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Chapter Nineteen

The Road Back To Mount Sinai

    When I was in eighth grade religious school at my temple, the course included studying Judaism as it compared to Christianity. Our class visited many of the local churches to allow us a closer look at their views and their rituals so we could compare them with Judaism as we knew it. I didn't really notice much difference between what the churches said and did and what was said and done at my temple. They sang, we sang. They had a man up there dressed in a robe, we had a man up there dressed in a robe (although our cantor was actually a lady dressed in a robe). They talked about being nice to your neighbors, we talked about being nice to your neighbors.

    Of course, there was one big difference -- they talked about Jesus and we did not. We were taught that since he went off and developed his own program instead of sticking with the one G-d created for all Jews, he no longer wished to be part of our family. The irony was that we who still called ourselves Jews no longer believed that G-d's program needed to be put into actual practice in our modern day lives. How was it that we had drifted so far away we completely lacked the understanding that G-d's timeless program was created for all Jews to follow forever? And although following G-d's program was never easy because it involved constant commitment on our part and a desire to love G-d in the only way He ever asked us to love Him, it was by no means ever impossible. We always had the ability to follow it even though we sometimes convinced ourselves otherwise or tried to fool ourselves into believing that G-d did not actually expect us to follow His program forever. But G-d of course knew better because He was the one who gave us the ability to follow His program. And not only that, but He sent us many great leaders along the way to help us stick with it. Unfortunately we often drifted too far away for a leader to reach us, or we became confused and followed the wrong leader who misinterpreted the program. But G-d knew all along that we would ultimately stick with it. We just needed the right leader to help us bring out and use our G-d given ability to follow His program. So G-d in His infinite generosity sent us His greatest leader ever, the Lubavitcher Rebbe. He is the one who put the wheels in motion to insure every Jew a place in G-d's program.

    How is it that this Rebbe has been able to accomplish what no one else could or will ever accomplish? And what is it that his followers, the Lubavitchers, do that has made and continues to make such an enormous difference in this world? The answers to these questions have always been there right in front of us, even in my eighth grade religious school class at my reform temple. Unfortunately, they just didn't know how to allow the answers to surface. And yet they came so close, all because of one single statement in one of the books we were learning from that year. It is a statement that made a big impression on me then. And even though at the time I didn't understand it clearly, I have always clearly remembered the words in that statement. These words stated that the main difference between Christianity and Judaism was that Christianity was a religion of creed and Judaism was a religion of deed (surprisingly, they were teaching Torah at my temple and they didn't even know it). But the book left out the most important part. It neglected to mention that as Jews, we were supposed to be actually doing these deeds (mitzvahs). And here's where the Lubavitcher Rebbe and his followers come in. The Rebbe was, in his physical being, and remains in his spiritual being, the most influential person in reconnecting Jews by gathering them from all walks of life and from all corners of the world. And it is because of his constant encouragement that Jews have and are continuing to return to the Torah and are living their lives according to it. This of course means actually doing the mitzvahs that we all accepted at Mount Sinai, thereby making Judaism a true religion of deed. And only through these deeds will we truly become prepared physically, mentally and especially spiritually to rise to the highest levels in G-d's perfect program.

    The reason G-d chose Lubavitchers to lead all of us to the Final Redemption is pretty obvious, especially here in Crown Heights. Lubavitchers are strong-willed and stubborn, and they are just stubborn enough to accomplish what the Rebbe asked of everyone. Lubavitchers will make sure that Moshiach comes in this generation.

    The Rebbe himself accomplished an unfathomable amount of mitzvahs and he let all of us know exactly when he had finished his part in helping to bring Moshiach. He told us the rest of the job was up to us. The Rebbe knew that for us to feel a stronger connection with each other and with G-d, we also needed to play a part in helping to bring Moshiach. The Rebbe was so successful in reconnecting Jews to one another because he always showed true Ahavas Yisroel. This is the mitzvah that G-d is waiting for all of us to do. This doesn't mean that we shouldn't love non-Jews as well. It just means that we should begin by learning to love our own family.

    G-d gave us the Torah with love and He made it absolutely clear that in order to truly love Him back and to love each other as well, the only way we can accomplish this is to live our lives according to the laws of the Torah. G-d sent us the Rebbe to show us that not only is the Torah still valid today but the entire well being of this world depends on the eternal connection between G-d, the Torah, and the Jews. The Rebbe also taught us that the love we attain by following the Torah is precisely the love we need to enable us to bring Moshiach and to stand together as one nation with one heart as we did at Mount Sinai. G-d could have easily brought Moshiach in the merit of the Rebbe, but the Rebbe being the greatest and most humble of leaders stepped aside to allow us to show G-d what we have learned and what we are capable of accomplishing. He knew that as long as he was physically here to do the job for us he was denying G-d the nachus of seeing the enormous strength and devotion and unity we are utilizing to bring about our final Redemption. The Rebbe handed us the power we need to bring Moshiach now, and we are so close that the flickering flame of one more Shabbos candle may just do it. This is your life. This is the life we as Jews are all entitled to have. Do not allow anyone to cheat you out of it. No one, no one, Jew or non-Jew, has or will ever be given the right by G-d to tell you otherwise. You are here and your children are here because of the Torah and the promise we made at Mount Sinai.

    The Lubavitcher Rebbe has cleared away all of the obstacles that have been keeping many of us from following the Torah, and there is nothing in our way now, not even ourselves. He also gave us a glimpse of what was to come by telling us to open our eyes and see for ourselves all of the wonders and miracles taking place due to the spreading out of Torah to the four corners of the world. And there are truly so many miracles to see. But the greatest miracles of all happen every time another Jew takes a step towards Torah by putting on tefillin, eating kosher food, lighting Shabbos candles, etc. It is only a matter of time until every Jewish soul awakens with a deep desire to return to the Torah. And thank G-d because of the Lubavitcher Rebbe all Jews are now on the road back to Mount Sinai, back to the Torah, even the ones who haven't realized it yet. And each of our journeys are sure to be successful because the Rebbe has placed his emissaries all along the way to help with any questions or difficulties that arise. They are there waiting for you with open arms, the same way they have always been there for me. So why don't you go ahead and let them know you are ready to begin reconnecting with G-d and your fellow Jews. Allow them to guide you at your own pace and according to your own individual needs. But keep in mind that Lubavitchers are human beings and human beings have many diverse personalities. If you don't get along so well with one particular person, don't use that as an excuse to back away from the life that belongs to you. Keep searching until you find someone whom you feel comfortable with and whom you trust. Let them lovingly lead you to the world that awaits us all, a world of peace, a world of joy, a world of Torah. The Lubavitcher Rebbe told us the time of our redemption has arrived, so now is truly the time for every Jewish soul to awaken and remember Mount Sinai.