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Between Golus and Geulah

Moshiach Concealed: Why and For How Long?

There is nothing more unsettling to a person than the feeling that he doesn’t know what’s going on.  Over 23 years have gone by since the Rebbe said that everything has been done and all that remains to bring the Geulah is to open our eyes.  We hear many asking the unsettling question: “It’s been over 20 years—what’s going on?!

We find that the Rebbe explains1 ascending levels of how to relate to things that, the outside, appear to be the opposite of good.  Such things may be experienced as painful events (yissurim).  A higher level is to view the events as a test —a nisayon; after sufficiently withstanding the nisayon one merits to see the good revealed.

The best approach, explains the Rebbe, is to learn Pnimiyus Hatorah, because it is the fastest way to reveal the good that is hidden within everything, without even needing to withstand nisyonos“Through understanding Pnimiyus Hatorah and the soul of the matter, one is able to see there also the hidden good, even though one does not see this revealed, or one even sees the opposite (the opposite of good).”2

This echoes the words of the Raya Mehemna to Rashbi (brought in Igeres Hakodesh siman 26) that those who taste from the Tree of Life (the Zohar and Chassidus) “do not need nisayon.”  Furthermore, the Rebbe says that we must strive to be a pnimi, which is accomplished by coming to understand what we believe: the avodah of drawing Emunah into seichel.3

We hope, בע“ה, to present the clear explanations of Pnimiyus Hatorah regarding the revelation of Moshiach and the Geulah in a manner which will help us progress from the experience of nisayon.  Additionally, we hope to contribute to speeding up the Geulah by explaining the topic in a way that our Emunah pshuta in the Rebbe’s words is drawn into and understood by intellect.

When we understand the reasons for the period that Moshiach is concealed, and most importantly what is the avodah of this period of concealment, we can come to regard the current situation — as unsatisfactory as it is — in a different light.  No longer must we view it as a time of nisayon (and surely not as painful yissurim), but rather as a necessary stage in bringing the Geulah in actualityBy clearly understanding what we need to accomplish during this period in the process of the Geulah, one can leave behind the nagging doubts  and proceed confidently in these final moments of golus.

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Gimmel Tammuz: The Sun Stands Still

Then and Now: Sustenance From a Higher Level

There is a principle established by the Rebbe that we can gain understanding of an event  that occurred on a given day by examining events that occurred previously on the same day.

Based on this principle, the sicha of Gimmel Tammuz 5745 delves deeply into the first noteworthy event of 3 Tammuz: the day Yehoshua bin Nun commanded the sun to stand still.  By examining that miracle, the Rebbe brings us to a deeper understanding of the miraculous release of the Previous Rebbe from prison on the same day in 5627 (1927).

Gimmel Tammuz—as we know it today—compels a chosid to contemplate the nature of his hiskashrus to the Rebbe, how he  continues to maintain a strong connection even when the external aspect is not revealed.

Being that the Rebbe is the Nosi, the shepherd of the Jewish nation, and a shepherd does not abandon his flock, it is self-understood that the Rebbe prepared the chassidim for all future events.  This preparation is found primarily in the Rebbe’s letters, sichos and maamorim.

We will attempt in this small booklet to take a deeper look at what the Rebbe wants us to understand about the miracle of Yehoshua bin Nun in making the sun stand still, and how the sicha of the Rebbe is a guidebook—a moreh derech—for chassidim to understand the situation after Gimmel Tammuz 5754 .

By examining the Rebbe’s sichos, we will find that we can learn from the earlier events of Gimmel Tammuz, and thus gain insight into our present situation and better understand how 3 Tammuz 5754 fits into the mandate of the 7th Generation:

Bringing Moshiach in actuality!

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Eternal Life of a Soul in a Body

The Refined Physical Body of the Messianic Era

 The Rebbe once told a story1 of the Rebbe Maharash taking his son on a tour of the heavenly realms.  Among the “sights” they saw was a chossid sitting in a brightly lit heavenly chamber with his eyes closed.  The great light in his chamber was generated by the many chapters of Tanya this chossid had learned b’al peh. But, despite all that light, his eyes were closed: he lacked understanding.  The lesson for us, explains the Rebbe, is that we need to open our eyes; not just to repeat b’al peh, but to understand what we are talking about.

We find many instances where the Rebbe declares that  the histalkus of the Previous Rebbe on Yud Shevat 5710 is only a test — in truth, nothing has changed.  To quote the gemara, “Yaakov Avinu did not die” (even though the Torah itself testifies to his embalming and burial) and hu bachayim”—he is alive. “Just as his children are alive, so, too, he is alive.”

What about those who attempt to offer gentle interpretations that Previous Rebbe left  us a legacy and “it is as if he is alive”?  The Rebbe rejects them as trying to cool things off when the fact is: He is alive! He merely exchanged his garments.2

Sixty five years ago, the Rebbe instructed that one who questions the claim that the Moshe of the generation did not die, he was to be answered with the response: “When you grow up you’ll understand”3because, in truth, the chossid making the claim didn’t understand this himself!  But now, after 40 years of the Rebbe’s teaching, we now have “eyes to see, ears to hear, and a heart to know”—the time has come to open our eyes and understand.

The Rebbe’s directive is that the “straight path” to opening our eyes to the Geulah lies in learning about Moshiach and Geulah.  The goal of this booklet is to present the explanations of Torah (in particular, pnimiyus Hatorah) to assist in “opening our eyes” to understand how Yaakov Avinu, Rabbeinu Hakadosh and the Previous Rebbe are in fact alive, and also Moshe Rabbeinu—the first redeemer—when he ascended Har Sinai, and also to Moshiach—the final redeemer—who remains chai v’kayamduring the period of concealment which follows his initial revelation.


1) Sicha, parshas Mishpatim, 5714.

2) Sicha of Yud Shevat, 5726.

3) Sicha of Leil Simchas Torah, 5711.,  ch. 2.

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#11--All That Remains is to Open Up the Eyes

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All That Remains is to Open Up the Eyes

How is it Done?  What Will We See?

To describe them as “historic” or “monumental” does not adequately describe the tremendous significance of the Rebbe’s words declaring that the work of exile has been finished, the only remaining task is to “open up the eyes”.

Several times in history Moshiach explained what is needed to bring him.  The first time is recorded in the Gemara: the Tanna R’ Yehoshua ben Levi went to ask Moshiach “When is the master coming”?  Moshiach answered him: “Today”.  Moshiach did not come that day, though, because “Today” really meant “Today, if you will obey His voice” — proper fulfillment of Torah and Mitzvos by the Yidden, which was lacking. Many generations later, when the Baal Shem Tov reached the chamber of Moshiach he asked him the same question: “When is the Master coming”.  Moshiach answered him with the famous words: “When your wellsprings will spread forth….” The Baal Shem Tov knew quite well this Gemara and Moshiach’s answer to R’ Yehoshua ben Levi (as the Previous Rebbe points out in Likutei Dibburim II, 309b), so why did he pose the very same question to Moshiach a second time?  Because the Baal Shem Tov saw that the Yidden had already fulfilled the requirement of “if you will obey His voice” and he was asking Moshiach: “What now?” In our generation, the Rebbe himself states that nothing remains to be done, and therefore today the answer to “When is the Master coming” is the Rebbe’s declaration that “the one thing that is needed is that a Yid will open up his eyes properly.…”31 Even among dedicated Chassidim there remain matters which require clarification: How can the work of refinement (avodas habirurim) be finished if things look so unfinished?  What does it mean to “open up the eyes”–will we see a physical world or G-dliness?  How do we do it?

Only upon delving into the sources in Chassidus can we begin to understand the depth of the Rebbe’s unprecedented expressions, and the truly unique moment in which we live.  We present here some insights of Chassidus which shine light into these questions (in a way of “oiros b’keilim”), and בעהי”ת bring to a clearer understanding of the Rebbe’s truly momentous declarations.

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The Rebbe on several occasions stated that our generation is the last generation that will be in exile, and the first generation that will experience the Geulah.  Together with this comes a towering promise: in our generation we will experience the transition to eternal life without any interruption—meaning without experiencing death like the previous generations (who will also receive the reward of eternal life, although following an interruption).

Since the time the Rebbe said those words there have been many funerals, and many Jews old and young, r”l, have passed away.  It would seem at first glance that the Rebbe’s promise is something that will be fulfilled only upon the arrival of the true and complete Geulah (may it be immediately).

However, upon delving into the sources we will see that what appears to our fleshly eyes as real is actually only a temporary covering.  What is real lies hidden on the inside, in the essence of what we see.

Furthermore, the state of the body as it will be when it reaches the purity and refinement of eternal life—the Resurrection of the Dead—is so lofty that it bears little resemblance to the coarse material covering which we perceive.  The body will be like the body of Adam Harishon—Hashem’s own handiwork, placed to dwell in Gan Eden.

We hope to show how eternal life—as a soul in a refined body—is not contradicted by a lack of signs of life in the material garment we wear in this world.  Thus—a funeral does not necessarily contradict eternal life without any interruption.

The prophet Isaiah speaks of the time when death will be swallowed forever and Hashem will wipe the tear from every eye.  May we see that this refers to our generation—as we go from exile towards Geulah.

Resurrection of the Dead While Still in the Dust? 

The Gemara33 states that Tzaddikim will return to their dust one hour before the Resurrection of the Dead.  The Rebbe explains that this can be fulfilled through the spiritual service of “my soul will be as dust to all,” in which case there is no need to actually return to dust.

In the Zohar34 it states in the name of Rabi Yitzchok: “They have taught that in the future the Holy One Blessed Be He will revive the dead and shake them from their dust — that they will not be fabric of dust like they were at the beginning when they were created from actual dust which lacks permanent existence…they will be shaken from that fabric of dust and they will arise in permanent fabric giving them lasting existence.  For it says: Arise! Shake off the dust.”

This expression of being “shaken from the dust” is found in the gemara35 in the name of Rebi Elazar: “Anyone who possesses arrogance [גסות הרוח], his dust will not be shaken“. 

It has been asked36 why do our sages use the term “to be shaken” to refer to the Resurrection of the Dead?  Why didn’t they say “he won’t arise” or “he won’t live” at the Resurrection?  It is possible to answer that this means that even while the arrogant will indeed arise at the Resurrection, he will arise in the original dust of this world, and this original dust is not shaken off from him.  Thus, while he has actually reached the level of eternal life, it remains hidden beneath a layer of “dust” (the “skin of the snake”) and thus he will still undergo the humbling process of passing away in order to “shake off the dust” that comes from arrogance.

This would then explain that our generation is already on the level of the Resurrection of the Dead, since our generation is on the level of Rabbeinu Hakadosh “who completed his avodah, nonetheless he suffered illnesses…only the waste which is at the ends of his garment was still not refined27.  We are only “dwelling in the dust” due to a lack of bittul.  Thus the Rebbe instructs our generation that it is specifically bittul (“My soul will be dust to all”) that nullifies the requirement to “return to the dust”—negating the need to die and return again in another incarnation.

(And see Ben Yehoyada35 that the arrogant will arise in the resurrection like a person who was put to sleep to undergo a painful operation, and when he awakens “he is still sick and feels his body’s weakness”.)
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קונטרסים בלה”ק


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כתוב בספר התניא קדישא בקשר לימות המשיח: ”ונודע שימות המשיח ובפרט כשיחיו המתים הם תכלית ושלימות בריאות עולם הזה שלכך נברא מתחילתו.“ הוא זמן של עבודה לא זמן של קבלת שכר, כי ”קבלת שכר עיקרו באלף השביעי“ שהיא לאחר ימות המשיח. ומה טבעם של ימות המשיח? איך בדיוק הם קשורים עם הגאולה האמיתית והשלימה על ידי משיח צדקנו? כאשר נבדוק את הנושא יותר בעומק יתגלו דברים שאולי לא נתפסנו בשלימותם עד עתה.

קודם כל צריכים לדעת נקודה עיקרית שהרבי מדגיש: שרק הרמב”ם בלבד פוסק על ימות המשיח ואין חולקים עליו. ולכן הפסקי דינים של הרמב”ם במשנה תורה שלו על הנושא הם הלכה למעשה לכל הדעות. שם, בהילכות מלכים ומלך המשיח, הרמב”ם פוסק להלכה איך יהי’ אחרי ש“יעמוד מלך מבית דוד“, שהוא משיח, וסדר הענינים שיהיו אז: שמשיח יכוף ישראל, ילחם מלחמות ה’ וינצח, יבנה בית המקדש, יקבץ גוליות, עד שהוא יתקן את כל העולם.

יוצא מדברי הרמב”ם כמה שאלות: האם ”יעמוד מלך מבית דוד“ זוהי ביאת משיח? האם זה התחלת הגאולה? ולמה הרמב”ם פוסק שבימות המשיח “עולם כמנהגו נוהג“ אם כידוע הגאולה היא באופן של ”אראנו נפלאות“? נשתדל לענות על השאלות אלו מתוך משנתו של הרבי, ואז נקשר את כל זה עם התקופה הנוחכית שלנו לפי העדויות של הרבי.

הדבר הראשון שמזכיר הרמב”ם בקשר לימות המשיח הוא ”שיעמוד מלך מבית דוד כו’”, ומזה מובן שמשיח (שהוא המלך מבית דוד) צריך לעמוד עוד לפני שכל הענינים המוזכרים שם ברמב”ם מתרחשים. וזה מתישב על הדעת כי המשיח הוא זה שפועל את כל הענינים, כמובן שהוא צריך קודם לכן לעמוד. אבל עדיין אין הענין ברור, כי הרבי כותב שכל הדברים שמשיח פועל אחרי שהוא יעמוד ”אינם סימן ברור של הגאולה, כי כל זה עדיין יכול לקרות במצב של גלות.“ זאת אומרת שיכול להיות מצב שמשיח כבר ”עמד“ ופועל פעולותיו ועם ישראל עדיין בגלות.

ועוד, אומר הרבי, ”ע”פ שטחיות לשונו ברמב”ם בזה, הנה ברור הביע דעתו מוחלטה, אודות המאורעות שיהיו קודם התגלות משיח וסדרן, ז.א. קודם שתתחיל הגאולה.“ אם כן, עדיין צריך ביאור מה הענין של ”ביאת משיח“: האם היא התחלת ימות המשיח או סיומם. והאם ביאת משיח והגאולה הם שני דברים נפרדים או והאם הם ענין אחד. והביאור בזה:

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When we learn in Tanya that Yemos Hamoshiach—the Days of Moshiach, the Messianic Era—as “the ultimate purpose and perfection…for which [this world] was created in the first place”, we recognize that we have an obligation to clarify for ourselves what exactly goes on in those days. What is the relationship of Yemos Hamoshiach to the coming of Moshiach and the Geulah. The same thing with different names, or different matters entirely? As we examine this subject a little closer, we will probably be surprised to find that we hold some misconceptions about these terms.

The Rebbe often emphasizes that there is only one halachic source which rules about Moshiach—the Rambam in his Mishnah Torah, the final section containing the Laws of Kings and Melech Hamoshiach. As the Rebbe points out, none of the commentators on the Rambam challenge any of the rulings there, which means that they are universally accepted and therefore they are halacha lema’aseh (laws with practical application).

In those laws, the Rambam describes the events of the period following the rise to power of a king from the House of David, who is Moshiach. These laws are defining for us Yemos Hamoshiach—the days of Moshiach. The Rambam states that in this period of time, one should not expect to witness anything miraculous, such as the prophecy of wolf and lamb dwelling together in a literal fashion, but rather “olam k’minhago noheg”—the world will conduct itself in its natural manner.3 This is based on the statement of our sages that “there is no difference between this world and the days of Moshiach other than [the end of] servitude to the [gentile] kingdoms.”

The Rebbe points out, however, that the Rambam himself writes in his Igeres Teimon that it is possible that there will be miracles and wonders at this time, and that the prophecies may indeed be fulfilled literally. Says the Rebbe “Igeres Teimon is true…it is a certainty that the Rambam holds that in the time of Moshiach Tzidkeinu there will be signs and indications—wonders.” It seems strange that the Rambam would contradict his own halachic ruling.

The Rebbe resolves this seeming contradiction by explaining that in fact Yemos Hamoshiach are divided into two tekufos, two distinct periods: a) the beginning of Yemos Hamoshiach, when “there is no difference from this world besides servitude to the nations alone”; and b) a period following this when the natural conduct of the world will be nullified and instead the conduct of the world will be in a way of wonders.

A simple question arises: are the days of Moshiach the period that begins after Moshiach comes, or is the period that leads up to the coming of Moshiach? The question is made stronger by the fact that the Rebbe said that “we are found now” in Yemos Hamoshiach, yet in subsequent sichos the Rebbe speaks of actions which “bring closer the coming of Moshiach”.

When speaking about the time that “Moshiach comes”, one can be making a reference to two very distinct instances. For we must recall that Moshiach must, according to the Rambam, accomplish a series of tasks, beginning with compelling all of Israel to live according to Torah, fighting the wars of Hashem, building the Beis Hamikdash, and gathering the exiles. It is self-understood that the first thing is that Moshiach must come (“a King arises from the House of Dovid”) and only then we can begin to speak about Yemos Hamoshiach. Then, only after the Moshiach has accomplished all of these things, do we actually experience the revelations of Moshiach, which is in fact referred to as “the coming of Moshiach”.

This matter is explained in the “famous letter” of the Rebbe Rashab in which it is explained how all the sources (both nigleh and nistar, from the Rambam to the Zohar) follow the same sequence—first Moshiach comes, then he builds the Beis Hamikdash, then he gathers in the exiles—but in the maamor in Siddur the Alter Rebbe writes “that the ingathering of the exiles will be before the coming of Moshiach.” Explains the Rebbe Rashab:

This means that the revelations of Moshiach down below will be after the ingathering of the exiles…that after they will be gathered by him then he can be a king over them…and then will be the revelations of Moshiach.

In other words, there is a “coming of Moshiach” at the beginning of Yemos Hamoshiach and there is a “coming of Moshiach” at the culmination of Yemos Hamoshiach. This enables us to understand how the Rebbe could refer to “in our days—Yemos Hamoshiach—in which we find ourselves now” and one month later devote the better part of an entire sicha11 to the concept of “bringing Yemos Hamoshiach”. Having drawn this distinction, we will now proceed to examine Yemos Hamoshiach in more detail.

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Tzaddikim die on the day they were born, meaning that their death is an elevation of the higher levels of the soul, that [the soul] disrobes from the bodily levush sak [garments of skin] and enclothes in the spiritual chaluka d’Rabbanan [garments of light] to enter into supernal worlds.
Likutei Sichos, vol. 5, p. 86

This is why tzaddikim are called alive after their passing, because they are in fact truly alive, no longer limited by being enclothed in a lowly body of dust. Their true and eternal life begins when they shed the garment (the “body”) of this world.

Due to a [tzaddik’s] actions and great level he will merit that he will not die ever…He will merit that his soul will exist in his body forever…and when the time comes to pass away and to separate from the world he won’t need to undergo an interruption and to die, but rather his body will return to a spiritual state…and this refers to those called “bnei aliyah” [“those who have achieved elevation”].
Ma’areches HaElokus, ch. 8

This is hinted at in the statement that “tzaddikim die on the day they were born”. This statement is telling us that the tzaddik’s “birth” in the World to Come appears as his “death” in this world—his soul exchanges the “garments of skin” for the “garments of light”. As he appears to have died in this world, he has actually been born in the higher world. Of course this is not really death at all (except the way that it appears to fleshly eyes.)

The Rebbe brings out this connection in the discourse Padah b’Sholom14 (published for distribution in 5751, the year “Nun Alef”). In that discourse, the Rebbe explains how the Mitteler Rebbe’s Hillula (9 Kislev, when he passed away) serves as a preparation for his day of Geulah (10 Kislev, the day on which, one year prior, he had been released from Russian prison). In the Rebbe’s words:

…the greatness of the elevation of the Mitteler Rebbe’s day of Geulah [10 Kislev]…is due to the fact that the preceding day is the Hillula of the Mitteler Rebbe…the day of 9 Kislev, the Hillula, is the eve of the day of Geulah…which comes after the preparation of the Avodah of the Hillula…
Maamorim Melukatim 5, pp. 86, 90

In other words, the one leads to the other: first the Hillula, then the Geulah! From this we see that after the tzaddik has completed all matters of Avodah, he must then shed the fleshly body of this world in order to experience Geulah. Thus, the Histalkus of tzaddikim becomes a Hillula, a day of celebration since the day they “died” is really the day they are “born” into true, eternal life (regardless of the date of birth, which only in rare cases coincides on the calendar, as the Rebbe mentions).

[…]The Midrash Rabba states, “’good’—this is the angel of life, ‘very good’—this is the angel of death”. Why is the angel of death “very good”? Because the Histalkus of tzaddikim is the completion of everything they did in their life in this world. It only appears to our fleshly eyes to resemble “death”. But, in truth, when the completed soul departs from the “skin of the snake” after it has been emptied of holy sparks, a great elevation occurs—to the level of the Resurrection of the Dead.

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One of the fundamental concepts found in Torah is that the body by itself is a lifeless entity, called domem, something inanimate and lifeless. It is dead in the sense that it does not sense anything. All of the bodily senses—the sense of sight, of hearing, of touch, etc.—are present only when the body is enlivened by the soul within. We see this from the fact that a dead body will not respond to pain or other sensory input; it is only when the soul is in the body that the eyes see, the ears hear, the flesh feels, etc. Indeed, this concept is widely known and is not a unique insight of Chassidus. In the common conception there are only two general categories: the physical and the spiritual, the body and the soul. The physical body is lifeless, the spirit within has life. However, Pnimiyus Hatorah, the inner Torah, comes to open our eyes to see greater detail, beyond the over-simplified notion that “there is something spiritual inside”.

Pnimiyus Hatorah explains that the body that we see in this world is merely a material garment and not even truly a body at all. R’ Chayim Vital writes that even the souls of the greatest tzaddikim “when they descend to this world it is impossible for them to stand in it except with this material garment.”10 It is stated in Avodas Hakodesh that “The lower entity compared to the higher is like a body and a garment, and the higher entity is like a neshoma to it…it disrobes and enclothes according to the place where it is serving.”11 So it comes out that the body of man is not the body of this world at all. The body of this world is a temporary garment which conceals the true body which is beneath it. Thus, it is stated in Zohar:

At the time they descend below they are garbed in the garment of this world…. There is a garment that is visible to all, and the fools see man in a garment which appears beautiful, yet they don’t look any further—they think that this garment is a body and they think that the body is a neshoma. (Zohar, B’haaloscha, 152a)

We can explain this distinction between garment, body, and neshoma as follows:

“They think the garment is a body”—this refers to the material body which appears to our eyes. We think it is a body, but this is a borrowed term. It is really a garment.

“They think that the body is a neshoma”—this refers to the “inner man” called the Tzelem, the Intellectual Soul (which itself is the higher aspect of the Natural Soul12). It seems like the neshoma which gives life to the material body, but in truth this soul itself is really a body, quite distinct from the G-dly neshoma which is blown into man.

The neshoma gives life to the exterior garment (the outer man) via the inner body , the Natural Soul. The garment, what we view as the body, is something dead and lifeless, the result of the sin of Adam Harishon:

The sin of Adam Harishon caused exile and klipa to surround the nefesh by dressing in this dead body of flesh, this lowly dust. What was a clean and pure body is now enclothed in klipos, the skin of the snake…how much more will be added after the body sheds its lowliness and its exile once and for all. (Chesed L’Avraham, 1:5)

Thus we find, that the Mitteler Rebbe describes the subject of “all flesh will see” as “the vision of the eye of the Natural Soul in physicality.”13 Not the fleshly eye, but the power of seeing possessed by the soul. Refining the Natural soul is identical with refining the material of the body, since this does not mean the fleshly, external body, but rather “the refinement of the bodily matter (חומר הגופני) of human intellect…the refinement of the material of the Natural Soul.”13 Similarly, the Rebbe makes it clear that the “flesh” that will in the future see G-dliness is the refined Animal Soul:

We will reach ultimate perfection of the process of refinement of the Animal Soul—and then the prophecy will be fulfilled “and the glory of Hashem will be revealed and all flesh together will see, etc.”, that even the “flesh” (the Animal Soul) will see G-dliness with sensory vision. (Sicha Parshas Re’eh, 5742, siman 6)

* * *

The 4 Yesodos from klipa are the aspect of the world that we see, physicality that does not exist forever. As stated in the gemara27, “this world exists for 6,000 years, and then one of desolation”. Explains the Rebbe Rashab: “’One of desolation’ means that in the 7th millennium it will be desolate and empty from physicality.”28

This can be understood in light of what we have learned above: the physical aspect of the world will pass away, but the Divine vitality within it will continue to exist and in fact be elevated: “in truth what is stated ‘one [millennium] of desolation’ is not really disappearance, but rather elevation to a higher level, and all that will be lost is the physicality. This does not mean that they will be nullified completely…[for the Divine vitality which] keeps them in existence now is unchanging.”29 The klipa aspect of the world will end, but the truth of the world endures eternally.

Interesting to note that the gemara there asks what will become of the tzaddikim at the end of 6,000 years. The gemara answers that the Holy One will make wings for them—which recalls the wings of Elisha Baal Knafayim and his “pure body”, and which hints at the pure, refined physical body of the time to come. The Rebbe Rashab explains: “the Holy One makes for them wings, which means their elevation will bring them to the aspect of light”30, which can be understood from the words of the Tzemach Tzedek, stating that “the body before the sin was a holy, refined, clean body, and called ‘garments of light’ .”31

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After the klipa (the “spirit of impurity”) will be removed, we will have the same world, only on a completely different level. Because Man and the world will be refined and elevated, on a completely different level, the mitzvos we will do will be completely different as well: Following the sin and the expulsion from Gan Eden our mitzvos only serve “to refine the physical evil…[However,] the ultimate form of mitzvos is only in the Days of Moshiach, because then it will be like before the sin of the Tree of Knowledge…In the future the mitzvos of sacrifices will be in a higher way, and so, too, all the mitzvos in the future will be [performed] in a completely different manner.” In a way that is free from the constraints of the physicality of today.

This is because before Moshiach comes and ushers in the true and complete Redemption, our mitzvos are only signs. As the Alter Rebbe writes: “the physical aspect of mitzvos as they are enclothed in physical matters are a ‘sign’…because the physical mitzvos are hints to the spiritual aspect that is in them.”

To illustrate this by way of an analogy: an object in this physical world is like a bank check. A bank check is written on paper which is inherently worthless. But because the check represents money which the bank has in its vault, and they will give you that money when you cash the check, therefore the check is now (temporarily) something quite valuable. Not because of the paper it is written on (which remains worthless), but because of the value that is “concealed” within it. The check represents the physical item, and the value it possesses—the cash which can be obtained through the check—represents the holy sparks which are in every physical object.

Just as a check exists only so that we will cash it so we can receive its hidden value and afterwards the check reverts to being worthless paper, so it is with the physical world: because sparks of holiness fell into the klipos, those objects now have value. But the goal is to extract the sparks, “cash the check”, and after the sparks have been extracted from it, the physical is as worthless as a cancelled check. The check is important because without it we cannot get the money, the physical is important because without it we cannot extract the holy sparks. But after the check is cashed, it is once again nothing but worthless paper; and after the physical object is refined and all the sparks of holiness have been extracted and then elevated, it is once again nothing but lowly klipa without any vitality of its own.
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For 40 years the Rebbe gave blessings, advice and instruction through the “garment of this world”, which means a physical body as we know it.  The Rebbe’s hashpa’a was given via letters, which the Rebbe dictated from his office; through sichos given at farbrengens;  through dollars placed in a person’s physical hand.  The spiritual, G-dly flow of sustenance was enclothed in the garment of the natural world.  Although a Jew knows that the Rebbe’s blessing and prophetic insights come from the Rebbe’s inner, spiritual aspect, nonetheless the “gentile within us” was strengthened from the fact that it was always garbed in nature—the Rebbe’s actions in the physical world.  Seeing the Rebbe “in the flesh” nurtured the  perspective of the “gentile within” that the natural world—what he could see of the Rebbe—is (at least partially) the source of the sustenance.

However, when the “Sun stood still” on 3 Tammuz 5754, meaning that the external, visible aspect of the Moshe Rabbeinu of the generation ceased its movement, the “gentile within” can no longer see a physical source for the blessings and guidance.  But the flow of sustenance to Israel continues, meaning that the blessings and advice and guidance do not cease, as attested to by the numerous ways the Rebbe continues to guide us today, whether through the concepts imparted via sichos and letters, or through answers received via Igros Kodesh, or in dreams, or through other means.  In this way, the perspective of the “gentile within”—which claims that the material, external existence is significant—is defeated by the perspective of the G-dly soul, which is that the material world and nature is simply a garment, an external covering for the flow of sustenance which is really coming from Hashem.

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There is a common misperception that the Resurrection of the Dead means the return of the soul to the body as we recognize it externally.  The popular image of cemeteries filled with revived corpses climbing out of coffins dressed in their burial shrouds, dusting off the dirt of the grave is based on a simplified reading of the words of our sages; but after having merited the revelations of Chassidus, our conception of “rising from the dust” must reflect a deeper understanding.

To begin with, although we think that those buried in the cemetery are the ones dwelling in the dust, the deeper meaning of the concept is that it actually applies to us—we who are alive in this world right now.  To explain:  the soul’s work is accomplished over numerous lifetimes, called gilgulim.  The soul is reincarnated into different bodies over different lifetimes in order to complete the task of refining sparks.  This world, including the body of man in this world, was created from the dust.  As the verse states: “you are from the dust and to the dust you shall return”.  “Arise and sing those who dwell in the dust.”

Thus it is that we, who are presently in a state of gilgul (from the root gilul, meaning “dung”), are the ones who are in the dust, meaning a body that was created from the dust of this world.  “Returning to the dust” really refers to the cycle of reincarnation: “the verse ‘to the dust you shall return’ is the secret of gilgul, that a soul will reincarnate from dust to dust meaning from body to body and he will die and return and die.”

Based on this, we can understand the meaning of the Zohar: “This is why tzaddikim that maintain the Covenant do not return to their dust, which is the skin of the snake which was created from dust.”

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An individual soul’s assigned task of Avodas Habirurim is completed when all the sparks associated with the soul have been refined.  After that, there is no purpose for the soul to be in the lowly body, the skin of the snake.  The holy sparks that were trapped in that skin have been refined, and all that remains is the shell, the klipos.  At that point, the soul can shed this skin.  This is what happened at the Giving of the Torah, when Hashem’s speech caused the souls of the Children of Israel to fly out of their bodies.  Explains the Rebbe, this phenomenon “is something which testifies to the fact that they arrived at the completion of the Avodah as a soul in a body (and therefore ‘their souls flew out’).”

What this all means is that a time arrives when the soul has completed its Avodah in the body and thus it has no further need to be in the “prison of the body” so therefore it can leave—which appears to our eyes as death or histalkus.  (As mentioned earlier, the ultimate intent is indeed a soul in a body—but not the lowly body of this world.  Instead, the intent is the pure and holy body of the Resurrection of the Dead.)

There is an expression of our sages that is brought in many of the Lag B’Omer Chassidic discourses: hai alma d’azlinan minei—which means “this world which from which we go”.  The intention (as explained in the discourses) is that the only purpose of the soul in this world is to “go” from this world, to achieve a higher level after having completed the task of refinement, Avodas Habirurim.  When the Avodah is done, there is no longer any purpose in remaining here.  The ultimate state of eternal life in a body is something infinitely loftier, as will be explained.



 Gimmel Tammuz: The Sun Stands Still

Reaching a Higher Level of Connection

The Rebbe teaches that an event can be understood by examining previous events that occurred previously on the same day of the year.

How do we understand Gimmel Tammuz?  A chossid’s hergesh is that it is not the same as Yud Shevat, but how do we know?

The Rebbe has given us the tools to see Gimmel Tammuz for what it is: the beginning of a deeper and higher degree of hiskashrus between Chosid and Rebbe, a higher level of revelation that demands a higher level of avodah.

Gimmel Tammuz demands that we maintain a strong connection even when the external aspect is not revealed.  This an avodah that transcends the intellect, the realm of “revelations”, and reaches to the essence.

We will attempt in this small booklet to take a deeper look at what the Rebbe wants us to understand about this day.  It is the day that Yehoshua bin Nun performed the miracle of making the sun stand still, allowing the Yidden to be victorious by their own efforts.

It is also the day that proved to be the beginning of the redemption of the Friedicker Rebbe, even though Chassidim at the time were uncertain whether to dance or cry.

From the sichos we will see that the Rebbe prepared the way for us not to be confused or weakened by Gimmel Tammuz, and instead to reach a greater level of hiskashrus, and to bring the Geulah!

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