By Boruch Merkur
Yud Shvat is the anniversary of the histalkus of the
Rebbe Rayatz, who fought with self-sacrifice for the physical and spiritual
well-being of the entire Jewish people.
Just a couple of weeks after the Rebbe Rayatz’s histalkus,
the Rebbe MH"M gave the following address:
The Rebbe Rayatz told of how the Berditchever Rebbe, Rabbi
Levi Yitzchok, said before his histalkus: "There were certain
tzaddikim (righteous individuals), who, before their histalkus,
proclaimed that - as a protest - they would not enter Gan Eden until they
succeeded in bringing Moshiach. But in the end they were tricked and bribed with
a ‘frosted cake,’ tempted by Heavenly delights. I, however, will not allow
myself to be tricked, and I will not enter Gan Eden until I bring Moshiach!"
The Rebbe Rayatz said that, in the end, despite his firm
resolve, the Berditchever Rebbe was also tricked. The Heavenly hosts began to
sing ‘K’dusha’ before the Alm-ghty in utmost splendor and glory, and he
jumped right in.
With respect to the Rebbe Rayatz, however, since he knew of
this temptation and spoke about it, certainly he will not succumb to it -
certainly he will bring Moshiach!
GOOD AND BETTER
The difference between the Rebbe Rayatz and other
tzaddikim parallels the difference between the self-sacrifice of Rebbi
Akiva, the great sage of the Talmud, and the self-sacrifice of Avrohom Avinu.
Rebbi Akiva longed for the opportunity to serve G-d through
self-sacrifice, the highest expression of devotion. He said, "all my days I
yearned...when will it come to me that I might fulfill it?" (i.e., martyrdom).
Rebbi Akiva identified and pursued that which was for him the highest good,
Avrohom Avinu, on the other hand, did not yearn for
self-sacrifice. His sole desire was, rather, simply to fulfill G-d’s will, which
for him meant the task of publicizing G-dliness in the world. If the
circumstances were such that they required self-sacrifice, even martyrdom, he
was prepared for that, as well. Avrohom Avinu was completely devoted to doing
whatever G-d asked of him, irrespective of any personal sense of spiritual
achievement. This is the true expression of self-sacrifice.
And so too in our case: Concerning all the tzaddikim
who said before their histalkus that they would bring Moshiach - although
they sought the welfare of the Jewish people, even to the point of
self-sacrifice, forsaking even the revelations of Gan Eden, notwithstanding all
of this - their self-sacrifice itself was motivated by their own thirst for
holiness. They were, therefore, able to be "bribed" by the holiness of Heavenly
But this is not so of the Rebbe Rayatz, for his entire being
is devoted solely to the welfare of the Jewish people, having no concern
whatsoever for himself. He will not be "bribed" with revelations, and he will
certainly bring Moshiach.
And even now, after his histalkus, although he has
ascended to a very lofty state, nevertheless, he is deeply concerned that the
Redemption should occur below, in the physical world. [Adapted from the sicha
of Parshas Yisro, 5710]
JOB DESCRIPTION OF OUR GENERATION: TO BRING MOSHIACH - WHETHER
WE LIKE IT OR NOT
Close to a year later, on the 11th of Shvat, 5711 (1951), the
mantle of leadership was officially accepted by the Rebbe MH"M, signaling the
start of a new generation, the seventh generation, a continuation of the
previous six generations of leadership, and a culmination and a completion of
all previous generations, reaching its pinnacle with the currently unfolding era
The following is a segment of the historic address in which
the Rebbe officially accepted the leadership:
[A special effort] is demanded of every single one of us, the
seventh generation, for "all sevens are beloved." Although the fact that we are
the seventh generation is not according to our choice and not a result of our
efforts - and in a number of respects, it is possible that it is even not
according to our will - nevertheless, "all sevens are beloved." That is, we find
ourselves in the Ikvisa d’Meshicha [literally, the "Heels of Moshiach," a
time so close to the Redemption that you can already hear the "footsteps of
Moshiach"], and it is our mission to complete the process of drawing the Divine
Presence down...into the physical world.
... Now the matter is entirely up to us, the seventh
generation. And we should merit to see the Rebbe Rayatz with us here, below, in
a body...and he will redeem us. [Basi L’Gani; pp. 31, 36]