1. It is now forty years since the Previous Rebbe’s passing. In Tanya, the Alter Rebbe writes that on the day of a person’s passing, “All of his deeds, teachings, and service on which he labored throughout his lifetime... is revealed and shines from above to below and... ‘brings about salvation in the midst of the land.’ “1

A unique level of fulfillment comes about at present, the fortieth anniversary of the Previous Rebbe’s passing. Each of the 39 years has brought about an ascent to a higher level. Thus, we see that in these forty years, there has been a tremendous increase in the spreading of the wellsprings of Chassidus outward. First and foremost, this can be seen in the tremendous amount of texts from the Rebbeim that have been printed. These are teachings of Chabad which were never revealed before. These developments have not been confined to the intellectual realm. Just as a person’s mind controls and influences every aspect of his behavior, so, too, the spread of Chabad teachings have had an influence on the totality of our being.

In particular, however, the passage of forty years is a unique landmark, a time when G‑d grants us “a knowing heart, eyes that see, and ears that hear.” As explained, this expression refers to our three intellectual powers, Chochmah, Binah, and Daas, bringing about intellectual fulfillment which, in turn, brings about fulfillment in all aspects of our personalities.

In this context, a relevant lesson can be derived from the Previous Rebbe’s name,2 Yosef Yitzchok.3 The name Yosef is connected with Rachel's prayer, “May G‑d add on to me another son.” This implies that Yosef has the power to transform “another,” a person who is estranged, into a “son.” The name Yitzchok is connected with Sarah’s exclamation, “Everyone who hears will rejoice with me.” Yitzchok has the potential to effect someone with whom he has only a slight connection, who hears from afar, and bring him joy.

We must consider, not only the general concept of forty, but also, its particular ramifications.4 This implies two approaches, one in which one proceeds from the general concept to its particular ramifications, and one in which from the many particulars, one derives an appreciation of the concept as a whole.

[The difference between these approaches parallels the difference between sight and hearing. Sight grasps an event in its totality. Afterwards, one must take time to appreciate the particular concepts involved. In contrast, when one hears, one grasps the particulars one by one. Afterwards, one must work to join them together into a unified whole.]

Since Chabad emphasizes the need to strive toward fulfillment in all matters, it follows that both of these approaches must be taken. Indeed, we see this approach in our prayers: We begin the day with a general statement, Modeh Ani, an acknowledgement of G‑d’s granting us our souls. Afterwards, the different blessings and prayers we recite bring out particular dimensions of our connection with Him. At the conclusion of the prayer service, we again make a general statement, Ach Tzaddikim, which relates that “the upright will dwell in Your presence.” G‑d’s presence refers to His essence, the fundamental point of His being which includes all existence.

Similarly, these two approaches must be employed in comprehending the “knowing heart, eyes..., and ears...” which G‑d is granting us. These potentials are endowed to us in a full measure for our Sages declared, “Whoever gives, gives generously.” This surely applies when G‑d is the giver.

In this context, we can explain why in the above expression the potential of Daas (“a knowing heart”) is mentioned before Chochmah (“eyes”) or Binah (“ears”). The Kabbalists explain that there are two listings of the ten Sefiros. One includes Daas, but does not mention Kesser, while the other includes Kesser and omits Daas. In regard to the latter listing, the interpretation is not that the power of Daas is ignored. Rather, the intent is that Daas is a medium for the expression of Kesser. In the fortieth year, when we attain a level of fulfillment, this level of Daas, which surpasses the levels of Chochmah and Binah, is granted to us.

The fact that G‑d is granting each person these potentials should evoke an appropriate expression of service on the part of each individual. Surely, this applies to those who merited to see the Previous Rebbe in person or those who studied his teachings for which he dedicated himself totally, “giving over his soul.”5 Even while in the spiritual realms, the Previous Rebbe “will not abandon his flock” for the essence of service must be carried out by souls as enclothed within bodies in this material world. Thus, even on this plane, the Chassidim will be a unique group, distinguished to the extent that one will be able to point one’s finger at them and say, “These are the Chassidim of the Nasi of the generation.”

The above surely applies at present when we are granted the spiritual peaks connected with the fortieth year. These levels, however, must be expressed in the descent to the lowest rungs to carry out the service of refinement until even the minute particulars of our existence have been elevated.

Thus, we find that Yaakov our Patriarch returned to his camp in search of “small utensils.” Because of his search for these, he was forced to confront the archangel of Eisav. This confrontation was, however, successful to the extent that Eisav requested that he “come to Mount Seir” and there reveal how, “sovereignty is the L‑rd’s.”

Yaakov did not make this journey because he saw that, at that time, he was unable to complete the task of the refinement of the world. Similarly, we find in subsequent generations, there were great Jewish leaders who pressed for Mashiach’s coming. They subsisted, however, because it was revealed to them from above that more time was necessary to elevate the sparks of G‑dliness found within this world. This caused them to cease their efforts even though they appreciated the pain the exile brings to the Shechinah and to each Jew. This concept, however, does not apply in our time. “All the appointed times for Mashiach’s coming have passed.” The Messianic redemption can come without any pain or aggravation, without leaving even one spark of G‑dliness in exile.

“Deed is most essential.” We must add to our gifts to tzedakah, preferably, giving in multiples of forty. Similarly, we must increase our service in the three services of Torah, prayer, and good deeds. Similarly, efforts should be made to start new Torah institutions in every community throughout the world. In communities where such institutions already exist, others should be added.6 G‑d will surely provide the financial backing for the establishment of these institutions. To assist in the establishment of these institutions, a contribution from the Previous Rebbe’s fund in a multiple of forty, — “four hundred shekels, currency accepted by any merchant” — will be given to all these institutions even before the day of the Previous Rebbe’s yahrzeit.

[May these efforts elevate the last remaining sparks of G‑dliness and may we proceed in the immediate future to the Messianic redemption.]