Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Part 3. 1967 Six Day War Miracle. My Meetings With The Rebbe After The War. Yosef ben Eliezer

I remembered the Rebbe’s request and once more telephoned Rabbi Hodakov. This time I waited a week before being called to come. Expecting to see the Rebbe in a joyful mood - something resembling: “Nu, what did I tell you?” - Instead he was solemn. After shaking hands he began to speak.

The Liberation of Jerusalem returned to the Jewish People
“This is a very special time for the Jewish people, a people who have experienced miracles throughout their history; indeed, their entire existence has been one long chain of miracles. Yet only rarely have there been miracles that G-d has shown the whole world, as if blowing a great shofar and acclaiming His eternal people, the Jewish nation. It happened with the exodus from Egypt and several other occasions and it was also the case last week.

“There are periods when G-d, so to speak, conceals His presence from His children; but there are moments when His kindness and miracles are limitless and revealed to all.  “G-d, who creates and directs the world, gave the Land of Israel to the People of Israel. For a time, a lengthy time, He took the Land from us and gave it to the gentile nations. This past week He took it back from them and gave it to the Jewish People.

“And to avoid any doubt that it was G-d who gave this to us, the event was bound up with great miracles. When all of Israel’s enemies surrounded her and conspired to destroy the Jewish People in the Holy Land, and the whole world and all the Jews trembled in fear and anxiety over her fate, G-d showed His miracles and wonders and speedily routing Israel’s foes presented her with the Land of Israel’s holiest sites.

“Yet, Jews have the freedom of choice, and in two vital matters we need to be on guard now: first, that no one, G-d forbid, should say ‘My power and the might of my hand.’ no one should pride himself in thinking that Israel’s military strength was behind the victory. It was a minor tool needed to provide a natural veneer. The supernatural triumph came from G-d, and only from G-d.

"The second matter,” continued the Rebbe, “is related to you, and for this reason I wanted to talk with you. I am familiar with the temperaments of Jews, including those currently heading the Israeli Government. I am very concerned that in the coming days they will already be sending envoys to Washington to inform them of their readiness to return the areas they captured. They fail to realize that they have not captured a thing; G-d has given them an enormous gift accompanied by awesome miracles; He has given them their own land. This must be prevented by any possible means.”

In the ten minutes that the Rebbe spoke, I didn’t open my mouth. I was enthralled - surprised that the Rebbe chose to speak of these lofty matters with me. I braced myself and asked, “Rebbe, how am I part of the picture?”  “You have contact with the Israelis who come to the U.N.: the Israeli Ambassador and such people; you go back and forth to the State Department. You have a good feeling of what transpires. My request is that when you encounter the Israeli representatives’ bleak spirit, rephrase for them the subjects you have heard here, and as forcefully as possible. The Rebbe, apparently reading my thoughts, continued: I have no intention whatsoever for you to do anything as if behind the back of the American Government- to which you are responsible and whose interests you represent. However, first of all, the United States has no interest in Israel returning the captured areas; quite the contrary. Secondly, as a Jew and a private citizen, you have every right to express your personal opinion.”

The Rebbe continued with great passion: “And if anyone should ask you where your strong convictions come from, on what basis do you know what is good for Israel and what is not tell them about the only son whose parents were alarmed over his fate and wished to bring him to the United States, and that from this room he, and thousands of other only children, were promised there was no need to worry and that everything would be all right. And on what grounds was that promise made from this room? On the grounds that there is a Creator of this world Who is in charge, and the Creator of the world decided to present the Land of Israel to the People of Israel, and when the Creator of the world gives us a gift, we have to cherish and keep watch over it - not seek ways to rid ourselves of it!”

Unhinged and with much to ponder, I left the Rebbe’s office. I had never undergone a spiritual experience like this - an unforgettable half hour that completely reshaped my universe and produced a fundamental shift in Jewish relevance and Jewish identity. For the second time within a few weeks the realization dawned: How fortunate are we to have someone like the Rebbe.

Frankly, I am unable to say how and to what extent I carried out the Rebbe’s request. I can only report that he was pleased with my efforts. Firsthand confirmation of that came several months later when, one day, the Israeli Ambassador approached me at the U.N. to say: “Last night I took part in the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s Simchas Torah festivities. Among other things he asked me to extend his warm greetings, together with his appreciation and esteem.  In 1971, following my marriage to a kibbutz girl who worked in the Israeli Mission to the U.N., I moved to Israel. For a time I worked in the American Embassy in Tel Aviv and later left to work for the Israeli Government.  In my official capacity I took part in many covert missions that, even today, I cannot discuss or even hint at. Traveling to various countries with sundry tasks, I encountered an additional facet of the Rebbe’s greatness.

I can say with absolute certainty that the fate of Jewish populations around the globe was resolved to their benefit exclusively through the involvement and efforts of the Rebbe and his shluchim (emissaries). The State of Israel, as well not only the Jewish People owes an enormous debt to the Rebbe in critical decisions which I neither desire, nor am able to detail, beyond what I have already said.

Throughout those years I had the opportunity for direct contact with the Rebbe -with the knowledge and approval of my superiors through diverse channels I prefer not to mention.

From Book: “Our Man In Dakar” page 111.  By HaRav Aharon Dov Halperin 
Translated By Tuvia Natkin  Published by ‘Sifriyat Kfar Chabad’

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