Eliciting Hashem's Response to the Cry Of Our Times
By Rabbi Shimon Raichik
In the 6th chapter of the Rebbe’s first maamar of Basi L’Gani 5711-1951 the Rebbe relates stories of the Rabbeim and their ahavas Yisroel. Although told in brief they are there to remind us to act in a similar way and hearing the stories makes it easier for us, as we follow in their footsteps.
This year is also the fifth year of this 20-year cycle of reviewing the maamar from the Previous Rebbe from 5710-1950. Last week we mentioned that the special focus of this year is on the 5th chapter, which discusses shtus d’kedusha.
The story brought in the maamar about the Alter Rebbe is about how the Alter Rebbe went to save a young mother on the edge of town who was cold and starving by chopping wood and cooking for her and her newborn child. When did he go? He went on Yom Kippur in the middle of davening. One might say that he doesn’t hear the extraordinary in this because this is exactly what the Torah demands; pikuach nefesh, saving a life which pushes away the prohibitions of Yom Kippur; so of course he went on Yom Kippur! One might ask that he could have easily sent someone else so why did he go himself have and interrupt such a high level of davening on the holiest day of the year? We know that for situations such as these, there is a mitzvah b’gadol, there is a mitzvah for him personally to go. You need to show that first it can be done and also a simple person may not necessarily know what he can and cannot do etc.
Notwithstanding these considerations we see the greatness of the Alter Rebbe from a different angle. It is well known that during davening the Alter Rebbe was completely removed from the physical world. He was found rolling on the floor calling out to Hashem. I don’t want your Gan Eden! I don’t want your Olam Haba! I want only you! As the Alter Rebbe sat in shul with his tallis over his head in the middle of davening on Yom Kippur on the highest level of cleaving to Hashem completely removed from the world, in that state, he heard the cry of a simple Jew with simple needs on the other end of town?! This paradoxical state of being so removed yet so sensitive to others and be able to hear the cry, shows us some of the extraordinary greatness of the Alter Rebbe. The fact that this enabled the Alter Rebbe to take the action he did is shtus d’kedusha, beyond the normal.
What practical lesson can this teach each one of us in our daily lives? How can we possibly reflect this lofty conduct in our daily affairs? The cry of another person my not be so obvious from our vantage point. We may be preoccupied with other concerns. The person we need to help may not be crying outwardly. They may be symbolically on the other end of town beyond earshot, not advertising their difficulties. It might be a quiet change in their behavior, or a look in their eyes that tell that they are crying out. When we hear the cry of another person, we do not look the other way. Sometimes we have a laundry list of excuses we make to feel ok looking the other way, such as: It’s not my business. Someone else will handle it. I’m a busy person. I’m busy right now with a lofty level of davening or learning, etc.
When we hear about a problem from someone else it’s a lesson to get involved. Think it over; does he need money? Is there a call I can make or a connection I have that can help? Most often there is something that we can do that is helpful. But we still need to take it another step. Follow up. What happened, did it work out? Is there still something left of the table that needs to done?
By staying connected and following in the ways of the Rabbeim in general and by learning Chassidus and being deeply involved in avodas Hashem we gain the insight required to hear they cry of another both open and hidden. By hearing the cries of others and acting upon them may we be zoche that Hashem hear our cries of Ad Mosai, even when we may not be able to say it loudly or clearly enough, and end this final galus with the complete revelation of Moshiach Now.
A Good Shabbos