"R. Acha said: 'The talk (sichah) of the servants of the patriarchs is more attractive than the teachings (Torah) of [their] descendants.

For the passage of Eliezar is repeated in the Torah, while many basics of Torah [law] were conveyed only by allusion.'"1

As is well known, our Rebbeim — see the maamarim of the Alter Rebbe printed in Or HaTorah with the notes of the Tzemach Tzedek2 and [subsequent] maamarim on this theme — focus on the question: Why is "the talk of the servants of the Patriarchs" "more attractive than the teachings of [their] descendants"? {[The question] highlights the difference between talk (sichah) and teachings (Torah), and, seemingly, "teachings" are superior to "talk".) They also focus on other points of the wording of the Midrash, including the statement:3 "The washing of the feet [of the servants of the Patriarchs] is more attractive...."4

The core of the explanation of the concept is that the "talk of the servants of the Patriarchs" refers to the Divine service of prayer, as our Sages state:5 "[The term] sichah refers solely to prayer." [In that vein,] they interpret the verse from this Torah reading:6 "And Yitzchak went out to speak (lesuach) in the field," as referring to prayer.

The true concept of prayer involves [expressing] reuusa diliba, the inner will of the heart [of a Jew], the inner dimensions of his heart7. This certainly applies with regard to the prayers of "the servants of the Patriarchs." For the concept of a servant is — as explained in the series of maamarim of 5666, in the maamarim delivered at the conclusion of 56668 — that his identity is totally subsumed to that of his master. His entire existence is [an extension of] that of his master to the extent that an object acquired by a servant is acquired by his master.9 Thus the counterpart to "the talk of the servants of the Patriarchs" in our Divine service is prayer stemming from the yechidah of the soul, the [inner] will of a [Jew's] heart, [indeed,] the inner dimension of the inner dimension of the heart. As explained in several sources,10 the yechidah of the soul rests in the heart. (For, as explained in Likkutei Torah,11 even within the inner dimension of the heart, there are [several] levels). According to this conception, the term "the [inner] will of a [Jew's] heart" is not a description of a particular level within the heart. The term ratzon — "will" — describes a level with several rungs. In contrast, the term reuusa diliba, "the [inner] will of a [Jew's] heart," refers to the inner dimension of the heart that transcends any delineation of levels. This reflects the concept of sichah. In contrast, the Torah and its mitzvos as a whole refer to the task of refinement, [elevating the G‑dly sparks enclothed in the material substance of the world,] transforming the world into a dwelling for G‑d in the lower realms.

On this basis, we can understand the statement "The talk (sichah) of the servants of the Patriarchs is more attractive than the teachings (Torah) of [their] descendants." The intent of "the teachings (Torah) of [their] descendants" is to create a dwelling for G‑d in the lower realms. Now the concept of a dwelling has a defined meaning. Similarly, the term "lower realms" implies a hierarchy of several levels — for the terms "lower realms" is plural. Thus there are "higher realms" — in which there also several levels — and lower realms. In contrast, "the talk (sichah) of the servants of the Patriarchs" refers to the [inner] will of a [Jew's] heart stemming from the level of yechidah within the soul that transcends any and all particular levels. For through the [inner] will of a [Jew's] heart one establishes a connection with G‑d's Essence. [In that vein, on the statement:]12 "No thought can grasp Him," it is said:13 "He can, however, be grasped through the [inner] will of a [Jew's] heart."

On this basis, we can understand the expression: "The talk (sichah) of the servants of the Patriarchs is more attractive...." The term יפה, "more attractive," is used rather than "greater" or a similar term, because "greater" is a quantitative term; implying that the subject is of great size, quality, or the like. In contrast, the true concept of יופי, attractiveness, [defies definition]. True, there are several different levels of attractiveness, as indicated by the phrases "of attractive form and attractive appearance,"14 and "You are entirely attractive, my beloved; there is no blemish in you."15 [In the quote under discussion, however,] our Sages were speaking about attractiveness that surpass any definition or description and can only be expressed with the term "attractive." It is speaking about a dimension above any measure or limit, [to borrow an expression,]16 "It cannot be alluded to by any letter or point at all."

This also explains why "the talk of the servants of the Patriarchs" is "repeated in the Torah, while many basics of Torah [law] were conveyed only by allusion." "The talk of the servants of the Patriarchs" possesses an unlimited dimension. Therefore as it is drawn down into the Torah, it is great in number. In contrast, "many basics of Torah [law]" were drawn down within the limited and measured [framework that characterizes our world]. Therefore, they "were conveyed only by allusion," for "an allusion suffices for a wise man."17 Hence, since nothing more than an allusion is necessary, there is no purpose in using anything more. On the contrary, [using anything more would be counterproductive, as our Sages state:]18 "When there is an extra [organ,] it is considered as if that organ is lacking." Therefore [these laws] were conveyed through allusions.

Our Sages explain19 that the word Bereishis (בראשית), the word beginning the Torah's description of creation, is a composite alluding to ב ראשית, two entities that are referred to as "first:" the Jewish people and the Torah. The Torah and the Jewish people correspond to the two levels described previously. The Torah follows [the pattern that prevails within] the spiritual cosmos (Seder HaHishtalshelus), while "the Jewish people come before the Torah."20 [Thus, they transcend the spiritual cosmos entirely.]

These two concepts are alluded to in the word Bereishis, because Bereishis has a twofold implication. On a straightforward level, it refers to the creation of the world [which follows the pattern of] the spiritual cosmos. Nevertheless, as stated at the beginning of Toras Chayim21 (and in other sources),22 the term is also interpreted as referring to a level above the spiritual cosmos, as indicated [by Targum Onkelos which translates the term as] bikadmin, "in the primeval origins." It refers to [G‑d's] will which transcends the pattern of the spiritual cosmos entirely.

In addition to the above explanation of sichah — that sichah refers to prayer stemming from the [inner] will of a [Jew's] heart — there is another interpretation of sichah, for, at times, that term is also used to refer to the Torah.23 It is possible to explain that the intent is to draw down G‑d's Essence and Being that transcends all definition into a person's Divine service of the Torah and its mitzvos, creating a dwelling for G‑d in these lower realms. And for this reason, the Torah is also referred to as sichah.

This also relates to the concept explained in the maamarim,24 that the term siach (שיח) is an acronym for the names of three sons of Noach: Shem, Cham, and Yefes. These parallel the three pillars [of Jewish practice]:25 Torah study, Divine service (prayer), and deeds of kindness. [The plural form in the expression:] "the servants of the Patriarchs" alludes to [all] three Patriarchs, for the three Patriarchs are the source for the three pillars of service: Torah study, Divine service, and deeds of kindness.26 Implied is that the totality of the service of making a dwelling for G‑d in the lower realms which is comprised of the three pillars of Torah study, Divine service, and deeds of kindness has to be carried out in a manner of "the talk of the servants of the Patriarchs":

  1. with "talk," i.e., [motivation stemming from] the [inner] will of a [Jew's] heart [as explained above],

  2. as a "servant," i.e., that one's entire existence is [an extension of] the existence of his master, and

  3. "of the Patriarchs," of whom it is said: "the Patriarchs are the [Divine] chariot,"27 i.e., [they were totally given over to G‑d's will like] a chariot is given over to the will of its driver entirely.

May it be G‑d's will that through our Divine service in all these fields in the six thousand years of the world's history,28 and particularly, in the era of ikvesa d'mashicha, when "the feet meet the feet,"29 all of these matters will come to fruition, and a dwelling for G‑d will be established in the lower realms. And the true concept of a dwelling is that the essence of the dweller is manifest in the dwelling.30 Then will be fulfilled the prophecy:31 "The mountain of the house of G‑d will be established at the top of all mountains... and all nations will stream to it," together with all the other prophecies of the Future Redemption.

These prophecies are all uniquely relevant, for the promise "Stand ready, all of you"32 has been given. [Implied is that] everything has already been granted from above and all that is necessary is to make a k'li33 on this material plane. Now the true concept of a k'li is that its identity is totally subsumed to the light it contains, as explained in several sources.34 This idea is illustrated by the ruling regarding the laws of Shabbos35 that one who transfers less than the minimal measure of food for which one is held liable in a container is exempt even for the transfer of the container, because the container is considered as entirely subsidiary to its contents. How much more so does this concept apply with regard to spiritual matters that are entirely unlimited.

[The imminence of the redemption is further assured] through the service of spreading the wellsprings of Chassidus outward that began on Yud-Tes Kislev.36 Through this, we will merit the holiday of Chanukah, a holiday whose lights are eternal, as it is said:37 "These lights will never be nullified." This will be manifest with the building of the Third Beis HaMikdash, "the Sanctuary of G‑d, established by Your hands,"38 on this material plane. May this take place speedily, in our days.

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