Gaining clarity from my hospital bed

Gaining clarity from my hospital bed

By Harav Y. Reuven Rubin Shlita

You lay on a hard table with large screens trying to engulf you. There are thumping and banging noises; the feeling is one of discomfort and not a little fear. You cast your mind back, wondering what it is that brought you to this place. Hospitals are intimidating places; the atmosphere is dripping with the aura of danger, and everyone seems to tip toe through its halls, not wanting to disturb the balance between hope and fear.

I found myself lying on this table, eyes shut tight, not moving. I am about to be slid into what looks like a huge metal doughnut, and have been told not to move for at least twenty minutes. This isn’t my first foray onto the table; in the last few days I have had the dubious honour of entertaining the medics with detailed views of the smallest corners of my heart and all the byways that lead in and out of it. I have been injected with isotopes, with chemicals to stress my already stressed heart, and who knows what else, yet from amongst all these various tests, this machine causes me the most bother.

Darkness has always seemed some sort of default position, but in truth it’s the source of illumination”

Staying perfectly still for twenty minutes is for a Yied nigh impossible. It’s not in the nature of a golus Jew to stay still, ever. So I decided then and there to imagine myself far away, removed from the breathlessness I have been challenged with, distanced from the clanking of this camera on steroids. It is just days after Lag B’Omer, and so I am visiting Meron and spending time with Rebbe Shimon. I stare at the inner seam of my cold, hard space ship-like capsule, and slowly slip thousands of miles away. The night is crystal clear, and tens of thousands of Yidden are singing in unison the haunting tunes of Meron. The clarinet moans, the fiddle cries, and Rebbe Shimon’s essence dances all about. Rebbe Shimon, the light of all golus, the towering giant who taught us that a Yied never gives up, that every moment is filled with wonder and hope. Rebbe Shimon is the address for beseeching souls seeking a way forward. Rebbe Shimon living in a cave, suppressed by our enemies, feeling heartbreaking sadness as thousands of his nearest and dearest were niftar because they just didn’t understand that Torah is for everyone.

Rebbe Shimon’s light, given over in his last moments, was the ability to know we all are part of one Klal Yisroel. So my wounded heart sings with the thousands in Meron as Rebbe Shimon illuminates our inner being! The myriad of voices rejoice- no borders here- all shades of Klal Yisroel totally imbued with the spirit of the Torah’s highest realms. Notice if you will that there are no walls obstructing the path of the Yiddishe Neshoma to Rebbe Shimon. All are holy; we sing in one voice.

Shavuos is now upon us, reigniting our inner spark with the precious gift of the Torah Hakedosha. Some ask: what are we truly celebrating? After all, the first luchos were in fact unsuccessful. They were broken before Klal Yisroel experienced their full kedusha. So why all the dancing and simcha? One answer is that the broken luchos showed that a Yied can hope and change. We make mistakes but we never give in. Teshuvah is always there, sparkling with promise. Darkness has always seemed some sort of default position, but in truth it’s the source of illumination. Challenges are thrown our way; we must see through the miasma of fear and find the tikun which Hashem wants from us.

So we sing with Rebbe Shimon, celebrate that which was broken but gave forth Kedusha. We do all this and continue the long and illustrious march that will lead us to Moshiach


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