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 (5736) (Deut. 1:11): "May Hashem add to you a thousandfold as many as you are"  - Moshe's blessing limited and Hashem's blessing unlimited


1. On the verse (Deut. 1:11):

“May the L-rd G-d of your forefathers add to you a thousandfold as many as you are, and may He bless you, as He spoke concerning you!”

The Midrash states:

“Yisroel said: “Our master Moshe, G-d did not give a limit to our blessings yet you say a thousandfold? He said to them, that which I blessed you is my own blessing. When G-d comes, he will bless you as He spoke to you” (a blessing that is not finite)”.

The question is known regarding this:

Since G-d blesses with His blessing, which is infinite, what therefore does Moshe’s blessing “May G-d add a thousandfold” accomplish? It is included and subsumed (Batel to G-d’s blessing). And certainly it is a kal v’chomer from the principle that “two hundred includes one hundred” (יש בכלל מאתים מנה)?

The commentators answer that the innovation of Moshe’s blessing is in that which G-d’s blessing is only when the Yidden keep Torah and Mitzvot, whereas Moshe’s blessing is not dependent on any condition.

And this fits with the Talmud’s statement on the verse (Hoshea 2:1): (וְהָיָה מִסְפַּר בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל כְּחוֹל הַיָּם אֲשֶׁר לֹא יִמַּד וְלֹא יִסָּפֵר)

“It is written: ‘And the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea’ and it is also written: ‘which shall neither be measured nor counted?’ This is no contradiction: Here it is when Yisroel performs G-d’s Will and here is when they do not perform G-d’s Will”.

This means a limited blessing (“counted”) exists even when they do not perform G-d’s will. However G-d’s blessing which is infinite (“which shall neither be counted“) is in effect only when Yisroel performs G-d’s Will.

(Or to explain this in another manner: Moshe’s blessing is in the present time whereas G-d’s blessing will be in the Future. This fits with that which states in the Midrash that “in this world they are numbered . . however in the Future, Bnei Yisroel will be like the sand of the sea that is not measured or counted”).

However, from the wording of the Midrash here, in our Parsha, it appears that the difference between the two blessings is only in that which, one of them is “from me” and the second is from “G-d”. However, both are in effect in the same time. This means that even when there exists G-d’s blessing, which is infinite, there is room for the innovation of Moshe’s blessing that is finite.


This is proven from Rashi’s straightforward explanation of Rashi that cites the words of the Midrash without adding any additional explanation. From this, it is also understood that this is the ‘simple understanding of the verse’.

And this also fits with the simple understanding of the verse: “And the number of the children of Israel . . which shall neither be measured nor counted”. The simple meaning is that it is not speaking of various periods, but rather it will be the “number of Bnei Yisroel, in the same time when the blessing of “which shall neither be measured nor counted“ is fulfilled.

2. Similar to the aforementioned aspect, the concept that Moshe Rabbeinu’s limited blessing is not voided with regard to G-d’s blessing, is also found with regard and to the blessing: “May… add to you a thousandfold etc.“ itself, according to the way the Midrash explains it.

The Midrash states:

“’May… add to you a thousandfold as many as you are’ Why did he bless them using a term of addition (תוספת), because the addition of G-d is more than the main/Ikar” (שתוספתו של הקב"ה יתירה מן העיקר) (and the Midrash cites many examples for this).

This seemingly is not understood:

Since the “additional” blessing of G-d is “more than the main”, why therefore does the Torah of Truth (Torat Emet) call the previous blessing “main/Ikar” (with regard to the “addition”). Seemingly, in the end, since they are less than G-d’s “addition”, it is an aspect that is secondary (טפל) and not “main/ikar”?

Therefore, this itself is a proof, that even though “G-d’s addition” is “more than the main”, the previous blessing is not void. Moreover, it is called “ikar’, with regard to G-d’s addition.

3. One can understand this by prefacing an additional explanation in the previous saying of the Sages that: “'Neither be measured nor counted’ is no contradiction (to 'And the number . . the sand of the sea') for here it is when Yisroel performs G-d’s Will and there it is when they do not perform G-d’s Will”:

A blessing generally comes specifically through the Avodah of Yidden. And therefore it is understood, that also this limited blessing of: “And the number of etc. (similar to Moshe’s blessing of: “May… add to you a thousandfold“) is connected with the Avodah of Bnei Yisroel . However, this is an Avodah that lacks completeness. So much so that those who perform the Avodah in such a manner are called those who: “do not perform G-d’s Will“.

This is, for example, like Cain who brought an offering to G-d. And on the contrary, he was the first to do so and only afterward did Hevel “also bring“. Nevertheless, Cain’s offering was from the “From the worst (of the fruit)“. Similarly, even though, it is speaking of an Avodah that is above Cain’s offering, nevertheless, as is understood, each Avodah is limited. Since it is measured and with number, therefore one cannot, through it, (perform) and draw down G-d’s Will, which is higher than limitation.

So much so that we find that the two aspects: “number” and “neither be measured nor counted” in an additional higher level.

The Alter Rebbe explains that, in complete Avodat HaShem:

  • “Number” means the Avodah of fulfilling Mitzvot, which were given with the “number 613 etc.” And one “may not add or subtract” from this -

(Also, each Mitzvah has a specific measure and limitation) –

which is a limited Avodah.

  • Whereas “neither be measured nor counted” is the Avodah of Teshuva – an Avodah, which is higher than the Order of Creation (Hishtalshelut), and limitation.

4. As has been explained previously, the simple explanation of “And the number . . which shall neither be measured nor counted“ is that (they are not two separate things, but rather) the “number” itself is in a manner of “neither measured nor counted”.

And from this it is understood, also with regard to “number” and “neither be measured nor counted” in Avodat HaShem, that even the aspect of “number” is connected with the virtue of “nor counted”. For although Mitzvot are delineated and with limitation, nevertheless through them one “performs G-d’s Will“– drawing down the Supernal Will which is higher than limitation – “nor counted”.

(And the difference between the two types of Avodah is in that which:

  • By Mitzvot, the drawing down of the infinite (Bli Gevul) does not visibly illuminate, since the revealed Avodah is not in an aspect of ‘above limitation’.
  • Whereas the Avodah of Teshuva, which is visibly (from the perspective of the person who is performing his divine service) an Avodah which is higher than limitation. Therefore, there, the aspect of “neither be measured nor counted” is revealed).

The explanation of this is:

Mitzvot are G-d’s Will. And just as G-d is infinite/Bli Gevul, so too His Will – is infinite/Bli Gevul. Therefore, through Mitzvot, G-d’s Will, which is Bli Gevul, is drawn down (“nor counted”).

And although Mitzvot are with measure and limitation, it is not an “outward” (מבחוץ) measure in the G-dly light which is drawn down through Mitzvot, but rather G-d himself, as it were, limited (מודד) Himself, so that the drawing down of the infinite Will of G-d should be drawn down specifically when one does such and such a limited deed.


It should be in a (measured) manner, that the deed should take up, a receptacle and light (ואור כלי). Since this is not a measure of a thing that is outside of Him, G-d forbid. But rather, that which G-d - Ein Sof, blessed be He, alone, measured and limited Himself.

(In the words of Chassidut: this is essential measure and limitation, (עצמית והגבלה מדידה)).

For this is, in truth, not a limitation.

(On the other hand, one must have the limitation. For the world is indeed a limited entity, which cannot receive the G-dly light that is Bli Gevul. For, if so, the world would become void (בטל). And since the Avodah of Torah and Mitzvot is connected with the existence of the world, there must, therefore, be measure and limitation in Mitzvot.)

And this is what is meant by “And the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which shall neither be measured nor counted“. This means that the “number”, of Mitzvot, is not a true limitation, since, through and in them, the Bli Gevul of “nor counted” is drawn down.

5. One must however understand:

Since the purpose of Mitzvot is to draw down the G-dly light which has no limitation, why did G-d make it so, namely, that the Avodah should be specifically connected with a world which cannot receive the light. Moreover, that there should be the limitation of Mitzvot in order to bring down G-d’s Will which is Bli Gevul into a limited world?

And the explanation of this is:

The reason that Mitzvot were given in this world and with limitation, is

not because they must be drawn down below and the ‘below’ has the deficiency of limitation. In other words, that there is no other way to receive the Bli Gevul light except through it being enclothed in the measure and limitation of Mitzvot –

but rather

because the epitome of the virtue is (not in the Bli Gevul of “nor counted”, in and of itself, but rather) the connection of finite and infinite. Namely that “number” itself should be elevated in “neither be measured nor counted“. Specifically in this, is the power of G-d (כח העצמות) which is higher, not only of finite but also of infinite - manifested.

And therefore, this can only be achieved through the essential limitation of G-d’s Essence (Atzmut).

From the perspective of Orot (light) and revelations, finite and infinite are two separate aspects. Specifically through the limiting of G-d’s Essence (Atzmut), can there be the connection of finite and infinite, similar to the Ark where it states that “The place of the Ark took up no space“. The area of the Ark must, according to Torah, have a measure as it states: “two and a half Amot is its length etc.“ – yet this place is “is not included in the measurement“.

This is also why Moshe’s blessing is not void, even after that which G-d blesses Yidden with an infinite blessing. For the epitome of the intent is not that the aspect of finite should be nullified (בטל), but on the contrary that there should be the connection of finite and infinite.

And therefore, there is (a purpose) even for Moshe’s blessing: “May… add to you a thousandfold“.

For this effects that Creation (measure) should be at the epitome of completeness, so much so that it becomes an increase of “a thousandfold”. And afterward – when G-d comes – in this itself, (in Moshe's blessing), there is drawn down G-d’s blessing which has no end. It becomes (not just an increase, as much as can be according to the confines of Creation, but rather) an increase that has no end.

6. With this one can explain that which the Rebbe Rayatz said, that his father, the Rebbe Rashab, used to, at times, add to the saying of the Midrash:

“(The purpose for which this world was created is that) the Holy One, blessed be He, desired to have an abode for Himself in the lower realms “(שתכלית בריאת עולם הזה הוא שנתאוה הקדוש ברוך הוא להיות לו דירה בתחתונים)

the word “Yisboreich” ( יתברך - may He be blessed).

In other words, he would say: “the Holy One, blessed be He, desired to have for Himself, may He be blessed, an abode in the lower realms“ (נתאוה הקב"ה להיות לו יתברך דירה בתחתונים)

This seemingly requires explanation:

It is indeed true, that when mentions G-d’s name, one must praise Him. However, we do not find that when repeating a phrase from the saying of the Sages, which mentions G-d’s name, that the Holy Rebbeim would add the word: “Yisboreich” or some other appelation.

One must therefore say that there is a special connection and relation, between the aspect of “Yisboreich” with the aspect of: “the Holy One, blessed be He, desired to have an abode for Himself in the lower realms“.

And one could say the explanation of this is:

The aspect of “an abode in the lower realms/Tachtonim” includes both extremes:

  • “Abode/דירה״” is a term which depicts the drawing down of G-d’s Essence and Being, which is infinite/Bli Gevul (similar to a house below, where the person is found there, with all of his essence).
  • “Lower realms/Tachtonim” means this world etc. – where “there is none lower than it (in terms of concealment of His light)) (שאין תחתון למטה ממנו בענין הסתר אורו יתברך). The epitome of limitation.

And “abode” (abode in the lower realms) – is the connection between infinite and finite.

How can limited lower realms be an abode for G-d – for G-d’s Essence which is Bli Gevul – and remain existing?

The explanation of this is the addition of the Rebbe Rashab’s word “Yisboreich”. The aspect of an “abode for Himself” is explained through the essential aspect of “Yisboreich” – blessing:

7. The explanation of this is:

The difference between a blessing and prayer is:

  • A blessing draws down that which already exists in its root and source.
  • Whereas prayer creates a new will – (as it states:) “May it be His will” (רצון יהי ) – a new aspect, which is not in its root and source.

This, however is only with regard to the blessing of a mortal being. Whereas with regard to G-d’s blessing - since G-d is not, G-d forbid, bound with the limitations and boundaries of the root of the created being, who is being blessed, G-d’s blessing also has the advantage of prayer. It can also create a new aspect, which is higher than the root and source of the created being.

This means that in G-d’s blessing, there are both extremes:

It “reaches“ (דערלאנגט) higher than the root and source of the created being, higher than Hishtalshelut and brings it down below. A blessing and effluence (והמשכה ברכה) (from above to below). In other words, from the level that is higher than Hishtalshelut, it is drawn down into the created being, into Hishtalshelut.

And this is the explanation in the addition: “the Holy One, blessed be He, desired to have for Himself, may He be blessed, an abode in the lower realms“ (נתאוה הקב"ה להיות לו יתברך דירה בתחתונים)“:

The reason that “Tachtonim” can become an abode for Him – for G-d’s Essence - can be explained though the aspect of G-d’s blessing, which effects “Yisboreich” – drawing down from ‘above Seder Hishtalshelut’ into ‘Seder Hishtalshelut’.

8. However, it remains not understood:

Since the connection of finite and infinite is only in G-d’s power (which is higher than both of them) why is this connected with the Avodah of a created being, which, seemingly, being a limited Avodah, has (of its own accord) the power to draw down only a limitated light?

The explanation of this is (as has been mentioned many times) is that G-d‘s desire is that the Supernal revelations should not come down in a manner of “bread of shame” (נהמא דכסופא). Therefore, all effluences, even those which are higher than the scope of created beings, are connected and dependent on man’s Avodah.

Therefore, even though the “abode for Him in the lower realms“ comes from Above in the manner of a gift, there must, however, be “benefit that is derived” from the giver of the gift (עביד לי׳ נייחא לנפשי׳). For, specifically then, “he gives the gift”. This means that, beforehand there must be the completeness of the Avodah, from the perspective of the created beings, and only then are they drawn down from above the root of the created beings.

This is also the reason for the aspect of the priestly blessings, who bless the Yidden on G-d’s behalf (שליחותו). A blessing that is higher than Hishtalshelut. For seemingly, since G-d wants to bless Yidden, why must it be through the Kohanim, that they should bless the Yidden with the power of G-d? Indeed, G-d Himself can bless them!

However, the aspect in all the aforementioned is:

The Supernal intent is that, even the blessings and effluences that are higher than Hishtalshelut, must be drawn down though man’s Avodah, through the “Tachtonim”.

9. According to this, it is understood:

Even though we have G-d’s blessing, however, through Moshe’s blessing, which brings the completeness of the created beings – it also brings completeness, as it were, in G-d’s blessing that has no end (not bread of shame, and so forth).

And this also the precise wording of the saying:

“The addition of G-d is more than the main/Ikar” (שתוספתו של הקב"ה יתירה מן העיקר)

Since the “Tachtonim” draw down the “G-d’s addition“ through their Avodah, therefore they and their blessing are called “main/Ikar” since they are the “main aspect” and reason that “G-d’s addition“ should be drawn down.

10. All of the aforementioned – is also the “wondrous aspects” which is in Rashi’s commentary, which cites the topic of the aforementioned Sifri and Midrash.

What is Rashi’s simple explanation (according to the simple understanding of the verse)?

Rashi says that G-d’s blessing here – means the promise that “Just as it is impossible for dust to be counted so, too, your progeny will not be counted“. With this he connects it specifically with “Who counted (the dust of Jacob)“(מי מנה). When is this? As Rashi states: “like the Targum renders” whose time is when “They are destined to possess the world“ (עֲתִידִין דְּיַחְסְנוּן עָלְמָא ) – in the Future

MSichas Shabbat Parshat Vayishlach 5729


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