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Thursday, September 19, 2019 - 19 Elul 5779
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The Day the Sun Did Not Set
When Chabad Rabbis the world over reach out to people and teach Judaism as emissaries of the Rebbe, some people ask, but who is the Rebbe today? And the answer is always, the Rebbe is the same Rebbe who has led us for 60 years. And then they ask, but how can that be? Didn't it all change eighteen years ago?

Yes, On Shabbat is the third of Tammuz, the day that in 5754 (1994), we lost the ability to physically see or hear the Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneersohn. But something else happened on this day, many, many years ago, that tells us the real story.

We read in the Book of Joshuah of a fascinating miracle that occurred 3283 years ago, during the time that Joshuah led the Jewish people in the conquering of the Holy Land. The Jews were engaged in a decisive battle, near victory, when night approached. Before the invention of artificial light and night-seeing infrared vision equipment, it was virtually 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. In the words of the verse, "The sun stood still in the sky...until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies" (Joshua 10:13).

Nothing happens by chance, rather everything that occurs is b'hasgacha 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.

King Solomon writes (Ecclesiastes 1:5), "The sun rises, and the sun sets." On this the Midrash asks, is it necessary for Solomon, the wisest of all men, to inform us of this self-evident reality? Clearly, King Solomon is telling us something else. This is a metaphor comparing the Tzaddik (righteous person) who is the leader of the generation to the sun, whose light, warmth, and radiance inspires and invigorates his generation. The Midrash thus explains that with his words in Ecclesiastes, King Solomon teaches, "that before the sun of one tzaddik sets, the sun of another tzaddik has already risen.'" 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 the Redemption. We must usher in this new era by perfecting our selves and the world around us until we can "open our eyes"-and tune 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.



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