When the Rebbe Rayatz lived in Poland in the 1930’s, he was involved in starting a chain of yeshivos, building mikvahs, and maintaining the Torah character of the Jewish community although the winds of change already in the air and the severe economic hardships made that extremely difficult.

Hand in hand, with the Rebbe worked R. Yechezkel Feigin, his personal secretary, affectionately known as Reb Chatcha. A chassid of distinction with an immense knowledge of the Torah’s mystic secrets and a vibrant Jewish heart, Reb Chatcha was the dean of the yeshivah and instructed the students in their studies. This is where he put his heart and soul. But he was also a dedicated chassid, willing to do anything his Rebbe felt necessary.

And so he helped the Rebbe Rayatz in all the various tasks, arranging teachers and buildings for the schools, seeing to the construction of the mikvahs, and getting involved in all the practical dimensions of these various activities.

But there was so much to do; he had no time for himself at all. He was not concerned with his personal desires and pastimes, but his study and his prayers. How could he continue to sacrifice them?

Day after day, these thoughts ate away at him. One day, he couldn’t take it any more. He entered the Rebbe Rayatz’s room and began to cry. He explained to the Rebbe how he missed the time in prayer and how there was so much that he wanted to study.

The sincerity of his tears motivated the Rebbe Rayatz and he too broke down and began to cry. They both cried for several minutes and then the Rebbe Rayatz said: “Chatcha, there’s another town where a school has to be established.”

When a light is rooted deep within a person’s soul, it will always seek opportunities for expression.

Parshas Tetzaveh

This is the only Torah reading between the birth of Moses and the Book of Deuteronomy where Moses’ name is not mentioned. Our Rabbis note the fact and explain: After G‑d told Moses that He would destroy the Jewish people and build a new nation from Moses’ descendants, Moses replied: “If You do wipe me out from Your book.” And so, since every thing a Torah sage says has an effect, even though G‑d did not wipe out the people, there is one Torah reading where Moses’ name is wiped out and ignored.

Nevertheless, that very Torah reading begins: “And you will command the Jewish people.” And the word used for command, Tetzaveh, also has the implication “connect,” as in the word, tzavta. In the Torah reading where Moses’ name is ignored, his connection to the Jewish people is highlighted.

In His command to Moses, G‑d tells him that the people should bring the oil to him. A question arises: It was Aaron the priest who kindled the Menorah, why wasn’t the oil brought to him directly? Why must it first be brought to Moses?

Aaron brought the sacrifices. Thus he was identified with the service of prayer. Moses, by contrast, was the lawgiver, identified with the Torah and its study.

What’s the difference between the two? Prayer is man’s words, directed at G‑d, but coming from man’s heart. Therefore they are limited as man is limited. The Torah, by contrast, is G‑d’s word, infinite and unbounded as He is.

Now the Menorah was intended to be a continuous light, burning at all times. For this to be possible, it needed not only the input of Aaron, but also the timeless dimension contributed by Moses and his study. For within every Jew, there is an unlimited spiritual potential, something not bound by man and his limits. That can be expressed in prayer. Often, however, for this inner level to rise to the surface and flourish, it should be cultivated by the unlimited light of the Torah. Thus it is Moses who enables every Jew to tap his innermost spiritual resources and maintain a constant commitment.

Aaron inspires the love of G‑d. Moses teaches knowledge. Love flickers, rising and ebbing. Knowledge changes a person from the inside, leaving a lasting effect on every element of his character.

Looking to the Horizon

About Moses it is said: “He was the first redeemer and he will be the ultimate redeemer,” i.e., the one to lead the Jews from the final exile. Now Mashiach will be a scion of the House of David, from the tribe of Judah, and Moses was a Levite. So obviously, the intent is not that Moses will be the one who actually leads the Jews out of exile.

Instead, the intent is that Moses was identified with the Torah; it was his entire being, the core of his life. The same will be true about Mashiach. The fundamental dimension of Mashiach will be the Torah insights that he will reveal. All the changes that he will bring about in the world at large will come as a result of his teachings. That’s why when describing the qualities Mashiach will possess, Maimonides states immediately after saying that Mashiach will be a descendant of King David, that he will “delve deeply into the study of the Torah.”

The Torah enables a person who studies it to appreciate how G‑d wants us to live in His world. That’s redemption in its fullest sense and it is through spreading the Torah’s teachings and motivating the listeners to apply them that redemption will come about. Thus the Torah, Moses’ legacy, will be the catalyst of redemption.