Menachem Zigelbaum, Beis Moshiach
The Rebbe’s secretary, Rabbi Yehuda Leib (Leibel) Groner, relates the following stories:
Before accepting the nesius, the Rebbe would farbreng with Chassidim every Shabbos Mevorchim. He would also farbreng at Simchas Beis Ha’Shoeiva.
The Chag Ha’Geula of 12 Tammuz 5709/1949 fell out on Shabbos. The Rebbe Rayatz’s farbrengen was going to take place on Sunday but Chassidim already farbrenged that day with the Rebbe. After davening, the Rebbe sat down and began to farbreng.
At that farbrengen, the Rebbe spoke animatedly about how the Rebbe Rayatz is Melech Ha’Moshich. He said, “I have proof from R’ Avrohom Pariz.”
The Rebbe related that recently, the Rebbe Rayatz called for R’ Avrohom and told him to return to Eretz Yisrael. R’ Avrohom called the Rebbe and requested that he receive a parting blessing. The Rebbe told him that he could come to his office but R’ Avrohom insisted on a formal visit in the Rebbe’s house. At the end of that visit, R’ Avrohom wished the Rebbe, “That we meet with the Rebbe in the Holy Land.”
“I asked him,” said the Rebbe, “why don’t you wish that we meet with Moshiach in the Holy Land?”
The Rebbe then asked the people sitting there, ‘Do you want to know what R’ Avrohom said? He answered, “Rebbe and Moshiach, Moshiach and the Rebbe, it’s one thing!When you say Rebbe, you mean Moshiach and when you say Moshiach you mean Rebbe, and there is no need to repeat yourself.’
The Rebbe concluded, “So I have proof that it is possible to say that my father-in-law is Moshiach!”
NO NEED TO BREAK YOUR HEAD
After the sicha that the Rebbe said on Chof-Ches Nissan, in which he told the Chassidim, “Do all that you can to actually bring Moshiach Tzidkeinu,” the Rebbe asked me, “What will be with the sicha of Chof-Ches Nissan?”
I told the Rebbe that after the Rebbe left the beis medrash, everyone sat down together, the rabbanim and mashpiim, and “broke their heads” to understand what we need to do to bring the Shechina down.
The Rebbe smiled and said, “Go downstairs, bang on the table, and tell everyone there is no need to break your head. I said several times: You need to learn Torah, be punctilious about doing mitzvos, and increase in Ahavas Yisrael and tzedaka. And see to it to learn something on the topic of Moshiach and Geula.”
I brazenly responded, “We’ve been doing that for decades!”
The Rebbe said, “Apparently, all these areas are lacking. The setting of times for Torah study is inadequate, doing mitzvos in a beautiful way in inadequate, and Ahavas Yisrael and tzedaka are inadequate. And there is a need to increase in learning inyanei Moshiach and Geula.”
CRAZY ABOUT MOSHIACH
Rabbi Elimelech Neiman, a distinguished Gerrer Chassid in Boro Park, would visit 770 occasionally and stand near the entrance to gan eden ha’tachton because he wanted some personal attention from the Rebbe such as “a gutten ovent” (a good evening), etc.
It once happened that the Rebbe opened the door of his office and suddenly turned to me and asked me to call for him. At first I thought the Rebbe meant to bring him into his office.
When he came, the Rebbe received him as he stood near the entrance to his room and said, “The world says that I am crazy about Moshiach and they are right,” and he concluded with “a gutten ovent,” and went into his office.
One time, the Rebbe said to me, “My intention with Mivtza Moshiach is that every Jew have simple faith that Moshiach can come this moment.”
WHAT MESSAGE DO YOU HAVE FOR THE WORLD?
One Sunday, an important journalist came for dollars. He wanted to see what kind of people come to see the Rebbe and how the Rebbe interacts with them. He stood on the side and took notes.
After a few hours, he came over to me and asked whether he could approach the Rebbe and receive a dollar. Of course I said he could.
He came over to the Rebbe and I introduced him as a journalist. The Rebbe gave him a dollar and then gave him another dollar and said, “With success in what you write.” Then the journalist said to the Rebbe, “I can reach the entire world because my newspaper reaches the entire world. What message do you have for the world?”
The Rebbe said, “Tell the world that Moshiach is on the way and is closer than ever before but he is waiting for us to finish our work that we add even more in goodness and kindness with others. If I did a lot of goodness and kindness today, I shouldn’t say tomorrow that yesterday I did such and such good things so today I will take a vacation from work. On the contrary, today I need to be better than yesterday.”
THE SOURCE FOR CHASSIDIM SAYING THE REBBE IS MOSHIACH
My father passed away in 5730 and since he wanted to be buried on Har Ha’Zeisim, we went to Eretz Yisrael. Rabbi Yehoshua Hutner, founder and director of the Encyclopedia Ha’Talmudis, came to be menachem and he asked me to come and visit him after the shiva so I could give the Rebbe regards from the offices of the Encyclopedia Talmudis.
He showed me their offices, eighteen rooms in which talmidei chachamim sat, and each one worked on a manuscript from one of the Rishonim or Acharonim. Then he invited everyone to the hallway and asked me, “Say a dvar Torah from the Rebbe.” I reviewed a sicha in Nigleh.
When I finished, one of the rabbanim said to me in wonder, “Rabbi Groner, what is this that you say about the Rebbe that he is Moshiach?”
I said, “There is an explicit Gemara that a talmid can say that about his teacher.”
The rav declared, “There is no such Gemara.”
“I am standing in a building in which the people think they have a monopoly on all of Shas and you don’t know this Gemara?” I said. “I am telling you there is such a Gemara!”
After he continued arguing that there is no such Gemara, I asked for a Gemara Sanhedrin and showed them the Chazal on daf 98, “What is his name? The [students of the] house of Rebbi Shila say his name is Shila, as it says, ‘Ad ki yavo Shilo.’ The [students of the] house of Rebbi Yanai say his name is Yanai as it says, ‘Yehi shemo l’olam lifnei shemesh yinon shemo.’ The [students of the] house of Rebbi Chanina say his name is Chanina as it says, ‘Asher lo etain lachem chanina,’ and there are some who say his name is Menachem ben Chizkiya as it says, ‘Ki rochak mimeni menachem meishiv nafshi.’ Rashi comments on the words ‘his name is Yinon,’ ‘Similar to Yanai; each one would extrapolate according to his name.’”
“I called Rabbi Chadakov, told him about the screaming of the rabbis, and I said that in my opinion, they are correct. R’ Chadakov also expressed his opinion that I was correct, except that he suddenly stopped and said, ‘Wait a moment.’ After a few minutes, he got back on the line and suddenly changed his words from a few minutes earlier and said in a firm tone, “why do you care if the Chassidim say the Rebbe is Moshiach? It was always that way, as brought in the Gemara, that talmidim would say that their teachers were worthy of being Moshiach.”
When I returned from Eretz Yisrael, the Rebbe wanted a detailed report of each day. I told everything, and then I got to the episode that took place in the offices of the Encyclopedia Talmudis, and I told the Rebbe the whole story.
On the following Shabbos, there was a farbrengen. After finishing the first two sichos, the Rebbe mentioned that there sits a Jew who is a talmid chacham (Torah scholar) and for fifty years he never thought about Moshiach, until a young man comes along and awakens by him the topic of Moshiach and this completely confuses him…
Obviously, I rejoiced in my heart that the Rebbe enjoyed the fact that I wakened a Jew about Moshiach.
DRINK UP AND SAY L’CHAIM
One day during the afternoon hours, I got a call from Reb Zalman Gurary, one of the distinguished Chassidim who was very close to the Rebbe. He told me, “Leibel, go to the liquor store on Kingston, buy a few bottles, drink all of them and say l’chaim.”
I said to him, “R’ Zalman, it’s a good idea, but why suddenly now?”
He told me the following, “In recent days, people are speaking about the Rebbe being Moshiach. Today, I participated in a meeting of the Agudas Harabonim (Union of Orthodox Rabbis) and since I am a member, a few of the rabbis screamed at me, ‘How can it be that Chabad Chassidim are publicizing that the Rebbe is Melech Ha’Moshiach?’
“I called Rabbi Chadakov, told him about the screaming of the rabbis, and I said that in my opinion they are correct. R’ Chadakov also expressed his opinion that I was correct, except that he suddenly stopped and said, ‘Wait a moment.’ After a few minutes, he got back on the line and suddenly changed his words from a few minutes earlier and said in a firm tone, ‘What bothers you about the fact that they are saying about the Rebbe that he is Moshiach? Why are you put out by the Misnagdim?’
“It seems that the Rebbe was listening in to the conversation and signaled R’ Chadakov to mute the line, and then told him his holy view. This was the reason that R’ Chadakov changed his own view immediately, one hundred and eighty degrees.”
R’ Zalman told me all this with great excitement, and he concluded, “Do you hear? For such a thing, that the Rebbe agrees that he is Moshiach, we need to say a lot of l’chaim.”
“I DON’T LET MY CHASSIDIM SLEEP”
In 5752, the Rebbe told me that he doesn’t clearly see the small letters in the Gemara. I called an ophthalmologist, Dr. Haddad and after an examination in his office, the prescription of his glasses was raised.
After a while, the Rebbe said he still doesn’t see clearly. I called the eye doctor again but he said he had to do an exam with a machine that was in the office, which wouldn’t be easy to bring to the Rebbe. The doctor said he was willing to conduct the exam at a time when nobody else would be there.
We went to the eye doctor’s office and the doctor put some drops in the Rebbe’s eyes to dilate them. Then he had to wait fifteen minutes.
The doctor took this opportunity to ask the Rebbe permission to ask a question. The Rebbe agreed. The doctor said that aside from his work as a doctor, he was president of an organization of Iraqi Jewry. In this latter role, he traveled to many countries that had communities of Iraqi Jews.
“I see the amazing things the Rebbe does. There is Judaism all over the world. There are Shabbosos and mikvaos and Jewish education etc. So why hasn’t Moshiach come?”
The Rebbe smiled broadly and said, “I ask the same question but since, at this moment, Moshiach still hasn’t come, that means that more needs to be done.” The Rebbe put two fingers together to indicate a small amount and said, “It seems that such a little bit remains to fill the cup and therefore, whenever I speak to the Chassidim, I urge them to do something.” The Rebbe put it like this, in English, “I don’t let my Chassidim sleep.”
ALTHOUGH MOSHIACH IS COMING ALREADY
R’ Sholom Ber Gansbourg, the personal attendant in the Rebbe’s home, related:
The Rebbe once asked me about a certain personal matter and urged me to take a certain step. Since this was the time that the Rebbe spoke a lot about the coming of Moshiach and the imminent Geula, I asked, “Moshiach is coming already, so why should I be involved with this?”
The Rebbe’s answer was, “My father-in-law, the Rebbe, made a ‘commotion’ about ‘l’alter l’teshuva – l’alter l’Geula,’ and he still asked that more and more mosdos be built.”
WHO IS CLOSER THAN HE IS?
R’ Chesed Halberstam, the personal attendant to the Rebbetzin, related:
When Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka would listen to the Rebbe’s farbrengens that were broadcast, and would hear him speaking excitedly about a certain behavior on the part of the public or individuals, or any commonly accepted behavior that the Rebbe negated and criticized, she would nearly always say, “He thinks that everyone is close to Hashem like he is,” or “He thinks that everyone cares about Moshiach’s coming like him.” Sometimes, she would conclude, “Is there anyone as close to Hashem as he?”
MOSHIACH IS IN THIS WORLD
The Rebbetzin always said that Moshiach is in this world and just needs to be revealed. She would not elaborate any more.
In connection with this, she told the Chassidic story about the tzaddik, Rebbi Menachem Mendel of Vitebsk who was in Yerushalayim after moving to Eretz Yisrael and settling in Teveria. Someone went up to Har Ha’Zeisim and blew the shofar.
Word spread that Moshiach had come and Reb Menachem Mendel heard about it. He opened the window, sniffed the air and said, “No, Moshiach did not come.”
The Rebbetzin said, people ask, why did he have to open the window when he could smell the air in his house to know whether Moshiach came? The answer is that in his room there was always the scent of Moshiach since Moshiach was there!
Again she did not elaborate…
WHY DO THEY SAY I AM MOSHIACH?
R’ Groner relates:
The Rebbe once asked me: Why do they say that I am Moshiach?
I said that according to all the signs in the Rambam, it fits that the Rebbe is Melech Ha’Moshiach, but the Rebbe raised his hand and said that as of now, they have not revealed this to him.
When the Rebbe said they still hadn’t told him he is Moshiach, I was reminded of a diary entry that the Rebbe Rayatz wrote, where it is recounted that he was once sitting with the Rebbe Rashab and asked how Moshiach will know that he is Moshiach.
The Rebbe Rashab said, “The one who is deserving that Hashem send him, knows and can know that Hashem sent him. He has no doubts and he knows what is a maamar Hashem (statement from Hashem).”
The Rebbe Rashab compared Moshiach to Avrohom Avinu. When Hashem commanded him about the akeida, Avrohom had no doubt that this was Hashem’s order:
“… According to the Rambam that Moshiach will be a great tzaddik, he won’t err at all and he will know whatever they command him and he will have no doubts about it, for the one who is deserving to be Moshiach knows and can understand what is a commandment and statement of Hashem, like Avrohom who due to his lofty level had a connection with such matters.”
[It should be noted, that in the sichos of winter 5752, the Rebbe said words that leave no doubt that the Moshiach of the generation has received his shlichus. Here is one of several examples: “It is known that ‘in every generation there is born an individual from the descendants of Yehudah who is qualified to be the Moshiach for Israel,’ ‘one who is worthy because of his righteousness to be the Redeemer, and when the time arrives, G-d will reveal himself to him and will send him, etc.’
According to the announcement of my sainted father-in-law, the leader of our generation, the only shliach of our generation, the only Moshiach of our generation, that everything has already concluded, it’s understood that the … shlichus of my sainted father-in-law is beginning to be fulfilled.” – Farbrengen of Parshas Chayei Sara 5752, emphasis mine. — Ed.]
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