February 10, 2016
Rabbi Gershon Avtzon in #1008, Adar, Moshiach & Hakhel, Truma

Dear Readers sh’yichyu,

This Shabbos – Parshas Truma – is also the first Shabbos of Chodesh Adar Rishon. Everyone knows that Chazal say (Taanis 29) “Mi’sh’nichnas Adar Marbim B’simcha, When the month of Adar arrives we should increase our joy.”

Many people – especially students in school and administrators that need to pay for another month of expenses – feel that having an “extra” month is a burden. Yet, the Rebbe teaches us to think differently. In addition to the fact that it gives us another month to prepare for 11 Nissan, the Rebbe teaches us that there is something very special when there are two Adars—in addition to the regular 30 days of joy, we now have 60 days of joy.

It is not just a difference in quantity; rather it’s a qualitative difference. There is a halachic notion known as “bittul b’shishim,” which means that something is considered insignificant and becomes nullified at a ratio of 1:60. The classic example given is that if a drop of milk accidentally falls into a pot of chicken soup and there is 60 times more soup than milk, we pay no attention to the milk and the soup remains kosher. In the same way, any negativity or reason for unhappiness can be completely negated by these 60 days of sheer joy.

Serving Hashem with joy is very connected to the Mitzva of Hakhel and bringing Moshiach:

Regarding the Mitzva of Hakhel, we all know that Hashem connects this special mitzva with the holiday of Sukkos. The Torah (D’varim 31:10) writes: Then, Moshe commanded them, saying, “At the end of [every] seven years, at an appointed time, in the Festival of Sukkos, [after] the year of Shmita, when all Israel comes to appear before the Lord, your God, in the place He will choose, you shall read this Torah before all Israel, in their ears. Assemble the people: the men, the women, and the children, and your stranger in your cities, in order that they hear, and in order that they learn and fear the Lord, your God, and they will observe to do all the words of this Torah…”

In a famous letter about Hakhel (dated 6 Tishrei 5748, Seifer HaSichos 5748 vol. 2 p. 684) the Rebbe addresses a fundamental question on the connection between Hakhel and Sukkos: Seemingly, not only are they not connected, they appear to be opposites! Hakhel is all about fear of Hashem, while Sukkos is Z’man Simchaseinu, the time of joy?!

The Rebbe explains that not only are they not a contradiction, on the contrary, they complement each other. Hashem is specifically teaching us that he wants a very different type of “fear of Hashem,” he wants us to serve him – and fulfill all the details of the law – specifically with a joyous heart and not as a burden.

This concept, of serving Hashem with joy, is very much connected to bringing Moshiach. In addition to the teaching of the Baal HaTurim that the word “Yismach-be joyous,” has the same letters as the words “Moshiach,” there is a deeper connection.

On Shabbos Parshas Ki Seitzei 5748 the Rebbe explained the connection as follows:

“The concept of simcha shares a connection to the Future Redemption. For it is in the Era of the Redemption that we will experience the consummate level of simcha. At that time, all undesirable influences will be negated as reflected in the verse, “And G-d will wipe away tears from every face.” Indeed, all the negative influences will be transformed into good.

This will greatly increase the simcha we will experience, enabling it to reach consummate perfection. Therefore the returnees to Eretz Yisroel are described as being “crowned with eternal joy.” The relation between the concepts of simcha and Redemption is alluded to by the fact that the roots of the words simcha and Moshiach share the same three letters shin mem ches.

To explain the connection between the two: Simcha breaks through (poretzes in Hebrew) all barriers. This is also the nature of Moshiach, who is a descendant of Peretz, and is referred to as ha’poretz, “the one who breaks through,” as it is written, “The one who breaks through will ascend before them.” For Moshiach will break through all barriers and limitations.

On the verse, “Zion – there are none who seek her out,” our Sages comment, “This indicates that one should seek her out,” implying that we must demand the Redemption. Similarly, we must seek out joy, including the ultimate joy, the joy of the Redemption. We must demand that G-d grant us the consummate joy of the Era of the Redemption.

I, therefore, offer the following suggestion and request: that we increase our rejoicing with the intent of actually bringing Moshiach and the true and ultimate Redemption.

Throughout the years of exile, the Jewish people have longed for the Redemption and prayed for it earnestly every day. Surely this applies to the tzaddikim, and the n’siim of the Jewish people who had an overwhelmingly powerful desire for Moshiach. Indeed, as related in the annals of our national history, some actually sacrificed their lives to force Moshiach to come earlier (although there is a specific warning against doing so).

Nevertheless, these earlier activities cannot be compared to the storm for the coming of the Redemption aroused by the Previous Rebbe with his cry (printed more than forty years ago): “L’Alter l’t’shuva, L’Alter l’Geula-Immediately to t’shuva; immediately to Redemption.” And his intent with the word “immediately” was simple: at once, straight-away.

Moreover, this is not considered as forcing the Redemption to come before its time. For the time of the Redemption has arrived. As the Previous Rebbe stated many times: all the service necessary has been completed; all that is necessary is to polish the buttons, and to await Moshiach’s coming…

Many decades have passed since the time of the Previous Rebbe’s announcement, “Immediately to t’shuva, immediately to Redemption,” and the storm of activities initiated to bring Moshiach. Nevertheless, Moshiach has not yet come…

What is there left to do? T’hillim, the Psalms of David, the [first] anointed king, we have said in abundance. Farbrengens have been held on numerous occasions. In spreading the wellsprings outward – for seven generations since the Baal Shem Tov – endeavors have been made, and they have enjoyed prodigious success. One might say that even greater efforts could be undertaken, so that these activities will be performed – to borrow a phrase from the liturgy – “in accord with the commandments of Your will.” But that is possible only as stated in that same prayer “there,” in the Beis HaMikdash.

G-d only makes demands on an individual according to the potential he possesses. And if indeed, G-d wants us to fulfill this service in a perfect way, let Him create the environment that will enable us to do so by bringing the Redemption. Afterwards, the Divine service of the Jews will surely be “in accord with the commandments of Your will,” in consummate perfection…

And so, it is natural to ask: what can we do to bring Moshiach that has not already been done?

In reply, it is possible to suggest, as above, that the Divine service necessary is the expression of joy for the sake of bringing Moshiach.

Simcha breaks through barriers, including the barriers of exile. Moreover, simcha has a unique potential to bring about the Redemption. As explained in the series of discourses entitled Samach Tisamach, although the phrase “the day of the rejoicing of His heart” is interpreted as a reference to the building of the Beis HaMikdash, during the First and Second Battei HaMikdash, G-d’s happiness was not complete. It is only in the Beis HaMikdash to be built in the Era of the Redemption that there will be perfect happiness. “Then the happiness will reflect the essence of the Ein Sof.”

The maamer continues to explain that this essential joy can be aroused by the simcha experienced in connection with a mitzvah. Indeed, the simcha reaches higher than the mitzvah itself, precipitating the expression of the essential joy of the Era of the Redemption.

In the previous generations, people surely experienced simcha in connection with their observance of mitzvos. For the experience of this simcha is a fundamental element of Divine service as it is written, “Serve G-d with happiness.” Nevertheless, in previous generations, the emphasis was on the service of G-d, and that service was infused with happiness. The suggestion to use simcha as a catalyst to bring Moshiach, by contrast, puts the emphasis on the simcha itself, simcha in its pure and consummate state.

(Needless to say, for a Jew, even this pure expression of happiness must be connected with his Divine service in the Torah and its mitzvos, as it is written, “The precepts of G-d are just, bringing joy to the heart.” Nevertheless, the emphasis is on the simcha itself, not on the factors which bring it about. And this service of simcha should have as its goal – bringing Moshiach.)

…This is within the grasp of every individual. By meditating on the imminence of Moshiach’s coming and the knowledge that at that time, perfect simcha will spread throughout the entire world, it is possible to experience a microcosm of this simcha at present.

Indeed, the lengthy explanation of this concept is not in place, deed is what is most important. Announcements must be made about the importance of increasing simcha with the intent of bringing Moshiach. And if anyone questions the effectiveness of this proposal, let him put it to the test and he will see its effectiveness. And this simcha will surely lead to the ultimate simcha, the rejoicing of the Redemption, when “then our mouths will be filled with joy.”


Rabbi Avtzon is the Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivas Lubavitch Cincinnati and a well sought after speaker and lecturer. Recordings of his in-depth shiurim on Inyanei Geula u’Moshiach can be accessed at http://www.ylcrecording.com.


Article originally appeared on Beis Moshiach Magazine (http://beismoshiachmagazine.org/).
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