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Tuesday
Apr172018

WE FOLLOW THEIR LEAD AND PROCLAIM: MENACHEM IS HIS NAME

Of course, we (Chassidim) follow their lead (with respect to our Rebbes and Nsiim. * There are those who say that Menachem is the name of Moshiach, as it is said, “because the comforter (menachem) is distant from me, even he that should revive my soul.”

Translated by Boruch Merkur

ATTAINING THE HOLINESS OF THE ALM-GHTY HIMSELF

8. […] Parshas Acharei contains the commandment and warning that there should not be a “ratzo – a yearning to cleave to G-d through spirituality” without a “shov – a return to the mission of perfecting the physical world, making it a dwelling place for G-d through Torah and Mitzvos.” (The result of having a ratzo without a shov and its shortcomings is illustrated in Parshas Acharei with the description of the klos ha’nefesh, the soul expiration, of “the two children of Aharon, in their approach before G-d and they died.”) Rather, there must specifically be a ratzo with a shov [which is the sustainable approach to spirituality and one that is in line with the Supernal Will of perfecting the world. This approach diminishes or negates the risk of their being klos ha’nefesh, emphasizing the importance of there being ongoing life in the physical world] specifically as souls (which are inherently predisposed towards ratzo) within bodies (which are predisposed towards shov). The ratzo and shov must be united, resulting in Supernal revelations being drawn down and revealed within keilim, the means to channel and contain these revelations.

Parenthetically, this union of body and soul finds further expression in the eternal life of the Future Era. (What is unique about the present times, our generation, is that there will be no interruption [no death separating the finite life of this world from the everlasting life of the World to Come]). Indeed, the life of the Future Era is specifically physical life, but a manner of life whereby the soul is nourished by the body [reversing the current dynamic whereby spirituality is supreme, and the body receives nourishment from the soul].

The union between ratzo and shov, G-dliness being manifest within keilim, is accomplished in virtue of a lofty level of G-dliness that transcends the two,* a state of sanctity described in Parshas K’doshim. There the Torah enjoins the Jewish people with the commandment to (and capacity for) “Be holy for I [G-d] am holy.” That is, the status and condition of the Jewish people, as they exist in the physical world – where the commandment of “Be holy,” “be distinguished” (Rashi on the verse), can apply – is one of sanctity (“Be holy”). Here in the physical world, Jews have the capacity to even attain the ultimate sanctity, the holiness of the Alm-ghty Himself, as our Sages teach, “Yachol kamoni? [according to the simple reading this means] You might think that the intent here is that you [the Jewish people] are being commanded to be as holy as Me [i.e., G-d himself]. Thus, the Torah teaches, ‘for I am holy’ [Divine sanctity is reserved for G-d alone]” – [but] according to the interpretation of Chassidus, this teaching is stated in the affirmative: “Yachol kamoni You are able to be as holy as Me [i.e., G-d himself].” That is, each and every Jew “is able,” capable of being, “as Me,” like G-d Himself (as it were), attaining the Divine sanctity of “(for) I am holy.”

MOSHIACH: YEARNING FOR
GEULA WITH BATED BREATH

The concept of holiness being manifest specifically in the physical realm is further emphasized in the name of Moshiach (the redeemer), who is called “metzora – leper” – “the Metzora of the House of Rebbi,” who “sits among the impoverished, who suffer from afflictions,” “those who are stricken with leprosy – and he too [Moshiach] is a leper.” That is, Moshiach is present in the world, in the time and place of exile, and there, amidst the condition of exile, he suffers the afflictions of exile (as the Gemara continues, “Says Rav: If Moshiach is among the living, he is, for example, Rabbeinu HaKadosh” – “If Moshiach is among those who are presently alive, it is certainly Rabbeinu HaKadosh,** for he [Rabbeinu HaKadosh] suffers from afflictions and is entirely pious.”***) And Moshiach peers out in anticipation, looking with bated breath and with yearning eyes for the revelation (from the concealment of the time and condition of exile). Indeed, in accordance with the ruling of Rambam, “a king will rise up from the Davidic dynasty, etc.,” it is the role of Melech HaMoshiach to redeem the Jewish people with the true and complete redemption, which will never be followed by another exile.

MOSHIACH: PERFECT BUT SUFFERING

9. The aforementioned is also connected with the second chapter of Avos (which is being studied this Shabbos Kodesh), which begins with “Rebbi states: Which is the proper course that a man should choose? That which is an honor for him and which elicits honor from his fellow man.” […]

(In his time) it was said of Rebbi (Rabbeinu HaKadosh) that “If Moshiach is from among those who are presently alive, it is certainly Rabbeinu HaKadosh, for he suffers from afflictions and is entirely pious.” Although he was “entirely pious” – for he had completed his service of G-d**** – nevertheless, he suffered affliction, the ailments of exile. The same is true of Moshiach (whose name is “the leper of the House of Rebbi”): although Moshiach attains the ultimate state of perfection, he suffers and is stricken with pain over the illness of exile (as above s’if 2).

WHAT IS THE FASTEST
WAY TO BRING MOSHIACH?

In light of the above, this is the meaning of Rebbi’s statement, “Which is the proper course that a man should choose? That which is an honor for him and which elicits honor from his fellow man”:

“A man” refers to “this man (“who is it at a level of greatness…perfection in everything”) whose deeds are wholesome and has rectified everything…only the extraneous aspects, at the hem of his garments, remain to be refined, etc..” His superficial inadequacies are solely on account of the exile, which was the case with Rebbi [who suffered and was stricken with ailments]. In this generation – the final generation of exile, the Heels of Moshiach, when all matters (the avoda that had to be done throughout the duration of exile) have already been completed and perfected – all the Jewish people are at this level of near perfection.

The question is: Since we have already completed “our deeds and our service throughout the duration of exile,” what is the “proper course” (the easiest and quickest path among all the pathways of Torah) that a man (all the Jewish people as a whole) should choose. What path should a man, who has completed [all] matters of avoda, choose in order to bring about the revelation and the advent of Moshiach?*****

The answer to this question is: “That which is an honor (Tiferes) for him and which elicits honor (Tiferes) from his fellow man”:

“Tiferes” refers to Torah (“‘Tiferes’ – that refers to the Giving of the Torah”), which, on account of its tremendous virtue and power, can join the two movements of ratzo (drawing close and cleaving to the Alm-ghty, “Tiferes l’oseha”) and shov (drawing down below, “Tiferes lo min ha’adam”), so that the Supernal revelations are drawn down and revealed within keilim (as above s’if 6). In so doing, the true concept of exile (Supernal revelations) is revealed in a manner that rules out the concept of exile in the simple, literal sense, a redemption that is never followed by exile (as above s’if 7 and s’if 8).

(From the address of Shabbos Parshas Tazria-Metzora, 6 Iyar; Seifer HaSichos 5751, pg. 496-498)

 

NOTES:

*Footnote 61: by there first being the bittul of shov, as above s’if 6.

**Footnote 67: There (at the beginning of the sugia): “Those of the School of Rebbi Shilo said that Shilo is the name of Moshiach, as it is said, “until Shilo arrives”; those of the School of Rebbi Yanai said that the name of Moshiach is Yinon (like Yanai – each would find a Scriptural source for his name – commentary of Rashi there. Note the inference derived from Rashi’s specific wording, “each would find a Scriptural source for his name” – and not that the disciples would propose that Moshiach’s name is the same as that of their master), as it is said, “May his name be eternal; before the sun, his name is Yinon”; the School of Chanina said that Chanina is the name of Moshiach, as it is said, “for as much as I will show you no favor (chanina)”; there are those who say that Menachem ben Chizkiya is the name of Moshiach (so it is in our versions of the text, but the Yerushalmi and Eicha Rabba render it simply as “Menachem” [omitting ben Chizkiya] …), as it is said, “because the comforter (menachem) is distant from me, even he that should revive my soul.” See also Yerushalmi Brachos 2:4, Eicha Rabba 1:51. Also see Likkutei Levi Yitzchok al Maamarei Chazal, pg. 106, that “all opinions are true,” and “both these and these are words of the living G-d.” See there.

Of course, we (Chassidim) follow their lead (with respect to our Rebbes and N’siim, especially my revered father in-law, the Rebbe, leader of the generation): Yosef is the name of Moshiach, as it is said, “The L-rd will set His hand again the second time (yosif Adni sheinis yado)…to recover the remnant of the Jewish people, etc.”; Yitzchok is the name of Moshiach, as it is said, “Then He shall fill our mouths with laughter (s’chok pinu).”

***Footnote 68: Commentary of Rashi on the Gemara. For this reason Moshiach is referred to as “The leper of the House of Rebbi,” referring to Rabbeinu HaKadosh, who is called Rebbi … for he [Moshiach] suffers afflictions and ailments like him [like Rebbi]” (Chiddushei Agados Maharsha ibid).

****Footnote 73: following the interpretation of “tzaddik gamor – a complete tzaddik” as in the phrase, “a vessel whose work upon it has been completed” (Likkutei Torah Drushei Sukkos 81a).

*****Footnote 74: beginning with the revelation and advent of Moshiach within each and every Jew, as is known, the verse, “A star will shoot forth from Yaakov, etc.,” refers to Melech HaMoshiach (Yerushalmi Maaser Sheini 4:6), insofar as each Jew possesses within a spark of the soul of Moshiach (Maor Einayim, Parshas Pinchas, end).

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