Why Say “The Rebbe Melech HaMoshiach”?



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    Why Say “The Rebbe Melech HaMoshiach”?

    For several decades now, many Chabad institutions, such as the Vaad L’Hafotzas Sichos as well Beis Moshiach Magazine, refer to the Rebbe with the title “Melech HaMoshiach.” • We asked the Beis Moshiach Vaad HaRuchni to explain the importance in referring to the Rebbe with this title and what impact does this have on the readers? • Full Article

    For several decades now, many Chabad institutions, such as the Vaad L’Hafotzas Sichos as well Beis Moshiach Magazine, refer to the Rebbe with the title “Melech HaMoshiach.” Some wonder that while Chassidim always believed this to be true, it was never a practice to attach this title to a Rebbe’s name. What changed?

    We asked the Beis Moshiach Vaad HaRuchni to explain the importance in referring to the Rebbe with this title and what impact does this have on the readers?

    PARTICIPANTS:

    Rabbi Zalman Liberow, shliach in Flatbush, New York; Rabbi Berel Lipsker, mashpia in Chovevei Torah and member of the editorial board of Otzar HaChassidim; Rabbi Nachman Shapiro, leading mashpia in Oholei Torah and member of the Vaad L’Hafotzas Sichos.

    ***

    Since Beis Moshiach was founded shortly after the bitter day of Gimmel Tammuz 5754, the words or acronym for Melech HaMoshiach are used regularly when referring to the Rebbe. Some people wonder, why do this over and over again? Is it necessary?

    R’ Liberow: This question is asked about identifying who Moshiach is in general. People say, we believe the Rebbe is Moshiach, but why is it important to publicize and stress it?

    The answer is simple. If it wasn’t that important, the Rebbe MH”M would not mention it in his sichos. If you study the Rebbe’s sichos, you know that in the later years, the Rebbe began to regularly quote the Bartenura which says, “In every generation someone of the seed of Yehuda is born who is fitting to be Moshiach for the Jewish people.” The Rebbe also quoted the Chasam Sofer about “One who is fitting, because of his righteousness, to be the redeemer, and when the time comes, Hashem will reveal Himself to him and send him.”

    Those who remember the sichos of the early years know that these quotes were not at all typical until the later years. Since 5751, it was important to the Rebbe to quote these lines again and again. If it is important to the Rebbe, then it ought to be important to all the Chassidim.

    That students identify their teachers as Moshiach, and even more so (as the Rebbe notes in the sicha of Tazria-Metzora 5751), that Tannaim themselves would expound on their name – this practice dates back to the time of the Gemara, as it’s brought in the tractate Sanhedrin.

    Since the revelation of Chassidus, when the concept of Nasi HaDor became more prominent, the identification of the Nasi HaDor as Moshiach also began to intensify. On Shabbos Parshas Naso 5720/1960, the Rebbe said that already in the time of the Rebbe Rayatz, they spoke about Chassidim believing that the Rebbe is Moshiach.

    Regarding our Rebbe, first it was hinted at, but the deeper we got as we progressed towards Geula, the more open it became. Yes, there were things that held it back, but unlike earlier years in which the obstacles remained for years, since 5751, even when there were obstacles, they didn’t last more than a few weeks.

    During this period of time (5751), at first, when people asked whether they should do certain Moshiach-related activities, some were told “Yes” and some were told “No”. If someone went ahead and did something and informed the Rebbe, he was answered, “informing me is enough, as is obvious,” and he was given blessings to continue.

    Later on, especially after 27 Adar, even when the person asking really wanted a negative answer, he didn’t get one. For example, in the big Yud Shevat event of 5753, some people asked the Rebbe not to go out in public on the balcony since it would be interpreted as his consent to the proclamation of “Yechi.” The Rebbe went out anyway and publicly encouraged the singing of “Yechi” to the world, and millions watched it.

    What does that tell us? That the closer we get to the hisgalus of Moshiach, his identity becomes an integral part of the issue. There are things that are associated with particular times, for example, the halachos of Chanuka. At this time of the year they are not apropos, but around Chanuka time, they are! The same is true with the halachos of Moshiach. Until recent years, they weren’t that practical, but ever since the Rebbe said “the time for your redemption has arrived,” these are practical halachos.

    The same is true with the name of Moshiach. In the past, it wasn’t that necessary. As we get closer and closer to the true and complete Redemption, it becomes more and more important.

    In Elul 5753, the Rebbe agreed for the first time, that the introduction to a book published by Kehos should add the words “Melech HaMoshiach.” Since then, dozens of sefarim from Kehos were published with the Rebbe’s title as “Kevod Kedushas Admor Melech HaMoshiach shlita.”

    Once the Rebbe approved the writing of “Melech HaMoshiach” in an official Lubavitch publication, someone who asks why it is important is like someone asking, after Yud Shevat 5711, after the Rebbe agreed to writing “Kevod Kedushas Admor shlita” – what is the importance in writing this about the Rebbe…

    R’ Shapiro: Along with the quotes from the Bartenura and Chasam Sofer, the Rebbe also mentioned a few times that “Chassidim in each generation believed that their Rebbe is Moshiach, and in our generation – the Rebbe, my father-in-law.” In later years, the Rebbe also used “Moshiach Tzidkeinu” along with “Nesi Doreinu,” and many times we heard the Rebbe say, “Nesi Doreinu, Moshiach of the generation.”

    The Rebbe said this orally and in writing, such as in the sicha of Shabbos, Parshas Vayeitzei 5752. After quoting the Bartenura and the Chasam Sofer, the Rebbe added in his handwriting: “and in our generation, Nesi Doreinu, the Rebbe my father-in-law.”

    Since “chayav adam lomar b’lashor rabbo — a person must use the wording of his teacher,” obviously there is reason to refer to the Rebbe as Melech HaMoshiach.

    In those years, the Rebbe also explained a few times the quality of Moshiach that he is the yechida klalis (and later he added that Moshiach is the etzem ha’neshama). If you look at the sicha of Toldos 5752, you will see that the Rebbe speaks of a new avoda which is derived from the fact that the inyan of Moshiach is etzem ha’neshama, above the level of yechida.

    This means that the knowledge that Moshiach is the etzem ha’neshama is something that is relevant to avoda, every detail of a person’s avoda. Namely, that everything is done “to bring to Yemos HaMoshiach.”

    When the whole inyan of kabbolas ha’malchus began, I sat at a Kinus HaShluchim with some old-time shluchim and one of them said: We already wrote a ksav hiskashrus to the Rebbe, in 5710. Why do we need to accept his malchus again?

    I answered: First off, most of the people sitting here around the table were not born in 5710, and those who were, were children. They never signed on a ksav hiskashrus to the Rebbe. Secondly, since something new regarding the Rebbe has become revealed, the kabbolas ha’hiskashrus that was signed back then is not enough for today. We need to connect to that aspect which has been revealed in the Rebbe now.

    R’ Lipsker: Before all the explanations we need to say one simple thing: it’s the truth! Since the Rebbe is Moshiach, we have to write it – because it’s the truth.

    This question was asked back in 5751 with the “koch” in kabbalas ha’malchus of the Rebbe MH”M. Those who opposed using the title “Melech HaMoshiach” for the Rebbe tried to present their position as one that is Chassidish. They quoted the Rebbeim as saying that to Chassidim, there is nothing higher than “Rebbe.”

    This view went along with the story of the Chassid (Reb Chonyhe Marosow)who was asked whether his Rebbe has ruach ha’kodesh. He said it was none of his business. If the Rebbe needed ruach ha’kodesh, he certainly had it; if he didn’t need it, he didn’t care that he didn’t. This story expresses the idea that to a Chassid, the Rebbe is not measured by various qualities. His greatest quality is that he is Rebbe.

    To tell you the truth, at first, I didn’t have a good answer to this question and approach. I just knew that if it was important to the Rebbe to mention that the Nasi HaDor is the Moshiach of the generation, then there was certainly a big inyan here. We Chassidim had to follow the Rebbe and use this wording to refer to him.

    However, on Shabbos Parshas Toldos, the Rebbe began one of the sichos with the following words, “It is necessary to add and correct,” and the Rebbe explained that the level of Moshiach is not merely the yechida klalis of the Jewish people, because “yechida” is one of the five names of the neshama, and as such it is not the actual etzem. The special quality of Moshiach is that he literally reveals the “etzem ha’neshama.” This is the “true inyan of Moshiach.”

    This was an enormous chiddush. Until then, we knew that Moshiach is the yechida klalis and looking at it that way, there was reason to say that “Moshiach” is not greater than “Rebbe,” because the Rebbe is also the yechida klalis, and what do we need beyond a Rebbe? However, after the Rebbe established that Moshiach is “the etzem of the Jewish people, which is above the aspect of yechida,” there is obviously, something far more special about Moshiach. Since the Rebbe is also Moshiach, which means he reveals the etzem ha’neshama, it is certainly important to mention this repeatedly, since by doing so, we arouse and reveal this point.

    It’s interesting to note what it says in Vayikra Rabba, “And He called to Moshe. What does it say earlier? The above portion is about the Mishkan, where it concludes, ‘as Hashem commanded Moshe.’ An analogy to a king who commanded his servant and said to him: build me a palace. On everything he built, he wrote the name of the king. He constructed walls and wrote the king’s name on them. He raised pillars and wrote on them the king’s name. He would put up beams and write the king’s name on them.

    “The king later entered the palace and wherever he looked he saw his name written. He said: My servant gave me all this honor, and I am inside and he is outside?! They called to him to enter.

    “So too, when Hashem said to Moshe: Build Me a Mishkan, on everything he made he wrote on it: as Hashem commanded Moshe. Said Hashem: Moshe gave me all this honor and I am inside and he is outside?! They called to him to enter, which is why it says: ‘And He called to Moshe.’”

    The application of the analogy is obvious!

    Do you think that when readers of this magazine repeatedly see references to the Rebbe MH”M, it influences their Chassidishe conduct? That is, does it have practical ramifications?

    R’ Shapiro: Thirty years ago, we sat at a farbrengen with one of the great mashpiim and he said that if we really believed that the Rebbe is Moshiach and that we are in his dalet amos (i.e., in his presence), we would look entirely different; our behavior, our approach to the Rebbe’s issues would be completely different. At the time the mashpia said this, it had a great impact on us.

    When a person reads the phrase, “the Rebbe MH”M” again and again, it can inspire him to behave as a Chassid of Melech HaMoshiach. This is along the lines of what the Rebbe said at the end of the sicha of Vaeira 5752, “the knowledge that the Rebbe, my father-in-law, Nesi Doreinu, will be entering immediately (since ‘arise and sing those who dwell in the dust’) and look at each one of the Chassidim and mekusharim to examine their standing and position, etc., inspires and affects one to finish and complete (from the root “shleimus,” perfect) all our actions and avoda.”

    When a Chassid relates to it as fact that the Rebbe is Melech HaMoshiach, and he believes in and anticipates his hisgalus at any moment, it affects his emuna and anticipation for Moshiach in general. It becomes more real for him. And it affects his avoda, so that whatever he does is with awareness that Moshiach is about to appear!

    On a deeper level one can say, the title Rebbe – Adoneinu Moreinu v’Rabbeinu – is comprised of several levels, with each word expressing another aspect of the Rebbe and consequently, in the connection of the Chassidim with the Rebbe.

    Adoneinu” expresses the bittul of a servant to his master.

    “Moreinu v’Rabbeinu” express two aspects of bittul of a student to his teacher.

    “Melech HaMoshiach” expresses the great bittul of the nation to the king. This is a greater and deeper bittul than the bittul of a servant to his master.

    However, we cannot suffice with our living with the reality that the Rebbe is Moshiach and that as a result, we are battel to the Rebbe. We have to get the world to know that the Rebbe is Moshiach and to be battel to him accordingly.

    The Rebbe spoke along these lines in the maamar “V’Ata Tetzaveh” – that as long as there is a Jew for whom the G-dly illumination does not shine forth, the tzaddik who succeeded in reaching the highest levels has to be “crushed” and broken by this, that the light of G-dliness is still not fully revealed in the world.

    So too with us, as long as the entire world does not believe that the Rebbe is Moshiach and is not battel to his directives, we are lacking in the concept of “Rebbe,” the bittul and devotion to the Rebbe MH”M.

    In Kesser Shem Tov, in the famous letter in which the Baal Shem Tov describes his encounter with Moshiach, it says that Moshiach said to the Baal Shem Tov that this hisgalus will take place when “when your identity is revealed in the world.” That means that along with spreading the wellsprings, the identity of the Nasi HaDor must be revealed in the world. This is accomplished when we publicize the identity of the Rebbe as Moshiach, thus revealing him to the world.

    This should be obvious to a Chassid. Chassidim have always told others about the Rebbe. Everybody agrees that we should publicize the Rebbe. But one can ask: Why? What do we care whether people know about the Rebbe? When did the Rebbe give us this assignment? Yet, all Chabad Chassidim happily tell others about the Rebbe.

    The point is, in order for the inyan of Rebbe to be experienced by us in the fullest measure, he has to be this way to the world. The more we work on “revealing his identity in the world,” and are mekasher more and more Jews to the Rebbe, we affect ourselves, making ourselves more mekushar to the Rebbe.

    R’ Lipsker: Usually, when speaking about the saying of “Yechi,” people quote what the Rebbe said about adding life to the king, etc., but we can’t forget the more basic significance of the proclamation of “Yechi HaMelech” – that the people accept the king’s authority!

    The same goes for writing “Rebbe MH”M” which expresses kabbolas ha’malchus. When a Chassid reads or writes it and he stops for a moment to think about what it means, he realizes he has to accept the Rebbe’s malchus. Since the most basic element of accepting the malchus is “accept my decrees,” this strengthens one’s resolve to fulfill all of the Rebbe’s horaos.

    ***

    Human nature is such that when you are anticipating the king and you know who it is, your emotions are stronger and they increase from day to day. This thought, about our being so close to the coming of Moshiach, definitely inspires a Chassid to improve his Chassidishe behavior in avodas ha’tefilla and especially, in spreading the Besuras HaGeula and preparing the world to greet Moshiach.

    This is because when you live with the fact that the Rebbe is Moshiach, every passing day makes you think: How did another day pass and the Rebbe is still not here?! This is immediately translated into action in all those things which the Rebbe said hasten the Geula.

    *

    The magazine can be obtained in stores around Crown Heights. To purchase a subscription, please go to: bmoshiach.org

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