With The Stamp Of The Kohen Gadol"
By Rabbi Levi Yitzchak Ginsberg
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
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…
any event, that first Friday afternoon we went out on Mivtza T’fillin…
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.
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.
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…
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
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
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.
getting back to Migdal HaEmek…
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.
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
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.
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!"
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…"
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!
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?
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.
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.
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
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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…
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
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
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.
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
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."
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.
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.
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!
Adoneinu Moreinu V’Rabbeinu Melech HaMoshiach L’olam Va’ed!