Vol 29.20 - Chai Elul Spanish French Audio Video
The previous Rebbe mentioned two saying from the elder Chassidim:
The difference between the two sayings is not only in style but in content.
According to the first saying, it is Chai Elul, the day itself, which draws life into the month. The second statement comes to say that the content of Chai Elul is that enlivens the month.
At first glance, there seems to be a contradiction regarding our Avodah in Elul. On the other hand, the Avodah of the month is initiated below, by us, and rises above to G-d. The Alter Rebbe however, stated that Elul is a time of favorable response from above, in Elul the Thirteen Attributes of Mercy shine down upon us.
G-d designated Elul as an auspicious month and this is especially true on the day Chai Elul, the birthday of both the Ba’al Shem Tov and the Alter Rebbe.
Therefore, it an auspicious day that injects life into the month and our Avodah. Yet we must also utilize this to add in our Avodah from below to above
Both sayings of the elder Chassidim are true: the day itself injects life, while the content of the day arouses us to improve our service from below.
1. Concerning Chai Elul (the 18th day of Elul) the birthday of the Ba’al Shem Tov (5458/1698 - acronym “Nachat”), and the Alter Rebbe (5505/1745 - acronym “Kehot”) - the Previous Rebbe, in a Sicha, said:
“Among the Chassidim, there is an old Chassidisher saying in two manners:
The reason that the Rebbe Rayatz said both versions is understood since they are both true. Furthermore, there is an innovation in one version versus the second.
Since he numbered the statements:
it is understood that first comes the aspect of Chai Elul that it is “the day which brought and brings life into the month of Elul “. And only afterward comes the “Beit” – the second (version -) aspect of Chai Elul, that it “gives a vitality in the Avodah of: ‘I am to my beloved and my beloved is to me".
2. The differences between the two aforementioned versions are:
In this, there are two differences:
3. One could say that the aforementioned difference are not just (arbitrary) differences in wording, but rather that they are crucial differences in context:
1. The expression “Chai Elul is the day which etc. “ emphasizes the aspect of time - it is a “day”, one of the days of the year. However, it is an unique day. (“מיוחד “) – “the day which brought and brings life into the month of Elul
However, when one says “Chai Elul” plainly, the emphasis is not (so much) its time factor, but rather the importance (אינהאלט) of the day.
In other words:
In time there are two aspects:
For example, the day of Shabbat which in time is:
And this is the first difference between the two versions:
2. The aforementioned difference is more evident in the third aforementioned difference (par 2) between the two versions:
3. Even the second aforementioned difference– “brings” or “gives” - is a crucial difference:
4. One could say that the explanation of this is:
Regarding Elul there are two aspects:
The Avodah of Elul is in the manner of “Awakening from Below to Above” (Isarusa Dil’tata - אתערותא דלתתא). Elul is the (aforementioned) acronym “I am to my beloved and He is for me“. Beforehand comes the “I am to my beloved“ (Avodat HaAdam), and afterwards “my beloved is for me “ (Awakening from Above (the Isarusa Dil'aila - אתערותא דלעילא)
In other words the Isarusa Dil’aila (“my beloved is to me “) is a result of the Avodat HaAdam.
(Not like the month of Nissan whose aspect is Isarusa Dil’tata, in the words of the verse “My beloved is mine, and I am his“ – beforehand “My beloved is mine“ and afterwards (through the Isarusa Dil’aila) “I am his“).
The Alter Rebbe states in Likkutei Torah that the “my beloved is for me” of Elul – the “drawing of G-dliness to below in a level of revelation” is not in the month of Elul, but aftyerwards on Rosh Hashanah etc. since the aspect of Chai Elul is – Isarusa Dil’tata (Awakening from Below).
However, on the other hand, the Alter Rebbe states (specifically there) that Elul is an auspicious time (עת רצון) “a time for the revelation of the Thirteen Attributes of Mercy”. This Supernal revelation is accomplished (not through man’s Avodah, but rather) in a manner of Isarusa Dil’aila. As it is understood from the parable that the Alter Rebbe says there on the matter – that this is like a king who “is received in the field. At that time, anyone who so desires is granted permission to go out and greet him. He receives them all pleasantly, and shows a smiling countenance to all“.
For even though Elul‘s aspect is Isarusa Dil’tata (as aforementioned), every Avodah of a person must rely on Supernal help (Isarusa Dil’aila) for the Avodah (like the statement of the Sages on the verse “Who came to meet Me? I will pay (his reward)”
(Note: Could anyone praise Me if I did not give him life, Did anyone ever affix a mezuzah before I gave him a house? Did anyone ever wear tzitzit for Me before I gave him a cloak? (c.f. all the examples)" In other words, every Mitzvah we do always follows a gift from G-d).
In addition, this is the aspect of the shining of the Thirteen Attributes of Mercy in Chai Elul – this is the Isarusa Dil’aila for the Avodah of Elul “I am to my beloved and my beloved is to me”
5. Even though Elul contains both aspect (the illumination of the Thirteen Attributes of Mercy from above and Isarusa Dil’aila), as aforementioned – nevertheless the acronym of the word Elul (“I am to my beloved and my beloved is to me”) which specifically alludes to the aspect of Isarusa Dil’tata.
One could say that the explanation of this is:
The Isarusa Dil’aila of Elul – the illumination of the Thirteen Attributes of Mercy – is connected with the time of Elul:
There are many times in the year which are auspicious – yet are not connected with Avodat HaAdam. G-d, from the very onset, set in (the nature of the) world, that the times are, of their own accord, auspicious. Similarly with regard to the month of Elul. The illumination of the Thirteen Attributes of Mercy in the month of Elul is due to the month of Elul being an auspicious time from Above, which, at that time, the king goes into the “field”.
However, the nature and essence of the month (which was given in this time) is, on the contrary – specifically the aspect of Isarusa Dil’tata, Avodat HaAdam.
6. According to the aforementioned, one can also understand the difference between the two aforementioned versions regarding Chai Elul:
For just as there are the two aspects (the illumination of the Thirteen Attributes of Mercy and Isarusa Dil’tata) in Elul, similarly it is so with regard to Chai Elul. Namely, that the vitality which Chai Elul brings into Elul, is in both parts of it. Both with regard to the Isarusa Dil’aila of it (the illumination of the Thirteen Attributes of Mercy) as well as in the Isarusa Dil’tata of it (the Avodah of Elul).
The day of Chai Elul – the birthday of the Ba’al Shem Tov and the Alter Rebbe – is a special day (יום סגולה) and an auspicious time. Therefore, it brought a new “vitality” in the auspicious time of Elul - in the awakening of Elul which comes from Above (due to the illumination of the Thirteen Attributes of Mercy).
And afterward there is that which Chai Elul, due to its essence – connected with Avodat HaAdam according to Torat HaChassidut - gives a vitality in the essence of Chai Elul, in the Avodah of “I am to my beloved and my beloved is to me”. Namely that the Avodah of Chai Elul is with an entirely different vitality.
7. And this difference is emphasized in the different wordings in the two aforementioned versions (and in their order):
Therefore, the wording regarding this is “the day which brought and brings life into Elul “
(Similarly, it is with regard to a person, namely that the vitality which Chai Elul “gives . . in the Avodah of: ‘I am to my beloved and my beloved is to me’" “ becomes drawn down (not in the manner of Isarusa Dil’aila, but rather) in the manner of Below to Above. The person must bring this out from potential to actual through his Avodah).
8. The lesson of this in Avodat HaShem –is in both extremes:
For those who are in the beginning of their Avodah – at the “Alef” of Elul – one says to them that “Chai Elul is the day which brought and brings life into the month of Elul“:
A Yid can claim: how is it possible that he, knowing his standing and condition, should be able to receive (and absorb) the vitality of Chai Elul? What relation does he have to such a lofty day!
To this one answers him:
Even though you are just at the beginning of the Avodah -
(And you have not even begun the Avodah of Elul – the “I am to my beloved and He is for me”, which is why it is seemingly not relevant that you should effect a vitality in Avodat HaShem (“gives a vitality”) –
nevertheless, you have the potential, through the auspicious day of Chai Elul, to (at least) bring a vitality into Elul.
Chai Elul has already brought into you a vitality in Elul. You have this, as an inheritance from your fathers and the ancestors of you fathers. Therefore, it brings to you vitality, also in the present time.
On the other hand, there is a lesson for the “leaders of your tribes”. Namely, that it is not sufficient for him, that which Chai Elul brings a vitality in Elul. Rather he must effect a vitality (“gives a vitality”) in his Avodah of Elul.
For example – in Torah study:
It is not sufficient to just “study cursorily” (ליגמר איניש) –
meaning being suffice with “cursory study from one’s Rabbi” (similar to “brings a vitality” - in which the vitality beforehand, is not his. It comes from another place) –
But rather there must be the “subsequently understand“.
(Note: Talmud Shabbat states (63a): “a person should first learn and subsequently understand”- ליגמר איניש והדר ליסבר)
This means that in addition to that which he reviews the Torah of his teacher, he also delves into it with his own intellect, to explain “its reasoning”. So much so that he (also) innovates in Torah. This is similar to Chai Elul which gives a vitality in the Avodah of “I am to my beloved and my beloved is to me”.
9. Since the Rebbe Rayatz publicly stated these two versions and instructed that they be printed and disseminated, it is understood, that, in truth, both versions are relevant to each and every one of Yisroel.
For even those who are just at the beginning of their Avodah, must know that, in the end, they can come to a point where they should give (and effect) a vitality in Avodat HaShem, of their own accord.
On the other hand, even those who already are at the level that they accomplish in the Avodah of “I am to my beloved and my beloved is to me”. And even more so: they have the power to effect a vitality in their Avodah - they must know that all this is not (completely) their accomplishment. But rather that this begins from the “vitality” which Chai Elul brings (from Above) into Elul.
Similarly – in the aforementioned example of Torah study – as the Talmud tells us regarding R’ Akiva, that when Moshe Rabbeinu heard how R’ Akiva learns with his students “he did not know what they were saying” and “he became weak”. However, “when they came to a certain subject and his students said to him ‘Where do you know it?’ and he replied ‘It is a law given unto Moshe at Sinai’ then he ‘calmed down’“.
This means that even the aspects which R’ Akiva innovated (which is why Moshe “did not know what they were saying“), nevertheless, their source is from Moshe Rabbeinu. It is a “law given unto Moshe at Sinai”.
MSichas Shabbat Parshat Tavo, Chai Elul, 5743
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