Chapt Arayn Yidden!
There was once a Poilishe Rebbe who, at his Melaveh Malkah,would ask his Chasidim to fill him in on the latest news of the world. The Rebbe would listen carefully to their stories of recent events and occasionally point out the lessons that could be derived from them.
One week there was a certain Chasid present who had just returned from a lengthy business trip abroad. The story he had to tell involved a powerful king, and a hunting expedition that had turned out to be quite an adventure.
One bright and sunny day the king had decided to go hunting with his closest advisor. Dressed in his hunting garb, the two men mounted their swift-footed horses and set out for the forest.
It was a beautiful day, pleasant and warm. But no sooner had the king and his friend entered the forest than the skies darkened. Black clouds obscured the sun and the wind began to whip the trees unmercifully. Within minutes the heavens opened, drenching the forest in rain. At first the hunters hoped it was a passing shower, but it soon became evident that the rain was not going to stop. The king and his advisor were soaked to the skin. Stranded in the middle of the forest, there was nowhere to go to seek shelter from the storm.
The rain continued. By now it was completely dark, and the path that they had been following was no longer visible. The ground was one big puddle. They had to admit that they were lost.
Even the horses were getting spooked. The two wayfarers lashed at them repeatedly, but their hooves kept getting stuck in the mire. To make matters worse, the hoots and howls of wild animals could be heard all around them. It made their skin prickle and their hair stand on end. The king and his friend were quickly losing hope. "Who knows if we'll ever come out of this alive," they worried. "If the animals don't attack us, we're sure to come down with pneumonia!"
The horses were so tired that they could barely move. Suddenly, way off in the distance, the king's advisor thought he saw a faint glimmer of light. The two men strained their eyes, but they could not be sure it wasn't just a figment of their imagination. Nonetheless, they changed course and set off in the direction of the tiny flicker.
A few minutes later they came upon what looked to be an abandoned hut. From its single window a faint light was visible. The king and advisor found a door. "Is anyone home?" they cried, pounding on the door with all their might. "Please let us in before we die of exposure!"
The sound of approaching footsteps was heard. The door was opened, revealing a tiny room no more than six feet by six feet. Its only furniture was a large wooden crate and a plank of wood resting on four supports, which obviously served the room's occupant as both table and bed.
"I would gladly allow you to stay the night," said the watchman who lived in the hovel, "but as you can see, there isn't enough room for guests. However, not far from here there lives a Jew named Moshke who used to own a tavern. Unfortunately for him the wheel of fortune recently took a turn for the worse. But he's an honest fellow, this Moshke. I'm sure he'd be happy to put you up for the night, even if the accommodations will be less than luxurious."
Throughout this conversation the watchman's floor was getting wet from the hunter's dripping clothes. Concerned that his meager belongings would be ruined, the watchman insisted that they leave, but offered to show them where Moshke lived. The three men set out for Moshke`s dwelling, with the watchman leading the way.
The three men rode for a quarter of an hour until they reached their destination. "Moshke! Moshke!" The watchman called out, knocking on the door. "You've got company!" The Jew who unfastened the lock half asleep. "Please let us stay with you the night," the king said.. "We are hunters who got caught in an unexpected storm. The sun was shining when we set out this morning, and the rain took us completely by surprise. We beg you to have mercy on us!" Without hesitating Moshke led them inside, and the watchman returned home.
Noting that his guests were trembling from the cold, Moshke immediately threw more wood upon the fire. "You must be terribly hungry and thirsty," he said, "but the only food I have to offer you is goat's milk. I used to be a successful innkeeper, with more customers than I could handle. But that's all gone now. The only thing left of all my possessions is a she-goat." Moshke sighed. "But room I've got plenty of," he added, brightening, "And you're more than welcome to stay here."
Moshke hurried into another room and returned with two mugs. Squirting directly from the goat, he filled them to the brim with the warm milk. The king and his advisor took them gratefully and gulped the milk down, paying no attention to its rather unpleasant taste.
Next, Moshke ran to the barn for an armful of straw, which he laid out on the floor in an adjoining room The "bed" was then piled high with a mountain of washed-out rags, the "blankets" with which his guests could cover themselves.
Without another word the two exhausted wanderers lay down to sleep. In minutes they were snoring peacefully. When the sun came up the next morning the king and his advisor were still asleep. By then the storm had long since ended, and the weather was once again fair and mild. In response to their request for directions, Moshke personally led his guests to the main highway to make sure that they wouldn't get lost. Before they parted ways, on of the hunters wrote down Moshke's exact name and address on a piece of paper.
It was around one week later that a highly unusual event occurred: Moshke received a letter in the mail. And not just any letter, but an official envelope sealed with the king's seal. Tearing it open with trembling hands, Moshke was shocked to learn that he was being summoned to appear before the king in three days. That was it. There was no explanation attached, nothing to indicate why the king would be interested in Moshke the Jew.
He was sure that the invitation was some kind of trap. Why else does the king wish to see me? he thought. He racked his brains for a possible enemy, someone he may have inadvertently offended, but could think of no one. "Whatever it is, it's nothing good," he told his wife.
On the appointed day, with tears in his eyes, Moshke left his wife and children in his eyes. Who knew if they would ever see each other again? Before setting off, Moshke went into a corner and poured out his heart before Hashem.
When Moshke reached the palace gates he showed his letter to one of the guards. "Excuse me, Sir," he said, "but do you have any idea what this is about?" The guard inspected the letter and told him that that type of paper signified that the person was to be admitted into the king's inner room.
He knocked on the door as he had been instructed and took a deep breath. The light inside the king's chamber almost blinded him at first. Moshkes' breath caught in his throat. He had no idea how many seconds passed, but all of a sudden he felt himself being squeezed in a strong hug. He looked up to see a smiling face, and a pair of eyes that were warm. When recognition dawned, Moshke almost fainted on the spot. It was the king! The king himself was hugging Moshke the Jew!
"I must be dreaming," he decided. Moshke wanted to pinch himself, but his arms were occupied. "Moshke, my friend, do you not recognize me?" To tell the truth, the voice was somewhat familiar. Moshke dared to gaze at the king's face for a moment longer and then it came to him. This was one of the guests who had suddenly appeared on his doorstep the other night in the middle of the storm! "Moshke , you saved my life," the king continued, still embracing him. "Whatever I give you as reward can never amount to even one percent of what I truly owe you. From this day on you and your descendants will be distinguished citizens. Your new home shall be a mansion, and the royal tailor is waiting to take your measurements for a new suit of clothes. As much gold and silver as you ask for is yours."
At that the king rang a tiny silver bell. A flurry of servants appeared to carry out his commands, and a royal carriage was immediately dispatched to fetch Moshke`s wife and children.
"Lost in the forest, far away from his royal palace, the king was in a state of exile, a condition so degrading that a humble bed of straw and a cup of 'goat's milk' were enough to cause him delight - so much so that he was willing to reward Moshke with half his kingdom. But when the king is in his palace, surrounded by his storehouses of gold, silver and precious gems, even the most generous gift of emeralds, sapphires and rubies is insufficient to win his favor.
"Yidden! Listen well! The Rebbe cried out suddenly. "While we are yet in exile, together with Hashem, the smallest sincere gesture is sufficient! Even if we only offer Hashem, a 'cup of goat's milk' -- with its unpleasant taste -- it is as pleasing before Hashem as the greatest treasure, and He will reward us beyond our dreams. All that is required is that we make the effort to give Him even this most tiny offering.
"Not so in the very near future, may it happen speedily in our days," the Rebbe concluded. "For when Moshiach comes with the full and complete Redemption and Hashem returns to His palace, even if we attain what we now consider to be the highest spiritual levels, it wont be enough. No matter how hard we work!
"So chapt arayn, Yidden! Grab it while you can! Take advantage of this golden opportunity while there is still time."
(Chasidic Stories Made in Heaven/Otzar Sifrei Lubavitch)
Where was the Rebbe MH"M?
Less than twenty years ago, Mr. Jacques Michel, a middle aged architect in Paris France, had been going through a very trying time. He had not been feeling well for some time and finally decided to see a doctor. After his examination, the doctor informed him that he would need a surgery. Jacques was rather alarmed at this news. Being a cautious person in general, he decided to go for a second option. As he sat in the waiting room of the second doctor, he became friendly with an elderly Chasidic gentleman who was in the waiting room as well.
Though Jacques was irreligious at the time and seemingly from a totally different walk of life, the two hit it off immediately. He found himself telling the bearded gentleman about his personal life. He also mentioned the situation of his present health t dilemma regarding the surgery. The man listened patiently and attentively to Jacques 's problem. When he finished speaking the man offered his advice. He suggested that Jacques should not go for surgery. He explained that the situation will heal on its own and surgery is unnecessary. Spoken with such conviction, Jacques felt convinced this man knew what he was talking about. He walked out of office intending to follow the advice given.
Several weeks passed and the condition completely disappeared!! To his pleasant surprise he felt perfectly healthy!
One day as was driving down one of the main streets of Paris he noticed a Mitzva Tank (mobile Chabad House). A picture hanging on the Tank made him very excited. He immediately stopped driving, and approached the young yeshiva students manning the Mitzvah Tank. "How could I meet the man in the picture?" The students looked at him in surprised, explaining that he would not be able to meet him at this present time.
Jacques was insistent that he must meet him. The boys were equally insistent that he couldn't meet him, because since Gimmel Tammuz, the Rebbe is concealed. Jacques was outraged at the poor excuse they gave him for not allowing him access to the Rebbe. In an annoyed voice he exclaimed, "I know for a fact that what you are saying is not true! I myself sat next to that Rabbi in a doctor's office just three weeks ago! He advised me not to have surgery. I would like to have an opportunity to thank him for his wonderful advice."
When Jacques realized that he had actually seen and spoken physically to the Rebbe he was overwhelmed. He was inspired and decided to become more actively involved in his observance of Judaism.
(Miracles Vol. 1 # 26)
Where was the Rebbe Rashab?
The lateness of the night hour in Rostov intensified the bitter frost outside. In the heated homes, the good citizens slept sweetly. There was only one house, which didn't know the difference between night and day. There was activity as though it was noontime. The tens of people who stood in the Rebbe Rashab's waiting room, were deep in thought this one thinking of his difficult situation, that one with his concerns. All hoped that the secretary, the Chassid R' Chonyo Morozov a'h would give them a turn as soon as possible.
Suddenly, the quiet was disturbed. The loud arguments that could be heard from the secretary's room greatly bothered the people waiting. Certain phrases could be made out: it was an aguna whose husband had deserted her and her young children. The situation was intolerable. She would break under the emotional and physical burden." You must treat me as an exception to the rule and allow me to enter to see the Rebbe", she demanded without letup. But the reaction of the secretary was to make it clear to her that she has no choice but to wait like all the unfortunate people on the list. The poor woman left with a downcast look on her face. She had been so sure that her salvation would come that night, and now the world became dark.
Suddenly a light shone, in the form of a young boy, Mordechai Aharon Freidman, a'h, who was a Ben Bayis (houseboat) of the Rebbe. Her sad plight aroused his pity and he hoped to help this desperate woman. He suggested that she write her problem on a paper and he would take care of it. With awe and love the young Mordechai Aharon, went to the table of the Rebbe, where the Rebbe would eat supper, and left the letter there, hoping the Rebbe would see it. Footstep could be heard. The Rebbe entered and saw the note on the table.
He took it and read it, then he turned to Mordechai Aharon and told him something. With hurried steps the boy left and headed for the waiting room. In low exited tones he told the woman the Rebbe's answer, "Go to Warsaw".
The aguna's great joy turned to concern. How would she obtain the great sum needed to make the trip to Warsaw? Her worried didn't last long. When the Chassidim heard that the Rebbe had instructed her to go to Warsaw, they quickly gathered the sum for her and the agunah was on her way. Her heart beat rapidly as the train stopped at its destination. The many travelers left quickly, each on his way. Only one woman walked with hesitant steps, lost in worried, weaving in and out of the many people. Where should she turn in this strange place? After a while she left the station and headed in the direction of the city. She walked for one hour and then another, and then suddenly, struck by intense loneliness, she sat and wept.
A person whose appearance testified to his Jewishness approached her. A red beard framed his face, and a black hat was upon his head. He offered his help. She told him of her plight and the events which led to her sitting there, and finally asked him whether he had heard anything of her husband whose name was X. The man replied in the negative, but informed her of a factory nearby which employed people of many countries. "Perhaps your husband is there, too." The woman, with renewed confidence, walked towards the factory. She saw a huge building crammed with workers. She went to the office and asked to see the administrator. She explained her problem and asked whether she could examine the roster of workers. The kindhearted administrator allowed her to search for her husband's name on the long lost of workers. Her heart nearly skipped a beat when she cam upon a familiar name. Encouraged and excited she turned to the room where the workers could found. She entered the room and began her search.
Suddenly she saw him! The husband was just as surprised to see his wife in Warsaw. They began to speak, but the woman despaired when she realized that her husband wanted to remain in Warsaw and not return home. Suddenly, her husband asked her, "How did you know where to find me?" The woman explained that the Rebbe Rashab sent her there. When her husband heard of the Rebbe's involvement he immediately changed his mind and decided to return home. Upon returning home , the wife wanted to immediately relate the good news to the Rebbe. But, the secretary told her to wait in line again. Some Chassidim suggested that she stand near the place where the Rebbe washes his hands before davening an d tell him the miracle then.
Excitedly, she stood to wait to see the Rebbe. The door opened and the Rebbe exited. She took one look at the Rebbe's face and fainted!! After reviving her, the Chassidism asked what was the cause of her fainting. She emotionally explained that the Rebbe was the same exact man who helped her find her husband in Warsaw!!
After the Chasidim somewhat calmed down, they tried to figure out at exactly what hour the woman was in Warsaw, and recall what the Rebbe was doing in Rostov at the same time. It turned out that the event occurred at the time the Rebbe went to daven. That day the Rebbe had tarried in his room before coming out to daven. When they saw the time passing, they were very curious to know what was keeping the Rebbe.
They edged their way over to the window, and one of then volunteered to climb up and peek into the window. When he stuck his head into the window, he recoiled immediately, while screaming, "Oy, Rebbe!" He took the others that the Rebbe was facing the window with his holy face burning like a torch.
"Uh huh," said the storyteller to the crowd. " He did indeed see the Rebbe in his room in Rostov, nevertheless the Rebbe was in Warsaw!!"
(Beis Moshiach # 112)
A Rebbe Never Makes Mistakes!
Chaim Zelig was a simple Jew. While not rich, he was certainly not poor. Chaim Zelig lived on an estate belonging to the local poretz. His livelihood was earned from the inn he rented from the poretz, which was located at a busy crossroads. The inn was also home to Chaim Zelig's wife and children.
Chaim Zelig was famous for his indignity, enjoying the respect of Jews and non-Jews alike. The peasants knew that if they ordered a glass of vodka it contained only vodka, not a mixture of vodka and water. If someone was short on cash Chaim gladly extended credit. He never pressured customers to pay, no matter how high their debt, and never accepted a penny more than was owed him. Everyone was greeted with a smile, especially those who hesitated coming to his establishment because they owed him money. All in all, the inn was a popular place to gather and seek lodging.
The poretz, for his part, was glad to have such a worthy tenant. Zelig's honesty Chaim Zelig always paid his rent on time, and never quibbled when the poretz demanded more. True he might ask for leniency, but if the poretz insisted on the increase, Chaim Zelig paid it.
Things continued for several years until Ivan, the manager on the poretz's properties, appeared at the inn. "The poretz asks you to come to him at the first available opportunity," he announced "there's no rush; it needn't be today or tomorrow". Chaim Zelig asked him for this sudden invitation, but Ivan was evasive. "I really don't know."
There was something in the manager's manner that made him suspicious. He tried to think back over the last few weeks. Had he offended somebody? Had he been less than courteous to one of his guests? Chaim Zelig couldn't think of anything he had done that would displease the poretz. Everything had seemed fine at the time.
What was the reason he was being summoned? The rent wasn't due yet for another month? If he was asking for an increase why wouldn't he mention it then, as he had already don many times before? What was different now?
Chaim Zelig had a bad feeling. He tried to push it from his mind, but his anxiety only grew. There is nothing to be gained by postponing the meeting, he thought to himself. I might as well get over with it as soon as possible. At least then, I'll know for sure what the poretz wants.
When he arrived at the poretz's mansion, he was received politely, although surprised by his irregular visit. Chaim Zelig kept a smile on his face and walked directly to the poretz's office.
The poretz was cordial and asked him to be seated, but Chaim Zelig got the impression that it was only the calm before the storm. After inquiring about the health of his wife and children the poretz got right down to the point.
"Zelig, I have some very unpleasant news for you," he said his face serious "I've decided that I will not be renewing your lease for the coming year. You have one month to pack your belongings and leave the premises. You'll just have you find another source of income."
"Merciful and gracious poretz!" Chaim Zelig cried. "What have I done wrong? Haven't I always been honest in my business dealings?"
"I'm sorry, but my mind is made up. It is my final decision."
"Haven't I always paid you whatever you asked?"
"Zelig, don't even try. Whatever you say won't make a difference."
"But at least tell me why! Why are you throwing me out into the street?"
The poretz was angry. "I don't have to give you an explanation! The inn is mine. It is mine to do whatever I please."
"But I'll pay you double, kindhearted poretz."
"Enough!" The poretz thundered "I can't stand false flattery! You and you're family must be gone by the end of the month. If you continue this detestable bowing and scraping, you'll see how kindhearted and benevolent I really am." The poretz spat with contempt.
Chaim Zelig was almost crying when he left the office. Weeping and wailing filled the house when Chaim Zelig broke the news to his wife and children. No one could understand why the poretz had suddenly decided upon this drastic measure.
The clock was ticking; time was of the essence. As a Chassid of the Tzemach Tzedek, he decided to leave for Lubavitch. Only the Rebbe's blessing could save them now. Grabbing his talis and his tefilin and a small package of food, he set out on a journey. As soon as he arrived he went directly to the Rebbe's gabbai and requested a yechidus. "I have something urgent to discuss with the Rebbe," he explained.
Chaim Zelig entered the Rebbe's holy room and burst into tears. When he finally composed himself he related the entire story. "Rebbe," Chaim Zelig began "My whole life has been spent being nice to people and dealing with the honestly. Now, out of the blue, the poretz wants to evict me! I don't know what his motives are; he refuses to tell me. What will I do? Where should I go?" Chaim Zelig was at loss of words "I don't see any solution to the problem. I have no idea how to soften his heart. However, it might help if the Rebbe wrote a letter to the Chassid who is known as 'Berel the Short.' He is a very wealthy man. If he intervenes on my behalf, there's a small chance that the poretz will listen."
The Rebbe thought for a moment. "Writing a letter to Berel isn't all that bad an idea. I will do so immediately, and may G-d help you." "Amen!" Chaim Zelig answered gratefully. The Tzemach Tzedek withdrew a piece of paper and pen from his desk drawer. After writing a few short lines he folded the page, inserted it in an envelope before handing it over to Chaim Zelig. To excited to even glance at the envelope, the innkeeper stuffed it into his pocket.
With a spring in his step, he left the Rebbe's presence, assured that his holy blessing would bring help. It was not until later that Chaim Zelig thought to examine the envelope. When he did, he almost fainted! He rubbed his eyes; maybe there was something wrong with his eyesight. But no, the words remained the same. The envelope was addressed to Berel the Tall, not Berel the Short! Both Berels were Chassidim of the Tzemach Tzedek; both traveled to the Rebbe frequently to ask his advice. But that is where the similarity ended. Berel the Short was a successful businessman whose fortune had been made in forestry. He was so rich that he often lent money to nobles and princes. Berel the Tall, was a teacher of small children. He earned a meager salary. Many times he was forced to borrow money to feed his family. This Berel had never spoken to a poretz or prince in his life.
Chaim Zelig's first thought was to return to the Rebbe to point out his - what should he call it? A mistake? An oversight? - But he knew it was highly unlikely to be permitted another Yechidus. He was terribly confused and upset. How in the world could Berel the Tall possibly help him? Chaim Zelig went over to one of the Tzemach Tzedek's sons and told him his story. "Perhaps you might mention to the Rebbe," he concluded.
The Tzemach Tzedek's son was shocked to hear such talk. " My father does not make mistakes!" He told him in no uncertain terms. "If he addressed the letter to Berel the Tall, It is meant for Berel the Tall. If I were you, I'd deliver the letter right away, for that is where your salvation lies. Don't fix something that isn't broken. You'll only make the situation worse." The Rebbe's son had spoken with absolute faith that Chain Zelig was filled with hope. In any event, there was nothing to lose.
Chaim Zelig left Lubavitch and set out for the town where Berel the Tall lived. He knocked and handed him a letter. When Berel realized it was a letter from the Rebbe he ran to wash his hands and put on his gartel. With a sense of awe and fear he opened the envelope and read it's contents.
"Zelig, my dear friend," he said when he had finished reading, "there is no denying that you are in trouble, and that salvation seems impossible within the natural order --especially one that would come about through me. But that is only because we're looking at it with our own fleshy eyes. A tzadik's vision is different. The Rebbe can see from one end of the world to the other and knows the future. If we truly believe in the Rebbe's power we will merit to be helped. Strengthen yourself, my brother, for it will surely come. You are welcome to stay in my house until it arrives."
In the face of such confidence Chaim Zelig was ashamed of himself. Why, he was actually jealous of Berel's faith in the Rebbe, which was so strong and rooted that nothing could shake it. "This alone is reason enough to make my coming here worth while," he said.
Berel prepared for his guest a room in the attic, and Chaim Zelig settled in. a few days passed then a week, and nothing changed; it still seemed hopeless. Just thinking about Berel's faith in the Rebbe made all his doubts and fear disappear.
On the first day of the second week, the skies turned dark toward evening. The heavens opened, unleashing a torrential rain. The weather did nothing to improve Chaim Zelig's mood. He sat in the attic, huddled in his coat. I wonder what my wife and children are doing now, he thought to himself as a wave of homesickness overcame him. Tears rolled down his cheeks and wet his beard.
It was late at night. Suddenly Chaim Zelig heard loud knocking at the front door. "Please let me in!" a voice cried out, "I'm freezing to death out here! Take pity on me and open the door!"
Chaim Zelig ran down the stairs and flung the door opened. And who should be standing on the threshold? None other than the poretz, dressed in the traditional hunting garb. He was soaked to the skin that he looked like a wet chicken. Chaim Zelig was so shocked he couldn't speak. He begged to be allowed to seek refugee from the storm.
Chaim Zelig ran to awaken Berel. "Wake up!" He shook his shoulder, "we have an unexpected guest her. It's the poretz! The same one who wants to evict me!"
The poretz explained how he had gone out earlier that day, that has been caught unaware by a violent storm. "Another few hours outside and I would've die from exposure!"
By the next morning the storm had already passed. As he was about to leave the poretz turned to Berel and said, "I owe you my life. If not for you, I would have perished. Ask me whatever you wish. I am a wealthy man, and I will gladly fulfill your request."
"I am touched, illustrious poretz," Berel replied. "But thank G-d, I lack nothing. Hashem, who sustains the world and all it's creatures, has blessed me with sufficient livelihood to support my family."
But the poretz was insistent on rewarding him, and he wished to express his thanks. Berel the Tall thought for a minute. "If you really want to make me happy," 'he said, "there is one thing that you can do. I have a dear friend named Chaim Zelig, an innkeeper who finds himself in trouble. For some reason the poretz has decided not to renew his lease. If he and his family are evicted they will be left penniless, without a roof over their heads. The greatest present you could give would be to allow him to stay."
"Then consider it done," the poretz replied. "I owe you my life; in truth, there is no way I can repay you adequately. Zelig the innkeeper can continue to run the inn for as long as he likes. And not only that," the poretz added, "I hereby absolve him from paying rent for the next three years. It is the least I can do to show my appreciation."
Chaim Zelig was summoned and the poretz put his promise in writing. The document was signed and sealed.
Chaim Zelig then asked, "Dear poretz, there is one thing that remains a mystery. Why did you wan to evict me in the first place? Haven't I served you faithfully and honestly over the years?"
"To tell you the truth it wasn't anything personal'" the poretz explained. It wasn't even my idea. You see, I have a friend calledBerel The Short. I borrowed allot of money from him. A few days ago he told me that his brother-in-law lost everything in a fire. It was Berel the Short's idea to evict you. He wanted his brother-in-law to take your place. I had to agree to him. But now I changed my mind."
As soon as the poretz left, Chaim Zelig threw his arms around Berel the Tall. "How true were the words of the Rebbe's son when he said 'my father never makes mistakes!' I was a fool to think otherwise!"
"There's a lesson to learn from this," Berel the Tall said. "Just remember that faith in the Tzadik is the basis of a person's happiness and a key to all brochos."
(Chassidic Stories Made in Heaven/Otzar Sifrei Lubavitch)
Journey to the Holy "Ohr Hachaim"
During the time of the Baal Shem Tov there lived in Eretz Yisroel, a very great tzadik by the name of Rev Chaim ben Atar. The Baal Shem Tov testified that everyday Rabbi Chaim would learn Torah from Hashem himself. Indeed, until this day, Reb Chaim is still known as the ''holy Ohr Hachaim" after his holy sefer Ohr Hachaim.
Rev Yisroel Baal Shem Tov realized that if he would go to EretzYisroel and meet the holy Ohr Hachaim, then together they would be able to bring Moshiach. Therefore he sent a letter to his brother-in-law, the Tzadik Rev Gershon who lived in Eretz Yisroel. In his letter the Baal Shem Tov requested that the he find a way to contact the holy Ohr Hachaim and tell him of his plans to travel to Eretz Yisroel to meet him. Rev Gershon succeeded in carrying out the Baal Shen Tov's request. The Baal Shem Tov received a letter which included the response of the holy Ohr Hachaim. What the Ohr Hachaim wrote was as follows:
"You, Reb Yisroel, the holy Baal Shem Tov, will see a vision of me. If my entire body appears in the vision that will be a sign that you should indeed make the journey. If, however, any part of my body will not appear in the vision, that will be a sign that you should not make the journey."
For some unknown reason the Baal Shem Tov did not receive this return letter. When he saw the vision of the Ohr Hachaim, he did not pay much attention to the fact that the heels of the tzaddik's feet did not appear. Unsuspectingly, he set out on his journey to Eretz Yisroel.
Angels were sent from Heaven to stop him, as it was not time yet for Moshiach's arrival. They put many obstacles in the path of the holy Baal Shem Tov but he overcame all and continued on his journey. At around Pesach time he arrived at a city called Istanbul. There he boarded a ship and set off for Eretz Yisroel.
A great commotion arose in heaven and it was decided that even greater obstacle must be placed in the Baal Shem Tov's path in order to prevent him from continuing his journey. No sooner was the decision made in heaven, then Rev Yisroel's daughter, who was accompanying him on the journey, nearly drowned to death, and then the ship was shipwrecked.
When the holy Baal Shem Tov saw all the troubles that had befallen him he realized that in Heaven they did not want him to continue his journey. He lifted his eyes towards heaven and said, "Sh'ma Yisroel, Hashem Elokeinu, Hashem Echod! Master of the Universe I'm returning home!"
Instantly, he reappeared in Istanbul, and from there he traveled back home to his town-Mezibuz. There he continued to spread his teachings, with self-sacrifice, bringing the Jewish people closer to Hashem, so they they will be worthy of having Moshiach comebefore the appointed time!
Lesson: From this story we see how much self-sacrifice we must have in order to bring Moshiach. In those days a journey from Mezibuz (which is in Russia) to Eretz Yisroel, was very long and risky. Yet, not only did the Baal Shem Tov take the risks, but in fact even after many obstacles were put in his path he still continued his journey. Even when he finally had to return home, he continued to spread his teachings with self-sacrifice in order to bring Moshiach!
(To Await Moshiach)
The Mezritcher Maggid and the Heavenly Court
The holy Mezritcher Maggid, Reb Dov Ber — who was the leader of Chassidus after the Baal Shem Tov— once went up to Heaven to try to bring Moshiach. He came before the Heavenly Court, and explained to them that he had some very good reasons to tell them as to why Moshiach must come “now.”
“Before we can hear your reasons,” said the Heavenly Court, “you must explain to us why you are so much more involved in bringing Moshiach than anybody else.”
“Because I am considered the leader of the Jewish People in this generation,” the Maggid explained, “And therefore I am responsible for them and must see to it that everything is ‘the best’ for them.”
“If it’s really true that you are considered the leader of the Jewish People in this generation,” the court said, “Then we will indeed hear the reasons which you have. We must however, first find out if this is in fact so. The way we’ll do that is as follows: You, Reb Dov Ber, will return to Earth and ask your students whom they consider to be the leader of the Jewish People in this generation. We will agree with whatever they say.”
The Maggid quickly returned to Earth and said to his students, “Tell mendel, my students, who is the leader of the Jewish People in this generation?”
The students — understanding that the Maggid was expecting them to answer “you are” — were very surprised that their Rebbe, who was always so humble, would ask such a question; this confused them and they did not respond.
The Maggid asked his question a second time, but again there was no response.
The Maggid repeated the question a third time, only to be met by silence once again.
With sadness in his eyes, the great Tzaddik looked into the eyes of his students and told them what had taken place in Heaven — how the Heavenly Court had agreed to hear his reasons as to why Moshiach must come ‘now,’ but only on condition that his own students would say that he is the leader of the Jewish People in the generation.
They had missed the boat! “Next time,” they said to themselves, “we will not question the ways of our holy Rebbe.”
LESSON: It is very important for us to have faith and trust in our Tzaddikim, in order to bring Moshiach.
(To Await Moshiach)
The Arizal’s question
It was Erev Shabbos close to sunset in the holy city — Tzfas — and the Arizal's face shone with holiness as he led his students out into the field to greet the Shabbos queen with joy and singing as was their custom every Erev Shabbos. The students noticed that this Erev Shabbos the face of their holy Rebbe shone more brightly than ever.
The Tzaddik turned to his students, and with a serious but very calm look in his eyes he said, "My dear students, how would you like to come with me right this very moment to spend Shabbos in the holy city of Yerushalayim?"
There were some students who immediately responded, "Yes, Rebbe, we would love that very much." The others thought for a moment and then said, "We must first ask our wives."
A few quiet seconds passed and then the holy Arizal clapped one hand into the other in sadness, breathing a long, heavy sigh. "Woe is to us!" he exclaimed. "When I had asked my question it had been a special moment in Heaven, a moment in which Hashem had a special desire to bring Moshiach. Had all of you answered 'yes,' we would have flown miraculously to Yerushalayim and the Geulah would actually have come at last. But that moment is now gone; we've missed the opportunity."
The students who answered, "We must first ask our wives," realized that it was their lack of complete faith in their Rebbe, the Arizal, which caused them to miss the opportunity for Geulah. However, they did not despair Heaven forbid. Rather, they accepted upon themselves to strengthen their faith in the Tzaddik. Ahead they went to greet the Shabbos queen with more joy and concentration than ever before!
LESSON: Just as in the story of the Maggid we see how faith and trust in our Tzaddikim, plays such an important role in our bringing the Geulah.
(To Await Moshiach)
A deal in Barditchev
"Hashem Hu Ha'Elokim! Hashem Hu Ha'Elokim! . .
Hashem Hu Ha'Elokim!
Leshana Haba B'yerushalayim!"
The holy Barditchever, Reb Levi Yitzchak, shuddered with fear of Hashem as the holiest day of the year — Yom Kippur — drew to a close. The congregation davened Maariv, folded their Kitlen and Talesim and were ready to go home and start a fresh new year of serving Hashem.
Reb Levi Yitzchak approached one of the old ladies -— a simple yet very honest and sincere person — and said to her, "Tell me my daughter, what did you daven for this Yom Kippur?"
"Well, to tell you the truth Rebbe," she replied, "I didn't daven for much. I simply said to Hashem, "What have I done during the past year that was so terrible? True — one day this year I didn't daven and I even forgot to wash Negel Yasser one morning, and in fact I actually lost my temper with someone and hurt his feelings. However, You Hashem weren't so good either. Already a while back You took the soul of my husband from me, and now this year You took the life of my poor goat whose milk was my main source of livelihood.'"
"'But, I'll tell you what, Hashem,' I said, 'We'll make a deal! I'll forgive You for what You did and You forgive me for what I did!' "
"Is that it?" asked Reb Levi Yitzchak. "That was the whole deal?"
"Why Rebbe? What else does an old lady like me need already?"
"Moshiach!" exclaimed the Barditchever. "You could have asked for Moshiach!"
The Tzaddik let a long sigh pass his lips, and in a sad voice he explained to all those around him, "With an argument like that we could indeed have had Moshiach."
LESSON: a) Although we may have many important things to request from Hashem, first on our list must be Moshiach.
b) If we feel that Hashem (so to speak) owes us Moshiach, we should tell him why we feel that way, and if we really mean it then Hashem will certainly listen to us and bring him.
(To Await Moshiach)
The Baal Shem Tov meets Moshiach
On Rosh Hashanah of the year 5507, Reb Yisrael — commonly known as the Baal Shem Tov — went up to Heaven to see what was happening there. The things he saw there were so incredible that they are simply impossible to explain.
On his way back to Earth, the Baal Shem Tov stopped off in Gan-Eden-Hatachton, (the lowest of the seven Gan-Eden's), where he met many different types of souls. The souls immediately recognized the great Tzaddik, and together as one they begged him to please help them reach higher places in Heaven. Reb Yisrael saw how happy they were that he had come and how certain they were that he would help them and go up with them to higher places — therefore he agreed to do it. However, since Reb Yisrael had never gone so high before, he was afraid that he might be unable to come all the way down again; he therefore asked his Rebbe, Achiya Hashilony, to come with him, for Reb Yisrael felt safer with his teacher at his side. (Achiya Hashilony was a prophet who had lived from the times of ancient Egypt all the way to the times of King Shlomo; although he had already passed away, he would come to the Baal Shem Tov to teach him Torah.)
The Baal Shem Tov, Achiya Hashilony and the souls then began to soar up high into Heaven. They went higher and higher, coming to places so high in fact, that even Reb Yisrael himself had never been to them before. They came to an incredibly high place and there, before their eyes, stood the heavenly palace of Moshiach, which is where Moshiach learns Torah with all the Tannaim and Tzaddikim who have already passed away.
Reb Yisrael entered the palace and saw that everyone there was very happy about something. He wasn't sure about what but was afraid that maybe it was because he had died, and that's why the Tzaddikim were so happy — because he had come to join them. However, they reassured him that his time to leave the world had not yet come.
Reb Yisrael then asked Moshiach, "When are you coming, Master?"
"When your teachings will spread to the rest of the world!" Moshiach answered.
Upon hearing those words the holy Baal Shem Tov immediately returned to Earth and spread his teachings near and wide, in greater amounts and to more people then he had ever done before.
LESSON: The coming of Moshiach depends very much on our learning the secrets of Torah — which the Baal Shem Tov revealed and explained to us.
(To Await Moshiach)
The Yismach Moshe’s excitement
The great Tzaddik Reb Moishe Teitelbaum, also known as the Yismach Moshe, sat at his desk studying Torah with great concentration,
Meanwhile, his family waited anxiously for their guest to arrive. It had been a long while since they'd last seen him and they kept going to the window to check if he was coming down the road yet.
Suddenly one of the family members yelled in great excitement, "He's here!"
The Yismach Moshe, who heard the excited shout all the way from his room, hurried over to the window, his body trembling, and peered out onto the nearby road. Upon seeing that the man making his way toward the house was in fact his son-in-law, he slumped to the ground in a faint. When the others heard the 'thump' they quickly rushed to his room to see if everything was okay. Upon seeing that he had fainted they hurriedly brought water and smelling-salts, and a few moments later Reb Moshe blinked his eyes open.
"What happened?" they all asked him.
"When someone yells 'He's coming!' with such great excitement," explained the Tzaddik, "who else could they mean if not Moshiach himself. I therefore fainted when I saw that it was not Moshiach after all."
LESSON: We should be honestly expecting Moshiach to come at any moment; so much so that the very thought of it fills our body with excitement.
(To Await Moshiach)
The Tanna, the Navi, and Moshiach
The great Tanna, Rebbi Yehoshua Ben-Levi, once met the prophet Eliyahu at the entrance to Rebbi Shimon Bar-Yochai's cave. He asked him when Moshiach would come. Eliyahu told him that he could ask Moshiach himself, and he described to him the place where Moshiach could be found.
Rebbi Yehoshua went there and found Moshiach, and said to him, "greetings to you my master and teacher; when are you coming?"
"Today!" was Moshiach's reply.
The rest of the day the Tanna waited eagerly for Moshiach to come. When the day had gone by and Moshiach still had not come, he disappointedly returned to Eliyahu and complained. "Moshiach did not tell me the truth." he said.
"Yes, he did," responded Eliyahu. "What he meant is the same thing that King David says in the book of Tehillim — "Today, if you will listen to his voice." What that means is that Moshiach will come "today" if the Jewish People listen to the voice of Hashem which is telling them to repent."
LESSON: If we would only behave "today" as if Moshiach is coming "today," then he would actually do so.
(To Await Moshiach)
It was three days before Pesach and the great king and Tzaddik, Chizkiya, fell ill. The prophet Yeshaya arrived at the king's bedside and informed him in the name of Hashem that he was going to die soon, due to a sin that he had committed.
With a voice filled with faith in Hashem's kindness, Chizkiya said to the Prophet, "I have a tradition from my ancestor, King David, that even if a person has a sharp sword on his neck, Heaven forbid, he should not despair. Rather, even then he should pray to Hashem to have mercy on him."
Having said those words, Chizkiya turned his face to the wall and prayed to Hashem. He cried out in repentance from the depths of his heart, asking Hashem to forgive him.
No sooner had Chizkiya finished praying then Hashem said to Yeshaya, "Tell Chizkiya that I have accepted his prayer and I will heal him. Within the next three days he will be completely well."
Yeshaya repeated to Chizkiya what he had just been told by Hashem. However, Chizkiya suspected that the prophet might only be trying to comfort him because he had seen him crying. He therefore asked Yeshaya for a sign, a miracle that would prove that Hashem had indeed said that he would be healed. They decided that the sign would be that the sun would travel backwards.
The prophet then called out to Hashem and suddenly, just as they had decided, the sun moved backwards and the "afternoon" turned into "morning." Sure enough within three days Chizkiya was back on his feet — completely healthy.
Sancheriv king of Ashur led an army of more than one hundred eighty five thousand soldiers (all of whom were captains) through Eretz Yisroel until they arrived at the city called Nov which was not far from Yerushalayim. Night came and the soldiers set up camp, their hearts full of evil excitement at the thought of conquering Yerushalayim the following day.
Inside Yerushalayim, King Chizkiya was not afraid. He lifted his eyes up to Heaven and said: "It's true, Hashem, that the kings of Ashur have conquered very many countries. But those countries served idols, and idols of course, are powerless; they are made of wood and stone and cannot do anything. However, you, Hashem, created Heaven and Earth. Save us please, from Sancheriv and then the whole world will know that you are the only G-d!"
When Chizkiya had finished praying, a messenger of the prophet Yeshaya arrived at the palace. He informed Chizkiya that Hashem had said, "I have accepted your prayer about Sancheriv king of Ashur."
That night (which also happened to be the night of Pesach), an angel came down from Heaven and killed out one hundred eighty five thousand soldiers. The only survivors were Sancheriv and a few of his men. (At the splitting of the Red Sea, too, all the Egyptians were killed except for Pharoh whom Hashem had kept alive so that he would see His greatness and admit that He was the One and Only G-d.)
When the Jews in Yerushalayim, woke up the following morning they could not believe their eyes. Right outside Yerushalayim lay an army of one hundred eighty five thousand captains and all of them -dead!
Completely powerless and without an army, Sancheriv returned to Ashur, where he was then killed by two of his own sons. (For instead of admitting to the greatness of Hashem he had continued to serve idols.)
After these three miracles which Hashem had performed for Chizkiya (the miracle of the sun going backwards, the miracle of his recovery from near-death, and the miracle of the downfall of Sancheriv and his army), the greatness of Hashem spread throughout the world. Hashem wanted to make King Chizkiya — Moshiach! However, Justice came before Hashem and said, "How can You make Chizkiya Moshiach? You have performed such great miracles for him and yet he hasn't praised You for them!?!"
The Earth quickly came before Hashem and offered to sing His praises instead of Chizkiya, begging Hashem to please make Chizkiya Moshiach. The Earth then burst out in song, singing the most beautiful praises of Hashem. But Hashem said to her, "There is a secret reason why I have decided that the coming of the Geulah must still wait."
LESSON: Hashem loves when we praise Him for the miracles He performs for us — so much so that the very coming of Moshiach can depend on it.
(To Await Moshiach)
The Barditchiver invitations
The family of Reb Levi Yitzchak of Barditchev was very excited about the upcoming wedding. Baruch Hashem, the preparations were going very well so far. In fact, the invitations had already been sent out.
The holy Barditchiver called one of his children into his study and said, "Tell me, my son, have the invitations been sent out yet?"
"Yes father, they have."
"And what do they say on them?"
"They say — 'with gratitude and thanks to Hashern Blessed-Be-He, we invite you to come join in our Simcha. The wedding will take place Hashem-willing on ... in the town of Barditchev. '"
The Tzaddik shook his head in displeasure. "I'm afraid we'll just have to send out another set of invitations," he said, "this time with the correct version on them."
"What's the correct version, father?"
"The correct version," said Reb Levi Yitzchak "is 'the wedding will take place Hashem-willing on... in the holy city of Yerushalayim. If, Heaven forbid, Moshiach will not yet be here by that time, then the wedding will take place in the town of Barditchev.'"
And so a second set of invitations — this time with the correct version on them — was sent out to the Jews of Barditchev.
LESSON: a) We must expect Moshiach's coming as an actual fact. Remaining in Galus should be, in our eyes, an unlikely possibility, and, indeed, a calamity.
b) Our longing for Moshiach should be so strong that it shows in everything that we do, in every little detail of our lives.
(To Await Moshiach)
When the Kotzker will greet Moshiach
The great Tzaddik Reb Menachem Mendel of Kotzk once said to his students, "When Moshiach comes, all of the Jewish people will stand on line to greet him and I will be the very last person on that line."
At the surprised looks of his students the Kotzker (as he is called) explained, "One by one the Tzaddikim, Neviim, Tanaaim, Rishonim, Talmidei Chachamim, Men-of-good-deed, woman and children will greet King Moshiach. At long last the end of the line will arrive before Moshiach and he will say to me 'Reb Mendel! What took you so long to get here?' And I will say, 'What, my master and teacher, has taken you so long to get here? '''
LESSON: Although we must show Hashem how much we "want" the good of the days of Moshiach, we must also show Hashem how frustrated we are and how much we "don't want" the bad of the long and terrible Golus.
(To Await Moshiach)
One request from the Lubavitcher Rebbe
Every Sunday, from the year 5746 and on, the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Reb Menachem Mendel Schneerson, stands near his office inside the building known as "Seven Seventy," (770), and gives advice, encouragement and blessings to the thousands of people who come to him from all over the world.
It so happened that on one particular Sunday he was approached by a young boy who said the following: "I have only one request, Rebbe — that Moshiach should come already!"
The Rebbe looked at the boy and pointed his hand in the direction of the line of people waiting to meet with him. "Do you see all these people?" asked the Rebbe. "One of them is going to approach me and request a blessing for children, a second one a blessing for health, a third advice for his business and so on.
"If they would all request Moshiach, as you have done, then he would surely come immediately!"
LESSON: If the coming of Moshiach would be more important to us than anything else, then Hashem would surely bring him immediately!
(To Await Moshiach)
Waiting for the Beis Halevi
The Chafetz Chaim once related the following episode: The "Bais Ha'Levi" — Reb Yosef Dov Solovietchik — was once asked to accept the position of Rav in a certain town in which there lived a large number of Jews. He refused, however, saying that the responsibility was too great.
A short while passed and Reb Yosef Dov was once again asked to accept the position of Rav in that town. Again he refused, repeating the reason he had given the previous time.
Finally some important messengers were sent by the townspeople, and they said to the Bais Ha'Levi, "K'vod Harav the townspeople are actually waiting for you to come!"
When he heard that, Reb Yosef Dov immediately packed up his belongings and moved to the town to accept the position of Rav. Upon his arrival he was asked what it was that made him change his mind so quickly.
Reb Yosef Dov replied, "Since so many Jews are waiting for me, it would be a dishonor and burden for them if I wouldn't come, and it is forbidden to dishonor or burden the Jewish People, Heaven forbid."
"Now imagine," concluded the Chafetz Chaim, "How Moshiach would react if all of the Jewish People would wait for him! He would certainly come immediately, so as not to dishonor or burden the Jewish People, Heaven forbid!"
LESSON: We must show Moshiach that we are waiting for him just as we would wait for an important person whom we "know" is coming today, (and much more of course).
(To Await Moshiach)
Bar - Kochva
Decades had passed since the destruction of the second Bais Hamikdash, and the persecution of the Jewish People by the Roman Empire just kept on worsening. At that time, the Romans still allowed the Jews to remain in Eretz Yisrael, however, they governed the Holy Land in a most cruel manner
During this period of time there lived a great Tzaddik and leader by the name of Shimon Ben Koziva. He learned and taught great amounts of Torah and was exceptionally careful in his observance of Mitzvos.
Bar-Kochva — as he was called at the time — couldn't bear the suffering of his Jewish brothers and so, in secrecy, he organized a small Jewish army and began to strike back at the Roman soldiers stationed in Eretz Yisrael. His small army grew very quickly and the Romans soon began to fear him very much. They sent thousands of soldiers from Rome to Eretz Yisrael in order to defeat him. But Hashern was with Ben-Koziva and his army, and instead it was they who defeated the Romans battle after battle and the name of Hashem became greatly sanctified.
It was at this time in history that the great Tanna Rebbi Akiva lived. Rebbi Akiva recognized the great piety and leadership of Ben-Koziva. He announced to the Jewish people that Ben-Koziva was in fact — Moshiach! From that time on Rebbi Akiva called him Bar-Kochva, for in the Torah Moshiach is referred to as "Kochav" (star). Soon the rest of the Jewish people were also calling him by this name. Bar-Kochva continued to fight against the Romans and when he would go to battle Rebbi Akiva himself would carry his armor.
At long last the Jews began to gain the upper hand over the enemy. They regained control of the city called Beitar. After accepting Bar-Kochva as king, they made Beitar into the capital from where he ruled. As time went on the strength and terror of the Romans began to disappear and it seemed as though they would soon give up altogether.
More than two years passed under the rule of Bar-Kochva and the Jewish People felt that the final Geulah had indeed begun. Hashem, however — for reasons known only to him — decided that the time for the Geulah had not yet arrived; and so one day, unexpectedly, the Romans attacked. They came by the thousands, all of their best soldiers and most sophisticated weapons. Bar-Kochva and the Jewish People fought back mightily, but this time they did not have the help of Hashem and so they lost the great battle. They fled into the mountains of Beitar, which are famous for their caves and other places of hiding.
The Romans followed after them, and there in the mountains another great battle took place in which the Jews succeeded in killing thousands of Romans. In the end, however, they were totally defeated by the huge army which greatly outnumbered them. Bar-Kochva too was eventually killed. When Rebbi Akiva saw this he knew that Bar-Kochva was not Moshiach after all, for Moshiach cannot possibly be overpowered by his enemies!
LESSON: Like Rebbi Akiva we must always be on the lookout for Moshiach!
(To Await Moshiach)
The little man
A great Tzaddik once told the following parable as an example of what things would be like just before the coming of Moshiach:
"There once was a rich and powerful king who had many beautiful gardens surrounding his huge, magnificent palace. The king loved to stroll through the gardens and look at the beautiful flowers and trees. There was one thing, however, which upset the king very much; right in the center of one of the gardens stood a tremendous, ugly tree. It was old and dry with roots sticking out on every side, and it took away from the beauty of the entire garden. The king had already tried a number of times to have the royal gardeners chop it down, but they hadn't been able to do it; the tree was simply too thick.
One day the king had a wonderful idea. He sent messengers throughout his kingdom to announce to the people that anyone who would succeed in chopping down the huge, ugly tree would receive the honor of marrying his daughter, the princess.
Strongmen came from far and wide with all kinds of axes. They each took their turn in hacking at the tree, but it was useless; not even a dent could be seen on the tree.
One day a skinny, little man with a small hammer in his hand arrived at the palace gates and said that he wants to take a swing at the tree. Everyone laughed when they heard this, but they let him try for the king had said that anyone was permitted to try.
The little man walked up to the tree, and hit it once with his small hammer. Down came the tree, crashing into many pieces!
Everyone just stood there in amazement, unable to believe what they had seen. After they regained their wits, one of the ministers hurried to inform the king of what had taken place. The king rushed to the scene, where the little man with the hammer was standing near the fallen tree, a smile on his face,
"How can it be" asked the king in wonder, "That the strongest strongmen in all of my kingdom, using the toughest, sharpest axes, couldn't even dent the tree and you, little man, knocked it down with a small hammer!!?"
"It's very simple," answered the little man. "After all the mighty blows which the tree received from the strongmen and their axes it was ready to fall down. Although it appeared to be as strong and tough as ever, in truth, the only thing needed to push it over was one small 'bang'!"
Lesson: Our generation must be especially aware of the importance of every little Mitzvah, for according to all the signs, Moshiach, who will rid us of evil, forever, must arrive at any moment, Therefore, although the evil in us and in the world may sometimes appear to be very strong, in truth it is very weak and one small Mitzvah may be all that's left to get rid of it forever by bringing Moshiach!
(To Await Moshiach)
The special moment
Rav Yosef Segal, — head of the Tzemach Tzedek Yeshiva in Eretz Yisrael — used to visit Reb Yisrael Alter, commonly known as the Bais Yisrael, from time to time.
(The Bais Yisrael, was the fourth Admur of Ger).
On one such visit which took place in the year 5720 (1960), Rav Segal mentioned to the Bais Yisrael that he would soon be traveling to the United States to spend the month of Tishrei with the Lubavitcher Rebbe and his chassidim.
The Tzaddik Reb Yisrael requested that Rav Segal please give over his — Reb Yisrael's — regards and blessings for a good year.
When Rav Segal arrived at "seven seventy" (770), (the main Lubavitch Shul and world headquarters), he wasted no time in approaching the Rebbe's head secretary, Rabbi Chadakov.
He informed Rabbi Chadakov that he had a message for the Rebbe from the Admur of Ger.
Rav Chadakov quickly arranged some private time for him with the Rebbe and before long, he found himself entering the Rebbe's room.
When Rav Segal gave over the regards and blessings of the Bais Yisrael the Rebbe stood up in respect for the Tzaddik. The Rebbe did not sit down again until after the entire message had been delivered. Then the Rebbe said, "Hashem should help that all the blessings with which Jews bless one another should be accepted in Heaven." The Rebbe's face shone with an expression of great joy.
After Tishrei, Rav Segal returned to Eretz Yisrael. Not long after his arrival, he was told that the Bais Yisrael wanted to see him. As soon as he had a chance Rav Segal hurried over to the Tzaddik.
When he entered the Bais Yisrael's room, the Tzaddik immediately began to ask all sorts of questions. Then he asked Rav Segal to repeat words of Torah that he had heard from the Lubavitcher Rebbe at one of the Yom Tov meals which the Rebbe would conduct at the home of his mother-in-law, the Rebbetzin of the Previous Rebbe. (These meals were not open to the public; rather, they were for important guests who were specifically invited.)
Rav Segal explained that usually at these meals the Rebbe's brother-in-law would ask Torah questions, and the Rebbe would answer them. The Rebbe however, would hardly ever begin a Torah thought of his own.
Nevertheless, the Bais Yisrael pressed him to think of some conversation which the Rebbe himself had initiated at the meal.
After much thought, Rav Segal recalled something. "We were at the Rebbe's Motzoei Yom Kippur meal," he began, "and the Rebbe's face was filled with an unusually great happiness. In the middle of the meal, the Rebbe turned to the important Rabbis who were present and asked them to decree that Moshiach should come immediately!
"One of the Rabbis reacted in surprise, 'We should decree?! Who are we to decree such a thing?! The Rebbe should decree!'
"The Rebbe's expression suddenly became very serious. Noting the look of disapproval on the Rebbe's face, the Rabbi quickly took back his words. But the Rebbe said nothing, and his expression did not change.
"The story isn't over yet," continued Rav Segal. "A few days later at the meal of the first night of Sukkos, one of the Rabbis asked the Rebbe a question about the "second Yom Tov of Galus." (The second day of Yom Tov is usually referred to as the "second Yom Tov of Galus," for it is only kept while we are in Galus. During the times of the Bais Hamikdash [— and even nowadays in Eretz Yisrael —] there was only one day of Yom Tov; that's the way it will be again soon, when the Bais Hamikdash will be rebuilt).
"As soon as the Rabbi mentioned the words, "second Yom Tov of Galus,' the Rebbe said, 'second Yom Tov of Galus? Why, you could have completely prevented a second day of Galus!'
"The Rabbis remained silent, pondering the Rebbe's words. Slowly it dawned on them that the Rebbe was referring to his request to them, a few nights before, to declare that Moshiach should come immediately. With regret, they realized that had they all responded to the Rebbe's demand immediately, without any questions, they could have indeed brought about the end of Galus."
As Rav Segal finished his story he noticed that the eyes of the Bais Yisrael had turned red, as two tears rolled down his face. The Tzaddik sighed heavily and then said, "Woe is to us! May it be good (for the Jewish People) already."
Rav Segal now realized that when the Bais Yisrael had sent the Lubavitcher Rebbe a blessing for a good year, he had known through Ruach Hakodesh about the special moment that would take place on Motzoei Yom Kippur. He had hoped that his blessing would be effective during that moment, so that Moshiach would come and the Jewish People would finally have a truly good year.
"Woe is to us!" the Tzaddik repeated, his eyes staring blankly at the wall.
"Woe is to us!" he said a third time.
From that time on whenever the Lubavitcher Rebbe would receive a message from the Bais Yisracl, he would stand up in respect like the first time, and whenever the Bais Yisrael would hear about events which took place by the Lubavitcher Rebbe his eyes would turn red and drip tears. It would only last a moment though, for his belief in Moshiach's immediate arrival would overcome his grief and fill him with joy.
LESSON: a) Once again -we see how having faith and trust in our Tzaddikim is so important in bringing Moshiach.
b) Our desire and longing for Moshiach should be such a part of us that it constantly occupies our thoughts, regardless of where we are or what we are doing.
(To Await Moshiach)
The Chafetz- Chaim complains
Reb Yisrael Meir Ha'Kohen of Radin — popularly known as "the Chafetz-Chaim" — had a custom of going into a private room at night where he would give an accounting to Hashem of his behavior during the day that had gone by.
It so happened that one particular night someone overheard the Chafetz-Chaim making his accounting:
First, Reb Yisrael thanked Hashem for all the good which Hashem had done for him during the day. Then he confessed all the wrongs which he had done during the day, crying and pleading with Hashem for forgiveness. And then suddenly, the tone of his voice changed and he began to complain about the long Galus. He described to Hashem the great merits of the Jewish People, and complained about the cruelty which they've suffered for almost two thousand years. He demanded that Hashem bring the Geulah already for the Galus is far too long, and the coming of Moshiach is long over-due!
The person who had overheard the Chafetz-Chaim was amazed. "Imagine that," he thought to himself; "Reb Yisrael wants Moshiach so much that he actually demands it each and every night!"
LESSON: In the Chofetz-Chaim's own words, "We must demand the Geulah like a worker demands his payment" for Hashem wants to see that we actually want the Geulah!
(To Await Moshiach)