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The Dearness of Every Jew

The Dearness of Every Jew

Vayikra; Leviticus 1:1-5:26;

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Adapted from
Likkutei Sichos, Vol. VII, pgs. 24-26;
Vol. XVII, pgs. 12-15;
Sefer HaSichos 5750, Vol. I, p. 327ff

Within the Many One

Even a brief look at our people reveals a great heterogeneity, for there is hardly a country or a setting in which Jews have not lived. Jews have featured prominently in almost every major civilization and race, and in so doing have adapted themselves to these different environments.

Nor is it merely the settings in which our people live; the nature of the individuals themselves varies greatly. Our Sages comment1 that just as the faces of no two people are alike, so too, their thought processes differ.

This variety does not, however, obscure the fundamental oneness that links every member of our people in every country and in every age. Every Jew every man, woman, and child has a soul that is “an actual part of G-d,”2 and which permeates every dimension of his being. Of this people, G-d says:3 “I created this nation for Myself; they will recite My praise.”

Every Jew is heir to the entire spiritual legacy of our people. There is a golden chain extending throughout the generations, reaching back to our forefathers, Avraham, Yitzchak, and Yaakov, and to our Matriarchs Sarah, Rivkah, Rachel, and Leah. Every Jew in the present generation is a representative of the entire collective as it has existed and evolved throughout history. As such, G-d cherishes every Jew as a father cherishes an only son.4

Closeness with G-d

The unique love which G-d shows the Jewish people is reflected in the beginning of our Torah reading, which states:5 “And He6 called to Moshe, and G-d spoke to him.” Before G-d spoke to Moshe, He called to him, showing him a unique measure of endearment.7 G-d did not call Moshe to impart information; on the contrary, He called him to express the fundamental love He shares with our people. (For although it was Moshe alone who was called, this call was addressed to him as the leader of our people as a whole.)8

The inner G-dly nature which we possess constantly “calls” to us, seeking to express itself. This is reflected by the subject of the Torah reading, the sacrificial offerings. The Hebrew word for sacrifice, korban (קרבן), shares a root with the word kerov (קרב), meaning “close.” Sacrifices bring the Jews’ spiritual potential to the surface,9 carrying our people and each individual closer to G-d.10

Loving Outreach

The above concepts are fundamental when it comes to relationships with fellow Jews, even those whose conduct (at present) is estranged from our heritage.11 First and foremost, we must appreciate who the other person truly is. When speaking to a Jew, we must be aware that we are speaking to a soul that is “an actual part of G-d.”

There is no need to focus on the negative aspects of the other person’s conduct. Instead, one should highlight his positive potential, making him conscious of the G-dly spark within him. We must emulate the example provided by our Torah reading, and show our fellow man a special degree of closeness, inviting him to join in activities that encourage the expression of his G-dly core.

We should pursue this approach with confidence, for it speaks to the very essence of our fellow man. “No Jew can or desires to separate himself from G-d.”12 When he is invited to affirm his heritage with warmth and openness, he will respond, proceeding at his own pace to “come close to G-d.” Since he is part of the nation “created for Myself,” it is inevitable that he will ultimately “relate My praise” by following the path of Torah and mitzvos.

Seek the Silver Lining

There is a natural tendency to be impatient, to hasten a person towards complete observance of the Torah and its mitzvos, and perhaps to criticize him if he hesitates or falls back. The Torah does not approve of this approach. When Yeshayahu the prophet made harsh statements about the Jewish people, G-d rebuked him severely although his words were justified.13 Instead of being critical, we must endeavor to appreciate and always accentuate the positive qualities which every member of our people possesses. For indeed, the very fact of a Jew’s existence is an expression of G-d’s praise, independent of any Divine service which he may perform.

Despite the fact that the Jews are “one lamb among 70 wolves”14 and have faced severe persecution, we have endured while nations seemingly far greater and more powerful have disappeared. This clearly shows that G-d has invested a dimension of His eternality within His people. Our continued existence as a nation and as individuals is an expression of Divine Providence.

In the present age, every Jew is a living miracle.

This is particularly relevant today, barely a generation after the Holocaust. The fact that we were able to endure that terrible era and give birth to a new generation (regardless of any apparent spiritual shortcomings it may possess) reveals the working of G-d’s hand.15

Ultimate Praise

The G-dly potential within every Jew and within our people as a whole will not remain dormant. Its blossoming will lead to an age when the G-dliness latent in the world at large will become manifest, the Era of the Redemption. At that time, the Jewish people will “relate [G-d’s] praise” in a complete manner, showing our gratitude for the miracles performed on our behalf.16

Herein we see a connection to the month of Nissan, during which Parshas Vayikra usually falls. Our Sages associate Nissan with miracles.17 Further, Nissan is the month in which the Jews were redeemed,18 and the month in which we will be redeemed in the future.19 At that time, our entire nation will proceed to our Holy Land and “relate [G-d’s] praise” in the Beis HaMikdash. May this take place in the immediate future.

FOOTNOTES
1. Sanhedrin 38a.
2. Tanya, ch. 2. The expression “a part of G-d” is taken from Job 31:2. The Alter Rebbe adds the word “actual,” for two reasons: a) to emphasize that our souls are truly a part of G-d, as it were, and not merely a ray of His light; b) to underscore that even as the souls are “actual,” enclothed in the material world, they remain “a part of G-d,” for the word ממש, translated as “actual,” also means “material.” (Igros Kodesh of the Previous Rebbe, Vol. IV, p. 404, 407.)
3. Isaiah 43:21; the beginning of the Haftorah for Parshas Vayikra.
4. The Baal Shem Tov as quoted in Keser Shem Tov, Hosafos 133.
5. Leviticus 1:1.
6. When mentioning the call to Moshe, the Torah does not refer to any of the different names of G-d. For every name represents a reflection of only one aspect of His Being, while the call to Moshe expressed a connection to G-d’s essence, a level which transcends all names.
7. Rashi, op. cit.
8. For “it is only for the sake of Israel that I have given you greatness” (Berachos 32b, Rashi, Exodus 32:7).
9. The connection between the sacrifices and the essential G-dly nature of the Jewish soul is reflected by the verse (Leviticus 1:2): “When a man… brings a sacrifice.” Why does the Torah use the word man, adam in Hebrew? Because adam is related to the word adamoh, “I resemble,” and thus refers to the verse (Isaiah 14:14), “I will resemble the One above;” i.e., man is representative of G-d, as it were (Sheloh, Parshas Vayeishev). A man’s ability to draw close to G-d stems from the fact that G-dliness lies at the core of his being.
10. Sefer HaBahir, sec. 46.
11. This concept is also alluded to by our Torah reading, for its latter sections describe the sin offerings and guilt offerings brought to atone for undesirable conduct.
12. HaYom Yom, entry 25 Tammuz; Igros Kodesh of the Previous Rebbe, Vol. IV, p. 384.
13. See Isaiah 6:5-7.
14. Cf. Midrash Tanchuma, Parshas Toldos, sec. 5.
15. Moreover, most non-observant Jews today are generally not responsible for their lack of practice. They are like “children captured by the gentiles,” who were never given an opportunity to learn about their heritage.
16. See the commentary of the Radak to Isaiah 43:21. See also Rashi's commentary to that passage, and the Midrash Leckach Tov, Bo 12:2.
17. Berachos 57a.
18. Shmos Rabbah 15:11.
19. Rosh HaShanah 11a.
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Discussion (3)
March 6, 2014
People Like The Pyramids
Amazing! Just like the Pyramids. Very nice article. Did not a prophet called Micah talk about Like Lions amidst nations. I wonder where the truth of the matter lies. And in Numbers Jacob is made lion like. Perhaps the issue is identical with the distinction berween Sinai and Horeb diferent name to denote the same MOUNT.
Hany Ben Hoor
MTL
March 27, 2009
It was wonderful to wake up to this beautifully written message on spirituality. As someone that has wandered from an Orthodox home, and has been struggling with my faith, I felt that this has touched me in a way that was very forgiving.

God's words showed through your writing and a new seed of hope has been planted. Thank you.
Anonymous
Columbia, CA/USA
March 13, 2008
Dearness
Within the many One is answer. Why dwell on the negative? Footnoted comments 13 and 15 seem at odds. Do not rebuke the Jewish people (13), but feel free to express negativity about them (15)?
I would have hoped for a more positive message. Negqative phrophacy has never brought the Jews"home" try some loving connections.
Chanoch
Miami Beach, FL
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