1. It is a Jewish custom that we “begin with a blessing” — “Blessed is he that comes in the Name of the L‑rd.” This in particular refers to the many Jews who have come (from far-off or nearby) to be together in this holy place where the leader of our generation learned Torah and prayed. Moreover, since it takes effort and trouble to come here, the dictum of our Sages “the reward is commensurate to the effort” certainly applies in this case; and correspondingly, there is greater emphasis on the idea of “Blessed is he that comes in the Name of the L‑rd.”

This applies not only to those who actually came here, but also to those who are participating, wherever they are, by listening to the farbrengen. They too are making an effort when they listen, especially in those places where the farbrengen is being held during sleeping hours or business hours, and they must leave their pursuits and come to listen. Hence of them also it is said “Blessed is he who comes in the Name of the L‑rd.”

Although the concept of “Blessed is he who comes in the Name of the L‑rd” exists of itself, nevertheless, man also has a share in this work, as the verse continues, “We bless you from the House of the L‑rd.” When we talk of this concept, we bring it down below, in the manner of “effects salvation in the midst of the earth.” Indeed, this is the idea of blessing (“Blessed is he ...”): to bring down the blessing from its source to below, to the “midst of the earth.”

In greater clarification of the meaning of the phrase “Blessed is he who comes in the Name of the L‑rd.”

“Blessed,” as explained above, means drawing down. This is of the level “L‑rd,” which in Hebrew, means the “past, present and future are one,” (as indicated by their inclusion in the one word “L‑rd”). “Name” indicates drawing down and revelation below, as our Sages said: “The Holy One blessed be He travelled a distance of 500 years to acquire a Name for Himself.” That is, the idea of the “Name” is associated with the idea of journeying, drawing down below, a journey of 500 years from the heavens to earth.

A farbrengen with so many Jews (which emphasizes the idea of “Blessed is he who comes in the Name of the L‑rd”) has particular relevance on erev Rosh Hashanah. On Rosh Hashanah, Jews crown G‑d “King of Israel and his redeemer,” thereby making G‑d King of the entire world, as stated: “Reign over the entire world in Your glory” to the extent that “everything that has been made will know that You have made it.” Now, to crown G‑d King, all Jews must be united “as one man with one heart,” such that “You are standing today steadfast, all of you together.” The Alter Rebbe explains that the parshah (Netzavim) in which this verse is found is always read before Rosh Hashanah, for then all ten categories of Jews, ranging from “your heads” to your “water carriers” are united (“all of you together”). And since erev Rosh Hashanah is the “eve” of and preparation to Rosh Hashanah, all the matters of Rosh Hashanah must already begin then. Moreover, since erev Rosh Hashanah precedes Rosh Hashanah, it is, in some respects, the cause (and preparation) for the matters of Rosh Hashanah (similar to the saying of our Sages “Whoever toils on erev Shabbos will eat on Shabbos, meaning the eating on Shabbos comes about because of the toil on erev Shabbos); and the cause is greater than the effect.

Thus erev Rosh Hashanah is the most appropriate time for the idea of “Blessed is he who comes in the Name of the L‑rd” — the coming of many Jews to one place. This is particularly so when they are united through Torah, the Written and Oral, extending to the esoteric, Chassidus. This unites all Jews on all possible levels, completely excluding the possibility of any divisions.

All matters of Rosh Hashanah (beginning from erev Rosh Hashanah) must come to fruition in actual deed — “deed is the essential.” The Alter Rebbe explains that “on Rosh Hashanah judgment is given principally on the bodies ... for man is only judged on Rosh Hashanah on matters of this world.” Thus, may it be G‑d’s will that all of the above come to fruition in actual deed: this farbrengen and its continuation should increase in blessings for a good and sweet year, materially and spiritually, in this physical world. And “in the midst of the earth” itself, we clamor to merit that this coming year “will be the year of Moshiach’s redemption.” In Hebrew, this coming year is “Tof Shin Mem Gimmel” (5743) which is an acrostic for “Tehi Shnas Geulas Moshiach” — “It will be the year of Moshiach’s redemption.”


2. Scripture states, in regard to the redemption, that “I will hasten it in its appointed time.” That is, the redemption can come either in “its appointed time;” or earlier, when G‑d will “hasten it.” We have spoken many times that the redemption should and must come in the manner of “I will hasten it.” But a question arises: The Talmud states “All the appointed times have ended, and it only depends on teshuvah.” We see from this, that we are already way past the situation of “in its appointed time” (since in the times of the Talmud already “all the appointed times have ended”). How then can we hope that the redemption will be such that “I will hasten it?”

However, from the Talmud we deduce that there are two aspects in “I will hasten it”: The time of the redemption; and the manner of the redemption — Moshiach will come “with the clouds of heaven” (as opposed to “lowly and riding upon a donkey”). Although it is past the time of “I will hasten it,” we can still request (and therefore be assured) that the redemption should be in the manner of “with the clouds of heaven.”

If in the times of the Talmud they already talked of the speedy coming of Moshiach, our times certainly demand the hastening of the redemption — the literal fulfillment of “I will hasten it”! Hence all actions associated with the redemption must be done as quickly and zealously as possible. For example, when singing the song “May the Bais Hamikdosh be rebuilt speedily in our days,” it is not proper to wait to sing it at the end of the farbrengen (as has recently been the case).

In addition, the song “May the Bais Hamikdosh be rebuilt speedily in our days” is prefaced by the words “May it be Your will, L‑rd our G‑d ...” “May it be Your will” is the concept of the revelation of a new Will, the ultimate in prayer. A blessing is the drawing down from the source; prayer is the effecting of a new Will in the very source of the blessing.

In the light of the above, the song “May it be Your will ... that the Bais Hamikdosh be rebuilt speedily in our days” will surely be sung now, with joy and a good heart. And may this speedily be translated into actuality in the true and complete redemption.


3. On erev Rosh Hashanah we do not blow the shofar (although we do so on the other days of Elul) nor do we say tachnun (confession of sins). Both these things are intimately connected with the idea of Rosh Hashanah: On Rosh Hashanah, we crown G‑d King; and this is done through blowing the shofar. The preparation to crowning G‑d King and accepting His sovereignty is saying tachnun, confessing one’s sins, which makes a person pure and holy to receive the yoke of heaven upon himself. We must therefore say that, even though we do not blow shofar or say tachnun on erev Rosh Hashanah, the effects wrought by them are nevertheless not missing: for these effects occur of themselves on erev Rosh Hashanah, without the actual blowing or recital of tachnun.

This is similar to the reason why we do not blow the shofar when Rosh Hashanah falls out on Shabbos. The Alter Rebbe explains that everything effected by the shofar is effected by the concept of Shabbos (without any effort of man). Indeed, in one respect, the effect of Shabbos, without man’s blowing, is loftier: When the effect is produced by man’s efforts (blowing the shofar), it depends on the profundity of service of the blower. But when it is through the very concept of Shabbos, it is from Above — for “Shabbos is sanctified of itself,” without man’s service at all — and is therefore as perfect as possible.

Likewise, not saying tachnun on erev Shabbos is similar to the idea that “the fast of the day (Yom Kippur) itself atones.” It is explained that already on erev Rosh Hashanah, Jews “wear white and are wrapped in white because they are sure they are meritorious in judgment.” Likewise, everything on erev Rosh Hashanah is effected to perfection, to the extent of not needing tachnun.

This helps clarify another matter: Every Friday night we say the psalm “Lechu Nerraneno” in the prayers welcoming the Shabbos. When Yom Tov is on Shabbos however, (as this year, when Rosh Hashanah is on Shabbos) we do not say it. The reason for this is that the things effected by the saying of “Lechu Nerraneno flare when Yom Tov falls out on Shabbos, effected to perfection without man’s efforts. When Yom Tov is on Shabbos, all matters of Shabbos receive a special distinction — and hence those things effected by the saying of “Lechu Nerraneno” have this special distinction without actually saying it.

On the other hand, even when Rosh Hashanah falls out on Shabbos, we still say the first three verses of “Lechu Nerraneno” in the “Song of the Day” on the preceding Wednesday. For, as explained above in the idea of “Blessed is he who comes in the Name of the L‑rd,” there is also the concept of “We bless you from the House of the L‑rd.” That is, in our case, the saying of the first three verses of “Lechu Nerraneno” on Wednesday serves as the preparation to Shabbos (including when Rosh Hashanah falls out on Shabbos).

In addition, the psalm “Lechu Nerraneno” has particular relevance to Rush Hashanah. On Rosh Hashanah we crown G‑d King of the world, as did Adam, the first man. And the psalm “Lechu Nerraneno” contains the words used by Adam to proclaim G‑d King on Rosh Hashanah (the day he was created) when he said to all creatures: “Come, let us prostrate ourselves and bow down ... before the L‑rd our Maker.” And the reason we don’t say this psalm on Rosh Hashanah itself when it falls out on Shabbos is because all the prayers of Rosh Hashanah — the entire idea of Rosh Hashanah — proclaim the idea of crowning G‑d as King. The saying of Lechu Nerraneno would therefore be utterly superfluous.

“Lechu Nerraneno” means “Come, let us sing to the L‑rd, let us raise our voices in jubilation” — the idea of joy. Hence, now, when it is already past Wednesday when the concept of “Lechu Nerraneno” begins, may it be G‑d’s will that all Jews have open joy in all their matters. This joy must start with service to G‑d — Torah study and fulfillment of mitzvos; and particularly the timely matter of learning the laws of Yom Tov, especially those of Rosh Hashanah.

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4. Erev Rosh Hashanah is the birthday of the Tzemach Tzedek (5549); and there is an obvious connection between a Jew’s birthday (who is a “complete word”), when the soul descends into a body, and the world’s birthday — for Rosh Hashanah also marks the creation of Adam.

Everything begins from the Torah, as stated “He looked into the Torah and created the world.” So too in the case of the joining of body and soul (birth): The exoteric aspect of Torah is like the body, and the esoteric is like the soul. The joining and synthesis of the exoteric and the esoteric is similar to the joining of body and soul (birth).

That was what was unique about the Tzemach Tzedek: His Torah synthesized the esoteric and the exoteric and made them one entity. In addition to his Torah study of the exoteric and esoteric separately, he in addition, and principally, learned them synthesized together, as “one Torah.” Not just merely attached together, but as a person lives, with each fibre simultaneously composed of two things: body and soul, synthesized into one entity. Although in previous generations, there were people who engaged in the study of both the exoteric (“body of Torah”) and the esoteric (“soul of the Torah”), they were two separate disciplines, studied at different times and places; the Tzemach Tzedek united them into “one Torah.”

This new approach of the Tzemach Tzedek influenced also those Jews who were not openly affiliated to his camp: they too began to learn the exoteric and esoteric in the manner of “one Torah.” Even those who did not change their mode of study, and only engaged in the study of the exoteric while another only studied the esoteric — they too were influenced by the Tzemach Tzedek. For in his times, there was peace and harmony between the three categories of those who studied Torah — those who studied the exoteric, those who studied the esoteric, and those who united them into “one Torah.” All lived in peace and harmony, and helped the others in all their matters. Although in previous times the differences in approach and factions caused divisions and disharmony, leading to disputes etc., in the times of the Tzemach Tzedek all three factions lived in peace.

Indications of this are to be found in letters of the times. Principal proof is that the Torah greats of all three factions gathered together for the purpose of strengthening Judaism, and to abolish the opposition of the government. While differences existed between the Torah greats, they were still completely united, to the extent that their unity caused them to be victorious against the government.

This then is the lesson from the Tzemach Tzedek, who paved the way for us — a sure and well-trodden path, so that we, by standing united, should follow in his light and footsteps to greet our righteous Moshiach with joy and good heart.