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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

Yechidus

17th Day of Tammuz, 5750

Shabbos Parshas Pinchas

25th of Tammuz, 5750

Shabbos Parshas Matos-Masei

Shabbos Parshas Devarim, Shabbos Chazon

   6th Day of Menachem Av, 5750

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 Devarim, Shabbos Chazon
6th Day of Menachem Av, 5750
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  28th Day of Tammuz, 575013th Day of Menachem Av, 5750  

1

Rav Levi Yitzchok of Berditchev interpreted the name, Shabbos Chazon to mean "the Shabbos of vision," the time when each individual is given a chance to see the Third Beis HaMikdash. On the surface, this is the direct opposite of the simple interpretation of the name which connects it to the Haftorah, the vision of Yeshayahu which is a particularly harsh reproof of the Jewish people. [For this reason, it is included among the three Haftoros of retribution which are read before Tishah BeAv.] The consolation of the Jewish people begins only after Tishah BeAv and yet, according to the above interpretation, on the Shabbos before Tishah BeAv, each Jew receives the most complete consolation possible, the revelation of the Third Beis HaMikdash.

This difficulty can be resolved within the context of the explanation of the concept, "a descent which is intended for an ascent." The concept of descent in and of itself has no place in creation. G-d is the essence of good and "it is the nature of the good to do good." Hence, there is no place for a descent in the world which He created unless it is intended to bring about an ascent that is so great that it makes the descent worthwhile. A descent for such a purpose can be considered a stage of the ascent which follows it.

This explains why each person is shown a vision of the Third Beis HaMikdash on the Shabbos before Tishah BeAv. The vision reveals that the ultimate purpose of the destruction of the Beis HaMikdash was the beginning of a process which will lead to the high peaks of the Messianic Beis HaMikdash.

This explanation, however, is insufficient: Descent and ascent are opposite thrusts. Although G-d has ingrained within the nature of the world that a descent will lead to an ascent, descent is still the opposite of ascent. Furthermore, the concept itself is worthy of question. Why did G-d ingrain such a nature in the world? Why is a descent necessary? In our present context: Why is it not possible to approach the heights of the Messianic Beis HaMikdash without first undergoing the descent connected with the Beis HaMikdash's destruction?

These questions can be resolved by an analysis of the opening verse of this week's Torah portion, Parshas Devarim: "These are the words which Moshe spoke." The word "these" implies an open revelation, an appreciation that the words of Torah[174] are alive and new, as if one is hearing them from Moshe today.[175] Each day, we receive the Torah anew. Therefore, the blessings which praise G-d as "the Giver of the Torah," use the present tense. Just as each day, man becomes "a new creation," receiving his soul anew from G-d, each day, the giving and the receiving of the Torah is renewed.

This provokes a question: Why did G-d create man in a manner in which he is required to sleep? Man is created to serve his Creator through the study of Torah and the fulfillment of mitzvos. Why was he created in a manner which requires him[176] to interrupt this service and devote several hours each day to sleeping.[177]

This question can be resolved as follows: The purpose for man's creation is to elevate the entire creation and bring it to a higher level of completion. Even though after G-d created the world, "G-d saw that it was good," the creation is not self-contained. On the contrary, G-d created the world in a manner which leaves room for man to become "a partner in creation," and bring out a new dimension in existence.[178]

This new dimension is revealed through the service of Torah and mitzvos which elevate the nature of the world. Our Sages explain that the giving of the Torah allowed the potential for "the lower realms to ascend to the higher realms." Although G-d created these dimensions of existence as "lower," through our service of Torah and mitzvos, they are elevated and lifted up onto the "higher" plane, reflecting the manner in which a miracle is uplifted above the natural order.

Similarly, within each person's individual service, once a person has accustomed himself to a specific pattern of behavior, he should strive to reach a new and higher peak. Thus, Tanya explains our Sages' definition of "one who serves G-d" as "one who reviews his subject matter 101 times." In that era, it was normal for each person to review his subject matter 100 times. Thus, by studying the subject matter for the 101st time, the person went beyond his nature and therefore, merited the title "one who serves G-d."

This new dimension of service is reflected in the fact that each day, a person becomes "a new creation" after his activity is interrupted through sleeping. Were a person to continue his study of Torah and fulfillment of mitzvos without interruption, the aspect of newness would not be revealed. Since his service would continue constantly, even when there is an increase, it would follow as a natural progression and not as a radical change.

In contrast, by creating man in a manner in which he is required to sleep and thus interrupt his service, G-d emphasizes the importance of newness and how man has the potential to introduce this element into his service of G-d. Furthermore, since this dimension of newness requires an interruption, this interruption can be seen as part of the service of G-d infused by the quality of newness.

These concepts can be applied to the concept of a descent for the sake of an ascent.[179] Were a person to continue his service in a constant pattern of growth and ascent, the new dimension of the ascent would not be perceived. In contrast, when there is an interruption in the pattern of growth, one is able to perceive the new quality in the ascent. Furthermore, the new dimension in the ascent which follows a descent allows for an ascent of a greater degree.

This process is reflected in the study of Torah, in the development of new Torah concepts. For this reason, to a great extent, the development of new Torah concepts has taken place in the time of exile.[180] The composition of the Babylonian Talmud began a different pattern of revelation of new Torah concepts. The Mishnah was written in clear, concise terminology. In contrast, the Babylonian Talmud, composed in exile[181] revealed a greater quantity and a new dimension of Torah ideas. This pattern has been continued in subsequent generations and the descent into the awesome darkness of exile -- in particular, in this the generation directly preceding Moshiach's coming -- has granted the Jews the potential to develop a new dimension of service and to express this dimension through the development of new Torah concepts.[182]

The core of the idea is that in a state of revelation, when one is in a process of constant growth and ascent, man's own initiative and power to contribute is not emphasized. It is possible that the reason he is constantly advancing is because of the revelation from above and it is impossible to know whether those advances would continue were those revelations to cease. In contrast, when a person is found in a state of descent -- in particular, a descent to the lowest depths -- and, nevertheless, he is not affected at all and continues his service with all his strength, this reveals the power of service on one's own initiative and reflects a constant and eternal dimension.

In this context, we can understand why each person is shown a vision of the Messianic Beis HaMikdash on Shabbos Chazon. The intent of the destruction of the Beis HaMikdash was to bring about an ascent to a higher Beis HaMikdash in the Messianic age, a Beis HaMikdash which expresses the quality of newness (and thus, is brought into existence by a new dimension of service carried out by the Jews).

Since the revelation of this new Beis HaMikdash requires the destruction of the previous one, this destruction can be considered as the beginning of the construction of the Messianic Beis HaMikdash. Though on an obvious level, one perceives destruction, the inner intent[183] is a phase of new building.[184] The new dimension of service of the Jewish people will produce a new and greater Beis HaMikdash

Our Sages interpreted the verse, "The honor of this later house will exceed that of the former one," as a reference to the Second Beis HaMikdash which exceeded the First Beis HaMikdash in size (it was 100 rather than 30 cubits high) and remained for a longer period (420 years rather than 410). It a larger sense, however, the verse can be interpreted as a reference to the Third Beis HaMikdash whose "honor" will exceed that of the previous two for it will be "the Sanctuary of G-d, established by Your hands," a timeless, eternal structure.

The advantage of the Third Beis HaMikdash over the previous two is alluded to in the phrase, , "crushed for the light." The First Beis HaMikdash lasted " (410) years and the Second Beis HaMikdash lasted " (420) years. Ultimately, they were both "crushed," destroyed. Yet, this serves as a preparation for "the light," the revelation of the Third Beis HaMikdash.

The word also alludes to the unique dimension of service which will lead to the building of the Third Beis HaMikdash. refers to a source of light and to revealed light. The First and Second Batei Mikdashos reflected the aspect of revealed light. Through their being "crushed," destroyed, the world was plunged into darkness. Nevertheless, by continuing to serve G-d in the midst of this darkness, the Jews reveal a new dimension, service on their own initiative. This establishes a connection to the , to the Essence of G-d which transcends revealed light and which will be revealed in the Third Beis HaMikdash, "the Sanctuary of G-d, established by Your hands."[185]

Accordingly, in these Three Weeks of Retribution, a Jew should not despair. Despite our appreciation of the depths of the descent, we must consider it as the beginning of the construction of the Messianic Beis HaMikdash.[186] On the contrary, the vacuum created by the destruction of the Beis HaMikdash will awaken a new and deeper level of service including the development of new concepts of Torah law. This, in turn, will lead to the fulfillment of the prophecy, "A new Torah will emerge from Me."

In this context, it is appropriate, to mention the importance of making siyyumim of Talmudic tractates, not only on tractates of Mishnayos, but also on tractates of Gemara, at least tractates like Tamid, which has several chapters of Gemara.

There is another advantage to the study of Tamid. It contains the description of the service of the Beis HaMikdash. Thus, it complements the study of Middos which relates the Beis HaMikdash's structure. The study of these subjects is considered equivalent to the building of the Beis HaMikdash.

May the above lead to the actual construction of the Beis HaMikdash. For thousands of years, the Jews have prayed three times, "May our eyes behold Your return to Zion in mercy." Surely, it is fitting that all these prayers be answered. Furthermore, in addition to our prayers, Rabbis have issued halachic decisions ruling that G-d is obligated to bring the redemption. May this lead to the fulfillment of the prophecy at the conclusion of the Haftorah, "Zion will be redeemed through judgment (i.e., through an increase in Torah study, in particular, Torah law) and those who return to her through tzedakah," when G-d will lead each Jew out of exile. We will proceed, "with our youth and our elders,... with our sons and our daughters," to our holy land, to Jerusalem, and to the Beis HaMikdash.

   

Notes:

  1. (Back to text) "These words" refer to the Book of Devarim which is called Mishneh Torah, "the review of the Torah." Thus, "these words" include the totality of the Torah.

  2. (Back to text) Similarly, our Sages teach: Each day, the words of Torah should be considered as new.

  3. (Back to text) Jewish law views sleep as a necessity. Therefore, if a person takes an oath that he will go without sleep for three days, he is considered to have taken an oath in vain and is punished immediately.

  4. (Back to text) Our Sages relate that when a person sleeps, his soul "ascends and draws life-energy from above." This, however, does not explain why a person must sleep. G-d could have created man in a manner in which he did not need to sleep in order to receive life-energy. A person continues breathing without interruption -- even when he is sleeping. If so, the question remains: Why is it necessary for a person to lose consciousness and sleep?

  5. (Back to text) This is alluded to in the expression: - which our Sages interpreted: "which G-d created to [be] corrected," i.e., implicit in G-d's plan for creation was the intent that man elevate the creation to a higher level.

  6. (Back to text) There is, however, a difference between the two: Newness requires an interruption. In contrast, an ascent does not require a descent, indeed, the two are opposites.

  7. (Back to text) This is also reflected in the potential to arrive at Torah decisions which is found only in this lowly, material realm and not in the higher spiritual worlds. On the contrary, our Sages relate that G-d tells the angels, "Let us go and hear the decisions of an earthly court."

  8. (Back to text) Thus, our Sages interpreted the verse, "He placed me in darkness," as a reference to the Babylonian Talmud.

  9. (Back to text) We see the pattern of descent for the sake of ascent within Torah reflected in the Second Tablets which possessed an advantage over the First Tablets. They were not given until there was a descent, the destruction of the First Tablets.

    The pattern of descent for the sake of ascent within Torah also explains why the verse, "These are the words..." which, as above, reflects the dimension of newness in Torah is interpreted by our Sages to refer to "words of rebuke" given through allusion. The negative factors were already transformed and therefore, are mentioned only by allusion.

  10. (Back to text) This explains why this vision is revealed on Shabbos Chazon and not on Tishah BeAv, the day of the destruction itself. On Shabbos, the inner content (p'nimiyus, aichus) of the world is given greater emphasis than the actual creation (chitzoniyus, kamus). We see how the multitude of creations which were brought into being in the six days of creation are nullified in the face of the revelation of the purpose of creation, the expression of its spiritual content which comes about through man's service.

    This leads to an important realization: The creation of the world is an expression of G-d's greatness as Psalms exclaims, "How numerous are Your works," "How great are Your works." Within this world, however, a Jew must endeavor to reveal spiritual content. For this reason, for a Jew, the six days of creation are not sufficient. Though they are significant and are not to be nullified, the intent is to suffuse them with Shabbos, spiritual content.

    This approach must be reflected in our relations with the gentiles. We should endeavor to elevate them, not to negate them. In particular, this applies in this, a generous country which permits the study of Torah and fulfillment of mitzvos.

  11. (Back to text) This is related to the concept that the Three Weeks of Retribution can be conceived of within a positive context. rendered as "retribution" can be reinterpreted in a positive context. The Zohar associates Pharaoh (whose name shares the same Hebrew root as ) "with the revelation of all the sublime lights." Similarly, these Three Weeks can be the source for the revelation of light.

  12. (Back to text) The word "hands" is plural, indicating the activity of both hands. The right hand is an allusion to the attribute of Chesed ("kindness") and the service of revelation from a higher realm to a lower realm which was expressed in the First Beis HaMikdash. (Thus, the First Beis HaMikdash is associated with the Patriarch, Avraham, who personified these services.)

    The left hand is an allusion to the attribute of Gevurah ("might") and the service of elevating the lower realms which was expressed in the Second Beis HaMikdash. (Thus, the Second Beis HaMikdash is associated with the Patriarch Yitzchok, who personified these services.)

    The destruction of these Batei HaMikdashos enabled the Jews to bring out the dimension of newness in regard to these two services which will result in the building of the Third Beis HaMikdash which is identified with the Patriarch Ya'akov who personified the service of Tiferes. Tiferes involves a fusion of the two thrusts of Chesed and Gevurah which is possible because of the revelation of the essence which transcends both these thrusts, the level of .

  13. (Back to text) This should also be reflected on the individual realm. If a person feels that he is in the midst of a descent, he should realize that it is only preparation for a higher and more complete service.


  28th Day of Tammuz, 575013th Day of Menachem Av, 5750  
  
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