We have just concluded the evening service of the night of the 13th of Nissan. 13 is numerically equivalent to the word âçÇ meaning "one." Prayer in general, and the evening service in particular involves an ascent and thus, during prayer our awareness of "Know before whom you are standing" should be intensified.
In truth, we are always standing before G-d. In prayer, however, our attention becomes focused on His Presence, and on His oneness with creation, how each moment, all the beings of this material world are at one with the True Being, in complete and absolute oneness.
This is the meaning of the phrase "one day," interpreted by our Sages to mean "a day of oneness." Although the entire creation was brought into being on the first day, there was no sense of separation, "G-d was at One with His world."
Here we see a connection between the Tzemach Tzedek as reflected in the verse, "One will approach another one." Both the Tzemach Tzedek and the Rebbe Maharash passed away on the 13th of the month (the Tzemach Tzedek on the 13th of Nissan and the Rebbe Maharash on the 13th of Tishrei). Through their service, they "approach each other" and become a single entity. In a simple sense, this is reflected in the fact that the Rebbe Maharash served as the Tzemach Tzedek's successor. The Hebrew for "successor," memaleh makom, means "fill the place," implying that the Rebbe Maharash continued the Tzemach Tzedek's service. Conversely, the Tzemach Tzedek also put into practice certain elements of service which were characteristic of the Rebbe Maharash.
The root mauleh which means "full" is also related to the word miluim which means "installment," and also is associated with the concept of chinuch, "dedication" and "education." Here we see a connection to the dedication of the altar through the sacrifices of the Nesi'im ("princes") of the different tribes. On each of the first twelve days of Nissan, we read the passage associated with the offering of the Nasi who brought sacrifices on that day.
Our reading of the sacrifices of the Nesi'im reflect the oneness of the Jewish people as emphasized by the fact that every Jew, even a Kohen or Levi who are obviously from the tribe of Levi, recite the passage connected with the Nasi of every tribe and, afterwards, recite the prayer, Yihi Ratzon, "May it be Your will that if I am of the tribe of...." This emphasizes how each Jew is related to another and shares in their fundamental nature.
The task of the Jewish people is to reveal the Oneness of G-d. Each Jew is obligated to say, "The world was created for me;" i.e., everyone must accept the responsibility of revealing how -- as the Rambam, whose birthday is the 14th of Nissan, writes -- "From the truth of His Being all existence came into being."
This is reflected in the ultimate oneness, the oneness of the Beis HaMikdash, and more particularly, the oneness of the Holy of Holies which contained the tablets on which the Ten Commandments were engraved.
These Tablets contained the entire Torah, including "every new concept to be developed by an experienced Torah sage,' including those new concepts developed on this very day. This in turn leads to the revelation of "the new [dimension of the] Torah which will emerge from Me." May the redemption take place this very night and may we merit the revelation of these new dimensions of Torah, tonight, the thirteenth of Nissan, in this the year when "I will show you wonders."
The word Arenu translated as "I will show you" is related to the word Re'ah which means "sight." In the Era of the Redemption, the Torah will be studied through sight, i.e., all the concepts of the Torah will be openly revealed. This will be reflected in the world at large which was brought into being by the Torah. We will see the true existence of the entire world as it is written, "In the beginning, G-d created the world." This will continue until "before the eyes of the children of Israel," which is the conclusion of the Written Torah.
It will then flow into the Oral Torah which begins, "From when, should the Shema be read." Rav Avraham, the Maggid's son also interpreted Me'aymasai to mean "From awe," i.e., the Shema should be recited while permeated with the awe of G-d.
Rav Avraham was called HaMalach, "the angel," i.e., his existence within this world resembled that of the angels. He studied together with the Alter Rebbe. This indicates the Alter Rebbe also possessed this quality, except in regard to the Alter Rebbe this quality was revealed in harmony with his material existence. It is explained in regard to Moshe who is referred to as "the man of G-d," i.e., his lower half was human-like, but his upper half was G-d-like.
Similarly, in the Alter Rebbe's instance, his human and G-dly qualities were fused together. Indeed, he was able to impart a dimension of this service to the Malach, causing him to appreciate the importance of eating material food, and in this manner, he saved his life as related in the well-known story.
This is enhanced by the influence of Shabbos HaGadol and the great miracle that occurred there, and the extension of that miracle throughout all time, establishing a state of oneness. The ultimate expression of this oneness will be in the Third Beis HaMikdash. There we will see the fusion of time and space with the G-dliness that transcends time and space as reflected in the fact that the place of the Ark was not included in the measurement of the Sanctuary.
This does not mean that the Ark will be lifted beyond the measures of time and space, but rather the Ark will take up a precise amount of space, and its placement in the Sanctuary will be exact and yet, the place for the Ark will not be included in the measure.
This oneness was expressed by the Tzemach Tzedek through his tireless efforts to spread Torah study, and to prevent changes from being made within Torah practice. To prevent this, he traveled to Peterburg and had several confrontations with Russian officials. In these confrontation, he adopted an unflinching stance despite the fact that Russia was one of the most powerful countries in the world at that time.
The Tzemach Tzedek's influence in Russia was not always direct. As the Chassidim would say, "The Tzemach Tzedek would sit in Lubavitch and control what was happening in Peterburg." This reflected the approach of Lechatchilah Ariber that is associated with the Rebbe Maharash, and demonstrates the Oneness of G-d, showing how even the most powerful aspects of the material existence of the world are subject to the control of a Jew.
The potential for such activities has been imparted to every Jew particularly one who studies the Tzemach Tzedek's teachings. Nevertheless, in the case of a Nasi, this potential is revealed to a greater degree and particularly so on the day of his yahrzeit, when his influence "brings about salvation in the midst of the earth."
A similar concept is seen in regard to the Rambam whose birthday is celebrated tomorrow. His name serves as an acronym for the Hebrew words meaning "I will multiply My wonders in the land of Egypt." While living in Egypt, he served as a doctor to the most powerful king of his generation. Although the king's life was in danger, the Rambam was able to heal him and as a result, the king did many favors for the Jewish people. This reflects the potential the Jews have that, even while they are in exile, they will be granted favors by the gentiles and indeed, favors which are wondrous in nature.
The above also relates to the passage concerning the kindling of the Menorah which was performed by Aharon the High Priest which we read today. The service of High Priest revealed the ultimate oneness, the fusion of limited existence and the G-dliness which transcends limitation. This is expressed in the essence of Aharon's service, the recitation of the Priestly Blessings.
In the world at large, this unity is drawn down through the study of the Torah. G-d invested Himself in the Torah, as it were, as reflected in the word Anochi, the first word of the Ten Commandments, which is an acronym for the Aramaic words meaning "I wrote down and gave over Myself." Through Torah study, unity with G-dliness is thus established within a Jew's soul and then, the Jew spreads this unity throughout the entire world which was created through the medium of the Torah. In this manner, we reveal through the creation the existence of the "Primeval Being," the awareness of which is the "Foundation of all foundations and the pillar of all knowledge" as the Rambam begins the Mishneh Torah.
May this be revealed through our efforts to "raise up the lights" as we read in the passage associated with the 13th of Nissan. Rashi explains that this refers to the kindling of Menorah in a manner that "the lights rise up by themselves." In a personal sense, this implies that our service is dependent on our own efforts. Although we will be granted influence from above -- G-d will show us wonders -- this Heavenly influence will be enhanced by our service. And our service will resemble that of Aharon, "loving peace and pursuing peace."
Aharon's service also involved our material existence as reflected in the priests' offering and eating of the Showbread that was placed on the Golden Table opposite the Menorah. This was the source of material blessing for the entire world. In this manner, "our hands will establish it for us" as mentioned in the conclusion of Chapter 90 in Tehillim.
The above will be enhanced by the study of this chapter, particularly as it is explained in P'nimiyus HaTorah. Similarly, through the study of the Rambam, we will hasten the coming of the ultimate redemption when it will be revealed how I "multiplied My wonders in the land of Egypt" (the Hebrew words of this verse -- ìëÿûÄ òÿÇü ëÜöàÄ Üàüÿ -- serve as an acronym for the name Rambam). Similarly, it will be enhanced by the study of the teachings of the Tzemach Tzedek and in particular, by the study of the Tzemach Tzedek's commentary on the Rambam.
The above relates to every Jew for the Torah was given to each one of us as inheritance as it is written, "The Torah which Moshe commanded us is the inheritance of the congregation of Ya'akov." Similarly, the coming of the Redemption will be hastened by our gifts to tzedakah. Thus even before the Seder, we will be redeemed from exile and we will proceed together with the house of prayer, house of study, and house of good deeds in which we are now on the clouds of heaven to the Third Beis HaMikdash, "the Sanctuary of G-d established by Your hands," and "the sovereignty will be the L-rd's."
- (Back to text) This is particularly true in the light of the Baal Shem Tov's teaching that at every moment, G-d creates the world anew, bringing it into being from absolute nothingness.
- (Back to text) This is reflected in our Sages' comment on the verse, "In the beginning, G-d created the heavens and the earth." Noting that both the words "heavens" and "earth" are proceeded by the modifier es, they explain that es includes "the hosts of the heavens" and "the hosts of the earth."
Afterwards, the mention of the creation of different entities in the narrative of creation refers to "their being fixed in their positions." Thus, in a general sense, the entire creation was created on the first day. (Also, our Sages speak of ten particular entities being created on the first day.) Later, the particular nature of each of the different entities was revealed.
- (Back to text) We cannot say that the Kohanim and the Levites are unsure of their lineage for, on the basis of this lineage, they fulfill several mitzvos, including the mitzvah of reciting the Priestly Blessings which is a mitzvah from the Torah itself.
- (Back to text) The literal translation of the words Yehi ratzon" is "May there be a will," i.e., we generate a new will for G-d, as it were. In Chassidic thought, it is explained that this is the advantage of prayer over blessing. Blessing has only the potential to draw down the influence which G-d has already designated for revelation. In contrast, prayer arouses "a new will," drawing down new influence.
In those sources, it is explained that the Priestly Blessings possess both the advantages of prayer and the advantages of blessing. Thus, they generate new influence and draw that influence down to the lowest levels as reflected in our Sages' interpretation of the verse, "May G-d bless you" -- "with possessions" -- "and protect you" -- "from undesirable influences." G-d's blessings are drawn down into the most material of entities, even in areas where protection is necessary. The intent of this influence is for the Jews to reveal G-d's oneness even in these realms.
- (Back to text) We express our desire for this oneness to be revealed to us in the verse recited at the end of each prayer service, Ach Tzaddikim where we request that "the straight will dwell in Your Presence." Ponechoh translated as "Your Presence" also relates to the word P'nimiyus meaning "inner dimension." The inner dimension of existence, G-d's Oneness will be revealed.
- (Back to text) This oneness still exists in a physical sense at present. There are certain opinions that the ark was taken to Babylon with the other vessels of the Beis HaMikdash. Other opinions, however, maintain that it was entombed below the site of the Holy of Holies.
- (Back to text) The Priestly Blessings conclude, "And I will bless them." Ani, the word used for "I," refers to the source for the Sefirah of Malchus whose source is higher even than that of Anochi, the word for "I" used in the Ten Commandments. Nevertheless, on a revealed level Ani is lower than Anochi. This relationship is hinted at in the expression, "I am first and I am last."
- (Back to text) As Rav David, the Rambam's grandson relates, in Hebrew, these words serve as an acronym for the name ä-à-ä-ë.
- (Back to text) The kindling of the Menorah in the Beis HaMikdash, however, did not have to be performed by Aharon or one of his descendants. It could be lit even by an individual who was not a priest. In such an instance, the Menorah would be brought from the Sanctuary to the Israelite Courtyard, kindled there, and returned to the Sanctuary.
- (Back to text) The threefold nature of this building relates to the Third Beis HaMikdash.