Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Shabbos in Breslau

Once during the summer, Rav Yisrael of Ruzhin, zt”l, was in Breslau, Germany for Shabbos. Breslau was a spa town where one could convalesce and strengthen his health, and that was the purpose of the Rebbe’s visit.
On Friday, he saw the town’s large Jewish population heading home from shul while it was still light. This was the custom in Germany then and is still the custom in many places where one needs to eat early, especially when there are many families with young children. To the Rebbe’s shock, the people were carrying despite the town’s absolute lack of an eruv. It was clear that they felt no inhibition for their sinful behavior.
He wondered aloud, “Twenty-four hours of chilul Shabbos is not enough for them so they extend Shabbos to desecrate it for a full twenty-six hours?”
But his next comment showed how to react when Shabbos is desecrated by those who don’t know better. “Our sages teach that Moshiach will only arrive in a generation that is completely righteous or completely wicked, or חייב. But how could a generation be completely righteous? And we know that a generation cannot be completely wicked since we are promised, 'כי לא תשכח מפי זרעו'—‘For the Torah shall not be forgotten from the mouths of his children.’
He continued, “Obviously this statement means that Moshiach will come in a generation where people are either completely wicked or completely righteous. It seems clear that the people here are ready for Moshiach, since they completely disregard the Torah. But we must also be truly ready from our side, by eradicating any negative behavior and fulfilling the mitzvos perfectly, so that we are completely righteous and Moshiach can come.”


yitz.. said...

I honestly didn't understand this teaching.. i couldn't follow the logic-- is it me, my background, or the way it was written?

(ps. sooner or later I read almost all the stories you post here.. thank you for all of these valuable lessons!)

yitz.. said...

On further consideration, I think I understand it now.

But it was a very subtle point and difficult to make out.

The generation Moshiach comes in is a generation comprised ONLY of individuals who are completely wicked AND individuals who are completely righteous, but not of individuals who are somewhat wicked and at the same time somewhat righteous.

He was saying there are already people in the generation who are completely wicked but we are still only partially righteous and Moshiach won't come until we've become as entirely righteous as those others are entirely wicked.

Sharp point. (It troubles me a little when we talk about Am Yisrael that way.. though I'm not a great Rebbe, so clearly it's me that is in the wrong)