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You've Got To Want It
By Rabbi Levi Yitzchok Ginsberg

During a farbrengen, 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:

When 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.

In 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.

Once 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.

When 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.

The 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!

The neighbor rolled his eyes upward and said, “What are you worried about? ‘Cast your burden upon Hashem and He will sustain you.’”


The 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.

In 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 deed.

The 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.


The 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.

As 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.

Additionally, 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.


When 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.

So 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!

When 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 five hundred.

[The 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.]

Now 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.

So 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.

The 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.

We 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.

We 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!

So 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.

Moreover, 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.


The 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...






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.


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