Our Generation: What Makes Us Different

Why is there such a tumult in our generation about the Geula and the revelation of Moshiach? What is the difference between the besuras ha’Geula of the Rebbe Rayatz and the prophecy of Geula of the Rebbe MH"M? How is our shlichus expressed nowadays in preparing the world to greet Moshiach, and what are the implications of that? * Mashpiim and shluchim in an exciting conversation. * Part 3 of 3 (Click here for Part 1)

(in alphabetical order):

Rabbi Shmuel Chaim Bluming
Rosh Mesivta in Oholei Torah

Rabbi Sholom Charitonov
Mashpia in Oholei Torah

Rabbi Shneur Zalman Liberov
Head of Beis Chabad of Flatbush

Rabbi Shloma Majeski
Principal of Machon Chana

Rabbi Nachman Schapiro
Mashpia and member of Vaad L’hafatzos Sichos

How can we know for sure that the Rebbe is Melech HaMoshiach?

Rabbi Bluming: This question can be asked from two different approaches – either a Lubavitcher or a non-Lubavitcher approach. Even before Gimmel Tammuz, the outlook of many non-Lubavitchers was different than that of many Lubavitchers regarding whether they would define Moshiach according to the criteria the Rambam used to halachically determine who is chezkas Moshiach. For example, the criteria that Moshiach will strengthen Torah and mitzvos among all Jews was fulfilled in the Rebbe in an unbelievable and most outstanding way. Even though it is easy to see that the Rambam’s criteria do apply to the Rebbe, some non-Lubavitchers went so far as to prevent one hundred rabbanim from signing a psak din that was given to the Rebbe that establishes that the Rebbe is indeed chezkas Moshiach (which many other rabbanim did, of course, sign). The Rebbe considered this psak din he received to be especially important, and he even sent shluchim to read it at the tzion (gravesites) of the Rebbeim.

The same applies to now, after Gimmel Tammuz. While it would be possible, to some extent, to have a discussion concerning the manifestations of the criteria, that discussion in itself would signify a flaw in emuna of the words of the Rebbe. We claim that the Rebbe is chezkas Moshiach based on the Torah sources, but the bottom line is that we believe that the Rebbe is Moshiach because the Rebbe said so.

What did the Rebbe say? The Rebbe made many statements that allude to his being the Moshiach of the generation and repeatedly said straight out that our generation is the last generation of Galus.

A Nasi of Chassidus is in the category of yechida she’b’Torah. The Rebbe explained many times that the Nasi HaDor is the Moshiach of the generation. The Nasi has a special connection to Moshiach, whose essence is at the level of yechida. Therefore, when the Rebbe says that our generation is the last generation, it is a logical conclusion that the Rebbe is the final Redeemer.

The Rebbe didn’t only say that Moshiach is in the final generation (which would mean that he is Moshiach in actuality, but presently only having the halachic status of b’chezkas), but he said that Moshiach is here in actuality – that his existence is actually revealed and manifested in the world. He said that it was the year in which Moshiach was revealed, and he proclaimed, "Humble ones, the time of your Redemption has arrived!"He said that he has already influenced the nations within the framework of the mission to "beat their swords into plowshares" [as stated by the navi] and he built the Beis HaMikdash (Beis HaMikdash Me’at [i.e., 770] as a preparation for the Beis HaMikdash of the future) in his place in Galus. There were many other statements the Rebbe made which clearly signified that Moshiach is here now in a revealed way and doing what Moshiach is supposed to be doing.

Besides these general statements about the existence of the final Redeemer in our generation, which did not actually identify exactly who is Moshiach, the Rebbe actually identified who he meant. The Rebbe connected Moshiach’s mission, the beginning of his influence on the nations, to Moshiach, who lives in New York, and even explained that he is referring to "my teacher and father-in-law, leader of the generation, Moshiach Tzidkeinu." [The Rebbe frequently referred to himself using the name of his father-in-law, the Rebbe Rayatz.] The Rebbe connected building the Beis HaMikdash ha’Me’at in the time of Galus to the laying of the cornerstone of 770, and he laid the cornerstone in the courtyard himself. There are more examples like these.

The Rebbe refers in a sicha to a well-known contradiction concerning the building of the third Beis HaMikdash. The contradiction concerns whether Hashem or Moshiach will build the Beis HaMikdash. The Rebbe explains that the Mikdash will come down from Heaven and that Moshiach will raise up the gates that are embedded in the ground. Whoever builds the gates is considered as having built the entire Mikdash.

There was an interesting and relevant occurrence of hashgacha pratis concerning the building of Beis Rabbeinu: After the Rebbe laid the foundation stone, only the doors of 770 were erected – and whoever raises up the doors of a house is considered as having built the entire structure.

Moreover, we sang "Yechi" before the Rebbe for over a year, and the Rebbe encouraged this in front of everyone. The Rebbe came out 465 times to encourage the singing of "Yechi."

By the way, I heard a statement from one of the great mashpiim during a farbrengen after Gimmel Tammuz. He said that if someone isn’t sure if the Rebbe is Moshiach, that is an indication that he doesn’t understand the whole issue of Moshiach in general. This is because if you know from halacha what Moshiach is supposed to do in the world, you only have to think about the purpose of Moshiach and what he would do if he does exist, and you will immediately see that all of these statements of the Rebbe and all of the things he has done do refer to the Rebbe being Moshiach in a most amazing way.

Even if the Rebbe is Moshiach, is that the main point? Isn’t the main point that he is Rebbe and also happens to be Moshiach? What is the purpose of all this emphasis? If someone is a fine Chassidishe young man who davens with avoda, etc., but doesn’t believe that the Rebbe is Moshiach, is it really so bad?

Rabbi Charitonov: The basic point is that the Rebbe is Rebbe as well as Melech Moshiach. The Alter Rebbe was also Rebbe, with all the connotations of Rebbe, but Moshiach he was not. Nor were the Mitteler Rebbe and the Tzemach Tzedek, etc. But the Rebbe is Moshiach.

The truth is that all of the Rebbeim were all of one purpose and an extension of each other, but nevertheless, each one had their own specific function. The Rebbe’s function is that he is Moshiach.

To explain further: All of the Rebbeim are in the category of Moshiach. They are yechida in essence, even higher than yechida. The Alter Rebbe’s function within the category of Moshiach was chochma, the Mitteler Rebbe’s was bina, and so on. The whole matter of Moshiach developed over the years, with the specific function of each Rebbe becoming completely revealed over time. In each Rebbe’s essence was a certain aspect of Moshiach revealed down below – within its own limitations. But the Rebbe is in the category of Moshiach that has no limitations and includes all aspects of himself. His entire being is Moshiach, and there is no aspect of him that is not Moshiach.

Moshiach was the focus of the Rebbe in general every year of his nesius and even before that. When the Rebbe was on his way to America, the day he boarded the ship he wrote a thought concerning a maamer Chazal: "Ben Dovid doesn’t come until they look for a fish for a sick person and can’t find it." Afterwards, the Rebbe Rayatz came out with his holy proclamation "L’alter l’t’shuva, l’alter l’Geula," and the Rebbe was the leader in spreading this proclamation.

From the beginning of the Rebbe’s nesius, emphasis on the topic continued to increase. The Rebbe began from the very first maamer to explain clearly that the purpose of our generation is to bring the Redemption. He emphasized this more and more in the following years, until the Rebbe informed us that the existence of Moshiach is already revealed and "The time of your Redemption has arrived."

Therefore, to differentiate between Rebbe and Moshiach and to say that Moshiach is only one aspect of the Rebbe is a definite mistake. The Rebbe’s undiluted focus on Moshiach is what makes the Rebbe unique. A Chassid who wants to live with the Rebbe as the Nasi of the seventh generation must do so in a way that incorporates that unique aspect of the Rebbe – Moshiach.

In order to daven, the person has to be infused with the concept that the Rebbe is the one who is the ‘connecting intermediary’ [as Moshe Rabbeinu states (Parshas VaEschanan)]: "I am the one who stands between Hashem and you."

Rabbi Nachman Schapiro: In order to clarify why there was such a great tumult made that the Rebbe is Moshiach, it would be good to have an overview of what is unique about the Rebbe MH"M with respect to the other Rebbeim. The idea of the Rebbe-Chassid relationship has existed since the Baal Shem Tov, and especially since the Alter Rebbe. At that time, Chassidim used to visit the Rebbe, who would point out to them their particular path in avodas Hashem. But although he was Rebbe, he did not focus on the aspect of Rebbe per se, but focused instead on teaching and on avodas Hashem. The important point was learning Chassidus and davening with avoda, and the Rebbe was the advisor. Of course, there always were Chassidim who did focus on the essence of the Rebbe. But this was not the norm.

The function of a Rebbe is "I am the one who stands between Havaye and you, to tell you the word of Hashem." He is the intermediary who connects the Jews to Hashem. In the past, there was not so much emphasis on the "I am the one who stands," but on the "to tell you the word of Hashem."

The Rebbe was the one who innovated the concept of Rebbe as a focal point, the idea of connecting the Jews to the Rebbe through the essential point of having a relationship to the Rebbe. There’s a well-known letter of the Rebbe to one of the elder Chassidim who lived in France in 5708 (1948), which was still during the life of the Rebbe Rayatz. The letter demanded that the Chassid and the Chassidim in his area influence Jews to be mekushar to the Rebbe through giving maamud, etc.

In that letter the Rebbe gave an example from someone who did not learn in Lubavitch and wasn’t a prominent Chassid, but he did know how to appreciate the Rebbe, and as soon as he arrived in a new country he began to acquire letters for the Rebbe from people in his city. The Rebbe explained that writing to the Rebbe and giving maamud is what hiskashrus entails.

This point became stronger with the passage of time. The point was simply to connect Jews to the Rebbe’s essence. A few months prior to the Six-Day War, the Rebbe explained the Haftora of Parshas VaEira, which tells that Hashem makes wars with the purpose of "You open your mouth," which means that the name of the navi would become famous through those wars. This was a clear allusion to the Six-Day War that occurred a few months later. In 5751, a few days before the Gulf War broke out, this sicha became a famous pamphlet that was edited by the Rebbe (chapter 36 VaEira 2, see Amud 36 and on). This was no hint; you could point to it with your finger!

Simply put, the words of the Rebbe informed everyone that the war was in order to make his name famous!

Afterwards, the Rebbe began to make it clear that the Rebbe is the leader of the generation. This message, however, was not accepted by all Jews. How could you suddenly take the Rebbe and elevate him above everybody else? The Rebbe said that everyone in every place should come to "Tel Talpios" [the mountain towards which every mouth davens] of 770. People outside Lubavitch found it impossible to expect that their Rebbe would have to go to the Lubavitcher Rebbe, or that they would have to. This idea was emphasized when the Rebbe began to say that the Rebbe is not just the leader of the generation but is the Moshiach of the generation, and more – Moshiach Tzidkeinu and Rebbe of klal Yisroel. That’s why there was so much emphasis on it – because he explained that he was the Rebbe of all Jews.

Generally, the Chassidim call the room of the Rebbe "Heichal Moshiach." But in past generations they did not make a big deal about these kinds of ideas so much. Why? Because the Rebbe did not. But when the Rebbe informed everyone publicly of his being Melech HaMoshiach in actuality – then this became the inyan of the Rebbe!

What is the function of "Yechi Adoneinu," and why is it so important, and sung at every opportunity?

Rabbi Shloma Majeski: As is known, the source of the whole idea to say "Yechi" is the sicha of Beis Nissan 5748. In this sicha, the Rebbe explains that after completing chaim (68) years since the beginning of the nesius of the Rebbe Rayatz, it’s now the beginning of the avoda of the crowning of the king and infusing life into the king. And this avoda is done through the proclamation of "Yechi Ha Melech."

The Rebbe explained that with this proclamation we bring Moshiach, because through it we add life to the king and we bring about, "Arise and sing, Dovid Malka Meshicha."

The Rebbe attributed such significance to this idea that he also explained that the general proclamation of "ad masai?!" (which expresses the yearning to leave Galus) also contains the essential point of crowning and adding life to the king.

But now we have a question: Why proclaim it constantly, morning, noon, and night? The reason is simple: We learn this from the Rebbe. Every time the Rebbe went to daven they sang "Yechi Adoneinu," and this came about to be the central point connecting us to the Rebbe.

Additionally, and this is the key point: In the sicha of Chaf-Ches Nissan, the Rebbe screamed, "How could it be that when ten men gather they don’t clamor about Moshiach?" Today, since the Rebbe made the idea of Yechi such a central point, our shouting about Geula is expressed through this proclamation, and we, therefore, try to say it at every opportunity!

How many times in davening do we acknowledge that Hashem is king? Maybe more than a hundred times. Why? Because at this time we are crowning the king, and we do it with enthusiasm. Likewise, as the generations come closer to the time of Geula, when Moshiach is in the world and influencing it, it becomes a central point that should concern us now, and we acknowledge it constantly.

Rabbi Zalman Liberow: The Rebbe Rayatz told of one Jew whom the Misnagdim considered a gaon, who lived in Shventzian. He was so against the Baal Shem Tov that he fought against him for seven years – four years before the passing of the Baal Shem Tov and three years after. He organized the entire opposition. Then he stopped. The Misnagdim couldn’t understand why he stopped, and he didn’t explain why. They asked him, "Did they tell you that Chassidim are shomrei Torah and mitzvos?"

He admitted that that was the reason, but he didn’t explain further. In his day there had been no Chassidim in Shventzian, but after he stopped fueling the opposition they slowly began to move in. Some of his grandchildren were Chassidim, even though he was the head of the Misnagdim.

When the gaon turned 93, which was in the time of the Alter Rebbe, the people of Shventzian asked the Alter Rebbe to come visit them, and he visited for three weeks. He was very lebedik. On the last Shabbos, Shabbos VaYeira, there was a debate in the beis midrash. After the Alter Rebbe spoke, they asked the gaon to speak. His speech was a confession that he had acted in a way contrary to what Hashem would want. One day while he was learning, he fell asleep over his Gemara, Meseches Menachos, and the Baal Shem Tov came to him in a dream and asked him a question: says, ‘And you shall inquire, investigate, and ask well.’ When did you do that?"

He then decided to investigate the true state of affairs of the Chassidim and immediately changed his mind about them. "Today I merited to see the Holy of Holies who brought thousands upon thousands close to Yiddishkeit. I said SheHecheyanu with Hashem’s name," the gaon testified.

This story contains an important point that is the basis of all endeavor. We have to investigate everything very well. What is a prophecy and what do we learn from it? What is the idea of "Yechi"? Ten years have passed, and we are obligated to know the sichos. As the Rebbe replied to someone who needed support: "With everything that was said this past Shabbos and still the words didn’t strengthen him, I don’t know what will."

The first thing we need to do is look at the question: What did we do with the idea of Yechi, such an important and essential point? Let’s change the perspective of this question just slightly and everything will come into focus. Why did the Rebbe make such a big fuss over it? The Rebbe is the one who turned the topic of Yechi into something basic and central. The Rebbe was the one who, when they were singing before him, encouraged exclusively the singing of "Yechi." The Rebbe is the one who, at the time of Zach Adar (when to our sorrow we could not see the Rebbe for davening, for sichos, dollars, etc., which we have a great yearning for) chose specifically "Yechi" to be the connection between the Rebbe and us. And he also was the one who publicized the singing in front of the whole world, encouraging us to sing this significant song on Yud Shvat 5753.

What’s the idea behind saying "Yechi" often? In addition to what we said before, it’s worthwhile to add something that not everyone knows: There is a sicha from Erev Rosh HaShana 5752, in which the Rebbe says that the Tzemach Tzedek did everything in his power for the sake of revealing the name of Moshiach, and for the sake of Moshiach himself. The Rebbe mentioned this to indicated that he is blessed that his name, Moshiach, will be publicized throughout the world. Since the winter of 5752, this whole topic of Moshiach and Geula has begun with a shturem, when the Rebbe began to explain that the existence of Moshiach is revealed, and that the shlichus of the leader of the generation, Moshiach Tzidkeinu, has begun.

Besides this, at the end of 5743, the Rebbe referred to the acronym of the new year, Taf-Shin-Daled-Mem. The Rebbe said that we have to describe the character of that year as "T’hei Shnas divrei Menachem," but "so as not to agitate the world," we’ll call it "divrei Moshiach."

After the Rebbe said that the world is ready, he began to speak clearly about the identity of Moshiach, and even publicized it himself throughout the world.

May it be Hashem’s will that we will immediately merit the complete revelation of Moshiach.


Rabbi Shneur Zalman Liberov
Why did the Rebbe make such a big fuss over it? The Rebbe is the one who turned the topic of Yechi into something basic and central. The Rebbe was the one who, when they were singing before him, encouraged exclusively the singing of "Yechi."


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