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Tuesday
Mar132018

THE IMPORTANCE OF LEARNING THE CHASSIDIC PARSHA

Dear Reader sh’yichyeh,

Throughout the HaYom Yom there is much discussion about the setting up and printing of the Torah Ohr and Likkutei Torah. The Rebbe writes (Purim Katan): My revered grandfather, the Rebbe [Maharash], once told my revered father, the Rebbe [Rashab], “My father (the Tzemach Tzedek) chose the maamarim that appear in Likkutei Torah from two thousand maamarim [authored by the Alter Rebbe].”

The Rebbe, in a sicha delivered on Shabbos Parshas VaYakhel 5725, explains that the number two thousand is not arbitrary. The Midrash states: “The Torah preceded the world by two thousand years.” Before Creation, however, time did not exist, so what could this mean? The answer is that one of the meanings of the root of the word shana (“year”) is related to the root of the word shinui (“change”). The two thousand years of the Midrash thus allude to two thousand changes that occurred on various spiritual levels before Creation. The Torah likewise comprises two thousand levels that transcend our earthly plane of existence. By stating that Likkutei Torah draws on two thousand maamarim, the Rebbe Maharash implied that these two thousand levels were invested in that compilation.

The Rebbe (3 Shevat) continues: Torah Ohr was first published in 5597 (1837) in Kopust, without its appendices. In a letter of 3 Shvat of that year the Tzemach Tzedek writes: “Torah Or, which was published now, … includes most of the maamarim that the Alter Rebbe delivered between 5556 (1795) and the end of 5572 (1812). Many of them were critically read and edited by our master himself, and he gave his consent for their publication…

 “The name of the author, Shneur, befits him, just as åàäáú (‘And you shall love’) is twice the numerical equivalent of àåø (light). At the time they managed to publish only the first volume, for due to the allegations of informers, the government closed several Jewish printing houses in Russia, including the one in Kopust, where Torah Or was printed. In 5608 (1848), the second volume was printed in Zhitomir but with a different title: Likkutei Torah.”

And finally (HaYom Yom 15 Shevat): “When the second part of Torah Or was about to be printed, Chassidim knew that the Tzemach Tzedek had written glosses and commentaries on the maamarim. They pleaded with him to publish these with the maamarim, but he refused. He then dreamt that his grandfather, the Alter Rebbe, visited him and asked him to publish them, but he revealed this to no one. Only after three of his sons had the same dream and reported this to him did he agree to have his glosses and commentary printed with the second part of Torah Or, which they now entitled Likkutei Torah.”

While this may sound like nice history, to the Rebbe, every part of the Likkutei Torah and Torah Ohr is very exact and important. This to the extent that in a Maamer (Seifer Maamarim Meluket Alef) entitled “Ani L’Dodi,” the Rebbe actually learns a lesson from the page that this maamer was printed on!

Yet what is even more fascinating is the connection that these S’farim have to bringing the Geula. Everyone reading this weekly column has heard many times about the farbrengen of Chaya Sara 5752. In that farbrengen, which was the week of the Kinus HaShluchim, the Rebbe made it very clear that we have entered the final stage of the Shlichus. Now the Avoda is to get ourselves and the world ready to greet Moshiach. In the Rebbe’s words: “The most recent innovation in the work of shlichus is: to receive our righteous Moshiach in the true and complete Redemption. Indeed, the preparation for the coming of our righteous Moshiach is the most all-encompassing aspect of Judaism and includes all the other points and details of the work of shlichus.”

Yet what is often glossed over is that the Rebbe suggested at that farbrengen that we can get ready for Moshiach by learning the entire Torah Ohr and Likkutei Torah! In the Rebbe’s words (Ois 14): “And together with the completion of the work of shlichus (at the conclusion of Likkutei Torah, Parshas Bracha) one immediately reaches the completion of the wedding – the Song of Songs – of Israel and G-d (specifically through an actualization of the good resolution to learn all of Torah Or and Likkutei Torah, all their chapters until the end. This is because learning the Torah contained within them hastens the actual Redemptive process.).”

At that farbrengen, the Rebbe explained some interesting things about the structure of Likkutei Torah. For example, in Parshas VaYikra, the beginning of Likkutei Torah, the Alter Rebbe explains the concept that every Jew is a shliach of Hashem to fulfill his or her mission in this world. Why is this at the beginning of Likkutei Torah? This is to teach us that at the beginning of our Avoda, we must realize that we are on a mission from Hashem. It is not something that should be ingrained and explained only after a person is settled in the world. Rather, from the very beginning of our Avoda, we must realize that our very existence in this world is exclusively for a mission that we need to accomplish.

The Rebbe then explains another fascinating point. The story of Eliezer making the shidduch between Yitzchak and Rivka takes place in Parshas Chayei Sara. If so, it seemingly should be explained in Torah Ohr. Yet we find that it was arranged so that it is explained at the end of Likkutei Torah in Parshas V’Zos HaBracha?

The Rebbe explains: The marriage of Yitzchak and Rivka is not just another story of the Torah. It reflects the entire purpose of creation. We are here to make a dwelling place for Hashem in this world. We are here to make the shidduch of Yitzchak (Elokus) and Rivka (“ba”n - Tachtonim). Their marriage reflects the ultimate purpose of everything that we work for. It is the microcosm of Geula. That is why Avraham gave up all his money for this wedding. It was something that touched his essence as it reflects the whole Avoda of Yidden in this world.

This is the reason that this concept is explained at the end of Likkutei Torah. This is the tachlis and ultimate intent of our Avoda. When we reach the end of our Avoda, we understand that the true purpose is to unite “Yitzchak and Rivka,” Dira Ba’tachtonim.

Let us finish with the powerful words of the Rebbe by that farbrengen: “The shluchim have already begun long ago to fulfill the work of shlichus in spreading the Torah, Judaism and the Wellsprings of the inner teachings of Torah outward, and for a long time have even reached completion in the work of shlichus, according to the announcement of my sainted father-in-law mentioned above. Nevertheless, the true and complete Redemption has not yet actually come. It must be said, then, that there must be something that remains to be done that will bring the Redemption into reality.

“What is needed is the following: It is known that ‘in every generation an individual descended from Yehuda is born who is qualified to be the Moshiach for Israel,’ and that ‘one who qualifies because of his righteousness to be the Redeemer and when the time arrives G-d will be revealed to him and send him, etc.’ And according to the announcement of my sainted father-in-law, the leader of our generation, the singular shliach of our generation, the singular Moshiach of our generation, that everything has already concluded, it’s understood that there has begun to be fulfilled ‘send now the one You will send,’ the shlichus of my sainted father-in-law. And therefore it’s obvious that the only thing that now remains in the work of shlichus is to greet our righteous Moshiach in actual reality, in order that he should be able to fulfill his shlichus in actuality and bring all the Jews out of exile!”

 

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

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