Got To Want It
Rabbi Levi Yitzchok Ginsberg
when Reb Mendel Futerfas, a’h, demanded of himself and
his students to do what the Rebbe demands, and not to hide behind
“pious excuses,” he would tell the following story:
the Soviet government confiscated all private property and
nationalized it, it was absolutely forbidden to hoard anything.
For if someone had private wealth, it showed that he was one of
the bourgeois who took advantage of the proletariat. He was carted
off to the basements of the KGB for interrogation so that he would
admit — willingly or otherwise — where he hid the rest of his
treasures (which he didn’t really have) so that it could be
returned to the workers from whom it was “robbed.” Then he
would be punished for trying to hide his crime.
those days, when people had hardly any money at all, the very poor
would deposit their last coins with other Jews who were more
established than they. This way it would be available to them in
an emergency, during those times when there was nothing to eat or
if they needed money to bribe the Communists.
a poor Jew left his last pennies with his neighbor, who was,
relatively speaking, better off than he. One day the poor man
desperately needed the money and went to collect it from his
friend. But his neighbor hardly rushed to return the money. He
didn’t flat out deny that he had it, but he always pushed him
off with various excuses. But the poor man really needed the
money, so he kept returning to beg for it.
the neighbor opened the door he greeted the poor man warmly,
invited him in to sit down, and served him a glass of tea. Then he
would discuss this and that and time would go by, but he made sure
not to get to the topic of the money. Every so often the poor man
tried to ask for his money, but the neighbor ignored him and
turned the conversation to other topics.
poor man finally got up some nerve and said: Enough! Give me back
my money. I need it urgently. Don’t push me off any longer!
neighbor rolled his eyes upward and said, “What are you worried
about? ‘Cast your burden upon Hashem and He will sustain
Rebbe MH”M once spoke
at length at a farbrengen about the greatness of action.
The halacha is that even if a person has the greatest of
intentions, if he does not do an action, he does not fulfill the mitzva.
the sicha, the Rebbe stressed that it isn’t enough to
appreciate the greatness of action “un kochen zich in deroif
un hoben a geshmak in dem” (and to talk about it
enthusiastically and take pleasure in it), for that is only the
pleasure in going good, which falls short of actually doing a good
review of the sicha that took place later was done well.
The person explained it adeptly, emphasizing the greatness of
action, and how pleasure and inner feelings on their own were not
enough, etc. But he reviewed it with such enthusiasm that they
said about him that he only internalized the pleasure and
greatness of action, but the fact that we must actually do something
didn’t occur to him at all.
tenth and eleventh of Shvat
this year begins the fiftieth year of the Rebbe’s leadership. We
all understand that we must do something. We must do
something big, something to shake up the world, starting with
ourselves, our environment, and the world at large. We cannot let
this auspicious time pass us by, ch’v.
the Rebbe MH”M put it: Everyone
must take it upon themselves to add in the deeds, Torah, and avoda
of the Rebbe Rayatz ... especially in the bittul and the hiskashrus
to the Rebbe Rayatz, leader of our generation, “the leader is
everything.” Everyone, each person’s entire being, must be
dedicated to the leader of the generation, the Moshe Rabbeinu of
the generation, “the first redeemer is the last redeemer,”
through fulfilling his shlichus, namely, “to bring about
the days of Moshiach” in actuality.
the knowledge that the Rebbe, my father-in-law, the leader of our
generation, will walk right in and look at each of his Chassidim
and mekusharim to ascertain their standing, etc., inspires
us to finish all our work.
we speak about such a pnimiyusdike (internal,
contemplative) day as Yud and Yud-aleph Shvat, and when the Rebbe
not only spoke about actual deeds, but emphasized the “bittul
and hiskashrus to the leader of the generation,” we must
remember that the Rebbe also underscored the fact that the bittul
and hiskashrus are expressed specifically through
fulfilling his shlichus, to bring Moshiach.
someone who tries to focus on bittul and hiskashrus
and giving himself over entirely to the Rebbe, but thinks that
this can be done without being involved in the shlichus of
the hour — to bring Moshiach — misses the point! This is not bittul,
this is not hiskashrus, and it is not giving oneself over
to the Rebbe!
it came time for the Jewish people to leave Mitzrayim, Chazal tell
us that many Jews did not want to leave. These were not isolated
cases, for according to one explanation in Rashi it was four out
of five Jews who did not want to leave! That’s 80% of the nation
who died during the Plague of Darkness! Only one fifth actually
left Mitzrayim. According to other Midrashim, the numbers are even
larger: only one out of fifty wanted to leave, or even one out of
Rebbe explains in a sicha of Acharon Shel Pesach, 1962,
that we are told all this to teach us that even if it seems to us
that our Jewish environment is not interested in leaving Exile, we
shouldn’t let them discourage us. We have to do what we have to
do, and in the end everybody will see it our way.]
among those Jews who left Mitzrayim there were great sinners!
Micha’s idol, which appears in the book of Shoftim, came from
Mitzrayim. Micha himself was one of the babies the Egyptians put
into the wall of a building and Moshe Rabbeinu rescued him. This
same Micha took an idol with him out of Mitzrayim, across the Yam
Suf, had it at Mattan Torah, and throughout forty years of
miracles in the desert.
many Jews did not leave Mitzrayim because they did not want to go.
It doesn’t say anywhere that they worshipped idols. It is very
possible that some of them were even tzaddikim. Their
problem was that they simply did not want to leave. Micha, on the
other hand, was an idol worshipper who took an idol with him out
of Mitzrayim, but he did, in fact, want to leave.
Rebbe explains (Likkutei Sichos vol. 11): Since their sin was in
the very matter at hand — in not wanting to leave — for this
reason, they were not allowed to leave, for “a prosecutor does
not defend.” But even the greatest sinners, idol worshippers,
could leave simply because they wanted to leave. The Rebbe goes on
to say that, in contrast to the Exodus from Egypt, in the final
Redemption, Moshiach will not leave a single Jew in Exile.
can learn a tremendous lesson from this for our times, especially
for Yud and Yud-aleph Shvat. Although it is true that everyone is
guaranteed to leave Exile, nevertheless the Redemption will be
achieved specifically through our work in Exile, and as the Rebbe
said, we must do “everything in your power” to bring Moshiach.
certainly must learn Nigla and Chassidus, daven at length,
do mitzvos b’hiddur, strengthen our ahavas Yisroel,
and do mivtzo’im, etc., especially when we know (as the
Rebbe said) that at any moment the Rebbe can walk in and look at
his Chassidim to see where they are standing. However, if all this
takes us away from the goal to bring Moshiach, then even with all
the righteousness in the world we would have been left in
Mitzrayim (back then). But when we follow the leader of the
generation and want to leave the present Mitzrayim and do
everything we can to make this happen, then, even if, ch’v,
one serves idols, he will still leave Mitzrayim!
there is no question that we must take on good resolutions in
Torah and mitzvos in general and in inyanei Chassidus
especially, and in bittul and hiskashrus and mivtzo’im,
but the main focus has to be the leader of the generation’s
goal — to bring Moshiach.
this must be done both internally and publicly: Each of us must
personally live with Moshiach, especially by learning inyanei
Moshiach in the weekly Dvar Malchus, the sichos of
5751-5752, where the Rebbe explains what is demanded of us in
these times and where the Rebbe describes the most effective ways
to bring Moshiach. And at the same time we must “publicize and
proclaim” that Moshiach is already revealed and all that remains
to be done is to greet him or accept him so that he can do his shlichus
and take the Jewish people out of Exile.