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The Mittler Rebbe: The Portal of Yom Kippur: Part One

Every Yom Kippur contains a ray of the level of the Great Shofar of the Ultimate Future described above. The explanations given with regard to the Great Shofar of the Ultimate Future – that the souls of those who are lost and dispersed will also come to prostrate themselves[1] – applies every Yom Kippur.

To explain: The concept of the yovel, Jubilee year,[2] is well known. It is written:[3] “And you shall proclaim freedom” on the fiftieth year. During the time the Beis HaMikdash was standing, the mitzvah of the yovel was observed every fifty years, as it is written:[4] “It is the fiftieth year, it will be holy for you” and “You shall proclaim freedom throughout the land.” In the spiritual realms, this refers to the world of freedom, freedom from all matters and freedom from the Angel of Death. [This comes about] because [the yovel] resembles the seventh millennium that is called “the world of freedom.” At that time, “death will be swallowed up forever.”[5] And man will live eternally, as it is written:[6] “And we will live in His presence.” This refers to the World to Come. [Then] the essence of the Or Ein Sof, the ultimate simple oneness, will become manifest here on the earthly plane as it is manifest in the spiritual realms.

(This is the meaning of the name Ehiyeh Asher Ehiyeh, “I will be what I will be,[7] i.e., “I will be revealed in the Future,”[8] in the World to Come and in the Era of the Resurrection. This represents the level of Kesser as a whole. At present, the name of Ehiyeh as it exists within Kesser is not [revealed] except as Kesser functions on an individual level.[9] The first level of the name Ehiyeh will also be expressed in the Future, i.e., in the era of Mashiach.[10] This represents the Kesser of Atik Yomim, as it is written:[11] “He will be exalted and be uplifted, becoming exceedingly lofty.” In the Ultimate Future, in the World to Come, however, [the second level of] Ehiyeh will be revealed. This refers to the Kesser of the Malchus of the Ein Sof itself, as it is said:[12] “Reveal the glory of Your Kingship upon us.”)

The rationale why the yovel is observed in the fiftieth year is that the seven Sabbatical cycles, 49 years [in total], represent seven ascents of the seven emotional qualities that exist in Binah.[13] Every Sabbatical year represents a unique ascent. The first Sabbatical cycle involves the attribute of Chessed of Binah, the second, the attribute of Gevurah of Binah, until the seventh, which involves the Malchus of Binah. In general, these [49 years] are identified with the 49 Gates of Understanding and the fiftieth year with the Fiftieth Gate of Understanding, which is called “the world of freedom,” and the sublime yovel. It is identified with the inner dimension of Binah and [its arousal] reaches the inner dimension of Kesser in a general sense. This is the intent of the charge: “And you shall proclaim freedom,” [i.e., call forth] “the world of freedom” which is comparable to the seventh millennium of the entire spiritual cosmos. This reflects the inner dimension of Binah, the encompassing yovel of the Fiftieth Gate of Understanding of the entire spiritual cosmos as is well known. This is sufficient for a person of understanding.

Each and every Yom Kippur reflects a microcosm and a semblance – [although] as a mere ray – from the level of [this] yovel. For each fifty years, there is a ray from the general yovel of the World to Come. For every Yom Kippur is called[14] “a Shabbos of complete rest,” and it is referred to with the phrase:[15] “Sanctified unto G-d, honored,” because eating and drinking is not [permitted]. Accordingly, it represents a microcosm of the yovel of the World to Come which is a particular dimension that is divested from the encompassing sublime yovel that is endowed to each and every Yom Kippur of a fifty-year cycle on the Yom Kippur of that yovel. And within every yovel of fifty years this light is apportioned to each and every Yom Kippur from every Sabbatical year cycle of the seven Sabbatical year cycles of this yovel. Thus on every Yom Kippur, [radiance] from the encompassing Yom Kippur of the World to Come shines forth. This is revealed by the sounding of the shofar at [the conclusion of] the Neilah service of Yom Kippur, for it was at this time that they would sound the shofar during the time of the Beis HaMikdash during every yovel to proclaim freedom.

The shofar was sounded on Yom Kippur during the yovel. From this, all of the seven Sabbatical cycles receive influence. Every sounding of the shofar on each Yom Kippur in every one of the years of the Sabbatical cycle ascends in [the sounding of] the shofar of the yovel in the fiftieth year which in turn ascends in [the sounding of] the encompassing shofar which is the Great Shofar of the World to Come of the yovel of the entire spiritual cosmos. [This level] includes all of the yovelos that are set aside, [each one revealing a different dimension] of the ray of the great light which is divided into many particular aspects [that are revealed] in the sounding of the shofar on every individual Yom Kippur.

Thus on every Yom Kippur, towards evening, during Neilah, there is [a ray of] the sound of the Great Shofar of the World to Come of the yovel of the entire spiritual cosmos, for this is the time when the worlds ascend in the general encompassing light. In every yovel, the Yom Kippur of that yovel ascends in a particular dimension of that yovel. For every Sabbatical cycle of the seven Sabbatical cycles ascends in unique way. Accordingly, the ascent of the yovel corresponds to the ascents of the seven Sabbatical cycles in it. The Great Shofar of the Ultimate Future, however, represents an encompassing ascent for all of the yovelos. [They will ascend to] the level of Great Shofar of the Ultimate Future.

In microcosm, there is an ascent in every Neilah of Yom Kippur in the present age. For this reason, it is called “a Shabbos of complete rest.” During Neilah of Yom Kippur, Malchus ascends during the seven times the verse[16]Havayah is Elokim” is recited. These represent the seven ascents of the seven emotional qualities of Binah in the seven Sabbatical cycles of the yovel until they reach the Fiftieth Gate which is the inner dimensions of Binah which is, in general, identified with the World to Come. (Accordingly, it is forbidden to wear shoes on Yom Kippur, as is well known in explanation of the rationale for the five privations of Yom Kippur.)[17]

This represents the difference between the sounding of the shofar on Rosh HaShanah and the sounding of the shofar on Yom Kippur. The verse:[18] “Sound the shofar on the new [moon]” refers to the sounding of the shofar on Rosh HaShanah. The fundamental intent is sounding a simple call, [crying out] in teshuvah from the straits, [letting] the essential core of the heart call out so that it will evoke [the revelation of] the will of wills from Above, as explained previously. This is the sounding of the shofar that ascends upward from this lower plane together with the ten verses of Malchiyos and Zichronos recited beforehand to arouse the attribute that desires kindness.[19] As explained above, this is “a remembrance of the first day.”[20]

The shofar of Yom Kippur, by contrast reflects the radiance of the Great Shofar of the yovel of the World to Come to “proclaim freedom throughout the land.” This is drawn down solely from Above, without an arousal from below beforehand. There is no necessity to arouse it [through the recitation of] Malchiyos and Zichronos. [For that reason, the verse states:1 “The Great Shofar] will be sounded,” on its own accord, as it were. It is not known who will sound it, for the revelation will come from a level above the name Havayah.[21] As explained above, its source is the second name Ehiyeh that is within the essence of the Or Ein Sof that will be revealed in the Ultimate Future. This is our intent when asking: “Reveal the glory of Your Kingship upon us,” i.e., Your essential Kingship. (This refers to His essential exaltedness which is far above the exaltedness of the expression of Or Ein Sof through the thought “I will reign,”[22] as explained above.) [This is accomplished through] the Ten Days of Teshuvah which represent ten levels of depth, corresponding to the ten Sefiros of the Malchus of the Ein Sof until the Kesser of the Malchus of the Ein Sof [which is revealed] on Yom Kippur. This is called the Kesser of the Kesser of the entire spiritual cosmos.)[23]

[There is no contradiction to the above from] the verse:[24] “And G-d will reveal Himself to them… and the L-rd (A-donai), G-d (Havayah), will sound the shofar” although it also refers to the Great Shofar. The reason the two names [for G-d] A-donai and Havayah are mentioned[25] is because the sounding of the Great Shofar in the Ultimate Future will come as a result of the consummation of the task of refining the 248 sparks [of Tohu].[26] This is achieved by an elevation from below through teshuvah and good deeds [which are represented by] the shofar of Rosh HaShanah and the shofar of the Giving of the Torah [of which it is said:[27] “The sound of the shofar] grew and became exceedingly strong,” as explained above at length. This motif is called or chozair, a rebounding light, because it returns to its original state and because it is the consummation of the deed[28] that arose in [His] essential thought before the aspect that desires kindness[29] arouse in His will.

[The verse “the L-rd (A-donai), G-d (Havayah), will sound the shofar”] mentions the name A-donai before the name Havayah, for in the present spiritual gestalt, the name A-donai receives influence from the name Havayah. For the name A-donai is referred to the name which cause the recognition that he is the L-rd over all.[30] This is not the essence of His Being,[31] merely the result of His actions.

The name Havayah, by contrast, is His essential name. In the Ultimate Future, the name A-donai which [describes G-d as] He is King over a nation will ascend higher than the name Havayah. At the outset, the name Havayah will be revealed, as it is written:21 “And G-d (Havayah) will reveal Himself to them and like lightning, His arrows will emerge.” Afterwards, there will be a further revelation from His inner and essential [qualities], as the verse continues: “And the L-rd (A-donai), G-d (Havayah),” i.e., the name A-donai of Malchus which transcends the name Havayah, “will sound the shofar,” i.e., the Great Shofar mentioned above.

[Concerning] the present era, by contrast, it is written:[32] “G-d (Elokim) will ascend in a shofar blast.” i.e., that the name Elokim will ascend upward and the name Havayah will be drawn down from above with the sound of the shofar. This refers to the sounding of the shofar on Rosh HaShanah in the present era. In the Ultimate Future, there will be a revelation of the name A-donai from above, as we say: “Reveal the glory of Your Kingship upon us. Become manifest and exalt Yourself over us in the presence of all living beings.”

This will be achieved by the Great Shofar of the Ultimate Future when even the souls who are lost will come to prostrate themselves in utter and complete bittul. This all comes as a result of the above explained rationale.

In microcosm, this entire [spiritual sequence is manifest] during the Neilah service every Yom Kippur. This is the conclusion of the sealing [of the decrees for the New Year]. All are then sealed for life, including the souls that are lost and dispersed, for all can ascend at that time since the quality of the Great Shofar of the Ultimate Future shines forth. This relates to the yovel of all existence, when freedom will be proclaimed throughout the land, i.e., “the world of freedom” [will become manifest] as explained above. This is sufficient for a person of understanding.

It is understood from the above that the shofar of Rosh HaShanah is not effective in arousing the souls which are described1 as being “lost in the land of Ashur and dispersed…” to teshuvah. The attribute [expressed by] the shofar of Yom Kippur, by contrast, affects [these souls] as well, motivating them to come and ascend and prostrate themselves before G-d on the holy mountain in Jerusalem, [as will occur with the sounding of] the Great Shofar. Similarly, during Neilah on Yom Kippur, [these souls] also ascend in essential bittul.

(We see proof of this in actual fact. Even the most frivolous who called “lost” and “scattered,” [because] they lose themselves by casting off G-d’s yoke entirely and are “scattered” [because of their transgression of] all the most severe sins in the world will also cry bitterly on Yom Kippur and genuinely turn to G-d in teshuvah at that time, i.e., the time when the sealing [of the decrees] is being concluded at Neilah, as is well known.)

(The request we make in the Shemoneh Esreh: “Sound the Great Shofar for our freedom and raise a standard to gather our dispersed,” is made in the Shemoneh Esreh [for the following reason]. As is well known, there is an advantage to the eighteen blessings of the Shemoneh Esreh over the recitation of the Shema. The Shema possesses a dimension equivalent to the Shabbos and the Shemoneh Esreh possesses a dimension equivalent to “the day which is all Shabbos,[33] i.e., the World to Come. For the Shemoneh Esreh is called:[34] “A ladder extending earthward with its top reaching the heavens,” i.e., extending to the essence of the Or Ein Sof, of which it is said:[35] “The celestial heights cannot contain You.” Accordingly, the Shemoneh Esreh recited in a hushed tone is “a still, small voice”[36] of which it is said:[37] “There the King comes.” This parallels prostrating oneself on the holy mountain [in the Ultimate Future], as explained above.)

(This is reflected in the bendings and bowings in the Shemoneh Esreh. As our Sages state:[38] “One should bend when reciting Baruch and straighten oneself when reciting [G-d’s] name.” [This refers to] His great name which will be revealed in the Ultimate Future.)

In another source,[39] it is explained that the eighteen blessings in the Shemoneh Esreh correspond to the eighteen vertebrae in the back that support the entire body from the head to the feet. Hence it is in the Shemoneh Esreh that we request: “Sound the Great Shofar, [i.e., the shofar] of the Ultimate Future, when those who are lost and scattered will be gathered in as described above. This will come about in the yovel of all existence, which is called the world of freedom as explained above. [This comes] after we request of G-d to “graciously bestow knowledge” so that we can distinguish between good and evil according to the ways of the Torah. Then we request “turn us [to You] in complete teshuvah” and the “Forgive us” just as on Yom Kippur. This is sufficient for a person of understanding.)[40]

[1]. See Yeshayahu 27:13 which states: “On that day, the great shofar will be sounded.”

[2]. Which relates to Yom Kippur, as reflected by the fact that the sounding of the shofar that proclaimed the yovel was on Yom Kippur.

[3]. Vayikra 25:10.

[4]. Ibid.:12.

[5]. Yeshayahu 25:8.

[6]. Hoshea 6:2.

[7]. Shmos 3:14.

[8]. Zohar, Vol. III, p. 11a.

[9]. I.e., within every Sefirah, there is a dimension of Kesser. This is the level the Mitteler Rebbe is referring to.

[10]. I.e., Ehiyeh asher Ehiyeh mentions the name twice, referring to two different levels, a lower level that will be revealed in the era of Mashiach and a higher level that will be revealed in the era of the Resurrection.

[11]. Yeshayahu 52:13.

[12]. High Holiday Liturgy.

[13]. Binah, understanding, is the source for all the emotional qualities, for intellect gives rise to emotion. Accordingly, all the emotional attributes exist within Binah in a state of potential.

[14]. Vayikra 16:31.

[15]. Yeshayahu 58:13.

[16]. II Melachim 18:39.

[17]. At present, shoes are necessary to separate between a person and the material dimensions of existence. Otherwise, he will become influenced by these material dimensions. In the Ultimate Future, the material dimension of existence will be refined and such a separation will not be necessary.

[18] Tehillim 81:4.

[19]. The source for the initial motivation for creation.

[20]. Rosh HaShanah liturgy. I.e., just as on the first day, G-d’s kindness was aroused and that motivated creation, so, too, every Rosh HaShanah, this same motif is evoked by our Divine service.

[21]. The name Havayah is the source for our existence. Hence even though it is transcendent, there can be some perception of it. The levels of G-dliness that are above it, by contrast, transcend our conception entirely.


[23]. In the original text, there is no opening parenthesis.

[24]. Zechariah 9:14.

[25]. I.e., although it was stated above that the sounding of the Great Shofar emanates from a higher level, the name Ehiyeh.

[26]. The realm of Tohu refers to a form of existence above the gestalt of Tikkun which characterizes existence as we know it. Because the lights of Tohu were very powerful and the vessels were insubstantial, the light could not be contained in the vessels. As a result, the vessels shattered, leaving 288 sparks. These sparks descended into material existence. Mankind’s task of refinement involves elevating them and connecting them to their spiritual source.

[27]. Shmos 19:19.

[28]. I.e., the ultimate state of refinement to be achieved through man’s Divine service.

[29]. Which was the direct source for the creation.

[30]. See the Introduction to the Tikkunei Zohar, p. 17b.

[31]. For as He exists for Himself, He is far exalted over any connection to the worlds.

[32]. Tehillim 47:6.

[33]. The conclusion of Tractate Tamid.

[34]. Cf. Bereishis 28:12; see Zohar. Vol. I, p. 266b.

[35]. I Melachim 8:27.

[36]. Ibid. 19:12.

[37]. Zohar, Vol. III, Rayah Mehemna, p. 223a.

[38]. Berachos 12a.

[39] Vayikra Rabbah 1:8, Berachos 28b, et al, explained in Torah Or, Megilas Esther, p. 91a, d, et al.

[40]. There is no beginning parenthesis in the original text.

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