Y’hi Hashem Elokeinu Imonu; Parshas Korach, Gimmel Tammuz, 5724 Part One

Y’hi Hashem Elokeinu Imonu; Parshas Korach, Gimmel Tammuz, 5724 Part One

Y’hi Hashem Elokeinu Imonu; Parshas Korach, Gimmel Tammuz, 5724 (1964)

Historical Background to the Ma’amer:

This ma’amer is based on the Frierdiker Rebbe’s sicha of 5687 (1927). The Frierdiker Rebbe delivered this sicha after being incarcerated for nineteen days at the Spalerno fortress, before being sent to exile in Kostroma. At the station, before boarding the train car, the Frierdiker Rebbe turned to the chassidim who had come to bid him farewell and delivered the sicha. (Days In Chabad, Kaminetzky & Cohen, 2002, p. 210)

This is a link to more information on the Frierdiker Rebbe’s arrest and redemption.

This is a link to the Frierdiker Rebbe’s sicha.

The Rebbe’s ma’amer with footnotes and sources.

Conceptual Background to the Ma’amer:

I. Ba’al HaGe’ula. In Hebrew, “ba’al” means “master” and “ge’ula” means redemption or liberation. So the ba’al hage’ula is the one who was liberated.

II. Mesiras nefesh: means self-sacrifice. Mesiras nefesh is to give oneself over to G-d to do something we wouldn’t naturally want to do. This could be anything from doing a “small” mitzvah or even giving our very lives.

III. Bittul. The way a flame is absorbed in a larger flame is the way the mind agrees with an idea. When a person has self-control, they become absorbed in G-d’s Will. Here we’ll use the words “humble” and “humility.”

Translation and Integrated Explanation of the Ma’amer:

Part One: The Frierdiker Rebbe Delivered a Sicha, It’s Worth Stressing the Details


The sicha of the Ba’al HaG’ula (the Frierdiker Rebbe) whose redemption we are celebrating is known. On the 3rd of Tammuz, 5687 (1927), the Frierdiker Rebbe said, “We ask of from G-d, ‘May (y’hi) G-d, our G-d be with us (imonu) just as He was with (im) our forefathers; may He not abandon us, nor forsake us.’ G-d should be with us and will be with us just as He was with our fathers.”


 יְהִי ה׳ אֱלֹקינוּ עִמָּנוּ כַּאֲשֶׁר הָיָה עִם אֲבֹתֵינוּ אַל יַעַזְבֵנוּ וְאַל יִטְּשֵׁנוּ (מְלָכִים-א ח, נז), וְיְדוּעַ הַשִׂיחָה שֶׁל בַּעֲל הַגְאוּלָה שֶׁאָמַר בְּג׳ תַּמוּז, מִיר בּעֶטעֶן בּאַ ה׳ יִתְבָּרֵךְ, יְהִי ה׳ אֱלֹקֵינוּ עִמָּנוּ כַּאֲשֶׁר הָיָה עִם אֲבֹתֵינוּ אַל יַעַזְבֵנוּ וְאַל יִטְּשֵׁנוּ, ה׳ יִתְבָּרֵךְ זאָהל זײַן מִיט אוּנז, אוּן וועֶט זײַן מִיט אוּנז כַּאֲשֶׁר הָיָה עִם אֲבֹתֵינוּ


Defining the word “y’hi” 

We must understand the meaning of these words. A request (“should be with us”) and a promise (“will be with us”) are two different concepts (and seemingly opposite). Nevertheless, the words of the Frierdiker Rebbe are, “We ask from G-d…that He should be with us and He will be with us.” The statement is (not only a request that He should be with us but also a promise) that He will be with us.



וְצָרִיךְ לְהָבִין הַרֵי בַּקָשָׁה וְהַבְטָחָה הֵם עִנְיָנִים שׁוֹנִים (וּלְכְאוֹרָה גַּם הַפָכִים), וְאף-עֲל-פִּי-כן אוֹמֵר מִיר בּעֶטעֶן בַּא ה׳ יִתְבָּרֵךְ כוּלְהוּ, זאָל זײַן מִיט אוּנז אוּן וועֶט זײַן מִיט אוּנז, שֶׁהַבָּקָשָׁה הִיא (לֹא רַק זאָל זײַן מִיט אוּנז אֶלָא גַּם) וועֶט זײַן מִיט אוּנז



Although the word “y’hi” connotes “request” and also a statement of assurance or promise, these are seemingly different (ideas) connotations and in the sicha, the Frierdiker Rebbe uses them interchangeably.



וְהַגַּם שֶׁתֵּיבַת יְהִי הִיא לְשּׁוֹן בַּקָשָׁה וְגַּם לְשָּׁוֹן הַבְטָחָה, הַרֵי הֵם לְכְאוֹרָה פִּירוּשִים (עִנְיָנִים) שׁוֹנִים, וּבְּהַשִׂיחָה כּוֹלֶל שְנֵי הָעִנְיָנִים יַחֲד


The Same As Our Forefathers?


In the sicha, the Frierdiker Rebbe continues: וּמַמְשִׁיךְ בְּהַשִׂיחָה

“The fact is [that the verse], ‘May (y’hi) G-d, our G-d be with us just as He was with our forefathers…’ (y’hi, meaning both a request and an assurance) is despite the fact that we aren’t the same as them [our forefathers].’”

וְזֶה שֶ״יְהִי הַוַיֶ’ אֱלֹקֵינוּ עִמָּנוּ כַּאֲשֶׁר הָיָה עִם אֲבוֹתֵינוּ״ (״יְהִי״ בְּלְשׁוֹן בַּקָשָׁה וְגַּם בְּלְשׁוֹן הַבְטָחָה) הוּא הַגַּם מִיר זאַײנעֶן דאָך נִיט גלײַך צוּ אֲבוֹתֵינוּ
The question is thus strengthened. How could we be promised to be treated or ask G-d to treat us the way He treated our forefathers if we aren’t of the same caliber as they were?
The source for this idea is found in Midrash Tehillim:  וְיֵשׁ לוֹמַר, שֶׁהַמָקוֹר לְבִּיאוּר זֶה הוּא מַה דְּאִיתָא בְּמִדְרָשׁ

“And so said [King] Shlomo before The Holy One Blessed Be He: [If] a king hires contractors, and they do their job well, and he pays their wages, what praiseworthiness is there to the king? When is the king praiseworthy? When he hires bad contractors, [and] when they don’t do their job, he pays them anyway. This is a great deed. As it says, ‘May G-d, our G-d be with us just as He was with our fathers…'”

  ״וְכֵן שְׁלֹמֹה אוֹמֵר לִפְנֵי הַקָדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא, מֶלֶךְ שֶהוּא שֹוֹכֵר פּוֹעֲלִים וְהֵן עוֹשֹיִן מְלַאכְתָּן יָפֶה וְנוֹתֵן לָהֶם שְֹכָרָן מַה, שֶׁבַח יֵשׁ לְמֶלֶךְ? וְאֵימָתַי הוּא מְשׁוּבָּח? כּשֶׁיִשְֹכּוֹר פּוֹעֲלִים רָעִים שֶׁאֵין עוֹשִֹין מְלַאכְתָּן וְנוֹתֵן לָהֶם שְֹכָרָן. וְזוֹ הִיא טוֹבָה גְּדוֹלָה. וְכֵן הוּא אוֹמֵר, ״יְהִי הַוַיֶ’ אֱלֹקֵינוּ עִמָּנוּ כַּאֲשֶׁר הָיָה עִם אֲבוֹתֵינוּ״
The reason why, according to the Frierdiker Rebbe, we aren’t of the same caliber as our forefathers, is because they actually sacrificed themselves for Torah and mitzvos—as opposed to us.

. וּמְבַאֵר בְּהַשֹיִחָה דְזֶה שֶׁאֵין אָנוּ יְכוֹלִים לְהִידָמוֹת לֲאבוֹתֵינוּ הוּא, כִּי אֲבוֹתֵינוּ הָיוּ בַּעֲלֵי מְסִירַת נֶפֶשׁ בְּפּוֹעֵל מַמָֹש עֲל הַתּוֹרָה וְהַמִצְווֹת

We now have to understand, when the Frierdiker Rebbe delivered this sicha, he was on his way to exile in Kostroma (see History). The exile of the Frierdiker Rebbe (not to mention his incarceration) was because of his active self-sacrifice for Torah and mitzvos. (Furthermore, even giving this address was active self-sacrifice) Nevertheless, he said, “…And we are not like our forefathers, who practiced self-sacrifice”

וְצָרִיךְ לְהָבִין, הַרֵי אַמִירַת שִֹיחָה זוּ הָיְתָה בְּקֶשֶׁר עִם נְסִיעָתוֹ לְגָלוּת קאַסטראַמאַ, שֶׁהַגָלוּת (וְלִפְנֵי זֶה, הַמַאֲסָר) הָיָה בִּגְלָל מְסִירַת נַפְשׁוֹ בּפּוֹעֵל עֲל הַתּוֹרָה וְהַמִצְווֹת [וִיתֵירָה מִזוּ, שֶׁגַּם הָאַמִירָה דְשִֹיחָה זּוֹ הָיְתָה מְסִירַת נֶפֶשׁ בְּפּוֹעֵל], וְאַף-עֲל-פִּי-כֵן אוֹמֵר שֶׁאֵין אָנוּ דוֹמִים לַאֲבוֹתֵינּוּ שֶהָיוּ בַּעֲלֵי מְסִירַת נֶפֶשׁ

How can this be?
The reason why the Frierdiker Rebbe said that since we don’t practice self-sacrifice, we (himself included) aren’t like our forefathers can be answered as follows.
A possible answer:
Since the Frierdiker Rebbe in his address prayed (by mentioning the verse) (not only for himself but also) for the entire Jewish people, even those whose Jewishness is only that they are called “Jews,” he, therefore, said that we aren’t of the same spiritual quality as our forefathers. By default, this would mean that the Frierdiker Rebbe is including himself among the general populace.

דְלְכְאוֹרָה יֵשׁ לוֹמַר, דכִּיוָן שֶׁבַּקָשַׁת בַּעֲל הַגְאוּלָה ״יְהִי הַוֲיֶ’ אֱלֹקֵינוּ עִמּנָוּ הָיְתָה (לֹא רַק עֳבוֹר עֲצְמוֹ אֶלָא גַּם) עֳבוֹר כָּל יִשֹרָאֵל, כּוֹלֵל גַּם אֵלוּ אֲשֱׁר בְּשֵׁם יִשֹרָאֵל (רַק) יְכּוּנֶה, לָכֵן אָמַר שֶׁאֵינָם דּוֹמִים לַאֲבוֹתֵינוּ שֶׁהָיוּ בַּעֲלֵי מְסִירַת נֶפֶשׁ בְּפּוֹעֵל

This, however, is not a sufficient answer. In his wording, “Alas, we are not like our forefathers,” he includes himself. We cannot say that the Frierdiker Rebbe was simply being humble, downplaying his greatness in order to include himself and everyone else under the same category.

אַבָל בִּיאוּר זֶה אֵינוֹ מַסְפִּיק, כִּי בְּהַלָשׁוֹן “מִיר זײַנעֶן דאָך נִיט גלײַך צוּ אֲבוֹתֵינוּ” כָּלַל גַּם אֶת עֲצְמוֹ. וְאֵין לוֹמַר דְזֶה שֶׁכָּלַל גַּם אֶת עֲצְמוֹ בְּכְלַל אֵלֶה שֶׁאֵינָם בַּעֲלֵי מְסִירַת נֶפֶשׁ בְּפּוֹעֵל הוּא בְּדֶרֶךְ עֲנָוָּה, כִּי עִניָן עֲנָוָּה שַׁיָיּך דַּוְקָא בְּדָבָר שֶׁבְּעֱרֶךְ
After all, downplaying one’s greatness is just that—downplaying—not complete denial.
Thus the question still stands. What does the Frierdiker Rebbe mean when he says, “We are not like our fathers who practiced self-sacrifice?”

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