The Rebbe I Never Met

On Gimmel Tammuz, I don’t mourn the Rebbe. I’ve watched as others have written of their emptiness, and listened as they tell me of the sadness they feel on the day when they lost their Rebbe. But I don’t think of this day in terms of loss. I don’t mourn, at least not in the way others do. Instead, I think of what I’ve gained from the spiritual giant we call the Rebbe.

I never met the Rebbe; never stood in line to receive a dollar, never had an audience with him, and never went to one of his gatherings. Physically, I never encountered him. But what is the physical world, after all? The Chassidus teaches us that corporeality is merely a guise; something which has relatively little to do with the true nature of our existence. We utilise this world, but tzaddikim transcend the barriers of physicality.

The Rebbe’s memory is still alive, and as I never knew his physical self, I have not lost anything other than an opportunity I can’t begin to dwell on. Instead, I have only ever gained from him. How can we say the Rebbe is dead when his spirit and legacy live on? How can I claim that this man didn’t change my life, even though I never met him in the way one meets a rabbi or friend?

The Rebbe started a revolution- a Torah revolution which touched every Jew. Even those of future generations. Even myself. From a completely non religious background, it was through the Rebbe’s shluchim that I found beauty and harmony in Judaism when my own life knew no such thing. Through the teachings of the Rebbe I found the inspiration to write, to study and to teach, when previously, I had no motivation even to go about my daily activities. And in his legacy I found a home where previously I had none.

Today, I think back on all the Rebbe did, but I also look at the present and I see that much of my life stems from the Rebbe’s influence and all he did. And I look to the future and see the continuation of his legacy, through the shluchim who work to spread Torah and light, and through the arrival of Moshiach- brought on, as the Rebbe famously declared, by just one good deed. May we soon merit to witness this, speedily and in our days.

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