1. There is always a connection between the Torah portion read Shabbos morning and the portion read Shabbos afternoon. Nevertheless, the two portions read this week, Ki Seitzei and Ki Savo appear to be opposite in nature. As the very name implies, Ki Seitzei speaks of going out, while Ki Savo speaks of coming in. More particularly, Ki Seitzei refers to going out to war,1 while Ki Savo speaks of entering Eretz Yisrael, settling the land, and bringing the offering of the first fruits to the Beis HaMikdash.

In a spiritual sense, Parshas Ki Seitzei refers to the soul’s descent from the spiritual worlds into the confines and limits of the body, the animal soul, and our material world. And in this sphere, the soul must carry out its service of refinement, confronting the above elements and in a manner figuratively associated with war, elevating their spiritual content. This is particularly true in the era of exile when G‑dliness is concealed and carrying out the service mentioned above involves a greater conflict.

In contrast, Parshas Ki Savo refers to service carried out amid peace of mind, serenity, and security. It refers to an era when the Jews live in Eretz Yisrael and the Beis HaMikdash is standing — the direct opposite of the situation described in Parshas Ki Seitzei.

Furthermore, in an ultimate sense, the “coming into the land” described in Parshas Ki Savo is a reference to the settlement of Eretz Yisrael in the Era of the Redemption. Thus Parshas Ki Seitzei refers to the service which the Jews must carry out in the present era, while Parshas Ki Savo refers to the ultimate reward to be received for that service in the Era of the Redemption.2

The seeming difficulty raised by this contrast can be resolved as follows: The service involving war and conflict must be carried out with peace of mind. And this is possible by experiencing a foretaste of the ultimate reward to be experienced in the Era of the Redemption at present.3

This idea can be explained within the context of a verse from this week’s Torah reading. In regard to a hired worker, we are commanded, “Give him his wage on that day.” The Jews can be compared to workers hired by G‑d to carry out the task of refining the world. Thus, in addition to the ultimate reward which the Jews will receive in the Era of the Redemption, as a fulfillment of the above-mentioned command, they must be given a full reward at present — a foretaste of the ultimate reward — for the service which they carry out.

The above concepts can be understood in greater depth based on Rashi’s statements that Parshas Ki Seitzei describes a “voluntary war,” i.e., a war which the Jews are not commanded to wage, but wage because of the decision of the king and the Sanhedrin. This raises a question: Seemingly, the service of confronting the challenge posed by the body and one’s surrounding environment is an obligation and not something desired by the Jews. Why is such a comparison made in reference to voluntary wars?

There is also another question that results from the above concepts: Previously, it was mentioned that such service brings reward. Reward is only given, however, when someone is hired to perform an activity. Since the Jews are G‑d’s servants as it is written, “The children of Israel are My servants,”4 they are obligated to perform any service He commands. If so, why are they worthy of reward for their service?

These difficulties can be resolved by focusing on the meaning of the word Seitzei, “go out.” A Jew’s service in the world at large involves going out from his natural place. The natural place, the source, of a Jew’s soul is in the world of Atzilus, a realm in which everything is one with G‑d. Indeed, on a deeper level, the soul’s source is on a much higher plane, for “the souls of the Jewish people preceded all entities,” and they are one with G‑d at a plane of existence that transcends the highest conception of spiritual being. “Israel and the Holy One, blessed be He, are all one.”5

On this basis, we can explain the relationship of Parshas Ki Seitzei to voluntary wars. Since the Jews are one with G‑d’s essence, all service within the limitations of this world involves “going out.” Nevertheless, our Sages’ teach us that when G‑d created the world, He “consulted with the souls of the righteous,” i.e., every Jew, for “Your nation are all righteous.” Since the Jews gave their consent for the creation of the world, their service within the world is considered voluntary in nature.

To state the concept in somewhat different terms: As the Jews exist within the world, they are obligated to carry out the service of refinement; this is the purpose for their creation. When, however, the ultimate source of the Jews’ souls is considered, the level above their “going out” to this world, this service is voluntary in nature. Indeed, it is only because of the Jews’ consent that the world exists.

And therefore, the Jews deserve a reward for their service. Since in an ultimate sense, the Jews are not required to carry out this service, for in essence they are above the limits of this world, their willingness to involve themselves in such activities causes them to be deemed worthy of receiving a reward.

To explain this on a deeper level: The soul leaves its true state, the level of oneness with G‑d, and descends to this world, because it is through this descent that it can bring about the fulfillment of G‑d’s desire for a dwelling in the lower worlds. And it is in this dwelling — and through the service of transforming darkness into light — that His essence will be revealed.

In order for the Jews’ service to be internalized within the lower worlds, their souls could not remain on the level of essential oneness and had to “go out” and descend into this material frame of reference, a setting in which they confronted “enemies” and “war.” Nevertheless, as they exist within the limits of this material world, there is still a fundamental bond with the true state of the soul. For even within this world, a Jew cannot separate himself from G‑d.

Thus the revelation of G‑dliness by the Jews within the limits of this world is a fusion of opposites:

a) Because the Jews exist as souls enclothed in bodies within this world, the ultimate revelation of G‑dliness can be internalized within the world’s limits.

b) Because the Jews are essentially one with G‑d, the G‑dliness they reveal within the world transcends the nature of world existence and is representative of G‑d’s essence.

In this context, we can understand the connection between Parshas Ki Seitzei and Parshas Ki Savo. The Jewish soul leaves its essential state of union with G‑d and “goes out” (Ki Seitzei) to descend to this world. Furthermore, it comes into (Ki Savo) the limits of the world in order to elevate the world within the context of its own perspective. And this makes the world Eretz Yisrael, i.e., a land which is a heritage of the Jewish people and its connection with Jews and Yiddishkeit is openly revealed.6

Together with this service comes its reward, “The reward for a mitzvah is a mitzvah,” i.e., the mitzvah itself is its greatest reward. To explain: In Tanya, after the Alter Rebbe explains that the ultimate purpose for the creation of the world is that “the Holy One, blessed be He, desired a dwelling in the lower worlds,” he continues explaining that in the Era of the Redemption and more particularly, in the Era of the Resurrection, this purpose will be fulfilled. He then states:

The ultimate state of fulfillment that will be manifest in the Era of the Redemption and in the Era of the Resurrection, i.e., the revelation of [G‑d’s] Infinite Light... in this material world, is dependent on our deeds and service throughout the era of exile.

For the cause of the reward for the mitzvah is the mitzvah itself, since by performing the mitzvah a person draws down the revelation of [G‑d’s] Infinite Light... to enclothe itself in the material substance of this world.

With this statement, the Alter Rebbe is implying that both our service and the reward for our service focus on the same activity, revealing G‑dliness in the world, transforming the world into a dwelling for G‑d.

In this context, we can explain the manner in which G‑d fulfills the commandment, “Give him his wage on that day.” Since the performance of every mitzvah draws down the revelation of G‑dliness in the world, as soon as one performs the mitzvah, one receives the reward, the revelation of G‑dliness, immediately. Every mitzvah represents a personal redemption.

Moreover, the redemption as a whole is also within the grasp of every Jew. It is like a treasure kept locked in a chest for which the key has been given over to each individual Jew. Furthermore, each Jew has the potential to open the chest whenever he desires. For every mitzvah a Jew performs has the potential to tip his own personal balance and that of the world at large and bring about deliverance and salvation. I.e., each person has the potential to bring about the coming of the Era of the Redemption when the reward for the mitzvos, the expression of G‑dliness in this world, will be revealed.

Thus in addition to the individual redemption, the expression of G‑dliness that accompanies the fulfillment of each mitzvah, there is “the endowment of the reward to the righteous in the World to Come.” Then the reward for the service of the Jews throughout the entire duration of existence will be revealed. Furthermore, the reward for the service of the Jews in the Era of the Redemption will be revealed at that time. That service will constitute the ultimate in the observance of mitzvos and the study of the Torah. For then we will merit the revelation of “the new [dimensions of the] Torah that will emerge from Me,” the revelation of Pnimiyus HaTorah, the reasons for the mitzvos. Similarly, in that Era, the Beis HaMikdash will be rebuilt and we will be able to perform all the mitzvos including the mitzvos dependent on the holiness of Eretz Yisrael and the mitzvos associated with sacrificial offerings.

On a deeper level, not only do we receive a reward at present that reflects the ultimate reward to be received in the Era of the Redemption, even our service itself is representative of that reward. To explain: Every Jew is one with G‑d’s essence and his activity brings about the revelation of essential G‑dliness in the world. This applies even before a Jew begins his service. Indeed, this potential existed before the creation as a whole and is, in fact, the purpose for the creation.

Thus we can see a transition in phases of time. A Jew’s service does not concern the present alone. It is associated with the future, when the ultimate purpose for creation will be openly revealed, and the past, before creation, when “G‑d consulted with the souls of the righteous” concerning the creation of the world.

When a Jew is conscious of these ideas and reflects them in his conduct, it is easier for him to carry out his service in the world and thus transform the world into a dwelling for G‑d. On this basis, we can understand the connection between the parshiyos, Ki Seitzei and Ki Savo. Ki Seitzei refers to our service in going out to refine and elevate the world. This service must be permeated by the awareness of Ki Savo, i.e., one must realize that one will receive a reward for this service and indeed, experience a foretaste of this reward. Furthermore, one must be conscious and reflect in one’s service the awareness that the ultimate purpose of the creation is this service. This allows the service to be carried out in an ordered and settled manner, permeated by peace and rest.

Ki Seitzei involves a state of war. A Jew must realize, however, that he is “above his enemies,”7 i.e., that there is no genuine potential for opposition in this world. Therefore, “G‑d, your L‑rd, will give them over to your hand and you will take captives.”8

Also, in a simple and literal sense, our service should be conducted amidst tranquility and prosperity, i.e., G‑d should provide every individual with all his needs. This is connected with the Rambam’s statements that the Torah’s promises of material reward are intrinsically related to the service of Torah and mitzvos itself. Simply put, when a Jew will enjoy prosperity, he will be able to devote his energies to the Torah and its mitzvos. But this will be only a foretaste of the ultimate prosperity the Jews will enjoy in the Era of the Redemption. The prosperity of that Era will result from the revelation of G‑d’s essence within this world.

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2. There are several practical directives resulting from the above concepts: Firstly, we must publicize the concept that we are at the conclusion of the era associated with Ki Seitzei, going out to war to refine this world, and approaching the era of Ki Savo, entering Eretz Yisrael in the Era of the Redemption. Therefore, our service must focus on matters that concern the Future Redemption, the study of Torah concepts concerning Mashiach, the Redemption, and the Beis HaMikdash. Furthermore, this study must be conducted amidst peace of mind and tranquility.

Similarly, our service should be permeated with joy as a foretaste of the ultimate joy to be experienced in the Era of the Redemption when “then our mouths will be filled with joy.”

In this context, there is a connection to the Previous Rebbe’s wedding which was commemorated in the previous week, on the thirteenth of Elul,9 for wedding celebrations are among our most powerful expressions of joy. Herein there is a also connection to the Redemption which is described as the wedding between G‑d and the Jewish people.

Also, the present days are associated with the founding of Yeshivas Tomchei Temimim on the fifteenth of Elul. Therefore, focus should be placed on the activities of the Yeshivah and the efforts of its students who serve as “candles that shine,” illuminating the world with the light of Torah, both Nigleh (the revealed dimensions of Torah law) and Pnimiyus HaTorah (Torah’s mystic dimension).

On previous occasions, it was mentioned that every Jewish home should be permeated by the three services of Torah study, prayer, and deeds of kindness. In connection with the anniversary of the founding of the Yeshivah, this conception should be broadened and every Jewish home should be transformed into a microcosm of Yeshivas Tomchei Temimim. It should be filled with the study of Pnimiyus HaTorah.

In connection with deeds of kindness, it is also worthy to mention that the holidays of the month of Tishrei are approaching. Our Sages taught us to study the laws of a holiday thirty days before its arrival. Similarly, efforts should be made to provide those who are lacking with their holiday needs thirty days before the holiday. In this manner, they will be able to approach the holiday with peace of mind.

And these resolutions will lead to a time when each Jew will enjoy the ultimate in peace of mind. For he will receive all his needs from G‑d’s “full, open, holy, and generous hand.” And together with the entire Jewish people, we will “come into the land... take possession of it” and bring its fruits as offerings to G‑d in the Era of the Redemption. May this take place in the immediate future.