B"H. Beis Moshiach Magazine is powered by:




Rabba Rose And Shechted Rav Zeira
By Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Wilshansky, Rosh Yeshiva Chassidei Chabad Lubavitch, Tz’fas. (Adapted from a recent farbrengen.)

It is a principle that a Yom Tov has significance throughout the year, not just the day on which it is celebrated. (See Likkutei Sichos, Vol. 4, p. 1280.) Let us, therefore, consider what we learned from this past Purim, and apply it in our daily lives.

A major theme of Purim is the obligation “to drink…until one does not know the difference between ‘cursed is Haman’ and ‘blessed is Mordechai.’” This symbolizes an avoda that transcends all boundaries and limitations. Of course, the obligation to do so in that particular way exists only on Purim, but the idea of serving Hashem in an unlimited manner is something we can aspire to throughout the year.

In general, the Jew’s avoda in exile is limited, circumscribed by the natural order of the world. The Torah states, “Six days shall you do work.” Only on the “seventh day,” the Days of Moshiach, will our service be “a Shabbos to Hashem,” transcending the natural order.

Nonetheless, the Rebbe Melech HaMoshiach has explained that now, during these last few moments of exile, this higher level of avoda is required. 

He Didn’t Taste the Food
Let’s take one example: In Likkutei Sichos, Vol. 10 (Parshas VaYishlach-Yud Tes Kislev), the Rebbe relates the story of the distinguished guest who once came to stay with the Alter Rebbe. Because he was such an important personage, all the members of the household wanted to have the honor of cooking his food. They divided up all the tasks so that everyone was responsible for a different part of the menu.

One detail, however, was inadvertently omitted: they forgot to assign someone to add the salt. As each person realized what had happened, he went over to the pot and added salt without telling the others.

The meal was served. The Alter Rebbe ate without complaint, but the guest took one bite and quickly moved his plate aside. When the Alter Rebbe asked him why he wasn’t eating, he told him that it was just too salty. The Alter Rebbe then commented that since the time he was in Mezritch, he had trained himself not to notice the taste of food.

The Rebbe continues in the sicha: “Even though this level of avoda only relates to bnei aliya [exalted individuals], such as the Alter Rebbe, the fact that this story has come down to us demonstrates that in certain situations every single Jew, even the simplest, can (and must) act in such a manner.

“Even a person for whom it is simply impossible to reach this level (not to notice the physicality of the world because he is so unified with G-dliness) can, at certain times, be so involved in the service of ‘you shall know Him’ that he simply doesn’t perceive gashmiyus. This is tangibly demonstrated by the fact that when a person is in an emotional state, he doesn’t sense the taste of food, etc.”

We are clearly living in these “certain situations” and “certain times,” and this higher level of avoda is required of us now.

Living With Moshiach
We are presently on the very threshold of the Final Redemption, in the last few moments of exile. Our unique avoda consists of learning about and living with the new era about to dawn.

What does this mean in practical terms?

When we learn in a sicha that every shaliach has the ability to completely transform the city he lives in, it is very hard for us to accept literally. We think the Rebbe must be talking about the Days of Moshiach. However, the Rebbe explains that although such an avoda certainly pertains to the Messianic era, it is possible (and indeed obligatory) to incorporate it into the way we act even now. Every shaliach, and by extension every Jew, has the capacity to truly alter the nature of the city he lives in.

A similar phenomenon existed just before the Exodus from Egypt. Even before it actually occurred, “the Children of Israel had light in their dwelling places.” Since the Jewish people began to live as if the redemption had already taken place, they merited a foretaste of the coming redemption.

In our case, this means that even before Moshiach’s complete revelation, we must conduct our lives in a manner that transcends all boundaries, “until one doesn’t know the difference between ‘cursed is Haman’ and ‘blessed is Mordechai.’”  When we live with Moshiach, the limitations of the world no longer exist.

Misplaced Humility
“Easier said than done!” you might react. How are we supposed to implement this in our daily lives? Where do we get the strength to do so?

The answer is that when the Rebbe asks us to do something, he isn’t just issuing a directive. Together with the directive, he also gives us the power and ability to succeed. When the Rebbe asks us to live with Moshiach – relating everything around us to the imminent Redemption – it means that he has already raised us to the level at which we can do so.

The Talmud relates the famous story of the Purim seuda of Rabba and Rav Zeira, at which the two sages took the injunction to drink “until one doesn’t know the difference” quite literally. So literally, in fact, that in the middle of the meal, “Rabba rose up and slaughtered Rav Zeira.” (Of course, the following day Rabba prayed and brought him back to life.)

What happened here? In Volume 31 of Likkutei Sichos, the Rebbe asks the same question. How is it possible that Rabba committed such an act, even while under the influence? G-d forbid that Rabba could have done anything even remotely connected to the spilling of blood!

The Rebbe explains that although Rav Zeira’s neshama did actually depart from his physical body, the reason wasn’t murder, G-d forbid. Rather, it was the result of having heard so many esoteric secrets of Torah (“wine”) at the meal that he reached a state of k’los ha’nefesh, when the body and soul are incompatible. The true meaning of the word sh’chita (slaughtering) is meshicha, drawing near. In fact, Rabba brought Rav Zeira to such a high level that his physical body simply wasn’t able to contain the revelations of G-dliness.

This contains a lesson for us in our times:

Although none of us is of the stature of Rav Zeira, “Rabba,” the Rebbe MH”M, has already elevated us to a level at which we can now perform our avoda above all boundaries and limitations “until one doesn’t know the difference.”

In truth, the Rebbe has elevated the entire world, raising it to the point at which it is ready for Moshiach. This perspective must be internalized and acted upon, with the clear knowledge that the stage is already set for the Redemption.

When we know that the world is ready, our avoda is easier. The very awareness facilitates our living with Moshiach, and enables us to rise above all obstacles and difficulties.

The Small Alef and the Large Alef
The letters of the Torah come in three sizes: large, small, and the standard letters with which most of the Torah is written. A large Alef is known as an Alef Rabbasi, a small Alef as an Alef Ze’ira. A medium-sized Alef is called an Alef Regila (a regular Alef).

When the Rebbe the Tzemach Tzedek was a young boy, his grandfather, the Alter Rebbe, sent him to learn in cheider. The Alter Rebbe instructed the teacher to begin with the first chapter of VaYikra.

When he returned from school, the Tzemach Tzedek asked his grandfather why the Alef of VaYikra was smaller than the other letters. The Alter Rebbe pondered the question in great dveikus for some time before answering:

“In the beginning of Divrei HaYamim [the Book of Chronicles] Adam HaRishon’s name is written with a large Alef, because Adam considered himself to be very important. After all, none other than G-d Himself had created him! Adam HaRishon was aware of his own significance, which later led to the sin of the Eitz HaDaas [Tree of Knowledge].

“By contrast, in the verse ‘VaYikra el Moshe,’ the Alef is small, alluding to Moshe Rabbeinu’s humility. Although Moshe was well aware of his extraordinary talents and abilities, he did not take pride in them or consider himself great. It states in the Torah, ‘And the man Moshe was very humble.’ According to Moshe’s way of thinking, had someone else been blessed with the same abilities, he would have certainly utilized them better.”

In Volume 17 of Likkutei Sichos, the Rebbe elucidates what this means for us:

It sometimes happens that the yetzer ha’ra comes to us dressed in a coat of humility. The yetzer ha’ra gives us all kinds of reasons why we cannot possibly perform a certain avoda. “You’re not on that level,” it attempts to convince us. “That’s only for tzaddikim, not for you.”

However, this kind of humility is misplaced. It is bad humility, not good humility. Like Adam HaRishon, we must be able to correctly perceive our own positive qualities. This prevents us from having misplaced humility.

On the other hand, we must also emulate Moshe Rabbeinu and realize that our talents and abilities are only given to us to use properly. In fact, when we appreciate all that we’ve been blessed with, it leads to the sense that someone else in our shoes might be doing a better job.

The Rebbe has entrusted us with a special mission – the large Alef. He has given us a wonderful and unique merit, that of belonging to the first generation of the Redemption. And not only that, he has appointed each and every one of us as his personal shaliach. When we fulfill our mission, we are bound to the Rebbe in complete unity and become one essence.

At the same time, we must be completely nullified to the meshaleiach, the one who sends us on our mission. The small Alef is the awareness that we do not act under our own power, but under the Rebbe’s. The meshaleiach is merely working through us, provided we are totally battel to him.

This also underscores the obligation of our shlichus. The fact that we are given special powers to succeed only illustrates just how important it is that we use them properly.

Incorporating both aspects, the small Alef and the large Alef, enables us to perform our avoda in a manner of “until one doesn’t know the difference,” transcending all boundaries and limitations throughout the entire year. When we know that we are acting under the Rebbe’s power, we can truly live with Moshiach in the literal sense.

The World is Ready
The 9th of Adar recently passed, the day on which the Rebbe Rayatz arrived in the United States. With the statement “America is not different,” the Rebbe Rayatz characterized the avoda that would be required in the lower hemisphere, the bottom half of the world, in which the Torah was not given.

The Rebbe Rayatz’s plans were apparently too radical for the delegation of Chassidim that came to greet him. In their opinion, they just weren’t based on reality. But despite their dire predictions and the seeming impossibility of the task at hand, the Rebbe Rayatz proved them wrong.

Like then, there are many in our own times who insist that the world just isn’t ready for Moshiach, but the Rebbe has repeatedly told us that they are wrong. Having been entrusted with the mission to greet Moshiach Tzidkeinu, there is no doubt that we will succeed in the very near future, and bring about the immediate revelation of the Rebbe, and he will redeem us.


Since the Jewish people began to live as if the exodus had already taken place, they merited a foretaste of the coming redemption.





The Rebbe has elevated the entire world to the point that it is ready for Moshiach. This perspective must be internalized and acted upon.



Home | Contents | Archives | Contact Us | Subscriptions | Submissions | Interactive | Chat | Classified | Advertise

©Copyright. No content may be reprinted without permission.