January 4, 2018
Rabbi Gershon Avtzon in #1100, Ha’yom Yom & Moshiach

Dear Reader sh’yichyeh

We are all still under the influence of the “Didan Natzach” of Hey Teives and the release of Rabbi Shalom Mordechai Rubashkin from his cruel prison sentence. One participant in the spontaneous farbrengen in Cincinnati, when the entire community joined together to give thanks to Hashem, said: “We will always remember where we were when we got this special news.”

Sitting at that special farbrengen, watching the live-feed from 770 and the celebrations all over the world, my mind kept on thinking of the HaYom Yom of 24 Teives: “My revered grandfather, the Rebbe [Maharash], once asked [his father,] the Tzemach Tzedek: ‘What did our zeide want to achieve with the ways of Chassidus and [through the study of] Chassidus?’

“The Tzemach Tzedek answered: ‘[The goal of] the ways of Chassidus is that all Chassidim should be like one family, [united] in love according to the Torah. Chassidus is vitality, bringing energy and light into everything, even into those things that are undesirable. We should recognize our own evil as it is, so that we can correct it.’”

Many people outside our community asked: “Why are you all celebrating? Do you even know the man?”

The answer to that question is simple: We are all one family, and this touched the essence of each Chassid where all external divisions don’t exist. His imprisonment and harsh sentence, which all acknowledge was because he is a Frum and Chassidishe Yid, became an impetus for a rallying cry and a show of unity in Klal Yisroel and Adas HaChassidim. His sudden release brought out a deep simcha in every Yid.

There is a deeper point that needs to be shared as well. After much anticipation for an acquittal by the trial, or at least a pardon by President Obama at the end of his term, and the subsequent disappointments, many people were resigned to the reality that Rabbi Rubashkin would be in prison for the full 27 years of his sentence. This is the same feeling that many have about certain personal issues that they feel are here to stay. Many Yidden feel the same way about being in Galus. In 5751 we were so energetic and full of anticipation for the imminent revelation of Moshiach, but Hashem had other plans.

Too many of us have become resigned to our new supposed reality that we will be in Galus for the “full 27 year sentence.” Even if we believe that the Hisgalus of Moshiach is happening, the Yetzer Hara tells us that it will be a long and drawn out process. The sudden release of Rabbi Shalom Mordechai Rubashkin, and the way it was executed with one signature and he was out, allowed many of us to believe again in the Geula, from our own individual Galuyos and from the Galus of Klal Yisroel. The transition from slavery to freedom can happen in a matter of minutes.

After the celebration, it is important to reflect on what brought about this special liberation. This will allow us to learn lessons on how we can finally bring about the Geula Klalis that we have all been waiting for. While of course everything is clearly a miracle from Hashem, I think we can focus on three important points:

Akshanim: We are all familiar with the definition of insanity: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Many people gave up, everyone at different points in the journey of this story, and went about living their lives.

Only a handful of people refused to allow the Rubashkin case to be removed from the agenda and public awareness. They utilized every possibility; and they had many disappointments along the journey of trying to make the release a reality. They refused to accept the terrible injustice. Their stubbornness, which borders on insanity, paid off in the release that we are all celebrating.

Rabbi Rubashkin lived mentally as a free person. He never accepted the “prison reality” as his reality or mentality. I have heard many first-hand accounts from people who visited R’ Shalom Mordechai in prison. They walked out saying that they visited a free man who happens to be living in prison. He never loses Emuna, Bitachon, Simcha or focus. He was never in prison. I heard from someone that he never watched, even while walking in the hallways, any news on the screens. He did not want to fall into the mental trap of being a prisoner. A person that is mentally free will eventually be freed.

The achdus that was displayed by Klal Yisroel towards Rabbi Rubashkin was astounding. Nobody felt that he belonged to a certain group; rather he was looked at as a fellow family member. Whether support from Satmar, letters from a cheider of Stolin, assistance from across Chabad, and even major support from Yated, everyone felt and realized that this was not a personal issue and case; rather it affects all Klal Yisroel, and Klal Yisroel responded in kind.

These are three powerful lessons that we all can learn:

The Rebbe said in the famous Sicha of 28 Nissan 5751, ”And may it be His will that ultimately ten Jews will be found who are obstinate enough to obligate themselves to move G-d; and certainly G-d will be moved, as it is written, ‘Because it is a stiff-necked people (to their benefit, and therefore) You will pardon our iniquity and our sin and take us for Your inheritance’ – to actually bring the true and complete Redemption immediately, instantly, in reality.”

We, Chassidei Chabad, need to be Akshanim for Moshiach. We can never allow Moshiach to be removed from our personal, communal and global agenda. We will continue to try to “do everything in your ability – things that are in the nature of lights of Tohu, but in vessels of Tikkun – to actually bring our righteous Moshiach immediately, instantly, in reality.” Many might look at us with pity, and say that “it is time for Chabad to move on and live with reality.” We must remind ourselves of our own mindset before the sudden release of R’ Sholom Mordechai and the way we looked at his stubborn advocates. Yagati Umatzasi Taamin!”

We need to be living Moshiach in our own minds. We need to be free people even in these last moments of exile. We must “live with Moshiach,” within the confines of Halacha, and encourage others as well in this spirit. This only happens through our minds. That’s why the Rebbe revealed to us that the direct path to bring Moshiach is by learning about Moshiach. It enables us to be free people in our minds, thus bringing Geula to all.

In the words of the Rebbe (Balak 5751) : “Despite the uproar associated with this matter in recent times within this year, the year of ‘I shall show him wonders,’ and after witnessing the wonders which testify that this is ‘the year that the King Moshiach will be revealed,’ we see how difficult it is to inculcate the awareness and the feeling that we are literally standing on the threshold of the Messianic Era, to the point that one begins to thrive on matters of Moshiach and Redemption…

“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 who is 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.’”

We will bring Moshiach through achdus. The following well-known story, related by the Rebbe on 13 Nissan 5726, illustrates this point clearly. “The Tzemach Tzedek travelled to Petersburg to participate in the infamous rabbinic gathering convened by the Russian government. In the presence of all the assembled he forcefully opposed the representative of the Crown in a manner that constituted outright rebellion. Upon his return home he was asked by a certain prominent individual: How could he have placed himself in mortal danger? He added that even if the Rebbe did not think of his own welfare, he should have nonetheless been concerned with the welfare of Chassidim and Klal Yisroel!

“The Tzemach Tzedek responded with two answers: He has his sons. And secondly, the brotherly love of Chassidim will see them through till Moshiach. ‘Now, with respect to us, inasmuch as there are no children… the second option is left for us, and Chassidim therefore will unite and break through all the barriers of the doubled and redoubled darkness of galus.’”

L’chaim Chassidim! We are one Mishpacha. We all know that; we know the words of HaYom Yom of 20 Teives, “The Mitteler Rebbe once answered [a chassid] at yechidus: “When a person discusses his Divine service with a friend and they study together, there are two G‑dly souls pitted against one natural soul.” Working together, there is nothing that can stop us from achieving Geula 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


Article originally appeared on Beis Moshiach Magazine (http://beismoshiachmagazine.org/).
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