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Wednesday
Dec282016

CRITICAL LESSON TO LEARN FROM HEI TEVES

Dear Reader sh’yichyeh, 

This upcoming week we will all be celebrating the Yom Tov of Hey Teves. It is a special day of “Didan Natzach” for the Rebbe and the entire avoda of our generation. This year is the 30th anniversary of the original “hey Teves” victory in 5747, and as Chazal say (Avos 5:22) “שלושים לכח בן – when one turns 30, he attains full strength,” may we use this special day for additional strength in our Hiskashrus and dedication to our Avoda in bringing the Geula.

In the HaYom Yom of Hey Teves, the Rebbe writes: “When Moshiach comes, we will appreciate the distinctive quality of hodaa [i.e., acknowledgment of G‑d and belief in Him] and t’mimus —artless sincerity, the pure faith with which all [Jews] believe in G‑d, His Torah, and His mitzvos. When it comes to study, even the highest levels of understanding have their limits. Hodaa, by contrast, is a feeling that has no boundaries. The King Moshiach will endow us with an understanding of the superior worth, as expressed in action, of sincere, heartfelt, earnest Divine service.”

In the HaYom Yom of 3 Tishrei, the Rebbe also speaks about the avoda of T’mimus: “‘Tamim… – Be sincere with G‑d.’ This represents the avoda of t’shuva that comes through sincerity. Sincerity, or ‘wholeness,’ takes any number of forms and has many levels. In reference to t’shuva the highest form is wholeness of heart – called ‘earnestness’; as the Torah says of Avraham, ‘you found his heart faithful before You.’”

We may suggest that this attitude of T’mimus, which is expressed in this HaYom Yom, was the foundation of the victory of the S’farim. There was a letter that the Frierdike Rebbe wrote saying that the S’farim belong to the people. The Rebbe told the lawyers to use this letter in court. The lawyers were skeptical as they felt that it can be said about the letter that it was written just to bring the S’farim into America and the words of the Rebbe would not be taken literally. But the Rebbe said that every word of the Frierdike Rebbe is absolute truth. This letter proved to be the decisive piece of evidence, as illustrated by the following selection of an article printed in the New York Times following the victory:

To a large extent, the decision turns on what the judge calls “one extraordinary letter” from Rabbi Joseph Schneersohn, the sixth rebbe, to an American scholar, Dr. Alexander Marks, the former head of the library at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York. The letter was written in 1946 as part of the rabbi’s effort to get the library out of Poland. Leaving the books behind, the rabbi had fled the Nazis six years earlier and set up a new Lubavitch headquarters in Brooklyn.

‘’I turn to you with a great request,” Rabbi Schneersohn wrote, ‘’that as a renowned authority on the subject, you should please write a letter to the State Department to testify on the great value of these manuscripts and books for the Jewish people in general and particularly for the Jewish community of the United States to whom this great possession belongs.’’

Lawyers for Mr. Gurary characterized the letter as ‘’duplicitous and of a piece with the wartime letters in German intended to be read by the Nazi censor,’’ according to the judge.

But Judge Sifton rejected the argument. ‘’Not only does the letter, even in translation, ring with feeling and sincerity,’’ he wrote, ‘’it does not make much sense that a man of the character of the Sixth Rebbe would, in these circumstances, mean something different than what he says, that the library was to be delivered to plaintiff for the benefit of the community.’’

[In relation to this letter, it bears noting the following paragraphs which were written by Rabbi Yosef Greenberg, Shliach in Alaska:

At the Farbrengen of Erev Rosh Hashanah 5744 the Rebbe brought two newly published s’farim with him to the farbrengen. One was a volume of Or HaTorah of the Tzemach Tzedek’s Maamarim and the other was the fifth volume of the Frierdike Rebbe’s Igros Kodesh, which the Rebbe had requested to be published.

In the middle of the Farbrengen the Rebbe said that considering that everything is b’hashgacha pratis, and as two new s’farim had just arrived this evening from the binder, this needs to be utilized at this farbrengen. The Rebbe opened up the first seifer and explained something brought down at the beginning of that seifer. Then the Rebbe opened the Igros Kodesh and began reading from the first letter in the seifer.

The Rebbe explained that this letter was written by the Frierdike Rebbe while he was under the rule of the Nazis yimach shemom vezichrom, written in German out of fear of the censor. In it the Frierdike Rebbe writes that he is homeless and resides at the home of friends, the entire family in one room, and therefore has no room for the s’farim which were lent to him by Agudas Chassidei Chabad. He then writes that he would be happy if Agudas Chassidei Chabad would take back these s’farim.

The Rebbe read the letter and stressed that it was written in a manner that also non-Jews should be able to understand, and that the intention of the Frierdike Rebbe in writing this letter was that together with saving him and his family, the s’farim and holy manuscripts would be saved as well. The Rebbe then proceeded to teach a lesson in Avodas Hashem from this letter.

At the time, this was a wondrous occurrence in the eyes of the Chassidim. Never before or after did the Rebbe read publicly from the Igros Kodesh of the Frierdike Rebbe which were published throughout those years, not from any of the previous volumes published (not even when the first volume was published), and not from any which were published subsequently.

Only years later, after the court case and the “Didan Natzach” did Chassidim recall this episode, realizing that the Rebbe had pre-empted the entire saga in a manner of “makdim refua lemakkah,” two years before the beginning of the court case and more than three years before the Didan Natzach, in the Farbrengen of Erev Rosh Hashanah 5744.

In the ruling of the Judge which was handed down on Hey Teves 5747, the first letter quoted by the judge as the basis for his ruling was that very letter, printed at the beginning of the fifth volume of the Frierdike Rebbe’s Igros, which was read by the Rebbe at that Farbrengen!]

Dear Chassidim sh’yichyu!

We must internalize this special lesson that the Rebbe has shown us on how serious and literally we need to take every word of our Rebbe. The Rebbe has literally fulfilled what is says in the HaYom yom: “ The King Moshiach will endow us with an understanding of the superior worth, as expressed in action, of sincere, heartfelt, earnest Divine service.”

On hey Teves – especially on the 30th anniversary – we must strengthen our connection to the s’farim and words of our holy Rebbeim in general and our Rebbe in particular. We all know and have learned many times the sichos of the Rebbe (which started mainly after the victory of Hey Teves) that speak about the imminence of Moshiach and that we are “the last generation of Galus and the first generation of Moshiach.” But sometimes the Yetzer Ha’ra will tell us that these words are not to be taken literally, rather, they were said as a prayer or to just instill hope.

The lesson of Hey Teves is very obvious: We must internalize that all these Sichos are to be taken with complete Emuna, that “Hodaa, by contrast, is a feeling that has no boundaries,” seriously and literally. Especially after we merited to hear the Rebbe say, and as was edited and printed (Shoftim 5751), that the Rebbe is speaking “Not just as a Sage and Judge, but as a Prophet!”

Another very important part of the victory and lesson from Hey Teves was the Rebbe’s approach that we are dealing with – the Frierdike Rebbe as – a living Rebbe. He explained that while the other side may feel entitled to the s’farim as part of their inheritance, we should not be talking about an inheritance, because in fact “הוא בחיים ממש – He is fully living!”

This is so important in our time, that we live with and educate our children that our Rebbe is not a historical figure or someone that has left us an amazing spiritual legacy. We must explain to ourselves and others, that “הוא בחיים ממש – He is fully living!”

We can connect with him – “…The true bond is created by studying Torah. When you study my maamarim, read the sichos and associate with those dear to me – the chassidic community and the T’mimim – in their studies and farbrengens, and you fulfill my requests…” (HaYom Yom 24 Sivan) – and continue to receive amazing Brachos and guidance, through answers to letters written to the Rebbe via the Igros Kodesh.

May we merit to have the complete Didan Natzach – and the return of all the Rebbe’s s’farim – with the Hisgalus of the Rebbe MH”M now!

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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