on Zach Adar
By Rabbi Levi Yitzchok Ginsberg
the period following Zach Adar 5752, the mashpia Reb Mendel
Futerfas would often repeat the famous saying of Reb Itche "Der Masmid,"
uttered years ago when, to the fleshly eye, it appeared as if the Rebbe Rayatz
had lost his power of speech. "The Rebbe isn’t sick!" Reb Itche had
explained. "Der Rebbe iz gezunt! The world is just too coarse to be
able to hear him."
Reb Mendel related this he would burst into tears. A few minutes later he would
recover his composure and sing a joyous niggun. Then he would start
Mendel would also repeatedly emphasize the necessity of having emuna not
only in Hashem but in chachomim and tzaddikim, which is why it
states "Moshe commanded us the Torah" and "Remember the Torah of
Moshe My servant," even though the Torah is obviously Hashem’s. Only when
a Jew has one hundred percent faith in "Moshe Rabbeinu," when he is
completely connected to the Rebbe, can he have true faith in Hashem. If, G-d
forbid, his emuna in Moshe Rabbeinu is flawed, his emuna in Hashem
is also defective.
years have now elapsed since Zach Adar 5752, the beginning of a
completely new period in which it would appear as if the Rebbe were ill, in
fulfillment of Chapter 53 of Yeshayahu: "Surely he has borne our sicknesses
and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, struck by G-d, and
afflicted…he was wounded because of our transgressions." The darkness
would become so intense that to many people it would seem as if "he were
cut off from the land of the living." But, as the Prophet concludes,
"He shall see his seed; he shall prolong his days, and the purpose of the
L-rd shall prosper in his hand."
longer could we hear the Rebbe Melech HaMoshiach at farbrengens. There
were hardly any "dollars," "lekach," or "kos
shel bracha." On the physical level, the Rebbe became beyond our senses
was going on?
I answer, I cannot overemphasize an obvious fact: The Rebbe shlita is chai
v’kayam in a physical body, in the physical world. This is a truism in the
category of "anything else is an impossibility." According to
Chassidus, the world simply cannot exist without a living Rebbe in a physical
most compelling proof is that every Chabad Chassid unequivocally accepted this
as literal truth before Gimmel Tammuz. It was openly touted by mainstream Chabad
publications: Kfar Chabad magazine, Sichat HaShavua, etc., even
though in the natural order it was even then an impossibility. (Who among us isn’t
familiar with the famous sicha of Motzaei Shabbos Parshas Truma
5748 in which the Rebbe emphasized several times that he was "not
speaking about histalkus, G-d forbid"?) That the Rebbe is alive is
something so absolute that no proofs are necessary. No proof can prove an axiom,
nor can any ostensible contradiction threaten our faith. Pure and simple emuna
is not open to argument.
of the recurring themes running through the entire Likkutei Sichos (see
page 7 of Volume 26, for example) is the principle that in every generation
there has to be a Nasi in whom the neshama of Moshe Rabbeinu is
invested. This Nasi HaDor is the sole channel for all of G-d’s
vitality to the Jewish people, and from the Jewish people, to the world at
large. This is how the world has operated since the beginning of time and so
will it continue forever. It was created to function according to this
arrangement, with these basic dynamics which are not subject to change.
explained in many of our holy texts, the physical body of the Moshe Rabbeinu of
a generation is the "connecting intermediary" (memutza ha’mechaber)
through which Hashem’s chayus comes into the world to enliven and
sustain it, as it states, "I stand between Hashem and you." As a flesh
and blood human being who exists in the physical world, his body is so
completely nullified to
G-dliness that his entire being is G-dliness. In this way, the Moshe Rabbeinu of
a generation combines and unites this G-dly vitality with the material plane of
existence, allowing Hashem’s chayus to descend and function within the
parameters of physicality.
the human body, the head and brain are the intermediary between the spiritual
soul and the physical limbs and organs. In order for an organ to receive its
vitality from the soul, the soul must first invest itself in the physical brain,
after which each organ receives exactly what it needs to function. Similarly,
the G-dly vitality that sustains the world must first be invested within the
physical body of the Nasi HaDor. Afterwards, it is from the Nasi
and through the Nasi that this vitality is transmitted to the particular
aspects of Creation.
the same way that no one would ever suggest that a person can live for even a
minute without a head, so too does Chassidus explain that the world cannot exist
for even a second without a live, physical Rebbe.
would be beneath my dignity to respond to the "chachomim" who
have proposed that someone else might have taken the Rebbe’s place, G-d
forbid. The real root of the problem is that some people are looking for a
compromise. But of course, no such thing exists.
does our absolute emuna come from? It was absorbed together with our
mothers’ milk. If ever we are faced with something we cannot understand, we
know that the deficiency is ours and not with objective reality. Objective
reality does not change. The Rebbe is alive in a physical body, on the material
plane of existence, and it really doesn’t matter if our vocabulary or
understanding is sometimes inadequate to explain it.
no one could have ever imagined what our eyes would behold on Gimmel Tammuz. But
the cornerstone of our belief remains in place, because the foundation of the
entire structure is not subject to change.
to Torah, the ruling of a posek determines reality. Once a halacha
is established, it cannot be altered to fit public opinion if it isn’t popular
or b’ofen ha’miskabel.
thousands upon thousands of times we heard the Rebbe tell us that the Torah is
the Torah of Truth and the Torah of Life, the guidebook by which a Jew must
live, in contrast to man-made laws which vary according to circumstance. The
Torah’s laws create life and determine what life is. The Torah is immutable.
It doesn’t try to fit itself to the reality of the world. Only Torah can
determine what reality is.
general, the Torah rarely opposes what we perceive as reality. On the contrary,
it strengthens that reality by establishing what we are supposed to do if such
and such an event occurs. But as the Rebbe reminded us so many times, the only
reason the world appears real is that the Torah allows it to. How do we know
that snow is white? Only because it states in the Torah, "[Your sins] will
be made as white as snow." Once the Torah has determined that something is
a certain way, its characterization stands forever, even if it later appears
that reality is different.
principle is self-understood to every believing Jew. For example, once the Torah
has established that the sun revolves around the earth, it doesn’t matter if
science will insist that the earth revolves around the sun. (It isn’t
necessary to mention the Rebbe’s well-known explanation that modern science,
with its theory of relativity, confirms what we already know from the Torah.)
The point is that it would never occur to us to reject the Torah because some
may think it’s old-fashioned or out-of-date.
are many other examples in which the Torah seems to be at odds with what we know
today. But does a believing Jew simply disregard what the Torah tells us?
Obviously not. The only issue for the Jew is to find out what the Torah really
says. Once that is done, in a completely objective manner, "even if all the
kings of east and west claim otherwise," our only answer is the saying of
our Sages: "It is preferable that Shlomo and a thousand like him be lost,
rather than nullify one letter of the Torah!"
same principle applies to the issue at hand. Before Gimmel Tammuz, not a single
Chabad Chassid doubted that according to Torah there could be no histalkus.
So what happened? Are we supposed to change what the Torah says just because it’s
suddenly unpopular? Anyone who even considers the notion is following his own
theology rather than Hashem’s.
the Rebbe shlita said way back in 5710, "Der Rebbe hot altz
bavorent" (The Rebbe foretold everything). How much more so does
this apply today!
cannot believe that even the biggest fool would seriously consider that the
Rebbe didn’t anticipate Gimmel Tammuz, that it came as a surprise to him or
was against his will. How can anyone think that the Nasi HaDor
would neglect to tell us what is expected of us after Zach Adar and
responsible person in a position of leadership would anticipate the future, let
alone a manhig Yisroel and prophet, the Nasi HaDor and Melech
HaMoshiach. The Rebbe knew exactly what would occur, and foresaw everything.
Rebbe told us that a new period related to the Final Redemption began on
Chaf-Beis Shvat 5748, which would require more avoda and independent
effort on our part. All previous types of avoda have been completed, and
the only thing left to do is to actually bring about the revelation of Moshiach.
In this new period we would not be able to rely on the Nasi HaDor, but
would have to work independently. Furthermore, the Rebbe stressed that this
would be the responsibility of each and every one of us.
that point on, the Rebbe’s style changed dramatically. The maamarim
gradually decreased in frequency and eventually ceased altogether. The sichos
kodesh became shorter and more concise. The Rebbe almost completely stopped
elaborating on Rashi, the Rambam, Pirkei Avos/ and the like, and those
points that were elucidated were extremely brief. At the same time, the Rebbe
began to speak incessantly about the coming Redemption. The Rebbe told us
countless times that the service of separating the sparks is over, the
"buttons are already polished," and that Moshiach is due to be
revealed at any moment. The Rebbe explicitly stated that Moshiach is already
present and having an effect on the world, and declared that "the time for
your Redemption has arrived." The only service that remains is to actually
greet Moshiach Tzidkeinu, allowing him to fulfill his mission to take the Jewish
people out of exile.
whole debate about whether or not to publicize Moshiach’s identity is
superfluous. It is simply pointless to go around quoting sichos and tzetlach
from before Zach Adar.
Gimmel Tammuz, everyone spoke about the Rebbe as Moshiach and nobody batted an
eyelash. The banner "Yechi Adoneinu Moreinu V’Rabbeinu Melech
HaMoshiach L’olam Va’ed" appeared each week on the opening
page of Kfar Chabad magazine. If that’s not publicly identifying
Moshiach, what is? Every Chabad publication touted the Rebbe as Moshiach,
clarified the concept, and called upon the whole world to accept his
after Gimmel Tammuz did some people scramble to find other explanations
for what has always been eminently clear. But of course, these new
interpretations were not given to Moshe at Sinai! And anyone claiming that the
Rebbe deliberately misled us, G-d forbid, for such a long period of time, is
obviously not the kind of person to determine what is permissible and what is
forbidden according to Torah.
are several components to the new period that began on Chaf-Beis Shvat 5748,
among which are the following:
generation is distinguished from all previous generations by the fact that the
concept of hefsek or interruption of life does not apply. The Biblical
injunction of "to dust you shall return" can be fulfilled by the
spiritual nullification of "and may my soul be like dust to
everything," after which we will pass directly into the eternal life of the
true and complete Redemption.
phrase that the Rebbe used so often in the early years of his nesiyus,
referring to the darkness of exile as a "choshech kaful u’mechupal"
(double and twofold darkness) virtually disappeared in his later sichos.
The Rebbe repeatedly stated that the world is ready for the Redemption, and
pointed to various world events to substantiate that Moshiach is already
exerting a positive influence. The unique avoda of our times consists of
joyously anticipating Moshiach’s imminent revelation.
the advantage of 20/20 hindsight, it’s easy to see how the Rebbe foresaw
everything. The Rebbe gradually accustomed us to the idea that there would be no
histalkus of the soul from the physical body, and that his illness was
more than met the eye. Rather, the whole phenomenon of Zach Adar and Gimmel
Tammuz is only for the purpose of attaining the highest level of bittul
necessary for the Rebbe’s revelation, the fiftieth gate, as the Rebbe
elucidated so often in his most recent sichos kodesh.
Rosh HaShana 5752 the Rebbe spoke about the baal tokeia’s face
turning red (from the effort), and described a condition that we would recognize
as a stroke. Yet the Rebbe went on to ensure us that he was only speaking of
something that is extremely positive and helpful - "Sound the great shofar
to signify our freedom" - the true and complete Redemption!
anyone with even a drop of a Chassidishe chinuch, the notion that the
Rebbe did everything he could to prevent our current situation but wasn’t able
to is utterly repugnant. As every Chassid knows, the Rebbe transcends the
limitations of the natural world. Everything that happens to him is with his
full approval and in accordance with his will, which is synonymous with G-d’s
will. As far as the Rebbe is concerned, there is no such thing as helem or
tzimtzum. A Rebbe, who is completely nullified before G-d and united with
Him, knows everything and can do whatever he wants. As the Rebbe declared in the
sicha of Chaf Av 5710, whoever doubts this concept doubts "I am the
L-rd your G-d" and "You shall not have any other gods before Me."
even includes instances when a Rebbe is imprisoned or seemingly ill; to the
Rebbe, there is no darkness or concealment. The concepts of geula and refua
are extraneous to him; they only seem to apply from our limited standpoint.
the Rebbe decree that the Redemption must take place now, there is no doubt that
it would happen. "When the tzaddik decrees, the Holy One, Blessed Be
He, fulfills it." The fact that the Rebbe hasn’t done so is the ultimate
level of mesiras nefesh, in accordance with G-d’s desire that the
Jewish people redeem themselves from exile through their own efforts. (See sicha
of Shabbos Parshas Pinchas 5744.)
the period of S’firas HaOmer, the Rebbe Rayatz would make a mark in his
siddur each night to remind him where he was holding. Surely there was no
need for this, as the concept of forgetting did not apply to him. Nonetheless,
the avoda of a tzaddik requires him to go through the motions in
order to affect even the lowest levels of existence. Similarly, the Rebbe went
through the motions of exhorting us and urging us on to do more, all the while
knowing how things would play out.
Shabbos Parshas B’Shalach 5730 the Rebbe said (non-edited, free translation):
is the positive aspect to what is said about Moshiach: "Surely he has borne
our sicknesses" and "But he was wounded because of our transgressions,
he was bruised because of our iniquities," meaning that he is together with
the Jewish people and uses every means at his disposal to help them in their
circumstances. Because he is together with Israel, this extends to his power of
speech, with which he speaks words of nigleh and Chassidus to all the
Jewish people, as evidenced by the baal ha’hilula.
once asked my father-in-law, the Rebbe, "Rebbe! Even if there were
legitimate complaints against you, and [G-d] wanted to inflict punishment, why
would He choose to impair your speech, a power you have used throughout your
life to spread Judaism with mesiras nefesh, and by means of which you
were successful in establishing a dwelling place in the lower worlds? Why
particularly the power of speech, when it was a faculty you had completely
dedicated to HaKadosh Baruch Hu?"
answer is "Surely he has borne our sicknesses," as this was manifested
in my father-in-law, the Rebbe Rayatz.
is also similar to what it states about Moshiach in Sanhedrin 98a, that
he binds and unbinds his wounds one at a time, and not two wounds
simultaneously. If Israel does t’shuva, "they will
immediately be redeemed," and Moshiach must therefore be ready at all
times. But how is it possible for Moshiach to deserve these wounds in the first
relates to the concept of "I will be with him in times of trouble."
When the Jewish people are troubled and tormented, so too is Moshiach. This does
not mean that he considers these things "suffering," but a
"regular" Jew would, as there are some people who simply cannot relate
to spirituality. To them, all that exists is what their physical eyes can see.
Nonetheless, Moshiach must be together with them, in their own particular
context and situation.
though, as explained in the holy Zohar, Pharaoh punished the Jews with
mortar and brick (chomer u’leveinim), which can also be understood in
the spiritual sense, as "chomer" corresponds to the kal va’chomer
of Torah study, and "leveinim" corresponds to libun hilchasa,
the process of arriving at halacha - nonetheless, there are some Jews who
have never heard of this concept or are not aware of its explanation in Torah
Ohr. And even if they are aware of it, they do not really understand the
meaning of suffering through "kal va’chomer";
all they know is that suffering means not having enough parnasa, or it
means a literal wound or injury.
Moshiach shows these kinds of Jews as well that "I will be with him in
times of trouble." This is the advantage of Moshiach being together with
the entire Jewish people.
on the night of Simchas Torah 5745 (printed in Volume I of Hisvaaduyos)
the Rebbe stated (free translation):
after he arrived in this country, where it was possible to lead a Jewish life in
tranquility, there were obstacles in terms of physical health, especially
involving the power of speech, which was his primary method of disseminating the
wellsprings outward, i.e., the saying of Chassidus (only afterward were his
words written down), as is known to those who were alive at that time (even
though this is not something that is generally spoken about).
certain respects, this concealment was worse than the concealment he experienced
in "that" country (i.e. Russia): In "that" country, the
concealment was derived from external factors, such as the government. This wasn’t
the case, however, with the concealment he experienced here, which arose from
his own body…
general, the physical health of the body affects one’s avodas Hashem,
as explained by the Rambam. If, G-d forbid, a person’s health is compromised,
it creates obstacles and impediments in his Divine service. In this case, [the
Rebbe’s] much bigger concealment pertained to the very faculty through which
most of his avoda was accomplished.
of the professors who was treating the Rebbe at the time asked him a question:
"How does a believing Jew like yourself explain the fact that the very
faculty that is most needed is the one that is affected?" It appears that
the professor had a specific reason for asking: He realized that as a doctor,
G-d had granted him the power to heal. However, once he saw that a recovery was
impossible within the natural order, he looked for some sort of trick to effect
a refua that would transcend nature.
is when he came up with the idea to ask the above question, the intention being
that when the Rebbe would see that the state of his health was having a negative
influence on a Jew’s emuna, it would arouse him to bring about his own refua…in
a manner that transcends nature: "The tzaddik decrees, and the Holy
One, Blessed be He fulfills his command"; "The will of His servants He
are many things in the world that seem to contradict G-d’s will. People do aveiros,
steal, murder, and rob. Yet would anyone think that G-d really wants to stop
them, but nebach, it’s beyond His ability to do so? To the believing
Jew, G-d is omniscient and all-powerful. Whatever happens in the world is
according to His will, whether or not we can understand it.
the same way, the Rebbe knew exactly what would happen before and after Gimmel
Tammuz. With prescience and foresight, he taught us how to look at the world
around us and determine what reality is according to Torah.
Rebbe has also emphasized that the unique avoda of our times flows in the
direction of "below to Above." Bringing about Moshiach’s revelation
is dependent on us. No longer can we wait for explicit directives; we must act
independently, and G-d will give us special powers and abilities to know what to
avoda required of us now is different from anything we’ve ever done in
the past. No longer can we fulfill our obligation by simply studying a Rashi sicha
or going out on mivtzaim. Every action we take must be with a single goal
in mind: Moshiach. As the Rebbe commented about himself: "I am crazy about
acceptance of Moshiach’s sovereignty must come from below, from the people,
which is why we cannot wait for explicit directives. And in order to accept
Moshiach’s sovereignty, the world has to know who Moshiach is.
other words, there was no stroke and no histalkus in the usual sense. In
fact, the concept of histalkus does not pertain to the ninth generation,
which will seamlessly pass into the era of eternal life. The process of refining
the sparks of holiness has been completed. The period we are now going through
is for the sole purpose that we act as if under our own power and do all we can
to bring Moshiach.
Rebbe has placed his trust in us. He is watching each of us intently, waiting
for us to fulfill our mission. With true achdus and love for one another,
we will overcome all obstacles and make the Final Redemption a reality.
Adoneinu Moreinu V’Rabbeinu Melech HaMoshiach L’olam