TORAH FOR THE TIMES 
  

 

 

Torah Reading: Parshat Shleach,  Numbers 13:1  - 15:41

Haftora: Joshua  2: 1 - 24

Shabbat Candle Lighting: 8:13 PM

Shabbat Ends: 9:21 PM 

SHELACH

 

BRINGING THE CO’ACH-OF SIVAN TO THE ENTIRE WORLD 

The Two Anniveraries

This Shabbos, the 28th of Sivan marks 79 years since the Rebbe and his wife, the Rebbetzin, arrived at the shores of the Unites States, escaping the Nazi onslaught.

This coming Thursday, the Third of Tammuz, will mark 26 years since we were denied the ability to hear and see the Rebbe.

I do not use the words such as “passing away,” because to me and millions of others, the Rebbe’s presence is very much a reality.

As our society is going through very difficult times with the pandemic and the protests, we have to remember that the Rebbe stood for and still stands for marching towards the Final Redemption with optimism, positivity and joy.

The Connection to Shlach

This week’s parsha is called Shlach, which means “send.” It refers to G‑d’s statement to Moses to send spies to scout the land of Canaan. Tragically, these spies violated their charge, and returned with a blasphemous conclusion that the Jewish Nation will not be able to conquer the land. The people cried and were banished from the Promised Land. They would all perish in the desert and only their children will live to enter the Promised Land.

Although the sending of spies turned out to be an ill-fated mission, we still refer to this parsha as the parsha of Shlach-Send, without alluding to its negative outcome. This, the Rebbe taught us, means that every Jew has an obligation to go on a mission to prepare us for the entry into the Promised Land with the Final Redemption through Moshiach.

The only requirement is that, unlike the spies then, we carry out our mission with trust that we will succeed.  

The Ultimate Shliach

Our generation was blessed with the Rebbe’s soul, which was sent by G‑d to be the ultimate Shliach-messenger to prepare our generation for the Redemption. Indeed, the Rebbe was “obsessed” with the intertwined beliefs in: G‑d, Torah, the Jewish people, humanity and the ultimate Age of Redemption when universal peace will prevail.

The Rebbe’s anticipation for Redemption began when he was a but a small child and never wavered.

In one of the rare occasions where the Rebbe divulged something about himself, the Rebbe wrote in a letter about the way he pictured the future:

“From the time that I was a child attending cheder, and even before, there began to take form in my mind a picture of the future Redemption — the redemption of Israel from its last exile, a redemption which would explain the suffering, the decrees and the massacres of the galus...”

The Rebbe’s “concealment” after the 3rd of Tammuz did not signify the Rebbe’s ceasing to lead us towards Redemption. On the contrary! The Rebbe empowered us to be his partners in accomplishing just that.

Eleven months before the Rebbe suffered a stroke in 1992, and could no longer communicate verbally, he stated that he is delegating the responsibility and mission to bring Moshiach to us. The Rebbe obviously did not abandon his life’s mission to bring Moshiach, rather he empowered us to be his partners, as Shluchim-messengers, to reach that goal.

The Power of Torah in the Western Hemisphere

To understand the significance of the 28th of Sivan, the Rebbe referred to the number 28, which in Hebrew is indicated by the letters chof, ches, which reads co’ach or “power.”

Since Sivan is the month in which the Torah was given, it follows that the 28th day of the month “co’ach Sivan” is the day that conveys the Power of Torah.

What exactly happened on the 28th of Sivan that represents its power?

Judaism flourished in the Eastern Hemisphere. The Torah was given in that hemisphere. The Jews and Judaism flourished in the Land of Israel and later in Babylonian exile in the same hemisphere. Similarly, most of Jewish life, scholarship and achievements occurred in the Eastern Hemisphere.

It has been said that the power of Torah had not arrived to the Western Hemisphere. Even after millions of Jews came to these shores in the 19th and 20th centuries, most of Judaism was left behind in Europe. The slogan often heard by Jews of all stripes was that “America is different.” In America, secular values are supreme; the Torah will have to take a back seat. Jews who were faithful to Torah were afraid to show their Jewishness.

When the Previous Rebbe (Rabbi Yoseph Yizchak Schneersohn, the Rebbe’s father-n-law), arrived at these shores in 1940 he declared, “America is not different!” He then set out to establish an entire network of schools and other educational programs to make that changed slogan a reality. However, his work was curtailed by virtue of his illness and paralysis. This all changed for the good when the Rebbe arrived on the 28th day of Sivan and took his predecessor’s work to new heights.

The Rebbe’s arrival here on the 28th day of Sivan (“Co’ach-the power of Sivan”) was indeed the day that the power of Torah was unleashed; it was no longer restricted to one hemisphere. Finally, Judaism was taken “out of the closet,” when the Rebbe made Judaism something which we do in public with fanfare and enthusiasm. What the Rebbe did in the forties was the forerunner of his sending thousands of shluchim-emissaries and thousands of institutions throughout the world.

Still Incomplete

However, the ultimate “Co’ach of Sivan” power of Torah will not be complete until Moshiach comes and brings about the true and complete Redemption. Only then will we enjoy the full power of Torah that will literally transform the world into a world of goodness and peace!

How do we accomplish this?

The Rebbe once explained that the word Moshiach numerically adds up to the number 358. The word shliach-messenger is numerically 348; a deficit of 10. To bring Moshiach one must be a shliach who uses his or her 10 soul faculties (348+10), which constitute one’s total personality, intellect and emotions, to  bringing the co’ach of Sivan-Torah to the entire world.