Saturday, December 09, 2006

Happy Yud-Tes Kislev

Shavua tov and a good yom-tov to everyone. Tonight starts Yud-Tes Kislev, what is known as the "Rosh HaShana of Chassidus." This day commemorates the imprisonment and subsequent release of the Alte Rebbe, the founder of Chabad Chassidus, author of the Tanya, and a leader of his generation.

For deeper reading on the meaning and story of Yud-Tes Kislev, please see

I have translated a short account about a certain incident that occurred to the Alte Rebbe during his imprisonment (from an abridged sicha by the Lubavitcher Rebbe in Meayi'in Chai). Please enjoy:
During the Alte Rebbe's imprisonment, an officer from the Russian government came to visit him. This officer happened to be extremely well-versed in Tanach (Torah, Prophets, and Writings) and educated in Jewish matters.

One of the questions which this officer presented to the Alte Rebbe was regarding the explanation of the line in Torah, "G-d called out to Adam and He said to him, 'Where are you?'" The officer asked, "Didn't G-d know where Adam was? For what purpose did He ask, "Where are you?"?

The Alte Rebbe first answered him with the explanation offered by Rashi. [namely, that the question "Where are you?" was a way for G-d to open a conversation with Adam without completely scaring him.]

"I am already very well aware of what Rashi says," the officer replied, "but I want to hear the explanation of the Rabbi!"

To this, the Alte Rebbe answered:

"At the time that a person arrives to such and such an age (and here the Alte Rebbe mentioned the exact age of this particular officer), G-d asks him, 'Where are you?' Do you know for what purpose you were created in this world? What you need to do, and what you have accomplished?"

The Rebbe Rayatz explains:

The reply of the Alte Rebbe saved him from klos hanefesh (literally, saved his soul from expiring). The Alte Rebbe was overjoyed because of the merit that had befallen him, to be imprisoned and to give over his soul for the sake of the Torah of Chassidus; this matter caused the Alte Rebbe great delight. He arrived to such an elevated love and clinging to G-d, to the point that he was prepared to cling to G-d completely, to leave life in This World, and to return his soul to its Maker.

At the specific moment that the Alte Rebbe was answering the Russian officer, he thought about the fact that G-d asks each individual: "Where are you? Did you do everything that was required of you? Did you fulfill your obligations in the world?" This question struck the Alte Rebbe and saved him from klos hanefesh. He remained alive, in This World, and continued to be engaged in the subjects for which his soul had descended to the world--the spreading of Chassidus.


Every matter that occurred in the life of the Alte Rebbe creates a lesson for us.

The question, "Where are you?" is asked to every Jew at every time, from the greatest of the great to the smallest of the small. Each individual is asked according to his or her own ability and level.

With the Alte Rebbe, the question "Where are you?" prevented his soul from expiring, and for others, the same question reminds him or her not to listen to the voice of the yetzer harah, but rather to overcome it and to be strengthened in the study of Torah and fulfillment of the Mitzvos.
"A good yom-tov! May you be inscribed and sealed for a good year in the study of Chassidus and in the spiritual lifestyle of Chassidus."


Anonymous dl said...

thank you Uri!
The chein boys have been farbrainging
since havdalah.........Shlomie singing padah bishalom and Mendel and Dovid dancing around and making "kulehs"

Sat Dec 09, 08:42:00 PM 2006  
Blogger G-D SQUAD said...

Awww... my heart is full. I just spent this past Shabbos with Phlip, and motzai'i shabbos we were talking about what everyone in Santa Cruz was doing at that moment... it was about 10:30am in Santa Cruz at the time.

Sun Dec 10, 09:40:00 PM 2006  
Blogger G-D SQUAD said...

The farbrengen ...enjoy.

Mon Dec 11, 04:17:00 AM 2006  

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