A gutten Shabbos, a gutten chodesh, it should be a true chodesh hageula!
ב”ה ליל ועש”ק פר’ ויקרא – החודש, ר”ח ניסן “חודש הגאולה”, שנת “שבעת” לפ”ק
Dear Alumni Sheyichyu!
Mazel Tov to Naftoli Spielman on the occasion of his engagement. Mazel Tov to Yossi Bendet on the occasion of his engagement. Mazel Tov to Chezky Ackerman on the occasion of his engagement. May they use out the special period of Yokor Mikol yokor to its’ utmost! Mazel Tov to Zevi Slavin on the occasion of his chasuna. Mazel Tov to Chaim Itkin on the occasion of his chasuna. Mazel Tov to Sholom Goldberg on the occasion of his chasuna. May the new homes be built on the foundations of Torah and a chassidus, and be a keli for all brochos! Mazel Tov to Rabbi & Mrs. Ephraim Zimerman on the birth of their daughter. Mazel Tov to Rabbi & Mrs, Paisy Wolosow on the birth of their daughter. Mazel Tov to Rabbi & Mrs. Sholom Solomon on the birth of their daughter. May they bring them up lTOveCHuMAA”T mitoch harchovo, and to be true chayolos! (If anyone is aware of any mazeltov’s that I omitted please let me know).
Thank you as always for the feedback, it is much appreciated.
It was the year of 5558: The saintly Alter Rebbe was imprisoned! The great tzaddik, the leader of the generation, who was more in the spiritual realms than on this physical world, was being held captive by the wicked forces of evil.
Or was he?
While the Alter Rebbe was being transported to prison, he demanded that they stop the wagon to avoid travelling on Shabbos. When they refused, a wagon wheel broke and a horse became injured, until they were forced to camp in a field at the roadside in accordance with the Alter Rebbe’s wishes.
And when the Alter Rebbe was being brought by boat to an island for questioning, and they refused to stop the boat to enable him to say kiddush levana, the boat stopped on its own accord.
To be sure, the Alter Rebbe’s imprisonment was a terrible decree and a source of great concern and consternation amongst Chassidim. Indeed, it was the result of a terrible kitrug in the higher spheres. Yet, at no time was the Alter Rebbe not in control, and nothing could have taken place without his consent.
Of course, Chassidim needed to daven, and to storm the heavens with their cries and demands for an immediate and unconditional revoking of the decree. But, at the same time to realize that everything was according to the plan, and there was not even an iota of deviation (on the contrary – as later became apparent – the whole episode served as a catalyst to further enhance the spreading of chassidus).
It was the year 5752: The unthinkable happened! While standing and davening at the ohel, advocating tirelessly for his people, the Rebbe fell, and seemed to have suffered a stroke. The saintly Rebbe, the leader of the generation, who was more in the spiritual realms than on this physical plane, was being held captive by the natural limitations of the physical body in which he resided.
Or was he?
Immediately after the Rebbe “fell”, emergency assistance was contacted. The first responders were the Hatzoloh of Queens, who had been closest to the scene. They quickly assessed the situation, and determined that it was crucial for the Rebbe to be hospitalized immediately. They communicated this to the Rebbe, who indicated unequivocally that he wished to be brought to 770, and only to 770.
However, as far as the members of Hatzoloh were concerned, this was – unfortunately – not an option. Medically speaking there was no choice in the matter, and – not being Chassidim (and even we – who “officially” are Chassidim – don’t always allow the Rebbe’s directives to take precedence over what we understand . .) – they didn’t feel compelled (or see as a possibility) to obey the Rebbe unconditionally.
So they took the Rebbe into the ambulance, and proceeded to do what they saw as the only option under the circumstances; – to take the Rebbe to the hospital.
But the ambulance didn’t start.
Now this wasn’t my old jalopy, or some heap of metal known as a Yeshiva car. This was a Hatzoloh ambulance, that – necessarily – is kept in tip top condition to be always available for emergencies. But, all the same, it didn’t start. Try as they might, they couldn’t get the engine to turn over.
Gradually the Hatzoloh ambulance of Crown Heights arrived at the scene, and the Rebbe was swiftly transferred to it. And, being Chassidim, they proceeded to take the Rebbe to where he wanted to go; – to 770. And, sure enough, as soon as the Rebbe was in the other ambulance, the ambulance of the Hatzoloh of Queens started up as if there had never been any difficulty!
Undoubtedly, it is a time of yearning, of beseeching, of demanding of Hashem with all of our heart and soul “Ad Mosai”! It is a day in which we all have to be shaken to the very core of out being, when we have to be drawn out of our complacency, and scream that this can’t go on, not even one more moment, ch”v!
But, at the same time, we must realize that chof zayin Adar was not a setback ch”v, and it goes without saying that the Rebbe was not being held captive by foreign powers, G-d forbid. For whatever unfathomable reasons, this darkness that we’re experiencing needed to take place, it was – and is – part of the plan.
Yes, it is intolerable and painful, and it must evoke our strongest commitment to do what we can to change the situation.
But it doesn’t in any way change our perspective ch”v. The Rebbe has clearly defined to us what is happening in the world. We are in the era of Moshiach, and the process has already begun. The Rebbe is still in control, and, as difficult as our situation may be to endure, our focus remains the same, and our sights and efforts are unerringly towards our goal.
It is the year 5772: We are, at this time, still reeling from the news of yet another horrific and senseless massacre this week, this time in France. Once again we cry out in helpless rage and soul-searing pain, once again our minds fail to comprehend and our hearts refuse to grasp the horrendous calamity. The collective anguish is unbearable!
Undoubtedly, it only intensifies our heartfelt cry of “Ad mosai”! But we also have to remind ourselves that – notwithstanding everything – the Eibishter is still in full control. To be sure, none of us are happy about what is happening, and it is most difficult to endure. Perhaps if we had the choice, we (may think that we) would do things otherwise. But everything that is happening is 100% according to plan. Nothing at all changes, it merely obligates us to increase our efforts to fulfill our mission, and to dedicate ourselves to it more wholeheartedly.
Chazal teach us that “Olam kotton – zeh ho’odom”, man is a microcosm of the world, and anything that is true about the large world, is equally applicable to every person individually. Sometimes, we have our real or imagined personal setbacks. When we consider our goal and our mission, we sometimes may become daunted or discouraged; – the task deems way beyond our meager abilities.
We know that “eino mevakesh elo lefi kocham”, but we say to ourselves: “True, I may have been given the abilities to accomplish what I was meant to accomplish, but now it’s too late. I already “messed up”. I already followed the foolish dictates of my evil inclination – the melech zokein ukesil – and I ruined everything. Perhaps at one time things could have been so wonderful, but it’s too late; – the forces of evil have already prevailed r”l. Now, all that remains is to agonize over the tragedy of it all and be depressed!
But, this, too, is wrong. Regardless of what we may have done in the past, and what foolish decisions we may have made, the fact remains that the Eibishter was – and is – still in control. Fully in control, at all times. Which means that, while we are perhaps meant (at the right time and in the appropriate matter) to feel bad about our mistakes and to regret them (and this is the mitzvah of teshuva), we still must realize that none of this altered the ultimate plan in any way.
To be sure, we wouldn’t have wanted things to happen the way they did, and it may be (and perhaps should be) a source of pain to us. But – our sense of repentance notwithstanding – that has no bearing at all on our ability to get to where we have to. Our efforts may need to be increased, perhaps fine-tuned. But nothing and no-one have the ability to prevent us from reaching our goal.
You may be embarrassed about you actions (naturally I’m referring to the ones from before Bar Mitzva . . ), and that may be right. You may wish that they never happened. But whatever did take place, for whatever unfathomable reason, although it may seem tragic, does not change the equation in any way. You are still empowered and entrusted with the most vital mission in history; – and that is not only with regards to the world, but with regards to yourself as well.
We are now entering the month of Nissan, the chodesh haGeula. It is a time when we can elevate ourselves – ארים ניסי על ההרים – to jump out of our situation, and to move forward with renewed strength and confidence. Together with our mourning, we need to inject our unshakable faith and certainty about the future, in a way that inspires us to act accordingly.
As we move forward unstoppably to our goal, we will ensure that this Nissan will indeed be a chodesh hageulah, in the most literal sense!
L’chaim! May we all take advantage of the month of Nissan to bring about a personal redemption in our own lives, and may the Eibishter, too, take advantage of this special opportunity to show the entire world that he is – and has always been – in control, and make this month a true chodesh hageulah through the immediate hisgalus of Moshiach Tzidkeinu TUMYM!!!
Rabbi Akiva Wagner
לזכות ר’ שלום מרדכי הלוי בן רבקה, לגאולה וישועה קרובה ושלימה, תומ”י ממש בטוהנוהנ”ג