the anniversary of me

From the Hayom Yom for today, my birthday:
On this day the Alter Rebbe passed away in the village Piena on Saturday night of parshat Sh'mot 5573 (1813). He is interred in the city of Haditz.

My grandfather (R. Shmuel) asked the Tzemach Tzedek: What did Grandfather (the Alter Rebbe) intend with the "ways of Chassidus" and what did he intend with Chassidus?

The Tzemach Tzedek answered: The "ways of Chassidus" are that all Chassidim are to be like one family, with affection, as Torah teaches. Chassidus is vitality. Chassidus is to bring life and illumination into everything, to shed light even on the undesirable - to become aware of one's own evil exactly as it is, in order to correct it.
Yes, I was born on the day that the Baal HaTanya, Rebbe Shneur Zalman of Liadi, the first Chabad Rebbe, passed away. In the past five years I've discovered quite a connection with him and his teachings, I only found out a couple of years ago about this particular coincidence.

Interestingly I might, though the actual chances are pretty slim, have Chabad blood in me. My grandmother's father was named Zalman, and his father was named Dov Bear, they were from Lodz, Poland.

I was blessed to grow up in a home that always lived Chassiduth. (Without ever once mentioning or hearing the word Chassiduth) I'm so thankful to HaShem for everything he has given me, that which I was born into and that which I grew to discover. This year I celebrated my seventh siyum of the Tanya. (The first year I learned it three times, (one perek a day) and every year since then, just once a year. (With the yearly cycle.))

Either way, the real goal (what's really important) isn't Chassiduth, but rather the unity and common joy of the Jewish people in seeking out and serving God from the depths of our collective being.

Today's Tanya, the section of Tanya learned by thousands of Jews around the world on my birthday every year discusses serving God: In order to serve God, we need to rise above our nature. It isn't considered serving God, if we simply perform his desires out of habit. We need to choose to do his mitzvoth--to learn his Torah, and always add energy and devotion to our service of God, otherwise it isn't entitled to the name service of HaShem.


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