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Wednesday
Apr172013

PESACH SHEINI: SEIZE THE DAY!

The message the Rebbe taught in connection with Pesach Sheini is that nothing is a lost cause; you can always fix it. In life, we are faced with hardships and situations which seem hopeless, but we are told this is never the case. Even if we messed up, we can make amends. * A compilation of stories on this subject as told by shluchim.

In 5749, the Rebbe spoke about the special quality of 14 Iyar, Pesach Sheini, which is an opportunity to make up for all that is lacking in our avoda, and that nothing is a lost cause. The Rebbe pleaded with us to publicize this message:

“A commotion should be made among Jews all over, to utilize the power of this special day … to rectify and make up for the past … from the day of one’s birth … Special farbrengens should be held about rectifying and completing all aspects of avoda.”

APHORISMS IN 
YIDDISH IN BEIT SHAAN

The people who daven in the Chabad house in Beit Shaan, as well as those who attend shiurim, know that as soon as Iyar begins, they will be exposed to a number of lessons in the Yiddish language. This is not exactly what Moroccans, Yemenites, etc. are used to hearing. For 2 Iyar, we repeat the teaching of the Rebbe Maharash, “l’chat’chilla aribber.” Upon ascertaining that everyone knows how to say it, as well as explain it, we move on to the Chassidic message of Pesach Sheini, “nita kein farfallen.” You can always rectify matters. There you have it, remedial lessons in the Yiddish language.

One Friday night, three years ago, at the beginning of the month of Iyar, as I left the Chabad house after Maariv, I met Motti Shimoni (who had davened in another shul). Motti had already met Moshe Parshan (who davened at the Chabad house) and immediately after saying, “Shabbat Shalom,” he said, “I heard that the weekly talk at the Chabad house was about ‘l’chat’chilla aribber.’ Moshe already told me.”

That’s how Jews “all over,” as the Rebbe put it, learn original Chassidic phrases like “halten zich bai di klamke,” “farbrengen,” “iskafia,” and “is’hafcha.”

IN ARAMAIC TOO: 
“ANA NASIV MALKA”

I was invited to give a shiur at a shul in Beit Shaan. I hadn’t been there in a long time, and when I got there I noticed that they had put a lot of money into renovations. They had designed a magnificent ceiling, the upholstered furniture was new, and the Aron Kodesh had also been designed at great expense. After expressing my amazement about the shul’s new look, the gabbai exclaimed, “You haven’t seen the main thing!”

I wondered what he could be referring to. Was it the windows? The chandeliers? But the gabbai motioned that I should look above the Aron. That’s when I noticed a work of art made of silver and copper combined with marble, a depiction of square Luchos, with a tablet over them with three words written in Aramaic in huge silver letters: Ana Nasiv Malka (I choose to take the king).

I was truly moved as well as curious as to why they had chosen to display this Midrashic phrase that expresses a key Chassidic concept in the most prominent place in the shul. Everybody eagerly awaited the explanation of the gabbai.

The gabbai explained to me and everyone else that this was a concept he had learned at the lectures in the Chabad house, and he had decided that this was the most appropriate thing to write above the Aron Kodesh. I was happy at the opportunity to explain the idea of “ana nasiv malka” based on the Rebbe’s maamer of 11 Nissan.

In a private conversation afterward, the gabbai told me that at every t’filla or seuda at the shul, the phrase “ana nasiv malka” is mentioned. It goes to teach us that even unique or unusual concepts, if explained properly, can be communicated to anyone.

REVOLUTIONARY APPROACH TO SHIDDUCHIM

According to what the Rebbe says in this sicha, there are no limits to the concept of nothing goes lost. It includes the possibility of fixing the lowliest things on the one hand, and also elevating and improving the greatest situation on the other hand. The following stories contain examples of each.

R’ Zalman Notik is a mashpia in Yeshivas Toras Emes in Yerushalayim, and he gives shiurim and farbrengens at Chabad houses all over the country. We hosted him for a farbrengen that lasted long into the night. R’ Notik is known as a big believer in the approach of l’chat’chilla aribber and nita kein farfallen, i.e. there is always a solution. If, for example, there is a serious problem, what you need to do is make a resolution that is above the norm and then Hashem will send salvation that is above the norm. R’ Notik relates:

“It was the Shabbos before 19 Kislev and I was a guest at the Chabad house of Raanana. We farbrenged nearly all Shabbos. At a certain point, one of the mekuravim came over to me. He was already over thirty and said he was stuck in shidduchim. All he wanted was to establish a Chassidic home. I used my approach – a resolution above the norm for a yeshua above the norm. Although the man wasn’t a rav or mashpia, I suggested that he give a shiur every day to ten people on inyanei Moshiach and Geula. Plus, that he should give tz’daka twice a day, before Shacharis and before Mincha. I said he would be engaged within three months.

“The next day, and with seemingly no connection, I gave my regular shiur in Midreshet Ohr Chaya for women in Yerushalayim. An older single woman came over to me and complained about not finding a shidduch. I told her to commit to teaching three girls inyanei Moshiach and Geula every day, plus giving tz’daka twice a day, and that everything would work out.

“Just three days later, the man from Raanana met the woman from Yerushalayim and they liked one another. At their third meeting, the man told her what had happened a few days earlier with R’ Notik. He discovered that she had the same story! They married and have since had a baby boy.”

A similar story occurred to R’ Notik at the Chabad house in Kiryat Yovel in Yerushalayim. It was at a farbrengen on Motzaei Asara B’Teives seven years ago, when one of the mekuravim approached R’ Notik at the end of the farbrengen and said he was just beginning to join the Chabad community and he was older and still single. “I want to get married, but only to an ultra-Orthodox girl.”

R’ Notik knew that a supernatural bracha was needed here and so he told the man, “Every Friday, go to the business center of Kiryat Yovel and put t’fillin on with people for two hours and it will all work out.”

Three weeks later, the man met a Breslover girl. She had begun taking an interest in Chabad. They too married.

THE STORY OF TWO BROTHERS FROM EILAT

In one way or another, this approach works even in places far from the sanctity of Yerushalayim. I heard the next story from Levi Lifsh, when he was doing his year of shlichus in the Chabad yeshiva in Eilat.

“Last Pesach there was a huge festival taking place in Eilat for thousands of young people. The atmosphere wasn’t exactly Chassidic, to say the least, but there is a group of Chassidishe men with mesirus nefesh who attend the festival with their wives and children. They put up a tent which becomes the Chabad house. They have minyanim, shiurim, kosher meals for Pesach, and they see results, sometimes surprising ones.

“Yesterday, a guy around 20 years of age walked into the yeshiva and asked to meet with Yuval Avitan, a talmid. He said, ‘I am his brother. After I see what Chabad did at the festival, I also want to learn here.’

“Yuval Avitan, was thirteen when his parents told him they were planning a family excursion on Chanuka to New York. Among other things, the trip included a visit to 770 for an hour and a half. To Yuval, this was the highlight of the trip. He saw how this is the headquarters of the Nasi Ha’dor and that hundreds of bachurim sit and learn Torah there and he decided that he also wanted to learn Torah.

“When they returned home, Yuval discovered that there is a yeshiva in Eilat too. He asked his father to buy him tzitzis and a kippa and he went to learn in the yeshiva. A year and a half had passed and he had turned into a regular yeshiva bachur. His father occasionally showed up to remind his son not to go overboard; that it isn’t healthy to constantly sit without moving around. Then he would go with his father to play soccer for half an hour and return to yeshiva.

“Yuval’s older brother continued life as usual and watched his baal t’shuva brother from the sidelines. Until yesterday. Yesterday, he walked into yeshiva and said that he also wanted to learn. He sat and learned for a number of hours. He came back the next day for the farbrengen, davening and shiurim.”

Levi Lifsh made special mention of the rosh yeshiva, R’ Erez Bendetovitz, who is able to unite all the talmidim whose ranks include veteran bachurim as well as those who just put a yarmulke on their heads. R’ Bendetovitz devotes all his time and energy to personal conversations and in providing individualized learning for each bachur.

After all, the Rebbe said all is possible and it is never too late.

IT IS POSSIBLE

R’ Yehoshua Edot, shliach to moshav Binyamina, told me excitedly about an incredible hashgacha pratis that happened during mivtza t’fillin in Cozumel in Mexico.

“Many years ago, my mother told us that we have two uncles who live abroad, one in Mexico and one in S Diego. We did not correspond with them and had no connection with them.

“My son Nissim went on shlichus for a while to Cozumel to help the shliach, R’ Caplan. One day, my son stood in the center of town and offered t’fillin to passersby. A group of tourists arrived. My son asked who was Jewish and wanted to put on t’fillin. Some men began rolling up their sleeves. Then they got to talking and the tourists said they were a mixed group from Mexico and from other countries.

“As they spoke, my son said that as far as he knew, he had an uncle who lived in Mexico. One of them asked for the name of the uncle and my son said, ‘Meir Adato.’

“The man nearly fainted. He took out his passport and said, ‘See? I am Meir Adato and this is my brother from S Diego!’

“Their hugs in the middle of the street were the beginning of a family reunion. They arranged to meet and learn more about the family and about Jewish life.”

Nothing goes lost.

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