Rosh HaShanah, 5772
The Shomrei Emunim beis medrash was packed, and the Rebbe, Rav Avraham Chaim Roth ztz”l, was immersed in his spiritual meditations. The shofar would be sounded in just a few minutes, and the Rebbe prepared the crowd with powerful words of mussar, bursting into tears. “The pasuk says, ‘In the evening there will be light.’ L’eis erev, in the evening, is 5772 in gematria. That is the year that is about to begin. It will be a year of redemption, especially toward the end, as the pasuk says — there will be light …”
But the Rebbe had not yet finished. “But we have had a number of times of Heavenly favor in the past, times that were ripe for redemption and salvation, and we squandered the opportunity. Not only that, but they became, Rachmana litzlan, years filled with pain and anguish, instead of redemption and calm. Be careful, my children, not to ruin this year as well, not to miss the opportunity. Do teshuvah, learn much Torah, be careful to observe the mitzvos, and keep to the bounds of sanctity, so that this time we can experience the arrival of Mashiach, who is waiting just outside the door.”
The Rebbe, however, didn’t live to see Mashiach’s arrival; on Isru Chag Shavuos, he collapsed after Shacharis and hovered between two worlds for three months until his holy soul rejoined the Heavenly court.
“When I heard the Rebbe thundering those words,” the Radoshitzer Rebbe — son-in-law of the Shomrei Emunim Rebbe and grandson of Rebbe Moshe Mordechai of Lelov — told Mishpacha after the shivah, “I was gripped with fear. There were other times when the Rebbe hinted that this is a time ripe for salvation. Sometimes he even spoke about it outright. He constantly hammered the yearning for the geulah into his children and grandchildren, into everyone around him, into anyone who merely came to bask in his presence. I don’t know if there is anyone else in our generation whose entire being was so immersed in such sincere, pure longing for the ultimate Redemption.”
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