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14th Day of Tammuz, 5744

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16th Day of Tammuz, 5744

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

Gan Yisroel & Emunah Camps
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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 Ki Sovo
18th Day of Elul, 5744


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  The Letter sent out by the Lubavitcher Rebbe
18th Day of Elul, 5744
Tzivos Hashem
21st Day of Elul, 5744
 

1. Chai Elul, the 18th day of the month of Elul, is the birthday of the two great illuminaries, namely, the Baal Shem Tov and the Alter Rebbe.

In the talks and writings of the previous Rebbeim we find detailed explanations of the Talmudic dictum that a birthday is a time of ascending fortune, and from their discussions and their customs, we may glean important didactic observations. We learn, as well, the special observances of the day.

Being that we are dealing with a day that comes but once a year, it is self evident that its theme must illuminate and influence the whole year, up to the coming Chai Elul, just as Rosh Hashanah, the head, includes all the days of the year. Now, although we are discussing the birthday of the two great illuminaries, still, the theme applies to all of Israel, for they were luminaries who illuminated the lives of all Jews. Thus, through their disciples, and the students of their disciples, the message of Chai Elul reaches all Jews.

The theme of Chai Elul must certainly also express itself in practical application, just as every aspect of Torah, whose meaning and purpose is teaching, must ultimately bring to practice. As the Talmud states: Study is paramount, because it brings to practice.

All of this may be applied to action, with the following preface and emphasis: To know (A) the teachings of the two great illuminaries, (B) the theme of their birthday and (C) the relationship to the parshah of this Shabbos Ki Sovo.

In approaching the teachings of the Alter Rebbe, we find in Tanya chapter 36: The goal of the development of the [spiritual] worlds and their descent from level to level, is not for the supernal worlds, because for them this consists of a descent from the light of His Holy Countenance, but rather the goal is to reach this lowest, physical, world.

This bears elucidation as follows:

The order of development of the spiritual worlds begins not from the first world of Atzilus (Emanation) and certainly not from the world of Beriah (Creation), but rather from a higher level, somewhere after the point of He and His Name alone. In truth we can say, that since we make a distinction between He and His Name, the order of development ultimately begins at that point.

Thus, the Alter Rebbe teaches, that The goal of development of the worlds and their descent from level to level ... starting from the point of He and His Name are One, is not for the supernal worlds, because ... for them this is a descent from the light of His Holy Countenance. The goal must be ascent not descent! What then is the purpose of the order of development [of the spiritual worlds]? To this the Alter Rebbe answers, The goal is to reach this lowest, physical, world, ... at the lowest level, there being no level lower than it. Why? For Hashem longed for a dwelling place in the lowest world. Thus, the ascent of all the worlds, even to the point of He and His Name alone, will be effected specifically and exclusively in this manner. Although in the course of the order of development, they will descend from the light of His Holy Countenance, still, with the creation of this physical lowest world, Hashems desire will be fulfilled and thereby all of the higher worlds will rise to greater heights. This pattern projects itself even more so in the case of this world. Just as the goal of all the worlds is the lowest world, so too in the world of Asiyah (action) we look for the lowest aspect, namely, practice.

In general, all activity may be divided into the three categories of thought, speech, and deed. Although they are intertwined and inclusive, the ultimate purpose of all activity is action, whether it be action in thought, speech and of course in deed.

All of this brings us to an understanding of the wonderful importance of practical deeds.

Think about this.

A Jew, standing in this physical, lowest world, a soul in a mere body, does a mitzvah action; immediately the goal of creation is attained, Hashems desire for a dwelling place below is satisfied and all the supernal worlds, even the level of He and His Name are raised and uplifted.

The aforementioned concept is also stressed in the teachings of the Baal Shem Tov. Although the book Tzavoas Harivash, is really a compilation of his teachings by his disciples and the language and style are not precise, nevertheless the content and import are true to his teachings.

In the beginning of Tzavoas Harivash we are told, ... to be wholehearted [Tamim] and sincere in our service of Hashem in a manner of complete devotion. This idea, Tamim, meaning complete, is the word Tam, with the suffix im, indicating the ultimate wholeness. In the Zohar on Shelach we find the explanation that the word Tam means complete as in the verse In this desert will be the completion... and that adding the im makes the wholeness absolute. So, too, when the Baal Shem says that one must serve G-d with complete devotion, he speaks of a service which completes and concludes, with no more service needed afterwards. This being the ultimate, absolute completion in Divine service.

And here is the connection between the Baal Shems teaching of ultimate completion and the Alter Rebbes explanation of ultimate action. In both cases we are referring to the ultimate service, (Avodah), after which no act is needed.

The Divine service in Atzilus, the world of Emanation, is not complete, for it must be followed by the worlds of Beriah and Yetzirah, (Creation and Formation) and, ultimately, by the world of Asiyah Action. Thus, only here, in the lowest, physical world can we attain the ultimate Divine service and devotion, after which there is no further act.

Here, too, we effect the ascent and perfection of all the higher worlds in the order of development. For they are in a state of descent from the light of His Holy Countenance and only through our service in this world, in fulfilling the intent of Hashems desire to dwell in the lower worlds, can they reach their perfection and ascension.

This concept is also emphasized when we look at the qualities and characteristics of Chai Elul, the birthday of the two great illuminaries. A day of birth generally refers to the time when the neshamah (soul) enters the body. This, of course, is a great descent, from the loftiest level of supernal purity which the neshamah has. As we say in the morning prayers ... the soul which You have given within me is pure. You have created it, You have formed it, You have breathed it into me, ultimately reaching the aspect of You preserve it within me, as a soul enclothed in a body, in this mundane, physical world. What is the purpose of the descent of the soul? To satisfy the desire of Hashem for a dwelling place below, and by doing so, the soul will reach a level even higher than her original level of ... is pure. To repeat, specifically by our service in this physical world do we effect an ascent in all the spiritual worlds.

Another point now comes to light.

What is the novelty of the time of birth? After all, during the period of gestation, the soul is also in the body of the fetus and this is especially so in the last days, just prior to birth, when all limbs, with all their details are complete.

What, then, happens at birth? The child emerges to the atmosphere of the world. Isnt this also a descent? For when the child is still hidden in the womb, It is taught the whole Torah and on the threshold of birth, An angel comes and strikes its lip, to cause it to forget the Torah.

Ironically, it is precisely then, that we find the excitement of We make him swear, as explained at the beginning of Tanya. The Tzemach Tzedek, of course, explains the word Mashbiim from the root Sova meaning satiation, that the soul is then given the super powers it will need, but did not have previously, during gestation, or even in its spiritual abode. Now, these powers are conferred upon the soul to satiate it and prepare it for the service of becoming a Tzaddik (righteous) and not a Rasha (wicked). All this happens at the time of birth, the birthday, when the individual must emerge into the atmosphere of the world in order to fulfill Hashems desire for an abode in the lowest world, in a manner of practical action.

The above mentioned theme gains additional emphasis in the occurrence of Chai Elul on the Shabbos of parshas Ki Sovo when the entire portion of Ki Sovo is read.

At the conclusion of the portion of Ki Sovo the Torah tells us, And G-d has not given to you a heart to know and eyes to see and ears to hear until this day, which comes after And I have led you forty years in the desert. Rashi explains this pronouncement to mean that,

A person cannot reach the ultimate knowledge of his teacher and the [true] wisdom of his teachings, until forty years have passed .

Thus, the Torah, at the end of Ki Sovo, speaks about the goal of perfection in the service of Hashem, by reaching a level of a heart to know which Rashi further explains to mean, to recognize the kindness of Hashem and to cleave to Him, including the ultimate quality of reaching the ultimate of the knowledge of the Torah and the true wisdom of His teachings. This being the goal of perfection in service of Hashem.

The conclusion always being bound with the commencement, we can discern a similar theme in When you will enter into the land. The general concept of the souls descent from the loftiest heights to enter the land, being the physical world, clothed in a physical body and dealing with practical physical matters, is clearly hinted at in the opening verse of Ki Sovo.

This activity and involvement is of course not possible during slumber, when the soul ascends to Gan Eden to study Torah and the body retains only an impression of life. Only when the soul permeates the body in a conscious manner, can the person be actively involved in Torah and mitzvos.

Clearly, then, the ultimate goal of perfection is dependent on the descent of the soul to the mundane world, to be clothed in a physical body and to be involved in practical action in this physical world. Why? Only then can we satisfy the goal that Hashem longed for a dwelling place below.

Moreover, this will effect the ascent of the soul to a level higher than previously attainable, which was supernal purity. Just as it effects the ascent of all of the worlds of the order of development, including He and His Name, through his practical action in this mundane, lowest world.

This same theme we see further stressed in the following verses, which speak of the mitzvah of Bikkurim the first fruit.

In teaching us the mitzvah of Bikkurim, the Torah states ... from your land, which the Eternal your L-rd gives to you. This directs us to another special feature, namely, A land which the eyes of the L-rd your G-d are always upon it, from the beginning of the year until the end of the year. It is the land chosen by G-d above all others, as expressed by our Sages, When He created the world, He chose Eretz Yisrael.

Even in Eretz Yisrael, Bikkurim are brought only from the seven species with which the land of Israel is praised, i.e., the fruits which uniquely express the praise of Eretz Yisrael. Of those special fruits, only from the first fruits of the earth, meaning the best. The Rambam expresses this in his Halachic ruling.

One may not bring [Bikkurim] from the dates of the mountains or the fruits of the valley ... but rather from the dates of the valleys and the fruits of the mountains. for they are the best.

Now, despite these wonderful qualities which the Bikkurim must possess, being the best of those fruits through which Eretz Yisrael will be praised, and even though they are considered higher than Terumah, we still learn that they must be placed in a basket. As the Rambam rules, in todays portion, Bikkurim need a vessel, for it states and place it in a basket, thus, these lofty Bikkurim must be placed specifically in a vessel which is a very strict form of reduction and limitation.

Is this vessel a spiritual framework, such as study of the laws of Bikkurim which creates a vessel or framework according to Torah? No! It is specifically a physical basket, of the simplest material, willow and reed, which is then also given to the Kohen. The basket, too, reaches the level of Bikkurim.

Thus in Bikkurim we find a joining of two extremes, the highest and best, placed in a limited, simple, physical vessel. This pairing of opposites, rather than cause a paradox, specifically enables us to bring the Bikkurim, by carrying the basket, ... to the place which the L-rd your G-d will chose to establish His Name there, and there to place it, ... before the altar of the L-rd your G-d.

In a manner similar to the earlier explanation, we now see that specifically through practical action in a physical world, (measured and restricted and placed in a physical vessel basket) we effect the ascent and attainment of perfection in all of the order of development, even to the highest level (of Bikkurim). For in this manner we attain the goal, that Hashem wanted a dwelling place in the lowest world.

Let us now apply all this and elucidate a practical lesson.

The theme of Chai Elul, the birthday of the two great illuminaries, relates to the loftiest levels of time for we speak of a time span when their fortunes are in ascension.

Several details have presented themselves here: (A) Illuminaries, represents an idea higher than just light. Creation began with light, because light is very lofty, as the Midrash states And the L-rd said there shall be light, Rabbi Yitzchok began, Your words start with light. An illuminary, being the source of light, would be above light, itself. (B) The great illuminaries, not just an illuminary, but a great illuminary. (C) The two Great illuminaries.

Taking all this into consideration, we might mistakenly think that the Divine service of Chai Elul should express itself in lofty and spiritual matters, such as studying Chassidic philosophy, the teachings of the Baal Shem Tov, especially as illuminated by the philosophy of Chabad; also the teachings of the Alter Rebbe, specifically his innovations on the previous teachings. By learning their Torah, we connect with the two great illuminaries and we become like their children, bound and unified with the being of the father in a very essential manner. Then when we apply discernment and understanding we cause a unification of the thinker, the intellect and the thought, in a form of amazing and unmatched unity.

For this reason, we must take care that the correct lesson should be learned. That even the loftiest subjects must descend and express themselves in practical action, in a physical world. You must not be complacent and satisfied with the theoretical study of Chassidic philosophy. There must also be the Divine service of practical action. Moreover, practical action on the simplest level is really embedded in the original intention of the study of Chassidus. In plain words, spreading the wellsprings of Chassidus outside to the simplest, lowest level, completes the intention of Hashem wanted a dwelling place below.

May it be the will of Hashem that when one fulfills this directive, as emphasized in the mitzvah of Bikkurim to take the highest level and bring it into a measured and limited, physical vessel, we will merit to be able to fulfill the mitzvah of Bikkurim in actuality. Hopefully, this will include all of the details delineated by the Rambam in todays portion.

How is the Bikkurim brought, all of the towns in each county gather in the main city thereof, etc.... the appointed leader announces, rise up, let us ascent to Zion to the Eternal our L-rd ... The flute plays in front of them ... They walk the entire way and pronounce I was happy when they said to me, let us go the House of the L-rd ... when they all enter the gates of Yerushalayim they call out, our feet were standing within your gates, O Yerushalayim,... They walk through Yerushalayim until they reach the Mount of the Temple ... They walk on the Temple Mount until they reach the courtyard, upon reaching the courtyard, the Leviim began their song I exalt You O L-rd, for You have uplifted me, etc.

May this come with the true and complete redemption through our righteous Mashiach, speedily and actually in our days and in our time.

* * *
2. The concepts discussed earlier in relation to the teachings of the two great illuminaries, their birthday and the Torah portion of the week, which emphasized the need to draw the loftiest concepts into practical action, can also be found in the day of Shabbos. This is especially important, since this year, Chai Elul occurs on Shabbos.

He who toils before Shabbos will eat on Shabbos is a well known Talmudic dictum. This indicates that the mitzvah of enjoying Shabbos with food and drink is connected to and in fact, accomplished by, labor and toil on the eve of Shabbos.

The term eve of Shabbos, naturally, does not mean only Friday, but also all the preceding weekdays, starting from Sunday, when the preparations should begin. For this reason, in the daily prayers we say Today is the first day of the [coming] Shabbos and not first day of the week.

As Nachmanides comments:

Remember the Shabbos day to sanctify it, we must daily remember Shabbos ... count all the days in the name of Shabbos, first day to Shabbos, second day to Shabbos, etc., this idea is included in the mitzvah to constantly remember Shabbos, daily.

This principle applies not only to physical food, but also to spiritual food, the Divine service of prayer. For, like physical food, prayer, too, unites body and soul.

Prayer, of course, is the essence of the Divine service of Shabbos and if there is proper preparation during the prayer of the week, then the prayer of Shabbos can be proper and complete. The quality of Shabbos therefore depends on the Prayers of the preceding weekdays.

On the other hand, Shabbos possesses a superior aspect, as expressed in the Halachic ruling of All your work is done, which is above and beyond what you accomplish during the week. Shabbos confers a lofty state, drawn from above, not in direct relation to what you have accomplished during the week, for the Torahs measure, is greater than the earth and broader than the sea.

And although ones own accomplishments contain his own, one measure, still the nine measures which come from above, are not only quantitatively but also qualitatively superior. Chassidus explains that his own, one measure refers to the attribute of Malchus royalty and the nine measures refers to the nine initial attributes. These nine attributes are incomparably higher than Malchus and they are counted together as ten measures, only because there is a relationship between them, nevertheless they are two distinct concepts.

This and moreso.

You have called Shabbos the most desirable of days indicates that Shabbos has a quality even greater than All your work is done. The term desirable, refers to a pleasure, which is incomparably higher than just work being completed. In other words, the pleasure of Shabbos is not just a reward for weekly work but rather a Rift, bestowed from above not in direct relationship to your work.

From here we see that Shabbos includes the two extremes, on the one hand, the ultimate loftiness All your work is done, and even higher, the pleasure of You have called it desirable, and on the other hand, it is dependent on the weekday service of He who toils on the eve of Shabbos will eat on Shabbos.

In a different dimension we can express the extremes of Shabbos, as one which relates to the framework of time, and another, beyond the general concept of time.

We find that Shabbos is considered one of the seven days of the week. Just as there are the six days of creation so too there are the seven days of creation, albeit the most special and most important day. In contrast to this we find that Shabbos is completely aloof from the concept of time, to the point that Shabbos neutralizes all limitations of time, even in relation to the preceding days.

This concept is elucidated by the Alter Rebbe in Likkutei Torah. Referring to the formula Today is the first day of the Shabbos the Alter Rebbe asks. Many tens of thousands of days have passed since the six days of creation, how can we say Today is the first day? The explanation follows:

The day of Shabbos rises ... to Atzilus (Emanation) to a point above the dimension of time, therefore each Sunday represents, once again, a new beginning, just as the first day of creation introduced the dimension of time at a point where there was no time.

In other words, on Shabbos, not only do we rise to a dimension beyond time, but as a consequence we also ... recreate again, the dimension of time where there was no time.

As explained elsewhere in Chassidus, this is the difference between the eve of Shabbos and the day of Shabbos.

The eve of Shabbos is connected to Friday and hence to all the days of the week, for it represents the rest from work, so it fits into the framework of time seven days of creation, albeit, in a manner of All sevenths are precious. So much so, that the pleasure is in a form of, beloved of days relative to the other days of the week but still beloved.

However the day of Shabbos and especially Shabbos afternoon, the most pleasurable has no relationship whatsoever to the weekdays. It is the essence of rest and pleasure representing the pure pleasure, which cannot even be perceived.

Although these two aspects are evident at different times of Shabbos, the eve of Shabbos and the day of Shabbos, nevertheless in each moment of Shabbos we can find both dimensions. At the start of Shabbos we may find the aspect of Shabbos beyond the realm of time and during the afternoon of Shabbos, the time that is most pleasurable is still drawn into the moments of the day.

According to this explanation we may understand the relationship of the two extremes of Shabbos and the two extremes of Bikkurim.

Bikkurim are even higher than Terumah and certainly infinitely more lofty than Chullin normal produce. This places it beyond the realm of measurement and limitation of the reality of the world, similar to the aspect of Shabbos which is above the realm of time, the simple and pure pleasure, which is not even sensed.

Yet, we must draw this down into the restriction of vessels, both in the dimension of space, place it in a basket and in the dimension of time, there being a specific time of the year when Bikkurim may be brought, only from Shavuos till Sukkos, or, the latest, by Chanukah. [This of course is in addition to the time factors of first entering Eretz Yisrael, conquering and settling the land, building the Temple, or at least the Tabernacle of Shiloh, waiting the 3 years of Orlah, growth of the fourth year and so on.]

This concurrence of the days and dates, the portion of the week and the day of Shabbos, emphasizes this lesson, that all of the highest and most wonderful aspects of Chai Elul, must be drawn down into reality, into the measure and limitation of vessels .

A unique quality emerges when we combine the aspects learned from Shabbos, in general, with the specific lesson of the portion read on that Shabbos, each complementing the other.

The two extremes of Shabbos exist every week of the year, hence they are continual. The lesson of the two extremes of Ki Sovo and Bikkurim come only once in the year, constituting a new thing, thereby circumventing the need for the dictum that They shall be in your eyes as something new, for they really are new.

So, this year, this concurrence brings us both qualities, the strength of continuity and the preciousness of something new.

Of course, the essence is action. Standing in this day of Shabbos, Chai Elul, the birthday of the two great luminaries, we must accept the positive resolution to increase, with a greater measurer and greater strength, all activity connected with fulfilling the mission of our Rabbis and leaders who Revealed His secrets to his servants the prophets. And as we say A sage is even greater than a prophet, meaning the sages and leaders of Israel, up to and including the previous Rebbe, the Nasi of our generation. Simply, to add more activities in spreading Torah and Judaism, also spreading the wellsprings of Chassidus to the outside.

Another emphasis we find here, is to do all this with joy and pleasure, as we see from the lesson of Shabbos whose theme is pleasure and like the lesson of Bikkurim which must have ... song. They sang out to them, as the verse says and

you shall answer and say this means lifting the voice, with rejoicing. The flute played before them etc. they reached its courtyard, the Leviim started to sing.

In simple terms:

You might follow this advice because you feel obligated or forced, in a manner of acceptance of a burden. In a vexed mood, you still bend yourself to dedicate 18 minutes to spread Yiddishkeit, however, immediately afterwards, you return to your occupation, which is Torah study. Therefore, learn from the conduct of Moshe Rabbeinu. He went from the Mount to the people, not to his own matters. Here we must emphasize that the word Am (nation) is associated with the root of the word meaning weak embers, being separated and distant. Nevertheless Moshe turned only to them, to teach them the word of G-d.

Certainly, this involvement with another Jew must be conducted with a friendly and pleasant countenance. More so, during the month of Elul, when the King is in the field and receives everyone with a pleasant countenance and shows a smiling face to all. Hashem knows that they are out in the fields, clothed in field garments. Despite their condition, G-d goes out to the field and accepts them with a pleasant countenance, and smiles to them. How much more so, must his conduct to his friend mirror this Divine attitude.

May Hashem grant, that from these words and from the lessons gleaned from Shabbos and Bikkurim, we should merit very soon, A day of complete Shabbos and rest for eternity and then we will merit to fulfill the actual mitzvah of Bikkurim with all the details described by the Rambam. To repeat, that the flute played before them. Here we should include also the interpretation of the Alter Rebbe that the word Chalil flute, esoterically refers to the primordial void created by the initial Tzimtzum, where only an impression remained. Therefore the terms The flute strikes (makeh) before them are used, to hint that the primordial void is struck to draw the radiations, revelations and light in an innermost way, so that all the world will reveal the power of the Creator in the created. To quote the verse The glory of Hashem will be revealed and all flesh, united, will see that the mouth of G-d spoke. All this should happen immediately. As we read at the conclusion of this weeks Haftorah, I am G-d, in its time, I will hasten it; the conclusion being the term hasten!

Simply, in a split second, we should realize we are standing at the gates of Yerushalayim and walk until the Temple Mount ... and walk till the courtyard and there, You stand this day before the L-rd your G-d, (the portion we read at Minchah), truly, speedily in our days, with joy and Gladness of heart.

3. Every Shabbos, we customarily learn a verse of the weekly portion, with the Rashi commentary.

In learning Rashis commentary, one approach is to further explain the commentary which Rashi gives, another approach is to elucidate some question on a verse which Rashi did not address. When this is the case we must assume that either the question is not valid, or that Rashi relies on his broader commentary given somewhere else in the Torah, which he expects us to remember or find. Of course, when Rashi writes I do not know, his intention is that in the dimension of simple meaning there appears to be no explanation and one must therefore turn to homiletics, allusions and esoterics to find the answer. This of course goes beyond Rashis self imposed goal I have only come to give the plain meaning.

Thus, when Rashi is silent, we must search for another place where Rashi comments in a full measure, for certainly such a place exists and if we strive, we will find. This search must be conducted in the preceding material, for certainly Rashi would not leave us in doubt until we reach a later commentary.

In our Torah portion, the words which introduce the mitzvah of Bikkurim state:

And it shall be when you enter into the land which the L-rd your G-d gives you as your possession, and you will inherit it and settle therein, then take from the first of all the produce of the land ... and place it in a basket and go to the place which the L-rd your G-d shall choose.

Here a question arises in the simple meaning of these sentences. Since the mitzvah of Bikkurim did not apply until after full conquest and settlement of the land, as Rashi himself notes, then why does the sentence start with the words, It shall be when you enter ... and you will inherit and settle, this represents several earlier stages stretching over a long period of time, before actually having to bring Bikkurim. Seemingly, it would have been more appropriate for the sentence to state simply: When you have settled in the land, take the first fruits and go to the chosen place etc.

We find a good illustration of this, at the end of the portion Ki Teitze, where the Torah says, When Hashem will give you respite from your surrounding enemies etc., then eradicate the remembrance of Amalek. Clearly it does not start off by saying And when you enter the land etc. and inherit and settle, and Hashem will Rive you respite....

So we search in earlier commentaries of Rashi for an explanation, but instead, we are faced with a greater perplexity. We find at the beginning of the portion Behar When you enter the land which I give you and the earth shall rest a fallow year for G-d. Now, the obligation of Shemitah does not apply until after ... six years of planting etc. and the seventh year shall be a fallow year. This being the case, the Torah should have first said Upon entering the land which I give you, plant for six years and the seventh shall be fallow. The problem here is even stronger, because the facts are seemingly inaccurate, as Shemitah applies only after six years. In Ki Savo our question was only, why mention the additional stages, which were merely an introduction to Bikkurim

To answer this question we must rethink the question and see that it really is not valid. For, we may question the necessity of introductory verses only if the context of the verse is specifically directed only to the mitzvah of Bikkurim. Then we can ask why mention what will take place years ahead of it. But, here, the simple meaning of the verse does not relate to the mitzvah of Bikkurim, rather to the commandment of inheriting and settling. The simple meaning of the verse is, When you will enter the land, then you are commanded to inherit and settle it. Only, then the verse goes on to add another commandment and you shall take from the first fruits of the produce of the earth, which is the mitzvah of Bikkurim

Thus, the question, that the verse should have immediately stated the mitzvah of Bikkurim, is invalid. for it is not an introduction or prerequisite, but rather a separate command concerning the conquest and settlement of Eretz Yisrael. Additionally, by stating these two separate mitzvos in this particular order, we also learn that Bikkurim applies only after settlement of the land.

There remains, however, an area needing further clarification. Being that the laws of Bikkurim apply only after conquest and settlement, some 14 years later and then only after three years of Orlah, then, why connect this mitzvah with the mitzvah of conquest, which was in a different and much earlier time frame?

To explain this, let us first take a look at the Midrash which states, that if the Jews had merited to enter Eretz Yisrael under the leadership mf Moshe, the conquest and settlement would have been immediate. This can also be shown from the portion of Chukas: And Moshe sent [people] to spy on Yaazor and they captured the suburbs and drove out the Amorites that were there. Rashi comments The spies captured, saying, we trust in the power of Moshes prayer and we will fight. We see, that although Moshe had sent them only to spy, they fought and conquered immediately. Their success lay in the power of the prayer of Moshe. Now, if the conquest of all of Israel had been under Moshes direction, it would not have taken seven years, but would have been instantaneous. After all even the conquest of Yaazor was after the sin of the spies and still the power of Moshe brought immediate success, how much more so, would success have been immediate, if we had entered Eretz Yisrael under Moshe, before the sin of the spies.

Keeping this in mind let us view our verse, When you enter the land, this really means immediately not after 14 years. That is why Rashi does not mention the time frame of 14 years, he just says, after conquest. Surely, because the original meaning was to effect an immediate conquest.

If so, the law of Bikkurim, also, should have actually applied immediately. This being the reason the Sifri says, Bikkurim applies right away, while the Talmud says, after conquest and settlement. In the original plan, they are, one and the same.

You may still ask, what about 3 years of Orlah? Here, if we scrutinize Rashis words and search for his emphasis we see, From the first fruits, not all the first fruits. Bikkurim is brought only from the seven kinds ... a land of wheat, barley etc. Well, in the case of wheat and barley the law of Orlah does not apply, and you can have produce in a few weeks. The other fruits of the seven kinds, which fall under the restriction of Orlah, may also be brought, if they were planted earlier, which really was the case, as the Torah says: Vineyards and olive groves which you have not planted, you will eat thereof and be satisfied. This can be immediately without waiting.

To return to the questions on the opening verses of Behar, When you enter the land which I give you and the earth shall rest a fallow year for G-d. On the words, a fallow year for G-d, Rashi states, ... dedicated to Hashem, just as is written about the seventh day of creation. Now, knowing this, the young, five year old student of Chumash has no problem with the sequence that places, shall rest a fallow year for Hashem, before Six years plant your field. Why? Because he had the same sequence in the case of Shabbos of creation. There it says, Remember the day of Shabbos and sanctify it then it says, work for six days. In truth of course the order is reversed.

The meaning is clear and elementary. Initially the Torah refers to the general topic and then gives us the details. So, first we have the commandment: Remember the Shabbos day and sanctify it. This is followed by the details: six days you shall labor and the seventh day is a rest day for G-d. This same rule applies to the case of Shemitah. First the Torah tells us the general rule: The earth shall rest a fallow year for G-d. This is followed by the details: Six years plant your field, and in the seventh, a year of rest shall be dedicated to G-d.

* * *
4. In Pirkei Avos, todays calendar indicates, that we learn chapters three and four. We could, of course, choose a Mishnah from either chapter to learn and explain, but since the Jewish custom is to study two chapters this Shabbos, there must be some special relationship between them. Therefore, it behooves us to discover the common point found in a Mishnah of Chapter three and a Mishnah of Chapter four, which could also be related to the theme of Bikkurim, which we discussed earlier. There we explained that there are three ascending levels. The first is Chullin, the normal or secular. The second, being separate and higher than Chullin, is Terumah, the heave offering. Bikkurim, the third, is higher even than Terumah, in an incomparable way.

These three levels can also be applied to the Divine service of every individual. Chullin relates to our service of Hashem in regular, everyday matters, along the lines of, All your actions shall be for the sake of Heaven, [devoted to G-d] and You shall know Him in all your ways. The Rambam cites that For the body to be kept hale and healthy, is part of ones Divine service of Hashem, and ones body should be healthy to serve Hashem ... for one cannot serve G-d if he is ill. The Rambam incorporates these ideas and concludes,

Apropos this idea, our Sages commanded us and said all your actions should be dedicated to Hashem. And this is what King Solomon, in his wisdom, meant when he said, Know Him in all your ways.

Terumah relates to Torah, for the word TORHM, can be realigned to spell TORHM, which refers to the Torah that was given in 40 days. This theme would also include all Torah and mitzvos.

Bikkurim, which is higher even than Torah, relates to a form of Divine service which transcends measurement and limitations, the aspect of self-sacrifice. This self-sacrifice is required but once a year and it must be in a form of being placed in a basket, drawn down into vessels in a manner of entering in peace and leaving in peace as opposed to the case of the sons of Aharon, which did not end peacefully.

Now, these three themes can be applied to the Jewish people as well as to Torah, and we can find the connection in Pirkei Avos. In chapter three we find a Mishnah which explains these ideas in relation to the Jewish People, and in chapter four we find them in relation to Torah.

In Avos 3:14 we find: Beloved is man, for he was created in the image [of G-d] ... Beloved are the people Israel for they are called children of G-d ... Beloved are the people Israel for a precious article was given to them.

Beloved is Man ... created in the image, relates to the human race, gentiles included, as the clear indication of the Biblical verse He made man in the image of G-d. This fits in with the theme of Chullin, normal, worldly matters.

Beloved are the people Israel, for they are called children of G-d, here we may connect this to Terumah, which is separated and raised from the silo. For G-d chose and separated the children of Israel from the rest of humanity. Beloved are the people Israel, for a precious article was given to the There we see the theme of Bikkurim, loftier still than Terumah, in an incomparable way. The first level of ... called children of G-d represents an essential bond with G-d. This quality existed even before we received the precious article at the giving of the Torah, in the time of the Patriarchs. For, Avraham joined G-d at the covenant between the halves, which essentially united the two, which passed between the parts of one body, into one. This association is the concept of children, being essentially one with their parents .

But the loftiest level of, Beloved are the people Israel for a precious article was given to them, was reached at the giving of the Torah. This lofty plane is incomparably higher than our level before Matan Torah, similar to the quality of Bikkurim over Terumah. And, although we mentioned earlier that Torah was compared to Terumah, there is no contradiction, for here we speak of the lofty plane that we attained at Matan Torah, precious article was given to them.

Torah study existed, also, before Matan Torah as the Talmud states: Avraham was a sage who sat in a Yeshivah etc., and From the days of our forefathers we were never separated from the Yeshivah. So, we were involved in diligent Torah study much earlier. The innovation effected by Matan Torah, however, was that precious article, which was beloved and sequestered for You, was transmitted to the Jewish people. It was this G-dly essence of Torah, which the angels tried to keep by saying: Bestow Your glory on the heavens, even though they, too, knew that Torah was already being studied on earth. This is the aspect of incomparable loftiness which we received at Matan Torah. This G-dly essence of Torah is expressed and revealed in the esoteric teachings of Torah, the Mysteries of the Chariot as often explained, that when Hashem descended on Mount Sinai, the descent and revelation was with the Divine Chariot.

The two levels of Beloved is man and Beloved is Israel, which existed prior to Matan Torah, still exist today after Matan Torah. Our sages say:

Why was man created as an individual?, so that every Jewish soul may realize itself to be a whole world and say, The world was created only for me.

So we see, that even after Matan Torah we must still relate to the pristine quality of Adam who was created alone, and recognize the great responsibility that each of us has. Although there are, and have been, many other Jews, yet, The world was created for me. This will not engender a feeling of pride, but rather a realization of humility, when we realize the tremendous responsibility we bear.

On the other hand, the third, special level, which comes from the precious article can also relate to Adam. For in addition to being the handiwork of Hashem there was also the fact that Hashem breathed into his nostrils a soul of life, coming from, the innermost and essence like the child who is drawn from the brain of the father.

He was also given a special role. He was placed in Gan Eden to serve and protect it, referring to the 248 positive commandments and 365 negative commandments, similar to the precious tools given to us at Matan Torah. Thus Adam stood on a truly lofty plane, and had to bring even Gan Eden to its perfection.

Having compared this level of Beloved are Israel, for a precious article was given to them to the level of Bikkurim, we must now apply the lesson of Bikkurim, that although it is on the loftiest plane it must still be placed in a basket and be drawn down to the plane of the mundane. So too, with the level of precious articles which is truly on the highest plane, being beloved and sequestered by You. Nevertheless, where was this precious article revealed, not in the heavens, as the angels demanded, but rather in the mundane, physical, world.

At the time of revelation, when this beloved treasure was revealed through the supernal chariot, it came down even to those who were on the lowest level, even the ones, who carried the idol of Micha. The Midrash also relates that the sin of making the Golden Calf came after seeing the impression of the ox on the Divine Chariot.

Although at one time there was a warning to teach these matters privately and only to selected individuals, since the AriZal, and especially the Baal Shem Tov and Alter Rebbe, who revealed the teachings of Chassidus, it is incumbent to reveal these teachings and in a manner of spreading the wellsprings outside.

We see this same thought in the case of Adam, who was placed in Gan Eden to serve and protect it. His service, certainly, was so lofty as to raise Gan Eden to its perfection and yet, it was done specifically with physical materials in this mundane. lowest world.

In Avos 4:5 we can find these three ideas as they relate to Torah:

He who studies Torah in order to teach, is given the opportunity to study and to teach, and he who studies in order to practice, is given the opportunity to study and to teach, to observe and to practice.

Let us just preface this with the thought, that since Pirkei Avos is aspects of more devout living, it is clear that both these aforementioned levels of learning Torah represent aspects of more devout observance. If so, there must be a third level which precedes and prefaces these two levels. Namely the aspect of simple Torah study as decreed by Halachah, Torah study equals all else. This aspect relates to the essential existence of a Jew, which is our life and the expanse of our days, corresponding to the first level of Chullin.

Now, we come to the level of studying with the intention to teach and compare it to the theme of Beloved are Israel, who are called children since disciples are called children. Studying in this manner brings one to the second level, of Terumah, which is raised above Chullin as the teacher is elevated by teaching his students in the way the Talmud states I have learned most from my students.

But the goal of perfection of Torah study is, one who studies with the intention to practice, that by practical application we reach the ultimate goal and quality. This is similar to the level of Bikkurim.

There is a chassidic interpretation of the word Maaseh action, which means to cause or force to do as we find in case of the Halachah the may force [people] to give Tzedakah.

We apply this concept with regard to influencing others in matters of Torah, that it should be in a manner which motivates them and causes them to learn and observe. It is self-evident and elementary, that we speak of verbal force only and certainly in a most pleasing and careful manner. But, there must be the concomitant firmness not to be discouraged by the current, temporary, lack of interest on the part of the student to improve. One must continue to strive to teach and motivate until, finally, the student will be encouraged to fulfill Torah and mitzvos.

There is a well known story of the Alter Rebbe, when he passed through a town of Misnagdim (opponents of the path of Chassidus) he nevertheless entered and Shul, rose to the Bimah and said in his customary sing-song style, Taste and you will see that Hashem is good. As a result of this action, scores of young men ran to follow him and, eventually, they became active teachers and disseminators of the teachings of Chassidus. We have been told this story for it teaches us that the Alter Rebbe pioneered the way for each and every one of his disciples.

The fact is, that the wellsprings of Chassidus must spread and reach the outside, they must be continuous and never ending, which will prove that they are truly from the wellsprings. When the teachings of Chassidus penetrate the essence of a person to the degree that he radiates further, to others outside, without interruption, this proves that his study of Chassidus was truly on the level of wellsprings.

This is also the theme of this weeks Pegishah. Its goal and purpose is to influence each and every one to ascend and increase in all aspects of Judaism, Torah and mitzvos, to the level of Bikkurim, which is higher than Terumah. I will also participate in the ongoing program of the Pegishah by giving a bottle from this Farbrengen.

I will also give a bottle from the Farbrengen to those who work for the Jews behind the Iron Curtain. For more than fifty years open observance of Torah and mitzvos has been prohibited, yet they continue to raise generations of self sacrificing Jews, who increase and expand the illuminating light, bearing fruit and immeasurable results.

May it be the will of Hashem, that through this work of spreading Yiddishkeit and the wellsprings, outside, especially in a manner of This is very close to you, in your mouth and heart to do in actual practice, we will merit the fulfillment of the promise And the world will be filled

with the knowledge of G-d, as the water covers the sea, in the true and complete redemption through the righteous Mashiach. Then we will merit to bring Bikkurim in the third Beis HaMikdash as described by the Rambam

Our feet stood at the gates of Yerushalayim ... until they reached the Temple mount ... until the courtyard, there the Leviim sang, I exalt You, L-rd, for You have uplifted me.

The word Dilisoni means, A) poverty and B) uplifted, that our condition of poverty in the exile will be converted to the opposite extreme of exaltation as the quality of light out of darkness. and wisdom from ignorance.

From the Sedra of Ki Sovo we will dance into the Sedra of Nitzavim which we read at Minchah, when you all stand this day before the L-rd your G-d and we receive the blessings of Bless us, our Father, all together, as one, in the light of Your Countenance. These blessings will commence with, righteousness is Yours, which we recite at the first Selichos service, meaning that we will be immediately inscribed in the book of the perfectly righteous and be inscribed and sealed for a good and sweet year.

All of this may be accomplished during the month of Elul, for from Rosh Chodesh Elul we start greeting one another with the blessing to be inscribed and sealed for a good year. Even more so, during the final twelve days of Elul, which correspond to the twelve months of the past year and, specifically on Chai Elul, corresponding to Tishrei of last year. In this way we will dance into the Divine service of Anoint Me as king over you on Rosh Hashanah, drawing down the theme of King of the world prefaced by the King and Redeemer of Israel, a true and complete redemption through our Righteous Mashiach speedily and actually in our days.

[The Rebbe Shlita gave a bottle to Prof. Hanoka for the Pegishah and to Prof. Branover for the activities on behalf of Jews in Russia.]


  The Letter sent out by the Lubavitcher Rebbe
18th Day of Elul, 5744
Tzivos Hashem
21st Day of Elul, 5744
 
  
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