Devar Torah - Re'eh

Friday, 14 August, 2020 - 2:21 pm

Taking One Small Step Today is One Giant Leap Toward the Geula

By Rabbi Shimon Raichik

This week we read parsha’s Re’eh and it’s Shabbos Mevarchim Chodesh Elul. Elul is the last month of the year. Elul is dedicated to making a review of the year past, doing teshuva and preparing for a better year ahead.

In a fabrengen (Shabbos Parshas Re’eh Mevarchim Chodesh Elul 5729-1969) the Rebbe discusses how unmoved and lacking of feeling and appreciation we can be for the important difference that the avodah of Elul makes in our lives.  The preoccupations of business, news, trends and our physical needs desensitize us to the difference between Elul, Iyar, or Shevat. Shabbos we feel a difference because  we put aside our weekly activities, wear different clothes, eat different foods and daven differently. When it comes to the differences of Elul and the other months often we don't see or feel those differences. We live like  any other day  similar in our conversation and in action. Yes it is true, we take two minutes to say ‘L’David Ohi vYishi’ and hear the sound of the Shofar,  but that's it. People say the  same thing with regard to the weekly Parsha .  They say; ‘We read this every year, what's new that I haven’t already heard before?’ 

On July 20th 1969 the Apollo 11 was the  space flight that  first landed humans on the moon. In the summer of 1969 this  is what captured the imagination of the world.  People were riveted and excited by this accomplishment in the days and weeks that followed. In the fabrengen the Rebbe  noted that the excitement distracted people to the point that it was affecting their focus in davening and learning. The Rebbe  said that enough time has passed to learn the lessons in avodas Hashem from Apollo and questioned the excitement. The Rebbe asked why it is amazing that after spending billions they were able to reach the moon which is only a finite amount of miles to travel. It's the same qualitatively as a regular plane flight. How does it compare to the journey of the neshama from it's exalted place above to the pit down here below? This is a much greater and incomparable journey in contrast not just quantitatively but essentially qualitatively.  The neshama is carved out from underneath the Throne of Glory even higher than the exalted heights and from there he goes down and is clothed in a body of flesh and blood in this physical world even lower than the deep pit. All of this energy that was invested in bringing the soul down into the body can only be accomplished by the Creator. All of this was done in order to fill the mission within the days that were set aside for this purpose. What can be more vital and central to one's focus than fulfilling this mission, not just a mission of a few extra miles than an ordinary flight.   This journey of the neshama surpasses without comparison a journey to the moon or Mars or even the most distant star. 

Our neshamos  came into this world to serve Hashem through the Torah and mitzvos  to the point that we are on the level of Re’eh,  the point that we are moved  and excited  because is so visual that we can see it. This is incomparably more valuable than seeing Apollo 11 on television! The power of a Jew is not expressed in either a quantity or quality, it's an expression of his or her essence. It doesn't depend on how many mitzvos or the quality of one's refinement.  By doing a mitzvah we take a physical object and change its essential identity from a physical object into a holy object. This is the power of the neshama in the body that was given by Matan Torah.  

Just as we should be moved by our overall mission in this world, so too we should be moved by the theme month of Elul, Ani lDodi v’Dodi Li,  I am to my beloved and my beloved is to me.  Every day of the month should be filled with a heartfelt review and preparation for the year ahead. Just like the  astronauts on the Apollo 11 needed special clothing  and had to press specific buttons to accomplish their mission so too with our avodas Hashem.  Our clothing needs to be free of shatnez and we need to wear tzitzis.  We need to press the buttons of physical activities made into mitzvos such as putting on Tefillin. The concept of Tefillin is to bind and to open our minds and hearts to Hashem. The Alter Rebbe says that this is not only the intention but a part of the mitzvah. So too with all mitzvos done with thoughtful attention, we connect everything to Hashem with our physical actions. As we do each mitzvah we don;t just think about binding ourselves but we intend to bind everyone together through the mitzvah similar to the lulav and esrog. This is how we change the world for the better. With each  step that we take we make a giant leap forward. With one act we can bring Moshaich. 

This is who we are and this is what we can accomplish. When we live and feel this way and we live fully in the days  of Elul,  it is obvious and apparent to anyone who looks upon us. 

In Igros Kodesh (Volume 6, 2 Menachem Av 5712) the Rebbe  responded to a person who requested a bracha  to increase his hiskashrus.  This individual wrote that until now he had not had the opportunity to receive guidance and encouragement from anyone that he was able to learn  Chassidus and good character traits.  But now, having seen (my father) the Chosid Rav Menachem Shmuel David HaLevi Raichik  and having meditated on his ways, he became aroused with an increased desire to connect to ‘Ilana dChaya, the living tree’, penimius HaTorah and Toras HaChassidus.

The Rebbe responded with words of inspiration based on the saying of Chazal “Yagati u’metzasi taamin,  If you toil and then you find results it is believable”.  The meaning is that since he has been aroused with an inner will and desire certainly he will achieve his objective through his efforts. He does not need to be overwhelmed if he achieves his desire all at once. 

Nowadays we have been blessed with technology  that enables us at any time to tap in on our phones to see and hear  lively examples and be inspired by them to fulfill our mission.  The Rebbe is visible 24/6  to be felt, seen and to connect. 

May we merit to greet the King in the field this Elul with the coming of Moshiach

A Good Shabbos, A Good Gebentched Chodesh
A Kesiva v'Chasima Tovah

(Adapted from the fabrengen Shabbos Parshas Re’eh Mevarchim Chodesh Elul 5729-1969)

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