Vol 18.05 - Chag HaShavuot 2           Spanish French Audio  Video

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(5738)  Moshe, David and the Baal Shem Tov


1. We have spoken many times that in (the time of) Shavuot there is a connection between

1. Moshe Rabbeinu – through which the Torah was given on Shavuot.

2. King David - where “David died on Atzeret (Shavuot)”.

3. The Baal Shem Tov - where his Histalkus (passing) was also on Shavuot.

And since everything is with Divine Providence, specifically when it speaks of occurrences that have a connection with Yidden in general, and with Gedolei and Nesiei Yisroel, in particular, it is understood that:

1. There is a common factor between them (which is why they are all connected with the same day) and

2. This common factor has a common bond with the (main) subject of the day, and in our case this is Chag HaShavuot - the time of Matan Torah.

On the other hand, there must also be an innovation in this very combining factor as it regards each one of the three Nesiei (leaders of) Yisroel. Each of them is - in the terminology of the Talmud – necessary (צריכא).

2. Of the common factors between Moshe, David and the Baal Shem Tov is, that each of them was (not just a king and Nasi of Yisroel, but in this itself) an “innovator” (ראשון) in the category of kingship and leadership (מלוכה ונשיאות).

Moshe Rabbeinu was the first Nasi over all the Yidden, and specifically according to the ruling of Rambam that “he was a king” - Moshe Rabbeinu was thus, the first king of the Jewish people.

David was the head and first of the Davidic kings, (מלכות בית דוד), as Rambam states:

“Once David was anointed king, he acquired the crown of kingship. . to him and to his male descendants forever, . . the monarchy would never be taken from his descendants forever”

And the Baal Shem Tov was the first of the Nasi’im (leaders) of (general) Chassidut (נשיאי החסידות (הכללית)).

 Therefore the special connection of all the three kings and Nasi’im of Yisroel (and their common factor) to Matan Torah is understood – since one of the main aspects that was accomplished at Matan Torah was that every Yid became a (part of the) “nation of priests” (“Mamlechet Kohanim”/ממלכת נהנים) (ministers/שרים).

And the power that enables this to come into revelation, is taken by each Yid, from the Nesiei Yisroel in each generation, as will be explained.

3. The connection of the aspect of “Mamlechet Kohanim” to Matan Torah can be understood by explaining the nature of the aspect of king:

The primary point of king is – “exaltedness/hisnasus” (התנשאות) - the king‘s superiority (העכערקייט) and separateness (אפגעטראגנקייט) over the entire people. So much so that – he may not lower himself to do work, and one must supply (צושטעלן) all of his needs with great expanse – harchavah/ הרחבה - as it states:

“The King in His beauty shall your eyes behold; they shall see (from a distant land)” (מֶלֶךְ בְּיָפְיוֹ תֶּחֱזֶינָה עֵינֶיךָ תִּרְאֶינָה אֶרֶץ מַרְחַקִּים).

No one (and no thing) in the country can prevent the king from carrying out his desire, as the Sages state: “A king can break through a wall . . and none may stay him” (המלד פורץ גדר כו׳ ואין מוחין בידו); and “If royalty says, ‘uproot mountains’ (it will uproot them etc.)” (אמר מלכותא, עקר טורי), and so forth.

And similarly, Matan Torah accomplished within the Yidden this attribute. Through Matan Torah the attribute of “raised us above“(ורוממתנו) was accomplished. Yidden were elevated over all the nations, so much so that they became higher than the world in general - not confined (אונטערווארפן) to the boundaries of nature.

In other words:

When Yidden perform the Will of the Omnipresent, meaning that they conduct themselves according to Torah and Mitzvot, with completeness – then not only are all their needs provided for with expanse, but even more so – they do not need to plow and sow etc. – for their work is performed (for them) by others (מלאכתן נעשית ע׳׳י אחרים).

In the Avodah of each Yid, specifically, this means that:

When it comes to doing an aspect of Torah and Mitzvot, a Yid must conduct himself as a king. He must involve himself with the Mitzvah, as if he has no other tasks and worries (like one whose needs are provided for with expanse).

No worldly accounting, should prevent him from performing a Mitzvah, since in aspects of Torah and Mitzvot, a Yid is a master (בעה״ב) (a king) over nature.

And when a Yid goes to fulfill Torah and Mitzvot with this attitude of “Mamlechet Kohanim”, he is able to carry this out, not in a manner of “battle” (מלחמה) with his Yetzer Hara, and with things that confound him – but in a manner of tranquility (מנוחה). He lifts himself higher than the world around him (knowing that he is part of “Mamlechet Kohanim”) as if he has, from the very onset, no distractions.

4. A Yid could however ask:

One could understand this, if it speaks regarding the (Pnimiyut of the) soul, which is higher than (enclothment in the) body – that nothing of the world and physicality can distract him in his bond with G-d (through performing the Will and fulfillment of His commands - Mitzvot - of the King of the universe).

However, here it speaks regarding the soul of a Yid, as it is enclothed in a body and has to deal with aspects of the world, which limit and confound him (מגביל ומבלבל). Therefore how can it be demanded of him, that he should lift himself higher than the enclothing, and do this truthfully?

The answer to this is that in each generation there are Nesiei Yisroel who possess the attributes of kingship and leadership – and they give each Yid the power to visibly evoke within themselves (at least a glimmer of) the attribute of “Mamlechet Kohanim”.

5. Since Moshe, David and the Baal Shem Tov, were each a Nasi and king,

(Which is why we find that they (in addition to physical wealth - also) had sovereignty and dominion over nature - they possessed a conduct that was above nature.

The entire conduct of Moshe Rabbeinu’s leading the Yidden in Mitzrayim and the desert, was in a miraculous manner.

Also with King David, G-d constantly showed him miracles and wonders, as we see in the many prayers and thanks in Sefer Tehillim.

 And the Baal Shem Tov had a conduct that was full with miracles and wonders, as is publicized in all the stories of the Baal Shem Tov and his students. So much so that there is a common expression and depiction (even among common folk (אויך ביי עמא דבר)) that one calls any wondrous event – a Baal Shem’s “deed” (א בעל־שם׳סקע מעשה)).

the aspects of kingship, in each Yid, was revealed through their influence.

6. To understand this special aspect which each of them Moshe, David and the Baal Shem Tov - imbue within the Yidden, one must first explain how the revelation of Matan Torah (itself) contains three aspects:

1. The essential revelation of G-dliness by Matan Torah - G-d descended on Har Sinai – which was completely above nature and the world - and this was only temporary (לפי שעה).

2. The outcome and the effect from this revelation in the world – that even after the event of Matan Torah - when the ram's horn sounded – (במשור היובל) - the Shechinah departed, The revelation of the G-dly Light of Matan Torah, stopped. However through Matan Torah, the nature of the world was refined, that from then on, it should be easier to reveal the G-dly light in it.

3. The purpose of Matan Torah – that there should be a connection between the supernal and the lower realms, or in the words of Tanya: Making of this physical world, where there is none lower than it, an abode for G-d (דירה לו ית׳). This means that, even in the hiddenness of the world, where one does not see any G-dliness, G-d forbid,

(“A doubled and redoubled darkness . . so much so, that it is filled with Klipot and sitra achra which actually oppose G‑d, saying: “I am, and there is nothing else besides me.” (וחושך כפול ומכופל עד שהוא מלא קליפות וסטרא אחרא שהן נגד ה׳ ממש, לומר אני ואפסי עוד))

a Yid should draw down (אראפטראגן) the revelation of the G-dly Light of Matan Torah.

7. These three aspects manifest themselves, in general, in the three periods of the Jewish people - in the time of the Generation of the Wilderness (דור המדבר), in the time when the Yidden lived in their land, and in the time of Galut:

The Yidden of the Generation of the Wilderness, who physically, with souls in their bodies, received the Torah – visibly retained a glimmer of the revelation of Matan Torah, even afterwards. They remained in the desert, where they were removed from the aspects of the world,

(And were in a condition of miraculous conduct that was above nature in all of their needs)

in order to enable them to devote themselves entirely to Torah, as the Sages state: “the Torah was only given to those that ate the manna” (לא ניתנה תורה וכו' אלא לאוכלי המן).

In Eretz Yisroel the Yidden were already in a “settled land” (ארץ נושבת) – in a routine of life in a natural manner. On the other hand, however, there, the Supernal Providence, was in a revealed manner, as it states:

 “A land the L-rd, your G-d, looks after; the eyes of L-rd your G-d are always upon it, from the beginning of the year to the end of the year”.

And even in the work of the field, where “seedtime and harvest . . shall not cease” it states that Eretz Yisroel “absorbs water from the rains of heaven”. One physically saw that G-d is He who sustains and provides for all (זן ומפרנס לכל). Therefore one knew clearly that the dealings “in all that you do” is only that of making a receptacle to receive G-d’s blessing -“G-d will bless you” - which comes from Above.

In the time of Galut, where “we do not see our signs etc.” so much so that a Yid could, G-d forbid, think that he is under (אונטערווארפן) the dictates of nature just as a non-Jew, and that he must struggle to break (דורכצוברעכן) and illuminate the hiddenness of the world and the darkness of Galut.

8. That which the revelation of Matan Torah was only temporary, is only with regard to its effect in the world, in general. However regarding Yidden, the revelation of Matan Torah, permanently established within them, the attribute of “Mamlechet Kohanim”. Every Yid, no matter what condition he is in, is in the Pnimiyut of his soul, completely higher that all that is around him, and is not under the confines of nature.

The aforementioned - is also the difference (and the innovation) between the effluences of the aspect of kingship and leadership (“Mamlechet Kohanim”) which Moshe, David and the Baal Shem Tov imbued within Yidden:

Moshe Rabbeinu, from whom which the Torah was given, so much so that the Torah is “called by his name” (נקראת על שמו) – accomplished in his generation

(Who received the Torah, physically (נשמות בגופים), as aforementioned)

that they should be imbued with the aspect of “Mamlechet Kohanim”, in an actual physical manner (פשוט׳ן גשמיות׳דיקן זין) . They received all of their needs from Above, without struggle. Each one of them possessed wealth and expanse. And their daily routine was conducted in a miraculous manner, as aforementioned.

However, after coming into Eretz Yisroel – a settled land - the manna which was ‘bread from heaven’ – stopped. And in the words of the verse:

“When you come to the land . . You may sow your field for six years, and for six years you may prune your vineyard etc.”

One had to engage in work etc., even though, that in Eretz Yisroel, the Supernal Providence is in a revealed manner, which shows that, in truth, Parnassah is given from Above, as aforementioned.

Nevertheless, this itself that one has to be involved with making, through nature, a receptacle for G-d’s blessing, could give room for the thought that his involvement in this has a part (תפיסת מקום) in creating the flow of his Parnassah. Therefore it can distract him from Torah and Mitzvot.

And this is the innovation of King David who gave the power to a Yid, that even while being in the settled land, he can bring out into revelation that he is from “Mamlechet Kohanim”. This means that he should come to the recognition that his Parnassah comes completely from Above (and therefore is, truthfully, also – with expanse) and that it is (in its root and in Pnimiyut) a miraculous aspect which is not bound to the ways of nature – and that his involvement in nature is just because that is G-d’s Will – that it should be in a manner of “in all that you do”.

Therefore it is understood, that when it is dealing with an aspect of Torah and Mitzvot, he fulfills them without any distractions, just as a king acts (as aforementioned par 3).

9. When the darkness of Galut began, and specifically in the time when the darkness of Galut became deeper and darker – and due to the pressure (צוק) of the times, one became involved (אריינגעטאן) (not just in working, in general, but) in the burdens of making a livelihood (טרדות הפרנסה) - it required a new (and higher) power (נתינת־כח) to awake within the Yidden the revelation of the aspects of a king.

A Yid could think, that in such a time, when there is so much hiddenness and concealment in order to fulfill Torah and Mitzvot, that it is more than sufficient, if he would fulfill his Torah and Mitzvot, in a normal manner.

(Which even this is connected with a hard battle and with much effort to overcome the difficulties etc.).

And how much more so is this, when he is stressed even more so in order to perform a Mitzvah in a beautiful manner – a Hiddur mitzvah – increasing his study of Torah more than his obligation.

How can one, however, in such a time, engage in Torah and Mitzvot like one who is a “Mamlechet Kohanim” – meaning as if the entire hiddenness and distractions do not exist?!

Therefore, the Baal Shem Tov says – that even in the depth of the time of Galut, a Yid can lift himself completely higher from his surroundings and feel how he is from “Mamlechet Kohanim” – where G-d Himself, with complete Divine Providence, leads him and his life in a miraculous manner - daily and in every single detail.

And this effluence – evoking the “Mamlechet Kohanim” in Yidden in the time of Galut – is also a greater innovation and a virtue in the aspect of kingship, more than the previous two situations.

The reason that a Yid can lift himself higher than the world and nature when he is in a desert – isolated from the world, or even in

(The world, however, in a place where G-dliness is revealed -)

Eretz Yisroel – is because the “bli gevul” (בלי הגבלה) - the unlimited power of kingship which resides in a Yid, is manifested. For then, he is from the very onset, not thrown under the confines of this world.

Specifically when a Yid conducts himself with such a manner in the time of Galut, it shows that he can lift himself up and go (using the known expression) "Lechatchila Ariber" (in the first instance go right over an obstacle). This means not with a (normal) order and progression (סדר והדרגה), but completely higher from measurement and boundary – from the depth of the darkness of Galut to the loftiness of “Mamlechet Kohanim”.

10. One could, G-d forbid, say that this innovation of Moshe, David and the Baal Shem Tov was only for the Yidden of those generations.

(Or – only for those general periods when they lived:

  • Moshe Rabbeinu – the Generation of the Wilderness (דור המדבר),
  • King David –when Yidden were in Eretz Yisroel, and
  • The Baal Shem Tov – Yidden in the time of Galut).

However the accomplishment of Moshe, David and the Baal Shem Tov is everlasting (נצחית) for all the Yidden, in all the generations.

(Which is why Moshe is called by each Yid – “Moshe Rabbeinu”; King David is called by each Yid -“David, King of Israel, is alive and exists” (דוד מלך ישראל חי וקים) (even now). And since the coming of Moshiach is dependent on “spreading your wellsprings” – of the Baal Shem Tov – outward, it is understood that this concerns each Yid in all the generations.)

However, just as their accomplishment, in general, is emphasized, in the three different general periods, they are also divided in each generation itself according to the different types of Yidden (and in each individual itself – in the three types of his Avodah):

Avodat Hashem is split, in general, into three areas:

  • Torah,
  • Avodah (prayer) and
  • Gemilut Chasadim (the performance of Mitzvot),

including the commands of “know Him in all your ways” and “all your deeds should be for the sake of Heaven”.

These are similar to the three types of Avodah in the three aforementioned times (desert, Eretz Yisroel and the time of Galut):

  • Torah is the revelation of G-d’s Wisdom. And the aspect of Torah study is in a manner of from above to below (מלמעלה למטה) – to reveal the Will and Wisdom of G-d below. Therefore, through Torah, one becomes uplifted higher than the world (similar to the Yidden in the desert). Through Torah one becomes a king (as the Sages state: “the Rabbis are called kings”) which is a ruler and dictator (מושל ושולט) over nature (like the well-known statements of the Sages on the verse: “G-d Who completes (what He promised) for me” (לא־ל גומר עלי). (Note: that when there is a ruling according to Torah, then ‘G-d completes what he promised for me’ meaning that G-d alters the existence of the world according to the Torah ruling)
  • The aspect of prayer, is the request of one’s needs - from the person praying. He indeed feels that G-d is He who gives him his needs,

(Similar to the aforementioned, regarding Eretz Yisroel)

yet he is engrossed with his needs. (He asks G-d to fulfill that which he lacks)

However even regarding the Avodah of prayer, it is still (נאך אלץ), in a manner that he should not have to deal with physical things, as they exist in the world.

(Similar to the time when the Yidden were in their land that it was: “every man under his vine and under his fig-tree” – not among the nations of the world) –

His connection with them, manifests itself only in that he prays to G-d concerning them since they are his needs.

  • The deeds of Mitzvot which are performed with physical things, and how much more so – regarding the Avodah to refine mundane aspects – his Avodah is to refine and transform the concealment and darkness of the physicality of the world, namely that the Holy Light (אור הקדושה) should illuminate within them (similar to the time of Galut when the Yidden are among the nations of the world etc.).

11. And this is the aspect of kingship which Moshe, David and the Baal Shem Tov imbued to (each) Yid in every generation:

  • Moshe, whose aspect is Torah, accomplishes (reveals) the essence of the aspect of “Mamlechet Kohanim” by the Yidden – the category of the “masters of Torah”( מארי תורה) who are removed from the world, as it states that their Torah is their occupation (תורתם אומנתם) (on which it states: “who are the kings – the Rabbis”).

(a glimmer of this is accomplished by each Yid - in the times that he dedicates to Torah study – that he has the power to remove himself - at least in that time- completely from worldly affairs and worries and to be completely immersed with studying Torah, just like one whose sole occupation is Torah (תורתו אומנתו).

  • David, whose aspect is prayer (which is why he wrote sefer Tehillim) accomplishes (due to the aspect of kingship, in him) that even this Avodah should be in a kingly (מלכות'דיקן) fashion. That even though he is requesting his needs – the requests are fulfilled.

(Not like normal prayer, which, being a request from below, can have obstacles and barriers that can cause that the requests will not be fulfilled. Or, at least, that it will take time or that they will not be completely fulfilled, and so forth – but)

instantly and immediately, without boundary or hindrance, and with the epitome of completeness. Like the request of a king is fulfilled. This is similar to the way it is fulfilled through Torah – as it is told in the Zohar that when the Rashbi needed to effect rainfall, he said a Torah lesson on the verse: “Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brothers also to dwell together!” (הִנֵּה מַה טּוֹב וּמַה נָּעִים שֶׁבֶת אַחִים גַּם יָחַד) and rains of blessings (גשמי ברכה) immediately began to fall (and in a desired fashion).

(Therefore, in Sefer Tehillim – the prayer of David (תפלת דוד) – there are both avenues. There is the aspect of praises and lauding (תהלות ותשבחות) like with prayer. And together with this, it is one of the twenty-four books of the Written Torah. Therefore its accomplishment is similar to the accomplishment of Torah).

  • The Baal Shem Tov revealed the unity of G-d in the world.

(How the true being of each creation is the Word of G-d that, in each moment – creates, sustains and enlivens it)

However, in this itself, he revealed it in a manner of Torah (through revealing an explanation of a verse).

And through this, a power was given to each Yid, that even when he is involved with physical things, so much so – that at times it is also with the coarseness of the world, and even in a state that “we do not see our signs etc. “(אותותינו לא ראינו גו׳) and therefore the “refining” (בירור) is connected with a battle – nevertheless he conducts the battle in a manner of “Mamlechet Kohanim”.

Immediately when going out to battle, he knows that since he is part of “Mamlechet Kohanim”, he is “on (higher than) your enemies” (על (העכער פון) אויביו).

Therefore the victory comes from Above – “the L-rd, your G-d, will deliver him into your hands”. And through this it will be that “you take his captives” meaning that one takes out the G-dly spark which was “trapped” in the physical things, from its Galut, so much so that the darkness is transformed to light and the bitter to sweet” (אתהפכא חשוכא לנהורא ומרירו למתקא) .

Msichas Yom 2 of Chag HaShavuot 5737


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