1. [The Rebbe began the farbrengen by washing to partake of the Feast of Mashiach (the meal eaten at the conclusion of the Pesach holiday). He asked that all assembled do the same.]

Acharon Shel Pesach, the final day of the Pesach holiday, contains two dimensions:

a) it is the conclusion of the Pesach festival;

b) it includes all the previous days of the holiday. On it, it is possible to compensate for any lack in our service on the previous days. Even if the service of these days is not lacking, Acharon Shel Pesach can raise it to a level of perfection.1

Both these dimensions indicate how precious every moment of this time is and how it must be used in the fullest manner possible; to quote the Mishnah, “If not now, when.” Afterwards, the service of Pesach must be extended throughout the entire year.

Pesach is referred to as “the season of our freedom.” This implies that each Jew is freed of the limitations of his previous state and can ascend to a higher level. Indeed, he can progress in an unlimited fashion as implied by the very name of the holiday, Pesach, which means “leap.” Pesach represents a leap forward in our service of G‑d.

This service is not associated with the first day of the holiday alone. On the contrary, each subsequent day represents a greater and more complete leap, an additional advance in the service of G‑d.2 Today, Acharon Shel Pesach, represents the highest and most complete leap forward, surpassing that of all the previous days. Furthermore, within Acharon Shel Pesach itself, as the day proceeds, the potential for “leaping forward” increases and reaches its culmination in these closing moments of the festival.

To explain this concept in greater detail: The first day of Pesach represents a great leap forward to which we find no comparison, “the King of kings, the Holy One, blessed be He,... revealed Himself to them and redeemed them.” Nevertheless, on the following day, a person must proceed further, leaping forward to an even higher level.

Similarly, the seventh day of Pesach, which commemorates the splitting of the Red Sea, represents an unparalleled leap forward as evident from the Chassidic interpretation of the verse, “He transformed the sea into dry land.” This represents the fusion of Atzilus (“the sea,” i.e., a hidden world) with the worlds of Beriah, Yetzirah, and Asiyah (“the land,” i.e., revealed worlds).3 Indeed, our Sages relate that, at the splitting of the Red Sea, a simple maidservant perceived a greater revelation of G‑dliness than the prophet, Yechezkel.4 Nevertheless, on Acharon Shel Pesach, an even higher level can be reached. The potential is granted to leap to a level which surpasses even that of the splitting of the Sea.

The above is particularly significant this year, 5750, “a year of miracles.” A miracle also represents a leap above the natural order of the world and thus, the service of the entire year is characterized by this quality. It is also enhanced by the influence of the month of Nissan which our Sages associated with “miracles of a truly miraculous nature.” This is particularly true after the majority of the month of Nissan has passed, each day contributing an added quality to this service of “leaping forward.”

Pesach is not a self-contained experience. Rather, it, as the other festivals, has a continuous influence throughout the coming year. This implies that we must continue this service and make radical advances throughout the entire year.

This concept is relevant to every Jew. Pesach grants each man, woman, or child,5 the potential to make such an advance. Though the “leap forward” made by an adult may surpass that made by a child, each individual must carry out a service that, for his level, is considered as “leaping forward.”

The above concepts are also reflected in the mitzvah of counting the Omer. The counting of the Omer begins on the second day of Pesach, emphasizing that its intent is to continue the service of leaping forward. Furthermore, each day, we proceed to a higher level as reflected by the manner in which the Omer is counted. Rather than say, “Today is the second day...,” “Today is the third day...” and the like, we say, “Today is two days of the Omer,” “Today is three days,” indicating that each day includes within it the service of all the previous days and then, contributes a further dimension of growth itself. Ultimately we conclude this service by reaching the level of “seven perfect6 weeks.”7

There is another aspect connected with Acharon Shel Pesach that is associated with leaping forward. The ultimate leap forward will be realized with the coming of Mashiach. Then, we will advance further than all the leaps which were made in the past. The month of Nissan as a whole is associated with the Messianic redemption as our Sages declared, “In Nissan, we were redeemed and in Nissan, we will be redeemed in the future.” In particular, the holiday of Pesach is associated with redemption and more particularly, Acharon Shel Pesach is associated with the coming of Mashiach. Therefore, the Haftorah recited on that day contains many prophecies of the Messianic age.8

The Baal Shem Tov initiated the custom of eating the Feast of Mashiach on Acharon Shel Pesach, and thus, brought the connection between Acharon Shel Pesach and Mashiach into physical terms. The Rebbe Rashab celebrated this meal only with students of the yeshivah. Nevertheless, the Previous Rebbe publicized the custom, explaining that it is relevant to every Jew and instructed that it be carried out in every Jewish home.9

The above concepts are also related to this week’s Torah portion, parshas Shemini. Shemini means “eighth.” This is associated with Acharon Shel Pesach, the eighth day of the Pesach holiday. It also shares a connection to the Messianic age as obvious from our Sages’ statement that “the harp of the Messianic age will have eight strands.”

May the celebration of the feast of Mashiach lead to Mashiach’s actual coming and may we proceed together with the entire Jewish people and all the Jews of the previous generations to Eretz Yisrael, to Jerusalem, and to the Third Beis HaMikdash. May it be in the immediate future.

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2. This year, the first and the final days of Pesach are celebrated on Tuesday.10 In the narrative of creation, Tuesday is distinguished by the repetition of the phrase, “And G‑d saw that it was good.” This is associated by our Sages with a twofold good, “good to the heavens” and “good to the creations.”

This implies that the leaping forward mentioned above is not only a spiritual service, but must also be reflected within our activities within the world. We each have certain times associated with “the heavens,” e.g., prayer and Torah study. In the realm of time, this is paralleled by the holidays. Conversely, we also have certain times associated with “creations,” i.e., mundane activities, i.e., our regular weekdays.

The connection between Pesach and Tuesday emphasizes that, in both these areas, we must serve G‑d in a radically higher manner. Not only will Pesach — as does the other festivals — influence the weekdays which follow, but rather the possibility exists for there to be a leap forward, not only in the matters which are by nature connected with the festivals, but also in the realm of mundane activities.

To explain this concept: Our Sages state: “When G‑d chose His world, He established Rashei Chadashim.... When He chose Yaakov and his sons, He established a month of redemption.” This implies that redemption is the natural state of “Yaakov and his sons,” the Jewish people of all generations. A Jew is, by nature, above the limits of the world. Though this concept is true throughout the year, it receives special emphasis in the month of Nissan and, in particular, on the holiday of Pesach.

The effect the radical leap forward taken by the Jews on the holiday of Pesach has on the mundane aspects of the surrounding environment, is reflected in the Pesach narrative itself. The Torah relates that, together with the Jews, “a large multitude of mixed peoples” left Egypt, i.e., the Jews’ redemption effected many of the non-Jews living around them.

This concept is also reflected in the revelation of G‑d’s chariot which the Jews witnessed on the seventh day of Pesach. A chariot involves the use of an animal and other material entities to reach their destination faster than would be possible otherwise. This parallels the use of the material aspects of the world for the purpose of holiness, elevating them through these efforts.

There is also a connection to the above concepts in Yechezkel’s prophecy of the dried bones which is read on the Shabbos of Chol HaMoed Pesach. That reading relates how the bones which represent, “the entire house of Israel,” were “very dry.” This reflects the level of the Jewish people in the time of exile for, regardless of their level of achievement in exile, compared to the high peaks that they will reach in the Messianic age, they are like “very dry bones.”

There is also a connection to the above in this week’s Torah portion, parshas Shemini and the portion connected to the present day, Tuesday, according to the Chitas study schedule.11 Shemini, the Hebrew for “eighth,” is associated in Chassidic thought with the concept of “essence.” The association of this portion with the third day of the week indicates that our service must be dedicated to revealing the essence in all things, not only things that are “heavenly,” but also in matters which are associated with “the creations.” This reflects the efforts of the Jews to lift the entire world up, through a radical jump into holiness, to the Messianic age. In that era, the world, instead of concealing G‑dliness (עולם, is the Hebrew for “world” and העלם, is the Hebrew for “concealment”), will reveal how “He made darkness His secret place,” and show that this concealment reflects a level of darkness which transcends revelation.

May all the above be realized immediately, at this very moment, in the midst of the farbrengen, and may we proceed together with the entire Jewish people to Eretz Yisrael, to Jerusalem, and to the Beis HaMikdash.

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3. As is customary, tomorrow, Isru Chag, a Kinus Torah (“Assembly of Torah Scholarship”) will be held here, in the Previous Rebbe’s House of Study. This year, this event is also connected with the conclusion of one of the books of the Rambam’s Mishneh Torah, Sefer Zeraim (“The Book of Agricultural Laws”), and the beginning of the study of Sefer Avodah (“The Book of G‑d’s Service”), and Hilchos Beis HaBechirah (“The Laws of [Building G‑d’s] Chosen House”). Each person should make an effort to participate in this gathering.

Preferably, one should be physically present. At the very least, one should be “there in thought.” This should motivate everyone to accept resolutions to increase their study of Torah, leaping forward as appropriate to the holiday of Pesach.

The Kinus Torah is held under the auspices of the Yeshivah, Tomchei Temimim. As mentioned above, the Feast of Mashiach is also connected with the Yeshivah for, it was at the feast held in the Yeshivah, that the Rebbe Rashab initiated the custom of drinking four cups of wine. At present, the observance of this custom has been extended and is universally accepted, even by women.12

The Yeshivah should provide the wine to enable everyone, not only the students, to drink the four cups. These four cups of wine are associated with the four promises of redemption. May they be fulfilled in the immediate future.

4. The conclusion of the Book of Zeraim mentions that, rather than receive an inheritance as did the other tribes, the tribe of Levi was “set aside to serve G‑d.... They are G‑d’s legion... and therefore, He, blessed be He, provides for them.” Afterwards, the text concludes:

Not only the tribe of Levi, but each and every person on the earth who decides to commit himself... to serve G‑d... is sanctified as holy of holies. G‑d will be his portion and lot forever. This [commitment] will cause him to be granted all his needs in this world as it is written: “G‑d is the portion of my inheritance.... You maintain my lot.”

This passage implies that since such an individual dedicates himself, as the Levites were dedicated, to the service of G‑d, G‑d will provide for him. There is, however, a problematic aspect to this passage: The expressions, “holy of holies” and “lot,” are references to the Yom Kippur service. The Rambam appears to be saying that a person who commits himself to G‑d’s service attains a level of holiness equivalent, not only to that of an ordinary Levite or priest, but to that of the High Priest on Yom Kippur when he enters the Holy of Holies.13

This difficulty can be resolved as follows: Since the person’s commitment can take him above the ordinary limits of hierarchy and bring him to the level of the Levites, when his service is particularly elevated, it can raise him to even higher levels.

The Rambam’s allusion to the level of the High Priest, however, presents a difficulty. The High Priest’s level is not a product of his own refinement alone. On the contrary, he requires the oil of anointment and the priestly garments (which were made by others14 ) to attain his unique spiritual level. Thus, although an individual may achieve an elevated level of refinement, the level of the High Priest appears to be beyond his grasp.

It can be explained that the Rambam attempts to resolve this difficulty by quoting the prooftext, “You maintain my lot.” A “lot” is not dependent on a person’s own efforts. He may make the lot, but how the lot falls is given over to G‑d’s choice as it is written, “A lot is cast into the lap, but the entirety of its decision is from G‑d.”15 (Mishlei 16:33) Thus, after a person completes his efforts, G‑d may choose to elevate his service to the level of a High Priest.

This concept is connected to Acharon Shel Pesach and the concept of leaping forward in the service of G‑d discussed above for, in this halachah, the Rambam describes a person who leaps beyond the limits of the world and mundane matters and elevates himself to the service of G‑d, on the level of “Holy of Holies.” Furthermore, it is self-understood that such a person will fulfill the “great principle of the Torah,” “Love your neighbor as yourself,” and he will influence his fellow Jews to also leap above their limitations and reach the level of “Holy of Holies.”

May the discussion of these matters lead to the rebuilding of the Beis HaMikdash and the renewal of the High Priest’s service with the coming of Mashiach. May it be in the immediate future.

[The Rebbe Shlita requested to sing a song from each of the Rebbeim, beginning from the Baal Shem Tov, and to preface each song by mentioning the name of the Rebbe associated with it.]