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Devar Torah - Va’era

Friday, 4 January, 2019 - 1:00 pm

Attend a Fabrengen!

By Rabbi Shimon Raichik

Our community just benefitted from a warm and uplifting fabrengen on Chof Daled Teves. We sang many niggunim of the Alter Rebbe, listened to motivating stories and words of chassidus, and shared the inspiring chassidishe environment. It is important to remind ourselves about the greatness of these fabrengens and how directly they impact our lives. The Previous Rebbe had a saying that a chassidishe fabrengen; warms the mind, warms the heart, and warms the participant until the ankles of his feet. When one arrives home from such a fabrengen he is accompanied by its light and warmth. By coming home from the fabrengen he makes the home a more illuminated and warm environment to live in. The Rebbe is clearly saying that the purpose of a fabrengen is to bring the fabrengen with you into your home and infuse it with warmth and life.

As we know, the Baal Shem Tov said that everything we see and hear teaches us a lesson in the service of Hashem. This is especially true with regard to one’s business and parnassah, where the majority of one’s days are spent. In a letter to the owner of a sack recycling business (Igros Kodesh v.4 page 302) the Rebbe learns the following lesson in the service of Hashem. Before this person invented his business these sacks were unusable. Not only would these unclean sacks, if reused, mix old materials with new, the materials previously used were contaminants and posed a health risk by their use. The owner of the business came up with the idea of placing the sacks into a high temperature area and was successful in expunging the contaminants making them reusable. So too, teaches the Rebbe, in the life of every person. In the years leading up to the bar mitzvah, all a person really knows about is his yetzer harah. Not only is his body is full of the characteristics of the yetzer hara, but the yetzer hara claims to be his first born and in charge. In this “sack”, meaning our body, we want to put things that are holy, Torah and mitzvos. If we do, it’s like we’re putting the Torah and mitzvos into a dirty sack full of “contaminants” meaning mixing it together with the character traits of the yetzer hara. What can be done can be learned from the business. We need to enclose ourselves in a very warm environment. This is the shul with warm davening, in the yeshiva, and in the warmth of a chassidishe fabrengen. In these environments one becomes filled with the love of Hashem, the love of Torah and love of a fellow Jew. Through this his body becomes purified from the yetzer hara.

It isn’t enough to have done this in the past. Every day one must spend some of his time in a place of warmth on an ongoing basis in order to stay pure. With this in mind we prepare ourselves go to a fabrengen; and for this reason we go often. This is what motivates us and brings enthusiasm when we look forward to the upcoming Yud Shevat fabrengen.

Some say you need a lot of mashke to go to have a good farbrengen. The Rebbe once wrote (Igros Kodesh v. 14 page 518-9) that if you want to be moved by the emes even one drop of mashke is enough; if not, then even an entire barrel won’t help.

(Adapted from Igros Kodesh)

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