[New York]

Publisher’s Foreword by the Rebbe

2 Iyar 5711 (ה'תיש"א; 1951)

The following record of the sichah [of the Rebbe Rayatz] on Lag BaOmer, 5704 [1944], is based on notes taken by listeners which were later approved by my revered father-in-law, the Rebbe [Rayatz]. It goes without saying that only subjects of general or intrinsic interest appear here, as opposed to various connecting remarks or statements addressed to particular individuals; hence the apparent lack of continuity between certain sections.

* * *

One of the many pearls to be found in this sichah may be summarized thus (see sec. 15): “In bygone days a person knew that he ought to be — he ought to be a G‑d-fearing Jew, he ought to be a chassid. Nowadays a person has to know — he has to know how to study, he has to know chassidic teachings. The person and the subject have become two separate entities.”

This is also one of the themes of the Counting of the Omer: translating intellectual endeavor into character traits * [In the original, hamshachas hamochin bamiddos.] This is explained at length in the maamarim concerning Sefiras HaOmer. See also the maamar beginning Ani LeDodi (published in Kuntreis 57, Lag BaOmer 5708 [1948]). — so that one’s conduct obeys the directives of the mind; so that in one’s daily life one should be what one intellectually knows in the revealed levels (the nigleh) and innermost levels (the pnimiyus) of the Torah; so that the man and what he knows should be one inseparable entity.

Actually, this is also one of the central themes of the pnimiyus of the Torah, whose revelation takes place on Lag BaOmer (see sec. 21 below) — to unite [everything] and to demonstrate that everything is a unity: physicality is merely an exterior which has to be refined so that it is no longer physical; as to material objects, one has to cause their innermost dimension to surface so that it fuses with their spirituality and soul.

When this is done, the person involved — comprising his soul and his body and all his affairs — becomes one undivided entity.

The path leading to this is pnimiyus haTorah, which demonstrates that within the Torah itself, everything is one unity. The innermost dimension of the Torah, i.e., Chassidus, demonstrates1 how the secrets of the Torah and the revealed dimension of the Torah — the garments of the Torah, the body of the Torah, the soul of the Torah, and the soul of the soul of the Torah ** Cf. Zohar III, 152a. — are one. This is highlighted on Lag BaOmer, which manifests the innermost secrets of the Torah that were revealed by the baal hahillulaR. Shimon bar Yochai, the anniversary of whose passing is celebrated on this day:2 “Holy words that have never before been revealed..., the hidden words which He and all His holy entourage come to hear in joy.”

Menachem Schneerson