Vayishlach 5752: The Moon Becomes Like the Sun

Our sages tell us that the Jewish people are likened to the moon and thus we count according to the moon.  The months of the Jewish calendar begin with the birth of the new moon each month.  This means that the 15th of every month is the date of the full moon.  What is a full moon?  It is the time when the moon reaches the state of maximum revelation, reflecting the light of the sun to its utmost.   This is called shleimus halevana, the moon being “full” and “complete”.  This process of the waxing of the moon until it reaches completeness is illustrated by the increasing number of the day of the month: 1, 2, 3, etc., until the 15th.  The ascending number corresponds to the ascending completeness of the moon’s revelation.

The true completeness of the moon, explains the Rebbe, is not truly found on the 15th of the month (the full moon), because then the moon is is only at maximum capacity as a mekabel, a receiver (and reflector) of light from the sun.  The true shleimus, the true completeness of the moon is when the moon becomes similar to the sun — a mashpia — and no longer needs to receive light from the sun.

By examining the astronomical properties of the movement of the moon we will understand this more deeply: the first half of the month, when the revelation of the light of the moon is increasing daily, the moon itself is actually moving further away from the sun.  The further it gets from the sun, the greater its light.  In the second half of the month it moves closer to the sun, and as it gets closer its visible light diminishes.  This is because the closer the mekabel is to the mashpia, the less he is able to “shine forth”, due to the great self-nullification, bitul, it has in order to receive.  What occurs in the second half of the month, the Rebbe explains, is that the moon comes closer to the sun in order to achieve the union of the two of them in the following month.  While the light of the moon diminishes at this time, in truth light is only a glimmer of the essence.  And as the moon approaches the sun, its essence is coming closer to revelation.  When is the essence revealed?

When the mekabel is unified with the mashpia to such a degree that it also becomes a mashpia, and there ceases to be a relationship of giver/recipient between them, that both of them are equal — then the essence is revealed.

So it turns out that as great as the revelation of the full moon may be, it is only as regards the moon as a mekabel from the sun.  But the true shliemus of the moon begins its approach in the second half of the month–as it comes closer to the sun and is transforming into a mashpia itself.  For this reason, we continue to count up (16, 17, 18, etc.) even as the moon wanes and its illumination diminishes–because on a deeper level it is still climbing to higher levels.

It is for this reason that we find that the holidays of the Torah are on the 15th of the month when the moon is full (or, in the case of Shavuos–in the 1st half of the month, when the light of the moon is increasing).  But Yud Tes Kislev, the Matan Torah of Toras haChassidus, falls out on the 19th, in the second half of the month.  This is because the revelation of Chassidus is a beginning and a taste of the Torah of Moshiach (“Torah chadasha m’iti seitzeh“) which is connected with the revelation of the essence (which is what is taking place by the moon in the second half of the month).

This is also connected with the weekly parsha, where Yaakov has finished refining the sparks of holiness that were trapped in the realm of Lovon his father-in-law and is now going to greet Esav.  This parsha is speaking about the time, at the end of golus, when the avodah of birurim will be finished.  Yaakov is ready for the days of Moshiach,to unify with Esav (representing the unification of the neshoma and the body, and also the Holy One, blessed be He and Yisroel).

Thus the difference between Yaakov as he is involved in the service of refinement and Yaakov as he is prepared for the Redemption, parallels the difference between the moon as it receives light from the sun and as it will be in the Era of the Redemption, when it will be equal to the sun.

When Yaakov confronted Eisav, although Yaakov was prepared for the Redemption Eisav was not, and the task of refining Eisav and the material worlds associated with him had to continue for centuries. In the present age, however, to borrow an expression from the Previous Rebbe, “We have already polished the buttons.” The task of refinement which was entrusted to the Jews has been completed.

Thus we are now living in a new era with a new service. Instead of concentrating on the refinement of the world, our efforts must focus on revealing the Redemption. The Era of Redemption, which is described with the analogy of a feast, is a present reality, all that is necessary is for us to open our eyes and see.

So it turns out that this week’s parsha is speaking directly about our times–the end of golus when we have completed avodas habirurim (work of refinement) and are ready to be transformed from mekabel to mashpia by revealing the unity of the Holy One, blessed be He, and Yisroel.  Furthermore:

From this it is understood that the continuation of the avodah that follows (as long as Moshiach Tzidkeinu is delayed for whatever reason (completely unknown and not understood)) is not avodas habirurim (for avodas habirurim has already been completed and finished) but rather, it is a special avodah to bring the revelation in actuality in the world.

[For those who are familiar with the terminology of Chassidus (explained in Torah Ohr on our parsha), the Rebbe notes (footnote 89) that this present avodah is similar to what Yaakov attempted to do when he went to greet Esav–dividing his camp into two camps, sending abundant gifts to Esav, and bowing before him.  “He did not involve himself in avodas habirurim (to refine Esav), but rather he involved himself in ‘hala’as ma”n to elicit ma”d of Tohu’ via his offering” which he sent to Esav.  This itself is worthy of a separate essay.  But , simply put, he made an effort from below-to-Above in way that it will awaken from the supernal source of Esav an outpouring of the lights of Tohu, recalling the Rebbe’s words of Koach Nissan: that we must drawn down the lights of Tohu into vessels of Tikkun.  All of this requires further explanation.]

The Rebbe continues and connects this with the refinement of the nation of France, in loshon kodesh “Tzorfas” which has the numerical value of 770, that this represents the completion of the process of refining the world.

From this it is understood that literally in our times we need only to open the eyes and to see the reality b’poel mamash.”  (Footnote 112): That is to say, not only this that the avodah of refinement has been completed and that we need to bring about a revelation of this in the world, but rather more than this, that there is already revealed [such a revelation] in actuality, and we need only to open the eyes, because already you have been given…eyes to see.’

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

 

Vayishlach 5752 in English

Vayishlach 5752 in Loshon Kodesh

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Vayishlach 5752: The Job After the Birurim Are Completed

The sicha of Vayishlach 5752 contains several threads, each of considerable significance.

Firstly, the Rebbe explains the concept of the diminution of the moon–that the full moon on the 15th of the lunar month, when the moon fully receives and reflects the light of the sun, is followed by a decrease in the light until it completely disappears from sight. However, this period of diminution of the light of the moon is really only as far as the revelation of the moon is concerned.  But the fact that we continue to count the days up (16th, 17th, 18th, etc.) hints that in fact the moon is really reaching a higher level, coming closer to the sun (the mashpia) until it ultimately unifies with it and becomes a mashpia itself.  “The complete perfection of the moon is when the it becomes like the sun and no longer needs to receive the light of the sun.

The unification of the sun and the moon, the mashpia and the mekabel, requires the moon to be completely nullified, resulting in “the essence being revealed” (etzem b’hisgalus).  This is a metaphor for the relationship of the Jewish people to Hashem, that when Yisroel is completely nullified to Hashem they become unified and they themselves become like Him, both being equal “one crown for both of them”.  All this takes place after the process of refinement (avodas habirurim) is completed.

This brings us to the next significant thread of this sicha, where the Rebbe states that the refinement of the sparks of Tohu (related to Esav in our parsha) has been completed, and “all the matters of avodah have been finished and completed, also as regards (and in) the world.”  Although this appears in many of the sichos of Dvar Malchus, in our sicha of Vayishlach the Rebbe addresses the question: if everything has been done, what do we do now?  The answer is found in the conduct of Yaakov towards Esav in our parsha.  Returning from living with Lavan in Charan, Yaakov was ready for Moshiach and anticipated that Esav, too, was ready.  Thus, what Yaakov did is what we are doing.  The verses tell us how Yaakov sent excessive gifts to Esav, and bowed down 7 times.  In Torah Ohr, the Alter Rebbe explains  what this means spiritually, which the Rebbe summarizes as follows:

“Yaakov sent messengers before him to Esav his brother”– that Yaakov, whose source is from the world of Tikkun, sent messengers literally “before him“, to the level that is higher than him, to Esav his brother who has his source in the world of Tohu (since, due to his relationship to Yaakov, we are referring to Esav after he was refined and returned to his source, the transcendentlevel of Tohu).  This was “in order to draw down the transcendent level of Tohu to him below in Tikkun, which is the aspect of internalized light, that the transcendent will shine forth internally and they will be unified together.  This is also the meaning of the unification of the moon and the sun (Yaakov and Esav, inner light and transcendent light, memaleh kol almin and sovev kol almin), until the moon no longer receives from the sun (since the the refinement of the sparks of Tohu has already been finished and completed,  which was the reason that the moon was originally diminished to be a receiver, as explained earlier in the sicha), but rather the light of the moon becomes like the light of the sun, that both are equal.

(Footnote 89): We learn out from the avodah of Yaakov after he thought that Esav was already refined, and even after the messengers returned and informed him that Esave was not yet refined — he did not get involved in “avodas habirurim” (to refine Esav), but rather he became involved in “the elevation of the ‘lower waters’ to draw down the ‘masculine waters’ of the transcendent level of Tohu‘ [hala’as Ma”n lehamshich Ma”d d’makif d’Tohu] via his offering.  [More explanation is required, but time does not allow us to do so here and now.  See Torah Ohr on our parsha.]

The Rebbe continues and connects this with the refinement of the nation of France, in loshon kodesh “Tzorfas” which has the numerical value of 770, that this represents the completion of the process of refining the world.  “From this it is understood that literally in our times we need only to open the eyes and to see the reality b’poel mamash.”  (Footnote 112): “That is to say, not only this that the avodah of refinement has been completed and that we need to bring about a revelation of this in the world, but rather more than this, that there is already revealed [such a revelation] in actuality, and we need only to open the eyes, because already you have been given…eyes to see.'”

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

Vayetzei 5752: We Need Only to Open the Eyes

In this sicha, which was said on Shabbos Vayeitze, which corresponded in 5751 to the 9th of Kislev, the birthday and hillula (day of passing) of the Mitteler Rebbe, the 2nd Rebbe of Chabad.

The Alter Rebbe, his father, represented the attribute of Chochma (wisdom), and his son the Mitteler Rebbe represents the attribute of Bina (understanding).  Just as Bina expands and reveals the breadth and depth of Chochma, so, too, the teachings of the Mitteler Rebbe are “wide as a river”, allowing one to drink deeply from the wellsprings of pnimiyus haTorah.  This is significant to bringing the Geulah, because:

At this time there needs to be…the study of pnimiyus Hatorah as it has been revealed in the teachings of Chassidus, and the fulfillment of the instructions of our Rebbeim.  This includes — learning the subjects of Moshiach and Geulah, in a way that it opens the heart and the eyes and the ears — so that they will understand, and see and feel the true and complete Geulah tangibly in the physicality of the world.

Not merely learning as some sort of intellectual exercise, but rather “in a way of seeing, that this [the true and complete Geulah] is already prepared and ready, and one only needs to open the eyes and then he will see this!

Practically speaking, this means adding in the learning of the Torah of the Mitteler Rebbe, for his teachings are specifically in a way of Bina.  It is through learning in a way of Bina, understanding, where it becomes integrated with a person, that the studies have an effect on the person.  This means an effort to express his “spirituality” and his chassidishkeit in his physical matters, until there will be no divide between his “spiritual” aspect and his physical being.

Furthermore, this can impact the world dramatically, because:

We have completed all the birurim (refinement), including the refinement of “Esav he is Edom”, and how much more so considering that even in the time of Yaakov Avinu he already thought that Esav was refined (and from Yaakov’s level in fact he was).  And all the more so after all of the avodah that has taken place since then (to refine Esav) until we are at the point where Esav is already completely refined, as we see in the conduct in our days (golus Edom) of the nations of the world who are related to “Esav he is Edom”, such as this country, a country of kindness, and such conduct is spreading to other nations, as we see lately.

We find that Yidden are ready, the world is ready, even the nations of Esav are ready.  What remains, then, to be done?

The only thing lacking is — that a Jew should open his eyes properly, and should see how everything is ready for the Geulah!  There is the “set table” already, and there is already the Leviyoson and the Shor Habor and the aged wine, and Yidden are sitting at the table — “their father’s table”, together with Moshiach Tzidkeinu (as stated in seforim that in every generation there is one of the seed of Dovid who, due to his righteousness, is fitting to be Moshiach), and there is already a “heart to know and eyes to see and ears to hear”.

Let us open up the seforim and open up our eyes and ears and hearts to know the truth of the only one who is fitting to be the redeemer, and in that way we empower him (as the Rebbe said in the sicha of Chayei Sara) to redeem the Jewish nation from golus!

 

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

Video Shiur: Toldos 5752

What Is The Relevance Of The Moon?

 

Chabadinfo.com Exclusive: In the last Sicha we heard from the Rebbe on Parshas Toldos, in the year 5752, the Rebbe discusses the idea of Rosh Chodesh, the new moon, and the connection to Jews and Moshiach ● 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

 

Toldos 5752: The Essential Existence is Revealed

This week the sicha examines a simple but deep concept: the distinction between “essential existence” (“etzem metzius“) and the revelation of that existence.  This is illustrated by the difference between the birth of a person, the beginning of their essential existence, upon which everything they will do in the future depends, and the actual good deeds that they will do in their life.  Similarly, we find by the moon (this sicha was spoken on the Shabbos following Rosh Chodesh Kislev), that Rosh Chodesh is the “birth” of the new moon, from which it proceeds over the next 15 days to wax to greater and greater revelation of light.  The great light that reflects from the moon on the 15th of the month is the fulfillment of its ability to shine [the special quality of the 2nd half of the month is explained in the sicha of Parshas Vayishlach], but it all derives from the initial revelation of its essential existence on Rosh Chodesh.

In the case of a Yid: the first moment of revelation of his essential existence, etzem metziyuso, is the moment of birth, when the neshoma comes into a physical body.  All of what he will proceed to do afterwards is found in this initial moment of his coming into existence, and this moment is the main thing–“the entire existence of a person over the course of all the days of his life are contained in the moment when he is born and goes out into the air of the world.”  

Everything that proceeds after this is simply an expansion and greater revelation of that first moment.  The importance of what follows (his “good deeds”) is that these good deeds bring about the revelation of his essential existence (as a G-dly neshoma) to the world, and this is the fulfillment of his existence.  But the main thing is that moment when he comes into existence, birth.  We see this in the birth of a child, which is accompanied by rejoicing and celebration even before the child has done anything.  And more than this, the Rebbe explains:

the main quality of the Jewish people in their essential existence, “Yisroel and the Holy One, blessed be He, are all one”, is intact even without the performance of Torah and Mitzvos, “pleasing ways and good deeds”.  Like the metaphor of a fleshly King who has many sons, that the love he has for his sons is essential love even when they do not possess “pleasing ways and good deeds”.  (And on the contrary: regarding the sons who do possess “pleasing ways and good deeds”, and it is logical to love them, the essential  love is not so evident).

Of course one loves a son who’s ways are pleasing and deeds are good.  But to love a son who lacks pleasing ways and good deeds?  In such a case it is clear that the love derives not from the “nachas” of his behavior, but from his essential existence as the son of this father.

This shows also on the importance of the physical body of a Jew, that it has no special quality in and of itself, but nonetheless Hashem chose the Jewish body.  Thus, it expresses Hashem’s essential connection to a Jew more than the neshoma, because a neshoma has the unique quality of being a “part of G-dliness”(like a son whose ways are pleasing and deeds are good).  By being enclothed in a physical body and doing the work to refine it, the neshoma reveals that it also possess an essential connection to Hashem that is not dependent on its special qualities.

The concept of birth, and of the moon, are directly connected to the Geulah.  Just as birth, and the birth of the moon, is a moment which contains the entire essential existence of the person, so, too, the moment of the Geulah is the revelation of etzem haneshoma, the essence of the neshoma, which is higher than any name which we can give it, even higher than the name “Yechida” and “chelek Eloka“.  It is like when a person awakens from sleep, even before he has enough awareness to say “Modeh ani“, thanking Hashem for restoring his soul, he already has awoken to his essential existence.  This is the moment of Geulah–awakening to our true essential existence.

Not only that, but it is known that every Jew contains within him a spark of Moshiach.  The Geulah comes when each one reveals the spark of Moshiach within him–the revelation of the essence of the neshoma “etzem haneshoma mamash“.  This is “waking up from sleep”, and this waking up brings about that he will proceed to reveal the essence in actuality, which is the true inyan of the Coming of Moshiach.  How do we “wake up”?

When the chayus of every single Yid is in the inyan of Moshiach, this brings (automatically) to the state of Yemos Hamoshiach (the Days of Moshiach), that the essence of the Yidden will be revealed in actuality.

This is “breathing the air of Moshiach”, which allows us to feel the “spirit of Melech Hamoshiach”–the essence–which is more fundamental than eating and drinking, and higher than the “light” of Melech Hamoshiach.

The Rebbe concludes the sicha:

…we should have the begining of the true Geulah, via Moshiach Tzidkeinu–“a king will arise from the house of Dovid, etc.”, until “he will rectify the entire world to serve Hashem together…”  And as hinted at in the end of the haftorah of the previous week…which finishes with the declaration “Yechi Adoni Hamelech Dovid l’Olam” (“Live my master the King Dovid forever”)–the eternality of the Kingship of the house of Dovid…which reaches its perfection via Melech Hamoshiach…the meaning of this declaration is the revelation of the existence of Melech Hamoshiach.  And through this [declaration] comes his revelation before the eyes of all through his activities, etc.”

There is a need to wake up, to declare that there is the existence of Melech Hamoshiach (“Yechi Hamelech”), which is the essence of our own existence, and by doing this we bring about the revelation of Melech Hamoshiach.

The Beis Hamikdosh Here in the Time and Place of Golus

The Rebbe mentions, in the printed sicha of Vayera 5752 (last week), a midrash* which states that the month of Marcheshvan (when the construction of the first Beis Hamikdash was completed, but it wasn’t opened until the following Tishrei) “lost out” and in the time to come the Holy One, blessed be He, will pay her back with the inauguration (chanukas) of the 3rd Beis Hamikdash which will take place in the month of Marcheshvan.

What significance does this have to the events of Marcheshvan 5752, when the sicha was spoken and printed?  Several days after the sicha was spoken, and a day or two before the sicha appeared, in that very month of Marcheshvan, there was a revelation of the Beis Hamikdash.

This revelation was (and is) contained in a small booklet, the Kuntres Beis Rabbeinu sh’b’Bavel, edited by the Rebbe and published in honor of 20 Marcheshvan (birthday of the Rebbe Rashab).  In this Kuntres, the Rebbe explains the words of the Gemara that the following the destruction of the Beis Hamikdash, the revelation of the Shechina which was revealed in the Beis Hamikdash “traveled” from Yerushalayim together with the Jews as they went into golus.  Where did it settle?  In the study hall and synagogue of the leader of the respective generations.  In our generation, explains the Rebbe, this is 770 Eastern Parkway, the study hall and synagogue of the Rebbe, the leader of the generation (of course, the Rebbe makes the reference to his father-in-law, the Previous Rebbe).

Not only is every shul a “mikdash me’at“, a “miniature sanctuary”, but the shul of the leader of the generation is in fact a counterpart to the Beis Hamikdash that stood in Yerushalayim, and the revelation of the Shechina which is present there is the same revelation that was in Yerushalayim.  (If one will ask why we don’t see this, learn the Dvar Malchus of parshas Vayera, wherein the Rebbe explains the difference between something being revealed from Above, and the concurrent need for the recipient to be a fitting vessel for that revelation in order to experience it.)

In other words, 770 Eastern Parkway is the place in golus where the revelation of the Shechina is presently situated as long as the Jews are in golus.  And it will be the first place where the Third Beis Hamikdash will be revealed, after which it will return to Yerushalayim.  In the Rebbe’s words:

Now we can appreciate the unique greatness of Beis Rabbeinu: As the main Small Temple of the final exile, Beis Rabbeinu is the very place of the future Beis Hamikdash, and moreover, the place where the future Beis Hamikdash will first be revealed, and the place from which it will return to Yerushalayim.

The implications are startling: this Kuntres reveals to us, based on the Rebbe’s explanation of a posuk in Yechezkiel and a sugya in the gemora, that the Beis Hamikdash is located at 770 Eastern Parkway, and this is the “very place itself”** (מקום המקדש גופיה דלעתיד) where the 3rd Beis Hamikdash will descend from Heaven, and from this place it will travel to Yerushalayim!

In other words, the Beis Hamikdash (as well as the place of the 3rd Beis Hamikdash) has been revealed in the realm of the intellect!  In the month of Marcheshvan.  And as the Rebbe explains, in last week’s sicha, in order to experience the revelation we have to desire it and then labor to make ourselves a fitting vessel (like Avraham Avinu did and thus he merited that Hashem was revealed to him), otherwise it will remain in the intellectual realm, unseen by physical eyes.

Please, do not suffice with these few words in this meager essay, but take the opportunity to read through (and even better–learn properly and in depth) the Kuntres Beis Rabbeinu sh’b’Bavel (available for viewing and printing here).  After all, the Rebbe emphasizes numerous times that it is through learning the inyonim of Moshiach and Geulah that we speed up the actual true and complete Geulah.  As the Rebbe says–all elements of the Geulah are here, we simply need to agree and desire and open our eyes.  Learning these inyonim is the “fast way” to open our eyes.

It’s up to us!

* Yalkut Shimoni, Melachim I, remez 184.  Footnote #108 in the sicha.

** See the maamor “Gadol Habayis Hazeh”, section IV and forward, for the significance of the place of the Beis Hamikdash as opposed to the structure itself.