Parshas Shemini-Likkutei Torah-The Levyason and Shur Habor and the two types of Tzaddikim

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Parshas Shemini

Levyatan Zeh Yatzarta

[Likkutei Torah p. 18]

Parshas Shemini discusses the laws of Kashrus. The laws involved in eating kosher meat or fish are made up of a number of factors. First, the fish and meat must come from a kosher species based on the signs defined in the Torah. Next, the animal must be slaughtered properly, then checked for any Treifa invalidations, and have its meat salted to remove the blood. Only after this process is complete is the meat deemed kosher for consumption. This week’s Mamar deals with a peculiar Midrash that describes the famous awaited meal of the future era, the meal of the Levyatan and Shur Habor. The Midrash describes how these two magnificent creatures will engage in battle with one another and will both be killed as a result of the blows they receive. What is the spiritual meaning behind this battle and why does it hold such great significance in the description of future occurrences? This leads to a discussion on the two forms of Tzaddikim that exist within the world, the hidden Tzaddik and the revealed Tzaddik. The hidden Tzaddik lives in a completely abstract and spiritual world within this world and is involved in Divine unifications more than the physical performance of the Mitzvos. The revealed Tzaddik is involved in the physical world and the performance of its Mitzvos, yet lacks the spiritual refinement found within the hidden Tzaddikim. Each one of these Tzaddikim possesses an advantageous aspect over the other that will be shared in the future. This is the representation of the battle of the Levyatan and Shur Habor. [This Mamar focuses on the Chassidic explanation behind the battle of the Levyatan and Shur Habor. For the Chassidic explanation behind the meal of the Levyatan and Shur Habor, please refer to the previous Mamar on Parshas Tzav!]


Explorations of the Mamar:

1.      What is the spiritual significance of the future battle of the Levyatan and the Shur Habor?

2.      Why will the meat of the Shur Habor be permitted to be eaten if it was slaughtered with an invalid blade?

3.      What are the two forms of Tzaddikim and what is the difference between them?

4.      What is a hidden Tzaddik and what function does he serve in the world?


The future battle of the Levyatan and Shur Habor:

The verse states, “The Levyatan was created for amusement.” It says in the Midrash that the animal [Shur Habor] and Levyatan are the Kneigon, the amusement, of the Tzaddikim in the future. What will transpire with the Levyatan and Shur Habor? The animal [Shur Habor] will gore its horns into the Levyatan and tear it, while the Levyatan will stab the animal [Shur Habor] with its fins and tear it. [The meat of the dead Levyatan and Shur Habor will then be served as a meal for the Tzaddikim.] It needs to be understood, however, how it will be permissible for the Tzaddikim of the future to eat food that has not been slaughtered properly. The Mishneh in Chulin states that one may use any instrument to slaughter an animal with the exception of a saw-like instrument. As such, the fins of the Levyatan are certainly invalid for slaughtering. The Midrash answers this question by stating, Torah Chadasha Meiti Teitzei, that in the future Hashem will permit the eating the meat of the Shur Habor despite its irregular form of slaughter.[1] The question still remains, though, as to what spiritual significance this meal has and why it is given such emphasis to the point that Hashem will suspend the slaughtering laws on its behalf.


The two forms of Tzaddikim:

There are two forms of Tzaddikim. One is a hidden Tzaddik that is veiled from the material aspects of the world and whose entire service focuses purely on the spiritual realms. He spends his time making Divine unifications within the Sefiros of the upper worlds and giving them elevations. An example of such a Tzaddik was the Rashbi, who stayed within a cave for thirteen years, hidden from mankind. While in the cave, he certainly was unable to fulfill a number of physical Mitzvos that are commanded in the Torah, as the only food source was water and carob. Thus for that duration of time, he did not eat Matzah on the night of Pesach, he did not make Kiddush on wine, he did not shake Lulav and Esrog on Sukkos, and he did not live in a Sukkah. Another Tzaddik of this caliber was the Arizal. These Tzaddikim did not lack the Divine effect that occurs as a result of performing the physical Mitzvos, as these Tzaddikim knew the Divine unifications necessary for attaining the same results as those achieved by the physical Mitzvos.


The second type of Tzaddik:      

The second form of Tzaddikim is the revealed Tzaddik, whose Divine service focuses on serving Hashem using the objects of the physical world to perform the Mitzvos. These Tzaddikim also cause Divine unifications and elevations like the hidden Tzaddikim, although they do so through the actual performance of the Mitzvos and not through their own form of Divine unifications. For example, the revelations of G-dliness drawn down by the Holidays comes as a result of the Mitzvos fulfilled at these times, such as eating meat and drinking wine to fulfill the Mitzvah of Simcha on Yom Tov, eating Matzah on Pesach, receiving the Torah on Shavuos, and living in the Sukkah and shaking Daled Minim over Sukkos. It is these Mitzvos that make the Divine unifications that draw down the light of Ein Sof below, and without these Mitzvos these Tzaddikim would not be able to reveal any ray of G-dliness. However, the first form of Tzaddikim, such as the Rashbi, did not need to perform the physical Mitzvos in order to draw down the revelation of G-dliness as they knew the Divine unifications necessary to bring about the same results as those achieved by the physical Mitzvos. In truth, the first type of Tzaddik is the greater type, as it is not truly possible to reach G-dliness through mere physical actions, and it is rather accomplished through the spiritual service of these Tzaddikim.


Comparing the two Tzaddikim-The sea world versus the animal kingdom:

The hidden Tzaddik is similar to a fish and is called Nunei Yama, the fish of the sea. Just as the sea covers over the fish, similarly these Tzaddikim are rooted in Alma Deiskasya, the concealed worlds. These hidden Tzaddikim exist in every generation and they connect the worlds to the Ein Sof of Hashem. These Tzaddikim are represented by the Levyatan. The term Levyatan derives from the word Levi, which means to connect, as these Tzaddikim connect the worlds to the Or Ein Sof. Nevertheless, being that our world is physical, it still needs the revealed Tzaddikim whose Divine service involves the performance of the physical Mitzvos. It is regarding this type of Tzaddik that Chazal state, “There is one pillar called the Tzaddik on which the world stands.” Now, all the creations that exist on land exist under the sea, as in truth both forms of creations and both forms of Tzaddikim are necessary.

Understanding why the hidden Tzaddikim are compared to fish: Fish are able to swim at lightning speed. They are able to traverse very far distances in a short amount of time. With one wave of their fins, they can travel swiftly afar. The hidden Tzaddikim share a similar trait, as they can spiritually travel great distances and reach much more sublime levels of G-dliness than the revealed Tzaddikim that deal with the physical world. Another aspect that the hidden Tzaddikim share with the fish is with regard to the amount of energy required to travel. Just as fish do not need to exert much energy to travel from one end of the sea to the other, and with a swift wave of their fins they can be carried to far distances, similarly the hidden Tzaddik is able to calmly and quietly reach the sublime levels of G-dliness. This is in contrast to the revealed Tzaddikim, who need to exert much energy and revealed excitement in their service of G-d in order to reach high spiritual levels. It is not possible to adequately explain how the hidden Tzaddik travels spiritually, although from this it is understood why the Rashbi did not fulfill certain physical Mitzvos in this world but rather performed them spiritually.


The Shur Habor represents the revealed Tzaddik:

The revealed Tzaddik is compared to an animal, due to the reason explained above in terms of the ability and effort exerted in this travel. However, the revealed Tzaddik is not compared to just any animal, but rather specifically to the Shur Habor. The Shur/ox is an animal that comes from the side of Gevurah, the left side. The term Bor means “refined and clear”. The revealed Tzaddikim are thus not compared to the animals in their animalistic state, G-d forbid, but rather to the animal as it has been refined and elevated to holiness. The revealed Tzaddik brings about that even the corporal and material animal becomes imbued with excitement of the service of G-d. Nevertheless, this service still cannot be compared to the service of the hidden Tzaddikim, for since the revealed Tzaddikim deal with the physical, their level of refinement and spiritual capability is naturally limited to physical restraints. This is opposed to the hidden Tzaddikim, who face no physical restraints in their service and can thus reach a much greater distance. 


The meaning of the battle between the Levyatan and Shur Habor:

The battle between the Levyatan and Shur Habor is not a physical fight of anger and destruction, but rather one of assistance and elevation. The Levyatan will slaughter the Shur Habor in order to elevate it to its level. This is why the Midrash emphasizes that the Levyatan will slaughter the animal using its fins, as the fins represent the swift travel of the Levyatan and its advantageous spiritual level. The serrations of the fins represent the need for the revealed Tzaddik to be elevated one level at a time. Thus the hidden Tzaddik will help elevate the revealed Tzaddik to even higher spiritual planes. On the other hand, the Shur Habor will also slaughter the Levyatan, as the Levyatan too requires a certain aspect of elevation. The hidden Tzaddikim represented by the Levyatan lack the fulfillment of the physical Mitzvos as commanded in the Torah. Hence the revealed Tzaddik will help elevate the hidden Tzaddik to also receive this advantage. Thus both forms of Tzaddikim contain aspects of advantage over each other, which will be shared in the future battle between the Levyatan and Shur Habor.


Lessons of the Mamar:

·         Every generation has hidden Tzaddikim. Even in our orphaned generation, there are hidden Tzaddikim that continue to perform their spiritual service of sublime unifications that connect the world to the Or Ein Sof.

·         The performance of the physical Mitzvos is so great that even the hidden Tzaddikim, who are by far on a much higher spiritual level, will need to be elevated by us in the future.




[1] See Kuntrus Torah Chadasha Meiti Teitzei of the Rebbe, 1991, for a thorough discussion on the meaning of this topic. The Rebbe explains that in the future we will have a new understanding of the Torah that will show that in truth the slaughtering of the Shur Habor by the Levyatan was never forbidden.

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