January 31, 2018
Rabbi Gershon Avtzon in #1104, Ha’yom Yom & Moshiach, Yisro

Dear Reader sh’yichyeh,

This Shabbos, Parshas Yisro, we read in the Torah about the giving of the Torah, one of the most foundational events of Jewish history. Hashem revealed Himself to the Yidden and chose them as His nation. We celebrate the giving of the Torah on Shavuos.

The Haftarah for the first day of Shavuos describes Yechezkel’s vision of the Chariot, reminiscent of the revelation experienced by the Jewish people at Mount Sinai, on the very first Shavuos of history. The prophet Yechezkel, son of Buzi, relayed the vision he had of a chariot led by four creatures that resembled men and described their physical appearance and actions in detail: “When they [the living beings] would go, they [the wheels] would go, and when they would stand, they would stand, and when they would lift themselves up from the ground, the wheels would lift themselves correspondingly to them, for the will of the living being was in the wheels… Like the appearance of the rainbow that is in the cloud on a rainy day, so was the appearance of the brightness round about; that was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the L-rd, and when I saw, I fell on my face, and I heard a voice speaking.”

In the Torah Or of Parshas Yisro, there is a Maamer entitled “U’Mareihem U’Maaseihem,” which is based on a pasuk from this Haftarah. There is a complex history behind this Maamer (as written by the Frierdike Rebbe in the HaTamim periodical under the title “Fathers of Chassidus”):

“After our master the Baal Shem Tov passed away, his son Reb Tzvi was elected the Nasi and mentor. However, by the time the first year had passed, the Holy Society noticed that their master and Rebbe’s son was not strong enough for the job. The circumstances of the time required a person of great fortitude and energy, who possessed the spiritual tools needed for the top leadership. This situation provoked much worry.

“During the Yom Tov meal of the second day of Shavuos, the day following the Baal Shem Tov’s first yahrtzait, the tzaddik Reb Tzvi sat at the head of the table. He wore the holy garments of his father the Baal Shem Tov, and was surrounded by all the members of the Holy Society. After finishing his Torah discourse, he stood up and declared: ‘Today, my saintly father appeared to me. This is what he said:

“‘As of today, the Heavenly Angelic Court and the assistant angels who once attended me transfer their allegiance [from you] to our master and Rebbe, the holy and awesome Reb Beren’yu ben Avraham.

“‘Therefore my son, relinquish your position as Nasi to him, in the presence of the entire Holy Society. Let him sit in my place at the head of the table, while you my son take his seat. Know that because of this you will all have success, for he possesses a double measure of prophecy.’

“Without further delay, Reb Tzvi turned to the holy Reb Dov Ber and wished him mazel tov! He took off his outer cloak and gave it to our saintly master Reb Dov Ber. Then, he sat down in Reb Dov Ber’s seat. The saintly Reb Dov Ber immediately took the seat at the head of the table, while all members of the Holy Society stood up to hear the Torah discourse that would be delivered by the new Nasi.

“According to tradition, the first discourse he delivered was a homiletic commentary on the verse ‘Their appearance and their work was as if it were a wheel within a wheel.’”

In reference to this story, the Rebbe writes in the HaYom Yom (18 Shevat): The Tzemach Tzedek told his son, my grandfather the Rebbe Maharash, that the discourse ‘Their appearance and their work…’ printed in Torah Or Parshas Yisro is the same as that first discourse delivered by the Maggid of Mezritch when he accepted the position of Nasi during the festival of Shavuos 5521 [1761]. The Alter Rebbe heard it from the saintly Rebbe Menachem Mendel of Horodok, author of P’ri HaAretz, who had been present at the time. But the Alter Rebbe transcribed it according to his own style.”

The Rebbe once related (Likkutei Sichos Vol. 8, page 252) that when the Alter Rebbe was imprisoned in Petersburg in 1798, he was visited by the Baal Shem Tov and the Maggid of Mezritch. The Alter Rebbe asked them why he had been imprisoned, and they told him it was because he was revealing the teachings of Chassidus without restriction. He asked them if he should continue to do so if released, and they replied that if he was released, this would be a sign from Heaven that his approach was favored Above and that he should continue.

The Baal Shem Tov then asked the Alter Rebbe to deliver a maamer. The maamer he delivered was entitled U’Mareihem U’Maaseihem. The Baal Shem Tov later told the Maggid that the Alter Rebbe’s transmission of the maamer was entirely faithful to what he himself had originally transmitted to the Maggid.

Dear Chassidim sh’yichyu!

We are still riding on the emotions of the special day of Yud-Shevat, when the Rebbe was Mekabel the Nesius. We have to strengthen our Hiskashrus and put a special emphasis on reviewing the first discourse delivered by the Rebbe when he accepted the position of Nasi.

In regards to the Maamer Basi L’Gani 5710, the Rebbe refers to the Maamer as a Maamer that has “Baal Shem’ske Verter – astonishing words.” These were the Rebbe’s words in a letter (number 562 in Igros, Vol. 2) written to the mashpia Rabbi Nissan Nemanov. Reb Nissan had asked about the wedding of his daughter, scheduled to be celebrated on 11 Adar, at a time when the chassidic brotherhood was still struggling with how to come to terms with the passing of the Rebbe Rayatz.

The Rebbe responded, “In response to your personal question: In my humble opinion, you should bring happiness to the groom and bride through Chabad melodies and the like. ‘Whoever brings happiness [to a groom…] merits…’ May we merit ‘the voice of a groom and the voice of a bride’ and ‘the rejoicing of the groom together with the bride.’

“It is a well-known [practice of] the Rebbeim — in particular, I heard this with regard to the Rebbe Maharash — that when they would deliver a maamer, they would say specific words that were relevant to individual listeners and these words would be heard only by the person to whom they were relevant. The Rebbe [Rashab], however, requested of his father — and his request was granted — that he hear all of these words. I heard this from my revered father-in-law, the Rebbe, î»äë.

“In the maamer released for the day of [the Rebbe’s] passing, there are several astonishing statements. (The term the Rebbe uses is Baal Shem’ske; i.e., just as the Baal Shem Tov revealed miracles of a wondrous and astonishing nature, so too there are wondrous and astonishing statements in this maamer.) In my humble opinion, the resolution of your question is found in the beginning of sec. 5. Certainly, you will internalize what is stated at the beginning of sec. 5 and communicate it to the groom and bride and the guests. I conclude with blessings of Mazel Tov, Mazel Tov for the groom and bride. May their marriage be auspicious and may they build a faithful house in Israel, [raising] blessed offspring, revealing [that their marriage] is an eternal structure.”

Just as this is true about the Basi L’Gani of the Frierdike Rebbe, how much more so is it the case regarding the first Maamer of our Rebbe! In that Maamer, Basi L’Gani 5711, the Rebbe makes it very clear that our generation has one goal: to bring the Sh’china back to this world. We are going to finish the job that was started at the giving of the Torah, in Parshas Yisro, on Shavuos.

The whole purpose of creation is that the essence of Hashem will be revealed in this world. Seemingly, the physical cannot be a vessel to reveal the ultimate spiritual. That’s why Hashem gave us the Torah on Har Sinai. Once the Torah was given to us, the boundaries that separate the physical and the spiritual were removed. That was the beginning of the process of spiritual refinement and the revelation of the physical world.

It continued with Dovid HaMelech and the eventual building of the Beis HaMikdash. With that great achievement, Hashem had a permanent home in the physical world where G-dliness shined and was revealed to all. But alas, due to the sins of B’nei Yisroel, it did not last.  We suffered the destruction of the two Battei HaMikdash and Galus began.

The ultimate and final stage will be in Yemos HaMoshiach. At that point, G-dliness will be revealed in a permanent way in this physical world. Hashem will “return to His garden” forever. This is our mission and special obligation, as the seventh generation, to bring the Sh’china to this world. We have the ko’ach, especially as we are now in “Chaim Shana,” so let’s make it a reality! Let’s finish with the words, that the Rebbe finished his first Maamer: “V’nizkeh Zen Zich Mit’n Rebben Doh Lematah In a guf Lematah Me’Assara T’fachim V’hu Yigaleinu – May we be privileged to see and meet with the Rebbe here in this world, in a physical body, in this earthy domain — and he will redeem us.”

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

Article originally appeared on Beis Moshiach Magazine (
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