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B”H

  Shalom and Bracha!

  This Shabbat we read the portion of Korach. From two narratives in the portion we can learn a valuable lesson both in dealing with each other and in the service of Hashem. The portion begins with the rebellion of Korach. Korach was a cousin of Moshe Rabbeinu and was jealous of Aharon’s being the Kohen Gadol, the high priest. He succeeded in gathering a large group to rebel against Aharon and Moshe. Hashem commanded that they all offer incense the following day and He would reveal His chosen one. Two hundred and fifty people offered incense and were consumed by a fire from Heaven. The earth swallowed the leaders of the rebellion, their families and all of their possessions. The incense burners were used to make a copper coating for the altar and serve as a permanent reminder of the rebellion.

  Later in the portion, Hashem commanded that Moshe take a one stick from each of the tribes and that he write the names of the tribes on their sticks. On the stick of the tribe of Levi, Moshe wrote “Aharon.” He took all of the sticks and left them in front of theArk. The following day, Aharon’s stick had grown flowers, buds and almonds. Hashem said that the stick would serve as a constant reminder of the position of the Kohanim so that the Jewish people would stop complaining.

  Seemingly, a fire coming from Heaven and consuming people and the earth splitting and swallowing people are much more dramatic miracles and better proof of Hashem’s choice in Aharon than the miracle of the stick. Why then is the miracle of the stick the eternal proof?

  The reason is because of the timing. Korach was punished to quell a rebellion. Hashem desired to fortify Moshe’s authority as the leader of the Jewish people. Even if Hashem wasn’t so thrilled with Aharon, we could interpret His actions purely as support for Moshe or displeasure with Korach. After the rebellion and its aftermath were over, when Hashem reaffirmed His choice in Aharon, it was clear that He meant it.

  This is a great lesson in dealing with people. It is important to encourage people when they are down or embattled. That is our duty. However, when we encourage and recognize people when everything is fine, then they know that the support is coming from the heart. A small gesture goes a very long way.

  The same applies to our relationship with G-d. We turn to Hashem when things are tough. This is imperative, and demonstrates our faith that He and only He is the ultimate source of help and salvation. It is also important that we turn to Him when things are good, thanking Him for our blessings and seeking His guidance. Further, when we fulfill a Mitzvah to the minimal extent, we are doing our duty. When we fulfill it the in the best manner, particularly on a mundane day, we are showing our love.

  The word Korach means ice. As we enter the warm months, it is a sign we must serve Hashem with warmth and fervor and be active in Ahavat Yisrael with warmth and fervor. The word Korach also means split. Korach was the epitome of jealousy and strife, the causes of the destruction of the Temple. Let us increase in unity, humility and respect we will merit the immediate redemption.

  Shabbat Shalom,

 Rabbi Biggs

Dedicated to Shmuel Rafael Ben Liba for all that is good

B"H

Gimmel Tammuz

Rejoicing and Reflecting

Shalom and Bracha!

This Shabbat is the third of Tammuz, the eighteenth anniversary of the passing of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Shneerson. The passing of a Tzaddik, particularly a Rebbe, is called a Hillulah, which means a celebration. Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai commanded that his passing be marked by a celebration, not mourning. This is because on the days of a Tzaddik’s passing, he reaches the culmination of his life’s work and all of his deeds are elevated from the physical to the spiritual realm. Each year on that day there is a higher elevation and all of those who observe the Hillulah are elevated as well. This celebration is more intense when the Hilulah falls on Shabbat, when we rejoice and concentrate only on the positive aspects of events.

The Hillulah is a day of reflection and resolution. When we reflect upon the Rebbe’s life, we see that while being the greatest scholar in the generation, both in the revealed and hidden aspects of the Torah, he dedicated his life to caring for every Jew, even in the remotest corner of the world. The Rebbe taught us that we must be ready to sacrifice our own spiritual gain to help another Jew, even if we have never seen him. Furthermore, the Rebbe taught us to look beyond the surface and see within each Jew his or her true potential.

As we observe the Hillulah, we must rededicate ourselves to rekindling our own spark of Torah, and sparing no effort in rekindling the spark of Torah within our fellow Jews. This is underscored by the portion of the week, which stresses the pitfalls of strife and the converse blessings of unity.

The Rebbe spent countless hours receiving people and praying for their physical welfare. The Rebbe instructed that his institutions throughout the world concern themselves with the physical well being of the community. The Rebbe taught us that Ahavat Yisrael is for both the body and the soul. As we observe the Hillulah, let us look what we can do to benefit a fellow Jew in a selfless manner.

The Rebbe’s concern spread to the entire humankind. Wherever possible, he used his influence to spread the Torah message of goodness and kindness to people of all nations and sought to advance their well-being. We must emulate the Rebbe, using our contact with the world to sanctify Hashem’s name and spread the seven Noahide commandments for the betterment of the world among the nations.

With prophetic vision, the Rebbe told us that we are on the threshold of the redemption. Any act of good and kindness could be the final one that will bring the world to perfection. He further stressed that at this time all good deeds should be imbued with the intent that we are bringing Moshiach closer. The Rebbe often referred to the Third of Tammuz as the beginning of the Redemption. The times of Moshiach are compared to an extended Shabbat. This year when the two coincide is an ideal time to go the extra mile, doing an extra Mitzvah and assisting another Jew to do another Mitzvah. May our observance of the Hillulah be the final conclusion and may we merit Moshiach’s coming immediately.

Shabbat Shalom and a meaningful Hilulah,

Rabbi Biggs

  I will be visiting the Ohel (The Rebbe’s resting place) in connection with the Hillula and if anyone would like a prayer said for them and/or their family members, please send me their Hebrew name and their mother’s Hebrew name. The Hilulah is also a special time to support the work of the Rebbe’s institutions and thereby elicit the Rebbe’s blessings. Please send donations to the address below.

Please take part in the spreading of Torah by sending me e mail addresses of friends. Every additional Jew studying Torah strengthens our people and elicits Hashem’s blessings.

A Project of

Chabad of Great Neck

400 East Shore Rd. Great Neck NY 11024

516 4874554       fax 516 4874807

If you wish to be removed from this list please contact me at rabbibiggs@gmail.com


 
   
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