By Rabbi Sholem Dickstein
Last year, on the morning of the Rebbe, Melech HaMoshiach’s birthday, when I began saying the morning blessings, thoughts came to me in the spirit of the day. I thought it would be nice to share them with you, my fellow Chassidim.
How much we need to give thanks and praise that we merited the light of the Rebbe, the memutza ha’mechaber (connecting intermediary), who helps us and guides us in our lives in all the aspects stated in the morning blessings.
Along the lines of “tzaddikim are likened to their Creator,” as I said the blessings, I thought of guidance for life, insights and approaches, which the Rebbe instilled in us, that are expressed in these very blessings.
“HaNosein la’sechvi vina” – Who gives understanding to the rooster: In such confusing times in which many call darkness light, and call day night, the Rebbe gives us understanding to distinguish between them.
Pokei’ach ivrim – Who opens [the eyes of] the blind: The Chassidic outlook, which the Rebbe provides every mekushar, on every topic.
Matir assurim – Who unties those who are bound: The going out of straits, leaving real and imaginary limitations with the Rebbe’s ko’ach.
Zokeif k’fufim – Who straightens those who are bent over: Gaon Yaakov, Gaon Lubavitch! It’s enough if we recall the story of an elder Chassid who saw the Rebbe (before he became Rebbe) eating mezonos in the sukka before davening and made a comment about it. The Rebbe said out loud, “There is nothing to be ashamed about Chassidic practices.”
Malbish arumim – Who clothes the naked: The Rebbe’s concern for the spirituality (and material circumstances) of every Jew – as is - so that he does not remain without a garment, both literally and spiritually.
HaNosein la’ya’eif ko’ach – Who gives strength to the weary: “Rebbi lo shana, Chiya minayin” (homiletic allusion to the Rebbe as the source of “life” throughout the year), the place from which light goes forth to the world, where every weary person can find the strength to perfect the world through the Almighty’s sovereignty.
Roka ha’aretz al ha’moyim – Who spreads the earth out over the water: Water is where man cannot live, and the blessing is that specifically over this, there is earth, a place where things can grow. The Rebbe took technology with all its dangers and showed us how to use it in a way that not only isn’t harmful, but also increases the spreading of the wellsprings.
Ha’meichin mitzadei gover – Who prepares man’s steps: Shluchei Adoneinu! The Rebbe gave us a completely new understanding of the verse, “from Hashem are the steps of man prepared.” As the HaYom Yom says, not only does Hashem direct our steps but there is a particular mission to accomplish wherever we go.
Sh’asa li kol tzorki – Who made me all my needs: The Rebbe is the one to go to with any problem, for any need, material and spiritual.
Ozer Yisroel b’gevura – Who girds Israel with strength: The Rebbe changed post-Holocaust Judaism from a defensive war to an offensive war.
Oteir Yisroel b’sifara – Who crowns Israel with glory: The respect which the nations of the world have for the Rebbe, like the letters and invitations from the American presidents, establishing Education Day in his honor, etc.
Shelo asani goy – For not making me a gentile: This blessing cannot be said with the fullest appreciation without the Rebbe’s explanations about a goy who has no free will, without internalizing the message that the entire world (including a billion Chinese) was created for the Jew.
Shelo asani oved – For not making me a slave – to the assumptions of the world. The deepest internalization that “I am a servant of G-d,” and again, the HaYom Yom which says that “Shma Yisroel” – a Jew hears, understands that, “Hashem Elokeinu,” that our strength and life force is above nature.
Shelo asani isha – For not making me a woman: One, the Rebbe explains the significance of this blessing and the woman’s position in Judaism in the face of the confusion of modern man, and two, on a deeper level, the Rebbe turned every Jew into a shliach, a mashpia, rather than a mekabel.
Ha’maavir sheina mei’einoy – Who removes sleep from my eyes – one, the understanding and internalization of the fact that “G-dliness is the default reality and existence is the novelty,” and two, waking up from the dream of exile, the yearning for Geula.
Above all this, “Were our mouth as full of song as the sea, and our tongue as full of joyous song as its multitude of waves, and our lips as full of praise as the breadth of the heavens … and our feet as swift as hinds, we still could not thank sufficiently for this great gift, this great light that rose 115 years ago and whose light continues to shine and increase until the complete revelation of Moshiach - Menachem is his name, and the kingdom befits him, speedily in our days, teikef u’miyad mamash!