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A Mouthpiece for Moses

Friday, 23 January, 2015 - 11:40 am

Twenty three years ago on this day, the third of Shevat, 5752 (1992), the Rebbe uncharacteristically shared something about his predecessor. In the context of the 10th of Shevat being the Yahrtzeit of his father-in-law, the Previous Rebbe, he related an anecdote from the Previous Rebbe’s life. Several years before his passing in 1950, the Previous Rebbe was afflicted with an illness that severely impacted his speech and communication. His doctor, who was not a religious man, commented that it was inexplicable that G-d would allow this to happen since the Previous Rebbe was a man who influenced tens of thousands with his spoken and written word.

The Rebbe contrasted this story with the story of Moses and his speech impediment. G-d tells Moses that “Aaron will be your mouthpiece.” This was a solution to Moses’s claim that he could not be the one to lead the Jews because of his obstructed communicative capabilities.

The Rebbe then observed, that the Previous Rebbe was given no such solution. He did not have an “Aaron will be your mouthpiece.” Therefore, the Rebbe suggested, it was incumbent upon us, the Chassidim, to be the “Aaron” and to communicate the message and teachings of the Previous Rebbe. The Rebbe concluded the talk with a blessing to all for good physical health until the time of the imminent redemption.

This talk left the Chassidim confused and wondering what sparked this discussion 42 years after the Previous Rebbe’s passing. We Yeshiva students immediately made a commitment to follow through on the assignment by memorizing one of the Rebbe’s Chassidic discourses. A letter was sent to the Rebbe a few days later with a list of students that had kept the commitment. The Rebbe replied with a handwritten note to us that said (translated from Hebrew): Paraphrasing Psalms 84:8 – “And they should go from strength to strength, until (they appear) before G-d in Zion. I will mention them (for blessing) at the resting place (of the Previous Rebbe).”

We were very touched by the Rebbe’s personal attention to our efforts to fulfill his directive. This spurred us on to expand those efforts.

Seven weeks later the Rebbe suffered a stroke, which severely impacted his speech and communication. We then realized that while the Rebbe was telling us a story about his father-in-law, he was actually alluding to a situation that would become relevant to us in the near future. In effect the Rebbe was assigning to us the mission of serving as his “Aaron will be your mouthpiece.”

This task of communicating the Rebbe’s message was taken very seriously by our group of Yeshiva students. We have indeed gone from strength to strength as per the Rebbe’s blessing. Over the last 23 years members of our group became the Rebbe’s Shluchim (emissaries) all over the world. We have representatives of this group throughout the US, and in many countries on every continent of the world (except Antarctica). It is a privilege to be a part of it and serve, at least in a tiny measure, as one of the Rebbe’s “Aaron will be your mouthpiece.” We look forward to conclusion of that handwritten note, the day when we will merit to “appear before G-d in Zion” with the coming of Moshiach, immediately if not sooner.

Mazel Tov to Rabbi Yossie and Chanie Nemes upon the birth of a granddaughter Chaya Mushka, to Bracha and Avremi Slaveticki.

Mazel Tov to Uzzi and Rivkah Kehaty upon the engagement of their son Mendel to Freida Davidoff.

Wishing you a good Shabbos!
Rabbi Mendel Rivkin

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