Thursday, February 5, 2009

Putting the puzzle together

There is a saying in Yiddish, “Az tzvei menchen zugen dir du bist a shiker, gei shlofen” (“If two people tell you that you’re drunk, go to sleep”). I can’t possibly give over every single vort I heard tonight at once — I’ll have to do it in installments (plus, I’ll post the recording of it after I delete the pauses, niggunim, things that shouldn’t be public, etc.). I will, however, give over the one I was quite impressed with (also, it was at the beginning, so I can find it easily on my recording).

When you put together a puzzle, what do you do? First, you put together the edges, which is not hard, because they are straight and clear. After you’re done with the edges, what do you do? You put the middle together, obviously. But how do you do this?

Answer: you look at the puzzle’s box cover which has the picture (and put the puzzle together according to the picture).

In our lives — the lives of Jews — the edges are very clear. Hashem wants us to keep Halacha, so we keep Halacha. Shulchan Aruch says X, we do X. Shulchan Aruch says “not Y”, so we don’t do Y. Hashem wants us to daven, so we daven. Nu?.. That’s the simple part. I mean, sure, it’s difficult, but at least it’s straightforward. If you’re an appikoires, that’s another story — but as a frum Yid, surely you know what to do, and it’s clear.

But that’s only the edges of the puzzle. The middle of the puzzle is empty and broken. How do we make sure that our puzzle has the essence, the filling, and that it is not broken in hundred pieces, but that it’s one piece — that our keeping of Halacha, our davening, our learning, our Yiddishkeit, our community (az och un vei) are not empty, meaningless, for the sake of themselves, without essence or purpose — and, most importantly, are one single nekuda, one single entity unified with Hashem? How do we fill the middle of the puzzle?

We look at the cover of the box — we look at what the Rebbe tells us and teaches us the filling, the “middle” should be.

But why should we care what the cover of the box looks like? What does it have to do with the actual puzzle? The answer is that obviously, whoever drew the cover of the box saw the puzzle in its complete form — and copied it onto the box.

The Rebbe saw the puzzle, with edges and with the middle, one single piece, with essence, complete and unified. He saw the world in its perfect, final state, with every piece of it, from the mundane physical aspects, to deep spiritual ideas, to meat and potatoes of Judaism (the commandments, the law, the rituals, the learning, the customs, the community) — all of this one with Hashem. He didn’t only see it in the future, He saw it in the present. He lived in it.

And he painted the picture of what it looks for us, so that we can put together the puzzle — of our lives and of this world.

Except, the Rebbe did more. Our Rebbe, the final, the seventh, the current, born in 1902, did more. As somebody said on a Living Torah video, Frierdiker Rebbe knew how the World to Come looks like. The Rebbe knew how to get there. And he showed us. He told us. He taught us — not in a way of metaphors, parables, hints, play of shadows and light. In a clear and obvious way.

Du dorf lernen Chassidus Chabad. You have to learn Chabad Chassidus to bring Mashiach. As my rabbi says, you have to learn the Rebbe’s sichos (and ma’amorim obviously). It is exciting time to be a chossid of the Rebbe. It is important and responsible time. Stop chaking chainik. Go and bring Mashiach.

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