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Wisdom From Our Mashpiim
Interview by Shmuel Alexander

Mashpiim 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?

Part 2
(Click here for Part 1)


Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok Butman
mashpia Tomchei Tmimim, Lud

Rabbi Levi Yitzchok Ginsberg
mashpia Tomchei Tmimim, Kfar Chabad

Rabbi Yitzchok Meir Gurary
mashpia Tomchei Tmimim, Montreal

Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok Kesselman
mashpia Tomchei Tmimim, South Africa

Rabbi Pinchas Korf
mashpia Oholei Torah, Crown Heights

Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Landau
mashpia Tomchei Tmimim, Bnei Brak

Rabbi Dovid Offen
mashpia Toras Emes, Yerushalayim

Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok Offen
mashpia Tomchei Tmimim, Tzfas and Yerushalayim

Rabbi Nachman Shapiro
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 that now.

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 the Redemption.

Mivtza Moshiach 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 so now!

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 this?

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."

Pnimiyus is 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 more.

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 much further!

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 Nissan.

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.

Rabbi Landau: 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 about it.

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.

(Click here to continue.)


Rabbi Levi Yitzchok Ginsberg
When the Rebbe said years ago that it was the most auspicious time for Moshiach’s coming, he knew exactly when Moshiach would come. And if the most auspicious time was then, all the more so now!

Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok Offen
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.


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