Wednesday nights - Rav Benzion's Tanya shiur..........Please continue to daven for the good health of the Rebbe (Yechiel Michel ben Devorah Leah) and Rebbetzin (Feiga bas Sarah).

Friday, February 3, 2012

Shabbos Shira: Sing During the Galus

For Parshas B'Shalach, here is a story and vort that I have heard numerous times from the Rebbe about his father-in-law, HaRav Yisroel Avrohom Stein, Rav of Faltichan, Romania:

One Erev Shabbos, the Nazis, y”sh, came through and rounded up all of the men and bochurim, loading them up onto the trains to be taken to work camps. The scene was heartrending. Everyone knew they would never be seen or heard from again. The women and children stood by screaming and crying as their fathers, husbands, and brothers were herded onto the cattle cars. It looked more like Tisha B’Av than Erev Shabbos. The Rav stood there, watching in horror from the train. Suddenly he looked up at the sky and announced that it was time to daven Mincha for Erev Shabbos was approaching. He made his way to the front of the car, wrapped himself in a talis and began…Hodu LaHashem ki tov, ki l’olam chasdo!!! His voice was full of simcha and joy. His face radiated like the sun as if he were dancing at a child’s chasunah. The Chassidim watching him couldn’t believe their eyes. How was it possible for him to be oblivious to what was going on that he was had such simcha even as they road to their deaths? But slowly it caused a ripple effect and soon the entire car was full of simcha for they knew that Hashem in His endless kindness had a master plan and that they had the z’chus to be m’kadesh shem shamayim. They were overjoyed that they were Jews and that they were ushering in the Shabbos even in the face of darkness and galus. Eventually the entire train was enthused and the singing and dancing could be heard as they made their way to the camps.

After a few months, the most of these Yidden were released, at least temporarily. When the Rav returned, he was informed that while he had been away, the mayor of Faltichan, a self-hating Jew had had a son. Knowing that the mayor did not intend to give his son a bris, the Rav decided that it was his responsibility to inform the mayor that he was obligated to do so. Despite his Rebbetzin’s protest, he made his way to the home of the mayor.

“What do you want, Rabbi?”

“I have come to let you know that you are required to give your son a bris.”

The mayor pulled out a gun and pointed it at the Rav.

“You know, I could kill you right now and nothing would happen to me?”

“That doesn’t change the fact that you are required to give your son a bris.”

The mayor stood there with gun aimed, thinking, for a long minute. Finally he said, “I was on the train with you on the way to the camps. I never thought I would live. Somehow you were able to conjure up this electrifying, genuine simcha and it’s only possible for that to happen from something real, something of substance and from someone of integrity. I will give my son a bris for that simcha that you were able to have in the darkest moment.”

When the Egyptians were drowning in the sea, the angles were about to open their mouths in songs of praise of Hashem that he brought the redemption. Hashem tells them, “My handiwork is drowning in the sea and you want to sing songs?” Our strength to make it through the galus is because we fortify ourselves and each other by singing with pure faith and simcha even in the darkest times. The Medrash relates that the Yidden would stand by the Nile as the Egyptians threw their babies in and would sing songs to each other about the redemption. So Hashem told the angles, “When things looked bleak, when my handiwork—referring to the Yiddisheh babies—were being drowned in the sea, you didn’t sing songs of praise. And now you want to sing shira? In light of the geula, you want to sing? Sorry. You don’t get to. Only Klal Yisroel, who sings regardless of the where they find themselves, merits to sing at the redemption.”

The Torah tells us in Parshas Vayelech, all of these horrible things are going to happen. There will be a frightening galus, Hashem will hide His face. But when you go through those hardships, choose to react to them in such a way that you will be allowed to sing a song at the end of the galus. If you will sing during the galus, then you will sing at the geula as well.

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