The Weekly Sicha of the Rebbe – Parshas Terumah

The Rebbe says:

1. Regarding the building of the Mishkan (the Tabernacle) in this week’s Torah portion the Torah says, “You should make the beams for the Tabernacle of acacia wood (Atzay Shittim), standing upright”.

2. The Previous Rebbe explained that the Hebrew word for, “acacia”, which is, “Shittim”, also means, “turning away”. In other words, there is a middle path which is the path of logic and reason, and the turning away from the middle path is called, “Shittim”, from the word, “Shtoos – Senselessness”.

However, there are two types of ways to be senseless. One way is to turn away from the middle path of logic and be senseless in the opposite way of holiness, as the Talmud states, “A person only commits a transgression because a spirit of senselessness entered him”, and another way is to turn away from the middle path of logic and be senseless in a holy way, as the Talmud states, “The senselessness of this Sage has helped him”.

The service of the Mishkan and the Beis HaMikdash (the Holy Temple), says the Previous Rebbe, is to convert the senselessness of the opposite side of holiness into holiness.

3. The Rebbe elaborates on this point of the Previous Rebbe:

If the world did not have the senselessness of the other side, then it would be enough to follow the middle path of logic and reason in Torah. However, since the world does indeed have a strong trend of senselessness in things which are the opposite of holiness, we must combat this with senselessness of holiness.
Practically this means that if one has deviated from the middle path of righteousness and transgressed, he cannot just return to the middle path of logic, he must go completely over to the right side, the side of senselessness in holiness. As the Alter Rebbe says, when one wants to repair a torn rope he must make an extra strong double-knot when he connects the rope back together. This is also as the Rambam says that generally one should follow the middle path, however if he deviated from this middle path he must go to the other extreme first to balance out.

4. The Rebbe now begins discussing something else which we will be able to understand according to all of the above:

The Talmud states that whoever delights in Shabbos (the Sabbath) will receive a boundless heritage. The Talmud then continues and explains that this boundless heritage is the heritage of Yakov Avinu (Jacob our forfather) about whom it is written, “U’Fa’Ratzta – And you shall burst out”, and not the heritage of Avraham Avinu (Abraham our forefather) or Yitzchak Avinu (Isaac our forfather) about whom the Torah does say other compliments but does not say, “U’Fa’Ratzta”.

We must wonder; what is so great about, “U’Fa’Ratzta – And you shall burst out”, to the extent that it is greater than the other attributes of the Avraham Avinu and Yitzchak Avinu?

5. To answer this question, the Rebbe first analyzes what, “U’Fa’Ratzta”, means:

First of all, we must first make clear that when we say that “you will burst out”, it does not simply mean to spread out, we must mean that there was a building or wall that was in your way and you broke through it.

Second of all, it only makes sense to say that the Torah is talking about breaking through a building of holiness. Why must we say this? Because anything of the opposite side of holiness is not a true building, it is death and destruction, and consequently destroying something of the evil side is not real destruction, it is actually building anew. Therefore, when the Torah says that we are “breaking through”, it must mean that we are breaking through a true building which is a building of holiness.

However, this obviously raises a problem because why would breaking through a building of holiness be a good thing?

Rather, it is as we just explained that one must not even have limits of holiness- meaning only staying on the middle path- but must tap into his senselessness in matters of holiness. And this is the heritage of Yakov Avinu, “the chosen one of our forefathers”, which is higher than the heritage of Avraham Avinu and Yitzchak Avinu.

6. The Rebbe now tells us the lessons that we can learn from this:

Students in Yeshivas (Talmudic academies), whose main concern is Torah learning, should know that the hours of class (Seder) are not enough and they must put their watches on the side and learn without limits.

Businessmen, whose main interest is in doing Mitzvos (commandments), and specifically the Mitzvah of Tzedakah (charity) which is equal to all the Mitzvos, should know that they should give freely without boundaries, even above the boundaries of Halachah (Jewish law), because as the Alter Rebbe explains, “anyone would give their entire fortune away to save their lives”.

Moreover, regarding Moshiach (the Messiah) the Torah says the same wording of, ““U’Fa’Ratzta – And you shall burst out”, and this teaches us that by following this directive of tapping into our senselessness of holiness we will merit the coming of Moshiach now.

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

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