Tuesday, January 19, 2021


Moshiach in the Pandemic

R' Yankev Bock

Forget the "signs" -- do you see Moshiach?  The Covid-19 health guidelines are a reality affecting most of the world, regardless of our opinion of those who have instituted these guidelines.  Just as the Czarist government who imprisoned the Alter Rebbe had no idea that they were acting out a Supernal court case, but the Alter Rebbe was sensitive to the Divine Providence guiding his situation -- so, too, we should be aware of the heavenly hand guiding the decisions of even the most politicized actors.

In our case we find a global reality of masks covering the mouth, 2-meter distancing, and isolation -- which recall the status of a Metzora (one who has Tzoraas), whom the Torah instructs must isolate from the community, cover his mouth, and keep daled amos (2-meters.6-feet) from other people.  Are we being told that we have Tzoraas?!

The world hears Tzoraas and thinks loshon haraA chossid hears Tzoraas and thinks Moshiach!  The gemara tells us that Rebbi Yehuda HaNosi was fitting to be Moshiach because he suffered illness and was called Metzora.  In Likkutei Torah the Alter Rebbe teaches that Tzoraas is a spiritual state that only comes upon one who is perfected, who has completed his self-rectification internally, and ready for Geuloh.  Only that there is an external manifestation of  a lesion ("nega") on his skin, but that these lesions are in their source actually very lofty spiritual lights ("oneg").  When he will be purified the lesions reveal their lofty source.  The Rebbe says that our entire generation is on this level -- should we be surprised or alarmed to see the world saying to us "Tzoraas"?  But it goes deeper than you think: 

The lesion of Tzoraas which appears on the skin is defined in the Torah as a white patch of skin.  The Alter Rebbe explains that the white color indicates that the blood flow is interrupted.  In a healthy body the heart pumps blood to the limbs, and the limbs return the blood to the heart.  The failure of the limb to return blood to the heart results in the white patch of skin, which is lesion of Tzoraas.

With this concept in mind, let us revisit the words of the Rebbe in the Sicha of Beis Nissan, 5748.  There, the Rebbe explains how the King is the heart of the nation (as the Rambam writes), and just as the role of the heart in the body is to pump blood, which is life, to the limbs, similarly the King gives life to the people. And just as in a healthy body the limbs must send blood — life — back to the heart, so, too, the people must give life to the King (for there is no King without a people).

How do the people return the lifeblood to the King?  Says the Rebbe in this sicha, the lifeblood is returned to the heart (the King) by crowning the King with the expression “Yechi Hamelech!” (The Rebbe suggests that also the declaration "Ad Mosai" ("until when [must we be in golus]") contains within it the crowning of the King.)  

Thus, the crowning of the King by the people through the declaration “Yechi Hamelech” (or "Ad Mosai") is likened to the limbs returning the blood to the heart. And the failure to return blood to the heart results in the white lesion which is Tzoraas, meaning that the failure to crown the king with one of these declarations is itself a case of Tzoraas!

Consider this reality: Supernal Providence is giving the entire world a subtle but firm message that we are in a state of TzoraasTzoraas itself is a sign of being ready for Moshiach but not having accepted and declared his Kingship -- the final stage before the "purification of the Metzora" which is the actual coming of Moshiach!  Let us correct this "loshon hara" of failing to crown the King (or failing to properly and effectively inspire others to do so) and bring about the purification of the Metzora "on the day of his purification" -- the true and complete Geuloh!

[The rectification of Tzaraas begins with bittul, especially learning of Torah with bittul.  But, as the Rebbe points out, the Metzora must still go through all the stages of purification outlined in the Torah (the process includes bringing two birds, sprinkling, shaving, and immersion (Vayikra 14)).  This process is itself connected with Moshiach, as the Ohr HaChaim haKadosh writes on these verses that the 2 birds described in the purification process are connected with the 2 Moshiachs (Moshiach ben Yosef, Moshiach ben Dovid).  And for those who like hints: the words of the verse instructing the purification of the Metzora ("he shall take 2 pure live birds", ולקח שתי צפרים חיות טהרות) is exactly the same gematria as "this is the year of I will show you wonders, 5781" (זה שנת פלאות אראנו תשפא)!]

יחי אדוננו מורנו ורבינו מלך המשיח לעולם ועד!י

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Evil Coming Into the Open: Preparation for Moshiach

There are other areas in which we see radical changes in the world today. Never have we seen such extremes – both in the positive and in the negative.

In interpersonal relationships, there are violent arguments taking place among people who seem to lack even the potential for controversy. Similarly on the good side: there are acts of charity and goodness being done in a way unparalleled in previous generations. People are giving huge amounts of charity, and showing absolute self-sacrifice for the welfare of others. Anyone who thinks about what is happening in his immediate environment will realize this.

In the world of Torah, there is also a unique development in this generation. The Rogatchover's way of learning is something the world has never seen. On this everyone agrees, even those who might not be deeply involved in his approach. There is not even room for discussion; it is obvious the moment you open one of his works.

On the world scene, we are also witnessing an extreme sort of negative development. Among the events described as characterizing the days immediately preceding Moshiach's coming is that "kingdoms will fight with one another." Recently – and especially in the last few days – there has been extreme violence to an extent that defies the imagination. However, since they are occurring in distant lands, people are not paying sufficient attention.

The Torah, which sheds "light" and clarity on every situation, also explains the meaning of these developments. Tractate Sotah, in giving the signs of the pre-Messianic period, clearly describes the present era. And regarding this period, the book of Daniel (12:10) says, "Many things will be clarified, refined, and purified...and the wise will understand." This refers to the present state of the world. Although previously the distinction between good and bad might not have been that pronounced, now it has become crystal clear. This is the significance of the phrase, "and the wise will understand." One need not be wise to see that these extremes exist; it is obvious to everyone in the world. But in order "to understand" – to recognize that this is part of the preparation for the Messianic Age – one must be "wise."

But G-d does everything for the good; what could be positive in this development of extremes, when there are also extremely negative results? The reason is that when evil remains concealed, it cannot be repaired. In fact, the person might even be unaware of its existence. Once this evil is revealed, however, it becomes possible to improve and elevate it.

But people still have free choice: therefore, once the evil is revealed, they can still leave it in a state of evil and even intensify it. Therefore we see extremes in bad in addition to those in good.


[As stated above] that according to the signs given in the Gemara, we are right before the revelation of Moshiach, and therefore the words of Daniel (12:10) apply: "Many things will be clarified, refined and purified." Included in this is that many negative traits which were previously concealed will come out into the open. In fact, even traits he was unaware existed within himself, or was unaware they were bad will be openly revealed.

The reason this is necessary is because everything must be purified before Moshiach's coming. And unless it is revealed, its purification is impossible. Therefore, shortly before his arrival, when the process must be completed, evil has become revealed in order to facilitate its purification. And since this evil has come out into the open, obviously G-d gives the individual extra strength to accomplish its transformation. It is therefore within his power to descend from his haughty stance and begin to purify those areas in need of improvement and correction. It would normally be possible for this process to be achieved gradually. But now Moshiach is about to arrive, and everything must be speedily completed.

But one might ask, the accelerated purification of evil would seem to constitute an unwarranted d'chikas haketz ("pushing the end"). We see in Jewish history that there were leaders who had the ability to do so and nevertheless refrained. Their reasoning seems obvious, since if the redemption comes too soon, not all holy sparks will be fully purified. This is reflected in the words of the Mitteler Rebbe that if the redemption comes b'itah (in the regular time), then all sparks will be purified; but if it comes achishenah (before the regular time, i.e. d'chikas haketz), then some sparks will be left behind.

In our times, however, this concern does not apply. According to the Gemara, "All the deadlines have past" (kalu kol ha'kitzin), including the regular time (b'itah) -- in fact the first b'itah, the second b'itah, the third b'itah, etc. Therefore, there is no worry about d'chikas haketz, and certainly no sparks will be left behind.

Sichos of the Rebbe, Purim and 12th Day of Tammuz, 5747


When will the redemption be Achishena? At it's appointed time.

Mitteler Rebbe, Maamar Al Tatzer Es Moav (free translation)

It must be understood that truthfully the statement of the sages אם לא זכו אחישנה "if they [Yisroel] do not merit, [then the redemption will be specifically] b'itah [in it's time]" refers to the specific time of the elevation of Knesses Yisroel Above, which is dependent on an eis ratzon (desired time) and the desire of the Bestower, davka. But this itself is "achishena" ("I will hasten it") which is according to the simple meaning of the verse that davka "b'itah, achishena" ("in it's appointed time [is when] I will hasten it"), not [as is commonly thought] that it is divided into two opposite things of "if they merit I will hasten, and if they do not merit it will come in its appointed time", as if to say that "achishena" is not "b'itah".

The truth of the matter is that even though it seems like two opposites: that at the appointed time [Hashem] will hurry it and bring the redemption before its time, actually it is not like that. The truth of the matter is that specifically at its appointed time, which is the time when the level of Malchus which is Knesses Yisroel is elevated and recalled for good[...]then specifically at this time the end will be speeded up.


Sunday, March 15, 2020

A Plague in the Days of Moshiach?

"...I will no longer smite all living things as I have done." (Bereishis, 8:21)

Will Hashem send another flood (mabul)?

"Rebbi Yossi says:  He will not bring a mabul of water, but a mabul of plague is to be brought on the idolatrous nations in the days of Moshiach."

(Yalkut Shimoni, Bereishis 8)

Thursday, August 08, 2019

Finding Merit in other Jews

Sichos Kodesh 5735, Vol 1, p.17
Talk of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Day of Simchas Torah 5735

I heard from a reliable source a story that happened in the times of the Alter Rebbe. Once the Alter Rebbe sat with certain select individuals, and a man was brought before him into whom a ruach (spirit) had entered. The Alter Rebbe began to speak about those who had killed Zecharia Hanovi, that it says about this "Shall a Cohen and Novi be slain in the Mikdash of Hashem?" (Eicha 2:20)), and the Alter Rebbe said that those who had killed Zecharia Hanovi were tzaddikim, and the reason that they killed him was because there is a difference when the Novi says the prophecy and if he doesn't say it--that before he says the prophecy in speech it is possible for it to change, and it does not necessarily have to be fulfilled, which is not the case when the Novi says the prophecy in speech, which already brings it down further into the world and then it has existence. Since they heard that Zecharia Hanovi is going to say a prophecy about the destruction of the Beis Hamikdash, and in order that the prophecy will not come into the speech of the Novi (at which time it will need to be fulfilled), therefore they sacrificed themselves to do such a thing as to slay a Cohen and Novi in the Beis Hashem, in order that the prophecy will not come into speech. As the Rambam says, that even though when the prophecy comes into speech it still isn't necessarily going to be fulfilled and it can be changed, but one can't compare the nullification that is required to nullify something that was only in thought and didn't come into the speech of the Novi, compared to the nullification of something that already came into speech and revelation, particularly in a public setting, and in the Beis Hashem. Since they knew all of this, and they didn't want the prophecy to be fulfilled, this is why they killed him.

The Alter Rebbe continued: if so, seemingly we should ask a question on Zecharia Hanovi himself--certainly he knew about the difference between prophecy that is spoken by the prophet and prophecy which is not spoken, and if so how could it be that he wanted to say this prophecy, since it was able to cause it to be more likely for such a thing to occur in actuality? If it is said that he wanted to say the prophecy because one who receives prophecy but doesn't say it is punished with death, this doesn't make sense, because those who killed him would also receive the death penalty, but nonetheless they sacrificed their lives to do this thing for which they received death--in order to prevent the destruction of the Beis Hamikdash. If so, why did not Zecharia himself do this? Explained the Alter Rebbe: since Zecharia was a Novi and he had a command from Hashem to say the prophecy, his being a Novi--a Novi has no existence of his own, and his entire existence is that he says the word of Hashem and he has no self-awareness (tfisas makom l'atzmo)--thus it is impossible for him to make calculations, etc. and not to actually say the prophecy, because he has no existence of his own. This was not the case with those who were not on the level of a novi, who has no existence of his own, but they were also very great tzaddikim, and thus they were able to do this thing--to kill the Novi--in order that the prophecy should not come into speech.
When the Alter Rebbe finished saying these things, the ruach departed from this man, and the Alter Rebbe said that this ruach was from those who had killed Zecharia Hanovi and entered via Ibbur into this man. By having spoken meritoriously (lamad zchus) of those who had killed Zecharia Hanovi he had been able to rectify the ruach, and also that this man should not be burdened but this ruach. From all this we see the great importance of finding merit (limud zchus), that by speaking this way it reveals the positive thing and in this way, relating to speaking meritoriously, it reveals the true matter that was present originally as well.

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Wednesday, August 07, 2019

The Spiritual Beis Hamikdash Within is Always Standing

Even though seemingly the time of "Between the Straits" [from 17 Tammuz until 9 Av] is a time of unhappiness since we recalll the destruction [of the Beis Hamikdash, the Holy Temple], but it is also obvious that this period of time is not a matter of sadness and depression, for what was destroyed was the earthly Beis Hamikdash which was built of wood and stones, and not the spiritual Beis Hamikdash within. And well-known is the saying of the sages on the verse "I shall dwell among them" -- amidst every single member of the Jewish people.

"Between the Straits" is the time to recall and awaken us to the obligation of every single Jew to make for Hashem a dwelling place below through keeping the Torah and its Mitzvos in daily life, to fulfill what is written "and they shall make for me a dwelling place" and "I shall dwell among them", in actuality, to speed up the complete redemption via our righteous Moshiach by spreading the wellsprings, even among those who are presently "outside".

It is a great responsibility on each and every one of us in these days in particular, after the horrific destruction and ruin which we have seen before our eyes [the Holocaust], and we whom Divine Providence has rescued and left us as a remnant in order give life to a numerous nation. And since the Holy One Blessed be He does not overburden any of his creatures, thus it is clear that together with this doubly great responsibility that falls on each and every one of us (men and women) is given also the powers and the abilities to each one to fulfill his or her task.

Letter of the Rebbe, 29 Tammuz, 5717 (1957) (Igros Kodesh v.15, p.300)

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Monday, August 05, 2019

Rebuilding the Bais Hamikdash

"The three weeks" and the "nine days"[...]seemingly would bring about sadness[...]. Our prophets have promised us that the sad time from 17 Tammuz through Tisha B'Av will transform to a time of simcha when Moshiach tzidkeinu will come speedily in our days, amen.

In those days, when the Bais Hamikdash stood in its place, the physical building from wood and stone was also a symbol of the spiritual Bais Hamikdash of and within the Jewish people. The physical Bais Hamikdash was able to exist only as long as the spiritual Bais Hamikdash was in existence.

When the first Bais Hamikdash was destroyed -- the spiritual [structure] by the Jewish people itself and the physical [structure] immediately afterwards by Nevuchadnezzar King of Bavel -- it generated for our people a double mission: first, to erect anew the spiritual Bais Hamikdash, and then the physical building, the second Temple. Similarly, the second Bais Hamikdash survived so long its spiritual component was in existence, and with the destruction of its spiritual component, so, too, the physical component of the Bais Hamikdash -- in a way that could not be prevented -- was destroyed.

Regarding the 3rd Bais Hamikdash, the Almighty instructs us that our primary mission -- and according to many opinions, the only one -- is to rebuild the spiritual part alone. The Almighty Himself will take care of the physical part. According to the opinion of Rashi, Tosfos, and others, the 3rd Bais Hamikdash will be built by the hands of heaven.

Therefore, the spiritual Bais Hamikdash must be built through our efforts, through tshuva, Torah, and mitzvos. Every spiritual "brick" that a Jew forms is indestructible, and the process of laying these spiritual "bricks" came about at the same moment that the last part of the 2nd Bais Hamikdash went up in flames. This is one of the deeper meanings of the story in the midrash (Eicha Rabba) that at the moment the Bais Hamikdash was destroyed, Moshiach was born.

The main parts of rebuilding the spiritual Bais Hamikdash which Jews need to build in this long, dark golus, were already built by the earlier generations of spiritual giants of our people. What remains for us is only to complete a small part. But our part must be permeated with the same kedusha of the earlier generations.

The conclusion from this is: that we ourselves should be permeated with this idea, that every good action according to Torah that we do in our day-to-day life, as much as this action may seem large of small to our fleshly eyes, we are thus laying one of the last "bricks" of the eternal Bais Hamikdash for our people and for the world in general, and thus he is building his part of the spiritual Bais Hamikdash and the physical Bais Hamikdash will be built immediately afterward, speedily in our day.

May the Almighty grant that we will merit to the building of the Bais Hamikdash, the physical one also, speedily in our days, amen.

With wishes for all good,

HaRav Menachem Schneerson

Personal letter of the Rebbe, 13 Menachem Av, 5709 (1949), printed in Igros Kodesh v.3, p.164

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Sunday, August 04, 2019

Menachem Av: Not mourning, but yearning

We are standing at the threshold of the Era of Mashiach, at the threshold of the beginning of the Redemption, and in the immediate future, it will be brought to its completion. In such a year, there is the potential, not only for the Three Weeks to be seen as a preparation for the Redemption, but for the Redemption to actual come, even on the present Shabbos, and thus transform the Three Weeks into a positive period.

In this context, a greater emphasis has to be put on the custom of studying the laws of the structure of the Beis HaMikdash in these Three Weeks. As G-d told the prophet Yechezkel, through this study, it is considered as if we have been involved in the actual construction of the Beis HaMikdash.

Also, the approach to studying these laws must be different than the approach in previous years. The emphasis must be on, not on mourning over the destruction of the Beis HaMikdash, but rather, on the desire and the yearning for the Third Beis HaMikdash of which it is said, "The glory of this later house will surpass the glory of the previous house."
Thus the subject must be approached as a present reality. It is not that in the distant future these laws will be relevant, but rather that at any moment the Third Beis HaMikdash which is already built in the heavens will descend and be revealed on earth.

In this context, the study of these laws -- as the study of the subjects of Mashiach and the Redemption -- should not be looked at as merely a means to hasten the coming of this future era. Rather, it is the beginning of the efforts to live with the concept of Mashiach, to "live with the times," with the Era of Mashiach. When these concepts are perceived intellectually, they will affect our feelings, and ultimately our deeds and our actions. Our conduct will be appropriate to the present era, a time when we are at the threshold of Mashiach's coming.

Although our Sages declared, "Mashiach will come when our attention is diverted," this is no contradiction to the emphasis on studying the subjects of Mashiach and Redemption. A diversion of attention can also be interpreted as referring to a step above our ordinary conscious processes. After one has deepened his awareness of Mashiach to the extent that he appreciates that we are standing on the threshold of Mashiach, that we have completed all the service necessary for his coming, and at any moment, he will come, one can step beyond one's ordinary thinking process and consider the Redemption in a new light.

Sicha of the Rebbe, Shabbos Parshas Balak, 17th Day of Tammuz, 5751

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Friday, August 02, 2019

Only the Temple of wood and stones was destroyed...

Even though seemingly the time of Bein Hametzarim [3 weeks between fast of 17 Tammuz and fast of Tisha B'Av] is a time of unhappiness since we recalll the destruction [of the Beis Hamikdash], but it is also obvious that this period of time is not a matter of sadness and depression, for what was destroyed was the [earthly] Beis Hamidash hatachton which was built of wood and stones, and not the spiritual Beis Hamidash within. And well-known is the saying of the sages on the verse "I shall dwell among them" -- amidst every single [member of the Jewish people].

The inyan of Bein Hametzarim is to recall and awaken us to the obligation of every single Jew to make for [Hashem] a dwelling place below through keeping the Torah and its Mitzvos in daily life, to fulfill what is written "and they shall make for me a dwelling place" and I shall dwell among them" mamash, to speed up the complete redemption via Moshiach Tzidkeinu by spreading the wellsprings, even among those who are presently "outside".

It is a great responsibility on each and every one of us in these days in particular, after the horrific destruction and ruin which we have seen before our eyes, and we whom Divine Providence has rescued and left us as a remnant in order give life to a numerous nation. And since the Holy One Blessed be He does not overburden any of his creatures, thus it is clear that together with this doubly great responsibility that falls on each and every one of us [men and women] is given also the powers and the abilities to each one to fulfill his or her task.

Letter of the Rebbe, 29 Tammuz, 5717 (1957) (Igros Kodesh v.15, p.300)

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Thursday, August 01, 2019

Description of Being in the Beis Hamikdash

The difference between the experience of G-dliness in the time of the Bais HaMikdash (Holy Temple) and as it will be in the Future

Described by Rabbi Sholom Dovber Schneerson (Rebbe RaShab), the 5th Lubavitcher Rebbe (1860-1920) 

...One who was in the Bais Hamikdash had a feeling of G-dliness and didn't feel his own existence at all, because being in the Bais Hamikdash was a revelation of the Ohr Ein Sof (Divine light)...it was like another world--the feeling of G-dliness was felt by everyone as self-evident matter of course, and there was no sense of temporal reality. 

The experience in the time of Moshiach will exceed this, for then there will be a revelation of the Ohr Ein Sof (Divine Light) itself, and it will be visible and revealed to every Jew.... Similarly, the revelation of prophecy in the time of Moshiach will be experienced by every Jew. Not as prophecy was revealed to the prophets of the Tanach (Bible), when there were conditions and requirements and one had to be fit to receive the prophecy (being wise, of strong spirit, wealthy). If the conditions were met, prophecy was revealed to the individual as something astounding and supra-natural--to the point where the individual divested himself of materiality. The reason for this was that the revelation was above nature and nature was unable to accept it. Thus, there needed to be material divestment and nullification of the senses. This will not be the case in the time of Moshiach, when prophecy will be a natural thing, even for young boys and girls. This is because the revelation of the concealed Divine Light, namely the level of Atzmus Ohr Ein Sof (the essence of the Divine Light) -- which is presently hidden -- will illuminate in a truly revealed state. 

The revelation of an inner light means that there will be various levels, similar to the way intellect varies from individual to individual, not all being equal.... In the time of Moshiach, the revelation of prophecy in every Jew will also be in lesser levels like something natural.... There will also be a comrehension and knowledge of the secrets of Torah by every Jew.... It is known that the Torah study of the Melech HaMoshiach -- who teaches true knowledge to the people -- will not be in the present form of classes and study, but rather he will show the essence of G-dliness and everyone will see and know it. And it will not be as a wonderous thing, but rather something natural. Just as now we grasp physical reality as something natural, in the time of Moshiach we will grasp G-dliness as something natural. Not like the revelation of Torah secrets now, which comes only to select individuals like the Rashbi (Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai) and his colleagues, as something astounding like an amazing wonder which stirs the heart of the one who sees it.... But in the time of Moshiach these won't be in an astounding way at all, and the secrets of the Torah will not be called by the name "secrets" nor by the name "wonders." 

This will be the revelation of the future, when the Essence will be completely revealed, and it will be seen and revealed to all and "all will know Me." A taste of this is experienced by great tzaddikim who have completely divested themselves from the physicality of their bodies, for they see with their eyes that G-dliness manifests everything. They do not see physicality and the separateness of the world, but instead [they see] the G-dliness that brings [the world] into being. And especially the Patriarchs, who tasted their World to Come, and for them the revelation of G-dliness was to such an extent that all their matters of physicality were actually G-dliness. 

A small example of the future was before the sin of Adam HaRishon (the first Man) with the Tree of Knowledge [of Good and Evil], for in Gan Eden (the Garden of Eden) there was a real revelation of G-dliness.... Immediately after the sin the verse states, "and they heard the voice of G-d walking in the Garden" -- that the voice of G-d would speak directly with the Man in Gan Eden, and similarly with Kayin (Cain). The beasts and animals were on a completely different level... The ox that Adam offered as an offering to G-d had one horn in the middle of its forehead. The Rashba states that this indicated the unity as opposed to separation. And like the cows who carried the Aron Kodesh (the Holy Ark), who "walked straight without wandering," (see Shmuel I, ch. 6) all this was an illumination of the revelation of G-dliness without any tzimtzum (contraction) or concealment to such an extent that it was revealed to all, even to animals... 

However, presently the situation is the complete opposite, that G-dliness is not seen or revealed at all, and each revelation of light is a wonderous innovation; whereas what is grasped effortlessly and as a matter of course is the seprateness of the world's reality. Nontheless, there is today a level of seeing up close -- like the seeing of the wisdom of the G-dly soul -- in each and every Jew according to the level of his neshoma above; he has a sense of seeing in his intellect, and he is able to come to true seeing of G-dliness because the soul is called a candle of G-d, and its source in the level of Chochma (wisdom), [which breaks into the words] koach ma (the power of "what"), on which it is said, "who is wise? One who sees what is born [what will be]." And like the seeing of wisdom, which sees as close something which will be [far] in the future, similarly with spiritual seeing which sees that which is born from non-being into being. Now all this presently comes through great labor and effort, as it is known that specifically after true comprehension of G-dliness and after the familiarity when one connects...more with the body (the point of comprehension), then it is possible for seeing to become true like a part of the intellect. Also, great refinement is required for this to occur...and via the effort in comprehension this "truing" [of one's sight] can be generated. (And also the sight that is bestowed from above, like the sight of the Rashbi and his colleagues -- this is a result of the great effort and labor and preparation of their souls.) 

Yet all this remains on a level of innovation in the world, astounding things. But seeing is only the level of the reality of G-dliness, but not the true Essence of the Ein Sof (Eternal). (And...even the comprehension of the souls in Gan Eden is only the level of a "ray" of the shechina, and similarly the revelation of Atzilus [the highest of the spiritual "worlds"], which is the level of seeing the Essence, is only the essence of the "ray".) And all of this cannot be compared to the seeing of the Essence which will be in the future, when all flesh shall see with the eye the true Essence of the Ein Sof. And this will occur with each and every Jew. Namely, because the essence of the Ein Sof will be revealed, thus there will be the seeing of the true Essence by every Jew. This is not the case presently, when it is only manifest in select individuals through great effort and preparation. 

source: Hemshech Ta'arav (Ayin Bais), Discourses from the year 5670 (1910), Chelek B, p 936 (Shvi'i Shel Pesach)

view the Hebrew document here

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Friday, January 22, 2016

How to see the Baal Shem Tov after his passing

From a Sicha of the Night of Simchas Torah before hakafos, 5727

In a farbrengen on the night of Shmini Atzeres 5705 (in the Sukkah) the Previous Rebbe told that about 100 years prior, in the year 5627, the Rebbe Rashab told his children that today is exactly 100 years since the Alter Rebbe saw the Baal Shem Tov while he was awake (in the year 5527, after the Baal Shem Tov had already passed away).

According to the way things were done, that the children of the Rebbeim participated in "parting from the Sukkah", so too the Rebbe Maharash went with his children -- the Rebbe Rashab along with his brothers and sisters -- and "parted from the Sukkah" with a cup of tea and some cake, and at this time he spoke about the matter mentioned above and told the following story:

On Sukkos 5527, when the Alter Rebbe was serving as the shammes for the Maggid, the Maggid sat in the Sukkah and the Alter Rebbe entered after him. The Maggid said to him: lock the door so that no one can enter, and don't become excited but rather internalize this and let it sink in -- the Rebbe is coming!

--Then they saw the Baal Shem Tov while they were awake, seven years after his passing!

From this we see the great level of a shammes, that davka through this the Alter Rebbe merited to see the Baal Shem Tov while he was awake seven years after his passing.

Seemingly, it is not understood: the nesius of the Maggid continued for 13 years until the year 5533, and the Alter Rebbe was by him during this time for less than 3 years -- 32 months, which is a small portion of the years of the nesius of the Maggid (and certainly not the majority of the years). So how is it possible to say that the Alter Rebbe served as a shammes by the Maggid in a way of "he never departed"?

The explanation is: even though the Alter Rebbe wasn't by the Maggid all the time, but rather he travelled to Liozna, nonetheless he went there in order to fulfill the shlichus of the Maggid -- to spread Chassidus there, and since he travelled on his shlichus to fulfill his will, thus the Maggid was with him the entire time.

As has been said numerous times, everything can be spotted in the revealed aspect Torah, for there is "one Torah for everyone", so there is a basis to inquire on the matter of "shlucho shel Adam k'moso" the shliach of a person is like the person himself (Brochos 34b, in the mishna). There are three ways to learn this:

1) that the shliach performs the action, but he is given the power by the sender to do it in place of him.
2) that the power of action of the shliach is the power of action of the sender.

3) that the body of the shliach becomes exactly like the sender, his existence is the existence of the sender.
All of this is said if indeed the shliach becomes like the sender, but regarding the sender himself we don't find that he becomes like the shliach; but even so, even as regards teh sender we could learn these three ways, even the third way -- that the sender transforms to be the existence of the shliach.

So, too, it is in the ruchniyus of the matter: when the Alter Rebbe went to fulfill the shlichus of the Maggid, the existence of the sender (the Maggid) transformed to be the existence of the shliach (the Alter Rebbe).
Now, as well, when we fulfill the shlichus of the Rebbe then the Rebbe is found together with us and the Rebbe is the one who carries out the matter.*

After the Alter Rebbe was in the role of shammes, this caused him to see the Baal Shem Tov after his passing, while he was awake. --In addition to the level of the Baal Shem Tov himself, there is the additional maalah that the Baal Shem Tov had already gone through the stage of "you are dust and you will return to the dust" (not like Eliyahu Hanovi who ascended to heaven in a storm), and the Alter Rebbe saw the Baal Shem Tov while awake, not in a dream, and a time when one is obligated in Torah and Mitzvos. And like Moshe's superiority over all the other prophets -- that all the prophets had to remove themselves from physicality in order to be able to receive the prophecy, unlike Moshe who would remain standing in his place -- similarly here was this level (by the Alter Rebbe), that he saw the Baal Shem Tov while awake.

Regarding actual action:

There are those who served as shammes by the [Previous] Rebbe in his life in this world, someone in this capacity, someone in another capacity, and they also want now to serve as shammes by the [Previous] Rebbe.
So there is guidance (hora'a') that when fulfililng the shlichus of the Rebbe he becomes a shammes of the Rebbe and the Rebbe is together with him wherever he is found, even in a distant country, since he is fulfilling the shlichus of the Rebbe.

And "it is not in the heavens" and "it is not wonderous", but rather "the thing is very close to you to do it" in actuality, it is relevant to every single person that the Rebbe is found together with him and he is able to see the Rebbe and while he is awake,** and through this he sees all the Rebbeim.

* See Sefer Hasichos p.55 "I gave my nefesh, ruach, neshoma to the Rebbe, and so therefore 'I' don't know".
** To note, from Sichos Kodesh 5713 (new printing) p. 228: The [Previous] Rebbe told that once the Rebbe Rashab said "Come now, let us debate" (Yeshaya 1:18). There were some chassidim of the Rebbe Maharash there, and he brought about then that they saw the Rebbe Maharash...(text missing). If one desires, it is possible to see also today, except that the yetzer hara is clever and sly, a "kluginker" in the words of the [Previous] Rebbe, and he blinds the intellect.
(worked over free-translation (by Yechi Hamelech, Bereishis 5768))

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Thursday, January 21, 2016

Yaakov Avinu (and the Rebbe) didn't die

…the situation [after the passing of the Previous Rebbe] is not what it appears to eyes of flesh (physical, and much more so material), that there has occurred, G-d forbid, an interruption [in the life of the Previous Rebbe], etc. – rather, here and now he “stands and serves”.

Immediately a question is raised: now, an incident occurred a certain number of years ago, and we ourselves were there and we did certain things, in accordance with Shulchan Aruch, which are connected with an interruption [of life]!

Now, as has been said several times, everything has its source in the Torah – not only the inner dimension of Torah, but also the revealed dimension of Torah.

This is what the gemara states (Taanis 5b): “Yaakov Avinu didn’t die.” Immediately the gemara questions this: “but they eulogized him, embalmed him, and buried him?”

Nonetheless, even after this question the gemara does not recant and explain it in a different way, rather the gemara remains with this statement that “Yaakov Avinu didn’t die”, despite that they “they eulogized him, embalmed him, and buried him”, and despite that these activities were really performed, because after all they are told to us in the Torah!

So the gemara explains: “just as his progeny are alive, so too he is alive”. As long as “his progeny are alive”, then even if “they eulogized him, embalmed him, and buried him” – something that really happened and in accordance with Shulchan Aruch – with all this “so too he is alive”.

And this is not to be understood according to the explanations of those who want to “cool off” the subject, who want to explain that through the fact that his progeny are alive then it is as if he himself is also alive.

Firstly, according to an explanation like this it would come out that the gemara recanted what it said that “Yaakov Avinu didn’t die”, for it is only as if he didn’t die – that by his progeny being alive he derives benefit from this exactly as if he was alive.

Secondly, this is the opposite of the language of the gemara: the gemara doesn’t say that through this that his progeny are alive it is as if he is alive, rather the gemara equates the two things – “just as his progeny are live” – in exactly the same way – “so too he is alive”. And this is brought by the gemara as an answer to the question “but they eulogized him, embalmed him, and buried him”.

The physical aspect [of a true and complete tzaddik]…is nothing more than a secondary thing and merely an external garment.

From this it is understood, that when this secondary thing is removed from him and the main thing remains, this cannot be called by the name “death”, since this is only relevant to say about one whose life was connected with the physical thing in the body and the physicality of the world. But by the tzaddik, even though when he was a neshoma in a body the body was something that had to be taken into account, except that for him the body was not the main thing, rather the spirituality in it; only the external garment was a physical garment. Therefore, when he removed one garment and donned another garment, there is nothing lacking and consequently “Yaakov Avinu didn’t die”.

And when there is a question: but “they eulogized him, embalmed him, and buried him”? – the response is: all of these activities were done on the physical aspect of his body. By any other person, even a Jew, when he’s down in this world, this is the main aspect of his life…which is not the case by him [this complete tzaddik], that even his life in this world was a spiritual life.

[…]the gemara knows that “they eulogized him”, this is a verse in the Torah, and connected with halacha, etc., but this is no contradiction, because all of this was done with his physical garment, and this garment was exchanged, in order that he could now have a different garment.

Sicha of the Rebbe on the Hillula of the Previous Rebbe, Yud Shevat 5726 (1966)


A Rebbe passes: Not what the eyes of flesh see

On the last time, during his life in this world, that the Rebbe [Rayatz] celebrated his Festival of Liberation [from Russian prison on 12-13 Tammuz], the Rebbe felt it necessary to make the point that matters of holiness are eternal. Moreover (so that no one should misunderstand) he went on to speak specifically of long life, true life that is uninterrupted -- so that we should not think according to what is seen, G-d forbid, by fleshly eyes (for such a situation does not at all apply in the realm of holiness); rather, that we should know that even after the histalkus [passing] there is life without interruption, eternal life, in the case of the Leader of the generation, and through him eternal life is drawn forth for the entire generation....

There is "an extension of Moshe in each and every generation," up to and including the Moshe in our generation, namely, my revered father-in-law, the Rebbe [Rayatz]: Now, too, as before, he is present and diffuses light (like the sun, which at night, too, is present and radiates light).

If we were proceeding together with him we would see that he is now radiating light with all the intensity as previously (and, indeed, in an even higher way). However, since he has ascended, elevation beyond elevation, whereas we did not accompany him but have remained where we were, he is not visible to our fleshly eyes (just as we do not see the sun at night). Nevertheless, in this situation, too, his light extends to all the Children of Israel...

We, admittedly, do not perceive the diffusion of his light. However, as in the above-quoted maxim of the Rebbe Rashab, "If the horse is a horse and the wagon-driver is a wagon-driver, does that mean that the angels aren't angels?!" 

From a talk of the Rebbe following the histalkus (passing) of the Previous Rebbe (Rebbe Rayatz) in 5710 (1950)

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Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Gemara: Tzaddikim Do Not Die

There were grave diggers who dug in the earth belonging to R. Nachman and were rebuked by R. Achai bar Yashai (who's grave they disturbed). They came and said to Rabbi Nachman, "We were rebuked by a man." Rabbi Nachman went there and asked him "Who are you, master?" 

He responded "I am Achai b. Yashai".

"Has not Rav Mari said that, 'In the future, the bodies of the righteous will return to dust?" said Rabbi Nachman
"Who is Mari? I know him not." said the dead one.

"But", again said Rabbi Nachman "this is the passage, 'When the dust will return to the earth as it was'".

The dead responded "He who learned with you Kohelet (Ecclatisies) didn't learn with you Mishlei (Proverbs), where it is written 'But jealousy is the rottenness of the bones', which means that (only) he who has jealousy in his heart, his bones shall rot after death".

Thereupon Rabbi Nachman tried to feel [Rav Achai's body] and he found it to be a real substance.

Rabbi Nachman then said to him, "Let the master arise and go to his home.".

The dead responded, saying "You show you haven't even read the Nevi'im (Prophets), for it is written (Yechezkel 33), 'And you shall know that I am the L-rd, when I open your graves, and when I cause you to come up out of your graves, O my people'".

"But", said Rabbi Nachman, "it is written (Berashis, Genesis, 3-19) 'For dust you are, and to dust shall you return'."
Whereupon the dead explained to him, saying, "This is meant for one hour before the arrival of the final resurrection of the dead [that all dead will return to dust]."

Talmud Shabbos 152b

Ohr Hachayim: No Death By Tzaddikim

"And Sara died" (Chayei Sara 23:2)

Ohr Hachayim:
The verse hints at what it says "Kiryas Arba" ("City of the Four"), to say that G-d-forbid one should not connect death with tzaddikim. Rather, Kiryas Arba means the city that was built from the four yesodos (fundemental elements) became separated and departed from them. And in saying "this is Chevron" implies that even though she died, she caused them [the four yesodos] to have the aspect of unification (chibur) because tzaddikim, even though they will die yet the body is not negated from life because tzaddikim in their deaths are called living. Go and learn from maaseh Rav Achai bar Yoshiya (Shabbos 152).

The reason is because when they are in the world they transform the aspect of ruchniyus hakodesh that is in their nefesh via their good deeds and abundant Torah that they accomplish in this world. Go and learn from the Rambam (Hilchos Yesodei Hatorah perek daled) that it is a rule of Hashem that one yesod can transform into its neighboring yesod: earth transforming into water, and similarly we find that via the dveikus of a person to his Creator he can transform all the yesodos to [the highest] yesod of fire, and from the [material] yesod of fire (aish) to the yesod aish of the neshoma.


Tuesday, January 19, 2016

A Rebbe after his passing: He Is Alive

"[Regarding my father-in-law, the Previous Rebbe] he is alive. [...] Just as his children are alive, so too he is alive. Not "as if he is alive", and not "alive" with explanations [pshetlach], but exactly as his children are alive -- just as these Jews are alive and able to bring about the 'conquest' of the world -- in the same way he, too, is alive even now."

Sicha of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Yud Shvat, 5726 (Hillula of the Previous Lubavitcher Rebbe)


Thursday, July 16, 2015

No War of Gog and Magog (Shem MiShmuel)

See that it is explained in the writings that after the ingathering of the Exiles of the future will be the war of Gog and Magog. But it is a received tradition in our hands from our holy Rebbeim, their souls be in Eden, that now that the exile was so long, we have been absolved of the war of Gog and Magog, and after the ingathering of the exiles Yisrael will sit in peace on their land forever, like it was in Egypt that the difficulty of the servitude fulfilled [the required] 400 years [of servitude in far fewer years], so too this exile in the opposite manner: that the long length of time [of this last exile] has fulfilled the difficulty of servitude and the many evils and travails that we endured will in the future come upon the haters of Israel. And don't be astonished that this appears to be a change from what is written explicitly in the Torah, for we see that in Egypt the verse explicitly states 400 years and nonetheless the difficulty of the servitude fulfilled and reduced them by 190 years. So, too, as regards the matter of the war of Gog and Magog.

Shem MiShmuel, parshas Vayigash 5677, p. 298


Wednesday, July 15, 2015

The Real Eretz Yisroel: Above Time and Place

Three good gifts the Holy One, blessed be He, gave to Yisroel and all of them via yissurim--Torah, Eretz Yisroel, the World to Come, because all of them are above time and place.

R' Shneur Zalman of Liadi, Maamorei Admor Hazaken, Va'era p. 238


Thursday, June 11, 2015

A Jew Must Agree, Want and Proclaim that the Geulah is here

...in order for the Holy One, blessed be He, to bring about [the Geulah] in a complete manner, He requires (so to speak) the participation of every single Jew, that via "our deeds and our effort" the Geulah comes.  Thus, He needs to require, so to speak, that a Jew will agree, and more than that -- that he will want and will proclaim that not only "the time has arrived for  your Redemption", but rather that simply the Geulah is already present....  This is brought about by a Jew in golus.

Sicha after Maariv, 28 Sivan, 5751 (1991)

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Gog and Magog: They Don't Reach Yerushalayim

The Rebbe declares unequivocally that Gog and Magog will NOT affect Yerushalayim (Yiddish with Hebrew subtitles):

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Moshiach: Hidden in Gan Eden

"Moshiach will be taken from the world to Gan Eden and from there he will be revealed."
Maharsha, Chiddushei Agados, Sanhedrin 98b

"Moshiach does not die, but rather he lives in the lower Gan Eden prepared for the salvation of Israel, and he has no permission to depart from there until they give him permission from Above. He has no permission to ascend to the upper Gan Eden, the place of the neshoma, nor to descend to the place of bodies."
Ohr Hachama on the Zohar, V'yakhel 212b

Monday, February 09, 2015

The Lubavitcher Rebbe and the Satmar Rebbe

Every year during Chol Hamo'ed Pesach, Rav Yalles of Philadelphia would have a private audience with the Rebbe in 770 Eastern Parkway, Lubavitch World Headquarters.  One year his grandson, Rav Geldtzeiler, who was then learning in Yeshiva in Lakewood, joined him.  (Later, he would become the son-in-law of the "Shomer Emunim" of Yerushalayim, and would later become an Admo"r himself.) 

Rav Yalles told me:
This young man, who was learning in the Yeshiva in Lakewood, showed the Rebbe a small book he had composed containing his novel Torah insights, and he said to the Rebbe that the Satmar Rebbe, R' Yoel, had seen it and gone over it.

When my grandson finished speaking, the Rebbe said to him: "When you said "Satmar", I felt that you said this softly, "swallowing" your words.  What do you think--that here one can't mention him?  You should know that he is a good friend of mine and I am a good friend of his, and all of the [unpleasant] matters were done by Dosan and Aviram"
As told by R' Yekusiel Menachem Rapp, mashpia in Yeshivas Tomchei Temimim 770, shliach of the Rebbe to Kennedy Airport.  Originally published in his "Tikvas Menachem", #383.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Geulah is Standing at the Doorstep--Draw It In!

HaRav Mordechai Eliyahu: We must decide and rule that the Moshiach needs to come immediately!

The Lubavitcher Rebbe, שליט"א: Immediately mamash.

Mordechai Eliyahu: Immediately didan, not according to the way others understand, but according to our own ruling.

The Lubavitcher Rebbe, שליט"א: There is nothing more to wait for, since all the matters of avodah have been finished, and they [Yisrael] have already done tshuva, and the matter is not dependent on anything but the coming of Moshiach himself.  -- "The matter is dependent only on tshuva" was [applicable] a long time ago, but now (after they have already done tshuva) the matter is not dependent on anything but the coming of Moshiach himself.  All that is needed is that Moshiach will come in actuality, "point with his finger and say 'this'", this is our righteous Moshiach!

. . . And the main thing -- that it will be in actuality, in a way of "point with his finger and say 'this'", and immediately mamash, as I repeat and emphasize numerous times that not only is the Geulah going to arrive in the end, but that the Geulah is already standing at the doorstep, and it is waiting for each and every Jew to open the door and draw the Geulah into the room.

From discussion during the visit of Chief Rabbi of Israel Harav Mordechai Eliyahu, זצ"ל, to the Lubavitcher Rebbe
6 Marcheshvan, 5752 (1992)

Sunday, July 06, 2014

Moshe Did Not Die (although it looked that way)

...when Moshe Rabbeinu was approaching his death...he wrote 13 sifrei Torah...from the 'beis' of "Bereishis" to the 'lamed' of "b'einei kol Yisroel" and gave a sefer to each tribe and the 13th to the tribe of Levi.  Afterwards he ascended the mountain at midday on the 7th of Adar as our tradition specifies.  Then occurred that event which in our eyes they call death because we felt that he was missing and absent.  However, he has life in virtue of the level which he attained, and thus our Sages, peace be upon them, (Sotah 13) "Moshe Rabbeinu did not die" but rather he ascended and serves Above.  These matters, however, require very lengthy explanation and this is not their place.

Rambam, introduction to his Pirush HaMishnayos (Seder Zeroyim)

Monday, September 23, 2013

Evil will be rectified

Yaakov and Esav were twins because also Evil will be rectified as the sages state: "the head of Esav rests in the lap of Yitzchok" which is the secret of Evil returning to the good, the secret that in the future the pig will become pure and the Holy One will slaughter the Angel of Death, namely "death will be swallowed forever" and it will remain an "Angel". Because the head of klipa has an attachment to kedusha like the head of Esav in the lap of Yitzchok, but when it extends from there it becomes tuma...Regarding סמא-ל Sama'el, the Sar of Esav, the סם "Sam" [poison] will be erased and the א-ל "Kel" [Divine name] will remain.

Shelah Hakadosh, parshas Chayei Sarah