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Foreword

Maamar Eichah Yoshvah Bodad Hair Rabosi Am

Maamar Kimei Tzeischa Meieretz Mitzrayim Arenu Niflaos

Maamar VeNachah Alov Ruach HaShem

Maamar Vihayah Eikev Tishmaun

Maamar Beela Hamaves Lanetzach

Maamar Hachodesh Hazeh Lachem

Maamar Kimei Tzeischa Meieretz Mitzrayim Arenu Niflaos

Maamar Vihayah Bayom Hahu

Founders Of Chassidism & Leaders Of Chabad-Lubavitch

Glossary

Anticipating The Redemption - Volume 2

Maamar Beela Hamaves Lanetzach

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  Maamar Vihayah Eikev TishmaunMaamar Hachodesh Hazeh Lachem  

KUNTRES 21 ADAR, 5748
THE CONCLUSION OF THE SHELOSHIM
FOR REBBETZIN CHAYAH MUSHKA
(Sefer HaMaamarim Meluket, Vol. II, p. 277ff.)

By the Grace of G-d
Tuesday of Parshas Devarim,
Menachem Av 5, 5725

"He will swallow up death forever; G-d, the L-rd, will wipe tears away from all faces."[1]

The Rebbe Maharash explains in his maamar of this title[2] that, in the Era of the Redemption, death will be swallowed up eternally, because at that time, [we will merit fulfillment of the prophecy]:[3] "And I will cause the spirit of impurity to depart from the land."

The above concepts can be clarified on the basis of the explanation of the latter verse. The potential for death was generated by the sin of the Tree of Knowledge, for death and the sin of the Tree of Knowledge are interrelated.

To explain: Through the sin of the Tree of Knowledge, good and evil became intermingled with each other.[4] For evil existed before the sin as well, but then, the evil was separate from the good. As is well known,[5] at the beginning of the creation, the abode of kelipah was below the realms of holiness. And it was through the sin of the Tree of Knowledge that good and evil became intermingled with each other (within the entire world at large[6]), causing evil to be blended with good and good to be blended with evil to the extent that there is no good without evil, nor is there evil without good.[7]

On this basis, we can understand the verse:[8] "And now, lest he stretch forth his hand, and take from the Tree of Life, partake [of its fruit], and live forever." On the surface, at the outset, man was created in a manner that would enable him to live forever. For he was commanded not to eat from the Tree of Knowledge so that he would not die. (As it is written:[9] "And from the Tree of Knowledge,... do not eat... for on the day you partake of it you will die.") Thus of what difference would it be that man would eat of the Tree of Life and live forever; [seemingly, this was G-d's original intent]?

In explanation, the Alter Rebbe clarifies[10] that [G-d's intent was that a sinless man live forever; this does not apply to a man who has sinned]. The sin of the Tree of Knowledge caused evil to be internalized within man's being. Therefore, (after the sin,) there is reason for concern that man will "stretch forth his hand, and take from the Tree of Life, partake [of its fruit], and live forever." For were man [in a sinful state] to live forever, the evil which he assimilated would also be perpetuated. Thus one may conclude that the reason the sin of the Tree of Knowledge initiated the potential for death is to prevent evil from being perpetuated.

It is possible to explain that the fact that the sin of the Tree of Knowledge initiated the potential for death is a direct result of the sin itself. To explain: The concept of vitality exists only in the realm of holiness. In contrast, evil and impurity (the opposite of holiness) are identified with death.[11] Therefore, since the sin of the Tree of Knowledge caused evil (death in a spiritual sense) to be assimilated within man, it led to death in the simple sense of the word. This [enables us to understand] the "swallowing" of death for eternity in the Era of the Redemption. Since in that era, the existence of evil, death in a spiritual sense,[12] will be nullified, death in a simple sense will also cease.

II

The reason that it will be only in the Era of the Redemption that the existence of evil (- death in a spiritual sense, and as a consequence, death in a simple sense -) will cease is that in that era, there will be a revelation of a higher light [than ever revealed previously]. This light will cause all opposing forces to be nullified.

The [Rebbe Maharash] continues to explain in the maamar [entitled Ravta Es Rivom[13] that the light that will shine in the Era of the Redemption will be of an entirely unique nature]. In the time of the Beis HaMikdash, more particularly, in the era of the First Beis HaMikdash, and especially during the reign of King Shlomo when "the disk of the moon was full,"[14] a very elevated light was revealed. And the revelation of this light brought about the nullification of all the gentile nations, without there being a necessity for war at all.[15]

{[This is implied by] the name Shlomo which indicates that his era was characterized by peace.[16]}

Nevertheless, the revelation in the era of King Shlomo still allowed for the possibility that the external forces derive nurture. They were, however, able to derive nurture only from the external dimensions of holiness, and not from the internal dimensions.

{It can be explained that [the fact that] there was a possibility for the external forces to derive nurture during the era of [King] Shlomo is reflected in the manner in which the gentile nations were nullified to him, for example, his relationship with the Queen of Sheba. Even while she was in her own land and had merely heard reports of King Shlomo, she became nullified (slightly) to him, for this is what motivated[17] her to journey to [meet King] Shlomo.[18] And when she visited him and saw his wisdom, she was totally nullified before him to the point that "there was no longer any spirit within her."[19] Nevertheless, even after this experience, she remained a queen, and indeed, [King] Shlomo bestowed great honor upon her.[20]}

In the Era of the Redemption, by contrast, the nature of the revelation will prevent the external forces from receiving any nurture at all (not even from the external dimensions [of holiness]). The evil will be nullified entirely; "He will swallow up death forever."

III

In the maamar [entitled Ravta Es Rivom],[21] the [Rebbe Maharash] explains the contrast between the revelation in the era of [King] Shlomo (which allowed the external forces to derive nurture from the external dimension [of holiness]) and the revelation that will characterize the Era of the Redemption (at which time the external forces will not be able to derive any nurture at all) by drawing a comparison to our personal Divine service, comparing the service of turning away from evil[22] with the service of being repelled by evil.

[A person who] turns away from evil rejects it; he does not, however, utterly despise evil. Thus although in actual fact, he rejects the evil, he still has a certain connection with it. Indeed, as explained in Tanya with regard to an imperfect tzaddik,[23] in a hidden sense, he has a trace of love for evil.

A person who is repelled by evil, i.e., he utterly despises evil (the level of a complete tzaddik), by contrast, shares no connection with it. On the contrary, he hates evil and utterly despises it with complete disgust and aversion.

Similar concepts apply with regard to the difference between the revelation during the era of Shlomo and the revelations that will characterize the Era of the Redemption. The revelations of the era of Shlomo caused all opposing forces to be nullified (as the service of turning from evil rejects the evil). There remained, nevertheless, a source of nurture for the external forces (from the external dimensions of holiness). The revelations of the Era of the Redemption, by contrast, resemble a person who utterly despises evil. In such an instance, there is no possibility for anything contrary to holiness.

A further point can be made. In Tanya,[24] it is explained that the extent of one's hatred for the sitra achra and disgust with evil is proportionate to the extent of one's love for G-d. Thus the distinction between a person who turns away from evil and one who is repelled by evil involves (not only the negation of evil, but also) the extent and the manner of the person's love for G-d.

Accordingly, the distinction (between a person who turns away from evil and one who is repelled by evil) parallels the distinction between the revelation of the era of [King] Shlomo and the revelations of the Era of the Redemption. For in both instances, the distinction between the manner in which evil is negated (that the revelations of the era of [King] Shlomo allowed the possibility for the external forces to derive nurture, while the revelations of the Era of the Redemption will not) comes about because of the differences in the nature of the revelation of light in these two eras.

IV

It is known that all the revelations of the Era of the Redemption are dependent on our deeds and Divine service in the present era.24 One may infer that the revelations of the Era of the Redemption which will not allow for the external forces to derive nurture ([causing] death to be swallowed up forever) will come about, because - as [the Rebbe Maharash] explains in his maamar22 - the Jewish people despise evil with a complete hatred. This causes G-d to direct utter hatred [to the forces of evil, as it is written:][25] "And Esav I hate." This hatred will motivate G-d to "cause the spirit of impurity to depart from the land," [causing] death to be swallowed up forever.

"G-d saw that the tzaddikim were few."[26] (In particular, this applies with regard to those who utterly despise evil, i.e., a perfect tzaddik.24) Indeed, even with regard to a benoni, [the early Chassidim] would say:[27] "Would [I be able] to be a benoni."

Nevertheless, since the "swallowing up of death for eternity" will affect every member of the Jewish people, it follows that the Divine service [which will bring this about] (- the despising of evil with utter hatred -) is within the reach of benonim, and even those who are beneath the rung of a benoni. For every member of the Jewish people has certain occasions - either during prayer, during the study of the Torah, while he is observing the mitzvah in which he is most meticulous,[28] or even while he is involved in his personal concerns [and his intent is] for the sake of heaven,[29] and how much more so[30] if he conducts himself according to the directive:[31] "Know Him in all your ways" - when at that moment he devotes himself entirely to G-dliness. Thus at that time, he is like a perfect tzaddik; he shares no connection with the "soiled garments,"[32] [desires and activities stemming from evil]. Since in the spiritual realms, the unity [with G-d established at these times] is eternal,[33] these [unique moments] draw down a revelation that does not allow for the nurture of the external forces, [precipitating the time when] "He will swallow up death forever."

V

On this basis, [we can understand the verse] "He will swallow up death forever." Until [mankind's] task of refinement is completed, and good and evil are intermingled with each other (this includes even the era of the Beis HaMikdash, and even the era of [King] Shlomo's reign when "the disk of the moon was full"), death will continue to exist, so that the existence of evil will not be perpetuated.

This is also the reason why the bodies of the righteous will return to the earth for an hour before the resurrection.[34] {Before this time, no worm will have had dominion over them,[35] and their bodies will remain intact for hundreds and even thousands of years. Nevertheless, before the resurrection, even the righteous will return to dust.}

The reason for this is that the sin of the Tree of Knowledge brought about a blending of evil with [every element of] worldly [existence]. Therefore, even the bodies of the righteous will require refinement.[36]

In the Era of the Redemption (after the Resurrection of the Dead), the prophecy "And I will cause the spirit of impurity to depart from the land" will be fulfilled. Then there will be no more death, and the body will live forever.

[This applies] even according to the opinion[37] which interprets the verse:[38] "And a youth of 100 years will die," according to its simple meaning. [For the verse applies only] to non-Jews. With regard to the Jews, by contrast, [the prophecy] "He will swallow up death forever" [will be fulfilled].

Moreover, even the death which (this opinion maintains) will occur with regard to non-Jews does not mean actual death, but rather falling [from one's spiritual level], as [our Rabbis say]:[39] "A person who falls from his rung is called 'dead.'"

As [the Rebbe Maharash] explains in [his] maamar,[40] [the phenomenon of death, i.e., descent, that will take place] with regard to the gentiles [can be understood as follows]: as the sparks of holiness contained within them will be refined, they will ascend and the evil within them (the material body which can be termed evil when compared to the sparks of holiness which they contain) will descend. [This is their "death".]

This does not apply with regard to the Jewish people. Their bodies will ascend and derive nurture from holiness as the soul does. Indeed, in that era, the body will be on a higher rung than the soul [as alluded to in the mystical interpretation of the verse,[41]] "The female will encompass the male."

All this will actually take place in a revealed matter within the context of our material world with the coming of the true and ultimate Redemption, [led] by Mashiach; may this take place in the near future.

   

Notes:

  1. (Back to text) Yeshayahu 25:8.

  2. (Back to text) In the year 5628, printed in Sefer HaMaamarim 5628, p. 40. The concepts explained in this maamar also are explained - with additions - in the maamar which follows it, entitled Ravta Es Rivom.

  3. (Back to text) Zechariah 13:2.

  4. (Back to text) Torah Or, Bereishis 5c; see also Maamarei Admur HaEmtzaei, Devarim, Vol. IV, p. 1176ff.; the maamar entitled Daber... Ki Atem, 5651 (Sefer HaMaamarim 5651, p. 197); the maamar entitled Vishavta, Maamarei Admur HaEmtzaei, Vayikra, Vol. II, p. 704ff. and the maamar of that title of the year 5662 (Sefer HaMaamarim 5662, p. 300ff.).

  5. (Back to text) See Likkutei Torah by the AriZal, Parshas Bereishis, the passage beginning "Univa'er Maalas Adam HaRishon." See also Or HaTorah, Derushim LePesach, p. 758; the conclusion of the series of maamarim entitled Padah BiShalom, 5659 and 5704 (Sefer HaMaamarim 5659, p. 176; Sefer HaMaamarim 5704, p. 139ff.).

  6. (Back to text) See the maamar entitled Vishavta cited above which states that through the sin of the Tree of Knowledge, good and evil became intermingled with each other with regard to all four categories of being: inanimate matter, the plant kingdom, the animal kingdom, and mankind.

  7. (Back to text) See Likkutei Dibburim, Vol. I, p. 87a ff.

  8. (Back to text) Bereishis 3:22.

  9. (Back to text) Ibid., 2:17.

  10. (Back to text) Torah Or, loc. cit.

  11. (Back to text) See the maamar entitled Daber... Ki Atem, 5651, cited above (p. 197ff.) and the maamar entitled Vayidaber... Orei Miklat, 5665 (Sefer HaMaamarim 5665, p. 325).

  12. (Back to text) See the maamar in Torah Or cited above (p. 5d): " 'He will swallow up death forever,' for 'You will obliterate evil,' as we say in our prayers (High Holiday liturgy, Siddur Tehillat HaShem, p. 272): 'You will cause all wickedness to go up in smoke.' "

  13. (Back to text) As cited in note 3, p. 41 of that text.

  14. (Back to text) Zohar, Vol. I, pp. 150a, 225b, 243a; Vol. II, p. 85a; Vol. III, pp. 40b, 46a; see also Shmos Rabbah 15:26.

  15. (Back to text) See the explanation of this concept in the maamar entitled Padah BiShalom, 5659 (pp. 162 and 164) and the maamar of that title, 5704 (secs. 19 and 21, pp. 107 and 110-111).

    See also Torah Or, loc. cit. (p. 6a), which explains that the work of refinement in the era of King Shlomo was carried out biderech menuchah, i.e., in a manner characterized by rest and peace. And Torah Or, loc. cit., [also] states that [the spiritual state of the world during that era] can be compared to that of Adam before the sin [of the Tree of Knowledge].

  16. (Back to text) As implied by I Divrei HaYomim 22:9: "Shlomo will be his name. And I will grant peace (shalom) and tranquillity to Israel during his days."

  17. (Back to text) The reason a desire to journey to [meet King] Shlomo became aroused within [the Queen of Sheba] was that she was nullified before him (even while in her own land) due to the reports about him which she had heard. See the maamarim cited above from 5659 (p. 162) and 5704 (p. 107) which state: "Due to the reports of the greatness of his name which were heard for great distances, even the far-removed islands were negated to him, and drawn after him."

  18. (Back to text) See I Kings 10:1-2.

  19. (Back to text) Ibid.:4-5.

  20. (Back to text) See ibid.:13.

  21. (Back to text) As cited in note 3, p. 42 of that text.

  22. (Back to text) [Cf. Tehillim 34:15.]

  23. (Back to text) See Tanya, ch. 10 (p. 15a).

  24. (Back to text) Tanya, the beginning of ch. 37.

  25. (Back to text) Malachi 1:3.

  26. (Back to text) Yoma 38b quoted in Tanya, ch. 1 (5b).

  27. (Back to text) Beis Rebbe, Vol. II, ch. 8, p. 14a, note 1. See also the maamar entitled ViEileh HaMishpatim, 5738, sec. 5 (Sefer HaMaamarim Meluket, Vol. I, p. 309).

  28. (Back to text) See Shabbos 118b; [see also Tanya, Iggeres HaKodesh, Epistle 7, which notes that zahir (rendered as "meticulous") also means "shine." The mitzvah which a person observes most meticulously is the mitzvah through which the light of his soul shines.]

  29. (Back to text) See Avos 2:12; Rambam, Mishneh Torah, Hilchos De'os 3:3; the Tur and the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim, the conclusion of sec. 231). See also Likkutei Sichos, Vol. XXIV, p. 646, the note beginning Kol Maasecho.

  30. (Back to text) See Likkutei Sichos, Vol. III, pp. 907 and 932, and Vol. X, p. 104, [which explains the distinction between the modes of Divine service prompted by each of these verses].

  31. (Back to text) Mishlei 3:6; Rambam, Mishneh Torah, Tur, and Shulchan Aruch, loc. cit; Shulchan Aruch HaRav 156:2.

  32. (Back to text) [Cf. Zechariah 3:3]; see Tanya, ch. 10.

  33. (Back to text) See the parallel in Tanya, ch. 25 (p. 32a).

  34. (Back to text) Shabbos 152b; see also Zohar, Vol. II, p. 108b.

  35. (Back to text) See the Midrash Tehillim to Tehillim 119:9.

  36. (Back to text) This refinement can, however, be brought about by [complete] bittul as [reflected] in the prayer (Berachos 17a; included in the daily liturgy): "Let my soul be as dust to all." When [this Divine service is completed], there is no need for [the tzaddik's body] to actually return to dust. See Sichos Shabbos Parshas Bo, 5748.

  37. (Back to text) The opinion of Rabbi Chanina in Bereishis Rabbah 26:2; see also Pesachim 68a; Sanhedrin 91b.

  38. (Back to text) Yeshayahu 65:20.

  39. (Back to text) This quote is found in Likkutei Torah, Bamidbar, p. 57a, and in other sources in Chassidus. The Zohar, Vol. III, p. 135b - quoted in Eitz Chayim, Shaar 9 (Shaar Sheviras HaKeilim) and Mevo Shearim, Shaar 2, sec. 2, ch. 3 - states, "When one descends from the [spiritual] level at which he was [functioning], the term death may be applied to him."

  40. (Back to text) The maamar entitled Beela HaMaves (p. 40) and the maamar entitled Ravta Es Rivom (p. 42).

  41. (Back to text) Yirmeyahu 31:21. [The "female" refers to the body which in the present era is a recipient from the soul. In the Era of the Redemption, this will change, and the body will become a source of positive influence.]


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