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Crown Jewels: Parshas Devarim

Crown Jewels: Parshas Devarim


Likkutei Sichos, Vol. IX, p. 24ff.

I. Every year, we read Parshas Devarim on Shabbos Chazon, the Shabbos which precedes Tishah BeAv. From this, we can appreciate1 that Parshas Devarim contains an allusion to the import of Shabbos Chazon.

What is the import of Shabbos Chazon?

As is well known, R. Hillel of Paritch2 would quote R. Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev3 who explains that the name Chazon has the implication “vision.” On this Shabbos, every Jew is shown a vision of the Future Beis HaMikdash from a distance.

R. Levi Yitzchak explains this concept with a parable of a father who had a valuable garment prepared for his son. The son, however, [was not careful and caused] the garment to be torn into several pieces. The father had a second garment made for his son, but the son also [caused] this garment to be torn.

The father then had a third garment prepared. He did not, however, give it to his son to wear. Instead, he would show it to his son “rarely, at certain preordained occasions,” telling him that if he would conduct himself in an upright manner, he would give him the garment to wear.

In this manner, the father would train his son to conduct himself in an upright manner to the extent that it would become second nature for the child. When [the son’s character would become refined], the father would give the garment to the son to wear.

II. Among the concepts that we can learn from this parable is the following: On Shabbos Chazon, every person is shown a vision of the Future Beis HaMikdash. [This includes not only the righteous, but also, and indeed,] primarily those individuals who must be trained to conduct themselves in an upright manner so that they will not cause — through their deeds — the precious garment to be torn.

Not only is Shabbos Chazon a time of the revelation of the Future Beis HaMikdash {— on this Shabbos, we see the Beis HaMikdash, as R. Hillel would say: “the Beis HaMikdash is shown” —} but, this revelation is granted to “everyone,” even those individuals who are described as being “filled with mitzvos as a pomegranate [is with seeds].”4 {This parallels the holiness of the Shabbos and the festivals which shines “even within the soul of an uncultivated person and a totally unlearned individual ... in the same manner as it shines within (the holiness of) the soul of a righteous man.”5}

On the contrary, since the intent of showing the vision of the Future Beis HaMikdash is to train [the Jews] to conduct themselves in an upright manner, it follows that the revelation is directed primarily at those who need such instruction, individuals who, were they not granted such a vision, might not conduct themselves in an upright manner.

III. There is another concept that can be derived from this parable. The intent of showing the garment to the child “rarely, at certain preordained occasions” is to evoke a yearning for the garment within the child. Indeed, the yearning must be so great to motivate the child to conduct himself in an upright manner and to do so until this becomes “second nature.”

From this, we can appreciate that the revelation of the Future Beis HaMikdash to every individual on Shabbos Chazon [produces a change in behavior]. Although the revelation is “from a distance,” and thus there are some individuals who are unaware of it, it has an internal effect on every Jew. The vision of the Future Beis HaMikdash which a Jew’s soul is granted has an effect on his body and his animal soul and motivates them to conduct themselves in an upright manner.

{In order for this revelation to be internalized, however, in these last generations, when we are approaching Mashiach’s coming, this concept has been publicized to everyone. [This enables everyone] to contemplate and think deeply about the concept, causing the vision to have deeper impact.}

IV. [Seemingly, it is possible to draw a parallel between the vision of the Future Beis HaMikdash and] the various heavenly voices that resound [from time to time] which are intended to motivate people to turn to G‑d in teshuvah. {For example, there is a heavenly voice which “whines like a dove, saying: ‘Woe are the children, who because of their sins, I destroyed My house.’”6}

The question is raised:7 Of what avail are these heavenly voices since most people on the material plane do not hear them?

The resolution of the question is well known:8 The soul, as it exists in the spiritual planes, hears these heavenly voices at all times. This [influence] reverberates within
[— and has an effect upon —] the soul as it exists on the material plane, as reflected in our Sages’ statement:9 “Even though they did not see, their mazalos10 saw.”

The effect of these heavenly voices [does not remain in the spiritual realms alone]. We see that people are at times unexpectedly aroused to thoughts of teshuvah without any preparation or meditation on their part. This comes as a result of their souls hearing these heavenly voices in the spiritual realms.

One might say that a similar concept applies with regard to the vision of the Beis HaMikdash seen on Shabbos Chazon. A person may not see this vision with his material eyes; indeed, he may not even see it with the “eyes of his mind.” [It is possible that the only reason] he knows [about the existence of such a vision] is that he believes in the words of our Sages. Nevertheless, [the fact that in the spiritual realms, the souls of the Jewish people see] this vision has an effect on every Jew.

In truth, however, a distinction must be made between the effect of the vision of Shabbos Chazon and that of the heavenly voices that resound in the spiritual realms. Generally, the arousal to teshuvah that is motivated by the heavenly voices in the spiritual realms does not have an ongoing effect on a person in this worldly realm11 (unless he increases his [Divine service as a result of this]). [The rationale is that this motivation to teshuvah] stems from an arousal from above (and not from the person’s own self, as he exists within the context of this worldly realm).

[The effect of] the vision of Shabbos Chazon, by contrast, [is intended to be more comprehensive]. [Its purpose is] to produce an ongoing effect, [to motivate a person] to “conduct himself in an upright manner” so that there will be no possibility that he will return to undesirable conduct, for proper conduct will have become second nature for him.

From this, we can appreciate that although the vision of Shabbos Chazon — the Future Beis HaMikdash which every Jew sees — comes from above, it has an internalized effect on the person, enabling him to see [the Beis HaMikdash] within his own context. And as a result, his [fundamental approach changes], and it becomes second nature for him to conduct himself in an upright manner.

V. Explanation is, however, still necessary. [The question arises:] How is it possible for the vision of Shabbos Chazon to have an [internalized] effect on the person so that it will become second nature for him to conduct himself in an upright manner and he will not return to his undesirable tendencies? In this instance as well,] the vision is not a result of his own Divine service, but a revelation from above.12

This question can be resolved through [explaining the above parable, and in particular, clarifying why] the father does not give the child the third garment until it has become second nature for the child to conduct himself in an upright manner. The father was willing, by contrast, to give him the first two garments to wear even though he was not certain how the son would conduct himself. Indeed, (if we look at the analogue,) in G‑d’s eyes, everything is known. Thus the father [G‑d] knew that the son [the Jewish people] would cause these garments [the First and Second Batei HaMikdash] to be torn. [Why then did He give them to him?]

It is possible to explain the rationale by focusing on the inner dimension of the matter. The advantage of the third garment over the first two garments can be explained based on the Zohar’s interpretation13 of the verse:14 “If G‑d does not build the house, its builders labor on it in vain.” [The Zohar describes] the First and Second Batei HaMikdash as “mortal structures without any perpetuation at all” and the Third Beis HaMikdash as “the structure of the Holy One, blessed be He,” which will be perpetuated eternally.

Accordingly, since the Third Beis HaMikdash will be perpetuated eternally, it is necessary that the son [— the Jewish people —] prepare himself before he puts on the third garment. He must stand on a level where there is no possibility that he will turn to improper conduct.

VI. [To focus on a deeper conception of the subject:] The connection between the Third Beis HaMikdash and the fact that it is “the structure of the Holy One, blessed be He,” which will be perpetuated eternally, can be explained as follows: The three Batei HaMikdash correspond to the three Patriarchs: the first Beis HaMikdash, to Avraham, the second, to Yitzchak, and the third, to Yaakov.15

Note also the commentary of the Ramban and Rabbeinu Bachaye to Bereishis 26:20 and the Tzofnas Pane’ach Al HaTorah, Bereishis 28:17.

Yaakov is identified with the attribute of truth. Truth is [a constant factor]; there is no possibility of interruption or change.16 Therefore, the third Beis HaMikdash which corresponds to Yaakov will be perpetuated forever.17

VII. To clarify the parallel between the three Batei HaMikdash and the three Patriarchs {and also the connection between the two reasons why the Third Beis HaMikdash will be perpetuated eternally: a) because it corresponds to Yaakov, and b) because it will be “the structure of the Holy One, blessed be He”:}

The purpose of the Beis HaMikdash (which is also called a Mishkan18) is to enable ViShachanti bisochom, “I will dwell within,”19 the connection between G‑d and the world. There are three different manners [in which this connection is ex­pressed]. These three manners correspond to [the spiritual intent] associated with the numbers one, two, and three.20

[The conception of the Beis HaMikdash] as dictated by the number one, i.e., as it expresses how G‑dliness is drawn down from above, corresponds to the attribute of Avraham our Patriarch, the quality of Chesed, kindness, which also follows this motif.

[The conception of the Beis HaMikdash] as dictated by the number two, i.e., from the perspective of the world, focuses on the refinement of the created beings and their elevation to a higher plane. This reflects the Divine service of Yitzchak21 which is identified with the attribute of Gevurah, “might,” which is characterized by [the thrust to] ascend upward.22

b) Since [G‑d desires the Divine service of the Jewish people, cf. Iyov 14:15:] “You long for the work of Your hands,” the light which this Divine service draws down comes from a deeper, more inward source within G‑dliness. (see Likkutei Torah, Shir HaShirim, p. 22c). See also note 32.

[The conception of the Beis HaMikdash] as dictated by the number three focuses on the fusion of both thrusts together, {[joining] the higher realms with the lower realms}, creating a third entity which combines the previous two. This motif corresponds to the Divine service of Yaakov which is identified with the attribute of Tiferes, “beauty,” and Emes, “truth.” The Kabbalah23 identifies the attribute of truth with “the middle bolt”] which “extends from one end to the other,”24 including the lowest extreme and the highest extreme and making them a single entity.

On this basis, we can appreciate the differences between the three Batei HaMikdash. During the era of the First Beis HaMikdash, it was ordained that the Jews conduct their Divine service primarily as tzaddikim, “righteous men,”25 drawing G‑dliness into the world from above. Since this influence is drawn down from above, it does not share as strong a connection with the worldly plane as it exists within its own context.26 Therefore there is a possibility that this connection will cease.

The era of the Second Beis HaMikdash followed the destruction of the First Beis HaMikdash and the correction [of the sins which led to] that destruction.27 Thus the Jews were on the level of baalei teshuvah28 which is associated with the refinement and the elevation of the worldly plane.29 Therefore the revelations associated with the Second Beis HaMikdash had a stronger connection to the world [than those of the First Beis HaMikdash].30 Thus it is written:31 “The glory of this latter house (the Second Beis HaMikdash) will surpass that of the first.” For the Second Beis HaMikdash endured longer32

[Since this service fulfills G‑d’s desire for “a dwelling in the lower worlds,” it draws down a light that transcends our limited gestalt, i.e.,] influence from the level of “not a man” (I Shmuel 15:29), at which level there is no possibility of changes. (See Torah Or, p. 72c, et al.) than the First Beis HaMikdash, [having a more lasting effect] within the world.33

Nevertheless, since the material world is associated with set limits and bounds,34 even the Second Beis HaMikdash, (although it [possesses an advantage because it] is associated with the world as it exists within its own context), still endured only for a limited time.

The Third Beis HaMikdash, by contrast, will fuse the higher realms and the lower realms together.35

* This parallels the concept explained in Likkutei Sichos, Vol. VIII, p. 190, note 27 (translated in this series) with regard to the advantages of Torah study and deed, that the revelation of G‑d’s essence which is accomplished through Torah study) is (not an incremental factor, but rather) fundamental to drawing down the essence itself and thus [creating G‑d’s] dwelling. Nevertheless, [despite this advantage,] deed is still of primary importance. Therefore it will be perpetuated eternally, for the limited realm of worldly existence will itself be infinite.

VIII. [This latter concept requires explanation:] How is it possible for the worldly plane, which is characterized by limitation and change, to become one with the infinite dimensions of the higher planes?

[This question can be resolved based on] the Zohar’s statements that the Beis HaMikdash of the Future will be “the structure of the Holy One, blessed be He,... as it is written:36 ‘G‑d is the Builder of Jerusalem,’ He and none other.”

Were the G‑dly influence [associated with the Beis HaMikdash to stem from] the revealed levels of G‑dliness, [such a fusion would be impossible]. For every revelation — even those of the highest levels — has a specific definition.37 Hence, from the standpoint of [the revealed level of G‑dliness,] the spiritual and the material plane would remain two separate realms.

[In the Era of the Redemption,] when G‑d’s essence will be revealed — as [alluded to by the verse:]38 “On the third day, He will raise us up, and we will live before Him,” i.e., the inner dimensions and the essence of the Ein Sof39 — [there will be no such dichotomy]. G‑d’s essence is above being defined by any description — “He negates the concepts of limitation and infinity.”40 [When this level is revealed, it becomes evident that] the limitation of the material plane and the lack of limitation on the spiritual plane are one impetus.41

Thus from His perspective, both finiteness and infinity share the same purpose — to reveal His truth. Although each possesses a definition, those definitions become overshadowed and eclipsed when seen in the context of the larger picture. And because those definitions become overshadowed, there is a possibility for unity to be established between the two and finiteness to be fused with infinity.]

IX. [On this basis, we can] comprehend how the vision of Shabbos Chazon — the Third Beis HaMikdash which is shown to every person — motivates a person to conduct himself in an upright manner to the extent that it becomes second nature. Despite the fact that the vision is shown the person from above, it has an effect on the person as if he had seen it by virtue of his own [Divine service].

[This concept is dependent on an understanding of the uniqueness of the Third Beis HaMikdash.] The Third Beis HaMikdash will be an eternal structure, not only because it is G‑d’s sanctuary, but because its eternality will be reflected within the world in which it will be located. [In that era,] because of the revelation of G‑d’s essence, “G‑d will reign forever and ever.”42

Nevertheless, in an expanded sense, this concept was revealed in the Batei Mikdash of the previous eras and even in the Mishkan (Sanctuary) (Likkutei Torah, op. cit.) See also the interpretation of the phrase “corresponding to the Sanctuary and its walls” in Likkutei Sichos, loc. cit., sec. VI. Time itself, which is characterized by change, will be eternal and infinite.43

{[To cite a parallel:] As is well known,44 the true concept of G‑d’s oneness — in particular, [how His oneness is an expression of] His essence — is that the oneness is not merely appreciated from G‑d’s [perspective, but that His perspective resonates within the perception] of the created beings themselves.

Therefore a person is shown a vision of the Future Beis HaMikdash, a structure that is eternal even from the perspective of the world.45 This will awaken a dimension within the person which is unchanging, [exerting influence on the person] even as he exists within his own perspective, and indeed, will even be reflected within his body and animal soul. As a result, conducting himself in an upright path becomes second nature, in a manner that precludes the possibility of him ever returning to undesirable conduct.46

X. [The above enables us to appreciate] the inner reason why the message of Shabbos Chazon (that on this day, every person is shown a vision of the Beis HaMikdash) was revealed by R. Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev, a Rebbe who shared a unique connection to the Alter Rebbe and Chabad Chassidus,47 and afterwards, publicized by R. Hillel of Paritch, one of the leading Chabad chassidim.48

The contribution of Chabad Chassidus43 is that G‑d’s oneness should not be appreciated by people only as a revelation from above, [but that it be appreciated as part of a person’s own understanding]. (To express the concept in personal terms: It should not only be a point of faith; it should be something which a person knows [and understands].)

This is the import of Shabbos Chazon, that although a vision is shown from above, it has an internalized effect on the person, to the extent that it becomes second nature for him to conduct himself in an upright manner.

XI. Although the Third Beis HaMikdash, which corresponds to Yaakov, is on a higher level than the First and Second Batei HaMikdash, which correspond to Avraham and Yitzchak, [chronologically,] it follows the building of those structures.49 (Therefore it is called the Third [Beis HaMikdash].50)

Similarly, Shabbos Chazon — on which we are granted a vision of the Third Beis HaMikdash — follows after the holidays of Pesach and Shavuos which correspond to Avraham and Yitzchak respectively.51

[The connection to the influence of Pesach can be explained as follows: Shabbos Chazon is the Shabbos52 before Tishah BeAv (or Tishah BeAv itself when that date falls on Shabbos). Tishah BeAv always falls on the same day of the week as the first day of Pesach, as implied by the symbol ,Wt.53 [The connection to Shavuos is reflected by the fact that] the revelations in the spiritual realms from a holiday continue to shine until the festival which follows,54 and the festival before Shabbos Chazon is Shavuos.

To clarify the above: The difference between Pesach, which commemorates the Exodus from Egypt, and Shavuos, which commemorates the giving of the Torah, can be explained as follows: The Exodus from Egypt was a revelation from above that was not connected with [Divine service on] the mortal plane. This corresponds to Avraham who is associated with the attribute of Chesed which in turn is characterized by the motif of drawing down influence from above.

Shavuos {follows after the Divine service of the Counting of the Omer — indeed, it is called Shavuos because of that service, as it is written:55 “And you shall count seven weeks (shavuos)” and} shares a connection with [Divine service on] the mortal plane.56 (This is also reflected in the fact that Shavuos is “the season of the giving of the Torah.” The fundamental new development brought about by the giving of the Torah is [the fusion of the material and the spiritual, that] “the lower realms will ascend to the higher realms and the higher realms will descend to the lower realms.”57 Thus it corresponds to Yitzchak who is identified with the attribute of Gevurah which is expressed through the motif of ascent upward.58

* This reflects [the approach of bittul] that a student must have when he sits in the presence of his teacher (Shabbos 30b).

Shabbos Chazon’s message involves a vision of the Third Beis HaMikdash. [That structure] fuses within itself both motifs of drawing down influence from above and ascending upward within itself in a single thrust. Therefore it follows after — and in sequence to — Pesach and Shavuos.

XII. [On this basis, we can explain the connection between Shabbos Chazon and Parshas Devarim. These two motifs — drawing down influence from above and ascent upward — exist (as do all matters) within the Torah itself.59 [Indeed, the difference between these two motifs reflects] the difference between the first four books of the Torah and [the book of Devarim,] which is called Mishneh Torah, “the review of the Torah,” and which was “recited by Moshe on his own initiative”60 (as inspired by ruach hakodesh).61

Although the first four books of the Torah were also conveyed to us by Moshe our teacher, when conveying these books Moshe served as no more than an agent.62 (The powers of comprehension of a created being, even those of [a person as refined as] Moshe, were not involved [in the transmission of these books]. [He did no more than convey G‑d’s word. Thus they reflect the motif of] drawing down influence from above.)

The Book of Devarim, Mishneh Torah, by contrast, was transmitted by Moshe as if he said it on his own initiative.63

Based on Likkutei Torah, Shir HaShirim, p. 20c (cited in note 59) which explains that “on his own initiative” is identified with the level of Z’eir Anpin, we are forced to say that Rashi’s intent in the phrase “not ... on his own motivation” means that even the source of the Book of Devarim is above Z’eir Anpin. It merely enclothes itself in Z’eir Anpin. See Likkutei Sichos, Vol. IV, p. 1087, and notes. The source for the transmission of Devarim became enclothed and identified with Moshe’s conceptual processes. Thus [it shares a connection to] the Divine service of mortals.64

Therefore the Book of Devarim begins:65 “These are the words,” words of rebuke,66 because words of rebuke will motivate the service of teshuvah, which (— as stated in section VII —) reflects the thrust of elevation from below.

This is one of the rationales and allusions why Shabbos Chazon — when everyone is shown a vision of the Third Beis HaMikdash — is the Shabbos on which we begin reading the Book of Devarim. To [evoke] the revelation of the Third Beis HaMikdash, both vectors of [Divine service inspired by] the Torah are necessary.67 The approach of drawing down G‑dly light — associated with the first four books of the Torah — is not sufficient. Instead, the approach of upward ascent which is associated with the Book of Devarim is also necessary.

This will lead to [the Redemption] which is also alluded to in the conclusion of the Book of Devarim in the phrase “the last sea,”68 [interpreted by our Sages69 to mean,] “the final day,” and the “final Beis HaMikdash,”70 the Beis HaMikdash of the Future which will be revealed71 with the coming of Mashiach. May this take place very speedily.

(Adapted from Sichos Simchas Beis HaShoevah, 5724
and Sichos Shabbos Chazon, 5730)

See the Shaloh, Cheilek Torah Shebichsav, Parshas Vayeishev (quoted in Likkutei Sichos, Vol. V, p. 129, note 1) [which explains that there is an interrelation between the themes of the weekly Torah readings and those of the holidays (and fasts) that occur during those weeks.]
See the beginning of the text Pelach HaRimon (Bereishis-Shmos) for a biographical sketch.
The teaching is also quoted in the Tzemach Tzedek’s notes to Eichah, Nach, Vol. II, p. 1097, in the footnotes.
See Eruvin 19a which uses this expression with regard to “the sinners of Israel” and the “empty ones.” See also the comments of Midrash Tehillim to the verse (Tehillim 92:11): “The righteous will flourish like a palm tree.”
Tanya, ch. 46.
Berachos 3a.
Likkutei Torah, Devarim, p. 36d; the maamar entitled Amar Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi, 5702, sec. I, et al.
See the sources mentioned in the previous note and also Likkutei Torah, Devarim, p. 71d; the series of maamarim entitled Yom Tov Shel Rosh HaShanah 5666, p. 121. See also Likkutei Torah, Bamidbar, p. 6c, and other sources.
Megillah 3a; Sanhedrin 94a. [That passage quotes Daniel 10:7 which states: “And I, Daniel, alone saw the vision, but the people who were with me did not see the vision, and yet a great trembling fell upon them.” Our Sages ask: If they “did not see the vision,” why did “a great trembling fall upon them”? and reply: “Even though they did not see, their mazalos saw.” And the fact that their mazalos saw had such an effect on them that “a great trembling fell upon them.”]
[Trans. Note: Chassidus (Likkutei Torah, Devarim, p. 71d) explains that the term mazal refers to the spiritual source of the soul from which influence flows (nozal) to the soul as it is enclothed in the body.]
See the maamar entitled Adam Ki Yakriv (Likkutei Torah, Vayikra, p. 2b ff.; also quoted in Likkutei Torah, Bamidbar, loc. cit.).
[Trans. Note: Since the inspiration comes from above, seemingly, it will not have an internalized effect on the person and will be dependent on the continuing influence from above.]
Vol. III, p. 221a; Vol. I, p. 28a.
Tehillim 127:1.
See Likkutei Torah, Bamidbar, p. 83c which explains that the first redemption came in the merit of Avraham, the second....” See also the commentary of Yahel Or to Tehillim, loc. cit. sec. XII (based on our Sages’ statements, Pesachim 88a) which explains: “The first Beis HaMikdash corresponds to Avraham....”
In contrast to the “unfaithful rivers” mentioned by the Mishnah (Parah 8:9) which dry up from time to time (Likkutei Torah, loc. cit.; Likkutei Sichos, Vol. VI, p. 92, the marginal notes to footnote 38).
Likkutei Torah, loc. cit.
Eruvin 2a.
Shmos 25:8.
See Likkutei Sichos, Vol. II, p. 302, {and in greater detail, Sichos Shabbos Behar Bechukosai 5731,} with regard to the first, second, and third months. [Those sources explain that] the fundamental point of the month of Nissan is the exodus from Egypt — i.e., drawing down G‑dly influence from above. [For the Jews were not redeemed from Egypt by virtue of their own merit.] The fundamental point of Iyar is the Counting of the Omer, [which reflects man’s efforts toward self-refinement,] elevation from below. And the fundamental point of the month of Sivan is the Giving of the Torah, the fusion of the upper realms with the lower realms.
Or HaTorah, Mattos, p. 1328, explains the connection of the second redemption to Yitzchak as follows: Yitzchak is associated with the attribute of Din, “judgment,” [which exerts a restraining influence.] (This also appears to be the intent of Likkutei Torah, loc. cit., p. 83c.) As such, the second redemption was not complete. Nevertheless, based on the conclusion of the maamar entitled Nachamu, 5670, which explains that there is an advantage to the Second Beis HaMikdash over the First (see also Bava Basra 3a), it would appear that the connection of the Second Beis HaMikdash to Yitzchak reflects also the advantage of the attribute of Gevurah [see the following note].
[Generally, it is explained that there are] two advantages of Divine service of ascent upward over that of drawing Divine influence downward:

a) Because this Divine service comes from the initiative of mortals, its influence is more internalized within them (see Likkutei Torah, Vayikra, p. 2b); and

See Zohar, Vol. I, p. 213b; Vol. II, p. 172b; Tanya, ch. 13.
Cf. Shmos 26:28.
Therefore the First Beis HaMikdash was built in the era of King Shlomo, when “the disk of the moon was full” (Zohar, Vol. I, p. 150a; see also Shmos Rabbah 15:26, et al.).
[Trans. Note: To refer to the example given before: When the sun illuminates a room, the light comes from the sun, and does not remain within the room after the connection with the sun ceases.]
The correction of the sins was not consummate. [Hence,] not only was the revelation [in the Second Beis HaMikdash on a lower level] than the revelation of the First Beis HaMikdash (see Yoma 21b), the exile was not entirely nullified. “Gentile kings ruled over them.” Similarly, in a spiritual sense, [in the era of the Second Beis HaMikdash, the Jews] did not enjoy true spiritual freedom. Therefore, “several Rabbinical decrees and precautionary measures [were necessary] so that there would not be an opportunity for the external forces to derive nurture (Likkutei Torah, Devarim 57c). Nevertheless:

a) With regard to those matters that were corrected in the Second Beis HaMikdash, there was an advantage to [the revelations of] the Second Beis HaMikdash. Since they came after the destruction [of the First Beis HaMikdash] and the correction [of the sins leading to that destruction], and since they came as a result of man’s Divine service, they have an advantage over the similar [revelations] of the First Beis HaMikdash.

{[To cite a parallel:] There is an advantage to the Divine service of yichuda tataah [the lower unity, the oneness of G‑d with the world as perceived by mortals,] over the Divine service of yichuda ila’ah [the sublime unity, the oneness of G‑d as defined in His own terms]. [This advantage exists although the Divine service of yichuda tataah] is not able to totally nullify [a person’s] yeshus [self-concern]” (Kuntres Etz HaChayim, ch. 9). [The rationale is that the Divine service of yichudah tataah] brings about the refinement of the body and the animal soul (ibid.).} See also Likkutei Sichos, Vol. VII, p. 172, sec. V ff.

b) Through the Rabbinical decrees and precautionary measures, a higher quality of Divine light is drawn down (see Likkutei Torah, Bamidbar, p. 85a, the series of maamarim entitled Yom Tov Shel Rosh HaShanah, 5666, p. 89). See also the following note.

With regard to baalei teshuvah, we also find two extremes: Most baalei teshuvah {with the exception of those who attain the level of teshuvah ila’ah, [sublime teshuvah,] as explained in the series of maamarim beginning Rosh HaShanah 5705, ch. 16} require an extra measure of caution [in their Divine service]. [Therefore, rather than saying: “I could partake of pork, but my Father in heaven decrees that I do not” (Toras Kohanim, Rashi, Vayikra 20:26), they should say: “I cannot [partake of it]” (Likkutei Torah, Devarim 9d). This parallels the precautionary measures [enacted by the Sages] in the era of the Second Beis HaMikdash.

Nevertheless, these precautions themselves cause the person to be separated from evil even within the context of the material nature of the body and the animal soul which [according to their natural tendencies] are prone to sin. Thus such persons [possess] “a greater advantage over those who never sinned at all” (Rambam, Mishneh Torah, Hilchos Teshuvah 7:4).

Accordingly, the construction of the Second Beis HaMikdash began under the rule of Koresh, King of Persia, and he issued a proclamation calling for its erection (Ezra 6:4; see also Rosh HaShanah 4a).
See also Rambam, Mishneh Torah, Hilchos Beis HaBechirah, the conclusion of ch. 6, [where it is explained that the holiness of Eretz Yisrael brought about by Yehoshua’s conquest of the land was nullified with the Babylonian exile, but the holiness brought about when the Jews returned with Ezra was never nullified]. See the explanation in the farbrengen of Simchas Beis HaShoevah, 5724. [See Likkutei Sichos, Vol. XV, p. 101ff.]
Chaggai 2:9. See also Bava Basra 3a ff., and the concepts explained in note 5.
See Likkutei Torah, Vayikra, p. 2d, which states that through an arousal from below, “there will be a lasting effect, because ... influence will be drawn down from the level of ‘not a man,’ [i.e., a rung above our limited framework].”

Seemingly, the intent is that the reason an arousal from below has a longer lasting effect is {not only that through man’s Divine service, he becomes a vessel for the Divine light [and that light can be internalized within him], but also} because of the higher quality of Divine light that is drawn down through this service. (See also note 23.)

[The Second Beis HaMikdash endured for 420 years, while the First Beis HaMikdash endured for only 410 years.]
See Tanya, Shaar HaYichud VehaEmunah, ch. 7 (p. 82a).
For the advantage [of the revelations] of the Era of the Redemption will be that they will combine the advantages of both the approaches of revelation from above and elevation from below. See the maamar entitled ViSamti Kadked in Likkutei Torah, Devarim, and Likkutei Sichos, Vol. VII, p. 198ff.

Based on the explanations in Likkutei Sichos, Vol. VIII, p. 27 (the second of the marginal notes to footnote 42), which state that “the fundamental advantage is the refinement of the material plane — the ultimate perfection is that the material plane will be elevated to the extent that it will be [able to contain] the light of the higher plane.”* This clarifies why the Third Beis HaMikdash shares a closer connection to the Second Beis HaMikdash than the First. The Second Beis HaMikdash expresses the advantage of man’s efforts to refine the material plane, and this is also the primary advantage of the Third Beis HaMikdash.

{[On this basis, we can appreciate the connection between the Second and Third Batei HaMikdash mentioned in other sources.] See the Introduction of the Rambam to his Commentary on the Mishnah where he explains the order of the tractates of [the Talmud, and introduces the tractate of] Middos and the Tosafos Yom Tov’s introduction to the tractate of Middos — quoted in Likkutei Sichos, Vol. VII, p. 198 in the marginal notes to footnote 5. [Those sources explain that the prophet Yechezkel had a vision of the Beis HaMikdash to be built in the Era of the Redemption. When the Jews returned to Jerusalem to build the Second Beis HaMikdash, they did not comprehend this vision in its entirety. Hence they built the structure according to the design of the First Beis HaMikdash. They did, however, incorporate those aspects of Yechezkel’s prophecy which they could comprehend.]

Significantly, the term “this latter house” in Chaggai’s prophecy is used to refer to both the Second and the Third Batei HaMikdash (see Zohar, Vol. II, p. 103a). On this basis, it is possible to reconcile the statement of the Zohar (Vol. I, p. 28a) which interprets the phrase as referring to the Third Beis HaMikdash with the statement of our Sages (Bava Basra, loc. cit.) that it refers to the Second Beis HaMikdash.

Tehillim 147:2.
[Trans. Note: Every revelation of G‑dly light has specific characteristics which define it and determine its nature. Because this light is itself limited and defined, it views every other entity in terms of its definitions. Thus the material and the spiritual will remain two separate realms.]
Hoshea 6:2. Note Rashi’s commentary to that verse: “On the third day” — “[At] the building of the Third Beis [HaMikdash].”
See the maamarim entitled Yechiyeinu MiYomayim in Likkutei Torah, Devarim, p. 64a, and from 5691.
The series of maamarim entitled Yom Tov Shel Rosh HaShanah 5666, p. 168.

[Trans. Note: The Hebrew terms kucd hkcv ,khkau kucdv ,khka can be explained as follows: kucd, “limitation,” is definitely not appropriate to describe G‑d, for He cannot be limited at all. On the other hand, kucd hkc, infinity, as it is usually understood, is also not an appropriate description for Him. For we usually understand infinity as being above all limitation and separate from it. Nevertheless, by defining infinity as above limitation, we have also prescribed set bounds for it. It is above — and separate from — limitation. Were we to say that about G‑d, there would a realm of being, limited existence, that would be apart from Him. This cannot be said. Hence, we are forced to say that He is neither limitation, nor infinity, and yet neither limitation nor infinity are apart from Him.]

See Likkutei Sichos, Vol. VII, p. 202, sec. VII.

[Trans. Note: From a mortal perspective, the limitation of the material realms (and for that matter, of the spiritual realms) and the infinity of G‑d’s light appear as two different thrusts. For, as mentioned above, since we ourselves are limited, we look at everything else as it appears within a limited context.

From G‑d’s perspective, nothing else exists but Him. He is the truth of all existence; there is absolutely nothing else. When He brought other entities into existence, their existence is not in opposition to that truth. On the contrary, the entire rationale for their existence is that He desired His truth to be recognized by an entity that exists — at least in its own conception — apart from Him (see Zohar, Vol. II, p. 42b).

Shmos 15:18.

Based on the explanations above, it is possible to explain Rashi’s commentary to Shmos, op. cit.:17, entry Mikdash: “When will [the Beis HaMikdash] be built with two hands? When ‘G‑d will reign forever and ever.’”

The connection between “two hands” and “G‑d reign[ing] forever and ever” can be explained as follows: Building the Beis HaMikdash with “two hands” alludes to the combined [efforts] of the right hand — the heavens, i.e., G‑d’s infinite dimensions — with the left hand — the earth, G‑d’s finite dimensions (see Likkutei Torah, Bamidbar, p. 21c-d). The fundamental fusion of these two thrusts will be in the era when “G‑d will reign forever and ever,” and the limits of time will be revealed as infinite as explained above.

See Ateres Rosh, p. 7a where this concept is explained in detail.
See Likkutei Sichos, Vol. IX, p. 157ff.
[Trans. Note: Because of its essential truth, the eternality of the Third Beis HaMikdash will be appreciated even by the created beings.]
[Trans. Note: Implied is that exposure to something which is essentially true will awaken the essential truth that each person possesses within himself.]
See his letters printed in Sefer HaToldos Admur HaZakein, p. 257.
Significantly, R. Hillel’s yahrzeit is in the month of Menachem Av (on Av 11) and he passed away on Shabbos Nachamu.
And it will include those structures within itself (Zohar, Vol. III, p. 221a), just as the attribute of Tiferes [represented by the number three] includes within itself the two vectors of Chesed and Gevurah [which are represented by the numbers one and two].
Note the explanations concerning the emotional characteristics of Chesed, Gevurah, and Tiferes in Likkutei Torah, Vayikra, p. 23c.
Likkutei Torah, Bamidbar, p. 14c, 76b, et al.
Its function is similar to that of Shabbos HaGadol which precedes Pesach.
Tur and Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 428:3). As explained, a sign given by the Torah shares an intrinsic connection to the concept. (Note the explanation given with regard to the signs of kosher animals — that not only do the signs show that the animals are kosher, they determine their kashrus (the gloss of the Tzofnas Pane’ach to the Rambam, Mishneh Torah, Hilchos Maachalos Assuros 1:1; Likkutei Sichos, Vol. I, Parshas Shemini and notes.)
Likkutei Torah, Devarim, p. 98b.
Devarim 16:9.
Nevertheless, Shavuos is also Yom HaBikkurim (“the day of the offering of the First Fruits” which are associated with G‑d’s blessings that are drawn down from above to below). The day of Shavuos itself represents the fusion of the material and the spiritual. It contains the service of “counting” [which reflects man’s efforts to elevate the material plane] and [the revelation of] “the fiftieth day” [which comes from above] (without man’s input).

[The inclusion of these other motifs does not detract from the identification of Shavuos with Yitzchak, for we find that the other festivals also have primary and secondary motifs. For example,] Pesach is called “the festival of matzos” and is thus identified with Avraham who gave the command (Bereishis 18:6): “Knead [dough] and make cakes” (Bereishis Rabbah 48:12). [Nevertheless,] it is also associated with the Paschal sacrifice (a kid goat* which is identified with Yitzchak — Targum Yonason ben Uziel; Pirkei D’Rabbi Eliezer, ch. 32; Rashi, Bereishis 27:9) and with the maror (which is identified with the middle vector, the attribute of Yaakov — Likkutei Torah, Shir HaShirim, p. 15a).

Similarly, Sukkos {which is primarily identified with Yaakov, as it is written (Bereishis 33:17): “And Yaakov journeyed towards Sukkos” — Zohar, Vol. III, p. 100b} also contains the aspect of Chag HaAsif (which involves an elevation from one’s granary to one’s house, [i.e., the motif of ascent]) and the ingathering of G‑d’s manifold blessings (for which reason the concept of happiness is mentioned three times with regard to the holiday of Sukkos — Yalkut Shimoni, Vayikra, sec. 654,) [i.e., the motif of drawing down influence from above].

* The purpose of that goat — and the purpose was actually realized on that same day — was that Yaakov would receive the blessings.

Shmos Rabbah 12:3; see also Midrash Tanchuma, Parshas Va’eira, sec. XVI. [Note the explanations in Likkutei Sichos, Vol. VIII, Chag HaShavuos, adapted in Timeless Patterns in Time, Vol. II, p. 91ff.]
The giving of the Torah also brought about the descent of the higher realms to the lower realms (as mentioned in note 21, and thus the giving of the Torah took place in the third month). [Nevertheless, it is primarily associated with the elevation of the material plane, because:]

a) Even with regard to the descent of the higher realms, the fundamental new development [brought about by the giving of the Torah is not (drawing down G‑dly light from above, for that also transpired before the giving of the Torah, but) that the G‑dly influence [reached] the lower plane itself, that the revelation of the giving of the Torah [permeated and] became internalized within the material substance of the world (see Likkutei Sichos, loc. cit., p. 23, sec. IV). [Thus the revelation from above also involved bringing about a change within the material realm.]

b) The fundamental intent of the negation of the decree [separating the spiritual from the material] was {to make possible} the elevation of the lower realms to the higher realms (which began after the giving of the Torah). This, however, was possible only after “G‑d descended on Mount Sinai” (Shmos 19:20), [for it was necessary that G‑d initiate the fusion, as the Midrash continues:] “I will begin.” (See Likkutei Sichos, loc. cit., sec. III).

To use slightly different wording: At the giving of the Torah, [there were two dimensions:]

a) [Revelation from above,] “G‑d spoke all these words” (Shmos 20:1) which together with the sound of the shofar caused the people to tremble (ibid.:15),* and

b) The ultimate purpose of the giving of the Torah which [continues] afterwards: [the union established, so that “Israel, the Torah, and the Holy One, blessed be He, are all one” (See Zohar, Vol. III, p. 73a).

Note the parallel in Tanya, ch. 5, which states: “The Torah descended from its place of glory” [revelation from above]. Afterwards, man must labor to understand and comprehend [the Torah]. This makes possible a “wondrous unity which does not exist at all, nor is there any comparison to it, with regard to material matters.”

In general, this reflects the difference between the Written Torah and the Oral Torah. See note 63.
Megillah 31b. See Likkutei Torah, Shir HaShirim (p. 20c) which explains that Moshe’s initiative is identified with Z’eir Anpin of Atzilus. This level is “the source for [Moshe’s] prophecy and comprehension.”
Tosafos to Megillah, loc. cit.
Rashi, Megillah, loc. cit., entry Moshe.
For “he did not deliver Mishneh Torah to them on his own motivation ... but instead he heard it from Sinai” (Rashi, entry ka’asher tzivicho, Sanhedrin 56b). See also Zohar, Vol. III, p. 7a (quoted in Likkutei Torah, loc. cit.): “It does not say that he said it ‘on his own,’ but rather ‘from his own mouth,’... from the voice which is one with Him.”
See the Zohar, Vol. III, p. 261a, which explains that the difference between the first four books of the Torah and the Book of Devarim parallels the difference between the Written Torah and the Oral Torah. {The intent (see Megaleh Amukos, ofen 246, Or HaTorah, Devarim, p. 7) is that the source in the Written Torah for the Oral Torah is the Book of Devarim.} The Oral Torah is characterized by labor and exertion on one’s own initiative, [which reflects the elevation of the worldly plane,] (the series of maamarim entitled Yom Tov Shel Rosh HaShanah 5666, p. 383ff.).
It also represents the name of the book. [And the name represents the life-force of every entity (Tanya, Shaar HaYichud VehaEmunah, ch. 1).] Devarim reflects harsh words [intended to motivate teshuvah].
Rashi’s commentary to the verse (based on the Sifri; see also Targum Yerushalmi and Targum Yonason ben Uziel).
In particular, [the coming of the Redemption] is hastened by the approach of teshuvah (which is motivated by words of rebuke) as stated by the Rambam, Mishneh Torah, Hilchos Teshuvah 7:5. (Teshuvah is, as the Rambam explains there, one of the means of bringing the Redemption. The Redemption itself, however, represents the third vector, corresponding to the Third Beis HaMikdash.)
Devarim 34:2.
Sifri and Rashi on the verse.
See the Targum Yonason ben Uziel to that verse.
See Likkutei Sichos, Vol. VII, p. 91, note 63.
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