Friday, December 05, 2008

Joy, Building Chabad Houses, Self Sacrifice

Usually, we learn Tanya. Today, I wanted to learn something special for Mumbai. I searched for a "mesirus nefesh sicha" and this is the first one I found. I gasped when I saw all the issues that the Rebbe addresses here in this Sicha from Simchas Torah 5747. We Want Moshiach Now!

Volume 33

Chabad Houses -- Everywhere

Simchas Torah -- A Time of Consolidation

Shemini Atzeres and Simchas Torah provides the proper time and setting for all the themes and accomplishments of the month of Tishrei to be absorbed and integrated into the person's Divine service throughout the coming year.

At the close of Simchas Torah we enter a period which personifies the Biblical narrative: "And Ya'akov went on his way" (Bereishis 32:2); we must now apply the lofty principles of the special days of Tishrei to the mundane matters of the regular days of the year.

On Simchas Torah we conclude the annual cycle of weekly Torah readings in the synagogue and we immediately begin the Torah anew by reading the first chapter of Bereishis:

In the beginning G-d created heaven and earth.

(Bereishis 1:1)

This juxtaposition of conclusion to beginning indicates that we must take the just completed Torah and apply it to matters of "heaven" and earth" and all their host, throughout the rest of the year.

It is therefore apropos that on Simchas Torah we should propose and accept good resolutions for the coming year.

Even more appropriate is the fact that the resolutions which we joyously accept on Simchas Torah carry with them the attribute of "bursting all restrictions."

A Time of Infinite Joy

On Simchas Torah we attain the apex of joy, for then we reach the culmination of the holiday of rejoicing. It is the nature of a joyous temperament and happy mood to disregard standing limitations or restrictions and to break out and rise above the set boundaries which meter, restrict or control.

Consequently, everything we do on Simchas Torah in the spirit of joy is done in a manner which "breaks the fences." Anytime you accept a commitment for the future you are circumventing the limitations of time by saying, "I commit now to do something later." When this commitment is in the form of a positive resolution accepted on Simchas Torah you add the special quality of Simchas Torah and ensure that your Divine service during the year will transcend the normal order and even go beyond the future, hoped for, measure.

A Time to Rise Higher and Higher

A Jew always ascends in his Divine service: "They go from strength to strength," so that what today is considered "great" will tomorrow be only mediocre, et. al. The transcendental power of Simchas Torah generates today, the potential to rise above all the future higher levels, in a manner of "bursting the fences."

This is true in all areas of Divine service and especially true in those areas of Divine service which essentially characterize the power of "breaking the fences."

Breach All Restrictions -- Spread Chassidus Everywhere

The Previous Rebbe initiated certain spheres of educational work to effect the spreading of Torah, Yiddishkeit and the wellsprings of Chassidus. For these tasks he appointed faithful emissaries whose job it was to carry out the necessary activities. All of this outreach work may be categorized as "bursting the fences," for it reveals the holy light of Torah and Yiddishkeit as well as the wellsprings of Chassidus everywhere, and even in the farthest "outside," beyond all measure.

The G-dly radiance also illuminates the gentile nations of the world, who become acquainted with Torah, when it is translated into the 70 languages. These efforts should start with information directed to the nations of the world to teach them to observe the Seven Noachide Laws, which will serve as a preparation for the promise of the future.

So that all the nations of the earth shall know the L-rd is G-d, there is none else. (I Kings 8:60)

Consequently, Simchas Torah is the propitious time to accept good resolutions in the areas of disseminating Torah and Yiddishkeit, as well as the wellsprings of Chassidus, to the whole world. The approach that Simchas Torah generates is to go above limitations and burst all fences, in order to generate a new creation: "In the beginning G-d created...."

A Time to Build Chabad Houses

All of these activities will be much stronger when they are associated with established houses of prayers, Torah study, charity and good deeds -- preferably one edifice which encompasses all these activities -- such as the "Bais Ohel Yosef Yitzchok Lubavitch" -- "Chabad Houses."

Chassidus explains that the broad area of human needs encompasses food, clothing and shelter. The house one lives in symbolically descends from the loftiest, transcendental state and therefore surrounds the person from a distance, costs more than food and clothing and lasts much longer. Thus, the house would metaphorically represent the condition of bursting out of any restrictions.

Spreading Torah and Chassidus also may take on several forms: A -- Torah may be taught intensely and internally, similar to food. B -- It may be taught abstractly, enveloping the person in a broad radiance of Torah and only then effecting proper absorption of details. C -- Torah may be presented as the revelation of a supernal radiance which cannot be captured, metered or defined. This third form would be similar to a house which encircles a person from a distance; it is the most effective approach.

This Bears Further Elucidation

When you settle in a community with the purpose of spreading Torah and Yiddishkeit there, you might put your effort into teaching Torah individually. You could visit every family and give them individual attention, and speak to them in a personal manner in accordance with their needs, talents and character. This approach represents a limited or metered radiation of light.

There is, however, another form of illumination that transcends the limitation of measure. By building a house of Torah, prayer, charity and acts of lovingkindness, you will not need to go and seek out each individual Jew, for they will all flock to the center, to pray, to study Torah or to contribute to charity.

This approach would be analogous to the oft-mentioned parable given by the Previous Rebbe of a lantern-lighter who walks the streets of the village and kindles the street lamps.

A Time to Kindle Light

When you arrive in a place of (spiritual) darkness, where so far the light of holiness has not penetrated, the best advice is to kindle a lantern in the middle of the street. By nature, people will be attracted and will gather around the light so that you will not need to go knocking on doors to seek out the populace and to illuminate their lives. (They may not open the doors). Here they will gravitate to the light on their own, from such places that you did not even imagine.

This analogy will hold true for a house of Torah, prayer and charity and then your success in disseminating Torah and Yiddishkeit will be much greater.

A Time to Expand

Thus, now is the right time to encourage the establishment of "Chabad Houses." Wherever there are Jewish communities Chabad Houses should be built, as soon as possible. Existing Chabad Houses should be expanded, by adding a room or another story. This will increase the efforts quantitatively and qualitatively.

Some explanation is in place to justify the seriousness and necessity of this project to everyone.

Years ago when the emissaries of Lubavitch began building Chabad Houses a cloud of doubt hung over the efforts -- "Could they succeed?" After all:

One who girds the sword shall not boast as one who ungirds the sword. (I Melochim 20:11)

Now, after 30 years of activities in the areas of spreading Torah, Yiddishkeit and the wellsprings of Chassidus to the "outside," we have seen the success of these efforts. Therefore, wherever a Chabad House will be built now there is an absolute guarantee that they will see great and overwhelming success.

The experiences of the past 30 years have taught how to overcome all possible difficulties and obstacles.

It goes without saying that expansion of existing Chabad Houses will continue to expand the success that has been seen in the same Chabad House.

So it boils down to the will and determination of the people, to join in this project with the designated emissaries who carry out the mission of the Previous Rebbe and Nassi of our generation, for now the path of the Shaliach is paved and clearly defined and everyone can walk it proudly.

To this project we may apply the Biblical dictum: "And put Me to the test with that" (Malachi 3:10).

A Time for Devotion and Self-Sacrifice

Whoever will commit himself, with devotion and self-sacrifice, to carry out this mission of spreading Torah and Yiddishkeit by building Chabad Houses, will be shown success and will be convinced, for he will see the positive results, himself.

May it be the will of the Al-mighty that we utilize this auspicious day to accept these resolutions regarding the establishment of Chabad Houses in every place. The joy of Simchas Torah will eliminate any limitations -- so that the entire project will move ahead bursting with joy, and will not be stopped or impeded for any reason, and from the outset it will move by "going from above," which will bring even more success.

The Time of Moshiach

This will lead us to the time of the fulfillment of the prophecy: "The breaker -- Dovid King Moshiach -- will come up before them" (Michah 2:13). Then the "house" will be the Bais Hamikdosh in its perfect form. Then, too, will we attain the perfect revelation of G-dliness in the world:

So that all the nations of the earth shall know that the L-rd is G-d, there is none else.

and;

The glory of the L-rd shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together for the mouth of the L-rd has spoken it.

(Yeshayahu 40:5)

May it also breach the limitation of time so that it comes soon -- speedily and truly in our time -- in a split second so that "they are redeemed immediately."

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