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Need Dusting?

Thursday, 28 June, 2012 - 10:23 pm

Some time after the Previous Chabad Rebbe arrived in the United States, he sent Rabbi Shmuel Levitin to Chicago on a special mission: to locate a Jewish man, named Lisner, and tell him all about his Chassidic ancestors and to attempt to reconnect him to his heritage, Torah and Mitzvot.

After arriving in Chicago, Rabbi Levitin met Rabbi Yosef Weinberg (who passed away yesterday 6/27/12) and together they succeeded in finding Mr. Lisner and meeting with him. Mr. Lisner received them warmly and listened attentively to their stories. He was very interested in every detail and was affected by the encounter.

When they finished their recital, Mr. Lisner took out his checkbook and asked them how much they wanted, adding that he would give them whatever amount they specified. He had mistakenly assumed that the point of the visit was to solicit money, which he declared himself ready and willing to contribute.

The Rabbis explained that they had not come for money; they had been sent by the Previous Rebbe to reconnect him to his heritage and his Chassidic roots.

The local rabbi (who joined them for the meeting) then explained that the Hebrew word for Jew - Yisroel stands for “yeish shishim ribo osiyos la’Torah” – there are six hundred thousand letters in the Torah, corresponding to the souls of every single Jew. The letters of some Jews may appear to be almost completely erased, and their connection to Torah almost invisible, but the Lubavitcher Rebbe is the master scribe who can correct it.

The visit left a tremendous impression on Mr. Lisner, who slowly but surely reconnected to the community and a Jewish way of life.

When Rabbi Levitin returned to New York and gave the previous Rebbe a full report. Among other things, he repeated the Chicago rabbi’s explanation of the six hundred thousand letters of the Torah, and how he had characterized the Rebbe as the master scribe.

 To Rabbi Levitin’s surprise, the Rebbe was displeased and explained that the rabbi from Chicago was mistaken. There is no such thing as a Jew whose letter in the collective “Torah Scroll” could ever be erased, for these letters are engraved, not written with ink. In the same way that it is impossible to erase an engraving without damaging the stone, it is impossible to sever the Jew’s essential and eternal connection to Torah and to G-d, or even to cause the slightest damage. A Jew is connected to G-d by simple virtue of his being; the concept of erasure or separation doesn’t apply.

The only problem with the “letters,” as it were, is the possibility of their becoming covered with “dust.” But when the dust is cleared away, the essential relationship with G-d is revealed in all its glory. Indeed, this is the function of the Rebbe: to remove the dust and grime that obscures the Jew’s true being, and to uncover and strengthen his eternal bond with G-d and His Torah.

There are Rabbinical Students in town who are uncovering engraved souls until Sunday July 8th, want them to visit? Do you feel you need “dusting”?  Reply to this email and we will arrange a visit (or meet them by services).

Have a Great Shabbos,

Rabbi Kushi Schusterman

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