Yud Kislev, the festival of liberation of the Mitteler Rebbe
frequently occurs in the week of the portion Vayeitzei
. In keeping with the axiom
that all Jewish festivals are related to the Torah portions in which they fall, it follows that the theme of the Mitteler Rebbe's liberation can be gleaned from the section of Vayeitzei
. What is the connection between the two?
The overall theme of Vayeitzei is one of exile and liberation: The portion begins with Yaakov's descent into exile, having been forced to leave home and Eretz Yisrael in order to escape Esav's wrath. Arriving in Charan, he was subject to many years of hard labor. The portion concludes with Yaakov's "liberation" from this exile and his journey back to Eretz Yisrael.
The specific connection of Vayeitzei with the Mitteler Rebbe is the following: One of Yaakov's requests of G-d was that he be able to "return in peace to my father's home." That is to say, Yaakov not only asked G-d that he be able to return home in a complete and wholesome manner, but that his return be in a manner of peace and tranquility.
This, then, is the connection to the liberation of the Mitteler Rebbe, for the Mitteler Rebbe's liberation was in a similar manner. As known, the Mitteler Rebbe providentially received the glad tidings of his release while reciting in Tehillim the words "My soul has been redeemed in peace."
"Redeemed in peace" means not only being liberated from one's foe, but also that the manner of liberation is "peaceful," without having to wage any battles. This is entirely similar to Yaakov's "returning in peace," wherein he was able to leave Charan and return home without having to engage either Lavan or Esav in battle.
The Alter Rebbe as well was providentially informed of his own release from prison several years earlier while he recited the selfsame words: "My soul has been redeemed in peace." As the Alter Rebbe himself writes, "...as I was reciting the verse in Tehillim 'My soul has been redeemed in peace' ... I departed [prison] in peace."
Why were both the Alter Rebbe and Mitteler Rebbe providentially informed of their release during their recitation of this verse?
As mentioned above, "redeemed in peace" comprises a twofold achievement: the actual liberation from one's antagonist, and the manner of liberation - "in peace," rather than having to engage the enemy in battle.
These two manners of liberation, "liberation through battle" and "liberation in peace," are germane to Torah as well. Generally, these two forms of "liberation" serve as the distinction between the revealed and inner portions of Torah - nigleh d'Torah and pnimiyus haTorah.
Pnimiyus haTorah, "the tree of life, containing therein no questions and no arguments," is similar to "liberation in peace"; results are achieved and conclusions are reached in a "peaceful" and non-combative manner.
Nigleh d'Torah, on the other hand, containing as it does a plethora of debates, questions, arguments, etc., is akin to "liberation through battle" - whereby the final conclusion and ruling is accomplished only after doing "battle" with the forces of concealment contained within the questions and arguments.
This is comparable to the difference in nigleh d'Torah itself between the Babylonian and Jerusalem Talmuds, Talmud Bavli and Talmud Yerushalmi:
The composition of Talmud Bavli is such, that in order to clarify a matter and arrive at its final disposition, one must first progress through a process of debate, questions, arguments and so on - the "battle of Torah." Talmud Bavli is thus similar to "liberation through battle." Much of this debate and questioning, however, is absent from Talmud Yerushalmi. Consequently, one can arrive much more quickly at the desired conclusion - "liberation in peace."
Still, Talmud Yerushalmi is likewise a portion of nigleh d'Torah, the portion of Torah that deals with the physical world. Since this world conceals the truths of Torah, Talmud Yerushalmi as well contains questions, etc., albeit in a more limited manner than Talmud Bavli.
This is not so with regard to pnimiyus haTorah, which contains "no questions or arguments," since pnimiyus haTorah speaks openly about G-dliness and spiritual subjects, matters that are palpably beyond worldly concealment. pnimiyus haTorah is therefore likened to "liberation in peace."
We may now understand why both the Alter Rebbe and the Mitteler Rebbe were liberated and redeemed while reciting the verse "My soul was redeemed in peace":
The liberation of the Alter Rebbe and the Mitteler Rebbe was not merely a personal liberation. Rather, it was an all-encompassing liberation and a Torah liberation - the liberation of Chassidus, pnimiyus haTorah, whose Torah dimension embodies "liberation in peace."
Based on Likkutei Sichos, Vol. XXV, pp. 159-162.
- (Back to text) In the year 5587 (1826).
- (Back to text) Shelah, beginning of Vayeishev.
- (Back to text) Bereishis 28:21.
- (Back to text) Beis Rebbe II, footnote at the conclusion of ch. 5.
- (Back to text) Tehillim 55:19.
- (Back to text) Beis Rebbe I, ch. 18; Igros Kodesh of the Alter Rebbe, p. 97.
- (Back to text) Raya Mehemna (Zohar), Naso (124b), quoted and elucidated by the Alter Rebbe in Iggeres HaKodesh, Epistle XXVI.
- (Back to text) See Shaarei Orah, the maamar entitled BeChaf Hei BeKislev, ch. 54ff; Amar Rava 5708, et al.
- (Back to text) Expression of our Sages in Megillah 15b; Chagigah 14a, et al.