1. This is the Shabbos that follows, and hence elevates, all the aspects of Yud Shvat. The Torah declares that “the tenth will be holy” (Vayikra 27:32). In general there are two levels of holiness: A holiness that transcends all connections to the world; and a holiness that descends from above to below. Both aspects of holiness are related to Yud Shvat.1

A parallel to the two levels of holiness exists in the concept of a Nassi (leader). The word Nassi literally means, “one who is uplifted,” i.e., he is raised above all matters. A Nassi is likened to a king. The Talmud (Horayos 11b) states that “only G‑d, Almighty, is over him (a Nassi).” Just as G‑d transcends all worldly matters, so too a Nassi transcends all the matters of the people.2 Nevertheless, our sages explain, “There is no king (and, similarly, no Nassi) without a nation.”3 The Hebrew word for nation, “Am,” is related to the word “ommemos,” which means concealed, dimmed; and refers to a low level. On the one hand, the Nassi transcends all connection to others; on the other hand, his position is dependent on the existence of a nation.

This same pattern exists in regard to Shabbos. Shabbos is a day of rest; a day that stands above all connections with work. The very fact that Shabbos is a day of rest from work shows that it is, is some way, related to work. It is because of that relationship that it is necessary to forbid work on Shabbos. Similarly, in the realm of time, Shabbos stands above time. Therefore, every Sunday before the Song of the Day we say, “Today is the first day of the week.” (Because Shabbos is above time, even Sunday begins a new cycle of time.) Nevertheless, Shabbos has a connection with time. This is obvious from the above mentioned quote from the Zohar: “From it, all days are blessed.”

The day of Yud Shvat includes both these aspects of holiness. Both aspects are also found in the present Shabbos, since this Shabbos elevates everything connected with Yud Shvat.

The elevation Shabbos causes is alluded to in the verse, “all the heavens and the earth were completed.” The Hebrew word for completed is related to the word pleasure. In this context the Shabbos can be seen as the element that brings pleasure into all the activities of the past week.

All matters connected with Yud Shvat conclude with pleasure. Since pleasure is the motivating force of all activities, it follows that all activities lead to pleasure. There are many levels of pleasure: there is the pleasure derived from eating and drinking; the pleasure that comes from wisdom; and a higher pleasure — the pleasure of Torah wisdom.4 Since all of these activities can bring out pleasure, it is understandable that they are rooted in pleasure. Before the act the pleasure was only potential, and after the act that potential was realized through expression.

There is an additional aspect that contributes to the unique nature of this Shabbos. On the previous Shabbos all the aspects of Yud Shvat existed in a potential state. That potential was realized through action on Yud Shvat. Then, this Shabbos, the aspects of Yud Shvat that existed in a potential state last Shabbos became elevated.

This process can be further understood in terms of the statement, “Whoever works on Erev Shabbos will eat on Shabbos.” Since the “eating on Shabbos” comes as a result of the “work” in the six previous days, which are in turn blessed from the Shabbos beforehand; hence it follows that the “completion” in the Shabbos after Yud Shvat, includes within itself — not only the six preceding days, but also — the Shabbos beforehand.

Thus, we can see three levels in this Shabbos: 1) the actual deed that is connected with Yud Shvat, 2) its’ elevation and connection with pleasure, and, 3) the consummation of the potential that existed in the previous Shabbos.

Parallels to these qualities can be found in the creation of the world. The Midrash Tanchuma (quoted in Tanya) explains that G‑d created the world “because G‑d desired to have a dwelling place in the lower worlds.” Since G‑d’s “potential does not lack the power of actualization,” a world was created. However, that world was still spiritual when compared to this physical world, the lowest of all worlds. [Nonetheless, G‑d’s dwelling is intended to be in this world. That dwelling is brought about] by the service of the Jewish people in the realm of deed and action. Through this service they transform the world into G‑d’s dwelling. Once that service is completed the third stage begins — the world is elevated in a manner of complete pleasure.

Thus, we see that there are three stages in this process: First there is the arousal from above that precedes the arousal from below. This is the pleasure that motivated G‑d’s desire for a dwelling. At this level G‑d’s pleasure is revealed, however, there is no input or service from man. Second is the service of man. At this level there is also pleasure, however it is hidden. (Nonetheless, if one searches he can appreciate the fact that there is pleasure present.) Finally comes the completion of the service. At this point both qualities are present. Pleasure is revealed, and the influence of man’s work exists as well. This level will be expressed in ‘the world to come.’ In ‘the world to come’ souls will be enclothed in physical bodies,5 and there will be a revelation of pleasure. That revelation will permeate the service which the Jewish people will carry out within the physical world.

The three stages can be compared to the three days mentioned above — the Shabbos before Yud Shvat, Yud Shvat, and the Shabbos that follows it.

Yud Shvat is blessed by the Shabbos that precedes it. Then the pleasure that precedes the service of man is revealed. However, as of yet the contribution of man’s service is not present — it exists only in potential. This Shabbos parallels the level of “G‑d desired;” the level that existed before the actual creation of the world.

Yud Shvat is a day on which the Jewish people carry out their service. This parallels the second stage of creation, the stage in which G‑d’s desire is enclothed within the service of the Jewish people (however it is hidden).

The Shabbos following Yud Shvat includes within it the two previous levels (since as explained above, the Shabbos elevates all aspects of the preceding week, even the preceding Shabbos) and adds a unique quality of its own. Then the quality is revealed and stands in complete fulfillment.

2. Since, as mentioned above, this Shabbos brings the fulfillment of all the aspects of Yud Shvat, this is a fitting time and place to complete the explanation of certain matters whose discussion was not concluded during the Yud Shvat Farbrengen. On Yud Shvat I mentioned the adage coined by the Previous Rebbe, “a single individual is a multitude.” This principle is implicit in G‑d’s plan of creation. Man was created alone. From this fact we deduce that every man contains within him the potential both to become a multitude, and to influence a multitude. That potential is expressed through the service of transforming a multitude into a single entity. These two aspects are connected: Because “a single individual is a multitude, he has the potential to transform that multitude into a single entity.” Through this service a Jew becomes G‑d’s partner in creation.

A multitude implies a number of different perspectives. When a number of different people come together and form a multitude, ‘their minds are dissimilar.’ They each think, speak, and act differently. From a multitude alone confusion will result. In this state we will see a variety of different behaviors and we won’t know how to act ourselves. For example, were it not for the decision-making process, the democracy in the U.S. would bring about confusion.

The possibility for the existence of such a situation in the world stems from Torah. Since “G‑d looked into the Torah and created the world,” it follows that everything which we find in the world existed beforehand in Torah.

This idea of a multitude exists in the realm of Torah study. Our sages explain that many different opinions can exist in Torah, and that “these and these are the words of the living G‑d.” The Talmud Yerushalmi (Sanhedrin 4:2) explains that for each concept in Torah there are 49 pure, and 49 impure, modes of interpretation. Furthermore, such differences of opinion brought about differences in regard to actual behavior. Not only did the House of Hillel and the House of Shammai have opposing theories, in practice as well “these would prohibit and these would permit.”6 Since there are legitimate reasons for each opinion one may in thinking shift from one to the other without knowing how to act.

The power of making a decision emanates from a higher source, a level above intellect. The level of intellect allows for the various differences of opinion. Only by reaching a level that stands above the various conflicting ideas can we decide how we will actually behave. In this context we can understand the Talmud’s comment on the verse “—’and G‑d was with him’ — Halachah follows his opinion.” It is G‑d who gives the potential to establish Halachah. Halachah is not decided from the standpoint of intellect or reason, but from faith. This approach leads to genuine truth. Such a truth is universal and applies to all.7

As mentioned above, this Torah concept is reflected in the world at large. We see that we cannot make a definite decision regarding the direction of our behavior from the level of intellect and reason. We must transcend the level of intellect and use our potential of faith. This allows for a firm decision to be made. Furthermore, once such a decision is made, others, even those who previously disagreed, will accept that decision and behave in accordance with it.

This constitutes the service of making from a multitude a community. The power of faith can unite and unify a community to the point that no differences of opinion will remain. Everyone will behave in one way and work toward a common goal.

This service is alluded to in Rashi’s commentary on the verse, “and Israel camped (singular) there, opposite the mountain.” Rashi notes that the singular form of the verb ‘camp’ is used and explains that the entire nation was unified “like one man, with one heart.” From an intellectual perspective it is impossible for everyone to agree on the same idea. Only by reaching the inner aspects of the heart, the level of Yechidah, the “pintele Yid,” that is possessed by every Jew, can unity be achieved. From a standpoint of faith (the potential which expresses the level of Yechidah) all Jews believe in G‑d and are connected to G‑d. They have “one heart,” and, therefore, it is possible to establish unity among them.8 Even when “I am asleep — in Golus — my heart is awake.” A Jew’s heart is always connected to G‑d, Torah, and Mitzvos. The service of making a community out of a multitude involves revealing the “heart,” the “pintele Yid,” which every Jew possesses.

Furthermore, this service should not be confined to Jews alone; it must affect non-Jews as well. Non-Jews do not possess the “heart,” the “pintele Yid,” that is found within a Jew. However, they contain G‑dly life-energy and power (as does every aspect of creation) which maintains their existence. Therefore, by revealing the G‑dly life-energy they possess we can make “from a multitude, a community,” in relation to them as well.9 The unity achieved among the Jewish people will lead to the establishment of unity among the gentiles. Then the gentiles will fulfill their seven Mitzvos and also help the Jewish people in their fulfillment of Torah and Mitzvos.

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3. The exile and exodus from Egypt are connected with the giving of the Torah, as G‑d declared to Moshe, “When you take this nation out of Egypt, you will serve G‑d on this mountain” (Shemos 3:12). It follows that the main aspect of the giving of the Torah, the annulment of the decree that separated the upper realms from the lower realms, (i.e. the spiritual from the physical), had a reflection in the Egyptian exile.

In this context, we can understand a statement from the Zohar. On the verse, “and they embittered their lives with hard work, with bricks and mortar,” the Zohar (Part III, p. 153a) comments — “‘with mortar,’ (Chomer in Hebrew) that refers to a conclusion drawn from a minor premise to a major one (Kal V’chomer in Hebrew), ‘bricks,’ (Levanim in Hebrew) that refers to the clarification of Halachah (Libun in Hebrew).” On the surface, this explanation is difficult to understand. How is it possible to compare the labor with which the Egyptians “embittered their lives” with the study of Torah after Mattan Torah?

The essential connection with G‑d that was revealed at the giving of the Torah could not be expressed before the giving of the Torah except in a manner of “hard work with bricks and mortar.” [Because Torah is on a very high elevated level, it could only be expressed in such a low service].10 This concept can be illustrated by an example from everyday life: When we want to perceive a light that is too great for our eyes to accept, we put on dark glasses and through them we are able to see the light. Chassidus explains this principle with the adage, “The higher a level is, the greater and lower a descent it makes.” From this we can understand that the levels attainable through Torah study were reflected in a low form, through servitude with bricks and mortar.

Also, before the giving of the Torah a level of unity similar to that achieved by the Jewish people at the giving of the Torah existed. This unity existed in the realm of evil, between the Egyptians. When the Torah describes how the Egyptians chased the Jewish people it uses a singular verb form, similar to the description of the encampment of the Jewish people at Mt. Sinai (note Shemos 14:10). Their entire nation followed “as one man with one heart.” The same qualities that characterized the lofty state of the Jewish people at the time of the giving of the Torah were paralleled by the Egyptians.11

How is it possible? Because G‑d created evil in such a manner that it parallels holiness. Therefore, the unity that represents the highest level of holiness has a reflection in the lowest realms of evil.

The reason G‑d endowed evil with such potential was to give the Jewish people an equal choice between holy and evil; for them to exercise their power of decision and “choose life.” In the series of Ma’amarim 5666 the Rebbe Rashab illustrated this concept with a parable of a king. The king sends his son to a distant place to prove that even when he is far away, his son will behave as he did when he was close to his father. G‑d opens both paths before us — the path of holiness and its counterpart, — in order that we, the Jewish people, can reach the ultimate level of service and choose good. When the Jewish people do so, the entire existence of evil will be negated, as in the Exodus from Egypt in which “Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore.” The singular form of the word ‘dead’ is also used. Just as the Egyptians pursued them in a unified manner, so too, they were destroyed as one.

The above provides us with a lesson that is applicable in our behavior. We must try to bring out more unity and oneness among Jews. We must work toward establishing unity among non-Jews as well, in an effort to bring oneness into the entire world. This will, in turn, prepare the world for the ultimate revelation of oneness that will accompany the Messianic redemption. Then the prophet Zechariah’s prophecy (14:9), “G‑d is One and His Name is One,” will be revealed. Then, “as My name is written, so I will be called.” This will take place with the fulfillment of the prophecy, “as in the days of your exodus from Egypt, I will show you wonders” — with the coming of the true and complete redemption, led by Moshiach, speedily, in our days.

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4. Pirkei Avos states: “Who is wise? The one who learns from every person.” The phrase “every person” refers to non-Jews as well as Jews. We must derive lessons in Torah from their statements as well.

In this context we can appreciate the adage of the Baal Shem Tov, “Everything that a Jew sees or hears comes about because of Divine Providence (Hashgachah Protis), and, hence, we can learn a specific lesson in the service of G‑d from all things.

There are those who object when such lessons are derived, claiming that they are merely intellectual acrobatics and not the products of serious thought. It is our duty to inform these persons and explain to them that everything which happens is directed by Hashgachah Protis and contains a lesson in the service of G‑d.

In this vein, we can learn a lesson from the coinage used in the United States. During and after the Second World War the Previous Rebbe, and a large majority of the world’s Jewish community, settled in the U.S. through Hashgachah Protis. Likewise, the generation’s foremost sages and leaders settled in this country. The importance of the American Jewish community is further emphasized by the fact that today Jews in many other lands, including Israel, depend on American Jews for help and support. That support comes in the form of money. Therefore, it is significant to note that on the coins of the U.S. two statements are made: 1) In G‑d we trust, and 2) E Pluribus Unum (the Latin for ‘From many, one’). It is significant that the first expression is written in English, the language understood by all, while the second expression is written in Latin, a language which is understood only by scholars.12

We can learn from this that it is a simple and accepted fact that we must believe in G‑d. For this reason, that concept is written in English, the language understood by all — men, women, and children. The second concept — “form many, one” — indicates a more elevated service. Therefore it is written in a language which is understood by scholars. An unsophisticated person would become confused by this concept and not realize how to carry out this service. For this reason, he is not presented with this idea. Only a scholar who understands that ‘many’ represents different approaches; who appreciates the meaning, of unity; and who will later try to conceive of a means to unify the many, is presented with this idea.

From this we can all derive a lesson. On Sunday, when we take a coin out of our pocket,13 (not to mention money matters on Shabbos), we must realize that it teaches us two lessons: First, that in every aspect of one’s life there is the necessity to accept a simple belief in G‑d. Second, that “from many” we can, and must, make “one.” We must ourselves work, and try to influence other Jews, and even non-Jews, in this direction. Through this service we will spread faith and unity throughout the world and pave the way for the coming of Moshiach, speedily, in our days.

4. The above should have been mentioned in the Farbrengen of Yud Shvat. However, for certain reasons, it was not mentioned then. There were also other statements in the realm of ‘between man and man’14 which seemingly should have been mentioned then. On Yud Shvat thanks should have been extended to those who gave me blessings and good wishes, and also to the many who attended the Farbrengen. Even though the Talmud Yerushalmi (Berachos Ch. 8) explains that there is no need to bless someone who blesses a Jew — because G‑d has already returned the blessing, as it is written, “and those who bless you will be blessed” — nevertheless, it is proper to return those blessings personally. May G‑d’s blessing be drawn down to each one in children, health, and wealth, with prosperity in all these matters.

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5. This year the Shabbos that follows and elevates Yud Shvat contains an added quality — it is Tu B’Shvat,15 the new year of the trees. On the surface the question arises — what lesson can a human being learn, in regard to himself, from a tree?

There is a quality of the plant kingdom that even the chosen people can derive a lesson from. A plant is always connected to its source. Animals move from place to place; that movement is necessary for them to maintain their existence. A plant, on the other hand, maintains its existence and grows because it is connected to its source.

Similarly, a Jew must always be connected with his source. He should not feel that once long ago, the Torah was given; or that once he learned Torah in Yeshivah; or that once he put on Tefillin. Rather, these past experiences should be present happenings which nourish his Jewish life.

Another question needs to be clarified. In a number of places Chassidus explains that one’s service must be on the level of an inanimate object. However, we find a Rosh Hashanah that is connected with the service of man — the Rosh Hashanah in Tishrei, a Rosh Hashanah for Ma’aser (the tithe), and a Rosh Hashanah connected with plants. However, there is no Rosh Hashanah connected with inanimate objects?

Nevertheless, this point can be understood. An inanimate object is not effected by the changes that go on during the year, while a plant is. Therefore, for an inanimate object, there is no beginning, end, or middle to the year. On the other hand, a plant is effected by the year’s seasonal changes, nevertheless, it remains connected to its source.

In previous years, it was mentioned that it would be proper to serve fruit at a Farbrengen connected with Tu B’Shvat. At that time a great fuss was made. Nevertheless, at present no fruit was served. However, since in Torah we find the principle of “we will render the prayer of our lips in place of the sacrifice of bulls,” and of, “all who study the laws of a sacrifice will be considered as if they brought the sacrifice” thus, by studying the concepts of fruits as presented in Torah we will fulfill that obligation. May this study lead to the time when we will merit to eat of the seven fruits of Israel.