"Wild Talk" About Moshiach

Shluchim active in Mivtza Moshiach share original ideas * Excerpts from roundtable discussion at a "Yom Sh’Kulo Moshiach" * PART 1 OF 2




Moderator: Rabbi Shlomo


Zalman Lepkivker

Member of the hanhala of Yeshivas Chabad – Tzfas


Rabbi Menachem Mendel Friedman

Director of Chabad House in Ohr Yehuda


Rabbi Nechemia Shmerling

Director of Chabad House in Kfar Yona


Rabbi Elozor Kenig

Active in hafatzas besuras ha’Geula


Rabbi Avrohom Shmuel Bukiet

Shliach in Eretz Yisroel


R’ Lepkivker, moderator: There are numerous sichos regarding the proper approach of disseminating the besuras ha’Geula, which is the sole remaining shlichus left for all of us to do. Some of these sichos seem contradictory, and I emphasize: "seem" contradictory, because there simply cannot be contradictions in what the Rebbe told us.


For example, in one sicha the Rebbe says you can approach a Jew and talk to him about "Moshiach Now," despite the fact that the Jew is not religious, and has no idea what Geula and Moshiach are about. "This is wild talk," says the Rebbe in that sicha, "but in these wild times, you have to operate this way."


Yet in the Rebbe’s address to the shluchim in 5752, the Rebbe said that when teaching the besuras ha’Geula, it has to be done in a way that is accepted by each person according to his intelligence and understanding.


You can say there are two approaches to hafatzas besuras ha’Geula: makif and pnimi (superficial and deep). "Wild talk" spreads the message in a makif kind of way, whereas teaching in a way that is accepted by each person according to his intelligence and understanding is a pnimiyusdike approach.


You can say that hafatzas besuras ha’Geula is like the war against the animal soul, because the G-dly soul of every Jew yearns for the real Redemption, and it’s only the animal soul that blocks this desire.


Our job is to penetrate the lowest of levels, the physicality and materiality of the animal soul, and arouse a desire in it to want the Geula too; not merely to agree to it, but to help spread the message further. Since this is a war, there are times when it is appropriate to attack the animal soul in a frontal assault, with "wild talk", and other times when it is better to circumvent the animal soul and surprise it with rational talk.


There are many ways to publicize the Rebbe’s besuras ha’Geula. The shluchim and mashpiim sitting here with us today deal with this on a daily basis. Sometimes they enjoy tremendous success, and sometimes they don’t, and sometimes it seems as though they failed. However, Chassidim know that chazaka l’taamula sh’eina chozeres reikam (any effort is not wasted), and when you fulfill the Rebbe’s directives, there is never any failure.


R’ Bukiet: As R’ Lepkivker emphasized, there can be no contradiction in what the Rebbe said. I’d first like to address the seeming contradiction between the sichos in which the Rebbe demands "wild talk" and the sicha in which the Rebbe talks about learning inyanei Geula b’ofen ha’miskabel.


In the fifth paragraph of the maamer "Basi L’Gani," the Rebbe speaks about shtus d’kedusha (madness of the holy) in avodas Hashem, referring to the navi who was called meshuga. There’s being meshuga "below reason," and meshuga "above reason." It is the latter type that we need to be.


The Rebbe said he was "crazy about Moshiach," and as his Chassidim we also need to be crazy about Moshiach. But just as the Rebbe is obviously crazy about Moshiach in a manner that transcends reason, we too have to be crazy about Moshiach in that way.


R’ Mendel Futerfas once told me about the well-known meshugana in Lubavitch who was asked to travel to Vitebsk to be the meshugana there. They tried to convince him by saying that Vitebsk was a much larger town than Lubavitch, and he would benefit far more from his meshugasin.


Such an important decision couldn’t be made before consulting the Rebbe Maharash. Of course, the Chassidim didn’t let the man get near the Rebbe, so when the Rebbe went out for a drive, the man approached him in the carriage.


After a brief discussion, the meshugana went back to the Chassidim and told them he was remaining in Lubavitch. "What did the Rebbe tell you?" they wondered. The man answered that the Rebbe said that if he left Lubavitch, Lubavitch wouldn’t have even one meshugana!


When R’ Mendel concluded this story, he would say: Meshuga, meshuga, ober seichel darf men hoben (Crazy, crazy, but you’ve got to have brains).


We have to be crazy. We have to bring down concepts of oros d’Tohu to the world, real insanity, but at the same time we have to make sure it’s within a framework of keilim d’Tikkun. This ability to draw down oros d’Tohu within keilim d’Tikkun is something the Rebbe gave us on Chaf-Ches Nissan 5751. It’s a great gift, because up until that point, a limited created being could not unite these two opposites.


Somebody approached me saying he was interested in producing Moshiach signs. I asked him what the signs would say, and he said it would have a quote from the Rebbe at dollars, saying that he is "crazy about Moshiach."


I explained to him that even a passenger in a car (who can read signs more carefully than the driver) might only get the first part of the message when speeding by! Even when talking about craziness, you’ve got to use some sense in order not to mess things up!


To sum it up, you have to combine the craziest things with seichel, so that it is done b’ofen ha’miskabel. At the same time, you have to ensure that the seichel doesn’t turn into ofen ha’miskapel" (in a manner of faltering), because that is not the way of Chassidus Chabad.


R’ Shmerling: As far as the intellect being able to transform everything into ofen ha’miskabel, I am reminded of a course I had to take from the Ministry of Education called "Approaches: Applications of Science and Technology." The course taught how to take the most difficult topics to teach, ones that are very technical in nature, and communicate the material to the student. You can sell anything. The only question is how to convey it, and in what language.


The same is true for inyanei Moshiach. There is nothing that can’t be marketed. You just have to see who you’re talking to, and talk on his level.


Until recently I was a rabbi in a religious school in Kfar Yona. Apparently it bothered someone that a Lubavitcher had such an influential position, and he made such a great tumult about it that I was transferred to the Chabad girls’ school in Netanya.


I wrote the Rebbe and got an answer in the Igros Kodesh, a letter in which the Rebbe expressed his surprise that a person was in a school with less yiras Shamayim. The Rebbe concluded with the hope that he would soon be transferred to a school with greater yiras Shamayim, and that there was no need to worry about parnasa. Nu, after an answer like that, I was sure I had an important role to play at the new school.


In the first class I gave, I told the girls that since there was a school rabbi, they could ask all their questions. The class was composed of girls from Chabad homes as well as girls from homes that were newly observant. The first questions were: Is the Rebbe Moshiach? Is he alive?


Before answering them, I told them R’ Shlomo Chaim Kesselman’s well-known parable about the difference between Chassidus and Musar: A man had a rash on his hand, so he went to a doctor. The doctor gave him a cream and the rash went away. Two days later the man saw a new rash, this time on his foot. He went back to the doctor and got a prescription for another medication. He used the cream and the rash disappeared. This went on regularly, with a new rash in a different spot every few days. Each time the doctor gave him the appropriate medication.


One day, the man decided to go to a specialist. To his surprise, the doctor did not give him medication or a cream. He sent him for blood tests, and after getting results indicating a blood condition, the doctor gave him medication to cure the malady.


What was the difference between the two doctors? The first doctor dealt with the symptoms, whereas the second doctor searched for the source of the problem and fully cured him of the symptoms.


The nimshal is clear. Musar deals with the symptoms of the spiritual illness; it deals with arrogance and laziness, but these are symptoms of an inner problem. Chassidus deals with the root of the problem, with the animal soul, and the symptoms go away of themselves.


This was my introduction to them, so they would understand that the malchus and eternal life of the Rebbe can be explained in two ways. You can answer each question on its own or you can teach about the root of it all, lending itself to an understanding of the entire topic. Naturally, after having explained the advantage of learning in depth, they asked me to teach it to them in all its depth.


After a number of classes in which I explained a number of basic Chassidic principles like the need for a Nasi HaDor who is the memutza ha’mechaber, they lost their patience and asked me to explain why we believe the Rebbe is alive.


The subject that is taught in my classroom before I teach is geometry, and that day the blackboard was still full of geometrical diagrams. I asked the girls: When you get stuck with a difficult example in geometry, which approach do you take - a positive proof or a negative proof?


The girls answered that with difficult problems they use negative proofs. Okay, I said, I will also prove that you have to say the Rebbe is alive with a negative proof.


I drew a triangle and on one side I wrote: "The greatness of G-d and the lowliness of man." I explained how far we are from the G-dly light which animates us, for which reason we cannot connect to the G-dly light with our own powers.


On the second side I wrote: "Everybody receives chayus from the Nasi HaDor." I expanded upon the Alter Rebbe’s statement in Tanya that every generation has a Rebbe, through whom the hashpaa reaches every person of that generation, including those who are off the path and even those who rebel against him.


On the third side I wrote: "We are in the seventh generation," and quoted from the Rebbe’s sichos in which the Rebbe says our generation is the last generation of Galus and the first of Geula.


These are the facts, I concluded, and from this we can derive a negative proof. In light of these facts, can the Rebbe not be Moshiach or could he not be alive and in a physical body?


The girls tried to challenge what I said, but they very quickly realized that their questions went back to one of the principles of Chassidus. At the end of the class, they all admitted that if they accepted these three basic principles as utter truth, they were forced to conclude that the Rebbe is Moshiach and is chai v’kayam.


As I said earlier, there is no subject that can’t be marketed. You just have to see who you’re talking to and what level they’re on. With girls who study geometry, teach them about Moshiach and Geula using their approach to geometry, with triangles and negative proofs.


I once told the following example to a young man working in the field of computer science and technology who asked me how I can say that the Rebbe is alive when we don’t see him. I tailored the answer to the field he works in:


Radar was developed decades ago. With radar you can see everything. All approaching warplanes or battleships are immediately identified. In the last decade, though, Americans learned how to get around radar by building a plane in an unconventional manner with unknown materials. This plane cannot be identified by radar, because it just doesn’t see it. Saddam Hussein can sit in his bunker and ask his general whether any enemy planes are out there, the general can check his radar and say he sees nothing, and then when he’s attacked he realizes that not seeing it doesn’t mean it isn’t there!


The bachur loved this example, which related to his own profession, and he shared the idea with his colleagues.


I can give a thousand and one examples. The important rule is to know who you’re talking to and what level he’s on. In my job as rabbi at the shul in Kfar Yona, I review a sicha every Shabbos whose bottom line is: We are in the midst of Geula and the Rebbe is Moshiach. Although this shul serves a modern Orthodox crowd, they are thrilled all over again every week, and accept the besura with simcha and anticipation.

(To be continued.)


Since this is a war, there are times when it is appropriate to attack the animal soul in a frontal assault, with "wild talk."


—Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Lepkivker



At the end of the class, they all admitted that they were forced to conclude that the Rebbe is Moshiach and is chai v’kayam.

--Rabbi Nechemia Shmerling



Even when talking about craziness, you’ve got to use some sense in order not to mess things up!


—Rabbi Avrohom Shmuel Bukiet



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