B"H. Beis Moshiach Magazine is powered by:




Do Your Own Shlichus, Not Someone Else’s!
By Rabbi Levi Yitzchok Ginsberg

There is a famous story attributed to the Alter Rebbe about the "lost souls," each of which carried out another person’s shlichus instead of his own. The story appears in the Seifer HaSichos 5704, and was often mentioned by the Rebbe Melech HaMoshiach shlita. The tale is as follows:

One Friday afternoon, a wealthy gvir and his baal agala (wagon driver) returned home from a long business trip. In those days it was common for businessmen to make several such trips each year, while the rest of their time was devoted to Torah study.

As it was almost Shabbos when they arrived, the wealthy businessman went straight to the bathhouse and toiveled in the mikva. He changed into his Shabbos finery, and set out in the direction of the shul.

As he was walking, he came upon a wagon that was stuck in the mud. Being a G-d-fearing Jew, he immediately went over to help, in fulfillment of the commandment, "You shall surely help him." Unused to doing manual labor, however, he was quickly covered with mud from head to toe. His Shabbos clothes were ruined, and he even managed to injure himself while righting the wagon. He arrived in shul filthy and limping.

Meanwhile, the baal agala, who had also gone to the bathhouse, arrived in shul early and started saying Tehillim. The shul was full that evening with many visitors from out of town, and the baal agala began inviting them home for the Shabbos meal. Every stranger he met received an invitation, until he had invited a total of ten people. After davening, when the gabbai wanted to divide the guests among the balebatim as was usually done, there was no one left unaccounted for. All of the visitors had been invited to dine with the baal agala.

It thus came about that the wealthy gvir returned home without any guests for Shabbos, while the poor baal agala had ten people with whom to share his meager seuda. The wealthy businessman fulfilled the mitzva of "you shall surely help him," while the wagon driver fulfilled the mitzva of hachnasas orchim.

After 120 years, when the two men passed away and their souls ascended On High, it was decided by the Heavenly court that both souls – that of the wealthy businessman and that of the wagon driver – must return to earth to correct what they had failed the first time. The erstwhile baal agala would have to fulfill the mitzva of "you shall surely help him," and the former businessman would have to perfect the mitzva of hachnasas orchim.

After the Rebbe Rayatz told this story he concluded: "Every person in the world is given his own particular shlichus to perform. However, he must be able to identify it, so that he doesn’t end up doing someone else’s…"

* * *

With the International Kinus HaShluchim fast approaching, we are reminded of the special shlichus the Rebbe gave to each and every one of us. It is a shlichus of unprecedented magnitude, going beyond the scope of our own families and acquaintances, and encompassing every member of our generation.

The following is a freely translated excerpt from the famous sicha of Shabbos Parshas Chayei Sara 5752, the last Kinus HaShluchim at which we merited to have the Rebbe address us. Of course, it is extremely important that the sicha be studied in its entirety:

The Nasi of our generation has appointed each and every member of this generation to be his shliach in disseminating Torah and Judaism, and in spreading the wellsprings outward, until the advent of the full and complete Redemption.

We can now actually see that it has become much easier to explain to a Jew – even one who previously seemed far removed from the matter – that in addition to his individual avoda, he has the responsibility to be a shliach, to have a positive influence (using his particular talents and knowledge) on others, starting with the members of his own family, friends, and acquaintances, as well as everyone else with whom he comes into contact.

Our sphere of influence, the Rebbe tells us, is not to be limited to Jews alone, but must extend to all the nations of the world. As the Rebbe stated in Volume II of Seifer HaSichos 5748 (free translation):

The main innovation of Moshiach’s revelation will not pertain to the Jewish people’s service of Torah and mitzvos (although he will bring this to complete perfection, "as commanded by Your will," in the sense that the Jews will be able to observe Torah and mitzvos in tranquility, etc.). Indeed, this state of affairs already existed in history, in the time of King Shlomo, and similarly in the era of Chizkiyahu and others. Moshiach will, rather, bring perfection to the entire world and all the nations in it, as is written: "He will correct the whole world to serve G-d together, as it states: ‘For then I will convert the peoples to a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of the L-rd, to serve Him with one accord.’"

And in answer to anyone who claims he has enough to do without worrying about the nations of the world, the Rebbe said (Hisvaaduyos 5744; free translation):

We now come to a special directive concerning the above, i.e., exerting an influence on the nations of the world:

"Listen here!" one says to a Jew. "You are certainly a great scholar, a successful businessman, etc…but you’ve got to remember that there are also gentiles in the world, who do not yet understand the importance of the Seven Noachide Laws. You must, therefore, do everything you can to see to it that the gentile – as a gentile – observes the Sheva Mitzvos Bnei Noach."

(There is no need for him to give up the condition of being a non-Jew; he is under no obligation to convert to Judaism. In fact, you should discourage him. But as such, he is obligated to fulfill the Seven Noachide Laws!)

Moreover, when a Jew claims that he cannot talk with a non-Jew because he involves himself solely in holy matters (saying Ashrei, reciting Tehillim, learning nigleh and Chassidus, spreading Yiddishkeit and the wellsprings outward) and that he has no business dealings with gentiles and doesn’t even want to know anything about them to the point of self-sacrifice to avoid coming into contact with them – in addition to the fact that there is a specific directive for him to do so, there is also something else: It is precisely such a person, who has no connection to the gentile and never even spoke to one, who will have a disproportionately greater influence on him!

I am not referring to the kind of Jews who, in order to make a dollar, run after the gentile, and beg and implore him to do them a favor!

Surely you know that your livelihood comes only from the Holy One Blessed be He. Why, then, would you have to beg the gentile? Defend the "pride of Yaakov!" It is not necessary that you explain to him that G-d is your "Sustainer and Source of livelihood," and that you depend solely on His goodness and loving kindness!

…And so it is in all matters of livelihood. But when the time comes to tell the gentile, "Thou shall not steal" and "Thou shall not lie," etc., then all of a sudden you make the opposite argument and claim that the Rambam’s words do not apply to you, that they aren’t relevant to our time and place, and only pertain to the Days of Moshiach…

…it is this kind of Jew who has the greatest influence on the gentile. It is precisely because he does not need the gentile’s help, as he does not receive his parnasa through him (i.e., his livelihood is derived in another manner, either through Jews, or directly from the Holy One Blessed be He.) When this kind of Jew offers him guidance (not to steal, etc.), he is fulfilling G-d’s commandment to prevent the gentile from committing a transgression. In fact, his influence on the gentile will be greater than any other person can possibly exert.

…You live on the same street as the non-Jew; he has faith and trust in you, and he is convinced that all your words are serious and truthful. So find a few minutes to speak with him (through a translator, if necessary), and influence him to observe the Seven Noachide Laws! It is a positive mitzva whose time is auspicious, as he will listen to no one else!

This is only a test G-d is putting you through, for who knows if you would be able to withstand a more difficult one?

The test is that although you are very involved in learning Torah, etc., you must still remember that you also have to engage in good deeds!

The Alter Rebbe’s explanation (citing the Zohar) in Chapter 5 of Igeres HaKodesh is well known, concerning the two kinds of avodas Hashem: one involving Torah study, and one involving good deeds. In the terminology of nigleh, this refers to Yisachar and Z’vulun. Those who devote themselves to the study of Torah, Yisachar, must also perform good deeds, for if not, "He who says ‘I have nothing but Torah,’ does not even have Torah." Similarly, those who engage primarily in good deeds must also set aside time for Torah study every day. The only difference between these two paths is which aspect receives the main emphasis.

May it be G-d’s will that all of the above be done with joy and gladness of heart, as in all matters of Torah and mitzvos, as the Alter Rebbe elucidates in Chapter 26 of Tanya, where he cites the explanation of the Arizal, etc.

For in truth, joy is a special segula that "breaks down barriers," and will ultimately break down the barrier of the exile…

As for exactly how we are supposed to carry out our special mission to all members of our generation, the Rebbe continues (Parshas Chayei Sarah 5752 – free translation):

This is especially relevant this year in connection with the shlichus of "Please send by the hand of he whom You will send," the shlichus of Moshiach Tzidkeinu, as the Nasi of our generation has announced that the service of shlichus has already been completed, and we are now ready to greet Moshiach Tzidkeinu… We can now actually see how "and he will wage the wars of G-d" is being fulfilled, and is already victorious in certain areas, and precisely through a "war of peace."

* * *

Now for the Rebbe’s often-repeated assertion that we can already see how Moshiach is victorious, which has been written about many times:

"And he will wage the wars of G-d" is one of the signs given by the Rambam to indicate who is b’chezkas (the presumed) Moshiach. "And he will emerge victorious" is one of the signs that he is definitely Moshiach (Moshiach vadai).

In other words, the presumed Moshiach does not mean only "a person who, because of his righteousness, is worthy of being Moshiach," for there is always one such individual in every generation. We learn this from Rabbi Akiva, who pronounced Bar Koziba to be Malka Meshicha. (In fact, all of the Rambam’s laws about the presumed Moshiach are derived from this declaration, which serves to emphasize that it is a misconception that Rabbi Akiva made a mistake, G-d forbid.)

The halachic definition of "presumed Moshiach" actually refers to Melech HaMoshiach’s activities and impact on the world immediately before and leading up to the actual Redemption. The prime example of this is the initial period when Moshe Rabbeinu brought the message of "pakod pakadti" to the Jews in Egypt. Everyone knew that Moshe would be the redeemer although they were still in exile, and in fact, the exile actually became more intense after Moshe Rabbeinu appeared before Pharaoh.

"And he will be victorious," on the other hand, is a description of Moshiach vadai, the presumed Moshiach after he has already begun to actively bring about the Redemption. Nonetheless, the process takes time to complete within the natural order of the world. It takes time for the Beis HaMikdash to be rebuilt, for all the exiles of the Jewish people to be returned to the Holy Land, and so on. Only at the very end of the process, when Moshiach has perfected his shlichus, does the actual, full Redemption commence in its entirety.

We are now in the middle of this process, the active period of Moshiach vadai. The Geula has already begun, but it is not yet complete.

This is also apparently the meaning of what the Rebbe said on Shabbos Parshas Mishpatim 5752, about "the psak din of rabbanim and halachic authorities that the time for the Geula has arrived – ‘and a king will arise from the House of David, etc., who is presumed to be Moshiach’ – leading to a situation of Moshiach vadai,’ a psak din from Sinai, which comes down and permeates the realm of the physical world."

In other words, the Rebbe was saying that we have moved beyond the stage of presumed Moshiach and entered the time of Moshiach vadai, although this will only reach perfection when the Redemptive process is complete.

At present, the only thing left to do in the service of shlichus is to actually greet Moshiach Tzidkeinu, enabling him to fulfill his shlichus and take the Jewish people out of Galus!

It is, therefore, necessary to go out and announce to all the shluchim that from now on, the avoda of shlichus, and the avoda of every single Jew, consists of greeting Moshiach Tzidkeinu in actuality.

In other words, all of the various aspects and details of the shlichus of spreading Torah, Yiddishkeit and the wellsprings outward, must be connected to this single point: how they lead to actually greeting Moshiach Tzidkeinu.

…Simply put, the intention is that this Kinus HaShluchim result in practical resolutions as to how each shliach can implement this, readying himself and all the Jews in his area to greet Moshiach Tzidkeinu. This is to be accomplished by explaining the concept of Moshiach, as elucidated in both the Written and Oral Torah, in a way that will be acceptable to each individual according to his intellect and understanding, and especially by studying those sections of the Torah dealing with Moshiach and Geula, particularly in a manner of chochma, bina and daas.

As this is the avoda of our times, it is obvious that it applies to every Jew, without exception.

May it be G-d’s will that every shliach fulfilling his function properly and completely, with all ten powers of the soul, and especially all the shluchim coming together in unity to determine how best to achieve this, will immediately bring the complete revelation of the primary shliach, and the revelation of all ten powers of his soul –"Please send by the hand of he whom You will send" – the shliach of our generation, Kvod Kedushas Mori v’chami Admur [the Rebbe Rayatz], as occurred in the previous generation, when the Rebbe Rayatz, the Rebbe Rashab’s only son, was completely united with his father."

…And in this way, the "seven branches of the menora" will be perfected – all seven generations!"

Yechi Adoneinu Moreinu V’Rabbeinu Melech HaMoshiach L’olam Va’ed!



Unused to doing manual labor, however, he was quickly covered with mud from head to toe. His Shabbos clothes were ruined...




"Everyone is given his own particular shlichus. However, one must be able to identify it, so that he doesn’t end up doing someone else’s…"




We are now in the middle of this process, the active period of Moshiach vadai. The Geula has already begun, but it is not yet complete.


Home | Contents | Archives | Contact Us | Subscriptions | Submissions | Interactive | Chat | Advertise

©Copyright. No content may be reprinted without permission.