Adapted from the 3rd chapter of the first Ma'amar (Chasidic discourse) said by the Rebbe, on Yud1 Shevat, 5711/1951.
The fact that our Sages say that "all those who are seventh are cherished," rather than "all those who are cherished are seventh," indicates that the seventh's primary quality lies in one's being seventh. In other words, one is cherished not on account of his choice, desire, or spiritual service, but because he is seventh--and this is something that he is born into. Yet the fact remains that "all those who are seventh are cherished." It was for this reason that it was Moshe who was privileged to have the Torah given through him.
The Previous Rebbe explained (soon after arriving in America) that even when we refer to the seventh of a series as being the most cherished, the special quality of the first is apparent. For the whole meaning of "seventh" is "seventh from the first." The Previous Rebbe then explained the qualities that the first--our forefather Avraham--attained through his spiritual service, which was performed with total self-sacrificing devotion.
Not content with the above, the Previous Rebbe adds that Avraham did not actively pursue mesirus nefesh [self-sacrifice].... Avraham's mesirus nefesh was incidental [to his actual service]. He knew that the main object of divine service was [that defined by the Sages' interpretation of the verse], "He proclaimed there the Name of G-d, L-rd of the world." [For our Sages say,] "do not read vayikra--'he proclaimed,' but vayakrei-- 'he made others proclaim.'" I.e., let another man likewise proclaim [G-d's Name]. And if in the course of this service mesirus nefesh was called for, he could supply that, too. Indeed, so estimable was Avraham's divine service and mesirus nefesh that even Moshe was privileged to have the Torah given through him because he was the beloved seventh--the seventh to the first. [It is to this relationship between them that the Sages apply the verse:] "G-d told Moshe, 'Do not stand in the place of the greats [referring to Avraham].'"
It is true that the seventh of a series is very much loved and that this status comes not as a result of choice nor as a result of one's divine service, but as a finished product, merely as a result of birth. Nevertheless, there are no inherent limitations that should cause an individual to say that this status is beyond him and that it is accessible only to a select few. On the contrary, this is a situation similar to that which is explained in Tanna dvei Eliyahu and quoted in Chassidus, that every Jew, even a slave and handmaiden, can attain the inspiration of the Divine Spirit. [Similarly,] each and every Jew is obligated to say, "When will my actions equal those of my forefathers, Avraham, Yitzchok and Yaakov?"
At the same time we should not delude ourselves: We must know that we should "not stand in the place of the greats," and that the merit of the seventh of a series consists of his being seventh to the first. I.e., he is capable of doing the Divine service and fulfilling the mission of the first: "Do not read 'he proclaimed,' but 'he made others proclaim.'"
This, then, is why the seventh is so cherished: it is he who draws down the Shechinah (Divine Presence), in fact--the essence of the Shechinah; moreover, he draws it down into this lowly world.
It is this that is demanded of each and every one of us of the seventh generation--and "all those that are seventh are cherished": Although the fact that we are in the seventh generation is not the result of our own choosing and our own service, and indeed in certain ways perhaps contrary to our will, nevertheless, "all those who are seventh are cherished." We are now very near the approaching footsteps of Moshiach, indeed, we are at the conclusion of this period, and our spiritual task is to complete the process of drawing down the Shechinah--moreover, the essence of the Shechinah--within specifically our lowly world.
1. On this day the Rebbe officially accepted the mantle of Chabad-Lubavitch leadership, becoming the 7th Rebbe in the Chabad-Lubavitch dynasty.
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