1. This farbrengen is being held in connection with the Yahrzeit of the Rebbe Maharash. The Rebbe Maharash’s prevailing quality is Tiferes sheb’Tiferes (Beauty of Beauty). He was born on the day associated with this Sefirah [within the reckoning of the sefiros in the context of the mitzvah of counting the Omer] and his father, the Tzemach Tzedek, emphasized how this quality effected his potential for achievement.

(Parenthetically, it is worthy to note that the Chassidim saw a great connection between the two. They explained that the verse “they will approach one by one” is representative of that bond. Echad, the Hebrew word for one, is numerically equivalent to thirteen. The Tzemach Tzedek passed away on the thirteenth of Nissan and the Rebbe Maharash, on the thirteenth of Tishrei. Tishrei and Nissan are both significant months. Some of our Sages maintain that the world was created in Tishrei and others maintain that it was created in Nissan.)

From the above, it can be understood that throughout his life, the Rebbe Maharash expressed the quality of Tiferes sheb’Tiferes and continually increased its influence. Surely, on his Yahrzeit, when as stated in Tanya, “all the effort which a soul expended during his life... shines in revelation and... brings about salvation in the depths of the earth,” this quality is apparent. Indeed, each year brings about an increase in the revelation of that quality.

In the world at large, many people think that, as time passes, all matters tend to grow weaker. The opposite is really true. Just as during one’s lifetime, to quote our Sages: “As Torah Sages grow older, their intellect becomes more settled;” so, too, after their death, the passage of time brings about a further elevation and increase.

In particular, this applies in regard to a Nasi. A Nasi is, as his name implies, lifted up. However, this uplifted nature does not remove him from contact with those who are on a lower level than he. Rather, within his personality, he contains two opposite tendencies. On one hand, he is above others. Simultaneously, he remains in contact with them.

We see the latter quality in regard to a king. Though a king must be regarded with awe, our Rabbis taught: “There is no king without a people.” This does not mean that the king needs the people only at the time of his coronation. Rather, as long as he is king, his sovereignty is dependent on the existence of his subjects.

Another quality associated with the Rebbe Maharash is the expression: “lechat’chilah aribber, (Initially, one should go upward), for he, himself, said that this approach was characteristic of his nature.

Our Sages explained that the word Anochi which begins the Ten Commandments is an acronym for the Hebrew words Ana Nafshi Kesavis Yehavis — “I wrote down and gave over My soul,” implying that G‑d put Himself in the Torah. Since “the righteous resemble their Creator,” it follows that these individuals also put themselves into their teachings and thus, allowed those who learned those teachings to acquire these attributes. This is particularly true on a Yahrzeit when the totality of the person’s service is revealed as mentioned above.

The advice of lechat’chilah aribber was first mentioned in regard to material affairs. However, it was surely intended to be applied to matters in the spiritual realm as well for these were the matters of fundamental importance to the Rebbe Maharash. Needless to say, he desired that the spreading of the wellsprings of Chassidus should be carried out in this manner.

The Torah promises us: “If you walk in My ways... I will grant your rains in their season... and I will lead you upright.” Not only will G‑d grant success regarding the spiritual projects we undertake, He promises that their success will exceed what could be anticipated from a natural perspective. This success will also bring about success in material affairs as well.

This is relevant at present when we are within three days of Yom Kippur, the day on which G‑d has sealed us for a good and sweet year for the coming year; a year of success in spreading the wellsprings of Chassidus and Judaism and also, blessing in regard to children, life, material welfare in a manner of lechat’chilah aribber.

2. In one of the Rebbe Maharash’s sichos, he explains our Sages’ statement:

A person should always divide his years in three: a third to be devoted to mikra (i.e., study of the written law), a third to be devoted to mishneh (i.e., study of practically applicable Torah law), and a third to be devoted to gemara (i.e., the study of the principles which motivate halachic decisions).

The Rebbe Maharash explained that each of these three Hebrew terms has homiletic implications as well. Mikra is related to the word Korah meaning “call;” implying the arousal and the calling out of the hidden love each Jew possesses in his heart.

Mishneh is related to the word shinui, “change.” This third of a person’s life must be devoted to changing himself. Gemara is related to the word gemor, “complete.” The latter third of a person’s life must be devoted to completing the vessel. This explanation was conveyed by the Rebbe Maharash to his son, the Rebbe Rashab, as part of the preparations for his Bar-Mitzvah. Nevertheless, since the Previous Rebbe publicized these statements, they are relevant to everyone in their process of personal growth and development.

This implies that it is impossible to begin a process of change without basing it on revealing the hidden love within a Jew’s heart, nor is it possible to complete the vessel without changing oneself. Accordingly, the first stage of this process must be calling out this hidden love.

It is true that “deed is most essential” and thus, first and foremost, a person must ensure that his deeds must be as required. However, these deeds must also have “wings,” love and fear, in order to “rise upward.” We see that a deed that is performed without any feeling is not at all comparable to a deed that is performed with feelings of love.

Furthermore, it is not sufficient to call out and express only the feelings of one’s external emotions. Rather, one must call out the feelings of love that lie at the very depths of one’s heart. Afterwards, a person must concentrate on changing himself; i.e., this arousal of emotion must be utilized to bring about new development, to quote the Rebbe Rashab, “applying the axe to the wood.”

Afterwards, the vessel which is produced by “applying the axe to the wood” must be completed and polished. Thus, when a person’s process of growth is based on calling forth the love possessed in the depths of his heart and then, he changes his nature, he steps above all boundaries and limitations. Once he is no longer bound by his own limitations, the vessel he makes will be complete and will also draw down a quantity of light beyond measure.

There is a particular emphasis on the above on the Rebbe Maharash’s Yahrzeit, a day where he “brings about salvation in the depths of the earth.” Realizing these concepts in action — i.e., applying them in the depths of the earth, “brings about salvation.”

In simple terms, each person has to fulfill his personal task and mission in life. It is not sufficient that he choose the task or that the task be delegated to him, he must actually complete it. For example, if a person was chosen as a mashpia, it is not sufficient that he have the potential to influence others. He must exercise that potential, “applying the axe to the wood.”

He might argue that the reason he fails to do so is that he is involved with personal matters. Even if these matters are of extreme importance, the fact remains that he has failed to carry out his mission, a mission which many people entrusted to him, the latter being a sign that surely, G‑d also agrees.

Furthermore, by failing to realize this potential, he also denies himself personal fulfillment. Our Sages taught, “More than the calf desires to suck, does the cow desire to suckle.” With that statement, the Torah gave us a clear sign with which we can tell who is a mashpia: Does the person feel a desire to influence others? Thus, not only does such a person have an obligation to fulfill his mission, he has a natural desire to do so. Thus, he must carry out that desire.

It is not sufficient for him to explain that he is not fulfilling his mission because he was not invited to speak by so and so or that so and so does not show him the proper respect. He is charged with this mission and not so and so. Just like when he is hungry, he eats, so too, in this regard, he must fulfill his natural inclination.

Alternatively, he might argue: How can he “apply the axe to the wood,” when all he is himself is a block of wood? This may be true, but that is relevant to his personal account with his Creator. In practice, he must apply himself to the mission he was granted. This relates to the advice mentioned by the Rebbe Maharash arousing the hidden love in the depths of his heart and changing his nature.

Thus, when a person was appointed to a task, whether he sought or worked for that appointment or not, he must fulfill it. Regardless of his personal feelings, it is unfair that those who are supposed to receive influence from him do not do so.

The above relates to anyone who is a mashpia and, as mentioned above, the Torah recognizes that anyone who feels a desire to influence others is potentially a mashpia.

In addition, the Rebbe Maharash explains that these activities must be carried out in a manner of lechat’chilah aribber. That is, as the Rebbe Maharash explained: In general, people say: “Try to crawl under and if that is impossible climb over.” I say, “One’s initial impulse should be to climb over.” Thus, a person who has been given a position (or if he has taken it on his own initiative) must exercise his potential in a manner of lechat’chilah aribber. Particularly, on the Rebbe Maharash’s Yahrzeit, making a decision to follow that course of behavior will surely increase its success.

3. The concept of lechat’chilah aribber is further emphasized this year which began on a Rosh Hashanah that was celebrated on Shabbos. The Shabbos day is associated with the cessation of all work. There is no place for extra effort or difficulty. On the contrary, “when Shabbos came, rest came,” implying also the attainment of peace of mind. Even though a person also has needs on Shabbos, — indeed, it is a mitzvah to make Shabbos a day of pleasure in regard to one’s food, drink and other material matters — however, he meets those needs in a manner that not only does not create any discomfort, it brings pleasure.

In this context, we are given two guidelines by our Sages: a) “Make your Sabbaths as weekdays and do not seek the assistance of others.” b) “Borrow relying on Me, I will repay.”

The latter lesson implies relying on a level of G‑dliness which is unbounded and unlimited in nature. This, in turn, assures that “I will repay,” for all the mitzvos which G‑d commands others to fulfill, He observes Himself. Thus, surely, He will repay His debts in a bountiful and generous manner.

When Rosh Hashanah falls on Shabbos, the quality of Shabbos becomes a “head” for all the matters of the coming year. Does that mean “make your Sabbaths as weekdays”? Heaven forbid! Rather, we see that we did not blow the Shofar on the first day of Rosh Hashanah because it was Shabbos. Furthermore, the day was surely celebrated with Shabbos joy and pleasure. Thus, we see that the Shabbos-like quality of the day prevailed. This quality will, in a manner of lechat’chilah aribber, continue to prevail throughout the year to come, making it a Shabbos-like year, a year without any discomfort or worry to the point one feels that “all your work has been completed.”

The latter expression implies that there is no need for any effort whatsoever. Not even the slightest detail will be left unattended, and thus there will be nothing to prevent a person from feeling total peace of mind.

One might ask: how can one attain such a level? The Torah itself teaches, “You shall seed your fields for six years;” implying that there is the necessity for work and effort. The answer is lechat’chilah aribber. When a person follows such a path of action, the Messianic prophecy: “and foreigners will arise and pasture your sheep,” will be fulfilled for him.

Still one might question that prophecy applies to the Messianic age and not necessarily to the present. In reply, we quote the parable of the Rebbe Maharash which explains that when a person fulfills a mitzvah at present, the reward for its performance immediately comes into being, however, it is locked in a closed chest. That chest — and the key to open it — is given to the person who performs the mitzvah. Thus, the person who performed the mitzvah has no need to worry and can proceed with complete peace of mind.

Though as explained above, the nature of the day of Rosh Hashanah effects the entire year to come, it has a special connection to Sukkos as implied by the verse (Tehillim 81:4): “On the day [the moon is hidden, the day] of our holiday.” Chassidic thought explains that the influences which were hidden on Rosh Hashanah, the day the moon was hidden are revealed on Sukkos, “the day of our holiday.” This is further emphasized by the fact that the first and last day of Sukkos falls on the same day of the week as the first day of Rosh Hashanah. Thus, the Shabbos-like quality which was hidden on Rosh Hashanah comes into revelation on Sukkos.

To explain the above in terms relevant to our service, when a Jew studies Torah or fulfills mitzvos, he stands above material matters and feels Shabbos-like. Even a young child senses a unique elevated type of satisfaction when he fulfills a mitzvah or carries out the instructions of his parents or teachers. This satisfaction is higher and of a different quality than he feels from mundane, weekday satisfactions.

May the coming year be a good year, a year of blessing, including the ultimate blessing, the Messianic redemption, may it come speedily, in our days.

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4. The Rebbe Shlita concluded the Farbrengen with a call to spread the joy of the Sukkos holiday to each and every Jew. This implies two activities, firstly, emphasizing the Sukkos campaigns of spreading holiday celebrations and the observance of the holiday mitzvos wherever necessary and also, providing the holiday needs for those families who lack them.

The Rebbe emphasized that Mashiach’s coming is very close and when he comes, everyone will be anxious for the chance to fulfill the mitzvah of tzedakah. However, it will be impossible, for then, there will be an abundance of all good and no one will be lacking. Thus, the present moments offer a unique opportunity to carry out the mitzvah of tzedakah which will soon be lacking. When considered in that context, surely each individual will rush to fulfill that mitzvah.

The Rebbe also emphasized how Sukkos eve is a particularly appropriate time to give charity and suggested giving in a manner of lechat’chilah aribber. He gave out dollars to the tankists to distribute among the assembled, making each person a shliach to give this money to charity with an addition of his own.