The fact that it is now “the World of Klippos” – is “a change that reverts to its former state,” and “a change that reverts to its former state is not deemed to be a change.” * The Evil Inclination argues: Why must you be so enthusiastic in your service of Torah and Mitzvos in order to refine the world. What is the big deal if you put it off for later?
Likkutei Sichos, Vol. 6, pg. 81-85
Translated by Boruch Merkur
1. It is known that at the time of one’s passing there is the gathering together of “all of one’s deeds and Torah study and service which he worked on throughout all the days of his life” [Igeres HaKodesh Ch. 27, end]. Thus, it is understood that the discourse (maamer) entitled “Basi L’Gani” (“I Have Come to My Garden”), which the Rebbe [Rayatz], whose anniversary of his passing we are marking, had given out for the day of his passing, serves as an expression of a central theme of all the service to which he devoted himself throughout the course of his life in this world. (This is especially apparent in the opening and conclusion of the discourse, for the meaning of every concept is more overtly apparent in its beginning and end [since the beginning – the head – includes the entire concept, and “everything follows the [concluding] seal” (Brachos 12a) – see Footnote 2 and 3 in the original].)
The following [two examples] are among the central themes of the service of the Rebbe, which he also demanded of all those who go in the ways of his teachings:
a) To disseminate Torah and Mitzvos – including the luminary (maor) of the Torah – to every single place, including such places which (ostensibly) have no appreciation (keilim) for Torah and Mitzvos in general, and certainly not for the teachings of Chassidus.
b) That the work of disseminating Torah and Mitzvos and etc. should be done with the utmost alacrity.
In fact, these two themes are alluded to in the opening and conclusion of this discourse [“Basi L’Gani”].
2. In the beginning of the discourse, the Rebbe cites the saying of the Midrash [Shir HaShirim Rabba Ch. 5, beg.] on the verse, “I have come to My garden, My sister, My bride”: “Here it does not say, ‘to the garden’ (la’gan) but ‘to My garden’ (l’gani), meaning to my private [bridal] chamber (l’ganuni), to the place that was My main [place] in the beginning. For the principal manifestation of the Divine Presence was in the lower realms.” That is, the indwelling of the Divine Presence in the lower realms, which occurred at the time of the erection of the Sanctuary (regarding which G-d says, “I have come to My garden”), already happened at the beginning of Creation (and not as the opinion of the one who says [in BaMidbar Rabba 12:6] that “it [i.e., the Divine revelation precipitated by the erection of the Sanctuary] was a novelty”). However, on account of the sin of the Tree of Knowledge, along with the sins done thereafter, “it ceased.” But afterwards, at the time of the erection of the Sanctuary, “it returned to its former state.”
In the conclusion of the discourse, the Rebbe cites the Midrash [D’varim Rabba 9:3], “One is not in a position of authority to say, ‘Wait for me until I may make my assessments and until I command my household, etc.’” Since this is so, we may not defer the work incumbent upon us, for “Who is it who knows his moment and his time [of passing]?”
By bringing in the opening and the conclusion of the discourse these two particular passages of the Midrash, the Rebbe is expressing these two themes mentioned above: With the Midrash brought at the conclusion of the discourse he is indicating that the work must be done with alacrity, and with the Midrash quoted in the beginning of the discourse he defines what comprises the work itself: disseminating Torah and Mitzvos in every single place, as will be discussed.
3. [In discussing the present state of the world, the teachings of Chassidus describe that] the world is (as the Alter Rebbe says [in Tanya Ch. 36]) “full of klippos [“husks” that conceal G-dliness] and the Other Side [which opposes the Side of Holiness],” meaning that every aspect of this world is full with klippos, to the extent that the very name of this world – since the name of every thing expresses its essence [see Footnotes 8 and 9 of Likkutei Sichos Vol. 6, pg. 35] – is “the World of Klippos and the Other Side” [Tanya Ch. 6, end of pg. 10b]. Of course, when a Jew considers the [negative] state of the world, he may reason as follows:
Since G-d has created the world in such a manner that it should be “the World of Klippos,” it is not conceivable that I should be able to change it. Therefore, I should separate myself from the world and close myself off within the four cubits of Torah and prayer, so as not to be involved with the world!
Regarding this [faulty reasoning], the Rebbe explains right away in the beginning of the discourse: On the contrary. The fact that the world is a world of klippos is (not something that defines the essential nature of this world, that it is necessarily that way, but) a peripheral matter, a notion that was added (after Creation), through the sin of the Tree of Knowledge and etc. In fact, with respect to its essential nature, there certainly is an advantage of this world over the supernal worlds, since the principal manifestation of the Divine Presence was specifically in the lower realms.
One could, however, continue to argue: It is indeed true that in the beginning of Creation it was different, but now the world is “full” of klippos and “the wicked dominate in it” [Tanya Ch. 6, end of pg. 10b]!
The response to this comes later in the discourse. Namely, the explanation that the ultimate intent of the creation and genesis of the worlds is because “The Holy One Blessed Be He desired that He should have a dwelling place in the lower realms” [Tanchuma, Naso 16], and the Divine intent will surely be fulfilled.
(Since Creation is (something that occurs continually, every single moment [Shaar HaYichud V’HaEmuna, beginning]) for the sake of this Divine intent, it is not possible that matters pertaining to the created beings – the deeds of man (the sin of the Tree of Knowledge and etc.) – should have the capacity to oppose and not permit, G-d forbid, the fulfillment of this Divine intent.)
Ultimately, the world will in fact become a dwelling place for Him, may He be blessed. It comes out then, that the present change in the world – the fact that it is now “the World of Klippos” – is “a change that reverts to its former state” (since ultimately there will come a time when, “I will cause the spirit of impurity to pass away from the land” [Z’charya 13:2], as it was before the sin), and “a change that reverts to its former state is not deemed to be a change” [Sukka 30a, Bava Kama 96b]. Thus, in an inner sense, also presently the world is a “dwelling place for Him, may He be blessed,” especially since the change (is not only one that may revert to its former state, but it) will certainly return to its former state, as mentioned above.
Since the revelation of the future will be in a manner of, “The land will be full of the knowledge of G-d as the waters cover the sea” [Yeshayahu 11:9], and “May everything that has been made come to know that You have made it” [T’fillas Amida of Rosh HaShana], consequently, also now it is so (in an inner sense) in every aspect of the world, even in a place where it appears as if there is an opposition to G-dliness, to there being a dwelling place for Him, may He be blessed. Therefore, we must disseminate Judaism in every single place in order to reveal the goodness that is present in every place.
4. The Rebbe had arranged for the discourse to be given out on the day of his passing. Likewise, the lesson mentioned above, brought in the beginning of the discourse, is also connected with the concept of a person’s passing, as follows: [The same is true with regard to the lesson taught at the conclusion of the discourse, “One is not in a position of authority, etc.” – see FN 20.]
After the soul ascends from the body, the body decomposes, begging the question: What is the purpose of all the Jew’s service, toiling throughout the duration of all the days of his life to refine his body, if it decomposes upon his passing?
In fact, the question is even stronger: The decomposition of the body (upon the soul’s departure from the body) is (not something that is novel to it, but), as it is written, “You are dust, and to dust you shall return” (that with respect to the notion that also presently, “You are dust,” therefore, “and to dust you shall return”). And being that “a change that reverts to its former state is not deemed to be a change,” it is thus not a true existent even prior to its return to its original state of being dust. Since this is so, it follows, at first glance, that the service of Torah and Mitzvos is connected, G-d forbid, with a concept that is (even at the time of the service) not a true existence!
(There is, however, an apparent counterexample to the latter reasoning. Namely, the fact that] the Luz Bone [i.e., a small bone, located in the spine] (which remains over from the body) never decomposes [B’Reishis Rabba Ch. 28, etc. – see FN 24]. Also, with regard to the resurrection of the body in its entirety, it says [Yeshayahu 26:19], “Your dead will be enlivened” (and not, “[re]created”), for the manner of resurrection will be (not that a new body will be created, but) that the body will be [re]constructed from the Luz Bone [Zohar II 28b].
(Nevertheless, since the body in itself is “dust,” and that which is obligatory in its regard is, “and to dust you shall return,” it follows perforce that the very fact that (the resurrection [of the body] will not be in a manner of a new creation, but that) it will be [re]constructed from the Luz Bone is an instance of a new “creation,” for the nature of the body itself is “dust.” [Thus, the question returns: What is the lasting benefit of the service of Torah and Mitzvos when it is accomplished through the transient physical body, something that is not a true existent?])
5. The answer to this is: On the contrary! Since “the principal manifestation of the Divine Presence was in the lower realms,” which indicates that [the phrase said in the morning blessing before Krias Shma], “It is us that You have chosen,” refers specifically to the physical body [Tanya, Ch. 49, pg. 70a, beg.; Toras Shalom, pg. 120], therefore, the body is actually a true existent, utterly impervious to decomposition. The change it underwent, through (the sin of the Tree of Knowledge and its outcome), “and to dust you shall return,” is only with respect to its superficiality, not its essential nature, for (as discussed above in Section 3) the deeds of man cannot change, G-d forbid, the choice of the [Divine] Essence (HaAtzmus), Which chose the Jewish body.
This itself explains the fact that the Luz Bone, the Etzem Luz (did not receive nourishment from the Tree of Knowledge and) is not subject to decomposition. Namely, it is the essence (atzmizus) of the body, and the essence (of the body) has no connection with (sin and) decomposition.
And since, “It is us that You have chosen,” also applies with regard to the body in its entirety, it is thus understood that in an inner sense, also the body in its entirety has no connection with decomposition. The fact that in the Future to Come it will be [re]constructed from the Luz Bone is on account of this very notion – that it is the choice of the Essence. Accordingly, it comes out that, on the contrary, in light of the fact that “a change that reverts to its former state is not deemed to be a change,” even now it is a true existent.
6. The Evil Inclination, however, is a “craftsman in its work” [see Shabbos 105b]. After we have defused his argument – that we may not, “Heaven forefend,” be involved with the body and the world – by reasoning that in an inner sense, they are entirely good and holy, and the service [of being involved with the body and the world] is only for the sake of outwardly revealing the goodness contained within them, the Evil Inclination begins arguing with people from the opposite perspective:
In an inner sense, the body and this world are good even prior to the service [of refining them]. Even with regard to revealing this fact, it is a sure thing (as mentioned above) that ultimately, through this Jew or through another Jew, they will become “a dwelling place for Him, may He be blessed.” Why then must you be so enthusiastic in your service of Torah and Mitzvos in order to refine and purify the body and your portion in the world. In particular, what is the big deal if you put it off for later?
Regarding this [faulty reasoning], the Rebbe explains in the conclusion of the discourse: a) There is the concept of, “Wait for me until I may make my assessments,” “I may command my household,” and as is known regarding the response of the Alter Rebbe [Seifer HaMaamarim 5708, pg. 191]: “You always convey what you need. Regarding what you are needed for, however, you say nothing!” b) “Who is it who knows his moment and his time [of passing]?”
It has already been predetermined, regarding every thing in the world, through whom the thing will be refined [FN 36: See Likkutei Dibburim Volume 4, pg. 596b; HaYom Yom, pg. 84]. It has also been predetermined when the refinement shall be done. It thus follows that by deferring [this service of refining aspects of the world], one would, G-d forbid, lose his “assessments” and his “household” and etc. [Like the example of the Exodus from Egypt, which had to be “in the blink of an eye,” for were they to delay, G-d forbid, they would not have been able to be redeemed, etc. (Alshich on Parshas Bo 12:37 (forward) in the name of the Zohar) – see FN 37.]
Thus, the service must be done with alacrity, not wasting a single moment that could be used for the service of disseminating Torah and Mitzvos in general, and especially the dissemination of the wellsprings of Chassidus, to every single place. And this must be done with joy and desire and etc. (which naturally gives rise to alacrity [see Igeres HaKodesh, end of Section 21]), as the Rambam puts it (regarding the Days of Moshiach), “they longed for [that era]” [Laws of Repentance 9:2; see also Laws of Kings 12:4 – see FN 39].
In this manner we shall prepare the entire world for the fulfillment of the promise, “The land will be full of the knowledge of G-d as the waters cover the sea,” which will happen soon, in the literal sense.
(From the addresses of Yud Shvat and Shabbos Parshas B’Shalach 5729)