Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Yet More on Tzimtzum

S & R Coffer wrote:

> Before I make the following comment, I wish to state that essentially,
> I agree with RYGB that Toras Chabad regarding Tzimtum is limited to
> 'Or' rather than 'Maor' chs'v but I have a problem. The way I remember
> the sicha of the LR, he stated (Shoftim 5711 I think) regarding his
> father in law that he was (in Yiddish) "atzmus u'mahus azoi vee ess
> iz areingishtelt in a guf" (as opposed to utilizing terminology such
> as OES). This was one of his first (his first?) sichos and was stated
> regarding his father-in-law who had recently (one year?) departed. IIRC,
> he mentioned that this doctrine was not obligatory on his followers
> and IIRC he defended his position (in the footnotes) by referring to
> a Zohar regarding the fulfilment of the mitzvah of re'iy'yah on Yom
> Tov by appearing in front of RSBY. I would have liked to have seen
> something more definitive in the direction of RYGB's interpretation but
> unfortunately I have not encountered such throughout my exposure to
> the modern day explication of Toras Chabad. Perhaps RYGB can discuss
> this with his eminent uncle and report back to us (I am aware of the
> sefer Al haTzadikim...I am looking for a clear explanation from RYGB,
> not a pass the buck reference...)

The exact source is in Likutei Sichos vol. 2 p. 511. If you look
there, beginning the previous page with Os #40 you will find a very
interesting - and IMHO dubious - chiddush, that since a Rebbe is a
"memutzeh ha'mechaber" instead of a "memutzeh ha'mafsik," one may make
requests of a deceased Rebbe, even though it is normally heretical to
make requests of the dead, and even of malachim.
But this specific expression has never bothered me as much as it
has others. It is supported by the citation (in the Sicha, not in the
notes!) of the Zohar that states "Man pnei ha'Adon - zeh Rashbi;" and the
fact that a malach is called b'shem Havayah when speaking b'shem Hashem,
and that Moshe spoke of Hashem's commandments in first person.
And this bechinah is one of OES - see, for example,

I am cc'ing one of our greater Chabad scholars to ask for additional


  1. I attended a chabad yeshiva, though I am not a chabadnick. At the time going to the Ohel was a huge thing (I'm sure it still is). The requests of the (may he be remembered well) rebbe bothered me so I asked about it. The answer I received was not rooted in chassidut, but in tanakh and gemara. The first "source" was Caleb's making a request of the avot to intervene for him with HaKadosh Barchu to protect him from the sin of the meraglim - though that's not really clear from the sources (he might have prayed in their merit and not addressed himself to them). The rabbi I asked also brought a gemoro about a man who was aflicted by the nasi of his generation and fell on his father's grave asking for intervention - and recieved it the next day when the nasi fell off his horse and died (I do not recall the location, though I did look it over at the time). These two stories were combined with the general dictum in the talmud that one's students are like one's parents. I am extremely dubious of the explanation and was never willing to act accordingly. I was raised catholic and I know catholocism when I see it. We do reference the merit of the avot in our prayers we address our prayers to them. We "don't do intercessors" and my gut tells me Caleb (if it is to be understood as they explained it (doubtful)) was an exception rather than the Rambam's general rule (that it is only appropriate to pray to Hashem). Its cultish and weird. I makes my gut churn.

  2. Intervene, yes - but the Rebbe in this ma'amar was saying not just that you can ask for intervention, but make the request itself of his FIL.

    Interesting Recanati:

    פירוש הרקאנאטי על התורה - פרשת בשלח
    שלח לך אנשים. כבר הודעתיך בענין האבות שהקב"ה החזיקם בארץ על העתיד להעשות בזרעו גם כאן שלח המרגלים שתהא נוחה ליכבש לישראל וזה טעם איש אחד לשבט שכל שבט יזכה בחלקו אמנם הם הטילו בה זוהמא וכרתו מן המקום אשר נקרא שם זמורה ואשכול ענבים אחד. ויש להתבונן על אומרו ומה הארץ הטובה היא אם רעה וכן על אמרו השמנה היא אם רזה. והנה הכתוב אמר ביציאת מצרים אעלה אתכם מעני מצרים אל ארץ טובה ורחבה וכתיב אל ארץ זבת חלב ודבש. ואיך נסתפק עתה על ההבטחה ההיא ולא מצאתי תקון בזה על דרך הפשט. אמנם על דרך הסוד יתיישב הכל כי רמז לארץ העליונה והחקירה בה אם היא נקייה מכחות הטומאה והזוהמא כענין כולך יפה רעייתי ומום אין בך (שה"ש ד' ז') ומה שהעיר אותי על זה הוא אמרו היש בה עץ אם אין. וידעת סוד העץ מפסוק והשענו תחת העץ. וסוד אין מפסוק היש יי' בקרבנו אם אין והבן זה מאד. וטעם מ' יום רמזתי בחטא אדם וחוה. וטעם ויבא עד חברון ידעת מה שאז"ל על כלב כי הלך שם להשתטח על קברי האבות ואמר אבותי בקשו עלי רחמים מלפני הקב"ה כדי שאנצל מעצת המרגלים. זה המאמר יחסום פי האומרים שאין לומר מכניסי רחמים. גם מה שאמרו עוד רז"ל במסכת תעניות ולמה יוצאין לבית הקברות כדי שהמתים יבקשו עליהם רחמים זהו אם יעמוד משה ושמואל לפני (ירמיה טו' א'):