Avrohom Rainitz, Beis Moshiach
15 Iyar 5751. In the morning a large group of guests from Eretz Yisrael came to Beis Chayeinu for Lag B’Omer. One of the Chassidim, R’ Menachem Mendel Winter, had a kuntrus called “Dvar Malchus,” Chiddushim U’Biurim on Hilchos Melachim, that had been published the previous week in Eretz Yisrael. Before he got on the plane, Rabbi Tuvia Peles of Kfar Chabad met him and asked him to give the new kuntrus to the Rebbe’s secretariat.
When he submitted the kuntrus early Monday morning, he didn’t imagine that within a few hours the kuntrus would be printed in tens of thousands of copies and the Rebbe himself would give it out to thousands of Chassidim.
When the Rebbe left his office for mincha, he gave the Dvar Malchus booklet to Rabbi Leibel Groner and said: It should be printed as is, with the dedication, to be given out tonight after maariv.
The Rebbe went down in the elevator to the big zal and when he entered the shul he told R’ Groner that he would say a sicha after mincha. During the sicha, which took over half an hour, there were amazing expressions about Moshiach and his coming and toward the end of the sicha, the Rebbe announced that dollars would be given out after mincha for tzedaka along with a maamar in pnimiyus ha’Torah that was also connected to nigleh of Torah, with pesukim from the Written Torah and maamarei Chazal from the Oral Torah.
I spoke with the mashpia, Rabbi Nachman Schapiro, member of the Vaad L’Hafotzas Sichos and senior mashpia in Oholei Torah’s Beis Medrash in Crown Heights. He recalled the events of those days and revealed a bit of what transpired behind the scenes of printing and distributing the Dvar Malchus.
In the video of the dollars distribution after mincha, in the course of which the Chassidim sang “Yechi Adoneinu Moreinu V’Rabeinu Melech Ha’Moshiach L’Olam Va’ed” for several minutes, we see you running after R’ Groner and talking to him. Was it in connection with giving out the kuntrus?
R’ Schapiro: Yes. While dollars were given out after the sicha, R’ Groner gave the kuntrus he received from the Rebbe to Rabbi Sholom Jacobson, member of the Vaad L’Hafotzas Sichos, and told him that the Rebbe said to print thousands of copies of the kuntrus to be given out after maariv.
As R’ Jacobson and Rabbi Shneur Zalman Chanin rushed to deliver the kuntrus to New Jersey, to the print house where the kuntreisim that the Rebbe gave out were always printed, I went over to R’ Groner and asked him whether he was sure this was the kuntrus that the Rebbe wanted to give out after maariv.
What made you think it wasn’t?
First of all, because the Rebbe spoke about a “maamar in pnimiyus ha’Torah” and the kuntrus only had sichos on the Rambam.
In addition, in those days it wasn’t yet clear that the Rebbe approved of publicizing him as Moshiach. Although the Rebbe had issued several positive answers about the signatures for Kabbolas HaMalchus, and the previous Shabbos (parshas Tazria-Metzora), Rabbi Dovid Nachshon announced “Yechi …” before the Rebbe at the farbrengen, there were still rumors this way and that, and things were not entirely clear.
Considering all that, publishing a booklet called “Dvar Malchus” with a subtitle, “Chiddushim U’Biurim b’Hilchos Melachim,” with the Rebbe’s name immediately following that, was practically an announcement that the Rebbe is Moshiach. The truth is that when R’ Peles printed this kuntrus in Eretz Yisrael, some were afraid it was going overboard.
Although the series of Dvar Malchus had started being published back in Shevat 5751 with the consent and blessing of the Rebbe, including permission to use the name “Dvar Malchus” and the frontispiece of “Otzar HaChassidim,” with the design frame for the series of sefarim edited by the Rebbe, along with the captions “Kovetz Shalsheles HaOhr,” “Heichal Teshii Shaar Shelishi,” still, this step of the Dvar Malchus with Hilchos Melachim was quite daring.
During that period, we published under the auspices of Vaad L’Hafotzas Sichos two booklets on inyanei Moshiach and Geula in accordance with the Rebbe’s instruction to add in learning inyanei Moshiach and Geula. The first booklet was called “Likutei Sichos b’Inyonei Geula u’Moshiach” which contained various sichos of the Rebbe about the Geula. A few days later, we decided to publish another booklet, meant to include those who are not Chabad. We called it “Chiddushim U’Biurim b’Hilchos Melachim l’Rambam.”
I sat with my friend, R’ Leibel Altein, and we chose these four sichos that have fundamental explanations about the Geula and the coming of Moshiach. Two of them were already edited in Lashon HaKodesh and two were in Likutei Sichos in Yiddish and we copied the Hebrew translation that was printed in “Chiddushim U’Biurim l’Rambam.”
After we sent the booklet with four sichos to R’ Peles, he decided to print those sichos in a special edition of the series “Dvar Malchus.” Some suggested that he leave the original title: “Chiddushim U’Biurim b’Hilchos Melachim l’Rambam,” but he chose to print it with the main title of “Dvar Malchus.”
That the Rebbe would be giving out a kuntrus with the title “Dvar Malchus” was definitely a “forward leap.”
How did R’ Groner react?
He shrugged and said, “The Rebbe gave this kuntrus to me when he left his office for mincha and he said to print it as-is.”
MELECH HA’MOSHIACH GIVING OUT THE DVAR MALCHUS
The Chabad communications network of those days spread the word about the distribution of the kuntrus to all Chabad population centers and people streamed toward 770. Unlike most distributions of kuntreisim which took place unexpectedly, this time the Chassidim knew that in five hours the Rebbe would be giving out the kuntrus. Many Chassidim who live a few hours flight from New York rushed to the airport and boarded the first flight to New York. Even some Chassidim from Montreal managed to make it before maariv.
When the Rebbe entered for maariv at 8:35, his face was glowing and he encouraged the singing of the crowd, “Sisu v’simchu b’simchas ha’Geula.” 770 was packed like the night of hakafos with men, women and children.
After davening, the gabbai R’ Zev Yechezkel Katz announced on behalf of the secretaries that since the kuntreisim had not yet arrived, there would be a recess and the distribution would take place at about 9:00. Then the crowd began to sing “Yechi …” and the Rebbe left the shul while encouraging the singing.
R’ Schapiro revealed that the delay in the arrival of the kuntreisim was to enable the Rebbe to break his fast since, that Monday, the Rebbe fasted BaHaB as was his custom. If the distribution took place as it usually did, right after maariv, the Rebbe would have fasted several more hours.
The boxes of kuntreisim arrived a half an hour after maariv but the Rebbe was in his room. About an hour after maariv had ended the Rebbe came out of his room, wearing a gartel and silk kapote and went over to the table that was set up near the bima and began giving out the Dvar Malchus.
The distribution took three hours and five minutes, from 9:27 until 12:32, in the course of which the Rebbe gave out 6,500 booklets!
Before he left, the Rebbe looked to his left, at those standing there, to see whether they had all gotten. After taking two kuntreisim (one in blue and one in green), he asked R’ Groner whether everyone had gotten and then he went over to the paroches, touched it, pointed again to ask whether there was anyone who hadn’t gotten and left the shul with a “shturem” as he encouraged the singing of “Sisu v’simchu.”
R’ Schapiro: It was very exciting, because the Rebbe had distributed a kuntrus with such a title. This distribution was also special in that it was the first time that the Rebbe went down to the shul just to give out the kuntrus. Other distributions took place after mincha or maariv when the Rebbe was in shul anyway. Right after this distribution, groups sat down to learn the kuntrus and farbrenged until late at night.
The distribution of the Dvar Malchus with sichos in inyanei Moshiach and Geula, emphasizes one of the main instructions under the purview of Mivtza Moshiach, that of learning about the Geula. As the Rebbe put it, this is the direct way to bring Moshiach.
Why specifically with Mivtza Moshiach did the Rebbe stress learning about inyanei Geula. It’s not like the Rebbe said to study inyanei tefillin and mezuza …
Indeed, Mivtza Moshiach is unlike the other mivtzaim. Most of the mitzva campaigns have to do with hands-on mitzvos like tefillin, mezuza, kashrus etc. True, you need to know basic laws about mezuza and kashrus but the campaign was mainly about putting up the mezuza, putting on tefillin, etc.
With Mivtza Moshiach, on the other hand, the main thing is to arouse the faith and anticipation for the coming of Moshiach and prepare the world for Moshiach. For this, we need to learn inyanei Geula and Moshiach as it appears in Torah because someone who hasn’t learned doesn’t know what Geula or Moshiach is and doesn’t know what to believe and how to prepare!
What you are saying is quite strong. Take a simple Jew who says the thirteen Principles of Faith every day and believes in the coming of Moshiach. Is he lacking in the belief and anticipation of the coming of Moshiach because he doesn’t study about it?
Yes! In a “makif” way he is called a “believer” but when you get down to it, in a deeper way, you discover that the Moshiach he is waiting for is not the Moshiach that the prophets spoke about, and the Geula that he imagines is not the Geula that Hashem is preparing for us which is the purpose of creation… This is along the lines of the sharp statement attributed to the Alter Rebbe that the Moshiach that you want and think is coming will never come and the Moshiach who will come, you don’t want.
Also as far as preparing for the coming of Moshiach, true that all our work during galus brings the Geula, even if we didn’t do the mitzvos with any particular kavana. So, in a “makif” way every mitzva that we do prepares us for the Geula, but if we want to prepare in a pnimi way we need to know what exactly we are preparing for. Without learning inyanei Moshiach and Geula as they are explained in Nigleh and Chassidus, we don’t really have an idea of what that Geula we are waiting for is all about.
Obviously, there are layers upon layers, but if we don’t learn about the Geula, we are missing out on the most basic elements.
Take a frum Jew who never learned inyanei Moshiach and Geula and ask him, when you say “I believe in the coming of Moshiach,” what are you believing?
He will tell you that he believes that the day will come when Moshiach will appear and redeem us from all the tzaros. That means that to him, Moshiach means relief from tzaros. It’s true that when Moshiach comes he will redeem us from tzaros but is that what Moshiach is about? Is this the purpose of creation?
And after learning inyanei Geula – what do we discover?
First, we need to know the definition of Moshiach according to Nigleh. Then we need to continue to a deeper level, according to Chassidus. In Nigleh, things are explained in the Rambam in the last two chapters of Hilchos Melachim, but to understand them properly we need to study the first sicha in that Dvar Malchus. That’s the sicha of parshas Balak that was printed in Likutei Sichos, volume eighteen.
After learning the sicha, we see things clearly in the wording of the Rambam – the definition of Geula is the wholeness of Torah and mitzvos. Moshiach is the one who will lead us to a state of wholeness in Torah and mitzvos.
Practically speaking, the first lines of chapter eleven of Hilchos Melachim that describe Moshiach’s activities –
“In the future, the Messianic king will arise and renew the Davidic dynasty, restoring it to its initial sovereignty. He will build the Temple and gather the dispersed of Israel.
“Then, in his days, the observance of all the statutes will return to their previous state. We will offer sacrifices, observe the Sabbatical and Jubilee years according to all their particulars as described by the Torah.” –
are not just a story, but the halachic definition of Moshiach as someone who will bring about wholeness in Torah and mitzvos.
When the Rambam immediately continues and says, “Anyone who does not believe in him or does not await his coming,” he means to say that it is a mitzva to believe in Moshiach and to await his coming as per the way his role is defined in the previous lines. One who believes in some tzaddik who will save us from tzaros is not in the category of “believing in him,” Certainly not in a complete and internalized fashion.
As the Rebbe said in this edited sicha: We can say that this makes a practical difference in halacha as far as believing in him (and regarding why one needs to await his coming) since this is the definition of Moshiach. Belief is needed not only in that he will come to redeem the Jewish people from galus but that “he will restore the Malchus Dovid and the observance of all statutes will return to their previous state.”
The Rebbe edited this sicha for Shabbos parshas Balak 5740. Several months later, in Tishrei 5741, I met R’ Avrohom Hersh Cohen of Yerushalayim. He said that this sicha is an enormous revelation for up until then, nobody knew what Geula is and what is the definition of Moshiach according to halacha.
You can compare this to the halachic definition of emuna in Hashem about which the Rebbe writes that despite the fact that before the revelation of the understanding of Chassidus in G-d’s unity, it wasn’t possible to say that a lack in this knowledge is a lack and a flaw ch’v, v’ch’v, “Still,” writes the Rebbe, “after these explanations were revealed in the world of the true meaning of G-d’s unity, one who does not learn and believe in them – this is a flaw in his belief in Hashem and it is a subtle form of heresy in G-d’s unity” (Likutei Sichos volume 35).
Here, it is even stronger, for we are speaking of the definition of Moshiach according to the psak halacha in the Rambam. One can say that after the Rebbe explained the Rambam, one who doesn’t believe in Moshiach according to the halachic categorization of the Rambam, is lacking in the belief of the twelfth principle of the principles of Judaism!
[Interestingly, this point is a theme that runs through the sichos that were printed in the kuntrus that the Rebbe distributed. Just to mention in brief, while the first sicha explains the definition of Moshiach, to bring wholeness to Torah and mitzvos, in the second sicha the emphasis is that this wholeness did not exist even in the time of Shlomo HaMelech, even though there were shemitta and yovel then, since the mitzva of the Cities of Refuge was never complete, as the Rambam puts it, “and this thing never happened before,” and by learning the second sicha we understand how this is connected with belief in the coming of Moshiach.]
Of course, after learning the halachic dimension, it’s necessary to learn the deeper dimension that Moshiach is about a revelation of G-dliness in the world as is explained at length in maamarei Chassidus.
In the kuntrus that the Rebbe distributed there were four sichos. How can one get to all of the sichos so as to be able to learn the subject of Moshiach and Geula in halacha in a comprehensive manner?
The Rebbe urged that indexes be made for every sefer so people can look up entries on “Moshiach” and “Geula,” and find many sichos.
Erev Shabbos Tazria-Metzora 5751, the tmimim published a booklet of indexed sources for inyanei Moshiach and Geula and the Rebbe referred to it the next day at the Shabbos farbrengen (in footnote 110 in the edited sicha). With all that, it’s hard work and not everybody is cut out for it.
For this reason, a marvelous sefer was just published that collects all of the Rebbe’s explanations and chiddushim in Hilchos Melech HaMoshiach in the Rambam. This is the sefer Chiddushim U’Biurim b’Hilchos Melachim – perakim 11 and 12. This sefer, which was edited by Yechi HaMelech Moshiach Menachem Mendel Ezagui, is an anthology of the Rebbe’s chiddushim and explanations on chapters eleven and twelve of Hilchos Melachim, which are dispersed throughout the vast corpus of his teachings, from the “maamarim and Likutei Sichos of Nasi Doreinu,” the Igros Kodesh, and even related topics in Chassidus. He arranged them so nicely so that they are a “shulchan aruch” in the order of the Rambam’s halachos on Geula and Moshiach.
In general, when you learn this sefer, you are stunned by the tremendous range of the Rebbe’s explanations. For example, whoever learned the sichos of the Rebbe, is familiar with the textual observation that in Hilchos Melachim the Rambam concludes with the words, “and the earth will be filled with the knowledge of G-d like waters cover the seabed,” while in Hilchos Teshuva, where the Rambam also writes about Moshiach, he ends just with the words, “and the earth will be filled with the knowledge of G-d,” and does not continue with, “like waters cover the seabed.” It is hard to believe but this sefer cites thirty different explanations of the Rebbe for this.
Learning this sefer enables one to fulfill the Rebbe’s instruction to learn inyanei Moshiach and Geula properly, and to live with inyanei Moshiach and Geula in a way that one knows the definition of Moshiach and what his role is and anticipates the true and complete Geula.
Tut Altz in Six Tracks
Marking 30 years since the distribution of the Kuntrus, a special campaign is sweeping Anash around the world, calling on Chassidim of every demographic to unite in the study of these special Sichos.
In a designated website, TutAltz.com, one can find a full line of study resources and shiurim by several lecturers on the four Sichos.
To accommodate as many learning levels as possible, the Sichos are offered in six designated tracks:
1. Traditional format. Learn the Sichos from inside the original text by yourself, with a partner or in a group. Make use of the many online resources; including a learning schedule and an array of Shiurim, to complete the Sichos by Gimmel Tammuz.
2. ‘Iyun’ approach for those that want more. Discover the richness of these Sichos by delving into the ideas discussed and following the many footnotes to gain a deeper understanding. Take advantage of the audio and video Shiurim prepared especially for this track.
3. Clear, concise and relatable from JLI. Explore some of the fundamental ideas and explanations in the Sichos in a professional and appealing manner as prepared by JLI exclusively for this project.
4. A broader look at the concepts of these Sichos in Hebrew or English. Read through key points of the Sichos, overviews, and additional learning and reading material such as stories, anecdotes and essays.
5. Sichos in English. Learn the Sichos with an interpolated translation and explanation using the phenomenal and widely popular approach of Sichos In English.
6. Kids Track. Boys and girls get involved as well with a curriculum geared especially for you. Clear, easy and understandable language and layout of so many of the key ideas can come to life for the youth as well.
The Sichos are divided into six parts with the aim to finish them this coming Gimmel Tammuz, which b’Hashgacha pratis coincides with the Siyum HaRambam.
Participating Anash Communities: Montreal – Toronto – Monsey – Moscow – Pomona – Baltimore – Buenos Aires – Kingston – Buffalo – Pittsburgh – New Haven – West Hartford – Paris – Postville – LA – Philadelphia – Brunoy – Albany – Johannesburg – Melbourne – Manchester – London – Atlanta – Sao Paulo – Chicago – Cincinnati – Houston – Phoenix – Las Vegas – Morristown – Rio de Janeiro – New Orleans – Miami – 37 Crown Heights Shuls – 40 Anash Communities in Eretz Yisrael – And Counting!
The magazine can be obtained in stores around Crown Heights. To purchase a subscription, please go to: bmoshiach.org