Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Reflections on Gimmel Tammuz

Today is the 20th yartzeit of the Lubavitcher Rebbe. I never had the privilege of meeting the Rebbe, but what I have had is the precious opportunity to study a portion of his mystical teachings. Chassidus is a philosophy of depth, complexity, and honesty, but it's also so much more than that.

Chassidus forces you to meet the soul that you are. It balks at the constraints of nature and challenges you to reassess the limitations of a seemingly finite existence. It banishes the notion of a one-dimensional G-d figure, replacing every answer about G-d with a question. It introduces you to a G-d who needs you, a G-d who gives you a purpose simply by desiring you. It speaks of a G-d who transcends all created experiences, yet intimately knows your joys and sorrows even more profoundly than you do. Chabad Chassidus bridges the chasm between physical and spiritual, body and soul, G-d and Jew.

It is the study of Torah through the prism of Chassidus that has kept my personal Judaism alive, and it is due to the Rebbe’s influence that world Jewry has thrived to such an astonishing extent. Words cannot capture the magnitude of the Rebbe’s impact or the gratitude that I feel for having found a path guided by his philosophy.

This day may be the yartzeit of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, but the Rebbe is by no means removed from the advances of world. Since his passing, new sparks of his influence enlighten the world every day: A revitalized connection to G-d, a more nuanced appreciation for Torah wisdom, a purer love of one’s fellow.

This day is not a commemoration of that which was. Gimmel Tammuz is a recognition of what is if we simply peer beneath the surface, and what can be if we embrace that hidden truth and live it.


  1. The Rebbe's words reverberate throughout time, even though his physical voice is silent, his spiritual words are a clear and strong as ever. Chassidus is something lived, internal, a personal relationship with HaShem beyond mihagim, clothing, or strictures of diet. The Rebbe was uncompromising in his beliefs, but was able to have friends from across Yiddishkeit. Have you ever written a letter to the Rebbe?

  2. This may not be your cup of tea, but at least the talk of Moshiach spurs his revelation sooner, as suggested by the very word משיח, which in Hebrew also could read, "From conversation" - From שיח. It relates to the 3rd of Tammuz.