1. Shabbos Encapsulates Upcoming Blessings

This1 Shabbos is distinctive in a number of ways.

First of all, this is Shabbos Mevarchim Teves, which itself falls this year2 (as in most years) between Yud-Tes Kislev and Chanukah. And since3 “from this day [of Shabbos] all the [forthcoming] weekdays are blessed,” Rosh Chodesh Teves, too, is incorporated in this Shabbos day. Hence the whole month of Teves as well, because Rosh Chodesh4 is not merely the beginning of a month but also the head of the month: it encapsulates the vitality of all the days of the approaching month, just as Rosh HaShanah encapsulates the vitality of all the days of the approaching year5 (as explained elsewhere6).

Secondly, by Divine Providence, on this Shabbos we have a few classic Jewish celebrations.7

2. Shabbos Fuels Our Weekday Labors

What is the message of the above teaching that “from this day [of Shabbos] all the [forthcoming] weekdays are blessed”?

It is sometimes taught that the three days preceding Shabbos and the three days following Shabbos are related to Shabbos.8 Other sources state that all the days of the week are related to the preceding Shabbos, “from which all the [forthcoming] weekdays are blessed.”

Moreover, the vitality of all the days of the week derives from Shabbos. This is how the holy author of Or HaChayim9 expounds the verse,10 ששת ימים עשה ה׳ את השמים ואת הארץ - “[In] six days G‑d made the heavens and the earth.” He notes that the verse does not say בששת ימים - “In six days,”11 but ששת ימים [as if to say, “G‑d made the heavens and the earth six days”], because “at the time of Creation G‑d invested the universe with the power to exist for only six days… and by means of the Shabbos day He endows all the worlds with a spirit that maintains them for another six days…, for it is the presence of Shabbos that makes possible the continued existence of the universe….”

What lesson does this teach in terms of man’s divine service?

Typically, people spend most of their weekdays on matters that are permitted,12 though not holy. These are the “39 kinds of labor,”13 the weekday activities through which a man carries out his divinely-appointed task (whose spiritual recompense will thus not be granted to him as the unearned “bread of disgrace”14). This spiritual task is to sift and refine the materiality of permitted matters and thereby to elevate those matters to kedushah. In this way even the work of the six weekdays becomes an actual mitzvah, a commandment. This is clear from the wording of the phrase,15 ששת ימים תעבוד - “Six days shall you work,” which is a command.16

What empowers a Jew to do his weekday avodah in the refinement and elevation of permitted materiality is the Shabbos day, which is entirely devoted to Torah study and to serving G‑d through prayer. Being thus “entirely unto G‑d,”17 it provides a Jew with the strength needed during the weekdays to draw kedushah into neutral and permitted matters, too. (This theme is explained in Chassidus18 in relation to the concept of havdalah, the separation of the holy from the profane.)

3. Mitzvos are Beamed at our Bodies

This applies similarly to Shabbos Mevarchim Teves: from this day blessings and vitality are drawn downward for all the days of the approaching week, which include Rosh Chodesh Teves, and Rosh Chodesh in turn incorporates all the days of the month of Teves.

In the Gemara, Teves is described as “a month in which one body derives pleasure from another.”19 Let us understand this in terms of man’s avodah, in the context of the spiritual tasks of the body.

As was explained on an earlier occasion,20 the mitzvos were given for souls garbed in bodies and specifically for the sake of the bodies. This is why the main obligation in the fulfillment of a mitzvah is the actual deed. (Significantly, the idiom in the Holy Tongue for “the mitzvah itself” is guf hamitzvah - “the body of the commandment.”) Thus, if a person meditated devoutly on all the appropriate Kabbalistic intentions of a mitzvah but did not physically do the requisite deed, he did not discharge his obligation. (Indeed, not only did he fail to perform the mitzvah, but in addition21 he transgressed by consciously neglecting a positive commandment.) If instead he physically did the requisite deed, but did not meditate upon the spiritual intent - the soul - of the mitzvah, then even though he is punishable for this omission he has discharged his obligation to fulfill this mitzvah. (Proof of this is that in such a case he is obliged to recite a blessing over his mitzvah, and anyone who hears him responds, Amen.)

How does one serve G‑d with one’s body?

There is a well-known teaching of the Baal Shem Tov22 on a verse which ordinarily means,23 “If you see the donkey of your enemy lying under its burden, you might want to refrain from helping him, but instead you must make every effort to help him.” On the non-literal level of derush, the Baal Shem Tov taught that one should not leave the body “lying under its burden [of Torah and mitzvos],” and break it by fasts and self-mortification; rather, עזוב תעזוב עמו - “you must make every effort to help him” [lit., “with him”]. One’s avodah should be done with the body, in order to refine and purify it.

This mode of avodah is especially timely in Teves - the cold season, which indicates a lack of warmth and ardent vitality in holy matters. (Conversely, the heat of the season of Tammuz indicates the presence of warmth and ardent vitality in holy matters.24) Yet even in the cold of Teves, when the body is in its lowest state, it should not be left “lying under its burden [of Torah and mitzvos]”; instead, one should work with it, refining and purifying it, until one’s avodah with one’s body reaches the point at which “the body derives pleasure.”

Nevertheless, even though a man’s main task is avodah with his body, the strength required for this work reaches him by way of his soul - just as the strength required for his weekday spiritual labors (which parallel his body) reaches him by way of the Shabbos day (which parallels his soul).

4. Body & Soul of a People: Body & Soul of a Person

This balance [of body and soul] may also be seen in the composition of the Jewish people and in the lifespan of every individual Jew, for the above principle - “from this day [of Shabbos] all the [forthcoming] weekdays are blessed” - applies at all levels: “world” (the dimension of space), “year” (the dimension of time), and “soul” (the spiritual dimension).25

The Jewish people may be broadly divided into two kinds of spiritual personalities, whose prototypes are [two of Yaakov’s sons,] Yissachar and Zevulun; as it is written,26שמח זבולון בצאתך וישכר באוהליך - “Rejoice, Zevulun, as you go out, and [rejoice,] Yissachar, in your tents.” Yissachar, personifying those who dwell in the tents of Torah study, corresponds to Shabbos; Zevulun, personifying the men of worldly affairs, correspond to the weekdays. And just as the requisite power for one’s weekday labors derives from the Shabbos day, so, too, Zevulun is empowered to engage and succeed in business by the scholarly pursuits of Yissachar. Zevulun is able to rejoice as he goes out because Yissachar is in his tents.

On the one hand, it is true that Yissachar’s livelihood is provided by Zevulun. (As Rashi27 expresses it, “Zevulun… went out trading… and made profit, and provided food for the tribe of Yissachar, who sat and engaged in the study of Torah. This is why the Torah names Zevulun before [his older brother] Yissachar - because Yissachar’s Torah study was made possible by Zevulun.”) This parallels the way in which a Jew is able to eat on Shabbos because he toiled throughout the week. (In the words of the Sages,28 מי שטרח בערב שבת יאכל בשבת - “Whoever toils the day before Shabbos will eat on Shabbos.”) As the Zohar writes,29 “These Sages, who are likened to the Shabbos days and the festivals,30 have nothing except what is given to them by those [ignoramuses] who are called ‘unsanctified ones’ (chullin), just like the day of Shabbos, which has only what has been prepared for it on a weekday (chol).”

On the other hand, Zevulun’s involvement with earning a livelihood is fuelled by Yissachar, just as one’s weekday labors are fuelled by the preceding Shabbos.

This balance may also be seen in the lifespan of individual Jews as they pass through two basic stages - up to the age of twenty and after the age of twenty, corresponding to Shabbos and the weekdays. Until the age of twenty one’s main occupation is Torah and avodah. (As the Sages write:31 “At five years of age, the study of Scripture [should be commenced]; at ten - the study of Mishnah;… at fifteen - the study of Gemara….”) Being thus occupied, one is modeled on Shabbos. After the age of twenty (“At twenty - the pursuit [of a livelihood]”) one starts being involved in worldly matters - like the weekdays. And what gives one the strength to work in the world after the age of twenty is one’s previous involvement in Torah and avodah until that time - just as the weekdays derive strength from the preceding Shabbos.

5. WhySec. 5 and 6 appear in Likkutei Sichos, Vol. III, pp. 790-1.Did Yaakov Remain Awake?

The above perspective on a Jew’s lifetime - that the strength to work in the world as an adult is nourished by one’s previous endeavors in Torah and avodah - is highlighted in the conduct of Yaakov Avinu.

Commenting on the phrase,33 “and he lay down in that place,” the Midrash writes:34 “In that place he lay down, but throughout the fourteen years during which he was secluded [in study] in the house of Eiver he did not lie down”; alternatively: “In that place he lay down, but throughout the twenty years during which he stood in Lavan’s house he did not lie down.” (As he himself testifies,35 “Sleep departed from my eyes”; moreover, “he did not lie down.”)

Is this not puzzling? There is no difficulty in understanding that “throughout the fourteen years during which he was secluded [in study] in the house of Eiver he did not lie down”: after all, he was studying Torah. But “throughout the twenty years during which he stood in Lavan’s house,” why did he choose to exert himself with such self-sacrifice that he even “did not lie down”?

It is certain that Yaakov did not undergo such extreme self-sacrifice for the sake of watching over Lavan’s flocks.36 His goal was the spiritual task of beirurim, sifting and refining the worldly materiality of Lavan’s household in order to elevate the holy sparks within it. This required him to be constantly awake and alert, so that he would be able to overcome Lavan’s antagonism to his spiritual labors.

Lavan contended with Yaakov (and his descendants in every generation contend likewise with Yaakov’s grandchildren):37 “The daughters are my daughters and the sons are my sons and the flocks are my flocks.”

As if to say: “I have no objection if you, Yaakov - an old Jew from the old generation - conduct yourself as you please and study Torah day and night. But what do you want from the children? The young children in this modern day and age belong to me: ‘The daughters are my daughters and the sons are my sons.’ Why are you crippling them so that they won’t be able to adjust to the ways of today’s world? You want to teach them Yiddishkeit? Okay, so let that be - but do it in modern style, with up-to-date methods; just don’t turn them into impractical idealists, into batlanim!

“One more thing: I won’t mix into matters of Torah and davenen, but when it comes to business matters, ‘the flocks are my flocks.’ You should take an example from me, Lavan the Aramean:38 just overlook the prohibitions against deception, unfair competitive encroachment on your neighbor’s livelihood,39 and all that, because it’s hard to make a living the way you run a business, according to the Torah.”

It was for this that Yaakov underwent such self-sacrifice throughout all the twenty years that he spent in Lavan’s household (“Sleep departed from my eyes”; indeed, “he did not lie down”) - not only for the sake of spiritual goals, such as his Torah study in the house of Eiver, but also for the sake of the things that Lavan claimed as his own: “The daughters are my daughters and the sons are my sons and the flocks are my flocks.” It was in order that these matters harmonize with the Torah that he sacrificed so much. (As he himself said to Lavan,40 “I worked for you for fourteen years for your two daughters, and six years for your flocks.”) He knew that by virtue of his endeavors for these matters, the holy sparks that were in Lavan’s realm would be sorted out, and Divinity would be drawn down even into its worldly components.

6. What was Yaakov’s Secret Weapon?

The above insight enables us to better understand a question which the Midrash41 proceeds to raise concerning the twenty years during which Yaakov did not lie down to sleep while in Lavan’s household: “And what did he say? He used to say the 15 psalms42 which open with the words, Shir HaMaalos, … [because they include the verse,43] ‘A Song of Ascents, of David: If not for G‑d Who was with us, let Israel say…’ - and ‘Israel’ here alludes to the Patriarch Yisrael.”44

Now, if during all those sleepless nights Yaakov was occupied with watching over Lavan’s flocks, why does the Midrash ask what he was doing: “And what did he say?”

The answer has already been stated: Yaakov would certainly not have willingly undergone such extreme self-sacrifice merely in order to care for Lavan’s sheep: he sacrificed himself in order to sift and elevate the sparks of kedushah which were hidden in Lavan’s household.

Hence the question, “And what did he say?” I.e., What gave Yaakov the strength to labor in this task of beirurim in such a way that not only did Lavan’s lowly affairs not lower him, but he in fact elevated them to kedushah?

What gave Yaakov this strength, the Midrash responds, was “the 15 psalms which open with the words, Shir HaMaalos … [because they include the verse…,] ‘If not for G‑d Who was with us….’“ What gave him this strength was G‑d’s strength. For these verses include the phrase,45 מאין יבוא עזרי. Simply translated, this phrase means, “From whence comes my help?” But meiayin also means “from nothingness.” David realized that relying on one’s own resources is fruitless: his help came from his bittul, his utter self-effacement before the grandeur of G‑d. It was from his awareness of his own nothingness that his help came.46 As the following verse spells this out,47 עזרי מעם ה׳ עושה שמים וארץ - “My help comes from G‑d, Who creates heaven and earth.” With G‑d to help him in his labors of beirurim, Yaakov demonstrated through this avodah that G‑d reigns supreme not only over heavenly matters, but also over earthly matters. Moreover, He reigns even over the lowly affairs of Charan, the world of Lavan the Aramean. (Indeed, as Rashi points out, Lavan’s hometown was called חרן because it was חרון אף של מקום בעולם : it aroused48 “G‑d’s fury in the world.”)

7. Preparing to Confront the World

Yaakov was able to harness this strength by virtue of “the fourteen years during which he was [so] secluded [in Torah study] in the house of Eiver [that] he did not lie down.” By dedicating himself to his studies day and night, Yaakov Avinu brought himself to a point at which his entire being and all his affairs, including his material affairs, were permeated with kedushah and G‑dliness. Indeed, he even became a “vehicle for G‑dliness”; as the Sages teach,49 האבות הן הן המרכבה - “The Patriarchs are truly the [Divine] chariot.” As the Alter Rebbe explains,50 “All their organs were completely holy and detached from mundane matters, and throughout their lives they served as a vehicle for nothing but the Divine Will.”

It was these fourteen years of study that empowered him to go out to toil for twenty years in the sifting and refining and uplifting of the worldly and lowly affairs of Lavan’s household. Even there “he used to say the 15 psalms which open with the words, Shir HaMaalos.” Even there he realized [as interpreted above], מאין יבוא עזרי - “It is from the awareness of my own nothingness that my help comes; my help comes from G‑d, Who creates heaven and earth.” There, too, he inspired even earthly affairs with G‑dliness.

8. StudyingSections 8-14 amplify the theme of Torah study.with Millstones Around One’s Neck

Regarding the study of Torah before marriage, the Alter Rebbe rules in Hilchos Talmud Torah:52 “Anyone whose power of mind and memory enables him to study and memorize the entire Oral Law should not marry until he has studied the entire Oral Law, which comprises in brief all of the laws and their reasons…. For if he marries first he will have millstones around his neck53 - the responsibility of supporting his wife and children - and will not be so able to properly engage in the study of Torah…. The great mitzvah of being fruitful and multiplying54 is therefore deferred in favor of his present study…. Therefore, in the days [of the Talmudic Sages], when they used to teach ten-year-olds Mishnah for five years and then Talmud (which discusses the reasons in brief) for five years,55 if a student did not then marry when he reached twenty he had transgressed the positive commandment explicit in the Torah to ‘be fruitful and multiply.’ This mitzvah first begins to apply at eighteen, for after marriage, too, he will be able to study for two or three years (to make up the five years of Talmud) without excessive disturbance before he has many children.”

It could well be that the Alter Rebbe’s two alternatives (“two or three years”) are intended to cover the two common interpretations of the directive of the Mishnah, בן שמונה-עשרה לחופה - “At eighteen [begins the obligation] for marriage.” If this signifies the end of eighteen full years, then only two years are needed to compensate; if it signifies the beginning of the eighteenth year, then three years are needed.56

At first glance, the above passage would appear to prove that marriage conflicts with Torah study.

Nevertheless, the Torah includes both obligations: to study Torah in a manner that fulfills the commandment,57 והגית בו יומם ולילה - “And you shall meditate upon it day and night,” and to marry, which is described above as מצוה רבה - “a great mitzvah.”58

(As an exception,59 “If a man’s soul yearned constantly for the Torah and he was utterly involved in it as was Ben Azzai and cleaved to it throughout all his days, and [hence] did not marry, he has not sinned.” Nevertheless, we find that even Ben Azzai’s conduct is described as belonging to the [holy but chaotic] World of Tohu and not to the [holy and disciplined] World of Tikkun.60)

Indeed, the two obligations of Torah study and marriage are given equal status - with regard to the permissible reasons for leaving the Land of Israel61 and for selling a Sefer Torah.62

The Sages teach,63 אין הקב״ה בא בטרוניא עם בריותיו - “The Holy One, blessed be He, does not confront His creatures with unreasonable demands.” We must therefore assume that G‑d gives one the requisite powers so that marriage should not conflict with Torah study, so that even after marriage one will be able to fulfill the obligation to study Torah and “meditate upon it day and night.”

9. From Where Will My Help Come?

This subject is especially relevant to those of whom the Rebbe [Rayatz] expected that after their marriage they continue to organize their lives around study “in the tent of Torah.” And since it is clear that the Rebbe will see to it that what he desired will materialize,64 it is certain that for them marriage will not stand in the way of Torah study.

Nevertheless, there are still people who ask concerning their livelihood,65 מאין יבוא עזרי - “From where will my help come?”

The very words of this question spell out the answer:מאין יבוא עזרי - “My help will come from ayin (lit., “nothingness”). Ayin signifies bittul, or self-effacement; specifically, this means effacing one’s reliance on one’s own reasoning and fulfilling the Rebbe’s directive without question. When this is done, one may rest assured that “my help will come,” because the Rebbe will see to it that G‑d’s blessings will be forthcoming in whatever one needs, not only in the spiritual realm but also in the material realm.

As to the question, “From where will my help come?” The direction from which these blessings will be forthcoming is no concern of ours: all we have to do is to fulfill the Rebbe’s directive in a spirit of self-effacement, and through that “my help will come.”

10. Delaying a Deed by Holy Contemplation

When in the course of one’s study one reads that such-and-such ought to be done, a considered prior investigation of the subject may well be in order. By contrast, a directive that one hears from the Rebbe (such as the above directive to continue one’s fulltime studies after marriage) should be accepted and fulfilled without delay and without prior debate. Thereafter, whoever so desires can make the effort to grasp the directive intellectually, too, though his success or failure in this will not affect his immediate fulfillment.

To borrow the words of the Gemara,66 “With regard to the words of our Sages (Rabbanan), we [first] do the deed and afterwards pose questions.” First comes the actual deed, and only then comes the time for asking questions and debating the issue.

Sometimes, even if a young man will ultimately act as directed, he nevertheless feels a need to first consider the subject weightily and to explain it to himself, to his bride, and to the parents of both parties, and only then does he act as directed. In truth, however, “with regard to the words of Rabbanan” - of the Rebbe - “we do the deed,” immediately, without the preceding debate.

In this connection my revered father-in-law, the Rebbe [Rayatz], once told67 of two chassidim of the Alter Rebbe, each with his own mode of divine service. The avodah of the first chassid proceeded in an upward direction,68 with action preceding understanding; the avodah of the second proceeded in a downward direction,69 with understanding preceding action. One day the Alter Rebbe sent an emissary to collect charity from each of them. Both of them obliged - except that the first gave his contribution at once,70 whereas the second waited until he was able to enter the Rebbe’s study for yechidus (which of course meant that he first had to undergo the necessary preparations of immersion in a mikveh and so on and so forth); once at yechidus he would be able to ask the Rebbe how much he should give; and then he would be ready to give as directed. With the latter chassid, first the directive had to be weighed and then it was obeyed.

This is the procedure followed by the kind of young man described above. He will in fact do what he was asked to do - but not before it has been thoroughly absorbed in all ten faculties of his own soul, and in all ten faculties of his bride’s soul, and in all ten soul-faculties of the parents of both parties. Eventually, after the subject has fully permeated all those ten soul-faculties, each of which in turn comprises ten sub-faculties, making one hundred in all, he will then make his way to the mikveh, and then wait until Rabbi Hodakov71 admits him to yechidus so that he can reopen the question….

What is required is prompt performance of the Rebbe’s directives, without intellectual preliminaries. Or, as it was expressed above, the Rebbe’s words should be fulfilled out of a spirit of bittul, with the self-effacement hinted at in the word ayin - and from this “my help will come.”

11. Scholars, Too, Must Elevate Materiality

The theme of self-effacing and unquestioning acceptance of one’s obligations72 is hinted at in the conduct of Yaakov Avinu as he set out for Charan,73 after having been closeted away in the house of Eiver for fourteen years of Torah study. Concerning this stage in his life it is written,74 “And he took the stone which he had placed under his head and set it up as a monument, and he poured oil upon it.”

Now, how is oil relevant to a monument? A monument needs a stone, and if it is to be made stronger, then surely it needs a bigger stone, something even more densely material. Is this not the very opposite of oil?

The explanation: In order that this site should become “a House of G‑d” (as Yaakov said,75 “And this stone which I have set up as a monument shall be a House of G‑d”), oil was needed. And since oil is pressed from olives by foot, we have here a hint at the humble attitudes of bittul and kabbalas ol.

This means that as Yaakov left the house of Eiver after having studied Torah there for fourteen years, he had to undergo a process of “crushing the olive”; i.e., he had to momentarily suspend his profound studies and to fulfill the mission with which he had been charged - to engage in the refinement and elevation of the material world.76

12. Leave the Laurels for the Selfish

This example teaches a directive that applies especially to Torah scholars who are going out into the world.

Suppose a scholar has spent his youthful years studying Torah with himself in mind. (After all, Rav Sheshes was able to study with himself in mind.77 As he expressed it, “Rejoice, my soul! Rejoice, my soul! For you (i.e., ‘for your sake’ - Rashi) I have studied both the Written and Oral Law.” And if Rav Sheshes was able to study with himself in mind, then surely our young man can likewise study with himself in mind….) If so, when one tells him that he ought to go out and teach a Jewish child alef-beis, or reading, or Chumash with Rashi, he argues that for this one should turn to an elementary schoolteacher; his concern is to further his own scholarly attainments.

Indeed, his rosh yeshivah once even told this promising young scholar that he had “a good head” (May no Evil Eye disturb it!). It surely follows that he should invest his time in erudite exertion, sprouting startling interpretations so original that even Moshe Rabbeinu wouldn’t understand them…. (This recalls an episode related in the Gemara.78 When [on Mount Sinai] G‑d gave Moshe Rabbeinu a [prophetic] glimpse of Rabbi Akiva expounding mounds upon mounds of laws that he had derived by examining every slightest component of the letters of the Torah, Moshe “did not know what was being said” and “his spirits fell.” But then he heard Rabbi Akiva giving the source of one of his teachings as halachah leMoshe miSinai - “a law taught to Moshe at Sinai,” and “he regained his composure.”)

Our studious young man would do well to learn a lesson from Yaakov Avinu, who “poured oil upon it.” He should take hold of the “olive”, which is bursting to overflowing with erudition in all the depth and breadth of the Torah, and crush it - i.e., he should bring himself to a self-effacing and unquestioning acceptance of his obligations. In plain words, he should sit down and teach a Jewish child alef-beis and the like.

13. Would You Wait for the Fire Brigade?

An individual should take action and influence his whole environment even in simple matters such as the observance of Shabbos.

When he sees a Jewish store open on Shabbos he should try to persuade its owner to close it, instead of looking for all kinds of excuses - arguing, for example, that since the local rav and shochet and schoolteacher are paid for these kinds of things, this task belongs to them, and not to himself. As an alternative excuse, he may argue that his own talk is not going to help anyway, except that the storeowner is going to regard him as an impractical batlan. Besides, he rationalizes further, if the aim is that this individual should observe Shabbos, the only one who can speak to him is the rav in person; since the rav knows all the laws of Shabbos, he will be able to point out to the storeowner precisely which section and paragraph in the Shulchan Aruch specifies each particular prohibition involved.

Suppose a man sees a house on fire, but the firemen are slow in arriving on the scene because they are fast asleep…. He does not argue that he should stand by idly because fires should be put out only by firemen with red helmets. Rather, he will take every possible initiative to put out the fire.79

In particular, since the Rebbe [Rayatz] made this individual luminous, surely he should fulfill the Rebbe’s will and his mission, and in turn light up other Jews. If, therefore, he sees that a Jew keeps his store open on Shabbos, thereby increasing the world’s darkness and harming himself and his environment, he is obliged to do everything in his reach to change this state of affairs.

Above all, this task should be carried out in a humble spirit of bittul and kabbalas ol, without calculations. And if it is in fact carried out in this [nonjudgmental] spirit, he himself will gain something on the side - the Divine Attribute of Strict Justice will not rummage among his own affairs too closely.80

14. The Feminine Element in Avodah

The above references to bittul and kabbalas ol are also related to the birth of a daughter.81

Regarding the different spiritual connotations of sons and daughters:82 Since83 “it is in the nature of a man to conquer,” a son hints at conduct steered by the intellect;84 and since85 “a worthy wife is one who fulfills the will of her husband,” a daughter hints at conduct marked by kabbalas ol.86

In terms of avodah, this difference corresponds to the difference between the study of the Torah and the fulfillment of the mitzvos. Torah study specifically demands intellectual comprehension, which characterizes a son; the mitzvos ought to be fulfilled specifically out of kabbalas ol, which characterizes a daughter.

Chassidus explains that the time to come will reveal the superiority of a daughter [i.e., the feminine element in avodah that reflects the Sefirah of Malchus] over a son [i.e., the masculine element in avodah that reflects the preceding bracket of six Sefiros collectively called Z’eir Anpin].87 At that time, “the voice of the bride”88 will also be heard (unlike today, when it is immodest for a woman’s singing voice to be heard by a man89). Moreover, “the female will encompass [i.e., transcend] the male.”90 And the preparation that will bring about this state of affairs is our current avodah in the spirit of kabbalas ol which characterizes a daughter.

15. Powerful Days

All the above themes are highlighted by the current days that lie between Yud-Tes Kislev and Chanukah.

The focus of Yud-Tes Kislev is the victory of the teachings of Chassidus and the Rebbeim of Chassidus. To quote the phrase of the Sages,91 דידן נצח - “Our side won!” From this we proceed to Chanukah (which begins within seven days of Yud-Tes Kislev92), which marks the victory of the Jews over the Greeks who sought93 lלהשכיחם תורת - “to make them forget Your Torah.” The Greeks agreed to allow the Jews to study the Torah, provided they would forget (G‑d forbid) the Giver of the Torah. This victory consists of studying Torah with the knowledge and the sensation that this is G‑d’s Torah. And this is attained by a study of the pnimiyus, the innermost dimension of the Torah, namely, Chassidus.94

This, too, is the meaning of the miracle whereby one cruse of oil was found, sealed with the seal of the Kohen Gadol.95 For oil alludes to the pnimiyus of the Torah,96 to the teachings of Chassidus, and the Kohen Gadol (under whose seal the oil is preserved) parallels our Rebbeim of their respective generations, up to and including the Nasi of our generation, my revered father-in-law, the Rebbe [Rayatz].

Accordingly, these days [between Yud-Tes Kislev and Chanukah] grant an additional measure of strength to make possible a victory in all matters which one undertakes as an emissary of the Rebbe [Rayatz] - in the dissemination of Torah and Yiddishkeit and in the widespread diffusion of the wellsprings of Chassidus. And through this may we be found worthy of having the Rebbe lead us toward the great light of the true and complete Redemption.