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   Foreword

Chapters 1-3

Chapters 4-10

Timeless Patterns in Time

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Text of the Passover Haggadah

 
 Chapters 1-3 Timeless Patterns in Time


Chapters 4-10

In the portion of the maamar that follows, the Rebbe explains how the revelations of Mashiach are dependent on our Divine service in the era of exile.

Mashiach will serve as both a king and a teacher, and therefore our Divine service must have a double thrust: the comprehension and grasp of P'nimiyus HaTorah -- this precipitates the revelations which Mashiach will manifest in his function as teacher, and mesirus nefesh -- this precipitates the revelations which Mashiach will manifest in his function as king.

The maamar also explains the pattern of descent for the sake of ascent, underscoring that this motif lies at the very beginning of the world's creation and will come to fruition, with the coming of Mashiach. All of the qualities which Mashiach will reveal are associated with this motif.

Though a developed theoretical composition, the maamar is primarily a call for deed -- motivating us to involving ourselves in these two thrusts of Divine service.

IV

The Previous Rebbe's maamar [1] continues, stating that the explanation of the above concept -- (that the revelations of the Era of the Redemption are dependent on our Divine service in the era of exile) -- can be understood from [a comparison to the concept of] the descent of the soul into the body, which is a descent for the sake of an ascent. For the Divine service in the era of exile will bring about the revelations of the Era of the Redemption which will be greater than the revelations of the era of the Beis HaMikdash.

It is possible to say that the addition of this explanation -- (that from the outset, the intent of the descent of the exile is the ascent [it will bring about])-- comes to clarify the reason why the revelations which Mashiach will convey as a teacher, through comprehension and through sight, will come about through our Divine service in the era of exile (although the [true expression of the] comprehension and, how much more so, the direct perception [of G-dliness] was in the era of the Beis HaMikdash, as explained above). [2]

This concept can be seen from the pattern of descent that is manifest throughout the spiritual cosmos.

The first descent is the initial tzimtzum.

As is well known, [3] the tzimtzum had an affect on the Or Ein Sof which is infinite, and also on the finite dimensions of the light (the light which illuminates the worlds).

The effect of the tzitzum on the infinite light is to cause it to become hidden, and absorbed within its source. Thus it no longer shines in a revealed manner within the empty cavity. [4] Thus the tzimtzum did not have a direct effect on this light.

It is possible to explain that the reason for this is because this light is above all [relation] to the worlds.

Accordingly, the tzimtzum is unable to cause it to descend or to become limited.

The only effect that the tzimtzum can have on this light is to cause it not to shine within the empty cavity.

With regard to the light which illuminates the worlds, by contrast, the tzimtzum has an effect [-- indeed several effects --] on the light itself.

Among them:

  1. Before the tzimtzum, this light was intermingled with and included within the infinite light. The tzimtzum caused it to become a separate entity, [5] this brought about a descent in level.

  2. Because [this light] was transmitted through "leaping [the chasm]" of the tzimtzum, i.e., in an unnatural [manner], [the light] was subject to division, and [the existence of] the Ten Sefiros [became apparent]. [6] {For as explained at length, [7] the existence of these Sefiros within the [Divine] light is not merely a function of the keilim (the vessels), but rather comes from the light itself.}

  3. Because of the tzimtzum, the light could afterwards enclothe itself in the keilim. This caused it to become more material in nature, for it became like the keilim themselves.

V

Similar concepts apply with regard to the concealment involved in the soul's descent to this material plane. (For all concealments are rooted in the ultimate concealment [brought about by] the first tzimtzum.)

Thus [the soul's descent] brings about two changes that resemble two of the changes brought about by the first tzimtzum:

  1. While the soul is in the spiritual realms, all of its powers shine forth in a revealed manner, while after its descent to this world, they become concealed. [8]

    This does not refer to the concealment brought about by the body, but rather, that there are certain dimensions of the soul which remain in the spiritual realms and are not enclothed within the body, [9] as the infinite dimension of G-d's light does not shine in the empty cavity.

  2. Even those dimensions of the soul which are enclothed in the body become more material in nature, as the keilim bring about concealment for the light of the kav. [10]

Similar patterns are found with regard to the concealment brought about by the exile. For parallels exist to both these thrusts: [11]

  1. In the era of exile, we do not receive the revelations of the Beis HaMikdash. Since the Beis HaMikdash is destroyed, "we cannot ascend and see..."; i.e., there is no direct perception of G-dliness.

  2. Even the comprehension of G-dliness in the era of exile is not true comprehension. This comes as a result (not only of the lack of the revelations of the Beis HaMikdash, but also) because of the concealment and hiddenness of the exile, which obscures our comprehension of G-dliness.

VI

As is well known, [12] the intent of the tzimtzum is that the Or Ein Sof will be revealed within the worlds. Before the tzimtzum, when Or Ein Sof filled the entire cavity, it was impossible for the worlds to exist. As such, there was no revelation within the worlds themselves. The tzimztum brought about a new [potential]: that the Or Ein Sof could also be revealed within the worlds.

This can be explained based on the [following] concept [13] (which applies with regard to the concealment of the tzimtzum which brings about the hiddenness of the infinite dimension of the light and its absorption in its source).

Before the tzimztum when Or Ein Sof filled the entire cavity (i.e., the infinite dimension of Or Ein Sof shined within it), G-dliness was bip'sheetus, [the initial, inherent object of conception], other existence was bihischadshus, [a new and incremental element].

When the Or [Ein Sof] was removed, other existence became bip'sheetus, and G-dliness became bihischadshus.

There are many levels in our Divine service at which a distinction between these two approaches can be made.

In general, this reflects the difference between seeing G-dliness and merely comprehending G-dliness.

When [a person's] knowledge of G-dliness comes through sight -- even the sight of [the eyes of] wisdom -- and surely the sight of prophecy which is like actual sight, [14] his knowledge is bip'sheetus, [an integral and indigenous element of his being]. He does not need any proofs or supports for the concept. When, by contrast, his knowledge of G-d comes from logical proofs, it is bihischadshus, [a new and incremental element of his being].

In a more particular sense, however, [it can be explained that] it is only in the Era of the Redemption when the awareness of G-d will be bip'sheetus.

In the present era, even the revelations of prophecy are a new and incremental element [of the prophet's existence]. For when it comes to physical things, everyone [-- even a prophet --] can see, and this is not considered wondrous at all. Prophecy, by contrast, is [a unique gift, granted] only to those fit for it. For "prophecy is endowed only to a sage of great wisdom, who has powerful control of his emotional qualities...," [15] [i.e., it is an incremental aspect of the person's being]. This also applies to "seeing" with "[the eyes] of wisdom"; [such perception is] also granted just to a select few.

Thus the revelation of prophecy at present is a new development; it is not the natural aspect [of the person's life]. This is reflected by the fact that when we say that a person is a prophet, that is a new development, [something out of the ordinary ].

The reason for this is that all the revelations of the present era, even the revelations of prophecy, come from the light of the kav which shines after the tzimztum. [16] In the Era of the Redemption, by contrast, the Or Ein Sof which precedes the tzimtzum will be revealed and then prophecy will be a natural phenomenon, experienced by everyone, even young boys and young girls, as it is written: [17] "And I will pour out My spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters will prophesy." [13]

VII

Similar concepts apply with regard to the direct perception of G-dliness experienced in the Beis HaMikdash.

The reason why every person experienced a direct perception of G-dliness in the Beis HaMikdash, [as implied by the verse,] "all your males shall appear," [18] is because the Or Ein Sof which was revealed before the tzimtzum shined in the Beis HaMikdash.

Nevertheless, it cannot be said that the revelation in the Beis HaMikdash was an entirely natural phenomenon. Since this revelation was confined to the Beis HaMikdash {unlike ordinary material entities which are seen without the need for a special place}, the implication is that the direct perception of G-dliness in the Beis HaMikdash came because of a factor, [an external cause].

In the Era of the Redemption, [19] by contrast, we will see G-dliness just like we see ordinary material things at present, as implied by the verse: [20] "And all flesh shall see that the mouth of G-d has spoken." The natural tendency of our physical [21] eyes will be to see G-dliness. [22]

VIII

Explanation is nevertheless required: the revelation of the infinite dimensions of Or Ein Sof and the existence of the worlds are two opposites.

Therefore when Or Ein Sof filled the entire cavity, it was impossible for the worlds to come into existence, and [indeed,] for them to come into existence, the light had to be removed.

Since bringing the worlds into existence required the removal of the light (the direct opposite of its revelation), how is it possible for the worlds (and more particularly, actual physical flesh) to exist and yet have its existence permeated by the revelation of G-dliness?

The concept can be explained as follows: Since the intent of the tzimtzum is for the sake of revelation (and that this revelation permeate the existence of the worlds as mentioned above), the inner dimension of the tzimtzum {and thus, the [inner dimension of] the worlds which came into being as a result of the tzimtzum} does not run contrary to [this movement to] revelation.

On the contrary, revelation is its own inner purpose. Nevertheless, in order to reveal this inner purpose of the tzimtzum, the Divine service of the Jewish people, and particularly [the Divine service] in the era of exile is required {as explained in sec. IX}.

Based on the above, we can understand why in [his] maamar, [the Previous Rebbe] adds [the concept of] descent for the purpose of ascent.

With this concept, he clarifies (as explained in sec. IV) that the Divine service in the era of exile will be the catalyst for the revelations of the Era of the Redemption, not only the revelations which transcend intellectual understanding and sight (which Mashiach will reveal in his function as king), but also [23] those matters that can be contained with understanding and sight [24] which Mashiach will reveal in his function as teacher. [25]

For these [revelations] are also dependent on our Divine service in the era of exile. For in the Era of the Redemption, "All flesh will see," and [as explained above,] this will be the natural tendency of flesh itself. [For this to happen,] it is necessary to reveal the inner intent of the descent [which began with the tzimtzum], and [show] that the descent is for the purpose of ascent.

IX

This concept -- that the tzimtzum is [intended] for the sake of revelation -- is brought into expression (primarily) through the Divine service in the era of exile.

For the descent of exile is [also] for the sake of ascent (like the descent of the tzimtzum is for the sake of revelation).

But with regard to the descent of exile, we see an added factor; in the era of exile, we see in actual fact how the concealment of G-dliness in exile arouses the power of mesirus nefesh (self- sacrifice).

As explained in a maamar [of the Previous Rebbe], [26] the power of mesirus nefesh is more revealed in the era of exile, and particularly, in the era of ikvesa diMeshicha, than in the era when the Beis HaMikdash was standing.

To explain this concept, [the Previous Rebbe] brings the example of the functioning of the power of will within our souls.

Although [will] is an encompassing power and therefore permeates all the limbs, nevertheless, the fundamental revelation of the power of will is in the heels. [27] For this reason it is easier for a person to place his heel in boiling water, than to pour boiling water over his head.

Similar concepts apply with regard to the Jewish people [as a whole, for they are also described with the analogy] of a human body.

The power of mesirus nefesh (an unlimited potential that is above being enclothed in vessels) is revealed more in simple people (who can be described with the analogy of heels) than in intellectuals.

And similarly with regard the entire pattern of history [which can also be described using the analogy of the human] body, it is in the generation of ikvesa diMeshicha when the power of mesirus nefesh is most intensely manifest.

The reason why the concealment of the exile arouses and reveals the power of mesirus nefesh (although concealment and revelation are two opposites) is because the source for the concealment of the exile is the concealment of the first tzimtzum which was intended for the sake of revelation.

And the Divine service of mesirus nefesh in the time of the exile reveals in actual fact the inner dimension of the concealment (i.e., the concealment of the exile, and the concealment of its source, the first tzimtzum), showing that it is intended for the sake of revelation.

X

Based on the above, we can understand why the Divine service in the era of exile, and particularly, in ikvesa diMeshicha has two components: the study of P'nimiyus HaTorah in a manner of intellectual comprehension and the service of mesirus nefesh.

The study of P'nimiyus HaTorah serves as a catalyst for the revelation of two levels [of G-dly light] in the Era of the Redemption: those elements that can be grasped through comprehension, and the essence of the P'nimiyus HaTorah which is also above intellectual comprehension (and which is also above sight).

Since all the revelations of the Era of the Redemption are dependent on our deeds and Divine service in the present era, [28] both types of service are demanded of each and every individual: involvement in the comprehension and study of the teachings of Chassidus [29] (which reflects the teachings of Mashiach) and the service of mesirus nefesh, i.e., giving over one's will. For these two types of service prepare for the revelation of Mashiach as both a king and as a teacher. May this take place in the immediate future.

Footnotes:

  1. (Back to text) Sec. 20 (the beginning of p. 130).

  2. (Back to text) [The intent is that we can understand why the revelation of the transcendent dimensions of G-dliness comes about through our Divine service in the era of exile. For it is that Divine service which brings to the surface the essential power of Netzach and which as a result draws down the essential revelations Mashiach will convey as a king.

    But as explained above, serving as a teacher is also one of the fundamental dimensions of Mashiach and that purpose does not appear to be advanced by the exile.

    On the contrary, the exile appears to bring about a descent and the concealment of G-dliness. And so, it is explained that the descent is for the purpose of ascent.

    When one seeks to make a gradual advance, one proceeds in an ordered pattern of growth, but when one desires to make a radical advance the motif of descent for the sake of ascent is employed.]

  3. (Back to text) With regard to the concepts that follow, see the maamar entitled Vayehi Haanan and the maamar which follows from the year 5675 (from the series of maamarim, entitled BeShaah Shehikdimu, 5672, Vol. II, p. 934ff).

  4. (Back to text) [I.e., the space created by the retraction of the light to its source].

  5. (Back to text) See the series of maamarim released for Pesach 5709, secs. 23 and 24 (p. 133ff.).

    [The intent of saying that the finite dimension of Or Ein Sof was included within the infinite dimension is that at that level, its finite qualities were subsumed because of the intensity of the infinite light.]

  6. (Back to text) [These Sefiros also existed in the light before the tzimtzum, but then they were genuzos, "entombed," within the infinite light, and were not at all apparent. The light was apparent as one simple undivided entity. After the tzimtzum, the Ten Sefiros became distinct entities within the Divine light.]

  7. (Back to text) See the series of maamarim entitled BeShaah Shehikdimu, 5672, Vol. II, sec. 70, p. 938ff.; the series of maamarim beginning Rosh HaShanah, 5694, secs. 20-21 (Sefer HaMaamarim 5711, p. 84).

  8. (Back to text) See the series of maamarim released for Pesach 5709, sec. 20 (p. 130ff)

  9. (Back to text) See the maamarim cited in the previous note which explain that with the descent of the soul, its powers become concealed and its [functioning can be compared to] "a person who is asleep who does not see and does not hear at all." The concealment of sleep is not a result of the body, but rather of the withdrawal of the soul's powers from the body.

  10. (Back to text) See the series of maamarim entitled BeShaah Shehikdimu, 5672, Vol. II, p. 990. [The kav is the vector of Divine light which shines after the tzimtzum.]

  11. (Back to text) [This can be explained because the perception of G-dliness via the medium of] sight (in particular within the Beis HaMikdash) comes about because of the revelation of the essence of Or Ein Sof (as explained in secs. 6-7 [of this maamar]). The comprehension [of G-dliness] (which allows for different levels and is a new development) comes as a result of the light of the kav.

    [The intent is that our potential for direct perception of G-dliness was withdrawn as the infinite light was withdrawn as a result of the tzimtzum], and our comprehension of G-dliness took on more material trappings as the light of the kav also became more material in nature.]

  12. (Back to text) See the series of maamarim entitled Yom Tov Shel Rosh HaShanah, 5666, p. 4, et al.

  13. (Back to text) See the maamar entitled Vayehi Haanan cited above.

  14. (Back to text) See the series of maamarim entitled Yom Tov Shel Rosh HaShanah, 5666, p. 98; see also Tanya, Iggeres HaKodesh, Epistle 19, and Derech Mitzvosecha, p. 173a.

  15. (Back to text) Rambam, Mishneh Torah, Hilchos Yesodei HaTorah 7:1.

  16. (Back to text) [And thus the fundamental characteristic of the tzimtzum, that individual existence is the starting point of our perception, governs this form of revelation as well.]

  17. (Back to text) Yoel 3:1.

  18. (Back to text) [Which as explained above can be interpreted to mean "All... shall see."]

  19. (Back to text) See the maamar entitled Vayehi Haanan cited above, p. 936, which states that "Or Ein Sof was revealed in the Beis HaMikdash.... and it will be revealed to a greater measure in the Era of the Redemption."

  20. (Back to text) Yeshayahu 40:5; see Shaar HaEmunah, ch. 55.

  21. (Back to text) See the maamar entitled Vayehi Haanan cited above, loc. cit., which states that "Just as now, it is natural to appreciate material existence, so too, in the Era of the Redemption, the appreciation of G-dliness will be a natural phenomenon."

  22. (Back to text) This explains why the verse continues "and all flesh shall see..." after stating "And the glory of G-d will be revealed." On the surface, "and all flesh shall see" is superfluous. If "the glory of G-d is revealed," and in a true sense, this means that the revelation will be apparent everywhere, [it is self-evident that "all flesh shall see"]. The maamar is explaining that "all flesh shall see" points to a [second] new development: that the perception of "all flesh" will come -- not only because "the glory of G-d will be revealed" -- but also [of a change in the nature] of the flesh itself.

  23. (Back to text) Note the series of maamarim released for Pesach, 5709, sec. 30, which states that the ultimate purpose of the descent of the soul into the body is "to behold the pleasantness of G-d" (Tehillim 27:4), i.e., to have a direct perception of G-dliness.

    The maamar proceeds to explain that before the descent into exile, the essence of the soul enjoyed a direct perception of G-dliness. The ascent that comes about because of the descent [of the soul into the body] enables also the revealed [powers] of the soul [i.e., intellect and emotion] to receive a [direct perception of G-dliness which resembles] actual sight." Thus the ascent of the soul referred to here [contains two dimensions]: (not only) that the soul receives a higher [revelation] than that which it had been granted previously, but also that the [revelation] which it had received previously, (the direct perception of G-dliness,) will be appreciated also by the soul's revealed powers.

    Thus we can conclude that similar concepts apply with regard to the ascent that comes about through the descent of the exile. The ascent will involve not (only) those matters which Mashiach will reveal in his function as king, which were not revealed in the era of the Beis HaMikdash, but also that the intellectual concept of G-d and the [direct perception,] seeing of G-dliness (which existed in the era of the Beis HaMikdash) should also be appreciated by the material dimensions of existence as explained above.

  24. (Back to text) The concept of transforming the tzimtzum to light (through revealing the intent of the tzimtzum, that it was intended for the sake of revelation) applies both with regard to the revelation of the infinite light (as explained at length above) and with regard to the revelation of the light of the kav, [the finite dimension of Or Ein Sof].

    (See the series of maamarim entitled BeShaah Shehikdimu, 5672, Vol. II, p. 991, [which speaks of]: "the vessel being transformed and becoming like light... and having the light shine... as it is in essence.")

    Therefore both the direct perception of G-dliness (which comes about through the revelation of the infinite light), and the comprehension of G-dliness (which comes about through the light of the kav) are precipitated by our Divine service in the era of exile. For it is this service which reveals that the intent of the tzimtzum is revelation.

  25. (Back to text) In the series of maamarim entitled Yom Tov Shel Rosh HaShanah, 5666, p. 4, it is explained that in addition to the fact that the tzimtzum will make it possible for the revelation of Or Ein Sof (which existed previously) to permeate the worlds in the Era of the Redemption, the inner dimension and essence of the Or Ein Sof which transcends the light which shined before the tzimtzum will be revealed.

    It is possible to explain that the fact that in the Era of the Redemption the direct perception of G-dliness will be a natural phenomenon, will result from the fact that in the Era of the Redemption, the revelation of the Or Ein Sof ( which shined in a revealed manner even before the tzimztum) will permeate the worlds. And the influence which cannot be communicated through sight (which transcends revelation) which will be manifest by Mashiach in his function as king reflect the revelation of the inner dimension and the essence of the Or Ein Sof which was not revealed even before the tzimtzum.

  26. (Back to text) The maamar entitled Ani Yesheinah is the series of maamarim released for Pesach, 5709.

  27. (Back to text) On the surface, it is possible to explain that the intellect which is located in the head conceals the will, but the heel does not. [For the sensitivity of the brain makes it more difficult for it to lose "self-consciousness", while the heel because of its insensitivity does not possess such "self- consciousness".]

    From Likkutei Sichos, Vol. IX, p. 75, note 30, and from Torah Or, p. 1b, which states: "And from this perspective, the heel can be considered as a head," it can, however, be concluded that the heel (because of its lowly station) is a vessel for [the manifestation of] the highermost potentials.

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

  29. (Back to text) According to the explanations above, sec. VIII, note 24, even those matters which Mashiach will reveal in his function as teacher will come through mesirus nefesh in exile, because it is through [the service of mesirus nefesh] that one reveals that the tzimtzum was intended for the sake of revelation.

    It must, however, be emphasized that the service of mesirus nefesh is necessary so that these matters will be revealed within the world, but the catalyst for the matters which Mashiach will reveal in his function as teacher is the service of study and comprehension. [For Divine revelations follow the pattern of] "measure for measure."

 Chapters 1-3 Timeless Patterns in Time



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