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
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.
Rejoicing and Reflecting
Shalom and Bracha!
This Shabbat is the third of Tammuz, the twenty first
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
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
Shabbat Shalom and a meaningful Hilulah,
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
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
fax 516 4874807
Dedicated to the Rebbe