"Moshiach is ready to come now-our part is to increase in acts of goodness and kindness" -The Rebbe

Monday, January 10, 2011

Chassidus: Hashem's most precious treasure

Chassidus: Hashem's Most Precious Treasure

Rabbi Y. Oliver

The Previous Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn, passed away on 10 Shevat, 5710.

Towards the end of his life he would edit Chassidic discourses and instruct that they be printed and distributed for study on particular days of note in the Jewish or Chassidic calendar. These discourses were often edited several months in advance. In the case of the discourse entitled Basi LeGani, the discourse that the Previous Rebbe distributed was a longer one to be released in a series of installments. The previously designated date of the release of the first discourse coincided with 10 Shevat, which turned out to be the day of the Previous Rebbe’s passing. After his passing, the later installments were released on the days that he had earlier designated.

In any case, on 10 Shevat of the following year, 5711, the Rebbe based his first Chassidic discourse (which can be heard here) on the one that had been distributed for study a year earlier, Basi LeGani.

Below the Rebbe discusses this discourse:
The Previous Rebbe’s famous discourse,[1] which he distributed with the intention that it be printed in its entirety, discusses the analogy of a king who has “all the precious treasures of fabulous wealth that was collected and amassed for many years, generation after generation, and which was never used for any purpose, but remained hidden and sealed from all eyes. Nevertheless, when he is in the process of winning the war, he squanders all the treasures.”

This analogy is also mentioned in the Chassidic discourses of the Tzemach Tzedek; however, those discourses do not explain this concept at length, with all the minute detail that is found in the discourse of the Previous Rebbe. The Previous Rebbe specifies that these are “hidden treasures” that contain “fabulous wealth” that was amassed by one’s ancestors, and “never used for any purpose,” not even for his ancestors themselves or for their families, and these treasures are even “hidden from the sight of anyone.” Yet in order to win the war, the king opens up all the treasures, and even squanders them.

This appears to require explanation. Chassidic discourses in general are precise in every detail, and only mention the most relevant details. This is surely so in the case of the discourse that was released [to be studied] on the day of the Previous Rebbe’s passing, when “all the deeds, Torah, and service that he performed throughout his life” rise up to their source in the most sublime manner.[2] It is absolutely certain that every detail of this discourse is totally precise.

Accordingly, why did the last discourse given by the Previous Rebbe before his passing discuss so elaborately the concept of squandering all the treasures? In general, why is it important for people like us, simple people, to know about the way that a king acts in general, never mind knowing about the king’s most precious treasures, fabulous wealth amassed by him and his ancestors, if simple people have no clue of the existence of these precious treasures?

The explanation of this is simple. This analogy is relevant to the general activity of the Previous Rebbe, for he began the squandering of all the treasures, by publicizing numerous Chassidic discourses which until this generation were “hidden and sealed from all eyes.” To the extent that the king himself “never used them for any purpose”; nevertheless, in this generation these treasures were revealed.

The Rebbe Rashab[3] once said that there are numerous discourses and topics in the teachings of the Mitteler Rebbe[4] (and thus also in those of the Alter Rebbe,[5] whose teachings are included in those of the Mitteler Rebbe) that still had not begun being worked on. Obviously he was referring to those who are on the level to [truly] “work on them”; in other words, he said this concerning himself. This is similar to the language of the above analogy, “he never used them for any purpose.”

Yet even these hidden, sealed-away treasures were revealed in this generation ... and even squandered, all for the sake of winning the war [i.e., bringing Moshiach]. This generation is the last generation before the redemption, and its purpose[6] is to fight against those who “blaspheme the footsteps of the Moshiach,”[7] and thereby bring the victory of this war. In order to attain this victory all of the most precious treasures have been revealed.

In this generation the final war is being fought, “the war of the house of David,”[8] whose purpose is to fight against those who “blaspheme the footsteps of the Moshiach” and therefore all the most precious treasures must be revealed and squandered, and there is nothing more to wait for, since we find ourselves very close to “that time” when “There will be no more war.”[9]

Hisva’aduyos 5746, Vol. 1, pp878889.

[1] Sefer HaMa’amarim Admur HaRayatz 5710, p. 132.
[2] Tanya, Igeres HaKodesh, epistles 27-28.
[3] The fifth Chabad Rebbe, Rabbi Shalom DovBer of Lubavitch.
[4] The second Chabad Rebbe, Rabbi DovBer of Lubavitch also known as “The Mittele Rebbe.”
[5] The first Chabad Rebbe, Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi, the father of Rabbi DovBer.
[6] See the discourse from the Rebbe Rashab in Sefer HaSichot 5702, p. 141 ff.
[7] Tehillim 89:52. As explained in the above address from the Rebbe Rashab, this phrase from Tehillim alludes to the phenomenon of those who dismiss and oppose the belief in the coming of Moshiach, in the generation immediately before his arrival.
[8] The war of the house of David” refers to the struggle to strengthen and promote the belief in the coming of Moshiach.
[9] Mishneh Torah, Laws of Kings, 12:5.
There is so much to be said here.

I wish to focus for now on the analogy from precious treasures, and the emphasis of the Rebbe that Chassidus Chabad is in fact these most precious treasures—the most sublime, profound secrets that would otherwise have been completely inaccessible, and are only being revealed now for the purpose of bringing Moshiach.

We may know about this concept, but how often do we think about it? (I’m talking to myself here too.) How spoiled we are. Di Rebbe’im hobn gegosn (the Rebbes of Chabad poured freely the teachings of) Chassidus, Hashem’s most sublime, hidden secrets, so hidden that no earlier generations were privileged to them, all so that we would learn it and teach it, and thereby bring Moshiach, and ... that is how we treat it?

How much do we learn it? How much do we teach it? And even if we do learn and teach it to some extent, how do we relate to it—as one relates to Hashem’s most hidden treasures, or as merely interesting philosophy, intellectually stimulating, another edifying topic for study amongst many others?

Let’s face the truth: If we’re not running to learn it, we haven’t truly internalized this analogy.

With Hashem’s help, this year on Yud Shevat we’ll truly grasp this message, and this recognition will affect our attitude and conduct accordingly until next Yud Shevat, by which time Moshiach will, im yirtzeh Hashem, already have arrived.

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