The two great luminaries, the Alter Rebbe and the Baal Shem Tov, complemented each other, in that each revealed the hidden powers of each other. “Disseminating the wellsprings” began in earnest by the Alter Rebbe after his liberation from Petersburg, which we celebrate on the 19th of Kislev. In those days the emphasis was directed to refining internal attributes; today it includes translating Chassidus into many languages. The unique study system of the Yeshivah Tomchei Temimim meshes the revealed and hidden aspects of Torah. We must increase our activities in spreading the wellsprings: printing Tanyas in all parts of the world, and increasing our involvement in the Mivtzoim.

This essay is adapted from the Likkutei Sichos edition of a sichah delivered by the Rebbe on the 18th of Elul 5745, published for Shabbos Nitzavim 5745, and other sources.

Yud-Tes Kislev, the 19th of Kislev, is called the “Rosh Hashanah” of Chassidus. Its preeminence is related to the historic occurrence of the liberation of the Alter Rebbe from incarceration, on that day.

Yet the theme of Yud-Tes Kislev is really much more intrinsic, for it was only after his liberation, that the Alter Rebbe began his intensive work of propagating and spreading the teachings of Chassidus.

The first stages of the “Dissemination of the Wellsprings of Torah” began, with the Baal Shem Tov — and the second stage was initiated by the Alter Rebbe after Yud-Tes Kislev.

Two Great Leaders

On the 18th of Elul, 5703, the Previous Rebbe stated in a sichah, that Chai (the 18th of) Elul is the birthday of “The Two Great Luminaries,” the Baal Shem Tov and the Alter Rebbe.

On the fourth day of creation the Torah relates that G‑d created “the two great lights.” Clearly, the Previous Rebbe’s metaphor takes on a greater relevance when related to this Scriptural source. Let us therefore analyze this phrase: “the two great lights.”

By using the plural two, it clearly indicates that each has some unique individuality. As we find in the Talmud when speaking of a group of two, the comparative clause: “There are aspects of one which do not apply to the other” (See Terumah 14a).

The common theme

On the other hand, by combining them in one thought, and in one creative act, Torah gives them one theme. Their differences will not separate them, on the contrary, they will complement each other.

In fact we could say, that the Talmudic reference just cited may be understood thusly: that the missing aspects are not “missing,” rather they are there, but hidden, and each helps to reveal all of the hidden potentials of the other.

We may transpose this paradigm to the case of the Baal Shem and the Alter Rebbe, for although they were “two great lights” and lived in different generations, and even had different paths and ways of serving G‑d — yet they really had one theme, and each complemented the other, and brought out the perfection of the other.

The Baal Shem’s theme was encapsulated in the response he received from Mashiach when he entered the palace of Mashiach: “When your wellsprings will spread forth.” In relation to this goal the Rebbe Rashab taught us, that: “The main thrust of disseminating the wellsprings to the outside started after [the Alter Rebbe was freed from] Petersburg.”

So the combined forces of the Baal Shem Tov and the Alter Rebbe effectuated the beginning of the directive of Mashiach, and the “wellsprings” of the Baal Shem were actually “disseminated” to the “outside” by the Alter Rebbe.

The inner attributes

Spreading the wellsprings to the outside may be understood on many levels. In the time of the Baal Shem the main interpretation dealt with the inner attributes of the person. One had to “spread” the influence of his “wellsprings” — his intellect and wisdom — to encompass even the outer powers, his attributes, to the degree that it would influence his thought, speech and action, even the last reaches of action, the power of walking. The result was that the person “ran to do a mitzvah,” beyond all previous limitations.

Reaching out

Those were the early stages of “disseminating the wellsprings.” The true goal however, to actually reach the mundane outside world, could not be achieved until the Alter Rebbe transposed the wellsprings of the Baal Shem Tov into the intellectual realm of wisdom, understanding and knowledge (Chabad). Only then did we receive the intense spiritual power needed to be able to carry forth the spreading of the wellsprings to reach to the outside. In fact, the distance of the “outside” also increases from generation to generation and the spreading out of the source must constantly generate new power to reach even farther.

This thought will connect the theme of the 18th of Elul with another occurrence that took place on that day. In the year 5659 the Yeshivah Tomchei Temimim was established by the Rebbe Rashab on the 15th of Elul, and the first classes were held on the 18th of Elul.

How was Tomchei Temimim unique?

What was the innovation of Yeshivah Tomchei Temimim? To unify and standardize the study of the revealed aspect of Torah (Talmud and Responsa) with the study of the esoteric teachings of Torah (Chassidus).

In the yeshivah world of that time the emphasis was traditionally placed on the systematic and broad-based study of the exoteric areas of Torah, with enthusiasm and devotion. The Rebbe Rashab added Chassidus to the curriculum and integrated it in such a way, that the same systematic, broad, enthusiastic study devoted to Talmud should also be applied to the esoteric teachings of Torah.

The loftiest accomplishment however, was that the two branches of Torah would not remain independent and separated, rather they would mesh and unite into one whole Torah; each would be permeated by the other and the exoteric and esoteric study would be unified. As a result, the level of intellectual achievement in the wellsprings of Torah would be greatly enhanced.

A preparation for Mashiach

This upgrading of Torah erudition created the power and crystallized the potential to illuminate the darkness of the distant “outside” at the time approaching Mashiach (the “heels” of Mashiach), with the wellsprings of the Baal Shem Tov.

This mission was clearly expressed by the Rashab in his discourse to the disciples of Tomchei Temimim, when he said:

You are the ones who will guard the condition of the Jewish people from the forces which “taunt the footsteps of Your Mashiach.” [This verse appears in the section of Tehillim read on the 18th of the month.]

Despite all these developments through the years, there has still remained a part of the worldly existence not yet reached and permeated by the Baal Shem’s wellsprings.

This brings us to our generation, and the novel approach initiated by the Previous Rebbe to spread the wellsprings to the absolutely distant and ultimate “outside.”

The Previous Rebbe reaches out

In the Rebbe’s own approach there were also stages. While still behind the Iron Curtain he started intensive activities to disseminate Torah beyond the scope of the previous generations. Yet, this was overshadowed by his massive activities after leaving Russia and settling in Riga. His work was further intensified when he arrived on these shores. It was then, that the full force of his efforts to spread the wellsprings of the Baal Shem’s teachings engaged and they assumed the tremendous momentum to spread out to the farthest reaches.

Perhaps it was for this reason, and with this plan in mind, that the Previous Rebbe initiated the practice of translating Chassidic works into the many languages of the world. Not only Yiddish, which, although not a “Holy Tongue,” is still a “Jewish” language, but also, many other languages have become the vessels and conduits for Chassidic philosophy. These translations have brought the wellsprings to the farthest reaches and as a result, men, women and children, in all countries and in all walks of life, may be inspired, encouraged and enlightened by the teachings of the Baal Shem Tov.

We must act....

There is an important lesson for us to garner from these special days (Chai Elul — Yud-Tes Kislev): We must undertake good resolutions to be involved in “spreading the wellsprings.”

One of the activities included in this undertaking is the printing of Tanyas in all places of the world [and much has already been accomplished in this area]. The printing and studying of Tanya in these far away places is a proper example of bringing the “wells” of Torah to the outside.

Printing Tanyas

When the Tanya is printed in those distant lands, it has become the practice, that the people then gather together to study Tanya and they learn chapter 32, where the Alter Rebbe explains the importance of Ahavas Yisrael, even to people who are referred to with the term “creatures”:

This means that even in the case of those who are removed from G‑d’s Torah and His service, and are therefore classified simply as “creatures”.... One must attract them with strong cords of love ... the precept of neighborly love. (Tanya ch. 32)

Studying Tanya

So, when the Tanya is printed in a place which is far from Torah and mitzvos, and the people are likewise on the periphery of the Jewish world, this becomes their first contact with Yiddishkeit. Sometimes the actual printing is done by non-Jews, but interestingly enough this, too, fits into the purpose of making a dwelling-place for the Shechinah in the lower worlds. For, just as a human dwelling-place must include all aspects of the person’s life, possessions and activities, so too, the G‑dly abode must include the primary objects, as well as secondary, or insignificant, objects — they are all there, as part of the abode.

Spreading Yiddishkeit — ... the Mivtzoim

Our good intentions must also be directed to the general area of spreading Yiddishkeit, starting with the ten Mivtzoim:

Love of fellow Jews, which leads to the unity of the Jewish people, as described in chapter 32 of Tanya;

Jewish education of self and others, which is related to the second part of Tanya, called, “The Education of The Child”;

Torah, tefillin, mezuzah, tzedakah, and the home filled with Jewish books;

The three Mivtzoim which the Jewish home rests upon: Family Purity, Kashrus and candle-lighting for Shabbos and Yom-Tov; and the additional action of having a letter in a communal Sefer Torah.

In a similar vein it is important to arrange that everyone should have all the requirements for celebrating the upcoming holidays:

And send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared, (Nechemiah 8:10)

so that everyone should be able to have all that they need for their families.