I am a teacher in the 7th grade of a Lubavitcher Cheder. We are all preparing for Yud Shevat and Kabbolas HaNesius. My students would love to know about the Rebbe’s reaction to Chassidim when they asked him to accept the nesius after the histalkus of the Frierdiker Rebbe. I told them different stories, but they asked to read it from the Rebbe’s own words. Did the Rebbe ever respond in writing to these requests?
It is very inspiring to hear that these young talmidim are so excited and involved in their hachanos for this special day. There were many letters that the Rebbe wrote about this, and the following are a few of them:
1. About six weeks after the histalkus (passing) of the Frierdiker Rebbe, a Chassid by the name of Rabbi Y. Horowitz wrote to the Rebbe, asking him to accept the nesius. The Rebbe responded: “Concerning what you wrote … I was shocked when reading it: you demanded from me matters that were not granted me and which I do not possess. Neither these matters, nor matters of this type, are relevant to me. I have no complaint against you [for making this demand], because you do not know me personally. Nevertheless, you should have researched the matter because it is of vital importance. May Hashem enable all of us to connect to the Tree of Life in truth.” (Igros, Volume 3, page 260; #576)
2. One of the main activists that pushed the Rebbe to accept the nesius was the famous Chassid R’ Avarham Pariz. On 25 Iyar 5710, he wrote a passionate letter to the Rebbe, requesting that the Rebbe accept the nesius . The Rebbe responded: “[As to] what you write concerning me: of what use is your writing? I do not possess [those qualities]. For myself, I don’t need any allusions and explanations. It is sufficient for me to contemplate briefly my level and situation to know my status. And so, what can another person change with proofs and intellectual [explanations]? What will be? What do I know? What the Rebbe is thinking is his responsibility; he will surely take care of it. How? I don’t know. There are other things that I also don’t know.” (Ibid, page 307; #615)
[The first part of that letter is also fascinating. Reb Avraham referred to the Rebbe as “The Rebbe zol gezunt zein – the Rebbe, may he be healthy and well”. The Rebbe made as if he thought that Reb Avraham was referring to the Frierdiker Rebbe — after the histalkus — with such a term and responded: “I derived very much satisfaction from your use of the expression zol gezunt zain when mentioning my revered father-in-law, the Rebbe, הכ”מ. This can be understood on the basis of what is written in [Tanya,] Iggeres HaKodesh, Epistle 27, that the life of a tzaddik is spiritual: faith, love, and fear. And it is well known that the righteous continually advance from strength to strength.”]
3. Another activist was Reb Yitzchak Gansberg a”h. He also wrote a letter begging the Rebbe to have mercy on Klal Yisrael and accept the nesius. The Rebbe responded: “With regard to what you write: “Please, have mercy on us….” — For this, one must have the potential, essential powers, quintessential powers, revealed powers, and perfection in the garments of thought, speech, and deed, etc., etc.” (Ibid, page 485; #765)
4. Over the course of the year, the letters kept on coming and Chassidim kept on begging the Rebbe. Right before the Rebbe officially accepted the nesius on Yud-Shevat 5711, we find the following heartfelt letter that the Rebbe wrote to Reb Avraham Pariz: “R. Avraham, we must bring the Rebbe back down here. The way it is, it’s difficult; both for me and you. And who benefits from it?” (Igros, Volume 4 page 152; #894)
And yet, despite all this, ultimately Chassidim prevailed and the Rebbe finally accepted the nesius, by taking pidyonos, Yechidus and ultimately, on Yud Shevat the next year by saying a ma’amar Chassidus. From these letters, we can actually have a glimpse into what spiritual kochos are needed to be a Rebbe and from the fact that the Rebbe accepted the Nesius, after writing these letters, is an affirmation that he has these kochos.