Now, let us see the essential points that correspond to the sefirot of loving-kindness (chesed) and might (gevurah). Kabbalah describes that knowledge (da’at) is the origin of the emotions of the heart. Loving-kindness and might—the first two emotional sefirot— are described as extending directly out of the two inner aspects of the sefirah of knowledge known as the five aspects of kindness and the five aspects of judgment within knowledge (hei chasadim shebada’at and hei gevurot shebada’at). As we will now see, the essential points of the discourse that correspond to loving-kindness and might have to do with the figure of Mordechai. Who is the one tzadik that the Rebbe identifies himself with more than any other? You might think that it is Moshe Rabbeinu. But if you look in the Rebbe’s sichot and ma’amarim, you will see that it is actually Mordechai.
Mordechai is the hero of the month of Adar, and the Rebbe quotes the saying from the sages that: “Mordechai in his generation is like Moshe Rabbeinu in his generation.” The Rebbe notes that even though there were many extensions of Moshe Rabbeinu over the generations, this is the only time that the sages compare any of them to Moshe Rabbeinu in such a way. Amazingly, the Rebbe says that not only is Mordechai special in that he is the only tzadik compared directly to Moshe Rabbeinu in this manner, but that Mordechai is in a certain sense even greater than Moshe Rabbeinu.
[Chapter 7] …Mordechai in his generation is equal in stature to Moshe Rabbeinu in his generation, for even though the extension of Moshe is into every generation, nonetheless the midrash states that Mordechai specifically is comparable to Moshe in his generation.
We have to say that among Mordechai’s exalted qualities, he was (clearly) the raya mehemna of all of the Jewish people in his generation. Like Moshe Rabbeinu, raya mehemna, who drew conscious knowledge [da’at, of God] into all the Jews of his generation, as can be understood from the fact that Moshe’s (entire) generation is denoted as a generation of knowledge.
Still, by Moshe Rabbeinu his leadership as the raya mehemna of all of Israel, can be seen through his drawing of conscious knowledge to all the people of his generation. But, by Mordechai [his being the raya mehemna of his generation], it can be seen through his revelation of self-sacrifice in all the people of his generation.
In the ma’amar the Rebbe addresses these two points: 1) what makes Mordechai especially similar to Moshe Rabbeinu? And, 2) how is Mordechai even greater than Moshe Rabbeinu?
[Chapter 3] Moshe Rabbeinu is called the raya mehemna. This has two meanings. First that he is the faithful shepherd of the Jewish people, and second, that he feeds and nurtures the faith of the Jewish people. For, the faith that Jews have inherently—all Jews are “believers, children of believers”—can be hovering externally [above their consciousness]. And Moshe Rabbeinu guides and nurtures the Jewish people in regards to faith by ensuring that their faith be integrated internally [into their consciousness]….
That Moshe Rabbeinu is the raya mehemna also pertains to the extension of Moshe into every generation, for the leaders of the Jewish people in every generation, they are those who strengthen the faith of the Jews in their generation by integrating into their consciousness.
Such was Mordechai, the extension of Moshe into his generation, as the sages say: “Mordechai in his generation is like Moshe in his generation.” Even during the time of Haman’s decree, when studying Torah and performing the commandments required self-sacrifice, he congregated the people in public in order to strengthen their faith in Havayah, and to stand fast in the study of Torah and the keeping of the commandments.
To answer these two questions the Rebbe explains that to be similar to Moshe Rabbeinu—“Mordechai in his generation is like Moshe Rabbeinu in his generation”—means to be like Moshe, the raya mehemna of the generation, which literally means the faithful shepherd. As explained in Kabbalah and Chassidut, being a faithful shepherd requires that the leader nurture his flock—the Jewish people—by integrating our inherent power of faith that is initially super-conscious and hovering over consciousness into the conscious powers of the soul. This is a very general explanation of the role of a leader considered an extension of Moshe. Each leader focuses on a different aspect of our powers of faith.
[Chapter 5] …The Jewish people have [inherent] indelible faith in God that requires no rational proof, for two explanations. First, because: “Their mazal sees,” meaning, that the supernal soul sees Divinity (with super-rational insight) and this causes the part of the soul in the body to have faith in God. Also, there is a second reason: the soul’s essence is united in the Divine in what is an essential bond (this bond has no cause, it is not even a result of super-rational insight).
The integration of faith into the part of the soul within the body [the conscious part of the soul] requires the revelation of the essential bond of the soul’s essence [with the essence of the Almighty].
In what is probably the deepest part of the ma’amar, the Rebbe explains that Moshe Rabbeinu nurtures our faith by bringing our mazal, the chayah level of our soul, into the conscious part of our mind. Elsewhere, the Rebbe Rashab explains that when this occurs a person can see the recreation of reality at every moment in time. Incidentally, Moshe Rabbeinu continues even now to nurture all of our souls in this way; it is not for select individuals only. None of us should feel that we are incapable of experiencing this. One’s mazal sees continual recreation all the time, but the conscious mind is normally blind to it.
[Note 56] … We have to say that the drawing of faith into consciousness, what is drawn openly is faith as it is in the context of the “mazal that sees” (the external super-conscious aspect of chayah). But, the unification of faith which is super-conscious with consciousness occurs through the drawing of the etzem [essence] of the soul. (In other words, the revelation of the etzem [essence] of the soul only serves as a catalyst for uniting the super-conscious faith of the chayah with consciousness. But, [this does not mean that] the etzem [essence] of the soul itself is revealed.)
However, when [the anticipation of] the revelation of God touches one existentially, and because of this one is broken and crushed that during the exile there is no such revelation… in such a case, the revelation of the essential unity [of the soul with the essence of God] of the etzem [essence] of the soul that is revealed, since the revelation of God touches one’s very being, this acts (not only as a catalyst, but also) as a open revelation of this essential unity in and of itself (similar to the manner in which it is revealed during times of self-sacrifice)….
The Rebbe explains that in order to integrate the mazal into our conscious mind, Moshe Rabbeinu has to reveal an even higher part of the soul—the etzem (essence) of the soul. This is a general rule. In order for something to occur there must be a higher source that affects it. Yet, the Rebbe notes that there is an important difference between what Moshe Rabbeinu does as raya mehemna, and what Mordechai did. The Rebbe explains that to bring a Jew to a state of mesirut nefesh, being able to sacrifice himself physically in order to retain his Jewish identity, which is what Mordechai did, requires the revelation of an even higher level of the soul.
This is so because as great a spiritual level as seeing continual recreation with the conscious mind is, it still includes an experience of self. There is no need for me to nullify myself plain and simple by sacrificing my life. Because of this, seeing recreation at every moment it is still a rationally confined experience.
But, for a Jew to give up his life is never going to be entirely rational; as the Tanya says: A Jew cannot bear to be separate from God for one moment and will therefore spontaneously prefer to be killed rather than worship a false god, or perform some other terrible sin, even if he knows that later he can do teshuvah for such an action. The spontaneous nature of self-sacrifice lies beyond all rational explanation.
Self sacrifice is not the result of the revelation of one’s chayah (the mazal), but is a product of direct revelation of the yechidah, the highest part of the soul. What the Rebbe is saying is that Moshe Rabbeinu also revealed the yechidah (described in the quoted note as the essential unity with the essence of God that is part of the essence of the soul), but that was not for the purpose of inducing a state of self-sacrifice, but this was in order to integrate the chayah (mazal) into the conscious mind. But, Mordechai affected a direct revelation of the yechidah inducing a state of self-sacrifice, not just once, for one person, but for a whole year for the entire Jewish people.
[Chapter 4] …It is explained in Torah Or that if they would have renounced their religion, they would have not been harmed, because the decree was only against Jews [not other religions], and yet such a forbidden thought did not even cross their minds…
As we know, during that traumatic year of Haman’s decree, not a single Jew renounced his Judaism in order to save his life. The entire people were in a state of constant self-sacrifice, which means that for an entire year the entire Jewish people were in a state in which the etzem (the essence) of their soul was revealed.
With this analysis the Rebbe provides us with an answer to both questions. First, Mordechai is the most like Moshe Rabbeinu because as a leader, he led all of the Jewish people. There was not a single individual who was not moved to self-sacrifice. And, at the same time, Mordechai revealed a higher aspect of the soul in each individual then did Moshe Rabbeinu.
Now, where do we see both loving-kindness and might in the Rebbe’s analysis? First of all, since Mordechai is the leader of the entire people down to the last individual, we know that he was a tremendous ohev Yisra’el (lover of Israel). Moshe Rabbeinu was the greatest ohev Yisra’el (lover of the Jewish people). Indeed, every tzadik that is an extension of Moshe Rabbeinu is a lover of the entire Jewish people. Still, the Rebbe stresses that the reason that Mordechai is the only tzadik to be cast as absolutely the same as Moshe Rabbeinu has to do with his existential love for every single Jew in his generation. This we see from the fact that in the megilah, the Jewish people are called am Mordechai, meaning “the people of Mordechai.” Because of Mordechai’s tremendous love for every single Jew, the entire Jewish people were named after him. This existential love for every single Jew reveals the point of loving-kindness in the ma’amar.
Indeed, in the writings of the Arizal, we see that Mordechai has a special affinity to loving-kindness (chesed). The Arizal says that with every mention of Mordechai’s name in the megilah we should have in mind the words rav chesed meaning “great kindness” since the gematria of both מרדכי (“Mordechai”) and רב חסד (“great kindness”) is 274.
Rav chesed is one of the 13 Divine qualities, or principles of mercy enumerated in parshat Ki Tisa, which bring us to the point of might in the ma’amar and in Mordechai’s character. At the very same time that Mordechai loved every single Jew, he also endangered the entire people by not bowing down to Haman. It is non-obvious that there is a halachic problem with Mordechai’s bowing down to Haman if doing so would endanger him or others (as it did). If he would have asked a local halachic authority, he may have been told him that not only is it permissible, but it is required in order to save lives. So he is both the soul that is connected to every single Jew and every single Jew is connected and bound to him and he is the one who puts them into terrible danger for a whole year, putting the existence of the entire nation in doubt.
It is noteworthy that this gematria of Mordechai is found in parshat Ki Tisa. The sages ask: “Where is Mordechai mentioned in the Torah?” Rashi explains that the question asked by the sages is “Where do we find Mordechai’s rise to greatness hinted to in the Torah?” The answer given by the sages is the verse: “And you shall take the following fine spices, natural myrrh….” This verse is also in parshat Ki Tisa. It describes the preparation of the oil used to anoint the vessels of the Tabernacle [and later the Cohanim (priests) and which will be used to anoint the Mashiach]. The first spice, liquid myrrh, is translated by Onkelos as “meira dachya” (מירא דכיא ) which has almost the exact same letters as Mordechai. But, in the original Hebrew, the word translated as “myrrh” is related to the word for bitterness. Indeed, Nachmanides quotes a midrash that builds on this relationship. Moreover, the second word, דרור , which means “natural,” can be understood to be the source of Mordechai’s dangerous actions.
If we want to explain why Mordechai put everyone in such grave danger, the answer is that acts like this originate in the individual’s very soul root. As the Rebbe explains in regard to the act of Shimon and Levi who killed all the male inhabitants of Shechem, though Jacob, their father, did not support this act, they felt that it was an existential necessity for them to avenge their sister. Ultimately, even Jacob understood that they had no choice, for this was the essence of their nature—their deepest and truest definition of self. Ultimately, we see that by acting according to his own holy nature, Mordechai revealed in the Jewish people a higher level of might and self sacrifice than even Moshe Rabbeinu revealed in the people. In other words, Mordechai revealed a higher Jewish nature than had been known until that time.
Now let us see how the Rebbe reveals loving-kindness and might in Mordechai’s character in a second way. The Rebbe analyzes Mordechai’s character with great attention. One of the points that he is making throughout the entire ma’amar is that the story of the Megilah describes two completely opposite situations in which Mordechai was the leader of the Jewish people. Mordechai lead the Jewish people during the traumatic year when Haman decreed that the Jewish people were to be annihilated. The Mordechai of that year carried the people through tremendous trauma. As such, Mordechai was the leader of the people in a time that demanded tremendous physical self-sacrifice. As we noted earlier, thanks to Mordechai’s leadership, not a single Jew denounced his Judaism, even externally, in order to save his life from the impending holocaust.
[Chapter 7] We have to say that by bringing the midrash’s statement that Mordechai in his generation is like Moshe Rabbeinu in his generation, by doing so the previous Rebbe ruled about himself that he is the raya mehemna of all of the people of the generation.
The Rebbe also notes that since it was the previous Rebbe who analyzed Mordechai’s leadership in this way, following the logic of a particular mishnah, the previous Rebbe ruled that he is essentially the same type of leader as Mordechai. Historically, the similarity between the previous Rebbe and Mordechai is clear, as the previous Rebbe was the leader of the generation during the darkness of the Soviet takeover of Russia and the holocaust.
But, Mordechai continued as the leader of the people after Haman was defeated and the Jewish people enjoyed unprecedented freedom in the Persian Empire; the Jews had “…Light, and joy, and happiness, and splendor.” This was a completely different time and if ever we witnessed a perfect example of ithapcha, of things turning around 180 degrees, it is in the story of the Megilah. Following this ithapcha, Mordechai exhibited leadership of a different nature—not based on self-sacrifice, but on the retention of Jewish identity through the sacrifices involved in shleechoot—becoming an educational emissary of the Rebbe entrusted with that task of educating Jews about their Yidishkeit.
Though the Rebbe does not say this explicitly, it is clear that just as he draws the parallel between the previous Rebbe and the Mordechai who led the people through a time demanding self-sacrifice, so he draws a parallel between himself and the Mordechai that continued to lead the people in a time of prosperity. The historical context is also very clear. The Rebbe assumed leadership almost immediately after the end of the holocaust (1951) and in the United States, the most prosperous and affluent place of exile of the Jewish people. And the Rebbe’s leadership is not focused on the literal sacrifice of one’s life in order to retain one’s Jewish identity, as was the leadership of his father-in-law, the previous Rebbe.
Building upon the previous explanation of loving-kindness as love for every single Jew, we see that in our generation, the Rebbe was the greatest lover of the Jewish people. We ourselves saw the Rebbe’s love for every single Jew, something that we find no similar example of in recent generations. Another parallel between the two is that in the year of terrible uncertainty, Mordechai gathered all the children together to say psukim. This idea was adopted by the Rebbe when he instituted the recital of the 12 psukim by children who constitute the armies of God (tzivos Hashem).
Beauty and Foundation:
Now for the essential point of the ma’amar that corresponds to the sefirah of beauty (tiferet). In Kabbalah, beauty corresponds to the vav of God’s essential Name, Havayah. The literally meaning of the letter vav is a hook, or link that connects two things together.
[Chapter 2] My holy teacher and father-in-law, the [previous] Rebbe… explains that the commandment “You shall command” is an example of togetherness [tzavta] and connection.
The idea of linking or connecting is the very first idea that the Rebbe explains in the ma’amar, based on the famous teaching that the Hebrew word mitzvah (מצוה ) also means “together” (צוותא ), meaning that every mitzvah is like a hook that is meant to connect us, or bring us together with God, who commanded us to perform the mitzvah. The previous Rebbe explained that the word tetzaveh (תצוה ), which comes from the same root as the word mitzvah, is too cognate to the word for “together” (צוותא ), meaning “together” or “togetherness.” God said to Moshe Rabbeinu: you and only you have the power to connect; to consciously bring together into one unified whole the Jewish people and Me. As a result of connecting the people to God, they will bring you something that you, Moshe Rabbeinu do not inherently possess, which is the pure crushed olive oil, whose meaning we explained above.
Now, this immediately leads us to the essential point that corresponds to the sefirah of foundation in the ma’amar. First a few words about the link between beauty and foundation. In the Zohar, foundation is considered to be an extension of beauty as they lie upon the central axis of the sefirot. All of the sefirot on the central axis are considered part of one expanse, which is not entirely the case with regard to the right and left axes of the sefirot. The sefirot divide into three axes, which are compared to the three crossbars that connected the panels of the walls of the mishkan (the desert Tabernacle) together. The top and bottom crossbars were divided into two separate sections, but the middle crossbar (הבריח התיכון ) was made of one long piece of wood. The top and bottom crossbars correspond to the right and left axes of the sefirot, while the middle crossbar corresponds to the middle axis. So, both beauty and foundation are referred to by the letter vav of Havayah, except that there are two levels of vav.
[Chapter 11] After Moshe Rabbeinu will command and connect with the Jewish people they will bring him olive oil…. (And we have to say that the words “And you shall command the Children of Israel,” the [choice of] language… implies that Moshe will also command (connects and unites) the Children of Israel themselves, because in relation to the essence of the soul, all of Israel are one.)
The Rebbe builds on the connection between beauty and foundation and explains that Moshe Rabbeinu’s ability to connect souls to God by revealing in them the etzem (essence) of their soul also gives him the power to connect all the Jewish souls together to one another. The unity achieved within the Jewish people is one of the central tasks of the leader of the generation, the Moshe Rabbeinu in every generation. The power that the Rebbe has to connect us with God, that is the beauty principle and the power that the Rebbe has to connect us with one another, even different factions of the Jewish people, which do not see eye to eye, that is the foundation principle in this ma’amar. Unifying the Jewish people in this manner allows each individual to find his unique voice, but at the same time sing in harmony with all the other voices.
Eternity and Acknowledgment:
The essential points of the ma’amar corresponding to the sefirot of eternity (netzach) and acknowledgment (hod) appear in regard to the words “leha’alot ner tamid,” lighting an eternal light,” which is the purpose of bringing the pure crushed olive oil to Moshe Rabbeinu. That this light is meant to be lit always, reveals that it is an eternal light. But, this seems to contradict the second verse of the parshah which stipulates that the menorah should be lit (only) from dusk till dawn and not all the time.
[Chapter 11] By the Jewish people adding (through their own toil) in Moshe Rabbeinu’s stature, through this the light shall be an eternal light. Apparently, the light [lit. “candle”] of the soul (as in the verse: “The candle of God is the soul of man”) [shines] eternally (meaning constantly and without change) when there is a revelation of the soul’s etzem [essence] by Moshe Rabbeinu ([through God’s command:] “And you shall command”). This is because in the soul’s essence there can be no changes….
We have to say that when the soul’s essence is revealed through an awakening from above, which is the manner of “You shall command…,” there is a difference [in the way that the essence affects the soul’s conscious elements] between evening and day. The soul-essence’s primary revelation [and affect] occurs when there is a state of “evening,” situations that conceal and cover [i.e., inhibit the Jew from freely exercising his commitment to God]. During these times one’s strength of self-sacrifice is aroused. Indeed, as explained earlier, when those same people who during times of persecution stood up willing to sacrifice themselves [in order to retain their Jewish identity] ([metaphoric] evening) were able to move to places that afforded the freedom to practice Torah and mitzvot ([metaphoric] day) the effect of their earlier self-sacrifice was no longer apparent.
The true state of an eternal flame (which cannot go through changes) comes through the toil of Jews in a way that their revealed [conscious] powers become one with the etzem [essence] of their souls [the state described in the verse with the words]: “And they shall take to you….”
Following this point, we can clarify that the reason that the words “katit lama’or” [crushed for light] appear after the words “And they shall take to you” is because the words katit lama’or also refers to the state in which the Jewish people are broken and crushed because they are [still] in exile. For then [when they experience this state of being broken and crushed], the toil of the Jewish people causes their revealed [conscious] powers to reflect their soul’s essence….
To explain this apparent contradiction the Rebbe explains that the light that will be lit from the pure olive oil brought to Moshe Rabbeinu symbolizes the etzem (the essence) of the soul of each Jew that will be revealed as a result. But, explains the Rebbe, the etzem of the soul has two levels, just as we explained before regarding Mordechai: Mordechai is revealed as two personalities; the first personality is the one we meet during the traumatic year of Haman’s decree and the second personality is the Mordechai after the trauma, the one that goes on to lead the Jewish people after the victory over Haman.
As the Rebbe explained, it is the second post-traumatic personality of Mordechai that corresponds to the Mashiach. In our generation, as we said, the self-sacrificing Mordechai is the personality that gets us through the holocaust; that gets us through the evil of all evils. But, the second personality is a second level of self-sacrifice which appears once the danger is passed, things seem to have worked out and are good now, but they are not perfect.
Like we stated earlier when explaining the essential point of the crown, one would think to brush off and ignore the imperfection of reality once things are good, but for the personality of the Mashiach this is even more difficult than surviving the evil of evils because it means that the world is not fulfilling the reason for which God created it. The trauma of the imperfection of the world is much deeper actually than any other trauma we can experience because it has been around since the first moment of creation. In modern scientific language, from the moment of the Big Bang the world has not lived up to God’s expectation from it. Neither of the two Temples in Jerusalem was perfect, nothing is as it should be, and even worse, it seems that nothing can change this. It seems that nothing can help put the world on the right track. We believe that this deepest of existential traumas will indeed be healed (even immediately), but it has not yet happened. Regardless of what kind of times we have gone through, we never saw this trauma healed. We have yet to see the purpose of all of creation realized. The pain that results from this trauma is a constant one that cannot be healed until the Mashiach comes—nothing else can change that.
A person that only experiences the need for self-sacrifice when times are bad, that experience is not eternal. It cannot and does not last forever. Because, the moment things get better, one no longer requires a self-sacrificing stance in order to keep one’s Yiddishkeit.
This is a very important point that the Rebbe talked about in relation to the Lubavitchers who got out of the Soviet Union in the 50s and 60s and then came to Eretz Yisrael or to the United States. While in the Soviet Union they had practically lived for years upon years on self-sacrifice, literally to the point of having to sacrifice their lives to keep their Jewish identity (as many Jews did). They were at their spiritual height when they were in Russia and needed self-sacrifice. Then they were role models for all of us. But, once they got out and were once again free to be Jews, they experienced a spiritual decline.
But, speaking about himself, the Rebbe says that he did not lose this level, because his self-sacrifice is no longer the type that awakens in the face of adversity, but self-sacrifice caused by the burden of the most existential trauma in life—that the Mashiach has not yet come and that the world is still, at its core, broken and shattered.
Once the imminent danger of Haman’s plan had passed and “the Jews had light, etc.” then the level of self-sacrifice declined and people lost the spiritual height they had attained in what is known in the sage’s idiom as “the generation of annihilation” (דור של שמד ). But, the second personality in Mordechai—the one that we said the Rebbe identifies with—that Mordechai does not lose his sense of self-sacrifice, i.e., the revelation of the etzem of his soul. Instead, as things seem to get better, his existential pain only increases, because the universal revelation of the atzmut (the essence) of God is lacking. And this is the true reason for which God created the world. These two levels of revelation of self-sacrifice arise out of the two levels of the highest aspect of the soul, the yechidah.
The unwavering, constant state comes from the constant aspect of the yechidah that never changes and never weakens is what is described as the eternal light that will be lit from the pure olive oil. But the lower, mutable state of self-sacrifice is like the light that shines only during the night, only during the difficult times; it comes from the lower level of the yechidah that is extinguished once the danger has passed and things are good again. In fact, even if this second light would continue to shine during the daylight, during the better times, you would not see it, because as the sages say: “What benefit does one get form a candle burning in midday!?” The only light that can be seen during midday is the constant light emanating from the higher level of the yechidah, which in Chassidut is likened to the light of the moon which can be seen even when the sun is shining.
Now, the Rebbe’s explanation of the eternal and unchanging aspect of self-sacrifice that comes from an experience of the most fundamental and existential pain that Mashiach has not yet come and that God has not been universally revealed, that corresponds to the sefirah of eternity (netzach). Implicit within this statement is that between good times and bad times, the existential pain in the good times is worse than the hardship of the bad times. To admit that this point that the Rebbe is implicitly making is true is not something that every individual can do. In the idiom of Kabbalah: leit kol mocha savil da—not every mind can tolerate this thought. Most people think that once everything is ok, I have a family and I am making enough money and I am marrying off my children to good spouses—then everything is good and fine. The fact that in spite of my freedom, affluence, and success Mashiach has not yet come seems to carry little weight and cause very little frustration or existential pain. This is the essential point of the ma’amar that corresponds to the sefirah of acknowledgment (hod), because it requires us to simply and earnestly admit that this is true, even if we do not feel it enough. The essence of the sefirah of acknowledgment is to be able to admit to something that is entirely counter-intuitive and seems to be downright wrong! And yet, this is what the Rebbe is explaining. This is the most counter-intuitive part of the entire discourse.
Finally we come to the sefirah of kingdom (malchut). This point can be found in the following passage from the discourse:
[Chapter 10] The revelation of the etzem [essence] of the soul through self-sacrifice, we have to say that in respect to the revealed [conscious] powers [of the soul] it is like an addition. We ourselves see that in practice that certain people, when they were in a place where their observance of Torah and mitzvot was outlawed they stood with self-sacrifice for many years. But, afterwards, when they came to countries where they could practice Torah and mitzvot freely, the effects of their earlier self-sacrifice were no longer apparent. Because their ability to stand in a state of self-sacrifice for many years was motivated by the revelation of the essence of their soul that is above and beyond the revealed [conscious] powers [of the soul]. Therefore, it did not affect any change in the revealed [conscious] powers.
Here, the Rebbe explains that when the super-conscious eztem (essence) of the soul reveals itself in times of danger through the psychological stance of self-sacrifice then it does not unite with the conscious parts of the soul. It does not unite with the conscious parts because it outshines them. Going back to the previous point: the elder Chassidim in Russia, when they were experiencing their willingness to sacrifice everything to keep their Yiddishkeit, that willingness outshone any other smaller aspect of their soul, like wisdom, or understanding, or loving-kindness, because the etzem of the soul is so much brighter. But, because of this lack of integration, when the danger was gone, the fact that the essence of the soul had been revealed for so long left very little impression on the other conscious parts of the soul.
We have to say that the fact that the soul’s essence and the details of the powers [of the soul] are (examples) of two different types is because the soul’s essence itself is defined, and its definition lies beyond the details of the powers. But, in respect to the soul’s essence as it is rooted in Atzmut [God’s essence] the simplified essence and the details are one type.
The Rebbe uses graphic imagery to illustrate this point. He says that whereas the essence of the soul unto itself does not change the details (ציור ) of the conscious part of the soul (and therefore does not leave an impression on them), the essence of the soul as it is one with the atzmut, the essence of the Almighty, that does change the picture of the conscious powers of the soul! Then, even when the times of danger have passed, not only does the etzem of the soul not diminish in brightness, but we see that it has changed and made an impression upon the revealed, conscious powers of the soul. That the eztem of the soul as it is one with the atzmut of God is eternal was the point that we identified with the sefirah of eternity (netzach). Here, the Rebbe is adding that the eternal state has a lasting effect upon the rest of the soul’s powers—every one of the ten powers of the soul has a revelation of the etzem of the soul.
The Rebbe describes this impression with the sentence: “the simplified essence (פשיטות ) of the soul and the details (ציור ) of its powers are one.” This is a paradoxical statement because obviously the essence is by definition always void of form and once there is form, image, or details it precludes the revelation of the essence. Yet, this paradox is at the heart of the highest aspect of the essence of the soul as it is one with the essence of God. Every single detail in the picture of the soul as it embodies in reality is now engraved and impressed with the simple essence of the soul as it is one with the essence of God.
If we go back, we will see that we described altogether three levels of the root of the soul, or the super-conscious aspects of the soul. The lowest level is called the mazla, or the chayah. Above that is the essence of the soul unto itself (which is also called the yechidah). And above that is the essence of the soul as it is one with the essence of God (the etzem of the soul, or the etzem of the yechidah, which is itself the soul of the Mashiach). It is for the revelation of the highest of these levels that God created the world and man in the first place.
Now, let us look at these two Hebrew words ציור (detail) and פשיטות (simplified essence). The gematria of the word ציור is 306, which is also the numerical value of the Hebrew word for “woman,” אשה ! Of course, this fits exactly with what we are discussing—the essential point of the ma’amar that corresponds to the sefirah of kingdom, the feminine principle. The halachic parallel to this point is that only women are permitted to look in a mirror to see their form, to see the details of their form. From this we learn that “woman” is the essence of “details,” or “form.”
Now, let us look at these two words in the numerical reckoning called meespar keedmee, which means “primordial value.” To compute the meespar keedmee of a letter you take the sum of the values of the letters from alef to that letter. The meespar keedmee of a letter can be understood as representing everything that happened in the alphabet from its beginning with alef until that letter.
The meespar keedmee of the letters of אשה are:
א = א = 1;
ש = אבגדהוזחטיכלמנסעפצקרש = 1095;
ה = אבגדה = 15.
So the value of אשה in meespar keedmee is 1111. Since the normative value of אשה is 306, taking its meespar keedmee adds 805 to it. What is the significance of this number 805 in the ma’amar? 805 is the gematria of פשיטות . So we have here a beautiful mathematical restatement of the final point of the ma’amar: when the ציור (the details) of the soul’s powers reveals the פשיטות (the simplified essence) of the soul that is when the Mashiach comes, that is when the full and complete revelation of the feminine principle and God’s kingdom will be revealed. The goal of our lives is to unify these two aspects of the soul together. That in our personal lives is the coming of Mashiach and causes the coming of the Mashiach on the universal level as well. When this happens, every single detail (ציור ) of created reality reflects the essential essence (פשיטות ) of the Creator.
. When the Rebbe originally said this ma’amar it was the 10th day of First Adar, so there were still over 30 days to go until Purim. Nonetheless, First Adar is also related to Purim, as there is Purim Katan in it. As noted by the Rebbe, even according to nigleh we should be joyful and based on the verse: “Good is the heart that is always merry [like] in a feast of wine drinking,” we should also drink something on Purim Katan and Shushan Purim Katan. This verse teaches us that a person should take every opportunity to engage in a Chassidishe farbrengen.
Incidentally, this is the final verse that the Ramah ends his addenda to the Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim with. The verse that he begins the addenda on Orach Chaim is “I place Hashem before me always.” These are called the two tmidim (constants) of the Shulchan Aruch. They teach us that a Jew should always be looking to see the Aibeshter and should always be looking for an opportunity to sit down with other Jews and to farbreng and say lecha’im with them.
. Esther Rabbah 6:2.
. See Nurturing Faith, pp. 34-7.
. See Ibid, pp. 46-7.
. See Nurturing Faith, pp. 48-9.
. Moshe says: “For what does God ask of you, but that you fear God” (Deut. 10:12). The sages ask, “Is fear of God a small thing that it can be described in this way? They explain that “When in the presence of Moshe, it is indeed a small thing.” In the Tanya (ch. 42), the Alter Rebbe explains that Moshe Rabbeinu is always the faithful shepherd, and that he is continually present in part of our soul (specifically, the chayah, as explained in the Rebbe’s ma’amar). Indeed, the fear of God alluded to in this verse is the higher fear referred to in the verse: “The secret of God is for those who fear Him” (סוד ה’ ליראיו , Psalms 25:14). As explained elsewhere, this verse means that God’s secret, i.e., God’s continual recreation of reality, is given to those who fear Him. Since in Hebrew, the words “fear” (יראה ) and “sight” (ראיה ) are permutations of one another, so the meaning of “is given” here is “can be seen.” Thus, those who are aware of Moshe Rabbeinu’s nurturing of their soul have higher fear of God and see reality coming into existence continually. More in depth, just as Moshe gave us higher fear by giving us the Torah, so one sees continual recreation when one hears Moshe teaching new Torah at every moment. [The gematria of the three words סוד י־הוה ליראיו is the same as that of שמחה , or joy, the inner experience of hearing].
. See Nurturing Faith, note 138.
. See Ibid, pp. 42-3.
. This also implies that in other generations, the raya mehemna of the generation, the tzadik of the generation was not for the entire people without any exceptions.
. Exodus 34:6-7.
. Chulin 139b.
. Exodus 30:23.
. This also explains why when Moshe Rabbeinu brought the Torah to the people, God had to threaten them with death should they refuse to accept it, but in Mordechai’s generation, as the sages, note, they received the Torah anew out of choice. The explanation is that Mordechai revealed the Jewish people’s highest nature, which is essentially one with the Torah, a point that the Rebbe also makes in the ma’amar.
. See Nurturing Faith, pp. 54-57.
. See Ibid, pp. 30-1.
. Alter Rebbe’s Likutei Torah 45c and elsewhere.
. The central axis includes: crown, knowledge, beauty, foundation, and kingdom.
. Zohar III, 236a, גופא ובריתא חשבינן חד , “the body and the organ of the covenant are considered one.” We can see this connection between the beauty and foundation clearly in respect to their archetypal souls, Jacob and Joseph, who are described as one extension: “These are the chronicles of Jacob, Joseph…” (Genesis 37:2).
. The right axis includes: wisdom, loving-kindness, and victory (eternity).
. The left axis includes: understanding, might, and acknowledgment.
. See Rashi to Exodus 26:26.
. See Nurturing Faith, pp. 78-9.
. In fact, the word “trauma” originates in the ancient Greek word meaning “crack” or “fracture.” At the very beginning of creation, the world went through a cracking or fracture both according to science and according to Kabbalah. Science calls it the Big Bang, which was caused by a shattering of symmetry. In Kabbalah it is called the shattering of the vessels, caused by each sefirah feeling that it alone should control reality.
. Chulin 60b.
. See Nurturing Faith, pp. 70-3.
. See Ibid, pp. 72-3.
. This is exactly the same paradox as is revealed when contemplating how all the myriad embodiments and phenomena in reality are engraved with the simple essence of the Almighty!