"Now Every Jew Can Reach The Level Of Tzaddik"
Sichos in English

Shabbos Parshas Emor; 20th Day of Iyar, 5751
1. We have already spoken at length last Shabbos regarding the fact that the Hebrew word for "redemption" (Geula) is composed of the word "exile" (gola) with the addition of the letter Alef. At that time we explained two implications of this relationship between the word "gola" and "Geula."

First of all, the transformation from Galus to Geula is made by inserting the letter Alef, which represents G-d. This shows that the Redemption does not mean the dismantling and dissolution of exile, but rather the insertion and revelation of G-d within the exile. Geula comes about through bringing out G-d’s presence within the exile, and showing that He is the true Master of the universe.

The second implication is that the Redemption is composed, so to speak, of our service of G-d during the time of Galus. Just as the word "Geula" is not made from a separate set of letters, but from the very letters of the word "Galus," so too the Redemption comes through our service in exile, not through some different sort of service.

Today we will speak of a number of related points which will further explain the special mission of the Jewish people in this particular time immediately before the Redemption. We will do this by first explaining more deeply the first Geula, the exodus from Egypt, which contained both aspects of Geula mentioned above.

When the Jewish people left Egypt, they took with them the gold and silver, etc., of the Egyptians, to the extent that Egypt was emptied of its wealth. By doing this, they carried out G-d’s intention in giving this wealth to the Egyptians in the first place – that the Jewish people should purify it by using it for holy purposes. The Jewish people did not merely flee Egypt; they took Egypt itself (i.e., its possessions) and inserted G-d’s presence by revealing its holy potential. The revelation was so complete that the Egyptians even gave them things they didn’t ask for! (Rashi, Ex. 12: 36). Even more surprisingly, when the Jewish people refused to take some of the wealth, the Egyptians actually forced it upon them! (Brachos 9b)

This, however, is difficult to understand: it is the opposite of human nature for one to willingly give away one’s own belongings. In addition, the Egyptians were never commanded to give their things away; the Jewish people were commanded to take them!

This matter is understood in light of the abovementioned. The Alef – i.e. the presence of G-d – must be revealed in the gola itself. This was accomplished through eventually bringing the Egyptians to the recognition that this was the ultimate purpose for them to have the wealth. Once this was accomplished, they gave over everything willingly.

The second aspect of Geula – that the word "Geula" is composed of the letters "gola" – is also evident in the first redemption. How was this elevation and redemption of the wealth of Egypt achieved? It came about only through their descent to Egypt, to gola, showing that the Geula was clearly composed of the gola. This serves as a prototype for all other redemptions, in particular the ultimate Redemption through Moshiach.

2. Granted, the Geula from Egypt accomplished the elevation of exile, of gola. But there were much higher revelations associated with this Geula. The Geula came through the revelation of G-d Himself in His glory and essence. Furthermore, the purpose of the Geula was in order that the Torah be given. The Torah is higher than the world, and preceded it, and was given with a G-dly revelation that transcends the world. The revelation at Mt. Sinai was, therefore, much higher than that represented by an Alef, which is G-d as Creator and Master of the world.

The question is even more striking when we speak of the ultimate Redemption through Moshiach, which will introduce a revelation that totally transcends the world, together with the revelation of a totally new and superior dimension of Torah, as G-d said, new Torah will come out from Me" (Yeshayahu 11:9). How then can we say that Geula is composed solely of gola with the insertion of an Alef, which just represents the level of G-dliness which can be revealed within the mundane world?

The explanation of this is that there are several levels of meaning to the letter Alef:

1) Alufo Shel Olam, which, as discussed previously, refers to
G-dliness revealed within the world.

2) Aalefcha chochma, which refers to Torah (which is higher than the world but still close enough to be related to it).

3) The three letters comprising the word "Alef" are Alef, Lamed, and Fei. These same letters can be rearranged to form the word "peleh" (wonder). This represents a level of G-dliness that is completely beyond comparison with the world.

Thus, the letter Alef contains three levels or stages in the G-dly revelation necessary to completely transform Galus.

The first stage is to reveal within the world that G-d is its Master. Since the world conceals the G-dliness within it (the word "olam," world, related to "helem," concealment), a Jew must serve G-d in a way that reveals that everything within the world is permeated with G-dliness. The second stage is through revealing the dimension of G-d that transcends the world. This is done primarily through learning Torah, which, as mentioned above, preceded the world not only in time but in the intensity of G-dly revelation within it. We then come to the third dimension: that of peleh – the niflaos (wonders) – of Redemption, which totally transcend Creation.

In Chassidic terminology, these levels correspond to the supernal s’firos. The first level corresponds to Malchus, as G-d is king of the world (i.e., connected to the world), and to midos (emotional attributes) in general, since it is through them that G-d conducts the world. The second level corresponds to mochin (intellect), but the level of mochin as it is still connected to midos. The third level of peleh is that of mochin as it is separate from midos and the world – connected instead with the s’fira of Kesser. This corresponds to the well known explanation of the difference between our service of G-d now as compared to when we will be in the days of Moshiach. During Galus, our service is in the purification and elevation of the seven midos (corresponding to the conquering of the seven nations of K’naan), including the level of mochin as it is connected with midos. The service of Geula, on the other hand, is that of mochin itself, corresponding to the additional three lands that will become part of Eretz Yisroel in the days of Moshiach: Keini, K’nizi and Kadmoni.

This represents the progression of G-dly revelation leading to the days of Moshiach: 1) G-dliness within the world, 2) G-dliness higher than, but still connected with the world, and 3) the revelation of G-d’s essence. Our service of G-d in Galus (which consists of bringing the Alef into gola to bring the Geula) must correspond to these three levels. Through this we bring about these kinds of G-dly revelation alluded to by the letter Alef.

We must, therefore, reveal the presence of G-dliness within the world by using all physical objects for a holy purpose, for the sake of Heaven (to correspond to the level of G-dliness within the world). Furthermore, we must bring down and reveal the second level through learning Torah, and reveal the third level of peleh by learning p’nimiyus HaTorah, Chassidus, which corresponds to the level of peleh in Torah.

We can extend this idea further: in addition to the revelation of the level of peleh through the study of Chassidus, it is revealed through the very exile itself. The prophet Yeshayahu said (12:1), "In that day [of Redemption] you will say, ‘I thank you, G-d, for having been angry with me.’" This verse is puzzling: We will be thankful for G-d’s nullification of exile, but this expression of appreciation would not really be wholehearted, as one would praise G-d even more completely if there had been no exile to begin with!

In light of the above this can be easily understood. Redemption comes about from and is composed of the very exile itself. We are, therefore, thanking Him deeply for the exile, since we realize that it has brought the highest revelations, including that corresponding to the level of peleh.

3. Since the ultimate Redemption will come about through Moshiach, it is self-understood that Moshiach will also embody these three levels. This can be seen from the statement of the Rambam (Commentary of the Mishna, Yesod 12) that Moshiach stems from the house of Dovid and is a descendant of Shlomo. The connection with Dovid HaMelech is clear since he is the primary source for the Jewish royal dynasty, but why is Shlomo HaMelech relevant here?

The inner reason is that the era of Shlomo HaMelech closely resembled the Messianic Age. In the days of Dovid HaMelech there were wars, which made it impossible for him to build the Beis HaMikdash, as G-d told him, "You have spilled much blood." The days of Shlomo HaMelech, however, were characterized by world peace reminiscent of the Messianic Age, which is alluded to in his name, which means peace (shalom).

Shlomo HaMelech was able to attain peace because of his unsurpassed wisdom (chochma). This wisdom nullified the impurity of the non-Jewish nations without the necessity for war, and was so complete that they came by their own accord to bring him gifts, including the sparks of holiness within them, similar to the state of affairs that will exist in the days of Moshiach. This shows his greatness not only in chochma, but in malchus (kingship), as we see that even after Dovid HaMelech ruled, he faced many challenges. Shlomo HaMelech, however, rested on the throne of G-d, and generally experienced tranquility and peace.

This is the connection with Moshiach, who will fully embody the qualities of monarchy (similar to Dovid) and wisdom (like Shlomo). The Rambam actually says that the wisdom of Moshiach will in fact surpass that of Shlomo HaMelech. This will enable him to go beyond the level of chochma, which is connected with midos, and reveal the level of peleh. We can see this same point from the fact that Moshiach is both a king and a rav, and will teach the entire Jewish people Torah, including the level of peleh, Chassidus.

In order for each individual to absorb and internalize these revelations, he must find these three levels within himself and accentuate them. Every Jew actually has a spark of Moshiach within, as can be seen from the prayer said when taking the seifer Torah out of the Holy Ark on the holidays: "May there be realized in us the verse that says, ‘And there shall rest on him the spirit of the L-rd....,’" a verse referring to Moshiach. Each individual must actualize and reveal within himself 1) malchus and midos, 2) mochin connected with midos, and 3) the higher level of mochin.

This is alluded to in the beginning of this week’s chapter in Pirkei Avos, chapter four. The Mishna lists four qualities: "Who is wise?...Who is strong?...Who is wealthy?...Who is honored?..." These correspond to the four general levels of which all ten soul-powers are composed. "Wise" corresponds to Chochma; "strong" corresponds to Bina; "wealthy" corresponds to Tiferes (which includes all the midos); and "honored" corresponds to Malchus.

Furthermore, these four levels correspond to the four letters of G-d’s Name, which in turn are contained within the Jewish soul. The Jewish soul is a portion of G-d Above, a cheilek Eloka mi’maal, the word "Eloka" being connected with the name Elokim, representing the level of G-dliness revealed within nature. The soul is also called cheilek Havayeh, corresponding to the level of G-dliness that transcends the world. A Jew must also draw down the third level of G-dliness – that which transcends the world completely, that of peleh – by being even more scrupulous than halacha requires. By revealing these four levels, we bring about the ultimate monarchy of Moshiach, whose rule is compared to a throne with four legs. Although a chair will remain upright even with only three legs, the throne is stronger and more solid with four legs, representing perfection in Malchus.

This idea is further emphasized on Shabbos, which corresponds to the s’fira of Malchus. This is even more striking during S’firas HaOmer, especially in a year when we begin counting on Sunday, causing the Malchus of each week to fall on Shabbos. This week has unique significance as Malchus she’b’Hod, since Hod is connected with the idea of hodaa, the level of peleh.

4. The abovementioned receives further stress in the Shabbos immediately following Lag B’Omer, the yahrtzeit and festive day of Rebbi Shimon bar Yochai. The Rashbi revealed the inner dimension of Torah in written form (the Zohar) in such a way that it could be clearly understood by those who learn it. He also connected p’nimiyus ha’Torah with the revealed part of Torah, similar to unifying the level of peleh (the highest of the three levels) with the second level – that of Torah in general. Through the unification of these two levels he was able to reveal these higher levels of G-dliness even within the world.

This can be seen from the Talmudic saying (Megilla 29a), "Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai said, ‘Everywhere the Jewish people were exiled, the Divine presence was with them. They were exiled to Bavel and the Divine presence was with them...’" This shows that even within the lowest level of existence – that of exile – the Divine presence is nevertheless manifest. This is also connected with the fact that Lag B’Omer corresponds to the s’fira of Hod she’b’Hod. As mentioned above, hodaa corresponds to the level of peleh, because it is an acknowledgement of G-d completely transcending natural limitations, even those of the intellect. However, even this level is drawn down into the level of intellect.

This process has continued through the subsequent generations, notably that of the Arizal, when it became a mitzva to reveal this wisdom (i.e., p’nimiyus HaTorah). It was carried further by subsequent Chassidic leaders, beginning with the Baal Shem Tov and the Maggid, and with even greater intensity through the Alter Rebbe. This process continued through the subsequent Rebbeim down to my sainted father-in-law, and increases from year to year – up to these very days with the first-time printing of certain Chassidic discourses from handwritten manuscripts.

As mentioned above, this draws down the level of peleh (which is essentially beyond understanding) to the sphere of understanding. This same idea is expressed in the Alter Rebbe’s explanation of the beginning of chapter 89 in Psalms, "Maskil L’Eisan HaEzrachi." Eisan refers to the essence of the soul, which is on the transcendent level of peleh. Maskil refers to the sublime intellectual level that is higher than understanding, but nevertheless the source of intellect (corresponding to the second level). Ezrachi is related to the word "to illuminate," i.e., that through the level of maskil, it is possible for the level of eisan to be revealed in all levels of the soul. Although the complete attainment of this will be in the days of Moshiach, it is accomplished to a certain extent even now. Furthermore, it gives one the ability to reveal G-dliness even within the world, as indicated by the last verse of the Psalm, "Blessed is the L-rd forever [l’olam, literally to the world], amen and amen."

From this psalm we proceed to Psalm 90, "A prayer by Moshe, the man of G-d," which also alludes to this same concept. We request, "May the pleasantness of the L-rd our G-d (no’am Hashem Elokeinu) be upon us," referring to the revelation of a sublime level (no’am Hashem) coming down to our level (upon us). This theme continues with the rest of our request, "Establish for us the work of our hands," which refers to the building of the third Beis HaMikdash.

This will be hastened through the study of Torah and of Chassidus in particular. This also includes looking into the face of one’s Rebbe, which helps the person’s understanding, as the Gemara (Eruvin 13b) quotes Rebbi Yehuda HaNasi as saying, "My sharpness exceeds that of my colleagues as I saw R. Meir from the back; had I seen him from the front, however, I would have been even sharper."

All this will help further purify the world and reveal G-dliness within it. It must be accompanied by the additional G-dly service of each Jew, by keeping away from evil and by doing the utmost to fulfill the oath administered to his soul before birth: "You shall be a tzaddik." One might point out that in Tanya it is written that not every individual can necessarily become a tzaddik, and that one doesn’t have complete free choice in this area. However, since the Jew has the essence of G-d within him, ultimately even this is within his reach. Furthermore, after all the purification, etc., of the Jewish people over the course of time, now every Jew is able to reach the level of tzaddik – similar to the way things will be in the Messianic Age.

All this contains straightforward guidance in what all Jews should be doing to further hasten the Redemption – in all three levels alluded to by the letter Alef. This means revealing G-d’s presence in the world through using all worldly objects for a holy purpose. In addition, there must be a special increase in Torah study, and particularly the study of Chassidus – in a way that it is clearly understood in Chochma, Bina, and Daas. Included in this is influencing others to follow suit.

May all this hasten the Redemption so that it come immediately, even before we have a chance to remove our "unclean garments"; and only afterwards will we be told to remove them (see Zechariah, 3:3 ff). Then the entire Jewish people will come out of exile together will all the houses of study, shuls, and the Torah scrolls within them. This includes the seifer Torah that was completed this week through the efforts of Jewish women (Bais Rivka School), and brought to its place in shul with great joy, singing, etc. May it be G-d’s will that we all come together to the holy city of Yerushalayim and the Holy Temple Mount with the construction of the third Beis HaMikdash.


After all the purification, etc., of the Jewish people over the course of time, now every Jew is able to reach the level of tzaddik – similar to the way things will be in the Messianic Age.





The service of Geula, on the other hand, is that of the intellect itself, corresponding to the additional three lands that will become part of Eretz Yisroel in the days of Moshiach: Keini, K’nizi, and Kadmoni.


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