1 1. Keys in the Hands of a Tzaddik. As2 is well known, there are differences between the first year after a histalkus and the time that follows. Thus,3 “Throughout the first twelve months..., the soul of the departed ascends and descends, whereas after twelve months... his soul ascends, but descends no more.” In other words, it is no longer to be found below as formerly.

This difference applies to all of Israel: to simple Jews, to prominent scholars, and to the Nesi’im of the Jewish people as well. Nevertheless, because of the exalted stature of tzaddikim — for4 a tzaddik decrees and G‑d fulfills; furthermore,5 G‑d decrees and a tzaddik annuls; indeed, tzaddikim can bring about changes in the works of creation,6 — because of this exalted stature, tzaddikim are able to change this rule at will.

This rule (“after twelve months... his soul ascends, but descends no more”) applies to one who is not master of the world and of all it contains. Tzaddikim, however, have been entrusted with the keys to life, rain and resurrection. (No two of these keys are [normally] entrusted to one individual at one time;7 we find nevertheless that even these keys are entrusted to tzaddikim at one time.8 ) Tzaddikim are masters over everything. How much more certain is it, therefore, that they are able to choose their place for themselves, and to be present wherever they consider to be most appropriate.

2. Foregoing the Divine Presence for a Fellow Jew. My revered father-in-law, the Rebbe [Rayatz], most certainly desires to be here with us at this time, too.

For him, three things — love of G‑d, love of the Torah, and love of a fellow Jew — were intertwined into a veritable unity. (The Alter Rebbe9 used to say that fulfilling the commandment to10 “love your fellow man as yourself” is a vessel — i.e., a commentary — for fulfilling the commandment to11 “love the L‑rd your G‑d.”) Accordingly, without pausing to draw up accounts, the Rebbe waived his material interests and even his spiritual interests12 for the sake of loving a fellow Jew.13

It is self-evident that even after his passing, his conduct continues in the same spirit. (The Sages teach that14 “once the majority of a man’s years have passed”15 in upright conduct, he may be assured that his later years will continue likewise. And if this is true of every man, how much more certainly is it true of a tzaddik, a chassid,16 who throughout all his days sacrificed his soul, his natural soul and even his Divine soul.) Since the Rebbe’s conduct continues in the same spirit as formerly, then even though the ways of this lowly world conceal and confuse [the capacity of tzaddikim to]17 “bask in the radiance of the Divine Presence” — i.e., “the radiance of their Torah and avodah and higher than that18 — the Rebbe nevertheless foregoes this, and even now wishes to be down here, together with us.19

And since this is the Rebbe’s wish, without a doubt he will be with us. As Tosafos writes,20 “When [the soul] so desires, it descends.”21

3. Enough of Yahrzeits! What is the practical outcome of the above thoughts?

We are now [this present evening] already after the first yom hillula,22 the day celebrating the first anniversary. (I cannot say or write “the first yahrzeit,” for we must hope that before the next anniversary we will see the fulfillment of the Divine promise,23 “You who repose in the dust: Awaken and sing joyful praises!” Since he, too, will be among them, there will be no more yahrzeit.24 This is why I make a point of saying “the first yom hillula,” for ascents (which are the reason for the hillula-celebration) will continue to take place later, too.

At any rate, since the first yom hillula has already passed, there could conceivably be (G‑d forbid!) a weakening in people’s hiskashrus. The exact opposite should therefore be known: one’s hiskashrus should grow even stronger. Just as the Rebbe is now ascending in one elevation after another, we, too, ought to gird ourselves with additional strength25 so that we will be able to accompany him as he ascends.

4. Time and Growth Continue. This is also the answer for those who ask about ch. 71 of Tehillim (which is the chapter that corresponds to the Rebbe’s age. [The Rebbe Rayatz would have turned 70 on the preceding Yud-Beis Tammuz.] See Igros Kodesh of the Rebbe Rayatz: letter #16, Heb. Vol. 1, p. 31; letter #3355, Heb. Vol. 10, p. 53; and the references there. ): Should they continue to recite it [as part of their reading of Tehillim after davenen every day], even after Yud Shvat?. [See also Vol. 2 of the present work, pp. 81-82.] The answer is that they should continue to recite it until Yud-Beis Tammuz.26

There is a well-known debate as to whether, after a person’s histalkus, time and growth and aging continue. According to some scholars, this is the subject of a difference of opinion between Rambam and Raavad.27

Two reasons may be mentioned to support the view that these concepts continue to apply after histalkus:

(a) Throughout all the dispersed communities of Israel, Jews are accustomed to observe a yahrzeit every year. Since the whole point of a yahrzeit is the ascent that the soul experiences on that day, it is clear that an increase which is dependent on time applies to the soul, too, after histalkus.

(b) A note is extant which was written by my revered father-in-law, the Rebbe [Rayatz], on 20 MarCheshvan, 5705 [1944],28 the day which marked the completion of 84 years since the birth of his father, the Rebbe [Rashab].29 This day thus marks the end of his particular connection with ch. 84 (as is reflected in the customary daily reading of Tehillim26). The above note concerns a nighttime vision in which the father of the Rebbe [Rayatz] informed him that discourses of derush would be delivered on ch. 84.

From this we may learn something that applies in our present case (for, as has been discussed before,27 the Rebbe [Rayatz] clarified many subjects in anticipation).

When he wrote about his father’s birthday many years after his father’s histalkus, he was also making a statement concerning himself, namely:30 Now, too, after the histalkus, birthdays are relevant; now, too, he experiences one ascent after another, and after each new level of elevation it becomes apparent that the avodah at the previous level served as a preparation for the situation that replaced it.


5. “Inner” and “Outer” are Relative Terms. The missions given by the Rebbe [Rayatz] are of various kinds.

Some people were given directives which on the surface concerned material things (for example, that they should engage in business), while the underlying intent concerned Torah and mitzvos. Others were given directives whose overt intent, too, was spiritual. For example, the Rebbe dispatched them to a certain place for reasons of education, buttressing the study of Torah, and disseminating Yiddishkeit, which includes teaching children the alef-beis.

As to those whose instructions concerned material things, it is obvious that this was only the superficial aspect of their directive, while the inner intent involved Torah and mitzvos. (In the same way, the main reason for a Jew to be involved in business is the mitzvah of giving away as tzedakah a tenth or a fifth of his earnings, or more — especially in the light of the explanation in Iggeres HaKodesh31 that today the dominant mode of avodah is tzedakah — while the part given for tzedakah elevates his entire income.32 ) And just as those receiving material instructions recognize that these instructions mask real and inner motives, so too, those receiving overtly spiritual instructions should recognize that these instructions are likewise superficial, relative to their real and inner motives.

As the Zohar writes,33 even that which is an innermost nucleus (a “brain”) relative to something on a lesser spiritual level than itself, is a mere outer shell (a kelipah) relative to something on a higher spiritual level than itself.

Therefore, even those who were given a directive involving spiritual things should stop and think: Is this in itself the Rebbe’s ultimate intent, or is it no more than the outer shell of his ultimate intent? For just as a directive to enter business is the mere outer shell of an inner intent, so too, a directive to disseminate Torah may well be the mere outer shell of an inner intent,34 as will soon be clarified.

6. Our Distinctive Role. All those chassidim who were dispatched by the Rebbe to disseminate Yiddishkeit in the provincial towns should realize that in every area of their mission, their shlichus, there lies an inner intent.

By the way: When I say “provincial towns” (arei hasadeh — lit., “towns out in the fields”), this is not meant literally. Rather, once a person leaves the Rebbe’s study,35 in which he received people at yechidus and prayed and studied Torah, any place in which one is located is a “field” relative to it. Thus, as soon as one steps over its threshold one is already out in the fields, for in all such places there is no36 “glory of the man dwelling in the house.”37

To revert to our subject: The inner intent of each shlichus is the dissemination of the teachings of Chassidus. As the Rebbe [Rayatz] expressed it,38 the Alter Rebbe did not want to turn chassidim into a party; rather, the teachings of Chassidus are for the whole House of Israel.

The goal is that39 “your wellsprings should be disseminated outward,” for this is the preparation40 for the coming of Mashiach.41

7. The Rebbe’s Innermost Desire. [Each of the four major levels of sanctity requires a corresponding level of self-purification before one may partake of food whose spiritual status places it at that particular level.] The four levels of sanctity (in ascending order) are: Chullin [i.e., unconsecrated food]; Maaser [i.e., in this context, Maaser Sheni — “the second tithe”]; Terumah [i.e., the first of the priestly gifts (apart from Bikkurim) to be separated from one’s produce]; and Kodesh [i.e., consecrated food, such as meat of the Shelamim sacrifice]. In addition, we find a fifth level — mei chatas: Even a person who has purified himself to the point that he is allowed to partake of food at the level of Kodesh is not yet sufficiently pure to be permitted to touch the purifying waters prepared with the ashes of the Red Heifer.42

Correspondingly, the soul also comprises (in ascending order) five levels: Nefesh, Ruach, Neshamah, Chayah, Yechidah.. Bereishis Rabbah 14:9; Devarim Rabbah 2:37. Accordingly, the Rebbe’s words and directives were attuned to the disposition and spiritual level of each individual.

The soul-level called Nefesh relates to the possibility of transgression; as it is written,43 נפש כי תחטא — “If a soul (Nefesh) should transgress....” Those who were at the level of Nefesh were therefore given directives which overtly involved material things. Those who were at the level of Ruach and Neshamah — and of course those who were at the higher levels of Chayah and Yechidah — were given directives which involved higher matters, each according to his level.

It should be remembered, however, that just as the soul-level called Nefesh is merely a preparation for a higher soul-level, so too the soul-levels called Ruach and Neshamah (and even the soul-levels called Chayah and Yechidah) are merely a name and a vessel for etzem haneshamah, the very essence of the soul itself. This is reflected in the wording of the above-quoted Midrash:45 חמשה שמות נקראו לה — “Five names are given to it” — i.e., to etzem haneshamah, the very essence of the soul. Even the soul-level called Yechidah (which is included as one of the five levels) is thus no more than a name and a vessel for etzem haneshamah.44

It is thus clear than when the Rebbe spoke to a chassid’s Yechidah, Chayah, Neshamah or Ruach, or even when he addressed the Nefesh, his intent and desire was to reach the very essence of his listener’s soul.

Accordingly, all those who had a connection with the Rebbe, who now have a connection with the Rebbe, and hence will continue to have a connection with the Rebbe, since45 every holy matter even when removed leaves its root in its former place, — all of those should know that in all the directives that they received from the Rebbe there lies an inner intent.46 This inner intent is pnimiyus haTorah, the widespread dissemination of the wellsprings of Chassidus — the teachings of Chassidus in general that were revealed through the Baal Shem Tov and his successors, and the teachings of Chabad Chassidus that were revealed through the Alter Rebbe and his successors, up to and including my revered father-in-law, the Rebbe [Rayatz]. It is through such activity that his inner intent is fulfilled.

8. Then Shall Moshe Sing. When this innermost intent has been fulfilled,47 “for all the Children of Israel [there will be] light in their dwelling places.” That time will see the realization of the words in this week’s parshah,48 ובני ישראל יוצאים ביד רמה — “and the Children of Israel were leaving [triumphantly] with an outstretched arm.” (The readings of the last few weeks have spoken of exile; this week’s reading speaks of redemption.)

So, too,49 אז ישיר משה — “Then Moshe [lit.:] shall sing.”50 [Since the phrase meaning “Then Moshe sang” appears in a tense which is literally future,] the Sages note:51 שר לא נאמר אלא ישיר, מכאן לתחיית המתים מן התורה — “The verse does not say [that Moshe] ‘sang’ but [that Moshe] ‘shall sing’; here we have a source in the Torah for the Resurrection of the Dead.” This means that soon, in our swift time, our generation’s “Moshe and the Children of Israel” (ובני ישראל, the initial vav being a letter that joins the two components of the subject of this sentence) “shall sing” (and significantly, the verb ישיר [despite its compound subject] is singular52 ).

That time, too, will see the fulfillment of the verse,53 ה' ימלוך לעולם ועד — “G‑d shall reign forever.” Or, as paraphrased in the Aramaic Targum, “G‑d’s sovereignty is established forever and to all eternity.”

In plain words: Speedily, in our own days, may we see the Rebbe with mortal eyes, and he will bring us out to the true and complete Redemption, Amen!


9. Three Indivisible Loves. When the Rebbe [Rayatz] arrived in America he quoted the counsel of the Sages:54 “When you come to a town, follow its customs.” Here in America people like to hear a statement, a declaration that is novel and preferably sensational. I don’t know whether there is a need for things to be done in this way, but “when you come to a town, follow its customs.”

The three loves — the love of G‑d, the love of the Torah and love toward a fellow Jew — are all one.55 They are by definition indivisible, like one essence. (The works of Chassidus quote a teaching of the Baal Shem Tov in the name of earlier scholars,56 that if one grasps part of an etzem, an entity which is one integral essence, one has grasped it entirely. In our case this means that since the three loves constitute one entity, each of them contains all three, for if one grasps one part of this etzem one has grasped its entirety.)

If a person has a love of G‑d, but is without a love of the Torah or a love of his fellow Jew, this indicates that there is something lacking in his love of G‑d, too. On the other hand, when there is ahavas Yisrael, then even though this is [merely] a mitzvah which is supported by man’s understanding, it does ultimately lead to a love of the Torah and a love of G‑d. This is illustrated in the well-known episode57 in which the Tzemach Tzedek, by making a modest loan to a Jew in need, attained spiritual revelations that he had not secured through his Torah and avodah.

The above statement should be made public. When one sees a Jew who has a love of G‑d but does not have a love of the Torah and a love of his fellow Jew, it should be made clear to him that ahavas HaShem alone, without ahavas haTorah and ahavas Yisrael, cannot last. On the other hand, when one sees a Jew who has only ahavas Yisrael, one should endeavor to bring him to ahavas haTorah and ahavas HaShem. Moreover, one should aim that his conduct which is prompted by ahavas Yisrael should find expression not only in giving bread to the hungry and water to the thirsty, but that his ahavas Yisrael should also motivate him to bring Jews close to ahavas haTorah and ahavas HaShem.

And when all three loves are present together, this will indeed be58 “a threefold cord that will not... be broken.”

Through this, moreover, the Redemption will come about, for just as59 “we were exiled from our land” in this last dispersion because of the opposite of ahavas Yisrael,60 it is precisely through ahavas Yisrael that the Redemption will come speedily, quite literally in our own days.


10. The Rebbe Manages Very Well Without Your Advice. [One of those present queried a certain mission which the Rebbe Rayatz had imposed on him. The Rebbe responded as follows:]

When my revered father-in-law, the Rebbe [Rayatz], turned fifteen, his father the Rebbe [Rashab] appointed him as his secretary for public affairs.61 Soon after, the Rebbe [Rashab] dispatched him as his representative62 to a certain Rabbinical Conference that had been convened (I think in Kovno), but since he was so young, the Rebbe [Rashab] instructed [a renowned elder chassid known by his acronym as] Rashbatz63 to accompany him. Rashbatz was exceedingly sharp. Nevertheless, the Rebbe [Rashab] told him that even though he was sending him with his son, he should understand that the less he intervened, the better would things work out.

Now, if that was the case at that time [when the Rebbe Rayatz was fifteen years old], how much more is it true at this time! Why should we intervene in the Rebbe’s affairs? There is no need to give him advice nor to declare one’s opinions. One ought to carry out his will, and the less one interposes one’s own novel commentaries, the better will things work out.


11. The Rebbe’s First Maamar. [At this point the Rebbe delivered the maamar known as Basi LeGani 5711 [1951],64 whose published version he edited and approved.

Before beginning it, he said: “In the maamar which the Rebbe [Rayatz] issued65 so that it would be studied on the day of his histalkus, he begins: ‘Basi legani...,’ — and the Rebbe proceeded to quote its first three chapters.

The Rebbe then paused, asked that the niggun known as “The Beinoni be sung by those present, and commented: “My revered father-in-law, the Rebbe [Rayatz], was fond of this niggun.” The Rebbe then asked that all those present sing a niggun of the Rebbe Rashab, and before resuming his repetition of the maamar of the Rebbe Rayatz he introduced it as follows: “After the Rebbe [Rayatz] explains in the maamar that the Essence of the Divine Presence was to be found among mortals...,” — and proceeded to quote chapters 4 and 5.

Once again the Rebbe paused, and asked that all those present sing a niggun of the Rebbe Maharash and then a niggun of the Tzemach Tzedek. He then began to repeat the last section of the maamar of the Rebbe Rayatz, which he introduced by saying, “At the conclusion of the maamar the Rebbe [Rayatz] explains...,” — and continued until the end.

The Rebbe then delivered his own maamar (translated on p. 26 below), with part of the sichah below interposed. Finally, he asked the assembled chassidim to sing a niggun of the Mitteler Rebbe, followed by the Alter Rebbe’s Niggun of Four Themes, as will presently be detailed.]


12. A Chabad Chassid Stands On His Own Feet. [Having delivered the maamar, the Rebbe said:] Fellow Jews, listen now!

Traditionally, Chabad has demanded that every individual do his own avodah alone, instead of relying on the Rebbeim. This is the difference66 between the Polish school of Chassidus and the Chabad school of Chassidus. The former school has a non-literal interpretation of the verse,67 וצדיק באמונתו יחי-ה — “And a tzaddik lives with his faith”: “Do not read yichyeh but [in the causative mood] yechayeh.” I.e., it is the tzaddik who gives life to all those who are bound to him. We of Chabad, however, all have to do our own work alone, with all the 248 organs and 365 sinews of the body and with all the 248 organs and 365 sinews of the soul.

The Sages teach:68 הכל בידי שמים חוץ מיראת שמים — “Everything is in the hands of Heaven except for the fear of Heaven.” I am not (G‑d forbid) withdrawing from giving help to the degree that one’s capabilities allow. However, since “Everything is in the hands of Heaven except for the fear of Heaven,” then if there is no independent individual avodah, what can be gained from giving out manuscripts [of Chassidus], singing niggunim, and saying LeChaim?

The Rebbe [Rayatz] used to warn chassidim against self-delusion. Every individual chassid himself has to transform the folly of the Other Side [i.e., of the forces of evil] and the seething disposition of his animal soul — to kedushah.69

13. Everyone’s Privilege, Everyone’s Duty. Moshe could have built the Mishkan alone, just as David could have built the Beis HaMikdash alone — but they wanted to allow the whole House of Israel to share in this privilege.

In the same way, when my revered father-in-law, the Rebbe [Rayatz], commissioned the writing of the Sefer Torah with which to greet our Righteous Mashiach, he said that he did not want to do this alone: he desired the participation of all Jews, in order to bring merit upon the entire House of Israel.70

It goes without saying that all of us, and the entire House of Israel, need to participate in the construction of a dwelling-place for G‑d in this world below.. Tanya, ch. 36, [citing Midrash Tanchuma, Parshas Naso 7:1]. Every individual has to work in person to fulfill his mission. All that is left is the “petty vessels.”. [In the original, pachim ketanim; see Chullin 91a, paraphrased by Rashi on Bereishis 32:25.] When they have been dealt with, the Divine promise will be fulfilled:71 “And deliverers shall go up to Mount Zion to judge the mount of Eisav, and sovereignty shall be G‑d’s.” This means that the three utterly impure kelipos will be displaced and will cease to exist, and kelipas nogah, the world at large, will be elevated to kedushah. The ultimate intent for which the world was created will thus be realized — that G‑d should have a dwelling place among mortals.74


14. Making an Intention Potent. [The Rebbe asked those present to sing a niggun of the Mitteler Rebbe, and then continued:] It was suggested on Yud-Tes Kislev72 that the Mishnayos should be divided up for study,73 and no doubt everyone completed his five chapters by Yud Shvat. So now, since it is customary to say something appropriate at a siyyum, I’ll say a brief couple of words.

The second-last mishnah of the Shas asks:74 “At75 what point are honeycombs [which would ordinarily be regarded as food] susceptible to ritual impurity because they are now considered as fluids? Beis Shammai hold: ‘From the moment at which their owner contemplates76 [removing their honey, instead of eating the whole honeycomb as food]’; Beis Hillel hold: ‘From the moment at which their owner crushes them.’ ”

In other words: In the view of Beis Shammai, the status of an entity changes through thought alone; in the view of Beis Hillel, an action is needed.

Even though an opinion of Beis Shammai is not authoritative if it conflicts with an opinion of Beis Hillel,77 it is widely known that in the Time to Come the Halachah will follow the views of Beis Shammai.78 The Time to Come is now coming close: it is now erev Shabbos, the eve of Shabbos.79 We can already anticipate its delicacies and savor them now, in the spirit of the phrase, טועמי-ה חיים זכו — “Those who taste it will merit eternal life.”80 In anticipation, then, we can now enjoy a foretaste of the view of Beis Shammai, and promptly transform and upgrade our spiritual standing through thought alone.

Let us bring this closer home.

We are all part of a gathering of least ten Jews, and81 “Over every gathering of ten Jews rests the Divine Presence.” In fact there are many times ten Jews present. Moreover, we are in a shul (a beis knesses) and in a House of Study (a beis midrash), each of which has its own merits relative to the other.82 More particularly, we are standing within the four cubits83 of the Rebbe [Rayatz], in the place in which for many years he lived and prayed and studied. Accordingly, every individual present feels aroused, so that his conduct from today onwards will be as it ought to be. Indeed, since the Time to Come is coming close, the Halachah follows the view of Beis Shammai: our intention alone suffices to elevate us to a superior spiritual state, and we shall advance from narrow straits to broader horizons.

15. From Evening to Morning. At the very end of the Mishnayos84 we learn: “G‑d was able to find no other vessel to contain blessings for Israel but peace.” In this spirit we request,85 “Bless us, our Father, all of us as one.”

Through peace one removes all concealment, all obscurity, all limitations.

“Thinking is potent.”86 Hence, by resolving that the vessel to contain blessings will be peace, we will all leave the current darkness of evening. The very first mishnah87 opens with the question, “From what time may one read the Shema in the evenings?” From this we see that even at such times one has to read Shema and be aware that “G‑d in One.”88 And peace hastens the fast-approaching time at which we shall read the Shema “in the morning”89 — in the morning of Redemption.

Though shachar (“dawn”) also denotes darkness,90 this will be transformed to its other meaning, and91 “the night will illumine like the day”: the “evening” itself will radiate light.92

And all this will come about with the coming of our Righteous Mashiach, speedily and soon.

16. As If Present Here. [The Rebbe asked those present to sing the Alter Rebbe’s Niggun of Four Themes, and then said:] My revered father-in-law, the Rebbe [Rayatz], once related93 that when the subject arose of his undertaking the responsibilities of Nesius in succession to his father, the Rebbe [Rashab], he asked that this should take place “with kindness and mercy.”

On another occasion,94 speaking of the coming of Mashiach, the Rebbe [Rayatz] said that this would take place in his days. This raises no problem, for it is explicitly stated in the Talmud Yerushalmi95 (and cited also in Yalkut Shimoni96 ) that if a person conducts himself in a constant awe of G‑d’s sovereignty and surveillance, then even after twenty years he is regarded as if being present here.97

With us this will not take years, G‑d forbid, but will take place quickly.

All that has to be done is to complete the avodah involving the “petty vessels”75 — to change one’s habits and assumptions. Once that is done,98 “the glory of the Holy One, blessed be He, will ascend and be diffused throughout all the worlds.” The Divine intent underlying the creation of the universe will then have been fulfilled.

17. One Condition: Unity Among Anash. [Before the Rebbe rose to leave he said:] “For you shall go out with joy, and be led forth in peace.”99

When there will be joy, and hence as a matter of course there will be peace, meaning that all those who are bound with the Rebbe [Rayatz] will act in unison, then (as the verse continues) not only will “the mountains and the hills” not obstruct, but they will help. Likewise, “all the trees of the field,” barren trees, will yield fruit; as our Sages teach,100 “In the Time to Come, all the barren trees will bear fruit.” But all this depends on a condition — that there will be peace, that there will be unity among all those who are bound with the Rebbe [Rayatz].

G‑d will then help us fulfill the mission that the Rebbe placed upon us and handed over to us — and this fulfillment is the ultimate possible good.