1. This Shabbos is connected to the 10th of ShvatHillula” (anniversary of the passing of the Previous Rebbe o.b.m.) in several ways:

A) It is the Shabbos that precedes the Hillula and as:

The six days (of the week) receive blessing from the seventh, (Zohar II, p.63b)

it bestows blessing upon the 10th of Shvat.

B) We read the Torah portion Bo, which was the same Torah portion read in the year of his passing.

C) Today is the eighth of Shvat, also a day of memorial for righteous people.

D) Finally, and most importantly, there is a connection based on his teachings. Yesterday the volume of discourses of the years 5680-83 was published. The first maamar in this volume delivered on Shabbos Bo was to become the subject matter of the ultimate series of maamarim known as Basi LeGani — which were published posthumously in connection with the Hillula of the Previous Rebbe.

Having the quality of “newness,” let us touch upon a subject discussed in this maamar which appears in this new volume. The underlying theme of the maamar may be understood from the initial discussion:

I came into My garden, My sister, My bride” (Shir HaShirim 5:1). The Midrash... interprets the above verse as “I came into My bridal chamber, the place where My essence was originally revealed....” “At the beginning of creation, the essence of the Shechinah...departed from the earth and rose into the spiritual realms.... Later, tzaddikim arose whose Divine service brought the revelation of the Shechinah into the lowly world again.... “The righteous will inherit the land and dwell forever upon it.” ...they draw down a revelation of “He who dwells forever, uplifted and Holy,” in this physical world.... [Through the above explanation, we can appreciate the interpretation of] the verse “And you shall make Me a Sanctuary and I will dwell within them,” stressing the plural usage of “within them” referring to the Temple within the heart of every Jew. (Basi LeGani)

We may understand the focal point of this maamar as the theme of unity. How do we accomplish “and dwell forever upon it” as well as “I will dwell within them”? By setting the groundwork of unity. As we say in our prayers: “Bless us, our Father, all of us as one” (Siddur). By effecting unity below, we engender the revelation of “G‑d is one” above and the indwelling of the Shechinah can follow.

This concept is elaborated upon in relation to the Beis HaMikdash. The Talmud tells us:

Why was the Second Temple destroyed.... Because therein prevailed hatred without cause. (Yoma 9b)

The Gemara of course graphically describes this phenomenon in the story of Kamtza and Bar Kamtza (Gittin 55b ff.). The First Temple, too, had as its cause of destruction the lack of Jewish unity. Consequently, when there is no unity below we cannot engender the aspect of “I will dwell within them.”

Actually there are two levels: togetherness and absoluteunity. “Togetherness” connotes a joining together of disparate factions but each keeps its identity. Once we have this cooperative action we can build upon this foundation and reach a higher level of true unity; becoming one entity, that of a tzibbur (community).

The teachings of the Previous Rebbe (as seen in this and other maamarim) emphasize the centrality of the theme of true unity which evokes the supernal oneness (Shechinah) to descend and “dwell forever upon it.”

We know that the Previous Rebbe preached and requested, exhorted and cajoled in all manner and form, at all times, that Jews should practice Ahavas Yisrael — love of fellow Jews — and Jewish unity. He included in this the work of reaching out to other Jews and spreading Torah, Yiddishkeit and the wellsprings of Chassidus.

This expression of love, unity and outreach was the cornerstone of his interpretation of the nature of Chassidus and chassidim. He emphasized this principle to the point, that a chassid must care about the needs of a fellow Jew, and be concerned on his behalf, even if it will be detrimental to himself.

Now, Chassidus explains that in the case of tzaddikim the Hillula day represents the phenomenon of rising from level to level in the worlds of Gan Eden — each year the ascent is of infinite proportion relative to the previous level.

In this context we may relate the portion Bo with the Hillula of the Previous Rebbe. The Zohar says that “Pharaoh” is an allusion to the supernal level that “bared all its light and radiance” (Zohar I, p. 210a). When the Torah says, “Bo — Come to Pharaoh” the Zohar explains:

Ought it not rather to have said “Go” (“lech”)? It is to indicate that the Holy One, Blessed be He, guided Moshe through a labyrinth (room after room, or gate after gate) right into the abode.... (Zohar II, p. 34a)

This is the phenomenon of the Hillula, rising higher and higher with the G‑dly radiance.

Similarly, the level of supernal radiance symbolized by the celestial facet of “Pharaoh” also connotes unity, for its transcendental radiance unifies the highest and lowest states.

This unifying spiritual light is analogous to the highest level of Torah study. In Torah there are four paths: plain, symbolic, homiletic and esoteric; they are representatives of the four spiritual worlds. There is a fifth level of Torah study which unifies all the other four; it is “fear of G‑d,” as the Mishnah states:

If there is no fear of G‑d, there is no wisdom. (Avos 3:17)

This concept is clearly described in the Talmud:

What is meant by the verse “and there shall be faith in your times, strength, salvation, wisdom and knowledge, the fear of the L‑rd is his treasure” (Yeshayahu 33:6). “Faith” refers to the Order of Seeds;...and “knowledge,” to the Order of Taharos (purity). Yet even so, if “the fear of the L‑rd is his treasure,” it is well; if not, it is not well. This may be compared to a man who instructed his agent, “Take me up a kav of wheat to the loft” and he went and did so. “Did you mix in a kav of chumton (preservatives)?” he asked him. “No” he replied. “Then it were better that you had not carried it up,” he retorted. (Shabbos 31a ff.)

We see clearly that the essential ingredient in Torah study is “The fear of the L‑rd is his treasure.” It is this inner Chassidic approach to Torah which preserves the holiness of Torah and establishes that his study will be in G‑d’sTorah.

This fifth level unifies and raises the other four paths of Torah.

For example, when a mature person of forty years, who has clearly reached the age of understanding, approaches the study of Torah, he may imagine that for him there is no purpose in learning Torah in the plain level, which is studied by the five-year-old Chumash student — after all, he is much higher. But when he is imbued with the “fear of G‑d” and he realizes that when one studies Torah, “G‑d sits across him and studies too,” then all aspects of Torah are unified and equal. Consequently, all students, no matter what their age or ability are also unified.

This unifying factor will take into account the legitimate distinction among the different paths of Torah study and the varying levels involved. Without question the study of the secrets of the Torah requires a higher level of purity and intelligence, as we can see from the following episode in the Talmud:

Once R. Yochanan b. Zakkai was riding on a donkey when going on a journey, and R. Eleazar b. Arach was driving the donkey from behind. [R. Eleazar] said to him: “Master teach me a chapter of the ‘Work of the Chariot.’“ He answered: “Have I not taught you this: Nor (one must not teach) the Work of the Chariot in the presence of one, unless he is a sage and understands of his own knowledge’“? [R. Eleazar] then said to him: “Master permit me to say before you something which you have taught me.” He answered “Say on!” Forthwith R. Yochanan b. Zakkai dismounted from the donkey, and wrapped himself up and sat upon a stone beneath an olive tree. Said [R. Eleazar] to him: “Master, wherefore did you dismount from the donkey?” He answered “Is it proper that while you are expounding the ‘Work of the Chariot’ and the Divine Presence is with us, and the ministering angels accompany us, I should ride on the donkey?” (Chagigah 14b)

In other words, despite the fact that all along the trip Rabbi Yochanan b. Zakkai had been involved in Torah while riding on the donkey, nevertheless, when it came to the study of the “Work of the Chariot” he descended and wrapped himself in his tallis in order to hear the esoteric knowledge.

Despite these differences, the level of “fear of the L‑rd” unites and connects all aspects of Torah, so that the study of the plainmeaning will be just as lofty and important as the esoteric.

The Chassidic teachings of the Previous Rebbe will serve as the “Kav of Preservative” to protect and unify all other aspects of Torah.

Furthermore, his efforts on behalf of Jewish unity were channeled into his work of attracting many Jews to the wellsprings of Chassidus and through the unity of the Jewish people it will be attainable by all Jews, in a comprehensible and essential way.

The Previous Rebbe also revealed for us that the unity of Torah combined the simplest level of learning aleph-beis with the loftiest level of the “Work of the Chariots.”

This continuity and unity of Torah was expressed by the Previous Rebbe in several ways. As the educator par excellence, the Previous Rebbe had often stressed the importance of teaching aleph-beis to cheder children in a manner that brings out the holiness of the letters and vowels.

Learning the alphabet is the first step in learning Torah as the Alter Rebbe rules in the Laws of Torah Learning:

He must teach the child the letters of Torah...to read with vowels and cantillation notes. (Laws of Torah Learning)

The Previous Rebbe always urged us to teach children the letters of the aleph beis in the ancient, traditional way, by teaching “kamatz aleph aw!” etc. The letters and the vowels represent two levels of holiness, and the Jew must unite the two, by saying the name of the vowel, “kamatz,” and the name of the letter, “aleph,” and then vocalizing them together, “aw.”

The Previous Rebbe concludes, that when the child is taught “kamatz aleph aw” we plant the fear of G‑d in the heart of the child.

Furthermore, the “kamatz aleph aw” is connected with the letter “aleph” and the “kamatz” vowel in the word “Anochi” (of the Ten Commandments) and thereby connects the child to the realm of “Anochi.” As a result the child is connected to the whole Torah, since all the 613 commandments are generalized in the Ten Commandments, and the ten are encapsulated in the first commandment, which is condensed in the first word and compressed in the first letter, the “aleph” of “Anochi.”

Hence the small initial steps made by the proper beginning of “kamatz aleph aw,” will lead the student to the highest level of studying the “Work of the Chariot.”

In teaching the “aleph-beis” of Yiddishkeit the same approach must be followed. While starting with the basic building blocks of Judaism, (the alphabet) — you must at the same time convey the spirit of “Anochi,” the wellsprings of the inner teachings of Torah, in an intellectual and sensible manner.

A Shabbos farbrengen personifies the concept of unity, for when Jews gather with friendship, all disunity is obliterated and their solidarity is invigorated. Such gatherings also influence all those assembled to make strong resolutions to increase their involvement in spreading and strengthening Torah observance.

Add to this the practice of saying “LeChaim,” as is the Chassidic custom, and since “A Jewish custom has the validity of Torah” (Talmud Yerushalmi, Pesachim 4:1) this also increases the unity, for,

Of great importance is the mouthful (of food or drink)...since it draws near those who are distant. (Sanhedrin 103b)

And when all this happens on Shabbos this unity is more vigorously enhanced.

May G‑d grant that from this farbrengen and the resultant good resolutions we will see an increase in all the preparations for the Hillula day, and into the coming Shabbos of the fifteenth of Shvat and thence to the whole year. Through this we will speed the arrival of our righteous Mashiach, so that even before the tenth of Shvat the promise “awake and sing...” will be fulfilled in a joyful manner which will engender the joy of:

And everlasting joy upon their heads. (Yeshayahu 35:10)

May this come speedily with the true and complete redemption through our righteous Mashiach, truly in our times.

2. Today is the eighth day of Shvat.

In Megillas Taanis we find:

On the eighth day of the month Shvat the righteous ones (Elders), who lived in the generation of Yehoshua, passed away. (Megillas Taanis, last chapter)

Now, it would be improbable to assume that they all died on the same day, since that would be an unnatural occurrence, and since,

The Holy One, Blessed be He, does not perform miracles for naught. (Drashos Haran, 8)

He certainly does not allow unnatural misfortune to occur without cause or reason.

We must therefore assume that the connotation of the words of the Megillas Taanis is that the last of the Elders of Yehoshua’s generation died on that day and consequently the era, or generation, came to a close.

What does this particular anniversary mean to us?

The day of passing of a tzaddik has the sorrowful aspect of irretrievableloss, and on the other hand, the loftiness of Hillula. We stress the positive aspects which increase from year to year and believe that the negative side diminishes from year to year.

Thus, we must distill and emphasize the auspicious facets of this day, and add them to our general principle of serving G‑d with joy. In this way we will advance closer and closer to G‑dliness which is the source of all joy: “strength and joy in His presence” (I Divrei HaYamim 16:27).

Thus, this day presents us with the good aspect of being the anniversary of passing of the Elders of the generation of Yehoshua — so that on this day, all their Torah, good deeds and teachings are revealed and radiate; the brilliance comes from above downward and brings salvation to the world.

This will be illuminated when we realize the amazing loftiness of these Elders. The Torah tells us that Moshe approached Yehoshua:

Moshe summoned Yehoshua and in the presence of all Israel said to him, “Be strong and brave, since you will be the one to bring this nation to the land.” (Devarim 31:7)

Rashi comments:

Moshe said to Yehoshua: The Elders of the generation will be with you, everything has to be done according to their opinion and advice. (loc. cit.)

Clearly this indicates that the Elders were actually on the same level as Yehoshua. They would be “withhim.”

Do we need to elaborate on Yehoshua’s exalted greatness: Moshe received the Torah from Sinai and transmitted it to Yehoshua, in its entirety, as he received it from G‑d. (See Tosafos Yom-Tov on Avos 1:1)

While it is true that:

The countenance of Moshe was like that of the sun; the countenance of Yehoshua was like that of the moon, (B. Basra 75a)

nevertheless, the light of the moon is also very great! Chassidus explains that when the moon fully faces the sun its light is very great. This was Yehoshua’s condition in Moshe’s lifetime, and the Elders clearly paralleled his greatness. At the time of Moshe’s demise, Yehoshua rose to an even greater state, for Moshe transmitted to him, through Semichah — placing his hands on his head — even more than he was commanded to! (See Rashi Bamidbar 27:23).

Yehoshua and the Elders kept their level of greatness after Moshe’s death, when they continued to lead the Jewish people. And although we find G‑d telling Yehoshua that he alone was the leader — this was because the nature of the Jewish people needed the leadership of the absoluteauthority — not because the Elders were inferior. In fact they were of such stature that each of them could have assumed Yehoshua’s role.

Over the generations the positive spiritual qualities of this day have grown and when it occurs on a Shabbos, the most “delightful of days,” they attain a level of supreme loftiness and are revealed to bring salvation.

Now, all of this will enhance our Divine service of the Hillula day, the tenth of Shvat.

At this time of the close of the diaspora may our Divine service [in all the matters we have discussed] merit for us that we should once again receive the radiant influence of the Elders, and Yehoshua, and even more so, we should become worthy vessels to receive the influence of our teacher Moshe, to the degree that the prophet predicted:

Moreover, the light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun shall be sevenfold. (Yeshayahu 30:26)

Simply put — may we merit to see the true and complete redemption through our righteous Mashiach when the promise will be fulfilled “awake and sing you that dwell in the dust” (Yeshayahu 26:19), among them Moshe and Yehoshua and the Elders and the Previous Rebbe. They will all come to our Holy Land,

A land constantly under G‑d your L‑rd’s scrutiny; the eyes of G‑d your L‑rd are on it at all times, from the beginning of the year until the end of the year. (Devarim 11:12)

The complete land, with the complete nation; our youth and elders, sons and daughters.

All of G‑d’s legions left Egypt in broad daylight” — “On that very day G‑d took the Israelites out of Egypt in (Al Tzivosom — lit. on or above) organized groups. (Shemos 12:41,51)

This means that Jewish souls are above the “hosts of G‑d.”

All this will be revealed again at the time of deliverance from this galus.

As in the days of your coming out of the land of Mitzrayim I will show marvelous things, (Michah 7:15)

which means that the future redemption will be “marvelous” even compared to the exodus out of Egypt.

May we all witness the true redemption in the Holy Land and the Holy Temple speedily and truly in our days.

* * *

3. In this week’s Torah portion we read:

Our livestock must also go along with us. Not a single hoof can be left behind. We must take them to serve G‑d our L‑rd, since we do not know what we will need to worship G‑d until we get there. (Shemos 10:26)

Rashi comments:

We do not know how heavy will be the service: perhaps He will ask more than we have in our possession. (Rashi, loc. cit.)

Rashi is explaining that the statement: “We do not know what we will need to worship...” cannot be understood in its plain meaning, for Moshe had stated “we must take (from) them to serve G‑d....” Thus, they know that the worship expected of them would include animal sacrifices. What did they not know? How many animals! “We do not know how heavy will be the service.” For this reason Rashi explains the context of the verse the way he does: “What we will need to worship” — “we do not know how heavy ...perhaps more than we have in our possession.”

Once we understand Rashi’s direction the terminology in the verse becomes clear, but we remain with several troubling questions:

A) If they did not know how much G‑d would demand of them as sacrifices, why would it be sufficient to take all their cattle. Maybe G‑d would demand even more. [This argument could have been used by Pharaoh.]

B) We have a rule concerning the demands which G‑d places on the Jewish people: “I do not ask... but in accordance with their means” (Bamidbar Rabbah 12:3).

This concept is elementary and clear even for the five-year-old Chumash student. He sees that when his parent or teacher makes a demand on him they only ask him to perform according to his ability. The five-year-old Chumash student therefore asks: “It is possible that G‑d would have demanded more than we have in our possession?” It would have been impossible to expect results in that case.

When Rashi does not touch upon an obvious question, we must assume that the answer will be clear to the five-year-old Chumash student from the verse, or Rashi’s earlier commentary.

Let us take a closer look at the language of this Rashi — why does Rashi say: How “heavy” will be the service? This is an unusual term to use when he really means “how great,” or “how much.”

But here the five-year-old Chumash student remembers this word from an earlier sentence: “Make the work heavier for them” (Shemos 5:9).

Pharaoh had decreed:

Do not give the people straw for bricks as before. Let them go and gather their own straw. Meanwhile you must require them to make the same quota of bricks as before. (Ibid. 5:78)

Rashi had explained:

That total you shall impose upon them now also, in order that the service may be hard (heavy) upon them. (Rashi, loc. cit.)

In other words, when Scripture uses the word “tichbad” (heavy, hard) it is referring to a level of work which is beyond their normal capability and potential. The Jewish taskmasters of course complained about this point — but Pharaoh did not rescind the decree — which remained in effect from that time until the slavery ultimately ended.

Now, with this in mind, our question becomes more troubling. Is it possible that the Holy One, Blessed be He, will demand of the Jewish people something which is not within their ability to fulfill?!

A careful reading of Rashi will turn up a previously unnoticed emphasis. Rashi had said: “Perhaps He will ask more than we have in our possession.” If we understand this precisely it would seem to indicate that G‑d could ask for something that we have access to, but is not at this moment in our hands. For this reason Rashi used the term “tichbad,” i.e. it is hard for us but we must go out and do it. The same concept had applied in the case of the straw: they had to go out and gather it!

Let us now see this point in context. When Moshe said: “Our livestock must also go along with us...we must take them to serve G‑d...we do not know what we will need,” he had already told Pharaoh:

You should also be giving us sacrifices and burnt offerings. (Ibid.)

on that verse Rashi had explained:

It will not be enough for you that our cattle will go with us but you will give also of yours. (Rashi, loc. cit.)

What Moshe had in mind when he said: “We must take them to serve G‑d,” was the Jew’s cattle andPharaoh’s cattle! Since they did not know how much cattle they would need and G‑d might make a heavy demand they would have to take more cattle from Egypt.

In this context we can resolve the two questions that have been posed. If G‑d wants more than their cattle they will take cattle from Pharaoh and if they can get Pharaoh’s cattle it would not be beyond their ability.

Being slaves the Jews probably did not have much livestock. On the other hand, the flocks of Pharaoh were immense. Remember, that Yosef had traded food for cattle so that all the cattle in Egypt belonged to Pharaoh. And if G‑d should demand more than what they would initially take (of theirs and Pharaoh’s), they could still send messengers back to Egypt to bring more. This is Rashi’s intention as we deduce from his words.

This approach of Rashi also teaches us an important lesson in our personal Divine service.

When the five-year-old Chumash student studies these verses he is perplexed. Why does the Torah relate all the details of the dialogue between Moshe and Pharaoh about how many sheep and cattle will accompany the Jews? Would it not be more productive to elaborate on mitzvos which are pertinent today? Why not spend more time elaborating on the laws of Pesach, or tefillin or tzitzis; practical commandments?

Here the five-year-old Chumash student quotes Rashi’s first commentary on Bereishis:

The Torah (which is the law book of Israel) should have commenced with the verse: “This month shall be unto You the first of the months,” which is the first commandment given to Israel. What is the reason that it commences with the account of creation? (Rashi, Bereishis 1:1)

Actually, the teacher also needs this clarification so that he should not say to the young child: “When you get older you will understand” (as my teacher was also wont to say).

The answer to this is also provided by Rashi:

Because of (the thought expressed in the text (Tehillim 61:6): “He declared to His people the strength of His works....” (Ibid.)

There are aspects and teachings in the Divine service of a Jew which we must learn from worldly occurrences: “the strength of His works.” This is the same lesson we take from these verses:

For when I behold Your heavens, the uniform work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars that You have established in their paths. (Tehillim 8:4)

How manifold are Your works, O L‑rd.... (Ibid. 104:24)

How great are Your works, O L‑rd.... (Ibid. 92:6)

This directs us to all worldly phenomena. When we hear that something has happened in the world, even if it happened to non-Jews, even unhappy events such as wars or confrontations, we must find the lesson and directive for our Divine service to our Maker.

This fundamental principle is conveyed to us by Rashi when he paraphrases Moshe: “Perhaps He will ask more than we have in our possession.” Then what we have in our possession will not suffice and “It will not be enough...that our cattle will go...but you will give also of yours.”

The lessons which we glean from the worldly events are not to be found in Torah. After all, the intent and purpose of all phenomena of the earth are there for the Jew to learn from in his Divine service to his Maker. They only occur because we could, not, have known them from Torah.

Consequently, when the Holy One, Blessed be He, demands from us more than we have in our possession — things not transmitted by our teachers in Torah — we are then taking from Pharaoh and garnering the lesson for ourselves.

For this reason not only the commandments of Torah, but also every story in Torah is didactic, and every minute detail gives us a wealth of knowledge.

This principle is most often applied in the book of Bereishis which is replete with stories of our ancestors that serve as a “sign” for the children. In fact, Bereishis begins with Creation to negate an argument of the nations — which might crop up after the conquest of Eretz Yisrael. Why should it be necessary to answer their argument? But the nature of the world teaches us the answer and it is a “sign” for the children.

Yet there are those who “seek a pretense” and argue: Why gather at a farbrengen to relate amazing stories which give a moral lesson, when the same time could be spent studying Torah? The moral lesson may or may not be effective. Better to devote time to the solid study of the legal intricacies of the “laws of damages” or “monetary” rules.

But the sorry fact is that from the study of the monetary laws of Torah one does not come to fear of G‑d (Yiras Shamayim). The fact of the matter is that tales of our great tzaddikim do awaken Yiras Shamayim in people.

Consequently, when we gather and retell the self-sacrificing work of the Previous Rebbe to spread Torah, everyone sees that it was a labor of love, which arouses people to increased Torah and YirasShamayim. This fear of G‑d will serve as a foundation for the Torah as it says: “If there is no fear of G‑d there is no wisdom.” The Yiras Shamayim will increase the person’s comprehension and knowledge of Torah.

May G‑d grant that speedily we will experience: “When Pharaoh let the people leave (lit. sent the nation out!” Even those who think that the galus is beneficial, for they can study the “monetary laws” of Torah, and would not mind remaining in galus another 2000 years, even they will leave the galus, with the youth and elders, sons and daughters, with joy and gladness of heart speedily and truly in our time.

* * *

4. In today’s section of Rambam we find the following law:

It is an affirmative commandment to give the hired man his hire (wages) in time, for it is said, “In the same day you shall give him his hire” (Devarim 24:15). And he who delays payment until after the time when the hire is due transgresses a negative commandment. For it is said, “neither shall the sun go down upon it” (Ibid.). (Laws of Hiring 11:1)

In the following paragraph the Rambam goes on:

What is the time when wages are due? A hireling for the day collects his hire all night and with respect to him — it is said “You shall not cause the wages of a hired man to abide with you all night until the morning”; a hireling for the night collects all day and with respect to him it is said, “In the same day you shall give him his hire.” (Ibid. 11:2)

Because the wages are due at the end of the work period, therefore the time of payment continues through the following 12-hour period.

In congruence with this rule, the Holy One. Blessed be He, also metes out reward for mitzvos to His children after they complete their Divine service, for G‑d commands us to act in a manner which emulates His own actions.

Rashi also expresses this thought when he says:

[Which I commanded you] today to do them — to do them today (but only in the time to come — in the future world — to receive the reward for them). (Rashi, Devarim 7:11)

This means at the end of the “job of life” is the time to receive payment for your accomplishments. So far this is consistent.

However, the Rambam goes on to say:

A hireling by the hour during the day collects all day; a hireling by the hour during the night collects all night; a hireling by the week, by the month, by the year, by the septennium, if his term ends in the daytime, collects all day, and if in the nighttime, all night. (Ibid)

According to this halachah it would seem that one who performs mitzvos that conclude during the same day, such as tefillin, or weekly, such as Shabbos, etc., they should receive their reward in the same day. Yet in all cases our sages follow the rule: “Today to do them...in the future...to receive the reward....”

At the beginning of the Laws of Hiring the Rambam teaches us about the four cases of bailees:

a. the gratuitous bailee; b. the commendatory; c. the bailee for hire; d. the hirer.

In a symbolic way these different type of bailees correspond to the different natures of people and their respective approaches to Divine service.

The “gratuitous bailee” serves G‑d out of love; he seeks no recompense, while at the other extreme, the “commodatary” (borrower) expects all the benefits he can get. All his Divine service is focused on the reward and physical assurances he can derive from his work: children, life and abundant sustenance. Similarly, the others represent relative differences in Divine service.

After discussing the bailees the Rambam moves on to discuss wages of the laborer — this symbolizes the concept that G‑d repays everyone for their proper conduct in life.

But wages are paid when the job is done, which means that after one completes his work in this world the reward will come in the next.

Here however even the “hourly worker” (daily mitzvos) must wait until the day is complete to request his wages (reward).


The ultimate goal of all our human activity in the spiritual sphere is to make a dwelling place for G‑dliness in the lower world. In order to carry out this general goal there is the need for many individual steps and details. When each of these individual stages is carried out there is a prominent accomplishment, but the ultimate goal is still not reached!

Take for example a human abode. There are many steps in building a house, you need wood, stones, sand; space; four walls and a roof. In order to live comfortably in the house you must place furniture and utensils inside the house, and then you need a good wife; when all of these details are fulfilled, then you have a good house.

Therefore in our case: Although a Jew completes a particular stage of his Divine service by observing certain mitzvos, so long as the ultimate purpose and goal has not been attained, to create the dwelling place below, his workisnotdone! and he can-not demand his wages.

Here we see, that with the proper diligence and attention we can explain even the most difficult problems in an elementary fashion. And just as we must explain the complicated concepts to the average people so should we be ready to hear from everyone, for: “Who is wise: he who learns from every person” (Avos 4:1).

May we merit to study the future Torah of Mashiach from Mashiach, and then reach the level of knowledge when, “And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor...for they shall all know Me” (Yirmeyahu 31:33). And ultimately we will attain the highest level of knowledge: “For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of G‑d as the waters cover the sea” (Yeshayahu 11:9).

All this should come instantaneously and truly in our time.