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On Simchat Torah we read the last passage of the Torah, but we don’t stop for even a moment when we finish reading the Torah. Instead, we turn around and start over immediately from the first verse. There are many celebrations on Simchat Torah, but they come before we read …

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Home » Chukat

Chukat: Dancing Flames – Dancing Souls

Submitted by on June 22, 2012 – 6:33 pmNo Comment | 2,374 views

This article is presented here to mark the anniversary of Rabbi Josef I. Schneerson, the former Lubavitcher Rebbe’s, liberation from prison, which falls this week on the twelfth of Tamuz. His crimes against Soviet Russia consisted of teaching torah and Judaism.

As the Bombs Fell

On September 27’th, 1939, (14”th of Tishrei 5740) during the bombing of Warsaw, Rabbi Yosef Y Schneerson, the former Lubavitcher Rebbe, made the following entry into his diary.

“As the bombs fell we ran through the streets looking for shelter. An awesome site unfolded before our eyes, houses were transformed into cauldrons of flame and smoke. People, terrified and desperate, ran alongside sobbing bitter tears. The barrage of bombing intensified by the minute, transforming the street into a sea of fire. Ominous tongues of flame danced through the boulevards, as if threatening to consume the entire world. Clouds of smoke conspired to obscure the beauty and clarity of the bright sunny day.

We gathered in a temporary shelter and began to pray. Around us stood young, old and middle aged Jewish men and women from all walks of life. Some dressed as traditional Jews others as modern Poles, some bearded others not, some with head coverings others without.

Searing Faith

The artificial calm was suddenly shattered as the ground shuddered beneath us; a bomb had exploded nearby. We found ourselves staring into the face of death as a river of flame raced through our shelter. At that very moment, simultaneously and spontaneously, all the assembled cried out, chanting the sacred words “Shema Yisrael Hashem Elokeinu Hashem Echad”. As one man in one voice, it was the outcry of a Jew on the verge of death.”

The rabbi closed the entry with the following observation. “Such a Shema Yisrael, such a deep hearted cry, I had never heard before in my life. I clearly witnessed the power of faith and how deeply rooted it is in the Jewish heart. This moment taught me an entirely new respect for all Jews. I pray to G-d that this moment be forever preserved in my memory.”

This excerpt clearly demonstrates that all Jews, regardless of background or affiliation, belong to the same family and in the same camp. In the desert, our ancestors demonstrated this concept through the canopy of clouds that encompassed and defined their camp. All Jews lived in the same place, all Jews occupied the same space, all Jews walked the same ground, and every individual was included.

Global Love

The “Clouds Of Glory” came to them in the merit of Aharon the high Priest. What was it about Aharon that merited the inclusiveness of these clouds? It was his all-accepting and embracing love for every single Jew.

This week we read of the passing of Aharon, so in a sense we commemorate his Yahrtzeit. Let us walk in his footsteps and live up to his image. Let us accept and embrace all Jews of all kinds and at all times.

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