Essay by Rabbi Tzvi Freeman: “As more craziness ensued, as great minds erred, and as the hearts of men grew less tolerant for one another, those seeking the Shechinah went elsewhere while the downstairs fell into darkness.”
By Rabbi Tzvi Freeman
“I came to my garden, my chassidim were my bride.”
Because, originally, the main place where the Shechinah was felt in this world, the chuppah of love between chassidim and Rebbe, between chassidim and chassidim, the heartbeat of the Jewish people, and the boiler room of Planet Earth, was downstairs.
But then, through some quirky ideological disagreements, the Shechinah seemed to have lost that tangible presence.
Until, one night, in a vicious brawl between brothers, the Shechinah departed to the second floor.
And, as more craziness ensued, as great minds erred, and as the hearts of men grew less tolerant for one another, those seeking the Shechinah went elsewhere while the downstairs fell into darkness.
Eventually, it came to be dominated by narrow minds, and then to be filled with chamas and police officers.
Until Avraham arose, and with his great spirit of love he drew attention back to the downstairs.
Yet the love of Avraham allowed for wild-eyed kids to continue their antics.
Until Yitzchak arose and he said, “We must be firm! There is no room here for the pereh-Adam!”
And the Shechinah came that much closer to downstairs.
Yet Yitzchak’s strictness nevertheless allowed for the brazen chutzpah of Eisov.
Until Yaakov arose and said, “Yes, I can empathize with the chutzpah of my brother who sees that since Zeidy is gone, there is no one taking charge, and so he feels he must step in and attack the cold apathy of this dark world with action. But the fist of Eisov, that has no place.”
And so, Yaakov redeemed Avraham, as empathy redeems love, and the Shechinah came yet closer to its place downstairs.
So continued seven phases along the long but steady path that our rebbeim taught us.
Until, one day, as the chassidim sat together once again at the foot of Har Sinai, with love and with joy, with wisdom, with understanding, and with a strong vision of their shlichus in this world, as one man who had finally found his one heart, Moshe Rabeinu came back downstairs to farbreng.
Through the hard work of chassidim, through an inner battle of self-control that leads and brings to a whole new state of being, the Shechinah came home to Planet Earth.