Opens 5th Moshiach Congress
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
Chitrik concluded by hoping that just as Gimmel Tammuz 5687 was
the beginning of the geula, we should merit the final Geula
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.”
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).”
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.
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.
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.”
Refael Wilschansky of Crown Heights began with the maamer
“HaSam 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
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.
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.
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.”
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.”
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.
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.