Dvar Malchus

They Declare Open War Against G-D And His Torah

Moshiach & Geula

Everything’s Under Control

Shleimus HaAretz
The Rabin Legacy Everyone Tries To Forget
Our Secret Weapon
Mivtzaim Story
Quite The Gentleman
Sheva Mitzvos
"Here’s My Messiah"

Everything’s Under Control
By Rabbi Levi Yitzchok Ginsberg

The Rebbe MH"M knew everything that would happen, from "Who is a Jew?" and "Didan Natzach" to the present situation in Eretz Yisroel. * The Rebbe knew there would be a Zach Adar 5752, a Zach Adar 5754, and a Gimmel Tammuz. * Nothing occurs without the Rebbe’s knowledge and approval, for the purpose of fulfilling an inner, G-dly intention.

We are now in the month of Kislev, the "Chassidic month," which is filled with Chassidishe Yomim Tovim: The Festival of Redemption of Yud-Tes Kislev, the "Chassidic New Year"; the birthday (Yud Kislev) and "bris" (Yud-Tes Kislev) of every Chassid; and the celebrations particular to the "seventh generation": Rosh Chodesh Kislev, when we celebrate the Rebbe shlita’s physical health; Vav Kislev, when the Rebbe’s and Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka’s tenaim were written; Yud-Dalet Kislev, their wedding day; and the victories of "Didan Natzach" on Beis and Yud-Gimmel Kislev. I bring you the following story in connection with all the above, as I heard it from the famous mohel of Kfar Chabad, the late Rabbi Chaim Ozer Marinovsky, o.b.m.:

There are many stories (and different versions) about how the holy Rabbi Yaakov Yosef of Polana became a follower of the Baal Shem Tov. Initially one of the strongest opponents of Chassidus, he later became one of the greatest of the Baal Shem Tov’s disciples. In fact, his Toldos Yaakov Yosef was the first book containing the Baal Shem Tov’s teachings to be published, in the year 5540 (1780).

It seems that there were several stages in Rabbi Yaakov Yosef’s "conversion." In general, whenever anyone experiences a 180-degree ideological turnabout, the change doesn’t happen overnight. First, Rabbi Yaakov Yosef heard various things about the Baal Shem Tov that moderated his resistance. In the next stage he came to realize that there was actually something to Chassidus. Later, he began to wonder if he should go and meet the Baal Shem Tov in person. In any event, this story takes place at the very end of the period in which Rabbi Yaakov Yosef was grappling with his conscience.

Rabbi Yaakov Yosef was the rav of the city of Polana. (According to some sources he wasn’t officially appointed rav until 5530 – ten years after the histalkus of the Baal Shem Tov.) As a respected halachic authority, Jews came to him from far and wide to have him render legal decisions.

It happened once that a woman asked a very complicated shaala about a certain matter. Rabbi Yaakov Yosef pondered the question for a long time, searched for precedents in all his s’farim, and in the end pronounced it permissible.

After the woman left, however, the rav was oddly dissatisfied. The shaala continued to bother him, and he returned to his s’farim. The more he thought about it, the more he began to obsess that he had made a mistake, and permitted something that was forbidden. Over the next few hours, Rabbi Yaakov Yosef’s mind was in turmoil as he pored over his volumes. By the wee hours of the morning he concluded that he had made a terrible error, and allowed something that was a grave prohibition.

Rabbi Yaakov Yosef was utterly horrified by what he had done. In the dark of night he ran outside and down the street, hoping he could find the woman and prevent a transgression. He eventually succeeded in locating her house, but by the time he got there, it was "after the fact." The deed had already been done because, he, the rav, had permitted it.

Rabbi Yaakov Yosef was inconsolable. How could it have happened, he brooded, that he had caused innocent Jews to sin? Did this mean he was no longer qualified to be rav? Would he ever be able to find a tikkun for what he had done?

As mentioned before, this occurred at a time when Rabbi Yaakov Yosef was still toying with the idea of going to the Baal Shem Tov. This incident was actually the "straw that broke the camel’s back," for he hoped that the Baal Shem Tov would be able to show him how to do t’shuva.

Without further ado, Rabbi Yaakov Yosef hired a wagon and set out on the long journey to the Baal Shem Tov.

When he arrived at the Baal Shem Tov’s beis midrash, he found a long line of people ahead of him waiting to go in. Each person had a problem that was bothering him: this one had a shaala to be answered, another sought guidance in his avodas Hashem. But by and large, the problems that troubled these Jews were simple and ordinary. This one needed a refua shleima, that one was asking for a blessing for children, another needed help with shalom bayis and the next one was struggling with parnasa, a woman’s husband had taken off and disappeared, leaving her an aguna, and so on and so on, down the line.

Rabbi Yaakov Yosef was not very pleased by the prospect of having to wait so long, but there was no choice. When it came to going in to the Rebbe, there was no such thing as "yichus." Against his will he was forced to listen to all of these simple Jews complaining. Yet everyone seemed to be filled with hope and emuna that the tzaddik would help.

Rabbi Yaakov Yosef was getting annoyed. He was not used to mixing with this sort of crowd and dealing with these kinds of problems. His conversations were usually held with Torah scholars and rabbis, and their content was far loftier in nature. Yet here he was, forced to descend to the level of the common man, whose only worries were about mundane matters! Why, standing in line with simple villagers, shoemakers, tailors, and beggars was an insult to the Torah’s honor! He was simply not interested in hearing about their shallow concerns.

[Author’s note: It has been offered that having to stand in line and get pushed while waiting by dollars, etc., has a very great advantage, in that it causes a person to be battel and a better receptacle for the Rebbe’s blessing. The Rebbe once told a story, on Shabbos Mevarchim Elul 5710, about a certain Rabbi who came to Lubavitch and was so muddled by the crowd that he only heard the first few words of the Rebbe’s maamer. Said the Rebbe, "They apparently knew who he was, and shoved him around even more as a hiddur mitzva…"]

To make matters worse, Rabbi Yaakov Yosef could see that every few minutes the line would stop, to allow the Baal Shem Tov to go to the outhouse. Several minutes later the line would resume, and the next few people would be allowed to enter. This kept happening over and over again, and seemed to Rabbi Yaakov Yosef a very big insult to everyone standing in line.

The whole thing was extremely baffling to the Rav, who could not figure out what was going on. What was he doing here altogether? Why had he come here looking for advice? As far as he knew, the Baal Shem Tov did not suffer from any physical ailment. So why was he visiting the outhouse every few minutes? Why couldn’t he have gone before everyone arrived, or after they all left?

He had just about concluded that the whole trip was an utter waste of time, effort, and money, and was considering leaving when he decided it would be foolish to walk out at the last minute. Besides, he reminded himself of the reason he had come to the Baal Shem Tov in the first place: to find a tikkun for his neshama. Maybe there was hope for him after all…

Meanwhile, the line ahead of him was growing shorter, and it was almost his turn to enter the Rebbe’s room. He could already overhear the questions being asked and the Baal Shem Tov’s answers. Yet strangely enough, in many cases the Rebbe was responding before they even spoke. When the woman whose husband had disappeared went in, the Rebbe immediately told her to go to such and such a place to find her husband. The childless couple was given a bracha for healthy offspring before they could ask for one. The next fellow received a blessing for parnasa. Rabbi Yaakov Yosef was shocked by what he heard. He could not believe how confident the Rebbe seemed, how utterly matter-of-fact in his pronouncements. Rabbi Yaakov Yosef even saw a miracle take place before his very eyes: A sick man who could barely stand had received a bracha from the Baal Shem Tov and was immediately healed.

At long last it was Rabbi Yaakov Yosef’s turn and he went in. But before he could open his mouth the Rebbe turned to him and said, "Rav of Polana, do not be concerned that your actions have led Jews astray, G-d forbid. The first psak din you gave the woman was correct, and the matter was truly permissible. All of your later confusion was in vain, and I will tell you why…" The Baal Shem Tov then proceeded to elucidate the halachic sugya.

Rabbi Yaakov Yosef went completely "out of his keilim." Never before had he witnessed such ruach ha’kodesh. He was positive that no one had told the Rebbe who he was and what was bothering him, yet the Baal Shem Tov had known everything about him and solved his problem. Moreover, he was astounded by the Rebbe’s erudition. The Baal Shem Tov’s explanation had negated all his doubts and set his mind at ease.

Rabbi Yaakov Yosef was completely in awe, and on the spot gave himself over to the Baal Shem Tov heart and soul. There was, however, one thing that still bothered him, something he could not quite understand. Mustering all his courage, he dared to ask the Rebbe the one question that weighed on his mind: With all due respect, why had the Rebbe stopped the line every few minutes to go to the outhouse? It certainly wasn’t polite, with all those people waiting…

The Baal Shem Tov replied: "When an individual is in the higher worlds, involved in spiritual matters, it is very hard to come down to earth and have to deal with lowly, physical affairs. A special effort is often needed, involving certain actions, to bring about the descent and return to the material plane. For this reason I force myself to perform lowly physical functions from time to time, to help me operate on the physical plane…"

Whenever Rabbi Yaakov Yosef told this story he would conclude: "See how holy the Rebbe is! Even when the Rebbe acts on a physical level, it is only a revelation of
G-dliness and ruach ha’kodesh – ‘He reveals His secret to His servants, the prophets.’ Nonetheless, to the Rebbe it is considered a very great descent, as in order to do so he must engage in lowly physical actions. For as far as the Rebbe himself is concerned, he is completely and immeasurably above such things…"

* * *

This story, as well as many others told by Chassidim, illustrates one thing very clearly: a Rebbe is not a regular person like us. We are subject to the laws of nature; the Rebbe is above them.

The Rebbe’s physical body is flesh and blood. But as his entire existence is only a vehicle for the revelation of G-dliness in the world, his life is truly G-dly life, and his physical body is nothing but a vessel for the revelation of G-dliness. In the same way that G-d is not limited in any way, so too is the tzaddik, whose whole being is G-dliness, above limitations.

The Rebbe shlita has even stated this more strongly: Given that every Jew possesses a "veritable part of G-d above," and that "when one grasps a part of the essence, one grasps the entire essence," it follows that every Jew controls Hashem, as it were! Of course, as the Rebbe is the yechida klalis (general or compound yechida) in which the essence is fully revealed, the Rebbe really is the baal ha’bayis over everything that happens."

Furthermore, the Rebbe is completely in charge even when he appears to be in trouble or ill. In such instances, everyone, even the tzaddik himself, prays for a refua shleima and a yeshua. However, nothing happens to the tzaddik without his consent: "The tzaddik decrees, and the Holy One, blessed be He, fulfills it."

It makes no sense to ask why the Rebbe has to suffer, or why he doesn’t just remove all the hindrances and obstacles to the Geula. The same question could be asked of G-d: Why does He allow G-dliness to be concealed in the world, or permit so many things that are contrary to justice and righteousness? We cannot understand the ways of G-d; only He knows why things have to happen the way they do. Likewise, the same principle applies to the tzaddik. Only the Rebbe knows the G-dly intent behind every event and detail.

When the Alter Rebbe went to prison, it was with his full consent. He accepted all the spiritual and physical suffering it entailed willingly.

The Rebbe spoke many times about the idea of each Rebbe being the "memalei makom" (literally "the one who fills the place") of his predecessors – all of the Rebbeim who came before him. In other words, each Rebbe contains all the aspects of the previous Rebbeim, in addition to the unique aspect of his particular generation.

In the same way that it would be ludicrous to suggest that Hashem tried to do something but failed, it is equally ludicrous to say that the Rebbe shlita attempted something but did not succeed. This principle cannot be emphasized enough.

G-d grants us free will, but wants us to choose what is right – "And you shall choose life." If a person abuses the privilege and chooses evil, G-d eventually evens the score, "repaying the wicked according to his wickedness and the righteous according to his righteousness." Yet during the interim, while the rasha is still choosing evil, it would be absurd to say that G-d tried to get him to be good but failed. Hashem knows everything that will happen in advance, and is always in charge. The fact that Hashem sometimes allows things to appear differently is due to His own reasons.

Similarly, when the Rebbe begged and implored us to act in a certain way, he knew what would happen in the future. Yet had the Rebbe wanted to, he could have made things go smoothly from the very beginning. Although it is beyond our understanding, the Rebbe has his own reasons for wanting things to happen the way they are. The Rebbe desires "refinement without breaking"; i.e., that we act within the natural order, and "in an upward direction, from below to above." For ultimately, despite all the pain this involves, it is precisely in this manner that the Divine intention can be best fulfilled.

The Rebbe knew what would happen in 5738, and everything connected with the court battle over the s’farim. The Rebbe knew what would happen when he spoke about "Who is a Jew?" and the integrity and security of Eretz Yisroel. The Rebbe knew about the first Zach Adar in 5752, the second Zach Adar in 5754, and about Gimmel Tammuz. The Rebbe knows everything that goes on in the world, including what happens within Lubavitch. Nothing occurs without his permission and for a G-dly purpose, i.e., that we ourselves fulfill our obligation. And it goes without saying that the Divine intention will ultimately be fulfilled one hundred per cent.

Even when it appears as if things are going contrary to the Rebbe’s will, we must remember that the Rebbe is always in control. Sometimes the "advantage" has to come precisely from "the darkness," in order for the light to illuminate that much brighter. For ultimately, "Der Eibershter vet oisfiren un der Rebbe vet oisfiren – G-d will accomplish what He has to do, and the Rebbe will accomplish what he has to do."

One thing the Rebbe has taught us is that every event should spur us on to implore G-d for the Geula – "And they shall seek the L-rd their G-d and Dovid their king." We must continue to bombard Hashem and Melech HaMoshiach with the cry, "Ad masai?" And as the Rebbe explained on Beis Nissan 5748, "Ad masai" is primarily connected with "Yechi HaMelech," especially as it pertains to Melech HaMoshiach, whose sovereignty must be accepted by the people "from below to above." In this manner, when the Jewish people fulfill their Divine shlichus and bring the whole world to Hashem and to Moshiach – non-Jews as well, through the Sheva Mitzvos Bnei Noach – Moshiach will be revealed to the world at large, "And all the inhabitants of the world will recognize and know that every knee should bend to You, every tongue should swear by Your Name."

May we immediately see with our eyes of flesh the revealed good of the Rebbe Melech HaMoshiach’s hisgalus.

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


Over the next few hours, Rabbi Yaakov Yosef’s mind was in turmoil as he pored over his volumes.






By the wee hours of the morning he concluded that he had made a terrible error, and allowed something that was a grave prohibition...






Even when the Rebbe acts on a physical level,

it is only a revelation of

G-dliness and ruach ha’kodesh.






Even when it appears as if things are going contrary to the Rebbe’s will, we must remember that the Rebbe is always in control.


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