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Rough Diamond

obormottel Sunday, 14 October 2018
Rough Diamond

This insight from a Lubavitcher woman named Nechama Greisman z"l who was niftar in 1992 at the young age of 39.

This one relates to anyone who does not feel that they have anything special within them.

I think many of us who struggle with a strong yetzer horah and lose a lot of bitter battles feel this way very strongly.

Like Cheshvon - the month of anti-climax compared to the giant Tishrei of the recent past. Back to the ordinary, mundane and boring life.

Even the month of Av has Tu Bav. Tisha Baav will become a Yom Tov. So will 17 Tammuz. Cheshvon has no visible holiday.

Because it is precisely the return the mundane world, to infuse it with holiness - this is the uniqueness of this month. Uncovering the holiness of this seemingly “bland” month. To bring out the best in ourselves through our own hard work, transforming “mar”(bitterness) into “massok”(sweetness).

Nechama Greisman z"l tells us this story:

Consider the case of Hendel Lieberman. Reb Hendel was a well-known chossid, who tragically lost his entire family, his wife and 5 children. Here he was, having lost everything, left alone and in mourning! He couldn’t imagine how he could continue.

For a long period of time, he was very very gloomy and no one was able to cheer him up. What could you say to such a person - get married again? Have another family again? He was not 18 anymore. It was very depressing.

The Rebbe wrote him a long letter and spoke to him about what had happened. The Rebbe mentioned that through art and painting, a person could find what he was seeking. Now, Reb Hendel had never drawn or painted in his life. What could the Rebbe possibly mean? However, he thought, if the Rebbe says something he must know what he is talking about. He was well into middle age when he tried his luck at painting. SURPRISE!! He discovered he had a great gift for painting. With the passage of time, he became a great artist. In his later years, it must have been in his 70’s, he was still giving exhibitions. His paintings have depth and now hang in many homes. He had a unique style. He often painted scenes of Russia, of Chassidim, of life in the shtetl.

After he discovered his artistic talent he became a very cheerful person. He never remarried, he never had another family. He lived alone in his home on President Street, corner of Kingston, but he became a warm and welcoming host for many guests. His house was never empty, he was never alone. That’s why so many people called him Fetter Hendel, Uncle Hendel, even though he had no relatives because that was the person he was. He was warm, he was alive. He has transformed into a different person altogether.

This is one example of a person who had potential and talents which he didn’t know about.

But when he discovered them, he became a different person.

If the Rebbe had not pointed him in the direction of art, you would never even think that this could become a new direction in life.

The same is true with all of us.

We have hidden talents and vast spiritual resources waiting to be tapped.

Do you hear this, my dear precious rough diamond?!

We have hidden talents and vast spiritual resources waiting to be tapped.

It does not need to be music or art or dancing or acting or designing.

It could be a myriad of things - endless great things.

And I wish to point out something. Reb Hendel was depressed and gloomy.

Did the Rebbe say, “Hey cheer up, Gam zu leTovah"?

Did he say “Cheer up, learn Tanya and all is well?”

Or “Daven harder?”

Or “say more tehillim”?

Or “look at the bright side - many have it worse than you?”

Or ”Cheer up, you will see your dear wife and children when Moshiach comes?”

He may have said some of the positive in the above in the long letter. I don’t know.

But the main healing and opening up and rebirth of sunlight in this Yid’s heart was that hidden talent buried deep within, that came forth.

In his case, painting, art.

This hidden talent opened the neshoma - not the conventional method of learning and davening.

The painting will open the heart for the learning and davening.

But he needed that painting - that art that was within him.

Every Yid has a special hidden talent.

A special inner expression that needs to come forth.

It is that “average” or so-called phony term of a “below average” person.

“Talent” does not have to mean something that people right away say, “WOW! AMAZING!” to.

It is something that is unique to the essence of a person that is there as a gift for himself or herself and to those around them.

Why does Hashem want us to see the goodness within another Yid? Just to be patronizing? Just to be a nice guy and not a creep?


Hashem wants you to see it because it is really and truly there.

"Look at what greatness I put into your friend. See Me when you see him or her.

And tell them about it, too, because it’s the truth."

So we plead with Hashem.

"Please Hashem, within all my defects, my sins, my warts, my hurts, my huge mess, lies a specialness that you put in me. Why did you create me? Because you say I have value. Otherwise, I would not be here in this world.

Because I do not see any value, any specialness within me----- I yearn to leave this world.

Nohing. Emptiness. Only sick stuff that I don’t have the energy to fight anymore.

I’m the month of Cheshvon. Nothing there. We cry bitter tears, the diamond is a hoax, a coarse stone."

And then suddenly, a glimmer of hope, a sparkle, a gleam, a speck of light. That talent coming out of hibernation - I am here. I was always here. Waiting for you to see me.

"My child, I’ve always loved you."

From that love, warm light will spread. Like a flower that slowly opens. Like an orphan that starts smiling for the first time. A smile that brings light and warmth to the world.

Because once the neshomah starts opening up,

We are on the path of true simcha.

So please Hashem, I do not have a Rebbe to tell me what I have within me that needs to awaken within me. I’m clueless. I’m alone. I need Your help. I cannot do this alone.

May we all feel a special closeness to Hashem.

And may He open our inner holy eye to allow us to see this that He loves-the inner essence of each and every one of His children.