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(5750) Tehillim (Psalms 72:8): "And may he reign from sea to sea, and from the river to the ends of the land" - And not just 'over all of the land" - According to Chassidut


וירד מים עד ים ומנהר עד אפסי ארץ  refers to Moshiach
The days of Moshiach (אפסי ארץ) are connected to our deeds and service  (נהר)in the times of Galus

One needs to be concerned with watering the world (refinement and purification)


1. The verse states: "And may he reign from sea to sea, and from the river to the ends of the land" (Psalms 72:8). Rashi on our Parsha explains that this verse refers to King Moshiach and this is the intent of the prophecy of Balaam on the verse “A ruler shall come out of Jacob” – that:

“There will be another ruler from Jacob . .

We also find this wording in the prophecy of Zechariah which explicitly specks of King Moshiach –

“Your king shall come to you etc. . .riding a donkey etc. and his rule shall be from the sea to the west and from the river to the ends of the earth.

This is also cited in Rambam in explanation of the verse (of the prophecy of Balaam): “uproot all the sons of Seth” - “This refers to King Moshiach on which it states: “He will reign from sea to sea”.

This simply means that King Moshiach will be a ruler and reign over the entire world. As the Ibn Ezra explains:

“The southern sea which is called Red Sea to the north sea which is the ocean (yam okeanus), and from the River (which alludes to the) river that went out of Eden, which is the beginning of the East until the ends of the earth, which is at the end of the West”

One must understand:

Why does it state: “from sea to sea, and from the river to the ends of the land" and not (just) concisely state: “over the entire world etc.” And in general, why mention the seas at all (from sea to sea)? For the rulership of Moshiach is on the land (the inhabitants of the earth/Yoshvei Teivel)

2. One could explain this according to Chassidut on the words of the Alter Rebbe, that the completeness of the Days of Moshiach are: "dependent on our deeds and Divine service throughout the era of exile".

For through Torah study and the performance of Mitzvot – “listening to His voice” (b’Kolo Tishma’u) , one brings the entire world and Bnei Yisroel specifically, to the complete purpose of the Messianic Era.

And since G-d’s trait is “measure for measure (midda kneged midda), it is understood that “our deeds and Divine service” which bring the coming of Moshiach, need to be similar to the advantages that will exist at that time. This means that in order to attain the revelation of the kingdom of King Moshiach, which will be “from sea to sea, and from the river to the ends of the land", the individual service of each person must be similar (m’ein) to it.

This can be more clearly understood by that which is cited in the book Meor Einayim (authored by the Tzaddik etc. R’ (Menachem Nachum) of Tchernoble) in the name of the Baal Shem Tov that:

"Every Jew must rectify and prepare that part of Moshiach's 'body' that is relevant to his soul."

And as is explained in another place, this is alluded to in the exoteric part of Torah – For the Talmud Yerushalmi expounds on the verse: “A star has gone forth from Jacob” that it refers to each Jew. Yet in another place in the Talmud Yerushalmi (and also in many Torah commentators) it states that it refers to Moshiach. This is because each person has within his soul a “part of Moshiach's body”.

And this is also explained in Tanya that:

The revelation of the innermost point of the heart of every Jew, is his connection to G-d which transcends man’s intellect (“hesech hadaas" - inattentiveness).

And this is similar to “the emergence of the general Shechinah from the exile and captivity forever more”

Additionally, one could say that this is the reason for the precise words: “"And may he reign and rule from sea to sea, and from the river to the ends of the land". For in order to merit the complete revelation of the kingdom of King Moshiach over the entire world (the general Geulah), one needs to have a glimmer of this in one’s personal Avodah. (personal geulah). For the spark of Moshiach in every Jew (innermost point of the heart) must rule and govern all of the parts and aspects of the person.

And since the main aspects of a person are divided into “from sea to sea, and from the river to the ends of the land", therefore it also states this regarding Moshiach.

3. The explanation is:

The difference between “sea” and “land” is that:

·         “sea” depicts hidden things (like the creatures of the sea that are covered by the waters of the sea).

·         “land” depicts revealed things.

In Avodat haAdam:

·         “sea” refers to the personal powers of the soul itself.

·         “land” refers to one’s deeds in the world around him.

Regarding “sea” it states: “from sea to sea” for there are two “seas” in which one must have dominion and rule.

One could explain the nature of these two “seas” in Avodat HaAdam based on what is written regarding Zechariah’s prophecy:

 “And it shall come to pass on that day that spring water shall come forth from Jerusalem; half of it to the eastern (Yam HaKadmoni) sea, and half of it to the western (yam haAcharon) sea”

According to this, one could explain that the two “seas” that are mentioned regarding Moshiach - “from sea to sea” – are the:

·         “Yam HaKadmoni (eastern/beginning sea)”

·         and the “Yam haAcharon (western/final sea)” – the beginning and end of the all the seas.

In Avodat HaAdam:

·         “Yam HaKadmoni” refers to the beginning of all powers – the power of Wisdom (Chochma) (the beginning of intellect).

·         “Yam haAcharon” is the end of the all the powers – the power of deed (asiyah).

A person’s Avodah is not complete until he has dominion and rule from the start of his powers – the power of Wisdom, until the culmination of his powers – the power of deed.

In other words:

At the start of it all, one must have dominion and rule over the power of his Wisdom (intellect), that it should be entirely holy. For the general conduct of person, in all its particulars, is dependent on the intellect of the head, i.e. that the mind rule the heart, to guard it from bad desires.

But on the other hand, one must have the Avodah and endeavoring to “rule” until the “Yam haAcharon”, the power of one’s deeds (asiyah).

And as we actually see, it is possible that intellectually, one understands quite well how his conduct should be, in all its particulars. Yet one does not have the power to force himself to bring this conduct to fruition, to actual deed. It is possible that he could have positive feelings for all things holy, including good thoughts, and even proper speech. Nevertheless, it does not come to actual action – and the deed is paramount (ma’aseh hu haikar).

And this is the emphasis, that the Avodat HaAdam be: “from sea to sea” – for it is impossible for one’s Avodah to be complete, without dominion and rule over these two extremes, the “Yam HaKadmoni” and the “Yam haAcharon”, wisdom and deed.

4. However, all this is in the person himself, even including his own deeds, actual deed (ma’aseh bPoel), which is with things that are external to him. Nevertheless it is possible that the intent of his deeds is not to effect (things) that are external to him, but that (affecting the external) is just an (outcome and) part of his Avodah with himself. For the level that completely resides in holiness is when it also comes to actual deed (ma’aseh bPoel)

And this is why the phrase “from sea to sea” in the verse is not sufficient but it also needs to state “And from the river to the ends of the land”

The concept is:

It was cited previously that the Ibn Ezra explains that “river” is the “river that went out of Eden”
whose aspect was to “water the garden”. Because in the beginning of Creation, this was the place of Adam HaRishon (as it states:) “and He placed him there to work it and guard it”. However, in general, this refers to the entire world which is called “My garden (gani)”, the garden of G-d – as it states: “I have come into My garden, My sister, My bride (basi legani achosi kalla)”.

And this is man’s Avodah “to work it and guard it”. For through the Avodah of refining and polishing the world, it effects and reveals, throughout the entire world, that it is recognizable that it is the “garden” of G-d.

And this is the emphasis of the phrase of the verse “And from the river to the ends of the land”. For it is forbidden for a person to seclude himself within his small area (dalet amos) and not think about the world surrounding him, saying: “I have saved myself”, (and content himself) with being in “Eden” (a place of revealed G-dliness) –

But rather one must engage with his Avodah, the “river” i.e. to “water the garden”. One must refine and polish (with the power of the “river” which goes out from “Eden”), the entire world - “to the ends of the land”.

And this Avodah brings the completeness of the kingdom of Moshiach - "may he reign from sea to sea, and from the river to the ends of the land". For in addition to the completeness of Moshiach himself,

(as the verse states:) “Behold My servant shall prosper; he shall be exalted and lifted up, and he shall be very high”,

he will rectify the entire world to collectively serve G-d,

as it states: “For then I will convert the peoples etc. that all of them call in the name of the L-rd”,

the true and complete Redemption (Geulah HaAmitah VeHaShleima) really immediately and instantly (teikef u’meyad mamosh)

 (m’Sichas Yd-Beis Tammuz 5732)



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Contributor:  Benyomin Hoffman