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Thursday
Dec062018

BASI L’GANI 5719

Beis Moshiach presents the maamer the Rebbe MHM delivered on Yud Shvat 5719, in accordance with the custom established by the Rebbe to review each year a section of the Rebbe Rayatzs HemshechBasi LGaniof 5710. • This year we focus on the ninth section of the profound and foundational Chassidic discourse.

Translated by Boruch Merkur

THE EPIC ACCOMPLISHMENT OF THE 7th GENERATION

1. “I have come/returned to My garden, My sister, My bride.” In his maamer, my revered father in-law, the Rebbe, explains, based on the Midrash Rabba: “‘To My garden (l’gani)’ – to My bridal chamber (li’g’nuni), to the place where My essence was revealed in the first days of Creation,” for the Ikar Sh’china (the essence of the Divine Presence) was manifest then in the lower realms, in the physical world itself.

At the time of genesis, the world was created in its entirety, complete. But with the sin of the Tree of Knowledge, the Sh’china departed from the earth to the first firmament of the heavens. Subsequent sins caused a further withdrawal of the Sh’china, casting it away from one degree to the next, until it reached the seventh heaven.

Afterwards, righteous people arose, tzaddikim, who drew the Sh’china back towards the world, a process that began with Avrohom, the first of these righteous men. Avrohom drew down G-d’s presence from the seventh firmament to sixth, etc., until the advent of Moshe Rabbeinu, leader of the seventh generation [from Avrohom Avinu], and “all sevenths are beloved.” Moshe Rabbeinu’s monumental accomplishment is that he completed the process of drawing the Ikar Sh’china back down to the psychical plane, bringing it from the first firmament of the heavens to the earth.

Thus, G-d told Moshe, “Make for Me a Mikdash (a Sanctuary) and I shall dwell among them.” The function of the Mikdash, which is synonymous with Mishkan (Eiruvin 2a, end), at the literal level of interpretation, is for G-dliness to be manifest below, in the earthly dimension. Moreover, our Sages learn from this verse that the Mishkan establishes a personal connection to each Jew: “Here it does not say ‘within it’ but ‘within them,’ meaning within each and every Jew.”

Given that the mission of every Jew is to become a personal Sanctuary to G-d, a lesson is encoded in the very construction of the Mishkan as to how to accomplish that: The maamer explains why the Mishkan was made of atzei shittim, acacia wood. The word “shittim” here is derived from “hetia – deviation,” as in the verse, “shatu ha’am – the nation went out [of the encampment]” (B’Haalos’cha 11:8). A hetia is a divergence from the straight and middle path. There are two approaches to diverging from the central path: a hetia from the center to a worse path or veering from the center to a better path. A hetia to a worse path is as our Sages say: “A person does not transgress unless a spirit of shtus (folly) enters him.” This shtus refers to a person conducting himself in the world in a manner that reflects imprudence.

The positive flipside to this potential for reckless folly is that it establishes an environment whereby unholy shtus, shtus d’l’umas zeh, can be transformed into shtus d’k’dusha, holiness that transcends reason. Thus, the Mishkan was made of atzei shittim, for the entire point of the service of the Mishkan and Mikdash is to transform the shtus of unholiness into shtus d’k’dusha, which brings about “v’shachanti b’socham” – that the Ikar Sh’china becomes manifest in the lower realms, the physical earth, “‘I have returned to My garden’ – to My bridal chamber.”

Since all terms used in the Torah are precise, reflecting their inner significance, the Rebbe Rayatz explains in the maamer why the planks of the Mishkan, which were made of atzei shittim, acacia wood, were called “krashim.”  The word “keresh – plank” is composed of the letters Kuf-Reish-Shin, which rearrange to spell “sheker – falseness/lie” and “kesher – connection/knot.” The association of these three words teaches that the sheker-falseness of the world needs to be transformed and made into karshei ha’Mishkan, the planks of the Sanctuary, and this transformation is achieved through establishing a kesher, connecting all that pertains to the world to the Sh’china, and the Ikar Sh’china, the inner dimension and core of the Ein Sof, baruch Hu.

The maamer elaborates on the significance of the letters Kuf and Reish (of the word “keresh”), which have negative connotations (asvan d’ziyufa; see Zohar I 2b), and how they correspond to their counterparts in the realm of holiness. The negativity of these letters must be transformed into goodness and holiness, as explained earlier in the maamer. (All these topics were discussed at length in the Basi L’Gani maamarim from the years 5711 through 5718.)

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN KRASHIM-PILLARS AND MITZVOS

2. The maamer explains (in s’if 9) that this is also why the krashim are said to be “standing,” as it is written, “You shall make vertically standing krashim for the Mishkan out of acacia wood (atzei shittim omdim).” “Omdim-standing” alludes to the concept of “amudim-pillars,” each having the same letters, as stated in Meseches Yoma (72a) on the verse, “‘atzei shittim omdim’ – d’omdim hu inyan maamidim (“omdim refers to structural support”). A pillar joins the floor to the ceiling to become a single structure. Krashim are called “amudim-pillars” just as Mitzvos are called “amudim,” for Mitzvos draw down and join Ohr Ein Sof with the worlds; krashim join Ohr Ein Sof with the worlds.

In Igeres HaKodesh, the Alter Rebbe explains the notion that Mitzvos are amudim-pillars: It says in the mystical text Pardes (8:3) that the prayer of Nechunia ben HaKana was at the level of Kesser, Supernal Will, shining with 620 pillars of light (the numerical equivalent of “kesser”). Just as the pillars of a towering mansion stand upon the earth and their heads join to the ceiling, so do Mitzvos stand at great heights, the Supernal Will, and drawn down G-dliness to the earth, for Mitzvos invest themselves within the physicality of world. Even Mitzvos that are not invested within physicality [such as the Mitzvos to love G-d and to fear Him] are commanded to human beings in the physical world, a person who possesses free choice to incline his heart towards good or the opposite, G-d forbid.

The precise terminology used in the maamer indicates that in this respect there is a difference between krashim and Mitzvos, for krashim only resemble Mitzvos. Mitzvos are literally amudim-pillars but krashim merely resemble them. Therefore, the Rebbe says that Mitzvos draw down and join Ohr Ein Sof with the worlds, whereas regarding krashim he does not say that they “draw down” but only that they “join” Ohr Ein Sof with the worlds, as do Mitzvos.

There is also a distinction made in Tanya between the analogy (mashal) of amudim to its nimshal, Mitzvos. Amudim stand on the earth and their capitals join to the ceiling, but in the nimshal it is apparent that Mitzvos stand in lofty heights and draw down from there G-dliness to the earth. Simply speaking, the difference between the mashal and the nimshal indicates that the origin of amudim is where they stand on the floor or earth, and that allows them to reach the ceiling, whereas Mitzvos “stand” above. Thus it is said, “…asher kidshanu b’Mitzvosav…Who has sanctified us with His Mitzvos” – with Mitzvos from above, and from there they draw down G-dliness to the world below.

The latter corresponds to the well-known principle (Pardes Shaar 23) that there is a difference between an earthly edifice or foundation and its Heavenly counterpart. The foundation of a building is in the earth, below the actual structure, whereas the foundation or yesod On High is above the “structure” that emerges from it. Therefore amudim stand upon the earth, a position illustrating their strength, as in the phrase “nitzav melech” (Melachim I 22:48; see Ohr HaTorah Nitzavim 1201 ff.) In the physical world, strength and foundation is established on the earth and the structure is built upon it. Mitzvos, on the other hand, stand at the greatest heights, for regarding Heavenly reality, foundations and strength are established above.

(To be continued, b’ezras Hashem)

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