This letter, like the preceding one, was written in response to a question presented to the Rebbe. R. Yeshayah HaLevi Horowitz, a Rabbi from Winnipeg, Canada, noted an apparent contradiction between a statement from the Kabbalistictext Tolaas Yaakov,1 quoting the Zohar (Vol. II, p. 1883b), that the two loaves of bread sacrificed on Shavuos were offered on the altar, and the well-known ruling that these two loaves were eaten by the priests and were not offered on the altar at all (see Menachos 57b, 74b).

The Rebbe’s reply to the question was printed in Kovetz Lubavitch (Vol. III, p. 38) and reprinted in Teshuvos U’Biurim. The letter itself is not dated, but Letter No. 164 (dated 4 Av) speaks of this letter as having already been written.

The Rebbe resolves the difficulty by explaining that Tolaas Yaakov and the Zohar were referring to the seven lambs that are offered together with the two loaves of bread on Shavuos. The offering of the lambs on the altar was tantamount to offering the bread itself. That response involves many technical terms and is best followed in the Hebrew original. At the conclusion of the letter, the Rebbe explains the spiritual dimensions of the Zohar’s statements. These we have translated.

To understand the concept in its totality, it is worthy to explain one further question: It’s true that according to the above, [the difficulty with] the wording of the Zohar and Tolaas Yaakov is resolved. For the intent is not that the two loaves of bread themselves are burnt on the altar, but rather the lambs, which are considered as equivalent to the loaves themselves, [are burnt]. Nevertheless, the concept as a whole is still problematic. According to the interpretation of Tolaas Yaakov (and the Zohar’s intent can also be interpreted in this manner) the offering of chametz2on Shavuos alludes to the concept that in the Ultimate Future, the body3 as well as the soul will derive pleasure from the radiance of G‑d’s presence. If so, it is necessary to understand: Why weren’t the two loaves themselves offered on the altar? For the meal offering of matzah brought on Shavuos — which symbolizes the soul — were themselves offered on the altar.

To resolve this question, it is necessary to preface a short explanation concerning the relationship between the body and the soul. The ultimate purpose of man — who is the ultimate purpose of the entire creation — is to serve G‑d. As our Sages (Kiddushin 82b) state: “I was created to serve My Creator.” [This service is identified with] the Torah and its mitzvos, as our Sages comment (Avodah Zarah 3a)4 on the verse:5 “If My covenant with the night and the day (the Torah) will not be fulfilled, the statutes of the heaven and the earth would be as if I had not placed them....” Now the Torah cannot be observed by the soul as it exists in the spiritual realm, only as it descends [to this worldly plane] and enclothes itself in the body. For this reason, the Torah was not given to the angels, but rather to mortals (Shabbos 88b).

There is, however, a difference between the involvement of the soul and the body in the observance of the Torah and its mitzvos. Among the advantages possessed by the soul is that it is spiritual and it desires and yearns for the Torah and its mitzvos. The body, by contrast, is physical and it conceals and hides spirituality; it is drawn after material things. It is only because the soul is invested within it that it also desires to perform the Torah and its mitzvos. The advantage of the body over the soul is that the soul cannot observe the Torah and its mitzvos without employing the powers and the limbs of the body.

The above is alluded to — in a passage concerning the violation of the Torah and its mitzvos — in our Sages’ analogy (Sanhedrin 91a) of the soul as a lame person who cannot walk and the body as a blind man who cannot see where to go. It is only as they are combined together that they become a complete entity. See also Chullin 7b: “The Jewish people are holy. There are those who desire, [but lack the means], and there are others who have the means [but do not desire].”6

Since the observance of the Torah and its mitzvos is possible only through the combined efforts of the body and the soul, the reward for this observance in the Era of the Resurrection is granted to the souls as they are enclothed in bodies. As our Sages (Berachos 17b) state: “The World to Come7 has neither eating nor drinking.... Instead, the righteous... sit and take pleasure in the radiance of the Divine presence.” Implied is that the body will also be sustained by this radiance as were Moshe and Eliyahu,8 as Tolaas Yaakov states. [See also the statements of] Ramban in Shaar HaG’mul who elaborates on this issue, differing with Rambam’s interpretation (Mishneh Torah, Hilchos Teshuvah 8:2) of the above quote.

[This is possible,] because — as explained in Shaar HaG’mul, the body will also be refined until it will be able to be sustained by the radiance of the Divine presence. In Chassidus (see Torah Or, Parshas Toldos, the maamar entitled Mayim Rabbim), it is explained that there will also be a change in [the nature of] the life-energy, for there will be a revelation of such a sublime level of light that it will be able to endow a material body with life in a different manner than the soul grants life to the body at present.

Even in the Era of the Resurrection, it will be necessary that there be a connection between the body and the soul with regard to its life-energy. This life-energy must be conveyed by the soul and measured out by it. For in this way, this sublime light is able to grant life-energy to the body in a consistent and regular manner. This life-energy — concerning which Tolaas Yaakov writes that the body will derive pleasure from the radiance of the Divine presence — will then be able to be enclothed within the body in a particular manner, as explained thoroughly in the maamar entitled Lichol Tichleh, 5659.

Thus even in the Era of the Resurrection — which is alluded to by the holiday of Shavuos, as explained by Tolaas Yaakov — there will be a difference between the life-energy received by the soul and that which will be conveyed to the body. For [even then the life-energy] will come to the body only through the medium of the soul (but the life-energy will not come from the soul as it does in the present era).

Therefore the sacrifices that allude to [the body and the soul] are of a different nature. The matzah which alludes to the soul is itself — without an intermediary — offered on the altar. The chametz, by contrast, which alludes to the body is not itself offered on the altar.