1. Today’s farbrengen is being held at the beginning of the International Conference of Shluchim. It must be emphasized that the task of the shluchim in the present age, and particular at this time, is to prepare for the acceptance of Mashiach and the advent of the ultimate Redemption.

This is the task facing every Jew, for we are all shluchim of G‑d as obvious from the Mishnah’s statement, “I was created solely to serve my Creator.” In particular, however, this concept is relevant to those individuals who have merited to serve as the shluchim of the Previous Rebbe and dedicate their entire existence to this mission.

To explain: Although as a whole, our shlichus is constant and unchanging, from time to time, a different dimension of the shlichus receives emphasis. At that time, that dimension permeates the entire shlichus and defines its character, serving as the gateway through which the entire shlichus ascends. Surely, this applies in the present instance, when the emphasis is on such an essential and all-encompassing point, preparing for Mashiach’s coming.

As mentioned repeatedly in the past, we are not speaking about a matter of the distant future, but rather a present and immediate concern. Our Sages declared that “all the appointed times for Mashiach’s coming have passed.” We have completed all the service required of us, even — to borrow an expression from the Previous Rebbe — “having polished the buttons.” Thus in principle we are prepared to receive Mashiach, and the shlichus of our generation centers on preparing us to receive Mashiach in practice.

The nature of the service required of us can be clarified through an analysis of the connection between Mashiach and shlichus. We find an intrinsic connection between the two. This is reflected in Moshe’s reply to G‑d when He told him to redeem the Jews from Egypt, Shlach nah b’yad tishlach, “Please send by the hand of he who You will send,” which our Sages interpret as referring to Mashiach, the ultimate redeemer. This implies that Mashiach is the shliach sent by G‑d with the task of redeeming the Jewish people.

This story requires explanation. It is understandable why Moshe made this request. He saw that he would not merit to lead the Jews into Eretz Yisrael. Therefore, he desired that G‑d send the ultimate Redeemer and have him redeem the Jews from the Egyptian exile. A question, however, arises: Moshe was the epitome of Divine wisdom. Therefore, he surely understood that although G‑d had chosen Mashiach to be the ultimate redeemer, He had selected Moshe to be the redeemer from Egypt. Why did Moshe think that Mashiach should be sent on this mission?

Conversely, one might ask: Since Moshe, the epitome of Divine wisdom, made such a request, there is a rationale behind it. Why then, was his request not fulfilled?

The latter question leads to the conclusion that Moshe’s request was granted. The same person who redeemed the Jews from Egypt, Moshe, will be the ultimate redeemer as well as it is said, “He is the first redeemer and he is the last redeemer.” And this was Moshe’s intent, to associate the redemption from Egypt with the ultimate redemption.

This is, however, problematic: Moshe and Mashiach are two different personalities. Indeed, they come from two different tribes (Moshe from Levi and Mashiach from Yehudah). What is the point of connection between them?

Mashiach is the shliach who brings about the unity between the Names of G‑d, Mah and Ban. (These two names and their interrelationship parallel the interrelationship between the body and the soul as will be explained.) The latter is intrinsically connected with the Era of Redemption, for then we will merit the ultimate unity between the body and the soul, between G‑d and the Jewish people, and between G‑dliness and the world at large, revealing how the world is a dwelling for G‑d.

Since Mashiach is the shliach who will bring about this unity, he must have both of these qualities within himself. And on this basis, we can understand the connection between Moshe, the first redeemer, and Mashiach, the ultimate redeemer. Moshe’s fundamental thrust is wisdom (Chochmah), i.e., Torah. It was he who received the Torah on Mount Sinai and indeed, the Torah is identified with him as it is written, “Remember the Torah of Moshe, My servant.”

Mashiach, by contrast, is identified with the attribute of kingship, Malchus. Thus the contrast between Moshe and Mashiach parallels the contrast between Chochmah, the most elevated of the Sefiros which serves as a source of influence (a mashpia), and Malchus, the last of the Sefiros, a recipient (mekabel).

“Moshe received the Torah” — the source of all influence including the potential for redemption. Mashiach who will come at the conclusion of the exile represents the ultimate recipient. Through his bittul, he will include all the service performed by the Jewish people throughout the years and will be able to receive and internalize all the influence granted from above. As such, Mashiach will reveal the ultimate of all qualities, fusing in his being the positive qualities of Moshe as well, and it will be he who will bring about the redemption.1

Moshe’s request mentioned above facilitated this fusion, associating his own qualities with those of Mashiach, allowing Mashiach to serve as a teacher who will instruct the entire nation, including the Patriarchs and Moshe himself.2

This concept is also related to the concept that the numerical equivalent of shliach (שליח) plus ten equals the numerical equivalent of Mashiach (משיח). For the ultimate revelation of Mashiach will come when he fulfills his shlichus with all of his ten powers.

Every Jew possesses a spark of Moshe and similarly, every Jew possesses a spark of Mashiach. Therefore, both of the above concepts are relevant to each individual. To explain: Every Jew is G‑d’s shliach to illuminate the world with the light of Torah. In the world at large, there are two luminaries — the sun, the mashpia, and the moon, the mekabel. Similarly, every Jew must function both as a mashpia and a mekabel and in this manner, he will illuminate the world.

For each of these services are necessary for a shliach. On one hand, he must be butel, totally given over to the one who appoints him (i.e., a mekabel). On the other hand, he must function as an independent entity, using his mind and his other powers to carry out his shlichus (a mashpia). Furthermore, these two thrusts are not independent. Instead, as reflected in the interrelation between Moshe and Mashiach mentioned above, it is through their fusion that each of them reflects its ultimate potential.

There is an additional emphasis on the above in the present generation for the Previous Rebbe has appointed every individual as a shliach to hasten the coming of the ultimate Redemption through the service of spreading the wellsprings of Yiddishkeit and Chassidus outward. And the climate in the world at large is ripe for this. We see that it is much easier to explain to a Jew — even one who seemingly is far from such concepts — that in addition to his individual service, he has the responsibility of acting as a shliach and motivating others to be conscious of the imminence of the Redemption and carry out an appropriate service. This must begin with the members of his household, and spread to encompass his friends, and indeed, his entire circle of influence.

In particular, this applies to those who have merited to be chosen to serve as the shluchim of the leader of our generation and whose entire service revolves around the fulfillment of this mission. Surely, greater emphasis is placed on the above at present when shluchim from all over the world gather together. This gathering will bring, as our Sages say, “benefit to them and benefit to the world,” for it will enhance their efforts to transform the world into a dwelling for Him.

This is all the more relevant because this Convention is being held on the Shabbos in which the month of Kislev is blessed, for Kislev is referred to as “the month of redemption.” It is also the third of the winter months. Just as Sivan, the third of the summer months, is associated with the giving of the revealed Torah, Kislev, the third of the winter months, is associated with the giving of Pnimiyus HaTorah, Torah’s mystic dimensions.3

The above is enhanced by the unique nature of the present time. As mentioned above, we have completed all the service required of us. Moreover, it is apparent that the climate of the world at large is ripe for Mashiach’s coming. The renowned passage in the Yalkut Shimoni which foretells the coming of Mashiach states that it will take place when, “Nations are challenging one another.” And this is precisely the nature of the international environment at present. Even when the nations of the world call a peace conference, it is apparent that peace is not the purpose of the gathering.

It was openly apparent that the previous year was a year when, “I will show you wonders.” Similarly, the present year will be unique and will be “a year imbued with wonders.” This implies that, not only will it contain wonders, but that wonders are an inherent and fundamental dimension of its being.

This will be an era when Mashiach will “wage the wars of G‑d and be victorious.” The root of the word victorious, netzach4 (נצח), serves as an acronym for three Hebrew words that are particularly relevant in the present context: The first letter Nun (נ) reflects the “nun (50) gates of wisdom.” The second letter, Tzaddik (צ) is relevant, for we are now in the midst of the year of Tzaddik. The third letter Ches (ח) is associated with the Era of the Redemption for many elements of that Era are associated with the number eight, the numerical equivalent of the letter ches.

And this unique time is connected with a unique service. On one hand as stated above, we have completed all the service required of us. On the other hand, the very fact that Mashiach has not come as of yet indicates that there is something more for us to do.

What is in fact required of us? Our Rabbis5 explain that in each generation, there is an individual who is fit to be Mashiach and “when the time comes, G‑d will reveal Himself to him and send him.” The service at present is thus to be prepared to actually accept Mashiach and create a climate in which he can accomplish his mission and redeem Israel from the exile.

And this is the task of the International Conference of Shluchim: First and foremost, to make a public statement that this is the task confronting us — to prepare ourselves to accept Mashiach. Every aspect of our service and every dimension of our activity must be directed to this goal.

In this context, there is a unique significance to the following teaching. The Previous Rebbe notes that the word lehavi translated as “to include” in our Sages’ statement, “ ’all the days of your life’ — to include the Era of the Mashiach,” also has the meaning “to bring.” Thus the statement can be interpreted to mean “all the days of your life should be directed to bringing the Era6 of the Mashiach.” This is the purpose of every dimension of our service.

Every shliach should realize that he is responsible to explain the above concepts to all the individuals in his city. He must convey to them, in a manner which they can understand and relate to, the imminence of Mashiach’s coming and the need to study about Mashiach and the Era of the Redemption.

In this context, it is also worthy to mention the importance of studying the texts Torah Or and Likkutei Torah so as to complete them throughout the year. For this study will draw down the influence of Pnimiyus HaTorah in this world.

And when every shliach does what is dependent upon him, we can demand that G‑d do what is dependent on Him and bring Mashiach in this present year, a year whose letters תשנ"ב serve as an acronym for the Hebrew words שלח נא ביד תשלח “Please send by the hand of he who You will send.” May this take place in the immediate future.

* * *

2. The concept of shlichus also relates to this week’s Torah reading which tells how Eliezer was sent as a shliach to bring about the marriage between Yitzchak and Rivkah.

The halachic dimensions of Eliezer’s shlichus require analysis. What function did Eliezer have in carrying out the marriage? Was he a shliach,7 charged with acting in the place of the husband to complete the contractual dimensions of the marriage? Or was he simply a shadchan, who merely arranged the marriage,8 but did not bring it to completion?

On one hand, it appears that Eliezer was not acting as Avraham’s shliach, but rather as a separate person, a shadchan. This is reflected in our Sages’ explanation that Eliezer wanted that Yitzchak marry his own daughter and ceased to pursue the matter only after Avraham emphasized how he and Eliezer were two separate entities, Avraham being “blessed,” and Eliezer being “cursed.” Were Eliezer to have been acting only as a shadchan, it would have been appropriate that he give expression to his own personal desires.

Furthermore, the fact that Eliezer had to use his own initiative to bring about the shidduch; he prayed to G‑d, and he chose the sign to indicate who would be a proper wife, appears to indicate that he was acting independently of Avraham.

Nevertheless, there are also indicators that Eliezer was a shliach.9 For the Torah describes him as “the elder of [Avraham’s] house, who controls everything he owns.” Our Sages explain that this refers to Avraham’s spiritual possessions, his Torah, and also his material possessions. Thus, it appears that he was acting not on his own initiative, but as Avraham’s agent.10

This is also reflected in the verse which relates how Eliezer “took... all of his master’s best possessions in his hand.” This indicates that Eliezer was given all of Avraham’s best possessions11 to do with as he saw fit, without consulting Avraham. How could he have such authority? Why wasn’t Avraham worried that his property would not be used correctly? Nevertheless, it can be explained that since Eliezer was serving as Avraham’s shliach, he was dedicated to Avraham entirely and did not have a separate identity. Accordingly, Avraham could confidently entrust him with everything that he owned.

Based on the above, another question can be resolved: On the verse mentioned above, Rashi explains that Avraham gave Eliezer a contract stating that everything he owned was given to Yitzchak so that everyone would desire that Yitzchak marry their daughter. This total openhandedness raises questions: Our Sages teach us that a person should not consecrate all of his possessions, but rather should leave some for himself. In this vein, it is difficult to understand: Why did Avraham give all his possessions to Yitzchak? Even if he had given him merely most of his possessions, he would be an attractive match. Furthermore, Avraham lived many years afterwards — and took a wife and fathered children. Surely, he needed financial resources to support himself and his household!

From an inner perspective, this difficulty can be resolved on the basis of the idea that Avraham and Yitzchak were a single entity — as reflected in the fact that their physical appearances were identical and their spiritual service complemented each other’s. There is, however, a need to explain the matter in terms applicable to our everyday frame of reference.

The concept can be explained as follows: The marriage of Yitzchak and Rivkah did not represent simply a union between two individuals. It is the first marriage mentioned in the Torah and the first marriage to take place after the fulfillment of the mitzvah of circumcision. Thus it is a marriage that affected the Jewish people as a whole, and, indeed, the future of the entire nation depended on it.

For this reason, Avraham gave away all of his possessions so that this marriage would take place. Avraham realized that this was not merely a wedding between two individuals, but a matter which concerned the fate of the people as a whole. Therefore, as the head of the entire nation, he invested everything he owned to make sure the marriage would be successful.

Were we speaking about an ordinary father arranging a marriage for his son, it would surely be proper for the father to consider his own interests. Yitzchak’s marriage, however, was a matter of general import which transcended all personal interests. For this reason, Avraham invested all his resources into it.12

On this basis, we can understand why it is necessary to say that Eliezer was a shliach, an agent of Avraham’s. The marriage of Yitzchak was not a matter which Avraham could leave to Eliezer to perform as a shadchan, an independent entity. Instead, it was a subject that required Avraham’s personal involvement. Accordingly, even though he did not actually go to Charan, he made Eliezer a shliach, and thus, it was considered as if he had actually carried out the activity himself.

3. The conception of the marriage between Yitzchak and Rivkah as a matter of general importance is also emphasized in Pnimiyus HaTorah. Likkutei Torah describes their marriage as reflecting the unity between Mah and Ban.13

To explain this concept as it involves every person’s individual service. Mah refers to the soul and Ban to the body. Similarly, in an ultimate sense, Mah refers to G‑d, and Ban to the Jewish people as they exist within this world.

The consummation of this unity will take place in the Era of the Redemption and this is the ultimate goal of man’s service in the world, to bring about the advent of that era. Herein, there is a connection to the giving of the Torah. Before the Torah was given, spirituality and physicality, body and soul, were two distinct entities and it was the giving of the Torah which allowed for the establishment of the unity mentioned above. In the Era of the Redemption, the unity achieved through our Torah service will be revealed in the world at large.

The concept that the marriage between Yitzchak and Rivkah epitomized the unity between Mah and Ban is reflected in the Torah’s narrative. Rivkah lived in Charan, a materially oriented place (Ban). Eliezer was sent to bring her to Yitzchak who through the spiritual service of the Akeidah became consecrated as “a perfect offering” (Mah). Afterwards, Rivkah and Yitzchak married, establishing unity.

Thus it was the shlichus of Eliezer which brought about this unity, establishing a paradigm of oneness which is brought to fruition through the giving of Torah and which will reach complete expression in the Era of the Redemption. Therefore, Eliezer described himself as “Avraham’s servant,” for Avraham’s service was the first stage of the unity between spirituality and physicality established at the giving of the Torah.

The question, however, arises: Since the unity between Yitzchak and Rivkah is of such fundamental importance, why does the Torah mention the actual union in brief and devote lengthy elaboration to the story of Eliezer’s activity in preparing for this union?

This itself indicates that Eliezer’s shlichus is more than a preparatory step for the establishment of unity between Mah and Ban, it is also a reflection of such unity. To explain: A shliach is at the outset a separate entity (Ban), nevertheless, he does not function independently. Instead, he nullifies himself to the person who appointed him (Mah) and acts as his agent.

Thus a shliach must have two opposite dimensions: On one hand, he must be an independent entity with a mind of his own. Simultaneously, however, he must negate himself to the desires of the one who appointed him and be careful not to deviate from his instructions at all. Furthermore, he must be aware that he is fulfilling the shlichus with the power granted by the one who appointed him, and indeed, he and the one who appointed him are considered as a single entity.

This parallels the concept of the unity of Mah and Ban. A Jew’s soul (Mah) is totally at one with G‑d, for it is “an actual part of G‑d.” Its mission is to enclothe itself in the body to bring about a change in this material world (Ban). The unity between Mah and Ban refers to the service where the light of the soul is reflected within the body and the body negates itself to the soul, to borrow an expression from our Sages, “to make one’s soul of primary importance, and one’s body secondary.”

Ultimately, the unity achieved between the body and the soul should extend to the point that it is obvious that all of a person’s activities are performed by both a soul and body together. Afterwards, this unity should be extended into the world at large, so as to encompass every dimension of existence in the entire world.

In this manner, a Jew acts as G‑d’s shliach, making the world a dwelling for Him. Therefore, he becomes an extension of G‑dliness in the same way as a shliach shares a single purpose and therefore, a single identity, with the one who appointed him.

To emphasize this relationship, the marriage between Yitzchak and Rivkah was accomplished through shlichus. Not only the marriage, but also the shlichus which led to it was representative of the unity between Mah and Ban.

This also relates to the concept mentioned above, that Avraham invested his entire self in this shlichus. Since this shlichus reflected the ultimately purpose of our service as will be revealed in the Era of the Redemption, it was necessary for Avraham to invest himself in it completely.

This also serves as a lesson for Avraham’s descendants who are charged with the shlichus of making this world a dwelling for G‑d. Every dimension of their existence must be dedicated to and permeated by the awareness of this mission.

Based on the above, we can also resolve another difficulty. Generally, the concepts explained in the texts Torah Or and Likkutei Torah follow the order of the parshiyos. Nevertheless, the conception of the marriage between Yitzchak and Rivkah as a reflection of the unity between Mah and Ban is not explained in the maamarim of Torah Or on Parshas Chayei Sarah, but rather in the maamarim of Likkutei Torah on Parshas Berachah, the last parshah of the Torah.

The connection of this concept to the conclusion of the Torah14 alludes to the fact that this is the ultimate purpose of our Torah service. For the union of the Jews with G‑d and the union of G‑dliness and our material world is the ultimate purpose of the shlichus for which our souls descended to the world.

As mentioned previously, all the service associated with this shlichus has been fulfilled. And we must now prepare to see the fruit of our activity, the revelation of the unity we have achieved in the Era of the Redemption whose advent is imminent. May it take place in the immediate future.