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Moshiach & Geula

Are You My Chassid?

Against the Censors
Parents, Worried About The Future
Latkes, Moshiach & Satmar
Shleimus HaAretz
Moshiach: Beyond Politics

Are You My Chassid?
By Rabbi Levi Yitzchak Ginsberg

Each of us must ask himself bluntly, "Ayeka – where are you? Can I honestly say that I ‘belong’ to the Rebbe?"

Reb Mendel Futerfas, o.b.m., used to tell the following story:

It was the early days of the Rebbe Rayatz’s nesiyus when the Rebbe began to establish his network of clandestine yeshivos and chadarim throughout the Soviet Union. The situation was very bad. The Jewish branch of the Communist Party, the Yevsektziya (which called itself "The Society of Those Opposed to Religion"), was doing all it could to dismantle and destroy all Torah institutions. The compulsory education law mandated that all Russian children be enrolled in government public schools, which were dedicated to eradicating the very concept of religious belief.

In those early years after the Bolshevik Revolution, the Communists were still intoxicated with their political victory. This was especially true of the Jewish Communists, who seemed driven to prove their allegiance to the new order. Their approach was two-fold: On the one hand, they utilized brutal force against anyone who stood in their way and refused to implement their directives. Yet at the same time, they insisted on waging a battle for people’s minds, trying to convince them that their way was right. Countless show trials were held, with the religious Jew always being portrayed as a bloodsucking parasite. Yeshiva bachurim in particular bore the brunt of their animosity; they were consistently held up for ridicule and accused of exploiting the working class.

At this point in history the Rebbe Rayatz began to send shluchim across the length and breadth of Russia, arousing Jews’ hearts and strengthening Yiddishkeit. From city to city and from town to town they traveled, arranging minyanim for davening, setting up a network of shiurim, and making sure that mikvaos were in working order to facilitate observance of taharas ha’mishpacha. But the Rebbe’s crowning achievement was the establishment of chadarim for tinokos shel beis rabban – young Jewish schoolchildren, whose minds were still unpoisoned. This more than anything else was the biggest thorn in the Yevsektziya’s side, and they were determined to fight the Rebbe till the death.

The Rebbe Rayatz began to speak about tinokos shel beis rabban constantly, on any and all occasions. The Rebbe mentioned the topic so often that Chassidim joked that if the Rebbe’s finger were cut, tinokos shel beis rabban would flow instead of blood. (This, of course, was a reference to what the Tzemach Tzedek had said about the Mitteler Rebbe, that if his finger were cut, Chassidus would come out and not blood…)

There was one farbrengen around that time at which both Reb Mendel and Reb Itche Der Masmid (may G-d avenge his blood) were present. As usual, the Rebbe was speaking about the importance of tinokos shel beis rabban, urging the Chassidim to put everything else aside and concentrate on the holy work of establishing and teaching in chadarim.

Reb Itche was a holy Jew, pure and simple. He was also a true Chassid, mekushar heart and soul to the Rebbe. As reflected in his nickname (masmid – one who learns Torah with hasmada, diligence), his diligence and capacity for study were phenomenal. Reb Itche would sit with his feet in a bucket of cold water to make sure he didn’t fall asleep and interrupt his learning. His davening went on for hours, in the highest state of dveikus. People used to say that Reb Itche davened all day and farbrenged all night. Reb Itche also served the Rebbe in the capacity of shadar (shlucha d’rabbanan), gathering gashmiyus (i.e., monetary contributions) and planting ruchniyus

Years before, Reb Itche had a yechidus with the Rebbe Rashab and asked him for a tikkun for his soul. His problem, he explained, is that in the course of his travels he often came into contact with Jews who were in need of the Rebbe’s blessing. If there wasn’t enough time to go to the Rebbe in person, he would close his eyes, imagine the Rebbe’s holy face before him and give the person a bracha, which was always fulfilled. Reb Itche knew that it was only the Rebbe’s power that made it work, but the people who received the blessing would give him the credit. A tikkun for this was surely necessary…

In any event, Reb Itche was sitting at this farbrengen, and the Rebbe Rayatz kept talking about tinokos shel beis rabban. All of a sudden the Rebbe turned around and looked directly at Reb Itche. "Her zich ayn, Itche! Tustu in tinokos shel beis Rabban, bistu meiner. Un tomer nisht, bist takeh Itche…" ("Listen to me, Itche. If you involve yourself in tinokos shel beis rabban, you are mine. But if not, you are still Itche…")

In other words, a person can be involved in the holiest of pursuits – avodas Hashem, hiskashrus, shlichus, etc., but when the Rebbe demands tinokos shel beis rabban, if you really want to belong to the Rebbe, you simply have to put everything else aside and involve yourself in tinokos shel beis rabban, regardless of who you are. If you don’t, G-d forbid, it doesn’t matter how many other wonderful qualities you might possess, you don’t really belong to the Rebbe…

In our times, the Rebbe, Melech HaMoshiach, told us to put aside all other concerns and concentrate on "the only thing that remains in the service of shlichus." The Rebbe didn’t say "an important component in the service of shlichus" or even "the most important part of the service of shlichus." The Rebbe stated that "the only thing that remains is to greet Moshiach Tzidkeinu in actuality," and everything we do, all our peulos and activities, should reflect this. "All the days of your life" are only for the purpose "of bringing about the Days of Moshiach."

The Rebbe said this clearly and unequivocally. Anyone who ignores the Rebbe’s wishes and insists on getting sidetracked on other issues – regardless of how lofty – should reassess the health of his hiskashrus

On Shabbos Parshas VaYigash 5747, the first Shabbos after Didan Natzach, Hei Teives (which fell out on a Tuesday), the Rebbe declared that a new time and a new period had begun. From now on, the Rebbe said, there was only one thing to focus on: "All of you stand ready for the building of the Third Beis HaMikdash with the true and complete Redemption."

Everyone knows that the Rebbe did not consider the legal proceedings to determine ownership of the s’farim to be an ordinary court case. As the Rebbe explained so many times, especially on Zos Chanuka 5746, what happened was similar to the Alter Rebbe’s experience in Petersburg in that it reflected the larger, spiritual struggle going on up Above. The court victory was a vindication of the Rebbe shlita’s path for the seventh generation, which will culminate when the revelation of the Divine presence is completely brought back to earth. The entire world must be filled with G-dliness, even the lowest and most extraneous levels, "below which there is nothing lower." Every tool at man’s disposal, every gimmick ever invented – from the Internet and videos to the billboards in Times Square – must proclaim the truth of Moshiach and Redemption.

In the same way that the Alter Rebbe’s incarceration was a reflection of the spiritual kitrug against him, so too do the accusations against Lubavitch continue in our time. Although the charges are easily refuted, the Rebbe noted that the fact that G-d allowed the charges to be leveled indicates that there is something we can learn from them. The lesson, of course, is that Lubavitch needs even more activism, above and beyond what has already been accomplished.

The Alter Rebbe greatly expanded Chabad Chassidus after Petersburg far beyond what came before. Similarly, the Rebbe shlita announced after Hei Teives that a new time and a new period had begun, in which nothing else remained except to prepare for Moshiach. (The Rebbe clarified that he didn’t mean everything else we were doing should stop, but that all our actions should be permeated with Moshiach and Geula.)

And if someone should claim that these are "wild words," the Rebbe said at the time, there is nothing to worry to about, for the words are true according to Toras Emes. The truth must be stated loudly and clearly, without fear of what the world might say, especially since the world is ready to hear it. When these words will be said pleasantly yet emphatically, people will accept them.

Furthermore, the Rebbe continued in the same sicha, when there are those who claim that "the eulogizers have eulogized and the embalmers have embalmed," they must be told the true reality according to Toras Emes, and there is nothing to fear from their reaction. When something is true according to Torah, it must be stated.

The same thing applies to Eretz Yisroel, said the Rebbe. The reality according to the Torah of Truth must be proclaimed. Jewish ownership of Eretz Yisroel is something even non-Jews believe, and the world is sufficiently prepared to hear the truth.

Over the next few weeks the Rebbe gradually expounded upon this theme even more. The Rebbe had spoken previously about the need to finish polishing the buttons; now the Rebbe told us that they were already polished. Every farbrengen was filled with references to Moshiach and Geula, and even the form of the sichos kodesh changed (as the Rebbe pointed out on Purim 5747).

Everything seemed to acquire increased momentum and urgency, especially after the histalkus of Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka, o.b.m., on Chaf-Beis Shvat 5748. On Chaf Beis Shvat 5752, the Rebbe again referred to a new period beginning with the Rebbetzin’s passing. And on Yud Shvat 5750, the Rebbe spoke about the new era after 40 years of nesiyus, when "G-d has given you a heart to understand and eyes to see and ears to hear."

Then on 28 Nissan 5751 came the famous plea to "do all in your power," which the Rebbe continued to expound upon through 5752, culminating in the Rebbe’s address to the Kinus HaShluchim in 5752: "The only thing that remains in the service of shlichus is to greet Moshiach Tzidkeinu in actuality." And in 5753 and 5754, the Rebbe publicly encouraged the declaration of "Yechi Adoneinu Moreinu v’Rabbeinu Melech HaMoshiach l’olam va’ed."

On countless occasions the Rebbe described our times as a new era. What he expects of us at present has also been laid out quite clearly.

Each of us must search his soul and ask himself the following: Even assuming that I’m on the level of a Reb Itche Der Masmid, and my life is completely taken up with avodas Hashem and mivtzaim, how would I answer if the Rebbe looked me in the eye and asked me bluntly, "Bistu meiner?"…

Ayeka – where are you – we must demand of ourselves. Do I truly belong to the Rebbe? Am I marching forward with him toward wherever he will lead me? Or am I straggling behind, still juggling all the peklach of an earlier era…

By focusing on "the only service that remains," we will merit the immediate revelation of the Rebbe Melech HaMoshiach. And together we will all proclaim in his presence:

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



His davening went on for hours, in the highest state of dveikus. People used to say that Reb Itche davened all day and farbrenged all night.





If you really want to belong to the Rebbe, you simply have to put everything else aside, regardless of who you are.


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