Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi The Alter Rebbe Parshat Ki Teze 5565-1805 (2) second version
Indented text by the translator
The Road to Happiness
eremiah promised: “I shall transform their mourning into joy, and I will comfort them, and make them rejoice from their sorrow.” At that time, God will show the righteous that everything they endured during exile wasn’t due to their fallibilities. For the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar was set upon them to destroy the First Temple due to God’s Will. And through His Will the Persian emperor Cyrus was appointed to build the Second Temple.
Everything that transpired in history was due to God’s assistance; either kindness or malevolence would triumph. Nothing was the result of man alone. “Everything ” the Zohar counsels, “is considered as naught before You.” Everything was choreographed in order to achieve “the laughter of the last day.” But why did God arrange things this way?
Blow Evil Away
His intention was to reveal unprecedented brilliant lights to the world in the future. And they could only be exposed by means of this contest. That’s why God created good and evil in the first place, as Solomon said: “God has made one against the other.” He wanted opposition to Divinity to be present in the world in the form of evil’s kelipot and spirit of impurity. For this reason God created the Primordial Snake to lure Adam into sinning. God wanted evil to exist in the world.
God desired a cosmic battlefield. Sometimes evil would triumph thanks to its impudence. Jews suffered unimaginable horrors during the destruction of the First and Second Temples, and all through the subsequent exiles. Why? In order to cause the later revelation of the unique light that shines only out of darkness. Out of the midst of the Jews’ travails and pain will be revealed the most exalted light. This will happen when “I will wipe the spirit of impurity from off the land.”
For if a spirit of impurity had never existed, how could it later be removed? And in that case, enormous lights—actually caused by the darkness—would never be exposed. For it is verily this evil—which darkens and tortures Jews—that causes the unprecedented light of the Future. How? When it itself is wiped out!
This is what Solomon hinted at when he said: “There is an advantage to wisdom which comes out of foolishness, as there is an advantage to light which emerges from darkness.” Thus the prophet consoles, “I shall transform their mourning into joy.” Through mourning , one reaches joy! And only from sorrow can rejoicing be attained.
In the future, every Jew will see and understand that it was worthwhile to suffer exile’s agony in order to obtain the subsequent perception and comprehension of Joy and Delight.
That’s why God said, “I will comfort them … from their sorrow.” Comfort will be realized by means of the actual sorrows. Jews will be comforted by the realization that these sorrows alone brought them the perception of God’s innermost Delight. That Delight is allegorized by the bestial contest that God will arrange for the righteous—“the laughter of the last day.”
“I shall transform their mourning into joy, and I will comfort them …”
The Book of Jeremiah, chapter 31, verse 12.
“Everything” the Zohar counsels, “is considered as naught before You.”
The First Book of the Zohar, chapter 11, side b.
to achieve the laughter of the last day
Shemot Rabbah, chapter 52, section 3.
Blow Evil Away
“God has made one against the other.”
The Book of Ecclesiastics, chapter 7, verse 14.
He wanted opposition to Divinity to be present in the world in the form of
Moses Cordovero’s commentary on Sefer Yetzirah, chapter 6.
“I will wipe the spirit of impurity from off the land.”
The Book of Zechariah, chapter 13, verse 2.
“There is an advantage to wisdom which comes out of foolishness …”
The Book of Ecclesiastics, chapter 2, verse 13.
comprehension of Joy and Delight
The Third Book of the Zohar, page 178, side b;
Avodat HaKodesh, volume 2, chapter 40;
Remez on The First Book of the Zohar, page 135, side a.