“You Have Not Yet Saved Your People!”
Sichos in English

Shabbos Parshas VaEira; Rosh Chodesh Shvat 5750

1. The Torah specifically mentions Rosh Chodesh Shvat, relating: “On the first day of the eleventh month in the fortieth year, Moshe spoke to the children of Israel regarding all that G-d had commanded him for them.... Moshe began to explain this Torah, saying...”

The Megilla states, “These days are remembered and carried out.” The Arizal explains that when a day is “remembered” properly, all the spiritual influences that were originally expressed are “carried out” again. Thus, by remembering the events of the first day of the eleventh month, we cause the spiritual influences of that day to be expressed again. Furthermore, based on the principle, “always advance in regard to holy matters,” we can assume that, each year, these influences are expressed on a higher level.

Based on the Alter Rebbe’s directive to live with the times, we must learn a lesson from this narrative applicable to our own circumstances. Moshe Rabbeinu’s address to the Jewish people was intended to prepare them to enter Eretz Yisroel. The opening verse of Shmos,  “These are the words that Moshe spoke to all of Israel,” teach us an important lesson in this context.

The Hebrew word “eileh” (these), refers to something openly revealed. “That Moshe spoke,” refers to the entire Torah, p’shat, remez, drush, and sod, which range from the simple meaning of the Torah to its deepest mystical secrets. All dimensions of the Torah must be revealed to “all of Israel,” every Jew, to prepare for the entry into Eretz Yisroel.

Thus, each year, on Rosh Chodesh Shvat, the Moshe Rabbeinu of each generation — and the spark of Moshe that each Jew possesses within his soul — declares that the service of receiving the Torah and the mitzvos has been completed and he is prepared to lead them into Eretz Yisroel in the true and complete redemption.

2. The above concepts are reflected in this week’s Torah portion, Parshas VaEira. The portion begins with G-d’s promise to redeem the Jewish people in response to Moshe Rabbeinu’s complaint, “[As of yet] You have not saved Your nation.”  First, however, He states, “I revealed Myself to the Patriarchs, to Avrohom, Yitzchok, and Yaakov [in the name of]  G-d, Almighty, but My Name Havaya I did not reveal to them.” Rashi explains, “…I did not reveal My attribute of truth to them...I promised [to give them Eretz Yisroel], but did not fulfill.” Now G-d states that He will immediately fulfill the promise to bring the Jewish people into Eretz Yisroel, after revealing to them that “I am Havaya.”

Chassidic thought explains that “I am Havaya” is associated with the revelation of the giving of the Torah. The Patriarchs lived before the giving of the Torah and did not experience the full revelation of “I am Havaya,” which was revealed to the Jewish people at the giving of the Torah.

In this context we can understand the connection between these two concepts: The promise to bring the Jewish people into Eretz Yisroel was not fulfilled until after the revelation of “I am Havaya” at the giving of the Torah. At the giving of the Torah, the decree separating the “higher realms from the lower realms was nullified.” The nullification of this decree gives the Jewish people the potential to enter the land of K’naan and transform it into Eretz Yisroel. In a larger sense, this refers to our efforts to refine the entire world and transform it into Eretz Yisroel, to make it “a dwelling for G-d in the lower realms.”

Thus, each year when Parshas VaEira is read, G-d’s response to Moshe Rabbeinu’s protest is revealed. The Moshe Rabbeinu of each generation — and the spark of Moshe in each Jew — protests (as explained in last week’s farbrengen): “From the time I have come to speak in Your Name,” i.e., to fulfill Torah and mitzvos, “You have not saved Your people,” the redemption has not come.

This protest, in turn, evokes a promise from G-d: The Torah and mitzvos have already been revealed. Indeed, each year, the revelation at Mount Sinai has been repeated for over 3,300 years. The Jewish people have received the Torah and mitzvos in their entirety. Therefore, G-d promises the Jewish people that He will immediately redeem them from exile and bring them into Eretz Yisroel.

These two concepts are reinforced when they coincide. On a single Shabbos, the completion of the revelation of the giving of the Torah and imminence of the Messianic redemption are conveyed both by the day of the month and the weekly Torah portion.

3. To understand the above concepts in greater depth, it is necessary to understand their connection with the fact that Moshe Rabbeinu made his address to the Jewish people in the fortieth year after they left Egypt. The revelation of the Torah on Mount Sinai was “from above to below,” characterized by G-d revealing Himself to the Jewish people. In contrast, Moshe Rabbeinu’s address to the Jewish people was made “in his own words.” Indeed, our Sages state that Moshe related the book of Dvarim independently. Of course, this does not mean that this book is not a revelation of G-d’s Torah. Surely, it is. Rather, our Sages’ intent was that, in this instance, G-d’s Torah invested itself within Moshe’s intellect to the point that the words he spoke were simultaneously G-d’s and his own, thereby making it possible for these words to be grasped and comprehended by the intellect of the Jewish people.

The potential for this accomplishment is connected with the concept of forty years, which is associated with G-d’s granting “A knowing heart, eyes that see, and ears that hear.” As our Sages stated, “After forty years, a student can attain [a full grasp of] his teacher’s knowledge.” Thus, after the forty years in the desert when the Jewish people lived with the revelation of Mount Sinai, they were able to internalize it and appreciate it, not only as a revelation from above, but as an aspect of their own service.

The internalization of the giving of the Torah in the fortieth year is an appropriate preparation for the Messianic redemption, which is also alluded to by the number forty. Thus, our Sages explain that there is an allusion to the redemption in the Final Mem (numerically equivalent to forty) of the word “misra” in the verse, “for the increase [misra] of the sovereignty and for peace without end.” Similarly, the Rambam ends the Mishneh Torah by quoting a description of the Messianic era, “The earth will be filled with the knowledge of G-d as the waters fill the ocean bed.” In Hebrew, the last three words of this verse conclude with a Final Mem.

In particular, there is a special emphasis on the above concepts in the eleventh month of the fortieth year, the month of Shvat. Chassidus explains that the number eleven is connected with the inner dimensions of the level of kesser, a rung that transcends the ten sfiros, “You are One, but not in a numerical sense.”

After the service of the first ten months of the fortieth year — and in particular, after the service of the tenth month, “the tenth will be holy,” revealing the Yud, the spark of G-dliness present in every entity, we come to the eleventh month, in which the level of kesser is revealed. This new phase begins with a new revelation in Torah. After reaching the completion of the quality of ten, which is associated with the quality of forty (a full expression of the four intellectual faculties), we proceed to the level of eleven, the inner dimension of kesser.

Similarly, the number eleven is connected to the concept of redemption and the entry into Eretz Yisroel, as evidenced by the fact that Moshe began to address the Jewish people in the eleventh month. The revelation of the eleventh level brings about redemption from all boundaries and limitations, bringing the true and complete redemption.

[The name of the eleventh month, Shvat, is also connected with the Messianic redemption. Shvat has the same letters as the word shevet, which is interpreted as a reference to Moshiach, as our Sages commented on the verse, “‘A shevet will arise in Israel’ — this refers to the Messianic king.”]

Added emphasis on the uniqueness of the eleventh month of the fortieth year comes this year when Rosh Chodesh Shvat falls on Shabbos VaEira. As explained above, Parshas VaEira relates to the beginning of the revelation of the giving of the Torah. The full dimension of that revelation came on the first day of the eleventh month, when the revelation of the giving of the Torah permeated through the full range of the Jewish people’ conscious powers.

This also relates to the fact that Rosh Chodesh falls on Shabbos. Shabbos is connected with the weekly cycle that depends on the movement of the sun, which is a mashpia (a source of influence) reflecting revelation from above. Rosh Chodesh is dependent on the daily cycle that depends on the movement of the moon, which is a mekabel (a recipient), and reflects the service of man.

[In particular, both of these concepts are reflected within Rosh Chodesh itself. The Rambam writes that the sanctification of the month depends on the new moon being seen by witnesses (the revelation from above) and on the calculations of the court (the service of the Jewish people and the use of their intellectual powers). Significantly, the fusion of these two influences is seen in this mitzva, “the first mitzva the Jewish people were commanded to fulfill.”

This year, the above concepts are given greater emphasis: The giving of the Torah is also related to the revelation of Pnimiyus HaTorah (the Torah’s mystical dimension). The Torah declares that the miracles wrought in Egypt were performed “so that you will know that I am the L-rd.” The mitzva of knowing G-d — described by the Zohar as “the first [in priority] of all commandments,” comes by studying Pnimiyus HaTorah in a manner whereby all of one’s intellectual faculties are used. This, in turn, will bring about the Messianic redemption, as Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai was told, “With your text, the Zohar, Israel...will leave exile in mercy.” Similarly, Moshiach told the Baal Shem Tov that he will come when “the wellsprings of your teachings spread outward.”

In particular, the revelation of Pnimiyus HaTorah began with the Arizal, who declared that, at present, “it is a mitzva to reveal this knowledge.” It was intensified in the year 5,500, “the dawn of the sixth day” as our Sages state, “G-d’s day is one thousand years” — (according to other conceptions, this year represents “midday on the sixth day”) — with the revelation of the teachings of Chassidus by the Baal Shem Tov.

Greater impetus came from the revelation of the teachings of Chabad by the Alter Rebbe, particularly after Yud-Tes Kislev, when “the service of spreading the wellsprings outward began.” In each subsequent generation, this service was intensified, including the unique contributions of the Rebbe Rayatz, the eighth of the nessiim (counting from the Baal Shem Tov).

In particular, the Rebbe Rayatz’s activity can be divided into two periods, one including the years he lived in this material world, the eighth generation as above; and one after his passing, the ninth generation, the final generation of exile. This will become the first generation of redemption, the tenth generation.

Thus, this Shabbos marks “the first day of the eleventh month in the fortieth year,” the time when we are granted “a knowing heart, eyes that see, and ears that hear,” to “attain the [full grasp] of the teacher’s knowledge” and thus, to complete the service of the ninth generation.

The Moshe Rabbeinu of the generation, the Rebbe Rayatz, declared, “You have remained on this mountain for too long.” We have completed the service required of us and any undesirable influences have been corrected through teshuva. Now is the time to “Turn and head toward the mountains… Come, occupy the land which the L-rd swore He would give to your ancestors.” We are ready to enter Eretz Yisroel in the Messianic redemption. 

The above is reinforced by the unique nature of the present year, 5750, “a year of miracles.” Furthermore, it is — according to the two opinions mentioned above, either midday or mid-afternoon on the sixth of G-d’s “days” — a time directly connected with the seventh day, the Messianic era, “the day that is all Shabbos and rest for eternity.”

Throughout the entire exile, the Jewish people have believed in Moshiach and waited anxiously for his coming. In particular, the present exile, the Exile of Edom has been extended endlessly for reasons that defy explanation. All the signs the Sages have mentioned in connection with Moshiach’s coming have been seen. Even in the era of the Talmud, our Sages declared, “All the appointed times for Moshiach’s coming have passed.” Similarly, in the subsequent generations, many great sages have predicted dates for Moshiach’s coming and these too have passed without Moshiach coming.

Nevertheless, our faith in Moshiach’s coming has not waned. On the contrary, we have strengthened our crying out to G-d — “Ad Masai?!” (Until when?!) — and intensified our requests that He bring the redemption immediately. Thus, it is now a highly appropriate time for each individual to do what is dependent on him to bring the Messianic redemption. This involves strengthening one’s faith and that of others in Moshiach’s coming, encouraging people to demand that he come, strengthening our observance of Torah and mitzvos, and in particular, spreading the wellsprings of Chassidus outward.

Everyone should also increase his gifts to tzedaka, and, in connection with the fortieth anniversary of the Rebbe Rayatz’s passing, do so in multiples of forty. I will be the first to do so, promising a multiple of forty to every institution that is under the direction of the nessiim and dedicates itself to service in the three categorized of Torah, service, and deeds of kindness. Efforts should be made to open at least forty new institutions of this nature in the next year. Forty is not a limit. May many new institutions be opened until we reach one thousand institutions, recalling the verse, “The least one shall be a thousand…” This is connected with the Messianic redemption as the verse continues, “I the L-rd will hasten it in its time.”

May these gifts to tzedaka bring close the redemption, and may we, in the immediate future proceed “with our youths and elders, with our sons and daughters” to Eretz Yisroel in the Messianic redemption.


On Rosh Chodesh Shvat the Moshe Rabbeinu of each generation declares that he is prepared to lead them into Eretz Yisroel in the true and complete redemption.






The present exile, the Exile of Edom has been extended endlessly for reasons that defy explanation.




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