From Redemption To Redemption
Sichos in English

Shabbos Parshas VaYakhel-P’kudei 23rd Day of Adar, 5751

In the last few years, it has been customary to emphasize the connection every concept shares with the ultimate Redemption. Sometimes we have to work to find a connection, but there is always a point of association. Since "all the appointed times for Moshiach’s coming have already passed," and several years have passed since the Rebbe Rayatz announced "All of you stand prepared" to proceed to the Redemption, every concept shares a connection with that era.

[Each word or phrase of the Rebbe Rayatz’s statement is worthy of elaboration: "All of you" is significant because it emphasizes how the future Redemption will involve every Jew without distinction, in contrast to the previous redemptions experienced by our people. Not only will the large majority of our people be redeemed, the Redemption will involve every single Jew. Moreover, "all of you" refers to the totality of each person’s existence, all of his powers and his portion in the world at large. "Stand" indicates adopting a position of strength in the service of G-d, as reflected in the verse, "to stand and serve before G-d." "Prepared" emphasizes the importance of the object for which one is preparing, as reflected in our Sages’ differentiation between the meals of Shabbos and Yom Tov, which involve preparation, and those of an ordinary weekday which do not.]

Although every concept shares a connection to the Redemption, there are times - for example, this Shabbos - when the connection is openly revealed. VaYakhel begins with Moshe Rabbeinu calling together the Jewish people to study Torah. From this we derive the custom of calling Jews together for Torah study each Shabbos. However, VaYakhel alludes to the most complete and inclusive congregation, the time when "a great congregation will return here," in the Era of Redemption.

Similarly, P’kudei, which means "counting," refers to the tenth census of the Jewish people that will be held in the Era of Redemption. When the two parshiyos are combined together as in this year, this allusion to the future Redemption is clearly emphasized.

VaYakhel in and of itself does not necessarily point to the Redemption. As explained, it can refer to the congregation of Jews for Torah study. Similarly, P’kudei can be associated with the other censuses that were held throughout Jewish history, or to the service in the Beis HaMikdash that involved pa’is, counting the priests’ fingers to determine who would be privileged to perform the service.

When, however, the two parshiyos are combined, we see a clear reference to the census that will be held when "a great congregation will return here." A further connection to the Redemption is that this is the Shabbos that blesses the month of Nissan, a month associated with "miracles of a truly miraculous nature," and is known as the Month of Redemption.

[The Shabbos that blesses Nissan possesses a more powerful quality than the month itself, because the one that conveys a blessing on another must itself possess a higher quality.]

We find that there are several levels of redemption, as reflected by the fact that Adar is also a month of redemption. Our Sages speak of "joining redemption to redemption," i.e., proceeding from one level of redemption to the next. [I.e., to join the redemption of Purim to the redemption of Pesach. Since they do not explicitly mention this, however, we can interpret this as referring to joining the redemption of Purim to the ultimate Redemption.]

The concept of redemption also shares a connection with Shabbos, because Shabbos represents a redemption from the mundane activities of the weekdays. On Shabbos a person must be on an elevated level to the extent that he feels that "all his work is completed."

All the above is enhanced by the fact that this year, 5751, is a year when, "I will show you wonders." This refers to the wonders of the Redemption, which will surpass the miracles of the exodus from Egypt. Furthermore, the redemption from Egypt was only temporary and allowed the possibility of future exiles. In contrast, after the future redemption, the potential for exile will no longer exist.

May we soon merit that redemption. Then we will see the priestly garments described in our Torah portion.

In regard to these garments, there are different opinions mentioned in the Talmud. There is a difference of opinion between the Sages and Rabbi Eliezar ben Yossi regarding the High Priest’s head plate. The Sages’ opinion is accepted as halacha. They maintain that the words "Kodesh l’Hashem" were written on two lines. Rabbi Eliezar ben Yossi said, "I saw the High Priest’s head plate in Rome and the words "Kodesh l’Hashem" were written on only one line." This indicates that there were several approaches to actually fashioning these garments. Both of these approaches were acceptable, because the Torah does not specify how the words "Kodesh l’Hashem" should be engraved.

Similarly, we find several approaches to the fashioning of the High Priest’s cloak and to the leggings worn by the priests. All of these different approaches are acceptable and were actually present in the Beis HaMikdash. This multiplicity is actually desirable. Since the Torah is the Torah of Truth, and truth is multi-faceted, the ultimate expression of the truth is for all dimensions to be actually revealed and manifested.

May we no longer have to debate how these garments should be made, because we will actually see them in the third Beis HaMikdash. Then we will witness the ultimate expression of VaYikra, the Torah reading begun in today’s Mincha service, "And He called to Moshe."

The Redemption will come and will be accompanied by open miracles. There is an advantage to conduct according to the natural order, because then the natural order is elevated. Nevertheless, since we have waited so long for the ultimate Redemption, we can rest assured that it will be characterized by open miracles. May this be in the immediate future.

* * *

This Shabbos begins the last week of Adar, and it represents the transition between Adar and Nissan. On the surface, Nissan is above Adar, for the miracles of Nissan transcended the natural order, while those of Adar were confined within nature. One could pass off the entire sequence of events related to Purim - the deposition of Vashti, the appointment of Esther, etc. - as coincidence. The Sages explain that the allusion to Esther in the Torah is the verse, "I will surely conceal My face," i.e., the veiling of G-dliness within the natural order. (This also is reflected in the fact that G-d’s name is not mentioned in the Megilla.)

There is, however, an advantage to the Purim sequence - miracles clothed within nature - for they permeate, and thus elevate, the natural order. In fact, this is the very intent of our service: to lift up the worldly order of existence and have G-dliness revealed on this plane.

We see this concept reflected in the well-known story of the Alter Rebbe, who, during his imprisonment in Petersburg, was once ferried from one prison to another in the middle of the night. Seeing the moon, he sought to use this opportunity to recite Kiddush Levana, the Sanctification of the Moon, and asked the boatman to stop the boat. When the boatman refused, the Alter Rebbe halted the vessel in a miraculous way, allowed it to continue, and then asked the boatman again to stop. Seeing that he had no alternative, the boatman consented, and it was only then that the Alter Rebbe recited his prayers. Why was the boatman’s consent necessary? Consent made it possible for the mitzva to be fulfilled within the natural order.

The circumstances in which this story took place emphasize the relevance of its lesson. The Alter Rebbe’s imprisonment came about because of his efforts to spread Chassidus, and his redemption signified Heavenly consent for the intensification of those activities. Indeed, were undesirable elements not to have interfered with his redemption, we would not have merited the full revelation of the two lights (Shneur), the light of the revealed Torah and the light of the Torah of Chassidus. And this revelation is drawn down in the context of time, "l’zman," a word resulting from the rearrangement of the letters of the Alter Rebbe’s second name, Zalman, and indicating how this revelation will permeate time and space, the limitations of this world.

Indeed, we see an allusion to the Redemption in the Alter Rebbe’s life span - 68 years. 68 is numerically equivalent to the Hebrew word meaning "diversion of attention." Our Sages declare, "Moshiach will come when our attention is diverted," like the discovery of a lost object that comes unexpectedly. The connection of this concept to Moshiach is reflected in the verse, "I found David, My servant."

This relates to the fusion of the concepts of VaYakhel and P’kudei mentioned above, i.e., the ultimate gathering of the Jewish people which will come in the Era of Redemption, and the tenth census that will be taken then. This census will differ from the previous ones that included only men over the age of twenty, as it will include every Jew - man, woman, and child.

A unique aspect of a census is that it reflects the dearness of the entities that are counted. To quote our Sages, "Because He cherishes them, He counts them at all times." Thus, the counting of the Jewish people in the Era of Redemption will reflect how every Jew - even the youngest child - is treasured by G-d.

This signifies the importance of Jewish education, of reaching out to every Jewish child. The Baal Shem Tov taught that even a leaf turning in the wind is controlled by Divine providence. There is a special Divine providence acontrolling everything that occurs to each member of the Jewish people, even a young child. We must, therefore, do whatever we can to prepare each member of the Jewish people and every aspect of the world at large for the ultimate Redemption.


Since we have waited so long for the ultimate Redemption, we can rest assured that it will be characterized by open miracles.




The fusion of VaYakhel and P’kudei signifies the ultimate gathering of the Jewish people which will come in the Era of Redemption, and the tenth census that will be taken then.


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