• Chinuch In The Days of Moshiach: Sadness & Happiness

    Rabbi Gershon Avtzon, Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivas Lubavitch Cincinnati, has two main passions: 1) Chinuch;  2) Teaching and writing about Moshiach ● Now these two are combined into a new series ● This Week: The importance of happiness when educating your child, and how to live happily 20 years after Gimmel Tamuz  ● First Installment

    By Rabbi Gershon Avtzon

    In our previous article, we outlined the purpose of this current series on Chinuch, which is to clarify the Rebbe’s approach to chinuch in our generation in general, and more specifically in our current times, when the Rebbe stressed that everything we do has to be permeated with Moshiach.

    In 5752, during the Kinus HaShluchim (which B’hashgacha Pratis is to be held this Shabbos) the Rebbe said, “The most recent innovation in the work of shlichus is to receive our righteous Moshiach in the true and complete Redemption. Indeed, the preparation for the coming of our righteous Moshiach is the most all-encompassing aspect of Judaism and includes all the other points and details of the work of shlichus.”

    I have been asked by many people to explain why it is so crucial in current times to instil Emuna in Moshiach, and the immediate Hisgalus of the Rebbe, as an integral and fundamental part of our Chinuch today.

    In simple terms, Tanya teaches us that sadness and depression are the greatest tools of the Yetzer Hara in his efforts to derail us from serving Hashem. Here’s how it works:

    Most people get sad and depressed when they do not see progress in their work or feel that their work is endless and useless. Now, when a person does not feel that he is accomplishing anything, he starts slacking off and slowly begins to resent his work. It is at that point that he starts on the path to depression. When people are sad and depressed, they might start doing inappropriate things in order to have a temporary and false feeling of happiness. As young adults, searching for independence, they might join bad friends just for a feeling of meaning or belonging.

    If, on the other hand, a person sees success in his work, then that encourages him to continue to do the work better. This ultimately brings an inner satisfaction and happiness. When one is happy, he feels very confident in himself and he will challenge himself to go higher and try to achieve greater and bigger things. That is what Chazal mean when they say “Simcha Poretz Geder,” that happiness transcends boundaries.

    All of the above applies to a regular person like you and me. But how much more so is it critical to a soldier who is told to risk his life and give up his comforts for a mission and a cause. If the soldier does not believe in the cause or feels that it is a lost mission, he will become extremely depressed and lethargic.

    The underlying principle of Chinuch in Chabad is that we are educating our children to become soldiers of the Rebbe, and the Rebbe has a mission of bringing the world to the era of Moshiach. To accomplish this mission, we constantly demand that Chassidim give up the comforts and pleasures of this physical world, “Get Krisus Kosev L’Ishto.” We expect our bachurim to go out and conquer the world. In many cases it demands mesiras nefesh. For this we need spirit and life and much joy.

    Now that it is 5775 and 20 years from 3 Tammuz, the natural feeling among many is that this mission failed. It seems to many that the Rebbe wanted to bring Moshiach, but unfortunately the events of 27 Adar and 3 Tammuz happened. However, with such an attitude it is impossible to inspire the youth of today to fight on and continue the war, so it is only natural that they do not feel the need – or have the desire – to sacrifice their physical pleasures and pursuits for a lost cause. The ONLY way forward is to instil in our youth the Emuna in the truth that the Rebbe did not forsake us and that any minute the Rebbe will be revealed as Melech HaMoshiach. Then the bachur knows that he has a “living” mission and he will feel that he is accomplishing something, even though it still seems dark outside. This is the only way that he will have true joy and dedicate himself to his work, tirelessly and with energy: this is the way that we can inspire our children to become soldiers of the Rebbe.

    The Rebbe (in VaYeira 5752) brought this directive out very clearly when he said, “To add: the knowledge that at any moment, the [Frierdike] Rebbe will walk in and see the work that we are doing, [this] will cause that the one that is doing the work will do it in its best form.”

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