Monday, April 13, 2015

Shmini - The 8th Day, and 28 (Koach) Nissan


"And it was om the 8th day, Moshe called to Aharon and his sons and the Elders of Israel [saying] ... this is the thing G-d commanded you should do, and the Glory of G-d will be revealed to you."

The Rebbe asks on this posuk: (1) why does Moshe have to call Aharon on the 8th day, when we know explicitly that Aharon and his sons were with him in the Tabernacle during the preceding 7 days of the dedication of the Tabernacle?  Moreover, (2) why did the Glory of G-d only become revealed in the 8th day, following the 7 days of the dedication of the Tabernacle (known as the 7 days of the "miluyim" meaning "completeness")?  After all, there was nothing lacking during these 7 days, and nothing added on the 8th days?  The question (according the Rebbe's discourse) grows stronger based on what we know about the number 7 corresponding to completeness, the 7 days of the complete week, the primordial 7 days that completed creation, the 7 years of the Shmita cycle, etc.

These questions are not theoretical by any means, and are holding the key to our generation - the generation of the Rebbe's chassidim, the 7th generation, following Gimmel Tammuz 5754.  Indeed the Rebbe explains that Moshe "calling' Aharon was not asking him to come to the Tabernacle, but rather an "empowerment" or "giving over of power" (netinat koach). As the Targum translates the Serofim "calling" each other (kara ze el ze veamar), as giving over power (influx) from one to the other.

This is the inner meaning of the 8th day. During the 7 Days of Completeness, Moshe was doing all the work himself.  He was performing all the holy tasks in the Tabernacle, educating Aharon and his sons, but on the 8th day, he gave the power to Aharon, empowering him with the ability to perform the holy work on his own.  And indeed, only then did the divine presence come down (the Glory of G-d was revealed).  So we must ask again - what was so special about the 8th day and the work of Aharon - what could Aharon do that Moshe could not do on his own, and why was this specifically on the 8th day?

Until now, these are basically verbatim from the Rebbe's discourse, the following is mostly from the Rebbe's discourse and other discourses in chassidus, but allow me to make some connections that come to mind, as we continue to do the holy work 20 years after the apparent passing of the Rebbe.

Connect the above with the heart-wrenching sicha of the Rebbe from the 28 (Koach) Nissan 5751, which just happened to be Erev Shabbos Shmini when we read about the 8th Day above (and particularly auspicious since that year, like this year, we read the parsha Shmini 8 times...)

The Rebbe concludes that sicha unexpectedly with the following statements:

"What else can I do, what all I have done was for naught in terms of bringing about the true and complete redemption by Moshiach, and the proof is that we are still in exile, both the global exile, and more importantly [each in his or her] personal exile in manner of divine service... Those that cry Ad Mosay (until when?) are only doing so because they are told to, if they asked in truth certainly that Moshiach would have already been here... all I have left to do is to the give the matter over to you, each and every one of you, to do all that you can, in a manner of the Lights of Tohu but in Vessels of Tikun, to bring about the true and complete redemption by Moshiach... and may it be His will that there will be find one, two, three of you that will seek and search, and bring about in actuality, the coming of Moshiach and the True and Complete Redemption."

While painful for chassidim to hear, the above statements were the beginning of the year of discourses, the final discourses, from the Rebbe, leading up to the even on 27 Adar I 5752 (almost a complete year) when the Rebbe will explain and elaborate, and reveal to us the deepest mysteries, giving us all the tools needed to accomplish this task.

This continued all the way until the sichos ended and we were left to figure the rest out on our own.  We no longer heard discourses, the farbrengens ended, no more direct instruction from the Rebbe, and not long after (3 Tammuz 5754) we seem to have been left on our own, since the first generation of Chabad, with the Alter Rebbe's generation, the 7th generation no longer had a Rebbe that says chassidus and accepts chossidim into yechidus (private audience, giving out dollars, kos shel brocha, etc.)

But these words were the beginning of the netinat koach (the words in the Rebbe's discourse) from Moshe to Aharon, on the 8th day (the 8th generation), which will bring about the open revelation of G-dliness, which was not possible in the preceding 7 days (generations).

So what is "the thing" (as the pasuk says "this is the thing G-d commanded the Glory of G-d will be revealed to you") that Moshe, the head of the generation, could not do but Aharon could, and on the 8th day?  The Sifri says "this thing" means "remove the yezter hara from your heart, then your toil will be favored by G-d..." What is the only thing the Rebbe cannot do on his own but needs to give over to each and every one of us?

On the basic level, the thing the Rebbe cannot do for us so to speak is "receive Moshiach", to actually internalize the concept (and lights) of Moshiach and apply in our daily life.  But on a deeper level, "this thing" that Moshe gave over to Aharon is a transition from the aspect of "Work from Above" to "Work from Below".

By Moshe, who represents Yichuda Ilaah "The Higher Unity", there is no existence outside of G-d.  As chassidus explains in many places, by Moshe and hence by complete Tzadikim, they see G-dliness openly but have to convince themselves that the material world is real (since they perceive openly how the material world is nullified by the G-dly life force that vivifies it).  Whereas "normal people" like us experience clearly that the material world exists, but we have to think hard about how it is being constantly recreated from Nothing by G-d.

The great level of Moshe turns out to be a disadvantage when the goal is revealing G-d's Glory in this material and physical world.  Although the building of the Tabernacle (and the very giving of the Torah) was the labor of Moshe, for G-dliness to openly manifest in the physical and material world, there need to be actions taken by "physical and material beings".  This, as the above discourse says, is simplified by Aharon.

While Moshe represents the service of From Above to Below, Aharon symbolizes the service of From Below to Above, hence Aharon's main service involves the sacrifices and incense offerings, which are elevating the material world to the spiritual, as opposed to Moshe's dissemination of the Torah, an influence from above to below.

Similarly, we may say, while the Rebbe's "service" was mainly from above to below, revealing to us the inner teachings of the Torah and providing us with the blessings, abilities, and directions to make a dwelling-place in the lowest realms, our service is from below to above, elevating the physical and material world through our actions.

In Kabbalah, there is a discussion in the relationship between souls of "Mah" vs souls of "Ban", the first being souls from Atzilut where the spiritual is more prominent then the physical, while the later are souls of Beriya, Yetzira, and Asiya (mostly Asiya), where the physical takes precedence.  A Rebbe (particularly the head of the generation) is an example of a soul of Mah while a common chossid is almost always a soul of Ban (otherwise he would be a Rebbe or a hidden Tzadik).  Getting us up to the point when all the work is complete and all that is left is receiving Moshiach in actuality was up to the Rebbe, the final step bringing about the open revelation in the material world is up to us.

This giving over of power (netinat koach) was on the 8th day, and as the Rebbe asks in the discourse, what was lacking on the 7th day "particularly as we know that all the 7th are beloved" [here the Rebbe clearly connects the 7 days of the miluyim to the 7 generations and the discourse of Basi Legani charting out the work of the 7th generation).  The answer in the discourse is that while the 7 days signify completeness, the 8th day is 'higher then nature", corresponding to the "encompassing Lights", or the "Lights of Tohu" (remember the Rebbe's seemingly cryptic message on 28 Koach Nissan?)

But hold on, there are only 7 days in the week, not 8?  Yes, but the 7th day, Shabbat, has two aspects (as stated in the discourse) the 7th day itself, and the point (after mincha) called Rava d'Ravin (Will of Wills), the highest point of Shabbat which ascends beyond even the limitations of the completeness of the seventh day and hence since this point is entirely above time we can immediately begin counting the days as 1 as soon as Shabbat ends.

Similarly you may say, that the 7th generation, has two aspects, the 7th generation itself (from 5710 - 5750, or 5754), and the 7th generation as it is after Gimmel Tammuz (or  after Koach Nissan, or after Purim 5747 when it really started), which is actually the aspect of the 8th.

Now, to delve deeper into the meaning of the 8th aspect (as the discourse goes into in great length discussing the concept of Pnimyus Atik and Mekifim of Tohu), and hence understanding what exactly is out toil necessary in the 8th generation to bring about the total and complete revelation of Moshiach and the true and compete redemption.

In Torah Or parshas VaYishlach the Alter Rebbe discussed the relationship between Yacov and Esav, stating that while Esav "fell" to great depths, his source of actually higher then Yacov's source, since the source of Esav was in the World of Tohu (Chaos) and the source of Yacov was in the world of Tikun (Order).  Kabbalah and Chassidus explain that the source of the materiality of the world is in the 288 Sparks of Tohu which fell during the primordial breaking of the Vessels.

The breaking of the vessels of Tohu was due to their lack of connection, thereby each vessel held a finite capacity of “Light”.  With Infinite and “encompassing” Light, the vessels could no longer contain the Light and broke.  The rectification for this statue (called “Tohu”) is a structure made up of distinct entities which form connections between them, each entity becoming both “influencer” and “receiver”.  Within this structure of “Tikun”, Infinite and “encompassing” Light can be “contained” in the form of [energetic] “flow”.  An early example for this was with the discovery of electricity (around the time of the printing of the Likutey Torah).  A quantum leap forward in this is the Internet, which advances the finite power of an individual computer, by forming a network, which becomes a container for a incomparably larger capacity, as we know it today.

The mission of Yacov, which has been carried out by his children until the end of days and the coming of Moshiach (as Rashi says in the parsha of VaYishlach) is to sift and rectify the 288 sparks and return them to their source in the World of Tohu, this creating Vessels of Tikun for the Lights of Tohu.

This is what the Rebbe was referring to in Koach Nissan.  Once the 288 sparks are completely refined, the coming of Moshiach can take place, ushering the age of the redemption.  Kabbalah and Chassidus describe the realm of the world of Tohu as Mekifim, and they correspond to the concept of Mekifim (encompassing lights as opposed to Lights internalized by creation), which are in general correspond to the Sefira of Binah, which (as the discourse says) corresponds to the number 8.  While this discussion is somewhat beyond the scope of this article, this is because there are essentially two "structures" within the structure of the 10 Sefirot - the 7 emotive attributes (the Sefirot of Chessed - Malchut), and the 3 Intellects (Mochin, the Sefirot of Keter-Chochma, and Bina - also know as "mekifim".   The Sefira of Bina is the "mother" or "womb" of the lowest 7 sefirot, and is considered the membrane delineating between the mochin and midot.  Hence Bina also is considered the aspect of Yovel, Cheirut (Freedom from constriction) since the reality of the 7 midot is a constricted reality, and the reality of the mochin are expanded, enlightened, reality.

In order for G-dliness to penetrate and openly reveal in the material world, the aspect of Bina, of freedom (literally Yovel) has to be reached.  This is only possible through, and at the conclusion of, the refinement of the 288 sparks (and indeed this is the inner reason for their fall and the inner reason for the exiles of the Jewish people).

In the continuing discourses following Koach Nissan (particularly Vayetze, VaYishlach 5752) the Rebbe declares that the "refinement of the 288 Sparks is complete".  This is a very big statement, saying that the work of the exile, culminating in the 7 generations from the founding of Chabad, and the 9 generations since the Baal Shem Tov (to whom Moshiach revealed that "when your wellsprings go forth" is when Moshiach will come) - is complete.  Just like in parashas Shmini - after the 7 days (7 generations) are complete, on the 8th day.  Rashi says on that day it took 10 Crowns - as the Rebbe says that Bina the 8th Sefira contains the first 3 sefirot, meaning within the 8th are really 10 and this is the inner meaning for Rashi's comment regarding the 10 crowns).  In our context - the 8th generation from the Alter Rebbe is the 10th generation to the Baal Shem Tov.

This brings us now to two questions:  (1) what is the work of the 8th generation? (2) who is the leader of the 8th generation (and hence the "10th leader" as the Rebbe says that Moshiach is the 10th leader?

The simple answer to the second question is "the Rebbe".  Although there is room for the discussion of Moshiach ben Yosef and Geula "Beita" and Moshiach ben Dovid and Geula "Achishena", which fits perfectly with the above discourses, but are beyond the scope of this article.

We are all still chossidim of the Rebbe, and the Rebbe is very much involved in each of our personal lives without the shadow of a doubt, even after his apparent "passing' (this is in fact true for all the Rabbeim, but particularly for our Rebbe.  There is, however, the concept that the in-gathering and union of the chossidim, and through them the entire Nation of Israel, is the embodiment of the mission of the 8th generation, and the "only thing" left to bring about the redemption (see the very final discourse before the even of 27 Adar I).

We are left with more details regarding the particular service we need to do now, within the aspect of the 8th generation (on the 8th day) to bring about the revelation of the Glory of G-d in the physical and material world, particularly after the completeness of the sifting of the 288 sparks - so what is left now?  I have written about this in other articles, and will IY"H elaborate more about it in the future.

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