1. Chanukah is one of the mitzvos ordained by the rabbis. In searching for the meaning of the word, “Chanukah,” we find a traditional explanation which views the word as an acronym:

CH’aN’U’K’aH’ — Light eightcandles and the halachah is according to the opinion of BeisHillel.

Taken in this context the first two letters of the word Chanukah (Ches and Nun) represent the eight candles of the menorah. But the miracle happened in the Beis HaMikdash where the Menorah had only seven branches?! Nevertheless, because of the miracles which occurred, the Chanukah menorah was set by Halachah to have eight branches.

The “Al HaNissim” prayer (“[We thank You] for the miracles”) relates, that on Chanukah G‑d delivered “the mighty into the hands of the weak” and “the many into the hands of the few.” The natural sequence of events at that time should have caused the Jewish people to experience great fear of the powerful enemy. But since the confrontation hinged on the question of whether Jews should live according to Torah, the Jews were not afraid; they were ready to sacrifice their lives and to fight for G‑d’s will. In the end they were delivered from the hands of their enemies and the “many” were conquered by the “few.”

The lesson for us is clear. When a Jew faces a problem in living according to the laws of Torah and the mitzvos of G‑d, he must take a lesson from how his ancestors acted. Normally one must not rely on miracles, but when it comes to the basics of Yiddishkeit one must be ready to fight against the odds and must be ready for sacrifice (even if it means hoping for a miracle).

There are subjects in which, according to Shulchan Aruch (the Code of Jewish Law), one must follow the laws of nature, but when a Jew finds obstacles in the path of Torah, then he must not acquiesce to the desires of the “many” or the “strong,” for he is G‑d’s child, and His messenger to carry out His will and live his daily life according to Torah. Certainly, when you work hard you will find success, so that you will carry out G‑d’s will, and in the end even the “strong” will admit that your path of Torah is right, and they will be transformed to follow the path of G‑d.

This will serve as a preparation for the time when all matters of Yiddishkeit will be increased even more than at the time when the Beis HaMikdash stood. At that time the Jews had peace and tranquility — especially in the time of King Shlomo during the First Beis HaMikdash. The future holds greater blessings in store.

Now, however, the power of the “many” or the “strong,” who oppose the Torah, is not supposed to cause any failure. On the contrary, its purpose — is to raise the Jew above the level attained at the time when the Beis HaMikdash stood. These actions serve as a preparation for the era when there will be eight candles and eight strings in the harp of the Beis HaMikdash. In ancient times the harp had seven strings, and then it was considered complete. But there may be higher levels in perfection! Those loftier states will be generated as the reward for our actions in the time of the galus, or, when the Beis HaMikdash stood, but we were faced by enemies. In those times, and despite the formidable foes, they bravely “cleansed...purified Your Sanctuary, kindled lights in Your Holy courtyards,” and they generated a loftier state.

The lamps that were kindled in the “courtyards” — were not the same as the Menorah which was kindled in the Temple proper.

The Chanukah lights were kindled in the courtyards of the Temple, just as the Chanukah menorah, in all places and at all times, must be placed at the doorway, outside. Then, too, in the Beis HaMikdash they lit a menorah of eight branches (not seven) in the courtyard. This was the opinion of Beis Hillel — to start with one candle and increase till you reach eight. They did not change the inner Holy Menorah, but added much light outside.

The Rambam writes that the Chanukah candles continue to burn after the destruction of the Temple, for at all times, in all places, Jews continue to kindle the Chanukah menorah at the proper time, to illuminate both the home and the outside with the light of “the mitzvah candle and the Torah light.”

We see that we kindle the menorah at the door, outside, and it illuminates the home and its surroundings. How? With the light of a mitzvah. Before performing the mitzvah we say a blessing in which we bless and thank G‑d for giving us the mission to do the mitzvah. We say “Boruch” — thank You for making us holy with Your commandments!

Then, when we perform the mitzvah we evoke the state of:

These days should be remembered and celebrated (lit. come into being), (Esther 9:28)

it evokes more light and brightness — which will bring to the period of the harp of eight strings, symbolizing the aspect of joy, which will burst the restrictions of the galus and the innerexile! All fears and apprehensions of the galus relative to matters of Yiddishkeit will be buried and even though we are still in a situation where darkness covers the earth, we will know that our mission is to create light, for “G‑d will shine on you.”

Therefore the Rambam writes:

The Torah already offered assurance that Israel will, in the closing period of the exile, finally repent and thereupon immediately be redeemed. (Laws of Teshuvah 7:5)

As he quotes further, that G‑d will be proclaimed King by Jew and non-Jew alike.

For then will I turn to the peoples a pure language, that they may all call upon the Name of the L‑rd to serve Him with one consent. (Zephaniah 3:9)

By doing all Torah and mitzvos and especially by making more light while we are still in the galus, that day will be brought forward.

It is now after Shabbos, a time which is connected to King Dovid Mashiach. Even the Melaveh Malkah meal is referred to as the meal of Dovid Melech Mashiach (see AriZal).

We are still in the galus and when we eat the three meals during Shabbos, they are not associated with Mashiach, yet at the Melaveh Malkah meal we say it is “the meal of Mashiach.” For we have shown that we could make Shabbos a day of rest. We converted the days of the week into the completion and rest of Shabbos — we raised the world around us while still within the restrictions of the world. Even the physical body attained the state of “delight,” when eating simple foods of Shabbos, which is a preview of the state that will prevail when Mashiach comes. After all these accomplishments, the Melaveh Malkah meal can be related to Mashiach.

The loftiness of the Shabbos meals also carry over to the after-Shabbos meal, which actually is connected to Sunday, while at the same time being the meal of farewell to the Shabbos Queen. This shows us that we must carry with us some of the blessing and holiness of Shabbos into the weekdays.

Tonight, when we kindle eight Chanukah lights it again reminds a Jew that Mashiach is coming now, and we will soon have the eight-string harp of the Beis HaMikdash.

For we will have the joy of redemption in addition to the joy of serving G‑d — and the joy of Shabbos and mitzvos. And the special joy of Chanukah “days of Hallel and rejoicing.”

This brings us to the state of:

Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the L‑rd of hosts, (Zechariah 4:6)

when G‑d will bring the redemption of our elders and youths, sons and daughters, into the Holy Land, where we will have the additional light, having fulfilled “Your Torah...and...the decrees of Your will” (Siddur), even in the galus.

2. In the acrostic mentioned earlier the next three letters (Vav, Chof and Hey) represent the statement: “The halachah is according to the opinion of Beis Hillel”; that each night we add one candle.

When, on the first night we kindled one candle the whole mitzvah was fulfilled properly, yet, the next day, as we become a day older and wiser, we must add more light, the light of Yiddishkeit, and kindle two candles.

We become so enthused in fulfilling the mitzvah, that all can clearly see how we add more light.

After doing the complete mitzvah on the first night we are not satisfied, but we seek a way to reach greater heights — to go from strength to strength — for now we have more knowledge and more power, since lighting the first candle. Therefore we now light two candles. After lighting two candles once again we are not satisfied by rising only one step higher, and on the third night we kindled three candles and we rise still higher. This process continues for seven nights in a row.

The weekly cycle of life is made up of seven days, as it was at the creation of the world, and each day of every week symbolizes a day of that first week of creation.

By daily increasing the Chanukah candles you show that you constantly advance from “strength to strength” in all matters of Yiddishkeit, in Torah and mitzvos.

When a Jew does a mitzvah it is not done out of logical rationalization, i.e. if he understands the mitzvah he performs it and if it is beyond his comprehension he rejects it. This is not so, for we clearly say in the blessing pronounced before every mitzvah, “Who has sanctified us through His mitzvos and commanded....” Why do we do the mitzvah? because G‑d commanded us to do so. It is the “statute of Your will.”

All Jews at one time proclaimed “Na’aseh Venishma,” “We will do and we will listen,” which means that we perform mitzvos not because we comprehend their logic, but because of G‑d’s will. This frame of mind and this approach placed all Jews on a lofty station. At the same time this attitude of “We will do and we will listen” also creates a framework for advancement.

Sometimes, within this framework you may perform a mitzvah, but it is done without feeling, and it is only an external and superficial action.

If you seek the feeling of the heart “with all your heart,” it is not there! Perhaps you lack the appreciation or understanding to awaken the feeling. And so you must strive to attain the state of “with all your heart.” But then, after including the feeling of the heart, you must again diligently work to awaken the soul — “all your soul” — the desire and delight of your soul. This means, that despite the fact that the original act was self-imposed, being carried out as a decree, you must now invest the time and effort to awaken the ten powers of your soul to attain the state of “all your might,” including, and beyond, “heart” and “soul.”

Chanukah shows us that one can function in a framework of constant improvement all seven days of the week, with an attitude of rejoicing. This path of advancement and illumination then becomes the halachah — for it follows the opinion of Beis Hillel — that we must increase light every day.

In our daily prayers we recite the formula:

Whoever studies Torah laws (halachos) every day is assured of life in the World to Come, for it is said: Halichos (the ways [paths] of) the world are his (Chabakuk 3:6). Do not read Halichos but Halachos (Torah laws). (Tanna d. Eliyahu Zuta ch. 2)

The halachos become his path in life. This is the meaning of: “The halachah is according to the opinion of Beis Hillel,” that this halachah becomes the “way of life.”

On the name “Hillel” the Alter Rebbe explains that it comes from the root “to shine” for he (Hillel) illuminated the world with Torah and mitzvos. Chanukah now harnesses this illumination. The name Hillel also symbolizes the supernal attribute of kindness so that by following the halachos of Hillel we will be blessed with the light and kindness of G‑d at the door of our home as well as outside.

The Gemara says that the Chanukah lights must illuminate the darkness until the time that the “Tarmodo’i” leave the street.

Chassidus explains that the word T’aR’M’oD’O’I’ has the same letters, although scrambled, of the word, M’oR’eD’eS — (who were the servants of Shlomo HaMelech who had rebelled.)

Now, the light in the darkness will neutralize the lowest level of rebellion — the feet of the Tarmodo’i — and convert them into the feet that walk the proper paths of life and fulfill the will of G‑d. Every Jew is given this power, even those who might be unaware of it.

When a Jew learns something it is not for naught — rather it must help him to serve G‑d: “I was created to serve my Maker.” To bring the kingdom of G‑d into the world.

When he fulfills a mitzvah in his doorway it will illuminate the street and those in the street — even the rebels — will change completely from Tarmodo’i to the state of recognizing the kingdom of G‑d, and “serve Him with one consent.”

When a Jew is informed of the fact that in the world there are societies which are similar to “jungles,” where wild men act against the rule of the Seven Noachide Laws he must realize that in fact they are rebelling against the design of creation — “to make a useful social order.” He must then do what he can to spread the knowledge of the Seven Noachide Laws which all the people of all the nations of the world are responsible to fulfill.

You ask, what can you do?

Well, take a moment to consider. When you light a physical candle, if there is nothing blocking the light, the law of physics says that the light will continue to radiate ad infinitum — that is the nature of light. How much more so when you kindle a mitzvah candle. And how much more so when you put the candle outside your house to illuminate the world outside, and to teach the Seven Noachide Laws. It must certainly reach those people in the jungle — for it is the infinite light of G‑d as it is clothed and revealed in a physical light which radiates endlessly.

Thus, the directive for all Jews follows the rule of the Rambam. Among the mitzvos which Moshe received from G‑d was the mitzvah that Jews must force all the people of earth to fulfill the Seven Noachide Laws.

Our role in this matter has become easier, as we have seen in this country and in this era, which gives us encouragement that it will be accomplished.

Our involvement in this effort will speed the revelation of “light of dawn” and the redemption of Mashiach, when all nations will serve G‑d and all will proclaim the Kingdom of G‑d in a manner of infinite kindness. This was the way of Beis Hillel — the halachah becomes the “way of life,” in a manner of kindness, which leads to the blessing described at the close of the Talmud.

The L‑rd will give strength to His people; the L‑rd will bless His people with peace. (Tehillim 29:11)

True peace and true perfection which will come with the promise:

I will grant peace in the land...and lead you forth with your heads held high. (Vayikra 26:6,13)

May it come speedily, with joy and gladness of heart.

* * *

3. During Chanukah a suggestion was presented — which hopefully will be accepted — to increase the joy and rejoicing of the holiday of Chanukah.

In the halachic rulings of the Shulchan Aruch we find the connection between the holiday of Chanukah and light and candles. Similarly, in the prayers of the holiday, we include the prayer of Hallel, which is also related to the concept of shining light. All this is connected to the aspect of light.

There is however the opinion of Rambam, who rules that the “days of Chanukah are days of thanksgiving and joy.”

The Shulchan Aruch, however, rules only about the subject of light. We should view this matter from two aspects. On the one hand we have the ruling of Beis Hillel — to add light on Chanukah (and likewise, in all aspects of Yiddishkeit). On the other hand, we also have the rule: “You must not add.”

Our sages explain, that when Scripture teaches the prohibition of adding or deleting any mitzvos of the Torah, we are first taught not to add and then not to delete. This seems to be illogical. The order should be reversed, first it should tell us not to do less than what the Torah demands! After all, is that not the real threat, that someone will not fulfill all that is demanded of him?! Adding a bit is really not so wrong; extra good deeds — even though not real mitzvos are not intrinsically bad! Why does the Torah start off by warning the Jew nottoadd to his observance, when he chooses to be more pious?!

To properly understand this matter we must preface with a discussion of motivation. How can a Jew diminish the number of mitzvos he does? Certainly he wants to do G‑d’s will! The answer, of course is, that he succumbs to the whims of the yetzer hora “the old and foolish king,” who is really not so foolish when it comes to his business. In fact, he is quite an “expert in his field”!

The yetzer hora often starts his attack on a Jew’s observance by suggesting the idea of adding moregooddeeds. “Why be satisfied with what you have in Torah? add some more!” This is one day’s argument of the yetzer hora. But, as the Gemara says, “Today he says do this, and tomorrow this, until he says ‘go worship idols.’“

His first line of attack is to agree with you to do mitzvos — but to addafew of your own. The next day he says “You see, the rules of the Torah are notexact and perfect. The proof is that yesterday you had to addafewlaws!”

Now if you can add mitzvos based on your intellect, so too, can you delete mitzvos based on your intellect, if you so choose.

Therefore to counter this sly trick of the yetzer hora the Torah says: “Follow G‑d’s commandments exactly as given.” “Don’t add and don’t subtract.” When you realize that youmustnotadd, you will see that it will be easier nottodelete.

Now, while on Chanukah we have the philosophy to add and increase holiness, nevertheless the Shulchan Aruch, which represents the final authority, and which we don’t question, does not include the aspect of adding joy in the observance of Chanukah.

Let us now consider another point.

We likewise have two general rules in Torah: 1) When there is a difference of opinion and the final ruling of Halachah accepts one of the opinions we are not allowed to practice according to the minority (unaccepted) view. 2) Another rule we prescribe to is expressed in the epithet: “The Torah prohibits the new (grain).”Despite all this however, when we have a legitimate opinion, even the minority view must be quoted. Why? One reason is, so that in case in the future the times will change and the conditions will change, we should know that there is another opinion which might be correct to apply under those different circumstances.

This is certainly so when speaking of increasing aspects of Yiddishkeit.

Back to our subject. There were different opinions concerning joy on Chanukah, between the Rambam and Rosh and Ashkenazim and Sefardim. Eventually the Halachah was decided, even for Sefardim, according to the opinion of the Rosh, as the Beis Yosef says. However, here we find, that at the same time we alsoquote the opinion of the Rambam about the joy of Chanukah; this clearly indicates that should we want to follow that opinion it would not be considered something “new” or “revolutionary.” Rather is has a root in the old classic opinions.

With both opinions recorded, the Torah scholars were still reluctant to add a new custom on a permanent basis — for then it could open the door to unscrupulous people who want to add new subjects which are not good. Therefore, there was the constant reluctance to initiate any new customs. But let us consider this for a moment. When does a practice have the validity of a minhag? if we establish it for always. If, however, some practice is established onlytemporarily — only at a certain set time — then we don’t have to worry about people who may misuse this practice.

We now find ourselves in a time that needs more joy. In these days of the darkness of the galus we cannot serve G‑d with fasting — it will affect our study of Torah — “they will be called sinners.” The Rambam in today’s section says that:

One is forbidden to wound either himself or another, for his body is G‑d’s possession, not his own. (Laws of Wounding 5:1)

But isn’t he his own master? No — just as he may not hurt a friend, he must not hurt himself — so we cannot serve G‑d through fasting, even though only the body suffers, for we must protect our health.

The Alter Rebbe may have personally had the quality of perfect good health, of which we should all take notice, nevertheless in contemporary time we must say, “Do you want to serve G‑d by fasting? Don’t!” You must do Mivtzoim, and you need energy in your feet to carry you to do the Mivtzoim. You want to rid yourself of sin? — do it with tzedakah! as the Alter Rebbe explains in Tanya.

The proper way to serve G‑d is through joy, this is clearly defined for us in Scripture, the Rambam, the writings of the AriZal and in the Chassidic discourses associated with weddings.

Simchah changes the nature of the heavenly Beis Din (court), from the extreme of severity to create infinitekindness and mercy.

It then expresses itself in this lowly physical world in actual blessings of children, sustenance and long life.

Well, we now recognize that we need the assistance of joy — until we reach the complete wholeness.

In recent times (weeks) we have perceived a pervading weakness and serious problems in health matters. Sinister new sicknesses have been isolated that never existed before, and the problems have reached alarming proportions.

This could be cause for worry and anxiety. However, this sadness must be corrected and changed for the better. so that you will draw light out of the darkness. Then, not only do you find the cure for the sickness, but also the malady never comes! Therefore in these days, the power of joy is needed, and certainly the Holy One, Blessed be He, will give us the additional power to add happiness.

Hence, for all of these reasons the suggestion is being presented, that during the holiday of Chanukah we should increase joy — not to make a new, permanent minhag — rather only temporarily, only now, this year, next year we will ask Mashiach what to do!

Then, at the time of the resurrection when Mashiach comes, we will meet the Chashmonean, and Beis Hillel and Beis Shammai, and the Beis Yosef and the Rambam and they will discuss this question and announce the proper conduct for Chanukah 5747, meanwhile for this year wemustaddjoy. Therefore, joyous farbrengens should be organized so that many Jews will gather, united as one, and speak words of Torah:

The mandates of the L‑rd are upright, rejoicing the heart, (Tehillim 19:9)

and to make good resolutions concerning mitzvos. All mitzvos must be fulfilled with joy, and as the Shulchan Aruch does include the concept of rejoicing regarding the meals of Chanukah — the increase of rejoicing should commence with the festive meals.

4. There is another subject which needs to be discussed, dealing with an increase in Yiddishkeit, Torah and mitzvos. In one of the letters that the Alter Rebbe wrote about the slander levied against him, he wrote that it was clear that the complaints had no basis. Actually this is problematic, for if the complaints really had nobasis, they could not have been presented! As the Gemara says:

A person does not incur suspicion unless he has done the thing [suspected]. (Moed Katan 18b)

Among the complaints made against the Alter Rebbe to the Czar was the accusation that he wanted to be a king. This was clearly a “sin” against the Czar and the Alter Rebbe and those who defended him had to present proofs to negate this accusation. The Previous Rebbe explained that the Alter Rebbe really had the desire to be like a king; it was connected to the attribute of “Malchus” (royalty). He experienced the essential unity with the attribute of Malchus and his desire was to be connected to “Your Kingship is a Kingship over all worlds” (Siddur). In fact, when the Czar’s doctor examined the Alter Rebbe, the doctor saw a “thirstinhishearttobeaking.” The Alter Rebbe responded that it was “not true,” because he could not explain the spiritual meaning of the desire.

There have been arguments presented that Chabad Chassidim are not doing enough for Yiddishkeit. There really is no basis for this and it is patently untrue! They began to work for Jewish needs in the time of the Alter Rebbe and have continued until now! Yet if there were such arguments there must be some shadow of truth in it. What can it be?

When a person can do more and does not properly utilize his power and potential it is considered that he did not do his job properly. The Gemara tells of Nakdimon b. Gorion who gave much tzedakah — but it was not relative to his ability — and therefore it was considered that he did not give. Certainly, Chassidei Chabad have done a lot, but they did not do enough — and it was not as expected.

Therefore, when a clear opportunity presented itself, and the Tzivos Hashem came together during Chanukah, it became necessary to speak out. Just as when the second night of Chanukah came it was not enough to light one candle, similarly, more effort is needed in this work. So it was suggested to work with those people who had come together — the children and elders — Tzivos Hashem and Tiferes Zekeinim — and all ages in between. Those who have previously worked and accomplished a lot in these areas should do even more. On the third night of Chanukah two candles are not enough, and on the eighth day you must have all eight candles like the harp of Mashiach of eight strings.

It was also suggested and recommended to increase the number of Chabad Houses and in those places where there is no Chabad House — to establish one immediately.

(It was also stated that there would be participation from here in all these aspects.)

Although, in general there is the rule of “walking discreetly” in observance of mitzvos, yet, the Shulchan Aruch states that “It is a mitzvah to publicize and praise one who does a good deed.” There is a good logic to this, for others will see the good deeds and follow the example!

The Midrash tells us about Yaakov’s son Reuven. If he had known that his good action would be recorded in Torah he would have worked much harder to save Yosef. Reuven certainly did all he could to protect Yosef, but he would have done more — if he had been told that it would be publicized. “But,” you ask, “one must walk humbly?! — and you must strive in your personal attributes to reach the level that all your accomplishments don’t go to your head.” This is true, but first you must do it! First save Yosef! So, therefore, we must publicize the good acts that will be done.

This campaign began after Yud-Tes Kislev — and we are coming up to Yud Teves — the tenth of Teves of which the Avudraham says: “If the tenth of Teves were to fall on Shabbos, we must fast.” All the other fasts during the year are postponed if they fall on Shabbos but not the tenth of Teves. (In practice, of course, the tenth of Teves never falls on Shabbos.)

If it is so in the case of fasting — then the greatness of the tenth of Teves, when Mashiach comes, will be much greater, because it has the power to push off Shabbos.

All the good deeds in all these areas will be advertised; we should be informed what was done and what was decided, before the tenth of Teves, so that a book may be published incorporating the reports of all the functions. It is said that a picture is better than many words. So pictures should also be sent about the Beis Chabad or Tzivos Hashem or the elders. In all cases it must reach here before the tenth of Teves.

You do not have much time? Run! Fly with a helicopter! After all why were helicopters made! Our sages tell us that gold was made for the Beis HaMikdash. But we must have free will, so gold was put in the world and it may be used for bad, too. Similarly, youmustuse the helicopters for mitzvos.

We must use every opportunity to carry out this important mission. On the envelope write “Connected with Yud Kislev.” The envelope should include only these items — a report and pictures. All of the efforts done since the tenth of Kislev till the tenth of Shvat will be included in a book. Till then certainly Mashiach will come and we will celebrate, with the Previous Rebbe, the completion of this book. [Then, when Mashiach comes, mitzvos will still apply during the first period of Mashiach’s era.]

In speaking of the importance to increase our activities in all these areas of reaching out , we should also answer a Klotz-Kashe connected to this approach of spreading the fountains of Chassidus. We know the story which the Alter Rebbe related, that before he was redeemed from prison two people came to visit him in jail. He knew that one was the Maggid (for he recognized him) and he realized that the other was probably the Baal Shem Tov — because he walked in front of the Maggid. They told him he was in prison because of his work in spreading Chassidus. They also told him that the heavenly decree had been rescinded and he would be released from prison. He asked them what he should do then? (Should he continue to disseminate Chassidus?) They answered that he should doevenmore.

Here we are faced with a perplexing Klotz-Kashe! The Alter Rebbe asked them the question and if he had been told to stop teaching Chassidus he would have stopped spreading Chassidus.

Two questions:

1. There was a story about the Alter Rebbe’s response when someone found a sheet of Chassidic writings and it aroused a spiritual debate in heaven, including criticism of the Maggid. When the Alter Rebbe realized the danger, he told the story of a prince who was deathly ill — the doctor expressed the need to grind the “stone of glory” of the king’s crown, to save the prince, by feeding even a drop to the prince. This stopped the supernal criticism and intervened on behalf of the Maggid and his teachings. The Alter Rebbe himself had said that allegory and he saw the criticism and danger stop. Now, how could heask the Maggid the same question again?!

2. We have a rule, once a soul goes up to heaven it cannot judge questions of Halachah! As the Alter Rebbe explains in Chassidus, that when the Holy One, Blessed be He, says one opinion and the Heavenly Yeshivah says another opinion, it depends on the statement of RabbahbarNachmani! The only question before us is did Rabbah say that halachah before or after, he died. He was the authority for those rules, but his authority could only be when his soul was in his body, afterwards he cannot judge a halachah. If there are others who are alive, who rule differently we must follow them. So the question arises. The Nasi then was the Alter Rebbe — that’s why he was arrested — when the Maggid and the Baal Shem Tov came to visit him why did he askthem?! They could not judge! Torah is not in Heaven?!

So the Klotz-Kashe applies to the Alter Rebbe. True there were those who were against disseminating the wellsprings at the time of the Maggid but that criticism had been neutralized earlier.

How could the Alter Rebbe ask this same question of the heavenly souls and how could they answer how he should conduct himself?

There are those who think “How can we mix into the matters that deal with the Alter Rebbe, Maggid and Baal Shem Tov?” — but we are dealing with a real question of Shulchan Aruch.

From here we must learn a practical lesson, for those who say: “You do too much,” in spreading Yiddishkeit. We now have the clear ruling and a clear action on the part of the Alter Rebbe that he did more! The most definitive form of proof in Halachah is the “action of the teacher,” and we see the Alter Rebbe increased the dissemination of Chassidus based on the response of the Maggid and Baal Shem Tov.

There was also an announcement at the aforementioned gathering that those who have manuscripts of Chassidic nature, to bring them into Merkos, so that they may be published. They will have the merit of the community, of all the Jews, and even the Shechinah, which is in galus.

This should all be done with joy that pierces the limits of the galus.

5. The Klotz-Kashe that was previously mentioned has not yet been answered. Why did the Alter Rebbe ask the Maggid and the Baal Shem Tov whether he should continue expanding the work of spreading Chassidus? I will answer in brief.

We find a similar incident in the Gemara which is questioned in the commentaries. When Rabbi Yehudah Hanassi died the Gemara says that he would come to his house every Friday night and say Kiddush. He did thus until a neighbor realized what was happening and then he stopped coming.

The question: How could his family fulfill the mitzvah of Kiddush and the Shabbos meal? He was not really alive! But the answer was that when he came back to his home he came in a physicalform and was seen by human eyes.

When the neshamah comes in abody, it has all the rules and limitations of a true living being, body and soul. So he could say Kiddush and do a mitzvah!

So too, here. The Alter Rebbe saw a tall person and short person. One walked ahead and the other followed, in time and place; and the story says that he recognized the Maggid. He did not recognize the Baal Shem Tov, for he had not seen him when he was an adult. (The Alter Rebbe did see the Baal Shem Tov when he was three years old.) So although he did not recognize the Baal Shem Tov, he did pay attention to the way they walked. Thus, it was the physical characteristics which concerned him for they came to him as living physical beings. So why could they not rule an Halachic question? As it was with Reb Yehudah Hanassi.

But the second question still stands! Why did he ask what to do? Could they tell him to change his custom?! He had made disseminating Chassidus his custom for many years and he had ruled that Chassidus must be taught. How could he ask them the halachah; to teach him Torah?

The answer is, that it could be that at one time Chassidicphilosophy had to be widely disseminated and taught, while at another time the work had to be in strengthening mitzvos, and not Torah; especially if there was a danger, the rule might change.

When there is a decree against the Jewish religion, then there is no question that one must continue to teach Torah — even a shoelace must be stubbornly defended. But when there is no decree against Judaism, there must not be sacrifice. In normal times one must be ready for martyrdom only for the three cardinal sins! Here the Czar’s decree against Chassidus was not because of the reason that they wanted to destroy Yiddishkeit. Rather, here was a case of where the Czar thought that there was a Jew who wanted to become a king of the Jews in the galus. And the Czar simply wanted to keephisownkingdom. In such a case there is an honest question: should we continue to spread Chassidus? Therefore, in this case one may ask of the Baal Shem Tov and Maggid a question of Halachah, because they were souls in bodies — and they admitted that there was a decree above.

Another point, the question here was also different from the previous time and the Alter Rebbe could not base his conduct on the previous experience. When the Alter Rebbe saved the Maggid, it was to keep him as the leader. The criticism then had been against the Maggid personally, so the Alter Rebbe did it to keep him as Nasi of the Jews, not to save the teachings of Chassidus. Then, tens of years later, when there was a decree against Chassidus, notagainstYiddishkeit, the Alter Rebbe had to ask again.

Whatever the case, we have a clear ruling, for the Baal Shem Tov and Maggid told the Alter Rebbe that we must increase the dissemination of Chassidus (esoteric), which must include the learning of the revealed (exoteric) parts of Torah. To have the soul (Chassidus) you must have the body, to have the pnimiyus (intrinsic studies) you must learn nigleh (the extrinsic teachings). A Jew is healthy when he has a healthy soul together with a healthy body. One entity. All this is connected with the halachah of Beis Hillel to increase daily the light and spirit, and illuminate the darkness, and the attribute of kindness will overcome. Till the final day of Chanukah which brings to the harp of eight strings in the time of Mashiach — the Kingdom of G‑d. Speedily and truly in our time.