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?
(Click here for
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
the first part of our conversation we concluded that the fact is
that we are on the threshold of Geula. Since Gimmel Tammuz
5754 a “new generation” has arisen that has never seen or
heard the Rebbe in person. Even many of those who did see the
Rebbe have “forgotten,” and “live with the Rebbe” less
than they used to. The question is, until we merit the full
revelation of Moshiach, there are those who say that the emphasis
should be on achieving a general hiskashrus to the Rebbe,
rather than focusing on Moshiach. What do you say?
Pinchas Korf: Throughout
the years, our hiskashrus to the Rebbe was expressed in our
daily “living with him.” He davened with us, farbrenged
with us, gave us dollars, and guided us. Even those who didn’t
live in Crown Heights would always keep in touch and be up to date
on what was going on here, getting summaries of the sichos,
reports of special events, etc.
when we don’t merit to see the Rebbe and we miss all these
experience with the Rebbe, our hiskashrus is expressed
primarily in that we believe that we will immediately merit to
have it all again in an even greater way than before.
is impossible to separate the concept of hiskashrus from
Moshiach, for the first rule of hiskashrus is to be totally
devoted to that which the Rebbe is devoted. Therefore, since the
Rebbe’s focus is on Moshiach, his mekusharim must do the
Rebbe Rayatz once farbrenged and spoke with a koch about
chinuch and about building chadarim, etc. Among
those present was the Chassid R’ Itche der Masmid who was known
for his outstanding piety and asceticism. In the middle of the farbrengen,
the Rebbe turned to R’ Itche and said, “If you are involved in
tashbar (education of children) then you are mine. But if
not, then you may still be Itche [i.e., a maskil and an oveid,
etc.] but you have no connection with me.” This means that hiskashrus
must be expressed by being involved with the issue in which
the Rebbe is koching at that time.
Y.Y. Kesselman: When
we examine the sources and see how the Rebbe stated that the
gateway to all inyanei avoda is kabbalas pnei Moshiach, we
see how wrong the
idea of shifting the focus to general hiskashrus is.
Rebbe connected every matter to the avoda of all the
generations, whose ultimate purpose is to bring Moshiach, and
stated that we have begun the avoda and it is long since we
have been in the middle of it, to the point that it was even
finished already. Therefore, since we have not yet merited the
complete Redemption, something still remains to be done, and this
“something” is: kabbalas pnei Moshiach Tzidkeinu b’poel
mamash! This couldn’t possibly stop being central to our
task for it completes the avoda of all the generations!
Yitzchok Meir Gurary: Obviously
those who make this claim do not understand what it means to have
Moshiach at the top of the agenda. As far as the Rebbe is
concerned, the coming of Moshiach is not just an announcement, but
a process which has already begun. The significance of this is
that the kochos we receive from the Rebbe are far loftier,
and correspondingly the demands of us are greater. Today the Rebbe
demands of us an incomparably greater level of hiskashrus than
ever before, so that we can carry out our mission in an
incomparably greater way, a mission suitable for Moshiach’s
tzeiten (Moshiach’s times). In other words, the inner
significance of Moshiach demands a far greater hiskashrus.
mentioned, the Rebbe and Moshiach aren’t two separate things;
the Rebbe is Moshiach! We are presently in the seventh
generation in which the Rebbe has drawn the Shechina down
to this physical world so that Hashem can now be revealed in this
physical world. Even according to nigleh, i.e., according
to halacha, the rabbanim paskened that the
Rebbe is b’chezkas Moshiach.
we must educate our children about the concept of “Rebbe,” to
start off with, but there’s no reason why we shouldn’t
educate them about the Rebbe being Moshiach. Of course we must
educate ourselves, and all those who learn from us, about what
Moshiach is through learning inyanei Moshiach and Geula,
including the revelations drawn down by Moshiach. I’m sure that
whoever has a hergesh in this can more readily convey this
inner feeling to friends and mushpaim.
Nachman Shapiro: Let’s
say that one of the elder Chassidim who lived b’mesirus
nefesh in Russia, would come and farbreng and speak
about the need for literal mesirus nefesh. Imagine that he
repeats all the amazing things the Rebbe Rayatz said, that all mekusharim
must mobilize to fight the wars of Hashem with literal mesirus
nefesh in a war against the Yevsektzia and communists, who
want to take Jewish children away from Yiddishkeit, etc. In short,
what if he says that the call of the hour is war against the
Yevsektzia. Would we call that hiskashrus?!
hiskashrus entails, rather, koching in those things
which the Rebbe kochs in now! During the time of the Rebbe
Rayatz the koch was in mesirus nefesh against the
communists. That was the point of connection with the Rebbe at
that time. When the Rebbe MH”M began shlichus, then the
point of hiskashrus became shlichus. When the Rebbe
started Mivtza T’fillin, if someone would have said:
I’m not doing that. My hiskashrus is only in bolstering
the existing Chabad mosdos, would we call that hiskashrus?
Certainly not, because as soon as the Rebbe started Mivtza
T’fillin and it was the call of the hour, that was the
channel of hiskashrus for everything else.
our day, when the Rebbe told us that the avodas ha’shlichus is
over and that now everything has to revolve around kabbalas
pnei Moshiach, whoever doesn’t do this is not mekushar.
Yosef Yitzchok Butman: Hiskashrus
Moshiach are not mutually exclusive. Moshiach is not just another inyan.
It is the tochen pnimi (inner purpose) of everything, as
the Rebbe said, kabbalas pnei Moshiach is the gateway
through which everything must go.
staff of mashpiim in our yeshiva in Lud speak a lot
about the Rebbe-Chassid relationship, since most of the talmidim
did not see the Rebbe, and even those who did were little
children at the time.
can we educate them? We stress that the Rebbe is connected to
every one of us in a personal way. The Rebbe is involved with
everything one needs, starting with finding a chavrusa and
including requests such as wanting to be a lamdan in nigleh
and Chassidus, an oveid, a pnimi, etc. The Rebbe
is the head of us all, the leader who worries about all the
details. In this framework we emphasize that the Rebbe’s goal is
to bring Moshiach. The essence of all the learning, the avodas
ha’t’filla, the hafatzas ha’maayanos, etc., is
Moshiach. This is how one fulfills the directive we mentioned
earlier that all peulos should be infused with kabbalas
remember how decades ago there was a Chassidic exhibit in Beit
Shazar in Kfar Chabad. It was organized by Rabbi Zimroni Tzik, shaliach
in Bat Yam, who prepared the program and sent it to twenty or
so askanei Anash. He had planned on putting up a large sign
at the entrance to the exhibit that said: Eimasai k’asi mar -
l’ch’she’yafutzu maayonosecha chutza (When are you
coming, Master [Moshiach]? When your wellsprings spread outward).
In other words, that the point of it all is Moshiach.
of the askanim critiqued his plans. One of them said in
anger: Is this what we were taught – that all of Chassidus is
for Moshiach?! What about all the farbrengens, the niggunim,
the tears of avoda pnimis, iskafia, zikuch ha’midos,
later in the ‘80’s, when the Rebbe had already shaken up the
world with the subject of Moshiach, I met that askan and
asked him what he thought now about what he had said back then. He
didn’t remember saying any such thing, and absolutely denied it.
the point of this anecdote? Starting from the beginning of the
‘80’s and most especially in 5751-5752, the Rebbe innovated
the subject of Moshiach and put it at the top of the list. For
this reason, this has to be the tochen pnimi of hiskashrus.
In a way, to be involved in the Rebbe’s inyanim today
without the inyan of Moshiach, is like learning Torah and
forgetting the main thing, the Giver of the Torah.
Levi Yitzchok Ginsberg: I
would like to respond with a question: When the Rebbe came out
with Mivtza Moshiach, which everybody at the time agreed
was the call of the hour, was there anybody who thought that if
somebody had a problem with putting on t’fillin, for
example, that we wouldn’t help him immediately? Would anyone
have thought that by doing so it was contradicting the fact that
Moshiach was the primary subject of the day? Obviously, if there
is a problem, especially one as central as a connection with the
Rebbe, you have to deal with it seriously, but this doesn’t
contradict Mivtza Moshiach!
Shlomo Zalman Landau: I
don’t think there’s anything to discuss here, because as long
as the Rebbe didn’t change the agenda, nothing can change. The
Rebbe clearly stated that the only thing left is kabbalas pnei
Moshiach. So how can we exchange this essential matter which
pertains to the final Geula with anything else?
would like to ask: The Rebbe, who is known to all as a holy and
wise man, certainly knew that 5761 would arrive and we still would
not see him. Why then didn’t he think of this important point
and let us know about this [i.e., any change] in advance? The
difference in “then” and “now” is absurd. It comes from
confusing the difference between what the Rebbe said and what one
feels. The Rebbe says that the subject of Moshiach is the call of
the hour, and I feel that the times have changed. If something has
indeed changed, let the Rebbe come and tell us!
the blurring of what the Rebbe said and what we feel, I heard a
nice vort recently from a shaliach. There are those
who are mekushar to what the Rebbe said, and those who are mekushar
to what the Rebbe meant to say. In other words, there are
those who open a book and read what the Rebbe said and edited, and
live according to that. Then there are others who look for all
sorts of “inner meanings” and p’shetlach based on
their feelings. This is where these ideas about “another era”
are coming from.
is a famous story about a maskil who came to one of the rabbanim
of earlier times and tried to convince him to “fix up” the
Torah and to update it for modern times. Among other things, the maskil
said: I’m sure that if the Torah was given today it would
look entirely different. The rav answered him with the
merchant went to a fair that took place every year. There, he
presented his wares and earned a nice profit, which supported him
for most of the year. One year the roads were very muddy, the rain
and lightning didn’t stop, and the merchant was afraid he
wouldn’t get to the fair on time. Aside from the fact that he
wouldn’t earn any money, he would also be left with all his
merchant came up with a plan. He made a deal with a local wagon
driver that the latter take him to the fair and if he got him
there on time, he would get double or triple the usual fare. But
if the merchant was late, then not only would the wagon driver not
get paid but he would have to pay him for the loss he incurred.
wagon driver agreed to the terms and they set off, but the roads
were impossible and the merchant was late to the fair. When the
merchant demanded that the wagon driver fulfill the terms of the
deal and pay him for his losses, the wagon driver refused to do
so, saying that he had done all he could and it was enough that he
wasn’t going to be paid for his efforts.
two of them went to a rav who said, as the merchant had
expected, that the wagon driver had to keep his end of the deal.
The wagon driver didn’t give in and asked for the source of his psak.
The rav said: This is a din Torah. The wagon driver,
who was an ignoramus like all wagon drivers, asked: When was this
Torah given? The rav answered: On the 6th of Sivan so and
so many years ago.
wagon driver thought for a moment and then shouted: You say the
Torah was given in Sivan, in the summer. Big deal! Then the roads
are fine! I’m certain, concluded the wagon driver victoriously,
that if the Torah was given in the winter the psak would be
Dovid Offen: The
Rebbe foresaw this concern and, therefore, connected the subject
of hiskashrus to the subject of Moshiach. How? In the last maamer
we have merited to receive to date, “V’Ata Tetzaveh,”
the Rebbe says that one must be ingantzen tzutreiselt
(utterly shaken up) by the situation in Exile. The Rebbe
goes on to say that when one is in a position of material and
spiritual plenty, he should still be broken by the lack of G-dly
revelation. Being broken by this circumstance brings Moshiach!
one can say that the Rebbe was hinting to our situation today. We
have material and spiritual plenty, but we are lacking the G-dly
revelation: We don’t see the Rebbe! By infusing ourselves with
the awareness that there is a Rebbe and the understanding of what
he is all about, and by being broken over not seeing him, this
spurs us on to do all we can to bring about his complete
revelation. We do this by fulfilling the Rebbe’s directives for
our times, such as learning inyanei Moshiach and Geula.