the best preparation for Shavuot

Friday, 22 May, 2015 - 6:57 am


Dear Friends,


It is no secret that an important part of the job a Shaliach and a director of a Chabad House is fundraising. The Rebbe decided that part of the structure of a Chabad House would be independent fundraising of each Chabad House, especially from the residents of its immediate area.

I assume – and that, too, is no secret – that you know that fundraising is not easy at all.

And yet, when it comes to collecting donations for a Sefer Torah, I’ve learned that the attitude is completely different.

We have two Torah scrolls in the Chabad House, and I was very active in raising the money for them. (With Hashem’s help the third will come without my effort…)

The first was new, and the second was used – a Holocaust survivor. For both of them, I approached a very heterogeneous public, every single kind of Jew in Basel, and this is no exaggeration at all. Today I know that the quick responses, the willingness and even eagerness to give and be part of the purchasing and performing the Hachnasa (bringing in) of the Sefer Torah was something that I have never encountered in connection with anything else in the world. It was as if the Sefer Torah removed the partitions and differences between the various segments of the Jewish People. And that’s the simple fact!

This continued to be evident even during the Hachnasat Sefer Torah, the procession in the street, the dancing and the Hakafot (dancing around it). These were moments of rare unity and love of one’s fellow Jews. Rabbis from all the communities danced side by side; Jews from all over the world hopped joyously to the music, in honor of the Torah. And that’s the simple fact!

There is something in the Torah that is very connecting and uniting, and especially exciting and joyous.

We are now just a few hours away from receiving the Torah again, for the 3327th time. It’s not the Sefer Torah that we will receive, but the Torah itself.

The Rebbe says, that the best preparation for receiving the Torah is loving the Jewish People and being united as a people. In other words, if a person really wants to receive the Torah again this year on the highest level and at the deepest depth, he must internalize the sentence “I hereby accept upon myself the positive mitzvah of ‘you shall love your fellow like yourself.’”

This is what the Rebbe said before Shavuot in 5713 (1953):

“When you meet a Jew in the days before the Giving of the Torah, until the morning of the holiday of Shavuot, one must inform, and explain that there is a right and an obligation to exert oneself more and more in everything connected to Ahavat Yisrael (loving other Jews). One should explain that Ahavat Yisrael is the preparation for the giving and receiving of the Torah.”

In simple words: you cannot be a lover of Torah without being a lover of Jews. You cannot be a lover of Hashem without loving His children. It’s simply impossible.

One cannot harm another Jew in the name of the Torah – one cannot insult another person in the name of the love of Hashem!


With blessings for receiving the Torah with joy and with Pnimiyut (depth),


Zalman Wishedski

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