Don’t Miss the Sale!
Rabbi Y. Oliver
The Previous Rebbe relates:
When the Mitteler Rebbe settled in Lubavitch 5572-3 (1812-3), Reb Moshe Shlomo became very sick, and for a year and a half he suffered greatly. His father-in-law Reb Yisroel Meir the melamed would frequently write letters to the Mitteler Rebbe asking that he plead for divine mercy on Reb Moshe Shlomo’s behalf, but it didn’t help at all.
Why weren’t Reb Yisroel Meir’s requests effective before? We do not know. But we do know that the Mitteler Rebbe regarded Lag Be’Omer as a very great day, one on which he would perform miracles (see HaYom Yom 18 Iyar), and the fact that it was not until this special day that his plea was effective teaches us a lesson.
On Lag Be’Omer of the year 5576 (1816), when the Mitteler Rebbe was sitting together with his brothers Reb Chaim Avrohom and Reb Moshe, and with his sons-in-law and many chassidim at the Lag Be’Omer meal, Reb Yisroel Meir the melamed approached the Mitteler Rebbe with a note on behalf of his son-in-law, Reb Moshe Shlomo, saying that this is the second month that his son-in-law had been so sick that he couldn’t speak.
The Mitteler Rebbe gazed for a long time at the note, and said: “For the sickness of tuberculosis it is good to have a change of climate. Let him come here and hear Chassidus, and he will be able to speak, and have what to speak about.”
Kuntres Divrei Yemei HaChozrim, p. 9.
From time to time we mark special days in the general Jewish calendar or in the Chassidic calendar, and when each day comes along, we are told that it has special significance. However, in order to connect with the special quality of this day, conscious effort is required, because the external world looks the same. “How is today different from yesterday?” one may ask. Yet one who expends the necessary effort learns that today is indeed very different from yesterday.
Pesach, Sukkos, Chanukah, Purim, Lag Be’Omer, Pesach Sheni, 15 Av, 19 Kislev, 11 Nissan, 3 Tammuz, and so on—all these days can be summed up with one word: opportunities.
On each of these days a special spiritual light shines that only shines once a year, and when we do something to connect with this light—by learning about the meaning of the day, davvenen with it, discussing it at a farbrengen, reflecting upon it, and trying our best to connect with it, then it can raise us up to a certain otherwise unattainable spiritual level.
Perhaps this is comparable to a sale. All year round, the customer is expected to pay full price, and no bargains are accepted. When the store holds a sale, however, one can purchase the same product on discount for a fraction of the price. But once the sale is over, it is too late to grab those bargains—one has no choice but to wait until the next sale.
Likewise, when a special day arrives, Hashem in His kindness is granting us a special, limited time offer. If we are wise, we will make the most of it.