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Friday, 23 Oct 2020
Parashat 
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Opening Statement

The fire upon the altar shall ke kept burning upon it, it shall never go out. Each morning, the kohen shall burn wood upon it. (6:5)

Although a supernal fire from heaven always burned upon the altar, nevertheless, it was imperative that an additional fire be provided by man.

- Talmud, Eruvin 63a

Rabbi Schneur Zalman, founder of chabad chassidism, once said: "The chassidim of Rabbi Cheikel1 are aflame with a love of G-d; but it is not they who are burning - its Reb Cheikel who's burning within them."

Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok Schneerson, the sixth rebbe of Chabad-Lubavitch, passed away on the 10th of Shevat (January 28) 1950. The Chabad-Lubavitch community chose his son-in-law, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson shlita, to succeed him as their Rebbe and leader.

Traditionally, the first discourse of chassidic teaching (ma'amar) delivered by a chabad Rebbe signifies the formal start of his leadership. Rabbi Menachem Mendel shlita formally accepted the leadership of Chabad-Lubavitch on the first anniversary of Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok's passing, with his delivery of the discourse I Came Into My Garden.2

As soon as he concluded the discourse, he turned to the assembled chassidim and said:

"Now, listen. Chabad has always demanded that a person toil and accomplish on his own rather than depend on the Rebbe. This is the primary difference between the 'polish' school of chassidism and and that of Chabad. Among other chassidic groups the approach is that "the tzaddikvitalizes (his followers) with his faith."3Not so in Chabad. We must all do and accomplish on our own, with the 248 limbs and 365 sinews of our own bodies and the 248 limbs and 365 sinews of our own souls. In the words of our sages: "All is in the hands of heaven, except for the fear of heaven."4

"I am not declining to help, G-d forbid. I will assist you in every way that I can. But if you do not act on your own, nothing will be attained by sending me notes, singing songs or saying l'chayim. As the Rebbe used to say: "leigt zich nit kein foigelach in buzim" (a Yiddish expression implying 'Don't get any big ideas'). By our own initiative, we must transform the folly and the drives of the 'animal soul'5 to holy ends."

 

FOOTNOTES

1. Chassidic rebbe Rabbi Cheikel of Hadmur.

2. Bosi L'gani. Printed in Sefer Hama'amorim, Melukot (The Collected Discourses of Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, the Lubavitcher Rebbe shlita) vol I pg 3.

3. Based on Habbakuk 2:4. The verse actually reads "The tzaddik shall live by his faith"; but the Hebrew word yichyeh , 'shall live', can also by read as y'chayeh , 'shall give life.'

4. Talmud, Brachos 33b.

5. In his Tanya , Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi explains that a Jew has two 'souls', each possessing the entire range of attributes that make for a functioning persona: desire, will, intellect, feelings, motives, etc. Each expresses itself via its own philosophy, mind-set, language, and behavior.The 'animal soul' (nefesh habehamis) is the essence of physical life and focuses on the self, its every act motivated by the quest for self-fulfillment and self-enhancement. The 'G-dly soul' (nefesh ho'elokis) gravitates to its divine source, striving to be nullified within the all-pervading reality of G-d. All of its endeavor focuses on the thought, speech and deed of Torah, the means by which man may cleave to his Creator.

As they both have the same single brain, heart, hands, etc. at their disposal, this makes for the perpetual struggle of life: the struggle between substance and spirit, between self-assertion and self-nullification. Any thought, desire, or act of man stems from either of his two souls, depending upon which has gained mastery over the other and is asserting itself through the person's behavior.

 

 


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