1. There are many different facets of Simchas Torah.1 From each of these aspects a practical lesson must be learned in the service of G‑d.2 However, at the present time, I would like to dwell on one matter: the name “Simchas Torah.” The Baal Shem Tov explained that the name of an object in Hebrew expresses its nature. Likewise, the name “Simchas Torah” can provide us with an awareness of the nature of the holiday.

That name is made up of two different words: “Simcha” — joy-and Torah. These two qualities can exist independently of each other. Torah is generally connected with Simcha as the Psalms declare, “The statutes of G‑d are just, bringing joy to the heart.” Nevertheless, even on Tisha B’Av, a day when joy is forbidden, we are obligated to learn Torah. Likewise, joy is not necessarily connected with Torah. At certain times, we experience joy that is connected with Torah. At other times, our joy is related to Mitzvos, and even to mundane matters outside the realm of Mitzvah. However, on Simchas Torah, our joy is connected with Torah and our Torah is expressed in a manner of joy: the two elements are fused. Furthermore, the joy of Simchas Torah transcends all boundaries and limitations and connects to the aspects of Torah that are similarly unbounded and unlimited.

This teaches us a lesson in our service to G‑d. A Jew can make the decision on Simchas Torah to carry out Torah and Mitzvos in the proper manner with joy and then carry out that resolution. Through approaching Torah with unlimited joy, he derives the power to fulfill his Torah service in the entire year to come.

In the previous farbrengen it was explained that “the Mitzvah of the day is joy” and that joy relates to all Jews equally.3 The Previous Rebbeim explained that this joy is expressed in singing and dancing, means of expression that are closer to the simple Jews. They can sing and dance in an unbounded manner with more ease that can the heads and leaders. Since the leaders are always concerned with wisdom and understanding, it is more difficult for them to transcend their limits. They need something which they will understand is higher than the restrictions of their intellect, something that can motivate them to go beyond their limitations and dance.

They may enjoy happiness: as was mentioned before, Torah study by its very nature produces joy. However, that happiness is confined within the limits of their intellect. To feel unbounded joy, to go beyond the limits of their own vessels, is very difficult. They have large vessels, and in order for them to transcend these vessels, they must feel something that is truly unlimited.4

Yet, Simchas Torah gives the potential to carry out Torah and Mitzvos the entire year with unlimited joy. The Previous Rebbe explained that through dancing with the Torah, a Jew becomes the Torah’s feet: he helps the Torah dance with unlimited joy.5 During the entire year, we learn Torah and derive joy from Torah study. However, that joy is limited — therefore, it would not be proper to dance with the Torah at any time throughout the year. However, on Simchas Torah the joy is unlimited and gives the potential for the joy derived from Torah in the year to come. Therefore, when a Jew makes the decision on Simchas Torah to make a commitment to Torah beyond his limitations, he should know that it is not impossible for him to carry out his resolution. Rather, it is “very close to him” and can be fulfilled in all matters of Torah and Mitzvos.

The same is true of Tzedakah. There, too, we must go beyond our own limitations. This story about a Chossid of the Previous Rebbe is a good example. He once met with the Previous Rebbe and spoke about giving Tzedakah to spread Yiddishkeit, mentioning a sum of money that was totally above his own capacities. The Previous Rebbe told him, “If a Jew decides to give an amount of Tzedakah that is beyond his potential, G‑d will open up new channels of blessing that will allow him to fulfill his resolution.

That in fact, happened. The Chossid became successful in business and was able to keep his pledge. Furthermore, the outcome was “four-fifths remained for you.” Through giving the one-fifth to “Pharoah”6 he became wealthy and received for himself four times the amount that he had given to Tzedakah.

This story serves as a lesson for all Jews. When a Jew decides to give “a fifth to Pharoah,” to give a sum that it appears to him he cannot give, G‑d opens up new channels of blessing and allows him to carry out his resolutions. Also, He gives “four-fifths”7 to the individual himself.8 Furthermore, these blessings will not detract from his merits, No blocks can stand in the way of these blessings. Since they come from Simchas Torah, a day when a Jew unites with G‑d in a manner beyond all limitation, nothing can prevent their actualization.

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2. There are those who will be very happy to give the “fifth to Pharoah”; however, first they would appreciate G‑d’s giving them “four-fifths.” They have a rationalization for their behavior — G‑d is unlimited. He can dispense wealth at will. On the other hand, a human being is limited. It takes time in order for him to find a way to carry out his pledge. It would be better, seemingly, if G‑d gave him the “four-fifths” first, then he would give the “fifth to Pharoah”.

Furthermore, since G‑d Himself performs the Mitzvos He commands the Jewish people, and since there is a Torah principle that “the eager try to fulfill a Mitzvah as soon as possible,” it is proper that G‑d hurry and give His “four-fifths.” Then he, the Jew, in turn will write a check for the “fifth” that goes to “Pharoah”.

Personally, I hope that G‑d will bless every Jew: may they receive all five-fifths tomorrow and then may they give the “fifth to Pharoah.” However, past experience seems to imply G‑d does not always work in that fashion. Generally, He desires that we give “the fifth” to Pharoah, and then He gives “four-fifths to you.”

The reason for this order is understandable. When a Jew gives the fifth to “Pharoah” immediately, even before he receives his four-fifths, he shows his true trust and faith in G‑d. Furthermore, it is better that G‑d owe him money than that he owe G‑d. G‑d will surely pay His debt. However, if first G‑d gives the four-fifths and then the individual is obligated to pay Him his fifth, G‑d and the Heavenly court will focus their attention on that individual, watching whether he is upright in his giving of Tzedakah or whether he seeks loopholes; e.g., he needs the money for the education of his children etc. Why should he subject himself to such a judgment? Generally, a businessman does not want to be called to judgment. Even if he has a valid case and the judgment would prove that the claim against him is of no substance, he would prefer not to go to court.9 Therefore, it is better for him — for us — to first give the “fifth” to Pharoah and to feel confident that we will then receive the “four-fifths:’

There are others who will approach me after Simchas Torah and ask if the words that were spoken on Simchas Torah apply now. Simchas Torah is a Yom Tov, a day when business is prohibited. They will want to know if these statements hold true within the framework of a weekday and of the business mentality. They will ask if the words were spoken under the influence of the joy of Yom Tov or if I actually meant what I said. They will want me to take the responsibility that G‑d will grant them the “four-fifths.”

Therefore, I would like to state now that it will be a waste of time to ask me such questions. First, I am not making an original statement. Everything that I’ve said is written in Torah texts. (However, it is spread out through several texts and I have brought the different concepts together.) Moreover, after Simchas Torah, I will be limited and they will be limited and no positive good will result.

Practically speaking, we have to make the decision that “a fifth will go to Pharoah” and fulfill that decision immediately, without any conditions, and with joy: the joy of Simchas Torah. Furthermore, we must make the decision to increase our study of Torah. Even if we already have set study sessions, we must add to them, and add in a manner above all limitation. This in turn will bring about the coming of Moshiach and the return to Yerushalayim, speedily in our days.

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3. The aforementioned concept has another facet that must be explained. There are certain individuals whom Hashgachah Protis (Divine Providence) has placed in the position of Zevulun (i.e. those who shall be involved in business for the purpose of earning money that will be used for Torah and Mitzvos). Even though the Jew’s true home is in the study of Torah, G‑d has chosen certain individuals for the task of going out in the world and doing business so that they may provide for the study of Torah. Despite their mission, these individuals are required to “make Torah your permanent occupation, and business, a transitory one.” No matter how one’s balance of time is arranged, Torah must be considered permanent and business transitory.

However, now some businessmen have begun a new practice. They “retire.” Since they feel weak and would like to rest, they retire, going on a pension and receiving their sustenance through checks sent monthly. This approach has no place for a Jew. Torah teaches, “A person was born to work.” (He doesn’t necessarily have to stay fully involved in business: he may spend time in Torah study or change to another business, but he should always work, not merely lie back and rest.) The Torah teaches a Talmud Chochom must go from strength to strength. That term applies to every Jew since every Jew is a “student of G‑d.”10

This principle can be seen in regard to Shabbos. Gentiles also have a day of rest. However, they conceive of it in totally different terms than the Jew’s conception of Shabbos. They view work as the ultimate goal, and rest is only a means to be able to work better, (i.e. rest is not a part of their service). A Jew however views rest in a completely different manner. The concept of rest is a part (and the full measure) of one’s service. The same principle can be seen in the world itself. By Shabbos, “the heavens and the earth were completed.” But still, “the world was lacking rest, and when Shabbos came rest came.” The state of rest on Shabbos lifts us to a new level of “complete work,” and from there we can proceed to even higher levels of work in both spiritual and physical matters.

However, it is possible for an individual to claim that he is ready to give and that he will trust that G‑d will open new avenues of blessing for him, but he asks what he can do, in that he is retired and wants no further part in business.11 Such an individual can choose to buy a lottery ticket. This will enable him to win a sum beyond his own expectations with a very small investment. However, then he will owe G‑d, for all lotteries are dependent on Him, and then he will have to undergo the entire process of judgment described above. Therefore, if he wants to receive the “four-fifths,” he has no choice but to go back into business, at least to a certain degree.

[On Shabbos Bereishis, the Rebbe explained that the promise “four-fifths will remain for you” was only applicable to those who made their decision to give Tzedakah at the time of the Simchas Torah farbrengen itself. He asked that anyone who had made a decision afterwards should not give to Tzedakah expecting this measure of success. (Furthermore, if they have already given money to the Rebbe, he asked that they should request for the money to be returned.) More details of this Sicha will be printed in the Shabbos Bereishis farbrengen.]

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4. The Previous Rebbe explained that it was customary to announce after Simchas Torah, “Ya’akov went on his way,” i.e. that now is the time for each individual to return to his particular service after having performed the general service of Tishrei. A parable will explain this concept. A businessman will go to the fair and buy merchandise. However, it isn’t until he gets home that he unpacks the merchandise and uses it for his business. Similarly, in Tishrei we acquire new spiritual “merchandise,” and after the month is over, we begin our individual service, putting that “merchandise” to use.

Since this announcement is made after Simchas Torah, it’s obvious that Simchas Torah contributes an element — the element of joy — which is necessary for our service. Furthermore, each month of the year contains at least one day that is a vessel which receives the joy of Simchas Torah. The month of Cheshvan, on the surface, has no holidays, no opportunities for the expression of joy. However, we find that a connection exists between Cheshvan and Tishrei. In Israel the request for rain is not added to the prayers until the seventh of Cheshvan. Why? To allow the last of those who made the festival pilgrimage to return home; i.e. until that date, the joy, and celebration of Tishrei’s holidays are continued, which means that they continue into Cheshvan.

Furthermore, the month of Cheshvan is designated as the month in which the dedication of the Third Temple will take place.12 That is surely a cause for rejoicing.

In Kislev, the Temple was rededicated during the Macabees’ time. Furthermore, Kislev is also connected with the Third Temple, since the service of “spreading the wellsprings of Chassidus into the outer-reaches” will bring the coming of Moshiach.

Teves — The tenth of Teves is a fast day. The aim of a fast is to bring about the service of Teshuva. That service is accompanied by a special joy, as is emphasized by the parable of a King’s son who left his fathers house and was imprisoned in a dungeon. When he is reunited with his father, his father’s joy reaches new and higher levels than before. (This fast is also connected with the Temple, since it commemorates the beginning of the siege of Yerushalayim.)

Shvat — Tu B’Shvat is the Rosh Hashanah of the trees. Trees are used as a metaphor for man in the verse, “A man is a tree of a field.” This holiday is also connected to the Temple, since “a vine of gold hung over the entrance to the sanctuary.”

Adar contains the festival of Purim. It is connected to Messianic times since Purim is one of the few holidays that will be celebrated after Moshiach comes. Furthermore, in reference to Purim, our Sages said, “One redemption is close to another.”

NissanPesach is also connected with the future redemption, as the prophet Michah (7:15) declared, “As in the days of your exodus from Egypt, I will show you wonders.” Furthermore, it is also connected with the Third Temple, as the verses in Psalms (78:53-54) comment, “The sea covered their enemies; He brought them to His holy border, to the mountain, which his right hand had purchased.” The last phrase refers to the Temple as explained in the Mishnah in Pirkei Avos (Chapter 6 Mishnah 10).

Iyar — The unique aspect of Iyar is that every day of the month is connected with a Mitzvah: Sefiras HaOmer. Furthermore, that Mitzvah is connected with the building of the Temple, since it was instituted as a commemoration of the Temple practice.

Sivan — The holiday of Shavuos has a connection to the Temple since, “after the destruction of the Temple, G‑d has nothing in the world except the four cubits of Halachah.” (Berachos 8a)

Tammuz and Av are related to the concept mentioned before in regard to the month of Teves. Furthermore, in these months the connection to the Temple is stronger. In Teves, only the serge of the city began, while the events of Tammuz and Av affected the Temple itself.

Elul shares a similar connection to the Temple as does the month of Sivan, since during the entire month Moshe was on Mt. Sinai preparing to receive the second tablets.13

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5. In connection with the announcement of “Ya’akov went on his way,” it is customary to mention a few practical points. The study of Chitas *Chumash — the aliyah of the weekly portion that corresponds to the day of the week.14

*Tehillim — the recitation of the entire Book of Tehillim each month as divided into daily portions. One who would like to say more Tehillim can recite the book each week as divided into daily portions (in addition to the monthly portion mentioned above).

*Tanya — the completion of the study of Tanya over the period of a year according to the daily study sessions set up by the Previous Rebbe.

Keren Hashanah — it’s a Mitzvah to give at least one penny — and according to the AriZal, three pennies — to Tzedakah every day. Since it’s possible to forget, this fund was founded so that the participants make only one donation and the one who is appointed on the fund gives the Tzedakah each day.

Through the abovementioned study — “the Chitas (fear) of G‑d will be on the cities.”15 ‘The stories of how through this study G‑d saved the Jewish people are well known. (Refer to the Kovetz Michtovim printed in the back of Tehillim.)

Also, in connection with the above, now is also the proper time to stress the 10 Mivtzoyim: Mivtza Ahavas Yisroel,16 Mivtza Chinuch, Mivtza Torah, Mivtza Tefillin, Mivtza Mezuzah, Mivtza Bayis Malay Seforim, Mivtza Tzedakah, Mivtza Nairos Shabbos Kodesh, Mivtza Kashrus, Mivtza Taharas HaMishpocha. This will, in turn, bring the fulfillment of the prophecy, “I will pour pure water upon you.”

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6. Generally, it is customary on the day after a festival to have a Kinus Torah (Torah Assembly). To take part in that assembly, I would like to focus on a topic that is appropriate to the present time: the concept of joy. This concept is also related to the special stress placed this year on Shabbos, since our Sages declared that the Biblical phrase, “Your days of rejoicing” refers to Shabbos.

The Alter Rebbe writes that even now in the time of Golus it is a Mitzvah to rejoice on the festival.17 He declares, “All seven days of Pesach, and eight days of Sukkos, and on the holiday of Atzeres (Shavuos) each man is obligated to be happy: he, his children, his wife, and his entire household. How does one make children happy? By giving them roasted seeds and nuts; women: by buying them clothes and ornaments.., men: in the time of the Temple, they would eat sacrificial meat. Now that the Temple is no longer in existence, they do not fulfill their obligation except through wine. Now there is no obligation to eat meat since we no longer have sacrifices (peace-offerings that the owners would be able to eat of the meat). Nevertheless, eating meat on Yom Tov is a Mitzvah since we are commanded to rejoice. Since we can’t enjoy the main element of festive joy — the sacrificial meat — we should try to celebrate it with other elements which make us happy. Therefore, it is proper to eat a greater number and variety of dishes on Yom Tov than on Shabbos where the Mitzvah of Simcha is not specified.”

The above coincides with the Alter Rebbe’s statement in Hilchos Shabbos (Sec. 242 Hal. 2), “There is no obligation to eat meat and drink wine on Shabbos. However, since generally people derive more pleasure from eating meat than other foods and from drinking wine than other beverages, it is proper to serve much meat and wine.”18

From these statements a number of questions arise: 1) What is the source for the statement that by giving “seeds and nuts” and “clothes and ornaments” one fulfills a Torah command?

2) The above statement of our Sages — “The day of rejoicing — this refers to Shabbos” — seems to contradict the Alter Rebbe’s laws.

3) In Hilchos Purim, the Shulchan Aruch writes that “in the walled cities (where people celebrate Purim on the 15th of Adar), if the 15th falls on Shabbos, the Purim feast is celebrated on Sunday. The Talmud Yerushalmi (Megillah Ch. 1 Hal. 4) explains that the reason for the law is to differentiate from the joy of Shabbos, which is made holy by G‑d, and the joy of Purim, which comes through mans efforts. From this law, as well, we see that Shabbos is connected with joy.

All of this can be understood through an analysis of the statement, “The day of your rejoicing — this refers to Shabbos.” A second opinion maintains that the phrase refers to the offering of the daily sacrifices. From that statement we can learn that joy is not necessarily connected with eating sacrificial meat, since the daily sacrifice was not eaten, but rather was totally consumed on the Altar. The same principle is brought out by the Rogachover Gaon, who explains “that the statement there is no joy without eating or drinking” does not necessarily refer to eating sacrificial meat, but rather eating in the simple sense as opposed to fasting.

Based on that premise, we can explain that there are two types of joy on festivals: the simchah of eating sacrificial meats, and simple joy connected with normal eating and drinking. Women and children are not required to bring sacrifices and are obligated merely in the second category. Therefore, their joy comes from “seeds and nuts” and “clothes and ornaments.” Men, on the other hand, are commanded to derive joy from eating sacrificial meat.

The above helps explain the statement of the Alter Rebbe. He explains that no change has taken place in the second category of joy: it remains the same now as before. However, men can no longer enjoy the sacrificial meats, and therefore their joy is reduced to the same category as that of women and children. Likewise, the Alter Rebbe does not have to bring the laws of joy in regard to Shabbos, since the higher category of joy — sacrificial meat was never connected with Shabbos — and the lower category — the joy that comes from food and drink — are included in the Mitzvah of pleasure.

Nor is the law of Purim in contradiction to the above, since in it no comparison is made between the joy of Purim and the joy of Shabbos. Rather, it is a Torah principle that no two reasons for joy — for example, the joy of the festivals and the joy of marriage — are never combined. Therefore in regard to Purim and Shabbos, although they are two different types of simchah, still our Sages said that the two simchah’s should not be combined. This is alluded to in the general statement brought down in the Talmud “They said (a Rabbinic ordinance) and they said (a Rabbinic ordinance).” i.e. the joy of Purim is a Rabbinic ordinance and the law that “one rejoicing may not be merged with another rejoicing” is also a Rabbinic ordinance.