Liberating Heaven and Earth
11th of Nisan, 5735 [1975
In our letter of Rosh Chodesh Nisan we reflected on the subject of Z'man Cheirutainu, the Festival of Our Liberation, in its dual meaning: liberation of the Jewish people and, with it, liberation of the Shechina (Divine Presence), as it were -- a concept already indicated in various texts of the Torah and more explicitly in Rabbinic sources.
It is rooted in the fact that when Jews go into exile, the Shechina goes (into exile) with them. Thus our Sages of blessed memory declared, "As they went into exile in Egypt, the Shechina went with them." Hence, liberation must likewise include both -- "the people and G-d." Consequently, it was pointed out, true freedom must be expressed in terms of continuous striving for liberation and expansiveness (the exact opposite of bondage and restraint) in the everyday life -- both in the area of person's duties to G-d and in the area of the person's duties to another ("Good to heaven and good to the creatures"), so as to achieve redemption of both "the people and G-d."
Pursuing the theme more deeply, at least in one aspect, it ought to be said that true liberation, in addition to being expressed in the two said areas of human endeavor requires, moreover, that every action, whether in the realm of "good to heaven" or "good to the creatures," must embrace elements of both, and also in the same measure of freedom and expansiveness in both.
Parenthetically, yet significantly, this is also a step towards achieving, in a deeper and more inclusive way, unity of the entire created universe -- which is, of course, the purpose of the Jew, as an individual, and as a member of the people which is characterized as one people on earth in the sense (according to a Chasidic interpretation) that "it brings about unity (also) in the realm of earthly things."
By way of illustration:
We see that when a Jew is about to celebrate the seder in the best manner of "good to heaven" -- being inspired with gratitude to G-d for the geula [redemption from Egypt], in which he experiences his personal redemption, as in the text of the Hagada, "... Who redeemed us (in addition to) and Who redeemed our ancestors..." -- we must begin the seder with the announcement, "Whoever is hungry.... whoever is needy," immediately inviting to the seder table all those who are unable to celebrate the seder by themselves.
Furthermore, the whole seder is based on the commandment, "You shall tell your child," indicating an obligation to involve others in it, whatever their status, for -- "Your child" includes all the four kinds of children, and, moreover, in light of the Sages' interpretation that "Your children includes your disciples," it really embraces everyone whom you can influence and bring closer to Judaism.
Just as in the realm of "good to heaven," which must embrace also "good to the creatures," so in the realm of the latter true liberation in inter-human relations is achieved when it is also "good to heaven."
For if an action in relation to other people is prompted only by one's own reason, or feeling, it is limited to, and in the measure of, one's intellect and feelings -- as this subject has been discussed at greater length elsewhere.
Inasmuch as the geula from the present galut [exile] is destined to be "as in the days of your going out of Egypt," which, as mentioned above, was in a manner of redeeming "the people and G-d," it is self- evident that the way to hasten its coming is through efforts and deeds in both areas; in that of "good to heaven" -- to help redeem the Shechina from galut and in that of "good to the creatures" -- to ensure that no Jew should, G-d forbid, be lost in the galut:
Efforts and deeds in the service of G-d embracing all three pillars, Torah, Avoda [prayer], and Gemilut Chasadim [acts of kindness], with true freedom in the above-mentioned sense.
May G-d grant that by virtue of the Jews being "all of us like one," we should promptly see the open realization of "bless us, our Father," and the realization of, "In that day G-d will be One and His Name One," through the service of "one people on earth," and the realization that "G-d is my King since the days of old, working salvation in the midst of the earth," with the coming of the true and complete Geula through our righteous Moshiach.
With esteem and blessing for a happy and kosher Pesach,