1. In general, Shabbos elevates all the events that took place in the previous week and draws down energies from above to below. Likewise, in the case of this week, Shabbos is connected with Yud-Kislev.

The effect of Shabbos on the previous days of the week is expressed in the verse, “And the heavens and the earth, and all their hosts were completed.” The word “Vayichulu” (completed) has two implications which provide us with further insights into the nature of Shabbos: 1) Ciloiyon — expiration, which refers to the elevation of what is below above 2) Pleasure — as the Midrash Rabba states, “Vayichulu refers to desire.: Shabbos is the day that is “called the most desirable of days.”1

The connection between Yud Kislev and Shabbos is particularly emphasized this year when Yud Kislev falls on Friday, Erev Shabbos.2 There is an intrinsic connection Shabbos and Erev Shabbos. Also, Erev Shabbos contains a unique quality of its own. In the Biblical narrative of creation the expression, “and G‑d saw that it is good,” is repeated a second time. (On all the other days of creation, with the exception of Tuesday, that expression is used only once. The Tzemach Tzedek (based on the Gemara Kiddushin 40a) explains that this repetition refers to a two-fold good, “Good to the heavens,” and, “Good to the creations.”3

A basic difference exists between the two-fold good which is connected with Erev Shabbos and that which is related to Tuesday. Since Erev Shabbos is a preparation for Shabbos, it is comparable to Shabbos itself. Just as Shabbos is a day of pleasure, so, too, Erev Shabbos must be permeated with that quality. Therefore, the service that is connected with “good to the heavens,” and “good to the creations,” of Erev Shabbos must also be filled with pleasure. It is possible for our service to cause pleasure in the other days of the week as well. However, then the pleasure is dependent on our efforts, while on Shabbos, and on Friday the intrinsic nature of the day itself brings out pleasure. Therefore, we have the potential to produce even more pleasure through our own service on those days.4

On Tuesday this intrinsic connection with pleasure is lacking. However, Tuesday possesses a unique quality of its own. That quality is made apparent from a commentary of Rashi on Parshas Bereishis (1:7) There he writes:

Why wasn’t [the expression, “and G‑d] saw that it was good,” mentioned on the second day? Because the work of [creating] the waters was not completed until the third day...something that is incomplete is not...at its best...When the work of [creating] the waters was completed, and He began and completed another work [of creation], [the expression, “and G‑d] saw that it was good,” was said twice, once for the completion of the work of the second day, and once for the completion of the work of the third day.

From this interpretation, we see that the unique quality of the third day is its ability to compensate for, and correct, past events.

We can appreciate this concept more completely in light of a comment of the Midrash (Bereishis Rabba 4:6). The Midrash explains that the expression, “and G‑d saw that it was good,” was not mentioned on the second day because “division was created on that day.” When on the third day “the work of the second day was completed,” the division was reconciled. The third day was able to correct the second day and to reveal the positive intention of the seemingly negative creation of the second day.5 The connection of this corrective quality with Tuesday, the third day (of the days of creation) is also evident from the fact that the Torah was given in the third thousand-year period after creation. The nature of each of the six, thousand-year periods of the world’s development is related to that day of creation which corresponds with it. (In other words, the first millennium is linked with the first day of creation, the second millennium with the second day of creation, and so on and so forth.) Therefore, it is this unique quality of the third day, the ability to correct and transform the world, which makes the third millennium the most appropriate time for the giving of the Torah. Thus, we see that the third day has an opposite nature from that of the sixth day. The sixth day is connected with pleasure and rest, while the third day is related to the correction and transformation of negative qualities, a service that is at times characterized by the metaphor of war.

All of the above must be connected to the service of Yud Kislev (the anniversary of the Mitteler Rebbe’s redemption, which was on Erev Shabbos). In the previous farbrengen it was explained that Yud-Kislev is connected with an increase in the study and the spreading of Pnimiyus HaTorah (the inner aspects of Torah). The Mitteler Rebbe’s life was devoted to this goal. He recited and printed Chassidus profusely.6 When Yud-Kislev falls on Erev Shabbos we have the potential to add pleasure to our service of spreading Chassidus. This, in turn, will add success to our work, for, as mentioned above, the nature of pleasure is that it brings about expansion and growth.7

The above is related to Jewish women and girls as well. Chassidus must be studied by every Jew, men and women alike. With regard to Nigleh, (that realm of Torah which deals with Torah law) there are differences between men and women. Women are only obligated to study those aspects of Torah which relate to the Mitzvos that they must fulfill. Therefore, they aren’t obligated to study the laws concerning certain Mitzvos, e.g. positive commandments which are connected with time. However, in regards to Chassidus, a woman’s obligation is equal to that of a man. The study of Chassidus is linked to a number of fundamental commands which women are obligated to fulfill: The command, “Know the G‑d of your father and serve Him with a full heart,” (Chronicles I, 28:9) and the Mitzvah of ‘love of G‑d,’ and ‘fear of G‑d.’8

The above points, emphasizing the effects of Shabbos, are especially relevant this year since this is a Shemitah year, a year that is “a Shabbos unto G‑d.” During Shemitah there must be an increase in the study of Torah.9 Then, through the increase in Torah study generally, and particularly the study of Chassidus, we will bring about the Messianic redemption.

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2. The day of redemption Yud-Kislev comes right after Tes-Kislev, the birthday and Yahrzeit of the Mitteler Rebbe. Tes-Kislev the birthday of the Mitteler Rebbe is connected to Chof (the 20th of) Cheshvan, the birthday of the Rebbe Rashab — both were Chabad Rebbeim.

Furthermore, there is an intrinsic connection between the Mitteler Rebbe and the Rebbe Rashab. The Rebbe Rashab once commented that in spite of the fact that his style of Chassidic discourse is similar to that of the Mitteler Rebbe, he is his father’s (the Rebbe Maharash’s) Chossid. We can clearly see the relationship between the Rebbe Rashab’s discourses and those of the Mitteler Rebbe. Those two Rebbeim presented and explained ideas in a like manner.

On the surface, it is difficult to make a comparison between Rebbeim. After all, who is able to try to analyze their spiritual growth?10 However, the Rebbeim themselves stressed that every aspect of Chassidus should be brought down to a level on which it can be understood and grasped. Therefore, it follows that we should also try to appreciate the unique qualities of, and the relationship between the Rebbeim. Not only should we try to grasp the essence of the Torah of each of the Rebbeim, but we must also strive for an appreciation and understanding of how that inner aspect expresses itself.11

Our intellectual powers do not approach those of the Rebbeim. Therefore, it may appear to us that it is better to rely on the Rebbeim than to employ our own powers of intellect. This concept is brought out by the Chassidic interpretation of the verse, “A Tzaddik will live by his faith.” (Chabakuk 2:4) Chassidim explain this to mean “Don’t read it as will live (in Hebrew, Yichyeh,) rather, read it as will make others live (Yichayeh).” However, Chassidus Chabad rejects this approach, explaining that in addition to receiving from a Tzaddik, we must work with our own intellectual powers of understanding.

This approach applies in all matters of study. There are some Chassidim who do not want to subject all aspects of study to the review of their intellect. They will argue that it does not matter which Rebbe authored this Ma’amar (Chassidic discourse) or what style of presentation is used, saying, “A Ma’amar is a Ma’amar. They will admit that, in regards to Nigleh, it is necessary to know the author of a concept. Arguments and disagreements are common in that realm of study. There are different general principles used, depending on who is the author of a law. Therefore, to establish the Halachah we must know who conceived their principle. However, regarding Chassidus, they will claim that in this area of study there is “no argument and there are no questions.” Therefore, it seems to them that there is no need to establish the identity of the author of a Ma’amar.

In my opinion such logic is entirely unacceptable. Since, as mentioned above, every aspect of Chassidus must be understood intellectually, it follows that we must employ our intellect also in these areas of learning.12

With this in mind we can return to the previous subject: the connection between the Rebbe Rashab and the Mitteler Rebbe. It appears that a great similarity exists between their discourses. Furthermore, they seem to have a style of presentation totally different from the style of presentation used by the Rebbe Maharash in his discourses. The Mitteler Rebbe’s Ma’amarim are very different from those of the Alter Rebbe. As the Mitteler Rebbe notes this himself, saying that he explains the concepts of Chassidus with greater depth and length. The Tzemach Tzedek his successor, departed from that style, but not drastically. However, the Rebbe Maharash’s style is entirely different. He spoke in a short, concentrated manner “a small amount that contained a lot.” The Rebbe Rashab on the other hand seemed to return to the style of the Mitteler Rebbe. He, too, would recite Chassidus at great length.

There is a further connection between the Rebbe Rashab and the Mitteler Rebbe. The Mitteler Rebbe’s name (Dovber) is included in the Rebbe Rashab’s name (Sholom Dovber). Even though the addition of the name Sholom changed his name, making it a new name entirely, (Responsa of the Tzemach Tzedek Aven HoEzer, Part 1, Ch. 143) nevertheless, the fact that one name is included within the other reveals a connection. An example of this principle is seen from a statement of the Talmud. When discussing the unique qualities of the name Yehudah, the Talmud (Sotah 36b) mentions that it contains within it the name of G‑d. (Yehudah is spelled Yud-Hay-Vov-Daled-Hay and G‑d’s name is spelled Yud-Hay-Vov-Hay.13 ) We thereby understand that the inclusion of the Mitteler Rebbe’s name within that of the Rebbe Rashab also reveals an inner connection.14

Being that this year Yud-Kislev falls out on Friday, Erev Shabbos, which is connected with the concept of pleasure (as explained above). It is understood that all lessons that will be taken from the Mitteler Rebbe and the Rebbe Rashab must be done in a manner of-pleasure (and an expansive way).

3. One of the most obvious distinguishing factors of the Mitteler Rebbe is that he would recite long Chassidic discourses. Therefore, we can derive a lesson from Yud-Kislev that we must add to the quantity of Chassidus that we study.

There are those who will protest and say that only quality matters and not quantity. When we ask the protester how much time he has spent learning, he will answer, “Don’t speak to me about the amount of my learning; focus on its quality. In a small amount of time I can cover those matters that take others a much longer time.”

The Mitteler Rebbe’s behavior provides us with an answer to this perspective. Any Chossid will understand that the quality of his study does not compare to that of the Mitteler Rebbe’s. Yet, we see that the Mitteler Rebbe put a stress on quantity as well as quality. Furthermore, even if we follow the previous line of reason, that in a small amount of time, a particular person can accomplish more than others....but think what he could do if he would study a longer amount of time!15

An example of this principle can be seen in business. If someone is successful and can earn more in a short amount of time than others can in a longer amount, generally he will not decide to spend only a small amount of time in business. Rather, he will spend as much time as others in hope of making more money. Likewise, in this case, even if one is successful in learning, in that he can learn faster than others, he should still devote a greater amount of time to study which will bring him to greater heights.

This is the lesson that we derive from Tes (Yud) Kislev: There must be an increase in the quantity of our study of Chassidus. That increase must be made by both those who spend their time in Torah study, and by those who are involved in prayer.

Both must begin their day with prayer.16 Then, their prayer affects the nature of their studies, as the Talmud states, before study “one must bless the Torah,” i.e. develop a connection with the G‑dliness of Torah. Afterwards, they must both proceed to study,17 and then to their respective worldly occupations.18 If follows that even for someone whose worldly occupation consists of the study of Torah, there is room to increase and add to that study. Then, through, carrying out the lessons connected with Tes-Kislev, the Mitteler Rebbe’s birthday and Yahrzeit, we relate to the Mitteler Rebbe and thus bring about his revelation, the time when “those who rest in the dust will arise and sing,” (Isaiah 26:19) with the coming of Moshiach, speedily in our days.

4. The Tzemach Tzedek protested against the Mitteler Rebbe’s method of reciting Chassidus. Some thought that his protest was due to the great length of the Mitteler Rebbe’s discourses. That opinion is mistaken. The Tzemach Tzedek protested because the Mitteler Rebbe would quote and explain a discourse of his father, the Alter Rebbe, simultaneously with this method. Thus, there was no way to determine the difference between the words of the Mitteler Rebbe and those of the Alter Rebbe.19

If this is so, why did the Mitteler Rebbe recite his discourses in such a manner? To understand the answer to that question we must first concentrate on a second point, which is that there is a parallel relationship between the Mitteler Rebbe and R. Shimon Bar Yochai.

The parallel between them is brought out by the fact that both died while reciting Torah. My father in one of his letters (p. 327) described the Mitteler Rebbe’s passing as follows:

The Mitteler Rebbe was giving a Chassidic discourse, and when he reached the verse, “ the source of life is with you,” the holy spark, (meaning the Mitteler Rebbe), had not finished saying the word ‘life’20 when his soul rose up and clung to the source of life, G‑d’s infinite light.

The Zohar (Part III, 296b) records that R. Shimon Bar Yochai passed away in a similar manner. There too, the same expression is found “that holy spark, (R. Shimon Bar Yochai), had not finished reciting the word ‘Chaim’ (life) before he passed away.” Also the lives of the two sages show a connection and parallel between them. Both sages were active in spreading and revealing the Pnimiyus HaTorah (i.e. the soul and inner aspect of Torah — Torah’s mystic realm).

R. Shimon Bar Yochai described his level of service with the expression, “With one bond I am tied to you (G‑d).” Nevertheless, his service can be divided into a number of different aspects. He studied Pnimiyus HaTorah (where the bond with G‑d was openly revealed). However, he also studied in the legal realm of Torah study, and he also worked to correct the world.21 From his perspective there was no difference between these services. He felt the same bond with G‑d at all levels. However, those who received Torah from him perceived each of the different qualities of service, as a category of its own.

The same applies to the Mitteler Rebbe. When he recited Chassidus, he did not differentiate between the Alter Rebbe’s words and his own. However, the differentiation could be perceived by his listeners.

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5. Parshas Vayeitze describes the life of Ya’akov: How he went to Charan, how he was successful there, how “the man (Ya’akov) increased very much,” (30:43) to the point where “he took all that our father (Laban) owned, and from our father’s possessions he amassed this great glory.” (31:1) The Parshah then describes his return to Israel, how “Ya’akov went on his way and he was met by the angels of G‑d.” (32:2)

While Ya’akov lived in Charan he was involved in the task of refinement, i.e. elevating the G‑dly sparks that were found there. In fact, when Ya’akov left Charan, the Maggid of Mezritch explained, he left some of the letters of Torah in Laban’s home which he had to elevate. Therefore, Laban pursued him in order to bring him these letters. After completing this task of refinement, “Ya’akov went on his way,” and returned to Israel.

The next Parshah, Vayishlach, continues this same pattern. It describes how Ya’akov sent messengers to Esav. There, too, his intent was to refine the G‑dly sparks that were under Esav’s influence. However, that task was much shorter than his task with regard to Laban. Laban was an ‘Aram’ (literally one who lives in Aram, but also related to the word ‘Ramai’ master of deception). Therefore, the refinement of Laban entailed 20 long years of work.22

From the above, we see that Ya’akov’s journey was a progression from below to above, from Charan to Israel. However, the Rebbeim have often explained that the verse, “And Ya’akov went on his way” refers to an opposite pattern — that it describes a Jew’s journey as a progression from above to below. That is, from Tishrei, a month of holidays, to the worldly affairs of the month of Cheshvan. (See Sicha of the Eve of the 2nd Day of MarCheshvan, 5740.)

In general, these two types of progression are representative of two types of service, that of the Tzaddik, and that of the Baal Teshuva. The Tzaddik’s service is directed from above to below, while the Baal Teshuvah’s goes from below to above.

There is a level of service which fuses the previous two together. That service is alluded to in the verse, “I will return in peace to my father’s house.” The Hebrew word in peace B’Shalom, can also mean ‘two peaces.’ (B’ is two numerically, and Shalom is peace.) In the context mentioned above it refers to the union of the two modes of service, through the service of Teshuva. Thus revealing a level that transcends the limitations of the world.

The intention of the service from “above to below,” (in Ya’akov’s case, his going from Israel to Charan), to involve himself in the task of refinement, should be that afterwards, “and Ya’akov went on his way,” progressing from Charan back to Israel.

Similarly, with the Golus which we are confronted with. The intention of the Golus and the intention of the destruction of the Temple is to lead us to the service of Teshuva: to bring about an elevation from below to above. This in turn will make “the night shine as day.” (Psalms 139:12) The darkness itself will be transformed into light.23 That time is soon approaching, as the Previous Rebbe declared, “All we have left to do in the Golus is polish the buttons,” and then proceed to the true and complete redemption. (Sicha Simchas Torah, 5689)