The following is from an email sent by R’ Sholom Mordechai HaLevi Ben Rivkah Rubashkin to his family and friends on Yud Gimmel Tishrei:
In connection with the Avoda here on Yom Kippur, I want to report that a Shiur in Torah started Friday with a person here that Baruch Hashem came to the Minyan on Rosh Hashana, and then again on Yom Kippur. Also, I got to make Kiddush Levana outside, after Havdala and Negel Vasser, with a Kittel and Talis.
In my letters to you I often write about the Avoda here, the Netzozos to be Ma’aleh, and the accomplishments, B’Ezer Hashem Yisborech. I want to continue to help but, of course, my Bakosho Nafshis and the Bakosho Nafshis of so many of my brothers and sisters in Klal Yisroel to Hakodosh Baruch Hu is that I be freed and released from this Gehinom and reunite with my family and Kehila, and it will happen.
Let me share with you what is my understanding.
The Baal Shem Tov had a great Talmid, who was one of the pillars in the Avodas Hakodesh of the Baal Shem Tov. His name was Reb Mordechai. There is a Kabbalah from Reb Mordechai that he heard from the Baal Shem Tov, Az a Neshama Ken Arop Kumen Oif Der Velt Far 70 Uder 80 Yor Nor Tzu Ton a Tova a Yidden B’Gashmius, un Avadeh B’Ruchnius.
This is a Torah of the Baal Shem Tov that has inspired me, as well as all Yidden, to appreciate the tremendous importance of doing a Yid a favor, and to act on that B’Poel Mamosh. This is Ahavas Yisroel beyond Haskalah, actually getting it done. This is the life of all of you that dedicate so much Koichos to help a Yid.
I was at a Farbrengen of the Lubavitcher Rebbe and the Rebbe was discussing Ahavas Yisroel. The Rebbe spoke at length about the topic in general, and specifically the Vort Reb Mordechai shared from the Baal Shem Tov.
The Rebbe then came to the bottom line: “… when a Yid comes over to you and asks you for a favor, remember that it is very possible that this is the favor, the Tovah, that your Neshoma came down into this world to do, and that will be motivate and encourage you to actually do this Tovah for the Yid, however difficult it may be, knowing that this may be your whole purpose!”
I suddenly got a Machshovo Zoroh: Why would this motivate me to do the favor? If this is my whole purpose and this is why I am here, if I do the favor my job here will be done, and I would leave this world, Chas Vesholom. I am still too young for that.
I tried to banish this thought. The Rebbe clearly just said that this would help you to do the toiva so my thinking must be wrong. But how? We are expected to understand…
As I was thinking this, I noticed that the Rebbe had paused and it was quiet. Then the Rebbe continued: “Un Az Der Oibershter Vet Zen Az Men Iz Mekayem Der Shlichus Azoi Gut, Vet Der Oibershter Geben Noch Langer Gezunter Yorin Tzu Kenen Em Dinen Vaiter! (When Hashem sees that we have fulfilled our Shlichus so well, He gives us many more years of health to be able to serve Him further.)
So you see – the Oibershter is A GUTER! The Avodah of helping a Yid here keep Torah and Mitzvos here in Otisville is not Chas V’sholom being in Gehinom. Farkert! Az Der Oibershter Vet Zen Az Men Iz Mekayem Der Shlichus Azoi Gut, Vet Der Oibershter Geben Noch Langer Gezunter Yorin Tzu Kenen Em Dinen Vaiter!
It is getting very close to Sukkos. There are so many Mitzvos on Sukkos and I continue my plea to Hashem to bring me home to my family for Sukkos and after. Amen.
V’Lokachtem Lochem BaYom HaRishon V’chulu… The Torah calls the first day of Sukkos “BaYom HaRishon” – the first day – even though it is on the 15th of Tishrei because its “Rishon L’Cheshbon…”
Sukkos is connected with Rosh Hashono as explained in the Medrash “Yisroel V’Umos HaOlam Ba’in Lifnei Hakodosh Baruch Hu B’Rosh Hashana V’Les Ana Yadeinon Man Notzach, Elah B’mah She’Yisroel Yotzin M’Lifnei Hakodosh Baruch Hu V’Luloveihen V’Esrogehen B’Yodeihen Anu Yodim D’Yisroel Inun Nitzchaya.” By carrying our Lulov and Esrog we show the we were “Notzeach B’din”.
The Din is on Rosh HaShana and the Nitzachon of Rosh Hashana is seen, revealed for all nations to see, on Yom Tov Sukkos. Yehi Rotzon that we will see our victory in our “Din” and the victory will be seen by all nations until, as we sing in Halel, “Halelu Es Hashem Kol Goyim… Ki Govar Aleinu Chasdoi,” the goyim will all sing and praise Hashem when we all are victorious in an open and revealed way.
This year the Mitzva of the Arba Minim, which shows our unity and how we all complete each other, is alive. The Inyan of the Arba Minim, the Achdus of Yidden, is open and seen by all. This year the taking of the Arba Minim will be so powerful and bring all the Brochos on all of us in a very revealed way in everything we need. Bonei, Chayei, U’Mezoinei R’vichei, U’BeKulom R’vichei. The Posuk of V’Harikoisi Lachem Brocho Ad Bli Dai will be Mekuyim B’Poel Mamash.
On the second night of Sukkos starts the Avoda of Simchas Beis HaShoeva and IY”H I will be dancing with all of you B’Gashmius!
Simchas Beis HaShoevah is the Avoda of Mayim. The whole year the Avoda of Nisuch is with wine on the Mizbe’ach and on Simchas Beis Hashoeva we add the Avoda of Mayim, water.
What’s the difference between the two?
L’choira one answer would be that in prison there can not be any wine. Wine is not allowed, nor is any alcoholic drink. But there is plenty of water. The P’nimius ‘dike reason for that is because for a Yid to survive in prison he must have the Avoda of water.
Wine has a taste. It is very Geshmak to drink wine. The Avoda of wine means serving Hashem with a Geshmak. The Yid that learns and understands and has a Geshmak in his learning and in his service to Hashem . Also, wine makes a person happy, which means that the person who serves Hashem with a Geshmak will Takeh be happy, with true simcha. Pikudei Hashem Yesharim, Mesamchei Lev.
But, with the Avoda of Yayin, the Simcha will be limited to the Geshmak that the Yid has from understanding what he has learnt. The Simcha that he acquires from his Avoda is a limited Simcha, dependant on how much he worked and understood – very much like the physical effects of wine depend on how much wine he drank.
Nisuch HaMayim means that we serve the Oibeshter not only with our understanding and our limitation to what we enjoy and how much we enjoy, if we are in the mood. Sukkos and Simchas Beis HaShoevah give us the Koach to reach a level in Avodas Hashem that’s unlimited. There is no limit to our Simcha. Our Simcha comes MiMa’akim, as we said on Rosh Hashanah, Mema’akim Krosicha, which means Emek Mitoch Emek – from the deepest depths of our Neshama, that is not limited to any Geshmak or understanding.
This is possible because our Avodas Hashem is not dependant on anything external. We are one with Hashem with our very essence. This is Yechida. So when we dance on Simchas Beis HaShoevah we are preparing for drawing the water, (actually the Hachanas HaMitzvah) and the Avoda of Mayim. It is about that Simcha that it says “Mi SheLo Ro’oh Simchas Beis HaShoevah Lo Ro’oh Simcha Meyamav”, because that Simcha is a Simcha which is unlimited – the Simcha a yid has to be able to serve Hashem beyond reason.
Try it this Sukkos when you are dancing on Simchas Beis Hashoeiva. It’s not in the drink or the music or your dancing shoes. It is in the depths of your Neshama. In prison one needs to Takeh use (the Avoda of) water all year round. (The Avoda of) wine is not (allowed to be) used here because its just not as effective!
I want to Bentch everyone together and everyone separately, that since the Avoda of Mayim is NOT to the exclusion of Yayin, Zol Zich Gissen Vain Bai Alle Yidden. May Hashem Bentch me to be able to drink wine in our Sukkoh, all together in one sukkoh, and, together with the Geshmak of the wine, the unlimited Simcha like water and serve Hashem in a unlimited way.
We should all be able to dance in the Geulah Proti of every Yid together with the geulah Klali of all the Yidden. Amen V’Amen.
A Freilichen Yom Tov!
Sholom Mordechai Halevi