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Devar Torah - Yisro

Friday, 25 January, 2019 - 10:00 am

Why Lubavitcher Chassidim Don’t Follow the Polls
By Rabbi Shimon Raichik

Coming from Yud Shevat and learning and remembering how the Rebbe discussed the important issues of our time one can see a thread of the Rebbe’s vision that goes through all of them. Whether the Rebbe spoke about Eretz Yisroel, education, spreading Chassidus or Mivtzoyim the Rebbe saw the essence of the problem, the impassioned purpose for improvement and the desired goal through and through. And then Rebbe did not hesitate, bend, waver or falter in accomplishing that goal. The Rebbe’s example gives us a template, it teaches us a way forward today as we go about addressing the problems of our time.

From the Rebbe we learn to be bold in seeking the Torah’s answers to all of the problems of today. We learn to go forward and implement those answers without hesitation and without faltering. We don’t need to check the polls or look into the newspapers for guidance, nor do we need to fit in and seek compromise. If we cannot find a good answer, we can look into the Sichos and Maamarim and letters of the Rebbe to find answers to almost any question. If we are still confused we can turn to those who know better and get their insight.

This week’s parsha begins with the words; “Yisro heard”. Rashi asks; what was it that Yisro heard that caused him to leave everything behind, his family and home to go into the brutal desert to seek the Torah. Rashi answers that he heard about Krias Yam Suf and milchamas Amelek. What was it about these two things that caused him to leave? When he heard about Yetzias Mitzrayim he didn’t leave. Why were these events so different that they, not Yetzias Mitzrayim caused him to change his life and the life of his family forever?

The Rebbe explains that he heard about the wonders of Krias Yam Suf. He then heard that afterwards Amalek came and fought the Jewish people to cool them off, to take the edge off the awe that they had experienced from the miracles. The verse says; “Asher karcha”, which means they (Amalek) made us cold. They reasoned to the Jewish people; why do you get so excited about the miracles? Of course there are miracles, Hashem can do anything he wants. Chill out.

Some might think that the best way to combat that chill in our everyday lives is to take incremental steps; by saying extra Tehillim or learning an extra chapter in the Tanya. We think that step-by-step it will take away the cold. These are very good and important things but for coldness it’s not enough. To push off the coldness we need to be bold, we need to take a stand. At times such as these, we can only do it by leaving everything behind, going into the desert and being together with Moshe Rabbenu. Then things will change, the real change that you can believe in. That’s the lesson of Yisro’s journey. He didn’t just sit back and contemplate the miracles. Instead he was bold and went out into the desert and joined Moshe Rabbenu. This is the idea of shtus d’Kedusha serving Hashem beyond reason that the Rebbe discusses in the Basi l’Gani Maamar. Calculations just don’t work; the yetzer hara knows all of them.

The Rebbe wants us to jump in and go beyond our intellect in all that we do. We need to be bold and firm, taking a stand for the right thing without wavering. If it’s hard then go to the Ohel, write a Pan and speak to the Rebbe.

A Good Shabbos

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