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2nd Day Of Rosh Hashanah, 5745

Shabbos Parshas Ha'azinu, Shabbos Shuvah

Shabbos Parshas Ha'azinu

Tzom Gedaliah

Tzivos Hashem

Eve Of 6th Day Of Tishrei, 5745

6th Day Of Tishrei, 5745

6th Day Of Tishrei, 5745

Equal Rights

Blessings Erev Yom Kippur, 5745

The Blessing To The Students of Tomchei Temimim Before Kol Nidrei

Yartzeit of Rebbe Maharash

1st Night Of Sukkos, 5745

2nd Night of Sukkos, 5745

3rd Night of Sukkos, 5745

4th Night Of Sukkos, 5745

5th Night Of Sukkos, 5745

6th Night Of Sukkos, 5745

Tzivos Hashem

Hosha'ana Rabbah, 5745

Eve Of Simchas Torah, 5745

Day Of Simchas Torah, 5745

Shabbos Parshas Bereishis

Shabbos Parshas Bereishis


Shabbos Parshas Noach

Shabbos Parshas Lech Lecha

Birthday Of Rebbe Rashab

Sichos In English
Volume 23

Day Of Simchas Torah, 5745

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  Eve Of Simchas Torah, 574524th Day Of Tishrei, 5745 - 1st Farbrengen  


This farbrengen follows the one of last night, and consonant with the sages' injunction to increase in holiness, we should increase in joy, the principal aspect of Shemini Atzeres and Simchas Torah, for, as the previous Rebbe said, "the mitzvah of the day is joy." Simply put, notwithstanding how much rejoicing took place until now on the seven days of Sukkos, Shemini Atzeres and the night of Simchas Torah, we must increase yet further in joy, to the level that transcends all bounds.

What is the inner meaning of "the mitzvah of the day is joy"? "Mitzvah" derives from the root tzavsah, meaning connection. "The mitzvah of the day is joy" means that one connects the idea of "day" with the One who commands the mitzvah (G-d), through the special mitzvah of that day -- joy in the case of Simchas Torah. To understand what precisely this means let us first explore the meaning of the phrase used in the prayers on Yom-Tov -- "Who sanctifies Israel and the seasons."

"Seasons" refers to the festivals, which are sanctified by Jews. It would seem more appropriate to use a term like "festivals," which is a Scriptural term, especially since the dimension of time, emphasized by the use of the term "seasons," is a low level, since all spiritual matters transcend the limits of time. Also, something associated with the dimension of time encompasses change -- from past to future to present -- indicating its transitory nature. Thus, although the festivals are encompassed in the dimension of time -- since each festival is on a specific day -- there seems to be no need to emphasize it by terming them "seasons"; it would be better to emphasize their enduring, permanent qualities.

The festivals are called "seasons," however, to show that Jews generate and draw down the very loftiest levels of holiness into the lowest of levels -- that of time. And this is the meaning of "the mitzvah of the day is joy": one joins together the day (the dimension of time, the lowest of levels) with G-d (the highest of levels).

There are different degrees in this generation of sanctity into time. Jews sanctify the festivals by sanctifying the months (for the date of the festival depends on the date of Rosh Chodesh, which is determined and sanctified by Jews). The sanctification of the month by the court (in the times of the Bais Hamikdosh) is of a loftier level than when the months are determined by the calendar (in the times of exile), although the latter is also determined by Jews, who arrange the calendar.

In addition to the sanctification of the months (by the court or by the calendar), through which sanctity is introduced into the dimension of time, the spiritual service of Jews on a festival ("the mitzvah of the day") introduces extra sanctity into the day itself. When, therefore, a Jew increases in the service associated with "the mitzvah of the day," transcending all limits (service "with all your might"), he joins the "day" together with G-d in the loftiest fashion -- he introduces a degree of sanctity that totally transcends all limits into the dimension of time.

The above applies to all festivals, all of which are sanctified by Jews, and all of which have their own "mitzvah of the day," performed in a manner of "with all your might." But of all the festivals, Shemini Atzeres and Simchas Torah are special, for the "mitzvah of the day is joy," and since "joy breaks all bounds," it follows that the service of these festivals transcends all limits.

Shemini Atzeres and Simchas Torah in this respect are loftier than Rosh HaShanah. The Previous Rebbe said that what is achieved on Rosh HaShanah through the medium of awe is achieved on Shemini Atzeres and Simchas Torah through the medium of joy. Awe produces a sense of inhibition and withdrawal in a person, whereas joy is an expansive experience, breaking through all barriers and transcending all limits.

This year is particularly special in that Simchas Torah is immediately followed by Shabbos, when "all your work is done," and only delight is present, which is also an expansive experience. Thus, in the service of joy, it is much easier to serve "with all your might," transcending all limits.

When Jews (through the "mitzvah of the day" -- joy) draw down the highest levels, transcending limits, into the lowest levels, into the dimension of time, they effect that all aspects of this day should also transcend all limits -- and simultaneously be drawn down into material matters. For Shemini Atzeres and Simchas Torah are the conclusion and inner assimilation of all matters which were generated from Rosh HaShanah until Sukkos. Hence, when the service of Simchas Torah transcends all limits, also the concepts of Rosh HaShanah are drawn down in a manner transcending all limits, in a manner loftier than before Simchas Torah. Simultaneously, these matters are drawn down to the lowest levels, to material matters, life, children and ample sustenance.

In plain words: Already on erev Rosh HaShanah, Jews wear white clothes and are wrapped in white because they know for a certainty that they are meritorious in judgment. In the words of the Tur: "'For what nation is so great that they have G-d close to it'.... Which nation is as this one, that knows the ways of G-d, meaning His customs and laws. It is the usual custom for a man who has a judgment to wear black, for he does not know what will be the verdict. But Israel are different: they wear white and are wrapped in white, for they know that G-d will perform a miracle for them."

After Rosh HaShanah, when the "three books (book of the righteous, the wicked, and the intermediate) are open," Jews are certainly inscribed in the book of the completely righteous, since "your people are all righteous."

Afterwards, all aspects of Rosh HaShanah are revealed on Sukkos; and on Shemini Atzeres, all these matters are assimilated and absorbed inwardly. When, therefore, a Jew wishes to increase in all the blessings generated on Rosh HaShanah (children, life, sustenance), to ensure that they transcend all limits, he should increase in the "mitzvah of the day" -- joy.

"Deed is paramount." To increase in G-d's blessings such that they transcend all limits, one should increase in all aspects of Torah and mitzvos in a manner transcending all limits (service "with all your might"). And certainly one should increase in the "mitzvah of the day" -- joy: one should utilize each moment of the day in such a manner, increasing over the joy of the preceding days. Simply put, to dance and clap with all one's might.

May it be G-d's will that with this great joy we merit to dance forward to greet our righteous Moshiach, and to accompany him to our Holy Land, to the holy city of Yerushalayim, to the Third Bais Hamikdosh.


Since this farbrengen, as noted above, is a continuation of yesterday's, now is the time to complete the discussion of some of the topics raised at yesterday's farbrengen, on Shemini Atzeres.

In the Tractate Soferim it states that the Song of the Day chanted on Shemini Atzeres is "Lamnatzeach al Hasheminis." -- "For the Choirmaster; on the Sheminis (Eight-Stringed Harp)." It was noted at the last farbrengen that the full text of this psalm, Psalm six, is "Lamnatzeach Bineginos al Hasheminis" -- "For the Choirmaster; with instrumental music on the Sheminis." Yet the tractate Soferim omits the word "Bineginos." Similarly, the Alter Rebbe, in Likkutei Torah, parshas Tazria, omits the word "Bineginos."

Now, in addition to the sixth psalm, there is another psalm, Psalm 12, which begins with the words "Lamnatzeach al Hasheminis"; and it does not contain the word "Bineginos." It would therefore seem likely that the Tractate Soferim, which states that on Shemini Atzeres the psalm "Lamnatzeach al Hasheminis" is chanted, is referring to the twelfth psalm, and there is thus no longer a question why the Tractate Soferim omits the word "Bineginos." In similar fashion, we could posit that the Alter Rebbe's discourse in Likkutei Torah, which is based on the Talmud's words (Menachos 43b), "'Lamnatzeach al Hasheminis, a psalm by Dovid' -- Concerning circumcision, which was given on the eighth day," refers to the twelfth psalm, which does not have the word "Bineginos."

The citation given in the tractate Soferim is the sixth psalm. But this citation is no real proof, for all the notations cited in the Talmud and Midrashim were added afterwards, with their author unknown, and reliability unknown. The correct citation may therefore still well be the twelfth psalm. On the other hand, it is extremely unlikely that throughout all the generations, no one should have remarked that the citation in all the editions of the tractate Soferim is incorrect.

A simple way of ascertaining whether the psalm referred to in the tractate Soferim is the sixth or twelfth psalm, is to examine the works of reliable Torah greats who comment on both psalms: Such works would be the Midrash Tehillim, the Yalkut Shimoni, and the Tzemach Tzedek's expositions on Tehillim.

The Midrash Tehillim brings the concept of "'Lamnatzeach al Hasheminis -- Concerning circumcision which was given on the eighth" in the sixth psalm, and yet omits the word "Bineginos." In this case we cannot possibly say that it is referring to the twelfth psalm, for following it the Midrash expounds on verses in the sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth, tenth and eleventh psalm -- and only then starts expounding the verses of the twelfth psalm.

In Yalkut Shimoni, this concept is discussed in the sixth psalm, and states specifically "'Lamnatzeach Bineginos al Hasheminis -- Concerning the circumcision which was given on the eighth day."

In the Tzemach Tzedek's expositions on Tehillim, this concept of circumcision which was given on the eighth day is brought in both the sixth and twelfth psalm. We can posit that according to Chassidus, this concept is applicable to both psalms, whereas in the revealed aspect of Torah, it applies only to the sixth psalm. But in any case, the Midrash Tehillim (which preceded the Yalkut Shimoni) certainly talks of the sixth psalm, and yet omits the word "Bineginos." Thus in our case, in the tractate Soferim, the omission of the word "Bineginos" does not prove that it is referring to the twelfth psalm.

Furthermore, it is a rule that Scripture does not come to conceal but to explain. Thus, when the tractate Soferim mentions the concept of "Lamnatzeach al Hasheminis," we can assume that it is referring to the first psalm in which this concept is mentioned -- in Psalm six. Had it meant the second time it appears (in Psalm twelve), it would have said so explicitly.

What is the connection between "Lamnatzeach al Hasheminis and Shemini Atzeres (on which this psalm is chanted)? "Shemini" -- "Eighth" corresponds to the future era, as the Talmud states (Erchin 13b): "The harp of the Bais Hamikdosh had seven strings ... and that of the Messianic era will have eight, as it is written, 'Lamnatzeach al Hasheminis.'" The connection to Shemini Atzeres is that Shemini Atzeres compared to the preceding seven days of Sukkos is similar to the superiority of the Messianic era compared to now. On Sukkos, a Jew is commanded to dwell in a temporary abode (the sukkah), whereas on Shemini Atzeres he lives in a permanent dwelling place.

The difference between a temporary and a permanent abode is similar to that between this era and the Messianic era. A Jew's true position is one of stability and permanence, which will be realized in the Messianic era, when all things will be whole and complete. Nowadays, in contrast, a Jew is in a temporary position, for exile is not a Jew's true status. We are in exile because of our sins, and sin itself is essentially foreign to a Jew, something external. Thus exile, which is the result of sin, is also foreign, external -- and temporary. Even the times of the Bais Hamikdosh cannot compare to the Messianic era -- and thus it too was a temporary situation compared to the Messianic era. In the words of the Talmud mentioned above: "The harp of the Bais Ha-mikdosh had seven strings" -- similar to the seven days of Sukkos, a temporary dwelling; "and that of the Messianic era will have eight" -- similar to Shemini Atzeres, a permanent dwelling.


The above contains lessons for our service to G-d. There are two types of service: 1) that which will take place in the Messianic era, when Jews will be in a permanent position; 2) that of this era, especially in the time of exile, when Jews are in a temporary position. Both types of service are carried out because so G-d commands -- just as we live in a temporary dwelling on the seven days of Sukkos, and in a permanent dwelling on Shemini Atzeres, because so G-d commands. In other words, the type of service carried out in exile is also by G-d's command and will, for "We were not exiled from Eretz Yisroel by our desire ... our Father our King exiled us from our land." The purpose? To reveal the sanctity (the "sparks of holiness") in the material world.

Through Jew's service in all places in which they dwell, they refine and elevate all the "sparks of holiness" in the whole world. When the light of holiness illuminated with full strength (in the times of the Bais Hamikdosh), it was unnecessary to go into exile to refine the "sparks," for the "sparks" were drawn of their own accord to the light, as sparks are drawn to a large torch. But when the light of holiness does not illuminate with full strength -- as in the time of exile -- it is necessary to go to the places where the "sparks" are, to refine them there.

However, although service in the times of exile is according to G-d's will, a Jew must nevertheless know that exile is but a temporary situation; his true status, his permanent situation, is in the Messianic era. This is the idea of leaving the Sukkah (temporary dwelling) and entering the house (permanent abode) on Shemini Atzeres: after all the lofty aspects of sitting in a sukkah, a Jew is told that it is all temporary; he must therefore reach an infinitely higher level -- a permanent condition, that of the Messianic era.

Although we previously explained that the concept of Shemini Atzeres -- "Lamnatzeach al Hasheminis," the eight-stringed harp -- applies to Shemini Atzeres, it has relevance also to this era (including that of exile), just as this psalm was said by King Dovid before the Messianic era.

This teaches us a wonderful lesson: a Jew has the ability to bring about the concept of the Messianic era while he is still in exile! We find this idea emphasized by the "Guests" of Shemini Atzeres -- King Shlomo and the Previous Rebbe. Of King Shlomo it is written, "I shall grant peace and quiet to Israel in his days" -- which encompasses the epitome of peace of the future era. And the previous Rebbe's second name is "Yitzchok," which means "laughter," encompassing the epitome of laughter of the future, as written, "Then our mouths will be filled with laughter." It follows from the above that on Shemini Atzeres and Simchas Torah it is very easy to bring about the redemption.

  Eve Of Simchas Torah, 574524th Day Of Tishrei, 5745 - 1st Farbrengen  
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