A HOLY CHANT FOR TODAY
Harav Y. Reuven Rubin Shlita
One of the most troubling realities of todays world, is that we are losing that generation that survived the war and went on to rebuild all this that we take for granted. As a youngster I was gifted the merit to see and learn from many of these heroes and my mind is filled with snapshots of the their holy smiles, their wondrous love for Klall Yisroel, and their whole hearted fidelity for what it is to be a true Yied. To come to a foreign land, often with no surviving family and through sheer holy determination create a world thought to be extinct for all time, is so miraculous that we cant even begin to grasp the enormity of what was accomplished. One of the most dynamic and memorable of these tzadikim was the Bobover Rebbe Rav Shlomo Ztl who took me under his wing as a young bar mitzvah boy. The first time I was ushered into his holy room he made it a point to tell me that he wanted to be my friend and I need not be his chossid. This Torah sage, leader of a fledgling community understood through his spiritual antenna that this young boy was alone, and needed more than anything someone who would be there for him through thick and thin. This is not the place to write all that I saw and heard throughout those years of communal growth, However allow me to share one small snapshot that has been entrenched in my heart all these years.
In Bobov the days before Rosh Hashonah shimmered with a special vitality where the tempo was set by the Rav’s unbounded energy. Early morning slichos, meeting with all the individual members of his kehillah to offer chizuk, shmuezen, seeing that the financial situation for the expanding mosdos was taken care of, all this and so much more was placed on the Rav’s table, and with the devoted help of his son HaRav Naftulcha Ztl, it all just seamlessly happened.
Oh yes, my snapshot, Rosh Hashonah in the morning, the Rav would stride in wearing his sparkling white kitel, and draped in his silver crowned talis. He would stand by the amud, the olam was still, and then, the tzadik started to chant the words of the first prayer for the morning , “Adon Olam!” “Master of The World”. Chant is wrong sorry, it was more than that, it was a heartfelt cry of awareness of
Hashems Oneness in this world. Adon Olam, one huge Creator of all reality. The Rebbe’s cry came from the totality of a life tinged with tragedy yet soaked in brilliant positive illumination. That cry reached into my young heart and spoke of all the wonder of what a world of Hashem is. Even we small cogs in the vastness that is Hashem’s creation, can cry out Adon Olam, moving our hearts away from the mundane to the wealth of wondrous glory that is The Eiibishter’s love.
I sit here many decades later and ask, who cries out that clarion Adon Olam now? Where can our young be infused with the grandeur of Yiddishkiet that goes beyond the garish sparkling lights of todays world. Yes, we are gifted with many holy Tzadikim who give of their entirety to the Klall, yet I fear for the many who dont feel the connection that these Tzadikim offer. K’EH our communities number in the tens of thousands, yet walls seem to be built so that intimacy with our Sages seems limited to screens or huge throngs that jostle for a glimpse. We cant bring back the past, no matter how cozy it may seem, instead, we must strive to bring our young into our shtieblach and shuls with warmth and comradeship. We in Adass Aish Kodesh have just completed building an extension to our Shtieble, and I made it my paramount task to create space for our kids that will facilitate their bonding with their family kehilah. In a letter sent out to the olam I wrote: “We hope to reach out to others especially the young with programs specifically geared for those seeking a closer attachment to Hashem.”
Our world is one wherein it is difficult to focus on the spiritual. Society has drifted away from all such notions leaving just gimmicks and noise in its place. To allow our kids to hear the heartfelt cry of Adon Olam, we must capture their hearts through the warmth that allowed the previous generation to do that which seemed impossible. Rosh Hashonah is a time of new beginnings, what better place to start than bringing the Adon Olam into our young? We stand on the shoulders of Giants, beyond the grainy pictures we see in the books were neshomahs that were enveloped in Yiddishkiet. Todays pictures may be clearer, but the images are a bit blurred by the challenges our generation must face. The Eibishter knows where we are, His love for us has no bounds. Let us gather together with one great goal, to bring that ancient chant of Adon Olam to the next link to the Moshiach. Allow me to end with just one more snapshot of way back then. The Rav would greet each neshomah at his davening with a caring smile. He knew our challenges and difficulties, yet he opened every single soul with a smile that spoke of hope. Rosh Hashonah was a day filled with avodah and connection, yet there was room for a young boy to receive a smile tailor made to his needs.
Our young need brochos soaked in warmth, this is what our task is today. I wish all a kesivah vechasimah tova with kol tov sela.