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Thursday
Jun292017

THE SIGNIFICANCE OF NINETY

Dear Reader sh’yichyeh,

This Shabbos (Chukas) is the Shabbos before the Yemei HaGeula of 12-13 Tammuz. While these dates are celebrated every year, this year they are of special significance as it is the 90th (5687 – 5777) anniversary of the liberation of the Frierdike Rebbe.

In the famous letter (Igros Volume 2 page 80) that the Rebbe Rayatz addressed to his Chassidim in anticipation of the first anniversary of his release, he emphasized the collective nature of the celebration: “It was not myself alone that the Holy One, blessed be He, redeemed on Yud-Beis Tammuz, but also those who love the Torah and observe its commandments, and so too ‘all those who merely bear the name Jew’ — for the heart of every man of Israel (irrespective of his particular level in the observance of the mitzvos) is perfectly bound with Gd and His Torah.”

In Jewish law, the verb éëåðä (yechuneh), translated here as “bear the name,” has specific legal implications. It is related to the noun kinui, which means an alternative name, such as a nickname, that is used by only a small number of people. In the letter of the Rebbe Rayatz, it alludes to individuals who are so estranged from their Jewish identities that they do not even identify themselves as Jews, but are merely called so by others. Thus, the Rebbe Rayatz implied that his redemption had an impact not only on Lubavitcher Chassidim, not only on the wider circle of Torah scholars, and not only on the general religiously observant populace. The ripples of Yud-Beis Tammuz spread out to influence the entire Jewish people. Furthermore, just as the significance of the event is boundless in scope, so too it is boundless in time, generating newer and greater spiritual energy every year.

The Rebbe (HaYom Yom 12 Tamuz) encourages that “On the two days of redemption, the twelfth and the thirteenth of Tammuz, may they arrive favorably, the members of the Chassidic brotherhood should participate in a farbrengen, for their material and spiritual benefit, in the manner instituted by our first forefather, the Alter Rebbe. At this farbrengen they should encourage each other, fraternally, to fix times for [Torah] study sessions. And I send you my blessing that Gd ‘turn His countenance to you’ in both material and spiritual matters.”

And (13 Tammuz): “I am enclosing a maamer…. In this way I am participating with our friends, the men of the chassidic brotherhood, may you all prosper, wherever you live, and I am together with you at the farbrengens at which you strive to strengthen the spiritual lifestyle of Chassidus by setting aside and observing fixed times for the study of the teachings of Chassidus, with the aim of being aroused to actualize the ideals discussed there….

“May our Gd and the Gd of our fathers bless the entire Chassidic brotherhood — themselves, their wives, their children and their grandchildren — together with all our brothers of the House of Israel. May Gd be with you all, and bestow upon you all manner of blessings both spiritual and material.”

There are other Yemei-Geula in the Chassidic calendar, such as 19-20 Kislev and 10 Kislev. Yet, the only dates which the Rebbe gives the heading of Chag HaGeula are the days of 12-13 Tammuz.

While we may not know the true reason, we can surmise as follows: The other Yemei Geula were of previous Rebbeim. Since 12-13 Tammuz are the days of Geula of the Frierdike Rebbe, who was the Rebbe of our Rebbe, there is an extra connection and feeling of Geula for us on these special days.

This is all relevant as we approach 12-13 Tammuz every year. Yet what is unique about the number 90? Baruch Hashem, we have the Farbrengen on Shabbos Parshas Tzav 5751. That Shabbos, right before the 89th birthday of the Rebbe, when the Rebbe would begin saying chapter 90 in his daily T’hillim, the Rebbe explained (Toras Menachem 5751 Volume 2 page 437) a number of deeply significant points about the number 90:

1) Receiving the full strength of the day: In Halacha the number 3 represents chazaka, strength. Each number is at its full strength when it is multiplied by 10. This being the case, a full chazaka is expressed in the number 30. When you have the number 90, 3 times the full chazaka, “it becomes set and established and thus will remain forever.”

We can apply that message to our year as we celebrate the 90th anniversary of the liberation of the Frierdike Rebbe and every Jew. This year we are establishing and receiving the strength for Geula in a way that it becomes established and will remain forever.

2) The way the letter Tzaddik, which has the numerical value of 90, is written by Chazal is “Tzadi.” The word “Tzadi” in Hebrew, translated literally, means “My side.” The Rebbe learns a very important lesson from this in our service of Hashem:

The first thing we need to realize is that Hashem created the world with two sides, the side of K’dusha and the side of Klipa. The intention was that we work on ourselves and choose a side. A Jew must realize that his side, “Tzadi,” is the side of Torah and Mitzvos. The Jew, after realizing and choosing the side of Hashem, must then make every effort that the “other side” too should be transformed and connected with Hashem. Because Hashem is the true existence of both sides, and He merely concealed himself so that the world should be able to exist, it is our obligation to bring the world to that recognition. This includes the recognition by all nations of the world of the existence of Hashem. How do they express this recognition? They demonstrate this by keeping the Sheva Mitzvos B’nei Noach as commandments of Hashem (Rambam Hilchos Melachim 8:10).

How do we have the ability to influence the world to choose Hashem? Because we ourselves chose Hashem! Hashem created the world in a way that doing Torah and Mitzvos is not forced on a Jew. When we have the choice on whether to serve Hashem, and we choose to do so, this results in our having the special ability to affect that others should also choose Hashem.

This leads us to the next step. In order to make the entire world choose Hashem, we would seemingly also need to elevate the parts of the world which are, externally, opposed to Hashem, and therefore beyond the reach of a Jew. So how do we elevate those parts as well?

The answer, says the Rebbe, is through adding a Kuf to the word Tzadi and thereby making the word “Tzaddik.” The Tzaddik, and especially the Moshe Rabbeinu of each generation, has the ko’ach to reach and elevate even such low places that normally cannot, and should not, be reached by regular Avodas Hashem.

To explain: The kuf is very similar to the letter hey. The only difference is that the leg extends below the baseline. This usually represents klipa as it is already in forbidden territory. However, it also represents that Tzaddik who can reach down and elevate even the low elements of the world and bring them to k’dusha. This is the job of the Moshe Rabbeinu in each generation.

This is also why the Geula will come through Moshiach, a human Tzaddik that has the neshama of Moshe Rabbeinu. Moshiach will reach all Jews. This is as the Pasuk states (Yeshaya 27:13): “And it shall come to pass on that day, that a great shofar shall be sounded, and those lost in the land of Assyria and those exiled in the land of Egypt shall come and they shall prostrate themselves before the Lord on the holy mount in Jerusalem.”

From all of the above, we see the special power of celebrating the 90th anniversary of the Chag HaGeula. We are celebrating and receiving ko’ach for Geula, and the number 90 is connected to Geula in a way of Chazaka, as explained above. Let us take advantage of this special time to involve ourselves in activities of Geula and influence our families, neighbors and communities to get involved as well.

The Rebbe writes (HaYom Yom 18 Sivan): “In this present era of Ikvisa D’Meshicha, [the generation that can already hear the approaching footsteps of Moshiach] every Jew is obligated to seek the welfare of his fellow, be he an elder or a youth, to arouse him to t’shuva, so that he will not leave the fold of the Jewish people, who, with Gd’s help, will merit the complete redemption.”

In the letter that includes this message, the Rebbe Rayatz speaks of the Jews who died during the plague of darkness in Egypt. He explains that they died because they did not believe in the possibility of imminent redemption. Gd forbid that a similar thing should happen to any of our brethren today! For today every Jew believes in the redemption, as the Rebbe Rayatz continues; he only needs to have that belief awakened.

In that vein, the Rebbe Rayatz tells the story of a Chassid who returned home after visiting the Rebbe Rayatz and related to a non-observant Jewish neighbor how earnestly the Rebbe Rayatz had spoken about the imminent arrival of Moshiach. The conviction in his words motivated the neighbor to immediately ask the Chassid to put up mezuzos on all his doors. “The last thing I would want,” he told the chassid, “is for Moshiach to come when I don’t have mezuzos on my doors!”

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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