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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


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


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

   13th Day of Menachem Av, 5750

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 Va'eschanan, Shabbos Nachamu
13th Day of Menachem Av, 5750
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  6th Day of Menachem Av, 5750Chof Av, 5750  


The Haftorah of Shabbos Nachamu, the first of "the Seven Shabbasos of Consolation," begins, "Take comfort, Take comfort, My people." Our Sages explain the repetition of this phrase as follows: The sins of the Jews, the retribution they receive, and the consolation they receive afterwards, are interrelated. The Jews sinned in a twofold manner. They were punished in a twofold manner and they will be consoled in a twofold manner.

This statement is slightly problematic: Even when a sin is twofold in nature, a person should receive one just measure of retribution and after repenting, one equivalent measure of consolation.

In resolution, it can be explained that the repetition of the phrase, "Take comfort, take comfort," implies, not that we will be given two different consolations,[187] but that there will be a single consolation that is twofold in nature, relating to both our spiritual and physical dimensions. This is reflected in the fact that the consolation is granted for the Beis HaMikdash which is also twofold, having both physical and spiritual dimensions. It was a physical building and yet, simultaneously, it was also a Sanctuary for G-d,[188] the place where the Divine Presence was openly revealed. Revealed spirituality permeated every aspect of the Beis HaMikdash. Thus, the actual building was both physical and spiritual.[189]

Indeed, this was evident from the manner in which the Beis HaMikdash and its vessels were constructed. At the outset, the materials that were used had to be consecrated as it states, "And You shall take an offering for Me;" i.e., "for My sake." Similarly, the command to build the Sanctuary states, "And you shall build Me a Sanctuary," i.e., "for My sake." Similarly, the service in the Beis HaMikdash, the offering of the sacrifices, was twofold in nature, including a physical deed which was permeated by a spiritual intention.

Therefore, the destruction of the Beis HaMikdash is twofold in nature. The intent is not that there were two levels or two stages of destruction, but rather, the destruction of an entity that was simultaneously physical and spiritual in nature. Accordingly, the consolation must be twofold, involving both the spiritual and the physical. This will be revealed in the Third Beis HaMikdash, the "Sanctuary of the L-rd established by Your hands." It will reveal the ultimate of spirituality within a physical building, fusing the spiritual and the physical together.

This fusion of physicality and spirituality must also be reflected in our service which involves drawing G-d's presence into the world, transforming the world into a dwelling for Him. To explain: The world was created in a manner which allows its material substance to conceal G-dliness[190] and thus, G-dliness appears to be an added dimension to our existence. Our service of Torah and mitzvos involves the material substance of the world and is intended to invest G-dliness (i.e., spiritual power and energy) in that material substance.

This transforms the world into a twofold dwelling for G-d, i.e., a dwelling where spirituality and physicality are fused together. G-dliness will be openly revealed within the physical dimensions of the world.

More precisely, the twofold nature of the service of Torah and mitzvos is reflected by fusing together the performance of the mitzvah (a physical deed, carried out with material entities) and the intent of the mitzvah (the spiritual service which is reflected in our thoughts and feelings).

Our Sages explain that each person is a microcosm of the world at large. Thus, in the world at large, our service involves working to reveal its spiritual life-force within its material substance. Similarly, each person's individual world is two dimensional, including both body and soul. Our service is to reveal how the two are a single indivisible entity, by employing our body and our physical power as intermediaries for the revelation of the soul through the service of Torah and mitzvos.

This makes the individual into a unified being, whose life is two dimensional, combining spirituality and physicality -- body and soul -- in a single activity, the service of G-d. Not only must a Jew serve G-d with both body and soul,[191] but rather his service must combine body and soul together. In this manner, he will reveal the soul of the world, its spiritual life-force.[192]

There are two dimensions to this service: Those mitzvos which are primarily spiritual (i.e, dependent on the intellect or the emotions) must be carried in a manner that one's body and soul join together in a unified activity. For example, the mitzvah of prayer which is primarily a spiritual activity, as our Sages declared: "What is service of the heart? Prayer" and similarly, the mitzvos of loving G-d and fearing Him, involve the arousal of spiritual feelings which do not necessarily affect our physical hearts. However, the ultimate expression of these mitzvos is for them to affect the heart causing it to yearn with a burning love for G-d and to beat faster in fear of Him. The spiritual and spiritual dimensions become fused together in a single expression of emotion.[193]

A similar principle applies in regard to Torah study, an intellectual service which is on an even higher plane than the emotions mentioned previously. There is a natural connection between our feelings and our physical state. When a person feels an emotion in his heart, there are times when his pulse will be affected. In contrast, intellectual activity is "cold," and the comprehension of a concept does not bring about any physical activity.

The ultimate effect of Torah study, however, is that a person's intellectual activity affects his physical brain. Intensive study causes furrows in the brain which actually increase the brain's capacity for further intellectual activity. (Because this concept applies in regard to Torah study, it also applies in regard to other intellectual activities and studies.)

Furthermore, Torah study must involve "all one's 248 limbs." Only, then, will it be preserved. Thus we see that it is Jewish practice to shake back and forth when one studies -- and similarly, when one prays. Thus, the person is totally involved, physically as well as spiritually; "My entire being shall declare..."[194]

On the surface, shaking in this manner is not desirable, for any physical activity disturbs one's concentration. Furthermore, it is common to shake back and forth when hearing one's teacher relate words of Torah. This could even be considered as disrespectful. Nevertheless, this is common practice since a Jew's physical and spiritual activities complement each other.

Conversely, as explained above, most mitzvos involve physical acts whose fulfillment must be infused with a spiritual dimension, the intention which motivates the fulfillment of the mitzvah. For example, in regard to the mitzvah of tzedakah, the essential element of the mitzvah is providing the recipient with his needs. This can be accomplished without any intellectual or emotional input on the part of the donor. On the contrary, our Sages teach that if a person loses money and a poor person finds it, he is considered to have fulfilled the mitzvah of tzedakah.[195] Nevertheless, the proper manner for tzedakah to be given is for his mind and his heart to be involved, for him to give graciously, out of feelings of generosity.

Based on the above, we can understand the passage from our Sages referred to originally. The Jews' sin was twofold: i.e., effecting their state and that of the world in both a spiritual and physical way. Accordingly, the punishment they received, the destruction of the Beis HaMikdash and the subsequent exile, was also twofold, spiritual and physical, in nature.[196] Similarly, it is through a twofold service that one brings about the conclusion of the exile and the twofold consolation, the ultimate fusion of physicality and spirituality, that will be revealed in the Third Beis HaMikdash.

On a deeper level, the consolation which is connected with our physical dimension [and is brought about by our fulfillment of the physical dimensions of the mitzvos (which is not connected with intellect or reason)] has a higher source than the aspect of the consolation which relates to our spiritual dimension [and which is brought about by the spiritual dimensions of the mitzvos].

The physical deed which -- in and of itself -- has no connection to reason and intellect and, at times, is not motivated by intellect, relates to and expresses a level which transcends intellect entirely. Nevertheless, the ultimate intent is to involve all aspects of our beings. Hence, there is also a need for a spiritual service which involves our intellect and emotion.

This is the inner explanation of our Sages' statement regarding the fulfillment of the mitzvah of tzedakah cited above. Intellectually, the person did not think of giving tzedakah; he lost the money and did not know that it would reach the hands of a poor man. Nevertheless, the source for his act is rooted in a service above all intellectual grasp.

To internalize this quality, it is proper that tzedakah be given in a manner in which one does not know who the recipient is. Nevertheless, the tzedakah should be given with a full heart. This is reflected in our Sages' advice to hang Tzedakah over one's shoulder and allow the poor to take. In this manner, one combines knowledge (the willful intent to give) with not-knowing (above knowledge, the inability to identify the recipients).

A similar fusion of intent should be present in regard to all the mitzvos. One should combine kabbalas ol (an acceptance of the yoke, a commitment which transcends intellect) with a commitment based on knowledge of the mitzvah and its intent (intellect).

In this context, the twofold nature of our service does not mean only the fusion of the spiritual and the physical, but also the fusion of the levels above reason with reason. This is possible because every fusion of opposites has its source in G-d's essence which is above all limits and qualities, includes them all, and thus, can fuse them all together.

On this foundation, the consolation of the Jewish people which will come in the Messianic age can be conceived of as a single essential point, the level of Yechidah, which represents the ultimate of all qualities. Accordingly, Moshiach -- who is connected with the level of Yechidah -- "will come at a time of distraction," (i.e., the level above intellect) -- and yet will be a teacher (reflecting intellect).[197]

We see a similar fusion of the supra-intellectual and the intellectual in regard to G-d, Himself. G-d declares, "I discovered Dovid, My servant." Something which is discovered was not known about previously, i.e., it relates to a level above knowledge.[198] Nevertheless, although the choice of Dovid transcended intellect, it was expressed through a careful series of events: There were two sisters, Ruth and Orpah.[199] Ruth clung to Naomi, but Orpah did not. Ultimately, this sequence led to the birth of Yishai and then, of Dovid. After Dovid was born, G-d tested his leadership qualities through his care for sheep and caused him to undergo several trials until he became king of Israel. Thus, the two-fold consolation mentioned above is also connected with Moshiach and the quality of Yechidah which he will reveal.

The above also shares a connection to Parshas Va'eschanan which describes Moshe's prayer to enter Eretz Yisrael. Were that prayer to have been accepted, Moshe would have led the Jews into Eretz Yisrael and built an eternal Beis HaMikdash which could never have been destroyed.

Moshe's prayer includes the totality of existence for is numerically equivalent to 515. Our Sages relate that there are seven heavens and seven spaces in-between these heavens. The size of the earth and each of these heavens and spaces is the distance that a person can walk in five hundred years. Thus, 15 times 500 represents the entire scope of existence.

From Va'eschanan, we proceed to Parshas Eikev, "And it shall come to pass after you listen." Chassidus interprets "listening" as stemming from kabbalas ol, a commitment which transcends all limits and yet, also passes through and becomes internalized by the powers of intellect. This brings about, "And the L-rd, your G-d, will preserve for you the covenant and the kindness which He swore to your ancestors," a covenant resulting from a commitment that is not limited by intellect.[200]


The Talmud explains that from the fifteenth of Av onward, the power of the sun decreases and "whoever increases will receive an increase." Rashi explains: Whoever increases his Torah study at night will have his life increased. Therefore, the Shulchan Aruch mentions the importance of increasing Torah study at night[201] from the fifteenth of Av onward.[202] Since the Torah is "our life and the length of our days," an increase in Torah study[203] will lead to an increase in our lifespans.

It is proper to publicize the importance of increasing Torah study from the fifteenth of Av onward so that it will effect each individual, his family, and the entire Jewish people. Furthermore, as mentioned previously, as explained in the Previous Rebbe's maamar, Asarah SheYoshvim, it is preferable that this study be communal in nature. Therefore, we should strengthen existing Torah shiurim and establish new shiurim wherever possible. Since "Study is great because it leads to deed," this increase in Torah study will surely bring about an increase in the performance of mitzvos.

This will also lead to an increase in life. In simple terms, those who increase their Torah study will have their lifespans increased. Furthermore, a Jew's commitment to Torah study will lift him above all worries. Thus, our Sages declared, "The Torah was given only to the eaters of manna;" i.e., a Jew who studies Torah should be able to devote himself to that study entirely without any concern for worldly affairs. He can rely on G-d to provide for all his needs and for the needs of his family. Even if a person has financial worries, making a commitment to Torah study will lift him above them entirely for as our Sages relate, every Jew deserves affluence equal to that of King Solomon.

In this manner, we will merit a long, prosperous, and healthy life which will be dedicated to the study of Torah. This will lead to the time when, together with the entire Jewish people, we proceed with Moshiach to Eretz Yisrael and to the ultimate consolation, the building of the Third Beis HaMikdash.



  1. (Back to text) In such an instance, it would be proper for the verse to state, "Take comfort, My people. Take comfort, My people."

  2. (Back to text) Every entity in this world has both a material and a spiritual dimension, possessing a physical existence which is maintained by spiritual life-energy. Nevertheless, the spiritual dimensions of these creations are not openly revealed. Thus, their spiritual and physical dimensions can be considered as two separate entities. In contrast, the Beis HaMikdash was a single building whose spiritual and physical dimensions were both openly revealed.

  3. (Back to text) The manner in which spirituality permeated the physical site of the Beis HaMikdash is emphasized by the fact that even after the Beis HaMikdash was destroyed, its site remains holy. The Rambam explains: "The holiness of the Beis HaMikdash... stems from the Shechinah and the Shechinah can never be nullified."

  4. (Back to text) This is even intimated in the Hebrew word for "world," which is related to the word, , meaning "concealment."

  5. (Back to text) This is self-understood. Pirkei Avos teaches, "Everything which the Holy One, blessed be He, created in His world was created solely for His glory." Since both the body and soul are G-d's creations, it is obvious that they should both be used to serve Him.

  6. (Back to text) This is alluded to by the fact that the Hebrew word for "nature," is numerically equivalent to - which means "G-d."

  7. (Back to text) This is further reflected in our Sages' interpretation of the command, "And you shall love the L-rd, your G-d... with all your might," as "with all your wealth." Although the love of G-d is a spiritual feeling, it must permeate through the totality of our beings until it effects our property as well.

  8. (Back to text) The literal translation of the word rendered as "being," is "bones;" i.e., one's spiritual service must effect even our bones, the most brittle and insensitive elements of our bodies.

  9. (Back to text) This applies even when the person who lost the money would have been displeased by the fact that he lost it and it was found by the poor person.

  10. (Back to text) In addition to the fact that the exile had an effect on both our spiritual and physical dimensions, its twofold nature is further emphasized by the fact that it involves both man and G-d, as it were, for the Divine Presence is also in exile.

  11. (Back to text) For this reason, the preparation for Moshiach's coming must also involve intellect, spreading outward the wellsprings of the teachings of Chassidus, "the Torah of Moshiach."

  12. (Back to text) This, in turn, relates to the service of Dovid, which as reflected in the title, "My servant," reveals a commitment which transcends intellect.

  13. (Back to text) The presence of two equals reveals the power of free choice.

  14. (Back to text) This represents a positive appreciation of the era that preceded the giving of the Torah. After the giving of the Torah, the relationship between G-d and the Jews was dependent on Torah which was given within an intellectual framework, recognizing the limits of time and space.

  15. (Back to text) This reflects the true purpose of the night as our Sages declared, "the night was created solely for the purpose of study."

  16. (Back to text) In essence, this increase of study should begin from Tishah BeAv onward. The Book of Eichah declares, "Arise. Sing out at night." On Tishah BeAv, we "sing out" the dirges of lamentations. From that date onward, we should "arise" and "sing out" words of Torah. Tishah BeAv and the fifteenth of Av are interrelated. Thus, our Sages relate that although the decree that the Jews would die in the desert terminated on Tishah BeAv, the Jews did not become aware of it until the fifteenth of that month.

  17. (Back to text) Torah study represents an intellectual service. Thus, it relates to the passages from this week's portion which describe our taking total possession of Eretz Yisrael, occupying the lands of ten nations, the seven nations who lived in the Land of Canaan before the conquest of the land and also the lands of the Keni, Knizi, and Kadmoni.

    As explained, the seven nations refer to the seven emotions, while the latter three nations refer to the service of the intellect which will not be realized until the Messianic age. It is, however, problematic to say that we will not carry out the service of intellect until the Messianic age. Even at present, our service appears to involve both intellect and emotion. Thus, this week's Torah portion contains the command Shema Yisrael which involves the service of the intellect and also, the command, "And you shall love the L-rd, your G-d..." the service of emotion.

    That difficulty can be resolved as follows: At present, our intellectual service is intended to arouse an emotional response. For example, our love of G-d is spurred by meditation on the Shema. (Hence, in the Torah, there is no interruption between the two verses.) This, in turn, leads to the fulfillment of the other mitzvos mentioned in the paragraph including writing "these words on your doorposts," e.g., making a statement to the world at large, even to gentiles. All this, however, reflects a Jew's activity within the world. In the Messianic age, a Jew will be involved in intellectual activity that takes him above the limits of the world entirely.

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