The Joy of Rosh Chodesh Kislev
Rabbi Y. Oliver
Chassidim have traditionally celebrated Rosh Chodesh Kislev with tremendous joy. But what exactly is the reason for the joy of Rosh Chodesh Kislev? Is it that the Rebbe recovered? That was definitely a significant element, but still not the entire reason, for although the Rebbe left the office in 770 where he had been undergoing medical treatment, the Rebbe had not yet fully recovered. Indeed, the Rebbe never recited the traditional blessing one recites after recovering from an illness.
Rather, ever since Shemini Atzeres, although the chassidim hadn’t seen the Rebbe and so they were unable to connect with him directly, they knew that the Rebbe was still with them. Yet knowing this wasn’t enough; their greatest yearning was to see the Rebbe again. And when they did, their joy was so great that of their own initiative they decided to celebrate that day every year, and eat a special meal of thanks to Hashem, both for granting the Rebbe recovery, and for enabling the chassidim to see the Rebbe again.
We can also learn the intense yearning that a chossid should have to see his Rebbe from the example that the Rebbe set for us at the conclusion of his first ma’amar (and especially according to the principle of “he rules about himself”) when he wished: “Ve’nizkeh zehn zich mit’n Reb’n doh lematoh in a guf, u’lematoh mei’asoroh tefochim, v’hu yigaleinu”—“may we merit to see the [Previous] Rebbe down here in a body, and in our immediate reality, and he will redeem us.”
In our current situation, we are still waiting for our own Rosh Chodesh Kislev. We know that the Rebbe is with us, showering us with blessings, guidance, and encouragement, now just as before Gimmel Tammuz. Those who are attuned—not because they possess divine inspiration, but because they choose to study the Rebbe’s teachings diligently and devote themselves to fulfilling the Rebbe’s instructions—sense these blessings, guidance, and encouragement in their personal lives. We witness the tremendous expansion and development of the Rebbe’s work and message throughout the world, and we are confident that the Rebbe is guiding us in our mission to prepare the world for Moshiach.
Yet we are not satisfied. “Retzoneinu liros es malkeinu”—“we want to see our king.” And we draw strength and hope from the miracles that Hashem showed us then: Just as the Rebbe was hidden, and the chassidim were strong in their faith and trust in Hashem, and worked hard to make themselves worthy of seeing the Rebbe again, and were ultimately successful, so can it be for us, and so will it be for us. May it occur immediately!
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