25 Years of Alive and Stronger

Friday, 5 July, 2019 - 4:53 pm

25 years is a long time. It’s long enough for a “generation” to be born and grow up. This Shabbos marks 25 years since the Rebbe’s physical passing on the 3rd of Tammuz in 1994. As I reflect on this, I realize that I was born less than 25 years after the passing of the Previous Rebbe (1950). I do not relate to the Previous Rebbe as a person who is of “my times.” Yet as I look around the world of Chabad today, I see thousands of young men and women, boys and girls for whom the Rebbe is a major presence in their lives. They live as Jews with his inspiration. Their striving in life is to fulfill his directives by devoting their lives to bringing people closer to Hashem. They are willing to pick themselves up and set up shop in some small town or remote country as the Rebbe’s Shluchim (emissaries). This is all despite the fact that they never met the Rebbe or heard him speak in person. Notwithstanding this, they relate to the Rebbe as a person who is real and thriving and whose influence on them is ongoing and transformative.

The Rebbe once expressed himself about his father-in-law, the Previous Rebbe, that although he had passed away 35 years before, over those 35 years he became more alive and stronger with each passing year. We can say with certainty that over the last 25 years the Rebbe has become more alive and stronger. The fascination of the Jewish and secular world with the Rebbe also grows. In recent weeks and days four new books were published about the Rebbe and his teachings. With titles like Social Wisdom, Positivity Bias, Dear Rebbe and One by One, they cover an interesting range of topics that the Rebbe addressed and the broad range of people with whom the Rebbe interacted.

As I watch my own children grow and develop into Chassidim of a Rebbe they never met, I realize that he is more real for them than almost any character that dominates the daily news of our society. The Rebbe’s influence on them has provided them with meaningful and hyper-focused lives. It has molded them into people who think about others even at a very young age. They have a worldview that is shaped by the Rebbe’s wide-ranging insights into every conceivable issue. Finally, they are active participants in the drive to bring our world to a state of Redemption. I am grateful to Hashem for gifting our generation with the Rebbe.

We eagerly yearn for the time when the void in our hearts and lives will be filled and we will be reunited with the Rebbe. But for the brief moment until that time comes, we plow forward to continue bringing the Rebbe’s message of hope and empowerment to the world.

Shabbat Shalom from New York
Rabbi Mendel Rivkin

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