The Weekly Sedra – Parshas Va’eira

The Rebbe says:

1. In this week’s Torah portion Hashem (G-d) tells the Jewish people that they are going to be redeemed from their unbearable exile in Egypt. Hashem first uses four descriptions of how He will redeem them- “I will transport you out”, “I will rescue you”, “I will redeem you”, and “I will take you out”. Hashem then uses a fifth description, “I will bring you to the land about which I have raised My hand to give it to Avraham (Abraham), Yitzchak (Isaac), and Yakov (Jacob)”.

2. The Rebbe now discusses the four descriptions of redemption, and the additional fifth:

It is well known that the four descriptions of redemption correspond to the four redemptions that the Jewish people had throughout history, beginning with our redemption from Egypt. Bearing this in mind we can understand that the fifth description corresponds to the final and complete redemption when Moshiach (Messiah) will come and take us out of this exile with the third and final Beis Hamikdash (Holy Temple).

Furthermore, since Hashem gave this promise when He took us out Egypt, the final redemption must have began from our exodus out of Egypt. As the Previous Rebbe said, “From our Exodus out of Egypt and on we are traveling to the final redemption”.

3. The Rebbe now proves this idea of something starting and considered done earlier on:

The Talmud records that Reb Yochanan holds that one is liable for the damage wrought by his fire on account of the fire being deemed his property. In other words, Reb Yochanan holds that right away when one lights a fire he is responsible for and obligated to pay for all damages which were caused by this later.
Now, we know that “the measure of good is greater then the measure of bad”. Therefore, if by a negative thing (a damaging fire) we say that it is already considered done earlier on, we would surely say that if Hashem promised to take us to the land which He promised to our forefathers Avraham, Yitzchak, and Yakov, that it is already considered done.

4. The Rebbe now questions Reb Yochanan:

In a different discussion Reb Yochanan states that if it was up to him he would have set the day of mourning and fasting for the Beis Hamikdash’s (the Holy Temple’s) destruction on the Tenth of Av and not on the Ninth of Av because the Beis Hamikdash only started burning on the Ninth of Av however it finished burning on the Tenth of Av.

Question: If Reb Yochanan holds that we follow the time of commencement, why would he hold that the Tenth of Av should commemorate the destruction of the Beis Hamikdash? According to him especially we should go by the commencement of the burning- the Ninth of Av!?

5. The Rebbe now answers the question:

We must say that the case of a person lighting a fire or shooting an arrow and indirectly damaging something is different then Hashem causing things to happen, for example the Beis Hamikdash being destroyed, and that’s why Reb Yochanan has two seemingly conflicting opinions.

The obvious difference: In the case of an arrow or a fire once it is released from a person’s hands he has no control over where it goes, however Hashem obviously always has control of what is going on.

Therefore, when a person shoots an arrow or lights a fire and has no control over what’s going to happen, Reb Yochanan obligates him right away. However since Hashem is constantly in control of everything and could change His mind at any moment, Reb Yochanan holds that we could not be sure that the Beis Hamikdash would be destroyed until it was actually totally destroyed and therefore we should have set up the day of mourning on the Tenth of Av when the Beis Hamikdash was definitely destroyed.

6. The Rebbe now questions his earlier statement based on this explanation:

If Hashem can change His mind at any time, how can we be so sure that he will redeem us and take us out of exile just because he said so at the time of our Exodus from Egypt?

7. The Rebbe now answers the question:

The Rambam writes that Hashem regrets bad decrees and takes them back; however He never regrets good decrees and never takes them back. Therefore, in our case, since Hashem promised to take us out of exile with the ultimate redemption, he is like a person who already released an arrow from their hands or started a fire and has no control over it- Hashem must (so to speak) take us out of exile.

We do not mean to say that Hashem is G-d Forbid forced to do something. We mean that since He decided that once he decides on a good decree He will not take it back, He has forced Himself (so to speak) to keep to it.

8. The Rebbe now tells us the lesson we can learn from this:

When we know that the redemption, and not just any redemption but the ultimate and final redemption, is already here, and all that we are waiting for is for it to be revealed, this makes it a lot easier to withstand concealments of G-dliness that is prevalent in this physical world, during exile, and especially in the last generations before Moshiach. We will be able to recognize obstacles that get in our way in our service to Hashem for what they truly are- a test to bring out our inner strength, and break through them.

When we do this, the concealments will be removed and we will be able to see clearly with our physical eyes that all that Hashem does is for the best.

Translated and adapted by Rabbi Shalom Goldberg. Taken from Likutei Sichos volume one, second Sicha.

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