An Open Letter to My Fellow Shluchim



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    An Open Letter to My Fellow Shluchim

    From the desk of Editor-in-Chief of Beis Moshiach Magazine, Rabbi Levi Liberow: First of all, we need to properly define for ourselves: What is the Besuras HaGeula that we want to announce? Or to borrow the terminology of Kuntres Toras HaChassidus, “its wisdom, its essential character and its function in acquiring the elevated qualities of man.” • Full Article

    Levi Liberow, Beis Moshiach

    During one of the municipal elections in Eretz Yisrael, the representative of the Chassidim lost and it seemed that this might lead to a crisis of faith within a certain Chassidic group who were convinced their rep would win. The son of that Admor issued a letter to the Chassidim in which he learned a lesson from the weekly parsha about winning or losing in elections. This is what this distinguished rav and mashpia wrote:

    “In our parsha, regarding the first shlichus in the Torah between a rav and his student, when Avrohom sent Eliezer to find a wife for Yitzchok, and after explaining all the details of the mission to him, Eliezer asks him what to do if the woman does not want to go with him.

    “Avrohom Avinu, tzaddik of the generation, could have told Eliezer to go and promise him that he would be successful, which he actually was. However, although he prayed and blessed him that ‘He will send His angel before you and you will take a wife for my son from there,’ he still said, ‘If the woman does not wish to follow you, you are absolved of this oath.’

    “Perhaps we can say that with the first shlichus in the Torah, Avrohom wanted to instill in us a fundamental principle, that the main fulfillment of the shlichus of a tzaddik is the act of carrying out the shlichus and listening to him without looking at the results and how successful it was.” As the saying goes among Chabad Chassidim, “M’darf tun; nit oiftun” (We need to do; not accomplish).

    However, every rule has its exception: In the “contract” of the final, most essential shlichus, the only and unique shlichus of our time, the part about “no obligation to succeed” was knowingly and intentionally omitted on purpose!

    The Rebbe bound us by an oath on all that is precious and holy to him and us that this shidduch must happen! There is no option of “turning to the right and the left.”

    The Rebbe explicitly left us no option of “if the woman does not want to follow us,” that if the world, with all its diverse populations, Jew and (l’havdil) non-Jew, Chassidish, yeshivish, religious, not-yet-religious, will not relate to “Chabad’s Moshiach thing,” then we’ll revert to other important, precious things, “and you will be absolved of this oath”!

    But what do we do if it just doesn’t work? What do we do “if the woman does not want to follow me,” if the world wants the jewelry and delicacies, the Chabad House and shiurim, the Pesach Seder and Shabbos meals, but is not willing to commit to the shidduch, to start taking Moshiach seriously?

    Although “it’s guaranteed that efforts do not go for naught,” and surely there have been and are many successes over the years from Moshiach activities, it seems we need to expect more, to be more successful …

    The truth is that the aphorism (Hayom Yom 12 Tishrei) in its original entirety is, “We are assured by covenant that any wide-ranging effort and labor pursued wisely and with friendship is never fruitless.” There are two important conditions here: 1) “pursued wisely” – Usually, urgency and energy are very good when it comes to hafatza and outreach in general, and inyanei Moshiach in particular, but they should not be viewed as conflicting with planning and prior thought which are needed for success. 2)“with friendship” – This condition can be understood in two ways: 1. There must be friendship and cooperation among the activists so that the efforts are successful. 2. The efforts and labor need to be done “with friendship” toward those whom one seeks to influence. In the following lines we will focus on this point.

    THE SECRET TO SUCCESS – IN “DRUSHEI CHASUNA”

    In this article, we will try to “chart a new course” and offer some change of direction in the efforts in promulgating the Besuras HaGeula, based on what is explained in Chassidus about effective influence.

    I am not suggesting that you need to accept what I say; at least read it and think about it. If only this would lead to a frank and fruitful discussion on the subject which leads to practical results.

    A few weeks after the Kinus HaShluchim, on 17 Kislev 5752, the Rebbe gave out the kuntrus “Drushei Chasuna.”

    In line with the directive/hope expressed by the Rebbe in 5710, that “If only the tmimim and Anash would carefully analyze etc.” the inyanim of the last year and in addition to the blessed “koch” in learning the new sichos of that period, that were published under the title “Dvar Malchus,” it would seem that the “special status” that the Dvar Malchus has surely also applies to the maamarim that were edited during this time, especially that which the Rebbe personally distributed. In these too, we need to look for advice and guidance for our times.

    In the first maamar of the kuntrus, “V’Chol Bonayich,” the Rebbe Rayatz explains the statement of Chazal, “The world was created with ten utterances” and says in this lies the secret to successful influence:

    The inyan is that all the influence needs to be specifically through ten aspects which are chochma-bina-daas, chesed-gevura-tiferes, netzach-hod-yesod-malchus. And from my flesh I see – just as with the imparting of intellect to the other, it is also necessary that it be drawn by way of these ten aspects.”

    In this explanation there is an astonishing “road-map” for the best way to succeed in influence, any influence. I would like to suggest, based on this “influence plan,” a new approach to spreading the Besuras HaGeula in a way that perhaps will be more successful than what we have been doing until now.

    TO DEFINE WITHIN INTELLECT

    “That is, the necessity that he first conceive and contemplate within himself with the power of his chochma and bina that conceptual construct, and to ponder deeply in his daas into the how and what of the concept, as this deep pondering is what joins together the chochma and the bina; meaning that it brings the core point of chochma to the comprehension of bina. Additionally, through this, the concept is grasped and absorbed well by him.”

    First of all, we need to properly define for ourselves: What is the Besuras HaGeula that we want to announce? Or to borrow the terminology of Kuntres Toras HaChassidus, “its wisdom, its essential character and its function in acquiring the elevated qualities of man.”

    Aside from announcing to the world that the Geula is more imminent than ever and that the Rebbe is Moshiach, we need to understand: 1) What is the essential character of Geula and 2) What is its intrinsic quality?

    ON THE ESSENCE OF GEULA

    For example, true, in the Geula the sick will be healed, but a hospital is not the Geula. True, in the Geula no one will go hungry but the ones who open soup kitchens and ship food to third world countries are not perforce Moshiach. True, in the Geula there will be no war but leaders of the superpowers who sign peace agreements are not the redeemers of the Jewish people!

    The Geula has a defining essential element, which is the revelation of G-dliness, the revelation of the yechida, to ultimately, the revelation of the essence. This is well-known to those who study inyanei Moshiach and Geula and one can always ponder this more deeply and connect with the idea more powerfully. However, it would seem that there is a need to focus on a detail that is somewhat less given to analysis and deep inspection; the function of the Besuras HaGeula in acquiring the elevated qualities of man.

    In other words: Why does it matter that Moshiach is imminent and that there is a Moshiach of the generation and he is the Nasi HaDor?

    If it’s in order to cry out “ad mosai,” we already have the writings of the Chofetz Chaim; in order to do mitzvos and good deeds, there exists an enormous number of mosdos that spread Torah and mitzvos, so why do we have to set ourselves apart?

    What difference is there between doing mitzvos in order to be rewarded in the next world and doing a mitzva in order to bring Moshiach?

    If he is actually Moshiach, nobody will be able to stand in his way. Let’s wait and anticipate his coming and do more mitzvos and more good deeds and when he comes everyone will accept him sooner or later! Why shake up the world with something that has no practical ramifications?

    MOSHIACH – WITH LOVE

    “Additionally, he also needs to have love and desire in the [act of] imparting [the wisdom] because without it, it is impossible for him to impart, and also words which go out from the heart specifically, are ones that enter the heart of the listener.”

    As mentioned before, the shliach who aims for success and not just faithfulness, must l-o-v-e! To love the one who sent him and, no less than that, the one to whom he is sent. Not for naught did Chabad Chassidus establish its headquarters in the town of Lubavitch, meaning “city of love.” To be influential you must love!

    When you tell someone that the Rebbe is Moshiach, he must understand that the only reason you’re telling him this is for his good. Not because my Rebbe is the greatest but because I believe that the Rebbe is yours as much as mine!

    We must consider the needs of the recipient and play on the strings that are hidden deep within his soul so that he will want to receive what we want him to receive. What will he gain thereby? How will he benefit by accepting the Rebbe’s Besuras HaGeula? How will his life change for the better?

    When we want to get a couple interested in the laws of family purity, we present the positive effects of the mitzva on family life. And in order to convince a family to keep Shabbos, we present the beauty in keeping Shabbos with all of its minutiae which serve to disconnect the family from the constant bombardment of mundane life and unites the family so beautifully. How do we convince a Jew, and even a goy, to “get into” Geula and Moshiach?

    The fact that when Moshiach comes things will be abundantly good for the Jews is no reason to go wild! We could have demanded back in 5740, “We Want Moshiach Now,” just like we can now. The demand for the Geula hastened it then and now. So what’s new?

    With what do we approach someone to convince him to hop aboard the Geula train?

    DISCRETION ADVISED

    Let’s continue learning the maamar:

    “There also needs to be the midda of gevura, to constrict oneself so as to limit the words of the concept in this [act of] imparting so that the subjects don’t become mixed up and intermingled within each other. [This is] because on the side of the love and desire, and more so due to the intense excitement of expressiveness of the heart, the flow could be overly abundant, and without that much order and gradation, and the recipient would not be able to receive. Therefore, there needs to be the midda of gevura and constriction, to constrain the attribute of love and [emotional] expressiveness, and particularly the emotional excitation, in order for the [act of] imparting to be in restricted fashion and order and gradation.”  

    In order to find that point which will speak to the heart of every Jew and hook him up to the Geula train, we need to use gevura. But before we constrict the influence, we will use another form of gevura within ourselves. Let us clearly define the messages that comprise the Rebbe’s Toras – and mainly, Besuras – HaGeula. I think that it’s possible to define the messages briefly as follows: The obligation to demand Moshiach; the time for the Geula has come; open your eyes; the importance of learning inyanei Moshiach and Geula; living with Moshiach; shelach na b’yad tishlach [i.e. that the Rebbe is the final shliach of redemption, Melech HaMoshiach].

    Now we need to figure out which of these is most accessible, catchy, and practical.

    OBLIGATION TO DEMAND MOSHIACH

    This demand is relevant when the person: 1) believes in Moshiach’s coming and 2) understands the importance and urgency in Moshiach’s coming.

    THE TIME OF GEULA/OPEN YOUR EYES

    The signs of Geula, especially those which indicate that the Geula has begun in the world, serve as terrific aids for strengthening the belief in the coming of Moshiach and that the time is now, both among believers and those who aren’t.

    The believers are encouraged and their faith is strengthened. Those who don’t yet believe need to acquire the proper perspective on the state of the world and realize that the world is marching toward something tremendous. What is this something tremendous? Torah and Jewish sources have the answers.

    IMPORTANCE OF LEARNING INYANEI MOSHIACH

    Now, for the fourth message:

    How can we get someone to demand Moshiach’s coming and start believing in the coming of Moshiach? The answer lies, firstly, in awareness of the concepts. This is something we can demand of everyone. We’ll take an example from elections. When a party/candidate runs in an election, it/he needs to convince its/his longtime supporters as well as new people to vote for it/him. The way to do this is by informing the potential voters about the views of the candidate or party on important issues that are on the table, even to try to address “hostile voters” and win them over with the facts. People, generally speaking, seek the truth and you can’t force views and beliefs on them but you can definitely present the facts that led to you taking certain positions and hope that they accept them too.

    However, as mentioned, in order to get someone interested in something, you need to address not only the mind but also the heart. What could get someone to want Moshiach? Why should he want us to explain to him “inyano shel Moshiach b’ofen ha’miskabel etzlo l’fi sichlo v’havanaso [the subject of Moshiach in such a way that he will be receptive, according to his intellect and understanding]?”

    There are people who are curious. There are people who believe already and you can interest them in broadening their knowledge and showing them aspects that are new to them. But what about everyone else?

    As for those who are interested, how do we translate their interest and curiosity into a way of life rather than a one-time lesson?

    LIVING WITH MOSHIACH

    This is where the fifth message comes in. A few years ago, when I learned in yeshiva in Tzfas, on one of the trips to the center of the country on the Tzfas-Bnei Brak bus line, some of the tmimim decided to carry out a hafatza campaign on a bus full of religious Jews. The person sitting next to me was given a copy of the famous psak din on which rabbanim from an array of groups paskened that the Rebbe is Moshiach.

    He read the entire booklet and then asked me a simple question to which I had no answer at the time. “Nu, what do you want?”

    To clarify his question, I’ll copy what I wrote above. Why does it matter that Moshiach is imminent and that there is a Moshiach of the generation and he is the Nasi HaDor? Why shake up the world with something that has no practical ramifications?

    The answer is: to live with Moshiach. The function of the Besuras HaGeula is that it enables us to live with Moshaich already now, before the coming of the true and complete Geula!

    What does it mean “to live with Moshiach”?

    Chassidus explains regarding the eternality of Torah, that even though “the words do not depart from their simple meaning,” and those events that the Torah recounts actually happened, they are still eternal and have a lesson for every Jew in every era whether it’s the Exodus from Egypt, the miracle of Chanuka, Purim, etc.

    This is true not only for events of the past but events of the future. There is the general Geula and the inner Geula which are not separate things but interdependent. The essence of the general Geula is that it will enable us to serve Hashem in a Geula state and awareness, “The sages and prophets did not long for the Days of Moshiach in order to rule the world but to be free for Torah and its wisdom, and so as not to have an oppressor and distraction.” Chassidus teaches that it’s not just the “quantity” of avodas Hashem that will be affected by the Geula but also the “quality.”

    The path to the general Geula passes through one’s inner Geula. The demand to live with Moshiach is the practical side of opening our eyes and seeing that all aspects of the Geula are already here.

    While the “individual Geula” previously was the province of singular individuals only, in the generation of the Geula it is possible for all:

    (Sicha of Shabbos parshas Emor 5751) “And one can say that after all these matters, of refining etc., that the Jewish people went through over the generations, now every Jew can surely attain the highest levels, even ‘be a tzaddik,’ openly (the revelation of ‘and Your people are all righteous’) as it will be in [a manner of] ultimate revelation in the true and complete Geula.”

    How is this generation different than all generations? And in this generation specifically, what is different about this period over all the previous ones?

    SHELACH NA B’YAD TISHLACH

    Now, for the sixth message.

    All of this is the work of the Nasi HaDor of the generation of the Geula, Moshiach of the generation. The Moshiach of previous generations were only deserving of being Moshiach. The change in our situation is that (Sicha of parshas Chayei Sarah 5752) “According to the announcement of my father-in-law, the Rebbe, Nasi Doreinu, the singular shliach of our generation, the singular Moshiach of our generation, that everything has been completed, it is understood that the fulfillment of “shelach na b’yad tishlach” [Moshe’s request that Hashem send the shliach that He will send in the future redemption] has already begun, the shlichus of my father-in-law, the Rebbe. From this it is understood that the only thing remaining now in the avodas ha’shlichus is: to welcome Moshiach Tzidkeinu b’poel mamosh so he can fulfill his mission and take the Jews out of galus!”

    Or, in the terminology of the “Kuntres Inyana shel Toras HaChassidus, where it explains that the inyan of Moshiach is the “revelation of the yechida”: the yechida is always there and always active but in order for it to impact upon and permeate, in a revealed manner, the other levels of the soul, it is an essential requirement that it be revealed, such as when giving up one’s life, and the like.

    The fact that in the final moments before the Geula the avoda of our generation can and needs to be in a way of “personal redemption” is only because the Nasi HaDor, the Moshiach of the generation, received the shlichus of “b’yad tishlach.” The only possibility of living in this way is through an inner bond with the Nasi HaDor and in-depth  and personalized study of his teachings, the Toras HaGeula!

    This is why it is important to publicize Moshiach’s identity to the world, in order to start “living Geula,” according to the instructions of Moshiach.

    Who doesn’t want to live with Geula awareness, liberated from the vanities of the world and its challenges? Who doesn’t want to live in a state of “be a tzaddik” and not a beinoni who is always fighting to experience a moment of truth? Who doesn’t want to be in a state of “you will not come to – even to the possibility of – a sin”?

    And we have the key! A key that previously was not in our hands! Hashem gave it to the Rebbe and the Rebbe gave it to us so we can give it to the world!

    Therefore, we can inspire a Jew, and even (l’havdil) a non-Jew, to take a serious interest in the Geula. If we approach someone and tell him, “Listen my dear Jew, do you want to upgrade your life in an instant to a life of goodness, pleasantness, freedom?

    This is why we have Moshiach, now, a Moshiach who has already come! And he is not nameless. He has a name and an address and sefarim and a way of life that will only be good for you!

    INTEGRATION IS ESSENTIAL

    “However, in order that the constriction also be in a way of order and gradation – for that there is the midda of tiferes to couple and unify the chesed and gevura, such that there should be the love and desire in the [act of] imparting and the constriction in a way that is balanced and effective according to the abilities and vessels of the recipient.”

    Maybe it’s time to synthesize the practical message into all the publicity that includes the identity of the goel, namely that the Rebbe is Moshiach because he helps you, already now, to live a Geula life, a liberated life!

    A message like this about Moshiach is clear, meaningful, and above all else – an appealing, joyful message!

    Don’t hide it! We must provide this message, otherwise, we enter the category of “cursed is one who withholds sustenance” G-d forbid. It is actually possible at times to give something, to impart, while “withholding sustenance”! If the imparted message lacks meaning and lacks the tools for progress, it’s a type of withholding sustenance!

    There is a claim which, although some use it improperly [which is why we tend to ignore it],  still contains some truth, namely, that publicizing Moshiach irresponsibly can turn people off from learning Chassidus.

    What is meant by “irresponsibly”? To me, it means conveying the message in the incorrect dosage and without proper context. It’s like a person who takes medication that is meant to help him and heal him. If he takes the medicine more times a day than the doctor instructs, and on an empty stomach, it will harm him! Of course he needs the medicine and of course the medicine is beneficial, but in the right dosage and the right way.

    When the goel’s identity is present in a dosage that is not proportionate to the rest of the fundamental principles of Torah and the Rebbe’s Besuras HaGeula, especially when the practical ramifications regarding avodas Hashem are not shown, it’s possible that people will take it incorrectly.

    Yes, it’s a fascinating topic and it’s very easy to get pulled into discussions and debates that divert attention from the fact that there are other details that we need to convey, which is why it is very important not to be enticed to go this way and to keep to the right dosage.

    TO ACHIEVE THE INTENDED RESULT

    “The influence of the mashpia on the mekabel is in such a way that when the mekabel grows up, he will have the ability to be mashpia. These are the kidneys [netzach and hod] that advise how to be mashpia in such a way that it will accomplish his inner intended result, along the lines of an “a melamed that is effective” which is in line with ‘give to the wise person and he will become wiser’ on his own, and yesod is the bond between the mashpia and the mekabel. This is true for every type of influence that it needs to be through these ten aspects specifically, in the proper mixture and composition.”

    I suggest making a brief calculation: Since we began our involvement in the Besuras HaGeula and especially the identity of the goel, how many people have we succeeded in “pulling in” to this belief in such a way that they themselves conveyed the message further?

    We can convince people we are right and it ends with that. But we need to make them “moist enough to moisten others” and perhaps this is what is meant by “every Jew is a shliach,” because whoever has something good always includes someone else and this is what creates a mass movement.

    I’d like to repeat a line from the maamar: “How to influence in such a way that it will accomplish his inner intended result [kavana pnimis].”

    We need to give serious thought to how the Besuras HaGeula and the goel can be messages that create a mass movement. A mass movement is not created by massive publicity but by “a friend brings a friend.” This happens only when he benefits and understands that to be a Jew who seriously believes in Moshiach and “lives” Moshiach, is not hard; on the contrary, it’s helpful and improves the quality of his life!

    LOYALTY A-N-D SUCCESS

    To conclude:

    “Living with Moshiach” still needs development. There are some excellent booklets that were published on the subject such as Chashiva Geulatis by Rabbi Zalman Notik a’h. It would be very worthwhile for mashpiim to start seriously working on developing this topic.

    Our way is not to make our material and spiritual outreach and help conditional on observing Torah and mitzvos. We help a Jew because he’s a Jew, as the Rebbe taught us. However, it can happen that due to all the help we are providing that we forget the main shlichus – Moshiach!

    Boruch Hashem, numerous Jews pass through Chabad Houses and benefit from all that is provided. It’s so important that in every encounter with a Jew to whom we offer material or spiritual aid, that we not forget to offer the best thing of all, to live with Moshiach and to upgrade his life!

    Let us learn from our first Father, Avrohom, who used his hostel as a means to spread belief in one G-d and to try, as much as we can, to connect Jews in a serious way to the subject of Moshiach. After all, this is why we were created and for this we were sent!

    Here is the end of the explanation in the maamar, “V’chol Bonayich”:

    “Regarding this they [the Sages] said, ‘with one utterance He could have created it,’ i.e. the aspect of malchus which is the aspect of “the word of the king rules,” which is also comprised of all the ten sefiros, and yet the world was created with ten utterances, i.e the ten sefiros themselves… And the intent was in order that there be the revelation of G-dliness in the world.”

    The message can be conveyed as is and one can be faithful to the meshaleiach and not veer from the shlichus at all, but people will grasp it only on the level of “words,” as a command of the king, and it makes no difference whether you agree and understand it or not; you need to do it! The small difference is only that while the king’s command obligates his people, it does not obligate the one who did not accept the king’s authority!

    As for those who did accept it, we know that although the foundation of everything is kabbolas ol malchus shomayim, still, Chassidus demands that our service of Hashem be with an inner vitality which is what guarantees that the avoda will carry on for the long haul and accomplish what it needs to accomplish.

    So yes, “it could have been created with one utterance,” – the matter could have been presented as non-negotiable but then there wouldn’t be the revelation of G-dliness in the world!

    We need to be faithful to the meshaleiach and ensure that the shlichus is successful. The only way to do that is by reckoning with the vessel of the recipient and his needs and getting him to understand that Moshiach is good for him, here and now!

    492

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