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Please Tell Me What the Rebbe Said - Volume 1
Interpretations of the Weekly Torah Readings and the Festivals.
Based on the Talks of The Lubavitcher Rebbe,
Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson.


by Malka Touger
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About 200 years ago, when the Alter Rebbe began to spread Chassidism throughout Russia, the Russian government did not understand this new movement. They thought that he wanted to lead a revolution against their king, the Czar, and so they arrested the Alter Rebbe.

In prison, the Alter Rebbe was questioned about his activities for almost eight weeks. Many of the Russian officials were impressed by his wisdom and visited him to consult him on different questions. One of these officials was the Minister of Culture. He was an educated man and had also studied the Torah. There was a question which was bothering him.

He asked the Alter Rebbe, "When G-d came to punish Adam after he ate from the Tree of Knowledge, He asked Adam 'Where are you'? Why did He have to ask Adam where he was? Doesn't G-d know everything?"

At first, the Alter Rebbe told the minister Rashi's explanation, that G-d did not want to frighten Adam, so instead of asking him first "Why did you sin?", He asked Adam a question which wouldn't threaten him.

"I have heard that explanation," the minister said. "I want to hear something original from you."

The Alter Rebbe looked the minister in the eye and told him, "The Torah is everlasting. The same question G-d asked Adam, He asks every person, at every point in his life. At all times, G-d is asking us, 'Where are you? What are you doing to fulfill your purpose in life.'

"For example, you are so and so many years old (the Alter Rebbe mentioned the minister's exact age, although he had no ordinary way of knowing it). G-d is also asking you, 'Where are you in your mission in life? Are you doing what G-d expects you to accomplish during your lifetime?' "

The minister was very impressed. He clapped the Alter Rebbe on the back and shouted "Bravo!" Afterwards, he was very helpful in having the Alter Rebbe freed from prison.

When we read about HaShem's question to Adam in this week's parshah, we should realize that we are also being asked that same question. This is true, not only while we are listening to the reading of the Torah, but afterwards as well. Even when we go home and eat, sleep, and play with our friends, HaShem is asking us, "Where are you? Are you doing what HaShem wants you to do?"

Doesn't it make you feel special to know that HaShem is always asking us this question? We should be happy that everything we do is important to HaShem and that He cares about us at all times.

HaShem wants every person to do what he can to make this world a home for Him. Asking ourselves the question "Where are you?" more often will help us complete this goal much faster. And this will lead to the time when Mashiach will come and everyone will all see that our world is HaShem's home.

(Adapted from Likkutei Sichos, Vol. I, Yud-Tes Kislev)

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