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ב"ה

Overcoming Obstacles

Thursday, 10 June, 2021 - 3:12 pm

 Twenty-seven years ago, the world media said that the Chabad Lubavitch movement would come to an end. The Chasidim would continue to live, but the movement, the drive to keep opening Chabad Centers around the world, would die down with the passing of its leader, the Rebbe.

 

I was young at the time, and it was hard enough to deal with the Rebbe’s passing, but to hear the press talking about the Rebbe’s dreams coming to an end, was devastating. 

 

Well, if you are reading this post you know how wrong the press was. Moreover, the recent Pew research study shows how Chabad is growing rapidly. 

 

Learning this week’s Torah portion, Korach, makes me wonder, is there a connection between the press and Korach?

 

The story of Korach is that he challenged Aaron’s appointment to the position of High Priest. However, as you look beneath the surface, you learn that there is much more to the story. 

 

Korach was trying to put a wedge between Moses and the Jewish people. He was undermining the authority of Moses by saying, We are a holy nation; you and I are just as holy. Now, as bad as Korach might have been (and he did get punished for his rebellion), we do see that the Kohanim—priests—were given priestly gifts as a result of this challenge, since G-d wanted to make it clear to the Jewish people that Aaron and the priestly families played an important role in Judaism.

 

This idea, that an argument can eventually bring peace and blessings, is repeated often in life and in the Torah itself. Just look at the creation of the world. On the second day, G-d separated the heavens from the earth—this divide, although necessary, was not categorized as a “good” day. Only when this rift made room for the possibility of the blessings that came on the third day (plants and vegetation), did G-d say “and it was good”—two times! 

 

Can it be that all the naysayers were what helped propel Chabad to greater heights? I have no idea. I would give credit to the Rebbe himself who was a wellspring of inspiration—a resource of positive thinking. Always telling not only his followers, but anyone who would listen, that anything is possible so long as you try—and keep trying. If nature is not here to help you, well, then you can change nature … a miracle will happen. Or perhaps, we will need to create our own miracles. It is all in our hands.

 

There are so many lessons to learn from the Rebbe’s life. One particular lesson, and one that relates to the Torah portion of the week, would be that when we are faced with challenges—big or small—never give up hope. Since everything comes from G-d (the challenges included), you have the fortitude to overcome them.

 

Moses and Aaron overcame their challenge from Korach.

 

We, too, can overcome our own challenges in our time.   

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