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Publisher's Foreword

Devotion to Task

Merkos L'Inyonei Chinuch & Machne Israel Must Not Falter

A Lifeline

Being Alive and Communicating Vitality

Yud-Beis Tammuz: To Be Every Inch a Chassid

The Month of Av: Mercy in Disguise

Chaf Menachem Av: Holding Tight to the Rebbe's Doorknob

Parshas Re'eh and Elul: Making One's Own Animal Kosher

A Letter for Chai Elul

Sharing with Paupers in Body and Soul

Chai Elul: A King in the Fields

United We Stand

A Letter to Yeshivah Students

Rosh HaShanah: A Healthy Nerve-Center for the Coming Year

Founders of Chassidism & Leaders of Chabad-Lubavitch

Glossary and Biographical Index

Proceeding Together Volume 2
Talks by the Lubavitcher Rebbe,
Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson
After the Passing of the Previous Rebbe,
Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn
on Yud Shvat 5710 [1950]

Yud-Beis Tammuz: To Be Every Inch a Chassid

Translated from Toras Menachem by Uri Kaploun

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  Being Alive and Communicating VitalityThe Month of Av: Mercy in Disguise  

1. Father vs. Mentor.

Concerning[139] miracles and the blessings of thanksgiving that are recited for them, the Sages distinguish[140] a number of levels.[141]

At the highest level stands a miracle that was wrought for the individual himself.

Next: a miracle that was wrought for his father, whether it took place before the son was born (and in this case, too, this miracle ranks lower than a miracle that was performed for the individual himself), or whether it took place after the son was born. In the latter case, too, because of the intrinsic bond between father and son, the miracle is related to the son (i.e., it is more directly related to the son than in the levels to be enumerated below); the miracle that happened to the father is reckoned as if it had happened to the son, that is, to that part of him that is found within his father.[142]

At the next level down: a miracle that was performed for one's mentor.[143] For[144] "a son is an integral part (lit., a 'leg') of his father." Moreover, one's father brings him to the life of this world and, to some extent, to the life of the World to Come.[145] Paternity, furthermore, is deemed by the law of the Torah -- on the grounds of chazakah ("legal presumption") -- to be certain.[146] By contrast, the share in the World to Come to which one is introduced by one's Torah teacher is doubtful, for it could be that their joint study was not perfectly altruistic.[147] (This is further elaborated upon in the maamar of Yud-Beis Tammuz.[148])

Ranking at the lowest level is a miracle performed for a particular person, for one's connection to a particular person is more distant. Indeed, it may be so distant that it is not manifest; it is only that one believes that because that particular person is a comprehensive personality, he presumably has a connection with oneself, too.

2. Head and Heart.

A miracle performed for the Nasi of one's generation does not resemble a miracle performed for a particular individual, such as one's mentor or father; rather, quite literally, it resembles a miracle performed for oneself. For the bond between the Nasi and his contemporaries is not a bond between two entities (and not even like the bond between father and son[149]). Rather, together they actually comprise one body: all his contemporaries are the individual organs which derive their nurture from the Nasi, who is the head.[150]

To consider this concept more closely: In the context of the life-force which the head supplies to the organs, it would be inappropriate to say that in certain limited respects a particular organ receives its vitality from the head and in other respects its vitality is self-sufficient; rather, the entire vitality of that organ derives from the head. In the same way, in the context of the current of life-force which flows from the Nasi to all his contemporaries, all of life's needs receive their vitality and nurture from the Nasi.

We find an illustration of this in the generation of Moshe Rabbeinu, who exclaimed,[151] "Where can I obtain meat to give to all this people?" Because of his sublime stature he was unable to dwarf himself to match the spiritual task of securing meat for the people,[152] (even for the generation of the wilderness, who were a generation of lofty perception[153]). In response to his plaint, G-d instructed him:[154] "Assemble before Me seventy of the elders of Israel..., and I will cause some of the spirit which is upon you to emanate, and I will grant it to them." Now, why should it be necessary that the spiritual provision of meat, which is beneath the level of Moshe, be effected specifically through him? The explanation is, that the spiritual provision of any flow of benevolence can be elicited only by means of Moshe, just as the vitality that animates all the bodily organs can be provided only by means of the head.[155]

The same is true of every generation, for[156] "there is an extension of Moshe in every generation." Moreover,[157] "There is no generation without someone like Moshe." How much more does this apply in the generation of Mashiach for, as is written in Tikkunei Zohar,[158] Moshe will be present in person. The above is true, then, of every generation -- that the downward flow of vitality in all areas of life is secured specifically by means of the Nasi of that generation.

Let us revert to our subject -- the status of a miracle performed for the Nasi of one's generation.

It could be added that a miracle performed for a Nasi is more elevated (even as far as his contemporaries are concerned) than a miracle performed for oneself, just as the head is superior to the other organs. For in addition to its superiority, it is the source that bestows vitality upon all the other organs, and when this very vitality is still situated in the head, it is more spiritual and more elevated than it is once it has been drawn down into the various organs.

There is yet another way in which a miracle performed for a Nasi is superior to a miracle performed for oneself. For with miracles in general, two possible reactions are recorded:[159] "How great is this man, that such a miracle should be wrought for him!" Or, "On the contrary -- how blameworthy is this man, that the natural order of Creation should be disturbed for him!" It is also written[160] that a person for whom a miracle is performed has this privilege "subtracted from the account of his merits." However, when it comes to a miracle performed for a Nasi -- who is the heart of all Israel,[161] and who is[162] "gentle..., clean [of dross] and purer than all else" -- then such a miracle is certainly positive and beneficial in all respects.

3. Festival of Festivals.

We can now understand why the Festival of Liberation [of the Rebbe Rayatz], Yud-Beis-Yud-Gimmel Tammuz, has been called "the festival of festivals."[163]

A festival is a time at which a miracle was performed, and Yud-Beis Tammuz is a comprehensive festival and miracle, a miracle of the head of Israel,[164] from which flow all the personal festivals and miracles.

It is therefore a miracle that affects all Jews. As the Rebbe [Rayatz] expressed this in the letter he wrote in advance of the first anniversary celebration of Yud-Beis Tammuz:[165] "It was not myself alone that the Holy One, blessed be He, redeemed on Yud-Beis Tammuz, but also those who love the Torah and observe its commands, and so too all those who merely bear the name 'Jew'." Moreover, the miracle of Yud-Beis Tammuz affects all times and places -- in a way that recalls the statement in the Haggadah: "If the Holy One, blessed be He, had not taken our forefathers out of Egypt, then we and our children and our children's children [would be enslaved to Pharaoh in Egypt]."

4. The Life of a Tzaddik.

We recently discussed[166] the words of my revered father-in-law, the Rebbe [Rayatz], on Yud-Gimmel Tammuz last year,[167] concerning long life -- true life that is uninterrupted because matters of holiness are infinite. It was explained that he discussed this subject on Yud-Gimmel Tammuz specifically in 5709 [1949] -- and not in 5708 or 5707 -- because this was the last Festival of Liberation before Yud Shvat, 5710 [1950],[168] and it was therefore necessary to anticipate and clarify the subject of eternal life.

To be more specific: The word "life" leaves room for all kinds of ingenious interpretations;[169] for example, that it is a metaphorical allusion to the Torah and the commandments, of which it is said,[170] "they are our life," or that it alludes to one of the other entities which are metaphorically called "life", as it is written,[171] "Ten things are called 'life'." The Rebbe [Rayatz] therefore specified "long life"[172] -- for everyone knows that this phrase (as it appears in the prayers, in Selichos, and the like) means literal, physical life.

Furthermore, the Rebbe [Rayatz] adds to the above phrase, "true life, uninterrupted life."

Even long life -- and even uninterrupted life -- could conceivably be so because they happen to be so; i.e., even though in practice there was no interruption, the opposite could also have been possible. Since in our case we are speaking of a situation in which it appears to fleshly eyes that there was in fact an interruption -- moreover, a situation in which the Shulchan Aruch prescribes that one now has to do various things, etc. -- the Rebbe therefore specifies "true life, uninterrupted life," i.e., true and eternal life in which interruption is out of the question.

The reason for this, as he concludes, is that true life is holiness, and holiness is infinite.

The fact is that this subject is really self-evident from the explanation in Iggeres HaKodesh,[173] that "the life of a tzaddik is not a fleshly life but a spiritual life,[174] consisting of faith, awe, and love." For with regard to spiritual life in general, and particularly with regard to faith and awe and love, it is clear to everyone, even to a coarse understanding, that the concept of death is utterly irrelevant. However, these words were written many years ago, and no one meditates upon them, which is not the case with what was recently said by the Rebbe [Rayatz] and published just now.

5. With the Same Insistence.

It is clear from all the above that everyone is obliged to carry out the mission of the Rebbe [Rayatz] exactly as before.

There are those who think things have changed. In earlier days, so they fancy, one had to fulfill the mission with which one had been charged by the Rebbe because otherwise the Rebbe could summon him to yechidus or write him a letter: "Indeed! I dispatched you on a certain mission and invested you with the requisite strength. Why are you not fulfilling your mission?" Nowadays, such a person thinks, he can do as he pleases.

With regard to this the Rebbe says that life is eternal; accordingly, all the aspects of the shlichus and the powers that the Rebbe provided are still in effect. Now, too, with the same insistence as in former times, he continues to demand the fulfillment of missions on which he has already sent people, and on which he will continue to send people.

There are people who are puzzled by these words. In truth, however, we find in the Tanach:[175] "A letter came to him from the Prophet Eliyahu" -- and this was some years after Eliyahu HaNavi had ascended to heaven in a stormwind![176] Why is it so puzzling, then, that the Rebbe should now continue to dispatch people on shlichus? As to how he is to communicate, -- the Rebbe has his ways, and we don't have to worry about how he is going to make things known. We can depend on him!

6. Spurning a Privilege.

The same kind of thinking applies to the question of studying in the Rebbe's [Tomchei Temimim] Yeshivah.

There are young men who previously studied there, and foolishly left.

(Those who cloak their decision in the mitzvah of honoring their father and mother are also acting unreasonably, because the same Shulchan Aruch that sets out the obligation of honoring one's parents also states that in questions of Torah study one should not take this consideration into account.[177] Moreover, if the Sages taught that[178] "Securing one's own lost property takes precedence over returning the lost property of one's father," then surely this principle applies with redoubled force to a spiritual loss, in which the divine soul stands in danger of becoming lost in the body and animal soul. In such a situation, the obligation of honoring one's parents should not be taken into consideration.)

The great privilege of studying in the Rebbe's Yeshivah should be recognized. Those who have been fortunate in this way should thank and praise G-d for the privilege that has fallen to their lot, and should hold on to it tightly. And those who have unwisely left would be well advised to ask the administration to be readmitted, and they will hopefully oblige.

7. Moshe's Men.

Every single individual among the students [of the Tomchei Temimim Yeshivah], among those who have a bond with the Rebbe,[179] and among the chassidim, should recognize that he is one of[180] "Moshe's men." This status remains intact forever and ever, for oneself and for one's descendants, until the coming of our Righteous Mashiach. Moreover, even those who previously did not have a connection with the Rebbe can now be his chassidim.

Basically, this means that there is no difference at all between beforehand and now.

Indeed, if there is a difference, it is only a positive one. As explained in Iggeres HaKodesh,173 after the passing of a tzaddik it is easier for his disciples to receive a flow of spiritual energy from his life, because that life is no longer limited within a physical vessel or garment.

The above is true of the provision of blessings to all those who engage -- and who will engage -- in the Rebbe's work. Now, after the histalkus, when he is not restricted by the limitations of a physical body, all the blessings are forthcoming in extreme abundance.

The Rebbe [Rayatz] once remarked that he had always been in debt, but had never been bankrupt, G-d forbid. Now the Rebbe is paying up all his debts, all the blessings that he promised in general, and especially the blessings given to those who engage -- and who will engage -- in his work. And, as we just said, the downward flow of blessings will now be extremely abundant.

8. Lending a Finger.

The above-described situation -- in which nothing has changed, except positively -- relates to the Rebbe. But we have to do something, too.

The hiskashrus of the Rebbe and chassidim is such that as far as the Rebbe is concerned, all blessings are forthcoming. The Rebbe wants to draw blessings downward, because[181] "it is the nature of the benevolent to do good." Indeed,[182] "More than the calf wants to suck, the cow wants to give milk." In preparation for this, however, every individual has to work on himself. When that is done the Rebbe helps, out of all proportion to one's own preparatory work.

In this spirit, the Midrash[183] relates that R. Chanina ben Dosa wished to dedicate something to the treasury of the Beis HaMikdash, but he owned nothing whatever. He found a large stone, but was unable to bring it up to Jerusalem. Some angels appeared before him and said: "We will bring this stone up to Jerusalem for you -- provided that you lend your hand and your finger to the endeavor." He helped them with his hand and his finger, and in a moment they found themselves in Jerusalem.

Even though the task of transporting the stone was utterly beyond his power, and only within the power of the angels, they stipulated that he lend his hand and his finger to the effort. The reason: The Divine intent is that there be individual endeavor. Through his individual endeavor, even by helping with a mere finger, a person is granted the requisite assistance to elevate his stone -- his[184] "heart of stone" -- and to dedicate it to heaven. In this way his heart itself, or at least its equivalent [i.e., its practical influence on his life], becomes sanctified.[185]

9. Dedicating the Whole Man.

The above model of hekdesh (dedicated or sanctified property) parallels the entire subject of hiskashrus to the Rebbe.

The law prescribes that if a person dedicates one organ [of an animal as a sacrifice], if it is an organ on which the life of the animal depends, sanctity devolves upon its entire body.[186]

This can be understood in either of two ways:

  1. As far as the person is concerned, sanctity relates only to this particular organ; nevertheless, since the vitality of the whole body depends on this organ, the sanctity spreads spontaneously throughout the whole body. (At first glance, it would appear that this is what is implied by the wording of the Gemara:[187] "The sanctity spreads throughout its entirety.")

  2. Since the vitality of the whole body depends on this organ, the person is deemed to have dedicated the whole body from the outset. (The Gemara explains the rationale of this view.) Even if he were to state explicitly that he wished to dedicate this organ alone, this would be as meaningless as to declare, "I hereby vow to be a nazirite[188] on condition that I will not offer the three [obligatory] sacrifices" -- because the very statement, "I hereby vow to be a nazirite," makes the prescribed sacrifices obligatory, and thereafter one cannot stipulate that he will be exempt from offering them.[189] Here, likewise, a person who dedicates an organ on which the life of the animal depends is deemed to have dedicated the whole body from the outset, and thereafter he cannot disengage the pervasive sanctity from the other organs.

A similar principle underlies the bond of hiskashrus between chassid and Rebbe. Even when only one element [in the life of the chassid] is under discussion, this element is "an organ upon which the life of the entire creature depends," as regards both the Rebbe and the chassid.

A chassid comes to the Rebbe with a request about a particular spiritual or material matter, not because the Rebbe is an expert in this particular matter, but because the Rebbe is a neshamah klalis, a comprehensive soul. As explained above,[190] he resembles the head, which comprises the vitality of all the organs of the body -- and this includes the particular subject of the request.

Likewise, when the Rebbe answers him -- even about a particular, limited subject -- he addresses himself to the chassid with his soul, no less. (It goes without saying that the Rebbe does not do this as a matter of course, for among chassidim there is no such concept; as the Tzemach Tzedek used to say, chassidim ought to be "G-d-fearing as a result of their avodah, and not G-d-fearing as a matter of course."[191]) And when the Rebbe addresses himself to the chassid with his entire soul, his intent is that by means of the particular subject of the present request he will be able to elevate and sanctify the soul of the individual before him, as far as is humanly possible. (Just how far is humanly possible? It is written in Tanna dvei Eliyahu[192] that every Jew is able to yearn and say, "When will my deeds equal the deeds of my forefathers, Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov?")

Since the Rebbe's intent in this encounter is to elevate and sanctify the chassid in his entirety, every particular subject that is raised between them entails the sanctification of an organ on which the life of the entire body depends -- because through that subject, the man's entire being becomes kedushah.

And since the Rebbe, who is the head and the ruler of all the organs, sanctified and dedicated the soul of that individual chassid, that chassid now has no alternative! Even if, nevertheless, he were to make an undesirable choice, the Rebbe has seen to it that this should pass[193] "with Divine kindness and mercy." The only real alternative left to him is whether to tackle his spiritual tasks today, or to postpone them to tomorrow -- but if one can begin today, why postpone till tomorrow?

Today, the Rebbe's birthday and his Festival of Liberation, is an auspicious time for making positive resolutions in all the matters discussed, and by making such resolutions one receives all blessings for material and spiritual success.

10. Straying by a Hair's-breadth.

It is explained in the maamar [delivered by the Rebbe Rayatz on] Yud-Beis Tammuz[194] that Torah should be studied in a spirit of bittul, self-effacement, which is attained by first undertaking the labor of self-refinement during prayer.[195] If a person studies Torah without this humility, he cannot become a receptor[196] for the Torah's truth. His study then makes him opinionated, and when he studies in this frame of mind, he descends (G-d forbid) from one level to the next.

The Rebbe [Rayatz] goes on to specify a number of levels: "He becomes self-centered...; i.e., he feels pleased with himself because he studies so much, and grows self-important..., until even his study is eventually motivated by the desire to boast and to be esteemed, or else it serves to make him reproachful, and the like. He may even descend beyond this, G-d forbid, until the Torah[197] 'becomes poison for him.'"

Let me show you how precisely my revered father-in-law, the Rebbe [Rayatz], chose every word.

First of all, one would have thought that the above idea could have been expressed briefly -- that when one studies Torah without bittul, "it becomes poison for him," G-d forbid, as in the teaching of the Sages197 which the Rebbe quotes in the maamar: "If a person is found worthy, it becomes for him an elixir of life; if he is not found worthy, it becomes poison for him."

The explanation for this is to be found in the following metaphor, with which the Rebbe illustrated the process of spiritual deterioration.

A man does not get lost in a forest all of a sudden. He is not on the open highway at one moment, only to find himself one moment later among beasts of prey in the forest wilds. Rather, at first he strayed from the highway by a mere hair's-breadth. Then, as time went on -- unless he returned to the straight path -- the hair's-breadth grew to be[198] "a sin like a cart-rope."

So, too, with the subject of the maamar: The individual begins with nothing more than a lack of bittul; from that he becomes opinionated; until eventually he can arrive at a situation in which the Torah becomes for him the opposite of an elixir of life.[199]

11. The Price of Conceit.

This process itself comprises a number of levels, as indicated by the particular expressions used in the maamar.

The first stage in being opinionated is that the individual "feels pleased with himself because he studies so much, and grows self-important." In other words, his study is in order; it is only that he is pleased with himself. In this connection, the Rebbe once spoke of a young chassid whose prayers one day extended over a number of hours, and when they had come to an end, a certain elder chassid quipped: "Well, at least he has forgiven himself...." Apparently, the young man had been unduly pleased with himself.

The state of being opinionated derives from the kelipas nogah -- of the World of Atzilus -- which is known as "Reumah," from the words, reu mah.[200] If a person is pleased with himself on account of his supposed bittul, it is obviously not real bittul. As a result, the Torah that he studies is unable to ascend to the World of Atzilus, where[201] "He and his causations are one," but remains in the World of Beriah.

At the next step down, "even his study is eventually motivated by the desire to boast." I.e., he is now no longer at the stage at which his study was unaffected, the stage at which the problem was only that he was pleased with himself. Nevertheless, at the present stage his boastfulness exists only within his own eyes, in the privacy of his own room. He reminds himself of the chassidic adage[202] that "just as one ought to recognize one's own shortcomings, one ought to recognize one's own qualities." Why, then, he asks himself, should he not give his own qualities due recognition...? And if he is lacking in the avodah of prayer, this is unconnected -- so he argues -- with Torah study. In support of himself, he quotes an explicit statement in the Gemara[203] (and the Alter Rebbe rules accordingly in his Hilchos Talmud Torah[204]): "A person should always engage in Torah and the mitzvos even though he is not doing so for altruistic motives, because through doing so with imperfect motives[205] he will eventually come to do so for its own sake."[206] And since these calculations are conducted within his own head, without the involvement of others, this conceit derives from the kelipas nogah of the World of Beriah (and no lower), which is predominantly not evil.

At a lower stage, his study is even motivated by the desire to be esteemed by others. Conceit at this level derives from the kelipas nogah of the World of Yetzirah. The evil in this kelipah equals the good, for this individual now seeks aggrandizement not only in his own eyes but also in the eyes of others.

At a yet lower stage, his study of the Torah "serves to make him reproachful, and the like." At this point he is not satisfied with being esteemed by others; he now studies in order to prove his prowess by attempting to refute any original scholarly argument of his colleagues. To this end, he is willing to employ even false logic (as is hinted at in the words, "and the like"). As far as the objective scholarly truth is concerned, there will be time to worry about that at some later date.... In addition to the intrinsic evil in being destructively argumentative, this kind of talk introduces untruths into the study of the Torah. It thus derives from the kelipas nogah of the World of Asiyah, which is predominantly evil -- a world[207] "in which the wicked prevail."

The maamar of the Rebbe [Rayatz] finally adds: "He may even descend beyond this, G-d forbid, until the Torah4 'becomes poison for him.'" This level of spiritual activity derives from the three utterly impure kelipos.[208]

As explained, this entire process is set in motion by a lack of bittul during the study of Torah. Even when one's study is not prompted by a desire to boast, but by "fear of the teacher's strap,"[209] or even when one's study is neutral,[210] being neither209 "for its own sake" nor205 "with an actual negative motivation," as explained in Tanya,[211] -- even then, if bittul is lacking, one's study becomes tainted by conceit, and so on, until one can arrive at a state which is the opposite of "an elixir of life" (G-d forbid).

12. Prayer as Preparation.

In order to attain bittul in one's Torah study, which then becomes "an elixir of life" -- not only nourishing, but healing, as explained in the maamar[212] -- one must first engage in the labor of self-refinement during prayer.195

Before the Baal Shem Tov people commonly sought self-refinement through fasts and self-mortification; it was an innovation of the Baal Shem Tov that avodah must be undertaken in a spirit of joy. He taught that one should not break one's body,[213] but should refine and purify it. A classic teaching[214] in this spirit interprets a certain verse which ordinarily means:[215] "If you see the donkey of your enemy lying under its burden, you might want to refrain from helping him, but instead you must make every effort to help him." On the non-literal level of derush, the Baal Shem Tov taught:

"If you see the donkey (chamor): If you look at your own materiality (chomer), i.e., your body, and it appears to be your enemy, inasmuch as it hates the soul; if, moreover, you observe that it is lying under its burden, that it is idly neglecting its G-d-given task of refining itself by means of the Torah and the commandments; then you might want to refrain from helping it to fulfill this task, and instead seek to crush your materiality by means of penances and self-mortification. Know, however, that not in this path dwells the light of the Torah. Rather, you must make every effort to help it (imo -- lit., 'with it'), by refining and purifying the body, not by afflicting it with self-mortification."

One's avodah, then, should aim at refining and uplifting the body, so that far from "lying under its burden" it will serve, like a donkey, as an efficient beast of burden.[216] And above all, this task should be carried out joyfully.

This attitude is also crucial to the avodah of prayer. A man should prepare himself for this in the spirit of the teaching that[217] "One should not stand up for prayer except in an earnest frame of mind," but also in the spirit of the teaching that217 "One should not stand up for prayer... except out of the joy of performing a mitzvah."

From this we may understand something about the bittul that is effected through the avodah of prayer. This avodah is not aimed at negating one's existence, but at becoming connected with the Holy One, blessed be He (which is the content of prayer). This connection eventually permeates one's studies as well, to the point that one has the awareness and the feeling that the Torah is G-d's wisdom and will. And when a student reaches this stage, he relates to the Torah not in a spirit of self-importance, but in a spirit of genuine self-effacement.

13. The Torah Dwarfs Creation.

This is crucial to yeshivah students in particular, whether they study in chassidic yeshivos or not. In keeping with the principle,[218] "I place G-d before me always," they need to keep in mind constantly that the Torah is G-d's wisdom and will.

To borrow the language of the Sages,[219] the study of Torah must be preceded by a blessing over it ("They first recited a blessing over the Torah"[220]) in order that one remember "the Giver of the Torah."[221] This in turn grants an awareness and a sensitivity to the stature of the Torah, inasmuch as it is G-d's wisdom and will.

This can be more fully appreciated when one considers that the spiritual stature of the Torah is infinitely superior to that of the worlds. The world was created through only two letters [i.e., creative utterances in the Holy Tongue]. As the Sages teach,[222] "With the letter yud the World to Come was created; with the letter hei this world was created." Loftier than such letters that comprise Divine speech, are the letters that comprise Divine thought; loftier than these letters are the Divine attributes; and transcending all these levels is the Divine Intellect[223] -- the Torah, which is G-d's wisdom. And G-d and His wisdom are One.[224]

14. Sowing Ruchniyus.

We recently spoke[225] of the need to invigorate the outreach itineraries organized in the summer by Merkos L'Inyonei Chinuch, because last year's efforts left room for improvement. It is true that there is no crying over the past -- but there is certainly room for correcting the past.

Let all the young men who travel out of town as emissaries of Merkos L'Inyonei Chinuch know that they are accompanied by the Rebbe. (I'm not saying "part of the Rebbe,"[226] because every etzem, every integral essence, is indivisible; rather, the Rebbe in his entirety[227] accompanies every single one of them.) This entails a heavy responsibility. In addition to the fact that they (so to speak) trouble the Rebbe to travel with them wherever they go, they ought to know that when the Rebbe accompanies them he personally watches their every movement, examining their work in fulfillment of their mission, which should therefore be carried out in the most perfect manner possible.

Similar vigilance should be applied to their personal conduct, for people look upon them as Lubavitcher students. If their conduct is as it should be, those who observe them will want to register their sons in Lubavitcher yeshivos, and marry off their daughters to Lubavitcher students. And in case of the reverse, they bear responsibility for it.

Likewise, those students who are going home during summer, who also ought to engage in the Rebbe's mission wherever they will be, should also know that the Rebbe is accompanying them -- for the ultimate intent underlying their visit home is not their private affairs, but the fulfillment of the Rebbe's mission in their respective environments.

This recalls a directive of the Rebbe to one of the Lubavitcher fundraising emissaries: One should not only take, but also give -- one ought to "sow ruchniyus." Indeed, it could well be that the Rebbe's main intent in sending every emissary is what he gives. As far as the taking is concerned, the Rebbe could certainly have managed without dispatching people, because if he was able to advise others how to prosper, he could certainly advise himself how to prosper. It is therefore apparent that his intent in dispatching emissaries is what they give -- except that because of the Opposite Party,[228] he was forced to camouflage his inner intent by various other matters.

15. Where Do You Really Live?

Just as those who travel from here need to know that the Rebbe is with them in whatever place they may be, so, too, those who visit this place, the four walls of the Rebbe, ought to know that their permanent place of residence is really here, between the four walls of the Rebbe -- except that for the time being (even if that time happens to extend over a long period) they leave. (This permanence applies also to those who come only in their spare time, or whenever their good lady happens to think it's a convenient time to visit....) By way of precedent for this, the Gemara extols a certain "one-day scholar"[229] [who used to travel to the House of Study for three months, study for one day, and travel home for three months]. It should also be noted that according to the Torah, the criterion for permanence is not measured in time, but in the soul. This is seen in the laws relating to a sukkah.[230]

The Gemara[231] teaches that in future time, "The stones and rafters of a man's house will testify concerning him, as it is written,[232] 'For a stone will cry out from the wall, and a beam out of the timber will answer it.'" This means that even after the lapse of thousands of years (from when this verse was first spoken until[233] "the coming of the great and awesome Day of G-d"), the rafters of a house (which does not last very long) will testify concerning what took place within it. How much more so must this apply to the four walls and the rafters of the Rebbe's house, the house in which he prayed and studied and undertook all his activities and in which, when receiving people at yechidus, he became bonded with the yechidah in their souls. Most certainly, then, the rafters of this house, in which we now find ourselves, have fully absorbed every expression of the Rebbe's essence.

The only distinction among those present is that there are people whose four cubits[234] are here physically, and there are others whose four cubits are physically elsewhere. When they leave, they have to take with them these four cubits, for, as we have said, the Rebbe travels together with every individual who sets out to fulfill his mission. And by virtue of this -- since the Rebbe never remains a debtor, just as[235] "G-d does not deprive any creature of its reward" -- he will no doubt direct toward them all the blessings they need, for abundant success both materially and spiritually.

[At the close of the farbrengen the Rebbe said:] A gutn Yom-Tov, until the next chassidisher farbrengen. And no doubt the Rebbe (may he be well -- as a certain chassid once wrote to me[236]) will lead us to greet Mashiach, speedily, in our days, Amen.



  1. (Back to text) This sichah was delivered on Yud-Beis Tammuz, 5710 [1950]. Sections 1-3 appear in Likkutei Sichos, Vol. IV, p. 1321ff.

  2. (Back to text) See Tur Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim, sec. 218.

  3. (Back to text) I.e., levels in the degree of relationship to oneself, for on this hinges the obligation to recite a blessing of thanksgiving for the occurrence of a miracle. [-- Note by the Rebbe.]

  4. (Back to text) As explained in Tanya, end of ch. 2, drawing on the writings of the AriZal (in [his] Likkutei Torah, Parshas Vayeira; Taamei HaMitzvos, Parshas Bereishis), it sometimes happens that "the soul of an infinitely lofty person comes to be the son of an ignoble and lowly person"; i.e., as far as the essence (etzem) of the souls is concerned, a father and a son can conceivably be remotely removed from each other. Even in such a case, however, "no Nefesh, Ruach and Neshamah is without a levush (lit., a 'garment') which stems from the Nefesh of its father's and mother's essence." (This is why it is essential that the father and mother conduct themselves in a holy manner during their union -- in order to "bring forth a holy garment" for the child.)

    Hence, insofar as the essence of the souls is concerned, it is possible that a miracle that was performed for that component of an individual that is to be found in his father, is not related to him. Nevertheless, insofar as concerns the levush (the "soul-garment") that he received from his father, the miracle performed for his father is in fact related and connected to him.

    (This principle is invoked in the writings of the AriZal (Likkutei Torah, loc. cit.; et al.) to explain the universal obligation of honoring one's father and mother: Even when as far as the essence (etzem) of the souls is concerned, a father and a son may well be remotely removed from each other, they are still related by virtue of the levush, and for this reason the son remains obliged to honor his parents.) [-- Note by the Rebbe.]

  5. (Back to text) Their relative status is apparent from the wording of the Shulchan Aruch (loc. cit., 218:6): "For a miracle performed for one's mentor (rav) one is obliged to recite a blessing just as (k'sheim) one recites a blessing for a miracle performed for one's father." I.e., the obligation primarily relates to a miracle performed for one's father, except that from this the Sages derived the lesser obligation of reciting a blessing for a miracle performed for one's mentor. [-- Note by the Rebbe.]

  6. (Back to text) Yonas Elem, beginning of ch. 2; Etz Chayim, Shaar 23, ch. 1; Shelah, p. 154a; et al. Cf. Eruvin 70b.

  7. (Back to text) Cf. Bava Metzia 33a, in the mishnah.

  8. (Back to text) Rambam, Hilchos Issurei Biah 1:20.

  9. (Back to text) The above contrast might seem to be contradicted by the following teachings: (a) "Returning the lost property of one's mentor takes precedence over returning the lost property of one's father" (Bava Metzia, loc. cit.); (b) "One's mentor takes precedence over one's father in every situation" (end of Kerisos).

    These two cases, however, would appear to be decided by the obligation to respect one's mentor, and in this, the fact that he has done him a favor is relevant. (Cf. Talmud Yerushalmi, Kiddushin 1:7 [and commentaries there]: "Just as a father's merits bestow five attributes upon his son, so does the son have five obligations towards his father.") Besides, the gift of a modest share in the World to Come outweighs the gift of a generous share in this world. Moreover, one's father, too, is obliged to respect one's mentor.

    With regard to a miracle, however, what matters is the connection between the two individuals -- and the connection with one's father is clearer and more essential.

    For the moment, the above will suffice. [-- Note by the Rebbe.]

  10. (Back to text) This maamar was delivered by the Rebbe Rayatz in 5694 [1934], and published by the Rebbe in Sefer HaMaamarim 5710 [1950]. See there, p. 258ff.

  11. (Back to text) See Likkutei Dibburim, Vol. I, p. 50a (and in English translation: Vol. I, p. 116).

  12. (Back to text) See Likkutei Sichos, Vol. IV, p. 1050ff., and the references indicated there. See also Rashi on Bamidbar 21:21: "Moshe is Israel and Israel are Moshe -- which teaches you that the Nasi of a generation is like the entire generation, for the Nasi is everything." See also Rambam, Hilchos Melachim 3:6: "The heart of the king... is the heart of the entire community of Israel." [-- Note by the Rebbe.]

  13. (Back to text) Bamidbar 11:13.

  14. (Back to text) See Likkutei Torah, Parshas Behaalos'cha, p. 31d.

  15. (Back to text) In the original, dor deah. See Vayikra Rabbah 9:1; Bamidbar Rabbah 19:3, and references listed there.

  16. (Back to text) Bamidbar 11:16-17.

  17. (Back to text) See Sefer HaMaamarim -- Kuntreisim, Vol. II, p. 333b.

  18. (Back to text) Tikkunei Zohar, Tikkun 69 (pp. 112a, 114a).

  19. (Back to text) Bereishis Rabbah 56:7.

  20. (Back to text) Tikkun 21 (p. 50b).

  21. (Back to text) Shabbos 53b.

  22. (Back to text) Op. cit. 32a, and sources cited there.

  23. (Back to text) Rambam, Hilchos Melachim 3:6.

  24. (Back to text) Zohar III, 221b.

  25. (Back to text) In the original, moed hamoadim. From a letter of the Rebbe Rayatz in honor of Yud-Beis Tammuz, 5692 [1932]; see Igros Kodesh (Letters) of the Rebbe Rayatz, Vol. II, p. 420, and references listed there.

  26. (Back to text) Cf. Bereishis Rabbah 59:5: "Moshe is the miracle of Israel...; the miracle of Moshe is the Holy One, blessed be He." [-- Note by the Rebbe.]

  27. (Back to text) Igros Kodesh (Letters) of the Rebbe Rayatz, Vol. II, p.80, and see references there. Partly translated in Sefer HaMinhagim: The Book of Chabad-Lubavitch Customs, p. 90. See also Definace and Devotion.

  28. (Back to text) See pp. 30-31 above.

  29. (Back to text) Sefer HaMaamarim 5710 [1950], p. 262.

  30. (Back to text) The date of the histalkus (passing) of the Rebbe Rayatz.

  31. (Back to text) In the Yiddish original, pshetlach.

  32. (Back to text) In the Maariv prayer; Siddur Tehillat HaShem, p. 107.

  33. (Back to text) Avos deRabbi Nasan, end of sec. 34.

  34. (Back to text) In the original, chayim aruchim.

  35. (Back to text) Tanya -- Iggeres HaKodesh, in the Elucidation -- i.e., Part (b) -- of Epistle 27; see Lessons In Tanya, Vol. V, p. 174ff.

  36. (Back to text) In the original, chayim ruchniyim.

  37. (Back to text) II Divrei HaYamim 21:12.

  38. (Back to text) II Melachim 2:11.

  39. (Back to text) Yoreh Deah, end of sec. 240.

  40. (Back to text) Cf. Bava Metzia 33a, in the mishnah.

  41. (Back to text) In the original, mekusharim.

  42. (Back to text) In the original, anshei Moshe. See Torah Or, Parshas Tetzaveh, p. 83b; Sefer HaMaamarim 5709 [1949], p. 51ff.; et al.

  43. (Back to text) In the original, teva hatov leheitiv; see R. Zvi Hirsch Ashkenazi, Chacham Zvi (Responsa), sec. 18, and R. Yosef Irgas, Shomer Emunim 2:14, quoting Kabbalistic sources. (Cited in Shaar HaYichud VehaEmunah, ch. 4; see Lessons In Tanya, Vol. III, p. 862.)

  44. (Back to text) Pesachim 112a.

  45. (Back to text) Koheles Rabbah, at the beginning, and see references cited there.

  46. (Back to text) Yechezkel 11:19, 36:26.

  47. (Back to text) The original metaphorically borrows the halachic terms, kedushas haguf and kedushas damim.

  48. (Back to text) See the Encyclopedia Talmudit, s.v. avar she'haneshamah t'luyah (p. 109ff.), and sources listed there.

  49. (Back to text) Arachin 4b.

  50. (Back to text) Bamidbar 6:1-21.

  51. (Back to text) The reason: "His stipulation runs counter to a statement in the Torah," and is thus invalid. (See Rambam, Hilchos Nezirus 1:13.)

  52. (Back to text) In sec. 2.

  53. (Back to text) In the more quotable Yid. original, avodah'dikke yerei-shamayims, nit kein bemeile'dikke yerei-shamayims. (Sefer HaSichos 5700 [1940], p. 57; see also Sefer HaSichos 5702 [1942], p. 119.)

  54. (Back to text) Sec. 25.

  55. (Back to text) See HaYom Yom, entry for 20 MarCheshvan; et al.

  56. (Back to text) See footnote 148 above, and p. 260 in that source.

  57. (Back to text) In the original, avodas hatefillah.

  58. (Back to text) In the original, kli (lit., "a vessel").

  59. (Back to text) Yoma 72b.

  60. (Back to text) Yeshayahu 5:18; see also Sukkah 52a.

  61. (Back to text) This euphemism is one example of many circumlocutions by which the Rebbe customarily sidesteps harsh or judgmental phrases. Cf. Pesachim 3a.

  62. (Back to text) In Chassidus, the word mah (lit., "What?") signifies bittul. The phrase reu mah thus signifies, "Just look at my bittul...!" (See Likkutei Torah, Parshas Tazria, p. 23d; Parshas Behar, p. 43a; et al.)

  63. (Back to text) Introduction to Tikkunei Zohar (p. 3b). See Lessons In Tanya, Vol. IV, p. 357.

  64. (Back to text) HaYom Yom, entry for 26 MarCheshvan; et al.

  65. (Back to text) Pesachim 50b, and see references listed there.

  66. (Back to text) 4:3.

  67. (Back to text) In the original, shelo lishmah.

  68. (Back to text) In the original, lishmah.

  69. (Back to text) Etz Chayim, Shaar 42, ch. 4.

  70. (Back to text) I.e., they contain no good whatever, in contrast to kelipas nogah, where the husk of evil conceals a glimmer of light.

  71. (Back to text) See Tanya -- Kuntreis Acharon, in Lessons In Tanya, Vol. V, p. 290.

  72. (Back to text) In the original, stam.

  73. (Back to text) See Tanya -- Kuntreis Acharon, op. cit., p. 282.

  74. (Back to text) See footnote 148 above, and p. 260 in that source.

  75. (Back to text) Cf. the teaching which the Rebbe [Rayatz] transmitted in the name of his father [the Rebbe Rashab], extolling the preciousness of the physical body: For its sake a mass of Torah and mitzvos "was generously poured out." (See also Kuntreis MiSichos Shabbos Parshas Mishpatim, 5747 [1987], sec. 4, and references listed there.) [-- Note by the Rebbe.]

  76. (Back to text) HaYom Yom, entry for 28 Shvat; et al.

  77. (Back to text) Shmos 23:5.

  78. (Back to text) Avodah Zarah 5b.

  79. (Back to text) Berachos 5:1.

  80. (Back to text) Tehillim 16:8.

  81. (Back to text) Nedarim 81a; Bava Metzia 85b.

  82. (Back to text) See Likkutei Sichos, Vol. XV, p. 3, and references listed there.

  83. (Back to text) In the original, nosain haTorah. This is the concluding phrase of the blessing which precedes the study or public reading of the Torah; Siddur Tehillat HaShem, p. 10.

  84. (Back to text) Menachos 29b.

  85. (Back to text) In the original, these levels are called: osiyos hadibbur; osiyos hamachshavah; middos; mochin.

  86. (Back to text) Rambam, Hilchos Yesodei HaTorah 2:10.

  87. (Back to text) On the Second Day of Shavuos; see Vol. I of the present work, p. 162.

  88. (Back to text) In the Yid. original, a shtikl Rebbe.

  89. (Back to text) In the Yid. original, der gantzer Rebbe.

  90. (Back to text) In the original, biglal hatzad shekeneged;" a euphemism for, "In order to parry the resistance of the unholy side of Creation...."

  91. (Back to text) In the original Aram., bar bei-rav dechad yoma; see Chagigah 5b.

  92. (Back to text) See the Alter Rebbe's Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 639:1 and 639:4; et al.

  93. (Back to text) Taanis 11a.

  94. (Back to text) Chavakuk 2:11.

  95. (Back to text) Malachi 3:23.

  96. (Back to text) In the original, daled amos; an idiom for the limited space one occupies.

  97. (Back to text) Bava Kama 38b, and see references there.

  98. (Back to text) See also Vol. I of the present work, p. 137.

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