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Publishers Foreword

Shabbos Parshas Pinchus
14th Day of Tammuz, 5744

Yechidus
16th Day of Tammuz, 5744

Yechidus to Bar Mitzvah Boys & Their Parents
16th Day of Tammuz, 5744

Yechidus to Chassanim & Kallos
16th Day of Tammuz, 5744

17th Day of Tammuz, 5744
After Minchah

Shabbos Parshas Massai
28th Day of Tammuz, 5744

Shabbos Parshas Devorim
6th Day of Menachem-Av, 5744

15th Day of Menachem-Av, 5744

Day Camps
16th Day of Menachem-Av, 5744

Shabbos Parshas Eikev
20th Day of Menachem-Av, 5744

21st Day of Menachem-Av, 5744

Kollel Tiferes Zekainim Levi Yitzchok
23rd Day of Menachem-Av, 5744

Shabbos Parshas Reey
27th Day of Menachem-Av, 5744

Gan Yisroel & Emunah Camps
1st Day of Rosh Chodesh Elul, 5744

The Letter sent out by the Lubavitcher Rebbe
18th Day of Elul, 5744

Shabbos Parshas Ki Sovo
18th Day of Elul, 5744

Tzivos Hashem
21st Day of Elul, 5744

The Letter Sent Out by the Lubavitcher Rebbe
25th Day of Elul, 5744

Shabbos Parshas Nitzavim-Vayeilech
25th Day of Elul, 5744

Nshei Ubnos Chabad
27th Day of Elul, 5744

Erev Rosh Hashanah, 5745

Sichos In English
Excerpts of Sichos delivered by The Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson
Vol. 22 Tammuz-Elul, 5744


Shabbos Parshas Devorim
6th Day of Menachem-Av, 5744


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  Shabbos Parshas Massai
28th Day of Tammuz, 5744
15th Day of Menachem-Av, 5744  

1. In discussing the idea of Shabbos Chazon we should begin with something associated with the merits and qualities of Jews, This should be emphasized all year around, and certainly in a time when tragedy should be transformed into joy the three weeks and especially the 9 days from Rosh Chodesh Av until Tishah BeAv.

When, therefore, we discuss concepts and laws which evidence tragedy and sorrow, we should first and foremost explain their inner meaning the merit of Jews. When afterwards we discuss their external meaning, their inner dimension is also revealed.

On this Shabbos, then, the principal element of which is Shabbos Chazon, we should begin with something associated with the merits and qualities N Jews, as seen in the inner meaning of Shabbos Chazon.

R. Hillel of Paritch said, in the name of the Berditchever Rebbe, that Shabbos Chazon derives from the word mechzeh (vision), for on this Shabbos each Jew is shown the Beis HaMikdash of the future. Thus the inner meaning of Shabbos Chazon that every Jew sees the future Beis HaMikdash emphasizes the qualities of a Jew. Because of this, Shabbos Chazon is on a level loftier than that of a regular Shabbos.

That every Jew sees the future Beis HaMikdash on Shabbos Chazon is an amazing phenomenon. Rambam writes (Hilchos Beis HaBechirah 1:4): The building to be erected in the future, although it is discussed in the Book of Yechezkel, is not fully described and defined. Those who built the second Beis HaMikdash in the days of Ezra built it following [the pattern of] Shlomos building, and somewhat similar to the matters explicated in Yechezkel. When the third and future Beis HaMikdash will be built, all the particulars that were not explicitly emphasized until then will be revealed.

On Shabbos Chazon, however, every Jew sees the future Beis HaMikdash in all its details although the building to be erected in the future ... is not fully described and defined! But the fact remains that every Jew is shown the future Beis HaMikdash on Shabbos Chazon!

By first explaining the inner meaning of Shabbos Chazon as it relates to the merits of Jews, we are supplying the cure beforehand to the externally tragic aspect of Shabbos Chazon (Shabbos Chazon the Shabbos before Tishah BeAv when the Beis HaMikdash was destroyed because of the sins of the Jews).

Moreover, the inner aspect of Shabbos Chazon is revealed also externally: even in exile a Jew actually sees openly the inner goal of the destruction the rebuilding of the Beis HaMikdash in a manner better than the original. In other words, the Beis HaMikdash was destroyed only so that we should eventually have the lofty quality of the future Beis HaMikdash.

True, this goal is not realized in this material world until the third Beis HaMikdash will actually be built. Nevertheless, concerning the persons service, the ultimate goal and purpose of the destruction is shown to him and a person is where his thoughts are.

Further, it is within the persons ability to bring the actual, physical Beis HaMikdash. The Alter Rebbe writes: It is stated in Tikkunim that if even one tzaddik in a generation would return in perfect repentance, Mashiach would come. When a Jews service is proper, Mashiach will come immediately and thus every Jew has the ability to cause the future Beis HaMikdash to be built.

This concept will be understood more clearly by reference to the parable drawn by the Rebbe Maharash. He said that the effect of our deeds and service now are analogous to a person who has in his possession a locked box of jewels and precious stones, and also possesses the key to the box. Thus, not only does the person have the box, but he also is able to open the box whenever he wishes.

In terms of Jews service during the exile, this means the following. The Alter Rebbe writes (Tanya, ch. 37): The ultimate perfection of the Messianic era ... which is the revelation of the light of G-dliness in this physical world, depends on our deeds and our service during all the time of exile. Since this is so, once we have performed the requisite deeds and service it is impossible that the dwelling of G-dliness in this world (the revelation of the light of G-dliness) should be delayed. Torah commands: Do not let a workers wages remain with you overnight and You must give him his wage on the day it is done. G-d fulfills that which He commands Jews, and thus G-d will not withhold a Jews reward: As soon as a Jew completes a days service G-d gives him his reward that He dwells in the world.

Because, however, service is not complete (there remains the other days service), the reward is given in a locked box. Simultaneously, however, the fact that the box is locked does not detract from his ownership of it one iota, for he is also given the key to the box and he can open it whenever he wishes.

So too concerning the vision of the future Beis HaMikdash granted to every Jew on Shabbos Chazon. Besides the fact that a Jew is where his thoughts are in our case with the future Beis HaMikdash he also has the ability to bring it into reality in this physical world.

The above explanation of the nature of the vision of the future Beis HaMikdash shown to every Jew on Shabbos Chazon emphasizes how the vision has an effect on even the lowest levels. First of all, the very name of this Shabbos, Shabbos Chazon, deriving from the word mechzeh. Mechzeh is the word for vision in Aramaic, not in the holy tongue. This symbolizes that the vision of the Beis HaMikdash extends to and permeates all places, even the lowest even to the level below the holy tongue.

There is a parable given to explain the above concept: A father had a son who was dear to him, and he made him an expensive garment to wear. Because the son was not careful with the garment ... it became torn into pieces. He made him another garment and he tore that too. What did the father do? He made him a third garment, but did not give it to him to wear; he hid it. At certain distant intervals he showed him the garment and said to him: See, if you will behave properly this garment will be given to you to wear. This is the idea of Shabbos Chazon, when everyone is shown the future Beis HaMikdash from afar.

A parable is used when the topic under study is too rarefied and abstruse for the person to understand it as it is. The topic is instead clothed in a separate garment the parable which can be understood by the person, and who thereby also understands the actual topic.

The very fact that a parable is given for the vision of the future Beis HaMikdash shows that the idea of the vision is meant for and applies to everyone, even those on the lowest level who cannot understand the idea itself.

Further, the parable given concerns a garment, not a house, although the parable is given to explain the vision of the Beis HaMikdash (the Holy House). The difference between a garment and a house is that the former corresponds to a persons measurements whereas the latter does not. The length and width of a garment is tailored to exactly fit the size of the wearer, neither too long nor too short. A house, in contrast, is much larger than a person, both in height, length and width.

Because the garment corresponds to the wearer, when one sees just the garment one can get an idea of the size of the one to whom it belongs. By seeing a house, however, one will know nothing about the size of its inhabitant. One can get only a vague idea if the owner is wealthy or poor.

It is for this reason that the parable given for the vision of the Beis HaMikdash concerns a garment, for the property of a garment that one can thereby deduce facts about the wearer will he revealed in the future Beis HaMikdash. How?

In contrast to the first two Beis HaMikdashes, which were made of physical materials (gold, silver, etc.) and which in general was the work of man the third and future Beis HaMikdash will be the work of G-d, as written: The Sanctuary which Your hands, O L-rd, will establish. Thus, although the purpose of the first two Beis HaMikdashes was that G-d should dwell within them, the fact that man had a part in them did not allow the Divine Presence to dwell in a manner that people could openly see that the Beis HaMikdashes mirrored the characteristics of He who dwelled there in (although undoubtedly it was so). Hence, concerning human awareness, the first two Beis HaMikdashes were similar to a house, from which one cannot deduce the characteristics of the person who dwells therein.

The future Beis HaMikdash, in contrast, will be built by G-d; and therefore the Divine Presence will dwell in it in such a way that by looking at the Beis HaMikdash a person will openly know about He who dwells therein similar to a garment.

This is also the meaning of the fact that the future Beis HaMikdash will be eternal. It doesnt mean that only after we have seen that it has existed for thousands of years do we know that it is eternal but at the very beginning we can see it. The proof of eternality of an object is that it never changes. Thus, when at the very beginning we see that the Beis HaMikdash has not deteriorated or changed in the slightest from one moment to the next we see openly that it is eternal.

That G-dliness will be evident in the Beis HaMikdash can be adduced from what will occur in the world at large in the future. Then, the promise The glory of the L-rd will be revealed and all flesh will see that the mouth of the L-rd has spoken will be fulfilled meaning G-dliness (the mouth of the L-rd has spoken) will be openly evident in all aspects of the world. The G-dly power of the Creator will be seen in every created thing. Since every created thing differs one from the other, the revelation of G-dliness in creation will be manifested differently in each thing commensurate with its individual nature. In other words. in the future all will see the individual creative power as manifested in each and every aspect of creation.

If this applies to the revelation of G-dliness in the world, it certainly applies to the revelation of G-dliness in the future Beis HaMikdash: Its every aspect will openly show the individual level of G-dliness enclothed in that aspect.

This is why the parable given to the vision of the Beis HaMikdash on Shabbos Chazon concerns a garment, not a house. For a garment is tailored to the exact measurements of the wearer, i.e., from the garment one deduces the characteristics of the wearer.

Thus, on Shabbos Chazon, Jews are shown not only the inner dimension of the destruction the building of the future Beis HaMikdash but this vision itself is in the manner of seeing a garment through which we see the particulars of the wearer. That is, the particular level of G-dliness enclothed in each aspect is openly revealed.

But then, the question asked above is intensified. Since the vision on Shabbos Chazon encompasses every detail, how can this be reconciled with Rambams ruling that some details of the future Beis HaMikdash are unknown to us?

Chassidus explains, however, that there is a difference between hearing and seeing: When hearing a concept, one hears its details one by one, and then at the end, when all the details have been presented and put together, one understands the concept as a whole, The reverse operates in seeing: One first sees the thing as a whole, and then afterwards one examines each detail separately .

In our case, although it is true that on Shabbos Chazon we see the future Beis HaMikdash in all its details, nevertheless, when we see the Beis HaMikdash at first glance, we do not grasp each detail with the full comprehension necessary to have a clear-cut ruling concerning their exact dimensions

May it be G-ds will that every Jew utilize the opportunity and strength granted on Shabbos Chazon. And in one moment a Jew can bring the future Beis HaMikdash into actuality, into this physical world.

2. The above applies to Shabbos Chazon every year. In addition, there are lessons to be derived from the date on which Shabbos Chazon falls, this year on the sixth of Av.

Shabbos Chazon is always in the nine days: most times before Tishah BeAv, sometimes on Tishah BeAv itself. Shabbos Chazon falling on Tishah BeAv has special significance since it is the day on which the Beis HaMikdash was destroyed, and when a vision of the Beis HaMikdash is shown on this day, it emphasizes the inner dimension of the destruction. But when Shabbos Chazon is before Tishah BeAv, there does not seem to be a difference on which day it falls on the sixth or any other.

However, a special event did happen before Tishah BeAv connected with the destruction. The Talmud states (Taanis 29a): On the seventh of Av the gentiles entered the Heichal. Before the seventh the gentiles could not enter the Heichal since the spiritual condition of the Jews had not yet deteriorated that much. On the seventh of Av, however, the spiritual state of Jews had descended to the lowest depths, and this was reflected in the physical state of affairs the gentiles entered the Heichal, and the destruction of the Beis HaMikdash resulted.

The sixth of Av, since it is the eve (erev) of the seventh, also has special significance. We can understand the meaning of an eve by examining the eve of Shabbos, festivals, etc. according to Torah. Our Sages say (Avodah Zarah 3a), Whoever toils on erev Shabbos will eat on Shabbos. For the eating on Shabbos to be complete, proper preparations are necessary which are undertaken on erev Shabbos. Preparations for Shabbos may take place all week, beginning from Sunday but the obligation to do so and the primary preparations take place on Friday, erev Shabbos proper.

The eve of the seventh of Av, then, is the time when the preparations to the seventh of Av are undertaken i.e., to ensure that the concept of the seventh of Av be carried out properly and fully.

The inner meaning of the tragic events of the month of Av is that eventually they be transformed into joy and festivals. Since the beginning of the tragedy of Tishah BeAv was the entry of the gentiles into the Heichal on the seventh of Av, the beginning of the eventual festival of Tishah BeAv (the inner meaning of the tragedy) also begins on the seventh. Thus the function of the sixth of Av, the eve of the seventh, is to ensure that the concept of the seventh be full and complete to transform it into joy and festivals.

Special distinction accrues to the above when the sixth of Av is Shabbos Chazon. As we are about to enter the week of Tishah BeAv, which this year begins on the seventh of Av (Sunday), we are shown the future Beis HaMikdash (on Shabbos Chazon) as a preparation. This emphasizes that the inner purpose of the destruction is the building of the future Beis HaMikdash, and it serves as the preparation to the seventh of Av: Through it the inner dimension of the seventh of Av is revealed its transformation into joy and festival.

Further, on Shabbos all your work is done, and all aspects of service are in the manner of delight. When the eve of the seventh is Shabbos, the preparatory service needed for the seventh of Av is but the idea of delight.

May it be G-ds will that every Jew utilize the strength granted on Shabbos Chazon as the preparation to the fulfillment of the seventh of Av its transformation into joy, happiness and festival.

* * *
3. Parshas Devarim relates Moshe Rabbeinus summation of the events which happened to the Jews in the desert. At the end of the parshah he tells of the wars against Sichon and Og and the successful outcome. This area was then divided among the tribes of Reuven and Gad (and half of the tribe of Menasheh). In contrast to the other tribes, who would take possession of their lands in the land of Israel proper, on the other side of the Jordan, these two (and a half) tribes preferred to take the lands of Sichon and Og as their heritage, for they had a large number of animals and these lands were Rood for livestock.

Moshe had then made a condition to granting their request. These tribes could not settle in their land until they had helped the other tribes conquer their lands across the Jordan. They would go as a special advance-guard. Once the land was conquered they could return home and the lands of Sichon and Og would then become their permanent property.

In the middle of recounting these events, Moshe says (Devarim 3:21-22): And I commanded Yehoshua at that time, saying: Your eyes have seen all that the L-rd your G-d has done to these two kings: so shall the L-rd do to all the kingdoms to which you will be crossing. You shall not fear them, for the L-rd your G-d is the One who fights for you.

In Hebrew, the words Your and you in the first verse, Your eyes have seen ... you shall be crossing is in singular tense. The You in the second verse, You shall not fear them is in future tense. Commentators (Or HaChayim) say that although Moshe was speaking to Yehoshua, plural tense is used in the second verse to include all the Jews i.e., that You shall not fear them is addressed to all Jews.

According to Rashi, however, this explanation is not feasible. At the beginning of the passage, Moshe says (3:18): And I commanded you at that time saying: The L-rd your G-d has given you this land to possess it; you, all the men of valor, shall go armed before your brethren, the children of Israel. Rashi, on the words And I commanded you, comments: To the children of Reuven and the children of Gad he spoke. For, Moshes next words are: You shall go armed before your brethren, which refers to the children of Reuven and the children of Gad, who went before Israel to do battle, for they were strong and the enemies fell before them.

It is thus logical to suppose that the concluding verse of this passage: You shall not fear them also refers to the tribes of Reuven and Gad, to whom Moshe was speaking during the whole passage. Had Rashi believed that it refers to all the Jews, he should have explicitly said so. Since he doesnt say anything, the verse must be referring solely to the tribes of Reuven and Gad, as throughout the whole passage.

Indeed, logic would dictate that the tribes of Reuven and Gad needed the blessing and encouragement of You shall not fear them more than the other tribes. They went into battle as the advance guard, whereas the rest of the tribes, who followed after them, did not need the blessing so much.

There is one difficulty remaining, however. Since the whole passage is referring to the tribes of Reuven and Gad, why does Moshe mention Yehoshua in the middle And I commanded Yehoshua at that time saying ...? How does Yehoshua fit in here? He was neither from Gad nor from Reuven, but from the tribe of Ephraim.

The Explanation

When the tribes of Reuven and Gad wished to take the lands of Sichon and Og as their inheritance, Moshe made a condition with them. If they would go as the advance-guard before the Jews to help conquer the land of Israel for the other tribes, they would then be given the lands of Sichon and Og as their inheritance.

Now, it is not enough that the tribes of Reuven and Gad should be the advance-guard (because they received their inheritance before the other tribes), but they also had to be capable of acting as an advance-guard i.e., powerful enough. Rashi thus comments (Bamidbar 32:17) on the proposal put forward by the tribes of Gad and Reuven that they would be the advance-guard for the Jews: For they were strong men; for it is thus stated concerning Gad: And he tears the arm, yea, the crown of the head; and Moshe too repeated it to them in Devarim: And I commanded you at that time, etc., you, all the men of valor, shall go armed before your brethren, the children of Israel.

Since the men of Gad and Reuven were such powerful warriors, able to lop off a persons head and arm with one stroke, they were perfectly capable of acting as the armed advance-guard.

But for all their prowess, they would be facing thirty-one kings of Canaan. No matter how naturally powerful they were, it would not be sufficient against such odds.

Moshe therefore told them, You shall not fear them, for the L-rd your G-d is the One who fights for you. Although they would be facing formidable odds, they could be sure of success in a manner transcending nature, since it is G-d who is fighting for them. The only reason the tribe of Gad and Reuven had to go as an armed advance-guard was because this war had to waged via natural means (although success would be supranatural, from G-d).

Thus, although the tribes of Gad and Reuven, knowing they were powerful men, themselves suggested they should go as the advance-guard, Moshe Rabbeinu still had to tell them You shall not fear them, for even the mightiest warriors might well fear waging war against thirty-one kings.

But not all is clear: Scripture previously relates (Bamidbar 27:16-17) that Moshe Rabbeinu, when informed by G-d that he would not lead the Jews into Eretz Yisrael, asked that The L-rd ... should set a man over the community who shall go out before them and who shall come in before them. Rashi explains that Moshe requested that G-d appoint a leader for the Jews who shall act not in the manner of the kings of the nations who sit in their homes and send forth their armies to war, but as I have done; for I fought against Sichon and Og, as it is stated: Do not fear him; and in the manner that Yehoshua acted ... and so Dovid....

It thus follows that Yehoshua, who was Moshes successor, and who would lead the Jews in a manner of who shall go out before them, would lead the tribes of Gad and Reuven also; he would be in the front of the advance-guard! Thus, just as the tribes of Gad and Reuven needed a special command and blessing, You shall not fear them, so Yehoshua, who would be at the front of Gad and Reuven, also needed this special command.

Such a command was indeed given to Yehoshua: And I commanded Yehoshua at that time, saying: Your eyes have seen all that the L-rd your G-d has done to these two kings; so shall the L-rd do to all the kingdoms to which you will be crossing. Just as Yehoshua saw that despite Sichons and Ogs awesome strength, G-d told Moshe: Do not fear him and Moshe defeated Og and Sichon, so the same thing would happen with Yehoshua.

Now we can understand why the verse: And commanded Yehoshua, appears together with the command: You shall not fear them given to the tribes of Gad and Reuven. Since Gad, Reuven, and Yehoshua would all be going to war at the front of the Jews, they needed a special command and blessing not to fear their enemies.

4. As is customary during the three weeks between the 17th of Tammuz and the 9th of Av, we shall now analyze a law in Rambams Hilchos Beis HaBechirah. In chapter One, Rambam discusses the laws concerning the stones that were used to construct the altar, the Heichal and the Courts. Halachah 14 states: Any stone that was cracked so that a fingernail could be caught in it a crack that impairs a knife used for slaughtering was unfit for the ramp (leading up to the altar) and for the altar. For it is said: You shall build the altar of the L-rd your G-d of whole stones ... similarly, stones for the Heichal and for the Courts were whole.

In the next halachah (15), Rambam states: If the stones of the Heichal or the Courts were cracked or chipped, they were rendered unfit. In halachah 16, he states: If a stone was cracked or touched by an iron tool after it had been built into the altar or the ramp, that stone became unfit.

Halachah 14 talks of damages to a stone that renders it unfit for use before they were used in building the altar; halachah 16 talks of the law if a stone was damaged after it had been built in the altar. In the former, Rambam gives the size of a crack which renders the stone unfit for use in the altar: so that a fingernail could be caught in it a crack that impairs a knife used for slaughtering. In the latter, concerning a stone that became cracked after it was already built, Rambam does not comment what size of crack renders the stone unfit.

Does the size of the crack given in halachah 14 apply also to halachah 16, and Rambam did not think it necessary to repeat the measurement? Or did Rambam deliberately not give a minimum size in halachah 16 for he is of the opinion that any size of crack renders unfit a stone already built in the altar?

There are two general laws applicable to the stones of the altar.

    1) The obligation recorded in the commandment: You shall build the altar of the L-rd your G-d of whole stones which renders a cracked stone unfit, since it is not whole;

    2) The command: You shall break down their altars ... You shall not do so to the L-rd your G-d which implies that an impairment in the altar (e.g., a cracked stone) is a transgression of You shall not do so to the L-rd your G-d.

The command You shall break down their altars refers to getting rid of the altars of idolators; and the prohibition against idolatry applies to the smallest amount. Because the command: You shall not do so to the L-rd your G-d follows and is connected to the command You shall break down their altars, it follows that it too applies to the smallest amount. Even the smallest crack in the altar is a transgression of the command: You shall not do so to the L-rd your G-d.

There is thus a difference between the commands, You shall build the altar of the L-rd your G-d of whole stones, and You shall not do so to the L-rd your G-d. In the former, there is a minimum size for a crack to render a stone not whole so that a fingernail could be caught in it a crack that impairs a knife used for slaughtering. A crack less than this size is not considered to render the stone less than whole. In the latter, You shall not do so to the L-rd your G-d, there is no minimum size. The smallest disfigurement in the altar is a transgression of this command.

It is for this reason that Rambam, concerning stones that have already been built into the altar, does not give the size so that a fingernail could be caught in it a crack that impairs a knife used for slaughtering. If a stone that is already part of the altar is cracked, it falls under the prohibition of You shall not do so to the L-rd your G-d and thus there is no minimum size, since any sized impairment transgresses this commandment.


  Shabbos Parshas Massai
28th Day of Tammuz, 5744
15th Day of Menachem-Av, 5744  
  
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