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Total Transformation

Friday, 8 July, 2016 - 2:02 pm

A great revolt was quelled when Korach, the leader of the rebellion, was swallowed by the earth along with his family and inner circle. Another 250 of his followers, demanding to be installed as kohanim, offer the sacrosanct ketoret (incense) to prove their worthiness for the priesthood. A fire consumes the ketoret-offerers. The status of Moshe and Aharon as leaders of the Jewish people was reinforced.

G-d then commanded that the pans used for the sinful offerings should be beaten into plates and used an overlay for the altar in the Beit Hamikdash (Holy Temple).

Why would G-d want the copper that was used as a tool for rebellion to adorn His holy altar?


Elie Wiesel, the famed Holocaust survivor who passed away this week, once remarked that he missed the Rebbe terribly. He would visit often with the Rebbe and maintained a deep correspondence.  

When talking about the impact of the Rebbe on his life he said that he still thinks often about the Rebbe. Borrowing from the story of Joseph, who – under tremendous temptation and pressure – withstood a great test by recalling the image of his father, Elie said that when he is at a spiritual crossroads, he thinks of the Rebbe. Just picturing the Rebbe in his mind gives him the strength and conviction to move forward.

The Rebbe will go down as one of the great Jews in all of history, he says. This, because of the worldwide transformation of Jewish life and observance that Chabad-Lubavitch has achieved under the Rebbe’s leadership.


The Rebbe offers that G-d specifically wanted the altar’s unique overlay. The copper plating of the altar holds an eternal lesson: If such is G‑d’s regard for a piece of inanimate metal, used for ill purposes, certainly no human being is irredeemable. For no matter how deleterious his deeds, they hide a desire and striving, intrinsic to every creature of G‑d, for the goodness and perfection of the divine.

As we commemorate the Rebbe’s yahrzeit this Shabbat, let’s remember that each of us holds the key to transforming ourselves and the world around us. Nothing is beyond repair.

This attitude and commitment will undoubtedly usher in an era of redemption with the coming of Moshiach speedily.

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