1. Today is the third of Shvat, the day from which we enter the week of the Previous Rebbe’s yahrzeit which falls on Yud Shvat. And as the week of the yahrzeit commences, it is proper for the service connected with the yahrzeit to begin. And indeed, this beginning should open up a new channel of service. As such, it requires that unique efforts be dedicated to this end.

This is particularly true since the subject of concern is the yahrzeit of the Nasi of our generation, for “the Nasi is the entire generation,” for his soul includes the souls of the entire generation. Thus the Hebrew word Nasi is an acronym for the Hebrew words meaning, “the spark of Yaakov our forefather.” This implies that just as the soul of Yaakov our forefather included the souls of the entire Jewish people of all generations, so too, the soul of each Nasi includes not only all the souls of his own generation, but also all the souls of every previous and subsequent generation.

As such, it is incumbent on those individuals who are alive with a healthy soul and a healthy body to begin a new phase of service in connection with the beginning of the week of the Previous Rebbe’s yahrzeit.

There is a connection between the above concepts and this week’s Torah reading which begins, “Come to Pharaoh.” The Zohar explains that there is also a counterpart to Pharaoh in the realm of holiness, for Pharaoh refers to “the source for the revelation of all lights.” Thus, the above command reflects G‑d’s instruction for Moshe to approach the revelation of this elevated level.

Since there is a dimension of Moshe in every Jew’s soul — and this dimension produces effects in one’s thought, speech, and deed — the command addressed to Moshe applies to every Jew. Each of us must prepare himself for a new level of revelation.

This also relates to the concept expressed previously, preparing ourselves for the Previous Rebbe’s yahrzeit. For a yahrzeit represents an unmeasurable elevation of the soul. This is associated with the recitation of the kaddish on the day of a yahrzeit which reflects an ascent to a new and higher level.1 Thus on the day of the Nasi’s yahrzeit, “the source of the revelation of all lights,” will be revealed to all members of the generation.

In particular, this is relevant in the present generation, for the Nasi of our generation shares a unique connection with the Future Redemption. This is even reflected in his name Yosef which relates to the prophecy “G‑d will again (yosif) extend His hand a second time to take possession of the remnant of His people from the four corners of the earth,...” the ingathering of the exiles, which will gather together the Jews of all generations.

Similarly, all of this will be carried out in a manner reflected by the Previous Rebbe’s second name Yitzchak, a name that was first given in connection with laughter and happiness, as it is written “All that hear will rejoice with me.” Similarly, in the Era of the Redemption true happiness will be experienced as it is written, “Then our mouths will be filled with laughter.” Indeed, the connection of this joy to the name Yitzchak is emphasized by the fact that in the Book of Tehillim, the name Yitzchak is written (ישחק), indicating the connection with schok (שחוק), “laughter.”

The connection between the Previous Rebbe and happiness is reflected in the fact that this mode of service characterized his conduct in general.2 And this, despite the fact that he endured severe physical suffering, and this suffering also affected his spiritual service.

As his doctor once exclaimed to him in wonderment: it is through speech, that he communicated his teachings, and yet his physical afflictions were such that they prevented him from speaking properly. Seemingly, Divine Providence should have granted him a greater proficiency in this quality than possessed by others. In actuality, however, his potential was far less than what it should have been.3

We see a parallel to this concept in regard to Moshe who described himself as having a speech defect, “uncircumcised lips.” Fearing that accordingly, “the Jewish people have not listened to me and how will Pharaoh listen to me,” he therefore asked G‑d, “Send by the hand of he with whom You are wont to send.”

G‑d accepted this argument and told Moshe, “Aharon will be your spokesman,” i.e., Aharon was given the responsibility of communicating through speech the concepts of Moshe. The Previous Rebbe, however, was not granted an Aharon, and thus there was a restriction placed on his communication of Chassidic teachings. This also affected the communication of teachings in writing. For when teachings are spoken with difficulty and restrictions, there are also restrictions in the manner in which they are reviewed and also in the manner in which they are prepared for printing.

Despite these difficulties, the Previous Rebbe’s service was characterized by happiness. These concepts should be applied by all of us in preparation for Yud Shvat. Firstly, there must be an emphasis on matters of general relevance, arranging farbrengens in commemoration of the Previous Rebbe’s yahrzeit in every place, in connection with the day of the yahrzeit and on the Shabbos beforehand and on the Shabbos afterwards.

Similarly, each person must accept a personal challenge, that his study of Torah should be carried out in a manner that can, in whatever way he can, compensate for the difficulty in communication possessed by the Previous Rebbe. This increase in study, these farbrengens, and all the service associated with Yud Shvat, should be carried out in happiness, a happiness that reflects that expressed by the Previous Rebbe in his service.

Although each of us should be healthy — as reflected by the Torah’s command, “Be very careful in regard to your lives” — we are forced to endure the suffering of exile. And despite these sufferings, we must “serve G‑d with joy.”

How much more so is this relevant at present when we are approaching the coming of the Future Redemption — and its coming will be hastened even more by the above activities. We are approaching the parallels to the exodus from Egypt, the splitting of the Sea,4 and the giving of the Torah, as they will be experienced in the Future Redemption. And these will be hastened by our activities in the three general approaches of Torah study, prayer, and deeds of kindness when carried out amidst happiness. And then we will continue this farbrengen with the Previous Rebbe at our head, witnessing how all the concepts associated with Yosef and with Yitzchak will become manifest. May this take place in the immediate future.