Through Being Unique
Sichos In English
27th Day of Adar, 5750
This Shabbos is a particularly opportune time for the coming of
Moshiach. Every day, we must have faith in Moshiach’s coming and wait
for him, as the Rambam states, “I will wait for him every day that he
come.” This is particularly true in the later generations, when “all
the appointed times for Moshiach’s coming have passed,” and
especially in our generation, which, according to all the signs
mentioned by our Sages, is the last generation of exile and the first
generation of redemption. Hence, in the present generation, we must have
strong faith in Moshiach’s coming and await his coming with genuine
this is true at all times, there are specific times when this faith and
yearning receive greater emphasis. The present Shabbos is certainly one
of those times. The weekly Torah portion and the time of the year share
an intrinsic connection with the Redemption. This week’s Torah
portion, Parshas VaYakhel-P’kudei, describes the fashioning and the
erection of the Sanctuary, a “dwelling for G-d” within this earth.
The ultimate expression of this dwelling will come in the Messianic Beis
HaMikdash, the “Sanctuary of G-d, established by Your hands.”
another allusion to this concept in the opening verse of Parshas
P’kudei. Rashi explains that the repetition of the word “Mishkan”
(sanctuary) alludes to the fact that the Beis HaMikdash was taken
twice as a mashkon (security) until the Jewish people would
improve their behavior. Once a debt is repaid, a security is returned in
its entirety to its owners. Similarly, when the Jewish people atone for
the sins that caused the destruction of the first and second Batei
HaMikdash, the Beis HaMikdash will be returned to us in
the Messianic era.
era, we will also witness the ultimate va’yakhel, the gathering
together of the Jewish people, when “a great congregation will return
here,” with the ingathering of the exiles…
above concepts are also related to the subject matter discussed in the
portion of the Mishneh Torah which is associated with the
present day, the conclusion of Hilchos Kilayim and the
beginning of Hilchos Matanos Aniyim. The subject
discussed in these halachos is connected with the mitzvos
to be fulfilled in Eretz Yisroel, which will be fulfilled in the most
complete manner in the Messianic age. Beyond that, there is a deeper
connection, dependent on the homiletic meaning of the halachos.
a connection between hilchos kilayim and hilchos matanos
aniyim. Hilchos kilayim deals with forbidden
mixtures. There is a natural order established by the Creator and it is
forbidden to mix together two species which G-d has defined as
different. Similarly, in regard to hilchos matanos aniyim,
one should not mix together two types of funds, i.e., funds which G-d
has given for one to support his individual family and funds G-d gave
for safekeeping with the intent that they be given to others.
is, however, a further point of connection that can be derived based on
an analysis of the final halacha in Hilchos Kilayim.
That halacha states: Priests who wore the priestly garments while
they were not involved in actual service, even if they were in the Beis
HaMikdash, are punished by lashes because of the sash which contains
kilayim (a forbidden mixture of species). They are permitted to
wear the priestly garments only while they are actually serving, for
then [they are fulfilling] a positive command, similar to tzitzis.
appears that the Rambam concludes Hilchos Kilayim with
this law to conclude with a positive matter, i.e., to conclude not with
the prohibition against wearing kilayim, but with the description
of a situation where the prohibition is waived and it is possible to use
kilayim for a positive intent.
is, however, a deeper dimension: Rabbeinu Bachaye explains that the
reason for the prohibition against kilayim stems from the fact
that every thing in this world has a unique spiritual source. When G-d
created the world, He ordained that each entity would be grouped into a
specific species. Thus, by mixing two species, one disrupts the order of
creation and acts against G-d’s will.
Bachaye also explains this concept in mystical terms: When a species
reproduces according to its kind, there is a great revelation of peace
in the spiritual realms. But mixing species spreads discord in the
spiritual realms, disrupting the order of the spiritual powers.
Accordingly, “kilayim” also means ‘holding back,’ meaning
that kilayim prevents the expression of the spiritual powers.
explanation, however, raises
a question: Why was the sash from the priestly garments made with this
fabric? Since such a garment is from a forbidden species, if a priest
wears it while not involved in the service of the Beis HaMikdash,
he commits a transgression. Why then include it at all among the
priestly garments? How could it be used for the service of G-d?
Bachaye also attempts to resolve this issue, explaining that in the Beis
HaMikdash, the revelation of G-d’s presence brought about the
nullification of individual identity, allowing the possibility of
the unity of opposites. Chassidus explains a similar concept with the
Sages’ explanation of the phrase, “He establishes peace in His
heavens,” which is that the revelation of G-dliness
establishes harmony between “Gavriel, the angel of fire, and Michael,
the angel of water.”
unity, however, does not nullify the difference between the different
beings. On the contrary, each expresses its unique character and, in
this manner, is able to fulfill the Divine mission with which it was
charged, be it a service of chesed (kindness) or gvura (severity).
a parallel in the services of VaYakhel and P’kudei. P’kudei, a
“reckoning,” alludes to the recognition of the particular
contribution of each individual. VaYakhel, gathering together, alludes
to the manner in which the individual transcends his particular identity
to assume a communal consciousness. For example, a Jewish community is
made up of Kohanim, Leviim, and Israelites. Each has a
different identity and a different role to play. (Indeed, there is a
prohibition against one carrying out the services of another.)
Nevertheless, we are one nation. The particular differences are actually
expressions — not contradictions — of this fundamental oneness.]
explanation, however, does not appear to reflect the Rambam’s
position. The Rambam emphasizes that even in the Beis HaMikdash
it is forbidden to wear the sash except while involved in the priestly
service. This implies that the permission to wear the sash is not a
result of the revelation of G-d’s presence in the Beis HaMikdash,
but rather, it has another explanation.
resolution according to the Rambam can be found in the explanation of a
law in the beginning of Hilchos Matanos Aniyim,
which describes the mitzva of pei’a. Pei’a also
involves a mixing of the rights of two different portions, those of the
owner and those of the poor man. The Rambam explains that a person can
designate his entire field as pei’a. But this law is
problematic for the following reasons:
Rambam defines pei’a as meaning “the ends.” If one
designates the entire field as pei’a, then the pei’a
will not be at the end of the field.
giving away the entire field, the owner appears to deny his rights to
his own property. Though a portion of his property is given to him for
safekeeping so that he will distribute it to the needy, a portion does
belong to him. Why does the Torah allow the poor to be given the
difficulties can be resolved based on the mystical dimension of the mitzva.
In Hebrew, pei’a, is numerically equivalent to G-d’s name, Elokim
(86). Thus, pei’a is given to the poor, for this name is
associated with the quality of gvura, which is reflected in
contraction, the ultimate source for the existence of poverty.
quality of contraction expressed by the name Elokim has two
dimensions: a) The intention of the process of contraction is to bring
about revelation. Through the process of contraction, G-d’s unbounded
light can be revealed within this world. b) The process of contraction
reveals that G-d is totally unlimited, that He is not restricted to the
dimension of revelation, but can also express Himself in concealment.
we find that the name Elokim has two dimensions:
a) It is
a medium for the revelation of the name Havayeh, as evident from the
verse, “as the sun and its shield, are Havayeh and Elokim.”
This means that in order for the infinite revelation of Havayeh to be
expressed in this world, it must pass through the medium of the name Elokim.
name Elokim is one of G-d’s holy names. It expresses a
dimension of G-dliness, revealing how He is totally unbounded, above not
only finiteness, but also infinity.
two dimensions of the name Elokim are reflected in two approaches
to giving pei’a (its numerical equivalent). One is when pei’a
is given to allow a person to enjoy the remainder of his field (i.e.,
the notion of contraction for the sake of revelation) and the other, in
which giving pei’a becomes a self-contained service. Thus,
one’s entire field can be designated for this purpose.
explain these concepts in terms of our individual service of G-d: The
first approach relates to the service of “all your deeds should be for
the sake of Heaven.” A person is involved in the material world,
ultimately generating benefit for the service of holiness. The second
approach is reflected in the service of “knowing Him in all your
ways,” in which involvement in the material world itself is a
revelation of the knowledge of G-d.
service for the sake of Heaven is limited, as reflected by giving only a
portion of one’s field as pei’a. In contrast, “knowing G-d
in all your ways” is an unlimited service. This service is reflected
in the designation of one’s entire field as pei’a. When one
makes such a commitment to G-dliness, one establishes a connection that
encompasses the totality of one’s being. At this level, one has no
individual identity, and hence, it is irrelevant to talk about the
portion of the field the remains for him.
the above, we can appreciate why kilayim are permitted in the
priestly garments and in tzitzis. The process of contraction and
Divine self-limitation associated with the name Elokim is the
source for the potential of sin. Even this potential, however,
ultimately exists for the purpose of revealing G-d’s glory.
are two ways G-dliness can be revealed in this manner: a) Negating its
influence by refusing to use a forbidden object. This reveals G-d’s
glory, demonstrating that in a world where potential exists to disrupt
the order of creation established by G-d, a Jew chooses not to do so. b)
Refining and elevating the forbidden object, transforming it into an
article used for a mitzva. This shows how the force concealing G-dliness
can be used as a medium for expressing G-dliness. This is clearly
expressed by the fact that before and after the forbidden combination is
used for a mitzva in the priestly garment and in tzitzis,
it is prohibited to be worn. This clearly emphasizes that the
combination is a concealment of G-dliness. Nevertheless, even this
concealment can, under certain conditions, be used to express His will.
potential to reveal this quality lies in the essence of the soul, which
relates to the essence of G-d. This level totally transcends the
concepts of revelation and concealment. Thus, it transforms a medium of
concealment into a source of revelation.
ultimate level of service is reflected in the sash and in tzitzis.
The sash is 32 cubits long, which is the numerical equivalent of the
Hebrew word leiv (heart). The essential point of the soul is
revealed in the heart. Furthermore, the sash winds several times around
the priest’s body, implying that the essential connection to G-d found
within our hearts must encompass a person in his entirety. Similarly,
the mitzva of tzitzis alludes to an essential connection
to G-d that extends beyond the revealed levels of the soul. Therefore,
the potential for the transformation of forbidden combinations is
revealed through these mitzvos.
above concepts relate to the imminence of the Messianic redemption. One
of the fundamental aspects of the Messianic age will be the complete
refinement of the material world (which was brought into being by the
name Elokim), making it into a dwelling for G-d. The concealment
of G-dliness will be nullified, demonstrating that the purpose of the
concealment was the revelation. Furthermore, the G-dly intent of the
concealment will be revealed, and even the seemingly negative dimensions
of our world will also become a dwelling for G-d.
applies to the concept of exile. Not only will the exile be nullified,
it will become transformed into a component of redemption. The
revelation of the positive dimensions of limitation will come about
through the revelation of G-d’s essence, a potential that is above
both limitation and transcendence.
above must be reflected in activities that reflect our yearning for the
coming of Moshiach, including the spreading outward of the wellsprings
of Moshiach, for these efforts will hasten his coming. Also, there must
be an emphasis on gifts to tzedaka, as our Sages declared,
“Israel will only be redeemed through tzedaka.” In
particular, this applies to giving maos chittim, tzedaka
for Pesach necessities…
these efforts hasten the coming of the Messianic redemption and may we
merit a month of redemption. May it be in the immediate future.