1. This Motzaei Shabbos concludes the week when we read the Parshah Chayei-Sarah. It also concludes the Shabbos when we bless the Rosh Chodesh (New Moon111) of the coming month of Kislev; since the life of the entire month flows from Rosh Chodesh, it is understood that the blessing of this Shabbos extends to the entire month, and to all of the affairs of the month.
The Baal Shem Tov taught us (2) that everything in the world contains a lesson for us, to be applies in our Avodas Hashem (Divine Service). It therefore follows, that both, the fact that it is Motzaei Shabbos of Chayei Sarah, and the fact that it is the Motzaei Shabbos of the Rosh Chodesh blessing, contain a lesson for us. Since both of these facts occur together, there must be a relationship between each of these two lessons,112 and by combining them, an additional lesson is gained, that would not have been derivable from any one lesson taken separately.
The lesson of Motzaei Shabbos of Chayei Sarah, is derived from the Parshah Chayei Sarah itself. Naturally, the lesson should be derived from the first (and therefore, the main113) part of the Parshah and should be supplemented by its subsequent parts.
The lesson of Motzaei Shabbos of this Rosh Chodesh Blessing, can be derived from the meaning of the holidays that occur within this month; — “Yud Tes” (the nineteenth of) Kislev, the Festival celebrating the Liberation of the Alter Rebbe from prison, (also called the “Rosh Hashanah” for the study of Chassidus), and the Festival of Chanukah, with its special mitzvah, the kindling of the Chanukah lights.
We begin with the lesson of Chayei Sarah:
2. This week’s parshah begins with the verse: (4) “And the years of Sarah’s life were one hundred years, and twenty years, and seven year; the years of Sarah’s life:” Commenting on the seemingly repetitious phrase at the end of the verse, “the years of Sarah’s life”, Rashi says, (5) “They were all equally, good”. In other words, the same goodness permeated all of her years.
It is obvious from Rashi’s choice of words, “They were all equally good,” that not only did the goodness of her earlier years extend into her later years, (as Rashi himself previously said, (6) regarding the repetitious mention of the word ‘years’. “At a hundred years old she was as if she was twenty regarding her cleanliness from sin,114 etc., and at twenty she was like seven years old in her beauty”) but also, conversely, her earlier years were also “equally good” in comparison to her later years.115
At first glance, this is not understandable. Obviously, Sarah continually rose from level to level, like all tzadikim (8) who “go from strength to strength”(9). If so,116 how can we say that the good of her earlier years equaled the good of her later years?
In addition to Sarah’s proceeding from strength to strength, like all other tzaddikim, she also experienced many all encompassing changes throughout-her life, that elevated her incomparably (after each change), from her former level.
She was elevated beyond comparison, when Avraham fulfilled the commandment, “Lech L’Choh...”, — “Go forth from your land, from your birthplace, and from your father’s house...”(11). At that time “Avram went, as G-d had told him to...”(12)”...and Avram took his wife Sarai”(13).
The elevation of “Lech L’Choh”(14), and its reward, “And I will make you into a great nation ...and your name will be a blessing,”(15) was, quite understandably, accomplished through Sarah also.
Then, when her name was changed from “Sarai” to “Sarah”(16) she was further elevated to an incomparably higher level. The significance of this can be understood from the literal meaning of “Sarah” which means “Ruler over everything”,(17) whereas “Sarei”, means simply, “My ruler”(17) (referring to Avraham).
After all of this, Rashi’s statement, that her years were “all equally good,” becomes even more puzzling. How can we compare the years when she was ca ed Sarei , and moreover, the years, when the elevations caused by “Lech L’Choh” and her being called Sarah, were already manifest? How can we say that they are “all equal?”
3. The question becomes still greater:
From the very fact that Rashi says “At the age of one hundred she was like age twenty, with regard to sin, and at age twenty she was like age seven with regard to beauty”, it is evident that at age twenty she was on a higher level than at age seven, and also, we must say that, her position of one hundred years old was elevated compared to her level at twenty years of age.
Our reason for saying this, is because her beauty, at an age older than seven, persisted in an extraordinary manner; for it is the nature of the body to decrease in beauty as it ages. Thus, her Avodah must have been on a level, exalted enough to have effected a change in the nature of her body,117 so that at age twenty, she appeared as beautiful as at age seven.
In a similar manner, regarding her years after twenty; the fact that she remained without sin, must have been the result of her extraordinary Avodah. There must have been an intensification in the level of her Avodah from the time she was twenty, and onward.118
So, too, regarding the last twenty-seven years of her life, after having reached the age of “one hundred years.” a number signifying completeness and perfection of Avodah(20 ), her Avodah was then on a level of absolute perfection.119
How much more so, at the time of her passing from this world, she was certainly on a higher level; for in addition to the ingathering of “all of one’s actions and everything that one ever did during life”(23), occurring at the time of one’s passing, she was also in a highly exalted state, due to “the news of the Akeidah (Yitzchak’s being bound on the altar)”(24).
Based on all the above, Rashi’s statement, they were “all equally good,” in incomprehensible. How can we say that her first seven years (which include even her very first year) were equal to her later years, including the years after one hundred years, and including also the time of her taking leave of this world?
4. The explanation in all of this, briefly:
Everything that Sarah did in her Avodas Hashem, was done at the epitome of perfection, in accordance with the strength and capabilities that she had at that time. Therefore they were all “equally good”, for all of her actions perfectly fulfilled the Almighty’s demands, being that “He only demands of the person according to his abilities”(25).
However, this explanation is insufficient, for it implies that when Rashi said “they were all equal in goodness, he was referring only to her actions. Yet, the verse praises Sarah by repeating the phrase “The years of Sarah’s life.
The explanation is as follows: Sarah’s Avodah was always full and complete — in accordance with her capacities at any particular time. Yet, _in addition to this, her Avodah achieved a perfection in the very years of her life. This means that the Avodah of her earlier years served as a preparation for the more exalted Avodah of her later years; also, the other way around, the more exalted avodah of her later years served to raise the level of her earlier avodah, as well as her earlier years themselves, to the higher level that she was presently on.120
Since her earlier years, were eventually uplifted to the exalted level, experienced at the time of her taking leave of this world, therefore, at that time, “they were all equal in goodness”.121
5. Even though the expression “they were all equal in goodness” refers to Sarah, and to the quality of the Avodah in her ‘years; yet being that it is stated in the Torah, it served as a lesson, and gives strength to every Jew122 to emulate her behavior. This is especially true for Jewish women and Jewish daughters, each of whom is called “a daughter of Sarah”.
It teaches us, that as we grow older, and increase in our understanding and strength, we should uplift the Torah and Mitzvos of our previous years, we should also uplift the previous years themselves thereafter, to our present level of Avodah.
One mighty incorrectly reason: Even if a person strives each day (according to his capacity of that day) to perfect his Avodah, this Avodah (and the time in which it was performed) will eventually have to be uplifted to the higher level, that will be achieved only later. If so, wily is it so important to strive each day, with all of one’s might , to achieve perfection? Whatever is “missing” in one’s Avodah today, will eventually be fulfilled, with the greater powers that will come later.
The answer to this question is given in the words of our verse. The verse says “One hundred years, and twenty ears and seven years”. The reason the word years’ was written with each enumeration, is to teach us that each ‘years’ contains its own significance, as Rashi(28) comments.
In other words, the Torah indicates that each and every individual time, must be perfected in itself, in accordance with the level of strength supplies at that time. Only then, does the Torah say that “The years of Sarah’s life were all equal in goodness”. It is precisely through the perfection of each individual time, that one can afterwards be elevated to the higher level of the later time.
6. Today’s Parshah relates at length, how Avraham Avinu entrusted his servant Eliezer with the mission of finding a suitable wife for Yitzchok. The Torah records in great detail, Eliezer’s conversation with Rivka’s family; to the extent of even recounting Eliezer’s repetition, of the very words that Avraham used, when he instructed Eliezer regarding his mission.
Commenting on the Torah’s lengthy treatment of this episode, Rashi says (29) “The Sicha (ordinary conversation) of the Patriarchs’ servants, is more pleasing to the Almighty than the Torah of their children; as we see, the story of Eliezer is repeated in Torah, whereas many principles of the Torah law are only alluded to in the Torah”.
At first glance this seems perplexing. How can ordinary conversation be superior to, and more pleasing to the Almighty, than the study of the Torah?
Furthermore: There are basically two levels in Torah: 1) Torah as it was studied, and practiced, before Matan Torah (the giving of the Torah at Mt. Sinai), 2) Torah as it is studied and practiced, after Matan Torah; which is incomparably superior to the first level.123 “Torah of the children” refers to the level of the Torah after Matan Torah.124 We must then understand: How can the “Sicha”-(mere conversation) of that period of time (before Matan Torah),be greater than the Torah after Matan Torah?
In the study of Torah, (even after Matan Torah), we also find two levels: 1)Torah when it is studied as “Toras Hashem” (Hashem’s Torah), and 2)Torah when it is studied as “Torahsoh’~ his(the student’s) Torah, after the student has already become a master of the Torah(31). This second level, is the ideal of Torah study. Yet, we say that “The talk of the sere rats “is more pleasing” than(not merely Torah, after Matan Torah in the general sense, but it is also more pleasing than) “Torahsan” their(the children’s) Torah, i.e. the second level — the quintessence of Torah study:: How can this be?
7. The explanation is as follows:
The term ‘Sicha’, used in connection with the Patriarch’s servants, is also used (32).concerning the creation of the world. Hashem created the world through “Ten Pronouncements (“let there be light, Heaven,” etc.). He is constantly renewing the whole of Creation (as we say in the morning prayers, “He who renews the Creation in His goodness, constantly, every day”) through these Pronouncements.
These Pronouncements are called Sicha (ordinary talk), for Hashem is infinitely powerful, and in comparison with His power, the Pronouncements (which represent the limited Divine power manifest in this finite world) are merely “common talk”(33).125
All that transpires in the heavenly realms is dependant upon man’s corresponding actions in the lower realms.126 Hence, in order to bring Hashem’s “Sicha” — the Ten Pronouncements, .to be constantly renewed, the learning of Torah ,by itself, is insufficient; in addition, it is necessary to serve G-d through our involvement in “worldly” matters ,i.e. when occupied in mundane affairs ,”All our actions should be for the sake of Heaven; (37) and we must “Know Him in all of our ways.”(38)127
This also explains why the “Sicha of the servants” is reported at length, whereas in the “Torah of the children,” many of its principles are only hinted to us.
For the continuous existence of the world (i.e. its continuous recreation), it is required, that during the whole time, of each day of the week, and, in every space of the Creation, there must continuously ensue the Ten Pronouncements that create the world.(39)
This, in turn, demands of the Jew, that his Sicha, i.e. his involvement in consecrating his mundane concerns to Hashem, must be performed (like the “Sicha of the Servants”) in a lengthy manner”, at every moment.
It is not the same, however, with a Jew’s Avodah through “Torah” (learning Torah and fulfilling its Mitzvos). Torah is the Wisdom anti Will of the Almighty, which transcends the limits and boundaries of the finite world.128 Therefore, a mere hint suffices, as the expression goes, “To the wise a hint suffices”.
8. The above also clarifies an apparent contradiction: The expression — “The Sicha of...” attests to the superiority of “Sicha” over “Torah”; yet, the Talmud says, (41) that the toil of Torah is higher than the toil of “Sicha”? The answer is, that Torah and Sicha, each possess a quality lacking in the other. Through Sicha one effects the renewal of the Ten Pronouncements — “mere talk” — whereas through Torah, the world is illuminated with a light that essentially transcends the creation.
However, there is a special qua4ity in Sicha, observable in the fact that Sicha effects the constant, unchanging act of creation through which the level of G-d which transcends change (“I, G=d, have not changed”(42)) is illustrated.
9. Here also is the connection between the episode of Eliezer and Chayei Sarah:
As mentioned earlier, there are two periods (and levels) within ‘Chayei Sarah.’ 1) ‘The years of Sarah’s life’, described as being “all equal in goodness,” 2) Sarah’s departure from this world. During the first period, Sarah’s Avodah consisted of purifying her ‘years’; by filling each moment of each year of her life with as great a level of Avodah as she was capable of at that time, she actually elevated her very years (i.e. the time itself, comprising her entire life span, assumed a higher quality).
The second level, Sarah’s departure from this world, also constitute a part of her Avodah. Her passing was brought about by her receiving the news of the Akeida (Avrohom’s offering of Yitzchok as a sacrifice to G-d); which caused her soul to reach a level of ecstasy that her body was not able to endure, and as a result, she departed from this world. At that time, all of the Avodah of her entire lifetime, which were performed with those powers of the soul that the body is accepable of containing, also reached the level that was at when she departed; a level beyond the body’s capacity to contain.
Although the second level seems higher than the first, yet, there exists a particular quality in the concept of “the years of Sarh’s life” — i.e. the elevation of time through utilizing it perfectly for one’s Avodah, that is lacking in quality of the second level of Sarah’s Avodah. For, the concept of the elevation of time denotes, in a broader sense, the purification and rectification of this material (time-bound) world. Any level of the Avodah beyond the capacity of the body to contain, no matter how lofty it may be, cannot refine the body or the material world, in general), for it causes the soul to leave the confines of the body (and the material world). The ultimate purpose in all of creation (including the creation of the highest spiritual realms), is in order that there should be a material world, refined to be an abode for G-d and this purpose can only be realized by Avodah within the confines bf the material world — this is the Avodah of “the ,ears of Sarah”.
So, too, the quality of Sicha over Torah, lies in the fact, that whereas Torah is essentially higher than the world, it is only through the Avodah of Sicha that the world itself can become purified.
10. Although the world is comprised of space,, as well as time, nevertheless, the purification of the world is more fundamentally associated with time than with space.
The creation of anything (including space), implies the occurrence of a change in the state of affairs that existed at the moment prior129 to the creation of that thing;130 before its creation, the object did not exist, and now it does exist. We may therefore conclude, that before the creation of anything (including space), there must have existed a state of affairs that was changed, upon this new phenomenon being created. The fact that this state of affairs changed, implies the prior existence of the concept of time, whose basic characteristic is change.
Based on this, it is understood why we are stressing the avodah of the purification of the world; through the correct use of time; it is because the first (and fundamental) form of existence is time.
There is yet another connection between “The Sicha of the servants...” and time — (The years of Sarah’s life):
The Ten Pronouncements — (the heavenly ‘Sicha’, brought about by the Sicha of the Jew) occurred originally during a period of seven days;131 the seven ay cycle encompasses the entire range of time(45).
Furthermore, each of the Ten Pronouncements was connected with a particular day — as it is written in Zohar, (46) “each day had its own task”.
Hence, the relationship between the “Heavenly Sicha” and the concept of time, lies not only in the fact that all of existence (created by the Ten Pronouncements — Sicha) began with the creation of time (as mentioned earlier), but also, in the fact that the Ten Pronouncements themselves, are intimately connected with the concept of time.
11. The added lesson learnt from “The Sicha of the servants is more pleasing...”, that is not found in the lesson of “Years of Sarah’s life; is derived __from the wording of the expression “the Sicha of the servants of the Patriarchs.”
The beauty of the Sicha of the servants consists, not only of the quality that Sicha possesses over Torah (as mentioned earlier); it also consists of the quality of “servants” over “children”. Although, because of the superiority of Sicha over Torah, the children’s Sicha is also superior to their Torah, nevertheless, there is an additional quality in the servants’ Sicha not present even in the children’s Sicha.
Generally, the kind of work that a servants engages in is menial labor; the kind of work not fitting for the master to do himself. In the service of the A1-mighty, this type of labor is referred to as “Avodas Habirurim” — “the service of purification” i.e.: transforming every aspect of the mundane world, by performing all of one’s actions according to the dictum “All of your actions should be done for the sake of Heaven,” and “Know Him in all of your ways.”
Thereby, we bring about the renewal of the Ten Pronouncements, by which the world is being constantly recreated, as explained earlier.
Now, these Ten Pronouncements, in reference to G-d Himself, parallel our concept of “menial labor,” because “it is not befitting a King to engage in common small talk,” i.e. Hashem is lowering Himself, so to speak, when He engages in creating this mundane world(47).
12. With this introduction we can appreciate the superiority of the Sicha of “servants” over the Sicha of “children”.
The Jewish People are referred to as “children of Hashem”, with regard to their association with Torah(48).132 Hence, even the Sicha of ‘children’ y their immersion in mundane worldly affairs — it also permeated with the spirit of Torah133 (or, , as the Rambam(52) puts it, “one can recognize a Scholar, even by the way he eats”; i.e. we can discern a revelation of G-dliness in a Scholar, even when he performs his mundane affairs). Therefore, their involvement in worldly matters does not fully fulfill Hashem’s ultimate desire, to have a dwelling place for Him in the low mundane world, i.e. on the level of the world where G-dliness is most obscure. (“World” in Hebrew is “Olam”, etymologically related to the word “Helem” — hiddenness(53), i.e. a place where G-d’s presence is hidden).
The intention behind His desire for “a dwelling place in the lower realms” is, that even in mundane, worldly matter, that appear to be and consider themselves) separate from G-d, there too, shall be His dwelling place.
Therefore, there is a special quality in the Sicha of Servants, because the “Sicha of Servants” refers to a Jew’s involvement with mundane affairs (not solely for the sake of Torah but also) because of his material physical attraction to them.134 When the ‘servant’ engages in worldly affairs, according to the dictum “Perform all of your actions for the sake of Heaven,” and “Know Him in all of our ways,” he is fulfilling Hashem’s intention in its most ultimate sense, for by the servant eating and drinking and working etc., for the sake of Heaven (even though he truly appreciates the most mundane and material qualities of his actions), he causes that even the level of the world, “beneath which there is nothing lower,” (the aspects of the world that can be mistaken for ends in themselves, i.e., physical enjoyment, etc.) becomes a Dwelling place for Hashem, may He be Blessed.
13. The concept of “Sicha of Servants” is related to the fact that the work of a servant is done with submission to his master’s will, i.e. “he accepts the yoke of Heaven.” For how else is it possible to transform, even one’s eating and drinking, and all of the physical involvements that the body naturally craves for, into acts done “for the sake of Heaven”, — it is only by “accepting the yoke of Heaven” and acting in a manner similar to a servant, who obeys his master out of a sense of duty, because he accepts his master’s yoke.135
14. Since every Jew must occupy himself with all type of Avodah, those people who find themselves in the business world (and are akin to “servants,” because they occupy themselves with “menial labor” (compared to the labor of Torah)) must also occupy themselves with Torah. [Just as Eliezer, the servant of Avraham, who, aside from being Avraham’s servant also “drew the ‘water’ (Torah) of his master; and also gave to others to drink from it.”(53)]*
Their occupation with Torah, aught not to be due, solely to their acceptance of the yoke (i.e. the obligation for every Jew to study Torah), they should also derive pleasure and gratification from it — just like a “son”, whose basic preoccupation is with Torah.
So, too, those who are on the level of ‘children’, must study Torah (not only because they enjoy learning, but also) because they accept the yoke of Heaven, they should do it with submission to the Divine Will, because it is their obligation to Hashem, and they should do it “as if they would have been obligated by Hashem to chop wood(54)...”, i.e. due to their acceptance of Hashem’s yoke.
Nevertheless, there is an important difference between these two types of Avodah; regarding “children”, the major emphasis is on their relationship with Torah, as “His Wisdom,” and their service of Hashem is primarily out of love 55 ; whereas with “Servants”, the main emphasis is on their acceptance of the Heavenly yoke, it is service of Hashem, out of Awe and Fear, “Chopping wood” — Sicha. Nevertheless, each and every Jew must maintain both of these levels — Torah and Sicha.
15. As we have already discussed at length, (in sec. 9,) the common element in the lessons of the two subjects of the Parshah, is in the fact that both, emphasize the Jew Avodah in transforming the world.
To take the above lesson a step further: A Jew should not allow himself to be content with the fact that he himself is acting properly, nor even with the fact that he is influencing other people, within his peer group to act properly. Rather, a Jew must, everywhere (even in the places that are on the lowest imaginable spiritual level), spread Torah and Yiddishkeit. In particular, since action is the principal objective,_-eceencat,irage activity in the Ten Point Mitzvah Campaign.136
16. The general instruction, to be taken from our Parshah – that we must serve Hashem in our worldly concerns, particularly is associated (as we have indicated in sec. 1) with the time of Motzaei Shabbos Kodesh and with the fact that it is now the Motzaei Shabbos Kodesh, of the Shabbos that we blessed the New Month, the Month of Kislev.
The connection between all of these is as follows:
The two concepts, “The Years of Sarah’s life,” and the time when “Her soul expired,” and the two concepts of ‘Sicha’ and ‘Torah’; have their parallel in the seven day cycle, in the six days of the week and Shabbos.
Concerning the six days of the week; at that time, we are primarily occupied with mundane, worldly concerns; and furthermore, even the Torah and Mitzvos that are performed during the week are considered “week day” Torah and mitzvos, for they depend on the Shabbos (that comes at the week’s end) for their elevation.(56)137 Thus, the six days of the week exemplify Sicha.
Shabbos is likened to Torah, since during that day, we are essentially above the mundane world. This relationship of Shabbos to Torah, is observable also, in the fact that “according to all opinions,138 the Torah. was given to us on Shabbos(57); and it is written in the Zohar(58) (and implied in the Talmud(59)) “A Talmud Chacham (Torah Scholar), is called Shabbos”.
Here, we find the connection between the lessons of the Parshah, and Motzaei Shabbos Kodesh.
Since on Motzaei Shabbos Kodesh, we are in transition, from the level of Torah, to the level of Sicha, a Jew may find himself feeling despondent, as he descends to lower levels, upon re-involving himself in mundane, worldly matters.
Therefore, we say to him, “Do not fear my servant Yaakov,139(60) because the purpose of the descent now, is so that the ascent that will come later, be on a higher level. It is only through the Avodah of Sicha, that one will be elevated to a even higher level than the level of the Torah (of the Shabbos_ that just passed)._ __ because “The Sicha of the servants ....is more pleasing, than the Torah...”
17. So too, we find a connection between the above and the month of Kislev. When we consider the origins of the holiday of Chanukah (because the central focus of Kislev, is on Chanukah),140 a find that the concept of the elevation derived from the descent into worldliness is of utmost significance.
At the time of the original miracle of Chanukah, the world was in a state of deep, spiritual darkness. This was to the extent that the nations of the world were able to tell the Jews to “write on the bull’s horns(61)” — that they do not (G-d forbid) consider themselves as having any part in the G-d of Yisrael.
Yet, this darkness, when it was overt e, brought about a greater light, as expressed in the pasuk,, “Ve-Havayeh,141 and the L-rd illuminates my darkness(63)”, and, ass is explained in many places in Chassidus, the hardships and tribulations, etc., that we have experienced, have always called forth a response of total self-sacrifice on the part of the Jew(64).
From the darkness of the period that preceded the original Chanukah, came forth, the Lights of Chanukah, lights that are even greater than the lights (of the Menorah) of The Bais HaMikdash (Holy Temple). This is evident, from the fact that the Lights of Chanukah (whereas not, the lights of the Menorah of the Bais HaMikdash) “never cease shining(65)”.
18. All of these lessons have a special relation to this year in particular.
As we have mentioned previously(66), the Rosh Hashanah of this year,142 as well as Yud Tes Kislev, the Rosh Hashanah of the teachings of Chassidus and of the practice of Chassidus(68), both, occur on the third day of the week, “the day of which Hashem declared twice ‘It is good’(69)”, denoting “Good for the heavens, and good for the creation(70)”.
These two expressions of ‘good’ (“good” for the heavens and “good” for the creation), parallel the two concepts of Torah and Sicha.
Heaven refers to Torah, as it is written, “Out of the Heavens He made you hear His voice()”; and “The Creation”,143 refers to Sicha.
Regarding all of this, we say, that the two Avodas, of Torah and Sicha must be united into one form of Avodah. As we explained previously(66), the distinctive achievement of “The day on which Hashem declared twice ‘it is good’ is not only the fact, that that day was good for the heavens, and also good for the creation, but also that both “goods” (of that day) are Combined and united together, to form “The day on which “it is good” was doubled”.
19. Additional strength to carry out the above can be obtained from the parshah “These are the generations of Yitzchok”, which we began reading today during Minchah.
A ,dew is told that he must enter the world; a world in which there are not only Yaakov’s but Esav’s as well — Esav who is cunning and vicious(73), and who claims the right to ownership of the world, due to his seniority(74). It is a world in which the Jewish nation is in exile of the hand of Edom(75), and what is more, the Jew must enter the world at the exile’s darkest period.
Now, when taking all the above into consideration a Jew is likely to despair. He must be given strength to carry out his mission. The Torah therefore proclaims, “These are the generations of Yitzchok”, which Rashi explains as referring to “Yaakov and Esav who are discussed in the Parshah”. Through this proclamation, the Torah makes known that the entire existence of Esav(76) (and Yaakov) is derived solely from Yitzchok. He is no more than a means through which the intentions of Yitzchok can be realized.
The name Yitzchok, is a derivation of the word “Tzchok” (77) meaning pleasure or joy. It refers to the pleasure that G-d, and in turn, Tzaddikim, obtain through the creation of the world. How is this pleasure realized? Only through the transformation of evil to good(78),144 Yaakov (who is the only true descendant of Yitzchok(79) ) must be victorious over Esav. This victory is expressed in the parshah in the passage “The hand of Yaakov clutches the heel of Esav “(80). This is the only reason for the existence 6f Esav.
Rashi hints this by commenting on the verse “These are the generations of Yitzchok”, “Ya’akov and Esav who are discussed in the parshah”. By placing Yaakov before Esav — although in the parshah Esav is discussed first — he alludes to the fact that the whole existence of Esav is only for the purpose of Yaakov; Esav is therefore secondary to Yaakov.
20. The Divine intention in creation is, that this, the lowest world, be an abode for G-d (i.e. a world in which G-d’s presence will permeate even the lowest forms of existence). The sole reason for the existence of Esav (who represents the lower aspects of existence), is to enable one “to subdue evil, and to transform darkness into light”. This is a preparation for the revelation in the future, when G-d’s presence will permeate even out lowest corporeal senses, as the Prophet foretold: “The glory of G-d will be revealed, and all flesh will behold together that G-d has spoken”(81). Then, this, the lowest world, will truly be an abode for G-d, as explained above.
Torah and the revelation in the future are interconnected(82). Through Torah and Mitzvos, we refine ourselves to the extent that we become suitable vehicles for the revelation in the future. A brief “glimpse” of the future revelation, was experienced at the time of the giving of the Torah at Mt. Sinai.
Rashi alludes to all of this, when he comments that the “generations of Yitzchok” are “Yaakov and Yitzchok who are discussed in the Parshah”.
The true meaning of Esav’s existence, lies in the fact that he is a part of the Parshah, i.e. that he is a part of the Torah, and its aims.
In essence, Esav is not the adverse of Torah. On the contrary, he is (by way of his transformation to “good”, and “light”, as explained above) the means through which the aims of Torah — to make this world an abode for G-d — can be truly realized, as explained above.
There is another matter worthy of consideration. By commenting that “Yaakov and Esav are discussed in the Parshah”, Rashi emphasizes that Esav is an integral part of Torah. In order that the Torah be complete, it is just as imperative that it contain the verses concerning Esav, as it contains the verses in the first Commandment.145
21. A Jew may think to himself: True, Esav is no more than an extension of Yitzchok. However, when will this be seen and felt openly — in the future. In the meantime Esav is an adversary: How can G-d ask of us “Do not be afraid, my servant Yaakov”, in the present?:
To this we answer:
The name Yitzchok, begins with the letter “Yud”, rendering it future tense. The Divine pleasure that “Yitzchok” refers to, will only be experienced in the future(85). Nevertheless he is called ‘Yitzchok’ in the present, because even now it is vividly apparent that the purpose of creation is “Yitzchok”-the Divine pleasure:’.
Even in the present, Esav acknowledges and even boasts the fact that he is of “the generations of Yitzchok”, i.e. that he is no more than a means through which Yitzchak’s ideal — the Divine pleasure — will be realized:
This can also be applied to the other relationship between Yitzchok and the future. In the future Messianic Era, we will especially call Yitzchok “our father”(86), because it is he who will release us from our exile. On a lower scale, this salvation occurs in the present. Yitzchok protects us against our adversaries now as well.146
22. Another point:
The word “parshah” comes from the word “Haphrosho” — a separation or division. The chapters of Torah are called ‘parshiyos’ — ‘separations’ — not only because they are sections or divisions of Torah, but also, because in this world, Torah seems to be separated from G-d, T Although in essence, Torah is united with G-d, t is unity is not apparent in this world(88). This is especially so of verses discussing Esav.
Nevertheless, through the study of the Torah portion “the generations of Yitzchok...Yaakov and Esav”, even as the Torah is in this world, in the form of “Haphrosho” — separated and even when one learns it on the surface of meaning level, a Jew brings bout that it should become clearly apparent, that the existence of Esav is no more than the fact that he is derived from Yitzchok — “Toldos Yitzchak”, and the fact that he is “discussed in the Parshah”.
Furthermore, the study of the Torah passage, not only brings about the general realization that Esav’s existence derives from the Divine plan (to enable the transformation of evil to good, as explained above), it also enables us to see in the actual deeds of Esav, even now, when he still exists in the form of “haphrosho” — separate from, and unaware of, the reason for his existence, the implementation of the Divine plan.
Furthermore, through the study of the Torah passage, he actually effects the transformation of Esav, as will be explained (in sec.23).
Rashi, by commenting on “Toldos Yitzchok”... “Yaakov and Esav who are discussed in the parshah”, also alludes to the fact that through Torah (parshah), even as it is in this world, apparently disunited from G-d (haphrosho), we effect the transformation of the physical Esav as he is in haphrosho i.e. in this world where it is not apparent that he is nothing but the means of implementing the Divine plan, so that he becomes part of Torah (parshah).
Not only Esav is discussed in the parshah, Yaakov is discussed in the parshah as well. In this world, Yaakov — referring to the Divine Soul — is also apparently disunited (haphrosho) from his Source. Nevertheless, even in this state, Yaakov has the ability to cause Esav to become part of Torah (parshah), and to thereby fulfill the Divine intention.
23. Torah exercises full control over the world(89). Therefore, at the time of the year when we read and study the above parshah, we effect the actualization of the fact that Esav’s whole being, is only because of Torah and Yisrael, and we bring about a transformation in Esav as well.
Not only does the “Voice of Yaakov(9J)” i.e. Torah study, cause the weakening of the power of Esav(91), to the extent that it doesn’t even enter his mind to harm Jews, but rather, since nothing in the world is lacking purpose, (92), not even Esav, it is not enough that Esav is not an obstacle, he must serve a constructive purpose; therefore, Esav himself comes to the aid 6f Jews.
Although we find ourselves in the last and hardest part of exile, Esav will help each and every Jew, and the Jewish Nation as a whole — those Jews in the diaspora, and more so, the Jews in the Holy Land (“The land upon which the eyes of G-d rest from the beginning of the year until its end”(93)). in all their requirements. He will thereby enable us to study Torah and fulfill Mitzvos in material abundance, without having to reckon with any obstacles(94).
However, in order to actualize this state of affairs, where Esav actually aids Yaakov, Yaakov must not allow himself to be affected by any obstacles that may lie in his path. He must fulfill the Divine injunction “Do not fear, my servant Yaakov”, realizing that the entire existence of the obstacles (Esav) is for no purpose other than to allow Yaakov to thoroughly fulfill his mission.
24. As this lesson applies to the Holy Land, it teaches us that it is imperative that Jews settle in all parts of Eretz Yisrael. We should act in a manner similar to that of our Patriarch Avraham (whose deeds are lessons to his children), concerning whom it is written, that wherever he went, “He built there an altar to G-d(95)”. Similarly, in all settlements, there should be erected a House of Torah, a House of Prayer,147 and a Mikveh which is necessary even for men, and is an absolute necessity for the purity of Jewish women.
Through our settling all areas of Eretz Yisrael (in the manner prescribed above) the nations of the world will come to aid us, as they come to the realization148 that the Ontrre existence of Esav is solely for the purpose of aiding Yaakov.
This will also serve as an immediate preparation for the ingathering of all the sons and daughters of Yisrael, the entire Jewish nation, to the entire land of Yisrael, through our Righteous Mashiach. We will then witness the fulfillment ~~ of the verse “The L-rd your G-d will broaden your borders(101), through the addition of (the lands of) the Keini, Kinizi and Kadmoni.
25. Everything in the revelation of the future era is dependent upon our actions and behavior in the time of exile(102).
It is therefore imperative, that every Jew not only serve G-d in the way demanded of him by the Torah in general, (and in particular, by our Teachers, Rabbeim, the Leaders of the Chassidic Movement), but rather, he must go beyond the requirements of the law. (Through this course of behavior, we will merit, that G-d will not only give us the land of Yisrael, as described in the Torah, but, He will go beyond what is written, and will broaden our borders.)
This has a special connection to Chanukah, when it has become the accepted practice of all Jews, to observe the Mitzvah of lighting Chanukah candles in a manner, far beyond the minimum requirement of the law(103).149
Through this mode of conduct we shall merit the breaking of all limitations placed upon us.
We shall stand upright at the end of exile, in preparation for the coming of the Mashiach, when we shall witness again, the kindling of the seven lights of the Beth HaMikdash, and the eight lights of Chanukah (which shall never cease-and will continue to shine), as G-d promised us, “I will show you the lights of Tzion(104)”. We shall then, also behold the harp of eight string (also associated with the eight Chanukah lights (105),) which is a preparation for the harp of ten strings (106) (just as the conquest of the seven nations is a preparation for the conquest of the ten nations), with the coming of our righteous Mashiach, in the very near future.
1) See, at length, Likkutei Sichos Vol. IX, P.187 and further, and sources listed there
2) HaYom Yom P.52
3) Kuntreis Motzaei Shabbos Parshas Noach, Sec.7, and FN. 36
4) Chayei Sarah, 23:1
5) Rashi, ibid
6) “ “ commentary on words “And these were the years”
7) Likkutei Sichos, Vo1.V, Parshas Chayei Sarah, and addenda, ibid
8) End of Tractate Berachos, see also Targum Yehonason Psalms, ch.84.v.8, see Likkutei Sichos, MarCheshvan 20, 5736
9) Psalms, ibid, Berachos, ibid end of Tractate Moed Katan
10) Maamar “Tze’enah Ure’enah” 5660, also, Torah Ohr, end of Vayeishev; in many places
11) Lech Lecha, 12:1
12) ibid, 12:4
13) ibid, 12:5
14) See, at length, Maamar “Lech Lecha”, 5738, and Kuntreis Motzaei Shabbos Parshas “Lech Lecha”, 5738, sources listed there.
15) Lech Lecha, 12:2
16) ibid, 17:15
17) Rashi, ibid
18) See Gur Aryeh, beginning of Lech Lecha, section beg. “Bas Esrim”. See Likkutei Sichos, Vo1.V, P. 97 and further, and fn.22
19) Rashi, beg. of Chayei Sarah, also R’ Eliyahu Mizrachi, ibid
20) Likkutei Torah, Bracha P. 93 column3, Zohar Chayei Sarah, 123A, Likkutei Torah TZav,l0A, commentary on Zohar by Mittler Rebbe and Tzemach Tzedek, ibid
21) Likkutei Sichos, Vo1.I, pg. 307; many places
22) Ethics of Our Fathers, end of ch.5
23) Iggeres Hakodesh, ch.27 Siddur(with commentary Shaar Lag BaOmer p.304B
24) Rashi, Chayei Sarah, 23:2 see further in Sicha, sec.9
25) Bamidbar Rabbah ch.l2,sec.3
26) Likkutei Sichos, Vo1.VI, p. 236 and further
27) Zohar Vo1.III P.53B
28) Rashi, beginning of Parshah
29) Chayei Sarah, 24:42
30) Shir Hashirim Rabbah ch. 1, sec.3, see Maamar “Lereach Shmanecha” 5706, beginning.
31) Tractate Kiddushin 32B, Avodah Torah 19A
32) See at length, Ohr HaTorah, Chayei Sarah, 129A, further
33) Zohar Vo1.III,p. 149B Likkutei Torah Achrei, 25B
34) Ode recited on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, mentioned in Ohr HaTorah, ibid p.12aB
35) Ohr Torah (of the Maggid of Mezritch)112,B,Sefer HaSichos 5704, p.23, HaYom Yom p.53
36) Ethics of our Fathers, Ch. II Mishnah 1
37) ibid, ch. II, Mishnah 12
38) Proverbs 3:6
39) See at length, beginning of Shaar Hayichud VehaEmunah (Tanya pt. II); many places
40) Ohr HaTorah, Chayei Sarah 129B; many places
41) Tractate Sanhedrin 99B
43) Rashi, Bereishis, 2:2
44) Bereishis Rabbah, ch.l0,sec.9
45) Kuntreis Motzaei Shabbos Parshas Noach, sec.2, see references in fn.20
46) Zohar Vol. IV, 94B
47) Regarding these matters, see Sefer HaMaamarim 5666,pp. 30-32
48) ibid, p.364
49) Tanya beginning of ch.2
50) Tractate Avodah Sarah 19B
51) Likkutei Torah, Nitzavim, 52B, ibid Tetze, 37A
52) Rambam Hilchos Deos beginning of Ch.5
52*) Sefer HaMaamarim 5666, p.310
53) Likkutei Torah Shlach 37D in many places
53*) Rashi, commentary on Lech Lecha, 15:2
54) Likkutei Torah, Shlach, 40A; Sefer HaMamarim 5666, p.54
55) Tanya ch.41
56) Likkutei Torah, Behar, p.41 column A
57) Tractate Shabbos, P.86B
58) Zohar Vo1.III p,29B
59) Tractate Shabbos p.119B See also Likkutei Sichos Vo1.I P.40
60) Yeshayahu 44:2; See also Likkutei Torah, Balak, p.72A
61) Yerushalmi, Tractate Chagigah ch.2 ha1.2, references there
62) Torah Ohr p.41 Column2
63) Samuel II, ch.22:29
64) See preface to Sha’arei Orah
65) Rambam’s commentary on Torah, beginning of parshah Beha’aloscha
66) See Kuntreis Motzaei Shabbos parshas Noach, sec.14
67) See beginning of Atereth Rosh
68) “ end of HaYom Yom
69) Rashi on Bereishis, 1:7
70) Tractate Kiddushin 40B, see Ohr HaTorah Bereishis, 33B there, related to the double “good” of the third day
71) Vaes’chanan 4:6
72) See Tractate Taanis p.20B and further
73) Toldos 25:27, see Rashis commentary there
74) Zohar Vo1.I p.179B
75) Vayishlach 36:1, 36:8, “Eisav is Edom”
76) See Tanya ch.27
77) Vayeira 26:1, see commentaries there
78) Tanya ibid; Torah Ohr, 17D and further
78*) Torah Ohr, ibid
79) Tractate Nedarim 31A Rashi, commenting on Vayeitzei 28:15
80) Toldos, 25:26
81) Isaiah 40:5
82) Tanya ch.36
83) Rambam, commenting on Mishnah, Sanhedrin ch. Chelek in “Eight Chapters” the eighth principle there. See Sanhedrin 99B
84) Vayishlach 36:12
85) Torah Ohr 18A
86) Isaiah 63:16: Tractate Shabbos 89B
87) Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch Orach Chayim Vol I ch.I
88) Sefer HaMaamarim 5672, Vo1.I ch. 179
89) Yerushalmi, Tractate Nedarim, ch.6, ha1.8
90) Toldos 27:22
91) Bereishis Rabbah ch. 65 sec.20
92) Tractate Shabbos 77B
93) Eikev 11:12
94) See Likkutei Sichos Vol. I p.124, Vo1.XII p.186
95) Lech Lecha 12:7-8
96) Rambam, Hilchos Melachim ch. 11, see beginning and end
97) Tractate Berachos, 26B
98) ibid 8A
99) Tractate Megillah 29A
100) ibid 3A
101) Shoftim, 19:8, see Sifri, quoted in Rashis comm. there
102) Tanya beginning of Ch. 37
103) Ramah, Orach Chaim, ch. 671 sec. 2
104) Yalkut Shimoni, beginning of Beha’aloscha
105) Tractate Eirchim 13B, see Likkutei Torah Tazria 21D, see Ohr HaTorah, Chanukah 326B
106) Eirchim, ibid