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Friday
Feb152019

A VULNERABLE REBBE

When G-d spoke and the world came into being, a world where He sent the souls of His beloved nation, the Jewish people, G-d became “vulnerable,” dependent on us to succeed in our mission. Likewise, the Rebbe spoke words of prophecy about the imminence of redemption – and it is up to us to see it through!

By Boruch Merkur

There’s so much hate in the world. Antisemitism dares to publicly lift its ugly head – yet again, rachmana litzlan. The one place that has always been our refuge from hate has been the Torah. Yet one of the great modern-day resources for Torah, Chabad.org, hosts a video shiur on G-d’s “vulnerability,” which espouses the unspeakable words, “G-d created us knowing there would be times that He will love us, there will be times that He will hate us.”

Naturally you would think that the speaker, the rabbi, misspoke, and certainly he regrets his words – but that is not so. In pursuit of gaining sources from the speaker for this shocking remark, all I was told was that he “stands behind everything that is said on the video.” Threatening to take my protest to a public forum, the response was, “Yagdil Torah v’yadir.” So be it.

To clarify, if you have any doubt: G-d loves us. In fact, He loves us unconditionally.

Coming from Parshas Truma, the Rebbe writes in Likkutei Sichos Vol. 26, pg. 179-180:

Rashi’s approach is that the Kapores, the lid to the Holy Ark (as well as the Kruvim, the golden sculpture of two cherubs fashioned above the lid) is not only a detail of the Aron (and the Eidus within it, the Tablets that “testify” to G-d’s love and commitment to the Jewish people), but a separate vessel and indeed having its own significance. Underscoring G-d’s love for the Jewish people, the Kruvim are “d’mus partzuf tinok,” fashioned with the face of a child, as it is written, “For, when Yisroel was young, I loved him” (Hosheia 11:1) (“partzuf tinok”). …

(This notion resonates with Rabbeinu Bechayei’s lengthy teaching on the Kruvim: “According to p’shat, the literal level of interpretation,” the two Kruvim depicted a male and a female, “signifying how beloved the Jewish people are to the Alm-ghty, like the love between male and female.)

And on pg. 181:

Likewise, according to the inner dimension of the Torah, the Kruvim are specifically “d’mus partzuf tinok – the shape of a child’s face,” because the love of a father to a son at the core is not connected with the child’s virtues, but because they are really one. This essential, unconditional love is revealed specifically to his young child. [For as they grow up, there is another layer of love that develops, one based on their merit. The underlying unconditional love between parent and child, however, is constant.]

Similarly, the essential love of G-d to the Jewish people is not connected with their revealed avoda in Torah and Mitzvos, but because they are a “cheilek Eloka mi’maal mamash – an actual part of G-d above” (a part of the etzem).

And in footnote 78 on page 182:

“Just as when one’s young child misbehaves, the father does not abandon him, because he is young … in the same way, even when the Jewish people sin, etc.” (Agadas B’Reishis 5:1)

This topic is discussed further in Likkutei Sichos 34 pg. 17 – 23, esp. on page 23, where it says:

The state of “Bein HaMeitzarim” (the Three Weeks associated with the destruction of both Holy Temples and the subsequent exiles and suffering) is a result of a lack in the avoda of the Jewish people, when the natural love of a Jew to his Father in Heaven is concealed. This defiant mindset includes ingratitude, not recognizing the kindness of Hashem, to the point that they conceive of light as darkness, etc. But even in this lowly condition, Rashi testifies that “He loved you,” that there is no weakening at all in G-d’s love for the Jewish people.

I heard an incredible story from Rabbi YY Jacobson (TheYeshiva.net), where the Rebbe, when he was known as Ramash, told two young Chassidim the advice he had just received from his father in-law, the Rebbe Rayatz. Elder Chassidim were challenging the Rebbe’s radical approach of welcoming and befriending Jews who did not observe Torah and Mitzvos. This form of outreach, they felt, was an approbation of their lifestyle.

The Rebbe asked the Rebbe Rayatz his opinion. The answer he received was that the love of G-d is like the love of parents to their child, which is boundless, irrevocable, and unconditional. Sometimes a child is born lacking in health, or even an entire limb or organ, G-d forbid. The parents love that child with all their hearts, a unique love, surpassing the love of a parent to a healthy child. This is the love Hashem has for the defiant soul, one who struggles or appears to be lacking in spiritual sensitivity or health. G-d cares for that child with a love that is unparalleled and certainly unconditional.

 

Now, the context for this whole discussion was the assertion that “G-d is vulnerable.” Again no sources are quoted for this self-professed “revolutionary statement.” Although the shiur concludes with the rabbi quipping that if “You run into a rabbi who says, ‘Oh, G-d doesn’t need anything. G-d is perfect.’ Check his credentials. He’s sounding like a priest.” If the notion is indeed revolutionary, how can the speaker just blacklist all those who have not yet conformed to his revolution?!

The truth is though that the only revolution here is the specific translation used, the English word, “vulnerable.” (There’s so much power in translation, interpreting the Torah, G-d’s words, it’s a wonder we are allowed to translate Torah at all.)

“Vulnerable” is a word that is rich with association and resounds with emotion. I think the original Hebrew word he derived this idea from is “nis’ava – desired,” as in the Midrash Tanchuma (Naso 7:1, quoted famously in Tanya Ch. 36, beg.), “Nis’ava HaKadosh baruch Hu, lihiyos Lo dira ba’tachnonim – G-d desired to have a dwelling place in the lowest realm.” G-d is complete and perfect, yet G-d is vulnerable because He allows Himself to have a desire, the desire to create a finite world, and for that world to be His garden and ultimate goal. Since G-d cares about His creation, since G-d loves us, from the moment He spoke and we came into being, from that very moment, He became vulnerable.

On Ko’ach Nissan 5751, the Rebbe spoke and expressed his own vulnerability: “What more can I do? I don’t know. For all I have done until now is ‘l’hevel v’la’rik!’ It amounted to nothing! We remain in exile. In fact, we are also in an internal exile regarding avodas Hashem, as has been stated repeatedly. Therefore, the only thing I can possible do is to delegate this task to every single one of you, to do all that you possibly can to bring about the advent of Moshiach immediately!” 

Great souls such as Rashbi, such as the Rebbe, don’t experience any lack; they don’t experience the exile. The Rebbe has everything, yet out of care for every Jew, knowing the full potential of each individual, the Rebbe gives us the ultimate gift: to play a part in the most important event in history, to prepare ourselves, our brethren, and the entire world for Moshiach.

Out of love for us, the Rebbe allows himself to be vulnerable, stating as prophecy that Moshiach is coming imminently, yet knowing at the same time that it depends on us! Now the Rebbe’s entire reputation and merit depends on our bringing Moshiach. It is up to us to be grateful for this gift and inspire us to action. It is up to us to take pride in being Chassidim and caring about the Rebbe. It is up to us to live up to our purpose in Creation and to be a true partner in its perfection, to summon all our strength to prepare ourselves to approach Alm-ghty G-d and demand that He remove the shame of the ongoing exile and from our beloved Rebbe – with the immediate arrival of Moshiach Tzidkeinu.

Boruch welcomes opportunities to speak further about Moshiach and a variety of topics. Please email editor@beismoshiach.org for details.

Reader Comments (3)

"ה' צַדִּיק יִבְחָן וְרָשָׁע וְאֹהֵב חָמָס *שָׂנְאָה נַפְשׁוֹ* ."
Feb 15, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterדוד המלך
I am researching that. Thank you very much.
Feb 17, 2019 | Registered CommenterBoruch Merkur
I will try to say this very concisely (as Shabbos approaches). G-d is beyond everything, yet He makes room for us in His very core. At that level, we are His infant child, whom He loves unconditionally. Thereafter, as the Jewish people "grow up," much more is expected from us. We can always default to the love of a parent to an infant but it does not behoove us to suffice with that. We want to show our love for G-d by doing something of our own and being worthy of that love. At that level, we open a spectrum of feelings, whereby there is a whole range from being loved for all our devotion, etc., or perhaps even the opposite, if we take the posture of total opposition and rebellion against Him. But even in that worst case scenario, the G-d in HIs core, STILL LOVES US UNCONDIOTIONALLY. It is only to bring us merit, that G-d lowers Himself, as it were, into a world where we can shine or bring darkness vis-à-vis our relationship with G-d.
Feb 22, 2019 | Registered CommenterBoruch Merkur

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