Watch: Reb Yoel on Yud Shevat

Watch: A short lesson by Reb Yoel Kahn on Yud Shevat with English subtitles and transcript.

Watch a short lesson by Reb Yoel Kahn on Yud Shevat with English subtitles and transcript.

Scroll down for the English transcript.


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In addition to being the yahrtzeit of the Frierdiker Rebbe, Yud Shvat marks the kabolas ha’nesius of the Rebbe and the advent of dor hashvi’i. The last maamar the Frierdiker Rebbe gave for publication before his passing was the maamar of Basi Legani, which was to be studied on the day of his histalkus. He certainly meant for this maamar to serve as a will and testimony (to a certain extent), and if we look into the maamar, we will find meaningful references to the dor hashvi’i and its unique avodah.

If You’re Seventh, You’re Precious

The possuk Basi Legani means “I have come to My garden,” referring to Hashem’s arrival (Basi) in this world (Legani), at the time of Matan Torah and the subsequent building of the Mishkan. However, the wording of the possuk seems problematic: If Hashem first arrived in this world at that time and was not revealed there beforehand, the possuk should have said legan—“to the garden.” Legani, “To My garden,” signifies that it was Hashem’s place of residence earlier as well!

The Midrash answers that Hashem’s shechinah indeed resided there earlier; however, the sins of seven subsequent generations caused it to rise heavenward, and the actions of seven ensuing tzaddikim brought it down once again.

When citing the Midrash, the maamar concludes that Moshe, the seventh tzaddik, brought the shechinah from the lowest heaven to the earth, and he adds a line (from a different Midrash) to the citation: “Every seventh is precious.” Why does the Frierdiker Rebbe add these words?

On a simple level, this comes to explain how Moshe was able to draw the shechinah down to this world, fulfilling the ultimate purpose of Creation to make a dirah lo yisbarech betachtonim. This was a far greater accomplishment than the other tzaddikim, who merely brought it from one supernal sphere to a lower one. The maamar explains that this was due to his unique status as number seven.

However, other maamorim cite this Midrash and don’t add this line. The reason the Frierdiker Rebbe included it here was certainly also to allude to the dor hashvi’i and its nossi, who are tasked with the mission of revealing the shechinah in this world. Indeed, the Rebbe’s nesius is one long story of spreading Torah and Chassidus to every corner of the globe.

A Fresh Perspective on Olam Hazeh…

The Midrash cited in the beginning of the maamar can also guide us in our avodah to elevate and transform our surroundings.

The Midrash cites two opinions: One opinion is that the revelation of the shechinah was unprecedented, and a second opinion—the one relevant in our context—is that it had been revealed below once before. What is the difference to us if it was something new or a recurring phenomenon?

The Tanya describes our world as being the lowest of the low, dominated by spiritual darkness. It is replete with kelipos and sitra achara, to the extent that there is no area where kelipah does not take hold. When we look around and take stock of the situation, we may lose hope: Is it truly possible to transform such a spiritual wasteland into a dirah lo yisbarech?!

The Midrash provides us with a profound insight. The shechinah has already been revealed below; all we must do is to revert the world to its previous state. The way we tend to look at things—that the world is a place ruled by evil, and herculean efforts are required to transform it—is incorrect. The exact opposite is true: The world is inherently a good and beautiful place, and we are here merely to bring it back to its original state. This understanding will motivate our mission with an entirely different perspective.

…And Our Bodies

Keeping in mind that this maamar is connected with the concept of histalkus, the above perspective can similarly transform how we view our personal avodah.

We spend our entire life refining and elevating the body, so that it should be a vehicle for G‑dliness. But ultimately, the body is doomed to die and revert to dust. What is the purpose of this life-long avodah of ours, if the body will expire in any case?!

True, the time will come when the body will arise from the dust. But that seems to be a miraculous feat that defies the true nature of the body. The body is essentially dust, and it will therefore return to dust. Techiyas hameisim is a supernatural phenomenon and is not the final word on what the body is all about.

However, this is incorrect. A Jewish body has the unique advantage even the neshamah does not have: it was chosen by Hashem. The neshamah possesses obvious value, and is therefore associated with a level of G-dliness where values carry weight. The physical body, on the other hand, has no apparent value—it doesn’t seem to be any different than the body of a non-Jew. Yet, Hashem Himself chose the Jewish body. This choice derives from a level of G-dliness beyond all definitions, where having value is not a virtue and lacking it is not a vice.

Since Hashem is eternal, the body He has chosen is eternal too. Death is not genuine; it is merely a temporary condition that was brought about by the chet eitz hada’as. It is techiyas hameisim that defines the true nature of the body as an entity chosen by Hashem Himself. The rising of the dead won’t be a novelty; it will merely consist of the body reverting to its inherent state.

Make the Most of the Moment!

The Rebbe explains that there were two aspects that defined the Frierdiker Rebbe’s avodah: To spread Torah and Chassidus wherever possible, and that this should be done with the utmost alacrity.

The beginning of the maamar alludes to the first aspect, shedding light on how we can transform every spot on the globe into a dirah lo yisbarech. The end of the maamar alludes to the second aspect. No one knows when his time will come, says the Frierdiker Rebbe. No one can ask for a few extra moments to instruct his children and finish his calculations. To translate this in avodah: If you have the ability to accomplish something here and now, don’t push it off until tomorrow. You can never know if the opportunity will present itself again.

This will hasten the coming of Moshiach, when the world will be transformed into a dirah lo yisbarech. At that time, instead of the world being replete with kelipos and sitra achara, it will be replete with dei’ah es Hashem—every nook and cranny will be absorbed with knowledge of Hashem.

For further study, see Likutei Sichos, Vol. 6, Yud Shevat.

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