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                                                                                                                                   Re'eh

The sicha for parshas Re�eh is in Vol. II of Likkutei Sichos.

In today�s parsha, the Torah tells us about the animals that we may eat, the animals that are pure, and those animals that are not pure and that we are not allowed the eat, and it gives us the signs to know which is kosher and which is not. Kosher animals chew their cud and have split hooves.

Now there are two kinds of signs that the Torah gives. One is the sign that makes the thing what it is- the animal is kosher by the fact that it has split hooves and chews its cud.

Another way of understanding a sign is that the animal is kosher because of a mystical unknown reason.  But how do we identify the kosher animal, we are given the clue that it will have the signs of chewing its cud, and having split hooves. That's not what makes the animal kosher, that's merely what identifies the kosher animal as kosher.

In order to understand the lesson that we can derive from the signs that the kosher animal has, which allows us to eat it, we first have to understand what does it mean � to eat.� In the world, there exists the inorganic, like salt and water, that can be eaten and then there is the vegetable, the animal and then the human. When a human being eats, he raises the food to the level of the human, by absorbing it into his system. It becomes flesh and blood of a person; thereby the food, whether it is the vegetable or an animal, becomes part of the human, and is elevated to the level of the human. By eating meat you actually elevate the vegetables that fed the meat, and the inorganic world, the earth and the water and minerals that went into creating the vegetables, so that by eating the meat you are actually elevating and absorbing the inorganic and the vegetable as well of the animal.

In the human being, there are also these four categories. There is the part that is human, the part that is animal, the part that is vegetable and the part that is inorganic. And this is what the Gemarrah means when it says there are three ways that the human being is similar to the animal. Then there is the fourth part of human being - the human within the human.

Now just as the literal animal, vegetable and inorganic product does not exist for itself but finds its elevation, and comes to its completion by being absorbed into the human being, the part of the human being that is animal, the part that is vegetable, and the part of that is inorganic, they also do not exist for themselves, they are not an end in themselves, but rather they have to be absorbed into the human part of the human, and raised to that level.

So just as the world in general, the highest level is the human being, and the goal is to absorb all the other levels into the human being and to raise it to the level of the human being, the same is true also of the four parts in the human himself. And by extension, when human being eats meat, he has to raise that meat not only to the level of the human in general, but to the level of the human within the human.  So it's not enough that the animal feeds and is absorbed into the animal part of the human being but it has to be absorbed into the human part of the human being, into those activities and those experiences that makes the human human.

What is the function of the human?  We are told that a person is called adam, because it is related to the word adama, a reflection of that which is Above. So a Jew, an adam, is not meant to be an end in itself, but that the adam is meant to be absorbed in that which is Above, in G-dliness. By being similar, by carrying out the instructions, by being a messenger of
G-d, then we become similar, we become G-dly. So that is the elevation of the human being, to be elevated to the source of the human being, the source of life, which is G-dliness. This happens step-by-step, until a person becomes so united, so completely merged with G-dliness, that he fulfills the instruction of  � to cleave to G-d.�

And as we find with Moshe Rabbeinu, where the level of Moshe was that he was able to say  � �and I will make the grass grow �. Of course he was speaking for G-d, without having to say it was G-d.  He could say �I�, and it meant G-d, because G-d spoke through Moshe.  So it was G-d speaking, even though it was coming through Moshe's throat. And that is the level of complete and total devotion and cleaving to G-d that G-d can speak through him, without having to be quoted.

As the person becomes adam l�elyon, as he gets more and more connected to G-dliness, he raises with himself, he brings up to that level even the inorganic, vegetable and animal that he had absorbed and has become part of him. 

Now the question is, how can a human being transform that which is animal or vegetable, and cause it to rise to G-dliness, when by its very nature, the nature of the animal, the vegetable and the inorganic is to move away from G-dliness.  How do we change the very nature of these products?  How are we able to absorb the products into the human level, into becoming part of what we are, and then how do we raise that up further to be merged and to be joined into the G-dliness that we are connected to, that we become merged and joined with.

In order to be able to do all of this, the Torah tells us that there are two signs: two signs that show was whether we're going about it correctly and we are actually effecting an elevation in the food that we eat or not.

So the first thing is, if a person is using the physical ingredients of the inorganic, the vegetable, and the animal, is he doing it for a heavenly reason and part of the service of G-d. Only then, he is able to elevate the food that it should also become part of G-dliness and then the Torah says, then you may eat it.  Or, it's also possible, that he is not doing it the way it should be done, he is not eating it as part of his service to G-d, but rather he eats only because his nature dictates, habit dictates that he must eat, then you're not elevating the food, on the contrary, instead of being elevated by the human, the food actually drags the human down to a lower-level, and then the Torah says, then you should not eat it at all, because you are not elevating it.

How do we know that a person is doing it for a heavenly purpose as part of his service of G-d, or whether he's only doing it by nature or by habit. The Torah tells us that a person by nature, cannot be two opposites at the same time- he cannot be kind and severe to the same degree at the same time: so if his nature is kindness, he can't also do something severe with the same enthusiasm as he does kindness.  Or if a person�s nature is strict and severe, he can't also do acts of kindness of the same enthusiasm as the severity.

That's why it says by Avraham Aveinu that when he was given the tenth of his ten tests, which was to bring his son, Yitzchak, up to the akeida as a sacrifice, only when he was ready to do that G-d says, then � now I know you are G-d fearing, now I know not only about the akeida, now it has been revealed that the other nine tests are also about a fear of G-d, and not merely out of nature.�  Because the first nine tests were all expressions of Avraham�s love, it was all in the category of kindness. Avraham was the essence of kindness. The question was, did Avraham pass the nine tests of kindness, because he was by nature a very kind person, or was he kind because that's what G-d called for, and it was part of his service of G-d.

When did we know, when was it obvious and clear, that he did his kindness because of G-d and not because of his nature? When he was ready to do an act of severity, of sacrificing Yitzchak, with the same devotion as he did the kindness.  Because if it were by nature, they couldn�t both exist in the same person to the same degree.

And that is the sign of kashrus that is the split hoof.

When you have only one category, when you belong to only one category, because that is your nature, then you have a single hoof.  When you have a split hoof, it means that you're going in two directions at the same time, that you could go either way, with equal enthusiasm.  And that can only be if you are motivated by a higher consideration, something beyond your nature. It's possible for person to transcend, whatever his nature dictates, if he brings into the equation G-d�s interest, and if he brings into the equation his neshama.  Since the neshama is neutral on all subjects, on all physical activity, to the neshama it really doesn't make much of a difference one way or the other. So what determines for the neshama, which way it should involve itself in the physical world? Whatever G-d says, whichever way He prefers- that's fine and perfectly comfortable for the neshama.  Because again, for the neshama, it could go either way.

When a person is equally enthusiastic about mitzvas that are kind and mitzvas that are severe, if all mitzvas are treated equally, that shows that his behavior is dictated not by his nature but by his neshama.

So this is the sign that the person is going about his physical activity in a kosher way, and therefore he may indulge in these activities, this he is allowed to eat, he is allowed to absorb this worldly substance, because he has a split hoof- he is ready to go in any direction that G-d asks him to go.  And like a good messenger, he is ready to carry out whatever the message may be, whatever the mission may be.

Now in the laws of the description of the split hoof, there are animals that have a partially split hoof. In other words, the top of the hoof is split but from the bottom, when you look at the bottom of the hoof, it is all one piece.  So there is a cleft in the hoof, but it is not literally, truly two independent halves of the hoof. In order for the animal to be kosher, it has to be split all the way through, there has to be two distinct halves to the hoof. And that means that it's not enough that a person can on the surface go both ways, on the surface he can be strict when he has to be and kind when he has to be, the kindness and the strictest has to go all the way through, inwardly, deep down his heart, he has to be able to go both ways.  And only then is it a sign of kosher, only then is it a sign that what he's going to eat will be truly elevated to the level of G-dliness to which the person is cleaving.

And even after all of this, we�re still not sure that everything is kosher.  Since in fact he is involved in physical, worldly things, in the eating of flesh, in the eating meat, then even if he sees himself that he can go either way, he can serve G-d in whatever way necessary, which shows that he's not doing it out of the instinct, out of the habit or out of nature, but that he's doing it for a heavenly purpose, he still needs to have the second sign - the chewing of the cud. Chewing of the cud means rechewing, rehashing again and again, rethinking over and over, whether what he is doing is right.

So that would mean he has to check again and again and reconsider and examine over and over again, whether what he's doing is really kosher or not. All activity that involves a Jew with physical enjoyment and physical pursuits, have to be constantly examined on a regular basis to see whether he is still elevating the food or whether the food is dragging him down.

What we learn from this in practical avodah is that when a person goes to eat meat, he has to check to see whether he has both signs of purity, both signs of kashrus.  And if not, he's better off not eating.

And the same is also true with all physical activity, with going to school, with going to business -you have to check over and over again to see if everything is kosher.  We have to be certain that we are not allowing the dictates of our nature, to determine how and where we indulge and how we involve ourselves in the physical world, but we have to be constantly guided by the neshama, be guided by our purpose and our shlichus, by the Torah that guides us in a safe and holy fashion through a lifetime of physical involvement where the physical does not drag us down or diminished us, but rather through it, we accomplish what we were sent to accomplish, and that is the elevation of the physical world, making even the animal, the vegetable and the inorganic, all a part of the G-dliness to which we cleave, G-dliness to which we aspire, and we raise it all up with us as we raise ourselves.

Since this is the month of Ellul, the Rebbe adds, in Likkutei Torah, there is a moshul, an example that tells us the difference between Ellul and Tishrei. 

In the month of Ellul, it is like a king, who is in the fields, on his way to the city, and in Tishrei, it is like the king who is sitting in his palace.  When the king in his palace, not everyone has the right to him, because there is a whole protocol as to how one comes to see the king. Certain preparations are necessary; certain conditions have to be met.  But when the king is traveling and he is out in the fields, among the people, there the protocol does not apply. There, where he does not have all the trappings of the palace and of the royal chambers, because of the absence of those trappings, that makes it possible for everyone to approach the king, and he willingly, gladly, and smilingly, greets every person and fulfills their request.

In the month of Ellul, G-d comes to every Jew, wherever the Jew may be, even if it is out of the fields and every Jew has an opportunity to present his requests and his pleas before G-d, as the Rebbe explains there in Likkutei Torah at length.

It is obvious from the above, that when the king is out of the fields, one needs to be extremely careful in not making a mistake.  Since the person finds himself out in the fields, and in spite of this the king comes to him, and receives his requests, hears his requests, and what's more he greets him smilingly, this can lead to a mistake.  A person can conclude from this that being out of the field, away from the palace, and being in the condition in which he is in, he is perfectly acceptable and he doesn't need to change or grow or improve.  And the proof of it is, that as he is, in the condition that he is in, the king comes to him and accepts him, approvingly, smilingly, which leads him to conclude that he is doing fine and doesn't need to improve.

When the king is in the palace, this mistake is not possible at all because you know that in order to get the palace, you have to meet certain conditions, make certain preparations, and only then do they let you into the palace at all.  And even once in the palace, there are those who allowed only into the outer chambers, because that's what they are fit for, and then there are those who are more deserving and are allowed into the inner chambers, and so on.  So there can be no mistake about the fact that one needs to prepare properly and one needs to be worthy of being received by the king.

But when the king comes out into the field, and all this protocol is set aside, and is easy for everyone regardless of the condition to approach the king, here we have to make sure that we don't come to the wrong conclusion, and decide that because the king is friendly, because G-d is available and friendly, we don't need to grow and we don't need to improve.

And so it is with the month of Ellul, that when G-d comes to every Jew, despite where the Jew may be in his spiritual growth and G-d is approving and smiling in His acceptance and greeting to every Jew, which means that G-d makes Himself available to everyone wherever they may be, here we have to be careful, we shouldn't make the mistake of thinking since we are in bigdei d�chol, weekday clothes, since Ellul is not Yom Tov, the month of Ellul is not a Yom Tov time, when you are not allowed to work � it�s weekdays, most of it weekdays, where we are involved in the 39 labors that are prohibited on Yom Tov, and even while we are involved in those labors, and it is not a Yom Tov, yet G-d comes and offers Himself to us, reveals Himself to us, and makes Himself close to us.

So here we have to know that that closeness is a demanding closeness, it demands that we grow from it, grow towards it.

It says in the Pri Etz Chaim, in the Kabbalah, that the words were L�Hashem v�yomru l�omer ashira, the first letters of those words spell out the name Ellul. So we need to understand what is the connection between those words and the month of Ellul, those words were said in the shiras hayam, the singing after the splitting of the Sea, and also and what does it mean l�omer, the Jews said saying.  Usually when you find that expression in Torah it means that they said and they told others to say.  But here, everyone was there, and everyone was included in the singing, so who else was there to be told to say it as well.

The Rebbe explains that l�omer here means for future generations; that the future generations should also singing to G-d, be higher than the high.  And this means that when a Jew sings to G-d, then he is higher than high.  Which means that although there are laws of nature that G-d instituted and according to the laws of nature, the world has to behave certain way, when a person sings to G-d, when a person is serving G-d with joy, and G-d puts aside all of these high conditions, the laws of nature and the angels that control the laws of nature, then the Jew is higher than the high.

And that is the avodah of Ellul, that we sing, that we serve G-d with joy, devote ourselves completely to G-d with tshuva, that this tshuva brings us to singing, to a joy of G-dliness, and then we become in charge of the world, the world adjusts to enable us to serve G-d easier and more readily and we become higher than the high because we become the baal habayis over the world, over nature. Because eved melech, when we serve G-d as a servant to the king, then the king�s servant is in some way himself a king.

 


 

 


  


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