Biography of one of the greatest Kabbalists is now available in English

Baba Sali was known Kabbalist that lived in Israel.

The open miracles that he performed on daily basis can fill many volumes. Finally there is book in English that depicts the life of this great man.

Baba Sali is grand-son of Rabbi Abuchatzera – disciple of ARI. Ever heard of Aladdin when you were a kid? Well the idea of Aladdin wasn’t really an invention.

Once Rabbi Abuchatzea was sent by ARIZAL to collect funds for yeshiva. He came to the Yaffo port to look for a ship that would take him on his trip. There was one problem – the boat that was ready to leave didn’t want to accept him on board.

Seeing that the ship departs, Rabbi Abuchatzera took the small carpet that was with him and laid it on the ground. As the boat left the port, the carpet flew him above the sea  just behind the ship. Thus came his name Abuchatzera – which means the owner of the carpet.

While in our generation these stories are hard to imagine the book documents many miracles that were performed by his grandson – Baba Sali that were witnessed by many non-religious people and acknowledged by doctors and scientists as open miracles that go against laws of nature. The book also gives a glimpse at the daily life of this holy man

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4 Responses to Biography of one of the greatest Kabbalists is now available in English

  1. yehudith says:

    Studing of the biographies of our Sages is very important and useful for the self control and the understanding of the spiritual worlds construction.

    But while studing their biograpgies we should pay our attention not on the miracels they performed( which is called in Kabbalah terms- Light), because their miraculs are the result of their spiritual work( Baba Sali never slept more than three hour and most of the times he slept in sitting position without going to bed just one of the examples to mention) and level( which are called in Kabbalh-Vessels). Any of us could perform these miraculs be he/she on that spiritual levels our Sages were and are. We have to remember that the miraculs consists of two parts -the plead to the Creator and the Creator’s answers. To know what, when and how to ask the Creator is the result of the all life study of the spiritual contsruction and plan of the creation and the ability to understand or to see the answers of the Creation is the result of hours spent in prayer and Kabbalat meditation= inner conversation with the Creator.

    And this is an exact point of studing their biographies to see that their miraculs were not perfromed through them as being chosen for it by the Creator, but it is the result of their tremenduos inner and outer spiritual work that brought them to these highest levels and let the Creator to perform the miraculs through them.

    Baba Sali means the Pious(sali) Father(baba), when we read about his modesty, awe towards perfroming Mitzvot and dedication he studied Torah with, his faith above the knowledge way of the life( enough to mention the tragic death of his elder brohter and his elder son), and an unbrakable will to help the jews to remean their connection with the Judaim, we may understand his position as a Baal Moffet=the Performer of the Miraculs.

    One more thing to mention is the ability of the Sages to understand the purpose of their presence in this world and the ability to choose the right ways for this purpose to be realized, though Baba Sali was a descendent of a very famous rabbinic family from Spain that moved latter to Marroco, his spiritual teacher was BeShT( the founder of hassidic movement from Ukrainia)=Baal- Shem- Tov Israel Ben Eliezer, he studied according to his works and latter the Soul=spiritual level of the BeShT was teaching him the secrets of the creation.

    It is very important to study and analyse the ways of the behaviour of the Sages and their ability to overcome their ego demands and the Faith above the knowledge attitude and we will understand that the only miracul they perfromed is the level of the correction they got =vessels, all the rest=Lights came as a result of their spiritual work and level and prouved once and again that there is no lack of the Creator’s Light their is a lack of the creation’s vessels to get this Light in.

  2. By Rav Aharon Lopiansky
    The pillar of Torah Jewry, Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, passed away today at the age of 102. Until a few months ago, he was still active, the world-recognized authority on Jewish law and acknowledged leader of the non-Chassidic Torah community.

    Of the many great Jewish personages in the last era, he is probably the most difficult and enigmatic to describe to anyone who is not himself an active Torah scholar of the old school. It is easy for us to relate to acts of kindness and empathy as acts of spirituality. But the concept of Torah study in and of itself and the person who embodies those qualities is something that simply cannot be grasped by those who have never experienced or at least seen it.

    When I arrived in Israel in 1970, Rav Elyashiv was still very accessible. He lived (until his demise) in a tiny, two-room apartment off Meah Shearim Street. He would study in a secluded synagogue nearby. The door was usually locked, but tiptoeing at a window one could peer in and watch him study hour after hour. He would gently sway, read over the words clearly and calmly, and reason back and forth out loud. He would be focused and oblivious to anything going on outside. There would be regular hours for the public to come and present questions and problems. Once a day he would deliver a lecture for lay people at a nearby synagogue.

    Maimonides writes in his Guide to the Perplexed that while it is true that we are enjoined to emulate God in our actions, i.e. just as He is kind and merciful, so are we to be kind and merciful, it is even more important to emulate God as regards the “motive” for His kindness. Just as God’s kindness and benevolence is directed by His wisdom and by His determination of what is the right course of action, so too perfection in man requires him to act out of wisdom and truth, rather than passion and sentiment.

    Rav Elyashiv was the embodiment of this noblest form of emulating God. He was first and foremost a man of the mind and a person of study. He was not naturally extraordinarily brilliant, but his intense love for truth and study stemmed from the very core of his being. He was always calm, focused and thought out. It was only after going through a careful judgment process and determining the truth that he would allow some emotional inflection into his response.

    Asking him a question was a profound experience in searching for the truth. He would listen, focused and thoughtful. He did not display impatience, but his presence did not encourage idle prattle. With a few short comments, he would do away with the unimportant points of the narrative, and ferret out points not presented. He would think a moment or two, and the response would be laconic and to the point, not missing any words, yet not excess verbiage.

    Sometimes a person would try to argue, this way and that way, especially if it represented some difficulty for him. Rav Elyashiv had a way of opening his hands in simple query, as if to say, “But two plus two still equals four, doesn’t it?” You could feel your contrivances fall away.

    A brilliant friend of mine once presented to him a Talmudic argument. Rav Elyashiv listened, and commented, “Brilliant, but you do know that this is not what’s meant by the text.”

    What made his lectures and responsa unique were not brilliant flashes, deep hair-splitting or voluminous quotes. Rather they were unfailingly “the straightest line between two points.” When one studies it, one is confounded by how obvious it should have been. Whatever he personally wrote was clear, concise and devoid of any personal interdiction.

    He did not like things that were contrived or pretentious.He did not like things that were contrived or pretentious. I once asked him about taking on a particularly popular stringency. He answered softly, “Why doesn’t following the letter of the law suffice?”
    I once asked him about a particular obligation that our community wished to undertake for the sake of piety, but may impact some people negatively. He replied, “Piety that impacts people negatively is highly suspect.”

    He was totally apolitical, though he has been painted to the contrary. By political I mean looking at the end to justify means. In politics one pays lip service to something he does not much believe in order to gain something more significant that one fervently believes in. One takes positions out of loyalty rather than out of true belief. One speaks in hyperbole in order to gain the public approval.

    Rav Elyashiv looked at each point as it came up and opined accordingly. In videos of him meeting with people with whose general positions he agreed, he would not be automatically giving sweeping approvals. He would nod in assent at points that he agreed with, and would shrug away things that he felt were questionable, no matter how passionate the presentation. He was sometimes lambasted by the “right wing” (e.g., when he was part of the official rabbinate, or when he gave his approval to a certain halachically acceptable method of building a road on a graveyard), and many times by the left wing. Not only didn’t it faze him; it did not interest him in the least. Public opinion is not the determinant of right and wrong.

    He never gave a public speech. He did not understand why words were needed to tell people to do what’s right or to refrain from wrong. Right is right and wrong is wrong.

    He did not like to appear at public events. The hullabaloo of the events was anathema to him, and the precious time taken away from the study of Torah was unforgivable.

    He was the embodiment of pure and simple truth and tranquility.The great scholar, the Chazon Ish, once wrote words about himself that aptly describe Rav Elyashiv. An issue was stirring up the religious community in Israel, and an impassioned letter begged the Chazon Ish to become personally involved in some protest. He replied, “The heart of every Torah Jew resonates with the emotion you have so passionately expressed. But as for me, having spent a lifetime toiling in Torah study under the most difficult of circumstances, I have become accustomed to weighing my actions with the scales of my mind (rather than the passions of my heart) and I cannot join you.”

    The wicked person is described as “raging in turmoil like the seas,” while the righteous know of peace and tranquility. When a person’s actions are determined by untamed drives and passions, and impulsive sentiment and emotion, he can know no tranquility. But the righteous man, who weighs his actions with the scales of truth and reason, and does not allow himself to be swayed by self-interest desire, is the happy and tranquil tzaddik.

    Rav Elyashiv’s name was “Yosef Shalom,” literally meaning “increase of peace/tranquility.” When one would see him walk in the street, he would immediately feel the presence of greatness. Tall and slender, walking straight – yet no sense of self or arrogance – forehead furrowed in thought, proceeding calmly yet swiftly to his destination, without allowing his gaze to wander.

    Talking with him allowed you for a brief moment to share a sense of pure and simple truth, and the calm and tranquility that is the lot of these men of unvarnished truth.

  3. A Portrait of Greatness
    Who was Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv?

    by Gavriel Horan

    Last week, over 300,000 people flocked the streets of Jerusalem to mourn the passing of Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, age 102. Rabbi Elyashiv was the undisputed leader of the Lithuanian Torah community and to a great degree his legal rulings were respected across the board in Chassidic, Sefardi, and Modern Orthodox communities around the world. He was viewed by many to be the contemporary leading authority on halacha, Jewish law. Despite his exceptional scholarship and influence, Rav Elyashiv was neither the head of a congregation, yeshiva, or particular community.

    Destined for Greatness

    Rav Elyashiv was the son of Rabbi Avraham Erener and Chaya Musha, the daughter of the kabbalist Rabbi Shlomo Elyashiv known as the Leshem. Born in 1910 in Šiauliai, Lithuania, Rav Elyashiv was the only child, born to his parents after 17 years of marriage. He arrived with them to British Mandate Palestine in 1922 at the age 12. His father adopted his father-in-law’s surname, Elyashiv, in order to gain a certificate to enter the country at the advice of the famed Chofetz Chaim of Rodin, Poland.

    At the time of his death, Rav Elyashiv had nearly 1,000 descendants and had seen the birth of a sixth generation of offspring.In 1929, Rav Elyashiv married Sheina Chaya Levin, the daughter of the esteemed “Tzaddik of Jerusalem,” Rabbi Aryeh Levin, also known affectionately as the “father of the prisoners” due to the care he showed to the Jewish underground members incarcerated by the British during the Mandate period. The couple had 12 children – all of whom were raised in their modest two room apartment in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Meah Shearim. At the time of his death, Rav Elyashiv had nearly 1,000 descendants and had seen the birth of a sixth generation of offspring when one of his great-great-grandchildren gave birth to a son in 2009.

    Although Rav Elyashiv never attended a formal yeshiva framework, he was recognized as a genius in Talmud study at a young age. He was appointed as a Rabbinic Court Judge (dayan) to the High Court of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel by Israel’s Chief Rabbi at the time, Rav Yitzchak Herzog – who exempted him from the rabbinical examinations due to his high level of scholarship. He resigned from this position in 1972 and for the next 40 years of his life, held no official positions. Although he never wrote any Torah works, his family members and students wrote down numerous volumes of his halachic rulings and Talmudic insights, while he devoted all of his time to his incessant studies and daily lectures.

    Although Rav Elyashiv was the spiritual leader of the Degel HaTorah political party for the past 30 years, he only entered politics at the behest of the great Rosh Yeshiva, Rav Menachem Mann Shach. He personally despised politics and only agreed to get involved because he felt that he was genuinely needed, as it says in Ethics of Our Fathers, “In a place where there are no leaders, strive to be a leader.”

    “He had one interest – to help the Jewish people,” said Rabbi Nachum Eisenstein, the rabbi of the Maalot Dafnah neighborhood of Jerusalem and a close disciple of Rav Elyashiv. “He had no ulterior motives or personal interests.”

    Related Article: Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv: Man of Truth & Tranquility

    Maximizing Every Single Moment

    For the past 80+ years since his wedding, Rabbi Elyashiv’s daily schedule began at 2 a.m. and included anywhere between 16 to 20 hours of intensive Torah study – despite the fact that he was stricken with several illnesses throughout his childhood and adult life. On one occasion, members of his household noticed that he had been standing during his learning and asked why he did not sit down. He answered that since he was tired, he feared that he may drowse while learning. If he stood, he would be sure not to doze off. Rav Elyashiv used to receive visitors from around the globe on a daily basis in addition to leading rabbis and politicians of Israel, answering their complex halachic inquiries. Despite his advanced age and illness, he continued responding to questions from rabbis around the world with total lucidity until the very end. Even when he was sick in hospital, he continued to rise at 2:00 a.m. for his regular studies.

    For many years, Rabbi Hillel Weinberg, the Rosh Yeshiva of Aish HaTorah, would visit Rav Elyashiv almost every week, on Friday afternoons. Rav Elyashiv would receive people about an hour before the beginning of Shabbat, usually in the synagogue, where he would sit and study without interruption all day. “I always tried to arrive a little earlier than his official ‘office hours’ to watch him learn aloud,” Rav Hillel said. “Although he usually studied alone, he would explain the Gemara to himself, out loud, as if he were sitting with a study partner. He embodied the fulfillment of all the 48 Ways to wisdom which facilitate the acquisition of Torah, with an ear that listens, with lips that explain, and learning by teaching.

    “He was meticulous about utilizing every moment of the day to study Torah, even during the hours he would receive people. When one person would leave the room and the next entered, Rav Elyashiv’s eyes would be on the page of the book before him, and his attention was wholly on the subject that he was presently studying to such an extent that one could stand before him for several minutes until he noticed that someone had come into the room.”

    Every word of Torah was so dear to him that he never forgot it.In his classes and writings he often quoted obscure texts entirely from memory. “If you have so much love for something, your brain remembers,” Rabbi Eisenstein explained. “Every word of Torah was so dear to him that he never forgot it. The only pleasure he had in this world was learning Torah.”

    Whenever he issued a legal ruling, he made sure to examine the issue from all possible sides. When dealing with a question of technology he would always assign experts to research the situation in depth, so as to assure himself that he fully understood the facts before ruling.

    The Wisdom of Silence

    Despite his busy learning schedule, Rav Elyashiv used to meet with dozens, if not hundreds of people a day from every walk of life. Many were world renowned rabbis or politicians. “He would welcome all who came to him, treating them kindly and respectfully, and patiently answering any questions without hurrying the person who had come to seek his advice,” Rav Hillel recalled. “He also always gave priority to women and their questions.”

    He made a point to never try to argue with someone unless he felt his opinion might be heeded. There are those who say that he attributed his long life to the fact that he never got angry. “He never told anyone what to do,” Rabbi Eisenstein said. “If anyone asked his opinion, he would gladly tell them, but if someone came to argue with him, he always remained silent. He never raised his voice, never gave people admonishment, and never insulted anyone. Even if he disagreed with something someone said, he wouldn’t say they were wrong unless he knew that they wanted to hear his opinion. Many people left a meeting with him thinking that he agreed with them even though he was vehemently opposed, simply because he remained silent. Why try to convince someone of something if he knew they wouldn’t listen? He spoke only when he felt he could make a difference.”

    There was one exception to this rule: his students. “He was very demanding from his students and never supported them in something that he disagreed with,” Rabbi Eisenstein continued. “He didn’t cover up for their mistakes and he was fast to tell them if he felt that they were wrong because he knew that they wanted him to guide them.”

    One time, someone accidentally pushed into the Rav at a crowded event. The man was devastated and asked for permission to request forgiveness from the Rav. Rav Elyashiv’s response was that he didn’t feel a thing and therefore there was nothing to ask forgiveness for. He knew that even if he forgave the man, that he would still feel bad, so instead he acted as if the incident had never even happened.

    Gratitude for Life

    Eight years ago, a vein in his heart burst, and the doctors said there were two options: if they operated on him, the chances of success were only three percent. If the surgery were not performed, he would live no longer than three days. The decision had to be made there and then, on a Shabbat. The Rav’s relatives travelled to his son-in-law, Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky in Bnei Brak on Shabbat, to hear his opinion on the matter, and he ruled that in the meantime, nothing should be done. On Saturday night, they found out about a specialist from the U.S. who could take care of the matter without anesthesia and surgery. The doctor, together with all his instruments, was flown to Israel and, miraculously, the treatment was successful. Everyone could see that God had answered the prayers of those hundreds of thousands who had prayed for Rav Elyashiv’s recovery.

    He defied medical statistics again and again and attributed his recovery to the prayers of the Jewish people around the world.“He defied medical statistics again and again,” Rabbi Eisenstein said. “There were many times that the doctors gave up, but he always pulled through. He attributed his recovery to the prayers of the Jewish people around the world.”

    The Rav used to receive numerous invitations to serve as the sandek, or godfather, at circumcision ceremonies each day, but he traditionally only made rare exceptions to take time off from his busy schedule. After his miraculous recovery eight years ago, however, he began accepting every single offer that came to him. For the last eight years of his life he often attended three to five circumcision ceremonies each day – even when he was too sick to attend prayer services in synagogue. “He felt tremendous gratitude to the Jewish people for praying for him and wanted to pay back a minimum by becoming more accessible,” Rabbi Eisenstein said. “Although it was difficult for him to walk or even go to synagogue to pray – he still accepted each invitation. He had given them his word that he would attend, and his word was set in stone.”

    Rabbi Elyashiv didn’t want to accept gifts from anyone. Each year, Rabbi Eisenstein used to bring him a set of the four species for the holiday of Sukkot. Rav Elyashiv used to force him to accept a check in return for them. When he saw that the checks weren’t being deposited, he started giving cash.

    A world renowned heart specialist from America used to check him whenever he was in Israel, but refused to take any money. Rav Elyashiv didn’t understand that this was the doctor’s greatest honor of his career. At the Bar Mitzvah of the doctor’s son, Rav Elyashiv had someone buy him a huge, beautiful leather bound set of books on his behalf. He was so happy to be able to finally pay him back. On the inside cover of one of the books, he wrote a handwritten inscription. “It was probably the best present that the boy got,” Rabbi Eisenstein said, “but Rav Elyashiv didn’t realize that the greatest part about it was the inscription!”

    Rav Elyashiv’s wish was that no eulogies be recited at his funeral and that he be buried at the Har Hamenuchot cemetery alongside his wife, despite the fact that a burial plot was reserved for him at the Mount of Olives – the traditional burial place for renowned Torah luminaries. This is testament, once again, to the fact that this Torah giant and leader of the Jewish people saw himself as nothing more than a simple Jew.

  4. yehudith says:

    The Lubavitcher Rebbe
    by Rav Adin Steinsaltz
    Septermber 2002

    We are celebrating 100 years since the birthday of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Menachem Mendel Schneerson. One hundred years is a long time. It is an interval that marks change in many ways. It is a very significant number in Jewish lore, because 100 years marks a full cycle of life. One hundred years also defines a unit, a century, and I want to give it the recognition it deserves. I want to speak a little about that century, the century of the Rebbe.

    The Rebbe’s century was a time in which truly astounding things happened. There were so many things that happened in this century, events that so changed the world; the world has changed more in this century than in the thousand years before, perhaps even the two thousand years before. The changes were enormous. In the sphere of geopolitics, this century witnessed numerous earth-shaking revolutions. Totalitarian dictatorships in Russia, Germany, Italy, and Spain emerged and grew and achieved hegemony ? and all of them collapsed. The maps of the world changed tremendously over this century: Europe, Africa, and Asia changed their faces. Almost everywhere, so much happened during this span of time, including two world wars that shattered the planet.

    There were changes in the spheres of thought and knowledge. The new disciplines of psychology and psychoanalysis made a lasting impact on our general culture. Abstract art, new forms of literature and computerization brought entirely new images and ideas into the human experience. Our new grasp of biology has brought about a tremendous post-modernist shift in our understanding of how we change and of the changes we generate. The theory of relativity was a remarkable insight, changing the world’s perception and understanding of itself, a position from which it cannot return. It begat the atom bomb, while our understanding of biology created genetic engineering. These achievements, and so many others, hover over us as threats and as opportunities.

    Taking a closer look at Jewish life, we also see great changes. Within this century, Jewish life underwent three major transformations. The first unfolded over an extended time, while its significance was not immediately evident right away, but it was quite dramatic. Following an extended period in which the Jewish people had been more or less religious, observant people, there began a clear trend away from orthodoxy. By the end of World War I, most Jews were non-observant. This is a huge change.

    The second change was brought about by the Shoah, the Holocaust. The Shoah killed the core of Jewish life: men, women and children who were the most vibrant, animated elements of the Jewish people. Six million of them ? or more ? were killed.

    And then there was the establishment of the state of Israel: another unprecedented event, another tremendous change. All of these things represent dramatic alterations in the history and life of the Jewish people; nothing like them had happened in the previous thousand years.

    So the political world changed, the intellectual world changed, and the Jewish world changed.

    The Rebbe did not just live in the century in which these events occurred. The Rebbe participated, at various levels and in different ways, in many of them. He survived the pogroms in Russia as a child, was a young man at the time of the Russian Revolution, and escaped from Europe during the Nazi regime. His knowledge and understanding of what was happening in the world were unique. One must remember that the Rebbe could draw on vast stores of both spiritual and scientific wisdom: on his mastery of physics, biology, literature, and human nature. The Rebbe was a part of all those changes, and he was also a person who created and worked within them. He lived through the most fascinating, frightening, and changeable time.

    The Rebbe lived in the most difficult of times, yet he was always able to forge ahead. The Rebbe was not just aware of many of these changes; he predicted and warned against some of them.

    But we must go one step further. Of course, the Rebbe was very aware of the past ? his own past, the past of his people, and the past of humanity. But with all that, he was never a man of the past; the Rebbe was always a man of the future. If you read through his many writings, you will find hints here and there about the past, but the focus and direction are on the future. He sometimes spoke about what had happened, but more about what should happen, what will happen. Some people looked at him as a symbol and a picture of the glory of the Jewish past, but this is an error. In some many ways, he was a man of the next century, a man who belonged far more to the future than to the past. And that will explain what was so very important to the Rebbe in his last years.

    The Rebbe watched the world and felt so much happening, so much quivering and shaking all over the world, but he did not see these developments as final effects; he saw them as preliminary tremors preceding a big upheaval. The Rebbe saw all the change and distress throughout the century as labor pains that herald an impending birth. And that was what the Rebbe had in mind when he talked about Moshiach.

    The Rebbe spoke about Moshiach because he saw all the past, the century he lived through, as the preparatory rumblings before the occurrence of a huge upheaval. This is what he tried to tell people. This is the message he tried to communicate. As the years passed, he became more and more intense, more and more emphatic, about the idea that Moshiach was about to come. He saw it not only through some heavenly vision; he perceived it in observing how the world was moving, in the changes he had witnessed. He saw the movement, the suffering, and the pain as presaging a major event, a major change, and that change is the arrival of Moshiach.

    Clearly, the coming of Moshiach is not a mere happening within the world; it is far more important, far more profound. In the words of the Prophets, Moshiach signifies the end of days ? that is, the end of history. It marks the end of ordinary days, and the beginning of a completely new era, an era so new that nothing in the past is parallel or connected to it. Moshiach will change history permanently, change human life permanently, and usher in a future that will be very different from the past. The Rebbe was not just making conversation about Moshiach, and he was not just talking about a prophecy that he wanted to preserve. The Rebbe spoke about Moshiach because he understood that the coming of Moshiach is a process in which we must be both active participants and passive beneficiaries. It is a dual process, like birth, where you cannot specify what part comes from Above and what part comes from the inner working of the human body.

    This synthesis is what the Rebbe referred to when he spoke about Moshiach. Therefore, the Rebbe did not see “Moshiach” as a mantra to say six times or ten times a day to overcome difficult times. For the Rebbe, Moshiach was something to work on, to deal with, to fight for. That is because we are built and our history is built, from the very beginning, as the prelude toward the end of days. We are not building up to the end of human life or to the end of earthly existence, but to a tremendous change in all of that. So that is something that we must not only speak about, but something for which we must prepare.

    In this context, let me address the notion of the Rebbe’s “legacy.” One should not use that word in talking about the Rebbe. The Rebbe did not leave a legacy. The Rebbe left marching orders. This is an entirely different concept. The Rebbe did not just leave a collection of books, videos, and speeches. He left a task to be completed, and the books and other resources provide the understanding that will enable people to carry it out.

    I will try to outline some of the ideas that are in those orders, properly and correctly, and render his lofty words in simpler, more down-to-earth language. I believe that his is not just a personal interpretation, but is the outlook of the official leadership of Chabad. I hope, also, that this explication will be valuable for the Chabad movement, which, I believe, is larger than its organization. And I hope that these words will go beyond that, to reach the much wider community of all of those whom the Rebbe touched in one way or another, and they will cause something of a shift.

    When we speak about the coming of Moshiach, we speak about a mega-event, a major phenomenon that changes everything. We may not be fully prepared and we don’t know the how, what, or when of this event, but we are talking about major changes. One of the consequences of this statement is that, if we are expecting things to change in a major way, we will have to make major changes, too. And one of these changes is that we have to cast away a huge number of petty quarrels and petty issues, insignificant clashes that are not just vicious and unprofitable, but ludicrous. Next to the truly momentous changes we are anticipating, all of our trivial arguments shrink into trifles; our disputes are comic, not just painful. I am not speaking about personal quarrels only, but about the whole notion of political trappings that you deal with in this country and that we deal with in Israel, my country. Many of the things that people fight about are the sheerest, shallowest nonsense, especially if we compare these quarrels to the establishment of an entirely different order. In that sense, whether Party A of Party B will have a particular right or a particular authority seems ridiculous. Who will remember all these foolish people who were fighting about such things? When the tsunami is about the envelop the world, no one will remember if my shop was on the west side of the street or the east side; everything will be moved.

    So, the coming of Moshiach means, among other things, the casting away of internal fights. We must talk to people about what Moshiach means. We must abandon, for example, the Jewish interdenominational quarrels, many of which are associated with small, short-term calculations and evaluations: What will be better for my organization, for my little group, for my little thing in the next two, three, or five years? How will I gain a little bit more support from this rich man or the other rich man? How can I maneuver in another little way to be written up in one newspaper or another? Again, compare to the big things, all these are nonsensical.

    It is even more important to talk about the future, what people are going to do, when the time will come? and the time is coming, whether we want it or not. The status quo will change, and all these petty issues will be wiped away. That means, also, there are lots of things we must do. So what do we do?

    Let me start by saying something about Israel. We are stuck in a very unfortunate position. We try to move to the right, and the way is blocked. We try to move to the left, and the way is blocked. We try to go forward, but we cannot. We try to retreat, but we are cut off. So, we are surrounded and blocked on every side. There is one direction, however, that is not closed: upward. That route is still open, and we should try to move in that direction. We should do it not just as a statement, as a slogan, but as a serious practical move toward a different way of life. This does not mean “Let’s cast away all kinds of things we are dealing with and go and deal directly with the Above. It does not mean being unearthly and forgetting to eat your breakfast. (People won’t forget that even in the World to Come.) But we can put our lives and our rational crises in perspective, and when we put them in perspective, they will become very different, because our real notions should be with the Above.

    In a more concrete way, it means being genuinely concerned about, and working for, every segment of society, not just in details, but in major areas of society: addressing the rifts among ethnic groups and the growing gap between the rich and the poor; making education (not just knowledge) a primary and universal ambition, and bringing the whole country ? not just a segment of it ? to an awareness of the Divine. It also means being careful not to use the Almighty to achieve narrow benefits (even praiseworthy ones), but to remember that all of us, right and left, are the people of God.

    In a more emphatic way, this is the direction and an order for the Lubavitch movement, a movement that must continue to progress. So much has been done; so much has been achieved. In some places, the achievements are marvelous, unimaginable. In some places, it is like seeing the flowering of the desert, where Jewish life seemed to be dead, and it has been revived.

    But all that is not enough, by far not enough, because we are now talking about a much bigger process. We cannot now stand still and gloat. It is true that when one Jew puts on a pair of tefillin once his lifetime, there is a new light in the world. It is true that when a Jew does not eat shrimp, even though he is not abstaining from other non-kosher things, this is a gain, an advance. But we now have to talk to people not only about small changes, but about major changes, about transforming completely. We have to face them; they have to see themselves as Jews. It is not easy to make such changes; it is sometimes quite difficult to suggest them, but now is the time to do it. We don’t know when, in two years or ten years, but something great is happening. And if we are to be prepared, then we have to tell people to throw away all the nonsense, to stop indulging in things that are not important, to start to go a different way. That means both those who dedicate their lives to this work and those who are volunteers. That means speaking to those who are here and to many more who are not.

    We have to start talking now about changing, not just about turning, but about returning on a big scale. “On a big scale” means that it is not sufficient to make token gestures, for example, to say to an older man, “Do me a favor and send your grandchild to study in cheder for two hours.” Rather, this is about reaching people in a deeper and more meaningful way, getting them to change their lives, to set their priorities where they should be set, and to put their efforts where they should be put, because a time is coming when these are the things that will count, and most of the rest will not matter at all. It will be a different reality; things won’t be the same. We have to tell people about it. We have to say it again and again in a most emphatic way. This does not mean that we must invalidate what we are doing; we must just work on a much grander scale. We have to act in a much more urgent way. These ideas have to be expressed not only to individuals, but also to organizations, to groups, to the Jewish community at large. We have to repeat the call of the Former Rebbe: teshuvah now; redemption now. Whatever has been done is not enough. It is never enough. It has to be done ten times as much, if we want to be ready for the time.

    There is something else we must say, something that has to do with our attitude about the world. The Rebbe began, but we have to continue to say it, not only to our own Jewish brothers and sisters, but to all of humanity. We have to talk about what are called the Seven Noahide Commandments, the seven laws that the Almighty gave Noah after the Flood. These commandments are for all humanity, for every human being. We should speak about these commandments not just to one individual, as we were selling merchandise, but to all the peoples and the nations of the world, so that we can change the world. Our goal is not to give a compliment to the Rebbe. A new and different world will come in a short time, and we have to address it. We have to tell people that a different time is coming, a time when different things will count. We must get everyone to keep the basic Noahide laws, the laws of nature and the laws of the Divine, and we must bring the people together. This is what we have to tell individuals and nations.

    How can we do it? Because the Rebbe is behind us, in a sense doing and saying these things. It means recognizing that now is the time to go to others and to ourselves, and pay attention to the big things and the important things, and to let the small details go.

    Our sages tell us, in reading Genesis 49:33, that our father Jacob did not die. The idea is that, as long as there are Jews in the world, the seed of Jacob is alive, living within us. In everything we do in our lives, a small minuscule part of him lives within us. We say in our prayers “David, the King of Israel, is alive and enduring”, which means the kingship of David never died. Someone could kill the last Jewish king, but no one can destroy the kingship of the Jewish people. The kingship is still alive, still here. We may be downtrodden, we may be kicked, but the kingship of Israel continues. In that sense, I would say that the Rebbe implanted his spirit in so many people, that his dreams, his visions, his insight, and his tremendous desire continue. If we sustain his utmost desire to bring about that big change, then we can say that the Rebbe is not dead. The Rebbe is here, when we are here and we are doing all the things that he left in his marching orders. He said we should advance. He said we should not walk, but we should run. We should attack. He said we should go further.

    We should do it, and we will do it.

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