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Adapted from the works of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M.

Schneerson
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B''333 ;1"3%'71~1

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Rabbi Jacob Immanuel Schochet

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KEHOTPUBLICATION SOCIETY 770 Eastern Parkway Brooklyn, New York 11213

. . .to study the themes of Moshiach and Redemption, and to live with ~oshiach."
-THE

1(

LUBAVITCHER REBBE

Introduction............................................................................. 11 BEREISHIT Bereishit ............................................................................ 17 Noach ............................................................................. 2 1 Lech Lecha ........................................................................ 24 Vayeira ......................................................................... 2 7 Chayei Sarah .....................................................................29 Toldot ................................................................................ 32 Vayeitzei ............................................................................ 35 Vayishlach ..................................................................... 3 7 Vayeishev .......................................................................... 39 Mikeitz ............................................................................... 41 Vayigash ........................................................................... 43 Vayechi ............................................................................. 45
SHEMOT Shemot ............................................................................ 49 Va'eira .............................................................................. 51 I30....................................................................................... 54 Beshalach ....................................................................... 5 7 Y i ~ ................................................................................. o 59 Mishpatim ........................................................................ 61 Terurrtah .......................................................................... 64 Tetzaveh ........................................................................... 67 Ki Tissa .............................................................................. 69 Vayak'hel ................. .... ................................................... 72 Pekudei ........................................................................... 75

Vayeilech......................................................................1 4 3 Ha'azinu ........................................................................1 4 5 Beracha ............................................................................ 147

YAMLMTOVLM Rosh Hashanah............................................................... 151 Yam Kippur .................................................................. 153 Sukkot ............................................................................1 5 6 Simchat Torah ................................................................158 Chanukah ...................................................................... 161 Purim ...............................................................................164 Pesach ..............................................................................167 Shavu'ot .......................................................................... 169

INTRODUCTION

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A thorough and intensive study of the Torah-teachings about Moshiach in the T'nach (Biblical writings), Talmud, Midrashim, Halachic works (like Maimonides' Mishneh Torah), Chassidism and other texts, makes us fully aware of the meaning, implications
and practical reality of Moshiach and redemption. It will then no longer be merely an abstract concept but a tangible reality. This will of itself awaken and intensify the Halachically mandated longing and anticipation for the Messianic redemption,' and motivate us to contribute our own share to its realization by our prayers and actions. Our sages teach us that this longing, hoping, awaiting-and, yes, demadng of G-d that He send Moshiach!serve as a catalyst for its realization.' Studying the principle of Moshiach, and appreciating the blissful era he will inaugurate, will certainly motivate and help us to "live with Moshiach." "Living with Moshiach means to lxhave already now in that mode of lifestyle that will be the norm in the Messianic era. In the words of Maimonides: "In that era there will be neither famine nor warfare, neither envy nor strife. The one preoccupation of the entire world will be solely to know G-d!" The realization of the redemption is within our reach, certainly now when "The time of redemption is near." Thus, we must now adopt that lifestyle as if Moshiach is here already. This is
1. See Maimonides, Hilchot Melachim 11:l: "Anyone who does not

believe in [Moshiach], or whoever does not longingly await his coming, denies not only [the teachings of] the other prophets but [also those] of the Torah and of Moses our Teacher." See at length my Mashiach: The Principle of Mnshiach and the Messianic Redemption rn lewish Law and Tradrtion, 3rd ed., S.I.E. New York 1992, chapter V11 and note 13 1.
1.3 lbid. and ch. 3 1; Midrash Tehilim 17:4; Bet Yossef on Tur-Orach Chayim, ch. 188. See Mashiach: The Principle of Mashiach and the ch. V11. Messianic Redemption in Jewish Law and Tradit~on,

2. Midrash Shemuel, ch.

BEREISHIT

The ultimate goal of the world's creation, the Messianic era, is firmly established in the very origin of the world: "last in deed, but first in thought." The very beginning of the Torah indicates the final purpose towards which all our aspirations must be devoted. This alone, already, infuses us with the ability to attain that goal.

"On the day G d created man, He made him in the likeness of G-d and He named them Adan. -Bereishit 5:1-2

...

Adam's soul was a composite of the souls of all his descendants--all of mankind. The Hebrew term for a human thus is

adam.
Mystics note that admn is a n acronym for the names of three central figures: Adam, (King) David and Moshiach. The Baal Shem Tov derives from this that there is a spark of the soul of Moshiach within every single Jew. Thus he concludes that it is incumbent upon every individual Jew to perfect and prepare that part of the spiritual stature of Moshiach to which his soul is related. By virtue of his bond with every Jew, because there is a part of him within every Jew, Moshiach is able to redeem the entire Jewish people. Conversely, every Jew is able to effect and hasten the actual manifestation of Moshiach. This is accomplished by means of Torah and mitzvot. For Torah and mitzvot effect a purification of the world, gradually diminishing its impurity until "I shall remove the spirit of impurity (altogether) from the earth" (Zechariah 13:2).This will be with the coming of Moshiach, for he will reveal goodness and holiness in the world until "The

I "In the 600th year of Noach's life.. all the fountains of the great deep burst forth and the windows of the heavens were opened." --Noah 7:11
T h e Zohm (I:117a) reads this verse as an allusion to the following: "After six hundred years of the sixth millennium (the year 5600, corresponding to the civil year of 1840) the gates of wisdom above and the fountains of wisdom below will be opened, and the world will be prepared to enter the seventh millennium, just as man prepares on the sixth day (Friday) when the sun is about to set-to enter the Shabbat.. l' The "gates of wisdom above" (i.e., the "windows of heaven") refer to the wisdom of the Torah, specifically the insights of pnimiyut haTorah (the inner, mystical teachings of the Torah), while the "fountains of wisdom below" (i.e., the "fountains of the great deep") refer to worldly wisdom and science. We see indeed that the date mentioned marks a period of an increased manifestation of pnimiyut haTorah, as well as the beginning of an unprecedented development of worldly sciences. We can readily understand that the revelation of pnimiyut haTorah is a preparation to enter the seventh millennium, the Messianic age. After all, in that era "The whole earth shall be full with the knowledge of G-d" (Isaiah 11:9), and pnimiyut haTorah relates to the future teachings of Moshiach. But how

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"The rainbow will be seen in the cloud."
-Nab 9: 14

The Zohm (I:72b) states that the rainbow is one of the signs of the future redemption. Commentators note that the rainbow indicates the purification and refinement that the world underwent by means of the Flood. Before the Flood the clouds were very coarse, thus preventing a reflection of sunlight. Thereafter, however, the clouds became more refined; they reflected sunlight, thus bringing about a rainbow. This, then, is the connection between the rainbow and the future redemption: The entire world will attain the peak o f refinement with the coming of Moshiach.

dash. This o:onsciousness generates an ever greater desire and


anticipation of the Messianic redemption. That itself will hasten its realization in our days, when we shall enter ii new covenant with King David, as it is said: "My servant David will be king over them. . . and My servant David will be Prince over them forever" (Ezekiel 37:24-25).

"He believed in G-d, and He accounted it to him as ~ e d a -

kah (righteousness)."
-L.ech Lecha 15:6
The commentary Hadar Zekeinim-Harosh explains that the Almighty regarded Abraham's faith as t z e W , meritorious righteousness. It follows then, that the prophet's words that "Zion shall be redeemed by justice and her repatriates by tzedakah" (Isaiah 1:27), and many other such verses, refer not only to personal or monetary tzeu!akah (charity). The complete faith (emunah) of Israel, and their trust in the fulfillment of all the promises given unto them through the prophets, is also referred to as tzedukuh. That faith is worthy in the eyes of G-d, and by virtue thereof He will, in His great compassion, bring upon us that which He promised us. "lsrael was redeemed from Egypr as a reward for their emu& (faith; belief)'' (Mechilta , Beshalach 14:3 1) .Their faith indicated a full manifestation of the very core of their Jewishness-that which bonds Israel with the Almighty. This made them worthy of the Exodus-the redemption from Egypt. The Jewish people had been "believers" even in the harshest times of their Egyptian exile. Essentially, though, that belief came to them as a legacy from their ancestors, by virtue of being "descendants of believers." It was not something that they had

I
"Gd appeared to [Abraham] in the plains of Mamre, as he
sat at the entrance of the tent in the heat of the day.''
-Vayeira

18:1

With the Messianic redemption, we too shall merit a manifestation of the Divine Presence, just like Abraham. Thus it is written, "Your Master will no longer conceal Himself, and your eyes shall see your Master" (Isaiah 30:20). The people of Israel will be able to see this with their physical eyes-an empirical perception. The Divine revelation will be so intense that it will be experienced in the physical world: that Divine light will bring healing,* literally curing the bodies of Israel from all their diseases and maladies. The verse "G-d appeared..." thus alludes also to the revelation that will occur to us with the future redemption. In this context, the miraculous healing to occur then is also alluded to in the concluding phrase of "in the heat of the day." Our sages state that in the future (the Messianic age), G-d will take out the sun from its sheath, and the righteous will be healed by it (Nedarirn 8b). I t is written: "Your people, all are righteous..." (Isaiah 60:20)

* Analogous to G-d appearing to Abraham, to comfort and heal him from the circumcision.

"I came this day to the spring. .

."
--Chayei Sarah 24:42

Eliezer, Abraham's servant, traveled to Aram Naharayim to seek a bride for Isaac. When he found Rivkah, he told her family about his mission and said, "I came this day." Our sages explain that this phrase alludes to an extraordinary miracle that occurred to him: "I set out this day and I arrived this day." In other words, the journey that would normally have taken 17 days was shortened for him and was completed within one day! Why such a miracle, and why did Eliezer mention it? The Midrash (Bereishit Rabba 63:4) states that Rivkah, in the : 2 ) .A house of her father, was "like a rose among thornsn(Song 2 rose grows among thorns, because they help its preservation and development (Zohar II:20b). O n the other hand, the whole plot is irrigated by virtue of the rose, thus benefiting the thorns and other vegetation as well. The thorns are removed only when we wish to obtain the rose itself. Abraham perceived the very moment that Rivkah was ready to be married and immediately sent Eliezer to bring her to Isaac. This mission to "remove the rose from among the thorns'' could not start earlier, before Rivkah had reached a marriageable age. If Eliezer's joumey had run its normative course of 17 days, Rivkah would have had to remain with her family (the "thorns") for a longer period of time. That is why the joumey was short-

(Vayikra 27:16), 400 silver shekels redeem exactly 600,000 square cubits."

A chomer of barley is equivalent to the measure of thirty seah. The Talmud (Emtin 23b) states that the area for planting two seahs is 1&50=5000 square cubits. Thus 75,000 square cubits are needed for a chomer of barley,and that size area requires fifty shekels of sil~rer for redemption. The value of 400 silver shekels, therefore, would
redeem an area eight times larger, i.e., 6 0 0 , 0 0 0 square cubits. It follows, then, that the 403 silver shekels that Abraham paid for the field which contained the Cave of Machplah st~fficed to redeem 600,W square cubits-ne square cubit for each of the 6 0 0 , 0 0 0 root-souls of lsnel (the numher of Jews who were freed from Egypt and received the Torah).

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"The voice is the voice of Jacob, but the hands are the
hands of Esau." -Toldot 27:22 Our sages (Bereishit Rabba 6520) comment on this verse that Esau has hands against the voice of Jacob. This means that when the 'voice of Jacob'-i.e., the voice and sound of Torah-is heard, the 'hands of Esau-i-e., the threats of our enemieshave no power. It is likewise in reverse: when the voice of Torah is weakened, the 'hands of Esau' may overcome. This has already come to pass with the destruction of Jerusalem, as stated by the ...Because they had prophet: "For what reason was the land lost? 2). forsaken My Torah..." (Jeremiah9: 11-1 In our times, too, after the churban (destruction of the Holy Temple), Jerusalem's existence depends on the study of Torah. To be sure, we c a m x reverse the fact of the churban which has already occurred in the past. We can, however, eliminate the cause of the destruction and thus hasten the rebuilding and restoration of Jerusalem. Our sages state, "Any generation in whose days the Beit Hamikdash (Holy Temple) is not rebuilt, it is reckoned against that generation as if it was destroyed in its time!" (Yerushalmi, Yoma 1:1) The churhn thus is not simply an event that happened in the past. Its consequences extend to this very day, and the event, therefore, must be seen as something happening even now-as if the Reit Hamikdash is being destroyed this very moment. It follows, then, that it is our duty-and we do have the ability-to rid ourselves of the cause of the churban and to prevent its present recurrence. The study of Torah has this effect

I
"Ufaraizta (you shall break through; spread out) to the
west and to the east, to the north and to the south. -Vayeitxei 28: 14

.."

This verse may be said to allude to the Messianic era when "the Land of Israel will extend over all the countries [of the world]" (Sifie, Devarim 1). That is, the whole world-"to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south'-will ascend to the present sanctity of the Land of Israel, and the Land of Israel itself will ascend to the present level of the higher sanctity of Jerusalem. In practical terms, this verse teaches us that in our present days we have to serve G-d in a manner of ufaratzja-that is, without any restrictions and limitations, in the sense of "You shall love (3-d ... with all your might" (Va'etchanan 65). Thus we shall hasten the coming of Moshiach, of whom it is said: "The poretz (the one who breaks through; i.e., the one who clears all obstacles and barriers) is gone up before them" (Michah 2:13).

"Jacobsent messengers before him to Esau his brother. -Vayishlach 32:4

.."

The Torah relates, in great detail, how these messengers were sent to appease Esau. Chassidic texts explain that at that time Jacob was ready for the ultimate Messianic redemption: he had learned a great deal of Torah and served the Almighty with all his heart. He had observed the 613 rnitywt to the fullest, in spite of all the difficulties and obstacles thrown his way when he stayed in the household of Laban, in Haran. On his part, therefore, he was ready and prepared for the true and final redemption. Jacob's messengers were to check out the spiritual status of his brother Esau, to see whether he, too, was ready for the redemption. But they returned with a negative response: "We came to your brother, to Esau.. ." (Vayishlach 32:6, and see Rashi there); i.e., the one whom you called "my brother," he is still "Esau, the wicked." He has not yet repented of his evil ways and deeds. Esau was not yet ready at that time, thus delaying the redemption. Nowadays, however, after all these many years of observance of Torah and mityuot in the face of the terrible harshness of the galut (exile), everything is surely ready for the redemption. Not only the Jewish people, but also the nations of the world as represented by Esau, are ready and prepared for that blissful event.

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"When she gave birth, there were twins... and he called his name Peretz, and afterwards his brother and he called his name Zarach." -Veyeishm 38:27-30

...

Peretz is the direct ancestor of King David and Moshiach. Thus, he is identified with Moshiach, as already suggested by his name which alludes to the Messianic prophecy of "The p e t 7 (the one who breaks through) is gone up before them" (Michah 2:13). The Midrash (BereishitRabba 85:1) notes: "Before the first born, the ultimate redeemer enslaver of Israel-Pharaoh-was of Israel (Moshiach-Peretz) was already born." With the birth of Peretz, our sages note there, the Almighty created the light of Moshiach. G-d thus brought about the remedy and cure before the affliction-before the Egyptian exile and all the exiles that followed thereafter, including our present one. This "light of Moshiach" confers upon Israel the strength and ability to succeed in their exiles to "break through all obstacles and impediments in their service of G-d, until their good deeds will effect the coming of Moshiach of whom it is said, "The porete is gone up before them." Zarach, Peretz's twin, also alludes to the redemption. His name means "shining forth." The Messianic Kingdom will sh~ne forth and illuminate throughout the world. All mankind will benefit from its bright light, as it is written: "Nations shall walk

"It came to pass at the ketz (end) of two full years. -Mikeitz 4 1 :1

.."

This verse introduces the story of how Joseph was freed from prison, the ketz (end) to his confinement. Joseph's confinement was only physical, not spiritual. Even in jail, he retained, and was mindful of, his spiritual heritagethe teachings of his father. This heritage was his light with which he overcame the darkness of prison. It filled him with hope, joy and delight. The constraints of prison did not fetter him. It was but a temporary confinement, and immediately upon his release he rose to rule over all of Egypt. The prison-house of Joseph, "a place where the king's prisoners are bound," is an allusion to this world into which the souls of Israel-the "children of G-#--are made to descend, to become vested in finite bodies in order to observe Torah and mitzvot. The analogy with a prison is noted especially during the time of the galut (exile). Thus, we must remember Joseph and the events of his life. We must realize that the very idea of confinement is alien to us, because Jewish life is essentially unrestricted. The present era of constraints is undoubtedly only temporary. It is merely a step toward the ultimate goal of illuminating the world, even in its present state of lowliness and galut, with the light of Torah and mitzvot. The fulfillment of this mission will be followed i~ilmediately by the final redemption of Moshiach.

(6

. ..fear not to go down to Egypt. ..I will go down with

you to Egypt, and I will also bring you up again." -Vayigash 46:3-4 Jacob was not sent to the galut on his own: the Almighty descended with him and guarded him there. Our patriarch Jacob possessed an all-comprehensive soul which compounded the souls of all Jews. "Jacob" thus stands for every single Jew, and his descent to Egypt alludes to Israel's descent into galut, including the present galut. Our sages thus said (BereishitRabba 16:4) that "all the kingdoms of the world are t referred to as Mitvayim (Egypt), because they m e t ~ r o (distress) Israel."" From our parshah it follows then that even in our present galut we are not alone. The Almighty is with us, as it is said, "Wherever they were exiled, the Shechinah (Divine Presence) is with them" (Megilah 29a). Moreover, "In all their affliction, He is afflicted" (Isaiah 63:9): He Himselfsuffers their affliction, as it were. Thus, just as Israel is unable to bear the affliction of the galut, so, too, as it were, with the Almighty. Surely, then, He shall hasten the redemption, for as we leave the galut so will He, as stated in our text, "I will also bring you up again."
: ' :

Mit:rayim is the Hebrew namc for Egypt. T h e term is derived from the rootword which means "distress" or "constralnt." T h e term Mitnayim thus is re~rrded as a generic term for a11 who oppress or distress Israel.

I "When the days grew near for Israel to die, he called his son Joseph and said to him do not bury me in Egypt. carry me out of Egypt . And Uacob] said to him, Swear to me! And uoseph] swore to him." -Vayechi 47:29-31

..

.. .

..

Jacob did not rely on Joseph's promise, but asked him to swear. He had no peace of mind until he obtained that oath. A promise differs from an oath. With a promise one will no doubt do his best to keep it at the appropriate time. Until then, however, one is not disturbed by the pledge. With an oath, however, one is concerned from the moment of swearing: the mind is constantly preoccupied with thoughts how to keep the oath, worrying that failure to do so would lead to the severe consequences of having violated an oath. Jacob thus charged Joseph, and through him all of Israel, with a most important lesson about our relationship to the gdut (exile). T o be sure, our gdut was decreed by the Almighty. Nonetheless, we--on our part-must know that the gdut is not the place where we belong. A request or promise eventually to leave Egypt, therefore, is not enough. One must sense, and constantly be concerned, that each additional moment in Egypt is a painful burden. Thus, one will continue to pray and demand from the Almighty--"Carry me out from Egypt!"

SHEMOT

I
"They cried out because of their slavery, and their plea went up before G-d. G d heard their groaning, and Gd remembered His covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob." -Shemot 2:23-25 the cry of the children of Israel is come to Me. Now go, I am sending you unto Pharaoh, and bring My people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt." --Shemot 3:9-10

". . .

..

The Israelites were unable to endure the harsh galut of Egypt and cried out unto G-d to redeem them from it. Indeed, G-d heard their cry and sent Moses to save them. Likewise with our present gdut : When we cry out, "Take us out of the galut and bring about the redemption," the Almighty will surely hear our cry and redeem us. Moreover, our mere being in a state of readiness to call upon G-d is already enough for Him to respond, as it is written, "Before they call, I shall answer, and while they yet speak I shall hear" (Isaiah 65:24).

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"Moses returned to G-d and said: 'Lord! Why have You mistreated this people. Since I came to Pharaoh to speak in Your Name, he made things worse for this people, and You have not saved this people at all!' " -Shemot 5:22-23

..

"I shall take you out from under the burdens of Egypt, I shall rescue you from their service, I shall redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments, and I shall take you to Myself for a people And I shall bring you to the
land

..."

...

-Va'eira 6:6-8 These verses cite five expressions of redemption. The first four relate to the Egyptian exile and the three exiles following thereafter, including the present one. The fifththl'I shall bring you..."-relates to an additional level of ascent that will follow the initial redemption by Moshiach. The very fact that this fifth expression, too, is mentioned in context of the redemption from Egypt, indicates that aU aspects of the Messianic redemption, including its highest stages, began already wirh the exodus from Egypt. Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak, the sixth Lubavitcher Rebbe, was wont to say of this that ever since the exodus from Egypt we are on our way to the Messianic redemption. From the very moment that the Almighty promised "I shall bring you to the land ...," that promise came into effect. G-d, of course, is always in full control and "Who will say to Him 'What do You do?'" (Job 9: 12). It would seem that as long as the promise is not actualized in reality, one cannot say that it has been achieved. In truth, however, it is an established principle of the Torah that G-d revokes and nullifies only decrees about im-

addition of the letter akph. Our sages teach us that the letter &ph alludes to "Alufo (the Master of) the Universe." The significance of this is as follows: Our service of G-d in the galut is to insert (i.e., to manifest the inherent presence of) the Aleph (the "Master of the Universe") in galut. This will then transform golah (galut) to ge'ulah (redemption) ! The fact that the term ge'ulah contains and retains the term golah teaches us the meaning of ge'uloh.The Messianic redemption does not imply a negation or annulment of the natural order, of the present reality of galut. On the contrary: ge'ulah means an elevation and sublimation of go& by redeeming all aspects of the gdut and transforming it itself into ge'ulah. When the mherent and pervasive presence of the Aleph (the "Master of the Universe") is revealed and manifested, this will remove all the concealing obstacles of the gdut which screen and cover its true reality and intent. There will be a revelation of Divinity within the world and in all mundane categories, to the point that "Everything that has been made will know that You have made it... and every besouled being will declare that G-d, the G-d of Israel, is King, and that His Kingship rules over all" (Liturgy of Rosh Hashanah). Gdah is transformed into ge'ulah!

"On the tenth of the month, every man is to take a lamb guard it until the fourteenth day of this month, and then slaughter it. -Bo 12:3-6

...

.."

This is the mitzvah of the Pesach-offering. The lamb was to be kept in the Jewish homes for several days to arouse the curiosity of the Egyptians who worshipped it as their idol. The Jews were to tell them explicitly and fearlessly, that they intended to slaughter the lamb on the fourteenth of Nissan. This, of course, put the courage and faith of the Jewish people to the test. The redemption from Egypt happened by virtue of the Jewish people rising to the challenge with great fortitude and mesirat nefesh (readiness for self-sacrifice). Our sages thus relate that before that day the Jews had been devoid of mitzvot. They were, in fact, acculturated to the Egyptian lifestyle. G-d thus provided them with the mitzvah of the Pesach-offering. In the merit of this mitzvah, and the mesirat nefesh required for its fulfillment, they were redeemed from Egypt. The prophet says, "As in the days of your going out of Egypt, I will show [the people] wondrous things" (Michah 7:15). This means that- the exodus from Egypt is a paradigm for the future redemption by Moshiach. When the Torah offers an example or a model, the analogy is precise, corresponding in all details. This applies in our case as well: the conditions of faith, fortitude and mesirat nefesh, which brought about the exodus from Egypt, will do the same for us and redeem us from our present galut. Thus, just as the exodus from Egypt resulted from fortitude, inner strength, faith and mesirat nefesh, so, too, the Messianic

I
"This is my G d and I shall glorify Him, my father's G-d and I shall exalt Him." -Bes halach 15:2
The Midrash states that at the splitting of the sea, after the exodus, each Jew pointed with his finger and said, "This is my G-d and I shall glorify Him." This means that there was a prophetic manifestation of G-dliness to the point of everyone being able to point a finger and say literally: "THIS IS...!" The Midrash notes also that the children born under Egyptian servitude were the first ones to perceive and recognize that Divine manifestation. "As in the days of your going out from Egypt, I shall show [the people] wondrous things" (Michah 7:15). Thus the Messianic redemption, too, will be marked by a manifestation of G-dliness. In fact, the revelation of the future redemption will be even greater. The expression "This is.." appears but once at the time of the exodus from Egypt. With regards to the coming of Moshiach it appears twice, as it is written, "It will be said on that day, Behold, h s is our G-d in whom we put our hope that He will deliver us, h s is G-d for whom we hoped ..." (Isaiah 25:9). Just as at the time of the exodus it was the children, those born under Egyptian servitude, who recognized G-d first, so it will also be with the Messianic redemption. The children born in the harshness of this bitter galut, in the very depth of darkness-[for the darkest moments of the night

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"Thus you shall say to the House of Jacob and tell the Children of Israel." -Yitro 19:3

Our sages state that "House of Jacob" refers to the women of Israel, and "Children of Israel" to the men. When G-d gave the Torah to Israel, He told Moses to approach the women first. The purpose of the exodus from Egypt was for the Jewish people to receive the Torah at Sinai, as it is written: "When you will have brought the people out from Egypt, you shall serve G-d upon this mountain" (Shernot 3: 12). Ofthe exodus itself it is said that it occurred in the merit of the pious women of that generation. Thus, when it came to the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai, the women were given precedence. The Messianic redemption, too, will come about in the merit of the righteous women of Israel, as stated in the Midrash: "All generations are redeemed by virtue of the pious women of their generation" (YaUcut Shimoni, Ruth: 606). Thus the women will once again be first to receive the wondrous teachings to be heard from Moshiach.

"When you acquire a Jewish bondsman, for six years he shall work and in t!,e seventh year he shall go free -Mishpatim 2 1:2

..."

"Six years,'' an allusion to the 6000 years of the world's normative existence, "he shall work". That is, during this period, in the present time of this existence, there is the opportunity of serving G-d with Torah and mitzuot. By virtue of this service: "In the seventh year," i.e., in the seventh millenium, "he shall go free..."-we shall be released and be free of all the obstacles and hindrances that presently are dominant in the world, and we shall merit the sublime manifestations of the Messianic future.

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"He sent the young men of the children of Israel and they offered burnt-offerings 'This is the blood of the covenant that G-d has made with you..."' -Mishpatim 24:s-8

...

The Jewish people entered the covenant of the Torah by three rites, the third of which was the above mentioned offering. In the words of Maimonides: "Israel entered the covenant by way of three rites: circumcision, immersion, and a sacrifice. Circumcision was performed in Egypt ... immersion was per-

Nonetheless, when the Holy Temple shall be rebuilt, that offering will have to be made up to achieve its unique effect. For the Messianic era will reestablish the special bond between Israel and the Almighty in a fully manifest and revealed way as in the most idyllic: times before, and even more so. Thus it is written: "Behold, days are coming, says G-d, when I will make a new covenant with the House of Israel and with the House of Judah; not like the covenant that 1 made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land oi Egypt... But ... I will put My reaching in their inward parts and in their heart I shall write it; and I will be their G-d and rhey shall be My people ..." (Jeremiah 31:30f.)

I1
"They shall make Me a sanctuary and I shall dwell in their midst." -Terumah 25 :8 This is the mitzvah of building a sanctuary for the Divine Presence, at first the Tabernacle in the desert and later the Beit Hamikdash (Holy Temple) in Jerusalem. The expression in this verse seems inconsistent. It ordains the making of a sanctuary as a dwelling for the Divine Presence, but then states "I shall dwell in their rmdst" instead of "in it!" Our sages explain that the Torah speaks not only of a general, central sanctuary for the nation, but also of an individual sanctuary to be built and established by every individual Jew. That is, each one must transform himself and his quarters into a sanctuary for G-d: a place of Torah study, Prayer and Charity, with effort that all one's thoughts, speech and deeds be for the sake of Heaven, and to infuse holiness into all that we relate to. This individual and private sanctuary must manifest itself as such, even on the physical level, by acquiring sacred items like and a Charity-Box, the holy hmks of a Churnash and a S~ddur, and to place these within that private sanctuary. These three items in particular are the very pillars which were the foundation of the Beit Hamikdash: TORAH: The Beit Harnikdash housed the Holy Ark which contained the two tablets on which were engraved the Ten Commandments. Indeed, the Holy Temple stood on Mount Moriah. Monah alludes to the term "hora'ah,"which means insmtion about the Torah-laws that emanated from there to all of Israel by means of the Sanhedrin (Supreme Court) which was located there.

I
"You shall command the children of Israel to bring you clear olive oil to cause the lamp to bum continuously -Tetzaueh 27:20

...

..."

All seven branches of the golden menorah in the sanctuary were filled anew each day with pure oil. The "western branch of the menorah burned miraculously much longer than all the others, beyond the norm of the oil it contained. This miracle was a Heavenly sign attesting to the Divine Presence in Israel. We are told that Moses was puzzled by this menorah: he did not know how to construct it. G-d then told him to simply cast the required amount of gold into fire and the menorah was made of itself. This raises a question: how did the menorah differ from all the other vessels made for the Sanctuary, that Moses was puzzled by it?In fact, Moses had been shown the form and structure of the menorah from Heaven, as it is written, "according to the pattern that was shown to you" (Tmmah2540). Why then did he not know how to make it? The menorah was made of gold, and it served the purpose of illuminating the darkness in a way that would demonstrate to the whole world that the Divine Presence dwells in Israel. This caused Moses to wonder: how can such a sublime thing be made of gold, of physical matter? Says the Midrash: G-d explained to Moses that indeed, humans are unable to produce such an object, and it is done by the Almighty. Man, however, must first take the gold and cast it

I
"When [G-dl finished speaking with [Moses] on Mount Sinai, He gave him the two Tablets of the Testimony, tablets of stone, written with the finger of G-d. When [Moses] saw the calf he threw the tablets out of his hands and broke them. G-d said to Moses, 'Hew two tablets for yourself like the first ones..."' -Ki Tissa 31:1,32:19,34:1

..

...

..

The sequence of events by which Israel received the Tablets of Testimony followed three stages: ( I ) The first tablets Moses descended with from the mountain; (2) Moses broke these first tablets because of the people's sin with the golden calf; and (3) when Israel repented of its sin, Moses ascended Mount Sinai again and returned with the second tablets. The first tablets were both made and engraved by G-d Himself. The second ones were also engraved by G-d but carved out by Moses, suggesting a lesser quality than the first ones. Nonetheless, the second tablets had an advantage over the first ones in context of the principle that "descent is for the purpose of ascent." That is, when one realizes the fact of a descent or degradation and corrects its causes, this itself causes an ascent to a level even higher and greater than the original one. A simple analogy is the case of a runner who takes a few steps backward in order to pick up extra speed for his race. It follows, then, that the second tablets had a unique advantage over the first ones. The great depth to which Israel had fallen by the sin of the golden calf-which had provoked Moses

Every one of us can, and must, learn from this. It is not enough to simply work with the "lost and cast-off souls" of our fellow-Jews. One must, first of all, judge kindly and speak favorably about them, if for no other reason but the fact that their condition is not of their own making but because they do not know better. This kind of approach will of itself help to correct their faults. We must keep in mind that the Beit Hamikdash (the Holy Temple) was destroyed on account of gratuitous hatred (Yorna 9b). This cause must be undone by means of gratuitous love, by loving every single Jew unconditionally, even when one fails to find any justification for loving him. Ahawat chinam (gratuitous love) implies loving even those who are in a state of " c h i m devoid of mitzvot." Undoing the cause undoes the effect, and the third Beit Hamikdash will be rebuilt by Moshiach speedily in our days.

ars than we are, did not? Nonetheless, the fact is that we are the ones who complete the work. The credit and merit, therefore, is amibuted to our generation. Our sages thus said that a meritorious deed is attributed to him who does the h t part of it and completes it (Sotah 13b) . Moreover, the edges of the curtains were to be tied to the pegs that were fixed in the ground, the earth. This alludes to the very purpose of the Sanctuary, namely, to bring about an indwelling of the Divine Presence in the Tabernacle which was to be a physical abode established specifically here on earth. This, indeed, is the very task and purpose of our generation. We are to draw the Divine Presence all the way down to the very earthiness of this material world, and this will happen with the coming of Moshiach and the ultimate redemption.

"All the women, whose heart inspired them with wisdom, spun the goats' hair."
-Vayak'hel35 :26
Rashi comments on this verse: "This action required extraordinary skill, for they spun the hair from off the backs of the goats." The women had not been instructed to do so. They did so on their own, by their own inspiration. They realized that if they were blessed by G-d with this unique ability, they should use it for the service of C;-d, for the building of the Sanctuary. This teaches us the following: When the Almighty grants anyone special talents and abilities, he or she is to use them for the service of G-d. Each one must use his or her talents and aptitudes to help achieve the ultimate

"These are the accounts of the m i s h h (Tabernacle), mishkan hu'edut (the Tabernacle of Testimony) -Pekudei 38:2 1

..."

Our sages note that the term mishkan is mentioned twice in this verse. This two-fold reference is an allusion to the Mikdash (Sanctuary in Jerusalem) which was taken away as a m a s h (collateral) for Israel's repentance, by being destroyed twice ( i.e., the first Beit Hamikdash and the second Beit Hamikdash) for the iniquities of Israel. This means that the destruction of the Beit Hamikdash was not intended to be a permanent loss to Israel. It was taken only as a pledge, as surety, and it will be restored eventually. Jewish law requires that he who takes collateral must guard it carefully and in due time must restore it to its owner. When the cause for the Sanctuary's removal ("rhe iniquities of Israel") will be corrected, it will be returned to us, fully intact. The third Beit Hamikdash will thus contain all the qualities of its two predecessors.

VAYIKRA

"Vayikra(he called) to Moses.. when any person of you


will offer a korban

..."

-Vayikra

1:12

T h e letter aleph in the first word of this parshah (Vayikra) is smaller than the normal size of all letters in the Torah. This small aleph indicates the extraordinary humility of Moses, of whom the Torah says, "The man Moses was very humble, more so than any other person on the face of the earth" (Beha'alotecha

12:3).
Moses was blessed with superior qualities and he was the greatest prophet of Israel ever. Even so, he regarded himself inferior to everyone. He viewed his superior qualities as a special endowment or gift from G-d, and not as some special achievement on his part. In his mind, therefore, he was convinced that if someone else had been blessed with the same abilities, that other person would have achieved more than he did himself. By virtue of his humility, Moses merited the highest levels of achievement, that he was chosen to redeem Israel from Egypt, that he received the Torah for Israel, and so forth. This idea of humility and self-negation is the underlying concept of sacrifices, the central theme of our parshah. Thus it is written, "Adam ki yakriv mikm-When any person of you will offer a korban (offering; sacrifice).." (Vayikra 1:2). The word mikem (of you) qualifies adam (person), thus should follow right after it. Why is it placed later, after "ki yakriw-will offer"? Chassidut explains that this order signifies the meaning of sacrifices, of serving Ci-d.

Pmhat Tzav enumerates and explains detailed laws of various sacrifices. Some of these are introduced by the phrase "This is the teaching of..." (as in "This is the teaching of the burntoffering ... This is the teaching of the sin-offering... This is the teaching of the guilt-offering..."). The Talmud infers from this expression that when someone is involved in the study of the laws and teachings of a sacrifice, it is accounted to him as if he had actually offered that sacrifice. Hence the prophetic utterance, "Our lips will compensate for the bullocks" (Hosea 14:3). This concept of "it is accounted to him as if..." does not mean that it is merely a rewmd for studying these laws. Nor does it mean that it simply effects atonement just like the sacrifices that used to be brought in the Sanctuary. The recitation and review of the laws, according to numerous views, is regarded as an actual offering of sacrifices, to the point of a Halachic ruling that "one should recite them only in the day-time, because sacrifices are not offered at night." Likewise, there are a number of other rulings stipulating that the recitation of sacrificepassages is to reflect the manner of the actual offerings. The obvious implication is that the teachings relating to the Beit Hamikdash (Holy Temple) and sacrifices are relevant even now in the time of galut (exile) when, unfortunately, we do not have the Sanctuary, and the actual offering of sacrifices is temporarily discontinued. The recitation and study of the teachings of sacrifices, like their actual offerings, effect not only personal atonement, but also elicit the presence of the Shechinah upon the individual

I "Vayehi bayom hashmini--On the eighth day... Moses


said

...this day G-d shall appear to you."

--Shemini 9:1-4

This verse relates to the consecration of the Sanctuary in the desert, which resulted in a manifestation of G-dliness: the Shechinah "dwelled in the Sanctuary. This happened on the first day of Nissan, which is referred to as the "eighth day" because it followed the "seven days of induction" of consecrating the priests, offering various sacrifices and setting up and dismantling the Sanctuary. The fact that the Torah refers to this special occasion as the "eighth day" is obviously of significance. The number "seven" signifies the normative order of the world. For example, time is reckoned in terms of seven-day cycles which constitute a complete week. Likewise with years, the number seven indicates a complete cycle, culminating in the Sabbatical year, and so forth. Seven, therefore, is the symbol for the order of nature. The number "eight" is beyond "seven," alluding to the supra-natural, an emanation of G-dliness which, like a miracle, transcends the normative order. Nonetheless, this aspect of "eight" is not fully detached from worldliness: the "eight" comes about only when seven precede it. Thus, notwithstanding the fact that the human capacity is limited to the nonns of created entities (the aspect of "seven"), serving G-d to the limits of these capacities will elicit a manifesbeyond the normative (the aspect tation of Divine e~nanatio~ls

I
said

"Vayehi bayom hashemini-& the eighth day Moses ... this day G-d shall appear to you."
--Shemini 9: 1-4

...

This verse relates to the consecration of the Sanctuary in the desert, which resulted in a manifestation of G-dliness: the Shechinah "dwelled" in the Sanctuary. This happened on the first day of Nissan, which is referred to as the "eighth day" because it followed the "seven days of induction" of consecrating the priests, offering various sacrifices and setting up and dismantling the Sanctuary. The fact that the Torah refers to this special occasion as the "eighth day" is obviously of significance. The number "seven" signifies the normative order of the world. For example, time is reckoned in terms of seven-day cycles which constitute a complete week. Likewise with years, the number seven indicates a complete cycle, culminating in the Sabbatical year, and so forth. Seven, therefore, is the symbol for the order of nature. The number "eight" is beyond "seven," alluding to the supra-natural, an emanation of G-dliness which, like a miracle, transcends the normative order. Nonetheless, this aspect of "eight" is not fully detached from worldliness: the "eight" comes about only when seven precede it. Thus, notwithstanding the fact that the human capacity is limited to the norms of created entities (the aspect of "seven"), serving G-d to the limits of these capacities will elicit a manifestation of Divine emanations beyond the normative (the aspect

The parshiyot of Tan-i'a and Metzora deal with the laws of tzma'at (conventionally translated as "leprosy"): the diagnosis of the symptoms of this disease which incurs a state of ritual impurity; how to deal with those afflicted by it; and the procedures of purification following its cure. The Talmud states that Moshiach is called "chiwa-the leper"(Sanhe&n 98b). This is rather astonishing and seems to contradict the Biblical description of Moshiach: "My servant shall be wise, exalted and lofty, and shall be very high" (Isaiah 52:13). From this verse we know that he will be the wisest of men, an extraordinary prophet, second only to Moses (and in many respects more exalted than Moses), greater than the patriarchs, and of a stature exceeding that of all kings before him. Thus, we must conclude that there is a deeper meaning to his being called chiuara. First of all, rzura'at is a disease of the skin. It is not an internal ailment, nor is the body per se affected. It is an external malady, indicated by a change of color in the skin. Now, throughout the course of our lengthy galut (exile),the Jewish people have been involved with Torah-study and mitmt. Every effort has been made to have good triumph over evil, and to bring light into the darkness of the galut. Thus we have already succeeded in healing the "internal malady" of the galut. At present, with the conclusion of the galut, there remains but a minor and strictly external disease-"on the skin of his body" (Tarrm"a13:2ff.). It is up to the generation which merits the very end of the galut and the beginning of the redemption to bring about the correction and healing of this final stage.

"Baot-with Place

..."

this-Aaron

shall come into the Holy


-Acharei 16:3

The word bezot would seem to be superfluous to the context. Thus we must say that it appears to convey a message. Rashi explains the difficulty by quoting a Midrash: the g~matrin'ya (numerical equivalent) of bezot is 410. This word thus alludes to the 410 years of the First Temple's existence. Rashi, as a rule, always explains the plain sense of the Torah. It follows, then, that his interpretation of bezot, too, reflects the plain sense of the verse. If that is the case, no doubt but that when Moses taught Israel the Torah, he must have told them this meaning. This raises a serious question: why would Moses tell them prior to their entering the Land of Israel, and prior to all the tragic sins that caused the destruction of the Beit Hamikdash, that the First Temple would exist for only 410 years?What is to be gained by already predicting this tragedy? Moses did not try to dishearten the Jewish People. O n the contrary: he informed the people that it is within their power to prevent that sad event. The Torah does not speak of the destruction of the Beit Hamikdash as something that had to huppen. In Rashi's words, it is only an dusion to the 410 years, i.e., a hint, for a possibility. Moses thus cautioned that the tragedy can be prevented. The proper behavior of the Jewish people would confer eternity to the first Beit Harnikdash and preclude any gdut. Even now, too, it is up to us. Our present conduct in matters of Torah and mitzwot can rid us of the gdut. Our actions can

I
"You shall love your fellow like yourself." -%doshim
19:18

This is the eternal m i t d of ahawt Yisraei, loving our fellow Jews, which Rabbi Akiva called "the great principle of the Torah." It is also a mitzvah of which we are told that its fulfillment will bring about the Messianic redemption. In the same context we are taught in Pirkei Avot 1:12: "Be of the disciples of Aaron: loving peace and pursuing peace, loving (G-d's) creatures and bringing them near to the Torah." It is certain that nowadays, as we are so close to the redemption from the galut which was caused by gratuitous hatred and discord, we have greatly improved in the observance of this mitzvah. A t present, therefore, we have to move to a new level. During these last days of the gdut we must try to experience a taste of the wondrous quality of ahawt Yisrael of the Messianic era, an absolute ahawt Yisrael of soul to soul, which transcends all trivial differences that cause strife. When we shall now already live up to the "love of (G-d's) creatures," as it will be with the coming of Moshiach, we shall also merit the "bringing them near to the Torah," i.e., to the wondrous new insights in the Torah which Moshiach will teach the entire nation!

"Do not desecrate My holy Name, but I shall be sanctified among the children of Israel." -Emor 22:32 This verse refers to the prohibition of child Hashem (desecration of G-d's Name) and the commandment of Mush Hashem (to sanctify G-d's Name). There are conditions when a Jew must do everything, including self-sacrifice, for the observance of Torah, for thereby he sanctifies G-d's Name. Just as Mush Hashem is the supreme virtue, so, too, there is nothing worse than child Hashem. The prophet Yechezkel refers to the fact of galut as a child H a s h : "When they entered the nations into which they came, [hey desecrated My holy Name when it was said of them 'These are G-d's people yet they had to leave His land!"' (Ezekiel 36:20) In turn, the redemption is a Mush Hashem, as it is said, "I shall sanctify My great Name which was desecrated among the nations, which you have profaned in their midst, and the nations will know that I am G-d... when I will be sanctified in you before their eyes" (Ezekiel 36:23). The very study and preoccupation with the laws of Mush H a s h in itself will end the chilul Hashem of the galut, and bring about the ultimate Mush Hashem signified by the Messianic redemption!

"Six years you shall sow your field... and harvest your
crops, but the seventh year shall be a sabbath of strict rest for the land, you must not sow your field..." -Behar 25 :lff. "If you wonder, 'What will we eat in the seventh year...?' I shall command My blessing upon you in the sixth year to yield crops for three years -hid. 25:20-22

..."

This passage, the mitzvah of s h r a h (the Sabbatical year for the Land of Israel), may also be interpreted in context of the world at large and the redemption. The six years of working the land are analogous to the first six millennia of the world's existence when everything is prepared for the seventh millennium by means of Torah and mitxwot. Our present generation is near the end of the sixth millennium. This raises an obvious question: why should our generation, which is qualitatively so much lower than all our predecessors, merit to experience the Messianic redemption? What makes us more worthy than the spiritual giants of the past that we shall usher in the "seventh year," the "day that is entirely Shabbat and repose for life everlasting"? In other words, we have a metaphorical paraphrase of the question "What will we eat in the seventh year. . .!" The Divine response is: "I shall command My blessing upon you in the sixth year." T h e stature and deeds of the earlier generations were indeed much greater than those of now. O n the other hand, the present state of moral corruption throughout the

" Z m bechukotay teileichu-if you will go in My ordinances... I shall grant vour rains in their proper season -Bechukotay 26:3-4

..."

The Talmud interprers the word im in this verse as a plea. In other words, it does not mean, as usually, a condition ("if you will go...)" but an appeal. G-d, as it were, pleads with Israel to "go in my ordinances." This plea, coupled with the command, of itself confers ability and assurance to every Jew that "you will go in My ordinances," as it is said, "none is rejected by Him," (I1 Samuel

14:14). A further interpretation states that the word bechukotay (in


My ordinances) refers to all the mitzvot in general. There are three kinds of mitzvot: 1) mishpatim-precepts which prac~ical reason or common sense would compel us to follow even if they had not been ordained in the Torah; 2) eldot-precepts which are not self-evidently rational principles but, having been ordained, can be reconciled with reason; and 3) chukim-precepts which are beyond human reason or rational understanding. In our verse, however, the term bechukotlry refers to a l the mitzvot of the Torah. U the The Torah here uses the term bechukotay to refer to a mitzvot, to teach us that ultimately even the mishgatim and eidot must also be observed in terms of personal submission to the

I1
"Even when they are in their enemies' land, I will not abhor them nor spurn them so as to destroy them

..."

-Bechukotay 26:44

The Z o h (1II:llSb) interprets: During the time of the gdut the Jewish People are like a bride living in a street of tanneries. Her Bridegroom would normally never enter a putrid place like that. His great love for His bride, however, makes Him imagine that her dwelling is like a perfumery with the most pleasant smells in the world. This analogy, however, applies only to the time of the galut. At present we have reached a point of "No more gdut!" We have to prepare for the ch@ (wedding-canopy)of the redemption. The "garments" (conditions and actions) that may have been good enough for the "street of tanneries" are obviously altogether inappropriate for going to our wedding with our Beloved...

AN ANTHOLOGY OF BRIEF HOMILIES AND INSIGHTS ON


THE WEEKLY TORAH READINGS AND THE FESTIVALS

Adapted from the works of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson

yp-r nMa33 n1n55pirr

b
Rabbi Jacob Immanuel Schochet

Published hy

KEHOTPUBLICATION SOCIETY 770 Eastern Parkway Brooklyn, New York 11 213

LIVING WITHMOSHIACH Copyright O 1999


l7y

1. Irnrndrl~~el Schochet
I'ubl~sheclhy Kehot Publication Society 770 Eastern Parkway / Brooklyn, New York 1121 3 (718) 774-4000 /FAX (718) 774-2718 Order Department: 291 K~r~gston Avenuc / Brooklyn, New York 1 12 13 (718) 778-0226 / FAX (718) 778-4148
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111

Library of Congress Catalogeng-in-Publication Data Schochet, J;rcob Immannel. Living with moshiach : :In ;intholoby of hriei hornilics and illsights in the weekly torah readings and the farivals /ad;lpted from the works of Menacltern M. Sclirteerson hy Jacoh Imlnalluel Scht~1it.t. 13. cln. "The teaching. .offered here are epitomes: abridged c-xcevts. .tram the Rehix's talks ..loose atlapt;rtions presented in free translation"-- Foreworil. Includa biblio6~aphicalreferences. ISBN 0-8266-0468-4 (alk. P a p ) I. Messiah--Judaism. 2. Messianic era (Judaisln) 3. Rede1lt~tion-Judiii5111. 4. Bible. O.T. Pe1ltateuchA301nmentaries. 5. Hab:d. 6. Hnsidis~n.I. Silinecrsc~~~, Memihem Mendel, 1902- 1994 . [I, Title. I3M615.Si27 1909 296.3'3t+dc21 99-10268

<:I P
I'nttted
1 1 1

the linrted States of A r n c ~ ~ ci r

ii

. . . to study the themes of Moshiach


-THE LUBAVITCHER B B B E

and Redemption, and to live with ~oshiach."

Introduction............................................................................. 11

BEREISHIT Bereishit ............................................................................17 Noach ................................................................................21 Lech Lecha ........................................................................24 Vayeira ........................................................................... 2 7 Chayei Sarah.....................................................................29 Toldot ............................................................................... 32 Vayeitzei ........................................................................... 35 Vayishlach....................................................................... 3 7 Vayeishev .......................................................................... 39 Mikeitz...............................................................................41 Vayigash ............................................................................ 43 Vayechi .............................................................................45 SHEMOT Shemot ............................................................................. 49 Va'eira ............................................................................. 5 1 Bo....................................................................................... 54 Beshalach ....................................................................... 5 7 Yitro ................................................................................... 59 Mishpatim ......................................................................... 61 Terumah ............................................................................ 64 67 Tetzaveh ............................................................................ Ki Tissa .............................................................................. 69 Vayak'hel ...................................................................... 7 2 Pekudei .............................................................................. 75

VAYIKRA Vayikra .............................................................................. 79 Tzav .................................................................................. 8 1 Shemini ............................................................................. 83 Tazri'a-Memra ................................................................. 85 Acharei ............................................................................. 87 Kedoshim ......................................................................... 89 Ernor ................................................................................. 9 1 Behar ................................................................................. 93 Bechukotay ......................................................................9 5 BAMIDBAR Barnidbar ......................................................................... 101 Nasso ............................................................................... 103 Beha'alotecha ..................................................................105 Sh'lach ............................................................................. 101 Korach ............................................................................. 109 Chukat ............................................................................. 111 Balak ................................................................................ 113 Pinchas ............................................................................ 115 Matot ............................................................................... 117 .................................... Massey .............................. ....-... 118 DEVARM Devarim ...........................................................................123 Va'etchanan .................................................................... 125 Eikev ................................................................................ 128 Re'ey ................................................................................ 131 Shoftim ............................................................................ 133 Ki Teitzei ......................................................................... 135 Ki Tavo............................................................................ 137 .......................................................................... 140 Nitzavi~n

Vayeilech ......................................................................... 143 > . Ha azmu ...........................................................................145 Beracha ............................................................................147 YAMIM TOVIM Rosh Hashanah ...............................................................151 Yom Kippur .....................................................................153 Sukkot .............................................................................156 Simchat Torah ................................................................ 158 161 Chanukah ....................................................................... Purim ............................................................................... 164 Pesach ..............................................................................167 169 Shavu'ot ........................................................................

G-d's creation. All his efforts, work and achievements, which impacted upon all Jews in every comer of the globe, appear to be geared to prepare and ready the world toward that goal. Moshiach, for the Rebbe, was not a dream, a fantasy or placebo, but a concrete reality. His expectation and anticipation of the imminent coming of Moshiach was not the mere acceptance of a religious obligation, an act of faith mandated by Halachah that may be affirmed mentally and articulated orally, yet remains an abstract concept that is best left in the realm of the inscrutable mysteries of the Providential scheme. To the Rebbe it was visibly real and alive, and his greatest pain and disillusionment was that it had not happened yet. His frequent outcry of "Ad matay-Until when! How much longer!" springing forth from the very core of his heart and soul would move even the most indifferent among those who heard it. The theme of Moshiach and redemption was especially predominant in all of the Rebbe's calks during the last three or four Iluring years before a terrible stroke stilled his powerful vi~ice. that period h e urged everyone w do all they can to hasten the redemption. He proclaimed that the time for redemption is near, drawing attention to rhe fulfillment in our times of the signs predicted hy our tradition to point to an imtninent coming of Moshiach. He urged, begged and pleaded that everyone do all in his or her power to hasten this event by means of selfimprovement, by inrensified study of Torah and obsewance of mitzuot, by strengthening love, harmony and universal brotherhotd among ourselves and, last but t ~ o least, t by making the world aware that "the time of redemption is near." A major component of this "Moshiach-campaign," to ready h e world for its long-awaited destiny, is rhc Kebhuls instruction "to study the themes of Moshiach and Redemption, and to live with Moshiach."

INTRODUCTION

/ 13

A thorough and intensive study of the Torah-teachings aboutMoshiach in the T'nach (Biblical writings), Talmud, Midrashim, Halachic works (like Maimonides' Mishneh Torah), Chassidism and other texts, makes us fully aware of the meaning, implications and practical reality of Moshiach and redemption. It will then no longer be merely an abstract concept but a tangible reality. This will of itself awaken and intensify the Halachically mandated longing and anticipation for the Messianic redemption,' and motivate us to contribute our own share to its realization by our prayers and actions. Our sages teach us that this longing, hoping, awaiting-and, yes, dernadng of G-d that He send Moshiach!serve as a catalyst for its reali~ation.~ Studying the principle of Moshiach, and appreciating the blissful era he will inaugurate, will certainly motivate and help us to "live with Moshiach." "Living with Moshiach" means to behave already now in that mode of lifestyle that will be the norm in the Messianic era. In the words of Maimonides: "In that era there will be neither famine nor warfare, neither envy nor srrife. The one preoccupation of the entire world will be solely to know G-d!" The realization of the redemption is within our reach, certainly now when "The time of redemption is near." Thus, we must now adopt that lifestyle as if Moshiach is here already. This is

1. See Maimonides,

Hikhot Melachim 11: 1: "Anyone who does not believe in [Moshiach], or whoever does not longingly await his coming, denies not only [the teachings ofl the other prophets but [also those] of the Torah and of Moses our Teacher." See at length my Mashiach: The Principle of Mashiach and the Messianic Redemption in Jewish Law and Tradition, 3rd ed., S.I.E. New York 1992, chapter VI1 and note 1 3 1.
1.3 Ibid. and ch. 31; Midrash Tehilim 17:4; Bet Yossefon Tur-Orach Chayim, ch. 188. See Mashiach: The Principle of Mashiach and the Messianic Redemption ~nJewish Law and Tradition, ch. VI1.

2. Midrash Shemud, ch.

14

INTRODUCTION

accomplished by ridding ourselves of envy and strife and by devoting ourselves to the spiritual values and pursuits which are the essence of our human reality. As we actualize this human potential, we also actualize the Messianic potential inherent in G-d's creation. This quantitatively small book is written and published in umtext of the above. It is a compilation of.weeklypamphlets that appeared over the past few years, related to the current Torahreading and festivals. In each, a verse or theme of the Torahreading or festival is developed with a particular focus on its relevance to various concepts of Moshiach and the Messianic redemption. These "Moshiach Insights" (the original title of the pamphlets) thus offer a constant opportunity to "Study the themes of Moshiach and to live with Moshiach." The teachings and insights offered here are epitomes. They are abridged excerpts or points, culled from the Rebbe's teachings. The selections, abstractions ,and renditions of these passages are loose adaptations presented in free translation. Many are eclectic, joining related segments from different sources in the Rebbe's works, sometimes with elaborating additions (and a few explanatory foomotes) by this author. Every effort w a s made to remain faithful to the original thoughts, but I alone am responsible for the present rendition. It is our fervent wish and prayer that this kmk will succeed in Moshiach and thus conits aim to further a living awareness c~f tribute to the speedy realization of the Messianic redemption. May all of us merit to witness and experience all this speedily, in our very own days! J. Im~nanuel Schochet 1l h of Nissan 5759 Toronto, Ont.

BEREISHIT

cles such as the resurrectLon of the dead and the fult~llment of nli the other prophecies of ultirna~e bliss in the Messlanlc c l ~ . The fact that the Torall lefers to the princ~ple of Moshlach at the very beg~nn~ng o f creation, even before the creation of man (thus also long before the gwng of the 'Torall), teaches us an Important lesson: The concept of Moshiach ~ncludes everything that 1 s related to hlm, not only the basic pr~nclple of the zntnal redemption o f Israel, but also all the deralls of the ult~mmte wonders and miracles. The belief In Moshla~h and the antlcipatlon of hw cc)m~r-rg, therefore, 11lust Include awareness and knowledge of all thc details of the Messlanlc ern. F~rst and foremost wc Inust belleve In, hope for, and look forwnrd t o the time when "Israel will enjoy rellef from the wicked tyl-mny that does not leave them to I>CCCII)Y themselves wlth Torid1 ,ind m~tzvot properly, so timt they will find rest and grow In w~xiom" (Hzlch~t TeshuPiah 92)--"they will be free for Torah and its wlsdox-rl,w~thout anyone to oppresa and dlsturb them" (Hzlchot Melachail 124). Even so, we must also keep In rnind tl-re later srage which transcends the first one. Practically speaking, thls ~lleans the

following:
As we "l~ve with Moshiach," our servkce of G-d must be even now not only on the level o f the flrst stage wlth ~ t "normas tlve order" marked nlerely by the retnoval of external irnpedlI-rlents,but also on the level o f dle tll~al stage whicll w marked hy Intmvatlons. In other words, our servlce must transcend the cnlcul~tlons a 1 1 d restr1Ctlotls o f mundane boundaries. When we , ~ c t,ls l i X1odli;lch u7err helc a l ~ e ~ i wC i l ~effect , that the "as ~ f w~ll ' bccol~>< 'I i ~ ofi i~r~lity ~ 7 1 t l l[lie I ~ ~ t ~ c l L redernpt~on and its bl~ss

The ultimate goal of the world's creation, the Messianic era, is firmly established in the very origin of the world: "last in deed, but first in thought." T h e very beginning of the Torah indicates the final purpose towards which all our aspirations must be devoted. This alone, already, infuses us with the ability to attain that goal.

11 "On the day G d created man,He made him in the likeness of G-d and He named them Admn.

...

-Bereishit 5 :1-2

Adam's soul was a composite of the souls of all his descendants-all of mankind. The Hebrew term for a human thus is

adam.
Mystics note that dm. is an acronym for the names of three central figures: Adam, (King) David and Moshiach. The Baal Shem Tov derives from this that there is a spark of the soul of Moshiach within every single Jew. Thus he concludes that it is incumbent upon every individual Jew to perfect and prepare that part of the spiritual stature of Moshiach to which his soul is related. By virtue of his bond with every Jew, because there is a part of him within every Jew, Moshiach is able to redeem the entire Jewish people. Conversely, every Jew is able to effect and hasten the actual manifestation of Moshiach. This is accomplished by means of Torah and mitzvot. For Torah and mitzvot effect a purification of the world, gradually diminishing its impurity until "I shall remove the spirit of impurity (altogether) from the earth" (Zechariah 13:2). This will be with the coming of Moshiach, for he will reveal goodness and holiness in the world until "The

carth shall be full with the knowledge of G-d as the waters cover the sea!" (Isaiah 11:9)

I
"In the 600th year of Noach's life.. all the fountains of the great deep burst forth and the windows of the heavens were opened." -Noach 7 :11

T h e Zohar (I:117a) reads this verse as an allusion to the following: "After six hundred years of the sixth millennium (the year 5600, corresponding to the civil year of 1840) the gates of wisdom above and the fountains of wisdom below will be opened, and the world will be prepared to enter the seventh millennium, just as man prepares on the sixth day (Friday) when the sun is about to set-to enter the Shabbat.. l' The "gates of wisdom above" (i.e., the "windows of heaven") refer to the wisdom of the Torah, specifically the insights of pnimiyut haTorah (the inner, mystical teachings of the Torah), while the "fountains of wisdom below" (i.e., the "fountains of the great deep") refer to worldly wisdotn and science. We see indeed that the date mentioned marks a period of an increased manifestation of pnimiyut haTorah, as well as the beginning of an unprecedented development of worldly sciences. We can readily understand that the revelation of pnimiyut haTorah is a preparation to enter the seventh millennium, the Messianic age. After all, in that era "The whole earth shall be full with the knowledge of G-d" (Isaiah 11:9), and pnimiyut haTorah relates to the future teachings of Moshiach. But how

does this relate to the development and discoveries of worldly sciences? One of the Messianic prophecies states that there will be :I Divine revelation to the point that "all flesh shall see that the mouth of G-d has spoken" (Isaiah 4:SO). This means thar we shall then perceive a ~nanifestation of G-dliness not only with our mental eye but also empirically, with our physical-"fleshn--reality . Recent scientific inventions include items like telephones, radios etc. These demonstrate thar one may stand and speak in one place, and others may be at the other end of the world, o r even on the moon, and still hear simultaneously all their words or even see them with all their motions. This is not some spiritual influence, but actual, physical sounds and sights! This illustrates empirically tlze concept of the Divine "eye thar sees, and ear that hears, and (consequently) all your deeds are recorded." (Pirkei Avot 2: 1 ) Moreover, the advances of science increasingly demonstrate the inherent unity in the universe. Once upon a time it was commonly presumed that tlle various natural forces in the world are separate elements. The advances of science, however, demonstrate that the seeming multiplicity and divisions in the world are more apparent than real; they are merely external phenotnena. Scientific discoveries thus help prepare the world for the Messianic age when G-d's absolute unity inherent in all creation will become evident to all.

I1

"The rainbow will be seen in the cloud."


-Noach 9:14

The Z o b (I:72b) states that the rainbow is one of the signs of the future redemption. Commentators note that the rainbow indicates the purification and refinement that the world underwent by means of the Flood. Before the Flood the clouds were very coarse, thus preventing a reflection of sunlight. Thereafter, however, the clouds became more refined; they reflected sunlight, thus bringing about a rainbow. This, then, is the connection between the rainbow and the future redemption: The entire world will attain the peak of refinement with the coming of Moshiach.

"He built there an altar to G-d Who appeared to him."


-Lech Lecfut 12:7

"He built there an altar to G-d and called on the Name


of G-d" (ibid. 12:8)."He dwelled in the plains of Mamre which are in Hebron, and he built there an altar to G-d." --ibid. 13: 18 In the course of our p s h a h Abraham built h e altars. The first was in Shechem, m gratitude for the t~dings that he would have chlldren and that they would be given the Land o f Israel. T h e second one he bulk near AI, ,IS '311 lntercesslorl for his descendanw. The thlrd he built in Hebron, for the actu'll possession of the Land of Israel. The M~drash notes that he built ti- r n Hebron because that w where all the elders of Israel entered into Ilav~tl and ,momted h ~ m King over Istael. a covenant with K ~ n g In t h ~ context, s the three altars allude to three stages In the worship of G-d and three correspond~ng eras Irk Jew~sh hrstory : the times of the first and second Belt Hamkdash, and t l ~ e tune o f the third Belt Hamzkdash that will b ew~th the comlng of Moshiach. Abraham already butit an altar that relates to the t i n w ot Moshlach, the royal descendant and successor of King llavld. T h ~ fact s offers a moral for us, for the deeds and events of the for tlmr de~cend~mts. Patriarchs are lnd~catlons We too, at our present level, must already be conscious o f the ult~mate service of (3-J t t ~ awill t be in the third Bett Hun-~tk-

dash. This consciousness generates an ever greater desire and


anticipation of the Messianic redemption. That itself will hasten its realization in our days, when we shall enter a new covenant with King David, as it is said: "My servant David will be king over them. . . and My servant David will be Prince over them forever" (Ezekiel 37:24-25).

"He believed in Gd, and He accounted it to him as tzedakah (righteousness)." -L.ech Lecha 15:6
T h e commentary Hadar Zekeinim-Harosh explains that the Almighty regarded Abraham's faith as tze&, meritorious righteousness. It follows then, that the prophet's words that "Zion shall be redeemed by justice and her repatriates by tzedakah" (Isaiah 1:27), and many other such verses, refer not only to personal or monetary tsedakah (charity). The complete faith (emu&) of Israel, and their tnist in the fulfillment of all the promises given unto them through the prophets, is also referred to as tzedakah. That falth is worthy in the eyes of G-d, and by virtue thereof He will, in His great compassion, bring upon us that which He promlsed us. "Israel was redeemed from Egypt as a reward for their m u d (faith; belief)" (Mechlta, Beshalach 14:3 1) . Their faith indicated a full manifestation of the very core o f their Jewishness-that which bonds Israel wlth the Almighty. This made them worthy of the Exodus-the redemption from Egypt. The Jewish people had been "believers" even in the harshest times of their Egyptian exile. Essentially, though, that belief came to them as a legacy from their ancestors, by virtue of being "descendants of believers." It was not something that they had

acquired and developed of their own-a truly penetrating and all-pervasive faith that results from personal consciousness and efforts. In order for Israel to be redeemed fiom Egypt as an appropriate reward in their own merit, it was necessary for thern to and the idenred bond with G-d Into transform the inherited fa~th something personal of then very own. O f the Messianic redetnpt~on ~t is written: "As tn the days ot your going out from the land of Egypt, 1 will show them wondrous tl~ings"(Michah 7: 15). This means that it will be analogous to the redemptton from Egypt: just as lsrael w a redeemed from Egypt as a reward for thelr faith, so tcx, hy virhle of our faith Moshiach will redeem us. Indeed, the Midrash (Shocher Tw, cll. 40) states that Israel is worthy of redemption as a reward for the kivi~y(hoping for, and awa~ting, the redemption). By virtue ot Israel's firm trust that "My salvation is near to come" (Isalah 56:1),we shall merit that G-d shall redeem us with the complete speedily, in our very own clays. and ultimate redempt~on,

"Gd appeared to [Abraham] in the plains of Marnre, as he sat at the entrance of the tent in the heat of the day."
-Vayeira 18:1

With the Messianic redemption, we too shall merit a manifestation of the Divine Presence, just like Abraham. Thus it is written, "Your Master will no longer conceal Himself, and your eyes shall see your Master" (Isaiah 30:20). The people of Israel will be able to see this with their physical eyes-an empirical perception. The Divine revelation will be so intense that it will be experienced in the physical world: that Divine light will bring healing,* literally curing the bodies of Israel from all their diseases and maladies. The verse "G-d appeared..." thus alludes also to the revelation that will occur to us with the future redemption. In this context, the miraculous healing to occur then is also alluded to in the concluding phrase of "in the heat of the day." Our sages state that in the future (the Messianic age), G-d will take out the sun from its sheath, and the righteous will be healed by it (Nedarim 8b). It is written: "Your people, all are righteous..." (Isaiah 60:20)

* Analogous to G-d appearing to Abraham, to comfort and heal him from the circumcision.

1I
"Abraham called the name of his son

.. . YitzcM."
--Vayeira 2 1 :3

The Talmud (Shabbat 89h) states that in the Messianic age it is specifically of Yitxhak (Isaac) that we shall say "for you are our father" (Isaiah 63:16). Chassidut explains that the name Yitzchk is an expression of laughter and delight: in the Messianic age, the supernal joy and delight caused by our present service of G-d will be revealed. Chassidut explains further that the patriarch Isaac represents the aspect of fear and awe of G-d, and the consequent selfnegation before G-d. It is, therehre, specifically Isaac who relates to the future era, for at that time G-dliness will manifest itself in the world, and all creatures will be rnoveci to a sense of selfnegation. Indeed, Isaac's life reflected certain qualities of the Messianic era. The Zohar (I: 60a) notes: when Abraham was about ttr sacrifice his sun (Vayeira ch. 22), Isaac's soul departed from his body and was replaced by a soil1 from the "world to con-te." By virtue of this new soul, related to the era of redemption, Isaac.'~ life was in the ~ n d of e the future era of the redemption.

"I came this day to the spring.

. ."
-4hayei Sarah 24:42

Eliezer, Abraham's servant, traveled to Aram Naharayim to seek a bride for Isaac. When he found Rivkah, he told her family about his mission and said, "I came this day." Our sages explain that this p k alludes to an extraordinary miracle that occurred to him: "I set out this day and I arrived this day." In other words, the journey that would normally have taken 17 days was shortened for him and was completed within one day! Why such a miracle, and why did Eliezer mention it! The Midrash (Bereishit Rahba 63:4) states that Rivkah, in the house of her father, was "like a rose among thorns"(Song 2:2). A rose grows among thorns, because they help its preservation and development (Zohar II:20b). O n the other hand, the whole plot is irrigated by virtue of the rose, thus benefiting the thorns and other vegetation as well. The thorns are removed only when we wish to obtain the rose itself. Abraham perceived the very moment that Rivkah was ready to be married and immediately sent Eliezer to bring her to Isaac. This mission to "remove the rose from among the thorns" could not start earlier, before Rivkah had reached a marriageable age. If Eliezer's journey had run its normative course of 17 days, Rivkah would have had to remain with her family (the "thorns") for a longer period of time. That is why the journey was short-

ened miraculously-to avoid any unnecessary detention 01 Rivkah. Likewise, Eliezer realized that Rivkah's family would argue that she should still remain wlth them for a while ("Let the girl spay with us for a year or ten months"; Chayei Sarah 2455). Thus, he spoke emphatically: " 'I mine tJus day!' You are to know that time is of the essence. Every moment counts, as is evldent froin the fact that 'this day I set out and this day I arrived.' " There is an obvious moral relevant to us, in context o f the principle that "The events of the ancestors are an indication for their descendants." In the case of Rivkah there was a shortening of the journey to avoid that she remain ever1 one extra inonlent among the "thorns", in the house of her wicked father and brother. The same applies to us. We are not to become despondent over the darkness of the gdut: the Almighty will surely hasten the redemption to prevent our k i n g in galut even one moment longer than necessary!

"Ephron's field, which was in Machpelah was confirmed as Abraham's, as a purchase. ---Chayei Sarah 23: 17- 18

.."

.. .

Abraham's purchase of the field which contained the Cave of Machpelah represents the beginning of the general redemptlon of all Jews. The commentary 13a'une'achHaza explains that with the 400 silver shekels that Abraham paid (Chayel Sarah 23: 16),he purchased one square cublt of the Land of Israel for every one of the 600,000 root-souls of Israel. For by the estirnatlon of "the seed of a chomer of barley at fifty silver shekels"

(Vayikra 27:16), 400 silver shekels redeem exactly 600,000

square cubits."

A chorner of barley is equivalent to the measure of thirty seah. The Talmud (Emvin 23b) states that the area for planting two seahs is 100x50=5000square cubits. Thus
75,000 square cubits are needed for a chomer of barley, and that size area requires fifty shekels of silver for redempt~on. The value of 400 silver shekels, therefore, would square cubits. It follows, then, that redeem an area eight times larger, i.e., 600,000 the 400 silver shekels that Abraham paid for the field which contained the Cave of Machpelah sufficed to redeem 600,000 square cubits--one square cubit for each of the 600,000 rtmt-souls of Israel (the numher of Jews who were freed from Egypt and rcceived the Torah).

"Eikev (because) Abraham listened to My voice. . ."


----Toldot 26:s
The word eikv also means "heel." The implication is that Abraham listened with his total being. The word of G-d penetrated even the lowest and most material part of his body. When the service of G-d penetrates a person's totality, even his "heel," one can be assured that he will have the fortitude to overcome whatever challenges lay before him. This offers an important lesson and encouragement to our generation which is called ikveta deMeshichah, the generation that is the "heel" of Moshiach, t.e., the "heel" (lowest and last part) of the stature of all the generations preceding Moshiach. Indeed, in relation to our predecessors, we are the "heel." This may cause one to wonder why it is precisely our generation that shall merit the coming of Moshiach. However, it is precisely our service of G-d, the very end in the process of preparing the world, that will complete the necessary steps to bring about the redemption.

"The voice is the voice of Jacob, but the hands are the hands of Esau." -Toldot 27:22 Our sages (Bereishit Rabba 6520) comment on this verse that Esau has hands against the voice of Jacob. This means that when the 'voice of Jacob'-i.e., the voice and sound of Torah-is heard, the 'hands of Esaul--i.e., the threats of our enemies-have no power. It is likewise in reverse: when the voice of Torah is weakened, the 'hands of Esau' may overcome. This has already come to pass with the destruction of Jerusalem, as stated by the ... Because they had prophet: "For what reason was the land lost? forsaken My Torah..." (Jeremiah9: 11 12). In our times, too, after the churban (destruction of the Holy Temple), Jerusalem's existence depends on the study of Torah. To be sure, we cannot reverse the fact of the churban which has already occurred in the past. We can, however, eliminate the cause of the destruction and thus hasten the rebuilding and restoration of Jerusalem. Our sages state, "Any generation in whose days the Beit Hamikdash (Holy Temple) is not rebuilt, it is reckoned against that generation as if it was destroyed in its time!" (Yerushhi, Yoma 1:1) The churban thus is not simply an event that happened in the past. Its consequences extend to this very day, and the event, therefore, must be seen as something happening even now-as if the Beit Hamikdash is being destroyed this very moment. It follows, then, that it is our duty-and we do have the ability-to rid ourselves of the cause of the churban and to prevent its present recurrence. The study of Torah has this effect

and will bring about the restoration of Jerusalem and the Beit

Hamikdarh by the speedy coming of Moshiach!

"Ufarutzta (you shall break through; spread out) to the


west and to the east, to the north and to the south. -Vayeitzei 28:14

.."

This verse may be said to allude to the Messianic era when "the Land of Israel will extend over all the countries [of the the world]" (Sifie, Dewarim 1). That is, the whole world-"to west and to the east, to the north and to the south"-will ascend to the present sanctity of the Land of Israel, and the Land of Israel itself will ascend to the present level of the higher sanctity of Jerusalem. In practical terms, this verse teaches us that in our present days we have to serve G-d in a manner of ufaratzta-that is, without any restrictions and limitations, in the sense of "You shall love G-d ... with all your might" (Va'etchanan 65). Thus we shall hasten the coming of Moshiach, of whom it is said: "The poretz (the one who breaks through; i.e., the one who clears all obstacles and barriers) is gone up before them" (Michah 2:13).

"Leah conceived and bore a son, and she called his name Reuben, for she said; G 'H d has seen my affliction, for now my husband will love me."' --Vayeitxei 29:32 G-d had seen Leah's pain-that she was barren-and granted her a child. The birth of that child, in turn, evoked Jacob's love for her. Our sacred writings compare the relationship between G-d and Israel to that between a husband and wife. The verse and concept cited, therefore, applies to this analogy as well: In the time of the galut (exile), Israel-the "wifen-suffers from spiritual poverty and deprivation: the Holy Temple, site of the Divine Presence, is destroyed; we have been exiled from our land-i.e., there is no full settlement of all of Israel throughout all the territories of the Holy Land. In a time like thls, the special love and affection between Israel and G-d appears to be concealed and is not fully expressed in the open. Nonetheless, when the Almighty notes that even during such difficult times of affliction, the people of Israel steadfastly continue to strengthen themselves against all spiritual problems and obstacles to remain faithful to G-d, this evokes that "now my Husband will love me." That love becomes manifest to the fullest extent. This, then, is the meaning of the verse cited: "G-d has seen my afflictionn-G-d observes the people of Israel as they are in the galut; "for now"-when they continue the observance of Torah and mitzvot in spite of that affliction, "my Husband will love me'-the love of G-d for His people Israel will be fully restored and expressed in the full and imminent redemption.

"Jacobsent messengers before him to Esau his brother. -Vayishlach 32:4

.."

The Torah relates, in great detail, how these messengers were sent to appease Esau. Chassidic texts explain that at that time Jacob was ready for the ultimate Messianic redemption: he had learned a great deal of Torah and served the Almighty with all his heart. He had observed the 613 mitgvot to the fullest, in spite of all the difficulties and obstacles thrown his way when he stayed in the household of Laban, in Haran. O n his part, therefore, he was ready and prepared for the true and final redemption. Jacob's messengers were to check out the spiritual status of his brother Esau, to see whether he, too, was ready for the redemption. But they returned with a negative response: "We came to your brother, to Esau.. ." (Vayishlach 32:6, and see Rashi there); i.e., the one whom you called "my brother," he is still "Esau, the wicked." He has not yet repented of his evil ways and deeds. Esau was not yet ready at that time, thus delaying the redemption. Nowadays, however, after all these many years of observance of Torah and mitevot in the face of the terrible harshness of the gdut (exile), everything is surely ready for the redemption. Not only the Jewish people, but also the nations of the world as represented by Esau, are ready and prepared for that blissful event.

"These are the names of the chieftains [that came] of Esau, chieftain Magdiel, chieftain Iram; these are the chieftains of Esau - -Vuyi.~hlach 36:40-43

..."

The present gdut is referred to as "Gdut E h - t h e Edornite Exile," because the Romans--who brought about the present gdut with their destruction of the Holy Temple-were mostly a z lu t is generally divided into two descendants of Edom. This g eras, governed by two kinds of chieftain-leaders, as mentioned in the verse cited: The first is "Chieftain Magdiel." This name signifies, and is an expression of, "he magnified himself (yitgadel) above every god" (Daniel 11:36).In the first era of the Edo~nite gdut, the Roman empire expanded throughout the world, seeking to cwerpower Judaism and to make it difficult f;)r Jews to observe Torah and miteuot . The second one is "Chieftain Iram." This name, the Midrash (Bereishit Kabbu 83:4) notes, is an expression of "he is destined to amass (le'erm) treasures for the royal Moshiach." This refers to the second era of the Edotnite gdut, the one close to the Messianic days. In that time Rome will no longer oppress Israel and will itself submit to holiness. Moreover, it will even assist Moshiach. Rome will be transformed to realize the sacred meaning of its name: Romi as an expression of hicromemutexaltation, i.e., the exaltation of holiness.

I
"When she gave birth, there were twins... and he called his name Peretz, and afterwards his brother and he called his name Zarach." -Veyeishew 38:27-30

...

Peretz is the direct ancestor of King David and Moshiach. Thus, he is identified with Moshiach, as already suggested by his name which alludes to the Messianic prophecy of "The poretz (the one who breaks through) is gone up before them" (Michah 2: 13). The Midrash (Bereishit Rabba 85:l) notes: "Before the first enslaver of Israel-Pharaoh-was born, the ultimate redeemer of Israel (Moshiach-Peretz) was already born." With the birth of Peretz, our sages note there, the Almighty created the light of Moshiach. G-d thus brought about the remedy and cure before the affliction-before the Egyptian exile and all the exiles that followed thereafter, including our present one. This "light of Moshiach" confers upon Israel the strength and ability to succeed in their exiles to "break through" all obstacles and impediments in their service of G-d, until their good deeds will effect the coming of Moshiach of whom it is said, "The poretz is gone up before them." Zarach, Peretz's twin, also alludes to the redemption. His name means "shining forth." The Messianic Kingdom will shine forth and illuminate throughout the world. All mankind will benefit frotn its bright light, as it is written: "Nations shall walk

by your light, and kings by the brightness of zarchech (your shining forth)" (Isaiah 60:3).

II Our sages (Bahrr, par. 197) compare Zarach to the sun, and
Peretz to the moon. The sun shines by itself continuously in an unchanging manner. Thus, it symbolizes the way tzdkim (saints) serve G - d i n a stable manner. The incwn's appearance keeps changing-it declines and fades from sight, and then resumes full shape. The moon thus symbolizes Malei teshud (penitents), who "slipped," strayed, and then returned and regained their spiritual stature. In this context, the royal house of David, the very source of Moshiach, is precisely from Peretz who is compared to the moon. For one of the basic aspects of Moshiach is to bring even the tzudzkim to a level of teshuwd (return to their Divine source). The name of Peretz alludes to the special relationship between Moshiach and ba'alei teshuwah, and the aspect of bringing tzd~kim to a level of teshuwah. He acquired this name because at his way out before his birth he burst forth-paratz-forcing twin-brother Zarach. This is the very mark of teshuvah, namely to break through the boundaries and limitations standing in one's way. This is a unique and unrestricted potential, inherent in every Jew, that always allows him to breach all impediments and to burst through from the lowest to the highest levels. That is the source for the Talmudic ruling (Beracbt 34b) that "Where the ba'alei teshuvd stand, the perfect tzdkim cannot stand."

"It came to pass at the ketz (end) of two full years. -Mike& 4 1 :1

.."

This verse introduces the story of how Joseph was freed from prison, the ketz (end) to his confinement. Joseph's confinement was only physical, not spiritual. Even in jail, h e retained, and was mindful of, his spiritual heritagethe teachings of his father. This heritage was his light with which he overcame the darkness of prison. It filled him with hope, joy and delight. The constraints of prison did not fetter him. It was but a temporary confinement, and immediately upon his release he rose to rule over all of Egypt. The prison-house of Joseph, "a place where the king's prisoners are bound," is an allusion to this world into which the f G-#--are made to descend, to souls of Israel-the "children o become vested in finite bodies in order to observe Torah and mitwt. The analogy with a prison is noted especially during the time of the gdut (exile). Thus, we must remember Joseph and the events of his life. We must realize that the very idea of confinement is alien to us, because Jewish life is essentially unrestricted. The present era of constraints is undoubtedly only temporary. It is merely a step toward the ultimate goal of illuminating the world, even in its present state of lowliness and galut, with the light of Torah and mitzwt. The fulfillment of this mission will be followed irilmediately by the final redemption of Moshiach.

"Pharaoh sent and summoned Joseph, and they rushed And Pharaoh said to Joseph; See, him from the dungeon I have set you in charge over all the land of Egypt." - -Mikeitz 4 1 : 14-41

. ..

Joseph's early perlod In Egypt was filled with difficulties and hardsh~p. First, he was a slave m the house o f Potiphar, and from there he was thrown into a dungeon where he suffered for many years. The Imprisonment itself, however, brought about a drastic change: concurrent to his release from prison he became a ruler! When Joseph interpreted correctly the dreams of Pharaoh, he also solved the riddle of all his troubles to that polnt, for everythtng led progressively to h ~ becoming s the vlceroy w~thouc whose permission "no man 1s to lift a hand or foot in all the land of Egypt" (Mtkeits 41 : 4 4 ) . The Jewish people, too, are presently in the dungeon o f a harsh and bitter gdut. For many years we have been bound and fettered by the shackles of the gdut. W e must realize, though, that just as Joseph went from confinement to rulership, so tcm our whole nation will speedily leave the prlson of galut and simultaneously ascend to the status o f royalty-"children of the Klng of all kings." The mystery of the "dream of the gaLut" will be solved and explalned at that point.

fear not to go down to Egypt I will go down with you to Egypt, and I will also bring you up again." -Vayigash 46:34

". ..

. ..

Jacob was not sent to the gdut on his own: the Almighty descended with him and guarded him there. Our patriarch Jacob possessed an all-comprehensive soul which compounded the souls of all Jews. "Jacob" thus stands for every single Jew, and his descent to Egypt alludes to Israel's descent into galut, including the present galut. Our sages thus said (Bereishit Rabh 164) that "all the kingdoms of the world are referred to as Mitvayim (Egypt), because they met~rot (distress) Israel."* From our garshah it follows then that even in our present galut we are not alone. The Almighty is with us, as it is said, "Wherever they were exiled, the Shechinah (Divine Presence) is with them" (Megr2ah 29a). Moreover, "In all their affliction, He is afflicted" (Isaiah 63:9): He Himselfsuffers their affliction, as it were. Thus, just as Israel is unable to bear the affliction o f the galut, so, too, as it were, with the Almighty. Surely, then, He shall hasten the redemption, for as we leave the galut so will He, as stated in our text, "I will also bring you up again."

M~tvayim is the Hebrew name for Egypt. Thc term is derived from the rootword which means "distress" or "constraint." The term Mitnayim thus is regardcd as a generic term for all u,ho oppress o r distress Israel.

I1
When Jacob met Pharaoh in Egypt, the king asked: "How many are the days of your life?" And Jacob said to Pharaoh: "The days of the years of my wanderings are one hundred and thirty years; the days of the years of my life were few and bad -Vayigas h 47 :8-9

..."

How could Jacob say that "one hundred and thirty years" are but few when the average life span after the generation of the flood was one hundred and twenty years? Jacob was the third of the patriarchs and thus most intimately bound up with the third and eternal Beit Hamikdash (Holy Temple) to be built by Moshiach. All his life he yearned for the everlasting peace and tranquillity of the Messianic era. Thus, as long as the Messianic redemption did not happen, he regarded the years of his life as qualitatively few. His years were few and meager because they did not contain that which is most Important of all, namely the ultimate and complete redemption.

"When the days grew near for Israel to die, he called his son Joseph and said to him do not bury me in Egypt carry me out of Egypt .And Uacob] said to him, Swear to me! And Uoseph] swore to him." -Vayechi 47:29-3 1

..

...

...

Jacob did not rely on Joseph's promise, but asked him to swear. He had no peace of mind until he obtained that oath. A promise differs from an oath. With a promise one will no doubt do his best to keep it at the appropriate time. Until then, however, one is not disturbed by the pledge. With an oath, however, one is concerned from the moment of swearing: the mind is constantly preoccupied with thoughts how to keep the oath, worrying that failure to do so would lead to the severe consequences of having violated an oath. Jacob thus charged Joseph, and through him all of Israel, with a most important lesscm about our relationship to the galut (exile). To be sure, our gdut was decreed by the Almighty. Nonetheless, we--on our part-must know that the galtit is not the place where we belong. A request or promise eventually to leave Egypt, therefore, is not enough. One must sense, and constantly be concerned, that each additional moment in Egypt is a painful burden. Thus, one will continue to pray and demand from the Almighty-"Cany me out from Egypt!"

Even when comfortable in the galut with a materially and spiritually good and pleasant life, one must realize that the galut is not our place. There must be a profound sensing of the exile, of being in an alien place where we do not belong. Just as an oath deprives one from peace of mind until it is actually fulfilled, so we must not cease from crying out and continuously demanding "Carry me out from Egypt!" .

II
"Gather together and I will tell you what will happen to you at the end of days." -Vayechi 49: 1

The Talmud (Pesachim 56a) relates that Jacob "bikesh kgalot et haketz-wished to reveal the end (of the galut)," but it was concealed from him. Jacob wished to reveal the date of the Messianic redemption. One could also read this in the sense of "he wished to reveal, i.e., manifest and bring about, the end." In this context there is an important moral for every Jew. We are to follow in the footsteps of our patriarch, and wish and pray for the revelation or manifestation of the ultimate end. The contemplation on, and the active anticipation of, the imminent manifestation of the redemption, will of itself assist and encourage the service of G-d. This is evident in the fact that when making a Jew aware that "Behold, Moshiach is about to come!" and "We want Moshiach now!"-this message inspires and encourages him in his service of G-d to bring about this ultimate goal.

SHEMOT

"They cried out because of their slavery, and their plea went up before Gd. G-d heard their groaning, and G d remembered His covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob."

". ..the cry of the children of Israel is come to Me. . .


Now go, I am sending you unto Pharaoh, and bring My people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt." -Shemot 3:9-10 The Israelites were unable to endure the harsh galut of Egypt and cried out unto G-d to redeem them from it. Indeed, G-d heard their cry and sent Moses to save them. Likewise with our present gdut: When we cry out, "Take us out of the gdut and bring about the redemption," the Almighty will surely hear our cry and redeem us. Moreover, our mere being in a state of readiness to call upon G-d is already enough for Him to respond, as it is written, "Before they call, I shall answer, and while they yet speak I shall hear" (Isaiah 65:24).

--Shemot 2:23-25

1 1
"Moses returned to G-d and said: 'Lord! Why have You mistreated this people. Since I came to Pharaoh to speak in Your Name, he made things worse for this people, and You have not saved this people at all!' "

..

-Shemot

5 :22-23

Moses was a faithful shepherd. When he saw the suffering c )f Israel and the pam mnfllcted upon them by the galut, he ventured to cry out on their behalf wtth the daring argument, "Why havc You mistreated this people." Moses did not doubt the I11v1ne lustlce and knew very well that one IS not to questlon (3-dls ways. Nonetheless, he d ~ llot d refratn from crytrig out and pray ing for an end to the harsh galz~t and an ~mrnedlate redemnptlon. T o be sure, G-d responded by saying: "Alas, for those who are gone and whose likes are no more to be found. 1 have good reason to lament the passlng of the patr~archs..who d ~ d nut questlon My deallngs with them, yet you say: 'Why have y o u ~n~streated this people!"' Even so, G-d had t h ~ plalnt s of Mo5t.s recorded in the Torah. Everything rn the Torah offers everlastlng lnstructlon to every Jew in all times. There 1s then d lesson for all of us to learn from t h ~ conduct s of Moses, as follows: When noting the persistence of the galut, we ale not to res We ,ire not to slmply accept the sign ourselves to t l ~ sltuatlon. galut by saylng "thus is the will o f C;-d." The harshness o f rile galut 1s ltldeed a slgn that the reclemptlon 1s near, yet ~t is st111 hater and palnful. Thus, even whlle reaffirming our absolute falth In the principle that "The ways of G-d are just," we are also to express our anguish with the prayerful outcry "Ad MatciyHow much longer?' and ask for the Immediate corning o f Mos111,\ch

"I shall take you out from under the burdens of Egypt, I shall rescue you from their service, I shall redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments, and I shall take you to Myself for a people And I shall bring you to the
land

..."

...

-Va'eira 6:6-8

These verses cite five expressions of redemption. The first four relate to the Egyptian exile and the three exiles following thereafter, including the present one. The fifth-"1 shall bring you..."-relates to an additional level of ascent that will follow the initial redemption by Moshiach. The very fact that this fifth expression, too, is mentioned in context of the redemption from Egypt, indicates that d aspects of the Messianic redemption, including its highest stages, began already with the exodus from Egypt. Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak, the sixth Lubavitcher Rebbe, was wont to say of this that ever since the exodus from Egypt we are on our way to the Messianic redemption. From the very moment that the Almighty promised "I shall bring you to the land ...," that promise came into effect. G-d, of course, is always in full control and "Who will say to Him 'What do You do!"' (Job 9: 12). It would seem that as long as the promise is not actualized in reality, one cannot say that it has been achieved. In truth, however, it is an established principle of the Torah that G-d revokes and nullifies only decrees about im-

pending evil, but He never repents of g ( d decrees: "Shall He say something and not do it, or speak and not fulfill it!" (Balak 23:19). The Divine promise of "I shall bring you ..." is a favorable edict and, therefore, not subject to revocation. T o be sure, one cannot apply concepts like "compulsion" and "restriction" to G-dl and everything remains forever subject to His Will. Even so, by virtue of the fact that it is the Divine Will never to revoke or nullify something good, this becomes an inevitable principle. This principle applies to G-d only because He Himself wills it that way, thus it is altogether voluntary 01-1 His part. As far as the "good event" is concerned, however, it is inevitable because it is irrevctcable. This is charged with practical implications: The Messianic redemption, including its highest stage, is inherent already, even now-indeed, ever since the exodusexcept that it still needs to become manifest in our physical reality. Consciousness and realization of this fact makes it so much easier to overcome all and any impediments and obstructions, in this world in general, in the era of the galtkt in particular, and especially so nowadays, at the very end of the gdut, when we are on the threshold of the Messianic age and Moshiach is about to come.

I1
"Vega'alti (I shall redeem) you.

.."
-Va'eira 6:6

T h e basic and universal term for Israel's redemption from the gdut is ge'ulah. A closer look at this word leads to a remarkable observation: the term ge'ulah has the same letters as goIah (galut), with the

addition of the letter aleph. Our sages teach us that the letter aleph alludes to "Alufo (the Master of) the Universe." The significance of this is as follows: Our service of G-d in the gdut is to insert (i.e., to manifest the tnherent presence of) the Aleph (the "Master of the Universe") in galut. This will then transform gdah (galut)to geJulah (redemption)! The fact that the term geJulah contains and retains the term gold teaches us the meaning of ge'ulah.The Messianic redemption does not imply a negation or annulment of the natural order, of the present reality of galut. On the contrary: ge'ulah means an elevation and sublimation of gdah by redeeming all aspects of the gdut and transforming it itself into ge'u2ah. When the uiherent and pervasive presence o f the Aleph (the "Master of the Universe") is revealed and manifested, this will & which screen remove all the concealing obstacles of the g and cover its true reality and intent. There will be a revelation of Divinity within the world and in all mundane categories, to the point that "Everything that has been made will know that You have made it ... and every besouled being will declare that G-d, the G d of Israel, is King, and that His Kingship rules over all" (Liturgy of Rosh H d ) .Go& is transformed into geJulah!

"G-d said to Moses: Come to Pharaoh.

.."
-Bo
10:l

This verse raises a question: Why did the Torah use the expression bo (come), rather than the seemingly more appropriate lech (go)? This parshah relates the events of the redemption from Egypt, and the word Ro is the very name of the parshah. This comes to teach us that the service of G-d on the level of bo will hasten the redemption from the present galut. There is a fundamental difference between bo (come) and lech (go). To go to something may imply no more than a superficial involvement. For example, you may "go" to study Torah and do your learning, but it will not affect you to the fullest extent. You and the subject-matter may remain two separate enticies. T o come to something, however, implies that the subjectmatter will "enter" your mind and heart, affect and influence you to the point of absorbing unification. Everything in the service of G-d must he done in a way of penetrating to one's very core. The approach of bo (come) hastens the coming of Moshlach and the redemption from the gdut, speedily in our very own days.

"On the tenth of the month, every man is to take a lamb guard it until the fourteenth day of this month, and then slaughter it. -Bo 12:3-6

...

.."

This is the mitzvah of the Pesach-offering. The lamb was to be kept in the Jewish homes for several days to arouse the curiosity of the Egyptians who worshipped it as their idol. The Jews were to tell them explicitly and fearlessly, that they intended to slaughter the lamb on the fourteenth of Nissan. This, of course, put the courage and faith of the Jewish people to the test. The redemption from Egypt happened by virtue of the Jewish people rising to the challenge with great fortitude and mesirat nefesh (readiness for self-sacrifice). Our sages thus relate that before that day the Jews had been devoid of mitzwot. They were, in fact, acculturated to the Egyptian lifestyle. G-d thus provided them with the mitzvah of the Pesach-offering. In the merit of this mitzvah, and the mesirat nefesh required for its fulfillment, they were redeemed from Egypt. The prophet says, "As in the days of your going out of Egypt, I will show [the people] wondrous things" (Michah 7:15). This means that the exodus from Egypt is a paradigm for the future redemption by Moshiach. When the Torah offers an example or a model, the analogy is precise, corresponding in all details. This applies in our case as well: the conditions of faith, fortitude and mesirat nefesh, which brought about the exodus from Egypt, will do the same for us and redeem us from our present galut. Thus, just as the exodus from Egypt resulted from fortitude, inner strength, faith and mesirat nefesh, so, too, the Messianic

redemption will come about by our acting with such vigor and

Just as all other rmtzvot, the mitzvah of &vat Yisrael (love of Israel), too, must be fulfilled with determination and intent. After all, this mitzvah is the fundamental principle of the entire r a w our fellow Jews Torah. It is therefore incumbent upon us to d f mitzvot. One should do closer to Torah and the observance o this persistently, and should not lose heart when the efforts do not appear to yield the desired effect. Do not be impressed by seemingly antagonistic reactions. The perceived antagonism actually proves that the person addressed is affected. Thus, continue with vigor and conviction until he becomes receptive. T o be sure, in order to be heard one must speak gently and with composure, but with vigor nonetheless. When not successful at first, the fault lies not in the other but within the speaker. For words that spring from the heart will surely penetrate the heart. The listener is a g a d person, but because your words did not "come from the heart," that is why "they did not penetrate the heart.'' By approaching our task with vigor and mesirat nefesh, without being distracted and intimidated by the world around us, any opposition and hostility will dissipate, and thus one hastens the Messianic redemption.

I "This is my G d and I shall glorify Him, my father's G-d and I shall exalt Him."
-Beshalach 1 5 2
The Midrash states that at the splitting of the sea, after the exodus, each Jew pointed with his finger and said, "This is my G-d and I shall glorify Him." This means that there was a prophetic manifestation of G-dliness to the point of everyone being able to point a finger and say literally: "THIS IS...!" The Midrash notes also that the children born under Egyptian servitude were the first ones to perceive and recognize that Divine manifestation. "As in the days of your going out from Egypt, I shall show [the people] wondrous things" (Michah 7: 15). Thus the Messianic redemption, too, will be marked by a manifestation of G-dliness. In fact, the revelation of the future redemption will be even greater. The expression "This is.." appears but once at the rime of the exodus from Egypt. With regards to the coming of Moshiach it appears twice, as it is written, "It will be said on that day, Behold, h is our G-d in whom we put our hope that He will deliver us, h is G-d for whom we hoped ..." (Isaiah 25:9). Just as at the time of the exodus it was the children, those born under Egyptian servitude, who recognized G-d first, so it will also be with the Messianic redemption. The children born in the harshness of this bitter galut, in the very depth of darkness-[for the darkest moments of the night

are immediately before daybreak, and it is precisely then that the desire for sleeping is most powerfull-they will be the first to recognize the Divine manifestation. of babes and sucklings Thus it is written, ''(Iut of the n~ouths You have established strength ... to silence foe and avenger" (Psalms 8:3). Tne silencing of our foes is effected precisely by the mouths of children who study Torah in tinles when attempts are made to prevent that study, when difficulties and impediments are put in their way. T h e children who fortify themselves to overcome those obstacles will be the generation d the redemption and the first to proclaim, "Behold, THIS is our G-d ... THIS is G-d for whom we hoped.. !"

"G-d will have war with Amalek from generation to generation."

-1Beshalach 17: 16

A Jew is to remember every day what Amalek did, and we are commanded to "blot out the memory of Amalek" (Kt Teityez
25:19). Nowadays we cannot identify Amalek as a nation. But lurking in the recesses of our there is also a spiritual A~nalek hearts: O f Amalek it is said, "karch-he made you cool off " ( K I Teltzei 25:18). That is, he ccmled Israel's fervor and enthusiasm for G-dliness after the exodus from Egypt o n their way to Sinai to receive the Torah. This spiritual Amalek is anything that would cool our bond with Torah and mitywot. It is our task to fend off this spiritual Amalek and clear a path to the revelation of the inner dimenslon of the Torah that will be manifested by Moshiach, speedily in our days.

I
"Thus you shall say to the House of Jacob and tell the Children of Israel."
-Yitro
19:3

Our sages state that "House of Jacob" refers to the women of Israel, and "Children of Israel" to the men. When G-d gave the Torah to Israel, He told Moses to approach the women first. T h e purpose of the exodus from Egypt was for the Jewish people to receive the Torah at Sinai, as it is written: "When you will have brought the people out from Egypt, you shall serve G-d f the exodus itself it is said upon this mountain" (Shemot 3:12). O that it occurred in the merit of the pious women of that generation. Thus, when it came to the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai, the women were given precedence. The Messianic redemption, too, will come about in the merit of the righteous of Israel, as stated in the Midrash: "All generations are redeemed by virtue of the pious women of their generation" (Ydkut Shimoni, Ruth: 606). Thus the women will once again be first to receive the wondrous teachings to be heard from Moshiach.

I1
"Remember the Shabbat-day to keep it holy."
-Yitro

20:8

Rashi explains this verse: Take heed to remember the Shabbat-day constantly, so that if you happen to find something special-set it aside for Shabbat. L.ikewise, our sages state that we are not to give special names to the weekdays but to refer to them in context of the Shabbat ("first day to the Shabbat, second day to the Shabbat," and so forth). In this way, we are constantly conscious of the Shabbat, and prepare for it every day of the week. The same applies to the era of the Messianic redemption. It is referred to as "the Day that is entirely Shabbat and repose for life everlasting." Throughout the present "week-days" of the gdut we must constantly remember and remain conscious of that "Shabbat-Day." We must now prepare ourselves and everyone, f the and everything around us, for the upcoming Shabbat o Messianic era.

"When you acquire a Jewish bondsman, for six years he shall work and in t!,e seventh year he shall go free -Mishpatim 2 1 :2

..."

"Six years," an allusion to the 6000 years of the world's normative existence, "he shall work". That is, during this period, in the present time of this existence, there is the opportunity of serving G-d with Torah and mitzvot. By virtue of this service: "In the seventh year," i.e., in the seventh millenium, "he shall go free..."-we shall be released and be free of all the obstacles and hindrances that presently are dominant in the world, and we shall merit the sublime manifestations of the Messianic future.

II
"He sent the young men of the children of Israel and they offered burnt-offerings 'This is the blood of the covenant that G-d has made with you..."' -Mishpatim 245-8

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T h e Jewish people entered the covenant of the Torah by three rites, the third of which was the above mentioned offering. In the words of Maimonides: "Israel entered the covenant by way of three rites: circumcision, immersion, and a sacrifice. Circumcision was performed in Egypt ... immersion was per-

formed in the desert (Yim 19:10) ... and also the sacrifice (Mishp~tirn 24:5) ..."This procedure remained the requirement for all future conversions to Judaism. With the destruction of the Holy Temple, which precludes the offering of a sacrifice, there rrtnained but circumcision and immersion. When the Holy Tern-. ple shall be rebuilt, however, these converts from the time of the gdut will have to offer that sacrifice as well. Offhand, the present prc~cedureraises a question: how can we presently accept a convert as a tull-fledged Jew without the sacrifice?There is, however, a basic distinction between circumcision and immersion on the one hand, and the offering on the other hand. The convert enters the fold of Judaism by means of the first two. Circumcision removes the impurity of his former state, while immersion infuses the holiness of Jewishness. The bacrifice does not add anything essential to his entry into JudaIsm. A sacrifice is an offering and a gift to G-d which establishes the profound and intirnate bond between the Jew and (3-4, analogous to the relationship between ;l child and its parent. Indeed, the Hebrew word for sacrifice is kmban, which comes horn the root of karou, ~rleaning "close" or "near." A convert, therefore, will offer this sacrifice after having entered the covenant, to mark this special bond between G-d and himself. The Holy Temple demonstrated a manifestation of the L3ivine Presence. In that time, the profountl bond hetween (3-rl and Israel was also manifest. It is not tlie stme in the era ()fthe gdut. A t present, the observance o f Torah and ntitzvot is essentially in a mode of simple submission to the "yoke of Heaven,'' and it is difficult to sense fully the special bond which existed during the time of the Holy Temple. Thus, one can become and remain a full-fledgedJew ever1 without the sacrifice.

Nonetheless, when the Holy Temple shall be rebuilt, that offering will have to be made up to achieve its unique effect. For the Messianic era will reestablish the special bond berween Israel and the Almighty in a fully manifest and revealed way as in the most idyllic times before, and even more so. Thus it is written: "Behold, days are coming, says G-d, when I will make a new covenant with the House of Israel and with the House of Judah; not like the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt... But... I will put My teaching in their inward parts and in their heart I shall write it; and I will be their G-d and they shall be My people ..." (Jeremiah 31:30f.)

I
of

...cedar-wood..."

"The offering that you shall take from them shall consist
-TenrmQh 25:3-5

The building of the Sanctuary in the desert required cedarwood. Where would they get cedar-wood in the desert?Rashi quotes the Midrash: Our patriarch Jacob prophetically foresaw that the Jewish people would need to build a sanctuary in the wilderness. Thus he brought cedars with him to Egypt and planted them there. He commanded his sons to take these with them when they leave Egypt. By planting cedars in Egypt, Jacob did not simply show foresight to provide an eventual need for the Jewish people. With his action he also encouraged his descendants of the later generations. It strengthened them with an ability to contend with the darkness of gdut. It strengthened the hope and courage of Israel at all times. For even in the very thick of the galut we have in our midst the "cedars" that our forefather Jacob planted in every generation.

1 1

"They shall make Me a sanctuary and I shall dwell in


their midst."

-Tencmah 25:8
This is the mitzvuh of building a sanctuary for the Divine Presence, at first the Tabernacle in the desert and later the Beit Hamikdash (Holy Temple) in Jerusalem. The expression in this verse seems inconsistent. It ordains the making of a sanctuary as a dwelling for the Divine Presence, t " instead of "in it!" Our but then states "I shall dwell in tkk d sages explain that the Torah speaks not only of a general, central sanctuary for the nation, but also of an individual sanctuary to be built and established by every individual Jew. That is, each one must transform himself and his quarters into a sanctuary for G-d: a place of Torah study, Prayer and Charity, with effort that all one's thoughts, speech and deeds be for the sake of Heaven, and to infuse holiness into all that we relate to. This individual and private sanctuary must manifest itself as such, even on the physical level, by acquiring sacred items like the holy books of a Chumash and a Srddur, and a Charity-Box, and to place these within that private sanctuary. These three items in particular are the very pillars which were the foundation of the Beit Hamikdash: TORAH: The Beit Harnikdash housed the Holy Ark which contained the two tablets on which were engraved the Ten Commandments. Indeed, the Holy Temple stood on Mount Moriah. M& alludes to the term "hora'ah," which means instruction about the Torah-laws that emanated from there to all of Israel by means of the Sanhedrin (Supreme Court) which was located there.

TEFILAH (Prayer): All sacrifices were offered in the Beit Hamikdash, and our prayers are the substitute for the sacrifices. In fact, of the Beit Ha~nikdash it is said, "For My House shall be called a House of Prayer for all nations" (Isaiah 56:7), and "This is the Gate of Heaven" (Vayeitzei 28: 17). TZEDAKAH (Charity): T h e flow of kindness, to and for the world, emanated by virtue of the holy "Table" in the Beit Hamikdash (Tamah 25:23ff.). Moreover, in the Beit Hamikdash there was a special room called the "Chamber of Secret Gifts" into which people put anonymous gifts that were used for the anonymous support of the poor. When a Jew builds his individual Yanctuary in this mode, G-d promises that "I shall dwell among and within them," just as in the central sanctuary in Jerusalem. Moreover, intensive study of Torah, fervent Tefilah (especially for the Messianic redemption), and acts of Tzedakah, will bring ahout, speedily in our days, the third and perinanent Beit Hamikdash to be established by Moshiach.

I
"You shall command the children of Israel to bring you clear olive oil to cause the lamp to bum continuously -Tetzaveh 27:20

...

..."

All seven branches of the golden menorah in the sanctuary were filled anew each day with pure oil. The "western branch of the menorah burned miraculously much longer than all the others, beyond the norm of the oil it contained. This miracle was a Heavenly sign attesting to the Divine Presence in Israel. We are told that Moses was puzzled by this menorah: he did not know how to construct it. G-d then told him to simply cast the required amount of gold into fire and the menorah was made of itself. This raises a question: how did the menorah dtffer from all the other vessels made for the Sanctuary, that Moses was puzzled by it?In fact, Moses had been shown the form and structure of the menorah from Heaven, as it is written, "according to the pattern that was shown to you" (Terurnah 25:40). Why then did he not know how to make it? The menorah was made of gold, and it served the purpose of illuminating the darkness in a way that would demonstrate to the whole world that the Divine Presence dwells in Israel. This caused Moses to wonder: how can such a sublime thing be made of gold, of physical matter? Says the Midrash: G-d explained to Moses that indeed, humans are unable to produce such an object, and it is done by the Almighty. Man, however, must first take the gold and cast it

into fire. G-d will then mould it into a menorah that will rddiate in the Sanctuary. This teaches us the following: The destruction of the Sanctuary affected only a physical structure of wood and stones. As for the sanctuary within the very core of every Jew's heart, of which it is said "1 shall dwell in their midst" (Terumah 25:8), it remains intact forever, in all times and under all circumstances. When a Jew seeks to achieve the goal of transforming all his possessions into a Sanctuary for G-d, he must take his gold-his finest and most precious thing-and make of it a menorah. The Almighty says to him: "Your study of Torah, your prayers, your mitzvot-all these are not enough for Me. I dernand of you that you also trmfonn your physical possessions into a Sanctuary for Me. Indeed, you are unable to do so by yourself, thus 1 will do it. However, you have to cast the gold into the fire of your heartifor within the heart of every Jew bums a fire for G-dl-and then I shall mould it into a Sanctuary. Moreover, it will emanate light unto the world and be evidence of the Divine Presence that dwells In you!" In establishing this menorah and sanctuary of our own, this will of itself bring about the new Sanctuary and menorah in Jerusalem that will come to us through Moshiach.

I
"When [G-dl finished speaking with [Moses] on Mount Sinai, He gave him the two Tablets of the Testimony, tablets of stone, written with the finger of G-d. When [Moses] saw the calf he threw the tablets out of his hands and broke them. G-d said to Moses, 'Hew two tablets for yourself like the first ones..."' -Ki Tissa 31:1,32:19,34:1

..

...

..

The sequence of events by which Israel received the Tablets of Testimony followed three stages: ( I ) T h e first tablets Moses descended with from the mountain; (2) Moses broke these first tablets because of the people's sin with the golden calf; and (3) when Israel repented of its sin, Moses ascended Mount Sinai again and returned with the second tablets. T h e first tablets were both made and engraved by G-d Himself. The second ones were also engraved by G-d but carved out by Moses, suggesting a lesser quality than the first ones. Nonetheless, the second tablets had an advantage over the first ones in context of the principle that "descent is for the purpose of ascent." That is, when one realizes the fact of a descent or degradation and corrects its causes, this itself causes an ascent to a level even higher and greater than the original one. A simple analogy is the case of a runner who takes a few steps backward in order to pick up extra speed for his race. It follows, then, that the second tablets had a unique advantage over the first ones. The great depth to which Israel had fallen by the sin of the golden calf-which had provoked Moses

to shatter the tablets-was the impetus for Israel's subsequent rise to great spirituality, far transcending anything they had achieved in the past. Indeed, it was particularly with the second tablets (which represent the essence of the "Written Torah") that Moses also received the "Oral Torah." This order of events reflects the history of the Jewish people: First there was an era of manifest G-dliness. This is the period from the time of the giving of the Torah up to the destruction of the second Beit Hamikdash (Holy Temple in Jerusalem). This era corresponds to the quality of the first tablets. Israel's sins caused the destruction of the Beit Iiamikdash and the subsequent galut, the exile of Israel from the Holy Land and its dispersion throughout the world. This period of the present galut, a terrible era marked by both physical suffering and a tremendous degradation and loss of spirituality, corresponds to the breaking of the tablets. The third and final srage, which follows as a result of the galut-pericd, will be when the Jewish people will merit the greatest spiritual elevation that will last forever and comes about with the ultimate and complete redemption by Moshiach, speedily in our days.

I1
"Now, if You would but forgive their sin! If not, please erase me from Your Book that You have written." -Ki Tissa 32:32

We have here a crucial principle. Moses interceded on behalf of Israel to the utmost, even when the people had sunk to the lowest level. He negated himself completely ("If not, pleast. erase me from Your Book"). Indeed, his defense of Israel succeeded, and G-d forgave them.

Every one of us can, and must, learn from this. It is not enough to simply work with the "lost and cast-off souls" of our fellow-Jews. One must, first of all, judge kindly and speak favorably about them, if for no other reason but the fact that their condition is not of their own making but because they do not f itself help to correct know better. This kind of approach will o their faults. We must keep in mind that the Beit Hamikdash (the Holy Temple) was destroyed on account of gratuitous hatred (Yoma 9b). This cause must be undone by means of gratuitous love, by loving every single Jew unconditionally, even when one fails to find any justification for loving him. Ahaolat chinam (gratuitous love) implies loving even those who are in a state of "chinamdevoid of mitzvot." Undoing the cause undoes the effect, and the third Beit Hamikdash will be rebuilt by Moshiach speedily in our days.

"[They shall make..I the stakes of the Tabernacle and the pins of the courtyard and their tying ropes." -Vayak'hel35 :18
Rashi explains that the stakes were inserted into the ground to fasten the edges of the curtains, so that they would not flap because of the wind, and the ropes were used for bmnding them. There is a moral to be derived from this: The generations that preceded us can be compared to the Our own generation, the last one builders of the Tabernacle ~tself. before the coming of Moshiach, can be compared to those who ttie the edges of the curtains to the stakes in the ground so they will not flap loosely in the wud. In the overall stature of Israel's history, our generation is the very "heel"-the lowest part- of the body-while our predecessor5 f the btxly. O l ~ r are like the brains, heart and other "higher" parts o task and mission is likewise the "last" or "heel"-labor to conrplete and finish all that 1 s still required to bring about the Messianic redemption. Ours may be the "lowest? task, mnerely tying down the very edges of the curtains, some rather Incidental and external details. Nonetheless, it is just this work that completes the whole job, and it is specifically what we do that will fasten the Tabemacle so that it may stand firm. We are indeed the "heel"-generation, time-wise and qualitywise, compared to all those before us. This may raise the question: "Is the generation worthy!" Why should we merit the cotriing of Moshiach when our ancestors, who were greater saints and sclxol-

ars than we are, did not! Nonetheless, the fact is that we are the ones who complete the work. The credit and merit, therefore, is attributed to our generation. Our sages thus said that a meritorious deed is attributed to him who does the h t part of it and completes it (Sotah 13b). Moreover, the edges of the curtains were to be tied to the pegs that were fixed in the ground, the earth. This alludes to the very purpose of the Sanctuary, namely, to bring about an indwelling of the Divine Presence in the Tabernacle which was to be a physical abode established specifically here on earth. This, indeed, is the very task and purpose of our generation. We are to draw the Divine Presence all the way down to the very earthiness of this material world, and this will happen with the coming of Moshiach and the ultimate redemption.

"All the women, whose heart inspired them with wisdom, spun the goats' hair." -Vayak'hel35:26
Rashi comments on this verse: "This action required extraordinary skill, for they spun the hair from off the backs of the goats." The women had not been instructed to do so. They did so on their own, by their own inspiration. They realized that if they were blessed by G-d with this unique ahility, they should use it for the service of G-d, for the building of the Sanctuary. This teaches us the following: When the Almighty grants anyone special talents and ahilities, he or she is to use them for the service of Gd. Each one must use his or her talents and aptitudes to help achieve the ultimate

purpose and transform this world into a sanctuary, a fitting abode for G-dliness.

I
"These are the accounts of the m i s h h (Tabernacle), mishkan ha'edut (the Tabernacle of Testimony) -Pekudei 38:21

..."

Our sages note that the term mishkan is mentioned twice in this verse. This two-fold reference is an allusion to the Mikdash (Sanctuary in Jerusalem) which was taken away as a mashkon (collateral) for Israel's repentance, by being destroyed twice (i.e., the first Beit Hamikdash and the second Beit Hamikdash) for the iniquities of Israel. This means that the destruction of the Beit Hamikdash was not intended to be a permanent loss to Israel. It was taken only as a pledge, as surety, and it will be restored eventually. Jewish law requires that he who takes collateral must guard it carefully and in due time must restore it to its owner. When the cause for the Sanctuary's removal ("the iniquities of Israel") will be corrected, it will be returned to us, fully intact. The third Beit Hamikdash will thus contain all the qualities of its two predecessors.

II
"In the first month of the second year, on the first of the month, the Tabernacle was set up." -Pekudei 40: 17 The sanctuary was built in the desert, and it traveled w ~ t h the Jewish people in all their journeys through the wilderness. This teaches and emphasizes the important principle that ~t is possible to establish a place of holiness even in a desert. Thus even in a wasteland and wilderness, Jews have the ability to build a rniskn, a place for the Divine Presence to dwell among them in general, and within every individual in particular. Just as there is a physical desert, a wilderness governed by extreme climates and all kinds of dangers, so ttw there is a spiritual desert which is governed by the most harmful ideas, by desolation and emptiness in matters of Torah and rnitzvot. The latter may exist even in a land that is, physically speaking, a blooming garden. The Torah thus teaches us that when we find ourselves in such a spiritual wasteland, we can-and must--establish a sanctuary. Moreover, we can-and must--carry it foward, following in the "footsteps" of the Divine Presence, as it were, until we reach the Divinely blessed Holy Land, i.e., the me and complete redemption by Moshlach!

VAYIKRA

will offer a korban..."

"Vayikra (he called) to Moses.. when any person of you


-Vayikra
1:12

The letter aleph in the first word of this parshah (Vayikra) is smaller than the normal size of all letters in the Torah. This small aleph indicates the extraordinary humility of Moses, of whom the Torah says, "The man Moses was very humble, more so than any other person on the face of the earth" (Beha'alotecha 123). Moses was blessed with superior qualities and he was the greatest prophet of Israel ever. Even so, he regarded himself inferior to everyone. He viewed his superior qualities as a special endowment or gift from G-d, and not as some special achievement o n his part. In his mind, therefore, he was convinced that if someone else had been blessed with the same abilities, that other person would have achieved tnore than he did himself. By virtue of his humility, Moses merited the highest levels of achievement, that he was chosen to redeem lsrael from Egypt, that he received the Torah for Israel, and so forth. This idea of humility and self-negation is the underlying concept of sacrifices, the central theme of our parshah. Thus ir is written, "Adam ki yakria, mikem-When any person of you will offer a korban (offering; sacrifice).." (Vayikra 1:2). The word m i h (of you) qualifies adam (person), thus should follow right after it. Why is it placed later, after "ki yakriv-will offer"?Chassidut explains that this order signifies the meaning of sacrifices, of serving G-d.

The term korban (sacrifice) derives from the word brae, (to approach; to come near). Our verse thus informs us: When any person desires to draw close to G-dliness, then you must make an offering rnikem---of yourself. A true sacrifice is not the offering of something external to the person, but an offering of the person himself. It means self-negation. O n the one hand, everyone must be aware of his unique talents and abilities. A Jew must know that he is genetically endowed with special qualities. Thus when it comes to matters of Torah and mitzvot, he should not think, "who am I and what atn I, to be involved with matters of holiness and spirituality!" O n the contrary, he must seize the opportunity and appreciate that he is fully qualified to deal with the most sublime tasks, and h t , indeed, is his purpose in life. O n the other hand, one must never forget that his special qualities and talents to achieve the highest levels are no more than a Divine endowment. Like Moses, he must think that if another had been granted his abilities, the other one might be greater still and achieve even more. This consciousness precludes a tendency towards arrogance and presumptuousness, and preserves a proper sense of humility. Furthermore, it allows one to offer sacrifices in the true spirit, to the point of meriting to oEer these in the most ideal manner in the third Beit Hamikdash, "where we will offer to You our obligatory sacrifices... with love, in accordance with the precept of Your Will," very speedily with the coming of Moshiach.

Pmshat Tzav enumerates and explains detailed laws of various sacrifices. Some of these are introduced by the phrase "This is the teaching of ..." (as in "This is the teaching of the burntoffering... This is the teaching of the sin-offering... This is the teaching of the guilt-offering..."). The Talmud infers from this expression that when someone is involved in the study of the laws and teachings of a sacrifice, it is accounted to him as if he had actually offered that sacrifice. Hence the prophetic utterance, "Our lips will compensate for the bullocks" (Hosea 14:3). This concept of "it is accounted to him as if..." does not mean that it is merely a reward for studying these laws. Nor does it mean that it simply effects atonement just like the sacrifices that used to be brought in the Sanctuary. The recitation and review of the laws, according to numerous views, is regarded as an actual offering of sacrifices, to the point of a Halachic ruling that "one should recite them only in the day-time, because sacrifices are not offered at night." Likewise, there are a number of other rulings stipulating that the recitation of sacrificepassages is to reflect the manner of the actual offerings. The obvious implication is that the teachings relating to the Beit Hmikdash (Holy Temple) and sacrifices are relevant even now in the time of galut (exile) when, unfortunately, we do not have the Sanctuary, and the actual offering of sacrifices is temporarily discontinued. The recitation and study of the teachings of sacrifices, like their actual offerings, effect not only personal atonement, but also elicit the presence of the Shechinah upon the individual

involved in that recitation, and also upon the very place d the Holy Temple, just as when it existed physically in our midst. Each one, therefore, must realize the tremendous responsibility of his or her service of G-d with Torah and mitzvot. A deficiency in these relates not only to hisher individual obligaMe a Sanctuary and I shall dwell in tion of "They shall make fc~r their midst" (Temmah 25:8), i.e., within each and every one of them, but also in drawing forth the Shechinah for all of Israel and for the whole world. In turn, every individual's effort and contribution in Torah and prayer has an inestimable positive effect for the whole world. Thus it hastens the time when we shall again be able to offer sacrifices "in accordance with Your (G-d's) Will''-in the third Reit HumiMash which will descend from Heaven and become revealed to us with the coming of Moshiach, speedily in our own days, very soon indeed.

I "Vayehi bayom hashemini--On the eighth day... Moses said...this day G-d shall appear to you."
--Shemini 9: 1 4
This verse relates to the consecration of the Sanctuary in the desert, which resulted in a manifestation of G-dliness: the Shechinah "dwelled in the Sanctuary. This happened on the first day of Nissan, which is referred to as the "eighth day" because it followed the "seven days of induction" of consecrating the priests, offering various sacrifices and setting up and dismantling the Sanctuary. The fact that the Torah refers to this special occasion as the "eighth day" is obviously of significance. T h e number "seven" signifies the normative order of the world. For example, time is reckoned in terms of seven-day cycles which constitute a complete week. Likewise with years, the number seven indicates a complete cycle, culminating in the Sabbatical year, and so forth. Seven, therefore, is the symbol for the order of nature. The number "eight" is beyond "seven," alluding to the supra-natural, an emanation of G-dliness which, like a miracle, transcends the normative order. Nonetheless, this aspect of "eight" is not fully detached from worldliness: the "eight" comes about only when seven precede it. Thus, notwithstanding the fact that the human capacity is limited to the norms of created entities (the aspect of "seven"), serving G-d to the limits of these capacities will elicit a manifestation of Divine emanations beyond the normative (the aspect

of "eight"). It was, therefore, Israel's preparations during the "seven days of induction" that prepared the world, and made i r possible, for the Shechinah to dwell in the Sanctuary. It is likewise with the galut and the Messianic era. The Messianic era is related to the number "eight," as it is said, "The harp of the Sanctuary had seven cords... the harp of the Messtanic days has eight cords" (Arachn 13b). Our service of G-d in these constraining days of the galut is like the seven days of preparation that prepare the world for the "eighth day" of the Messianic era.

D o not drink intoxicating wine... when you come into the Tabernacle -Shemini 10:9

66

..."

A n intoxicated kohen (priest) may not serve in the Sanctuary. A kohen, therefore, was forbidden to drink wine on those days that he had to serve in the Sanctuary. The Sages state that this law applies even today. A kohen who knows his schedule of service is even nowadays forbidden to drink wine o n those days, because "the Beit Hamikdash may speedily be rebuilt, requiring the services of a qualified kohen" (Sanhedrin 22b) ! The effect of consuming the minimum amount of wine that is forbidden will wear off either by: (a)sleep; or (b)the passage of time it takes to walk a mil (2000 cubits). The longest estimate for walking a mil is 24 minutes. This law proves, then, that Moshiach may appear very speedily, with a completed Belt Hamikdash, in maximum 23 minutes and 59 seconds from any moment!

The parshiyot of TaTri'a and Metzma deal with the laws of tyara'at (conventionally translated as "leprosy"): the diagnosis of the symptoms of this disease which incurs a state of ritual impurity; how to deal with those afflicted by it; and the procedures of purification following its cure. The Talmud states that Moshiach is called "chiwura-the leper"(Sanhedrin 98b). This is rather astonishing and seems to contradict the Biblical description of Moshiach: "My servant shall be wise, exalted and lofty, and shall be very high" (Isaiah 52:13). From this verse we know that he will be the wisest of men, an extraordinary prophet, second only to Moses (and in many respects more exalted than Moses), greater than the paniarchs, and of a stature exceeding that of all kings before him. Thus, we must conclude that there is a deeper meaning to his being called chiuma. First of all, tzma'at is a disease of the skin. It is not an internal ailment, nor is the body per se affected. It is an external malady, indicated by a change of color in the skin. Now, throughout the course of our lengthy g& (exile), the Jewish people have been involved with Torah-study and rnitwot. Every effort has been made to have g a d triumph over evil, and to bring light into the darkness of the galut. Thus we have already succeeded in healing the "internal malady" of the galut. At present, with the conclusion of the galut, there remains but a minor and strictly external disease-"on the skin of his body" (Tazri'a 13:2ff..). It is up to the generation which merits the very end of the galut and the beginning of the redemption to bring about the correction and healing of this final stage.

Moshiach, the redeetner, suffers the agonlcs and pains of these last days of the galut, the "disease of czara'at." For Moshiach waits anxiously and impatiently to redeem 111s generation the moment it completes the cure for the minor affliction that remains. As long as he is unable to do so and the gdut continues, Moshiach personally suffers the pains of this qara'at, the agony of the last days of the gdut. In this context, the second parshah begins: "This is the teaching concerning the one afflicted with tzara'at on the day c>i his purification ..." (Metzm 14:2). This refers to the day of the redemption: For as long as the galut persists, Moshiach is called chivara (afflicted with tzara'at). He himself is essentially pure and perfect, and his affliction merely reflects the condition of galut. The very moment of the redemption, when Moshrach will be revealed rand his real being ancl righteousness will become manifest to all, that is "the day of his purification." The redemption will demonstrate how In Moshiach is fillfilled the verse, "the leprous mark has healed in the one afflicted by it" (Metzora 143).

"Bezot-with Place

..."

this-Aaron

shall come into the Holy


-Ac?utrei 16:3

The word bezot would seem to be superfluous to the context. Thus we must say that it appears to convey a message. Rashi explains the difficulty by quoting a Midrash: the gimacriya (numerical equivalent) of bezot is 410. This word thus alludes to the 410 years of the First Temple's existence. Rashi, as a rule, always explains the plain sense of the Torah. It follows, then, that his interpretation of bezot, too, reflects the plain sense of the verse. If that is the case, no doubt but that when Moses taught Israel the Torah, he must have told them this meaning. This raises a serious question: why would Moses tell them prior to their entering the Land of Israel, and prior to all the tragic sins that caused the destruction of the Beit Hamikdash, that the First Temple would exist for only 410 years?What is to be gained by already predicting this tragedy? Moses did not try to dishearten the Jewish People. O n the contrary: he informed the people that it is within their power to prevent that sad event. The Torah does not speak of the destruction of the Beit Hamikdash as something that had to happen. In Rashi's words, it is only an aUusion to the 410 years, i.e., a hint, for a possibility. Moses thus cautioned that the tragedy can be prevented. The proper behavior of the Jewish people would confer eternity to the first Beit H a r n i k h and preclude any galut. Even now, too, it is up to us. Our present conduct in matters of Torah and mitzvot can rid us of the galut. Our actions can

hasten the coming of Moshiach with the third Beit Hamikdash that will stand forever.

I
"You shall love your fellow like yourself." -Kedoshim
19:18

This is the eternal m i t d of ahawt Yis-rael,loving our fellow Jews, which Rabbi Akiva called "the great principle of the Torah." It is also a m i t z d of which we are told that its fulfillment will bring about the Messianic redemption. In the same context we are taught in Pirkei A w t 1:12: "Be of the disciples of Aaron: loving peace and pursuing peace, loving (G-d's) creatures and bringing them near to the Torah." It is certain that nowadays, as we are so close to the redemption from the gdut which was caused by gratuitous hatred and discord, we have greatly improved in the observance of this mitzvah. At present, therefore, we have to move to a new level. During these last days of the gdut we must try to experience a taste of the wondrous quality of &vat Yisrael of the Messianic era, an absolute ahawt Yisrael of soul to soul, which transcends all trivial differences that cause strife. When we shall now already live up to the "love of (G-d's) creatures," as it will be with the coming of Moshiach, we shall also merit the "bringing them near to the Torah," i.e., to the wondrous new insights in the Torah which Moshiach will teach the entire nation!

Every Jew inust exert himself with the mitzvah of ahae,,at YBrael. This mitzvah demands that we he concerned with the welfare of our fellow-beings. If this applies to their material wellbeing, surely it does no less to d e i r spiritual well-being, to "loving G-d's creatures and bringing them near to the Torah." This is incumbent especially upon those who, by Divine Providence, happen to live in a place where there is some neglect of Torah and mitzwot, as we are taught that "In a place where there are no leading personalities "-they have a special duty and merit to "strive to be a leading personality" (Avot 2:5). This mitzvah may make substantial demands on one's tlme and efforts, but the individual stands to benefit from his efforts just as do the people around hitn. This follows the principle of "[When] the poor and the man of medium wealth meet together, G-d enlightens the eyes of both" (Proverbs 29: 13). For just as it is with those who are rich and poor in the material sense, so, too, it is with those who are rich and poor in the spiritual sense: when the rich benefits the poor, the Almighty benefits the rich as well. The act of tzedakah, whether it be material or spiritual, has the effect of "tzedukah exalts a people" (Proverbs 14:34). (:hassidut explains this to mean that the benefactor's mind and heart will be exalted (purified) a thousandfold. Thus, it is said in the Midrash: "You have given life to the soul o f the poor, tomorrow the Almighty will give life to you, to your son and to your daughter." There is, then, personal benefit to the benefactor. Moreover, s this also hastens the general redemption for all of Israel, as it 1 said that Israel shall be redeemed by virtue of tzedakah.

I
"Do not desecrate My holy Name, but I shall be sanctified among the children of Israel." - E m 22:32 This verse refers to the prohibition of cMul Hashem (desecration of G-d's Name) and the commandment of Mush Hashem (to sanctify G-d's Name). There are conditions when a Jew must do everything, including self-sacrifice, for the observance of Torah, for thereby he sanctifies G-d's Name. Just as Mush Hashem is the supreme virtue, so, too, there is nothing worse than chilul Hashem. The prophet Yechezkel refers to the fact of galut as a child H m h : "When they entered the nations into which they came, they desecrated My holy Name when it was said of them 'These are G-d's people yet they had to leave His land!"' (Ezekiel 36:20) In turn, the redemption is a Mush Hashem, as it is said, "I shall sanctify My great Name which was desecrated among the nations, which you have profaned in their midst, and the nations will know that I am G-d... when I will be sanctified in you before their eyes" (Ezekiel 36:23). The very study and preoccupation with the laws of Mush Hashern in itself will end the child H a s h of the galut, and bring about the ultimate Mush Hashem signified by the Messianic redemption!

X l
"Six days work shall be done, but the seventh day is shabbat shabbaton ( a Sabbath of strict rest)."
--Emor 23 :3

The six working days are a preparation for the seventh day. Our sages compare the first six millennia of the world's existence to the six working days of every week. They are a preparation, by means of Torah and mitzvot, for the seventh millennium, for the ultimate stage of the Messianic era which is referred to as "the day that is entirely Shabbat and repose for life everlasting." The Shabbat has two levels of holiness, indicated by the expression shabbat shabbaton. The term shabbat relates to cessation of work. Shabbaton, o n the other hand, is an additional, more sublime level: the complete inner peace which transcends mere cessation from work. This level, too, derives from the six days of work, for it follows as a result from the "work" of one's good deeds throughout the week. The same applies to the redemption. The six millennia of service prepare not only for the first stage of the Messianic era (the passive level of shabbat which relates to "evil being subdued and ceasing its opposition to goodness"), but also its final stage of shabbm-when the spirit of impurity will be "removed from the e a r t h (Zechariah 13:Z) altogether and forever... Thus, "Six days work shall be done" to prepare the world for the redemption-for the "seventh day"-the highest stage of shabbat shabbaton!

"Six years you shall sow your field... and harvest your
crops, but the seventh year shall be a sabbath of strict rest for the land, you must not sow your field -Behar 25:lff. "If you wonder, 'What will we eat in the seventh year...?' I shall command My blessing upon you in the sixth year to yield crops for three years -&id. 25:20-22

..."

..."

This passage, the mitzvah of shemitah (the Sabbatical year for the Land of Israel), may also be interpreted in context of the world at large and the redemption. The six years of working the land are analogous to the first six millennia of the world's existence when everything is prepared for the seventh millennium by means of Torah and mitzVOt.

Our present generation is near the end of the sixth millennium. This raises an obvious question: why should our generation, which is qualitatively so much lower than all our predecessors, merit to experience the Messianic redemption? What makes us more worthy than the spiritual giants of the past that we shall usher in the "seventh year," the "day that is entirely Shabbat and repose for life everlasting"?In other words, we have a metaphorical paraphrase of the question "What will we eat in " the seventh year. . .! The Divine response is: "I shall command My blessing upon you in the sixth year." The stature and deeds of the earlier generations were indeed much greater than those of now. O n the throughout the other hand, the present state of moral cc~rmption

world requires an unprecedented amount of fbrtrtude and selfsacrifice to carry out even our minimal obligations. This lends our continued observance of Torah and mitzvot a quality and blessing superseding that of our predecessors. Thus we are more than worthy to experience the redemption. W e shall inerit the "crops for three years," i.e., of the three stages in the Messianic era: the lnitlal redernpticm, the later stage of the resurrection of the dead, ad the ultirnate "seventh m ~ l lenniu~n."

I
"Im bechukotay teikichu-if you will go in My ordinances... I shall grant vour rains in their proper season -Bechukotay 26:3-4

..."

The Talmud interprets the word im in this verse as a plea. In other words, it does not mean, as usually, a condition ("if you will go...)" but an appeal. G-dl as it were, pleads with Israel to "go in my ordinances." This plea, coupled with the command, of itself confers ability and assurance to every Jew that "you will go in My ordinances," as it is said, "none is rejected by Him," (I1 Samuel

14:14). A further interpretation states that the word bechukotay (in


My ordinances) refers to all the mitzuot in general. There are three kinds of mitzvot: 1) rnishpatim-precepts which practical reason or common sense would compel us to follow even if they had not been ordained in the Torah; 2) eldot-precepts which are not self-evidently rational principles but, having been ordained, can be reconciled with reason; and 3) chuk;m-precepts which are beyond human reason or rational understanding. In our verse, however, the term bechukotay refers to all the mitzvot of the Torah. The Torah here uses the term bechukotay to refer to all the mitzuot, to teach us that ultimately even the mishputim and eldot must also be observed in terms of personal submission to the

Divine Will, just like chukim, and not because they make sense to us. A n observance of mitzwot out of a sense of total submission, as opposed to rational understanding, is permeated by spiritual delight. In fact, that kind of observance is superior to any other. It is like the service of a faithful and artless servant who delights in the pleasure of his master. All this is indicated in the word "teileichu-you will go": there is a mode of going, moving, progressing. T h e ability of this ongoing motion cannot come from one's own internal powers, which are finite, but from a transcending energy, from delight, from vitality. The Divine plea and assurance of the word im relates not only to the "body" (the physical act) of performing mitzwot, bur also to the way this is done, namely, to the teileichu, the vitality and delight that accompany the action. The reward, in turn, is that "I will give your rains in their proper season." These rains refer not only to the literal, physical rains producing the material blessings that allow us to serve G-d with peace of mind, undisturbed by mundane concerns. They refer also to "spiritual rains," as in "My teachings shall flow like rain" (Deuteronomy 32:2), and o n a more sublime level, to rhe "light of the Torah," viz., the deeper levels of the Torah's spiritual dimension. O n still a higher level, they refer to the Torahteachings o f Moshiach of which it is said (Kohlet Rabba 113) that they are so sublime that the Torah studied in the present era is like "vanity" compared tc'r the Torah taught in the days of Moshiach.

I1
"Even when they are in their enemies' land, I will not abhor them nor spurn them so as to destroy them.

.."

-Bechukotay

26:44

The Zohar (III:115b) interprets: During the time of the galut the Jewish People are like a bride living in a street of tanneries. Her Bridegroom would normally never enter a putrid place like that. His great love for His bride, however, makes Him imagine that her dwelling is like a perfumery with the most pleasant smells in the world. This analogy, however, applies only to the time of the galut. At present we have reached a point of "No more galut!" We have to prepare for the chupah (wedding-canopy)of the redemption. The "garments" (conditions and actions) that may have been good enough for the "street of tanneries" are obviously altogether inappropriate for going to our wedding with our Beloved.. .

BAMIDBAR

"Gd spoke to Moses in the Sinai Desert.. 'Take a census of the entire congregation of the Children of Israel. .'Iy
--Bumidbar 1:1-3
In a census, every member of the group is counted equally: the greatest or most exalted is no more than "one," even as the smallest or lowest is no less than "one." This indicates the intrinsic value of every individual. Nonetheless, the counting itself is something rather superficial. It seeks to establish the sum-total. O n the other hand, the importance of the aggregate quantity enhances the quality of each individual counted. For example, a gathering of ten Jews (the quorum for a minyan), regardless of the individual "quality" of each, provides the necessary condition for an indwelling of the Shechinah (Divine Presence), as it is said: "The Shechinah rests upon every assembly of ten" (Sanhedrin 39a). The minyan thus allows for the recitation of certain sacred texts. Quantity, therefore, enhances quality. This aspect of quantity affecting quality is seen also in the census of our parshah. The sum-total was 600,000, the basic number of the Jewish people. Our sages note that the Giving of the Torah at Sinai required the presence of 600,000 Jews. If just one had k e n missing, even if he were the least significant, the Torah would not have been given even to the greatest among them. The lack of even one would have diminished not only the quantity but also the quality of all others. The fact that parshat Barmdbar is always read before Shaw'ot, the day on which the Torah was given to Israel, serves as a perpetual reminder of this principle. Moreover, it reminds us

that it is not enough to have the rrlere presence of all 600,000. There is the additional need for " 'Israel camped there [before Mount Sinai]' (Yitro 19:Z)--nsom n u n with one mznd!" The Midrash notes that G-d wanted to give the Torah to Israel right after they left Egypt, but there was dasent among them. When they came to Sinai, however, they were unified. G-d then said: "The whole 'Tordl represents 'pcace,' thus I shall give ~tto that nation whtch loves peace." The peace and unlty which were the preparation and precondition for the Giving of the Torah are also the preparatmi for the Messianic redemption. The present g-alut was caused by anut chznam, gratuztous hatred. 11us we must nulllfy that cause by ahavat chinanz, gratuztous love. There must be gratuitous (unqualified) love for every Jew--even to one who has nevel done you a favor, even to one you have never met or seen, and even to one who is clunanl, devoid o f any quality that would warrant feelings of love. T h ~ love, s this sense o f peace and unity, 1 s d ~ channel e for all Illvlne blessings, znclud~ngthe greatest of all: C>-d speedlly sending us Moshiach to redeem us, thus fulfilling: "In this place (the Land of Israel) which is iww desolate ... the sheep (the people of Israel) will pass before the one who will count thein (Moshiach), says G-d!" (Jeremiah 33:12-13)

I
"When a man or a woman utters a Nazirite vow... he shall abstain from new and old wine grape-beverages, grapes and raisins

..."

...

-Nasso 6:Zff.

The term nazir (Nazirite) has two meanings: (a) it denotes "separation; keeping aloof1-in the sense of his obligation to keep aloof from grapes and grape-derivatives etc.; and (b) it derives from nezer (crown; diadem), as it is said, "nezer (the crown) of his G-d is on his head ... he is holy to G-d" (Nasso 6:7-

8 ) .
Offhand we are confronted by a paradox. O n the one hand the Nazirite is called "holy to G-dl" thus a man of lofty spiritual stature. On the other hand, his separation from worldly things could be criticized by the Talmudic retort, "Is it not enough for you what the Torah has already forbidden you?" (Yerushalm', Nedmim 9:l)-because man's purpose is to infuse himself and the material world with sanctity. However: Maimonides concludes the laws of Naziriteship as follows: "He who vows unto G-d by way of holiness (as opposed to mere f abstinence for its own sake) does well and is praiseworthy. O him it is said, 'the crown of his G-d is upon his head ... he is holy unto G-d.' Scripture considers him equal to a prophet, as it is said, 'I set up prophets from your sons and Nazirites from your young men' (Amos 2: 11 ) ."

This verse of Amos relates also to the tune o f the redemption. Then, too, there will be Nazirites who will attain the ultimate holiness, above and beyond that of earlier times. With f the coming of Moshiach, Naziriteship will not be for the sake o simply separating from worldly matters, because these will then n o longer impact negatively upon us. For in the Messianic era, "good things will be abundant and all delightful things accessible like dust, and the singular preoccupation of the entire world will be to know G-d." Thus it will he the consummate form o f the holiness of Naziriteship.

The laws of a Nazirite teach us a most significant principle about our belief in the coming of Moshiach. HaIachah (Torah-law) decrees: If one declares, "I undertake to become a Nazirite on the day thar Moshiach will come," then if he made this vow o n a weekday he is forever bound hy it from that very moment. If he ma& his vow o n a Sllabbat or Yom Tot) (festival-day), it will become operative from the next day onwards, forever, but not on that day itself. For it 1s uncertain whether Moshiach will or will not come o n a Shabbat or Yom TOV, which, therefore, precludes making the vow operative on that day (Eruvin 43b; Hikhot Nezimt 4: 1 1). This demonstrates clearly the fact that "the day that Moshiach will come" is a possibility that applies to each day. Thus we U day h g ) we hope for say in our daily prayers, "every day (and a Your salvation"; or in the version of the Thirteen Principles of the Faith: "I await his coming e v q day."

"Why should we be deprived from offering Gd's sacrifice


at its appropriate time, along with the Children of Israel?" -Beha'alotecha 9:7

A year after the Jewish People had left Egypt they were in
the Sinai Desert. There they followed the Divine command to observe the celebration of Pesach in the month of Nissan. The Torah relates, though, that there were some people who had come in contact with the dead. This rendered them ritually impure so that they could not offer the Pesach-sacrifice. Thus, they approached Moses and Aaron: "We are impure because of contact with a corpse; but why should we be deprived from offering G-d's sacrifice at its appointed time, along with the children of Israel!" G-d accepted the legitimacy of this plaint and issued the precept of Pesach Sheni, the "Second Pesach: Those unable to offer the Pesach-sacrifice in its proper time on the 14th of Nissan because of impurity from contact with the dead, or because they were delayed by a distant journey, could make this up a month later, on the 14th of lyar. The plaint and demand of these few people thus effected that a new m i t z d and opportunity was given to Israel. The same applies also to us: In our present state of gdut we are ritually impure, both literally and metaphorically, as well as "on a distant road." Thus we must cry out and detnand from G-d: "Why should we be de-

prived from offering G-d's sacrifice? We want the purification that comes with the Messianic redemption, and the new Belt Hamikdash to serve G-d in the intended way!" When we will express this desire and demand it with true sincerity, surely G-cl will grant this immediately, just as I-ie responded to our ancestors in the desert.

"Six hundred thousand footmen are the people, bekirbo (in whose midst) I am. .."
--Beha'abtecha 1 1:2 1 This verse intimates the mystical principle that there is a spark or part of Moses in every one of his people: taking the word bekirbo literally, the verse reads "in whose innards I am." Thus Moses was connected with every Jew, and this enabled him to be the "faithful shepherd" of Israel and its redeemer from Eupt. The same applies to Moshiach. Rabbi Israel Baal Shern Tov teaches that within every Jew there is a spark of the soul of Moshiach. This spark constitutes the very core of everyone's soul which each one is to unveil and release to govern his life. Each one will thus redeem himself, and this will bring about the national redemption for all of Israel. e nation of Israei, with Moshiach is connected wid1 t l ~ entire every single Jew, and that is why he is able to redeem all the Jewish people.

"Send forth men, if you please, and let them spy out the Land of Canaan that I give to the Children of Israel --Sh'hh 13:2

..."

The parshah relates the story of the spies sent by Moses to investigate the Holy Land which the Jewish People were to enter. They returned with a slanderous report, playing up the difficulties in conquering the land, thus discouraging the people and weakening their faith. This led to the tragic consequences related in the garshah. Chassidism explains that the spies did not wish to enter the Land of Israel because they did not want to become involved with the materialism of the world. Throughout the duration of the Jewish people's stay in the desert, they were free from such involvements: their food came from heaven (the manna); water they had from the miraculous "Well of Miriam"; they were sheltered by the Heavenly "Clouds of Glory," which also cleaned anut pressed their garments. Thus, they did not wish to leave the desert to enter the Holy Land where they would have to engage in ploughing, sowing, and all other normative activities for their daily existence. The spies' motive may have been sincere and spiritual, but ~twent counter to the Divine intent. G-d created the world in abode in this physical world: man is to order to have a Div~ne transform himself and the material world into a worthy abode for G-dliness. This is done by utilizing and interacting with every created substance for its Divinely intended purpose, thus elevating and sublimating it to a spiritual reality. That is why we

were given the Torah and rnitzuot, which enable us to achieve that goal. And that is our task and mission for the duration of the galut. The Messianic era is the ultimate purpose of the creation. For then this physical world will demonstrably be a Divine and experienced. It abode, with G-d's Presence fully n~anifest will be a time of "neither fanine nor war, neither envy nor strrfe, because good will emanate in abundance and all delightful things will be accessible like dust. The singular preoccupation of the entire world will be to know G-d. The Israelites, therefore, will be great sages and know the hidden matters, attalning knowledge of their Creator to the full extent of human capacity, as ~tis satd: 'The earth shall be full with the knowledge of G-d as the waters cover the sea' (Isalah 11:9)" (Hikhot MeIachnn

12:5).
This ultimate perfection of the Messianic era and the time of the Resurrect~on of the Dead depends on our actions and service of G-d throughout the duration of the gnlut. The sin of the spies was that they tried to circumvent the process of t h ~ s refining of the physical world and preparing it for Moshiach. Mundane entanglements, mnvolvetnent with worldly matters, may be tiresome, difficult and distasteful for one who asplres to spiritual heights. They are, however, an integral part of the Divine plan, and as Chassidism explains: "The ultimate intent of the descent and exile is t c 3 prepare for an immense ascent when, in the days of Moshiach, the light of G-d will radlate In ;I manifest way!"

"Korach the son of Yitzhar assembled against Moses and


against Aaron

..."

...

-Krwach 16:1-3

This p ~ s h a h raises an obvious question: How is it that an entire portion of G-d's Torah is named after a person like Korach? Korach, after all, was a wicked man who failed to repent even before his death. Scripture says, "The name of the wicked shall rot" (Proverbs 10:17),and our sages interpret this to mean that one is not to mention the names of the wicked. Yet here we find the name of Korach commemorated by the Torah for all generaa h by his name! We must tions by having a whole ~ ~ s h called conclude, then, that Korach must have had some special virtue. When considering the story of Korach's rebellion, we see that he was motivated by envy of Aaron's position. Aaron was the High Priest, and Korach was only a Levite. Korach wanted to be High Priest, as it is said, "and you seek the priesthood also" (Korach 1610; and see Rashi on 166, that he demanded the High Priesthood). He wanted to be more than the average Jew or even a Levite. He sought the level of High Priest, of whom it is said, "Aaron was separated to be sanctified as holy of holies... to offer before G-d, to minister unto Him, and to bless in His Name forever" (I Chronicles 23: 13). The very desire to become High Priest demonstrates a noble aspiration on the part of Korach. In other words, he was a man of lofty and holy aspirations for spiritual accomplishments. This aspect certainly serves as a model for us to emulate.

Moreover, Chassidism explains Korach's rebellion in context of the future redemption. In the prophecies of Ezekiel dealing with the Messianic era there is a puzzling expression: "Hakuhanin-Hukviyim-the Priests-Levites" (Ezekiel 43: 19 and 44: 15), mixing, as it were, these two separate concepts into a single one. Rabbi Isaac Luria explains this expression by stating that in the Messianic era the Levites will be elevated to the higher status of kohanirn (priests). Korach wanted to benefit from this already, in his own time, and he sought, prematurely, to achieve that status. Here again, this desire and aspiration is essentially good and commendable, and, in principle, should be emulated by every Jew. Korach erred, though, by assembling his followers to rise and rebel against Moses. He thought that by doing so he could, as it were, force the realization of the redemption before its time. He did not realize that it could not happen until the refinement of the world would be completed. By naming the garshah after Korach, the Torah endorses his commendable traits of aspirlng to higher goals and of seeking immediate redemption. These are timeless goals for all of us, even while retaining the caution of our limitations on the practical level.

"This is the Torah's decree have them bring you a completely red heifer which has no blemish --Chukat 19:2ff.

...

..."

This is the mitzvah of parah adurnah (red heifer). Contact with a human corpse, or even being together with a corpse overshadowed by one cover, renders a person ritually impure. The purification procedures for such a person include his being sprinkled by the "waters of purification," which contain the specially prepared ashes of a purah adurnah. There is a profound link between the precept of parah adudand the principle of the Messianic redemption: For the duration of the galut, until the coming of Moshiach, all Jews are in a state of impurity caused by corpses. We no longer have ashes of a parah adumah to purify us, and new ones can be prepared only in the presence of the Sanctuary (Beit Hamikdash) . Our present impurity is not only a Halachic condition determined by legal definitions. It is also a spiritual condition, for it is sin and spiritual defilement that brought about the current of our sins we were exiled from our state of galut-"Because land.. ." Mitzvot signify life. To follow the Divine commandments means to attach oneself to the Almighty who gave us the Torah and mitzvot, drawing unto oneself spiritual vitality from the very Source of All Life. Thus it is written: "You who cleave unto G-d, your G-dl you are all alive today" (Va'etchanan 4:4).

Sin signifies death. Sin tneans violating G-d's Will, rebelling against G-d. It disrupts attachment to the Creator, clogging, as it were, the very channel through which the spiritual life-force flows to man, individually and collectively. Sin thus brings about the "impurity of death." Both the "red heifer" and the Messianic redemption effect purification. The ashes of the '"red heifer" are used for removing a legal state of impurity. The redemption will purify the entire people of Israel (including those who halachically are pure) from any trace of deficiency in the bond with our Father in Heaven. One of the Messianic prophecies thus says of that time, in terms analogous to the "waters of purification" of the "red heifer": "I shall sprinkle pure waters upon you that you be purified. I will purify you from all your impurities and from all your idols!" (Ezekiel 36:25) Maiinonides cites a Mishnah with the following words: 'Nine 'red heifers' were prepared from the tlme this precept was ordained until the Second Temple was destroyed: the first was prepared by Moses our Master, the second Ezra prepared, and there were seven from Ezra to the destruction of the Temple. The tenth will be prepared by King Moshiach-may he soon be revealed, amen, may thus be (G-d's) Will!" (Hilchot Parah Adu-

rnah 3:4)
Our present mitzvot can make this happen momentarily!

I
"(Israel) couches, lies down like an an (lion) and like a

laori (fierce lion), mee (who) shall make him rise!"


-Bald 24:9
T h e Midrash states that this verse speaks of the era of galut. Gdut relates to the physical reality of the Jew (the body). One might think that it relates also to the soul, that is, to the aspects of Torah and m i t w t which are bound up with the soul. Thus it is said, "He couches, lies down." This is not the surrender of one who has lost his strength, but a considered restraint-"like a h, like a fierce lionn--byDivine decree. Thus even in galut-the time of "couching, lying down1the nations of the world do not have mastery over Israel, Heaven forbid. Jews are always like an mi and hvi, except that "Mee (literally, Who) shall make him rise." Mystical texts interpret the term Mee as a reference to the Almighty. In our context, then, "Mee shall make him rise" refers to G-d who will redeem us from the galut, as it is said, "Out of Zion, Mee shall grant the salvation of Israel..." (Psalms 14:7). Even in galut Israel remains like an an and a hvi. T h e soul, in tenns of Torah and mitzvot, is not subjected to the galut. Realization of this principle, and living hy it, will bring about the salvation of the Messianic redemption.

"A star steps out of Jacoband a rod rises out of Israel."


-BUM 24: 17
One source, cited in the Jerusalem Talmud, Targum and Midrashim, states that this verse refers to Moshiach. Another passage in the Jerusalem Talmud interprets that it refers to every Jew. This apparent disagreement can be resolved by a teaching of the Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov, who said that every Jew contains within himself a spark or part of the soul of Moshiach. Both interpretations thus converge, for ulti~nately they state one and the same thing. This does not mean that the spark of Moshiach inherent in every Jew is no more than some latent aspect. After all, our verse states; "A star steps out of Jacob and a rod rises out of Israel." These expressions itnply that it comes out into the open. This means, therefore, that every Jew is able to bring the spark of Moshiach within himself out into the open. In simple terms: Every Jew is able to bring about the actual manifestation of Moshiach. One is able to do so by means of Torah and mitzvot. For Torah and mitzwt effect a purification and refinement of the physical world. Impurity is reduced and nullified, to the point of "I shall remove the spirit of impurity from the earth" (Zechariah 13:2). This will be achieved with the coming of Moshiach who shall reveal goodness and holiness in the world, culminating in "The earth shall be full with the knowledge of G-d as the waters cover the sea" (Isaiah 119).

"Pinchas turned My wrath away from the Children of Israel when he zealously avenged Me among them Therefore say: Behold, I give him My covenant of peace. And it shall be for him and for his offspring after him a covenant of eternal priesthood." -Pinchas 25:ll-13

...

...

Pinchas courageously took up G-d's cause among the Israelites. Others, too, had wimessed Zimri's offense and provocation, including Moses, the sons of Aaron, and the elders. Pinchas himself was of junior rank in that assembly, yet he was the only one to act, thus bringing salvation to the Jewish people and obtaining a great reward for himself. This teaches us an important lesson: Sometimes leaders remain silent in the face of certain events. This does not mean that nothing is to be done. Nor does it mean that this silence may be used as an excuse to ignore the event. On the contrary: when aware that you can do something about it, you are obligated to do so. The fact that those greater than you say nothing and remain passive may very well be because the incident has special bearing upon you. You are dealing with something that you are to correct or refine in order to achieve your personal perfection, your purpose in this world. Moreover, our sages say that "Pinchas is (identical with the prophet) Elijah." This expression is rather odd, because Pinchas preceded Elijah. Should it not, then, say "Elijah is Pinchas?" According to the Zohar, however, Elijah did precede Pinchas,

albeit as an angel and not as a human be~ng. This has the following implication: As stated above, no one should pay attention to what others do or fail to do. If an opportunity arises to accomplish something, one must go ahead and do it. When wondering, "Where will I find the strength to do so!"-the answer is: "Pinchas 1 s Eiijah!" That is, when the Almighty places you into a situation that requires mesirat nefesh (self-sacrifice),you are also given the necessary abilities to carry out this t'ask, Including the possibility of being infused with an angelic spark. One is not to think in terms of "this one or that one can do the job." The fact is that anything coming your way relates to, and belongs to, your missiun in life. You have the abilities to deal with it, and you must do so with mesirat nefesh! And where there is a sincere will there is a way, and one wlll surely succeed. We must follow the example of Pinchas. Thus we transform this world into a fitting abode and sanctuary for G-dli~ess. Consequently, we shall see with our very own eyes that "Pinchas is E1ijah"-i.e., the precursor of the Messianic redemption, as it is said: "I am sending you the prophet Elijah before the coming of the great and awesome day of G - d (Malachi 3:23), "the harbinger who will proclaim peace, the harbinger of good who will proclaim salvation, saylng to Zion 'Your G-d reigns!"' (Isaiah 52:7).

"The gold and the silver, the copper, the iron, the tin and the lead. must be purified with mey niduh (the waters of

..

sprinkling) you shall pass [it] through water." -Matot 3 1:22-23


This passage, proclaimed as the Jewish people were ready to enter the Land of Israel, presents a basic law relating to the fundamental principle of kashrut, the dietary laws: how to make vessels kosher, fit for use by Jews. According to some authorities, this passage is also the source for the fundamental law relating to Family Purity, that a menstruant woman must immerse in a mikwh for self-purification. In these last days of the galut we must be particularly vigilant with these two commandments. Besides their intrinsic significance as basic and perpetual principles of Judaism, they are also a special preparation and catalyst for our anticipated entry into the Land of Israel with the coming of Moshiach.

...

PARSHAT MASSEY
"These are the journeys of the Children of Israel who went forth from the Land of Egypt -Massey 33: 1

..."

Parshat Massey begins with enumerating the forty-two journeys of the Children of Israel, from leaving the Land of Egypt until reaching Yarden Yericho (the Jordan near Jericho). The Torah's wording, however, raises an obvious question: it took e journey "from the Land of Egypt." The other 41 jouronly m neys were after the people had already kft Egypt! Why then the plurd form of ('these are the journeys"! The term Mitnayim (Egypt) derives from the word meytzarim (restrictions; restraints). Mitvayim, therefore, refers not only to a particular land but also to a condition of both physical and spiritual confinement. The term Yencho (Jericho) derives from the word rei'ach (smell).It alludes to Moshiach of whom it is said, "vehricho (He will make him to be censed) with the fear of G-d..." (Isaiah 1 1:3). Thus Moshiach is called "moir'ach veeda'in-he is able to judge a person by merely 'smelling' him" (Sanhedrin 93b). The 42 journeys, therefore, relate to 42 stages of leaving Mitvayim (personal or national restrictions and confinements), before we reach the tnie and ultimate freedom of Yericho, the Messianic redemptton. The exodus from the physical Egypt was indeed a liberation, but only relative to the previous slavery. In terms of our ultimate goal it was not yet the true and full freedom. Every one of the 42 journeys represented an additional progresston, a liberating

ascent relative to the preceding stage. In terms of the final and highest level to be achieved, however, it remained a form of Mztzrayim. The term "journeys" (in plural fonn) thus teaches us that we must forever press on, progress and ascend, regardless of past achievements. We are, and remain in, Mitnayirn, of one form or another, until we reach Ymden Yericho-the fieedom of Moshiach-may it be speedily in our very own days.

DEVARIM

"See, I have set the land before you. Come and possess the land G-d swore unto your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob,to give unto them and to their descendants after them." -Devarim 1:8
Rashi comments: "'Come and possess the land'-there is no one to contest the matter, and you need not wage war. Indeed, if they had not sent the spies, they would not have needed any weapons." The Almighty Himself had promised the Jewish People that He would give them the Land of Israel. Quite obviously, then, no one can contest this. The People of Israel, therefore, could have taken possession of the land without a battle, and even without any armor to deter a potential enemy. Unfortunately, however, the people lacked faith. They did not rely on G-d to bring them into the land in a miraculous way. They lost that opportunity when they demanded, "Let us send men ahead of us, to explore for us the land and to bring us back a report..." (Devarim 1:22). Their artitude and conduct made it necessary for them to follow natural procedures in taking over the land: they met opposition on the part of the inhabitants which forced them to wage wars in order to assert their Divine right to the land. There is a moral in this for our own times and present condition: The future redemption by Moshiach is said to be analogous to the exodus from Egypt: "As in the days of your going out from the land of Egypt, I will show them wondrous things" (Michah

124 1 LIVING WITH MOSHIACH

7:15). In fact, the wonders and miracles of the Messianic rtAdemption will exceed those of the exodus. If, then, the entry into, and settlement of, the Land of Israel by those who were a s supposed to be in a miraculous freed from the Egyptian exile w way-"There is no one to contest the matter, and you need not wage war"--how much more so will this be the case with the Messianic redemption in our own days! Nowadays, too, just as then, this matter depends on the Jewish people themselves. We must show absolute faith in G-d and His promise, that the entire Land of Israel belongs to the People of Israel! We must not be afraid to inform the nations of the world, clearly and unequivocally, that the Land of Israel is Israel's eternal legacy. "Should the people of the world say to Israel, 'You are robbers, because you took by force the lands of the seven nations (of Canaan),'they can respond to them: 'The whole earth belongs to the Holy One, blessed be He. He created it and He gave it to whom He saw fit. (The Land of Israel) was given to (the nations) by His Will, and by His Will He took it from them and gave it to us!' " (Rashi on Genesis I :I). When we shall demonstrate this true and absolute faith in G-d, we shall merit immediately the protnise "No one will contest this, and there will be no more wars nor the need for any weapons": "I shall break from the earth the bow, the sword and warfare, and 1shall make them lie down securely" (Hosea 2:20).

"Va'etchanan-I

I pleaded with G-d please let me pass

over and see the good land

..."

...

-Va'etchanun 3 :23-25
Our sages note that the numerical equivalent of Va'etchanan is 515, corresponding to the 5 15 prayers of Moses to enter the Land of Israel. He pleaded persistently in spite of having been told that he would not be permitted to do so. This teaches us that we, too, must persist with continuous pleadings of "AdMatai-How much longer?' in asking to enter the Land of Israel with the Messianic redemption. As we are the generation of the redemption, our sincere prayers will undoubtedly effect the imminent revelation of Moshiach!

Va'etchanan is always read on the Shabbat following Tisha Be'Au (9th of Av, the saddest day in the Jewish calendar, marking terrible calamities, including the destruction of both Sanctuaries (Temples)). This Shabbat begins a special period of 7 weeks: every week we read a Haftarah of consolation, proclaiming the redemption and describing the bliss of the Messianic era which will console us from the pains of the galut. They are called the "Seven (Haftarot) of Consolation." The first of these is on the Shabbat of Va'etchanan. This Shabbat is called Shabbat Nachamu, because its Haftarah begins

"Nachmunucharnu amiI',mfort, comfort My people, says your ti-d"(Isaiah 40: 1) . Our sages explain the double wording: "They

were stricken doubly...and they are comforted doubly." The Midrash notes that these seven Haftarot follow in an a l s cending sequence, indicated by their opening verses. In the first, the prophets are told to console Israel: "Comfort, comfort My people." In the second Israel says: "G-d has forsaken me" (Isaiah 49:14), i.e., the comfort of the prophets is not enough. In the third, the prophets report this to (3-d by describing Israel as "Afflicted, storm-tossed, disconsolate" (Isaiah 54:ll). In the fourth, ti-dresponds: "It is I, I Myself, who comforts you" (Isaiah 5 1:12); and so forth. This raises a question: If there is an ascending sequence, why start off with a double expression of comfort! It should have begun with a singular consolation, to which another is added later on! However, this comes to teach us the following: The essential bond between Israel and G-d is fully intact at the very beginning of these seven weeks. It is there, in its wholeness, right after Tisfla Be'Au and the preceding 3 weeks of mourning. Indeed, this bond between the very essence of the soul and the very essence of C3-d, is noted precisely at that lowpoint of galut. The starting-point of "comforted doubly" is rooted m that bond. Thus it allows for the ever-intensifying consolation to follow on a manifest level. 1 1 the levels of redemption a The manifest experience of a achieved by following the model of "comfc)rted doubly": doubling the achievements ofour personal service of G-d as well as of our involvements with others. Regardless of our present a n and must double status-indeed, even at a low-point-we c

our efforts, thus to merit the immediate "Comfort, comfort My people," by "It is I, I Myself, who comforts you!"

I
"It will be that e i b (if) you will listen to these laws... G-d will safeguard unto you the covenant and the love that He swore to your fathers

..."

-Eikev 7 :12

The Torah does not use here the more common word of irn (if), but eikev. This unusual expression gives rise to various interpretat~ons by the commenrators. Our sages relate the conjunctive eikev (if o r because) to the noun eikv, which means "heel," the hindmost part of the fa^ and lowest part of the body. This word is used to describe the era right before Moshiach: "ikveta de'Meshha-on the heels of Moshiach," i.e., close to his coming. That term has two connotations which seem to conflict with one another: Iklvera de'Meshicha suggests the last generation of the galut, thus the last stage of Jewish history of the pre-Messianic era. That generation is last not only in terms of time, but also in terms of stature-spiritually and morally the lowest and hindmost, analogous to the heel of man. On the other hand, being f the gaht, it is also the one that feels and the last generation o hears the footsteps of Moshiach and will experience his coming. These two senses are related. Thls last generation comes after, and in the wake of, all those before it. As such, it harbors virtues 'and spiritual energy and bears the accumulation of all t l ~ e of its predecessors-in addition to its own, however puny they may be. Thus, just as it is the heel upon which stands the whole

body, including all vital organs like the heart and the brain, so it is the "heel-generation" of ikveta de1Meshhawhich bears the Jewish people of all times and moves them into the Messianic redemption and era. This is also the conjunctive meaning of eikev: "if (because) you will listen to these laws...": "If (because) you will listen to these laws" in the time of galut, and especially in its harshest and darkest days of ikveta &'Meshha, "G-d will safeguard unto you the covenant and the love that He swore to your fathers..." by having Moshiach redeem us, speedily, in our very own days!

Eikv, the name of the pnhah, is also the term that describes ikveta &'Meshha, the period right before the coming of Moshiach. Our sages foretold that in this period, "each day's curse will be worse than that of the preceding day." Why would they tell us so somber a prophecy?What good could come from it ? If we had not been foretold about this situation, the Jewish people might have become dispirited and lost hope. The Torah thus informed us that the final stage of the gdut will be terribly perplexing and frustrating, in order that we take heart, keep faith, and strengthen our service of G-d with greater effort in the full knowledge and conviction that the redemption is about to happen! We are also foretold that in ikveta &'Meshha impudence ( c h u t e )will increase. This trait of chut2pah can and should be utilized in a positive way: persistently asking and demanding of G-d that Moshiach should appear and redeem us. There is no

doubt that G-d is pleased with this kind of "impudent" demand and will respond to it accordingly.*

See Sanhedrir~1053: "Ilnpudcncc, even against Heaven, is of :~vail."Note also Y m M m i , Ta'anit 2: 1 and Pessikui deR . Kahanu, secrirr~l25: "Tile i~l~pudent prcvails..., espcially when it is for the lxncf~t of the worlJ."

"See! This day I place before you blessing

..."
-Re'ey

1 1:26

The blessing in this verse does not refer to anything specific. It is a comprehensive statement which includes all the blessings which the Almighty confers upon each and every Jew. First and foremost, therefore, it refers also to the blessing of the ultimate and complete redemption which Moshiach will bring about. The Torah uses here the emphatic expression of "SEE!" This means that the Messianic redemption is not something theoretical or academic that we could suffice with merely listening to it, or studying and understanding it. It is something we must see with our eyes. The redemption must be visible to our physical eyes, in the most literal sense! One must declare and publicize everywhere, in a most sincere way, that even this very day the Almighty continuously proclaims to every member of the Jewish people, through his faithful prophets: "See! T h day I place before you blessing! See and discover that the blessing of the ultimate and complete redemption may come and be realized this very day!"

11
"You will remember the day you left Egypt all the days of your life!" --Re" 16:3
The Mishnah notes that the word "all" appears to be superfluous. Thus it must have particular significance. The phrase "all the days of your life,"therefore, is interpreted k h v i byemot h$vioshmh-['all the days'] includes even to mean " the days of Moshiach." This means that even in the Messianic era we shall still remember the exodus (our redemption from Egypt) and express gratitude for it. The literal translation of h h v i Iiyemt h$\/loshmh is "to bnng the days of Moshmh." This expression, then, has another significance as well. "All the days of your life," that is, every day of our life-time, must be imbued by the single and profound objective to bring about the Messianic era. We must always bear in mind that any one good deed, every single one, hastens the coming of Moshiach. When the actual redemption will occur, therefore, we will not feel that we are benefiting from a gratuitous gift. We ourselves can-and did-make an effort and contribution "to bring the days of Moshiach ..."

"Appoint for yourself judges and officers in all your settlements 1Shaftim 16:18

..."

"Judges" refers to those qualified and appointed to render judgments in accord with the dictates of the Torah. "Officers" refers to those appointed to enforce the legal decisions of the judges, if necessary even by forceful compulsion. Of the era of the redemption it is said: "I shall restore your judges as at first, and your counselors as at the beginning" (Isaiah 1:26). This verse mentions "judges" but not "officers." Instead of "officers" there will be "counselors." The task of the counselors is to explain and clarify to litigants the words and decisions of the judge so that they will understand and realize how those decisions are in the peoples' best interest and for their own benefit. Thus the people themselves will want to follow the court's judgments. It follows, then, that in the Messianic era there will no longer be a need for officers to enforce the law, for all shall willingly live up to their obligations. In fact, even before the actual redemption, in the present era when everything is already ready for the redemption, we no longer need "officers" forcing us to cany out our duties and obligations. Even now all is ready to carry out the word of the "judge" willingly and voluntarily.

TI
"Man is [like] the tree of the field."
3 h o f t i r n 20: 19

Man is compared to a tree. A tree produces h i t s which in turn cause other fruit-producing trees to grow. In like manner, we are not to suffice with our own growth in matters of Torah and good deeds. We must produce frults with seeds for new trees and new fruits. We tnust exert positive influence upon our environment-upon friends, acqamtances, and anyone we happen to meet-that they, too, produce "fruits." This will cause all of creation to blossom, thus bringing about the redemption. The Talmud lists a number of signs for the approaching redemption, and concludes that the most manifest sign is when "You, mountains of Israel, you shall shoot forth your branches and yield your fruit (Ezekiel 3 6 6 ) . When our conduct will reflect the trees of the field, that "the shoots taken from you will be like unto you," to blossom and cause a chain-reaction of self-perpetuating fruits of Torah and mltzwot in oneself and others, we can be sure of the imminent coming of Moshiach. This applies especially to the study and application of the teachings of "@miyut haTorah"--the deeper, inner dimension of the Torah-which is referred to as the "Tree of L~fe."
...I'

"When you go out to wage war against your enemies, and G d , your G-d, will deliver them into your hands and you will
take captives

..."

-Ki Teitzei 2 1 :10


The wording of this verse indicates a clear-cut promise that "when you go out to wage war" this will result in your victory: "G-d, your G-d, will deliver them into your hands." Moreover, It does not the Torah adds: "and you will take shivy~aptives." say sheti but shiyo, which literally means ")us captives" (or "h capture"). The implication is that we shall regain the enemy's capture, that is, that which the enemy had captured from us in the past. One of the tasks of Moshiach in the early stages of his revelation and open activities is (in the wording of Maimonides): "he will wage the battles of G-d and succeed." T h e pmshah thus alludes also to the battle and victory of Moshiach, and this applies also to the conclusion of "you will take his capture." A t the end of the Messianic battle, the people of Israel will find restored all the precious spoils that fell into the hands of the nations of the world during the time of the galut, and which the latter have kept all these years. This means essentially the Beit Hmikdash (the Holy Temple of Jerusalem). The nations pursued the Jewish people throughout the times, and their primary objective has always been the dwelling-place of our spiritual center, the Beit Hamikdash. They did indeed achieve their goal,

in fact twice, by the destruction of both the first Beit Hamikdash and the second Beit HamiMash. For as long as the third Beit Hamikdash (to be restored by Moshiach) is not yet rebuilt, the Beit Hamikdash remains in their hands! When Moshiach will succeed with his battles, we shall regain the enemy's capture by the restoration of the Beit Ham'k-

dash. I1
"G-d, your Ged, would not listen to Bilam, but transformed the curse into a blessing for you, because G-d, your Ged, loves you." -Ki Teitzei 23:6 The essential prophecy of Bilam, the prophet of the nations of the world, deals with the ultimate downfall of the nations and Israel's victory over them (see azlak 24:17ff., and the commentaries there). Just as Bilam used all of his special ability (his prophetic power) to bless Israel, so, in rhe future the nations of the world will use their energy to help Israel. Thus it is written: "Kings will be your foster-fathers and their queens your nursing mothers" (Isaiah 49:23). In this verse of our wrshah, therefore, there is an allusion to the change from gold (the galut,exile) to ge'ulah (redemption), the transformation of the solemn days of fasting and mourning into days of "joy and gladness and cheerful festivals" (Zechariah

...

8:19).

"When you come to the land you shall take from the first of every fruit of the land You are to place it in a basket and you shall come to the priest and he shall place it before the altar of G-d, your G-d." -Ki Tam 26: 1-4

...

...

...

...

This passage refers to the mitzvah of bikurim (the "first fruits"). The Land of Israel is distinguished by seven species of produce: wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives and dates. The very first produce of these are to be brought as an offering to the kohanim (priests) who serve in the Beit Harnikdash (Holy Temple in Jerusalem). With this offering of first fruits one expresses gratitude to G-d for all one's blessings, thus performing this mitzvch with great joy. There are two approaches to the performance of a mitzvd: (1) one may do so with but minimal effort and involvement, barely enough to fulfill the obligation; or (2) one may do so with a sense of love and dedication, with full willingness to observe it in the most excelling manner. In this second way, one is fully immersed in the m i t z d to do it with one's most precious possessions. Here lies the uniqueness of the mitzvah of bikurim: the farmer brings to the kohen the choicest produce. The very first fruits of man's labor are most precious to him, yet he overcomes his personal desires, to offer them to the kohanim.

The mitzvah of bikurim will be restored with the coming of Moshiach. W e are presently at the threshold of the redemption, thus we must prepare ourselves for the observance of this mitzv d . This preparation is possible by already fulfilling this mitzvah in a spiritual sense: Every Jew must regard himself as being "first fruits." This means that with respect to every one of his deeds or utterances, and even his thoughts, one must see to it that they be not only correct but excelling in quality. Every deed must be of the finest sort, and so, too, one's speech and thoughts. This applies not only in the context of Torah and mitzvot. Any sort of involvement, even the mundane actions of a simple weekday, must be sublimated and elevated to become bikurim. This is achieved by following the instruction of our sages: "Let all your deeds be for the sake of heaven!" (Avot 2: 12) For as long as the redemption has not yet been realized, the mitzvah of bikurim can be observed in this manner. When a Jew regards himself as bikurim, he can visualize himself as if at that very moment he is actually standing in the Beit Hamikdash, facing the kohanim, and offering his basket of bikurim. Our efforts in offering bikurim in this manner will bring about rhe Messianic redemption and the observance of the mitzvuh of biku-rimin its literal sense.

"This day, G-d, your G-d, commands you to perform the decrees and the statutes..." -Ki Taoro 26: 16

Our sages teach that the words "this day" imply that the Divine commands must always be to you as something new, as li you had been commanded them now, this very day.

This applies also to our actions and endeavors to hasten the redemption. They must be innovative. One is not to be content with the mere addition of more deeds from one day to the next. Our activities must be in a mode of "something truly new." Thus will be fulfilled the prophecy of "the new heavens and the new earth" (Isaiah 66:22),that will be with the coming of Moshiach.

"You will return unto G-d bring back your captivity."

... and G-d, your G-d, will


--Nitzaprim 3 0:2-3

Rashi comments: The return of the captivity will be "as though G-d Himself seizes with His hands every single individual from his place, as it is said, 'you will be gathered up one by one, 0 Children of Israel"' (Isaiah 27: 12). As the redemption will be brought about by teshuvah-repentance ("you will rehlrn unto Gd"), it follows that just as the redemption itself will be for "every single individual... one by one," SO, too, every single one shall return unto G-d. Thus it is stated explicitly in the next verse of Isatah's prophecy: "On that day, a great shofar will be blown, and those who are lost in the land of Assyria and those who are cast away in the land of Egypt shall come, and they will bow down before G-d on the holy mountain in Jerusalem" (Isaiah 27:13). In other words, even those who are so deeply immersed in the gdut that they became "lost" and "cast away," they, too, will be awakened by teshuvah.

I1
"To love Gd... and to listen to His voice... for this is your life and the length of your days -Nitzavim 30:20

..."

The Torah gives man pure life in this world and an exalted reward in the World to Come. In fact, the Torah is the very being of man. This may be compared to the following: Man's life-force is equally present throughout the body, in the toes no less than in the head. Some higher soul-powers (such as intellect, vision, hearing etc.) are indeed in the head, but these are merely specific soul-powers. The life-force itself, that which makes us living beings, is equal throughout the body, in the heels of the legs no less than in the brain of the head. So, too, it is with the Torah. Every aspect of a Jew's life draws its vitality from the Torah. The Torah permeates and penetrates everything in the life of the Jew, from the most sublime aspect of his soul to the smallest details of his physical reality. This is evident from the reward promised for the observance of Torah: it is not restricted to a spiritual bonus in Heaven, which befits spiritual engagement in Torah-study and so forth. O n the contrary, we are told: "If you walk in my ordinances.. .I shall give your rains in their seasons and the land shall yield its produce..." (Bechukotay 26:l-2). The fact of physical and m a d rewards thus indicates that the Torah relates to the total being of the Jew, to his physical reality no less than to his spiritual reality. This explains the promise of wondrous physical benefits in the Messianic era, such as "The Land of Israel is destined to bring forth cakes and silken garments" (Shabbat 30b). Why would there be such extraordinary physicd benefits in an era

marked by the increase o f knowledge and wisdom, when the Jewish people will be totally immersed in pursuing the "knowledge of G-d"? In context of the above, however, it is clear. Precisely that phenomenon demonstrates how all of creation is literally and completely bound up with the Torah and with G-d, who is the "Giver of the Torah." When those wonders are revealed and become manifest in the material life and reality, all will know and realize that the Torah is literally "your life and the length of your daysn-111 all physical matters as well.

I
"I will hide My face from them

..."
-Vayeikch 3 1 :17

The meaning of these words, as already noted by Rashi, is that "I will hide My face from them--as though I do not see their distress." In other words, the concealment is only "as if..," for G-d does not, Heaven forbid, forsake Israel. He always sees and observes them, and indeed senses, as it were, their anguish, as it is written, "In all their distress, He is distressed" (Isaiah 63:9). The sole intent of the apparent concealment is to stir the Jewish people to return to G-d. It is in fact an indication of G-d's great and unceasing love for Israel, regardless of their condition. Chassidut k e n s this to a son who is at home with his father: the father will sometimes conceal himself from him, so that the son should become more aware of his love for the father and manifest it more intensely. For when the son realizes that his father is really there, though hidden from him, this itself will arouse his love for him-to seek him and to express these feelings more ardently. Galut is the ultimate form of "I will hide My face from them." This is, however, no more than a temporary illusion to motivate us to seek the "hidden presence" of G-d. Thus we are led to intensify our bond with G-d, culminating in the ultimate manifestation of G-d's love for Israel that will come about with the Messianic redemption.

that day..."

"Anochi-I

shall surely hide (haster astir) My face on


-Vayeilech 3 1 :18

R. Israel Baal Shem Tov explains the double expression of


haster astir to mean that the Divine concealment itself will be

concealed. That is, people will not even realize that there is a concealment of the Divine Presence. This relates especially to the final period of the galut when spiritual darkness is overpowering. But even then we must remember that nothing can separate G-d from Israel. Whether we realize it or not, G-dliness is forever within us. The very same "Anochi [I am G-d, your G-d ...In of the Ten Commandments of the Divine revelation at Sinai, is the "Amchi" of "I shall surely hide ..."This fact makes it possible for us to rediscover Him, and to see His full revelation again with the ultimate redemption of Moshiach.

I
The Torah-reading of Ha'azinu is referred to as a "song": "Moses spoke... the words of this song. . ." (Vayeilech 3 1:30). The beginning of Hapa* describes G-d's continuing love of, and kindness to, Israel. The end of the parshah speaks of the ultimate retribution at the end of days, when Israel shall be redeemed by Moshiach and its glory will be re-established before the whole world. In between, however, there are severe words of rebuke relating to the lapses of Israel's unfaithfulness and the punishment which these precipitate. Yet the whole parshah is called a shirah, a song, something which is normally associated with joy and happiness. This teaches us that all and any events befalling the Jewish people, including those that appear to us as negative and unwanted, serve but the one single goal of bringing about the true and ultimate redemption. Every event is another rung on the ladder leading to the ultimate and everlasting bliss to be brought about by Moshiach. Thus, even the passages of rebuke and disciplining in our parshuh are part of the great song of Israel's history which culminates in the geJuInh,the final redemption.

"Listen heavens, and I will speak; and let the earth hear the words of my mouth." --HaJuzjnu 3 2 :1

Our sages note that "listening" relates to something that 1 s near, and "hearing" relates to something that is distant. Thus, we would expect that the term "listen" should be applied to the earth, which is closer to man, and the term "hear" to the heavens, which are distant. They explain that the order in our verse is correct, for Moses was closer to heaven than to earth. Even so, this passage is part of the Torah which relates to every Jew. How, then, do we reconcile these expressions in our context?The answer is found in the following: When a Jew serves G-d with the totality of his soul, to the point of filly manifesting of his soul, "a portion of G-d from Above," he will be close to the spiritual holiness of heaven and he distances himself from all earthly matters. Thus "Listen heavens... let the earth hear." Moreover, the fact that each one possesses a spark of the comprehensive soul of Moses confers upon him or her a special ability to accomplish this. With this kind of service of G-d one does not negate the world, but elevates and sublimates it from "earthiness" to holiness. Thus one brings about the reality of the Messianic filture when "the Land of Israel will extend over all the countries of the world": the whole world will ascend to the present level of the sanctity of the Land of Israel (while the Land of Israel itself will ascend to the present sanctity of Jerusalem).

I
"He shall be King over Yeshurun when the people's leaders are assembled together, the tribes of Israel are in unity." -Berachah 33:5 When the tribes of Israel are in unity, they bring together the people's leaders, and they effect that "He shall be King over Yeshurun." The Midrash interprets this verse to refer to Moshiach, who will be King of Israel and "assemble the castaways of Israel, and gather in the dispersed ones of Judah from the four corners of the e a r t h (Isaiah 11:12). The unity of Israel effects the coming of Moshiach, as we are taught: "Israel shall be redeemed when they shall be a singular band ... When they are bound together they shall receive the Face of the Shechinah" (Tanchum,Nitzavim).

I1

"No other prophet like Moses has arisen in Israel -Beruehuh 34:lO

..."

Of Moshiach it is said, "My servant shall be wise, lofty and exalted, and very elevated" (Isaiah 52:13). The Midrash interprets: " 'Lofty' beyond Abraham; 'Exalted' beyond Moses; 'Elevated' beyond the ministering angels." Ofthand this would seem to present a difficulty as the Torah states explicitly that "No other prophet like Moses has arisen in

Israel." In this context, however, Mai~nonides describes Moshiach as "wiser than Solomon and a great prophet close to the level of Moses." s resolved by noting that The apparent contradiction 1 prophecy is only one (albeit the greatest) of the qualities of Moses.. He had other qualities as well, such as that of royalty (in which King Solomon exceeded Moses); soul-level; teaching of Torah; and so forth. It is in these latter qualities-not in prophecy-that Moshiach excels Moses. Moshiach will teach new insights (the "inner" or esoteric dimension) of the Torah to the whole nation, including the patriarchs and Moses.

YAMIM TOVIM

The Great Shofar

"On that day a great shofar will be sounded, and those who are lost in the land of Ashur (Assyria) and those who are cast away in the land of Mitzrayim (Egypt) shall come and bow down to G-d on the holy mountain in Jerusalem." -Isaiah 27: 13; Mussaf of Rosh Hashanah
The "lost" and '!cast-aways" are not only the physically exiled but also those lost and banished throughout the spiritual wastelands of the gdut, those removed from their religious roots and heritage. Chassidut explains: "Those who are lost in the land of Ashur" refers to the ones who are immersed in mundane pleasures and luxuries-reading Ashur as an expression of esher (bliss). "Those who are cast away in the land of Mitsrayim" refers to the ones whose hearts and minds are not open to the knowledge of G-d because of the pressures and curtailments of the gdutreading Mitvuyim as an expression of meitzarim (straits; restraints)-as it is written, "they did not listen to Moses because of anguish of spirit (insufficiency of spirit) and the hard work" (Va'eiru 6:9). When a person, close to the service of G-d and His Torah prays for a manifestation of G-diiness,he thinks of more intense devotion in prayer, greater excitement in the study of Torah, more deeply felt attachment to G-d in the observance of rnitzvot, and so forth.

'The spiritually "lost and cast-aways" are 11-tsensitiveto those values. The "great shofar, that will be sounded with the Messianic redemption," however, will awaken their souls. Then arousal will be so intense that they will nut ask for a n y t l ~ ~ n g personal, but seek G-d Himself, a full manifestation of Divinity. The simplicity and sincerity of this prayer shall be effective, and thus they "shall come and bow down to G-d on the holy mountain in Jerusalem." Thus, with the coming of Moshiach the people will be extriand they will come ~o cated from both of the above situat~orx, how down to G-(1.

I "All the prophets enjoined the principle of teshuvah (returning to G-d; repentance), and Israel will be redeemed
specifically by virtue of t e s h u d . The Torah already assured that Israel will ultimately repent, in the final period of the galut, and then they will be redeemed immediately -Maimonides, Hilchot Teshuvah 7:5

..."

Teshuvuh erases the sins of Israel which impede the redemption. In fact, however, the significance of teshuvuh goes beyond this. Teshuuzh is rooted in the very essence of man's soul, and that is why it is able to correct all the blemishes and defects caused by sins. Redemption means a manifestation of the Divine essence in the world, and that is brought about by teshuvuh. T h e very principle of ge'ulah (redemption), therefore, is most intimately bound to the concept of teshuvah.

I1
"Who, 0 G-d, is like You, who pardons iniquity and overlooks transgression for the remnant of His heritage! He does not retain His anger forever, for He delights in mercy." -Michah 7: 18, cited in the Minchah-hafearahof Yum Kippur

Teshuvuh brings about the ultimate redemption, as our sages taught: "[The redemption] depends only on teshuvah" (Sanhedrin 97b). Maimonides thus rules that "The Torah already assured

that Israel will ultimately repent, in the final period of the galut, and then they will be redeemed immediately" (Hikhot Teshuvuh 7:s). This does not mean, however, that the redemption will not occur unless this is presently being fulfilled fully in the slmple sense of these words. For: a) There is not a single Jew who has not already had thoughts of teshuvah several times in the course of his life. Jewish law stipulates that the mere thought of teshuvah transforms even the most wicked person into a most righteous one. b) People living in our times who presently do not observe the Torah and its mitzvot are like "infants caken into captivity among heathens" and raised by them (thus not knowing any better). They are "victims of duress," and "the Torah exonerates victims of duress." Moreover, when such "captives" observe even a single mitzvuh, it is most precious and dear unto the Almighty. f In fact, we see that precisely nowadays there are thousands o such "victims of duress" who have already returned, and many more who are constantly returning to their spiritual roots, to the path of the Torah. C) The redemption will actually occur even before the Jewish people repent. Thus it is written, "He will redeem Israel from all its sins" (Psalms 130:8), and the commentators explain: "Even sin will not impede the redemption, for He will redeem Israel from sin." This is seen also from the text of the Tachanun-prayer which cites first, "G-d, redeem Israel from all its afflictions" (Psalms 25:22), and only thereafter the verse, "He will redeem Israel from all its sins" (Psalms 13023). In other words, first G-d will redeem the people of Israel from the distress of the gdut, and thereafter He will redeem them frotn their sins.

Rabbi David Kimchi thus explains Michah 7:18 ,"Who, 0 G-d, is like You, who pardons iniquity and overlooks transgressions for the remnant of His heritage! He does not retain His anger forever, because He delights in mercy": Those that remain when the Redeemer comes... though they will be guilty to the point that they should not leave the galut because of their evil deeds, G-d will not look at their behavior forever "because He delights in mercy. 1'. His mercy shall prevail over their sins when the time of redemption arrives!

"You shall take for yourselves on the first day the fruit of a goodly tree (ethrog), branches of palm trees flulav), boughs of thick trees (hadassim), and willows of the brook (arawt) 9, -Emor 23:40

...

"R. Berechiah said in the name of R. Levi: For the merit of 'You shall take for yourselves bayom harishon (on the first day) I [G-dl shall reveal Myself to you first and build for you the 'first9-i.e., the Beit Hamikdash of which it is written 'The throne of glory, on high from the first...' (Jeremiah 17 :12), and bring to you the 'first9-i.e., the King Moshiach of whom it is written, 'The first unto Zion..."' (Isaiah 41:26). ---Vayikra Rabba 30: 16

...'

...

Chassidism explains that these four species were selected because each of them signifies the principle of unity: the leaves ot the luhv are unopened and bound together; the leaves of the hadassirn (myrtle-branches) must emerge from the stern "three leaves growing out of one nest"; uruvot (willow-branches) are also called achvana, a word denoting brotherhood or brotherly love; and the ethrog is the " 'fruit of a tree that is hadar (gtxxily)' read not hadar but ha-dm, i.e., a fruit which remains upon its tree from year to year" (Sululh 35a), thus compounding the climates of all four seasons of the year. The four species indicate not only the sense of unity intrinsic to each, but also the unity of all four being taken together: the s i n ~ ~ lnutzvuh ar of "you shall take for yourselves..." is fulfilled only when all four are taken together.

Moreover, the Midrash notes that the four species also symbolize four types of people: 1) The ethrog has taste as well as fragrance, so Israel has people who possess Torah-learning and good deeds. 2) The palm tree (lulav) has taste but not: fragrance, so Israel has people who possess Torah-learning but not good deeds. 3) The hadassim have fragrance but no taste, so Israel has people who possess good deeds but not learning. 4) The aravot have no taste and no f-agrance, so there are people who have neither learning nor good deeds. The Holy One, blessed be He, thus says: "Let them all be bound together as one and they will atone one for another." The world as a whole displays multiplicity and divisiveness, the very opposite of the Divine unity. The four species, on the other hand, signify unity, transcending worldliness and displaying submission to the Divine unity. They are themselves physical, growing in-and thus part of-the world, but they are used as a mitzvah for the Divine service. Thus they elevate physical reality and render it into an instrument for the Divine unity, revealing the concealed principle of unity inherent in G-d's creation. The four species thus effect the fulfillment of the prophecies shall call upon the Name of G-d to serve Him with one that "d consent" (Zephaniah 3:9), and "G-d shall be King over the entire earth: in that day G-d shall be One and His Name One" (Zechariah 14:9), which shall come about with the speedy redemption by Moshiach.

1 "Bayom idhemini (on the Eighth Day) shall be an Atzeret (assembly) for you" (Pinchas 29:35) The Holy One, blessed is He, said to Israel: "[Onthe day of Shemini Atzeret] I and you shall rejoice together." When Israel heard this, they exalted the Holy One, blessed is He, and they said: "This is the day G-d has made, let us be glad and rejoice bo (on it; or in Him)" (Psalms 118:24)

Rabbi Abin said: We do not know if this rejoicing relates to the day or to Gd. Thus Solomon came and explained, "We will be glad and rejoice in You" (Song 1:4): " 'in You'-i,e., in Your Torah; 'in You'-i.e., in Your salvations." -Pessikta deR. Kahana, section 30
The fest~val of Sheminr A t w e t does not have special rituals as do the other festivals, except for one: extraordinary simchah (rejoicing). The mitzvah of simchah on this day is ordained by the Torah in the verse "you shall be only joyful" (Re'ey 16:15). Commentators note that this verse is not only a precept but also a promise: "if you will fulfill the mitzvah of simchah, you are assured that you will be joyful forever." The concept of szmM 1s central in Judaism, and especially in the teachings of Chass~dism. Chassidistn explains ~ t signifis cance in terms of the maxim h a t "simchcxhbreaks through bamers." By means of simchah one is able to transcend all kinds of

barriers and obstacles to attain sublime goals, especially in spiritual matters. We can draw an analogy between this maxim and the fact that Moshiach, too, is referred to as "The one who breaks through" (Michah 2:13). This comes to teach us that simchah, joyfulness, has the power to break through the walls-the barriers and obstacles-of the galut and hasten the coming of Moshiach! *

The story is told of a renowned saint who, as a little boy, asked his father for an apple but was refused. The precocious youngster then quickly recited the appropriate blessing for an apple. His pious father did not want his son to be guilty of having recited in vain a blessing with G-d's Name, and promptly handed him an apple. The same may be applied to our present condition: If we shall now already rejoice in the Messianic redemption, with absolute faith that G-d will speedily send us Moshiach, this joy in itself will (as it were) "compel" our Father in Heaven to fulfill His children's fervent wish and speedily redeem us! Needless to say, this is not a case of an illegitimate "forcing" the advent of the "end of days," for here we are not dealing with

In this context it should be noted that the festival of Shemini Atzeret itself alludes to the Messianic redemption. One of the meanings of the term arzeret is "ending; closing," as Shemini Atzeret is the corlclusion of the Biblical festivals (which start with Pesach). The renowned mystic and commentator Rabhi Abraham Saba (end of 15th century) writes that the number eight of Shemini Atzeret ("the eighth dayn)relates to the eight worldly powers that oppressed Israel. Thus, "as this eighth day indicates the finish and end of all these powers, it is said 'On the Eighth Day shall be an Atzeret for you' to allude to the fact that this is the day of our salvation, the day of our redemption and deliverance d o u r souls." ( T mHamor on Pinchas 29:35; and see also the commentary of Rahb~ Yitzchak Ahrabanel on this verse.)

"practical Kabbalah," an adjuration of angels, and the like. We speak simply of serving (3-d with extraordinary joy. Our present rejoicing in the Messianic redemption will effect a reciprocal fulfillment of the Messianic prophecy that "The redeemed of G-d shall return, they shall come unto Zion with singing, and ever-lasting joy shall be upon their heads. They shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away" (Isaiah 3 5: 10).

T h e mitzvah of lighting the Chanukah-menorah derives from the menorah in the Beit Hamikdash (Holy Temple). After the Hasmoneans overcame our enemies, they could not find pure oil for the menorah, except for a "small flask of pure oil sealed with the seal of the High Priest," barely enough for one day. The Almighty then performed a miracle that this little bit of oil burned for a full eight days, which was enough time to produce fresh oil. T o commemorate this miracle we kindle lights on the eight days of Chanukah. Though the lights of Chanukah derive from those of the Sanctuary, there are some basic differences between them: (a) The lights in the Sanctuary were always of the same number, but o n Chanukah we add a new light every evening; (b) the lights in the Sanctuary were lit expressly in daytime, "toward evening," but the lights of Chanukah are lit after sunset; (c) the lights of the Sanctuary were lit indoors, but the lights of Chanukah one ought to place "by the door of one's house, o n the outside." These differences offer a profound lesson, which becomes clear when noting another distinction: the original times of lighting the menorah in the Sanctuary were times of peace, tranquillity, and both spiritual and material bliss. The lights of Chanukah, however, are related to a time when the country was under foreign oppression, when the Jewish army was small in both number and spirit, and when pure oil was not available. The original times of spiritual and material bliss did not require any special effort or exertion. There was no need for waging battles or mesirat nefesh (self-sacrifice). Even the "street," the outside-world, was not dark or obstructive. The light inside the

Holy Temple illuminated even the outside. Thus there was an equal number of lights every day, for as everything runs nc~rmally there is no need for supplementary activities. In a difficult period, however, a period that necessitated battles against enemies from both within and without, a period of assimilationists (Hellenizers) who cared for neither the Sanctuary nor independence and tried to blend into alien cultures and lifestyles, mesirat nefesh became the order of the day. These were the trying times that brought us the mitzvah of Chanukah-lights. When darkness pervades the "outside" and threatens to penetrate the homes, it is not enough to illuminate one's own quarters. One must bring light into the street as well, to dispel its darkness. The Chanukah-lamp, therefore, is lit when it is dark, and specifically "by the door of one's house on the outside," in the outside. order to illu~ninate It will not do to kindle lights o n the table o n which we eat or work, and then to open the door to allow the light to shine outward as well. T h e light must be lit "by the door," that is, one must exert efforts to illuminate the street. f the previous nlght are not sufficient. Moreover, the lights o One cannot be content with having maintained yesterday's level and status. There must be a continuously progressive ascent, rising ever higher and higher, until darkness is dispelled altogether. This lesson relates specifically to the days of gdut, which is compared to night-time, to darkness. For in the gdut there is a concealment of G-dliness whose light is not experienced in a manifest way. One must remember, though, that the purpose of the gdut is not a matter of punishment. It is rather, a process of purification and refinement, so that we may be fit for the Messianic manifestations. Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi thus explains: "The purpose of the descent and exile is for the sake of

effecting a great ascent, to wit, that the Divine light may be able to shine in immense manifestation in the days of Moshiach." In the time of the galut, therefore, we must transform ourselves and the world into worthy receptacles for these manifestations. Gdut is a situation of "after sunset," particularly in the present bleakest darkness of the last days of the gdut immediately before the coming of Moshiach. Nonetheless, a Jew must not permit himself to be overwhelmed by the darkness outside but must make the light of Torah and mitzvot shine forth and illuminate everything. That light must shine forth "outside," for even a little light dispels a lot of darkness. This will hasten the fulfillment of the Divine prophecy that "Even if darkness covers the earth and a thick cloud the nations, G-d will shine forth on you" (Isaiah 60:2), and just as in those days "they kindled lights in Your holy courtyard," we shall merit again to kindle lights in the Sanctuary, in the Third and Eternal Beit Hamikdash to be established by Moshiach. In the merit of the Chanukah-lights, and the application of their lesson, we shall speedily experience the Messianic redemption of which it is said, "He has set an end to the darkness" (Job 28:3). "Arise! Shine! For your light has come, and the glory of G-d is shining forth over you!" (Isaiah 60:l)

"There is one people scattered and dispersed among the peoples in all the provinces of your kingdom

..."

-Esther 3:8

The evil Haman used these words to convince King Achashverosh to destroy the Jewish people. His argument emphasized "scattered and dispersed," to imply that the Jewish people are not united and thus open to attack. The Jewish response was "Go, assemble aU the Jews ..." (Esther 4: 16),"To gather together to defend themselves ..." (8:11), "The Jews gathered together in their cities..." (9:2). In other words, they recognized that the unity and togetherness of the Jewish people would be the antidote to Haman's slander of "scattered and dispersed." T h ~ unity s did indeed save them from their powerful enemies who outnumbered them by far. The significance of this principle is seen also in some of the specific laws and practices mandated for Purim: "sending gifts to one another and grants to the poor" (Esther 9:22)-thus uniting ourselves with others in the celebration of this festival. There is an obvious analogy between these events of Purim and the present galut and anticipated redemption. Our tradition teaches us that the present galut was caused by gratuitous hatred. The internal corruption of disunity and divisiveness led to the dispersion of Israel from the Holy Land, Conversely, it is unity and gratuitous love for one another that will remedy this sad

condition and bring about the Messianic redemption and restoration. Indeed, the major effect of Moshiach will be to correct the entire world to serve G-d in unity, as it is said: "For then I will turn to the peoples a pure tongue that all shall call upon the Name of G-d and serve Him with one consent!" (Zephaniah

3:9)

Mystical texts note the analogy between the terms "Purim" and "YomKippurim. " Moreover, they state that the holiest day of the year is called "YomKi-purim," which could be translated "A Day like Purim." This suggests that Purim has a n advantage over Yom Kippur. The advantage of Purim is seen in the most obvious difference between these two days: Yom Kippur is a fast-day on which we must afflict ourselves by refraining from basic human needs such as eating, drinking, bathing, etc. Purim, on the other hand, is a feast-day celebrated with festive eating, drinking and merriment. Purim thus celebrates man's involvement with the physical reality of G-d's creation. The use of material substances in context of man's service of-and relationship w i t h 4 - d , imbues these substances with spirituality. It sublimates them to their Divinely intended purpose. Purim manifests the intrinsic oneness of the universe which is rooted in the Oneness of its Creator. This, indeed, is the ultimate purpose of creation: to manifest its Divine origin by converting this world into a fitting abode for G-dliness. This is man's mission for which he was created, and especially in the time of the gdut, the rime of our dispersion throughout the world. The achievement of this goal is the

ultimate bliss of the Messianic era when "the earth shall be full with the knowledge of G-d as the waters cover the sea... and rhe glory of G-d shall be revealed and all flesh shall see together ..." (Isaiah 11:9 and 405). Our efforts towards that end will hasten this goal and bliss, to happen very speedily in our days.

The first days of Pesach emphasize the exodus from Egypt, Israel's first redemption. The last days of Pesach emphasize the ultimate redemption by Moshiach. The latter can be seen from the Torah-reading of the seventh day of Pesach, when we read the shirah (song) which was sung by Israel after they crossed the sea. The shirah refers to the ultimate redemption in both its beginning and its conclusion. It begins "az yyashir" (Beshalach 15:1), which, grammatically, is a future tense: "Then wiU sing." This is an allusion to the Messianic era when the dead shall be resurrected, for then Moses and the Israelites wiU sing once again. And in its conclusion the shirah speaks of "The Sanctuary, which Your hands, G-d, have established" (Beshalach 15:17). This refers essentially to the Third Beit Hamikdash: it, unlike the first two, is built by the Almighty Himself-for the Messianic era, which is described by the next verse as the time when "G-d will reign forever and ever." Likewise the haftarah of the seventh day of Pesach is the "Song of King David (I1 Samuel, ch.22) from whom Moshiach is descended and with whom Moshiach is identified. The haftarah of the eighth day of Pesach-Isaiah, ch. 11-has the most explicit description of hoth Moshiach and the utopian conditions of the Messianic Era. In truth, however, the first days of Pesach also relate to the ultimate redemption. For just as all later exiles are rooted in the Egyptian exile, so, too, the redempion from Egypt is the comprehensive root for all later redemptions, including the Messianic one. In fact, this ultimate redemption is in many respects

similar to the one from Egypt, as it is written, "As In the days of your going out from Egypt, I will show them wondrous things" (Michah 7: 15). Indeed, the very purpose of relating the story of the exodus from Egypt is to awaken and strengthen the faith of Israel in general, and faith tn the coming of Moshiach in particular. For this faith itself will bring about the actual redemption, just as it happened originally that "Our ancestors were freed from Egypt by virtue of (their) faith." Consideration of our present condition, noting the everincreasing darkness and troubles of the galut of each day seeming worse than the preceding one, may lead to becoming despondent and to lose faith, Heaven forbid. That is why we begin the Hagadah (the recitation of the story of the exodus) with the paragraph "This is the bread of affliction...," in which we state: "Whoever is hungry, let him come and eat; whoever is in need, let him come and celebrate Pesach..." By reciting this, we are not only inviting strangers, but also addressing ourselves: The Almighty, as it were, begs each one of us to sense our state of "hunger" and "need" in the great darkness surrounding us, and to ask G-d for relief. In turn,G-d assures us that He will then provide us not only with the substance to "eat" but also the possibility to "celebrate Pesach," thus to be led (as stated in the conclusion of that paragraph) to the "Land of Israel" and to become truly "free people"--very speedily indeed!

"They had journeyed from Rephidim and had come to the desert of Sinai, camping in the desert; and Israel camped there before the mountain." -Yitro 19:2 With these words the Torah describes Israel's coming to Mount Sinai to receive the Torah. Our sages note that the verse uses a plural form for "journeyed ... had come... camping. 1'. and a singular form for "Israel camped there." They explain: all other encampments had dissension and mumurings. At Sinai, however, "Israel camped'as one man, with one mind. By virtue of this unity they received the Torah. The Holy One, blessed is He, said: "As they hate dissension and love peace, and they have become a singular encampment, the time has come to give them the Torah!" For "the purpose for which the whole Torah was given is to bring peace upon the world, as it is said, 'Her ways are the ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace"' (Proverbs 3:17). People differ physically and mentally. Individual distinctions, however, need not separate and divide. They complement and supplement one another. Moreover, in essence we share a common denominator, as R. Shneur Zalman of Liadi writes in Tanya that the souls are "all of a kind, and all having one Father-therefore all Israelites are called real brothers, by virtue of the source of their souls in the One G-d." Joining and harmo-

nizing the differing yet complementing aspects in everyone thus leads to a higher-ultimate-unity and perfection. The Jewish people at Sinai sensed this ultimate and absolute unity joining them together. In that frame of mind, therefore, "as one man, with one mind," they jointly desired and anticipated receiving the Torah, and that is when G-d gave it- to them. It is likewise, with the Messianic redemption. Of the Messianic em it is said that "the one preoccupation of the entire world will be solely to know C-d." All knowledge of C-d derives from the Torah. Moshiach's ultimate function, therefore, will be to "teach the entire people and instruct them in the way of G-d, and all nations will come to hear him." He will reveal new insights, novel understandings of the presently hidden, unknown and esoteric teachings of the infinite Torah, allowing people "to attain knowledge of their Creator ti) the extent of human eapacity." In order to make it possible for the world to partake in these new revelations, rhe Messianic era will thus be a time of peace and hannony, with "neither famine nor war, neither envy nor strife." As we look forward to the bliss of the Messianic redemption, therefore, we must prepare for that new revelation even as we had to prepare for the revelation at Sinai. We must overcome all differences that may lead to dissension and divisiveness, to become as "one man, with one mind" by concentrating on that which unites us, on the common denominator we all share. Peace and harmony among ourselves is assured to hasten the universal and everlasting peace of the Messianic era.

1 1
Shavu'ot marks the Revelation of the Torah through Moses. It is also the Yahrtzeit (day of passing) of King David and of the Baal Shem Tov. There is an intrinsic connection between these. The Revelation of the Torah introduced a new bond between holiness and worldliness. The fulfillment of the commandments of the Torah necessitates the use of mundane (physical) substances: animal skins for tefiUin and rnezusot; money for tzedakah; a ram's horn for the blowing of shofm; wheat for matzot; and so forth. This use of physical substances, and all that is involved in their production, thus sublimates these substances to the realm of holiness. The Giving of the Torah made it possible for something material to become sanctified. King David laid the groundwork for the building of the Beit Hamikdash (the Holy Temple) which introduced an additional manifestation of G-dliness in this physical world. The Baal Shem Tov revealed the teachings of Chassidut. Through these he demonstrated, and made everyone aware, that literally everything in this world (and not only sacred objects and sacred places) exists solely by virtue of G-d's words in the Divine utterances by ineans of which everything was created. Thus, we have three levels in manifesting the Divine Presence in the physical and mundane. The Messianic redemption will be the final stage in that process. For in gdut we are unable to perceive this Presence: gdut conceals that inner reality and ultimate truth. With the coming of Moshiach, however, the present concealment will be removed, ;IS it is said: "The glory of G-d shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see together that the mouth of G-d has spoken" (Isaiah 40:5).

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