WHEN THE TIME IS RIPE, ITS FRUITS ARE READY
Harav Y. Reuven Rubin Shlita
You know wherever you go you are bound to find small gifts that are truly gems. I was in Eretz Yisroel some time ago, and whist standing outside the Gerrer Kollel an old acquaintance came over to chat. I hadn’t seen this fellow in many years, yet I well-remembered his family. We talked and then he offered me a gift, a “vort” that he had heard from the Lev Simcha ZTL.
In Parshas Mikeitz we find that Pharaoh is having problems understanding his strange dreams. His wine steward remembers that two years earlier he had been helped by Yosef’s ability in interpreting his dream and offers up this fact to his master. The Rebbe asked, what would have been if the wine steward would have arranged for Yosef to be freed immediately after his own release as promised? Why was it necessary for the poor young man to languish in jail another two years, only to be remembered during a crisis? The Rebbe further queried: if he had been freed earlier what would have become of him? He was a stateless young jail bird; who would hire him? Who would even care? He very well could have ended up washing windows or working in a pizza parlour! Then, when the moment came for his intervention, he would be nowhere to be found, he would be just some unemployed vagabond and they wouldn’t even know where to look for him. The Rebbe pointed out that from this we can learn an enormous lesson, one that touches us all. Everything is in Hashem’s hands, you can’t rush things, and you can’t force issues. Instead, we must learn to accept that Hashem knows exactly where we are and wants us to fulfil our tikun in the place He has allocated for us. When it comes time for us to move on, it will happen, and from the darkest jail we can become uplifted to new heights. True, we are meant to seek to better ourselves, but we must never lose sight that it is Hashem’s plan by which we live. In this way we can find strength, no matter what turbulence surges around us, and this is no small matter in times of crises. The Rebbe was known to always be humming or singing. It was one of those sorts of human touches that we must understand was beyond just the quaint need to live with a lilting soundtrack in the mind. The Rebbe went through much which others would see as sheer pain and difficulty, yet the tunes continued and his mind was always filled with the holiness of rejoicing in Hashem’s gifts.
We all await personal redemption at one level or another. Chanukah is about this very same dynamic; life can seem dark, yet we light some wicks and feel illuminated by Hashem’s tender care.
The Bobover Rebbe the Rebbe Reb Shloma Ztl would sit by the menorah lights for a half hour after having lit them. He would just sway as if in one with the flickering lights, sighing at times, humming quietly at others. This was an awesome service to Hashem, and no one can even begin to know what chambers of heaven his holy soul visited during that snatch of time. I wonder if the dancing lights could very well have represented the souls of all those who seek to raise themselves higher. Perhaps the Holy teacher was watching over them, sighing in the knowledge of our struggles, yet humming in the understanding that Hashem would lead each one in his own way.
Chanukah is celebrated at the beginning of winter, a time not always seen as welcoming to one’s spirit. Its service takes place at the beginning of the night, when the normal workday grinds to a halt. We are asked to step off the treadmill for a moment, to strike a match and create light, finding in this material act a heavenly answer to troubled thoughts. We all await personal redemption at one level or another, Hashem offers us a mitzvah of light to show us the way, and we should just sit a while and absorb the lessons as given.
I realize these words will be read just as Chanukah ends, but such are the vagaries of schedules. However, it need not matter, for the lessons are for all time.
In Vayigash all becomes clear. Joseph’s brothers see beyond the surface and realize how everything was planned before it even began. “I am Yosef. Does my father still live?” What a dramatic moment! I am Yosef; don’t fear because I know it was all destined to be what it has become. Father still lives because he remained focused on Hashem’s will. Now go and bring him, and let those prophetic dreams see their entirety….
If we have trust, then the Yosef within us, the extra sum which that name connotes, will bring us strength and light. Our father, our previous generations will be alive, and we will quickly reunite and share a future that is blessed.
Although that moment was immense, it was but another step in Hashem’s unfathomable plan for us. It became the beginning of what was to become enslavement, an enslavement that would bring us to Mount Sinai. What enormity we Jews live with! Hum the nigun then and trust the light.