Sunday, December 4, 2011

Sicha from Lubavitcher Rebbe - Work is Avodas Hashem, Not Departure from it

A gracious reader shared the below message and quote from a sicha from the Lubavitcher Rebbe, zy"a in both English and Hebrew, which emphasizes the importance of viewing one's work for parnasa as part of one's avodas Hashem, rather than a break from it:
In regards to "avodas haavoda" I was recently shown saw a sicha from the Lubavitcher Rebbe on parshas vayeitzei. Never seen anything so validating for work as an avoda as this anywhere. Its lengthy but I attached to main part to the end of the email. I find it very inspiring in my own working life.

"It’s known from Chazal that “Hashem desires to dwell in the lower world”, i.e. Hashems dwelling place is not in the higher spiritual worlds rather it is specifically here in this lowest physical world, a world “so low that there is no level lower than it” (as the Alter Rebbe writes).

This is the purpose of the service of the Jewish people in general, and specifically during Golus. The purpose is that through their work in purifying the world (through performing Mitzvos using physical objects and through performing all their action for the sake of heaven so that the physical objects they use for serving Hashem become sanctified) the world become a fitting vessel for the highest Kedusha, and when this service is completed (with the coming of Moshisch) the entire world will be Hashem’s “dwelling”.

With this the two aspects of “Zevulun” can be understood. 1) The name “Zevulun” from the usage “Beis Zevul” a permanent dwelling. 2) The aspect of “Zevulun” as the working person (not the full-time learner) - since the drawing down of holiness into the physical world is mainly through the service of working people, since through working with physical matters for the same of heaven and performing Mitzvos they make the physical world a “dwelling” of Hashem. Through the work of Zevulun the “Bais Zevul” is made - a “dwelling place” for Hashem. This is the reason why in the verse Zevulun (representing working people) comes before Yisachar (fulltime learners), since this is the greatness of Zevulun over Yisachar.

This is the reason why we see that until Moshiach comes, when all our physical work will be done by others, most of the Jewish people are working people and not fulltime learners. This is because the goal of making this lower world into a dwelling place for Hashem is accomplished mainly through Zevulun.

Through this we can also understand that in regards to Yacov. 1) Since the dwelling place for Hashem is to be specifically in the lower world Yacov made his main dwelling place connected to Zevulun (since tzadikim resemble their creator) which means working with the physical world. 2) Yacovs activities in raising the family of Shevatim, the foundation of Clal Yisroel, was specifically in Charan as our sages say “Hashems anger (Charon Af) in the world” a place that was at the lowest level and in a time when Yacovs service itself was similar to the service of Zevulun - not a fulltime learner - but a worker in the house of Lavan.

However, we still need to explain this further. After all the main thing of Yacov was Torah. As we know that the world rests on three pillars. Torah, Avoda, Gemilus Chasadim these three correspond to the three forefathers with Yacov corresponding to Torah. Since this is so, even though Zevulun has an advantage, this is not a reason why Yacov should make his main dwelling place by Zevulun. What is the connection between the greatness of Zevulun and Yacov who's greatness is Torah?

To explain this we need to preface with an explanation of the greatness of the service of Zevulun - how specifically through his service the world will be transformed to a Hashems “dwelling”. One can ask: since the value of Zevulun is specifically during the time of “work” - when we are still involved with cleansing and purifying worldly things to transform them to vessels that are fit for Kedusha until the entire world is transformed to a dwelling for Hashem - what about after Moshiach comes when the “work” of purifying is over? Then there would seem to be no value to the work of Zevulun, since all our physical work will be done by others. Even more so when Moshiach comes “the entire world will only be involved with knowledge of Hashem” as the Rambam states.

It would seem therefore that the service of Zevulun is temporary and not eternal. So how can it be that specifically through Zevulun a permanent dwelling place for Hashem will be created? It would make more sense to say that Hashems permanent dwelling place will be created through Torah, since the Torah is eternal and can never be changed, it remains as it is eternally.

The following is an explanation. It’s true that a permanent dwelling place cannot be made possible except through something eternal, such as the Jewish people or the Torah - since they cleave to Hashem they are eternal. However the reason why this dwelling place for Hashem is made specifically through Zevulun is because through Zevulun (not only is the temporary world purified) but though his service even the Torah and the Jewish people are revealed in all their power and eternity.


The torah writes that “In order to test you to know if you truly love Hashem” - that through trials and tests the true power of ones love for Hashem becomes revealed. This is explained in other places as well. The Rambam writes that a Baal Teshuva that has tasted the taste of sin and refrains by conquering his desires is even greater than a Tzadik who never tasted sin.


This is since one who was never tested is not sure to remain on his spiritual level in all situations as opposed to a true Baal Teshuva, his soul power to resist temptation was revealed and so he will not fall into sin again in the same situation. The same applies to our topic here.


As long as the Jewish people are not involved with dealing with the world to purify and elevate it - even if they are involved in Torah and Avodas Hashem - the strength and eternity of their souls has not been fully revealed and actualized. Therefore this is not the type of service that can create a actualized dwelling place for Hashem. Specifically through Zevulun who deals with the lowest world (a world so low that there is nothing lower in terms of the hiddenness of Hashems light) and still is involved with Torah and keeping Mitzvos - this reveals the true eternal strength of connection to Hashem creating a dwelling place for the Shechina in an eternal and permanent manner.

The practical outcome of the above explanation is as follows:

Even though most of “Zevulun’s” time is spent involved with worldly matters (for the sake of Heaven) he is still obligated to set aside times for Torah study and Tefilah. But the explanation is not that working people must “also” set aside time for Torah study and Tefillah but rather that the true greatness of Zevulun even over Yisachar comes about through their service in Torah and Tefila. Even though they work with secular matters (transforming them to holiness) creating a “dwelling place” but in order for this to have its full strength this comes about through their Torah study and Tefila on Shabbos (when they are freed from business matters). Then their Torah study and Tefilah is even greater than that of a full time learner.

As the Alter Rebbe writes “This is the mistake of the working people that they think they can’t daven as well as full time learners - but the opposite is the case they can daven at a greater level since the advantage of light is noticeable specifically through darkness”. The same applies to Torah study since a working person has to force himself (against distractions of the outside world) to engage in Torah this results in his Torah study being even greater that a full time learner.

Furthermore this (Torah and Tefila) is not just an additional factor to a working persons main mission to make the world a “Bais Zevul” (permanent dwelling) for Hashem rather it is connected to this very mission. The greatness of this permanent dwelling is demonstrated specifically through Torah study and Tefila at length specifically on Shabbos.

Through this we can bring closer the day that is fully Shabbos and peaceful for everlasting, quickly actually in our days."

והנה ידוע מה שאמרו חז"ל31 "נתאוה הקב"ה להיות לו דירה בתחתונים", כלו­מר, "דירתו" של הקב"ה אינה בעולמות עליונים, שהם עולמות רוחניים, אלא דוקא בעולם הזה הגשמי התחתון, ועד, כמ"ש רבינו הזקן32, ש"הוא התחתון ב­מדריגה שאין תחתון למטה ממנו".

וזוהי הכוונה והמטרה של עבודת בנ"י בכלל, ובפרט בכל משך זמן ה­גלות, שע"י עבודתם בבירור וזיכוך ה­עולם (בעשיית מצוות בדברים גשמיים, וכן עשיית "כל מעשיך לשם שמים" — שעי"ז מקדשים דברים הגשמיים שבהם עובדים את השם) נעשה העולם כלי הראוי לקדושה העליונה, ובגמר עבודה זו (בביאת המשיח) יהי' כל העולם כולו "דירה" להקב"ה33.

ובזה מובן הקשר בין שני הענינים שב"זבולון" — (א) השם זבולון, מלשון "בית זבול", דירת קבע, (ב) ענינו של זבולון: בעל עסק (ולא יושב אהל) — כי המשכת הקדושה בגשמיות העולם היא בעיקר ע"י עבודתם של בעלי עסקים34, שע"י שעוסקים בענינים גשמיים של העולם לש"ש ומקיימים בהם מצות כו', עושים את העולם הזה הגשמי "דירה" להקב"ה; בעבודת זבולון נעשה ה"בית זבול" — דירה לו ית'.

וזהו הטעם של הקדמת זבולון (בעלי עסק) ליששכר (יושבי אהל) — "שמח זבולון בצאתך (ואח"כ) ויששכר באהלך" (כנ"ל ס"ב) — לפי שבענין עשיית דירה להקב"ה, שזהו "בתחתונים" דוקא, בגש­מיות העולם "שאין תחתון למטה ממנו" —

137

יש יתרון בעבודת זבולון על עבודת יששכר, כנ"ל.

וי"ל שזהו הטעם שאנו רואים כי עד בוא הזמן שמלאכתם נעשית ע"י אחרים — לאחרי ביאת משיח35 — רוב בנ"י הם בעלי עסק ולא יושבי אהל, ובלשון חז"ל35 "הרבה עשו כר' ישמעאל ועלתה בידן כרשב"י ולא עלתה בידן" והתורה על הרוב תדבר36 — כי להשלים מטרה זו — לעשות העולם הזה התחתון דירה לו ית', זה נעשה בעיקר על ידי "זבולון" דוקא, כנ"ל.

וע"פ כל הנ"ל יובן גם בנוגע ליעקב: (א) מכיון שדירתו של הקב"ה היא בתחתונים דוקא, לכן גם קביעת "עיקר דירתו" של יעקב (שצדיקים דומין ל­בוראן כנ"ל) קשורה דוקא בענינו של "זבולון"37 — עבודה בגשמיות העולם; (ב) פעולתו בהעמדת השבטים — שזה הי' יסודו של עם ישראל כנ"ל — היתה דוקא ב"חרן", "חרון אף של מקום (בעו­לם)"38, במקום ש"אין תחתון למטה מ­מנו", ובזמן כאשר אופן עבודתו של יעקב עצמו הי' בדומה לעבודתו של "זבולון" — לא יושב אהל, אלא פועל בבית לבן.

ה. אבל לכאורה עדיין חסר ביאור: סו"ס הרי ענינו של יעקב הוא תורה כנ"ל, וכידוע39 בענין ג' העמודים שעלי­הם העולם עומד, תורה עבודה וגמ"ח40, שהם כנגד ג' האבות, ויעקב הוא כנגד קו התורה — וא"כ אף שיש יתרון מעלה בזבולון, מ"מ אין זה טעם, לכאורה, שמעלה זו תכריע בקביעת עיקר מקום דירתו של יעקב — ומהו הקשר וה­שייכות דמעלה זו שבזבולון לענינו של יעקב — תורה?

ויובן זה בהקדם תוס' ביאור במעלת עבודת זבולון, שדוקא על ידי עבודה זו נעשה העולם דירה לו ית'. דלכאורה: מעלת ענינו של זבולון היא רק בעת העבודה — כאשר עסוקים (עדיין) בבי­רור וזיכוך של עניני העולם לעשותם כלים לקדושה עד וקודם שכל העולם כולו ייהפך לדירה לו ית'; אבל לאחרי גמר העבודה, ויקויים היעוד41 "ואת רוח הטומאה אעביר מן הארץ" — הרי אז, אין צורך לכאורה לעבודתו של זבולון ובלשון חז"ל35 מלאכתן נעשית ע"י אחרים [ולהעיר ממ"ש אדמו"ר הזקן42 יתירה מזה שלעת"ל לא תהי' העבודה לברר טוב מן הרע אלא רק עליות ב­קדושה גופא]; ויתירה מזה הרי בבוא משיח צדקנו יהי' (בלשון הרמב"ם43) "עסק כל העולם. . לדעת את ה' בלבד", "תורתו אומנתו"44.

ונמצא, לכאורה, שעבודת זבולון היא ענין עראי, ואין בה ענין הנצחיות; ו­כיצד מתאים שדוקא ע"י עבודת זבולון יהי' ענין ה"דירה"45, "בית זבול", דירת קבע (כביכול) של הקב"ה?

והי' מסתבר לומר שדירת קבע של הקב"ה תהי' ע"י ובענין תורה46, שהתורה היא נצחית ולא תהי' מוחלפת*46, "עומדת לעולם ולעולמי עולמים"47.

ו. ויש לומר הביאור בזה:

"דירה" באופן של קבע ונצחיות אמנם לא יתכן אלא בדבר שהוא נצחי, כ­ישראל48 ותורה, שלהיותם דבוקים בה' הם נצחיים49; ומה שה"דירה" נעשית דוקא על ידי עבודת זבולון, הוא (לא מצד עצם פעולת הזיכוך ובירור של ה­עולם, שזהו רק ענין עראי, כנ"ל, אלא) מפני שעל ידי עבודה זו בא לידי גילוי התוקף והנצחיות שבישראל ותורה.

ובהקדם תוכן הכתוב50 "מנסה ה"א אתכם לדעת הישכם אוהבים את ה"א גו'", שע"י נסיונות בא לידי גילוי — תוקף האהבה לה'.

וע"ד המבואר במ"א51 בביאור דברי הרמב"ם52 בענין בעל תשובה ש"טעם טעם החטא ופירש ממנו וכבש יצרו" ומעלתו על צדיקים "שלא חטאו מעולם" — דמי שלא טעם טעם חטא אינו מובטח שהוא יעמוד בצדקתו בכל המצבים, גם אם יהי' בנסיונות שאינו רגיל בהם כו', ובמילא לא בא לפועל וגם לא לגילוי תוקפו הדרוש לעמידה בנסיונות אלה;

משא"כ בעל תשובה ש"טעם טעם ה­חטא ופירש ממנו וכבש יצרו", הרי נת­גלה ובא לפועל תוקפו ולא יכשל עוד הפעם (ובלשון הרמב"ם53 "יעיד עליו יודע תעלומות שלא ישוב כו' לעולם").

וכן בעניננו: כל זמן שאין לבנ"י מו"מ בעניני העולם לבררם ולזככם, אף ש­עוסקים בתורה ועבודת ה' — בכ"ז הרי התוקף והנצחיות שבנשמתם לא בא ע­דיין לידי גילוי ועאכו"כ לא לידי פועל בעבודתם, ולכן אין זו עבודה שתעשה בפועל דירה להקב"ה.

דוקא בעבודת זבולון, שעוסק ב"תח­תונים" — "שאין תחתון למטה ממנו בענין הסתר אורו ית'"54 — ומ"מ עוסקים ב­תורה ומקיימים מצוות וכו', ה"ז מגלה וכו' את התוקף55, להיותם דבוקים

בתכלית עם השם. ובזה נעשים "דירה" לשכינה באופן קבוע ונצחי56.

וזהו הקשר בין ענין ה"דירה" העתי­דה להיות בגמר העבודה (דכל משך זמן הגלות), עם זה שאז "לא יהי' עסק כל העולם אלא לדעת את ה' בלבד. . יהיו ישראל חכמים גדולים כו'", לימוד ה­תורה באופן של תורתו אומנתו — כי ענין ה"דירה", "דירת קבע" של הקב"ה, מתגלה בעסק התורה של ישראל, אלא כדי שעסק זה יהי' בתכלית השלימות ה"ז לאחרי העבודה כל משך זמן הגלות.

וע"פ הנ"ל מובן שאין סתירה בין שני הענינים שביעקב — (א) שענינו הוא תו­רה, כנ"ל, (ב) שלימות הצלחתו באופן ד"ויפרוץ האיש מאד מאד" והעמדת שבטי ישראל כו' באו דוקא בעת וע"י עבודתו בבית לבן — כי: כדי שהתורה תהי' אצל יעקב בקביעות ולתמיד בלי כל הגבלה ("מאד מאד") — ה"ז בא עי"ז שיעקב הי' ב"חרון אף של מקום (בעו­לם)", ושם הי' רועה צאן (פועלו של לבן), שאז נמשך ונתגלה בתורתו ועבו­דתו של יעקב שיהי' "ויפרוץ האיש מאד מאד", למעלה מכל מדידה והגבלה.

ז. מענין האמור — שהעילוי הנפעל על ידי עבודת "זבולון" בבירור וזיכוך העולם יבא לידי גילוי בלימוד התורה של ימות המשיח — יש גם נפק"מ ב­מעשה בפועל בעבודתנו עתה:

אף שבכמות רוב זמנו של "זבולון" הוא בהתעסקות בעניני העולם (לשם שמים כו') — מ"מ, הוא מחוייב לקבוע עתים לתורה, וכן לעסוק בעבודת התפלה.

וע"פ המבואר לעיל מובן, שאין ה­פירוש בזה שגם בעלי עסק מחוייבים בלימוד התורה ועבודת התפלה, אלא — שלימות העילוי שבזבולון לגבי יששכר (זה שעל ידי עבודתם עושים דירה ל­הקב"ה, דירת קבע ונצחי) מתגלה בהם בעבודתם בתורה ותפלה57. וי"ל דהבחי­נה שבהיותו עסוק בעובדין דחול — עבד עבודתו כדבעי ועשה ה"דירה", וכ"ז מאיר באופן קבוע, היא כאשר לימודו ועבודתו ביום השבת (שאז פנוי מפרק­מטיא) היא באופן נעלה ביותר, גם מ­עבודת יושבי אהל.

ויש לומר, שזוהי כוונת רבינו הזקן באגרתו הידועה58, ש"בשבתות וימים טובים שגם כל בעלי עסקים יש להם פנאי ושעת הכושר להאריך בתפלתם ב­כוונת לבם ונפשם לה' ואדרבה עליהם

מוטל ביתר שאת ויתר עז" — די"ל ש­כוונתו אינה רק בנוגע להחיוב, שחל עליהם ביתר שאת ויתר עז (מיושבי אהל שיש להם פנאי להאריך בתפלה גם ב­ימות החול), אלא שעבודת התפלה שלהם היא "ביתר שאת ויתר עז" מתפלת יושבי אהל.

וכמו שביאר אדה"ז במק"א59, ש"זהו טעות הבעלי עסקים שבדעתם שאין יכולים להתפלל כ"כ כמו היושבי אוה­לים כי אדרבה נהפוך הוא שהם יכולים להתפלל יותר כי יתרון האור הוא מתוך החושך דוקא", וכמו שמבאר שם, שדוקא משום שבימי החול טרודים בעניני פר­נסה כו', הנה אח"כ בעת התפלה יכולים לעורר בעצמם אהבה בלתי מוגבלת ("ב­כל מאדך").

ועד"ז הוא בנוגע לקביעות עתים בתורה — שיש יתרון מעלה בקביעות עתים לתורה של הבעלי עסק מפני "ש­הוא בחי' אתכפייא יותר מביושבי אוה­לים"60, שזה שהבעל עסק כופה את עצמו כו' (נגד טרדותיו בעניני העולם) לעסוק בתורה, פועל שלימוד התורה שלו הוא באופן נעלה יותר מיושבי אהל.

וזוהי ההוראה במעשה בפועל לרובם של בנ"י — שאופן עבודתם הוא ע"ד העבודה דבעלי עסקים (וגם עוסקים ב­צרכי ציבור הם בכלל זה): לכל לראש צריכים להוסיף בקביעות עתים לתורה, והקביעות צריכה להיות באופן דקביעות בנפש, וביום השבת צריכים גם לעסוק בעבודת התפלה באריכות,

ואין זה דבר נוסף על שליחותם ה­עיקרית לעשות את העולם "בית זבול" לו ית', אלא קשורים זב"ז: העילוי של "בית זבול" הנעשה על ידי עבודתם בא לידי גילוי אצלם בלימוד תורתם וב­עבודתם בתפלה ובפרט בהאריכות ביום השבת.

ועל ידי זה מקרבים עוד יותר בוא יום שכולו שבת ומנוחה לחיי העולמים, במהרה בימינו ממש.

(משיחות ש"פ ויקרא תשמ"ב, ליל ה' דסוכות תשמ"ג)
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27 comments:

mekubal said...

Which sicha is it? Most of them can be found in English online.

Marc said...

Is this one of the English sources?

http://www.SichosInEnglish.org/books/sichos-in-english/15/14.htm

Marc said...

I believe this is the other English source. Yasher Koach dixieyid for posting. Very inspiring way to start my week!

http://www.SichosInEnglish.org/books/sichos-in-english/13/06.htm

Anonymous said...

does this mean one is allowed to speak about buisness on shabbos?

Anonymous said...

Quit the opposite. Since:

1) According to Halacha this is not allowed.

2) According to this Sicha we can understand a deeper reason why: By refraining from even speaking about business on shabbos we demonstrate how even during the week our intentions were purely for the sake of Heaven: to accomplish the task of elevating and purifying the physical world. On Shabbos the world temporarily enters an elevated state in which no more elevation is needed by us.

The Avoda on Shabbos is lengthy prayer (old time chassidim used to daven for 6,7 hours on shabbos) and Torah study.

Anonymous said...

Thank you very much

Anonymous said...

Emes. 100% emes.

The key is to understand what the Lubavitcher Rebbe was saying rather than distorting it.

Unfortunately, many people come away from this sicha with the rationalization that it is OK or even "holy" to spend their lives chasing money. That is NOT what the Rebbe said in any way shape or form. The Rebbe was not advocating 16 hour work days or the pursuit of numerous luxuries that we have mistaken for necessities.

The Rebbe was trying to be mechazek the person who is hurt by the fact that he can't spend 100% of his time learning and davening. The Rebbe was NOT encouraging those who spend all their time chasing money.

The Rebbe's words are like the parah adumah: metaher temeim and metame tehorim. In other words, a person who feels "tamei" b/c he can't be fully engrossed in learning/davening will be uplifted and purified by these words. On the other hand, someone whose self love deludes him into thinking that he's already "tahor" (even though his real ratzon is for gashmius as evidenced by the disproportionate amount of time he spends working, amassing wealth and/or paying for his "necessities") and is simply looking for validation, will become undeniably tamei (i.e., eventually such a person will sink so deeply into gashmius that he will no longer be able to even fool himself as to his true motives) from the Rebbe's holy words.

Anonymous said...

Exactly.

I believe that on this forum we are only dealing with the first category. the second category would not be interested in this blog.

The rebbe was not talking about money at all but rather those who spend time uplifting the world, including those who serve the community and including the shluchim.

DixieYid (يهودي جنوبي) said...

Anon 4:24,

You are certainly right. But don't make the mistake of thinking that the Rebbe zy"a was engaging in some sort of applogetics or teaching mere "comfort Torah."

What he's saying is very real and the greatness of what he's talking about cannot be minimized as something he was just saying to someone to make him feel better because he had no other eitza.

The Rebbe would not distort the truth that way.

Anonymous said...

"I believe that on this forum we are only dealing with the first category. the second category would not be interested in this blog."

I respectfully disagree. Most of us are in the 2nd category (to varying degrees, of course). The fact is that actions speak louder than words. Most of us, especially the "westerners" spend the vast majoriity of our time "working, amassing wealth and/or paying for his 'necessities'". What most people "take" from the Rebbe's Sicha is validation for their taivos.

There is so much to say on this topic! The emesdicke emes is that we are off! That being said, Hashem is "chanun, ha'marbeh lisloach". By relying on His rachmanus and His love of us no matter what, we have hope. We can not, however, delude ourselves into thinking that our avodah, zechusim, etc...are what will lead us to the promised land.

So much to say! Ashreinu that we have such a Tatty!

Anonymous said...

Dixie:

I 100% agree. Everything the Rebbe said was emes. It was not "just comfort Torah" and certainly not a distortion. My point was directed to us, that WE should not distort the message that the Rebbe was giving over.

We can't use the Rebbe's approach to rationalize our taivos.

Each person needs to spend time in introspection, reflection and prayer in order to determine whether their physical work is avodahs Hashem or self worship.



Annon 4:24 & 7:50

Anonymous said...

I'm in the first category.

Anyways there's nothing wrong with wealth as long as the money is used for tzedaka and one can't become wealthy without working hard. The rebbe wanted Jews to be wealthy.

See this http://a-farbrengen.blogspot.com/2010/02/tests-of-poverty-and-wealth.html

According to the Tanya while the most important mitzva in earlier generations was Torah learning now it is tzedaka.
(of course one has to be scrupulous in all mitzvos)

Again I feel free to say this on this blog because we are dealing with serious Ovdei Hashem.

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:19:

Poor people (i.e. people who don't work hard) can give tzedakah too! The mitzvah of tzedaka is relative to what a person has (as were certain korbannos in the beis Hamikdash). To be engrossed in gashmius for the sake of fullfilling "b'chol meodecha" at the expense of "b'chol levaveche u'v'chol nafshecha" is possibly/probably(?) misguided.

The Baal Hatanya also said that "what is assur is assur and what is mutar is unnecessary!" It doesn't seem to make sense to spend so much of our time on something unnecessary!

The Baal HaTanya also devoted a section of Tanya to bemoan the fact that chassidim asked him about gashmius and mundane matters! Surely the Baal HaTanya was aware that work/gashmius and the mundane can/should be a ruchniusdich avodah. Certainly his chassidim were aware of that too. Yet he chastised them for coming to him with these issues. I would imagine that if the chassidim REALLY REALLY REALLY viewed their work/gashmius as a ruchniusdich avodah, the Baal HaTanya would be happy to address their questions. Since he chastised them, however, it may be safe to assume that their questions/concerns were "coarse". If the Baal HaTanya's chassidim were (apparently somewhat) in category 2 what can we say about ourselves, b'emes??

I also think that I recall seeing something in Tanya where the Ba'al HaTanya says that we can (and perhaps should) give more than 20% of our incomes to tzedakah. I believe he argued that just as a person would spend ALL of his money to cure an illnes, lo aleinu, he should be willing to do the same for tzedakah because the greatness of the mitzvah helps to "cure" our "sick" souls. (HOWEVER, I HAVE TO VERIFY THIS LAST POINT, I MAY BE MISTAKEN ABOUT SOME OR ALL OF IT.) This is the Baal HaTany's vision of a category 1 yid, I'm definitely not in it!

I want to make clear that I'm not knocking anyone chas v'shalom. I'm trying to find the truth, and schmoozing with other like minded Yidden. At the end of the day the Emesdicke Emes is all hiskarvus and NOT hisrachkus. We should all be zocheh to find that point of hiskarvus.

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:19:

BH, I was able to look at the link you posted. Your interpretation of what the Lubavitcher Rebbe said is exactly my point:

The Rebbe said that Jews should be wealthy and that the "test" of wealth is preferable to the "test" of poverty.

The Rebbe DID NOT SAY A SINGLE WORD ABOUT WORK/PHYSICAL HISHTADLUS. On the contrary the Rebbe said we should "ask Hashem" for wealth!

This is in line with what our holy seforim and sages say in many places: "hakol b'yedai shamayim chutz m'yiras shamayim" Parnassah is pre-ordained, it has NOTHING to do with our physical effort.

Yet when we hear/read the Rebbe's words with our gashmiusdik ears and we look at the world with our gashmiasdik eyes we "hear" and "see" the Rebbe saying that he wants Jews to be wealthy and "one can't become wealthy without working hard", therefore, I'll work myself like a horse and be mevatel Torah and Tefilah and shalom bayis and my family, etc...in order to be wealthy because that's what the Rebbe said/wants?!?!?!?


There's so much more to say, but I'm just too tired right now! The bottom line is that we're in the right place and striving for the right things, Baruch Hashem! Hakadosh Baruch Hu can raise us all up! We just have to focus on HIM rather than ourselves.

Anonymous said...

Ok. I'm demoted. I'm now category 2.

Anonymous said...

As far as working hard - I see I should have shared the entire sicha but in the beginning of the sicha the rebbe writes this...

בפרשתנו מסופר בארוכה על דבר שהייתו של יעקוב בבית לבן כ שנה שבמשך זמן זה לכאורה לא היה נמצא באוהלה של תורה אלא היה עסוק במרעה צאן של לבן ומתאים לדיני תורה היה עסוק באופן של ״בכל כוחי עבדתי ביום ובלילה״ שלמדים מהנהגת יעקב בבית לבן כיצד צריכה להיות עבודת הפועל כמבואר ברמבם

Can't work much harder than that! Of course at the same time Yaacov wasn't mevatel Torah or shlomo bayis.

It's כדאי to look up the entire sicha inside.

Anonymous said...

Translation of the above:

In our Parsha it is related in detail about Yacovs stay in the house of Lavan for 20 years. During that time he wasn't in Yeshiva, he was toiling with Lavans flocks of sheep and IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE LAWS OF THE TORAH HE wORKED " with all my strength have I worked day ... And night". The rambam actualy learns from the way yacov worked for Lavan how a worker is supposed to work for his employer.

By working hard we create a Kelli, a vessel, which can receive Hashems blessing. The blessing is determined on rosh hashana but it will NOT come to actualization without a vessel to receive it I.e. work and most of the time hard work. Hashem WILL NOT make the vessel for us that's our job (unless one is on a very very high level of tzidkus as the chovas halevovos explains in shaar habitochon.). This is explained in many places in chassidus see mitzvas tiglachas metzora in derech mitzvosecha of the tzemach tzedek.

It's important not to fool oneself into thinking they are on such a high level of tzidkus that they don't have to work hard.

Boy am I working hard writting comments on this blog!

Anonymous said...

Yaakov Avinu was forced and tricked into working for Lavan. He did not do so voluntarily.

Yaakov Avinu also spent every night learning and davening w/o sleeping!.

Yaakov Avinu also worked as a shepherd to minimize his involvement in "wordly matters".

As soon as Yakov Avinu's mission was over (i.e. Yosef HaTzadik was born) Yaakov Avinu RAN back to Eretz Yisroel.

If the Lubavitcher Rebbe really intended for people to aspire to working 16 hour days for $$$$$, why didn't his closest chassidim become professional, businessmen, etc...? Why did they go on shlichus instead? The answer is that the Rebbe was NOT talking about parnassah and money!

How many gedolim emphasize business IN THEIR OWN LIVES???

I am NOT saying that we shouldn't work or even work many hours (in some cases).

I AM saying that the ikar of a jew is ruchnius. If a Jew really holds that way he will naturally come to realize (slowly and over time) that what is assur is assur and what is mutar is UNNECESSARY. He will (slowly and over time) focus less on his physical needs and more on his ruchniusdik needs. (Slowly and over time) this will translate itself into less hours at work and more hours learning, davening, etc... Furthermore, even during thise times when he must engage in physical work he will TRULY consider it a part of his ruchniusdik avodah and will, therefore, conduct his business (qualitatively and quantatatively) accordingly.

I'm NOT saying that we should think that our level of "tzidkus" should be enough to create a keli for beracha. I AM saying that we need to redifine our idea of what the real beracha is. The Torah teaches that Mitzva gorreres mitzvah, it does not teach that Mitzva gorreres gelt!!!

Anonymous said...

Its true Yacov worked very hard and learned too! This is the job of most Jews - to work hard like Yacov and to learn too. Thats what the Rebbe clearly says in the sicha.

Yes, the Ikkar for a Jew is Ruchnius and work is Ruchnius! This has NOTHING to do with money. The purpose of creation is to bring Ruchniyus into the physical world and that is done only through work!

The point in NOT to focus on ones Ruchniyus needs. The point is to elevate OTHERS and the world around and OUTSIDE of you. (one needs to also work on ones individual Ruchniyus in order to accomplish this but this is NOT the end most goal).


Yes, his closest chassidim went on shlichus. How much time a day do you think they have to learn and focus on their personal ruchniyus needs? I can tell you - very little. This is exactly what the Rebbe is talking about in this Sicha bringing ruchniyus to the world and to others. For the shluchim its through their shlichus. For the people in the workplace its through our shlichus.

Work is not mutar it is a mitzva and so nessesary!

Spending less time at work - more time learning is also important but NOT ALWAYS nessesarily so.

The Rebbe told many people in the professions to be the BEST in the fields that they could possibly be - in order to make a kiddush hashem and spread Yidishkeit. This obviously involved putting more hours and effort than minimaly is required.

You mention you want to see examples by other gedolim - take the Rambam for instance. He writes in a letter to his talmid (printed in the letters of the Rambam)that he works all day in the palace of the Sultan then he comes home exhausted and has to lye down on a bed while people and sick patients from the community come to consult with him while he could hardly move. He complains that the only time he has to learn is on shabbos! Eventhough we see how painful this was to the Rambam he never stoped helping others when he came home and had to lye in his bed! He put OTHERS first before his personal ruchniyus aspirations.

(the capital letters are meant to stress things, I'm not screaming)

Anonymous said...

The Sicha starts by quoting the words "נתאוה הקב"ה להיות לו דירה בתחתונים", One must understand the role of these words in Chabad Chassidus-particularly as expounded by the Rebbe- in order to understand the Sicha. These words are the essence of Chabad Chassidus. See "Heaven on Earth" by R. Faitel Levin (published by Kehot) which explains how these words are the core of the Rebbe's chassidus. Interpretting the Rebbe's words, as some commenters did above, w/o understanding this is improper. It's particularly wrong to view his words out of context through a misnagdishe lens that sees anything other than Kollel as bedieved. The idea of creating a Dira Bitachtonim by getting involved in the gashmiusdikka world(in a manner consistent with Sulchan Aruch) is the point of creation. It's the reason a neshama is placed in a guf.

Anonymous said...

Good point.

Its important to note that there are other valid Torah approaches, such as the typical Litvish approach.

However this is the approach of the Rebbe as explained in this Sicha and is the approach in general of chabad chassidus and in degrees all streams of chassidus (I personally think R. Faitel Levins book is way too sensationalist).

But this approach is also NOT confined to chassidus.

for example the following quote:

"Judaism teaches us what we can do in order that Hashem can be close to us in THIS world. Judaism teaches "עיקר שכינה בתחתונים" (BR 19:13) and "ושכנתי בתוכם". They shall make their lives into a mikdash then I will dwell within THEM.

The mission of a Jew and goal of the Torah is "לתקן עולם במלכות שקי" - not the heavens above but the physical world below.

[end of quote]

Notice the simliar quote from the Medresh "עיקר שכינה בתחתונים". But this is not a quote from a chasidic sefer its from Rav Hirsch! This is a thread that runs throughout all the writings of Rav Hirsch (from which I learn very often).

[interesting to consider as a side note
Was there a connection between Rav Hirsch and chassidus? The Divrei Chayim of Sanz actually said that what I am to Galitzia Rav Hirsch is to Germany. (as brought in sefer shemesh marpe). I think the connection of ideas is through the Shalo Hakodosh - anyways thats another topic of discussion.]

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:00

Usually we respond to first things first and last things last. However, I feel compelled to respond to your last statement first: Yasher koach! I appreciate the sensitivity, I also use BOLD to stress and not to scream. We're all Yidden trying to come close to Hashem and his Tzadikkim. BH!

I want to respond to some of your comments point by point in order to clarify the issue, here goes!:

"Yes, the Ikkar for a Jew is Ruchnius and work is Ruchnius!"- Work done "properly", i.e., according to the shulchan aruch and other sources and eitzas from the Tzadikim is ruchnius. Other types of work can't possibly be considered ruchnius on a pashut pshat level (obviously, there are levels and in Atzilus everything is Holy. But our job is to live in Assiyah). If all work was ruchnius then the bais din shel ma'ala wouldn't have to "waste" their first question on asking a person if he did business with emunah, after all, all business is the elevating kind, right? Wrong!


"The purpose of creation is to bring Ruchniyus into the physical world..." - AGREED! If Hashem wanted us to remain in a purely spiritual cocun he could have left us in shamyaim!

"...and that is done only through work!"- I don't think so. That can certainly be accomplished through the "right" kind of work (see above). But that's not the "only" way to fuse ruchnius and gashmius. See for example the first Torah in Likkutei MoHahran or the first chapter of Messilas Yesharim. Even for those who serve Hashem through work, they are not given license to be megusham (which is my primary point- that people misinterpret the Rebbe as condoning a gashmiusdik approach to life)

"The point in NOT to focus on ones Ruchniyus needs. The point is to elevate OTHERS and the world around and OUTSIDE of you. (one needs to also work on ones individual Ruchniyus in order to accomplish this but this is NOT the end most goal)"- Why is learning, davening, etc... assumed to be self-centered? Why is "work" assumed to be self-less and "other" centered? For most people the opposite is true! Even if a person engages in torah, tefilah, etc.. for purely selfish reasons, he undoubtedly raises the whole world. This is because Torah and tefila are all sheimos Hashem and saying them has at least SOME positive benfit even when done lo lishma. Is the same true of a person who works (outside the scope of the shulchan aruch, etc...) for his own self-centered reasons?

To be continued- too long, have to break it up!!!

Anonymous said...

PART 2(!)

" Yes, his closest chassidim went on shlichus. How much time a day do you think they have to learn and focus on their personal ruchniyus needs? I can tell you - very little"- (1) A shliach's work is dealing with the needs of the tzibur. That's a whole different ball game then business. Tzarchei ha'Tzibur IS all ruchnius, the wrong kind of work is clearly not! According to halacha a person involved in tzarchei HaTzibbur is patur from certain mitzvos, a person involved in business almost never is. (2) Again with the "personal" ruchnius needs thing? Why is ruchnius selfish? This is the point-we need to examine our notions of reality: The yetzer harah is subtle here: as soon as we hear of someone engaging in ruchnius we immediately envision someone who is throwing off the yoke of heaven, avoiding their responsibilities and looking to hide in the cocoon of spirituality, while a person who goes to work is immediately assumed to be living with kabbalas ol! Look at the result of this backwards thinking: a world sinking deeper and deeper into gasmius! THIS DOES NOT MEAN THAT A PERSON WHO WORKS IS THROWING OFF THE YOKE OF HEAVEN OR THAT A PERSON WHO LEARNS ALL DAY HAS KABBALAS OL! IT MEANS THAT WHAT EVER YOU ARE DOING, YOU MUST DO IT RIGHT AND NOT FOOL YOURSELF!!!!

"This is exactly what the Rebbe is talking about in this Sicha bringing ruchniyus to the world and to others. For the shluchim its through their shlichus"- AGREED!

"For the people in the workplace its through our shlichus" AGREED! All I'm saying is that our shlichus in the work place is to do the "right" kind of work. Many people are drowning in taivos mamon and use the Rebbe's holy words to justify MORE and MORE gashmius! All I'm saying is that such a misinterpretation is NOT what the Rebbe meant (in my opinion). I'll give you 2 recent examples to illuminate: A few weeks ago a Rav from Yerushalayim (formerly from Cedarhurst) was visting family that still lives in the area. This Rav is extremely down to earth and as a former New Yorker he's very familliar with our "mentality". I saw him in one of the local Kosher supermarkets one day and he was clearly "floored" at seeing pre-sliced water-melon available for sale. The price of the pre-sliced melon was significantly higher than the whole (or even half) melon. He couldn't understand how someone would be willing to over-spend by so much (relatively speaking) just to avoid having to cut their own melon! When I saw his (totally spontaneous and sincere) reaction and I realized that I myself never even thought about all of the excesses that I consider to be necessities, it made me think that maybe, just maybe, I'm a tad megusgam!

Still too long!

Anonymous said...

PART 3(!!!)

Example #2, I was at a closing yesterday (I'm not a kollel guy- contrary to some assumptions!) and the seller was telling us how the best thing he ever did was to put an elevator in his home! I kid you not! Baruch Hashem he's healthy and not more that 45-50 years old! I thought to myself, in my own way am I really that different?


“Work is not mutar it is a mitzva and so nessesary!”- AGREED! AGREED! AGREED! Constant worrying, anxiety, focus, obsession, etc… on money is not a mitzvah, that’s my point! (granite counter-tops, sparate bed-rooms for each kid, meat meals twice a day, Jerusalem stone in shuls, leather seating, climate control, the latest version of the i-phone, $100,000 chasunas, $10,000 chasson watches, etc... are NOT mitzvahs!!!) The holy Tanaim also worked, but their work looked a little different then ours! Obviously we are not them and after 120 years we will not be asked why we didn’t conduct ourselves like the holy tanaim. But we will be asked a different question!

“Spending less time at work - more time learning is also important but NOT ALWAYS nessesarily so”- AGREED!


There’s more to write, I can’t do it now, however, because I have to work! Btw-I'm not a misnagid by any stretch of the imagination! I'm surpirsed that my comments would lead to that conclusion!

We’ll pick it up after Shabbos iyH! Thank you for responding and helping to schmooze it out! Have a great Shabbos!

Anonymous said...

Just to keep things in perspective we AGREE on almost everything, a few minor points thought ….

You said :""...and that is done only through work!"- I don't think so. That can certainly be accomplished through the "right" kind of work (see above). But that's not the "only" way to fuse ruchnius and gashmius." end quote

According to the sicha the MAIN way to do this for MOST jews is through work (in the proper way as you pointed out) - I'm not saying there are not other approaches I'm discusing the sicha not other seforim.

You said - "(1) A shliach's work is dealing with the needs of the tzibur. That's a whole different ball game then business." end quote

In the sicha quoted on the blog it says clearly:
וזוהי ההוראה במעשה בפועל לרובם של בנ"י — שאופן עבודתם הוא ע"ד העבודה דבעלי עסקים (וגם עוסקים ב­צרכי ציבור הם בכלל זה)

In the brackets the Rebbe clearly puts dealing with the tzibur in the SAME category as business!

You said: "All I'm saying is that our shlichus in the work place is to do the "right" kind of work. " end quote

AGREE 200%

You said "Many people are drowning in taivos mamon and use the Rebbe's holy words to justify MORE and MORE gashmius!" end quote

I think this is not true at all. I dont know of anyone who is or could use the Rebbes words to justify more taavos gashmiyus. (on the otherhand maybe I'm just naive).

You said "Why is learning, davening, etc... assumed to be self-centered?" end quote

If Hashem wants you to go out and elevate the world and you don't the your actions are not Hashem centered they are self centered. Ruchniyus could be selfish if it gives you a high but its not what Hashem wants from you at that time.

You said: "Constant worrying, anxiety, focus, obsession, etc… on money is not a mitzvah, that’s my point!" end quote

AGREE 200% As the saying goes "Yegias Kapecha Ki Sochal Ashrecha VeTov Lach" it says "Yegias Kapecha" not "Yegias Roshecha" the stress from working is in your hands when you stress out your head with anxiety etc. that is only due to a lack of bitochon.

In my opinion a major reason why the Jewish world is sinking into gashmiyus is because they LACK these teachings. If someone feels that work is not part of their avodas hashem they leave their Ruchniyus at home (if at all) and go out to the work field like Eisov. I personally have seen it with many fellow Yeshiva bochrim who were literally the top bochrim. When they decided to go out into the world they were made to feel that they were leaving Yiddishkeit behind. They are still "frum" on the outside but they left their Ruchniyus in the Yeshiva (they come visit the ruchniyus once in a while, just to say hello)

Anyways have a great shabbos and lets all Daven Be'arichus and learn many hours (including with our family of course)

Anonymous said...

Git voch!

After reading the last full paragraph of your last post (12-09-11, 12:09), it struck me that we may be having a miscommunication on one important detail. You wrote the following:

" In my opinion a major reason why the Jewish world is sinking into gashmiyus is because they LACK these teachings."

The fact that you stressed the word "LACK" leads me to believe that you think that my opinion differs. IT DOESN'T AT ALL!

My comments/views are written on a blog that focuses a lot on penimyus HaTorah. I take for granted that most readers of this blog learn chassidus and with Hashem's help will continue to do so! I am absolutely not attacking the Rebbe's shita! More than half the seforim in my home are Chabad seforim! I SINCERELY AGREE THAT THE "CURE" IS FOUND IN PENIMIYOS HATORAH!

My point is that we have to be honest with ourselves when we apply the Torah we're learning. We can not use the Rebbe's words to justify living a materialistic existence.

You are very fortunate that you do not know of anyone misapplying the Rebbe's words. However, the fact that the words may be missapplied is not an indictment of the Tzadik and is certainly NOT meant to imply that the teachings should be abandoned. CHAS V'SHALOM!

The Alter Rebbe said that he would have had thousands more chassidim if he was willing to compromise on the truth. My point is that we must be honest with ourselves!

In a world that is barreling (seemingly) uncontrollably down the road of materialism, is it wrong to say that we must be vigilant with the truth and inspect our motives when it comes to working and money matters?

The fact that most people were not able to relate to my comments and instead assumed that I am a misnagid or a "kollel guy" (as if that was an insult- chas v'shalom), only strengthens my opinion: we are so stuck in the depths of materialism that we can not tolerate even the slightest attempts to look at ourselves!

This is not a "misnagdish" insight AT ALL! This has nothing to do with focusing on the negative instead of focusing on the positive. Just as Moshe Rabbeinu did not have to deny his strengths in order to be the humblest man ever, denying the fact that darkness exists in the world is not a requirement for having a positive outlook! On the contrary, denying that darkness exists and denying that we have to be careful and guard our souls vigilantly is a recipe for disaster!

The truth is that darkness DOES exist. We DO have yetzer hara's and taivas mamon is one of the strongest taivos/yetzer's there is. The truth is that the fact that our generation is blessed with unprecedent material prosperity and at the same time is plagued with unprecedented emptiness, depression, anxiety, etc... is proof that we ARE very much stuck in the darkness! THIS IS TRUE EVEN FOR SOME OF US THAT ARE FORTUNATE ENOUGH TO LEARN THE REBBE'S TORAH'S!

So where is the light? Where is the positive "chassidishe twist"? Even the darkness is from Hashem! Even the darkness which (seemingly) pushes us away is REALLY just an invitation to dig deeper and come closer. But if we don't even realize that, we can't dig deeper! There is SO MUCH to say on this last point, however, it's totally outside the scope of this comment.

Git voch!

Anonymous said...

Gut voch.

Thank you for standing up for the truth and I appreciate all your remarks. I'm happy you wrote what you did so that between the two of us I think it people will get a clearer picture of what the rebbe meant, without any misunderstanding.

I never meant to imply that you were a misnagid or kollel guy. I don't think there are many true misnagdim these days (I don't consider a little good natured "chepering" between brothers as hisnagdus and this goes both ways)

I also would never want to imply anything bad about kollel. I could quote you sichas from the rebbe on the importance of having full time learners as well (but it's not for this blog).

We can be very quick to try to put people into boxes sometimes but that's just human nature I guess. ( for example I'm sure that by now everyone thinks that I'm a Lubavitcher which, by the way, is not the case)

Anyways thanks again!