Sichos In English: Volume 29 - MarCheshvan-Shvat, 5746


Now, our redemption depends on our repentance, we must return to the Holy One, Blessed be He; and although we can find certain satisfaction in exile yet we call out, "How long! The golus must end!

The response of the Maggid and Baal Shem Tov was that he should increase his efforts in teaching and disseminating Chassidus after his impending release. From a halachic viewpoint we explained that at that time the Alter Rebbe's question was legitimate because there was genuine danger from the tyrannical Czarist regime, which did not want to destroy the Jewish religion, but did have a selfish interest in stopping the Alter Rebbe's work.

Additionally, the Maggid and Baal Shem Tov appeared to the Alter Rebbe in physical form, for which reason he was able to address a halachic question to them. All this was clear within the context of plain, down to earth Halachah.

However, a question still remains from the vantage point of the esoteric teachings of Torah. Let us review for a moment the incident that had occurred years earlier, in the time of the leadership of the Maggid. One of the disciples of the Maggid once found a manuscript of a Chassidic discourse in the dirt. The shock of this apparent desecration engendered an intense negative feeling on the part of that disciple, who felt that Chassidic philosophy had been made too readily and easily available to all the scholars.

His powerful challenge to the Maggid's approach caused a sudden flurry of heavenly accusations and denunciations against the leadership of the Maggid. The Alter Rebbe sensed what had happened, and when he saw the disciple holding the manuscript charge into the study-hall of the Maggid, with anger and criticism written all over his face, he stopped him in his tracks, calmed him down and told him a parable.

In this way he was able to neutralize the criticism and accusations, and save the Maggid. He told the tragic story of a crown prince who had become deathly ill and no cure could be found for his ailment. It was however discovered that a particular precious gem had the healing powers needed to cure the dying child. This rare gem existed only in the coronation crown of the king, and it served as the centerpiece at the apex of the crown, being the most splendid and beautiful of all the gems of the crown.

Without that gem the crown would lose its glory and preciousness. After removing the gem it would have to be ground into a fine powder and dissolved in an elixir which could then be administered to the prince. If the sick child would swallow the medicine he might be saved. While this discussion of the procedures went on, the condition of the child deteriorated to the point that the doctor could no longer be sure whether the liquid would penetrate the boy's sealed lips and whether the sacrifice of the stone would be worth it.

This was the king's dilemma. Despite the mounting odds, the king ordered that the crown be broken open, and the gem ground down to make the medicine; for it would be worth all the sacrifices if only one drop would enter the child's lips and save his life. The moral of this parable, as explained by the Alter Rebbe, pointed to the need for administering large doses of Chassidus to the weak crown prince -- the Jewish people -- with the hope that it would revive them from the deep coma of the golus and if along the way some "medicine" would fall to the ground it was worth the sacrifice.

Menachem M. Schneerson (disambiguation)

With this parable in mind we must return to the original question: We have previously answered two facets of the question: In such a situation one did not have to undergo martyrdom. However, the most fundamental problem still glares us in the face: Years earlier in the lifetime of the Maggid the Alter Rebbe had already proven that the prince Jewish people was so sick that only the crushed gem of the crown Chassidus could save him.

This life-giving medicine was still necessary in the time of the Alter Rebbe just as much as then. How could the Alter Rebbe even have harbored a question in the matter?!

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We may also assume that the condition had probably worsened, and that all efforts had to be made to save the life of the prince -- certainly he had to grind the stone! And maybe the child could still be saved. To answer this paradox let us preface with another ponderation. The Maggid and Baal Shem Tov informed the Alter Rebbe that in fact his incarceration was as a result of a heavenly decree based on supernal opposition to his work in teaching and spreading Chassidus.

This accusation had been leveled at the time of the Maggid and had been defused at that time by the Alter Rebbe himself! What new phenomenon or activities had been initiated by the Alter Rebbe which precipitated a renewal of the old accusations to the point that the heavenly court gave them credence and the Alter Rebbe had to be arrested? The answer is that there was a fundamental change in the manner of teaching Chassidus between the era of the Maggid and the time of the Alter Rebbe, especially after the publication of the Tanya in What was the difference?

When we study the works of the Maggid as compared to the Alter Rebbe's works we will find that the Alter Rebbe introduced the study of Chassidus in the manner of "Chabad" -- wisdom, understanding and knowledge. By pursuing the point of initial enlightenment wisdom and following it through the comprehension of deep and broad understanding Binah till you attain the intense awareness of knowledge, the philosophy and science of Chassidus becomes his "flesh and blood.

Even the Alter Rebbe's style of ma'amarim generally developed and evolved over the years from short, pithy and highly concentrated concepts to elaborate and broadly developed, deeply understood philosophies. In other words, a new approach was crystallizing and incubating -- Chabad philosophy. Now we may understand that it was this newly developed approach to Chassidus on the part of the Alter Rebbe -- of broad understanding and comprehension of Chabad -- which precipitated the spiritual antagonism and accusations against the Alter Rebbe, despite the fact that all complaints against the Maggid had been assuaged.

This point bears some elucidation: When the Alter Rebbe presented the parable of the sick prince to defend the Maggid he indicated that one drop of elixir would be sufficient to revive the prince. This was analogous to the revelation of Chassidus in short, terse apothegms. The Maggid had taught Chassidus in this format and these "drops" of G-d's inner wisdom had the potency to resuscitate the prince.

When, however, the Alter Rebbe developed the broad intellectual approach, this engendered opposition spiritual and terrestrial -- after all, the short potent drops were enough, why elaborate?! In its earthly form the accusations took on the context of a Czarist complaint that the teachings of Chassidus opposed the regime of the Czar. Since he was faced with the threat of Czarist punishment G-d forbid was there a justification for martyrdom? The question was not about the Maggid's system of Chassidus, it concerned the Alter Rebbe's new system of Chabad! To save the prince, even a drop would have been enough.

Here they were feeding him bucketfuls. We must apply this in our actions. We cannot claim that the Maggid's directive to the Alter Rebbe does not apply to us. In the area that we, as students of Chassidus are able to expand the knowledge of Chassidus, each and every chassid is bound by the Maggid and Baal Shem Tov's answer, to increase the knowledge of Chassidus. Why, the Rambam rules very clearly that: Israelites will be very wise, they will know the things that are now concealed and will attain an understanding of their Creator Laws of Kings It is important to note that the Rambam's description of what will be, "In that era," applies not only to the actual time of Moshiach, but also to the era preceding Moshiach.

Regarding the days of Moshiach, the Rambam writes based on Sanhedrin 91b: The sole difference between the present and the Messianic days is delivery from servitude to foreign powers. Can you imagine a greater difference in the world than this?!

"Menachem M. Schneerson" is composed of at least 2 distinct authors, divided by their works.

So may it be for us to do and succeed, to return the Shechinah to the place where it was in the lower worlds, through Moshiach, with the true and complete redemption. In the first ma'amar -- dated on the 10th of Shevat, at the beginning and end of the ma'amar, we find a subject which gives us the purpose of this yearly gathering and what we must emphasize. Where do you find it? Vol 20 1 copy Likkutei Sichot: In the first case the last tractate would be Niddah and in the latter case it would be Uktzin.

All involvement and occupation will not be in worldly matters but only in "knowing the L-rd"! A truly cataclysmic, apocalyptic metamorphosis! Yet, the Rambam states that the only difference will be "no servitude to foreign powers"?! The only possible explanation of this paradox is that the more drastic changes will take place gradually, before Moshiach comes, in a naturally phased-in process. In the era preceding the advent of Moshiach there will be emphasis on the knowledge of the L-rd by studying Chassidus, in the system of Chabad, to truly know G-d.

Therefore the difference that will be attained when Moshiach comes will only be the dissolution of foreign hegemony. When we look to the first chapter of Mishneh Torah we will find this same principle. As the Rambam presents it to us: The basic principle of all basic principles and the pillar of all sciences is to know realize that there is a First Being, who brought everything into being.

Laws of Basic Principles of the Torah 1: These principles were developed, expanded and explained by the Alter Rebbe, based on the teachings of the Baal Shem Tov, as we find in the beginning of Sha'ar Hayichud Ve'haemunah. This is the foundation of all the commandments of the Torah, as it says: Know the G-d of your father and serve Him with a perfect heart.

I Divrei HaYomim May G-d grant that all Jews attain this knowledge of G-d through Chassidus while we are still in the golus, close to the advent of Moshiach. And then in a split-second we will merit the era of "the sole occupation The Talmud starts with the letter "Mem" and ends with a "final Mem" closed Mem. The Talmud concludes with the subject of "peace" and begins with the rule about the Kohanim who bless the people with the blessing of "peace. Mishneh Torah begins with a "Mem," either because the name of the book is Mishneh Torah, or because the Rambam quotes the verse "Meshoch Chasdecha Also, the first principle discusses that the First Being is the source of all life and the close speaks of all the world realizing only the knowledge of G-d.

Another general point about Mishneh Torah. The number of chapters in Mishneh Torah as we know it, is , although in several sources the number is set at or This is because some changes were made in the chapters by the Rambam himself. The number of halachic sections however is set at 83; as the Rambam himself writes in his introduction. What is the significance of 83? In the Talmud we find: It was also taught: Machalah means gall and why is it called machalah!

Because 83 different kinds of illness result from it but they are all counteracted by partaking of bread dipped in salt followed by a pitcher of water. Kamma 92b This reference to bread and water is symbolic of Torah learning -- the spiritual bread and water. Thus, by studying the Halachic rulings which are found in the 83 sections of the Rambam, one can neutralize and cure all maladies.

And since it is a Torah cure, it even prevents the sickness from coming. This will certainly increase the study of Rambam, along with all other areas of Torah study, and may this all bring the fulfillment of the promise recorded at the close of the Rambam: For the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the L-rd, as the waters cover the sea. This was his driving force in life for himself, and this was the essential theme which he demanded of others around him. It is therefore understandable that his life and accomplishments are remembered each year by gathering on his Yartzeit and by studying his Torah teachings.

We speak especially of the Torah discourses which he prepared before his passing for the 10th of Shevat the day of his passing , and which, consequently, we study every year on the 10th of Shevat. In the first ma'amar -- dated on the 10th of Shevat, at the beginning and end of the ma'amar, we find a subject which gives us the purpose of this yearly gathering and what we must emphasize. I came into My garden -- I came into My bridal chamber, the place where My essence was originally revealed. At the beginning of creation the essence of the Shechinah was apparent in this lowly world.

The ma'amar tells us that specifically this world is called: And even though there were negative causes of change in the world, still a solution was provided, which pushed away the bad aspects, and made the world pleasurable for G-d. This shows us, that when we gather -- our purpose is to do whatever we can to make the world pleasurable for G-d.

Each and everyone individually, and especially many Jews together, bear this responsibility. The onus is even greater when we gather in the same place where for the last 10 years of his life the Previous Rebbe prayed, learned and spread Torah -- last of which was this Ma'amar, "Bosi L'gani. We must make the world a pleasurable place, a garden of G-d, a place that will give pleasure to the Holy One, Blessed be He. Furthermore, knowing that the world was once a good place pleasing to the Holy One, Blessed be He -- we realize that it is easier to bring back the the conditions which existed then.

Each person must do his share, and all the individual efforts will be combined. This will add more and more to the beauty of the King. Being that creation includes all creatures and all people -- Jews and non-Jews, we must remember that there are the seven general rules, the Seven Noachide Laws with all their details, which all nations must observe and which the Jewish people must teach them to accept.

There is another thought which the ma'amar discusses: Before Mattan Torah, at the time of creation -- before the first sin -- the spirit of G-dliness filled the world.

Then, later on, in the days of Moshe at Mattan Torah, the voice of G-d reverberated all over the world: I am G-d your L-rd Do not have any other gods before Me. This, however, came after the time that the Shechinah had risen away from the world. Yet, it did come back again to the lower world through the Mishkan where the Shechinah would: Later, after Mattan Torah, the Torah is still "new," for at each moment the Torah is given again, as new!

Therefore it must be "new" in our eyes. Clearly, each person can fulfill this mission. But let us take a moment to answer an argument. There are those who say that they need time to be prepared and ready to teach others, because they must first be perfect, and only then can they teach others. As the Talmud teaches us, First adorn yourself and then adorn others.

Metzia b So we tell him, this mitzvah must be done at every moment and at all times, it can't wait until you make the world a garden. G-d gives you all the power at one and the same time to adorn yourself and others! The Previous Rebbe showed this to us by his own example and it was also practiced by his followers who were ready to advance against all obstacles. Actually, the obstacles are only the making of the "sly one" -- who endeavors to stop our Divine service.

When we ignore the "old and foolish king," we see that it is easier than we thought. Then the argument that maybe you are not ready is forgotten! You are not doing something new, rather you are returning the world to its original state. So too, when a person contemplates about himself -- he realizes that he, too, must return to the perfect behavior that once was, i. This holds true for Jews and non-Jews as well. At the time of creation G-d saw that all He had made was very good.

This was the case when He created man! Now, if the individual is not living up to par he must improve, but he must not think that he is doing it from scratch, rather he is returning to the original perfection. Following the directives of the ma'amar we see that we must make the world a dwelling place for holiness -- and if we should see the job as overwhelming, we must also remember it was done already!

It was successfully carried out before, as the Rambam says, that a person must see himself equally balanced and the world equally balanced, and one good deed, one word or thought, weighs the whole world -- to the side of merit. This engenders enthusiasm for more good resolutions, to increase light and goodness, tzedakah and righteousness, all from the source of G-dliness. Thus, He is here in the world!

Sichos In English: Motzoei Zos Chanukah,

And one act, according to the Rambam, can push the whole world to the side of salvation. As we see in a scale which is balanced exactly equal, then even a slight, infinitesimal addition on the right side will overweigh the scale in the proper direction. So may it be for us to do and succeed, to return the Shechinah to the place where it was in the lower worlds, through Moshiach, with the true and complete redemption.

At the close of the ma'amar the Previous Rebbe warns about the possibility of obstacles in the path of serving G-d, but he then says that each thing has a set time, and every person has a limited time on the world and each act must be done at the right time, and not be postponed, even if one has a reason to be lackadaisical.

So, too, the theme which we take from this farbrengen for the future must come from the beginning of Torah and from the end. When we realize the great mission we have, one might imagine that it is necessary to make all sorts of preparations for self and others. For example, in this country when something needs to be done the people gather to make a conference, and form a committee, where they then discuss The ma'amar says action is the essential thing.

When you start with the deed then the act itself will show you the way to work, so that the meeting will go in the right direction. The ma'amar says, first of all do your mission, then, along with the actions the specific needs and goals will crystallize, and you will find the strength and resources to accomplish your goal. If not, you remain in the realm of talk and thought -- not action. Then, even if you have a budget it is wasted on the people who do analysis and research, and study the problem rather than do what needs to be done.

The problem is clear! The world was created to bring pleasure to G-d through righteousness and just action, as we see in the Seven Noachide Laws and especially in Torah. So we must be careful to do them properly.

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Every day we have choices, right and wrong, and sometimes things happen which make us ignore the purpose of making the world a dwelling place for G-d. So we must start with action! By beginning to act we will save many analytical studies and eliminate additional problems and bad things, and we will accomplish much good. Essentially, all efforts should be geared to fulfill the main purpose of our existence; to make the world a place of good societies -- not a place where people cannot talk together. Instead of hatred, unity and cooperation must prevail.

When people work together they can accomplish more than twice as much, for each does more when helped by another. How much more so, when there are many who work together, they can accomplish so much more. When we see success in our efforts it will add desire and enthusiasm to do more -- including drawing others to do the same. This year -- the Hilulo day is connected with the portion of Torah, Beshallach. The Torah is not only a book of nice, true stories; but it is also teaching; a lesson how to live in this world.

What do we learn from a story that occurred thousands of years ago, far away from us and even before Mattan Torah. What can we learn from the details of these stories for ourselves, this week, when we read the portion Beshallach. The story of Beshallach will give us the answer to the oft-asked question: In the last few months we saw earthquakes and floods in places where for many years nothing bad had happened. Suddenly, tens and hundreds and thousands were killed.

Also, in human relations -- such a danger as we see today never existed. There are two mighty powers locked in direct confrontation. Each wants to spread its hegemony and rule over the entire world! In earlier generations there were different kingdoms and many wars or upheavals took place, but never were there two distinct superpowers in two opposing camps.

In the history of the world we find in all the generations there were wars, but not a situation where all the world was divided in two camps and those in-between could not remain neutral, but had to take sides. The situation seems to deteriorate from day to day and as much as they try to enter into peace talks, they continue to prepare more and more war material. This has become more evident recently and when we think about this situation and then we hear that one must make the world a place of pleasure for G-d, it does not fit!

The reality does not match the plan! We must find an answer which will satisfy everyone! Since the question is new, the answer must also be new.

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G-d creates nothing without a purpose, so the answer could not be found earlier than the question! Rather, the solution must be found only in the inventions and discoveries of recent times. The answer is found in the Zohar that from the year much wisdom will come into the world, including worldly scientific knowledge. Therefore, most recently, in the new things that have been discovered we will find the answer. How can we make the world a place where the kingdom will be for G-d? When the people will make a good world. But, when we see all the war mongering of the two power blocks, we wonder, "Can it be?

Years ago, to make an explosion large quantities of explosive mass were needed. In the last few decades and especially in the last few years, we have discovered that the smallest particles of matter can cause a great negative change to take place. Yet, at the same time, this same power may be used to influence the whole world in a positive way, when used according to G-d's will. But, since G-d gives us intellectual choice to choose good and life -- this shows we are intelligent beings -- we therefore have the choice to choose the opposite.

So, while G-d begs us to choose life and use our own free will to choose good and life, He has provided us with the potential to do the opposite! These are the discoveries that were revealed in recent years. To change an order in the old days large armies were needed, and much time, in order to reach all places and make the change! Now with the power of the atom, when used according to the principles given by G-d, the small mass will influence the whole world, instantly. Nature had the power all along, but man did not know about it.

It was revealed now to help fix the world. As the prophetic vision: If this power is used right you can revolutionize the world with one press on a button as we have seen recently a small boy found out how to push the right button which will help the world move in the right direction. For free will to exist, there must also be the choice. Now, to answer our dilemma! How can one man help the whole world? The teaching of the Previous Rebbe says that the previous state should come back to make the world a garden of G-d as it once was.