I started reading this book on Shabbos, as a preparation for Gimmel Tammuz. In the past, I have rarely focused on any aspect of Gimmel Tammuz aside for it being the day that the Rebbe passed on from this world, and I realized it would be appropriate to learn about "the Frierdiker Rebbe's Gimmel Tammuz".
I dunno if I'm allowed to talk like this, but the Frierdiker Rebbe writes phenomenally. Reading the translated memoirs, I felt like I could personally guide you through the silent darkened corridors of Spalerno, in and out of the multitude of rooms and offices, up and down the iron ladders. But I wouldn't dare--the guards and their ever-present ammunition frighten me. And apparently, the Rebbe himself was emotionally effected from the prison. The Rebbe writes of moments that were extremely difficult for him, of his emotional outbursts, of his searing pain, of his hearing words that caused him to shudder, of his fear.
Yes, the Frierdiker Rebbe writes in his memoirs that he felt fear.
Suddenly the cry of a man begging for mercy was heard, and then an officer's voice in Russian, commanding, "Place your hands on his mouth to silence him." Then a heavy silence. My hands and knees trembled. In a moment I would faint. From the courtyard I suddenly heard a bizarre cry. "Ay, Ay!" and the sound of rifle shots. A wellspring of tears flowed from my eyes. I felt incapable of uttering a single word. Fear gripped me upon hearing footsteps approaching our room. Once again a door opened.
And later on, the Rebbe writes-
The announcement was heard, "Lay down to sleep." I had already recited the evening prayers and was lying in my bed. We suddenly heard footsteps approaching. We were gripped by fear. A few seconds passed. The locks were opened. The ray of a flashlight shone into the cell. We looked at each other in astonishment, confusion, and the very fear of death.
It was weird. It was extremely weird for me to read that the Rebbe felt fear.
The Rebbe? Fear??
But a Rebbe is above that! A Rebbe is above all human responses and emotions! A Rebbe doesn't deal with such things...things such as...such as...fear!
But no. The Rebbe did deal with fear.
He dealt with it and then dealt away with it.
But he did experience it.
That first excerpt ("Suddenly the cry...") continues with a description of what happened the rest of the night: the sounds of gunshots and human beings crying out in intense pain which lasted until dawn and the Rebbe ends off, "I obviously could not sleep".
A cool breeze wafted in through the window. The oppressive silence of death prevailed in that place of wanton murder. My pain had diminished somewhat, fear passed from me, an exalted spirit steadied me, and my thoughts merged into meaningful order. My first thought was "It is written, 'the world abounds with G-d's glory,' and this includes Spalerno also." The image of Petrropavlovskaya Krepostj and the imprisonment of my grandfather the Alter Rebbe, our first father, of blessed memory, stood before my eyes. I beheld this vision while fully awake. How powerful is the faculty of thought and the quality of imagination, enabling man to envision mental imagery as if it were authentic experience. At such a time one can entirely transcend the wasteland of the physical and the material. The eyes blur, one's thoughts surge as though ascending within the realm of soul and spirit, man's pain-ridden flesh is alien and distant from him.
So yes, there was fear and that excited and encouraged me.
Why was that so?
What use have I for an angel of a leader?
What good can be accomplished when I'm guided by a different species?
If I cannot relate to my teacher, and my teacher cannot empathize with me, I can little learn from him.
To read that the Frierdiker Rebbe was afraid, calmed me.
Now I know that I too can deal with fear.
Earlier, I had imagined that it was way out of the Rebbeim's realm to be frightened of such things.
There was this immense separation between us-I get scared when I hear footsteps, you automatically think of levels of Elokus and what footsteps represent in Avodas Hashem.
So there was always this block.
And a block that didn't just sit in its corner, blocking only one pathway, but rather a moving block.
Yes, emotional blocks are moving blocks.
So, when you told me to do all I can and you're giving over your job to me, the block moved there and said, 'You can't do it. You don't have the strength, the ability, the vision that the Rebbe has.'
But now there's no block.
I do have the strength, the ability, the vision.
If the Rebbe could overcome the occasional fear he experienced in the notorious Spalerno prison, I too could overcome the fear I experience in my own life.
It's not that I'm making the Rebbe on our level.
No, don't think that.
It's that now I have another channel through which I can connect to my Rebbe.
When the Rebbe instructs me to relentlessly hunt down Jews in love, to help them reveal their connection to Hashem, I know I can do it.
The Rebbe is really talking to me. The Rebbe really knows my abilities. The Rebbe really can trust me.
I suddenly feel so empowered.
I'm now going to post part of an email from R' Boruch Kaplan-
In last week's parsha there are two very powerful messages that assist in understanding this relationship [ed-our connection to the Rebbe] and its importance in our lives.
I feel bad that I'm too tired to finish writing up my thoughts properly. I started organized but then had to stop and now I'm exhausted. I guess it fits though. Who has organized thoughts regarding the Rebbe on Gimmel Tammuz?
There are tons of things (especially from R' Yossi Jacobson) that I recently heard and read that I want to share. I wanted to do it properly, yknow summarize etc, but like I said, I'm just way way too tired.
The following was written by R' Dov Greenberg.
R' YY Jacobson said that when he watched the Rebbe in shul, it seemed to him as if the Rebbe was conducting a symphony of musical souls. In the rebbes world, each Jew represents an individual note in the symphony of Jewish history, conscience, future and eternity.
Think about song.
Unlike conversation, where another voice in the midst of your words is deemed an interruption, melody is only enhanced by harmony.
Just as every note is crucial to the melody, so every Jew is crucial to the melody of our history, of our present and of our future.
And the Rebbe didn't only teach this idea, the Rebbe didn't only live this idea, the Rebbe didn't only lead us with this idea--but the Rebbe actually gives us the strength to do it (Chanie, like what you said)
Ashreinu Mah Tov Chelkeinu.
The whole flow of this post really makes sense, it does--Seeing that the Frierdiker Rebbe was afraid and then dealt with it, made me realize that I too can do 'Rebbe' things and what kind of things are Rebbe things? Well, I just posted some articles explaining.
WE WANT MOSHIACH NOW!