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 Chapters 1-4 V'nocho Olov

Chapters 5-10

The section of the maamar to follow focuses on the parallels to the Redemption from Egypt and the Future Redemption in our Divine service which it defines as the motifs of iskafia, struggling against one's material nature, and isahafcha, transforming that material nature into a positive force.

Although in general, there is an advantage to the thrust of isahafcha, there is an advantage to the service of iskafia.

In the personal sense, iskafia involves Divine service that runs contrary to a person's individual nature. Therefore it evokes the manifestation of a Divine light whose revelation also runs contrary to nature. This advantage does not apply with regard to isahafcha.


This sequence of redemption (which begins with the actual exodus from Egypt, [is reinforced by] the Divine service of remembering the exodus every day, and continues until the consummation of the redemption when "He who breaks through shall proceed before them") is repeated [in microcosm] every day.

For at the beginning of the day, before prayer, a person is beset by constraints, the constraints and limitations of the body. In this vein, our Sages [1] comment on the verse: [2] "Separate yourselves from the man whose soul is in his nostrils. Of what importance is he?" Our Sages state: "Do not read 'Of what importance is he?' Read 'He is considered as an altar.' " [3]

At the beginning of the day, the soul is only "in [one's] nostrils," i.e., it has not spread out throughout the body. Therefore, the person is like an altar, the most powerful expression of the constraints and limits of the body's material nature. Therefore, the first stage of Divine service is iskafia, subjugating and subordinating the material nature of the body and the animal soul, and overcoming them and the forces of evil to the extent that, against their natural tendency, even the body and the animal soul consent to serve G-d and assist in these efforts. All this, however, is still considered as iskafia. [4]

Afterwards the person proceeds to the level of isahafcha, transforming the animal soul. [This phase of service also proceeds in degrees.] He begins with the service of "My heart is vacant within me," [5] [i.e., the yetzer hora does not exert any negative influence]. Then he proceeds to "love G-d, your L-rd, with all your heart," [6] [interpreted by our Sages [7] to mean] "with both your inclinations," that the yetzer hora itself becomes transformed into a positive [force].

To cite a parallel: complete teshuvah, i.e., teshuvah motivated by love, which transforms sins into actual merits. [8]

These two dimensions of our day-to-day Divine service (iskafia and isahafcha) reflect the two phases of the exodus from Egypt and the Future Redemption.

With regard to the exodus from Egypt, it is written: [9] "That the nation fled." [Why did the Jews flee? Not because of fear of the Egyptians], but because the evil within themselves was still powerful, and it was necessary for them to flee from it. [10] [This parallels the service of] iskafia.

With regard to the Era of the Redemption, [it is written]: [11] "And I will cause the spirit of impurity to depart from the land" (paralleling the rung "My heart is vacant within me"). Moreover, [we will merit fulfillment of the prophecy:] [12] "Then I will make the nations pure of speech, that they all call in the name of G-d, to serve Him with a single purpose," for even the gentile nations will serve G-d. [And it is written:] [13] "And foreigners will arise and pasture your sheep."

[These developments will not be confined to the human kingdom, but] will also affect animals, [as it is written:] [14] "I shall remove wild beasts from the earth," which is interpreted to mean: [15] "Their preying tendency will be removed." In that future era, wild animals will still exist, and yet they will no longer cause harm. Indeed, they will become positive forces, used to assist Divine service, as indicated by the verse: [16] "A wolf will lie down with a lamb... and a lion will eat straw like cattle." This means that we will be able to receive benefit from a wolf like we do from a lamb, and from a lion like we do from cattle. Even snakes ([also mentioned in the above prophecy,] "the python" and "the serpent" [17]) will become "a great facilitator." [18] Not only will the snake provide us with assistance in our Divine service, that assistance will be "great," earning him the title "great facilitator."


Although in general, the level of isahafcha greatly surpasses the level of iskafia, there is also an advantage to iskafia over isahafcha. [19]

This [is reflected in the discussion] in Tanya [20] [of the verse, [21] "Then you shall... discern between... one who serves G-d, and one who serves Him not."] The title "one who serves G-d" is given only to a person who must hold in check and change his nature. A totally righteous man does not posses the advantage [of this thrust of Divine service].

It is the Divine service of iskafia alone which causes "the glory of the Holy One, blessed be He, to be revealed in all worlds," [22] drawing down a light which reveals G-d's magnificence. [23]

As explained in the series of maamarim entitled Basi LeGani, [24] this motif can be understood through an analogy of a mortal king, who will squander his [most prized] treasures for the sake of victory in war.

In ordinary times, not only are such treasures not used, but they hidden from any eye. But during war, not only does [a king] open these treasure vaults, he squanders the treasures without curb or constraint, giving them to the simple soldiers so that they will be victorious in battle. [25]

To focus on the analogue in the spiritual realms:

There is a rung [that is described as G-d's] treasure vault, which is hidden from any eye, [as indicated by the verse:] [26] "No eye saw, but Yours, O G-d." In order to be victorious in the war against the yetzer [hora] through the service of iskafia, these treasures are also employed, and even squandered.

These treasures are given to the simple soldiers, because their Divine service is characterized by mesirus nefesh which transcends the boundaries and limits of intellect. For this reason, the treasure is "squandered" on them, without any curb or constraint.

Based on the above, we can appreciate why the exodus from Egypt will be remembered even in the Era of the Redemption, although the revelations of the Era of the Redemption will transcend the revelations ("wonders") that characterized the exodus. The level of [G-d's] treasure vault is drawn down for the sake of victory in the war.

In the Era of the Redemption, [this will no longer be relevant,] because "I will cause the spirit of impurity to depart from the land." Therefore, in order to draw down the level of [G-d's] treasure vault [in] that future era, the exodus from Egypt will be recalled, so that [our Divine service] will also possess the quality of iskafia. (As is true with regard to all the other matters, in the Era of the Redemption,) this Divine influence will reach consummate revelation; "Your Master will no longer conceal Himself."


On this basis, we can understand the verse: "As in the days of your exodus from Egypt, I will show [the people] wonders." The Future Redemption will be characterized by two positive thrusts: the quality of iskafia, "as in the days of your exodus from Egypt," and the quality of isahafcha, "I will show [the people] wonders." [This will be brought about by] "our deeds and Divine service in the era of exile." [27]

For in general, our Divine service in the era of exile is characterized by mesirus nefesh which transcends all limits and bounds. [28] In the era of exile, and particularly, in the era of ikvesa diMeshicha, the time when Mashiach's approaching footsteps can be heard, there are hurdles, obstacles, and a multitude of challenges, including the challenge of "not being embarrassed when confronted by taunters." [29] And despite these challenges, the Jews study the Torah and observe the mitzvos without any consideration [of the difficulties]. Indeed, even "the empty ones among you are as filled with mitzvos as a pomegranate is with seeds." [30] Not only do they observe the mitzvos, they are "filled with mitzvos."

This Divine service will enable the Jews to leave the exile "with great wealth," [31] a great wealth of mitzvos, and a great wealth of Torah (for Torah study is also a mitzvah, indeed, it is equal to all the mitzvos). [32]

The [Jews'] great wealth of Torah and mitzvos will increase their merit, and thus will hasten the coming of the Redemption, [33] bringing about the time when "he [Mashiach] will come with the clouds of heaven." [34]

In the very near future, the true and complete Redemption will come. And then "As in the days of your exodus from Egypt, I will show [the people] wonders." For the positive dimensions of both services, [iskafia and isahafcha], will be manifest. Since the Redemption will be brought about by our Divine service in the era of exile, and in particular, in ikvesa diMeshicha, it will possess the advantage of iskafia as alluded to by the phrase "As in the days of your exodus from Egypt."

And yet, [we will also merit that] "I will show [the people] wonders," miracles that will be considered wondrous even when compared to the miracles that accompanied the exile. This includes also the miracles that accompanied the Splitting of the Sea.

The Splitting of the Sea was accompanied by miracles of a most wondrous nature. Every Jew was able to point with his finger and say: [35] "This is my G-d and I will glorify Him." And "At the sea, even a maid-servant witnessed revelations that surpassed [those granted to] the greatest of the prophets." Nevertheless, this was "at the sea," i.e., enclothed in the attribute of Malchus. [36]

{[As explained above] with regard to the revelations of the exodus (which preceded the Splitting of the Sea) which were associated with "the entrance," [another analogy for Malchus]. [37]}

Moreover, the revelations of the Splitting of the Sea were of a temporary nature. For the revelation came about as a result [of G-d's] initiative and the material world was not [prepared to serve] as a medium for it. In general, [when compared with our personal Divine service, such revelations are described as] iskafia and not isahafcha (as explained with regard to the exodus in the context of the verse "the nation fled" [38]), for the revelations did not come about as a result of Divine service within this material realm.

In the Era of the Redemption, however, "I will show [the people] wonders," miracles that will be considered wondrous even when compared to the miracles of the exodus and the Splitting of the Red Sea. For the revelation will not be enclothed in any medium, and it will come about as a result of Divine service within this material realm.

Moreover, it will also possess the advantage of "As in the days of your exodus from Egypt," [the Divine service of iskafia]. May this take place speedily, in our days, with the coming of Mashiach.


  1. (Back to text) Berachos 14a. See the series of maamarim entitled Beshaah SheHikdimu, 5672, Vol. II, secs. 360, 391, and the maamar entitled Lecha Dodi, 5689, sec. 3 (Sefer HaMaamarim Kuntresim, Vol. I, p. 21a).

  2. (Back to text) Yeshayahu 2:22. [Our translation follows the interpretation of the verse in these sources. Within the context of the passage of Yeshayahu, it would be translated differently.]

  3. (Back to text) [The Hebrew word bamah, literally "high place," refers to an altar used to sacrifice to false divinities, or even to sacrifice to G-d, but in a manner which is forbidden.]

  4. (Back to text) See Tanya, ch. 35 (p. 45a).

  5. (Back to text) Tehillim 109:22, as interpreted by Berachos 61b and Tanya, ch. 1 (p. 5b).

  6. (Back to text) Devarim 6:5.

  7. (Back to text) Berachos 54a (in the Mishnah), Sifri and Rashi to the above verse; see also the Jerusalem Talmud, Berachos, the conclusion of ch. 9.

  8. (Back to text) Yoma 86b.

  9. (Back to text) Shmos 14:5

  10. (Back to text) Tanya, ch. 31 (p. 40b).

  11. (Back to text) Zechariah 13:2.

  12. (Back to text) Tzephaniah 3:9.

  13. (Back to text) Yeshayahu 61:5.

  14. (Back to text) Vayikra 26:2.

  15. (Back to text) See Rabbi Shimon's interpretation of the verse in Toras Kohanim.

  16. (Back to text) Yeshayahu 11:6-7.

  17. (Back to text) Ibid., 11:8.

  18. (Back to text) Sanhedrin 59b.

  19. (Back to text) Torah Or, Shmos 89c,d; 114d.

  20. (Back to text) Tanya, ch. 15.

  21. (Back to text) [Malachi 3:18.]

  22. (Back to text) See Zohar, Vol. II, p. 128b, Tanya, ch. 27 (p. 34a), Torah Or, Shmos, 89d, Likkutei Torah, Pekudei, Bamidbar, p. 65b.

  23. (Back to text) Torah Or, loc. cit., p. 89c.

  24. (Back to text) The series of maamarim entitled Basi LeGani, 5710, ch. 11.

  25. (Back to text) [Since the service of iskafia involves Divine service that runs contrary to a person's individual nature, it evokes the manifestation of a Divine light whose revelation also runs contrary to nature.]

  26. (Back to text) Yeshayahu 64:3. [Our translation of the verse reflects our Sages' interpretation] Berachos 34b, Sanhedrin 99a, [and not the verse's literal meaning.]

  27. (Back to text) Tanya, ch. 37.

  28. (Back to text) See Sefer HaMaamarim 5679, p. 464; the maamar entitled Ein HaKodesh Boruch Hu Ba, 5685, ch. 2ff (Sefer HaMaamarim Kuntresim, Vol. III, p. 121ff.).

  29. (Back to text) Ramah, Orach Chayim 1:1; Shulchan Aruch HaRav 1:3; loc. cit., Mahadura Basra, 1:1.

  30. (Back to text) The conclusion of tractate Chagigah; Eruvin 19b.

  31. (Back to text) Cf. Bereishis 15:14.

  32. (Back to text) Shulchan Aruch HaRav, Hilchos Talmud Torah 4:2, et al.

  33. (Back to text) See Sanhedrin 98a.

  34. (Back to text) Daniel 7:13; see Sanhedrin, loc. cit.

  35. (Back to text) Shmos 15:2; see Rashi's commentary to the verse, and the interpretation of Shmos Rabbah, the conclusion of ch. 23.

  36. (Back to text) See the maamar entitled Ki BiChipazon, 5708, sec. 1.

  37. (Back to text) [See sec. II.]

  38. (Back to text) [See sec. V.]
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