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Masei (Bein HaMetzarim)


The Chassidic Dimension - Volume 5
Interpretations of the Weekly Torah Readings and the Festivals.
Based on the Talks of The Lubavitcher Rebbe,
Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson.


Compiled by Rabbi Sholom B. Wineberg, Edited by Sichos In English

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Divine Emissaries

With regard to the terumah-tithe that the Levite is to give to the Kohen, the Torah states:[495] "So, shall you too offer..." Our Sages[496] derive from this verse that one cannot appoint a non-Jew as an emissary -- "Just as you are Children of the Covenant, so too must your emissaries be Children of the Covenant."

There is a well-known axiom[497] that "one's emissary [shaliach] is similar to the person [who dispatched him, the m'shaleiach]." This can be understood in a variety of ways:[498]

  1. That one's shaliach is actually akin to the m'shaleiach himself[499] -- the person of the emissary is, as it were, the very person of the m'shaleiach who dispatched him. Thus, as a matter of course, the actions of the shaliach are considered as the actions of the m'shaleiach.

  2. The shaliach is similar to the m'shaleiach only insofar as his actions and accomplishments are involved -- the deeds and the results of the deeds of the shaliach are considered to be the deeds of the m'shaleiach.

  3. The shaliach is considered as if he were the m'shaleiach only with regard to the results of his actions, but not with regard to the actions that obtained these results and surely not as to the persona of the m'shaleiach himself. In other words, the shaliach is similar to the m'shaleiach only regarding the results effected on the m'shaleiach's behalf.

The entire concept and law of man's ability to utilize an emissary and agent in one's stead, or shlichus, derives from the aspect of shlichus as it applies between man and G-d, between the Jewish people and their Father in Heaven: Each and every Jew is a shaliach of G-d[500] -- "similar to the Dispatcher" -- to fulfill the divine intent of creation through his or her service of Torah and mitzvos.

And just as there are three aspects to mortal shlichus, three levels and degrees of devotion and self-nullification of the human shaliach to the human m'shaleiach, so too with regard to man's -- the shaliach's -- dedication and degree of nullity to His Creator and M'shaleiach:

There is a level of spiritual service wherein the person feels that in all aspects he is an entity unto himself. As such, he must force and compel himself to fulfill G-d's will. On this rather lowly level, the individual merely fulfills G-d's shlichus through his deeds and actions.

Then there is the person who effects within himself a greater degree of nullity before G-d, so that his deeds are considered as performed by the M'shaleiach. That is to say, all the person's aspects and actions with regard to the shlichus are entirely devoted and dedicated to G-d, to the extent that these actions cease to be entities unto themselves -- they are wholly and entirely of the power of the M'shaleiach that is vested within the shaliach.

An even loftier level is that of one who is entirely nullified before G-d, so much so that his very being and entire existence -- and as a result all his actions -- are nothing other than the entity of the M'shaleiach.

However, all these levels and gradations only apply to the actual fulfillment of the shlichus. The ability, however, of each and every Jew to perform this shlichus -- in any of the above-mentioned manners -- derives from the fact that every Jew is the possessor of the title "Shaliach."

Only the Jewish people can possibly possess the title "Shaliach," for it is only of them that it can be said that they are actually similar to the M'shaleiach.[501] This is because "His nation are a portion of Him,"[502] Jews are "truly a part of G-d above."[503] Therefore only of them can it be said that there is some sort of "similarity" to G-d, so much so that "they are actually similar to the M'shaleiach."

This is also alluded to in the saying of our Sages, "Just as you are Children of the Covenant, so too must your emissaries be Children of the Covenant." Every Jew is a "Child of the Covenant" with G-d. This is the very essence of his being, found equally within each and every Jew -- an eternal bond between the Jew and his Father in Heaven, enabling him to become G-d's shaliach.

The above serves as an important lesson in terms of our divine service. There are those whose current level of spirituality is wanting, they are entities unto themselves who merely force themselves to act on behalf of G-d. Still, since even these individual's essential being is one of "actually similar to the M'shaleiach," they too possess the ability -- and thus the responsibility -- to wholly immerse their very essence and life-force in their current level of service.

Based on Likkutei Sichos, Vol. XXXIII, pp. 113-118



  1. (Back to text) Bamidbar 18:28.

  2. (Back to text) Kiddushin 41b and sources cited there. Rambam, Hilchos Ishus 3:17.

  3. (Back to text) Berachos 34b and sources cited there.

  4. (Back to text) See Lekach Tov [of R. Yosef Engel] Klal I.

  5. (Back to text) See Responsa of Rivash, Sec. 228.

  6. (Back to text) See Likkutei Torah, Vayikra 1c.

  7. (Back to text) Likkutei Torah, ibid.

  8. (Back to text) Devarim 32:9. See also Iggeres HaTeshuvah ch. 4. (93b).

  9. (Back to text) Tanya, beginning of ch. 2.

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