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Editorial: The Rebbe Unplugged

by Mimi Notik

It has been about an hour of driving from northern Israel, when our Israeli driver pulls the mini-bus to the side of the road. The picture of the Rebbe hanging from the rearview mirror sways as he steps outside and proceeds to take a stretch, smoke a cigarette, and check his cell phone.

After five minutes, he gets back in the car and we continue our journey to southern Israel.

Another hour of driving has passed and we are in the middle of nowhere. Our driver pulls over once again.

When I inquire as to the frequent and casual roadside stops, I am given an unexpected answer.

To ensure safety, the Rebbe once advised drivers to stop every hour when driving long distances. By stopping every hour, our driver is testimony that the Rebbe’s insight made the whole world a student, and left no detail of life unaltered.

I’m sitting in the back of the mini-bus. Having heard the explanation for our hourly stops, I now feel something very extraordinary.

It’s as if the Rebbe is driving our bus.

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Gimmel Tammuz is an interesting occasion. The day officially marks an end to the Rebbe’s lifetime. But reality tells a different story. Through brief glances around the world, into Chabad activities( and peoples’ lives) – a different picture emerges. There are countless continued stories, actions taken, lives changing, and growing achievements connected to the Rebbe’s life, making it quite artificial to acknowledge that there can be any sort of end connected to the Rebbe. When the Zohar wrote that a Tzaddik is more in the world after his passing than during his lifetime, he wasn’t joking around.

Gimmel Tammuz is a celebration of an extraordinary kind.

On Gimmel Tammuz, the Rebbe was not laid to rest – he became more vibrant.

On Gimmel Tammuz, the Rebbe didn’t leave us behind – he moved us forward.

On Gimmel Tammuz, the Rebbe didn’t reveal his mark on the world – he was just beginning.

On Gimmel Tammuz, the Rebbe gave us a world with nothing untouched by his genius, his warmth, his vision. There is no area in life where one cannot turn to the Rebbe for his wisdom and advice. There is no way to avoid his insightful, tangible and relevant lessons. They make a home wherever you go. They find you wherever you are.

To see the Rebbe today is not a matter of memories. While telling stories and reading the Rebbe’s works is central to understanding the Rebbe’s lifetime, we should not settle with the past. We need not struggle and search to find the Rebbe. On Gimmel Tammuz, he gave us a very personal gift. He gave us the gift of himself – unlimited. All we need to do is tune in. All we need to do is look around.

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In France, a Jewish life is sparked by the sight of a Menorah.
In England, a man thanks the Rebbe everyday for saving his life.
All over America, men and women teach classes on Judaism to thirsting crowds.
Because of the Rebbe, a formerly blind woman sees the butterflies in Central Park.
In Crown Heights, a man doesn’t sleep until he gives some coins to charity.
A non-Jew in Seattle teaches the Noachide laws to a small and lively community.
A child in third grade believes that she can change the world.

And in Israel, a man will drive safely on long trips, stopping his bus every hour.

The list of ways the Rebbe lives on in people mind and actions can go on forever. The important thing is that we take to heart the message of the Rebbe’s continued guidance and involvement. We all have the tools, the energy, and the support to unite, change lives, and bring redemption to the whole world.

Why?

Because the whole world has one thing in common…

We have the Rebbe, without boundaries, completely accessible – totally unplugged.

2 Comments

  • 1. Dov wrote:

    Nice article. Thanks for demonstrating the positive, global impact the Rebbe has had, and showing us that people do live on, through the contributions they make, the light that they offer to this world. We all have the obligation and indeed the power to give forth our own light, and I think the Rebbe exemplified that.

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