Generation: What Makes Us Different
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):
Shmuel Chaim Bluming
Rosh Mesivta in Oholei Torah
Mashpia in Oholei Torah
Shneur Zalman Liberov
Head of Beis Chabad of Flatbush
Principal of Machon Chana
Mashpia and member of Vaad L’hafatzos Sichos
can we know for sure that the Rebbe is Melech HaMoshiach?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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!
put, the words of the Rebbe informed everyone that the war was in order to make
his name famous!
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.
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!
is the function of "Yechi Adoneinu," and why is it so
important, and sung at every opportunity?
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."
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
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.
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.
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!
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.
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?"
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.
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?"
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.
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."
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.
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.
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."
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.
be Hashem’s will that we will immediately merit the complete revelation of