From Our Mashpiim
Interview by Shmuel
in Lubavitch yeshivos around the world discuss inyanei
Moshiach and Geula with a focus on questions such as: What is
the source of our absolute bitachon in the immediate
revelation of the Rebbe MH"M? Why is the constant
involvement in the besuras ha’Geula so important? How can we
fortify ourselves during this difficult time?
for Part 1)
Yosef Yitzchok Butman
mashpia Tomchei Tmimim, Lud
Levi Yitzchok Ginsberg
mashpia Tomchei Tmimim, Kfar Chabad
Yitzchok Meir Gurary
mashpia Tomchei Tmimim, Montreal
Yosef Yitzchok Kesselman
mashpia Tomchei Tmimim, South Africa
mashpia Oholei Torah, Crown Heights
Shlomo Zalman Landau
mashpia Tomchei Tmimim, Bnei Brak
mashpia Toras Emes, Yerushalayim
Yosef Yitzchok Offen
mashpia Tomchei Tmimim, Tzfas and Yerushalayim
mashpia Oholei Torah, Crown Heights
People ask: The Rebbe said that
we are at the hechste tzeit (the most auspicious time) for Geula.
Could it be that it was true at the time but isn’t true any longer? There was
a time when obtaining a letter in a Torah was the call of the hour. Then there
was the campaign to study Rambam, and so on. Perhaps one can say that times are
different now, and maybe the call of the hour is hiskashrus, or the like.
Rabbi Gurary: The
question has two parts: 1) maybe it’s time to get busy with something else, 2)
maybe we should be busy with hiskashrus now.
First of all, our work is as
the work of a servant, with utter kabbalas ol. The Rebbe MH"M gives
us orders, and we do our work based on those orders without mixing in our
intellect. The Rebbe’s reasons for things are far beyond us, and all we can do
is carry them out.
As for the first question, let
us examine the concept of the end of the avodas ha’birurim (the Divine
service of refining the world). This new era signifies that we have risen above
the old level of avodas birurim, which prevailed for thousands of
years since the giving of the Torah, and obviously we aren’t going back to
Today, the only stage that
remains, which is the one we find ourselves in now, is the level of actually
bringing the Redemption – the result of completing the avodas ha’birurim.
In the sicha of VaYishlach 5752, the Rebbe put it like this: "a
special avoda to actually bring about the revelation in the world."
It is impossible to say the avoda has changed and we should now do
something else, since this is the only avoda left before the Redemption.
As far as the second point
about hiskashrus, obviously hiskashrus is the foundation of the
entire structure of the Rebbe-Chassid bond. However, bringing Moshiach in no way
contradicts hiskashrus! On the contrary, it demonstrates another, higher
level of hiskashrus.
The Rebbe and Moshiach are one.
As the Rebbe emphasized many times, the Rebbe is the leader of the generation,
whose purpose it is to reveal the yechida – this is also the role of
Moshiach. So what does Moshiach add to what the Rebbe already does? Moshiach
refers to a very lofty revelation which brings the concept of the Rebbe
down fully into the world.
Previously there were aspects
of the Rebbe which did not fully penetrate the world and remained solely with
the Rebbe. In the past one could suffice with the concept of "grasping the
doorknob," meaning that someone may not have been capable of doing
more than grasping the doorknob. Today, however, this isn’t good enough,
because each of us has all the abilities to fulfill all the Rebbe’s directives
from beginning to end. One merely has to resolve to do so.
The Rebbe’s announcement of
Redemption, which stressed that we have – at least to some degree – begun
the Yemos HaMoshiach, demands a far loftier level of hiskashrus.
Rabbi Shapiro: To
clarify matters, it’s important to contrast Mivtza Moshiach with other mivtzaim.
The Rebbe’s mivtzaim can be divided into two general categories:
1) Mivtzaim connected
with the present, initiated at certain time periods in order to resolve
negative circumstances – serving to guard, protect, or rescue. Take Mivtza
T’fillin, for example. Since t’fillin can protect us
from our enemies, this campaign was established during the Six-Day War, when
Israeli soldiers needed protection and salvation.
The campaign of lighting
Shabbos candles, which includes little girls, was established to increase the
light as a result of the spiritual darkness that began prevailing in the world
in a greater measure. This is the case with most or all of the mivtzaim
whose purpose the Rebbe explained to us at the time.
2) Mivtzaim connected with
the future were established to hasten Moshiach’s coming, such as the
campaign to study Rambam, whose purpose is to unite the Jewish people and bring
is different than both categories. For example, the directive to study inyanei
Moshiach wasn’t established in connection with an auspicious time for
Redemption, such as a keitz – for a keitz can pass and then a
different issue is emphasized. It was established, rather, as an actual reality
affecting our avoda, for the buttons have been polished and the avodas
ha’birurim has been completed, and we must open our eyes and see how
everything is prepared for the meal of l’asid lavo.
The difference is obvious. When
a directive was associated with a specific situation, one could say that the
time passed (if the Rebbe so indicates). However, the avoda of kabbalas
pnei Moshiach must be done until we actually greet Moshiach. Nothing can
suddenly change it.
Rabbi Butman: It’s
important to keep repeating what the Rebbe said at the Kinus HaShluchim 5752. In
that sicha the Rebbe laid out the agenda on the topic of Moshiach. The
Rebbe explained that kabbalas pnei Moshiach Tzidkeinu is the last thing
remaining to bring Moshiach after the completion of avodas ha’shlichus!
This means that this is the final thing that remains until Moshiach’s coming,
and nothing else will follow it until Moshiach arrives!
Rabbi Ginsberg: The
truth is diametrically opposed to the way the question was presented. The fact
is that from moment to moment, the hechsta tzeit becomes greater and
greater, for we are ever closer to Moshiach’s coming. The Rebbe said that the
fact that Moshiach is delayed should actually strengthen us even more, for it
means we are even closer to Moshiach’s coming.
When the Rebbe said years ago
that it was the hechsta tzeit for Moshiach’s coming, he knew exactly
when Moshiach would come. And if the hechsta tzeit was then, all the more
Rabbi Kesselman: This
question, like many other questions, comes from not properly examining what the
Rebbe said. When the Rebbe said that now is the hechsta tzeit, he
explained that the avodas ha’birurim is over and that Moshiach is
standing at the threshold. Since the avoda has been completed, the time
for Redemption is now.
This is not just another keitz
that may have passed, but the conclusion of our avoda which began after
Adam’s sin! This is why there’s no going back.
You all speak about the vital
need to do all we can to bring Moshiach. When we saw the Rebbe regularly, he
spurred us on to action, whether with his sichos, directives, or by
encouraging the singing of "Yechi." Now that so much time has
passed and we don’t see the Rebbe, it’s really trying. What can we do about
Rabbi Korf: We
must always know that now, too, the Rebbe isn’t "resting," ch’v,
but is certainly doing all he can to bring the Redemption. The Rebbe alluded to
this situation in his sicha of Chayei Sara and said that this is the
final action to bring Moshiach. This should drive us constantly to do our part
in bringing the Redemption.
Rabbi Gurary: Examining
the inner content of things gives us the proper perspective. Here too, examining
the significance of the darkness will lead us to the desired result.
In the brief maamarim of
the Alter Rebbe is an explanation of the lightning at Matan Torah.
The maamer explains the idea behind "and Moshe approached the thick
cloud, there where G-d was," saying that the emphasis,
"there," within the darkness and thick cloud, within the concealment,
is where the advantage of avoda can be found. This is the greatness of
Moshe: that he did not fear the thick cloud. He approached it, for he was
certain that it contained a mission that included the merit and ability to rise
to an extremely elevated state in fulfilling Hashem’s intentions.
The maamer goes on to
explain that our main work is also conducted within the thick cloud. We are
below the level of Moshe and we need lightning, i.e., revelations that appear
from time to time and immediately disappear. The lightning protects us from
sinking into the darkness and thick cloud, and taking the tzimtzum
literally. However, the lightning doesn’t always appear. It only comes
periodically to strengthen us, for our main work is within the dark cloud.
The same applies to us. When
the Rebbe told us "do all you can," this meant doing our own work. All
the revelations we had received until then directly from the Rebbe, and which we
continue to receive today, are intermittent – in order to strengthen us for
the job at hand, which must be completed in darkness.
In answer to the question
concerning the difficulty, that itself gives us strength. For the purpose of avoda
is realized specifically within obscurity, and it is now that we have the
ability to finish the job.
Rabbi Shapiro: As
far as our not meriting the Rebbe’s non-stop encouragement, we must point out
that on the other hand, in this period of concealment we are more driven to
"do all that you can." We can definitely say that the fulfillment of
the directive of "do all that you can" and the cry of ad masai,
which is said not because we were told to, has only happened since Chaf-Zayin
Adar, and more particularly, since Gimmel Tammuz.
Today, the very thought about
how things ought to be relative to the current circumstances, gives us the surge
of energy needed to carry out and continue the activities that are undertaken to
bring about the hisgalus. Each of us feels the personal responsibility
more and more.
Rabbi Y.Y. Offen: A
Chassid knows that when the Rebbe says something, along with the directive comes
the empowerment to fulfill it. Concerning Moshiach, through hiskashrus to
the Rebbe, the Chassid lives with Moshiach. He is excited about the imminent
Redemption for two reasons:
1) Because of his love for the
Rebbe, he "loves what his beloved loves," as it says in the HaYom
Yom. We "live with Moshiach" and rejoice over the imminent
Redemption, since the Rebbe "lives with Moshiach" and rejoices over
the imminent Redemption.
2) More importantly, a Chassid’s
hiskashrus to the Rebbe has to be in such a way that he becomes
"one" with the Rebbe, i.e., that he is just like one body with the
Rebbe, as the foot is to the head. Since a Chassid knows that he is the foot of
a complete body, and in the head of this body there are the Rebbe’s eyes, and
the Rebbe – with his eyes – already sees the Redemption, this knowledge is
enough to uplift his spirits and put him in a Moshiachdike mood, living with
Moshiach and rejoicing over the Redemption.
When we see something that
makes us happy to the point of dancing, the feet dance without seeing the cause
for the dancing. The foot’s inability to see doesn’t stop the feet from
dancing, since they are utterly subservient to the head and know that if the
head sees it, that is reason enough to dance.
So, too, with us. The knowledge
that the head sees the Redemption is enough for all the mekusharim to the
head to begin living with Moshiach and rejoicing over the Redemption.
However, this is only in a
"makif" (encompassing, superficial) kind of way. In order for
this enthusiasm to be properly internalized, there must be understanding!
Rabbi Y.Y. Offen: First
of all, Chassidim never negated chitzoniyus. It’s true that they always
emphasized that it’s forbidden to suffice with chitzoniyus, but
at the same time they knew that even chitzoniyus has value. So too, in
this case. The chitzoniyus serves to enable us to "live with
Moshiach" in our actions, but if we want to live with Moshiach in a way
that it permeates our minds and hearts, the Rebbe told us to learn inyanei
Moshiach and Geula. Learning causes our "intellect to be full
and saturated with the understanding and grasp of inyanei Moshiach and Geula
in Torah, and from the intellect it spreads and penetrates the emotions of the
heart, until it affects one’s actions."
acquired only by learning Chassidus and through the avoda of Chassidus.
Contemplating G-dliness and the concept of ein od bilvado (there is none
other than Him) will produce the same feeling of ein od bilvado that
everyone will feel and see in Yemos HaMoshiach. This is called living with
Moshiach. Concerning the actual coming of Moshiach, through learning inyanei
Moshiach and Geula and knowing what will take place when Moshiach
comes, one lives with Moshiach.
Furthermore, there’s a rule
that states "from the reward we can know its essence." Since the
reward for learning Chassidus is Moshiach’s coming, obviously the essence of
Chassidus is Moshiach. There is a difference between learning Chassidus in the
sixth generation and learning Chassidus in our generation, the seventh. In the
sixth generation, when Moshiach was still in the first Heaven, i.e., Moshiach
was still more spiritual, the Chassidus at that time was also more spiritual. In
our generation, whose task it is to bring the Divine presence down to earth, we
see that our Chassidus is more tangible and reaches "outward" even
Rabbi Ginsberg: This
is why it is so vital that we learn the weekly Dvar Malchus of 5751-5752.
As long as we are not hearing new sichos from the Rebbe, these are our
weekly sichos and horaos.
We see how pertinent these sichos
are to our times, in that they are rich with inyanei Moshiach and
Geula in general and the besuras ha’Geula in particular. These sichos
give us extra encouragement each time we learn them, and the more you delve into
them the more the contents become palpable and alive.
Someone once said to me: Big
deal, so people print all sorts of disconnected paragraphs on the topic of
Redemption in order to give the impression that the Rebbe really expressed these
"extreme" views. My reply was that, on the contrary, if you would
learn the entire sicha inside, you would see that these quotes are only a
pale reflection of what’s actually going on in the sicha. The more you
think about what the Rebbe is saying, the more you will see that the Rebbe goes
The Rebbe provided us with a
fantastic message which gives us the strength and most importantly, the chayus
and energy to live with Moshiach and to bring about his revelation now!
I’d also like to mention that
learning these sichos is an important part of learning inyanei
Moshiach and Geula, which is "the straight path to actually
bringing Moshiach Tzidkeinu."
When my brother-in-law and
friend, R’ Tuvia Peles, initiated the printing of the "Dvar Malchus
– Chiddushim U’Biurim B’Hilchos Melachim," which included the
Rebbe’s sichos on inyanei Moshiach and Geula, he received
an additional directive from the Rebbe to add the most recent sichos.
This shows the importance of learning these sichos, in addition to
learning inyanei Moshiach and Geula in general.
Indeed, we see that those who koch
zich in learning inyanei Moshiach and Geula in general,
and specifically the sichos of the year 5751-5752, are stronger when it
comes to inyanei Moshiach. In fact, from day to day they get stronger and
put greater efforts into doing all they can to bring Moshiach.
Rabbi Butman: Throughout
Jewish history, in periods of G-dly concealment, the faith and stubbornness of
the Jewish people always came to the fore. The test of faith in these
circumstances revealed awesome and unique powers which the nation did not know
it possessed. The reason is obvious. When Hashem puts us into various
situations, He simultaneously gives us the abilities to handle them. On a deeper
level, Hashem puts us into these situations in order for the Jewish people to
reveal these strengths.
The concealment we now
experience in which we do not see our king, aside from the confusion which
derives from this state of affairs, enables us all to reveal a far greater level
of faith than we ever exhibited before. Today, more than ever, we feel the power
of "stubbornness for Redemption," as the Rebbe said on Chaf-Ches
It’s important to stress that
this uncovering of our kochos through tests doesn’t come without work.
The Jewish people have always had to demonstrate mesirus nefesh. In turn,
we have received greater strength to withstand our tests.
The same applies nowadays. We
certainly cannot sit with folded hands. Every Chassid knows that without the
Rebbe, he is utterly empty. All hashpaos must come through hiskashrus to
the Rebbe. In order to reveal these amazing kochos, we must strengthen
our hiskashrus to the Rebbe so that he will give us these kochos.
How do we do this? It’s
important to focus on the Rebbe’s directive to study inyanei Moshiach and
Geula. The Rebbe explained that this is the straight path to bring the
Redemption, and that it prepares us to live with Moshiach. In other words,
learning helps us reveal the kochos we have from the Rebbe to fulfill our
task in thought, speech, and action as a preparation to bringing Moshiach.
I’d like to mention a point
that needs emphasizing. When the Rebbe gave us the directive to study inyanei
Moshiach and Geula, he specified that this directive included all
sorts of people: those in yeshiva, those in business, as well as women,
and children. The Rebbe did not want this study to remain the domain of
scholars, yeshiva bachurim and those in kollel. The reason
for this is, as we said earlier, in order to reveal the powers within every one
of us. We all have to do all that we can. So we all have to
connect to the Rebbe through learning inyanei Moshiach and Geula.
Aside from the chayus we ought to get from learning and thinking about
these most recent sichos, we can also gain chayus from looking at
what is going on around us. Whoever examines what is going on objectively sees
that we are in a particularly G-dly state. The world is becoming more
Redemption-like from day to day.
What is Redemption? Redemption
is defined as the revelation of G-dliness in the world, the revelation of Divine
providence, of miracles and wonders – all being connected to G-d’s oneness.
We have been witness to a
greater and greater revelation of G-dliness. If you open your eyes, you
immediately see Divine providence accompanying you. Wonders and miracles have
become commonplace. Just look at the phenomenon of receiving answers in the Igros
Kodesh, which has become so routine that we have stopped getting excited
We’re talking about open
daily miracles. Just today I wrote a letter to the Rebbe and put it in a volume
of Igros Kodesh, and received a clear answer in a letter dated with today’s
date! In the letter right before it, the Rebbe mentions the name of my
grandfather, Rabbi Yaakov Landau, z’l.
I recently celebrated the bar
mitzva of my oldest son. I wasn’t sure whether to mark the occasion in
Eretz Yisroel, where we live, or in Beis Chayeinu. I received a series of
incredible answers in the Igros Kodesh which guided us as to how and
where to celebrate the bar mitzva.
here to continue.)