On Shabbos Vayishlach the Rebbe Shlita described the life of our Patriarch Yaakov in the terms of Shlichus — the deputization of an agent to carry out an assigned mission and his subsequent appointment of other messengers to further carry out G‑d’s will in the world.

Yaakov’s emissaries had to go as far as the fields of Eisav, the farthest “outside,” in order to accomplish their mission, and Yaakov felt that since he had done his job he was ready to take the giant step and bring Mashiach.

In our present day deputation we must also not be satisfied with our own goals but must encourage and empower others to accept the Shlichus and go out and refine the world. We must be “agent” and “sender” all in one, by overcoming our limiting ego and subjugating our personal desire to the service of G‑d. This is the dual role of delegate/delegator.

We must put all our efforts into our job and when it is done we may expect Mashiach — just as Yaakov did.

Shabbos — Yud-Tes Kislev, Double Enhancement

Today is the Shabbos before Yud-Tes Kislev (the 19th of Kislev). It is also the eve of Yud-Tes Kislev, and consequently the connection between this day and Yud-Tes Kislev is very strongly emphasized. Every week there are blessings that extend from Shabbos to the following weekdays, and even when there are special days during the coming week, they, too, receive additional blessing from Shabbos.

Thus, in addition to the great inherent quality of Yud-Tes Kislev — the auspicious day — the day of liberation of the Alter Rebbe, called “Rosh Hashanah for Chassidus” and “Holiday of holidays,” even more blessing is bestowed upon it from the preceding Shabbos.

This points to the lofty qualities of this Shabbos, that enable it to bless and evoke intensified benevolence even on the propitious day and the rich theme of Yud-Tes Kislev.

When two special days are connected so that one leads into the other, then this mutual association affects and enriches both days. This is also true when Shabbos leads directly into Yud-Tes Kislev. Whenever Sunday is a holiday, Halachah rules that the prayer of Tzidkosecha is not recited during the Minchah service on Shabbos, the reason being that if it were a weekday the penitential prayers would be omitted from the afternoon service.

Consequently, when Shabbos leads into Yud-Tes Kislev the association of the two themes is enhanced. And on Shabbos this is felt most strongly during the afternoon, the time of “greatest delight.” This is therefore a propitious time to contemplate on these themes and thereby increase and intensify the resulting action, which is most essential.

Vayishlach — Send Messengers to the “Outside”

We will find in today’s Torah portion several themes that focus on the common aspects of this Shabbos with Yud-Tes Kislev, beginning with the general theme of the portion as represented by its name Vayishlach (Yaakov sent messengers).

The Alter Rebbe was released from Czarist incarceration on Yud-Tes Kislev and immediately began the earnest, dedicated work of spreading the wellsprings of Chassidus to the “outside.” Here is the clear connection to Vayishlach — for Vayishlach speaks of sending people on a mission; and the ultimate fulfillment of spreading the fountains of Chassidus will be attained when the mission reaches “to Edom’s field in the Seir area” (Bereishis 32:1).

“Yaakov” represents and includes all the souls of the Jewish people. In Tanya we find:

The soul of Yisrael Sava (lit. Israel the Patriarch — or Israel the old — Yaakov) which [is] compounded [of] all the souls. (Iggeres HaKodesh, ch. 7)

This is actually the role of the Nasi of the generation, for the word Nasi” comprises the initial letter of the phrase “a spark of the soul of our father Yaakov.” He is the mind and head which incorporates the entire generation and “the Nasi is everything” (Rashi, Bamidbar 21:21).

The esoteric meaning of this verse:

Yaakov sent messengers ahead of him...to Edom’s field in the Seir area, (Bereishis 32:1)

instructs us that the Nasi of the generation sends his messengers everywhere, even to the lowliest place, the field of Edom in Seir, such a distant “outside” place, there to spread Torah, Yiddishkeit, Halachah and the fountains of Chassidus.

Then, with the successful fulfillment of the mission,

Yaakov arrived safely in the vicinity of Shechem. (Ibid. 33:18)

As Rashi adds:

Unimpaired in body...whole as regards his possessions...and perfect in his knowledge of the Torah.... (Rashi, loc. cit.)

This wholeness applied to himself as well as to his work with others on the outside, which was the first stage in the rectification of the forces of Eisav that will be completed with the advent of Mashiach. Only then will Yaakov truly dwell in peace as it says:

In ease and rest shall you be saved. (Yeshayahu 30:15)

Baal Shem Tov: Spread Chassidus Bring Mashiach

When the Baal Shem Tov posed his famous question to Mashiach, “When will the Master come?” the answer was: “When your teachings will be revealed...and the wellsprings of your teachings will spread to the outside.” From this we deduce that by disseminating the teachings of Chassidus we bring Mashiach.

Everyone can be a Shaliach of the Nasi of the generation and be involved in spreading Torah, Yiddishkeit and promulgating the wellsprings of Chassidus to the outside. These efforts will complete the refinement of the material world and then:

Deliverers will go up to Mount Tziyon to judge the mount of Eisav and kingship will be the L‑rd’s. (Ovadiah 1:21)

This concept bears some further elucidation. In “sending out” we sense two opposite phenomena; on the one hand, since there is an agent involved, this shows that the “sender” does not go out himself; on the other hand, “a man’s agent is equivalent to himself” and, ipso facto, this power of attorney establishes that it is just as if the sender were here.

In Yaakov’s case he eventually also met up with Eisav — a meeting which was well prepared for by his earlier envoys. As Scripture makes it clear:

..I will win him over with the gifts that are being sent ahead, and then I will face him. (Bereishis 32:21)

The Nasi Goes Out Through His Agents

The same approach also applies to the modern day mission of the Nasi. He cannot go to all of the distant places on his own, so he sends his emissaries who will be involved in spreading Torah and Yiddishkeit throughout the world — even the far away corners of the globe (the land of Seir). These agents carry the power of the sender and are like the sender. If so, through the vicariousness of the agent the sender really does reach each and every place. In the spiritual sense this is even more evident, for the soul is not limited by the physical restriction of space.

Eventually, the “sender” and the “wellsprings” reach the “outside.” This rule also includes the true “Primal” sender. For the world becomes a dwelling place for G‑d’s presence and essence.

Just as we draw a lesson from Vayishlach concerning the sender, so, too, can we glean directives concerning the emissaries.

While it is true that Yaakov sent the messengers to his brother, he was at that time not only a sender, but also an agent, as we find:

Yitzchok then sent Yaakov on his way, headed toward Padan Aram.... (Bereishis 28:5)


Yaakov left Beer Sheva and headed toward Charan. (Ibid.:10)

Yaakov’s mission at the behest of Yitzchok was to a lowly place, there to establish a Jewish house and rear faithful children. So, all along, Yaakov was an emissary as well as a sender.

Be An Emissary and a Sender

The modern day Shaliach must learn from Yaakov that while being a trusted ambassador he must also fill the role of a sender. First he must influence himself to emerge out of his own personality restrictions and natural limitations. As a sender he forces himself to modify his habits and self-restricting nature, to bring them into conformity with the wishes of the Supreme deputizer. He must then engage his supranatural, transcendental, soul powers — such as faith — so that they will be absorbed in the immanent powers of his intellect, and from them onto the emotions of the heart. All this must result in action, to work with others — the ultimate goal of “spreading the wellsprings to the outside.”

As he goes about this internal G‑dly mission with determined single-mindedness, he realizes that his own intellectual nature did not express itself emotionally, and certainly not in cooperative action with others. Now he disregards this limited natural attitude and rises to a loftier personal state in order to properly carry out the will of his sender. Thus he is sender and agent. For by modifying his natural desires and tendencies he has emerged from himself, and in a sense he — his desire — is not here; and yet, as the agent of his sender his own will has metamorphosed into the sender’s desire, so that now he is both sender and agent.

This is as it applies to himself.

More Work, More Shluchim

In addition to his self-assignment he must also send out other emissaries. Every Shaliach should expand the activities of his place to the point where they cannot be handled by one person. Consequently, more people will be needed “one agent may appoint another agent” to continue the work of spreading Torah, Yiddishkeit and the fountains of Chassidus in the same place and adjacent areas.

With that the Shaliach will have carried out his mission completely, having gone out to be an emissary, and having sent others as agents. With this in mind we may understand the sequence of the three portions Vayeitzei, Vayishlach and Vayeishev: Vayeitzei — he went out to be involved in the work of spreading Yiddishkeit; Vayishlach — his activities increased and expanded and he sent out others to do the job; all this leads to Vayeishev — the permanent, halcyon dwelling which will come at the time of our righteous Mashiach, after all the work of purifying the world will be done.

In the portion of Vayishlach we will also find an amazing teaching on the subject of Shlichus.

Yaakov — Eisav — Mashiach

Chassidus explains that when Yaakov sent messengers to his brother Eisav:

Yaakov thought that Eisav had been refined and had risen to his lofty source in the transcendental state of Tohu which preceded Tikkun. Thus he sent angels ahead of him — literally, ahead and above, to a spiritual level higher than his own, to the earliest “kings” of Tohu. His intention was to make it known that the program of refinement of Atzilus had been completed to perfection. (Torah Or, Vayishlach)

Yaakov, in fact, saw himself in a state of readiness for the ultimate redemption, when: “Delivers will go up to Mount Tziyon to judge the mount of Eisav and kingship will be the L‑rd’s.”

This is very surprising!

Yaakov knew that the Jews had not yet been in exile, how could they attain the redemption? As for the nations of the world — they were all image-worshipers. He had traveled through many pagan lands during his journey to and from Charan and he had witnessed their idolatry. None of these nations were ready for:

Then I will change the peoples to a pure language, that they may all call upon the Name of the L‑rd and serve Him with one consent. (Tzephaniah 3:9)

Despite these obstacles, and upon returning from his mission in Lavan’s house, he immediately sends out messengers to Eisav with the message that the purification of Atzilus was over and the time for the ultimate redemption was at hand!

Yaakov symbolized the attribute of truth and if so, his view of the situation had to be true; and as strange as this may sound, in fact the ultimate salvation could have come at that moment! That is why he sought to settle down in a peaceful and halcyon way in the land of his fathers.

Complete Your Job and Await Salvation

What does this teach an emissary of Torah? One who is sent to a particular place to be involved in some way in a specific responsibility, must concentrate on his mission, and no matter what happens elsewhere or with others, he must take the view that nothing exists in the world except for his mission. This must be so embedded in his mind that he must believe that as soon as the mission is concluded Mashiach will come and redeem not only him, but the whole world!

What does this teach us?!

The general goal of spreading the wellsprings of Chassidus began with the Alter Rebbe on Yud-Tes Kislev. In each generation this responsibility grew and was increased by the Nesi’im, until the previous Rebbe who spread this concept all over the world through his emissaries, whose number has multiplied, so that today they reach the far corners of the globe.

Thus, the command of the hour is for everyone, man and woman, of this generation, to commit himself/herself to be an ambassador of the Nasi of the generation, and be involved in spreading Torah, Yiddishkeit and disseminating the fountains of Chassidus to the outside.

Potential, Desire, Success

Everyone has the potential, and when there is the will to be dedicated to this work they will go out with great joy and see great and overwhelming success.

Practically speaking: Increase the establishment of Chabad Houses — for Torah, prayer, and acts of lovingkindness. In our portion we find a symbolic reference: “There, he built himself a house” (Bereishis 33:17). The Zohar says that this verse refers to the Third Beis HaMikdash. And we prepare for the Beis HaMikdash by making small sanctuaries, houses of prayer and study — the function of Chabad Houses.

Furthermore, organize festive gatherings in honor of the holiday of liberation, Yud-Tes Kislev, in all places. And start preparations for the upcoming holiday of Chanukah. Remember, that this year Chanukah begins and concludes on a Shabbos.

Our ever-increasing involvement in these matters will merit for us the fulfillment of the promise “to appear before G‑d in Tziyon” (Tehillim 84:8). There we will witness the kindling of the seven-branched Menorah of the Beis HaMikdash, together with the eight-branched Chanukah Menorah which will never be suspended.

But even before that, may we merit to celebrate Yud-Tes Kislev with our righteous Mashiach, for then we will experience the perfect joy, when we hear the harp of Mashiach, which will have eight strings, and the loftier harp of ten strings together with the “tenth song.”

May it come speedily and truly in our days, immediately, bursting all framework of time and space, with joy which bursts all confines — as the promise “the breaker will rise up before them,” with the coming of Mashiach.