Oil is often used to give flavor to other foods and emphasize it. Accordingly, it is the dimension of oil which gives Pnimiyus HaTorah the potential to reveal the G‑dliness in all matters of the world. And this is a foretaste of the time of Geulah – Redemption.
From the Rebbe’s explanations:
– The concept of pure oil relates to the study of Pnimiyus HaTorah – the inner dimension of the Torah. Nigleh, the revealed dimension of Torah law, is structured to govern our involvement in all the material dimensions of worldly life. However, in this realm there is the possibility that Torah will be appreciated merely as wisdom without its G‑dly source being appreciated.
This is the way that the Yavanim (the “Greeks”) understood the Torah in the days of the first Chanukah – appreciating the wisdom of the Torah, but diminishing the emphasis on the holiness of the Torah. The direct opposite of this is pure oil, untouched by the Greeks, and whose influence stems from the High Priest, the highest level of holiness.
In contrast, Pnimiyus HaTorah is the realm of Torah study where G‑dliness is openly revealed. Moreover, when the study of Pnimiyus HaTorah is coupled with the study of Nigleh, one is able to appreciate the holiness of the Torah when studying Nigleh as well!
… In the years that followed the nullification of the Greek’s decrees, the main emphasis within Torah study remained on the study of Nigleh. Throughout the entire Talmudic period, the study of Pnimiyus HaTorah was confined to a select few. For example, Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, the author of the Zohar, was only permitted to reveal his teachings to a chosen group of scholars. This situation continued in the subsequent generations and it was not until the time of the AriZal that it became, “a mitzvah to reveal this knowledge.”
Afterwards, through the activities of the Baal Shem Tov, the Maggid, the Alter Rebbe and the subsequent Rebbeim, these teachings were disseminated to wider circles and brought closer to our ordinary powers of comprehension. Pnimiyus HaTorah has become a fundamental branch of study in its own right, that the teachings of Pnimiyus HaTorah have been brought into the realm of reason and logic so that they can be assimilated within the context of our conceptual powers.
Today, the revelation of the “oil” dimension in the Torah is connected with a deeper purpose than combating the increasing darkness of exile. It is also a foretaste of the light of Redemption – Geulah.
Indeed, the very name Mashiach means “the anointed one” for a ‘melech’ (‘king’) is anointed with the unique oil made for this purpose. Similarly, Mashiach will be the one who will reveal the secrets of Torah in the world at large to the extent that “the occupation of the entire world will be solely to know G‑d.” At that time, the study of Pnimiyus HaTorah will be a purpose in its own right.
Based on the Rebbe’s talk on Shabbat ‘Mikeitz’, the 1st Day of Rosh Chodesh Tevet, 5752.