Friday, 8 August 2008

Take Away This Yom Tov!


The Tzemach Tzedek (Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneersohn – the third Rebbe of Chabad) who used to refer to the Rebbe [R. Yisrael] of Ruzhin (the great-grandson of the Maggid of Mezritch) as “the holy Ruzhiner,” once related: “The holy Ruzhiner would not tolerate any melancholy nor even bitterness (i.e. even on the 9th day of Av) – with the result that his Chassidim became playful. One Tishah BeAv they occupied themselves for a while tossing burs at each other. They then decided to clamber on to the roof of the Beis Midrash, and to lower a noose over the entrance. Whoever walked in the door could then be lassoed and promptly hoisted on to the roof. The prank succeeded until sure enough, who should walk in but – their Rebbe, the Ruzhiner. From up there it was hard to tell one hat from another, and only when the Tzaddik was halfway up did they identify him.

When they had lowered him to the ground he exclaimed: ‘Master of the Universe! If your children do not observe Your Yom Tov, then take it away from them!’

--- As quoted from Sefer HaMinhagim. From a talk of the Previous Rebbe at the close of Tishah BeAv (deferred from Shabbos to Sunday) 5701 (1941)

Perhaps we should contemplate the deeper meaning of this story and appreciate that while the day of Tisha BeAv is a reality and we are to take it most seriously… in fact, it would be far better for us not to have to celebrate it. After all, we really don’t know how to in any case!

May we be blessed that G-d in His mercy remove this Yom Tov (that we are having to observe now) immediately - and replace it instead with a Yom Tov that we will be delighted to fulfil in all it's requirements - with the coming of Moshiach and the final redemption NOW!

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