1. The 13th of Tishrei is the Yahrzeit of the Rebbe Maharash. One of the Rebbe Maharash’s sayings (as given to us by the previous Rebbe) was “The world in general, (when faced by a problem) says to ‘go under’ the problem; and if one can’t go under, then one ‘goes over’ (the problem). I say however, that one should ‘go over’ (the problem) in the first place.” This dictum was disseminated in the darkness of exile, and tells us that not only should we not be affected by the ‘darkness (which) covers the earth,’ but that the ‘going over’ should be in even greater measure. This produces such a great light (to dispel the darkness of exile), that it is beyond any limits.
The Rebbe Maharash’s conduct was similar to the Baal Shem. Tov’s conduct. Baal Shem Tov means Master of the Good Name. The “Name” refers to the Name of G-d, the goodness of which can either be revealed or hidden. The “Good Name” means the Name of G-d as it is revealed in all its goodness — i.e. the Baal Shem Tov took the hidden good and revealed it. And the “Master of the Good Name” indicates the greatness of the Baal Shem Tov who, as R. Mendel Horadoker writes, was “unique and there is none like him” — and hence could carry out whatever he wished (i.e. he was the “Master”).
When therefore we are told that the Rebbe Maharash’s conduct was as the Baal Shem Tov’s and his saying concerning “going over in the first place” was directed to each and every Jew, it is understood that every Jew has the ability to follow in his footsteps. When a Jew resolves to follow in the ways of the Rebbe Maharash, he receives strength to carry out his mission in the manner of “going over in the first place” and in the manner of the Baal Shem Tov.
The Rebbe Maharash’s conduct was in the above mentioned manner despite the fact that he lived in a time when the government (Czarist Russia) was against Jews and Judaism. He nevertheless proceeded in his work with full strength, to the extent of warning the government that if they would not fulfill his requests he would lay his case before other countries.
We, who find ourselves in a situation where Torah and mitzvos can be observed in their entirety, and the government is helpful to religion, can certainly carry out our tasks with ease. And may it be G-d’s will that the distinction between those countries which are not sympathetic to Judaism and where Jews are not free to learn Torah and fulfill mitzvos, and other countries, be broken down, and Jews everywhere should be free to observe their religion. Then all Jews, “our youth and our elders, our sons and our daughters” will learn Torah and perform mitzvos openly and with an ‘upright hand.’ And “those who lie in the dust will arise and rejoice,” with the Rebbe Maharash in their midst, in the true and future redemption, speedily in our times.
2. As mentioned above, all distinctions between Jews should be removed. The way for all Jews to unite together is through Torah, by each one participating in the writing of a Sefer Torah. When each and every Jew purchases a letter in a Sefer Torah, he is united with all other Jews in the “one Torah,” which is only whole when each individual letter is perfect and together with the other letters.
We are not referring to the idea of writing many Sefer Torahs, each person writing one for himself (however lofty such a matter may be), but rather, a Sefer Torah whose entire purpose and writing is to unite all Jews. Since all Jews have “One Father,” they are truly one, and when each Jew purchases a letter in a Sefer Torah in which hundreds of thousands of other Jews have purchased letters, that unity is revealed and strengthened.
Nevertheless, since there are different customs as to the exact configuration of the letters — Ashkenazic, Sefardic, Lurianic etc. — each person should buy a letter in the Sefer Torah written according to the custom he follows. Indeed, Moshe Rabbeinu wrote twelve Sefer Torahs, one for each of the twelve tribes. Simultaneously however, he wrote a thirteenth Sefer Torah, from which all the other 12 were checked. Hence, although there may be differing customs, “these and these are the words of the living G-d,” and each person can purchase a letter in the Sefer Torah being written according to his custom.
But again, it must be emphasized that the concept of these Sefer Torahs is to unite all Jews, and people should not just start writing Sefer Torahs for their own particular individual group. The only reason more than one Sefer Torah to unite all Jews is being written is either because of the differing customs mentioned previously, or because all the letters have already been purchased in the previous Sefer Torah. Hence, before starting to write new Sefer Torahs to unite Jews, it is important to first make sure that all the letters in the Sefer Torahs already being written (304,805 letters in each Sefer Torah) have been purchased.
A further suggestion was that Tomchei Temimim (Lubavitcher Yeshivah), whose students have a special mission of illuminating the world, should write a Sefer Torah to unite all those who are learning or who had learned in Tomchei Temimim. (and their families). Anyone who once learned in Tomchei Temimim remains a Tamim, a student of Tomchei Temimim, forever. Likewise, all those who support Tomchei Temimim (i.e. financially) should also participate in this Sefer Torah (together with their families). In similar fashion, a special Sefer Torah for the students (past and present) and supporters of Bais Rivkah (Lubavitcher School for girls) should also be written.
Although in the Sefer Torah for Jewish children, each child paid $1 — no more and no less — the Sefer Torahs for adults are different. The participants are not children but working adults, and each may purchase a letter for any amount his heart desires to give. And although the purpose of such Sefer Torahs is not to make money, but to unite all Jews, the money that is received for the letters can be put to good and holy uses in the various Yeshivahs. Indeed, a Jew will consider it a great privilege to participate in a Sefer Torah that unites him with all Jews — and he will certainly want to pay more then a dollar! On the other hand, no one is to be forced to give an amount he doesn’t want to give. Each person should give according to what his heart desires.
The important thing is that people should start working in the Sefer Torah campaign, and not waste time in empty discussions. In today’s times, with modern technology, all the technical means necessary for this campaign allows things to be done in days which previously took months (through computers etc.). We must invest all efforts possible in this campaign, and carry it out with joy and a good heart. When a true effort is made, then success is assured — over and above that which normally could be expected. Especially when it concerns such a holy thing as buying a letter in the Sefer Torah — even those who one would not expect to participate will gladly purchase a letter. For through this campaign, Yisrael, Torah and G-d are bound together in an eternal bond.
The urgency of this campaign is underscored by the alarming instability rampant in the world. Everyone knows the frightening situation, and in the times of exile, Jews are “a single sheep among seventy wolves.” But when Jews are united, nothing can hurt them! Unity doesn’t mean physical unity, all Jews in one place, but spiritual unity — through Torah. Therefore one should ignore all obstacles and scoffers, and should do one’s utmost to inscribe a Jew wherever he may be found.
The above is connected with the daily portion of the weekly parshah, which talks of the blessing given to the tribe of Levi (“And to Levi he said”). The Rambam states that not only of the tribe of Levi, but of every person whose spirit moves him to serve G-d and carry out G-d’s mission, G-d says that “I am your portion and your inheritance.” Hence, everyone who participates in disseminating Judaism and Chassidus, including working in the campaign to unite all Jews by each one purchasing a letter in the Sefer Torah, is included in the category of those whose spirit moves them to carry out G-d’s mission.