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Tuesday
Jan122016

WHY IS THE KING A CRITICAL ASPECT OF THE MITZVA OF HAKHEL?

Dear Reader sh’yichyeh

This Shabbos – Parshas Bo – is the Shabbos before Yud Shvat. While there are many special things that happened on Yud Shvat (histalkus of Rebbetzin Rivka, histalkus of the Frierdike Rebbe, and the Kabbalas HaNesius of the Rebbe), our main focus needs to be on our connection with the Nasi – the Rebbe Melech HaMoshiach – today in 5776.

In the Sicha of Parshas Bo 5748 – a year of Hakhel – the Rebbe explains that in order to strengthen our connection to our king, we must first define the general role of the Jewish king.

Describing the character of the Jewish monarchy, the Rambam (Hilchos Melachim 3:6) writes: The king is the heart of the Jewish people. The simile of the Jewish king to the heart is that just as the body gets its life-support from the heart, so too the life of the Jewish people comes through their connection to the king.

Yet, there is an obvious question: Why is the king compared to the heart of the Jewish people and not the brain/head of the Jewish people? Does the king not direct and guide the Jewish people just as the brain directs the life source and commands each individual organ of the body?

The Rebbe (in chapter two of the above-mentioned sicha) explains: There is a distinct difference between the connection that each organ has to the brain and the connection each organ has to the heart. With regard to the brain, each organ receives from it its individual and distinct life-function. The eye receives the power to see while the ear receives the power to hear etc. This is in contradistinction to the heart which distributes its very own essence – the blood – to all parts of the body. Every organ is infused with the same essence from the heart.

Now we can understand why the king is compared mainly to the heart – as opposed to the head: For, while it is true that the king directs and leads the Jewish people in all aspects of their lives, the main concept of the king is to give over his essence and reveal the essence of each Jew. Just as the heart gives the blood – the essence of the heart – to each organ, so too the king gives his essence – which is his connection to Hashem – over to each Jew (from old to young, man or woman) with the objective being to reveal the essence of each Jew.

The Mitzva that brings this out the most is the Mitzva of Hakhel. The Rambam defines the Mitzva (Hilchos Chagiga 3:1) as: It is a positive commandment to gather together the entire Jewish people – men, women, and children – after every Sabbatical year when they ascend for the pilgrimage holiday and to read so that they hear passages from the Torah that encourage them to perform mitzvos and strengthen them in the true faith, as D’varim 31:10-12 states: “At the end of a seven-year period, at the time of the Sabbatical year on the Sukkos holiday when all Israel come to appear… gather the nation, the men, the women, the children, and your stranger in your gates….”

The Mitzva of Hakhel is for the king – as the Shliach of Hashem – to give over the words of Hashem to the soul of every single Jew. This mitzva includes men, women and children. It did not matter the level of understanding, affiliation or commitment. Every Jew receives the essence of the king that connects to his very essence.

This also explains why the Nasi of each generation is the Moshiach of that generation. In the words of the Rebbe (Kuntres Beis Rabbeinu Sh’B’Bavel):

Rabbeinu, the Nasi HaDor, is also the Moshiach of the generation, like Moshe (the first Nasi) of whom it is taught, “The first redeemer is the final redeemer.” This accords with the well-known teaching that in every generation “there is a righteous individual who is worthy of being the redeemer, and when the time comes, G-d will be revealed to him and will send him….”

It is logical to assume that this is the Nasi HaDor. Indeed, regarding Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi [known also as Rabbeinu HaKadosh] the Talmud explicitly states: “Rav said, ‘If he is among the living, he is Rabbeinu HaKadosh.”’ In other words, “If Moshiach is from the ranks of the living, he is certainly Rabbeinu HaKadosh,” the Nasi HaDor.

And in footnote 81 the Rebbe connects this aspect – that the Nasi is Moshiach – to the essential bond of the king and the people that we explained above:

Note that a spark of Moshiach exists within each and every Jew. [This resolves an apparent contradiction between two Talmudic teachings on the words, “A star issued from Yaakov” (Numbers 24:17): According to one teaching this refers to Moshiach (Talmud Yerushalmi, Taanis 4:5); according to another it refers to every Jew (Talmud Yerushalmi, Maaser Sheini, chapter 4). In light of the above there is no contradiction, for each and every Jew possesses a spark of Moshiach’s soul.

Since every Jew possesses a Yechida (the fifth and inner-most level of the soul), and every individual Yechida is a spark of the comprehensive Yechida, which is the soul of Moshiach, and since “the Nasi is everything” — i.e., he comprises all the individual sparks of Moshiach, his soul is perforce the comprehensive Yechida; hence, he is the Moshiach of the generation. Jew = Moshiach spark. Moshiach spark = Yechida. Nasi = all Yechidas (all Moshiach sparks). Thus, Nasi HaDor = Moshiach.

From the above is clear that we must use this time before Yud-Shvat to strengthen our connection to our Nasi and Melech – the Rebbe – and to his mission of preparing the world for the revelation of Moshiach.

To quote the HaYom Yom (24 Sivan): You ask how can you be bound to me when I do not know you personally…” …The true bond is created by studying Torah. When you study my maamarim, read the sichos and associate with those dear to me – the chassidic community and the T’mimim – in their studies and farbrengens, and you fulfill my request regarding saying T’hillim and observing Torah-study times – in this is the bond.

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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