WORKING TOGETHER TO BRING THE GEULA
May 15, 2018
Rabbi Gershon Avtzon in #1118, Ha’yom Yom & Moshiach

Dear Reader sh’yichyeh,

The year 1938 was not an easy year for the Frierdike Rebbe. Even though physically he was out of the USSR, his heart was still there with the Chassidim who were being constantly persecuted by the communist regime. In addition, the Frierdike Rebbe’s personal health was compromised at the time.

In describing the Avoda of Tishrei while in Otvotsk, Poland, Reb Chatche Feigen writes (see introduction to Igros, Vol. 4, of the Frierdike Rebbe) that seeing the Frierdike Rebbe do his Avoda, knowing the real situation of the health and physical limitations of the Rebbe, he sees that the Frierdike Rebbe is working above and beyond his physical abilities. In Teves of that year the Frierdike Rebbe went to Perchtoldsdorf in Austria for treatments. The town is located immediately at the Vienna city limits, south of the Leising borough and about 16 kilometers (9.9 miles) southwest of the city center. The western parts of the municipal area border on the Vienna woods mountain range.

The Frierdike Rebbe was there until Vav Adar-Sheini and from there he went to Paris. He later wrote that Baruch Hashem, he left Austria when he did, because three days later, on March 12 1938, was the infamous Anschluss. On the morning of 12 March, the 8th Army of the German Wehrmacht (yimach shemam) crossed the border into Austria. The troops were greeted by cheering Austrians with Nazi salutes, Nazi flags, and flowers. For the Wehrmacht, the invasion was the first big test of its machinery. Although the invading forces were badly organized and coordination among the units was poor, it mattered little because the Austrian government had ordered the Austrian armed forces to not resist.

From Paris, the Frierdike Rebbe returned to the Yeshiva in Otvotsk, Poland. In the beginning of the month of Nissan, he received a letter from a bachur who had gone from Europe to Eretz Yisroel and was feeling worried about his physical and spiritual situation. The Rebbe did not respond until after Pesach, and on 24 Nissan the Rebbe responded. He began his letter by acknowledging the importance of corresponding with the Rebbe about all matters.

He writes (quoted in HaYom Yom 25 Sivan): “It is written: ‘If there is worry in a man’s heart, he should minimize it (Yashchenah).’ Our Sages interpret this in two ways: (a) he should take his mind off it (Yasichenah, spelled with the letter Samech), or (b) he should relate it to others (Yesichenah, spelled with the letter Sin). On this the Tzemach Tzedek commented that ‘others’ refers to people who are only physically separate from the speaker, but are united with him in spirit, sensitive to his concerns.”

The following story illustrates this idea. Once, when the Rebbe Rashab was a young child, he and his brother, R. Zalman Aharon, who was a year older, were playing “Rebbe and chassid.” The Rebbe Rashab, who played the role of Chassid, told his brother, the “Rebbe,” about a spiritual difficulty he was facing, and asked him how to correct it. His brother duly prescribed for him a certain course of action.

Their mother, Rebbetzin Rivka, had observed her children playing, and she noticed that the Rebbe Rashab did not follow his brother’s advice. When she queried him about this, he replied: “My brother will never be a Rebbe. When a person comes to a Rebbe with a spiritual difficulty, the Rebbe first sighs in understanding and only then offers advice. It’s not the advice that helps; it’s the sigh. My brother didn’t sigh; he just answered.”

The Frierdike Rebbe went on to encourage this young man to focus on his current mission as a Tamim in Yeshiva. He should focus on his learning and spreading Torah and Chassidus. When things get difficult, he should always remember that the holy Rebbeim are constantly bestowing blessings from above. He writes (quoted in HaYom Yom 29 Iyar): “The soul ascends three times a day, during each of the three prayer services. This is especially true of the souls of tzaddikim, of whom it is said, ‘They proceed from strength to strength.’ It is certain that at all times and in every holy place they may be, they offer supplication and prayer for those who are bound to them and to their directives, and to those who carry out their directives — especially their students and their students’ students — that they be delivered materially and spiritually.”

The letter finishes off with the following sentences: “The Rebbeim were Moser-Nefesh that the Chassidim act with each other, and love each other, like real brothers. The brachos that Chassidim give each other have a power that even surpasses the power of the bracha ‘Shma Koleinu’ of Shmoneh Esrei! This is because our merciful Father, Hashem, deeply desires the love of Yidden one to the other. Therefore, by sharing your concern with a fellow yid – the Rebbe – who truly loves you, you can clear it from your mind and fill that void with true joy from the sincere hope and trust in Hashem’s kindness that all will be good in the very near future.”

Dear Chassidim!

Every year, around 28 Nissan, we get excited about the privilege and obligation that we have been entrusted with: the Avoda to bring Moshiach. We all leave our Galus mentality and we “go to Eretz Yisroel.” Yet many times, when we get there, we see that there is still much work to be done and we feel very lonely. We begin to lose our fire and sometimes begin to despair. Many times, we begin to blame others and shift the responsibility from ourselves.

Firstly, we need to remember (HaYom Yom 20 Iyar): “We have no one to pamper us: we must labor. With patience and brotherly understanding we can — with G-d’s help — overcome all obstacles. By belittling another and exalting oneself, one loses everything, Heaven forbid.”

We then must think about the above-mentioned letter and make sure that we are expressing our feelings to others that care about us. Obviously, this means writing to the Rebbe, and it also includes a good friend or two. Let’s keep in mind the famous words of the Rebbe (28 Nissan): “And may it be G-d’s will that there will be found among you one, two, three that will devise a plan of what to do and how to do it, and most essentially that it will produce the true and complete Redemption in actual reality, with joy and a glad heart.” We can learn from this to work together with others, even a small group, because together much more can be accomplished. Besides the work that can be done, it helps us retain the enthusiasm for what we are doing.

That is also the reason that the Rebbe wants public shiurim about Moshiach, as is creates and fuels our excitement. As the Rebbe clearly says (Besuras HaGeula chapter 22 ): “It would be even better if they would learn (in public) with ten others because, in addition to the advantage that ‘ten who sit and occupy themselves with Torah, the Divine Presence dwells among them,’ there is a particular advantage when learning about Moshiach and the Redemption in public. Such public learning affects the excitement and the heartfelt joy through which comes an increasing desire and anticipation for the coming of Moshiach.”

The Rebbe adds in a footnote: “Therefore, those who want to learn in depth, and in the give and take fashion of scholarly discourse (and even contribute original Torah ideas about Moshiach and Redemption) in a quiet and peaceful setting, and therefore prefer to learn by themselves or with a partner, should still try (from time to time) to also join the learning of ten; this way they will also have the advantage of learning with ten (as mentioned in the text).”

We must internalize that the Avoda of bringing Moshiach is the essence of everything the Rebbeim have taught and revealed to us. It is the purpose of their work and Mesiras Nefesh, and indeed the purpose of creation. Thus, when we get tired or lonely and feel that we need strength, we remember: “The soul ascends three times a day, during each of the three prayer services. This is especially true of the souls of tzaddikim, of whom it is said, ‘They proceed from strength to strength.’ It is certain that at all times and in every holy place they may be, they offer supplication and prayer for those who are bound to them and to their directives, and to those who carry out their directives — especially their students and their students’ students — that they be delivered materially and spiritually.”

I would like to take this opportunity to wish each and every one of you, my loyal readership, a freilichin Yom Tov of Shavuos and “Kabbalas HaTorah and Moshiach B’simcha U’BeP’nimius!”

 

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

 

Article originally appeared on Beis Moshiach Magazine (http://beismoshiachmagazine.org/).
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