1. The term “Melaveh Malkah” is ascribed not only to the meal eaten in honor of the departing Shabbos, but also, in general, to the entire evening of Motzaei Shabbos, during which time the Shabbos (referred to as the Shabbos Queen (1)) is escorted on her way.

As the Alter Rebbe writes in his Shulchan Aruch (2) (Code of Jewish Law), the Shabbos is escorted “in a manner befitting a king.” What he means to say is, that although the eminence of a king is greater than that of a queen, (for her greatness of stature is derived from the king) still, she, the Shabbos Queen is escorted not merely in a way befitting a queen, but rather “in a manner befitting a king.”

2. In light of the above, we may appreciate the reason for the escort. Despite the fact that — halachically — the sanctity of Shabbos is terminated upon the recital of “havdalah,”1 nevertheless, since it would be improper of us to commence performing the mundane activities of the week in front of royalty, (3) i.e., the Shabbos Queen, (the remnant of Shabbos sanctity), we escorted her (in a manner befitting a king), and following this, we begin our week-day activities.

Upon the departure of remaining holiness, we receive the consolation and reassurance of the verse “Do not fear my servant, Jacob.” (4)2 Even though during the week-days the servant is not in the palace of the king (in his innermost chamber), nevertheless, there is no cause for distress, for the king (the A-mighty) is together with the servant, wherever the servant is. Furthermore, there exists an excellency in the station of a servant over that of a minister or official, in the sense that there is a greater measure of unity between the servant and the king than there is between the king and his minister3 (despite the fact that the minister is privileged to be together with the king in his palace).

3. In view of the above, it is understood, that although the principal idea of “Motzaei Shabbos” is the escorting of the Shabbos Queen, yet, together with this idea there is still another, namely that during “Motzaei Shabbos” the format for one’s service to G‑d for the following week is set up, and its guidelines and objectives delineated.4

It is of the utmost importance that the inception of week-day activities, (beginning with “Motzaei Shabbos,” and including Sunday,) be undertaken in the best possible way, in order to ensure the success and fruitfulness of one’s service to G‑d for that particular week. In other words, the measure of success in any given endeavor will be commensurate with the way in which this project began. Therefore, the attention and consideration given to the commencement of any undertaking (and hence, “Motzaei Shabbos,” being the beginning of the weekday activities) are indispensable.

4. The aforementioned concept (viz., that the service of “Motzaei Shabbos” and Sunday, is that, upon which the rest of the week’s service is dependent) is alluded to in the character of the first of the six days of creation. On this day (i.e., Sunday) the totality of creation was formed, in a state of potential.5 On each of the successive days, the particular creations intended for that day, materialized.

The same spiritual emanations and themes which were present during the six days of creation, are present and active on their corresponding day, in each and every week during the year.6 7 It is therefore understood, that just as the first day of creation was particularly relevant to the subsequent days of creation (as explained above),so, too, is the first day of every week relevant to the entirety of that week’s service, being that the character of a particular day of the week remains constant. Moreover, since all Sundays are interconnected with one another, by virtue of their common characteristics, it is understood that one has the opportunity, and the capacity, to set up and effect, not only the service for that week itself, but also the service for subsequent weeks, as well.

In view of the above, it is further understood, that the present “farbrengen” (taking place as it does on a Motzaei Shabbos, which is actually part of the first day of the week) is an auspicious time for an arousal regarding this week’s service, so that. it will be carried out in the best possible way.

5. This “Motzaei Shabbos” contains an additional aspect. It is the culmination of the Shabbos upon which the month of “Shevat” is blessed.

As mentioned many times, every month contains its own particular themes, from which the month’s distinctive character is comprised. This is true of the month of Shevat as well.

The underlying theme of this month, the month of Shevat, is the elucidation and dissemination of the Torah, as the verse clearly bears out, “On the first day of the tenth month (Shevat), Moshe began to explain the Torah.”8 (13) Since the verse clearly discloses that this was the theme of the month of Shevat, then, it is understood, that this is true, every time the month of Shevat occurs.9

Just as the elucidation and dissemination of the Torah in Biblical times was the responsibility and task of Moshe Rabbeinu; so too, being that ‘‘Moshe Rabbeinu is manifest in each generation” and this manifestation is found within each Jew and is most pronounced in the leader of the generation, consequently, the dissemination of the Torah is the task of each Jew and, in particular, of the leader and prince of the generation, who embodies most completely the manifestation of Moshe Rabbeinu in his particular times.

6. Another point concerning the month of Shevat (and, hence, pertinent also to this Shabbos in which the month is blessed): The tenth day of this month is the “Yahrzeit” of the Previous Rebbe. The extent of his importance as a leader of the Jewish people is noted in his letter written upon his release from prison. There he wrote, “It is not me alone that the A-mighty redeemed but also, everyone who is, but called ‘Jew’ as well.”10 It is understood, therefore, that all of the Previous Rebbe’s spiritual contributions and achievements are bound up with, and are relevant to every single Jew, notwithstanding his ignorance of Judaism. This is especially true of the day of his Yahrzeit, since on a Yahrzeit, the achievements that one strived for and labored to accomplish, are in a revealed state, and irradiate brightly in the physical world. (17) From this illumination, one derives an extra measure of strength and fortitude to follow in the paths blazed by the Previous Rebbe. (And this is underscored by the fact that the Previous Rebbe is the leader of our generation — its head, as it were, and as our Sages of blessed memory say “the body follows the head.” (18))

7. The tenth of Shevat is blessed together with the rest of the month on “Shabbos Mevarchim.” The blessing is recited in six different expressions of success and prosperity, and concludes with the words: .”..and let us respond, ‘Amain’.” The term “Amain’’ attributes and bestows permanency and perpetuity to the blessing. It guarantees the realization of the blessing and assists in drawing down the blessing from its supernal source, into the material corporeal world below.11

In view of the aforementioned, it is understood that all good resolutions made on this “Shabbos Mevarchim” are blessed together with the month in general (especially if these resolutions are made as a preparation for the upcoming “Yahrzeit” of the Previous Rebbe), and enjoy the benefits bestowed by the culmination of the blessing .”..and respond ‘Amain’.” In addition, since the blessing for the month is considered a communal prayer, it is certain that the A-mighty accepts this prayer, (20) and that it will, therefore, quickly become actualized, thereby enabling us to carry out these resolutions to their fullest possible extent.

In order to carry out our resolutions in the best way possible, it is most necessary that Jews be able to operate under conditions of spiritual tranquility and material abundance (as regards children, health and food), as the Alter Rebbe used to say, “G‑d bestows upon the Jews material prosperity and the Jews transform the material into the spiritual.” When the A-mighty bestows bountiful blessings upon the Jewish people, they, in turn, demonstrate to G‑d, in terms of service to Him, what they can accomplish by these means afforded to them, through G‑d’s blessings.

8. “Shabbos Mevarchim” Shevat always occurs between the Yahrzeit of the Alter Rebbe and the Yahrzeit of the Previous Rebbe, and, therefore, acts as a link to bind these two great days together. The Alter Rebbe, the first of the Rebbes of Chabad, publicized the doctrine of the Baal Shem Tov and expounded and disseminated the teachings of Chassidus, to the extent that all Jews would be able to gain a profound understanding of the inner aspects of Torah, and thereby, bring about the fulfillment of the verse: “And the land will be saturated with knowledge of G‑d.” (21) (To this end, the Alter Rebbe himself made an enormous contribution, by formulating the teachings of Chassidus in an intellectual framework, thereby allowing for the internalization of the teachings, so that they affect one’s thought, speech and action. In pursuance of this objective, the Previous Rebbe made tremendous strides. Through his ingenious implementation of all available media, the Previous Rebbe greatly furthered the dissemination of Chassidus.

This idea, (viz., the continuity of concerted efforts for a common objective from the Alter Rebbe to the Previous Rebbe,) is alluded to in the relationship between the days on which their respective ‘Yahrzeits’ fall. Since the two Yahrzeits are exactly fifteen days apart, (the Yahrzeit of the Alter Rebbe being the 24th of Teves, and the Yahrzeit of the Previous Rebbe being the 10th of Shevat — the month of Teves having only 29 days) the Previous Rebbe’s Yahrzeit will always occur exactly two weeks and one day after the Yahrzeit of the Alter Rebbe. In terms of the days of the week: the Previous Rebbe’s Yahrzeit will occur, always on the day of the week immediately following the day of the week on which the Alter Rebbe’s Yahrzeit fell (although 15 days later). Since, (for example), this year, the Alter Rebbe’s Yahrzeit came out on a Tuesday, the Previous Rebbe’s Yahrzeit will necessarily occur on a Wednesday.

This proximity indicates and alludes to the type of relationship between the two Rebbes. Just as Tuesday leads up to, and is continued by Wednesday, so too, the work of the Alter Rebbe was continued by, and fulfilled, in the labor and achievements of the Previous Rebbe; and, with increased strength and perseverance.12 The continuity of work between these two Rebbes is further illustrated by the fact, that although the Alter Rebbe clarified and elucidated the teachings of Chassidus, rendering the esoteric, comprehendible to the intelligent layman; yet, it was specifically through the indefatigable efforts of the Previous Rebbe, that Chassidus was translated into various different languages.13 By means of these translations, Chassidus became accessible even to those Jews who have no knowledge of the Hebrew language, enabling them to learn Chassidus in their own language, until such time that they can understand and study Chassidus in its original language.

9. From all the aforementioned, it is clear that the primary lesson to be learnt from this “Motzaei Shabbos”14 is bound together with the concept of the dissemination of the Torah. To facilitate this, the Torah should be translated, and its concepts taught, in each and every language. Through the proper instruction of the Torah, one becomes aware of what G‑d’s directions consist, and how they are to be performed; but moreover, the very study of Torah itself induces one to carry out and fulfill the Will of the A-mighty. Herein lies the hidden quality of Torah; it infuses the person with its strength, and leads him to the practical observance of the Mitzvos. (22)

Also contained within this concept of expounding the Torah in all the seventy languages of the world, is a deeper interpretation of the term “language.” Each individual is distinguished by a unique character, and in accordance with his character there is a unique language through which he must be approached. Only when he is approached in his “language,” at par with his character and conduct, will he understand (immediately), and fathom the truth, and only then will the Torah become part of him, to the extent that it will influence his actions.

This must be undertaken in the manner expressed in the verse .”..began to expound the Torah, saying.” (23) The word “saying,” ‘laymor’, means ‘to make one say,’ (23) implying that the Torah must be taught in such a way, that the student will not only be influenced to change his own conduct, he will also be sufficiently inspired to become a teacher of the Torah himself, and influence yet another Jew to observe and study the Torah. The application of the above concept, namely, expounding the Torah with ever greater diligence and effort, is the necessary preparation that must be made to receive the Divine blessings precipitated by the Previous Rebbe’s own Divine service; and to receive the blessings showered upon us on the day of his Yahrzeit. It is only through the application of this concept, of expounding the Torah to the extent that the pupil will also become a teacher, that one receives these blessings, because this was a concept and ideal which the Previous Rebbe himself exemplified, and never tired of emphasizing and promoting.

10. More generally, this is an arousal to action in the Ten Point Mitzvah Campaign.

Ahavas Love — Love your fellow Jew as yourself. This is related especially to the above concept, “Moshe began to expound the Torah,” since Moshe was inculcated with a great love for every Jew. (24) A direct outcome of this Campaign is the Campaign of Chinuch, to ensure a Torah-True education for each Jewish child. This brings us to the Torah Study Campaign, the Tefillin Campaign, the Mezuzah Campaign, the Tzedakah (charity Campaign, the ‘House full of Holy Books’ Campaign, and Neshek (Shabbos candle lighting), Kashrus, Family Purity — especially pertinent to Jewish women (and each woman is a queen in her home.)

As mentioned many times, activity in all of the “Mivtzoim” serve to hasten the fulfillment of the ultimate “Mivtza,” the “Mivtza” of the A-mighty; that is, the true and final Redemption, through our Righteous Mashiach15 Tzidkeinu, may he arrive and redeem us and lead us proudly to our land speedily in our days.

11. We all know the saying of the Alter Rebbe (26) that one ought to “live with the times,” meaning, that one should take instruction from the Torah portion (Parshah) that is read on Shabbos and studied during that particular week.

During Minchah we began reading (the Parshah that will be read, G‑d willing, on the coming Shabbos,) Parshas Bo, which begins, with G‑d telling Moshe to “Go unto Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart ...that I might show these, My signs before him.” (27)

This instruction came to Moshe after he had just witnessed the many signs and wonders that G‑d had shown the Jews; the plagues which He had inflicted upon the Egyptians. Nevertheless, Pharaoh’s attitude remained unchanged, and not only that, but “his heart became hardened.” (28)

G‑d tells Moshe not to be dismayed, for Pharaoh’s hardened heart is not of his own volition, rather “I (G‑d) have hardened his heart”; not in order to make it harder on the Jews, G‑d forbid, but in order “that I might show these, My signs, before him,” (29) so that these miraculous occurrences be publicized and seen throughout the world.

12. The aforementioned is applicable to all difficulties that a Jew encounters in his Avodah (service to G‑d).16 Bearing in mind the lesson of Parshas Bo, he will not be discouraged, for he is constantly aware that the only reason for the difficulties that a Jew encounters in his Divine service is so that he may reveal his ability to overcome these difficulties. The Holy King of Kings desires that His only son (and every Jew is an only son to G‑d) reveal his capabilities, and actualize his true potential. (30)

As we find ourselves in these last moments of exile, and in the darkness of this period we find that “Pharaoh’s heart is hardened,” the Jew remains unalarmed. He realizes that the darkness is but illusory, it is merely a means by which a Jew can reveal his true capabilities, and thereby destroy the last remnants of the exile walls, which confine us.

May we depart from this exile as the Jews departed from Egypt, in the manner described,-in the verse “and they despoiled Egypt,” (31) taking with them all the “sparks of holiness” found in the material riches of Egypt, and leaving it “like a storehouse without grains and like a sea without fish.” (32)17

May our liberation occur as fast as “the blink of an eye,” as it was when we departed from the Egyptian exile. As soon as “the end came to pass, He (G‑d) didn’t hold them back for the (time it takes one to) blink an eye.” (33)

Then we shall leave the exile “with a strong hand” (34), as it was in the days of the Exodus from Egypt.

13. The lesson of Parshas Bo to be applied to the events of the present day:

There are those among us who are unfortunately confused. They ask: “How is it that, after all that has recently transpired in Eretz Yisrael, the heart of the ruler of Egypt is still hard? (Why “are the nations in such an uproar — if it is only in vain?” (35)) They erroneously conclude that we must pursue a policy which contradicts the dictates of Torah, and (G‑d forbid) give up a part of Eretz Yisrael, “the Land which the eyes of the L‑rd are constantly upon, from the beginning of the year to its end.” (36)

To them we offer the lesson of our Parshah. The Jew must know that Pharaoh’s hardened heart is not a result of Pharaoh’s own volition, G‑d forbid, it is merely that “I (G‑d) have hardened his heart.”

G‑d’s signs and miracles are brought about when a Jew realizes that the recent events are only a test, and he comes to the firm conviction that it is G‑d who manipulates the ruler of Egypt “the crocodile that crouches in the midst of his waters” (37)18 just as it is G‑d who guides each and every Jew, and certainly guides the Jews living in the Holy Land, where we can openly observe how G‑d ordains (even the minute details of) all occurrences.

14. This concept (G‑d hardening Pharaoh’s heart) comes to us directly from the Torah — the Written Law, and is consequently intended to be clear even to the five-year-old child. Likewise, being that the Torah was translated into all. languages, the nations of the world are also aware of this fact (for we see that they are reasonably informed of the contents of the Torah, and even make use of it).

15. Jews must conduct themselves in the manner described in the Zohar, in the beginning of Parshas Bo. Commenting on the verse “Happy is the people who know the Terua note (the note sounded by the Shofar); they shall walk, O L‑rd, in the light of They Countenance,” (38) the Zohar explains that when Jews walk in the “light of His Countenance,” i.e., in “the light of Torah” and when Torah illuminates their paths, then they “know the Terua note.”

The sound of the “Terua” was also used as a war cry, calculated to instill fear and dread in the enemy.19 Accordingly, the meaning of the verse is that when Jews conduct themselves in the path of Torah, G‑d instills a fear in the enemies. G‑d Himself deals with Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, and transforms his evil designs to good.

The lesson of the Zohar is all the more applicable in our situation which involves potential danger to the lives of many Jews, G‑d forbid.

16. As to the practical course of action we must take in such a situation to avert the danger, we have clear directives in Jewish Law (the way of G‑d’s Countenance). As we have discussed at length on a previous occasion, (39) the Code of Jewish Law (40) clearly rules that when an enemy approaches us with arms, we must face them with arms, and we must use the means of Terua — we must take a determined stand to instill fear and dread in the enemy.

But as to the action that G‑d will take, we can be sure that when we follow this directive (not because we are confident in our own strength, rather), because we wish to proceed in the light of His Countenance — by following the clear ruling of the Code of Jewish Law, G‑d will ensure that our demonstrations of military alertness alone will suffice to deter the enemy and thwart his intentions. Darkness shall be transformed to light, and the bitter shall become sweet, and we shall maintain the completeness of Eretz Yisrael, because we maintain the integrity of Torah and proceed “in the light of His Countenance.”

17. There are those who claim that we don’t really need military security, we can suffice with “the voice of Yaakov...,” (41) — if we merely study Torah we will be sufficiently protected.

To them we say: We observe a person coming to us, who speaks of peace, after he has followed the road of aggression for the past thirty years. His motives are quite clear. After conferring with his ministers, he came to the conclusion that if they would engage in war, they would suffer even heavier casualties than they had in the previous wars. He therefore decided to use another approach.

(Now, it is surely clear that there is no reason to be alarmed by Pharaoh’s stubbornness, in his making preconditions for peace, which are obviously untenable. It is not even in his “national interest” to insist on these demands! He is making these demands as a result of the pressure that others are putting on him. His real concern is that we should make peace with him because he realizes he won’t succeed in the path of war.)

Now, we must take into account the justification for the use of arms. The reason for our present military readiness does not lie in the political strategies and negotiations of politicians, rather, it stems from the Torah itself; the “Torah of Life’, and “Torah of Truth,” which gives us true instructions on how to live, and tells us that “we must meet (their threats) with arms.” (40)

First and foremost, we must prepare ourselves with “the voice of Yaakov” — the study of Torah (and the fulfilling of the Mitzvos — for study leads to action). We must place particular emphasis on the proper education of Jewish children, so that the voice of Yaakov is heard in the houses of study. This must come together with the voice of prayer. Thereby “we set up our banner in the name of our G‑d, and we make mention of the name of the L‑rd.” (42)

If we prepare ourselves in this manner, then (the spirit of) “the voice of Yaakov” — Torah study, Torah education and prayer, will manifest itself in the way we conduct our military affairs, so that we protect ourselves (not by relying, G‑d forbid, on our own might, but) in accordance with the Shulchan Aruch, the Code of Jewish Law (the way of life that the Jew must follow in his day to day life) where it is stated, that when the enemy is preparing to attack we must be militarily alert. This ruling applies for the Jews even when they are in the Diaspora, and applies, all the more so, to the Jews in the Holy Land, “the land upon which the eyes of the L‑rd rest constantly, from the beginning of the year to the end.” (36)

18. When we proceed steadfastly with the power of Torah study and the performance of Mitzvos, which draw G‑d’s presence into all of our actions, then “all the people of the world shall see that you “ (the Jewish people) are called by the name of G‑d; and they shall be afraid of you’’. (43)

This shall bring about the transformation of darkness into light and bitterness into sweetness, in each Jew’s service to G‑d, including also, those Jews who are on military alert, who proceed (not, G‑d forbid, with the false air of self-reliance, but) with “the banner of the L‑rd our G‑d.” Such was the case with regards to the miracle of Chanukah when the Maccabees (who inscribed on their banner “Who is like Thee, O L‑rd, amongst the mighty”) (44) proceeded victoriously against their enemies.

And so, too, the darkness and bitterness shall be transformed into light and sweetness, with regards to all of the nations of the world and consequently we shall have no further need for weapons because we will be proceeding “in the light of Thy Countenance” and we will be the “happy nation that knows the Terua sound.”

19. Then we shall achieve a complete victory, in a peaceful manner, and we shall preserve the completeness of the Land by maintaining the completeness of Torah, and we shall be together as a complete nation, with the coming of our righteous Mashiach, who will “gather the dispersed of Yisrael.” (45)

This is achieved by Jews, who, in the last days of exile, wherever they may be, are wholly dedicated to the study of Torah and the performance of Mitzvos, and they become totally unified with G‑d, the Giver of the Torah and Commander of the Mitzvos. Also this is achieved by Jews, who in these last days of exile are militarily alert, in accordance with the aforementioned ruling of the Shulchan Aruch and as a result, do not compromise in their observance of Torah and Mitzvos, for they know that it is “He (G‑d) who gives strength to wage war.” (46)

20. This shall be the final preparation of “the hastening of the Redemption” (47) when the weapons of war shall be converted to productive instruments of peace, as it is written, “They shall beat their swords into plowshares,” (48) we shall convert our weapons into agricultural tools so that “the land shall yield its harvest” (49) with the coming of our righteous Mashiach, who will redeem us immediately and lead us proudly to our Land.

21. May we stand upright and firm in these last days of exile, with the knowledge that it is “He who gives strength to wage war,” so that the Nation “that knows the Terua sound” shall “go in the light of His Countenance,” with the power of the A-mighty.

Thereby there shall be peace for all Jews wherever they may be, for Peace is G‑d’s name, (50) and definitely there shall be peace in the Holy Land. Then, we will increase our Torah study and performance of Mitzvos to complete perfection.

May it be His Will that we may very soon merit the fulfillment of the passage promising us that “the world shall be filled with the knowledge of G‑d as the sea is filled with the waters that cover it.” (51)

Let us go and greet our righteous Mashiach with breadth of spirit and material abundance, conducting ourselves in a noble manner, as it was when we were liberated from Egypt, when “the children of Yisrael went out with a strong hand,” (34) for we shall proceed as “a nation of priests, and a holy nation.” (52)


1. Tractate Shabbos; folio 119b.

2. Orach Chaim ch.300 sec. 2 see Shabbos Ibid.

3. cf. Tractate Chagigah, 5b.

4. Yeshayahu, XLIV; 2.

5. Or HaTorah Va’eschanan,p.265.

6. Kuntreis Motzaei Shabbos.

7. Rashi Bereishis 1:14; ibid.24.

8. Tractate Rosh Hashanah 31a, Tamid end.

9. Tehillim, 24.

10. Tehillim, 93.

11. Ramban Bereishis 2:3.

12. Tractate Tamid, Ibid.

13. Devarim 1:3-5 Rashi Ibid.

14. Tanchuma Devarim 2, ch. 67.

15. Tanya ch. 42.

16. Iggeres Hakodesh ch. 27.

17. Iggeres Hakodesh, ch.28.

18. Tractate Eruvin 41a.

19. Tractate Berachos 53b.

20. Tractate Berachos, 8a.

21. Yeshayahu, 11, 9.

22. Tractate Kiddushin, 40b.

23. Mechilta, Yisro chap. 20:1.

24. Tractate Menachos, 65b.

25. The Siddur of the Ari Zal by the Rashol Rashkov, see also Pri Etz Chaim, end of Shaar HaShabbos.

26. Sefer HaSichos 5702, p.29.

27. Shmos, 10:1.

28. Ibid. 9:28.

29. Ibid. 10:1.

30. Tanya, ch. 9, Sefer HaMaamarim 5666, p. 380.

31. Shmos 12:36.

32. Tractate Berachos 9b. See Likkutei Sichos Vol. 3, p.824.

33. Rashi Shmos 12:x:1.

34. Ibid. 14:8.

35. Tehillim 2:1.

36. Devarim 11:12.

37. Yechezkel 29:3.

38. Tehillim 89:16.

39. Farbrengen Asarah BeTeves 5738, 24 Teves 5738.

40. Orach Chayim ch. 329,par. 6.

41. Bereishis 27:22.

42. Tehillim 20:6-8.

43. Devarim 28:10.

44. Tzemach David; See Shmos 15:11

45. Rambam Hilchos Melachim ch. 11.

46. Devarim 8:18.

47. Yeshayahu 60:22, Tractate Sanhedrin 98a.

48. Ibid., 2:4.