Selections from Sichos Shabbos Parshas Korach,
5 Tammuz, 5749

1. The Previous Rebbe’s imprisonment in 5687 initiated a series of events which brought about his departure from Russia in 5688 and ultimately, his settling in America in 5700. Since everything is controlled by Divine Providence, it is clear that the Previous Rebbe’s coming to America was not merely to find refuge from the troubles which beset the Jews in Europe, but rather had a self-contained goal, that he should live and work in America.

The Baal Shem Tov, the Maggid, and the Chabad Rebbeim all lived in Russia. Thus, that country, and later, the village of Lubavitch in particular, became a center from which the light of Chassidus was spread throughout the entire world. Nevertheless, G‑d’s intention was that the Previous Rebbe leave those surroundings and come to America.

In Chassidic thought, America is referred to with the expression, “the lower half of the earth.” It is stated that “the Torah was not given in the lower half of the earth.” Nevertheless, “Lubavitch underwent ten exiles,” until ultimately, in the last and most difficult of these exiles, the Previous Rebbe transferred the center of Chassidus to America, “the lower half of the world.”

He sought to spread Torah in America despite the tremendous difficulties that this task involved. He proclaimed, “America is no different” — even though the attitude of the overwhelming number of Jews of that time was that America is different — and sought to transform it into a Torah center.

Coming to “the lower half of the earth” was one further step in a series of exiles (from Lubavitch to Rostov, from Rostov to Petersburg, from Petersburg to Latvia, from Latvia to Poland and ultimately, to America). Certainly, this transition involved a descent that posed obstacles to the Previous Rebbe’s work. Nevertheless, this descent fulfilled the intent of the giving of the Torah, that a dwelling place for G‑d be established within the lower worlds.

As we approach the Messianic redemption, the entire world must be made fit to serve as a dwelling for G‑d. Thus, we see that originally, the Jews lived together in Eretz Yisrael and from there, “light emanated to the entire world.” Afterwards, a Torah center was established in Babylon to serve a similar function. In the present exile, the exile of Edom (Rome), the Jews have been spread throughout the entire world. With each passing year, the dispersion has become greater. Nevertheless, until the previous generation, the dispersion had only been within “the upper half of the world.” However, as Mashiach comes closer, a large amount of Jews — and the Previous Rebbe among them — came to “the lower half of the world” to refine this portion of the world as well and demonstrate the all-encompassing influence of the giving of the Torah.

The service of disseminating Torah throughout the world associated with “the lower half of the world” did more than bring Torah to places where it had never reached before. It had a contributory effect as well. The recipient (mekabel) became a source of influence (mashpia), contributing new dimensions that did not exist previously.1 After settling in America, the Previous Rebbe sparked the transformation of America into a center of Torah for the entire world. His settlement in this country stimulated new activities, disseminating Torah, disseminating Chassidus, and spreading ahavas Yisrael2 in a manner which surpassed the activities of the previous Rebbeim in “the upper half of the world.” From the Previous Rebbe’s center in “the lower half of the world,” the wellsprings of Chassidus have spread out3 “westward, eastward, northward, and southward,” encompassing the entire world.

These activities which began in 5700 and continued for the ten years in which the Previous Rebbe lived in America are being perpetuated by his students and emissaries. In particular, they have reached a new peak in the present year, the fortieth year after the Previous Rebbe’s passing, when “G‑d grants you a heart to know, eyes to see, and ears to hear.” It is possible to “attain the understanding of one’s teacher” and then, continue to proceed and add further light.

The service of the present age which directly precedes the Messianic redemption reflects the service of the Messianic Age. Therefore, by coming to America, the Previous Rebbe began a new path of service, different from his service and that of the Rebbeim who preceded him in “the upper half of the world.” There, the service involved “drawing down from above to below.” In contrast, through his service in America, the Previous Rebbe revealed how the mekabel, “the lower half of the world” — in which “the Torah was not given” — could become a center of Torah from which the entire world derives nurture.

In order to make this service possible, it was necessary for the Previous Rebbe to come to America. In general, the phase of drawing down influence from above to below must precede the phase where the mekabel itself becomes a source of influence. Similarly, within the service of the mekabel itself, the first stage must be the service of “a priest” (the Previous Rebbe), a person who gives instructions and generates power. The intent is, however, that this will inspire and motivate others to carry out the service of disseminating Yiddishkeit and Chassidus.

Selections from Sichos 9 Adar, 5750,
the 50th Anniversary of the Previous Rebbe’s Arrival in America

On the ninth of Adar, 5700, the Previous Rebbe arrived in the United States with the intent of establishing his permanent home there.4 This constituted the transition of the center of Chabad activities from Europe, “the upper half of the world,” to America, “the lower half of the world.” In Chassidus, it is explained that since the Torah was given in “the upper half of the world,” the “lower half of the world” was not elevated. Nevertheless, the ultimate intent of the giving of the Torah was that, through man’s efforts, Torah — including Pnimiyus HaTorah, the soul of the Torah — would be spread throughout the entire world, including its lowest levels.

This concept is also expressed in the Ten Commandments which begin, “I am the L‑rd, your G‑d, who took you out of the land of Egypt.” “I” refers to G‑d’s essence5 who revealed Himself to the Jews and redeemed them while they were in the land of Egypt, the most depraved of all nations, a land full of idolatry. Beginning the Ten Commandments with this statement, implies that the giving of the Torah has a similar goal, revealing G‑d’s essence throughout the totality of existence, including even the lowest levels.

Each year, on the ninth of Adar, in a spiritual sense, this sequence of events is renewed and reinforced. Therefore, despite all the service carried out in the previous years, at present, there is a need for new and more encompassing efforts. In particular, this is true since this year, 5750 (תש"נ), is “a year of miracles.” Furthermore, this year is the fiftieth anniversary of this event. The Torah describes a fifty year period as “forever,” implying that it is a period of an all-encompassing nature.

May the completion of these fifty years of service in “the lower half of the world” bring about the complete and ultimate redemption, the eternal redemption led by Mashiach. May it be in the immediate future.

It is proper that Chassidic farbrengens should be held in connection with the ninth of Adar, continuing in the subsequent days, including Shabbos and Purim. In particular, this applies here in Brooklyn, the “capitol” of the Previous Rebbe where he lived for the final ten years of his life. For “Holiness does not move from its place”; on the contrary, it becomes increased from year to year.

We will conclude by distributing money to be given to tzedakah. Tzedakah hastens the coming of all good things. May it also hasten the coming of the Messianic redemption and the fulfillment of the prophecy,6 “And those who lie in the dust will arise and sing.” May it be in the immediate future.