When discussing the “passing” of Eliyahu Hanavi, one of the most recognized prophets of the Jewish nation, the Tanach relates that he did not pass away, rather his body was carried by a chariot of fire to heaven, remaining intact.
In 5711, Rabbi Moshe Chaim Sapochkinsky OBM, asked the Rebbe why did the Ba’al Shem Tov pass away and not merit to be carried to heaven by a chariot of fire like Eliyahu Hanavi?
In a postscript to a letter dated the 21st of Teves 5711, a mere two weeks before the Rebbe accepted the mantle of leadership, the Rebbe responded (Free Translation):
“For Eliyahu Hanavi to fulfill his missions in this world, his body had to remain intact, as related by the Zohar, regarding Eliyahu Hanavi’s mission to save R’ Hamnuna Sava. However the Ba’al Shem Tov is not so [for his missions can be fulfilled even after his passing, without the need for his body to remain intact.”
From the weekly Kuntres of Lahak Hanochos