This week we learn, live and read the Torah portion Bo.
The final three plagues are in Bo, and the Jewish people leave Egypt in Bo.
I've always found it very interesting, that although the bondage in Egypt was so severe, it only is discussed in less than three Torah portions.
The book of Shemos, is rightfully called the Book of Exodus, to teach us that we must always be focused on getting out Egypt, and not to focus on our being (once) in Egypt.
The leadership of Moshe, from the get go, was entirely centered around delivering the Jewish people from bondage to freedom.
Once we left Egypt, and then received the Torah at Sinai, our observance is always connected to our "leaving Egypt" - זכר ליציאת מצרים.
Moshe set the pace for all generations for this mindset - the Redemption mindset- vis a vis the Galus mindset- the exile mentality.
And the Moshe of each generation always focused on getting out of exile, rather than obsessing with the exile itself.
Sunday night and Monday is the Tenth of Shevat, Yahrzeit of the Previous Rebbe - 5710 and the day of ascension to leadership of our Rebbe.
Growing up in Montreal, Yud Shevat was the foremost day in the year (even more than Simchas Torah) that Chassidim would travel to New York to observe the Yahrzeit of the Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok, to visit the Ohel, and to attend the Rebbe's Farbrengen.
Personally, Yud Shevat had an added dimension for me, because for five consecutive years, I had Yechidus (a private audience) with the Rebbe, right after Yud Shevat, in honor of my upcoming birthday later in Shevat.
I had merited to have private audiences (Yechidus) with the Rebbe, for five consecutive birthdays, beginning in 5730, one day after " Yud Shevat HaGodol - The Great Yud Shevat" when the Sefer Torah to Greet Moshiach, initiated by the Previous Rebbe, was completed by the Rebbe a day before the 20th Yahrzeit of the Previous Rebbe.
This Yechidus was for the occasion of my upcoming Bar Mitzvah, and the Rebbe tested me on the Maamor, the Chassidic Discourse traditionally recited by Lubavitcher Bar Mitzvah boys.
Clutching the Rebbe's desk, I reviewed by heart the first four paragraphs of the Discourse, and then the Rebbe asked me several questions, primarily associated with the end of the Discourse.
My late brother Rabbi Yisroel of blessed memory had taught me the Discourse, along with his own insights, so my answers to the Rebbe included my brother's explanations.
The Rebbe also instructed me to review on my birthday, which was on a Friday, the Torah reading twice with Targum, and he instructed me to do this on two other birthday Yechidus as well.
Each time I entered for my birthday Yechidus, (at the coaching of my brother) I tried to focus and concentrate on the Discourse Basi LeGani, the classic Yud Shevat Discourse, originally written by the Previous Rebbe in 5710 for Shabbos Bo, 10 Shevat, the day of his passing.
The original Discourse and its series had 20 sections, and every Yud Shevat the Rebbe would primarily focus on expounding one section.
After 5730, when the 20th section was expounded, the Rebbe resumed in 5731 to expound once again on the first chapter, and in 5732 the 2nd chapter etc.
So this year, the section that we focus on is the 7th chapter from the original Discourse, and the Rebbe's Discourses Bosi LeGani of 5717 and 5737.
All of these and more can be found on BasiLGani.com, in Hebrew and in English.
A major theme in Basi LeGani, based on the Midrash, is that when Hashem originally created the world, the primary Divine Presence was down here, in our lowly world.
The sins of seven generations caused the primary Divine Presence to be removed to the highest of the seven heavens.
Beginning with Avrohom, the Divine Presence started to descend, from heaven to heaven, until Moshe, the seventh, who is most beloved, brought the primary Divine Presence back into this world.
At the first Farbrengen of our Rebbe, in 5711, the Rebbe said that our generation is also the seventh, and our mission is to once again bring the primary Divine Presence back in our midst.
At a later occasion, the Rebbe emphasized, that the mere fact that the primary Divine Presence was in our midst at the beginning of creation, highlights how the world is essentially holy and good.
Any evil is contrary to the real quality of our world.
Looking at the world, and everyone in the world, with this perspective, is also viewing the world with a redemption mentality.
This vision was shared by the Previous Rebbe, who encouraged the Jewish people to immediately return to Hashem and immediately merit the redemption.
It was further accelerated by our Rebbe, who went even further, and said that repentance had already taken place, and all that is left is to greet Moshiach.
How fortunate are we to have been nurtured by true Jewish leaders, the Rebbe and the Previous Rebbe, who like Moshe, and the Torah, didn't focus on Egypt- מצרים - but on the Exodus from Egypt - יציאת מצרים - and didn't dwell on the exile but on the redemption.
Rabbi Raphael Tennenhaus
THE MOSHIACH WATCH:
According to the Midrash, only 20% of the Jewish people left Egypt, as those who didn't want to leave (80%) perished during the plague of darkness.
In the upcoming redemption with Moshiach, every Jew will leave the exile, even those who do not want consciously to leave! (See Rashi Deuteronomy 30:3, Isaiah 27:13, Tanya chapter 39 etc).