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Tuesday, March 20, 2018 4 Nisan 5778


The first Lubavitch/Chabad Rebbe, Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi, author of the Tanya and Code of Jewish Law, once remarked that a Jew must "live with the times." His son explained the meaning: A Jew must live with the Torah portion of the week - i.e., he must assimilate the lessons of the weekly Torah portion
The Child and the Adult in Us
This week’s Torah Portion concludes with discussing the seven-day period of initiation of Aharon and his sons into the priesthood:
“You should not leave the entrance of the Tent of Meeting for seven days until the concluding day of your days of inauguration… You should stay at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting day and night for seven days, and must guard your appointed duty to G-d…”
The Lubavitcher Rebbe explains that the first verse was directed to those inside the Tent of Meeting performing the required services during the first seven days. The second verse was addressed to those who remained outside the Tent of Meeting; they had an independent obligation to stand guard at the site of the Tent of Meeting even when the Tent was disassembled for the night.
This Torah reading occurs on the Shabbat before the Holiday of Passover in most years, which is called Shabbat HaGadol, the Great Shabbat.
Passover too is a time of initiation and inauguration. The Passover Seder’s dominant theme is education. It is the child who asks the four questions. We do things differently during the seder so that the children will ask additional questions. A good portion of the Seder is devoted to answering the questions of the Four Sons.
In truth, Passover is not just for children. It is also meant to inspire us adults, who are children relative to the spiritual level we have not yet achieved. When we respond to the questions of the child we are also responding to the child in us.
This also explains the connection with Shabbat HaGadol, which can be translated as the Shabbat of maturity. The focus of Passover is the introduction of the Gadol-great-adult dimension of spirituality to the child.
In exile we are like children preparing for the Messianic age of maturity. As we stand close, so very close to the Final Redemption we must conduct ourselves as adults, not as immature children.
And here is the ultimate paradox. On the one hand, the Messianic Age is the age of ultimate maturity. “The entire world will be filled with the knowledge of G-d.” We will reach the apex of intellectual and spiritual development.
On the other hand, Moshiach is also associated with childlike innocence. The Talmud, on the verse “Do not touch My anointed [Meshichoi] ones,” states that it refers to the children who study Torah with purity.
We have to strive for the highest level of knowledge and maturity even as we preserve the purity and innocence of our soul’s essence. The ultimate goal is the fusing of the “inner child” and adulthood.
This synthesis is highlighted by observing Passover (the Holiday that cultivates childlike innocence) after Shabbat HaGadol—the Shabbat of Maturity.
The connection between Shabbat HaGadol and Passover suggests that our educational goal must be to create a fusion of spiritual adulthood with childlike innocence and purity.
The Tent of Meeting represents our Messianic aspiration. In our preparation for this meeting, there are two dynamics.
First, we have to prepare for all that we will be doing in the future. This seven-day period corresponds to our seven emotional attributes. The objective is that all of our faculties should be harnessed to the highest level of our meeting with G-d—our adult version of Judaism.
This “seven-day adult program” is limited to the daytime, when the Tent of Meeting is fully assembled, just like a child is educated to perform the Mitzvot in an adult fashion.
However, these seven days of initiation also preserve the inner purity and holiness that can become obscured by a person’s sophistication. That is why the people had to stand outside the disassembled Tent of Meeting and guard it, i.e., preserve the holiness of the place, the holiness of a disassembled (read: unsophisticated, childlike) Tent of Meeting.
As we anticipate Moshiach’s revelation, we must attain maturity in our knowledge of Torah; particularly, the part of Torah that introduces us to the highest spiritual levels. We then have to fuse that with the simple faith in the Rebbe’s words to us that “The time of your Redemption has come.”

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The Child and the Adult in Us

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