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The reason we find change so hard – is because it means, we were… O-MY-GOSH! wrong : )

The background to Yud Tes Kislev

 

 

http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/335659/jewish/19-Kislev-The-New-Year-of-Chassidism.htm

The Rebbe’s directives for Yud Tes Kislev

a Call to Action

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המעשה הוא העיקר

 “HaMaaseh Hu HaIkar”

538 Crown Street, Brooklyn, NY  11213

Tel: (718) 363-3448 Ÿ Fax: (718) 467-6919

e-mail: info@iChossid.com

5768 Ÿ ‏2007

Yud Tes (19th of) Kislev

Rosh Hashanah of Chassidus,[1]

Liberation of the Alter Rebbe and

Passing of the Maggid of Mezritch

A Brief History

The Alter Rebbe (Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi) was slandered to the Czar, and arrested and charged with high treason in 5559 (1798). His arrest placed the entire Chassidic movement into jeopardy.  Miraculously, after just seven weeks of investigation and cross-examination, he was proven innocent beyond doubt and was released on the 19th of Kislev of that year.

The Alter Rebbe described his release, “Just as I had recited the verse [from Tehilim] ‘Who has redeemed my soul in peace’ – even before I had a chance to begin the next passage – I was redeemed in peace, by Hashem Who is Peace.”

The 19th of Kislev is also the anniversary of the passing of the Maggid of Mezritch (successor to the Baal Shem Tov and Rebbe of the Alter Rebbe), who passed away in the year 5533 (1772).

Introduction

Yud Tes Kislev is the “Rosh Hashanah of Chassidus.”

The daily study cycle of Tanya (instituted by the Previous Rebbe) begins afresh every 19th of Kislev.

Likewise, the first entry in Hayom Yom (the book of daily Chassidic thought and instruction that was compiled by the Rebbe), is for the 19th of Kislev.  It begins with the words penned by the Rebbe Rashab (the fifth Lubavitcher Rebbe), who first proclaimed the 19th of Kislev to be “Rosh Hashanah of Chassidus.”

In a letter dated Kislev 16, 5662, the Rebbe Rashab writes:

“Gather together on the 19th of Kislev … Rejoice with the joy of the festival [marking the event] that caused our souls to be redeemed in peace and the light of our souls to be bestowed to us.  Today is the Rosh Hashanah of the teachings of Chassidus, which were bequeathed to us by our saintly ancestors.

… This day marks the beginning of … the true and ultimate purpose for which man was created upon Earth, namely, to elicit the revelation of the illumination of the most innermost dimension of our holy Torah – which on this day, in a collective manner, casts its illumination over the entire year.

Today’s task is to arouse our hearts to an absolutely true and sincere innermost desire and will for our souls to be illuminated by the radiance of the innermost dimension of His Torah.” [2]

Preparations

Auspicious time for publishing Torah

  • We should utilize the days leading up to Yud Tes Kislev to print teachings from the Oral Torah (in addition to the Written Torah) as needed.[3]

Print and study the wedding discourses

  • We should strongly push for the printing and study of the Previous Rebbe’s Chassidic discourses (known as Derushei Chasunah), which were delivered in honor of the Rebbe’s wedding in 5689 (1928); beginning with the discourse VeChol Banayich (that was delivered on Parshas Vayeitzei) and continuing until Amar Rav Oshiah (that was delivered on Yud Tes Kislev).[4]

Plan the Farbrengens

  • To ensure maximum success, we should prepare for the Yud Tes Kislev Farbrengens well ahead of time.[5]

Farbrengen committee

  • In order to avoid imposing personal calculations or agendas, those planning the events should consult with others.51

On Yud Tes Kislev

LeShanah Tova

  • On Yud Tes Kislev, we should bless each other with the precise wording used by the Previous Rebbe (quoting the Rebbe Rashab): LeShanah Tovah BeLimud HaChassidus u’BeDarkei HaChassidus Tikaseiv VeSeichaseim – May you be inscribed and sealed for a good year in the study of Chassidus and [following] the ways of Chassidus![6]

Study relevant topics – start with Hayom Yom

  • We should begin today’s Torah study with topics that explain the significance of this day – the Chassidic “laws” of the day.  Naturally, we should begin by studying the words of the Rebbe Rashab that are printed in the introduction to Hayom Yom.[7][See intro.]

Farbrengens – be a Mashpia

In 5752 (1992), the Rebbe explained that we have reached a point in history where the verse regarding Redemption, “The light of the moon will then be like the light of the sun” (Yeshayah 30:26), is beginning to be fulfilled.

As a result, the Jews, who are compared to the moon (a recipient of light from another source), are now compared to the sun (that generates light); every Jew can and should be a “Mashpia,” an active source of positive influence.  Based on this, the Rebbe then presented a number of directives concerning the Yud Tes Kislev Farbrengens.

Hold Farbrengens everywhere

  • We should hold Chassidisher Farbrengens in each location within each country, each city, each neighborhood and so forth.  It is not enough to simply hold Grand Farbrengens in the most major or central locations – rather, Farbrengens should be held in literally each and every place.[8]

With self, family, friends and all Jews

  • It is worthwhile and proper for each and every person to hold Farbrengens – farbreng with yourself, i.e., with the “ten faculties of your soul,” farbreng with your immediate family and your friends and acquaintances,[9]and farbreng with any and every Jew you are able to reach.[10]

Farbreng again

  • Farbrengens have already been held in some locations.  Nevertheless, since a number of hours have passed, and by now the participants have undoubtedly ascended to a yet loftier level, they should gather and hold another Farbrengen.  It is certainly appropriate to hold an additional Farbrengen on Motzei Yud Tes Kislev.[11]

Bigger and better

  • Those who have not yet participated in a Farbrengen this Yud Tes Kislev (for some peculiar reason), should not only make up for it by farbrenging now, but by also influencing and encouraging all those around them to Farbreng.  And those who have already farbrenged this Yud Tes Kislev should farbreng again in a yet superior manner.57

The night between the 19th and 20th

  • Although in former years the main Farbrengen was held after midday on the 19th of Kislev,[12]the key time to hold the grandest, most highly-charged Farbrengen[13] for the Rosh Hashanah of Chassidus, is in fact during the night that straddles the 19th and the 20th of Kislev – for that was when the Alter Rebbe’s liberation was completed.[14]

Create Three Farbrengens

  • Ideally, each person should set up three Farbrengens (three times gives it Halachic strength); if necessary, they could be held simultaneously – he can attend one Farbrengen in person and use representatives to facilitate the other two.[15]

However, it is entirely feasible to arrange three consecutively Farbrengens and personally attend all of them; particularly in light of the variance in custom regarding the exact time to farbreng – either on the eve of the 19th of Kislev, on the day itself (after midday), or close to the day’s conclusion (so that the Farbrengen is continued into the 20th of Kislev[16]).[17]

Many Jews, strenghten Torah and Chassidus

  • We should gather multitudes of men and women (separately), as well as children, for these Farbrengens; the purpose of which is to arouse[18]and strengthen them – and to accept positive resolution in public – concerning all matters of Judaism, Torah and Mitzvos, as they are illuminated by the Torah’s luminary – the teachings of Chassidus.[19]

New Year resolutions

  • The resolutions we make on Yud Tes Kislev should pave the way and serve as the foundation for all the positive activities and achievements that we will accomplish during the coming “year,” i.e., from this Yud Tes Kislev until the next Yud Tes Kislev (when we then accept further, more advanced resolutions.)[20]

Resolution in Shul

  • A resolution that we accept while in a Shul or study hall (particularly in the Shul and study hall of the Previous Rebbe [770]) assumes extra potency both in its implementation and in its manner of implementation; it is far easier to make good on our commitment.66

Torah, Avodah and Gemilas Chassadim

  • During these Farbrengens, we should strongly urge everyone to add in all three modes of divine service: Torah study, prayer and acts of kindness.  This is in keeping with our Sages’ exposition of (the verse that is associated with the liberation  of Yud Tes Kislev) “Padah BeShalom”:  All who occupy themselves with Torah study and acts of kindness, and pray with the congregation – I [Hashem] consider it as if they have redeemed Myself and My sons [the Jewish people] from Exile.[21]

In detail:

  • Obviously, the actual Farbrengen should include all three aspects:

Torah – We should deliver teachings of the Rebbes of Chabad during the Farbrengens (particularly their teachings pertaining to Yud Tes Kislev).[22]

Prayer – Firstly, in the vast majority of Chassidic teaching, prayers or requests already exist [and by studying Chassidus we are also “praying”].  Secondly, when we say ‘L’chaim!’ during the Farbrengen, each person blesses the other (both those seated at the very same table, as well as friends and close ones who are absent from the Farbrengen – and whom he merely considers and connects with in his thoughts).  This is all considered “prayer.”[23]

Acts of Kindness – Firstly, during the Farbrengen we should donate to Tzedakah or at least accept a resolution to subsequently give Tzedakah.  Secondly, when each one says a good word of encouragement to the other, in the spirit of the verse, “Each man bolters his fellow and says to his brother ‘Be strong!’” – that constitutes an acts of kindness.69

Become a Chassidic being

  • We should bolster and increase the study and dissemination of Chassidus.  We should begin by spreading Chassidus to our own “externality” – by permeating our entire being and all of our faculties with the study of Chassidus.  After all, Chassidus constitutes the “Yechidah,” the highest realm within Torah, which is bound with our own “Yechidah,” the highest level of our soul.  [Through studying Chassidus and applying its teachings, we elicit this innermost level and “disseminate” it to the rest of our being.][24]

The message of Yud Tes Kislev – Ahavas Yisroel

  • The lessons that we derive from Yud Tes Kislev should be founded upon love for our fellow Jews and grounded in the essential unity between Jews. This is the foundation and message of Yud Tes Kislev.[25]

Love and unity between all Jews

  • We should conduct ourselves according to the Torah’s central principle, “Love your fellow Jew as yourself,” so that we form one collective body with one unified heart; there should be “Pada BeShalom” (“Who redeemed in peace”) – true peace and unity – among all Jews.71

Spread Chassidus – obligation and merit

  • Together with Ahavas Yisroel, there is a need to disseminate Chassidus; that is the obligation, and at the same time, merit, of each one of us.  As an expression of true Jewish unity and love for our fellow Jews, we should bring the teachings and ways of Chassidus to every Jew, in a pleasant and peaceful manner.[26]

The Alter Rebbe’s teachings and directives

  • During the days surrounding Yud Tes Kislev, there exists far greater enthusiasm and energy concerning all matters associated with the Alter Rebbe.  Therefore, we should now place an emphasis on studying the Alter Rebbe’s Chassidic teachings and implementation his instructions.[27]

Use the influence from Rosh Hashanah

  • It is now that we unpack the spiritual cargo that we received on Rosh Hashanah.  We begin by wishing each other:  LeShanah Tovah BeLimud HaChassidus, etc. – May you be inscribed and sealed for a good year in the study of Chassidus and [following] the ways of Chassidus![28]

Farbreng into Chanukah

  • It was the custom amongst Chassidim (of old, and even of quite recent times) to maintain the Yud Tes Kislev Farbrengens all the way into Chanukah.[29]

Prepare for Chanukah

  • We should commence our preparations for Chanukah;[30]both the activities that concern ourselves (including studying the Laws of Chanukah), as well as those that concern others.[31]

Prepare for Geulah

  • On Yud Tes Kislev – the “one and unique day of the year” –each of us should focus on preparing for the future Redemption.  In the words of the Previous Rebbe, “Stand ready, all of you together!”  The call is issued to each man, woman and child on an individual basis, yet employs plural phraseology – meaning that the “plurality” within each individual should be united in this cause:  Every person should gather each of their individual abilities and affairs (“all of you together” in the most literal sense), so that they stand totally prepared for the Redemption.[32]

Division of Shas

  • We should organize the division and allocation of the entire Talmud[33]in each and every location. Each person should participate by accepting at least one tractate, and ideally (if feasible), two or more tractates.[34]

Every tractate

  • It is our custom to allocate the entire Talmud – including tractates such as Zeraim and Taharos (which do not include Gemara), as well as Tamid and Midos (although they are straightforward accounts of the Temple service and design).[35]

The Rebbe’s choice – Sanhedrin

  • The Previous Rebbe would personally accept tractate Sanhedrin.  Such a topic was appropriate for him, being a leader and shepherd of all Jewry, who was required to point out the correct path for the entire nation in accordance with the Torah’s guidelines.  Tractate Sanhedrin also discusses the topic of “extra scrupulousness,” which is of concern to those who provide instruction.[36]

Joining 770’s allocation

  • Those who so wish, or who live in a place where they are not enough local participants to allocate the entire Talmud, may participate in the division that will take place right here in the Previous Rebbe’s study hall [770].  They should inform the directors of Machaneh Yisroel of their desire to participate, in writing.[37]

Never too late to join

  • If, for whatever reason, a person was unable to communicate his desire to participate prior to Yud Tes Kislev, he may still do so at the very first opportunity following Yud Tes Kislev.[38]

Written commitment

  • It is extremely worthwhile for each of us to accept our allocated tractate in writing.  That will spur us to make good on our commitment and will ensure that everyone completes the study of their respective tractates.[39]

Let someone check on you

  • It would be worthwhile for each of us to hand our written commitment to someone else – for it is human nature to be greatly encouraged and to push ourselves to make good on our commitment, when we are aware that someone may check to see whether we actually kept our pledge.[40]

How its done in 770

  • The annual custom here, in the study hall of the Previous Rebbe, is to distribute standard cards and have each participant simply fill in the blanks, indicating the tractate of his choice. Each participant then delivers his signed card to the Gabbai.[41]

Foreword

We are pleased to bring you this newly revised edition of a Call to Action.  Translated from its Hebrew counterpart, HaMaaseh Hu HaIkar, this presentation is a collection of practical instruction from the Rebbe’s Sichos pertaining to the Chassidisher month of Kislev.

HaMaaseh Hu HaIkar is a compilation of Hora’os (“directives”) culled from the Rebbe’s talks in the years 5748 to 5752 (1988-1992), from both edited and unedited sources (“Muga” and “Bilti Muga”); we have expended great effort in our attempt to capture some of the Rebbe’s carefully calculated and instructive phrasing. This edition’s English translation was provided by Rabbi Yaakov Paley.

At this time, when Moshiach’s arrival is imminent, the Rebbe, Melech HaMoshiach, has emphasized the primacy of action.  We are now beginning to experience the era when we will fully appreciate “the superiority of deed” above scholarship. May this take place completely and immediately!

 

Editorial Office of

HaMaaseh Hu HaIkar

Shabbos Mevarchim Kislev, 5768

 

מוקדש

לכ”ק אדמו”ר מלך המשיח

²

יחי אדוננו מורנו ורבינו מלך המשיח לעולם ועד

[1].     The soul of Rosh Hashanah

In addition to Yud Tes Kislev being the “Rosh Hashanah of Chassidus,” it is also the inner dimension of the regular Rosh Hashanah.  (Parshas Vayishlach 5750; Hisva’aduyos p.472)

Greater each year

Yud Tes Kislev is not merely the anniversary of a past occurrence.  Rather, as we recite regarding Chanukah, it occurred “BaYamim HaHeim BiZman HaZeh – In those days, [but also] in these times” [the influence generated then is again present on each anniversary]; the theme of redemption reoccurs each year. Further, it also influences all subsequent days.  We clearly see how the redemption of Yud Tes Kislev is celebrated until this very day – and it spreads further and further amongst Jewry with each passing year.  (Night following the 20th of Kislev 5749, at a Yechidus; Hisva’aduyos p.10)

[2].     The letter concludes:

“From the depths I call to You, Hashem” (Tehilim 130:1) to elicit the depth and inner essence of Hashem’s Torah and Mitzvos from the inner essence of the Infinite (blessed be He), to illuminate the inner essence of our souls; that all our being (meaning our total existence, the essence and its extensions) be devoted to Him alone; to banish from within us any of the natural traits that are evil and unworthy.

Instead, all our work and affairs (our divine service, meaning – Prayer, Torah and Mitzvos, as well as our worldly undertakings that are necessary for the maintenance of our bodies) should be accomplished with the sincere intention to act solely for the sake of Heaven, as Hashem wishes.

May Hashem our Merciful Father have compassion upon us and lead us along the good and righteous path and may we “Behold His countenance in uprightness” (Tehillim 11:7).

[3].     Parshas Vayishlach 5752; Sichos Kodesh p.405

[4].     … In accordance with the recent custom to print [relevant] Chassidic discourses prior to special dates.  (Parshas Vayeitzei 5748; Hisva’aduyos p.554 – in connection with the book “Derech Emunah.”)

The Rebbes Maamorim

We should do the same with the wedding discourses that were delivered by the Previous Rebbe, which have recently been reprinted with additional explanations [i.e., the discourses delivered by the Rebbe that expound the concepts found in the Previous Rebbe’s discourses].  [“On Sunday of the week of Parshas Vayeishev, the 17th of Kislev (17 being the numerical value of ‘Tov,’ ‘good’), the Rebbe distributed to all present a Kuntres Derushei Chasunah accompanied by two dollars for Tzedakah.” – footnote 111]  (Parshas Vayishlach 5752; Hisva’aduyos p.367)

[5].     Parshas Vayishlach 5751; Sichos Kodesh p.387

[6].     Daily influence from Yud Tes Kislev

Each person should do all they can to make the blessing materialize within each day of the year.  This is similar to Rosh Hashanah [which, being the ‘head’ of the year, contains the vitality for each day of the coming year. Yud Tes Kislev, the Rosh Hashanah of Chassidus likewise contains each day’s Chassidic vitality.] … Each day, we should elicit those matters from the teachings of Chassidus that pertain to that particular day.  (Night of Yud Tes Kislev 5749; Hisva’aduyos p.4)

       20th of Kislev Isru Chag

One of the purposes of this gathering is to honor the guests who came here for Yud Tes Kislev, the Chag HaChagim (Festival of Festivals); today, after all, being “Isru Chag Yud Tes Kislev” [the day that directly follows and is closely associated with the 19th of Kislev].

Begin with LeShanah Tova

The most natural way, then, to open this address – and we always begin with a blessing – should be the words of blessing that the Previous Rebbe publicized in the name of his father [the Rebbe Rashab]:  LeShanah Tovah BeLimud HaChassidus u’BeDarkei HaChassidus Tikaseiv VeSeichaseim – May you be inscribed and sealed for a good year in the study of Chassidus and [following] the ways of Chassidus! (Or in the plural: Tikaseivu VeSecheimu).   (Night following the 20th of Kislev 5749, at a general Yechidus for guests; Hisva’aduyos p.10)

See the conclusion of Hayom Yom. (ibid, footnote 2).

[7].     Preface to HaYom Yom

… The “booklet” that was printed during the lifetime of the Previous Rebbe and which he personally examined in great detail – and certainly the “Areinfir,” [“preface” – lit., “that which carries you in”] to the entire book …

It is clear from the above, that we should begin our studies by quoting the precise words of the Rebbe Rashab…  (Night of Yud Tes Kislev 5749; Hisva’aduyos p.4)

[8].     Your gathering is the Worldwide Headquarters

[The Chassidim in] each place should farbreng as if their location is the universally central location.  They should not view “another” location [i.e., the Rebbe’s Farbrengen in 770] as the “main place,” while their own event is merely successive; rather, they should see themselves as the “main Farbrengen.”  (Parshas Vayishlach 5752; Hisva’aduyos p.368)

To continue the custom of recent years, this Yud Tes Kislev Farbrengen [in 770] is not being held in a manner which implies there is but [this] one primary location.   Rather, Chassidisher Farbrengens are being held in numerous locations – in a manner whereby each and every one of them is the “Primary Farbrengen.”

       The fact that there are numerous Primary Farbrengens does not signify weakness or the like; on the contrary – the very awareness that there are other “Primary Farbrengens” taking place simultaneously in many other locations generates the superior quality of “the rivalry between authors increases wisdom.”  For each person strives to ensure that the Farbrengen in which he is participating will be the “Primary of all of Primary Farbrengens!”  (ibid, Sichos Kodesh p.399)

… Until they all truly become Primary of all Primary Farbrengens, and they will no longer need the influence of the central and primary location – for every Farbrengen will have now become the central and primary Farbrengen.  (ibid.)

[9].     A nation of leaders

Every person is also a source of positive influence … as it is written in connection with the Redemption, “He will return the hearts of the fathers through the sons and the hearts of the sons through their fathers” [everyone should be a force for positive influence]”  (Parshas Vayishlach 5752; Hisva’aduyos p.368)

[10].   Ibid, Sichos Kodesh p.401.

[11].   Night following Yud Tes Kislev 5750; Hisva’aduyos p.12-13.

[12].   The [Alter Rebbe’s] main liberation occurred at that time.  (Night following Yud Tes Kislev 5749 – Hisva’aduyos p.7)  See below, footnote 60.

[13].   Wheres the Shturem?!

It is now already the night after Yud Tes Kislev and we have completed the Maariv service.  Nevertheless, the entire congregation is busy praying, when in truth they should be holding at the raging climax of a Chassidisher Farbrengen!

… The plain, cold fact [that they are not at that stage] cannot be questioned. At least now, let us encourage everyone to utilize the rest of this night for a most highly-charged Chassidisher Farbrengen – as befits the Rosh Hashanah of (the study and directives of) Chassidus.  Whoever increases in this, whether in quantity or quality, is praiseworthy!

Wherever these words are being heard [via live hookup] or will be [subsequently] transmitted, they should hold a Farbrengen…”  (Night following Yud Tes Kislev 5749; Hisva’aduyos p.7)

Practically speaking:  What a great waste of time it is to simply discuss these matters; the main thing is the deed.  We should immediately commence a most tumultuous Farbrengen – here and wherever else possible.  (ibid, p.9)

[14].   Wrong address

Some say that the reason for holding a Farbrengen at this time is to coincide with the extra three hours that the Alter Rebbe languished [on his journey from prison after being released] due to being transported to an incorrect address; as a result of this delay, the following night is considered the actual time of the Alter Rebbe’s complete liberation.  (ibid, p.7)

The 20th too

For this reason the Chabad Rebbes would hold the Yud Tes Kislev farbrengen during the eve of the 20th of Kislev.  On a year with a calendar such as the current year, whereby Yud Tes Kislev occurs on a Thursday, then even their Chassidic discourses and addresses of the following Shabbos (including Motzei Shabbos) dealt with the topic of Yud Tes Kislev.

Now, since they acted thus in public (and with great publicity), their conduct clearly constitutes a directive for the public to follow suit.  (Sefer HaSichos 5748, p.155)

[15].   Parshas Vayishlach 5752, footnote120; Hisva’aduyos p.368.

Chazakah for the year

Yud Tes Kislev occurs on a Thursday this year, which makes it far easier to hold at least three Farbrengens on three consecutive days.  We have the eve and the day of Thursday (Yud Tes Kislev itself), the eve and day of Friday (the 20th of Kislev –for it is then that we have the custom to hold the main Yud Tes Kislev Farbrengen) and the eve and day of Shabbos (the 21st of Kislev).  We are able to establish a Chazakah [Halachic strength] of three consecutive days of Chassidisher Yud Tes Kislev Farbrengens.   This in turn lends a Chazakah and a bolstering (“Chozek”) to all matters of Judaism and Chassidus, ensuring that the rest of the year will be even more of a Chassidisher year than it was until now.  (Parshas Vayishlach 5751; Hisva’aduyos p.386)

[16].   The custom of Chabad Chassidim is to hold the main Yud Tes Kislev Farbrengen towards the end of the day and to continue the Farbrengen into the following night. (Parshas Vayishlach 5750; Hisva’aduyos p.473)

[17].   Parshas Vayishlach 5752, footnote 120; Hisva’aduyos p.368.  See also there, Sichos Kodesh, p.405.

[18].   Past is a springboard for the future

The goal of this Farbrengen is to recall and “relive” all of the positive resolutions which we already accepted until now, and to then add (as in customary regarding all matters of holiness) by accepting additional resolutions – and to actually fulfill them in deed, with joy and gladness.  (Night following the 20th of Kislev 5749, during a Yechidus; Hisva’aduyos p.11)

[19].   Many were with me

A decision made by two people or in a group carries far greater strength than a decision that a person makes alone; participation in a congregational decision lends greater ability to fulfill the decision.  This is also emphasized in the verse that is associated with Yud Tes Kislev, Pada BeShalom Nashfi, etc., Ki BeRabim Hayu I’Madi (“Who redeemed my soul in peace, etc., for many were with me”) – which underscores the specific advantage of congregational prayer. (Parshas Vayishlach 5750, footnote 94; Hisva’aduyos p.473)

[20].   Night following the 20th of Kislev 5749, during a Yechidus; Hisva’aduyos p.12. See below, footnote 74.

[21].   Parshas Vayishlach 5752; Hisva’aduyos p.368.

[22].   Night following the 19th of Kislev 5749; Hisva’aduyos p.8.

Including the Alter Rebbe’s discourse entitled Maskil LeEisan HaEzrachi.  (Parshas Vayishlach 5749, footnote 76; Hisva’aduyos p.436)  See Kuntres Limud HaChassidus, Chapter 3.

[23].   Night following the 19th of Kislev 5749; Hisva’aduyos p.8.

[24].   Parshas Vayishlach 5750; Hisva’aduyos p.474.

[25].   All Jews are one

Another matter which is emphasized on Yud Tes Kislev is the love we should have for our fellow Jews.

Immediately following his release from imprisonment, the Alter Rebbe wrote that his liberation is relevant to every Jew, since “all Jews are brothers,” and are truly “as one man with one heart.”  We should love our fellow Jews as ourselves, for “this is the entire Torah whilst the rest is simply commentary.”  And, as the Alter Rebbe concluded that letter, acting in this manner will cause a reciprocating love “just as water reflects a person’s face back to himself.”

This matter is alluded to in the passage of Tehilim that the Alter Rebbe was reciting when he was suddenly informed of his release – “Who redeemed my soul in peace…”  Not merely the concept of “peace,” but rather, as the verse continues, “for many were with me.”   This alludes to the unity between vast numbers of Jews, who are united “as one man with one heart.”  (Night following the 20th of Kislev 5749, during the Yechidus; Hisva’aduyos p.11-12)

[26].   Post-Petersburg

The teachings of Chassidus (whose revelation began in earnest on Yud Tes Kislev, “post-Petersburg”) were transformed into the heritage of the entire Jewish nation, not merely that of one person or a specific group.  [After the Alter Rebbe’s release from his imprisonment in the city of Petersburg, he began delivering more frequent and lucid Chassidic teachings; the true dissemination of Chassidus began “post-Petersburg.”]

       All Jews will eventually embrace Chassidus

It is an undisputable fact that following the liberation, vast numbers of people joined the ranks of those who follow the paths of Chassidus.  [Moreover, this trend never ended.  Rather,] since the goal of Chassidus is to be disseminated until it becomes the heritage of all Jews, this will certainly – eventually – come to pass.  Chassidus will become the heritage of the entire Jewish nation!

With that in mind, we can readily appreciate the immense merit of all who strive to publicize the teachings of Chassidus.  (ibid.)

[27].   The Alter Rebbes season

In addition to our year-long study of the Alter Rebbe’s Chassidus and implementation of his instructions concerning our daily conduct – these instructions are written in his Shulchan Aruch, Chassidic discourses and speeches – there is added emphasis in this regard during the days surrounding Yud Tes Kislev.  (Night following the 20th of Kislev 5749, at a general Yechidus for the guests; Hisva’aduyos p.10)

[28].   The effect is immediate

May all of these activities be blessed with great success … similar to the sounding of the Shofar on Rosh Hashanah.  For it is stated concerning the Shofar [that just as it is narrow at one end and wide at the other, so may the year’s positive influence grow ever wider, so that it is] “rich at its conclusion.”  [It is explained, that the “conclusion” does not necessarily mean the end of the year, but rather] this “wealth” is manifest immediately following the blowing of the Shofar.

It is self understood that the same applies to the Rosh Hashanah of Chassidus [i.e., that its blessings materialize immediately following Yud Tes Kislev].  Indeed, if this is true of the regular Rosh Hashanah, then it is most certainly true of the Rosh Hashanah of Chassidus.  (Erev Chanukah 5749; Hisva’aduyos p.44-45)

The goal and purpose of the Rosh Hashanah (“Head of the Year”) of Chassidus, is that from it will be elicited all matters that pertain to the teachings of Chassidus for the entire coming year.  This process already begins today, the very first day following Yud Tes Kislev.  (Night following the 20th of Kislev 5749, at a general Yechidus for the guests; Hisva’aduyos p.10)

[29].   Shabbos equals joy

Although Shabbos falls between the two events, it does not constitute an interruption – for Shabbos is also a day of joy, as our Sages state, “The verse ‘And on your days of rejoicing’ refers to Shabbos.”  (Night following the 19th of Kislev 5749; Hisva’aduyos p.7)

When did he arrive home?

The Yud Tes Kislev Farbrengen … continues into Chanukah, just as the Alter Rebbe’s release extended into Chanukah:

The homebound journey from Petersburg took the Alter Rebbe a number of days and he only reentered his home after Chanukah had already begun – as is recounted [by the Previous Rebbe] and has also been printed in Likutei Diburim … Chassidim have undoubtedly added an explanation of the account, accompanied perhaps with a few extra details…  (19th of Kislev 5750; Hisva’aduyos p.12-13) See also Parshas Vayeishev 5751; Hisva’aduyos p.23.

[30].   Begin the spiritual service of Chanukah now

This week concludes with the first day of Chanukah.

… Therefore, we should all begin today with the spiritual service of “raising the seven branches of our Menorah” – our seven emotional attributes, ensuring that they all become “beaten from gold” and form “an entirely golden menorah.”  Moreover, they should all “illuminate facing the central stem.”  (There is an alternative opinion which holds that the lamps faced the “westernmost lamp.”  As we have discussed on numerous occasions, in divine service it is possible to fulfill the directives alluded to by both opinions.)

This service applies to each one of us, regardless of whether these matters have been fully absorbed in our faculties of wisdom, understanding and knowledge – or whether we perhaps still need to study the explanations found in Chassidus…

As far as actual implementation is concerned, we should now make all the necessary preparations and required activities for the coming days of Chanukah, so that we will illuminate our seven emotional attributes.

Even one who is personally unprepared for such matters, nevertheless, the very fact that he finds himself in the Shul and study hall of the Previous Rebbe [770] – a building that nurtures Torah study, prayer, acts of kindness and so forth – imbues him with the ability to serve Hashem in the proper way.  He may not understand the explanation of these matters nor sense the heartfelt feelings associated with them; nevertheless, as far as action (which is the main thing) is concerned, his entire service on this first day of this week [that precedes Chanukah] will be accomplished in a most complete manner.  (Night following the 19th of Kislev 5750; Hisva’aduyos p.11)

[31].   Night following the 19th and 20th of Kislev 5752, footnote 58 (at a general Yechidus for Tiferes Zekeinim and Chachmas Nashim); Hisva’aduyos p.393.

Since it is now Chanukah, we should (for a start) study the topics that are associated with this Yom Tov, such as the Laws of Chanukah.  (7th night of Chanukah 5750 (address to Tiferes Zekeinim and Chachmas Nashim); Hisva’aduyos p.68.

[32].   Chanukah is specifically associated with the public.  (Parshas Vayishlach 5749; Hisva’aduyos p.437)

All matters of redemption are associated with each other.  (ibid, footnote 82)

There are certain times that are more auspicious for arousing a person to engage in specific matters – despite the fact that we are certainly able and obligated to engage in these matters during all other times.  (ibid, in the Hashlamos, p.444).

[33].   Study Gantz-Shas in a year

[This is in keeping with the instruction found at the conclusion of Igeres HaKodesh in Tanya.  There are many advantages of participating in this allocation, including the fact that each participant is considered as having studied the entire Talmud, and that by focusing one’s study on just one particular tractate, he has the opportunity to delve deeper into it.

On the reason for specifically dividing the Talmud on Yud Tes Kislev, see the Kuntres on this topic of the year 5752 (Hisva’aduyos p.431 and onward).]

[34].   Kuntres Al Derech Chalukas HaShas BeYud Tes Kislev 5752; Hisvauyos p.453.

Ideally, even the allocation of the Talmud should be accomplished in a manner that breaches all restricting boundaries, by taking more than just one tractate to study.  (Parshas Vayeishev 5751; Hisva’aduyos p.22)

[35].   Every tractate

… Based on the words of the Alter Rebbe in Igeres HaKodesh, at the beginning of the first Epistle (“We begin with a blessing, etc.”).

Since he states that we should divide “the entire Talmud,” his intention is clearly to negate allocating a mere majority of the Talmud.  Rather, the allocation must include every tractate.  (Kuntres Al Derech Chalukas HaShas BeYud Tes Kislev 5752; Hisvauyos p.447, footnote 115)

[36].   That is also what the Rebbe himself would do.  Note that in the year 5712 he additionally took tractate Sukkah and in 5716 he additionally took tractate Tamid – Publisher’s Note.  (ibid, in the subnote to footnote 142; Hisva’aduyos p.452)

[37].   Ibid, p.453.  See there, footnote 43.

[38].   Ibid.

Grab yourself a Mitzvah

… Our Sages tell us “Do not delay a Mitzvah which comes within your reach,” but we should rather “Grab and eat, grab and drink!”  [We should not waste time when it comes to performing a Mitzvah; we do it immediately out of a thirst and hunger for Mitzvas.]  (Parshas Vayeishev 5751; Hisva’aduyos p.22)

[39].   [The completing of the entire Talmud depends on everyone doing their part.]

Like the prophets

… In keeping with the explanation as to why Hashem instructed the prophets to specifically perform a physical activity in association with (a great number of) prophesies – in order to ensure that their prophesy would materialize in actuality.    (Kuntres Al Derech Chalukas HaShas BeYud Tes Kislev 5752; Hisvauyos p.490)

[40].   Ibid, p.452.  See there concerning Tzedakah.

[41].   The directors of Machneh Yisroel have an established custom (of many years) to organize the allocation.  It is they who are sent the abovementioned cards.  (ibid, p.452-453)

Your name’s on the wall

They will certainly affix the list of allocated tractates and the names of the participants onto the wall of the Shul, which will serve to encourage and act as a “goodly reminder in the sanctuary of Hashem.”  That is the Lubavitch custom.  (Igros Kodesh Vol.3, p.51; also printed at the conclusion of the abovementioned Kuntres, p.459).

To imagine God is jealous would be like imagining a computer programmer being jealous of the artificial characters he creates

The reason we are so messed up, is because our body seeks contentment, while our soul seeks growth

As my genius prophetic friend Phil told me, once you get onto God’s train, the engine never ends

Success