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Thursday
Jun142018

A RESOLUTION PROPOSAL FOR GIMMEL TAMMUZ

Dear Reader sh’yichyeh,

Gimmel Tammuz. These two words bring out deep emotional reactions from Chassidim. While the reactions may seem different, and many follow different customs on this holy day, they really all revolve around the same core theme: Hiskashrus to our Rebbe.

What is the role of a Rebbe? We recently read a story in the HaYom Yom (10 Sivan): “The Alter Rebbe once gave the following answer to a Chassid in the course of a yechidus. The Jewish people are called lamps. A lamp is comprised of a container, a wick, oil, and fire. We must first kindle the fire; only then will the lamp shine. You possess a good lamp, but you lack someone to kindle it. When one forcefully strikes the stone — the animal soul — a spark flies out, and that kindles the G‑dly fire.”

This was a continuation of what the Alter Rebbe had told this Chassid earlier in the Yechidus (HaYom Yom 30 Sivan): “Spirituality and physicality are intrinsically opposites. A material virtue is a spiritual disadvantage. Materially, one who is ‘satisfied with his lot’ is the loftiest of men, and his Divine service will lead him to the highest rungs. Spiritually, by contrast, being ‘satisfied with one’s lot’ is the greatest failing. It causes one to decline and fall [spiritually], Heaven forbid.”

Reading this HaYom Yom reminded me of a story I heard from Mr. Yehuda Avner. Mr. Yehuda Avner was an Israeli prime ministerial advisor, diplomat, and author. He served as speechwriter and Secretary to Israeli Prime Ministers Golda Meir and Levi Eshkol and as advisor to Israeli Prime Ministers Yitzhak Rabin, Menachem Begin, and Shimon Peres. Avner served in diplomatic positions at the Israeli Consulate in New York, the Israeli Embassy to the US in Washington, DC, and as Israel’s Ambassador to Britain, Ireland and Australia.

In 1977, Prime Minister Begin had a historic meeting with the Rebbe in 770. Mr. Avner was there and was very involved in the meeting. The Rebbe prepared Begin for his upcoming visit with President Carter. In the words of Mr. Avner:

“After Begin’s meeting with Carter at the White House, I returned to see the Rebbe in order to give him a report. My appointment was set for 10 p.m., and I must tell you that the Rebbe always gave me an appointment at a civilized hour, not in the middle of the night.

“I was ushered straight in, and I gave the Rebbe a report of the meeting. I’m not permitted to go into details, because there are still segments of that meeting that are classified. I must have spoken for half an hour, and then the Rebbe began to comment—and again, I don’t think I can reveal those comments.

“This exchange went on until after midnight. I was very tired, yet the Rebbe was as sprightly and as fresh as ever. But he saw that I was tired. He leaned over to me—I was sitting at the side of his desk—and he put his hand on mine. I will always remember these words. He said, ‘Reb Yehuda, you know us so well; why don’t you identify with us more?’

“Now, I shall never know whether it was only because I was tired that I had the temerity to say what I really felt or whether I would have said it anyway, but I heard myself saying to the Rebbe, ‘Because I have within my own family those who see in the Rebbe powers that the Rebbe does not recognize in himself.’ And he got a very serious look in his eyes, and he said to me these words: ‘There are evidently people who need crutches.

“‘I will tell you what I’m trying to do … Reb Yehuda, imagine you are looking at a cupboard, and I tell you to open that cupboard. You open the cupboard, and you see there a candle, but I tell you that it is not a candle—it is a lump of wax with a piece of string inside. When does the wax and the wick become a candle? When one brings a flame to the wick. That is when the wax and the wick fulfill the purpose for which they were created.

“‘And that is what I try to do—to help every man and woman fulfill the purpose for which he or she was created.’ I was sitting there listening to him, impressed by the authority in his voice. And then he said these words:

“‘Ha-eish, zeh eish HaTorah—the fire is the fire of the Torah. When one brings the flame to the wick, one ignites the soul—for the wick is the soul—and it gives life to the body, which is the wax. And then the body and the soul fulfill the purpose for which they were created. And that happens through the fire of Torah.’

“By the time my meeting with the Rebbe was over, it was past two in the morning. For the last hour, a buzzer had been buzzing intermittently, and only later did I realize that the door couldn’t be opened unless the Rebbe released the latch from the inside. But he didn’t. He merely said, ‘Al tityaches—don’t pay attention.’ Finally, I rose and he escorted me to the door. He took hold of both my hands to say goodbye, and I said, ‘Has the Rebbe lit my candle?’ He answered, ‘No. I have given you the match. Only you can light your own candle.’

Dear Chassidim!

We find ourselves in a very special situation:

1) We are the generation of the candle, where everything is set up for the light of Moshiach. We know that we are “the last generation of Galus and the first generation of Geula.” We see the fast pace of the miracles that are taking place around us. The entire world, including the Goyim, is saying that we are living in messianic times. We are in “Shnas HaChayim” of the nesius of the Rebbe and people really are feeling the Geula.

2) We have the match, the necessary tools to bring Moshiach. The Rebbe made it clear that “this increase in learning the Torah concerned with Moshiach and Redemption (Malchus Sh’b’Tiferes) is the straightforward path to actually cause the revelation and coming of Moshiach and Redemption.” Today there are no limitations in a person’s ability to learn about and spread to others the message of Moshiach. Shiurim and books are available online in every language.

So what is missing? We must “light our own candle.” We must take the necessary actions, to use the match that the Rebbe gave us, to light our flame and the candle of all the people that we come in contact with. Nobody is exempt from this cause.

This is the best resolution that we can all take together as we think about the message of Gimmel Tammuz. No matter what the hashkafa of the individual may be, and truthfully all are agreeable to 99% of the issues, the focus needs to be not on our demands of the Rebbe, but rather on demanding from ourselves to do more to bring about the hisgalus of Moshiach.

I recently received this fascinating and telling story from a friend of mine via email: A Yid once came to the Rebbe by dollars, and an educational story unfolded. I knew him personally (unfortunately he was niftar not long after 3 Tammuz). His name was Chaim Baron, from Morristown, NJ. He believed that the Rebbe is Moshiach and truly wanted the Geula. He approached the Rebbe when it was his turn and said: “Rebbe – reveal yourself already!” The Rebbe immediately responded rhetorically, and quite sharply: “I’m the problem – what’s holding everything back is that I don’t want Moshiach?!”

In actuality, the Rebbe is obviously the biggest Meshichist of all. Obviously, the Rebbe, whose soul and essence is the Goel Acharon, is the one who truly wants the Geula, constantly. He is the one who taught the entire world to want the Geula and how to bring it. If it was just a matter of revealing himself, he would certainly do his part. But that is the point: is that his part, or ours? Is it only a matter of revealing himself, or must we “live with Moshiach” first and thereby collectively bring/reveal Moshiach…

We are all familiar with the saying that “a little light dispels a lot of darkness.” Instead of counting the days and darkness of Galus, and focusing on how many years have passed since Gimmel Tammuz 5754, let us focus on igniting candles of light. Keep in mind the words of the HaYom Yom (8 Adar 2): “My father writes in one of his letters: A single act is better than a thousand groans. Our G‑d lives, and Torah and mitzvos are eternal; quit the groaning and work hard in actual avoda, and G‑d will be gracious to you.”

 

Rabbi Avtzon is the Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivas Lubavitch Cincinnati and a well sought after speaker and lecturer. Recordings of his in-depth shiurim on Inyanei Geula u’Moshiach can be accessed at http://www.ylcrecording.com

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