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Wednesday, October 16, 2019 - 17 Tishrei 5780
 
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The Rebbe’s Sons
Each year, as we frantically complete the final preparations for Passover, Jews the world over pause to commemorate a different milestone – the birthday of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, which we celebrate on the 11th of Nissan. This year marks the 111th year since the birth of the Rebbe in Yekatrinoslav, Ukraine.
The central theme of the Passover holiday is “And you shall teach to your children” – the fulfillment of the Torah precept to transmit to our children the story of the exodus from Egypt and its continuing relevance to our lives. Many observances of the seder are done solely to arouse the curiosity of a child – to convey that Passover is somehow different from any other night of the year, and to get the child to ask questions and participate actively in the seder.
It is no coincidence, then, that the Rebbe’s birthday falls out in such close proximity to Passover. The Rebbe dedicated his entire life to Jewish education. He founded an extensive network of yeshivos, day schools and summer camps worldwide. Additionally, the Rebbe spearheaded innovative programs for youth, such as the renowned Tzivos Hashem organization, which provides hands-on activities for children to experience Judaism in a fun, colorful way. This, indeed, has become the trademark of Chabad – Judaism that is creative, dynamic, energized. The Rebbe’s unique approach brought about a revolution in the Jewish world, and impacted thousands of children to identify positively with Judaism and incorporate it into their daily lives.
The Rebbe’s passion for education did not stop with children, though. In addition to his broad-ranging, scholarly teachings, the Rebbe also spearheaded a global movement to promote observance of the seven Noachide laws, an ancient code for moral and ethical behavior for all mankind. Each year on the Rebbe’s birthday, this milestone is recognized by the United States Congress. A presidential proclamation in 2012 read, “On Education and Sharing Day, U.S.A., we reflect on the teachings of Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the Lubavitcher Rebbe, who embodied that humanitarian spirit. As a tireless advocate for youth around the world, he inspired millions to lift the cause of education, to practice kindness and generosity, and to aspire toward their highest ideals. His enduring legacy lives on in those he touched, and today, we resolve to carry forward his dedication to service and scholarship.”
One of the Rebbe’s unique characteristics was his refusal to give up on a single Jew, no matter how distant or estranged from Judaism. In the Haggadah we read of the four sons, each with their individual approach to the observance of Passover. The “wicked” son brings a cynical, scoffing attitude, asking, “What is this service to you?” The Haggadah prescribes a harsh response to this son: You, therefore, blunt his teeth and say to him: “It is because of this that the L-rd did for me when I left Egypt”; ‘for me’ - but not for him! If he had been there, he would not have been redeemed!"

The Rebbe characteristically turns this statement around: If he had been there, in Egypt, he would not have been redeemed. But in the final Redemption, not a single Jew will be left behind! G-d will gather up every Jew, the wise, the wicked, the simple and the silent alike. All have a place at the seder table, and all will be gathered up by King Moshiach and brought back to Jerusalem.

 

 


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