Before the Fifth Hakkafah

1. The celebration of Hakofos on Shemini Atzeres and Simchas Torah is an auspicious time, and is therefore propitious to annul all unfavorable things. Especially since the idea of Hakofos is associated with Torah, and Torah is master of the world — even of those things in the past, and certainly the present and future.

One of the things that need to be annulled is the recent opposition to Jews retaining all of Eretz Yisroel. Eretz Yisroel is “the land... which the eyes of the L‑rd your G‑d are on it from the beginning of the year until the end of the year.” It was given in its entirety specifically to the Jewish people, as our Sages say: “When G‑d created the world. .. He chose Eretz Yisroel (as His portion)... and chose Yisroel as His portion... Yisroel who have come into My portion should come and inherit the land that came into My portion.”

Torah is eternal, a Torah of truth and life — giving eternal instructions for daily life. Since it states in the Torah that all of Eretz Yisroel belongs to all Jews, it will always be thus, forever and unchangingly true. All the machinations of the opposition are as naught, for being contrary to G‑d’s Will they are completely false. Even when in the guise of ‘diplomacy’ they have no substance whatsoever. It is also contrary to the desire of billions of Jews throughout the generations; they too do not agree to any part of Eretz Yisroel being taken from Jews.

Moreover, the Evil Inclination itself, the impulse behind such opposition to keeping all of Eretz Yisroel, does not wish to impinge upon the Jews’ ownership of Eretz Yisroel. It is forced to do its job (of testing a Jew whether he will oppose G‑d’s desires), and the goal is that a Jew should reveal his hidden qualities and powers. A Jew must show that he does indeed belong to “the wise and understanding people,” and take no notice of the temptations offered by the Evil Inclination.

In other words: Since G‑d gave all of Eretz Yisroel to the Jewish people for all time, no person can change this. Even when his Evil Inclination overpowers him and does do something contrary to this, (even to the extent of attempting to influence non-Jews in this direction), eventually he will realize the truth and understand how much trouble he has caused.

Jews are associated with Torah, and Torah is master of the world, including the past. Hence, with good resolutions for the future, to act in accordance with the dictates of Torah, a Jew has the ability to rectify and change even the past. A Jew must know that the only course open to him is Torah and mitzvos, for “many are the thoughts of man, but it is G‑d’s contrivance which will prevail.”

We are now in the auspicious time of Yom Tov, especially the Hakofos of Shemini Atzeres. They follow the seven days of Sukkos on which we recite the entire Hallel. In Hallel we say “Praise the L‑rd, all you nations, extol Him, all you people;” and it continues to give the reason for this — “Because His kindness was mighty over us.” In other words, the gentile peoples recognize that G‑d’s kindness is mighty over us. Hence now is a propitious time to completely eradicate and annul any opposition to the fact that Eretz Yisroel belongs entirely to Jews.

Therefore, in this Hakofoh, which begins with the words “King of the worlds,” the participants should be all Rabbis present (i.e. Rabbis actually engaged in rendering Halachic decisions, and not just in Torah study). Rabbis are called the true ‘kings,’ and they should render the Halachic decision that all of Eretz Yisroel belongs to the Jewish people. Their Halachic decision does not come from their own strength, but from G‑d Himself. Their Rabbinical ordination is in a direct chain from Moshe Rabbeinu, who received his ordination from G‑d, the “King of the worlds.” Hence, when they render a Halachic decision, especially in this auspicious time, this decision of the true ‘kings’ stems from the ‘King of the worlds,’ and therefore affects the ‘worlds’ — including this physical world and even its non-Jewish inhabitants.

Likewise they effect that the conduct of the world is consonant with G‑d’s Will, who has instructed that the gentile nations should assist Jews in all their matters, especially those of Judaism.

This concept of Rabbis being the ‘true kings’ follows Hoshanah Rabbah. The ‘Guest’ of Hoshanah Rabbah is King Dovid, of whom it is stated “Dovid King of Israel lives and exists.” Likewise, the ‘Chassidic Guest’ is the Rebbe Rashab, who in a Sicha on the verse “All who go out to the wars of the House of David,” explained that all Chassidim in all generations are “soldiers of the House of David.”

Through this we are assured of success in battle (against the Evil Inclination), and quickly merit to have the ‘three fold bond’ of ‘the whole land’ with ‘the whole people’ and ‘the whole Torah.’

Before the Sixth Hakkafah

2. The general concept of Rabbis being the true ‘kings’ was effected at the Giving of the Torah (Mattan Torah), when all Jews became “a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” The fact that they then became a ‘kingdom’ indicates that they have dominion over the entire world [just as a king has dominion over his kingdom]. Similarly, our Sages have taught that man was created single to teach him that he is an “entire world.” Hence, similar to the first man Adam, “each person is obliged to state that the world was created for my sake.” Likewise with every Jew, the entire world being created “for the sake of Yisroel.” Our Sages have said that everything in the world was created only to serve a Jew, indicating that a Jew has dominion over the world. Thus Jews have the ability to make it a fit dwelling place for G‑d.

The dominion of Jews over the world has particular relevance to Shemini Atzeres. Shemini Atzeres follows Hoshanah Rabbah, its ‘Guest’ being King Dovid. Similarly, the Zohar explains that Shemini Atzeres is associated with Yosef Hatzaddik (the righteous). Of the “Chassidic Guests,” that of Hoshanah Rabbah is the Rebbe Rashab, and that of Shemini Atzeres is the Previous Rebbe — his (first) name being Yosef (similar to Yosef Hatzaddik).

Yosef is associated with the idea of dominion and rulership over the entire world. Pharaoh said to Yosef: “Without your say no man shall lift a hand or foot in all Egypt.” We see then that even in exile (similar to Yosef’s exile in Egypt), “Pharaoh” gives dominion to Jews. As our Sages tell us, Pharaoh commanded all Egyptians to circumcise themselves. Circumcision of non-Jews is only applicable when they are the property of Jews. In other words, the circumcision of Egyptians rendered them the property of Yosef Hatzaddik.

Some people claim that Jews should conduct themselves in a manner of “Do not start up with a non-Jew.” The retort to this claim is that when it comes to matters connected to Torah and mitzvos, Jews have dominion over the world, and they need not be affected by any opposition. And consonant with the dictum of the Previous Rebbe that the soul of a Jew never went into exile, it follows that when Jews consider their souls as primary and their bodies as secondary, the soul effects that even the body not be in exile: The exile does not effect a Jew in any way in matters connected with Torah and mitzvos.

As explained before, the Jews became a ‘kingdom of priests’ at Mattan Torah, giving them dominion over the world. Hence when Jews strengthen their bond with Torah, they increase their dominion over the world. In connection with this, it is now timely to again encourage everyone to unite all Jews through each one purchasing a letter in a Sefer Torah. As the Previous Rebbe said: “Each and every Jew has a letter in the Torah... This letter gives him strength to withstand all obstacles and opposition... Besides acting as protection, it is the vehicle through which the blessing from above for all good things come to him.”

Through Jews purchasing a letter in a Sefer Torah, hundreds of thousands of Jews are united together, “the men, the won-.n, the infants, and the proselyte within your gates.” Even those who participated in the writing of the Sefer Torah with which to greet Moshiach, which was written and completed by the directive of the Previous Rebbe, must also purchase a letter in one of the Sifrei Torah now being written.

This is the connection to the sixth Hakofoh, which starts with the words “Helper of the needy.” Through uniting all Jews, the concept of “Helper of the needy” is achieved — G‑d assists Jews to go out from the status of ‘the needy,’ which is the situation of Jews in exile. ‘Needy’ includes those who do not feel the degradation of exile, and consider themselves to be in a perfectly excellent situation. But a Jew must know that exile is punishment, a bitter, terrible punishment, and that each Jew must want Moshiach to come now, immediately. We say in our prayers everyday: “Speedily cause the scion of Dovid Your servant to flourish” and “May our eyes behold Your return to Zion.”

The sixth Hakofoh corresponds to the Sefirah of Yesod, which is the concept of Yosef Hatzaddik. This is its connection to the Previous Rebbe, whose name is Yosef. In addition, the Previous Rebbe’s spreading of Judaism and Chassidus was in the form of “Helper of the needy.” The Rebbe Rashab’s work was connected mainly with Torah students, making them “soldiers of the House of Dovid.” The Previous Rebbe worked with all categories of Jews, including those on the level of ‘needy.’ This is also expressed in the concept of Yosef. Rochel, Scripture tells us, named him Yosef, saying “May the L‑rd grant another (Yosef) son to me.” Chassidus explains that this verse expresses the service of Yosef — to convert the ‘other’ (those removed from Judaism) to ‘son’ (those who are true to Judaism). This was the work of the Previous Rebbe. He was phenomenally successful in bringing countless Jews back to their heritage, and the fruits of his work endure forever. And as our Sages have said: “When a person’s seed is alive he is also alive.”

In the light of all the above, those who work in the Sefer Torah campaign should be honored with celebrating the sixth Hakofoh. First and foremost should be the Rabbis, the true ‘kings,’ both local, from Eretz Yisroel, and other countries. Likewise those people in the committees of the Sefer Torah campaign of ‘Tomchei Temimim, Bais Rivkah, and the other Sifrei Torah being written (e.g. in California and London).

Then we proceed to the seventh Hakofoh, with the words “Tomech Temimim — Supporter of the sincere ones.” This is associated with Yeshivas Tomchei Temimim (Lubavitch), whose students are “lights to illuminate.” Likewise with students of other Yeshivas, and all Jews, of whom it is said “All your children are learners of the [Torah of the] L‑rd.”

May it be G‑d’s will that through celebrating the Hakofos with great joy — and joy breaks all barriers — we speedily merit the breaking of the barriers of the exile, and then “immediately Jews are redeemed.”

Night of Simchas Torah at Hakkafos
Before the Fifth Hakkafah

3. The fifth Hakofoh begins with the words “King of the worlds.” The ‘King of the worlds’ has an army, the “Army of Hashem,” referring to all Jews. From birth every Jew belongs to the “kingdom of priests” and therefore is included in the ‘Army of Hashem.’

In the Army of Hashem itself, children below the age of Bar Mitzvah occupy a special place. G‑d has called them ‘My Moshiach;’ as our Sages have interpreted the verse ‘Do not touch my anointed (Moshiach) ones’ to refer to children, whose ’breath contains no sin.’

Thus children under Bar Mitzvah should be in the fifth Hakofoh (‘King of the worlds’); and after saying the accompanying prayer should sing “Napoleon’s March.”

Just as in this Hakofoh we are honoring children, ‘My Moshiach,’ may it be G‑d’s will that through the joy of this Hakofoh we should speedily merit to receive our righteous Moshiach. Then ‘just as in the days of your going out from Egypt I will show you wonders’ — even before actually leaving the exile Jews are in the situation of “all the Jews had light in their dwelling places.”

Before the Sixth Hakkafah

4. The Baal Shem Tov taught that ‘a person is where his thoughts are;’ meaning, when a person strongly directs his thoughts to a place, he is actually there. All Jews wish for Moshiach’s immediate coming, and to accompany him to the Holy Land. Hence, those who will be honored with the sixth Hakofoh should direct their thoughts to Eretz Yisroel and the holy city of Yerushalayim. In other words: they should think and consider that they are celebrating the Hakofoh in Yerushalayim — and ‘a person is where his thoughts are.’

In Eretz Yisroel and Yerushalayim, Hakofos are now being celebrated (although they are called ’second Hakofos,’ since in Eretz Yisroel it is already Motzoei Simchas Torah). Hence, when the people here think about Yerushalayim, they unite together with the Jews who are celebrating Hakofos in Yerushalayim.

Although there is a time difference between the Hakofos here and those in Yerushalayim, the Alter Rebbe states in his Shulchan Aruch: “Although the days and nights change according to the climate and distance of each country from each other... and the time for the recital of the Shema and the prayers is different according to the time of each country’s days and night,” nevertheless “the auspicious time Above... is beyond the dimension of time and place; it radiates below to every place consonant with its time.”

So too with Hakofos. Although each place celebrates it in their own particular time, they all ascend above to one place — to the ‘King of the worlds.’ Afterwards, each place receives its blessings etc. from the ‘King of the worlds’ according to its particular needs.

Although those honored with this Hakofoh are only few in number, they represent and are envoys of all those assembled here. Thus, when they consider and meditate that they are celebrating Hakofos in Yerushalayim (and ‘a person is where his thoughts are’), it is as if the entire assembly is celebrating the Hakofos in the holy city of Yerushalayim.

May it be G‑d’s will that through the great joy of this Hakofoh (connected with Yerushalayim) we speedily merit the true and complete redemption through our righteous Moshiach. Then all Jews will go to the Holy Land, “the land... which the eyes of the L‑rd your G‑d are on it from the beginning of the year until the end of the year.” And in Eretz Yisroel itself, all Jews will go to the holy city of Yerushalayim, the city of Dovid, speedily in our time.