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Jul142014

THAT I SAID IT AND MY WILL WAS DONE

Shliach, Beit Shaan

Rashi says that “rayach nichoach” means that Hashem has nachas “that I said and My will was done.” The Rebbe explains that Rashi is responding to the general question: why did Hashem command us to take animals and burn them on the altar? What purpose does this serve? It is the opposite of logic and good sense to burn our possessions! That is why Rashi explains that actually, there is no point to destroying animals; we do it in order to give nachas to Hashem who said to do something and whose will was carried out.

A few years ago, I went into a certain shul toward the end of the day. Some learned men were sitting there who had academic degrees in psychology and education, and the topic of their discussion was korbanos. They arrived at the conclusion that in the future there will no longer be korbanos. Their “educated” explanation for this is that it was only in ancient times, when the primitive nations of the world sacrificed korbanos to their idols, that it was necessary for the Jewish people to also bring korbanos. But the world has become more enlightened and so, when Moshiach comes, korbanos will not be necessary.

These academicians were very surprised when I read to them from the Rambam at the beginning of the Laws of Moshiach (Hilchos Melachim), chapter 11, “King Moshiach will arise … and sacrifices will be brought … as in all the commandments said in the Torah.”

We Chassidim also know that the Zohar says “the secret of korbanos extends upward to the secret of the Ein Sof,” i.e. there is no end to the secrets hidden within the avoda of korbanos, but as it says in the sicha, the first secret is to obey Hashem. We eagerly look forward to the coming of Moshiach and to bringing korbanos in the Beis HaMikdash and giving Hashem nachas “because I said and My will was carried out.”

In the meantime, in these final moments of galus, there are some shluchim (or perhaps all of them) who in the course of their shlichus work are required to bring korbanos, to give up things that are precious and important to them. But they do this happily and for the goal of giving nachas to the Rebbe who said, and whose will was done. 

Sometimes the “one bringing the korban” is the shliach who doesn’t see any value in a certain thing he does, but he does it anyway, happily, because he is faithful to the instructions of the Rebbe. And sometimes the one doing the “sacrificing” is a good person who might not be that learned but who joins the shliach and commits to more and more in mitzva observance or in helping the shliach. This is the topic of this column.

SHLICHUS IN THE FACE OF MOLOTOV COCKTAILS

One of the places where a great measure of courage and determination is needed is Kiryat Arba. In a conversation that I had with two of the Rebbe’s shluchim there, I learned of their dedication and mesirus nefesh every day and with everything they do.

R’ Yossi Nachshon divides his time between learning and maintaining the kollel Menucha Rochel at the site of the Jewish cemetery in Chevron, and his outreach activities to Jewish yishuvim in the area. He told me that nearly every day they endure hateful acts by their Arab neighbors, but they are no longer fazed and they don’t stop for even a moment because of these activities. 

“Just yesterday,” said Yossi, “they threw a Molotov cocktail at my car when I was on my way to the kollel. I did not even stop to check whether the bottle ignited. It is more dangerous to stop than to drive on. I pressed on the gas pedal and thank G-d I arrived safely.

“Two weeks ago, I went to one of the nearby yishuvim when I suddenly saw some burning tires in the center of the highway. When I took a quick glance at a nearby hill I saw some Arab kids waiting to see whether my car would brake and stop and they were waiting to attack the people in the vehicle. I am quite familiar with their modus operandi which is why I chose not to stop near them. To my great fortune, our tank is a high truck with big wheels. I was able to drive over the burning tire and keep going.

“I have no time for their nonsense. We are in the midst of a wide-ranging campaign of checking mezuzos in all the yishuvim and settlements around Chevron. We enlisted as many volunteers as we could get for house calls and boruch Hashem there has been a very positive response. Just this week we checked over one thousand mezuzos.”

T’FILLIN AND A HOT MEAL FOR SOLDIERS

R’ Nachshon’s colleague is his brother-in-law, the shliach R’ Victor Ettia. R’ Ettia combines outreach to thousands of residents of Kiryat Arba with regular visitations to soldiers at IDF positions in the area. R’ Ettia and his team of volunteers serve soldiers hot meals and nosh and give them lots of love. One of R’ Ettia’s favorite locations is Beit Shalom which used to be called Beit Meriva (House of Quarrels) in the media, because of the ongoing fight over the Jewish ownership of the building. Now there is a military guard detail posted there and R’ Ettia and his volunteers visit it regularly.

A few weeks ago, a woman from the center of the country called and asked to speak to R’ Ettia. She wanted to thank him for the visit, one of many, to one of the guard posts where her son is. She said that her son had received a Chassidic education but he had abandoned Torah and mitzvos and was serving in the army in Chevron.

The son called home and excitedly told about the Chabadnikim who came in the middle of the night to their post and brought coffee and cake and lots of warmth and love. The son said the Chassidim had awakened in him his Chassidic core and he had already started putting on t’fillin again. Now the mother wanted to ask R’ Ettia whether he would continue to “adopt” her son because it was having such a good influence on him.

He learned that in a few days this soldier would be having a birthday. R’ Ettia found out just what foods the soldier liked and how many soldiers were with him. The volunteers prepared a big party for him and his friends and showed up unexpectedly for a surprise celebration. They all went up to the roof and sang and danced with the Chassidim. The mother continued to report about her son’s improved spiritual standing thanks to each of these encouraging visits.

HIS WILL IS DONE ON A PLANE TOO

R’ Ettia also uses his knowledge of magic tricks to good effect. He performs for children and soldiers and is upfront about this not being magic but sleight of hand, as the halacha enjoins him to do.

He once flew to visit his son who was on shlichus in the yeshiva in Venice. On the plane, he noticed that his neighbor was giving him strange looks but was refraining from engaging in conversation. In situations such as these, R’ Ettia uses his special talents. He performed a couple of tricks like bending the spoon on the tray in front of him “with his mind,” and the neighbor couldn’t help but express his amazement and delight to be sitting next to a real magician.

A conversation ensued and the man said, “I have a question. Is there a problem with a Jew marrying a non-Jew?” It turned out that this man was Jewish and he was dating a non-Jew and they were considering marriage. R’ Ettia used all the stories he knew in order to explain to him how this was not to his or her benefit. The man cooperated, put on t’fillin, and right before the end of the flight he promised R’ Ettia that he would leave his girlfriend. There really wasn’t a dearth of Jewish girls and he would look for someone more suitable. 

THE HIGH TECH HOT SHOT WHO GOT THE MESSAGE

R’ Yehuda Rubin, shliach in the Shomron, told me about one of the participants in his ongoing shiur in Yishuv Yakir. The man is wealthy with a senior position in the field of high tech. He regularly attends the shiur and listens with full concentration from beginning to end. Sometimes, at the end of the shiur, he takes home the photocopies that they learned and then R’ Rubin knows that he gave a good shiur which the man wants to share with others.

Said R’ Rubin, “I often wondered about this man, about how he was receiving the Chassidic messages of the shiur. Sometimes I speak very excitedly about the Rebbe’s leadership. I stress that we need to obey the Rebbe’s horaos and that we must consult with him about everything. I wondered what this educated, intellectual person thought about this, about setting aside his intellect and submitting to the instructions of a Rebbe whom he had never met in his life.

“Then something happened and I saw that words that come from the heart enter the heart. One day, I told the people at the shiur that I was going to the Rebbe soon and anyone could send a letter with me to the Rebbe asking for a bracha or advice. Two days later, this fellow came to my house and gave me a letter for the Rebbe.

“When I returned from the trip two weeks later, he came over to me and thanked me for my help in taking his letter. As a token of his thanks and gratitude, he took out his checkbook and wrote a check for a few thousand shekels for the Chabad house. He told me what he had written to the Rebbe and what the results were.

“‘A few weeks ago,’ he said, ‘I was fired. Aside from the financial problem, I felt very depressed and humiliated. This all affected my health. All my efforts to find another job in my field failed. 

“‘Then, amazingly, right after you took my letter to the Rebbe, I got three excellent offers. I checked them out and liked one more than the others even though I could not rule out the other two. In the end, I got the job I most wanted. It was an open miracle and I have no doubt that it was solely thanks to the Rebbe’s bracha. Thank you for being here and guiding us to be connected to the Rebbe.’

“This man keeps up his strong connection with the Chabad house. He committed to learning Chitas and tries to align himself with the ways of the Rebbe and Chassidus.”

 

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