The master plan
The Third Crown
The one that G-d kept for Himself
A TELLING STORY: Making it Count
The most important hour of a shopkeepers day is
when he counts the days receipts
In the third month from the children of Israels
exodus from the land of Egypt ... they arrived in the Sinai
The number three figures prominently in everything
connected with the giving of the Torah. The Torah was given
in Sivan, the third month of the Jewish year, on the third
day of a specially ordained three-day period of preparation.
It was given through Moses, the third child of Amram and Jochebed,
to the children of Israel, who were divided by G-d into three
classes (Kohanim, Levites and Israelites). And the
Torah itself consists of three parts: Torah (the Pentateuch),
the Prophets, and the Scriptures. In the writings of Kabbalah,
the Torah is identified with the sefirah (divine attribute)
of tiferet (harmony), the third of the
seven supernal sefirot.
A scholar from the Galilee quoted in the Talmud
expressed it thus: Blessed be the Merciful One, who
gave a threefold Torah to a threefold people through a third
one on a third day in the third month.
Chassidic teaching explains that Torah embodies the very
essence of the number three, for the Torah was given
to make peace in the world,
and three is the number of peace.
The number one implies a monopolizing individuality.
Where one dominates, there cannot be peace, for
one insists on the absoluteness and exclusivity
of its being, to the negation of all else. Where one
dominates, everything else (if there is anything else) must
surrender its identity before its all-nullifying singularity.
True, there is no conflict, for there is only one; but neither
is there peace, which is the harmonious integration of two
(or more) distinctive elements.
Two represents diversity. As the number implies,
we are dealing with two parallel entities. One may be superior
to the other, yet they are equal if only in that each is a
distinct existence. Twoness is often the cause of conflict,
but even when it is not, it still precludes true peace. As
long as each entity retains its separateness and distinction,
the most they can achieve is a non-combative coexistence.
Dichotomized by their respective individualities, they cannot
merge into a synthesized whole.
So what is peace? If it is neither one nor two,
neither the affirmation of difference nor its surrender, what
is it? Indeed, peace is a paradoxa paradox expressed
by the number three.
Peace is when two distinct entities find common ground in
a third reality that transcends the differences between them.
A third element which embraces them both to orient them towards
a higher goal. A third element within whose broader context
the unique and even opposite features of each complement and
fulfill the other. A third element which preserves their differencesand
exploits them as the very ingredients of harmony.
A Personal Example
We can see a model of the dynamics of peace in our own diversified
The mind and the heart, for example, are two very different
systems, with differing and conflicting approaches and priorities.
The mind is cold, aloof and objective; the heart is heated,
involved and gloriously subjective. Yet they both inhabit
the same individual and serve as active forces in his life.
In a person who leads an uncompromisingly singular existencelets
call him a one personalityeither the mind
or the heart will become the exclusive arbitrator in all areas
of his life. Either the heart will yield to the mind and become
a passionless void, or the mind will surrender its discriminating
judgment to the hearts biased affections.
In the case of a two personality, both mind and
heart will each hold their ground, and the person will go
through life torn between two perspectives on every issue
that confronts him.
But then there is the individual in whom the mind remains
a mind and the heart remains a heart, yet each is an integral
part of a third and inclusive entitythe human being.
Humanness does not negate intellect or feelingit includes
them both, and includes them in a way that combines the two
(and numerous other faculties) into a cohesive approach to
In other words, when each of the two elements sees itself
and its inclinations as a self-contained entity, there will
never be true peace. But when each sees itself as parta
distinctive part, but a part nonethelessof a greater
whole, the result is the paradox of peace: the paradox of
diversity and disparity as the harbingers of unity.
The Torah was given to make peace in the world.
The worlda chaos of diversity and seeming randomness.
Here and there we may discern patches of cohesiveness, observe
communities and systems driven by a unanimity of purpose.
But on the whole, the world seems a jumble of elements, forces,
species, nations and individuals, each with its own nature
and agenda. We know that there must be something that holds
it all together; we know that somehow, underneath it all,
were all on the same bandwagon, headed toward a common
goal. But on the surface, we seem doomed to conflict, as each
pursues his, her or its individual aspirations.
If only we could somehow get ahold of the master plan, of
the grand blueprint for existence! If only we could read the
Creators mind, to discern His intended use for each
creatures particular traits and tendencies! If only
we had a vision of the third element of creation,
a vision which incorporates all created things as the component
parts of a single organism!
If we had that blueprint, we would no longer have to struggle
to force some sort of balance between individual and communal
desires to keep the world from tearing itself apart. If we
had that blueprint, there would be no need to compromise differences
for the sake of peace, since the properly guided pursuit of
each beings and communitys differences would result
in the realization of the quintessential harmony which underlies
Torah, given in a flurry of threes, is that blueprint. Torah
lays down the dos and donts of life, not as a
curb on individual freedom but as the description of every
mans deepest and truest aspirations. It outlines the
manner in which every element of creation is to be developed
and utilized, not as a program to change them but to bring
to light their innate essence and function.
The Torah was given to make peace in the world.
Based on the Rebbes talks on various occasions
When Moses informed the people of Israel of G-ds intention
to give them the Torah, The entire nation answered in
one voice and said... Everything that G-d has spoken,
we will do and we will hear.
Our covenant with G-d not only entails doing the divine will,
but also hearing itcomprehending it and
identifying with it. Yet, as our sages point out, the people
said We will do before they said We will
hear. For our observance of the divine commandments
is not contingent on our understanding. First comes the unequivocal
commitment to do what G-d commands. It is only after we made
that commitment that we pledged to serve G-d not only with
our actions but also with our minds and hearts, by studying
His wisdom to gain a love and awe of His truth.
The Angels Gifts
The Talmud relates that, At the moment that the people
of Israel put We will do before We will
hear, 600,000 angels came, [one] to each Jew, and fixed
two crowns upon his head: one for We will do,
and one for We will hear.
But why two crowns? The Talmud implies that the crowns were
awarded not for the declarations: We will do and
We will hear themselves, but for the fact that
the people of Israel put We will do before
We will hear. So why did they each get two
crowns, one for We will do, and one for
We will hear?
The Chassidic masters explain: Giving precedence to We
will do over We will hear is not just a
virtue in its own right, signifying an unquestioning commitment
to the divine willit also has a profound effect upon
the doing and hearing themselves,
elevating them to a completely different level of achievement
When a persons fulfillment of a divine commandment
(mitzvah) is based on his understanding of its significance,
the deed is bounded by the limitations of his mind and heart.
Furthermore, each mitzvah has its own set of limitations and
equivocations. Some mitzvot are more understandable;
others, less so. Some are more emotionally stirring; others,
less so. The mitzvah is thus reduced (at least in the experience
of its observer) to a human deed, subject to the limitations
and fluctuations of the human condition.
But when the observer of a mitzvah puts We will do
before We will hear, he is saying: I will
fulfill the divine will not on my terms, but on G-ds
terms. I am doing this not because and to the extent to which
I understand it, but because G-d commanded me. His deed
is thus elevated from a finite and temporal human act to the
infinity, eternity and unequivocality of the divine.
The same applies to the We will hear aspect of
our service of G-d. In and of itself, the human effort to
comprehend the divine remains just that: a human effort, delimited
by the scope of human intellect and the particular prejudices
of each individual mind. Certain aspects of the divine will
are more comprehensible; others, less so. Certain mitzvot
are more readily identified with, while others are more difficult
to relate to. The only way to gain an uncircumscribed
apprehension of the divine truth is to live that truth, fully
and unequivocally, in our daily lives and everyday activities.
It is only when the student of G-d places We will do
before We will hear that his We will hear
achieves a true understanding of the divine.
According to this, however, the crown-bearing angels should
have placed three crowns on each of the 600,000 souls
gathered at Sinai! For the elevated doing and understanding
that earned them their two crowns both derived from a third,
underlying virtue: their unquestioning submission to the divine
will, expressed by their placement of deed before comprehension.
The answer to that can be found in a parable told by the
There was once a king whose countrymen made him three
crowns. What did the king do? He took one and placed it on
his own head, and two he placed on the heads of his children.
The two crowns delivered by the angels to each Jewish soul,
one for We will do and the other for We
will hear, represent the magnificence of a deed done
solely for G-d, and the depth of understanding gained by one
who pursues wisdom to the sole aim of serving its divine author.
There was, however, a third crowna crown that is the
source and root of the other twowhich the angels did
not bring: the crown of Israels unequivocal commitment
to their G-d.
This crown G-d entrusts to no angel, awards to no soul. Instead
of placing it on the heads of His children, He does something
that is an even greater demonstration of His regard for them:
He wears it on His own head. This is My pride and glory, G-ds
crown says. This is where My wearing it is tantamount to your
wearing it, for this is where you and I are one.
Based on an address by the Rebbe, Shavuot 5712 (1952)
You shall count for yourselves, from the morrow of the
Shabbat, from the day on which you bring the raised omerseven
complete weeks shall there be. Until the morrow of the seventh
week, you shall count fifty days
One of the Chassidic masters explained the significance of
Sefirat HaOmerthe daily counting of the days
and weeks from Passover to Shavuot commanded by the Torahwith
the following parable:
A person finds a chest full of gold coins, takes it home,
and then proceeds to count them. His counting has no effect
on the actual number of coins in his possession: he now has
no more and no less than he had before he counted them. But
counting them makes them real to him; he can now digest the
significance of his find and deliberate how to make use of
On the first day of Passover, we were granted the entire
treasure chest. The moment of the Exodusthe
moment of our birth as a peopleencapsulated within it
our entire history. Then, on the following day, began the
count: the process of examining our gifts, quantifying and
itemizing them, translating them into the resources of our
Adapted from the teachings of the Rebbe by Yanki Tauber
. Mishneh Torah, Laws of Chanukah 4:14.
. Likkutei Sichot, vol. XXI, pp. 110-114; Sefer HaSichot
5751, vol. II, pp. 550-553; et al.
. Talmud, Shabbat 88b.
. Midrash Rabbah, Vayikra 24:8.
. The crown that G-d received at Sinai is alluded
to in the verse, Go out, daughters of Zion, and behold
King Solomon with the crown with which his mother crowned
him on the day of his betrothal... (Song of Songs
3:11). King Solomon, say our sages, is a reference
to the Holy One, Blessed be He, the King to whom is
peace, while The day of His betrothal
is the day of the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai (Midrash
Rabbah, Shemot 52:5; Talmud, Taanit 26b).
. Torat Menachem-Hitvaaduyot, vol. V, p. 226 ff.