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Thursday
Oct182012

BEST PLACE TO DIVE

The atmosphere that was present in the Teiva of Noach resembled the atmosphere that will prevail when Moshiach will arrive.

Reb Zushe of Anipoli, one the greatest talmidim of the Maggid, lived in great poverty. Often, many days would pass with the home remaining bare.

It happened once that before the Yom Tov of Sukkos, many days passed with no money at all in the house. R’ Zushe and his family members went hungry, but R’ Zushe did not complain.

On the first night of Sukkos, R’ Zushe was in shul, davening Maariv with great enthusiasm, as was his custom. Ignoring the hunger pangs, he joyously poured out his heart to his Creator, experiencing the happiness of Z’man Simchaseinu. When he completed his t’fillos, he remembered about the situation at home. “Well”, he told himself, “I know that there is not a morsel of food in the house, so there’s nothing to rush home for,” and he took out a seifer, and sat down to learn awhile.

In the meantime, while his Rebbetzin was preparing the house for Yom Tov, she came across a valuable discovery. In the pockets of one of her husband’s garments a coin was discovered that had somehow been overlooked. Filled with joy, the Rebbetzin rushed to the marketplace, and quickly purchased some wine, challa, and potatoes, so that she could prepare somewhat of a seudas Yom Tov after all.

When R’ Zushe finally arrived home, he was surprised to find the Sukka filled with light and freshly cooked food on the table. He didn’t ask any questions, but immediately entered the Sukka to make Kiddush and begin the Yom Tov meal. After Kiddush, his wife served him a plate of hot potatoes. Needless to say, after not having had any food for days, the potatoes had a taste of Gan Eden!

R’ Zushe sat at the table and took a bite of the potatoes, and then another bite. Then, suddenly, he stopped, and pushed the plate away:

“Zushe!” he said, “on Sukkos we are forbidden from eating anywhere except in the Sukka. But you are not sitting in the Sukka now; rather, you are sitting in the plate of potatoes, so you may not continue eating!”

And that was the end of his meal!

We too have to ask ourselves: where in fact are we?

RIDING THE WAVES

In Torah Ohr of Parshas Noach the Alter Rebbe advises us about how to protect ourselves from the raging turbulent waters, i.e. the overwhelming indulgence in, and pursuit of, worldliness and materialism that surrounds us. The way to protect ourselves, to safeguard ourselves, says the Alter Rebbe, is – as the Pasuk states – “BO EL HA’TEVA!” Get into a word of Torah, a word of davening. Immerse yourself into a holy word.

Then you will no longer be in this dangerous and daunting world. You will be in a new, safe, place.

In the words of davening and learning, we are no longer exposed to the tsunamis and tidal waves that are endangering the world around us.

But, the keyword here is to get into it, to be fully and single-mindedly engrossed in our learning and davening. Not just surface-deep learning. Rather, our learning and davening should be an experience that encompasses our entire being. Not to be learning or davening, only to suddenly discover that (as in the story with Reb Zushe) we are not really in the words but are in fact somewhere else entirely.

During a farbrengen, the Rebbe was speaking on behalf of the Jews imprisoned behind the iron curtain. At the end of the sicha, the Rebbe said “L’chaim far di vos zenen nisht doh” (L’chaim for those who are not here). Then the Rebbe said another L’chaim: “Far di vos meinen az zei zenen do, ober zei zenen nisht do!” (For those who think that they’re here, but are in fact elsewhere)

We know where we should be. BO EL HA’TEVA! Bring yourself into the words, the words that provide our refuge from the floods around us.

A word of learning…

Don’t just set aside time to cover ground, to turn some pages, but sink your mind into the material. Think deeply into a maamer chassidus or an inyan in nigleh. Horeve in Torah!

A word of davening…

Put more effort into your davening. So that you should not just be saying the words, but all of your faculties, your whole being, should be focused on what is being expressed in the words that you’re saying. That it should be a davening that can be truly referred to as “t’filla” – a connection with the One Above!

DIVING DEEP

In Chassidus we are taught that the atmosphere that was present in the Teiva of Noach resembled the atmosphere that will prevail when Moshiach will arrive. The Teiva, thus, represents (in addition to the general meaning – words of Torah and T’filla) the awaited era of Moshiach. Indeed, BO EL HA’TEIVA! For years the Rebbe has been giving us a glimpse into the time of Moshiach and exhorting us to take heed, to start to live in a more Moshiach’dige manner.

Once again the directive is to get into it.

It’s not enough to pay our dues, to participate in a few requisite Moshiach shiurim to meet the requirements to be considered a chassidisher yid. Rather, we have to live Moshiach. Get into the atmosphere of Moshiach! Focus on it and be engrossed in it. Channel all of your faculties towards Moshiach.

We must work on ensuring that we are genuinely preoccupied with Moshiach. That way, we won’t find ourselves dutifully learning our sicha on Moshiach, only to discover (as in the story) that in fact we’re still deeply entrenched in our Galus mindset.

The Rebbe once related, in the name of the Frierdike Rebbe, that the Frierdike Rebbe said about himself that when he was very young he had a ‘weakness.’ During cheider he felt drawn to the window to look at what was going on outside. (When the Rebbe repeated the story he added: “And what was there already to see outside of the window of the cheider in Lubavitch…?”)

Until, once the Rashbatz (his melamed) remarked to him: “It is better to be standing outside and looking inside, than to be standing inside and looking outside!” The Frierdike Rebbe concluded that thereafter he was ‘cured’ of this ‘weakness.’

The Rebbe lifted the corner of the veil, and allowed us to join him in the Teiva of Moshiach. It is up to us to take advantage of this, by putting ourselves fully into the G-dly words that bring this experience to us.

It doesn’t necessarily have to be for the entire day. But everyone needs to set aside times to work on being free of any and all outside distractions, during which he can fully be in the Teiva.

If we put our minds to it, we will find that “Yogaato U’motzoso.” And we will see that (as in the story) “Look! You’re not in the world of galus after all; you are actually in the world of Moshiach!”

L’chaim! May we take to heart the lessons and directives of Parshas Noach, by working harder to immerse ourselves in the words that will be our salvation, and may our collective efforts result in bringing the entire world into the Teiva of Moshiach, with the Geula HaAmitis VeHashleima Teikef U’miyad Mamash!!!

From a written farbrengen directed towards Alumni of Yeshivas Lubavitch Toronto

 

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