Thursday, May 10, 2012

Insights from the Rebbe (In honor of Lag Baomer!)

Today is Lag Baomer! As a LadyMama striving to stay "smart, stylish, spiritual and sane,"  it would be remiss of me not to acknowledge the depth of this joyous day!


What IS Lag Baomer? (From
Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, who lived in the second century of the common era, was the first to publicly teach the mystical dimension of the Torah known as the “Kabbalah,” and is the author of the basic work of Kabbalah, the Zohar. On the day of his passing, Rabbi Shimon instructed his disciples to mark the date as “the day of my joy.”

The chassidic masters explain that the final day of a righteous person’s earthly life marks the point at which “all his deeds, teachings and work” achieve their culminating perfection and the zenith of their impact upon our lives. So each Lag BaOmer, we celebrate Rabbi Shimon’s life and the revelation of the esoteric soul of Torah. (

There's much more about Lag Baomer - read on



As a Chabad woman, I am blessed to be surrounded by a community that is enlivened by the wellsprings of Chassidus, the more esoteric understanding of our Torah. More personally, I feel blessed to look to the Lubavitcher Rebbe, who, along with the great lineage that preceded him, started a revolution through his unmatched teachings (and campaigns) that gave forth to an enormous movement that is changing the world as we know it through unbridled joy, action, education and true love of G-d's people. 

To honor this day, I decided to do what I can to spend a few moments reconnecting with the Rebbe's voice. Below are some quotes and insights from the Rebbe that remain just as empowering and relevant today as they were then, over 17 years ago. They all reflect a mindset that, as I know it, truly burst forth through the Chabad Rabbeim's unrivaled commitment to spreading the inner dimension of Torah. 

May the Rebbe's important reminders guide us as women, wives, mothers...and humans! 


In these critical times, when nations are challenging one another, and violence is increasing in an unbelievable manner; the Jews have the power, to bring about peace in the entire world.

When there is love of G-d but not love of Torah and love of Israel, this means that the love of G-d is also lacking. On the other hand, when there is love of a fellow Jew, this will eventually bring also a love of Torah and a love of G-d.

For just as this last exile was caused by a lack of brotherly love, so shall the final and immediate Redemption be achieved by love for one's fellow.

When a person is uprooted from his habitual environment... there come to light certain traits of his inner character as they are in their purity, undistorted by the expectations of society. Often, these traits reveal the hidden good in this person, of which perhaps even he himself had been unaware, because they were hidden under the layers of “manners” and social conventions. Fortunate is the person who does not allow these traits to disappear when he subsequently settles down and finds tranquility.

In order to truly influence a fellow, we must devote ourselves to him or her without regard to whether s/he will be influenced or not. He is a fellow human being who needs your help. So help him. If she lacks something material, help her. If she is spiritually lost, help her. Many see the point of influencing a fellow Jew to do a good deed, a mitzvah -- to put on tefillin, to perform a single act of charity, to avoid a moral transgression -- if this leads to a greater involvement, and ultimately, a complete transformation. But when confronted with a "lost case" they feel it's a waste of time. Why bother?
Why bother? Because you care about him, not only about what he ought to be, what he will be, or what you see in him. He lacks something now, and you are privileged to be of assistance. If you care for him because you expect to influence him, then chances are he won't respond. But if you care for him whether he responds or not, then he will respond. 

A little light dispels a lot of darkness. 

The woman, too, has a role that extends beyond the home, extends also to the most alien of daughters and the most pagan of lands. A woman who has been blessed with the aptitude and talent to influence her sisters can, and must, be an “outgoer,” periodically leaving her haven of holiness to reach out to those who have lost grounding and
 direction in their lives.

Of course, the purpose of a vessel is that it be filled with content; the purpose of a home is that it be inhabited. The Sanctuary was built to house the presence of G-d. 
But it is the making of vessels for G-dliness that is life's greatest challenge and its most revolutionary achievement

Therefore we must increase in light, and not just any light, but specifically the light of simchah (joyousness). Since simchah "breaks all boundaries and limitations," it breaks through the person's limitations, the limitations of this world, and the limitations imposed by this dreadful darkness


G-d did more than make us creatures in time: He also empowered us to contemplate its limits and even experience a semblance of "timelessness" in our daily lives.

The promise of a "happy retirement" is a cruel myth: the very nature of human life is that man knows true happiness only when creatively contributing to the world he inhabits. The weakened physical state of old age (or illness, G-d forbid) is not a sentence of inactivity, but a challenge to find new--and superior--venues of achievement.

When the Father sees that the son is no longer seeking Him… then the exile truly begins. For as long as the son is searching for the Father, as long as the search for Redemption occupies the son, this constitutes a preparation, a beginning, and a spark of the redemption. 

Wishing you and yours a joyous Lag Baomer! 

May the deep light of Torah permeate our beings 
and radiate our hearts and homes! 

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1 LadyMama voices:

Rachel said... [Reply to comment]

How beautiful!!!!! You are so talented!

This post reminded me of the 'Sunscreen Song' that was popular when we were in middle school (late 90's) and was the text from someone's valedictory speech that provided insights on life.

With so much busy-ness going on and running around, it's so important to have these reminders of what it's really all about, and not lose the forest for the sake of the trees.