1. Although the Cohen Gadol performs the Yom Kippur service as a representative of all Israel.
2. Although the expression “and Yaakov went on his way” is also used to describe a Jew at the conclusion of Yom Kippur (30), its meaning here is different. There, we refer to his resumption of his usual performance of mitzvos after being concerned primarily with teshuvah during the preceding days. The days immediately following Yom Kippur are especially filled with an abundance of mitzvos, and “all of Israelis occupied in the performance of mitzvos” (31) during these days.
When, however, we say that “Yaakov went on his way” concerning the days following Simchas Torah, we are referring to the resumption of everyday activity, and the daily performance of G-dly Service as described above.
3. Letter of Yom Kippur 5689 [printed in Sefer HaMaamarim 5711, p.48]
4. Avos Ch.2 Mishnah 12
5. Mishlei 3; 6
6. even though the set tasks begin now — the difference lies in the division and multiplicity
7. As explained previously in the discourse “To understand the concept of Simchas Torah”[Sec.3], see there.
8. Since “to dwell” means “to inhabit” [Orach Chaim Ch.639] this implies that everyone needs a Sukkah for himself, just like the rest of the year when he inhabits his own home. Moreover since building the Sukkah is also a mitzvah [Alter Rebbe’s Sh. Aruch Sec.641] it is for he himself to do it rather than assign a shliach, Even Rabbi Shimon bar Yochei interrupted his learning to build a Succah9 [Yerushalmi Brochos Ch.1, article 2. Shabbos Ch.1 art.2] and even to bind his lulav, which the Yerushalmi holds is also a mitzvah (Brochos Ch.9,art.3] requiring the blessing “..on the binding of the lulav.” The Talmud Bavli also brings one opinion to this effect (The Marsha , Sukkah 45:a, compares binding the species on the lulav to building the Altar), and accordingly agrees that Rabbi bar Yochei interrupted to tie his lulav — for never do we find Bavli and Yerushalmi arguing on factual occurrence. The reason we do not make the blessing (as found in Yerushalmi) is explained by the Alter Rebbe (Sh. Aruch ibid.]that the mitzvah is not complete until we eat in the Sukkah, or take the 4 species.
9. Vayikra Rabba Ch. 30,7
10. In the discourse “To understand the concept of Sim. Torah Sec.3
11. Sukkah 27:b
12. Vayikra Rabba ibid. 12
13. In addition, the mitzvos of Sukkos themselves display the idea of unity, as above in the text.
14. Even in this Shemini Atzeres dominates over Sukkos [Lik. Torah 89,a]
15. Sukkah 55:b
16. As determined by the exact word usage of our Sages o.b.m. [ibid. Sukkah]: “a unique bullock offering – a unique nation”, even though Scripture said “one bullock”
17. Rashi on Torah Emor 23:36. Pinchas 29:36
18. This idea will explain why fixing “one day” more will resolve the problem of “How hard for Me, when you part” [See Lik.Sicphoy294)9
19. As explained in the discourse “To understand the concept of Simchas Torah Sec.6
20. Iggeres haKodesh Ch.9 . Torah Or 27,4
21. See Tanya Ch.37 p.48:a
22. discourse “To understand the concept of Simchas Torah” Sec. S. Likkutei Sichos vol 10 p.195
23. Vayishlach 32:29
24. Toldos 25:26
25. Rashi beg. Bereishis
26. Sanhedrin 37:a (in the Mishnah)
27. Tanya Ch. 36
28. Torah Or 21:a, 29:a. The yud of Yaakov is on the level of Chochmah. In Or haTorah Vayetze [192:a-margin) this is the Yud of HaVaYeH.
29. Sotah 38:a. Sanhedrin 60:a. Rambam H. Yesodei haTorah Ch.6 art.2
30. Shaar haYichud Ch.12; A letter that precedes, predominates.
31. Shaar haYichud beg. Ch.4. The Yud of the Tetragrammaton HaVaYeH symbolizes action in an eternally present tense. The concept of constancy is hinted by the yud because it represents sefiros haChochmah [called “indivisible truth”) where change is impossible.
32. Ch.10.See also Lik. Biurim on Tanya (by Rabbi Shia Korf) ibid.
33. Yechezkel 36:25
34. p.149 in the footnote
35. Iggeres haKodesh Ch.7
36. Rashi at end Parshas Noach
37. Iggeres haKodesh Ch.21
38. Since the hastening depends on
39. Rashi on Bereishis 3:8. See references listed our merit in Lik. Sichos vo1.5 p.1. footnote 1
40. Isaiah 49:23
41. Rambam H. Teshuvah Ch.3 article 2. “The balance [of good and evil] is not according to number of merits or demerits, but according to their individual value and no-one can judge this but G-d.”
42. Siddur of the Ari o.b.m. [according to the Rash of Rashkov]. Also “Pri Etz Chaim”, end “Gate of Shabbos”.
43. The Hebrew word “sheva” — “seven” is etymologically related to “sova”-”abundant” (or “satisfied”) (1).
44. “Tishrei is abundantly full: it contains the full presses of the harvest, Blessings, Atonement, Sukkah, Lulav and the willow.” (2)
45. In the words of the Baal Shem Tov: “The month of Tishrei has abundance (of itself) and also satiates ... throughout the entire year.” (4)
46. In addition to the overall implication of the verse: “And Yaakov went on his way,” each word contains its own particular lesson. As was discussed earlier(7) at length, this is added to the overall content of “And Yaakov went on his way.”
47. As the Alter Rebbe says: We must ~,3be with the Torah portion of the week. (8)
48. Another clarification: Since Tishrei is an all-inclusive (and a general) (16) month, the Divine Service of “And Yaakov went on his way” — which denotes individual (and specific) tasks — begins primarily after Tishrei.
Every Shabbos is the culmination of the six days of the week (as evidenced by the word “Vayechulu” — “And they were completed,” the pronouncement of the Torah upon the completion of the sixth day of the week). Since Shabbos Parshas Noach is the first Shabbos after Tishrei, the illumination of Tishrei is still felt. Consequently, (17) the theme of “And Yaakov went on his way” begins primarily on Motzaei Shabbos Parshas Noach.
49. The seven-day cycle is a microcosm representing the entire range of time. This is (20) why we call the days of the week “the first day,” the second day,” etc., even though countless thousands of days have elapsed since the time of Creation. Thus the count begins anew because every week encompasses the entire cycle of time, and each week the cycle is repeated.
50. This status of total credibility _is relied upon, concerning any situation — even most serious ones. (23)
51. The Creation is uniquely related to the ~~W of Tishrei (The letters spell “Tishrei” can be rearranged to spell Reishi , the Beginning; and the “head” of the Beginning, the day Man was,-Created—Rosh Hashanah—is the first day of Tishrei.) and is related in particular to (Simchas Torah and) Shabbos Bereishis when we read the portion of the week: “In the beginning G-d created...”
Since the Torah of Truth tells us that “Each day they (the words of Torah) should be regarded as new,” (25) each year — when we read Parshas Bereishis — the universe is being created anew. Although it is left to every individual Jew to fulfill the precept — “Each day they should be regarded as new” — his choice affects only himself, and bears no relation to the actual fact that the words of Torah are always “new” (and that every year, when we read Parshas Bereishis, the universe is being created anew). The demands of the choice are such, that he should come to realize this truth, live with it, and experience anew whatever topic of Torah he happens to be learning.
52. Even if one argues that this is not a positive quality (a perfection), we may counter that “His desire” is above rational understanding.
* see (28) there, these two reasons are mediated and reconciled.
53. Tanya (ch. 37, p. 48b) explains that the purpose of the soul descending into the body is to spiritually mend and purify the body, the vitalizing animal soul and everything with which it comes in contact in this world (this is said in connection with ( (ibid. ch. 36) ) . _ tw t Wt tie aitiiat.e purpo” awi iatwtion of G-d’s creating the world is that it should become a dwelling place for Him, may He be blessed).
Elsewhere (30) Chassidus explains that the descent of the soul is for the good of the soul. It descends in order to ascend higher than it was prior to the descent. This ascension is brought about by its overcoming the test of physical embodiment, and by its doing Torah and Mitzvos.
Perhaps these two reasons for the descent of the soul are instances of the application of the two reasons for the Creation: (a) “So that the perfection of His power may be revealed;” and (b) “The Holy One desired that there be for Him, may He be blessed, a dwelling place among the lowly.”
See also (30) where it is explained that the “ultimate purpose” of the soul’s descent is for its later ascension; whereas, the “ultimate intention” of the soul’s descent is its service of purifying the body and the vitalizing soul, and everything with which it comes in contact.
54. The first descent of a soul into a body occurred on Rosh Hashanah when “He breathed the soul of life into his nostrils.” This refers to the soul of Adam Harishon whose soul incorporated all other souls within it. This portion of the Torah is read on Simchas Torah and on Shabbos Bereishis. (see note “i”)
55. We call attention to Nachmanides (35): “The purpose for the test, even though everything is revealed before Him, blessed be He Who knows the outcome before the beginning, is to reward a person for his good deeds, beyond the reward for his good intentions.”
56. The Parshah “Toldos,” that comes later on, would then be called “Yitzchok” to distinguish it from our Parshah.
57. The ten generations that lived between the time of the flood and the time of the dispersion also provoked Hashem’s anger, each one more than the generation before it.
58. This is what our Sages o.b.m. meant (42): “There were ten generations from Noach to Avraham ... until Avraham came and gathered the reward of them all.” our forefather Avraham — who was only one man and yet inherited the land (43) gathered the reward of all ten generations including the generation of the dispersion. All the blessings of holiness they could have received, Avraham gathered through his actions.
59. It is written: “He revealed His secrets to His servants, the Prophets” (46). Thus the haftorahs of every Parshah taken from Prophets reveal the hidden meaning of matters mentioned in the sidra. In our haftorah the waters are not called “flood waters,” but the “waters of Noach.” This indicates their true function: to effect a “n’aicha d’rucha” — “satisfaction and contentment.”
60. “Re’ach nichoach” — “a pleasant savor,” imp yang Nachas Riiach –satisfaction (n’aicha d’rucha).
61. Likkutei Sichos explains (49) that the steadfastness (constancy) in the world after the flood is due to the elevation brought about by the purification and cleansing accomplished by the flood.
62. See Torah Ohr (56),there it explains the verse(Noach ch.7,v.17-18) “and the Teiva (ark) went upon the face of the waters-and the Teiva was raised-etc.” It is only through the .”waters” that the Teivos of prayer and Torah achieve their highest elevation.
63. The lunar year contains 354 days. The solar year contains 365 days. In a leap year, we add a month, Adar II, at the end of the year; thus, the leap year contains thirteen months. This is done, in order that the Holidays may occur in their right seasons, e.g. Pesach in the spring, Shavuos at harvest time. If we would not add this extra month, the Holidays would eventually occur out of season, G-d forbid. The leap year, therefore, adjusts the lunar year to the solar seasons. The “minor cycle” is a cycle of nineteen years, within which seven leap years occur. For further explanation, see the sources mentioned in editors footnote (61).
64. We call attention to the fact (64) that the level of soul as it is above is that of “Sun,” and the level of the soul when it is clothed in a physical body is that of “moon.”
65. Another way to explain these two paths: “Sun” — the spiritual task of Tzaddikim )saints),”Moon” — the spiritual task of Ba’alei Teshuvah (repenters, returners)(66). The concept of joining the solar year and the lunar year (this _s the lesson we learn from the leap year, as explained further in the Sicha) is akin, to the concept of (67) “to bring Tzaddikim to the level of Teshuvah.”
66. Because through this combination we attain the added “light that transcends all the individual parts”(69)
67. We call attention to the Maamar ‘Mayim Rabim’, of Motzaei Shabbos, Parshas Noach,(). There it is explained that through the descent into the “vast waters” we attain the level of Teshuvah (repentance, returning). Also, according to this explanation, the concept of “And Yaakov went on his way” is associated with the (spiritual path of)”moon”, because going “on his way” in the service of elevating one’s material concerns throughout the year is the theme of “mayim rabim”(vast waters)(); and the (spiritual path) of “moon” is the path of Ba’alei Teshuvah (repenters, returners)().
68. The Mishnah (76)”three people who ate at the same table and spoke words of Torah(during the meal), are regarded as having eaten from the table of the L-rd” indicates one way of realizing this.
69. See Ohr HaTorah (80), There, the Tzemach Tzedek relates the concept “good for heaven” and “good for the creation” to the third day of the week, the day that “and G-d saw that it was good” was mentioned twice.
70. As previously discussed(81), this doubly affirmed “Ki Tov” implies not only “good for heaven and good for the creation”, it also implies that both “good”s are united in this day, and are integrated as one. This integration extends to every moment, and to every action taken during that day; all are simultaneously “good for heaven and good for the creation.”
71. On the surface level of exposition, we may answer (albeit, with difficulty) that if Rashi would write “solar year”, we would be lacking the explanation as to “why not a lunar year?”; that is why Rashi writes “a Whole year”(more than a lunar year).
72. The month of Tishrei is alluded to in this weeks’ Parshah. The Zohar (87) explains the verse “and the Ark rested in the seventh month on the seventeenth day ...”the “seventh month” refers—to Tishrei, the seventh month, when we begin our count from the month of Nissan. The Tzemach Tzedek (89) elaborates, that the “seventeen” refers to the ten days of Teshuvah and the seven days of Sukkos.
73. This is why it is written(100) that Noach’s ark is the “closed mem” of “lemarbe hamisra” ( the extention of the realm), occurring in the Messianic Era.
74. “Even his enemies shall be at peace with him”, the word for “peace”, Shalom, is etymologically related to the word for “completeness” and Wholeness”, Shleimus.
75. The word for test “nisayon”, is etymologically related to “arim nisi” I shall raise up my standard. (104)
76. As our Sages OBM say (110), “Eretz Yisrael is higher than all other lands.” See Rashi(111)
77. In Likkutei Torah (117) it is stated that this applies also to the Messenger of odour Ho Elyone (lit. “Supernal Man,” i.e. G-d)
78. The hastening of the redemption depends on our merit. (119)
79. In Siddur HoAriZa1 it is stated that “one should rejoice during this meal just as one rejoices during a Shabbos meal.”
80. The seventh month, “Shvi’i” is etymologically related to “musba”, satisfied, and “masbia”, the satisfier of others. (124)
81. The connection between Motzaei Shabbos with the preceding Shabbos is implied by the word “Motzaei” — the night taking leave of Shabbos (Parshas Lech Lecha). It escorts (and departs together with) the Shabbos (of Parshas Lech Lecha).
82. Discussed in previous Sichos and Maamarim, beginning with Motzaei Simchas Torah.
83. i.e. Shabbos, as it includes the entire week before it (for etymologically, the word “Shabbos” is related to the word “Shavuah” — week).
84. See the Sichos of Motzaei Shabbos Bereishis (secs. 2-4), and Motzaei Shabbos Noach (sec. 2), where these points are fully elaborated.
85. Since the “Yud” of the Divine Name “Havayah” denotes a constancy that is above and beyond division and change, therefore, because Yaakov is led by the “Yud” of the Divine Name, he remains unaffected by change, despite the fact that he is on the level of “eikev” — heel.
86. As we say on every Motzaei Shabbos Kodesh, starting from Motzaei Shabbos Bereishis, the first Motzaei Shabbos after Simchas Torah9, “Do not fear, My “servant Ya’akov”10 the name “Yaakov” is associated with the description “servant.”
87. In addition to the Mitzvos themselves being regarded as the A1-mighty’s messengers (12).
88. The fact that the shaliach is an entity separate from the sender, is also proven by the fact that the relationship between them (even with regard to the third level, where the shaliach is considered as the sender), exists only insofar as that particular mission is concerned*, and, even during the mission itself, it extends no further than that mission itself. On the other hand, in the case of a servant, anything that comes into his possession, goes automatically into the possession of the owner — as explained later in the sicha.
* We call attention to the opinion of Rabbi Shila, that the shaliach cannot testify on behalf of the sender, because he is considered as the senderl4. Evidently, he regards the shaliach as the sender (i.e. the third level) therefore, just as the sender cannot testify on his own behalf, the messenger too, cannot testify for himl5. Nevertheless, he can still testify for the sender, with regard to matters not connected with that particular mission.
89. This is why “what the servant possesses belongs to his master”l7. Everything that the servant has acquired becomes a possession of his master, even to the extent of saying (according to one Talmudic codifier’s), that it belonged to his master from the very beginning.
90. Although the lesson we learn from “and Yaakov went on his way” is understood as applying to all aspects of “his way,” this fact is not openly stressed, it is only inferred (see above, sec. 4); whereas “Lech Lecha” openly emphasizes the message that the “going” must take place in every aspect of “his way” — as explained further in the sicha.
91. Although Avraham Avinu only possessed the attribute of Gevurah (severity), this is also because “it is the nature of each attribute to incorporate within itself all other attributes”21. Therefore, Avraham Avinu’s Chesed (kindness) also included Gevurah.
92. In Or HaTorah23, the Tzemach Tzedek explains that the unbounded Chesed of Avraham transcends even the measures and limitations of the attribute of Chesed in the word of Emanation (Atzilus).
93. “Hakbolas Pnei Shechinah” — lit. “the acceptance of the countenance of the Dwelling — G-d.” This means, that “Pnei” — lit., the face, or the inner quality, of “Shechinah” — the “Dwelling,” so called because it dwells in all things25, becomes “Niskabel,” i.e., accepted, realized. Hashem makes it so, that the person realizes this level of G-dliness, present in all things. Yet, the act of hospitality surpasses in importance even this exalted state.
94. An act of hospitality by any Jew surpasses in importance the greeting of the Divine Presence, although the kindness of the Jew is only finite.
The reason for this is because we derive the lesson of welcoming quests from Avraham Avinu — as the Sicha goes on to say; and the power of each Jew’s kindness is transmitted from Avraham Avinu. Therefore, the acts of kindness performed be each Jew, parallel the superior virtues found in the acts of kindness performed by Avraham Avinu. Consequently, the welcoming of guests surpasses in importance the welcoming of the Divine Presence (just as it is the case with Avraham Avinu).
Based on this explanation, we will understand why the Rambam24 brings, as his source for the law of welcoming guests, the verse “and he (Avraham) saw three people...,” even though the Rambam does not usually list the sources of the law in his code. Also, we will understand why the Rambam prefaces this law with the words “and this is the statue that Avraham Avinu instituted...”26 [The Rambam’s reason for mentioning these two points is to emphasize that the force of unlimited kindness in our acts of hospitality derives from the kindness of Avraham Avinu.]
95. In Or Torah28 the Tzemach Tzedek explains that Avraham Avinu’s kindness manifested itself in every aspect of his being (possessions, body and soul), because his kindness was unlimited.
96. [As it happened36, once R. Chaninah ben Tradyon set aside a certain amount of money for poor people, and this money got mixed up with his own personal money. R. Chaninah ben Tradyon did not remove his own money from the amount, he included it in the charity; with this act, he proved himself.]
97. In many places in Chassidus40 it is explained that there is a special positive quality in the person who is constantly fighting and subduing his evil inclination, that a person who has succeeded in completely transforming his evil inclination into a force for good does not possess. Accordingly, we can recognize a superior quality in one who is serving G-d, even over one who is “a servant of G-d” — one who has reached the level of Tzaddik.
98. He struggles extremely hard; to the extent, that we describe his service as “the working of (animal) hides”41.
99. In the Maamar “B’Chodesh Hashlishi” 5702, the Previous Rebbe explains, that in many respects, Avraham’s kindness was greater that the attribute of kindness in the world of Atzilus (Emanation). (See fn. L, and the source listed there.)
100. This is why the expression “Our Father” (Avinu) is used only in reference to three people — Avraham, Yitzchok and Yaakov — [but nowhere do we find the expression “Avinu” used in connection with, say, Reuven, or Shimon, etc. ]45. This is because it is only the spiritual qualities of these three, that are inherited by all Jews alike46.
101. As is known, the love for Hashem, hidden within the heart of every Jew, received as his inheritance, from all of our fathers,50 derives primarily from Avraham Avinu5l, “for he was the first “root” soul of the Jewish souls, and the first “shepherd” of the Jewish people52.”
102. See Bamidbar.Rabbah53 — G-d says “I do not request (from you) according to My abilities, (I only expect you to serve Me) according to your abilities.”
103. See Bereishis Rabbah, on the verse65 “To your children I have given this land” — “the Almighty’s proclamation is considered a deed.”
104. Tosfos69, and the Rosh70, and the Rambam7l apparently disagree, [for regarding those legal transactions which are operative only when one of the parties involved is a landowner, they do not allow for the option of using the four cubits that each Jew owns in Eretz Yisrael (thereby allowing any Jew to partake in these types of transactions)].
The Shulchan Aruch also seems to disagree, for regarding ‘Pruzbul’72, ‘Kinyan Agav Karka’73, and ‘Harshoah’74, he does not mention the possibility of using the four cubits.
The reason for this is, because nobody knows which four cubits belong to him, therefore, the ownership of the four cubits does not qualify for use in a court case (since it cannot be claimed*).
The point made in the Sicha however, is not that every Jew can claim his four cubits, but that every Jew actually owns four cubits of Eretz Yisrael. Regarding this, all of the above opinions may be in agreement.
This is in addition to the fact that we sometimes find Sichos that speak only according to one opinion, even though the final ruling is according to a contrary opinion; [for since both opinions are recorded in Torah, the Torah of Truth, there are evidently lessons to be learned from both opinions.]
* (accordingly, we may perhaps reconcile the opinion of the Rambam with the Sicha, for he says (ibid) “they are not in his possession.”)
105. Although any king who conquers a country during war it regarded as having acquired possession of it,79 notwithstanding this, King Nevuchadnezzar’s conquest of Eretz Yisrael from the hands of King Tzidkiya (and the consequent dispersal of the Jews from their homeland) did not result in the lawful denial of the right of ownership of each individual Jew to his land, it only extended Nevuchadnezzar’s ownership to the rivers and forests etc., i.e. to the public property that was previously in the hands of King Tzidkiya. — for further elaboration, see the source listed in fn. 79.
106. See Torah Or (4a) and Sefer Maamarim 5666 (p. 495); there it is explained that by reason of the fact that the soul is enclothed in the body, deriving from the lowest element of the inanimate world, it has the power to elevate the whole of creation.
107. we call attention to the explanation offered in the Maamar ‘Zeh Hayom’ 5710, section 2, to the fact that Man is called ‘Adam,’ etymologically related to the word ‘adomah,’ meaning earth, or ground, although apparently it would have been more fitting to give him a name emphasizing his superior qualities, i.e. his faculty of speech.
However, since the soul descended and was enclothed in a physical body (derived from earth), the superior quality of the soul is more deeply apparent; this is in accordance with the principal that states “the higher the object, the lower it descends”87.
108. See Iggeres Hakodesh90; the power of G-d’s Essence is found in the element of dust.
109. We call attention to the aphorism of our Sagesl00, “Even though they may be unaware (of the absolute truth), their Mazel (above) is aware (of the truth) — therefore, a great terror befalls them...”
110. Particularly now, as we proceed from the Festival of Sukkos106, when for seven consecutive. days (and the ‘seven day cycle’ contains within itself the entire duration of time)107 and also, on the eighth day (symbolizing the level above the dimension of time; it is the guardian of the time cycle) on Shemini Atzeres and Simchas Torah we all recited the complete Hallel, of which this verse is a part.
111. Our blessing the New Moon, before the arrival of the new month, is related to the sanctification of the new month, as it was done in the Bais HaMikdash (Holy Temple) (1).
112. This is because every occurrence is Divinely ordained, and nothing, G-d forbid, occurs “by accident” (and certainly, this applies to matters in Torah and Mitzvos).
113. The first point of the Parshah includes the first words of the Parshah, and out of these first words, comes the name of the Parshah. As explained many times, the name of a Parshah contains the whole life of the Parshah. It therefore follows, that the first part of the Parshah is the main part(3) .
114. Until the age of twenty, one is not held responsible, by the Heavenly court, for one’s actions, consequently, the age of twenty indicates an age when one is clean from sin(6).
115. From Rashi’s comment, “They were all equal in goodness”, we note a fact, not included in his previous explanation, “When she was one hundred years old, she was as if...” Whereas with this explanation, Rashi is merely making a comparison, (as if), with the comment “They were all equal...”, Rashi is emphasizing a more direct relationship between all the years of Sarah’s life(7).
116. The question becomes even stronger, because from the expression “They coo from strength...” we infer that each elevation take the tzaddik to a level infinitely higher than the level that he was on ...ioiialy(10)
117. See Likkutei Sichos(18), there it is explained that the fact that there was no change in Sarah’s beauty (from age seven to age twenty), which came as a result of her Avodah, was due, not only to the light of her Neshamah (soul), it was also due to an elevation in her body itself.
118. One can, perhaps, notice these three distinct periods, in the pussuk itself, for the pussuk separates her years into three sums “one hundred years”, and “twenty years,” “and seven years”; therefore, (as Rashi concludes) “each one is interpreted for itself” (18).
R’ Eliyahu Mizrachi(19) comments “that each sum is interpreted for itself, and is not combined with the other sums...because the words “years”, “years” separate them... for that purpose.”
119. As we have discussed many times(21), this is the meaning of the saying of our Sages, “when one reaches the age of one hundred years, he is regarded as though he had already died and passed away from this world”(22). The perfection of Avodah indicated by the age of one hundred, is such, that it transcends the limitations of the world; therefore when one attains this level, he is regarded as having “passed away from this world”.
120. As explained in Likkutei Sichos(26), purpose for the existence of the Jew is not merely, as a means of achieving a goal that exists outside of the Jew himself; rather the ultimate purpose of his existence, lies in the Jew himself. The same is true of every aspect of a Jew’s life. No aspect of a Jew’s life is a mere stepping stone to the next; rather, each aspect contains an ultimate quality of its own. Therefore, whenever a particular Avodah of a Jew elevates him to a higher level, the Avodah itself (which caused the elevation), attains that consequent higher level. This higher level (i.e. of the Avodah) is its true, ultimate, purpose it is not merely a cause, to bring the Jew who performed it, to a higher level.
121. Accordingly, we may understand why Rashi does not write “Sarah was equally good throughout her years”, but instead writes, “All of Sarah’s years were equally good”. (compare this, to “Sarah was like a twenty-year-old when she reached the age of one hundred”, and she was like a seven-year-old when she reached the age of twenty”.) We cannot say that Sarah was equally good throughout her years, because actually, she changed, and rose, in her level of Avodah with the passing of her years. We can, however, say that her years were equally good; for since, with each progressive elevation in Sarah’s Avodah, her previous years attained the elevated level of her subsequent years, ultimately, they (her years) were all equally good. With regard to the difference between the elevation of the time of a person’s life (achieved through his Avodah) and the elevation of the person himself’(if there is any difference between them), this point is still unresolved.
122. A For the word “Torah” is an etymological cognate of the word ‘Hora’ah — instruction”(27).
123. See Shir Hashirim Raba(30): “Al 1, the praises that our forefathers said before G-d (before Matan Torah) were comparable to a ‘scent’ (which has no substance)°. In the beginning of the Maamar “Lereiach Shmanecho”, 5706: it is explained that “‘Praises’ refers to the Torah ...that they studied”.
124. For the “principles of Torah ...merely alluded to in Torah” from a part of the body of Torah law, received at Matan Torah.
125. As it is written(34) concerning the creation “He ‘talked’ and it (the world) came to be”.
126. As the Maggid of Meseritch and the Alter Rebbe(35) interpret the Mishnah(36): Dah Ma L’malo Mimoch (literally: Know what is above from you, i.e.) Know what is above you. Their interpretation is, Know, that what is (taking place) above, is from you — i.e. is dependent upon you.
127. So it was also, with Eliezer’s ‘Sicha’. Even while engaged in ordinary conversation, with ordinary people, (Lavan and Besuel) it was easily discernible that he was Avrohom’s servant. In fact, he began his conversation, with the statement: “I am a servant of Avraham”..(Chayei Sarah, 24:34).
128. The purpose of studying Torah and fulfilling its Mitzvos is to illuminate the world with the light of Torah and Mitzvos, at essentially transcends the world.
129. We can even say this regarding the creation of the first moment in time, although the term “part” (i.e. the “moment before the first moment”) is not really applicable (for this would imply a contradiction); in this case, it will be understood as similar to the concept of logical sequence, or cause and effect.
130. See Sefer HaMaamarim 5672, Vol I, P. 339 “Everything that was created, falls under the domain of time ,...for they were created from naught into existence, therefore, there must have been a time that they were not in existence, and then, they came into asis”ac: and were newly created”.
131. Although there was actually no Pronouncement made on the seventh day, Shabbos, nonetheless, Shabbos added the element of completeness and wholeness to the creation, as Rashi explained(43)”...what was missing in the world, was rest and peace...”. See also Bereishis Rabbah(44). “The creation of Shabbos is akin to the addition of a signet on to a ring”. It is the signet of a ring that gives the ring its distinct characters.
132. As is explained in Tanya, Jews are called “Hashem’s children”, because, just as the child derives from the brain of the father, so too, the Jews derive from His thought and His wisdom.(49)
133. This is illustrated by the saying of our Sages(50) “The idle conversation of a Torah Scholar is deserving of study”; this is because, since they are Torah scholars, even their idle talk contains, in a matter of fact way, the extraneous product of a mind full of Torah wisdom(51).
134. Because sometime, the purpose for the existence of a natural drive, is to ensure the continuation of the world. As the Talmud states, (in Tractate Yoma P.69b), the Men of the Great Assembly said: “If the sex desire would be destroyed, it would mean the destruction of the world” — for there would be no moss procreation.
135. Although, from the very fact that he pursues his natural cravings, it appears that he is doing so for his own sake (and not for the sake of Heaven), nevertheless, through his acceptance of the yoke, he can bring it about within himself, that his intention be truly for the sake of Heaven; for since the servant sees the world “as though the whole essence of his existence, is solely to serve his master, i.e., Hashem, he considers himself no more than a mere possession of his master(52)*”. Therefore, it is possible, that his intention is truly for the sake of Heaven, even in these natural functions, that (from the very outset) he does for his own benefit, since he realizes, that his entire purpose for existence is no more than to serve his Master. This point still requires further contemplation.
136. The Ten Point Mitzvah Campaign:
1. Love every Jew “as you love yourself”.
2. Education: To insure a Torah true education for each Jewish child.
3. Torah: To set aside a time each day to study Torah
4. Mezuzah: To place a kosher inspected mezuzah on the doorpost of each room of the house.
5. Tefillin: Every Jewish male above the age of 13 should put on Tefillin every weekday.
6. Charity: To give some charity on every weekday, and to have a charity box in the house.
7. A house full of Jewish holy books: Yavneh and its Sages: In every Jewish home there should be Jewish holy books( at least a Chumash (the Five Books of Moshe), a Tehillim (Psalms), and a Siddur ( a prayer book).
8. Shabbos Candle Lights: Every woman and girl (from the age of 3) should light candles at the proper time, and to welcome in the Shabbos and the holiday; and they should accompany their lighting with the proper blessing.
9. Kashrus: To keep a kosher kitchen with two sets of dishes, for milk and for meat, and to eat only kosher food.
10. Family Purity: To be careful to observe the laws of family purity.
137. The fact that the Torah and Mitzvos that are performed during the week, receive their elevation on Shabbos, parallels the fact that the “years of Sarah’s life” received their elevation. in “the time Sarah passed away from this world”
138. Whereas there is an argument in the Talmud(57) as to whether the date of the giving of the Torah was on the sixth of the month of Sivan, or on the seventh, according to all opinions, the Torah was given on Shabbos.
139. Traditionally recited at Melaveh Malkah feast, the “Feast of King Dovid the Mashiach”, conducted on Motzaei Shabbos 1Codesh. For an elaborate treatment of the significant lessons contained in this verse, see Kuntreis Motzaei Simchas Torah, Bereishis, Noach, and Lech Lecha, 5738.
140. Likewise, with any other month, the points of central interest are the holidays of that month.
141. In the pussuk, the name “Havayah” is present with an added letter, ‘Vov’(62).
142. “Rosh”-’Hoshana, is, as its name suggests, the “Head” of the year, for (like the head of a body) it guides the life of the entire year(67).
143. “...whose only quality of merit is the fact that “the creation” was created by Hasham(72).
144. With this we can appreciate the exactness of the pussuk, referring to the origin of Yitzchak’s name, where Sarah said “Tzchok asa li Elokim”, lit. “The L-rd has made laughter for me”. The Tzchok, laughter and pleasure of the higher realms, are accomplished (asa li, made for me) by the purification of that which is hidden in the name “Elokim”, i.e., the name through which G-d obscures his presence in the word.
145. As the Rambam write(83) “The eighth Principle (article of faith) is that every word of Torah is G-d given. In this, there is no difference between the verse “And Timna was a concubine...” and the verse “I am G-d your G-d...”(the beginning of the First Commandment) both are part of the complete, pure and holy Torah. Whoever says that there is no value in a verse such as “and Timna...”, the Sages say concerning him, “He has shamed the word of G-d”. Rather, each word in the Torah contains wondrous wisdom for he who but understands it...”.
146. We call attention to the fact that we say the Parshah of the Akeida daily in. our prayers(87), and on Rosh Hashanah, at the close of the Blessing of Remembrances, we say “And the Akeida of Yitzchok should be remembered for his children, with mercy”. Also see Tractate Shabbos (86), Yitzchok tells Hashem “I have offered my soul to you” (so have mercy on at children).
147. From the time the Bais HaMikdash was destroyed (until Mashiach comes, and builds the third Bais HaMikdash; and not before that time, as the ruling of the Rambam(96) clearly states), Hashem is ‘at home’, only “in the four cubits of Torah(97)” i.e., in a center for Torah study; and the same holds true for a center for prayer, because our prayers stand in place of the sacrifices(98) (on the alt r in the Bais HaMikdash), and a synagogue is called “a miniature Temple(99)”.
148. Because their ‘angel of destiny’ is aware of this(100).
149. The RaMah(103) referring to the universal acceptance of this custom, writes “It has become the simple custom”. This indicates that the custom is associated with the simplicity (i.e. the purity and essence) of the Jewish soul. Therefore, it affects and draws from the simplicity of G-d’s essence, through which all limitations and measures become nullified.
150. This pleasure is taken into account by the Torah, for it is written, that (in order for the study of Torah to be a constant challenge), “Each day, they (the words of Torah) should be regarded as new”(2).
151. On Yud Tes (the 19th of) Kislev, we celebrate the “Festival of Liberation”, commemorating the release of ‘the Alter Rebbe’ (Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi — founder of the Chabad Chassidic movement) on that day, from prison in Czarist Russia, in the year 5559 (1798).
The Alter Rebbe’s arrest was brought about by opponents of Chassidism, who directed their efforts against him, as the spearhead of the Chassidic movement of that period. Therefore, in a larger sense, Yud Tes Kislev marks the celebration of the ‘liberation’ and continued success of the Chassidic movement and its teachings, in general, which were also placed on trial along with the Alter Rebbe himself(1). Translator’s note
152. For the command tells us to ascend ‘Bakodesh’ — ‘in holiness’, i.e. the ascent is in holiness itself — we must ascend to a level incomparably higher than our previous level (for this is the true meaning of ascent movement). Although the previous position too is holy — yet, we must ascend in levels of holiness itself.
153. This ‘stumbling’ upon a ‘new find’ (5) through the ‘effort’ of revision, can be equaled with making a find in the material sense. When a person sees an ownerless object, he must lift it up in order to acquire possession of it (6). Although minimal effort must be exerted, the find outweighs by far the energy spent in acquiring it.
154. This is derived from the verse “A righteous man ‘Yichye’ — ‘lives’, by his faith”(12). The letters of the word ‘Yichye’ can also be pronounced ‘Yich.Layeh’ — ‘gives life’, thus rendering the verse “A righteous man gives life (to others) by his faith”(13).
155. The reason why the Alter Rebbe writes’, perhaps’ is because “everything is in the hands of Heaven besides the fear of Heaven(30)”. The choice of whether or not to act properly is in the hands of the individual. We can only hope that he will act properly. Nevertheless, our hope and faith in an individual may cause him to act as is expected of him.
156. Concerning man’s ability to choose freely between good and evil, the verse states “And the L-rd G-d said ‘Behold: The man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil “‘(33). By using one’s freedom of choice properly, one can rise to the highest levels — ‘like one of us’. Because of its great power, one can descend even lower than an animal, by misusing his freedom of choice.
157. The story of Joseph and his brothers has a particular relevance to the Alter Rebbe. It is said amongst chassidim, regarding the verse “And his (Joseph’s) brothers envied him, but his father kept the matter in mind(36)”, that the first part of the verse — “and his brothers envied him” — refers to the Alter Rebbe’s fellow-students of the Maggid of Mezeritch, who envied the special treatment that the Alter Rebbe was receiving from the Maggid; and the end of the verse ”but his father kept the matter in mind” refers to the Maggid. who was especially close to the Alter Rebbe.
158. This in addition to our taking notice (in accordance with the teaching of the Baal Shem Tov, that every occurrence contains a lesson,) of the public awareness of these letters, due to their having been published (by the sons of the Alter Rebbe) in Tanya.
159. For as long as the simple Jew is in exile, he is holding back the redemption of the entire nation of Yisrael, together with the redemption of the Shechinah, the Divine Presence, now in exile with us (as it is written, “And then, the L-rd thy G-d will return (with) your captives ... (46)”)
The redemption from this current exile (the “Roman Exile’”) will not be like the redemption from the previous exiles (Babylon, Greece, Persia, and Medea) for they were only partial redemptions, and some Jews still remained in exile after those redemptions. It will rather, be more like our liberation from Egypt, where not a single Jew remained after we were liberated; for, regarding our future redemption it is written,”...And you, oh children of Yisrael, shall be gathered one by one... (47)”, and “they shall all come, they who were lost in the land of Ashur, and “the outcasts in the land of Mitzrayim(48)”.
It is therefore understood, that as long as even a single Jew is in exile, he is detaining the complete redemption of the entire Jewish Nation, together with the redemption of the Holy Shechinah, the Divine Presence.
Therefore, the “streaming forth of the well-springs to the outside” must be carried out in such a way, as to make the teachings of the esoteric part of Torah accessible to even the most simple-minded Jew, for this is a prerequisite to our complete Redemption.
160. As the verse states, (they will take out of exile) “...their gold and their silver, together with them (Jq),” their material possession; for the possessions of a Jew contain ‘sparks of holiness’, and by using his possessions properly, the Jew elevates these sparks to higher levels of holiness; thus, the taking along of ‘gold and silver’ out of exile, refers to the redemption of the ‘holy sparks’ now in exile. This is essential for the completeness of the future redemption.
161. This is derived by our Sages of blessed memory (51), from the verse “Also, they hired lovers from among the nations, (yet,) now I will redeem them (52)”. The letters of the word ‘YITNU’, interpreted as ‘hired lovers’, also spell the word ‘YITANU’, meaning ‘they studied mishnayos’ (for the authors of the Mishnah are called ‘TANA’IM’) — i.e., in the merit of our studying mishnayos, while we are in exile, we will be redeemed.
162. The act of charity consists of two things: the giving of money, and the appeasement and good feeling that one gives to the impoverished person.
The act of appeasement is a more complete fulfillment of the mitzvah of giving charity, as our Sages tell us, “He who gives a coin to a poor person is blessed with six blessings, and he who appeases him, (is blessed) with eleven blessings(53)”.
The act of appeasement consists of lifting the spirits of the poor person, and strengthening him, by getting him to realize that there is no need to be downtrodden due to his material situation — the fact that he is poor, and must rely on others for support, etc.
We can do this by pointing out the positive qualities of the poor such as the fact that his prayers take precedence over the prayers of the rich, for they are the prayers of “the afflicted, when he faints and pours out his complaint before the L-rd (54)”, and, as the Midrash says (55), ‘to G-d, there is a special quality about the poor person offering a (burnt) sacrifice of a bird, over the rich person’s offering of an ox.
163. As our Sages of blessed memory tell us (56), “The ‘Higher Yerushalayim’ is parallel to Yerushalayim below”.
Prayer is called “a ladder, set upon the earth, whose top reaches to Heaven (57)”. Our prayers ascend to Heaven, by way of the Holy of Holies, in the Holy Temple, on the Temple Mount of Yerushalayim (58).
164. Regarding forbidden work on Shabbos, that could have been done by one person, and was done by two people, since neither of them performed the complete action by himself, neither of them is regarded as having violated the Shabbos.
165. The Ten Point Mitzvah Campaign:
1) Love every Jew — “as you love yourself”
2) Education: Ensure a Torah-true education, for every Jewish child.
3) Torah: set aside a time each day, to study Torah
4) Mezuzah: place a kosher, inspected Mezuzah on the doorpost of each room in your house.
5) Tefillin: Every Jewish male, above the age of thirteen should 1-zit pm Tefillin, every weekday.
6) Charity: Give some charity every weekday, and have a charity box in your house.
7) A house., full of Jewish Holy Books; Yavne and its Sages; In every Jewish home, there should be Jewish Holy Books (at least a Chumash (the five books of Moshe), Tehillim (Psalms), and a Siddur (Jewish Prayer Book) );
And, the three Mitzvos that were entrusted especially to Jewish Women and Jewish daughters,
8) Shabbos and Holiday candle lights: Every Jewish woman and girl (from the age of three), should light candles at the proper time, to welcome in the Shabbos and the Holidays, and accompany their lighting with the proper blessing.
9) Kashrus: The kitchen of every Jewish home should be kosher, with two sets of dishes-, for milk and for meat, and Jews should eat only kosher food.
10)-Family Purity: The Jewish family should be careful to observe the laws of Family Purity.
166. For who can be greater than Rav Ashi, the compiler (at the end of the Amoraic period) of the Babylonian Talmud? Rav Ashi spent thirty years learning through the entire Sha’as for the compilation of the first edition of the Talmud, and spent another thirty years learning Sha’as for the second edition. This was so, because the ‘Yarchei Kalah’ — the months of gathering to study Torah, were but two months a year, and during each time, one Tractate was studied.
167. On Yud Tes (the 19th of) Kislev, we celebrate the “Festival of Liberation”, commemorating the release of “the Alter Rebbe’ (Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi — founder of the Chabad-Chassidic movement) on that day from prison in Czarist Russia, in the year 5559 (1798).
The Alter Rebbe’s arrest was brought about by opponents of Chassidism, who directed their efforts against him, as the spearhead of the Chassidic movement of that period. Therefore, in a larger sense, Yud Tes Kislev marks the celebration of the ‘liberation’ and continued success of the Chassidic movement and its teachings, in general, which were also placed on trial together with the Alter Rebbe himself(3). Translator’s explanatory note
168. “Wellsprings” — the teachings of Chassidus. The phrase “spreading of the wellsprings” is an allusion to the reply that Mashiach gave to the Baal Shem Tov (the founder of Chassidus), when he asked: “When will the master (Mashiach) come (to redeem us)?”. Mashiach’s reply: “When your wellsprings will be spread forth” — i.e., when the teachings of Chassidus will be disseminated amongst the entire Jewish People(5*). Translator’s explanatory note
169. We can see an example of this in the custom that was established in connection with Yud Tes Kislev: Every Yud Tes Kislev, the entire Talmud is divided up, to be studied by the members of each congregation, so that each participant completes the study of his portion by the following Yud Tes Kislev, and collectively, the congregation completes the entire Talmud-as was explained at this year’s Yud Tes Kislev gathering.
170. The practice of Mehadrin min Hamehadrin, that all Jews follow, consists of kindling one light on the first night of Chanukah, two lights on the second night, and so on, until the eighth and final night, when we kindle eight lights. In doing so, we go far beyond the minimum requirement of the law: for in reality, we could fulfill our obligation of kindling Chanukah lights, by kindling one light each night(8). Translator’s explanatory note
171. This is the reason behind the law: “While one is occupied with one Mitzvah, he is relieved of the obligation of performing any other Mitzvah(9)”. Through the fulfillment of any one Mitzvah, one is fulfilling, in a sense, all of .the other Mitzvos as well, as our Rebbes explained in many Chassidic discourses(10).
In the Sdei Chevred(11) it is stated, that according to many opinions, even one who is occupied with fulfilling a Rabbinical ordinance, such as the kindling of the Chanukah lights, is free at that time, from the obligation of a Mitzvah stated in the Torah — a direct Biblical commandment.
172. This is especially so in our case, since the principle instructing us to “ascend in matters of holiness(12)” is specifically illustrated in the Mitzvah of Chanukah lights, for we increase the number of lights we kindle, by one, each night.
173. This is so Halachically as well(13). As we see, a person who was sick, is supposed to recite the ‘Gomel’ blessing upon recovering, thanking Hashem for doing kindness to the undeserving. This blessing is also an obligation for one who was released from prison.
In the case of a sick person who recovered, the obligation arrives only after he has regained his health completely. So too, in our case, the redemption of the Alter Rebbe was complete, only after he returned to (his home region of) Vitebsk.
174. This was seven days — a complete cycle, encompassing the entire range of time, after the preceding Tuesday — Yud Tes Kislev.
175. This is an addition to the difference between the first day of Chanukah and the days afterward (according to many opinions), regarding the Miracle of Chanukah. On the first day, the miracle was that a bottle of oil, that was ritually clean, was found in the Bais HaMikdash (Holy Temple), and on the other days, the miracle was in the amount of time the oil lasted; there are other explanations as well.
176. But then, it is not the time to do the Mitzvah and fulfill the obligations of Chanukah, and therefore, the resolution does not have the same quality as a resolution made on Chanukah itself. As it is known(15), there is a difference, regarding many laws, between a resolution made, pertaining to an obligation that one has at the present time, and a resolution, pertaining to an obligation that one will have at a future time.
177. For one has already created an opening, a “pipeline”, through which one can proceed further.
178. See, at length, the Maamar and Sicha of Motzaei Shabbos Kodesh, Parshas Noach, 5738, and the Sicha of Yud Tes Kislev, 5738, for an explanation of the superior quality found in actual deed, over potential.
179. It is only logical to assume, that the Alter Rebbe arrived in Vitebsk when it was still daytime, for the term “second day is only applicable until sunset; for after sunset, the obligation (for Mehadrin min Hamehadrin) to kindle three lights, has already arrived — thus, we can no longer consider it the second day. (The fact that in the Synagogue the three lights are kindled after Minchah of the second day, is associated, not with the obligation, but with the publicizing of the Miracle of Chanukah in the Synagogue). This, in addition to the literal meaning of the words in the story: “The third day of the week, the second day of Chanukah”.
180. This comes after the proper introduction of “Torah light(17)”; the study of the laws of Chanukah (as the passuk says, “Mitzvah is the candle, and Torah, the light(17)), because “Great is study, for it leads to action(6)”.
181. These Mitzvos are entrusted especially to Jewish women, even more so than many other Mitzvos, in which men and women are equal (have an equal obligation); and also, even more than the Mitzvah of the Chanukah Lights, which has a special connection to women, for “the Miracle was achieved through them(19)” — because these three Mitzvos were given especially to Jewish women and girls.
182. As it is written, “He tells His words to Yaakov, His laws and His statutes to Yisrael(21)”: from the fact that the laws and statutes are called “His laws...” it is implied that He Himself performs them(22). See(23), there it is explained, that Hashem fulfills His laws and statutes as a result of the fact that He commanded us to observe them, and we do observe them.
183. The fulfillment of the prophecy “I will hasten it” (the redemption)(24), depends solely on our meriting its fulfillment by our actions.
184. Our Sages O.B.M. say, “Great is charity, for it draws the redemption closer(31)”. See explanation in the Holy Tanya(32).
185. The reading from the words of the Prophets. Translator’s explanatory note.
186. Due to the difficulty of this section of the Sicha, it has been necessary to interweave it with the translator’s explanations.
Although we have translated the above Talmudic quote as “a good thought is considered by G-d as an actual deed,” this is not the literal translation. A literal rendering would be “a good thought is attached, by G-d to deed.”
The Alter Rebbe explains this in Tanya (8). Intellectual comprehension of G-dliness is not always a sufficient drive to the fulfillment of His Mitzvos. It is often cold and removed from day to day affairs. What follows is that we cannot rely on our intellect but must rather submit ourselves to G-d’s commands even if we “don’t feel like it.” Although we intellectually appreciate the necessity to obey, it is not this which brings the actual fulfillment of Mitzvos, but rather self-discipline, etc. Hence, the actual fulfillment is removed from the intellectual obligation to obey. Nevertheless, the Alter Rebbe explains, G-d attaches thought (intellect) to deed, causing the deed to be of a far superior quality than it would be if brought about by self-discipline alone. (See at length, Tanya, chapter ]6)
It can now be seen that the correct translation of the Talmudic quote is “a good thought is attached, by G-d, to deed.” Why then, do we say that if a person has no alternative “a good thought (Teshuvah) alone, without any accompanying action is considered by G-d as a deed?”
To understand this, let us first consider the following: Generally, in order to receive G-d’s blessing we must prepare a suitable vehicle. An example of this would be in earning a livelihood. We cannot sit back, doing nothing, and wait for G-d to deliver our livelihood into our hands. On the contrary, we must work, at a business, profession, etc., becoming a vehicle for G-d’s blessings.
The above applies in normal circumstances. However, there are times when a person in not in a position to prepare vehicles for G-d’s blessings. He must then place himself in a state of absolute trust in G-d. If this trust is as it should be, G-d Himself supplies the vehicles.
This is the (deeper) explanation of the verse “cast unto G-d your bundle (i.e., your responsibilities, etc. —”trust Him”)” (9) and He will sustain you.” The word for “sustain” in Hebrew is “Yechalkelecho,” which is a derivation of the word “Keli,” meaning “vessel” (or, in our case, “vehicle (of livelihood).” The verse then means that if our trust in G-d is so great that we cast all our responsibilities onto Him, He will supply the necessary vehicles for livelihood.
The same applies (and, to a far greater extent) in spiritual matters. When “G-d, who can see the hearts (one’s inner feelings),” sees that an individual has a good thought (repentance etc.), and that it is sincere, He enables him to (relatively easily) perform a good deed as well. He then attaches the thought to the deed, as explained above at length. Translator’s explanatory note.
187. Havdalah literally means “distinction”, referring to the distinction between the sacred and the mundane. Shabbos is sacred, whereas during the weekdays, we involve ourselves in our mundane affairs. The ritual of Havdalah at the end of Shabbos (an hour after sunset), makes the distinction between the holy and the commonplace. Translator’s explanatory note
188. According to many Jewish customs (5), this verse is recited at the Melaveh Malkah feast. Translator’s explanatory note
189. In the sense that the servant is not an “own being”, he has no will of his own, his will is the will of his master, and thus, his entire existence is, so to speak, the existence of the master; whereas a “minister” makes his own decisions, albeit in accordance with the king’s wishes, nevertheless, he possesses a measure of “own being”, and is thus not totally “the existence of the king.” (6) Translator’s explanatory note
190. The service for the week-days embraces those mundane activities which we perform therein; and consists of our transforming them from their mundane status to a sanctified state. By virtue of this service, the person himself is refined, so that he, too, attains a higher state of sanctity. Trans. note
191. For on that day the Heaven and Earth and all of their Hosts were created, and within this creation, lie the events of creation of the remaining days of creation (7), but as of yet, in an undifferentiated state. Translator’s explanatory note
192. For this reason, the “Psalm of the Day” of each day of the week, has a theme, paralleling the particular theme of that day in creation (8). For example, the psalm read on Sunday begins, “The earth is the L-rd’s, and the fullness thereof;” (9) telling of the creation of the entire world on that day, and suggesting that every Sunday (since the Psalm is read especially on Sunday) contains the same theme. And so, with the rest of the days of the week, until the sixth day, when we recite the psalm (10) “G-d reigns, He is robed in majesty”, for on the sixth day, man was created, and he proclaimed G-d, King over the universe. Translator’s note
193. The Ramban brings this idea even further, and says that each of the six days of creation correspond to a thousand year period, i.e., the first day corresponds to the first thousand years, until the sixth day, corresponding to the sixth millennium, (our present time) and Shabbos corresponds to the seventh millennium, “the day which is completely ‘Shabbos’ forever.” (12)
194. On this issue Rashi comments, based on the Midrash Tanchuma, that Moshe explained the Torah in all seventy languages. (14) translator’s note
195. since the general contents of the months are constant. translator’s note
196. Even a Jew whose only visible connection with Judaism is the fact that he is a Jew, only by virtue of his genealogy, in accordance with the Halachah. Translator’s note
197. In light of this, the dictum in the Talmud, “Greater is the one who responds ‘Amain’ than he who made the blessing” (19), is better understood. Even though, when reciting a benediction, one makes mention of G-d’s name and kingship, thereby indicating that beyond an iota of a doubt the blessing will ultimately be actualized, nevertheless, it is especially due to the response “Amain” that blessing will materialize in a permanent way in the corporeal world. Translator’s note
198. In keeping with the Dictum “we ascend in holiness.” trans. note
199. As was the case with Moshe Rabbeinu: “Moshe began to explain the Torah,” in seventy languages. trans. note
200. To be translated into one’s thought, speech and action, and particularly into action, for action is of primary importance. trans. note
201. This is especially relevant now, for we are conducting the Melaveh Malkah feast, also called the Feast of Dovid, the King Mashiach. (25) Translator’s note
202. The relationship between Moshe’s difficulties with Pharaoh (the king of Egypt), and those experienced by every Jew in his Avodah (personal service to G-d), is indicated by the Hebrew name of Egypt — “Mitzrayim”. Mitzrayim denotes limitations, obstructions; Egypt was a land which obstructed G-dliness. So, too, obstacles which hinder a Jews Avodah, obstruct the revelation of G-dliness.
Indeed, Egypt’s means of sustenance is by nature obstructive to religious feeling. Unlike Eretz Yisrael, which is dependent upon rainfall, and hence the need for G-d’s blessings is manifest, Egypt receives its water supply through man-made irrigation canals. This leads to a feeling of total self-reliance “obstructing” the obvious need for Divine assistance in all human endeavors. translator’s note
203. The spiritual “sparks” found in material objects are of two categories, each category being derive from a different source. Some “sparks” have their source in higher, more hidden, spiritual realms, while the source for other “sparks” is in lower, more revealed, levels. With this we can better appreciate the two expression used to describe the despoiling of Egypt: 1) they left Egypt “like a storehouse without grain”, 2) “like a sea without fish”.
The difference between plants and animals living on dry land, on the one hand, and marine life on the other, is that while the former are plainly seen, the latter are concealed from view by the water that surrounds them. Thus, symbolically, the sea represents a hidden form of existence, while the dry land symbolizes a revealed .form of existence.
We can now see that the expressions “a sea without fish” and “a storehouse without grain” refer to the two categories of spiritual “sparks” that the Jews extracted from Egypt — one category deriving from “hidden” spiritual levels, and the second from “revealed” levels, as explained.
204. As Pharaoh is described in this week’s Haftorah. Trans. note
205. The reason for the effectiveness of the Terua as a means of instilling fear in the enemies of the Jewish people can be understood from the deeper implications of the Terua sound. As Rabbi Saadia Gaon explains, the Shofar sound signifies a coronation. It is an indication that we crown G-d as our king and we prepare to follow His commands. Also the Shofar sound is reminiscent of Matan Torah (the Giving of the Torah at Mt. Sinai), when “the sound of the Shofar was heard loudly and powerfully.” Translator’s note
206. A. The Jewish month begins with the new moon. Translator’s note
207. This is also the reason why the three Festivals (when all Jews made a pilgrimage to Yerushalayim to gather together and to offer sacrifices) begin on the fifteenth of the month: Pesach, on the fifteenth of Nissan, Sukkos on the fifteenth of Tishrei; and Shavuos, although it begins on the seventh of Sivan, is a continuation of Pesach, its date being determined by it, occurring fifty days after the second night of Pesach.
208. The analogy may be understood by considering the many aspects of the tree’s life cycle which parallel the human life cycle. Both start from seed, both grow, and upon maturity, both yield fruit and cause other trees to grow.
There are certain tree$., such as the citron, which bear fruit each year, as the Mishnah puts it, “the fruit lives in the tree from year to year".. This tree weathers all sorts of seasonal changes, and in spite of the changes, they produce fruit. Not only this, but it may be said, that from the changes themselves, the tree gathers strength and produces new fruit. So, too, the Jews weather all sorts of changes in Exile, and from the changes themselves, they gather strength and produce fruit (6).
209. For the leader of the people is the central figure likened to the heart and mind in a body. Whatever happens to these central organs affects the whole body. Translator’s note
210. In the letter of the Previous Rebbe to the first “Yud-Beis Tammuz” celebration (commemorating the Previous Rebbe’s release from prison in Bolshevist Russia) — printed in Sefer HaMaamarim 5688.
The Rebbe was imprisoned by the communists because of his work in the spreading and the strengthening of Judaism See, at length, the Yud Shvat farbrengen of this year (forthcoming in translation). Trans. note
211. This is so, for basically two reasons: Firstly, since in these last generations (and especially in our present generation) we are at the very “heels of Mashiach,” at the very end of the long trail of Galus (exile), we find ourselves in redoubled darkness (as with the misty darkness before the moon), and in order to counteract this darkness and confusion and proceed in clarity, and light, the study of the inner part of Torah is especially necessary; and in order for Jews to remain firm and resolute in their observance of Judaism, it is necessary that they have a personal knowledge of and ability to apply the deep (root) meaning of Torah and Mitzvos, and as the Zohar states, “With this volume (the Zohar), they (the Jews) shall leave exile, mercifully” (12). Secondly, the recent public revelation of the inner meaning of Torah, comes as a preparation for the coming of Mashiach; it is a vehicle for Jews to purify themselves, and the world. In fact, when the Baal Shem Tov asked Mashiach ‘when comes the Master’, Mashiach answered, “When your wellsprings (referring to the teachings of Chassidus) shall be spread to the outside.” (12*)
212. We point out in this analogy, that the pleasure derived from each of the five fruits are different (and, we daresay, different for each person). So, too, each mitzvah is different (although they are all a part of one Torah), and contains a different sensitivity, intention, and pleasure. Trans. note
213. The Manna is called “Bread from the Heavens”; this bears a direct connection to Torah and Mitzvos (even on the level of necessity) which are also called bread.
214. It had a ‘pure’ taste, one had only to choose how this taste would be felt, in accordance with his own particular desire. Translator’s note
215. It follows that a person has no right to inflict damage on himself. (19) See Alter Rebbe’s Code of Jewish Law, Laws of Bodily Damage. Trans. note
216. The above is according to the strict letter of the law. It is preferable, however, not to hand over even such an individual. Trans. note
217. The alacrity with which he aids his brother, also demonstrates his joy in doing so. (27) Traps. note
218. For G-d only demands of us according to our abilities. Therefore, if there is a situation where our attention and action are demanded, it follows that we are given the strength to carry out our obligations. Trans. note
219. That an Am Ha-aretz of today, is considered a scholar, compared to the Am Ha-aretz of those times may sound strange, but see the explanation given in Chassidus (the inner teachings of the Torah) (see Torah Or, Miketz). Of course there is the exception, and we can still find an authentic Am Ha-aretz today, but this would be due to a total lack of education — not the fault of the Am Ha-aretz in question. Trans. note
220. This is particularly true when the subjects are discussed at a Farbrengen. Then many hundreds of Jews are in attendance, and thus the influence of the Shechinah, “which shines over an assemblage of even 10 Jews”, is present. The Tanya explains that this statement applies even if those ten Jews are not studying Torah. In this case, when Torah topics are being discussed (and interpreted according to the insights of the previous Rebbeim), the influence of the Shechinah will be greater.
221. The lesson is applicable to women as well as men. The entire category of Torah laws called Dinim of Mishpatim apply equally to women as to men. Likewise, the admonition — “Place them before them”, interpreted by our sages to mean that the laws must be explained and their reasons understood, is also relevant to women. They are obligated by the Shulchan Aruch to study laws concerning those mitzvos which they must fulfill.
222. The Talmud says “Your entire nation are Tzaddikim” and the Midrash states “a Tzaddik is like his Creator.” The combination of these two quotes stressed the aforementioned principle, that a Jew through his behavior in Torah and mitzvos follows the pattern established by G-d’s mystic energies.
223. This concept is not merely abstract, but is applied `by the Rambam to. practical life realities. A get (bill of divorce) must be given willingly. If, for certain reasons, a court of law decides that a marrzftg should be dissolved, but the husband refuses to give the get, the court is empowered to subject the husband to beating until he agrees to give the get. Even if he protests afterwards, the get is still considered valid (and considered to have been gi _ly.)because in truth “every Jew wants to fulfill Torah and mitzvos.” Despite his present protests, his forced compliance with the suggestions of the Rabbis is considered a true expression of what he really desires.
224. The passage from Shabbos to the weekdays does not imply a passage out of the realm of holiness. A Jew is always G-d’s servant. The difference is one of attitude and appreciation During the week, the Jew fulfills his service to G-d out of a sense of obligation (Kabbalas Ol). On Shabbos, the service itself becomes motivating. Each aspect is connected with spiritual pleasure.
225. The Jewish people adopted the course of behavior which brought about these results through following the example of Mordechai. This chain of events demonstrates how .one man’s actions can affect the entire world. These events serve as evidence to the principle stated by the Rambam “each individual should always look at himself as equally balanced between merit and sin and the world similarly equally balanced, and realize that with one deed he can tip the scales and bring redemption to the totality of creation.”
226. This state of rejoicing transcends the joy felt during the festivals of Pesach, Shavuos, and Sukkos. During these holidays, Beis Din (the Jewish court) sent messengers among the Jewish people to make sure that the celebrations were held within limits. No messenger of that type was sent out on Purim.
227. The month added to the calendar because of the leap year (and therefore the month which most accentuates the lesson of the leap year) is the month of Adar Rishon. The Talmud (and all the major commentaries) explains that if a person takes an oath “I will perform such and such an action in the month of the leap year”, he is required to perform that action in Adar Rishon.
228. To use an analogy from Talmudic law, it is a “descent for the purpose of ascent.”
229. The very institution of the leap year serves as another example of how a temporary decline brings to an eventual ascent. The leap year is decided upon by a court of law of Jews (physical people with physical bodies). Though G-d and all the spiritual hosts are influenced by the fixation of the calendar and festivals, that fixation is given over to a Jew whose soul has descended to the physical plane. There he achieves and exercises greater power than he had experienced before his descent to this world.
230. The above lesson is particularly emphasized this year, which completes the 19-year cycle of juxtaposition between the lunar and solar calendars.
231. Particularly since, as the Maamar relates, our service follows that of the seven Tzaddikim who brought the Shechinah back to the Earth.
232. The connection of Purim to the Messianic redemption is as follows: Purim is related to Passover, as evident from the conclusion of the Talmudic debate whether during a leap year Purim should be celebrated in the first Adar or the second. The decision is in favor of the second because “one redemption should lead to another.”
Passover in turn parallels the Messianic revelation, as our sages proclaim, “in Nissan they were redeemed and in Nissan they will again be redeemed. (Although there is a difference of opinion in the Gemara on that statement, some sages maintaining that the future redemption will be in Tishrei. However, the Tzemach Tzedek, relying on the opinion of the Midrash, decides in favor of Nissan.)
Hence Purim parallels Pesach, which in turn parallels the Messianic redemption. Hence the conclusion in the Sicha. Translator’s note
233. There is a reason implicit in the precise use of the term Halachah for Torah study. For it is the study of Halachah especially which will bring the redemption, as our sages commented, “Through the merit of the study of Mishnayos the redemption will come”, which in Talmudic times the study of Mishnayos was equivalent to the study of Halachah. Translator’s note
234. Seemingly, there is an advantage to an adult’s gift over a child’s, namely, the adult is over Bar Mitzvah and therefore commanded to give, while the child is not. However, in charity the most important factor is that the poor man receives the charity (as has been mentioned many times that Kavana LiShmah, the proper intention, is not so important in Tzedakah (9), because with or without the intention, the gift provides the poor man with life necessities. Likewise the giver’s self-sacrifice, i.e., the fact that he could have used the money for his own life necessities (which the Alter Rebbe (10) considers the reason for the prominence of the Mitzvah of Tzedakah) is the same, with or without the intention.
Therefore, since the effect that the poor man receives the money) is the same whether an adult gives or a child, hence the difference between the two givings is not so great. Trans. note
235. Particularly, according to the custom of some communities where Haman’s name was actually written on the gragers and by turning them, Haman’s name was actually wiped out. And particularly so, when afterwards, they would explain to the children the significance of the story; what Haman’s intention was, and how his decree was annulled, and how it all was accomplished through the children’s efforts of standing firm and following Mordechai’s path — “Mordechai didn’t bend and didn’t bow”, (12) and how, through their efforts, their voices, like a goat’s bleating, aroused G-d’s mercy.
And we say “their memory will not depart from their seed” (13), i.e., the children of every generation, who are confronted and battle if not a physical Haman, a spiritual one, i.e., the Yetzer Hora. And in each generation the pattern is repeated — “they do not bend, or bow”, to the Yetzer Hora’s demands.
When we explain the entire concept to a child, it will by nature excite the child until he goes “Ad Dilo Yoda,” (14) beyond the realms of intellect — as can be actually seen, if you speak from the heart in a proper manner. Trans. note
236. Since, as a priest, the heir brought a Chavitin on the day of his initiation, he has some relation to the Korban. Translator’s note
237. If so, it would be possible for a Challel (a sun resulting from a marriage unfit for a priest) who is not fit for service (and therefore never brought a Chavitin) to bring a Chavitin, if he was the Kohain Gadol’s only heir. Translator’s note
238. As the Gemara relates an instance when Rabbi Abbahu’s face shone after discovery of a new Talmudic principle (27). Translator’s note
239. During the time of the Temple, only a priest may bring a sacrifice, and even a priest may do so only under certain conditions. Now, however, when the Temple is destroyed prayers have been instituted to replace the offerings (28) (and every Jewish man and woman is obligated to pray (for prayer, though connected with time, is still obligatory for women since in prayer we petition G-d’s mercy, which women also need) (29) ).
Since among the offerings replace by prayer is the Chavitin of the Kohain Gadol, it follows that every Jew who prays is in fact the Kohain Gadol’sfieir. Translator’s note
240. The following is the text of resolution #770, proclaiming the 11th of Nissan, 5738, as “Education Day, U.S.A.”
Whereas the Congress recognizes a need for the Nation to set aside on the calendar a day devoted to the importance of education to the lives of its citizens and to the general well-being of the Nation; and
Whereas the Lubavitch Movement, which conducts educational activities at more than sixty centers in twenty-eight States as well as around the world, is especially committed to the advancement of education and has proposed the establishment of an “Education Day, U.S.A.”; and
Whereas world Jewry marked in 1977 the seventy-fifth birthday of the revered and renowned Jewish leader, the head of the worldwide Lubavitch Movement, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, who proclaimed on that occasion a “Year of Education”; and
Whereas the seventy-sixth birthday of this celebrated spiritual leader will occur on April 18, 1978, thus concluding the year of Lubavitch Movement activities dedicated to the “Year of Education” and the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s milestone birthday; Now, therefore be it
Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the President is authorized and requested to issue a proclamation designating April 18, 1978 as “Education Day, U.S.A.”.
241. The Agudas Horabonim is an organized body of Rabbis residing throughout the United States and Canada, under the leadership of Horav Hagaon Reb Moshe Feinstein, Shlita.
242. A Rebbe, who is a leader of the Jewish nation, is called a Nasi; Mashiach is also referred to as a “Nasi,” literally “prince.” Nasi can also mean “elevated,” denoting his spiritual elevation above the common folk. Nasi possesses two extreme characteristics. On one hand he is (as we just mentioned) exalted and completely removed from the nation. On the other hand, the term “prince” implies a ruler over people — denoting his relationship to the people. Furthermore, Rashi says the “prince is everything,” the very existence of the people is dependent upon the prince.
243. There are two channels that a person may use to satisfy his quest to be close to Hashem. One is through understanding Hashem and His revelations and the other is through sincere belief in Hashem. The first way promotes separatism and individuality. Each person perceives Hashem according to his level of understanding, whereas belief generally maintains equality amongst people. For all people can be brought to have sincere belief in Hashem.
Another difference between “knowledge of Hashem” and “belief in Hashem” is: Knowledge is an essential power of the person. It plays an important role in controlling the behavior of that person. The status of a person is often measured only by his ability to understand. Therefore, learning a new concept is compared to eating a food. Belief, however, is distant from the behavior of a person. One may believe one way, and act differently; therefore, belief is not compared to food, but is considered a power which the person possesses which is far from himself, i.e., from his actual conduct.
244. We find a similar concept regarding other mitzvos as well: Tefillin. Although we don the Tefillin for the morning prayers, if one would don the Tefillin again later during the day he would also fulfill a mitzvah. Also in learning Torah: if one who is only obligated (according to law) to learn only a chapter in the morning and a chapter in the evening would increase this time, he would surely be fulfilling a mitzvah even though he is not obligated.
245. The expression in Chassidus “when one eats Matzah he is eating G-dliness” does not limit this to the first night and the amount of an olive and hence it refers to the entire holiday.
246. In fact, a Jew is constantly, (wherever he is found, regardless of his situation, whether he wants to be or does not want to be,) standing before G-d. His G-dly soul, a veritable part of G-dliness, can never be separated from its source.
This is true at all times. A parallel can be seen in the laws of Kashrus, regarding admixtures. An object with a fixed identity (Kevoa) never loses its importance (Lo Botal). No matter what the proportions of the mixture, if a “traif” object with a fixed identity is present, even if the Kosher substances are many times greater in number, the admixture is considered traif. Similarly and even to a greater degree since we are speaking of something holy. G-dliness is the fixed identity of the Jewish soul, therefore, regardless of that soul’s involvement with matters outside of G-dliness, that G-dly identity remains intact.
247. Translator’s addition: The terms in the translation absolute unity and ultimate transcendency are attempted translations of Hebrew terms.
Absolute unity is used for Achdut Hapishuta — which literally means simple oneness, i.e., a oneness which is not compounded, not a combination of two different elements but a simple, pure, elemental entity.
Ultimate transcendency is used for Nimna HaNimnaot. The word Nimnaot means impossible. In Jewish philosophy, it means anything which does not follow the defined limits set to creation, i.e., two + two # 4, etc. G-d is described as Nimna HaNimnaot, i.e., that these limits of possible and impossible do not apply to him because of the ultimate transcendency of his existence.
248. According to Jewish Law, one should not attend to his business affairs or even engage in Torah study until after morning prayer.
249. Even though they are called Chochmah Chitzoniut, outer wisdom, the intent is not to label them as outside the realm of G-dliness. On the contrary, they are part of the Creation of the world and hence, tied to its Creator. (Translator’s note — the term outside is relative — compared to Torah outside.)
Therefore, even though before becoming involved in their study, it is necessary to undergo a process of preparation, as explained in Mussar Seforim and in Tanya (and one’s intent should be to use them for parnassa “as an axe — or if dealing with medicine or astronomy to use the knowledge to shed light on Torah issues”), after this preparation, their study can bring one to appreciate the wisdom with which G-d created the world.
250. The concept of oneness is connected with the world to the degree that the Hebrew word for one — Echod — describes that oneness. The first letter Alef stands for G-d (Alufo shel olam — L-rd of the world). The second letter ches — numerically equivalent to 8 — represents the seven heavens and this physical world; and the 3rd letter — the daled — numerically equivalent to 4 — the world’s four directions. The first letter of the word, the Aleph, takes priority teaching how G-d’s presence permeates throughout the seven heavens and in all 4 directions of the physical world.
251. Particularly, when they are meeting in a synagogue to discuss Torah, and to make resolutions to advance in Torah and Mitzvos, at which time the idea of unity is more apparent.
252. The Alter Rebbe describes various aspects of Sabbath as corresponding to a king and others to a queen. In a like manner he describes Motzaei Shabbos as “accompanying the King and Queen”.
253. As described above, the Shabbos elevates the weekdays preceding it. Since, as the Zohar explains, “from the Shabbos are blessed all the coming days”, there is an aspect of the previous Sabbath in the weekdays, which in turn is elevated by the coming Sabbath.
254. The Jewish calendar has 2 ways of reckoning the beginning of the year, one from Nissan, and the other from Tishrei.
255. Two different explanations are given on that verse. The first is a statement of fact: when is a Jew really alive? — when is he living a life which can really be called living? — when it is “Bohem”, “in them”, involved with Torah and Mitzvos.
Secondly — that the Jew iffredwes life “Bohem”, “into them”. to the Torah. And mitzvos, that before a Jew will put on Tefillin or Tzitzis they are not complete mitzvos and only when he :tally weexs them are they complete mitzvos.
256. The Jew is commanded to serve G-d, B’chal M’odecha — with total commitment, surpassing even his own rational bounds. The Rebbeim stress the verse states M’odecha beyond your rational bounds, meaning that each person is judged individually and what is considered super-rational commitment for one person may be quite normal for another.
In the sicha, the Rebbe explained that the other person need not be someone else, but your own self, at a different stage of timer
257. The Mitzvos of Pesach have varying levels of importance. Telling the story of the ixoAuo at the Seder table and eating Matzah are commandments from the Torah itself. (Likewise, the negative precepts of Pesach, the commandment not to possess Chometz, etc., have their sources in the Torah). The “Maror” is a point of question, some authorities maintain that it is a Torah commandment, others that it is just a Rabbinic injunction.
258. There were different levels of G-dliness manifest in the Bais HaMikdash itself. The Sages explain that the second Bais HaMikdash did not compare to the first and neither of them will compare to the third. Even within one Temple itself, different levels of G-dliness were revealed at different times as is obvious from the Gemara’s comments concerning the alternation of priestly watches. The reason for these differences can be understood simply. If the prayers and the study of Torah performed within any house, Bais Knesset, or Bais HaMidrash help to elevate that house’s spiritual level, how much more so within the Bais HaMikdash itself the different spiritual services brought about a higher manifestation of G-dliness.
259. Though not a sacrifice, “Maaser Sheni” must be eaten in Jerusalem and while “Tabor”.
260. An individual’s knowledge that he has the potential to correct his past behavior implies the obligation to do so. That obligation in turn brings about that, eventually, he will in fact correct his behavior.
261. The four levels of food described above, “Chulin”, “Maaser Sheni,” “Terumah,” and “Kodesh” are compared to the four spiritual worlds “Asiah”, “Yetzirah”, “Beriah”, “Atzilus”, and the level of “Parah Adumah” — to the infinite levels of G-dliness which are above all worlds, even “Atzilus”.
Furthermore, the intent when mentioning spiritual worlds is not to imply a realm many, many miles away, but a level of perception here in this world which is more refined and more elevated. An illustration of this point is the explanation in Chassidus of the confrontation between Moshe and Pharaoh as the confrontation between “Atzilus” and spiritual levels lower than “Asiah”. The point being that every Jew has within his powers of thought all the various spiritual levels.
262. The Torah adds the word “Lechem”, to you, to the commandment to bring the Pesach sacrifice, implying that there is an obligation to internalize and bring into one’s own set of feelings this spiritual service.
263. Here also the word “lechem”, to you, is used, explaining that one’s will establishes one’s individual identity and by doing so separates oneself from G-d.
264. Therefore the Mitzvah of “Teshuvah” is in this world and not in the spiritual worlds.
265. The above is particularly true when explaining the concept to someone else. Looking at himself, an individual has to judge critically, but when looking at someone else there are obligations “Do not look at one’s outward appearance” and “Judge everyone in a positive light” (especially in consideration of how Ahavas Yisrael as explained in Chassidus adds depth to these concepts). Therefore, he will appreciate how the other person has the potential to perform the above service.
266. In Tanya the Alter Rebbe elaborates on the Rambam’s explanation and shows the mystic significance of such behavior.
267. The expression “free will is granted” is unique. A more likely choice of phraseology would have been “Man has free will”, “There is free will”, etc. However, the particular choice of words used helps to emphasize how the free will an individual possesses is a special gift from G-d.
268. The Shabbos atmosphere of rest has already past. Motzaei Shabbos begins the weekly service of “Jacob went on his way”. Therefore in many communities (though not in Chabad) it is customary to sing the Piyut “A1 Tirah Avdi Yaakov” (Do not fear Jacob, My servant) on Motzaei Shabbos.
269. Since we say the entire Torah, even its stories, were given to Moshe by G-d, it is obvious that unless an invaluable lesson was involved, G-d would not have spent time telling the story.
270. The repetition of the Previous Rebbe’s statement is itself an act of “beginning with the king’s word” for indeed, the statement “our sages are considered our kings” applies most appropriately to the Previous Rebbe, the Nasi (Leader) of our generation.
271. Trans. note — the expression Toraso Umanaso literally means, “Torah is his profession”. The majority of people have fixed times for Torah study and then a profession besides. Rav Shimon and his followers had no profession but Torah. They were totally devoted and totally absorbed in Torah study to the point where all their energies were invested in it.
272. Furthermore, this story is included in the part of Torah called Torah She baal Peh (the oral law), the study of which has a priority over the written law, even over the Ten Commandments. This brings out further the connection to Rav Shimon who excelled in the exposition of the Oral Law to the point where to each question posed he would respond with 24 different resolutions. Rav Shimon’s greatness is further expressed by the fact that in every chapter of the Talmud at least one of his decisions is mentioned.
273. And indeed the greatness of study is enhanced, as it says: “Study is great when it leads to deed”.
274. Even within Talmudic times Rashbi’s level of study was considered great, as the Talmud relates “that in Rabbi Akiba’s time the world was desolate and Rabbi Akiba educated 5 students who through their Torah knowledge restored the world. Even compared to these 5 students, Rabbi Akiba described Rashbi as being so great that only ‘myself and your Creator realized the greatness of your power’”.
275. As the Talmud comments on the verse “all G-d asks from you is to fear Him” asking “is fear that easy a thing?” and responding that for Moshe Rabbeinu, “fear was indeed an easy thing”. Chassidus focuses on this response and points out that the command to fear G-d was not directed at Moshe alone, but at the entire Jewish people. However, since as mentioned above, a spark of the soul of Moshe Rabbeinu is present in every Jew, then every Jew can realize the spiritual levels seemingly possessed by Moshe alone.
276. This preference is stated even regarding Devar Ha’Ovad, a lost article, something whose value is constantly diminishing. Even then a person would rather have the products of his own work. The concept of a lost object in spiritual term refers to the divine sparks which became lost when Hashem created worlds(the world of Tohu) and destroyed them. The Jewish people have to fulfill the Mitzvah of returning a lost object, returning the G-dly sparks to their original source.
277. An example of this principle is the concept, “The greater the amount of the nation, the greater the glory of the king”. The king’s glory does not result frown the nation’s gifts of gold and silver but rather is a natural product of his own internal majestic character. That feeling is produced by the nation’s homage. The greater the quantitative entity, the size of the populace, the greater the feeling of majesty produced within the king. Even the homage of one single and simple individual has an effect on and can add to the king’s glory.
278. The great simcha at a wedding is a result of the presence therein of the power of Ayn Sof (G-d’s infinity)which is revealed in the ultimate result of a wedding, the birth of children, and later children’s children, etc.
279. Of particular importance is the fusion of the revealed aspects of Torah, Halachic Law, with Torah’s hidden, mystic dimensions. This fusion was particularly evident in the study patterns of Rav Shimon and has been made readily accessible through the teachings of Chabad Chassidus.
280. Torah applies the principle “Don’t rely on miracles” to spiritual behavior as well as to material phenomena. You should not choose and will not be able to fulfill a service which is beyond yourself, out of the realm of your grasp and comprehension.
281. This is particularly true considering the heaven and earth which were created ex nihilo (yesh me’ayin, something from nothing).
282. He is called HaMagel (which translates as the circle maker) because of this act.
283. The Hebrew word for rain, Geshem, shares the same root as the word Gashmios, which refers to the entire realm of material concern.
284. The amount of this addition is dependent on him in a manner similar to the comparison of the land of Israel to a deerskin, i.e., that it is stretchable and its size is dependent on the number of inhabitants it contains. (As the Talmud relates, one small hill barely big enough to hold one village at one time had 600,000 villages on it.) In a similar manner a person’s daily schedule is flexible in regards to Torah study. The more Torah study he wants to fit in, the more the Hashgachah Protis will adjust his other activities to accommodate his desire for study.
285. Which can be divided into 3 general categories: children, health and prosperity.
286. At which time there will be a fusion between the exoteric legal tradition of Torah knowledge with the esoteric mystical tradition. This type of study is particularly relevant to Lag BaOmer since Rav Shimon was the pioneer in that field.
287. How much more so if their reasons for this departure from Torah study are motivated by more personal. concerns: pride, selfishness, etc.
288. Trans. note — the word Mashpia literally means influence. It refers to those teachers whose intent and manner of instruction focuses on bringing the student to personal growth and attitudinal changes.
289. The statement was not recorded from the Alter Rebbe directly but rather Rav Hillel Paritcher quoted Rav Zalman Zetshner who quoted the Alter Rebbe.
The statement is itself problematic. Of all Rabbi Akiba’s students, Rashbi suffered the most at the hands of the Romans, having to spend 13 years hiding in a cave (and even though through hiding there and studying there, he made considerable advances in Torah study — still the Zohar refers to the experience as Tzaar HaMara — literally, the pain of the cave).
And nevertheless in a spiritual sense, we say he transcended the Temple’s destruction (and there is practical evidence of such).
290. The principle that a Tzaddik is living Torah is emphasized by the story concerning the Rebbe Rashab. Before (and as preparation for) his Bar Mitzvah, he trained every limb of his body to follow Shulchan Aruch as a conditioned response without any necessity for thought.
In fact, once during a Rabbinical convention, other sages observed his behavior and commented, that they would have done otherwise. The Rebbe Rashab explained though at present he did not recall the Talmudic source for his behavior, nevertheless, since his body had been trained to follow Torah naturally, he was certain the source existed. (Upon returning home, he researched the issue and demonstrated the reasons for his actions.)
A similar example can be found in the Talmud concerning Rav Chiyah, whose body naturally bowed when he approached the prayer Modim in the Shemonah Esray. Both cases demonstrate how Tzaddikim are united with the Torah they study until it becomes internalized. Therefore it follows that all of their actions are motivated bye Torah principles.
291. Referring to the abovementioned need to concentrate on Torah study.
292. Referring to the need to spread Torah through the Mivtzoim.
293. This is especially true regarding Lag BaOmer which is often unfortunately used as a rest day and holiday in a secular sense.
294. The Tanya describes the situation as a person taking the head of the king and placing it in the toilet.
295. In another tractate the Talmud says “Open with the king’s word”. Since for a Jew “our sages are considered our kings”, repeating the statement “Open with blessings” is itself an act of “beginning with the king’s word”.
296. Since the intent and purpose of creation was (as stated by Rashi in the beginning of his commentary on the Torah) “for the sake of the Jewish people”, a blessing for the Jewish people will inevitably result in a blessing for the entire creation.
297. The revelation of the Torah in this manner further demonstrates the importance of each Jew. Not only was every Jew necessary in order for the Torah to have been given (as the Talmud says, “If even one of the 600,000 were missing, Matan Torah would not have occurred”). Each Jew was afforded individual and personal attention.
298. Translator’s note — the word Hashem is being used in place of the Tetragrammaton, the four lettered name of G-d which may not be pronounced.
299. Translator’s note — the different names are all appellations of G-d, i.e., their intent is directed at G-d’s essence. A difference results because that Divine essence is revealed in many different fashions. Consequently different names of G-d are used appropriate to the different mediums of expression.
300. The direct relationship to G-d experienced by the Jew is also reflected in G-d’s relationship to the Jewish people, as the Midrash states, “I am the G-d of the entire world but only with the Jewish people have I united My Name”. Though G-d is the ruler of all creation and furthermore “besides G-dliness, there is nothing”, the only people who enjoy a direct connection with G-d are the Jews.
301. Had the pamphlet been printed on Lag BaOmer it could have been already learnt (and therefore the blessings derived from learning it, already realized) before Shavuos. The pamphlet would have been immediately studied, because even though ever-one already has fixed times for Torah study, according to human nature, something newly printed immediately attracts attention. The attraction to something new is so fundamental a character trait that G-d found it necessary to command the Jewish people, “Each day consider the Torah as something new”. Despite these reasons and despite the fact that every individual enjoys having his desires fulfilled (and the intention was to publish the pamphlet Lag BaOmer), an important lesson can be derived from its publication Erev Shavuos, as mentioned above.
302. The Tzemach Tzedek relates two different levels in the spiritual realm which compare to the terms “I” and “my soul”. One explanation says the expression “I” relates to Malchus, and “my soul” to Pnimiyus HaMalchus. The other explains “I” refers to Keser, and “my soul”, Pnimiyus HaKeser”.
303. A different explanation for the mention of King Solomon’s name (and therefore his relevance to the concepts discussed in the letter) could be derived from the Zohar’s statement that King Solomon represented the spiritual level of Chochmah Tataya. In other places, the Oral Law is also referred to as Chochmah Tataya and the Alter Rebbe’s mention of King Solomon by name was to stress this connection.
However, this explanation is insufficient because many other entities, e.g., the Book of Devarim, the Book of Tehillim, the Jewish People, are described as Chochmah Tataya and therefore, a more direct relationship between King Solomon and the letter’s meaning must be found.
304. Chassidus elaborates on the difference between King Solomon who attained wisdom by virtue of prayer and Moshe (the personification of wisdom), and King David (the personification of royalty). The latter two had a natural affinity to their distinguishing qualities, while Solomon’s were not his own, but rather came to him through prayer.
305. The fact that the prayer came in a dream is also significant. Each of the three daily prayers has a specific time, which according to Kabbalah is a time of mercy and of revelation of the supreme will. Likewise, the power of Solomon’s prayer was enhanced by the divine vision of his dream.
306. In the letter, the Alter Rebbe does not merely mention Solomon, but, “King Solomon, may he rest in peace”. The title King and the phrase ‘may he rest in peace’ are also significant. By calling him ‘King Solomon’, the Alter Rebbe makes us conscious that his wisdom had to do with his being a King, i.e., as mentioned above, his position involved him with the Jews’ practical legal questions. The expression “may he rest in peace” was used to suggest the Midrash’s description of Shlomo “the king of peace”. In Kabbalistic terms this parallels the level of Keser, which is also the source of the Oral Law, (hence, another connection with the letter’s main thrust).
307. Reading out loud is called “small action” by the Talmud. On the surface another Mitzvah which requires a full deed might seem more appropriate. However, since Torah demands progression from light to heavier responsibilities, it is appropriate to start with a Mitzvah of speech.
308. Likewise, both Moshe and Dovid followed the principle of blessing as the Talmud relates, “Moshe ended the Torah with blessings and Dovid began Tehillim (Psalms) with blessings.
309. The third Temple is also related to the 4 personages mentioned above. The third Temple shares certain parallels with the first Temple. Therefore, Moshe Rabbeinu, Dovid HaMelech, and King Solomon, who were fundamentally connected to the first Temple (Solomon was responsible for its construction but all the materials necessary had been prepared by King David and Moshe Rabbeinu had left the instructions exactly how it should be built) are also associated with the third Temple. The Baal Shem Tov’s point of connection stems from the fact that the Mashiach and third Temple will come through the service of “Yefutzu Mayonosecha Chutza”, the spreading forth of the wellsprings of the Baal Shem’s Torah into the outer reaches. (This service was continued and intensified by the Alter Rebbe. To underscore that connection, on the Baal Shem’s Yahrzeit, the Alter Rebbe would say Kaddish and daven from the Amud. (Prayer, Tefillah, which is itself an act of connection, served as a medium to connect the soul of the Alter Rebbe to the soul of the Baal Shem.)
310. These were physical events perceivable even by non-Jews. In fact, the effects of Matan Torah were so-powerful that throughout all creation “not a bird chirped nor an ox brayed”.
311. At that time, I argued very forcibly against the ships. Someone countered my arguments by saying, “I appreciate your position. You are arguing because of your deep concern for the holiness of the Sabbath, but I am arguing because of my deep concern for the economic welfare of Israel’s nation.
At the time, I answered, quoting an incident concerning the Previous Rebbe. Once, during an argument whether to maintain the standards of Jewish education as they had been in the past, one of the reformers attempted to explain the need for change with an example “When you want to drink, it is necessary to have pure water. However, when you want to put out a fire, in this case the fire of assimilation, the water can be even murky and black, i.e., Judaism can be altered.
The Previous Rebbe replied that his example was appropriate, but in need of one addition, “oil is also a liquid and can be mistaken for murky water. In that case the fire will just grow larger”.
The same concept applies concerning breaking Sabbath laws in the hope of making money — not only do profits not increase, but losses are sustained. The money which was earned legitimately becomes drawn after the money earned through breaking Shabbos. The Israeli ships are clear example of this principle, having cost the Israeli economy losses of billions of pounds.
312. Stimulating one’s own children is a much more difficult task. When you’re involved in a school or a camp, the time period during which you have to attract a student’s attention is limited. However, at home, education is a 24-hour-a-day process. Parents’ behavior, what they do and how they speak, is the most powerful influence on a child’s growth. (The child learns through both cognitive and non-cognitive mediums. Some of his parents’ behavior he understands intellectually, other traits, though he cannot grasp or comprehend them consciously, create unconscious emotional responses. Whether he understands or not, the child’s behavior is being shaped by what he sees at home. Everything a parent does or says has an effect on how his child will grow up.)
313. The above is particularly true in view of the Mishnah’s statement (and especially so in light of the Chassidus commentaries on that Mishnah) that “every Jewish soul comprises an entire world.” (1) Each Jewish child is not only an individual entity, but makes up an entire world. To emphasize this concept, rather than create man in the same manner as the other animals, G-d created man alone. At the beginning of existence, Adam was the only man on the face of the earth. G-d’s intent in doing so was to teach every Jew, no matter when or where he is living, that he is in a parallel situation. His importance is equal to Adam’s at that time.
314. Which are also quoted in Shulchan Aruch, giving them the power of a legal judgment.
315. The name Anshei Knesses HaGadola — the men of the Great Assembly — was derived from the fact that theirs was one of the greatest Sanhedrins convened in Jewish history.
316. The comparison of Torah to life brings home another important realization. An individual should not sacrifice his Torah ideals and practice for wealth and honor because life (Torah) is more important than wealth and honor.
317. This interpretation is also consistent with the fact that the Anshei Knesses HaGadola were the authors of the Mishnah. Among the responsibilities of the Anshei Knesses HaGadola, in addition to delivering legal judgments was to educate the Jewish people to accept those judgments with joy and happiness (a fundamental necessity in the learning process).
318. A further point applies. The command “be patient in judgment” is not a one-time statement, applicable only at the beginning of the child’s educational process, but rather a constant command. Even after you have decided (after deep thought and patient reflection as above) on the manner best suited to structure the child’s education, the statement “be patient in judgment” still applies. After some time has passed, you have to review your judgment. Reapply yourself to the child’s situation, see the results of the instruction you have given him so far and try to determine whether his schedule should be changed or not.
319. As mentioned before, “each Jewish soul is an entire world.”
320. Hillel went even further, calling Ahavas Yisrael the entire Torah, and the rest of the Torah merely an explanation of Ahavas Yisrael. Hillel’s statement is explained at great length by the Alter Rebbe in the 32nd chapter of Tanya.
(The fact that this explanation was printed in the 32nd chapter of Tanya is also significant. The number thirty-two in Hebrew is formed by the letters Lamed and Beis, which spell out the Hebrew word Lev, meaning heart. Ahavas Yisrael is considered the heart of the Torah, i.e., it has an importance and a function in regards to Torah’s other mitzvos parallel to that of the heart in the human body.
321. This concept (that an individual’s self-fulfillment is connected with relating to another Jew) is so basic that our sages felt it necessary to institute a reminder of it in the very beginning of the day. Shulchan Aruch prohibits conducting business before-prayer. (Even one’s set periods of Torah study are suggested to be scheduled after prayer.) Before, and as a preface to prayer, the AriZal instituted the custom of saying “I accept upon myself the Mitzvah of Ahavas Yisrael.” The Alter Rebbe wrote this instruction into his Siddur, thereby demonstrating its relevance to every Jew, anyone who would use the Siddur.
322. Hashgachah Protis never intends to bring about a totally negative situation. “From heaven only good is allotted.” Furthermore, the good is not only Tov La Shamayim (a good perceivable only to G-d), but Tov LaBrios (a good which a human being will also appreciate).
323. Mashiach will usher in an era in which “the world will be filled with the knowledge of G-d as the sea fills up the ocean.” The most prominent aspect of that knowledge will be the study of the inner depths of Torah, as the Rambam comments that the Jewish people will “comprehend the knowledge of their Creator.”
324. The word Torah is derived from the word Hora’ah, meaning ‘instruction’.
325. Particularly, since the Talmud elaborates on how everything which Moshe made is eternal. The comparison is made between the Temple built by King Solomon, which was destroyed, and the Sanctuary which was built by Moshe and was swallowed by the earth. It was not destroyed, is present now, and will be revealed with the coming of Mashiach.
326. Other texts describe them as “meritorious” and “righteous”.
327. Particularly, since Egypt was at that time the ruler of the civilized world and it was likely that the fruits of Israel had been brought to Egypt as tribute.
328. The holiness of Israel and therefore its direct connection to Hashem and Hashgachah Protis, is expressed not only in spiritual concepts but also in simple material realities, such as water. Most other countries derive a substantial portion of their water supply from river and irrigation. However, Israel is a land which “receives water from the rain of heaven”, thus emphasizing that Israel’s dependence on heaven is so strong that even a drop of water cannot be obtained without reliance on heaven.
This concept further accentuates the Torah’s promise that “I will bring rain in their season” is dependent on the service of “You will walk in My statutes and perform My commandments.” The Jew’s path to material blessings, including peace, the greatest of all blessings, is connected with spiritual consciousness. When he achieves that state of awareness, then, despite the fact that the Jews are “the smallest of all the nations”, G-d will fulfill the prophecy “I will walk you upright (proudly) into your land”.
The size and power of the Jewish people is not a determinant at all concerning their success and fortune. During Solomon’s reign, when the Temple stood in Jerusalem ands the Jew enjoyed the height of their national prosperity, they were still the “smallest among nations. Peace and prosperity resulted because Solomon sat on G s throne., i.e., he regarded the monarchy as a mission with which he had been charged by G—`d. That commitment es..4,. brought his throne to be considered the throne of G-d and likewise motivated all the nations to bring tribute to him. (From the above it is evident that the land of Israel is connected to Torah activity even when considering its material aspects.)
329. Na’aseh v’nishmah implies a commitment to do before you understand. However, the phrase v’nishmah, ‘we will understand’, is used in the future tense, communicating another lesson. If we fulfill na’aseh, a commitment to G-d not bound — by our understanding, then we will arrive at a state of nishmah – understanding of those aspects of G-dliness which previously were beyond our comprehension.
330. Faith is powerful enough to influence the functioning of all the soul’s powers, even the intellect. In fact, the intellect is very malleable, to the point where a penny can affect it (as the Torah says “a bribe will make crooked the eyes of the wise). Faith can have an even greater effect. It possesses the ability to bring the intellect to an awareness of the powers beyond intellect — i.e., to a consciousness” of G-d, the Creator and Ruler of the world.
331. For this reason faith is called an inheritance. Just as-when inheriting property the transfer is involuntary, similarly, faith has been transferred from father to son in a golden chain of tradition stretching back to Avraham, our patriarch, “the first of the believers.”
332. The same concept practically applies to the settlement of the entire land of Israel (including Judah and Sumaria) today. G-d has commanded us to do so, and those who in fear prevent that settlement become direct parallels to the spies who initially prevented Israel’s settlement.
333. Until they return to the Temple, they will not possess their full legal power. However, their first judgments will be hold in Tiberius.
334. Even though in some cases words of prayer are considered deed. In fact, the Jewish people’s utterance of the words Naaseh ViNishmah (we will do and we will listen) was a powerful enough activity to cause Matan Torah.
335. The statement that the Jews are one entity does not refer only to the Jews of one generation, but rather to all the Jews whenever and wherever they lived. The basis for this concept is the principle that the soul is eternal. The souls from all previous generations exist now and are united with the souls of the present generation.
336. The Mishnah says the only free person is one involved in Torah, implying that not only is Torah a road to freedom, it is the only road.
337. Until he left Russia, the Rebbe as an individual and the entire movement to spread Torah and Mitzvos were under severe restraints.
338. Particularly, this year (which is a leap year and completes the entire 19-year cycle of juxtaposition between the lunar and solar calendars) should be stressed as a time to make up for service lacking in the past (just as the extra month adds days, making up for those days lacking in previous years).
339. When a person wants to increase the intensity of his service, he can do so in a manner comparable to his previous level of service or in a manner beyond comparison to his previous level.
In the second case, in order to reach this new level of awareness, one’s previous level of conception must be totally annihilated. An example of such a pattern is the “River of Judgment” and the “Amud”, which serve an intermediate step in the process of transition from one level of Gan Eden to the next.
The increase in service called for by Gimmel Tammuz should also be without comparison to one’s previous level.
340. The above is particularly true in the final moments of Shabbos, the moments described by Kabbalah as the “will of wills”, and by the Talmud as an unlimited inheritance.
341. The lesson resulting does not only apply this year, when Parshas Korach falls on Gimmel Tammuz, but even in forthcoming years when Gimmel Tammuz is associated with other portions. An example of this concept is the educational process undergone by a child. Once a child has learned one concept, he is exposed to another. However, the intent is not that the first concept should be forgotten, but rather, that it should make a permanent impression on the child’s mind as Proverbs comments, “Train a child in the way he should go, so that when he is old he will not depart from it.” From the example of the child’s learning process it becomes clear that even though a concept is learnt on one specific occasion, the intention is later to apply it to other situations as well.
342. The Torah is essentially and totally good — as it is described in Proverbs, “I gave you good portion”.
343. The gifts of. priesthood must be given with joy and happiness. To emphasize this concept the Torah introduces the priestly gifts with the word Hinay (used throughout Torah as an expression of joy).
344. trans. note: the word Hashem is used here to refer to the four-lettered name of G-d: Yud-Kay-Vav-Kay.
345. To emphasize this concept, when Aharon’s staff sprouted flowers, those flowers were almond blossoms. The almond is the first tree to bloom, communicating the connection between the priesthood and the concept of and “his word runs swiftly”.
346. Korach’s rebellion was so negative that when Pirkei Avos sought to give an example of an argument motivated by improper intentions it refers to the rebellion of Korach.
347. The concepts regarding priesthood, in a greater sense, apply to all Jews, since the Jews are “a nation of priests”.
348. Similarly, regarding Mitzvos, the Talmud records the question, “Regarding which Mitzvah was your father most careful?” implying that each person has one specific Mitzvah that is specifically connected to his soul. Though he has the responsibility to perform all 613 Mitzvos, nevertheless, his soul is more deeply connected to that one Mitzvah.
349. In another Mishnah, chapter 1, Mishnah 12, the term ‘creations’ is used, referring to Jews (those Jews whose only positive virtue is that they are G-d’s creations): However, here, the context implies that the term refers to non-Jews; while there, since it speaks about bringing them close to Torah, obviously the intent of the term is Jews, those who it is necessary to bring close to Torah.
350. From this we can learn an interesting lesson concerning the power of an individual’s will: We see that his desire to go to the country is so strong that in spite of the difficulties mentioned above, he is happy to go there. A Halachic reflection of this concept can be seen in the laws of Sabbath. Generally, a person is forbidden to fast on the Sabbath. However, if he derives more pleasure from the fast than from eating, he is permitted to fast and that fast is considered his Oneg Shabbos.
351. Jokingly the expression “accepted throughout all Jewish communities” could be applied. However, in such a case it would be considered a Mitzvah to go to the country and there is no such Mitzvah.
352. Communicating the lesson that a Jew cannot experience true freedom until that freedom is acknowledged and accepted by the world at large.
353. The three terms which the Rebbe used refer to three different aspects of an individual’s personality. The expression “lover of Torah” refers to an individual’s intellectual capacities. Even though Torah study is incomplete until it permeates every limb of the body, the intent is that the other limbs should respond, become stimulated, and be excited by the intellect’s involvement in the study of Torah.
The term “those who follow its commandments” refers to a person’s body. Often the comparison is drawn between the body and the commandments based on the correspondence between the number of commandments — 613 — and the number of limbs in the body.
The category “those who are Jews by name alone” refers to the way a person expressed himself outside of himself, i.e., how he communicates his self-awareness to others.
This definition is based on the Hebrew original of the phrase “Jews by name alone”, asher b’shaim Yisrael Yichoneh. Yichoneh, or Kinui, its root, refers to a name which is not the person’s given name, i.e., not the real description of his existence, but only a nickname. Likewise, figuratively, it refers to that realm of activity which is not naturally reflective of the individual but has been made self-reflective through the individual’s own efforts.
In a Jew’s service to G-d, the latter category refers to activities which are classified as Reshus (permitted by Torah, neither commanded or forbidden, i.e., eating, sleeping, etc.). On the surface, there is no difference between the way these activities are performed by a Jew or by a non-Jew. However, from a deeper perspective, each Jew is faced with the commandment “Know G-d in all your ways” and “all of your deeds should be done for the sake of heaven,” teaching him that the actions which are “your ways” and “your deeds”, i.e., given over to your judgment, should also be connected with G-d.
354. These two opinions are reflected in the Talmud’s debate whether Achashveros was a wise or foolish king. The opinion who said he was foolish argued so because he could not set his personal affairs straight. Those who said he was wise argued that the state of one’s personal affairs is no reflection on how one can deal with others.
355. The Talmud cites the behavior of Shimeon Achi Azariah as an example of this principle.
356. The Maharal states that since the exodus from Egypt, a Jew’s identity was established as a servant of G-d. From that time onward, there was no longer the potential for an exile similar to that of Egypt. Since then, the Jew’s obligation to G-d takes priority over the control of any other authorities.
However, though the Jew is a servant, through that service he achieves genuine freedom. There are two ways in which that freedom can be expressed (which correspond to the two categories mentioned above): a) Torah study — as the Midrash states “the only free person is he who is occupied in the study of Torah”, or, as the Talmud states, “Who are our Kings? — our Sages”) and b) through becoming. a slave of the king, i.e., being careful that all of his behavior and activity center on service of G-d, then, as the Talmud states, “the slave of a king is considered a king”.
357. The constant obligation to love and to fear is emphasized by the Sefer ‘“HaChinuch. The Sefer HaChinuch lists six mitzvos, among them love and fear of G-d, which a Jew is obligated to fulfill at all times. He refers to these six mitzvos as the six cities of refuge.
358. A similar concept can be derived from Rabbi Akiba’s description of the Ten Commandments. He explained that after every commandment, even the negative ones, the Jews replied, “Yes, we will fulfill it.” Their answer reflected their total commitment to carry out G-d’s Will, regardless of whether the particular command was a prohibition or a positive act.
359. As mentioned before, according to the narrative of creation (i.e., from the perspective of the world), night begins the new day. According to the service in the Temple (from the perspective of holiness) the night completes the preceding day. These two aspects are relevant on a personal level as well. Each individual has his perspective of holiness (his service of Torah and mitzvos) and likewise his worldly perspective (his normal day-to-day activities).
360. The Rambam does not deny the validity of the literal interpretation. He leaves room for its possibility, but explains that the figurative meaning seems more acceptable.
361. Even those opinions who hold that Mashiach will not reveal open miracles, but rather “the world will continue in its natural pattern” agree that within the Land of Israel there will be open miracles.
362. The Talmud discusses this approach and calls it a disastrous path. The sages described the results in the following metaphor, “If there will be no kids (younger students), there will be no goats (mature practicing Jews).”
363. In his Shulchan Aruch, the Alter Rebbe writes that someone recovering from an illness does not recite HaGomel until he returns to his full strength. Applying the same principle, one who is released from prison should not recite HaGomel until he is restored to his initial state of freedom. your the reason, the Previous Rebbe withhold recitation of the berachah until several days after he returned home.
364. When a holiday is established by virtue of G-d’s command, e.g., Passover or Shavuos, then immediately in Egypt and at Mt. Sinai, the festival was celebrated. From that point on the holiday was eternally fixed within the Jewish calendar. The same principle applies to all festivals which were established by divine decree. However, those holidays which were established by decree of the sages of Israel, e.g., Purim, were not celebrated until one near later.
365. In the Talmud certain passages refer to the Yoval as eternity only for a Levite. They bring a proof to their opinion from the fact that the mother of the prophet Samuel (a Levite) vowed that “he will serve in the sanctuary until eternity.” Samuel served in the sanctuary only 50 years (his mother brought him when he was two and he died at age 52).
However, the Torah itself explicitly states that the concept of Yoval as an eternity applies to every Jew when discussing laws of a Hebrew servant.
Even according to the other opinion, the Rambam writes that the principles which apply to a Levite, in a broader sense, apply to any Jew who is willing to make a total commitment to the service of G-d. Such individuals also can be described by the verse “G-d is their portion and inheritance forever”, the verse used by the Torah to describe the Levites. Since, at least in specific times, e.g., during Torah study or while donning Tefillin, every Jew feels a total commitment to the service of G-d, every Jew has a certain connection to the service of the Levites and likewise to the concept that the Yoval is considered an eternity.
366. A similar pattern is reflected in the celebration of Pesach Sheni. The first Pesach requires the service of Iskafia — bending and subduing one’s evil inclination. However, the second Pesach (in a manner similar to the second level described above) lifts the individual totally beyond the realm of his individual capacity and brings him to the service of Ishafcha, the transformation of evil to good.
367. The existence of such a connection is further emphasized by the statement of the Alter Rebbe, “We most live with the times” — adapt our lives to the Torah portion of the week.
368. The Exodus from Egypt was the first redemption of the Jewish people. That redemption set up a paradigm and allowed the potential for all future redemptions, including the redemption to be led by Mashiach. (From that time forth, as explained by the Maharal, the Jews may never be enslaved by another nation. They may be controlled and conquered, but that control will never extend to the point where G-d’s claim “Your are my servants” will be superceded.)
369. Moshe, the first redeemer of the Jewish people, was not anointed. The anointing of kings is a direct command of G-d, received long after the exodus from Egypt. Therefore, when Moshe assumed his position and redeemed the Jewish people, the concept of anointing did not exist.
370. The Hebrew word translated as possession — ‘yerushah’ is more literally translated as inheritance. We find in a number of cases that full possession came as a result of two stages: conquest and inheritance.
The Land of Israel provides a useful example. G-d promised Israel to the Jewish people as an “everlasting inheritance.” However, after the Jews were redeemed from Egypt, they had to conquer the land. Nevertheless, after their conquest was successful, their claim to Israel was reinforced and strengthened by G-d’s promise. Possession through inheritance is a stronger and more permanent claim than possession through conquest. By using the word Yerushah for possession, the Torah communicates that Mashiach’s influence and control over the world will not only be one of conquest, but will also have the qualities of inheritance.
Likewise, the word Yerushah — possession — is also a reference to the prophecy that Mashiach will rebuild the Temple, which is described by the same word — Yerushah.
371. This explanation sheds light on the Rambam’s statement “If the Jews will do Teshuvah, they will immediately be redeemed.” Since the only obstacle to the redemption is their sins, and Teshuvah will wipe away those sins, the redemption will occur immediately thereafter.
372. The aspects of conquest and inheritance mentioned before are also relevant in the personal sphere. Torah is called “the inheritance of the Jewish people.” Yet, practically, it cannot be inherited, but must be acquired through effort and disciplined study.
After realizing these two levels, a third level of Torah, how Torah is a gift from G-d, is revealed. That level has an advantage over the previous two since they are limited to a human being’s finite perception of Torah, while the gift is from G-d Himself. However, the first two levels have an added quality, since through them Torah is mere deeply internalized. However, the first two levels have added quality, since through them Torah is more deeply internalized. However, when the third level is preceded by the first two “a present is given to someone worthy of inheriting”, then both advantages are realized.
373. The Talmud states this concept about a person whose house is plagued by leprosy, i.e., someone of a low spiritual level. Instead of immediately declaring the house impure, the priest is told to tell the owner to take any property outside (and thus prevent it from being considered ritually impure) before he judges the house’s condition. The “Torah’s mercy” applies only to saving his earthenware vessels from destruction since any other vessels could be purified in a Mikveh), revealing how even the trivial property of any Jew contains within it divine sparks.
374. Torah is totally unified with G-d Himself. Therefore, just as G-d is infinite and unlimited, similarly, the Torah is not confined by any limitation. (Were the Torah limited it could not serve to reveal G-d, the Infinite).
The same concept applies to mitzvos. The word “mitzvah” is translated as. “commandment,” but can also be translated as “connection.” The two interpretations are interconnected. The intent of a mitzvah is to establish a bond between the one who gives the command and the one who receives it. Even when a great gap exists between the two, the medium of the mitzvah allows them to be united. The mitzvah gives the one who receives it importance in the eyes of the one who commands. The mission and the obligation to carry it out gives a Jew a point of connection to G-d, the commander. G-d is the only true existence. The Jew, by performing the mitzvah, unites himself with G-d and becomes part of that true existence.
The connection established by the mitzvah exists not only from the perspective of the Jew, but also from the perspective of G-d Himself. The connection is so strong that the fulfillment of a mitzvah creates pleasure for G-d Himself, so to speak. Since mitzvos establish a bond between the Jew and G-d, the Infinite, it follows that they, too, are infinite.
375. An example of how even people remote from Jewish actmity can and eventually will aid and assist the cause of Torah and Mitzvos was seen in the redemption of the Previous Rebbe. There influences from various different countries helped pressure the Russian government into releasing the Rebbe.
376. The 17th of Tammuz also occurs in the time period between the Rebbe’s birthday and his bris, the time period during which the G-dly soul enters the body.
377. The closeness of our generation to the Messianic redemption brings up other parallels between the portion of the week and our present situation. Then the Jewish people had finished their 40 years of wandering in the desert and were preparing to enter the Land of Israel. Likewise now we are preparing for the ingathering of the exiles. In Parshas Balak, Pinchas, the son of Eliezer is mentioned by the Torah for the first time. The Talmud teaches that “Pinchas is Eliyahu Hanavi, Elijah the prophet, who will announce the coming of Mashiach. (That final point is particularly relevant to tonight, Motzaei Shabbos, when it is customary to sing the melody “Eliyahu Hanavi.”)
378. It is interesting to note that the individuals who Bilaam wanted to curse were those who were unprotected by the cloud of glory, as the commentaries mention on the verse “he saw the furthermost part of the people.” The clouds of glory protected all the Jewish people except those impure or spiritually blemished. Nevertheless, G-d’s great love for the Jews, even these Jews (and even after Bilaam recalled the sin of the Golden Calf) caused Him to reverse Bilaam’s intention and transform his prophecy into blessings.
379. The Yad Hachazaka is written as text of Torah law. By including the prophecy of Mashiach in such a text the Rambam establishes the Messianic redemption as a point of Torah law.
380. That intensification of faith should in turn stimulate the Jew to become involved in activities which will hasten the coming of Mashiach.
381. Therefore, upon commission of an accidental sin, an individual is obligated to bring a Chatas offering.
382. Another factor which would seem to indicate that the three “cities of refuge” would be for those who kill people accidentally in the time of Mashiach is that throughout the time the Jews lived in Israel, there were Jews living in Moab, Ammon, and Edom (the countries in which the three new “cities of refuge” will be established). Then the six “cities of refuge” were sufficient to provide for the murderers of those countries, and therefore it seems logical that they will also be sufficient for those who killed accidentally while in Galus. Only after Mashiach comes, when the ingathering of the exiles will make the population of those lands much great will it be necessary to institute three new cities of refuge.
383. Even though the name Av (without the addition Menachem) appears in Targum Jonathan, the Mishnah and the Gemara (all written after the Temple’s destruction, seeming a contradiction to the above statement), those texts reflect the attitude which existed before the Temple’s destruction.
384. Since Bain Hametzarim is a period of mourning, and no mourning is permitted on Shabbos the atmosphere of pleasure and joy which normally accompanies Shabbos must not be interrupted, but increased in order to demonstrate that there is no mourning on that day.
385. The movement from the mood of mourning stressed during the week, to the Sabbath atmosphere of pleasure, can be described by the use of a well-known parable. A king sent his son to the outer reaches of his kingdom. Through an unforeseen chain of events, his son was captured and imprisoned. When, after a long series of negotiations, etc., the king’s son was redeemed and he and his father were able to meet again, they experienced great joy In fact, their separation intensified their feelings of joy.
386. The present occasion, a Melaveh Malkah, also communicates the concept of Simcha. The Melaveh Malkah meal is one of the four meals connected with the Sabbath. These four meals should be feasts accompanied by joy and happiness.
387. The study of these texts was urged in previous years as well. That directive, as any lesson in Torah, was not intended to be considered pertinent to those years alone, but relevant for future years as well.
The text’s study is particularly relevant during this year. As mentioned above, a leap year provides the potential to compensate for the service which was not realized in the preceding years.
388. Among the sufferings were the recent horrors of the Nazi Holocaust. Throughout Jewish history, our nation had not suffered such severe persecution, torment and pain.
389. The performance of these activities by the entire Jewish people intensifies the G-dly power of creation. However, the activity of even one Jew in these three areas suffices to maintain the world’s existence. The power of each individual Jew is so great that, according to the Zohar, if he would fulfill Torah and Mitzvos to the furthest limits of his potential, his service would bring the revelation of Mashiach.
390. Miracles were common even to the Tzaddikim of the present day, including the Previous Rebbe, as evidenced by liberation on Yud-Beis Tammuz.
391. The connection between the increased length of the night, and the necessity of adding to one’s sessions of Torah study, is expressed by another statement of the Talmud, “The night was created for the purpose of Torah study alone.”
392. The Talmud explains that a lost article is discovered through a diversion of attention. That statement is related to the concept discussed above. The achievement of a new plateau of understanding beyond all relation to (and therefore requiring a diversion of attention from) the level experienced previously, is in the nature of a discovery.
With the above preface, another statement of the Talmud “Mashiach will come during a diversion of attention” can be understood. The spiritual levels which Mashiach will reveal are totally beyond our comprehension. Therefore, though each day we await and long for his coming (and the entire Torah service during the exile is intended to prepare for that coming), he will come in a diversion of attention. That is, he will reveal a level of G-dly truth which transcends the reach of our attention, similar to discovering a found object, where the value of the article found is beyond comparison to the effort necessary to obtain it.
393. Trans. note — Among Chabad Chassidim, the custom is to read “chitas”, section of Chumash, i.e., for each one of the seven days of the week, the corresponding aliyahs of the week’s Torah portion is learnt. According to that pattern, the portion connected with Tu beAv contains the verse V’shinantem.
394. If he takes upon himself the responsibility to teach others, Hashem grants him knowledge which enables him to perform that task.
395. The gates to the Temple were not destroyed by its conquerors, but rather were swallowed whole by the ground. According to the Midrash, the third Temple will be built by G-d, and indeed, is already built and waiting in the heavens to descend to Earth. However, other texts say Mashiach will rebuild the Temple. This seeming contradiction can be resolved by the following explanation: The Temple will descend from the heavens, whilst the Temple gates will ascend from the depths of the Earth. Mashiach will join the gates to the Temple itself (an activity which the Talmud considers significant enough to establish ownership of a building). In this way, the Temple will be the work of G-d and yet also the work of Mashiach.
396. The name Av is the term used to describe the Patriarchs, the first of whom, Abraham, was associated with the quality of faith.
397. Some Chumashim have the blessings for the Torah printed in them. However, these blessings are not the blessings connected with the daily study of Torah, but rather the blessings recited before and after an Aliyah. These blessings are of much less importance than the daily blessings.
398. Likewise, Va’eschanan is related to Torah study, i.e., since the phrase Matanas chinam (which is. Phonetically related to va’eschanan) meaning a free present — describes the Torah.
399. The connection to G-dliness which is established through fulfillment of the mitzvos was the motivating factor in Moshe’s desire to enter Israel.
400. The festivals serve as illustrative examples of this concept. Each festival teaches a number of important lessons (in fact, often the same lesson is communicated by two different festivals). Nevertheless, each festival has its own unique lesson and cause.
401. The Sefer HaChinuch comments that exile is the most severe of all punishments in the Torah.
402. The Rambam writes that the Jew is obligated to teach the non-Jews to observe the seven mitzvos. Furthermore, the non-Jews must be taught to fulfill those mitzvos not only because they are rationally acceptable but because they were commanded to Moses on Mt. Sinai.
403. Concerning the necessity to meditate on the passing of a Tzaddik, our sages use the expression “focus your heart on the living one”, emphasizing that the Tzaddik is also alive even after the connection between his soul and body has been severed.
404. The Alter Rebbe writes in Tanya that a Tzaddik’s influence is even more powerful after his death than when he is alive. This statement applies in a limited manner to any Jew who is active in spreading Torah and Mitzvos.
405. The behavior of those non-Jews improved due to their contact with the Tzaddikim.
406. The term children applies not only in a strict chronological manner, but in a larger sense refers to those who are children in knowledge (or children in the sense that they don’t appreciate the value, importance, and dearness of the knowledge they possess).
407. There are certain positive values which result from death, e.g., the death of Tzaddikim brings about atonements for the entire Jewish people, (even though their death is (in the words of our sages) difficult for G-d to bear as the breaking of the tablets). Likewise, in certain situations, it is correct to risk death for the purpose of one’s values. For that reason, Rav Levi Yitzchok continued spreading Torah and Mitzvos, even though he knew he was risking imprisonment and death.
408. A parent seeks to provide his child with only the best to satisfy his physical needs. He must be taught to observe similar standards regarding his children’s educational needs.
409. The Gemara relates how a sage encountered a man whom he found particularly repulsive (because of both his physical and spiritual qualities). After the sage expressed his disgust, that man replied, “Go protest to the craftsman who created me” (i.e., blame G-d my creator). At that point the sage profusely apologized. G-d’s influence makes every individual, even one who is seemingly disgusting, worthy of love.
410. The quality of love is also connected to another concept recalled in the Aliyah learnt today: the destruction of the tablets and the giving of the second tablets. There, too, the quality of love was emphasized. Because of his great love for the Jewish people G-d was willing to give them the second tablets despite the severity of their sins.
411. The command “Become a student of Aharon” is found in Pirkei Avos. Pirkei Avos is considered pious behavior, behavior beyond the measure of the law. Therefore, it may seem beyond the reach of certain individuals. However, there is a principle, “If a mistake is made concerning a law stated in the Mishnah, the judgment arrived at because of that mistake is reversed,” that is, a law of the Mishnah establishes the nature of reality. Likewise, in this case, the statement “Become a student of Aharon” should be considered as a description of reality, a statement of a level of awareness within the grasp and reach of every Jew.
412. These two individuals represent two different types of service to G-d, as the Talmud relates, “Joab waged war with the enemies of Israel which allowed King David to study Torah. David’s Torah study produced powerful spiritual influence which allowed Joab to be successful in battle.” These two disciplines correspond to the two types of service mentioned in the verse, “Zion will be redeemed through judgment(which refers to Torah study — the service of King David), and its captives through Tzedakah” (which parallels the service of Joab, tzedakah and war both having as their object refinement of the surrounding environment).
413. The difference between the spiritual qualities of each Tzaddik can be explained by another statement of the Gemara. “In the future G-d will make a marriage canopy for each Tzaddik and each Tzaddik will be burnt by the marriage canopy of his friend.” From that statement it is obvious that each Tzaddik shows a connection with his fellows (otherwise he would not be burnt), yet that connection is one in which he receives a-level of energy he can’t receive (and therefore he gets burnt). The relationship between Hillel and Shammai provides a useful paradigm. Though both were great Tzaddikim, their paths of service differ. Each of their paths was equally valid and each possessed certain advantages over the other.
414. In Kabbalistic terms a point is followed by a circle and a circle by a line. In the above-mentioned passage from the Gemara the same pattern can be seen. The transcendent aspects of G-dliness represent the point, the circle is formed by the Tzaddikim, and the line reflected in their statement, “Zeh Hashem Kivinu Lo — This is our G-d in whom we put our hope”. Kivinu — the word for hope, shares the same root as Kav, the word for line.
415. The Rambam continues explaining that Jerusalem was sanctified not by conquest but rather by the manifestation of the Shechinah, the divine presence, in the Temple. The revelation of the Shechinah was so powerful that it infused the entire city with an eternal quality of holiness. Even after the Temple was destroyed, the city remained holy.
That statement provokes an obvious question. Jerusalem was holy because of the manifestation of the Shechinah. The Shechinah was manifest, true to a lesser degree, throughout the entire land of Israel. Why could the holiness of the land of Israel be affected by the Babylonian conquest when the holiness of Jerusalem was untouched?
However, the degree to which G-dliness was manifest in the Temple surpassed that of the land of Israel. In the Temple, G-dliness was openly revealed. In the land of Israel, G-dliness was not as evident. Therefore, in Jerusalem, the open revelation of G-dliness effected permanent change in the city’s spiritual condition. However, regarding the land of Israel, since G-dliness was not as powerfully manifest, its holiness could be affected by the Galus.
Some commentaries sought to answer the above-mentioned question by citing another difference between the settlement of Ezra and the conquest of Joshua. They explain that Ezra himself declared Israel as a holy land while Joshua never issued such a declaration. However, a) no mention of Ezra’s declaration is made in Torah she B’ksav, or Torah she baal Peh. b) That explanation seeks to resolve a question in the Rambam. The Rambam himself states that the difference between Ezra and Joshua revolves around the difference between conquest and settlement.
416. The Talmud lists settlement as one of the means through which ownership of land can be acquired. Furthermore, if one wishes to acquire 10 fields, he can acquire them all by settling on one of them. Likewise by settling in portions of Israel, the Jewish people were able to effect holiness in the entire land. (That statement needs clarification since the Talmud mentions certain differences in the holiness of certain regions depending on whether they were settled in Ezra’s time or not.)
417. Our sages have explained that the Jews’ ownership of the land of Israel is dependent on their observance of Torah and Mitzvos. When the Jews perform Mitzvos they will rule Israel, and when they sin — “Because of our sins we were exiled from our land.” This statement does not contradict the text above. Israel will always remain a Jewish homeland. The observance of Torah and Mitzvos determine who will have the political authority over Israel. It does not affect the land’s fundamental status as a Jewish land.
418. The Baal Shem Tov’s dictum was formulated about even mundane matters. The same principle would apply with even greater force regarding Torch matters, since in them the divine intent is more openly revealed. Since Torah itself ordained that the ensuing month be blessed on the last Sabbath of the preceding month, it follows that a definite connection exists between the two months.
419. The blessing of the new month on the preceding Sabbath was not a Torah command, but rather ordained by the Rabbis to replace Kiddush HaChodesh (the sanctification of the new month) which had taken place on Rosh Chodesh of the New Month. It could thus be argued that in fact they two months are unconnected, the blessing of the ensuing month having no real connection to the previous month, since its original and correct time was in the present month. However, since our sages deliberately ordained the blessing of the month to be made in the preceding Sabbath, it follows that some rationale must have existed for their behavior. There must be some point of connection between the two months.
420. The paradox is intensified with the realization that the astrological sign for the month of Av is the lion. The lion is used by the prophet Jeremiah as a metaphor for non-Jews in general and Nebuchadnezer in particular, e.g., “The lion has come up from his thicket, the destroyer of nations is on his way”.
421. The Hebrew word for poured out, “Kilah”, can also be translated as ‘spent’ or ‘exhausted’, e.g., “Chitzai Kilim” — “my arrows are exhausted”.
422. Translator’s note — The principle that “a person would rather have one Kav of his own than 10 Kavs of his friend,” i.e., that personal achievement and accomplishment utilize an individual’s highest powers and bring him his greatest pleasures, is a concept often stressed in Chassidic thought.
423. Many different texts explain how G-d’s hidden kindnesses (i.e., events which do not appear as kindnesses) are in fact more intense and more powerful than His apparent kindnesses.
424. The connection between Av and Elul is accentuated through the fact that they both begin with the same letter, the letter Aleph. The letter Aleph is explained by the Kabbalah to refer to the level of Keser, the highest level of G-dliness. (Therefore the word Anochi, the first word of the ten commandments, begins with Aleph. In the months of Av and Elul, the highest level of G-dliness is revealed.)
The letter Aleph is also related to Teshuvah, the service of the month of Elul. The Torah begins with the letter Beis. Teshuvah, which transcends the level of Torah (and therefore can amend for breaches in Torah observance) is related to the Aleph.
425. In fact, the word ‘menachem’, which is also related to the word ‘nichum’, meaning ‘change of heart’, is actually an inappropriate term to describe this great level of G-dly love.
426. Which were also added in the time of Galus.
427. This is particularly true according to Rashi’s interpretation of the verse in Exodus “and Pharaoh subjected them to rigorous labor — he gave men the tasks of women, and women the tasks of men”. Even if the tasks of women were themselves easier, they were considered rigorous labor, since they were opposite to the nature of men.
428. Particularly, since as mentioned before, “G-d poured out (which also means spent and exhausted) his anger on the stones and wood (i.e., the Temple)”. After the Temple’s destruction, G-d’s anger was exhausted and only his feelings of love remain.
429. The activities of this hemisphere are particularly significant because the greatest concentration of Jews and the most developed Jewish communities are found here. Added significance can be drawn from the statement of Kabbalah that the Torah was only given in one hemisphere (that hemisphere having been interpreted by the Tzemach Tzedek to be the northern (as opposed to the eastern)).
The intent of the Zohar is not to free the inhabitants of the southern hemisphere from the responsibilities of Torah (on the contrary, Torah is immutable law, applicable in every time, place and situation), but rather to explain and emphasize that the activities of the northern hemisphere are of leading importance.
430. The term child can also be applied to those who are children in the sense that their knowledge is not fully developed. That category, to a certain degree, includes everyone, since each individual has knowledge which he can and must still learn, as obvious from the statement of the Mishnah: “Who is a wise man — he who learns from every man”. The true Torah scholars were always hungry for knowledge. Rav Yochanan stated that he would carry to the bath house the clothes of anyone who would teach him one specific Torah concept. Carrying another’s clothes to the bath house is an act of servitude, so base in fact, that the Torah forbids commanding one’s Hebrew servant to perform that task. Still, Rav Yochanan, one of the greatest figures in the entire spectrum of Jewish scholarship, was willing to perform such a task in order to obtain one more point of Torah knowledge.
431. Copies of that declaration can be obtained and adapted to the local circumstances.
432. The Rambam maintains that there is a difference of one hour and 485 seconds. However, Rav Ada maintains and proves that the juxtaposition is perfect.
433. If that country does not yet have a branch of Kehos publishing, may the printing of the Tanya serve to open that branch.
434. A list of corrections is presently printed in the back of the Tanya. However, subsequent to this list’s publication, certain editions of the Tanya made some corrections within the text itself and omitted those errors from the list of corrections. Some later editions which were printed used the text of a corrected copy but the list of corrections were taken from an uncorrected copy, and vice versa. In order to clarify the issue, a complete list of corrections will be compiled with a preface explaining that some of these corrections have already been placed within the text.
435. On the surface the second series of forty days(from the 17th of Tammuz to Rosh Chodesh Elul) were devoted to the service of Teshuvah, while the final forty days were dedicated to preparation for receiving the second Tablets. Therefore, Torah study would seem the service most appropriate for the month of Elul. However, the commentaries explain that the forgiveness of the Jewish people for the sin of the Golden Calf was not completed until Yom Kippur. Then, G-d pronounced, “Selachti Kidevarecha” — “I have forgiven you according to your wishes”, implying that prior to that time, the service of Teshuvah was incomplete and unfulfilled. Our Sages’ statement that Elul begins the “days of goodwill” indicates that the service during Elul (even during Moshe Rabbeinu’s time) was the service of Teshuvah. Teshuvah effected a change in G-d’s will and transformed these days into days of happiness and joy.
436. Translator’s addition — The first letters of each of these Hebrew words spell out the name ‘Elul’.
437. The Midrash relates that when Moshe ascended Mt. Sinai the second time “G-d wrapped Himself ,in a Talis like a Chazan” and taught him how to recite the 13 attributes of mercy in prayer.
438. The Teshuvah which changes one’s sins into merits creates tremendous blessings as well. The second tablets, which were given on Yom Kippur as a result of the Teshuvah of the Jewish people, provide= a useful example of this concept. The Midrash writes that had the first tablets not been destroyed no nation would ever rule over the Jews. However, the second tablets produced the possibility for even a greater blessing, that the other nations become transformed into allies of the Jews.
439. Mashiach, as well, will be involved with the two services of Torah and Teshuvah. He will teach the entire Jewish people, from the smallest of stature, to Moshe and Aharon, the secrets of Torah and he will motivate all, even Tzaddikim to perform the service of Teshuvah.
440. While in the field, it is common to relax many of the behavioral restraints society imposes. In most cases, this results in cruder, less refined actions. Despite this tendency, the king’s joy is so great that he receives his subjects as they are even in the field.
441. During the entire year, until Rosh Chodesh Elul, the King is found in His palace. In the time of prayer He reveals Himself. “It arose in the King’s will to reveal Himself to all of His subjects, He issued a proclamation ordering all his subjects to present themselves before him at a certain time. When that time arrived, he revealed himself in all of his glory and majesty.” This parable refers to G-d’s revelation during the time of prayer. However, during the year, aside from the times of prayer, even during the times of Torah study, G-d is secluded in His palace.
442. Iggeres HaTeshuvah explains that Torah study can also be considered Teshuvah when it is learnt with the awareness that through study you “cling to G-d, spirit to spirit, word to word”.
443. The same principle is illustrated in the Mitzvah of giving Tzedakah. The Shulchan Aruch writes that the intention of the giver (whether his kavanah is ‘Lishmah’, or ‘lo lishmah’) is of secondary importance. The most important thing is that the poor man receive the gift.
444. That same question can be asked in Parshas Shemini where these laws are mentioned for the first time. It becomes even more emphatic, however, when the student learns the laws of Kashrus a second time in Parshas Re’eh.
445. When the Gemara’s explanation follows directly after the Mishnah, i.e., when the Gemara asks a question on the Mishnah and replies “Chesuri Michasrei” or the like, it is possible to say that the commentaries will rely on the Gemara’s explanation. However then the explanation of the Mishnah is in an entirely different Masechta (as in our case where the Gemara in question is in Yuma), the commentaries would seemingly have to mention the Mishnah explicitly.
446. The degree of friendship and love between Jews was so great that Torah restrictions were relaxed as a result of it. During the festivals, everyone, even an Am Ha-aretz (who normally is not believed) was believed concerning ritual purity, even though, normally after the pilgrimage all the holy vessels used were immersed in the Mikveh because of possible impurity.