Photo Credit: Jewish Press

In Lubavitch, the announcement of “V’Yaakov Halach Ledarko – Yaakov went on his way” is heard three times a year: at the conclusion of Yom Kippur, at the end of Simchas Torah, and at the culmination of Shabbos Bereishis.

The Rebbe explains that this announcement is directed to every single Jew. Almighty G-d says, “Yanke’le” – an affectionate name for every Jew – “you are not leaving the month of Tishrei and the month of Tishrei is not leaving you, because in your pekel (package) you have all the ingredients of Tishrei; all the special excitement, enthusiasm, and teachings of Tishrei – they remain with you for the entire year.”

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Chassidim provided a moshol (allegory) for this concept: A Jew traveled to Leipzig, a city in Germany where a great yerid (market fair) would take place. Whoever wanted to buy or sell something went to Leipzig to participate in this yerid. A certain Jew has a dry goods store in his town, so he goes to Leipzig and buys dry goods in bulk in order to sell them in his town for a profit and support his wife and children and live as a Jew. He goes to Leipzig and buys a lot of merchandise, but then, upon his return, he takes all the merchandise and leaves it in his basement.

The question would be: You went to Leipzig; you spent time, money, and effort. Now, “Pack ois di Pekelach” – unpack the merchandise and sell it little by little. Leaving them in the basement is of no use to anyone!

What does the parable represent to us? A Jew goes to the spiritual Leipzig – the month of Tishrei and acquires a lot of merchandise: merchandise of yiras shamayim (Fear of Heaven), merchandise of Ahavas Yisroel (Love for a fellow Jew), merchandise of hiddur mitzvah (enhancement of a mitzvah) merchandise of the spirit of the mitzvah. He makes a lot of good resolutions and commitments about how he’s going to conduct himself throughout the year. All of this is in his pekel, his package from Tishrei that he’s taking home with him.

During the subsequent months of Cheshvan, Kislev, Teves, and all the months of the year, it is the time for us to unpack all the merchandise we acquired during Tishrei. Among Chassidim, it’s called oispacken di Pekelach, unpacking the packages of merchandise that we acquired and utilizing them throughout the year.

This is the take-away message for all of us: Tishrei is with us a whole year; you’re not going to leave Tishrei and Tishrei is not going to leave you. However, there is something we have to do about it – to unpack little by little all the great merchandise that we acquired during the month of Tishrei.

The Rebbe stresses that here the name Yaakov is used – not Yisroel. Yisroel refers to a loftier level within the Jewish people, while Yaakov refers to a simpler level. The emphasis here is on Yaakov; we’re not only talking about the lofty Jew who is a leader or organizer, but about the average Jew. We say to him Yanke’le, you have all the merchandise!

Not only that, but “Halach,” you are now in a position of going and progressing. You are walking and not stagnant or stationary. To that extent, you are greater than an angel, because the angels cannot go higher than their own nature, while a neshama can always go higher and higher. You’re always going to be in a position of “Holach” – always advancing higher and higher.

Ledarko” means “the way of Almighty G-d.” You’re not trying to find a new path for yourself; you are following the same path of your father, grandfather and great-grandfather all the way back to our forefathers, Avrohom, Yitzchok and Yaakov. When we follow that path, we know it brings happiness, eternal bliss, and all the blessings that we find in the Chumash for those who follow the path of Avrohom, Yitzchok, and Yaakov.

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Rabbi Shmuel M. Butman is director of the Lubavitch Youth Organization. He can be reached at Lubavitchyouth@gmail.com.