"Sealed With The Stamp Of The Kohen Gadol"
By Rabbi Levi Yitzchak Ginsberg

In connection with the main theme of Chanuka – that a cruse of oil, "sealed with the stamp of the Kohen Gadol," holding a one-day supply of oil miraculously burned for eight days – I’d like to share the following anecdote going back to the very beginning of our shlichus in Migdal HaEmek:

When we first arrived in the city, Migdal HaEmek was one of the most economically depressed places in Eretz Yisroel. Not only did it have an unusually high rate of unemployment, but there was also a lot of crime. Even the police were intimidated. One night all the stores and factories in Migdal HaEmek were broken into, but the only thing the crooks stole was cigarettes! The message they were trying to deliver, of course, was that the gangs weren’t afraid of the police and could do anything they wanted…

In any event, that first Friday afternoon we went out on Mivtza T’fillin

* * *

Speaking of which, I would like to emphasize that Mivtza T’fillin is not just a Lubavitcher custom for yeshiva bachurim. Even later, when a person is already married and out of kollel, and even if he is very involved in other mivtzaim, it is still extremely important that he keep up with Mivtza T’fillin, at the very minimum on Friday afternoons.

There is something very special about the simple act of standing and helping a fellow Jew put on t’fillin, perhaps more than any other mivtza – it strengthens and increases hiskashrus to the Rebbe shlita.

And husbands, don’t blame your wives if you’ve become rather lax over the years! As they used to say in Poland (I’m pretty sure in the name of Rabbi Naftali of Ropshitz), "For they [the men] were bitter; therefore, they called its name [i.e., the women] Mara [bitter]." In other words, you can’t project your own deficiencies on someone else…

It is also very important that when going out on Mivtza T’fillin, a "Kriyas Sh’ma" sheet with "Yechi Adoneinu" printed on it be used. By this I mean a "Yechi" that isn’t just a headline on the page, but part of the text for the person to recite, after "hareinu mekabel." This will encourage as many Jews as possible to accept the Rebbe MH"M’s sovereignty, in keeping with "The only thing left in the service of shlichus is to actually greet Moshiach Tzidkeinu."

As has already been explained, it doesn’t matter if the kavanos of the person making the declaration of "Yechi" aren’t one hundred per cent "pure," as malchus pertains primarily to dibbur (speech). And as the Rebbe stated on Rosh Hashanah 5737, the declaration of "Yechi HaMelech" doesn’t even relate to machshava (thought).

It goes without saying that you should also talk to the person putting on the t’fillin about Yiddishkeit, Moshiach, Redemption, etc., and give him lots of things to read! Plenty of educational publications and brochures are available and come out each and every week.

* * *

But getting back to Migdal HaEmek…

That first Friday afternoon we went downtown to the city center, where most of the businesses are located. There we found a café that seemed to be a popular hang out for unsavory-looking characters sitting and playing cards. It did not take a great leap of the imagination to conclude that many of the patrons of this fine establishment were responsible for the high rate of crime in the area.

When we first started asking people if they’d like to put on t’fillin, the response was a deafening silence. The phenomenon of Mivtza T’fillin was still new in Migdal HaEmek, and many of the card players were upset that we were disturbing their favorite pastime. Nonetheless, we kept on asking until the first person overcame his embarrassment and stood up. Then, as always happens, once the ice was broken a lot of other people came over and rolled up their sleeves.

As always, we helped people say the bracha, made sure the t’fillin were positioned properly (very important!), and helped them wind the straps correctly. Then we gave them a printed "Kriyat Sh’ma" sheet so they could daven by themselves.

A Jew is always a Jew. His G-dly soul will always awaken and respond whenever he makes the tiniest first move. We saw this demonstrated over and over again that day, as one Yid after another took his turn putting on t’fillin and reciting Kriyat Sh’ma. One fellow in particular had tears in his eyes as he concentrated on the words. In fact, we were all frankly jealous of his enthusiasm and kavana. "Just look at how this Jew is davening," we thought to ourselves, "while only a moment ago he was involved in some rather objectionable pursuits. Halevai that we had the same kavana ourselves when we daven!"

After a few minutes, the man finished saying Kriyat Sh’ma and was about to take off the t’fillin when he suddenly turned to me. "There’s going to be a little ‘action’ tonight," he confided. "G-d willing, it will be successful…"

At first I had no idea what he was talking about, but then it hit me: Standing before me was the actual embodiment of our Sages’ statement about the "thief who stands at the doorway to the underground and prays to G-d" to help him commit his crimes! The guy was serious! In all sincerity, from the bottom of his heart, he hoped and prayed that G-d would listen to his prayers and help him rob and steal!

* * *

How exactly can such a thing happen? How is it possible for a person to believe in G-d, to acknowledge that the success or failure of his mission depends on Divine providence, and at the same time ask Him for help in doing the exact opposite of what He wants?

The answer has to do with the essential nature of a Jew’s emuna. Emuna has nothing to do with understanding or comprehension, nor is it connected in any way with the emotions. In fact, emuna is not even a component in the make-up of a Jew’s consciousness, as it completely transcends it. A Jew believes in G-d not because he understands why he should, or because of the Jewish education he received. He believes simply because, on the innermost level of his soul, he is bound and connected to G-d. He cannot help but do otherwise.

In the same way a person doesn’t need any proof that he exists, so too the Jewish soul – "a veritable part of G-d Above" – does not need any convincing to believe in G-d; the soul "automatically" perceives the existence of G-d as truth, for "Israel and the Holy One blessed be He are one." No explanation can make this any clearer, nor can any question throw it in doubt. This is just the way the Jewish soul is.

Indeed, this is the advantage of emuna, which is always right there "in the background" as intense as ever, even when it isn’t reflected in a person’s conscious thoughts, and even if he professes the exact opposite. Like it or not, a Jew is always innately and by definition connected to

Unfortunately, this same advantage is also a disadvantage: precisely because a Jew’s emuna is so lofty by nature, it is often divorced from the more "revealed" and conscious aspects of a person’s life. It can thus happen that a person’s emuna exists in all its strength and glory at the same time he is about to commit a sin. His emuna does not prevent him from asking G-d to help him steal (!), nor does he perceive the profound absurdity of his situation.

* * *

As our holy Rebbeim have noted, this was the exact same scenario that occurred before the very first Chanuka more than 2000 years ago. And it is also an accurate description of our present situation, in Chanuka 5761:

"Oil" is symbolic of the faculty of pleasure, the highest level of the soul’s powers which affects all others. In the same way that oil floats to the surface of all other liquids, yet at the same time deeply permeates whatever else it comes in contact with, so too is the faculty of pleasure superior to all other emotive powers while exerting an influence on all of them.

What did the Greeks do? They "defiled all the oil" – they succeeded in corrupting the Jew’s faculty of pleasure and making it unclean. Instead of deriving enjoyment from the realm of kedusha, the faculty of pleasure was diverted to klipa. In this way, all the powers of the soul were in danger of following and being destroyed.

But there was one thing the Greeks were unable to defile: "the cruse of oil sealed with the stamp of the Kohen Gadol." This sealed oil, of course, is symbolic of the essential point of the Jewish soul which is completely united with G-dliness, through hiskashrus with the Nasi of the generation, the Yechida Klalis, through whom every Jew is connected to Hashem. For this is something that can never be defiled or damaged in any way.

Nonetheless, as stated before, this advantage of emuna is also its disadvantage. True, a Jew’s emuna is indestructible and impervious to attack, but precisely because it exists on a higher level, it has a tendency to remain in the realm of "makif" ("encompassing," or transcendent) rather than actually affecting the other powers of the soul.

Before Chanuka, the "cruse of oil" with only enough to burn for one day was distinctly removed from the "regular" seven days of the week. The miracle of Chanuka occurred when the transcendental "one" was fused with the natural order of the world, and the menora continued to burn for eight days. In other words, the "essence" completely permeated and filled all the giluyim (revelations, manifestations).

And how was it possible for this to this happen? How could the essence – which is so superior to the regular powers of the soul that it doesn’t even relate to them – penetrate and permeate them completely? The answer has to do with the true Essence, that exists above all definitions and limitations, even the definition of "without limit" (i.e., characterizing something as "without limit" is also putting a limit on it). G-d is not limited to inhabiting the higher worlds or the lower worlds, nor is He limited to being either finite or infinite. When the true Essence is revealed, it penetrates even the boundaries of limitations precisely because it is so unlimited, and pervades all the regular boundaries of the world with the "cruse of oil" that burned for eight days…

* * *

The revelation of the Essence is synonymous with the revelation of Moshiach Tzidkeinu. (Thus, Melech HaMoshiach is called "one of the eight princes of man," and his kinor will have eight and not seven strings.)

Concerning Moshiach, it states in Tehillim (89:21): "I have found David my servant; with My holy oil have I anointed him." The first step consists of Moshiach’s merely being; the essence of Moshiach simply exists, as something to be "found." Only afterwards comes "with My holy oil I have anointed him" – the essence of Moshiach comes down to penetrate and fill all the giluyim of every level of reality. Just as oil permeates all substances, so too, the revelation of Moshiach will permeate every level of existence.

This is also synonymous with the revelation of Toras HaChassidus, pnimiyus ha’Torah, which explains why the dissemination of Chassidus is also the beginning of the revelation of Moshiach. The whole objective of Chassidus is to bring the world to the realization that "everything is G-dliness, and G-dliness is everything." When this revelation of the essence reaches even the furthermost boundaries of "outward" (as in, "when your wellsprings will be disseminated outward"), it completely transcends all notions of inward and outward, and is able to permeate even the lowest levels of creation at full strength.

As the Rebbe explained on Shabbos Parshas Toldos 5752, the first stage in this scenario is the revelation of Moshiach’s essence, i.e., the fact that he exists. Afterwards, Moshiach will be revealed on a larger scale through his specific actions: "And he will bring the entire world to worship G-d together, as it states, ‘Then I will transform the nations, etc., to serve Him as one.’"

The intention behind saying "Yechi Adoneinu Moreinu V’Rabbeinu Melech HaMoshiach l’olam va’ed" is the simple declaration that Moshiach exists. After this is acknowledged, Moshiach will gradually become revealed to the world at large through his actions and influence. This will include both the process of refinement of Lavan (Parshas VaYeitzei) and the refinement of Eisav (Parshas VaYishlach), ultimately leading to the fulfillment of "until I will come to my lord in Seir," i.e., the Messianic era, about which it states (Ovadia 1:21), "And saviors shall ascend Mount Zion to judge the Mount of Esau; and the kingdom shall be the L-rd’s."

We are now at a time in history when the entire world is crying out for true leadership. It has already been amply demonstrated that all manmade ideologies and "isms" are ultimately doomed to fail. The only solution is Moshiach, and it is our responsibility and mission to bring the message of Redemption to the world.

As mentioned in previous columns, this responsibility also extends to non-Jews. It is our duty to influence the nations of the world to observe the Seven Noachide Laws, as communicated by G-d through Moshe Rabbeinu. In practical terms, this also includes telling non-Jews about the Rebbe Melech HaMoshiach and urging them to say "Yechi" and pray to G-d for the Redemption. This is especially timely now, given the abnormal situation in Eretz Yisroel, when we consider how much the Rebbe wanted the Arabs to learn about the Sheva Mitzvos in their schools before the Intifada began in the late 1980s.

May our simple resolve to work toward this goal bring about the immediate revelation of the Rebbe Melech HaMoshiach before the eyes of the entire world, with the full and complete Redemption, immediately, now!

Yechi Adoneinu Moreinu V’Rabbeinu Melech HaMoshiach L’olam Va’ed!


The intention behind saying "Yechi Adoneinu Moreinu V’Rabbeinu, etc." is the simple declaration that Moshiach exists...




...After this is acknowledged, Moshiach will gradually become revealed to the world at large through his actions and influence.





The entire world is crying out for true leadership. All manmade ideologies are clearly doomed to fail. The only solution is Moshiach.


Home | Contents | Archives | Interactive |Contact Chat | Advertise

©Copyright. No content may be reprinted without permission.