What Bothered the Reform Leader?
Hint: it’s not what you’re thinking… • Rabbi Mendy Turen’s riveting Keynote Address at the Gala Banquet of the Kinus HaShluchim • By Beis Moshiach Magazine • Full Article
Esteemed Rabbonim members of the Vaad HaKinus of Merkaz Linyonei Chinuch, fellow Shluchim, my dear father, friends and supporters.
A Gut Voch! L’Chaim, L’Chaim V’Livrocha!
Standing here tonight in a room filled with Rabbonim and Shluchim, to say I am humbled is truly an understatement – however, I hope that the words that will be said will be poel peulasam, both on myself and on my listeners.
It was one Friday night, we were sitting in our Chabad House in Springfield, and we get a knock on our door. A young lady was standing there in her doctor’s scrubs. Of course, we welcomed her in very warmly. After asking for a Siddur, she proceeded to Daven to herself in a very sincere way.
Afterward, we invited her to join us at the Shabbos table. At first, she seemed a little uncomfortable, but as we got to talking with her more, we found out that she’s from right here in Brooklyn. Let’s just say that she hasn’t been to a Shul or Chabad House for quite some time.
There is no better way to describe it than to simply say that the spark inside of her, the Neshama, was searching for something.
After she left, we had this strong feeling that sometimes comes while on Shlichus that “it was all worth it just for this.” We had the Zechus to help kindle her spark.
This leads us to the next part of the story.
Of course, we kept up the connection with her. Months passed by and B”H she got engaged.
Since we moved to Springfield, we always knew that there was a vital need for a Mikvah in Springfield.
However, when her wedding started coming closer, this gave us the final push to actually begin the Mikvah project.
I always had a strong passion for Mikvah. My father-in-law likes to say that “Mendy is crazy over Mikvah.” However, I imagined that it would take a few more years to begin such a large project.
Of course, such a project takes a tremendous amount of funds, but I knew that this was the right thing to do. We got the Rebbe’s brachos and decided to go ahead.
Every year before Elul, we have our annual fundraiser, and B”H it has been with much success. This year, we did a larger fundraiser than usual, but the majority of the money was going towards the Mikvah, so we weren’t really sure how we would pay the bills over the year.
This thought was going through our minds before and after the campaign, but we tried as much as we could to not worry about it.
A Scam-Like Phone Call
About two weeks after the campaign, we get a phone call that seemed to simply be a scam or what some would call “too good to be true.”
The phone rings, I pick up the phone, a fellow from California is on the other line and says he has a property in Springfield which he wants to donate to Chabad of Springfield.
Such a call, I have never received.
To get a donation of land is not so simple; from the time the donor shows interest until the donation goes fully through, you are always hoping there is no change of heart. This process can easily take a few months.
In this public forum, I want to thank the Eibishter and thank the Rebbe for this massive miracle, Baruch Hashem, just last Friday we signed the final papers, and now the property belongs to the Rebbe under the title “Chabad of Springfield”!
My Personal Commitment to the Rebbe
This year on Yud Shevat, Chassidim will be celebrating 70 years of the Rebbe’s Nesius. As we are approaching and preparing for this special day, we have to think about what effect will this have on my Shlichus?
A few years ago, while I was still a Bochur, I had many friends, some of whom were older than me, who I remembered as Bochurim had a tremendous koch in the Rebbe’s Inyonim, being very passionate that when they get married IY”H they will go out on Shlichus, and will, of course, be fully focused on the Ikar Shlichus.
Some ended up getting married B”H, and then life hit them. Unfortunately, they didn’t necessarily end up going out on Shlichus, and some of those that did didn’t exactly have the same koch in Moshiach as when they were Bochurim.
So, I looked at myself and thought, why will I be any different? Right now [I’m all into] Shlichus, Moshiach – of course! But that’s what they all thought too!
So I made a strong commitment to the Rebbe, that come what may, I will definitely go on the Rebbe’s Shlichus, with total dedication to Kabolas Pnei Moshiach Tzidkeinu.
And Baruch Hashem now we are a few years already on Shlichus to the capital of Illinois!
Sometimes, people think that the message of Moshiach is for Israelis, or maybe some third world countries, India, Philippines, Africa, Mexico. But here? In America? It can’t work.
We must all remember the hora’ah of our Rebbeim:
Mach Duh Eretz Yisroel! America is Nisht Andersh!
I would like to share with you all the biggest surprise that I experienced in my Shlichus in Springfield.
[I have come to realize] that when the Rebbe said that the world is ready for Moshiach, the world is really ready!! It’s not just a bracha or wishful thinking, rather I realized that it is the reality!
What About Moshiach Bothered the Reform Rabbi?
I gave a series of classes titled “the Messiah Mystery,” and many members of the conservative and reform community, including many of the leaders of both communities, were in attendance.
Just so you understand, they weren’t just accepting everything I would say. It’s not that they didn’t enjoy the classes; in fact, they even asked for additional classes, but they definitely put up a fight when they didn’t like something. For example, many of the participants were very passionately opposed to the idea of Korbanos when it came up in the class. We had an extremely heated discussion about Korbanos.
Throughout the classes, we spoke about everything, from the creation of the world to where are we holding today in the Geulah process, including how the Rebbe is Melech HaMoshiach.
When it came to these matters, they were able to accept it. Not necessarily did every one of the participants walk away, saying “the Rebbe Melech Hamoshiach” every time they mention the Rebbe, but they were all able to understand and comprehend the ideas, and at a minimum, understand how we came to these conclusions.
Many times, we create our own limitations and see the world through our own glasses. We assume that others will see things the same way.
As Lubavitchers, what we debate and think is hard for others to accept, was not at all a problem.
What was difficult? What part did they have difficulty accepting? Korbanos!
We Are Trailblazers!
The entire idea of Shlichus, in essence, is not exactly rational, it is imbued with a tremendous amount of Emunah.
We aren’t going to cities that are necessarily looking for a rabbi or a Jewish center, but we go L’chatchila Ariber. We go with the complete Emunah that when the Rebbe tells us that a Yid has a Neshama and wants to serve the Eibershter, that is the case! This is the reality.
What is demanded of us now is to take that Emunah to the next level. We need to have the complete Emunah that when the Rebbe said the world is ready, that is the reality – and the Rebbe gave us the job of revealing it.
Always, the Rebbe would come out with something, the world would go crazy, and eventually accept it and do it, as well.
Mivtza Tefillin was opposed by many, but then they started doing it themselves.
With outreach in general — the same thing: they opposed, then many others started doing it themselves.
Nowadays, you know how many non-Orthodox mention Chabad, as many of you may have seen in recent months…
But the Nekudah is, that we are always trendsetters, we are always years ahead, being that we are listening to the Rebbe’s instructions and Ho’raos, who sets the tone for the entire world.
With Moshiach, the same thing – back in the Mem’s & Nun’s it was “Lubavitch is crazy, they koch in Moshiach,” now – so many are having a strong koch as well. We even saw the many “Geulah Gatherings” recently going on all across the world!
Just like it always was, so too now, we have the mission of standing at the forefront, schlepping and inspiring everyone with us. Now, we are up to the last step, and it is up to us to make it happen.
We are standing in a place where the general koch in Moshiach is already there. Now we need to bring the world to recognize Melech Hamoshiach! They have to be able to be Mekabel Pnei Moshiach.
Fellow Shluchim — [both] present Shluchim and those bochurim and yungelite that are thinking of going on shlichus: There are many places today that need Shluchim and are thirsty and waiting to be prepared for Kabolas Pnei Moshiach.
This year there are one thousand Shluchim here in this room;
Next year there should be hundreds more!
Let’s be honest, we know it is not popular, but what the Rebbe wants is Ten Li Es HaNefesh, give yourself fully over to the Rebbe’s Shlichus Hayechida.
We cannot wait for others… or for anything. It is up to us. We have to conquer the world!!
If not us, then who?
If not now, then when?
What Held Reb Michoel on the Train?
When I was learning at the yeshiva in Brunoy, I heard the following story many times:
Reb Michoel Teitelbaum was in Russia, and he was sent on a special Shlichus by the Frierdiker Rebbe to go build a Mikvah in a distant city.
There weren’t trains too often to that city, and he rushed to catch the only train to be leaving in the next few days. As he got there, he saw that the train started moving. Without much time to think, knowing he was on a Shlichus, he quickly jumped onto the back of the train as it was leaving the station.
Holding on for dear life in the freezing cold Russian winter for the long journey was quickly getting extremely difficult.
The train was moving very quickly, and he felt that he just had to let go.
However, leaving go would probably signal immediate death, lo aleinu.
The thought of how he could leave his wife and kids came to mind, and that gave him an extra boost of energy to last a little while longer.
But the bitter cold was overpowering, and he was ready to let go again. Then the thought of how important Kevuras Yisroel — Jewish burial — is in Yiddishkeit came to mind, and that gave him an additional boost.
Then more time went on, and he just couldn’t do it anymore.
The realization came to mind, that if he didn’t make it there, the Rebbe’s Shlichus wouldn’t be fulfilled. The thought that “the Rebbe gave me a Shlichus and I have to fulfill it,” is what made him survive. This thought is what gave him the koach to hold on for the remainder of the freezing cold journey.
We need to have this thought every day!
We must survive because the Rebbe gave us a Shlichus, and I have to fulfill it.
The Rebbe told us that everything has been completed, so what is it that’s still needed?
— For Shluchim to go out fully fused with Moshiach.
There are many great Kiruv organizations out there that work on being Mekarev Jews; our special mission is to be Mekabel Pnei Moshiach Tzidkeinu.
I’m talking to you, the Shliach that’s out there and hesitant: We must let others know where we are holding in the Moshiach process and who is ready to take us out of Galus. This is the only shlichus left.
The Only Obstacle
In general, there are so many signs that show that the world is ready, the only obstacle is the one from within. From within Chabad, from within ourselves.
We have to realize that we can be the biggest obstacle.
Why should we be making stop signs and stopping by them?
In Tof Shin Nun, you had to open your eyes to see Moshiach. In Tof Shin Pay, you have to close your eyes to NOT see Moshiach!
We have to be living Moshiach.
This year as we approach Shiv’im Shanah on Yud Shevat, we have to focus on this even more, being that Seventy is the completion of Seven, Seven is Malchus!
This is the year we have to strengthen Malchus, we must add in in Kabolas HaMalchus! Kabolas Pnei Moshiach Tzidkeinu!
If someone were to come to you and ask you to explain to them what is the Rebbe, and by the same token what is shlichus, and you explain in great detail what the Rebbe is and what Shlichus is, and the word Moshiach isn’t mentioned, then you may have explained something very beautiful but “Rebbe” and “Shlichus” it was not!
We all have to leave here tonight with a strong Hachlatah.
There are so many areas to work on – whether our learning about Moshiach in general, learning the weekly Sicha of nun-aleph and nun-beis, making sure our homes are living with Moshiach and many other areas along those lines, but if I may suggest a practical idea that can be a ma’aseh b’poel. Before each one of us returns to our Shlichus, let’s make a decision tonight that sometime before Yud Shevat, before Shiv’im Shanah, we will establish a new shiur on the topic of Moshiach and Melech HaMoshiach — whether a weekly class, a one-time series, or even just a one-time class.
The main thing is the resolution itself should accomplish — even before we get to doing it — the main thing we are waiting for: to be Mekabel Pnei Moshiach Tzidkeinu of the Rebbe Melech HaMoshiach shlita, with the complete hisgalus, teikef umiyad mamosh now.
Yechi Adoneinu Moreinu v’Rabbeinu Melech HaMoshiach l’olam vaed!
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