Weíve Got To Repeat It, And Repeat It, And Repeat It...
By Rabbi Moshe Slonim, aíh

Rabbi Moshe Slonim, who was taken from our midst five years ago, was a regular contributor to these pages. * At the time, the editorial board received complaints that his articles often reiterated the same point, albeit phrased in different terms. It was in response to this CRITICISM that Rabbi Slonim wrote the following article. We believe that it is worth reading again.
 

THE SAME TOPICS KEEP REPEATING THEMSELVES

It is no secret that many of us have been "locked in" of late on a number of central topics, such as the eternal life of the Rebbe MH"M, "living with the Rebbe," preparing to greet Moshiach, etc. The subject is presented in a new packaging and approached from different angels, but the idea is always the same.

The attentive reader immediately realizes what lies beneath the headline and the packaging; he finds the very same subjects we dealt with in previous weeks. Just as all rivers lead to the sea, so too the conclusions of all the articles lead to the same point we have been dealing with for months.

Of course, human nature is such that it cannot tolerate repetitiveness, and if there are complaints in this area, they are for the most part understandable.
 

THE MAIN SUBJECT WHICH WE CANNOT COMPROMISE ON

In my younger years, I would often participate in the farbrengens of the mashpia Rí Shlomo Chaim Kesselman, aíh. His farbrengens were noted for three things:

1) The farbrengens lasted for hours, sometimes an entire night without a break.

2) He discussed just a very few topics that were reiterated over and over, namely, what is a Chassid, what is demanded today of a Chassid, and what is demanded today of a Tamim.

3) Rí Shlomo Chaim would speak about a certain idea throughout the night, and repeat it hundreds of times. At one farbrengen he explained the pasuk, "Hashem Elokim emes hu Elokim chaim," and spoke about the connection between truth and life. Two bachurim who were present counted the number of times the mashpia repeated this pasuk Ė after they reached 200, they stopped counting.

For the most part, the dozens of young men who attended the farbrengens didnít mind that concepts were repeated dozens and even hundreds of times; despite their familiarity with the subject, they still remained fully attentive.

It once happened that one of the bachurim was absent from a few farbrengens in a row. He met with Rí Shlomo Chaim, who reproved him about this, but the bachur replied with flagrant chutzpa: "I know in advance what you will be speaking about and what conclusions you will arrive at. I wonít hear anything new, so I allowed myself to be absent." The mashpia asked him to attend the next farbrengen and guaranteed that he would address this problem.

At that farbrengen, Rí Shlomo Chaim spoke about three types of darshanim (speakers):

1) A speaker who takes the initiative to speak: He must search for a topic to discuss, since he speaks because he likes to speak. A speaker such as this will discuss whatever he likes, as long as his audience is willing to listen.

2) An invited or paid speaker: He will try to speak in a manner that the audience will enjoy and will choose a relevant topic.

3) A speaker who speaks from his heart and out of pain. The subject concerns him. He doesnít just speak; he screams. He doesnít choose topics based on what the audience wants to hear, but cries out from the depths of his heart. He speaks about subjects that bother him, and repeats them without tiring.

After dissecting all three types of speakers, Rí Shlomo Chaim added, "The topics I speak about are topics the Rebbe demands of every Tamim in Tomchei Tmimim. One cannot compromise when it comes to these subjects, or speak briefly and merely mention them once in a while. These are the most important subjects, the most essential ones. Without these topics you donít need a farbrengen altogether. Without them, I have nothing to do here at all. Actually, if we donít talk about them, Tomchei Tmimim will cease to exist."

After Rí Shlomo Chaim enumerated a list of matters the Rebbe demands of every Tamim, he continued speaking, while crying:

"I donít pride myself that these subjects weigh on me and that my crying is from the depths of my heart. But I have a shlichus, and in that capacity I must address these subjects at length, and use all of my abilities to do so. If I donít, then I betray my shlichus, chív. Thatís why I cry out and donít stop dealing with these subjects, and if it hasnít been effective enough yet, then I have to continue to cry out."

This farbrengen and the crying greatly affected me. For weeks I was under the influence of what was said. I recently met a number of friends from back then. Over the years each of us went our separate ways, but when we met we shared our impressions of our days in yeshiva. We all had to admit that thanks to Rí Shlomo Chaimís persistence and his uncompromising stance, we managed to acquire a large Chassidic treasure house. Rí Shlomo Chaimís persistence bore fruit.
 

NOT TO STOP TALKING ABOUT MOSHIACH

We are two generations away from Rí Shlomo Chaim. The distance is both bad and good. Bad Ė because we donít have the same "givens" and Chassidic feelings that his generation had. But primarily itís good because we are in the seventh generation Ė at the end of it. We must fulfill the role the Rebbe MH"M gave us all. We must live with the Rebbe and live with Moshiach. We cannot veer away from these subjects nor can we compromise regarding them. For without these subjects, there is no value to any other Chassidic subject. We learned this from Rí Shlomo Chaim.

The story was told about the congregation whose members were not so strict about observing mitzvos. Their new rabbi was G-d fearing and he immediately saw that they needed a big push when it came to Torah and mitzvos, so on his first Shabbos he spoke about family purity. He delivered an interesting and persuasive sermon, appropriate for his audience. But after the talk, the president of the congregation approached him and said that although the lecture was well delivered, the topic wasnít suitable. He asked the rabbi to speak about other matters.

The rabbi thought that perhaps the topic of family purity was a bit sensitive, so the following week he spoke about the importance of keeping Shabbos. He received the same feedback from the president, and so on the third Shabbos he spoke about kashrus. When again the subject was not approved by his boss, the rabbi asked him, "What subject do you expect me to address?"

"Speak about Judaism," was the reply.

* * *

The Rebbe often said that there was no justification for the fact that Moshiach has still not come. We are not allowed to remain complacent. Obviously we shouldnít just talk about Yiddishkeit or Chassidishkeit in the general sense; we must address the call of the hour Ė inyanei Moshiach and GeulaĖ and we must not stop doing so.

Each of us must use his talents in order to realize the Rebbeís desire. This shlichus is for every one of us. We must all aim at one goal, even if itís fraught with difficulty, and even if we have to repeat it again and again. If it still hasnít work, we have to repeat it yet again.

If we pay attention to the structure of the Rebbeís sichos, we see an enormous difference over the years. There were years when the topics were varied and Moshiach was not a central theme. As the years went by, Moshiach became more and more the primary topic, until it became "the topic" around which everything else revolved.

Unfortunately, there are situations in which people have begun to speak out against these matters. However, this just shows how important it is to stick to the topic. We must deal with hafatzas besuras haíGeula alone, and the truth will out.

I met a friend who is involved in besuras haíGeula who told me that when he spoke before a group about the Rebbe and Moshiach, one of the people who opposes what he does went over to him and said, "You just donít stop talking about Moshiach!"

My friend, who couldnít believe what he was hearing, asked, "Did I understand you correctly?"

"Certainly," he said. "There are many other subjects aside from Moshiach, and you are preventing these topics from being addressed."

My friend and I understood how important it is to stick to the topic without compromising; we simply must not let the subject fade from the agenda.
 

LOVE TRUTH AND PEACE

In Zecharia it says (8:19) "Öit will be for the house of Yehuda for gladness and rejoicing and holidays and love, truth, and peace." From this pasuk we learn:

1) We must love peace and work on it. Not just any peace, peace that is the opposite of quarrels, but peace in the positive sense, out of ahavas Yisroel and not just ahavas Yisroel, but achdus Yisroel, as the Rebbe taught us in his most recent sichos.

2) At the same time, we are commanded to love the truth. As Chassidim put it, "Fun emes ken men nit avekgein" (you canít get away from truth), and as the Rebbe Rayatz said, "What is mesirus nefesh? Ė Like this, and no other way!" When it comes to truth, there are no concessions. Just as you need to love peace and unity without compromises and concessions, so must you love truth, without compromises and concessions.

How can we mediate between these two loves, the love of peace and the love of truth? Only by a Chassid himself uniting the two. When you cleave to the Rebbe without compromising, you can definitely have both peace and truth.

When it comes to the Rebbe and Moshiach, we must be persistent and not give in at all, chív. We must be consistent without conceding, and obviously this must be done peacefully.

We will conclude with what the Rebbe said:

"There are those who are greatly surprised, but are embarrassed to express their amazement. How is it that a Jew sits down to speak in public, and at every single farbrengen he doesnít stop speaking about one subject: the coming of Moshiach Tzidkeinu...emphasizing that what is meant is the actual coming of Moshiach Tzidkeinu, below ten handbreadths, and immediately, today... What is the meaning behind the behavior of speaking unceasingly on this subject... Itís one thing if you proclaim Moshiachís coming from time to time: Nu, after all, it is one of the principles of faith and we must remember that. But what is the meaning and unceasing excitement in this subject, at every single farbrengen, as though they want to put this matter forcefully into the heads of the listeners..."

This was said by the Rebbe on Shabbos Pinchas 5744. Quite a few years have passed since then and we have gotten closer to Moshiach. If these words were appropriate then, all the more so now, after the many prophecies we were given in recent years, as we all are literally on the verge of the true and complete Redemption, and we just have to go out and greet Moshiach, now!

   

The bachur replied with flagrant chutzpa: "I know in advance what you will be speaking about and what conclusions you will arrive at. I wonít hear anything new, so I allowed myself to be absent."

 

 

 

 

These are the most important subjects, the most essential ones. Without these topics you donít need a farbrengen altogether. Without them, I have nothing to do here at all.


YECHI ADONEINU MOREINU V'RABBEINU MELECH HA'MOSHIACH L'OLAM VA'ED!

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