1. The recital of verses before “Hakkafos” is for the purpose of providing Scriptural proofs for the idea of rejoicing on Shemini Atzeres and Simchas Torah (the Hakkafos), just as we recite verses concerning the blowing of the shofar on Rosh HaShanah. Although the concept of Hakkafos is loftier than that of Torah, it is revealed through Torah, a phenomenon present in various other matters also. Repentance, for example, is higher than Torah, and therefore it has the power to rectify any omissions in the observance of Torah and mitzvos — yet it is Torah itself which has revealed to us that repentance’s power transcends that of Torah. Creation ex nihilo, for another example, is possible only through G‑d’s Essence, and yet is revealed through Torah, as said, “He looked into the Torah and created the world.”

The same applies to the recital of verses concerning the shofar blowing on Rosh HaShanah and the Hakkafos on Simchas Torah. Blowing the shofar is the concept of repentance, and the highest level at that. As noted above, repentance is loftier than Torah, and yet verses of Torah are cited as proof for the blowing of the shofar. Hakkafos are so lofty a concept that it cannot be expressed in the Written Torah or even the Oral Torah; it can be only realized as a “Jewish custom.” This is expressed in the way Hakkafos are done. One takes a Sefer Torah wrapped in its mantle, such that one cannot learn from it, and with it, circles the bimah and dances with it. In other words, Hakkafos expresses an idea that transcends comprehension of the Torah. Moreover, a Jew, by dancing with the Torah, infuses the Torah with joy, to the extent that his joy and the joy of Torah become one. And the fact that Jews can affect the Torah — since their root is loftier that Torah — shows that the idea of Hakkafos is above Torah. Yet, before Hakkafos, we recite verses from the Torah as proof for the very concept of Hakkafos.

Since the verses recited are reasons and proofs for the idea of Hakkafos, they must express the fact that Jews, like Hakkafos, transcend and affect Torah. This we find strongly emphasized in the last of the verses recited, which is, “For Torah shall go forth from Tziyun (Zion) and the word of the L‑rd from Yerushalayim.” Tziyun refers to Israel; and the concept of Yerushalayim is contained within every Jew, “Yerushalayim” deriving from the words “yirah” (fear) and “sholem” (complete), thus meaning complete fear (of heaven). “For Torah shall go forth from Tziyun and the word of the L‑rd from Yerushalayim” thus means that Jews affect the revelation of Torah and the word of the L‑rd — and thus stresses the lofty nature of Jews, who, because their root is higher than Torah, can affect the Torah.

More particularly, the two parts of this verse, “for Torah shall go forth from Tziyun” and “the word of the L‑rd from Yerushalayim,” refer to two levels in Torah — “Torah” and “the word of the L‑rd.”

“Torah” refers to regular Torah study even when the actual halachic ruling is different, for “these and these are the words of the living G‑d.” “The word of the L‑rd” refers to the halachah, as the Talmud (Shabbos 138b) notes, “‘The word of the L‑rd’ — this is Halachah.” “Torah,” while providing directives, does not mandate that one’s conduct in the world must follow it — i.e., the emphasis is more on the concept of Torah per se than on its effect on the world. “The word of the L‑rd” — Halachah — emphasizes the effect Torah has on the world, mandating one’s conduct. There is also a difference between “Tziyun” and “Yerushalayim.” “Tziyun” refers to the essence of the soul. But this level does not have that much of a connection to a Jew’s actual conduct, for, as we see, although the soul’s revealed faculties are captive to the corporeal body (and therefore a Jew may sin), the soul’s essence always remains true to G‑d. On the other hand, this very loftiness of the soul’s essence means that it has no effect on the body and certainly not on the world. The level of “Yerushalayim,” in contrast, which is the idea of the complete fear of G‑d within a Jew, is connected with a Jew’s actual conduct: When a Jew has complete fear of G‑d, his conduct will be perfect and complete.

“For Torah shall go forth from Tziyun” means, therefore, that the level of Torah per se is revealed by the essence of a Jew’s soul — unrelated to its effect on the world, just as the soul’s essence is separated from actual deed. “The word of the L‑rd from Yerushalayim” means that the actual halachah, which has an effect on the world, is revealed by the level of “Yerushalayim” within a Jew, which level has an effect on his actual conduct.

Let us explore further how the above concerns man’s service to G‑d. There are two ways of Torah study: 1) the Torah’s directive is so powerful that a person cannot act contrary to it; 2) even after learning a directive in Torah, a person doesn’t necessarily follow it, but instead he has free choice in the matter. The “beinoni,” the “middle person” (neither a tzaddik nor an evil person) for example, can sometimes find that wrong thoughts rise up in his mind, an occurrence over which he has no control. What he can do is to immediately banish such thoughts and not willingly think about them. A person on a level lower than a beinoni certainly has such thoughts — as we see, that people sometimes have to make strenuous efforts that no undesirable acts result from the thoughts that can rise in their minds.

When, however, a Jew is on the level of “Yerushalayim” — complete fear of heaven — such occurrences cannot happen. Thus, utilizing this level that is within every Jew, Jews can effect that the world be according to Torah — i.e., the idea of “the word of the L‑rd.” The level of “Tziyun” (soul’s essence) however, produces the concept of “Torah,” which, as explained previously, does not actually affect the world.

Although the concept of “the word of the L‑rd from Yerushalayim” — Torah as it affects the world — is a descent from the level of Torah per se (“Torah shall go forth from Tziyun”), the ultimate goal is that G‑dliness be revealed in this corporeal world, to make the world a dwelling place for G‑d.

The above corresponds to the advantage possessed by Simchas Torah over Rosh HaShanah. That which is achieved on Rosh HaShanah through the medium of awe, is achieved on Shemini Atzeres and Simchas Torah through the medium of joy; and the difference between awe and joy concerns the idea of making this world an abode for G‑d. Awe produces a sensation of self-nullification, withdrawal; joy, in contrast, is an expansive experience. Service on Simchas Torah with joy effects all the matters of Rosh HaShanah in expansive form — i.e., they penetrate the world, making it a fit abode for G‑dliness. Simchas Torah is thus not just the revelation of those matters achieved on Rosh HaShanah; that is done on Sukkos. Simchas Torah does an entirely new thing: it affects the world.

It is for this reason that the concluding verse of the verses recited before Hakkafos is “For Torah shall forth from Tziyun and the word of the L‑rd from Yerushalayim.” The theme of Shemini Atzeres is to ensure that all the lofty concepts of the month of Tishrei, including Hakkafos (which emphasizes the lofty status of Jews, transcending Torah), permeate the world. This is stressed even more on Simchas Torah, for, since it is the second day of Shemini Atzeres in exile, it means that all the lofty matters of Tishrei are brought into the lowest state of this low world — the state of exile.

The verse “For Torah shall go forth from Tziyun and the word of the L‑rd from Yerushalayim” expresses exactly this theme, and therefore it is the concluding verse of the verses recited before Hakkafos. The level of “Tziyun” — the soul’s essence — must be in a state of revelation, and not just for itself, but for others, for from it “Torah shall go forth.” Further still, “the word of the L‑rd from Yerushalayim” means that through Halachah in Torah a Jew has mastery over the whole world, which was created for the sake of Jews. This refers not just to this physical world, but also to all the spiritual worlds — all were created for the sake of Israel. And through the idea of “Torah shall go forth from Tziyun and the word of the L‑rd from Yerushalayim,” the world’s existence follows the Torah’s dictates.

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2. We shall now analyze two passages from Rambam’s Mishneh Torah: A passage from the portion learned on Simchas Torah, and a passage from the portion of today, Shabbos Bereishis. We shall also explain the connection between each passage and the nature of the day on which it is learned.

The portion learned on Simchas Torah consists of the last three chapters of the Laws of Offerings Rendered Unfit. The beginning of chapter 17 states: “If the first sprinkling of any blood which was to be sprinkled on the Outer Altar had been offered with the proper intention, but from the second sprinkling onward the blood was offered with an [improper] intention including a change in name, or with an [improper] intention concerning place, or with an [improper] intention concerning time, the atonement was effected and the sacrifice accepted. If, however, the first sprinkling had been offered with an [improper] intention concerning time and the other sprinklings were completed with an intention concerning place, the sacrifice became “piggul” (rejected and invalid), for the first sprinkling is the essential one. But the blood which was to be sprinkled on the Inner Altar, inasmuch as all sprinklings of blood were indispensable to one another, as we have explained, the rule is that if one of them had been offered improperly, impaired by an [improper] intention, the sacrifice is invalid even if all other sprinklings were performed properly.”

Although sacrifices could be offered only when the Beis HaMikdash was in existence, their spiritual equivalent exists also today — the service of prayer, for, as our sages have said (Berachos 26b), “Prayers were instituted corresponding to the daily sacrifices.” All the particular laws concerning sacrifices — in our case, the difference between sprinkling the blood on the Outer Altar and sprinkling on the Inner Altar — have their equivalent in man’s spiritual service.

Prayer, which is the service corresponding to the offering of the sacrifices, is service of the heart. As there are two altars, the Inner and the Outer, so there are two levels of the heart, the inner and the external. Simply put, in man’s service to G‑d, which is to serve Him in all ways, thereby drawing close to Him, there are two paths: external service (corresponding to the Outer Altar) and inner service (corresponding to the Inner Altar). Inner service is that which is associated with a Jew’s inner vitality; in general, service in holy matters, Torah and mitzvos. External service is that which deals with mundane matters, devoting even one’s personal affairs to G‑d, as our sages have said, “All your deeds should be for the sake of heaven” — “your deeds,” mundane matters, not just Torah and mitzvos.

This division exists in the area of Torah and mitzvos itself. Inner service on the Inner Altar is Torah study; external service on the Outer Altar is the observance of mitzvos, since it is done with physical objects in this world, which are external things. Tzedakah, for example, although a very lofty mitzvah, is performed with physical money, which is an external thing.

The difference between Torah (inner service) and mitzvos (external service) is paralleled by the difference between a person’s blood and limbs. The 248 positive mitzvos correspond to the 248 limbs of a person’s body; Torah corresponds to the blood which gives life to the limbs, and “the blood is the soul.” The limbs (mitzvos) are the vessels in which the soul’s vitality is enclothed — and as only vessels, they are an external matter. Blood (Torah) gives life to the limbs, and therefore it is an inner matter.

Now, in offering sacrifices, blood was sprinkled on both the Inner and Outer Altars. In terms of man’s spiritual service, the sprinkling of blood corresponds to giving one’s blood — one’s soul and vitality — in service to G‑d, and how much more so inner service, service which stems from the inner level of the heart.

There is a difference, however, in the sprinkling of the blood on the Inner Altar and on the Outer Altar. As cited above, Rambam rules that regarding the Outer Altar, “the first sprinkling is the essential one.” Thus, “If the first sprinkling of any blood had been offered with the proper intention, but from the second sprinkling onward the blood was offered with an [improper] intention ... the atonement was effected and the sacrifice accepted.” In the case of the Inner Altar, however, “if one of them (the sprinklings) had been offered improperly ... the sacrifice is invalid even if all other sprinklings were performed properly.” How does this relate to the performance of mitzvos (limbs, external service) and the study of Torah (blood, inner service)?

Concerning service that stems from the external level of the heart — the performance of the mitzvos — “the first sprinkling is the essential one.” In other words, the general approach to fulfilling mitzvos must be “with the proper intention,” to fulfill G‑d’s will. Special precautions must be taken that improper intentions not intrude here. Once the general approach and intention in performing mitzvos is proper, however, and has been done with enthusiasm (sprinkling of blood), anything improper which intrudes in the service which follows cannot invalidate the service. For improper matters do not stem from a Jew’s essence, but is something foreign to a Jew’s true nature. Thus, since the beginning and general nature of the service was proper, the foreign matter which later intrudes cannot invalidate the service.

This applies only to service stemming from the external level of the heart. Service of the inner level, in contrast, needs even greater precautions not only concerning the first sprinkling, but also all subsequent ones, since here “all sprinklings of blood were indispensable to one another.” Simply put, in service of the inner level of the heart, every detail assumes the utmost importance, necessitating strict precautions that nothing improper intrude. For concerning a very lofty matter, even the smallest wrong thing can impair it.

An example of this inner service is Torah study (blood). Even when one’s general approach to Torah study is proper, extra precautions must be taken throughout the entire time of learning, for if something improper (e.g. wrong thoughts) should intrude in the middle of the Torah study, then, even though that something is really foreign to a Jew (as above), it nevertheless disturbs him from learning properly, to the extent that it can lead to a Jew revealing facets in Torah that are contrary to the Halachah — and thus contrary to G‑d’s word. Hence, Rambam rules, even “if one of them (sprinklings) had been offered improperly ... the sacrifice is invalid even if all other sprinklings were performed properly.”

The above may be connected with Simchas Torah (the object of this farbrengen). Shabbos and the festivals in general are the inner life (the blood) of the weekdays; this is particularly true of the festivals of Tishrei, since they are all-encompassing festivals which exert influence on the whole year. Simchas Torah especially emphasizes the idea of blood and vitality, for two reasons. First of all, Simchas Torah is the last festival of Tishrei, the function of which is to extend all the revelations of the month of Tishrei to the rest of the year, in an inner manner — similar to blood, which gives life to the body’s limbs. Secondly, in addition to absorbing the revelations of the other festivals, Simchas Torah possesses its own individual service — that of joy, which infuses vitality and enthusiasm (the idea of the blood) into all aspects of the year’s service.

3. The above was an analysis of a passage of the section of the Rambam learned on Simchas Torah. Now we shall analyze a passage learned today, Shabbos Bereishis. We began today to learn the laws concerning the service of Yom Kippur, amongst which is the following (chapter 1, law 7): “In the days of the Second Beis HaMikdash, heresy grew in Israel, and the Tzedukim (Sadducees) — may they quickly perish — who do not believe in the Oral Torah, came forth, and said that the incense offered on Yom Kippur should be placed on the fire in the Heichal outside the Poroches, and when its smoke rose up it should then be brought into the Holy of Holies.... The sages, however, had a tradition that the incense should be placed [on the fire] only in the Holy of Holies before the ark [and not first in the Heichal as the Sadducees claimed]. Because in the Second Beis HaMikdash they were worried that perhaps a High Priest (who performed the service of the incense) was leaning towards heresy, they would administer an oath to him on erev Yom Kippur. They would say to him: High Priest, we are emissaries of the court and you are our emissary and the emissary of the court. We administer an oath to you in the name of He who has made His name dwell in this House, that you will not change anything which we have said to you [concerning how the service should be performed]. He would leave and weep — because they suspected him of heresy; they would leave and weep — for they suspected someone whose deeds were hidden, and perhaps there was nothing in his heart [concerning heresy].”

This passage is very puzzling: Why did the messengers administer an oath to the High Priest not to deviate from the correct course of action, and then weep because they suspected him of possible heresy? If it was wrong to administer such an oath merely because of suspicion — why indeed did they do so without first checking on his deeds? And if it was a correct course of action according to Torah — why did they weep? Weren’t they fulfilling G‑d’s will in administering the oath? Also, why did the High Priest weep — was it his fault that they suspected him of heresy?

The very fact that he was suspected of heresy, however, indicates that he had some relationship to it, for if not, it would have been impossible that he should have been suspected of something totally foreign to him.

The messengers of the court, in turn, had to administer an oath to the High Priest (although it showed that they suspected him of heresy), for the service of the incense in the Holy of Holies on Yom Kippur was of such a lofty nature, concerning all Israel for the whole year, that they had to be sure that it was carried out properly. All steps had to be taken to ensure this, even if it meant that by so doing they showed that they suspected a Jew of heresy.

Yet, because of the love that a Jew must have for another, the fact that they had to suspect a Jew — even if done according to the Torah’s command — pained and troubled them so much that they wept. This teaches how wondrous is the idea of love of a fellow Jew. On erev Yom Kippur, when everyone was busy with their preparations for the holy day, and the court was making the final preparations to ensure that the service of the incense would be carried out properly (administering the oath to the High Priest) the court, after fulfilling this duty laid upon them by Torah, wept because they were forced to suspect a Jew of heresy! If it were necessary to derive a lesson about the importance of love of a fellow Jew, this one passage in Rambam would be enough!

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4. The ultimate purpose of our deeds and service in exile is to bring the true and future redemption. This goal is achieved by the dissemination of Chassidus to the outside — as recorded by the Baal Shem Tov that Mashiach told him that he would come “when your wellsprings spread forth to the outside.”

The purification achieved through the “wellsprings” is much loftier when not just the waters of the wellsprings are spread, but the wellsprings themselves. This is one of the reasons for the printing of Tanyas in every place in which Jews are found. Even if a place has but one Jew, he is G‑d’s emissary to make that place fit for G‑d’s presence. By printing Tanyas in such places, the actual wellsprings of ChassidusTanya, the Written Torah of Chassidus — reach the outside.

After all the efforts in these matters, carried out by the shluchim (emissaries of the Rebbe) in each place, our righteous Mashiach should have come many, many months and years earlier. But he has not yet come. Thus, together with crying out to G‑d for an end to exile, extra efforts should be made in the dissemination of Chassidus, through which we hasten the coming of Mashiach.

In practical terms, the following proposal is put forward. Emissaries of the Previous Rebbe, leader of our generation, have indeed done much good work with self-sacrifice. But to good and holy matters, which are connected with G‑d who is infinite, there are no limits. One can always go further.

It is therefore suggested that each emissary, who is as the sender, endeavor to himself appoint other emissaries to engage in the dissemination of Chassidus in his, the original emissaries’, region. Too much at one time, of course, can cause the whole thing to collapse. Each emissary should not appoint at once many other emissaries, but should first start with one emissary. After having found the appropriate person to engage in spreading Chassidus in a nearby place, and seeing that it has been successful, he can then consider engaging yet more emissaries. Needless to say, this project should not be undertaken at the expense of other, already existing projects.

To engage more emissaries will cost money. Since the suggestion to do so has come from here, the place where the Previous Rebbe lived and worked the last ten years of his life, financial assistance will also be given from here. Two-thirds of the first year’s expenses incurred in having new emissaries will be paid by Merkos (Educational arm of the Lubavitch Movement). This applies to new emissaries in this country and other countries, outside Eretz Yisrael and in Eretz Yisrael. Moreover, the two-thirds from Merkos will be given first, and the original emissary will then add on the other third.

5. There is another matter that is relevant to all Jews, even those who at present are still on the “outside” (i.e., far from Judaism and Chassidus). We have spoken many times about the Torah campaign, which is to ensure that as many Jews as possible engage in Torah study. In this area, it is vital to make all endeavors that all Jews, in all places and in all walks of life, have regular Torah study sessions. When one meets a Jew in the street, one should ask him if he has such a study session. If yes, he should be persuaded to increase in it; better yet, that he himself should deliver classes to others. If he does not have a Torah study session, one should earnestly and sincerely convince him to start one.

If he can be persuaded to have two such sessions every day, learning even just one chapter of Torah in the morning and one in the evening — so much the better. If this is at first difficult, he should learn at least once a day, or at the very minimum, once every few days (but regularly), and with the time to increase in his study sessions.

Each person should decide himself what he wishes to learn — Scripture, Mishnah, Talmud etc. It makes no difference what he learns, for by learning one aspect of Torah, he will be inspired to learn another, and so on until he will learn and know the whole Torah.

This applies to all Jews, men, women and children. Although the obligation for children to learn Torah is only because of educational purposes (to train them for when they will become adults), education is of the loftiest of matters, to the extent that the fulfillment of mitzvos in the time of exile is but a preparation and education to their fulfillment in the Messianic era.

An important matter should here be made clear. When approaching a person about arranging a study session in Torah, no other matters should be mixed in; he should not be asked, for example, how well he fulfills mitzvos. The only thing he should be told is that as a Jew, a son of Avraham, Yitzchok and Yaakov, or a daughter of Sarah, Rivkah, Rochel and Leah, one who is connected to G‑d — he should learn G‑d’s Torah.

No need to ask his origins, and certainly not to ask money from him. One thing only is asked from him: Give your soul, learn Torah, which is “our life and the length of our days.” G‑d wants from a Jew, on whatever level he may be, to learn Torah! It doesn’t matter how close or far from Judaism he is; indeed, the very study of Torah will bring him close to all aspects of Judaism.

Deed is the important thing: It is incumbent upon everyone to recruit as many Jews as possible to have set study sessions in Torah — and that they, in turn, persuade others to do likewise. This should be done as quickly as possible, for every day that passes without Torah study is an irretrievable loss.

When the proper efforts are put into this project, success will surely follow, a success immeasurably greater than the efforts put into it. An analogy to this is a person who finds a precious gem in the street, and need but remove the grime and dust to have the gem in all its beauty. Every Jew, the Baal Shem Tov taught, is like a land filled with gems and precious stones. The effort needed to remove the grime which conceals these gems is nothing compared to the merit of finding a Jew’s soul and bringing it near to the G‑d who gave it.