Levi Liberow, Beis Moshiach
A famous story is said about a new rabbi who arrived in town. He ascended the pulpit to give his first sermon and the topic was the importance of observing Shabbos.
After the sermon, the president of the congregation approaches the rabbi and tells him, “Rabbi, the speech was fabulous, but some of our prominent members operate their businesses on Shabbos. Perhaps, if you can, do not speak so openly about Shabbos, we don’t want anyone to feel unwelcome in shul…”
The rabbi took note of this, and in his next sermon, he spoke about the importance of Jewish education and sending the kids to Yeshivahs. He thought that topic was within the consensus of people attending shul. Again, the President approaches the Rabbi and tells him, “Rabbi, the speech was fabulous, but a large percentage of our membership send their kids to public school. Perhaps, if you can, do not speak so openly about Jewish education, we don’t want anyone to feel unwelcome in shul…”
The rabbi took this to heart, and the third week he spoke of something he thought can’t offend anyone, kashrus. How would anyone know what exactly is cooked in their neighbor’s kitchen? But again, the president approaches the rabbi and tells him, “Rabbi, the speech was fabulous, but a large percentage of our membership like to eat at a new non-kosher restaurant. Perhaps, if you can, do not speak so openly about kosher, we don’t want anyone to feel unwelcome in shul…”
The rabbi was at a loss. “I can’t speak about kashrus, I can’t speak about Jewish education, I can’t speak about Shabbos. What do you want me to talk about, politics?”
“Why don’t you just talk about Yiddishkeit?” said the president.
We find ourselves 2 weeks away before Gimmel Tammuz number 25. Anyone who sees himself as a Chassid of a present Rebbe, whether he chooses to call him Nasi Doreinu, Melech HaMoshiach, or just the Rebbe, cannot avoid dedicating some thought to where he or she stands in his faith in the Rebbe’s Besuras Hageula and on what he or she is doing to share it with the world.
With all due respect to the importance of focusing on Hiskashrus and on the yearning to see the Rebbe again, and a host of other important themes that Gimmel Tammuz brings up, they are all just tools to help in facilitating the most important thing — Moshiach.
They don’t contradict at all the theme of Moshiach, but let’s not forget that a palace is beautified only because there is a king residing in it. What good is Hiskashrus if it doesn’t lead to fulfilling the Rebbe’s most recent Horaos concerning Moshiach?
Many times, when such claims are presented by people from one “camp” to those who are members of the so-called other “camp,” a common rebuttal will be, “What are you talking about? Everyone kochs in Moshiach, we mention it in every single speech!” and similar statements.
Let me tell you a personal story.
As a new shliach, I came to town all ready and inspired to prepare my spot on the globe for Moshiach.
I sit down to plan my first speech on Moshiach, and the topic I choose is a thorough explanation as to why the Rebbe is Moshiach. I have all the sources open before me, and I begin preparing the course.
As I proceed, my trusted advisor who forever sits to my left says to me, “Rabbi, this lecture is fabulous, well organized and quite informative, but some of our potential listeners may have some prejudices on this topic, as any mention of a human Moshiach reminds them of other religions. Perhaps, if you can, do not speak so openly about who is Moshiach, we don’t want anyone to feel unwelcome in our Chabad House…”
I take note of this and move on to prepare a new topic for my Moshiach course — the topic I’m looking into now, is how the world is ready for the Geulah. Superpowers are making peace and powerful nations are helping countries less fortunate than them, and other signs. I feel this is something people would have an easier time connecting to; it’s a very current and relevant theme. It’ll make me sound worldly and down to earth.
Again, my advisor who sits to my left says to me, “Rabbi, this concept is fabulous, but some of our potential listeners may have some other perspectives on the matter, they’re more involved in politics than you are, and may challenge you with questions like the rise in terror in recent years and similar questions. They will think you to be naïve and slightly romantic about the current world situation. We don’t want anyone to get a wrong picture of what Chabad believes about Moshiach. I don’t think you should focus on that. Whoever is really interested can find a lot of articles on this topic on our beautiful website…”
I have to agree to his observation, and so I choose to go back to basics. I prepare a lecture on Avodas Habirurim, and how every mitzvah we do in essence brings Moshiach closer and reveals Moshiach in the world. “This is purely my arena — spirituality and religion, I say to my trusted advisor sitting to my left.
“Rabbi, this lecture is truly amazing, it’s so deep and meaningful! But a large percentage of our membership are “social Jews” and will probable enjoy a lighter topic on the parsha or the holiday. They’ll feel disappointed if they come to shul on Pesach and you start telling them this deep Kabbalah stuff, you’ll lose half the crowd in the first five minutes of the speech…”
I’m at a loss. “I can’t speak about who is Moshiach – its controversial; I can’t speak about the current state of the world — it’s not my field of expertise; I can’t speak about spirituality — it’s too deep. But my mission is to get the place ready for Moshiach, are you saying I should just give up on it?”
“G-d forbid! Why not end off every single speech you give with fervent prayers for Moshiach? The last line of the speech is always the most memorable!” said the advisor on my left.
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