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Tuesday
Jun052018

A TREATMENT REGIMEN FOR THE GALUS JEW

Dear Reader sh’yichyeh,

After the passing of the Rebbe Rashab in Rostov, and the continuous persecution by the communist regime, the Frierdike Rebbe opened a branch of Tomchei T’mimim in Poland. The first branch was opened in Warsaw, exactly one year after the passing of the Rebbe Rashab. On the stationery of the yeshiva is the date it was established, 2 Nissan 5681 (10 April, 1921). In Warsaw, the yeshiva grew greatly in number and stature, moving locations various times to cater to the increasing number of students.

The yeshiva in Warsaw flourished for some 15 years. During this time, the Rebbe was arrested and subsequently released by the Communist authorities in Leningrad. He was able to leave Russia at the end of Tishrei, 5688 (October 1927) and eventually moved to Warsaw, finally reuniting with the yeshiva. In the year 1936 (5696), the yeshiva and the Rebbe moved to Otwock, a country town to the east of Warsaw. There, the yeshiva was located in spacious grounds with beautiful scenery, affording a healthy environment for the students. It goes without saying that the clear air, and the quiet and restful surroundings, far away from the noise of the city, instilled a fresh spirit into the yeshiva. As enrolment grew, additional buildings were acquired to house the students. The years of Warsaw and Otwock were considered to be a new golden period in the history of Tomchei T’mimim.

While living in Otwock in 5698/1938, the Frierdike Rebbe received a letter from someone with a question in Avodas Hashem. The person wanted to know how he can transform the “heat and passion” of the animal soul to good and holiness. The Frierdike Rebbe responded (Igros vol. 4 pg. 352) an analogy from the treatment of the ailments of the physical body (HaYom Yom 16 Sivan):

“The sages of the early generations — who have been likened to angels — determined long ago that healing the soul is similar to healing the body. The first step is to discern the source of the infirmity. Does it stem from the body’s physical coarseness and impurity, or from the attributes of the soul that incline toward undesirable traits, such as pride and falsehood? Perhaps the infirmity stems from bad habits that result from a faulty education or negative surroundings.

“Until the source of the infirmity and the reason it has taken hold become clear, it is impossible for healing to begin. What is possible is to adopt a proper path of conduct in all matters: what

one should and should not do, both by “doing good” — observing the mitzvos, setting regular times for Torah study, and acquiring positive character traits — and by “turning away from evil.” The most important thing, however, is for a sick person to arouse within himself two realizations: (a) an awareness that he is sick, and a desire and a yearning to be cured of his illness; (b) the knowledge that he can be cured, and the hope and absolute trust that with G‑d’s help, he will be cured.”

He then adds (HaYom Yom 28 Menachem Av): “There are two general approaches to healing physical illness:(a) to treat the particular organ or faculty that is damaged, ailing, or weak; or (b) to strengthen the healthy organs and faculties so that they will overcome the disability of the ailing organ or faculty and heal it. Analogous to this in the case of spiritual sickness are two approaches to avoda: (a) t’shuva, and (b) good deeds.”

Dear Chassidim!

There is obviously much that can be learned and implemented in our personal Avodas Hashem from these very powerful messages. We will focus on a few of the things that can be learned in our Avoda to bring Moshiach.

1) “An awareness that he is sick, and a desire and a yearning to be cured of his illness.” We have become very comfortable in Galus and do not realize what we are missing.

In a recent conversation I had with a frum friend, he was talking about how far we have come from the days that it was difficult to be a frum Yid. Today, boruch Hashem, kosher food is available all over the world. You can walk into any Walmart across America and come out with cartloads of kosher food. With the advancement of technology, especially the internet, Torah is available to every Jew. It can be learned on any level, in every language, and at any point in time. There are even many states, including our home-state of Ohio, where the Government gives vouchers for private-school education. This alleviates much of the tremendous financial burden of giving our children a Torah-true education. While in the past, it was very hard to find a job if one worked on Shabbos, especially if one had a full beard, today such a job is readily available. The list goes on and on.

After listening for a while, I asked him: “Do you not realize that this is not the ultimate Jewish life and that as long as Moshiach is not here, we are ‘sick’ and need to be cured?” The person stopped and looked at me and became very quiet. After a short silence, he turned and told me how right I was and thanked me for sharing this very basic perspective with him.

[This is especially true, as explained in the Maamer “V’Ata Tetzaveh” that the Hebrew word “choleh-sick” is the numerical value of 49. As long as we are missing the ultimate revelation, symbolized by the number 50, even if we have everything else, we are still considered a “choleh-sick” person.]

When things are unfortunately difficult for Klal Yisroel, the realization that we are “sick” and need Moshiach is much easier to attain. The real test is to have that realization when Hashem is

making life easier for Yidden. We need to be touched at our core and scream out to Hashem that we have “a desire and a yearning to be cured.”

This is what the Rebbe spoke about so passionately on 28 Nissan 5751: “Equally incredible – that when ten (and many times ten) Jews gather together, and in a worthy time with regard to Redemption, and nevertheless, they don’t create an uproar to cause the coming of Moshiach immediately and instantly, and it’s not inconceivable to them, G-d forbid, that Moshiach won’t come this night, and also tomorrow our righteous Moshiach won’t come and also the day after tomorrow our righteous Moshiach won’t come, G-d forbid!”

2) “The knowledge that he can be cured, and the hope and absolute trust that with G‑d’s help, he will be cured.” This is an issue that many of us can relate to. For many of us, we have no problem saying that we are not happy in Galus and that we really want Moshiach and we really believe that Moshiach should come. It is just that deep-down we really begin to doubt if we really have what it takes to get out of Galus. Yidden have been in Galus for so long, and so many holy people have tried to bring Moshiach. Is it really possible to be “cured” of galus?

The Rebbe is teaching us that if we really want to be cured of Galus, we need to have “the knowledge that he can be cured, and the hope and absolute trust that with G‑d’s help, he will be cured.” We must strengthen our Emuna in Torah and the clear prophecy of our Rebbe, ‘Hinei Zeh Moshiach Ba,’ and realize that Geula is real and we really can and will get out of Galus.

3) While it is important to answer our, and others’, questions and doubts, it is most important “to strengthen the healthy organs and faculties so that they will overcome the disability of the ailing organ or faculty and heal it.” The best, and most direct way, to bring Moshiach is by elevating our entire self into the world of Moshiach. This comes about through learning about Geula and Moshiach. In the words of the Rebbe (Balak 5751):

“The solution to this dilemma is Torah study concerning Moshiach and Redemption. For Torah – which is G-d’s wisdom, and thus transcends the natural order of the universe – has the capacity to alter the nature of man. Even when one’s emotions are still outside the parameters of Redemption – G-d forbid – (because he has not yet emerged from his internal exile), he can nevertheless learn the Torah’s teachings concerning Redemption, and thereby be one elevated to the state of Redemption. One then begins to thrive on matters of Redemption, borne of the knowledge, awareness and feeling that “Behold he is coming.””

 

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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