Devar Torah - Nasso

Friday, 3 June, 2011 - 2:46 am

The President of the United States stated in public that Israel should negotiate based upon the pre 1967 borders. Later he said that he didn’t really mean exactly the pre 1967 boarders. Still he chose those words and read them from a teleprompter, knowing all the while that Israel’s Prime Minister was coming the next day. It is obvious that he really meant it and wanted to say it that way.

So what is it that brought him to say this? Since the Camp David accords the Rebbe said that the reason is because we compromise. And the more that we speak of compromise, the more they want and the more they mount pressure upon us to compromise even more.

What lesson do these things teach us standing before Shavuos? On Shavuos we received the Torah only after we gave our children as guarantors that we teach them Torah and raise them in the way that Hashem wants. Today we raise our children in a world of compromises, which leads to further pressures. What was once a “no” is now a “maybe”, and then peer pressure turns that into it being outright “allowed”. From there it snowballs into an “obligation”, and so it goes along the slippery slope R”L!

I grew up in LA in a time when we did not have many Yeshivas, Shuls or Kosher Restaurants. Do not even mention a Pizza Shop. There was no Chabad Yeshiva or Cheder; there was Toras Emes. All the parents in the community agreed that there was no option other than to educate our children to have a strong solid base of Yiddishkeit similar to how it was in Europe, as they were successful. The children who attended Toras Emes later went on to Yeshivas on the East Coast, and were at the level of their peers. Nevertheless my Father and Mother instilled a different standard than our friends because we were Lubavitch. What was permitted in other homes was not permitted in ours. There was a standard; not to say that we were all Tzaddikim, but there certain things that we could not or would not do. There was a standard of Kashrus of what we could and could not eat. The same was true of the media, what was and was not allowed in our home.

In school all the other children learned English and we were the only ones who did not. As a result, my brother Yossie A”H and (Y.B.L) I were shuttled from class to class, as per my Father’s wishes so that we would only learn Limudei Kodesh. There were some, even Rabbeim, who felt that my Father was sacrificing his children for his shita. He remained committed to a standard, and lived with that principle without compromise.

We lived in a time when there were no Rebbe videos, no tapes, not even Likutei Sichos. Nevertheless we knew who the Rebbe was and we knew who we were, Lubavitcher Chassidim, because of our Father. We knew the Rebbe through our Father. Looking back on those times, it encompassed everything he did. In all matters he would ask; “What does the Rebbe want from me?” This is why it penetrated us so deeply. It’s not because he taught us the Tanya or did homework with us, he wasn’t always home. Still, our home had that true chassidishe warmth.

After the Bar Mitzvah when we went to Yeshiva in Montreal, we had an urge, we were always available and searching to hear a good vort from a chosid. Whether it was from Peretz Moshkin, Nisen Neminov, Saadia Leiberow of Mendel Futerfas, we had a warmth and a desire to hear what a older chosid thought, felt and went through. The younger generation of today needs to appreciate this in their way as well. They need to find all kinds of ways to warm up and grab onto the true vitality and warmth of the Rebbe, Chassidus and Chassidim.

Children see the Rebbe through us. They look at what excites us, upsets us, what we speak about and our davening. Are we animated by 770, going to the Ohel, a story of the Rebbe or a chosid and going on Mivtzoyim; or are we excited about the Dodgers or the Angels? Anyone who learns Likutei Sichos and letters cannot fool themselves about what the Rebbe wants. But, peer pressure and wanting to be liked can place these things in jeopardy. There are things that people would not even think of doing 20 years ago; the way we look and dress, and the kinds of things we let into our homes and what we do. After all some think, it’s 2011 and after Gimel Tammuz....

Once we begin to compromise our values, one compromise leads to another, and over the years we imperil all that we stand for.

This Shavuos may we refocus and receive the Torah anew, a Torah Chadasha, the Torah of Moshiach, upon the solid foundations of our magnificent chassidishe heritage and standards based upon naaseh v’nishma in general and focused upon what the Rebbe wants from us now in particular. May we greet, together with the Rebbe, all the Rabbeim, Chassidim and forefathers Moshiach Now. Kabbolas HaTorah bSimcha u’bPenimius!

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