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 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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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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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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