The 9th of Kislev

The 9th of Kislev (which this year occurs on Shabbos, Nov. 17) is the birthday and yartzeit of the Mitteler Rebbe, Rabbi Dov Ber of Lubavitch.

Although he was only 54 years old at the time of his passing, it is considered auspicious when a righteous person passes away on his (Hebrew) birthday, in fulfilment of the verse “The number of your days I will fulfil.” As is known, Moses was 120 when he passed away on his birthday, about which our Sages commented: “The Holy One, Blessed Be He, fills up the years of the righteous from day to day.” When a righteous person departs this world on the same day he was born, it emphasizes that his service of G-d was “full” and complete on the material as well as the spiritual plane.

The following day, the 10th of Kislev is also celebrated in Chabad circles, as it marks the date in 1826 when the Mitteler Rebbe was released from prison. Accused of illegally channelling funds to the Holy Land, the Mitteler Rebbe refuted all the charges against him (proving that all monies went directly to the poor) and demonstrated that the documents used to implicate him had been forged. Indeed, the Mitteler Rebbe so impressed the authorities that the informer who had slandered him was told to “stop barking like a dog.”

It is said that on the Shabbat afternoon when word came that the Rebbe would be freed, he was in the midst of delivering a Chasidic discourse on the verse “You are One.” (The Mitteler Rebbe was permitted to deliver Chasidic discourses to 50 of his Chasidim twice a week even while imprisoned as his doctor had informed the authorities that this was literally what kept him alive.)

May the Mitteler Rebbe’s holiday of redemption lead to the ultimate holiday of Redemption of the entire Jewish people, with the immediate revelation of our Righteous Moshiach.