Why did the Lubavitcher Rebbe call his operations ‘campaigns’ and not simply ‘mitzvahs’? First, the Rebbe wanted to instill a military air of enlistment in battle in all his followers (similar to his famous “Mitzvah Tanks”). A campaign primarily turns to the other. It is not enough that you yourself don tefillin. What about your Jewish co-worker? Furthermore and more importantly, a campaign has a goal. The Ten Campaigns were designed to hasten the redemption. Not only did the Rebbe call upon his followers to go out and help fellow Jews don tefillin, but he urged them to do so with the consciousness that this is how they were bringing Mashiach. (The chassid-emissary should feel awe from the Jew who was enticed, as it were, to don tefillin, thereby illustrating the reason that the Jewish people are likened to a “cooing dove.”
The Rebbe’s first campaign was the tefillin campaign. It was meant to infuse the nation in general and the soldiers in particular with faith and trust in God. “Everything follows the inception” and the ensuing campaigns also sought to enhance the trust in God which had begun to take root in the Jewish people – and would lead it to victory.
The Rebbe did not explain the framework of the ten campaigns, but it is clear that they parallel the ten sefirot. Drawing the correspondences between the campaigns and the sefirot adds an inner dimension to every campaign and unifies them all into one, complete picture:
The Torah Campaign added Torah study and influencing others to set aside a specific time for daily Torah study (even a few minutes). This campaign parallels the sefirah of chochmah (wisdom), a correspondence captured in the Zohar’s statement that – “Torah emerged from wisdom.”
The Tefillin Campaign parallels the sefirah of binah (understanding), as the Arizal explains. The influence of the tefillin on the ability of the soldiers to triumph is the secret of the verse, “he guided his hands wittingly”, from the mind of understanding, situated on the left axis to confidence and victory situated on the right axis, as is known today physiologically. Women are also part of this campaign, both by ensuring that the men and boys in their home don the finest tefillin, by purchasing tefillin for soldiers, and by connecting to the inner intention of the mitzvah.
In the Love and Unity of Israel Campaign, the Rebbe emphasized an increase in love of Israel. The power of unification between souls inherent in this campaign parallels the sefirah of da’at (knowledge) whose inner experience is unification.
The Holy Shabbat Candles Campaign parallels the sefirah of chesed (loving-kindness) and represents the light in the Jewish home. This is the secret of the holy Menorah that stood on the southern side of the Sanctuary in the Holy Temple, and parallels the attribute of loving-kindness.
The Kosher Campaign parallels the sefirah of gevurah (might). It represents meticulousness in the kosher status of the foods eaten, powered by fear and awe of Heaven. Food alludes to the secret of the Table of the Showbread located on the northern side of the Sanctuary in the Holy Temple, which parallels might.
The Family Purity Campaign parallels the sefirah of tiferet (beauty). The laws of family purity are the inner beauty of the Jewish home. Beauty is the secret of the Golden Altar of Incense placed along the center of the Sanctuary in the Holy Temple.
The Education Campaign corresponds to the sefirah of netzach (eternity). It represents the eternity of the Jewish people and our traditions carried on from generation to generation through loving education.
The “House Filled with Books” Campaign parallels the sefirah of Hod (acknowledgment). Beyond the study potential of holy books, they are also the splendor and beauty of the home, imbuing it with a feeling of sincere acknowledgment of the truth inside them.
The Charity Campaign parallels the sefirah of yesod (foundation) which in Kabbalah represents the tzaddik who provides others with his holy insight in a generous and charitable manner.
The Mezuzah Campaign corresponds to the sefirah of malchut (kingdom), safeguarding the home (bayit) and its entrance (petach)—two descriptions of the sefirah of kingdom.
Finally, there was the Mashiach Campaign. Every action that we take is for the ultimate purpose of bringing the redemption to the Jewish people and the entire world. This parallels the sefirah of keter (crown). When we put these ten campaigns into practice, God will enact the last campaign—the campaign fitting the description of, “one, but not in the count”—and bring us the Mashiach.
We summarize the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s campaigns as they correspond with the sefirot in the following chart:
Love of fellow Jew
Holy Shabbat Candles
House Filled with Books
. See Hosea 7:11.