Why The Urgency?

It Is In Our Hands To Take G‑d Out Of Exile

By Rabbi Yoseph Kahanov Jax, Fl.


I recently heard of an interesting incident. I cannot vouch for its authenticity but its point is well taken.

When the adapters of the Rebbe’s talks were working on a very delicate subject, one of the editors wrote a note to the Rebbe proposing a certain interpretation of the subject matter to which the Rebbe responded, “This is complete heresy.”

The reason I mention this is because the following is a delicate idea which I have not seen explicitly stated and thus pray that it is not sacrilege.

In our Torah portion we find what might be considered one of the most perplexing statements made in the Torah ever. What I am referring to is the very last verse of our Parsha, Beshalach, Chapter 17, Verse 16:

“And He [G‑d] said, For there is a hand on the throne of the Eternal, [that there shall be] a war for the Lord against Amalek from generation to generation.”

Rashi explains these words as follows: For there is a hand on the throne of the Eternal:
“Heb. כֵּס יָ-הּ כִּי-יָד עַל. The hand of the Holy One, blessed be He, was raised to swear by His throne, to have a war and [bear] hatred against Amalek for eternity. Now what is the meaning of כֵּס [as opposed to כִּסֵא (throne) and also [why is] the Divine Name divided in half? [I.e., why is the Name יָ-הּ used instead of י-ה-ו-ה ?] [The answer is that] the Holy One, blessed be He, swore that His Name will not be complete and His throne will not be complete until the name of Amalek is completely obliterated …”

These words appear mind boggling. How can it be said that G‑d’s throne and G‑d’s name are incomplete. Is this not the ultimate paradox and oxymoron? The obvious answer is that while nothing and nobody can cause a Divine incompletion, G‑d himself can choose to be affected by certain matters and circumstances.

A similar idea is the well known phenomenon that when Jews are in exile, G‑d is exiled together with them. This is to say that G‑d has chosen to be affected by certain behaviors preformed by mankind.

If this does not put enough onus and responsibility on us humans, consider the notion that G‑d is beyond time, in other words, all that which is time bound on a human level is eternal with respect to G‑d.

When taken to its logical conclusion this would mean that every day and every moment that Amalek which represents the ultimate denial of G‑d is not eradicated, and that every day that the Jewish people remain in exile causes a permanent incompletion as it were in the Holy One, Blessed Be He.

This may explain the connection between the beginning of our Parsha, the exodus of the Jewish people from Egypt and the Parsha’s ending. The state of redemption of the Jewish people reflects the state of redemption and revelation of the Almighty Himself. Amalek on the other hand signifies the polar opposite, the consummate concealment and denial of G‑d’s sovereignty. The latter causes the un-fulfillment of G‑d’s desire for this world to be His dwelling place and for His eminence to be revealed, which hence leads to His incompletion.

This idea ties in with the occasion of the 10th day of Shevat which was celebrated earlier this week. The 10th day of the Jewish month of Shevat ("Yud Shevat" in Hebrew) is a most significant date on the Chassidic calendar. It is the yahrtzeit of the sixth Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn (1880-1950), of righteous memory. It is also the day when, in 1951, the seventh Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson (1902-1994), of righteous memory, formally accepted the leadership of Chabad-Lubavitch with a historic maamar (discourse) and address at a gathering marking the first anniversary of his predecessor's passing.

All things in life are guided by Divine Providence especially something as important and pivotal as the occasion of Yud Shevat. There is hence much significance in the occurrence of this event during the week of the reading of Beshalach.

In one of his talks regarding Yud Shevat, the Rebbe summarized the aforementioned discourse, upon which his entire leadership was predicated, connecting its beginning – which discusses the banishment of the Divine presence from our world and its process of return through the spreading of Torah and Mitzvos, with its end – the urgency of the whole matter i.e., the return of a Divine presence through the dissemination of Torah…

The reason for this exigency is because the entire purpose of creation, and the continuous process of creation, is for this sole purpose of Divine revelation.

Given the above the notion that His Name is not complete and His throne is not complete “Until the name of Amalek is entirely obliterated” – that the concealment of G‑d is removed through the coming of Moshiach – the urgency of this matter, as stated in the Rebbe’s inaugural discourse is well understood, as well as its connection with our Parsha.

On this holy Shabbos, the Shabbos which elevates the occasion of Yud Shevat and the Shabbos that we read of our exodus from Egypt, may we merit the completion of G‑d’s throne and G‑d’s name with the coming of the righteous Moshiach BBA.