When Chabad Rabbis around the world meet people as emissaries of the Rebbe, some people ask, but who is the Rebbe today?
Today is the third of Tammuz, the day that in 1994, we lost the ability to physically see or hear the Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneersohn. But something else happened on this day, in biblical times, that sheds some light.
It was 3295 years ago, during the time that Joshuah led the Jewish people in the conquering of the Holy Land. The Jews were engaged in battle, near victory, when night approached. It would be impossible to wage a successful battle after nightfall. Joshua feared that darkness would offer the enemy an opportunity to flee and regroup; if the sun set, perhaps all would be lost.
And miraculously, the sun did not set. And the Jews completed their mission.
Nothing happens by chance; rather, everything that occurs is b'hashgacha protis, Divine Providence. The fact that these two events occurred on the same date must indicate something profound about what really happened on this day.
The Midrash compares the Tzaddik (righteous person), who is the leader of the generation, to the sun, whose light, warmth, and radiance inspire and invigorate his generation.
On the 3rd of Tammuz, the sun did not set.
The Rebbe continues to lead, inspire, and invigorate us. Though we may not see him physically, we know he is here with us, encouraging us to carry on in the task with which we've been entrusted. Throughout his years of leadership, the Rebbe told us that ours is the last generation of Exile and the first generation of Redemption. We must usher in this new era by perfecting ourselves and the world around us and tuning in to this new spiritual reality. How? By doing another Mitzvah, such as giving charity and studying Torah.
We have our marching orders. We know the Rebbe is in the lead, showing the way. And we continue to follow.
In honor of the Rebbe's Day, we encourage you to resolve and take upon yourself an additional mitzvah/good deed. You can come into the Mitzvah Tank or any Chabad House near you to write a letter to the Rebbe with your Hebrew name and mitzvah pledged.
Candle lighting time in NYC is on Friday before 8:13 PM