In truth, Donald J Trump has accomplished nothing new. While he ran on a mandate to “drain the swamp” and “throw out the establishment” including and thanking every American citizen as part of a new movement and for his victory, he was not the first. He’s following in the footsteps of one of our greatest Jewish heroes and leaders two and a half centuries ago.
The Alter Rebbe, founder of the Chabad Chassidic movement author of two seminal works, the Tanya and Shulchan Aruch HaRav, followed and expanded on the revolution ignited by the Ba’al Shem Tov. He blazed a new path that scared the scholars and leaders in Eastern Europe and started a backlash of opposition and accusations against him and chassidic philosophy.
Ultimately the worst of all possibilities, slandering a Jew to the Czarist government, was undertaken by unsavory characters and the Alter Rebbe was arrested. Ostensibly for fomenting revolution against the czar by supporting the Turkish sultan, which was at war with Russia for many years. Their basis for this was his support of the budding Chassidic yishuv in Israel which was under Turkish rule.
After interrogations and prosecutions he was proven to be innocent of any revolutionary desires against the czar and was finally released and liberated on the 19-20 Kislev to great pomp and circumstance. Not only was he declared innocent but his captors, the Russian government, became his allies and awarded him with a title normally not bestowed upon Jews.
In truth, however, he did start a revolution. His opponents, members of the Jewish establishment, were correct. Not a temporal one to be sure. But he began a wave unlike Jews have ever seen before. He began a process of intellectual and rational rapprochement between the “haves” and the “have nots” ensuring the enduring legacy of the Ba’al Shem Tov’s philosophy and the promise Mashiach made him: “I’ll arrive when your wellsprings are spread even to the nethermost regions!”
This, the Alter Rebbe taught us, can only happen once Jews realize who they are, who they belong to and what makes them unique. It’s by realizing and feeling the soul within us which hails from the Infinite Essence of Gd and it’s what unites us all into a shared purpose, a singularity, which derives itself from the Singularity of Al-mighty Gd.
It was a revolution and it continues to this very day. The Alter Rebbe and his successors not only drained the swamp, their continuing revolution transformed it into a brand new form of Yiddishkeit and Ahavat Yisrael. It has now become the de-jure form of Judaism and all hearken to its siren call whether they realize it or not.
For this we thank Al-mighty Gd for this once-in-a-time soul that the Alter Rebbe possessed and bequeathed all of us, his chassidim and all Jews who connect themselves to him and his eternal teachings. As he promised all who ask for blessings on this day that he would grant them their requests.
May we follow his light and his instructions to a time of true revolution a powerful exodus out of this exile and into the redemption that Mashiach promised us speedily now!!
Gut Yom Tov! Chag samei’ach!!