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The Day the Sun Stood Still

by Rabbi Naftali Silberberg

  

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Then Joshua spoke to the L-rd on the day when the L-rd delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel [in the city of Gibeon], and he said in the sight of Israel, “Sun, stand still upon Gibeon, and Moon in the valley of Ayalon.” [At that time, the moon was standing opposite the valley of Ayalon, which is far from Gibeon – Rashi’s commentary.] And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies

(Joshua 10:12-13).

This incredible miracle occurred on the third day of Tammuz, 3277 years ago. Before the invention of artificial light and night-seeing infrared vision equipment, it was virtually impossible to wage a successful battle after nightfall. Joshua, seeing that the Israelites were on the verge of securing a major victory, and fearing that darkness would offer the enemy an opportunity to flee and regroup, commanded the sun to stand still until the Israelites wiped out all resistance. On this day, Jacob’s statement concerning Ephraim: “his children[’s fame] will fill the nations,” was fulfilled, with the entire world witnessed the awesome powers of Joshua, of the tribe of Ephraim.

Also on the third of Tammuz, world Jewry, and Chabad Chassidim in particular, mark the anniversary of the day when in 1994 the world was deprived of the physical presence of Rabbi Menachem M. Schneersohn, "the Rebbe," leaving behind countless disconsolate followers. The fact that these two events occurred on the same date is not a coincidence. There certainly is a substantive connection between the two, and we can surely draw lessons by understanding the parallels between them.

In the hundreds of volumes of the Rebbe's works one can find directives concerning all personal issues which may arise in today's day and age
King Solomon writes (Ecclesiastes 1:5), “The sun rises, and the sun sets.” On this the Midrash comments: “Rabbi Abba the son of Kahana said: Do we not know that the sun rises and sets? [Is it necessary for Solomon, the wisest of all men, to inform us of this self-evident reality?] Rather, this teaches us that before the sun of one Tzaddik (righteous person) sets, the sun of another tzaddik has already risen. Before the sun of Sarah set, the sun of Rebecca had risen. And so it is in every generation.’”

A true tzaddik is compared to a sun, whose light, warmth, and radiance inspires and invigorates his followers. Yes, we have a Torah which contains 613 eternal commandments, laws which are the “Manual for Life” for every generation. But every generation has unique challenges and situations which demand a leader who is divinely inspired and can convey to the people the order of the day. In our generation, recognizing the specific needs of an assimilating post-holocaust Jewry, the Rebbe embarked on his campaign of global outreach, sending thousands of emissaries to all corners of the earth, and encouraged every Jew to meet the needs of the times by influencing other Jews to experience the beauty of Torah and Mitzvot.

And on the third of Tammuz the sun did not set.

Many times throughout the decades of his leadership, the Rebbe emphasized that ours is the last generation of Exile and the first generation of the Redemption. The Rebbe told us that the mission we were to complete in Exile has been completed, and now we must only prepare ourselves for the imminent Redemption. And interspersed in the hundreds of printed volumes of the Rebbe’s works one can find – directives concerning all personal issues which may arise in today’s day and age, and most importantly – clear guidelines on how to complete this all-important mission with which our generation has been charged. The assignment remains the same today as it was eleven years ago, and the Rebbe’s teachings are our sun, illuminating the pathway to the Messianic Era.

The Rebbe wouldn’t want us to sit and cry on this day. He wants us to recommit ourselves to completing the job, and bring the day when we will be reunited with our beloved Rebbe.

For more information about the Rebbe, visit www.TheRebbe.org.


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RELATED CATEGORIES

Chassidism » Rebbe » "The Rebbe"

Torah
Torah is G–d’s teaching to man. In general terms, we refer to the Five Books of Moses as “The Torah.” But in truth, all Jewish beliefs and laws are part of the Torah.
Tzaddik
(fem. Tzidkanit; pl. Tzaddikim). A saint, or righteous person.
Mitzvot
Plural form of Mitzvah. Commandments of G-d. Mitzvah also means a connection, for a Jew connects with G–d through fulfilling His commandments.
Chabad
Chabad, an acronym for Wisdom, Knowledge, and Understanding, is the name of a Chassidic Group founded in the 1770s. Two of the most fundamental teachings of Chabad are the intellectual pursuit of understanding the divine and the willingness to help every Jew who has a spiritual or material need.
Rashi
Acronym for Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki (1040-1105). Legendary French scholar who authored the fundemental and widely accepted "Rashi commentary" on the entire Bible and Talmud.
Chassidim
(Pl.: Chassidim; Adj.: Chassidic) Following the teachings of Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov (1698-1760), the founder of "Chassidut." Chassidut emphasizes serving G-d with sincerity and joy, and the importance of connecting to a Rebbe (saintly mentor).
Rebbe
A Chassidic master. A saintly person who inspires followers to increase their spiritual awareness.
Joshua
1. Assumed the leadership of the Jewish people after Moses died in 1267 BCE. He split the Jordan River and led the Jewish people in their conquest of the Promised Land. 2. One of the 24 books of the Bible, which chronicles Joshua's leadership.
Midrash
(Pl. Midrashim). Non-legal material of anecdotal or allegorical nature, designed either to clarify historical material, or to teach a moral point. The Midrashim were compiled by the sages who authored the Mishna and Talmud (200 BCE-500 CE).
Tammuz
The fourth month on the Jewish calendar, normally corresponding to June-July.
Sarah
First Jewess, first of the four Jewish Matriarchs, wife of Abraham--the first Jew. Lived in Mesopotamia, and then Canaan, in the 19th century BCE.
Jacob
Third of the three Patriarchs and father of the Twelve Tribes. Lived most his life in Canaan and died in Egypt in 1505 BCE. Also known by the name of "Israel."
Rebecca
Second of the Jewish Matriarchs. Wife of the Patriarch Isaac, and father of Jacob. b. 1675 BCE, d. 1553 BCE.
Solomon
Son of King David, and succeeded him on the throne of Israel in the year 836 BCE. he was the wisest man to ever live. He built the first Holy Temple and authored several books of the Bible.
Ecclesiastes
One of the 24 books of the Bible. This book of wise sayings was authored by King Solomon.