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Tuesday
Mar312015

THE WORLD IS READY; THE QUESTION IS, ARE WE?

Today, more than ever, we can say with certainty: the world is ready. All the delays, all the obstacles, the perspective that maybe we should change or hide things so people will be receptive, are only in our heads. They dont really exist. When we acknowledge that the problem is only with us, we can find a solution. * An essay from a seasoned Israeli journalist published in the winter of 5772.

In a Chabad shul in Yerushalayim where most of the worshipers are not Chabad, they danced enthusiastically last Simchas Torah, together with many guests who looked for the most joyous place in the neighborhood to spend Yom Tov. The atmosphere was electric and the lchaims flowed.

The dancing lasted for hours. Toward the end of the hakafos, the crowd starting singing Yechi, just like that, spontaneously. It just seemed the right thing to do. Who started the singing – the Lubavitchers? No! The guests! They were the ones who felt, even before the locals, that they were in the Rebbe’s house with everything that signifies. The world is ready; the question is, are we?

Today, more than ever, we can say with certainty: the world is ready. All the delays, all the obstacles, the perspective that maybe we should change or hide things so people will be receptive, are only in our heads. They don’t really exist.

When the Rebbe said to teach inyanei Moshiach and Geula in a way that would make people intellectually receptive, he presented the Chassidim with a serious challenge—to take abstract concepts like Moshiach and Geula and market them in a way that people could relate to. It’s not easy, but when we realize that the problem lies inside of us, we can find the solution.

A few weeks ago I was in the midst of a politically stormy week. As a political commentator for Yisroel HaYom, I had to send material to the editor at a rapid pace and the pressure was enormous. At some point, I sat down for a short conversation with one of my colleagues, a journalist who is not at all religiously inclined. We spoke about the pressure at work, the demands of the bosses and the need to meet the deadlines every day.

At some point in the conversation I commented: In the end, Moshiach will come.

My colleague jumped up excitedly and said: Nu, so let him come already!

Later on, when I was sitting on my own, I analyzed the fervor with which he had expressed his desire for Moshiach to come. I arrived at a simple insight with a deep message: This point, of looking forward to Moshiach, is something that exists within every Jew, and therefore, we don’t need to be afraid to approach any Jew and tell him that Moshiach is about to come. It’s good news for him and everyone is happy to hear good news.

True, every person has his timing, his circumstances in which he is inspired to anticipate Moshiach. We need to have the Besuras Ha’Geula on the tip of our tongues so that when the right moment arises we can convey it directly into the heart of the person we are encountering.

CONNECTING PEOPLE TO THE REBBE

For some reason, the impression is that those Chassidim who openly publicize the Besuras HaGeula are the ones who put in effort to connect people directly to the Rebbe through writing to him. Some people are uncomfortable speaking about this, especially about the possibility of receiving answers from the Rebbe through the Igros Kodesh.

You can certainly understand this reticence when you are facing a rational person. You’re afraid that when you start talking about an answer that he will get when he puts in a question at a random place in a set of books the person will think you’re crazy. But when you know that just like that spark of Moshiach, every Jew has a G-dly spark and within his neshama there is a natural emuna, simple faith, it’s easier to approach any Jew and talk to him about supernatural things. He will believe much more readily than we think he will.

THE ANSWER THAT EXCITED THE POLITICAL ACTIVIST

The national bar exam took place three weeks ago. It’s an extremely difficult exam. Over half of those taking the exam fail. The young aspiring lawyers spend months preparing for the exam which follows four years of study and another year of internship. Whoever fails, and that’s the majority of the exam takers, will have to retake the exam in another few months. Needless to say, only those who pass receive their license to practice law.

One of those who took the exam is a friend whom I know through work. He is a leading political activist in one of the big Israeli parties. Since he is traditional, I told him that I wanted to pray for him and say T’hillim for his success on the exam. He was pleased, of course, and he reminded me that he puts on t’fillin every day and says T’hillim regularly. His wife, he mentioned, lights Shabbos candles every week.

It was only after we hung up and after I realized that his devotion to tradition was stronger than I thought, that I decided to ask the Rebbe for a bracha for him through the Igros Kodesh. At the time, I had no idea how important this exam was for him.

The answer was quite positive and was addressed to someone who planned on moving and spoke about success that comes from spiritual fortification.

I called him to tell him what the Rebbe wrote. I explained the idea of Igros Kodesh and how we use it to connect to the Rebbe. I spoke to him about the Rebbe’s eternal leadership and gave him some personal examples that demonstrated the efficacy of the Igros Kodesh.

I told him my story, that when I was in the Reserves seven years ago, I suggested to the men in my unit that they put on t’fillin and some of them began doing so every day while in the Reserves. Then my wife called in tears. She was pregnant with our first daughter and she said she had taken a test and the results were terrible, and it was highly likely that our unborn daughter would be seriously ill and the doctors were even talking to her about the possibility of aborting.

I felt helpless, especially being in the Reserves and unable to go home to be with my wife and comfort her. I quickly called a Lubavitcher friend who wrote to the Rebbe for me. After he spent a long time reading the answer, he asked me, “Do you do mivtza t’fillin?” I said, “I put t’fillin on with guys here in the Reserves.”

“I can’t believe it,” he said. “Listen to what the Rebbe writes: In the merit of mivtza t’fillin and spreading Judaism, you will merit a complete healing, you, your wife, and offspring, and continue spreading Judaism in greater measure.”

I finished telling my friend the story by describing my excitement and that of my wife and my instructing my wife to ignore everything the doctors told her because there was no arguing with the Rebbe’s bracha.

My friend was very excited. “Nu, tell me what the Rebbe wrote to me. What did he answer about the test?”

“Before that, there’s another incident I want to tell you about,” I said. “It has to do with a bracha for a friend of mine who was about to take the medical boards. I spent Tishrei of last year with the Rebbe. On the Sunday following Shabbos B’Reishis, the day I left, I wrote to the Rebbe after Shacharis for relatives and friends. One of my friends, a very close childhood friend, had finished medical school in Italy and was about to take the boards in order to qualify for a license from the Health Ministry. Only those who passed the exam could do a medical internship in Israel. The exam was going to take place two days later.

“But that’s not the whole story. While he was studying in Italy, which took seven years, he met a gentile Italian girl. After many months of being together, they were thinking of marrying. He had his doubts because of pressure and pleading on the part of his parents and friends, but it seemed that his love for her would win out.

“In the end, he decided to try to manage in Eretz Yisroel without her. The problem was that in order to practice medicine in Eretz Yisroel he had to first pass these boards. If he stayed in Europe, he could start working as a doctor immediately. I was very nervous that his failing the exam which was given twice a year would result in him returning to Europe where the girl waited for him.

“The problem was that only 30% pass the test. Most of those who take the test have to take it two or three times before passing. I even know one doctor who had to take it six times until he passed. Most of those who pass the test do so after taking a few months course given by the Health Ministry, but this friend returned from Italy two months after the course began and couldn’t make up the material in such a short time.

“I asked the Rebbe for success on the boards for this friend, the first time around. The answer was clear: bracha v’hatzlacha. Three weeks later my friend got the results. He had passed the exam! Today he is a doctor at Mayanei Ha’yeshua.”

After this story, the political activist friend of mine on the line lost his patience. “What did the Rebbe say about my exam?” he asked. “I can’t take the tension.” I still did not know how important this exam was to him.

The Rebbe’s letter was lengthy. I decided to quote only those parts that seemed relevant in which the Rebbe wished success in all matters. I could tell that he didn’t quite understand the answer; it didn’t speak to him. When I saw that I was beginning to get tied up in knots, I said to him: I will read it to you from the beginning. This is what the Rebbe writes: Regarding your buying a new apartment, it should be with great success and one who changes his location changes his fortune ….” He interrupted me and asked, “Who is the Rebbe writing to?”

“This is your answer,” I said.

“I can’t believe it,” he exclaimed.

Then he told me what he hadn’t told anyone else, especially his closest relatives. “I am actually moving.” Now it was my turn to be surprised. “But that’s not all. I took a loan of three million shekels. I committed myself to the seller in a contract that I would give him the money, but the bank is delaying approval of the loan until I pass my exams. That is my guarantee for a stable income as a lawyer. If I fail, there’s no loan and there goes the apartment and the down payment.”

When I heard this, I felt a strong sense of calm, “Now I understand what the Rebbe is saying. Let it be clear – you are about to move to a new apartment. That’s definite. If, for this to happen, you need to pass the exam, there is no doubt you will pass.”

He could not believe it. In his excitement, I took the opportunity to tell him that now was the time to make a good hachlata and to publicize it.

“I have a hachlata,” he said. “I will stop smoking on Shabbos.” I told him that I thought this was definitely an appropriate hachlata.

“And there’s another thing I want,” he suddenly added. “In my new office, I want there to be a library with Chabad books including some volumes of Igros Kodesh.”

When the results of the exam arrived, he was one of the few who passed. Next month, he will attend a ceremony in which he will get his license.

We cannot ignore the fact that reality has changed before our eyes. It’s only now that we understand things the Rebbe said over twenty years ago. Since 5751, the Rebbe has taught us how to deal with the world. Today, two decades later, we can see how the world is ready.

Jewish songs were never heard on certain radio stations and now they are standard fare. Even in the darkest of places, in the corridors of politicians, strongholds of Zionism and hypocrisy, the thirst for Judaism grows.

Recently, it has become difficult for me to have a conversation with a politician in which some Jewish point does not come up, and it’s not always me who brings it up.

From day to day I see how right the Rebbe is; under the cloak of klipa, which sometimes, unfortunately, is thick and coarse, there is a spark in everyone that is waiting to be discovered. This spark believes in hiskashrus to the Rebbe today, after 3 Tammuz, and it also believes that the Geula is imminent and the Rebbe will come and redeem us.

This spark has no problem receiving all the spiritual lights. In fact, it actually yearns for us to reach out and ignite it already!

It’s up to us. So let’s get to work.

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