Why I never had closure from the Rebbe's passing

Tomorrow is a very special day for all of us and I'll be spending this weekend in NY, so the class and services will be led by the junior rabbinate.  Gimmel Tammuz is the yahrzeit of the Rebbe, and it's a day of mixed feelings.  It is the Rebbe's Day, but we haven't had closure like we have for most other people that pass away.  I want to tell you a little bit more about why I travel to NY for this, but first: 

It's calendar season again!  I know that you enjoy receiving our calendar every year and reference it often, at least for the Shabbat candle lighting times.  We are continuing this service again for 5779 and we'd love to have you be a part of it.  If you aren't sure if we have your address or if you're on our calendar list, please fill out the form here.  If you would like to add personal birthdays, yahrzeits or anniversaries, or if you'd like to be a sponsor of our calendar and take an ad, please visit jewishtemecula.com/ads.  The due date for this is July 9.

Back to Gimmel Tammuz.  Usually, a yahrzeit is a day to reflect on and celebrate a person's life work.  Tradition has it that each soul is given a mission before it is born.  When that soul finishes it's mission, it returns back to G-d's presence.  

In the case of the Rebbe, he made it pretty clear that despite all the amazing things that he accomplished (I actually read an article written by a Silicon Valley CEO describing how the Rebbe's outreach and organizational work is literally more successful than facebook, and he gave numbers to back it up!), his mission in life was to bring Moshiach (for more info on what Moshiach is, read this).  

So, as much as the Rebbe accomplished, it doesn't feel right to celebrate his life's work, like we celebrate everyone else's.  By the way, this also will give more insight into spiritually speaking, why we don't have a new Rebbe.  His life mission hasn't been actualized yet.  When we finally "get" the Rebbe's message and bring Moshiach, then we will celebrate his life's work.  For now, it's a day to focus on staying connected to him, and fulfilling his mission.  

Now, how do we bring Moshiach? The Rebbe said that if only a couple people truly wanted Moshiach, he would have come a long time ago.  

A fellow in the community asked me, "Surely Rabbi, you want Moshiach and at least the two holiest Jews want Moshiach!  How can you say that no one really wants Moshiach?"  

Of course, if I was given a ballot to vote for "Yes Moshiach" or "No Moshiach" I would vote yes, but to truly "want" Moshiach, I have a lot of personal work to do on myself.  This is very personal and will be a little bit of a rant, but thank you for bearing with me.  

The Rebbe was very particular in his words.  He said, "We want Moshiach now!"  Many people responded, "Want Moshiach?  We need Moshiach!"  The response to that is that you can't really be sure that you want something if you need it.  Do you want to breathe? Do you want to eat?  Maybe you do, but it's hard to know, since you can't live without it. 

You can't really want Moshiach until you don't need Moshiach.  

I've heard so many times that "the political stage is getting so dangerous, Moshiach is just going to have to come!  My life is so miserable, only Moshiach can get me out of this mess."  

A few months ago, I realized that the only way I'll be able to fulfill the Rebbe's request to want Moshiach, is to work on myself and leave my personal Egypt, to the point that I don't need Moshiach any more, because my life is so good.  

At that point, if I still want Moshiach, then I can be sure that it's truly Moshiach that I want.  Until then, it could just be that I pledge allegiance to Moshiach because I don't want the troubles of my life, but if I could solve those problems without Moshiach, I'd choose that route.  If life is good, and I'm still broken (כתית) that Moshiach isn't here, then I could be the one to bring Moshiach.

Once I liberate myself, to want Moshiach will be easy.  To get to that point though, is going to take long, hard work.  Like most, people, I have my quirks, shortcomings and things about me that aren't going so great.  It's much easier for me to give a nice sermon, inspire others and focus on all the good things in my life.  OK, so I have a dark side that I'm not ready to work on.  But there is so much good that I have too!

True, even if I don't fulfill my mission in this world and do the work to liberate myself from my own Egypt, I'm sure that I'll still have a nice place in heaven.  But if I want to be that one person the Rebbe was talking about that could bring Moshiach, I had better get to work.  

Shabbat Shalom,
Rabbi Abrams


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