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Harav Y. Reuven Rubin Shlita

It’s those grainy old pictures that bring so much strength and hope. I recently had a chance to look through some old pictures that were taken in my youth. They are of different Rebbe’s and Tzadikim who featured in the world I grew up in and it was these giants who were the builders of all that we see around us today. My son, the Rav of Glasgow came to visit and somehow the old pictures were hauled out of the book case. Most of them were taken at various simchas, and I pointed out figures who I remember well, ranged around those Tzadikim, singing and dancing as the Rebbe’s celebrated at various simchas. My son was so moved by those pictures, he noted how they all seemed united in their togetherness. I smiled, all those grey hats, short jackets and holy faces. Those survivors didn’t dress according to today’s code, but despite all the horrors they lived through, their neshomahs were draped in the stuff of unadulterated kedusha. How did they do it? How did they take the embers of an entire Yiddishe world and mix them with golus America to create the colossus that is todays Heimisha milieu? As the years seep by I find myself asking this question time and again. Being born as the war ended, I was one of the enlisted soldiers of the army they were building. As a bar mitzvah boy, I was gifted to be blessed to swim in those waters and these grainy pictures are the tapestry of my memories. We went through all the phases of playing our part, never stopping to think how miraculous it all was. In what normal world could just a few new comers in a strange land create such a revolution? What particular brand of elixir were they imbibing that would give them the brashness to undertake such an impossible mission?

In parshas Beshalach we learn of the miracle of the splitting of the Sea of Reeds for the Yieden. As Bnei Yisroel found them themselves saved from the roiling waters of the sea we read:

“Yisroel saw the great hand that Hashem inflicted upon Egypt, and the people revered Hashem, and they had faith in Hashem and in Moshe, His servant…”

The Rebbe Rav Tzadok Hacohen from Lublin Zt” l writes:

“Just as it is imperative that a Yied believes in the Eibishter it is also vital that he believes in himself, is aware that he is choshev by the Eibishter that the Eibishter awaits his avodah and has pleasure from him. This says the Rebbe is hinted at in the passage, “they had faith in Hashem and in Moshe, His servant…”  Chasidisha Seforim tell us that ‘Moshe’ incapsulates all Bnei Yisroel because Moshe Rabbeinu had a ‘neshomah klallious’ which means that his soul encompassed all the souls of the Jewish Nation. Therefor in Moshe each Yiddishe neshomah is represented. At the splitting of the sea, every Yied reaffirmed that faith in Moshe which includes that part of oneself.

That’s where we find the ability to carry on doing miraculous things despite the darkness of golus. It is that belief, inborn in the hearts of each of us, that allows for the impossible.

Those sweet holy Jews, in their shabby suits and grey hats danced with those tzadikim, they went through the challenge of their sea every step of the way, and built where others despaired.

We are living today in different times, we sit in the buildings those Jews created, and the Yiddishkeit they carried over to us, is the very same that we strive to instill in our children’s hearts today. That faith that the Yieden had then still throbs in our lives and guides us through our sea of golus.

Ours is a difficult sojourn, we are challenged in ways as never before. Yes, the buildings are growing, and our numbers are K’E’H swelling. Where my pictures show a few, today our Rebbe’s dance with thousands, yet, we hear the seas roar, see our young shaking, and wonder how long we can march on. The Moshe within us is cherished, dear friends; we, our young, our future are all treasured by the Eibishter, and we must never lose heart.

There is a Minhag by some that on the Friday night of Beshalach, Shabbos Shira, we sprinkle is few drops of water on the floor and dance. This is to remind ourselves that the Yieden went through the sea and, uplifted with the greatest faith in the Eibishter and Moshe, we sang. It is that tune of faith that lives in our very being today, and all tomorrows, until we see the final Redemption, may it be soon, in our day. Amen!