The word summer generates feelings of relaxation, happiness and warmth. Some sit all winter wrapped in their coats and wait for summer.
For some, summer is a chance to cast off the heavy yoke of responsibility and have “a good time.” The Rebbe revolutionized the way we look at and act in the summer.
The guiding factor is that Hashem did not make anything without a reason. If a certain reality exists, then it must be another opportunity to add in avodas Hashem – the service of G-d.
Externally, the biggest change during the summer is that the sun is out more. This itself shows us that as the physical world mirrors the spiritual, on a spiritual level the sun is shining brighter as well.
The summer months, when the ‘the light of Hashem is shining brightly,” are (mainly) dedicated to the neshama. In these months, the body does not conceal as much of the soul, and therefore a Jew can and must be busy with neshama matters in a truly revealed way.
This is different from winter, when the sun is not shining as brightly and it’s cold. In those months, the main avoda is with the body – to work on refining and elevating the body.
In a talk shortly after the Entebbe rescue, the Rebbe recounted a conversation that he had with a certain rabbi:
“I tried telling a rabbi that after such a story [the Entebbe rescue] he must use the chance to inspire his community to put on tefillin and put up mezuzos. He told me that now he has to relax, so he’s going to the country. After he comes back in six to eight weeks, then he will start working on this.
He’s going to the country, and he’ll come back with a nice tan and with prepared speeches that he made there for the Yomim Tovim, and then he’ll think about something he should be doing tomorrow.
He said that when he comes back from the country, I should remind him about this. Why should I have to remind him? It’s his community! You need to make sure they put on tefillin and have mezuzos. The baalei batim pay his salary, they pay membership to the shul, and that’s how he can afford to go to the country; at least repay the favor!
Last year he went to the country, and then he also shouldn’t have gone. If only he would have not gone, he could have accomplished a lot more. So it’s bad enough that he went last year, but this year after such an incident, how can he go? He has to inspire his community.”
This is what the Rebbe writes to Jewish children:
“Beloved children, you must know that vacation does not mean a break from learning and education. A Jewish child must never be without Torah learning and proper education for even one day, summer or winter. On the contrary, taking into consideration the free time that students have in the long summer days, you must utilize them to review everything you learned and prepare for the future.”
With schools closed and teachers on vacation, the Rebbe once suggested that parents could hire the teachers as private tutors for their children. This would be beneficial to everyone.
May we all be blessed with “a Gezunten Zumer” – a healthy summer both materially and spiritually.