The principle, "Open with blessing," is applicable at all times and particularly so because the time and the place of this gathering are unique. Whenever a subject is greater, contains more depth, or is higher,
the principle "Open with blessing" applies with more force. And therefore, at the present time, the Ten Days between Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur, it is particularly relevant.
As mentioned on several occasions, there are only seven days between Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur. Nevertheless, the expression "ten days between" is appropriate, because there are two dimensions to these holidays, an essential aspect possessed by both Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur and a dimension in which these holidays share the qualities of and are included within the Ten Days of Repentance.
The name Rosh HaShanah means "the head of the year." Just as the head contains the life-energy for the entire body, Rosh HaShanah contains the life-energy for the entire year. This concept also applies to Yom Kippur, for Yom Kippur is also called Rosh HaShanah by the prophet Yechezkel and the AriZal explains that, Yom Kippur reflects the inner dimensions of Rosh HaShanah. Furthermore, since the realm of holiness is structured according to the principle, "Always ascend higher in holy matters," it follows there is an advantage to Yom Kippur over Rosh HaShanah. Indeed, Yom Kippur is achas bashanah, "once a year," reflecting an aspect of oneness above the limits of our material world.
The above relates to the teaching quoted by the Tur that even on Erev Rosh HaShanah, "the nature of the Jewish nation" is to wear festive clothing and eat a festive meal, because they are confident that they will prevail in judgment. Since this is a custom of the Torah, it has the potential to change the nature of our judgment. Even when the judgment is associated with holiness, there is the possibility that it be altered and improved. This is the focus of the service of the second day of Rosh HaShanah and of the subsequent days of the Ten Days of Repentance, to contribute an additional dimension of holiness and light.
And thus G-d will surely fulfill the inner will of every Jew -- and the will of the Jews reflects the inner will of G-d as the Rambam writes -- and that inner will is for the Redemption to come. This is particularly true, because "all the appointed times for Mashiach's coming have passed." As the Previous Rebbe explained, all that is necessary is to "stand together prepared [to greet Mashiach]" and that has also been accomplished.
All that is necessary is one turn to G-d. That will come naturally, there is no need for miracles. This is particularly relevant after all the Jews have endured and furthermore, there is a profound positive influence for we have studied the teachings of the Previous Rebbe in the realm of P'nimiyus HaTorah.
The above is surely relevant at present, after the majority of the Ten Days of Repentance have passed, and particularly, on the present day, the ninth of Tishrei. The ninth of Tishrei is intrinsically related to the tenth of Tishrei, Yom Kippur. Furthermore, that connection is not only spiritual, but also material in nature. The eating and drinking on the ninth of Tishrei makes possible the spiritual service of Yom Kippur. Moreover, this affects every Jew, man, woman, and child.
In regard to a child's fasting, great care must be taken for there is danger involved and we follow the principle that a danger to life supersedes all the mitzvos of the Torah. What is the basis for this teaching? The awareness that ultimately, the temporary suspension of Torah observance will lead to greater observance, as our Sages stated, "Breaking one Shabbos in order to keep many Shabbasos." Similarly, whenever Torah is sacrificed for the sake of a Jewish life:
- It is a privilege for the Torah and the Torah is elevated to a higher level, for the Torah gave a Jew the opportunity to continue living.
- We can be certain that ultimately the Jew will merit to observe many more mitzvos.
And thus, the Torah will be observed on a higher level. This relates to the manner in which the higher rung of teshuvah elevates our service of Torah and mitzvos. As explained, the higher rung of teshuvah relates to an inner bond with G-d's intellectual attributes, simply put, devoting oneself to Torah study with inner feeling. In this manner, a wondrous unity is established.
The necessity to supersede the mitzvah of fasting because of a danger to a Jew's health will surely not be necessary and every Jew will be able to carry out the mitzvah of fasting on Yom Kippur as required. Furthermore, it is possible that this will not be required at all. Every day, we are expecting Mashiach to come and surely, this applies on the ninth of Tishrei. Should Mashiach come at present, as a continuation of the festive meals of the ninth of Tishrei, we will proceed to the festive celebration of Mashiach's coming, the feast of the Leviathan, the wild ox, and the aged wine.
There is the potential to participate in these feasts on Yom Kippur itself. In regard to the dedication of the First Beis HaMikdash, we find that due to the great joy, the Jews continued the celebrations on Yom Kippur, eating and drinking on that holy day. Rather than this be considered as a negative factor, a heavenly voice proclaimed, "You are all assured of a portion in the World to Come." Similarly, in regard to our present circumstances, should Mashiach come today, our festive celebrations will continue on Yom Kippur.
Yom Kippur is a day of happiness as reflected in the AriZal's interpretation of the name Yom Kippurim, "a day like Purim." I.e., Yom Kippur like Purim is a day of celebration. Indeed, from a certain perspective, the celebration of Yom Kippur surpasses that of Purim. If this is true at large, it is definitely true in the present year, 5752, "a year that will contain wonders," and "a year of wonders in all things." These wonders will surely include the coming of the Redemption.
This Redemption will affect the entire world, not only the Jewish people. Surely, the Jews will all come to a level of perfection in thought, speech, and deed. But this perfection will affect every entity in the entire world, other men, animals, plants, and even inanimate objects. Thus our Sages relate that in the Era of the Redemption, "the stones from the wall will cry out" reminding a person to conduct himself in a manner that befits a Jew. Furthermore, the expression "cry out" can be interpreted in a positive sense. Our Sages relate Rabbi Akiva cried with tears of joy, because the happiness he experienced when studying the Torah's secrets was too great even for his mind to bear, so too, every element of existence will feel such all-encompassing happiness.
There is a connection between the above and the Torah reading associated with the present week Parshas Haazinu. Our Sages explained that the wording Moshe uses at the beginning of this Song indicates how he was "close to heaven and far removed from earth." This potential is in truth possessed by every Jew.
This potential also relates to the ultimate feast of the Era of the Redemption. As mentioned, the potential exists that we will proceed from the feasts we will enjoy on the ninth of Tishrei to this ultimate celebration. Then we will sit down at a Chassidic farbrengen with the Previous Rebbe at our head. He will be joined by his father, [the Rebbe Rashab,] and his grandfather, [the Rebbe Maharash]. The latter was renown for his adage LeChatchilah Ariber.
Similarly, they will be joined by the Tzemach Tzedek, whose both names relate to Mashiach, and the Mitteler Rebbe whose name is DovBer. DovBer reflects a fusion of the Hebrew and Yiddish words for "bear." Our Sages describe a bear as being "overladen with meat." This refers to the potential -- which can be realized at the meals eaten on the present day -- to elevate the most material aspects of our existence.
And thus, our meals will resemble the sacrificial offerings eaten by the priests. Furthermore, we find that in a time of danger, a Jew was allowed to eat in the Holy of Holies itself. This alludes to how the material aspects of the world can become one with G-d as reflected in the essential oneness of the Holy of Holies.
This concept is further emphasized by the description of the Holy of Holies in the narrative cited above as "the bedroom," i.e., the place where figuratively speaking, "they will become as one flesh." I.e., even flesh, the material existence of our world, will become one with G-d's essence.
And then we will merit the consummation of the marriage relationship between G-d and the Jewish people which began at the giving of the Torah. At that time, the love between G-d and the Jewish people will be revealed and they will both rejoice with great happiness.
And all of the above will be openly revealed. For the world is described as G-d's dwelling and in a dwelling, one reveals oneself completely. He will not hide Himself with garments, for as our Sages emphasized, in a love relationship, there should be no garments. "And your eyes will behold your Master," "and they shall be as one flesh," joining together in a complete and wondrous unity.
May this take place in the immediate future and may it involve every individual Jew. "With our youth and with our elders... with our sons and with our daughters" to the ultimate celebration and feast of the Era of the Redemption.
- (Back to text) Although depth and height are two separate matters, they are interrelated as reflected by the principle "The beginning is rooted at the end." The latter is a fundamental principle in the sphere of holiness and tikkun.
- (Back to text) Similarly, there is a special importance to the place where this gathering is being held, a synagogue, a house of study, and a house of good deeds. The latter is particularly relevant at present in the Ten Days of Repentance, when the Jews customarily increase their good deeds, in particular, giving to tzedakah. In particular, this refers to the activities of providing Jews with their holiday needs, and doing so in a manner that, is representative of the Future Redemption, allowing them to "eat sumptuous foods and drink sweet beverages."
- (Back to text) This relates to Rav Saadia Gaon's statement that the Jews are a nation only by virtue of the Torah.
- (Back to text) This relates to the teaching that the entire purpose of Chassidus is to change the nature of one's emotional characteristics, (or, according to an alternate version, "to change one's natural emotions").
- (Back to text) The Previous Rebbe is associated with the quality of happiness as reflected in his name Yitzchak. Similarly, his teachings of P'nimiyus HaTorah grant the potential for happiness and joy, a foretaste of the ultimate rejoicing of the Redemption when "our mouths will be filled with joy."
The Talmud asks how is it possible for a person to rejoice in the present era? In resolution it explains that when a person performs a mitzvah, there is a potential for happiness, and indeed, happiness so great that "our mouths will be filled with joy." Moreover, this joy should be spread to the members of one's household and to one's entire surrounding environment.
- (Back to text) The Grace after Meals recited after these meals contains a reference to the threefold blessing given to our Patriarchs, bakol mikol kol. (As explained on previous occasions, these blessings are uniquely relevant in the present year.)
These blessings are extended to every Jew, even to a young child who does not recite the entire Grace and merely says, Brich Rachmana. (This short form of Grace is contained in many Siddurim. This relates to the practice mentioned on many previous occasions, that every child should have his or her own Siddur. This Siddur will thus become the child's possession, the possession of his or her G-dly soul. The child will treasure this Siddur, for whenever a child owns something, he holds it dear. This applies also to the tzedakah pushkah or other holy texts that the child owns.)
- (Back to text) This quote is cited in the tractate of Bava Basra. The three tractates described as bavos parallel the three Batei Mikdashos. Thus Bava Basra, the third of these tractates, relates to the Third Beis HaMikdash which will be built in the near future.
- (Back to text) The connection between the ultimate Redemption and Yom Kippur is reflected in that Yom Kippur is the tenth of Tishrei and the number ten is associated with several dimensions of the Era of the Redemption.
- (Back to text) Herein there is also a connection to Yom Kippur, for the martyrdom of Rabbi Akiva is mentioned in our prayers. In regard to his merit and that of his colleagues, our Sages stated, "No creation can stand in their place."
- (Back to text) The happiness felt at that time will also affect the souls that are at present no longer incarnate. And then "those that lie in the dust will arise and sing." In particular, this applies to the righteous and to the leaders of the Jewish people. In the latter category, however, is every Jew, for "Your people are all righteous."
- (Back to text) As the Rebbe Maharash himself explained, this approach runs contrary to the approach of the world at large. "The world says, 'If you can't crawl under, climb over.' But I say, LeChatchilah Ariber, 'At the outset, one should climb over.' "
- (Back to text) This oneness shares a connection to the Rebbe Maharash's yahrzeit on the thirteenth of Tishrei, for thirteen is numerically equivalent to echad (âçÇ), the Hebrew for one.
- (Back to text) This also relates to the proclamations made after the Yom Kippur service when we declare Shema Yisrael and "G-d is the L-rd," statements that emphasize the oneness of G-d with our material existence. This oneness will be realized as we conclude "Next year in Jerusalem," with the coming of the Redemption.
(Furthermore, as the Previous Rebbe explained, the intent of that statement is not that we must wait until next year for the Redemption to come. Instead, the Redemption will come immediately and, as a natural result, next year, we will celebrate the holiday in Jerusalem.)
- (Back to text) In the tractate of Taanis, our Sages associate the giving of the Torah (and thus, this marriage bond) with Yom Kippur, for Yom Kippur marks the giving of the second tablets.