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Tuesday
Nov082016

A CHAIN REACTION TO BRING REDEMPTION

Afterwards I began to think to myself: I do not know this lady who wrote the letter to me, nor does she know me. She has merely heard of my name, and sought advice from me, etc. If so, what is the intent of this chain letter coming to my attention?! Eventually I concluded that the purpose is to utilize this approach for the sake of holiness. * On publicizing the words of the Chida and the Radak on bringing about the redemption.

Translated by Boruch Merkur

1. Once a certain Torah scholar commented to me about the words of the Chida, of blessed memory, in his book Midbar Kadmos, on the section about hope, saying:

“It states in Yalkut T’hillim remez 736 that even if a Jew has no merit other than hope, he is fit to be redeemed – in virtue of his hope … On this basis, the great rabbi Rabbeinu Yosef Dovid [the Chida] elucidates … ‘the wording of the blessing, “Speedily cause the scion of Dovid, Your servant, to flourish, and increase his power by Your salvation, for we hope for Your salvation all day.” Saying “for we hope for Your salvation all day” is difficult to understand, for what reason does this provide for our salvation? If we rightfully deserve salvation, it would be attained without hope. And if not, what benefit is there in hope? However, according to what was said above [in Yalkut T’hillim], the difficulty is resolved, reading the blessing as follows: “Speedily cause the scion of Dovid, etc.,” and if it were said that we have no merit, nevertheless, “flourish…for we hope for Your salvation” – we have hope, and in reward for this hope it is fitting that You redeem us.’”

The same message is found – in an astonishing[ly severe] style – in the commentary of the Radak on Nach, at the end of Shmuel II:

“‘So the L-rd was entreated for the land and the plague was stayed from the Jewish people,’ meaning G-d accepted the prayer of the inhabitants of the land. Understood exegetically, all the others, the thousands who died in the time of Dovid, died only because they did not beseech Hashem for the Holy Temple. It follows logically from this that since those who lived prior to the time when the Holy Temple stood, and who did not live in the aftermath of its destruction, nevertheless lost their lives on account of their neglect to petition for it, how much more so does the severity of this message apply to us, for we have had the Holy Temple in our days and live in the aftermath of its destruction. Thus, the elders and the prophets implanted in the mouths of the Jewish people to pray three times a day, ‘return Your Divine Presence and your kingdom to Tziyon, and the order of your service to Yerushalayim,” and the Radak concludes, “Amen, may it be His will forever.”

Practically speaking:

As has been observed from the questions and complaints voiced regarding the hope and anticipation and the clamoring for the true and complete redemption through our righteous Moshiach, there are those who are evidently unaware of the words of the Chida and the Radak mentioned above.

Therefore it is appropriate and proper that one should publish these matters in a “newspaper.”

It must be underscored, however, that this should not be done in my name. Unfortunately there are those who upon hearing that this was said by so and so will argue that the opposite is more logical … (as is known from similar cases, but now is not the time to elaborate on this). In addition, as far as we are concerned – that is, with regard to the topic of redemption – it is particularly important to cite the original author, as our Sages say, “All those who say something in the name of the author bring redemption to the world.”

Thus, this matter should be publicized in the name of the original author, both with regard to the words of Radak as well as the words of Chida, by quoting their teachings precisely, word for word, in addition to citing the source etc., in order to bring merit to our Jewish brethren who do not possess these texts.

2. Another related matter, but first a parenthetical preface, in continuation with what was said above:

Among the correspondence I have received of late was a letter from a woman who was extremely distraught. What was bothering her? I received a letter – the woman writes – at the end of which the author requests of me, the reader, to make ten copies and send them to ten people. The author continues that in the merit of doing so, the reader will receive a reward, etc., and that the converse is true as well. That is, if the reader does not comply, it is unspeakable what could happen to him or her. In fact, the author asserts, a causal pattern as such has already been noted, for the results were such and such…

The content of the letter is filled with idiocy… The author remains anonymous, and the woman does not know from where the letter came. Nevertheless, the lady asks, since she has received such a fright, if it is acceptable for her to send out the ten copies in order to assuage her doubt.

Naturally I answered the lady that she should tear up the letter … and that she should completely remove the matter from her mind! I also quoted the verse, “Thus states the L-rd, do not learn from the ways of the Gentiles, and from the signs of heaven do not fear, for the Gentiles fear them,” meaning, even when we are speaking about “heaven,” Jews have nothing to fear, for this sort of fear is “the ways of the Gentiles…for the Gentiles fear them.”

Afterwards I began to think to myself: I do not know this lady who wrote the letter to me, nor does she know me. She has merely heard of my name, and sought advice from me, etc. If so, what is the intent of this occurrence coming to my attention?! Eventually I concluded that the purpose is to utilize this approach for the sake of holiness.

But first, to preface:

Every single thing in the world must be used for a holy purpose. Regarding forbidden things, they must be entirely rejected and nullified, but regarding permissible things, the approach must be, “all your deeds should be for the sake of Heaven.” Indeed, it is clear that the purpose of every thing created in the world is that it should provide some benefit with regard to matters of holiness.

In fact, even regarding something that is permitted but was used until now in an undesirable manner, one should seek out strategies to utilize it for holiness, in accordance with its purpose for which it was created. This is so even if until now, one used it for matters that are the opposite of holiness.

For example, our Sages say, “the world was not fit to use gold. Why then was it created? For the sake of the Holy Temple.”

To apply the above to our discussion:

When we see that there exists in the world a concept of sending a letter to ten people, requesting of each recipient to send out copies to an additional group of ten people and so on (in the local lexicon, chain reaction), this method should be employed for matters of holiness, publicizing something good among our Jewish brethren (so long as there is the slightest possibility that there is someone who is still unaware of this good thing).

With regard to the imminent redemption, this amounts to publicizing the matters discussed above about hoping and yearning and petitioning G-d for the coming of our righteous Moshiach, by means of every person sending a letter (citing what is written in the aforementioned texts) to ten Jews, and that they should each send it to ten more Jews, etc., in a manner of continually adding in light.

A certain context for this instruction, however, should be noted. There are those who are called “shpitz Chabadniks” … and when they hear this kind of thing said in public, in a synagogue and in a study hall, they will leave aside all their concerns and get involved solely in writing letters to tens and tens of Jews. Therefore, I hereby emphasize that it is sufficient that each person write to no more than ten Jews, and if any free time remains, he should learn Torah! … Regarding all the other Jews (those to whom he did not send letters), someone else will write to them – perhaps one of the ten that he did write to, for example.

3. It goes without saying that the concept of sending letters designed to “frighten” a Jew, G-d forbid, or even a Gentile, is utterly ruled out. When writing to a Jew one should write only blessings.

(From the address of Shabbos Parshas Lech Lecha 7 MarCheshvan 5746, bilti muga)

 

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