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

Click to View/Download PDF

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.

Beginning in the year 5751 (1991) the Rebbe introduced a revolutionary concept that had never been spoken before: that we need only to “open up our eyes” in order to see that everything is ready for the Geulah.  Such an expression is not found by any of the Rebbeim prior to this—not even the Rebbe himself used this expression prior to 5751 (1991).

The Rebbe’s intent in “opening the eyes” is obviously not meant in a literal, fleshly sense, for the eyes of flesh are already open.  The Rebbe is obviously referring to something more abstract, and by examining this concept at greater depth we can hopefully come to a deeper understanding of what the Rebbe is trying to tell us.

Seeing refers to the sense of sight, for the eyes are vessels for the soul’s power of seeing.  It is explained in Chassidus that the word  ראיה(“sight”) contains the same letters as יראה (“fear” and “awe”).  When the power of sight ( (ראיהis in a state of exile, so too is fear and awe  (יראה) of the person in exile (he is in awe and fear of physical things rather than of Hashem).

I. Their Eyes Were Opened—the First Time

We find the concept of “opening the eyes” appears in the very beginning of the Torah: after Adam Harishon and his wife Chava ate from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil “the eyes of the two of them were opened”[1].  In a simple sense, the opening of one’s eyes means to see that which previously could not be seen—to have one’s eyes opened is, seemingly, a positive thing!  The Tzemach Tzedek asks exactly this question: why was eating from the tree (which opened their eyes—seemingly a good thing) considered a sin?

His explanation is as follows: Wisdom (chochma) refers to the wisdom of the Torah.  But just as there are 7 emotional attributes of holiness (midos d’kedusha) and in contrast to them 7 attributes of evil (which fell in the spiritual “shattering of the vessels”, as explained in Chassidus), so too there is wisdom which fell below, referred to as “external wisdom” (chochma chitzonis).  This is not the chochma of Torah, but rather the chochma of the physical world, human wisdom.  The Tzemach Tzedek explains that this is what is meant by “the eyes of the two of them were opened”:

…this means [their eyes were opened to] the aspect of external wisdom, the chochma of the Intellectual Soul (Nefesh Hasichlis), which is not how it was prior [to the sin].  [Before the sin] they also had wisdom, but it was the chochma of G-dliness.  They did not possess the aspect of this chochma which is the source of evil.  Only after they ate from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil was [Adam] punished through the aspect of human wisdom (chochma ha’enushis) which is mixed good and evil. [2]

This means to say that prior to the sin, Adam Harishon’s power of sight was attuned to G-dliness: he saw (meaning that he “perceived”) the G-dly life-force in every created thing (thus Adam Harishon was able to correctly name the animals based on his ability to perceive the Divine “letters” that bring each animal into being).  The physical aspect, which conceals the G-dly life-force, was originally not visible to him.  Following the sin, his eyes were opened to physicality, allowing physicality to cover over and conceal his perception of G-dliness.  His eyes were opened on one level (physicality) and began to close on another level (G-dliness), meaning that his G-dly wisdom began to be exchanged for human wisdom.

This is the expulsion from Gan Eden—not that he was “sent away” to another location, but rather he lost the ability to see that he was in Gan Eden.  This is the original exile which continues to this day.  Since that time the task of man became the work of refinement (avodas habirurim)—sifting out the good from the bad in the soul of man, both his Intellectual Soul and Animal Soul.  This is brought about via the study of Torah and fulfillment of Mitzvos after Matan Torah (the preparation for which was the physical suffering, the “iron furnace” (kor habarzel), of servitude in Egypt).

This avodas habirurim, the task of refinement for which man was sent into exile, continued uninterrupted for thousands of years until the Rebbe’s earth-shattering announcement that “the work of refinement has been finished and completed”[3].  It is because the avodas habirurim has been finished that we can now move on to “opening the eyes”, which must be explained in greater depth.

II. The Intellectual Soul (Nefesh Hasichlis)

The concept of the Intellectual Soul is less familiar than that of the Animal Soul, which is explained at great length in Tanya and throughout Chassidus.  As suggested by their names, the Intellectual Soul is primarily the 3 attributes of mind—chochma, bina, and da’as, whereas the Animal Soul is primarily the 7 emotional attributes.[4]  The Animal Soul is the source of earthly desires (whether permitted or forbidden), the complete opposite of the G-dly Soul of a Jew, for the G-dly Soul relates only to G-dliness and spiritual matters.  Given that these two souls are complete opposites, there is in fact no “common language” between them, and thus the G-dly Soul is incapable of refining the Animal Soul directly.  At this point we can understand the role of the Intellectual Soul (Nefesh Hasichlis):

The G-dly Soul is able to [garb itself] in the Animal Soul via the Tzelem, which refers to the Intellectual Soul (Nefesh Hasichlis), which is the intermediary between them and connects them…In order for the G-dly Soul to be able to effect the rectification of the Animal Soul, there is a need for an intermediary, which is they purpose of the Intellectual Soul.[5]

The Nefesh Hasichlis accomplishes its task through contemplation of G-dliness and learning Torah.  For although it is merely “human intellect relating to physical matters[6] (given to man as a punishment, as mentioned above), nonetheless “it can come to the level of the neshoma [G-dly Soul] together with the neshoma.”  In its unrefined state the Nefesh Hasichlis is “the intellect which grasps physicality according to human intellect and it is falsehood and truly the opposite from G-dly wisdom which is the wisdom of truth[7] and it gives birth to emotions which are the evil inclination.  However, when the G-dly Soul garbs itself within the Intellectual Soul via Torah and Mitzvos accompanied by contemplation of G-dliness, this brings about that the Intellectual Soul:

…is elevated and connected with the light of Torah…until the wisdom that is in the [Intellectual] Soul will be like oil drawn after the wick of a mitzvah to be absorbed in the light of the Torah and to be truly transformed from one extreme to the other, from human intellect which [merely] grasps [the physical] to intellect of the wisdom of the Torah – G-dly wisdom.[8]

The Intellectual Soul can be refined and elevated from the level of human intellect to reach the level of G-dly intellect.  Once the Intellectual Soul is refined, it can afterward refine the Animal Soul[9] (the aspect of emotions which are born from intellect—when the intellect is rectified the emotions born from it are likewise rectified).  This is the work of refinement (avodas habirurim) that the Jewish people have labored in for three millennia—the same work that the Rebbe stated has been finished and completed.  In the writings of the Ariza”l it says that “after all the refinement is completed Moshiach will come.”[10]  All this requires explanation for the simple reason that the apparent reality does not seem to reflect this.

III. Our Generation is Completely Refined?

After explaining the process of refining the Intellectual Soul and then the Animal Soul, it would seem that we are very far indeed from a state of refinement.  On the contrary, each one knows himself, what sort of thoughts he has, etc., and he sees around him the behavior of others which often does not seem to reflect a state of “complete refinement” to say the least.  Yet, the Rebbe is clear: the avodas habirurim has been completed.

How can we understand this when the reality that we see does not reflect this?

In fact, the Rebbe addresses this very issue, and discusses the concept that one can reach a lofty level of having completely rectified his soul, and the manifestation of undesirable matters is only external:

The term “Adam” refers to “the man (that “he is on a lofty level…having completed everything”[11]) when his actions are as they should be (muchsharin) and all of his matters have been rectified…only the waste (psoles) on the ends of his garments is still not refined, etc.” due to the matter of the exile—like Rebbi [Yehudah Hanosi]; and in our generation—the last generation of exile, the heels of Moshiach, that all of the matters of labor (avodah) that had to be accomplished in the time of golus have been finished and completed—we can say that all of bnei Yisroel are on this level. [12]

The Rebbe has placed our generation on the level of Rebbi Yehuda Hanosi (who was fit to be Moshiach)—an “Adam” who has “completed everything”.  What we see (in ourselves and others) as undesirable are merely the last remnants of waste that cling to the ends of the garments—our garments of thought, speech, and action, the garments of the soul.  But the soul itself—the intellect (Intellectual Soul) and the emotional attributes (Animal Soul)—are in fact completely rectified.

Thus, the Rebbe can say that in this generation “every Jew is now able to reach the highest levels, including ‘be a Tzaddik’ in a revealed way” [13] (unlike the previous generations when, as explained in Tanya, not every Jew could merit this).

It should be noted that there is a precedent in Torah where the one who has been refined does not recognize the fact of his own refinement.  Chassidus explains how Yaakov encountered the same problem with Esav: that upon Yaakov’s return from Charan not only was Yaakov himself refined and ready for the Geulah, but that from his perspective Esav, too, was also ready for the Geulah. [14]  Being that Yaakov was already prepared for the Geulah “automatically there already was the Geulah in actuality”(!)

Esav, however, didn’t realize this and came with 400 armed men, and thus the messengers (malachim) that Yaakov sent to notify Esav were convinced that in actuality Esav was not yet refined.  The Rebbe concludes that now “via our deeds and effort in avodas habirurim, we merit…that ‘Yaakov sent malachim’…and he sends them to Esav to tell him that the avodas habirurim has been completed and it is already possible to go to accept Moshiach (lekabel pnei Moshiach Tzidkeinu).”  While our Animal Soul—the aspect of Esav—may not realize that he has been refined, the Intellectual Soul—the “messenger” of the G-dly Soul (Yaakov)—must go ahead and explain to him (Esav, the Animal Soul) that we can now go and accept Moshiach Tzidkenu!

It is appropriate here to bring the following very significant passage which indicates what we learn from Yaakov’s conduct about the present stage in the process of redemption:

All the matters have already been finished and completed also from the side of (and in) the world, as has been announced that all matters of labor (avodah) have been completed, also “polishing the buttons”, and everything is ready for the coming of Moshiach.

From this it is understood that the continuation of the labor after this (for as long as Moshiach Tzidkeinu is delayed for whatever reason (not known or understood at all)) this is not “avodas habirurim (for avodas habirurim has already been finished and completed)(89), but rather, a special labor to bring the revelation in actuality in the world.

(89) How much more so from the way of the labor of Yaakov after he thought that Esav was already refined, also after the malachim returned and said that he is still not refined at all—that he didn’t involve himself in “avodas habirurim” (to refine Esav) but rather involved himself in “the elevation of Ma’n to draw down Ma’d of the surrounding light of Tohu via his offering” (Torah Ohr, Vayishlach 24d)[15]

The Rebbe is indicating here that even if one will come to the same conclusion as the malachim—that Esav is not refined and is not ready for the Geulah (despite the fact that the Rebbe states otherwise)—nonetheless there is no more work of refinement to be done.  Even if the refinement does not show on the outside, in truth it has been accomplished and what is needed now only is to bring it out and to reveal it.  The term “Ma’n” stands for “mayin nukvin”, the “feminine waters” which is a kabbalistic term for the awakening from below.  “Ma’d” stands for “mayin d’churin”, the “masculine waters”, meaning the outpouring from Above.  In the next section we will understand how these terms apply to our present situation of a Geulah that can’t be seen.

IV. Birurim Completed?  Geulah?  I Can’t See It…

In a previous edition of Inyonei Moshiach and Geulah[16] the concept of two tekufos—two distinct stages within the Geulah[17]–were already explained at length.  Using this concept of two tekufos, the Rebbe resolves the difference of opinion as to whether the Geulah will come in a natural way with no apparent change in the natural order, or in a miraculous way accompanied with wondrous phenomenon.   The first tekufa is the period where the world continues according to its way, the second a period of overt miracles that transcend nature.  This concept also important to us, for it enables us to understand how the Rebbe can speak of the Geulah already being here and yet we may not feel it or see it.

The first point to bring out here is that the completion of the work of refinement (avodas habirurim) is the end of work of exile, and it brings to a state of Geulah.  However the revelation of the Geulah is not automatic.  The “well-known letter” of the Rebbe Rashab[18] explains how the completion of the work of refinement is followed by the Ingathering of the Exiles[19]–referring to the elevation of the Divine sparks (both the sparks that themselves were refined and also the sparks (the Jewish neshomas) that performed the refinement).  The Rebbe Rashab describes this (the Ingathering of the Exiles) as the elevation and unification of these sparks with Holiness, referencing a Chassidic discourse[20] that describes the task after the avodas habirurim is finished, which is the task of self-nullification (bittul) to the Tzaddik who is the redeemer.  Only after this stage is complete, writes the Rebbe Rashab, will there be the revelations of Moshiach down below.  From this we can understand the significance of the “new aspect of shlichus” which the Rebbe introduced[21]—to accept Moshiach (kabbalas pnei Moshiach Tzidkeinu).  Accepting Moshiach includes the aspect of accepting his leadership, self-nullification to him in the way that one accepts a King.  This is the next stage, which begins after the work of refinement is completed, and this next stage brings about the Ingathering of the Exiles and with it the long-awaited revelations of the Geulah.

This also gives insight to the famous sicha of Chof-Ches Nissan, 5751, where the Rebbe states that if there would be proper intent and desire for Moshiach, he would have already come.  The Rebbe diagnoses the problem: that we are in an internal exile in our Divine service, and concludes, “All that I can possibly do is to give the matter over to you…I have done whatever I can; from now on, you must do whatever you can.”  “Do whatever you can” is connected with the concept that the Rebbe would subsequently reveal in the coming year—the shlichus of accepting the leadership of Moshiach (as mentioned above) and more generally this is the aspect of the “awakening from below” which is in fact the determining factor as to whether the Geulah comes in a revealed way or not (as mentioned above regarding the terms “Ma’n” and “Ma’d”).

The Tzemach Tzedek explains[22] the statement of the gemara[23] that the Geulah can come “in its time” (B’Itah) or “hurried” (Achishena) (these are essentially the two tekufos that the Rebbe describes).  In the discourse of the Tzemach Tzedek, he explains the issue as follows: if there is first an awakening from below, before the end-time (ketz) arrives, then there will be lofty revelations of the Geulah.  However, if it occurs the other way: that the ketz arrives first—the arousal from Above—before there is an awakening from below, then the Geulah occurs in a way lacking revelation, and “then, afterwards, in the days of Moshiach via the labor (avodah) of Yisroel they will strive and merit after several years to the aspect of Achishena…(referring to lofty revelations, etc.).

Now we can understand the situation the Rebbe is describing: all the requirements for Moshiach have already been accomplished and yet we are still in a state of exile.  Avodas habirurim has been completed, the ketz already arrived, and tshuva has been done[24], yet the “awakening from below” is still incomplete—an “internal exile”.  Therefore the Rebbe gives the matter over to us because the Rebbe’s role is from Above to below, and only we ourselves can accomplish the “awakening from below”.  We could say—regarding the matter of “opening the eyes”—that even asking Hashem to open our eyes is a form yearning from below[25] (as the Rebbe said “all that is needed is that the Almighty open up the eyes of the Yidden to see that the true and complete Geulah is already here…[26])

V. What Will We See When We “Open Our Eyes”?

We could differentiate between thetaskof opening our eyes, which we can (and must) do—even now, before they are actually opened—and the revelations of the Geulah which are the result of having “opened eyes”.

The task of opening our eyes is the effort to recognize that everything in the world is by Divine Providence, hashgacha protis.  It is in this context that the Rebbe uses the expression “to open up the eyes” the first times that it appears in a sicha—at the time of the first Gulf War (which the Rebbe said repeatedly was a time of miracles): “Especially in these times a Jew is able to see in his own life hashgacha protis: he can see hashgacha protis and revealed miracles (from Heaven).  He only needs to ‘open his eyes’ — he will see this.”[27]  Similarly, a few days before chof-ches Nissan:

There is from this an answer to those Jews who ask: being as we are in “the year of Areinu Niflaos (‘I will show wonders’)” where do we see the miracles and wonders, and to such a degree as the miracles and wonders of the time of the coming out of Egypt?!  They need only to open up the eyes and look at the recent events in another part of the world, as has been published in the newspapers.[28]

Recognizing Hashem’s Divine Providence in life is to “see” G-dliness while still in a state of exile, which is still very far from the kind of “seeing” that we will describe below.  Nonetheless, this is avodah that is called “opening the eyes”, although more in the sense of “the mind’s eye”, meaning that the physical eye sees something occur in the physical world and the intellect understands that this is Divine Providence.  However, this is not yet the level of “all flesh will see that the mouth of Hashem has spoken”.[29]

The following year, 5752, the Rebbe again speaks about the need to “open up the eyes”, but the Rebbe is no longer speaking of recognizing hashgacha protis; rather, he is speaking about seeing things that are already here but not visible to our eyes:

The one thing that is needed is that a Yid will open his eyes properly, and he will see that everything is all ready for the Geulah!  There is already the “set table” and there is already the Levyoson and the Shor Habar and the aged wine, and the Yidden are already sitting by the table–their father’s table, together with Moshiach Tzidkeinu…[30]

If it is difficult to understand what the Rebbe is trying to say here, it is because we are discussing a level of seeing for which is beyond our comprehension now.  In a sicha from the early years of the nesius, the Rebbe explains just how radical is the difference between seeing now and seeing in the future.

At the present time we do not know nor are we able to imagine the concept of seeing the essence (mahus) of G-dliness.  Seeing the essence (mahus) is by us related to physical objects alone, and in physicality itself [we see] only the existence of the essence (mahus) and not the true nature of the essence which is the nefesh which is in it.  This [dimension of nefesh] is something that presently we can only know about and understand; at most we could see it with the eye of the intellect, but not with the physical sense of sight.  The novelty of the time to come with the coming of Moshiach is that in the G-dly essence will be seen with the physical sense of sight with fleshly eyes.[31]

This is the same matter as was discussed above relating to Adam Harishon—that his sense of sight fell to physical things and he lost the G-dly wisdom which allowed him to see the Divine essence of all created things.  The level of “all flesh will see” is a return to seeing G-dliness in everything, but with one advantage—that it will be seen in a “real” way, through the physical sight of fleshly eyes.  Our fleshly eyes will see G-dliness!

The Mitteler Rebbe, who explains at great length the experience of “all flesh will see”, describes just how radical this new dimension of seeing will be.  The Geulah is called ‘birth’ because just as a baby in the womb is “asleep” with his eyes closed, and when he is born his eyes open up and grasp the world, so too it will be regarding the neshoma—it will go from a state of being in “ibbur” in the “womb” (in kabbalistic terms this means the womb of Malchus) where it cannot see (because its Divine sight is obscured by being garbed in an unrefined Intellectual and Animal Soul) and will be “born” into the world—that G-dliness will “shine in their intellect and their brains and they will discern and know everything, and also the emotions of the heart and the seeing in the eye.”[32]

In other words, the “eye” of chochma of the G-dly Soul will see G-dliness through the eyes of the Animal Soul which perceives the physical world.  This means that we will see spirituality through physical eyes—G-dliness will be our physical reality:

Spiritual sight is seeing with the eye of intellect, seeing the creation from ‘nothing’ to ‘something’…this is opposite of physical sight, which sees with the physical eye only the created ‘something’ and doesn’t see at all the G-dly ‘nothing’ that is concealed within it.  The truth of the object is the G-dly ‘nothing’, the physical is secondary.  This [inability to see the G-dly dimension of the object] is because the bodily material obscures spiritual sight, but when the bodily material will be pushed away or refined one can see spirituality also with eyes of flesh via one’s natural sense of sight…This seeing is truer and affects him more than intellectual comprehension…[33]

These are wondrous descriptions, but honestly it remains difficult to truly grasp what is being described. To assist in giving us a taste of what we will see when we finally “open our eyes” to G-dliness, we find that by great Tzaddikim even now they have this level of sight.  The Rebbe brings the following story of the Maggid of Mezritch:

It is brought down that the Maggid was able to discern that the artisan who crafted the object was blind in one eye, for he saw within the object the personal qualities of that artisan who physically made the object, and how much more so that he could perceive in every created being the Divine life-force (“koach hapo’el banifal”), the word of Hashem which brings into being the physical object.  In the Time to Come this will be revealed to the eyes of all “and all flesh will see together that the mouth of Hashem has spoken”.[34]

Now we can better understand the Rebbe’s expression that …it is understood that in these days mamash we need only to open up the eyes and actually see the reality (“liros es hametzius b’poal mamash”)[35]—meaning to see the Divine reality in a way of “actually seeing”.

In addition to the story of the Maggid, related above, the Rebbe notes:

The words of the Maggid: “In the 3 days prior to the passing [of a Tzaddik] he sees the word of Hashem which is in every physical thing, the word of Hashem being the essence (mahus) of the physical.” … and the words of the Alter Rebbe to the Tzemach Tzedek [before his histalkus] “believe me that I do not see anything now except the Divine ‘nothing’ (“ayin haEloki”) which brings [everything] into being, etc.”[36]

From this we understand that even if we reach a level of recognizing hashgacha protis in everything that occurs, we still have not reached the revelations of the Geulah.  Geulah means seeing spirituality and G-dliness through our physical eyes.  Only when we reach this level, the level of “all flesh will see”, will we know that we have finally “opened our eyes”—that our physical eyes have been opened to perceive G-dliness.

VI. Practical Action—How to “Open Up the Eyes”?

The Rebbe’s words are clear: the last thing we need to do is to open our eyes, and the Rebbe tells us how.

I. Seeing Divine Providence The avodah to see Divine Providence in everything, to recognize and live with the feeling that everything is created every moment from nothing to something.   To live with what it says in Tanya[37] that even things that another person does to you are already decreed in Heaven and he is only the messenger, thus never getting angry with others; to live as though we can see how “now evil descends from above and everything is good” and thus being happy in all situations because we have nullified our will before His will—all this is part of opening our eyes and living with the Geulah.  It also means to transform our “human intellect” to “G-dly intellect”, so that we attempt to resolve problems according to Torah and the Rebbe’s instructions (checking Tefillin and Mezuzos, bitachon in Hashem, increasing Tzedakah) rather than trying to solve them primarily according to human logic.

II. Hiskashrus to the Rebbe The model of hiskashrus is the Rebbe’s own complete devotion to the Frierdiker Rebbe.  We should live with the words of R’ Hillel of Paritch that for a chosid, the Rebbe’s instructions have the force of Torah from Sinai–mitzvos d’oraisa.  The Rebbe himself tells us how to have hiskashrus, in Hayom Yom: “True hiskashrus is through learning Torah, by learning my Chassidic discourses, reading the sichos and connecting with the Anash and Tmimim in their learning and farbrenging, and fulfilling my requests…in this is hiskashrus.[38]  From chitas and Rambam to tahalucha and mivtzoyim, up to and including the instruction to publicize that we have merited a Novi;[39]to publicize that we have arrived at the end of the period of the avodah of exile and are about to “enter the land” and receive the reward;[40] and of course the shlichus to prepare ourselves and others to accept Moshiach—kabbalas pnei Moshiach.  Furthermore, writing to the Rebbe via Igros Kodesh enables one not only to fulfill the Rebbe’s general directives but also to receive guidance that applies to one’s individual situation.

III. Learning Torah Especially Chassidus and the subject of Moshiach and Geulah.  This is also an explicit instruction of the Rebbe, who said numerous times that this is the “direct way” to bring about the revelation of Moshiach, the direct way to “open our eyes”.  In Tanya it explains that: “Eyes” are a nickname for the drawing down of wisdom (chochma)[41], meaning the chochma of Torah.  Eyes that are “closed” means that the chochma has not been sufficiently drawn from the G-dly soul down into the Intellectual and Animal Souls.  With the completion of avodas habirurim these souls are now vessels to receive this chochma, but the chochma must actively be drawn down into the vessels by learning Chassidus and the subject of Moshiach and Geulah.  Without this, the eyes are closed and instead we see things in accordance with the false wisdom human intellect, as was explained above.  The Rebbe addresses the connection between learning and opening the eyes:

Now we need to open up the “heart to know” and open up the “eyes to see” and open up the “ears to hear”, by learning Pnimiyus haTorah as revealed in the Torah of Chassidus and fulfilling the instructions of Rabboseinu Nessienu including—learning inyonei Geulah, in a way that opens up the heart and eyes and ears—[which means] understanding [the subject], seeing and hearing in a literal sense (“b’pashtus mamash”) in the physicality of the world—the true and complete Geulah in actuality, and learning the Torah of Moshiach (Pnimiyus haTorah) in a way of seeing, which all of this is already prepared and ready, what is needed is to open up the eyes and see![42]

We could add also what is brought in Tanya[43] from the Zohar that through learning Pnimiyus haTorahwe will be redeemed with mercy and will not need to undergo test (nisyonos).  This is because he process of nisyonos is in order to bring one to “Da’as”—the knowledge of G-dliness (“knowledge” meaning hiskashrus, connection to such a degree that one experiences it), which is also the concept of opening the eyes since “Da’as is drawn down from the aspect of seeing…”[44]  Learning Torah in a way of understanding (as the Rebbe states) is the aspect of Bina which is drawn down to Da’as, (as chaza”l say[45] “if there is no understanding (Bina) there is no knowledge (Da’as)”).  This means that we can acquire Da’as of Elokus through learning Pnimiyus haTorah and thus we exempt ourselves from the need to acquire it via nisyonos.  And needless to say learning with others helps them to open up their own eyes—true ahavas Yisroel.

IV. Be a Tzaddik Revealing our own individual spark of Moshiach, which is the command to “be a Tzaddik”, something the Rebbe has told us is within our reach.  When the spark of Moshiach, the Yechida in the soul, is revealed, one is unable to be separate from G-dliness, unable to do things which are against the Divine Will.[46]  If we behave in a way that is not in accordance with Hashem’s will, chas v’sholom, then we are allowing Moshiach (our individual spark of Moshiach) to be concealed, when the demand of the Rebbe is that we reveal Moshiach!  Living with Moshiach demands that we strive to be a Tzaddik!

And of course all of this (which are in the category of vessels of Tikkun) should be done with joy and ahavas Yisroel, utilizing the boundless energy that comes from the “lights of Tohu”, which we derive from the source of the Intellectual and Animal Souls.  In this way we will succeed to open up our eyes and see the Geulah, literally and physically seeing the G-dly reality which underlies all existence and brings everything into being.

 

לזכות נשיא דורנו, מהמשיתגלה לעיני בשר ממש!

In honor of the Bar Mitzvah of

Refoel Sholom שיחי’Bock may he grow to be a Chosid, Yirei Shomayim and Lamadan, and to be mekabel pnei Moshiach Tzidkeinu!

L’Ilui Nishmas R’ Doniel Yosef ע”ה ben Dovid HaKohen

Niftar 8 Elul, 5773

 

They Were Redeemed – and Didn’t Even Know It
We find an example of an “unseen Geulah” in the events of 15 Av, the day the Generation of the Desert stopped dying which subsequently became a Yom Tov[47].  It is explained that as a result of the sin of the Meraglim (on Tisha B’Av) and the refusal of the Jewish People to enter the Land of Israel, Hashem decreed that all those between the ages of 20-60 would die in the desert over the course of 40 years.  Each year on Tisha B’Av those who reached the age of 60 would dig graves for themselves, lay down in the graves, and pass away overnight.  In the 40th year the youngest of those who were included in the decree (having reached age 60) did the same.  However, Hashem had nullified the decree, so in the morning they awoke and found themselves alive.Not realizing they had been redeemed, they concluded that they had erred in the date, that it wasn’t yet Tisha B’Av, so the next night they also lay down in their graves, only to wake up the following morning, also.  This repeated itself night after night until the night of the 15th when the moon is full and they realized that they did not make a mistake with the date but rather the decree had been nullified.  Their joy at this realization makes the 15th of Av into a Yom Tov.

The Rebbe asks: We understand that the first year they celebrated on the 15th of Av because only then did they become aware that the decree had been nullified.  But in fact the decree had been nullified six days before on Tisha B’Av, so why do we continue to celebrate every year on the 15th?  The answer is that the joy is due not to the nullification of the decree, but rather to when it became revealed to them, and this revelation occurred on the 15th.

We are like these Jews of the generation desert, unaware of the redemption that has occurred and continuing to live in as though nothing has changed (when in fact the greatest of changes have occurred).  Day after day goes by like this until each one will come to the realization that “the time has arrived for your redemption”.

 

 

 

REFERENCES

 

1)        Bereishis 3:7.

2)        Ohr Hatorah, Devarim Hanachos, Hoisafos, p. 110.

3)        And continues only as regards an individual’s as-yet unrefined personal matters (Parshas Noach, 5752), which themselves are only on “the end of his garments” as will be explained further on.

4)        See Igros Kodesh 11:107, where the Rebbe clarifies that the soul which is discussed in Chapter 1 of Tanya is the “Vitalizing Soul” (Nefesh Hachiyunis), which itself divides into the Intellectual Soul (Nefesh Hasichlis) and the Animal Soul (Nefesh Habahamis).

5)        Maamar “Chavivin Yisroel”, 2nd Day Shavuos 5726 ois 2-3.

6)        Mitteler Rebbe, Vayikra II, B’Chukosai, p.339.

7)        Torah Ohr, Vayechi, 38b.

8)        Torah Ohr, Vayechi, 38c.

9)        Alter Rebbe, Maamarim 5566 I, “Lehavin Shoresh Hadvarim”, p.417.

10)      Sefer HaLikutim, Tehillim 84; Arba Me’os Shekel Kesef, p.168 (Yerushalayim 5748 edition), more.

11)      Likutei Torah, Tazria, 22b.

12)      Sicha Tazria-Metzora, 5751, ois 9.

13)      Sicha Emor, 5751, ois 9.

14)      Vayishlach, 5743.  Note the differences from the discourse in Torah Ohr, referenced below.

15)      Sicha Beshallach, 5752.

16)      Inyonei Moshiach and Geulah #8: “Yemos Hamoshiach”—Days of Moshiach, End of Golus or Beginning of Geulah?

17)      Based on 1st sicha of Bechukosai in Likutei Sichos 27 p.191, printed in the original “Dvar Malchus” in 5751.

18)      Igros Kodesh Rebbe Rashab, vol 1 p.308 (# 130).

19)      The Rebbe states in the last sicha before the stroke of27Adar, parshas Veyakhel 5752 that the Ingathering of the Exiles “already began (some time ago)”.

20)      “V’hinei anachnu ma’almim alumim” in Torah Ohr, Vayeshev 27c.

21)      Sicha Chayeh Sora, 5752.

22)      Ohr Hatorah Bereishis, 1167a, based on the AlterRebbe, Maamarim 5565 II, p.798 (2nd nusach), and (in greater detail) the Mitteler Rebbe, “Al Tatzer Es Moav”, Maamarim Devarim at the beginning.

23)      Sanhedrin 98a.

24)      Sicha 10Teves, 5752, ois 10. Also, sicha with Harav Mordechai Eliyahu, parshas Noach 5752: “[Yisroel have] already done tshuva and the matter [of the Geulah] is not dependent on anything but the coming of Moshiach himself.”

25)      Note the story in the Zohar when the students of Rashbi came and told him that the world needed rain, which Rashbi then brought about in a way of “from above to below”.  The Rebbe how could he do this, since rain requires labor “from below to above”, answering that coming to Rashbi and requesting rain is itself an awakening “from below to above”.

26)      Sicha Shemos 5752, ois 13.  Also 24 Teves 5752 ois 3.

27)      Sicha Beshallach 5751, 11 Shevat, ois 9.

28)      “Yechidus”, 26 Nissan, 5751, ois 5.

29)      Yeshaya 40:5.

30)      Sicha Vayetzei, 9 Kislev, 5752, ois 18.  Similarly the sichos of Vayishlach, 16 Kislev; 19-20 Kislev, 5752 “Yechidus Klolis”, ois 7; Miketz, Shabbos Chanukah, R’Ch Teves, 5752, ois 8; Shemos, 21 Teves, 5752, ois 13; Va’era, 24 Teves, ois 3.

31)      Toras Menachem, Acharon shel Pesach 5711, p.42.

32)      Toras Chayim, Shemos II, 334a.  And note Va’era 67b, where it continues the metaphor of birth: “Before it is born the fetus eats through his umbilical cord (“tabor”), not his mouth.  When he is born he opens his eyes and mouth…” Perhaps we can see a connection here to the Rebbe’s mention of the feast of Levyoson and Shor Habar in conjunction with “opening the eyes”.

33)      Mitteler Rebbe, Sha’ar Ho’Emuna, 44b.  Perhaps this is the same point expressed by the Rebbe in the sicha of the 3rd night of Chol Hamo’ed Sukkos, 5714 (ois 18-21), explaining that the Tanaaim and Amoraim who went up to Eretz Yisroel “kissed the stones of Eretz Yisroel [even in a time of golus] because by them the stones of Eretz Yisroel were living stones, every stone of Eretz Yisroel is a living thing, because of the breath of the living G-d (“nishmas Elokim chayim”) which is unified with it.”

34)      Likutei Sichos 29:23.

35)      Sicha Vayishlach 16 Kislev 5752.

36)      Likutei Sichos 24:182, footnote 43.  And see the maamar of parshas Chukas, 5743, that only when there is a metzuis of a doorpost and ceiling beam is it possible to fufill the mitzvah of mezuza, “which is not the case on the koach hapo’el banifal upon which there is no obligation to affix a mezuza. (Also Sefer Hasichos 5702 p.103; 5703 p.155.)

37)      Igeres 25 “One who gets angry is as if he worships idols”, and Igeres 11 “V’yaskilcha bina…”.

38)      HaYom Yom, 24 Sivan.  See also Hayom Yom 8 Adar II: “the great desire for hiskashrus canonly be satisfied when learning the chassidic discourses that the Rebbe writes and says, because seeing his face is not enough.”

39)      Sicha Shoftim, 5751.

40)      Sicha Ki Seitzeh, 5751.

41)      Igeres Hakodesh, igeres 14.

42)      Sicha Vayetzei, 9 Kislev, 5752, ois 18.

43)      Igeres Hakodesh, igeres 26.

44)      Likutei Torah, Re’eh 19b-19c.

45)      Pirkei Avos 3:17.

46)      Maamar “V’Atah Tetzaveh”, Melukat VI.

 

 

To contact the author, please email YaakovBock@gmail.com.

This and all previous issues available online at MoshiachInDepth.wordpress.com

יחי אדוננו מורנו ורבינו מלך המשיח לעולם ועד!

 

[1] Bereishis 3:7.

[2] Ohr Hatorah, Devarim – Hanachos, Hoisafos, p. 110.

[3] And continues only as regards an individual’s as-yet unrefined personal matters (Parshas Noach, 5752), which themselves are only on “the end of his garments” as will be explained further on.

[4] See Igros Kodesh 11:107, where the Rebbe clarifies that the soul which is discussed in Chapter 1 of Tanya is the “Vitalizing Soul” (Nefesh Hachiyunis), which itself divides into the Intellectual Soul (Nefesh Hasichlis) and the Animal Soul (Nefesh Habahamis).

[5] Maamar “Chavivin Yisroel”, 2nd Day of Shavuos, 5726, ois 2-3.

[6] Mitteler Rebbe, Vayikra II, B’Chukosai, p.339.

[7] Torah Ohr, Vayechi, 38b.

[8] Torah Ohr, Vayechi, 38c.

[9] Alter Rebbe Maamarim 5566 I, “Lehavin Shoresh Hadvarim”, p.417.

[10] Sefer HaLikutim, Tehillim 84; Arba Me’os Shekel Kesef, p.168 (Yerushalayim 5748 edition), and more.

[11] Likutei Torah, Tazria, 22b.

[12] Sicha Tazria-Metzora, 5751, ois 9.

[13] Sicha Emor, 5751, ois 9.

[14] Vayishlach, 5743.  Note the differences from the discourse in Torah Ohr, referenced below.

[15] Sicha Beshallach, 5752.

[16] Inyonei Moshiach and Geulah #8: “Yemos Hamoshiach”—Days of Moshiach, The End of Golus or the Beginning of Geulah?

[17] Based on the 1st sicha of Bechukosai in Likutei Sichos 27, p.191, printed in the original “Dvar Malchus” in 5751.

[18] Igros Kodesh of the Rebbe Rashab, vol 1, p.308 (letter # 130).

[19] The Rebbe states in the last sicha said before the stroke of chof-zayin Adar, parshas Veyakhel 5752 (unedited) that the process of the Ingathering of the Exiles “already began (some time ago)”.

[20]V’hinei anachnu ma’almim alumim” in Torah Ohr, Vayeshev 27c.

[21] Sicha Chayeh Sora, 5752.

[22] Ohr Hatorah Bereishis, 1167a, based on the AlterRebbe, Maamarim 5565 II, p.798 (2nd nusach), and (in greater detail) the Mitteler Rebbe, “Al Tatzer Es Moav”, Maamarim Devarim at the beginning.

[23] Sanhedrin 98a.

[24] Sicha Asara b’Teves, 5752, ois 10.  Also, sicha with Harav Mordechai Eliyahu, parshas Noach 5752: “[Yisroel have] already done tshuva and the matter [of the Geulah] is not dependent on anything besides the coming of Moshiach himself.”

[25] Similar to the story in the Zohar of the time that the students of Rashbi came and told him that the world needed rain, which Rashbi then brought about in a way of “from above to below” by saying Torah on the verse “sheves achim gam yochad” (“brothers sitting together”).  The Rebbe asks in the discourses how could he do this, since rain requires labor “from below to above”.  The answer the Rebbe gives is that by coming to Rashbi and expressing the need for rain—this itself is sufficient labor “from below to above”.

[26] Sicha Shemos, 5752, ois 13.  Also sicha of 24 Teves, 5752, ois 3.

[27] Sicha Beshallach 5751, 11 Shevat, ois 9.

[28] “Yechidus”, 26 Nissan, 5751, ois 5.

[29] Yeshaya 40:5.

[30] Sicha Vayetzei, 9 Kislev, 5752, ois 18.  Similar expressions in the sichos of Vayishlach, 16 Kislev; 19-20 Kislev, 5752 “Yechidus Klolis”, ois 7; Miketz, Shabbos Chanukah, R’Ch Teves, 5752, ois 8; Shemos, 21 Teves, 5752, ois 13; Va’era, 24 Teves, ois 3.

[31] Toras Menachem, Acharon shel Pesach, 5711, p.42.

[32] Toras Chayim, Shemos II, 334a.  And note Va’era 67b, where it continues the metaphor of birth: “Before it is born the fetus eats through his umbilical cord (“tabor”), not his mouth.  When he is born he opens his eyes and mouth…” Perhaps we can see a connection here to the Rebbe’s mention of the feast of Levyoson and Shor Habar in conjunction with “opening the eyes”.

[33] Mitteler Rebbe, Sha’ar Ho’Emuna, 44b.  Perhaps this is the same point expressed by the Rebbe in the sicha of the 3rd night of Chol Hamo’ed Sukkos, 5714 (ois 18-21), explaining that the Tanaaim and Amoraim who went up to Eretz Yisroel “kissed the stones of Eretz Yisroel [even in a time of golus] because by them the stones of Eretz Yisroel were living stones, every stone of Eretz Yisroel is a living thing, because of the breath of the living G-d (“nishmas Elokim chayim”) which is unified with it.”

[34] Likutei Sichos 29:23.

[35] Sicha Vayishlach 16 Kislev 5752.

[36] Likutei Sichos 24:182,  footnote 43.  And see the maamar of parshas Chukas, 5743:”…like the saying of the Alter Rebbe to his son or his grandson that he doesn’t see the ceiling beam and he sees only the koach hapo’el b’nifal, that the entire metzius of the world is Elokus in a way of chakika.  That even as his son or grandson saw the ceiling beam, this is because the beam is a metzius of a ceiling beam according to Torah d’davka when there is a ceiling and a mashkof and two mezuzos and there is a shiur in the place, etc., then it is possible to fufill the mitzvah of mezuza, which is not the case on the koach hapo’el banifal upon which there is no obligation to affix a mezuza. (See also Sefer Hasichos 5702 p.103; 5703 p.155.)

[37] Igeres 25 “One who gets angry is as if he worships idols”, and Igeres 11 “V’yaskilcha bina…”.

[38] HaYom Yom, 24 Sivan.  See also Hayom Yom 8 Adar II: “the great desire for hiskashrus canonly be satisfied when learning the chassidic discourses that the Rebbe writes and says, because seeing his face is not enough.”

[39] Sicha Shoftim, 5751.

[40] Sicha Ki Seitzeh, 5751.

[41] Igeres Hakodesh, igeres 14.

[42]Sicha Vayetzei, 9 Kislev, 5752, ois 18.

[43] Igeres Hakodesh, igeres 26.

[44] Likutei Torah, Re’eh 19b-19c.

[45] Pirkei Avos 3:17.

[46] Maamar “V’Atah Tetzaveh”, Maamarim Melukatim VI.

[47] Taanis 30b, Bava Basra 121a (see the Rashbam there).

Advertisements