Levi Liberow, Beis Moshiach
On the 18th of Tishrei 5660, Reb Nachman of Breslov’s soul ascended on high. His Chassidim, however, never appointed a new Rebbe. But that was far from signaling the demise of the group; Rebbe Nachman has left behind a glorious legacy.
To this very day, the Chassidus is led by mashpi’im, spiritual mentors, who unite its adherents around the electrifying teachings and writings of the first and only Rebbe of Breslov. They gather on Rosh Hashana at his tziyun and practice his horaos of a unique derech in serving Hashem.
They were ridiculed for this for many generations, but the last laugh is theirs. In the last few decades Breslov is one of the fastest growing Chassidic courts, and its ideas have made it into mainstream Judaism.
This phenomenon portrays more than anything else, what the Alter Rebbe writes in Tanya (Iggeres Hakodesh siman 27), quoting the holy Zohar, that Tzaddikim after their passing are alive and effect the world more than in their lifetime.
Is Lubavitch today, 25 years after Gimmel Tammuz, going in the same direction?
Chabad Chassidim cringe hearing this and rightfully so. The concept of Yatir Mibchayohi is certainly true, but not for every Tzaddik and not in every generation. But why indeed?
This special edition of Beis Moshiach is an attempt to answer this question.
Ironically, this Gimmel Tammuz special-edition Beis Moshiach isn’t focused on Moshiach as you would expect. It’s not focused on connecting to the Rebbe either – another worthy theme for a Gimmel Tammuz issue.
It’s focused on the Rebbe communicating back to us. It is about Moshiach, because this idea constitutes a vital component in understanding and carrying out the Rebbe’s self-declared divinely inspired life mission of bringing about the complete and final revelation of Moshiach.
In the months after Yud Shvat 5710, when the Frierdiker Rebbe was nistalek, the Rebbe often quoted ideas from the chapter of Tanya which speaks about Yatir Mibchayohi, and at the same time introduced a novel concept – the idea that if only we stand strong in our bond to him, the Rebbe will answer our queries and questions.
Writing kvitlach (notes) with requests for blessings to Tzddikim who left the constraints of this world is not new. Receiving their blessings is not new either. It is a typical fulfillment of Yatir Mibchyohi: A person becomes mekushar to a Tzaddik by going in his ways and writes to him, and in return “benefits” from the Yatir Mibchayohi of the Tzaddik.
But asking him questions and receiving personalized answers and guidance is a whole different story. This is something that was introduced by a Nasi Hador, perhaps because only a Nasi Hador is given such an ability.
The Midrash and Zohar reveal that every generation has a Moshe-like figure. Chassidus illuminates this concept by explaining that besides for Rebbes and Jewish leaders being sources of spiritual inspiration for their followers – a role they can continue to fill even after their passing – the role of a Rebbe is first and foremost a Hisgalus Elokus, a revelation of G-dliness in the world.
The Tzaddikim and the miracles are “windows” through which Hashem shines into the world. This role is the primary mission of a Moshe of generation, who therefore must be present in this world.
Can the windows to Heaven be in Heaven?
The Rebbe taught us that even at a time when our present Rebbe seems to have departed, we should continue to ask not only for brachos, but also for advice, and the Nasi Hador will find a way to communicate it to us.
Hiskashrus to a “departed” Tzaddik is static – I must go in the ways he taught me in the past. In return, the Tzaddik generates Brachos and Yeshuos, but the communication – from the Chassid’s perspective of Olamos B’peshitus – generally remains a “non-personal” one.
Hiskashrus to a “present” Tzaddik is dynamic. The Chassid asks, the Rebbe answers, the Chassid argues, the Rebbe insists. It’s something that even to our fleshly eyes is perceived as a live broadcast, not a playback.
The fact that the Rebbe continues to answer even in a time of concealment clearly demonstrates that the Rebbe continues to serve as that “window,” revealing G-dliness in the world.
The fact that the Rebbe provides answers, not only serving as a source of blessings, shows that the Rebbe is the acting Nasi Hador, living in our physical word even if in a manner unknown to us.
The fact that Rebbe answers, often in very specific detail, shows us beyond a shadow of a doubt that he is “running the show” and the agenda of Lubavitch remains unchanged – with Moshiach front and center.
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