20th of Menachem-Av

Yahrtzeit of the Rebbe’s Father
The famed scholar, pious Rav and Kabbalist, Reb
Levi Yitzchak Schneerson, the Rebbe’s father, passed
away on the 20th of Av 5704 (1944). He passed away in
the remote city of Alma Ata, Kazakhstan– where he
was sent as a punishment for defying the Communist
regime (at the risk of his life) in order to bolster and
spread Torah and Yiddishkeit. He died of his
sufferings and was buried in Alma Ata; his wife (the
Rebbe’s mother) risked her own life to smuggle some
of his handwritten Torah-thoughts out of the country.

The 20th of Av is also significant for being forty days
before Rosh Hashanah – a fact which bears similar
conceptual meaning to the forty days that it takes for
the human fetus to form.

􀁸 Reb Levi Yitzchak performed his divine service of
disseminating Torah and Judaism with literal self-sacrifice. On
each anniversary of his passing, we should derive a lesson and
instruction to likewise disseminate Judaism, Torah-study and
Mitvah-performance. Moreover, we should even do so in a spirit
of self-sacrifice similar to that of Reb Levi Yitzchak.
􀁸 The main lesson and instruction concerns education: we
should educate our children while they are yet extremely young
to have self-sacrifice for Torah and Judaism. We accomplish this
by displaying such self-sacrifice in our conduct at home; seeing a
living example – who displays true enthusiasm – will have the
desired affect on our children.
􀁸 There is a lesson for each and every person in the name of
Reb Levi Yitzchak:
Levi alludes to an additional strength in the service between
ourselves and Hashem. This is reflected in the meaning given in
the Torah for the name Levi: “My Husband will attach Himself
(Yiloveh) to me.” (On a deeper level, the verse means that
Hashem will attach himself to the Jewish people.)
Yitzchak alludes to our divine service to positively affect our
surroundings. This is reflected in the meaning that the Torah
gives for the name Yitzchak: “All who hear will rejoice
[Yitzachak] for me.”

􀁸 [The soul of the deceased rises to ever-higher heavenly
realms on each anniversary of its departure from this world.]
Blessings and success caused by the lofty ‘elevations’ of Reb Levi Yitzchak’s soul will be drawn down upon those who
merited to study his teachings and to follow in his ways.11

􀁸 [Reb Levi Yitchak composed copious handwritten
documents and hundreds of pamphlets containing innovative
Torah teachings – most of which are somewhere in the former
USSR and have not yet reached our hands. Concerning these
writings, the Rebbe stated:]
It is certain that (eventually) the rest of his documents will also
be brought to light and we will thus merit an additional quantity
of innovative concepts from the inner dimension of Torah.
Simply by resolving to study these new teachings whenever they
reach our hands, we in fact hasten the time when we will be able
to overtly seek these writings (even) within the former USSR –
and to discover their whereabouts.


Why an Olympic Gold Medal is meaningless



What don’t people do for a Gold Medal?


Hundreds of thousands of people are involved in training for Gold Medals.


And then…


But let’s not even go so far – the truth is, that the very achievement is absolutely meaningless.


The reason for this was discerned by yours truly as I watched – in a restaurant that had the games playing – a running race.


So what does it really mean if I win that race, or if you do?


Only a title.


In other words, you can run faster than say anyone on this planet.


Can you really run fast, well there are millions of animals that would laugh at your speed, gazelles at about 40mph, cheetahs at 70.


So are we fast, no – it is only relative to everyone else, we are slightly faster.


The same is with all titles – whether the guy is a genius or the woman is beautiful – it is relative to wisdom you are slightly or even quite, more than someone else.


But being more than someone else – is that really an achievement?








I have a right!


Do you?


At the core of everything, is how we perceive the core of everything.


God created us in a way – as the Kabbalists teach – we perceive our existence as being true and God as being somewhat of a myth or at best a probable reality.


In heaven, of course they see the opposite as being true, that God is true and the rest is somewhat of a myth or at best, a realm of perception (which we won’t go into now.)


When we see earth’s approach, “I have right!” “I am entitled.”


In fact, Aristotle, though being no fool, said a very foolish thing – for all people are biased towards their desires – that, the universe always existed!


In other words, at the heart of non-Jewish thinking, for the basic western paradigm is really the Greek philosophies – namely, that our existence is what is real, and God etc. is somewhat of a metaphysical anomaly.


On the other hand, Jewish thinking goes in the diametrically opposite premise – God is real and the question is, what are we doing on earth?!


There is a cute Chassidic tale, when a Chassidic rabbi said to a misnagdic (an opposition clan) Rabbi, “you know, you think more about God than I” which greatly pleased his “rival.” The truth is, that a deep truth was exposed in this pithy statement “the reason the misnagid thinks more about God, is because he is convinced that this existence is real, so he continuously contemplates regarding God (is He or isn’t He? etc.) However to the Chassidic (Jewish mysticism) master, God is real, so there is a new question, am I real or not?


In other words, we can either believe – erroneously, that we are entitled to life, for we know of our life.


Or we can correctly understand, that all life must have a source, the source is God hence our life is nothing more than the love of God to create a child.


The narcissism covering the idealism of society




Man is primarily an emotional machine!


There are two emotions that govern everything he thinks says and does!


Although of course we – as the Rebbe teaches – are the sum total of our opinions, nevertheless our opinions are the sum total of our emotions!


Hence the child who has received love, looking through a rose colored prism, sees the world, a place of love and goodness!


On the   hand, the adult who has received fear and negativity, looks at the world though, well, fear and negativity!


For example, monkeys who had their mothers removed from their protective nurture for three hour a day, develop anxiety disorders, AND NEVER RECOVER!


Children abandoned in Russian orphanages who didn’t receive love, are unfortunately wounded for life.


In an ideal situation, a child is comforted and develops love for humanity due to his/her mother’s love for it.


Then people are often jealous (bullies etc. – antisemites – anti-americanism) and a new reality may occur, in which the perfect world seems imperfect.


The Kabbalah teaches us, that “he who is narcissistic (full of himself/herself) is really nothing, while he /she who is humble (thinks nothing of him/herself) is really great.”


What does this mean?


Well in psychology (I forgot the psychologists who coined the phrase regarding narcissism) “narcissistic wounding.”


In other words, if please God I have a positive self regard and someone – usually out of jealousy – demeans me (typical bully or antisemetic behavior) if I believe that what they are saying is true, I then feel ashamed and not desiring for people to see the imperfect me, I create a false me which I represent to the world.


The trouble is, that the person who is really nothing, is the person who harmed you in the first place!, for if their self esteem was good they would seek your love – to give love – and not God forbid the opposite.


It is for this reason, that we find Americans on the whole are genuinely open people.


As the basic premise of America is the individual and human rights etc., hence most Americans have a positive self regard, which is why they are not anti-Semitic, and open people – desiring to give love!