Rabbi Levi Yitzchok Ginsberg
group of people once came to the Alter Rebbe and told him about
several miracles other tzaddikim had performed. The Alter
Rebbe is said to have replied, “There are two different types of
tzaddikim. Some tzaddikim are a handbreadth higher
than the world, while others are two thousand handbreadths higher.
The ones who are elevated a handbreadth work within the world, but
it is inappropriate for those who are elevated two thousand
handbreadths to do so.”
Shmuel Grunim Esterman, the first mashpia of Yeshiva
Tomchei Tmimim of Zhembin, offered his explanation:
refers to the s’fira of malchus, the source of all
the created worlds and everything in them. A tzaddik who is
“one handbreadth higher than the world” is rooted in the very
source of creation, and thus has the power to change the natural
order at will. “Two thousand handbreadths,” however, refers to
mochin, Chabad; as it is written, “A’alefcha chochma,
a’alefcha bina” (I shall teach you wisdom, I shall
teach you understanding). “A’alefcha” is related to
the word “alpayim” (two thousand), and the “tzaddikim
who are two thousand handbreadths higher than the world” are the
Nesiim of Chabad. Because mochin completely
transcends creation, “it is inappropriate” for these tzaddikim
to alter G-d’s will and interfere with the natural order.
concept helps to explain why mofsim (miracles) are not
central to Chabad Chassidus. On the contrary, the emphasis has
always been on working within the natural order. The Chabad
Rebbeim have traditionally refrained from open miracles. They have
preferred, rather, to enclothe miracles in nature as a means of
demonstrating how nature itself is ultimately Divine.
example: There was once a Chassid of the Rebbe Rayatz who was
blessed with many daughters, but no sons. Time after time, he
would beg the Rebbe for a bracha for male offspring, but
the Rebbe would always tell him, “Chassidistes are just as
necessary as Chassidim.”
time at a farbrengen, the Chassid approached Reb Itche the
Masmid (may G-d avenge his blood) and asked him for a bracha
for a son. Reb Itche, who had by that time consumed vast
quantities of mashkeh, complied. A few months later, when
Reb Itche learned that the Chassid’s wife was expecting, he went
to the Rebbe Rayatz for a bracha that the pregnancy should
have a positive outcome. The Rebbe Rayatz told him cryptically,
“Whenever there is a possibility of working through brachos
[to help someone] it is necessary to protect him,” and he did
not elaborate. The woman gave birth to a boy, but a few weeks
later he passed away, may G-d protect us.
is beyond our ability to understand why this had to occur. There
are obviously some people who know how to effect miracles, but
they don’t always know all the calculations Above or what will
be the outcome in the end.
example: A story is told about the famous Rabbi Elimelech of
Lizhensk, who was known in Poland as the Rebbes’ Rebbe, because
almost all of the Poilishe rebbeim considered
themselves his Chassidim.
time a Chassid came to a certain rebbe and asked if he
should go on a business trip by boat. The rebbe thought for
a minute and told him not to go. Then, as an afterthought, he
suggested that he consult with Rabbi Elimelech of Lizhensk.
Chassid went to Rabbi Elimelech and asked the same question. The tzaddik
was silent for a long time before giving him a positive response.
The Chassid was vaguely worried, but embarked on the journey.
his worst fears came true when disaster struck and the ship
capsized. Many of the passengers drowned, and the ones who
didn’t, lost everything. The Chassid, who survived the
catastrophe, wandered about and suffered for many years. In the
end, however, it was the accident itself that ultimately led to
his success, because he became far wealthier than before the
when he asked Rabbi Elimelech for an explanation, the tzaddik just
smiled. “Do you know the difference between your rebbe
and myself?” he asked. “Both of us saw what would happen, but
I could see a lot further than he did. Your rebbe saw that
the boat would capsize and told you not to go. I saw that the boat
would capsize, but also saw what would happen afterward…”
the Chabad Rebbeim are “higher than the world,” when the Rebbe
MH”M told us on the 28th of Nissan 5751 that he had done all in
his power and was giving the matter of bringing Moshiach over to
us, it did not mean that he couldn’t do it, G-d forbid,
but that it is G-d’s will that Moshiach come through our own
Rebbe told us explicitly (on Shabbos Parshas Pinchas 5744) that
the nasi ha’dor is certainly capable of bringing about
the final Redemption by himself. The fact that he doesn’t is
only because of his mesiras nefesh, for it is G-d’s
desire that the Jewish people remain in exile a little while
longer and do it themselves.
Rebbe is begging each and every one of us to feel a personal
obligation to bring the Redemption. We cannot run from this
responsibility or relegate it to others. It’s “our business”
and our business alone. The potential benefit is ours as well as
the potential loss, G-d forbid.
must act, in the words of the Alter Rebbe, like “marei
d’chushbana,” and conduct our personal cheshbon
ha’nefesh as if the business is ours. A hired accountant is
indifferent to the figures he tallies. If the business is
unsuccessful, it’s not his money that is lost. The owner, by
contrast, has a vested interest in the firm’s success, and will
do everything and anything to make sure that it turns a profit.
course, even if we think that we’re personally doing all we can,
until the true and complete Redemption is a reality, whatever
we’re doing is obviously not enough.
this in mind, it should be superfluous to mention that “doing
all we can” implies acting only in accordance with the Torah,
“whose ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are
peace.” True unity and love for our fellow Jews are fundamental.
the same time, we mustn’t limit ourselves to obeying explicit
directives, for once the Rebbe has set us on the right path he
expects us to act autonomously, under our own power.
Rebbe said that “it is simply not possible that at a gathering
of ten Jews, they should neglect to make a commotion about the
Redemption, without thought that Moshiach may arrive today or
tomorrow or the next day.” It should be unnecessary to point out
that every public gathering should be utilized as a forum for
raising Moshiach awareness. Or in the Rebbe’s words, on Shabbos
Parshas Tzav 5745, when a Jew recites Kriyas Sh’ma he
should say “Hashem Echad”; the rest of the time he
should say “Moshiach now!”
service of shlichus has been completed,” the Rebbe
announced on Shabbos Parshas Chayei Sara 5752. “The only shlichus
that remains is to actually greet Moshiach Tzidkeinu.”
Yud Sh’vat 5753, there were certain people who tried to prevent
the Rebbe from coming down to the main shul of 770, as they
worried about what the Chassidim might do in front of the cameras.
(As Divine providence would have it, there were many
representatives of the media present that day.) With millions of
eyes upon him, the Rebbe appeared before the crowd and encouraged
the singing of “Yechi Adoneinu.” Since then, several baalei
teshuva have mentioned that seeing the Rebbe on television
that day was the turning point that led them to become observant.
we recognize the positive effects of publicizing the identity of
Moshiach, we realize the tremendous importance of sharing this
information with others.