"Moshiach is ready to come now-our part is to increase in acts of goodness and kindness" -The Rebbe

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Gimmel Tammuz: A Test of Faith

Gimmel Tammuz: A Test of Faith

Rabbi Y. Oliver

On the holy day of Gimmel Tammuz, every chossid asks himself the crucial question: What is the significance of Gimmel Tammuz for us today?

Of course, one of the greatest difficulties for a
chossid in coping with the situation after Gimmel Tammuz is the fact that we do not see the Rebbe physically.

This is such a colossal event in our lives as chassidim that it begs a question that we should all naturally be asking: 
Why has this happened?

According to the
sicha below, it can be derived that at least one reason that Hashem put us in this situation is in order to test our faith in Tzaddikim, and to see whether we will maintain our Hiskashrus (bond) with the Rebbe despite his concealment:
... The strength that the [Previous] Rebbe grants us through the teachings of Chassidus continues even now [after Yud Shevat, the day of the Previous Rebbe’s passing], with no change on his part. Even from our perspective no change has occurred that would justify thinking that the Rebbe is no longer with us, G–d forbid.

Those who knew the [Previous] Rebbe in the course of the thirty years of his leadership know that the Rebbe would not abandon his chassidim and leave them alone on the Shabbos of the Torah portion of
Zachor [which discusses the mitzvah to erase the memory of Amalek], for example, when they need to fight against Amalek.

The only change that has occurred for us is that in the past one could have thought that when he had a private audience with the [Previous] Rebbe, he could relate what he wanted to relate and hide things that he wished to hide. Now, however, it is clear to all that the [Previous] Rebbe knows about our hidden matters as well, for in the past the [Previous] Rebbe was vested in a physical body, while now he transcends the limitations of a physical body, and is entirely spiritual (see
Tanya, Igeres HaKodesh, explanation to sec. 27).

On the other hand, since “A
Tzaddik who passes away is present in all the worlds even more than during his lifetime” (Zohar 3:71b), and “even in this world of action he is more present” (Igeres HaKodesh ibid.) the Rebbe certainly leads the entire world, and chassidim in particular, and arouses divine mercy [through prayer] just as it was until know. On the contrary, he does so with intensified vigor.

Just as every one of us was certain until now that the Rebbe would lead us towards our righteous
Moshiach, so should we be certain now as well.

The event that happened [
Yud Shevat] only occurred from the perspective of our eyes of flesh. It is nothing but a test—one of the tests of “the birth-pangs of Moshiach” that needs to occur before Moshiach arrives—whose entire purpose is to conceal the truth.

The purpose of the test is that we overcome [the difficulty] and pass the test. In so doing we reject and nullify the concealment, and the truth is revealed (as explained in Chassidic discourses).

Thus, by strengthening our bond with him by studying his teachings and fulfilling his directives—both directives issued in public, and especially those directives that were conveyed face to face in
Yechidus—in a concrete manner, we will immediately merit (for we are in the period immediately before the arrival of Moshiach) to see the Rebbe with our eyes of flesh, and the Rebbe will lead us to the Redemption.

Toras Menachem 5710, Vol. 1, p. 16.
According to the principle of “he rules upon himself,” this sicha clearly contains a very practical message for us after Gimmel Tammuz. Below I will present the sicha in my own words, and “translate” it to our current situation:

A Rebbe provides special assistance to the Jew in serving
Hashem, enabling him to attain 
otherwise unattainable heights of spirituality (this is the idea of an “intermediary who joins”). However, when we don’t see the Rebbe and we are unable to interact with him directly, we are liable to doubt the existence of this special bond, G–d forbid, or at least not to accept it to the same extent.

However, the true reality is that the Rebbe, our shepherd, is a true shepherd who surely never abandons his flock, the
chassidim. Those who truly knew the Rebbe during his lifetime will have no doubt about this.

If anything, his
Hiskashrus with his chassidim now is even greater after his Histalkus, for although in reality the Rebbe had known all along about all of his chassidim’s personal problems (see here), before Gimmel Tammuz one could have thought otherwise, thinking that Rebbe is limited by the fact that his Neshamah (soul) is vested in a body, and therefore sought to hide personal information from the Rebbe.However, now that the Rebbe has transcended the limitations of the physical, there is no longer doubt whether the Rebbe knows all of one
s personal problems, and so there is no use in trying to conceal them from him.

So although it may seem that the Rebbe is no longer with us, G–d forbid, in reality he is with us just the same as before. If so, why have we been put in this situation?
Hashem desires to test our faith in Him and in the Tzaddikim that He sends us, and this is part of the purification process by which Hashem prepares the Jewish people for the coming of Moshiach.

May Hashem give us the strength to overcome this test, and thereby merit to see Moshiach now!

(For further explanation of the concept of a test of faith, see here.)

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