1. The third of Tammuz marks the beginning of the redemption of the previous Rebbe, when he left prison. His imprisonment was an exile within an exile within an exile. The descent of a soul into a body is the idea of exile, it being a descent “from a high roof to a deep pit” — to this lowest of all worlds. Within this “deep pit” itself, we are now in the time of exile. We cannot perceive that the existence of the world every moment is G‑dliness, the word of G‑d, “Who in His goodness renews the work of Creation each day continually.” Hence it is an exile within an exile. The imprisonment of the previous Rebbe was therefore an exile within an exile within an exile. This then is the distinction of the third of Tammuz which marks the beginning of his redemption from this triple exile.

Although he was not fully liberated on the third of Tammuz, since even after being freed from imprisonment he was banished to the remote village of Kostrama, nevertheless, leaving prison was the beginning of redemption. His liberation was “bit by bit”: first he left prison on the third of Tammuz; then after a number of days he left the exile of Kostrama on the 12th and 13th of Tammuz; then finally he left the country altogether. Hence, although at the time of leaving prison it was not openly evident that it was the beginning of liberation from the exile of the country itself, when we ponder the events now, we see them in their true light — the third of Tammuz was the beginning of the total liberation.

The liberation of the previous Rebbe from that country effected a cardinal change in the general service of spreading Chassidus. After leaving the country it was now possible to spread Chassidus in greater fashion, infinitely more than when in that country. In that country Chassidus was also spread, to the extent that just before he was taken from his house the previous Rebbe commanded his followers to continue spreading Judaism and Chassidus without fear. Nevertheless, it cannot compare to afterwards, when Chassidus was disseminated in places that previously were completely ignorant of it. This has most recently been expressed in the printing (and study) of the Tanya in the cities of Tyre, Sid-don, and Beirut, besides all the other places where the Tanya has been printed in recent years.

The Tanya (and Chassidus Chabad in general) is the intellectual comprehension of the esoteric in Torah, to the extent it becomes part of one’s physical flesh and blood: one’s life (eating, drinking etc.) are permeated with the esoteric in Torah, the idea of “all your deeds should be for the sake of heaven” and “in all your ways you shall know Him.” And the actual printing of the Tanya is the concrete expression of this.

There is a special distinction in the Tanya being printed in the cities of Tyre, Siddon and Beirut. Scripture states that when Rivkah felt Ya’akov and Esav “struggling within her,” she was told that this signifies that “Two nations are in your womb .. and the one people shall be stronger than the other.” Rashi comments on this that “They shall not be equal in greatness; when one rises to supremacy the other shall fall. This is what the text states ‘I shall be filled with her that is laid waste’ — Tyre will be filled only through the destruction of Yerushalayim.” We infer from this that the rebuilding of Yerushalayim is associated with the destruction of Tyre.

From this we understand the special distinction of printing the Tanya in Tyre. Typre is the counterpart (in evil) of Yerushalayim, and printing the Tanya in Tyre is the ultimate in the dissemination of Chassidus, since now Chassidus has penetrated even such a spiritually base place.

This comes about through the blessings of the previous Rebbe who commanded and gave strength to completely devote oneself to spreading Chassidus in concrete fashion. That is, to spread Chassidus to all Jews, even those on the lowest spiritual level. Even Jews who must be taught the rudiments (“the Aleph-Bais”) of Judaism should simultaneously be given the “wellsprings” of Chassidus.

“These days are remembered and kept.” When every year we “remember” the events of the third of Tammuz (the beginning of the dissemination of Chassidus in the above fashion, when darkness was converted to light, those same people who imprisoned the Rebbe being forced to free him) in the proper Torah manner, it becomes translated into deed (“kept”). The “litmus test” of whether the “remembrance” was proper is if the third of Tammuz effects a change in one’s actions. And from the third of Tammuz we proceed to the following days, until we reach the days of liberation of the 12th and 13th of Tammuz.

May it be G‑d’s will that this serve as the preparation to the true and complete redemption — even before the 12th of Tammuz — when “You shall be gathered one by one children of Israel” through our righteous Moshiach. Then we shall celebrate the 12th and 13th of Tammuz of the year 5742 in our Holy Land, the “land ... which the eyes of the L‑rd your G‑d are always upon it from the beginning of the year until the end of the year.” And from the third of Tammuz we come to the fulfillment of the promise “On the third day He will raise us up and we will live before Him,” in the third Bais Hamikdosh, which is eternal as the redemption is eternal.


2. The previous Rebbe, on the third of Tammuz, said: “It was not our will that we were exiled from Eretz Yisroel, and it is not with our might that we will return to Eretz Yisroel. Our Father, our King, blessed be He, exiled us from our land and He, blessed be He, will redeem us ... through Moshiach the righteous redeemer.... But know please, all peoples of the earth, that only our bodies were delivered into exile and servitude; whereas our souls were not delivered into exile and servitude. We are obliged to openly announce that in everything concerning our religion, the Torah of Israel, its mitzvos and customs, there is no one who can force his will on us, and there is no power of coercion permitted to enslave us. We must declare with all the firmness of our Jewish stubbornness, and with all the firmness of the power of Jewish self-sacrifice for these thousands of years: ‘Do not touch My anointed ones and do not do evil to My prophets.’”

Tanya (Ch. 32) explains that “the basis and root of the entire Torah are to raise and exalt the soul high above the body” such that the body is secondary to the soul. And since G‑d only demands according to one’s capabilities, it follows that He gives every Jew the strength to make his soul primary and his body secondary. Since “only our bodies were delivered into exile ... and our souls were not,” and the body is secondary to the soul, it follows that exile is only a “secondary” matter. The principal thing is to convert the exile into redemption by revealing “the One G‑d” in the exile. The third of Tammuz thus teaches us that we must know the soul was never in exile and therefore “in everything concerning our religion ... there is no one who can force his will on us.”

In addition, the previous Rebbe concludes with the words “We must declare ... ‘Do not touch My anointed ones and do not do evil to My prophets.’” The Talmud interprets “My anointed ones” to refer to “children in the school of their teacher” (i.e. children who learn Torah). This is particularly associated with the arrest and liberation of the previous Rebbe: The principal complaint leading to his arrest was not so much that he spread Chassidus to adults, but that he involved himself in the Jewish education of children. The previous Rebbe was prepared to endanger the work of disseminating Judaism and Chassidus for the sake of educating Jewish children in the proper Torah way. Hence the third of Tammuz teaches us that we must make extra efforts in educating children (“My anointed ones”).

Education begins at birth, as in the Jewish custom to hang up ‘Shir Hamaylos’ (and similarly Jewish things) around the new born. Thus the first thing a baby sees are holy letters with which the world was created and exists. Moreover, education really begins from conception, when he is conceived with purity. Following this, his education is continued when he learns the whole Torah while in his mother’s womb, and as a result, when he is born he inherits the entire Torah — “The Torah which Moshe commanded us is the heritage of the congregation of Ya’akov.” This lesson too must be translated into action — all Jews keeping the laws of family purity, thus beginning the education of Jewish children in the correct manner.

The family purity campaign is connected with all the other mitzvah campaigns: Ahavas Yisroel, education, Torah, tefillin, mezuzah, tzedakah, house full of Jewish books, Shabbos and Yom Tov lights, kashrus, and having all Jews purchase a letter in one of the general Sefer Torahs.

The blessings of the third of Tammuz gives added impetus to all the above, revealing G‑dliness in the world, which hasten the true and complete redemption. And even while in exile, “all the children of Israel had light in their dwelling places.”

In addition to the above, which applies every year, there is a lesson to be learned from the day’s portion of Chumash — the fifth day of parshas Korach. It relates how the complaints the Jews had in regard to the priesthood (why only Aharon and his sons were priests) were removed — when all Jews saw that “the rod of Aharon, of the house of Levi had blossomed; it put forth buds, and produced blossoms, and almonds were ripening on it.” Rash_ explains that almonds are “fruit which blossoms more quickly than all fruits.” So too with the redemption: We merit the redemption quickly, when G‑d fulfills His promise to us that “immediately they will be redeemed.”

The lesson learned from the portion of Chumash of the third of Tammuz is that the service of disseminating Judaism and Chassidus (the central theme of the third of Tammuz) should be done “quickly” — that the good resolutions in this matter are fulfilled with all haste. And just as Aharon’s staff did not only produce blossoms but “almonds were ripening on it,” so too work with a fellow Jew must produce an effect in actual deed. And the effect should be such that the other Jew too goes out to influence fellow Jews, who in turn influence others, ad infinitum.

3. As explained above, the previous Rebbe was imprisoned mainly because of his work in educating Jewish children — “Do not touch My anointed ones.” Hence the third of Tammuz must inspire us anew to concern ourselves with the education of Jewish children, to ensure they receive a full, kosher Jewish education.

This is especially appropriate at this time, when summer vacation is starting in many countries. Efforts should be made to ensure that parents register their children in summer camps that are run in the proper Jewish spirit of Torah and mitzvos. Parents should know that children are called by G‑d “My anointed ones,” and He has given parents the holy mission of educating them consonant to their being the “anointed ones” of G‑d. Parents, knowing this, will certainly utilize their abilities to bring to fruition their great merit of G‑d relying on them to raise His “anointed ones” properly.

Hence, when summer approaches, when children are freed from school, parents will surely utilize this time to educate their children in a kosher fashion by sending them to a Torah-true camp. Children are “Tzivos Hashem G‑d’s army,” and a “soldier” of G‑d conducts himself according to G‑d’s will 24 hours a day, every day. This is the advantage of education received in summer camp compared to the rest of the year. At other times of the year, a child, while for part of the day under the care of the school or home, is also sometimes under the influence of the street and surrounding environment. In summer camp, the child is under the influence of the camp 24 hours a day. Hence, when he or she is in a camp that is run according to Torah ideals, he/she are continually growing in all aspects of Torah and mitzvos. And when children do so, G‑d sends His blessings for a healthy body.

The main thing is to actually carry out all of the above, and quickly (“almonds”), through which we merit the redemption quickly. Then will be fulfilled the promise “On that day the L‑rd will be One and His Name One,” when Moshiach will “rectify the whole world to serve G‑d together, as it states: ‘Then I will convert the nations to a pure language so that all of them will call in the Name of the L‑rd and serve Him with a common consent.’”

4. Besides the above lesson from this week’s parshah, there is an additional directive learned from the general content of the parshah — which talks of the rebellion of Korach against Moshe. Korach’s complaint to Moshe and Aharon was “All of the community are all holy, and G‑d is among them; why do you set yourselves above G‑d’s congregation?” Our Sages explain that Korach “was envious of the princeship of Elitzaphon ben Uzziel whom Moshe had appointed prince over the children of Kehos by the express command of G‑d,” and had not appointed him (Korach) instead — although Korach’s father was the second son after Amram. Kehos had four sons. Amram was the first born, and his sons Moshe and Aharon, received high offices. Korach therefore claimed that as the son of Yitzhor, who was the second son of Kehos, he was entitled to be the prince of the sons of Kehos, and not Elitzaphon who was the son of the youngest brother. But this seems to be paradoxical: On the one hand, Korach seems to agree that the office of the princehood should exist (and his complaints was that he wasn’t appointed to it). On the other hand, why then did he complain against the very idea of there being any office-holders — ”All of the community are all holy ... why do you set yourselves above G‑d’s congregation?”

The explanation is that a kohen (priest — and Korach also wanted the priesthood) is set higher than the rest of the children of Israel not just in his priestly duties, but also in his non-priestly function — in those things in which he does not differ from other Jews. Korach’s complaint of “why do you set yourselves above G‑d’s congregation” was directed to those things in which there is no difference between a kohen and others. He could understand that in priestly matters a kohen is naturally set apart; but why should he be higher in non-priestly matters? Moshe’s answer was that the distinction of being a kohen (in priestly functions) affects also matters in which there is no difference between a kohen and others — thus making a kohen distinct and special even in non-priestly matters.

An example of this is the daily sacrifice brought every day of the year, weekdays and Shabbos and Yom Tovim and Yom Kippur. The question is: Is the special distinction and loftiness of Shabbos and Yom Tov expressed only in the extra sacrifices brought on these days, or does the sanctity of Shabbos (and Yom Tov) also affect the daily sacrifice brought then — making it loftier than on a weekday?

The difference will be on Yom Kippur. The service on Yom Kippur could only be performed by the Kohen Gadol (High Priest). If we say that the sanctity of the daily sacrifice on Yom Kippur is no different than any other day, then it could be offered by a regular priest. But if the sanctity of Yom Kippur also affects the daily sacrifice, then it would be able to be brought only by the Kohen Gadol.

This was the argument between Korach and Moshe Rabbeinu: Korach thought that the distinction of a thing is expressed only in the thing itself — and thus in non-priestly matters a kohen should be no different from other Jews. Moshe told him that the distinction of a particular detail influences the general thing — and therefore the distinction of a kohen is expressed in everything, even non-priestly matters. Likewise, the daily sacrifices on Shabbos and Yom Kippur are affected by the sanctity of these days.

There is a lesson in this for every Jew. A Jew may think that he need be different only in matters of Torah and mitzvos, whereas in mundane things (eating, drinking etc.), in which he is similar to all peoples, he need not be on a particularly lofty level. The story of Korach teaches us that the distinction of being Jewish expresses itself in all things, not just Torah and mitzvos. Even the mundane matters of a Jew are loftier than other peoples, as the Rambam writes: “Just as a wise person is recognizable in his wisdom and knowledge ... so must he be recognizable in his deeds, his eating, his drinking ... and his business affairs.”

The lesson from Korach then is that one must be “set above G‑d’s congregation.” If a Jew has the merit of being a Kohen or Levi, or has received an education better than others, he must conduct himself in better fashion (“raised”) than those who did not have this merit. Certainly then, in these times when we are privileged to have the Chassidus of the Rebbeim printed, and likewise the revealed Torah thoughts of the “Rishonim” (earlier Sages), it is a unique privilege — and simultaneously a special responsibility to increase in the study of the Torah revealed in these latter generations. This then effects a distinction in one’s study in other parts of the Torah.

In practical terms not only should it be recognizable on one who is engaged in the mitzvah campaigns that he is an “envoy” of the previous Rebbe, but even when engaged in other matters (e.g. eating or drinking) he should be in an uplifted state.

5. Besides the above lesson from parshas Korach, there is also a lesson to be derived from the name of the parshah — Korach. Korach, in Hebrew, is composed of three letters — “kuf” (p), “reish” (1) and “ches” (n). All of them are somewhat similar to the letter “hey” (n), but at the same time different. “Hey” comprises three strokes: one on the right, one above, and a third on the left which is not joined to the other two. The two which are joined together (right and above) correspond to thought and speech which are joined together, speech following thought. The left stroke corresponds to deed, and it is not joined to the others, for there is a separation between deed and thought (and speech).

The three letters in Korach — “kuf,” “reish” and “ches,” are all different from “hey”: In the letter “kuf,” the left stroke extends further down than the right stroke; in “reish,” the left stroke is missing altogether; and in “ches,” the left stroke is joined with the other two strokes.

This indicates the following, based on the representation in the letter “hey” of the strokes on the right and above corresponding to thought and speech, and the left stroke to deed. The longer stroke on the left in the letter “kuf” infers increase in deed compared to thought and speech, against Torah law which states “You shall not add to it” (to the performance of mitzvos e.g. five sections in tefillin instead of four). The missing left stroke in “reish” infers the complete absence of actual deed, against Torah law which states “You shall not subtract from it (from Torah).” The letter “ches,” with all three strokes joined together, infers the absence of separation between deed and thought (and speech).

In man’s service to G‑d this means the following. The Torah, when talking of the actual performance of mitzvos, stresses that “you shall not add it, nor shall you subtract from it.” Subtraction from Torah seems to be worse than adding to Torah. Why then does Torah first state “you shall not add to it” and only afterwards “you shall not subtract from it?”

However, if the Yetzer Horah (Evil Inclination) would openly tell a Jew to desist or subtract from Torah, a Jew would surely not listen. Hence the Yetzer Horah, who is a crafty expert in his job, first tries to get a Jew to add to the mitzvos of Torah, telling him, for example, that while the Torah has commanded four sections in tefillin, he should make five. This way the Yetzer Horah hopes to cause the Jew to stray from the right path.

Another example: There are some people who by their very nature tend to act contrary to Ahavas Yisroel (love of a fellow Jew), but overcome their impulses through the aid of the Yetzer Tov (Good Inclination). The Yetzer Horah then schemes to trap these people by the following: Since Torah commands “You shall surely admonish your fellow,” he will cause these Jews to add to and be super-observant of this mitzvah — and hence automatically not act in the way of Ahavas Yisroel!

Torah, however, tells us “You shall not add to it.” It is a clear halachah in Shulchan Aruch that the mitzvah of admonishing a person must first and foremost be “privately, not in public, and one must speak with him pleasantly and softly.” And through adding to Torah, one can come to act contrary to Ahavas Yisroel. This is what the letter “kuf” represents: the left hand stroke (deed) is not equal to the right hand stroke but continues on — contrary to the command “you shall not add to it.”

After warning a person “you shall not add to it” (the first thing in which the Yetzer Horah tries to ensnare a person), the Torah also warns “you shall not detract from it,” which is more severe. This is expressed in the letter “reish,” which has no left stroke at all, symbolizing the lack of actual deed. Such a person thinks that since “G‑d wants the heart,” thought and speech alone is enough — the opposite to the command of “you shall not detract from it.”

Besides deed in the manner of “you shall not add nor detract from it,” the idea of deed must come after thought and speech — i.e. there must be a division between thought and speech and the deed (unlike the letter “ches,” in which the left stroke is joined to the other two). One cannot, after the good thought or speech, “jump” immediately into action. One must first look into the Shulchan Aruch to know how to act properly.

For example, when giving tzedakah, one cannot just act hurriedly, unheeding of the exact needs of the poor person. After the good thought that he must fulfill the mitzvah of tzedakah, he must take time to think about the poor person’s needs — how much he needs, how to give it graciously etc. The separation between thought and deed then, is to make one realize that the deed is not just for his benefit, but the ultimate purpose is the deed itself.

When there is no break between the thought and deed, one only thinks of oneself, and the deed is also ultimately for one’s own benefit — he gives it to fulfill the mitzvah of tzedakah, and hence will be satisfied with giving less when the poor person needs more. When there is a separation between the thought and deed (as expressed in the letter “hey”), one thinks of the deed, how it will affect others.

In general then, although there are of course things which need the letters “kuf,” “reish” and “ches,” service in actual deed in this world must be as the shape of the letter “hey” (for the world was created with the letter “hey”). The lesson from our parshah is that we must convert “Korach” — the undesirable effects in the three letters kuf, reish and ches — to good: the service of converting darkness to light.