Friday, 18 Nissan, is the Birthday of the Rebbe's father, Rabbi Levi Yitzchok and the day of the Rebbe's Bris Milah (5662).
This Shabbos, we do not read the entire portion Shemini (although we read it until Sheni at Mincha, as we did last Shabbos afternoon, last Monday morning and next Thursday morning).
We do however learn and live Shemini, this week and next week, and we read a special Torah reading for Shabbat Chol HaMoed Pesach.
Sunday night and Monday is the seventh day of Pesach - שביעי של פסח - and Monday night and Tuesday is the final day of Pesach - אחרון של פסח.
On Tuesday, we say Yizkor, the memorial prayer for our beloved departed, and Tuesday afternoon, we celebrate "The Feast of Moshiach", a custom that was initiated by the Baal Shem Tov.
The Rebbe expounds on many occasions a key difference between the focus of the seventh day of Pesach and the final day of Pesach:
The seventh day of Pesach is when Moshe led the Jewish people though the sea of reeds, that miraculously split. Moshe and the Jewish people sang. The emphasis of the seventh day, is Moshe.
The final day of Pesach radiates with Moshiach. The entire Haftorah is about Moshiach, and the custom to have "The Feast of Moshiach", as originally instituted by the Baal Shem Tov, continues to grow like wildfire in communities throughout the world.
Moshe was the first Redeemer of the Jewish people.
Moshiach is the final Redeemer of the Jewish people.
Every day, we must balance our lives, with both Moshe and Moshiach.
When we focus on Moshe, we reflect on our glorious past, on our glorious roots, the exodus from Egypt, and the eternity of the Jewish people.
When we focus on Moshiach, we anticipate an even more glorious future, and a redemption that will not be followed with another exile.
No building is secure without a solid foundation.
Focusing on Moshe, enables us to appreciate the foundations of the Jewish people inspired by Moshe for over 3,300 years.
Focusing (anticipating) Moshiach, is realizing that the foundations of over 3,300 years is a process of developing a "permanent home for Hashem" that will be completed by Moshiach.
As the Rebbe wrote in a poignant letter to the president of Israel, Yitzchak Ben-Tzvi:
"From the time I was a child attending Cheder, and even before, the vision of the future redemption began to to take form in my imagination; the redemption of the Jewish people from their final exile. Redemption of such magnitude and grandeur, that through it the purpose of the sufferings, harsh degrees, and anguish of exile will be understood ".
This vision is highlighted in the Haftorah of Achron Shel Pesach.
אודך ה? כי אנפת בי.
On that day, we will thank Hashem for his wrath.
Let's get ready for that day!
Good Shabbos. Good Yom Tov.
Rabbi Raphael Tennenhaus
THE MOSHIACH WATCH: The feast of Moshiach adds in significance to the inspiration of Moshiach in the Haftorah on Achron Shel Pesach.
The Haftorah alone, as descriptive as it is about Moshiach, is limited because it is an inspiration of a spiritual non-tangible nature.
The Feast of Moshiach, when we eat and drink in anticipation of the imminent revelation of Moshiach, takes the spiritual message of Moshiach to the gut!
It's no longer an esoteric and prophetic vision and discussion. It has now become a physical celebration that is tangibly celebrated and absorbed by the body!