As we approach a new year and look back on the past few months, it sure is hard to comprehend all that has transpired. From Meron and Karlin to Surfside… Chassidus explains that one must learn from all that he sees and hears. What can we learn from a mapoles (a collapsed structure)?

The Lubavitcher Rebbe explains1: Letters and words create sentences and paragraphs; they are like bricks that build a structure. Hashem created the world with the asara ma’amaros (ten words) and our world is an upright structure with everything controlled by Hashem, down to the smallest details.

Similarly, a person is a small world and when his structure is standing strong he understands that Hashem runs the world and everything happens for a reason. However, if his own little world suffers a collapse, meaning he is confused and lost, and drifts from the path of Torah, it becomes our responsibility to dig up the “rubble” and help him find his way back. This must be done even on Shabbos, and even on Yom Kippur. There might even be uncertainties; for example, is he there under the rubble? Is he still alive? If there are no survivors in the upper portion of the mound, do we still need to dig to the lowest level?

To all of these questions, the answer is YES. In a spiritual sense, when we ask, “Is he there?” we are asking if he is present. Will he even listen and pay attention? We still need to do all that we can to bring him back. Is he alive? Does the spark of Yiddishkeit still burn in him or is he so far gone that his neshama is completely dormant? We still need to do all that we can to bring him back. And if there are no survivors on the top of the mound do we still need to dig to the lowest level? The top of the mound represents the upper class, the intelligent and sophisticated among us. If we failed to bring them back to a Torah life should we give up on the lower level, the plain, simple folk? To all the above questions, the answer is YES. We must do our best to find every Jew and bring him back to the light of Torah.

Let this New Year be a year that our structures are strong and filled with only happiness and joy and may we be reunited with all those we have lost with the immediate Final Redemption.

Wishing you and your family a kesiva v’chasima tovah, shana tovah u’mesukah.

Rabbi Chaim Fogelman
Editor in Chief, OK Kosher Executive Kashrus Vaad

1. Excerpted from the Rebbe’s Reshimos 16.