Devar Torah - Ki Savo

Friday, 12 September, 2014 - 9:00 am

 Absorbing Chassidus is not like drinking Milk:
We cannot pick between “whole, half and skim”  
By Rabbi Shimon Raichik

This Shabbos is parshas Ki Savo and also Chai Elul the birthdays of the two great luminaries the Baal Shem Tov and the Alter Rebbe. The Rebbe asked what the connection is between the parsha of Ki Savo and the day of Chai Elul. The Previous Rebbe says that the day of Chai Elul brings life into the avodah of Elul.

Chassidus does not come to add to the Torah and mitzvos rather to bring life into the Torah and mitzvos we do. Adding life isn’t like adding a limb to the body rather it makes what’s there more alive; the life and the thing (the Torah and mitvos) are not two separate things but are all part of one thing. It’s not like a machine that you fill up with fuel, it’s a neshama, as we say in the bracha; You return souls into dead bodies. The neshama comes into (like the word savo, to enter in the name Ki Savo) the body and unites with it as one. The same is true for learning chassidus, when we learn chassidus it brings life into our entire being. It’s brings feeling and sensitivity into our performance of Torah and mitzvos.  Just as a mikva is only kosher when the entire body is covered by it’s waters with not even one hair outside, so too we want to be completely effected and within the waters of the Torah.

The problem that we face today is that people want to live on both sides of the fence. Some say; it’s no longer the 1850’s and we don’t have a shtetl to live in anymore. We have seen the development of a “modern chassidic” approach, which tries to have it both ways. What happens then is that we aren’t fully in it. We become partial participants depending on how we balance our priorities. If we are half way into the mikva it doesn’t make purity, we have to be completely inside the waters.

One year after the entire Tishrei the Rebbe said that there are people here who haven’t yet arrived. They were physically there the whole time but they weren’t really involved. Where is our life?

We also fool ourselves about where we stand. We participate in this double dance between the modern and the chassidic and then we look back and ask; how did I end up here? There is a story of a chosid businessman who was a chosid of the Rebbe Maharash. When he would visit the Rebbe he wore a kapote, and when he was among his fellow business associates he wore business attire. At some point the basic contradiction in his behavior bothered him so much that he decided to always dress either one way of the other. The next time he visited the Rebbe he wore his business attire. Later on in yechidus the Rebbe expressed his disappointment. The chosid said; you knew already, why are you upset now? The Rebbe replied; until now I thought that you were fooling the world that you were like Yaakov wearing the clothes of Eisav. Now I see that it’s the opposite.

When we fully participate and put ourselves entirely into serving Hashem with simcha and a good heart then we are in the land. The word land also means our will, our desire. This is the meaning of Ki Savo coming into the land.  When a chosid lives with emunah in general and uses his Chabad, his intellect in all the details then he lives entirely connected. This is the message of Chai Elul. And then we go in, inherit, and settle the land today together with Moshiach.

A Good Shabbos


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