1. This farbrengen is connected with the Yahrzeit of the Rebbe Maharash, grandfather of the Previous Rebbe. The two shared a close connection, even their physical features were similar. Chassidim relate that when the Previous Rebbe visited Israel, one of the elder Chassidim came to greet him. When he saw the Rebbe, the Chosid fainted. When he came to, he explained that the Previous Rebbe resembled the Rebbe Maharash so strongly and behaved so much like him that it seemed as if he was standing before the Rebbe Maharash. This excited him so much that he fainted.1

The Baal Shem Tov teaches us that from everything we see or hear we can learn a lesson. From the above the lesson is not easily extracted because it is difficult for us to understand the natures of great people such as the two Rebbeim. Nonetheless, since we have heard that a unique relationship exists between the two Rebbeim, we must learn something applicable in our service of G‑d from this.

The lesson that can be derived from the relationship between the Rebbe Maharash and the Previous Rebbe is related to the well-known adage of the Rebbe Maharash. The Rebbe says: “(if presented by an obstacle,) generally people try to crawl under; if they cannot crawl under, they climb over. My approach is to climb over from the beginning.” Every Nassi (leader) of the Jewish people has displayed a proud attitude and a majestic quality. Such a posture is necessary for a Nassi, for he, just as a king, must present himself in such a manner. In some cases the Nassi’s quality of majesty was hidden, not revealed in an open manner.2 This was not the case with the Rebbe Maharash or with the Previous Rebbe — they acted with pride and a display of majesty even in the court of the Russian government. When the Rebbe Maharash travelled to St. Petersburg (the capital of Russia at that time) to intercede on behalf of the Jewish people,3 he spoke in a proud, fearless manner. In regard to certain matters the Jews must recognize the fact that they are in Golus. However, a king, or a Nassi, in Israel must realize that our souls have never gone into Golus. The reason we find ourselves in a foreign country is not that we should serve the king of that country. Instead it is that we should cause the king of that country to assist us and aid us in fulfilling our mission in his country. As the prophet’s declared, “And kings will become your foster-fathers, and their queens your nursemaids.” The king of the country can strengthen Yiddishkeit by issuing laws and decrees in support of Judaism which all the citizens of the country, Jews and non-Jews, are required to fulfill. The Previous Rebbe also acted in this manner. While his father was Nassi he served as his representative in the capital of Russia, acting with pride and a display of majesty.

We cannot compare ourselves to the Previous Rebbe or to the Rebbe Maharash, however, each one of us can learn a lesson from their behavior. When it comes to matters of Yiddishkeit we must follow the example of the Nassi of this generation, who in turn followed in the path of his grandfather, whose approach “from the beginning,” was to “climb over.”4 Each one of us can influence his neighborhood and his city to increase their observance of Torah and Mitzvos, beginning with a stress on Torah-education and Kashrus. This is particularly true here in the U.S. Likewise in Israel, now is a propitious time to speak out, openly and with pride, as the Torah desires. Furthermore, this is everyone’s true desire. The Rambam writes that every Jew desires to fulfill Torah and Mitzvos. It is merely his Yetzer Hora which prevents him from doing so. If he is freed from the dominion of the Yetzer Hora, he will be happy. Even if at first he protests shouting that fulfilling Torah and Mitzvos is against his will, this is merely the voice of his Yetzer Hora.5 This is true particularly now during a time in which we must “grab and eat, grab and drink,” i.e., seize every opportunity to do a good thing; we must not let the Yetzer Hora try to convince us to worry about more important things.

The above is particularly true at the present time, during the days between Yom Kippur and Sukkos. On Yom Kippur, during the Neilah prayers, a Jew is locked in, alone with G‑d. By proclaiming Shema Yisroel, Boruch Sheim Kevod, Hashem, (the verses recited at the conclusion of the Neilah prayers), we draw down this level and connect it with our service for the entire year to come. Thus we will cause a year of blessing, including the ultimate blessing, the fulfillment of the hope for “Next year in Yerushalayim.” May it be speedily in our days that Yerushalayim will be rebuilt and the entire Jewish people will spend next Yom Kippur there. This can be accomplished by maintaining a complete fear of G‑d. (Yerushalayim is a composite of two words; together they mean ‘complete fear.’)

This applies throughout the year because as already mentioned, in one moment and with one turn it is possible to achieve complete fear of G‑d. This is particularly true now, after Yom Kippur, and after the day which is called ‘G‑d’s name’ (the day after Yom Kippur is called by G‑d’s name). Similarly, the 12th, 13th, and 14th, of Tishrei are special days; they are connected with the Rebbe Maharash’s Yahrzeit and Erev Sukkos.6 Now is a propitious time to accomplish all of the above with joy and gladness of heart. Then we will leave Golus and merit the fulfillment of the prophecy, “and the glory of G‑d will be revealed, and all flesh will see together that the mouth of G‑d has spoken,” speedily in our days.

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2. The Rebbe Maharash and his father, the Tzemach Tzedek, shared a unique bond. Chassidim would say that the verse (Iyov 41:8) “one by one they will approach and no (air) one will separate between them” characterizes their relationship. This relationship is seen in the fact that both their Yahrzeits take place on the thirteenth of the month (the Tzemach Tzedek’s is the 13th of Nissan, the Rebbe Maharash’s is the thirteenth of Tishrei). In Gematria (Torah numerology) the Hebrew word for one, Echod, equals 13. “One by one,” the thirteenth of Nissan and the thirteenth of Tishrei, “they will approach,7 and no one will separate between them.” Although each had his own particular path, the two Rebbeim were united to the point that “no one could separate between them.” Both the Rebbe Maharash and the Tzemach Tzedek revealed a “Baal Shemska Hanhaga,” a manner of behavior similar to that of the Baal Shem Tov, that is above the limitations of nature.

There is a similar concept which is related to the expression, “Good to Heaven and good to the creatures.” Although these are two different types of good, they are united. For example, on the third day of creation, (and, similarly, on the sixth day) the expression, “and G‑d saw that it was good,” is repeated twice. The repetition of the phrase is explained to refer to a two-fold good: “Good to Heaven,” and “Good to the creatures.” Not only must the day include within it both these goods, also each moment of the day must be connected with both of these services. The service of “good to Heaven” must be related to the service of “good to the creatures,” and vice versa. When we do someone a favor, “good to the creatures,” it must be related to “good to Heaven.” Similarly, when we are involved in service which is “good to Heaven,” we cannot forget about the Jews around us. One must remember that Ahavas Yisroel is the key to Ahavas Hashem.

One area in which the concept of “good to Heaven” and “good to the creatures” is clearly expressed is education. Education is an ongoing process creating continued effects. Education means teaching one’s children as G‑d wills, training them “to keep the way of the L‑rd, to do righteousness and justice” — “good to Heaven.” It also means that we have the responsibility to teach others — “good to the creatures.” On the verse, “and you shall teach them to your children,” our sages commented, “these are your students.” Similarly, the Alter Rebbe writes that a wise man must teach all the students whom he can reach, even those who are not his children.8

Since we are living in exile, in a double darkness, it is necessary that every matter of importance be stressed to the point that even the non-Jew can appreciate it. For that reason a great stir has been9 made in the area of education. Even though there were some who protested against these efforts, they bore fruit. The U.S. government has again declared a special program on behalf of education. The actions of the U.S. have great significance. America is the richest nation in the world10 and she supports many other countries. Hence, her actions will have an influence in other countries as well. Despite the fact that budgetary cuts are being made in all areas, the government was willing to make this expenditure in the area of education. This action was carried out by non-Jews who have no freedom of choice. It should serve to show each and every Jew the position of primary importance education now holds. No matter what the costs involved are, and no matter what obstacles stand in the way, steps must be taken in this direction.

This applies not only to those who can take part in the actual task of education, it also applies to those who can support educational institutions by helping them financially, or by being involved with body, soul, and great effort in this work. If G‑d has established a person as a Zevulon, a businessman, that person should use his means to provide all that is necessary for a Kosher education, a holy and a pure education, for every Jew. This is true even now, in the last days of Golus. In this manner we will take each Jew out of his spiritual Golus. This in turn will hasten the end of the physical Golus.

The above is particularly relevant to those who have been chosen through Hashgachah Protis (Divine Providence) and provided with the opportunities and the abilities to become involved in the field of education and to be successful there. Surely they must become involved in efforts to spreading education and to cause an increase in the area of education, wherever their influence reaches.

No one should be content with themselves if they have been successful in providing merely a Kosher education. Rather, they must strive to present the children with a pure and holy education. If the parents do not, as yet, agree to such an approach, more effort must be expended in Mivtza Chinuch, educating not only the student, but his parents as well. The above must be carried out with happiness and gladness of heart. Then joy will break through all barriers and bring success in Mivtza Chinuch, as well as in the other Mivtzoyim — Mivtza Ahavas Yisroel, Mivtza Torah, Mivtza Tefillin, Mivtza Mezuzah, Mivtza Tzedakah, Bayis Maley Seforim — Yavne V’Chochamehah, Mivtza Neiros Shabbos Kodesh, Mivtza Kashrus, and Mivtza Taharas HaMishpachah.11 In this manner, we will all become members of Tzivos Hashem (G‑d’s army) and merit the time when the entire Jewish people will sit together in one Sukkah.

3. Today is one of the days of the dedication of the first Temple. The construction of the first Temple opened the way for the second Temple and the third Temple. Even though the second Temple had certain qualities in which it surpassed the first — as the Talmud comments on the verse, “this last Temple will be greater than the first,” — and the third Temple, — the eternal Temple to be built by G‑d Himself, — will surpass both; nevertheless, the first Temple opened the way for the establishment of a permanent dwelling for G‑d within the material world.12 This is related to the purpose of the entire creation which was, as the Tanya declares, in order for G‑d to have a dwelling in the lower worlds.

The Temple’s windows opened outward, bringing light to all Jews, in every corner of the world. Even after its destruction the Temple effects Jews in every place and in every generation. The verse, “and I will dwell within,” describes the resting of the Divine Presence in the Sanctuary, and later in the Temple. In this verse the word “within” is written in the plural. Our sages tell us that this means that Hashem will dwell within each and every Jew. Also, every Jewish house becomes a permanent dwelling, a sanctuary for G‑d.

All Torah concepts are related to the totality of Torah and Mitzvos. However, every Torah concept is also reflected in a particular Mitzvah. The Torah concept that tells us that the Temple has an eternal effect on all the generations of the Jewish people is reflected in the Mitzvah of Chinuch. When one Jew teaches another Jew a specific idea, for example, the concept of Ahavas Yisroel, he effects only one particular aspect of that Jew. Through education, however, one effects the totality of the other Jew’s being, training him to live in a manner in which “G‑d’s name is called upon him” openly, and in a manner in which it is clear to all that he belongs to “a nation of priests and a holy people.” Likewise, education effects not only one Jew — his children and all his descendents are also effected. When one educates a Jewish child, either a boy or a girl, and teaches him or her the Aleph-Bais, either the Aleph-Bais in its simple meaning or the Aleph-Bais of Yiddishkeit, (meaning, the basic fundamentals,) he sows the seed of Torah in that child.13 By adding to the child’s Yiddishkeit he makes a permanent impression on him, as the verse declares, “Educate a child according to his way; even when he grows older, he will not depart from it.” In old age the former student will educate his grandchildren. All of this can be accomplished through the Mivtza of Chinuch. Mivtza Chinuch focuses on small children, and we might legitimately ask ‘why should I get so excited and involved with one small child?’ We must realize that each child includes within him his children and his descendents, forever.

In addition, Chassidus explains that “when one looks at a Jew, one should look at him as his soul stands in Adam Kadmon (a very high Kabbalistic realm).” Even the most material aspects of a child’s life — the way he eats, the way he drinks, and the way he blesses his food — are included in the highest Kabbalistic realm. When one considers this, no amount of effort is too great to expend.

Therefore, these days — the days between Yom Kippur and Sukkos which is the season of our rejoicing, and even more so the days of Sukkos — should be used to travel about and educate Jews, young and old, in every place and in every time according to its measure. We should be aware of the fact that we are sowing a seed that will grow into a fruit-bearing tree, for it is being planted in an auspicious time, as part of a mission from G‑d.

In this manner we can raise Tzivos Hashem, G‑d’s army, and conquer the entire world. Since we are talking about G‑d’s army there will be no war in a physical sense. Rather, all the inhabitants of the world will “melt away” before the army of Hashem.

It is also proper to mention at this time the Mitteler Rebbe’s custom, described in his Siddur, of giving increased amounts of Tzedakah on Erev Sukkos. Also, because Sukkos is connected with (the seven) guests, it is proper for us to make visits to different places, in particular, hospitals, old age homes, and prisons, and to do so with joy. This in turn will bring joy to G‑d. Together with Him we will dance in the last days of Golus, and go to greet Moshiach, speedily in our days.

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4. The Torah portion connected with this week is called “V’Zos HaBrachah.” This portion is never read on Shabbos. It is always read on Simchas Torah and on the following Shabbos Parshas Bereishis is read.14 Even though V’Zos HaBrachah is always connected with at least one week of the year, and sometimes two weeks, it is never read on Shabbos.

For many years now it has been the custom to explain a verse of Rashi’s commentary at a Shabbos farbrengen. But because it is not read on Shabbos, no explanations have been made on the Rashi commentaries on V’Zos HaBrachah. Therefore, it is proper to do so at this time.

The portion of Torah connected with today (according to the custom of saying ‘Chitas,’ — Chumash, Tehillim, Tanya, — as instituted by the Previous Rebbe) is the fifth Aliyah of the Par-shah V’Zos HaBrachah. That section contains the verse (33:25), “Iron and brass (shall be) your bars; and as your (younger) days (so shall) your old age (be).” Rashi tells us that this verse is not a blessing given specifically to the tribe of Asher, the last of the twelve tribes blessed by Moshe. Rather, it is a general blessing which is connected to the entire Jewish people. Rashi comments as follows: “Now he [Moshe] speaks in reference to all of Israel, whose mighty men sat in the cities of the border-district and barred it, so that the enemies would not be able to enter into it, [making it] as though it were closed with bars and fasteners of iron and brass.” This is Rashi’s second explanation of ‘Iron and brass shall be your bars’: “Your land is enclosed by mountains from which iron and brass are extracted. And, the land of Asher was the ‘lock’ of the land of Israel.”

The question presents itself: Why does Rashi assume that the verse applies to the Jewish people as e whole rather than to the tribe of Asher alone? Also, whenever Rashi brings down two explanations, neither one is completely satisfactory. The first explanation is closer to the verse’s simple meaning; however, it presents certain difficulties. Those difficulties are answered by the second explanation; however, the second explanation is more distant from the verse’s simple meaning than the first.

This verse shares an open connection with the events of our times. We are in Golus and the spiritual nature of things is not revealed to us as it was in the time of Moshe Rabbeinu. Nevertheless, both the above verse and Rashi’s commentary, apply to the land of Israel in the spiritual sense and to the actual physical land of Israel. There are those who say, “Now is a time of Golus, and in Golus we must be afraid and tremble at even the whisper of a voice.” We must tell them that the soul has never gone into Golus; the soul is “actually a part of G‑d from above.” Because it is the Jew’s purpose to elevate the body and the animal soul, he has been sent into Golus. He must realize what Golus is, that it is painful, however surely it is G‑d’s grace that we are in Golus. Golus being described with the parable of a king who washes the excrement from his son himself. Nonetheless, Golus is painful and abnormal.15 In Golus we are one lamb surrounded by seventy wolves, and yet we are watched. Even in such a situation when, “the law of the country” (when it does not run contrary to Yiddishkeit) becomes “your law,” still, ‘Iron and brass shall be your bars.’ Rashi explains that the mighty men of Israel are sent by G‑d as emissaries to protect the land of Israel and that they are able to secure it as if it were closed with bars and fasteners of iron and brass. Rashi adds the word ‘fasteners’ because, in order to protect a large area, a lock alone is not sufficient, and a bolt is necessary.

Why does Rashi say that this blessing applies to the entire Jewish people? The reason is that in some of the blessings Moshe addresses the Jewish people in the third person while in others he speaks in the second person. The blessing to the tribe of Asher is stated in the third person while the verse in question is in the second person.

The difficulty with the first explanation which causes a second explanation to be added is as follows: True, there may be armed cities on the border which secure the land. However, it is impossible to settle every inch of the land — what about the territory which is unoccupied? To answer this question, Rashi adds the second explanation: Israel’s mountains form a natural border which protect it. This explanation also has a difficulty: A mountain itself cannot defend; it is inert matter which can be crossed by invaders. Therefore, the first explanation is the primary explanation according to Rashi.

[Trans. Note: The Rebbe Shlita continued the Farbrengen with a call to settle the territories of Yehudah and Shomron. He also spoke against the Camp David agreement; explaining that tremendous concessions were made without receiving anything in return.]