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Shabbos Parshas Behar-Bechukosai

The Address to the International Convention of N'shei uBnos Chabad

Shabbos Parshas Bamidbar

Shavuos & Shabbos Parshas Naso, 5750

Yechidus

Shabbos Parshas Behaalos'cha

To the Graduating Class of Bais Rivkah and the Girls who will be Serving as Counselors in Summer Camps

Shabbos Parshas Shelach

Shabbos Parshas Korach

Shabbos Parshas Chukas

Shabbos Parshas Balak

   14th Day of Tammuz, 5750

Yechidus

17th Day of Tammuz, 5750

Shabbos Parshas Pinchas

25th of Tammuz, 5750

Shabbos Parshas Matos-Masei

Shabbos Parshas Devarim, Shabbos Chazon

Shabbos Parshas Va'eschanan, Shabbos Nachamu

Shabbos Parshas Eikev

Tzivos Hashem, Day Camps

Shabbos Parshas Re'eh

Shabbos Parshas Shoftim

To the Campers of Emunah

Shabbos Parshas Ki Seitzei

Shabbos Parshas Ki Savo

N'shei uBnos Chabad

Shabbos Parshas Nitzavim-Vayeilech

The Blessing Delivered by the Rebbe Shlita upon Receiving the Pan Klali

Sichos In English
Volume 45

Shabbos Parshas Balak
14th Day of Tammuz, 5750
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  7th Day of Tammuz, 5750Eve of the 17th of Tammuz, 5750  

1

Yud-Beis Tammuz, in addition to being the Previous Rebbe's day of redemption, is also his birthday. This year there is a unique dimension to this aspect because it is the 110th anniversary of his birth. The Torah associates the number 110 with Yosef who lived for 110 years, mentioning that fact in two separate verses.

Yosef's lifespan has raised several questions. On one hand, the Talmud states that "the years of Yosef's life was reduced," and indeed, he did not live as long as his father or grandfather. On the other, the Midrash chooses Yosef as an example of long life, stating:

Since he worked hard to honor his father in Egypt, he merited the crown of old age... as it is written: "And Yosef saw Ephraim's great-grandchildren."

It can be explained that there is no contradiction between the two: Compared to his brothers and his ancestors, he did not live long. When compared to an average person, however, his life was prolonged. In addition, Yosef possessed the unique aspect of seeing the third generation of Ephraim's descendants and Menasheh's grandchildren (Bereishis 50:23; see The Living Torah). The Torah does not explicitly describe any other figure as being blessed with the fortune of living together with that many generations of his descendants.[124]

Despite this dimension, Yosef's life was, in fact, shorter than that of his brothers and, indeed, less than 120 years. Furthermore, Yosef's life was shorter than that of his father.[125] This fact can be clarified by another concept.

It can be explained that the reason that Yosef merited to see a continuity of his descendants is a result of the fact that Yosef was the first Jew to serve as a king. With the exception of the fact that he did not sit on the throne, he fulfilled all the functions of the monarchy.[126]

Thus, Yosef serves as the source of monarchy for the Jewish people and we find the expressions, "the kingdom of the House of Yosef" and "the Moshiach of the House of Yosef." Even though the ultimate dimension of monarchy is associated with the House of David, who will come from the tribe of Yehudah, that dimension will not be revealed until the Messianic age. Until then, Yosef is supreme and Yehudah receives from him.

[The ultimate expression of monarchy is seen in the crown. For this reason, the sign of whether a monarch of the House of David was fit for his position was whether the crown fit him or not. A crown, Kesser, in Hebrew, is identified with the Sefirah of that name.

There is a connection between this year's commemoration of Yud-Beis Tammuz and the attribute of Kesser. This is the 63rd anniversary of the Previous Rebbe's release from prison. 63 can be divided into 50 (a number identified with Kesser) and 13 which stands for the 13 Attributes of Mercy and the drawing down of their influence to the Jews who are divided into twelve tribes and the tribe of Levi.][127]

The concept of prolonged years and continuity from generation to generation is integrally connected with the concept of monarchy as it is written, "Prolong the king's life, extend his years from generation to generation." Therefore, the Torah explicitly associates these qualities with Yosef. Nevertheless, since the ultimate aspect of monarchy will be revealed in the House of David, Yosef's life was actually not as long as that of his brothers. Furthermore, the Zohar explains that Yosef did not live to be 147, the age to which his father Ya'akov lived, because he gave 37 years of his life to King David, implying that ultimately, the Kingdom of Yosef will lead to the Kingdom of David.[128]

On the basis of the above, we can appreciate the unique dimension of Yud-Beis Tammuz in the present year, the 110th anniversary of the birth of the Previous Rebbe -- the Yosef of our generation. Here, it is possible to see the continuity of the generations whose service he inspired, a service that will bring about a spreading of the wellsprings of Chassidus outward and thus, lead to the coming of Moshiach.

This concept can be associated with the redemption of Yud-Beis Tammuz which was of a collective nature, strengthening and encouraging Torah and Yiddishkeit, not only in the Previous Rebbe's generation, but in the generations that follow until the present day. Indeed, we see that as a result of his redemption, the Previous Rebbe was able to reach America, "the lower half of the world." There, he continued to spread Torah and mitzvos and transferred this mission to the coming generations who have expanded this service. This will lead to the ultimate expression of monarchy, the coming of Moshiach whose sovereignty will spread throughout the entire world.

The above concepts receive greater emphasis due to the fact that the Previous Rebbe is the sixth generation[129] of the Chabad Nessi'im who spread the wellsprings of Chassidus outward, reaching the furthest reaches of the world.

Our Sages relate that there will be six millennia to the existence of the world in its present state: two thousand years of chaos, two thousand years of Torah, and two thousand years of [preparation for] the Messianic age. Thus, the sixth millennia is intended to prepare us for the seventh millennia, the age which is "all Sabbath and rest for eternity."


3

Each year, on one's birthday, it is customary to study the chapter of Psalms associated with the number of years of one's life together with its commentaries. Similarly, this Psalm is recited each day throughout the year. Because of the attachment of Chassidim to the Previous Rebbe, it is proper that they study and recite the Psalm associated with his birthday.

Psalm 111 contains the verse, "He has made a remembrance of His wondrous works." The Tzemach Tzedek comments on this verse:

Whatever G-d does for the righteous in this world is only a "remembrance" of what He will do for them in the world to come.... Even the miracles of the exodus from Egypt are only a "remembrance" when compared to the miracles which will be in the Messianic era as implied by the verse, "As in the days of your exodus from Egypt, I will show you wonders."

The above receives even greater emphasis this year, ", "a year of miracles," which will lead to ", whose letters form an acronym for the Hebrew words meaning, "May this be the year of 'I will show wonders.' " This is further intensified by the connection to this week's Torah portion, Parshas Balak, which contains several allusions to the Messianic redemption. For example, the Rambam writes that the verse, "A star will shoot forth from Ya'akov and a staff will arise in Israel," is a reference to Moshiach's coming.

The above concepts can be applied in each of our lives since each Jew has a connection to royalty as our Sages declare, "the Jews are like the sons of kings." Similarly, the Jewish people as a whole are called Yosef and thus, particularly, our generation whose Nassi is named Yosef -- and "the Nassi includes the entire generation" -- share a connection to the Previous Rebbe, the Yosef of our generation.

Each Jew, within the context of his life in the physical world, receives a crown[130] of kingship from G-d. This gives him the potential to live in a manner of redemption, without being hindered by any of the obstacles of the exile. On the contrary, he rules over his environment and reveals G-d's sovereignty in the world.

To allow a Jew to carry on this service, G-d grants him manifold blessings so that he can live a life of peace and prosperity -- in Eretz Yisrael or in the Diaspora -- and thus, further his service of Torah and mitzvos. The celebration of Yud-Beis Tammuz this year grants further potential for such service, endowing each Jew with the potential to spread this service to others, "raising up many students," and thus establishing continuity with the generations to come.

When each Jew lives in "a manner of redemption,"[131] the world will be prepared for the ultimate redemption. Then, this, the last generation of exile will become the first generation of redemption.

On a practical level, resolutions should be taken regarding the following: a) Gifts should be given to tzedakah in multiples of 110 and in multiples of 63; b) The farbrengens of Yud-Beis Tammuz should be continued and, in every place, farbrengens should be held on the 14th and 15th of Tammuz, in the hope that this will transform the 17th of Tammuz into a day of celebration, c) The campaign of public sessions of Torah study should be reinforced, d) The maamar, Asarah SheYoshim released by the Previous Rebbe in connection with Yud-Beis Tammuz should be studied, e) Psalm 111 should be studied together with its commentaries.

These activities will lead to the fulfillment of the promise, "And you shall spread westward, eastward, northward, and southward," spreading G-dliness throughout the world. This will lead to the coming of Moshiach. May it be in the immediate future.


4

At present, the affluence enjoyed by the Jewish community allows the possibility for Rabbis to study Torah without disruption and thus, penetrate to the depth of Torah, deriving practical halachic decisions. It must, however, be emphasized that although, from an abstract perspective, the most challenging aspect of Torah study is to deal with the application of halachah, before actually putting into practice -- or advising others to put into practice -- one's decisions, it is proper to consult with a Rabbi who has experience in rendering decisions in applied halachah. Indeed, we find that in previous generations, before a Rabbi was allowed to render halachic decisions, in addition to having Semichah, "ordination," he had to have shimush, "internship," during which he assisted a practicing Rabbinical authority.

The influence of the practical application of halachah is evident form the following story concerning an important Rabbi (whose name will not be mentioned lest some of the particulars in the story are not accurate) who was being tested to see if he was fit for a Rabbinical position. He was asked many questions which he answered correctly with the exception of one, to which he gave an answer that contradicted the views of most other authorities. When questioned about this point, he explained, that G-d has helped him to, as of yet, never err in regard to an actual halachic question. Apparently, the question was being asked merely from a theoretical perspective with no intent of being applied to actual behavior and therefore, his answer was lacking.

May today's Rabbis render the halachic decision of immediate relevance: that the exile has lasted too long and may G-d carry out their decision and bring Moshiach.

   

Notes:

  1. (Back to text) This runs contrary to the popularly accepted belief that there exists -- and should exist -- a gap between the generations. Judaism has always emphasized the importance of the continuity of tradition, denying the basis for such a gap. Rather, every family should be a single integral entity, communicating and passing down true values from generation to generation.

  2. (Back to text) This is somewhat problematic because, of all Ya'akov's son's, Yosef is the one most frequently associated with the forefathers as a group. This is brought out by Yosef's inclusion as one of the Ushpizen on Sukkos. According to one order, he follows directly after the forefathers. According to the other order, he is associated with the Sefirah of Yesod whose quality is to bring down the revelation of Atzilus (the forefathers) into the lower three spiritual realms.

    In this context, it must be noted that Ya'akov also did not live to the age of his father or grandfather and made a point of this in his conversation with Pharaoh. {It is, however, problematic how Ya'akov knew that he would definitely not live that long. Even if he saw through prophetic vision that he would not reach their age, he should not have made a definite statement to that effect for a positive change can always effect the reality perceived by prophetic vision. Indeed, we find though Yeshayahu, the prophet, had prophesied that King Chizkeyahu would die, through his prayer, he prolonged his life for fifteen years.}

  3. (Back to text) There are two aspects to a king. On one hand, the king is uplifted over all his subjects as personified by King Saul, Israel's first king, whose "shoulders were above the heads of the people." On the other hand, the king sits on a throne. This implies that rather than remain upright and thus, above the people, he sits down, implying a process of descent which allows him to address himself to their needs.

    Although Yosef did not actually sit on the throne, it can be explained that this quality was lacking in him and found only in kings of the Davidic dynasty.

  4. (Back to text) This division is justified by the fact that 13 of the 63 years where in the fifth millennia (from 5687 to 5700) and fifty in the present millennia (5700-5750).

    The number 63 is also connected with the Kabbalistic Name of G-d numerically equivalent to 63. This name is associated with the service of refining the world, the task of our generation, to prepare for the revelation of the Name numerically equivalent to 72 in the Messianic age.

  5. (Back to text) This will also have a positive influence on the House of Yosef. The Midrash relates that the Moshiach from the House of David will resurrect the Moshiach from the House of Yosef and bring him to his ultimate fulfillment.

  6. (Back to text) In the Sefiros, the number six is associated with the Sefirah of Yesod which is also associated with Yosef, the Previous Rebbe's namesake.

  7. (Back to text) This quality is associated with "the crown of Torah." Though this dimension lifts a Jew above the limits of the world, it does not take him away from connection to his fellow Jew. This concept can be explained as follows: The Hebrew word for crown, is numerically equivalent to 620. The Rabbis connect this with the 613 mitzvos of the Torah and the 7 mitzvos instituted by the Sages. Significantly, there are also 620 letters in the Ten Commandments. The last seven letters spell out the words ("belonging to your fellowman") which emphasize how the concluding aspect of the Ten Commandments and thus of the crown, is not to be lifted above others, but rather to show concern for them.

  8. (Back to text) This concept is related to the fact that the verse, "a star will shoot forth from Ya'akov," is associated with the coming of Moshiach and yet, is also interpreted as a reference to each individual Jew. Within each Jew, there is a spark of Moshiach, the level of soul referred to as yechidah. The revelation of many individual sparks of Moshiach will prepare the world for the revelation of Moshiach, the ultimate yechidah of the entire world.


  7th Day of Tammuz, 5750Eve of the 17th of Tammuz, 5750  
  
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