The Stuff Dreams Are Made Of...

Thursday, 14 January, 2016 - 11:10 am

This has been a week of dreams. The Powerball frenzy has had people expressing their dreams, or at the very least dreaming to themselves, of what they would do with that kind of money, should they win. Dreams that kept people warm and hopeful, if for but a fleeting moment. Some spoke of giving up their jobs. Others talked about acquiring things such as a yacht, a fleet of expensive cars, or an airplane. There was even talk about purchasing a professional sports team. Certainly many people expressed the desire to do good things for others, charitable activities and so forth.

My kids informed me that if we win, first we will pay off the debts of Chabad and Torah Academy and then we will buy a vehicle big enough for the whole family. Hey, at least they have their priorities lined up… first Tzedakah and then something for yourself.

Powerball dreams can tell us a lot about ourselves. They can teach us how generous or selfish we are. They can reveal depth or shallowness within us. The stuff that dreams are made of help us see who we are and can define for us our priorities in life.

All this talk about dreams and hopes for the future had me reflecting on one of the rare occasions when the Rebbe shared something very personal about himself – a dream and hope that started in his childhood.

In a letter dated the 11th of Nissan, 1956, addressed to Israel’s president at the time, Yitzhak Ben-Zvi, the Rebbe wrote the following:

“From the time I was a child attending cheder, and even before, the vision of the future Redemption began to take form in my imagination—the Redemption of the Jewish people from their final exile, the Redemption of such magnitude through which the purpose of their suffering, the harsh decrees and annihilation of exile will be understood.”

A great person can even be identified by his hopes and dreams. The Rebbe didn’t dream about his own accomplishments but rather the Redemption of the Jewish people. This vision fueled the Rebbe’s every activity and initiative. From the very moment the Rebbe accepted the leadership of the Chabad movement (66 years ago this week), this vision framed his agenda and it was forcefully present in all that he did or said.

As we mark the anniversary of the Rebbe’s ascendance to the leadership of Chabad on the Tenth of Shevat (next Wednesday), let us recommit ourselves to the fulfillment of the Rebbe’s hope and dream of bringing Redemption to the world. We have been given the tools and the instructions of how to use them. We must now move to implementation phase with a sense of urgency to usher the world out of exile and over the threshold of Redemption.

Shabbat Shalom
Rabbi Mendel Rivkin

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