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Did the Rebbe Make a Public Vow?
Tomorrow, the third of Tammuz, marks 21 years since the world was deprived of the Lubavitcher Rebbe's physical presence. This day is marked in Jewish communities the world over as a day of prayer, inspiration and increased positive activity. Now, you ask, why do we not refer to the third of Tammuz simply as "Yahrtzeit", the anniversary of an individual's passing? Indeed, Lubavitchers are known for their wild ways. They stop strangers on the street and ask if they would like to put on Tefillin, they light big menorahs in malls and public squares, and they move out one family at a time to far-flung communities, expecting to change the world. But not to call this day the Rebbe's yahrtzeit seems like it might be going too far.

Every person is put on this world with a mission. Some accomplish ten percent, some twenty - we all do what we can throughout our lives to fulfill as much as possible. But a tzaddik is different. A tzaddik comes into this world to complete a mission. And he does not leave it until he does. A tzaddik completes his mission one hundred percent. Thus, when a tzaddik, passes on, the yahrtzeit is celebrated as a day of rejoicing. He has fulfilled his mission on earth and his soul rejoices, heaven rejoices, and all of the Jewish nation rejoices.

Throughout the years of his leadership, and indeed, in the years preceding, all the way back to his childhood, the Rebbe clearly articulated his mission in life: To bring Moshiach. Not to simply make the world a slightly brighter place, or bring a little more goodness - these are indeed wonderful accomplishments, but are mere steps toward the ultimate goal. And the Rebbe never lost sight of that goal. The goal of not just a little more goodness, but a complete transformation, of everything, to good. Not just adding a little more light, but ushering in a time that reveals the inherent light in everything. Transforming the world, entirely, with redemption.

Every talk the Rebbe gave - whether it was a scholarly discourse on an obscure Midrash, an exhortation to devote more time to education, or a critique of current foreign policy - ended with the blessing and wish that whatever's been discussed and whatever action will be taken should hasten the coming of Moshiach - "May it be immediately now."

Tomorrow, on the 3rd of Tammuz, we know that the Rebbe is still working to complete his mission. For however close we are, the fact is, the Redemption is still not here. And we know that until the Rebbe's mission is complete, until that goal has been reached and Moshiach is here, the Rebbe must be working towards it. And therefore, yes it's a difficult day, a day of concealment, but it's not a Yahrtzeit, the Rebbe is still doing his mission.

During a talk at a farbrengen, the Rebbe once related an anecdote well known to Chassidim: Before the great Chassidic Master R. Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev passed on, he pledged that he would not enter paradise until G-d agreed to bring Moshiach. Many years later, another Chassidic leader spoke of this pledge and said, "The years have passed and Moshiach has not come. Apparently they tempted R. Levi Yitzchak with a 'candy.' They showed him the lofty pleasures of paradise, the angels singing G-d's praises, and he couldn't resist. But," the Chassidic Rebbe continued, "I will not be swayed by any temptations." Apparently however, those above managed to get this leader in, too. How did they prevail upon him to enter? They didn't! They simply expanded the borders of Gan Eden until he was in.

"Perhaps," concluded the Rebbe, referring seemingly to himself, "the only solution is to make this vow in public. For a vow made on the public's trust, can never be annulled."

The Rebbe continues to lead, inspire, and invigorate us. Though we may not see him physically, we know he is with us still, working to complete his mission. Throughout his years of leadership, the Rebbe told us that ours is the last generation of Exile and the first generation of the Redemption. The Rebbe is working to make this a reality. We must do our part by doing another mitzvah, such as giving charity, studying Torah - especially on the subject of Moshiach - and strengthening our belief and anticipation for the coming of Moshiach.

Tommorow, on the 3rd of Tammuz, when our yearning for the Rebbe is intensified, so too should our commitment to help realize his goal. It might be that one extra deed that finally tips the scales.

May we merit to once again see our Rebbe down here with us, in this world, with the complete and final redemption.

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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