20th of Menachem-Av

Yahrtzeit of the Rebbe’s Father
The famed scholar, pious Rav and Kabbalist, Reb
Levi Yitzchak Schneerson, the Rebbe’s father, passed
away on the 20th of Av 5704 (1944). He passed away in
the remote city of Alma Ata, Kazakhstan– where he
was sent as a punishment for defying the Communist
regime (at the risk of his life) in order to bolster and
spread Torah and Yiddishkeit. He died of his
sufferings and was buried in Alma Ata; his wife (the
Rebbe’s mother) risked her own life to smuggle some
of his handwritten Torah-thoughts out of the country.

The 20th of Av is also significant for being forty days
before Rosh Hashanah – a fact which bears similar
conceptual meaning to the forty days that it takes for
the human fetus to form.

􀁸 Reb Levi Yitzchak performed his divine service of
disseminating Torah and Judaism with literal self-sacrifice. On
each anniversary of his passing, we should derive a lesson and
instruction to likewise disseminate Judaism, Torah-study and
Mitvah-performance. Moreover, we should even do so in a spirit
of self-sacrifice similar to that of Reb Levi Yitzchak.
􀁸 The main lesson and instruction concerns education: we
should educate our children while they are yet extremely young
to have self-sacrifice for Torah and Judaism. We accomplish this
by displaying such self-sacrifice in our conduct at home; seeing a
living example – who displays true enthusiasm – will have the
desired affect on our children.
􀁸 There is a lesson for each and every person in the name of
Reb Levi Yitzchak:
Levi alludes to an additional strength in the service between
ourselves and Hashem. This is reflected in the meaning given in
the Torah for the name Levi: “My Husband will attach Himself
(Yiloveh) to me.” (On a deeper level, the verse means that
Hashem will attach himself to the Jewish people.)
Yitzchak alludes to our divine service to positively affect our
surroundings. This is reflected in the meaning that the Torah
gives for the name Yitzchak: “All who hear will rejoice
[Yitzachak] for me.”

􀁸 [The soul of the deceased rises to ever-higher heavenly
realms on each anniversary of its departure from this world.]
Blessings and success caused by the lofty ‘elevations’ of Reb Levi Yitzchak’s soul will be drawn down upon those who
merited to study his teachings and to follow in his ways.11

􀁸 [Reb Levi Yitchak composed copious handwritten
documents and hundreds of pamphlets containing innovative
Torah teachings – most of which are somewhere in the former
USSR and have not yet reached our hands. Concerning these
writings, the Rebbe stated:]
It is certain that (eventually) the rest of his documents will also
be brought to light and we will thus merit an additional quantity
of innovative concepts from the inner dimension of Torah.
Simply by resolving to study these new teachings whenever they
reach our hands, we in fact hasten the time when we will be able
to overtly seek these writings (even) within the former USSR –
and to discover their whereabouts.


Why an Olympic Gold Medal is meaningless



What don’t people do for a Gold Medal?


Hundreds of thousands of people are involved in training for Gold Medals.


And then…


But let’s not even go so far – the truth is, that the very achievement is absolutely meaningless.


The reason for this was discerned by yours truly as I watched – in a restaurant that had the games playing – a running race.


So what does it really mean if I win that race, or if you do?


Only a title.


In other words, you can run faster than say anyone on this planet.


Can you really run fast, well there are millions of animals that would laugh at your speed, gazelles at about 40mph, cheetahs at 70.


So are we fast, no – it is only relative to everyone else, we are slightly faster.


The same is with all titles – whether the guy is a genius or the woman is beautiful – it is relative to wisdom you are slightly or even quite, more than someone else.


But being more than someone else – is that really an achievement?








I have a right!


Do you?


At the core of everything, is how we perceive the core of everything.


God created us in a way – as the Kabbalists teach – we perceive our existence as being true and God as being somewhat of a myth or at best a probable reality.


In heaven, of course they see the opposite as being true, that God is true and the rest is somewhat of a myth or at best, a realm of perception (which we won’t go into now.)


When we see earth’s approach, “I have right!” “I am entitled.”


In fact, Aristotle, though being no fool, said a very foolish thing – for all people are biased towards their desires – that, the universe always existed!


In other words, at the heart of non-Jewish thinking, for the basic western paradigm is really the Greek philosophies – namely, that our existence is what is real, and God etc. is somewhat of a metaphysical anomaly.


On the other hand, Jewish thinking goes in the diametrically opposite premise – God is real and the question is, what are we doing on earth?!


There is a cute Chassidic tale, when a Chassidic rabbi said to a misnagdic (an opposition clan) Rabbi, “you know, you think more about God than I” which greatly pleased his “rival.” The truth is, that a deep truth was exposed in this pithy statement “the reason the misnagid thinks more about God, is because he is convinced that this existence is real, so he continuously contemplates regarding God (is He or isn’t He? etc.) However to the Chassidic (Jewish mysticism) master, God is real, so there is a new question, am I real or not?


In other words, we can either believe – erroneously, that we are entitled to life, for we know of our life.


Or we can correctly understand, that all life must have a source, the source is God hence our life is nothing more than the love of God to create a child.


The narcissism covering the idealism of society




Man is primarily an emotional machine!


There are two emotions that govern everything he thinks says and does!


Although of course we – as the Rebbe teaches – are the sum total of our opinions, nevertheless our opinions are the sum total of our emotions!


Hence the child who has received love, looking through a rose colored prism, sees the world, a place of love and goodness!


On the   hand, the adult who has received fear and negativity, looks at the world though, well, fear and negativity!


For example, monkeys who had their mothers removed from their protective nurture for three hour a day, develop anxiety disorders, AND NEVER RECOVER!


Children abandoned in Russian orphanages who didn’t receive love, are unfortunately wounded for life.


In an ideal situation, a child is comforted and develops love for humanity due to his/her mother’s love for it.


Then people are often jealous (bullies etc. – antisemites – anti-americanism) and a new reality may occur, in which the perfect world seems imperfect.


The Kabbalah teaches us, that “he who is narcissistic (full of himself/herself) is really nothing, while he /she who is humble (thinks nothing of him/herself) is really great.”


What does this mean?


Well in psychology (I forgot the psychologists who coined the phrase regarding narcissism) “narcissistic wounding.”


In other words, if please God I have a positive self regard and someone – usually out of jealousy – demeans me (typical bully or antisemetic behavior) if I believe that what they are saying is true, I then feel ashamed and not desiring for people to see the imperfect me, I create a false me which I represent to the world.


The trouble is, that the person who is really nothing, is the person who harmed you in the first place!, for if their self esteem was good they would seek your love – to give love – and not God forbid the opposite.


It is for this reason, that we find Americans on the whole are genuinely open people.


As the basic premise of America is the individual and human rights etc., hence most Americans have a positive self regard, which is why they are not anti-Semitic, and open people – desiring to give love!


True infinity


This Shabbos I was very fortunate to read a new definition of God’s infinite abilities – something I had never read before – taught by the Rebbe in his amazing sichois, teachings (Shabbos Parshas Nachamu 5751.)


(My introduction:) in general as Rabbi Wagner told me, the Rebbe’s thing was infinity!


In other words, Reb Hillel Paritcher was once at a Farbrengen of the Tzemach Tzedek – third Chabad Rebbe – who said, how the Baal Shem Tov took all of Jewish wisdom, including Kabbalah, till his time, and went to the next dimension; and then the Alter Rebbe did the same, as did his son Rabbi Dovber, and then the Tzemach Tzedek was quiet, and Reb Hillil said, and so did the Tzemach Tzedek!


We know, each of these masters took the understanding of God, Godliness, Judaism and no less important, if not even more important, the Jew himself!, to the next level.


Firstly, how can this be?


Isn’t Judaism suppose to be, an ancient doctrine?


Yes and no.


Judaism has two parts, like a body and soul.


The body, the body of Jewish laws, of course, was given at Mount Sinai, and as the generations progress, we look at our understanding of them as getting weaker!


But just like the human body weakens, whereas one gets wiser as one gets older – hence one must stand even before a gentile once he reaches the age of 70, for even the wisest Jewish child cannot compare to the experience of someone who lived 70 years – similarly, when it comes to Kabbalah, the soul of Torah our understanding increases with time! – as I suppose the revelation from God regarding it as well! (for we know, as the Alter Rebbe teaches, that the Arizal was aware – tzimtzum harishon etc. – of things even Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai was not aware of, for it was revealed to him.)


Similarly, the Baal Shem Tov not only explained Chassidus – Kabbalah, better than ever before, but actually revealed a higher dimension as mentioned above – like the Alter Rebbe etc.


So it stands to reason, that the Rebbe also did.


What was the Rebbe’s unique addition, I asked Rabbi Wagner?


“Atzmus” he replied.


Atzmus is the infinite ability of God!


Often – in fact, very very very often – the Rebbe never tired to mention that,    unlike as we seem to think God is beyond us, the true infinity of God is to both be beyond and within at the same time – for to limit infinite ability to being beyond is to not truly be infinite!, rather to be on a LEVEL which is beyond our finite realm.


However on Shabbos Nachamu the Rebbe taught an amazing point of God’s infinity!


He asked the question, how come God took so long in bringing the redemption?!


If technically Mosses could have entered into Israel and brought about the final revelation, redemption, why so long till now, when redemption is beginning?


The answer is, that the infinity of God allows that ALL POSSIBILITIES SHOULD EXIST  SIMULTANEOUSLY!!!


In other words, sure God in one moment can take man to the highest heights, however the problem with that is, that it lacks avodah i.e. man’s accomplishment in scaling the mountain.


Hence in the messianic era which we have begun, two opposite yet uniquely great paradigms simultaneously exist, on one hand man has worked through his issues and come to discern the difference between light and darkness, materialism and spirituality respectively!, and yet at the same time, God himself shall descend to man.