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

Thursday, November 25, 2010

19 Kislev: Rosh Hashanah for Chassidus

It’s Yud-Tes Kislev! Gut Yom Tov! I take this opportunity to express my best wishes to all my friends, all chassidim, and all Jews: l’shonoh tovoh b’limmud haChassidus uvedarkei haChassidus tikoseivu veseichoseimu—may we be written and sealed for a good year in the study and ways of Chassidus (I discuss the difference between the two here).
The Rebbeim refer to Yud-Tes Kislev as Rosh Hashanah, and it’s not just meant as a cute metaphor. Chassidus teaches that on Rosh Hashanah the heavenly court decides all the blessings that the person will receive in the coming year. The degree to which the person is blessed depends upon the extent to which he accepts the yoke of divine sovereignty, kabolas ol Malchuso yisboreich, on Rosh Hashanah.
So, too, in the case of Yud-Tes Kislev, which we are taught is “Rosh Hashanah for
Chassidus.” This title comes to teach us that our success in all areas related to Chassidus stems from the divine blessings bestowed upon us on this day. This in turn depends upon our devotion to accepting the yoke of being a chossid, i.e., committing whole-heartedly and unreservedly to internalizing all the teachings and implementing all the guidance of our Rebbeim, such that we will live our lives in the way that they prayed for and yearned for.
Put differently, we need to ask ourselves two main questions:
1. What exactly does it mean to be a Chabad
chossid? What does he represent, and how is he expected to behave? What practices and standards are expected of him?
Some basic answers to this question: In-depth study of
Chassidus; Avodas HaTefillah in order to internalize the Chassidus one learns and attain true ahavah v’yirah, love and fear of Hashem, and ahavas Yisrael, love of one’s fellow Jew; spreading Yiddishkeit in general, especially through the holy Mivtzo’im (Mitzvah campaigns); spreading Chassidus to every single Jew; more recently we have been told to study and teach others about Moshiach and the redemption, and spread the Rebbe’s message that the redemption is imminent. Then there are various other instructions of the Rebbeim that are too numerous to mention.
2. Are we truly committed? Are we “walking the walk” and doing the things expected of us? And even if we aren’t doing them to the fullest extent, are we taking them seriously? Are they a priority? Are they constantly in our thoughts, or are they an afterthought? Is our commitment and
chassidim real, through and through, or is it wishy-washy? Do we behave as chassidim should no matter what our environment and what our company, or do we say to ourselves subconsciously, “Here I am a chossid, but there I’m not”? If we were stranded on a desert island, would we still act as chassidim just the same?
The answers to these questions naturally depend upon one’s personal situation. The common factor, however, is the need to make a
cheshbon nefesh, an unflinchingly honest self-examination, so that we may know in which areas to improve. This then leads to hachlotos tovos, good resolutions to improve in whatever areas require fixing, and/or to advance yet further in the areas in which one already excels.
Gut Yom Tov
!

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