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Oct102016

LIVE WITH THE REBBE AND LIVE WITH MIRACLES

There’s no need to be confined to “walled cities” – if you live with the Rebbe. * Source materials compiled by Rabbi Majeski. (Bold text indicates translation; underlining is the compiler’s emphasis.)

Translated and presented by Boruch Merkur

Although, at the moment, we may not see the Rebbebelow ten handbreadths,” the Rebbe MHM explains in the following sicha how living with the Rebbe as before grants us special protection, like being surrounded by thewallof Torah. This mindset even bestows upon us the miraculous existence associated with the mahn, Miriams well, and the Clouds of Glory.

***

On Simchas Beis HaShoeiva of 5711, the Rebbe elaborated on the opening words of the Hoshaanas said on the 3rd day of Sukkos: אוֹם אֲנִי חוֹמָה בָּרָה כַּחַמָּה etc. The Rebbe focuses on how this phrase relates to Torah study, as our Sages say, “‘Ani choma’ – zu Torah – ‘I am a wall’ – this refers to Torah” (P’sachim 87a). Thus, we are taught in the Midrash that talmidei chachomim are called “neturei karta – guardians of the city,” inasmuch as a wall (including the guards who stand at the gates of the wall) protects the city.

The function of an actual (physical) wall that surrounds a city, the Rebbe continues, is two-fold: 1) to protect the city from enemies, barring their entrance; 2) to contain the people of the city so that they should not [hazardously] leave it. Similarly, the wall of Torah has the effect of guarding the person in two ways: 1) protecting the person from the Evil Inclination and the Animal Soul, and 2) containing or confining the body (which is likened to a city), so that even of its own accord it should not be desirous of worldly things. […] One who is surrounded with Torah, however, does not need to be enclosed and entrenched in the “inner chambers.” Rather, he may open up the gates of the city in order to have an affect upon and influence those who are found in the field, outside the city.

But there is something that Torah scholars still must fend off. Those who are aware of how precious the Torah is are liable to let their accomplishments in learning Torah go to their heads and become haughty, recognizing that Torah makes them “the choice of G-d’s creations.” In order for Torah to properly serve as a protective wall, one who studies it must, therefore, be “bara ka’chama – clear, like the sun,” clear of arrogance and narcissism: Our Sages teach in the Midrash that the reason for the redness of the sun at sunrise is because it is beaten and forced to shine upon the earth. It laments having to illuminate the world, for it does not want to be worshipped by the pagans. Thus, it does not seek self-aggrandizement; it expresses, rather, the opposite of egoism and haughtiness. [… In this vein] the study of Torah must be strictly for the sake of the glory of the Torah, which is the wisdom and will of the Alm-ghty. This manner of study is with bittul, self-nullification, which is the concept of “bara ka’chama.”

***

To further develop the concept of a wall in terms of the service of G-d, a lesson and directive can also be derived from the laws connected with walled cities in the time of Yehoshua bin Nun (such as selling a house, reading the Megilla, and others).

These laws pertain specifically to cities that were surrounded by a wall in the time of Yehoshua bin Nun (Erchin 32a ff.; Meseches Megilla beg. (and see Yerushalmi there)). At first glance, however, this rule seems to be counterintuitive; either of two other approaches appears to be more logical: Either 1) it should be established in accordance with the present condition, whether a city is surrounded or not by a wall today; or 2) it should be established by the way it was in the time of Moshe Rabbeinu, at the time of Mattan Torah.

The simple reason why the legal status of a city is established by the way it was in the time of Yehoshua bin Nun is because the main factor pertaining to walled cities is their state during the time of entering Eretz Yisroel, which was achieved by Yehoshua bin Nun, not Moshe.

To explain this concept in terms of avodas Hashem, the service of G-d: In the time of Moshe, there was no need for the concept of a wall. Only after the histalkus of Moshe, in the time of Yehoshua bin Nun, there arose the need for a wall [to protect the city], as follows.

But first to preface with the well-known saying of HaRav HaTzaddik Reb Levi Yitzchok of Berditchev: Master of the Universe, had You placed before man the World to Come and Gan Eden (and l’havdil, Gehinom, Hell), and the desires of the physical world You had merely written in Reishis Chochma, certainly not a single Jew would sin. But since You have placed before man the desires of the world and You have merely written about Gehinom in Reishis Chochma, then…

Similarly in our case: In the time of Moshe, who personally gave the Jewish people “the tablets of stone and the Torah and the Commandments,” they clearly discerned that the way of Torah and the Commandments is the only way by which one merits spiritual and material wellbeing, in all areas of need – bread from Heaven [i.e., mahn], water from Miriam’s well, and the Clouds of Glory, which would wash and iron their clothing (in addition to causing their clothes to expand as they grew). Conversely, they plainly saw the punishment meted out upon one who does not go in the path of Torah. Thus, for the sake of walking on the path of Torah, there was no need to add the protection and extra caution granted by a wall. Whereas, following the histalkus of Moshe, when the mahn ceased, along with the well, the Clouds of Glory, etc. – this gave rise to the need for extra protection, especial caution in going along the path of Torah, provided by a wall. This constitutes the entire concept of a wall in the times of Yehoshua bin Nun.

The truth is, though, that “Moshe did not die” (Sota 13b, end; Zohar I 37b, end); it is just that his presence is missing “below ten handbreadths,” for “he stands and serves On High.” As a result, the mahn, the well, the Clouds of Glory, etc., are also missing, and therefore, there is a need for a wall.

However, those to whom Moshe still lives “below ten handbreadths” still have the effect of the mahn, the well, and the Clouds of Glory today. They, therefore, have no need for a wall even now.

(Toras Menachem 5711, pg. 16-20)

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