Sunday, June 29, 2014

The Key to Bringing Moshiach Now!

23 years ago, the Rebbe shook his audience of thousands to the core. He dispatched his emissaries with a new set of marching orders. He called this new mission "the gate through which all outreach activity must pass through from now on!” (ספר השיחות ה'תשנ''ב, pp. 110-111).

He recalled a previous, long-standing mission, that of disseminating chassidic wellsprings, and said it was a mission accomplished! This in itself was newsworthy and significant.

But now, said he, there remains one last mission to see through, and that is to accept the countenance of Moshiach (לקבל פני משיח). He said this key mission will enable Moshiach to redeem all Jews from exile!

To put this mission in better perspective, consider what Maimonides asked of the Jew. He wrote, a Jew must "... believe in Moshiach ... he will come any day, and even if he tarries, … will still await him.” 

But now the Rebbe ratcheted up this preparedness from a dormant, inactive “waiting" state to one that calls for action. The Rebbe said, "Your task is to accept the countenance of Moshiach"!

Accepting is a far cry from just waiting. Moreover, he thereby effectively told Jewish people it was up to them to bring Moshiach! If Jews wanted Moshiach - it was their responsibility to bring him! They could not be passive observers! As for what Maimonides said, that waiting was over with. He had come. So waiting for him was over with. Now - said the Rebbe - they must “accept him!

As the Rebbe said to Chief Rabbi of Israel, Mordechai Eliyahu, ע''ה, in 1992, "The redemption is at the door's threshold and awaits for every Jew to open the door and drag the redemption in!” 

In other words, there's no more “waiting”; Jews now have to “drag” Redemption into becoming a reality. Jews were now given an active role to play in the phenomenon! 

And just what did the Rebbe mean by “to accept the countenance of Moshiach!"”?

To this Chabad chassid it means to say - acknowledge that the Rebbe is Moshiach! As if to say, “Accept me!"

(Had the Rebbe simply said our task is "to receive Moshiach" (לקבל משיח), omitting the word "countenance" (פני), there would have been no point to that. How can we "accept" someone we don't know? To just say "receive Moshiach" removes the identity factor! It makes no sense to accept someone who remains unidentified. The action expected of the Jew from now on would then fall flat on its face.)

Some ask, especially to skirt commitment, then why didn’t the Rebbe just come out and simply say, “I am Moshiach”?

For one thing, the responsibility for having a king rests on the Jewish people themselves! It is up to them! There is no Jewish king unless Jews grant the king his sovereignty. (See here regarding the lesson David learned from Avigayil.)

Another reason the Rebbe could never just come out and say "I am Moshiach” is here explained. In his essence, Moshiach is the most humble of all people on the face of the earth.

This new responsibility we Jews were given recalls a similar episode in the past, when David was anointed as the new king of Israel by the prophet Shmuel. At the time King Saul had not yet been dethroned. In fact, David ended up with no more than some 600 “followers”. Not until 7 years later did David finally become king over all of Israel proper. 

Jews have been squandering this opportunity to crown for themselves a King Moshiach! It’s now been 23 years. How much longer must we wait?

Monday, June 16, 2014

All We Have are the Words of בן עמרם

Jews are believers and children of believers.

There exist moments in a chassid’s life when reminders help him stand firm about a supernatural belief inspired by his rabbi, one that otherwise would fly in the face of reality were we to measure reality simply with our fleshy receptors. Such reminders keep us separate from non-believers who would consider things strictly from Nature’s perspective. A Jew, after all, wears supernatural lenses.

That this rabbi happens to be the Rebbe of Lubavitch is not insignificant, for he is the Moses of OUR Generation!

We have such a reminder in this week’s Korach portion of the Torah.

During an argument between Aaron and the Angel of Death, we overhear Aaron say to the Angel something that ought not escape our attention. He said (see Rashi, Num. 17:13),
אין משה אומר כלום מלבו אלא מפי הגבורה
"Moses (of the generation) does not say anything of his own but that which he hears from God!”

Note how Aaron does not simply make a positive statement. Rather, he makes his point more emphatically. Note his assertion's incisive, unequivocal and resolute tenor - “does not say anything but”!

You can see the difference when you compare these two statements:
I drink tea.
I drink nothing but tea.
The latter uses the assertive language of exclusivity.

Similarly in our case. The Rebbe’s words continue to resonate with his chassidim (much more so than with those who were distant from him). We know the Rebbe spoke only that which the divine wanted him to say, to the point of excluding anything else!

He told us we are beyond the threshold of the Era of Redemption! Do we SEE Redemption? What we see or don’t see does not change the facts.

He also implored us to “open our eyes” to see the Redemptive events unfold - at least with our mind’s eye! He wanted us to believe him even though the world did not SEEM to be in the state he said it was in.

The Rebbe never gave false forecasts. And with regard to such a grand assertion - that we have entered the Era of Redemption - only a fool can think the Rebbe did not know what he was speaking about, or that he made a mistake, or that he was really just praying.

All the Rebbe said will happen will happen. If only things were more clearly visible for us already now!

(The Rambam too spoke of the first phase of Geulah as proceeding under the guise of "normalcy" - "עולם כמנהגו נוהג" [Melachim 12:1]. Thus we hear sad news too, such as the kidnapping of Jewish boys by scum of the earth. Apparently, while the view among the trees remains painful, the view from above the jungle delivers a rosy picture nevertheless and tells an altogether different story.)

Sunday, June 15, 2014

The Perfect Conduit

Many Jews will agree that: "According to Judaism, we do not need intermediaries between ourselves and G-d".

Surprisingly, this is incorrect! We need a King to make a better connection with Hashem. The "Moses of the Generation" holds this very special role as leader of the Jewish people.

God could just as well have taken the Jews out of Egypt WITHOUT a Moses! He could have done all those miracles, and then some, to make the Egyptians chase the Jews from their presence, but, in fact, that's not the way Hashem proceeded. He wanted a "Moses" for every generation.

That's the way Hashem designed the Jewish collective body. IT NEEDS A HEAD, as sure as the individual himself needs a head. And that head exists whether the Jew knows it or not!

Hashem provides the Jewish nation with a "conduit" to reach Him. Without that conduit, the spiritual component of the bond between Hashem and His people could not sustain itself otherwise. Something in the connection will snap if that conduit were absent. The Jewish king or leader in every generation, as Moshe said (Devarim 5:5), stands between Hashem and the Jew to establish an unmitigated bond:
אנכי עמד בין ה' וביניכם

For that bond to Hashem to be intimate, so we do what He wants of us, as in doing His commandments, we need superb motivation and, most importantly, we need plenty of humility to accept God's yoke upon us. The King makes that self-nullification process in the Jew easier to render. The "Moses of the Generation", as a mediator between the Jew and God, is a very special "conduit".

All conduits, by their nature, automatically impose an element of "self" that compromises the channel, even if slightly. In Chassidut, this concept they call "a compromising conduit". A physical analogy could be the "friction" the conduit places on fluid that passes through the conduit to get from one compartment to the next. However slight the friction by this intermediary pipe, it still offers resistance to the flow.

Thus ALL conduits inflict some measure of "interference" when mediating between parties because the mediator has his own personality that cannot become irrelevant; To behave as if he were physically absent is an impossibility and therefore the mediation is less than 100% perfect.

The Moses of the generation is the sole mediator who can mediate with complete self-nullification, without getting his own interests to conflict whatsoever with the needs of the Jew. Only the Moses of the generation is the perfect, frictionless conduit to secure the unbreakable bond between Jew and Hashem.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

A Misguided View of Moshiach

Like the fanciful story of a pot of gold, the belief among a few Jews that "The Messiah" references some worldly idealistic epoch about to appear without an individual Jewish hero - is apocryphal! Even some believers who pray in shuls have this mistaken notion.

No illusion can be further from the truth. That era cannot exclude the necessary appearance of a single Jew - the redeemer.

The Torah, the Prophets and our sages often provide testimonials of the individual known as King Moshiach, a person just as was Moses.

One of the 13 Principles of the Rambam reads, "I believe ... in the coming of Moshiach, and even if he TARRIES, I'll still wait for HIM." The words "tarry" and "him" refer to a live human being, not a dead idea.

Moshiach will be a Jewish redeemer, a great leader, who stems from the Tribe of Yehuda - more particularly, from the seed of King David. According to Gemora, thought of his creation preceded creation of the world. He epitomizes the purpose the world was created for in the first place.

The Papal Visit - The Rebbe's View

Apparently‪,‬ a group of Jews went to visit the pope in 1987. Regarding this event, the Rebbe spoke harsh words.

After the current pope's visit to Israel, where he met with chief rabbis David Lau and Yitzhak Yosef, I'm sure the same measure of repugnancy is due.

Here's a rough translation of some paragraphs the Rebbe spoke during a farbrengen, 6 days into the New Year 5748
תורת מנחם התוועדויות תשמ''ח - חלק א
6 Tishrei, page 111

"Last year there occurred an alarming event. Some who purport to speak on behalf of the Jewish public, as they themselves profess, went and behaved shockingly, of issues that relate to idolatry (עבודה זרה), which happens to be one of the 3 prohibitions of which it says 'You cannot pass it off, even should consequences lead to the opposite of life'.

"To make matters worse, they parade this affair in a blaze of publicity ... saying they saved face of Israel's respect, and will have brought eternal kindness towards Israel, as if no words can express the praise related to that famous meeting! Which, by the way, includes kissing of hands and fingers, calling each other in politically correct titles - issues of idolatry ... In addition, they flaunt their behavior as an ultimate achievement for the Jewish public's sake.

"And all this while we do not see Muslims or Buddhists chasing after him so hard. Yet nobody raises even the slightest objection!

"Although some show of protest was observed, it came through as a whisper because it was hushed up, in hope the fuss would be forgotten.

"They continue to hold their hand out, hoping to gain even more exposure, after having gained so much already ... and who is there to tell them to stop!

"Therefore, the only counsel to prevent this happening in the future is for those who can speak in the name of Torah and in the language of Torah to heed the words, 'Before mockers feel no shame' and go out to make an outcry against this.

"They must start with the positive and express, without hysteria, what real Judaism asserts. And even though 'You are a nation of a few', 'we have an Old Man behind us' - our Father in heaven, and even though 'Israel is separated and scattered among the nations', it is 'one nation'. On the contrary, because Jews are 'one nation', they were saved of all the impurities, and this is their importance - that 'their religion is unlike all other religions.'"

G-d's Imprint on Man

Inert matter cannot move on its own. Plant life can move by growing, but remains attached to the earth below. Animals were given freedom to wonder. Humans have, in addition, intellect to reason with.

Given that intellect, let's ask: What gives the human being that unique feeling of "independence" he feels as he goes about his daily life and daily business?

After all, in truth, he too is tethered to Nature's requirements to sustain his life. Nevertheless he seems to FEEL, after he replenishes his temporary needs for sustenance with gifts of Nature, as if he truly is an independent psychological nomad. During most of his waking hours, man usually feels he's the sole governor of his "free-wheeling" life.

Why should man be imbued with this feeling, when in fact empirically it isn't true? He is relatively more free from his immediate environment than is the stone, flower or cat, but wherefrom did that rather false notion of "freedom" he bears come from; Where COULD that come from?

To answer the question, we look for an analogy. A human can calculate. He then can create a computer to do calculations for him.

Similarly, G-d is independent. G-d is All There Is, and nothing BUT He exists. This is why and how He could imbue all us creatures with that "feeling" of independence. It is not true we are independent, but that illusory independence is at least "felt" to be true.

Just as a computer calculates based on code it received by human programmers, the human being can "feel independent" because that's how G-d wired him up - to resemble "the divine image by which he was created"
ויברא אלהים את האדם בצלמו, בצלם אלהים ברא אתו
(Gen. 1:27)

The name "Adam" can derive from the root word Adamah (earth); But it also derives from the root verb Adame (to resemble), "אדמה לעליון", in that man resembles the Creator in certain ways ‫-‬ as in feeling independent, having intellect or reasoning power, even given the power to procreate.

Rumor re: 5775

A discussion is brewing online within the Groner family, שיחי''ו (Rabbi Leibel Groner was one of the Rebbe's secretaries).

The story is that the Alter Rebbe was once reading from Pekudei 38:28, which mentions the sum of 1775 talents collected.
ואת האלף ושבע המאות וחמשה ושבעים
Instead of reading the "hei" of "ha-elef" (the thousand) with a "patach", he read it with a "tzeirei" (which turns the letter "hei" into 5).

When the Alter Rebbe read it as “5775” his Gabbai corrected him. The Alter Rebbe then said again “5775”, to which the Gabbai once again corrected him. This repeated itself 4 times. Thereafter the Alter Rebbe went into deep meditation. When he quit his meditation he opened his eyes and whispered to the Gabbai that “5775” had something to do with the coming of Moshiach.

Rabbi Groner verifies the authenticity of the Rebbe previously revealing this story to at least one of his secretaries.

It is believed this story's source comes from an as yet unknown "Polish" sefer.

(And, as a blogger Rafi points out, here, 5775 = תשועה
and "every time the word תשועה is mentioned in Tanach, it always has to do with David. No exceptions.")

That's David as in "משיח בן דוד".

Let's hope the Alter Rebbe's prophetic story is confirmed.
This link, however, says the 5775 issue best!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

"Have Moshiach - Will Travel"

The Rebbe, the Moses of our generation (the 9th Nassi since the Ba'al Shem Tov‫(‬ is the "Head of the Jewish People",
 "ראש  בני  ישראל"
as the acronym of his title suggests.

He is the אתפשטותא דמשה in this generation and
גואל ראשון הוא גואל אחרון

Just as the head, which contains the brain, connects (via neurons) to all parts of the body, from head to toe, similarly the collective head of the Jewish body too connects with and reaches out to every Jewish soul, the world over.

The Lubavitcher Rebbe connects with every Jew. In any of Nature's infinite ways, the Rebbe can reach and touch every Jew, each in his own unique way.

The infrastructure to accommodate the Era of Final Redemption meanwhile stands in waiting. The technology to broadcast his revelation to every corner of the world is a few tweaks away from operation.

The Rebbe stands between God and the Jewish people as the perfect conduit for shepherding the faith of the Jewish people. The role of Moses, which is the role of the Rebbe, is to imbue every Jew with knowledge of and pure faith in G-d.

The Rebbe did his part, in that everything is primed for debut of the the final phase of redemption. Now "the ball is in the Jewish people's court" - for them to shape themselves into the final collective vessel. Every Jew can be switched "on" to Moshiach - if he wants.

The last thing left for Jewish people to do - is to accept the Rebbe as their redeemer, so he can assume his sovereign role (eg: link). Our sages tell us (not as crudely as I say it here) that, if there ain't no people to make him king of, then king he cannot be.

Recall the time King David, already anointed in public by Shmuel the Prophet, was on his way to kill Naval for insubordination. But the wife of his intended target deliberately crossed his path and reminded David that although he qualified as King, he was not yet officially king because the majority of Jews in Israel had not yet accepted him as such (See King David's Delayed Inauguration). King David acknowledged the truth she bore and turned back. He could not yet behave as king, even though his role already received divine sanction.

The Rebbe worked a lifetime to render his heartfelt mission. Already in early childhood he dreamed of Moshiach's arrival to redeem the nation. Since day 1 when he first took over the Chabad dynasty in 1950, he poured out tons of Chassidus, founded Jewish organizations and promoted Jewish awareness of the Redemption Era (which now most accept). He brought hundreds of thousands back to the religious fold and meanwhile planted his emissaries in every corner of the world.

The reason Chassidut blossomed in the world was to put into action a new tool to help effect the ultimate change the world requires. Chassidut opened the floodgates of a once secretive Kaballah and brought into the world a new light by which the coming generations will foster that transition. The 7th generation from the Alter Rebbe (or 9th from the Ba'al Shem Tov) merits today to finalize that transformation from exile into the Final and Ultimate Era of Redemption. For many years before that Moshiach was taboo or an esoteric yearning, far from a popular idea. The chassidic Rebbeim changed all that. The deep slumber of Jews in the diaspora has been shaken off. Every Jew today is ready to "travel" and hop on the bandwagon of Geulah.

All Jews carry business cards that read: "Have Moshaich - Will Travel!"

The Final and Ultimate Geulah can happen if every Jew or Jewish family would just do a little something towards the Geulah to crack it wide open already.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Who Owns the Torah?

Heard this anecdote worth repeating regarding the holiday of Shavuot.

On Shavuot we mark the holiday as the "wedding" of the Jewish people to Torah.

In a wedding ceremony, the bride is easily recognizable to all, whereas the groom looks very much like every other man around. The only way to know certainly who the groom is is to see who takes home the bride after the ceremony.

Similarly, regarding Shavuot, to know who really owns the Torah, who really marries Torah - it is he or she who takes the Torah "home" with them; That is, those who internalize this holy book's agenda.

Monday, June 09, 2014

The Next Israeli Election

Israelis can help Jonathan Pollard go free by placing him on a ballot for some position in Knesset, whatever the party. I know little about Israeli politics or how their elections operate, but surely - somehow - he can be made to qualify as an electable figure.

Either a new party can tout him as their candidate, or an existing party's leader can considerately forfeit his chairmanship for the sake of Pollard.

Then the people can vote. Many surely would vote for Jonathan Pollard. He could probably sweep in a broad victory.

Then, as long as America continues to hold this elected man incarcerated, she will be seen as the incorrigible impediment to his freedom to serve the country where, if he isn't yet, he be (made) an honorary citizen thereof.

Monday, June 02, 2014

The Rebbe, Rav Ovadiah - and a Pope

Here's a Rebbe story from 1964 (as per a Teshurah from a Simcha of Shlomo Giladi who recorded his Rav's anecdotes of an interlude at 770 [LINK]).

"... About that time, the protocol in Israel was that the Chief Rabbi of Israel served a life's tenure.

"At that time an event occurred that brought upon the entire country a public storm. The pope arrived in sovereign pomp to visit Israel.

"The Knesset very much wanted that the Chief Rabbi of then, Harav Nissim, should also come to meet with him and offer him his respects.

"He refused full-heartedly. Under the heavy pressure on him from the administration and from all members of Knesset who came to call to persuade him, he refused whole-heartedly.

"They fumed against the Chief Rabbi and legislated him out of office tenure, for he served out his "term" in office, thereby setting the rabbi out to pasture on retirement.

"The Rebbe railed and wailed against this political maneuver. He said it was huge chutzpah that they compromise the service of the Rabbi in Israel, etc. and therefore - it is forbidden for any rabbi to offer his candidacy for the Chief Rabbinate position.

"Nevertheless, two rabbis offered their candidacies, the Rav Ovadiah and the Rav Goren.

"Thereafter, when Rav Ovadia took office of the Chief Rabbi, etc., and in line with his position he wanted to visit the Rebbe, the Rebbe refused to see him ...."