1. [The Rebbe Shlita spoke the following words in connection with the recent reprinting of Likkutei Torah with additional footnotes, references and indices.]
In recent times, many Chassidic works have been published, including a number of works by the Alter Rebbe which had never before been printed. There were times when such works were not allowed to be published — not only in eras when the government’s permission was necessary, but also after the previous Rebbe came to the U.S. where there were no obstacles to publishing Chassidic works. Even then these works were not published, for whatever reason.
Recently, however, Chassidic works are being published without limit — with the consent of the previous Rebbe. Permission has been granted to publish all the works of the Rebbeim.
Now a new edition of Likkutei Torah has just been printed, with additional footnotes, references and indices — particularly cross references on a vast majority of the ma’amarim (Chassidic discourses) in Likkutei Torah to the works of the Rebbeim which quote and elaborate on these ma’amarim.
When I was notified that the work of compiling the indices and references had been completed, I requested that all efforts should be made to hasten its publication so that the new edition of Likkutei Torah could be learned on Purim Koton. And, indeed, the first copies arrived by Purim Koton, have been learned from on Purim Koton, on Shushan Purim Koton, and will surely be learned from also afterwards.
The publication of any Torah work, and particularly Chassidus works, is a matter of great joy, especially those works which combine the revealed and hidden aspects of Torah, such as Likkutei Torah, which was first printed by the Tzemach Tzedek (in 5608) with his annotations and references. Special joy is derived from the fact that a person can now, through the additional cross-references, study the other places in Chassidus where the concepts mentioned in Likkutei Torah are explained.
Happy is the portion and great is the merit of those who were engaged in publishing this new edition of Likkutei Torah, and who spent sleepless nights to have it published as soon as possible.
I shall give them a bottle of mashke with which to hold a Chassidic farbrengen, at which they should talk about, encourage and inspire the participants to increase in Torah study, particularly Chassidus, beginning with Likkutei Torah.
Since everything should be connected with actual Torah study, we shall now learn something from the new edition of Likkutei Torah.
Likkutei Torah is the second part of the sefer Torah Or, both consisting of ma’amarim said by the Alter Rebbe, and chosen and arranged by the Tzemach Tzedek according to the order of the parshahs. Torah Or consists of ma’amarim on the parshahs from parshas Bereishis up to and including parshas Vayakhel (including ma’amarim on the festivals in this time period and Megillas Esther). Likkutei Torah is a continuation of Torah Or, consisting of ma’amarim on the parshahs from parshas Pikudei until the end of Chumash (including ma’amarim on the festivals in this period and Shir HaShirim).
There is one glaring inconsistency. The very first ma’amar in Likkutei Torah is not on parshas Pikudei (as would be expected, since Torah Or finishes with parshas Vayakhel, and parshas Pikudei follows Vayakhel), but is on parshas Beshallach. Only afterwards do the ma’amarim on parshas Pikkudei and onwards begin. [There are several ma’amarim on parshas Beshallach in Torah Or, in their proper place.]
Further, the Tzemach Tzedek had many, many ma’amarim of the Alter Rebbe to choose from to place in Torah Or and Likkutei Torah. Why did he choose the ma’amar beginning with the words, “See, the L-rd has given you the Shabbos” (Shemos 16:29), out of all the ma’amarim on parshas Beshallach?
We can perhaps give an explanation by reference to a concept in Chassidus treated in various places (Likkutei Torah, parshas Behar, p. 39c; Sefer Hama’amarim 5562, p. 185). Torah states (Vayikra 25:2-4): “When you come to the land which I gave you, the land shall rest, a Shabbos to G-d. For six years you shall sow your fields
Chassidus asks why Torah writes first that the land shall rest on the seventh year and then that you shall work for six years, when the actual order is the reverse: First one works the land for six years, and then rests on the seventh? In the words of the Alter Rebbe: “The verse implies that immediately upon entering the land there will be rest before they begin the six years [of work].”
One of the explanations is that the purpose and goal of entering Eretz Yisroel is not the six years of work, involvement in physical things, but the “Shabbos to the L-rd,” spiritual matters — to bring G-dliness into the world. In plain terms, this refers to the mitzvos of the land, such as shemittah (resting the land on the seventh year). In the words of our Sages: “Moshe Rabbeinu desired to enter Eretz Yisroel. Did he then need to eat of its fruits? But thus said Moshe Rabbeinu: Many mitzvos were commanded to Israel that can be fulfilled only in Eretz Yisroel. I will enter the land so that all of them will be fulfilled by me.”
That is why the verse is in the order it is. As soon as Jews “come into the land” they must know that it is for the purpose of “the land shall rest, a Shabbos for the L-rd” — to use the land for the sake of G-d by fulfilling G-d’s mitzvah in the land: letting it rest on the seventh year.
In similar fashion, the above explanation applies to the reason why Likkutei Torah begins with the ma’amar, “See, the L-rd has given you the Shabbos.” Although Likkutei Torah is the second part of Torah Or, it is still a separate sefer; indeed, it was published some time after Torah Or. Moreover, each of these volumes have different names — Torah Or and Likkutei Torah — which makes a difference in Jewish Law. When a book-seller sells the sefer Likkutei Torah, the name in the contract must be “Likkutei Torah,” not “the second part of Torah Or” (although he can add these words as a description). A further difference between the two books is that the Tzemach Tzedek added references and annotations to Likkutei Torah, unlike Torah Or.
Just as when Jews enter a new land to perform their service to G-d, the goal is that “the land shall rest, a Shabbos for the L-rd” — and therefore Torah writes this right at the beginning of parshas Behar — so too in the service of Torah study. When Jews begin to learn a new sefer (analogous to beginning the new service of entering Eretz Yisroel) — the sefer Likkutei Torah with references and annotations, which is a new sefer and new order of learning in Chassidus compared to Torah Or — the purpose and goal is written at the very beginning: “See, the L-rd has given you the Shabbos” (analogous to the words “the land shall rest, a Shabbos for the L-rd” written at the beginning of parshas Behar).
The Tzemach Tzedek is thereby emphasizing that in this new sefer and new order of learning we are going to learn the concept of “Shabbos” — which is the idea of Torah in general, and the esoteric part of Torah (Chassidus) in particular. Just as Shabbos is rest and peace compared to the service of weekday, so in the inner aspect of Torah there are no questions and arguments, unlike the exoteric aspect, which is full of dialectics, questions and answers.
Further, it states, “See, the L-rd has given you the Shabbos.” The study of the exoteric aspect of Torah is in the manner of hearing, whereas the esoteric is in the manner of seeing. That is why the expression regularly used in the exoteric aspect (in Talmud Bavli) is “Come and hear,” while in Zohar it is “Come and see.”
The advantage of seeing over hearing is that when one sees something, one penetrates to its most innermost truth. In our case, the study of the esoteric aspect of Torah must be in the manner of seeing — reaching its ultimate truth. This applies to the esoteric aspect in general (kabbalah), and certainly to Chassidus Chabad (Likkutei Torah, etc.), which is the study of the esoteric in an intellectual framework, such that its concepts permeate the person.
How is a Jew able to learn Chassidus in such a manner? The same verse gives the answer: “The L-rd has given you the Shabbos” — G-d has given the Jew the power to learn Chassidus in the manner of “seeing.”
The lesson, then, that we learn from the fact that the ma’amar on parshas Beshallach is placed at the beginning of Likkutei Torah, is that a Jew must know at the beginning of his study of the new sefer and new order of learning of Likkutei Torah that he should learn the esoteric part of Torah (“Shabbos”) in a manner of seeing (“See”). This is done with G-d’s strength, to the extent that “The L-rd has given you the Shabbos” — the Chassidus a Jew studies becomes his.
A Jew must know, at the beginning of his studies, that the purpose of service to G-d and Torah study, including that of halachah, (the exoteric aspect of Torah), is the Shabbos — the study of the esoteric, the hidden aspect of the Torah through which the hidden aspect of Jews becomes united with the hidden aspect of G-d. When one learns Torah in the manner of seeing, one permeates to the essence and truth of it until he becomes united with the Torah, thereby uniting oneself with the Giver of the Torah.
2. In similar fashion, to the above, a great effort was just completed regarding the printing of Tanyas. Editions of Tanya were printed in practically all the cities of a single country (Brazil) — and in a short time and in one continuous effort.
The printing of Tanya in even one place is a lofty thing, for “one mitzvah,” rules the Rambam, “tilts a person and the whole world to the meritorious side and causes salvation and redemption for himself and them.” Certainly, then, when Tanyas are printed in the majority of the cities of a country, it is not just an increase in the number of places, but enjoys a special distinction: the Tanya has been printed in an entire country.
According to Torah, a country has a special status. The Mishnah (Pirkei Avos 3:2) says that one should “pray for the welfare of the government”; and in Megillas Esther it is stated (1:22): “He sent letters to all the countries of the king, to each country in its own script” — showing that each-country has its own importance.
Since one copy of each edition of Tanya printed in each city has been brought here, to the place of the previous Rebbe, I will give a bottle of mashke to those who worked in this effort — so that when they return to their country they will revisit all the places in which they printed the Tanya, there hold Chassidic farbrengens, and again learn in the Tanyas printed in those places.
May it be G-d’s will that all these efforts, which are the idea of the dissemination of Chassidus, hasten the fulfillment of Moshiach’s promise to the Baal Shem Tov, that Moshiach will come when “your wellsprings shall spread forth to the outside.”
3. We said above that we shall give mashke for a farbrengen to be held on account of the new edition of Likkutei Torah, at which its participants should be inspired to increase in their Torah studies; and also for farbrengens to be held in the cities in which the Tanyas were printed, at which the editions of Tanya should be learned. It is therefore appropriate to clarify why mashke is given from a farbrengen, and for which occasions.
Mashke from a farbrengen is given:
1. For a Melaveh Malkah
2. For a mitzvah-banquet, such as at the conclusion of study of a tractate of the Talmud.
3. When a shaliach (envoy) is sent to a place for the purpose of spreading Judaism and Chassidus, mashke is given to him to hold a farbrengen in that place connected with the mission for which he was sent.
Mashke is given for these occasions, for it can help the words of inspiration said at the melaveh malkah, mitzvah-banquet, or farbrengen held in connection with the spreading of Chassidus and Judaism.
Also, mashke is given so that I and those at the farbrengen from which the mashke is given should participate in the event for which it is given.
Other events, however, though they may be good and worthy, if they do not conform to the above requirements — i.e. if there is no concept of a mitzvah-banquet at which mashke is appropriate has no reason to receive mashke from a farbrengen. Thus, the conclusion of a tractate of Talmud unaccompanied by a mitzvah-banquet, or a person’s journey to a place for his personal affairs, or a concert (even if held for good purposes) — have no relevance to mashke. Moreover, if mashke is given to all and sundry, for any and all reasons, the importance of the giving of mashke for a mitzvah will be cheapened.
When I give mashke for a farbrengen, I am not giving vodka. I am giving mashke, the purpose and goal being to help in spreading Torah by using this mashke at a Chassidic farbrengen. Drinking mashke at a farbrengen is analogous to the idea of giving water to an animal before slaughtering it to remove any adhesions on the lungs. So too mashke is drunk to help the farbrengen do its job of removing spiritual “adhesions.” And it is particularly appropriate to give mashke in these times, for we are now in the time period near the Messianic era, which, said the Alter Rebbe, will be “all mashke.”