An old-school mechanech who demanded order and structure, Rabbi Chayim Benyemini of Petropolis, Brazil, asked the Rebbe why today’s students struggled with it. In highlighting its importance, the Rebbe explained that this was the Sitra Achara’s “dying leap” before Moshiach.
After escaping the Holocaust horrors, Reb Chayim Benyemini and his wife Rivka arrived in Brazil. With passion and warmth, they established the first Brazilian full-time yeshiva in history, Machne Yisroel of Petropolis. Through constant contact with the Rebbe, and remarkable dedication, the yeshiva flourishes to this day.
Reb Chayim’s approach was old-school, with an emphasis on seder and timekeeping. In 5741 (1981), he wrote to the Rebbe that he endeavored to educate his students in this manner, but “it is difficult to educate these traits in today’s age.”
The Rebbe’s response began with praising the method, since “education for disorder is a vildkeit….and is obviously contrary to what I want, beg and demand.”
The Rebbe then offered an enlightening explanation why this area of education is so challenging today:
“My father-in-law once said that the sitra achra (force of evil) is likened to a flame, which gives a great leap the moment before it snuffs out. Likewise, the sitra achra feels the coming of Moshiach, and is therefore leaping his dying leap.”
(Yeshiva Shel Ma’ala, Page 414)
From The Weekly Farbrengen by Merkaz Anash