17 Iyar 5779 / Wednesday, May 22, 2019 | Torah Reading: Bechukotai
 
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A Reason to Believe    

A Reason to Believe



Rabbi Rubashkin commented that the first three letters of the Hebrew alphabet were responsible for his optimism despite the fake news and injustice he suffered…

 



Those who view the workings of the outside world---global conflict, political agendas, laws that are passed, and executive decisions----on a higher level by way of emuna are able to see Hashem’s direct intervention, which is evidence that  Hashem  runs the world on both a personal and national level. We are all key players in the drama that is unfolding. By recounting a momentous event that highlights synchronicities, we begin to view the world with spiritual eyes through a lens of clarity. We witness Divine orchestration firsthand.  Emuna, then, enlivens our spirit and allows us to withstand the pain of delayed gratification. After all, let’s be honest here: No one can deny that it’s not easy to keep waiting for what we want. The following example affords us all a reason to believe.

 

The unexpected release from prison of Rabbi Sholom Rubashkin is a recent example of Divine Providence. After a final sentencing of 27 years, two years more than even the prosecutors requested, Rabbi Rubashkin remained imprisoned for eight years from 2009 until his release from prison on December 20, 2017, the eighth day of Chanukah, when United States President Donald J. Trump commuted his sentence. The number eight is reflective of the Almighty, as it is the number we associate as being “above nature”. The number 27 is kabbalistically linked to things that are hidden and then ultimately revealed and to the spiritual power of the woman. This is based upon the holy texts, as Sarah lived 127 years (Gen. 23:1) and Esther ruled 127 provinces (Book of Esther 1:1). In this way, we see a correlation not only to the Hand of Hashem but also to the role of the woman in the Redemptive process.

 

During his time in prison, Rabbi Rubashkin was a pillar of strength. His unfaltering emuna was deeply rooted in his thoughts, speech, and actions. He was able to remain uplifted and joyful despite this tribulation because of his faith and his close connection to Hashem, Who afforded him “winks and hugs”. Accordingly, he was vindicated on the eighth day of Chanukah, which, we learn is the last day possible after Hoshana Raba to have a negative judgment annulled by the Heavenly Court. Certainly, his release from prison on that day is spiritually significant.

 

Rabbi Rubashkin commented that the first three letters of the Hebrew alphabet---Aleph, Beis, Gimmel---were responsible for his optimism amidst all the fake news and inaccurate embellishing of the crime. He explained that the Aleph represents Emuna, which is part of the spiritual DNA of all the Jewish people; the Beis (Bet) stands for Bitachon (trust in the goodness of Hashem and His plan for us); and the Gimmel corresponds to the Geula (the Redemption). While in prison, Rabbi Rubashkin’s source of comfort and trust was putting on tefillin (phylacteries) and reading the sefer (book) The Duties of the Heart.

 

The most miraculous connection is the link he perceived between the letter Gimmel and Geula. It is no coincidence that, similar to Yosef, his release was quick and unexpected. Hashem’s salvation can come in the blink of an eye. It is also no coincidence that he had been released on bail on Gimmel Shevat and his final release from prison was on Gimmel Teves, a testimony to his “personal redemption”.

 

Just as people were dancing in the streets upon his release, so may we merit to dance in the streets of Jerusalem with the rebuilding of our holy Temple and the full redemption of the Jewish People and the entire world when the hidden light is revealed. Until that time may we all have the strength, faith, and trust to withstand our current challenges in the areas of health, livelihood, marital peace, family unity, the fulfillment of our dreams and goals, the dissolution of unhealthy habits, the correction of our character, or whatever challenge we may have.

 

May this story bolster our determination to withstand the tests of emuna that we all experience, knowing they are ultimately for the good and for our very best. When we embrace emuna and notice the meaning behind Hashem’s orchestration of events, we give ourselves every reason to believe.





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