A Birthday Gift for the Rebbe
A lesson from the Parsha
This Tuesday will be Yud Alef Nissan, the Rebbe’s 120th birthday. The first time the Rebbe himself publicly marked his birthday with a farbrengen was in 1962, when he turned 60 years old.
This week, we will be marking the Rebbe’s 120th birthday. Moshe lived to 120; Many have heard of the birthday wish “biz hundred un tzvantzig,” – “Until 120” a saying which is modeled after the 120 years of Moshe. So, we need to figure out: how did Moses mark his 120th birthday? What did he do on that day?
The Rabbis said: Since Moses knew he would die that day, what did he do? He wrote thirteen Torah scrolls — twelve for the twelve tribes and one he placed in the ark. On the day of his passing — or the day before — he was busy completing thirteen Torah scrolls.
Why did he bother himself to write so many of them? On that day when Moses gave the Torah to the tribe of Levi…the People of Israel came before Moses and said to him, ‘Moses, we also stood at Sinai and received the Torah and it was given to us. Why are you placing your tribe in control of it? Tomorrow they will tell us, “He didn’t give it to you; he only gave it to us!”’ Moses was happy to hear their argument.
Therefore, Moses wrote a Torah scroll for each tribe; he wanted each tribe to feel as if the Torah belonged to them personally.
In the Rebbe’s words: “When Moses reached his final day…instead of being engaged in his own spiritual pursuits, he sat down to write a Torah scroll… for every single tribe… Obviously, writing the Torahs prevented him from engaging in other matters. Nonetheless, he put all his other endeavors aside to personally write these Torah scrolls and bring them to every tribe — Torah scrolls which will guide them for generations to come (and he did so instead of simply commissioning others, like Yehoshua or Aharon and his sons, to write them on his behalf). This is all an expression of his love for his fellow Jews”.
Moshe’s final day is the best representation of the Rebbe’s life. Humility means that a person is not occupied with himself. He asks himself, what is the best thing for the Jewish people as a whole. It’s not about you. A person should think about what G-d wants him to accomplish, not “what personal gain will I have and what will I earn…
On Moshe’s 120th birthday, he was busy writing Torah scrolls and giving them to each tribe, so that each tribe would feel that the Torah belongs to them. In our day, there are Torah is available for whoever wants them, but the problem is that there are Jews all over the world who think that the Torah is not relevant to their lives.
That’s why the Rebbe sent his Chabad Rabbis to every corner of the globe — to connect them with the Torah scrolls that Moshe wrote for them. To inspire them to pull out the Chumash or Siddur or Tanach from the attic, dust it off, and to make use of it again.
The Rebbe said many times that every Jew is a Shliach (messenger). Each one of us is obligated to do something to bring other Jews closer to their Judaism. As soon as we decide to make this a priority, we will find a way to make it happen.
That would be the Rebbe’s best birthday gift.