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Farbrengen Opens 5th Moshiach Congress

The theme of the fifth Moshiach Congress was mesirus nefesh l’hafatzas besuras ha’Geula, with an emphasis on learning inyanei Moshiach and Geula. The program began Wednesday night of Gimmel Tammuz with a farbrengen of Anash and Tmimim in Oholei Torah.

In 770 there were shiurim in inyanei Moshiach and Geula around the clock. Mashpiim, rabbanim, and roshei yeshivos gave shiurim on the Rebbe’s sichos, with dozens of Chassidim and Tmimim crowding around to listen.

The children had a special kinus in 770 on Gimmel Tammuz. Thousands of children filled the large beis midrash, recited the 12 Pesukim and proclaimed “Yechi,” and heard words of chizuk and inspiration.

Unlike earlier years when the Congress began with shluchim relating their achievements and successes of the previous year, this year ziknei ha’Chassidim (Chassidic elders) came to farbreng. The ziknei ha’Chassidim who graced the dais are known for having been moser nefesh for hafatzas ha’Chassidus. When they say that the present avoda is hafatzas besuras ha’Geula with mesirus nefesh, they are taken seriously.

The farbrengen began with a video from Yud-Beis Tammuz 5744 of the Rebbe screaming that each day that the Beis HaMikdash is not built is as though it was destroyed that day. Therefore we must “ker a velt haint” (i.e., take drastic action) in order to bring an end to Galus.

Emcee Rabbi Shlomo Majesky called upon the mara d’asra Rabbi Avrohom Osdoba to speak. Rabbi Osdoba mentioned how Rabbi Marlow, a’h, would attend the opening of the Congress and would bless the participants. Rabbi Osdoba quoted the Gemara that says that one of the questions a person will be asked in the Heavenly court is “Nasasa v’nasata b’emuna?” (Were you honest in business?) This can be explained as: Did you merely believe in the coming of Moshiach or did you “do business” with that emuna and disseminate it to everyone?

R’ Michoel Chazan, director of the Vaad HaKahal of Crown Heights expressed his hope that the Congress would be productive and finally bring the long awaited Geula.

There was utter silence as the emcee called upon the zakein ha’Tmimim, Rabbi Yehuda Chitrik, to speak. Rabbi Chitrik learned in Tomchei Tmimim in Lubavitch, and he recalls decades of mesirus nefesh for hafatzas ha’Yahadus and Chassidus.

“Today the Rebbe was released from prison,” Rabbi Chitrik began, and you felt as though he was reliving those moments of 73 years ago. He repeated the story of the arrest and release, including his personal memories of those days. His voice shook when he spoke about an informant who endangered the yeshiva where he studied. He went to the Rebbe to tell him the latest developments, arriving on Chol HaMoed Pesach, and after Yom Tov had yechidus in which he related the circumstances. The Rebbe immediately declared that the yeshiva move to the town of Nevel, but that didn’t end the yeshiva’s wanderings. “We wandered from place to place, and each place needed mesirus nefesh. We did it with the koach of the Rebbe,” Rabbi Chitrik said.

Rabbi Chitrik concluded by hoping that just as Gimmel Tammuz 5687 was the beginning of the geula, we should merit the final Geula now, too.

The next speaker, Rabbi Dov Ber Gurevitz of France, also experienced a life of mesirus nefesh. “At the time of the arrest and liberation I was a young boy, and my parents lived in the town of Zlobin. I remember the day we found out about the Rebbe’s arrest. The Chassidim mourned and my father began fasting every day until the Rebbe was released. On the 6th of Tammuz we heard about the Rebbe’s release. My father stopped fasting but said he felt it wasn’t the complete geula. A few days after Yud-Beis Tammuz, we heard about the Rebbe’s complete geula. The Chassidic community rejoiced.”

Rabbi Gurevitz’s voice trembled slightly as he recalled his childhood replete with mesirus nefesh. “When we walked in the street with our tzitzis out, it was literally sakanas nefashos, but we were educated not to be put off by anything, and this was simply our reality. We didn’t think we were being moser nefesh; we constantly thought about how to be shomer al nafsheinu (watch our souls).”

Rabbi Gurevitz related the events of the 24th of Teives 5694 (1934), the night he was caught farbrenging with R’ Moshe Rubinson and a group of children, among them Rabbi Refael Wilschansky, who sat near him on the dais. “We suffered greatly,” said Rabbi Gurevitz as Rabbi Wilschansky nodded.

“From where did the young talmidim derive the tremendous strength to withstand weeks of torture in the cellars of the K.G.B.?” thundered Rabbi Gurevitz. “They witnessed the mesirus nefesh of the ziknei ha’Chassidim. And where did the ziknei ha’Chassidim derive their strength? From the utter mesirus nefesh the Rebbe himself demonstrated. In other words, all the mesirus nefesh of all the Chassidim in Russia was derived directly from the Rebbe’s immense kochos.

“Today as well, we are witnesses to the mesirus nefesh of thousands of shluchim for hafatzas ha’Torah and Chassidus and pirsum besuras ha’Geula. Today as well, the kochos we have are given to us by the Rebbe, and we merely have to be vessels and use the awesome kochos properly. When we do so, we will certainly succeed, and immediately the Rebbe will come and take us out of this bitter Galus.”

Rabbi Refael Wilschansky of Crown Heights began with the maamerHaSam Nafsheinu B’Chayim.” “This is the inner meaning of Gimmel Tammuz. We must know that the very fact that we have true life, a life according to Torah, is only in the merit of the Rebbe. Even as a boy, the Rebbe Rayatz preferred to enter a Russian jail than to stand by silently watching a Jew being abused.

“Although all the Rebbeim were moser nefesh for Klal Yisroel, there is no comparison to the mesirus nefesh of the Rebbe Rayatz. When he was 15, his father, the Rebbe Rashab, took him to the ohel of the Rebbeim in Lubavitch, and while facing the open aron kodesh, he said that he was sacrificing his son as a korban ola, dedicating him to Klal Yisroel, even if it meant literal mesirus nefesh.

“I had a very difficult childhood. Today this is called mesirus nefesh, but at the time we didn’t think so. Chassidus explains that Avrohom Avinu did not strive to be moser nefesh; he simply did what had to be done. When there was a need to offer his life, he did so. That’s what it was like for us in those days. We did what had to be done, although this often required mesirus nefesh. We derived the strength for this from the great strength of the giant of giants, the Rebbe Rayatz.

“Today as well, especially after Gimmel Tammuz 5754, we must do the avoda assigned us – to prepare the world for Moshiach, even if it requires mesirus nefesh. When we do what we have to do, Hashem will certainly do what He has to do, so to speak, especially since we have just begun the seventh year since Gimmel Tammuz 5754, and the 50th year of the Rebbe’s nesius. Hashem will certainly fulfill the mitzva of “geula titnu b’aretz” and free us from this Galus.”

The farbrengen concluded with a speech by Rabbi Itche Gansburg, who was born on Yud-Beis Tammuz 5687. Rabbi Gansburg spoke about the letter he sent the Rebbe after Yud Shvat 5710 in which he asked the Rebbe to accept the nesius. The Rebbe sent him an amazing letter which was printed in the Igros Kodesh. He noticed even back then how the Rebbe’s signature appeared to spell “Moshiach.” “As far as I was concerned, the Rebbe was the Moshiach since then. I, as well as all the Chassidim, always knew that the Rebbe is Moshiach, and all his activities throughout the years were for the purpose of bringing Moshiach.”

Rabbi Yitzchok Gansburg aired his new video, which was made at a cost of tens of thousands of dollars. It demonstrates how it is possible to see G-dliness in the world as a preface to and by way of preparation for the coming of Moshiach.

The opening of the Moshiach Congress concluded with the singing of “Yechi” and with the belief that this farbrengen would hasten the coming of the Rebbe MH”M.


Chassidim farbrenging at the fifth Moshiach Congress in Oholei Torah in Crown Heights

Anash, Tmimim, and ziknei ha’Chassidim dancing and singing “Yechi” at the conclusion of the farbrengen

Kinus Tzivos Hashem on Gimmel Tammuz


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