By Holding on to the Rebbe’s Door Handle
we Get Lifted Up to Fulfill the Shlichus!
By Rabbi Shimon Raichik
A Good Yom Tov. The Alter Rebbe said that whomever participates in his simcha, the simcha of Yud-Tes Kislev, the commemoration of his release from prison and the nullification of the heavenly decree against spreading Chassidus will merit three things. 1. To be taken from personal metzar-constrictions to merchav, an expansion: 2. To be taken out of physicality and lifted to ruach-spirit, and: 3. To be taken out of gehenom-pugatory. The Rebbe Rashab explained all of these three as spiritual elevations. To be taken out of gehenom is to be elevated from the hustle and bustle of our daily demands that block our vision so that all we think about is for today’s concerns and what we can get for ourselves. To be taken from physicality to spirit is to go from Yetzira to the world of Briyah-Creation, and to be taken from any constriction to an expansion is to go from Briyah to Atzilus, the world of Emanation.
The Rebbe the Tzemach Tzedek explained participating in the simcha in the following way. To participate means to “anhaltin the klemka” to take hold of the door handle of the Rebbe’s room. Taking hold of the door handle means to desire to enter the Rebbe’s room and be entirely united. What is the doorknob of the Rebbe’s room? The door handle is the time in our souls that we set aside for the study of Chassidus and the manner in which we live and act in the ways of Chassidus and follow the minhagim. The Alter Rebbe can lift you up from the lowest level to the highest place, but if we do not participate in the simcha, then all we see is ourselves. Until we participate we are stuck, and it’s like we are in gehenom surrounded only by our personal concerns. All of us can enter the Rebbe’s room because Chassidus has equality of access for all, not only for the very learned. With Chassidus even the simplest person can go out of gehenom and reach the highest heights (Based on the Yud-Tes Kislev fabrengen 5712-1951 and 5719-1958).
There is a story about the Rebbe Rashab who fought the Russian Government when they tried to legislate changes to Jewish education and Rabbbinics that would harm the proper observance of the Torah and mitzvos. When the Rebbe spoke strongly against the government at a public inquiry he was placed in house arrest. One of the Rabbonim attending the inquiry went to visit him in his room and found him distraught and crying. He asked him why he was so upset when he had done everything possible including mesirus nefesh. The Rebbe answered that it didn’t matter what he had done, even the mesirus nefesh if the decree had not been rescinded.
When someone looks over a business, how is he able to tell the difference between a worker and an actual partner in the business? During the day you cannot see a difference because they both work hard although for different reasons. The worker puts in an honest day’s work, and the partner keeps careful watch over the business. At night however there is a real difference. If you visit the worker’s home late at night you will probably see that he is sleeping soundly. After all, he worked hard all day and he’s now getting a well-deserved rest. If you visit the partner’s house however you may well find him awake worrying about the bottom line and thinking of new ways to insure that the business prospers. The Rebbe Rashab has the concern of an owner and therefore although he really had done all that is possible, still he was inconsolable because the ‘business’ hadn’t prospered, the decree had not yet been annulled. It’s different for a worker, although it’s disappointing, you did your part and that’s what’s important to the worker.
Once we grasp the door handle we are connected, it is possible for us as well to begin to feel the same way. Participating in the simcha requires that we take hold of the handle each day with renewed energy by keeping our commitments to learning living and acting like Chassidim. By fulfilling what the Rebbe desires for us our families, our communities and for the world. And then we are in his room.
We also need to always strive to bring Moshiach. This is what the Rebbe has called upon this generation to do. The Rebbe desires that we do all that we can to bring the geula now and to cry out uncompromisingly and in truth, Ad Mosai! To truly desire Moshiach’s coming like a real partner. To daven “Pada b’shalom nafshi- that Hashem should redeem my soul, that we should see it as our soul, our ‘business’ to get out of our focus on the daily demands and to go to receive Moshiach Now!