By Rabbi Levi Yitzchak Ginsberg,
Mashpia, Yeshivas Tomchei T’mimim – Lubavitch, Kfar Chabad
Say the pasuk – and don’t rely upon the honesty of the dogs. * "From my
enemies, you have made me wise," and when we see how many delays and
interruptions are caused in the weekly study of the "D’var Malchus," we can
understand how important it is to learn it!
The Maggid of Dovna, HaRav Yaakov Kranz (5500-5565), was
known throughout Jewish communities as a wondrous storyteller. Almost everyone
came to his fascinating discourses. On every subject in any category, he always
had ready an appropriate parable for the enjoyment of his listeners.
This week, we will open with a story about him, prefaced with
the words of the Rebbe shlita MH"M from twenty years ago, on Shabbos
Mevarchim Iyar, Parshas Shmini 5742 (Hisvaaduius, Vol. 3, p. 1336,
In chassidus, we do not usually bring down the
allegorical stories from the Maggid of Dovna. The intention is not, G-d forbid,
to detract from the honor due the Maggid of Dovna, particularly as is known that
he was a "Maggid of Justice" who gave rebuke to g’dolim of Israel, and
all the more so to beinonim and k’tanim. As we clearly see, there
are various circumstances that when we delve into the Maggid’s stories, it
brings about an increase in avodas Hashem, whether in the realm of
"refrain from evil" or "do good." Nevertheless, this is not the way of
chassidus, however, "each river to its own flow," as is understood that the
benefit to be derived from the stories of the Maggid of Dovna exists and is
taken directly from chassidus.
We also find sichos, such as from the Purim
farbrengen of 5743, when the Rebbe brought a parable "that one of the
Maggidim said - the Maggid of Dovna, or another Maggid befitting his name."
Once the Maggid of Dovna arrived at a Jewish town in which a
sizable portion of its residents, including its community leaders, were "maskilim,"
who tried to make all types of alterations, r"l, in the Torah. Despite
the fact that they knew that the Maggid was among the leading rabbinical figures
fighting them and their ideology, nevertheless, since they had heard about the
aura of goodness that surrounded him and they all wanted to hear his witty
parables, they also immediately approached him upon his arrival and asked him to
tell them something clever.
The Maggid agreed and told them the following:
Once there was a goat about which it was rumored that it
could give an endless supply of milk. The story reached someone who began
applying tremendous pressure upon the goat’s owner that he should sell him the
goat. At first, the owner didn’t want to hear about it, but after the pressure
continued to grow, he said that he would be willing to consider selling the goat
for a high price. Before the owner had a chance to reconsider, the person pulled
from his pocket the amount that the owner had mentioned. The owner was no longer
willing to reconsider, and the sale became a done deal.
When the man arrived home, happy and satisfied, he
immediately went to milk the goat. Yet to his surprise, the udders were
completely empty without any milk whatsoever!
He quickly rushed back to the previous owner and yelled,
"Unfair deal! The sale is off! All of my efforts to buy the goat were only
because I heard that she gave an abundance of milk. If the situation is as I see
now, that her udders are empty and she canbe milked, then the entire sale was a
"Wait a minute," responded the seller, "you shouldn’t be too
hasty to reconsider. The goat is fine and you can get an abundance out of her.
But first you have to feed her, give her to drink, and sufficient rest. If you
try to milk her right after a long journey, when she is tired and hungry,
naturally you won’t get anything…"
The listeners understood the underlying message. After they
let the Maggid of Dovna rest a while and have something to eat, they asked him
to give over another discourse. "But," they added, "we request that the Maggid
consent to say some words of wisdom and clever parables - without Torah verses.
Our people don’t like to hear discourses based on verses..."
The Maggid of Dovna understood with whom he was dealing, and
said the following parable:
Once there was a teacher of young children. His students were
always afraid of the dogs that roamed in the street. The teacher told them,
"Don’t be afraid. There is a tried and tested s’gula so that the dogs
will cause you no harm. When you come across barking dogs, say the pasuk, ‘But
against any of the children of Israel, a dog shall not whet his tongue.’ and
then you will be protected that the dogs will not harm you."
Some days later, the teacher was walking with his students in
the street. Suddenly, from out of the corner, a threatening group of dogs
appeared. The teacher turned and fled. The children, seeing the teacher himself
running away, also started to flee in all directions. When they reached a safe
place, the students went to their teacher and asked in complaint, "Why did you
run away? Didn’t you teach us yourself about the ‘tried and tested segula’
to say the pasuk?"
"Indeed," answered the teacher, "whoever hears the entire
pasuk, even if he is one of the dogs, will not cause harm or damage, and
even will be of help and assistance. The problem is that sometimes the dogs
don’t let you say the pasuk..."
To explain the inner meaning of the "dogs," there is a
sufficiently respectable place in kabbala and chassidus, though
not meritoriously (as opposed to "horses" which are usually spoken about
regarding their unique qualities). Some examples follow:
In the famous maamar from Yud-Alef Nissan (Sefer
HaMaamarim M’lukat, Vol. 3, p. 105), the Rebbe shlita MH"M says:
...the lowest level is that of dogs that do not serve the
king, and their desire is to be provided with more and more materialism, as is
written, "and the dogs, fierce in spirit, will know no satiety." And this can be
connected with what is known that the word "kelev" (dog) is related to "kulo
lev" (all heart [i.e., desire]). The nature of man, his outcome, and his
formation, is that the brain rules over the heart. This represents the complete
opposite of the dog, whose heart does not only not rule the mind, but
more so - it is all heart. Therefore, its entire aspect (specifically since it
is "all heart") is to fulfill the desires of the heart.
These words are founded upon what is written in Tikkunei
Zohar (Tikkun 6, p. 22a, as brought in Likkutei Sichos, Vol. 19, p.
293) that those who request "on Yom Kippur" for "sustenance, forgiveness, and
atonement, and life, ‘inscribe us for life,’" are likened to dogs who yelp
"Give, give," as they think about themselves and not about the
And as the Mezeritcher Maggid teaches (Ohr Torah, p.
108, end of third column) on the saying in the Mishna, "One only stands in
prayer out of a sense of koved rosh (heaviness of the head, or
solemnity)" - rosh signifies the Shechina, which is the "head of
all heads." This means that a person should not pray for one’s own deficiencies
("koved"), rather for the deficiencies of the Shechina.
As is known from the interpretation of the Poilisher Rebbe’im
in previous generations on the words from the Haftora of "Machar
Chodesh": "Why has the son of Yishai not come - neither yesterday nor today
- to eat bread?" - "Why has the son of Yishai not come - neither yesterday nor
today" - why has Melech HaMoshiach, who is called after Dovid ben Yishai
("Dovid Malka M’shichei") been delayed and has yet to arrive "neither yesterday
nor today," because "neither yesterday nor today - to eat bread"‘ i.e., if one
thinks only about "bread" all the time, personal matters, making a living, etc.,
and is not anticipating and yearning for his coming, as is fitting.
However, in Keser Shem Tov (end, p. 96), credit is
given to those who pray in our times in request of their livelihood:
Even though it says in Zohar, "Cry out, ‘Give sustenance’",
this was during those years when sustenance was more accessible, whereas now,
difficulties in making a livelihood make it impossible to serve Hashem properly
and to give our children a Talmud Torah education. Therefore, young Jewish
children, pray for your fathers and mothers that they will merit to raise you
l’Torah l’chuppah ul’maasim tovim.
We thus see that requesting sustenance and the like is not
for oneself, rather in order to serve Him as is fitting.
As the Rebbe shlita explains at length in Likkutei
Sichos, according to Nigleh this represents the intermediary forces
of prayer, i.e., the purpose of prayer as "requesting one’s needs," as in the
simple interpretation from the Amidah - because a person does not make
such requests for himself alone, but in order that he may serve G-d as is
fitting. When someone is in need of parnassa or health, etc., it prevents
him from serving G-d as he should.
The Rebbe shlita gives an even more amazing
explanation that even if a person truly feels bothered by the lack of
materialism and not because of avodas Hashem, the truth of the matter is
that this feeling derives from the soul over the lack of the Shechina. As
the Baal Shem Tov writes on the verse, "Hungry, also thirsting are their souls,
you will be enwrapped in them," the true inner reason why the body is in a state
of "hungry also thirsting" is because that "you will be enwrapped in them,"
i.e., the soul "hungers" for the holy sparks in the food that pertain to it.
In any event, the inner meaning of the dogs is to request
everything only for oneself, "Give, give," and not to be nullified to the cause
of fulfilling the Divine purpose.
In a much lower context, the Rebbe Rayatz writes (in his
Igros Kodesh, Vol. 6, p. 278):
And without giving any consideration to those impudent dogs
of the sitra achra, as is written in the Holy Zohar, that cannot stand a
pure spirit and despise the Sages and their deeds, I have decided to make known
publicly that with the help of G-d Alm-ghty, I intend to write a special
sefer Torah for the purpose of greeting Moshiach Tzidkeinu, speedily
in our days, amen.
Elsewhere, he writes (ibid., Vol. 10, p. 31, see also Vol. 7,
…not to give credence to those four or five rah-banim
there, as in the saying of the Rav HaKopishki, R. Yaakov [Vidrevitch], who was
the Rav of the chassidim in Moscow, and was walking once in the street
with one of the enlightened wealthy people there. The wealthy man’s dog ran in
front of them and behind them and even rubbed between them, as dogs will do.
However, when he touched the Rav’s leg, the Rav was frightened. The wealthy man
asked, "Rebbe, why are you afraid? He’s not doing anything." The Rav responded,
"Oif a hintishen yosher iz zich shver tzo farlahzen" (It is difficult to
rely upon the honesty of a dog). Wheh the Rav became frightened again, the
wealthy man asked, "Rebbe, why are you afraid? It’s only a little dog. What can
he possibly do?" The Rav responded, "Emes er iz takeh a kleiner, ahber di
mishpacha iz a groiseh, ven ein hunt hoibt ahn bilen, loifn zich tzunoif a
gantzeh stadeh hint" (True, he really is little, but the family is large.
When one dogs starts barking, a whole mob of dogs runs to gather.")
"Those impudent dogs of the sitra achra," as the "maskilim"
in previous generations, ridicule and scorn anything with even a smell of faith
beyond intellect and beyond nature emanating from it.
As the Rebbe Rayatz relates in his reshima (Sefer
HaToldos Admur HaZaken to R. Glitzenstein, p. 166-), about the
"prescription" that the maskilim gave to their students: "And the list of
books they should read, books by those who ascribe their religious piety upon
belief in angels, ayin hara, ghosts, and evil spirits - in order to
uproot from their heart the foolishness the ignorant teachers implanted in
them." He also relates there about Shimon the Heretic who complained before the
Alter Rebbe that "one shouldn’t tire the mind of weak children with Agados
in any way, nor with frightening things such as Gehinom and the like. A child
can’t imagine such a thing - how Gehinom is so large and wide with fire blazing
constantly more than 5555 years, and how it entered Yitzchok’s room, yet Eisav
and his father remained alive, and even their clothes were not burned."
In order "to chase away the dogs" that are found not just
outside, with the other person, but also and mainly within each and every one of
us, asking and demanding constantly "Give, give," everything for me, and more
than that, they mock anything to do with faith that is beyond nature - we need
the "pasuk" from Torah, that will bring about that "a dog shall not whet
Whoever hears our "pasuk," whoever learns the D’var
Malchus, the sichos from 5751-5752 signed with the signet ring of
Melech HaMoshiach, even if he has claims and does not agree with everything,
at least he understands what is being discussed and does not "whet his tongue"
to insult, harm, or ridicule that which is holy to his friend.
And the emphasis specifically on these sichos is not
because the other sichos are not important or necessary, ch"v, but
because specifically in these sichos the Rebbe shlita spoke to us
unceasingly about this unique period which demands a most unique service,
something which was not said explicitly in previous years.
Whoever learns these sichos, grasps what his ears have
heard, and understands that today it is forbidden and impossible to be satisfied
just by learning Torah, davening, and doing mitzvos as demanded
from us in past years, as vitally important as they are. We can not be satisfied
with the unbounding hiskashrus to the Rebbe shlita of the "seventh
generation" by which we have been raised and educated. We cannot say enough of
the non-stop mivtza’im, dissemination of Judaism and chassidus to
every place and every corner, and going out on shlichus to the four
corners in the earth. All this is extremely important, but it must be filled in
the most revealed sense with "the only thing that remains in the service of
shlichus is to greet Moshiach in actual deed."
And if not, we are simply not doing what is required of us,
we are just still "polishing the buttons" as we did in years past, during a time
when the Rebbe has told us that the buttons have already been completely
polished, and too much polishing can even wear away the button or dulllen its
Today, we have a very special job and shlichus. We
heard from the Rebbe shlita over and over again about the need to fill
and penetrate constantly our very existence and entire life: to live it within
ourselves and to tell everyone we meet and anyone whom we can reach about the
fact of the actual present-day existence of the one that G-d has chosen and
appointed as the judge, advisor, prophet, and leader of this generation, and the
entire generation has the merit and the responsibility to listen to his
instructions, to take his advice on every subject, to believe his prophecies
including the main prophecy of "Here comes Moshiach" and the announcement of the
Redemption by the Rebbe shlita.
In addition, as has been written in previous weeks, the most
wondrous shlichus and responsibility of this era has been placed upon us.
In spite of the fact that the order was not exactly explicit, nevertheless, the
Rebbe shlita explained and made us understand that this is the most
critically important matter at this time in order to bring about the coming and
redemption of Melech HaMoshiach. At the same time, the Rebbe emphasized
to us again and again (as in the sicha from Chof-Beis Shvat 5752) that in
these times the main avoda is regarding what was not stated all that
explicitly and came primarily in a manner of "from below to above," "Do
everything in your ability," something that the Rebbe doesn’t have to tell us
and, in a manner of speaking, can’t tell us. The main point is that this is
something which has to come specifically from us, and not from him…
This is the main aspect of Yud-Alef Nissan -
"anointing the Rosh Bnei Yisroel as Melech HaMoshiach" (Sefer
HaSichos 5752, Vol. 2, p. 409): to turn over the whole world, and to
influence everyone possible to say and declare in clear speech (also in action,
such as by writing, printing, and in any other conceivable form) the declaration
that expresses the established fact that the Rebbe shlita is Melech
HaMoshiach, we are his people and his servants, and we accept upon ourselves
his sovereignty, and thereby, the fulfillment of his orders and instructions.
And as has been brought on numerous occasions from the
sicha of Rosh Hashanah 5737, the main thing is that it must come out in
speech, "Malchus - Peh," to the point that "the thought is not relevant."
Yet, with all the importance attached to it, it is clear that declaring
"Yechi HaMelech!" alone is not sufficient. We must do everything to forge
the true substance of the matter - the total allegiance of this generation to
the Nasi, "who is everything," to the very essence of their existence and
in every detail of their lives.
As a result, it is clearly understood that we simply need to
know the identity of Melech HaMoshiach, to recognize and declare openly
that he is Melech HaMoshiach and no one else, he is our king, we are his
people and servants, and we accept his sovereignty upon ourselves lovingly and
However, we are not willing to be satisfied with merely
understanding. We must - and there is no room for any alternative - learn well
and review in depth and with great precision ("if only they were precise...")
the D’var Malchus, the special sichos that the Rebbe shlita
gave us as "provisions for the way" for this unique time in which we find
ourselves in order to understand, to grasp, and to know "with all our soul" what
is wanted from us at a time such as this.
Therefore, all "those impudent dogs" within each one of us
make every effort "not to let us say the pasuk," so they won’t learn it,
using all types of different excuses: "it’s too long," "it’s too hard," "there
are things there that are not understood," even, "did the person that has
permission to print this in these booklets receive it from someone of
authority?" (This is reminiscent of what the Rebbe shlita told that
during the Beylus trial in Russia they did not want to receive any testimony in
his defense because it arrived in an envelope with a stamp with the Czar’s
picture stuck on upside down -"mit’n kop arop").
Suddenly, he remembers that he made a commitment to learn
halacha and Gemara and chassidus and maamarim and sichos
or anything and everything else. All very truly important and worthy things
(just like the story of someone who didn’t want to help his friend because he
was extremely busy on Mivtza Ahavas Yisroel) - just as long as they don’t
involve themselves in what is specifically demanded of them now.
"From my enemies you have made me wise." We see how many
delays, disturbances, and interruptions there are with learning these sichos,
despite that there is no "argument" and no one suggests that we don’t need to
learn them. Anyone for whom fulfillment of the Rebbe shlita’s wishes is
precious to him and it matters to him knowing what the Rebbe wants from us now,
knows that the most important now is that we must - and there is no room for
any alternative - actually learn, every week, the entire D’var Malchus,
the last sicha for the time being that we have heard from the Rebbe
shlita for that week, to learn it well and review it in depth and with great
precision and to live with the special sichos that the Rebbe shlita
gave us as "provisions for the way" for this unique time in which we find
ourselves, in order to fulfill the clear instruction to "live with Moshiach,"
and in order to know what is wanted from us now and to carry it out in actual
Thus, we will bring immediately the moment when we will see
our king, our Moshiach shlita standing and redeeming all of us in the
true and complete Redemption.
Yechi Adoneinu Moreinu v’Rabbeinu Melech HaMoshiach l’olam