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Thursday
Oct182012

CONGRATULATIONS TO THE FIRST GRADUATING CLASS

The School for Toras HaGeula concluded its first program this summer. * Impressions of the course.

“They’re finally making a school for us!” That was the headline of the ad publicizing another project of the Mamash – Merkaz HaHafatza. When the School for Toras HaGeula began, Beis Moshiach went to check it out. They were also there at its conclusion. The following is a report on one of the most creative, quality programs of the past decade for the study of Inyanei Moshiach.

Over twenty years after the Rebbe said (Balak 5751), “Through the learning of the Torah of Inyanei Geula, one is elevated to a position of Geula and begins to live the Inyanei HaGeula with the knowledge and awareness and feeling that ‘hinei zeh ba,’” the hanhala of Mamash decided to create a serious, professional course that would fulfill the Rebbe’s horaa.

I AM NEVER SATISFIED

Over fifty people from all over Eretz Yisroel completed the course. Some of them work full time and some have communal roles. What they had in common was their choice to devote one day a week, for four months, to the systematic study of Toras HaGeula by taking a long and demanding course.

The concluding ceremony took place on the last day of the course with senior staff, rabbanim, shluchim and important guests in attendance. The administrative dean of the school, R’ Betzalel Wilschansky, said, “We are concluding a long journey on the Derech Ha’yeshara, a journey that was spread out over thirteen weeks packed with material covering a broad array of topics. We discovered worlds we didn’t know existed, new worlds in Inyanei Geula and Moshiach, through shiurim from top lecturers, each of whom made a unique contribution: R’ M.M. Halperin, R’ Shimon Weitzhandler, R’ Aryeh Kedem, and R’ Moshe Kornweitz.

“A few years ago, I heard about someone who passed by the Rebbe and reported about some activities that he did. The Rebbe responded with a few short words which seem representative of how the Rebbe looked at everything. He said, ‘I am always happy, but never satisfied.’

“To call this evening a siyum-farbrengen doesn’t seem accurate, for what did we finish? For thirteen weeks we have been going on the derech ha’yeshara, learning Inyanei Moshiach in depth, but the hisgalus didn’t happen. So we did not achieve the goal!

“I’ll compare this to driving on an intercity highway. We were all on the same derech ha’yeshara, collecting lots of material and knowledge. Now, before we disperse, we are at the gas station and filling up our tanks with energy to continue onward. We cannot allow ourselves to stop or go backward, i.e. to look at what we accomplished as something that is finished. We need to move forward, each of us with the knowledge we gained, and speak to the people with whom we come in contact.”

MAKING IT REAL

R’ Yisroel Halperin, the director of the mosdos and rav of the Chabad k’hilla in Hertzliya, delivered the main address.

“Yashar ko’ach for all your work. The material covered and tremendous knowledge that you acquired here in this course must be disseminated further.

“The avoda when learning Chassidus, which is Toraso shel Moshiach, is that by meditating deeply on a concept, you can reach the level of certainty regarding spirituality that you would naturally have by physically seeing something. The Rebbe demands that the learning of Inyanei Moshiach and Geula be done in a way of ‘seeing.’ This is why this School for Toras HaGeula is so important. It is an important stage in the process of ‘opening our eyes.’

“For example, when a person looks at the sun (although this is not healthy and should not be done), the power of the light of the sun is such that whether he closes his eyes or opens them, whether he enters a dark room or a room that is lit up, the light from the sun will continue to dance before him. This is how a Chassid ought to live with the learning of Inyanei Moshiach and Geula. It needs to penetrate his mind with such depth and purity of faith that in whatever he does, he sees the Geula in front of him.

“You learned amazing things in this course. You sat and delved into all-important topics of Moshiach and Geula. Now you need to review them, again and again, until you see that even after you go about your business, the core teachings will remain with you.”

WELL DONE

R’ Shlomo Yitzchok Frank, rav in Akko, was asked to speak as a participant in the course. He said, “Many people wondered why I was taking this course. Do rabbanim also need it?

“The Gemara tells of Rav, the famous Amora, who spent eighteen months in the company of shepherds in order to learn which blemishes are permanent and which heal, for halachic purposes. Think of who Rav was, a tremendous scholar, and how he left his position as rosh yeshiva for a year and a half in order to spend time with shepherds. The Rebbe said that the lesson is that if Rav did this, certainly every rav ought to devote time to expanding his knowledge.

“I will admit that I did not think the School for Toras HaGeula would be that serious. A few months ago, when I saw an article about it, I immediately decided to register since it was an important initiative. After I attended three sessions, I was pleasantly surprised by the professional tone and the high level of learning.

“Beyond the work in arranging the course material, I was particularly impressed by the educational approach, each one of you in your own style. You all taught us how to not divert the discussion to other topics. You wisely avoided getting dragged into matters that were tangential.

“Our many thanks also go to the technical and logistical team for keeping things on time and setting up the place down to the small details, like an equipped coffee corner and providing booklets and sources before every lecture. Those who devoted themselves to the holy work of learning and spreading the Besuras HaGeula and the Goel, may you continue until we achieve the immediate hisgalus.”

TO BE A LUBAVITCHER CHASSID TODAY

“The truth is, I need to make a cheshbon ha’nefesh,” said R’ Chaim Yosef Ginsburg, rav of the Chabad community and director of the mosdos in Ramat Aviv.

“A few months ago, when I read about this special school, I felt a kinas sofrim. I’m always having ideas about Inyanei Moshiach. Here was a project that should have been done long ago and this organization, Mamash, decided to do it. I thought it was something special but I didn’t think I would participate. As I said, I need to make a cheshbon ha’nefesh.

“In the sicha of 28 Sivan 5751, there is an interesting point. The Rebbe explains that every Jew will be a partner in Geula. In other words, every Jew needs to ‘conquer’ his part of the world and be a partner in bringing the Geula.

“When working with others, there are two extremes. On the one hand, nowadays, everything is clear. There is the revelation of G-dliness in the world, the identity of Moshiach is out in the open, and you can hear the Besuras HaGeula all over. On the other hand, the reality as it is seen from the perspective of the world is unusually dark. Suddenly, we have to deal with situations that we never had to deal with before. We ask ourselves why things are this way, because if Geula is real, then why doesn’t it fit with the reality of the world? Says the Rebbe, Hashem wants every Jew to be a partner in bringing the Geula.

“What does it mean to be a partner? Businessmen know that every person has his talents and uniqueness which he can contribute to make the business successful. When a person no longer has anything to contribute to the business, he is no longer needed.

“In the relationship between the Jewish people and Hashem, how can the Jewish people give anything? What can we add to the Omnipotent G-d?

“The answer is that Hashem wants every Jew to contribute his part. To do this, we need to agree and want it; we need to live with it and get others to do the same until we all proclaim that the Geula began, Moshiach is here, and he is already affecting the world.

“However, when the Geula is not readily apparent and Hashem creates a reality that seems contrary to Geula, this is the time when we can and must do our part in bringing the Geula. For after the true and complete Geula comes, it won’t be a big deal to announce the Geula in the world and it won’t be worth anything. Hashem wants partners in the darkness of galus who are not fazed by the darkness and who announce that the Geula is here.

“In our generation, anyone who wants to be called by the name ‘Lubavitcher Chasid’ may use that title only if he lives with those topics that the Rebbe lived with, and now, it’s all about Moshiach and Geula.

“Chabad demands p’nimius. The only way to live and instill Geula and Moshiach in a p’nimius’dike way is through daas. It’s only when he learns together with a friend that a Chassid feels deeply that the Geula must come; it cannot be otherwise. The Geula penetrates into the power of ratzon until it arouses from within us the enormous question of how this galus can continue for even one more moment.

“When you learn the D’var Malchus of 5751-5752 and accustom yourself to live in a state of Geula, you are able to see the Geula through the curtain of galus. Then you don’t feel embarrassed to stand up and publicly announce that the Geula is here, because through learning, it becomes clear to you.”

THE LUBAVITCHERS 
WILL START LATE AND WON’T BE ORGANIZED

One of the people who took an active part in the course was Rabbi Dr. Hanoch Miodovnik, a psychiatrist who is a department head at a psychiatric hospital in Beer Sheva.

“I was skeptical about this idea. A school for Toras Ha’Geula? I figured those Lubavitchers will start late, they won’t be organized, and they’ll send us home with a bunch of excuses. But I was disappointed, pleasantly disappointed.

“When we were asked to fill out a questionnaire, everyone sat and wrote, because it was a serious course, well-organized and with a lot of flavor. I missed one session and was very sorry about that. Today, on the way here, I was very moved. When all is said and done, we had established a habit of coming here every Wednesday …

“I will take you back thirty years. I wasn’t always religious and I became religious when I was already a doctor. When someone is recognized in his profession, and one day, he decides to show up wearing a kippa, it takes courage. When the director of the department saw the kippa, he asked me what that growth on my head was about. I nervously told him, ‘It is something very serious and I took this step after a lot of study. I think that that which is serious, is worth studying.’ I don’t know if I meant it when I said it, but I began learning. The more I was questioned, the more I learned. I discovered that there are things that even religious people don’t know.

“Inyanei Moshiach and Geula are in the category of things that religious people don’t know. Even Lubavitchers are not expert in it, and this course raised the knowledge level significantly. We just heard from many angles how we should take this material and do something with it. The Shabbos table will look different. We read the course material with all the citations in the footnotes. Even as we are finishing digesting what was served up, there is a lot more material out there and we are hardly finished. It’s just amazing, the depth that was given to us here.

“The main thing is to put it all into action and the goal is to reach not only the family. Last Shabbos, we discussed how now that the course is over and our Wednesdays are freed up, we want a shiur in Inyanei Moshiach and Geula in our shul that will be based on the course material. Bless us that the shiur will grow until we disseminate all the Rebbe’s material on the Geula and not only within Beer Sheva.”

***

Standing off to the side and scanning the crowd, the view was of quite a disparate group. R’ Avrohom Kali, rosh yeshivas Chabad Neve Tzedek shared his doubts before he registered for the course:

“At first, it seemed out of the question. How could I leave all the shlichus and hafatza work for several hours every week? After I came here, I saw that the opposite was true; it was out of the question for me to be involved in hafatzas ha’maayanos without attending this course!

“How could I leave all the shlichus and hafatza work for several hours every week? After I came here, I saw that the opposite was true; it was out of the question for me to be involved in hafatzas ha’maayanos without attending this course!”

“I’m not talking just about the fact that I am walking away with real life skills in that the practical tools I acquired here will serve me well on shlichus. The fact that I attended this course made me see that when I learn Inyanei Moshiach and Geula and do what the Rebbe wants, suddenly things fall miraculously into place.”

COMPLETING 
THE FINAL SHLICHUS

The director of Mamash, Rabbi Elimelech Thaler, called upon the participants to unite in the central goal of the organization which is expressed in the word “mamash” – to carry out the Rebbe’s wishes and to do the only shlichus that he gave us to do in preparing the world to greet him.

“We need to take the hours of shiurim and intensive learning, the lectures and the broad knowledge in Inyanei Moshiach that we amassed during the course, and put it into action!

“The ‘Mamash’ center for hafatza holds monthly farbrengens, Shabbatons and Yemei Iyun. In addition to publishing books on Inyanei Moshiach and Geula, numerous brochures, booklets, posters, signs, flags and stickers are produced. Before holidays the center produces quality material along with holiday products, all on the topic of Moshiach and Geula.

“Each of us needs to get involved and be active participants. That is the hachlata with which we are ending this course. Let us continue to walk on the derech ha’yeshara to the goal – bringing the Geula with the Rebbe MH”M.”

 

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