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Tuesday
Apr252017

WHAT DOES OUR BELOVED REALLY WANT?

Dear Reader sh’yichyeh,

There are many inspiring days throughout the year. This is especially true if you add all the Chassidishe dates that we celebrate, of which B”H there are many. Yet there is one date in the calendar that serves as a wake-up call out of our reverie and the comfortable exile mentality: the 28th of Nissan.

On this date, in the year 5751, the Rebbe shocked Chassidim (and the entire world) with the following now famous words: “From what has been said previously, about emphasizing the subject of Redemption (especially) at this time, emerges the absolutely incredible: how is it possible that notwithstanding all these things we have not yet accomplished the coming of our righteous Moshiach in actual reality?! … Something completely beyond comprehension! …

“What more can I do so that all the children of Israel should create an uproar and cry sincerely and cause Moshiach to come in reality, since all that was done until now has had no effect, and the proof is that we find ourselves still in exile, and most essentially in an inner exile in Divine service.

“The only thing I am able to do is to turn the matter [over] to you: 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.”

If we analyze the special message that the Rebbe wrote in the HaYom Yom of this day, we can learn a valuable lesson in fulfilling the Avoda that the Rebbe placed in our hands 48 years later, on that day.

Parenthetically, it is important to point out that beyond the fact that timeless messages are brought out in the daily learning of the HaYom Yom, there is something unique about the studying of the HaYom Yom of 28 Nissan. There is a letter of the Frierdike Rebbe written on 28 Nissan 5703 (the year the HaYom Yom was originally printed for), which explains the uniqueness of the Seifer HaYom Yom!

The Frierdike Rebbe (Igros Kodesh Vol. 7 pg. 231) writes: “I am certain that you have received the Seifer called the HaYom Yom. It is a seifer printed in small format (as a chassid should feel about himself) yet filled with gems and pearls from the great and bountiful treasure. This is, Baruch Hashem, a true and authentic Chassidic creation.

“Hashem has bestowed (bli ayin ha’ra) my son-in-law HaRav HaGaon Reb Menachem Mendel Shlita with the unique ability to erect such a grandiose Chassidic palace, which has 383 rooms, that from day to day ‘expresses words’; each day ‘says something.’ This is a true ‘HaYom Yom,’ for with it each day is a day.”

The Frierdike Rebbe then goes on to quote from the HaYom Yom of 28 Nissan.

In the HaYom Yom of 28 Nissan the Rebbe writes: “Chassidim asked the Alter Rebbe: ‘Which is the superior avoda, love of G-d or love of Israel?’ He replied: ‘Both love of G-d and love of Israel are equally engraved in every Jew’s neshama, ruach, and nefesh. Scripture is explicit: ‘I have loved you, says the L-rd.’ It follows that love of Israel is superior, for you love whom your beloved loves.”

The letter on which the above teaching is based (Igros of Frierdike Rebbe Vol. 3 pg. 425) describes a farbrengen of Chassidim at which the Mitteler Rebbe was present. During the farbrengen, one of the Chassidim raised his glass and said, “May G-d enable me to attain a genuine love for Him!”

Shortly afterwards, the Mitteler Rebbe raised his glass and said, “May G-d enable me to attain a genuine love of my fellow Jew!”

The debate among the Chassidim over which service was more elevated lasted for several weeks. Ultimately, they posed the question to the Alter Rebbe, who gave the answer above.

The HaYom Yom of 6 Tishrei illustrates a similar idea: “An explanation [by the Rebbe Rashab] of the third approach, abridged: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ As the Alter Rebbe explained, fulfilling this mitzvah is a medium for [attaining the level at which one can] ‘love G-d your L-rd.’ It also underlies the principle that ‘anyone with whom his fellowmen are pleased, G-d is pleased with him.’ To ‘love your neighbor as yourself’ is the path of t’shuva that comes from a good heart.”

It is also similar to the HaYom Yom of 12 Menachem Av:

“The Alter Rebbe repeated what the Mezritcher Maggid said quoting the Baal Shem Tov: ‘Love your fellow like yourself’ is an interpretation of and commentary on ‘Love Hashem your G-d.’ He who loves his fellow-Jew loves G-d, because the Jew has within himself a ‘part of G-d Above.’ Therefore, when one loves the Jew – i.e. his inner essence – one loves G-d.”

There are many who ask about the difference between these two sayings of the Alter Rebbe. Why does one stress “It follows that love of Israel is superior, for you love whom your beloved loves,” while the other one stresses “He who loves his fellow-Jew loves G-d, because the Jew has within himself a “part of G-d Above?”

One possible explanation is that these two HaYom Yom lessons speak about two parts of the Jew. Every Jew has two parts, his soul and his body. A Jew is not just different from a non-Jew in the fact that a Jew possesses a G-dly soul; rather even the body of a Jew, which appears and function like that of all other humans in the world, is special and unique. It was chosen and is loved by Hashem.

The HaYom Yom of 12 Av speaks about loving a Jew because of the Neshama, the part of Hashem which is inside the Jew. Our HaYom Yom of 28 Nissan speaks about loving even the physical body of a Jew because “for you love whom your beloved loves,” and Hashem has chosen and loves deeply even the physical body of a Jew.

On a deeper level, the connection of Hashem to the body of a Jew is stronger than that of His connection to the soul of a Jew! The following is quoted from the Maamer “Kol Yisroel,” printed in Seifer HaMaamarim Meluket of the Rebbe:

“We can appreciate that similar concepts apply with regard to the soul and body of man (which resemble the Torah and its mitzvos): Although the body receives its vitality from the soul, nevertheless, the source of the body is superior to the source of the soul.

“[These concepts are reflected in the relationship between G-d and the Jewish people:] As explained in other sources, G-d’s love for and connection to the souls of the Jewish people resembles a natural love, as it were, akin to a father’s love for his child. It is in this vein that it is written, ‘You are children unto G-d, your L-rd.’ [Although this reflects a very high form of love, even this love has its limitations.] The love is rooted in a level [within G-dliness] where the import of [the souls], the objects of [G-d’s] love is recognized. [Since there is an external source – the souls’ positive virtues – which motivates this love,] it does not emanate from His essence itself.

“G-d’s love and connection to the bodies of the Jewish people, by contrast, does not stem (from [an appreciation of] the inherent virtue of their bodies. Nor does this choice reflect [a relationship between a father and] his child who share a fundamental connection. Instead, [this love] comes about because G-d chooses the Jewish body. And this choice is entirely free, [with no restrictions upon it and no rationale which compels it]. [Such a choice has only one possible source,] His very essence. This explains why the soul, [a refined spiritual entity,] can be drawn down to enliven the body. Since the body is superior to the soul in its source, [it has the power to motivate the soul to descend and grant it life].”

This HaYom Yom teaches us a tremendous lesson for our times:

All Chassidim love the Rebbe, as we know (HaYom Yom 26 Shevet): “Love is the breath of life in the Avoda of Chassidus, that which binds the Chassidim amongst themselves and that which binds the Rebbe with the Chassidim and the Chassidim with the Rebbe” and therefore they want to express their love for the Rebbe.

This HaYom Yom teaches us that if we claim to have and want to express our love for the Rebbe, it needs to be expressed in “for you love whom your beloved loves.” In our generation in general, but especially since 28 Nissan 5751, the Rebbe spoke about his one “love,” his deepest desire, the one thing that the Rebbe has been thinking about “since the days I went to cheider and even before”: bringing the Geula b’poel Mamash. The Rebbe made it very clear that “the direct way to bring Moshiach” is by learning and teaching others about Geula and Moshiach. We must all get on board and make resolutions to strengthen ourselves and those around us in being involved in initiatives to spread the Nevua of the Rebbe about Moshiach. With these hachlatos of being involved in what the Rebbe really loves, we express our love for the Rebbe.

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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