1. Yud-Tes Kislev which begins on Motzaei Shabbos is referred to as “the Rosh HaShanah (‘the head of the year’) of Chassidus.” It was given this name because the redemption of the Alter Rebbe on Yud-Tes Kislev represented a victory for the teachings of Chassidus. This name implies that just as the head includes the life energy for all the limbs of the body and Rosh HaShanah includes all the days of the year, on Yud-Tes Kislev, there is drawn down “a revelation of the light of the inner aspects of our holy Torah... throughout the entire year.”

The connection between Rosh HaShanah and Yud-Tes Kislev is further emphasized this year when it is celebrated on the same day as Rosh HaShanah.1 Also, on Yud-Tes Kislev, it is customary to wish a colleague, “May you be written down and sealed for a good year in the study and practice of Chassidus,” a greeting that reflect the intrinsic connection the two holidays share.2 [To explain: Rosh HaShanah is celebrated on the sixth day of creation because the purpose for the creation of the world is associated with the creation of man which took place on the sixth day.] Similarly, Yud-Tes Kislev represents “the ultimate purpose of the creation of man upon the earth.”

The above concepts can be explained within the context of the relationship between Yud-Tes Kislev and parshas Vayishlach. The latter relationship, however, itself requires explanation for the two concepts appear worlds apart. parshas Vayishlach is related to Yaakov’s refinement of Eisav. This was his intent in sending the angels to Eisav. He wanted to elevate him to his source in holiness, the encompassing light of the world of Tohu. Similarly, the delineation of all the descendents of Eisav at the conclusion of the parshah is intended to describe them as they exist in the Torah which reflects their ultimate state, after they have been elevated. What relationship do these efforts in refinement of the world at large, however important, have with the revelation of Yud-Tes Kislev which drew down the inner aspects of Torah to the Jewish people?

This question can be resolved through the analysis of the place of Parshas Vayishlach within the context of the Book of Bereishis as a whole. The Book of Bereishis is referred to as the “Book of the Just;” “the book of Avraham, Yitzchok, and Yaakov who are called ‘the just.”‘ Since “the deeds of the patriarchs are a sign for their descendants,” it follows that the Book of Bereishis serves a guideline for the service of the Jewish people in all the coming generations.3

In this context, we can understand the order of the parshiyos in the Book of Bereishis. The foundation for our service is stated in Parshas Bereishis: “In the beginning, G‑d created the heavens and the earth.” Our Sages explain that this verse also implies that the heavens and the earth and all the creations they contain were brought into being for the sake of ב ראשית, two entities which are called Reishis (“firsts”), the Torah and the Jewish people.4

The purpose of the creation can be derived from the name of the following parshah, Noach. Noach is related to the concept of satisfaction (nachas ruach), the satisfaction G‑d feels from the fulfillment of His desire for a “dwelling in the lower worlds.”5

Parshas Lech Lecha describes Avraham’s journey from his “land, native country, and father’s house,” a journey which reflects the descent of the soul from the spiritual realms to our material world. It is through this descent that the soul is able to attain a higher level than it possessed before its descent.

In order for the soul to be able to descend and fulfill the intent for the creation, it is necessary that it be granted an extra measure of Divine revelation as implied by the opening verse of Parshas Vayeira, “And G‑d revealed Himself to him.”6

This revelation must permeate through the totality of an individual’s personality. This is alluded to in the parshah, Chayei Sarah, which describes Sarah’s lifespan as being “one hundred years, twenty years, and seven years,” three divisions which represent the categories of will and pleasure, intellect, and emotions as they are forged into a single existence.

All of the above grant the potential for Toldos, “offspring,” — “the essential offspring of the righteous are good deeds.” In particular, in this context, Toldos, Yitzchak’s offspring, refers to Yaakov (“doing good,” service within the realm of holiness,) and Eisav (“turning away from evil” and on a higher level, transforming it into good).

After this, it is possible to begin the service of G‑d as alluded to by Yaakov’s journey mentioned in parshas Vayeitzei. The journey from Beer-Sheva (representative of the soul’s place in the spiritual realms, the seven sublime attributes) and the descent to Charan (“the place within the world which aroused G‑d’s anger”) is intended to elevate and refine the world. This week’s portion, parshas Vayishlach, represents a continuation of that activity, describing how Yaakov sent messengers to Eisav with the intent of elevating him. Thus, it reflects the elevation of the lowest possible levels.

This service leads to parshas Vayeishev: “And Yaakov dwelled...,” interpreted by our Sages to refer to dwelling in peace and prosperity. It brings us to Mikeitz — “the end” — referring to “the end of days,” Vayigash — “And he approached” — alluding to the establishment of unity between a Jew and G‑d”, and Vayechi — “And he lived” — which reflects eternal life, the era of the resurrection.

On a more general level, the structure of the service of the Jewish people as outlined in the Book of Bereishis is divided into three general categories: a) The first portion from Bereishis until Toldos describes the preparation necessary for the service of G‑d, defining the goals for our service (Bereishis and Noach) and describing the commandment to carry out this service (Lech Lecha), the powers we are given (Vayeira and Chayei Sarah), and the manner in which the service is to be carried out (Toldos). b) The second portion (Vayeitzei and Vayishlach) describes how this service is actually carried out. Vayeitzei describes the refinement of the lower aspects of the world and Vayishlach, the refinement of the very lowest dimensions of existence. c) The third portion (from Vayeishev to Vayechi) describes the results of the service, including the ultimate reward, the resurrection the dead.

In this context, Parshas Vayishlach which describes the refinement of Eisav represents the refinement of the lowest aspects of existence and thus, the fulfillment of the intent for creation, the establishment of a dwelling for G‑d within this world.

On this basis, we can understand the connection between Yud-Tes Kislev and Parshas Vayishlach. Yud-Tes Kislev represents the beginning of the “spreading of the wellsprings of Chassidus outward.” Even though Pnimiyus HaTorah was studied in the previous generations, the AriZal had proclaimed “It is permitted and a mitzvah to reveal this wisdom,” and the Baal Shem Tov and the Maggid had already revealed Chassidic teachings, the revelation of the teachings of Chabad by the Alter Rebbe represented a major breakthrough. From Yud-Tes Kislev onward, the teachings of Chassidus were spread, reaching the “outer reaches,” the lowest aspects of the world. For a dwelling for G‑d to be established in the lower worlds, it is necessary that the “wellsprings,” the essence of Pnimiyus HaTorah which is drawn down from the essence of G‑d to permeate every aspect of existence until even the lowest elements of existence are transformed into a dwelling for G‑d.

Thus, the elevation of the lowest aspects of existence which is accomplished through the spreading of Chassidus that was begun on Yud-Tes Kislev and continued by all the Rebbeim in the subsequent generations represents the completion of Yaakov’s service of “sending messengers to Eisav.” The shluchim who have been sent to every corner of the world — even the furthest removed islands — and have spread the wellsprings of Chassidus there have accomplished the refinement of Eisav, i.e., the elevation of the furthest removed portions of this world. Since parshas Vayishlach represents the completion of the service of the refinement of the world, it is appropriate that the redemption of Yud-Tes Kislev be associated with it.7

2. This explanation also serves as the basis with which we can understand the connection between Yud-Tes Kislev and Rosh HaShanah: The service of Rosh HaShanah centers on the coronation of G‑d as “King of Israel” and “King of the entire earth.” Yud-Tes Kislev, the Rosh HaShanah of Chassidus, reveals that kingship through the world at large. By spreading the wellsprings of Chassidus outward to the furthest removed corners of existence, we reveal how G‑d is king over the entire earth.8 Since Yud-Tes Kislev expresses the deepest aspects of G‑d’s essence and spreads the revelation of this dimension outward until G‑d’s kingship is evident throughout the totality of existence, it reflects the inner depth of Rosh HaShanah.

This year, the connection of Yud-Tes Kislev to the revelation of G‑d’s sovereignty is given greater emphasis since Yud-Tes Kislev falls on Sunday. The Torah describes Sunday as “one day,” the day when G‑d was at one with all existence.9 Our Sages explain that the Shema which describes how G‑d is one in the seven heavens and all four directions of this world expresses His Kingship over the totality of existence. Similarly, the appreciation of G‑d’s oneness granted by Yud-Tes Kislev expresses His sovereignty over our existence.

“Deed is most essential.” It is proper to arrange farbrengens everywhere in connection with Yud-Tes Kislev for men, women, and children so that they will accept good resolutions together with others in regard to all aspects of Torah and Mitzvos as they are illuminated with the light of the Torah, the teachings of Chassidus. These farbrengens should be held on Motzaei Shabbos, on the night between Yud-Tes Kislev and the 20th of Kislev (the night when Chassidim would customarily hold the farbrengens associated with Yud-Tes Kislev), and continue these farbrengens until Chanukah.

The resolutions accepted in these farbrengens should center on the three pillars of service, Torah, prayer, and deeds of kindness as associated by our Sages with the verse, “He redeemed my soul in peace.” This refers to “those who are involved with Torah, deeds of kindness, and those who pray together with the community.” In particular, they should involve the construction or the enhancement of buildings connected with these activities. [In this context, it is worthy to mention the construction of a building for the library of Agudas Chassidei Chabad.]

May these activities lead to an added commitment to the study of Chassidus and the spreading of the wellsprings of Chassidus outward, both in regard to one’s self — having Chassidus permeate every aspect of one’s being — and similarly, spreading Chassidus to others.

May this, in turn, lead to the coming of Mashiach when we will kindle the Menorah in the Beis HaMikdash. From there, “light will go out to the entire world,” revealing G‑d’s oneness throughout creation.