Chapter 34

It has been said often of late that according to all the signs we are situated in the "year that the King Moshiach will be revealed."[1] (This is in addition to the calculation that we are in the afternoon of the eve of the Sabbath, which began in the year 5751.[2]) These signs are represented by the widely known initials of this year, "It will be a year when I will show him wonders," particularly since throughout this year we have seen (and we will continue to see) many incidents that can be characterized as "wonders." Moreover, each one of these wonders could be described as a "wonder" even in relation to the preceding "wonder," that is, a wonder which continues to evoke a new sense of amazement as compared to the previous wonder.

Among the wonders there is also a "wonder" that has occurred in these last few days: A gathering of Chassidim and emissaries in Russia! People gathered from various places and countries in the city of Lubavitch, with the intention, among other things, to make a pilgrimage to the holy resting places of our Rebbes and leaders there, including the holy graveside of my father, master and teacher, of blessed memory (whose yahrtzeit is the 20th of Av, a day blessed from this Sabbath). Additionally, they will be convening in Moscow, the capital of Russia, to discuss and consult with one another ("Each man will assist his fellow,"[3] imbued with the spirit of love and unity, "as one person with one heart"[4]), and to pass resolutions to increase with greater intensity and vigor in the dissemination of Torah and Judaism and the wellsprings of Torah to the farthest reaches of that country and the entire world. May it be G-d's will that the convention should be blessed with outstanding success, endowed with an exponential increase[5] of infinite proportions. That this country that waged an incessant struggle against the activities of my sainted father-in-law, the leader of this generation (as well as the activities of my father, whose yahrtzeit is the 20th of Av) to disseminate Torah and the wellsprings of Torah, should now host and honor his disciples and emissaries and those who follow in his path in the dissemination of Torah and the wellsprings of Torah to the remotest reaches, must be classified as a "wonder."

These "wonders" awaken us and underscore that imminently we will see the greatest wonder, the true and complete Redemption, "As in the days of your departure from Egypt I will show him wonders."[6] This will be a "wonder" even in comparison with the events of the Exodus from Egypt.[7]

In practical terms:

Since we are standing on the threshold of the true and complete Redemption where everything will manifest itself in an unbounded manner, one must have a "foretaste" (as is the custom to "taste a little of every dish"[8] on the eve of Sabbath) of the infinite nature of the revelations of Redemption, by a commensurate unrestrained increase in matters of Torah and Mitzvos.

More specifically, there should be an increase in the study of Torah (to "augment the nights to the days in the preoccupation with Torah[9]). This includes both the revealed as well as the inner dimensions of Torah, including the study of Ein Ya'akov, an anthology of the Aggadic[10] parts of Torah, in which "the majority of the Torah's secrets are hidden."[11] The greatest emphasis should be placed on the study of the inner dimension of Torah, in accordance with the teaching of the Arizal (whose yahrtzeit is on the fifth of Menachem-Av) that "in these later generations, it is permissible and even mandatory that we reveal this [esoteric] wisdom."[12] This is particularly true now that once these heretofore-secret teachings were elucidated and made accessible to each and every Jew in the teachings of Chassidus.

There should be an even greater emphasis on an increase in the study of matters concerning the Redemption, in both the revealed parts of the Torah, especially Rambam's work which comprises all the laws relating to Redemption, e.g., the laws of the Temple (which is studied currently in the period of the Three Weeks) as well as the laws of The Kings and their Wars and the King Moshiach - and the inner dimension of Torah. Study of the inner dimension of Torah in general hastens the Redemption: "With this work of yours (the teachings of R. Shimon Bar Yochai - the author of the Zohar)... they will emerge from exile with mercy."[13] However, study of the inner dimension of Torah's treatment of Redemption has an added advantage.

Ideally, these learning sessions should be conducted in a manner of "Ten people (a quorum) sitting (i.e., they are established) preoccupied (in a manner of one conducting "business") in the study of Torah."[14]

...An additional lesson and directive concerning Redemption can be derived also from the beginning of the third chapter of Pirkei Avos: "Look at three things:"

The term "three things" standing by itself can be a suggestion of the third Redemption and the third Holy Temple, a threefold Redemption and a threefold Holy Temple, because they comprise the virtues of both the first Redemption and the second, the first Temple and the second. Furthermore, the twosome features will be combined as one.

The imperative, "look," implies gazing intently, by deeply reflecting and contemplating[15] matters concerning the third Redemption and the third Beis Hamikdash ("three things"), imbued with feelings of anticipation and exceptional yearning, "I anticipate his coming every day,"[16] implying that he will come every day, this day, literally. How much more so, now that we stand on the threshold of Redemption, that the gazing at these three matters is increased and done with more vigor.

The suggestion can be made that the one's reflection on matters of the third Redemption and third Holy Temple ("three matters") has the capacity to effect completeness to all of our efforts within the "three pillars" - the three modes of expression, Torah, service (prayer) and loving-kindness[17] whose fulfillment is through the three "garments" of the soul, thought, speech and action. When one's thoughts are directed towards the three redemptions one's Divine service is unbounded and therefore beyond division. Without the limits and boundaries which delineate and divide, one attains perfection in all of the three modes.[18]

(From the talk of Shabbos Parshas Vo'eschanan,
Shabbos Nachamu, 16 Menachem Av, 5751)


1. Yalkut Shimoni 499.

2. See Sefer HaSichos, 5750, vol. 1, p. 254. See there for cross references.

3. Yeshayahu 41:6.

4. Rashi, Yisro 19:2.

5. "One who increases, shall be increased" - Ta'anis, at the end.

6. Michah 7:15.

7. See Or HaTorah, Nach on this verse (p. 487). See there for cross references.

8. Shulchan Aruch of the Alter Rebbe, Orach Chaim, end of sec. 250

9. Rashi, end of Ta'anis.

10. [Aggadah is the non-legal, inspirational portions of the Talmud. Translator's note.]

11. Tanya, Igeres HaKodesh, sec. 23.

12. Op cit., sec. 26 (142).

13. Zohar III, 124b, in Raya Mehemna, cited and elucidated in Igeres Hakodesh, ibid.

14. Avos 3:6.

15 See Shulcahn Aruch, Admor Hazaken, Orach Chaim, sec. 128:36, and in other places.

16. The text of "Ani Ma'amin" published in prayer books etc. See Likkutei Sichos, vol. 23, p. 394.

17. Avos 1:2.

18. In a similar vein, with regard to "keeping from evil" one is precluded from evil, as a matter of course, without a need to actively engage in negating evil, as the Mishneh continues: "And you will not come to the hands of sin." The expression "and you will not come" implies that it will not take effort. The usage of the term "hands of sin," implies further, that even matters that are not inherently sinful, but could lead to sin (such as satisfying permissible desires), are automatically dismissed because of one's reflection on matters of Redemption. This is analogous to the way things will be in the Messianic Era. As the Rambam rules (in the end and seal of his work "Mishneh Torah") that "in that time ... all delights will be as abundant as the dust of the earth." His choice of the word "dust" implies that it will have no significance to us, inasmuch as "all of the preoccupation of the world will be exclusively to know G-d."

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