Table of Contents
The Month of Kislev........................................................... 7
Introduction Chassidus and liberation
Joy and Redemption........................................................... 7
Rosh Chodesh / Pada VeShalom Song of redemption / Kislev packages for the needy
Month of Torah................................................................... 7
Introduction / Go all out in Torah study / Add again / Advance daily / Live what you learn / Study Chassidus / Push your limits in Torah study / Chassidic look at Nigleh
Month of Farbrengen.......................................................... 8
Constant and commonplace / Men, women and children / Encourage study and spreading of Torah / On Chassidic dates and Chanukah / Everywhere / In 770 / Advance preparation / Only ten days to the nearest festival
Daily study of Chassidus..................................................... 8
A new topic in Chassidus each day / In groups / A teaching from each Rebbe / Depth and Breadth / More each day / Teachings associated with the occasion / Get others to study Chassidus / Women should learn and spread Chassidus
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המעשה הוא העיקר
HaMaaseh Hu HaIkar
280 Troy Av, Brooklyn, NY 11213
Tel: (718) 363-3448 Fax: (718) 467-6919
We are pleased to bring you this newly revised edition of a Call to Action. Translated from its Hebrew counterpart, HaMaaseh Hu HaIkar, this presentation is a collection of practical instruction from the Rebbes Sichos pertaining to the Chassidisher month of Kislev.
HaMaaseh Hu HaIkar is a compilation of Horaos (directives) culled from the Rebbes talks in the years 5748 to 5752 (1988-1992), from both edited and unedited sources (Muga and Bilti Muga); we have expended great effort in our attempt to capture some of the Rebbes carefully calculated and instructive phrasing. This editions English translation was provided by Rabbi Yaakov Paley.
At this time, when Moshiachs arrival is imminent, the Rebbe, Melech HaMoshiach, has emphasized the primacy of action. We are now beginning to experience the era when we will fully appreciate the superiority of deed above scholarship. May this take place completely and immediately!
Editorial Office of
HaMaaseh Hu HaIkar
Shabbos Mevarchim Kislev, 5768
The Chassidisher Month
Kislevs uniqueness lays in its wealth of Chassidic festivals and auspicious occasions; moreover, it is crowned with no less a date than the Rosh Hashanah of Chassidus, which occurs on its nineteenth day.
Further, the month of Kislev pulsates with the theme of liberation and redemption. Its first day, for example, marks the anniversary of the restoration of the Rebbes health, and is soon followed by the anniversaries of the release of the Mittler Rebbe (10th of Kislev) and the Alter Rebbe (19th of Kislev); the final days of Kislev are illuminated with the miraculous salvation of Chanukah.
It is no wonder, then, that Kislev is described as the Chassidisher Month, the Month of Redemption and the Month of Joy and since every Rosh Chodesh encapsulates the month that follows, Rosh Chodesh Kislev is a considerably auspicious date.
In recent times, the joy of Kislev was further augmented by the Rebbes marriage on the 14th of Kislev 5689 (1928), and Rosh Chodesh Kislev received yet greater import by being graced with the anniversary of the Rebbes return home (after recovering from a heart attack) in 5738 (1978).
· The month of Kislev is a Chassidisher Month, and, as Jewish communities worldwide have begun to recognize with ever-deepening appreciation, the entire month of Kislev is also a Month of Redemption. Now, since the first day of Kislev encapsulates the entire month, it therefore constitutes the Rosh Chodesh of Redemption.3
· It is to be expected that joyous occasions will involve a certain amount of material expenses. We should therefore see to it that each individual is able to procure all of his needs for the festivities of Kislev including Chanukah Gelt.
A year may be divided into two general stages: Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter. Kislev, the third of the winter months, parallels Sivan, the third of the summer months.
Since the uniqueness of Sivan is that it contains Shavuos and is therefore the month in which the Torah was given, Kislev, by extension, must also express the theme of Torah.
The two months, however, represent different approaches: The summer sun is a reflection of divine radiance that is then apparent Sivan is when we are given the Torah from Above. Winter allows our own efforts to rise to the fore during Kislev we receive the Torah through our own exertion.
· Even one who already extends himself beyond the required measure in his regular Torah studies should nevertheless implement this Kislev addition.8
· We should steadily increase our Torah study from one day to the next, throughout the month of Kislev.8
· This addition applies equally to students, scholars and businessmen: we should all fix times for Torah study, and also affix the topics studied within ourselves, so that the Torah becomes an integral part of us.8
· During Kislev, we should intensify our study of the revealed parts of Torah as well as its mystical dimension, i.e., the mysticism that is expounded in the lucid, comprehensible teachings of Chabad Chassidus.
· We should add in both the quantity of time spent learning Torah and, most importantly, in the quality of our studies studying with ever increasing exertion that not only surpasses our habitual efforts, but even our very nature.8
· The year 5749 (1989) was a leap-year, which is often referred to as a complete year and it was also the 200th anniversary of the Tzemach Tzedeks birth. During Kislev of that year, the Rebbe instructed us to add in our study of Chassidic teachings that are connected with the revealed dimension of Torah, thus lending wholesomeness to our Torah study; this is to be done throughout Kislev and in an increasing measure from day to day.
· In 5749 (1989), the Rebbe instructed: Being that the month of Kislev is a Chassidisher month, it would be fitting to express this by arranging Farbrengens throughout the month and in all locations.
· These Farbrengens should be both for men and for women (separately, of course), and should include the children as well.13
· At these Farbrengens, we should speak words of Torah and arouse one another toward the study of both its regular and inner dimensions; we should also encourage the dissemination of Judaism and Chassidus.
· We should hold Farbrengens on each of the Chassidic festivals and auspicious dates that occur during Kislev, as well as during the festival of Chanukah, which is described as Days of Joy.
· A Farbrengen should definitely be held right here in immediate proximity (Daled Amos) to the Rebbe, my father-in-law, Leader of our generation.
· In order that Farbrengens for the Chassidic holidays are conducted in the most orderly fashion without putting a damper on the excitement we should prepare for and publicize the events well ahead of time.
· We should immediately begin preparing for the closest approaching festival, namely, the Festival of Redemption the 10th of Kislev: We should prepare Farbrengens everywhere, in each location and for each society according to its particular conditions, to ensure a highly-charged and holy atmosphere.14 Most importantly, these gatherings should be geared to promote additional study of Chassidic teachings and their wider dissemination.16
· In 5749 (1989), the Rebbe instructed: On each day of Kislev, every man, woman and child should study at least one (additional) subject from the teachings of Chassidus with preference given to the volumes that have only recently been printed.
· Ideally, this study should be done in groups for example, during the Farbrengens.
· Our study should include a teaching from each of the leaders of Chassidus the Baal Shem Tov, the Maggid of Mezritch and the Rebbes of Chabad.19
· We should study 1) the teachings of each Chabad Rebbe on a range of topics, as well as 2) the various teachings of each Rebbe on a single subject for both endeavors pose their own unique advantage: Studying the works of a single Rebbe allows for a deeper perspective, whilst studying a single topic from each of the Rebbes highlights their respective innovations and permits a broader perspective.
· On every Chassidic festival in Kislev, we should begin our daily study by examining the teachings of the Rebbe associated with that date. For example, on the 9th and 10th of Kislev, we should begin our study with the teachings of the Mittler Rebbe. Moreover, since One Mitzvah brings another in its wake, this initial study will bring us to study further teachings from the remaining Chabad Rebbes.
· In addition to our personal study, each of us should spread the Chassidic wellsprings and influence other Jews to study Chassidus.
· Needless to say, this is all pertinent to women as well: Woman should study Chassidus and actively influence other Jewish women.
לכ"ק אדמו"ר מלך המשיח
יחי אדוננו מורנו ורבינו מלך המשיח לעולם ועד
. The following are some of the auspicious dates that occur in the month of Kislev:
1st of Kislev: the Rebbe returned home in 5738 (1978), having recovered from a heart attack.
2nd of Kislev: the books were returned to the Lubavitch Library, following a lengthy court-case in 5748 (1987).
3rd of Kislev: marriage of the third Lubavitcher Rebbe, known as the Tzemach Tzedek, in 5564 (1803).
6th of Kislev: the Rebbes engagement in 5689 (1928).
9th of Kislev: birth and Yahrtzeit of the second Lubavitcher Rebbe, known as the Mittler Rebbe; he was born on the 9th of Kislev 5534 (1773), and passed away on the same date in 5588 (1827).
10th of Kislev: release of the Mittler Rebbe from Czarist imprisonment in 5587 (1826).
11th of Kislev: the Rebbe was called to the Torah in preparation for his marriage, in 5689 (1928).
14th of Kislev: marriage of the Rebbe in 5689 (1928).
18th of Kislev: completion of the annual study of Tanya.
19th of Kislev: Yahrtzeit of the Maggid of Mezritch, in 5533 (1772).
19th-20th of Kislev: release of the Alter Rebbe from Czarist imprisonment, in 5559 (1798); this date marks the Rosh Hashanah of Chassidus.
20th of Kislev: the Tanya was first printed, in 5557 (1796).
26th of Kislev: the Alter Rebbe received the first edition of Tanya, in 5557 (1796); Bris of the fifth Lubavitcher Rebbe, known as the Rebbe Rashab, in 5621 (1860).
27th of Kislev: release of the Alter Rebbe from his second imprisonment, in 5561 (1800).
. Who doesnt know?!
There is no need to explain ourselves when we state, Kislev is a Chassidisher month it is a simple fact and is understood by every man, woman and child. Go speak with any child who was raised and educated in a Chassidisher household and you will see that they are naturally aware that the month of Kislev is connected with Chassidus.
This is certainly the case in our generation, when a number of events that are associated with the Torahs esoteric teachings that have been brought to light through the teachings of Chassidus, have been added to the month of Kislev. [I.e., there are a number of auspicious days associated with the Rebbe see footnote 1 Ed.]
19th of Kislev
Foremost among this months festivals is the 19th of Kislev, the anniversary of the Histalkus (passing) of the Maggid, who is closely associated with the dissemination of the Torahs inner dimension; it is also the anniversary of the Alter Rebbes festival of redemption, which marks the start of disseminating the wellsprings in earnest.
From start to finish
There are many other events that came to pass in the month of Kislev everyone is able to list many further examples.
Moreover, the conclusion of Kislev is marked by Chanukah, the festival that was established to commemorate the miracle of the oil Oil represents the Torahs inner teachings. (Night of Rosh Chodesh Kislev 5749; Hisvaaduyos p.373)
. Redemption and Rosh Chodesh
This is in addition to the fact that the Redemption is closely connected with the renewal of the moon that occurs on every Rosh Chodesh. (Parshas Toldos 5752; Hisvaaduyos p.314)
The spark of Moshiach that resides within every Jew is revealed on Rosh Chodesh ... and this revelation generates renewal in the entire existence as well as the detailed actions of every Jew, permeating them with the highest soul-level, the Yechidah. (ibid, p.123)
. The power of a Niggun
We will conclude with the melody Pada VeShalom, but for the sake of order to avoid confusion and the like we will sing it after distributing dollars for Tzedakah. This announcement is nevertheless being made now, so that the distribution of Tzedakah will be accomplished in a greater state of completeness... (9th of Kislev; Hisvaaduyos p.396)
We will once again sing the melody unique to the month of Kislev: Pada VeShalom Nafshi (10th of Kislev; Hisvaaduyos p.411)
[In the year 5749, the Rebbe instructed that the melody Pada VeShalom be sung at his Farbrengens on the night of Rosh Chodesh Kislev, and again on the 9th of Kislev (Shabbos Parshas Toldos), the 10th of Kislev (Shabbos Parshas Vayeitzei), the 15th of Kislev (Shabbos Parshas Vayishlach), the 24th of Kislev (Shabbos Parshas Vayeishev) and on other occasions besides.]
. Tehilim 55:19. [Concerning his release, the Alter Rebbe wrote: On that day, while I was reading the verse in the Book of Tehillim, He has redeemed my soul in peace even before I began the following verse I went forth [from imprisonment] in peace, through [the help of Hashem,] the G-d of Peace.
Years later, the Mittler Rebbe was informed of his release while he was reciting this exact same verse of Tehilim (Beis Rebbi 2, Ch.5).]
. Month-long festival
Kislev is rich in festivals, more than any month (except Tishrei for the letters of Tishrei (תשרי) can be rearranged to spell רשית, beginning; Tishrei constitutes the head (ראש) of all the months of the year.)
Due to the profusion of festivals in Kislev, the entire month assumes a Yom Tov-like state to the extent that the previous month of Cheshvan (which does not contain a single festival) is considered Erev Yom Tov. (Parshas Toldos 5749; Hisvaaduyos p.377, footnote 1)
[In Parshas Toldos 5752 (Sichos Kodesh p.374), the Rebbe refers to Kislev as A Month of Joy.]
. Based on Likutei Levi Yitzchak.
. Kabalas HaTorah in the winter
Kislev, the third month of the winter, corresponds to Sivan, the third of the summer. Now, Sivan is the month of Matan Torah; as our Sages state, A threefold Torah [it is comprised of Torah, Neviim and Kesuvim] which was given in the third month [Sivan, the third month from Nissan, the first of months].
Not only does Kislev parallel Sivan, but Kislev even contains superiority over Sivan. [For although the Torah was given in Sivan, nevertheless,] the actual service of Torah study is more pronounced and further emphasized [in Kislev] to an even greater extent that the Torah study of [Sivan] the third of the summer months.
Long nights lengthy study
What is Kislevs superiority over Sivan? It involves what the Tanya describes as He who serves Hashem [by stepping beyond his regular limits within Torah study]: As winter progresses, the days become shorter and the nights grow longer; we therefore increase [beyond our normal schedules] in the study of Torah at night for our Sages state that the night was created only for the study of Torah.
We further add in the quality of our learning by toiling in the in-depth study of Torah its intricate expositions and comparisons; this kind of study is represented in the Hebrew word for winter, Choref (חורף), which is related to the word Charifus (חריפות), keenness [in learning]. (Parshas Vayeitzei 5751; Hisvaaduyos p.353)
. A complete Torah
In keeping with the instruction and request of the Rebbe Rashab concerning [the Yeshivah he founded,] Tomchei Temimim; he established the Yeshivah, in order that [all of] Hashems Torah both its revealed dimension as well as its Chassidic dimension be complete [i.e., the study of both dimensions complement each other], and to be a place where Chassidus is studied, with proper depth, for the sake of comprehending and expounding its teachings as is [the] customary [method of study] with topics belonging to the revealed dimension of Torah. (ibid, footnote 114)
. Tzemach Tzedeks unique style
The Chabad Rebbes inserted their very essence into their teachings. Therefore, when we study their works in a comprehensive manner, we are able to discern the unique innovation of the Tzemach Tzedek over all the other Rebbes, before and after him: the Tzemach Tzedeks Chassidic discourses truly bring out the essential unity of the exoteric and esoteric dimensions of the Torah, [resulting in] a perfectly complete Torah.
Wasnt that the Alter Rebbes innovation?
True, the entire theme of Shnei-Or, two lights, i.e., the light of the esoteric and that of the exoteric coming together as one, was the innovation of the Alter Rebbe [grandfather of the Tzemach Tzedek]. Why, the Alter Rebbes very name, Shneur Zalman, alludes to this concept: Shneur is a combination of Shnei-Or, indicating that the two lights of the exoteric and esoteric dimensions of Torah combine to form a single entity [signifying their total unity the Alter Rebbe was the author of both the esoteric Tanya and the exoteric Shulchan Aruch Harav].
Even we can see it
Nevertheless, to enable people of our caliber to discern the harmony between the revealed and inner aspects of the Torah, and to do so with clarity and emphasis, requires the innovative approach that we find chiefly expressed in the Chassidic discourses of the Tzemach Tzedek.
There are a very few discourses from the other Rebbes that allow us to discern the connection between the exoteric and esoteric dimensions of Torah. The Tzemach Tzedeks innovation was to demonstrate this unity on a regular basis and in a multitude of discourses.
Nows the time
The main thing is the deed: It is now the eve of Rosh Chodesh Kislev, which constitutes the opening and start of Kislev, the month that is uniquely bound with Torahs esoteric teachings as they are revealed through the teachings of Chassidus; we should therefore accept positive resolutions to increase our study of Chassidus and begin actualizing these resolutions in reality and immediately. (Night of Rosh Chodesh Kislev 5749; Hisvaaduyos p.375)
. Get a head start
May we be able to demonstrate that Kislev is a Chassidisher month in actuality, by holding a Farbrengen right away, on the very first day of the month and then again on the second day and once more on the third; then, with three days behind us, we will have established a Chazakah [a legal strength]. The same may also be said for the end of the month (1st day of Rosh Chodesh Kislev 5750; Hisvaaduyos p.411)
. One glance says it all
Each Chassid and all Chassidim should attend Farbrengens throughout the month, to the point that with just a mere glance at them one is able to discern that Kislev is a Chassidisher month. (Tochen Katzar of Parshas Vayeitzei 5749)
. Parshas Toldos 5749; Hisvaaduyos p.385.
Who needs a reason to Farbreng?!
Certainly, we should hold a Farbrengen on the Chassidic festivals of this month. Apart from being the obvious thing to do on a Chassidic festival, in truth any day is a good time for a Farbrengen and requires no specific reason to host one A good heart is festive always (Mishlei 15:15); all the more so in light of what the Rebbe, my father-in-law, stated concerning the immense virtue of a Chassidisher Farbrengen. (Parshas Vayeitzei 5749; Hisvaaduyos p.404)
Theres no Sunday Night in Torah
The answer as to whether or not to hold Farbrengens on Sunday night when (for numerous reasons) it would involve certain limitations is absolutely clear: These limitations are of no consequence when it comes to matters of Torah and holiness (ibid. p.410)
. Parshas Vayeitzei 5749; Hisvaaduyos p.404.
. As we have discussed numerous times in the past. (Parshas Toldos 5749, footnote 92; Hisvaaduyos p.385)
. Spiritually far
Whether these locations are geographically far, or, more importantly, spiritually distant for it is specifically in such places that we should invest far greater effort, as befits the resultant superiority of light that emerges from darkness. (ibid, p.385)
. From the very first second
We will get started on this right away and immediately mention something from the inner dimension of Torah.
The main thing is that this should be carried out in actual deed starting now, this very night of Rosh Chodesh, right here and wherever else people are now hearing this message [via the live hookup] or wherever this message is subsequently relayed.
Even in those places where it is not yet Rosh Chodesh, they can nevertheless already begin this study right now, on Erev Rosh Chodesh; and in those locations where Rosh Chodesh Kislev has already commenced, they should certainly begin implementing this directive.
We should fulfill this directive to study Chassidus in a manner that best fits each locations particular conditions and the nature of its inhabitants and institutions. (Night of Rosh Chodesh Kislev 5749; Hisvaaduyos p.375)
It is natural, according to the nature that Hashem installed in us [But not due to any sin or lack, G-d Forbid - Hashlomos, p.410], for something that is new to arouse more appreciation, excitement and the like [than a matter lacking novelty]. (Parshas Vayeitzei 5749; Hisvaaduyos p.405)
Try a sample
Especially now that it is far easier to study the teachings of the Rebbe who is associated with the current day of Kislev, since a new book [of his teachings] has recently been printed Although the discourses [in that particular book] do not directly concern our current Parshah, nevertheless, since the book is comprised of all of the Parshas and all Torah subjects, you need but open the book and make a cursory perusal to immediately realize (in the spirit of the verse, Taamu uReu taste and see; simply study and experience for yourself) that you are able to find teachings that relate to the current Parshah and even the current portion of Rambam (the Laws of Loaning) and all explained in the expansive manner that was characteristic of the Mittler Rebbe. (10th of Kislev 5748; Hisvaaduyos p.580)
Before we conclude, we will again remind everyone concerning the study of the new discourses that have only recently been printed; the discourse Pada VeShalom of the 10th of Kislev and of the 19th of Kislev and so forth. (Parshas Vayishlach 5749; Hisvaaduyos p.446)
. Ibid; Hisvaaduyos p.405.
From the Avos
We should study a Vort, a short saying from the teachings of all three fathers of Chassidus the Baal Shem Tov, the Maggid and the Alter Rebbe. Whoever can manage more should additionally study the teachings of all the other Chabad Rebbes. (Night of Rosh Chodesh Kislev 5749; Hisvaaduyos p.375)
Every day in Kislev, we should study an extra topic from the teachings of Chassidus, preferably in groups. Ideally, we should study a teaching from all three fathers of Chassidus... (Parshas Toldos 5749; Hisvaaduyos p.384)
Add, spread and be blessed
Certainly, we will all add much to the directives being discussed for it is the nature of a Jew to wish to add something of his own ... In doing so, we become partners with Hashem in Creation in this case, too, everyone will add to the directives mentioned here on their own initiative. There are blessings for whoever speaks to their fellows men to other men and women to other women and inspires them to steadily increase their study. (Night of Rosh Chodesh Kislev 5749; Hisvaaduyos p. 375)
. Two approaches
The study of separate topics from each of the Chabad Rebbes lends itself to more in-depth analysis than the study of all of the Rebbes teachings on a single topic. On the other hand, by studying what all of the Rebbes have taught on one subject, it is possible to appreciate and discern the novel points that each Rebbe adds. (Parshas Vayeitzei 5749; Hisvaaduyos p.404, footnote 94)
. Festival of spiritual oil
This directive receives extra import as we approach Chanukah, which represents the oil of Torah the inner teachings of Torah. Further, the festival of Chanukah begins at the end of Kislev and then continues into the month of Teves [thus extending the influence of Kislev]. (Parshas Toldos 5749; Hisvaaduyos p.384, footnote 90)
. Climax or catch up
Those who already began increasing their study from the beginning of Kislev should certainly continue to do so; they should further increase their study in keeping with the precept to constantly ascend in matters of holiness.
Those, however, who have not yet begun to do so for whatever reason should make use of these propitious days, the 9th and 10th of Kislev, to catch up in the appropriate manner. (9th of Kislev 5749; Hisvaaduyos p.395.) See also Parshas Vayeitzei 5749; Hisvaaduyos p.405.
. The Mittler Rebbes discourses are of utmost expansiveness. (Parshas Vayeitzei 5749; Hisvaaduyos p.405)
. All the Rebbes
Particularly the discourses of the Alter Rebbe (whose anniversary of redemption is celebrated on the 19th of Kislev), upon which the discourses of the Mittler Rebbe are based the Mittler Rebbe having added further and broad expositions to them, as he personally documented in the introductions to many of his works.
We should also study the teachings of the remaining Rebbes; the Baal Shem Tov, the Maggid, the Tzemach Tzedek, the Rebbe Maharash, the Rebbe Rashab and the Rebbe, Leader of our Generation. (ibid.)
. Farbreng and study
Most importantly: Everyone should remind themselves as well as all those around him about these practical directives; concerning both the Farbrengens and the study of Chassidus, as we have discussed at length.
Particularly after having received the good news that during the past few days both men and women have successfully complied with this directive. They should certainly increase in this matter with ever greater strength and steadily add further and further. (Parshas Vayeitzei 5749; Hisvaaduyos p.411)
. Importance of Women in Chassidus
After all, we explained earlier that Jewish women carry an immense virtue and are comparable to the Matriarchs and that this also concerns the revelation of Chassidus. (Parshas Toldos 5749; Hisvaaduyos p.384-5) - turn over
The revelation of Chassidus in the month of Kislev [is certainly pertinent to women] ... for the accomplishments of the leaders of the Chassidic movement are associated with and were influenced by their righteous wives, the Rebbitzens. (Parshas Toldos 5749; Hisvaaduyos p.384)
Like the Geulah
Note that the superiority of the Matriarchs over the Patriarchs bears a similarity to the superiority that will become manifest in the future era of Redemption when the woman will encompass the man in fulfillment of the verse A woman of valor is the crown of her husband.
The Avos and the Rebbeim
Now, since the Patriarchs sampled a foretaste of the future redemption, they too enjoyed this advantage, i.e., they received influence from the Matriarchs. The same is true of the Rebbes of Chabad, through whom the preparation for the future revelation of Torahs inner dimensions is accomplished. (ibid, footnote 89 See there, at length.)