redemptional thinking

Friday, 17 March, 2017 - 6:54 am


Dear Friends,


One of the most wonderful things encountered by anyone who studies the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s teachings is that gradually, as one studies and deepens one’s understanding of what he is saying, a person’s way of thinking changes; the viewpoint becomes completely altered. Anyone who looks at the Rebbe and his Chassidim and their doings will say immediately: The Rebbe is a revolutionary. But only someone who has actually learned his teachings will understand how deep and fundamental this revolution is, down to the smallest detail.

I call it “holism”. The Rebbe’s outlook on the world consists of a holistic approach; an approach that encompasses everything, connects everything precisely, without ignoring anything or rounding off any corners.

Usually this unique way of thinking is not written down as part of an article devoted to faith, or a talk about life in general. Rather, these matters are brought forth as clear, simple basic assumptions as the Rebbe discusses his Torah ideas. As I mentioned in the opening above, as one learns, one’s actual thinking changes. When I studied the Rebbe’s talk for Parashat Ki Tisa (Likutei Sichot 21, 3) I came upon, among other things, such a “basic assumption.”

The Rebbe analyzes the sin of the Golden Calf and the pardon that Mosh Rabbeinu requests from the Creator. First, the Rebbe wonders: How can there be a reality of sin at all? Why should a person sin? On the basis of his understanding of this point, he explains the pardon that Moshe seeks and the advice that Hashem gives him as to how to achieve it. The analysis starts out with the first assumption that we say every morning: “He Who renews in His goodness every day, always, the Creation Work.” And he asks: A Jew who knows and believes that the Creator renews and rejuvenates the world every minute, how could he possibly act against Hashem’s will – Hashem, who is keeping him alive right now and the next minute as well? A person might say that he has obstacles and things that hold him back – in other words, the world and the reality around me prevent me from serving Hashem! But that can’t be – and here we encounter that point of unique thinking that I’ve mentioned – “for, being a believer, the son of a believer, he knows for sure that even those things that are interfering with his life, they too were created ex nihilo, and so it would not be right to describe them as being truly created as contradictions to the will of Hashem! How could they really be obstacles to Yiddishkeit, to the Creator’s will, when they themselves were created right this minute by Hashem Himself?”

(The answer to this question about sin is “forgetfulness”. While sinning, Jews simply forget Hashem, Who is keeping them alive.)

This is the right moment to stop, look around, reassess our situation, examine our “obstacles and things that hold us back”, those things that interfere with our ability to do what should be done – and to think. To look into the Rebbe’s words and to ask ourselves: How could this really interfere – when it has been created this minute by Hashem?

With such a way of thinking, we will be able to cope much better with everything that is happening around us.

The New Age people will say it’s positive thinking.

The Chabadniks will explain that it’s actually redemptional thinking.


Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Zalmen Wishedski

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