Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Tzedakah miracle in Ir HaKodesh, week of Shabbos Chazon 5772

Reposted from facebook: 
last night i decided to take a walk around 1am. on my way back a sweet old lady approached me asking if i knew where a certain hotel was. i must note that since leaving my house i was filled with this expansive sense of love and suddenly the situation struck me as very odd that an elderly woman was roaming the streets looking for a place to stay for the night. i told her i did not know where the hotel was but i knew of a hostel nearby. we walked there but there was no room. then we tried another hotel, long story, it turned out the rooms there were $200/night, more than the woman had. at this point the woman began looking at stairwells and considering just sitting somewhere for the remaining night hours. the situation was heartbraking. i even offered to let her stay in my room on a mattress, but she did not want to impose. at this point we were in the ultra-orthodox jewish neighborhood of jerusalem, and i thought, perhaps someone knows of somewhere she could rest for the night, perhaps in a syngagogue or house of study. without really thinking i told her to wait and ran after one of the ultra-orthodox men walking the streets. i explained the situation and asked if he knew of a place she could rest, he said began to give up..then he said, that he has money, if that could help. as if to reject it i said no, the only room is $200, but thank you. he preceded as if i had said $5, pulled $150 out of his wallet and handed it to the woman while quoting from the talmud that the temple was destroyed because of a lack of love between people. together we giddily walked to the luxury hotel, only to find out that there were no rooms available! the man then said to the woman that it is not right to ask for charity back after it has been given, so the money is now hers. we considered several other hotels and the man walked off. as soon as he walked off the woman took my hand and we walked into an alleyway. she was beaming with excitement, she said, i will go to the local hospital and sit there for the night, now i have money for the whole week, i can stay somewhere nice while i find an apartment, maybe even save it for shabbos. in other words, hashem orchestrated a miracle..nothing could have turned out better. when i told a friend about this he said i had met the souls of abraham and sarah roaming the streets of jerusalem. now i know why i felt compelled to take a walk, sometimes we are but vehicles for the miracles that are scheduled to take place..
May the inherent righteousness and goodness of all our souls be revealed in full and hasten our full redemption, and may we merit to see the third temple speedily in our days, as one people with one heart.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Mesiras Nefesh for the inner teachings of Torah

"And Pinchas the son of Elazar saw" (Bamidbar 25:7)

Pinchas endangered not only his body (the tribe of Simeon threatened to kill him) but also his soul (what he did was against the sages' will), all to remove G-d's wrath from the people. 

Once, a fire broke out at the home of the Alter Rebbe, and one booklet of Chassidus was burnt. After the fire was extinguished, the Rebbe asked if anyone had studied the booklet. His son, the Mittler Rebbe, answered: But father, you had written on it, 'No one should open this book, not in this world, and not in the world to come!' The Rebbe replied: Where is your mesirus nefesh - your total desire, to the point of self-sacrifice - for Chassidus..?

(Likkutei Sichot 18, p. 319)

To order Dvar Malchut, a weekly collection of the Rebbe's teachings on the parsha in Hebrew, go to

Friday, July 6, 2012

I will redeem you in the end like the beginning; not in haste will you go out...

The following is a passage from the Lubavitcher Rebbe's address on the 13th of Tammuz 5718 (1958), the day on which the Rebbe's father, the Rebbe Rayatz, was miraculously freed from Soviet prison (translated as closely as possible from the Hebrew):

1. The entire matter of geulah (redemption) - even the geulah of the individual, and especially on the day of the geulah of a "neshama klalit" (collective soul), whose personal joy is a collective matter - this is done by the power of the first geulah, Yetziyat Mitzrayim, the Exodus from Egypt; and serves also as preparation and precedent and an additional step to hasten and bring closer the complete future redemption which will come by means of Mashiach.

2. In order for there to be geulah - there needs to be an "opening" (petach), a beginning, which gives strength, like in all matters.

This is the case as well with the exodus, as it says in the midrash, that Egypt was a situation from which even one slave could not escape, in other words, by the laws of nature, there was no way even one person could leave, even by way of smuggling them out, and nonetheless, the exodus from Egypt completely broke the natural order - 600,000 left, walking by foot, women and children included, leaving at the height of day, by an outstretched arm.

And this was an opening and a paving of the way for all matters of geulot which are beyond the laws of nature - there are geulot which are seen only by way of a hint on the worldly plane, and there are geulot that all eyes of flesh see which are the complete opposite of the natural order of things - like the geulah of the release of the Rebbe Rayatz from prison.

When an additional incident of geulah takes place during history, all of the prior redemptions are awakened, and are no longer only in the past.

And as it says in the Tanya, "our actions and service during galut" are the preparation by which we draw down all the matters which will be in the days of mashiach in the true and complete redemption.

When past redemptions are re-awakened, then all the geulot until now, all together, start again to enact in all their power - to bring the complete redemption, the future redemption which will come by means of Mashiach.

2. From the differences between the commencement of redemption - geulat mitzrayim - and the culmination of redemption, the final geulah by means of mashiach - geulat mitzrayim occured in haste (chipazon), while regarding the final geulah it says: 'you will go out, not in haste', but rather in comfort (nachat), as it says in Chasidus.

In the exodus from Egypt, it says: 'the people fled'. Because there was a need to extract them from the 49 gates of impurity, prior to the giving of the Torah, and so they needed to flee.

And because all matters are "for Yisrael who are called reishit - beginning', then the 'chipazon d'yisrael' - the 'haste of Israel' - also affected the 'hase of Egypt' and the 'haste of Shechina' (kivyachol) - as it says in Brachot and in the Midrash, that there are three things done in haste: the haste of Shechina, of Israel and of Egypt.

And from this we also understand why regarding the future redemption it says 'you will go out, not in haste' - that this will be the case in the world and also above (kivyachol), the sense of 'comfort', until the level of 'menucha l'chayei olamim' - eternal rest - above the principle of 'they will go from strength to strength'.

So it was in the exodus from Egypt, the people needed to flee, because although the exodus was supposed to extend 400 years, the Holy Blessed One 'medaleg al ha'harim' = 'skips over the hills', meaning that he 'skips over the end', cutting 400 years to 210 years, and therefore, the people needed to flee from Egypt in haste, because galut still had a hold (achiza) on them.

This is not the case for the future redemption, as it says in the gemara, "kalu kol hakitzin' = "all the deadlines have passed", and "the thing depends on none else than teshuva" which is "in one moment and in one instant", there is no longer the hold of galus, and therefore, no need for haste.

4. On the other hand, an opposite point can be learned: When the people were in Egypt, were it not for the Holy Blessed One "skipping over the end", they should have stayed in Egypt many years (r"l); if so there would be a place for saying that they did not have the precious time to take advantage of the service of galut, because galut is not only punishment, but rather there is the principle: "charity G-d did for Israel, that he scattered them among the nations."

This is not the case now, before the future redemption which is coming - becauase "all the deadlines have passed", we must make precious and take advantage of every moment before the days of mashiach arrive, when 'the spirit of impurity I will remove from the earth' - then there will no longer be the principle of 'l'fum tza'ara agra' (according to the suffering is the reward), and there will not be two ways before a Jew to fulfill the command 'choose life', and through his free will he will connect to God's selfhood and essence, for this is the place of free choice, and the source of free choice.

As the Rebbe Rayatz said several times, we must make every moment of galut precious and fill each with the appropriate content of Torah and mitzvot and altogether service of Hashem, because it could be that in one moment, there will be 'the salvation of Hashem is like the blinking of any eye', for there is no barrier other than "one hour" in which Israel returns in teshuva to their father in heaven.

And so it is with the service of each and every individual - there is no time to say, 'I'll change, when I have the time', because these could be the very last moments of galus, and after these will come 'the years about which you say 'I have no desire for them'' - 'night like day will shine', the complete redemption by means of Mashiach.

Shabbat Shalom

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