Monday, July 18, 2005

Day of Redemption.

By the grace of G-d
Arrest and Liberation

With regard to his arrest and subsequent liberation on the 12th and 13th of Tammuz, the Previous Rebbe once stated the following:

"In one of the discourses [that I delivered] on the Rosh HaShanah preceding the arrest in 1927, I voiced some words concerning the teaching of the Baal Shem Tov as to how Divine Providence applies to every detail of creation, even within the inanimate, vegetative, and animal realms. [These words were uttered] even though they were not relevant to the discourse being delivered. If not for this [utterance], I do not know if I could have managed to bear - and survive - the torment of that imprisonment."

This statement of the Previous Rebbe needs to be better understood. The uniqueness of the teaching of the Baal Shem Tov regarding individualized Divine Providence lies in the fact that individualized Divine Providence applies not only to man, but also to the inanimate, vegetative, and animal kingdoms.

With regard to man, however, all our Sages agree that G-d’s individualized Divine Providence covers every particular and detail. This is particularly so with regard to the manner in which Divine Providence applies to G-d’s chosen people, especially those who observe the Torah and its commandments, particularly so regarding the heads and leaders of the Jewish people whose personal lives impact all Jews.

Since this manner of individualized Divine Providence in relation to the Previous Rebbe is so fundamental, why did the Rebbe state that it was specifically the concept of Divine Providence as taught by the Baal Shem Tov that got him through this most difficult time?

In one of his discourses in honor of the festival of the 12th and 13th of Tammuz, the Previous Rebbe explains that Divine Providence as taught by the Baal Shem Tov contains much more than the notion that every individual movement and all acts of each and every created being is by Divine Providence. Rather, it also means that each particular action has a direct bearing on the general intent and purpose of creation. Thus, "even the movement of a solitary blade of grass serves to complete the Divine Purpose of creation."

The above provides a novel aspect to individualized Divine Providence as it applies to man as well:

There are those who maintain that individualized Divine Providence applies only to mankind, while the rest of creation is subject to a more general degree of Divine Providence - "Overseeing the species as a whole rather than the individual." However, even they agree that when something from the inanimate, vegetative or animal worlds impacts man, then the Divine Providence over those objects or creatures becomes individualized.

The reason they differentiate between man and all other classifications of creation is that man is the focal point of creation. It thus follows that all aspects of a person’s life involve individualized Divine Providence - even as man interacts with the inanimate, vegetative or animal worlds.

Consequently, according to this opinion, those matters that reveal the special qualities of man will have the aspect of Divine Providence revealed to a greater extent than those matters that are secondary to him. With regard to the secondary matters, individualized Divine Providence will only exist to the extent of its impact on man.

However, according to the Baal Shem Tov’s teaching that each particular action of any created being has a direct bearing on the general intent and purpose of all of creation, then this surely applies to an even greater extent to the life of man - every aspect and detail in and of itself fulfills the Divine Purpose of creation.

This, then, is the meaning of the Previous Rebbe’s words about Divine Providence as explained by the Baal Shem Tov:

The Baal Shem Tov’s teaching brought about a unique manner of viewing the arrest of the Previous Rebbe and the afflictions associated with it:

The Rebbe realized that since these events and actions took place with individualized Divine Providence, then not only would there be a benefit in spreading and strengthening Judaism subsequent to liberation from imprisonment, but the very imprisonment, torture, etc., was fulfilling the Divine Purpose of creation - revealing G-dliness within the world.

This was revealed by the fact that during the time of his actual imprisonment, the Rebbe’s arrest brought about a greater degree of arousal and self-sacrifice among the Jewish people as they strengthened themselves in the Rebbe’s work of fortifying Judaism.

Moreover, it had an impact on the very incarceration itself: The Rebbe’s position throughout his imprisonment was to treat his captors - the opponents of holiness - as if they were total nonentities. Thus, even within the prison confines the Rebbe revealed that "There is nothing but Him." This conduct so negated his foes that they themselves were forced to set him free.

Based on Likkutei Sichos, Vol. XXIII, pp. 157-165.
Long Live our Master our Teacher and our Rebbe King Moshiach Forever and Ever!
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