He Has Redeemed My Soul In Peace
Far from Coincidence
In a letter  to R. Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev, written after
his release from prison on Yud-Tes Kislev, the Alter Rebbe
described the moment at which he was informed of his release by
the czarist authorities as follows: "As I was reciting Tehillim,
reading the verse that begins,  'He has redeemed my soul in
peace,' and before I began the following verse, I went forth in
peace through the G-d of Peace."
The connection between Yud-Tes Kislev and peace explains an
important effect of the new approach to teaching Chassidus that
was introduced on that date.
Before Yud-Tes Kislev, fragmentation was rampant in many areas
of Jewish life; the teachings of Chassidism, as we shall see,
bridged gaps on all sides.
Oneness in the Torah
The study of the Torah is broadly divided into two disciplines:
nigleh ("the revealed dimension" - Torah law) and pnimiyus
haTorah ("the inner dimension of Torah" - the mysticism of the
Before the rise of Chassidism, the study of pnimiyus haTorah
was not as widespread as that of the Talmud. Scholars whose
entire lives were devoted to the study of the Talmud and its
commentaries may never have been exposed to the mystical
teachings of the Kabbalah.
Even a sage who studied both areas and whose appreciation of
Torah law was influenced by his study of pnimiyus haTorah,
considered the two to be separate disciplines.
The teachings of the Alter Rebbe integrated both realms of study,
joining " the body of Torah" (nigleh) with its "soul" (pnimiyus
haTorah) to form one cohesive organism. 
Oneness in Our People
A similar pattern can be seen in Jewish communal life: the
revelation of chassidic teachings brought our people closer to
each other, erasing previous differences. Before the rise of
Chassidism, the common people, "the amcha Yidden" who were the
broad and solid base of every Jewish community, felt estranged
from the scholars and Torah leaders.
Though scholars taught them Torah and no doubt taught proper
conduct by example, scholars maintained their distance, closeted
away with their learned books, uninvolved in the affairs of the
Chassidism brought these two groups together.
Scholars began to show concern for the material, as well as the
spiritual, welfare of the common man. 
And they began to gear their teachings to the level of those less
learned, clothing the ideas of Torah - even the mysticism of
pnimiyus haTorah - in language that ordinary people could relate
Oneness in Our Souls
The impulse toward unity initiated by chassidic thought also
affects our personal divine service. The service of G-d finds
expression through two seemingly separate channels, intellect and
At one level, our conduct is governed by our minds; faith
connects us to G-d through an expression of the soul that
transcends the limits of our minds.
Chassidic thought enables us to see that these two channels are
not contradictory, and shows us how to integrate the two so that
we can develop ourselves fully.
The transcendent quality of faith can also permeate the realm of
intellect, thereby enabling even the mind to apprehend the
An Expression of the Essence
The unity with which Chassidism was able to suffuse Judaism and
Jewish communal life results from its emphasis on the essential
core of the Torah and of the soul.
Only a superficial perspective can perceive nigleh and pnimiyus
haTorah as separate disciplines.
Focusing on the essence of Torah enables us to appreciate how
its revealed and mystical planes enhance each other, making
a complete bond with Torah possible. 
Likewise in the area of Jewish oneness:
Differences between people are perceived only when one looks at
their intellectual and emotional characteristics, for at that
level, no two people are alike.
At the level of the essence of souls, however, we are all joined
in a fundamental unity.
Both scholar and common man possess the same fundamental G-dly
And likewise with regard to every individual: Focusing on the
essence of the soul enables us to perceive the human personality
as a unified whole, in which faith and intellect complement each
other to enable the individual to develop an all-encompassing
bond with G-d.
"Spreading the Wellsprings Outward"
The above emphasis of chassidic thought on the essence of the
Torah and the essence of the soul makes it possible to "spread
the wellsprings of Chassidism outward."
In its broadest sense, this means extending the teachings of
Chassidism to individuals who are estranged from their Jewish
Chassidus enables even a person with a limited understanding of
Torah to appreciate the Torah's deepest truths because Chassidus
relates to the essence of the soul, a potential which remains
active in every individual no matter how he conducts himself in
his daily life. Regardless of his level of observance, every Jew
shares an essential connection with G-d. 
Chassidic thought can nurture this essential connection and bring
it into expression in one's daily life.
The Era of Redemption will witness the ultimate expression of
the essential bond our world shares with G-d. By "spreading the
wellsprings outward," revealing this essential connection within
the Torah and the Jewish people, we can anticipate this era and
hasten its coming.
May this take place in the immediate future.
Adapted from Likkutei Sichos, Vol. XV, Parshas Vayishlach
- (Back to text) Igros Kodesh (Letters) of the Alter Rebbe, p. 98.
- (Back to text) 55:19.
- (Back to text) Cf. Zohar III, 152a, regarding the expressions "the soul
of the Torah" and "the body of the Torah."
- (Back to text) Thus, before founding the chassidic movement, the Baal
Shem Tov headed a group of nistarim, scholars whose
anonymous efforts on behalf of the common people included
the provision of employment for them (HaTamim, Issue 2,
p 44) Similarly, after his marriage, the Alter Rebbe
organized agricultural communities which enabled Jews to
become self-sufficient (Igros Kodesh (Letters) of the
Rebbe Rayatz, Vol VI, p. 418).
- (Back to text) "It must be apparent that an individual studying nigleh
has studied Chassidus. Likewise, it must be apparent that
a person studying Chassidus has studied nigleh" (Igros
Kodesh (Letters) of the Rebbe Rayatz, Vol. X, pp. 4, 366,
- (Back to text) Sanhedrin 44a.