The Lubavitcher Rebbe provided priceless and countless advice throughout every crisis that Israel faced. The advice ranged from military and strategic in nature, to what each of us can do spiritually to ensure salvation, to comforting of bereaved war widows and orphans. It’s not for nothing that three books have come out about his leadership in the past year alone or why he has been recognized in a multitude of publications, across the religious and political spectrum for his leadership.
One special letter and message to a war widow was relayed by Rabbi Shmuel Butman tonight on COLLive. It is a worthwhile message of truth and comfort for anyone who has ever mourned a loved one. (Link available here)
The Rebbe often stressed the importance of happiness and of being happy at all times. In letters addressing each person’s needs with the care and thought of a true leader of Klal Yisroel, he explained how one receives blessings from above according to their mood down here on earth. Hence, when one who is happy down here, happy occasions and events are decreed for that person from above.
Israel’s survival, and indeed the survival of the entire Jewish people, is nothing short of miraculous. A key Kabbalistic teaching also emphasized by the Rebbe is that physical blessings and protection stem from spirituality, specifically from connection with the Almighty through Torah and its commandments, and that the commandments are channels for Divine blessings.
Hand in hand with this, the Rebbe stressed joy, both as an integral part of every mitzvah and as a conduit for blessings in and of itself. So much so in fact, that when the Rebbe had a heart attack in 1977 (may we all be saved from any such things), he asked that his chassidim remain joyous. His recovery was faster than anyone expected and complete.
With this in mind, it seems worthwhile to share with readers this story of the Mitteler Rebbe (the 2nd Lubavitcher Rebbe – 1812-1827) from the book Otzar Sippurei Chabad (Vol 16, Pg 55 – originally taken from “Reshimos Devorim” by Rabbi Yehuda Chitrik).
I’ll loosely translate the story for readers and add explanatory notes in parentheses:
The Mitteler Rebbe had a group of Chassidim who formed a “Kapelyeh” (choir). He had another group who were diligently trained ride horses. Upon certain special, joyous occasions, the Mitteler Rebbe would ask both groups to perform and he would stand by his balcony window in attendance. The Rebbe’s son, R’ Nochum, was also a member of the horse riders.
On one regular weekday, the Mitteler Rebbe asked both groups to perform unexpectedly (it was not usual, if ever, that he asked for this except on special occasions). He stood in his usual spot and watched the horsemen.
Suddenly, his son R’ Nochum fell off of his horse and was in a situation of danger. Others around immediately relayed this to the Rebbe, who signaled with his hand that they should continue the festivities.
After a while, the Rebbe asked them to stop. He left his watching place at the balcony window and stepped into his office room.
The members of the Rebbe’s household summoned a doctor, who found his son’s situation to be far less severe than previously thought. His injury was only a broken leg. The doctor applied certain healing methods and R’ Nochum was soon healed.
After some time had passed, the members of his household, or his chassidim, asked the Mitteler Rebbe why he had asked the horsemen and choir to continue when his truly beloved son was injured.
The Mitteler Rebbe responded, “Why don’t you ask me (implying that a better question would be) why I asked the horsemen and the choir to perform on a simple weekday (which seemingly was never done)?”
He then explained, “On that day I saw judgments against (his son R’ Nochum) and since happiness sweetens judgment, I summoned the choir and the horsemen. Since, even after this, a trace of the judgment still remained (hence the injury), I asked that the choir and horsemen continue to play, so that not even a trace of the judgment remain. The broken leg was the trace of remaining judgment, and the purpose of the continued joyous festivities was so that it be healed quickly and completely.”
May each reader experience only joy from now on and may we all be blessed with revealed happiness.