solely to serve my Creator.” This in turn allows him to develop a complete unity with the King Himself, “A servant of the king is a king.”

This concept is explained in Chassidic thought within the context of the Baal Shem Tov’s interpretation of the verse, “A psalm of a poor man. He will pour out his words before G‑d.” It is explained that a poor man has no self-concern whatsoever and desires nothing more than to come into the presence of G‑d.

To explain in allegory: If a king allows his subjects to have an audience with him, a rich man person will approach the king slowly. He appreciates and derives satisfaction from the great riches and wealth of the king’s palace (in the analogue, the wonders of the spiritual realms) and wants to savor them. In contrast, a poor man takes no notice of these factors and has only one desire, to enter the presence of the king himself.

To refer back to our service: When a person is characterized by bittul, he takes no interest in the revealed levels of G‑d’s greatness. He is concerned with G‑d’s essence. He wants to come before the King Himself.7

Furthermore, it is through this approach of servitude alone that one can reach the highest peaks. This applies not only to the development of an essential connection, but also in regard to the revealed levels of G‑dliness. “The servant of the king is like a king;” G‑d endows him with a wealth of revelation, “from His full, open, holy, and generous hand.”8

The inner tranquility achieved through the service of bittul is reflected in the Hebrew word for king, melech (מלך). This word is an acronym for the three Hebrew words (מוח, לב, כבד) that mean “brain, heart, and liver.” The brain governs the function of our intellectual faculties; the heart, of our emotions; and the liver, of our basic physical functions.

Generally, the heart and the brain work are characterized by different tendencies. The most developed intellectual activity involves a settled, restful approach, while the heart moves with frenetic activity, as reflected in the pattern of ratzu and shuv described above.

Through the approach of bittul, these two potentials can be synthesized, and the mind can rule over the heart. Because bittul effects the essence of a person, a level above the mind, it can extend the tranquility of the intellect beyond its natural limits and cause it to affect every aspect of our personalities.

The most complete and clearly revealed expression of how the bittul of the Jewish people led to the revelation of G‑d’s sovereignty came about at the giving of the Torah. The Jews stated na’aseh v’nishmah, placing the commitment, “we will do” before “we will listen.” This reflects a total willingness to go beyond oneself and fulfill G‑d’s will. And through this commitment, the Jews drew down “three crowns” for G‑d. “One He put on His head, and two, He gave to His children,” the Jewish people.

The giving of the Torah represented a connection to G‑d’s essence, a level above all particular differences. Afterwards, the Torah was given in a manner that permeated the framework of worldly existence and allowed this essential oneness to be drawn down into the world, establishing peace, harmony, and tranquility.9 And in this manner, the ultimate purpose of the creation could be revealed.

The above concepts also provide us with insight regarding the Jews’ preparations for the giving of the Torah. After leaving Egypt, the Jews went through a process of refinement resembling our service in the Counting of theOmer, i.e., they refined all the particular characteristics in their emotional makeup.

This, in turn, prepared them to receive the revelation of the essence of G‑d as expressed in the command, “I am the L‑rd, your G‑d.” This revelation permeated the Jews’ very being as reflected by the interpretation of E-lohechah, “your G‑d,” as “your strength and your power.” In addition, the Jews also received an appreciation of all the revealed levels of G‑dliness, perceiving G‑d’s merchavah (His holy chariot) and throne.10

Based on the above, we can appreciate the uniqueness of the celebration of the giving of the Torah this year when we proceed directly from Shabbos to Shavuos. Every Shabbos, like the first Shabbos of creation, introduces a dimension of rest into the creation and on the following Sunday, the cycle of time begins anew.

Similarly, each year, Shavuos represents a renewal of the giving of the Torah, a present day experience of Mount Sinai. Thus, proceeding directly from Shabbos to Shavuos without the interruption of any mundane activities teaches us two fundamental lessons: a) There is a greater potential to draw down the tranquility associated with the Torah into the realm of worldly experience because its influence is amplified by that of the Shabbos. b) Since the cycle of time begins on Sunday and that day is associated with the giving of the Torah, there is a greater potential to draw down the tranquility of the Torah into our world which is governed by time and space. Indeed, the renewal of the world at large is brought about by the renewal of the Torah as implied by the Zohar’sstatement, “The Holy One, blessed be He, looked into the Torah and created the world.”

* * *

2. There is a connection between the above concepts and this week’s Torah reading, Parshas Bamidbar. Bamidbar means “in the desert.” Our Sages emphasize the connection to the giving of the Torah, for the Torah was also given in a desert.

This is not merely a coincidence, but rather was intended to bring out the intrinsic connection that exists between the Torah and the concept of a desert. One of the explanations associated with this idea is that the Torah is intended to elevate even a desert environment. A desert is, a place unfit for human habitation, the very opposite of the stable and tranquil atmosphere which the Torah is intended to introduce into the world. Nevertheless, the Torah has the potential to transform the nature of a desert and endow it with stability and tranquility. This serves as a clear indication of the Torah’s potential to endow those parts of the world which are fit for human habitation with these qualities.

The Book of Bamidbar is associated with the census of the Jewish people, an activity which expresses the dearness with which G‑d holds the Jewish people as Rashi comments, “Because of their dearness to Him, He counts them all the time.” Similarly, a census also adds to the concept of permanence for “an entity which is counted will never be nullified.” Nevertheless, the census that expresses these qualities was taken in a desert, emphasizing how these qualities are drawn down into — and thus transform — a place which is unfit for human habitation.11

* * *

3. Just as each year, the Torah is given anew, similarly, each year it must be received anew by the Jewish people. This is particularly true this year, when we proceed from Shabbos directly to the giving of the Torah. We must accept the Torah with an active consciousness of the Giver of the Torah, realizing that the Torah is the purpose of the entire creation, and in this manner, bring peace and tranquility to each individual Jew and to the world at large.

This should involve a renewal of one’s dedication to Torah study and in particular, to the study of Pnimiyus HaTorah. This enables one to “know the G‑d of your fathers and serve Him with a full heart.” We must study the Torah with full use of our intellectual faculties, and every Jew should endeavor to develop new Torah concepts.

In particular, this should involve study of those subjects which are customarily studied by the entire Jewish people. This includes — in these summer months — Pirkei Avos. The intent is that Pirkei Avos will be learned, not merely recited. Each week, on should learn at least one Mishnah in depth.

Similarly, it is important to renew and strengthen our study of Chitas, Chumash,Tehillim, and Tanya. Herein there is an intrinsic connection to the giving of the Torah, for these three texts are related to the three Jewish leaders associated with the holiday of Shavuos: Moshe, who received the Torah at Mount Sinai,King David, whose yahrzeit is on Shavuos and who wrote the Book of Tehillim,and the Baal Shem Tov whose yahrzeit is also on Shavuos, and whose teachings where collected and explained by the Alter Rebbe in the Tanya.

Also, this is an appropriate time to renew and strengthen our study of theRambam’s works, the Mishneh Torah and Sefer HaMitzvos in keeping with the three-pronged program of study that has been established. Similarly, each person should continue the programs of Torah study that he has established individually.

Furthermore, 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.12

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.”

May we merit the Redemption immediately. — Significantly, מיד, the Hebrew for “immediately,” is an acronym for the names of the three Jewish leaders mentioned previously: Moshe משה, Yisrael (the Baal Shem Tov) ישראל, andDavid דוד. — And then we will appreciate the true sense of rest and tranquility.

 

Translator’s Note: These two farbrengens followed shortly after each other and the subjects discussed shared a thematic relationship. Therefore, the sichos of the two farbrengens were grafted together and presented as a single unit. The authorized text which was checked by the Rebbe Shlita was presented in this fashion and therefore our translation followed the same pattern. 

Translation: Sichos In English

Video Shiur: Bamidbar-Shavuos 5751

LipskerShiurImage
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

 

Video Shiur: Behar-Bechukoisai 5751

What is the Uniqueness of Where the Torah was Given?

Chabadinfo.com Exclusive: In the Sicha of Parshas Behar-Bechukoisai 5751, the Rebbe explains the significance of the Torah being given in the desert ● 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

 

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